Photo of the Week: Looking Forward, Reflecting on Past

first_imgWhen I first saw the two Tundra Swans swimming in Newburg Lake at Edward Hines Park on Christmas Day, they were swimming side-by-side along the shoreline. One swan stopped its movement and turned to swim out toward the middle of the lake, while the other kept swimming along the shore. The view reminded me of what the end-of-year holiday season means for me: reflections and celebrations of the past year as I look forward to the joys and unexpected wonder of the coming year. Hope you had, or are still having, a lovely, relaxing holiday break! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedPhoto of the Week: Common Loon at Newburg LakeWhat a treat! Seeing the Common Loon at Newburg Lake was a FOY (first of year) find for me. Check out the bright red eye and the white collar, distinguishing marks for the Common Loon. If I hadn’t read about the sighting in our Michigan birding email list, I would…In “Michigan”Photo of the Week: Newburg LakeLooking out over snow-covered Newburg Lake from Edward Hines Park in Livonia, Michigan you can barely see the ice fisherman’s trail on the lake.In “Nature”Photo of the Week: Detroit Institute of Arts Inside|Out ProgramI was thrilled to read last week’s announcement from the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) that their popular Inside|Art program was back for the sixth year. And even more excited when I learned one of the venues for the program was near me, in Edward Hines Park in southeastern Michigan.…In “Michigan”last_img read more

UWSP at Marshfield coach, athletes receive All-Conference awards

first_imgBy Hub City Times staffMARSHFIELD – The Wisconsin Collegiate Conference (WCC) has announced its 2018-19 basketball All-Conference players and awards, with several Marshfield program members honored.In the men’s program, Jack Bezlyk, Spencer, received first team All-Conference, while Jared Seemann, Colby, received second team All-Conference. Trey Rau, Colby, and Darren Kieffer, Auburndale, received honorable mention.Bezlyk was also named West Player of Year. Jared Ystad received the West Coach of the Year award.For the women’s program, Emily Shipman, Medford, received second team All-Conference.last_img read more

Cloud Storage: Popular with SMBs, Ignored by Corporate Giants

first_imgA couple of recent surveys show a split in thinking among companies about migrating to Cloud Computing.  Small and Medium sized companies are moving towards the cloud at a rapid clip, but much larget companies are much more risk adverse towards using the public cloud.The Spiceworks survey found that 28 percent of Small and Medium Sized companies are using the public cloud, and that the current rate of adoption is so high that by the end of the next six months 42 percent of SMBs will be using the Cloud.  The report quotes Cisco vice president of small business technology Susan Scheer Aoki as saying “The cloud has enabled a lot of new technologies and capabilities that can be delivered to small business at a price point that makes sense for them.”A similar report by Microsoft also found that about 29 percent of SMBs are using the public cloud for at least one service, but they predict a slower growth rate, and don’t expect the rate of cloud usage by SMBs to reach 40 percent until 2014.  Marco Limena, vice president of Business Channels at Microsoft, said that “Cloud adoption will be gradual, and SMBs will continue to operate in a hybrid model with an increasing blend between off-premises and traditional on-premises infrastructure, for the foreseeable future “.Given the background of hype around the cloud and reports like these from Microsoft and Spiceworks, it comes as a bit of a surprise to see a different set of conclusions announced by the research group called theInfoPro.  The report survey 247 Fortune 1000 companies and found that 87 percent did not even consider the public cloud as a viable option for them for data storage, not even for low level data backups and archival.Marco Coulter, managing director of theInfoPro, said that “it doesn’t make sense to separate their computers and storage, and have the computers internally and storage externally.  Even for archiving data they were concerned they couldn’t retrieve their data in time… The problem is when you need the data back … there isn’t a high level of confidence that they can do that through an external system.”One of the survey respondents wrote that their  “archive is tape. I don’t think we’ll be able to take advantage of the cloud.  The cost (of cloud storage) seems to keep going up. We priced Amazon, and the cost to send the data there and maintain it over time was less than putting up a new silo internally.”InformationWeek speculated that this lack of interest in storage as a service by large companies is what prompted vendors like Iron Mountain, EMC, and Vaultscape to recently shut down their cloud operations.last_img read more

