Victory in defeat for South Africa

first_img23 June 2010“Bafana Bafana are out of the World Cup, but they won the hearts and minds of all South Africans and the whole world tonight.” Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan summed it up after Tuesday’s match in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, where the national team beat France but failed to qualify for the last 16 of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.“Yes they did not make it past the group stage, but they did what the country asked of them – they played with pride, passion, skill and commitment, they gave their best,” Jordaan said.“They did the national team jersey and every single South African proud, and we want to thank them for what they’ve done for this country.”The atmosphere in the stadium was electric – the vuvuzelas blared and the fans sang and danced from start to finish, leaving a watching world in no doubt about the passion of the South African fans, who supported their team until the bitter end.Siphiwe Tshabalala, who scored the very first goal of the tournament during the opening match at Soccer City, thanked the fans for their support during the tournament. “Even though we didn’t qualify, we just want to thank them for their support and for finishing on a high.“For me it was a dream come true to play in the World Cup, and I’m happy I have achieved that, not only for us soccer players, but for the nation as a whole,” Tshabalala said.His teammate, Siboniso Gaxa, urged South Africans to continue supporting the tournament.“It’s the first time that South Africa is united like this,” Gaxa said. “Football has brought South African people together, which is amazing. I want to thank them – I’m very grateful that we’re surrounded by such people, and to everyone who has been supporting us, thank you very much, and I hope you’ll keep on supporting the World Cup.”There seems little doubt that they will. Even though that is the last the 2010 Fifa World Cup will see of Bafana Bafana, it is certainly not the last it will see of South Africans. Among the fans this is still very much South Africa’s World Cup.“I am excited after that match, it’s a good result,” Lesiba Siebola from Limpopo province said after the game. “I am very proud of South Africa, this is good preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012.“And the World Cup is certainly not over, there are still many more matches, many more people to meet and many more stars to see,” said Siebola who is now heading to Johannesburg to watch Germany play Ghana at Soccer City on Wednesday night.“Of course I will be celebrating tonight, South Africa have beaten France who are previous World Cup winners,” said local resident Crosby Nyangintsimbi. “Yes we are out, but this is a football, not a war, and we will go out and enjoy tonight with the French and all the other fans who are here in our city.”For Johannesburg resident Trevor Bapiste, the World Cup is just beginning. “It’s now time to support South Africa. We’re still the host nation and we’re just going to go from here and support our favourite teams and enjoy the amazing experience.”Bapiste is looking forward to his next game which is a round of 16 encounter. “I think we’re in for a very interesting quarter-final and semi-final stage – there’s been so many upsets – you can’t even say who’s going to get through.”Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committeelast_img read more

South African government launches online Central Supplier Database

first_imgDoing business with the South African government is now quicker and the process smoother, thanks to the Central Supplier Database. Brand South Africa reporterLaunched by the minister of finance, companies wanting to work with the state are urged to register on it. There are several benefits to being listed on the database.Businesses that want to be on the government’s supplier database can now register online. Previously, they would have to fill in the forms at a head office.The Central Supplier Database (CSD) was launched yesterday by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in East London, in the Eastern Cape. Nene said the database served as the source of all supplier information for all spheres of government.Centralising the government’s supplier database will reduce duplication of effort and cost for both the supplier and the government, while enabling an electronic procurement process.At the launch, supplier Aaron Mgqueto Mgqueto, who has been in the security business since 1998, said a challenge he faced when dealing with the government related to tenders. “Sometimes government goes with tenders and on those tenders they don’t come back to us to inform us who has won the tender.“Yes I was not in the tender business; I was in the private sector for a while. I just joined them last year and I found it to be a challenge,” he explained.Among the benefits of being registered on the database is that suppliers will only be required to register once when they do business with the government. They will also not be required to submit physical tax clearance and business registration certificates to organs of state.Schalk Human, the chief director of supply chain management for ICT in the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury, said that as of yesterday, suppliers could register online. It would be compulsory for government departments and state-owned enterprises to use the CSD from 1 April 2016; municipalities would be required to use it from 1 July 2016.“The benefit for business will be that it will reduce admin significantly and it will make it easy for them to engage government,” said Human.Businesses in rural areas and those that did not have access to computers would be assisted, he added.“We foresee support to rural suppliers happening in three ways: first in district offices, Thusong Service Centres, Small Enterprise Development Agency offices and the Post Office. They will have the functionality to assist the suppliers to register.”Source: SAnews.gov.zaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

