As you clear out closets in your house for spring cleaning, why not also put on an orange safety vest and gloves to participate in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway Spring Litter Sweep? This year’s campaign runs April 14-28.Volunteers from local businesses, schools, non-profits and community groups work alongside NCDOT to help keep North Carolina’s roadways clean throughout the year. Adopt-A-Highway groups are encouraged to participate in the biannual litter sweeps which take place in the spring and fall, helping to increase cleanup and motivate the community to be good stewards of the environment.Now in its 30th year, the Adopt-A-Highway Program helps decrease the amount of litter on the state’s roadsides and improves environmental beauty, quality and safety. Roadsides are available for adoption in all 100 North Carolina counties. Groups commit to cleaning their designated roadways at least four times a year and NCDOT provides them with safety vests, gloves and bags.In 2017, nearly 5,000 Adopt-A-Highway groups removed close to 1 million pounds of litter from almost 10,000 miles of state roadways.“We want to thank the thousands of volunteers who give up their time every year to help make sure our state is a beautiful and safe place to work, live and visit,” says David Harris, Roadside Environmental Engineer. “We couldn’t do this without all of them.”Additionally, businesses, individuals and other organizations can also participate in the state’s Sponsor-A-Highway initiative. In return for cleaning a one-mile stretch of interstate highway, sponsors have their organization’s name or logo attached to the Sponsor-A-Highway sign.
So while we are all still riding the high of those fantastic Summer 2019 itineraries, Disney goes and hits us with just a teensy bit more awesomeness – new. ship. rendering!!!! Ok, so it’s just one picture of the ship exterior, but oh my stars, can we say gorgeous! There are so many details about the three new ships that are yet to be revealed, but here’s what we know so far:Each of the three new ships will be approximately 140,000 gross tons (to compare, the Magic and Wonder are just under 85,000 gross tons, and the Dream and Fantasy are just about 130,000 gross tons).There will be about 1,250 guest staterooms (the Magic and Wonder have 875 staterooms, and the Dream and Fantasy have 1,250).The new ships will run on liquefied natural gas, one of the cleanest burning fuels.The three new ships will debut in 2021, 2022, and 2023.They are going to be crazy amazing (*maybe not an actual published fact, but a fact nonetheless).The new ships will be in the same gorgeous style as the current fleet, with some new touches – check out those bump outs above the lifeboats! We have sooooo long to wait until we get onboard, but until then, I’ll keep drooling and dreaming of what’s to come!Yesterday, the Disney Magic arrived in Miami, all clean and pretty and ready to embark on her first post-drydock cruise today. The Disney Cruise Line Blog pointed out some changes already made to the deck plans reflecting the new areas. I know I’m on pins and needles anticipating reviews on the updates to the Oceaneer Club, Cove Cafe, the Rainforest Room, but most of all, the total change from Carioca’s to Rapunzel’s Royal Table. Anyone reading going to be on the 5-night Bahamian cruise today?? And finally, this week’s special offers. Most every week of the year, Disney Cruise Line releases special offers for Florida Residents and U.S. Military Personnel. There are also frequently IGT/OGT/VGT rates available for all guests to book. These offers are extremely limited in availability, and all come with certain restrictions, but the prices are amazing! You can book these online, on the phone, or with your travel agent. These are the current offers available this week: Disney Cruise Line: In The News Upcoming EntertainmentThe following films are being shown aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships this month:Beauty and the BeastBorn In ChinaGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesCars 3Doctor StrangeStar Wars: The Force AwakensThor: RagnarokCocoMoanaStar Wars: The Last JediBlack PantherFor future reference, films debut on Disney Cruise Line the same day of their initial release in the United States. Films do vary by ship. Show times are available in your Personal Navigator or the official Disney Cruise Line app.Captain’s Log: Important Tips and InformationExperienced cruisers know all about the award-winning entertainment onboard the Disney Cruise ships, but many first time cruisers have some questions about what’s offered. Here’s some commonly asked questions/answers about the evening shows:Do I need to reserve a showtime? Nope! Your showtime will be opposite of your dinner seating. So, if you are on main dining, you will attend the second show, and if you are on late dining you will attend the first show. No tickets are necessary.What types of shows are offered? Shows will vary by ship, but each will feature their own unique Broadway-style production, like Tangled on the Magic, Frozen on the Wonder, Beauty and the Beast on the Dream, and Aladdin on the Fantasy. There are also shows made just for DCL, like Disney’s Believe. Depending on the itinerary, you may also have other live entertainment like magicians or variety acts, and on occasion there will be a movie shown in the theater. Will my kids be able to sit through the show? Theoretically, yes! The shows are all done with families in mind, and typically run about 45-60 minutes long. If your little one needs an extra lift for a good view, there are booster seats available by the doors when you enter the theater.Can I bring snacks or drinks in with me? Yes! You can bring your own snacks in with you if you wish. You can also stop at Preludes outside the theater to purchase