GAELTACHT WHACKED AS GRANTS TO TRAINEE TEACHERS AXED

first_imgTHE DONEGAL Gaeltacht could lose out again as the Government plans to abolish grants for trainee teachers attending Irish language courses.Dozens of trainee teachers have placements in west Donegal each year, bringing valuable income to the area.Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta have slammed the decision of the Department of Education to scrap grants awarded to those attending Irish-language immersion courses in the Gaeltacht. The three-week courses in the Gaeltacht summer colleges are paid for on behalf of the student teachers that attend them to improve their Irish-language skills as an essential part of their education degree.Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, said that the proposed cuts will hit the future teaching of Irish in schools.He fumed: “With schools throughout the country already struggling with serious problems in the teaching of Irish, the Government took a huge step forward in addressing these issues in The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030 by recommending that student teachers should follow a defined programme of language teaching in the Gaeltacht, and indeed that the tuition time and attendance of student teachers who attend such Gaeltacht courses should be increased.”The Teaching Council says the courses should be followed. Mr de Spáinn said: “These recommendations to foster better language awareness and Irish-language skills in our teachers were a huge step forward, but the Department of Education and Skills will take two steps backwards again if they abolish the grant for students attending Gaeltacht courses.”Éamonn Mac Niallas from Guth na Gaeltachta and said that if the Government is looking to save money by abolishing the grants for Gaeltacht courses, the result will be the complete opposite.“The longterm effects of this short-sighted decision will cost the State even more money to put right when future teachers no longer have the standard of Irish to teach the language in our schools,” he said.“Under present circumstances, it is hard to see how trainee teachers will have the means to pay for Gaeltacht courses themselves. Furthermore, these courses contribute greatly to the Gaeltacht economies through the added business for local shops and the employment of Mná Tí, teachers and other workers in the Irish colleges.”Mr Mac Niallas said that it was “particularly disappointing” to see a “total lack of co-ordination” between the various divisions of Government when it comes to the promotion of the Irish language. He added: “This short-sighted cost-cutting measure by the Department of Education and Skills is simultaneously undermining all the good work that they are doing. We thought the Strategy would provide clear direction for the various different State departments and their working partners, but it is obviously not functioning as such at present.”GAELTACHT WHACKED AS GRANTS TO TRAINEE TEACHERS AXED was last modified: February 7th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click 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 share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal Gaeltachtteacher traininglast_img read more

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Prep football playoff brackets unveiled

first_imgThe regular season is over, win-loss records have been reset and the successes and failures of the past 11 weeks mean little now as the North Coast Section football playoffs are set to begin this Friday. The California Interscholastic Federation unveiled its 2018 North Coast Section playoff brackets last Sunday and eight local teams made the cut, with a few squads receiving high praise from the selection committee.Division IIIEureka (10-0)It’s championship or bust for the Eureka Loggers. …last_img

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5 Tips for Using Free Content to Promote Paid Content

first_img whose product is their content ‘s did for their Digital Marketing Mixer in Chicago. By allowing people who did not attend the conference to view some of the talks, it increased awareness for their conference and perhaps will even help registration for 2010. For authors, your offering might be an eBook. For HubSpot’s 1) Consider your blog articles “free samples.” Here are a few ideas: . Many folks will download the Kindle version, spread the word about your product, and write reviews. Meanwhile, others will buy the physical book, too!  If an individual actually learns something from a blog post that you’ve created, you’ve already earned their respect and potentially their curiosity about your other offerings. They’ll get to know your writing style and start seeing you as a resource they can trust. This is what the folks at Webinar: Advanced Business Blogging Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. kalandrakas This is an easy one, but often forgotten. Make sure you build something on your website or blog to aggregate what people are saying about your paid content. For example, we created a ” . This gave people a flavor for what they could learn from the book, but also provided them with something fun that they could share with their entire network. 3) Livestream conferences in real-time to widen your net for your next show. By making your book available as a free Kindle download, people will link and promote your Amazon page. David Meerman Scott did this with his book MarketingProfs How on earth can a person or business make money selling their content if they’re giving it away for free? 4) Feature the content that to learn how to create a thriving blog. Inbound Marketing World Wide Rave Originally published Nov 18, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 ” for Inbound Marketing University that features the blog posts of IMU students.   other — use free content to sell more books, get butts in conference seats, and earn speaking engagements? Student Bulletin Board people are producing about your content. Flickr Credit: 5) Give away your book for free on Kindle for a few days. book, we made an Inbound marketing is a no-brainer for folks selling a product online, but how can authors, speakers and event producers — Download the free webinar eBook of inbound marketing cartoons 2) Repackage your content in a different way. 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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If Marketers Went Caroling, What Would They Sing? [Video 1]

