Agencies traditionally have used clippings, media impressions, advertising equivalency and PR value (which is basically an artificial multiple of ad equivalency) as a means of measuring success. 6) What is their billing structure? . Follow him on Twitter In the social web, PR agencies are evolving into content publishers, connectors, educators and consultants. Website Grader It’s no secret social media and inbound marketing are changing the role of PR firms . PR firms can be invaluable strategic partners as your organization moves beyond traditional marketing methods and navigates the social web, but make sure to do your homework and find an agency that has the knowledge, capabilities and staff to fit your needs and budgets. Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Questions to Ask Your PR Firm Twitter Grades 3) Do they maintain an insightful agency blog? 7) How strong and stable is the firm? The agency should have a strong Website Grade, which demonstrates their knowledge and capabilities in search engine optimization, social media and content marketing – all essential competencies of today’s PR firm. Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Simply check out their LinkedIn profiles and For agencies that do have blogs, make sure it’s updated regularly (at least once per week) with content that is relevant to its readers, not just agency news and updates (which should be reserved for the media room). You must accept that your brand is now what Google and the social Web say it is, and your PR firm should be adept at protecting and strengthening your brand online. While generating media coverage offline and online is important, that coverage, at the end of the day, must deliver measureable results. 1) How active are the consultants/account managers and agency leaders in social networking, specifically LinkedIn and Twitter? PR should generate an ROI. If a firm can’t tell you how they measure and report their value to you, find a new one. Visit It is extremely important the lead strategist on your account, as well as the agency’s leaders, be heavily engaged in social networking. If they’re not, how can they possibly provide the strategy, creativity and consultation your business needs to succeed online? Focus on value and results. Your firm should be transparent when it comes to billing rates (or set prices if they are offered), and you should know exactly what services are being provided. 4) How do they measure success? and see for yourself. Paul Roetzer is founder and president of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and Concern yourself less with clippings and impressions and more with search engine rankings, inbound links, Website traffic, leads and sales. These metrics are how PR campaigns should be judged. Don’t forget to share this post! Leading digital/online PR firms will most likely provide content marketing, social media consulting, blogging strategy, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, as well as evolved forms of publicity, brand marketing and crisis communications. If the agency doesn’t have a blog, just move on. Any PR agency that has yet to integrate a blog into their site is simply too far behind the times and most likely will not bring the value and results your business needs. 5) What are their core services? While many traditional PR agencies were built upon the ability to generate editorial coverage (or publicity) through mainstream media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines), the leading digital/online PR firms are social-media and SEO savvy, with proven track records for generating website traffic, inbound links and leads. for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. Download the free webinar As with any outside provider, it is essential to evaluate the agency’s leadership, client base and financial viability. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions before entering into a relationship. 2) What’s their Website Grade? Do Your Homework . Originally published Jan 21, 2009 9:05:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Also, be sure the blog is hosted on their domain, and not someone else’s (e.g. Blogspot, Typepad, etc.). Hosting it on another domain may imply they don’t understand the search engine value of blogging and content marketing. PR firm @paulroetzer .
Oh, hi there. Have you heard the news about video? It’s becoming really important for marketers to use. Imperative, even. Perhaps mandatory.”Sure,” you must be thinking. “And in other news, the sky is blue.”Okay, we get it. You know how important video is. That much is clear. In fact, 94% of marketers plan to add either YouTube or Facebook video to their content distribution efforts in the next 12 months. And that’s great — but we have a question. What makes a video viral?According to Dictionary.com, to go viral means to become “very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the internet.” And when executed well, that virality can last for a while — in fact, I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite ways to reminisce about my childhood is to ask my peers, “Remember that old jingle that went like … ?”Free Guide: How to Create Video to Increase Engagement So not only have we hand-picked our favorite viral marketing videos below — we’ve also explained what we believe makes them so effective. And given the aforementioned ability of viral videos to maintain evergreen popularity, you’ll notice that not all of them are terribly recent. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?6 Viral Video Marketing Examples1) Dallas Zoo & Bob Hagh: Breakdancing GorillaThe VideoWe start off with a bit of an unusual example. It all started when Dallas Zoo Primate Supervisor Ashley Orr captured this video of Zola, a footloose and fancy-free gorilla splashing around and dancing in a kiddie pool. Check it out: Why It WorksLet’s face it: Generally, what goes on in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. It’s a taboo topic — but it’s one that everyone experiences, and one that Poo~Pourri approaches and communicates with bravado.This brand’s products were created to solve a problem that people typically don’t like to discuss publicly, but still needs to be resolved. So Poo~Pourri created video content that says, “Hey, we’ll address and talk about it, so you don’t have to.”What are some of the discomforts/uncomfortable topics around the problem that your product seeks to resolve? Start a conversation about them — the one that your customer wants to have, but is too embarrassed to do so.And guess what? It doesn’t have to pertain to bodily functions. It can also be about bigger grievances, like wanting to quit your job. That’s the approach that HubSpot has taken with its Summer Startup Competition, for which we created the video below. The opening line? An unabashed declaration of, “Quit your job.”So, there you have it. From tear-jerking to hilarious, these viral videos illustrate the endless possibilities of how your brand can create similar content — the kind that could keep people talking about it far down the road.What are your favorite viral video marketing examples? Let us know in the comments.Want more tips for creating video content? Check out this data on the state of video marketing.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Originally published Jul 7, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 Within less than a week, the video was picked up by the likes of CNN, Maxim, and ABC, to name a few — just have a look at the search results for “dancing gorilla maniac.”Why It WorksHow many times have you watched a video and thought, “This reminds me of … “? That’s precisely what Hagh did here — took a video that was already cute, and added something simple to make it even more shareable.After Hagh’s “enhanced” version of the gorilla video went viral, I resolved to start observing those fleeting moments when I think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if … ?” And while there’s no guarantee that acting on those thoughts would have viral results — and we wouldn’t recommend investing a ton of time in something that isn’t likely to pay off — Hagh’s experience makes us say, “You never know.”So start paying attention to what you normally think of as silly ideas, and if there’s a low-effort opportunity to act on them, do so — but don’t just do it once, and pay attention each time, analyzing any metrics that you’re able to pull around performance. See who responds to each experiment and how, and it could inform your video marketing strategy.2) Dollar Shave Club: “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”The VideoThe video below is over five years old, and yet, out of all of Dollar Shave Club’s YouTube videos — of which there are more than 50 — it remains the brand’s most popular, with over 24 million views. “Even nanophysicists need to have a little fun,” the video’s description reads, explaining that, to make the video, “IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules … all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times.” Today, it holds the Guinness World Records™ title for the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film.Why It WorksRe-read the first part of the video’s description. “Even nanophysicists need to have a little fun.” Replace that job title with any other, and depending on your industry, it could apply to your work, as well. All marketers deserve to have a little fun. The question is, “How?”It presents another opportunity to start