Five Web Publishing Secrets to Learn From the Supermarket Checkout Line

first_img “Don’t Miss Out!” Redbook says bluntly below the happiness blurb, while the 7 Secrets and Superfood teasers intone a more subtle message: if you don’t pick up this magazine you’re going to miss something important. Gotcha! Flipping through the pages (people read from front to back, but they usually flip from back to front), you’ll notice that everything is compartmentalized into bite-sized nuggets. Women’s magazine editors worked in units of single pages and 100-words sound bites. Wherever possible, articles are deconstructed into chunks, which are given their own headlines or dressed up with images. Editors call these “points of entry,” and they’re a valuable tool to snag readers and keep them on the page. The longer a reader stays, the more likely it is she’ll buy the magazine. 2. Create Points of Entry. Originally published Dec 22, 2008 9:50:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 1. Hit readers in the gut. The Superfood You Shouldn’t Skip Download the free webinar Webinar: Blogging for Business Secrets of Social Media Marketing Ronald Reagan demonstrated, to the chagrin of his critics, that a single anecdote can overwhelm mountains of statistics. TV stations know that the video clip of the grieving parent or joyous lottery winner is better than all the economic analysis in the world. When seeking to make a point, find an anecdote that crystallizes the message. Let it set the scene for you. Live Well On Less With the possible exception of the recipe and home sections, nearly every spread in Redbook features at least one face. And these are happy people. The women, along with a few gorgeous men, are all smiling, gazing contentedly into the distance or glancing seductively at the reader. These are people you want to meet. It’s no surprise that humans respond strongly to the faces of other humans. We do this from birth. So when you take a photo for your website, forget about the background and zoom in on the person’s expression.  and the newly-published  Pick up any women’s magazine and you’ll find the words “I,” “me,” “you,” “our” and “us” spread all over it, particularly in headlines. Should I Ditch This Friend? asks one Redbook Q&A. Find your Power at Work advises another. Even Redbook’s sections — Your Pretty Life, Your Healthy Life, Your Love Life, Your Home Life, Just for You, etc. — reinforce the fact that these articles deliver the content to the reader’s front door. People don’t just want information; they want to know how information affects them. Headlines like these are the publishing equivalent of looking someone in the eye. Speaking to people in personal terms makes the content more conversational, personal and relevant. It works. 5. Tell stories.  to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. How Do Ditch Your Debt For Good , an author, speaker and writer who advises businesses on online marketing. He is the author of  This article is a guest post by  A Profile Of Cover Girl Tricia Yearwoodcenter_img Now let’s have a look inside. Paul Gillin What Happy Women Know These same tactics can work online. Callouts, sidebars, pull-quotes, Q&As and other visual tools break up rivers of text and give readers more starting points to engage with the content. Note: this isn’t about sprinkling random icons into your copy. It’s about segmenting content and signposting it with relevant words and images that attract attention. The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to Social Media This cover has another subtle incentive to draw in readers: fear. Fear is one of the most potent tools publishers use to sell content: fear of failing, fear of rejection and fear of not knowing. 4. Show faces, not scenes. Publishers of women’s magazines have wrestled for years with the same problems that Web publishers confront today: how to grab the attention of a distracted audience in just a few seconds and convince them to become regular readers. Fall’s Best Love-Your-Body Looks Cover stories are everything to women’s publishers. The choice of what to feature on the cover of each month’s issue is the product of years of reader research, and it’s intended to stop passersby in their tracks. Here are Redbook’s September choices: These selections span the issues that matter to Redbook’s audience: diet, money, relationships, personal happiness and fashion. Three of the cover blurbs are meant to tantalize (Seven Secrets, Superfood and What Happy Women Know) and three others to appeal to the get-my-life-in-order instinct (Live Well, Love Your Body and Ditch Your Debt). The cover practically shouts at you that the September Redbook will make you happier, thinner, richer and better in bed. Is it any surprise that variations of these same topics adorn the covers of nearly every women’s magazine? Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? While the media may be different, a lot of the tactics that the women’s magazines use to entice people in checkout lines also work online. So I stole a recent copy of Redbook from my gym (you don’t think I pay for this material, do you?) and scanned it for ideas. Here are five lessons we can learn from the September, 2008 issue. There’s one other tactic magazine publishers use that you won’t ever have to worry about: those dumb subscription cards that fall out of the middle of the magazine and land on the floor. They’re called blow-in cards, and everybody hates them, even the publishers who use them. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most effective circulation tools ever invented. Sometimes annoyance sells, too. The Seven Secrets to Lasting Love 3. Speak directly to the reader. Have you ever noticed that nearly every feature article in the lifestyle magazines begins with an anecdote? Half the time, the tales are even fictitious. It doesn’t matter. People respond to stories about other people. Stories are the most powerful way to communicate a message, particularly when combined with the other four secrets I’ve mentioned. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

New Twitter Launches, Helps Multimedia Marketers

first_img Twitter interface is the integration Check out this video of the new Twitter.com: While many other subtle changes have been mentioned of images and videos in streams. Twitter is partnering with DailyBooth, DeviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube to display content from these services directly on Twitter.com. Twitter just became a little more like Facebookand other social networks with the incorporation of multimedia into user streams. However, Twitter is still a different type of network and users interact with each in different ways. Twitter is about discovering new people and information. By adding multimedia into the new design, Twitter.com reinforces the need for marketers to become content creators. These changes demonstrate that text isn’t the only method for telling a story online. Originally published Sep 15, 2010 11:10:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Marketing Takeaway about the new Twitter.com, from watching the video Twitter produced, it is clear that the service is growing up and that these changes set the foundation for future plans to generate revenue and increase engagement for users and marketers.center_img What do you think of the new look of Twitter.com? As a marketer using Twitter and other social media sites to interact with customers, it will be important to create interesting multimedia content and distribute it via services, like those the Twitter media partners listed above, to ensure that content is easily consumed on Twitter and other social networks. Twitter.com Topics: users will soon be using a new interface. Yesterday, the company announced that a new design for Twitter.com will roll out to users over the next couple of weeks. As you can see from the screenshots and video below, besides design changes, the major improvement to the new Twitter Updates Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

