HC admits plea of Ram Rahim challenging conviction

first_imgThe Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday admitted the appeal filed by Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is serving 20-years jail sentence, challenging his conviction by the special Central Bureau of Investigation in two counts of rape of female followers.A division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal while admitting the appeal issued issued notice to the CBI.Ram Rahim’s lawyer, S.K. Garg Narvana pleaded before the court that in the wake of all the Dera properties having been attached, his client was not in a position to pay ₹30 lakh – the amount which the CBI court has asked to pay as a fine to the rape survivors. “Also my client – Gurmeet Ram Rahim has renounced the world,” he said.The court, however, directed Ram Rahim to deposit the compensation amount, within two months at a nationalised bank in the CBI Panchkula court’s name. The court said that the amount will be kept in the bank till the case is pending and would be paid only after the court’s direction.last_img read more

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On his birthday, Mulayam reveals interest in Delhi

first_imgNot just Uttar Pradesh, focus on capturing power in Delhi as well: this was the advice Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh gave to party workers and leaders as he entered the 81st year of his life on Thursday. While his public appearances have decreased over the past one year, party workers still look up to the Yadav patriarch as a guiding light and a potential prime ministerial candidate, especially as the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha election approaches.Mr. Singh has in the past made his PM aspirations known to all.“Yours eyes must be set on Delhi. Delhi is everything, keep that in mind… You must resolve to create such a situation that no government can be formed in Delhi without the SP,” Mr. Singh told a gathering at the party office on the occasion of his birthday.The SP founder even asked party workers to organise public meetings for him at the local level so that he could join in the campaign.Mr. Singh reflected on his career and how the SP formed the government in Uttar Pradesh four times and become part of the Centre twice, despite being underestimated as a “party of one district”.However, he said that “some leaders” broke away from the party after creating strife and causing damage, and now it was up to the youth to unite and strengthen the party ahead of 2019. Mr. Singh did not name any leader, though it could be speculated if he was referring to his younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav who, after a long family feud, especially with his nephew Akhilesh Yadav, formed a separate outfit recently. Akhilesh and Shivpal, however, have been locked in battle to claim Mulayam’s political legacy. The patriarch has so far enacted a balancing game.While SP leaders cut a cake and celebrated his birthday at the party headquarters, his son Akhilesh, along with his daughter and son, called upon him to wish him, before he headed out to campaign in Madhya Pradesh. “He taught us all to walk on Gandhiji’s path of truth and non-violence and to follow Lohiaji’s principle that in order to defeat the evil, we must first recognise it, and that trust is the biggest asset of human relationships,” Mr. Akhilesh tweeted.On the other hand, Shivpal Yadav’s party organized a session on “Socialism and Secularism” in Lucknow, while he himself attended a ‘dangal’ (wrestling contest) organized in Safai as tribute to his elder brother. Mr. Singh is a former wrestler. Saifai is the native village of the Yadavs in Etawah district.last_img read more

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FIFA 2014: German team that lifted the World Cup is emblematic of a country that has shed its horrid past

first_imgGerman players celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup.Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s,German players celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup.Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s heroine, Maria, thinks she has lost her husband at war, becomes the darling of a victorious American GI, kills him when the husband returns alive from the front, becomes the mistress of a wealthy industrialist as the German economy recovers, inherits his fortune in the 1950s and is set to be reunited with her first husband and about to live a life of luxury when she is suddenly killed in a gas explosion at her home.The explosion is the final scene of the film, and as the credits run one can hear football commentary for the 1954 World Cup final where West Germany won their first championship. ‘Deutshland ist Weltmeister’ screams the delirious commentator-while in the shot we see Maria Braun’s home go up in flames, her short life with all its sad secrets over, a new country reborn which can forget about the sins and complications of the past, rising again on the wings of the Wirtschaftswunder, ‘the German economic miracle’. In Germany, the World Cup is always about much more than just football.Germany first fancied themselves with a shot at the World Cup in 1938. After Adolf Hitler’s Anschluss of Austria excellent Austrian players were incorporated into a ‘Greater Germany’ team (though perhaps the greatest Austrian player of all, Matthias Sindelar, refused to take part in the Hitler-Mannschaft [football team] and went on to commit suicide in 1939). As with other areas of Nazi sports, the German football team had a strong ideological dimension, meant to prove Aryan superiority over inferior races. However, the German team had only managed fourth place in the 1934 World Cup, and were knocked out by minnows Norway in the 1936 Olympics. 1938 was meant to right all this-only for the Germans to draw 1-1 in their opening game against the Swiss in their first game, and then humiliatingly knocked out 4-2 in the replay.advertisementBut the tournament had some solace for fascism: Benito Mussolini’s Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in the final to win their second World Cup on the trot (football was much more important to Mussolini than Hitler, who saw more value in boxing and individual sports).West Germany were barred from taking part in the 1950 World Cup, and the 1954 edition was the first time the national anthem was played at an international sporting event since the War (though the stanza about ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ was cut). In the final, the German team were expected to be defeated by the all-conquering Hungarian team lead by the greatest player of his generation, Ferenc Puskas; the Hungarians had already thrashed them in a qualifying round. But after the Hungarians streamed ahead 2-0, the Germans pulled the game back to 2-2. They had no stars like Puskas but the weather was on their side: it was raining heavily and the Germans had the advantage, thanks to a new type of boot with innovative screw-in studs designed by a little-known company called Adidas. The Germans scored again after the break, and Puskas had a late equaliser ruled out for off-side. In Germany the match became known as the ‘Miracle of Bern’, the triumphant sporting symbol of Germany’s ‘Economic Miracle’. West Germany’s next World Cup Final win came in 1974 when they again managed to get the better of the greatest player of his generation, Holland’s Johan Cruyff, with a tenacious team display. But the most important political game in the 1974 World Cup had actually come in the first round, when West Germany played East Germany in a showdown between Communism and Capitalism. The tournament was overshadowed by the Cold War: the USSR had dropped out after refusing to take part in a match against a Chile where the US-allied General Augusto Pinochet had just ousted the Soviet sympathetic Salvador Allende in a coup d’etat; there was intense security as Germany was terrorised by the ultra left group Rote Armee Fraktion. The West Germans were clear favourites in their game: they were European Champions, with a core from the European Champions Cup-winning team of Bayern Munich, captained by Franz Beckenbauer. But the East Germans managed to frustrate their Western ‘brothers’ and won the match 1-0. Both teams had qualified for the next round by that point-but it was still a great moment for East German pride.advertisementThroughout the Cold War decades the West German team was one of the few ways Germans could confidently express their patriotism without feeling WW II awkwardness, and with Germany essentially barred from the geopolitical scene it became not so much a continuation of politics as its substitution. The West German team that evolved towards the end of the Cold War was everything Germany could never dare to be in diplomacy: Teutonic, powerful, self-confident. They peaked in 1990, in time with the West’s victory in the Cold War, with the man-machine Lothar Matthaus leading a Valkyrian team to beat Argentina: the losers again featuring the world’s greatest player, Diego Maradona, who like Cruyff and Puskas before him, could not conjure a victory against the less spectacular but more united Germans.1990 was the high water mark of West German postwar success. After the two Germanies were reunited, both the economy and the national team were expected to become superpowers: an idea that made many surrounding countries uncomfortable. Were we about to see a re-emergence of bad, bullying Germany? Instead the German economy slowly slumped, dragged down by costs of paying for the East and a burdensome welfare state. The team dwindled too: they reached the 2002 World Cup Final by luck and were easily blown away by Brazil. It was as if a reunified Germany was almost scared of being too successful and overbearing.Slowly, since 2004, a new German team has been reemerging. Except it’s a different type of Germany, not Aryan at all but made good with immigrants like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose. By winning the 2014 World Cup with such a globalised team, the demons of 1938 have been put to bed (though some things never change: again a unified German team beat the world’s best player, Lionel Messi). This globalised Germany is one which the nation can back with no remnants of Nazi hangups, it becomes acceptable to be patriotic as the patria (homeland) becomes less German. And at the same time Germany has re-emerged as the superpower of Europe. Except it’s no longer a case of other countries wanting to hold them back: “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,” Radek Sikorski said in 2011, as he hoped for Germany to be more assertive in the Eurozone crisis, and as he no doubt hopes now that Berlin will stand up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Germany is reclaiming its geopolitical status, but that will mean letting go of some of the benefits of being diplomatically neutral- such as being able to do business with everyone and never thinking of the geopolitical responsibilities (the German business lobby is the most involved in Putin’s Russia, is among his greatest supporters and has been vocal in stopping Berlin from sanctioning the Kremlin). Let’s just hope German Chancellor Angela Merkel is as good at her job as its football team’s coach Joachim Low is at his.advertisementlast_img read more

