The 2010 World Cup All-Star Team included two Man United flops and Spain legends

first_img 13 13 13 13 13 Iniesta scored the winning goal in the final as Spain claimed their first World Cup 13 Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal in the final to down the Netherlands and secure Spain their first ever World Cup, and the second of their three successive international successes; La Roja won the European Championship of 2008 and they repeated that feat two years after the World Cup in 2012.The 2010 finals did not provide particularly great entertainment, with some displays of poor football soundtracked by the endless drone of the vuvuzela. Nonetheless, some great players showed off their best skills, including Golden Ball winner Diego Forlan, and Germany’s Thomas Muller, who finished as joint-top scorer and was named the best young player at the tournament.Forlan and Muller were two of the stars of 2010, but who else performed that summer in South Africa? The World Cup All-Star Team is named to remember the best performers, and you can see who was selected below, alongside their @OfficialPanini stickers for the tournament …2010 FIFA WORLD CUPHosts: South AfricaChampions: SpainRunners-up: NetherlandsThird place: GermanyFourth place: UruguayTop scorer: Diego Forlan (Uruguay) / Thomas Muller (Germany) / Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) / David Villa (Spain) – 5 goalsBest Player: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)Best Young Player: Thomas Muller (Germany) 13 2010 WORLD CUP ALL-STAR TEAM DEFENCE: Maicon (Brazil)Maicon made his mark on the 2010 World Cup despite Brazil being knocked out at the quarter-final stage. The athletic, forward thinking right-back scored a memorable goal from a near-impossible angle against North Korea which caught the eye in the group stage. He came into the tournament off the back of a treble-win with Inter Milan, but his career would soon go downhill after this moment as he was famously terrorised by Gareth Bale at the San Siro a season later. MIDFIELD: Andres Iniesta (Spain)Having left Barcelona at the end of the 2017/18 season, Iniesta will have one last hurrah for his country at the 2018 World Cup. Without doubt, the highlight of what has been a glorious career came in 2010 as the midfielder’s dazzling displays throughout the tournament propelled Spain to the final. His 116th minute goal against the Netherlands will live forever in the hearts of every Spanish fan who watched the tournament, as it allowed them to bear witness to their country conquering world football for the first time. The 2018 World Cup is just around the corner, so talkSPORT.com are trawling through the archives to relive past tournaments.Today we are taking a look at the 2010 edition, won by a quite brilliant Spain side in South Africa, the first ever African nation to host the finals. DEFENCE: Carles Puyol (Spain)Casillas may have been captain of Spain, but Puyol was undoubtedly their talisman. Barca’s big-haired centre-back was vital to the defence which kept clean sheets in every knockout round of the 2010 World Cup and even scored the semi-final winning goal with a thunderous header against Germany. FORWARD: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)Endearingly hapless at Manchester United, Forland was dynamite in shooting Atletico Madrid to Europa League glory. He stood out in in 2010 as the first player to truly know what the hell to do with the unpredictable Jabulani ball and it brought him five goals (three from outside the area), and saw him deservedly named player of the tournament and take him the Golden Player trophy.center_img 13 13 DEFENCE: Sergio Ramos (Spain)Despite their differing club allegiances, Ramos stood side-by-side with Puyol at the heart of Spain’s impenetrable defence. The Real Madrid man played every minute of the 2010 World Cup and topped the tournament’s ‘Castrol Performance Index.’ His versatility at the time, playing both right-back and centre-back, proved to be a great asset for his country. 13 FORWARD: David Villa (Spain)Perpetually underrated striker who has (easily) scored more World Cup goals than any other Spaniard. Villa got three in Germany in 2006, but showed his true class in South Africa four years later. His five goals included two match winners – against Portugal in the last 16 and Paraguay in the quarters – as Spain lifted the trophy for the first time. He scored his ninth goal – a quality back heel – in the 2014 edition during a 3-0 win against Australia. It was his 59th and final international goal for Spain and a stylish way to say goodbye in what was a disappointing tournament. Villa remains the country’s top scoring player.talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network. MIDFIELD: Xavi (Spain)Winning became an addiction for Xavi, the great Barcelona and Spain midfielder, who combined intelligence, technique and composure to great effect. He operated as a midfield conductor as his country won both the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup and in South Africa he completed a 544 passes, more than any other player. GOALKEEPER: Iker Casillas (Spain)Casillas was already considered a modern great heading into the 2010 World Cup, but staked his claim as an all-time legend with his performance at the tournament. The Real Madrid man was Spain’s captain when they lifted the trophy at Euro 2008 and carried this experience onto the biggest stage of all, keeping clean sheets in all four of his country’s knockout matches. 13 MIDFIELD: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)Perennial Manchester United target Sneijder was unlucky to not win the Ballon d’Or in 2010 for his performances in guiding Inter Milan to the Champions League that year, and then helping the Netherlands to the World Cup final. The talented playmaker was joint top scorer at the competition with five goals, and such performances established him as one of Europe’s finest midfielders. He never did get that move to Old Trafford, though. 13 MIDFIELD: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)A winner in 2014, Germany lit up the tournament four years earlier with Schweinsteiger as the midfield anchor. The result was some breathtaking football, culminating in hugely impressive wina against England (4-1) and Argentina (4-0). Schweinsteiger retired from international football in 2016 with 121 caps as Germany’s fourth-most capped player, behind Lothar Matthaus (150), Miroslav Klose (137) and Lukas Podolski (129). Here was a true leader of a team. 13 DEFENCE: Philipp Lahm (Germany)Lahm became the youngest player to captain Germany at a World Cup after Michael Ballack withdrew from the 2010 tournament due to injury.  He led his fresh-faced Germany side to the semi-finals, where they were eliminated by Carles Puyol’s famous header. The experience that Lahm and the rest of his young Germany side picked up in South Africa would prove crucial four years later when he picked up the trophy in Brazil.last_img read more