paying closer attention to those “Wouldn’t it be cool if … ?” thoughts, and thinking about how you can actually act upon them to create remarkable content. That’s especially important in B2B marketing, where creatively communicating your product or service in an engaging way is a reported challenge.So, we’ll say it again: Write down your ideas for cool things to do, and present them at your next marketing conversation with a plan for implementing them.P.S. Want to see how this film was made? Check out that bonus footage here.4) TrueMoveH: “Giving”The VideoTrueMoveH, a mobile communication provider in Thailand, triggered leaky eyeballs everywhere when it published this video in 2013. To date, it has over 20 million views and continues to be the brand’s most popular YouTube video. Video Marketing Topics: Why It WorksThis example is an interesting case of co-marketing. Tripp and Tyler made the video in partnership with Zoom, a video conferencing provider — but Zoom isn’t mentioned until the end, when the story being told in the video is largely over. It’s as if the video says, “Ha ha, don’t you hate it when that happens? Here’s a company that can provide a solution,” and then quietly exits.What are some of the biggest annoyances your customers or personas have to deal with? Do they align with the problems that your product or service is designed to solve? If the answer is “no,” then, well … you have some work to do.But if the answer is “yes,” find the humor in those problems. They say that “art imitates life,” so don’t be afraid to act it out, and use these common frustrations to create engaging content.6) Poo~Pourri: “Imagine Where You Can GO”The VideoPoo~Pourri, the maker of a unique bathroom spray, is known for its vast array of viral videos. And while we’re a bit too bashful to share its most popular one on here, here’s another one — which has earned over 13 million views — that’ll give you a general idea of what the brand is all about. I added some music to this. pic.twitter.com/UwjhTKpaeu— Bob Hagh (@BobHagh) June 22, 2017 But as if that wasn’t already fun enough to watch, Star-Telegram Video Producer Bob Hagh noticed that the gorilla’s “choreography” bore a striking resemblance to a routine from the movie Flashdance, which was performed to the song “Maniac.” Seeing an opportunity for a quick laugh, Hagh dubbed the dancing gorilla video with the same track. We’re not crying. You’re crying.Why It WorksLet’s think about some of the ads that have given us “all the feels,” as the kids would say, like Budweiser’s 2014 “Puppy Love” Super Bowl ad which, in January 2016, Inc. called “the All-Time Most Popular Super Bowl Ad.” They’re popular, and people continue to talk about them long after they’ve aired. That’s because they invoke empathy — and that can highly influence buying decisions, especially when there’s a story involved.This video tells a story. It follows the tale of a man who was unequivocally generous throughout his life and, in the end, repaid when it mattered most. The best part: Not once throughout the story is the brand mentioned. In fact, it isn’t until the end that TrueMoveH’s general business category — communication — arises.Start with your industry. Then, think of a story you want to tell — any story at all, as long as it invokes empathy. Then, figure out how that story ties back to what your brand does, and use it to create video content.5) Tripp and Tyler & Zoom: “A Conference Call in Real Life”The VideoThen, there’s the flip side of empathy — the kind that takes some of life’s biggest annoyances and applies humor to them. That’s exactly what podcast hosts Tripp and Tyler did in the video below, to illustrate what a conference call would look like if it played out in real life. Why It WorksThere’s something to be said for putting a face to a brand — in this case, it’s Dollar Shave Club’s founder, Michael Dubin. Employees can have up to 10X as many followers on social media as the companies they work for, and content shared by them receives as much as 8X the engagement. In other words, viewers like it when the people behind a brand advocate for it.That’s exactly what this video does — and following its success, Dubin hasn’t disappeared into the shadows, and to this day, continues to personally appear in the vast majority of Dollar Shave Club’s videos.We get it. Founders and executives are busy. Where the heck are they supposed to find the time to appear in all of these marketing videos? To us, the answer is: They make the time. By publicly making that investment in their respective brands’ content, an executive sends the message that she still believes in her brand, and that she hasn’t let its success change her character. It’s a unique form of thought leadership, but if Dollar Shave Club’s growth and popularity is any indication — it works.3) IBM: “A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie”The VideoHere’s another video that you can file under: “Oldie, but goodie.” Sure, this marketing video falls within the B2B sector to advertise IBM’s data storage services — but similar to the very B2C brand Dollar Shave Club, the example below remains its most popular video on YouTube, with over six million views. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Buyer Personas Originally published Jan 25, 2012 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Pick any day of the week, and there’s one thing on every inbound marketer’s to-do list: creating new content . Marketers used to create content only when it suited their company’s internal needs – say, when they had a new product to promote. Well, inbound marketing forces you to give up that approach. But constantly coming up with new content can be overwhelming, and if you panic and start pushing out content that’s a bad fit for your audience, you risk attracting the wrong kind of visitor while driving away high-quality prospects.That’s why, like publishers, inbound marketers must have a detailed picture of their target audience in order to create optimal content for them. The best way to understand your audience is to build buyer personas with these 3 steps: segment by demographics, identify their needs, and develop behavior-based profiles. 1. Segment by Demographics Who are your ideal customers and prospects? What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests? Where can you reach them – on search engines , social media , or blogs – and what kinds of content do they prefer? These types of questions will help you develop buyer personas. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.Start developing personas by researching your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers for your products and services. You may have several different types of buyers, so give each one a detailed description, including name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.For example, a community bank’s biggest customers may include small business owners and mothers managing the bank accounts for a family of four. In this case, the bank’s marketers might name these personas “Business Owner Bob” and “Martha, the Busy Mom,” and extrapolate details about their responsibilities, the typical size of their business or household income, what geographic region they’re in, and so on. 2. Identify Their Needs Based on those profiles, you can outline the pains, needs, and challenges of each persona by asking yourself several important questions: What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve? What do they need most? What information are they typically searching for? What trends are influencing their business or personal success? Analyzing the path that prospects take on the journey to becoming a customer is a great way to get insights about the needs and challenges of your target audience. If you use a marketing platform like HubSpot , you can see which search terms brought prospects to your site, how long they stayed on your site, which pieces of content they viewed, and which forms they’ve filled out. Such lead intelligence will help you make better decisions when identifying the characteristics of your ideal customers and ways to nurture your new prospects. 3. Develop Behavior-Based Profiles Next, develop a profile of each persona’s typical online behavior. You know who they are and what their needs are, now think about all the ways they research a potential purchase on your site or on others. Here are suggestions of the questions you should ask:What do they do online? Do they read blogs? Are they active on Twitter , Facebook , or other social networks? What kind of search terms do they use? Are they email newsletter subscribers?What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Educational pieces? Trend articles? Interactive tools like calculators or worksheets? Do they watch videos or listen to podcasts?Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?The result of this process should be a detailed description of your personas’ demographics, needs, and behavior. The more detail you pack into your persona development, the easier it will be to create content for each of your target customer segments and know where to promote it.Don’t look now, but you just put yourself on the path to a killer content strategy. This post is an adapted excerpt from our free ebook, A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content . To learn more about keeping those great content ideas flowing, download the free ebook 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
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.