first_img Topics: Holiday Marketing Fa la la la la! La la la la! Fa la la la la! La la la la! Search Engine Optimization Kit ‘Tis the season for happy marketing.  We hope this special carol will bring a smile to you and the marketers in your life. This is the first of a series of four HubSpot Holiday videos. Enjoy! Download our Keyword rich with inbound linking Tweet this marketing carol! . and @ Fa la la la la! La la la la! Learn moreabout how you can optimize your site to rank higher in search enginesso you get found by more qualified prospects. Common Soundcenter_img HubSpot Singers: repcor search engine optimization kit shaxxon Search Engine Optimization! Fa la la la la la! La la la! Begins with content creation! Lyrics Video Credits Originally published Dec 17, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Gets you traffic. That’s smart thinking! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Producers: @last_img read more

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What Do Coke, Pepsi, Pampers, Dominos, Google and Facebook Have in Common?

first_img Facebook Marketing Are audiences more interested in understanding what the big brands are doing?  Do we look up to Coke and Pepsi and other great brands for inspiration?At HubSpot, we love to measure everything, and recently we completed a short study on how the use of brand names (including Coke, Pepsi, Dominos, Google, Pampers, Facebook,etc.) in article titles had an impact on blog article performance. The results were astounding.  Out of the approximately 100 articles published over a period of 50 days, just over 20% of them had major brand names in the title.  As you can see in the graph below, the articles that had a major brand name in the title generated 60% more page views on average than articles without them.Also, we published 6 articles with Google in the title, and on average they performed 50% better than articles without brand names in their titles.Surprisingly, while the use of brand names appeared to have an impact on page views and readership, it had little or no impact on comments (or conversation) and what appears to be a negative impact on inbound links.  The brand name articles got 3 fewer inbound links on average than their counterparts. If you’re wondering why we used such a short time frame for the study, it’s because blog articles are like annuities. Over longer periods of time, articles continue to amass more and more page views, which would skew the study.  The top-performing articles in all groups were spread pretty evenly across the time frame used for the study!Thoughts,  Observations and TakeawaysTiming Your Article Publication is Key — There was definitely a “news” factor to articles with brand names in their titles, and the timeliness of the publication coincided with the conversation about the brand on the Internet and in media.  (e.g. the Dominos and Pepsi articles).Visible Brands Serve as Case Studies — People and marketers in general love hearing what major brands are doing and how they are conducting their business.  A lot of companies like to emulate and learn from big brands. Familiarity Has an Impact on Viral Effect — People become bigger “sneezers” (per Seth Godin’s idea virus) when it comes to bigger brands because they are more familiar with them and their products. Have you noticed any interesting trends in how your blog articles perform?  Please share your thoughts in the comments! Photo credit: Nikita Kashner Video: Blogging for Business Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website?Watch the free video to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 11, 2010 8:30:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 Topics:last_img read more