candy, popcorn, drinks, and cocktails. Preludes is on all four ships.Previous cruisers – what’s your favorite show onboard??Are you deciding whether to book a Disney Cruise but are having a tough time picking which ship fits all of your desires? Well, our own Laurel Stewart has put together a chart that makes it easy to compare all of the options in one place. Also available as a valuable planning and companion guide from authors Len Testa, Erin Foster, and Laurel Stewart is The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line. The companion guide contains a complete overview of each Disney ship as well as Castaway Cay and includes valuable tips on how to save time and money during your cruise!Special thanks Scott Sanders of The DCL Blog for assistance on this article.Thanks for joining me again this week. “Sea” you next time!!The Disney Cruise Line Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings. Share This!Sponsored by Storybook DestinationsAhoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Welcome back again this week. Let’s see what’s new in the DCL world.Ports of Call
Social Selling Originally published Jan 19, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack As a HubSpot marketer, I’m a firm believer in the use of social media as a powerful tool for not only driving traffic to a company’s website but also generating leads for your business.That said, the applications of social media don’t stop in marketing. Social media can also be a very helpful tool in the sales process when Sales is following up with leads and opportunities, especially considering the fact that, SiriusDecisions projects that by 2015, 71% of initial BtoB inquiries will be web-driven, and “a sound social media strategy is key to driving this inbound interest.”So how can you use social media intelligence to help you make a sale? I recently sat down with Chad Levitt, a member of HubSpot’s own sales team and the author of the New Sales Economy Blog, to discover how he uses social media intel to prep for his sales calls. This is what I learned…Using Social Media Intelligence in Sales 1. Conduct Research: First and foremost, you’ll have to do some sleuth-work. Do a little social media digging to investigate where your prospect is spending time online. Does he/she have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social network or community popular for your industry? If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can easily find this data in the Lead Intelligence tool for any lead whose social media information is available. 2. Do Your Homework: Scan your prospect’s presence on these social media sites. Learn about their interests. Do you have something in common (e.g. a shared passion for cooking, watching college football, or scuba-diving) that could be used as a good ice-breaker on your sales call? If you’ve already connected with the prospect before the call by another means such as email, consider following them on Twitter or connecting them with on that particular social network.3. Strategize: Have you learned anything about the prospect that might be helpful fodder for your sales call? Maybe you noticed they’ve been discussing something in social media that your product or service addresses or solves. Perhaps accessing their company’s website URL you found on their LinkedIn profile reveals something about why they became interested in your company in the first place. Put on your best detective hat, and think creatively.4. Follow Up: Continue the conversation. Use social media as a way to keep in touch with and nurture your prospects after your sales calls. Send them links to appropriate, remarkable content, and look for opportunities to answer their questions.The beauty of using social media for sales is in its potential to make the sales process a lot more personal. Building relationships is an important part of sales, and social media offers a valuable platform for relationship-building. And — BONUS! — if you’re using a system such as HubSpot, closed loop reporting will also enable you to track leads from their initial referral channel through their first conversion all the way to becoming a customer. This allows your marketing team to track which social media channels are most efficient and provides actionable insight to make smarter marketing investments.And don’t worry about seeming creepy (unlike the man in the photo above). If the prospect has made themselves available in social media, they probably won’t be weirded out by the fact that you did some detective work. Chances are, they’ll be impressed that you’ve spent the time to do some extra thinking about how what you have to offer specifically relates to their problems, needs, or wants.Chime in! How else have you used intelligence from social media to prepare for a sales call?Photo Credit: Okko Pyykkö Topics:
This article was written by Mike Goulet and Tyler Orfao and industry report that will help marketing agencies with their own challenges This problem is often the result of poor sales practices. Many marketing agencies rely on their portfolios, hoping that their past work will impress their prospect enough to sell them. A lack-luster sales process ignores specific client needs and fails to probe deeper into a client’s overall goals. Potential clients will leave the sales pitch disinterested and frustrated from hearing only about the agency’s capabilities. Similar to the previous challenge, these marketing agencies could be unable to close a deal due to the lack of adequate services required to accomplish the prospect’s marketing goals. Delves deeper into lead generation, retainers, and other components of the marketing services sales process. . Agencies need to develop a stronger sales process to determine their prospect’s goals and challenges, as well as devise plans together. Truly robust