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Are You Tuned In? Marketing Insights From An Amazon Bestseller

first_img do Originally published Jul 2, 2008 9:13:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 on September 8 in Cambridge, MA. :  Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs Seems I’m not the only one that liked the book.  “Tuned In” climbed the charts to #1 last week and is New Rules of Marketing and PR .  That’s impressive. David recently co-authored a new book: 16.  Ask yourself:  Is the problem you are solving urgent?  Is it pervasive in the market?  Are buyers willing to pay to have this problem solved? For those that follow this blog, you know we’re big fans of David Meerman Scott.  We think his best-selling book ” David Meerman Scott useful 12.  Nothing important happens in the office; the answer you’re looking for is outside your building.  Go talk to potential buyers. you increase your chances of building a runaway success of a business?  in the Amazon Top 100 bestsellers.  Not in the business category, but 15.  Data trumps opinion every time. 1.  The tuned in company constantly listens, observes, and understands the problems that buyers are willing to pay money to solve. So, my advice is to go read ” 13.  Don’t use your salespeople for conducting buyer interviews.  Great sales people are great at sales — not necessarily figuring out what How In the meantime, I have captured some of the key points from the book that I found particularly useful.  Apologies if some of them don’t make the most sense out of context (did the best I could while still being reasonably pithy). 6.  Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.  8.  Communicate directly with your potential customers.  It’s hard to get “tuned in” if there’s someone in the middle. .  And, it addresses a question I have struggled with for years:  will Tuned In 5.  Existing customers frame their view of your future based on incremental improvements to their 2.  From the makers of the market-leading “Victor” brand of mouse-trap on the failure of a new “better mouse-trap” they launched to beat the Victor:  “We should have spent more time researching housewives, and less time researching mice.” Tuned In Building A “Tuned In” Business 18.  Tuned in companies think like a publisher and create compelling online content. speak live at the Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Inbound Marketing Summit 11.  Semantics can make a difference.  Disney does not build rides, it “creates adventures”.  It calls employees “cast members”.  They wear “costumes”, not uniforms.  They serve “guests”, not customers.  3.  Focusing on your competitors is a tit-for-tat game that rarely produces a market leader.  4.  Your existing customers represent a small percentage of your opportunity, they have different market problems than non-customers.  “. sell.  14.  Absent any real data, conference rooms are just full of opinions. experiences. You can see still 7.  Don’t assume that because you’re an expert in a market or industry you know more than your buyers about how your product can solve their problems. overall 10.  You don’t have to be the first to identify a market opportunity.  The founders of Intuit (makers of Quicken) joke about having had the 47th mover advantage. 17.  It is too easy to build marketing programs around what the organization wants to say rather than what the buyer wants to hear. If you’ve read the book or have comments on some of the above points, please leave a comment and extend the conversation.  — ” is a must-read for all modern marketing mavens.  past I had the opportunity to review an early draft of the book several months ago (I read it on my last trip to Mumbai, India).  It was riveting.  And, I’m not just saying that because David is an advisor to HubSpot (which he is) or because he mentioned HubSpot in the book (which he did — thanks David!) but because the book is insightful and 9.  Most businesses try to buy their way in with expensive advertising or beg their way in by convincing media to write about them.  Be different.  Say something useful and interesting.last_img read more

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5 Marketing Lessons From the First Inbound Marketing University

first_img Download HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University online training program IMU includes 11 free webinar classes and note sheets . The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam. Earlier this summer HubSpot, along with ten fantastic professors and eight stellar partner organizations , hosted the first Inbound Marketing University .This free series of 11 webinar classes helped folks make professional contacts, find new job opportunities, and learn skills to better themselves at their current marketing jobs.In total, we provided 13,000 hours of free class time, 1,000 people took an inbound marketing certification exam at the end of the classes, and there are now 500 Inbound Marketing Certified Professionals around the world. In the process of organizing IMU, I learned a series of new marketing lessons myself. Here are a few of the most important ones: 1) Partner with stellar organizations to increase promotional reach. When we started organizing the class topics for the program, we contacted the best-of-the-best for each subject. By inviting thought leaders on each topic, the program had the best possible content, increasing program value. Partners valued the opportunity to internact with a large audience passionate about marketing, and helped expand this audience with their own networks. 2) Do everything you can to enable interaction among participants. We did this by creating a hashtag ( #IMU ), setting up a ” Student Bulletin Board ,” and encouraging people to ask and answer questions in the InboundMarketing.com Forums . We also wanted to add value by helping them grow their own networks, while creating a resource where folks could ask questions and help each other out. 3) Have personal contact with your community. I feel like I personally got to know a lot of the folks who participated in IMU, and they got to know me. Adding a personal touch added to the community and enhanced the experience overall. In the event that people had feedback, questions or wonderful compliments, they felt comfortable enough to tell me directly. 4) Listen and integrate your participant’s ideas. A few days into the first program, a handful of folks mentioned on Twitter that they would love a LinkedIn group exclusive to IMU students and alumni , which was something I hadn’t even considered! Folks also chimed in with great feedback on how to improve the PDF certificate. Thanks to the great suggestions from the first class, IMU2 should be even better. 5) Offer an opportunity for participants to learn about your company, but don’t push it. At the end of the first IMU program, we invited students to another webinar that taught how folks could implement their new inbound marketing skills with the HubSpot software . Some attended the webinar; some sent the invitation along to a friend; and some appreciated the invitation but chose to pass. Very few found the invitation pushy. They already knew that we had organized and provided IMU, and they appreciated the value the program gave them. That’s true inbound marketing! And now I invite you to attend the new IMU2 program yourself! Visit http://www.inboundmarketing.com/university to register for the new live webinars and/or take the inbound marketing certification exam.IMU2 will include two fantastic new classes — one taught by Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications and one by Laura (@ Pistachio) Fitton, co-author of Twitter for Dummies . (You also can catch up on the webinars from IMU1 anytime you want .) So, what do you think? What marketing lessons have you learned–or would you like to learn–from Inbound Marketing University? Free Inbound Marketing University Online Training Program Originally published Aug 5, 2009 8:01:00 AM, updated October 20 2016center_img 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 Achieve Inbound Marketing Success in Less Than a Month

first_imgIf you’re new to she could offer as a free download on Ethical Impact’s website. With a landing page, anonymous website visitors could drop their contact information in exchange for a relevant educational offer provided by Ethical Impact. inbound marketing educational resources , she learned blogging best practices. free HubSpot trial Ethical Impact Marketing Takeaway Adam Enbar Originally published Mar 4, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Kathryn had been blogging for years on WordPress but wasn’t seeing any business results. Using her Gaining the Knowledge to Make Use of the Tools Now that she had the offer available, she needed to send some traffic to the landing page. To do this, she added a call-to-action button on her homepage and did an email campaign to drive more visitors to the landing page. , she moved her existing blog articles over to HubSpot and started writing new articles automatically optimized for her best keywords. Using the Kathryn said, HubSpot trial , it may seem daunting to transform your marketing practices. Where do you start? How soon can you see results? I had a chance to chat with Kathryn Alexander of Ethical Impact, a recent HubSpot customer who used the While she had tried a variety of tools, what she needed was the knowledge of inbound marketing best practices and how to use tools like blogs and landing pages to her benefit. Step 2: Create a Landing Page Kathryn had an idea for a Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: is a small business providing strategic planning, consulting, auditing, and certification for businesses implementing sustainable business practices. Kathryn, the company’s owner and founder, was looking for a way to simply deliver results for her business. She was not generating leads through her website and didn’t know how to make the transition from the traditional marketing methods she had been doing for years. A Small Business Looking for Results Results: 16% Conversion Rate and 12 New Leads! By sending traffic to a landing page with an educational offer, Ethical Impact was able to generate 12 new leads in less than a month! On top of that, Kathryn saw a 76% improvement in their web traffic ranking, showing Ethical Impact was growing both traffic and leads. Since then, Kathryn has continued to blog, create new landing pages and offers and capture even more inbound leads! Step 1: Optimize the Blog whitepaper Step 3: Add a Call-to-Action it was figuring out what to do and making the transition from outbound to inbound marketing. So, don’t hesitate – start blogging and creating landing pages and promoting them on your website. Ethical Impact wasn’t generating leads through their website before and in fewer than 30 days she was able to turn that around and get the website to work for her! available to HubSpot customers and trialers, along with the great help of her inbound marketing specialist, to achieve success in fewer than 30 days. Blog Optimization It’s not accomplishing these marketing goals that’s difficult,last_img read more