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Search and Email Still Trump Social Media as Top Online Activities [Data]

first_img released this month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 92% of adults use search engines, with 59% using one on a typical day. But what’s most compelling is that, despite the significant growth in social media usage over the past several years, search and email are still on top as the most popular online activities. According to data SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack has really boomed since 2004, when only 11% were using social networks. That figure has more than sextupled to 69% in 2011. using social networks Young, Educated, Wealthy Most Apt to Use Search Marketing Takeaway With search and email still topping the list of the most popular online activities, marketers must be sure not neglect these important channels just to take advantage of the rise in popularity of social media. Remember, The rates of online adults performing most common online activities have remained fairly stable since 2002, with email use increasing 8% from 85% that year. Getting news online and buying products online have also moderately increased since 2002. There are no significant differences in search use by gender or ethnic background. However, search is most popular among the youngest adult internet users (those ages 18-29), 96% of whom use search engines to find information online. But even among the oldest internet users (age 65+), 87% are search engine users. However, the rate of online adults These same groups: young adults, the college-educated, and higher income adults, are also the most likely to use search engines daily. Discrepancies in daily search are much greater than discrepancies in overall search. For example, 75% of college graduates perform daily search, about 2.6 times the 29% of those with less than a high school diploma; and 78% of the wealthiest online adults use search engines daily, which is roughly double the 38% of those without a high school diploma. Originally published Aug 11, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 In addition, adults who have attended college (96%) and the highest income adults (98%) make more use of search engines to gather information online when compared with other adults. The widest discrepancy exists between college educated adults and adults with some high school education (81%), who are about 16% less likely to use search engines. successful internet marketing strategies leverage various tactics, channels, and platforms, including social media, email marketing, and SEO. Make sure your marketing strategy has a healthy mix of multiple channels and isn’t relying too much on just one strategy. Topics: Are you leveraging your long-tail keywords and your in-house email lists to maximize the results of your inbound marketing program?last_img read more

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Twitter ‘Surveys’ Announced Alongside New Nielsen Partnership

first_imgToday, Twitter announced an exciting new partnership with media measurement and analysis company Nielsen.Aside from the fact that this partnership totally makes sense — social media marketers are constantly struggling with showing the ROI of their social media efforts, and social media platforms are struggling to show it to them (especially when it comes to advertising) — this partnership will also deliver a pretty groovy new Twitter feature: Twitter Surveys.This feature is still in beta, being tested with a select few advertisers before it rolls out to more brands in early 2013. But here’s what we can tell you about Twitter Surveys before it rolls out on a larger scale — that way you’re prepared, and know what the heck you’re looking at if one of those surveys pops up in your own Twitter feed.What You Need to Know About Twitter SurveysTwitter surveys may be popping up in a news feed near you, and they’ll look just like Promoted Tweets if you’ve jumped on that bandwagon. Here, take a look at an example from Twitter’s blog post announcing the surveys: Originally published Oct 3, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 What’s really cool about this is that “1 of 3” questions part; that means you don’t have to limit the length of your survey … although it’s not clear if there’s an upper limit, or what the suggested upper limit is. After all, Twitter users likely have a much shorter attention span than those completing a survey on, say, your website. But I guess these are the questions they’re trying to answer in this beta testing, eh?This new feature is meant to help companies measure their brand impact on Twitter, something Nielsen has been called on to do with Facebook in the past, as well. Twitter said, “Building on Twitter’s mobile heritage, we’re giving brands the ability to deliver and measure the impact of mobile and traditional desktop campaigns through these surveys. This is a native experience for the user, and we believe it will give brands better insights to determine purchase intent, overall awareness, and other advertising metrics and analytics that can lead to greater engagement on Twitter.” Hey, any tools out there to help marketers better measure some of the softer and fluffier metrics we deal with — brand impact being at the top of that list — is a welcome addition to our social media toolkit.What applications do you see for these Twitter surveys? Would you use them when they come out of beta?Image credit: BeauGiles Twitter Updates Topics: The tweet shows up within a user’s timeline, on both desktop and mobile devices. Notice that the tweet doesn’t come from the brand itself — it comes from the Twitter handle @TwitterSurveys. Twitter’s blog post seemed to imply they might allow these tweets to come from brand names depending on the results of the beta testing, because they were quoted as saying, “Users may see a Tweet by @TwitterSurveys.” Or maybe I’m just reading into that “may.” Anyway …What’s pretty cool about this is that, in the past, most brands would include a link within a tweet to have someone fill out a survey — one that lived on another web page hosted off of Twitter. One could still do that, of course … and it’d be free to boot. But with this survey feature, a user is invited to fill out the survey right in the Tweet itself. And less clicks means more people submitting their answers and opinions! The survey looks a little something like this: 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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Don’t Regret Your Website Redesign: The Resources You Need to Do It Right

