Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Senator Adam KlineThis week, Josh Julagay served as a page with the Washington State Senate in Olympia.Julagay was sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle. “It was a pleasure to have Josh helping out this week in Olympia. He seemed eager to learn about the legislative process and I hope we were able to provide him with a fun and educational experience,” Kline said.Julagay first heard about the page program from his older brother, who had previously served as a page. For Julagay, the best part of his experience has been learning about how everything works and discovering how approachable the senators are.When asked what advice he would give to future pages, Julagay said “Don’t worry, it won’t be as stressful as you think it is going to be.”Julagay, 15, is a sophomore at Timberline High School in Lacey.
Goals from Ramires and Loic Remy put Chelsea firmly on course for the fourth round of the League Cup before James O’Connor pulled one back just before half-time.Kenedy, making his full debut, crossed from the left for fellow Brazilian Ramires to head past former Fulham keeper Neil Etheridge.Remy missed a chance to make it 2-0 on 36 minutes when he was unable to force the loose ball home after Paul Downing’s goal-line clearance had denied Radamel Falcao.But the Frenchman made no mistake when Ramires ran at the Walsall defence and teed him up five minutes later.Remy walloped past Etheridge and into the roof of the net – the striker’s first goal of the season.League One side Walsall battled on and were rewarded when O’Connor’s scuffed follow-up trickled over the line after keeper Asmir Begovic had parried a free-kick from former Chelsea youngster Milan Lalkovic.Chelsea: Begovic, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Baba, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Ramires, Kenedy, Remy, Falcao.Subs: Blackman, Hazard, Traore, Pedro, Matic, Aina, Djilobodji.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
21 December 2010After the highs of 2009, which included a test series win over the British and Irish Lions and victory in the Tri-Nations, 2010 was a disappointing year for the Springboks – but there were highlights in other competitions to offset the disappointment.First among these was the Super 14 competition which produced two South African finalists for only the second time in the history of Super rugby.With preparations underway for the Fifa World Cup, it also led to important rugby matches being played, very successfully, in Soweto for the first time.In the playoffs, the Bulls defeated the Crusaders 39-24 at the Orlando Stadium to set up a final at the same venue against the Stormers, who had impressed in a 25-6 semi-final victory over the Waratahs at Newlands. Soweto was in for a rugby-style party unlike it had ever seen before.In a quality match, the Bulls, the top scorers in the competition, defeated the Stormers, the best defensive team in the competition, by 25 points to 17. It was the Bulls third title in four seasons.Currie CupOn the back of the excellent seasons of the Bulls and Stormers, the expectations for the Sprringboks, the defending Tri-Nations champions, were high, but it wasn’t to be.Later in the year, in the Currie Cup, the strength of the domestic competition was underlined when neither the Blue Bulls nor Western Province, pretty much the Bulls and Stormers in provincial guise, could lift the title.The victory went to the Natal Sharks, who beat the Blue Bulls 16-12 in the semi-finals and then crushed Western Province 30-10 in the final to win the Currie Cup for the sixth time. Both Western Province and the Blue Bulls were loaded with Springboks and the Sharks’ victory showed that there was good depth in the country.The Sharks’ triumph was built upon a hard-working tight five, an athletic loose trio, and a backline willing to let the ball do the work. They played a fast-paced game which some likened to the kind of game that made the All Blacks the most successful international team of 2010.The Sharks’ success with that type of approach also led to questions about the Springboks, whose style of play featured a lot more kicking.SpringboksThe Springboks’ successes of 2009 would have been hard to duplicate, yet in the early part of the 2010 international season it seemed that they were rolling along, carrying on the momentum of their impressive form of the previous year.Only a week after the Super 14 final, the Boks began their season at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on 5 June when they took on Wales with very little time to prepare. After trailing 14-16 at the break, they came back to win 34-31.A week later, in Cape Town, Six Nations champions France were crushed 42-17 and when that big victory was followed by 29-13 and 55-11 wins over Italy it looked as if South Africa was on course for another strong Tri-Nations campaign. Those sentiments were soon proved wrong.Tri-NationsWhen South Africa was beaten in successive weeks by New Zealand – 20-32 in Auckland and 17-31 in Wellington – it was clear that the Springboks were not as sharp as had been thought.When those losses were followed by a big 13-30 loss to Australia in Brisbane, the Boks’ hopes of retaining their Tri-Nations title were about done.Back on home soil, the losses continued, and after a 22-29 defeat against New Zealand at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, in