What You Need to Know About Mortgage Rate Locks

first_imgHow much do you pay for heating? Depending on where you live, it’s a good chunk of money during the wintertime. Even though we live in the South (in lovely Raleigh!), we’re not immune to getting some cold weather.   With winter coming… Full Story,Tips to help turn those homebuying dreams into reality. From outstanding credit card debt to massive student loans, financial difficulties are barring more and more millennials from becoming homeowners. While the vision of buying a first home may seem hopelessly… Full Story,When most people imagine buying a house, they think about how many bedrooms they need or what kind of porch they want. When they think about homebuying costs, they decide how much to put down and what their maximum home… Full Story,One of my favorite shows is Sex and the City. Those women lived glamorous lives I could only dream about. And, Carrie, a writer, was living my dream life as a famous writer in Manhattan. One of the storylines that… Full Story,Last year, my husband and I were packing up our Denver apartment to prepare for our move back to his home state of Indiana. We’d put an offer in on a house and had only given ourselves a couple of… Full Story,A few years ago Dave Munson and his family decided to move from their 5,600-square-feet, 8-bedroom house in the city of San Antonio, Texas, to a smaller, unique living situation: tents. Well, fancy, upscale tents that total 2,000 square feet… Full Story,It’s a well-known fact that your personal environment affects your mental health. If you live in a beautifully decorated home with plenty of plants and green space nearby, your risk for anxiety and depression is lower. If you spend your… Full Story,My husband and I were so excited to buy our house. We’d been renting since college and were eager to have our own place. Finally, no one could tell us how many dogs we could have or how many posters… Full Story,Last summer, I was forced to relocate out of my cozy, bungalow-style apartment in West L.A. Living in one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the U.S., I was resigned to the fact that, to enjoy my ideal setup… Full Story,When you buy a home, you’re making an investment in yourself and your future. You’re building  financial stability, equity, and experience. You have a place to call your own and you can customize the space just how you want. As… Full Storylast_img read more

What the Beauty Industry Can Teach Us About Men’s Diets

first_imgAs a teenager growing up in England in the 1990s, so-called lads’ mags were all the rage. Back then, these kinds of magazines ruled the newsstands, promulgating a kind of macho boyhood that was rough and rowdy. They set a cultural expectation for young English men that rolled well into the 2000s. And then, one by one, those magazines went out of business as readers moved online and their media preferences changed.Other things in British men’s lives changed too.It wasn’t that long ago that the average Joe would tell you that using grooming products beyond hair gel and shaving supplies was flat-out taboo. But in recent years, male shoppers have increasingly turned to buying moisturizers, anti-aging creams and a host of other personal toiletries — to the point that the market for male grooming products is projected to be worth $19.5 billion in 2016. Sales of grooming products on one men’s retail website increased 300 percent in 2015 alone.Companies selling grooming products have a deep understanding of the male consumer, and have used that knowledge to identify cues that reduce feelings of emasculation and may even help men feel more masculine when shopping for lotions and other items long seen as women’s products. With names like “Facial Fuel” and “Urban Camouflage Concealer,” products are now designed to readily appeal to the male consumer. They emphasize health and confidence as key benefits. Many are packaged in grey or black containers – even resembling cigar or liquor packaging — with bold typeface and few decorations. When sold in-store, companies maximize awareness by positioning the products in the men’s section next to other accessories like belts.In short, companies and stores have realized ways to successfully introduce new grooming products to men, and many men have willingly adopted them. Gone are the days of one-size-fits all manhood, it seems. Even Axe, the body spray company that first made a name for itself with racy ads, has changed its tune, its advertising instead playing to the many different kinds of masculinity men are increasingly expressing.As someone who works to help more people adopt plant-based diets that are better for the environment, I’m struck by these kinds of changes in men’s consumption. I’ve got to wonder, why should we think that other highly gendered consumption patterns can’t also shift?Of all demographic groups, women and millennials are most likely to follow a plant-based diet. The UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey has found that men eat an incredible 47 percent more meat than women. This gender gap in part can be explained by the host of unique barriers men experience on their way to shifting their diets toward black bean burgers and other sustainable, plant-based foods.On one hand, men perceive plant-based foods differently from women. Consumer studies show that men are more likely to believe that plant-based diets are not nutritious or tasty and that these foods don’t provide enough energy. Men are also more likely than women to believe that humans are designed to eat a lot of meat and that meals without meat are not real meals.If men’s perception of plant-based foods is one barrier, another is men’s desired perception of themselves. Researchers have found that what we eat is wrapped up with the subtle cues we give to the world about ourselves.  On a sub-conscious level, we make food choices, at least in part, based on how those decisions will affect our public image.For example, people who eat healthy foods are seen as responsible, but those who eat pastries and pies are interpreted as fun and easy-going. And if you want to be seen as a “real” man? The research shows that you eat red meat, and lots of it.Both men and women associate red meat with strength and masculinity. One study found that vegetarian men are perceived as up to 35 percent less masculine than men who follow omnivorous diets. Another study echoed these insights, finding that men who eat a beef-heavy diet are perceived as 20 percent more masculine and 30 percent less feminine than vegetarian men. Eating meat, it seems, is one way that men affirm their masculinity.All in all, the barriers men experience pose a real challenge for those of us who want to see people of both sexes eat more plant-based foods. Sure, meat tastes great – but animal agriculture puts real strain on water, land and the climate. Beef generates 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions than beans, for example.  Even small changes in our diets, such as swapping the beef burger for a turkey burger, can have positive impacts. The answer isn’t eating no meat at all, just less meat.Even small changes in our diets, such as swapping the beef burger for a turkey burger, can have positive impacts. Photo by Shreyans Bhansali/Flickr The rise in men’s grooming products is a reminder that gender norms are not fixed, and what’s considered appropriate male behavior is highly cultural and dynamic. If men can change their thinking on body spray, then they can change their attitudes about meat, too.Already, some food companies are helping redefine meat’s hold on men. Beyond Meat, for example, partners with NBA players and other athletes to endorse its plant-based foods. Impossible Foods has worked with critically acclaimed restaurants such as New York’s Momofuku Nishi to add its plant-based burgers to the menu. Because the burger looks, smells and tastes just like beef, the company hopes men will be more open to trying it.Men seem to have a special relationship with meat, but it doesn’t mean it will last forever. Old-fashioned norms of masculinity can be challenged, and new norms developed. The Better Buying Lab is joining Eating Better and Do It Day UK to advance research and innovation on new ways to help more men balance out their diets with sustainable plant-based foods.  There’s much more to learn, but the momentum is there, and the future promising.Research for this blog was supported by Karna Malaviya.last_img read more

Bonn Negotiations Can Set a Strong Foundation for Higher Ambition. Here’s How.

