An Uttar Pradesh Minister’s son-in-law is one of the 10 persons accused of plotting the Rae Bareli vehicle collision in which the victim of the alleged Unnao gang rape was left critically injured. Arun Singh, the Nawabganj block pramukh and son-in-law of Ranvendra Pratap Singh, alias Dhunni, a Minister of State holding the Agriculture, Agriculture Education and Agriculture Research portfolios, is listed as accused no. 7 in the FIR lodged by the uncle of the survivor of the alleged rape. She is battling for her life in a hospital in Lucknow with multiple fractures, head and chest injuries. Mr. Arun Singh confirmed to The Hindu that he was in fact the same person named in the FIR. The FIR lists him as one of the persons accused of intimidating the family of the victim. The complainant, her uncle, said he and his family had faced repeated threats from Kuldeep Singh Sengar, MLA, and his men and were being intimidated to change their statements in court or compromise with the MLA or face dire consequences. ‘Falsely implicated’Along with the rest, Mr. Arun Singh faces charges of murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation. Asserting that he was being falsely implicated due to “personal and political rivalry” with a former block pramukh in Nawabganj, Awadesh Singh, he alleged that his rival shared a link with the jailed uncle of the victim. Mr. Arun Singh had defeated Maya Singh, Mr. Awadesh Singh’s wife, to win the post. Mr. Arun Singh said he was a litigant in the 2006 murder case of a Dalit block pramukh, Ram Naresh Nirmal, in which Mr. Awadesh Singh is an accused. “Awadesh Singh is a history-sheeter with over 40 criminal cases and my political opponent,” he said. “He is using the uncle as a shield… he feels if he falsely implicates me or sends me to jail, then he will be able to manage his case,” Mr. Arun Singh said. In the FIR relating to the collision, the uncle mentions Mr. Awadesh Singh as being among the people who would come to visit him in jail. The police have so far traced the owner of the truck to Fatehpur, which shares borders with Unnao and Rae Bareli.Mr. Arun Singh downplayed his political links with his father-in-law. “I have no political connection with him. He is my father-in-law but not my political guardian,” said Mr. Arun Singh, who is considered close to Mr. Sengar and Unnao BJP MP Sachhidanand Hari, alias Sakshi Maharaj. Mr. Arun Singh’s name also surfaced last year in the assault case of the survivor’s father, who died in custody in suspicious circumstances. He was questioned but not formally charged. He says he is innocent. “I have never seen the uncle by face. I have never seen the victim and I don’t even know where their house is,” he said, adding he had not met Sengar in over six months. Mr. Arun Singh said he was ready to undergo a narco test and cooperate with any agency–the CBI has taken over the collision case and even lodged an FIR, which includes him–in the investigation. The uncle of the survivor was on Wednesday granted a day’s parole to attend the cremation of his wife and relative, who died in the Rae Bareli collision while they were on their way to meet him in jail. Awadesh Singh was not available for comment.
With questions being raised over the cleanliness in the Commonwealth Games Village, Union Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar tonight directed Delhi Government to take control of the maintenance of the complex which will house the athletes.The maintenance of the Games Village was under the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) which is under direct control of Union Urban Development Ministry.Highly-placed sources told PTI that Chandrasekhar directed the city government to take control of the maintenance and cleanliness of the Games Village from tomorrow following criticism by the Commonwealth Games Federation.They said the CWG Organising Committee will be the overall incharge of the Games Village but Delhi government will look after the issues of maintenance and cleanliness.Already 40 DANIPS (Delhi, Nicobar and Andaman Island Police Service) officers have been deployed in the Games Village and if required more officials will be put into service. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will visit the Village tomorrow to assess the ground situation.Cleanliness and maintenance of the Games Village had come under sharp criticism from foreign participants as well as Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive Mike Hooper who described the facility as “filthy and unimaginable”.Concerned over the unhygienic conditions at the Games Village, Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell shot off a letter to Cabinet Secretary asking him to take immediate steps to fix the deficiencies in the residential zone of the Village, which he said has “shocked” advance parties from New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland.”The final preparations for the Games Village have been of concern to the CGF since viewing the residential zone along with a number of Commonwealth Games Associations advance parties on September 15,” Fennel said in a strongly-worded statement.advertisementBut the embarrassed organisers, while promising to sort out all the glitches within the deadline, came out with a bizarre defence that the issue of cleanliness was a matter of difference in perception.”For us and for you it is clean. But they (the foreign countries) have a different standard of cleanliness. It is a matter of difference in perception,” Organising Committee spokesperson Lalit Bhanot said.New Zealand Chef de Mission Dave Currie, who is camping in Delhi, threatened to pull out if the cleanliness issue of the residential zones where his country’s athletes will stay is not sorted out.”There are some realities, I guess, that if the village is not ready and athletes can’t come then obviously the implications of that are it is not going to happen. If the village isn’t ready, the athletes can’t arrive,” Currie said.”It’s not our decision. We’re not saying we’re not coming or the country’s not coming. What we’re saying is they’ve got a real challenge with the village and they need to take urgent attention to address it,” he added.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been contemplating a three-member panel under former captain Anil Kumble to probe the team’s disastrous tour of England, which concluded last week.India got whitewashed in the Test series, followed by a one-off Twenty-20 match and finally in the ODI series. The board has received flak for poor planning as the reason for the team’s dismal performance.Sources said Kumble was likely to be entrusted with the task of reviewing the series and suggest ways for future. The spinning legend had given his preliminary views during the last working committee meeting.Kumble has been in the race to head the technical committee along with another former skipper Sourav Ganguly following the resignation of Sunil Gavaskar.
Every second of your video is a game to keep the viewer’s attention. If you spend 15 or more seconds on one scene, your audience may get bored and close out. Having quick scenes (perhaps 3-10 seconds each) stirs curiosity and increases the likelihood that the video will be watched all the way through. Avoid “inside baseball” when trying to be funny in your videos. You may think you are creating humorous content, but would outsiders appreciate it? Is it an inside company joke that others might not understand? Test your video on a few people outside your company before publishing! 2) Incorporate music. My favorite piece of advice regarding content creation is ” Inspired by a new “viral video” that I have been working on (to be launched next week!), here is a list of 10 video qualities that encourage others to share video content throughout blogs and social media sites. Webinar: How to Use Online Video for Inbound Marketing The first 5 seconds of your video determine whether the person will keep watching or not. Don’t make the mistake of having a long intro in order to “set the stage.” Jump right in and grab their attention before the viewers move on to something else. removed sound . has performed much better than What other qualities make a video viral? What are some of your favorite viral videos? to learn how to use online video to grow your business with inbound marketing. Elements that stimulate other senses (short of smell or taste) make your video much more engaging and entertaining. due to a record company’s copyright. 1) Do a parody/spoof of something familiar. This is a tough one for companies that create content as part of a marketing program. (Like us!) If you throw your logo everywhere and have a sales-related call-to-action, people will consider it a commercial and won’t want to pass it along. Our best advice is to find a balance that is subtle and creative. Can you ask your audience to do something that indirectly relates to your company? murder your darlings. Hint: Create your own music or use music under a Creative Commons license. Topics: Video Marketing 3) Make your video very short. ” You actually add more value if you make your content easy to consume! No matter how much awesome footage you may have, cut it down to the absolute minimum. Most people only have a few minutes or LESS to watch a video. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 10) Remove as much “corporate friction” as possible. Though deviations to this tip exist, using upbeat music as a background or focus tends to grab the viewer’s attention and raise the excitement. In my experience, famous. It’s the humor of seeing something familiar in a new way. 7) Don’t get stuck on quality. How do you get started with YouTube, video podcasting, live streaming, or viral videos? 8) Be bigger than life. Download the free video webinar 9) Shock your viewer in first 5 seconds. 4) If you use music, keep it uptempo. faster music It would be a bummer if YouTube By playing off of something that everyone already knows–for example, a popular song, movie or a TV show–people will have a reference point to relate to your content. This made Al Yankovic Awesome video doesn’t need to be recorded on an expensive camera, in HD, or edited by a film editing pro. The value comes in the creativity of your ideas, not in the gloss. Flickr Credit: It’s not a specific equation to creating viral content; it’s more like a game of bingo. The more of the below qualities you have, the higher the chances that your video will win … and “go viral.” People love watching crazy things that they would never see in everyday life. Take risks and capture something remarkable on camera. Act silly, create ridiculous office scenes, or do amazing (but safe!) stunts. This is the same type of creativity that brought SNL to the top! 6) Be funny to people other than you. Originally published Jul 7, 2009 7:51:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 slow Scott Kinmartin 5) Edit your video into sharp, quick scenes.