sales processes focus on client pain points and goal-oriented solutions. Agencies should also consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) system that tracks lead intelligence and activity. Finally, like the previous challenge, these agencies should also reconsider their service offerings, and keep in mind customers may want complete and integrated marketing solutions. This blog post provides a glimpse into the biggest challenges facing the marketing services industry today. It also serves to launch an initiative to gain greater insight into the marketing services industry through a Ironically, the challenge marketing agencies struggle with the most is marketing for themselves. This is understandable, however, since there are so many factors that go into generating leads. A lot of this could be contributed to choosing marketing channels that are interruptive and non-permission based in nature. Potential customers are increasingly less tolerant of outbound marketing practices and search for the products and services they seek to buy. Another contributing factor could be that these marketing agencies often prioritize working with their current clients over lead generation activities. 2. Cash Flow is Too Variable survey What Agencies Can Do Based on preliminary data HubSpot has been collecting from marketing agencies, some common trends have emerged that we feel are worth sharing. The most pressing and valuable trend to address is what agencies say is their biggest challenge. Two thirds of the marketing agencies polled listed the following 3 issues as their biggest marketing challenge: Determines what makes a successful marketing services package. Marketing agencies who considered this to be their biggest challenge are typically too tactical and tend to specialize in only a few services for their clients. By only performing niche services like website design or social media marketing, these agencies mostly acquire projects rather than retainers, leaving clients to rely on them for only a brief time. Left with only project work, cash flow becomes unpredictable and often leads to financial challenges. 1. Not Generating Enough Leads Originally published Jul 21, 2011 6:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 : State of the Marketing Services Industry Report Identifies industry best practices. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack : Marketing agencies with this problem should reconsider which marketing channels they use to reach their prospects, and use more inbound marketing techniques like blogging, SEO and social media to generate traffic. In order to turn traffic into leads, agencies should also start using some “top of the funnel” lead generation offers because potential leads are more inclined to download marketing material if it provides helpful advice. Agencies must also streamline client delivery processes in order to free resources that can then be spent on business development and lead generation activities. In turn, this will lower the reliance on referrals and repeat business, which is often hard to predict and grow. ” that: 3. Difficulty Signing Up New Clients What agencies can do What Agencies Can Do Interested in learning more about how to conquer these challenges? Well, we are too, and could use your help! We are conducting a survey for marketing agencies that will identify what makes a strong marketing agency impervious to these weaknesses. After collecting the surveys we will create a “ Topics: : Agencies should develop a process that encourages continuous, high-level collaboration with clients across a variety of specific online marketing activities. These activities and services should also enable the monitoring of a lead from its earliest conversion to the final sale. In doing so, agencies can determine how to repeat the marketing activities that produce sales and increase clients’ ROI. This complete marketing strategy also ensures that agencies become a critical component of a client’s success, which results in more retainer opportunities and more dependable cash flow. Agency Marketing Survey Image Credit: Patrick M. Len via Flicker
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social Media Strategy Originally published Apr 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 This post is an excerpt from our latest ebook, How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels. If you’re looking for help taking your blog, landing pages, SEO, email, and social to the next level, download the full guide here.For some, the word “optimization” conjures up thoughts of complicated mathematics and data analysis. It can seem like one of those things that only a true “data geek” could ever hope to understand.At its core, however, the science of optimization is really quite simple: It’s all about making improvements. It’s about taking what you already have and then — through experimenting and measuring — figuring out ways to make it even better.One of the major marketing channels we focus on in our new guide, How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels, is social: your company’s collective use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social networks for driving traffic, generating leads, and — more generally — for engaging with your subscribers and followers.Below are some best practices you can implement and experiments you can run for optimizing your social channels.Use the Proper Image Dimensions for Social Profiles and PostsIf you don’t pay attention to the dimensions of the images you’re uploading and sharing, you could end up with unpleasant cropping or distorting. This is especially true when it comes to social media cover photos.To ensure your social profiles showcase your brand and business in the best possible light, stick to the recommended image dimensions (in pixels) that