Sierra Leone teen wows world

first_imgDJ Focus in action – the young radio station manager employs his friends to go out and find news stories.(Image: Innovate Salone) MEDIA CONTACTS • Global Minimum RELATED ARTICLES • Fostering SA’s young scientists • I only ever wanted to dance • Digital drum boosts computer literacy • Light shines for Team Emulsified Gwinyai NhapataAt just 12, Kelvin Doe built himself batteries and a generator using parts found on dump sites, and started a pirate FM radio station. “I built the generator because my radio station needed it and started the radio station because my community needed it,” says the young innovator, now 16. Born in Freetown, the capital of the small West African nation of Sierra Leone, Doe comes from a disadvantaged community; here, electricity supplies are haphazard, prompting him to turn to a generator. He has no formal schooling in electronics or engineering, but is a self-taught inventor. Doe, who is also known as DJ Focus, sourced the materials for his inventions in local rubbish bins and dump sites. “This was a microphone wire, converted to a power output,” he says, pointing out a component from his radio station. “I got it from the dust bin.”Doe’s enterprise received good exposure at the inaugural Innovate Salone, a nationwide innovation contest in Sierra Leone which is sponsored by the non-profit Global Minimum organisation to scout for excellence among the country’s high school students. Doe and his team from Albert Academy were among the eight winners. He also attracted the attention of a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab, David Sengeh.Sengeh, from Bo, also in Sierra Leone, is one of the founders of Global Minimum.With assistance and guidance from Sengeh, DJ Focus carved himself a bigger niche as General Focus, a promotion he gave himself for his management of the radio station.He found himself on his way to New York to present his ideas and innovations at the 2012 World Maker Faire, held in that city in September. Here he sat on a “Meet the Young Makers” panel alongside four American inventors and was later given a tour of Harvard’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Centre. According to news agency CNN, General Focus made history as the youngest person ever to participate in the Visiting Practitioners Program at MIT.Inquiring mind“Kelvin represents learning by making,” says Sengeh, who speaks of his respect for the teen. “He takes a part, looks at it and tries to reverse engineer it.”Reverse engineering is Doe’s master and his mind is the apprentice. Using soda, acid and metal, bound together with tape – all items found from surrounding trash – he made his battery. Doe adds that the generator wasformed from a damaged voltage stabiliser, motor, plug and other components which he found while searching the trash. He also found the antenna that allows his audience to listen in to his radio station.The generator lights his home, powers his radio station, and allows neighbours to charge their mobile devices.More impressive, before his Maker Faire trip Doe had never been more than 15 kilometres from his home. He never received any recycling qualification, nor was he inspired by green advocates to reuse obsolete electronics. Now he is not only an inventor, but an employer as well – he gives job opportunities to local youngsters, paying them 5 000 leones (US$1.2) for making themselves useful as presenters or reporters at his handmade, unregistered radio station. In his spare time Doe takes to the boards as a DJ as children’s birthday parties, for a small fee.Using knowledge to help his communityDoe was invited to be a resident specialist at the International Development Initiative at MIT for three weeks, as well as to be a visiting presenter at the Harvard School of Engineering, where he pledges to use all his newly attained knowledge to enhance his society. His international acclaim is growing, and a video made by @radical.media for its THNKR YouTube channel has already clocked up over three-million hits.Not only is he inspiring his community, but Doe seems to be intent on proving that there is great potential in Africa. “My next invention will be a windmill, for people to use for electricity supply,” he explains.“That is my aim – to promote innovation in Sierra Leone, among young people.”last_img read more

How Zimbra Went From Web 2.0 Poster Child to $350M Yahoo! Acquisition, in 2 Years!