front of a massive crowd of 94 000, the Springboks’ Tri-Nations title hopes were well and truly over.On a positive note, in the same game, John Smit became only the second South African to play 100 tests, after Percy Montgomery.South Africa managed a 44-31 win over Australia in their next game at Loftus Versfeld, in which Victor Matfield became the third Springbok to play in 100 tests and the first to celebrate the milestone with a victory. By the end of 2010, he had played in a South Africa record 105 tests.After the win in Pretoria, the Springboks suffered a narrow 39-41 loss in their final Tri-Nations outing which left South Africa bottom of the Tri-Nations standings.Grand Slam tourThe Springboks had an opportunity to regain some pride at the end of the year as they undertook a Grand Slam tour and it began with an impressive 23-21 victory over Ireland in a match that marked the reopening of the famous Lansdowne Road.A week later, in Cardiff, the Boks staged a stunning second half comeback to defeat Wales. They trailed 9-17 at the break, but played some great rugby after halftime to take the lead and eventually went on to a 29-25 win.Scotland was regarded as the weakest of the four home unions, so it was thought by many that South Africa’s game at Murrayfield would result in a routine victory. Some changes were made to the starting fifteen that reflected this kind of thinking. But the Boks were in for a rude shock.Early on they took the lead, but then the Scots started getting into the game midway through the first half and the Springboks’ play deteriorated, filled with mistakes and poor decision-making.Whereas South Africa had been able to lift their game at crucial stages in the wins over Ireland and Wales, there was no get-of-out-of-jail card to play this time around and they suffered a shock 17-21 loss to Scots. The Grand Slam dream was over and it had been ended by the so-called weakest team on the slate. It was a huge disappointment, especially because of the shockingly poor display by the Boks.England, conquerors of Australia and a team that had given the All Blacks a stiff test, was next on the schedule and there were big concerns that another loss could be on the cards. However, it was a totally different looking Springbok team that faced England and they produced a mighty 80-minute performance to win at Twickenham.They dominated the highly regarded English pack in the lineouts and loose, and even enjoyed a slight advantage in the set scrums. Using this forward-focused approach, the Boks secured a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved 21-11 victory.Extenuating circumstancesAs far as extenuating circumstances go for a disappointing season, the Springboks, although some might be loath to use it as an excuse, did suffer some serious injuries that robbed them of some world class and key players.They included the man most regard as the best scrumhalf in the world Fourie du Preez, along with Heinrich Brussouw, a man capable of challenging All Black captain Richie McCaw at the breakdown.Captain John Smit also missed time, although with Bismarck du Plessis in sensational form, Smit might have a hard time keeping his Sharks’ team-mate out of the number two jersey. Centre star Jaque Fourie was also sidelined, as was fellow 2007 World Cup winner JP Pietersen.In 2011 the Springboks will defend the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. They go into the season with a lot of questions to answer and many solutions yet to be found.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
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
Topics: Sometimes it’s a challenge to come up with consistently new blog content on the fly, which is why the editorial calendar is an important part of building your inbound marketing program. You’re full of insights, experiences, and opinions. Your computer, whiteboard, and notepad are probably chock-full of ideas for things to write about. So with all that great fodder, why are you still stuck in topic limbo?Because as it turns out, it’s tricky to translate a raw idea into an angle for a blog post that will get people reading. So while there are tons of ways to feed your blog with great content, here are a few ideas that should keep you writing on those days when writer’s block hits hard.1. The Trusted Expert PostGuest posts from well-recognized industry leaders can be an effective way to build a strong blog presence. Some experts have legions of fans, followers, and passionate supporters that may get drawn to their post on your site. The endorsement–real or perceived–of your product or service can influence reader opinion and encourage trial, even without overt sales messaging. What’s more, their active fan base could mean an uptick in exposure for your company.2. The “We Solved a Problem” PostThere’s nothing like a teeny, tiny problem to derail your whole day (or entire project). And problems you didn’t even know you had until someone pointed it out (possibly in front of your boss)? Yeah, well, those are even worse. But what if someone delivered a bright and shiny solution right in the form of a blog post? That post not only has the potential for repeat visits, but it also has great propensity for sharing, especially if you’re the first in your industry to take the time to solve and explain this problem.3. The How-To PostHistorically, this type of post performs well for most bloggers, and