The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for the poor upkeep of the Taj Mahal.A Bench led by Justice S.A. Bobde asked the State to file a fresh vision document in four weeks, detailing the manner in which the monument would be preserved and protected.Earlier, the court had said the protection of the Taj Mahal should not be restricted to the world heritage monument alone but everything around it that goes to protect the ivory-white mausoleum commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in 1632.The court had said that the Taj Mahal was only the “centre-piece”. The forest cover, the river Yamuna and the grounds of the Taj Mahal should also be saved from pollution. The Bench had said the Vision Document for Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) should examine and end the proliferation of hazardous industries, foundries, seepage and emissions which are slowly but steadily destroying the Taj Mahal and the protective cover around it.In its 1996 judgment, the Supreme Court had noted that the Taj Mahal was not threatened by only traditional causes of decay, but also social and economic conditions. Industrial emissions, brick-kilns, vehicular traffic and generator-sets polluted air around TTZ. The monument itself was slowly turning yellow from the collected grime.
An SOS from several young boys from Iraq – who were lured into immigration by unscrupulous agents from Punjab a few months ago – has brought the issue of human trafficking back into focus.More than two dozen boys have approached the Indian mission in Baghdad for help and have been waiting for a chance to return for more than two weeks. They have alleged that they were forced to clear defused and live ammunition for preparing fields for agriculture.While efforts have been under way – including the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to facilitate their return – there appears to be no check on the agents who lure gullible young men. An estimated 15,000 Punjabi youth have been languishing in prisons in other countries for staying illegally, but no agent in Punjab is ever convicted for sending them abroad. The police too deal with such complaints as mere cases of fraud. The cases eventually lead nowhere since complainants fail to prove that they paid money to the agent.There are several reasons for the thriving human trafficking racket under the garb of immigration.People in Punjab are so obsessed about going abroad that they don’t verify the agents’ antecedents. Young men, who fail to get jobs here, approach these unscrupulous touts. They pay them in cash without any receipt.These agents put them across to some licensed immigration agencies in big cities in Punjab or Chandigarh for further processing their travel papers. The men remain oblivious to the identity of the persons processing their documents.advertisementIn many cases, the agents send the men to countries which offer visa on arrival. When they find out that they have been cheated and apprise their families in India, the cops do not take the issue seriously.Amid police inaction, protests by illegal immigrants’ kin demanding their return from various countries across the globe are common. Those who manage to return also reconcile with the system and enter into a “compromise” with the agents and agree not to complain against them in return for some money.The young men who went to Iraq were promised $ 800 every month. Much to their shock, they were kept in inhuman conditions and some of them were not paid any money for months.Their immigration information – including their flight details – are on record. They have also managed to send their passport numbers from Iraq to verify the same for action against the agents. Police and other authorities can use the travel details to verify that they actually travelled to Iraq under a legal arrangement.The agents named by some of these men admit only to have arranged tickets for them. They deny any involvement in their immigration. They also claim that they do not recognise the men.The government has done nothing to crack down on these devious immigration shops. The state government had promised to curb illegal immigration. The Legislative Assembly had passed the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Bill in October 2010.Misrepresentation of facts, inducing, alluring or cheating young men to immigrate is punishable under the Act. Immigration agents are also barred from advertising and holding seminars without informing the authorities.The Punjab government had sent the Bill for presidential consent but its status is not known.Isn’t it time to set the ball rolling to enact a deterrent law?Not easy to be PM’s alma mater Prime Minister Manmohan SinghThe response to an RTI query regarding a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) degree to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh by his alma mater Panjab University recently sparked off a major controversy. The response furnished to an RTI activist Dr Rajinder K Singla omitted the reference to the degree awarded to the PM on November 3, 2009. As the media took up the issue, the University suspended a senior assistant – the employee who prepared the reply. Show cause notices were also issued to the superintendent of the branch who attested the information and deputy registrar (RTI) and PIO who forwarded it to Singla.Some groups also started ranting over the chair named after Dr Singh. The University had offered it to Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen. However, the University said he has not responded to the offer so far.The chair cannot be offered to anyone else until he responds.Now, the University has “doubled” the efforts “to get his consent.” The delay in the construction of a multi- purpose auditorium has also returned to haunt the University. Its foundation stone was laid by the PM about two years ago. A committee looking into it has held 14 meetings so far and tenders were issued several times but only one tender was received. The PM is revered and we will never allow his faith in his alma mater to be shaken, said VC R. C. Sobti.advertisementProf does the city proud Prof. Manju JaidkaProfessor Manju Jaidka – who serves Panjab University in Chandigarh – has been elected the executive director of the International Association of American Studies ( IASA) – the world-wide, independent, non- governmental association for Americanists. The announcement of the election was made at the IASA conference held recently in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.IASA is registered in the Netherlands with members in more than 40 countries.Jaidka – who recently resumed work at the department of English at Panjab University after a year’s sabbatical – is a recipient of several international awards, including two Rockefeller fellowships, a Fulbright, and visiting fellowships to UK, US and Canada. She is also on the editorial boards of leading professional journals.Currently the chairperson of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, Jaidka is also the author of a forthcoming book on Deepa Mehta and a novel, Scandal Point. These books are coming shortly.Holistic education Indian style Sri Muktinath Ved Vidya AshramSri Muktinath Ved Vidya Ashram – a charitable school in Chandigarh – has been promoting Indian culture and tradition.Primarily into the teaching of various courses in Sanskrit, the institute also promotes yoga, Indian sports and traditional music. All students at the institute communicate in Sanskrit.Acharya Swami Prasad Mishr – who heads the institute – says that they teach students Vedas and shastras. The children – who are taught as per the guru- shishya tradition – get up in the wee hours and conduct their morning prayers. They get fresh vegetarian food and milk from the cows reared in the ashram. The ashram gets students from all over North India. These students stay in the hostel during their schooling years. The accommodation is provided free. Mishr states that he aims to impress upon students to stay away from western lifestyle. The Indian way of living does not have any parallel in the world and the West too started imitating the same. “But, we never tell them to keep away from the good things of the West. People there are more professional. Our students should adopt this quality from them,” he says.