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I am an Entrepreneur

first_imgThe ‘I am an Entrepreneur’ programme provides valuable information from established business people to those who are interested in opening up shop. Judy Dlamini shares lessons she learnt in business at the ‘I am an Entrepreneur’ event in East London, South Africa on 12 August 2017. (Image: I am an Entrepreneur)The decision to form a partnership with the facilitators and hosts of the ‘I am an Entrepreneur’ workshops, MyStartUp and IgniteSA, through their founders Andile Khumalo and Lynette Ntuli was easy to do.This is because the aims of the Play Your Part programme go perfectly hand in hand with the ‘I am an Entrepreneur’ workshops. The creation of empowering environments like this one for young people is important as it brings together mentors who can inspire and assist young people on their journey to success and excellence.On 12 August 2017 Brand South Africa partnered with ‘I am an Entrepreneur’ to host a workshop at the Garden Court Corner.This was a successful event during which Judy Dlamini – Chair of Mbekani Group and co-owner of clothing store Luminance shared some of the highlights of her entrepreneurial experiences, lessons and values with the audience. It was a great opportunity for the audience to listen to and learn from an established entrepreneur and achiever.last_img read more

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SA Olympic champs star in Dubai

first_imgPacked scheduleLe Clos has had a packed schedule since the Olympic Games, making numerous appearances, which left him with not much preparation time for Dubai, but he stood up to be counted once again as he raced to his first gold of the World Cup Series in the men’s 200m butterfly. Olympic champions Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos led the way as South African swimmers shone in the first leg of the Fina World Cup, which ended at the Hamdan bin Mahommed bin Rashid Sports Complex in Dubai on Wednesday. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Le Clos took victory in the event again, but it didn’t come easily, with Daiya Seto of Japan pushing him hard all the way. The South African touched the wall in 1:51.61 to edge out Seto by just a-tenth-of-a-second. Roland Schoeman began the South African medal run with a third place finish in the 100m freestyle on the opening day of competition. He felt a bit off colour and was somewhat disappointed with his time of 47.24 seconds, but it was a solid effort. On day two, he secured a breaststroke double by winning the 100 metres in 58.33 seconds. Snyders pushed him hard for the win, eventually taking second in 58.42, while Germany’s Marco Koch just edged out South African Neil Versfeld by 0.01sec to claim the bronze in 58.90. Gerhard Zandberg was fifth in the 50m backstroke and sixth in the 100m IM, while Neil Versfeld was fifth in the 50m breaststroke, fourth in the 100m and fifth in the 200m. “That was a South African 1-2-3 for us, as Snyders was born in South Africa!” said Van der Burgh after his win. Later, he was second in the shorter 50m butterfly, touching the wall in 22.86 seconds. Victory went to Kenya’s Jason Dunford in 22.77, with Roland Schoeman third in 22.94. Barrier brokenOn day two, Le Clos put in a brilliant final turn and sprint to the finish to break the magical 50-second barrier in the 100m butterfly with a time of 49.82 seconds. It was a result that clearly excited him. Townsend added a second gold medal to his personal haul in the 200m IM. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh led the South African star through the first three legs, but Townsend put in an excellent final 50 metres freestyle to pull away to victory in an excellent 1:53.25. Japan’s Daiya Seto came through to take second in 1:53.90. He was the first of the South Africans to strike gold on the second day, winning the 200 metres freestyle, after taking the race to his opponents in the first 50 metres, in a fast 1:42.71 seconds. Australia’s Robert Hurley charged hard for home and came home in second in 1:43.37. Schoeman added another bronze in the 50m butterfly and was fourth in the 50m freestyle in 21.65. Thrilled“I am thrilled with these two wins,” Townsend afterwards. “I really enjoy short course racing and it can only get better from here.” In the first of two days of action, Van der Burgh sprinted to victory in the 50m breaststroke, clocking 26.64 seconds. His training partner Guilio Zorzi was second in an impressive 26.91 and New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders third in 27.04. SAinfo reporter Fellow Olympian Darian Townsend opened his account with a fifth place in the 100 metres freestyle and followed that up with third place in the 100 metres individual medley (IM) on the first day of competition. On day two, he raised the bar. BronzeKathryn Meaklim picked up a bronze medal in the women’s 400m IM where she raced hard to clock an encouraging 4:38.92. She also finished fourth in the 200m IM and was fifth in the 100m IM. The swimmers move onto Doha, Qatar, for the second leg of the Fina Arena World Cup series that take place on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Tara Nicholas finished fourth in the women’s 50m breaststroke. She swam a personal best 1:09.53 to take fifth in the 100m, and was sixth in the 200m in 2:34.99. Australia’s Kenneth To won in 46.89, with Anthony Irvin of the USA second in 47.04. 4 October 2012 Ironically, it was in the very same pool where his climb to stardom began when he won the 200m butterfly at the World Short Course Championships in December 2010.last_img read more

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Post-Apocalyptic geocaching — Red Sands Fort (GC1DVNY) — Geocache of the Week

