Five Web Publishing Secrets to Learn From the Supermarket Checkout Line

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

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5 Effective Calls to Action That Will Get Your Visitors Clicking

first_img Topics: Originally published Nov 19, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Salesforce.com Salesforce’s homepage includes three distinct calls to action above the fold: one that attracts people to their conference, another that gets people to a landing page, and yet another that places people in front of a demo of the software (a great example of secondary and tertiary offers.) One of the remarkable things about Salesforce’s calls to action is the simplicity of their design. Each one is a simple rectangular button with rounded corners, red outlines and simple text – and that’s it. This post contains older information, but has been left up for historical reasons. For more up-to-date information, please see our Lead Generation Hub . Calls to action are the gateways that your visitors must click through to become leads. If your calls to action aren’t optimized and attractive to your visitors, they are less likely to complete the actions you want them to on your website. Creating a great call to action isn’t simple of course, as it takes work to figure out exactly what to offer and how to portray that offer on your pages.As you begin to think about how to handle creating calls to action for your website, keep in mind that simple calls to action are often the most effective . By keeping it simple, you should be able to brainstorm and design some calls to action that really work.Whenever I start any creative project, I typically look at what other people have done for inspiration and ideas. If you’re stuck and don’t know how to portray your offer to your visitors, have a look at some of the examples below. These companies have nailed it down to a science; their calls to action convert their visitors into leads (or customers) and you should use their ideas to your advantage. Mozilla What I like about Mozilla’s call to action is that it gives a clear indicator of what a user can expect when they click on the button.The offer is laid out in front of the visitor; They get 1 Firefox download and it’s free. Clear. Easy. Attractive. The other remarkable thing about Mozilla’s call to action button is its size. It’s BIG! It sticks out on the page and draws your attention. Basecamp – 37 Signals The calls to action that 37 Signals feature are a little over the top. Check out the homepage of their Basecamp product and you’ll see what I mean. Basically the entire page, or at least everything above the fold, is a call to action. Their text is hierarchical, they employ lots of attractive images (of their products), and they top it all off with a big, fat button for the user to click on. Notice that on the button there is some text that indicates what the users can expect: a free, 30-day trial of the product and a super fast sign-up process. Remember, an effective call to action is always visible, attractive, and matched to a compelling offer. Regardless of how much time you decide to spend designing calls to action, always install the end product above the fold so that you can convert more of your visitors into leads and customers. Creating effective calls to action are a crucial piece to achieving inbound marketing success and often the most overlooked. What calls to action do you think are the most effective? What are your biggest questions about creating calls to action? Tell us in the comments!center_img Commercial IQ The nice thing about Commercial IQ’s call to action is that it’s action oriented and attracts the visitor’s eye. They also follow other call to action best practices by placing the button up high on a page on a background that contrasts with the color of the button. The user can see the button really easily and they know exactly what to do. Calls to Action Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack BarackObama.com Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to admire the marketing effort of the Barack Obama team during the 2008 campaign, most notably their inbound marketing efforts. Check out their calls to action. First of all, there are 3 above the fold (visible) on the front page. One of them rotates which incorporates 2 more into the mix. All the calls to action are well-optimized, too. They begin with a verb, are action-oriented, and each of them are simple and concise. You know what you’re getting and what to expect when you click on any button on BarakObama.comlast_img read more

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SXSW: Brian Solis – How Your Brand Can Succeed on The Web

first_img from the bottom-up within organizations. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to check perception and reality related to brands.  The social web democratizes the influence and how brands are perceived.  Solis referenced his FutureWorks suggests that you leverage features that have an impact on customers such as providing relevant tips, like social bread crumbs. If you are attending SXSW, be sure to check-in to Solis says . Today, at one of the first sessions of South By South West Interactive, Solis along with Jeremiah Owyang , Altimeter Group HubSpot’s Virtual Booth the opportunity to learn from its customers in order to improve its service. and check out our full SXSW content feed at Comcast The social web has changed how businesses interact with customers and has raised the bar for customer expectations. Solis believes that individuals are defining a new era of society and how we ultimately communicate with one another. The Web has brought a new level of transparency to business. Offline and online interactions combine to serve the overall brand of your business. by social media Comcast Solis brought panelists onto the stage with him to point out examples of companies using social media well to improve their businesses. Comcast Foursquare Originally published Mar 12, 2010 4:54:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 social media is causing corporate change Download the free video Solis highlighted research pointing out that women dominate usage on the social web and that they must be considered when marketing to and Dennis Crowley from Eliason : : than technology according to Solis. Understanding how people communicate with each other is a key to marketing success, and social media provides insight into what people care about and information they want from businesses.  People become fans of businesses online because brands offer and continue to provide value. Solis says that companies must have social media style guides to help the brand thrive on the social web. Having a clear voice online is important to engaging potential customers. Some companies using social media to market their businesses are missing an opportunity because they are driving people from social sites to boring static websites that don’t offer a valuable experience for potential customers. Frank from is principal of Video: How to Use Social Media to Attract More Customers and learn how to generate more business using social media. influencers Foursquare to illustrate the conversations that can happen on the social web. Engage gave key insights for businesses looking to succeed on the Web to a pack room of marketing and public relations professionals. http://blog.hubspot.com/sxsw Cases of Success addressed that social media gave as a place where people connect with people they want to meet in real life. As a marketer, : Social media is more about sociology and psychology . More than 1,500 businesses are currently providing offers to customers for visiting their business and using Foursquare by providing discounts and free goods. Dennis from Foursquare shared that by their one year anniversary, they now have 540,000 users. He defined Owyang FourSquare Jeremiah Comcast talked about the need to scale customer interactions for businesses. He noted that social media customer management software that will integrate social conversations into conversation prism , an award-winning new media marketing and branding agency in Silicon Valley.  He is also the author of the new book, punked Foursquare Learn how to use social media to attract more customers. Foursquare . CRM data will help companies scale online interactions. Customers don’t care about what department you are in; they want their problem solved. Jeremiah argued that customer support should report to marketing instead of technical services. He also mentioned a post he wrote about brands who got Brian Solis has 11 people on their customer service team to help monitor and address customer issues that are shared online. Frank points out that improving service can help to improve marketing and public relations because it has an impact on all facets of business. Measuring customer service should not be about the lowest handle time; it should be about solving problems. Frank says that companies need a chief customer officer to change the approach of how customers are prioritized within a business. . Companies need to get the organization ready from a policy and organizational standpoint.  Social media empowers customers not to make mistakes when making purchasing decisions, meaning companies need to pay attention to word-of-mouth.  Frank One example that was given: local businesses earlier this year started rewarding customers for using social network and helping information to spread online. Topics: Brand Management 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 Create a Killer Email Offer in 10 Minutes or Less