HubSpot TV – Stick with High ROI Marketing

first_img People spending more time in social networks than on personal email Intro http://www.paulmycroft.com/ Remember to subscribe in iTunes – Technology insustry tradeshow spending will decline by 46% Special ticket giveway!: Blog post about their favorite example of inbound marekting (theirs or someone elses.) In that blog post, must link to HubSpot TV and IMS. Make sure we can find you! Marketing Tip of the Week Mailbag Twitter Search tripled in last 6 months, Google Blog search is flat http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/view Is it possible to keep your Facebook business and personal pages separate? I really don’t have the time to deal with personal Facebook requests but I want to develop my business Facebook profile. Can you keep your contacts separate? Social Networks Pass Email in Usage Episode 31 – March 13, 2009 – Leave a 5 star review!!!! Marketing Takeaway: Segmenting and targeting can increase response rates. Use them when possible. Marketing Takeaway: “People prefer the clean, controlled, multimedia and publicly social experience of social networking communication over the relatively open, individualistic and spammy medium of email.” (quote from Read/Write Web) http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/nielsen-news/social-networking-new-global-footprint/ Marketing Takeaway: Don’t sue people, dive into creative marketing. Tradeshow Budgets Predicted to Decline 17% in 2009 Headlines Marketing Takeaway: If you need to cut, start with your low ROI programs. http://itunes.hubspot.tv FTC Spoofs FreeCreditReport.com http://www.dmnews.com/Google-releases-behavioral-advertising/article/128633/ http://www.micropersuasion.com/2009/03/twitter-search-to-eclipse-google-blog-search.html We discussed the FCC concerns about behavioral advertising on HubSpot TV before. @Soreco – Matt Soreco Blogs still show up in the main Google search, so is this a big deal? ) Google was smart – very open and transparent, allowed an easy opt-out process (ad preferences manager – Twitter Search Will Surpass Google (blog) Search? http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2009/03/why-i-hate-googles-interest-based-ads-for-doing-the-right-thing.html How to interact on Twitter – @karenrubin @mvolpe Forum Fodder Paul Mycroft – Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, continue to invest in your high ROI marketing programs. http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090311/FREE/903119995/1078/rss01&rssfeed=rss01 www.interfolio.com http://twitter.com/soreco http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-webinars/facebook-for-business-webinar-archive/ Marketing Takeaway: Blogging is still a higher ROI than Twitter, but you should be on Twitter too! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack PS: An easy way to do this for your own website is to use behavior to create a lead grade – HubSpot software does this for you. Google Releases Behavioral Advertising http://ftc.gov/multimedia/video/credit/annual-credit-report-videos.shtm Frank at Should company blog mix marketing, training and topical posts? Originally published Mar 15, 2009 9:13:00 AM, updated July 04 2013 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/social_networking_now_more_popular_than_email.phplast_img read more