with good reason. While we enjoy a good philosophical discussion or a hot debate that puts our cerebral cortex into overdrive, the fact is that we all want to get stuff done. Stuff for our boss. Stuff for our freelance gig. Stuff for our online lives. “How-to” type posts draw us like moths to a flame because we assume we’re going to learn how to do something faster, cheaper, or better than other people or shave some time off a tedious, outdated process that makes us want to stick a fork in our left eye. If you can incorporate images or video to make the process visual, you’ll likely see even greater success.4. The FAQ PostThe best part about a FAQ post is that it provided answers to questions that people have all the time, which means it will be consistently referred back to. If there are tons of little nagging questions about something in your industry that you can compile and answer in one post, you’ll get forwards, social shares, and bookmarks up the wazoo. Plus, that post will continue to drive traffic for months and even years, depending on how evergreen the topic at hand is.5. The Excerpt PostNot to be confused with the expert post (har har), the excerpt post takes an important section of a piece of long form content, and repurposes it on your blog. For example, if you’ve just written a new whitepaper or ebook and one section can stand on its own, republishing it on your blog with a link to the whitepaper/ebook not only gives you some quick and helpful content, but it can also drive more downloads of the long form version.6. The Comparison PostAre there some non-competing tools or services that your audience uses quite frequently? Do a product comparison and review (a buyer’s guide of sorts) to help make their decision easier. With so much information out there, taking the time to do the research and distill what you’ve learned for your audience will win you big brownie points and get you trusted advisor status. Just make sure you don’t review competitive products with your own, accept bribes, or forget to disclose affiliations with a certain product or service you’re reviewing. Your credibility will take a serious nose dive.7. The Research Reveal PostBeen conducting your own research? Good for you! Reveal the data and findings in a research reveal post. People love data, especially when you provide them with key takeaways. That means you should not only reveal your findings and methodology (bonus points for pretty charts and graphs), but also tell your readers the “so what” of it all. What is the key takeaway? What can your readers do with this information to be better at their jobs, make more money, be happier people, and so on? Last but not least, remember that people love sharing data, so make it easy to tweet data points with a tweet link generator.We know your company is doing great work building stuff and servicing customers. How can you parlay technical knowledge, institutional experience, customer affinity, and lessons learned to help build awareness and your community? Get out there and blog!What types of blog posts help lift you out of writers block and seem to resonate well with your audience?Image credit: owenwbrown Blogging Originally published Dec 23, 2011 11:15:00 AM, 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
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: Design Trends Truthfully, not all of us have the best design chops — but that doesn’t mean we should be in the dark about the latest design trends. While it may not be part of your day-to-day activities, one day, you’ll find yourself dragged into a project like a website redesign. Suddenly, it’ll feel like you’re in a foreign country and you can’t understand or speak the language, but you somehow have to navigate it all. Luckily, it’s easy to save yourself from feeling lost in the next design project you’re collaborating on — you’ve just got to do your homework.This article is a great place to start your research. Compiled just for marketers, here are the top current graphic design trends you should know about. 1) Flat Design Flat design eliminates shadows and other design features that make graphics look three-dimensional. Skeuomorphic design is outdated — the digital world no longer pines after a midway design featuring “real-world” details such as stiff computer folders or copied lines on a calendar app. Flat design requires less complex coding and images, instead including more white space, larger buttons, and clearer font.Gadget Flow is an example of a website that has flat design. Notice the consistently flat lines — especially on the calls-to-action (CTAs) and image corners. Originally published Oct 30, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 What are the benefits? Because of its reliance on white space and large, digital-based images, flat design makes websites faster to load and renders properly across all devices. This clean, modern, and organized design is also appealing to businesses looking to make their designs more “modern.” 