Solar schoolbag lights up homework for rural kids

first_imgTo make Repurpose Schoolbags, waste plastic is cleaned, debranded and ironed and then creatively sewed into stylish designs by the team of seven full-time employees at the Rethaka Trading warehouseA schoolbag that, at night, turns on the lights for rural kids to do their homework. This is the innovative brainchild of power team Rea Ngwane (22) and Thato Kgatlhanye (21) who, after four years of work, have developed and successfully launched a community-driven business producing Repurpose Schoolbags.Friends from childhood, growing up in the rural North West village of Mogwase, the pair now run their company Rethaka Trading from Rustenburg. For years the two entrepreneurs had wanted to start their own company, and got the chance when Kgatlhanye entered a competition run by SAB.The task was to create an organic product that mimicked the beautiful design of nature. Kgatlhanye’s entry was a handbag that resembled a bird’s nest, for which she won third place – and R300 000 of seed money to start her own business.The result was Rethaka Trading, a for-profit women-owned company she set up with her friend Ngwane with the purpose of combining business with social good. The company’s main product is their Repurpose Schoolbags innovation, an ingenious idea that does a lot more with less. The bags are designed for schoolchildren from underprivileged communities with little or no electricity. They are made entirely from recycled plastic, and have embedded in them solar panels which charge a lantern during the child’s walk to school. After dark, this provides a light for doing homework, with enough power for 12 hours.The waste plastic is harvested from landfills and plastic recycling bins the duo have set up outside schools and churches. This plastic then goes through an intensive process of cleaning, debranding and ironing before it is creatively sewed into a stylish design by the team of seven full-time employees at their warehouse in Tlhabane, Rustenburg.SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURIn addition to running her own business, Ngwane is studying a bachelor of commerce degree in marketing management at the University of Johannesburg. She describes herself as a forward-thinker, someone who always has a curiosity about the “other”, the “what else?”As the operations and financial manager of Rethaka, Ngwane’s role is to cost-effectively and efficiently run the process from acquiring material to manufacturing, final product and inventory control. Ngwane says she is playing her part by being a social entrepreneur, one who mixes business with bettering the lives of others.‘STRUGGLING BILLIONAIRE’Her colleague Kgatlhanye, who refers laughingly to herself as a “struggling billionaire”, is a young South African who believes in second chances. This is the philosophy behind a book she co-authored in 27 days called “Start an empire with a brand”, and in the work she does for school kids who need a second chance at their education.As the brand and marketing manager of Rethaka, Kgatlhanye ensures that she effectively communicates the company’s green innovations and how they can turn social problems into solutions. She believes she is one of a new generation of leaders, working for change.Kgatlhanye’s remarkable career includes interning in New York with marketing guru Seth Godin. She was also selected as one of 18 South African social entrepreneurs to attend the 10 day Red Bull Amaphiko Academy in 2013, and is a recent graduate from the Vega school of branding.Plans for the future include developing a subsidiary luxury brand called Purpo, a range of fashion bags for professional woman marketed as both fashionable and concerned for the environment. The pair are also designing corporate bags for laptops, iPads and notebooks. Ten percent of the sale of these items will go towards manufacturing the solar schoolbags.Kgatlhanye says the change she wants to see in South Africa is “youth dreaming audaciously”, and the problem of funding for education being eradicated. Ngwane dreams of the day when South Africans will stop seeing differences between themselves, stop defining each other by race. Until then, these women say, they will continue to uncovering opportunities for change.last_img read more

FarmStarts seminars coming to Ohio

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest To help beginning farmers, National Farmers on April 4 and 5 will host its free FarmStarts seminars in Walnut Creek, Ohio and St. Henry, Ohio.Marketing, farm financials, organic agriculture and soil health pique the interest of farm producers today, and those are among the FarmStarts educational topics, presented by several guest speakers.AUDIO: National Farmers’ Helene Bergren and Mike Kleaving visit with The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins about the upcoming seminars in Ohio.National FarmersProducers can register online at nationalfarmers.com/farmstarts.The Walnut Creek FarmStarts workshop, on April 4, will be hosted by Carlisle Inn Restaurant, 4949 Walnut St., Walnut Creek, Ohio. The St. Henry FarmStarts workshop, on April 5, will be held at Romer’s Catering, 321 South Eastern Ave., St. Henry, Ohio. Both seminars begin at 9 a.m.The educational day is designed for newer farmers, who’ve been farming less than 10 years, or more precisely have filed fewer than 10 Schedule F tax forms. Producers with questions about the FarmStarts event may also call 515.598.4670.last_img read more