Facebook Marketing Are audiences more interested in understanding what the big brands are doing? Do we look up to Coke and Pepsi and other great brands for inspiration?At HubSpot, we love to measure everything, and recently we completed a short study on how the use of brand names (including Coke, Pepsi, Dominos, Google, Pampers, Facebook,etc.) in article titles had an impact on blog article performance. The results were astounding. Out of the approximately 100 articles published over a period of 50 days, just over 20% of them had major brand names in the title. As you can see in the graph below, the articles that had a major brand name in the title generated 60% more page views on average than articles without them.Also, we published 6 articles with Google in the title, and on average they performed 50% better than articles without brand names in their titles.Surprisingly, while the use of brand names appeared to have an impact on page views and readership, it had little or no impact on comments (or conversation) and what appears to be a negative impact on inbound links. The brand name articles got 3 fewer inbound links on average than their counterparts. If you’re wondering why we used such a short time frame for the study, it’s because blog articles are like annuities. Over longer periods of time, articles continue to amass more and more page views, which would skew the study. The top-performing articles in all groups were spread pretty evenly across the time frame used for the study!Thoughts, Observations and TakeawaysTiming Your Article Publication is Key — There was definitely a “news” factor to articles with brand names in their titles, and the timeliness of the publication coincided with the conversation about the brand on the Internet and in media. (e.g. the Dominos and Pepsi articles).Visible Brands Serve as Case Studies — People and marketers in general love hearing what major brands are doing and how they are conducting their business. A lot of companies like to emulate and learn from big brands. Familiarity Has an Impact on Viral Effect — People become bigger “sneezers” (per Seth Godin’s idea virus) when it comes to bigger brands because they are more familiar with them and their products. Have you noticed any interesting trends in how your blog articles perform? Please share your thoughts in the comments! Photo credit: Nikita Kashner Video: Blogging for Business Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website?Watch the free video to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 11, 2010 8:30:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 Topics:
Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 7 Types of Headlines1. The Know-it-AllThese headlines offer practical advice or tips. Where to Sell Your iPhone 3G: Gazelle vs. NextWorth Social Media Use Cases: Arcade Fire How the Old Spice Videos are Being Made 2. The TeacherThese headlines teach you something you didn’t already know. Why Too Much Money is Worse Than Too Little The Responsibility Revolution for Companies Seven Leadership Traits that the Gurus Don’t Tell You 3. The GossipThese types of headlines stir up controversy, pique your interest, and often have you asking “and then what happened?” And the Winner for Best Film About Design Is… Apple Hater Seeks Roommate in the Big Apple Via Craig’s List Seven Puppies Die Following American Airlines Flight 4. The InstigatorThese headlines make bold statements, which may or may not be true, but they make you want to click to find out. How Porn Will Keep Me in Business Google Wave is Dead Are Most VCs Dinosaurs Who Need to Hurry Up and Die? 5. The Nay-SayerThese headlines convince you that what you don’t know will hurt you. Do you Pass the Leadership Test? 15% Changes Everything Do You Know What’s in Your Mutual Funds? 6. The CampaignerThese headlines provoke people who have similar problems or issues to click on the articles and connect with other like-minded people. Dear Car Dealerships: Stop Sucking Who Wants to Be the Mayor of Pizza Hut 3 Ways to Dress Like a Millennial Woman 7. The ConnectorThese articles show the connection between two seemingly unrelated things. Social Media Marketing Lessons from Justin Bieber What Hugo Chavez Teaches Us About Twitter Dan Pickett: Find Your Founder: Five Romantic Tips from a New Technical Cofounder Have you come across any effective headlines lately? What category were they in? Why did you click on them? Blog Headlines This is a guest post by Marissa Lowman. Headlines are the lifeblood of web and landing pages. Ever since the
released this month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 92% of adults use search engines, with 59% using one on a typical day. But what’s most compelling is that, despite the significant growth in social media usage over the past several years, search and email are still on top as the most popular online activities. According to data SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack has really boomed since 2004, when only 11% were using social networks. That figure has more than sextupled to 69% in 2011. using social networks Young, Educated, Wealthy Most Apt to Use Search Marketing Takeaway With search and email still topping the list of the most popular online activities, marketers must be sure not neglect these important channels just to take advantage of the rise in popularity of social media. Remember, The rates of online adults performing most common online activities have remained fairly stable since 2002, with email use increasing 8% from 85% that year. Getting news online and buying products online have also moderately increased since 2002. There are no significant differences in search use by gender or ethnic background. However, search is most popular among the youngest adult internet users (those ages 18-29), 96% of whom use search engines to find information online. But even among the oldest internet users (age 65+), 87% are search engine users. However, the rate of online adults These same groups: young adults, the college-educated, and higher income adults, are also the most likely to use search engines daily. Discrepancies in daily search are much greater than discrepancies in overall search. For example, 75% of college graduates perform daily search, about 2.6 times the 29% of those with less than a high school diploma; and 78% of the wealthiest online adults use search engines daily, which is roughly double the 38% of those without a high school diploma. Originally published Aug 11, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 In addition, adults who have attended college (96%) and the highest income adults (98%) make more use of search engines to gather information online when compared with other adults. The widest discrepancy exists between college educated adults and adults with some high school education (81%), who are about 16% less likely to use search engines. successful internet marketing strategies leverage various tactics, channels, and platforms, including social media, email marketing, and SEO. Make sure your marketing strategy has a healthy mix of multiple channels and isn’t relying too much on just one strategy. Topics: Are you leveraging your long-tail keywords and your in-house email lists to maximize the results of your inbound marketing program?
Topics: Customer Reviews and Testimonials Originally published Dec 20, 2018 5:09:00 PM, updated August 27 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 1. Create different spaces to leave reviews.Before potential customers even make it to your website to learn about your business, make sure they can learn about you no matter where they’re conducting online research about making a purchase.There are a few typical third-party sites people consult to learn more about a business or a product:1. YelpBrightLocal found that Yelp and Facebook were consumers’ most trusted source of customer reviews in the U.S., so make sure your business is registered and up-to-date. You can learn how to claim your business (or add it, if your business is brand-new) using Yelp for Business Owners.Make sure you’re regularly monitoring communications coming from this profile — responsive business owners are highlighted with an average response time and response rate that could encourage readers to move forward in the process towards becoming a new customer.2. FacebookYou should also claim your business’ Facebook Page so potential customers can find you to learn more about you without having to leave their social network. This is another site that rewards high levels of responsiveness, so make sure you assign someone to monitor incoming messages across the channels you’re trying to optimize for new customer acquisition.3. GoogleNext, use Google My Business to claim your business on the world’s biggest search engine, where potential customers might find you if they’re searching for information on Google, or searching for directions in Google Maps. (This is of particular importance to brick-and-mortar businesses trying to attract foot traffic — learn more about local SEO in this blog post.) People also leave reviews using Google, which appear in the search results for your business, as shown below if you Google “HubSpot.”4. AmazonIf you’re an Amazon seller, make sure to claim and customize your Amazon page. Amazon serves up a lot of different results for different searches, so make sure your Amazon page tells your business’ story the same way your website does. If a shopper finds your brand over the course of an Amazon search, make sure your Page highlights product details, testimonials, and reviews.Source: Amazon5. Better Business BureauFor businesses in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, you can register with the Better Business Bureau — another highly trusted source of customer reviews. By claiming your business on the BBB, you can access more candid customer reviews and become accredited on the site — which lends greater credibility and trustworthiness to you if customers are deciding between options using these reviews and ratings.There are also industry-specific review sites you should claim if they’re popular within your business’s vertical — such as TripAdvisor and Oyster in the travel and hospitality industries, G2Crowd and Finances Online in the software industries, and OpenTable and HappyCow in the restaurant industries. Make sure your contact information, website, hours, and key offerings are available on these more niche sites, too.2. Optimize your content.Your customer reviews might be coming in unsolicited from happy — or unhappy — customers on third-party sites.But once people are already on your site, make sure it’s easy for them to leave reviews there, too.Optimize your website, blog posts, social profiles, and emails to provide quick and easy avenues through which to write reviews by:Setting up website badges to quickly and easily direct visitors to your Yelp, Facebook, and Amazon pages to read and leave reviewsOptimize your website for mobile devices for people who come to your website when they’re browsing social or conducting searches on their phoneIf you’re asking for customer reviews via email, keep the asks short and sweet.Here’s a review request I received from a tour company in Charleston. It wisely included a link to various ways to review the company on the actual receipt of my purchase shortly after taking the tour. (For those curious, I highly recommend the haunted graveyard your if you’re ever in Charleston, SC.)3. Create incentives.Your time is valuable, and so is your customers’, so make sure you’re giving customers a reason to leave a review.Offer incentives to make your customers want to write a review — such as discount or coupon codes, entrance into a contest for an even bigger prize, or gift cards for coffee, online shopping, or cold hard cash.A review request (with a caffeinated incentive) from G2 Crowd4. Ask at the right moments.Make sure you’re soliciting customer reviews at the right moment in their journey with your business to get optimal results.Think about it: If you ask for a review at the wrong moment, it could result in a customer leaving a negative review that hundreds more people read when considering whether or not they want to buy from your business.Ask for customer reviews after positive moments along the customer journey, like:After they experience or demonstrate success with your product or serviceWhen they re-purchase or re-orderAfter they tag your brand in a post on social mediaIf they are spending time on your website browsing other products or servicesIf they refer another customer to youThese are just a few examples of signs that your customer is satisfied enough that they would leave a positive review of your business.For example, Etsy asked me to review a recent purchase approximately one month after I received it. I ordered a party favor for a friend’s bridal shower, so one month later was the right timeframe to make sure I had time to enjoy and use my product.On the other hand, some products and services will work within different time frames. For ride-hailing app Lyft, I usually receive a prompt to review my experience with my ride and driver immediately after the ride ends. For language-learning app Duolingo, I receive a prompt to review the app in the App Store after completing a lesson or achieving a milestone in the language I’m learning.5. Meet customers where they are.Don’t email your customers to ask them to leave you a positive review on Yelp.Instead, make sure your requests match up with the avenue where you want your customer to write a review. If you’re sending out an email asking for a customer review, make sure the email links to exactly where they can leave their feedback. If you want reviews on your Facebook Page, send the request via Messenger. And if you have to ask for a customer review cross-platform, make the request as integrated as possible — for example, by linking to your Yelp page in your email signature, or asking customers to review their purchase from your Amazon store in a follow-up email post-purchase.Here’s a review request I received from a third-party Amazon seller — along with some helpful tips for how best to use the product I had recently purchased:6. Ask open-ended questions first.Don’t start by coming out and asking directly for a customer review.Instead, start a conversation — and use an open-ended question to kick off the process.By asking customers “How are you liking the product?” or “Are you ready to renew/purchase again?” or “How was your recent interaction with customer support?” you can start a conversation and gauge their level of satisfaction before actually asking for the review.This is helpful in two ways:You can source helpful customer feedbackYou can avoid the awkward mistake of asking a customer for a review before learning they had a bad experienceUse the open-ended question to genuinely collect customer feedback — and to sneakily make sure the customer is happy before offering them a reason to submit a review. There’s nothing you can do about negative reviews coming onto various sites, but if there’s a customer who needs a resolution, focus on that before you ask them to rate your business.An open-ended question in an email subject line — as BioClarity did here — prompted me to get ready to give an answer as a reply or in the form of a review:7. Respond to every review — even negative ones. Nobody’s perfect, and mistakes sometimes happen that result in a customer leaving a scathing one-star review on your website, on Facebook, or on Yelp.When you get a one-star review, though, make sure to take the time to respond thoughtfully, without being defensive, to come to a resolution. It’s the right thing to do if you work in customer service, and it could actually help your business in the long run.Harvard Business Review found that businesses responding to negative reviews online actually resulted in better ratings overall. Your customers are human beings too, and the value of empathetic and compassionate customer service strikes a chord and actually leads to an uptick in total reviews, particularly positive ones.Here’s an example of how HubSpot responds to reviews on our Glassdoor page. Although not technically “customers,” showing prospective employees that HubSpot responds to feedback and takes it seriously helps our employment brand, too.8. Share positive customer reviews you’ve already received.When you start receiving positive reviews from your customers, keep the momentum going by highlighting and sharing them so other customers are inspired to do the same.On Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, and many other reviews sites, business owners (and site visitors) can mark certain reviews as helpful, which is like upvoting and moves reviews further up on the site so more people can read them. Make sure to periodically do this to positive reviews so your company’s page highlights the cream of the crop.You could also share positive reviews on your brand’s social media channels to open up the option to your audience there. You could reshare positive Facebook reviews in a post on your page, or you could format positive reviews as quotes for Instagram to post for your followers.Social proof is a powerful marketing tactic — it means that, if customers see other people like them sharing reviews, they’re more likely to do the same by following the crowd. So make sure that, in addition to asking for new customer reviews, you’re promoting the positive ones you receive across your brand’s channels for promotion.9. Give your customers a positive review first.If you want customers to leave you a review, you could leave them one first to get the ball rolling.This may not always be possible (depending on your industry or product), but in a lot of cases, you can get customers to reciprocate your positive words.If your product or service allows customer profiles to be reviewed — Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, VRBO, and TurnKey are examples — then leave them a positive review if you’d like them to review you in return. Of course, if they were bad customers, you don’t have to do that, but if you want to garner more reviews, taking the first step could prompt them to leave you one in return.Another good option is recommending your customer on LinkedIn. If you’re in an account management role and you work with individuals over a long period of time, you could leave them a recommendation or endorsement on LinkedIn. Those go a long way for their own personal branding, and might compel them to reciprocate on their own by leaving your business a positive review. And if they thank you for the endorsement, you could politely ask them for a specific review on a different platform during that exchange.Customer: Thanks for endorsing me on LinkedIn! I appreciate it.Business Representative: You’re welcome! I’ve enjoyed working with you over the last few months, and wanted to make sure other people know how skilled you are at web design. If you’ve enjoyed working with me as well, I’d appreciate a review of our product on G2 Crowd if you’re up for it.I only recommend this strategy if you’ve built a relationship with the individual over the course of working