2) Infinite Looping Videos These videos are seamlessly weaved into the header of a webpage — no play button or flash needed. These videos display various moving scenes, yet remain static on the page. Karma Wifi’s website has an awesome looping video as the homepage header. Seen below, Karma’s video creates a striking introduction to the brand and blends into the design of the entire website. What are the benefits? Web graphics are now about creating emotional connections and telling a story through content — this feature spearheads the beginning of a company’s “story.” And because it’s moving on the page, people will be more likely to notice it, and maybe even click on it to watch a longer video or visit a landing page.Interested in creating this infinite looping videos on HubSpot’s COS? Learn how on the Design Hub Blog. 3) Detailed Cut-Out Images With Solid Light BackgroundThis web graphic is made up of a detailed cutout image laid on top of a nearly or completely solid color background. This style of graphic is continuously being featured on top rated design websites’ product pages. Hint: You can find this trend on Apple’s product pages. BeoPlay’s A9 product page is another great example of this style of graphic. What are the benefits? Playing into the popular minimalistic design trend, this style of graphic calls attention to the product. Customers can really focus on a product’s features. This style of graphic is especially great for parallax scrolling and one-page websites; with a light background, the image can easily transition into a different section of the page. 4) Custom Illustrations and Icons Say goodbye to awkward stock photos and hello to custom animations as one of the latest design trends. Whether they are educational, product-orientated, or culture-based, custom illustrations are can be a central design tactic for some companies.Some custom illustrations tell an interactive story such as Coke’s building of memories asset, which allows visitors to use their mouse to climb up a urban skyscraper. Other websites such as Spokes website use these illustrations and parallax scrolling to explain the purpose behind the company’s products. What are the benefits?Illustrations are created to match the company’s mission statement and overall values. They allow the visitor to interact with the company in a fun, playful, yet informative way. It also helps users identify what content “belongs” to a company. In the words of HubSpot web designer, Anna Faber-Hammond, “An customized icon set that is consistent across a site helps create visual recognition for a company website and explains key messages to users beyond the typical type and copy.” 5) Grid Design Whether it comes across as clean, sharp, stately, or quirky, grid design can be used for a variety of purposes. Giving visitors a glimpse into different facets of a website’s content, grid design is kind of like a collage, emphasizing visuals and bold text. This design can be used for solely organizational purposes, like Curioo’s elegant grid-style blocks, or for emphasizing the company’s uniqueness, like Joost Huver’s website does. The New Design Project does both. On their homepage, this interior design company uses large blocks to quickly show visitors samples of their work and have a link attached to lead visitors to more information about that specific project. What are the benefits? Grid design can turn cluttered content and an assortment of company case studies into an organized and sleek gallery that links to important parts of your website. It highlights a website’s key assets and navigates visitors to the next steps on the website that are most important to the company’s overall goals, such as finding out more about a product or filling out a landing page form. 6) Fixed Header Bar A fixed header bar lives on the top of a website — and remains at the top of a page no matter how far down a visitor scrolls down on a page. Although this is a feature a developer will have to code, it also is a graphic design element because it ties together the entire look of a website. For example, LevelFoods has a fixed header bar with colors and typography that match the rest of the website’s design patterns.What are the benefits?Fixed headers make it easy for visitors to navigate the website from any page they’re on. Most visitors are not willing to spend time searching for a page on your website — they want to find it the second they land on page. The fixed header helps guide visitors wherever they are on the site. The fixed header also allows marketers to highlight important pages, build branding across the website, and show vital CTAs in a prominent position across the website. 7) Unique Geometric Shapes Web design is also moving toward incorporating unique geometric shapes — not just typical squares and rectangle.Lacca’s website has created an origami triangle shape for it’s navigational bar on its homepage to illustrate different paths throughout the website in a standout way. The two overlapping large background images also vary from the typical rectangular content containers.What are the benefits?This web graphic design trend is typically bright and original, creating an opportunity for symbolic branding. Similar to block design’s purpose, varying geometric shapes is a more standout design element. This graphic design also allows room to incorporate various other previous trends without overpowering the visitor. A pro tip from Faber-Hammond on using geometric shapes in your design: “Designing with unique shapes can be great. But it’s important that if you get creative, you also make the web design clear. Use user testing to ensure that your visitors are interacting with it and can still find the correct information.”What other current graphic design trends do you think will improve a website’s overall look and functionality?