Sharapova comeback, teen’s dream run end at US Open

first_imgRoad Warriors sink Batang Pier “The emotions were high when it was 5-2,” she said. “I wanted to close it so much.”‘Unbelievable’ for StephensSpanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta advanced to his second Grand Slam quarter-final with a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3) victory over Shapovalov.The Canadian would have been the youngest Slam quarter-finalist since Michael Chang at the 1990 French Open, youngest US Open quarter-finalist since Andre Agassi in 1988 and first US Open qualifier in the last eight since Gilles Muller in 2008.“The biggest lesson is that I’m able to compete with these guys,” Shapovalov said. “I still think I have a lot of work to do.”Stephens, who was a 2013 Australian Open semi-finalist, missed 11 months with a foot injury that required surgery in January and returned only at Wimbledon, but has won 12 of her past 14 matches for her deepest US Open run in six tries.“I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better comeback,” Stephens said. “Making it to the quarter-finals here is unbelievable.”Wimbledon and Australian Open runner-up Venus Williams, the US ninth seed seeking her eighth Grand Slam title and third US Open crown, was to meet Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a quarter-final spot.Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, the third seed from Spain and leader in a fight for world number one, also was to face Czech 13th seed Petra Kvitova later.‘I just play perfect’Carreno Busta, the first player in Grand Slam history to face four qualifiers, has not dropped a set at the tournament.In a draw half assured of producing a first-time Slam finalist, he has a Tuesday quarter-final against either French 16th seed Lucas Pouille or Argentine 29th seed Diego Schwartzman. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Sharapova, whose five Grand Slam titles include the 2006 US Open, made 51 unforced errors to only 14 by Sevastova, whose 21 winners were half the 30-year-old Russian star’s total at Arthur Ashe Stadium.“She played unbelievable throughout the first and second set and I just kept fighting, running for every ball,” Sevastova said. “The third set could have gone either way.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSevastova matched her best Slam run from last year’s US Open while 146th-ranked Sharapova served notice her game remains formidable, having defeated second-ranked Simona Halep in her dramatic opener on the New York hardcourts.Sharapova tested positive for the banned blood booster meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and only returned from her suspension in April. She was snubbed for a French Open wildcard, missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury but received a wildcard for the US Open despite only one hardcourt tuneup match due to a left forearm injury.Sharapova blasted a backhand down-the-line winner to break for a 3-1 edge. Sevastova broke back in the seventh game but Sharapova broke again in the last, taking the first set after 27 minutes with a forehand crosscourt winner.But Sharapova hit a forehand wide to surrender a break to put the Latvian ahead 2-1 in the second set and Sevastova held from there, aided by Sharapova’s 16-2 edge in unforced errors in the set.Sharapova double faulted to hand Sevastova a break to open the final set and the Latvian broke again at love for a 3-0 lead.Sharapova then had a blistered right middle finger taped by a trainer and immediately broke back and held. But Sevastova held at love, broke again and took the match on a service winner.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Carreno Busta won his third career ATP title in May on Estoril clay then reached his first Slam quarter-final at the French Open, where he retired against Rafael Nadal with an abdominal injury that kept him out of Wimbledon.Shapovalov’s bid collapsed thanks to going 3-of-13 on break points and making 55 unforced errors against 54 winners, Carreno Busta with 25 winners against 29 unforced errors.“At the beginning I was a little bit discouraged, maybe nervous,” Carreno Busta said. “In the tie-breaks I just played perfect. It was an amazing victory for me.”Later men’s matches pitted South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi and German 23rd seed Mischa Zverev against US 17th seed Sam Querrey. CBB LATEST STORIEScenter_img SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Maria Sharapova of Russia (left) waves to the crowd after her women’s singles fourth round match loss to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia (inset) on Day Seven of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2017. AFPNEW YORK, United States — Maria Sharapova’s Grand Slam comeback after a 15-month doping ban ended in defeat Sunday at the US Open, as did the dream run of Canadian 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov.Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova rallied to eliminate former world number one Sharapova 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 and book a quarter-final berth against American Sloane Stephens, who ousted Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

Stop Leasing Your Marketing And Start Owning It

first_img Originally published Oct 8, 2009 7:35:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 Traffic and lead volume are common metrics that most marketers and businesses track.  But unless you are tracking your conversion rates it is easy to be deceived by the illusion of growth.Here’s a simple example that will highlight the growth illusion: Most marketers would be thrilled to see a monthly visitor graph that looks like this one below.  This shows tremendous month over month visitor growth. At the same time any marketer would be proud to have a corresponding lead graph like this one that’s demonstrating 5% month over month growth. It looks very compelling!But, despite the phenomenal growth in visitors and leads your conversion rates could be going down, dramatically!  In this case the conversion rate has gone from just over 13% to below 10% in 6 months (almost a 25% drop). The reality is, today businesses are buying traffic. In fact buying is the wrong word, they are leasing traffic.  Outbound marketing such as email rentals, PPC ads, banner ads, press releases are essentially methods for leasing targeted visitors to ones site.However, once your campaign is over, your lease expires, and you need to renew your spend and pay for new visitors to your site. And more traffic means spending more money. But, unless your conversion rates are steady or increasing, your ROI is going down. The key to owning your marketing is managing your conversion rates and keeping your costs down. Inbound marketing is a great way to do that while hitting your growth goals.  What are you doing to own your marketing and  improve your conversion rates?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.Photo credit: TheTruthAboutInbound Marketing Kit Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our inbound marketing kit. 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