first_imgFort Red Sands Photo by geocacher DrsdoolittleGeocache Name:Red Sands Fort (GC1DVNY)Difficulty/Terrain Rating:3/5Why this is the Geocache of the Week:Geocaching takes us to some pretty amazing places and can teach us the history of a location. This geocache takes you 8 miles out to see to a group of abandoned World War 2 era forts that were used to protect London from invasion. The history is incredible, but the view is what makes it worth it. Coming up to these forts evokes an almost post-apocalyptic feeling. The photos remind me of something I would read about in a zombie-survival novel. They’re quite creepy and awesome at the same time.What geocachers have to say:“Brilliant cache thanks for bringing me out here. Pics of course and a fav too. Unbelievable that this has only 3 favs so far! Don’t know what it must take for some people to fav a cache!!” – maattmoo“Ive been after this ever since seeing it existed. Gutted that we didn’t think about the tide and as you can see from the photo, there was no way we were ever going to get on the platform. Out of interest, without any ladder in place is it ever possible? Great cache, which was almost touching distance away!” – Rhinoback“Thanks for the cache – we are really pleased to be able to give Red Sands it’s 1st favourite point!” – The_BuffsWhat the geocache creator, LostInTheWoods! , has to say:A colleague and I travelled out on the X-Pilot boat. The skipper had arrange the trip so that we could easily access the landing platform. We viewed the radio station and my colleague met many guys that he had visited during his earlier Pirate Radio Chaser years. He recognised them, and they recognised him, immediately. All friends now, thankfully, or we may have had to walk a hastily erected plank. We then had an amazing tour of the WW2 Gun Platform, upper, level. Lovely views that day but not so lovely if you were being straffed by a WW2 figher way back in the 1940’s. It was here that we met the Fort’s sponsor. He was so keen to promote the existance of the Red Sands Fort that he eagerly accepted my request to place a geocache on it. Share with your Friends:More Like most cache owners, it’s always appreciated when I get detailed descriptions in Found its, DNFs, and Notes relating to this cache and all of my other caches.I have certainly enjoyed reading all of the Red Sands Fort cache’s logs.If you fancy going for this cache, make sure that you go properly prepared and check the tide times. Perhaps go as part of an organised group. Read the main page and logs to find out more. Photos:Close-up of one of the towers. Photo by geocacher maattmoo50% creepy, 50% awesome. Photo by geocacher jimbo-ugkNearing the fort. Photo by geocacher palmercolWhat “unreal” places has geocaching taken you? Tell your story and post photos in the comments.Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks! SharePrint RelatedStep inside my geocache. — Tschröuwe-Galari (GC3V52D) — Geocache of the WeekOctober 2, 2014In “Geocache of the Week”Epic Adventure, — Wet Surprise (GC1YV80) — Geocache of the Week Video EditionAugust 20, 2014In “Community”{GHQ} Heidelberg Redux (GC2GA9Y) – Geocache of the WeekJuly 9, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”last_img read more

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A Marketer’s Guide to Accumulating Awesome Online Reviews

first_img 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 SlackSlackcenter_img 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.last_img read more

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

first_img Originally published Jun 5, 2012 12:59:00 PM, updated October 02 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Include Examples Sometimes the most effective way to explain a concept or a point is to do it through examples. While real-life examples are ideal, don’t be afraid to make up hypothetical ones to help you get your point across. In fact, we’ve done it a couple times already in this very post (or did you think there were actual unicorn breeders out there?).Just be sure that you’re choosing or constructing an example that your particular audience can relate to. If you’re a B2B company selling to businesses in one particular industry, for example, offering up an example from an entirely different, unrelated industry wouldn’t exactly be as relatable as an example specific to your readers’ industry, now would it? Consider Visual Components While visual components are not a requirement, there are definitely many how-to topics that lend themselves to — and are made better by — visual explanations. I don’t know about you, but if I were reading an article about how to change a flat tire, I’d definitely appreciate some kind of visual aid. These visuals can be in the form of images like charts, graphs, or content/ concept visualizations , or they can even include video content. Use your judgment about whether your particular how-to post would be made more helpful with some kind of visual component, and if so, create it! For example, we created the visual below to help explain the concept of content mapping in our how-to post on selecting the right call-to-action for every page on your website .As a best practice, always accompany visuals with supportive text. When incorporating video content, include a text-based explanation or transcript of the video. Not everyone likes video, and even when they do enjoy video how-to’s, it’s often helpful to have the text to follow along with or refer back to. Check out our how-to post on how to analyze Facebook Insights to improve your content strategy for an example of how to effectively marry video how-to’s with text. Finesse the Title Remember that working title you generated in the first step? That won’t do. The working title of this very post was, “How to Write a How-To Post,” but that wouldn’t have been as catchy as the title I decided on. Don’t gloss over the title, as it’s usually a potential reader’s first impression of your content. If they’re not captivated by your title, why would they choose to read your post? A great title should be actionable, concise, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing — all characteristics we elaborate on in our post about how to master the art of exceptional blog titles . See what I did there? ;-)So, should all how-to posts start out with “How to…”? To be honest, it’s probably your best bet. It indicates to readers exactly the type of post they’re about to read (and like we already said, people love a good, solid how-to post), it’s actionable, and it clearly demonstrates the value. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Test it for yourself! Wrap it Up As with any blog post, you’ll want to include the other key components of a great business blog post. Wrap it up in some way. You don’t need to write a long, drawn-out conclusion; a sentence or two, or a question to spark discussion should do the trick. And don’t forget to add a relevant call-to-action so you can generate some leads from that awesome, likely evergreen how-to post you just wrote. As always, have a grammar-conscious colleague review and edit your post. Finally, get a second opinion, ideally from someone who doesn’t know how to do what your post is instructing. After reading your post, does this person feel like they have everything they need to know to complete the task? They should! Have you mastered the powerful how-to post for your business blog? What other helpful tips would you add to this guide? Image Credit: Lee Nachtigal There is no shortage of different types of content you can create to feed your business blog. Thought leadership-based content, commentary on industry news, data-driven analyses, list-style posts … the options are numerous. But one type stands out from the rest. It’s a business blogging classic. It’s … the how-to post.How-to posts are favorited by bloggers and readers alike. They’re valuable and helpful, they make great pieces of evergreen content that stand the test of time, and they’re an inbound marketing staple to reap the benefits of educating your prospects . As a matter of fact, analysis of content published on this very blog reveals that how-to style posts generate an average of 55% more views than all other types of posts on our blog . For all of these reasons, it behooves you to become really great at writing them. And what’s a more fitting way to learn how to write a stellar how-to post than a how-to post itself? Oh man, this post is about to get really meta …So put on your teacher hat , and read on to learn how to write a how-to post like a blogging pro.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now Choose Your How-To Topic Actually, why don’t you spend some time brainstorming a list of how-to topics? Like I said, how-to posts are an inbound marketer’s business blogging staple, so why not take the opportunity to come up with a backlog of ideas? Step into the shoes of your marketing personas, and think about what they’d like to learn how to do. Talk to your customer team — you know, the people who talk to your customers day-in and day-out and understand their needs as they pertain to your business and industry. What do they want — or need — to learn? Chances are, the questions your customer team gets asked the most will make great how-to post fodder.At HubSpot, we sell marketing software , and our ideal customers are constantly trying to learn how to be better marketers; so here are a few examples of how-to posts we’ve written that teach them how to be just that: How to Set the Right Lead-Gen Goals for Your Marketing Team How to Use Hashtags on Twitter: A Simple Guide for Marketers How to Stalk Your Competitors in 10 Minutes [Marketing Hack] When you settle on your topic, choose a simple working title to keep you on track. Make it specific to exactly what you’re going to be instructing your readers to do. Don’t worry about the length — you’ll finesse it later, and it’s really just meant to help guide your writing. Brainstorm the Steps From Start to Finish Okay, so you’ve got your topic and a working title to get you started. Your next task to tackle is a bare-bones outline. In this, you’ll list the individual steps your readers will take to do what it is you’re teaching them how to do, from start to finish. You can even do this directly within your blogging tool , making each step a header so you just have to go back and fill in the blanks later when you start writing. You can even add sub-headings to certain steps if it’s helpful to break it out in that way, or just jot down some specific tips pertaining to that section.Make sure your steps are in the proper order and that they’re comprehensive. In other words, if the reader follows the steps you’ve outlined, will he or she be able to successfully accomplish what you’re instructing them to do — or are you missing some critical steps? Remember, you’re teaching someone how to do something they don’t know how to do (or how to do well ), so it’s important to include every critical step. Introduce It Once you have your how-to post skeleton, write an introduction that sets the stage for your how-to content. In your intro, provide some context about why it’s important or helpful for your audience to learn what you’re about to instruct them to do so they understand the value of reading on. Your introduction can also be made stronger by including data and statistics to that demonstrate and prove exactly why your how-to topic is so critical. While it might not always be possible to find, conducting some quick research and pinpointing a great supportive stat can make your introduction even more compelling. Check out the example below, which shows the beginning of a recent how-to post we published on using LinkedIn emails for lead generation. That’s a pretty compelling stat, right?center_img Furthermore, in your introduction, be very specific about what you’re going to teach your audience how to do to properly set reader expectations. If you’re a unicorn breeder and the point of your post is to teach unicorn owners how to train their unicorns to do one specific trick, yet your introduction promises to teach readers how to implement a full-fledged unicorn juggling act, then you wouldn’t be properly setting expectations, would you? Instruct by Filling in the Steps Once you’ve nailed down your intro, it’s time for the meat of the post — the actual how-to instructions. You’ve already got the headings for your steps down, so think of it as just filling in the blanks. When filling in this content, be sure to write in the second person (use pronouns “you,” “your,” and “yours”), as if you’re actually teaching your individual readers one on one. You should also use transitions between sections so each of your steps flow smoothly into the next. Here are a few other meatier tips to keep in mind as you’re writing the content for your how-to steps. Be Specific, Descriptive, and Detailed To write a truly valuable how-to post, don’t assume your readers already know how to do anything you discuss in the post. After all, you know what happens when you assume, don’t you? In other words, don’t just tell your readers to do something; tell them exactly how to do it. Be very specific in your instructions. Link to Other Resources To piggyback off my last point, sometimes you might mention something that needs a much more detailed explanation for some readers than that post has the space to explain; in fact, explaining the concept in detail might totally derail the post, which is common in more intermediate- or advanced-level how-to posts. In these instances, simply mention your point and link to another resource that explains it in more detail. Bonus points if it’s an article you’ve already written — and if you haven’t, then you might just have another blog post idea to add to your backlog! Here is an example from our how-to post on designing a persona-centric website experience , which links to our more in-depth ebook on creating effective calls-to-action . Mention Tools Depending on the topic of your how-to post, your readers may or may not need certain tools to carry out the instructions you provide in your article. Don’t gloss over that. If your audience is going to need to use tools, recommend and suggest some options for them. For example, if you’re a plumber writing, “How to Unclog a Sink Drain in 5 Simple Steps,” and one of those steps includes pouring a liquid plumber down the drain, recommend a few liquid plumbing products that work well. And hey, it’s okay if one of those product options is the proprietary liquid plumber your plumbing business sells. You’re ultimately blogging to make money, right? Product mentions when appropriate and tactful are fine as long as you don’t overdo it. See what we did in the example below, mentioning HubSpot’s marketing analytics tools in our how-to post about improving your email marketing with an integrated approach ?last_img read more