Coke Abandons Plans for Campaign Websites to Invest in Social Media

first_img 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

10 Fundamental Tips for Social Media Community Managers

first_imgCommunity managers are becoming an increasingly important role for all types of businesses, and we’re seeing the role appear everywhere from tech startups to major corporate brands. Most commonly, community managers are responsible for engaging current and potential customers via social media and growing vibrant, enthusiastic communities around their products and services. Some community managers even facilitate conversations in private online forums, work with internal company intranets, and act as customer support.Community managers must strike a balance. Externally, community managers are the voices of their brands in social media, serving as social media strategists, customer service managers, content creators, product managers, and evangelists. Internally, they are the voice of their communities at their own companies. Community managers bring the conversations they have with community members to the forefront of marketing, customer service, and product discussions, epitomizing the value and function of a social business.Because community manager jobs vary at each company, there is no one magic bullet to make a community management program work. But with more and more community manager jobs showing up every day, here are some tips for new or aspiring community managers or those who think they could benefit from a community management function in their marketing department.1. Fish Where the Fish AreWhen it comes to social media, it’s very easy to get caught up in tactics. It’s important to establish and monitor your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube, but for goodness’ sake, you’re only human! Prioritize based on what drives the most ROI. Whether that’s blogs, tweetups, in-person conferences, or new social media platforms, spend your time where your community spends theirs.2. Identify and Delegate to Your Power UsersIdentify your most engaged community members and top influencers, and leverage their voice by offering them guest blog spots, curating their own content in a news round-up, re-sharing it in some other capacity, or offering them a position as a community moderator in your forum.3. …But Don’t Play Favorites Too MuchLoyal community members are great resources; they are the first people to provide feedback, share your content, refer you to others, and even stick up for you. But make sure to keep an even playing field for new, quieter community members. Each new commenter, forum member, tweeter, and group member matters. Challenge yourself and get a unique perspective by engaging with them, too. It’s your job to build a community, not a clique of power users who make your job easy and build resentment among other members.4. Say “I’m Sorry.”Community managers are typically the ones running Twitter and Facebook accounts and will also be the ones responding to complaints. That means you have to learn how to say you’re sorry. Not, “I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.” That’s total baloney. If your service isn’t working and a community member is angry enough to go ranting about it on Twitter, you’ve definitely caused an inconvenience. Speak in first person with genuine emotion like you would to someone in real life.5. Stay Calm and Maintain PerspectiveIt’s natural to get frustrated or stressed out on busy days when responding to complaints online or answering a lot of questions. Breathe. It’s just the internet.Plus, your biggest critics can turn into your biggest fans if you successfully and swiftly resolve their problems. Those that take the time to offer negative feedback will also often take the time to be your advocate.6. …But Remember the 2% RuleThe 2% rule states, ever so scientifically, that there’s always going to be a chunk of naysayers in any group. No matter what you do, these people are just going to be, well, jerks. For an easy example, go take a look at the comments section of a blog or news site. There’s always a handful of people that are irrational and not really looking to contribute to productive discussion. You can do your best to turn these negative people, but don’t beat yourself up over it and let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.7. Anticipate Common Questions and Know Your Product Inside and OutAnswering questions about your product or service through social media or email will probably be a major part of your job. Be prepared ahead of time. This is especially important if you work in a regulated industry in which you may need your tweets or Facebook communication to have prior approval. Go over common questions with your product or support team to make sure you have your answers (including your 140-character ones) accurate. You can also create FAQs and step-by-step guides to link to, which will cut down on hand holding time and repeat questions.8. Don’t Forget About EmailEmail may seem old-school compared to sexier tools like social media, but remember, every single social media user has an email address! Email is the glue that makes social media stick, and if you offer helpful content with an email newsletter or product digest, it can be a great way to keep community members engaged.9. Engage OfflineEven with the ability to have global, online communities, community building starts at home. Use meetups to connect with your local audience. These events can inspire evangelists who will vouch for you as they get to know you better as a local company, and as they get to know you face-to-face. Those people are most certainly connected to a larger, global network through social media. This is where your first network of power users can stem from.10. Your Social Media Accounts Are No Longer Your Own, But Your Time IsAs the face of your brand online, people will inevitably identify you as the community manager for that company. The number of Twitter followers you have may grow, and you may begin to get more Facebook and LinkedIn requests from people you don’t personally know from real life. Even if you put “Tweets are my own” in your Twitter bio, people see your thoughts aligned with your company.Be who you are and represent yourself online as someone you are proud of. Have a rant you really really really want to post? We’ve all been there. But remember that we tend to regret the rants we do post on social media, not the things we don’t.Maintaining a healthy personal and professional balance is tricky, but take control of your experience on social media and don’t stop enjoying it. Use Twitter lists, Facebook lists and filters. Own your privacy, your time, your news feed, and your personal network.Are you a community manager, or have you hired one for your marketing team? What benefits has your company seen since the introduction of the role?Image credit: khalidalbaih Topics: Social Media Marketers 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 Dec 26, 2011 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