The 7 Worst Marketing Emails You’ve Ever Seen

first_imgMarketing shouldn’t make people cry. Do you get marketing email that makes you want to punch your fist through your computer in hopes of actually connecting with the person that sent it. Marketing shouldn’t suck this bad. Marketing should solve problems, not induce fits of rage.Raise your hand, and repeat after me. “I will stop sending marketing emails that makes people want to punch me.” Marketing automation shouldn’t be about doing more crappy marketing with less effort. Instead, it should be about giving people valuable information in a personalized and contextual manner. Let’s take a look at some TERRIBLE marketing emails and learn from them so that we can delight our prospects, leads, and customers.7 Unbelievably Bad Marketing Automation Emails1. Bragging About Clients: Really? You work with all of these companies? Wait…I don’t care! These companies are not related to my business, and it doesn’t matter what you did for them. It’s also great to see that you needed to send a super LONG email to brag about yourself; thanks for wasting even more of my time.Marketing Takeaway: Your prospects and leads don’t care who you work with. They care about what you can do for them. Send them marketing email that is customized to their business needs with specific recommendations for them. 2. Terrible Event Follow-Up: Could the email below be more obvious that it’s a mass email? This sender was so lazy, that he/she put everyone who attended two events on the same list and sent them all the same email. They also include three separate calls-to-action, and the first one for a free trial doesn’t even include a link. This couldn’t be less personal.Marketing Takeaway: Understand how each person gets added to your email list. Use this information combined with their interaction with your website and content to provide them with personalized content and calls-to-action (CTAs). And stick with one CTA per email, please!3. Failure to Test: Nothing (and I mean nothing) demonstrates a lack of personalization better than an error message that displays instead of the recipient’s name. By not sending a test email to check for technical issues, you can instantly lose credibility as a marketer.Marketing Takeaway: Great marketing automation is about more than just compelling content. It’s about making sure all the details are perfect. Your marketing is the first experience that a potential customer faces. Make this process perfect by testing your email marketing sends to ensure that the formatting and personalization features work correctly.4. Forgetting to Nurture: Really? We just met, and you already want to get married? That is often what bad marketing automation email can feel like. Too many emails like the one below go straight into the sales pitch without any prior nurturing.Marketing Takeaway: Plan your communication with prospects and leads to ensure that you have included several steps of sending educational information before transitioning into product-focused information.5. The Scariest Unsubscribe Link Ever: One way to make sure people never unsubscribe from your emails is to scare the heck out of them. Check out the email below: it has a three line long unsubscribe link. When I saw it, I thought about the terror that could be inflicted on me and my email address if I clicked on it. To top it off, this email is completely self-serving.Marketing Takeaway: Make it easy for people to opt in and out of your email marketing efforts. And again, don’t talk about why you are awesome. Instead, help make the person you’re emailing more awesome.6. Horrible Subject Line: An interesting subject line can make or break the success of an email. Nothing says compelling subject line like “Marketing List.” Seriously? That is just bad. To make it worse, this email goes on to prove itself irrelevant and REALLY long. It keeps going well past the screen shot below.Marketing Takeaway: Invest time in great subject line writing. Test different variations with A/B tests to determine which subject line copy works best for your business. 7. Complete Disregard for Targeting: What you see below is a seemingly well-designed and -written email. The problem lies in targeting. I am not a customer of this company. Their targeting is completely off. To make horrible targeting even worse, the email is about nothing. It has no clear action for me to take. It really has no purpose but to take up space in my inbox.Marketing Takeaway: Understand what your subscribers want from your email. Send them clear and actionable messages. Don’t waste paragraphs of text that basically say nothing. Keep your email copy brief with a prominent desired action.Email shouldn’t be evil. Email should be helpful! What other email marketing mistakes have you noticed in your inbox?Image Credit: Generation Bass Originally published Nov 15, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated August 29 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 Email Marketing Mistakeslast_img read more