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: Originally published Jan 14, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Just because HubSpot values humility doesn’t mean we’re not a competitive bunch. Three months ago, CEO Brian Halligan, Marketing VP Kipp Bodnar, and I bantered about our relative rank on LinkedIn’s “Most-Viewed Members at HubSpot” list. At #17, I — predictably — brought up the rear.Mercifully, Kipp helped me cobble together a plan for climbing the ranks. We started by comparing our dashboards and performing a quick gap analysis to get a better sense of the opportunities I was missing. LinkedIn’s handy 90-day “charts” feature (found on the “Who’s viewed your profile” page) made it easy understand the sources (e.g., LinkedIn Search, People Similar to You) and keywords (e.g., Job description, Skills) that drive profile traffic.Quickly I discovered that there were three “clogged paths” to my profile.People Similar to You: Kipp was generating 3x as many profile views from people similar to him than I was generating from profiles similar to mine.Skills: Over the past 90 days, not one person had found my profile via my Skills. None. Zippo. Keywords: Keywords that led visitors to Kipp’s profile were 250% more diverse than mine. In other words, if someone searched for a profile containing a particular term, it was 2.5x more likely that the term led to Kipp’s profile than to mine.This entire process took only a few minutes — again, thanks to LinkedIn’s remarkable work in data science.Download our complete LinkedIn guide here for more tips on how to use LinkedIn for professional networking.Next up, I took action. I did this quickly. After all, lunch was approaching. (And I was looking for a boast, not a job). So in just under a half-hour, here’s what I did.What I Did to Increase Profile Views1) Normalized my title.Time: 1 minute.When I looked at “People similar to” HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe, I saw a list that was heavily concentrated with CMO titles. Perhaps this is because LinkedIn’s formula weighs title heavily, although I don’t know that for sure. In the event that it does, I modified my title from the unconventional “VP of Content” to the slightly more common “VP of Marketing (Content).”2) Inserted keywords into my Name field.Time: 1 minute.Admittedly, it looks a little weird when people do this, but since Keywords was a clogged path to my profile, I figured I would try. I added “Content Marketing & Startups” after my name, surfacing those keywords to the highest level of my profile.Correction: A LinkedIn rep and a commenter were kind enough to point out that this technique isn’t exactly consistent with LinkedIn’s User Agreement. At HubSpot we like to “move fast and break things.” Looks like I broke this one. Don’t do it.3) Added keywords to my Professional Headline.Time: 2 minutes.I’d previously listed my current employer and the names of the companies I advise in the headline that appears directly beneath my name. But to optimize for keywords, I replaced the company names with the functions I perform, specifically, “Content Marketing Leader, B2B Blogger, Marketing Speaker, Startup Advisor.”4) Optimized my Summary.Time: 10 minutes.I’d been bungling the Summary section of my profile. Before this exercise, my Summary contained a list of awards I’d earned. But who’s searching for awards on LinkedIn? Nobody. So I spent a little time and re-wrote this section as a keyword-dense narrative, broken into sections for readability. (I then moved the list of awards to the actual Awards section.)5) Expanded my Skills entries.Time: 3 minutes.I hadn’t updated the Skills section to keep pace with my career. I gave this section a thorough refresh, hitting LinkedIn’s 50 skill limit.6) Syndicated blog posts.Time: 7 minutes.I syndicated one blog post I’d written for HubSpot (basically just copied/pasted body and added a brief, “This post originally appeared on …” introduction). Over time, I syndicated two more.7) Changed Profile Viewing Setting from ‘Anonymous’ to ‘Public.’Time: 1 minute.This is so minor it’s almost trivial, but to facilitate reciprocal visits, now when I visit a profile, that member can see that it was me who visited them. Maybe some will visit me in return.8) Added my LinkedIn account to my email signature & Twitter profile.Time: 2 minutes.Another minor change, but a few minors can add up to a major. Note Facebook doesn’t include a field for LinkedIn profile URL. (Or if it does, I couldn’t find it.)While I was in profile clean-up mode, I edited descriptions of past jobs to adhere to the action/results format, which is generally considered a best practice. I also put in examples of my work by adding SlideShares and links to publications to current and previous jobs. But these changes were general enhancements, not made to optimize