The Only Time You Want Zero Engagement on Facebook

first_img Originally published Aug 15, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Facebook’s latest News Feed algorithm update allows Facebook to surface more relevant content more easily based on your past engagement with a post, a friend, or a brand page. Essentially, they want to figure out what you enjoy and show you more of that, even if you missed something by a few hours.Among the factors Facebook uses to measure your past engagement are Likes, shares, comments, and (perhaps most interestingly) how often you hide posts from a person or company. As a result, Facebook’s brand page analytics, which they call “Insights,” now shows you Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, and Unlikes of Page by Post. This is critical to note as a marketer, as it represents the only time you want engagement metrics to reach zero.Social media engagement metrics are typically measurements of positive sentiment — Likes, shares, retweets, pins, and so on. We as marketers in 2013 aim to increase these numbers. What’s bizarre about Facebook Insight’s new, um, insights … is that for perhaps the first time in social media, we now must react to a negative type of engagement. As Christopher S. Penn on the always-stellar marketing blog Awaken Your Superhero called out recently, we now have a set of engagement metrics that we actually want to minimize.This is smartly said by Christopher, but it brings to mind a scary reality: how do you respond if metrics like “hides” start to climb? This action, after all, measures essentially a “Dislike” button, and now we can actually report its use and act on what we learn.So what, exactly, should you do if your Facebook Insights report shows a high volume of followers hiding your posts? We put our heads together on the HubSpot marketing team and came up with the following checklist:1) Examine frequency immediately. Are you posting too much?The very first action you should take is to examine frequency. Consider your own habits with Facebook posts, whether from brands, friends, or family. Nothing is worse than seeing too much from the same source, right? If you see your negative engagement metrics start to creep up on Facebook, be sure to critique your own posting schedule. Social media, and really all of inbound, is about treating people like people and being helpful, useful, and human. Nobody likes to be bombarded over and over.Compare posts with unusually high “hide” counts in your Insights report on Facebook — had you posted right before? Are you leaving enough time between posts to allow your audience’s feed to populate with a variety of content from friends and family? Nobody likes the friend who posts 17 pictures of their dog within an hour, let alone the business who opens the floodgates and dominates the news feed.2) Create (or revisit) your buyer personas.Checking your post frequency was the first action to take because it may help you solve something quickly and urgently. Building or revisiting your buyer personas, on the other hand, is a foundation on which all your inbound marketing can be built. If you’re new to personas, these are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on real data about customer demographics and behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.Human interactions improve if you have greater context on the person with whom you’re speaking, and the same can be said of sharing content on Facebook. Understanding your buyer personas upfront can help you post relevant content. If you’re already created personas but still see an increase in followers hiding your Facebook posts, it might be time to revisit your original descriptions.For a helpful template on creating personas without spending too much time doing so, download this free guide and step-by-step builder.With your buyer persona description or template pulled up, you can then …3) Analyze your content mix. Are you posting the right variety?Remember the comedian Dane Cook? Those who do will sometimes comment about how great his first standup act was, followed by how progressively awful he got with each subsequent show. The common knock on him? He did the same thing over and over and over again, and now, he’s borderline irrelevant.The same can be said of providing your Facebook followers with content. People are nuanced and change their motivations, even throughout a single day. Your content should try and match that. You don’t need to do an in-depth psychoanalysis of your buyer, you simply need to create a variety of content. On Facebook, you can share text, visuals, video, links, invitations, and more. Mix things up to keep it interesting, exciting, and engaging in a positive way … just like any human relationship! And using that buyer persona description can help you pinpoint the types of content to start with if you’re rethinking your posting strategy. (For example, if your buyer is often pressed for time, cut down the amount of text and use more graphics, with relevant copy written in graphical format.) 4) Compare posts being hidden with other, more successful content.If you see an uptick in post hides, compare the content driving those negative actions to other posts that might have received more Likes, shares, and comments. With what types of content does your audience actively engage? Can you create and post more of that type? Was the negative trend hitting a certain type of content? Facebook Insights also shows you the “Best Post Types” report to make this analysis a bit easier.In the event you lack any data because there hasn’t been engagement with your posts overall, or if you’re just starting on Facebook, consider a quick glance at competitors’ Facebook pages or other companies you admire in your industry. What are they posting that their followers seem to engage with positively? Are visual posts getting Liked and shared more than text-based comments? Do more people share posts when the company publishes fun, playful things versus more serious, helpful content? Some call this “stealing” — artists call this “inspiration” — but whatever the case, it’s good to survey the playing field every once in a while, especially if you’re just starting out.5) Examine the ratio between your positive engagement metrics to post hides.While you should do everything in your power to avoid upsetting followers, it’s important to be realistic: someone, somewhere may actually choose to hide your post. (We never would — your posts are awesome — but someone might.) And that’s okay! Once you cover all your bases listed above, crosscheck your negative and positive numbers. How do your overall hides compare to the volume of Likes and shares you’re getting? Keep in mind that the more visibility you have, the more all numbers will increase. Your goal is to ensure that you minimize your hides while maximizing your Likes and shares.As always, with any content or inbound marketing tactic, react to data and optimize your approach but ultimately, spend your time doing what your customers and fans love. Address any alarming trends in your Facebook data accordingly, but keep in mind that you should be solving a problem, providing education or entertainment, and generally spending most of your time providing your Facebook followers with the best experience possible. What advice do you have for creating positive engagement and reacting to negative sentiment on Facebook?Image credit: DaveBleasdale Social Media Engagement Topics:last_img read more