Topics: Social Media Originally published Jan 13, 2010 2:54:00 PM, updated October 01 2019 Landing Pages According to New Media Age, Coke has decided to say goodbye to one-off-campaign-websites in favor of building its existing social media presence on YouTube and Facebook. This move is not surprising since the Coca-Cola company has already expressed the belief that their social media and SEO presence is a better homepage than even Coke.com. To me, their announcement to discontinue Coke-hosted campaign websites just further demonstrates their dedication to building out the social media communities that are already working for them. In the New Media Age article, Prinz Pinakatt, Coke’s interactive marketing manager for Europe explains why Coke has decided to cease building Coke-hosted pages for every campaign: “We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform.”What’s interesting is while the major B2C appears to be consolidating their efforts, Coke’s biggest competitor in the soda space, Pepsi, had decided to forego its 23rd year of Super Bowl advertising in order to invest in a crowdsourcing community called The Pepsi Refresh Project. If I’m interpreting Coke’s new strategy correctly, the type of community Pepsi is building won’t be pursued in the future by Coke.com. Instead, Pinakatt says that they will either completely forgoe building a campaign website or simply create a landing page for that campaign with a call to subscribe to one of their existing social media communities. “In some cases some of our campaigns won’t need a coke.com-hosted site. In most cases these will still exist as it’s the most obvious destination for a consumer, but it might only be a page linking to YouTube encouraging people to join the community there.”For a B2C company like Coca-Cola, this move might be a smart one. Building a one-off website every single new campaign can be an expensive and slow process when you factor in build time and QA, then there’s the effort and man-power involved in up-keeping the community you have created. Right now Coca-cola is charged with managing and maintains over 7 different domains including MyCoke.com and Live Positively, so really they’re just consolidating their resources into one common goal – to build the Coco-Cola reach using social media and drive brand enthusiasm through those channels. For B2B companies, you may be wondering if Coke’s strategy could work for your business. At HubSpot, we’ve had success in creating several app-driven Grader websites like Website Grader. These Grader products generate a lot of leads for our sales team so it’s worth the investment to host and deliver them to our prospects, even if it requires a dedicated team of developers to monitor and manage them. I do commend Coke for dedicating their marketing team into using social media to build their reach and reinforce their brand. When you build a robust presence on the big social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube), you are essentially fishing where the fish are. However, the one thing that Coke is lacking from all of their websites is a powerful blog presence which I believe would strengthen the connection between their social media campaigns and their own domains.Do you think Coca-Cola made the right move? Are you investing more time in building your reach in social media this year? Tell us in the comments. Video: How to Use Social Media to Manage Your Company Brand Online Learn how to use social media to attract more customers.Download the free video and learn how to generate more business using social media. Branding Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
. You can easily Now, weekly summary emails that are already sent to small businesses that use Yelp’s business tools (like the one pictured above) also This should also serve as a wakeup call for small businesses who aren’t already taking advantage of local business directories, review sites and mobile applications such as Yelp and Google Places ( Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack the inclusion of mobile activity tracking to its weekly summary for small businesses that use On-Demand Webinar: How to Use SEO & Social Search for Lead Generation How many people “checked in” to the business via the Yelp app Topics: include the following mobile activity information Join Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at HubSpot for insights on how to generate leads with SEO and social search. ). People are increasingly using these tools to find and evaluate businesses like yours all the time. If you haven’t claimed your presence on these sites, you’re missing a huge opportunity to Yelp announced The new addition came after Yelp disclosed some interesting statistics a few weeks ago about Yelp use, which revealed that over 1 in 4 searches on Yelp are performed from Yelp’s iPhone application, and every five seconds, someone uses the Yelp app to call a local business. Pretty interesting, considering these stats were generated just from Yelp’s iPhone app, and Yelp also has applications for 4 other smart phones. Yelp presence Download the free, on-demand webinar now claim your Google Place here and ! How many people called the business from their Yelp app This week, get found online by local searchers Why This Matters for Marketers and Small Business Owners unlock your free business tools on Yelp here The availability of these mobile stats means marketers and small business owners now have access to more in-depth data regarding the impact of their formerly called Google Local How many people looked at the business’ page from their Yelp app So what are you waiting for? : . How many people generated directions to the business from their Yelp app Originally published Jun 30, 2010 3:15:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 . . As local search and mobile applications increases in popularity and usage, the ability to gain insight into how people are searching for local businesses using these types of search tools is becoming more and more valuable. Knowing this data can help small businesses make decisions on how best to take advantage of their local search presence. Local SEO Yelp’s free business tools
Google Alerts to give it a try. a real-time feature. – Using real-time search, users can limit real-time updates to a specific location near them or a location they select. Want to know what is the hottest topic in your city right now? Then set your location in Google real-time search. Google’s real-time search feature is currently in the process of being rolled out to everyone. Visit Google Updates – Do you want to get an email the second someone mentions your business on Twitter? Now you can. With the launch of real-time search, Google has made Real-Time Google Alerts Google’s real-time search provides users with a page of search results that automatically update as new updates are created that mention the user’s search terms from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and more. Included in real-time search are many new features: Look for Local Conversations History Conversation Viewing Google.com/realtime – Using the timeline at the top of the real-time page, users can scroll to a period of time and look at the updates and conversations for specific data and times using Originally published Aug 26, 2010 2:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Google’s real-time search . How Does Google’s Real-Time Search Work? Search engines have been working at a rapid pace to improve their systems to handle and deliver results from social networks in real time. Today, the real-time search industry got a lot hotter. Google today turned on a new experiment feature that delivers search results on a keyword in real time. Marketing TakeawayWith the launch of real-time search, Google has reinforced the importance of social media for marketing. Businesses participating in social media will have a clear advantage in getting found online because of their automatic inclusion in real-time search results. Marketers now have a new tool to monitor online conversations about their business and understand which marketing events directly caused an increase in word-of-mouth buzz during a given time. Google real-time search is a huge boost for marketers not only in monitoring but also in demonstrating the value of social media to their business. Topics: To learn about some of the other important features and aspects of Google’s real-time search, check out this quick video from Google. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
@RachelGettingIt The Twittersphere was pretty active in participating in the week’s events (thanks, guys!), and many of the most valuable insights were shared by 1. Print ads and brochures are beautiful pieces of garbage. Spend less on inbound marketing and capture lead on how businesses are abandoning costly, outdated traditional marketing tactics in favor of higher-yield, easier-to-track inbound marketing tactics like blogging and search engine optimization. Got an insight of your own to share? Post it below or tweet it to helpful how-to’s We wanted to acknowledge and share some of the very best transformation-themed tweets with you here. May they inspire you to start transforming your own low-yield marketing programs into finely-tuned lead-generation machines! #transform (via Originally published Apr 12, 2011 12:30:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 #transform (via @The3Motionz ) @lightbodymedia valuable insights Inbound Marketing , hundreds of @JimEJr s. #transform (via 9. You can’t BUY credibility. You have to EARN it. ) #transform (via 2. Being in the Yellow Book is like advertising in a book… that is closed most of the time. (don’t forget to use the #transform hashtag!). ) 8. It’s easier to work with clients running toward you rather than away from you! #transform (via @Eric_Baum @seibways Marketing Transformation Week ) @BSitko ) #transform (via @himanshuchanda @stacieverbic 10. No time to create content = no time to make money. program generated dozens of [By the way, we’ve archived all of the content shared during Marketing Transformation Week Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 5. Good marketers have a social media presence, not a resume. A sweet blog is more telling than a degree. 7. Engage and activate your fans/followers. Don’t collect them like cards. #transform (via , and thousands of #transform (via Topics: #transform (via 3. Inbound marketing is an investment in your business (one that keeps on giving), not a one time expense. #transform (via ) , using the #transform hashtag. @trustemedia ) eye-opening stats HubSpot’s Twitter followers 4. Don’t just say your company is the ‘leading’…prove it with info online that helps beyond just selling. @elumic 11. Keywords are the currency of the Internet. , for those of you who missed any of it.] ) ) 12. If Google can’t find you, neither can prospective customers. #transform (via here @SeattleREGuy ) @HubSpot ) 6. Don’t be pushy. “Buy, buy, buy” will result in “bye, bye, bye.” #transform (via ) Last week’s