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How to Be a Better Community Manager w/ @DJWaldow [@InboundNow #30]

first_img . He’s launched Project Awesome, a social media experiment to find a new job opportunity. *photo credit to EmailStatCenter.com Topics: In this episode, we chat about: Email marketing takeaways he has gained over the years A community manager needs to know how to communicate Tips on Growing your email list Community managers also have to be able to respond well to a crisis and be comfortable being on the front lines. his blog DJ is the former Director of Community at Blue Sky Factory. He’s also worked at Bronto, an email service provider. He’s a professional speaker in the social media and email marketing industry and an all around nice guy. Enjoy this episode? Check out the other 29 here. If you’re making the commitment to have an active Twitter account, Facebook page, LinkedIn company profile, etc, then it’s time to hire someone to manage those things because you need to be all-in when it comes to social media. People can tell when you’re not making the effort (e.g., haven’t tweeted in a month). Growing Your Email list and Community Management Tips with DJ Waldow For the full transcript of the show head here: Connect With DJ Online Project Awesome Also consider how relevant your emails are to subscribers, and the timeliness of those emails. Always keep in mind what is valuable to subscribers (not just what you think is valuable). It should be a mix of marketing and educational content. . Project Awesome! There are two big things that drive the open of an email. The first is an appealing email subject (something to catch the eye of the person who’s scanning their inbox), and the second is knowing and trusting the sender. The response has been impressive, with over 6,000 views of his resume, over 600 views of the video, and over 60 people who have gotten in touch with DJ. ! A good email open rate depends on a lot of factors – if your list is segmented and targeted, if the email was just sent to the whole list, etc. The further out the person is on the purchase cycle (e.g., they haven’t bought from you in a year), the lower the email open rate. Improving Email Open Rates Only ask for essential information (email address, name, etc) from people. After people sign up, send them to a page that confirms their sign-up. Also, send them a confirmation email so they know they’re signed up. You can follow DJ on Twitter “I knew that I wanted to do write a blog post and say, ‘I’m available.’ I’ve seen people do that before. It’s interesting, but if you’re not hiring, who cares?” . Don’t hide your subscription form on your website. Make it plainly visible.center_img his interactive resume social media and inbound marketing podcast currently on the job hunt “You want to know the number one way to grow your list? It’s to put it on your website.” – whether that’s via writing, speaking, tweeting, blog posts, webinars, etc. You need to be able to hold intelligent conversations on a variety of platforms. Email Marketing Takeaways A good place to get email marketing statistics is “If your title has social media or community in it, you have to know how to communicate.” Growing Your Email List DJ is You should only send emails to people who want to receive them. These are people who have opted in and volunteered to engage with you this way, and who are excited about it. What it takes to manage a community DJ Waldow joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s “The number that we bat around a lot is 20% as an average open rate. If you’re above 20%, you’re probably doing better than average. Below, you may want to think about it.” How to improve email open rates Email Open Rates “I think the key really is to send timely, targeted, valuable emails to people who want them. It’s easy to say. It’s not necessarily easy to do.” CSpenn “The first thing is a subject line. The second thing is trust and knowing the sender.” @djwaldow What to think about when hiring a community manager and on He put together a video montage of recommendations from heavy-hitters (like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, and Peter Shankman). He created an interactive resume. He also created a voiceover of his resume and talked people through it. Being and Hiring a Community Manager Originally published Jul 21, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 . Also, check out Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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

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

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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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5 Surprising Studies on What People Consider “Good” Customer Service

