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

Annual Filing Season Program Survives AICPA Challenge

first_imgThe AICPA lost its bid to stop the IRS’s Annual Filing Season Program. The IRS created the program after losing its battle to regulate unenrolled tax preparers.Annual Filing Season ProgramThe IRS grants an annual Certificate of Completion to anyone who completes the program requirements. These include:obtaining a prearer tax identification number;taking the annual filing season refresher course or taking 18 hours of continuing education;passing an exam; andconsenting to be subject to the rules in Circular 230.As incentives for preparers to take part in the program, the IRS:lists unenrolled agents with a Certificate of Completion in its online directory of tax preparers; andgives them limited practice rights during audits of returns they prepared.Before the IRS began the Annual Filing Season Program, all unenrolled tax preparers had limited practice rights.Constitutional and Statutory StandingThe AICPA had standing to question the program because it injured some of its members. The program extends the scope of Circular 230 to unenrolled preparers, including those employed by AICPA members. Thus, it imposes new supervisory duties on AICPA members who employ preparers who complete the program. So, the AICPA had a grievance that supplied both constitutional and statutory standing.Authority for the ProgramHowever, the IRS has the statutory authority to establish and operate the program and publish its results. Contrary to the AICPA’s argument, the IRS does not tie Circular 230 violations to return preparation. Instead, it ties Circular 230 violations to the limited practice rights. Thus, the program did not run afoul of the restrictions in Loving.Also, the IRS followed the applicable procedure when it announced the program. The IRS did not have to adopt the program through notice and comment rulemaking under the APA.In addition, the program does not bind unenrolled preparers. Because the program is voluntary it provides an opportunity for those who chose to satisfy the requirements. Also, it does not impose any new or different rules upon supervisors of unenrolled preparers who do not participate in the program. .The procedure the IRS used to create the program was interpretive, not legislative, guidance. The guidance interpreted what the statute meant by competency.Also, the IRS gave unenrolled preparers limited practice rights through a revenue procedure. And, the IRS issued that procedure without notice and comment. Thus, the IRS did not violate the APA by failing to follow the notice and comment procedures.Program Not Arbitrary and CapriciousThe IRS’s Annual Filing Season program is not arbitrary and capricious. The IRS considered the AICPA’s concerns when setting up its return preparer database. Users can filter the directory to show each category of service provider. This includes those identified as Annual Filing Season Program participants.The IRS did not violate its obligations under the APA to consider reasonable alternatives to the program. The AICPA did not propose an alternative way to deal with:the problem of incompetent tax preparers; ortaxpayers who cannot tell whether an uncredentialed tax preparer is or is not competent.Reversing DC D.C., 2016-2 USTC ¶50,376.American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, CA-D.C.Other References:Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Ind vs Aus 2nd Test: India in dire straits after Clarke’s triple ton