Monitoring web traffic should already be on your daily to-do list if you’re a full-fledged inbound marketer. Aside from traffic you should be watching how many new inbound links you’re getting, how often people are mentioning your list on social media, and if those included on the list are promoting their appearance. Before you start arbitrarily ranking things in your industry, it’s important to nail down the details of how you’re going to execute your list creation. No one’s going to care about any list that was haphazardly put together and it could be a huge black eye for your company’s brand if you’re not meticulous. Marketing Takeaway: It’s crucial to get the word out to those who made the list so they can help you spread the news across their networks. A phone call, an email, a tweet… there are many ways to go about notifying and congratulating your top ranking list-makers. 2. Gather data from publicly available sources. 1. Focus on something no one else in your industry has covered. 3. Determine your list eligibility criteria. Twitter Grader The importance of using really samcoren list. for the latest in college news. ) the Content Manager for StudentAdvisor.com, a Washington Post Company. Check out her posts on the Top 100 Social Media Colleges 5. Measure your results! to assign a quality score to the schools’ Twitter presences. There wasn’t any smoke and mirrors behind how we got the numbers we needed to calculate rankings. However, assembling this data took quite a bit of time so be prepared to dedicate a lot of hours assembling data. You’d be amazed by how many official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts one school can have! The Following is a guest post by Sam Coren (@ Originally published Apr 12, 2011 4:00:00 PM, updated October 18 2015 However it’s important to understand that anytime you publish something that says X is better than Y you’re going to get flack for it. In order to handle this our first line of response was referring people to our published methodology and FAQ. Another thing we liked to inform unhappy readers about was that we were going to be updating the list (the new version of the Top 100 Social Media Schools comes out on May 4th). So even though they were currently unhappy – the rankings weren’t set in stone. Since it’s becoming increasingly important for colleges to maintain an effective social media presence to connect with students and alumni, we saw an incredible opportunity. We challenged ourselves to create the first ever public 4. Notify those who made the list. Be prepared for backlash from those who didn’t. When it comes to business blogging, lists are an excellent accessory to have in your content generation toolbox. Why? Well, everyone is always dying to know what’s “best” or “worst” for any given category. What readers don’t want to do is spend the necessary hours researching information to figure it out on their own! Generating rankings for something relevant to your industry can garner you some serious web attention, but if you’re not careful you can end up making more enemies than friends. defined a “Top Social Media College”. We didn’t want the rankings to be swayed by numbers so we took enrollment data into account. After all, it’s much easier for a huge state school with a student of population of 40,000+ to have more connections than a teeny liberal arts school of 1,000. put together an FAQ Other things that might be worth checking out as time goes on are your number of social media followers, RSS subscribers, and traffic from referring sites. Additional ground rules we set were that the schools on the list had to have an official Facebook and Twitter page, an official Facebook page with at least 500 likes, and only schools who had verified enrollment data would be ranked. It’s also important for your readers to understand your ranking methodology so it’s a good idea to take the time to StudentAdvisor Blog With our list we had a wealth of publicly available sources for data collection. Finding out how many Twitter followers or Facebook likes a school had was a quick Google search away. The US Department of Education gave us enrollment data on post-secondary institutions. We even used HubSpot’s With over 6,000 schools we were collecting data on we had to decide what In the world of college review sites there are hundreds upon hundreds of lists that rank schools for almost everything you can possibly think of. At StudentAdvisor, we noticed a serious void in the world of college rankings: there wasn’t any list that represented the colleges who best used social media. explaining what you did and why. 5 Tips to Make Your List Launch a Success If your site needs a big “break” to get recognition consider creating a thoughtful rankings list relevant to your industry with public data. Photo Credit: data will make your list more authentic in the eyes of your readers if they have access to the data you used. Another added benefit is that it will keep costs low for you to use publicly available information rather than having to rely on paid private research studies. ell brown Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
In just a few days, the contest has already generated hundreds of tweets and thousands of new visitors to HubSpot’s website, and the numbers continue to climb. 1 Social Media Contest Example 2: In the summer of 2010, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago launched a contest that required a web –savvy individual to live in the museum for 30 days and report observations to the outside world. The museum offered the contest winner a prize of $10,000, tech gadgets, and an honorary lifetime membership to MSI.To generate some pre-contest buzz, the museum started conversations on Twitter (using hashtag #MATM) and inspired bloggers and mainstream media channels to cover this unique experiment; BoingBoing, Mediabistro, PBS, The Huffington Post, ChicagoNow, and other mainstream outlets and local blogs wrote about the contest ( see example ). The coverage generated hundreds of comments, tweets, and video impressions. The Museum of Science’s video channel also generated more than 240 new subscribers and more than 15,636 new likes on Facebook. 2 Tips and Takeaways Run contests using social media, not just your website . Social media can be more than a promotional tool; it can also be a utility. In the case of HubSpot’s Website Grader contest, using Twitter to tweet your website’s grade is the required method for entry. This implementation takes advantage of user-generated content and, in turn, further promotes the contest to a wider audience. A win-win for all. Use an integrated strategy. Don’t just rely on one outlet for promotion. In addition to traditional marketing methods, use all the social networks that are important to you and your audience. Many successful giveaways expand their reach to multiple sources utilizing blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (to name a few). Make your contests easy to share. If people can’t share your awesome contest idea, it may not go very far. To ensure your giveaway gets some traction, use a URL shortener like bit.ly to create shortened links for others to share on Twitter. Also, add “Tweet This” or “Share on Facebook” links on your website or blog so visitors can easily share your content with one click (AddThis is a great tool for that). Wherever your contest is promoted, make it easy for others to share it. Generate pre-contest buzz. Don’t forget that you can start promoting your contest even before it officially starts. Use social media to start conversions so people are already lined up and waiting when it launches. The Museum of Science did a fantastic job of this by starting conversions with bloggers and followers on Twitter. Track your success. To know that your contests are successful, use a unique tag, phrase or link for tracking. Whether it is a hashtag on Twitter or a unique landing page on your website, put processes in place to identify the results you generate from social media initiatives.Contests present a terrific way to create PR opportunities and to reach out to your target audience effectively. They’re fun, and they help you get noticed by both customers and the media. Social media has become an excellent resource and tool for turning good contests into great ones.Do you have any great ideas or examples to add? I would love to hear your feedback! Credits: 1. Source: Inbound Marketing Blog 2. Source: 11 Examples of Online Marketing Success eBook Social Media Campaigns It’s a fact: people like to win stuff. When you pair the word “prize” with an objective, you can generally expect a good outcome. Because of this, holding contests or sweepstakes is a great way to drive more sales, leads, donations, or whatever you’re trying to get more of.Contests have been a fun and effective promotional strategy for decades, but since the success of an online contest hinges so closely on generating a large volume of participants, having the right promotional strategy is crucial.Social media, specifically, enables you to reach a very large audience for little cost, which makes it a superb outlet for contests and giveaways. People love to share great content, and the social channel only makes it easier to spread the word about your promotion. When done right, social media will help your contests go viral.Before we dive into some tips of running a successful contest using social media, here are some great examples: Social Media Contest Example 1: Looking for some extra cash? HubSpot is currently giving away a $100 Amazon gift card to a lucky winner every day. All you need to do is grade your website and tweet about it ( official details here ). Not only that, but there is also a grand prize of a free iPad, which will be awarded to a winner who, not only tweets, but blogs about their results. Originally published Jun 1, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 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
Turns out Twitter has been a little sneaky today. With no word from the official Twitter Blog, it looks like the microblogging service is slowly and quietly rolling out two new features to its search functionality: “Top News” and “Top People.”Top NewsThis afternoon, GigaOm reported that, for certain lucky users, Twitter.com now includes a “Top News” section at the top of search results. These “Top News” results highlight relevant, timely news articles about the topic being searched. Top PeopleIn addition, for certain users, Twitter.com’s search function now also includes a “Top People” window that highlights Twitter users who correspond with specific search queries. So, for instance, a search for “obama” conducted using Twitter.com’s search function, would show something like this:It’s pretty obvious that these new features have been added to make it easier for users to locate relevant and more timely content through their Twitter.com searches.Marketing TakeawayThere has yet to be an official announcement from Twitter about the launch of these new features and when they’ll be available to all users, but marketers should be aware that they’re coming.We don’t yet know how Twitter is determining which articles to feature in its top news section, and they don’t appear to be tweets, but once we do know, marketers should understand if and how they can leverage it to get their content in front of more Twitter searchers.In any event, the fact that Twitter is now featuring top news in its search results emphasizes more of a focus on search. As marketers, we must be cognizant of this trend, and make sure our all pieces of content we create — yes, even our tweets — are optimized with appropriate keywords that are relevant for our business. Are you putting enough of a focus on search engine optimized content? SEO and Social Media Originally published Nov 2, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Originally published Jun 5, 