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Analysis#web Last week Read/WriteWeb editor Richard MacManus interviewed Satish Dharmaraj, Zimbra co-founder and CEO. The result is a 30 minute podcast available on Read/WriteTalk (transcript included). The following post is highlights from the discussion, which focused on Zimbra’s journey from October 2005 Web 2.0 Conference launch to September 2007 acquisition by Yahoo! for $350M.In September 2007 Web Office startup Zimbra was acquired by Yahoo! for $350M. As I noted at the time, it seems like only yesterday that Zimbra was the buzz of the 2005 Web Conference (which incidentally was the first Silicon Valley conference I attended). Yet in just under 2 years from launching, Zimbra went from Web Office poster child (one of them at any rate) to a company worth $350 million. How did it happen? What lessons can aspiring entrepreneurs learn from Zimbra, as they attempt to create a multi-million dollar business too? For me there was only one way to find out: interview Satish Dharmaraj, Zimbra co-founder and CEO.The entire interview is up on our podcast show, Read/WriteWeb. Here are some of my favorite bits:Question: who came up with the idea for Zimbra and when did that happen?Satish: “While we were brainstorming on ideas – and we cycled through a lot of them – we always kept coming back to: What are the big things that people do on a computer? Well, they search and they web browse and they read email. We started believing that people spend more time on email than search or web browsing, and so we said, ‘Man, that’s huge.’ It seems so evident but that was basically the genesis. Well Google is tackling search and, obviously, Firefox and IE are tackling the web browsing issue, and then we have Outlook or Thunderbird or Entourage for email. Well, that seems really broken. […]Then at the same time, we were thinking about technologies and how the web browser is becoming the predominant platform of modern day computing. Do we really need to have a desktop app and can we do everything on the server side? That’s something to break into.”Question: […] What was the initial reaction to the product when you launched in October of 2005?Satish: “Peoples reactions to it was unanimously: ‘I can’t believe this is a web browser. I can’t believe that this can be done all inside of Ajax and all with a server that’s not hosted or with data that resided remotely.’ Our goal was to basically blow the pants away of Outlook or any other client in terms of user interactivity, even though it was inside of a web browser. I think when we launched, we successfully got that kind of a reaction from people who were just totally wowed with it. They were all extremely excited that somebody was putting up such a huge and competitive product in the mail landscape which people had thought had been written off.Then, for us, we knew in our hearts, and we didn’t want to be a web 2.0 company that’s just all hype and glam. We knew that we had planned all of this carefully with our board. We had always wanted to start making money. It has happened. As soon as we launched in October, back before we started making money, before we sold to Yahoo, we were handsomely cash flow positive. So we’re always proud of what we went through as a company: got a lot of bugs, got a great product but at the end of the day, we were making money. That was basically the difference that set us apart.”Question: One thing that web 2.0 critics often derive about the current generation of web apps is that they are features and not businesses. Also, the web 2.0 startups have too large a reliance on M&A as the end goal. This is something we constantly hear from critics of web 2.0. Zimbra was obviously a very successful buyout. Was that your plan from the start or did you start out with the aim of being a viable standalone business? Back in October of 2005, what was your end goal for Zimbra at that point?Satish: “Honestly, I can say this. We set out to build a great company with a real business behind it. That’s what I think people should do when they start a business. They [have] got to think about: How do I make this an independently successful cash flow self-sustaining business? Then, there’ll be very interesting M&A opportunities that will come and knock on the door. If instead we started a company thinking that there is going to be a quick flip, [in] 90% of the cases that does not work out because no one is interested in buying – or they want to buy you off really cheap. We were not thinking of an ideal nor were we thinking of an M&A. We were just thinking: Let’s go and create a compelling product and create some real business in specific markets. That’s what we started out to do and that’s what we did.”Listen to the full podcast for more insight into the growth of Zimbra and some of the tactics they employed to build their ultimately successful web 2.0 business. richard macmanus 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Inbound Lead Nurturing – Relationships not Emails

first_img Originally published Feb 13, 2008 10:21:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 When marketers talk about “lead nurturing” I am shocked at how often that really just means sending out monthly, one-size-fits-all emails to their entire database of prospects with just different lead generating offers each month.Lead nurturing is so much more than just automating “drip emails”.  Lead nurturing is about relationships.  And relationships are about people, not emails. Relationships are about helping people solve problems, often with information.  Relationships are about sharing and trust.  Relationships are about conversations.  Relationships are about social media.To illustrate what I am talking about, here is a recent example of a true inbound marketing version of lead nurturing.  This is the story of a woman who recently bought our product (HubSpot) for her company.  Names and some details have been changed to protect the innocent. :)I “met” Kristen in an online marketing forum, where she asked a question about Internet marketing that I answered.  She thanked me for the response.I took my answer to Kristen’s question, expanded on it, and posted it to our blog.  This article about How to Convince a CEO to use Internet Marketing is the resulting article.I emailed Kristen a link to the article, and established a more personal connection by giving some additional info I did not share in the forum answer.After a couple emails back and forth, I asked Kristen to be a friend on Facebook.  She accepted.I then invited her to attend one of our free HubSpot webinars.  Kristen registered for the webinar.After the webinar, one of our salespeople (Heidi) called her.  Heidi talked with Kristen, and she said they were not ready to buy yet, they had not decided how important Internet marketing was going to be for them.I invited Kristen to attend an in person “SEO 101” class I was offering.  She traveled some distance (about 45-60 minutes) to attend the free class.After the class Kristen came to talk to me and we spoke for a short time.  I answered some more questions.  I asked her if she might want to see how HubSpot could help with Internet marketing.  She said yes.After a new call from Heidi, Kristen scheduled a demo of HubSpot.Kristen watched the demo with Heidi and then quickly bought our product.Now, there is not a product that automates all of this process.  Why?  Its very personal.  But there are tools you can use.  In fact, we used a lot of tools.  I used our HubSpot blog.  I used email.  I used Facebook.  I used a webinar.  Her information was in Salesforce.com.  I even used an in person event. Heidi used the phone and GoToMeeting.What non-traditional (non-email based) lead nurturing are you doing?  How are you leveraging social media for lead nurturing? Leave a comment below.UPDATE: Brian Carroll has written about this article and added some comments at his great blog – Start With a Lead Lead Nurturing Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Improving Sales and Marketing Alignment: The Marketing and Sales SLA