the social networks provide. Here’s a list of dimensions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. All dimensions are given as width x height. Facebook Cover photo: 851 x 315Profile picture: 160 x 160 (upload as 180 x 180)App icons: 111 x 74Timeline: 504 x height is up to you (shared image), 484 x 252 (shared link)News feed: 470 x 394 (shared image), 470 x 246 (shared link)TwitterHeader image: 1252 x 626, 1500 x 500 (redesign)Profile picture: 250 x 250Image in feed: 1024 x 512LinkedInBanner image: 624 x 220Logo: 100 x 60Link Thumbnail: 100 x 100Google+Cover photo: 1010 x 608 (recommended), 480 x 270 (minimum), 2120 x 1192 (maximum)Profile picture: 250 x 250Image post: 4:3 aspect ratio (800 x 600 minimum)PinterestBoard cover: 217 x 147Preview image: 51 x 51YouTubeBanner image: 2560 x 1440 (TV), 2560 x 423 (desktop), 1546 x 423 (mobile)Need some help formatting all of the banner and cover images for your social media profiles? Download these free PowerPoint templates.Test Post Frequency to Find Your Sweet Spot for Each NetworkFellow HubSpotter Dan Zarrella used 2 years-worth of data to figure out the optimal post frequencies for Facebook and Twitter. The data showed that for Facebook, posting once every two days was the optimal frequency for generating Likes. For Twitter, tweeting between 1 and 4 times per hour proved to be the most effective frequency (as determined by the average clickthrough rates of tweeted links). While these numbers can serve as great reference points, it’s important to remember that your ideal posting frequency will depend on how many overall posts are filling the feeds of your social followers and subscribers. For example, if the majority of your Twitter followers only see around 20 total new tweets in their feeds every hour, and you tweet at a rate of four times an hour, that amounts to 1 in every 5 of the tweets they see coming from you. Seems a little spammy, right? By learning about your follower and subscriber base — and testing different post frequencies — you can mitigate social “spamminess” and optimize for engagement and lead generation. Here’s a simple strategy for determining your optimal post frequencies. First, for each network you’re testing, schedule your posts apart by two hours, and stick to that posting frequency for a week. During that time, make sure to keep an eye on your key social metrics (Likes, shares, clickthrough rates, leads generated, etc.).The following week, reduce the buffer time between your posts to an hour and a half, and see if (and how) that reduction in post frequency affects your metrics. Continue to reduce the buffer time between your scheduled posts week over week, and through some simple analysis, you can hone in on the post frequencies that maximize the metrics you want to optimize for. Figure Out the Best Times to PostIn addition to having calculated ideal post frequencies, Zarrella looked into the best days and times to post to various social media channels. For example, his data showed that when it comes to expanding your reach on Twitter, 5 p.m. is the best time to tweet. (That’s when the highest percentage of retweets occur.) For Facebook, noon and a little after 7 p.m. are the two top times for maximizing your reach, as those are the two times of day when Facebook shares spike. Ultimately, however, there are many different studies that all point to different ideal days and times for posting. So, as was the case with post frequency, you’ll need to do some testing to figure out your ideal post times. To start, open up your social media publishing tool and sort your past posts by the number of clicks they’ve received. By scrolling through this list, you should be able to identify any prominent trends related to post timing. For example, if you see that seven of your top ten most-clicked LinkedIn posts were shared between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., that’s a good indication that 1-2 is your LinkedIn posting “sweet spot.” However, keep in mind that clicks don’t equal customers. To truly understand the impact of your post timing, you’ll need a social media publishing tool that can talk directly to your database of contacts (if you’re a HubSpot customer, that technology is already in place). This connection between your publishing tool and your database will allow you to focus your efforts and figure out ideal post times for engaging existing leads and customers, and not just your audience at large. Integrate Social With Your Other Marketing ChannelsFor the sake of organization, the How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels guide is divvied up so that each channel has its own dedicated section. But in reality, your marketing channels don’t live in silos: They’re all interconnected. When it comes to social media, this interconnectedness is especially apparent (and important). Here are a couple of tips to help you integrate social with your other marketing channels.Add Google Authorship to your blog.If you haven’t done this already, stop what you’re doing and get on it! Google Authorship ties your Google+ profile to your blog posts, which allows Google to display information (e.g. your name, profile image, and the number of circles you’re in) next to your posts when they appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).While marketers continue to quantify the benefits of setting up Google Authorship, many have found it has a positive effect on clickthrough rates and page views.Incorporate social sharing and follow buttons into your emails and thank you pages.Your blog isn’t the only channel that can benefit from having social buttons. By incorporating these buttons into your emails, you can help drive more opens, clickthroughs, and conversions, and — more generally — you can make it clear to your contacts that there are other places where