“We need all students, whatever their future careers are going to be, to be able to think about science more like scientists do,” Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman said as he urged Notre Dame to take a second look at education during Monday’s Notre Dame Forum event.Wieman’s presentation, “Taking a Scientific Approach to Science Education,” is the first in a series of discussions that asks, “What do Notre Dame Graduates Need to Know?” In his lecture, Wieman offered an answer that stressed the learning experience as opposed to the learned material itself.By the time a person becomes an authority in their field, they have developed a certain way of thinking about their discipline that gives them expertise, Wieman said. Students can begin to gain this expertise in a subject if they are exposed to a classroom environment that promotes discussion and interaction, rather than the standard lecture format most classes currently use, he said.“It’s not that the knowledge [of a subject] is absolutely important, but what really matters is to have knowledge integrated with these broader underlying aspects of expert thinking,” Wieman said. “Because that’s really when the knowledge is useful, rather than a bunch of memorized facts that you can’t do anything with.”While field experts are preferred to teach undergraduate courses, they may not initially understand the importance of this approach because of their own expertise, Wieman said.“One of the challenges of actually being a good teacher if you’re an expert, particularly of introductory students, is that the way you think your brain worked when it was at their level is fundamentally wrong, because there’s no way for the brain to know it’s changing … your brain is just plain different than [it] was when you were a beginning student,” he said.Wieman said the focus on research in many universities could also impact education.“We developed a system at research universities where really the only thing that’s measured — and it’s measured very carefully — is research productivity,” Wieman said. “And that’s what gets measured and rewarded. And so, as a person who’s done lots of science research I appreciate that. … It’s created the wonderfully productive research university system we have.”Wieman said universities’ obsession with efficiency may decrease the quality of research.“The problem is that because it’s the only thing that’s measured – it’s so effective at what it does – the collateral damage is that diverting even a small amount of time to pay attention to teaching and doing it more effectively penalizes a person and penalizes a department,” Wieman said. “So we have to fix that basic system.”Notre Dame physics professor Michael Hildreth said Wieman’s contribution to the Notre Dame Forum addressed an important topic that the University itself hopes to address.“The forum is supposed to address what Notre Dame students should know when they graduate, or I would rather phrase it, what Notre Dame students should learn while they’re here,” he said. “Too often we get bogged down in what students should know, which is really focused on topics. … I would rather turn that around to look at process. I would like to think that we would teach the students how to think.”Tags: Carl Wieman, Notre Dame Forum, Science Education, Scientific approach
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17 December 2009 Just over a week after the successful hosting of the Final Draw for the 2010 Fifa World Cup™, the “keys” to the brand new, completed Cape Town Stadium (Green Point Stadium) were handed over to the city’s executive mayor, Dan Plato, on Monday. At a special ceremony to mark the completion of one of the world’s most spectacular stadiums, the keys were handed over by joint contractors Murray and Roberts and WBHO. Construction of the 68 000-seater stadium started on 26 March 2007, and the project has been completed on deadline two years and nine months later. In just 33 months, Murray and Roberts and WBHO completed the massive project at a cost of R4.4-billion (about US$600-million). The project architects were an association between GMP Architects of Germany and two local firms, Louis Karol and Associates and Point Architects.‘The Diva of Cape Town’ Design: the sweeping silhouette of Green Point Stadium has forever changed the face of the surrounding Green Point Common. Enwrapped by a façade of woven fibreglass, coated with Teflon, it resembles a rose-coloured bowl floating on a base when lit up at night. The architects dubbed the stadium “the Diva of Cape Town”, reflecting the constantly changing moods of the city in varying weather conditions. Roof: the design and construction of Green Point Stadium’s roof is unique. Its basic structure resembles a bicycle wheel, open in the middle, with 72 cables linking the outer and inner rings of the circle, which were slowly tightened to raise the roof from ground level to its present height. Another first for the roof was the use of 16mm thick panels of glass to cover and protect the spectators from strong winds and rain. This will let in the light, while the ceiling panels underneath – made of woven PVC fabric – will soften the noise from within. The stadium bowl: for the eight World Cup matches to be played at the venue, the stadium will have a seating capacity of 68 000, including 13 000 temporary seats, which will be removed afterwards. Features of the stadium are that it can be evacuated in 15 minutes and that all the spectators are close to the game. Safety: spectators will be protected by a state-of-the-art camera surveillance system monitored by police from a venue operations centre inside the stadium, while pitch invasions will be discouraged by a wide moat around the circumference. There will also be a police station inside the building to deal with hooligans and other criminals.Quick facts96 000 cubic metres of concrete were used.The roof has a total weight of 4 700 tons.Some 9 000 glass panels were used to cover 37 000 square metres of roof.The stadium has 500 toilets, 115 entry turnstiles and 16 lifts.More than 2 500 workers were employed on site during construction, and almost 1 200 artisans received training from the contractors. Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee
This guest post is written by David Siteman Garland, the founder/host of Download the free kit Learn how to generate more inbound leads using SEO, blogging, and social media. SEO strategy Let’s assume you are taking advantage of all the great Justin See Inbound Lead Generation Kit for tips and tricks to drive more leads and business to your site. . You are making connections and bringing in visitors from Facebook and Twitter. Your There is often only a slight difference between someone entering their email address to subscribe and someone clicking away from your site, never to come back. In this video, you’ll learn 5 keys to boost your subscriber base and create a killer list to boost your business. Originally published Feb 26, 2010 11:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 is top notch. Your blog is booming (or sizzling…or waiting to sizzle). That is all fantastic, but how do you turn traffic into subscribers that you have permission to stay in contact with? Photo Credit: hub of amazing content Ah, your email list: precious gold for inbound marketers, especially if you are looking to continually bring current clients (and hopefully future clients), customers and fans to your website. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack (If not, what are you waiting for?!). Your website is a The Rise To The Top inbound marketing tactics Topics: Keyword Optimization . The Rise To The Top is the #1 non-boring resource for building your business smarter, faster, cheaper, which features a daily Web show for entrepreneurs.