first_img Originally published Nov 13, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Website Redesign I’m sick of looking at you, website. We started off well. You were a major improvement over my last website. But the thing is, you’re just not working for me anymore. It’s not your fault. The truth is, things have changed — I’ve changed. My businesses needs and you are just not compatible anymore. It’s time I start anew. You understand … don’t you?Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignOn average, we marketers redesign our websites every 18-24 months. Our reasons vary — from building a better customer experience, to reflecting a new corporate brand strategy. Regardless of the reason, we’re a constantly iterating breed.The good news is there’s a ton of content out there to help you make the right decisions for your website redesign. However, that’s also the bad news.With so much advice and content on redesigns, it can be hard to filter through it all to get to the best resources. Because I like you guys (and because we’ve gone through our fair share of redesigns ourselves), I’ve compiled a handful of top-notch resources for your next redesign.Deciding on a RedesignMake sure you’re not redesigning for the wrong reasons.I mentioned that marketers redesign their sites every two years on average — I didn’t say that every one of those redesigns is a good idea, though. This post by my colleague Jess Meher gives some common red flags that indicate you may be redesigning when you don’t need to.Scope out the project correctly.Website redesigns can take several months, but you are traveling a well-trodden path. Why not borrow the road maps of those who came before you? The following two resources should give you a good head start when it comes to scoping out your redesign project:Working with a designer? Inbound Marketing Agency Lynton Web has mapped out the 5 Phases of an Inbound Website Redesign.Doing it on your own? HubSpot’s got a Website Redesign Planning and Progress Kit that includes a spreadsheet to help you map out milestones, goals, benchmarks, and more. We’ve used this spreadsheet in our own designs to help us stay on track.Identifying Benchmarks and GoalsWebsite redesigns are filled with subjective measures. While gut reactions are worth listening to, the only way to really know if your redesign is working is to identify some benchmarks and set some goals.The effectiveness of your website can be measured by everything from bounce rate to conversions. To decide what works for you …Take a primer on marketing analytics.There’s a lot to cover in analytics. Should you track visits or unique visits? What’s the right balance of new vs. returning visitors? How do the rest of your marketing analytics fit into your website analytics? This 85-page guide covers the full gamut of marketing analytics, but pages 5-22 are all you need for your website redesign. Set up goals in Google Analytics.Google Analytics is the de facto free analytics program out there, but it changes quite often, so some of the content you may find out there is slightly outdated. This helpful post on Steamfeed, however, was published in September 2013 and gives step-by-step instructions on setting up your goals in Google.Compare the two types of analytics.Your website is not an island. As part of your redesign you should consider how website analytics fit into your larger marketing strategy. This post by fellow HubSpotter Pamela Vaughn explains the differences between website analytics and marketing analytics and guides you on what to measure for each. Preserving Your SEOIn 2009, Toys R Us paid $5.1 million to buy the Toys.com domain name, in an effort to scoop up the SEO benefit of having such a prominent keyword in their domain. So essentially, that’s $5.1 million the company spent to top the search charts.In a great error, however — that honestly could’ve happened to almost anyone — Toys R Us forwarded the entire domain of Toys.com to ToysRUs.com without using 301 redirects, and, in turn, Google de-indexed all of the Toys.com pages. It’s a fascinating story in and of itself, and one you can read about here.The lesson here? Be sure you preserve