first_img and lead quality b. What other interesting strategies have you implemented? d. Classify profitable lead segments as “workable leads”, which are ready for sales. Note: numbers are not actual HubSpot statistics Filter out and/or nurture “non-workable leads”. Sales becomes frustrated with all the time it takes to comb through dozens of unqualified leads to perhaps find one good one. Topics: Attempts per “workable lead” HubSpot has complied over 50 marketing charts and graphs on topics including Lead Generation, Blogging and Social Media, Marketing Budgets, Twitter and Facebook To address this issue, many companies on the edge of inbound marketing and sales 2.0 have introduced a marketing and sales SLA (service level agreement). The Problem To maximize accountability and empowerment, it is best define the SLA in a joint meeting between sales and marketing. This metric becomes your marketing SLA. Automate the daily monitoring of the process. 1. Define the number and frequency of attempts that sales will make against each “workable lead”. 3. lead. Calculate the profitability of each segment. The Solution 5 Steps to Establishing A Sales and Marketing SLA Determine the number of “workable leads” per sales rep per month that marketing is accountable for. Lead quality is de-prioritized and suffers. Download the ebook now! Marketing complains that sales is ignoring the leads that marketing worked hard to generate. As companies continue to increase the percentage of leads that originate from inbound marketing, effective alignment of sales and marketing becomes a critical area of organizational design. Free Download: Marketing Data: 50+ Marketing Charts and Graphscenter_img 4. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Key metrics to monitor are: a. The sales SLA defines the expectations that marketing has for sales on how deeply and frequently sales will pursue each This metric becomes your sales SLA. 5. qualified They stop paying attention to these leads and revert back to expensive, and often times unprofitable, cold calling. . For companies to achieve growth and become leaders in their industries, it is critical that these two group be properly integrated  to have access to these charts for use in your own presentations What issues do you have with sales and marketing alignment? “Workable leads” produced per sales rep, month to date Examples of Sales and Marketing SLA Charts: Run a closed loop analysis on your historical inbound lead segments. Marketing is measured against aggressive lead quantity goals. We use this technique at HubSpot ourselves. If the two departments are managed as separate silos, the system fails. Conversion rate to forecasted pipeline per “workable lead” Marketing and Sales Alignment c. Connect rate per “workable lead” 2. Originally published Apr 26, 2010 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 They scramble to meet these goals, focusing on campaigns that produce the most lead conversions. The marketing SLA defines the expectations that sales has for marketing with regards to lead quantitylast_img read more