for visits, so I’m not adding the time to our clock.The ResultsGiven the minor time investment of just under half an hour, I wasn’t sure what sort of results I could expect. After all, it wasn’t like I had a major event to announce, like a job change, promotion, or graduation. I basically was trying to nip and tuck my way to more views. Well, it turns out a little nipping and tucking can make as big of an impact on LinkedIn as it can in Hollywood. Let’s have a look.In the 90 days prior to the optimization project (image below), my profile had been viewed 759 times. Most of the visits (56) were made by salespeople, presumably to sell me something. If I were looking for a job, I wouldn’t consider these to be high value visitors.Following the exercise, my profile received 956 views over the same span of time (there’s a slight date overlap in the study), an increase of more than 25%:Moreover, the profile of visitors rebalanced from salespeople to executives (50 viewers had a CEO or Executive Director title). If I were searching for a job, I would consider these visitors to be immensely valuable. Looking at the date label on the chart below, it’s clear that views hit a low during the holiday season, suggesting that the overall growth would have been even greater had the test been run during a different time of year.Zooming in a little closer, we can see that Kipp and I were able to move the right levers in my profile:Visits from Skills increased from 0 to 37. Additionally, 14% of people found my profile via “People similar to you.” Finally, keyword diversity was achieved: 953 different keywords led a viewer to my profile, resulting in 177 viewers discovering me via LinkedIn search.Of course, if you are an active job seeker, this exercise may not be enough to land you your dream gig. But LinkedIn is a hotbed of connections for recruiting, social selling, business development and, of course, content sharing and discovery. The more traffic your profile gets, the better chance you have of creating a flywheel effect for the messages you want to spread.And to make your LinkedIn profile even more appealing to potential employers, become a certified inbound marketing professional with HubSpot’s free marketing certification. Get started here. LinkedIn Marketing
Originally published Mar 17, 2015 4:00:00 PM, updated August 27 2017 Email Lists and Segmentation Topics: Marketers often think of running contests for things like branding, customer delight, and fan engagement — but that’s not all they’re good for. Created a certain way, contests can also help you fill your funnel, making your audience and your boss happy at the same time.Convert more visitors into leads. Try HubSpot’s free email capture software here.We’ve seen this happen first-hand at HubSpot. Last December, my team had the idea to run a contest, but wanted to see if there was a way to tie it more closely to business objectives. Our idea? Run a holiday-themed contest and give away eighteen $100 Visa gift cards, one for each winner and an additional gift card for one of their colleagues.The aim of the contest was to delight customers, increase engagement, and increase brand awareness … while also generating actual email contacts. Would it work? I’ll spoil the ending for you: It sure did. To help give you ideas if you want to run a similar contest, I’ve broken down the approach below that we took to running the contest.How to Run a Contest1) Choose a PlatformWhile you don’t necessarily need a platform to run a contest, I would highly recommend shopping around for a platform built explicitly for such a purpose. Contest platforms provide functionality that you wouldn’t necessarily think you need at the beginning of your contest (but will appreciate later). For example, it was extremely helpful to have certain features built in from the start, such as multiple types of contest entries, quick tallies of the entries, and random selection of the winners.The type of contest you’re running will usually dictate what features you find important and what functionality you’ll need, but there is one key feature all contest platforms should have: social sharing integrations. Getting a contest to go viral is the best way to make it bigger and better than you initially imagined — and having certain social sharing capabilities in the platform will make that much easier. So when you’re considering platforms, think about what kinds of social media activities you’d like entrants to do.In our contest, we primarily wanted people to enter with an email address (it was designed to help us build our database, after all). We also wanted to get a larger reach from our contest, meaning we counted the following actions as extra entries:Following HubSpot on TwitterTweeting a link to the contestSharing via emailSharing via FacebookAfter perusing a few of the major