first_img1. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel CompanySource: The Ritz-CarltonThe Ritz-Carlton’s service policies are so legendary, stories of satisfied customers have even made it into books — like this one.In it, customer experience expert and author John DiJulius describes the story of his stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel — when he unknowingly left something behind in his guest room.I left The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in such a rush for the airport that I forgot my laptop charger in my room. I planned to call when I got back into my office, but before I could, I received a next-day air package from The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. In it was my charger, with a note saying, ‘Mr. DiJulius, I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I am sure you need it, and, just in case, I sent you an extra charger for your laptop.” The note was signed by Larry K. Kinney, in Loss Prevention.'”If this customer service story sounds over-the-top good, it’s not. Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to exceptional customer service is so strong that any employee is independently authorized to spend up to $2,000 per day to improve guest experience. That’s right — whether an employee works at the reception desk, in the restaurant, or cleaning hotel rooms, they can independently decide to make a guest’s experience exceptional — as was the case in the example above.In an interview with Forbes, The Ritz-Carlton Group President and COO, Herve Humler, describes the organization’s key to making customer service so stellar: employee engagement. Humler noted,I believe in the power of recognition and empowerment leading to great employee engagement. And employee engagement is critical to guest engagement.”Ritz-Carlton is committed to excellent service, and its mission — “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” — serves to reinforce and promote employee engagement in their day-to-day work to look for moments when they can transform a customer’s experience.Customer Service Takeaway: Employee empowerment is critical to achieving good outcomes for your customers. The first step toward employee empowerment is engagement: Make customer service part of your mission, and make your mission a part of everything your organization does. Then, structure and incentivize your team so employees can work independently to solve customer problems and think creatively.And if you don’t have $2,000 per day in your budget, you can still empower customer service reps with strategies like:Measuring qualitative and quantitative feedback, and not just how many cases or tickets they resolve in a given dayFreeing up employee time off the phones or the queue to conduct research, analyze data, create processes, or work on other projects to have greater impactDevote creative or monetary resources to helping employees create moments to delight your customer with handwritten thank-you notes, small swag gifts, or discount codes2. WistiaVideo Hosting for Business | WistiaOur friends over at Wistia — a video hosting and analytics platform — believe in the power of video to help tell company stories. And that isn’t just restricted to marketing videos and social media content — Wistia uses videos to provide great customer service, too.Wistia team members create personalized how-to videos and individualized thank-you notes to help customers and demonstrate how to use different aspects of the software using a visual medium.It makes sense for a video hosting brand to use videos when helping customers, but it’s also helpful for the customers themselves, too. As Harper, a Customer Happiness team member at Wistia says,When it comes to communicating technical concepts or processes, videos are the best.””Even if I can explain something clearly with words,” he says, “it’s totally different to be able to show someone how few steps it takes to get from point A to point B. Realistically, eyes will gloss over a wall of text.”That’s how Wistia has seen such success in achieving good customer service — by showing, rather than telling, customers how to troubleshoot, they can learn more effectively and remember solutions better than reading an email or hopping on a phone call.Customer Service Takeaway: Don’t feel restricted to phone calls to provide exceptional customer service. Instead, use technology to deliver support in the medium that makes the most sense. Tools like screenshots, GIFs, and videos can go a long way toward explaining a tricky concept, and they don’t need to be fancy to work. Tools like Jing, Awesome Screenshot, LICEcap, QuickTime Player, and even your own smartphone or webcam can be used to create helpful resources customers can refer to again and again.And, of course, if you’re a HubSpot customer, you can integrate with Wistia to create and host video using its neat software.3. Warby ParkerSource: Warby ParkerDisclaimer: I wear Warby Parker glasses.But I’m not the only who favors the brand — Warby Parker has revolutionized the pricey glasses industry and made itself a beloved brand, thanks to its affordable frames and home try-on program.One of Warby Parker’s most famous customer service stories is a very unique case: A customer abandoned a pair of glasses on a train and got home to find his glasses and a replacement pair waiting for him — thanks to his seatmate on the train, former Warby Parker General Counsel, Anjail Kumar.Source: ForbesThis is fantastic customer service — but it’s obviously hard to replicate on an everyday basis. Some of the bigger customer service lessons can be drawn from Warby Parker’s mission and business model.Upon arriving at Warby Parker’s website, visitors can immediately take a quiz — which is a) fun, and b) get customers excited about the variety of glasses types they can choose from. From there, visitors can browse the selection of frames, and they can choose five options to try on, free of charge, at home. From there, customers can completely customize frames and lenses to suit their needs — all the while saving money compared to a traditional eyeglasses retailer.All of these options make customers loyal — and not only do they keep buying, but they recommend Warby Parker to friends: When Warby Parker sends customers glasses to try on, they recommend sharing selfies on Instagram using the hashtag #WarbyParkerHomeTryOn to get opinions (and, of course, to spread the word with friends).Customer Service Takeaway: Everyone likes options — especially when it comes to fashion. Give your customers options — from the first moment they interact with your brand. Whether this means creating interactive quizzes, offering free demos or trials, or sending backup products, give customers a chance to “try on” your products and learn more about you.If policy decisions are outside of your pay grade, give people options when you’re on the customer service front lines.Ask customers how they like to be contacted, and provide service in the mode that works best for them.Decide with customers if they want to be proactively contacted on a regular basis, or if they want to reach out to you when they need help.It’s nice to have options — so use technology and be flexibility to provide them to customers.4. BasecampSource: BasecampI recently heard from Kristin Aardsma, who works in customer support at Basecamp, at Support Driven’s SDX 2017. She spoke about Basecamp’s customer support team — more specifically, how the team readjusted how it measured success to reduce employee stress and turnover and achieve better outcomes for customers.Part of Basecamp’s solution to solving for the customer and making sure it could staff its customer support team to capacity was creating time in the workday for research, innovation, and creativity. To that end, customer support reps spend two hours per day off the phone lines and away from the queue — and they re-dedicate that time toward other projects. Employees have more opportunities for company-wide impact by collecting research, analyzing data, identifying patterns and trends, and working on projects and processes to achieve better results.Two hours per day, or 10 hours per week, might sound like a lot, but it paid off for Basecamp. Employees weren’t burning out due to overload and stress, and Basecamp wasn’t over capacity and unable to solve customer problems because team members were happier.Customer Service Takeaway: Time spent away from the queue isn’t time wasted — so make sure to dedicate time during your week to identifying patterns, analyzing data, and creating processes to work more efficiently. When you’re burning through tickets or on the phones non-stop all day, it can be hard to step away, but front-line customer service insights and feedback can help your organization, so make sure to collect and share them.Dedicate time each week to reviewing what went wrong, what went well, feedback you receive from customers, and common themes you can identify and surface to your team. You’ll be able to do your job better and help others improve, too.5. GlossierSource: GlossierSkincare and makeup brand Glossier is hailed as an industry disruptor for preaching “skincare first, makeup second,” but its customer-centric business model and customer service team are disruptive, too.CEO and co-founder Emily Weiss explains that she built Glossier around the crowdsourced opinions of real women about the beauty and skincare products they loved — and the ones they wanted, too. By reading and engaging with readers on her blog and on social media, she built a brand that was about affordable skincare and beauty products that made women feel good to use.And that social media savvy and crowdsourcing prowess hasn’t faded from view since Glossier has grown bigger and bigger — in fact, it’s still the guiding philosophy when Glossier brings new products to market, like when it launched its first sunscreen last year after calls from customers to create a product that wasn’t sticky and didn’t smell like sunblock. Weiss told Entrepreneur that she received “so many DMs from people on Instagram writing to say, ‘Thank you so much for listening; we’ve been waiting for this moment.'” Most of the products Glossier offers are made vegan and cruelty-free in another example of the brand listening to and immediately implementing customer feedback.Glossier’s customer service department, otherwise known as the gTEAM, are responsible for collecting and responding to customer comments and messages on social media, and creating individualized experiences with each engagement. Perhaps that’s why the team is a team within the marketing department, and why they’re called “editors” — because content creation is a big part of Glossier’s customer service strategy. With likes, retweets, emoji-decorated DMs, and blog posts, Glossier strives to make each piece of content engaging and authentic to the brand.For example, here’s an email I received from the gTEAM after making one of many recent purchases:The emails were clearly written by a real person, and they feature analytics and feedback tools to get quantitative numbers to support the qualitative feedback editors receive, too. This simple act of proactive outreach and help was helpful and memorable for me as a customer, and it ensured that Glossier would solve a problem I was having with the product before I got frustrated and complained.Customer Service Takeaway: It’s not enough to acknowledge and respond to every piece of incoming customer feedback if you’re not listening to what your customers are saying. Make sure you’re responding to customer feedback, but also make sure your team is identifying and communicating any recurring trends to your company’s leadership and product teams so you’re able to consistently meet customer expectations and fulfill their needs.6. LyftSource: LyftRide-hailing app Lyft succeeds in the customer service space by making its customers proud by putting its money where its mouth is toward values and causes customers truly care about.For example, Lyft recently announced its commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of the millions of car rides it provides every day by declaring all of its rides to be carbon neutral, thanks to its voluntary purchase of carbon offsets. According to Pew Research Center, majority populations in 40 countries rate climate change as a serious problem, and a median of 78% of people surveyed globally support the idea of limiting carbon emissions.And in 2017, Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in response to the introduction of an executive order that restricted immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States — and act a majority of Americans opposed. Lyft condemned the executive order, writing in an email to customers:”Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”Wherever you stand on these important issues, it’s undeniable that Lyft’s customers care about these topics all over the world. Lyft is doing work that’s important to its customers with initiatives like those described above, and Round Up & Donate, its program that lets customers round up the price of their rides and donate the extra change to the charitable organization of their choosing (the ACLU is one cause).Customer Service Takeaway: An important facet of customer service that can be difficult to measure is standing for the values that are important to your customers. Customers take pride in supporting businesses that represent them — and two-thirds of consumers thought it was important for brands to take a stance on social and political issues — so companies shouldn’t be afraid to serve customers in big-picture ways that make them proud to support them, which will encourage them to share and refer their friends and colleagues. Even if you don’t have the budget for a $1 million donation like Lyft, getting customers involved with and excited about fundraising and charity partnerships can go a long way towards fostering loyalty.7. Whirlaway SportsWhirlaway Sports is a running apparel and equipment store located in northern Massachusetts. It differentiates itself from competitors through its above-and-beyond customer service experience.  