5 Misconceptions About the Mobile Web

first_img Mobile Marketing Topics: Originally published Jul 15, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack This is a guest blog post written by Adrian Mendoza.  As co-founder of Marlin Mobile , he  helps businesses create and deliver a winning mobile user experience by understanding and overcoming the fragmentation in the mobile market.  The mobile web is growing faster than we can imagine.  I compared it last year to where the web was in 1998, but this year we leap forward to roughly the state of the Internet in 2001.  Standards are coming into place with HTML5, adoption is growing faster on the mobile web than the desktop web, and companies are starting to do real business off of mobile devices.  Despite all the growth, major misconceptions exist among businesses about how to effectively use the mobile web to best serve their customers and support their business. Misconception #1:  The Mobile Web Screen Is Small, So Designing For It Must Be Easier. The mobile web browsers you find on your smartphone are far less forgiving than desktop browsers.  Your Google Analytics code, all those style sheets, and a portion of the HTML code on your website are not mobile optimized.  Don’t forget that Flash does not work on the iPhone either.  You might think, “I don’t have or need a mobile site”.  However, your customers are already visiting your page on their mobile devices.  Guess what?  You own a mobile experience, whether or not you decide to be!The amount of content you place on your mobile website can make the difference in whether it loads in two seconds or ten seconds, winning or losing customers and sales. A mobile web site requires you to reconsider your content, resize your graphics, and rethink how your customers view your experience on a mobile device.  Remember your web strategy is NOT your mobile strategy.  Mobile does not not just mean a smaller experience, it is a more complex equation. Misconception #2:  It Is Easy To Copy and Paste Mobile Apps From Platform To Platform. An iPhone is an iPhone, and a Android is an Android – their users are different and so are their habits.  Don’t think that every smartphone and their users are the same.  For example, Android users are accustomed to a menu button, but iPhone users have no idea what that concept even means.  iPhone users spend twice as many hours playing games as compared to android users 1 , while Android users are the largest consumers of data compared to the other smartphone platforms 2 .  Asides from usage, the iPhone now sports 4 different models (not including iTouch and iPads), while over 50 different carrier and phone combinations (and growing) exist on the Android platform in the US!Not only are the physical experiences different, but the performance of different phones and tablets is also an issue.  Even though a Motorola i1 performs slower than an Evo 4G by a factor of 10 3 , your brand is still impacted by the experience across both.  You must make optimize your mobile experience across multiple operating system, smartphones, tablets, and even carriers. One solution will not cut it. Misconception #3:  It Is Best Yo Fit Everything On One Screen. Amongst mobile devices, different screen sizes, proportions, and even screen types exist. Forget about designing for 1024 pixels or 320 pixels wide.  You must think about making a fluid design that fits across all phones and tablets.  Your customers are accessing the web on all kinds of devices, and your brand must be well presented across all screens.  Create a strategy for what you want your page to look like on tablets and phones.  Ask yourself these questions:  Do you deliver a different experience for Android and iPhones?  Do you want tablets to open your full site?  Do you want to deliver different versions of your mobile site based on a device’s performance?Once you have chosen a mobile strategy for delivering your site across the different platforms, now is the time to think about what you place on the pages.  Forget about cramming all of your existing content into this one screen.  Your mobile site is not your desktop site, so not everything needs to come over.  Be clear, clean, and make sure the important content is on top. Misconception #4:  Businesses Determine The User Experience. Your customer determines the user experience.  Your customers’ needs are unique on mobile.  Whether they are comparison shopping, checking their bank balance, or reading highlights from news stories, the mobile experience is different in nature.  The mobile experience is about information at the tip of the user’s fingertips (literally!).  Mobile users will NOT navigate through a four screen registration process or a complicated user experience on their small device.  Spend the time to survey your customers and ask for their feedback on what they want to experience on their phones and tablets.  By conducting research and soliciting customer feedback, you make sure that you deliver the optimal use cases.  Better to take the time to find out what your users want and give them that, rather than dictating what you think they want.  Again, copying what your desktop site is NOT the solution. Misconception #5:  Buttons Are Still For Clicks. Design using your finger, a small button does not cut it anymore.  The iPhone introduced us to the swipe, the tap, the double tap, and the pinch.  The “tap” is now part of the vocabulary across all smartphones.  Whether they are left handed or right handed, your customers use their phones leveraging these gestures by using both hands and multiple fingers.  Gone are the days of the mouse.  You do not have the luxury of such precision any more.  Your mobile site must be both friendly and accessible to the fingertips.  Buttons must be bigger and require more space around them to make sure fingers tap on the correct option.  Flustered fingers mean frustrated customers.These five misconceptions are just the starting point to understanding and embracing a mobile strategy.  As daunting as the task may seem, tools are available to help.  Your mobile success is contingent on how well your experience performs for your customers across the multitude of smartphones and tablets, bearing in mind factors like carrier, location, and signal strength all have an impact. What would you add to this list?  Image credit: mikeburns last_img read more

3 Advantages of Creating Marketing Personas Non Gratas

first_img Are you thinking about compiling a large industry report (or something equally as labor intensive) for lead generation on your site? Consider something easier on the billable hours (but still true to the topic) before you do. Maybe put something thinner together, like a stat sheet or a 30-minute webinar highlighting several trends you’re seeing. Then pay close attention to who downloads or signs up. Are they Dianas or Ernies? If Diana dominates, then you’ve probably justified the time and effort creating your report will take. If Ernie dominates the downloads, it might be time for plan B. 2. It Will Help You Tune Your Lead Scoring & Prospecting Processes ? 1. It Will You Help Test Potential New Campaigns How do you use your marketing personas? In what other ways can you use your marketing personas non gratas to persona non grata to learn more! Use what you know about the worst case scenario to inform how you think about the best case scenario. Mark fields in your CRM to carry more value if the lead drops a title that Diana usually lists. Also, what irritates you most about Ernie? Call out these characteristics. Craft screener questions for the front end of your sales process so Sales will know Ernie when they see him and can disqualify him early. Making sure people know Ernie as well as Diana will save time and make your marketing-to-sales handoff smooth and efficient. create “personas” for your ideal customers improve your sales and marketing efforts and the But don’t stop there. As important as it is to understand who your dream customer is, knowing your customer’s evil twin is equally important. For each persona you come up with, also think about all the traits opposite of what makes him or her perfect. Who can’t your sales reps stand? Who leaves their sales funnels bone dry? Chances are, the better you know your worst customer, who we’ll call Evil Ernie, the easier it will be to build strategies to attract a continuous stream of Dianas. Here are three additional ways building your dream customer’s evil twin (or marketing lead generation efforts , if you will), will help you improve your sales and marketing efforts. Sign up nowcenter_img Originally published Aug 11, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 HubSpot’s inbound marketing experts will be diving deep into the topic of marketing personas at using the common attributes and needs they all share. Doing so will allow your marketing team to better focus content creation and HUGS Inbound Marketing Summit . on a specific target. No more throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. If you know that your ideal customer, Dreamy Diana as we’ll call her, loves educational material around use-cases at the top of the funnel and craves pricing guides and demos after that, then that’s what she’ll get!  Who is your ideal customer? What do you know about them? Hopefully a lot! To help you better target your marketing efforts, it’s a good idea to Creating an evil twin persona will put Ernie on an island alone. We hope. But he’ll still need things. The by-product of all this “exclusion” will most likely be a healthy list of adjectives and need states. You will likely know as much about him and what he wants as you will know about Diana. Put what you’ve learned to good use. Ernies are usually made distinct by an outlying characteristic or two. Feed those outliers to the folks in product or business development. Get them thinking about what a solution for him would look like and if it would be worth building into your product or service offering. Avoid him, yes, but don’t ignore him. His wants, needs, and peculiarities could lead to business opportunities in the future.  Topics: 3. It Will Help You Identify Future Opportunities Marketing and Sales Alignment 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