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How to Capture More (and Better) Lead Intel With Progressive Profiling

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Raise your hand if you hate filling out forms!So if I had to guess, I’d bet that a lot your hands are raised right about now. Heck, so is mine! But any savvy inbound marketer knows that forms are the way of the online conversion world. After all, how would we generate and reconvert leads as effectively without them?Easily build and embed forms on your site. Try HubSpot Forms for free.But as you can understand from all the hand raising, from a website visitor’s perspective, forms are a rather annoying part of redeeming offers on the web.Surely, there’s a way we can make the form completion requirement a little bit easier on them. It’s about creating lovable marketing after all, right?Advances in marketing technology to the rescue!Depending on the sophistication of your marketing software, you may already know about what we at HubSpot like to call Smart Forms — dynamic forms that leverage the power of context and adjust in length based on whether a visitor has already completed one of your forms in the past. In other words, Smart Forms know if someone has already filled out the form fields you’re asking for, and thus asks only for the critical information (which is usually even pre-populated) you need to ensure your contacts database stays up to date. But there’s another dynamic content kid on the marketing block, and his name is Progressive Profiling. Let’s talk about what makes this guy so awesome, and how you can leverage him — err, it — to help you increase your website’s conversion rates and capture even more valuable lead intelligence along the way.What Is Progressive Profiling?Progressive profiling technology, a feature that is usually an extension of dynamic form fields, allows you to set up iterative forms that enable you to designate which questions appear based on what you already know about a particular lead. That way, every time a lead fills out a form, you are progressively collecting valuable new information about them while keeping your forms short and easy to complete. This enables you to build up the amount of information, or intelligence, you collect about your individual leads without causing more friction in the conversion process. Ultimately, progressive profiling technology enables you to collect the right information from your leads — at the right times.While the specific setup process will largely depend on the capabilities and nuances of your marketing software, it will typically involve specifying which questions you want to be included in your progressive profiling queue — and in what order they should be shown to your leads. These questions will be shown only when other Smart Fields have already been completed by that particular lead. Let’s talk a little bit more about why progressive profiling is so beneficial, and how you can leverage it in your marketing.Why Is Progressive Profiling Beneficial?I’m so glad you asked! Progressive Profiling is beneficial for a number of reasons …1) Shorter Forms Lead to Increased Conversion RatesYou mean shorter forms mean higher conversions? No surprise here! Just like with regular Smart Forms, progressive profiling technology enables you to keep your forms short and sweet, without ultimately sacrificing valuable lead intelligence. Instead of asking for someone’s information all at once, you can iteratively ask different questions over time while keeping your forms short, meaning you don’t have to squeeze everything you want to know about your leads into the very first form they see.Because of this, the use of progressive profiling technology can decrease some of the friction associated with form completion, and as a result, increase your website’s conversion rates. After all, would you prefer to fill out a form with 4 fields, or a form with 14? Judging by all those raised hands earlier, I’d bet on the former. 2) Progressive Profiling Avoids Repetition If your business has gained a reputation as an industry thought leader and a provider of valuable content, chances are that new visitors aren’t the only people redeeming your offers. This means you probably have existing leads — people who have previously converted and are already in your contacts database — filling out your forms, too. So what’s the point of asking them to answer the same exact set of questions every time they’re looking to redeem one of your offers? To us, that seems like quite a lost opportunity.With Progressive Profiling, problem solved! Instead of being repetitive in the questions you ask, you can ask new questions every time a lead converts, enabling you to ask the right questions at the right times. Which leads us to benefit numero three … 3) It Allows You to Capture More, Valuable Lead Intelligence Over TimeIn an ideal world, you’d have tons and tons of information about each of your leads so you can better segment your marketing campaigns and nurture your leads — and so your sales team has more lead intelligence that enables them to sell to those leads more effectively. And while sophisticated marketing software can help you capture behavioral data about your leads over time — such as the types of content they’re reading or downloading, and the pages they’re visiting on your site  — sometimes the most effective way to learn about a lead is to directly ask them the questions you want to know about. But as you can imagine, asking them for all this information at once can lead to some pretty lengthy forms which will destroy your conversion rates — leaving you with absolutely no lead intelligence at all.So why not spread out your ideal questions over time and in a way that aligns with the lead’s stage in the sales cycle? With progressive profiling technology, you can do just that, asking for just the critical information the first time a lead converts, and then progressively asking for more detailed information over time as they become more qualified. For example, on a lead’s fourth or fifth visit to your site, you can pose more sales-centric questions, such as “Are you currently evaluating vendors?” or “What other products are you using?” As a result, progressive profiling can even help you shorten your sales cycle, as you can more accurately pinpoint which leads are sales-ready.It’s for the very same reason you wouldn’t bombard someone who has never visited your website and doesn’t even know what you sell with a call-to-action for your ‘Contact Sales’ offer. Again, it’s about asking the right questions at the right times. In this way, progressive profile allows you to build a more complete profile for each lead over time. 4) It Saves You Time Last but not least, progressive profiling technology can also save you the trouble of creating separate forms tailored to different landing pages on your website. For example, you might think that someone who ends up on your product demo request landing page is further along in the marketing funnel, and as a result, you might want to display a form that asks some more sales-specific questions. But with a progressive profiling tool like HubSpot’s, you can reuse the same forms across many different landing pages and rest assured that the right questions are being asked at the right time. This can save you a ton of time from creating a variety of specifically targeted forms.How to Leverage Progressive ProfilingThere are a number of ways in which progressive profiling can help you improve your marketing. Let’s talk about a few powerful use cases as well as some progressive profiling best practices to consider if you’re just getting started.Great Progressive Profiling Use CasesMaximize the Impact of Your Secondary Calls-to-Action: Offering secondary calls-to-action (CTAs) can be a great way to reconvert and nurture your leads, especially if the CTA is for an offer that naturally progresses the lead through the sales funnel based on their previous conversion event. But because a lead has already converted, Progressive Profiling will enable you to optimize your form for that second conversion, allowing you to capture additional lead intelligence you can use to better segment, nurture, and sell to that lead in the future.Improve the Effectiveness of Lead Nurturing Workflows: Naturally, you’ll also want to surface different fields for the leads in your lead nurturing workflows that appeal to their varying stages in the sales cycle. As you can imagine, Progressive Profiling makes this extremely easy and helps you get more lead intelligence out of your nurturing campaigns — which can be extremely helpful for your sales team. Push Referral Traffic Further Down the Sales Funnel: Driving traffic to your landing pages from external sources such as PPC, organic search, or social media sites? Because Progressive Profiling will show a set of very broad questions to new visitors and more specific questions for visitors who are already familiar with your content and company, you’ll be able to optimize your campaigns for both high conversion rates for new visitors and lead quality for known contacts.Use as a Survey Tool on Your Blog: Because a business blog typically attracts a lot of repeat visitors, consider embedding a progressive profiling form on the sidebar of your blog that acts as a survey, asking readers iterative questions about your blog, such as the types of content they’re interested in or other types of reader feedback that can help you improve your blog’s strategy and performance. It’ll never ask visitors the same questions twice! Progressive Profiling Best Practices Ask the Most Critical Questions First: While it may be tempting to make the first version of your form extremely short and sweet, make sure you’re still asking for the critical information you need to properly contact, segment, and nurture that lead in the future. After all, you’ll still want to be able to send them relevant content even if they never come back and convert on your website again organically.Start Broad and Then Get More Detailed: As you’re planning the order of your Progressive Profiling fields, start with the most broad questions first and then get to the more detailed, product-focused questions later when you have a stronger, more familiar relationship with the lead. Think about how you would logically conduct a conversation with a lead. You wouldn’t ask what their budget is before even determining if they’re a good fit for your product, right?Align Questions With Leads’ Likely Stage in the Sales Cycle: As your ordering your questions, also think about what stage in the sales cycle a lead would typically be in at this particular conversion. It might be helpful to conduct some analysis into your customer base about their average number of conversion events before closing as a customer, as well as the average length of your sales cycle. This can help you figure out the right questions for particular points along leads’ conversion path.Tailor Progressive Profiling Form Fields to Various Buyer Personas: Finally, consider crafting different Progressive Profiling form questions based on different segments of your leads. Then add these forms to any segment-specific landing pages you may be using on your website or in your lead nurturing workflows to enable you to capture the lead intelligence that’s specifically beneficial to that audience — making future segmentation and sales follow-up even more effective.What do you think about progressive profiling technology? How else can you leverage it to improve the context and personalization of your marketing? Originally published Feb 7, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 28 2018 Lead Generationlast_img read more