your SEO whenever going through a redesign. Here are a few more useful resources to help you make sure SEO is top of mind in your redesign.Learn the different types of redirects.There are a handful of different types of redirects you can use if you’re moving your pages from one web address to another. Search Engine People and Moz both have useful posts on the differences between these redirects. Search Engine People’s post is a bit more straightforward while the one by Moz is a bit more comprehensive.Discover other SEO strategies.There’s more to SEO than just the redirect. A website redesign offers you an opportunity to map out your content to really rank for certain keywords. Search Engine Land has a helpful post about building a keyword strategy in the context of a larger website redesign.Use an on-page SEO template.When you’re ready, HubSpot has a free on-page SEO planning template you can use to track all of your work and ensure all of your loose ends are tied down for the redesign.Planning Your Design and ContentOptimize your site for mobile.Mobile optimization is an essential part of creating an excellent visitor experience, driving conversions, and even ranking on search engine results. Make sure that any redesign includes a plan for mobile optimization. You can see how your current site looks on mobile devices here and learn the differences between mobile approaches here. Carefully plan your design.There is plenty of great advice out there on website design. Probably the most comprehensive is this post by Smashing Magazine, which covers everything from about-us pages, to 404s, to breadcrumbs, to calls-to-action. Some other great resources you can check out:Get inspired by looking at different homepage examples.Get scientific (sort of) through KISSmetrics’ Anatomy of an Effective Homepage Infographic.Understand your essential homepage elements.Learn why you don’t have to worry about the infamous website “fold” in this KISSMetrics post.Write your content.Words matter. A beautiful design and compelling words work together to make your site memorable and deliver your company’s unique value. I scoured the web to find some practical advice on moving your web copy from good to great.Get an overview of writing for web: This quick course in copywriting by Smashing Magazine is a nice primer in some of the concepts behind good copywriting.Don’t make it all about you: This Unbounce post explains some of the common pitfalls of company-centric website copy. Make a clear case for the problem that your company will solve for customers.Determine your value proposition: Different than a slogan or a tagline, your value proposition explains to prospective customers how your company will advance their goals. This post will walk you through a few steps to identify and communicate your value proposition.Choosing a Content Management System  A website redesign is probably the best timing for assessing your current content management system and trying to decide if you are happy or want to move to a different platform. You’re starting over from scratch, so you have the opportunity to consider all the facets of the way you market online.To determine the best platform for you, think about your core needs. Would it be better for all of your marketing tools to be integrated into one platform or are you ok with separate tools? Is mobile optimization important to you? Do you have a designer to work on your site or need pre-made templates?  One of the best ways to get to know the different platforms available is to take a look at review sites. There are a number of review sites around, but a few newer sites are doing a good job with crowd-sourcing reviews from actual users. Take a look at TrustRadius or G2Crowd to compare vendors. If Salesforce integration is important to you, you’ll also want to check out the reviews on its app exchange.Of course, we’re happy to talk with you about HubSpot’s content optimization system to help you determine if it’s a fit for your redesign. 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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Not Generating Enough Leads From Your Website? Here Are 7 Easy Fixes