Existing Content Faith-Based Organizations Can (and Should) Repurpose

first_img Originally published Mar 11, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Aimee and the team at Fishhook have the opportunity to work with many churches and faith-based organizations. They see congregations start to think about re-purposing existing stories and content to engage on a new level with old and new audiences. The four suggestions below can be used by any type of religious congregation or organization and, in Aimee’s experience, have been very effective methods when producing engaging content.Congregations have many moving parts with complex budgets, passionate leaders, and individual ministries all competing for space and attention in print and online channels. There are volunteers to organize, fundraisers to coordinate, and events to plan — all in the midst of being a place for spiritual growth and healing.These congregations also have the chance to communicate who they are to one of the most captive audiences around — an audience that they see faithfully (no pun intended) each week. And now, thanks to technology, they have the opportunity to connect with them on an even deeper level. Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality messages that pull people toward your mission. Isn’t that what you’re always striving to do?Ponder this …If your objective is to create content people love and connect with, the first step is simple — find the content.Okay, I know you’re probably thinking “duh!” but stay with me. The good news is you’re already sitting on tons of great stuff! While companies spend time, money, and manpower brainstorming content, a religious institution can simply re-purpose the already dynamic content at its fingertips.And how do you do this, you ask? Here are five existing sources that you can re-purpose for publication on your blog, as free PDF downloads, and share via social media and your e-newsletters to engage your current audience members and attract new ones:Existing Content Source #1: Sacred Texts and WritingsIf you’re going to start anywhere, you might as well start here. People have been inspired, educated, and challenged by these texts for centuries. It’s the perfect content to start with because it not only connects people to your organization, but also makes the reader think about his/her own faith.By using religious texts as the basis for some of your online content, you’re showing your audience that you value their spiritual growth, and that, even if they aren’t a member or follower of your organization, you still care about connecting them with content they might be interested in. This starts to create trust and can help take someone from a stranger to a weekend service visitor — the basic first step of the inbound marketing methodology.Existing Content Source #2: Weekly TeachingsLet’s just say for the purpose of this article that you’re at a congregation that speaks about a different topic each week, and you decide that for each teaching you’re going to write a supporting blog post. There are 52 weeks in a year. That means you’re sitting on 52 different blog topics. That’s an easy slot to fill on your blogging calendar on a weekly basis!Within each topic, though, there are probably a couple of subtopics that you could write about separately. So now we’re at a couple hundred topics and lessons that you can re-purpose into blog posts.But wait … what about videos? Podcasts? Tweets? Infographics? The list goes on and on. This is a huge opportunity to create engaging content and one that is, unfortunately, often overlooked.Existing Content Source #3: Classes and Group Studies You know that one volunteer who has been teaching class for years? Let’s just call her Ms. Grace.Anytime you talk with Ms. Grace, she seems to give you a new piece of advice or a story that somehow enhances the quality of your life. She’s always asking you if there’s anything else she could do to help. What if you asked her to write? Because she’s taught classes for years, she can bring stories of life and faith into your online content.Ms. Grace isn’t the only one you could ask. Look for people who’ve lead a small group study or prayer group. Ask them to contribute something they’ve learned to your online content. They’re usually eager to volunteer and would love to have the opportunity to tell their own stories. Existing Content Source #4: Your Supporters and ConstituentsOne of the easiest, most effective ways of creating content is to tell stories of the people who make up your network. College Park Church incorporates this into their robust blog in a clever way. This section of their blog, called “College Park People,” allows members of their audience to write their own story.These posts are moving, powerful, and full of insight and inspiration for the readers. It doesn’t take you — the communications director or religious leader — any time to write, but the impact is huge. Allowing people to tell their story not only highlights the lives of your supporters, but shows readers that you are invested in the people who invest in you. Existing Content Source #5: Wisdom From a Religious LeaderHave an officiant that loves to write? Ask him/her to share their wisdom.Our friends at East 91st Street Christian Church use this tactic to fuel their online content. Their blog post entitled “Latest From Rick” is filled with inspirational advice, straight from the senior pastor.While all religious leaders may not have a love for writing, if someone on your staff has that passion, use it! Dedicate a weekly or monthly blog spot to them. Give them the opportunity to write on any topic and speak directly to your online audience. This is a great opportunity for your people to feel like their leadership is connecting with them and giving them advice one-on-one. It can be an opening to create meaningful relationships that start online.On April 27th, 2014 from 2-3 p.m. EST, Evan McBroom of Fishhook will be hosting a HubSpot webinar on the “7 Deadly Sins of Church Communication Strategies.” Register for this free, live webinar today.How does your organization share your community’s stories online? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content Typeslast_img read more