first_imgNegotiations at COP24 in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, concluded with a set of guidelines, colloquially called the Paris Rulebook, that outline how countries fulfill the obligations the Paris Agreement requires of them.With this important task completed, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa then issued a clarion call to focus 2019 on “Ambition, Ambition, Ambition.”What does this focus on ambition mean for the June negotiations in Bonn, Germany?A Strong Foundation for Higher AmbitionIn September 2019, world leaders are expected to bring concrete plans for revising and enhancing their national climate commitments (called nationally determined contributions, or NDCs) to the UN Climate Action Summit the United Nations Secretary-General is convening in New York. Negotiators can therefore use the Bonn session to discuss preparations for the UN summit and their efforts to implement and raise the ambition of their NDCs.Momentum on ambition specifically can be underpinned and reinforced by progress on the following formal negotiating tracks in Bonn:Tools and rules. Ensuring that we have all the tools and rules needed to make sure that the way that the way countries cooperate does not compromise the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement. Parties left Katowice without an agreement on how countries will cooperate with one another using market-based mechanisms to achieve existing reduction targets and potentially to raise ambition. These mechanisms must be designed carefully to avoid any double-counting of emissions.In addition, the negotiations will address the length of the timeframe for countries’ NDCs and the use of common reporting formats to capture all countries’ climate efforts in a manner that is consistent and comparable. This includes tracking progress towards the achievement of climate commitments and the flow of finance supporting such endeavors.While technical, these issues are important to address well not only to compare and assess countries’ efforts, but also to make sure that the level of countries’ efforts is not underminedwell understood.Guided by science. Countries’ efforts must be guided by sound understanding and effective use of recommendations emerging from the latest IPCC reports. Many countries will still use the negotiating space available to discuss further the implications of the 1.5 IPCC report, identify how this can inform countries’ review of their NDCs, and explore the possibility for the UNFCCC Secretariat to produce a synthesis report of countries’ NDCs ahead of COP26. Countries can also seek to secure enough time at COP25 to reflect on recommendations from the forthcoming special IPCC reports on land and oceans.Verification. 28 countries (including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Nigeria and Australia) will have their climate efforts scrutinized by their peers as they complete their verification process under the current UNFCCC regime. This workshop-like format provides an opportunity to countries to share and learn from their peers about successes and failures when implementing their commitments. This can also illuminate challenges and opportunities countries may consider as they prepare their next rounds of NDCs and consider foundational elements for increasing ambition.Finally, throughout the session many events will be organized to tackle the relationship between climate and human rights. This includes sharing experience on how to mainstream gender into climate action, how to leverage the role of indigenous people and how to ensure a just transition the green economy.Effective Finance and Capacity Building to Fulfill the Promise of the Paris AgreementAmbitious climate action requires investment, so finance is always a major topic in climate negotiations. In addition to technical negotiations to standardize the tracking of support provided and mobilized by donors and the support needed and received by recipient countries, negotiators will discuss the provision and effectiveness of finance, including progress towards the goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020.While not on the agenda at this session, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will be on many negotiators’ minds, as the world’s largest climate fund will have its first replenishment this year. The replenishment is a critical test of rich countries’ willingness to put their money where their mouth is by fully resourcing the mechanism tasked with helping developing countries meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Developed countries should follow the lead of Germany and Norway by at least doubling the level of their original pledges made in 2014.There is also a need to ensure the Adaptation Fund is properly resourced. This innovative fund receives contributions not only from governments, but also donations from individuals (including youth climate activist Greta Thunberg). It will also receive a share of proceeds from the carbon trading mechanisms set up under the UN climate convention. As countries negotiate how the market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement will operate, it is important they ensure the new system provides a reliable flow of finance to support the Adaptation Fund’s important work.Of course, finance doesn’t matter if countries do not have the capacity to access or use it. Can countries convert support into appropriate actions on the ground, informed by climate data and evidenced-based policies? It is imperative tobuild and mobilize capacity at the scale and pace necessary—in a more effective and sustained way than it has been previously—in order to accelerate the transition to climate-resilient and low-carbon economy we need to see by 2050.Given that context, this year, countries will need to decide whether and how the bodies set up to foster capacity building, such as the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) and the Consultative Group of Expert (CGE), will continue to guide countries in their efforts. To do so, countries will need to assess the progress made thus far on capacity building, while acknowledging ongoing challenges or outstanding issues yet to be resolved. They need to agree on the critical functions, tools and opportunities the PCCB and CGE should focus on over the next few years.Advancing Efforts to Tackle Loss & Damage”Loss and damage” has been among the most controversial issues in UN climate change negotiations. It has to do with situations where climate impacts become so severe that communities cannot possibly adapt to them (e.g. when sea level rise makes it impossible for an island community to live on that island). While efforts to address loss and damage reached a breakthrough with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the fate of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) created in 2013 to oversee this issue is still at stake.Parties need to decide this year how the WIM will continue to advance its knowledge-gathering and coordinate and mobilize the support necessary to address loss and damage associated with both extreme and slow-onset climate events in vulnerable developing countries. During the Bonn negotiations, Parties need to come up with options for the review process for the WIM: what inputs would be needed, what outputs should be generated, and key modalities and milestones. The most difficult but critical issue to address will be securing enough funding for tackling loss and damage.The upcoming negotiating session in June, in Bonn begins several days before the EU Council meets at Heads of State level to decide on key climate policies and just ahead of the G20 meeting in Osaka and the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting. Meanwhile, youth continue their climate strikes in over 110 countries with the goal of moving climate up the domestic agenda in major economies. Yet these mostly technical negotiations in Bonn still matter as they can either strengthen or undermine ambitious efforts up to 2020 and beyond.last_img read more

5 Google Local Stats Every Marketer Should Know [Data]

first_img 20 percent of Google searches are for local information Mayer discussed many of Google’s local applications, including Google Maps and Google Hotpot Originally published Mar 17, 2011 4:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Marissa Mayer Google Hotpot currently has 3 million ratings 5 Google Local Stats Every Marketer Should Know Local SEO Google Maps usage is 40 percent mobile 2. aburt 3. Google GPS saves drivers 2 years everyday with route around traffic directions 4. , Google’s Vice President of Consumer Products, spoke about the current state of many of Google’s location-focused applications. Five important statistics stood out as the major takeaways for marketers looking to promote their businesses at the local level.center_img 5. Topics: Google Maps has 150 million mobile users When it comes to location-based marketing, much of the conversation goes to Foursquare as well as Yelp. However, Google is still the leader in the discovery process for local information. At South By South West Interactive, Of the five stats above, it is clear that the fifth piece of data should serve as a soundbite for every marketer when discussing the relevancy of online local marketing. With 20 percent of Google searches looking for local information, that means 600 million searches per day are for local information. This is a huge opportunity for businesses.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack All of these statistics show that Google has a major hold on users looking for local marketing online. As a business looking to attract more customers through these tools, you should follow best practices for being included in Google’s local search results as well as optimize your business website with content focused on your key geographic markets. Take a look at 1. Photo Credit: . Hotpot is Google’s service that allows users to rate local business and has only been live for a few months now. Marketing Takeaway HubSpot’s free local marketing on-demand webinar for best practices to attract more visitors to your business. last_img read more

Go Beyond Blogging: How to Become a Great Storyteller

first_img Storytelling This post originally appeared on Inbound Insiders, a new section of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Blog.Opinions are like blogs: Everyone has one.In fact, most of the business world has finally caught on to the fact that in order to succeed in a post-outbound world, you need great content.But what happens once everyone has caught on and businesses are blogging simply to stay healthy, kinda like eating their green beans?What happens is you get a ton of boring, uninspired, mediocre content polluting your RSS feed.As Maximus famously proclaims in Gladiator, “Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you are here?”Well, no.We’re here to be inspired, right? I mean, I’m not talking the last twenty minutes of Rudy inspired, but rather inspired to read more, and maybe buy something. We have a challenge. A question. A need or even a want. And we’re looking for that moment of inspiration to help make our purchase decision easier.Somewhere along the way of this mass information age, many forgot this. They forgot that storytelling is the main ingredient for inspiration.It’s why we cry at the end of Forrest Gump. It’s why we cheer at the end of Rocky (all six of them). It’s also why some of us buy Dunkin’ Donuts over Starbucks (or vice versa).We’re here to be told a story. And in the process, be inspired to take action or behave in certain ways. And while storytelling goes far beyond just your blog posts, it’s often your most shared resource; therefore, it’s the best place to start.Story vs. ArticleLet’s consider the difference between marketers and journalists. Journalists remove themselves from articles to ensure objectivity — but marketers? Marketers should be inserting themselves into their stories. That’s what differentiates an article, from a story.Great brand stories are not objective. In fact, the most successful ones are highly subjective.Is Snapple really made from the best stuff on earth? Of course not. However, millions of people buy into this story every single day.Shift your focus from writing articles to telling more stories. Start by asking yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish for my customers?” Then consult your buyer personas and focus on key personality traits to identify the type of tone and language that will be most effective at appealing to them.Get creative. Insert yourself into each story. Detail your experiences.This makes you and your brand much more relatable. Hyperbole vs. JargonOften we get caught up in those industry buzz phrases we think are necessary in order to attract business.”Achieve Your Goals and Experience an ROI.”… As opposed to those other companies that vow to not achieve your goals and guarantee no ROI?No company is saying that. As a result, we all end up saying the same thing. How are you supposed to separate yourself from the competition with a strategy like that?No one understands this concept better than the household brands we all know and love. Part of the reason we do know and love them is because we identify with their story.Does America really run on Dunkin’?Is Folgers really the best part of waking up?Probably not. However, we buy into these stories because of the way they make us feel.A healthy dose of hyperbole never hurt anyone. In fact, it’s highly effective in telling a remarkable story and differentiating your brand.Experience vs. WordsStories don’t always have to be about words.In fact, great storytelling encompasses your entire brand experience, not simply what is written about or said.Take Starbucks, for instance — I know, I know, I’ve got caffeine on the mind — who goes after an entirely different audience than Dunkin’ Donuts. This effectively separates them from an already massively successful brand. Starbucks targets a more affluent audience and aims to create a more high-end, “our barista remembers the way you like your coffee,” type of atmosphere. Everything from the furnishings, to minimal drive-thrus, to a menu most people have a hard time pronouncing, stays consistent with the overall story.Starbucks customers are willing to wait a little longer. They’re even willing to pay a little more.Is the coffee that much different? Or is it the story and experience these particular customers are buying? It’s certainly debatable, however, these two massively successful coffee chains have managed to dominate completely separate markets and attract two different audiences all through the act of storytelling.So while many of us may not be able to match their marketing budgets and overall reach, we can certainly learn a lot from the manner in which household brands separate themselves from the noise with hyperbolic, unique brand stories.Developing Your StoryIn developing a unique story, consider your buyer personas and focus on both personality and behavioral traits in order to develop a story that resonates.Who are you trying to attract?How can you tell a story that inspires them to act?This story will be the core of your entire marketing strategy.Your story shouldn’t be about what you sell, but rather how you sell it.This is a guest post by John Bonini (@Bonini84), marketing director at IMPACT Branding & Design. Visit the IMPACT Blog for more content from John and the agency. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Oct 15, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

