It’s tempting to think that the wage gap is narrowing given increased conversation around the topic over the past decade, but according to a new study, it continues to persist, and not for the reasons we may think. According to Quartz, Hired recently found that black coders receive an average of $10,000 less than their white counterparts.The reason for this? It “appears to be that [African-Americans’] salary expectations are far lower than peers in different racial groups,” Quartz says. On average, black coders request $13,000 less than their white peers — and, when presented with a lower initial salary expectation, few companies hesitate to capitalize on the opportunity to reduce costs. Though the pay gap was most notable for black coders, women, Asians and Latinos were all less likely to estimate their skills at a value as high as their white and male peers.We Have to Get Real, The Racial and Gender Pay Gap Exists“We think this [lower] preferred salary is a sign mostly of historical bias and discrimination against people. The preferred salaries actually bake in the historical bias people have felt [from] years of discrimination… Companies are taking advantage of that,” said Jessica Kirkpatrick, Data Scientist at Hired.In a perfect world, the onus would not fall on the job seekers themselves to ensure they receive equal pay, but as this study illustrates, it’s largely upon individuals to take action if they want to earn their full potential. Inspired to take a stand and fight for what you’re worth? Here are a few quick tips.1. Figure Out Your ValueToo many job seekers base their desired salary range off of past salaries or a vague estimate of the market value of their skills. But with today’s technology, you don’t have to hazard a guess. Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool offers a free, personalized salary estimate based on title, company, location and experience which you can use as concrete evidence when making your case for a raise.2. Apply to the Right JobsCertain jobs and companies will naturally be willing to pay more than others — and Glassdoor can help you find which ones they are. Our newly launched salary estimates on job listings give you an idea of what certain positions will pay, so you don’t have to waste time applying to a position that’s not right for you.3. Start the ConversationDon’t wait on HR or your manager to broach the topic of a pay raise. Schedule some time with the appropriate stakeholders to discuss your salary, and make sure to read up on strategies in advance, such as offering a range, using positive words and managing counter-offers. And above all, don’t let yourself get too intimidated or discouraged — speaking up is the first step to achieving change.Facing a Pay Gap? 6 Salary Negotiation Tips to get the Salary You Deserve
A great way to grow your online activist program is to run a high-profile online advocacy campaign around a specific issue or event. Promote it like crazy using the same promotions and strategies as you would for your regular website, fundraiser or end-of-year campaign. The most effective advocacy campaigns have a viral component, i.e., people are compelled to forward emails about the campaign to their friends who forward it to their friends, and so on.When you develop a high-profile campaign, you can either drive the traffic through your own home page or create a special page or mini-site with its own relevant and memorable domain name, ideally the same as the name of the campaign itself, such as 24hoursforDarfur.org.Designing your site.When designing the site for your online advocacy campaign, make sure the action is clear and simple. Don’t overwhelm people with too much to do. Get them to the site and get them to take the action. You should acquire their email addresses and you can also ask them to make a donation, but be patient. Even if you don’t receive a large number of donations, you will have a larger email list of people who can be converted to donors. Keep in mind that the majority of the site’s visitors will only view the first page — be sure to include any important information and calls to action on this page.Tell-a-Friend.In addition to asking visitors to take action and make a donation, encourage them to email their friends about the campaign. “Word of mouth” marketing is just as effective online as it is offline, and it’s easy to incorporate a “tell-a-friend” function into your site. Again, make it easy – let visitors input the email addresses of up to 5 friends and provide a prewritten message that they can edit if they want.Offering incentives.You may want to offer an incentive for people to take the desired action, such as being entered in a drawing for a free DVD, tickets to a show, or airfare to your annual conference. Incentives like these may be effective at drawing in new names, but the long-term value of those names may not be as high, especially with a free product offer. They may not be as committed to your cause, and therefore not as likely to take another action or make a donation without further incentive.Measuring your success.The success of your campaign will be measured by the number of people who came to your site and the number of people who took action. This will include the people who sent a communication to your target as well as the number of people who forwarded a message to their friend, signed up to receive your e-news, or made a donation while on the site. You can measure the success of your promotional efforts by tracking where the traffic on your site came from.How effective is online advocacy?Online activism is extremely effective for engaging constituents and drawing attention to an issue. If it gains some viral headway, it is likely to be reported in the media and stimulate further debate. Additionally, a simple request such as entering your name and email address to sign a petition is easy to do and will encourage support from people who otherwise wouldn’t take the time to do anything.
Posted on March 3, 2011August 17, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)It’s a hectic but exciting week at the MHTF as we gear up for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD) next Tuesday, March 8th. Like many other organizations, we are planning to honor the day by launching a number of special features that we believe will inspire the community.The MHTF website serves as a global platform for the entire maternal health community to Discover, Collaborate, and Discuss. Indeed, the site has become a dynamic space for the community to share their data/information, voice their opinions, and highlight their achievements. It is in this spirit that we are marking this important 100 year anniversary.Here are a few things you can look forward to on our site next week as a tribute to IWD:The launch of our multilingual site in Arabic, French, and Spanish to further extend the reach of our maternal health resources to non-English readers all over the worldThe launch of a special page honoring the significant work that our partner organizations do to improve women’s livesSpecial blog posts from MHTF leadership, staff, and membersSo, remember to check the site often next week and especially on the 8th — and get ready to be inspired!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on October 26, 2012Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)On October 17th, Harvard School of Public Health featured a post, Researchers To Examine the Impact of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, about a group of researchers who are exploring the impact of the Millennium Development Goals, with a close look at the implications of the inclusion of certain goals and the exclusion of other goals.From the post:In fact, say researchers Alicia Ely Yamin and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, the MDGs’ focus on primary education effectively relegated some other worthy educational goals to the back burner, where they received less support—and less funding. Likewise, the other MDGs—aimed at addressing problems including poverty and hunger, maternal health, and child health—while admirable, also had unintended effects of marginalizing some issues that weren’t specifically mentioned in the list.“One of the powerful things about the MDGs is that they set very specific goals, like cutting the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day by half, or reducing maternal mortality ratios by 75%,” said Fukuda-Parr. “These are all very important priorities and no one would disagree with them. But there are many other global goals that are important. So we need to ask, ‘What did the MDGs leave out?’ ”Yamin, lecturer on global health in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Director of the Health Rights of Women and Children Program at HSPH’s François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights, and Fukuda-Parr, professor in the international affairs program at the New School in New York, are leading a group of 17 researchers in the international development and human rights communities in examining the consequences—both intended and unintended—of the MDGs.Read the full post here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Learn the basic principles and issues related to respectful maternity care Explore strategies for integrating respectful maternity care into quality improvement initiatives from case studies around the world Posted on July 5, 2017August 4, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)On 17 July 2017, the Maternal Health Task Force and Ariadne Labs co-hosted a special webinar focused on respectful maternity care and quality improvement.Watch the video>>Download the presentation slides>>Visit the BetterBirth Community>>—Please join the Maternal Health Task Force and Ariadne Labs for an upcoming webinar, “Integrating Respectful Maternity Care Into Quality Improvement Initiatives,” on Monday 17 July 2017 from 10:00AM-11:00AM Eastern Daylight Time.The objectives of the webinar are to: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Understand how respectful maternity care relates to quality of care more generally, as well as improved maternal health outcomes SpeakersRima Jolivet, CNM, MSN, DrPH Maternal Health Technical Director, Maternal Health Task Force, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthRose Molina, MD, MPHBeth Israel Deaconess Center and Ariadne LabsDavid Sando, PhD Student in Global Health and Population ScienceHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Management and Development for HealthSaraswathi Vedam, RM, FACNM, MSN, Sci D(hc)Principal Investigator, Birth Place Lab, Associate Professor, Division of Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, University of British ColumbiaModeratorKatherine Semrau, PhD, MPHBetterBirth Program Director, Ariadne LabsClick here to join the webinar on Monday 17 July at 10:00AM Eastern Daylight Time.*Pre-registration is not required.Subscribe to receive a reminder about this webinar.Share this: Review the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist as a quality improvement tool