platforms I settled on using Gleam because it allowed me to directly integrate with HubSpot, entering contestants into a list automatically. Most platforms require you to export contacts from the contest platform and into your database (one extra step that I’d rather avoid). Gleam also has functionality to disqualify people if their email address doesn’t exist, and it won’t let them enter the contest if they are outside of the U.S. and you’ve selected U.S. only.2) Set Up Your ContestDeciding how many winners there will be, how long your contest will run, and where to promote it are often the biggest items on your to-do list when you are just getting started — but that’s not actually the best place to start. Instead, think about the ultimate, bottom-line goals you’re hoping to achieve, and backtrack your contest-specific goals from there. So if you’re hoping to generate 100 leads from the contest, and you know that your typical visit-to-lead conversion rate is 10%, you know that you need 1,000 visits (at least) to your contest. And knowing that visit goal can help shape how you promote your contest (and the rest of the other items on your contest to-do list).When we ran the Holiday Hero Contest, our goals were of net new email addresses, number of shares per channel (email, Twitter, Facebook), and number of selected winners. Outlining these goals helped keep our expectations both realistic and achievable, and it also provided a benchmark of what success for this contest (and future contests) would look like.3) Run the Contest (But Make Sure to Check on It)Now’s the part you’ve dreamt about: Actually pushing your contest live, promoting it, and getting entries. How you exactly do that will depend on your contest goals, but if you need some ideas on how to promote your contest, check out this free resource.To generate interest, my team shared the contest across multiple channels: We created a dedicated landing page for our contest, then blogged about it, emailed it to our database, put together specific Pinterest boards, and shared that landing page all over social media. Since the contest was only available in the U.S., we made sure to share it with that audience.Throughout the promotion cycle you’ll also want to “take the temperature” of your contest. Are your promotions successful? How is your contest doing across various platforms? Is your technology working the way you expect? Are contacts being properly fed from the contest app into your database? Are contestants getting a follow-up email about their entries?These are all questions that can only be answered by frequently checking on your contest settings. I would recommend checking these settings every day or every other day just to ensure that if you do run into any hiccups, you can quickly address them.4) Choose Your WinnersSo now that you’ve gotten all of your entries, you’ve got to select your winners and let them know they’ve won. If your platform lets you randomly select a winner, we’d highly recommend using that (unless your contest rules say otherwise). Once they’re selected, it’s up to you to do the reaching out.In our contest, we chose to email the winners to let them know. We also emailed the rest of the entrants to let them know that winners had been chosen, as one big complaints about contests is the mistrust as to whether anyone actually received the prize.The best part of running a contest has to be the delight that people experience when they win. It is incomparable to anything else — and if you are lucky, sometimes winners will share a story with you about them winning. (I was lucky to receive such an email … I’ve still got it tucked away in my inbox!)5) Analyze Your ResultsLike you would with any other marketing campaign, you should always analyze the results of your contest. Which channels drove the best results in terms of traffic, entries, and new contacts? Did certain promotions and/or messaging get better results? What would you try differently next time? Taking the time to look in your marketing analytics and analyze your results will ensure you are setting your next contest up for success.All in all, I’d say our contest went really well — we had hundreds of new participants each day and over 20% of the total entrants were new to our database. While there are definitely things we’d change for next time around, we were proud with how this contest turned out.3 Lessons Learned From Running Our ContestNow that the contest is over, there are some general things I learned that other companies should keep in mind when running a contest:When planning a contest, make sure your prizes are relevant to what your company does and what your audience needs. If you offer promotional items that are vague or random then you are less likely to get qualified leads.Before creating your contest, check in with your company’s legal department to make sure terms and conditions are properly stated. Set big, virality-specific goals to help you achieve your bottom-line goals. Just because you’re ultimately aiming to drive bottom-line growth doesn’t mean you can ignore top-line goals. It’s really good to know how many shares you are hoping for on each social media platform so that you can better analyze your promotional strategy at the end of the contest. Have you run a contest before? What tips would you suggest to marketers who’ve never run one? 