together. If an unknown person starts endorsing the customer for random skills on LinkedIn, that might seem creepy, and likely won’t result in them reciprocating.10. Ask the customer in person.If you work in a customer success manager or account executive role, and you have close relationships with the portfolio of customers you work with, don’t hesitate to add a personal touch, and ask your customers to review their experiences in person.If you’re taking your customers out to coffee or lunch, or if you invite them to one of your company events, keep things conversational, and ask them how they’re doing with your product or service. (Ideally, you’ll know if they’re achieving success or not based on your regular communications, so you’ll ask customers that you know are achieving goals already.)If your customers tell you they’re seeing success, let them know that you value their opinion and their loyalty, and that you’d appreciate them helping you get the word out to potential new customers. Remember the data from the beginning of this post? Most customers will leave you a review — all you have to do is ask.11. Host an event.To create opportunities to ask for reviews in-person as details in the previous strategy, and to create the conditions where customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, host a remarkable user conference or industry event to create more value for your customers beyond just the products or services you sell.By creating an engaging and useful experience for customers, where they can network with a community of people like them, get access to new product releases and discounts early, and meet their points of contact at your company, you’ll increase their positive sentiment toward your business and engender the likelihood that they’ll leave more reviews. You could even make customer reviews a part of your post-event feedback process — after customers complete a survey asking how they’d rate their experience, you could ask them to share highlights of their experience at the event on a public review site.To learn more, check out the best testimonial page examples we could find. There are a lot of factors that go into a customer’s decision to make a purchase from your company.When I’m deciding whether or not to buy something, for example, I typically ask my friends for recommendations, and then do a lot of online research of my options.And since it’s so fast and easy to make purchases online without ever connecting with a sales rep, the internet usually does the selling for you — and that can have a huge impact on if a customer purchases from you or not.Free Download: 45 Customer Referral TemplatesThe fact of the matter is, your company’s best marketers and sales reps aren’t your employees — they’re your existing customers. Customer trust in businesses is fading. HubSpot Research found that customers trust recommendations from friends and family over any type of online marketing and advertising your brand can create. And in the absence of trusted recommendations, according to BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews are much as personal recommendations — the single most trustworthy and credible source of “advertising” out there.HubSpot Research also found that 60% of consumers believed customer reviews were either trustworthy or very trustworthy — meaning that businesses that can accumulate positive reviews had a good chance of them helping a customer make a purchase decision.The same BrightLocal survey found that positive customer reviews make 73% of customers trust a business more, and 57% of customers visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews. That also means that, in order for businesses to grow in today’s competitive, online-first marketplace, they need happy customers sharing positive reviews of their experiences in order to even get visitors coming to their site for the first time.The good news is, your customers are usually more than happy to help you out with this: The same survey found that, of the 74% of customers who were asked to provide feedback, 68% were willing to do it. So don’t be intimidated by the prospect of asking your customers for a favor — because all you have to do is ask, and they’ll likely be happy to help you out.So, how do you get your customers to write the glowing reviews that help close deals? How do you ensure a customer is satisfied and happy enough to ask for the kind of positive reviews you need? Read on to adopt strategies that will make generating positive customer reviews a cinch.How to Get Good ReviewsCreate different spaces to leave reviews.Optimize your content.Create incentives.Ask at the right moments.Meet customers where they are.Ask open-ended questions first.Respond to every review — even negative ones.Share positive customer reviews you’ve already received.Give your customers a positive review first.Ask the customer in person.Host an event.
Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack The first game my father ever played in professional baseball, the coach walked him to the mound, slapped him on the back, and said, “We have two men on base — you get them out, I won’t put you back on a plane tonight. Throw the ball. Throw hard, Chip.” He was 18 years old. His name is Skip. Possibly the least motivating speech EVER. I’ve personally never experienced that level of pressure, but as an athlete all my life, I’ve always been fascinated by how people pump themselves up for their next big challenge. Sitting next to my bed in the morning is the quote from Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”I believe in that. Really. In my little universe, that’s how I think about creating great content that stands the test of time. It’s something that you get up every day and just … do. But that kind of commitment isn’t always easy. While I love creating something for a living, just like everyone else, sometimes I get writer’s block. Sometimes my team falls behind our goals. Sometimes I work long hours. If anything like that happens to you (come on — don’t deny it), I’ve put together a compilation of the best sports pep talks ever — videos I turn to when I need a little pick-me-up to inspire different parts of my job.When it’s the middle of the month and we don’t have enough leads …Al Pacino’s epic speech in Any Given Sunday: “We can climb our way outta hell … one inch at a time.” (0:47) Note: This video contains strong language.When I’m trying to plan a new A/B test variation …From Friday Night Lights: “To me, being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself … It’s about being able to look your friends in the eye, and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth.” (0:27)When I’m trying to convince myself to copy edit my work …From Vince Lombardi: “You don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time … I’ve never known a man worth his salt who deep down in his heart didn’t appreciate the grind and the discipline.” (0:16)When I try to convince my team we should spend the time to create lovable content …From Hoosiers: “Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again … If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game. In my book, we’re gonna be winners!” (0:49)When I’m getting ready to write a new, big-hit blog post …Knute Rockney: “Don’t forget, today is the day that we are going to win.” (1:58)When a new competitor enters our market — and they make me nervous …From the movie, Miracle:”Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here, tonight. One game. If we played ’em 10 times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with ’em. Tonight, we stay with ’em, and we shut them down because we can!” (0:22)When I’m working on a late night project with the rest of my team …From the great Mighty Ducks, the ultimate kiddie hockey movie, “Ducks fly together! … And when everyone says it can’t be done .. ducks fly together.” (Oh it’s only 58-seconds long. Just watch the whole thing. It’s totally worth it.)When I’m editing a partner’s blog post …After Assistant Coach Yoast from Remember the Titans decides to do the right thing, he announces to his team, “You want to act like a star, you better give me a star effort.” (1:41)When my new ebook just isn’t generating a good conversion rate …There are some days when no one seems to be downloading your work. Those days, don’t you just want to yell, “Are you not entertained?!” like Russell Crowe did in Gladiator? When I’m just having an overall bad month …And finally, my favorite sports video clip EVER about the unlikely hero, Jason McElway, who is the autistic team water boy who came off his high school basketball bench and changed his fate — and makes me realize that sometimes it’s okay to be a little different …Despite the lackluster speech, my aforementioned dad managed to get out of that inning, make the team, and manage a respectable career. But I always wonder what would’ve happened if his coach had been a bit more like the inspirational leaders above. Image Credit: D.Clow – Maryland Video Marketing Originally published Jun 6, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