8 Ways to Use the Web to Write Amazing Headlines

first_img . Make a list of the top 10-20. Place this list of keywords near your computer, so that you can remember to include them when you are working on headlines for blog posts, emails and ebooks. The reason these keywords drive traffic to your site is because they rank well in search engines. That means website pages including these words have generated inbound links, ultimately demonstrating that these terms resonate with your target market. 8 Ways to Use the Web As a Headline Testing Laboratory Amy Loves Yah Blog Analytics application Photo Credit: – With all the buzz today around the newest social media platforms, some of the earlier online communication platforms get forgotten. However, anyone who has participated in an industry forum will tell you that headlines are critical in getting your thread read. A forum allows a person to start a conversation by posting a message and then other community members can reply to that message. The great thing about most forums, is that they publicly display the views and replies for each thread. 2. Survey Your Readers to help drive leads for your business, but if you are willing to spend a little money, you can also use these platforms to conduct some broad title testing. Let’s say that you are about to launch an important new ebook for lead generation. I would recommend writing about 10-15 titles that you think would be good for the ebook. Note: Google, Bing or Facebook Remember that headlines are only one part of a successful offer, but by taking the time to conduct some additional testing, you should be able to increase lead flow and reduce your cost per lead. Inbound Marketing , you can send a message to your group with your proposed headline to see how well it performs. – If you have been creating content for a while, you have a great data set of historical content performance. It is now time to conduct some analysis of your past content. You will want to look at content by subject and also will want to have your success metric next to each piece of content. You should group content by topic and look at the different variables involved in the success of each content piece. If you have 10 blog posts on healthcare payment systems, for example, you would want to look at when these posts were published, the tone of the post as well as its headline. From this analysis you should begin to recognize some patterns for your best preforming headlines. Leverage this knowledge for future headline writing. LinkedIn’s messaging system is pretty basic, so you will need to use a – When people think about headline or subject line testing their minds go directly to email. Depending on the size of your email database and the amount of time you have available to conduct tests, email is an extremely valuable testing ground for headlines. The best way to get started is with a simple A/B test. Take a random portion of your email list (size will vary based on the overall size of your database) and divide it into two groups. Send each group the same email at the same time. The only difference should be the subject line. Using some of the other testing methods in this post, you now have a short list of headlines/subject lines that should preform well. The last step is to see which one of the finalists best resonates with your email subscribers. Look at the leads and click-through rates for each email send and select the winning send which should then be sent to the remainder of the list. HubSpot customer – You might be using pay-per-click advertisements on – To write headlines that resonate with people, you must have a clear understanding of what people want. In an upcoming email newsletter or blog article, conduct a short survey to find out what topics and tone your target audience enjoys the most. Keep in mind that people will sometimes say they want a certain topic or content even if that is not necessarily true because they feel like they are “supposed” to want it. This is why using a survey with other testing methods offers a more accurate understanding of the interests and needs of your audience. Great headlines have to be simple, yet convey a powerful message. Even when you think you have it just right, it might not resonate with your audience. Bit.ly it is easy to do this with an excel export from the top traffic referring keywords 5. Keyword Referral Analysiscenter_img 1. Forum Posts 6. Twitter and Facebook Engagement Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack – How much a piece of online content is shared in social media can be a strong indicator of the success of its headline. Look at the Facebook insights report If you are a 7. LinkedIn Groups Messages – Linkedin Group . 3. PPC Advertising link for your offer and count the clicks on that link through Bit.ly’s analytics system. You will then need to take that number and divide it by the total number of members that received your message to get a click-through rate for the send. Look at the click-through rate and determine if it meets your benchmark from previous LinkedIn sends and compare it to your average email marketing click-through rate. While it will take a few sends to establish a good benchmark for LinkedIn, this data could be a valuable proxy to determine if you need to tweak you headline prior to a major email push. 8. Email Testing Originally published Jan 12, 2011 4:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 Topics: – Email marketing can be a major lead generation source for many businesses. However, if you are unsure of a title for an email offer, you want a way to test it before the release. If you manage a As a marketer, you should be using this data to write better headlines. Let’s say that you are writing a long-form ebook or blog post. Test possible headlines as thread titles on a message board. Include a part of your content in the message and ask for feedback. You can look at the data provided by the forum to see which headlines worked. You may also receive some great content to include in your blog or ebook. should be in the back pocket of every good inbound marketer. Analytics is one of the first things you set up when you start inbound marketing. One of the valuable pieces of information web analytics can give you is the number of visits, leads and customers a particular keyword brings. When working to build better headlines, you should look at your from your Facebook Fan Page to determine which articles enjoyed the most engagement. The same holds true for Twitter. Again, analyze the headlines with the most shares in an effort to find phrases or formats that work best for generating social sharing. 4. Analyze Existing Headline Effectiveness Web analytics Before you launch the ebook, use PPC to help you narrow that list down to only a couple. Use the same ad but change the headline for each new ad with one of the titles you have drafted. Bid on some important keywords related to your industry and look at the click-through rate and conversions for each ad to see which titles preformed the best. Then, use email testing to evaluate the best two or three performers.last_img read more