And, that’s not just my opinion. Facebook rated the company 4.8 out of five stars while Yelp gives it a five out of five-star rating. Here’s why Whirlaway Sports is different. They guide you through every step of the buyer’s journey. For example, I went there to purchase a pair of running shoes.Another disclaimer: I never purchase running shoes. I’m more of an athlete who begrudgingly chose running. So, when I needed a pair of shoes I went on Yelp and found Whirlaway Sports. The reviews didn’t let me down as I was greeted immediately as I walked into the store. I told them I needed shoes and they paired me with one of their running specialists. This rep knew his stuff. He asked me about my running style, where I ran, how often I would run. Then we talked about price range and brand preferences. They even had a high-tech foot scanner that analyzed my feet to match for potential inserts. It was clear that every step of the experienced was planned and detailed.And, to really go above-and-beyond, the rep knocked the price down because he knew the shoes I chose were going on sale the following week. He didn’t have to mention that, but it was clear he was focused on my goals, not getting me out of the store. Customer Service Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-billion-dollar company or a local business, your service should be consistent throughout the entire customer experience. Even though Whirlaway is a small business, they’ve made their mark through committing to the customer’s goals. This, in turn, produces loyal customer advocates who willingly refer new leads to the business. 8. LegoThere are many reasons why Lego has been around since the early 1930s, and customer service is definitely one of them. From the friendly staff to the painless self-service experiences, Lego has stood out with its product and service offerings.Ever order a Lego set and found that a tiny, yet instrumental piece was missing? Lego offers a missing-pieces service which delivers bricks that are accidentally left out during packaging. Additionally, when the piece is delivered it’s accompanied by a personalized apology from the company. This proactive customer service feature helps users overcome a common roadblock and prevent potential churn. Even if the piece was lost after packaging, Lego may still replace your order. Like with Luka Apps, who lost his toy during a shopping trip. He wrote this letter below and sent it to Lego’s customer service department. Source: Help ScoutAnd, probably while wiping a tear from their eyes, Lego’s customer service agent played along and sent this message in return. Source: Help ScoutCustomer Service Takeaway: With one free giveaway, Lego obtained two lifetime customers. Luka will obviously be thrilled with his new toys and will recall this experience whenever he thinks of Lego. But, Luka’s father will also remember this positive interaction and will probably spend more money with Lego in the future. By giving away some free products now, the company is investing in a profitable, long-term relationship down the road. This is how historic companies like Lego have been able to stay in business for decades. 9. Santa Cruz BicyclesSanta Cruz Bicycles manufactures and sells high-quality off-road bicycles. Its bikes are known for their high-performance and its customers deeply care about the technology that they’re riding. But, the bike’s performance isn’t the only feature that Santa Cruz customers love. They’re loyal to the company because its service and support teams match the quality of its products. Customers can trust that any problem they have with a bike will be solved swiftly and with excellent service. Kyle Harder, Santa Cruz Rider Support Lead, noted in an interview with HubSpot that, “What sets us apart as a company is that we want to deal with anyone that owns our product, regardless of where you bought it. If you have an issue with a Santa Cruz Bike and come to us with your issue, we’ll help you resolve your issue.”And, Kyle wasn’t just talking about problems with the bike. The company is also focused on removing long-term roadblocks from the customer experience. For example, when the business was first starting out, it experienced a sudden growth. Customers loved the bicycles and the demand for the product rose beyond what Santa Cruz’s service team could support. Agents were working tirelessly and the team’s email inbox nearly reached capacity. Recognizing this flaw in its service experience, Santa Cruz adopted customer service tools to aid its support team. Reps started recording data on customer issues and highlighted problems that were most common with their customer base. They created a shared inbox with an email alias so customers could easily contact the support team. They also created a customer feedback loop so they could collect and share customer reviews to the entire organization. Customer Service Takeaway: When your company experiences growth, it can sometimes create unexpected problems that pop up down the road. If these issues are left unchecked, they can become a detriment to the customer experience and halt your business’s success. Santa Cruz recognized a potential flaw and acted immediately. They adopted customer service tools to ease the pressure on its support team while simultaneously improving the customer experience. That way, reps weren’t being overworked and had the time and energy to provide excellent customer service. Additionally, Santa Cruz used its new tools to conduct reporting as well. This allowed the company to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction while its customer base continued to grow. Even though more customers were interacting with the business, each interaction still felt genuine and personalized because of the customer data Santa Cruz had gathered.To learn more about good customer service, read these customer service quotes next. Good Customer Service Examples The Ritz-Carlton Hotel CompanyWistiaWarby ParkerBasecampGlossierLyftWhirlaway SportsLego One bad customer service experience can swear you off a product forever.But one exceptional experience, on the other hand, can turn you into a lifelong and loyal brand advocate.Download Now: New Research on the State of Customer Service in 2019More than half of U.S. consumers express loyalty by recommending brands to family and friends, and almost half of those consumers stay loyal to those recommended brands. And brand loyalty is important — because almost half of consumers spend more with brands they’re loyal to.So, how can brands actually earn the loyalty of customers? How can customer service professionals consistently delight and empower customers so they not only keep coming back, but they refer family and friends to become customers, too? Customer Code: Creating a Company Customers Love from HubSpotTo answer this question, we’ve curated a list of B2B and B2C brands that are established as industry leaders — and that deliver exceptional customer service. And because no two brands are created equal, we’ve distilled lessons and wisdom from each story that any customer service professional or brand can apply to their own strategies today.But, before we dive into those examples, we need to set a baseline for what “good” customer service is. What is good customer service?Good customer service is different from company to company, but the key characteristics of good customer service include: a rapid response time to service requests, responding to all customer feedback (positive or negative), self-service help documents, and a frictionless process for getting in touch with support. In addition to the ones listed above, let’s break down the six most common characteristics of good customer service teams. 1. Rapid Response TimesCustomers are always looking for fast solutions. In fact, 66% of adults say that the most important thing a company can do is value their time. This means your team needs to focus on efficiency and develop a workflow that streamlines different support functions. Consider adopting a help desk as this tool can manage and automate a variety of service tasks.2. Customer Feedback Collection and AnalysisSince customer needs vary from industry to industry, good customer service looks different depending on the type of business you’re running. The best customer service teams use feedback collection tools to identify the specific needs of their customer base and create personalized solutions for them.Rather than assuming you know what your customers want, reach out to them through surveys and interviews to get their perspective on your business. These tools will help your team uncover new opportunities to enhance your products and improve the customer experience. 3. Customer Self-ServiceWhen your customers want to find their own solutions to service problems, they should use self-service resources provided by your business. For example, one of the most common self-service resources is a knowledge base.Knowledge bases consist of categorized support articles and FAQ pages that supply customers with solutions to common user roadblocks. With over 50% of customers wanting to solve problems on their own, self-service tools like these are an asset to providing high-quality customer service.  4. Omni-Channel SupportIt should be easy for customers to contact your support team, regardless of the medium they’re using. Your team should be equipped to respond to incoming service requests via the phone, email, social media, live chat, and any other communication channel that your customers prefer. Providing this type of omni-channel experience makes your team more accessible and creates less stressful service interactions. 5. Emotional IntelligenceEmotional intelligence refers to your ability to read and react to other people’s emotions. This skill is highly valuable in customer service roles because it helps with diffusing difficult customer interactions. Every business experiences a frustrated or upset customer, but the best service teams are able to de-escalate the situation and prevent potential churn. In fact, 67% of customer churn is avoidable if the customer’s issue is resolved during the first service interaction. 6. Creative Problem SolvingAt the end of the day, the best customer service teams solve their customers’ problems. They’re tenacious and determined to help their customers achieve their goals. In many cases, this requires agents to be creative and come up with unique solutions to customer issues. As you’ll see in the examples below, sometimes excellent customer service means finding a solution that falls outside of normal company protocol. Originally published Aug 6, 2019 12:05:00 AM, updated August 06 2019center_img 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 Customer Servicelast_img read more