Originally published Sep 9, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Blog Optimization Add any new best practices that have emerged (and remove “best practices” that are no longer so). Every once in a while, things need to be updated. Your mailing address, your wardrobe, your hairstyle, your media collection. Things get outdated, stale, and irrelevant — it’s just the way of our constantly changing world.Unfortunately, your marketing content is no exception. Over time, what once was an accurate, fresh piece of content becomes, well … not so much.Luckily, just like it’s easy enough to change your address, go shopping for stylish new clothes, get a brand new haircut, or buy new music, it’s also pretty easy to update your content. And doing so can help you extend the life of your popular, high-performing content as well as save you the time and resources from creating content from scratch. Not too shabby, huh?So sit back, read on, and learn all about how you should approach and execute the process of updating and republishing your outdated blog content. Your blog readers will thank you for it.Updating Old Content? Why Bother?If you’ve been blogging for a while, I’m willing to bet you’ve got some old, stale content lurking in the shadows of your blog. But why should you care? That stuff is buried deep in the depths of your blog, and no one is going to see it anyway. Right?Wrong.As you probably know, one of the main benefits of blogging is the search engine optimization (SEO) value it provides. In fact, earlier this month, I analyzed traffic to this very blog and found that in July 2013, 69% of the blog post visits we received in July were to blog posts published prior to July. That’s a lot of traffic. And it makes sense considering that 45% of the traffic to our blog in July came from organic search. This means that any given moment, someone could stumble upon a blog post you wrote months (even years) ago that ranks well in search. This is one of the biggest advantages of blogging — content that continues to drive results in terms of traffic and leads over time. But if that searcher doesn’t bother to check the date/time stamp on that blog post, they might have no idea they’re reading outdated and possibly inaccurate information. Yikes. Okay, that’s one good reason. The other reason is that not everyone who is reading your blog now, was reading your blog months and years ago. And even if they were, it also doesn’t mean they read every single article you published. By updating and resurfacing some of your older yet high-performing evergreen posts, you can extend the life of your best blog content as well as increase the results it continues to achieve over time.Finally, it’s often much easier and quicker to update and republish an old post than it is to write a new post from scratch. While I wouldn’t recommend you do this for every post you publish — you should still be publishing lots of new, original content — this is a great way to shave some valuable time off your content creation efforts while still maintaining a consistent publishing frequency. How to Choose Which Posts to UpdateOkay, hopefully now I’ve convinced you of the value of updating and republishing updated blog content. But what’s your plan of attack? How should you decide which posts are worth it to resurface? Here are some important variables to consider:1) Identify your top-performing posts.Let your analytics be your guide here. In general, focus on posts that are backed by some good-looking metrics, such as:Inbound Links: According to our resident SEO expert Rebecca Churt, this is the most important metric to look at, since it is most indicative of search authority. Which of your posts have a lot of inbound links?Traffic: My recommendation is to look at your blog analytics, and specify the last full month as your time frame. (HubSpot Customers: Look in Page Performance.) Which old posts are still generating a lot of traffic for you? Social Shares: The number of social shares a post has generated is also a good indicator of a high-performing post — particularly since social shares factor into search rankings, too. To determine how many social shares a post has, enter its URL into LinkTally.com, a free tool created by HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella that tells you how many times a URL has been shares on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Keywords: Use updating and republishing content as a way to support your keyword strategy. Are there certain keywords you’re trying to rank better in search for? Use a keyword (like HubSpot’s Keywords tool or Google Analytics) to identify keyword ranking opportunities. Do you have any posts that already rank for these keywords? Could you improve their ranking positions?2) Consider content relevancy and trending topics.In addition to a metrics-driven selection approach, you should also consider content relevancy and trending topics. In fact, depending on your content strategy and marketing goals, updating content for the sake of these two variables may actually trump a metrics-driven approach from time to time. For instance, we recently found that a lot of our prospects and customers were asking questions about local search. While we’d already published a post about this very topic, it had become a little outdated (and buried on our blog). Rather than create a new post from scratch (and risk rubbing Google the wrong way with duplicate content), we decided to update and republish that original post — even thought our metrics may not have indicated it was a good target for updating.Best Practices for Updating and Republishing PostsOkay, once you’ve identified the posts you want to update, it’s time to actually update them! Here are some best practices to consider.1) Use the same post, and keep URL the same.Rather than publishing an additional article on your blog — which could result in a ding from search engines for duplicate content — modify the original article. Because this article is live, I usually copy/paste the post into a new draft, make my changes there, and then copy/paste the HTML back into the original post when I’m ready to re-publish the original article (more on that in just a minute). While you may be tempted to update the post’s URL slug, it’s important to keep the URL the same, even if your software automatically creates a redirect. Redirects will remove some of the link value, so it’s best to just keep it as is.2) If you change the title, keep keywords.If you feel compelled to update the post’s title, try to avoid changing it drastically from the original. While the URL is more important to keep the same than the title, if you really need to change the title, do your best to keep your keywords in there.3) Add an editor’s note for transparency.It’s a great idea to add a little editor’s note at the bottom of your updated post — if for no other reason, then for transparency’s sake. This is particularly a good idea if your post has accumulated a lot of comments; your readers will be confused if the publish date is current, but there are comments from months or years ago. Here’s an example of what we typically include at the end of our republished posts:4) Update the content for accuracy.Yup. The name of the game here is accuracy. Over time, there are quite a few things about a piece of content that can get stale and out of date. Evaluate the post for accuracy and determine what needs to be modified, added, or removed. The first thing I usually do is delete any parts of a post that are no longer relevant, and add headers for new sections that need to be added or replaced. Then I go through the post in its entirety to fill in the blanks and make my changes. Here is a checklist of things you should keep in mind as you’re updating your content: Topics: Update the post’s call-to-action (CTA). Evaluate whether your CTA’s offer is still the best option for this post. Do you have a better article? Is the CTA’s creative out-of-date?5) Optimize the post’s meta description.Review the post’s meta description. Is it still accurate? Can you update it to make it a little catchier? Remember, meta descriptions don’t affect the ranking of your content, but they can impact its clickthrough rate from search. Make sure your meta description is both an accurate reflection of what’s within the post, and enticing enough to get searchers to click through to your content from search results.6) Republish it! Yay! By now, you should have an awesomely updated piece of content that’s ready for publishing. While the process of actually publishing your content will vary depending on the blogging software you use, I’m going to share some tips for doing it using HubSpot’s Blogging tool.Replace the old content with new content. This will probably be the same no matter what software you use. Like I mentioned, I usually copy/paste the HTML from my new draft to replace the copy in my original article.Wait until you want to publish the “new” post to update its date/time. If you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog COS, you’ll want to wait until the specific date/time you want the post to appear on your blog homepage to click “update.” Changing it to a date/time in the future will result in a 404 error for those who stumble upon the article in search before the newly designated publish date/time (not a good thing if your article already ranks well in search results).Send a manual email to instant subscribers. If your blogging software is (or is like) HubSpot, it will only trigger the automatic email notification to subscribers for a post once. This means that if you’re just changing the publish date/time on an already-live article, the email will not get triggered again. However, if you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog COS, there’s no stopping you from creating a manual notification email in HubSpot’s Email tool and sending it to your instant subscriber list. If you use the same template you use for your automatic emails, your subscribers won’t even be able to tell the difference. Plus, you can use the opportunity to run an A/B test!7) Track the before/after performance.Okay — maybe I got a little bit ahead of myself. Before you publish your new post, it’s a good idea to create a record of the post’s “before” stats. That way, you can compare it to the post’s performance after you’ve republished it to understand how your update affected its overall performance. Over time, this might also give you a better idea about which posts are worth targeting for updates. The following are the data and stats I keep track of before and after I republish:Post’s Title (in case I tweak it for the republished version)Post’s URL (just so I have the information in one place)Before/After Publish DatesBefore/After Number of Comments Before/After Number of Inbound Links Before/After Number of Social Shares (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.)Before/After Post Views (use the month before and the month after as a proxy)Before/After New Contacts/Leads Generated (use the month before and the month after as a proxy)Before/After Keyword Rankings Are you incorporating updated blog posts into your blogging strategy? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below. Remove content that is no longer relevant. Update outdated copy. Check and replace internal links (particularly if there are now better resources or lead gen offers for you to link to). Update screenshots if things have changed (this is particularly important for step-by-step guides, etc.). Replace outdated data/stats with fresher, more timely ones. Add new, fresh examples or replace outdated ones. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Page Post Engagement Originally published Oct 8, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 App Engagement Event Responses Website Conversions App Installs Facebook Advertising Then, based on your objective, Facebook makes recommendations on which types of ads you should create to meet that objective. Facebook gives an example of a Page post link ad that could be recommended to drive clicks to your website, for instance.After you select your objective and ads you want to run, Facebook’s Ads Manager will display the chosen objective, the number of times it was met, and the cost per stated objective. Basically, Facebook’s new tool turns it into a consultative resource for marketers so you can optimize and assess your ads’ business impact from the get-go. Pretty sweet, huh?According to Facebook, this update should be live, but at the time of publishing, we haven’t seen this roll out to our accounts. So keep checking back to see if you have the new layout soon.Why Marketers Should CareCool! So now Facebook is helping you set up goals and track your success — this seems like a no-brainer news story. This means all of us marketers can sit back and let the social network drive our ad campaigns … right? Wrong. While this new feature is exciting and helpful, we can’t take our hands off the wheel just yet. Be careful not to extrapolate the advertising data to the rest of your marketing activities. For example, if you are using multiple data sources, you might find that Facebook’s Ads Manager metrics show that links drive clicks while your Facebook Page organic posts’ links don’t. So be sure that you’re supplementing the objective-based ad data with other information to get a robust picture of your marketing’s success. Besides that one caveat, this update seems like a very helpful feature that will help Facebook Advertisers create ads the inbound way — something that we can’t help but celebrate. What do you think of this update? How would you use this new feature in your marketing? Leave your ideas in the comments below! Topics: When I created my first Facebook ad ever, I had no clue what I was doing. I picked target demos at random (The more people who see my ad, the better!) and barely considered the difference between CPM and CPC. All I knew was that my boss asked me to make a Facebook ad — now — and it was my duty to get it up as fast as possible. No goals, no objectives, no metrics even entered my thought process.And I know I’m not the only person who has been confused by Facebook advertising — heck, we’ve even written a whole ebook trying to quell some of that confusion. I’m not surprised that people are so concerned about getting their Facebook ads right — their budgets and jobs are on the line if those ads don’t drive positive business results. Luckily, now, it’s going to be a lot easier for the average marketer like myself to advertise on Facebook. Today, Facebook announced a brand new way for marketers to create and measure ads. Now, people can create and measure ads all based on one goal, which Facebook deems “objective-based ad buying and reporting.” I know that’s a lot of jargon in one sentence, so let me break down how the new tool works. Objective-Based Ad Buying: DecodedBasically, when you go to create a new ad, you’ll be asked about which objective you want to accomplish with your Facebook ads. You can choose among these: Page Likes In-store Offer claims Clicks to Website Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Negotiation This post originally appeared on the Opinion section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Opinion.So you’ve been through a few job interviews and now you’re down to brass tacks — you’re negotiating the offer. This can be complex, tricky business — and costly, too, if you don’t do it well.But complexity also creates opportunities, at least for people who have done some homework. Deepak Malhotra is a professor at Harvard Business School who teaches negotiation skills. He’s put together a pretty thorough list of 15 rules to follow when you’re negotiating a job offer, which I highly recommend.”Every situation is unique, but some strategies, tactics, and principles can help you address many of the issues people face in negotiating with employers,” Malhotra writes in a must-read article in the Harvard Business Review.After reading the article you might also want to watch a one-hour video where Malhotra gives a presentation about how to negotiate a job offer. You can see that here: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 26, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Malhotra’s first rule, “Don’t underestimate the importance of likability,” may not come as a big surprise to most normal people, but remember, Malhotra is not advising normal people, he’s advising Harvard Business School students, many of whom actually do need to be told this. Another neat piece of advice is, “Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, not serially.” If there are four things you want, mention them all at once, and let the employer know the relative importance of each one. The thing you don’t want to do is just bring up one thing, such as salary, then go back and forth on that one point, and then say, “Okay, now here’s the next thing on my list.” Do that, and the employer “is unlikely to remain in an understanding or generous mood,” Malhotra writes.Other rules include: Understand the person across the table. Understand that this person has constraints in terms of what she can offer, and know what those constraints are. Consider the whole deal, not just salary. And avoid ultimatums. And another favorite: “Don’t negotiate just to negotiate.” Apparently this is a big problem for freshly minted MBA students. They’ve just taken courses in negotiation, so “they go bargaining berserk the first chance they get, which is with a prospective employer,” Malhotra writes. If something is important, then sure, fight for it. But don’t haggle over every little thing, just to show that you can.”Fighting to get just a bit more can rub people the wrong way.”
846Save Social Media Engagement Originally published Feb 5, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: You know by now that posting on social media is one of the best ways to amplify the awesome content you’re creating. But it isn’t enough to simply post content to social whenever you feel like it.Think about it: Is your audience spreading their time spent on social media equally throughout the day? Of course not. Every social network has higher and lower traffic times throughout an average day and an average week. Posting strategically at higher traffic times will help drive traffic to the content you’re sharing on social.Download our free social media content calendar template here to plan the timing of all your social media posts.So, when are the best times to post to each of your favorite social networks? Check out the infographic below from QuickSprout to learn when to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+846Save