Why Marketing Automation Fails: 3 Common Reasons

first_img Originally published Mar 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Marketing Automation 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: Human-to-human connections are the heart and soul of marketing. You don’t need statistics to prove the value of personalized messages, multi-channel marketing, and high quality content. It’s common sense — consumers are more responsive to brands that care.That’s why marketing automation is such an important topic in 2014. As David Moth writes on the Econsultancy blog — “It’s an important tool for bringing order to the warring worlds of marketing and sales by improving lead scoring and nurturing.”When it comes to leads, quality is everything. That’s why marketers need to make sure that they’re delivering the right messages to the right audiences at exactly the right time. We need to reach prospects on an individual level — which sounds easy enough, until your database grows from 5 to 5,000.Imagine communicating with 5,000 people on Facebook, Twitter, email, and via your blog. I can’t even wrap my mind around it. As somebody who has done marketing and business development, I know that human-to-human relationships are difficult to cultivate, track, and optimize at scale. Our brains have finite processing power. That’s why marketing automation software is so important.But marketing automation has a bad rap. We immediately think of email spammers, acquired lists, and untargeted ads. The term “marketing automation” also sounds quite clinical and technical.But it’s not. It’s one of the most human, people-focused strategies for growing your marketing. It has the potential to make your customers love your brand — but if you’re even slightly off base, it has the potential to make your customers really, really annoyed.Since success starts with knowing your blind spots, here are the three most common reasons why marketing automation fails, along with tips for what to do about it.Note: One of the most common reasons marketing automation fails is a company isn’t actually solving for their entire funnel — in other words, they’re not using top-of-the-funnel channels to drive traffic to their website they can convert into leads. If you’re struggling to fill the top of your funnel, stop reading this, and read this guide to corporate inbound marketing instead to help address your demand generation needs. If you have enough lead volume to make marketing automation worth your while, keep reading.1) Your Timing Is OffMarketers are influencers. Successful campaigns aren’t broadcasts — they’re techniques that help your brand reach audiences at key decision-making moments. Conversion funnels can help you wrap your mind around this concept. Typical customer journeys span the following five steps:Discovery – Prospects find out about your brand (or product) for the first timeRealization of Need – Prospects start to realize that your product will add value to their livesConsideration – Prospects decide to learn more about your product; at this moment, they become leadsConversion – The moment where the purchase (read: magic) happensRetention – First-time buyers repeat this process to become regular customersNow take off your marketing hat to think like a consumer. Imagine that you’re shopping for a new product or service. A sales rep from a new company reaches out to you by email (or follows up with a phone call) to tell you to buy, buy, buy. You’d probably feel annoyed.It’s not that a sales-focused marketing message is bad, per se. The reality is that the pitch is aligned with the wrong stage of the funnel. You’re just getting started and learning about a company for the first time — what you need to hear is a marketing message that speaks to “awareness.” A sales-focused message will yield stronger impact among audiences that are ready to convert. Now let me walk you through this concept in action from one of my favorite companies, Clarity.fm — a company that connects new entrepreneurs with subject matter experts. As somebody who recently launched a new company, I rely on Clarity to get in touch with entrepreneurs who have been there before.Recently, I wanted to get in touch with Poornima Vijayashanker, a leader whose work I’ve been following for a while. I have looked her up on Clarity many, many times — but I have never booked a call. I was a low-funnel prospect who — out of laziness — wasn’t converting.But then, I received an automated email from Clarity reminding me to book the call — and I did. It wasn’t annoying or aggressive. In fact, I am happy that Clarity sent me the memo.I became a customer and had a great experience. I have since scheduled multiple Clarity calls.2) There Are Too Many Bells and WhistlesHere’s some interesting data:A staggering 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email, but the average clickthrough rate for B2B marketing emails in Q2 2013 was only 1.7%.Why?The fact is simple. Marketers know that email marketing is powerful, so consumers — in turn– receive a lot of emails.It’s common for marketers to over-think their marketing automation strategies, investing in complicated newsletter designs and templates — mediums with a heck of a lot of information in text. What ends up happening, however, is that your message’s core value proposition is lost. There’s just so much to digest, so audiences will quickly move on to their next message (and forget about yours).Neil Patel, founder at KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg, has a great solution to this consumer pain point — he keeps his marketing messages short, simple, and to the point. Not to mention, they’re highly personalized and rich with information that is relevant across the conversion funnel.Instead of blasting his subscribers with mundane sales pitches, he sends short emails that remind audiences to check out his content.3) You’re Forgetting About MobileToday’s marketers are operating in cross-device, cross-platform environments. You can’t afford to ignore mobile.It’s estimated that 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices, but only 11% of emails are optimized for mobile.So what happens? Audiences stop listening — 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for small screens. Some tips:Keep your messaging simpleAvoid chunks of text, and make paragraphs easy to scanBullet key pieces of information Make links easy to clickAvoid jam-packing messages with photosDon’t make users scroll too muchAvoid design elements that require re-sizingHere’s a great example from PayPal that keeps the content simple:Final ThoughtsSweat the small stuff. Details are crucial to the success of your marketing automation strategy. Put yourself in the shoes of your target customer, and work backwards to reverse engineer your campaigns. Think “human” before you think “software.”Stop thinking like a marketer, and remember what it means to be a consumer first.last_img read more