Wolves complete perfect homestand, beat Blazers

first_imgHotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Timberwolves: At Orlando on Tuesday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next TIP-INSTrail Blazers: Portland’s 10 points in the second quarter wasn’t the Blazers’ lowest output of the season — they scored only six against Toronto on Oct. 30. It was, however, the fewest points allows by Minnesota in any quarter at Target Center since Philadelphia scored nine in the second on Dec. 3, 2014. … The Blazers reserves outscored Minnesota’s 42-25.Timberwolves: It’s the third time in franchise history the Wolves have won five games on a homestand. … Jamal Crawford had 10 points off the bench. … There were plenty of purple Vikings jerseys in the crowd, which broke out into its loudest cheers of the first half when the final score of Minnesota’s last-second playoff victory was flashed on the scoreboard. The crowd also broke out into a few impromptu “Skol!” chants. .UP NEXT:Trail Blazers: Host Phoenix on Tuesday night.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Collison, Oladipo lead balanced Pacers to rout of Phoenix BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusivescenter_img Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View comments Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, front left, and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, front right, go after the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)MINNEAPOLIS — Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 22 and the Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up a perfect homestand with a 120-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 11 rebounds for his NBA-leading 37th double-double of the season. The Wolves had their first 5-0 homestand since 2001, winning each game by double figures against the likes of New Orleans, Cleveland, Oklahoma City and New York.ADVERTISEMENT ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims They led by as many as 26 against Portland to send the Trail Blazers to their third loss in a row.Damian Lillard scored 21 points, and C.J. McCollum and Pat Connaughton each had 18 for Portland. The Blazers had scored 110 points or more in seven straight game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThat streak was in jeopardy early thanks to the Blazers’ paltry 10-point second quarter and 18 total turnovers.Portland led by five early and ended the first quarter up 33-31. But the Blazers went cold in the second, shooting only 2 for 15 and scoring more points off six free throws in the quarter. The Wolves, meanwhile, put together a 14-0 run and steadily pulled away. LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

