Four Ways the Internet Is Transforming Small Business

first_img Topics: Much of my current thinking on small business strategy has been shaped by how the nature of business is being transformed by the Internet. Below are four internet-caused business transformations that disproportionately benefit small businesses that are prepared to leverage them.1. Increasing Market “Efficiency” The most striking thing to me about the internet is how it tends to make all markets more “efficient.” The story I heard that really drove this home for me was when I heard that eBay’s founder started the company because he was a rabid collector of Pez candy dispensers and his rolodex did not include enough people of similar interest, so he started a marketplace where people could trade this niche good. The rest is history with eBay being the ultimate connector of sellers of niche goods (vintage Burberry jackets, Fred Lynn baseball cards, Jerry Garcia Band posters, etc.) to buyers of these niche goods who could not otherwise find them in their mall or through their rolodex. As my co-founder says, the internet is great at connecting makers of left-handed monkey wrenches with left-handed plumbers around the world. It turns out that most small businesses (and startups) have relatively niche-y products that they generally sell to companies in their rolodex and companies two degrees away from their rolodex. The internet disproportionately favors small businesses since it enables them to position their niche goods to people shopping for that particular niche good regardless of the numbers of degrees of separation from their rolodex.2. On the internet, no one knows you’re a small-business. At the risk of being cliché, I have included a cartoon that sums up this transformation for me pretty well. When someone hits your website for the first time based on a Google search, the surfer has no idea if you are a one person company or a one thousand person company, they are just looking for a solution to meet a need. Most small businesses I know have a website that is a copy of their old brochure. The problem with the website starts with the fact that it cannot be changed without serious brain-damage, so it’s positioning is as generic (least niche-y) as possible. The rationale here is si mple: When small business owners write the content for their website, they tend to play it “safe” and keep things generic so as to drive away the least number of customers. Since they can’t change things, they feel that keeping it generic is safer (because they don’t know when they’re going to change it again). The other problem is that the website is not seen by Google as relevant — if you type in the name of the company it is found, but if you type in the market description, it is buried, which essentially means it is non-existent beyond your rolodex.3. Changing Nature of Business Shopping I had been consulting for a 25-person venture-backed security software company in Boston for a few months on sales and marketing before getting consumed by my current mission . What struck me was how the folks running the software company were using the “best practices” from the 1980’s and 1990’s to try to attract prospects and convert them to customers and how utterly broken those practices were in light of how the internet has transformed the way buyers of their types of goods had changed the way they shop. Ten years ago, a potential customer for this type of niche/new security software would likely go to a Gartner conference, talk to their IBM rep, talk to their Symantec rep, or call Deloitte & Touche. If the potential customer was referred to the software company by one of the major vendors, the prospect would likely engage one of the vendor’s sales reps who would be their primary source of information on their products. In other words, the entire sales process involved them talking with humans. Today, a potential customer for this type of niche/new security software would likely start by searching the phrase describing it into Google. They would then likely visit any of the top vendor websites Google served up, they would likely consume any blogs they found on the topic from the vendors or analysts or customers of the vendor, and they would likely participate on the blog of the vendor that most closely matched their criteria. Once the potential customer had narrowed things down pretty well and was already well educated, then she would likely “self-select” with that vendor through a form on their website. At this point, a salesperson would engage the potential customer and quickly realize that the potential customer knew about as much about the products as he did. The interesting thing about this example is how ten years ago the whole sales process involved a sales person from the vendor feeding asymmetric information to the prospective customer. Today, the top half of the sales process is completely out of control of humans on the vendor side. It was frustrating to hear the software vendor’s salespeople wonder where the leads were. The reality is that there are potential customers out there for their products, but the prospects’ self-identification just occurs a whole lot later in the sales process. The problem this particular software company had was that its website was not “seen” by Google when you did simple searches on their marketplace because it was not optimized, so they ended up having to spend a ton of money on Google AdWords™. Their website was hard to change, so they stuck with lowest common denominator language which put them in a shark tank from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective. Also because it was hard to change, they were not able to create custom landing pages/messaging based on where the searcher came from. Their website did not have a blog where potential customers could intellectually engage with the founders and technical architects who they really wanted access to (not the sales folks). …I see this set of problems repeat itself in 99% of all small businesses and startups. Business has changed and there needs to be a new set of tools to help you take advantage of the change.4. Changes In Knowledge Creation & Retrieval I spent much of my career implementing and selling knowledge management systems. The problem with knowledge management systems is that everyone wants the knowledge that collectively comes out of the system, but no one wants to feed the system. It turns out that even just a few extra mouse clicks to share a nugget of knowledge in a centralized system is more than 90% of users are willing to do. I suppose there are a couple of reasons for this. First, those few extra mouse clicks are a few extra minutes at the office versus at home with their family. Those few extra mouse clicks help the company, but might not do anything to fundamentally improve their bonus that year. This is a somewhat pessimistic view, but I suppose some of their rationale might be that information is power and the lack of transparency increases leverage. Much has been written about the new crop of web2.0 applications. In my mind, the thing that web2.0 companies got right is a new way of thinking about knowledge management. For example, I use a product called which has replaced my browser based web favorites. gives me a better way to organize my web favorites (via tags v. folders) than my browser did which helps me personally. The really sophisticated thing that does is that it leverages my (and all its other users) self serving behavior to incidentally create value for the network by giving users a powerful new way to search on articles that is driven by the masses versus driven by some media company. There are numerous other examples of these systems which are fundamentally better at incentives to contribute knowledge which ends up creating much more knowledge. – Brian Halligan Marketing Trends Originally published Oct 2, 2006 7:10:00 PM, updated May 08 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Inbound Marketing at a Maasai Village in Kenya