they can engage with you on the web (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). Thank you pages are another easy-to-overlook location where adding social buttons can make a difference. These are the pages where people actually download or access your content after filling out one of your landing pages.While we recommend removing all navigation links (including social buttons) from landing pages to make sure people focus on filling out the forms, with thank you pages it’s a different story: Visitors have already submitted their contact info, so if you can convince them to share your content, awesome! Just make sure that when you set up your social sharing buttons, they point to a landing page (and not the thank you page itself). Do you have any tips or tricks for optimizing your social channels that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below! Topics:
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 Instagram Marketing The brand/influencer partnership is an age-old concept, but forming partnerships with popular Instagrammers is still in its early stages. Perhaps soon, we’ll see brands experimenting with similar approaches on SnapChat, Meerkat, and other emerging platforms. After all, the best marketers go where their audience is — and maybe, the best way to reach them is by teaming up with a social media celebrity.Featured Image Credit: Patrick Janelle He styled that image carefully to give context to Bloomingdale’s products, which would otherwise be viewed by themselves in a store or on a web browser.Why was a partnership with an Instagram influencer like Patrick a great move for Bloomingdale’s here? Because Patrick’s Instagram photos showcase a lifestyle shared by Bloomingdale’s target audience — and Instagram is a perfect stage to showcase that lifestyle. In addition to reach, the Instagram platform allows for creative storytelling through photos.Influencers like Patrick can position different products and places inside their own worlds. Their audiences see value in these products and places because they’re seeing them in the context of a lifestyle they’re familiar with. They relate to it.In other cases, brands solicit Patrick to take pictures that he sends to the brand’s social media team, who then posts that picture to their Instagram account. For example, last summer, Capital One teamed up with Travel & Leisure Magazine to launch an Instagram campaign called #BucketList, where they encouraged their followers to make travel bucket lists, make them a reality, and document their travels on Instagram using the #BucketList hashtag.To jumpstart the campaign, they hired three Instagrammers in three U.S. cities — New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco — to take beautiful photos of their cities for Capital One’s Instagram account. Patrick represented New York City, and his job was to document some of his favorite places and use the caption to connect the bank’s brand to the idea of exploring a city and breaking new ground.Here’s an example of a picture Patrick took for Capital One’s Instagram account: Originally published Mar 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Patrick Janelle has a dream job.That’s the first thing I thought to myself when I heard him tell the audience at Social Media Week NYC that he is a full-time Instagrammer.Yup, that’s right: Thanks to an extensive background in graphic design and a very high follower count, Patrick’s full-time job is to do cool things and go to cool places, take beautiful pictures of his experiences, and post them to his personal Instagram account, @aguynamedpatrick.Download our essential guide to Instagram for business for more helpful tips and tricks. The pictures he posts are a mix of the unbranded content that led to his Instagram popularity, and pictures he now posts to promote brands he’s partnered with, like Hyatt, Equinox, and Thom Browne.Patrick, who currently goes by the moniker “Man About Town,” is what’s called an “Instagram influencer.” Since joining Instagram in April 2012, he’s accumulated over 361,000 followers (and counting) and built a strong personal brand around showcasing a New York City lifestyle filled with food, fashion, and travel.His posts are editorialized, of course. “I’m not showing the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink,” he told us in New York. “But it’s authentic. I like to post in real time, in a chronological manner, to document what I’m doing at the moment.” To Patrick, Instagram is a kind of chronological journal of his activities and lifestyle — a lifestyle he calls “aspirational, but accessible.”Most importantly, though, he exerts influence over his hundreds of thousands of followers, making him an attractive partner for brands looking to experiment with paid sponsored campaigns on Instagram. For example, he started the hashtag #dailycortado (referring to a type of espresso drink cut with warm milk, often drizzled on top in an artistic design) that now has over 26,000 mentions on Instagram from people all over the world.Harnessing Influence on InstagramThe powerful voice Patrick has among his niche audience is exactly why brands seek him out to create content for them. You see, in marketing terms, companies want to partner with Patrick because his followers align with the businesses’ key buyer personas — they have similar demographics, habits, and interests.Patrick told us, for example, about the Instagram-only campaign called #Zoomingdales that he did with Bloomingdale’s, a store that sells designer brand name clothes, accessories, and gifts. It featured a series of “gift guide collages” meant to “show the breadth of the Bloomingdale’s assortment,” Bloomingdale’s VP of Social Jonathan Paul told WWD.The company solicited Patrick to create, capture, and post his own gift guide collages, where he would arrange