first_img What other advice would you suggest when creating successful email offers?  Learn how to generate more inbound leads using SEO, blogging, and social media. The title has to be succinct, but also crystal clear. Inbound Lead Generation Kit How many spam emails do you open that say something like “Free Yacht Just Click Here”? Probably very few, but I bet the email saying “Getaway in the South of Spain” grabs your attention quite a bit more often ( Jetsetter does a great job of this). 2) A Solid Offer (3 minutes) We recently found out that A common saying at HubSpot is that a blog article takes an hour to write, 40 minutes of which is dedicated to the title because without that, you’ve got nothing. Spend the most time of your 10 minutes around your sexy, clear title. 1) Witty Title (4 minutes) 4) Send It and Forget It (1 minute) Here is a great example and proof that the title caused me to open it: Make it personal and make it count. The more customization in the email itself the better, greeting by first name if your program allows is excellent. If not, don’t sweat it, focus more on what they find within the email body itself. When you get to the body trim the fluff and give just enough information for someone to know what they are getting. An example is one HubSpot launched last week for one of our webinars around lead generation; simple, sweet and letting you know what you will be spending 45 minutes on: sex sells on Facebook If you have the right methodology, creating a killer email offer can become less painful. Try Following the steps below the next time you sit down to create an e-mail offer. center_img for tips and tricks to drive more leads and business to your site. If you want a prospect to open your email then it all comes down to the right title. Originally published May 20, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Photo Credit: This simple change can be incredibly effective, a recent customer of mine had previously never used landing pages or content on their site for simple email marketing. By taking an old white paper that was buried on the site and distributing it to a small portion of their database a lead goal of 3 was achieved in 2 minutes with nearly 30 leads coming in over 24 hours. Their lead goal was 50 a month and simplicity got them 30 in one day. sindesign 3) Make It Easy To Convert (2 minutes) , well we probably could have guessed that, but it is important to make your e-mail titles sexy and compelling. Download the free kit Topics: Opening the email to find an applicable offer inside should be said without being said, the key here is to make sure your e-mail links to a landing page that includes a few key elements. The most important element is a clear path for people to follow in regards to what the offer is, how it will benefit them, and what YOU want them to do, such as filling out a lead conversion form. Ron Popeil, the infamous infomercial rotisserie king, knew the way, you really do have to set it and forget it. It’s gone, so stop thinking about what you could have done differently or perhaps better. Instead, take a minute, step back and think about what you can do to improve future offers. Email Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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How to Host a Facebook Chat

first_img Originally published May 24, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated April 04 2017 Facebook Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack When Facebook rolled out the ability to reply to comments on Facebook, my immediate reaction was … indifferent. Actually, I thought it was more likely it would complicate conversations and give spammers additional ways to pollute comment sections.But then I changed my tune when I saw the potential for a fun marketing activity — Facebook Chats! Similar to a Twitter Chat, a Facebook Chat is a scheduled time to, well, “chat” with a group of people about a particular topic on Facebook. With the introduction of the new Facebook reply feature, users could actually have conversations in the comments of a post. Users could reply to comments, Like comments, and make it immensely clear who they were responding to and which point they were addressing.Shortly after this light bulb went off, we hosted four Facebook Chats — we wanted to get the kinks out  before we shared it with you — and now we’re ready to explain how you can host your own. Settle in to learn how easy it is to host a Facebook Chat for your business.One More Time … What’s a Facebook Chat?A Facebook Chat is a virtual gathering of Facebook users to discuss a common topic. For example, during the first chat we posted a photo of our Social Media Manager and told folks they could ask her anything about social content, and for the rest of the hour, questions came flooding in. Our social media expert was then able to respond using the Facebook reply feature on comments. Here’s a wireframe of how this looked during our promotion of the Chat:Four Key Components Needed for an Effective Facebook ChatNow that we’re on the same page, let’s review what you would need to host an actual chat.Goal: Why is this chat taking place in the first place? Are you trying to increase engagement on your page? Are you looking to grow your Facebook reach? Do you want to help promote a particular campaign you’re running?Topic: What will people be discussing in the chat? Will it need a subject matter expert to moderate and answer questions, or will your social media manager suffice?Call-to-Action (CTA): Your chat should have a clear next step. Whether that’s following your page on Facebook, reading a blog post on more relevant content, downloading an ebook, or accessing a discount code to an event, make sure you’re giving those who engaged with you a destination to head to next.Tracking Token: If you include any links in your chat, they’ll help you gain insight into the success of your chat if you include a campaign-specific tracking token. This will tell you how many visitors, leads, and customers were driven over time with your chat as their first touch, or influencing conversion event. Our tracking code was as follows: /?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook &utm_campaign=facebookchat8 Simple Steps to Hosting a Facebook ChatWith that in mind, here’s how to host your own Facebook Chat.Pick a topic. You’ll obviously want to pick a hot topic that your audience cares about. At HubSpot, we’re asked about our content creation process often, which is why we held our first Facebook Chat on that subject.Pick an expert. Ask someone at your business, or in your network, who has deep knowledge on the selected topic, to be your chat expert. This person should be able to quickly respond to the questions that emerge. Facebook Chats are live, which means scripted responses won’t fly.Promote the date and time. Give your fan base at least a day’s heads up as to when the chat will be held. Unlike a workshop or webinar, there’s no form to fill out or ticket to purchase with a Facebook Chat, so folks can just jump right into the conversation.Create a dedicated web page. This page should host information relevant to the chat, whether that’s just relevant chat information, or a specific content offering you want to give attendees. If you want to provide a content offering to help generate leads, you’ll want to make this page a landing page with a form.Create a campaign tracking token. As mentioned earlier, use this tracking token every time you promote the dedicated landing page so you can track and measure chat impact on your overall marketing.Host the chat on a status update. Post about your chat topic on Facebook at the beginning of the chat, and make it clear that attendees can simply comment with their questions on the status update itself. Then have your expert reply to the comments with the Facebook reply feature.Monitor the conversation. Even if you have an expert responding to questions, ensure someone is available on that chat acting as a more neutral moderator. There will be questions that your expert may not have time to attend to, or may not be suited to respond to, so you can help out by linking to relevant resources (include that tracking token!) and responding where possible.Measure the impact. Use the campaign tracking token to look at how the chats performed. You can also dig into your Facebook Insights to see how that particular post performed compared to your other Facebook posts.What We Learned About Hosting Facebook ChatsAfter hosting four chats that first week of April, we found a few immediate things that might help you to know before you host your own chat.Responding in real-time ain’t easy. It’s hard to predict what kind of questions you’ll hear on the chat, or what people will say. Make sure your expert is able to handle quickly responding to diverse questions. He/she will need to not only be comfortable speaking on the fly, but able to respond eloquently when doing so.Facebook comments do not operate in real-time. Even though you’re responding in real-time … Facebook is not. After you respond to a question, you’ll have to refresh your browser to load the latest comments and replies on the chat.You may not get to every question. As helpful as you’d like to be, you may not be able to answer every question. Due to the time it takes to respond to a single question, you may miss questions that emerge while you respond. Try your best to interact with fans, but realize you may have to regretfully miss some — otherwise you’ll be on Facebook all day!Others will jump in to help. Fortunately, the world is full of brilliant minds. You may notice some users jump in simply to respond to the questions people are putting forward. Welcome these folks! Don’t be afraid to thank them for helping respond, and share your thoughts on their responses, too.If you’re ready to try a new content format on your Facebook Page, try a Facebook chat! Feel free to share your learnings after, too. This could be the beginning of something new! Topics:last_img read more