Being our own boss is a rewarding process but it can also be a financially stressful venture. The money in our bank accounts come and go instantly, and without a plan in place, a life-changing event can significantly erode our freelancing business (yikes).It’s a scary thought and a reality that we tend to easily ignore. As a business owner, we have plenty of short term goals and responsibilities. But we must stop and think about the future viability of our time and resources, and have a plan on how to ultimately achieve financial independence.Being financially independent means different things to different freelancers. To some, it means having enough cash to run their business operations while traveling the world. To others, it means saving for a home where they can set up their home office operations and have plenty of time for their spouse and kids. And for some, it means having enough money to achieve work-life balance and enjoy night outs with friends without worrying about the bills.Whatever financial independence means to you, having sufficient money to spend freely and not living paycheck to paycheck is the dream lifestyle. To get there sooner, here are four actionable steps you can take today to own your future:Step 1: Know your take-home incomeThe first thing is to check the financial pulse of your freelancing business. Review your past financial performance and determine what direction your venture is going. If you are spending more than you’re earning, think about whether the goodwill you’re accumulating is valuable.If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, then maybe think about how you can increase your income potential. The question you want to tackle here is: Are you charging enough for your time?An insight to your after-tax income is a great starting point to determine your price floor because it allows you to adjust your billing rate accordingly. For example, a $10,000 client invoice is your gross income not your take-home pay so don’t expect to have that money in your bank account.Expect that a small portion of the $10,000 goes to operating expenses to get the job done, and then a substantial portion goes to taxes – 15% for federal tax, 15.3% for self-employment tax, and 8% for state tax. So on a $10,000 project, you can potentially only net less than half.Knowing this amount allows you to calculate your after-tax hourly rate and determine if you’re charging enough for your time.Step 2: Figure out the cost to achieve your financial goalYour financial goal has to be measurable in time and dollar amount. When you subtract your take home pay from the total cost of your financial goal, the difference is the money that you are allowed to spend for basic necessities – this is your allowable expenses.Here is the basic math formula you need to pay attention to:[After-Tax Take-Home Pay] – [Cost of Your Financial Goal] = [Allowable Expenses]If your goal is to travel to an exotic place once a year, figure out how much money you’ll need to travel and when you need this money by. Since the cost of your financial goal is fixed, you either need to increase your take home pay or lower your allowable expenses in order to make the above equation work.Step 3: Know where your money is goingNow that you know the price for your time and the cost to achieve your financial goal, you need to know how you can live within your allowable expenses.First, compare your allowable expenses with your actual expenses from your personal and freelance business. If the difference is substantial, then you need to know where your money is going so you can make the necessary adjustments to close this gap.You can use a simple excel sheet to track all your expenses, but if you have hundreds of transactions per year, I suggest using an automated expense tracking app like Levee to track both your freelance business expenses and personal expenses simply by connecting all your accounts: business and personal checking, savings, credit cards, etc.Once you organize your finances, examine your 5 major expenses. For your business, major expenses are generally going to be for taxes, advertising, operational, and educational. For your personal, major expenses are generally going to be for rent, food/drinks, shopping, transportation, and utilities.By itemizing your expenses, it is easier to identify which expenses are important and which ones can wait until you reach your goal. If you’re struggling to live within your allowable expenses, then Step 4 is for you.Step 4: Mentality ShiftYes, trick your brain from impulse purchases. We all have to do it because we’re constantly bombarded with ads of instant gratification. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to live within your allowable expenses:Tips on SavingsYou have to pay yourself first before your business in order to achieve your financial goal, and you have to automate this process or you’ll easily forget. Once you determine how much you’ll need to put away every month, you can change your online banking settings to automatically transfer 20% of the money in your checking to your savings or investment account.There are a lot of investment firms you can choose from but pay attention to the fees. I recommend using an investment firm like Aspiration where you pay whatever investment fee you think is fair.Another way to automate your saving is to trigger the action when invoicing a client or spending. When you prepare a client invoice, add an additional bank account so that the payments coming in will be automatically split and deposited into two separate bank accounts – 80% to your checking account and 20% to your savings or investment account. You can also try a micro-investing app like Acorns where it saves your change by rounding up your expenses every time you swipe your card.Tips on Spending LessAnother way is to spend smarter. If your largest expense, by far, is eating out, then use apps like Groupon and LivingSocial to find cheaper places to eat. You can also cut back on subscriptions that you don’t often use by using a company like Trim. Or to control impulse purchase, create an Evernote account to list all the things you want buy with a weekly reminder to see if you still want or need that item.Tips on Paying Less TaxesTo have a healthy freelancing business, you have to take control of your taxes which is going to be one of your largest business expenses. Not only that you have to pay roughly 40-50% of your net income to the government, tax preparation fees for professionals are generally expensive and time consuming.To automate this process while ensuring you’re getting all the tax breaks, Levee automatically prepares your tax return for you which you can export the data to your tax preparation software or share with your accountant. And if you don’t have an accountant, Levee has in-house tax professionals who can review and e-file your tax returns for you.Financial independence can make or break a freelance career. It’s time to quit living gig-to-gig and take control.This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
As reported by Adweek here.Instead of running a $5 million Super Bowl ad, Bose wants social-media users to jam out. The music-electronics brand is taking tweets and turning them into lyrics for its FanTracks initiative, which was created by New York agency 360i and is focused on Twitter and a dedicated Tumblr blog.Through Sunday’s Big Game, the Framingham, Mass.-based audio company is encouraging consumers to compose tweets with the hashtag #LetsHearIt. Their words and emojis will be set to a variety of musical styles, such as country, gospel, funk and even—yeah, baby—Norwegian metal.Such tracks will be recorded by musicians at one of Bose’s studios and posted via its social channels. The campaign will include a paid push, though it’s unknown how extensive the ads will be.The Super Bowl tie-in involves calling on fans of Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers—the NFL franchises playing on Sunday—to tweet about their teams while using #LetsHearIt.The idea of verbalizing emojis is, well, pretty fun. When a Norwegian metal tune surfaces on YouTube, we’ll be sure to update this story.
Has an organization or university offered you an opportunity with a stipend? Whether it’s an internship or apprenticeship, a stipend is a set amount of money that helps offset living expenses. This fixed amount is financial support provided while you’re… Full Story,Truth is, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to college: new friends, a new routine, (college parties!), and more independence. But along with all these perks, it’s also time to start thinking about your finances…. Full Story,A routing number is a unique number that identifies a specific banking institution. Each routing number is made up of nine digits. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as an American Banker’s Association routing transit number or an ABA RTN…. Full Story,It’s stressful enough having a car loan over your head and staying on top of your monthly payments. But what if you have an upside-down car loan — in other words, the amount you owe on your set of wheels… Full Story,When you’re trying to get your financial house in order, it’s easy to get lost in the specifics. You might stress about how to adjust your budget, where to find some extra cash for the holidays or what funds to… Full Story,Shortly after graduating from New York University with a Master’s degree, Melanie Lockert turned to food stamps, as she worked her way out of $81,000 in student loans. “There were a lot of emotions around carrying that debt. It caused… Full Story,Traveling is one of the best things in life, and luckily, low funds don’t have to dash your dreams of enjoying an epic adventure. A wealth of destinations—both in the U.S. and abroad—are so affordable that even hardcore penny pinchers… Full Story,While we don’t yet have flying cars that collapse to the size of a suitcase, pneumatic tubes that transport us from room to room or machines that automatically bathe and clothe us in the morning, every day we’re getting closer… Full Story,Times have changed since Grams and Gramps were your age, looking to settle down and buy their first home. But today the house with the white picket fence—or that trendy loft in downtown—isn’t completely out of the question if you… Full Story,We recently hosted a Twitter chat as part of our #RealTalkSeries. And let’s just say, things definitely got real. Many of you joined us to discuss “taboo” and cringe-worthy money questions such as how to improve a bad credit score,… Full Story
Post navigation There’s a reason why most people equate buying a home with settling down. Buying a home generally means your life is stable, your job isn’t in danger and you’re probably married or in a serious relationship. If you’ve reached this stage of adulthood, it means you likely have an idea of what you want out of life.Ideally, it also means your finances are in order.But as much as you may want to stop renting and start owning, the home buying process isn’t for the faint of heart. Beyond that, home ownership comes with a host of potential problems and expenses that renters likely don’t need to worry about. A home is also the largest purchase most people make in their lifetime – so are you ready for that kind of commitment?To find out, here are some tough questions to ask yourself before talking to a realtor. Are You Financially Secure? Before you start binge watching HGTV and picking out paint chips, ask yourself the following: Do you have an emergency fund? If so, how many month’s worth of expenses are in it? An emergency fund covers the bills when you lose your job, need surgery or have to travel to a family member’s funeral. It’s a crucial first step to financial stability.With a fully-stocked emergency fund, you won’t miss a mortgage payment because you can’t work. It’s your final defense against losing your home due to circumstances out of your control. If you don’t have a solid three to six month’s worth of expenses in a savings account, you may want to keep working on that before buying a house.The next question to consider is whether or not you have debt, and how much. If you have too much debt, you won’t qualify for a mortgage. Lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio to determine if you have enough available income to pay them back every month. Don’t know your debt-to-income ratio? There’s an app for that! Check out Intuit’s newest app Turbo to view your financial profile from a lender’s perspective and find out your free credit score.If your job is steady, you have adequate savings and little debt, then owning a home is probably right for you. If you’re still dealing with lingering money issues, focus on tightening up your finances first. How Long Do You Want to Stay in the Area? When buying a home, you pay several fees upfront, including appraisal fees, inspection costs and loan origination fees. These fees will likely cost several thousand dollars, if not more. This means that, in general, you need to stay in the home for five to seven years to break even. If you sell your home before that time, the home’s value might not have grown enough to cover closing costs.If you like to move around or work for a company that may transfer you to a different city, buying a home doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Let’s look at