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 17, 2008 10:38:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 Don’t advertise. All the safari guides know that there are a number of native villages that will accept outside guests, but you will not find any advertisements to tour the villages or any promotion of it as an activity. The only way we knew about it is that we have friends who have gone on safari before and the sent us pictures of their visit to a village and told us about it. If you think about it, advertising would probably have a negative effect on “business” since the village might feel a lot less “authentic” if there were pamphlets about it at the concierge desk including a $2 off coupon.Encourage user participation. Right from the first few minutes of our visit, the Maasai were asking us to join them in a number of activities, including dancing the “welcome dance” like in the photo above with me in the white t-shirt. (Yes, there is actually video of me dancing with the Maasai. No, you will not get to see it.)  Encouraging feedback, comments and interactions with your users or customers is an important part of inbound marketing because the company no longer controls or owns the market – the customers are in charge now, and you really want to give them a voice and listen to it.Generate lots of content. One fundamental principle of inbound marketing is that companies should act more like publishers, because publishing lots of content relevant to your market creates a magnetic effect of drawing more people toward your content and your company website. The Maasai have embraced this concept. Though they do not create much content themselves – they embrace user generated content because they were always encouraging us to take more and more photos.  Literally, every three stpes in the village, they asked us to take more and more photos.  The marketing benefit of this is that the more photos people take the more likely there will be good an interesting photos that people will share on photo sharing sites like Flickr, continuing to spread the word about visiting a Maasai village.Gather customer feedback. Our guide asked us twice during the visit if we were enjoying ourselves and what they could do differently. At the end he specifically asked a couple questions about certain parts of the visit and if a couple of the other villagers had been helpful or not.  If you are an inbound marketing guru, you know that only if you have a remarkable product will others spread your message for you.  Our guide was very interested in making sure we had a remarkable experience and were more likely to tell others.Ask for recommendations. Finally, if you have a remarkable product, there is something you can do to encourage your customers to spread your message even more.  Ask them.  After we had given some feedback to our guide and said our visit was enjoyable, he asked us to tell our friends to come to Kenya and visit a Maasai village during their trip.Note: I know that it is highly unlikely that someone from a Maasai village in Amboseli, Kenya is reading blog articles and books from places like HubSpot, David Meerman Scott and Seth Godin and then devising an inbound marketing strategy based on that information.  The likely scenario is that all of this just evolved.  However, it is still interesting to me the way that it evolved, and that their strategy embraces inbound marketing so much.What do you think?  Have you seen other interesting and unexpected examples of inbound marketing? Topics:center_img I recently returned from a safari in Kenya (it was a great trip and I recommend it to everyone).  On one of the days, we visited a village of Maasai, which are a semi-nomadic indigenous people.  I wasn’t expecting to pick up any interesting marketing tidbits that day, but on the drive back to where we were staying, I realized that maybe there were some relevant inbound marketing takeaways… Inbound Marketinglast_img read more

Are You Tracking Your Marketing Effectiveness by Channel?

first_img3. Measure ConversionWhile your marketing channels may be driving a healthy volume of visitors, leads and customers every month it is important to track the conversion rate of each channel on a regular basis to see if they are performing consistently.In the example above the conversion rate for the Webinars channel (green) dropped for several months — December through February and regained some momentum in March. At the same time, the blog consistently delivered a reliable conversion rate month over month. I can look at these charts and make pretty reliable estimates for leads for future months.4. Track Business ResultsAt the end of the day, the job of marketing is to help drive business success.  You should be able to look at each individual marketing channel and understand what is the yield for the effort and dollars to convert some number of visitors to customers.  If you know how a channel performs you can make informed decisions about where to invest more energy and dollars to get an even higher return.What strategies are you using to track the effectiveness of your various marketing channels?  Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!HubSpot Free Trial Optimize your website to get found by more prospects and convert more of them into leads and paying customers with HubSpot’s inbound marketing system. Start your trial now! In a HubSpot webinar Chris Brogan said that when it comes to social media you should give up control because you never had it. However, it is hard to give up control of all your marketing. A way of controlling your marketing or at least managing it is by understanding what works and what doesn’t.Most companies doing internet marketing take the multi-touch approach and use a variety of channels such as blogging, seo and more recently social media to generate interest in their products and services.  But at the end of the day their traffic charts look like this:What Does This Chart Tell You About Your Visitors from Your Email marketing, or Social Media Marketing?The answer is absolutely nothing.  Here’s how I envision a conversation would go at your office coffee station:You: Visitors are up this month! Colleague: Oh Yeah? How come?You: Umm…not sure.  I think it was the email. I’ll have to check to be sure.To control your marketing you have to be sure. Here are some ways you can improve your tracking of channel effectiveness:1. Go Granular Your visitor graphs should like this one below, (fondly known as the mosaic) where you can see the volume of visitors you are generating from various marketing channels. If you had this graph, your answer to the colleague at the coffee station would be, “We drove a higher volume of direct traffic to our site this month.  Our site and brand name are really out there!” Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Originally published Apr 30, 2009 7:35:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 2. Analyze the Entire FunnelUsing the data from HubSpot Marketing Analytics I take this granular analysis a step further and create similar graphs (below) to understand what channels are delivering the most leads and, more importantly, what channels are delivering customers!Remember, channels that are driving sales and business for your company are the effective ones — where you want to invest more of your limited marketing dollars.  Besides direct traffic, looks like the blog and webinar channels are driving customers in the example below! Marketing Analyticslast_img read more