Read More

How to Write Stellar How-To Posts for Your Business Blog

first_img Originally published Jun 5, 2012 12:59:00 PM, updated October 02 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 Include Examples Sometimes the most effective way to explain a concept or a point is to do it through examples. While real-life examples are ideal, don’t be afraid to make up hypothetical ones to help you get your point across. In fact, we’ve done it a couple times already in this very post (or did you think there were actual unicorn breeders out there?).Just be sure that you’re choosing or constructing an example that your particular audience can relate to. If you’re a B2B company selling to businesses in one particular industry, for example, offering up an example from an entirely different, unrelated industry wouldn’t exactly be as relatable as an example specific to your readers’ industry, now would it? Consider Visual Components While visual components are not a requirement, there are definitely many how-to topics that lend themselves to — and are made better by — visual explanations. I don’t know about you, but if I were reading an article about how to change a flat tire, I’d definitely appreciate some kind of visual aid. These visuals can be in the form of images like charts, graphs, or content/ concept visualizations , or they can even include video content. Use your judgment about whether your particular how-to post would be made more helpful with some kind of visual component, and if so, create it! For example, we created the visual below to help explain the concept of content mapping in our how-to post on selecting the right call-to-action for every page on your website .As a best practice, always accompany visuals with supportive text. When incorporating video content, include a text-based explanation or transcript of the video. Not everyone likes video, and even when they do enjoy video how-to’s, it’s often helpful to have the text to follow along with or refer back to. Check out our how-to post on how to analyze Facebook Insights to improve your content strategy for an example of how to effectively marry video how-to’s with text. Finesse the Title Remember that working title you generated in the first step? That won’t do. The working title of this very post was, “How to Write a How-To Post,” but that wouldn’t have been as catchy as the title I decided on. Don’t gloss over the title, as it’s usually a potential reader’s first impression of your content. If they’re not captivated by your title, why would they choose to read your post? A great title should be actionable, concise, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing — all characteristics we elaborate on in our post about how to master the art of exceptional blog titles . See what I did there? ;-)So, should all how-to posts start out with “How to…”? To be honest, it’s probably your best bet. It indicates to readers exactly the type of post they’re about to read (and like we already said, people love a good, solid how-to post), it’s actionable, and it clearly demonstrates the value. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Test it for yourself! Wrap it Up As with any blog post, you’ll want to include the other key components of a great business blog post. Wrap it up in some way. You don’t need to write a long, drawn-out conclusion; a sentence or two, or a question to spark discussion should do the trick. And don’t forget to add a relevant call-to-action so you can generate some leads from that awesome, likely evergreen how-to post you just wrote. As always, have a grammar-conscious colleague review and edit your post. Finally, get a second opinion, ideally from someone who doesn’t know how to do what your post is instructing. After reading your post, does this person feel like they have everything they need to know to complete the task? They should! Have you mastered the powerful how-to post for your business blog? What other helpful tips would you add to this guide? Image Credit: Lee Nachtigal There is no shortage of different types of content you can create to feed your business blog. Thought leadership-based content, commentary on industry news, data-driven analyses, list-style posts … the options are numerous. But one type stands out from the rest. It’s a business blogging classic. It’s … the how-to post.How-to posts are favorited by bloggers and readers alike. They’re valuable and helpful, they make great pieces of evergreen content that stand the test of time, and they’re an inbound marketing staple to reap the benefits of educating your prospects . As a matter of fact, analysis of content published on this very blog reveals that how-to style posts generate an average of 55% more views than all other types of posts on our blog . For all of these reasons, it behooves you to become really great at writing them. And what’s a more fitting way to learn how to write a stellar how-to post than a how-to post itself? Oh man, this post is about to get really meta …So put on your teacher hat , and read on to learn how to write a how-to post like a blogging pro.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now Choose Your How-To Topic Actually, why don’t you spend some time brainstorming a list of how-to topics? Like I said, how-to posts are an inbound marketer’s business blogging staple, so why not take the opportunity to come up with a backlog of ideas? Step into the shoes of your marketing personas, and think about what they’d like to learn how to do. Talk to your customer team — you know, the people who talk to your customers day-in and day-out and understand their needs as they pertain to your business and industry. What do they want — or need — to learn? Chances are, the questions your customer team gets asked the most will make great how-to post fodder.At HubSpot, we sell marketing software , and our ideal customers are constantly trying to learn how to be better marketers; so here are a few examples of how-to posts we’ve written that teach them how to be just that: How to Set the Right Lead-Gen Goals for Your Marketing Team How to Use Hashtags on Twitter: A Simple Guide for Marketers How to Stalk Your Competitors in 10 Minutes [Marketing Hack] When you settle on your topic, choose a simple working title to keep you on track. Make it specific to exactly what you’re going to be instructing your readers to do. Don’t worry about the length — you’ll finesse it later, and it’s really just meant to help guide your writing. Brainstorm the Steps From Start to Finish Okay, so you’ve got your topic and a working title to get you started. Your next task to tackle is a bare-bones outline. In this, you’ll list the individual steps your readers will take to do what it is you’re teaching them how to do, from start to finish. You can even do this directly within your blogging tool , making each step a header so you just have to go back and fill in the blanks later when you start writing. You can even add sub-headings to certain steps if it’s helpful to break it out in that way, or just jot down some specific tips pertaining to that section.Make sure your steps are in the proper order and that they’re comprehensive. In other words, if the reader follows the steps you’ve outlined, will he or she be able to successfully accomplish what you’re instructing them to do — or are you missing some critical steps? Remember, you’re teaching someone how to do something they don’t know how to do (or how to do well ), so it’s important to include every critical step. Introduce It Once you have your how-to post skeleton, write an introduction that sets the stage for your how-to content. In your intro, provide some context about why it’s important or helpful for your audience to learn what you’re about to instruct them to do so they understand the value of reading on. Your introduction can also be made stronger by including data and statistics to that demonstrate and prove exactly why your how-to topic is so critical. While it might not always be possible to find, conducting some quick research and pinpointing a great supportive stat can make your introduction even more compelling. Check out the example below, which shows the beginning of a recent how-to post we published on using LinkedIn emails for lead generation. That’s a pretty compelling stat, right?center_img Furthermore, in your introduction, be very specific about what you’re going to teach your audience how to do to properly set reader expectations. If you’re a unicorn breeder and the point of your post is to teach unicorn owners how to train their unicorns to do one specific trick, yet your introduction promises to teach readers how to implement a full-fledged unicorn juggling act, then you wouldn’t be properly setting expectations, would you? Instruct by Filling in the Steps Once you’ve nailed down your intro, it’s time for the meat of the post — the actual how-to instructions. You’ve already got the headings for your steps down, so think of it as just filling in the blanks. When filling in this content, be sure to write in the second person (use pronouns “you,” “your,” and “yours”), as if you’re actually teaching your individual readers one on one. You should also use transitions between sections so each of your steps flow smoothly into the next. Here are a few other meatier tips to keep in mind as you’re writing the content for your how-to steps. Be Specific, Descriptive, and Detailed To write a truly valuable how-to post, don’t assume your readers already know how to do anything you discuss in the post. After all, you know what happens when you assume, don’t you? In other words, don’t just tell your readers to do something; tell them exactly how to do it. Be very specific in your instructions. Link to Other Resources To piggyback off my last point, sometimes you might mention something that needs a much more detailed explanation for some readers than that post has the space to explain; in fact, explaining the concept in detail might totally derail the post, which is common in more intermediate- or advanced-level how-to posts. In these instances, simply mention your point and link to another resource that explains it in more detail. Bonus points if it’s an article you’ve already written — and if you haven’t, then you might just have another blog post idea to add to your backlog! Here is an example from our how-to post on designing a persona-centric website experience , which links to our more in-depth ebook on creating effective calls-to-action . Mention Tools Depending on the topic of your how-to post, your readers may or may not need certain tools to carry out the instructions you provide in your article. Don’t gloss over that. If your audience is going to need to use tools, recommend and suggest some options for them. For example, if you’re a plumber writing, “How to Unclog a Sink Drain in 5 Simple Steps,” and one of those steps includes pouring a liquid plumber down the drain, recommend a few liquid plumbing products that work well. And hey, it’s okay if one of those product options is the proprietary liquid plumber your plumbing business sells. You’re ultimately blogging to make money, right? Product mentions when appropriate and tactful are fine as long as you don’t overdo it. See what we did in the example below, mentioning HubSpot’s marketing analytics tools in our how-to post about improving your email marketing with an integrated approach ?last_img read more