Now THAT’S How You Do Advertising: Nivea Reinvents the Print Ad

first_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 Originally published Sep 13, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 We often harp on print advertising here at HubSpot. Marketers can spend lots of time designing something visual … only to have it interrupt (and potentially piss off) its “target audience” and then not have any definitive metrics to prove that the ad even worked in the first place. But sometimes, print ads can surprise us and actually be part of an inbound framework.This week, I’ve been at Content Marketing World. On Tuesday morning at Jay Baer’s keynote, he mentioned this ad … and I got so excited that I had to share. Not only because I love Nivea (especially its chapstick), but also because it’s a digital spin on an old-fashioned type of ad.Basically, Nivea included a solar-powered charger in a magazine ad so that people could charge their cell phones and devices while on the beach. Before I give anything else away, here’s a quick video that describes the campaign in just 90 seconds:This ad rocks because of one really awesome reason: It bridges the digital and print divide to actually become a useful piece of content. How often have you been out and about and needed to charge your phone? It solves an actual need that Nivea’s buyer personas have in a visual, tangible, and digital manner. The ad also accomplishes something that is near-impossible to do with print media: relevancy through its integration with users’ physical location. The whole point of the ad is to be a tangible resource that affects your actions — it seamlessly integrates with your beach activities and makes it easier for you to stay out in the sun. How often can you say that an ad not only impacts your day-to-day living, but also makes your life easier? Not often — which is why this ad is so brilliant.We’ve talked over and over again on the blog about helping your audience — not shilling your product. This ad takes “helpful” to a whole new level through the technological integration with your physical world. Though we may not have the budget to buy solar panels for top-tier magazine ads, Nivea’s ad is a truly inspiring example of solving for the needs of your customers. So go on — get going helping them!last_img read more