2012 4:45:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 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: Inbound Marketing Yesterday, Search Engine Land released the results of the third and final round of BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey. Conducted between January 15th and March 1st of this year, this survey looked at the current state of local consumer purchasing behavior, and compared it against results from 2010. We referenced some of the data from previous installments of the survey in an earlier post on this blog about how to accumulate more online reviews for your local business, but the data from this installment of the survey focuses on consumer recommendation behavior for local businesses.In other words, how can you turn your customers into word-of-mouth marketers for your local business? It’s an important method of customer acquisition for businesses to master because those customers are, to put it plainly, wicked cheap; no marketing costs get expended to bring them in, and any sales efforts are typically minimal when accompanied by the rousing recommendation of your business from the customers’ friends. So let’s check out the most recent insight BrightLocal can give us about how consumers recommend local businesses so you can determine the best way to increase word-of-mouth business.Do People Ever Recommend Your Type of Business?The likelihood that your local business receives customer recommendations does depend a bit on the type of business you’re running. According to the survey results, there are simply some types of businesses that customers are more likely to recommend. Here’s the breakdown:While I was surprised some of these business types weren’t recommended more often — particularly tradesmen, builders/roofers, accountants, and some of the other service-based industries — Search Engine Land brings up a good point about these findings: many of these services aren’t used that frequently. Think about how often you go to a restaurant (and how often that comes up in conversation) compared to how often you call a roofer (and again, how often you’re chatting about that with your friends, family, and colleagues?). You’re much more likely to recommend a place for dinner on a regular basis than a good accountant — who may just come up once a year during tax season.If your local business addresses something of dire importance, or something that people just love to chat about and use all the time, you’re more likely to see recommendations come through from current customers than businesses that are very niche, or don’t cater to a demographic that sees them on a frequent basis. That doesn’t mean you’re totally out of luck — you’ll just have to work a little harder at your word-of-mouth marketing. Luckily, we’ve written a blog post all about creating a powerful word-of-mouth marketing strategy to help you out!How Consumers Get the Word Out About Your BusinessIf you’re providing an awesome product or service (of course you are!), then you can be sure consumers are talking about you. The question is — where are they having that conversation? Apparently, this is where:The good thing about knowing where consumers are talking about you is you can be there to foster the discussion. The bad thing (well, positive recommendations are never “bad,” but go with me) is that it appears consumers are largely recommending local businesses verbally. So unless you have some really enviable superpowers, you can’t really scalably interject yourself into those conversations to do some closing and upselling.When we look at the comparison from 2010 to 2012, however, it is clear that there is an uptick in the use of social media and search engines for consumers to voice their recommendations — particularly on Twitter and Google. Although now that Google Places has been replaced by Google+ Local, it will be interesting to see whether those online discussions take to another online channel. Either way, we can take away two action items from this data. First, sometimes your customers will talk about you “behind your back,” so always provide top-notch products and services to increase the likelihood they rave about you to others. Second, they will also talk about you all over the internet, so establish your presence on local review sites and social networks so you can be a part of those conversations.What Tickles Consumers’ FanciesSpeaking of providing those top-notch products and services … what exactly do consumers consider top-notch? Or at least, what is top-notch enough to get people recommending your business?Not surprisingly, what makes consumers want to recommend a business hasn’t changed much over the past couple of years — that’s because what makes up good, quality products and services doesn’t really change much. It’s worth calling out, however, that while discounts and cheap prices are one reason consumers recommend your business (more on that next), it really comes down to how you make them feel. If you’re friendly and reliable, you’re instilling a sense of trust in your customers — that sense of trust is what makes them feel confident that if they recommend you, that experience will be replicated.How Important Are Coupons, Really?Uh, kind of important. Yes, you must instill a sense of trust in your customers so they know their friends, family, and colleagues will have a similarly great experience; but these are trying times. People like to save some moolah!Not only has the number of people who would recommend a local business based on great value, offers, and discounts increased dramatically in the past two years — from 52% in 2010 to 66% this year — but also, the number of people who wouldn’t recommend a business for these reasons has decreased by 7%! And while I could just tell you that your marketing takeaway from this data is to whip up some Facebook coupons, what’s most interesting to me is the inclusion of the word “value” in this research. Your products and services don’t have to be cheap or discounted to get consumers talking about it — the price they pay, whether high or low, has to be equivalent to what they are receiving. It’s when customers get an amazing value for the price they paid, no matter how high, that they’ll begin telling everyone they know about it.Tell a Friend! I’ll Make it Worth Your While ;-)You may have caught a data point above that said only 16% of consumers will recommend your business just because you explicitly asked them to. Pretty low, but still, not shabby for very little effort. Well what if you not only ask them to, but also incentivize them to recommend your business? Here’s what they’ll do:The results run the gamut. Although it’s less than a couple of years ago, some people will recommend your business if there’s some sort of personal incentive, while others are adamant about not doing it. Still others are on the fence, presumably only doing it if the offer is right. It makes sense — some businesses pull off the incentivized recommendation really well, while others struggle.I was at Starbucks yesterday, in fact, and saw a promotion that asked me to recommend Starbucks, and in return, they would make a charitable donation. In that scenario, I anticipate a lot of those who answered “Maybe” could be swayed into the “Yes” column — because you feel good about inciting a charitable donation, and Starbucks feels good about getting more business. It’s when the incentive is simply self-serving (“Recommend us to a friend and get $1 off your next purchase of $1,000 or more … when redeemed between the hours of 10:15 PM and 10:30 PM … only on Tuesdays!”) or just plain not enticing (“Share this email to be entered into a raffle to win a $5 coupon!”) that your offer is unlikely to get consumers gabbing about your business.Are these findings consistent with how your local business gets recommendations?Image credit: Caitlinator Marketing Data
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 Jan 7, 2013 11:03:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Recruiting Tips One particularly great source of content ideas is talking to your sales team or getting involved in some sales meetings yourself so you can find out what types of questions your prospects are asking. Odds are, these prospects are typing those same questions into Google. And the smart inbound marketers will then write articles to answer those questions, which not only attracts more prospects to their website, but also gives their sales team a piece of thought leadership content to share with the people they talk to.And now, let me get to my point. This article topic came directly from questions we get when talking to companies about using our software and adopting a more inbound approach to marketing. So if you’re curious about the qualities to look out for in an inbound marketing manager, and how to evaluate and interview your candidates, this post will give you my two cents as a CMO. Feel free to take some tips from my approach and adopt them for your own hiring process. And if you find yourself sitting on the other side of the inbound marketing interview table, read this article on how to get hired as an inbound marketer.What I Look for in an Inbound Marketing ManagerThe perfect inbound marketing manager has a variety of different skills. At HubSpot, we like to use the acronym “DARC,” which stands for digital, analytical, reach, and content:Digital means they live their lives online and are familiar and comfortable with blogging, social media, and the web in general.Analytical means they like to measure what they do, and they make decisions based on data.Reach means they have a knack for growing their network by creating a gravitational attraction to what they do — and people want to follow their work.Content means they are naturally a content creator, and they’re not afraid of it. (You’d be surprised how many people are scared of writing a blog article.)You can learn more about these skills in our Hiring in the DARC Ages ebook, which is a free excerpt from the Inbound Marketing book.Domain expertise can also be important. If you market to aerospace engineers, you want to hire an inbound marketer who can have something interesting to say to aerospace engineers. Don’t overlook this. It can be harder to learn a highly technical industry than it can be to learn the fundamentals of inbound marketing. Because of this, you might be better off hiring the best blogger for your industry, even if they claim not to know anything about marketing. Alternatively, you could hire an inbound marketer who will interview your domain experts (e.g. executives, evangelists, product managers) and then create and publish content based on that research. But even in that case, you still need to make sure the marketer can at least grasp the basic concepts of your industry and become fluent enough to be a solid interviewer and journalist for your industry.In addition to these specific traits, I personally like to look for a balance of of both creative and quantitative tendencies in the people I hire for inbound marketing. Not only do you want to hire an inbound marketer who has the creativity to come up with new ideas for content and think of new ways to use tools to get results, but you also want someone who knows how to measure what they do and is motivated by moving the metrics. If they love creating content purely for the creativity of it, they are motivated for the wrong reason (if you want them to be a great marketer, that is). The key thing to consider here