Read More

New Social Media Image Templates, #INBOUND13 Wrap-Up, and More in HubSpot Content This Week

first_img Topics: It’s no secret: We produce and publish a lot of content here at HubSpot. 20+ blog posts a week. Nearly 10 free ebooks, downloads, and webinars a month. And don’t forget the couple SlideShares we put together every week or so. Yup, we have kind of a “content machine” thing going on.But producing all of this content means that it’s easy for some blog posts to get lost in the sauce. So we’re going to try something a little different for these Sunday roundups to help solve this problem — each week, we’ll resurface some HubSpot content from the past week that you may have missed. This is a little experiment we want to try, so definitely let us know if you’re digging the new format or not. So without any further ado, here are five pieces of content we put out this past week that you may not have read yet.  1) The #INBOUND13 Experience: Inspiring Insights From Exceptional Keynotes (Plus a Bonus SlideShare)Have you heard? INBOUND 2013 happened. It was an exciting four days packed to the brim with marketing takeaways.Whether you’re reeling from all the craziness after attending the conference or you’re bummed because you wish you could have attended, you’re in luck. My fellow HubSpotter Katie Burke put together a recap of our five keynote presentations, complete with an interactive SlideShare that I’ve embedded below. Check out Katie’s post to hear what Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, Nate Silver, Scott Harrison, Brian Halligan, and Dharmesh Shah spoke about at INBOUND this year. Originally published Aug 25, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Inbound Marketingcenter_img INBOUND 2013 Keynote Takeaways from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software2) Free Download: The 7 Elements of Context MarketingOn the heels of the announcement of our brand new Content Optimization System, we released an ebook all about delivering the right marketing messages to the right person at the right time … what we call context marketing. In the ebook, we’ll walk you through what context marketing actually means, give you examples of companies that are already using context marketing, and then explain how you can get started with it in your own marketing strategy. Download our ebook here to get the rundown on all things context marketing.3) Make Images for Social Media Images in Just a Few MinutesYou know visual content is hot on Facebook, but not all of us were born to be designers. Or have large budgets to hire one. So what’s a marketer to do?Lucky for us, there are some free templates that can help you design images for social media in just a few minutes. Earlier this week, we showed the step-by-step process for making social media images from free downloadable templates. Check out the post, download the templates, and you’ll be posting original images to social media in no time. 4) How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 MonthsDon’t you just love when you can make one little change to your marketing — but get huge results? That little change for us was the result of a “duh” moment — we added a new check box field to all our landing page forms so people could subscribe to our blog with just one click. Here’s what it looks like:We were pretty pumped about this small change (and the big results it generated), so we had to share how to implement this on your own site if you’re using the new HubSpot COS. Check out the step-by-step guide to setting it up, and then watch your subscriber base skyrocket.5) What Is CRM?Sometimes you need to take a step back from your day-to-day job and get back to the basics. With your head down in projects and the inbound marketing industry flying by at a crazy pace, you’ve got to make sure you have a solid inbound foundation set. On Tuesday, we did just that by explaining what a CRM is on the blog. (Spoiler alert: The acronym does not stand for Crazy Red Monkey). So head over to the blog post to make sure you’ve got one of your marketing basics covered. And that’s it for this week’s HubSpot content roundup. What did you think? Let us know in the comments.Image credit: tallkev Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

Negotiating a Job Offer? 15 Rules From a Harvard Business Professor

first_img 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 2017center_img 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.”last_img read more