Lessons in Web Site Optimization Using Website Grader

first_img Company: Mesiro & Fink – Website Grader Score: 6 Put a telephone field on the form No Blog! Website Design Attach the social media efforts Add geographical keywords was an easy fix and one to surely juice up their SEO presence.    .  Please submit your site and we’ll look forward to talking to you live! weekly With a score of 96, you’d think there might not be much room for improving. Wrong!  Mike and I both found a few areas we thought this website could do better.   to the title tags. Company: BT-TelConsult – Website Grader score: 44 the knocked-out white on black background, a favorite of designers around the world, yet notoriously difficult to read.   Start a blog 2.   A company of this size is perfectly poised to leverage their army of consultants in talking about the Telecommunications vertical.  They could have tons of blog posts that would help them with the next key point. Use more pictures Originally published Mar 30, 2010 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 1. .  The form is nice and visible but the immediate need for someone with their skill set might necessitate a telephone call instead of an email. Move away 5. This is a big company.  British-Telecom could afford to do just about anything they wanted, right?  Well, it appears that they might want to consider a few tweaks to their site if they want people to contact them. and we’ll do everything live!  2. Our first effort at a live HubSpot live optimization event Tuesday, April 6 at 1 PM for our next Live Optimization Webinar 3. This new site has a very passionate business manager, Katherine.  We were able to talk to her about this site at great length and it was great to have an opportunity to understand how a creative person sees the web.  There were a few points we wanted to help Katharine with and most of them had to do with design.  to their blog and make sure the posts are more educational and less self-promotional in nature. 1. was better than we expected (thank goodness!).  We were prepared with a few web sites to review with the 1500 registrants of our This is a new site and we wanted her to do more than a few things in order to optimize it. email form Our suggestions for improvements: 2. on their Home Page.  So many offers, it is very distracting. of portraits and wedding photography in the site, especially on the home page.  The beautiful butterfly is nice, but it is not their business.   webinar 1. , more frequently which would give them more inbound links Join us on that has some excellent content on it directly into the website.  The content would be a terrific lead generation tool for this site. Contribute more actively Reduce the amount of Call to Action clutter Connect the blog 3. from frames in the web site.  The difficulty of having two bars to navigate can be confusing. they are making to the website and make sure the name of the firm is being used in their Twitter handle.  Currently, they are using a more generic name to tweet. Eliminate .  With a blog providing regular content they will be able to generate more inbound links. This is a three-month-old site and has been nicely optimized by an SEO firm they hired, so their score of 6 came as a bit of shock to Cynthia when we talked to her during the webinar.  She’s concerned that this site is not generating the number of leads that they expected.  Here’s a few things that Mike & I thought might be helpful: 3. Stop using Information Mapping in the title tag and on every page, and Topics: 4. more content start utilizing descriptive, long-tail keywords and we were able to call two marketing managers and discuss what they were trying to achieve with their website and get real-time feedback.  be better if someone was looking for consulting help?   1. They had a telephone number on their site (if you looked for it) but wouldn’t an 3. Only 162 indexed pages.  Clearly, they need 2. Company: Information Mapping – Website Grader score: 96 (currently just 29!). Company: Photos by Orion – Website Grader Score: 21 Mike and I enjoyed it so much that we’re going to do this Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Obama’s Campaign Guru Shares How Technology Impacts Social Change

first_img Flickr Obama’s campaign explains: “The world needs an easy way to meet up with people. The most amazing things happen when people meet up. This is more important than the iPad.” another social startup, the tech guru has much to share about the role technology plays in social change. Meetup Scott Heiferman TechCrunch Disrupt conference Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Meetup The panelists explain that today’s online world is about creating a culture of sharing, whether it be content through blogs, photos through Social networks allow people to connect with each other and build relationships online. Businesses and brands take advantage of the growing popularity of social media to interact with consumers and create a personalized image online. How about beyond the web? or some type of offline event and have people come in contact with other like-minded individuals, who all share the common grounds of knowing your brand. Such meetings spark new thoughts and ideas, which will 1) benefit your company, 2) inspire social change in communities, and 3) create a sense of inclusion among fans. Taking social networks offline is an emerging trend, and the first step to true social change. , weighing in on an increasingly important question: Take social networking to the next level and have people meet in person. , a site designed to help people self-organize and meet each other, with the goal of improving themselves or their communities. CEO Download the free webinar , and  followed a similar route, whose advocacy for change drew in fans and followers and ultimately, sparked a movement. . Relationships are key to building social platforms, and it’s crucial to empower people to nurture these relationships beyond just the internet. to learn how to turn your website into an internet marketing machine. Hughes As digital tools create communities, how will they create change in the offline world?center_img Originally published May 27, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Having a concrete message attracts fans, who become avid followers, who, when united together, become a movement. “With existing networks, it’s easy to build a movement. You have to make sure that energy turns into practice and action,” states  is a man of social wisdom. From co-founding Facebook to developing President Obama’s powerful online campaign to now creating A fitting example is . , or status updates through , NY Congressional Candidate, the trio took part in a robust panel at the  Marketing Takeaway Reshma Saujani Topics: Create a Meetup , CEO of Webinar: Re-thinking Marketing Want to learn more about how you can use inbound marketing to grow your business? Facebook Jumo, Heiferman Chris Hughes Social Media Campaigns Along with last_img read more