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Twitter to Launch New Ad API, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Topics: There have been a number of major developments in the world of online advertising recently. As inbound marketers, we know the potential of targeted advertisements and how effective they can be when positioned correctly.It’s essential to marketers to be able to effectively target, deliver, and track the variety of ads we use over all our different networks and marketing assets. With the growing demand for more sophisticated, automated, and farther-reaching ad services, a number of companies are making serious moves to give marketers what they want. This week’s marketing round-up will fill you in on what you need to know about upcoming products, and changes to existing social networks around mobile and social advertising. Facebook Prepares to Amp Up Its Ad War With Google With Atlas, From CNETThe social networking giant, Facebook, is expected to purchase an extensive ad-serving technology known as Atlas, from Microsoft. The advertising platform will be tasked with handling Facebook’s ever growing advertising empire in an effort to overthrow Google as the current king of display advertising. This purchase will allow Facebook to deliver socially powered ads outside of the social network and tap into a much larger market of advertisers.Marketers can expect this deal to bring powerfully targeted advertising capabilities fueled by social data. Facebook already owns an enormous amount of user data about who we are, who we know, and what we like. This information, coupled with an advertising platform with the ability to reach an audience beyond the social network, will allow advertisers to utilize social data for targeting visitors on popular sites.For now, Facebook won’t be able to tap into the full potential of its upcoming purchase. The level of integration required to connect the social network and Atlas is quite complicated. It could take months or even years before Facebook can provide marketers with a truly desirable tool that offers wider distribution and improved targeting. To learn more, read the full story at CNET.Twitter Prepping Bigger Ad Play, From Ad WeekWith social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn offering ad APIs of their own, Twitter has decided to jump on the display advertisement bandwagon. Twitter will be turning up the heat on its advertising platform by introducing its new ad API this quarter. The product will allow brands to create and run a variety of ads in a more automated and sophisticated manner, like they would on Facebook. Twitter has been busy promoting its ad API to a number of agency execs and social ad firms in preparation for its launch.The launch of its new ad API will open up a new stream of revenue and attract a huge number of new advertisers to the social network. Marketers will be able to use Twitter to run targeted ads with a wider reach across the social network. With Twitter’s plans to go public this year, the potential growth in revenue and user activity will bode well for them. One issue that Twitter may run into? The new ad API could over-saturate the social network with new ads that overwhelm its users. In the past, Twitter has been very careful about the number of ads that populate a user’s stream. This may become increasingly more difficult as it opens up its network to new advertisers. Read the entire article on AdWeek to learn more.Social Authority: A Measure of Twitter Influence, From SEOmozSEOmoz has recently announced the release of “Social Authority,” their new metric for determining the influence of Twitter users. Social authority’s metrics are based on the number of retweets a user receives. The metrics give users a number of features that include ordering all active Twitter users by influence, dissecting your social graph, and finding new followers who are most important. The score is broken into three core components:The retweet rate of a few hundred of the measured user’s last non-@mention tweetsA time decay to favor recent activity versus ancient historyOther data for each user, such as follower count, friend count, and so onAccording to SEOmoz, retweets are a scarce commodity and represent the universal social networking concept of circulating someone else’s content to your own networks. Whether or not social authority will prove to be the determining metric for social influence on Twitter, it will still be a beneficial metric for marketers to keep an eye on. Head over to SEOmoz for more information on social authority.Free Ebook: How to Attract Customers Using Twitter and VineWith Twitter making some serious additions to its social empire, marketers have to wonder if they’re prepared to utilize the full power its latest and greatest features. One of Twitter’s most mention-worthy additions is its new video sharing community, Vine. With the ability to shoot and share any variety of six second long videos, marketers have been eagerly tapping into this new social network. Luckily, we’ve been working hard to keep marketers in the know, and have updated our popular Twitter ebook with the tips and tricks you’ll need to know to dive right into Vine. Make sure you’re not caught off guard, and have the knowledge you need to adapt your strategy to the ever changing world of social media. Download the free ebook here to stay up to date.Salesforce Alums Raise $3 Million to Bring Analytics to Stores, From MashableIt’s no secret that brick and mortar retailers sometimes lack the tools they need to track and nurture their customers like online retailers are able to. Marketers for e-retailers can tap into a number of metrics to ensure their marketing is working. That’s why it’s pretty cool that a company called Nomi is stepping up to the plate and offering brick and mortar retailers a solution to this problem. Nomi has created a platform designed to “track customers’ movement across online, mobile, and in-store channels.” The company was founded by three Salesforce alums in August of 2012, and has raised $3 million in funding from various investors to get the product off the ground.  Nomi’s product will be set up by retailers using an existing internet infrastructure and pick up wi-fi signal from smartphones to track the time spent per visit, frequency of visits, type of mobile device, and percentage of passersby that enter the store. As Nomi continues to develop its product over the next few months, they will be working on integrating the product with apps from several major retailers. Not only does Nomi promise to deliver a better shopping experience for consumers, but it should provide marketers with great insight into their target audience so they can better tailor their marketing and advertising content. Catch the full story at Mashable.HubSpot’s Weekly Marketing Update Podcast With Mike VolpeInterested in hearing what the CMO of HubSpot has to say about the stories in this week’s round-up? Check out our Marketing Update podcast below. You can also subscribe to this weekly podcast through iTunes … you know, to start your week off right, with some amazing insight into the world of inbound marketing!What other stories from the past week were interesting to you as an inbound marketer? Share with us in the comments!Image credit: jbcurio Twitter Updates Originally published Feb 17, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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How to Master the Connect Call