Bloomingdale’s items with his own, personal items to tell a story. In the post below, Patrick’s picture tells the story of cozying up and watching a holiday movie at home. “It wasn’t just a one-off thing,” said Patrick. “I posted somewhere between five and seven photos over the course of a few months. It was powerful for Capital One and Travel & Leisure to be seen over and over on my feed. I had an ongoing, long-term relationship with the brands.”What Makes a Campaign Successful?After hearing about a few of the campaigns Patrick worked on — including those for Bloomingdale’s, Capital One, Boathouse Farms, Orbitz, PayPal, and most recently, Equinox — I wondered how these brands were measuring the success of Patrick’s campaigns. After all, a barrier of entry to working with him is that he must be able to do all his own creative direction. With that much autonomy, is Patrick responsible for any metrics or results from the campaigns?”No,” he said, frankly. “I often don’t hear back from the brands about the outcome other than they were happy with the posts.”Of course, every brand has different goals for each campaign, whether it’s building a following on their own brand’s Instagram account, driving traffic to a particular product, or promoting brand awareness in general. Patrick believes it’s brand awareness that motivates most of the brands he works with — which is where the caption becomes particularly important, he says.”[By writing captions,] I put context on everything I’m doing. It’s about creating more than just a beautiful image; it’s about creating a world that all these images are living in.”And he never hides when his posts are the result of a partnership; in fact, he’s quite candid about it. For example, one of his more recent partnerships is with Equinox for their “Truth or EMMDI” campaign. EMMDI stands for “Equinox Made Me Do It,” and the campaign plays off the popular game of “Truth or Dare” by encouraging people to push themselves outside their comfort zones and document it. In a recent Instagram post, Patrick’s caption reads: “This week, my @Equinox partnership challenged me to make a dramatic change. Here it is: Not usually one for diets, I’m going full-on paleo for a week to see just how much it rocks my world. #TruthOrEMMDI.”Pretty straightforward. Patrick admits he’s “kind of a purest.” He takes photos only on his iPhone, uses hashtags for categorization reasons only, and always geotags his location. “I use the tools the way they were meant to be used.”He’s Not AlonePatrick certainly isn’t the only Instagram influencer posting on behalf of brands. Nowadays, it’s fairly common practice for brands and publishers to work with Instagram users who’ve accumulated large followings.A Brooklyn-based man named Ike Edeani quit his graphic design job to pursue photography full-time, which includes the photos he takes and posts on Instagram for his 538,000 followers. According to the VentureBeat, Edeani is “regularly approached by ad agencies and brands willing to pay him hundreds of dollars to photograph their products on Instagram.”San Francisco-based Darren Lachtman runs accounts on behalf of his dog, a Brussels Griffon known to his 52,000 Instagram followers as Biggie Smalls the Notorious D.O.G. According to the New York Times, he’s famous for posting “punny posts with rap lyrics” and is paid by brands like BarkBox, a subscription service for dog owners, to post pictures promoting their brand.
Topics: Live streaming has come a long way in the last decade. Back in 2008, I covered the U.S. Presidential Primary in New Hampshire with a Nokia N95, and streamed in 3G, using Qik. Other options at the time were Flixwagon and Kyte … ever use one of those?Luckily, today, we have mobile devices that can record in HD and stream over 4G and/or wifi. The user experience is a lot better for both live streamers and viewers — which is why live streaming on mobile apps is becoming more and more popular.Want to live stream videos from your smartphone or tablet? You’ll find there are a couple apps to choose from that’ll let you share live video easily with your network. The trick is knowing which one best fits your needs.To help you choose, let’s take a look at the best features of four of the most popular new live streaming apps available today.The Best Features of 4 Live Streaming Apps1) Periscope (for iOS and Android)Best feature: The video from your broadcast is available to viewers for 24 hours after it ends.Ever seen someone tweet a link to their live broadcast, only to click it and find out the broadcast is over and there’s nothing there to watch? While that can happen on Meerkat, it won’t on Periscope. Why? Because Periscope will save your videos to the app if you choose, and they’ll be available for viewing by your followers for 24 hours. You also have the option of saving your videos to your phone’s camera roll.There’s also a list on the Periscope app of the most recent 15 streams. From that list, you can click on the ones that are archived, watch the video, and see all the chat messages appear as they were made in real time. It’s almost like you’re watching it live.Here’s a screenshot of The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon using Periscope to live stream his monologue rehearsal:Want to learn more about using Periscope? Read this blog post for more tips and tricks.2) Meerkat (for iOS)Best feature: Your viewers can text chat with you during your live broadcast.Chat is a fun way to connect with your followers, and Meerkat takes full advantage. When you live stream on Meerkat, a chat stream appears and scrolls upward from the bottom of your mobile device. This is fun for viewers to interact with one another and with the broadcaster, if he or she is watching the chat. The video experience is powerful already, but the added chat feature can lead to developing