first_imgMichael Clarke’s triple ton was the highlight for the day that saw Australian batsmen dominate at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. Score | PhotosIndia can take heart from the fact that the SCG wicket has eased out a bit. But the visitors still have a daunting task ahead as their batsmen continue to chip into the mammoth Aussie first innings lead of 468 runs.India were 114/2 with opener Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar at the crease at stumps on Day 3 of the second Test. The visitors still trail by 354 runs in their second innings.Australia 1st inningsStarting with an overnight total of 482/4, Australia captain Clarke and Michael Hussey continued to torment the India bowlers.Clarke, who batted for the whole day on Wednesday putting on 251 runs on board continued to pile on runs as India bowlers struggled to get their line right.At lunch Australia were 583/4 with Michael Clarke, eyeing a triple ton and Hussey having completed his century convincingly. Clearly the two were enjoying batting against a listless India attack.Soon into the second session the Aussie captain Clarke converted his maiden double ton into a triple hundred. Batting at ease, Clarke hit a four off Ishant Sharma to reach the magical figure of 300. His triple hundred was decorated with 37 fours and one over the fence shot – no wonder the man timed the innings rather well giving little chances to the opposition with just one aerial shot in his mammoth innings.The two batsmen also set a new record putting on 334 runs – the highest total by an Aussie pair against India for any wicket. Surprisingly they overhauled the 288-run record that was set by Clarke and Ricky Ponting on Wednesday.advertisementNothing has come India way in this Test, for after a poor batting performance, their bowlers were walloped across the park. Maybe it’s time for the team management to make some major changes in the team composition.Finally there was some respite for the bowlers when captain Clarke decided to declare the innings on 659/5 – a lead of 468 runs in their first essay. Clarke (329) and Hussey (150) remained unbeaten in the innings.Clarke’s efforts can be judged from the fact that the man came out to bat when Australia were reeling on 37/3 on Day One and went on to score almost the double of his previous best of 168.India 2nd inningsA commanding 468 runs lead by the Aussies was enough to put pressure on the visitors as they lost their opener Virender Sehwag rather early.Sehwag fell in the fourth over of the innings with paceman Ben Hilfenhaus and David Warner combining to dispatch him when the India total was 18.At tea India were 53/1 with opener Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid at the crease.The final session for the day saw Gambhir and Dravid try hard to thwart the Aussie attack. The two made good progress, chipping away from the Aussie lead. Runs kept coming at steady pace on a wicket that looked dry and primed for a good batting innings.Soon Gambhir was past his half-century and India had taken away 100 runs from the Aussies lead. But that was when Ben Hilfenhaus struck to remove Dravid on 29 ending their 82-run stand with a ball that entered the batsman gate and crashed against his stumps.With Dravid gone, it was time for Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar to have another go at his 100th ton in this Test.With the wicket proving conducive to batting, it would be appropriate that Sachin scores his 100th ton here in SCG’s 100th Test.last_img read more

Japan eye record gold haul at Tokyo 2020

first_imgJapan’s previous best effort in terms of gold medals was as host of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and at the 2004 Athens Games, when they won 16.Thirty golds would have put them above second-placed Britain’s 27 in Rio, but still a long way behind the table-topping United States, who captured 46.Yamashita was also bullish about Japan’s chances at next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, predicting nine medals overall.The country’s previous best haul at a Winter Games was five gold medals and 10 in total as host of the Nagano Olympics in 1998.ADVERTISEMENT Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MVP favorite Fajardo, Beermen likely to banner Mythical Team LATEST STORIES MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “I reckon we can aim to get 2.5 times the amount we did in Rio,” the former Olympic judo champion told local media, pointing to Japan’s recent success in gymnastics, table tennis and badminton.“That’s just my personal opinion, not that of the technical committee,” added the 60-year-old Yamashita, who was Japan’s deputy chef de mission in Brazil.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“We will collect the relevant data and decide (the official target) hopefully by next summer.”Yamashita, who won judo gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, also raised the hope that the host nation’s track athletes could deliver a surprise after a Japanese sprinter, Yoshihide Kiryu, finally broke the 10-second barrier last month after years of trying. ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claimscenter_img No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH 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 Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges 2020 summer Olympic games host city, Tokyo, is projected on the floor as dancers perform during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)A senior Japanese Olympic official has called on the host country’s athletes to win a national-record 30 gold medals at the 2020 Summer Games, local media reported Friday.Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) sports committee chairman Yasuhiro Yamashita backed home-grown competitors to more than double their haul of 12 golds at last year’s Rio Olympics, where Japan finished sixth in the medal table.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