as part of our software package, guaranteeing that your posts are well-optimized and social media-friendly. blogging platform . More than 3,000 people from all around the world attended the webinar, posting over 1,000 questions during the webinar. . That is why we wanted to tackle some of the most frequently asked questions during the webinar and continue the discussion here! Topics: in the sphere of marketing, 6. Is it good to have a Contact Form page on my blog? The Science of Blogging ( here 8. Is it better to include personal bylines for company bloggers? and HubSpot’s inbound marketing experts will be happy to help you out! Don’t divorce blogging from link-building strategies. Your blog provides the perfect opportunity for building inbound links—sharing insights about your industry prompts people to refer to your expertise from their sites and social media profiles. Also, covering certain people and organizations in your posts will help you develop relationships with them. In order to start driving traffic to your blog, you will need to carve out a niche—focus on your industry and optimize your blog posts around specific industry key phrases. Figure out which keywords you would like to rank high for and concentrate on creating content around them. Use your blog to demonstrate your thought leadership in that subject and reach out to fellow experts. Another effective way to attract traffic is by answering questions that your customers are frequently asking (e.g. in the way we are doing with this post!). . Duct Tape that is specific to the content of the post. You can implement the social media sharing buttons directly from Facebook and Twitter. You can customize your Facebook “Like” button and get the code When creating calls-to-action, use active voice and verbs that convey educational offers. For instance, strong calls-to-action often begin with words like “find out,” “learn” and “try out.” Also, as Dan mentioned in his research, the most linked-to words in blogs include “recent,” “insights” and “answers.” These phrases also emphasize the marketing power of learning opportunities. Twitter request a free website assessment 5. What are your thoughts about moderating comments? dominant one 10. What are some blogs that do it right? Contact forms are not the best performing elements you can add to your blog (or, for that matter, to any other web page). Today your community can reach you instantly using social media, a practice that made contact forms even clumsier and more obsolete. So make sure you add social media sharing buttons to your blog. 3. Are there trigger words that make your calls-to-action more effective? in the eCommerce industry. All three share similar characteristics–frequency of publishing blog posts and inclusion of social media sharing and RSS feeds. Most importantly, they feature valuable content, varying from interviews with industry experts and actionable tips to discount offers. in the construction industry and 7. How much time per week should we allocate to maintaining the blog? business blogging Originally published Dec 10, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Allocating time to blogging depends entirely on your previous activities and existing resources. If you already have writers or if you have content that you can develop into blog posts, then it shouldn’t take you long. If, however, you are starting from scratch, allocate at least 2-3 hours per week for blogging. Consider accumulating blog posts and use Some terrific blogs to examine for best practices include #BlogSci Dan’s research to publish them on best days Our policy at HubSpot is to let everyone comment on our blog articles and create an open space for authentic conversations. Even negative comments provide great opportunities for businesses to share something of value in the public domain and show personality and humanness. By allowing unfiltered comments in blog posts, your company will convey that it welcomes different opinions and embraces transparency. Yesterday Dan Zarrella expanded his scientific webinar series with a presentation analyzing among these remains WordPress, with its various plug-ins and options for customization. HubSpot also offers a But if you want your blog readers to take a specific type of action, then make that clear with a targeted form (not a generic “Contact Us” button). For instance, at the end of each of our blog articles, we include a Some of the most recognized (and free) blogging platforms you can use include WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. The . 4. Where can we learn how to add the Like and the ReTweet buttons? 9. What do you consider the best blog platform to use? Lauren’s Hope River Pools and Spas ) quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, highlighting people’s strong interest in the science behind blogging for business call-to-action Starting and maintaining a business blog should not require any technical background—you only need to be immersed in your industry and willing come up with interesting content ideas around it. If you are interested in getting a personal blog review, feel free to 2. What has a greater effect on SEO: blog links or link building strategies? also allows you to pick from three different Twitter sharing buttons that count your ReTweets straight from each blog post, thus encouraging people to keep sharing. 1. How do you drive traffic to your blog? Including writer bylines in your company blog posts is definitely a good idea because it highlights the unique personalities of your writers and allows your readership to create comfortable habits. For instance, if the same blogger is posting an article every Monday morning, then your audience will start expecting to see her name and contribution at that specific day and time. This is a great way to build following and also motivate employees to contribute blog posts on a regular basis. Business Blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Almost every day, it seems like some company or social network is redesigning itself or adding new features or something. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a lot to keep track of — especially while we’ve been busy prepping to celebrate Father’s Day today.This week, we’ve got some major redesigns, new features, and even a relaunch that will tickle your marketing fancy. It isn’t often that social networks make many changes to their business facing features, but this week is a whole different story for marketers and brands. Companies like Google and Twitter have made some big changes for its business-oriented users that will make your week all the sweeter. So check out this quick overview of what happened in marketing this week, and then go enjoy the rest of your Father’s Day!Facebook Hashtags Take a Page From Twitter’s Ad Business, From MashableFacebook announced this week that it will be rolling out a hashtag feature to all of its users. There were hints of this happening a few months back and should come as no surprise to many marketers. Facebook users will be able to click on hashtags and find hashtags that are trending, but we expect more functionalities to be announced soon. This new addition to Facebook’s social network is designed to “bring conversations more to the forefront.” For marketers, this means that many of you will be able to take the opportunity to unify your marketing efforts across almost all of the social networks — you can use one hashtag across all platforms, which will help strengthen your brand messages. Beyond more cohesive messaging, marketers might be able to use hashtags for paid opportunities — Facebook mentioned that there are plans to link hashtags to paid ads down the road. Learn more about Facebook hashtags at Mashable.Unified Google+ Dashboard Lets Businesses Manage Search, Social, Maps, and AdWords, From TechCrunchGoogle has been making some big changes to Google+ over the past few months and this week, it is launching a new dashboard for businesses. Google+ page owners will now have a single dashboard to manage a number of their daily activities. The dashboard will allow users to update information, such as website URL and phone numbers, across Google Maps and Google+ all at once. Other features include the ability to monitor Google+ notifications, post photos and videos, start hangouts, and manage AdWords Express.This new dashboard design will greatly increase the effectiveness of Google+ for brands and marketers. With access to all of the important aspects of Google+ in one place, marketers will be able to better manage their ad campaigns, content, and public information — making all of our lives much easier. Learn more about the Google+ Dashboard at TechCrunch.Marketing Box: Your All-in-One Package for Sending the Perfect Email, From HubSpotWith so much buzz and activity around social media, content, and SEO, we often forget about how important it is to nurture leads or prospects with effective email campaigns. We know its hard putting those emails together with all the distractions around the office and on the internet. To help combat all of these distractions, we’ve created a Marketing Box to help you send the perfect email. Our free Marketing Box includes everything from music to jam out to, to pre-designed templates and customizable social sharing buttons. What are you waiting for? Download our free Marketing Box now.Myspace Relaunches With $20 Million Ad Campaign, From AdweekMyspace has hinted at a relaunch the past several months, but it looks like it’s finally making the big ol’ comeback. This week, Myspace announced its official relaunch with a $20 million ad campaign that will run across cable, radio, broadcast, and digital. Myspace has historically seen itself as a social network for “creatives,” and that’s what the new ads are clearly suggesting. In a 90-second ad shared on Adweek, a gaggle of young hipsters are shown dancing, skateboarding, snapping photographs, and smashing instruments as many “creatives” do daily.Brands and marketers should see this relaunch as a way to dive into a “new” social network with a lot of potential. The new UX looks quite remarkable and could be a huge selling point for Myspace to attract an audience of “creatives” who aren’t currently being catered to by any particular social network. For businesses currently in the music industry, this relaunch is a huge opportunity to be one of the first properly branded and promoted Myspace pages on the internet. Learn more about Myspace’s relaunch at Adweek.Site Speed Penalty Coming to Mobile Web Sites, From Search Engine LandGoogle’s Matt Cutts announced this week that Google will be rolling out a mobile version of its site speed ranking factor, which essentially takes the load speed of a website into consideration when calculating search results rankings. This means that Google will begin monitoring the load speeds of mobile sites to determine how well a web page will rank. There is no official announcement on when this will actually come into effect, but Matt Cutts wants webmasters and marketers to be prepared for this new addition.Ranking is a huge factor in how well marketing campaigns perform, and this new addition to Google’s ranking criteria will greatly affect websites with poorly developed mobile sites. Brands and marketers should consider taking a close look at how well their mobile sites are optimized and invest some time into creating a faster mobile experience for users. Learn more about Google’s ranking update at Search Engine Land.Twitter Starts Rolling Out Tweet Performance Analytics to More Users, From HubSpotTwitter is now giving some users access to a free analytics dashboard that will allow them to view the performance of their tweets. Aside from seeing how many favorites, retweets, and replies their tweets get, users will be able to sort their tweets by “Best, Good, or All” when running through their analytics. Users will also be able to download all of their analytics as a CSV file for offline analysis.For marketers or brands that have yet to opt into Twitter Ads paid program or be selected for this free release, these new tools will help give insight into how well their Twitter efforts are doing. With these new insights, brands and marketers will be able to tailor their content based to increase user engagement. To see if you have access, just head to ads.twitter.com and sign in with your Twitter credentials. Learn more about Twitter Analytics at HubSpot.What other marketing stories did you hear about this week? Share your favorites with us in the comments.Image credit: zhouxuan12345678 Topics: Originally published Jun 16, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Hashtags Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Originally published Sep 9, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Blog Optimization Add any new best practices that have emerged (and remove “best practices” that are no longer so). Every once in a while, things need to be updated. Your mailing address, your wardrobe, your hairstyle, your media collection. Things get outdated, stale, and irrelevant — it’s just the way of our constantly changing world.Unfortunately, your marketing content is no exception. Over time, what once was an accurate, fresh piece of content becomes, well … not so much.Luckily, just like