6 Ways to Leverage the Long Tail in Your Marketing

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 Blog Optimization The Long Tail is like the Force(Yes, as in Star Wars). It permeates everything you do online and binds all facets of your internet marketing. Well, perhaps that is a bit farfetched, but it is a very important concept and relevant for anyone trying to create an online presence for themselves or their business.For those who came in late, the term “long tail” was coined by Chris Anderson to describe the business strategy of e-Tailers such as Amazon.com that sell a high volume of say thousands of popular items (the head portion in the graph below, in red) and low volume of hundreds of thousands of niche or unique items (the mustard tail portion in the image below).According Anderson’s long tail blog, over the course of time if you grow the tail portion of graph “the potential aggregate size of the many small markets in goods that don’t individually sell well enough for traditional retail and broadcast distribution may someday rival that of the existing large market in goods that do cross that economic bar.” The tag line of his book is aptly termed “Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.”Now that you know about a bit about the long tail here’s how you can leverage the long tail in various parts of your day-to-day marketing:1. Optimize Your Site for Tons of KeywordsSEO is an important part of your inbound marketing strategy and you should optimize your site for hundreds if not thousdands of keywords, especially long tail key phrases.  e.g. “internet marketing for lead generation” would be a good long tail key phrase, compared to just inbound marketing.  Long tail key phrases may drive a low volume of traffic but as you can see in the graph above, the combined traffic of all the keywords in the tail portion really matter.  Also, in my experience, visitors to your site from long tail key phrases tend to be better leads as they are searching for something very specific.Avinash Kaushik, an analytics guru, recommends that you use SEO to tackle keywords in the head of your long tail graph and use PPC to drive traffic for long tail keywords.  Here’s a gritty but awesome article by him.2. Create a lot of contentIs it a surprise that sites with the most content also attract the most visitors?  Craigslist.org, eBay.com, Amazon.com, etc. are great examples of sites providing a huge variety of content that helps them attract millions of visitors. What are some of the ways you are leveraging the long tail in your marketing?  Please share your thoughts in the comments!HubSpot Free Trial Above is a snapshot of popular pages from the HubSpot blog. The blog home page and a couple of articles that made it to the Digg and Reddit home pages continue to drive a lot of visitors.  But over time look at how many page views we get for all the other pages!  Even towards the far end of the long tail the last 20 or so content sources drove more than a 1000 page views.  That is serious business!3. Grow Your Followers and Fans BasePart of your strategy should be to gain more followers and fans on various social networks and sites.  In the example below, Dan Zarrella shows us this incredible distribution of retweets per follower.Here you can see that there’s a core group of most engaged followers (the head) that does a lot of retweeting. At the same time, the sum of the retweets by people who only retweet ocassionally is also a force to reckon with!  Please bear in mind that the key to getting retweets is more about engaging people on twitter and sharing valuable content and less about gaining sheer numbers of followers.4. Invest in a Link Building StrategyNow I don’t mean that you should go out and pay a bunch of people to link to your site.  What I sincerely wish is that everyone actively works on trying to pubish good content so other people link to your site. Some of those sites will drive you a lot of traffic and visitors.  But as you can see above there are scores of site that can drive you a little bit of traffic every day and if some of those sites drive quality leads … you can invest time and energy in building a relationship with them so you can grow that funnel. 5. Spread Your Content AroundIn the first graph below you can see the traffic HubSpot gets from all the social media sites where we actively share or upload content.  If we did not share content on all the sites to the right of LinkedIn our site stats would be lighter at least a few thousand visitors.Taking that a step further, below are the leads we generated from the above sources.  What would you give to get an extra few hundred leads?6. Maximize Your Website FootprintAt HubSpot we do a great job at offering a lot of free tools and growing the traffic on those sites.  It’s like investing in real estate for investment purposes and over time we grow our portfolio of web properties each growing in reach.Agreed, it is not easy for everyone to build lots of tools and manage multiple sites.  But you could invest in a blog and you could build micro sites that serve a similar purpose.  The result of such an activity is the graph below — each site driving qualified traffic and leads back to your main hub.The Take-Away From the Long Tail for MarketersMaximize your opportunity by investing in a multitude of niche areas and sharing your content widely.Diversify your keyword, content and web asset portfolios.  You yield better results and reduce the risks by not putting all your eggs in one basket.There is significant value in getting bite-sized results from many sources.  center_img Topics: Originally published May 5, 2009 7:44:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Optimize your website to get found by more prospects and convert more of them into leads and paying customers with HubSpot’s inbound marketing system. Start your trial now!last_img read more