The Art and Science of Driving Webinar Registration

first_img Originally published Jun 3, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated October 14 2019 Webinars 4) Mix up promotional messaging.This is similar to the previous tip, but instead of email format, we’re referring to the readable content itself. While you may be delivering the same message, changing up the tone and verbiage can help cut through the noise. You might try taking a more personal tone with your messaging in one message, but keep to a more formal tone with others.The Art of Promotional ContentThe art of driving webinar registration comes in how we design our promotional content. For many companies, all of the creative energy gets put into the webinar presentation, not the invitations. This leads to the classic “If a tree falls in the forest …” dilemma. Your content doesn’t exist if no one knows about it. Writing compelling promotional content is the first exposure your prospects will have to your message. It’s the doorway to your webinar. To make sure you’re creating compelling promotional copy, make sure your writing has at least one of the following elements: 1) Upsets the status quo.Great promotional material is always going to galvanize action from the recipient, and an easy way to do this is to deliver content with a headline that stops people in their tracks. If your material tells audiences what they expect or already understand, it’s easily glossed over. But a contrarian headline or lead sentence can snag the interest of a recipient. For example, a webinar touting the title “Big Data as We Know It Is Dead” is sure to garner interest. Just be sure that the content of your webinar actually delivers on that headline — otherwise you could alienate the registrants you worked so hard to earn.2) Promises change.In this case, we’re again referring to the lead or headline of your promotional material. Succinctly, you need to articulate exactly what prospective attendees will be able to accomplish once they’ve attended your webinar. How much will they save? What will they achieve? How will their lives or businesses be better? If you can deliver this message in a brief format, more people will be likely to attend your event.  3) Challenges common beliefs.While this may seem similar to “Upsets the status quo,” there are subtle differences, primarily related to phrasing. Challenging common beliefs means posing a question related to the recipients’ day-to-day experiences that challenges them to re-think a foregone conclusion. “Do you really need analytics to be a successful marketer?” would be a question that might make a recipient stop and wonder what an event is all about.4) Titillates.The pure definition of “titillate” is to “excite agreeably,” and this can be an effective strategy, provided that it’s combined with substantive information that will further compel the recipient to attend your webinar. Perhaps this may take the form of a preview or teaser of the event, so your audience gets a sense of what to expect from the event itself. One approach is to provide background on the expertise of the speakers and/or presenters who will be running the event.5) Addresses known pain points or needs.This may appear obvious, but for many promotional materials, a clean, clear description of how you’re going to address a common problem is the most effective means of getting recipients to pay attention. If a target spends all day trying to install X and then sees a webinar that says “How to Install X Three Times Faster,” that person is going to consider that event carefully.Successful webinar promotions artfully and strategically capture people’s attention, whether it’s through a subject line that threatens the status quo, an opening email sentence that promises change, or a tweet that spurs the imagination. As marketers we have to be just as creative promoting our events as we are delivering them. It’s a little bit art, and it’s a little bit science, but mostly it’s just great marketing.Want to learn more about promoting webinars? Our recent master class hosted by Mark Bornstein of ON24 and Lisa Toner of HubSpot is available on demand: http://hubs.ly/y0K6Vq0 I often poll marketing audiences about their biggest webinar challenges. Almost every time, I hear that their biggest challenge is on driving registration — in a recent poll, we found that 42.9% of respondents had the biggest trouble with getting people to register for their online event.Why is driving webinar registration such a challenge for marketers?Perhaps the biggest explanation for this issue is the fact that our prospects are now busier than ever, making it very hard for them to take the time to tune in at certain day at a certain time. They’re also bombarded with tons promotional emails, making them wary of any kind of advertising — social or otherwise.So how can we get them to sign up for our webinars if we can’t even get them to read emails promoting them? The key is catching your target audience at a moment of receptivity with a message that resonates — it’s both an art and a science.Download Now: Free Webinar Planning KitThe Science of Getting People to Register for WebinarsAs marketers, we rely too often on a static process to promote our events: a single email (sent multiple times) and perhaps a few tweets with the name of the event and a link. Depending on your brand and the appeal of the subject matter, this may be enough to capture a sufficient audience, but it certainly leaves a lot of prospective leads behind. Truly innovative marketers are now experimenting with the process of promoting their events. This includes sending out emails at the right time, promoting different types of emails (HTML, plain text and hybrid — and with embedded videos, for example), experimenting with drop schedules and timing, and mixing up social promotions with different messages and types of outreach.  1) Send your promotional emails at the right time. Though the best time of day and day of week to send emails depends on your business, industry, and audience’s behavior, it’s helpful to get an idea of when your emails are most likely to succeed (and time your sends accordingly). In our annual benchmark report that analyses thousands of webinars hosted by our customers, we found out the optimal times for sending your emails are:2) Extend the promotional period to drop more emails.When you look at industry best practices for when people actually sign up for webinars, there is an enormous percentage of people who sign up more than seven days before the event — as many as 36% of sign-ups will take place more than a week out. As a result, make sure you give yourself enough time to promote the event (beyond a week) in order to improve your results.3) Mix up email types.Doing different types of emails in different drops is typically a very successful approach. One flow I typically recommend is to send an HTML two weeks out, a plain text email seven days out, and then an HTML email again on the day of the event. This can give the impression that the event is much larger and more significant than it first appears. This process also makes it more likely that your recipients will read one of the emails since one is different from the others in the campaign.center_img 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:last_img read more

I-League clubs ready to participate in Super Cup, submit blueprint for unified league

first_imgNine I-League clubs have written to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das expressing their desire to participate in the Super Cup.The letter, in possession of IANS, is in response to the letter sent by Das to six I-League clubs — Quess East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, NEROCA, Churchill Borthers, Real Kashmir FC and Chennai City FC. The teams were expected to be a part of the Super Cup which starts on March 29 in Bhubaneswar.In the letter, the signatories have conveyed to the federation their intention to participate in the Super Cup subject to AIFF President Praful Patel giving them time to address the issues they are been looking to discuss with him.”We wish to put on record that each of the undersigned clubs are eager to participate in the prestigious Super Cup as communicated in our letter dated 18th February 2019. We had also stated in the same letter that we are looking for a meeting with Praful Patel, President, AIFF, to address the concerns of the I-League clubs including the creation of a unified league, composed of the Indian Super League (ISL), I-League and clubs from the second division,” the letter said.”While we are keen to participate in the Super Cup, a discussion about the future of the I-League is equally important,” the letter equipped.Along with the letter, the clubs have also presented a blueprint for a combined league, which, according to Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj, was drafted after a prolonged meeting of all the signatory clubs in Chennai on Tuesday.advertisement The Super Cup is a knockout tournament run by AIFF that features teams from the ISL and the I-League.Also Read | East Bengal ready to take part in Super Cup, Indian Super LeagueAlso Read | Super Cup 2019: Indian Arrows stun Kerala Blasters 2-0 to qualify for main roundAlso Read | I-League clubs say ISL promoters interfering, seek clarity on future in letter to AIFFlast_img read more

5 Twitter Analytics Features You Might Not Know About (But Should)

first_imgWant an even deeper dive? Visit the Tweet activity dashboard to see in-depth metrics for your individual Tweets. You’ll see stats like impressions and total engagements — and Twitter will even calculate your engagement rate, too.If you click on a Tweet, you’ll see engagement broken down even further into Retweets, Favorites, clicks on media, replies, link clicks, follows, and more. If that’s still not enough data for you, you can download the data on your last 3,200 Tweets, going back as far as October 2013.2) Uncover your influencers.It’s not just about statistics — your Account home has even more in store! It’ll let you know who your top follower is every month, in terms of reach. You can also see whose Tweet mentioning your handle drove the most engagements. This is a great place to start when you’re looking to kick-off a co-marketing venture or find a business partner. 3) Get to know your followers.Aside from the fact that they all made the (great) decision to follow you, do your followers have anything else in common? The followers dashboard is loaded with audience insights that can help you answer that question, and many more. You can track your follower growth over time, see their tops interests, and uncover their demographics. You can also benchmark your numbers against the total Twitter user base, and find out what makes your community stand out.We’ve also recently introduced personas. This means that, in addition to your followers, you can now get to know specific audiences on Twitter such as parents, millennials, or small business decision-makers.Once you find the persona that matches your desired audience, you can easily target them in an ad campaign — it’s just one click on your audience insights dashboard. Personas are currently only available to advertisers in the U.S., but we’re working to roll out this new tool more broadly.4) Check analytics on your mobile phone.Out and about, but with Tweets on your mind? You can hit the graph icon to check in on a Tweet’s engagements. Twitter Marketing Data Sometimes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the questions that arise when you’re creating or analyzing your Twitter strategy.Who follows you? What kind of Tweets do they like (or hate)? How often do they want to hear from you? How quickly do they expect a response? As an SMB Marketing Manager at Twitter, I hear these questions from a lot of businesses. The good news is you’ve got a great tool at your disposal: Twitter’s free analytics. With a few clicks of a button, you could be on your way to finding out what’s working (and what isn’t). Not sure which Twitter analytics features you should be using? Below are a few you may not know about (but should). 1) Get monthly reports.Your Account home provides a handy overview of your Twitter statistics, with monthly averages for engagement rates, replies, and more. So the next time your boss is asking for a wrap-up, you’re just a click away. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Originally published Aug 4, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: If you’re checking in on the Promoted Tweets in your Twitter Ads campaigns, you can go even further: the new Twitter Ads companion allows you to monitor and edit your campaigns from your mobile phone. You can change your campaign start and end dates, pause or resume a campaign, and edit your budget and bid.5) Promote individual Tweets in 1-2-3.Now that we’ve gotten you into the good habit of checking in with analytics.twitter.com every day, you’ll be ready when one of your Tweets starts to get noticed. If you see that something is resonating with your audience and racking up the faves and Retweets, it could be ready for a wider audience. With quick promote, you can click on the Tweet in your timeline or your Tweet activity dashboard, and promote it with just two clicks.You’ll be able to target people who are similar to your followers, and those that are likely to be interested in the topics mentioned in the Tweet. You can also refine by geography, to make sure you’re quickly promoting content to the most relevant country, region, or metro area. Our easy budget slider makes it simple to choose the amount that makes the most sense for your business and goal.We’re stopping at five, but once you start exploring analytics.twitter.com you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about your content and your audience. Of course, data is only as valuable as the insights it brings to businesses, so take time to get familiar with all the reports and identify the best for your business. We’ll be sure to keep the dashboards actionable, easy-to-use, and up-to-date with new, helpful features. Deal?last_img read more