it’s easy enough to change your address, go shopping for stylish new clothes, get a brand new haircut, or buy new music, it’s also pretty easy to update your content. And doing so can help you extend the life of your popular, high-performing content as well as save you the time and resources from creating content from scratch. Not too shabby, huh?So sit back, read on, and learn all about how you should approach and execute the process of updating and republishing your outdated blog content. Your blog readers will thank you for it.Updating Old Content? Why Bother?If you’ve been blogging for a while, I’m willing to bet you’ve got some old, stale content lurking in the shadows of your blog. But why should you care? That stuff is buried deep in the depths of your blog, and no one is going to see it anyway. Right?Wrong.As you probably know, one of the main benefits of blogging is the search engine optimization (SEO) value it provides. In fact, earlier this month, I analyzed traffic to this very blog and found that in July 2013, 69% of the blog post visits we received in July were to blog posts published prior to July. That’s a lot of traffic. And it makes sense considering that 45% of the traffic to our blog in July came from organic search. This means that any given moment, someone could stumble upon a blog post you wrote months (even years) ago that ranks well in search. This is one of the biggest advantages of blogging — content that continues to drive results in terms of traffic and leads over time. But if that searcher doesn’t bother to check the date/time stamp on that blog post, they might have no idea they’re reading outdated and possibly inaccurate information. Yikes. Okay, that’s one good reason. The other reason is that not everyone who is reading your blog now, was reading your blog months and years ago. And even if they were, it also doesn’t mean they read every single article you published. By updating and resurfacing some of your older yet high-performing evergreen posts, you can extend the life of your best blog content as well as increase the results it continues to achieve over time.Finally, it’s often much easier and quicker to update and republish an old post than it is to write a new post from scratch. While I wouldn’t recommend you do this for every post you publish — you should still be publishing lots of new, original content — this is a great way to shave some valuable time off your content creation efforts while still maintaining a consistent publishing frequency. How to Choose Which Posts to UpdateOkay, hopefully now I’ve convinced you of the value of updating and republishing updated blog content. But what’s your plan of attack? How should you decide which posts are worth it to resurface? Here are some important variables to consider:1) Identify your top-performing posts.Let your analytics be your guide here. In general, focus on posts that are backed by some good-looking metrics, such as:Inbound Links: According to our resident SEO expert Rebecca Churt, this is the most important metric to look at, since it is most indicative of search authority. Which of your posts have a lot of inbound links?Traffic: My recommendation is to look at your blog analytics, and specify the last full month as your time frame. (HubSpot Customers: Look in Page Performance.) Which old posts are still generating a lot of traffic for you? Social Shares: The number of social shares a post has generated is also a good indicator of a high-performing post — particularly since social shares factor into search rankings, too. To determine how many social shares a post has, enter its URL into LinkTally.com, a free tool created by HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella that tells you how many times a URL has been shares on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Keywords: Use updating and republishing content as a way to support your keyword strategy. Are there certain keywords you’re trying to rank better in search for? Use a keyword (like HubSpot’s Keywords tool or Google Analytics) to identify keyword ranking opportunities. Do you have any posts that already rank for these keywords? Could you improve their ranking positions?2) Consider content relevancy and trending topics.In addition to a metrics-driven selection approach, you should also consider content relevancy and trending topics. In fact, depending on your content strategy and marketing goals, updating content for the sake of these two variables may actually trump a metrics-driven approach from time to time. For instance, we recently found that a lot of our prospects and customers were asking questions about local search. While we’d already published a post about this very topic, it had become a little outdated (and buried on our blog). Rather than create a new post from scratch (and risk rubbing Google the wrong way with duplicate content), we decided to update and republish that original post — even thought our metrics may not have indicated it was a good target for updating.Best Practices for Updating and Republishing PostsOkay, once you’ve identified the posts you want to update, it’s time to actually update them! Here are some best practices to consider.1) Use the same post, and keep URL the same.Rather than publishing an additional article on your blog — which could result in a ding from search engines for duplicate content — modify the original article. Because this article is live, I usually copy/paste the post into a new draft, make my changes there, and then copy/paste the HTML back into the original post when I’m ready to re-publish the original article (more on that in just a minute). While you may be tempted to update the post’s URL slug, it’s important to keep the URL the same, even if your software automatically creates a redirect. Redirects will remove some of the link value, so it’s best to just keep it as is.2) If you change the title, keep keywords.If you feel compelled to update the post’s title, try to avoid changing it drastically from the original. While the URL is more important to keep the same than the title, if you really need to change the title, do your best to keep your keywords in there.3) Add an editor’s note for transparency.It’s a great idea to add a little editor’s note at the bottom of your updated post — if for no other reason, then for transparency’s sake. This is particularly a good idea if your post has accumulated a lot of comments; your readers will be confused if the publish date is current, but there are comments from months or years ago. Here’s an example of what we typically include at the end of our republished posts:4) Update the content for accuracy.Yup. The name of the game here is accuracy. Over time, there are quite a few things about a piece of content that can get stale and out of date. Evaluate the post for accuracy and determine what needs to be modified, added, or removed. The first thing I usually do is delete any parts of a post that are no longer relevant, and add headers for new sections that need to be added or