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5 Things Custom Manufacturing Websites Must Have

first_imgEach and every day design engineers and procurement managers across the world search for new suppliers. What have you done to position yourself to have a shot at all of this business? Most likely, your first opportunity will happen without you knowing about it.That’s right – the first place these folks are looking is your website.Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignIf you just groaned because you have been putting off updating your website for years, don’t worry, you’re in good company. You run a very busy manufacturing business and you most likely aren’t sure where to start.The following are the five most important pieces of information that design engineers and procurement managers are searching for when considering new suppliers: 1) Capabilities InformationFirst and foremost, they need to know that you can perform the service they are seeking. This means you need to have very detailed information about the fabricating and manufacturing services that you offer.In depth content on your abilities around materials used, achievable tolerances, maximum dimensions, quality processes, production volumes, industries served, secondary services and drawing formats accepted. This will let the engineers and industrial buyers know they have found a viable vendor, but it is not enough.2) Machine ListFrequently your machine list will say a lot about who you are as a business and what you are capable of manufacturing. For example, listing a simple Bridgeport Lathe just lets engineers and buyers know you can do turning, but doesn’t speak to any real specialization.However, if you have a 5 Axis Haas CNC machine, this lets the world know that you deal in highly complex geometry and very specialized components. List as many as you feel comfortable with and organize them into the services that they provide.3) CertificationsPromote the fact that you have met the criteria for the various certifications you hold. Some potential customers will not consider working with you without the right certifications. Be sure to display these prominently on the website and provide the ability to download or request the documentation.4) VideoEveryone loves a shop tour. Admit it, you love giving them, too! The reason you do this in person is to show your capabilities as well as the scope, safety, and quality processes of your facility. Most custom manufacturers tell me “If I get them to the shop, they’ll want to work with us.”Why wait for the in person visit? Get some video of your plant in operation on your website to give prospective customers that early view of who you are and what you can do for them in the supply chain.5) Sample Project InformationEngineers and procurement managers want to see the types of projects you’ve worked on and parts that you have manufactured. You know that glass case full of parts you point to and explain when visitors come to the shop? Take that same information that you convey in person and get it onto your website.When you do this right, you can move from this to this. I know this is a huge challenge. What to focus on? How to get the content? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Download our Comprehensive Guide to Website Content Creation for Custom Manufacturers to get started. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Website Design Examples Originally published Jun 9, 2015 4:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:last_img read more

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How to Get a Personalized Assessment of Your Website [Free Tool]

first_img Topics: Originally published Jul 23, 2015 9:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Website Design Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Back in 2007, we launched a tool called Website Grader. Since then, it’s evaluated 4 million websites, helping many businesses identify website optimization opportunities.But a lot has changed since 2007. Websites have changed significantly in terms of design, functionality, and purpose. So, to continue to be helpful, Website Grader needed to change, too.Well, today, we’re excited to unveil a redesigned Website Grader capable of assessing websites using modern ranking criteria. Read on to learn what the new tool does and how you can get a personalized assessment of your own.  What is Website Grader?Website Grader is a free online tool that allows anyone to receive a free, personalized report that grades their site against key metrics, including performance, mobile readiness, SEO and security.How does Website Grader differ from Marketing Grader? Website Grader isn’t the same as Marketing Grader. While Marketing Grader focuses on assessing a website in terms of marketing activities such as blogs, landing pages, and social media, Website Grader is built to specifically focus on the core areas that impact a site’s ability to rise to the top of search rankings. How does Website Grader work?Simply enter your website URL and email address and, within a few seconds, Website Grader will generate a personalized score between 1-100. You’ll also receive a report that details your website’s performance against each of the key criteria. The criteria are as follows:Performance: Optimizing your website’s performance is crucial to increasing traffic, improving conversion rates, and generating more leads and revenue. We’ll assess your site’s page size, page requests, page speed, and more.Mobile Readiness: Traffic from mobile devices is more important than ever before. It’s important to optimize your website for mobile to ensure you aren’t missing out on valuable traffic, leads, and revenue. We’ll check how mobile-friendly your site is against criteria such as responsiveness and viewport settings.SEO: Your site has to be easy to discover. We’ll assess whether your website is easy for users to find and easy for search bots to understand by grading page titles, meta descriptions, and more.Security: Using an SSL certificate protects your website from attacks and provides your visitors with the confidence that your site is authentic, which means they might feel safer when entering their contact details. If you have it, your site will receive a higher grading.At the bottom of the report, you’ll also find some recommendations on the issues you should tackle to improve your site’s performance and, of course, your Website Grader score.I’ve graded my website, what’s next?Got a score below 90? That’s okay, there’s always room for improvement. Why not share your results with colleagues and work together to implement any necessary improvements? With Website Grader, you can quickly email your personalized report to others. Just click on the share icon on the top-right navigation and enter the email address of your intended recipient.Scoring higher than 90? Wow, your site is pretty amazing so why not let the world know?! You can quickly and easily share your report far and wide to colleagues and friends! Just click on the relevant icon to share it via your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.Have you used Website Grader to assess your website already? How’d you do?last_img read more

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The Rocket Science of Social Media Marketing

first_img Social Media Marketing At NASA, one of the world’s leading space associations, social media marketing and rocket science combine in a way that could shock even the most weathered social marketer. The organization manages more than 500 social accounts. Imagine what their analytics must look like!From broad agency accounts to specific accounts dedicated to certain NASA missions, their social media isn’t selling products or services, but rather inspiration.NASA has nailed down an elusive social media success around an incredibly complicated and naturally curious topic. Even with so many different accounts, NASA has managed to create meaningful connections with followers and spread a consistent message.Although not directly marketing for profit, NASA has developed a strong social media marketing strategy that B2B brands and all marketers can learn from and use in their own content and campaigns.How to Tell Your B2B Brand StoryIf there’s one thing NASA knows—besides the mysteries of space, it’s their own voice. They have cultivated a brand image and tone that is based on history, exciting developments, generating buzz, some professionalism and a nerdy sense of humor.In an environment where voice can vary from platform to platform, this is quite the accomplishment. From quick Twitter quips to informative Instagrams and straightforward Tumblr posts, NASA sprinkles their updates and science lessons with pop culture, striking images and conversational language. This tone complements their mission and still relates to the average follower.To follow NASA’s lead, B2B companies first need to find their voice. This means fully understanding your company, its intention with customers and its future goals.For example, if you want your brand to be community-oriented, write like a community leader who cares. If you want your brand to be strictly professional, keep your tone clinical and simple.The point of even giving your brand a voice is to humanize your company. A personal way of conversing as a brand allows you to participate in conversations naturally with followers.Find your voice by asking yourself the following questions:What do I want to accomplish with my social content? Maybe you want to educate or promote. This answer will guide the voice of your content.What tones complement the voice I want? A tone is an expression of language that supports your overall voice, so find a few that are good for your brand.What emotions are you trying to evoke in your customer? Identifying the emotional connection can help nail down the voice you are looking for.Once you’ve established your voice, you can begin to develop your story. NASA has the advantage of having a built-in story of exploration and discovery, but you can also find the story you want to tell by using themes and hierarchies within your content.Telling a multi-channel story, as NASA does across the many social platforms, all connects back to your central goal. A story, regardless of the form it takes or how it is presented, should be specific in nature and relate to the interests and needs of your customer.Sell the Value, Not the ProductSometimes marketers can get lost in the microscopic focus of selling a specific product or service. Boasting the features of something and harping on its shiny new elements is an easy trap to fall into. But in the long term, it’s not about the minutiae of a single aspect of what you offer.It’s important to take a step back and present the value of your company in a macro sense. For NASA, they have the ability to share information about an up close photo of the surface of Mars or an infinite photo of Saturn’s rings, which is literally a zooming in and out of their content. But from a deeper level, they are trying to inspire their followers and generate genuine interest in their missions and work.Their move to post a photo of dwarf planet Pluto before the official press release of the New Horizons’ results was an impressive show of giving followers excitement and capitalizing on anticipation.They knew the value of NASA is providing these fresh facts to a public with curiosity about the universe. Companies can also deliver social content of a similar vein by discussing the ways their product or service solves problems, avoids issues or brings certain emotions to customers’ lives.Think about how your customers’ lives will be improved by making a purchase with you. Pinpoint a before and after effect to really determine the value of your product or service.You can also use the tactic of value and authenticity in generating leads, improving sales and affecting the company as a whole.Involve Customers in Your ContentAnother strength of NASA’s social media marketing is to not just engage with followers, but to give them the opportunity to be a part of the social movement. B2B companies should also take user-generated content as a viable component of social strategy.The NASA program, called NASA Socials, gets followers involved in learning about and sharing information on the organization’s missions, people and programs. The program hosts events where social followers gather to get a behind-the-scenes look at labs and projects, hear from engineers and astronauts, and can meet fellow NASA enthusiasts.The content these fans create at the event also gives them the understanding they need to make shareable content in the future. When the fans tell the story, NASA’s story becomes more powerful.In a way, this is an even stronger tactic for companies because of the importance and reliability of brand advocacy and loyalty. Testimonials, first-person accounts and user-contributed content tell a more convincing and credible story.Here are a few specific ways you can involve your customers in telling your story:Free TrialOffering your product or service for no cost for a short period of time gets customers comfortable with your company. You can also build in the stipulation that they must share their story on social media to receive the free trial.Case StudyThe most traditional, but one of the most effective, forms of using your customers’ experiences to your benefit is to tell their story in your branding. A case study is proof positive your product or service has performed well in a real setting.Community ForumsFor hyper-specialized industries, it’s good to provide a forum for professionals to gather and discuss your product and new industry trends. You can use the ideas and opinions from the forum for social and blog content fodder.Guest PostsAsking a customer to write a guest post for your blog or to collaborate on content shows a dedication to a partnership and presents your company from a perspective with some weight.Getting your customers involved also shows you consider their input and are working to create an inclusive community. Customers who are part of a like-minded group will have more positive feelings about a company, increasing their word-of-mouth marketing and your sales.Infinity and BeyondNASA has infused their social content with originality, narrative and community. They take their mission in connecting with an interested public as seriously as an astronaut on a mission in space. They use their background in rocket science to good use in an unlikely place.B2B companies should take away important lessons from the visuals, language and content NASA generates. They don’t have to emulate the famous association, but can be inspired by both their images of planets and stars and their brilliant approach to inbound and social media marketing. 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 9, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