3 Steps to Driving a Focused Lead Generation Strategy

first_img to focus our attention on the values and benefits customers care about and how our product can uniquely deliver them. This tool identifies the target audience (persona), names the product, its category, primary benefit meaningful to the persona, and relevant points of differentiation compared to the most likely competitive alternative. Intended for internal use only, this tool is instrumental in helping marketers stay true to the values and benefits that matter most to customers. While the positioning statement is The “engagement message” is the hook, usually expressed as a problem or opportunity designed to literally engage the target audience in a dialogue.  , now available on Amazon. He is also a speaker for our persona The “solution criteria message” suggests criteria that must be met to address the problem or opportunity shown in the engagement message, regardless of the vendor selected. We’re approaching the mid-point of 2011, and it’s time to take stock. How well are your lead gen programs performing? Be honest. the message to the prospect or customer, customer-friendly messaging can be derived from it easily. The most difficult part of the positioning statement exercise is that it forces marketers to make sacrifices. Intuitively, we know we can’t be “all things to all people.” Yet, that’s what most companies end up trying to promote. That misstep only adds to the noise and confusion in the marketplace. The positioning statement exercise is a forcing function that will lead marketers to produce clearer, tighter, and more consistent messages that prospects will hear and understand. lead generation programs they are, Step 2: The Positioning Statement Here’s the good news: it’s easier than you think to get out of this cycle of noise-producing marketing that feeds the black hole of spam filters everywhere. All it takes is a small bit of back-to-basics marketing discipline with three steps designed to help you understand the buyer. After all, in our competitive business climate, whoever understands the buyer best, wins. Hands down. When fail, they do so mainly because the messages communicated are irrelevant or ill-timed for the target audience. Our target customers are bombarded with thousands of messages every day. Unfortunately, we (as a society) have become so used to information overload, it’s become the white noise of the marketplace. As a result, the knee-jerk reaction from companies is the “ready, fire” execution of promotional offers. It’s easy for marketers to fall into the trap of believing that volume replaces the need to “aim.” they work, and Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Putting It All Together where With a keen sketch of our target persona in mind, we now need a crisp The “value message” is designed to show how life for the customer will be better than before by using the product. It’s benefit-focused. Step 3: The Message Box Lead Generation is a fictional representation of a set of real people who share similar traits or experiences. A client I was working with was interested in reaching IT leaders of the Global 3000 companies. That’s a fairly wide range of folks. We needed more specific information in order to construct an effective integrated marketing plan. To help narrow the field, we built the persona of our ideal prospect, focusing on positioning statement When it comes to effective lead gen programs, there is no substitute for a clear and crisp positioning and messaging strategy. These three steps will put you on the path to the marketing high ground.Photo Credit: Mark Hunter The “product reinforcement message” is when we introduce the product by name. Whereas the engagement and solution messages are about the buyer, reinforcement is about our product and how it is the best option for satisfying the conditions stated in the solution message. Message Box A is the best technique I know to craft a concise “elevator pitch” using language the persona will understand. Imagine a blank sheet of paper with a box in the middle. Put the name of your product in the box, and put the name of your persona in the upper left corner of the page. Surrounding the box are places for four messages: engagement (top), solution criteria (right), product reinforcement (bottom), and value (left). Each message leads into the next, transgressing in a clockwise fashion. This is a guest blog post by Mike Gospe, author of Topics: When combined, these four key messages create an effective 30-second “elevator pitch.” With a solid persona and positioning statement in hand, the Message Box exercise takes about 45 minutes. Of course, this is just the beginning of a messaging strategy. Use the Message Box to create a solid foundation from which to what characteristics Originally published May 12, 2011 9:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 not who build a full content strategy Marketers must stop yelling at prospects. Successful marketing today is less about direct selling and more about story telling. And people pay attention when the story is about them. The Step 1: The Persona . Lead Generation Quick-Start Series made them a good target for us with respect to our products and services. By the end of our brainstorming session, we zeroed in on this label to summarize them: “the skeptical futurist.” Key to each persona is more than just basic demographics. We also want to include information about what they think and how they make purchase decisions. Unsure where to start?  Ask a sales rep about their latest win. that will help you map the right messages (and the required content) to each stage of the prospect’s buying cycle. The Marketing High Groundlast_img read more

6 Ways B2B Companies Are Using Facebook

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Is Facebook applicable for B2B companies? Absolutely! With more than 750 million users, Facebook is useful for far more than just teenagers playing online games. The social network has become a representative sample of the world’s population. As a company selling to other companies, Facebook serves as an important tool for generating leads and nurturing customer relationships.Let’s take a look at 6 B2B companies and how they are using Facebook:6 Ways B2B Companies Are Using Facebook1. Rewarding Brand Advocates: In the world of outbound marketing, it wasn’t easy for word-of-mouth buzz to spread quickly about your business. That has all changed. Smart B2B companies now realize that “fans” can be an important part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. Cisco has taken a unique approach to rewarding some of its biggest fans. It has created a SuperFan Spotlight on its Facebook page, which rewards members of the online Cisco community who share news and information about the company. 2. Doing Product Marketing and Promoting Testimonials: Does it get more B2B than vibration testing equipment? Fluke Corporation has gained more than 21,000 Facebook fans using some successful contests. Fluke is also a great example of a B2B company putting its product upfront in the right way in its social media marketing efforts. When you first visit the Fluke Facebook page, you are welcomed by an image about one of its featured products. In addition, the wall of the page is filled with customer testimonials.3. Promoting News: Nothing says B2B like commercial trucking. Scania Group, a manufacturer of trucking equipment, uses Facebook to expand the reach of its news and announcements. The company hosts a newsroom on its website that acts as a hybrid between a blog and a press room. Scania uses Facebook to distribute news and industry information directly to prospects and customers, expanding its reach beyond traditional media.4. Sharing Videos: Facebook isn’t only about text. Dell Enterprise, for example, has an entire tab on its Facebook page dedicated to sharing content from its YouTube account. Videos enable B2B companies to talk about best practices and product features in a different — and often more compelling — forum.5. Showcasing Experts: In B2B marketing, building credibility and thought leadership through online content creation is a key part of successful inbound marketing. GE has come up with an innovative use of Facebook to help solve this problem. Using a custom Facebook tab, GE has created a digital experts panel that displays experts as well as their newest tweet, blog post, or Facebook update. 6. Generating Leads – The most important use of Facebook for a B2B company is generating leads and revenue for their business. One way to generate leads from Facebook is with a Like and lead gate. ClearRisk, an online provider of risk management solutions, uses the HubSpot Facebook Welcome application to encourage new visitors to their Facebook page to become a lead for their business.Like GateLead Form Within FacebookMarketing TakeawayIt is clear that Facebook is a powerful tool for B2B marketers. When it comes to Facebook, set two clear priorities. The first should be setting up methods for generating leads directly from Facebook. The second should be integrating your overall inbound marketing strategy with your Facebook content and community. Look at how other B2B companies are using Facebook, but don’t limit your strategies to only those that you currently observe in the market. Originally published Sep 20, 2011 12:40:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Facebook Marketinglast_img read more