Have you ever created — or worked with a designer to create — an infographic of your own? What were the results? How meta, right? Truth is, the infographic about infographics isn’t exactly a new concept. There’s a whole slew of them out there, and quite a few them actually poke fun at these highly shareable visuals. And it’s hard to blame ’em. With so many people jumping on the infographic bandwagon, there is certainly no shortage of downright awful infographics floating around the web, all pretty deserving of ridicule.But despite all the flack infographics have gotten, there’s still no question about it — people are drawn to those stimulating, informational visuals, and they can do wonders for your marketing. So while I came across my fair share of infographics making fun of infographics, we’ll share those for another day. The infographic below, from Infographic Labs, will actually help you understand the what, why, and how of infographics — what they are, why they can benefit your marketing, and the basics behind creating one of your own. So while infographics may be the subject of some criticism from time to time, that doesn’t mean you should write off their awesome marketing potential. After all, haters gonna hate, right? Originally published Aug 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Visual Content Tip: Include your logo in infographics and visualizations like the one above. This way if it gets shared far and wide but people don’t attribute you properly, the logo will always be there.)3) Create a blog content pinboard.Speaking of Pinterest, if you want to give your visual blog content a jumpstart, why not create a pinboard specifically dedicated to featuring your blog content? The great thing about this is, you don’t even have to feature content that is particularly visual. Just make sure you include a compelling and interesting image within the post, and use that as the image you pin. Here’s how we do it on HubSpot’s pinboard for this very blog:This leads me to number four … 4) Put extra care into choosing high-quality images for your blog content.The images you choose for your blog content matter, especially since most social networks automatically pull in images with the links people share. As a result, incorporating compelling, high-quality images into your blog content shouldn’t be an oversight. A great image can catch people’s attention and increase clickthroughs to your content, so spend some time on image selection and choose an image that’s both relevant to your content and appealing. We’re fond of Creative Commons. Just be careful about image attribution, and when in doubt, you can always purchase a stock photo here and there. In fact, we have 75 stock photos that are free to download — no attribution required — right here.5) Use Facebook’s photo sharing feature, not its status update option, to share links to your content.Here’s why …See how much more space the version on the right takes up? The version on the left was shared using the general status update option in the composer, whereas the version on the right was shared using the photo share option. Because Facebook features visual content much more prominently in Timelines and in the News Feed, upload an image and include a link to the content in the image’s description for more bang for your buck.6) Create custom images specifically to promote blog content in social.Another thing you can do to optimize blog content that isn’t particularly visual for better shareability is to create custom images that you can use specifically for social media promotion. The example below was created by our social media manager in PowerPoint to promote this post on HubSpot’s Facebook Page, proving you don’t need a ton of fancy, expensive software to leverage the power of visual content.7) Turn text-based content into SlideShares.SlideShare presentations can make for great visual blog content, and the SlideShare website also gets a lot of traffic. Try turning some of your successful text-based content into a visual SlideShare, and embed it as a post on your blog. At HubSpot, we’ve found that posts with embedded SlideShares generate an average of 34% more views and 29% more inbound links than the average non-SlideShare post on this very blog. For tips about how to create a SlideShare, check out this post. You can also see an example of one of our most successful SlideShare-focused posts here. (Tip: Accompany your SlideShare post with copy for SEO and for visitors who prefer text-based content over visual content.)8) Create embed codes for your infographics. Social networks aren’t the only vehicles for extending the reach of your visual blog content. Getting other bloggers and publishers to share your visual content on their websites is a great way to reach new audiences and drive traffic back to your blog. Because they’re easy for others to embed, SlideShares are one great type of visual content for this. Infographics are another great option. So to make it easy for others to publish your infographics on their own websites, you need to … make it easy. But unlike SlideShares, infographics don’t have embed codes built in. Luckily, with Siege Media’s Embed Code Generator, they’re painless to create. We’ve even whipped up a tutorial for you the next time you’re trying to figure out how to create an embed code.In what other ways can you increase the social shareability of your visual blog content? If you’re looking to get started, feel free to grab those free stock photos we mentioned earlier right here.Image Credit: Scinern As you may have picked up by now, visual content is a fantastic marketing weapon. People are naturally attracted to images more than text, it’s highly shareable, and social networks are increasingly jumping on the visual content bandwagon.In fact, social networks are cropping up solely to take advantage of this visual craze. (Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine, anyone?) Even social networks that didn’t start out very visual are featuring visual content more prominently. Facebook is a great example of this — we’ve already seen them make updates to make images much larger and more visible in the News Feed.So what’s a marketer to do? The first step is to invest in visual content creation (this crash course in do-it-yourself visual content design should help big time). But we’re going to take it one step further and assume you’re already doing that — specifically focusing on visual content for your blog. Once you start incorporating more visuals into your blog, how can you increase that visual content’s shareability? We’re going to break out eight ways to do this so you can start increasing the reach of your visual blog content ASAP.8 Ways to Make Your Visual Blog Content More Shareable1) Make content easy to share with social sharing buttons.The best way to increase the shareability of your visual blog content (or any text-based content, for that matter), is to make it easy for your blog visitors to share it. Social sharing buttons are like little calls-to-action that subtly say, “Hey, you liked this? Why not pass it along?” Add some social proof to these sharing buttons in the form of share counts, and you can add a little “See? Everybody’s doing it …” oomph. For instructions about how to create social sharing buttons for the top social networks, check out our ultimate cheat sheet for creating social media buttons.2) Add Pin It buttons next to visual content within blog posts.One of the buttons covered in that social media buttons cheat sheet is Pinterest’s Pin It button, but it’s also worth calling out separately. Pin It buttons make it easy for Pinterest users to share visual content to Pinterest. They’re particularly beneficial for giving visual content such as infographics and other visualizations extra reach, since you can place these buttons within your blog content right next to the visual content you want people to share. For example, if we had created a visual to explain a difficult-to-understand concept (like closed-loop marketing), it’d be smart to add a Pin It button to it, like you see below: 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 Originally published Aug 12, 2013 8:00:00 AM, 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 Twitter Marketing Topics: If you had access to 373K new followers for a day, what would you say?That’s a question that HubSpot’s Phil Harrell, VP Corporate Division, is currently contemplating as he prepares to take on an entirely new role here: Social Media Manager.Yeah, you heard me right.On Monday, March 3rd, Phil Harrell will be taking over my job as Social Media Manager in addition to the job of HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe. Why? He won it. During HubSpot’s 4th Annual Charity Auction, Phil purchased “@HubSpot for a day” and “CMO for a day” for a grand total of $875. This money went to Read to a Child, Phil’s charity of choice.In preparation for the big day, Phil and I sat down to go over the protocol for running HubSpot’s Twitter account. As it turns out, there’s a lot to think about (and a lot to be careful about) when you’re speaking in front of 373K people, on behalf of a company. Here’s some tangible advice I gave to Phil on ways he could be most successful:Have a Goal In Mind … And Stick to ItTo get an idea of Phil’s goals, I asked him why he chose to bid on @HubSpot for a day. He said:If you ask me, he’s already off to a great start simply because he has a clear goal in mind. This goal is not only helpful to him as the Corporate Divisions VP, but it’s also helpful to the company as a whole.Compile Great Content … And Schedule ItSince Phil’s ultimate goal is to build awareness around enterprise sales and marketing, I suggested he tap the resources he likes to read first. If he’s interested in the content, surely someone else at his level would be interested in that content, too.Next, since Phil actually paid good money to get access to HubSpot’s Twitter followers, I suggested that he promote himself in some way. Not tweet selfies and start bragging about how great he is, but I did advise that he share his knowledge with others. He’ll be doing this through his personal blog, SlideShare presentations, and general Q&A on HubSpot’s Twitter account.Finally, once Phil