Transforming Your Marketing Culture with Seth Godin [@InboundNow #15]

first_img Seth How companies can stand out and transcend traditional marketing tactics. Inbound Now Poke the Box Purple Cow Doing, poking, prodding, and challenging the status quo Inbound Marketing , All Marketers are Liars, & For the full transcript head here:  Always Be ShippingThe notion that you can wet test anything changes everything. Quote “The only way to understand the box is to see the edges” Get Near the Edges of the BoxPush boundaries and try new things. How else will you know what works and what doesn’t? The cost of learning is so much less than the cost of not learning. Advice for MarketersSeth has given 4000 pieces of advice to marketers on his blog. Seth says “The Internet rewards relentless generosity.” and the more you worry about pay day, the less you are going to make. Where do Seth’s ideas come from? How companies can transform the way they do business by blogs daily on and cranks out amazing content joins us for episode #15 of ), and an inspiring speaker. How can companies and individuals in those companies start poking the box and transform the way things? How companies can provide an environment that encourages innovation & doesn’t shun failure. Tribes This book is about Topics: Race to the TopIt’s good to have short term goals but you must have an overarching vision of the future. Seth sees too many companies getting caught up in trying to optimize one tiny piece for a 2% gain and they often loose sight of more important initiatives that should and could be taking place. “Racing to the top is not about incrementally lowering your price or chiseling away. Racing to the top is about creating moments and movements and changes and innovations that people choose to talk about, that people want to engage with you about.” The dark secret of Marketing it’s a lot easier to do when you have a product worth talking about. Be Eagerly Prepared to Fail!Failing enough times leads to long term success. “If you fail often enough, you will succeed” You have to fail successfully enough to keep going, be smart about failure. And remember,  Try is the opposite of hiding. . . This is your message and mantra. Innovating EverydaySeth says you should be innovating in your company on a daily basis. Take a look at how internal processes are working. What could be streamlined? What could be made better? How would you ever know this if you aren’t poking the box to see what works? Seth stresses to look at your posture.  Are you interested in figuring out how things work or just there to make it to the next payday keeping your head down? “This posture of curiosity is a choice and I’m always amazing when people aren’t interested at least at some level how things work” Why wouldn’t you be interested in how things work?”The point is this is a moment. This moment will not be here in ten years. This moment was not here ten years ago. So the question is if you’re lucky enough to work for an organization that’s doing cool stuff, why aren’t you poking and finding out what’s working and what’s not?” Seth’s Lesson for Marketers”A lot of people don’t have respect for marketers. The reason is because the old kind of marketer was a little bit of a scum bag who was trying to say one thing about a product that did something else.” However there is hope! “The new breed of marketers is an impresario, a creator, an artist, a storyteller, someone who wants to make connections about things that matter. Not everyone gets to be the new breed of marketer. You have to choose to be this person and you can. So quit whining and go.” Connect with Seth Online . You can also connect with him on his personal site Great companies and brands reject the idea of average products for average people. They make amazing products for a select market. New marketing is about making great stuff. Originally published Apr 7, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Poking the Box and Transforming your Marketing with Seth Godin Brian Halligan, our fearless CEO, posed this question to Seth to try and get into his mind to see how it ticks. Seth says he tries to say things that scare him and tries to always keep a watchful eye to notice things that are interesting and then add his own unique spin. Create a Failure Friendly Environment”Anytime your boss says to you, “We need to do something new and failure is not an option,” what she’s also said to you is success is not an option, because if you’re not prepared to fail along the way, eagerly fail along the way, then you’re not going to succeed.” Seth suggests creating an environment where your employees are more afraid about not failing than Making a list of how you failed and survived is going to teach you a great deal and inspire you to keep failing (smartly) Yoda Was WrongSeth claims that the jedi master Yoda had it wrong! “I think Yoda was wrong, and I quoted him in the book, where he said, “There is no try.” I think there’s lots of try. It’s okay to do your best and have it not work. In fact, every company that we say we admire, every brand that we say we aspire to has a long history of doing that.” Who inspires Seth Godin?“You know David, I would say you” (Thanks Seth!) Seth says that everyone that reads his blog and supports his efforts he . Knowing someone is going to read his blog and take away from his ideas and take action are enough to keep him going. The Enemy for Any Creator is Not Piracy it’s Obscurity. ! Seth is a marketing mastermind, author of 13 books great books (including Seth Godin poking the box , In the show we chat about: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