10 Easy Ways to Improve Landing Page Conversions

first_img 3. Your grammar should be impeccable 9. Keep it above the fold Conversion Rate Optimization We’ve put together a compelling list of ways you can improve your Test Case: Google AdWords determines cost-per-click in part based on the quality of your landing page. You can improve your score, and bring down your cost-per-click, by making sure your landing page’s content aligns with your ad messaging. Not only does this make acquiring leads less expensive, it also improves the effectiveness of your pages: customers who click on your ad will be get information relating directly to what they clicked on.    from Google Labs is a great tool to find out what portion of your page most visitors can see without scrolling. redesigning their Firefox page Browsersize 5. Use a strong call-to-action Originally published Jul 26, 2011 1:15:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 , a Diabetes logbook application, redesigned its homepage, it tested two different headlines against each other. The headline “Maintain your optimal health by keeping tabs on your diabetes” converted more than 31% better than an identical page with the headline “Keeping tabs on your diabetes just got a whole lot easier.” A stronger headline that addressed a specific pain point (maintaining optimal health) , they tested two different calls-to-action: “Try Firefox 3” and “Download Now – Free.” The second call-to-action outperformed the first by 3.6% with at confidence level of over 99%, resulting in over 500 more downloads during their tests alone. 7. Go easy on the links 4. Take advantage of trust indicators The Internet isn’t exactly known for being free of typos and poor writing. Take the time to make sure your body copy is free of errors. If you are asking visitors to hand over their money but your website contains spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, why should a user trust you with their money? By forgetting to spell-check your body copy, you are risking your conversions. It’s as simple as that. . Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Images and videos can make a huge impact on your landing page’s effectiveness, but only if they directly relate to your body copy. An image or video that relates to your copy helps strengthen your message to your visitor. It’s great to have screenshots of your product in action, or a short video showing the tangible value-proposition your product offers, but it’s more effective if they relate directly to your text. Test Case: 1. Landing page headlines and ad copy should match Guarantee seals Once you’ve followed the general rules of thumb, get started testing – you might have two great headlines, but is one more effective than another? Using a simple A/B Test, you can segment your traffic and find out. AB testing is so great because you can test and optimize everything about your webpage until you receive the response-rate you are looking for. There’s no universal right answer for what webpage works best, but testing can ensure that your webpage is the best that it can be. and conversions. These tips are easy to implement and, more importantly, can start improving your results immediately.  Building trust on your landing page is essential to improving your conversions. Here are several effective ways to build trust: The goal of your landing page is to convince visitors to perform a particular action. After they read your landing page, they need to know what to do next. That’s what your call-to-action is about: providing an actionable next step in the most effective way possible. 3rd party trust and security certification (Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, etc.) 2. Your headlines must be clear and concise Testimonials (personal and well written). Learn more about testimonials  When Mozilla was  Your landing page headline is one of the first things a visitor reads. Make it clear what you’re offering in a compelling way. A poorly written headline will bore or confuse your visitors into leaving, while a well-written headline can compel your visitors to take a closer look. When  Carelogger 10. Always be testing The following is a guest post from Justin Rachwalski, Strategy Lead at Google. The implications of trust are huge: when ACLens began using Extended Validation SSL Certificates from Verisign, they saw a 41% increase in conversion and a 58% increases in revenue per transaction. These types of results from trust increases are not uncommon, and it’s no surprise why: when visitors are confident about the security of their online purchases, purchasing feels less risky. The “fold” refers to the space your visitors can see without scrolling. There is a lot to be said for keeping the most important parts of your webpage in that space. When deciding where to put your button, think about the flow of your page. Does it follow the path of your eye when you scan? Does your design take into consideration average browser size? It should. If people have to search for the button, or if you put it below the fold, it will negatively impact your conversions.  8. Use images and videos that relate to your copy Test case: A conversion button, usually placed right below your call-to-action, should stand out. If it’s difficult for your visitors to perform the desired conversion, your conversion numbers will suffer. Part of making that conversion easy is using a well-crafted button: place it next to your call-to-action (and above the fold) and make it large enough to see (a bright color doesn’t hurt, either). If you must have other buttons on your landing page, your primary button should be the biggest and most prominent. It’s worth noting that A/B testing a single site design has a glass ceiling – at some point you reach the maximum conversions possible for that design, and a completely different design may be capable of better conversion rates. You can, however, also test two completely different site designs against each other. Press mentions One of the biggest threats to conversion is going off-message. Distracting your visitor with too many outbound links or related pages can negatively impact conversions. Lots of links may make sense on a regular homepage, but on a landing page they can hinder both your experience and the user’s. If a user has trouble finding what they’re looking for, expect to see your conversions drop. 6. Make your buttons and calls-to-action stand out Topics: landing pages herelast_img read more