replaced. Then I go through the post in its entirety to fill in the blanks and make my changes. Here is a checklist of things you should keep in mind as you’re updating your content: Topics: Update the post’s call-to-action (CTA). Evaluate whether your CTA’s offer is still the best option for this post. Do you have a better article? Is the CTA’s creative out-of-date?5) Optimize the post’s meta description.Review the post’s meta description. Is it still accurate? Can you update it to make it a little catchier? Remember, meta descriptions don’t affect the ranking of your content, but they can impact its clickthrough rate from search. Make sure your meta description is both an accurate reflection of what’s within the post, and enticing enough to get searchers to click through to your content from search results.6) Republish it! Yay! By now, you should have an awesomely updated piece of content that’s ready for publishing. While the process of actually publishing your content will vary depending on the blogging software you use, I’m going to share some tips for doing it using HubSpot’s Blogging tool.Replace the old content with new content. This will probably be the same no matter what software you use. Like I mentioned, I usually copy/paste the HTML from my new draft to replace the copy in my original article.Wait until you want to publish the “new” post to update its date/time. If you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog COS, you’ll want to wait until the specific date/time you want the post to appear on your blog homepage to click “update.” Changing it to a date/time in the future will result in a 404 error for those who stumble upon the article in search before the newly designated publish date/time (not a good thing if your article already ranks well in search results).Send a manual email to instant subscribers. If your blogging software is (or is like) HubSpot, it will only trigger the automatic email notification to subscribers for a post once. This means that if you’re just changing the publish date/time on an already-live article, the email will not get triggered again. However, if you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog COS, there’s no stopping you from creating a manual notification email in HubSpot’s Email tool and sending it to your instant subscriber list. If you use the same template you use for your automatic emails, your subscribers won’t even be able to tell the difference. Plus, you can use the opportunity to run an A/B test!7) Track the before/after performance.Okay — maybe I got a little bit ahead of myself. Before you publish your new post, it’s a good idea to create a record of the post’s “before” stats. That way, you can compare it to the post’s performance after you’ve republished it to understand how your update affected its overall performance. Over time, this might also give you a better idea about which posts are worth targeting for updates. The following are the data and stats I keep track of before and after I republish:Post’s Title (in case I tweak it for the republished version)Post’s URL (just so I have the information in one place)Before/After Publish DatesBefore/After Number of Comments Before/After Number of Inbound Links Before/After Number of Social Shares (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.)Before/After Post Views (use the month before and the month after as a proxy)Before/After New Contacts/Leads Generated (use the month before and the month after as a proxy)Before/After Keyword Rankings Are you incorporating updated blog posts into your blogging strategy? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below. Remove content that is no longer relevant. Update outdated copy. Check and replace internal links (particularly if there are now better resources or lead gen offers for you to link to). Update screenshots if things have changed (this is particularly important for step-by-step guides, etc.). Replace outdated data/stats with fresher, more timely ones. Add new, fresh examples or replace outdated ones. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
1. 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 2019 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 Service
How to Create a New Group Message From ScratchSending a DM to multiple users on Twitter is very similar to sending a DM to a single user. Here’s what you need to do.Step 1: Click the envelope icon, labeled “Messages.”On desktop, this is at the top left of your screen. On mobile, this is at the bottom of your screen.Step 2: Click “New Message.”On mobile, this is the chat bubble icon at the top right of your screen.Step 3: In the address box, enter the name(s) or @username(s) of your followers to whom you want to send a message. When you’re done, click “Next.”Step 4: Type out your message and click “Send message.”Group DMs, like one-on-one DMs, have a 140-character limit. You can add photos to group DMs just as you can with one-on-one DMs.How to Add Members to a Pre-Existing Group MessageStep 1: Click the envelope icon, labeled “Messages.”Step 2: Click on a group message to open it.Step 3: Click the ellipsis in the top right-hand corner and choose “Add people” from the menu that appears.On mobile, you’ll have to click into the tweet to see the ellipsis. You can also view all users in the group and leave the group by way of this menu.Step 4: In the address box, enter the name(s) or @username(s) of your followers to whom you want to send a message. Click “Done” to add them to the group message.They will not be able to see previous messages exchanged before they were added.How to Share a Tweet in a Group MessageWhile public tweets are great places to have conversations, they’re also a great place to find conversation starters, writes Kamdar in his blog post. He urges users to “spark conversations and support your points of view by sharing tweets from your timeline, even if they’re from people who aren’t part of the direct message.”Here’s how to share tweets with a group.Step 1: Find the tweet you want to share, and click the ellipsis below the tweet. (On mobile, you’ll have to click into the tweet to see the ellipsis.)Step 2: Choose “Share via Direct Message” in the menu that appears. Twitter’s direct messaging feature (“DM” for short) has long been a way for users to communicate privately in one-on-one conversations with their followers. But recently, Twitter launched an update to the DM feature that allows for group messaging with multiple users — up to 20 in one message.In this post, we’ll talk about the details of the group message function. Then, we’ll go over how to create a group message from scratch, how to add members to a pre-existing group message, and how to share tweets in a group message. Let’s get to it.The DetailsIn a blog post on Twitter’s official blog, Product Director Jinen Kamdar reiterated the importance of direct messaging: “Private conversations on Twitter are a great complement to the largely public experience on the platform. You might prefer to read (or watch) tweets but