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Google Plans to Index Tweets in Real Time: How This Could Impact Your SEO

first_img SEO and Social Media Topics: Originally published Feb 25, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Years ago, it was commonplace to find real-time tweets in Google Search results. Twitter and Google had inked a deal that gave the search giant access to the social network’s data stream. In turn, Google would display tweets in search results in real time. But that agreement expired, and in the middle of 2011, Google lost access to Twitter’s data stream. Now, nearly four years later, the gang’s back together. Recently, Google and Twitter announced that they are working together again to index tweets as soon as they are posted.How should a marketer to react to this news? In this post, I will focus on how you can benefit from the new deal between Google and Twitter. You will need to be active on Twitter to obtain these benefits, but I will include some tips for those of you who are just getting started — you can still benefit from this development if you’re doing the right things. The good news is that it will take some time for Google to implement changes based on the new data they will be getting from Twitter, so you have some time to get ready. But the sooner you get started, the better.So let’s dive into what the deal actually is and learn how you can take advantage of it.What’s the Deal With This New Deal?Basically, this deal gives Google real-time access to tweets via a data feed, commonly called the Twitter Firehose. While the agreement seems to be in effect already, the two companies are saying only that it will take effect in Google Search sometime in the first half of 2015. The reason it will take some time to implement is that Twitter needs to figure out how to prep the data for Google, and Google needs to look at this data stream and decide what they want to do with it. However, one thing we know they will do is increase the number of tweets that they are indexing. What that means is that your tweets could start showing up in the search results.Google actually does show some tweets in its search results today, but it’s only a very small portion of what’s on Twitter. My company, Stone Temple Consulting, recently did a study of 133,000 tweets to see how Google indexes tweets, and what we found is that Google indexes less than 8% of all the tweets we tested.That’s not a high level of indexation at all. To make matters worse, it also appears that Google is quite slow to index tweets, as you can see in the chart below:Currently, that means tweets have little chance of getting indexed. In fact, the people whose tweets were most likely to be indexed, according to our study, had much higher than average followings. For people who are just starting out on Twitter, chances are that the indexation rate is near zero.The new deal between Google and Twitter may well change all that. It’s hard to predict just how many more tweets Google will index, but you can count on it being a significant change — otherwise doing this deal makes no sense for Google.As a result, you may have an opportunity to use Twitter to increase your presence in Google’s SERPs. However, remember that Google will need a few months to implement changes to leverage the Twitter data feed, so don’t expect instant results.How Will Google Choose Which Tweets to Index?Google has made no statements about what their plans are, so we don’t know for sure. But, based on their history, we figure that Google is going to work hard to find the tweets that offer the most value to their audience. They will also most likely implement strong anti-spam measures.While the new Twitter data feed will be valuable to them, frankly, it’s an add-on. They will be conservative in what they allow into the results, and they will only include things that they have a very high degree of confidence are not spam.As a consequence of that, trying to game this new arrangement will likely be very difficult to do. Google is going to look for signals that certain tweets have greater value. Here are the types of signals that could be available to them:Links from third party web sites to the tweets. (This signal is already available to them today.)Links from third party web sites to a user’s profile. (This signal is already available to them today.)How many times a tweet is retweeted, and by whom. They may get this info directly from Twitter, or they may use their own means to determine it. (This will be new data for them.)How many times a tweet is favorited, and by whom. They may get this info directly from Twitter, or they may use their own means to determine it. (This will be new data for them.)I don’t see how this deal makes sense for Google unless they get the info on points 3 and 4 above, or at least number 3. This would mean that Google can use retweet data, and the knowledge of who is performing the RTs to determine which tweets have the most value. This is the source of where I see significant potential value for companies and publishers.Maximize your engagement on Twitter, and you are sending out signals that your tweeted content is valuable. So how do you get more engagement?How Should You Maximize Engagement on Twitter?This was the subject of another study my company did recently on Twitter engagement. This particular study focused on what factors within your Twitter content cause increases in retweets and favorites. By far the most significant factor was the use of images in your tweets:Here you can see that your chances of getting at least one retweet are more than doubled for most low and moderate social authority accounts. That’s quite a significant difference. Our data also showed that you can also get five to nine times as many total retweets by including images. That’s a big deal!Other factors that matter, though not quite as much as images, were the use of hashtags and implementing longer tweets. Factors that mattered less were time of day, including links to content off of Twitter, or mentions of others.While the above info can definitely help you optimize your own presence, you can’t forget the importance of developing relationships on Twitter. Focusing on key friendships and relationships with influencers is a big key to success, especially if your presence on the platform is not currently that strong. Imagine someone with a highly influential account retweeting your most important content. This could be gold for you, as it can make Google aware of the content very quickly. The influencer’s tweet with the link to your content may appear in search results and help expose it to much wider audiences. Of course, this may also result in more links to your content as well.Even if Google does not get information in the Twitter data feed that allows it to understand who is retweeting whom, Google could still use link data to better understand whose profiles are most important. Then, they can place more value on their tweets, and place them within their index, driving traffic and exposure to that tweet. If it contains a link to your content, your traffic and exposure could go up.SummaryWill this fundamentally alter the digital landscape? No, but it does mean that a strong presence on Twitter will have more value than it did before. To capitalize on this shift, do the following:Increase your time invested in Twitter.Create engaging content that people will want to retweet and favorite.Build relationships with others who will help amplify your content.Make sure to build relationships with influencers whose tweets are more likely to get indexed by Google.Watch the indexation of your tweets grow while you build your own influence on the platform.As the full partnership takes effect, we may discover other ways to optimize our Twitter strategies for search, but until then, preparing for the shift using the steps above is a wise move.Want to learn more about search? Check out our SEO course. 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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12 Pinnable Pinterest Pins That Teach You How to Use Pinterest