is that the truly great inbound marketer knows what goals and metrics you want to move, and then figures out how to combine available tools in new and interesting ways to drive the business results you want. Often, they are the first to try something new; always, they measure their results and see if what they did moved the metrics.An example of this combination of skills at work would be publishing a press release composed entirely of tweets to announce an acquisition of a social media company. When we did that at HubSpot, we generated over 1,200 tweets of the hashtag included in that press release, as well as a whole lot of media coverage, even though the acquisition was small (fewer than 7 people) and not extremely newsworthy. Another example is someone adding social sharing links inside a PDF ebook when it had never been tried before, and then tracking the amount of sharing as a result … and then optimizing those links over time to help your ebooks spread more. Because one of our inbound marketers tested this out on our team, today we get thousands of downloads of our HubSpot ebooks just from social sharing alone.How I Review an Application for an Inbound Marketing ManagerBefore the interview, do some thorough “online stalking” of your candidate. Truthfully, I don’t look at potential job candidates’ resumes much except to grab that person’s name so I can type it into Google. As I’m searching for them, I look to see what their general web presence is like. How easy is it to find them? Do they have a blog? If they do, I will usually run it through Marketing Grader to see what their stats are. How often do they publish content? Is the content any good? I also take a look at their social profiles to see if they’re active on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Pinterest, etc. They don’t need to be active in all of these places, but they should have a quality presence in at least one of them. If they’re not still in school, I will also check out their current company, run that website through Marketing Grader, and see if their current marketing is any good. You’d be surprised how many people claim to have a lot of inbound marketing success on their resume, but in reality, have horrible Marketing Grader stats.When I’m doing these initial audits, some of my personal pet peeves I look our for are (1) people who have an email address with hotmail.com, aol.com, or an ISP like Verizon or Comcast, and (2) people who don’t have a personalized URL for their LinkedIn profile. While these things might not get a candidate eliminated for sure, they do indicate a lack of proficiency with inbound marketing. Similarly, I prefer when a candidate’s resume is in a PDF file (not a Word doc), when the candidate includes a link to his or her LinkedIn profile in the email text, and when the text of their cover letter is in the text of the email — not in an attachment. Those things indicate to me that the applicant is proficient in how people use the web and that they thought about making their credentials easily accessible to me. Finally, while a paper resume sent via snail mail to my office will get through the clutter (I do open non-junk mail), it’s not ideal because I can’t forward the piece of paper or share it with others easily.How I Interview Inbound Marketing ManagersFirst off, I like to interview people in person — or, if geography does not allow for that, on Skype. I don’t do many phone screens. I personally feel like the phone screen is a holdover from the pre-internet days when its purpose was to get some additional detail beyond the information on a person’s one-page resume. Today, I can learn all that and more by doing some online snooping.During the interview, I like to ask more “case-style” questions. I learned about this technique in business school, because it’s how all the consulting firms interview. This question type got its name from how business schools use case studies as a teaching method. Case-style questions give the candidate an opportunity to show how they think about and work on problems, rather than just telling me the same prepared stories about the bullet points on their resume.An example of a case-style question would be to draw a marketing funnel on a whiteboard, adding in some numbers for visitors, leads, opportunities, and customers. Then, ask the candidate to pretend those are the real numbers for your business, and ask them what they would do if they were the CMO. I like this question, because it makes the candidate do some analysis out loud, and then you can quickly get into talking about both marketing strategy and tactics. Or, if you’re interviewing a potential blogger, you can show them the stats for your blog overall and for an average article, and ask them what they would do if they managed your blog. The key with these questions is to keep the overall questions broad, but then get into specific details by asking a number of follow-up questions …“Okay, you say we should blog more often … how often? How do you know when it’s too often? How would you create that additional content? What would you measure to know if your strategy worked or not? Let’s say you doubled the blog’s publishing frequency. What would happen to the stats next month?” ( … and so on and so forth)Using these case-style questions allows you to not only evaluate whether the candidate has the DARC attributes, but also if they’re a good balance of creative and quantitative in how they approach problems. Sure, you could ask them questions like, “Are you analytical? Can you give me an example?” but I personally feel like it is too easy to fake your way through questions like that. For more information about how to evaluate potential inbound marketing hires, check out our post about “How to Recruit and Evaluate Marketing Interns,” and stay tuned for an upcoming article where I’ll share some of my favorite marketing interview questions.
Originally published Oct 15, 2014 8:00:00 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 SlackSlack Topics: Blog Optimization We’re on a historical blog optimization kick over here on the HubSpot blogging team. “What in the Sam Hill is ‘historical blog optimization,'” you ask?Basically, it means optimizing our “old” blog content to generate more traffic and leads. And by “old,” I just mean posts that already exist on our blog, whether we wrote it three years ago or last month.A lot of different tactics can fall under the umbrella of historical optimization: updating and republishing blog content so it’s fresh and up-to-date, optimizing posts for search to improve their search rankings, and conversion optimizing posts that still generate a lot of traffic but don’t convert visitors into leads as well as they could.Download our free marketing tool that helps you generate more leads and learn about the visitors on your website. I’ve already written about why marketers need to stop neglecting their old content. In this post, I’m going to make an even stronger case, focusing on one specific conversion optimization tactic: keyword-based conversion optimization.That sounds boring, so before you bounce from this post, let me rephrase: I’m going to show you how we increased the number of leads we generated from our top-ranking blog posts by 99% — and explain how you can do that, too.How We Approached Conversion OptimizationOur First Approach: Focusing on the Calls-to-Action (CTAs)Over the past several months, ever since we discovered that over 75% of our monthly blog post views were also of old posts, we’ve been on a mission to improve the conversion rates of our old posts. We started out by targeting our highest-trafficked old posts to see if we could improve their lead generation potential. Our approach was mainly to optimize the posts’ calls-to-action (CTAs) based on the following questions:Was the primary CTA’s offer the most relevant offer we had for the post’s particular subject matter?Did the post include a slide-in CTA? If so, same question as above.Was the CTA design outdated?Were there other CTA opportunities available that we hadn’t thought of at the time of writing?The results of this approach were hit or miss — sometimes the conversion rate of the post would improve, sometimes not. Sometimes, the conversion rate would even decrease.What we realized was, while we were using relevancy to inform our offer/CTA choices, it was still mostly a guessing game. There was really no way to know whether a visitor would prefer one offer over a another one. Our approach wasn’t data-driven enough.Then, we had another idea … Our Second Approach: Focusing on the KeywordsBased on our previous blog lead attribution analysis, we already knew that the majority of the visitors we got to old, high-trafficked posts were coming from organic search. What if we focused on the specific keywords those visitors were using to find those posts in the first place? It made a lot of sense. If we knew which keyword the majority of people were using to find a particular post, then we could make sure the offers we used in the CTAs on that post matched the keywords as closely as possible, too. And when we put the theory to the test, the results were incredible. We optimized 12 of our high-ranking, top-trafficked posts based on their keyword searches, and here were the results:We increased the number of leads we generated from these posts by 99%.We increased the average conversion rate of these posts by 87%. This was groundbreaking for us and how we approach the conversion optimization of old blog posts. Using this keyword-based approach, we improved the conversion rates of every single post we optimized using that method. There was absolutely no guessing to it — it was entirely data-driven. The Keyword-Based Conversion Optimization Methodology Want to take advantage of this conversion optimization method for your own blog content? Here’s what we did.