a possible scenario. You buy a home in March, and in November your boss says the branch is being closed and you’re being transferred to another city. You can decline and find a new position where you live, or you can take the offer.You like your job, so you accept the company’s offer. But now you have to sell your home in the two weeks before your moving date. Because that date is so close to Thanksgiving, you don’t get many nibbles on the listing. In the end it takes two months for your home to sell, while you’ve been stuck paying both your mortgage and new rent. Scenarios like this are more common than you might think, and illustrate why home ownership isn’t always the best choice – even if you can afford it. Are You Ready for Home Ownership? Home ownership looks easy on the outside, but the reality is a lot different than a Home Depot commercial. If you’ve been renting your entire life, you’ve always had a landlord to call when there’s an issue with the property. You’ve never had to worry about fixing leaking pipes or replacing the air conditioner when it breaks. As a homeowner, the buck stops with you. Experts say you should save 1% of the home’s purchase price every year for repairs, or $1 per square foot. This will cover both minor problems, like new mortar on your exterior, and major issues like replacing your roof.Not only is it expensive to fix your house when something goes bad, it’s also time-consuming. Instead of calling the landlord and transferring the responsibility, it will be up to you to find a contractor, get multiple quotes and take time off work to deal with the problem. That’s not even mentioning the stress. If your budget can’t support putting an extra couple hundred dollars a month toward repairs – or you don’t want to deal with home repairs at all – you’re probably not ready to buy a house. In fact, some people happily choose to rent their entire lives, putting the money they would use on a house towards other investments. There’s no rule that says you need to own a house to be financially stable. What Kind of Home Do You Want? Before you start house hunting, you need to figure out what you’re truly looking for in a home. It’s easy to think “I’ll know it when I see it,” but that attitude usually leads to a long, drawn-out search process. If you’re ready to buy a house, you’re ready to get specific. The basic questions are easy – how many bedrooms you want, what neighborhoods do you like and what kind of yard fits your lifestyle, for example. Then, it gets more complicated. Do you need to be close to work or do you mind commuting? Do you have kids, and if so do you need to buy a home in a specific school district? Are you looking for a particular architectural style? If you’re married or in a serious relationship, talk to your partner about what kind of home they envision. Consider whether this will be a starter home or your dream house. The answer to that question will further narrow down what you’re looking for. Can You Save for a Down Payment? When you take out a mortgage, you have to put down a payment that acts as a deposit. The down payment gives you instant equity in the home and proves to the mortgage lender you’re capable of saving.You need to have a down payment of at least 3-5% for a conventional loan and 3.5% for an FHA loan. On top of the down payment, you also need to pay for the loan’s closing costs, which are usually between 2-5% of the purchase price. The money needs to be in your bank account when you first apply for a mortgage. You can’t use a loan from your parents or anyone else as your down payment, because the lender will treat it as debt. If you can’t afford to save for the down payment, you probably won’t be able to qualify for the mortgage. Some loans, such as VA or USDA loans, allow people to buy a house without a down payment. There also are some first-time home buyer programs to help people save for a down payment, so look into those if you’re having trouble. What is Your Credit Score? Good credit is essential for buying a home and being approved a mortgage. You need a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a conventional loan, but some lenders require a score of 700 or higher. A 580 credit score is sufficient for FHA loans. If you have a poor credit score, a debt still in collections or a recent bankruptcy, you might not qualify at all. Before you attend an open house or sign up for notifications on Zillow, check your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. The report will show your entire credit history and reveal any red flags, like late payments or overdrawn accounts.Next, look up your credit score for free through the Turbo app. This score won’t be the exact figure a mortgage lender sees when they pull your credit, but it’s a good approximation.If your score is lower than 700, look at potential issues that could be dragging it down. Do you use a large portion of your credit every month? Do you have a bunch of recent hard inquiries? Is your credit history too short? Turbo will show why your score is low and even give ideas on how to fix it. Having a high credit score will also pay off when you get a lower interest rate on your mortgage. Locking in a low interest rate now will pay off in the long run, because you’ll save thousands or more over the lifetime of the loan.Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, so it needs to be the right one. Don’t jump into anything because all your friends are buying a house or your parents are wondering when you’ll finally do it. Ask yourself these questions and you’ll know when the time is right. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related12 Tips to Help You Live Within Your MeansAugust 13, 2013In “How To”Moving Abroad: What You Need To Know About The Actual CostAugust 8, 2019In “Travel Tips”How to Save for a HouseJune 10, 2019In “Housing Finances”
If you’re one of the lucky companies who only has enthusiastic and happy customers, recognize their desire to interact with you and be generous with your time. Be open to engaging with them on their turf. They’ll reward your brand with greater enthusiasm – which is a message that spreads through social networks like wildfire, and solidifies your brand. your site is designed well to convert visitors into leads The first step to measuring success in social media marketing is proper scope. There are new social networks popping up each week. It’s a waste of resources to join every new social network only to find you have no time to manage them. Find out where your most active customers & influencers spend time online – then listen and take notes. – Visitors (first-time and repeat) Topics: In fact, the lack of good metrics is cited as the biggest barrier to marketers’ adoption of social media. Particularly in this shaky financial climate, measuring impact is one of the definitive measures of a marketing strategy’s value. If you want to skip the blind experimentation, particularly in view of our current global financial crisis, we’ve assembled a list of 5 tips to help you start leveraging social media with minimal investment and with strong systems in place to measure success. , – Inbound links The end goals is lead generation and sales. But, there are plenty of leading indicators as you ramp up your efforts. – Social networking connections , Social Media Marketing For instance, on Twitter both Starbucks and Whole Foods share customer comments, local specials, and ask customers what their favorite items are. It’s casual and open, yet subtly appeals to the attractiveness of the brand. Check out some of the Twitter Search Bloglines Peter Caputa IV Step #1: Identify Your Target Market and Listen to Them – Search engine ranking , Photo Step #2: Get Involved in Conversations AideRSS here , The second step towards success is consistently utilizing social media to engage prospective customers. When you start listening to conversations, you might hear some things about your company that aren’t very complimentary. That’s ok. Your job now is to engage these customers and find a way to help. Be willing to acknowledge mistakes when they happen. Customers are surprisingly forgiving if a company engages in an honest and egoless manner. . – Mentions of your brand , It’s critical to tie your business strategy to your social media strategy. However, without a knowledge of what social media and social networking sites enable you to do, it’s hard to know how to do that. It’s important to establish a blog as your home base. Then, learn the capabilities of each site to help you interact. For example, Twitter provides an almost unfettered ability to connect with your prospective clients. But, it only allows you to type 140 characters at a time. So, maybe a video posted to youtube would be a better way to publish a “how-to”. Linkedin & Facebook let you see who your contacts know. But, facebook makes it much easier to connect with them. LinkedIn Answers is a much better place to answer business focussed questions than any other social network. from HubSpot & How involved is your team in communicating with prospective customers, influencers and current customers on social networking sites? How often are you publishing great content that helps your prospects do their jobs? How often do you blog, Tweet, post photos on Flickr, comment on other blogs, Podcast, upload videos, etc? The more content that you produce and publish on social media sites, the more traffic you can attract back to your website. If Let’s say you’ve gotten the approval to get your company involved in social media marketing and are ready to launch your efforts. How will you define success? This is an important question, because a large number of companies have jumped into social media without any clear business strategy. Before the financial meltdown of the last few weeks, some companies had the resources to experiment with social media without worrying about financial accountability. But now, most businesses must demonstrate an ROI on any new effort. This article was co-authored by – Number of times people search for your brand Use tracking codes, a solid analytics package and closed loop marketing , and implement some of their conversation techniques. It’s important to learn how to use these sites in order to get business value out of your social media activity. Talk to an expert to determine where to spend your time to get the best return. Socialized PR – RSS subscriptions 4_EveR_YounG. Ice Rocket Step #5: Use Website Analytics Software to Measure Leads and Sales. – Video/podcast views/listens . Many experts agree that social media will affect the next generation of search engine optimization techniques as search engines start to use the signals we collectively leave as we network and share media online. Even today, social media activity affects the success of many other inbound marketing techniques: Ghennipher Step #3: Give! Give! Give! Google Blog Search in order to track the visits, leads and sales that occurr as a result of your social media activities. Techrigy and – Comments on your blog Here’s some tools you can use to tune into the conversation: and – Leads & Customers! brands on Twitter , these activities will help you increase sales. Radian6 , a 10 year veteran of the Internet Marketing world. Ghennipher is an independent Social Media Marketing consultant and writes on Social Media’s effect on business. Subscribe to her blog “Social media strategy should tie to business and communication strategy, rather than being based on the available tools. But it is not possible to develop a social media strategy without at least having an understanding of the various tools that are available, their functionality and purposes, and the kinds of audiences and conversations for which they might be best suited.” – Joel Postman, Principal Originally published Nov 3, 2008 9:26:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Technorati by Step #4: Master the Tools of the Trade . More advanced social media monitoring tools include HubSpot’s HubFeed – Social bookmarking activity Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