Read More

Go Beyond Good Enough: How to Delight Your Customers

first_img Topics: Customer Delight The inbound methodology is focused on three principles: attract, engage, delight.At its core, the inbound experience is a customer-focused way of doing business that is centered on helping people and solving their problems in the ways they want them to be solved.  Marketing and Services drive the “attract” stage that draws customers to your business. Marketing and Sales then “engage” the lead and motivate them to convert. Finally, Sales and Service complete the flywheel by delighting the customer with a great purchase and fantastic customer support.Sounds simple, right?Well, not quite. In a truly successful inbound organization, customer “delight” is everyone’s responsibility — not just those people your customers may come into contact with after buying something from you.The concept of delight — providing a remarkable experience to users that focuses on their needs, interests, and wishes that leaves them so satisfied, they can’t help but go out and sing the praises of your brand — isn’t just limited to customers. Great inbound companies focus on delighting potential and existing customers from their very first interactions with the organization — and you should, too.Start solving for the customer today with these 17 templates. Customer Delight DefinitionCustomer delight is exceeding a customer’s expectations to create a positive customer experience with a product or brand. By going above and beyond to create a memorable customer experience with things like discounts, gifts, promotion, or spontaneous outreach to your customers, you can foster an emotional connection and sense of good-will that will make them more likely to be loyal to your brand long-term.Creating an inbound experience whose goal is both pre- and post-sale customer delight can be a competitive advantage for many businesses because happy customers stick around longer than those who have a neutral or negative experience. Simply put, customer delight is to please your customer. Sounds easy, right? But in the context of business, how do you really please someone?In such a competitive modern business world, you can’t afford not to make your customers happy. It’s easier than ever for your customer to switch using products or services if you don’t meet their expectations, and they can publicly share their negative feedback about their experiences on platforms like social media, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Their expectations are tougher than ever, and their recommendations to family and friends are the difference between your business growing or struggling.In fact, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it costs businesses 6-7x more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. But despite that fact, only 7% of consumers say that their service experiences with a company exceed their expectations The writing is on the wall: Successful inbound organizations don’t just focus on attracting qualified visitors, converting them into leads, and closing them into customers. Instead, they aim to provide an all-encompassing remarkable inbound experience for potential and current customers, too.We advocate for doing four things consistently well during the customer’s experience to delight them and keep them coming back:Answering their questionsSolving their problemsHelping them reach their goalsBeing enthusiasticDo you do all four of these things exceptionally well, across every single interaction a person has with your business? These delight moments can range from someone visiting your blog, to someone checking out your website’s pricing page, to chatting with a salesperson, to figuring out how to use your product for the first time, to asking for help using your product, and everything in between.Customer success is all about helping customers see value in your product to help them achieve their goals. So think of customer delight like this: how can you best, most effectively provide value to someone so that they can extract value?Creating a great customer experience means that you’re building trust with people so that they stay loyal to your brand and products for a long time. You build trust with people by consistently making the people you’re here to serve successful. Let’s discuss the four must-haves to delighting and building trust with your customers.How to Delight Your CustomersSolve customers’ problems.Be timely.Be helpful.Help customers succeed.Listen to customer feedback.Be enthusiastic.Be unexpected.Build a community.  1. Solve customers’ (and potential customers’) problems.The first (and perhaps most important) thing your organization needs to do is solve the problems your potential and current customers bring your way. Offering your customers a solution to the problem they face or a way to achieve the goal they’re working towards is, after all, why they’ve come to you in the first place — so don’t leave them hanging. Offer your customers the solutions that most align with their individual wishes, needs, and preferences.The same goes for prospects. Even though they aren’t paying customers just yet, potential customers require that you solve their problems as well. You can use free tools like chatbots and a knowledge base to address this customer segment without making a major financial investment.The reasoning here is multifold and gets back to the golden rule: help people and they’ll help you. If you can prove to your prospects that you’re trustworthy and effective when they’re not yet even paying, they’ll be much more likely to want to do business with your organization down the road. All that goodwill generated pre-sale goes a long way towards easily transforming customers into positive promoters post-sale.2. Be timely.A critical aspect of solving problems is responding to them ASAP when they crop up, so a big component of customer delight is being available and responsive whenever they reach out. Whether the issue is big or small, show your customers that you’re prioritizing them by responding quickly. Even if you can’t solve the issue right away, letting them know that you’re working on it or escalating it will give your customers confidence that you’re their advocate.Adopting a customer relationship management software, or CRM, is a great way to start managing customer interactions. Using a CRM, you can record and log emails, as well as set up reminders to follow up with clients. Tools that are set up for conversational marketing can sync your customer service cases to your CRM. This allows you to keep pace with all customer communications and provide a more delightful customer experience.3. Solve for the present and the future.Solving your prospects’ and customers’ problems is great in the short term, but what will happen next time they encounter a similar problem or are looking to accomplish a related goal? Going beyond just solving peoples’ problem and handing over information helps them deal with similar challenges down the road.Empowering both potential and existing customers with education, making recommendations, and helping them succeed are essential to building an inbound experience at your organization. For example, HubSpot offers an academy program that provides free inbound and product lessons for its customers. The benefits of enabling people to reach their goals and solve their problems instead of just arming them with facts are far-reaching for both your organization and the individual themselves.If your prospects and customers get a constant, positive reminder of your company each time they use your advice and recommendations, your company will become known as a helpful, remarkable organization that customers want to do business with. You can achieve this by writing blog posts, sharing tips on social media, and creating a self-service knowledge base.4. Help customers succeed.Make sure you understand why people are buying your product or service so that you can figure out how to help them succeed. By understanding what people need from a product or service, your team can exceed customer expectations. Creating buyer personas and mapping customer journeys are two effective ways to build this type of focus on customer success. You need to be constantly innovating your products, your processes and the overall customer experience to truly delight people. Innovation can be large-scale, like a new product or a whole new way to get help with your product. It can also be on a smaller scale, like how you train new employees to handle customer questions or the content formats you’re using to help people see value in your product.The other thing you need to be focused on doing well is providing education to people and communicating with people in a way that gets them answers to questions and solutions to problems. You should also be helpful the way your customers want to achieve their goals — whether that’s through multichannel customer service options or a self-service knowledge base.5. Listen to customer feedback.It can be tough to take critical feedback, especially if it’s coming from a customer you’ve built a relationship with. But sometimes the feedback from a customer you’ve known a long time can be the most valuable.So if a customer comes to you with a complaint, or even if they come to you ripping you and your company apart, take a breath, don’t take it personally, and listen closely to what’s behind the complaints. Remember, your customer has likely paid your company a lot of money over the time you’ve worked together, so when things break or go wrong, they want the inconvenience to be understood and acknowledged with empathy — and maybe with a discount or kind note thanking them for their patience.One way to effectively manage difficult feedback is to provide automated software to collect it. Customer feedback software allows you to create and customize surveys that can be linked to the customer’s record in the CRM. This gives your customer service team time to research the customer’s history with your company, and come up with an effective response before reaching back out.   6. Be enthusiastic.Make sure that in every interaction with potential and current customers, your company’s voice is enthusiastic, fun, and welcoming. Precisely what ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘fun’ mean for your organization depends on your particular business and industry, but the take-home message is this: if you want to create an inbound experience that truly delights, don’t be a dictionary — instead, provide a real, warm, personalized, human interaction that respects your user’s time and leaves them happy, satisfied, and educated.7. Be unexpected.If you want your company to stand out from its competitors, then it needs to make a lasting impression on your customers. While your primary goal is to solve the customer’s problem, you can create a memorable experience by giving the customer more than what they initially anticipated. Customers expect to see their needs fulfilled, but are truly delighted when your team goes above-and-beyond in the customer experience.  You can do this by personalizing each customer interaction, and ingraining a customer-centric culture within the company. For example, personalization software can be used in emails and on web pages to make content feel like it was designed for an individual user. By creating one-of-a-kind customer experiences, your business has a better chance of improving overall customer loyalty.8.  Build a community.People enjoy the feeling of belonging to a community or group. Your company can supplement this positive feeling by creating a user community that benefits your customers. This community can be used as a resource for sharing useful information or act as a medium for users to submit customer reviews. By fostering a space for customers to interact with one another, your business is adding value to the customer experience both before and after the purchase. When considering a purchase, customers primarily trust other customers, so they can use this sponsored community forum to help guide their decisions.Take HubSpot’s community for example, where HubSpotters can post and share questions about different HubSpot products. HubSpotters are great at finding unanticipated uses for certain tools, and often share these discoveries on the forum for other users’ benefit. HubSpot’s engineers love this as well because they use this feedback to guide product development for future add-ons.To learn more, read our ideas for demonstrating customer appreciation.center_img 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 Feb 13, 2019 6:02:00 PM, updated February 19 2019last_img read more