The Anatomy of an Effective Facebook Business Page

first_img LinkedIn Company Pages Originally published Oct 19, 2011 3:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Successful inbound marketers understand the value of an effective Facebook presence complete with an engaging business page that attracts a lot of ‘Likes’ (By the way, have you liked HubSpot on Facebook yet? ;o). But for those just getting accustomed to Facebook business pages and all they have to offer, the experience can seem daunting.To give you a good sense of the various elements of a Facebook page and how to use those elements effectively, let’s dissect the anatomy of a Facebook business page. We’ll use HubSpot’s Facebook page as our subject. (Note: No Facebook fans were harmed during the dissection of this Facebook page.)The 13-Part Anatomy of a Facebook Business Page1. Welcome Page: It’s a great idea to consider creating a custom tab (see number 8 for more info) to welcome new visitors that land on your business page. Set this as the ‘Default Landing Tab’ so new visitors automatically see this page first (you can do this when you’re editing your page under ‘Manage Permissions’). Use this page to welcome new visitors and entice them to ‘like’ your page. (HubSpot customers can get more leverage out of this by installing HubSpot’s Welcome App, which shows visitors a form that can convert them into leads without even having to leave the Facebook page.)2. An Awesome Image: Be sure you upload a relevant image to your page. Make the most of the real estate this image space provides. For instance, instead of just uploading your business’ logo, create a custom image that provides additional information or promotes a particular offer. (Read more about designing your image smartly in number 4…)3. Your Photo Strip: Upload pictures to your page’s photo albums, as they will get featured in a photo strip at the top of your page. Get creative, and use this strip to create a more customizable Facebook page, as these companies have done.4. Your Thumbnail: The thumbnail image that appears next to your wall posts and comments is automatically generated from your page’s image (as discussed in number 2). Be mindful of this when you create your image, as you’ll want to make sure your thumbnail image can work independently of the larger image. Facebook allows you to make minor edits to your thumbnail by dragging the larger image to adjust to fit a smaller thumbnail size.5. Questions: Pose questions to your Facebook fans to encourage discussion and conversation on your Facebook page. Fans of your page are there because they want to be social, learn from you, get valuable information, and engage with others. Spark discussions by asking questions regularly.6. Freshness: Just like your website shouldn’t be static, neither should your Facebook page. Make sure you’re regularly engaging with your fans. Stay tuned to your audience and how they respond to your posting frequency. Don’t spam your audience with too many posts, but make sure you’re providing a steady flow and variety of updates.7. Engagement: Being engaging with your fans should elicit engagement from them, too. An effective page generates ‘likes,’ comments, shares, and buzz that expands the reach of your page and attracts new fans. Use Facebook Insights to measure and analyze how effective you are at engaging your fans and making it a must-subscribe page.8. Applications and Custom-Built Tabs: Explore the various Facebook applications available to you, and add those that will help you create a richer, more engaging Facebook page. Does your business have a YouTube channel, a SlideShare page, or a Flickr account? Consider adding apps for those sites to pull in content from those channels onto your Facebook page.Furthermore, you can use iFrames to create custom tabs that act like landing pages for your page. Use these custom tabs to showcase customer testimonials and case studies, promote featured content or lead gen offers, provide more information about your products/services, or publicize your presence on other social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.9. Content: Offering helpful and interesting content is one of the best ways to maintain a solid Facebook presence. Offer a healthy mix of content types, including blog posts, webinars, ebooks, and content from other thought leaders as well.10. ‘About’ Information: Consider this space your elevator pitch. Use it to clearly and concisely explain who you are and why you’re valuable. You can even provide a link to more information here, too.11. Fan Posts and Page Tagging: Create a richer and more interactive experience for your fans by enabling them to post freely to your page’s wall as well as tag you in posts they publish on their own walls. (i.e. Posts your page is tagged in will not only appear on their walls but will also appear on your page’s wall.) This capability can be managed in your page’s setting under ‘Manage Permissions.’12. Responsiveness: It’s great to initiate discussion and engagement by asking your fans questions and posting content and other updates, but it’s also important to be responsive as well. Respond to both positive and negative commentary. If you’re dealing with a particularly negative Nancy, take the conversation off of Facebook and ask them to contact you over email or by telephone instead. 13. Basic Information: Make sure you’ve completed your basic information. There’s nothing more annoying than visiting a Facebook page, looking for additional information, and finding none. Use this section to expand upon your ‘About’ elevator pitch, offer more in-depth information about your business, and link to your website and other social properties.Still haven’t created a page for your business? Here are some simple steps you can follow to set up your Facebook business page and get started in creating an effective Facebook marketing presence!Get fresh examples of how to leverage Facebook business pages by liking HubSpot on Facebook! 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 Expert-Endorsed Ways to Improve Your Marketing TODAY