Originally published Apr 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketing Metrics The internet has an infinite amount of benefits, but one in particular that has wholly disrupted business operations. See, the world wide web allows for equal and fair access to websites, which means that startups and small businesses are essentially on an equal playing field with their big box competitors when it comes to ecommerce.This makes for a monumental advantage when it comes to smaller ecommerce shops. Through an easy checkout process, excellent customer service and a smooth delivery experience, startups and small businesses can oust competitors who have long been household names.This is exactly what Warby Parker did, ousting Luxottica, or what Rent the Runway did, ousting David’s Bridal, among others.Of course, as legacy brands become more and more educated to the power of ecommerce, their large budgets follow. And, more often than not, those budgets are going toward analytics platforms that help these brands optimize for repeat customers and quickly notify them to what is working on their sites and what is just sitting in inventory.In other words, legacy brands do have a leg up on smaller retailers when it comes to ecommerce and it’s in the amount of intelligence they are using to drive conversions and increase revenue.That said, data and analytics should be democratized throughout the ecommerce space, and no, Google Analytics isn’t enough. Your big box competitors aren’t simply monitoring new and repeat visitors, or from where their web traffic comes. No, they are using enhanced ecommerce analytics to push visitors down a purchase funnel from the moment they land on the site.Below, the top metrics these retailers are using and how you should be using them, too.Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC)Before customers can begin purchasing on your site, you need to get them there first. Big box brands have an advantage here in that they have marketplace name recognition. In other words, people will simply type their name into Google and land on their page.For smaller retailers, you’ll likely need to spend some cash to get your target customers to your site. The cost of acquiring a customer metrics, or CAC, reveals how much money you spend throughout the acquisition funnel, from creating an ebook or promoting a post on Facebook, to having a visitor come to your site because of the ebook or promotion, all the way through to their finding a product they like and finally checking out.The cost of customer acquisition is the amount of money you have to spend to get one customer. The lower the cost of acquisition, the better: i.e., you always want your cost of acquisition to go down. As a quick example, your CAC is $40 if you need to spend $200 to get five visitors to buy on your store.You may employ different techniques to bring in those visitors — SEO, paid ad campaigns, high-quality content, social media — but all of them cost you either in terms of money or time.There are a lot of factors that affect your cost of customer acquisition, but it is important to get an accurate number here. As a best practice, you should always try to find marketing outlets that lower your CAC valuation.Conversion RateOnce your store gets traffic, you need to see how many visitors are buying. Conversion rate reveals just that.Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of visitors who end up buying from your store. The higher the conversion rate, the better. When it comes to conversion rate, you always want it to be going up. As a quick example, your conversion rate is 2% if 2 out of 100 visitors buy from your store. According to this recent Marketing Land article, one way to improve conversion rate is to add video to a majority of your product pages; retailers adding video reported conversion rates close to 9%.There are hundreds of articles out there on how to improve conversion rates –– because it is just that important. There’s so much emphasis on conversion rate because it directly affects your business’s bottom line. Regardless of how much effort you spend on driving traffic to your store, if most visitors don’t end up buying, it’s all wasted. That said, it’s really important to make sure you know what your conversion rate is at all times and keep tabs on whether it’s improving and if you should stay the course or not.Shopping Cart AbandonmentWhen your conversion rate is low, you need to understand how many visitors had an inclination to buy. To do this, you’ll want to examine your store’s cart abandonment. This metric indicates the percentage of visitors who added products to their shopping cart but did not complete the checkout process. The lower your cart abandonment rate, the better. As a quick example, your shopping cart abandonment is 75% if 75 out of 100 visitors with a cart leave without buying.Cart abandonment is the closest you come to earning real customers before they leave your site. Adding to the cart typically indicates an intent to purchase. The fact that they leave without buying means you lost potential customers. It gets especially bad if you paid a lot of money to get these visitors to your store. Making sure your cart abandonment is low is key to improving your conversion rate.Average Order ValueYou should monitor how much money each order brings in to see how much revenue you can generate. That’s what AOV tells you.This is the average size of an order on your store. The higher the average order value, the better. For example, your AOV is $35 per order if you made $140 from 4 orders.By monitoring AOV, you can figure out how much revenue you can generate from your current traffic and conversion rate. Being able to predict revenue is a big deal for any business. If most of your orders are really small, that means you have to get a lot more people to buy in order to achieve your target. It’s important to have at least a few high value orders so that your overall average is on the higher side.ChurnIf your LTV is low, it could be that many of your customers buy once and never return. This is measured by what is referred to as “churn.”Churn is the percentage of your customers who do not come back to your site. The lower the churn, the better. For example, a churn rate of 80% means 80 out of 100 customers do not come back to buy from your store.As we have seen, to ensure a high profit, it’s important to influence your customers to keep coming back to purchase. That means you want your churn to be low so that once you acquire a customer, they continue to come back and purchase again and again. Lower churn means higher LTV and a healthier business overall.Once you start measuring your ecommerce store performance and using data to drive your business decisions and strategies, you’ll be well on the way to enterprise-level success! No big box retailer takes action without measuring the impact and neither should you. Monitor your metrics, pivot when and where necessary and make the most of your both your time and money in order to build a successful brand.
Topics: Originally published Jul 23, 2015 9:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Website Design Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Back in 2007, we launched a tool called Website Grader. Since then, it’s evaluated 4 million websites, helping many businesses identify website optimization opportunities.But a lot has changed since 2007. Websites have changed significantly in terms of design, functionality, and purpose. So, to continue to be helpful, Website Grader needed to change, too.Well, today, we’re excited to unveil a redesigned Website Grader capable of assessing websites using modern ranking criteria. Read on to learn what the new tool does and how you can get a personalized assessment of your own. What is Website Grader?Website Grader is a free online tool that allows anyone to receive a free, personalized report that grades their site against key metrics, including performance, mobile readiness, SEO and security.How does Website Grader differ from Marketing Grader? Website Grader isn’t the same as Marketing Grader. While Marketing Grader focuses on assessing a website in terms of marketing activities such as blogs, landing pages, and social media, Website Grader is built to specifically focus on the core areas that impact a site’s ability to rise to the top of search rankings. How does Website Grader work?Simply enter your website URL and email address and, within a few seconds, Website Grader will generate a personalized score between 1-100. You’ll also receive a report that details your website’s performance against each of the key criteria. The criteria are as follows:Performance: Optimizing your website’s performance is crucial to increasing traffic, improving conversion rates, and generating more leads and revenue. We’ll assess your site’s page size, page requests, page speed, and more.Mobile Readiness: Traffic from mobile devices is more important than ever before. It’s important to optimize your website for mobile to ensure you aren’t missing out on valuable traffic, leads, and revenue. We’ll check how mobile-friendly your site is against criteria such as responsiveness and viewport settings.SEO: Your site has to be easy to discover. We’ll assess whether your website is easy for users to find and easy for search bots to understand by grading page titles, meta descriptions, and more.Security: Using an SSL certificate protects your website from attacks and provides your visitors with the confidence that your site is authentic, which means they might feel safer when entering their contact details. If you have it, your site will receive a higher grading.At the bottom of the report, you’ll also find some recommendations on the issues you should tackle to improve your site’s performance and, of course, your Website Grader score.I’ve graded my website, what’s next?Got a score below 90? That’s okay, there’s always room for improvement. Why not share your results with colleagues and work together to implement any necessary improvements? With Website Grader, you can quickly email your personalized report to others. Just click on the share icon on the top-right navigation and enter the email address of your intended recipient.Scoring higher than 90? Wow, your site is pretty amazing so why not let the world know?! You can quickly and easily share your report far and wide to colleagues and friends! Just click on the relevant icon to share it via your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.Have you used Website Grader to assess your website already? How’d you do?