Read More

20 Must-Read Takeaways From the Dublin Web Summit

first_img Originally published Nov 7, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Imagine a party where Bono, Drew Houston, Eva Longoria, and 20,000 of your lovably nerdy tech friends show up. Add colorful sheep, some intermittent Wi-Fi issues, and a whole lot of drinking, and you’ve got the Dublin Web Summit, one of the hottest tech and marketing events of its kind.The event is remarkable unto itself, but it’s even more remarkable when you consider that the event grew from 400 attendees just four years ago to 20,000 attendees this year. The conference is growing as fast as the Dublin tech scene — as Barry O’Dowd, Head of Emerging Business for IDA Ireland told us, “there is little doubt that the Web Summit has helped put Ireland’s tech scene on the international stage.”Not all the action happens on stage at the Summit, of course. Local legend states that Uber’s 2011 funding round was finalized in a pub at the Summit, and last year’s top 25 startup winners from the Summit raised over $400M over the past twelve months. We tried interviewing the sheep for comment (they politely declined), so instead we found the most tweetable, shareable insights we could find from many of the speakers and assembled them all into one doc for easy inspiration and motivation.Whether you attended the Summit for the first time this year, watched the live stream, or just heard about it from friends, here’s a SlideShare and a few tweetable takeaways of our favorite insights from our friends in the Emerald Isle, thanks to HubSpot’s Melissa Obleada: Topics: Conferencescenter_img 1) “Amazing people need a purpose beyond profits.” -@dharmesh (Click to tweet!)2) “Deal with disruption by being the disruptor.” -@andymarkowitz (Click to tweet!)3) “Life is too short for bad software.” -@sweetlew (Click to tweet!) 4) “Great marketing is marketing for people, not at them.” -@robnewlan (Click to tweet!)5) “One of the key triggers, statistically, for shareability is emotional intensity.” -@sarahfwood (Click to tweet!) Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