6 Reasons You Should Invest in Internet Marketing During the Recession

first_img It’s hard to argue with the statement that the ” ? Or cutting back? .) Can you afford not to be where your competitors are? networking their way into sales opportunities publishing their way inbound marketing strategies into At the top, the economy is certainly showing signs of struggling – with bank failures, proportionally higher job losses, state budget shortfalls, etc.  And this could certainly trickle down.  Coincidence or not, we all are certainly paying more for food, gas and oil. So, this post is not meant to belittle hardships others are facing. Almost all internet marketing strategies require more of your time and less of your money compared to traditional marketing and advertising solutions. thought leadership positions . They are Constant Improvement . They are . ( and can deliver sales ready leads Inbound vs. Outbound. The internet is primarily an “inbound” marketing channel where you “pull” prospects to you, by being where they are looking for your solution. The internet What are you doing differently in your sales and marketing processes in order to grow your business – despite this mess? to grow their business quicker and more profitably.  But, I do believe that we can get ourselves out of this mess by basically stepping on the gas pedal of innovation and doubling down on our respective career and businesses’ growth strategies. And not doing anything or retreating from our strategies because we “fear” it could get worse, would be disastrous for each of us individually, the businesses we manage and the economy collectively. sales and marketing can work together how to handle the “R Word” objection in the sales process You can test everything. Some people get a little carried away with measuring every move. Not every connection on a social network, every email blast you send or every blog post you write, etc is going to turn into business. But, when your online marketing activities turn into leads, opportunities and sales, you will know exactly what activity to do again.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack IAB too Here’s why the “R Word” shouldn’t stop you from making decisions about your internet marketing strategy:  Like Warren Buffet . They are Given that I’m in sales, and I haven’t had anyone tell me that “I’m not buying because I can’t get a bank to give me a new credit card.” Or “I’m not buying because I don’t think anyone will buy my services in this economy – no matter how many leads I generate,” I think it’s probably safe to say that the economy is not affecting many of us. center_img Of course, this is easy to say, but harder to do. The Pavlovian reaction is to cut, but the media industry can learn from someone like Rupert Murdoch, who historically has never done that. You’ll see him investing in editorial and products at a time when other people are throwing the baby out with the bath water. The talk to do ratio is high, the doing is low. When times are tough it is time to invest, not cut. This comes from years of research dating back to Ogilvy’s Alex Biel and Millward Brown interaction surveys. All show that, if we cut marketing during such times, the impact is damaging and it can take you longer to get back to where you were. “. Ok, it isn’t hard to argue with that. But, much more experienced marketers than I have proven that Your Competitors are Shifting Their Spending : Putting aside whether we’re actually in a recession, or not, I think it’s safe to say that the “R” word is on everyone’s mind. Originally published Oct 7, 2008 11:34:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: One of the areas where many companies are innovating is their internet marketing strategy. “R” word or not, many companies are investing significantly in fundamentals of our economy are strong leveraging analytics technologies to improve sales efficiencies investing in down times is the surest way to capitalize on good times . According to eMarketer, Spend Time. Not Money. . If you’re doing the same thing you did to advertise and market your business as you did 25 years ago, you have a problem. Your problem is not that you’re still wearing bell-bottomed nylon suits. It’s that you probably don’t know what’s working and what’s not working. (See #3 above.) Measurability has a really interesting side effect. Since you can now measure things, you can now improve. I’m not talking about tweaking colors and copy. I’m talking about walking into the CFOs office and showing how you delivered more opportunities to the sales team on a smaller budget.  Everything is Measurable. redesigning their websites as lead capture machines . These companies are innovating their sales and marketing processes and most importantly, finding ways that more will be spent on online marketing and shifted from traditional marketing approaches as a result of the “R” word .  If they are looking for your solution, your sales cycle will naturally be shorter.  PS. As a bonus, here’s some great discussion on Are you investing like Murdoch historically does? Prepare for the future.  .  Be Where People are Looking. Marketing Advice If anything, when inbound marketing is done right, the web turns your marketing department into a publishing group, not that much different than Murdoch’s empire. last_img read more

Inbound Marketing: Doing is Believing!