compiles all the content he wants to share, I told him to schedule it through HubSpot’s Social Inbox. This way Phil can participate in impromptu engagement during the day and worry less about the stuff that he can prep ahead of time. The @HubSpot account gets over 1,000 mentions per day, so he’ll need all hands on deck for interacting and responding.Add Value … And Align It With Your Buyer PersonasAs a Social Media Manager, one question I ask myself every day is: “Will this tweet/post add some kind of value to our audience’s life?”Value could mean many different things — including entertainment or education — and it’ll certainly change depending on your goals and buyer personas. But if the answer to this question is “yes,” then I proceed with scheduling the tweet or post. If the answer isn’t clear, I usually end up nixing it … because if I’m not clear about the value, our audience won’t be clear about it, either.Optimize Your Tweets … And Be Mindful of Your MessagingSince the average shelf life of a tweet is only 3 hours, I wanted Phil to be mindful of his messaging so he could get the biggest bang for his buck. I suggested he should optimize for clicks from the audience he’s trying to reach, which means he needs to think about writing his tweets differently than if he were optimizing for retweets.Something that works really well for HubSpot normally is asking a question, then following up with an action statement and a link. To use a very general example, a highly clickable tweet might say “Is your marketing stale? Read this ebook to find out: [link]” Nobody wants to think their marketing is going stale, so they’ll click the link just to make sure. ;-)Add Personality … But Not Too MuchOther messaging tips I gave Phil were related to tone. As a brand, it’s important to be professional, but it’s equally as important to have a touch of personality. The last thing someone wants is to talk to a wall that won’t talk back. People like talking to other people, so brands need to show that real human beings are there on the other end.Have a Sense of Humor … You Might Get Picked On ;-)Last year, our CEO and Co-founder, Brian Halligan, donated $600 to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to run HubSpot’s Twitter account. He was heckled by @DunkinDonuts and @BostonVC (in a loving kinda way) during his time running the account. I was proud to see that he stayed strong and came out of it with a smile on his face.The moral of the story here is that you never know who will mention you; you have to be prepared for absolutely anything. The happy, the sad, and the trolls. Just remember that on top of it all, you’re a human and it’s okay to act that way.I’m really excited to have some fresh new perspective on the HubSpot Twitter account, and I think Phil Harrell will be a great source of quality content for anyone who wants to come hang out with us on Twitter on Monday. Be sure to follow him at @HubSpot on Monday, March 3rd, so you can join in on the fun! Originally published Feb 28, 2014 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017
Topics: Images Once you’ve had some practice removing and changing backgrounds, you can experiment with using shadows, glowing edges, and other effects for making your headshots stand out a bit more. Full disclosure: I created the images above in Photoshop and used a feathering effect to soften the edges around Tyer and Big Jim — but you could get similar results with PowerPoint. For a more advanced look at removing backgrounds, check out this Photoshop tutorial from Adobe.5) Visualize Some DataKnow what’s incredibly boring? Staring at a bunch of numbers on a screen.Know what’s NOT incredibly boring? Staring a picture of a cat — with a beautiful head of hair — in outer space!You can think of data visualization as the middle ground between numbers on a screen and cats in space. Whether you’re creating a full-blown infographic or a simple pie chart, the goal with data visualization is to present your data in a way that is both easy to understand and visually exciting.As co-founder & CCO of Visage, Ross Crooks, noted in a recent blog post, “By visualizing information, our brains can synthesize and retain content more effectively, increasing its impact. But if data isn’t properly visualized, it can do more damage than good.”Need help bringing your first data visualization to life? Download our free guide, Data Visualization 101: How to Design Charts & Graphs.6) Draw Some Groovy Designs on the Company Beer TapsDon’t have company beer taps? Not to worry. Just pick up a six-pack from the store and draw on the walls of your office!Nope, wait, don’t do that. But DO take a few seconds out of your day to leave a fun/funny/inspiring doodle on a whiteboard, chalkboard, or sticky note. The only real goal here is to spread some cheer (and culture) throughout the office.It might sound dumb, but trust me: It’s nice to walk around and see evidence that actual living, breathing, thinking humans inhabit the space you work in. For example, when I walk across the hall to grab a coffee, I’m greeted by THIS chalkboard doodle display, courtesy of some of HubSpot’s finest in-house artists.Looking for more marketing inspiration? Our INBOUND conference is right around the corner! 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 Sep 5, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 I’ve heard it before. You’ve heard it before. Heck, I’ve even said it before:Marketing isn’t arts and crafts.In today’s data-driven, closed-loop world where we track, measure, and analyze every little detail, the phrase above seems to make a lot of sense. To be effective marketers, we need to put childish things aside. We can’t simply create super-cool content and other marketing materials for the sheer fun of it; we need to create with a purpose. And we need to be able to tie whatever we create to something quantifiable.Ultimately, the modern marketing department is focused on hitting specific, number-oriented goals: X many leads. X many sales-qualified leads. X% lead-to-customer conversion rate.There’s seemingly nothing aesthetic or artistic or “arts-n’-craftsy” about it.But, in fact, there is.The Art of MarketingWe can use the science-side of marketing to figure out who we should create content for, as well as to figure out what that content should be. Through A/B testing and optimizing, we can even figure out when the best times are to share our content with people via social media and email. And, of course, using analytics software, we can determine if the content we create ends up delivering on our underlying why, or goal (e.g. lead generation, lead conversion, etc.).There’s only one piece missing from this marketing puzzle, and I assure you, it’s a crucial one: the how.How do marketers actually create all that content? How do they organize the information? How do they decide on font sizes and color schemes? How do they figure out what to put in the cover image or other promotional images? How do they decide when (or when not to) use gradients or drop shadows or 3D bevel effects?This, my friends, is where art comes into play. While science can inform us at every step along the way, it can’t actually do the work for us. At some point, we need to roll up our sleeves and create something.At some point, we need to do some arts and crafts.So I implore you, for the sake of your mental health, to take off your data geek/growth hacker hat for just a little while so you can explore some of the “arts-n’-craftsy” marketing projects below. 1) Create an Animated GIFThere’s something very satisfying about seeing an original animated GIF come to life. Not gonna lie, I was pretty pumped when I got this bad boy (see below) cranking for the first time to help promote a new guide, How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels.Whether you’re looking to spice up an email, blog post, or site page, an animated GIF is a great way to create some visual excitement without having to bust out the video camera and editing software.Ready to start designing your very own animated GIF? There are a few different tools you can use, but I recommend going the Photoshop route. It gives you a ton of control (e.g. you can set how long each frame should be shown for) and — best of all — we have this blog post that walks you through the entire process.2) Redesign Your LinkedIn Banner ImageTrying to attract top talent to your marketing team? Having a super-spiffy banner image for your company’s LinkedIn page can only help.While there’s no silver bullet for ensuring your LinkedIn banner image will stand out from the crowd, there are plenty of companies doing a great job that you can draw inspiration from. Just check out the SlideShare presentation below: 10 Ideas for a Better LinkedIn Banner Image from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing SoftwareSide note: If you feel like your company’s entire LinkedIn profile could use a refresh, check out A Visual Guide to Creating the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.3) Spruce Up Your Other Social Media Cover PhotosLinkedIn isn’t the only social network where you can let your creativity run wild. Your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube cover photos could all benefit from a design makeover.One of my favorite cover photo strategies is to align your cover photo with your profile picture so the two seem part of the same overall image. (My colleague Ginny refers to this as the “Profile Picture and Cover Photo Combo.”) Here’s an example:Need help figuring out the sizing for all of the different social media cover photos out there? We’ve got you covered. Click here to download these free, pre-sized social media image templates.4) Add Matching Backgrounds to Employee HeadshotsThe secret to this project is learning how to remove the background from a photo. Once you’ve mastered that process, the rest is a walk in the park.And while Photoshop is perhaps the best tool for the job, the simplest tool for the job is PowerPoint. Once you get comfortable removing existing backgrounds from employee headshots, start dragging and dropping those headshots onto some new, snazzy backgrounds. Here are some examples below that I created using photos of my colleague Tyler (left) and his cat, Big Jim (right).