Small Business Saturday: What Shoppers and Businesses Should Know #ShopSmall

first_img Originally published Nov 29, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Entrepreneurship Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Ah, the holiday season. Spending time with friends, family, and 10,000 of your closest friends at big box stores racing to win one coveted item at an unparalleled discount. Nothing like that warm, fuzzy Black Friday feeling to start the season off right. For context, up to 140 million people plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend. 69.1% of these shoppers plan to leverage Black Friday, which is essentially a holiday unto itself for avid deal hunters.  Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. With all of that money on the table, it’s tempting for any business to want to get in on the action. The question is how? Consider the following: In the fourth quarter of 2012, Toys “R” Us spent $88.3 million to rent the attention of consumers vying for deals and toys for their kids. Unless you have 90 million smackeroos hanging out in your back pocket, chances are you won’t be able to outspend big box retailers to get customers’ attention this holiday season. Enter Small Business Saturday, a vision conceived by American Express in 2010 to help consumers locate and shop from vendors in their neighborhood. In essence, Small Business Saturday is the ultimate example of an inbound marketing campaign. American Express started with a remarkable concept: Take a weekend owned by massive big box retailers and create a window of attention and engagement for small business owners without the budget to compete on spend. They marketed the event leveraging a combination of content, social promotion, and paid advertising efforts. The results speak for themselves: Last year, 213,000 tweets included the hashtags #smallbizsat and #shopsmall, and the movement’s Facebook page garnered 3.2 million likes. Most importantly, the 2012 campaign generated 5.5 billion in revenue for independent retailers nationwide.Not convinced yet? Here are ten compelling reasons you should consider shopping small on Small Business Saturday:1) Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.2) While overall sales growth is up for all retailers, sales for companies with less than $5 million in revenue is down in recent years, so Small Business Saturday can provide smaller businesses with a much-needed boost.3) 77% of shoppers who are aware of Small Business Saturday plan to shop this weekend. You’re already out. Why not visit a small business?4) There are 23 million small businesses in the United States, so you have a wide range of options to choose from, whether you live in Beaufort, South Carolina, Brooklyn, New York, or Bellevue, Washington.5) Half of all new establishments survive five years or more and only one-third survive ten years or more — so don’t wait to support your local bookstore, bakery, or guitar store.6) The average cost of filling a 500 foot, mid-sized retail store nets out to $20,000, so the day-to-day costs to keep the items you care about is significant above and beyond startup costs. Want your corner book store to keep stocking your favorites? Support them this weekend to encourage them to do so.7) The fastest growing sectors for freelance businesses in 2011 included beauty salons, dry cleaners, and auto repair shops. Consider a local vendor for a treat or a tune-up: Small Business Saturday goes beyond Christmas giving.8) Although the initiative was started by American Express, Small Business Saturday is payment-agnostic, so whether you choose cash, check, or credit to purchase your merchandise, your neighborhood will benefit.9) Some of America’s best-loved toys still come from small businesses that care deeply about their employees. Need proof? Radio Flyer gives new employees a wagon full of fresh flowers when they start, and their CEO calls himself the “Chief Wagon Officer.” Small businesses are exceptional places to work, and often pave the way with trends adopted at larger institutions, as well.10) On the first Small Business Saturday, revenues for SMBs grew 28%, so what may seem like a small expense to you has a huge impact on a business owner.Now that we’ve made the case for why people should shop local, here are three keys for businesses to succeed and thrive with Small Business Saturday:1) Plan Beyond PriceChances are, big box retailers near you can afford to discount items more heavily than you can, so compete on more than cost. Instead, focus on creating memorable experiences. Can you cater to children with a storytime series at your bookstore, or host a hot chocolate tasting contest at your coffee shop? If you’re a home furnishing store, can you host a seminar on first-time home decorating or a free Pinterest inspiration board to customers who support you on Small Business Saturday? Experiences don’t have to be expensive to be worthwhile, so consider what you can do to win customers’ attention beyond just the price tag.2) Co-marketThere is no better time to co-market than Small Business Saturday because you’re automatically part of a group of organizations with a similar goal. Identify a business you admire, either based on their proximity to your business, the crossover between your customer base, or the complimentary nature of your products (you sell floral arrangements, they sell wedding supplies, so there’s heavy overlap). Whether you choose to co-market on social media, through a joint event, or a collaborative email, spread the co-marketing love to increase your reach.3) Don’t Forget Your Thank You NotesLet’s face it: Attracting customers to shop at your small business can sometimes be a challenge, particularly in the wake of Black Friday. Far too many businesses overlook an important component of the day, which is thanking people who take the time and energy to participate in Small Business Saturday. Consider practicing random acts of gratitude, sending an email with a gift card to a loyal customer, tweeting to thank visitors for their patronage, or delivering a coffee or personalized thank you note to the first person who ever supported your store. Personal touches are yet another way small businesses differ from mass retailers, so delight your customers with gratitude; they’ll return the favor by coming back.At HubSpot, we are proud to be huge supporters of small businesses. We are proud to call companies like Boston Appliance (here in Massachusetts) and Holden Luntz Gallery (in Palm Beach, Florida) customers, and to encourage employees, customers, and followers alike to shop small this Saturday. We’re also taking our efforts a step further by creating a live tweet stream to make it easy for businesses to post what they are doing for Small Business Saturday, as well as for shoppers to post what they are most excited to buy or receive from their holiday wish lists. Whether you’re shopping or selling this Small Business Saturday, we hope Santa is good to you and look forward to seeing your photos, successes, and gifts on Twitter!Tweets about “#shopsmall” Topics:last_img read more