first_img Originally published Apr 29, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: In the marketing world, there’s lots of discussion about shortening attention spans and how we as an industry need to tailor our approach to be faster, better, and more compelling. Often in just three seconds or 140 characters. But where’s the instant gratification for marketers? What can we do in a day’s work that will generate real impact on our business?Below we’ve outlined tips from top experts on tactics and strategies you can employ in the next 24 hours to improve your marketing for the long haul. We recruited best in class experts including Ann Handley, Jay Baer, Shawn Graham, David Meerman Scott, Kevin Daum and more for their input, and combined their expertise with HubSpot’s own proven tactics. The result? Lovable tactics and strategies you can employ within a workday to help attract, convert, engage, and delight more prospects, leads, and customers.1) Revamp Your “About Us”Small business marketing expert and Fast Company blogger Shawn Graham describes the “About Us” section of a company’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as “a window into the soul of your business.” He adds, “your About Us section is a unique opportunity to showcase the personality of your brand and to differentiate yourself from competitors.”Instead, however, “About Us” pages are typically a good way to lull people to sleep with mundane facts, figures, and references alongside a vague description of who you are and how it’s different.What to Do TodayComplete a three-step checklist to improve your “About Us” description.Step 1: Ask a handful of your employees (not on your marketing team) and your customers to read through the current version and provide candid feedback on what it does well and where it falls short.Step 2: Put your “About Us” next to two of your competitors. With no additional context, could you understand how your two companies are different by just scanning your overview?Step 3: Identify a brand you truly admire and take a look at their “About Us.” If you need inspiration, check out SEOMoz, Songza, Nike, and Tumblr.Once you’ve completed these three steps, consider optimizing your page with relevant keywords for your customers, making it easier and more intuitive for someone to try or buy your product, and further differentiating your products from competitors in your space. Your team and your customers will thank you for it.2) “You Don’t Need Cats and Babies to Make Business Videos That Work”Kevin Daum is the author of the best seller “Video Marketing For Dummies,” so he’s no stranger to cats, babies, and overused memes. He notes, “Often it’s a lack of intention that leads to mediocrity. By aligning on a goal, a target audience, and a core story, your business can benefit significantly from using video to foster growth.” One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with video is trying too hard to “go viral.” Kevin recommends focusing on a specific target population or core business need and developing a remarkable video rooted in that specific goal.He adds that videos can be used for everything from lead generation to objection removal to customer assessments and referrals, but that you should identify specifically how video can work the hardest for you. Do you hear the same objection to the purchase of your product constantly? If so, leveraging a video to distance yourself from competitors or tell the story of the value that goes along with your higher price may be your best bet.What to Do TodayMeasure the impact of your current video marketing. Have your existing videos accomplished any of your core business objectives, such as driving awareness of your brand, increasing referral traffic to your site, or improving conversion rates with existing prospects? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” consider using your afternoon to draft and script ideas for a video to address your top marketing challenge. Instead of focusing on “going viral,” invest in making your video truly remarkable in quality, approach, narrative, and message.It’s easy to deprioritize video in your marketing mix, but taking an afternoon to script out your next project and measure your current inventory will help you jumpstart your plan for the next six months ahead.3) Make Your Press Releases Buyer-CentricChances are, when you talk to your customers in person or by phone, you speak their language. You focus on terms they understand and steer the conversation toward challenges you can solve for their business. Yet for some reason, when it comes to press releases, marketers are stuck in the dark ages and jam pack as much jargon as possible into a single page because we believe it’s what journalists want to hear.Best-selling author, speaker, and expert David Meerman Scott reminds us, “instead of creating content to cater to a handful of reporters, create press releases that appeal directly to your buyers to help prospects find you and shorten your sales cycle.” This principle dovetails nicely with a core principle of inbound marketing: Don’t wait for your story to be told; tell it yourself. By combining Scott’s advice with principles of inbound marketing focused on content creation, your business can remove barriers to “getting found” by potential customers and improve conversion rates with visitors to your site.What to Do TodayDraft a press release focused entirely on what your buyers care about. Planning a new product release? Hiring a new marketer? Improving your customer service approach? Create a media release that avoids jargon and hubris and focuses entirely instead upon the most relevant needs of your customers. Doing so will create more relatable content and help tell your story to potential buyers without waiting for media to amplify your message.4) Delight a CustomerRegardless of the line of business you’re in or the nature of what you sell, your customers play an integral role in the success of your business. However, the great irony of marketing is that we often forget about customers once they’re in the door, and we are missing countless opportunities for referrals, recommendations, and revenue by doing so.Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs Ann Handley encourages all marketers to ask “would your customers thank YOU for this?” before publishing, and that’s a great gut check for all of us before sending an email offer or posting a blog entry. Similarly, Shawn Graham always reminds his clients who own small businesses that unlike large corporations, they have myriad opportunities to understand their customers’ interests, habits, and patterns on a daily basis. The proliferation of social media has made it easier than ever for prospects to ask their peers and friends for recommendations, so delighting your customers is more important than ever to your brand, your business, and your bottom line.Don’t wait for focus groups and formal surveys to get feedback from your customers; talking to your customers on a regular basis is a much more authentic, conversational, and less expensive way to solicit their feedback and thank them for their business.What to Do TodayTake a customer out for coffee or arrange a short phone call to check in on them. The focus of your discussion should be solely on delight; that is, you should be thanking the customer for his or her business, asking how you can help them succeed with your product or service, and understanding the challenges they are currently facing in their business. Every conversation you have with a customer should teach you something, whether it’s a greater appreciation of their time or budget challenges, deeper insight into the nature of their business, or a challenge they experience with your product that is incredibly easy to fix.At any rate, for the price of coffee and your time, delighting your customers is well worth it. Taking an hour out of your day to spend time listening to a customer versus talking at them is an investment worth making in your marketing mix.5) Follow Your Target Journalists on Social MediaIf getting more coverage or augmenting your thought leadership is a priority for your business in the upcoming year, it’s imperative that you have your finger on the pulse of their social media presence. But, as Twitter for Dummies author and HubSpot evangelist Laura Fitton observes, “the most influential people on Twitter give freely of their time, energy, and influence. Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan regularly publish lists of exceptional people on Twitter and share content created by other influencers in the industry, shining a huge light on other people in the community as opposed to trying to be the spotlight themselves.”What to Do TodayFollow in the footsteps of Fitton, Vaynerchuck, and Brogan by not just following the journalists and influencers in your space, but also by highlighting their work, sharing their content, and promoting their thought leadership. When it comes to social media, give is the new get, so put time on your calendar for the remainder of the week — not to just follow and request things that benefit you from journalists and influencers in your space, but also to showcase their big ideas, generate interest in their content, and demonstrate your appreciation of their insight. Schedule 15 minutes each day for the rest of the week devoted entirely to cultivating the most relevant list of journalists and influencers in your space available, and invest the time and energy to read, promote, and share their insight with your employees, customers, and fans.6) Market Your MarketingAs marketers, we tend to think about a launch specifically as a one-time milestone and plan for it as an isolated event. Jay Baer, Founder of Convince and Convert and author of Youtility, observes “you know what happens when most content is ‘launched?’ Nothing. Because content marketers too often treat the fact that the content is completed as the end of the journey when in fact, it’s just the beginning.”Great inbound marketers view the creation of a blog entry, the big reveal of a product, or an executive forum as just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of treating each of your marketing milestones as a one-time venture, create a plan that maximizes the value your customers can extract from each piece of content you create, each event you plan, and each product you launch. Doing so will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your existing assets.What to Do TodayIdentify three pieces of stellar content you’ve already created and develop a plan to promote it. For example, does a recent news event make it possible for you to newsjack your way into a current conversation using quotes or infographics from a previous campaign? Are there great quotes, statistics, stories, or insights included in a previous ebook that you can bolster with new information to create an updated offer for your customers? Can you increase the value of an upcoming event by gathering quotes from attendees that could comprise a future blog entry? Regardless of which approach makes the most sense for your business, take an hour today to re-examine existing assets you have in your marketing toolkit and develop a plan to make them more accessible and relevant through newsjacking, co-marketing, repurposing, or reformatting in a manner that’s remarkable.Some days, it seems like a marketer’s work is never done. Balancing strategy and execution, social and SEO, content and conversion, alongside all of your other tasks can overwhelm even the most agile and adept marketer. Each of the expert strategies above can be completed in less than a day, many of them in just a few hours, so you can get a few quick wins that will garner long-term gains for your business. And when you’re done with this list, our experts all agree: it’s five o’clock somewhere, so go enjoy the fruits of your labor.What other tips have others shared with you (or tips you’ve come up with yourself) that have helped you immediately impact your marketing?Image credit: North Charleston 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 Strategylast_img read more