When the World Wrestling Federation (WWE) noticed Ted DiBiase’s talent, the ” So how was the Million Dollar Man recognized by the public eye? After all, there are countless wrestlers in the industry. With competition to beat, something had to make him stand out. The idea for DiBiase’s differentiation from other wrestlers spawned from the idea that a rich guy can’t flaunt his wealth and be arrogant about it. Deemed an original idea that had never-been-done, an alias was created and personalized for DiBiase. In a nutshell, DiBiase was able to establish himself in a crowded industry, teaching marketers a thing or two about differentiation. Here are a few marketing takeaways from the Million Dollar Man’s success: The Rise to the Top interview with David Garland (above). If you’re the only one doing what you’re doing, there is no motivation to stay on your toes or worry about marketing. Inbound Marketing Although he was not yet a millionaire, the goal was to make the public believe he really was rich. He was always to be seen in public under elite circumstances: getting in and out of limos, hopping on and off of planes, staying in luxurious accommodations at Hyatt and Marriott hotels. It was also a priority for him to appear in front of the camera and be present for interviews as much as possible. Originally published Jun 8, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated July 11 2013 Million Dollar Man Publicity, publicity, publicity! Figure out a way to stand out in the public eye. Working your tail off = producing the best you can = benefit. Now a minister, DiBiase travels on a weekly basis as a motivational speaker to youth; “macho men”; and couples struggling with their faith, keeping clean, and following dreams. In addition, he’s also considering starting his own wrestling school. For the complete scoop, check out Hitting towns for television gigs, his wealth was flaunted by tactics such as giving away cash prizes for things like dribbling basketballs. Pretty soon, the Million Dollar Man was everywhere. Topics: Strive to create something unique and original that has never before been done or created before. Competition is good for any business. If you have someone or something to compete against, you will work harder. (It’s a good thing!) ” was born, and DiBiase’s new persona took his pro wrestling career all over the world. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Huawei will launch the Nova 3 and Nova 3i phones in India on July 26. The company is now sending out block your date invites to the media for a press conference to be hosted in the National Capital where it will launch the two phones for the Indian market. Both the phones will be exclusive to Amazon India. Huawei subsidiary Honor is meanwhile gearing to launch the Honor 9N in India on July 24.The Nova 3 is a souped up P20 Lite and comes with Huawei’s in-house GPU Turbo tech. The Nova 3 will come pre-installed with graphically intensive games such as PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and will also provide 10 different vibrations for 30 different scenarios within these games including shots, explosions and quakes, Huawei had previously confirmed.GPU Turbo technology is Huawei’s in-house graphics processing acceleration technology achieved through hardware and software integration resulting in “smoother and faster mobile gaming experience.” Games will apparently play with up to 60 per cent more graphics processing efficiency, while consuming up to 30 per cent less energy thanks to GPU Turbo, claims the company, adding that the technology will allow even standard games to render in HDR.Both the Nova 3 and the Nova 3i have already been launched in China but are making their way to India soon after. Huawei and Honor in fact have been actively bringing in more and more phones to the Indian market seemingly suggesting their growing interest in the burgeoning market.The Nova 3 will be more expensive than the Nova 3i since it crams in better hardware. It is powered by a Kirin 970 processor clubbed with up to 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. It further sports a dual camera system on the rear consisting of one 16MP sensor and another 24MP sensor. It also comes with dual front cameras. The phone is backed by a 3,750mAh battery.advertisementThe Nova 3i on the other hand is powered by a Kirin 710 processor with up to 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. It has the same dual front cameras as the Nova 3 but ships with a 16+2MP camera setup on the rear. The phone is further backed by a 3,340mAh battery.Both the phones come with a 6.3-inch notched display with a full-HD+ resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio.ALSO READ: Huawei Nova 3 India launch set for end of July, will come with GPU Turbo tech
Are you all pumped up for the 4th of July holiday? The sun’s shining (here, at least), your work week is punctuated by a much needed respite, and … oh yeah, the kids are loose. We’ve talked about how 1) Create an offer. We throw live events like 18) Monitor social activity. marketing tactics 7) Give them a game. You’ve probably leaned on PPC for a quick lead-gen boost, or invested in top-notch marketing talent to solve a huge marketing problem. Why not hire a babysitter or an experienced nanny to give you a break? . Originally published Jul 3, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 15) Engage in the conversation. Don’t they ever just calm down Inbound Marketing visual social networks 2) Newsjack. that work on leads (and us). And one of the timeless classics is using cute animals to make your audience oooh and aaah. If you’re stuck with a kid that’s bugging you (or heck, an adult), just throw the puppy their way. It’ll probably work. 4) Engage with promoters of your brand. We’ve written all about investing in visual content HubSpot TV 20) Just give them what they want. Obviously, this post is a bit of fun before the mid-week holiday, so share your silly suggestions (don’t forget the marketing tie-in!) in the comments below. Or better yet, let us know if any of these actually worked! . Use all that historical intel you have on your kids to give them the content that you know calms them down, entertains them, and distracts them so you can enjoy your day off. You know your kids better than anyone (probably better than they know themselves) 😉 You’ve got this, guys. You’re a marketer. Believe it or not, that experience is transferable to parenting, too. Here’s how you can use the When you create 9) Throw money at the problem. 11) Invest in multimedia content. You know, use short chunks of text, bold headings, bulleted lists, remove navigation on your landing pages — all the things that distract visitors instead of draw them in. Well, make your 4th of July kid-friendly, too, and give them content that’s appropriate for their age and aligns with their interests so they don’t get bored and click — ahem, wander — away looking for trouble. Kids love pretty pictures. So do adults. That’s why we keep talking about 13) Leverage scarcity. shameless marketing tactics 19) Reward good behavior. 8) Share other people’s content. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack You spend your whole day trying to figure out what your customers want based on lead intelligence and There’s nothing like scarcity to drive a hard bargain. Need your kids to do something? Find something they want, and tell them it’s almost gone. They’ll hop to it in a jiffy. Now that’s how you ? Take something that’s going on — seemingly unrelated to children’s activities — and find a spin on it that would interest them! Talking about your 401(k) at your friend’s barbecue? Tell your kids to go around the lawn and look for loose change. Hey, that’s good financial planning. ” have received well over 10,000 views, in fact. Don’t berate, of course, but don’t be afraid of a little discipline, either! and 3) Distract them with a puppy. Note: sharing his toys like you told him to — you’ll be able to respond quickly before anything gets out of hand and really ruins the day. But just because your content — or activities — are all set up, doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye! Keep an eye on what’s going on to ensure there are no disasters. And when there are disasters — Timmy is berating your audience actually helps drive traffic 10) Use visual content. , you don’t just give them away for free. No, you need something in exchange — lead intelligence! Or what your prospects know as filling out a form. Use that tactic with your kids, too; you give them something they want, and in exchange, they’ll give you some peace and quiet. By now you might be starting to rediscover the stress of having those little rugrats around when all you want is some peace and quiet. When does school start up again? Should you have shelled out for summer camp? Can’t you just enjoy one day off of work already? 14) Establish authority as a thought leader. — our blog posts with headlines like, ” Plop them in front of the TV. Or YouTube. Who doesn’t love a good YouTube video or hilarious podcast? We don’t record Gamification’s all the rage with marketers and consumers alike, because it gives people a purpose that’s directly related to the action marketers are trying to drive. For example, when we want to trend on Twitter for a live webinar, we create a hashtag, and incentivize attendee use of that hashtag by giving away a prize, like tickets to Run out of ideas to keep the kids entertained? If you’re boring them, do what you do with your social media following — share someone else’s content! A little variety is good for everyone. You give referral bonuses and implement loyalty programs with your customers. Incentivize good behavior with your kids, too! The other children will take notice and start to mimic that positive behavior, and make your day much easier. you use every day to get yourself some much needed relaxation this 4th of July. 12) Yell at them. 6) Make your content reader-friendly. Your kids might not think of you as a “thought leader” per se, but they certainly know who’s boss. Just like your stellar content creation establishes you as an industry thought leader — why else would leads download your offers? — your reputation most likely precedes you with your children. So remind them who’s boss when you need them to behave more responsibly! Part of effective word-of-mouth marketing is identifying and engaging with your promoters. Who are the good influences on your kids? Find them, and segment out the bad influencers so your children model good behavior on July 4th, rather than get into trouble. lead gen offers INBOUND 2012 This post’s photo and many of the tips are courtesy of HubSpot Inbound Marketing Specialist and father of 4, “though it feels like 8,” Dan Sally. 5) Throw an awesome event. Just like you schedule your social media content in advance, your day will go much more smoothly if you schedule all of your kid-friendly activities in advance so you don’t find yourself hurting for supplies, ideas, or entertainment. marketing analytics INBOUND 2012 20 Marketing Tactics to Get Your Kids to Simmer Down Now 17) Schedule content in advance. , like Pinterest and Instagram! Use coloring books, picture books, sidewalk chalk, or anything else visual to keep them entertained. You engage with your social media fans so they know you’re listening, and that you care what they have to say. Similarly, sometimes kids just need a little dose of attention to keep them satiated. 10 Sloppy Social Media Mistakes to Fix NOW . Apply that principle to your kids, and give them a little distraction from the adults with a game to keep them entertained. First prize? Ice cream! to meet new leads, forge new relationships with the community, and strengthen customer relationships. Take a cue from the networking superpower of in-person events, and stage a kid-friendly event for other kids to attend to so they can keep each other company. every Friday for nothing. not 16) Forge a partnership with a related business. Topics: create an effective call-to-action Just like you lean on your partners for help with content creation, co-marketing, and lead generation, you need an ally to help shoulder some of the burden of taking care of kids. See if grandma wants some time with her grandchildren, or if there’s an expectant mom that would like some quality time with a few kids.