(Keep in mind that the basic idea behind this approach is to get inside the head of the searcher, and then optimize for conversion based on the search terms they’re already using to find your blog posts.)How We Identified Posts to Optimize1) We made a list of the search terms our blog was already getting found for.We did this by looking at the organic search traffic in HubSpot’s Sources Report. (If you’re not a HubSpot customer, you can also use Google Analytics to identify which keywords you’re getting found for.) While, unfortunately, the majority of keywords today are encrypted by Google (and it’s only getting worse), we were still able to use the keywords that aren’t encrypted as directional data to indicate a larger search trend.2) We identified which of our blog posts were ranking for these keywords.Then, we recorded their ranking in a spreadsheet. You’ll need an SEO tool to make this process easy. We used HubSpot’s Keywords Report since it’s integrated with the HubSpot Sources Report. If you don’t have an SEO tool, you can also do this manually by searching the keyword in an incognito browser, finding your blog post that ranks for it, and recording the ranking.3) We sorted the posts we identified by monthly views.This allowed us to target and start optimizing the posts that generated the most traffic, and then work our way down.How We Optimized Those Posts (And an Example!)To explain how we did it, I’ll use an example of a post we optimized for conversion using this keyword-based approach. For some context, this post example ranked highly for the keywords “how to write a press release” and “press release template.” So when people search for and find that post, they want to learn how to write a press release, and they want a template to help them do it.The problem with the post before we optimized it was that the CTAs within it were promoting our “Newsworthy Guide to Public Relations” ebook — not a press release template. And even though people do get a press release template with their download of the guide, neither the CTA nor the landing page for the ebook clearly positioned it that way.So, what we did was reposition those CTAs to focus more on what people were searching for — the press release template. Initially, we did three things when we conversion optimized the posts we identified using this keyword-based approach:1) We optimized the end-of-post CTA based on the keyword.First, we looked at the post’s existing CTA to see if we had an existing offer that was more relevant to the search term people were using to find the post. Then, we’d reposition the CTA to incorporate the search term into the title of the offer. This way, the search term matched the CTA/offer more closely. If necessary, we also optimized the image used in the CTA.And if we had no relevant offer for the search term (or if repositioning an existing offer was too much of a stretch), we’d add it to a list of posts that required a more relevant offer. More on that in a minute.Example:2) We optimized the slide-in CTA based on the keyword.Slide-in CTAs are CTAs that “slide in” from the side of the page as a visitor scrolls down the post. The advantage of a slide-in CTA is that it puts a CTA in front of visitors sooner than if it were at the end of the post, since it slides in as the visitor scrolls down the page and doesn’t require them to reach the end. (Learn how to create slide-in CTAs here, and easily create a slide-in CTA using HubSpot’s free lead capture tool, Leadin.)We did the same thing here as we’d done with the end-of-post CTA, optimizing the offer/CTA based on the keyword used to find the post. In cases where posts didn’t have a slide-in CTA to begin with, we’d add one.3) We added a text-based, in-line CTA within the post’s intro, based on the keyword.The last thing we did was add a third CTA — a text-based CTA in line with the post’s body copy within the intro of the post. (We’d previously experimented with adding these into posts and found that they were successful in boosting those posts’ conversion rates. I actually think this is critical for conversion optimizing posts whose traffic comes largely from search.)Think about it: If you’re a searcher and you click through to a page from a search result, you’re trying to evaluate quickly whether that result is going to give you what you were searching for. So if you see a link to a resource that matches your search term right off the bat, you’ll probably click on it.Example:If you’re curious how our example post improved, the conversion rate of the post increased by a whopping 240% when we optimized using this keyword-based method. Not too shabby, eh?How We Tracked/Analyzed the ResultsBecause we’d never tried this method of conversion optimization before, we wanted to make sure we carefully tracked what we did so we could understand how effective this was as a conversion optimization strategy. If you plan to experiment with this strategy yourself, this is how I suggest you track it: Prior to doing any search-based conversion optimization, record the views, leads, and conversion rates for each post across a two-week period. That way you can compare the post’s performance before and after it was optimized.Record the date you optimized each post, so you knew when to check back in on the post’s performance after optimization.Record exactly what you optimized (for example: changed the offer, repositioned the CTA, etc.). That way, if these posts do worse after the optimization, then you can go back and undo what you did. And if they did better, you can learn from the changes you made. Two weeks after a post was optimized, record the post’s performance in terms of views, leads, and conversion rate. Then compare the conversion rates to determine whether the optimization was successful.But Wait … There’s More! That’s right! There’s even more you can do to benefit from this search-based conversion optimization approach. We’re currently in the process of implementing the following tactics on our own blog, so while I don’t have data to share with you yet, I have a feeling these tactics will help improve conversion rates even more based on the success of what we’ve implemented so far.1) Create Offers for Posts/Keywords You Don’t Already Have Relevant Offers ForRemember how I talked about repositioning your CTAs to incorporate the search term into the title of the offer … but only if it was relevant enough? For some keywords, you may find it’s a little bit of a stretch to reposition an existing offer in this way — especially if you don’t have a wide variety of offers to choose from. In those cases where you don’t have a relevant keyword-based offer for a post that generates a lot of search traffic month after month, consider creating one from scratch. 2) Optimize the Post-CTA Click Experience (i.e. The Landing Page)Remember the example I used earlier to explain how we implemented our keyword-based conversion optimization approach? While we may have optimized that post’s CTAs to emphasize the offer’s press release template, they’re still going to click through to a landing page that isn’t positioned that way. Don’t stop there. Optimize your landing pages for those keywords, too.Using a feature like HubSpot’s Anonymous Personalization, you can even make it so the landing page is repositioned only for visitors who come from a specific blog post. In other words, the default landing page positioning will remain the same, but if visitors access the page by clicking on a CTA from a particular blog post, visitors are shown a different version of the landing page positioned the same way as the CTA they clicked to get there.This is helpful if you’re promoting a landing page in multiple channels but don’t want to create a duplicate landing page to serve each purpose. Magical, right? (For HubSpot customers, you can accomplish this by creating a tracking URL with a specific campaign for your landing page, and then using Smart Content within the landing page segmented by Referral Source >> Other Campaigns.)
Originally published Oct 3, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Email Lists and Segmentation 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 This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.I think we can all agree that things taste that much sweeter when we actually earn them: the promotion you got, the first car you bought with the money you saved mowing lawns for three summers, or the free coffee you received after the cashier punched the final hole in your rewards card.It felt good, didn’t it?For this same reason, buying an email list to reach a wider audience with your marketing materials is a route you don’t want to take. Not only does it put you at risk of ruining your reputation, but it can also negatively impact your email deliverability rate in a big way. The trouble is, earning email addresses takes time — and time is money. To help you grow your list the right way, check out this infographic from ELIV8 on how to maximize your lead generation efforts.568Save 568Save
Topics: Originally published Feb 10, 2016 11:20:00 AM, updated August 04 2017 Marketing Jobs
It’s no secret that creative agencies aren’t big fans of the pitch deck.Gene Liebel, the founder of New York-based agency Work & Co, summed up his feelings about pitch decks pretty straightforwardly: “They’re the worst.”Pitch decks have become increasingly reviled in recent years, with many agencies declaring their restrictive and unengaging format as an inherent enemy of creativity. As one anonymous agency millennial told Digiday, pitch decks can cause “you [to] think differently … like if an idea doesn’t fit in a neat little bullet point or a clean slide, it’s not good.”Despite the general animosity towards pitch decks, they aren’t going to go away overnight. Not every pitch your agency makes is going to come in the form of a crazy stunt. Sometimes, a pitch just demands a straightforward, no-frills presentation. And you’ve got to bite the bullet, swallow your creative pride, and open PowerPoint. Designing a solid, persuasive pitch deck that won’t put your audience to sleep is easier said than done. People are notoriously terrible at focusing on slide-by-slide presentations, so your deck needs to cut through the clutter and communicate your points in a way that your audience can understand with minimal effort. To help make your next pitch a tolerable — maybe even enjoyable — experience for everyone, we’ve put together a list of six basic guidelines for designing engaging decks. How to Design a Pitch Deck that Doesn’t Suck1) Make your text extremely legible.That guy who forgot to wear his contacts today and somehow ended up in the back row of the conference room? Yeah, he needs to be able to see your slides just as well as everyone else. The significance of creating extremely legible, easy-to-read slides should not be underestimated. It’s more than a matter of aesthetics: If your slides are at all difficult to read, even people with 20/20 vision are going to quickly lose interest and zone out.They didn’t come here to expend effort — they came here to be spoon-fed. And it’s your job to make your information as digestable as possible. To keep the focus on your content, stick to big, bold fonts on highly-contrasting backgrounds. Don’t do this:This font color doesn’t contrast enough with the background, and the text size isn’t large or clear enough to be read comfortably from a distance. Don’t make your poor audience stare at this for too long. Do this:This font is big and bold enough to be seen from the back of the room, and it contrasts well with the background. When all else fails, a bold sans-serif font is the way to go. 2) Tell a story.When we process information in list format, the basic language-processing areas of our brains get activated. Scientists call these sections Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, and they’re responsible for translating words we see or hear into coherent meanings — but they don’t help us stay interested or retain information. In other words, bullet points don’t usually produce a very exciting reaction in our brains, leaving the rest of our minds to wander.When our brains are given a story instead of a list, things change — big time. Stories engage more parts of our brains, including our sensory cortex, which is responsible for processing visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. If you want to keep people engaged during a presentation, tell them a story.”A story takes all the senseless data that the world provides and turns it into something meaningful,” said Jonah Sachs, the creative director of the communications firm Free Range Studios and author of Winning the Story Wars. Centering you presentation around a story, instead of a list of facts or figures, is essential for keeping people interested and leaving a lasting impression.Don’t do this:This information might be impressive, but it isn’t likely to stick with your audience when presented in list form.Do this:Weaving your impressive case study into a story is much more likely to have an impact on the audience. 