6 Ways to Reduce Wasted AdWords Spend in 2017

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Google Ads 2) Modified Broad MatchAnother way to filter out unwanted impressions and clicks is to swap out broad match (the default keyword match type on Google) for modified broad match.Broad match is the least restrictive match type, meaning Google attempts to match your ad against the greatest possible number of queries. So if you bid on the keyword “fish food” with broad match, it’s possible that your ad would show up for searches like “fish recipes” or “seafood restaurants,” because Google figures that only one term in the keyword needs to match the search query and it uses synonym matching pretty aggressively.Negative keywords are one way to fight this over-aggressive matching, but another way is to make better use of the modified broad match type.With modified broad, you append a plus sign to any terms in your keyword that must appear in the search query. So if you bid on the keyword “+fish +tank” in Google, your ad will only show up for queries that include both “fish” and “tank,” like “tropical fish tank” or “tank for large fish.” You won’t get impressions or clicks for terms like “tank top” and “fish recipes.” Thus, your clicks are going to be more qualified.3) Narrower Context TargetingAnother way to make sure your clicks are relevant is to focus on user context – that is, only showing your ads to people in the right place at the right time.With AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, you can adjust your bids up or down depending on a user’s:Location: Use geo-targeting to bid more in certain areas — for example, within a 50-mile radius of your store — and prevent your ads from showing in locations that your business doesn’t serve.Time of search: This is also known as dayparting. Turn off ads outside your business hours or bid less on the weekends if those clicks are less profitable.Device: Adjust bids up or down depending on whether the search is using a desktop or mobile device. (Lots of advertisers assume that mobile searches are worth less, but depending on your business, the exact opposite could be true.)By fine-tuning when and where your ads show up, you can better control the context in which users see your ads, so you focus your PPC spending on the audiences that are most likely to convert into sales or leads.4) Mobile OptimizationIf you are bidding on mobile searches (hot tip: after the upgrade to Enhanced Campaigns, you almost definitely are), you can reduce wasted spend by making sure you have enabled mobile-optimized ads.Mobile-preferred text ads allow you to tailor the user experience for mobile users. You can include mobile-specific calls-to-action and direct users to mobile-optimized landing pages. Almost as important for marketers who are constantly seeking to improve their metrics, you can A/B test mobile text ads against each other in an apples-to-apples comparison to improve your overall account performance.This is vital because mobile users behave differently from non-mobile users. For example, they are more likely to place a phone call than fill out a form. So use mobile-specific ad extensions, like click-to-call extensions. (As a bonus, ad extensions tend to increase your CTR and Quality Score, which save you even more money.)5) Smarter Bid ManagementYou can also make better use of your spend by adjusting your bid management strategies. There are lots of theories regarding the best way to manage bids, but at a high level, you want to:Raise bids on your best-performing keywords: If you have keywords with high CTR and Quality Score that are converting at a profit, bid more on them! This is just common sense.Lower bids on weaker keywords: Look for terms that get lots of clicks but not many conversions. These low-converting keywords are a big source of wasted spend.You might also want to watch out for AdWords’ automated bid management feature — most likely, the automated bids won’t make optimal use of your spend.6) Turn Conversion Tracking On!You’d be amazed how many advertisers don’t follow the simple best practice of turning on conversion tracking. If you’re not tracking conversion in AdWords, you really have no idea how much money you’re wasting.Make sure your landing pages have conversion tracking enabled so you can measure what’s working and what isn’t, then funnel your marketing spend toward the keywords and campaigns that deliver ROI.What methods do you use to lower your spend on AdWords? Let us know in the comments below!This is a guest post written by Larry Kim. Larry is the founder and CTO of WordStream, provider of the 20 Minute PPC Work Week and the AdWords Grader. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.Image credit: 401(K) 2012 Topics:center_img Even though I think Google AdWords is one of the greatest advertising systems there is, I’m the first to admit that Google makes it really easy to waste your money. A lot of the default settings in AdWords are there to maximize your reach — which is great if you want the highest possible number of clicks.But remember: this is pay-per-click marketing, and those click costs are going to add up fast if you cast a really wide net.The problem is, when you reach more people, you’re generally sacrificing relevance. Many of the people who click your ads aren’t going to be your ideal customer, and, in the end, that hurts your ROI.The best way to increase your ROI from AdWords is to take measures that whittle down your audience to the most relevant potential customers. Luckily, there are lots of ways to do this in AdWords — you just have to know what they are.Here are the top-six ways to filter out unwanted clicks and reduce your wasted spend in AdWords.1) Negative KeywordsNegative keywords are the classic way to filter out unwanted, irrelevant clicks on your AdWords ads. A negative keyword is basically the opposite of a regular keyword — instead of telling Google “Show my ads when someone searches on this term,” you’re telling Google not to show your ads when this term is part of the search query.Let’s say, for example, that you sell fish tanks, fish food, and related pet fish supplies. You wouldn’t want your ads to show up for people looking for fish recipes or fish restaurants or fish food trucks. So, “recipe,” “restaurant,” and “truck” would go on your negative keyword list.Building out a solid negative keyword list will save you a lot of money in worthless clicks that will never convert. But we’ve found that up to 25% of advertisers aren’t using any negative keywords at all. Bad idea!There are two methods for finding negative keyword ideas:Reactive: Keep an eye on your Search Query Reports in AdWords — these are the real terms that trigger clicks on your ads. If you see something irrelevant to your business, add that term as a negative keyword.Proactive: Use a negative keyword tool to get ideas before they cost you money. Originally published Sep 30, 2013 11:04:00 AM, updated August 27 2017last_img read more

What Are Psychographics? [FAQs]

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 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 Personaslast_img read more