How to Know if Your Agency is Running Profitably

first_img Topics: Agency Increasing Profits Back in 2011, I launched into agency life full-time (and then some) after graduating from college. Despite working a crazy amount of hours, my tax return showed a personal income (including my share of business profits) of less than $20,000.That income number more than doubled in 2012, but I was still running an agency, investing a ton of time and energy, and still doing it all for less than $50,000 pre-tax. I’ve made a lot of conscious decisions in life to not “chase the money,” but if I’m going to pour so much of my life into an agency, I’d like it to be worth my time financially as well.Sound familiar?I’ve spoken with a lot of agency owners who are struggling to even come close to the income they’d like to earn. As a lot of business owners quickly discover, making money isn’t easy and keeping that money is substantially more challenging.At GuavaBox, it took us 3 years to finally get a sustainable business model in place. We needed to prove that we could acquire, service, and retain customers profitably. By mid-2013, we finally had a business that was attracting and keeping clients, covering team members and overhead, and producing worthwhile profits for the bottom line.There are agencies who achieve profitability a lot sooner, and some who take longer. Then there’s a whole other group of agencies who couldn’t tell you whether they’re truly profitable or not. There’s a good chance that those agencies are essentially paying for the privilege of serving their clients.Do you know which subset of agencies you fall into? If you’re not sure, the first question to answer is simply:What does it mean to run an agency profitably?By running a “profitable” agency, I mean that you’re receiving enough revenue to cover overhead, team compensation, paying any owners who are working in the business a realistic salary (if it’s not technically a salary, figure in taxes/benefits), and still having some meaningful amount of profit left at the end of the year.Back in 2012, I might’ve initially said that we were running a profitable agency. We had revenue to cover overhead, personnel, and show some net profit at year end.So what was the problem?As I mentioned, I was working a lot of hours (we all were) and playing major roles in marketing, business development, client services, operations, and finance. There’s no way that we could’ve hired the right people to replace my input for ~50K. It would’ve been much more expensive and wiped out the business profits (and more). My partner, Andrew, was in a similar situation — which compounded our unprofitability.Is it bad if my agency isn’t profitable?I shared the GuavaBox example above for two reasons:To clarify how an agency with a “net profit” could still, in reality, be “unprofitable.”To communicate that I’ve been there, I can relate to the challenge, and it’s okay (for a certain period).Ideally, you’d be able to bootstrap an agency and make so much profit right out of the gate that you could scale, build the infrastructure you need, make an above-market salary, and still have 25% net profit at the end of the year.But I don’t know any agency owners who have done that.The first 2+ years at GuavaBox were filled with lessons as we discovered our identity, hired the right people, built the required infrastructure, and learned how to sell, deliver, and delight our customers. All of those lessons (which never end, by the way) cost money and took time, but they helped set the stage for a truly profitable agency to emerge.Hopefully you’re on an accelerated track to profitability, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not there yet. The important thing is to understand the requirements for profitability, set your goals, and craft and follow a specific plan to get you there.What metrics should I be tracking?Drew McLellan from Agency Management Institute has nicely summed up my favorite way to measure profitability: Adjusted Gross Income (AGI — your gross revenue minus your cost of goods sold), and target expense numbers with the AGI 55-25-20 ratio.”Your loaded people expense (salaries, benefits, any/all expenses and taxes related to employees) should be between 55-60% of your AGI,” McLellan wrote in a blog post. “Your overhead should be between 20-25% and that leaves your EBITA (earnings before interest, tax, and amortization expenses) at about 20%.”A lot of agency owners in the past have emphasized keeping your personnel costs under 50% of AGI, but I prefer Drew’s breakdown. If there’s one area to “overspend” on, it’s your people.Here’s what this breakdown might look like on your books:Gross Revenue (Billings): $600,000Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $100,000Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): $500,000Fully Loaded People Expense: $275,000Overhead Expenses: $125,000Net Profit/EBITA/EBITDA: $100,000What you need to realize as an agency owner is that your own compensation needs to be figured into your people expense. The EBITA is business profit, not your personal compensation. At the end of the day, it’s your decision — you can take that as a withdrawal or reinvest in the business, but the only way to build an agency of value is to be creating tangible business value each year.Running Your Agency ProfitablyIf you haven’t yet achieved the AGI 55-25-20 Ratio, here’s the action plan to help you get started: Measure where you are right now. Go back and look at the books. Make sure you’re measuring this and reporting on this every month from here on out.Set your goals and timeline, then identify the biggest problem areas. Start there and work towards your goal.Talk to others for help. I can’t emphasize this enough. Need help with sales, client servicing, finance, or another area? Tap into your network or get in touch with us — get help from people who’ve been there before and can help you head in the right direction.What challenges has your agency faced on the road to profitability? Originally published Sep 1, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

What It’s Really Like to Work for Elon Musk

first_imgThe bottom line from employees is that while the work environment is intense and demanding, Musk is an inspiring leader in spite of his public antics. Employees are motivated first and foremost by the missions of Tesla and SpaceX, and are less focused on anything outside of disrupting the industry. Looks like Elon’s innovation trumps his public persona.Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons. Topics: Company Culture Originally published Aug 29, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2018center_img All eyes are on Elon Musk. The billionaire SpaceX and Tesla mogul has gone from commended CEO and thought leader to one of the most controversial news topics of late. Musk recently came under fire for his involvement in the Thailand cave rescue. Musk’s attempt to aid the recovery of a boys’ soccer team stuck in a cave backfired after the rescue team and the media questioned whether Musk’s mini-submarine was intended to help the children or Musk’s public image. Musk went on to engage in a Twitter rant that raised eyebrows.In June, Tesla laid off 9 percent of its employees while reportedly pushing remaining workers to the limit to meet slipping production quotas. The workplace demand became so intense Musk reportedly took to sleeping on the floor of the Fremont, California factory and fueling exhausted workers with Red Bull.While colleagues have voiced their discontent with Musk’s behavior and work demands, the CEO says the complaints about him are exaggerated and issues in the workplace were swiftly resolved. As Musk reminded Glassdoor in an interview in 2017, “Your title makes you a manager but your people make you a leader.” So what’s it really like to work for Elon Musk? We turn to employee reviews for SpaceX and Tesla to get the scoop.Musk was rated #49 in Glassdoor’s 2018 Top CEO’s list for his role at SpaceX, and currently holds a 97% approval rating – one employee even dubbed him “Uncle Elon.” He dropped from his position at #8 CEO in 2017, when he received a 98% approval rating. Musk has a slightly lower approval rating in his role at Tesla at 84%.Currently, SpaceX employees give the company a 4.4 rating in Q2 2018 (based on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 5.0=very satisfied). Tesla employees, however, give their company a 3.4 rating in Q2 2018.We’ve seen the numbers. But what’s behind an employee’s day to day? Read recent anonymous employee reviews to see workers’ opinions on their jobs and their CEO. Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