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34 Stats to Help You Plan Your Social Media Strategy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & More

first_imgBack in October, I wrote a piece on Medium that covered the numbers behind some of today’s top social media networks. From usage numbers to engagement statistics, it was incredible to see just how impactful networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become. For example, not only is Facebook home to 1.23 billion daily active users on average, but those users come from all over the world — with 85.2% residing outside of the U.S. and Canada. That’s a crazy level of connectivity.As I put together the post, it became obvious just how fast these networks were growing — and I thought a lot about how hard is it to keep up with all of these changes, especially for marketers. To make things a little easier to wrap your head around, I put together a simplified list of some standout statistics for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instragram, and Pinterest. Check them out below if you’re looking for some guidance for your social media strategy this year. 34 Stats to Help You Plan Your Social Media Strategy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & MoreFacebookOrganic reach of Facebook Page post is 2%.The average post reach of total audience is 10.71%.Facebook Page videos generate 16% more engagement per post than images.Videos secured the most reach, at 12.17% of total audience, followed by photos (11.53%), links (9.32%) and status updates (5.09%).Ideal length of a status update: 40 characters.0.80% median viral reach per fan for post with hashtags, 1.30% for post without hashtags.Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. TwitterTweets with images receive 18% more clickthroughs, 89% more Likes, and 150% more retweets.60% of consumers expect brands to respond to their query within the hour, but the average is 1 hour 24 minutes.Ideal tweet length: 100 characters.Clickthrough rate is highest on Wednesdays.A tweet that doesn’t include a # or @ mention will generate 23% more clicks. When the tweet is focused on driving an app install, forgoing a # or @ mention increases clicks by 11%. But according to Quicksprout, tweets with hashtags get 2X more engagement — clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies.    LinkedInB2B buyers are turning to LinkedIn for content that will help them move forward in the buyer’s journey — and 57% are doing so on a mobile device.LinkedIn is home to 467 million members in more than 200 countries, meaning it’s a great place for global brands to distribute content. LinkedIn has studied its own platform and found that including images in posts increases the comment rate by 98%.Updates containing links can have up to 45% higher follower engagement than updates without links.16–25 words is the ideal message length for B2B, 21–25 for B2C.20 posts per month can help you reach 60% of your unique audience.InstagramOn average, people miss 70% of their feeds.1.1% average engagement rate of all posts (4.2% in 2014; 2.2% in 2015).Images with a single dominant color generate 17% more Likes than images with multiple dominant colors. Images with a high amount of negative space generate 29% more Likes than those with minimal negative space. Images featuring blue as the dominant color generate 24% more Likes than images that are predominantly red.Photos showing faces get 38% more Likes than photos not showing faces.Photos see more engagement than videos on Instagram.The red heart is the most frequently shared emoji on Instagram, which is shared 79% more than the next most popular symbol, a smiling face with heart eyes.50% of captions and comments on Instagram contain at least one emoji.The most common posting frequency for brands on Instagram is 11–20 times per month.Instagram audiences are more engaged on Mondays and Thursdays at 2 a.m., 8–9 a.m., and 5 p.m.PinterestProduct Pins with prices get 36% more likes than those without.67% of Pinners consult Pins on their mobile devices while shopping in stores.Don’t be shy to ask : A call-to-action Pin description can increase engagement by 80%.83% of users would rather follow a brand than a celebrity.Active Pinners have a 9% higher average income than non-users.Users who Pin 15 to 30 times a day get the best results.2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. are the best time to post, and Saturday is the best day.What networks are you most interested in investing in this year? Share your thoughts in the comments. Originally published Feb 6, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated April 27 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Social Media Strategy Topics:last_img read more

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Social Media Copywriting: How to Compose Text for 5 Different Channels [Bookmarkable]