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Request information. Visit us. Apply now. Go to any education institution’s admissions page, and you’re likely to see these calls-to-action. Click one, and chances are you’ll be taken to a lengthy inquiry form where you’ll be asked to provide a litany of personal information.A Brief History of Secret Shoppers and Stealth ApplicantsAt some point in the history of online marketing in education, these conversion opportunities became industry standard. While there is nothing inherently wrong with them – if a prospective student or parent is willing to provide their information for any of these, let them! – they appeal only to the “lowest hanging fruit” in the marketing and admissions funnel. For many prospects, and especially ones who are just beginning their research process, these offers are mistimed, and not compelling enough to drive an inquiry submission. As a result, these prospects don’t click the call-to-action to fill out a form, and instead become “secret shoppers” or “stealth consumers.”When it comes to secret shoppers, the best case scenario is that they become stealth applicants – prospects who enter the funnel at the point of application. Unfortunately, these applicants have not been properly nurtured, may not have received what they need to make an informed decision about a program or institution, and often yield at lower rates than students who have had the opportunity to be properly engaged and educated. As any enrollment management professional can tell you, they also make projecting enrollment much more difficult.The worst case scenario, and often the most common one, is that these prospects will poke around for information on an institution’s website, not find what they are looking for, and leave without ever engaging with a member of an institution’s staff.Reach Prospects That Are Not Yet “Admissions Ready”Developing new content, or repurposing existing content, into appealing and appropriately timed conversion opportunities aimed at prospects who are not yet “admissions ready” can be a solution. To target students who are at the beginning of their search, this content should be informational and have broad appeal. The subjects should be aligned to an offering of the institution or program (it would not make sense for a culinary school to have content around the benefits of a career in nursing), but they should not be promotional materials either.Some examples of this type of content include:Readiness checklists“How-to” guidesSubject matter ebooksCareer guidesIndustry information…And Give Them Opportunities to ConvertWhile creating these compelling content offers is great, it is only the first step in the inquiry conversion process. Making this type of compelling content easily available to prospects, and properly gating it with informative landing pages and forms requiring an appropriate amount of personal information allows schools to grow their inquiry base by drawing would-be secret shoppers into the funnel.When delivering the content, it is important that it is not available only on lightly travelled pages, or hidden among a series of pages that can only be found through extensive site navigation. Content that appeals to prospects who are just “dipping their toe in the water” as it relates to their search should be easy to find on the pages of the site prospects frequent. This will make useful information front and center for them, and drive more inquiry conversions for admissions, allowing for appropriate nurturing activities to take place. Originally published Dec 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Education Marketing
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
Topics: Originally published Dec 29, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Marketing Trends Don’t forget to share this post! Looking for a marketing strategy that’ll give you that extra leg up in 2017?While it’s always helpful and entertaining to spend hours absorbed in the blog posts, webinars, and podcasts from your favorite marketing influencers, there’s not always time for that. And with January 1 just a few short days away, you need to finalize your plans — fast.So in addition to all that content, why not look at what your favorite influencers are actually doing themselves?When I went to HubSpot’s INBOUND event last month, that was my goal. Before I even got to Boston, my coworkers and I started planning who we wanted to learn from. We made a list, we checked it twice, and we set out to learn from the best.Guess what? It paid off. While there, we spoke to some of the smartest people in inbound marketing and found out what marketing strategies they’re excited to use more in 2017. That’s not to mention what we learned in their talks and sessions.Check out the infographic below for some of the most helpful highlights from folks like Gary Vaynerchuk, Peg Fitzpatrick, Larry Kim, and more.128Save128Save
Originally published Aug 10, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated August 10 2017 Inbound Marketing Where We Go From HereNext StepsAs we mentioned previously, following the success of the experiment, we structured it in a way that has allowed it to become an official offering of the Education Partner Program. Working with our Customer Success team, we have established a system to match professors who want their students to obtain the HSMC with HubSpot customers, using criteria like product fit and shared expectations.How Marketers Can Use What We LearnedWhen we carried out this project, we didn’t just learn more about Education Partners — we also learned some valuable lessons about experimentation in general.Go BigPick experiments that, if they’re successful, will produce significant results. Design them with impact and scale in mind — for many, time is the most valuable resource, so don’t let it go to waste on an experiment that will only have minimal impact.In our case, we needed a way to dramatically increase the value of the Education Partner Program for participating schools, professors, and students, and knowing whether the students could become HSMC in one semester was crucial to that. Even if our hypothesis was proven wrong, we would know to look for a different potential value source.Recycle When PossibleUnless your company was founded yesterday, you likely have a wealth of resources to draw upon for your experiments — things like previous experiments, marketing collateral, fellow employees, and historical data.Notice that we didn’t actually create any net-new assets to conduct this experiment — the only investment was sweat equity and time. Additionally, the other major stakeholder in the experiment, Professor Harrison, agreed to document the experiment, regardless of the outcomes. That meant we would be creating a new value point for the program, as we paved the way for other professors to get their students certified … or cautioned educators on what we learned, had it failed.And About That DocumentationDocument everything like your life depends on it. Use the scientific method, and be sure to debrief when it concludes — remember, if it succeeds you’ll be repeating it, and regardless of the outcome, you want to discuss ways to improve upon it.And remember this: Many times, an experiment is more valuable if it fails. For that, we use this famous quote from Thomas Edison — “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”What are some of the ways you’ve used HubSpot Academy certifications? Let us know about your best experiment in the comments — and hey, we might even feature it on our blog. Topics: If you’re familiar with the HubSpot Academy, then you know it offers online certifications and free tools to help people all over the world learn how to market, sell, and grow an inbound business.Recently, HubSpot Academy launched its Education Partner Program, which helps college and university professors teach inbound marketing, sales, and provides guidance on using the HubSpot Marketing Software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The mission of the program is to bring the theory and practice of running and growing a business into the classroom — and to give students the hands-on experience they need to launch their careers right out of school.But when it came time to drive even more value for this program, there was much more we could for students. The program already provided educators with the software, resources, community and support to build leading marketing classes. We wanted to do even better at providing students with valuable, market-ready skills — by way of certification.Click here to learn about using social media in every stage of the funnel.Here’s what happened when we challenged 11 marketing students to get their HubSpot certifications in one semester — and build an inbound strategy for a real company in the process.How HubSpot Certifications Helped Build an Inbound StrategyThe Hypothesis and ObjectiveThe CertificationHubSpot Academy certifications are designed to help marketers stay up-to-date on the latest marketing and sales techniques, while also boosting their resumes. They allow users to take their inbound skills to the next level, with a confirmed completion of a qualifying exams.When we looked at which certifications were being assigned by Education Partner Program professors — and which ones students were receiving — the HubSpot Marketing Software Certification (HSMC) was missing. But we didn’t despair at that finding. Rather, we looked at how we could address those barriers to adoption.To say that the HMSC is “difficult” is a tremendous understatement. It involves an exam, a mastery of the Inbound Methodology, a practicum component, and a proven ability to achieve results using the HubSpot Marketing Software.Having this certification can help a marketer stand out during a job search — especially a recent graduate.The prospect of more students receiving their HMSC was a mutually beneficial goal for instructors, students, and their respective institutions. We wanted to show that students could get their HSMC within a single semester, so we created an experiment to do that, with the mentality that if it was successful, we could roll it out across the entire Education Partner