stronger relationships with your followers.Want to see what it looks like? Check out the screenshot below, and find my chat message to Brian Stelter of CNN near the bottom:The user interface is really nice: New messages coming in stay at the bottom of the screen so they don’t cover too much of the video. You can also scroll backward to read any messages you missed. Finally, if the viewer chooses, then his or her chat messages are posted to Twitter as @reply messages Very powerful connecting stuff here!Another great feature: Katch Kats for Meerkat lets broadcasters record and post their live streams to YouTube.Whereas Periscope automatically records your live stream and gives broadcasters the option of saving it to their camera rolls, Meerkat doesn’t automatically record it. However, if you use the #katch hashtag in your broadcast title or comment with #katch during your stream, then your video will automatically save to YouTube.Viewers might request you to do this by using #katch in the comments, but the broadcaster him or herself must approve with #katch in order for the video to be saved. When the broadcaster uses the hashtag, Katch Kats automatically creates a YouTube video and notifies followers by posting a link in the comments.3) Hang w/ (for iOS and Android)Best feature: You can host your live stream on a web page and send followers there.Using Hang w/’s simple web widget, you can point people to your own web page to drive traffic to your website. In addition, Hang w/ lets you own your own user page where followers can watch your live streams. The app will point viewers to this page and they can watch it there. This makes it easy to promote a live stream ahead of time.Check out the example below of Jared Leto’s page:4) Stringwire (for iOS and Android)Best feature: You can set up your own channel, invite others to stream live to it, and manage which live stream is broadcast.You can also hook up your Stringwire account to YouTube and live stream there. These are pretty advanced features that’ll be fun to experiment with.What’s a great use case here? Stringwire is a good platform to use if you want to get your video seen on broadcast or cable news, as it allows you to direct a multiple-camera broadcast and stream live to your Stringwire account or to YouTube. As a long time video producer, I felt comfortable shooting in landscape mode with Stringwire.Just look at the types of videos Stringwire features:NBC and other news outlets will be looking at Stringwire for videos to share on air, so in this case, shooting videos in the landscape orientation is the best choice. And keep in mind that when you share on Stringwire, other people could potentially make money off your videos. Click here to see a brief discussion about this on Facebook.Which One is Best?All of these apps are viable options depending on your needs. The best way to figure out which of these apps is right for you is by figuring out where your audience is by trying them yourself and gauging their performance. Currently, I’ve got them all. They’re being updated regularly, so you’ll see bug fixes and new features added. Sometimes an app might have trouble connecting, so you can move on to the next one.The ability to stream video and chat with viewers in real time is powerful. Go out there, try it, and have some fun. (Then, share your experiences with us in the comments!) Originally published Apr 29, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Live Streaming Don’t forget to share this post! 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Do you ever find yourself struggling to feel motivated at work? Perhaps you’re bored or tired. Or maybe you just don’t see the point in what you’re doing.It can be really hard to focus and get your work done — let alone do it well — when you’re feeling unmotivated. Luckily, though, there are things you can do about it.Check out the infographic below from ProEssayWriter to learn about the seven most common reasons people feel unmotivated at work — and how to fix them. You’ll be back on your A-game in no time.7K+Save 7K+Save Originally published Sep 8, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated April 19 2017 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 Collaboration/Teamwork
Originally published Oct 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Website Design Topics: Eye-catching, on-brand color schemes. Big, bold images. Striking headlines.These are all important parts of great website design. After all, they’re what can make or break a new site visitor’s first impression of your site. But what about the more nitty-gritty parts of great website design — like helpful navigation menus, strong calls-to-action, and indicators of website security and trust?There are a lot of moving pieces that go into the web design process, and it’s important to make sure you’re not overlooking any of them.Don’t want to leave anything out during your next website redesign? Check out the infographic below by AddPeople for a comprehensive list of the basics of designing and building a great website. (And scroll through this list of 15 of the best website homepage design examples for even more inspiration.)649Save 649Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Google Ads Smart marketers know Google AdWords is an essential part of a strong B2B marketing strategy. Since Google searchers are actively looking for either pertinent answers or solutions, marketers can quickly capture their attention and convert them to leads with search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns—as long as they take the right approach, of course.Neatly Organize Your Keywords and Ad GroupsOne of the most critical elements of your SEM campaigns is the organization of your keywords. Here are the best practices to create ad groups: Group keywords with similar