first_imgMost of us know that social media is an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy. After all, 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. And yet, managing it continues to be a source of frustration for many.That’s understandable — there are many moving parts to a successful social media strategy. There’s knowing the right frequency with which to post. There’s the measurement of any ROI on these efforts. And, there’s determining what the heck to post to each channel.There’s technology available, for example, to post the same content to multiple social media channels. But should you be posting identical messages to each network? As it turns out — no. Different channels have different audiences, peak times, and character limits. And each one is built for a different style of writing, which means there’s one more thing to consider: What should the copy for each social network look like?Click here to sharpen your skills with the help of our social media workbook.That’s why we put together the guidelines below to compose copy for five different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat. So read on — and start writing.How to Compose Text for 5 Social Media Channels1) FacebookLet’s start with a look at Facebook’s audience:Source: Pew Research CenterWith 79% of all online adults on Facebook, it continues to be the highest-utilized social network of those measured in Pew Research Center’s 2016 Social Media Update. But out of the channels we’ll cover here, it also has the highest rate of usage among the 65+ audience.When you’re composing text for Facebook, it’s important to keep these data in mind — especially if that’s who your brand is targeting. Let’s say you’re creating a marketing budget and want to decide how to allocate a portion for social media. While we encourage having a presence across all channels, if you’re aiming for the attention of the 65+ audience, this might be the best network for an ad spend or a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Focus your energy here, and then repurpose that content for other channels.Less than half of marketers believe that their Facebook efforts are effective — and we have to wonder if that might have something to do with the content they’re sharing on that particular network. So let’s go over some basic ground rules:Make sure your formatting is correct. That’s a big reason why we discourage auto-posting duplicate content across multiple channels — you risk including an “@user” tag that’s only fitting for Twitter or Instagram.Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal. Generally, people don’t visit Facebook to consume long-form text or stories — that’s what your blog is for. In fact, Buffer has found that Facebook posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher engagement.Plus, less text allows greater focus to be placed on any visual content that accompanies it. Posts with images, for example, see 2.3X more engagement than those without.Facebook is a particularly good vehicle for promoting your external content — things like blog posts, reports, or videos. That’s what 76% of users seek when they visit Facebook: interesting content. But don’t just post a link without a description. Be sure to accompany it with brief, attention-grabbing text that signals what the content is about, or poses a question that it answers.2) TwitterSource: Pew Research CenterTweets have long come with a maximum of 140 characters, but that doesn’t include images, videos, polls, or tweets that you quote. Plus, according to social media scientist Dan Zarrella, the ideal length is actually around 120-130 characters — those tweets showed the highest click-through rate (CTR).Source: BufferWhen you’re composing copy for tweets, remember that hashtags are an effective way to indicate and summarize what your message is about. Plus, it’s a nice way to become discovered by users who might be using hashtags to search for tweets pertaining to a certain topic — Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement.But exercise some restraint with hashtags, and make sure the text that accompanies them comprises the majority of the tweet. Limit it to one or two — these tweets have a 21% higher engagement than those with three or more.Source: BufferNotice how music site Pitchfork uses Twitter to promote its Facebook content: Today at 1:15pm EST: We’ll be live streaming @SlowdiveBand’s private session at a recording studio in Brooklyn https://t.co/QoPu1cazZL— Pitchfork (@pitchfork) May 9, 2017 Originally published May 15, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated November 29 2017 Using your caption to provide context is especially important when sharing videos. These typically automatically play without sound, so use the description to let them know what they can’t hear — and maybe even motivate them to listen.And about those hashtags: Unlike Twitter, it’s okay to use more than two here, but it’s advised to use less than eight. According to research conducted by Piqora, the sweet spot seems to be around seven hashtags — those Instagram posts seem to get the most engagement.Source: Social FreshAs for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there but because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.5) SnapchatWhile we’re on the topic of not obscuring visual content, let’s discuss Snapchat. Again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post. The word “snap” implies brevity, so try not to ramble. The same goes for your Snapchat story: “a compilation of Snaps that a friend has posted to their Story over the last 24 hours.”Here’s a fun example of how the Food Network created an entire Snapchat story based on the idea of coffee. It began with a small promo on “3 Ways to Step Up Your Iced Coffee Game” under Featured Stories:Source: Social FreshThen, it shared a series of animated images and videos all pertaining to the topic, ranging from recipe tips to clips from the network’s show, “Cutthroat Kitchen.” It took a simple topic — coffee — and expanded it into engaging, consumable content to highlight what the brand does best. Social Media Campaigns Let’s say you have a bigger audience on Twitter than on Facebook, but you want to build your presence on the latter. Twitter can be a good vehicle for driving traffic there, by promoting things like live streams that will be taking place on your page.3) LinkedInSource: Pew Research CenterLinkedIn has become an interesting content distribution channel. Users can share simple post updates, usually business-related (think: job openings and professional conferences), and push them to Twitter at the same time, though we don’t recommend that — see our note on the problems with identical content across different channels.But in 2012, LinkedIn introduced its Influencers program, which recruited notable business figures to guest blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Eventually, that platform became open to all LinkedIn members in 2014, positioning it as an outlet for people to share original content with an audience much larger than they may have received on their own domains.That’s part of decentralized content: A concept that allows users to share their work that has been published elsewhere on a content creation platform. Unlike most social media — where limited content is displayed — the full text and images of the work are shared, with the original author and source credited, on a site different from its origin.That makes LinkedIn a good place to re-post and link back to your blog content. But why make the duplicate effort? Well, consider this: 29% of all online adults use LinkedIn. Does your blog have that kind of reach? If it doesn’t, you can reach LinkedIn’s larger audience by syndicating your own content on their platform, drawing more attention to your work.According to Andy Foote, the character limits for these posts are 100 for the headline, and 40,000 for the body.4) InstagramSource: Pew Research CenterSince Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus should typically be on your visual content. But it’s helpful to provide context that lets users know what they’re viewing — within reason.Like many of the other channels we’ve discussed, people don’t use Instagram to read long-form content. And while Instagram doesn’t appear to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it’s cut off after the first three lines. That’s why we recommend limiting captions to that amount, and if you require more text, make sure the most important information — like calls-to-action — is included in the first three lines. Hashtags, @mentions, and extraneous details can go toward the end of the copy.Here’s a good example from New York Magazine. Without pressing “play,” the post appears to just be an image of a laundry basket — something that could mean any number of things without context. But the caption is used to indicate that the magazine recently did a roundup on the best socks for every occasion. Cute, right? Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Notice that for certain parts of the story, there’s a call-to-action at the bottom to “Watch” or “Read.” While Snapchat doesn’t make this entirely clear, it seems like that’s strictly a feature of ads, and not something that can be added organically. However, if your budget permits, adding these CTAs is another way to drive attention to you longer-form content.Get That Copy RightManaging your brand’s social media presence is no simple task, but it’s more than possible. And now, writing creative, compelling copy for your various channels can become a fun task.Draw some information about your audience composition for each social network. Then, see how that compares to the usership data from Pew Research Center. From there, you can see where you have the most active audience, and how you can repurpose content from one channel to draw attention to another one — and attract website traffic.How do you create and repurpose copy for social media? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

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9 Inbound Marketing Stats You Need to Know in 2017 [New Data]