How to Find Your Brand’s Voice [SlideShare]

first_img Branding Topics: The other day I emailed my husband at work to check in on what was for dinner. His response?”To ensure optimal nutrients, I’m going to prepare a ground Bos taurus paired with Peruvian onion circles, blanched lettuce, and thick-cut Sus scrofa domesticus on a brioche.”Wait, what?Even coming from our loved ones, this odd, overly complicated way of communicating leaves us questioning their intent. Yet for some reason, this is the voice we often hear from companies.One minute they employ copy stuffed with jargon and language so formal it leaves you clutching the dictionary, and the next minute they’re trying to tell jokes and be your best friend on social media.For marketers tasked with communicating different messages across a variety channels — website, social, email, ebooks, slide decks — learning how to adjust your content depending on who is writing and what they’re writing about is a challenge. So, how can you shape your business’ tone of voice to communicate your message more effectively?The slide deck below details a specific set of steps to help you kick-start the process of shaping a tone of voice or check your existing approach to ensure you’re still hitting the right audience.  Originally published Jun 23, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017center_img Want to learn more? Check out the full training guide here. This detailed guide dives into the nitty-gritty of language and includes practical exercises to help guide your thought process. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

The Key to Growing Your Audience: Partner With Subject Matter Experts

first_imgNo matter the format, message, or style of online content, everyone’s striving to reach the largest possible audience. Making that a reality depends on creating something that answers an audience’s most pertinent questions, is presented in an engaging way, and maybe even offers some new ideas no one’s hit on before.As content marketers aim for these goals, one ingredient can distinguish popular content from something that barely gets noticed: the input of a subject matter expert (SME). Partnering with an SME can strengthen content’s credibility and value, yet knowing how to connect with such an expert requires skills that aren’t inherently part of a marketer’s usual wheelhouse.Locating the right people, getting prepared for an interview, and drawing vital information from them depends on accessing your inner journalist and sharpening up your outreach and interviewing skills.Content’s Newest Ally: The Subject Matter ExpertIt’s not a stretch to say an SME will offer immense benefits to a content project. When a well-known name is attached to a project, whether it’s a downloadable ebook, video, or series of articles, attention will inevitably result. Just as a popular novelist can earn pre-sales purchases months before a book is even published, name recognition can lead to an automatic buy-in from a community of enthusiasts.An expert can also serve as a source for up-to-date knowledge and news on an industry. He or she will be able to convey the biggest challenges, the latest breakthroughs, and future concerns around a particular subject. This kind of information will allow you to shape the direction, message, and format of your project.Then once you’ve completed a project, an SME can also play an important role in helping spread the news about it with his or her social media followers. With a well-known expert, your content promotion efforts have the potential to reach a huge community of enthusiasts, fellow experts, and industry leaders. Awareness of your content, and your brand, can reach an unprecedented level of exposure when you take advantage of the social channels an SME can bring to the table.The Place Where Journalism and Digital Marketing OverlapRealizing that subject matter experts are important to content creation and promotion is one thing; tracking them down for an interview is another. In journalism, conducting an interview is a standard practice that should be adopted by the digital marketer. A subject matter expert’s insights and perspective can take an article from being one-dimensional to a complete and nuanced portrait of a topic or event.Taking on some of the fundamental tactics of a journalist entails researching who would be the best choices of experts, reaching out to them, scheduling a time to speak, devising some effective questions and then conducting the interview itself.Embarking on these tasks requires some planning and having clear ideas of what will need to be covered to create a meaningful conversation. By using a journalist’s tactics to achieve a content marketer’s goals, you’ll be able to strengthen your content and ensure it will resonate with its intended audience.As any journalist could tell you, conducting an interview is much more than just asking questions. The best interviews require thorough planning and shouldn’t be done in a lockstep Q&A fashion. Being able to ask spontaneous questions or ask an interviewee to elaborate on a statement can help ensure the discussion is a meaningful one.Expertise + Creativity + Promotion = Content That ConquersWhen a journalist interviews an expert on a topic, the goal is to gain some pertinent facts for an article. When a brand hires a celebrity to endorse a product, the goal is to gain attention and credibility. And when a content marketer partners with a subject matter expert, both these goals can be achieved, while also gaining the advantage of some promotional muscle that will deliver your content to a broad, receptive audience.Knowing some good outreach and interviewing skills will lay the groundwork for a variety of benefits when it comes to content creation and promotion. Now that SMEs are increasingly part of the process, the ability to think like a journalist is becoming a necessity for building successful content marketing projects that will shed light on an issue and generate some great traffic.Thinking like a journalist is merely the first step for tapping into subject matter experts for content marketing success. Join Relevance for their upcoming webinar on July 15th at 1PM EST, 5 Steps to Better Content Marketing Results: Partnering with Subject Matter Experts, to go into greater depth for harnessing expert knowledge for your content. Topics: Blog Post Topics Originally published Jul 7, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Teach Yourself SEO in 30 Days