3) Break everything down into extremely simple parts.When it comes to pitch decks, it’s time to wean yourself off of bullet points. Although they’re still better than slapping a dense paragraph of text onto a slide and calling it a day, they can be overwhelming, and prevent your audience from really absorbing your main points.You might think you’re already simplifying your content, but take it a step further. Each slide should convey a single, simple idea — not a multiple ideas, not a multi-faceted idea, and not an idea that requires a degree in rhetoric to meticulously decode. If it seems like you’re making things way too simple, then you’re on the right track. Remember: not all your talking points need to occupy real estate on your slide deck. Save the slide space for the big ideas, and talk your way through the rest. Don’t do this:These points might seem simple, but they could be broken down even further and separated onto different slides. Do this:There’s nothing difficult to understand about this simple, straightforward slide. 4) Make the points obvious.The point of each slide should be obvious. Your audience shouldn’t have to work to understand what’s going on, especially when graphs or charts are involved.Any information you include on a slide should be immediately translated for the audience, even if you think it speaks for itself. Ask yourself:What point are you trying to make by including this piece of information?How does this fact or figure connect back to your main premise?What do you want the audience to get out of this slide?Don’t do this:While this graph clearly shows growth, the point doesn’t obviously tie back to your premise. Do this:The title on this slide tells the audience exactly what they should take away from the graph, directing them immediately to the conclusion that benefits your cause. 5) Focus on the prospect’s challenges, not yourself.It’s safe to assume that your prospect has spent some time researching your agency, so there’s no need to waste valuable presentation time talking about your accomplishments or accolades. You aren’t just convincing the audience you’re amazing at your job — you’re convincing them that you understand them, and that you’re the best person to help them overcome their unique challenges. The business pitch consultants at Blue Lobster recommend asking yourself a few questions to focus your presentation around your audience:Who is the audience?What is their problem?How can you help?Don’t do this:While this is all very impressive, it doesn’t express an understanding of your client’s problems or delve into how you can help them. Plus, your prospect probably already found this information from a quick scan of your agency’s website.Do this:This slide shows that you’ve done your research, and expresses a clear value proposition to the prospect. 6) Supplement your deck with additional materials.Even when it makes sense to use a pitch deck, you don’t need to spend the whole presentation talking at your audience. “We expect teams to use presentations as a visual aid to a narrative or conversation between them and their audience, not as prose-focused documents to be read,” said KBS co-president Matt Powell. Powell encourages his agency’s team to supplement classic pitch decks with additional materials, such as “handouts, prototypes or posters to encourage discussion so the presentation and the presentation deck are not seen as one and the same.”To keep your audience receptive and awake, consider adding some of these more engaging elements throughout the presentation. What is your agency’s stance on pitch decks? How do you keep them fresh and interesting? Let us know in the comments. Originally published Feb 16, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated February 16 2017 Business Pitches Topics: Don’t forget to share this post!
Originally published Apr 25, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Today I’m going to show you how we boosted our organic traffic by 43% over a 3 month period.The best part is, we did it without publishing any new content, spending any more money on marketing or adding any additional resources to our team.Free guide: How to define inspiring mission and vision statements.We call the strategy, The Mission Week, and I will tell you exactly how we do it.But First, a Little Story …I am the founder of small business-focused job board called Proven.In October of 2015, we made the difficult decision to completely forgo building a sales team and focus all our efforts instead on acquiring customers via content marketing and SEO.We knew that given the price point of our product, it was not economically viable for us to have people make sales calls. We needed a lower cost solution to bringing in new customers.This led us to seeking a content marketing and SEO strategy.Like many companies new to blogging, we rushed into it full steam, cranking out tons of new posts. We started to realize that this was a doomed strategy. We had hundreds of posts, but were barely moving the needle on our overall traffic. We figured we could only get a traffic boost as long as we were creating new content.In early 2016, we started to learn a lot more about content promotion and link building. This led to a number of content successes, like ranking in the top 5 on Google for the search term”job board”, but after a while, this growth started to tail off.Our content promotion was unfocused, lacked clear goals, and as a result, great pieces of content were not ranking well.Finally, this all changed when our amazing Director of Marketing, Caileen Kehayas, invented The Mission Week.What is a Mission Week?Our Mission Weeks consist of choosing one piece of content that’s under performing and everyone on the team focuses their promotional efforts only on this piece of content. We gamify the process by assigning points to different types of promotional activities. For example, sending an outreach email might get you 1 point, you can earn 2 points for broken link building and 5 points for writing a guest blog that links to the article. Each person must accumulate 20 points to complete their mission for the week.Regardless of your role in our company, you can participate. If you aren’t comfortable writing articles, you can earn points through outreach emails, discovering linking opportunities or responding to relevant questions on Quora.As part of the promotion, we will do minor content updates and perhaps update the title and meta tags of the article.The weekly point goal is small enough that it doesn’t take up so much time that it becomes overwhelming. Team members can easily earn enough points without compromising their regular workloads. Involving everyone at Proven — even those outside of the marketing team — helps create more dynamic and diverse supporting content. We all have different backgrounds and skill sets, and everyone is focused on promoting the same piece of content. With everyone participating, it’s a great opportunity for team building across different departments.A Mission Week Case StudyIn January 2016 we published an article called How to Interview: The Definitive Guide. After being live for 10 months on our blog, it never cracked the top 10 for Google search results for any high value set of keywords.We chose this article back in late October as our first Mission Week.This article now ranks 5th on Google for “how to interview”, and has 49 backlinks from 27 domains.So, how did we do it?Resource Link BuildingEach participant was awarded 1 point for an outreach email sent to a site that was linking to similar content. Primarily, we use a resource link building strategy that I wrote about previously.During this week, each person on the team sent an average of 18.5 outreach emails to sites linking to similar content.To research 15 to 20 different possible sites and send them an email doesn’t take up too much of a person’s week. However, if someone was left doing all this outreach on their own, it becomes a huge tedious job that eats up a large portion of their week.Guest BloggingEach participant was awarded 5 points for writing an article that contained a link to this blog post.During this week, our team produced 7 related articles that our Director of Marketing helped publish to different sites.Again, writing one support piece is not too bad, but writing 7 is completely unreasonable for our small team.Content UpdatesWe updated the title of the article to How to Interview Job Candidates (The Definitive Guide), because adding brackets to your title can help increase CTR on Google. We also updated the introduction and gave the design of the page a bit of a face lift.All of these things help to improve CTR, bounce rate and dwell time, which are all ranking factors for Google.Social PromotionAs part of the mission, we schedule promotion of the article on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. We typically schedule up to 8 tweets for a single article, changing up the text and hashtags we use. If one tweet is performing really well, we will re-use it again and again on different days and different times.Quora AnswersEach participant was awarded 2 points for finding and answering a relevant Quora question. Although these are no-follow links, it does help to create brand awareness, referral traffic, and authority in the industry.During the week, we had one team member answer 5 questions on Quora.ResultsAs mentioned, this article now ranks 5th on Google and went from delivering close to zero organic traffic to now being one of our top performing pieces.We’ve seen consistent movement in our Google rankings for every subject of a Mission Week thus far. Following the same process outlined above, we did a Mission Week for this article about job ads.We now rank 2nd on Google for ”job advertisements” ahead of industry giants like Indeed and CareerBuilder.Organizing Our MissionsEach week, our marketing director chooses the article with the most SEO potential that is under performing.She puts together a document outlining the following:Article titleArticle URLThe keywords we are targetingCurrent rankings for those keywordsSuggestions for supporting article topicsSearch suggestions for finding sites that may link to usSeparately, we track in a shared spreadsheet all the outreach emails we send so that we don’t accidentally email the same person. This is also good for historical reference because it’s sometimes worth revisiting and following up with any outreach emails that get sent.Transforming The Way We Promote ContentMission Weeks have completely transformed the way we actively promote our content. Prior to having the Mission Weeks, we used a lot of the same promotional strategies, but it was not focused and many team members didn’t have clearly defined weekly goals to work towards.Now, every week, everyone knows exactly what they need to accomplish. Marketing, engineering, customer support and the executives of Proven all participate, driving towards the same goal of accumulating 20 points. We brag to one another over Slack when we complete our missions or land a new link, which is typically followed by a barrage of GIFs.Not only has The Mission Week process grown our organic traffic, it’s increased our new customers significantly in a short period of time.I strongly encourage you to give it a try. You can play with the point system and weekly goal based on the needs and resources of your company.Would you consider running a Mission Week at your company? Share your thoughts in the comments. Topics: Blog Optimization Don’t forget to share this post!