first_img Originally published May 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated May 23 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Inbound Marketing Data The inbound movement has always been about one thing: being relevant and truly helpful to your audience.This approach shouldn’t change, but as technology and internal company relationships change, marketers and salespeople must learn how to adapt to better serve their customers.To better understand how our relationships with consumers and coworkers are changing, we collected data from more than 6,300 marketers and salespeople from around the globe, which we’ve compiled in the 2017 State of Inbound report. It examines the relationship between company leadership and employees, details on collaboration between marketing and sales teams, and a look at what the industry’s foremost marketers are adding to their strategy in the coming year.Check out the full report here, or view some of the most interesting highlights below.9 Stats You Need to Know From the 2017 State of Inbound Report1) 68% of inbound marketers believe their organization’s marketing strategy is effective. [Tweet this]Last year, we started to examine marketers’ thoughts on their organizations’ marketing strategy and found that inbound marketers are much more likely to be satisfied with their organization’s approach.We’re happy to report that this trend continued. 68% of inbound marketers believe their organization’s marketing strategy is effective. However, the majority of outbound marketers (52%) do not think their strategy is effective.2) 1/3 of marketers think outbound marketing tactics are overrated. [Tweet this]It’s not simply the effectiveness of the inbound philosophy that encourages us, but the success of inbound when compared to alternative methods. Each year, marketers tell us that outbound practices are overrated.While we admit we might be a bit biased, when we cut the data, marketers agreed. According to this year’s data, 32% of marketers rank outbound marketing practices such as paid advertising as the top waste of time and resources.3) C-level executives and individual contributors disagree about the effectiveness of their organizations’ marketing strategy. [Tweet this]Over the years, we’ve continued to examine the relationship between marketers and salespeople. This year, we discovered an interesting trend in the data: Company leadership and individual contributor employees are struggling under a growing corporate chasm.This means that leadership and employees often view their company, its performance, and its future very differently. For example, while 69% of C-level executives believe their organizations’ marketing strategies are effective, only 55% of individual contributors agree. Leaders who want their business to grow must learn how to effectively communicate the organization’s vision and goals with their employees.4) Marketers struggle most with metrics-driven challenges. [Tweet this]Marketers find tracking and making sense of their metrics a challenge. This year, 63% of marketers admit that their top challenge is generating enough traffic and leads. This is followed by 40% who struggle proving the ROI of marketing activities and 28% who are trying to secure enough budget.All three of these top challenges are metrics-driven. Without the proper tools to track concrete campaign results, these areas will continue to be a struggle.5) Organizations with an SLA are more than 3X as likely to be effective. [Tweet this]When we began publishing this report nine years ago, much of our data revolved around the adoption of inbound marketing. As the message spread, we began to see why it’s crucial for both marketing and sales teams to adopt the inbound methodology together. One of the main ways this is done is through a service-level agreement (SLA).Despite the fact that only 22% of organizations say they have a tightly-aligned SLA, the benefits of having one are clear: 81% of marketers with as SLA think their marketing strategy is effective. In fact, there is no combination of factors more strongly correlated with marketing success than being both inbound and having an SLA.6) 38% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder. [Tweet this]While marketers struggle with tracking the metrics of their campaigns, salespeople admit that getting a response from prospects is a growing challenge. However, as you dive deeper into the data, you see the problem starts long before salespeople begin contacting prospects.38% of salespeople say that they struggle most with prospecting. While there is an abundance of new technology and platforms to help salespeople connect and develop relationships with prospects, many are finding it difficult to incorporate this technology into their daily routine. In fact, 19% of salespeople say they’re struggling to incorporate social media in their sales process, and 13% say using sales technologies is now harder than it used to be.7) Marketers think video and messaging apps have the potential to disrupt. [Tweet this]As marketers prepare for the future, many plan to use a variety of content publishing platforms. In the past, content marketers poured their efforts into their email, website, and blog strategies. But with the rising trend of content decentralization, marketers are now seeing the benefit of publishing on a variety of channels.In our study, marketers are paying more attention to video’s global appeal, with 48% planning on investing in YouTube and 39% looking to add Facebook video to their strategy. In addition, many marketers are experimenting with messaging apps, while others continue to focus on more visual platforms such as Instagram.But don’t think the age of the blog is over. 53% of respondents say blog content creation is one of their top inbound marketing priorities.8) 45% of salespeople say they spend over an hour performing manual data entry. [Tweet this]Getting a response from prospects is not the only challenge salespeople are facing. According to our 2017 data, 45% of salespeople say they spend over an hour performing manual data entry. Another 23% of salespeople say their biggest challenge using their CRM is manual data entry.The more time salespeople spend on data entry, the less time they have to do what they are skilled at: closing deals. Not only is manual data entry time consuming, it can also be detrimental to the business. Storing contacts in an unorganized way or not properly using a CRM can lead to a disjointed sales strategy. Businesses should look to sales tools that include automation, integrate with their other platforms, and provide insight into the full customer journey.9) Marketers and salespeople don’t see eye to eye on the quality of marketing-sourced leads. [Tweet this]We know there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales teams around the definition of a quality lead, but this year’s report shows a drastic gap.59% of marketers say they provide salespeople with very high-quality leads, but only 25% of salespeople agree. In fact, the majority of salespeople — from the C-suite to individual contributors — rank marketing leads last, behind referrals and sales-sourced leads. This data continues to highlight the importance of SLAs.Want more data-backed insights? This is just a preview of the State of Inbound report. Download the report for free to discover how inbound marketing and sales is evolving.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.last_img read more

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GAME DEVELOPMENT POSITION IN NT

first_imgGAME DEVELOPMENT OFFICERTouch Football Australia is recruiting a Game Development Officer for the Northern Territory.  The successful applicant will deliver a range of development programs and services to affiliated Touch Football Associations. Remuneration will be in the range of $30 – $45K plus superannuation.Applications addressing selection criteria must be sent via email to nttouch@octa4.net.au or  mailed to P.O. Box 42193, CASUARINA, NT  0811 by no later than Thursday 13 April 2006.For more information phone 08 89816963 bhTo view the Game Development position description, please click here: GAME DEVELOPMENT NT- POSITION DESCRIPTIONlast_img

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The number one villain in the way of good decisions

first_imgOne of the worst things we can do when making decisions is to frame them too narrowly. This can lead us to the wrong thought process – and false choices.As Dan Heath puts it in his new book, “The first villain of decision making, narrow framing, is the tendency to define our choices too narrowly, to see them in binary terms. We ask, ‘Should I break up with my partner or not?’ instead of ‘What are the ways I could make this relationship better?’ We ask ourselves, ‘Should I buy a new car or not?’ instead of ‘What’s the best way I could spend some money to make my family better off?’”Or – to put this in nonprofit terms – we ask, “Should we have an event or not? Should we blog or not? Should we get rid of that board member or not?”Dan’s new book Decisive is all about this kind of problem. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work provides practical ways to beat narrow framing and other villains of decision making. Here are two of his tips (and I quote):1. Consider opportunity cost. If you are considering an investment of time or money, ask yourself, “What is the next best way I could spend this time/money?” If you can’t come up with any other combination that seems enticing, you should feel more confident that you’re making the right investment. 2. Multitrack your options. Always try to think AND not OR. Can you avoid choosing among your options and try several at once? For instance, if you’re deciding whether to invest time in Spanish lessons or ballroom dancing classes, do both for a while until one of them “wins.” Or, rather than hire one employee out of three candidates, could you give all three a 2-week consulting project so that you can compare their work on a real-world assignment?For more tips, join a free Network for Good webinar with Dan today at 1 pm Eastern. Register here.PS for fun, here is one of Dan’s great teaching videos on giving better presentations. It draws on his book, Made to Stick.last_img read more

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Four Essential Tips for Planning Year-End Email Campaigns

first_img1. 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:last_img read more

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7 Ways to Make This Year the Year of the Donor