first_img Originally published Apr 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 In order to build a robust database of leads for you or your sales team that you can reach out to at any time, you need to get people to sign up for something on your website — an ebook, a whitepaper, a webinar, a newsletter, a blog subscription, etc. But there are certain mistakes you might be making that are keeping people from signing up.Here are the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make on their websites that are hindering their lead gen progress:1) You didn’t put your great offer behind a form.Have you ever poured your heart and soul into creating several ebooks or whitepapers, uploaded them to your website, and linked to all the PDFs from a single “Resources” page?Don’t pretend to look all innocent.Don’t worry — if this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. When many marketers first begin their inbound marketing journeys, they’re told to create remarkable content … but not what to DO with that content. So after you create your fabulous content, the next logical thing to do is to publish this content to your website. But once people download and enjoy your content, how will you follow up with them? How will you know how many people downloaded your content? How will you make sure they know what to do next on your site?You can’t do any of those things if you just give your content away willy nilly. If you’ve been doing inbound marketing for a while and have tons of leads, you can strategically give away form-free content at specific points in the buyer’s journey. But in most cases, you should make website visitors fill out a form on a landing page to get your awesome content. That way, you can follow up with them, know how many new leads you’ve acquired, and will be able to show them the next step to take via a confirmation page.2) You didn’t make your landing pages … interesting.You might think the ebook you slaved over for a month is a brilliant masterpiece with secrets that will revolutionize how your prospects think of your industry. And hey, maybe it is. But if your landing page isn’t interesting, your website visitors won’t care to fill out your form and bask in its brilliance.The worst landing pages are those with no images, dense paragraphs of text, and long forms. Think of how busy you are day-to-day. Do you have time to read tons of text and carefully weigh the pros and cons of filling out a long form in order to get … wait, what’s the offer again?You don’t have time. Your prospects don’t have time.Make your copy punchy and short. Add an enticing image of your offer. Keep your form as short as possible.3) It’s not obvious what the offer is on your landing page.There are certain elements of a landing page that should SCREAM what the offer is:The headlineThe image of the offerThe call-to-action text above the formGo to one of your landing pages in a new tab right now and check out these three elements. If any of them do not indicate what the offer actually is, or if any of these are missing, you have work to do.4) Your form is too long.If your form is too long, you’ll dissuade people from taking the time to fill it out, even if they genuinely wanted to get whatever you’re offering. Time is valuable, and people are inherently lazy when it comes to completing long forms. If you are offering something for people who currently know nothing about your business, perhaps First Name, Last Name, and Email Address are enough.On the other hand, you might have a good reason to include many form fields. You might get so many leads that you need extra fields to:Qualify leads. The answers in each field might help you determine lead quality, and which you should reach out to.Assign leads to reps. The organization of your sales team might depend on some of the criteria as determined by answers in your form fields, such as location or company size.Obviously, this is a good problem to have, but until you do get a high volume of leads, keep your forms short and let lead nurturing email campaigns do the lead qualifying for you.5) Your form is broken.Always test your form after you create your landing page. Always. So many times, I’ve come across landing pages that didn’t properly redirect to a confirmation page after clicking “Submit.” This also means that my contact information probably didn’t make it to their lead database. 6) You left “submit” as the submit button text.All text on your landing page is an opportunity to convince your visitors that they should fill out the form and get whatever it is you’re offering. Leaving “submit” as the submit button text on your form is a missed opportunity. You should customize this copy based on whatever the offer is.Here are some examples:Download this ebookSign me up for a demoShow me this presentationClaim your couponSave your seatThose are all much more enticing calls-to-action than “submit.”7) You forgot to add CTAs to your website.Your landing page may look fabulous, but it won’t matter if your website visitors can’t even find it! Here are some places you should include call-to-actions (CTAs) leading to your landing pages:Your homepageYour blog’s sidebarThe bottom of each blog post (possibly as a slide-in CTA)Each of your product/service description pagesYour about us pageYour pricing pageWant to share this post? Here’s a ready-made email:Click here to send this email to your colleagues now:Subject line: Are we making any of these mistakes on our website?Message: Check out this article I found: 7 Biggest Mistakes Keeping You From Getting Leads On Your Website – http://hub.am/1iuERDw Are we making any of these mistakes? What can we do to get more leads from our website? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Lead Generation Topics:last_img read more