converse about them privately.”Now, you can expand the conversation to an entire group of users at once. Here’s what you need to know:The group message function allows Twitter users to communicate privately with up to 20 users within one group.If a DM has fewer than 20 participants, additional users can be added to the conversation at any time and by any group member — not just the user who started the group.While you can only start group conversations with your own followers, not everyone in the group has to follow one another in order to chat.When a user gets invited to a DM, they’ll receive a notification that they’ve been included.Both group and individual DMs now support pictures, links, emoji, and tweets in addition to text. Twitter Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 10, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated August 26 2017 Topics: Step 3: In the address box, enter the name(s) or @username(s) of your followers to whom you want to send the tweet. Then click “Next.”Step 4: Add a personal message to send along with the tweet if you’d like. Click “Send message” when you’re done.Your accompanying message has a 116-character limit.That’s it! Want to learn more about direct messages on Twitter? Click here.
If you’re a child care owner, director, or start-up who’s tired of struggling to find new ways to fill the enrollment for your daycare, then inbound marketing might be the golden ticket you’ve been looking for. In this article, you will learn what stages a parent goes through when selecting a new child care facility and discover fresh marketing techniques proven to help you boost enrollment immediately with inbound marketing.The Parent’s JourneyLet’s face it, selecting a daycare can be a stressful process for parents. Families are seeking a community or facility to entrust their children’s future in and it’s your job to establish an authentic connection with them on why that future is with your daycare. The key for accomplishing this is through understanding the parent’s journey and providing a meaningful experience to help attract, convert, close, and delight more families to your child care center.We’ll be translating the traditional buyer’s journey into various stages and examples of what a parent goes through when selecting a daycare. If you’re looking to significantly boost your enrollment, you need to be capitalizing on all stages of the parent’s journey to ensure you’re building a solid pipeline of opportunities from the past, present, and future.Although this is not always a linear path, it is important to understand these stages in order to effectively market and nurture them down the funnel. Awareness StageThe awareness stage is the first step in the parent’s journey. This is where initial research and general education is gathered to help inform the parents of their options. An example of a buyer persona in this stage would be a pregnant mother who is researching the options between staying at home, taking her child to daycare, or hiring a nanny. This is often referred to as the ‘emotional’ stage. The buyer may not even realize that there is a problem to solve, but they are impacted in some way and looking for help.As a child care provider, it is important to establish an early connection and relationship with the parent-to-be as an informational resource that is there simply to help with common questions and to provide general information for topics that are fairly new to them. It’s key to position your brand as helpful and informative. Remember, these are future prospects that are simply looking to become more educated and are still gathering facts and information to help them establish a criteria of what they will be considering at a later phase.Recommended marketing tactics: Blogging topics such as “Benefits of a daycare vs staying at home.”FAQ items to provide general information and commonly asked questions for new parents.Infographics outlining the advantages of early child development from a daycare.Trend reports and statistics of the value of child care development through areas of education, socialization, stimulation, and general child development.Checklists and sample timelines of when they should be considering their options.Marketing techniques to nurture the parent to the next stage of the journeyNow that you’ve provided wonderful and informative resources for the parents, it’s time to start considering how you can know when they are ready for the next stage of their journey. There are numerous ways to accomplish this, but here are a few recommended approaches.Gather an email right away. This allows you to start generating a profile on the parent and monitoring their progress and activity with your brand. Examples: subscribe to our new parent newsletter, download our new parent guide, subscribe to our blog, download the child development trends report, etc. Survey the prospect. This doesn’t have to be a traditional form survey, but you can create follow up tactics that will help us designate the parent’s answers through various actions. Examples: Tactics/Topics to try: email focused on things to consider for child care when going back to work, blog articles related to consideration stage topics, ebook downloads for evaluating considering a daycare vs hiring a nanny.Organize your contacts in smart lists. Based on the actions these parents are taking with your follow up tactics, make sure you are creating workflows that will help accurately track what leg of the journey the prospect is currently in. You don’t want to be selling a parent who isn’t ready to make a decision, and you don’t want to be educating someone on topics that isn’t relative to them anymore. Education Marketing Originally published Mar 18, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Delight StageNow that the parents are your customers, your job doesn’t end. Keeping your families loyal to your daycare is a key objective for retention. This is known as the Delight Stage, where your brand can recognize your customers through various marketing techniques to help keep them happy, engaged, and satisfied with their decision. Loyal customers are 10 times more likely to refer your daycare than those who aren’t continuously engaged with your brand. This stage is often neglected and it’s a key opportunity for continuing to grow your business through referrals and a stronger retention rate.This stage is typically referred to as the re-assurance stage. Most businesses forget how important it is to continue to engage and delight their customers after they have purchased. Without that extra reassurance that you are still a partner in their life decision, you may loose them to the next daycare that engages them newly. Recommended marketing tactics: Social Media by staying active and providing relevant and enjoyable news about your facility and community.Parent’s Newsletter to keep the parents abreast on what’s new.Referrals can be a great resource for growing your daycare enrollment with the help of your loyal customers.Requesting Testimonials