first_imgThe sales connect is the most transferrable skill to master. If you master the connect, you can begin mastering so many other important life skills — sorority rush, dinner party schmoozing, networking events, and even the first date.In sales, the connect is your opportunity to make that first impression on your prospect — the first time that you’re catching someone live on the phone. And the last thing you want is for it to be the last time. So, what should you say?Free Download: 101 Sales Qualification QuestionsA connect call is about getting to know your prospect. Think about when you meet someone new at a dinner party — the first conversation you have is about introductions and learning the basics without being overbearing or creating a tell-all confessional too soon. Similarly, in the sales world, we use a connect call in order to begin understanding whom we’re talking to, what she cares about, and whether we have anything in common that we can get value out of discussing. We ask questions to find out what she’s working on, how that fits in with her company’s greater business goals, what’s tough about her day, whether that’s something we can help with, and whether she even wants anyone’s help in the first place.The goal of a connect with any person is to strike up a good conversation, get to know what makes them tick, and walk away knowing whether you want to continue that conversation at a later point in time. The goal of a sales connect call is exactly the same, with an added emphasis on determining whether there’s any way you can help a prospect with a need that her business has prioritized addressing.A Few ClarificationsBefore we jump into the methodology for running a sales connect, it may be helpful to describe some common pitfalls that should not find their way into your connects. OR … before discussing what a connect actually entails, let’s highlight what it should never become.The connect is NOT an opportunity for an elevator pitch. Remembering this takes discipline, because many times the prospect will insist that you provide one. If the prospect asks you for a high-level sale, give them a high-level overview instead. Resist the urge to talk about your product for 20 minutes straight. Practice conveying what you do in 2 sentences or less; then learn how to pivot back into your intended playbook.Secondly, this is NOT an opportunity to budget-qualify someone as quickly as possible. There are no shortcuts in a strong and thorough sales process, so I’d encourage you to over-invest in the front end of the sales process here. The last thing you want to do is to pass on a potentially qualified opportunity because you’re trying to cut to the chase too quickly. How would you feel if you met someone at a party and they asked you what your salary is within the first few minutes of conversation? Keep that in mind, and don’t jump the gun.The Connect Call PlaybookThe art of the connect is to uncover a prospect’s pain points and determine whether there’s any way you can help address these struggles. This is achieved through a combination of expressing genuine interest, active listening, and abiding by the guidelines in the following playbook:1) SalutationsKeep your introductions short and sweet: “Hi, this is Dannie calling you from HubSpot.” (PAUSE)A brief pause after stating your company name allows you to gauge your prospect’s reaction to/familiarity with your company. Does he sound happy to hear from you? Does he recognize your company name? Does he sound like he’s anticipating a sales pitch?2) Address ResistanceWhen you’re calling someone who’s not expecting your call, her natural reaction is to feel guarded. She is assuming you’re calling with an agenda, and will often be eager to get off the phone. Addressing resistance allows us to earn permission to continue the conversation, despite this initial reaction. Try the strategy of ‘going negative’ on a prospect from the very outset of the phone call by saying something like “sounds like I caught you at a bad time.” Nine times out of 10, they’ll swoop in to save you and insist that now is actually an okay time. At that point, you’ve earned yourself permission to continue the conversation.3) Leverage Past Prospect ActivityHow did you find this prospect? Had she downloaded a whitepaper from your company’s website? Use the prospect’s recent actions as a conversation starting point: “I noticed that you downloaded our ebook on XYZ best practices. What were you looking for help with when you stumbled upon that ebook? What’d you think of it?” By referencing something the prospect has done, you are creating relevancy and are showing her that you’ve done your research and reminding her that she was, indeed, looking for help with something your company created content around.  4) Build RapportBe a human first, and a salesperson second. Your prospect’s day may be extremely monotonous, and your phone call should be an opportunity to liven it up. Spend some time building rapport by bonding about anything you can find in common (and do your very best to find some unexpected commonality that’s more creative than today’s weather). If you have your prospect’s website open, look at what city they’re located in. Have you traveled there recently? Did you go to any fun restaurants while in town? Did you notice anything particularly charming about the architecture? Did your prospect grow up there or relocate for work? Have some fun getting to know the stranger on the other end of the phone. The more you can establish some sort of commonality, the easier it will lower the prospect’s guard and ask some probing questions down the road.5) Gather ContextNow that you’ve built some rapport with the person on the other end of the line, take the opportunity to naturally segue into some questions about their business and their job role. Here’s an example: “So like I said, I’m on your website, and now I’m checking out your services page. Looks like your company specializes in XYZ services, is that right? What’s your role at the company? How long have you been there? Are you liking it? Interesting — so what does your day typically entail? Does your company focus on selling to any specific industry verticals? Interesting — how’d you choose those?”The more context you have, the better you can paint a picture of the world your prospect is operating in. Who do they like doing business with? Can you help get them in front of businesses like that? You need to be able to visualize as much of their business context as possible in order to choose which positioning statements have the best chance of resonating with them — and in order to keep the rest of our conversation as relevant as possible to their priorities.5) Introduce Positioning Statement(s)The purpose of a positioning statement is to make your prospect say, “That’s me. How did you know?”Positioning statements help you show your prospects that you understand their pain points. You’re showing them that you’ve been around the block and that you’ve seen similar companies go through similar struggles. The implication is that you’ve found a way to help them through that struggle. This should pique a prospect’s interest and convince them that they could learn from you. Here’s an ad-lib example: “A lot of time, when I talk to companies like yours, they’re really good at ________, but they struggle to ________ for the following reasons: _____, _____, or _____.”Positioning statements are not one-size-fits all, and it’s all too possible that the one you tried out doesn’t resonate with the prospect. Have a list of three to four different positioning statements on hand, and use them as a chance to do two things: 1) show active listening by paraphrasing their current situation as they described it, and 2) determine whether they can relate to scenarios you’ve helped similar companies address. Use tie-down questions at the end of a positioning statement to determine whether you’ve successfully identified a pain point worth digging into. For example: “Can you relate to that? How so?” Now it’s time for the prospect to do some more of the talking.6) Dig Deeper Into Pain PointsWhile positioning statements may lead the prospect to certain conclusions, short, open-ended follow-up questions allow prospects to continue the conversation and articulate their struggles in their own words. The shorter the question, the more freedom you provide your prospect for putting things in her own words. Here are some good ones: “How so? Tell me about which part of that statement resonated with you. Is that a big problem? Do you have a plan to fix this? Do you think that’ll work?”Asking an open-ended question after you hear a prospect affirm that a positioning statement resonated with her allows her to open up and do some talking about her challenges. This helps paint a picture of the context they’re operating in, and allows you, the salesperson, to start getting a better idea of how you may be able to help the prospect.7) Validate Desire for Help”That’s something that I’ve helped a lot of similar companies overcome. If that’s something we could give you some guidance about, would you be open to receiving and implementing our help?”Use a soft tie-down to make sure that you’re not about to spin your wheels providing unsolicited advice in follow-up calls or meetings. You will be using different forms of tie-downs throughout the sales process to confirm that whatever you’re about to help the prospect with is a top priority to invest time and money into, and this is your first shot at getting this affirmation.If you’re feeling particularly bold, you can even ask the prospect what’s held him or her back from getting any help up until now. This will begin to help answer the critical question: “Why now?”8) Suggest Concrete Next StepsBe specific here. Set expectations properly. If you operate on a monthly sales cycle, encourage the prospect to take a follow-up call that same week. If you’re going to set up a GoToMeeting for your next phone call but don’t intend to demo your product, make sure the prospect knows what you do plan to cover during the next call and why that will ultimately be valuable for him. Try this: “I hope this conversation was valuable to you. Do you want to schedule some time on Thursday of this week to dig a little deeper into what you’re hoping to achieve within this facet of your business? That can give us a better opportunity to mutually assess if and how we might be able to help.”See what you did there? You reminded the prospect that this conversation was about him, not about you. You set expectations about what you’ll cover during the next call. And even more importantly, you pointed out that sales is a two-way street, and that both parties should be mutually assessing one another to determine if it’s a good fit.Practice Makes PerfectThe more you practice the connect playbook, the more you’ll realize that every connect call can really follow a similar methodology. If you’re nervous about trying it out on a prospect first, then try applying the connect playbook to a real-life situation as you’re making new friends or forging new business connections. When you’re ready to practice the connect in a sales setting, use this methodology to structure your notes. Are there parts that you find yourself repeatedly leaving blank? That’s probably an area that feels a little less comfortable for you, and therefore an area that’s worth doubling down on during practice. No two connect calls will ever be exactly the same, but mastering a repeatable structure should make every new sales job a little bit easier.Have some tactics that have worked for you? Disagree with any part of this methodology? Share your comments below.   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 21, 2013 6:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Inbound Sales (Marketing) Topics:last_img read more