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Everybody Loves Zombies? How the Undead Helped Build a Burger Empire

first_img Topics: Originally published Oct 24, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 My boss was in Des Moines, Iowa a couple weeks ago, and sent me this message:Subj: Zombie BurgerBringing you the menu from that zombie burger place. Such a cool content story. The co-owner’s childhood dream was to one day open a zombie themed restaurant. Three years in they’ve sold 1 million burgers! There is always a wait. Always.Took photos of artwork. We should write about them.Between you and me, he had me at zombies, but the “one million” certainly piqued my interest. What is this place? (Zombie Burger + Drink Lab in Des Moines, IA.) How’d they make it to one million burgers on a zombie theme? (Their food, branding & content had a lot to do with it.) And the burgers … they’re actually good? (Yep.) Like … really good? (Yeah, they have like 8,000 Facebook reviews raving about them.)I wanted to learn more. So I did what I always do when I want to learn more — Googled them — to see if I could get in touch with the owners. Along with finding their Facebook account with almost 50,000 Likes and glowing reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and UrbanSpoon, I found an email address on their crazy cool zombie-themed website and shot them a quick note to see if they’d be willing to talk. They responded in four minutes. I think I’m starting to get why these guys are killing it.I talked with the Paul Rottenberg, the co-founder of the restaurant, to learn more about their “zombie marketing strategy” and what’s made them so successful. Here’s what he had to say.Why zombies? Where’d the idea come from?The idea really started out by having the desire to do a chef-driven burger restaurant. My co-founder, Chef George Formaro, and I had done several upscale places, and we wanted to do a place that was more fun and casual. We talked a lot about what the theme would be, and my partner is a horror movie buff, so he wanted to do a horror theme originally. We looked at a number of places, and nothing turned up that we liked — but then when one did, George said he wanted to do a zombie place. This was 2009, so by the time we opened it looked like we were riding on The Walking Dead thing, but the idea started before it ever came out.So the zombie idea came from George. Were you equally enthusiastic about it?To tell you the truth, I had never even watched any movies about zombies. So when he told me about it, I started watching movies and documentaries and reading books. And I remained unconvinced we could carry the idea of great food and zombies — I was worried it might be a concept diners didn’t want to think about with their food. It took me about six months to sign on. In fact, on the original loan applications, I just called it a hamburger restaurant because I didn’t know how the bank would respond to a zombie-themed restaurant.But I eventually got sold on the idea. I was meeting with our third partner, Jeremy Reichart, telling him about the idea. He said he thought it was a great idea and we oughtta do it. I asked him, “Will you put up a third of the money?” And he said he would. When did you know your idea was a hit?Even before it opened. We got a ton of attention from the press and the public. Before we opened we had 5,000 Facebook Likes and won best hamburger restaurant in Des Moines.Before it opened?I know, it doesn’t seem fair does it? It just had so much top of mind awareness. On opening day, we were prepared to serve 800 burgers, and we sold out by 9:00 p.m. From the time the doors opened there was just a huge amount of interest.How does this restaurant differ from the other restaurants you’ve opened? Does it serve a different demographic for Des Moines?Well, it’s in a hip part of town. We thought it’d be a kitschy fun place for the cool, young demographic to hang out in. But it’s the broadest demographic of any business we’ve opened. From little kids to grandmas, white collar to blue collar, every walk of life. It’s universally appealing.Even something as polarizing as gore and horror?Yeah, it’s weird, isn’t it? I had my first inkling I was going down the right path when I went to file some paperwork and had to write down the name. The lawyer said, “Oh, that’ll be great. My son is reading about zombies, we love zombies.” And then my friends, who are quite a bit more conservative than me, said they watch zombie movies all the time — another friend of mine said, “My first date was a George Romero movie!”It looks like you took that interest and ran with it. The zombie theme pervades everything — from the menu to the decor to the artwork.Developing a zombie burger facility and space was a real exercise in marrying blood and gore content with food. It was a challenge to figure out how to tell that story without offending people. To help with that, the original concept was that zombies were outside — that you’re boarded up in this tavern — and then Ron Wagner, a comic book artist that did the murals, created a story about the apocalypse happening outside.Once we opened, though, it got edgier and edgier because customers said we could do more.So the customers played a role in the story’s development?Absolutely. After that we added Frank, the zombie mannequin, and a ton of other things because