first_imgThe good news is that giving continues to grow. The bad news is that donor retention rates aren’t what they should be. Think about the donors who came into your organization’s ecosystem during the past year. Will they give again?You can improve the odds of keeping more of your supporters by declaring this year the Year of the Donor. What this looks like for your organization may be different than for your nonprofit peers, but here are a few basics to get you started:1. Have a solid plan.The biggest way to ensure your donors remain your top priority is to create a well-organized plan for cultivating your organization’s supporters throughout the year.To do: Create a comprehensive donor stewardship plan that complements your overall marketing strategy and retention goals. Your plan should include a timeline, messaging guidelines, and who will be responsible for each component of your donor outreach. For more planning tips, take a look at Network for Good’s donor stewardship checklist.2. Send an amazing thank you.Of course you’re thanking all your donors. Right? (Right?) But are you making it an amazing experience of effusive gratitude? Is your thank you so awesome that donors will tell their friends all about it? Even tell strangers? If not, there’s always room for improvement. Your goal: Express to impress!To do: Take the time to write a series of really great donor thank you letters. Make them personal, memorable, and full of gratitude. Your thank you letters should reinforce the projected impact of a donor’s gift and open the door for an ongoing relationship. If possible, hire a professional copywriter to polish your thank yous.3. Keep the conversation going.Your thank you note is really just the start of a new conversation with your donor. Keep this conversation flowing by updating your supporters on your work and how their gift has helped make it possible. Update supporters on what’s new in your community, your work, and how they can continue to be involved. As you build on this communication, you’ll have earned the opportunity to invite them to give again.To do: Create an editorial calendar to plan your outreach and news you’d like to share. Use your email marketing tools to segment your lists so you can separate donors from those who’ve yet to give. Communicate to these two groups differently when sending updates to tailor your message to reflect donors’ special status.4. Clearly articulate your impact.One of the main reasons donors don’t go on to give a second gift is because they’re not sure how their money was used to create real impact. It’s your job to make sure supporters know exactly how their gift is being used and how it makes a difference. Get in the habit of making this a part of everything you do—from fundraising appeals to your monthly newsletter.To do: Illustrate a donation’s impact through photos, testimonials, and quantifiable results that are easy for donors to understand. Incorporate these elements in every piece of donor communication you send. Build a collection of stories that are organized by program or locality so you can easily match these with the profiles of your donors.5. Invite donors for their feedback.More and more donors don’t want to just give and run—they want to be an active part of your cause. Because they’ve been moved enough to donate, they can offer valuable insight on what went into their decision and how you can continue to reach them and others in their network.To do: Regularly invite your donors to provide you with feedback. Add this to your donor thank you phone script and conduct periodic donor surveys to collect their input on everything from your newsletter content to how you contact them. Making them feel more invested in your work will bring donors even closer to your organization.6. Regularly test and improve.It takes a lot of work to acquire new donors, so it’s crucial that you do everything you can to keep the ones you’ve got. One way to do this is to find and fix any leaks in your process. Once you’ve fixed the obvious problems, optimize your donor retention strategy by testing new messages and acknowledgement techniques.To do: Track and measure every interaction with your donors. If you don’t have Google Analytics on your nonprofit website or donation form, that’s one place to start. Identify where donors may be falling off by looking at your website bounce rate, form abandonment, and email unsubscribes. Use A/B testing to see which calls to action and content types work best for your audience.7. Create feel-good moments.Everyone gives for different reasons, but we all want to feel good about our charitable gifts. To keep this positive vibe flowing, it’s important to create moments of connection and with your donors. Ronald McDonald House Charities does just that with this simple thank you video that puts the donor at the center of the experience and in the embrace of those who feel the impact of their donations every day:To do: Commit to making your ongoing donor outreach unique and personal. Get creative with photos, video, and perks for your donors to help your cause stay top of mind. Recruit volunteers and beneficiaries to help keep your communications authentic and original. (Want more ideas on using images to stand out? Read these 10 ways nonprofits can use visuals.)How will you make this year the Year of the Donor? I’d love to hear your plans, and I know your donors can’t wait to see what happens next.last_img read more

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2014 Year-End Giving Results in Big Win Online for Nonprofits

first_imgWant more insight on how online giving is growing? Stay tuned! In February, we’ll release our Digital Giving Index, which will take a closer look at online giving trends. We’ll share where, how, and how much donors gave across our digital channels in 2014. How did your year-end fundraising campaigns perform? Chime in with your experiences in the comments and let us know what you plan to build on—or change—in 2015! It’s no secret that year-end giving is an important source of donation dollars for most nonprofits. Last year was no exception and we saw a lot of “generous procrastinators” giving big online in December 2014. When we looked at organizations who received donations on the Network for Good platform in both December 2013 and December 2014, we saw an 18% increase in total donation volume year over year. A few other important notes about year-end giving results:The total number of donations also grew year over year. In December 2014, 22% more donations were made to charities through Network for Good compared to December 2013.As expected, #GivingTuesday was a big driver of December donations on the Network for Good platform in 2014, with over $4.5M raised on December 2. This represented a 148% increase over total donation volume on #GivingTuesday 2013.December giving also accounted for 30% of all online donations made to nonprofits through Network for Good in 2014, with 10% of all annual giving happening on the last three days of the year. This stat has remained consistent for the last 5 years, underscoring the significance of year-end giving on overall fundraising results.The average gift size for the month of December also increased by 6.5% compared to 2013.last_img read more

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Goodbye Spreadsheets: A Donor Management Software Success Story

first_imgFounded in 2005, Ovarian Cancer Connection (OCC) is no stranger to fundraising success during its 11-year history. In fact, this Ohio-based nonprofit has raised $36,000 just for their program that provides financial assistance to women undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer.This fundraising success, however, came with its own challenges. Without the right tools in place, the OCC’s system for tracking donors and donations ended up being a lot of manual work.Gini Steinke, OCC’s founder and executive director, knew that there was a better way to track OCC’s donor data. Gini decided getting a new database, known as donor management software or a donor management system (DMS), would help the OCC get all their donor data in one location. After exploring different options, OCC migrated their donor data from spreadsheets into Network for Good’s donor management system.Gini recently shared how she manages OCC’s donor information and fundraising now that they have a system better equipped to get the job done.Tracking Individual FundraisingLike many small nonprofits, the OCC raises most of their funds through individual gifts. These donations either come in through events or donations from individuals who have a personal connection with organization. Currently, the OCC has more than 3,000 donors in their database.Before Network for Good’s DMS, the OCC’s donor database was a detailed spreadsheet with tabs representing each year’s gifts. Although it’s not ideal, this system for tracking gifts is pretty standard among many nonprofits. Network for Good’s donor management system brings it all together. The primary problem with this practice is that a spreadsheet isn’t ideal for accessing donor information. If Gini was looking for a specific donor, she’d have to search through multiple tabs to find the donor’s complete giving history over the course of his or her relationship with the organization. According to Gini, transitioning to a system built to manage donor information has made this process much easier:“We did track donations through spreadsheets, but I’d have to go through all the tabs to find a donation. But now, Network for Good’s donor management system brings it all together.“Transforming Online Giving Gini estimates that she saves about 2 hours of work a day by using Network for Good’s donor management software. The Ovarian Cancer Connection has an incredible mission and is fortunate to have a savvy executive director like Gini who has created fundraising strategies that work. Gini estimates that she saves about 2 hours of work a day by using Network for Good’s donor management software. And during events season, she estimates she’ll save 3 hours of manual work every day.Now that they have the tools to help save time, keep donor records organized, and raise more money, the Ovarian Cancer Connection can focus what matters most: their mission.Are you ready to make the switch from spreadsheets to a donor management system that will save you time and help you streamline your fundraising processes? Schedule a demo and see Network for Good’s donor management software for yourself! Our easy-to-use system that’s helping organizations like Ovarian Cancer Connection save time everyday can help your organization too. Schedule a demo today!center_img I went into the donor management system and the online donation was right there. Everything was already entered. It was like a miracle! It was wonderful! Before using Network for Good’s online donation page and donor management software, OCC was collecting online gifts through PayPal, which made tracking a very cumbersome process:“Donations would come in through PayPal. We’d get an email notification and transfer the money to our bank. Then, I’d input the donation in QuickBooks and enter it into a spreadsheet. It was time consuming to make sure everything was recorded accurately.” Now, online donations are automatically added to OCC’s DMS. Using Network for Good’s donation page and donor management system together means there’s no manual lift required:“I went into the donor management system and the online donation was right there. Everything was already entered. It was like a miracle! It was wonderful!”Gini is especially excited to use the donor management system and donation pages during the organization’s big events.“This is going to be great when it comes time for our major events! More and more people are getting comfortable with online giving. This is great because it makes it easier for [donors] and it saves us money.”Managing Offline GiftsDonor management software isn’t just for tracking online donors, it can track offline gifts too. If Gini gets a check handed to her at an event, she can easily log the donation in the DMS and track specifics like the gift’s designation or if the gift is made in someone’s honor or memory.  Notes on why the donor gave can be attached to a donation too.Making Segmentation EasierSmart fundraisers like Gini use segmentation to send more relevant (and more effective) messages to different groups of supporters.And, because of the nature of their work, they need to be especially diligent with keeping track of those supporters who are survivors of ovarian cancer.Using the group feature in Network for Good’s donor management system allows the OCC to track survivors easily. When Gini is inviting survivors to a luncheon, she can seamlessly send the email through the system by simply selecting the group labeled “Survivors.” There’s no need to sort through a list, run a filter again, or import/export a spreadsheet.Ovarian Cancer Connection’s executive director saves 2-3 hours of work a day after switching from Excel to Network for Good’s donor management software.Keeping Track of Donor NotesGini truly understands that fundraising is about relationships, not transactions. For this reason, Gini needs to keep notes on every donor she speaks with. But with thousands of donors, details about important donor conversations can’t be kept organized with post-it notes or in someone’s memory. This is why Network for Good’s donor management system’s notes feature is so important to the OCC and Gini in particular:“In the donor management software, I can pull up the [donor’s] records and see my notes so the next time I talk to them, I can ask them ‘how was your son’s move?’ Otherwise, it would be in a paper file. But now, everything is right there in the donor record.”Reporting Success to the Board Network for Good’s donor management system offers built-in dashboards that are easy to understand and can help people like Gini explain the organization’s financials to those who aren’t digging into the numbers on a regular basis:“At board meetings, I plan to give a snapshot of our fundraising efforts so far. The dashboard clearly explains to everyone, especially to those without a finance background, the most important information:  average donation and giving to date. I think our Board will be surprised with what our average donation really is!”Saving Time by Getting Out of Spreadsheetslast_img read more