Hiring Experts Tell All: What They REALLY Want to See on Your Resume

first_imgWhen I set out to find expertise for this post on resumes, I was surprised to find that real humans were behind it all.Humans! With real feelings, pet peeves, hobbies, relationships, experiences, and backgrounds — they’re the ones reading our resumes and cover letters. They’re also the ones who get annoyed when we don’t put our employment record in chronological order; who just don’t feel like reading paragraph-long job descriptions; and who get excited when you went to the same college as them.I asked some hiring experts what they actually care about when they scan resumes, and here’s the inside scoop on the tips they shared with me. (And don’t miss out on what they said about cover letters at the end.)What Hiring Managers Definitely Care AboutLengthLimit your resumes to one page if possible. It takes hiring managers six seconds to decide whether they like your resume or not. If they do, they’ll keep reading. If they don’t … well, it’s on to the next. So, chances are, they won’t even get to page 2. But if you have to bleed onto another page, definitely don’t exceed two.FormattingFormatting speaks to the way candidates collect their thoughts and organize their ideas. As HubSpot Director of Training and Development Andrew Quinn explains it, “A candidate’s resume is their ad to me. How are they structuring this ad so I get a clear picture of what they’re capable of?”There’s a fine line, though, warns HubSpot Recruiter Emily Kueffner. “If you stray too far from normal formatting, it’s hard to read and understand your resume. Don’t get so creative that your resume becomes difficult to digest.” Specifically, we spoke about the infographic resumes some candidates have sent in. Every hiring manager I spoke with advised sticking to the classic resume form instead of infographics or other formats. “Infographic resumes are terrible,” says HubSpot Recruiting Manager Leslie Mitchell. “We appreciate creativity, except when it’s overkill and hard to follow. Keep it simple — everyone appreciates a simple resume. If you’re a designer, showcase your creativity with a cool portfolio website in addition to your simple resume.”Writing QualityHiring managers throw away resumes with spelling errors – but writing quality goes beyond spelling mistakes. Writing and presenting data in meaningful ways is a critical skill for any position, from blogging to engineering.Are the details you want hiring managers to know about you easy to consume? Do you use concise sentences to convey your performance and accomplishments? Are your verb tenses consistent (except for current positions)? Is your language overflowing with buzzwords, or does it sound natural?“Formatting, spelling, syntax, and structure are all evidence of attention to detail,” Andrew told me. “This is important for any job, but especially if you’re applying to a job where attention to detail matters.” If you’re applying for a writing position, this is even more important. Same with sales – salespeople have to write emails all day long, so have you mastered the crisp, business style of writing?LocationHiring managers want to know if you’ll need to relocate. If you already live near the company’s office, great! If you would need to relocate, then it gets a little more complicated. Technically, hiring managers can’t legally ask you directly where you live – but omitting location will raise eyebrows. Even PO boxes are a little iffy.If you do need to relocate, you should still include your current, out-of-town address on your resume, but be prepared to answer relocation status questions in an interview. If the company doesn’t offer relocation packages, will you be able to afford taking the job and moving anyway? If not, you may be wasting time.College/Graduate School and Major/ConcentrationWhich is more important: Where you went to school, or what you studied?It depends on the job you’re applying for. In most cases, your degree should make sense for the role. “Hiring managers are looking for the tie-in,” says Leslie. “They’re looking for what’s relevant about what a candidate’s done in school.” That doesn’t mean only marketing majors can apply to marketing jobs – marketing teams might hire someone who came out of creative studies like liberal arts, graphic design, or writing. An engineering team, on the other hand, probably won’t hire someone without a computer science degree. It also depends on how successful you were at the school you attended. While there are some hiring managers who only give interviews to graduates of top-tier schools, most say it helps to go to a top-tier school, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker if you went to a lower-tier school or community college. A community college graduate with a 4.0 GPA could be more attractive than an Ivy League graduate with a 2.0. Speaking of GPA – when to take it off your resume is subjective. “The benchmark is five to seven years after graduation, which is when candidates tend have a solid track record of employment,” says Andrew. “But if you did well in school but had lackluster job prospects following graduation because of, say, a bad economy, you could definitely leave it on longer.” It goes both ways, he explained: If you had great jobs and accomplishments following graduation but didn’t have a good GPA, consider removing your GPA earlier.Three to five years after college or graduate school graduation, you can move your “Education” section to the bottom of your resume — unless you connected with someone through an alumni network or if you know an executive there also went to your school.Companies and TitlesHiring managers will look at where you’ve worked before (do they recognize the company names or know anyone who works there?) and your titles at those companies. “If you’re applying for a sales position at a software company like HubSpot, we’re looking for experience selling software,” Leslie told me. “If you’re applying for a services position, we’re looking for customer-facing experience.”Yes, people tweak their titles at previous companies to more closely match the positions they’re applying for. If you do this, your “new” title should be close enough to what you really did that if someone were to call and check a reference, they wouldn’t be dumbfounded. Maybe “Clerk to the Surgical Waiting Room” becomes “Customer Service Clerk.” Also, make sure to change your titles on LinkedIn, too — hiring managers will check for consistency on LinkedIn, Leslie said.Top Few Bullet Points in Each SectionEach position you’ve had should be accompanied by no more than five to six bullet points. Remember, these hiring managers are scanning your resumes really quickly, so you want to make it easy for them to find and digest the relevant information by consolidating the most important points and putting them first. Paragraphs are a big no-no.Focus on accomplishments first before responsibilities and duties. If you had a senior management role, include the number of people you managed. Include goals and metrics that hiring managers can use to compare you against other candidates, and make sure those metrics make sense so you don’t confuse the hiring manager. Run the metrics by your mom. I’m serious. If they make sense to her, then they’re all set. If not, then you weren’t clear enough and you need to tweak the language.Dates of EmploymentHiring managers look for job hopping and large gaps in employment, which are both red flags. Job hopping is a sign of failure to commit, a quality no one wants at their company. A word of advice: You should try to stay at every job for at least a year, preferably two or more years; otherwise, it’s a red flag.And if you took longer than six months off of work, Leslie suggests you explain the gap on your resume, perhaps in italics or parenthesis. “Travelled abroad.” “Took time off for family.” “Took time off for personal reasons.” They just want to see a rational explanation — that you were doing something productive with your time, not just hanging out watching football, ya know?What Hiring Managers Might Care AboutInterests/HobbiesWhether you include interests and hobbies on your resume depends on the company and the job. If you’re applying for a creative role, hobbies like photography and painting could be interesting to an employer. If you’re hiring for an accounting role, then a hobby like skydiving wouldn’t be good to include — hiring managers might categorize you as a risk-taker, and do they really want a risk-taker managing their money?“Think about the conclusions someone could draw from your hobbies relative to the role you’re hiring for,” Andrew advises. “Do they enhance or detract from the image you’re trying to convey? If you know the culture embraces unique individuals that have a broad background and set of interests, then it could be useful information. But conservative organizations probably don’t care what you do in your free time — in fact, they could interpret outside hobbies as distractions.”Companies with cultures like HubSpot’s want their employees to have some personality and invest in outside interests. So if you’re applying to join that kind of culture, an “Interests” or “Hobbies” section could benefit you. “They’re great conversation starters,” says Leslie. “‘You’re a skier? Me too! Which mountain do you go to?’ It creates common ground for conversation and helps us assess culture fit.”Before including or omitting this section on your resume, gain some intelligence about the company’s environment and culture. (And check out HubSpot’s culture code if you haven’t already.)What Hiring Managers Don’t Want to SeePersonal Statements/ObjectivesFrankly, they’re irrelevant. And they’re too easy to screw up. Leslie recounted numerous times where candidates put the name of another local company on there — huge mistake.Instead, Leslie suggests replacing it with a “Key Skills” section at the top of your resume, in column format, that highlights the top six to nine skills applicable to the role you’re applying for. Be sure to change these skills for each job!Although you should leave this section off your resume, you should have something in the Summary section of your LinkedIn profile. Focus this section on specific skills and achievements. It’s a good place to put a link to your portfolio, blog, SlideShare presentations, or examples of work you’ve created like open-source code. Use that space to talk about specific achievements you’ve had in previous roles, awards you’ve won, or projects you’ve worked on. The information and skills on here should be applicable to where you’re headed in your career, not irrelevant past skills. (Right after Leslie told me this, I took “emergency medicine” off of mine!)As for cover letters?“I’ve never met a recruiter who reads cover letters,” Leslie told me. “We just don’t have time.” That’s right. With this in mind, include important details on your resume, like gaps in employment, rather than relying on your cover letter (which may never get read) to explain it. And reallocate those hours you plan to spend writing and perfecting your cover letter to writing and rewriting your resume. Your resume is the most important tool in the first stage of the application process, so spend a lot of time on it and ask multiple people to critique it. I hope you found this information helpful! If you’re looking for jobs in the inbound marketing space, check out HubSpot’s job page and the inbound.org job page. And don’t forget to download our free marketing resume templates, too!  Resume and Cover Letters Topics: Originally published Jul 22, 2014 6:00:00 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