themes: For example, put all “software” keywords in one ad group, separate from “solutions” or “platform” keywords Divide informational keywords and transactional keywords: For example, “what is customer relationship management” versus “buy crm software”, or “do i need crm” versus “customer relationship management solutions”Structuring your ad groups like this allows you to tailor both your ad copy and your landing page to best fit the keywords, and makes it easier to detect performance patterns and execute appropriate bid and status adjustments.By grouping keywords by theme, if a prospect searches “crm platform” and is served two ads—one with the headline “Top CRM Software” and one with the headline “Top CRM Platform”—that prospect is more likely to click on the latter. Relevancy is key in every part of SEM campaigns.The second recommendation is primarily so you can match your landing page to the searcher’s level of intent. It would be unwise to use a direct-response ad (“Call Us Now”) and a Contact Us landing page with an individual who searched “what is crm.”Similarly, you may not want to send someone who searched “buy crm software” to a landing page where they’re invited to download an eBook about general customer relationship management advice.BONUS TIP: It’s all right to have ad groups with only one keyword if there are no similar terms with which that keyword can be grouped. But do not create a “Miscellaneous” ad group to lump together all of the keywords that don’t seem to fit anywhere else. If the keywords in an ad group aren’t related, you won’t be able to create ads relevant to each of them, which will lead to poor click-through rates and low conversion rates. So please, just don’t do it.Enhance Your Ads with ExtensionsAdWords offers many ways to beef up your search ads with extensions, and you should use as many as possible. Here’s why:Your ads will take up more of that precious real estate in search results, pushing your competitors farther down the page Searchers can learn more about your company without clicking your ad You can provide links to additional landing pages Google rewards those who use ad extensions with higher quality scores, which means lower cost per click and, in turn, a lower cost per conversion The biggest downside of AdWords is the character limit. It’s difficult to give a complete summary of the content you’re offering or the total benefits of your product in only 70 characters.With ad extensions, marketers can not only include more information about the company (using callout extensions and structured snippets), but they can also include four more links in addition to the main landing page. This means you can offer five different conversion opportunities with one ad.Also available is the review extension, which allows marketers to append a product review to the ad, helping lend credibility to your business. There is also the call extension, which lets marketers add a phone number to the ad, encouraging high-intent searchers to connect with your company immediately.Not all of the AdWords extensions will be appropriate for your advertising, but there certainly are no drawbacks to using those that are.Use the Proper Landing PagesB2B SEM campaigns traditionally use two types of landing pages: direct-response and content downloads. Both are equally important in paid search marketing.Many marketers make the critical mistake of not taking advantage of content. They assume the best practice is to cut to the chase and simply tell searchers, “Let’s talk,” regardless of where the searcher is in the buyer’s journey. However, the actual best practice is to use paid search together with content marketing to start the lead nurturing process.Say a prospect is just beginning his research. He’s heard of CRM software but isn’t sure if his business needs it, so he Googles “what is crm software.” Marketers who recognize the importance of intent (and who have meticulously organized their ad groups) would serve an ad featuring a free download of their eBook, “The 10 Benefits of Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.”The searcher sees this ad, is interested in the download, and submits the request form. The prospect now has a useful guide to help him with his research, and the company has his contact information.The core principle of content marketing is to start a conversation with prospective customers by offering them helpful eBooks, whitepapers, blogs and industry reports related to their needs, rather than jumping right into a sales pitch.Content marketing is about demonstrating value to prospects, which is crucial in a consumer-empowered marketplace. Sending a visitor straight to a Contact Us page when he’s in the early stages of the buyer’s journey is kind of like proposing on the first date.BONUS TIP: Feel free to have multiple conversion opportunities on your PPC landing pages. For instance, include a link to a gated PDF download of an industry report or eBook on a Contact Us page (example below). If a prospective customer arrives on the landing page but doesn’t want to chat right then, they can download the content instead, and you still capture their email address. Win-win!The proper use of content in AdWords campaigns allows marketers to build trust and establish the kind of relationships with prospects that help them feel more comfortable making what is often a hefty financial commitment. And with HubSpot’s Ads Add-On, it’s easy to manage both content and AdWords campaigns in one platform.AdWords can be a profitable channel, but it’s important to remember that SEM campaigns can take time to show their worth. If you’re patient, follow this advice and use all of the tools at your disposal, you’ll see how much paid search can boost your overall ROI. Originally published May 13, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017