there was a demand to kick it up a notch. It got edgier and gorier because the customer said to do more.From a business standpoint, we say it’s good to start with a good idea — but to be successful you have to listen to what the customers want you to be. We call it “Food that doesn’t try to be smarter than the customer.” George could be a chef at a 5-star restaurant anywhere, but he likes putting out food that makes people feel good.You’ve got over 8,000 reviews on Facebook, nearly 50,000 Likes, over 8,000 Twitter followers. Tell me about how that social media presence grew — did the zombie theme just make it happen, or did you work at it?It was a combination of work and natural interest. I believe once you get up into the high numbers, it becomes exponential. People come to us now with things they want to do together — for example, a guy that draws zombie comics wants to get some eyes on that, and we’re a natural place for him to show his talents.Who runs the social media accounts?All our accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are managed in-house with much of the content coming from the chef, Tom McKern, and Karen Davis. Tom runs the kitchen as our executive chef, and he’s just an incredibly funny guy. Karen is our general manager and has a long history in the entertainment industry — she was the manager of a chain that does a combination of beer, food, and movies. So they’ve both got a good sensibility about what will work on social.So they’re responsible for the #zbbasicbitch account on Twitter?[Laughs] That’s one of our burgers … I think they were doing a hashtag with that, but did they start an account?Yeah, a follower tweeted the account — @zbbasicbitch — and tagged @ZombieBurgerDM. Tom did a #basicbitch burger that was a spoof on the pumpkin spice thing. That was one of the #TweakedOutThursday burgers. I bet it was Tom that did it, I’ll have to ask him, but I guess it could have been anyone — these things just kind of build on themselves.It sounds like most of your customers would probably find that funny, but then again, you serve a really wide demographic. Do you care if stuff like that offends people? How do you decide what’s too edgy?Yeah, I do care. And I probably represent the most conservative of the sensibilities. We had a meeting about naming this burger. Tom talked about the idea and I can’t remember what the original name was, but it was even edgier, and we decided that might be too far. When we released it, most people got it and thought it was funny.Did anyone complain?We got one complaint. But even she said she loved the restaurant, just didn’t like the name. I think our restaurant has been able to develop a relationship with its customer base that’s kind of edgy, so I’m careful not to rein in those guys too much. Tom avidly studies social and is aware of the latest trends, so I’m careful not to stifle his creativity — we’ve had some big successes because of those ideas.What are some of those successes that came from being creative and current?We did an Undead Hasselhoff burger. It got picked up all over the world. Germany loved it.When Jim Gaffigan was in town, Tom started tweeting with him, and Jim answered him. Tom said he was going to create an Undead Gaffigan burger when he was in town, and asked him what he wanted on it. Jim said he wanted bacon, cheddar, white bread, five patties (he’s got five kids), and jalapenos. The burger ended up being featured in his latest book.You’ve clearly got some creative people on staff — is one of them responsible for writing the zombie newspaper stories on the back of the menu, too?George’s brother Tom Formaro — not the chef, a different Tom — is a locally-based writer and he writes those. He just wrote a book called The Broken Heart Diet. He’s hysterically funny. We try to change them a few times a year, and we’ll build on whatever is current in the season. For instance, in 2016 we’ll have the Iowa caucuses, so in that menu edition we’ll likely write stories that spoof on the candidates.Will you take any position, politically?We’ll steer clear of taking any political positions. We’ve got customers who are radically liberal and radically conservative who love the restaurant equally — and love zombie movies.Who knew zombies were the great equalizer?I think the reason zombies work is it just seems okay to hurt zombies. You know, cuz they’re dead already.But first and foremost, what we want to do is just build a better burger restaurant. Every item we send out is made by our team — so if we’ve got breaded jalapenos, we’ve made them there. We have the machinery to grind the burgers and cut the fries. Because people wouldn’t come back if the food wasn’t good. When you’ve got 50,000 people talking about your burgers on Facebook, it can go both ways — you’ve gotta win the conversation with a good product if you’re going to make those conversations work for you.So the brand and the product are inextricable?No question. The food needed to work, the environment needed to tell the story, and it needed to be a comfortable, functional restaurant. You could just have one or two of those things, but it blew up because it had all of those. All of those things had to happen.Artwork from Zombie Burger + Drink Lab restaurant. Marketing Case Studies 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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