first_imgYou create marketing plans for your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, right? Well, Pinterest is no different.Figuring out where to start tends to be the hardest part. Not only do you need to know your goals for social media marketing, and who your target market is, there is a lengthy list of factors that play into creating a successful Pinterest strategy.Thankfully, Viraltag’s blog offers this step-by-step list to help you get started.3) Have a Way to Measure Your Pinterest PerformanceSaveMashableCopyright issueHow to track traffic from Pinterest in Google Analytics – genius – from Mashable1K+Linda {Craftaholics Anonymous®}Social Media + Blogging Once you’ve brainstormed some content ideas and shared them on Pinterest, you need a way to measure your posts’ success.As with all of your social media profiles, using analytics is invaluable. Tracking which pins do well and which don’t is vital information you can use to keep bettering your strategy and approach to Pinterest.Google Analytics is a commonly used tool used to measure website performance, but if you’re not sure how to use it to gauge your Pinterest success, don’t fret! This pin lists four ways you can measure Pinterest using Google Analytics.However, if you’d rather not use a third-party, Pinterest has designed Pinterest Analytics, and you can access it right from your Pinterest account. 4) Determine What Pins You Should be Pinning (to Get the Most Engagement)Savefrom whiteglovesocialmedia.comCopyright issuesocial media marketing209Webadocious Lexingtonsocial media marketing Once you know how to pin, you need to determine what to pin.No matter your audience, this cheat sheet contains 22 tips that can help you determine how to design your pins, or choose which images to repin or like – these numbers don’t lie.Nevertheless, it is still critical to know your target audience. You can’t just make an infographic on any topic or include 20 hashtags in your caption and see your pin go viral.Understanding your audience and tweaking your pins to reflect their wants and needs will be a helping hand in amplifying your pins’ success. If you’re looking to increase your engagement, create boards and find pins that are related to what your audience is pinning – and when they’re pinning it.(Attention: This is the most important takeaway from this post!)  Pin content that is related to your business or industry.That being said, don’t sell yourself on every pin – share helpful or relevant information on some of your pins and boards, as well. It’s okay to be a clothing company but have a board of recipes or your favorite restaurants – it lets your audience know you want to engage with them as people, not just market to them as customers.For example, at Mainstreethost we try to incorporate a variety of different boards on our Pinterest, but also keep our profile professional and industry-related.  It’s all about finding that happy medium between your business’ marketing goals and providing relevant and enjoyable content that relates to your audience outside of the realm of your products and services.5) Make Your Pins PrettySavePinterest and Instagram Marketing Tips and NewsCopyright issue5 Design Tools to Create Pinnable Images :: If there is one thing this writer enjoys more than researching blog articles and finding good Pinterest tips for all you loyal blog readers out there, it’s designing the accompanying images for our blog posts. Creating pinnable images to go with entries, regardless if it is for your blog or social media posts, is vital for optimizing your pinning opportunities.5K+Steve ZiembaCreative | Design As a designer (and a perfectionist), I probably take more care than is necessary on what my pins look like.But, even if you’re not a designer, you should care what your pins look like. From photos to vector imagery, your designs should be pleasing to the eye so they stand out in the sea of images on your audience’s page.Here’s an example of how to take your pin to the next level: If you don’t have a designer in-house or on hand, there are plenty of tools out there you can utilize. My co-worker’s favorite is Canva, which (unsurprisingly) is on this list pinned by Tailwind. 6) BUT, Don’t Just Pin Pretty Pictures SaveMashableCopyright issueHow to pin successfully: Upload at least some own images, make sure the file name of your image contains your targeted key phrase, pin from a variety of different sources, link your pictures, use the 500 characters description, pin according to your taste, don’t forget that pinterest is social, create a variety of different boards, add the follow and pin it button to your website, express yourself15K+1Mathias BürkSocial Media infographics In case you missed the importance of it in the preceding pins, pin content that is related to your audience and your industry.Yes, you can have a board full of delicious recipes, but be sure most of the content you pin or repin is related to your business. Take care when you are deciding what to pin or repin – don’t just pick a random stock photo and a one-sentence caption, or repin an image without changing the caption.This infographic features several ways to optimize your pins to increase likelihood of engagement. 7) Optimize Your Pinterest ProfileSaveSocial Media Marketing & Technology Solutions | HelloSocietyCopyright issueWant to get more followers on Pinterest, better engage your current followers, and increase your brand’s website traffic and sales? Treat the following list as a checklist to transform your Pinterest account from its current state. #PinterestForBusiness1K+Brian HayesPinterest Guidance Now that you know how to optimize your pins, you can focus on your profile.This detailed checklist shows you exactly what your boards, pins, and profile need to have to best optimize your Pinterest account.This list includes links to profiles that set an example of what top brands do to create a successful Pinterest presence – it wouldn’t be a bad idea to follow them, either.8) Use Pinterest to Connect With Your AudienceSavethepinjunkie.comCopyright issueHow to get invited to Pinterest group boards #skipthehouseworkparty1K+Reasons To Skip The Housework | DIY Projects, Crafts, & Stay at Home LifestyleCrAfTy 2 ThE CoRe~DIY GaLoRe One of the main purposes of a social media strategy is to connect and engage with your audience.Commenting on pins and repinning or liking what your audience pins will help you increase your engagement.However, there are also group boards that you can utilize on Pinterest. You can create and maintain a group board and/or join others that were created by your audience.Either way, group boards are a great opportunity to better understand what your audience wants to see on Pinterest, and maybe even an opportunity for you to get feedback and ideas straight from your customers. 9) You Can Now Promote PinsSaveovergovideo.comCopyright issue 664Jeff SiehPinterest Tips Many users are calling Pinterest a “sellout,” since they have opened up their platform to more advertisements.For businesses, however, this is certainly a positive addition. If you know what keywords your target audience is searching for, and you want to ensure you reach them with your pin, paying to promote your pin just might be worth it.Once a pin is published, you can promote it as soon as it hits your board; but be careful! There are rules to advertising on Pinterest that you’ll want to remember. 10) Avoid the Pinterest “Sins”SaveScalable Social MediaCopyright issueThe five deadly sins of Pinterest for Business by @mcngmarketing for @scalablesocial805Nichole Mishlermarketing This couldn’t be a successful post on pins that teach you how to use Pinterest without teaching you what not to do.There are actually a handful of posts on what mistakes to avoid on Pinterest and how to avoid them.Save yourself from Pinterest disaster with these quick tips:Be sure your pins link to somethingInvest quality time to Pinterest so you’re posting quality contentMaking the first boards on your profile irrelevant to your audience is just as bad as not having any boards at allIf you can avoid making these mistakes on your Pinterest, reaching your marketing goals shouldn’t be too big of a challenge. 11) Remember, You’re Not Limited to Just Pinning on PinterestSaveboribedi.comCopyright issuePinterest and Instagram. Arguably the two biggest names in visual marketing, with very different user experiences. Where Pinterest is based on linking images to websites, Instagram is all about the images. Read the complete article on the blog from @tailwindapp155Pinterest Marketing ExpertSocial Media Hub Okay, well technically¸ you can only pin images, articles, or links to your Pinterest profile. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited to only searching for content to share on Pinterest on Pinterest. While you’re on one social platform, be cognizant of your other platforms as well.For example, just as you would share the content you post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn on your Pinterest, be sure to occasionally share what you pin on your other accounts – which is nearly effortless if you link up your other social media to your Pinterest profile.You can search through Pinterest, Internet searches, and even other social networks. Anywhere that you have the ability to share, it (usually) gives you the option to share to Pinterest.Sharing your content on multiple networks will not only increase engagement for your business, but it could help increase engagement to your social networks that don’t do as particularly well as others.12) Have Unique Ways of Promoting Your Business SaveRebekah RadiceCopyright issue7 Creative Ways To Use Pinterest To Cross-Promote Your Business #socialmedia #pinterest10K+Rebekah RadicePinterest Power Tips With millions of users pinning daily, the home feed of Pinterest users are continuously changing, and your pins are moving farther and farther down the page.In order to ensure that your content gets shared, you have to get crafty. Use bright colors, feature your followers, or hold a sweepstakes – there are many ways to promote your business creatively.Whether it’s a blog post, a new product, or a sale that your business is having, your pin needs to stand out in the crowd of millions of other pins.If you’re having creative block, this post has a few innovative suggestions you can try out. ConclusionAccording to Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann, “Pinterest is the place to plan the most important projects in your life.” From tattoo designs to your favorite recipes to wedding ideas, user profiles are overflowing with products, ideas, and projects.When it comes to marketing your business, capitalize on this aspect of Pinterest. Inspire your audience to use your products and services in their lives, or just inspire them in general.If you use Pinterest correctly, it could be your products and services that users are pinning – and purchasing.These 12 pins are a solid foundation for your company’s Pinterest marketing plan. And not only can you read through them now, you can pin them to your boards to always have as a reference when you need a helpful reminder.  I’m learning to cook, design tattoos, and budget better than ever – and it’s all thanks to Pinterest. Why? Pinterest’s brilliant user experience makes it so simple to browse through photos and bookmark products, gift ideas, or articles (and much more) that you want to come back to later.Pinterest was first unveiled in 2010, with its very first “pin” being a photo of a paper cut-out of a couple kissing on a bicycle, pinned by Pinterest co-founder, Ben Silberman.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for BusinessAfter some early failures, Pinterest caught on and quickly attracted a niche audience, and it didn’t take long for it to join other social networks like Facebook and Twitter at the top.Now with over 70 million users, Pinterest has become a powerhouse in the digital world. And it’s not surprising that it has become a marketing powerhouse as well.Whether you’re a restaurant owner, clothing designer, marketing company, or graphic artist, Pinterest is an incredible place to market your business. So, where do you begin? How do you create a marketing strategy for Pinterest? These 12 appropriately pinnable tips and tricks will show you how you can incorporate Pinterest into your company’s marketing plan.1) Learn the Basics SaveMiller Media Management – Social Media Marketing MauiCopyright issueHow to Use Pinterest for Business – Pinterest 101 slideshow by Danielle Miller of Miller Media.950Danielle MillerPinterest Pinterest Marketing Topics: If you’re completely new to Pinterest, this pin has a solid overview of how to use Pinterest for business – and in a handy, easy-to-read, shareable SlideShare, no less!Being a tad skeptical on using Pinterest as a marketing tool is understandable; with a surplus of inspiration and DIY craft pins, it can seemingly “cloud” the marketing efforts of businesses.However, if you learn the basics you just might be able to see the benefits of Pinterest marketing a little clearer. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the success of Pinterest with stats such as these:Over 80% of the content on Pinterest is repinned2 in 5 customers have purchased an item after pinning, repinning, or liking it on Pinterest2) Create a Pinterest Marketing Strategy Originally published Apr 28, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 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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‘England My Love’: Indian origin author sings hosannas to adopted country