How to Optimize Your URLs for Search [Quick Tip]

first_img Topics: On-page SEO Originally published Apr 23, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 One of the last things I do before publishing a blog post is a little URL check — I make sure it’s well-optimized for both readers and search engines. It’s one of those SEO best practices that’s actually stood the test of time, left relatively unscathed by violent little penguins and fuzzy-yet-aggressive pandas.In the spirit of sharing knowledge, I thought I’d share the process I use to optimize those URLs every time. Keep this checklist in your back pocket to optimize your own URLs for SEO, or share it with a colleague or new hire that’s responsible for content creation and publishing.How to Search Engine Optimize Your URLs1) Take out the extra words in the page part of the URL slug.Words that add little or no meaning to the URL — like “and” or “that” — can be removed for the sake of brevity and/or readability. Here’s a before & after of this post’s URL, for instance:I removed “your” for brevity and the fact that it didn’t add any value for readers or search engines. I removed “quick tip” for the same reasons, though I suppose one could make an argument that it’s nice for readers who stumble on the URL to know that it’s a quick tip. It’s not the end of the world if it stays in, but in my opinion, it doesn’t add enough value to warrant its inclusion since it could mean so many different things. If this was an [Infographic] or a [SlideShare], however, I’d keep it in.I could go either way in keeping “for” in, but I decided to keep it in because it helps make the URL more readable for humans. If anyone stumbles on this URL elsewhere, I’d like it to be readable so they understand the contents of the page and feel they can trust the site.2) Include relevant keywords.One way search engines and humans learn about your page contents is through the keywords in the URL. Include keywords in your URL slug, but be sure they align with the actual page contents. Luckily, this URL is already pretty well-optimized as it is, because it’s a long-tail search term on its own.3) Make it reader-friendly.We talked about this a little already, but it’s worth reiterating. Both search engines and readers should be able to look at your URL and understand what they might find should they click to the other side. That means when you add a bunch of keywords and delete those little extraneous words, you should end up with a URL that still makes sense.Let’s take our URL for this post:http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-optimize-urls-for-searchIt’s really clear from the subdomain and subdirectory where you are — you’re on HubSpot’s blog, in the Marketing section. From there, you can tell what you’re going to read about on the Marketing section of HubSpot’s blog — how to optimize URLs for search. Search engines get it. Readers get it. It doesn’t look like spam. All good.4) Separate words with hyphens.Don’t use underscores to separate words or try to squish a bunch of words together. The hyphens are meant to help with readability. Use them.If you want to geek out a bit more on URL optimization, I recommend checking out Moz’s guide to URL best practices. Like with most of the SEO best practices, keep user-friendliness top of mind, and you’ll likely be making good decisions. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Is Your Website Ready for Black Friday? 7 Last-Minute Tips to Prepare