from the top parents and ask if you can feature them on your website.Parent Reviews are important opportunities for displaying the ratings that other families have given your daycare. Consideration StageOnce the parents have made the decision that they are going back to work and/or are in need of care for their child, this is when the consideration stage begins. This would typically involve a parent who is now considering what the important criteria are for what they want for their child from either enrolling their child in a daycare or hiring a nanny. Your daycare should continue to help educate and guide the parents without “selling” them directly. This can be accomplished by enabling your website to provide relevant content and advice on what they should be considering.This stage is our problem solving stage. The parent has realized that there is a problem associated with their emotional search and they begin to look for solutions available to them.Recommended marketing tactics: Blogging topics such as “Advantages of a daycare vs hiring a nanny.”Comparison white papers to assess the evaluation criteria for the parents options.E-Books outlining the top reasons to enroll your child in a daycare.Webinar to provide pre-recorded or live discussions on the advantages of enrolling your child in a daycare over alternative child care.Case Studies of real families who were on the fence when considering their options.Techniques to nurture the parent to the next stage of the journeyYou still needed to be committed to helping these parents research and understand their options during the consideration stage. Helping build an authentic connection with these parents will give you an incredible advantage for when they are ready to make a decision.Provide a follow up E-Book. A great way to know when someone is moving into the decision phase is to provide them with a follow up E-Book on “How to select the right daycare for my child” or “Free evaluation checklist for selecting a daycare.” Track to see if they click the call-to-action and download these resources.Email them additional blog articles. Provide resources in your email follow ups that are related to blog topics inside the decision phase. If the parent has moved on to gravitating to these articles they are getting much closer to the next stage.Additional surveying. Some great examples would be to survey the parent and ask them to select the most important criteria for their family such as: location, hours of operations, price, curriculum, activities, etc. Not only will this help identify if they are ready to be moved into the next phase, but you have flagged motivational drivers that can be important for qualifying the prospecting parent. Decision StageThe Decision Stage begins once the parents have made the commitment to enrolling their child in a daycare. They have finalized the criteria that are important to them (location(s), hours of operation, price, curriculum, activities, etc.). This is where most marketing and advertisers focus their initiatives, but if you have been successful with helping and educating the parents through the awareness and consideration stages, they will be much more likely to consider your daycare because of the brand loyalty that you’ve created. In this stage, you can position yourself through your unique value proposition (UVP) and why the consumer should consider your daycare now that they are “sales ready.”Logic and justification drive this stage for our parents. They are ready to choose and since they view you as a trusted resource, your chances of winning their loyalty and your business is higher than your competitors.Recommended marketing tactics: Schedule a tour is the ultimate action a prospecting parent can take with your daycare. Provide a clear call-to-action which leads to a conversion form for scheduling a tour of your facility.E-Books to continue to help provide resources for these parents on key decision factors when selecting a daycare.Live Webinar can be a great alternative call-to-action if the parent is not ready to schedule a tour. This can create a strong connection with your staff and the parents.Take a Virtual Tour by providing a video walk-through of your facility, classrooms, and staff. Video Testimonials to showcase the values that are important to your daycare and community. These videos can be of other parents providing real-world testimonies of their experience with your daycare.Live Chat offers a great way of answering common questions with parents who may be on the fence. Live chat is an easy website implementation, but it does require operational maintenance and it’s own strategy.Social Media is an incredible outlet for connecting with parents and showcasing your brand’s values and culture. Topics: Hiring for ExperienceOur inbound marketing agency works with clients in early childhood education who are passionate at what they do. However, we’ve discovered that most child care centers have not been trained on how to effectively market their organization to maximize their ability to attract, enroll, and retain families. Working with a child care marketing firm provides you with the flexibility of running your business while allowing an experienced team of marketers maintain your brand’s online presence. Don’t forget to share this post! 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Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you have business partners like interior designers or landscapers that are also on Houzz, it’s helpful to request reviews from them, as well. Providing reviews for your partners will help motivate them to provide reviews for you. This will help both of you rank higher for your services and geographic locations.3) Link Projects to Blog PostsWhen you add a project to your Houzz profile, you can include an external link to provide more information on that project. Therefore, we recommend creating a blog post on your website that expands on each Houzz project. You can then include the link to that blog post in the actual Houzz project. This strategy will help increase traffic to your website, provide additional blog content, and encourage people to learn more information about your company beyond what’s in your Houzz profile. It could also lead to new blog subscribers. Plus, if you include calls-to-action in your blog posts, you will encourage lead generation. By including a call-to-action that links to a landing page with a form to download a piece of valuable content (such as a buyer’s guide), you may generate tangible leads that you can follow up with. 4) Engage Users Through “Questions” and “Advice” FeaturesHouzz provides a “Questions” feature that allows users to ask you questions about your projects. Be sure to monitor your Houzz profile closely so you can respond to questions in a very timely manner. Timeliness is key for turning someone who has posed a question into an actual lead. Responding quickly shows you are a tentative builder that cares. It also helps you ensure you connect with the user when they are still in the right mindset. If you respond several days after the question is asked, the user may have received his answer somewhere else, or he may have become preoccupied with something else. Responding in a detailed and thorough manner is also important because it shows you are an expert. This is why the questions feature is so valuable. It helps you show that you are a tentative, caring, expert home builder. And who wouldn’t want to hire a home builder like that?Houzz also offers an “Advice” feature. Engaging in discussions here helps you obtain additional exposure and establish your expertise. Spend time answering questions and contributing valuable insight to discussions. Both the “Questions” and “Advice” features allow you to engage one-on-one with users, and start building relationships. 