The Ultimate Guide to Sales and Marketing

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Sales and Marketing Alignment Originally published Mar 28, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated March 27 2019 Peanut butter and jelly.Puppies and the park.Beach days and ice cream.Some things just obviously go together — but what if I put sales and marketing together in that list? Would you still think they worked better as a pair?Align Your Sales and Marketing Goals With an Interactive Lead Goal CalculatorMore than likely, you haven’t quite considered your sales and marketing to be the “peanut butter and jelly” of your company. But, in 2019, alignment between those two teams is more critical than ever.Simply put, alignment between marketing and sales is really about focusing on the customer — and, in 2019, the customer’s buying behavior has changed significantly.Fortunately, the better you can align your sales and marketing teams, the more likely you are to delight a prospect. In fact, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates.Here, we’re going to explore why sales and marketing matter to a company — and, equally importantly, why they matter together.Definition of Sales and MarketingMarketing is the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service, while sales encompasses any activities involved in selling that product or service to a consumer or business. One cannot exist without the other. You cannot sell without initially igniting interest in the consumer through marketing, and you cannot be a marketer without having a team prepared to sell the product once you’ve captured a consumer’s attention.To start, let’s explore the advantages of both sales and marketing to your organization.Sales is ultimately critical to your company’s bottom line. You cannot have scalable growth without an impressive sales team. At its most basic, your sales team’s goal is to first qualify prospects, reach out and build relationships with them, and ultimately, provide a solution that will benefit the prospect. When done well, a sales transaction results in a sale, a satisfied customer, and revenue for your company.For sales teams to excel, your salespeople must be invested in the success of your customers. They must understand your prospects’ pain points and obstacles, and demonstrate how your product or service is a solution — the best solution — to those problems.Alternatively, marketing is all about igniting interest in potential consumers, and telling the world your company, and its products or services, exists. Marketing uses both emotion and analytics to reach an audience, and convert curious viewers into qualified leads.Here’s the thing, though — in 2019, a buyer isn’t following the traditional “marketing to sales to customer” funnel.Instead, each individual prospect follows a unique path. One prospect might know they want to purchase your product before even speaking with a sales rep, because they’ve already been convinced by your Instagram account.Alternatively, another prospect might speak with a sales rep first, and then require additional marketing in the form of webinars or blog posts, before closing the deal.Your buyer has unlimited information at her fingertips — she can check out your Facebook page, blog posts, website, and customer product reviews before even speaking with a sales rep.When a prospect who has already read thirteen customer reviews gets in touch with your sales rep, she’s going to require a different conversation than a prospect who’s only heard of your company from a Facebook ad.That is why your marketing and sales teams need to be in tight alignment in 2019 — because your buyer needs to be communicated with, and sold to, wherever and whenever she wants. The traditional sales and marketing tactics no longer work. To find scalable growth, it’s critical your marketing team communicate all the information they have about a prospect to your sales team before a salesperson even gets on the phone.Sales and Marketing StrategyTo truly delight your customer, it’s critical you reduce friction by implementing a strategy to align your sales and marketing teams. For instance, you might have your sales and marketing teams work together to craft a buyer persona, or document content gap’s along a buyer’s journey. While it might seem like the two teams have different measurements of success, they should ultimately share the goal of being customer-centric, even at the cost of their individual processes.Sales and marketing alignment can help your company become 67% better at closing deals, and can help generate 209% more revenue from marketing.Not aligning your sales and marketing teams isn’t just unhelpful for the customer — it’s also damaging to your bottom line.But it’s easier said than done. Aligning sales and marketing, particularly when you have a growing company, can feel like an incredibly difficult process.Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can implement to ensure a smoother relationship between the two teams, immediately.1. Ask your marketing and sales team to create a buyer persona together.Your marketers have a firm pulse on the consumer — they’ve conducted extensive research, they’ve engaged with prospects via social media and email, and they’ve held focus groups.But, more than likely, your marketers haven’t spoken directly to these prospects. They might not fully understand your prospects biggest pain points, or the challenges they face that your product or service currently can’t solve. These insights can only be obtained from your sales team.Ultimately, to get a full picture of your consumer, it’s critical that each team help craft the buyer persona. For instance, perhaps you have your marketing team create an initial buyer persona through research and brainstorming sessions — but then you gather input from salespeople to modify and refine that persona.Getting initial input from salespeople, as well as asking for final approval on a buyer persona, is critical to ensure each team is working together with the same consumer in mind.2. Document content gaps along a buyer’s journey.Your sales and marketing teams should take the time to compile everything both teams have created to help solve for the customer — including white papers, infographics, e-books, case studies, and email streams.Then, employees from each team should have a candid discussion about what’s missing. Maybe a sales rep notices your marketing team hasn’t created any e-books on an issue most of her prospects’ face. Alternatively, maybe your marketing team needs your sales team to provide input to craft a more useful customer case study.Additionally, both teams should take the time to organize and understand what content works best for which stage of the buyer’s journey. While likely a tedious process, this will help both teams become more effective in their strategies over the long-term.3. Keep track of every interaction your customer has with your company.Nowadays, this is one of the most critical strategies you need to implement. It eliminates friction for the customer, and it also helps your sales reps close more deals.For instance, consider how you’d feel if you spoke with a sales rep for the first time, and he already knew where you worked, how long you’d been there, which email newsletters you’d subscribed to, and which company networking events you’d attended. You’d likely be more impressed than if you spoke to a sales rep who’d never heard of you before, right?It’s vital you find a way to keep track of each interaction your customer has with your company — a free CRM is incredibly useful for this.4. Be customer-centric with your language.All too often, marketers and salespeople use different language and rely on different analytics to measure success. For instance, a marketer’s measure of success might be based on blog traffic, Facebook likes, email subscriptions, or YouTube viewers.Alternatively, a salesperson’s ultimate measure of success is revenue.However, there is one goal both teams share — and that’s to be customer-centric.To align both teams, it’s critical your salespeople and marketers consider, first and foremost, the customer. When a marketer emails a prospect, she should consider the person on the other end — and whether they want to receive that email, and how that email could be helpful for them.Additionally, when a salesperson picks up the phone, she needs to remember the conversation isn’t about making a sale — it’s about solving a problem for a prospect.With this in mind, your teams will have an easier time blurring the lines between their individual tasks and responsibilities, and recognizing their very unified desire to solve for the customer, even over their own processes. Topics:last_img read more

WWE Clash of Champions: Becky Lynch fined, Seth Rollins attacked by Bray Wyatt

first_imgWWE’s Clash of Champions, which was held at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, saw 10 titles defended over 11 matches on the card.Seth Rollins, who successfully defended his Universal title against Braun Strowman, was attacked by Bray Wyatt’s Fiend when he was celebrating on the ramp. The Fiend’s surprise attack on the Universal Champion after the end of Clash of Champions took everyone by surprise.#TheFiend made his presence felt at #WWEClash of Champions! @WWEBrayWyattWWE (@WWE) September 16, 2019In other prominent matches, Kofi Kingston retained the WWE Championship against Randy Orton, Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and the Raw Women’s Championship match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks ended in a disqualification win for Banks, but with Lynch retaining.In the only non-title match on the card, Erick Rowan defeated Roman Reigns in a No Disqualification match thanks to the returning Luke Harper. Harper intercepted a Reigns spear attempt on the ramp by emerging out of nowhere to hit a boot to the face.Becky Lynch, a Raw Women’s champion, has been handed a $10,000 fine by the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after she struck a referee with a chair during her championship match against Sasha Banks.Popularly known as “The Man”, Becky tried to hit Sasha with a steel chair but instead ended hitting the referee. The chair came into play thanks to an Eddie Guerrero homage by Sasha that only netted her a two-count but ended with Becky laying out the ref to net a disqualification.advertisement.@BeckyLynchWWE has been fined $10,000 for inadvertently striking a referee during her #RAW #WomensChampionship Match against @SashaBanksWWE at #WWEClash of Champions. https://t.co/0haBjGUjauWWE (@WWE) September 16, 2019″Becky Lynch has been fined $10,000 for inadvertently striking a referee during her Raw Women’s Championship Match against Sasha Banks,” WWE said in an official statement.Also Read | WWE signing indie stars just to prevent them from going elsewhere?Also See:last_img read more