8 Ways Home Builders Can Use Houzz for Lead Generation

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you have business partners like interior designers or landscapers that are also on Houzz, it’s helpful to request reviews from them, as well. Providing reviews for your partners will help motivate them to provide reviews for you. This will help both of you rank higher for your services and geographic locations.3) Link Projects to Blog PostsWhen you add a project to your Houzz profile, you can include an external link to provide more information on that project. Therefore, we recommend creating a blog post on your website that expands on each Houzz project. You can then include the link to that blog post in the actual Houzz project. This strategy will help increase traffic to your website, provide additional blog content, and encourage people to learn more information about your company beyond what’s in your Houzz profile. It could also lead to new blog subscribers. Plus, if you include calls-to-action in your blog posts, you will encourage lead generation. By including a call-to-action that links to a landing page with a form to download a piece of valuable content (such as a buyer’s guide), you may generate tangible leads that you can follow up with. 4) Engage Users Through “Questions” and “Advice” FeaturesHouzz provides a “Questions” feature that allows users to ask you questions about your projects. Be sure to monitor your Houzz profile closely so you can respond to questions in a very timely manner. Timeliness is key for turning someone who has posed a question into an actual lead. Responding quickly shows you are a tentative builder that cares. It also helps you ensure you connect with the user when they are still in the right mindset. If you respond several days after the question is asked, the user may have received his answer somewhere else, or he may have become preoccupied with something else. Responding in a detailed and thorough manner is also important because it shows you are an expert. This is why the questions feature is so valuable. It helps you show that you are a tentative, caring, expert home builder. And who wouldn’t want to hire a home builder like that?Houzz also offers an “Advice” feature. Engaging in discussions here helps you obtain additional exposure and establish your expertise. Spend time answering questions and contributing valuable insight to discussions. Both the “Questions” and “Advice” features allow you to engage one-on-one with users, and start building relationships. 5) Utilize Bookmarks for CRMThe “Bookmarks” feature allows you to keep track of your favorite discussions on Houzz. If you are communicating with potential leads in discussions, it may be helpful to note that in your CRM software. Bookmarking your discussions will allow you to easily return to those discussions and review your interactions so you can record information about the contact in your CRM system.6) Add a Houzz Badge or Widget to Your WebsiteAdding a Houzz badge or widget to your website’s home page will help boost your ranking in the Houzz directory. There are several badges to choose from, including a badge that simply indicates you have a Houzz profile to badges that indicate any special Houzz recognitions you may have received.Houzz also offers widgets that will allow you to display your Houzz reviews or add a slideshow of your Houzz projects to your website. Adding these features to your website will help demonstrate your company’s status and expertise to visitors who enjoy and trust Houzz as a resource.7) Submit a Project to be an Editorial FeatureSubmit one of your projects to Houzz’s editorial review team for a chance to be become the subject of a featured article on Houzz, such as their “Room of the Day” or “Kitchen of the Week” articles. If you are selected, you’ll receive free national exposure from one of the most important websites in the home building industry. These articles are based solely on merit; no one can pay to be selected. So, they act as a great indicator of your company’s expertise and creativity.  If you are selected, you can promote the article via your other marketing channels such as social networks, email marketing, and your blog. 8) Complete Your Profile in DetailThis may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth stating. The goal of completing and maintaining your profile isn’t to get it done so you can move on to something else. The goal is to ensure your target audience finds you on Houzz and then takes an additional action like visiting your website or contacting you. So, invest the time into filling out your profile in detail. Be sure you take advantage of the opportunity Houzz gives to link to all your social networks. If people begin to connect with you in other social networks, they will discover your blog posts and other valuable content. This will help drive them to your website and engage them in lead nurturing.  The Bottom LineIt’s not necessary to be active in all social networks; just the networks that are most effective for your industry. For builders, Houzz is arguably the most important social network for driving website traffic and leads. As we’ve described, it can also help increase your search engine and media exposure. These eight tips will help you get the most marketing leverage and lead generation potential out of Houzz. Topics: Lead Generationcenter_img Since its inception in 2009, Houzz.com has quickly become a valuable tool to help home builders increase online exposure. According to Houzz, the site is home to 25 million users looking for unique home design ideas and possessing an average household income of $125,000.For home builders, there’s no question the target audience is there. The challenge lies in maximizing Houzz exposure to convert Houzz users into leads you can actually follow up with.These eight tips will help you go from simply having a Houzz profile to managing a Houzz presence that produces tangible leads. 1) Include Strategic KeywordsBe sure your target audience discovers your profile when they search Houzz for terms that matter to them by including keywords in your business description and your projects. For example, a Dallas home buyer in the market for a custom builder may want to see examples of unique exteriors on Houzz created by Dallas-area home builders. To find these examples, they might search “Dallas exteriors.” If you’re a Dallas builder, you would want to appear in this search. Therefore, builders should include relevant geographic terms in addition to terms that describe the nature of the project or photo. For example, instead of titling your project “Kitchen Remodel”, consider calling it “Dallas Kitchen Remodel.”When you add a project, there is a specific section to include keywords. To add keywords to an existing project, simply click “edit” on any photo and you will see the keywords section appear. Houzz provides a quick and easy YouTube tutorial to help you add keywords correctly.Take time to add as many relevant keywords as possible in this section. Be sure to include the same type of relevant keywords in the “Description” field of your projects. Be as detailed as possible with these descriptions. It takes time but it’s worth it because it will help more people find you. Keywords are also important because Houzz profiles are indexed by Google. So, when someone searches a term like “Dallas builders” in Google, Houzz’s list of Dallas builders shows up in search results. When someone clicks on that search result, they see a list of local builders with reviews and examples of work.So, it’s extremely valuable to appear in these Houzz lists. It’s even more valuable to appear in a high position. One of the best ways to improve your ranking in these lists is by increasing your company’s reviews on Houzz. 2) Increase ReviewsThe best sales leads have always come from word-of-mouth referrals. Online reviews are often almost as valuable as a friend recommending your company to another friend. Today’s consumers conduct a lot of research before making purchases. Online reviews are one resource that people regard heavily when making a large purchase like a home.  Houzz reviews are no different, and the more you receive, the higher you are likely to rank in the Houzz directory for your geographic area. Therefore, you should encourage your clients to submit reviews. Houzz makes this really easy with their “Get Reviews” feature.  You can send an email straight from the Houzz platform to your clients requesting a review. The email contains a link that will take your client straight to the location where they can submit a review. Houzz provides a quick YouTube tutorial for this feature, as well.  Originally published Apr 13, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated March 31 2016last_img read more