first_imgSearch engine optimization is complicated.For many, it’s considered a dark art, peppered with unknowns and uncertainties. And while some marketers consider it an exciting challenge, others back away from it in fear that they’ll simply never get it right. However, the truth is, if you are doing any kind of online marketing, having even a basic understanding of SEO can help you deliver more successful strategies and campaigns.So to help set you up for success, we’ve put together a 30-day plan designed to give you a better sense of how SEO works, how it fits into your strategy, and what tools you can use to measure and report on your efforts. While this post won’t turn you into an SEO pro overnight, we promise it’s full of resources that will make your life as a digital marketer just a little bit easier.Let’s get started. Section 1: SEO ConceptsAfter completing days 1-4 you’ll have a basic understanding of how search engines work, a clear sense of the difference between on- and off-page SEO, as well as an overarching understanding of how Google’s algorithmic updates have shaped how people approach SEO today.Day 1: Learn about how search engines work.Before you start digging into SEO concepts, you’ll need to develop your understanding of how search engines work. To ease yourself into your 30 days, sit down and watch this video by the former head of Webspam at Google, Matt Cutts. By the end of it, you should have a better understanding of how search engines work.Day 2: Build out your SEO reading list.SEO is a constantly evolving phenomenon. For this reason, a huge part of being “au fait” with SEO is reading. Thankfully, there are a number of really great SEO blogs out there that can help you keep on top of the ever-changing SEO landscape.Here are some blogs you should bookmark right now. We encourage you to make some time each day to visit at least a few of them:MozHubSpot Marketing BlogSearch Engine LandSearch Engine WatchBacklinkoPoint Blank SEO BlogMatthewBarby.comSEOnickDejanSEO blogBuiltvisibleDay 3: Learn about SEO’s role in inbound marketing.SEO and inbound marketing are part of the same ecosystem. The relationship between them is symbiotic — SEO aids the success of inbound marketing by ensuring content is found, and inbound marketing enables SEO by creating relevant quality content that people want to link to. To really understand how to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, inbound marketers must understand where SEO fits with inbound marketing.HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Certification is a free and comprehensive way to learn the basics of SEO and how it fits withinInbound Marketing.Here are two other great resources for helping you understand this important relationship:The Relationship Between SEO and Inbound MarketingThe Future of SEO and What it Means for Inbound Marketing [SlideShare]Day 4: Learn the basics of on-page SEO.For most, on-page SEO is the easiest part of SEO to understand because you can actually see and control it. On-page SEO refers to what search engine crawlers can discern from the content and structure of your site. These elements include the following:Content (both design and words)Title TagsURLsImage Alt TagsInternal linkingSchema MarkupSite architecture XML sitemapsTo learn more about on-page SEO, check out this comprehensive guide from the folks at Moz.Day 5: Learn the basics of off-page SEO.This is the side of SEO that breaks people out it a cold sweat. It shouldn’t.Off-page SEO factors largely revolve around links. They encompass anything that affects your search engine visibility outside of the information that can be read on your website.At this stage, you just need to develop an overarching understanding of what’s involved in off-page SEO. (You’ll learn more about link-building later on.)This handy resource from Search Engine Land lists all the factors related to off-page SEO.Day 6: Become familiar with the Google zoo.Google algorithm updates are a headache for search engine optimists. In fact, they are a headache for all digital marketers.That said, it’s helpful to become familiar with the major updates: Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and Pirate. Again, Moz has a great resource which documents and details all known algorithmic updates since the year 2000.To better understand if and how these updates affect your website, try checking your site using Baracuda Digital’s Panguin tool.Section 2: SEO ToolsBefore you get your hands dirty with SEO, you need to have your analytics tools all set up and ready to go. At the end of this section, you’ll have done just that. Day 7: Set up your analytics.Take the time to set up your analytics package of choice. Google Analytics tends to be the most popular choice of in terms of analytics packages. (If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can integrate Google Analytics with your portal.)For more on how to configure your Google Analytics for SEO, follow this guide.Day 8: Set up the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) for your site.If you’re serious about wanting your website to rank in Google, the Google Search Console is essential. Essentially, this tool helps you see your website as Google sees it by giving you insights into pages that have been indexed, links that are pointing to your site, popular keywords, rank positions, click through rates, etc.Take some time to set up your Search Console and dig into the data. Once you become familiar with it, you can also go ahead an install Bing’s Webmaster Tools for further insights.This beginner’s guide to the Google Search Console from Moz has everything you need to get started. Section 3: Competitor Analysis & Keyword ResearchCompetitor and keyword research is an essential ingredient for implementing successful SEO strategies, as well as overall content or blogging strategies. For this reason, you should spend ample time developing your skills in this area. This will take some time, so have patience. The goal here isn’t to copy or replicate what the competitors are doing, but rather, it’s to make sure you’re doing more, doing it more effectively, and providing a better solution for your visitors.Follow the steps below and you’ll have the basic skills required to execute successfully.Day 9-15: Turn yourself into a keyword research pro.There’s nothing quite like learning how to do keyword research on the fly. However, a really great resource to help you do so is Nick Eubanks’ one-week course on mastering the skill.After signing up to this course, you will receive one email per day for seven days explaining how to implement different stages of keyword research. It’s very practical — so much so that at the end of the seven days, you’ll have completed your first keyword research project for your business.The course does cost $127 (you can get a starter version for $67), but if you have the budget, it’s an investment that’s totally worth it.If you don’t have the money to spend on the course, check out this really great 50-minute keyword analysis tutorial from Matthew Barby. It brings you through a full process for carrying out extensive keyword research for blogs, along with all the different tools that you can use — both free and paid. Day 16-19: Run a competitor analysis.Running a competitor analysis is an essential part of defining an SEO strategy. Competitor and keyword analysis go hand in hand, and in many ways, they provide the basis for a solid SEO strategy.During your SEO analysis, you’ll need to uncover answers to the following:Who are your main competitors?What do their traffic levels look like? What keywords and phrases are they ranking for?What does their backlink profile look like?What kind of social media presence have they got?What does their content strategy look like?Here are some resources that will help you to get started:How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit to Outrank Industry Rivals5 Steps for SEO Competitive Analysis & ResearchSection 4: Link BuildingLink building remains at the heart of SEO. At the end of this section, you should have made a start on developing your own link-building strategy.Day 20: Develop an understanding of link building.Link building – a term synonymous with off-page SEO — refers to the practice of acquiring links from other websites to your own.The number of high-quality links linking to your website remains one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. There are many techniques for building links, but it is by no means an easy job. It’s both challenging and time-consuming. However, by creating great content you’re likely to attract many links organically, without actually having to spend time looking for them.This ebook by Paddy Moogan of Aira explains the importance and art of link building.Day 21-23: Start developing a link building strategy.This does not mean finding out where you can purchase a million supposedly high-quality links to your blog.After reading Paddy’s ebook, you should have a thorough understanding of the importance of link building, as well as a good idea of how to do it. Now it’s time to take that to the next level.Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO, has put together a comprehensive list of link building tactics. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with them (there are lots of them), and figure out how you can go about implementing some of them into your own strategySection 5: Local SEODay 24-26: Educate yourself on local SEO.Local SEO is something that more and more people have started to speak about and specialise in over the last couple of years. It’s different from organic, traditional SEO, as it is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.For example, if I search for ‘best pubs’ on my desktop right now, Google would provide me with results that are nearest to me.The best place to start with local SEO is Google My Business, where you can begin by claiming your page.Once you’ve done that, check out our Introductory Guide to Improving Your Local SEO.Other great resources include this guide from eConsultancy and all these SlideShares by Local SEO expert, Greg Gifford. Here’s one of my favorites that presented at BrightonSEO earlier this year: People Often AskWhat is an SEO program?An SEO program is a piece of software that helps to make your website search friendly and increase the number of visitors from search engines. What is search traffic on Google Analytics?Search traffic on Google Analytics is the number of visitors your website gains from search engines. Organic traffic on Google Analytics referrs to the unpaid visitors to your website from search engines. Originally published Oct 15, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated January 05 2018 Section 6: Measuring SEOMeasurement is essential for implementing successful SEO strategies. You’ll need to track data around things like rankings, referrals, and links in order to analyze your SEO strategy and optimize it for success.Day 27-29: Learn what you need to measure.The first step towards successful measurement is finding out exactly what you need to measure. Here’s what we recommend you start with:Search engine share of referring visitsSearch engine referralsVisits referred by specific search engine terms and phrasesConversion rate by search query term/phraseNumber of pages receiving at least one visit from search enginesRankingsAnother really important thing to note here is that you should try to align your SEO metrics against business objectives. If your goal is to generate more email signups from blog content, then the search visibility of long-tail keywords coming through to your blog content should be high on the list. Having such clear objectives will make it very easy to deem the success or failure of your SEO strategy.To get started, follow Neil Patel’s guide to measuring SEO success.Day 30: Relish your newfound knowledge. SEO Resources Topics: Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