Wishes pour in for Zaheer Khan as former India pacer turns 41

first_imgIndia cricketers Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, Shikhar Dhawan and a host of other stars extended their wishes to former left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan, who turns 41 today.Zaheer played 92 Test matches for India, in which he scalped 311 wickets with the best figure of 7/87.”Wishing @ImZaheer a happy birthday and a great year ahead,” Ashwin tweeted.Wishing @ImZaheer a happy birthday and a great year ahead.Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) October 7, 2019On Sunday, Ashwin took the wicket of Thenuis de Bruyn on the final day of the first Test against South Africa and became the joint-fastest to 350 Test wickets along with Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan.Pujara who scored 87 runs in the inaugural Test of the series tweeted: “Happy birthday @ImZaheer paaji. Wish you a healthy long life with loads of joy and happiness.”Happy birthday @ImZaheer paaji. Wish you a healthy long life with loads of joy and happinesscheteshwar pujara (@cheteshwar1) October 7, 2019″Happy birthday Zak Bhai! Have a fabulous year ahead with loads of happiness and good luck. @ImZaheer,” Dhawan tweeted.Happy birthday Zak Bhai! Have a fabulous year ahead with loads of happiness and good luck. @ImZaheerShikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) October 7, 2019Former cricketers VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh also took to Twitter to shower their wishes to Zaheer.”Happy Birthday @ImZaheer Wishing you a wonderful day and the most amazing year Zak,” Laxman tweeted.Happy Birthday @ImZaheer Wishing you a wonderful day and the most amazing year Zak pic.twitter.com/6yloKGRxpTVVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) October 7, 2019″Happy birthday my brother swing king @ImZaheer have a good one,” Harbhajan tweeted.advertisementHappy birthday my brother swing king @ImZaheer have a good oneHarbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 7, 2019In the limited-overs format, Zaheer bagged 282 wickets in 200 ODI matches while in 17 T20Is he had clinched 17 wickets.Zaheer was part of India’s fifty over World Cup-winning squad in 2011. He bade adieu to international and first-class cricket on October 15, 2015.311 Test wickets282 ODI wicketsHappy birthday to one of India’s greatest ever seam bowlers, Zaheer Khan! pic.twitter.com/syKMeayUzgICC (@ICC) October 7, 2019last_img read more

BCCI orders 6 dozen pink balls for day-night Test at Eden

first_imgThe BCCI has asked manufacturer SG to deliver 72 pink balls by next week for India’s first-ever day night Test, to be held at the Eden Gardens from November 22.The BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has already confirmed that SG pink balls will be used for the landmark game, leaving the manufacturer with very little room for error.Producing a ball fit for a Test match under lights is a big challenge for SG as its pink ball is yet to be tested in a competitive game. The Duleep Trophy was played with Kookaburra pink balls for three seasons and not SG before the BCCI switched back to red ball this year.”The BCCI has ordered six dozen pink balls and we will deliver them by middle of next week. As you have seen in the South Africa series, we made significant improvements with our red ‘SG Test’ and we have the same level of research and development for pink ball,” company’s sales and marketing director, Paras Anand, told PTI on Wednesday.SG had faced strong criticism from some Indian players in the previous home season with India skipper Virat Kohli saying that the red ball got scuffed up way too early in comparison to the Dukes used in England and Kookaburra in Australia.Kohli acknowledged the improvements made on the ball this season but wants it last to at least 60 overs.Considering the bowlers have faced issues with the red ‘SG Test’, it remains to be seen how the company steps up to the pink ball challenge.advertisementAnand is confident that top quality balls will be delivered for the Kolkata Test between India and Bangladesh.”We were told last week about a possible requirement of pink balls so we were ready. Though the pink ball Test is happening now, we have been working on the ball since the 2016-17 season and are in constant touch with the concerned people in the BCCI. It is a challenge but we are up for it,” said Anand.Compared to the red ball, the pink one attracts a lot more dust and tends to get dirty rather quickly, making it tougher to sight.”The coating process is different for both the balls and yes the pink one does attract more dust. Having said that, if we can make significant improvements with the red ball in a short time, we can do the same with the pink,” he said adding that the SG has two dozen pink balls already in its inventory including a few used ones.Also Read | Don’t think dew will be a problem: Eden curator on India vs Bangladesh Day-Night TestAlso Read | 4 challenges India and Bangladesh will face in Eden Gardens day-night TestAlso See:last_img read more

What to Watch for Against Kansas

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Oklahoma State heads into homecoming against an 0-6 Kansas Jayhawks team as 34-point favorites to win. Despite the overwhelming odds, Oklahoma State still has plenty of reason to come out and execute with precision. Here are a few things to watch for against Kansas.3. Offensive strugglesBelieve it or not, a team that has been a consistent bottom-feeder in the Big 12 has given the Cowboys fits offensively over the last few years. Last season, the Cowboys needed late game heroics from Tyreek Hill to overcome a dull day offensively that produced only 275 total yards in Lawrence. If they come out sluggish, as they’ve been want to do this season and in previous matchups with the Jayhawks, can they overcome it?AdChoices广告2. Special teamsThe special teams has been phenomenal in both the punt game and kicking game with Zach Sinor and Ben ‘Ice Pirate’ Grogan locking down the positions, but the return game has been lacking. True freshmen Jeff Carr and Jalen McCleskey are both learning the kick and punt return specialist position and adjusting to the next level, but the blocking hasn’t been where it needs to be either. Coming off a bye week, have the Cowboys made any adjustments in the blocking scheme to allow McCleskey room to showcase his 4.3 speed?1. Running gameI’d be remiss not to mention what appears to be one of the most glaring weaknesses for this team thus far this season. Coming off a bye week and Mike Gundy reportedly devoting extra practice time to fix the offensive line and blocking, it will be interesting to see just how improved, if any, the blocking and running game is. Facing a team that has allowed 560 total yards per game this season – ranking fifth worst in the FBS – it’s not unfair to expect a big time offensive day from the Pokes, including at least a moderate improvement in the running game.last_img read more

Big 12 Scenarios Come Into Focus As OU, OSU Control Own Destiny

first_imgFor Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, the path to the 2016 Big 12 title is quite simple. If either team wins its next two games, it wins the conference title. That could actually mean a murky path to the CFB Playoffs as well, but we’ll get to that later on.There are only three teams left in the Big 12 race as OU has zero losses and the fourth place team currently has three. No matter what OU does, the only teams that can catch it are Oklahoma State and West Virginia. So let’s get to the scenarios, shall we? Here are the current records:OSU: 6-1OU: 7-0WVU: 5-1This is a little complicated because West Virginia still has three games left — OU and Baylor at home and at Iowa State (what could go wrong?) So I based everything on what they did in those two games. Here’s a look at the chart.screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-3-39-43-pmThis is actually probably more simple than it looks. In every scenario, if OU wins two games or OSU wins two games, they win the league. That accounts for most of the 24 scenarios. West Virginia only has three paths. They have to win out and have either OU beat OSU (this is their best path) or have TCU beat OSU.There are actually a few scenarios in which OSU could lose to TCU and still win the Big 12 title. It would have to have West Virginia beat OU and then turn around and lose to either Baylor or Iowa State. Then OSU would have to win Bedlam. If WVU beat OU and Iowa State but lost to, say, Baylor, and OSU won Bedlam, all three teams would be 7-2 but OSU would have beaten the other two and would be Big 12 champ.If OU wins this weekend and OSU loses, Bedlam will be for pride. The Big 12 will already be decided.My own personal nightmare is Baker Mayfield healing a broken leg at midfield and throwing 7 TDs to beat OSU and win the Big 12 losing to TCU and beating OU to let WVU win the Big 12. This would be peak Oklahoma Stating.So the mission for Oklahoma State is straightforward: Just win, baby. Just as it has been all season. I personally would love to see OSU and OU win huge this weekend and create one more Bedlam for the Big 12 title. This would be the fourth in six years and the last before next year’s reinstated conference championship game. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Quotebook: TCU RB Says ‘We Got Our Butts Kicked’