first_img Website Design Originally published Nov 17, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Does your website have what it takes to survive Black Friday?Last year, $1.5 billion in sales were generated on Black Friday — a new record for the post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday, according to Comscore. In addition to the impressive growth in sales, IBM stated that 51.2% of all ecommerce browsing was from mobile, and 28% of purchases came from mobile devices. While the scale of opportunity presented by Black Friday is no joke, many businesses — specifically ecommerce — fail to adequately prepare their websites for this uptick in traffic. So with the shopping holiday quickly approaching, we’ve put together a few last-minute tips to ensure your website is ready to handle the influx of traffic and potential sales. These tips are mainly directed towards ecommerce, however, most of them can be used by any business looking to strengthen their website for instances of high traffic. Traffic Management One of the big concerns for marketers and respective IT folks around this time is a surge in traffic. Many websites can see multiple-times the traffic that is standard during other times of the year, and it all happens over the course of a few days. So how do you ensure your website is ready for all of the impending visitors? 1) Contact your CDN provider.If you utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN), check with your IT team to ensure they have reached out to the CDN provider and planned for the increased traffic. If you don’t utilize a CDN, talk to your web hosting provider and inquire about the traffic limitations and cost of an upgraded server. Generally a better server can help handle increased traffic and sustained volume. Before you agree to anything, make sure you ask about the time it will take to get the new server and any procedure to move over. You will want to be sure your website and content is on the new server before Black Friday to avoid any potential problems on the shopping holiday.HubSpot customers: If you use the HubSpot Website add-on, you’re covered. We have automatically built-in scalability to handle increased traffic and sustained volume over-time.Website SpeedAfter analyzing 26,000 websites through Website Grader, we found the average time for a website to display was 3.9 seconds. If your visitors are waiting any longer than three seconds for your website to display, you could be losing some of them — especially on mobile. So, how should we ensure our website loads as quickly as possible? There are a few last-minute things we can all do to recover lost milliseconds, which add-up.2) Compress and resize images.If you have any images — especially on your homepage and popular product pages — make sure they are sized appropriately. For example, if you uploaded a high resolution image of one of your products, but it’s only displaying as 500 x 500 on the page, the browser still has to load the entire original image.If you don’t have time to check through your entire site, we’d recommend at least going through your homepage and your top product pages to ensure they are optimized. For more tips and tools to help you reduce your images, check out this post on page weight from my colleague, Carly.3) Reduce or remove unnecessary third-party snippets.Third-party snippets that display content from another service take up valuable time to load. If you have any scripts on your website from a service that you’re no longer using, remove them. To do so, talk to your IT team about ensuring these are no longer on your website.While there are more complex, longer-term changes you can make to improve the speed of your website, the above changes should be relatively quick and help measurably improve the load time of your website for Black Friday.Trust & SecurityOne of the key concerns for shoppers online is ensuring their personal information is going to stay safe. We’ve covered a few key elements of trust below to help you ensure conversion rates are as high as possible for Black Friday.4) Display content that proves it’s safe to shop with you.Many ecommerce websites display safe shopping badges, and as long as you have this guarantee and service, it’s wise to display it. For example, Zappos shows a lock icon with their “safe shopping guarantee” at the bottom of every product page and also during the checkout process. 5) Ensure your return policy is clear and easy to find. Some shoppers like the added peace of mind that they can return an item if it doesn’t meet their needs. This can especially true with categories such as clothing home decor. To ease any concerns, make sure you have the return policy clearly stated on your website. For example, check out the return policy Pottery Barn includes on all of their product pages:6) Enable SSL. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a technology that encrypts the connection between your visitors browser and your website. At a minimum SSL, which can be seen when the URL contains HTTPS instead of the traditional HTTP, should be enabled for your checkout process to ensure the users private information remains safe, and the confidence they have shopping with you remains high.HubSpot customers: Anyone that hosts their website with HubSpot automatically gets SSL included at no additional charge. Search Engine OptimizationOrganic search can help generate additional sales from visitors looking for a specific item, but unsure of where to find it. While an SEO strategy takes time to implement, this audit is meant to address any significant omissions that could help contribute to more organic traffic and sales on Black Friday.As we mentioned before, many shoppers are carrying out their Black Friday errands on mobile devices. To help optimize your website for those visitors, check out this free mobile SEO guide.7) Optimize for specific keywords.If you don’t have time to go through all your assets and ensure everything is perfect, you should aim to make sure that your homepage and key product pages are optimized. To optimize for specific keywords, focus on including them in: titles, descriptions, headings, body content, alt text, and URLs.If you utilize a lot of imagery on your product pages, alt text is very important. To improve your site’s crawlability, be sure to go through all of your images to add alt text that is relevant to the item and ties back to the keyword(s) you’re optimizing for.  For more on keyword optimization, check out this post on SEO 101 from my colleague, Lisa. And for a more advanced dive into on-page optimization, download this free SEO template to help organize your strategy.What are you doing to prepare your website for the holidays? Let us know your best tips in the comments section below.Want more helpful tips to improve your ecommerce inbound marketing? Subscribe to receive HubSpot’s ecommerce blog articles delivered right to your inbox. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Know If Your Business is Ready For an Open Source Platform