30-Day Challenge: 8 Little Changes to Your Marketing That’ll Make a Big Impact

first_img Topics: You’ve all heard of TED Talks, right? Their tagline is “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and some colleagues of mine have surfaced one of their talks that I think has an idea worth spreading to a lot of our readers.So, I’m blogging about it. Like bloggers do.The TED Talk is from Google’s Matt Cutts, and the central idea is that you can do anything for 30 days. “Think about something you’ve always wanted to add to your life, and try it for the next 30 days,” Cutts says. “If you really want something badly enough, you can do anything for 30 days.”The 30-day timeline seems, to Matt, to be the perfect amount of time to add a good habit to your daily repertoire — or subtract a harmful one. I think this is a fantastic challenge for anyone on a personal level, but I also thought maybe inbound marketers could take on the challenge in an attempt to improve their marketing.In our office, some of us have taken on our own personal 30-day challenges (which I’ll share with you at the end of the post) but I wanted to put forth both the video that explains the challenge, as well as some ideas that inbound marketers could possibly try out for the next 30 days. Monday is the start of a new month, after all, so I thought this would be a good time to noodle over what we could do every day for the next month to improve our marketing.Here is the video clip (it’s short, just a couple minutes), and some possible 30-day inbound marketing challenges we could take on below it.The 30-Day Challenge: What Could You Do in 30 Days?Some 30-Day Challenges for Inbound Marketers1) Write 500 WordsMany inbound marketers cite content creation as a challenge, which is why I was immediately struck by an example Matt gave in his TED talk:”Have you ever wanted to write a novel? Every November, tens of thousands of people try to write their own fifty thousand-word novel from scratch in 30 days. It turns out, all you have to do is write 1,667 words a day, for a month. So I did. By the way, the secret is not to go to sleep until you’ve written your words for the day. You might be sleep deprived, but you’ll finish your novel.”This really resonated with me as a content creator, because when you’re suffering from writer’s block (or just really don’t want to write), the best solution truly is to just do it. So, consider writing 500 words a day for one month. You could use the content for an ebook, blog post, whitepaper — whatever. Heck, some of it might be total rubbish that you never even publish. But you’ll get used to writing content, and after 30 days, I have a hunch you’ll feel a lot less intimidated about content creation, and be much better and faster with it, too.2) Learn a New Tool in Photoshop… or another visual content editing or creation tool, if Photoshop isn’t your jam. We all know visual content is hot, but we don’t all know how to take advantage of it in a practical way — because we’re not all designers, and we can’t all afford to hire one. At the end of this post is a free visual design crash course. That’s a good place to start if you’re looking to up your design chops, and maybe center your 30-day challenge around improving your ability to create visual content.3) Learn a New Excel FunctionEffective inbound marketers make data-driven decisions. If you’re comfortable using Excel, you can do a lot of really cool number crunching that sheds remarkable insights on your marketing activities. Spend 30 days trying to learn new Excel functions — you can start simple, and as you get more comfortable crunching numbers, experiment with weirder and geekier functions. Your marketing will certainly thank you.4) Call One CustomerMarketers are typically pretty closely aligned with their sales organization — or at least they strive to be — but its easy to forget about leads once they become customers. But if you’re truly practicing inbound marketing, you’re trying to solve for the customer, not just the close. So perhaps a month of talking to customers could help you get back in touch with what it’s really like to use your product or service, if you feel out of the loop. For instance, our CEO Brian Halligan makes it a habit to speak to at least three customers every week. It’s an invaluable source of feedback that can help you make better Marketing and Sales decisions.5) Sit on a Sales CallOr perhaps you don’t feel as connected to your sales organization as you wish. Spending a little time every day listening in on a sales call is an excellent use of time to get some insight into the kinds of questions Sales is fielding. You could use the information to guide your content creation, SEO, and sales enablement strategies.6) Use a New Social NetworkSometimes people give up on those things too fast. We just don’t have the time, you know? It might be time to give one of those new social networks the old college try, though. See if Pinterest really could work for you. Or Twitter. Or LinkedIn. Or Quora. If you don’t put in a concerted effort on a consistent basis, it’s really hard to make anything work well.7) Run a New A/B TestA/B tests help inbound marketers make incremental improvements to their marketing — backed by data, not feelings. Imagine if you ran a new test every day for a month. The impact on your marketing would be huge! If it seems insane to run that many A/B tests, just check out this blog post — there are 25 experiments in there that you can run on your email marketing alone.8) Read for 30 MinutesIt’s so easy to get into work, open your email, and dive into your work — tasks, calls, meetings, etc. Before you know it, your day’s over, and you start it all over the next day. When do you have time to actually learn new things, though? Challenge yourself to spend 30 minutes a day just … reading. Industry news, inbound marketing news, a book, or even brand new sites you’ve never heard of before. I even recommend reading stuff that has nothing to do with marketing or your industry at all. It gives you perspective that helps you do your job better, spurs ideas for new types of content, and keeps you sharp when you’re working with people outside the four walls of your company.And, If You’re Curious What We’re Doing …A group of us are supporting our fundraising campaign for our partner, charity: water. We’re taking on more personal challenges — things like no sugar or no coffee (aaah!), or adding in things like reading 20 pages or working out every day. Any day we fail to live up to the challenge, we’re donating a dollar to our #failwhale jar, which you can see to the right. So, you know, it makes failure a little less dire. 😉 I, personally, am taking on a 30-day challenge to not slouch, and a marketing challenge to not leave work until my inbox is under 20 emails (when you work in editorial for an inbound marketing department, that is a very real marketing-related challenge).Whether you choose to do a personal challenge or marketing-related one, take one last piece of Matt Cutts’ advice to heart:”When I made small sustainable changes, things I could keep doing, they were more likely to stick. There’s nothing wrong with big crazy challenges — in fact, they’re a ton of fun — but they’re less likely to stick … The next 30 days are going to pass, whether you like it or not. So why not think about something you have always wanted to try, and give it a shot for the next 30 days?”So, what will you try? Share your ideas in the comments — or, if you’ve already done this challenge in the past, share what you did, and whether you stuck with it after the 30 days were up!Image credit: Moyan_Brenn 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 Jun 28, 2013 3:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Marketing Strategylast_img read more