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From the Economist, Four Reasons for Progress in Bangladesh

first_imgPosted on November 16, 2012Click 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)On November 2nd, the Economist published an article, Out of the Basket, that explores reasons for progress in a country they describe as one of the most intriguing puzzles in development: Bangladesh.From the story:City states apart, it is the world’s most densely populated country, with around 150m people crammed onto the delta of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, an area regularly swept by devastating floods. Its private sector is weak and its government widely perceived as corrupt and dysfunctional.And yet Bangladesh has done better than most countries at improving the basic standard of living of its people. Bangladeshis can expect to live four years longer than Indians even though they are much poorer. The country has achieved some of the largest reductions in early deaths of infants, children and women in childbirth ever seen anywhere.So that is the puzzle: Bangladesh combines economic disappointment with social progress. The Economist suggests four factors to explain why.Read the full story here.For a more detailed report on development in Bangladesh from the Economist, click here.Read the accompanying editorial here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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Moving Beyond the Numbers

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 24, 2014November 7, 2016By: Renuka Motihar, Independent Consultant and member of the Executive Committee of the White Ribbon Alliance IndiaClick 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)As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, what does the future hold for international maternal mortality targets? The MHTF is pleased to be hosting a blog series on post-2015 maternal mortality goal setting. Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring responses and reactions to proposed targets from around the world. Please share your thoughts with us!In India, there has been considerable economic progress, but the country is still grappling with inequities and the basic right to safe childbirth. There are about 30 million pregnancies; 27 million deliveries and about 56,000 women are lost in childbirth each year. This accounts for 19 percent of maternal deaths around the world. Most of these can be prevented. India still has a way to go to reach MDG 5, which would require reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR)  to 109 deaths per 100,000 births  by 2015. There has been some progress in the country in the last decade. The MMR has fallen from about 390 to 212 deaths per 100,000 live births in about 10 years, approximately 67 percent decrease. There are some areas in the country, such as states of Assam, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand that still have MMRs greater than 300 deaths per 100,000 live births. Social determinants such as early age of marriage and early and repeated childbearing are also contributing factors. Thirty-six percent of Indian women are malnourished and about 55 percent are anemic. Bodies are ill prepared to handle childbirth with poor nutrition, stunting with negative outcomes for maternal health. The main causes of death in India have been found to be heavy bleeding (hemorrhage) and eclampsia (high blood pressure).The Government of India has policies and programs to improve outcomes for maternal health. Janani Suraksha Yojana, a safe motherhood cash assistance scheme, and now the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakarm (JSSK) have facilitated the shift of births from homes to health facilities. Births in clinics and hospitals have increased over 75 percent in the last 5 years; however the maternal mortality ratios have only declined by approximately 25 percent. But the question arises: Are the health facilities equipped with the desired quality to handle the onset of numbers? Is there adequate inter-partum care and emergency care for complicated deliveries? Is the poorest woman being able to reach services? Is it inclusive and equitable?To address quality of care issues, quality protocols are being developed — for the labor room, antenatal care and postnatal care by the government and there is an effort to standardize. There is an attempt to strengthen supportive supervision, task shifting (reduce dependence on doctors and train a cadre of health workers for providing services), strategic skilling, respectful maternal care and maternal death reviews. However, challenges still remain: India is a vast country, and problems of supplies of essential drugs, medicines, inadequate human resources, inaccessible terrain, socio-cultural factors, and translating policies/programs into action persist. The government of India is grappling with all these issues and is focusing on improving quality of services. There is a realization that only looking at numbers is not enough. Improving quality of services is critical. As Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India and Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission has said in a recent meeting, “We need a shift in the focus on achieving numbers to achieving quality of care”. The global targets for preventing maternal deaths are useful in providing goals to aspire for a country. They have acted as a catalyst to accelerate progress. However, the targets currently only reflect maternal mortality. They do not reflect maternal morbidities or the fact that for every woman dying in childbirth, many more women suffer long-lasting and debilitating illnesses, which are now being neglected. For countries, a relative or percentage target may be more useful; and those countries that are on track should also examine the reaching of targets sub-nationally. However, within countries, focusing only on numbers is not enough. Efforts need to go beyond numbers to reflect on enhancing the quality of services, and, in turn, improving the lives of women and children.If you would like to submit a guest post for to our ongoing series exploring potential goals for maternal health in the post-MDG development agenda, please contact Andrea Goetschius: goetschi@hsph.harvard.eduShare this:last_img read more

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Celebrating the Second Year of the PLOS-MHTF Collection on Maternal Health

first_imgPosted on January 29, 2014August 10, 2016Click 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)The following was originally posted on PLOS  BlogsPLOS Medicine and the MHTF review highlights of the second successful collection, as part of their 3 Year partnership focusing on improving Maternal Health globally.Back in late 2012 the Maternal Health Task Force, at the Harvard School of Public Health, and PLOS Medicine issued a call for papers on the theme ‘Maternal Health is Women’s Health’, chosen in order to recognise that a women’s health is of crucial importance through her lifetime, and not just during pregnancy and labour.The breadth of the research that has been submitted to PLOS since the call has been of great quality and impact. In this blog, we’d like to highlight just some articles in the collection that represent a selection of the important work recommended to alleviate the poor health, low educational attainment and low socioeconomic status adversities affecting maternal health, that women and girls of experience throughout their lifetimes.To continue reading, visit the original post at PLOS. For more on Year 3 of the PLOS-MHTF  collection on maternal health, including guidelines for submitting to the collection, visit the Year 3 call for papers. To read articles published in the Year 1 and Year 2 collections, visit PLOS Collections.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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