6 Reasons Great Content Fails

first_img Originally published Nov 10, 2011 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 That’s right. Sometimes truly great content flops. And to be honest, it’s a big disappointment (and a damn shame). The silver lining is, there’s usually a pretty good explanation for why that particular piece of content failed to spread, and understanding some of the top reasons why great content fails can put you on a righteous path that enables you to succeed with future pieces of great content.And if anything positive can come from failure, it’s a good lesson or two. We’ve come in contact with a few content failures in our experience as content creators, so we’ve nailed down 6 compelling reasons — and lessons to learn from — why great content fails.1. The Topic Isn’t Appropriately TargetedWhen it comes to successful content, the topic/idea is everything. You can write the most amazing piece of content and make it the best it can be, but that doesn’t mean it will be enough. One of the core reasons great content fails is because the topic was the wrong one. It could be “wrong” for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s not a topic that is appropriately targeted toward the audience it’s being presented to. Maybe it’s targeted, but it’s just not a topic your audience would necessarily think is interesting.How to Avoid Failure: Spend the time to make sure the topic and idea has the potential to be successful. A major part of this is truly understanding your target audience and marketing personas, and analyzing the topics and ideas that have resonated with that audience in the past. Your analytics are your best friend here, so leverage them!2. The Title or Headline is CrappyA great piece of content hidden behind a crappy title or headline is just that — hidden. The title of your content is a potential reader’s first impression of that content, whether they find a link to your content in social media, search results, or via email. If you’re headline isn’t enticing enough to get that reader to click on and view your content, it’s doomed to fail.How to Avoid Failure: Put some solid effort into learning how to write awesome titles for your content. A great headline is actionable, brief, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing. Master the art of exceptional blog titles, and you’ll be one step closer to preventing content failure.3. There Is No Attention to DetailThe topic of your content, the ideas you present, and the way in which you present them may all be top-notch, but it’s amazing how simple details like spelling and grammar can easily ruin an otherwise amazing piece of content. Don’t undermine the importance of paying attention to these types of details when pulling together a final draft of your content.How to Avoid Failure: Always, I repeat, ALWAYS have a colleague or teammate (preferably one who has an eye for details) proofread and edit your work. It’s stupidly silly to let a great piece of content go to waste because of a few easily preventable typos.4. It Isn’t PromotedTrust a recovering content marketer –if you build it, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. Without any promotion, your awesome content is basically stuck on an island. And the only thing it will have to keep it company is the other lonesome content on your blog or website. Don’t fall victim to the common assumption that great content will just naturally get stumbled across. In order for great content to be truly successful, it needs a little help.How to Avoid Failure: Get your content out there, for goodness’ sake! Send that awesome new ebook you wrote to your email database, and share your latest blog article with your fans and followers in social media!5. It’s Not Socially EnabledSuccessful content isn’t just proactively promoted by its author. It’s also promoted by readers who love the content and want to share it with their networks. Successful content makes it easy for readers and viewers to share in the first place by offering social media sharing buttons in obvious places.How to Avoid Failure: Add social media sharing links/buttons to every piece of content you produce in obvious places. People are lazy. Make it mind-numbingly simple for them to share if they want to. Chances are, if you put the buttons right in front of them, they’ll use them, giving your content more exposure to potentially interested content consumers. Research shows that including a Twitter share button on your content leads to 7x more mentions!6. It’s Not Optimized for SearchOne of the best ways to generate organic visibility for your content is to make sure it’s optimized for search. Your prospects are looking for and finding content via search. If your content isn’t optimized well enough to show up in their search results, it’s not going to get found there. Without proper search engine optimization, your content is at great risk of failure.  How to Avoid Failure: Conduct keyword research to identify appropriate keywords for your business. Then search engine optimize your content by sprinkling those keywords throughout — in page titles, header tags, and throughout the body of your content.What are some other reasons great content fails to spread?Image Credit: Kevin Jarrett Content Creation 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

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

A Practical Guide to Planning a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign

first_img Marketing Campaigns Topics: Originally published Jan 9, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated August 29 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 HubSpotIf you’re a HubSpot customer, you can organize, execute, and measure your campaigns directly from the Campaign app. This will show you how many visits, contacts, and customers your campaign generated against your goals and how each promotion channel contributed to those outcomes.There it is folks — your recipe for an airtight marketing campaign. Want to remember this for next time? We made a simple, one-page checklist for you to hang at your desk or save to your computer.If you’re a HubSpot customer, there’s also an entire Campaign-in-a-Box kit, including 10 different planning worksheets and a guide to using the new Campaigns app in HubSpot.Now go out there and launch something remarkable!Got some advice on how to put together a comprehensive inbound marketing plan? Be sure to share your thoughts below! Here are a couple of examples of HubSpot’s goals from a recent product launch. The product we were launching was Social Inbox, a social monitoring and publishing tool. We wanted to generate a ton of activity around the topic of social media to establish our expertise and pull in a specific type of lead.”Generate 5,000 leads who are interested in social media marketing by June 30, 2013.””Improve rank for the keyword ‘social monitoring’ from 5th to 2nd on Google by June 30, 2013.”SMART goals for a campaign should fold-up into and support the SMART goals you’ve created for your marketing strategy as a whole.Jumpstart: SMART goal-setting templateChoose keywords and optimize for search.As part of your marketing plan, you’ll want to zero in on the keywords you want to rank for as a result of the campaign. These are the words you can prioritize in your headlines and across your content. The goal here is not to stuff keywords, but rather to be consistent in the terms you use to optimize for search. Jumpstart: 4 Helpful Tools for Identifying the Right KeywordsCreate a tracking URL.At the end of your campaign, you’re going to want to measure everything together to see how each of your campaign components contributed to the end-goals you set. To do this in a unified way, you’ll need to create a tracking URL for use across your campaign efforts. You can get a step-by-step guide of how to create a tracking URL here.Note: If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can actually skip this step and instead use the new Campaigns app in HubSpot. The Campaigns app enables you to plan, run, and measure a campaign in one place without needing to code up tracking URLs.Develop offers and landing pages.Now that you have all of the fundamentals of your marketing campaign down, you’ll want to create content offers to attract potential customers and landing pages to convert those visitors.Make sure your main landing page elements, like the headline and meta description, include the keywords that you decided to optimize for. Jumpstart: A collection of templates from HubSpot to help you create your offersChoose your promotion channels and get the word out.Send an email.If you’ve got an existing list of contacts who might be interested in the content, feature the content offer in a newsletter or create a dedicated email send for it. Include social share buttons in the email, and make sure to include your tracking URL when you link to the report (again, HubSpot customers, you don’t need to do this). Jumpstart: The Anatomy of a 5-Star EmailWrite related blog posts.Blogs are a great, search-friendly way to attract people to your offer. Repurpose part of your offer as a blog post and link to the landing page for the full content or write about similar topics to generate interest in the focus area. Jumpstart: How to Turn One Idea Into a Bottomless Backlog of Blog PostsShare content on social media.Schedule continuous social content about your offer throughout the length of your campaign. Don’t just post the same thing every day. Instead, mix it up and see which converts best. Remember: If you’re not using HubSpot, use a tracking URL.  Jumpstart: Social media publishing schedule templateConsider paid search and other channels. Other channels can be a part of your inbound campaign, too — just be sure you’re tracking them all together so you know how they are each contributing to your campaign.  Jumpstart: Template for managing your AdWords campaignNurture leads generated through your offers.Your campaign doesn’t end when leads convert on your landing page. To guide your new leads to a point at which they may be ready to talk to your sales team, attach a lead nurturing campaign or series of relevant follow-up emails to your offer. In a lead nurturing series, each email should helpfully nudge the lead to the next step of their decision process. Jumpstart: An Introduction to Lead NurturingReport on your results.Take a breath — your marketing plan is complete and your campaign is up and running. After it’s launched, go back to your original goals and use analytics to see how well you’re faring against them. Google AnalyticsIf you’ve set up your tracking URLs properly, you’ll be able to see how many visits your campaign generated in the acquisition menu of Google Analytics, as shown in the image below. Sign in to Google Analytics, click ‘Acquisition’ in the left column, and then click ‘Campaigns’ to see your campaign traffic.  Welcome to January — a time of new energy, new calendars, and lots and lots of planning. Whether you’re planning your marketing strategy as a whole or developing a specific marketing campaign to achieve a particular goal, a little structure can help to reduce a daunting task to a manageable one.Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.You’ll find help with this structuring below, where I’ve outlined numerous steps we take when planning our own campaigns at HubSpot. So go on — use our outline below to get your marketing going strong to start 2014!Identify your audience.Whether you’re creating a marketing strategy for your entire company or developing a campaign for a particular product launch, defining your audience is the most fundamental step. It is the difference between a generic message that falls flat and a campaign that really resonates.When you’re building your marketing plan, start by developing the audience profile, often called a persona. Your profile should include the following components:DemographicsValuesBiggest challengesHow you solve those challengesCurrent perceptions of your company/productCommon objectionsJumpstart: 9 Questions You Need to Ask When Developing Buyer PersonasSet benchmarks and goals.You need to know where you are to get where you’re going. Before launching into a campaign, take stock of the current traffic to your site and the leads and customers generated by similar campaigns in the past. Use those as benchmarks to set goals for this campaign.Your goals should me more concrete than “raising awareness” and more achievable than “tripling sales in a month.” Aim to create what marketers call SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. For example: “Generate [number] leads focused on [topic/product] by [date].”last_img read more