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: While a strong social following on Facebook is already an immense advantage for nonprofits, those fans are about to become even more valuable. Thanks to the introduction of Facebook’s “Donate Now” button, it’s easier than ever for nonprofits to turn online engagement into meaningful monetary contributions. About Facebook’s “Donate Now” ButtonThe titan of social media has always been a logical choice for nonprofits, allowing them to connect with supporters in an environment that feels more personal than a website or print brochure does. Today, Facebook took that relationship to the next level, introduing a “Donate Now” call-to-action button option on both link ads and company Pages. Regarding the update, they said, “Now it’s easier than ever for nonprofits to connect with people who care about their causes and encourage them to contribute through the website of their choice.”When a user clicks on the button, they see a prompt from Facebook disclaiming that the social site isn’t affiliated with the company collecting donations. From there, the user will likely be routed to a brand’s website to complete their transaction. Nonprofits have two options for using the new CTA:Company Page: The “Donate Now” CTA works much like Facebook’s other buttons (“Book Now,” “Shop Now” and “Contact Us”) in that it can be added to a brand’s company page at any time, and with no cost. When included on a company’s Page, the button appears alongside the “Like” button, on the bottom right corner of the cover photo. Link Ads: To scale the visibility of the Donate Now CTA, companies can include the button in link ads, and then promote it as they would any other content. Thinking about including a “Donate Now” button on your page or in your next ad campaign? Here are 3 things to consider. 3 Tips for Using Facebook’s “Donate Now” Button1) Point The WayJust placing a button on your Facebook Page doesn’t mean users will automatically start clicking on it. Encourage donations by referencing the “Donate Now” option in your regular posts, and consider creating new dedicated content that makes users aware of the button (and how their donations will be used). Visual cues can be a big help as well. Consider swapping your cover photo to include new creative that direct the user to the button—arrows, text, or anything else you can dream up. 2) Run Highly Targeted Campaigns Just as your wouldn’t ask eveyrone who lands on your website to become a member of your nonprofit or donate to your cause, put your inbound marketing hat on and segment the audience you reach out to for donations.Avoid wasting ad dollars by targeting your link ads to the users most-likely to donate to your cause. Interest targeting can be a great place to start, as well as behavior, demographics, job title, or connections (friends of people who like your Page already). Need more inspiration? Look at your current database to identify the traits most similar amongst your most generous donors. Kick things up a notch by leveraging Website Custom Audiences to hone in on users that directly mirror exsisting donors in your system. 3) Keep Your Content Balanced Just because asking for donations is easier than ever for companies on Facebook, it doesn’t mean you can neglect the primary reason most users connect with you to begin with. Remember that content comes first, and that creating a personal connection with your fans will pave the road for longer, more valuable long-term relationships. Use your page to showcase how donations are used, and feature stories about the lives that previous donations have changed. Giving is still a two-way street. You have to provide an emotion connection before you can expect your fans to provide their credit card info. As with any campaign, it will be important to track who is clicking on their donation CTAs to measure what type of ROI is coming from their efforts, be they paid or organic. While no one platform can sustain a campaign alone, this update provides a new channel through which companies can drive incrimental donations from social—something I’m sure most nonprofits will really “Like.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Nonprofit Fundraising Originally published Aug 25, 2015 9:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017