first_imgHere are all your leftover quotes from TCU coach Gary Patterson, OSU coach Mike Gundy and others after the Pokes’ 31-6 beatdown of the Frogs in Ft. Worth.Ramon Richards on the defense“Last year, we had a lot of great guys, but the chemistry this year is much stronger. I don’t have to worry about whether the man next to me will do his job.” [Tulsa World]Glenn Spencer on the defense“I’m just happy the guys can get recognized for that. Somebody’s gonna say something good about ’em this week. I get tired of people talkin’ bad about ‘em. They really don’t know what goes into what. Now, they need to treat it as garbage like the rest of it is, and I’ll tell ‘em that.” [O’Colly]Mike Gundy on the defense“First I will say this was the best defensive effort game plan; tackling against some tricky, skilled players that I’ve seen for a very long time.”Gundy on how practicing has changed“We’ve adjusted our practice routine this year and we are considerably rested, and it paid off for us today. Actually on field time, we are about 14 hours less of actual practice time than we were last year, and it has helped us from an injury standpoint and in our players, they seem fresh and their attitudes are better.”Gundy on closing games“I told our boys, in the early 2000’s that how we used to win games. That’s what we were known for. When we are not running the ball decent, it makes it harder for us. But we’ve come a long way, we’ve built systems that allowed us to take advantage of the players we have and we created running lanes.”Gary Patterson on getting smoked“It’s simple. I think you have to give coach Gundy and his group credit. They kicked our butts. You’ve got to be able to run the football when you get inside the 5, and you’ve got to tackle. It’s been a long time in the 19 years I’ve been here where we got our butts kicked at home. That was one of them.”More from Patterson on the whipping“I don’t know how much of it was us or how much of it was [Oklahoma State]. That’s two weeks in a row that we’ve played two really good football teams in West Virginia and Oklahoma State on off weeks, and we scored 6 and 10. Coach Gundy and his group got after us. That’s the one team in the Big 12 that we’re not .500 or better against. We’re 1-4 against them, so we’ve got to come up with a better plan of how to beat Oklahoma State. And Oklahoma.”TCU running back Kyle Hicks on getting embarrassed at Home“We definitely got our butts kicked, it was embarrassing. They came to our home turf and just straight up kicked our butt. But there’s nothing we can do about it. It was embarrassing. “We had two weeks to prepare for them. We should’ve come out with more of a sense of urgency and gone out there making plays.”TCU safety Denzel Johnson“They’re a good team. They’re coached well, they’ve got a lot of athletes, they’ve got a lot of speed. You can’t take anything away from them. They played good and we didn’t.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Quotebook: Gundy Calls Oklahoma State Defense ‘Unbelievable’

first_img“The defense was unbelievable,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told the Oklahoman during the postgame celebration. And he was right. Gundy would go on to say plenty more about the Pokes’ dominance on the defensive side of the ball in his postgame press conference. Here are a few of the best quotes.Mason Rudolph on the night“I think this is definitely going to help propel us into the off-season, keep us high, encourage us to have a great off-season mentally and physically, really get after it.“Tonight I think we just executed. Kind of got a little bit of a bitter taste out of our mouth. I told the guys pregame, Let’s let all the frustration out. Really executed well. These guys here, heck of a job on defense. It was almost a shutout until the end.”Rudolph on the double pass from Chris Carson“Yeah, we practiced that a lot throughout bowl prep. Chris made a great play. Kind of some leakage there. He did a good job of getting it to me. We ran that a couple years ago at the Cactus Bowl. Got a lot further than we did then. That was fun. Fun to pull out one of those trick plays and execute it well.“In hindsight, I probably should have hurdled him. I don’t know if I got that in the tank.”Head Coach Mike Gundy on the defense“They’re being humble on defense. Basically what we asked them to do a month ago was to come out and be physical and stay on the attack, pressure the quarterback and hit hard. That’s what we asked them to do, that’s what they did. Then defensively I challenged them the first practice in a meeting to blitz, to attack, to be aggressive, to be the most physical team on the field. That’s what they did tonight. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it didn’t. But it worked for us tonight.”Rudolph on the Gatorade bath whiff“‘Big Daddy’ over here, he kind of evaded the Gatorade dump. It kind of pissed me off. He saw us, got away at the last second.“It was fun, man. I think only winning the Cactus Bowl a couple years ago, just playing in a bigger bowl with more fans, playing in a hometown with Sterns, Vincent, it was a home feel. We had a great crowd showing. That’s what you play for, what you work for all year, those moments when you get to look up at the balloons and just think about what it took to get here.”Gundy on avoiding the bath“The mullet kind of blocks the view. When you’re as small as I am, you play at this level, you have to learn to avoid contact at all times. Eyes in the back of your head helps. Mason is bigger. He could take more hits than I could.”James Washington on 2017“I think it just sets us up to do greater things. We have Marcell and all of our weapons back. I’m looking forward to coming out next year and doing the same thing, hopefully ending with a great outcome.”Gundy on Washington’s big night“Colorado has six guys on defense that are going to get a chance to be in the NFL, whether it’s drafted or in a free agency, whatever. There are six guys being evaluated by the NFL.“I can’t speak for them. I’m just guessing. Two of the deep balls were right there in front of me on our sidelines. James just ran right by that guy. Maybe they underestimated how fast he is. The one he dropped… He just blew right by him. It just worked for us.”Gundy on 2017“It certainly stimulates a lot of excitement with the players, the fans, the recruiting, the overall concept. Chances are you’re talking about a team that’s going to finish top 10 in the country. Double-digit wins for five of the last seven years. At some point in the top 10 in the country seven of the last nine years.“A win like this doesn’t guarantee anything, but it certainly means a lot for the seniors, the organization and the people that put a lot of time and effort into success.”Colorado QB Sefo Liufau on the night“The game sucked. It’s kind of obvious. I don’t know what you guys want me to say. It’s pretty frustrating the way kind of things happened. Just didn’t come out with all things firing. I think in the beginning we moved the ball a lot as an offense but weren’t able to capitalize.“Like I always say, it falls back on me, not being able to get the ball going, not being able to get the drives finished. Just a tough one overall.”Colorado Coach Mike MacIntyre on Rudolph2Washington“He made some great catches. We were in good position. Quarterback made some good back shoulder throws. He’s a good player. He’s done that all year long. He’s an excellent football player.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Chalk Talk Mailbag: A Look at Special Defensive Packages

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Ed. note: Thomas Fleming is our resident Xs and Os expert, and we got some really fun mailbag questions for him to look at this week. Keep those coming to us via Facebook, Twitter or email (pistolsfiringblog at gmail dot com), and we’ll keep feeding him. Here are the first two of those.There has been a lot of talk about the 3-3-5 but you list defensive starters in a 4-2 with the star backer. Who get the starting reps in the 3-3-5? Is it 1 DT 2 D-Ends 3 DTs or … 3 LBs the star and Flowers or 2 LBs 2 Stars and Flowers? I’m assuming Richards is back deep? Would be a good article. -RyanAdChoices广告The short answer is that we don’t know. They could be using a 3-3-5 traditional set, which includes three lineman (two ends and one tackle), three linebackers and five guys in the secondary. They could also be using a 3-3-5 nickel, which replaces one of the two strong safeties to a nickel back.Since the Star linebacker is similar to both the strong safety of the former and the nickel back of the latter, they could use the same personnel in both and adjust depending on the offense’s formation. They have used both, and they could use both again. This is the kind of thing that will likely be covered after the first couple of games once they show how they’ll use it.I’m curious as to your thoughts on this. You think Spencer could install a defensive package where we have either 3 or 4 different defensive ends on the field at the same time (for obvious passing downs)? So, run a 3-4 with 3 DEs, or a nickel (4-2) formation with 4 DEs? Could be super fun to watch Big Cole, Webber, Brailford, and Owens pin their ears back and get after Kenny Hill or *whispers* maybe even Baker. -Jon J.They could do this. They have stood Cole Walterschied up as an outside rusher in the past. There is also such a thing as using three, or even four, defensive ends at one time. The New York Giants created a defensive package under former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called NASCAR, and it helped them win two super bowls in 2007 and 2012.They would play at least three defensive ends, for example Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul in 2012, at the same time. It’s usually a nickel package that places the lineman in what’s called “wide nine” technique. This means the two outside ends widen to the nine technique outside the C gap, putting them in prime position for pass rushing. The Cowboys could do something similar this season, although it would likely be for specific scenarios and would not be used as frequently as other packages.last_img read more