Topics: 4. Yum Yum Videos 11. Final 9. How Deep is the Ocean? (Tech Insider) 2. What is AI? (HubSpot) 6. What is an API? (MuleSoft) 3. PandaDoc Video Marketing Feel intimidated by the notion of creating an explainer video? There’s no need to be — they just represent another excellent way to get your content out to your target audience.Besides the really big brands that we are all familiar with, a lot of lesser-known companies and even small startups are using them.Even if you believe your product isn’t “cool” enough to become a fancy, interesting explainer video, there’s probably someone out there with a problem that can be solved by what you have to offer.Sometimes a quick, easy, explanation is just what someone needs to help clearly understand how your product solves a problem. HubSpot Research recently found that video is the most preferred form of content and that people enjoy entertaining and informative video content most. Access videos, templates, and tips, to help you launch an effective video marketing strategy. Think you need a professional production team to create a worthwhile explainer video? Think again. Compiling an explainer video doesn’t have to be more complicated than putting together a slide deck in a Powerpoint presentation. You decide what to say, find some relevant graphics to jazz things up, and record a voiceover. Explainer videos should generally be 30-90 seconds in length, which translates into a written script of around 200 words or less in most cases. To get a good feel for crafting your own video, start by gathering some inspiration from brands doing it right. You’re bound to find something that resonates with you as a good example for brainstorming your own.Here are 17 fabulous explainer videos across a wide variety of industries, media outlets, and publications to jumpstart your own project. You should have no trouble getting inspired to make an explainer video part of your marketing strategy.17 of the Best How-To Videos We’ve Ever SeenUnroll.MeWhat is AI? (HubSpot)PandaDocYum Yum VideosDollar Shave ClubWhat is an API? (MuleSoft)Mint.comSpotifyHow Deep is the Ocean? (Tech Insider)SafeDriveFinalEthical Coffee ChainPinterestBriefMeMunzitStitch FixWater Mark Don’t forget to share this post! 13. Pinterest 8. SpotifySPOTIFY Promo U.S. Launch from Magnus Östergren on Vimeo. 16. Stitch Fix 17. Water Mark 12. Ethical Coffee Chain 15. Munzit 10. SafeDrive 5. Dollar Shave Club Want more tips for creating video? Check out these video marketing statistics to inform your strategy. Originally published Jun 30, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 14. BriefMe 7. Mint.comMint.com “Financial Life” from Nate Whitson on Vimeo. 1. Unroll.Me
Google Updates Then, there was the issue of how this would change the concept of “position one” on the search results page (SERP) — would anything below the featured snippet even matter anymore?And as Sullivan noted, Google found that the featured snippets did, in fact, drive traffic — to the sources of information within them. Position one, it turned out, might become obsolete after all.Simply put, “you don’t get as much organic traffic from being in position one when there’s a snipped above your search result,” says HubSpot’s SEO Associate Marketing Manager Padraig O’Connor. “They take clicks away from the search results beneath them, which is why businesses can’t afford to not optimize their content for featured snippets.”Back in December, we wrote about our own research on just how much featured snippets eat into blog traffic. Consider that on SERPs with no featured snippet, we found that the first result can expect to bring in about 33% of the total clicks. The second result accounts for 18%, and the rest, 11% or under.But when the SERP does feature a snippet, we found that it does receive a high ratio of clicks — about 50%, versus the 33% received by the position one result on SERPs without one. That means that when there’s a featured snippet, it decreases clicks on the remaining results below it to the point that some of the top 10 become nearly obsolete.But the featured snippet doesn’t always drive clicks. Remember that Google itself noted predictions that once users saw the information they were seeking in the featured snippet, they might exit and move on. According to O’Connor, those predictions were accurate. “Sometimes people find the answer they wanted from the snippet and don’t click any result. We know this from experiments our SEO team ran here at HubSpot,” he explains, noting a test in which we found that our post on Facebook cover photo tips appeared as the featured snippet in results for the query, “Facebook cover photo dimensions” — but didn’t drive clicks.”As a result,” O’Connor says, “it’s important for marketers to add a ‘hook’ in their featured snippets that makes people want to click through.”Google doesn’t always get the featured snippet right — which makes it even more important.The introduction of featured snippets, like many of the other ways Google has changed its algorithm, was meant to solve for the user.”We believe this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking,” Sullivan wrote in his blog post, “both from the description and when they click on the link to read the page itself.”And while that path was seemingly paved with good intentions — Google didn’t always get it right. In fact, our research found that only 7% of people actually trust featured snippets — and that 21% never trust them.My own, lighthearted research supported these findings, like when I searched for, “Why are dogs the best?”While the featured snippet gives me some nice information about the history of dogs becoming domestication, it doesn’t really tell me anything about what, specifically, makes them such great little creatures. Four-legged friends aside, Sullivan admitted that Google itself has realized some of its less-than-accurate featured snippet results, using the query “how did the Romans tell time at night” as an example.Source: GoogleNotice that the query specifically asks how this works at night — when a sundial, which is the method indicated in the featured snippet on the left above, “would be useless,” as Sullivan put it.But Google is investing efforts into optimizing featured snippets results to reflect accurate information that better aligns with the user’s full query, which is illustrated by the newer (correct) featured snippet on the right in the image above.That Google is making such an investment, says O’Connor, should give marketers pause — and the realization that Google is only placing a growing amount of importance on the featured snippet on SERPs.”This highlights that Google is doubling down on featured snippets,” he explains, “and marketers need to optimize their content if they want to be featured.”Voice search is going to shape the way this works.When Sullivan explained the reasoning behind Google’s introduction of featured snippets, he made a short, but extremely important point:”It’s especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.”In May 2016, Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted in his I/O keynote that 20% of its mobile app and Android device searches were executed by voice — a figure that has likely only increased in the roughly 20 months since it was first unveiled, especially when you consider the near-saturation of the voice assistant device market.In other words, the way people are searching is evolving — quickly. A growing number of people are becoming personal assistant device owners, and therefore executing a larger number of voice search queries. Just have a look at this more recent data from Google:So, what does this mean? With more people seeking information by voice — and with Google Home, for example, delivering that information by way of a spoken featured snippet — marketers will have to consider these multiple levels and methods of search when it comes to optimizing their content.Of course, optimizing for voice search won’t result in more clicks. Google Home does typically cite the result of the featured snippet in a spoken result, and there are options to learn more through its app, but most users will not get to the point of clicking when seeking information by voice.Nonetheless, this continued evolution of search — and Google’s growing emphasis on the featured snippet — does have crucial implications for search marketers and the way content is optimized. “With the increase in new features in the search results page, most notably Featured Snippets, and the increased importance of voice search, the way that marketers think about optimizing content for search has shifted a lot,” says Matt Barby, HubSpot’s Director of Acquisition. “It’s tough to predict how Google will ultimately enable searchers to consume that content, so creators have to optimize for multiple outcomes at the same time.”Sullivan’s blog post, however, was just one in what Google says will be a series on how its search engine works, so it’s possible that it will continue to shed light on its plans for the delivery of search results — by mobile, desktop, or voice.Following experiments run by HubSpot’s Matt Barby, HubSpot research has released a report on the best way to optimize your content in order to capture the featured snippet: HubSpot’s Guide to Winning Google’s Featured Snippet. “It’s the wild west here,” says HubSpot SEO Manager Victor Pan. “Businesses with experimentation and agility in their DNA will be the ones that win.”Featured image source: Google Friends, I have a confession to make. There are moments when I obsess over Google’s algorithm in the same way that certain movie characters might obsess about their exes.I mean, we all do, right? After all, just look at how much my colleagues and I discussed it right here on the Marketing Blog. Here’s what Google did this month. Here’s what Google’s doing next. Here’s how search is changing. Here’s how it works.Access Now: 22 SEO Myths to Leave Behind This YearAnd now, Google itself has decided to carry its own torch on that last part — how it works.Most recently, Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for search, published a comprehensive blog post on the search engine’s featured snippets: the concise responses to search queries that appear above general results.The post dives into what a featured snippet might look like depending on how a search was conducted (like voice or mobile), or what information is being requested.Sullivan also acknowledged where Google has gone wrong with featured snippets, and how it plans to approach them moving forward.Naturally, my team had our own take.What Is Google’s Featured Snippet?A featured snippet is a concise response to a Google search query. It’s displayed on top of the general results, and also includes the page’s publication date, title, and URL.Featured snippets drive traffic — but not always.When featured snippets first began appearing in Google search results in January 2014, it immediately caused chatter among marketers and SEOs alike. And as Sullivan acknowledged in his blog post, many were concerned that traffic would drop — as a result, for example, of users finding the information they needed right away from the featured snippets, therefore not clicking to visit any sites. Topics: Originally published Feb 5, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated February 22 2018 Don’t forget to share this post!