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack You probably know a lot about who buys from you. Their gender, geographic location, marital status — it’s all part of developing buyer personas. These data points make up the demographics of your personas, help inform your marketing strategy, and paint a picture of who your buyers are.But there’s another component needed to really understand your buyer.Download our free guide to marketing psychology here for more tips on how to use psychology in your marketing.What’s their lifestyle like? What are their daily habits or hobbies? What kind of values and opinions do they have?The answers to these questions are the psychographics of your customer base, and you need to know this information to truly understand who’s buying what you’re selling.Psycho-what?Think about the information you already know about your buyers. Psychographics is about using the demographic information you have for your buyer persona to figure out more about their lifestyle, their behaviors and their habits.Here’s one way to look at it: Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. Knowing what the day in the life of your buyer persona looks like is undoubtedly valuable when creating an integrated marketing strategy.Using psychographic data in marketing isn’t a brand-new concept, especially in outbound marketing methods. Think about the direct mailings you get. I bet you’ve actually checked out a sentence or two on some of that mail, because marketers use web tools like Nielsen’s PRIZM segmentation system to figure out to whom to send mailings.And don’t forget about TV advertisements. Networks determine the demographics and psychographics of segments that watch certain shows and channels, and products advertise accordingly. For example, you can assume that most of the commercials on the Women’s Entertainment (WE tv) channel are slanted towards female viewers.How to Find Psychographic DataThink about the last time you saw a company’s marketing campaign and thought, “Yep, that’s me. I’m gettin’ that!” (iPad Air, anyone?) That company absolutely nailed the messaging to their target audience (you), and they did it by understanding both the demographics and psychographics of their target buyer. You can do that, too. Practicing inbound marketing provides a great platform to learn about the psychographics of your buyer personas. All you need to get started is a desire to really understand your customers. Here are some places you can start looking for psychographic data.Marketing DataThis time, it’s not just about the numbers. Take the marketing data you have and look at the data from the perspective of “what.”What types of offers get downloaded the most? What styles of blog posts get the most interaction? What times do emails get opened most often?You might look at your data often, but approaching it with this mindset will pull some psychographic data out you may not have seen before.Sales and Customer Service TeamsYour day-to-day interaction with these teams might be minimal, but it’s time to make friends with those who talk to your prospects and customers all day.Cozy up to a few friendly folks and ask them questions about what they’re hearing from customers or listen in on calls to get info straight from the horse’s mouth.Feeling fancy? Build fields into your CRM to store this information, or start collecting it via progressive profiling, so you can export that data to look for trends.SurveysSurveys are a good method for finding out the psychographics of your buyer persona — but only if you have an idea of what you want to know about them.You may consider a survey after doing some in-house data analysis that provokes some follow-up questions on the data you analyzed.Check out this blog post on how to design a marketing survey that will actually give you the results you’re looking for.Social MediaI don’t know about you, but you can find out a lot about me if you took 5 minutes and looked at my Instagram or Twitter profile. So, if you know who your buyer is, turn to social networks to see what you can find.People tend to be more honest and open when unprovoked, and the social profiles of your buyers might give you some insight into their likes and dislikes.Focus Groups or Group InterviewsYou may not have the luxury of bringing your customers into your office for a face-to-face discussion, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be talking directly to your buyers to figure out some of the psychographic data you need.Get on the phone or in a room with a few customers that really represent your buyer persona and find out more about their life. (If it’s face-to-face, don’t forget the coffee and doughnuts. Seriously.)Most importantly, going beyond the demographics of your buyer persona and really understanding their psychographics will provide you with valuable data that can differentiate your marketing from your competitors. It’ll also help create a deeper connection with your target market. They’ll think, “Hey, that company really gets me.”And that’s how you convert leads into customers and keep delighting your customers with your marketing.How do you find out the details about your customer base? Through social? From your analytics? Feel free to share your methods with us below!Image credit: Michele Ursino Originally published Oct 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Buyer Personas
Bloggers have plenty to worry about. Deadlines, writer’s block, content quotas, incorrect grammar, and the proper use of semi-colons are fears that constantly plague us (just to name a few).Fortunately, most of these blogging worries are self-contained. Think about it: A blogger can learn to overcome most writing anxieties by simply managing their time wisely, being open to feedback, or practicing how to use a semi-colon..However, there is one particular blogging nuisance that is not so easily self-contained — the internet troll. An individual who simply sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people.While they can provide entertainment from time to time, internet trolls are primarily unpredictable, destructive pests of the web (especially if you’re on the receiving end). As a blogger, there are few things more frustrating than a troll hijacking the discussion in the comments section of a post you just published.So let’s understand them more, because to paraphrase Sun Tzu, “to defeat your enemy, you must know him.”The Psychology of an Internet TrollAlthough the term troll has become closely associated with the internet, trolls were around before the dawn of the World Wide Web. The invention of the net just provided trolls a convenient vehicle to mask their identity. Crank calls and fake ransom letters made from magazine cutouts? Those were the work of pre-internet trolls.So why do they do what they do? Academic Earth conducted an in-depth study regarding their behavior, which (in summary) is fueled by “disinhibition.” They define disinhibition as “the phenomenon wherein one abandons social inhibitions that would normally be present in face-to-face interactions.”It makes sense — how many cases of trolling have you seen where you could imagine the culprit delivering the message in a face-to-face social setting? Probably very few.So, although trolling has been around for a while, it’s become more apparent due to the voyeuristic functionality of the online world. With this in mind, let’s explore how to combat these trolls, yeah?How to Fight TrollsAs mentioned before, trolls are unpredictable, destructive, and oftentimes persistent. With their behavior in mind, let’s discuss how to pummel them into submission using several different tactics:1) Do NothingIf you find yourself subject to an internet troll, you can just ignore them, especially if they have nothing valuable to add (or are posting something completely irrelevant).The good news is that trolls feed off of your response, so if you give them none, they’ll starve. The bad news is that one of your readers might jump in and be caught unaware of the potential troll attack.If they do raise a point that warrants a legitimate response, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to answer with this approach. So if you choose to answer, be careful — they’ll be looking for an excuse to keep the trolling rolling (ha!). Be tactful with your response.2) Rely on Your ArmySometimes, you don’t need to be the one who fights a troll. If your readership is comprised of supportive people, they may just chime in and fight your battles for you. It’s awesome when that happens.The bad news is that this can get out of hand if your supporters aren’t well trained in the troll-battling arts. Things can spiral out of hand quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on your troops as they lay siege to an attacking troll.3) Fight Fire With FireFeel like out-trolling a troll? It can be done, and it can even be fun — but be wary of their persistence. Be sure you leave out as much emotion as possible from your retorts … they feed off of it.If you respond without anger, frustration, disgust, etc. chances are you can quash the troll before they get started. They want you to lose your cool, so don’t do it.4) Block CommentsNot a recommended approach, but you can always disable commenting from your posts to prevent trolling altogether. Unfortunately, this eliminates any sort of discussion from your posts.5) Delete CommentsIf a troll is being particularly offensive, you can (and probably should) delete their comments. However, if they’re just looking to grind your gears a little, it’s probably best to explore any of the above methods.By deleting their post, you give them reason to publish another comment. And there’s nothing a troll likes more than a reason to publish another comment.What other ways do you fight internet trolls on your own blog? How bad is trolling on your own site? Comment (or troll!) below. Blogging Originally published May 8, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Originally published Jul 17, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 As a Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Venture Mentor, I have the privilege of working with some of the world’s most creative and inspiring future business leaders.Currently, I’m mentoring a startup called Tuckerman & Co — a mission-driven clothing brand hell-bent on creating environmentally sustainable clothing to address the abundance of unnecessary waste in the textiles industry. And as is often the case in mentoring, I am learning as much, if not more, from them as they are from me.As a result of this relationship, I’ve begun to critically assess wasted value at my creative agency. In doing so, I’ve realized that many of our endeavors have brought about leftovers that could be treated as valuable byproducts, rather than waste.Enter the “Sawdust Principle” — a new concept aimed at finding value in the byproducts of each of your efforts. What’s the Sawdust Principle?Lumberyards faced with increasing international competition and rising energy costs are able to stay profitable by monetizing their biggest byproduct — sawdust. Essentially, sawdust can be sold for any number of uses from farm bedding to particle board to mulch.For businesses, there’s a lesson to be learned here: despite hyper-competitive markets, businesses should be focused on maximizing value from their current output, regardless of what product or service they offer. To do so, you’ll need to start by narrowing your focus and honing in on what it is that your business actually does. Are you a restaurant? A software design shop? A photographer? No matter what your line of work, there are most certainly byproducts that you might be overlooking.10 Tips for Maximizing Your Business’ Output1) Leverage Big DataThese days, we work in an era of “big data”, where an unfathomable amount of information is collected, stored, and exchanged. If your business has access to a large database of information, consider what you can do to leverage this insight to help others.Something as simple as remixing and anonymizing your latest survey results or data-points into a shareable infographic serves as a great way to provide your audience with something valuable that they can learn from. If you think about it, entire global businesses — Experian, Nielsen, Gartner, Forrester — have made on aggregating data. 2) Consider Open SourcingGot code?Consider releasing components of your code as open source to help out the surrounding tech community. (Open sourcing your software or code means making it available to the public for modification or improvement.)At Digital Surgeons, open source projects like the now-retired Gumby Framework and the new framework Toggles and Switches have been a source of pride for our developers. By helping the tech community we have gotten back far more then we have given. In fact, as a result, we’ve landed consulting contracts, press, and attracted great talent from all over the world.3) Turn Unused Pixels Into ProfitWhether you’re an independent photographer or videographer or your business has an in-house team, there are a ton of opportunities for you to make the most of your work.Rather than let your unused b-roll or photos collect dust in an untouched folder on your desktop, consider selling them to a stock photography website like Getty, Istock, or Dissolve. (You could even take a page out of HubSpot’s book and give them away for free! Click here to gain access to the free stock photos you’ve been searching for.)4) Transcribe Your Video ContentUsing video services like Wistia, it’s easy to transform video content into SEO-friendly transcripts that help drive traffic to your site. For entrepreneurs who prefer being on camera instead of creating articles, this can be a quick ticket to win. Moz’s Whiteboard Friday does this to great effect by transcribing Rand Fishkin’s instructional videos into text displayed right below the video.5) Adjust Your Distribution StrategyThe digital landscape offers more channels than ever to publish and distribute your content.This means that you can take a single blog article and adapt it to fit appropriately across a handful of different mediums. Whether you pull quotes to be used as tweets, share images from the article on Instagram, or rework the text into a video script, there are a ton of opportunities to squeeze more traffic and leads out of the content you’re already creating. 6) Think Like a MakerHave you joined the “maker movement” yet?According to Adweek, “The maker movement, as we know, is the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers. Makers tap into an American admiration for self-reliance and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design, and powerful personal technology like 3D printers.”Essentially, the movement is founded on the belief that individuals have the right to be more than just consumers. So if you find that you have unused or obsolete materials around your office — old desks, computers, projectors — don’t just let them sit there. By finding unique ways to evolve the products you already own, you could come up with a new solution, resource, or potential business venture.7) Maximize Your Office SpaceIf you have extra office space that’s going to waste, you may be overlooking a source of revenue. To make the most use of what you’ve got, consider using your office as an event space. Whether you host your own events, or invite friends or partners to use your space for a project or event after hours, there are plenty of opportunities to leverage your office for more than just your typical day-to-day.Another interesting way to maximize your office space is to rent out furniture that you’re currently not using. Whether it be a couple of desks or chairs that aren’t occupied or a piece of tech equipment that you rarely use, this is a simple way to drive some extra income. 8) Share Your ExpertiseHave a great process at work that has reshaped your business? Share it.Consider packing any subject matter expertise you have into an ebook that can be used to educate potential customers in exchange for their contact information.Hate writing? No problem. You can easily create a video on YouTube for the online learning community for creators, Skillshare. Not very video savvy? Still not a problem. Consider repurposing your success stories as case studies on Growthhackers or Inbound.org to establish yourself as a thought leader among your peers. Even something as simple as an internal presentation can be transformed into SlideShare content that could be of use to those outside your office’s four walls. (I first presented my 5 Steps to Creative Problem Solving at a company lunch and learn … then it went viral on SlideShare and resulted in six figures of direct business for Digital Surgeons.) 9) Treat Your Evangelists WellHave extra inventory on your hands?Whether it be something as simple as mug or a t-shirt, sending your loyal customers a small thank you for their dedication demonstrates that you value their business. Not only does this type of “giving back” behavior works to create a great customer experience, but it also has the potential to boost your NPS (Net Promoter Score).10) Reduce, Reuse, and RecycleCome the end of the week, many office refrigerators start to look (and smell) like some sort of starnge science experiment as a result of uneaten snacks and lunches. While the simple solution would be to toss them and move on, consider the benefits of creating a compost pile that can be used to add nutrients to the soil of an office garden.And if you find yourself with fresh leftover catered food, donate it to a homeless shelter. Knowing that you’re helping out the surrounding community can do wonders for team morale.As for stray paper boxes from shipments, consider recycling them into furniture for a fun team building project.Good luck finding your sawdust! Let us know in the comment section below if you try out any of these tips in your office. 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Work Life Balance Topics: Originally published Dec 18, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated December 18 2015 Has meditation made you a better marketer? Do you have tips to share for being more mindful? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below (or find me on Twitter: @thaneberle). Let’s get this out into the open: I bite my nails. Or at least I did. (Kinda gross, right?)But this past summer, I watched as my then three-year-old son chomped down on his fingernail. That was it. The final kick in the butt I needed to see to finally stop a decades-old bad habit. Little did I know that in my quest to stop biting my nails I’d unlock something much bigger for myself — both personally and professionally. It was mindfulness.What’s that? According to the folks at U-Cal Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, mindfulness is about “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” For me, it’s helped me make better decisions, listen more, and above all, be present. Amidst the chaos of our busy, multi-screen, let-me-bookmark-that-because-I-don’t-have-five-minutes-wait-what-was-I-doing? lives, mindfulness helps me return to a more centered self.And more and more people are getting in on it — Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Katy Perry, Anderson Cooper, and even some companies, too. So what can you do to get in on the goodness? I’ll tell you. Here’s how I met mindfulness. Meet Paul: My Meditation GuyI knew that guided meditation and hypnosis was probably a good bet to kick the nail-biting habit. So, I reached out to Paul Gustafson, a Boston-area consulting hypnotist. Gustafson helps people — via guided meditation and hypnotic suggestion — with anything from quitting smoking to overcoming a fear of flying.I sat down with him for three, 30-minute sessions where he talked me into a deep relaxation and then, as I reached a deep meditative state, he provided guidance and suggestions for me to figuratively cut the cord of my past nail-biting behavior. From there, I kept his guided meditation recording on repeat. “The immediate benefit of guided meditation is profound relaxation,” Gustafson told me. “It’s impossible to be stressed or to worry while enjoying deep meditative bliss. One of the long-term benefits of meditation is that the relaxation becomes the rule rather than the exception. People who meditate are happier, and often feel less affected by the pace of day-to-day life. They’re healthier and more productive.”Paul has become an oft-invoked name at my house. My wife, also a marketer, has gone to see him and notes that it’s been entirely transformative in finding her chi, both in and out of work. (After all, anyone with small children can attest to the need for mindfulness.)How Mindfulness Contributes to Better MarketingMindfulness is a terrific asset for today’s marketers … but you’re probably wondering where the data is, right? Well, a recent study conducted by researchers at INSEAD and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that 15 minutes of mindful meditation could help a person make better decisions. That same study shows that mindfulness “can reduce confirmation bias and overconfidence, allowing decision makers to better differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information.”Considering the vast information available to marketers, having a filter for the superfluous can let you focus on what’s most important and make decisions accordingly.Gustafson has helped patients deal with stress related to dealing with a boss, or co-worker, too. “I’ve had many clients come to me because of work-related stress. When someone repeats a stressful response to certain situations it becomes a pattern. Over time, patterns become rooted, and people feel powerless to change the situation. Guided meditation enables individuals to release and become free of unpleasant patterns,” he told me.Some companies are getting on board the mindfulness train, too. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that values its employees’ approach to work, rather than just the output. HubSpot’s received quite a bit of buzz around our amazing perks, but the one I take full advantage of is the Nap Room in our Cambridge office. For me, it’s a meditation chamber. Just 20 minutes of guided meditation — or slow, deep breathing as the hammock gently rocks back and forth — will clear the mind and bring a sense of focus that even the strongest cup of coffee can’t conjure.A Recipe for Mindfulness: How to Get StartedSo, what do you say? Want to give it a try? Here’s your (simple) recipe for mindfulness …Ingredients:A quiet spotAn open mind20 minutes dailyAdd to taste:Headphones, with guided sessionsPopular apps for reminders or self-guided meditationSome tips:Wake up earlier. Akin to the adage that a trip to the gym in the morning gives you more energy, a trip to mindfulness early in your day sets your mind up for success, too. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your bed. Just put on the headphones as you awake.Let meditation tuck you in at night. At the other end of the day, it’s entirely acceptable and effective to fall asleep as you meditate. If you’re using a guided meditation track, whether you’re awake or asleep, your mind is taking in the information.Make a meeting out of it. Set up a recurring daily calendar item so that others don’t cut into your “mindfulness meeting.” My colleague Steve Haase has written quite a bit on meditation and mindfulness. Haase and other colleagues sit in silence for 20 minutes on Wednesday mornings to clear their minds for the day.Deep breathing. Sometimes the biggest rewards come from the smallest of actions. Deep breathing falls into that category. Take deep breaths throughout the day when you feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, or just need to top off the mindfulness tank.Resist temptation. For many of us, our instincts when idle — in line at the grocery store checkout, in the elevator, at the traffic light — are to fill the void with a few swipes of the screen. Don’t do it. In much the same way that good ideas sometimes arrive whilst in the shower, lying in bed, or even sleeping, simply being present can be the difference in finding clarity or that elusive good idea you’ve been chasing.Don’t expect perfection. Are you going to enter a state of deep bliss every time you sit down to meditate? Probably not. Your mind will wander. Just like some runs or workouts feel better than others, so too do meditation sessions. No two are alike.Yields:Open to opportunities. If you expect a lot from yourself, you’ve probably experienced the anxiety of your expectations actually getting in the way of success. With mindfulness, you can open yourself up to the moment. You can focus less on the eventual outcome (though mindful of that goal) and instead be present to new ideas.Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do I get worked up still? Sure (ask my wife). But more often I can find myself navigating stressful situations with a bit more grace or awareness of solutions rather than focusing on frustrations.A planful approach. A less cluttered, focused mind tends to provide more room for planful thought. I’ve found myself able to pull together a thoughtful response or tidy plan in less time.Be here. Take it from Bill Murray. We do our best when we’re present. But it’s not easy. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
As you plan a new website — or updates to an existing one — you may wish the sky was the limit. Unfortunately, we are all faced with the same monetary Catch-22. There is a limit to what can be spent, even if there is no limit on what can be done.As you contemplate the development of your website, you’ll have to ask the familiar question, “How much should we spend?”The answer to that timeless question is never easy. There are always trade-offs, as we discovered at my firm, Hinge, when redesigning our website not too long ago.We could have gone with an off-the-shelf system, but we knew that every change down the road would require more assistance from a developer. So we made the very deliberate decision to invest in optimizing our site from the start. We developed a modular system of templates that allow significant flexibility without the need for constant help from our web developers. We also took advantage of filtering and content categorization tools to dynamically link different data sets (lists of authors, topics, etc.) in a variety of places on the site.But perhaps the most important investment was integrating our website with our customer relationship management (CRM) platform — as well as a host of other online platforms. This integration ensures we get the most out of every online interaction and allows us to maximize the relationship with prospects and qualified leads.Some may think we overspent, but when you look at the rationale and return, it makes perfect business sense.The Reason for a RedesignThere are many reasons to redesign a website. The aesthetics may be dated. It may not have the most recent mobile-friendly, responsive design features. It may lack a few must-have features, like a blog, landing pages with lead generation offers, or integration with your CRM or marketing automation software. And your content may no longer reflect changes in your services.Newer technology may also make it much easier to maintain your site and keep the design looking fresh. Most importantly, there are always opportunities to improve your site’s user experience.But the real reason for a redesign is ROI.A company website — even in the professional services — can attract a significant amount of new business. In our case, more than 80% of our new business comes through our website.If you consider your website investment in this light, it is easy to see the fault in our earlier question, “How much should we spend?” The question you really should be asking is, “How much can we productively spend?”What do we mean by “productively”? Well, if you earn $10 for every $1 you invest, you will want to invest as much as you possibly can. What you need to know is when does the incremental investment no longer generate a positive return. Be bold, but plan carefully.Making a Poor ImpressionIt takes courage to invest heavily in your website. So it is not surprising that most B2B companies are drawn to a seemingly more conservative approach: Reduce the risk by spending less.Great, you saved a few thousand dollars. But what have you lost? According to Hinge’s recent Referral Marketing Study, more than 50% of people who are referred to a B2B services firm will rule out that provider because their website reflected poorly on them. Cheap websites almost always make poor impressions.How many new clients do you need to lose before the savings start to feel like a liability?Planning Your BudgetMost firms have only a vague notion of what a new website should cost. They tend to think only about the direct expenses. They overlook the value of research and message development, for example. How can you find the right balance?The best place to start is to calculate your minimal low-cost scenario. In other words, what is the least you could spend and “get by.” You can easily spend 3-5 times that amount before you run any danger of over-investing. In our own case, we spent 10 times that minimum and in retrospect, not a penny was wasted.As with any professional service, you’ll get better results when you work with a firm that knows what it is doing. That means reaching out to a firm that has the web design, user experience, project management, online strategy, SEO, social media, and lead nurturing chops to turn your investment into high quality leads and new revenues. This kind of expertise may cost a bit more up front, but you’ll see the investment in a sophisticated new website can make real dollars and sense.Smaller Budgets Don’t Minimize RiskMany firms believe that minimizing the budget reduces risk. It’s understandable to want to minimize cost — but it’s a trap. You are favoring short-term spending over long-term returns. And that’s rarely a good strategy.If you stop to consider what a competent marketing website should be able to deliver over the long term — a steady flow of high-quality leads — you’ll understand that it doesn’t take many new clients to pay for your entire investment. Website Design 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: Originally published Jun 30, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
Originally published Sep 7, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Every company has competitors. In fact, a competitive marketplace is a critical component of our free enterprise system, driving our economy, innovation and the continuous cycle of ever improving quality of products and services. But do you really know how your company compares to your competitors?Traditional competitive analyses are applied from either a business plan standpoint or as a component of the annual marketing plan, and they tend to focus primarily on areas such as; Researching your competitors’ corporation, determining your competitors’ goals and objectives, identifying your competitors’ strategies (product, pricing, positioning and place), and conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).While there are countless variations of the traditional competitive analysis, it typically lacks a clear assessment from a digital inbound marketing perspective. Companies tend to know their competitors based upon who they compete with on the street, in their local marketplace, or based upon the sales opportunities of what they have won or lost.Little awareness or recognition is given to their online competitors.Why is this so important? Consider this:97% of consumers now use online media when researching products and services in their local market184% of buyers engage in online information consumption and education2By a factor of 3 to 1, B2B buyers say that gathering information online on their own is superior to interacting with a sales representative.370% – 90% of the buyers journey is complete before they contact a sales representative 4So let’s review the stages of a person’s buyer’s journey to fully understand where we can affect their buying decision.Awareness: Your potential client becomes aware that they have a challenge that needs to be solved. This is where you want to attract them with relevant content for their challenge through blog articles, web pages, and social media.Consideration: At this stage your potential client is comparing different companies and their ability to solve his or her challenge. You need to have valuable content offers with premium content that proves your expertise in solving their problems.Decision: At this point you need to close them by convincing them that you are exactly what they need. You can help do this through trial offers, consultations, first-time discounts, etc.It’s important to understand that you have to compete for the mindshare of your ideal buyer while they are in their awareness and consideration stages of their evaluation journey.But, companies no longer control the selling process. Buyers now control the selling process.So, the most successful competitors you will face are online providing your ideal buyer with the information they seek and consume throughout their decision-making