4 Genius Tactics for Increasing Ecommerce Sales

first_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: Nothing about running an ecommerce website is straightforward and easy. The goal is, of course, to present a product, entice buyers to purchase, and then process the payment. This is how even the most basic ecommerce site should run. For those that really want to increase sales through the use of psychology and maybe even a little wheedling, there are some other tactics you can adopt.A/B TestingAbsolutely every aspect of your site could be tested for improvement, including images, headlines, product descriptions, and even the overall design. Even if you think you’re already doing well with your current website collateral, there’s always room for improvement.Before you start changing everything on your website to see what sticks, stop and create a battle plan. If you change everything at once, you won’t know what’s effective and what’s not. Plan two weeks for each change so you can gather enough data to make a decision. Then start with one component at a time. You could test something every two weeks and still find room for improvement years down the road.Social MediaSpeaking of social media, are you sure you’re using it to the best of your ability? What if you could keep an eye on what people are saying about your company and your products on all your social media outlets? With social inbox, you can. You’ll receive a notice any time you’re mentioned, which then gives you the opportunity to follow up.Use this feature to provide stellar customer service when buyers have a complaint or just answer questions when visitors ask. If you really want to have some fun, respond to even the most ridiculous of mentions with your own special brand of humor. Your customers will love you.Heat MappingWhat if you could track the parts of your website where buyers hung out for a while? Would that help you provide better information for the next time they stopped by? With heat mapping, you can keep an eye on the pieces of your website that visitors really love. Scrolling and clicking information come together to give you a full picture of what your buyers really want to see.You can also track where your visitors come from and how long they hang around. In other words, if you use your social media for marketing, you can discover how many clicked on your offer and how long they stayed. This helps you determine which social media outlets you should focus on.Exit Lightboxes for Lead GenerationThe truth is that 99% of first-time visitors to your ecommerce site have no intention of making a purchase. You can accept this statistic and hope to get them the next time they stop by, or you can do something about it.An exit lightbox with one last offer can be added to your site for last-minute lead generation. Some sites generate a pop-up the moment a customer enters the site. The exit lightbox instead pops up just before customers bounce. By providing the possibility of later savings, you might just convince those visitors to give you contact information so they can stay on top of things. If they’re interested enough to stop by the first time, potential discounts could bring them back and finish the job. As you can see, these tools go a lot further than just offering products and accepting payments. If you’re ready to step things up a bit, consider any of the tools listed above. If you already use some version of these tactics, let us know how they work for you. We’d love to know if you see more sales as a result. Originally published Jul 31, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Ecommerce Saleslast_img read more