Read More

Why People Like, Share, and Comment on Facebook [Infographic]

first_img Topics: 411Save Of Facebook’s 1.25 billion monthly active users, 44% Like their friends’ posts at least once a day — and 29% do it multiple times a day. That’s hundreds of millions of people interacting with content on the social network on a daily basis.So what motivates people to Like Facebook posts — and share them, and comment on them? And why should businesses care?Research has found several psychological reasons behind why users enjoy using Facebook so much.Free Resource: How to Reach & Engage Your Audience on FacebookFor example, studies observing people browsing on Facebook found psychological indications of happiness, like pupil dilation. By uncovering this type of audience insight, marketers can apply this information to create more effective Facebook marketing campaigns. Intrigued?Check out the infographic below from QuickSprout to learn more about why people use Facebook and what businesses can learn from it.411Save Originally published Jun 30, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Facebook Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

6 Seemingly Harmless Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Proposals

first_img60% of leading advertisers will review their agencies within the next 12 months, according to a study from Advertiser Perceptions. As if to prove the point, Procter & Gamble announced in January they will review all ad agency contracts in 2017.Whether it’s due to the demise of the agency-of-record, growing concerns over transparency issues, or the invasion of management consulting firms on ad agency turf, marketers are actively shopping for agencies like never before.So what does that mean for agencies? You just might start seeing an increase in the number of RFPs landing in your inbox. Good for the upper-end of the sales pipeline, but you’ll increase your chances of converting a prospect to a client if you treat your RFP responses like the strategic sales tools they’re meant to be — and that means avoiding these six hazardous pitfalls.Download Now: Free RFP Templates6 Seemingly Harmless Proposal Mistakes1) You don’t know enough to make informed choices.The Fix: Ask the right questions.Having an RFP from a new prospect show up unsolicited in your inbox can elicit a giddy response. It’s a shiny object that leads you to believe your pipeline problems are over.Hallelujah. You knew something would come along eventually. Instead of thoughtful consideration of the RFP’s requirements and the client fit with your agency, you rally your team and dive right in.This is a risky, time consuming approach to winning new business.Instead, gain control from the start by asking the right questions. Why is the client conducting this review? Why now? Why us? Who will decide the winner? What’s the budget and timing? Has this scope of work even been approved?And don’t just ask the questions — know the right answers in advance to qualify this prospect as a worthwhile opportunity for your agency.2) You take the RFP at face value.The Fix: Interpret the RFP.Clearly, you must read the RFP. In fact, you must read the RFP multiple times and throughout the proposal process to make sure your response stays focused on the client’s needs, and doesn’t go off on unnecessary tangents.The hazard is taking the RFP at face value without interpreting important information that’s hiding in plain sight.For instance, most RFPs provide a list of people who will be involved in the review process at some level. Look at this list critically for things like who the decision-makers are versus who’s in a supporting or supervising role.How involved is senior leadership? Are some disciplines represented more than others? Are there any surprises, such as roles and responsibilities that aren’t typically associated with a marketing function (e.g., a big regional franchise operator in the case of a quick-serve restaurant chain)? All these considerations reveal internal politics and agendas, as well as valuable insights into the client’s decision-making process. 3) You use your response to tell the prospect all about you.The Fix: You grasp the issues that are important to the client and tailor your response to address them.Sounds like such obvious advice, doesn’t it? Yet I’m surprised at how infrequently agencies follow it.Suppress your natural desire to tell the prospect all about you. It’s hard, because many RFPs will give the impression that they want to know everything there is to know about your work process, capabilities, team bios, etc.Instead, start the process by establishing key messages you need to communicate (probably no more than three) to win the business. If you’ve hedged your bets and avoided hazards one and two on this list, you’re in a strong position to make those decisions.Make sure everyone who is contributing to the response knows what those messages are. Be a ruthless editor and discard anything that distracts from presenting your best argument.4) You “save” your best material for the presentation.The Fix: You reinforce your messages through artful repetition.We give clients way too much credit for remembering what we tell them. Here’s a reality check: they may be reading (or, more accurately, skimming) a dozen or more responses, most of them badly written, few of them with any differentiating qualities.If the story is good, telling it once is not enough. Humans love to be told the same good story over and over again. That might be why West Side Story was such a hit despite the fact that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet preceded it by almost 400 years, and Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe by almost 2,000.5) You weave yourself into a cocoon of jargon and generalization.The Fix: You tell a good story.Ad agencies deliver value to their clients predominantly through intangible services like strategy, planning and creative development. It’s difficult for agencies to describe those things in tangible ways. In their struggle, many fall prey to jargon and generalizations that end up telling the prospect nothing. This is why so many proposals sound the same.Storytelling is a foolproof cure.It makes the intangible tangible. It gives your prospective client, who may know almost nothing about you, something to relate to. It makes it easier for them to remember you — and to repeat to others what they liked about you.It’s not difficult to incorporate some basic storytelling techniques into your RFP responses. When I do persuasive writing workshops with agencies, I often use the Pixar Pitch as an easy framework to gently but effectively encourage my clients to experiment with storytelling.6) You break the wrong rules.The Fix: Don’t play fast-and-loose with stupid stuff.Sometimes it’s to your advantage to take a risk and break some rules. Usually these are “go big or go home” kinds of risks.What are the wrong rules to break? The ones that will buy you nothing except the client’s annoyance. These include changing the sequence of questions because you feel it would “make your response so much better.” Or putting your response in an unusual format to make a creative statement.Think about how your prospective clients are going to interact with your response. The client probably has a reason for organizing the questions in the way they did — like being able to compare answers apples to apples. You may not agree with their approach, but why put yourself at a disadvantage but messing around with their system?Don’t make responding to RFPs harder or riskier than it needs to be. Topics: RFPs Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Feb 22, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017last_img read more

Read More