5) Utilize Bookmarks for CRMThe “Bookmarks” feature allows you to keep track of your favorite discussions on Houzz. If you are communicating with potential leads in discussions, it may be helpful to note that in your CRM software. Bookmarking your discussions will allow you to easily return to those discussions and review your interactions so you can record information about the contact in your CRM system.6) Add a Houzz Badge or Widget to Your WebsiteAdding a Houzz badge or widget to your website’s home page will help boost your ranking in the Houzz directory. There are several badges to choose from, including a badge that simply indicates you have a Houzz profile to badges that indicate any special Houzz recognitions you may have received.Houzz also offers widgets that will allow you to display your Houzz reviews or add a slideshow of your Houzz projects to your website. Adding these features to your website will help demonstrate your company’s status and expertise to visitors who enjoy and trust Houzz as a resource.7) Submit a Project to be an Editorial FeatureSubmit one of your projects to Houzz’s editorial review team for a chance to be become the subject of a featured article on Houzz, such as their “Room of the Day” or “Kitchen of the Week” articles. If you are selected, you’ll receive free national exposure from one of the most important websites in the home building industry. These articles are based solely on merit; no one can pay to be selected. So, they act as a great indicator of your company’s expertise and creativity. If you are selected, you can promote the article via your other marketing channels such as social networks, email marketing, and your blog. 8) Complete Your Profile in DetailThis may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth stating. The goal of completing and maintaining your profile isn’t to get it done so you can move on to something else. The goal is to ensure your target audience finds you on Houzz and then takes an additional action like visiting your website or contacting you. So, invest the time into filling out your profile in detail. Be sure you take advantage of the opportunity Houzz gives to link to all your social networks. If people begin to connect with you in other social networks, they will discover your blog posts and other valuable content. This will help drive them to your website and engage them in lead nurturing. The Bottom LineIt’s not necessary to be active in all social networks; just the networks that are most effective for your industry. For builders, Houzz is arguably the most important social network for driving website traffic and leads. As we’ve described, it can also help increase your search engine and media exposure. These eight tips will help you get the most marketing leverage and lead generation potential out of Houzz. Topics: Lead Generation Since its inception in 2009, Houzz.com has quickly become a valuable tool to help home builders increase online exposure. According to Houzz, the site is home to 25 million users looking for unique home design ideas and possessing an average household income of $125,000.For home builders, there’s no question the target audience is there. The challenge lies in maximizing Houzz exposure to convert Houzz users into leads you can actually follow up with.These eight tips will help you go from simply having a Houzz profile to managing a Houzz presence that produces tangible leads. 1) Include Strategic KeywordsBe sure your target audience discovers your profile when they search Houzz for terms that matter to them by including keywords in your business description and your projects. For example, a Dallas home buyer in the market for a custom builder may want to see examples of unique exteriors on Houzz created by Dallas-area home builders. To find these examples, they might search “Dallas exteriors.” If you’re a Dallas builder, you would want to appear in this search. Therefore, builders should include relevant geographic terms in addition to terms that describe the nature of the project or photo. For example, instead of titling your project “Kitchen Remodel”, consider calling it “Dallas Kitchen Remodel.”When you add a project, there is a specific section to include keywords. To add keywords to an existing project, simply click “edit” on any photo and you will see the keywords section appear. Houzz provides a quick and easy YouTube tutorial to help you add keywords correctly.Take time to add as many relevant keywords as possible in this section. Be sure to include the same type of relevant keywords in the “Description” field of your projects. Be as detailed as possible with these descriptions. It takes time but it’s worth it because it will help more people find you. Keywords are also important because Houzz profiles are indexed by Google. So, when someone searches a term like “Dallas builders” in Google, Houzz’s list of Dallas builders shows up in search results. When someone clicks on that search result, they see a list of local builders with reviews and examples of work.So, it’s extremely valuable to appear in these Houzz lists. It’s even more valuable to appear in a high position. One of the best ways to improve your ranking in these lists is by increasing your company’s reviews on Houzz. 2) Increase ReviewsThe best sales leads have always come from word-of-mouth referrals. Online reviews are often almost as valuable as a friend recommending your company to another friend. Today’s consumers conduct a lot of research before making purchases. Online reviews are one resource that people regard heavily when making a large purchase like a home. Houzz reviews are no different, and the more you receive, the higher you are likely to rank in the Houzz directory for your geographic area. Therefore, you should encourage your clients to submit reviews. Houzz makes this really easy with their “Get Reviews” feature. You can send an email straight from the Houzz platform to your clients requesting a review. The email contains a link that will take your client straight to the location where they can submit a review. Houzz provides a quick YouTube tutorial for this feature, as well. Originally published Apr 13, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated March 31 2016