Program community.The FrameworkThe biggest HSMC adoption barrier for students seemed to be the practicum component, which requires users to carry out actual inbound marketing activities using HubSpot Marketing Software — and achieve tangible results. That meant we would need a real business to agree to let these students use its HubSpot portal to complete these tasks, while working toward the HSMC.But a barrier to adoption didn’t have to be a deal-breaker. In fact, it turned out to be quite the opposite — in addition to building an experiment to show that students could get their HSMC within a single semester, our objective would now also require them to complete real-world marketing work on behalf of an actual business. Around here, we call that a “win-win.”Using those factors as a foundation, we determined our hypothesis: Students will be able to earn their HubSpot Marketing Software Certifications within a single semester.The ExperimentWhat We DidTo test the hypothesis, we first pitched the experiment to Randy Harrison, a senior member of the affiliated faculty at Emerson College’s Department of Marketing Communication. He had previously spoken of his desire for his students to become certified, and was eager to give them the real-world experience that came with completing the HSMC.Since HubSpot has roughly 30,000 customers, we (optimistically) figured that at least one of them would be willing to let a classroom of eager students do free marketing work on behalf of the company. The idea was that the customer would add the students as users in its HubSpot portal, who would then work to complete the practicum requirements of the HSMC by way of the aforementioned marketing work.But Professor Harrison was already way ahead of us. After we approached him with the experiment he convinced one of his business contacts to not only become a new HubSpot customer — but also, allow his students to carry out the marketing work for their HSMC.Before jumping right in, we established some guardrails. If the experiment was successful, we wanted it to be designed to scale — and more seamlessly replicable by other educators in the future:Every student should become certified.The class would visit the HubSpot office at least once.A member of the HubSpot team would visit the class at least once.Professor Harrison would work with a member of the Education Partner Program team to design the course.Professor Harrison would document this experience and allow it to be used publicly.How We Would Measure SuccessSuccess would be measured according to the following metrics:Every student meets the practicum component of the certification.80% of the students complete the HSMC in its entirety.The Spring 2017 semester began — and we were ready to get to work.The ResultsAll in all, the experiment was a success.Every student completed the practicum component with flying colors — which meant they were able to accomplish the objective of applying the Inbound Methodology to build and execute an inbound strategy for a real business.Meanwhile, 66% of the students passed the entirety of the HSMC — which meant they both completed the practicum and passed the certification exam. And while we didn’t reach the 80% metric we originally established, the benchmark was high enough for us to take the experiment out of beta, tweak it to even better set up students for success, and replicate for the following semester.And finally, here’s our favorite part: The company that became a customer for this experiment hired four of the students before they even graduated. Don’t forget to share this post!
SCORS comprises of representatives from State and Territory Departments of Recreation and Sport.OSF 2010 will provide an in-depth analysis of the business of sport, with real examples of successful sports business models. Participants will have the opportunity to examine the sustainability of sport and how it can meet any current and future challenges.The forum will provide participants with relevant information, ideas and strategies on building a better national sports system. The program will explore new thinking, risk taking and innovation in the development of sports policy to effect change.There will also be a topical panel discussion that addresses current issues in Australian sport, stimulates new ideas, challenges current ways of thinking, and provides practical information that can be applied to sporting organisations.The forum will feature keynote speakers Bernard Petiot, Vice-President of casting and performance for Cirque Du Soleil and Peter Holmes à Court, one of Australia’s most respected entrepreneurs and businessmen.Other keynote speakers include Avril Henry who is regarded as one of Australia’s leading thinkers and speakers on Generational Diversity and Leadership and Li Cunxin whose bestselling autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer, tells a remarkable story about his extraordinary life. To register for OSF 2010 visit the event website www.ausport.gov.au/OSF2010osf10@eventplanners.com.au
1. Look for trends in recent response data.As you’re brainstorming your email strategy, spend some quality time digging into data on what’s been the most and least effective for you over the past few months. For example, if you notice that click-through rates are higher in your graphic-rich emails, design extra-visual appeals for year-end. If supporters don’t click on links at the bottom of your emails, make sure you keep all links in the first part of your message (especially your DonateNow button!).2. Consider your sending frequency and target your outreach.Carefully think about your email frequency—every fatigued subscriber who opts out in December is someone who won’t see your emails at all next year. Start ramping up your email frequency now and keep a close eye on the open and unsubscribe rates, then adjust your year-end campaign email frequency accordingly.3. Keep your emails social.People stay busy during the end of the year, but not too busy to keep up with their social networking. Make sure your subscribers have an easy way to share your emails with their friends and followers, and include easy-to-spot links to your organization’s social networking sites, too.4. Welcome new subscribers right away.When someone signs up for your email list, they’re probably interested in hearing from you right then and there. Build a strong relationship with new subscribers right away with an automatic welcome note. If you can set a great foundation now, you’ll have more loyal subscribers during prime giving season. Even though your donors might procrastinate, you can’t! Start planning your year-end email campaign now. Photo Source: The Digital Giving Index Did you know that year-end donations make up 30% of giving for the entire year? Because year-end fundraising goals are often so big, it’s important to start planning your year-end campaign now. When mapping out your email appeals, keep the following four topics in mind:
A truly sustainable funding model is the holy grail of nonprofits. A great way to achieve that goal is by making sure you have a diversified revenue stream that includes individual donations, fees for service, and grant funding. A healthy organization can stack up these funding sources for a strong foundation that supports their mission. Grant seekers ask us for lots of advice, so we chatted with Cynthia Adams, president and CEO of GrantStation and a longtime friend of Network for Good, about a new way of approaching grant funding, including a recently launched resource called the PathFinder.NFG: Cynthia, what have you found to be the biggest hurdle for nonprofits looking to secure grants?Cynthia Adams: Actually, there are three significant hurdles. First you have to thoroughly identify what you need the funding for, which isn’t as simple as it sounds! Second, you have to identify the right grant makers to approach for the funding. And third, you need the skills to develop and write compelling grant requests.Most organizations are familiar with the tried-and-true grant makers, but what are some overlooked sources of grant funding?CA: I am very fond of looking outside the box when identifying potential funders for a project. For example, I like to look at national and international associations. These groups, especially those associations representing companies that manufacture goods, can often be fabulous sources of support. The Toy Industry Association offers literally thousands of donated toys via the Toy Industry Foundation.What do you recommend to organizations that don’t have someone on staff who can take on researching, applying for, and managing grants? Does this require a full-time person?CA: It depends on the size of the organization and the number of grant proposals you expect to submit. At GrantStation, we’ve just launched a new free resource called the PathFinder. It includes tons of resources in a searchable database to help everyone from novices to the most experienced individual in the areas of grant research, grant writing, and grant management.We talk a lot about storytelling and reporting on impact for individual donors. Where does this fit in with grant funding?CA: Storytelling is an integral part of the grant-writing process. You want to engage the person reviewing your proposal right off the bat, so opening your request with a true-life story is a great way to do that. I often include a case study or “story” in the statement of need as well.What’s the smartest way for fundraisers to combine grant funding with making the most of gifts from individual donors?CA: I had this rule of thumb when I was working as a development director for nonprofits: I would use any significant gift from an individual to leverage any grant proposal I was working on. So, if someone came by and made a $1,000 gift, and I was working on a proposal to upgrade all the office equipment, website, etc., I would ask that donor if I could use their gift to help leverage the grant. It worked for me!Thank you so much, Cynthia, for sharing your insights on new ways to approach grant funding. For more help with expanding your funding base with grants, download our archived webinar with Cynthia Adams, Getting Started with Grants: How to Make Your Requests Shine.