Originally published Oct 14, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Marketing Strategy When you think of the basics of marketing, you might be thinking: Okay, create an awesome website; design and send some cool emails; post strategically to social media; maybe supplement with some advertising.But what about the principles behind your campaigns? When you’re planning and doing all of these marketing activities, what motivates your decisions?Today, the most successful marketers aren’t just crossing items off their to-do lists; they’re taking a holistic, adaptive approach to their marketing. They’re elevating the customer experience, building personalized connections, adapting to the evolution of technology, attracting customers to them using inbound marketing, and more.When marketers take this approach, they start creating a better brand experience and driving real business results. To learn more about the eight pillars of modern marketing, check out the infographic below from Olive & Company.191Save191Save
4) Google Chrome: Jess TimeThe best product videos focus not on the product itself, but on the stories of the people who use it.Technology writer and NYU Professor Clay Shirky has a great chapter in his first book about the pervasiveness of communications tools in our lives. In it, he explains that technology doesn’t truly get interesting until it becomes so ingrained in our lives it turns invisible. No product video shows this “invisibility” of really good products better than Google’s “The Web is What You Make It” series.The video below demonstrates how seamlessly Google and all of its products have melded into our lives and become a part of how we interact. It’s a video about an experience, not software, and that is arguably what the company truly creates. One of the wisest things I’ve ever read about product marketing came from the writer of a children’s book.”If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea,” said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, creator of The Little Prince.The goal in crafting a perfect product video is not far off. If you want your video to resonate, it should be about more than just the product. It should be about the problem, the solution, the experience, and the larger vision of what you’re trying to build.Click here to unlock videos, templates, resources, and tips on how to get your video marketing strategy off the ground.Considering the right video can put a product on the map for the first time or reinvigorate a company that has long been stale, it’s important that marketers have a strong grasp on this. So to inspire your own efforts, we’ve collected a list of impressive product videos for marketing a product or new release.What Is a Product Video?Product Videos DefinedA product video is one that explains and visually exhibits a product’s tangible benefits. A lot of product videos tend to emphasize a product’s unique features, but one chief thing that truly differentiates a good product video is its ability to exhibit how it solves problems.What Makes a Good Product Video?As a rule, remarkable product videos encompass the following:Engaging dialogue and narrationLong enough to fully explain the product and its benefits, but short enough to keep the viewer’s attentionProfessionalism, without being “stuffy”Empathy and relatabilityWant to see how these elements are put into action? Check out the examples below.7 Promotional Product Videos That Make You Want to Buy1) Blendtec: Will it Blend?I’m digging into the archives for this one, but in the world of videos that add life to a product, few have done it better than Blendtec. The company’s CEO, Tom Dickson, became a YouTube icon back in 2006 with the introduction of his Will it Blend? series.Since then, Blendtec has expanded the tremendous success of these videos to other channels, enabling viewers to suggest things to blend on Facebook. The company even has its own Wikipedia page dedicated to the series.The success of this video comes down to two things: a clear, unwavering message and a company with a personality. In seven years, the series has never changed. The point of each video and the underpinning of the product positioning is essentially, “Why yes, it will blend.”For years, we’ve been watching this product blend everything from glow sticks to an iPhone. The videos are minimally expensive, product-focused, and garner millions of views. In a recent interview, Dickson explained the history and success of the video series:”‘Will it Blend?’ was developed accidentally by a new marketing director hired in 2006. I have always been one to try to break my blenders to find their fail points and determine how I can improve them. George, the new marketing director, discovered some of the wacky things I was doing to my blenders … With a $50 budget, George bought a Happy Meal, a rotisserie chicken, Coke cans, golf balls, and a few other items, and they made five videos. Six days later, we had six million views on YouTube. Six years, 120-plus videos, almost 200 million views later, ‘Will it Blend?’ has been named as the number one viral marketing campaign of all time [by Ad Age].”Here’s Tom blending a Facebook request: Justin Bieber. The video earned 2.8 million views (and counting) on YouTube. Originally published Oct 15, 2017 9:52:00 PM, updated July 12 2019 Video Marketing 5) Apple: The Only Thing That’s ChangedLaunch videos like the Dollar Shave Club video above have a bit of an advantage when it comes to resonating with an audience. They represent a brand new company, product, or idea. But what if your company has been around for a long time? What if the announcement you’re making is really more of a set of enhancements to an existing product than a brand new launch?This year, Apple tackled that challenge head-on with the following video. This video takes a collection of seemingly small enhancements and strings them together in a way that underscores just how advanced the total new functionality is. Take a look: Topics: 2) Dollar Shave Club: Our Blades are GreatDollar Shave Club also made waves with their first product video. I’ll warn you now: they’re not shy with the F-bombs or referring to “your handsome-ass grandfather,” so you may want to throw in the headphones before pressing play. Having said that, what’s singular about this product launch video is how well the company knows its audience and the problem it’s trying to solve.Dollar Shave Club was trying to crack into a demographic of young, professional men who habitually purchase big-brand razors at local stores. The problem they attempt to highlight is the absurdly high cost of store-bought razor cartridges. Thus, the company needed an absurdist, well-targeted product launch video to match.CEO Michael Dubin, who studied improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade, wrote the spot himself and hired a comedian friend, Lucia Aniello, to produce the video. According to reports on Quora, the video cost approximately $4,500 — and yet, it got more than 11 million views and coverage on countless media outlets. 3) Purple Feather: The Power of WordsIn tight marketing budgets, professional copywriting services are often the first to be cut. Instead of hiring professional copywriters, companies opt to take on the writing themselves, figuring it’s not all that different from other writing they do. They assume the words they choose won’t make much of a difference one way or the other. Based in Glasgow, Purple Feather is a copywriting agency that set out to prove that assumption wrong.Words matter. In fact, they can change everything. Purple Feather made that point exceptionally clear in this powerful video: 6) Google: Google, EvolvedThis year Google introduced a new logo for the company and a new parent company, Alphabet. It was the perfect moment for retrospection. So the company took to video to show not only how much Google’s products have evolved, but how much progress those products have enabled in the world around them.The brilliance of this video is that it uses others to tell the story. Whereas some companies may have pointed the camera at their own designers and developers (looking at you, Apple), Google put the focus on the users, media, and cultural leaders that have adopted and promoted the products along the way. The resulting video plays more like a historical chapter than a commercial.7) InVision: Design DisruptorsI want to end this list with a bit of an anomaly, because it pushes at the boundaries of what can be considered a product video and, as such, opens up all sorts of opportunities.InVision, a prototyping, collaboration, and workflow platform wants to empower designers — their primary users. Much of their content strategy is bent on this mission. This year, InVision will launch a documentary on the role of design in the modern business.Design Disruptors looks at how 15 top businesses prioritize design in their products and overall user experience. Unlike traditional product videos, Design Disruptors will run in theaters and on Netflix. And unlike traditional product videos, Design Disruptors never actually promotes the product. The goal is bigger than the product.”We’re trying to bring attention to the increased importance of design in a company’s success,” explains David Malpass, InVision’s vice president of marketing. “A lot of our work is based on doing things that’ll create a positive effect on the design community and that will elevate the role of the designer within their organization.”Want more tips on creating visual content? Check out this list of the best websites for finding GIFs. Don’t forget to share this post!
HALIFAX – A tropical storm moving up the United States east coast is expected to produce storm-force winds over the southern Grand Banks later this week, but will otherwise have little impact on Atlantic Canada.Environment Canada meteorologist Darin Borgel said tropical storm Gert is expected to become a hurricane Tuesday.“But it is not expected to have any direct impact on the Canadian land territory. At this time it’s expected to turn off to the northeast and track across the southern Grand Banks sometime on Thursday morning,” Borgel said Monday.He said coastal parts of Atlantic Canada may see slightly higher than normal waves as the storm passes, but otherwise won’t see any impact from the storm.Borgel said marine interests will need to keep an eye on the forecast.“I expect anyone travelling those waters are already pretty aware of what’s going on. We are mentioning some gale storm force winds in our long range extended marine forecast,” he said.He said Gert will remain 500 to 600 kilometres off the coast.The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Gert was centred about 735 kilometres west-southwest of Bermuda Monday morning and had maximum sustained winds of 95 km/h. It was moving toward the north-northwest at 16 km/h.A gradual turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed was forecast for the next 48 hours and Gert is expected to become a hurricane by Tuesday night.Gert is the ninth storm since the tropical storm season started June 1, but the first to have any impact on Atlantic Canada.Borgel says the peak of the season is usually in August and September when the waters of the North Atlantic are at their warmest.Those warm water temperatures and a weak or non-existent El Nino are expected to contribute to an above-normal hurricane season this year.The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 11 to 17 named storms this year, with five to nine expected to become hurricanes and two to four expected to become major in force.An average of 35 to 40 per cent of storms that form in the Atlantic Basin actually make it into the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s response zone, meaning anywhere from four to six storms could affect Canada this year.A strong El Nino — the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean — can suppress hurricanes in the Atlantic.Hurricane seasons tend to be quieter in years with a strong El Nino and more active in years with La Nina conditions — like in 2016.Last year there were 15 named storms, seven of which reached hurricane status, with four of those reaching major hurricane status. A typical year has 12 storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.