process. Therefore, your company website must become the hub of your marketing efforts and the key to creating more opportunities for your sales team.That means that you need to understand how well your competitors are doing with their online efforts to attract and convert your ideal buyer. It also means you need to know how you compare against them.With that in mind, here are 4 important steps you need to take to conduct an inbound marketing competitive analysis on your top online competitors:1) Identify Your Top Online CompetitorsYou need to expand your view of your competitors to include those who are ranking on page 1 in the search engine results pages (SERP) for the most relevant keywords to your business. Search engines, and increasingly social media, are where your buyers go to learn and educate themselves on how to solve their challenges, learn about their options, and determine which company or companies they are going to engage with when making a final decision.Since Google controls about 85% of all search traffic, we recommend using Google to evaluate your competitors’ websites, blog articles, social media articles, press releases, etc. that rank on page 1 of the search results for your top keywords. The companies that you see ranked on page 1 are your primary competitors. They are competing for the mindshare of your ideal buyer who is seeking and consuming information as part of the awareness and consideration stage of their buyer’s journey.So, your competitive analysis needs to include a sample of companies that consistently rank in the top search results for the most relevant keywords your ideal buyer uses to research information related to:Products and services that you provideProblems and challenges that your ideal buyer typically experiencesGoals, objectives and opportunities that your ideal buyer seeks to achieve or accomplishIdentify your top 4 – 10 competitors and their website addresses. If your company has different lines of business you may want to identify the top 4 competitors for each line of business as well.2) Assess Your Ability to Attract Your Ideal BuyersYour ideal buyer typically has a trigger event that drives them to clearly identify a challenge to overcome or a goal to achieve. This trigger happens in your buyer’s awareness stage of their buyer’s journey.Consider this: 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them…5It is in this initial awareness stage that your buyer will typically do a search to identify sources that will help them better solve their challenges and related issues. And it is during this awareness stage that you are competing to make sure your buyer is aware of your company. You are competing to position yourself through your custom content as a relevant source that can help them overcome their challenge.The two essential factors to evaluate in your competitors’ websites during this stage include:Website Strength EvaluationThat includes a website link analysis, mobile optimization, page loading speed test, and social media reach. The results of this analysis allows you to quantify where you stand against your competition in factors that significantly influence your website’s ability to attract visitors while they are in their Awareness Stage of their evaluation journey.Answer questions such as how many backlinks do my competitors have, from how many different domains, and are any of them government or education websites? Inbound links are a key component of Google’s assessment of your website’s authority and popularity.Content Evaluation That identifies the quantity and quality of the content assets your competitors have that are influential in attracting your ideal buyers to their website through search engines and social media. These content types include website pages, blog articles, social media posts, and online press releases. You need to have an understanding of both the quantity and quality of these content types. It’s important to know if your 30-page website is trying to compete against competitors who have websites with 75, 100, or 125 website pages. You need to know how many pages, blog articles, and social media posts your competitors are publishing and how often are they publishing. These content types are key drivers in generating inbound traffic from your buyers.3) Assess Your Ability to Convert Website Visitors to LeadsApproximately 96% of your website visitors are not ready to buy.6 Instead, they are actively looking for high value content that will give them the information they need to help solve their problem. At this point they are still in their consideration Stage. You need to evaluate how well your competitors are positioned to covert website visitors to leads or customers, and how that compares to how well you are positioned on your website. If all you have is a Contact Us page and a telephone number, then you are missing critical content assets that can convert more of your website visitors to leads. Missing critical content results in missed opportunities. Missed opportunities leads to your competitors winning over your potential customers.Michael McMillan said, “For every problem, there exists a solution…and at the very least…an opportunity.” Don’t miss that opportunity. Provide a solution. The key elements needed on your website to convert website visitors to leads are:A Strong and Clear Value Proposition That is concise, compelling, noticeably positioned, communicates your unique selling proposition and quickly answers the question of “why should I choose you.”Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTAs) That are noticeable and prompts your visitors to take an action. Your CTAs will normally be linked to a specific page (such as a landing page) that provides more detailed information about an offer. CTAs should be evident on your website pages, in your content offers, emails and blog posts.Persuasive Landing Pages That communicate the value of an offer to your ideal buyer. Landing pages typically have a form to collect some information from the visitor in order to receive the offer. This is where most of the magic happens when converting website visitors into leads.Forms That are used to acquire information from your visitor in return for providing high-value content offers, assessments, trial offers, consulting, etc. Typically, at a minimum the forms include acquiring the first name, last name and email address of the person requesting the offer. This information is then stored in a contact database and used for email follow-ups.High-Value Content OffersSuch as whitepapers, case studies, eBooks, buyer guides, videos, webinars, podcasts, infographics, use cases, kits, presentation decks, etc. should be made available to your visitors to help position you as the best company and resource to solve their challenge.Content offers are a very important component of your lead generation efforts. Assessing your competitors’ content offers is extremely important to better understand their lead generation capabilities that lead to more sales opportunities. The more content they are providing compared to you, the more problems they are solving for your potential customers.Email signupsSuch as subscribing to eNewsletters, alerts, notices and promotional offers should also be evaluated, as they can be an easy way to stay connected to your target buyers. This is one of the easiest ways to nurture your leads into customers and to keep a connection with your current and returning customers.Analyzing what your competitors are doing across all of these elements will give you a current assessment on how you compare with them in lead generation capabilities. It will identify key strengths and weaknesses of how you compare against your competition. You will also find new opportunities on how to improve your lead generation efforts.Other items to analyze include:A Content AuditWhere you evaluate the content on your competitors’ websites. Identify the different content types, the frequency of their publishing and the quality of the content being provided. It can also be useful in learning more about the topics and subject matter in which they are positioning themselves as an industry thought leader.Search Engine Optimization (SEO) An assessment where you can assess the effectiveness of their SEO efforts. Areas of assessment include page title, URL architecture, header tags, image alt text, internal linking and content length. These are often overlooked details that effect your ranking in search engines.4) Identify Areas for ImprovementThe primary objective of this inbound marketing competitive analysis is to determine how you compare against your competition and identify the key areas where you need to improve your ability to attract more of your ideal buyers and convert them into leads for your sales team. Properly executed Inbound Marketing tactics are 10 times more effective for lead conversion compared to outbound methods.7You may find that you need to create and publish more blog articles and social media posts to drive more of your target audience to your website. Companies that blog 15+ times per month generate 5x more website traffic than companies that don’t blog.8Don’t think you have the time or resources to blog 15 times per month? No problem. Check this out. B2B Companies that blog only 1-2 times per month generate up to 70% more leads than those that don’t.9You may find that you need to create more CTAs and Landing Pages tailored to your different buyer personas to help generate more leads, as companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10.10We recommend that you perform an inbound marketing competitive analysis on at least an annual basis and ideally on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.A Few Eye-Opening Stats From Real Competitive AnalysesHere’s a sneak peek at some of the statistics various companies found out when we conducted a competitive analysis for them.83% of the companies who requested a competitive analysis ranked last overall compared to their competitors. Don’t leave your company’s performance in question. In this case ignorance is not bliss.0% of the Construction companies we have analyzed had a blog. Blogging is one of the best ways to increase your website traffic.80% of the Engineering companies we have analyzed did not provide content offers. Content offers can be the highest-valued content on a website for your potential customers.80% of the Solar companies we have compared did not have email signups, which is one of the key drivers for lead nurturing.Only 25% of the Telecommunications companies we have compared engaged in some form of marketing automation. Marketing automation helps qualify leads faster and more efficiently and provides an all-in-one platform to market your company in the digital world.Want to know how you stack up against your competition? Don’t do your digital marketing in the dark any longer. Topics:  BIA/Kelsey Google ZMOT ForresterForrester McMurry/TMG Kissmetrics GartnerHubSpot Business2CommunityHubSpot Conducting Marketing Research Don’t forget to share this post! 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