Current status dashboard: Answers the question, “What’s our current status?” If you’re working on a capital campaign or have a specific target for your fall appeal, your dashboard can show your progress by date and the trajectory of where you need to be so your team doesn’t get complacent. For example, they’ll quickly see that they’ve raised $10,000 and have just three weeks to raise another $10,000. With this knowledge, the conversation at the staff or board meeting might revolve around “What action will we take?”Image Source: Mashable Blog: Is Give2ogether a Google Analytics for Philanthropy.Accountability dashboard: This one might feel scary! Let’s say you want at least 80% of your board members attending board meetings. Your accountability dashboard shows names, dates, and who attended. It gives you some one-on-one discussion points without making everyone feel bad: “Hey, Lynn, how can we support you? What’s keeping you from attending, because your board seat is really important and we want to make sure you’re able to do your duties as a board member.”Now that you know the value of dashboards for presenting important data quickly and sparking people to take action, why not try creating one that’s relevant to your organization’s numbers? For more in-depth guidance, examples, and useful resources, download a recording of the webinar for free.If you don’t have the ability to collect data to make a dashboard worthwhile, we can help! Do your hear crickets when you ask for help with donor engagement tasks, cultivation, or thank you calls? Are eyes glazing over when your board and staff review spreadsheets and donor lists? Fear not, there is hope!In our Nonprofit 911 webinar Change Your Data Story, Lori Jacobwith, president and co-founder of Ignited Fundraising and co-author of the Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits, shared how you can transform otherwise dull data into attractive and easy-to-understand dashboards that inspire everyone to action.What’s a Data Dashboard?The dashboard in your car gives you an at-a-glance update on some really important factors, like if you should slow down or stop for gas. Similarly, a data dashboard shows the important information your organization needs to know to achieve its strategic goals. The data should be arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored as easily as the dashboard in your car.Data dashboards often show financials or various kinds of giving information, presented by day or month, year over year, zip code, and so on. Less common are board dashboards, but you’re likely to see a big jump in board engagement when you share data visually with this group.Why Use Dashboards?Good visual displays cause people to take action. Data dashboards:Bring attention to your priorities and help you reach your goals.Monitor performance and create accountability.Simplify information, such as complex financials.Fact: Humans are visually wired. Half of our brain is involved with visual processing. We remember 80% of what we see, 20% of what we read, and 10% of what we hear. Color increases our willingness to read something. In social media, for example, you know images are everything. The same is true when we present lots of numbers.You have just two goals when presenting any kind of data:Convey your story.Establish credibility.Some stories you might convey with data: Are we tracking adequately toward our goal? Do we need to fill our fundraising event with more people? Can we improve attendance at our board meetings? Dashboards drive these messages home quicker and more effectively than columns of numbers.Tip: Visual data displays should show information over time, not just year to date.3 Types of Nonprofit DashboardsThe varieties are endless, but here are a few dashboards to get you started.Business intelligence dashboard: Presents facts about your organization. The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s website features a live dashboard showing current totals of Facebook fans, endowment size, and active memberships. “Today’s Attendance” brings up a live tally of how many people passed through the main entrance, gift shop, special exhibitions gallery every two hours.Source: http://www.imamuseum.org
Collaboration and Creative Communication: How the WOMAN Trial Findings Translated Into Maternal Health Policy Change
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on December 11, 2017December 12, 2017By: Haleema Shakur-Still, Associate Professor of Clinical Trials, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Project Director, WOMAN TrialClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)When our research team first started exploring whether an off-patent drug called tranexamic acid could reduce the number of people—mainly young men—who bled to death as a result of trauma, I never imagined that more than a decade later I would be surrounded by maternal health experts discussing how this treatment could help new mothers around the world. But that’s exactly where I found myself at a special event at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) titled, “How can we stop women bleeding to death in childbirth?”Six months after results from the WOMAN trial were published, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its guidelines to include the use of tranexamic acid for prevention of PPH. Our hopes for the WOMAN trial came to fruition, demonstrating the protective effect of tranexamic acid on postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), a devastating complication that kills roughly 100,000 women every year—or one woman approximately every six minutes. We found that tranexamic acid, when administered within three hours of delivery, reduced a woman’s risk of death due to bleeding by one-third.All too often we scientists focus our energy on conducting high quality medical research and collecting more and more evidence to improve health outcomes—and this is important. However, research doesn’t have an impact on people’s health unless the information reaches clinicians and policymakers who can implement the findings. As Professor Joy Lawn, Director of the MARCH Centre at LSHTM and chair of the event highlighted, “Tonight is about time. Time that we take a stand to say that women shouldn’t be dying from something preventable, like bleeding.”As I reflect on the discussions, I have thought about two keys that have helped the WOMAN trial results lead to better maternal health outcomes and more effective policies: collaboration and creative communication.CollaborationThe WOMAN trial was a collaboration on an epic scale, involving 20,060 women from 193 hospitals in 21 countries and thousands of doctors, midwives and nurses. We were delighted to have representatives from some of these groups at the event, including Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, former president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives.In addition, recognizing the importance of including representation from professional bodies, maternal health advocacy groups and policymaking organizations, the WOMAN trial steering committee elicited feedback from WHO colleagues from the beginning.Involving numerous stakeholders from different sectors throughout the process helped ensure that the findings would translate into maternal health policy change.Creative communicationAs researchers, we need to be creative about how we share findings to reach a target audience. Some strategies for effective communication include letters, fact sheets and presentations at conferences. Harnessing the power of social and digital media by translating research findings and information into a story is another opportunity. In the past, the WOMAN trial collaborators and I have produced cartoons and animations to illustrate how tranexamic acid works. We have found videos to be another effective vehicle to tell the stories of women who experienced severe blood loss during childbirth and how it impacted their lives.At the event, we unveiled a new communication tool—the Blood Clock—which will remain on display at LSHTM until February 2018. The Blood Clock is a unique art installation whose aim is to raise awareness about PPH and the need for urgent treatment, illustrating that every six minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from PPH. It was created by Consultant Obstetrician Dr. Graham Tydeman, who regularly deals with the problem of blood loss in childbirth.Now we need to keep the momentum going. I call on providers, policymakers and other members of the global maternal health community to act on these findings and educate others about tranexamic acid. No woman should die from preventable causes on the day she gives birth.—Watch a video of the Blood Clock.Read the findings from the WOMAN trial.Share this:
Posted on June 26, 2018June 29, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Sera Bonds, CEO/Founder, Circle of Health InternationalAcross many settings, midwives are key players in the maternal health workforce. The Maternal Health Task Force’s Kayla McGowan recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sera Bonds, Founder/CEO of Circle of Health International, for her insight into successes, challenges and the role of midwifery in crisis settings.KM: Please describe your background and work in maternal health.SB: I have an undergraduate degree in women’s studies. I went to midwifery school, direct entry—I’m not a licensed or practicing midwife, but I have training in midwifery. I have a Masters in Public Health; I went to Boston University where I focused my studies on complex humanitarian emergencies and reproductive health. I founded Circle of Health International in 2004 in response to a gap that we saw in the sector of disaster management and complex humanitarian emergencies—that midwives were not included and prioritized in those responses. That did not make a lot of sense given that outside of the United States, midwives deliver most of the world’s babies. And if you are introduced to communities through the midwives in that community, that introduction is embedded with a level of trust that really can’t be replicated for someone from the outside coming in. Midwives are privy to a lot of information outside of things like the number of pregnancies, how breastfeeding went, that sort of thing. They know [about intimate partner violence], who lives in poverty, whose kids go to bed hungry, they know family histories. When you know those people in a community, you know immediately so much more about their needs than you would if you just came in from the outside or went to the ministry or different folks in the community. We really prioritize midwives—that’s where we started in 2004.KM: Could you talk specifically about your work related to midwifery in crisis settings?SB: Over the last 14 years, the organization has worked in 22 different countries, and the crisis settings have ranged from acute conflicts—we’ve been working in Syria for seven years—to rural Tanzania where they have high rates of teen pregnancy and HIV as well as poverty. We have been working in south Texas on the Mexico border for the last four years supporting a refugee clinic, though most of the folks that come to the clinic are asylees or migrants. The clinic sees people immediately upon their release from border patrol, so we are their first stop.We’ve also been doing a lot of disaster work in America as hurricane seasons pick up and up and up. Our primary responses last year were Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Because of the populations that we work with, we also do some work related to human trafficking.We have been engaged in human trafficking advocacy and training for different social service agencies, medical schools, and clinics to help those who are working in clinical settings in places where there are high instances of human trafficking support survivors. The more you can know about a person—not just their clinical history—the better the care.KM: Can you describe the impact so far?SB: Over the last 14 years, we have reached over three million women and children with services or support either directly or through our local community-based partners. We have trained over 7,000 health care providers—including medical students—and we have provided well over one million dollars in supplies and equipment.We really try to have all of the work we do be informed and led by the people who are directly impacted. As part of our response in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, for example, we hired a local evacuee woman who had been relocated to Austin. She led our evacuee efforts on a short contract and has now become a staff member. We try to pull locally when we can. We try, when possible, to purchase everything locally, too.KM: What are some key takeaways regarding the role of midwifery in these settings?SB: So many of the world’s displaced people are women and children—with the majority of them experiencing some interaction with family planning, menstrual health and hygiene, domestic violence, sexual assault, pregnancy, breastfeeding or raising children, etc. Midwives are uniquely positioned to address and support most of those needs, and they’re cost-effective. A midwife’s scope of work could meet the needs of most women in these displaced settings.We are continually surprised with how little women in any place know about their own bodies. As we’ve grown as an organization, we have learned about all of the intersections we need to be educating about as well, such as sexual consent, menstrual health and hygiene, domestic violence, sexual assault, gender issues in conflict settings and others, so our work has taken on a nuanced hue. Midwives in humanitarian emergencies are unique and significant players that should be supported.KM: Could you talk a bit about the impact of your work on a global scale?SB: The biggest impact we have made on a global scale is the midwifery training work we have done in various settings, from Syria to Nigeria.Within the profession of midwifery globally, we have tried to identify and support local leaders who are trying to grow the profession. For example, we founded a program called Midwives for Peace that was a co-existence project between Israeli and Palestinian midwives, and it has been completely locally driven and locally run. We just helped to get it started. The goal of the project is to help each community support each other and fortify their profession in the context in which they work.KM: If you had an unlimited budget, how would you invest in midwifery?SB: We would double down on education. We have an online training portal, and we would make that available for free, provide scholarships for people to go to midwifery school. We have our first cohort of Nepali midwives graduating, and they’ll be the first professionally trained midwives to go back to their villages. We need more midwives trained, and then we need to support their inclusion in the health care system and work with ministries of health and governments to understand their strength, utility and impact. More local investment in local women.—Learn more about Circle of Health International.Watch a brief documentary about the work of two midwives, one Palestinian and one Israeli, whose project to raise awareness about the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns is an inspiring story of coexistence.—What is your perspective on the role of midwifery in crisis settings? We’d love to hear from you!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Enactment of the Local Government Financing and Financial Management, and Local Government Unified Services and Employment Acts, are also being put forward. Cabinet is expected to receive a draft of proposed amendments to legislation governing parish council operations from Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, shortly.The Minister, who made the disclosure at a Social Development Commission (SDC) community conference in Mandeville, Manchester, on October 2, said development of the “long awaited” proposed strategic laws for reformed local governance process has been completed.He informed that the reform process being pursued entails proposed amalgamation of the Kingston and St. Andrew, Parish Council, and Municipalities Acts into one legislation – the Local Governance Act.Enactment of the Local Government Financing and Financial Management, and Local Government Unified Services and Employment Acts, are also being put forward.These, the Minister explained, are intended to equip the local authorities with greater autonomy and responsibility to administer their affairs. They are also intended to formalize the involvement of organizations, such as parish and community development committees in the local governance process.Mr. Arscott advised that “consensus” has been reached among all stakeholders with whom the Ministry had consultations, consequent on a review of aspects of the provisions.These, he informed, include: introducing shared services, such as accounting and engineering, “because there is a realization that the capacity for certain technical services does not reside in each (or some) parish council(s).”The Minister explained that once Cabinet approves the submission, drafting instructions will be issued to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to initiate the enactment process, subject to parliamentary deliberations.While noting that successive administrations have been “working assiduously” on local government reform for upwards of two decades, Mr. Arscott pointed out that it is a “very complex” process relating to all 14 parish councils, and involving “hundreds of laws, dating way back.”Mr. Arscott said in pursuing the local government reform process, the Government, through the Ministry, has been in discussion with South Africa’s Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the matter.Part of this process entailed a visit that country by him earlier this year for discussions with Minister Lechesa Tsenoli, who in turn came to Jamaica last month.“We are trying to partner with them (South Africa), because they are already advanced in terms of their local government reform (process). So, we are now sharing information and looking at best practices, so (that) we can learn from them,” the Minister said.Mr. Arscott said he hopes to have the proposals tabled in Parliament within a few weeks, once they are approved by Cabinet and passed on to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.The meeting, held under the theme: ‘The Governance Framework: The Pathway to Local Economic Development’, is the first of 12 community development committee conferences slated to be staged by the Social Development Commission (SDC), between October and November.The conferences are being held to heighten participants’ knowledge of the importance of local governance and its processes; and the link between governance and economic development, among other matters. The National Association of Parish Development Committees (NAPDEC) and National Integrity Action (NIA) have partnered with the SDC to stage the conferences.A major outcome is increased public advocacy for timely passage of the revised local governance legislation through a petition which will be circulated islandwide to facilitate Community Development Committee (CDC) executives signing the document. This is currently being done in Manchester.The petition will be presented to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, after all stakeholders have signed it. Story Highlights Development of the “long awaited” proposed strategic laws for reformed local governance process has been completed. The Kingston and St. Andrew, Parish Council, and Municipalities Acts are to be joined into one legislation – the Local Governance Act.