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6 Flaws Your Nonprofit’s Mobile Website Should Never Have

first_imgSolution: Even if your site is mobile responsive, which means it adjusts itself to fit the screen of any mobile device or tablet, communicating what you do to your visitors should be a top priority. Having a captivating image and a short text overlay of your mission statement is a great idea for space above the fold (what you see first without scrolling down) of your website. The text should be short and sweet (i.e. the length of a tweet).Just because your current consitutents and your staff know what your organization does, doesn’t mean you should ignore stating the obvious for your new visitors.Problem #2: I can’t easily find how my donation will impact the mission. Soluton: Make sure your content is easy to scan. Blocks of paragraphs turn visitors off and are usually never read in full, anyway. Make the content on your homepage short, sweet, digestible, and even visual (with images or videos). Try to break down the important points into bullets to engage vistiors faster.Has your organization taken the next step to optimize your website for mobile?Image credit: mikecogh Solution: Whether your website is mobile responsive or not, make sure your text is big enough to read. There are a number of products that allow you to adapt your current website to fit all mobile devices to minimize this problem. If visitors can’t read about your mission, how are they going to be able to understand what you do and how they can impact your mission?Problem #6: When you do give me information, you’re overloading me with text. 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 Sep 14, 2013 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Solution: Below your mission statement on your homepage, or at least as one of the first tabs in your navigation, should be an explanation of what a donation would do for your mission. This could be as simple as equating a dollar amount to something tangible.Or, you can show highlights of your impact from previous years. If you have fundraisers or volunteers, share their stories, or record one for a video, and feature it on the homepage. Make sure to include how that individual’s contribution impacted something specific. If you have project sites across the country or the world, use Google Earth Outreach, which allows you to create a map of your project locations with Google Maps and embed it on your website. This is a great way to show physical proof of your organization’s work.Problem #3: You’re asking me to donate before you tell me what your organization does. Solution: You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, so why ask someone to donate before giving them more information about your organization? Priming your new audience with content about you and even your supporters is a great way to break the ice. Feature stories from your blog on your homepage to keep your content up to date. Keep your donate button in the top navigation or under a tab called “Ways to Give.” But don’t have it be the first thing people see when they view your site on a mobile device.Problem #4: I can’t find your About Us page easily. The smartphone revolution is here and your organization cannot ignore it. 83% of Generation Y respondents to a recent study said they have smartphones. And according to StatCounter Global Stats, global mobile traffic represents 13% of internet traffic, up from just 1% in 2009.You do not want to ignore this channel of increasing traffic.When thinking about your nonprofit’s website and how these Millennials are interacting with your organization, do not forget the mobile experience. Try to avoid these six problems when redesigning or updating your nonprofit’s website.Problem #1: I don’t understand what your organization does. Mobile Optimization Solution: Have your About Us page be the first tab in your navigation. Remember, not all of your visitors know about you. What if they’re coming from a link on, say, your friend’s social media profile? For any new traffic, it’s the first place your new visitors want to go to learn more about your organization, staff, and board members.Problem #5: The information you do provide about your organization isn’t legible.last_img read more

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