6 Signs Your Landing Page Needs to Be Redesigned

first_img Landing Page Design When it comes to marketing, there’s no end in sight. You can optimize, A/B test, and optimize some more, and there will still be something else you can improve.The key is knowing what’s worth improving first, and which improvements will garner more ROI. So if your landing pages are performing well, it might be better to focus your efforts elsewhere.But how can you know for sure if your landing page are in good shape? Here are six signs that your landing page needs to be redesigned or optimized to get you as many high-quality leads as possible.1) Your landing page conversion rate is lowYour first indication that your landing page needs work is that it’s not converting leads! If your conversion rate (CVR) is low, it’s time to look at the design and content of your landing page.Landing page CVR = # form completions / # landing page viewsBut how can you know if your conversion rate is low? Conversion rates depend on many different elements outside the content of the landing page:Your industryWhether your company is B2B vs. B2CThe page’s position in your buyers’ journey (for example, a top-of-the-funnel ebook landing page will have a higher CVR than a bottom-of-the-funnel demo landing page)What kind of traffic you’re driving to your landing page (paid vs. organic)SeasonalityThe age of the landing pageFor this reason, it’s hard to find benchmark data specifically for landing pages. Your own benchmark conversion rate will be a judgment call as you compare the CVRs of the various landing pages you’ve created.For example, let’s say you measure the CVR of your landing pages created each month, and they usually average between 50% – 55%. Ebooks yield 65% CVR, and webinars are a bit lower, around 40%. If you create a landing page for an ebook and it only has a 35% CVR, you’d know something’s wrong with that page, even if 35% would be a high CVR at another company.2) Your website conversion rate is lowAnother data point to look at is your website conversion rate. Website CVR = # of total conversions / # of website visitorsWhile your landing page conversion rate is more specific, your website conversion rate will indicate whether or not your entire conversion path needs a revamp. According to MarketingSherpa, benchmark website conversion rates are anywhere from 2% to 10%, depending on industry.This should give you a good idea of what your website conversion rate should be at a minimum — your goal should always be above average!3) The quality of your leads isn’t that greatYour landing page might be generating leads. But are they good leads? Are your sales reps working those leads and turning them into customers? If not, you may want to:Rewrite the copy to be more clear about what the visitor will be receiving by signing up.Increase your form length to better qualify your leads. This is a good option for when you’re getting too many leads for your sales team to sift through.Chat with your sales team to learn what obstacles high-quality leads face. It might be an issue with the offer you’re giving away, not just the design of the landing page. The offer itself might not be helping your audience solve any of their problems.4) Your landing page doesn’t pass the blink test”The blink test” is the commonly accepted 3-5 seconds during which a visitor lands on your website, judges it, and decides if they want to stay there and do something, or jump ship.Make sure that your landing page passes the blink test. Within 3-5 seconds, a visitor should know exactly what they’ll get by filling out a form on your landing page.You can use services like UsabilityHub and their five second test to determine if anonymous, random users understand what they’d be getting on your landing pages. Or you can print out your landing page, put it under your colleague/boss/spouse/parent/child’s nose for five seconds, pull it away, and ask what the page is offering. If most of your test subjects get the answer right, your landing page passed the blink test.5) You’re using a lot of textA dead giveaway that your landing page needs work is if it includes dense paragraphs of text. Text is overwhelming. Images and white space make website visitors happy. Take a look at variations A and B here. Which version is more enticing?Hint: Variation A, which is live here, is what we’re going for.6) You’re missing an essential landing page elementHere are all the elements any landing page should include. If you’re missing one, it’s a sign that you should take a look at your landing pages and make sure they’re following the best practices.A headline – says exactly what the offer is.An image – shows the offer (if necessary, it’s an abstract representation of the offer).Text conveying benefit of the offer – concise, ideally in the form of bullet points.A form – should be above the fold.A submit button – shouldn’t say “submit”, but instead say “download” or “save your seat,” etc.Want to share this post? Here are some ready-made tweets:Click to tweet: 6 Signs Your Landing Page Needs to Be Redesigned – http://hub.am/1ip3CCf by @DianaUrban at @HubSpot #webdesignClick to tweet: Does your landing page need a redesign? Find out here – http://hub.am/1ip3CCf #webdesign #leadgenerationClick to tweet: Great info here – 6 Signs Your Landing Page Needs to Be Redesigned – http://hub.am/1ip3CCf #webdesign Topics: Originally published May 29, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more