first_imgNew Delhi, Oct 25 (PTI) Indians should be “grateful to the English” for bringing the country back to “sanity, civility, stability and to its past glory”, says Indian origin England-based author Lord Bill Lall, contesting Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s views on the British empire.It is sad that people of great standing like Tharoor and others “speak and write against England” without “really probing into the heart of England and the English people”, the 85-year-old author said during the recent launch of his new book “England My Love”.The businessman and chartered accountant by training, who has been living in England for over 60 years, holds the title of Lord of the Manor (Woodlands). He has written about his life and how he made it big in his adopted country in his new book. Singing hosannas to the British, Lall admitted his book is “pro-English”. He said it was the English that laid the foundations of “modern India” by establishing strong modern institutions. “What keeps India united today is… its professional army, its civil service, central revenue collection system, police force, education system and other modern institutions,” he told the gathering. In his view, Tharoor, Jawaharlal Nehru or Manmohan Singh would not have been famous had they not studied and lived in England. Tharoor, in the recent past, has been vocal about his position on the damages caused to India by the British Empire. In a speech in Oxford University in 2015, Tharoor spoke in depth about the reparations owed to India. His books “An Era of Darkness” and “Inglorious Empire” examined the effects of the same in great detail.advertisement “I would ask him (Tharoor) and others who speak or right against England to study closely what England did for us, analyse deeply… and codify all that what England did for us, which, in my opinion would build up to the size of Ramayana,” said Lall. We owe so much to England and there is still a lot more we can and should learn from the country, said the NRI during the launch of the book on Tuesday. “Nehru and Gandhi would not have been world famous figures, had they not lived and studied in England,” he said. Manmohan Singh would not have transformed India from bankruptcy to an economic success had he not studied and lived in England, claimed Lall, who has also written “Rich Man Happy Man” and “How to Grow Rich and Enjoy Life”.Published by Sterling and priced at Rs 300, “England My Love” tells Lall’s story of an immigrant making it big in a foreign land. It also claims to give invaluable insights into the country, English people and their culture — be it the weather, their passion for sport, food, drinks or how they spend their holidays. PTI MG MINMINlast_img read more

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How to Stay Focused in the Age of Distractions [Infographic]

first_imgWhile most of those “survivalist” reality TV shows — like Survivor and Naked and Afraid — send contestants to exotic, tropical locations, the producers of those shows are really missing out on an exceptionally chaotic destination: the office.True, in the office you don’t have to worry about building a shelter (that’s usually provided) or getting swallowed whole by an anaconda, but there are other dangers office workers have to face. And one of the most intimidating? The dreaded distraction.Tweets. Facebook messages. Texts. Snapchats. That annoying coworker who is always bugging you with their personal problems (for the last time, Tyler, I don’t care that your cat has eczema). Office distractions are everywhere. But in addition to being annoying, they can wreak havoc on our productivity. Fortunately, the team at On Stride Financial created the infographic below, which offers several tips and tricks for dealing with distractions. 2K+Save2K+SaveKnow any other tips for avoiding distractions and staying focused? Leave a comment below. Topics: Productivity Originally published May 26, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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16 Questions to Ask Before Beginning a Brand Redesign Project

first_imgDid you ever play the telephone game as a kid?A group of kids take turns whispering a single message to the person to their right, and by the time the message reaches the end of the line, it has usually has taken on a completely different meaning then when they began.The telephone game is a perfect metaphor for how communication between agencies and clients can break down during a brand redesign project. Clients might have a clear picture of what they want out of a branding project in their heads, but when it comes to communicating each subtle nuance, many things get left up to interpretation.Free Download: Creative Brief TemplatesA brand redesign project can feel like a high-stakes guessing game for agencies and designers. You present the client with endless drafts and revisions, but there’s always something that isn’t quite right. To help agencies navigate the unique challenges of brand redesign projects, we’ve compiled a list of questions clients should answer before your agency agrees to take on the project. These first set of questions will help you uncover what your client really wants out of the brand redesign project, and the second set will help you deftly navigate the logistics. 16 Questions To Ask Before A Branding ProjectDiscovering Your Client’s Desired Identity for the Brand Redesign1) What do you like about your current brand identity?Before you start redesigning a brand, it’s important to know what specific qualities the client likes about their current brand. Just because they requested a brand redesign doesn’t mean they want to completely scrap what they’ve already built. It’s important to determine which areas of the current brand should be maintained or given just a light update, instead of getting rid of them entirely in the redesign.2) What don’t you like about your current brand identity?In the same vein, it’s also vital to recognize what the client doesn’t like about their current brand. Figuring out what your client is particularly unhappy with will set some initial boundaries for your team. It lets you know what areas of the brand should be given the most attention, and also gives you an early idea of your client’s tastes.3) What’s the story behind your current brand?Brands are driven by storytelling, so agencies need to make the effort to learn their client’s brand story early on. Think of yourself like a Hollywood director tasked with remaking a classic movie: You need to get familiar with the original before you can put your own spin on it — otherwise the remake is sure to fall flat.4) Can you name a few examples of brands you admire?There’s really no way around it: Branding is a fluffy, floaty topic, and it can be challenging for clients to clearly articulate exactly what they want. Asking your client for some examples of other brands they admire (either in their industry or outside it) can help your team start building a more informed vision, and also forces your client to seriously consider what kind of brand they want to be. Make sure you ask them to unpack what specific qualities they admire about the brands.5) Are there any particular adjectives you people to associate with your brand?Asking clients to find a few descriptive terms to characterize their desired brand presence can help them ground their thoughts and put words to abstract ideas. This deceptively simple question will help your agency define an aesthetic scope and understand which qualities to prioritize as you begin the project. 6) Where do you see your brand in 10 years?This question will help your team understand your client’s long-term aspirations, and get a feel for the direction they want to head towards with their branding. It also shows the client that you’re committed to helping them grow their brand, and not just treating this account as a one-off project.Getting acquainted with your client’s target audience7) Who exactly is your ideal client?At the end of the day, the brand you create isn’t just for the client, it’s for their target audience. To make informed design and storytelling choices, your agency needs to make a concerted effort early on to understand the client’s ideal persona. If you find that your client doesn’t have an ideal persona, this can be a great chance to offer additional value by helping them figure out who to target in their marketing efforts. You can download our free buyer persona template here.8) Who are your direct competitors?Agencies need to understand the context in which their clients’ businesses operate. What does the industry look like? How are other companies in the space approaching their marketing and branding? Much of this information can be found through research, but it’s still beneficial to ask your client to define the competition in their own words.9) What are you ideal customers’ biggest pain points?While customer pain points can’t all be completely solved by branding alone, it’s important for agencies launching into a brand redesign to know what exactly their client’s customers struggle with. Having this information can give you agency an idea about how your client needs to position their business through their branding.10) Why should your target audience choose your product or service above your competitors?This question is important because it pushes your client to think about what specific factors makes their business unique. Developing a brand that stands out (especially in a competitive industry) is all about differentiation. And nobody knows what makes your client’s business unique better than their own team. 11) Are there any audiences you aren’t currently reaching that you want to reach with your brand?Even if your client already has a good grasp on who their business best serves, it’s relevant to see if there are any untapped sources of new business they’ve previously had difficulty reaching. Your agency can consider this desirable audience during the branding project to potentially extend your client’s reach.Understanding the Logistics of the Brand Redesign Project12) Who is the key decision-maker on your team?From the outset, your agency should know who on your client’s team will have final approval of the branding project. It’s great to get buy-in from everyone on the client’s team, but if there’s a single person or group of people that have the final say, you’ll want to focus your efforts on keeping them in the loop as the project moves forward.13) What does the approval process look like?The end goal is to get the new brand approved by your client’s team, but how exactly does that work? Make sure you have a good understanding of how your client will review and approve the project so you can see where in the process particular elements are getting stuck or rejected.14) What are the expected deliverables for this project?Branding means a lot of different things to different people. Some clients won’t even have a full idea of what they need out of a branding project at the outset, so it’s important to discuss the tangible products early on and agree on what you’ll be providing. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a web of miscommunication and scope creep. If you want to learn how to avoid scope creep with clients, check out this free ebook.15) What is the budget for this project?Asking about the budget for a branding project up front is a great way to evaluate how important this project is to your client. If they offer an extremely low budget, they probably don’t fully understand the value of branding, and may not be a good fit for your agency.16) What is the expected timeline for this project?A branding project can be a massive undertaking, so it’s vital to set realistic timeline expectations with your clients from the beginning. If they have a tight timeline, you may need to reevaluate the scope of what your agency is able to offer. It’s better to know time limitations right away rather than upset the client later on when you can’t deliver in the window they expected. Originally published Oct 18, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Topics: Rebranding Don’t forget to share this post!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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