first_img From my experience, most people only believe something will work for them once they’ve done it themselves and it worked for them. Chamber’s New England Business Expo a year ago inbound marketing stats from the event website . It took us about 5 weeks to sign up 30 people for the event. Based on the current sign up rate, we should have 50 attendees. We used no traditional marketing methods to market this. No direct mail. No cold calling. Just blogging, social media and email invitations to a very small portion of our opt-in email list.  We didn’t even implement all of the suggestions in Ellie’s leveraging the long tail for online marketing , I jumped at the opportunity. I spoke at the Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack event Do you want to start DOING your inbound marketing?  Free Online Crash Course on Inbound Marketing… We’re constantly sharing the Inbound Marketing ROI results from our own marketing efforts. (See the graphs in Prashant’s post about The attendees walked away from the seminar “believing”. However, only a few of them started “doing”. A bunch more said they needed more training. So, the Chamber called and asked if we could do a longer more hands-on format.  . excellent “inbound marketing for events” guide. .) Thus, the quandary… a Catch-22. is designed to have small business owners and marketers actually start doing their inbound marketing.  to a packed room.  But, my other answer will be to show the The most common question that I expect to hear during the event is, “How long will this take for me to achieve online lead generation success?” center_img . We also transparently share the free online crash course Topics: Learn how to attract more traffic, generate more leads and convert more leads into customers at this all day internet marketing workshop. May 13th, Worcester, MA.  the time and effort it takes to achieve their goals – using keyword, website and competitive data We’ll show them how to determine .  In the 1.5+ years I’ve been at Hubspot, I’ve seen 100s of companies embrace and excel at inbound marketing. But, that doesn’t make it much easier to get the next 1,000 to embrace it. report and all of our So, when the Worcester Chamber invited me to do an The case studies Inbound Marketing inbound lead generation Learn more by taking the roadblocks and “excuses” standing in the way of most small business’s inbound marketing success Originally published May 7, 2009 4:52:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 all day workshop on internet marketing .  No matter how much evidence and logic we present, though, there are so many small business owners that find a reason not to start inbound marketing. As explained so eloquently in Frank Reed’s guest post, there are lots oflast_img read more

Study Shows More Pages Indexed by Google Means More Leads

first_img keywords Originally published Apr 1, 2010 7:55:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 It might be reasonable to think that only larger firms have sufficient resources to create hundreds of pages that make it into Google’s database. To test this, we calculated customer size mix for each category of indexed pages. Our proxy for customer size is number of employees. Improve each page’s optimization Our analysis of over 1,400 firms shows a clear positive relationship between pages indexed by Google and the leads a company generates; companies with more indexed pages tend to generate more leads.  based on results from these companies. The report and this article were written by Sophie L. Schmitt. consider To represent the relationship between Google indexed pages and leads, we divided customers evenly into five categories based on number of Google indexed pages. For each of these categories, we graphed the median number of monthly leads. We used median instead of average to lessen the impact of outliers. incremental 50 to 100 indexed pages can cause double-digit lead growth Off-Page Search Engine Optimization: Marketers are likely to ask: Marketing Takeaways lead generation best practices It is interesting to note that the number of inbound links did not have a meaningful relationship with leads. Inbound links did correlate well, however, with unique visitors. This implies that for those interested in generating leads, quality of sites vs. quantity is more important when building inbound links. to quickly increase number of pages On-Page Search Engine Optimization: as per Google’s methodology to maximize chances of having all of your web pages included in the index: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Build page volume: . What we found is that Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 1:00pm EDT  Learn how companies are using inbound marketing techniques to generate higher volume and lower cost leads and customers. State of Inbound Lead Generation report Reserve Your Spot Now placing This is the first of three articles that share findings from  The State of Inbound Lead Generation Date and time: The graph above shows the strong positive correlation between the number of Google indexed pages and median leads. More specifically, it reveals that an building inbound links Is Company Size a Factor for Growing Indexed Pages? starting a blog Want to read more? Download the full  up until customers reach several hundred Google indexed pages. Customers with more than a few hundred indexed pages appear to be in a league of their own as median leads are more than 2x that of the prior category.   Increasing Google Indexed Pages by 50-100 Causes Double-Digit Lead Growth Live Webinar: The State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Measuring SEO in the right places on web pages such that Google and other search engines know what each page of your web site is about, and what keywords to rank you for , a new HubSpot report based on statistical analysis of 1,400 customers’ inbound marketing activities. The study identifies  for achieving significant volumes of Google indexed pages. Size and number of pages are mildly positively correlated, mostly in the extreme categories of Google indexed pages. While HubSpot’s large customers formed the biggest group with 311+ indexed pages in Google, small and medium-sized customers together outnumbered large ones in this category. In addition, small customers formed the largest group with 176 to 310 Google indexed pages. What are techniques for growing the number of Google indexed pages on my site? Topics: size is not a critical factor from reputable sites, thus demonstrating your popularity to search engineslast_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

3 Advantages of Creating Marketing Personas Non Gratas

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

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