first_img Ecommerce Marketing Originally published Jun 7, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: In order to have a successful ecommerce site, online retailers have to choose the right platform. For many retailers, open source platforms are the way to go, offering undeniable freedom, flexibility and scalability. However, they’re not the best choice for everyone, as they can be very technical, expensive and difficult to manage independently.Here, we break down the main factors that retailers should consider when determining whether or not their site requires the support of an open source platform.BudgetOpen source platforms are usually much more expensive than alternative options like template-based platforms.Why? On open source, retailers essentially start from scratch, which means that they need to invest more time, money and resources into the development of their site and pay for things like developers, updates, extensions, maintenance fees, etc. On top of that, this cost is largely unpredictable, with unexpected expenses like security patches, software updates and redesigns popping up all the time.Overall, open source platforms typically cost an average of 4 times more than template-based platforms over time. The key, then, is for retailers to be aware of this difference and consider factors like the nature of their company, its potential for growth and the overall goal of their site to determine whether or not open source is worth the investment for them.The Open Source UserThe ideal open source user is a highly architectured, product-heavy site with an experienced development team and a fully developed business plan. This kind of ecommerce company has both the internal bandwidth and the need for open source, as they have a specific site vision and will likely require a level of customization and buildability that other platforms simply cannot provide.Conversely, a small-scale retailer with a straight-forward product catalog and a team with little technical experience may be overwhelmed by the commitment and technicality that open source requires.The main point, then, is that retailers have to consider all relevant factors when allocating their budget and determining if an open-source platform is a business-smart investment for them.TechnologyEcommerce retailers must have access to expert, certified developers if they want to properly develop and maintain a website on an open source platform like Magento. The very nature of open source requires working in the source code of a site, meaning that retailers essentially have a clean slate when it comes to the back-end of their site. In other words, it’s like drawing on a blank sheet of paper – versus a coloring book – there are no guidelines or pre-set parameters.On one hand, this kind of freedom allows for an unparalleled amount of customization and scalability. For a development team with the resources and a clear vision, the sky’s the limit. It also leaves a lot of room for error, though. For example, if multiple developers are used and those developers are not Magento certified, they can create conflicting codes, leading to incompatible connectors, unsupported extensions, and, in the big picture, a back-end that simply does not function seamlessly. If this happens, the website will be unresponsive and it will likely need to be redeveloped or redesigned, which means lost revenue, lost time and unnecessary expenses.Retailers must consider the technological scope of their team before they go to open source. If they do not have the resources or technological ability to create an effective design and proper integrations, they may need the guidance of template-based platforms.Business StrategyCompanies with a defined, developed business strategy should use an open source platform. Once again, this has to do with flexibility and freedom. With template-based platforms like BigCommerce, retailers oftentimes have to alter their business practices to fit the template-based model.If a company’s business model requires air shipping (say they ship perishable products) they would have to restructure this aspect of their business on a template-based platform. In such cases, the flexibility of open source is a huge plus.That said, this restrictive business model is not always a negative. Many companies don’t have a firm structure or defined practices in place, and they can benefit from the guidance that these template-based platforms provide.In general, then, it is important that retailers consider the restrictions and requirements of their business, choosing the solution that will best support them.ERP and CRM IntegrationsIf ecommerce retailers have either of these integrations, they should go with an open source platform.Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP)An ERP is a business process management software that is often used by ecommerce retailers to keep track of important business metrics and capture funds.The first function that many of the newer ERPs have is to capture funds for ecommerce retailers. Legally, customers cannot be charged for a product that they have ordered online until the shipping process has begun and a tracking label has been created. New ERPs create these tracking labels, thereby allowing for the funds to be captured and for revenue to be recognized and accrued.Secondly, ERPs integrate the back-end accounting functions of ecommerce sites, helping retailers keep track of things like inventory, sales and product costs across multiple channels. This function is particularly necessary for ecommerce companies that operate online and in one or more brick-and-mortar locations.Why? It is exactly these kinds of multi-faceted operations that will need help keeping track of all of their important figures and accounting information.That said, any company that requires an ERP or already has a structured ERP in place will likely need an open source platform. ERPs simply don’t integrate well with the template-based software, and trying to force an integration will likely lead to poor site performance overall.Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, allows retailers to manage the different facets of their business, including marketing, automations, business information, and customer data, by centralizing all of this information in one portal.By putting all integral functions and data in one place, CRMs can help ecommerce retailers organize their businesses and keep every member of their team on the same page.Once again, companies that already have a CRM in place will likely benfit from an open source platform. Template-based systems usually have their own CRMs and do not integrate well with existing or external CRM software.Product and Catalog TypeWhen considering an open source platform, ecommerce retailers must consider both the number of products that their website has and the number of variations on those products. A general rule of thumb is the more complex and numerous the catalog types, the more likely it is that a retailer will require an open source platform.Why is this? Template-based platforms tend to work best with simple, defined product types or products that don’t have options like bundles and attributes. Once things begin to get more complex, the performance of the product pages begins to suffer on template-based. This can turn into a big problem for site owners since it’ll cause issues, like slow page load speed, unresponsive product page design or low-quality product images, that will negatively impact traffic and conversion rates over time. Complex, product-focused retailers, then will require an open source site to support their needs and allow them to scale. Open source requires that retailers build and scale their ecommerce site on their own. While this option can seem daunting, it can provide unmatched freedom, technicality and scalability when done correctly.In the big picture, it is essential that site owners recognize that the platform is the foundation of their online presence and choose the system that will best support their company’s needs, allowing their site to run smoothly and efficiently over time.last_img read more