How to Write a Review in iTunes [Quick Tip]

first_img Online Reviews 7) Hit “Submit.”Note that you probably won’t see your review appear right away. According to Apple, “Your review might need to be approved before it’s published, so it might not appear immediately.”How to Write an iTunes Review on an iPhone1) Open up the right app for what you want to review.Unlike on Desktop, you can’t just review your podcasts, shows, albums, and apps through the iTunes Store. Instead, you have to navigate to certain apps first. Here’s where you need to navigate depending on what you want to review:Review a Podcast = Podcasts AppReview an App = App StoreReview Music, Movies & TV Shows = iTunes StoreReview a Book = Books App2) Tap the “Search” button in the bottom navigation.3) Type in the name of the item you’d like to review, and select it from the search results.4) On the item’s listing page, tap “Reviews.”5) Tap “Write a Review.” If you’re not signed in yet, Apple will prompt you to sign in. 7) Write your review. A few things Apple suggests you keep in mind:Your review must be under 300 words.Apple doesn’t edit reviews, so make sure your grammar and spelling is correct before submitting.Avoid the following things:Single-word reviewsBad languageContact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)URLsTime-sensitive materialAlternative ordering informationComments about non-product related issues such as service and support, resellers, shipping, sales policies, other Apple partners or Apple topics not directly related to the product’s features or functionality. Topics: Every time I subscribe to a new podcast or download a new app I have a moment of panic. Is this show or app really going to be worth my time? I’m giving up valuable space in my phone for this. Do I really need this in my life?When that moment of worry sets in, I turn to one thing, and one thing only: the show or app’s reviews. If it’s passed the litmus test of countless other people, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Fast-forward a few months. That podcast or app I worried about? It’s now a favorite of mine. I talk about it over cocktails with coworkers … yet never actually write a review to help someone else make the “to download or not to download” decision. If you’re like me — the review-seeker but never the review-maker — this post is for you. Turns out, writing a review isn’t that hard — you just have to follow a few specific steps.Check the post out to see just how easy it is to write review on your Mac/PC or your iPhone — and then go on over to your favorite show or app and put your newfound knowledge to work. Not only will you be giving other users valuable information on which to make better decisions, but you’ll also be giving the creator valuable feedback on which to iterate. Win-win, amirite? Note: I’ll be using our podcast, The Growth Show, as an example throughout the post, but the same principles will apply regardless of what you’re reviewing. How to Write an iTunes Review:Open up the iTunes Store.In the search box, type in the name of the podcast, show, movie, TV show, book, or app you’d like to review.Click on the correct item in the search results to be taken to its iTunes page.On the item’s iTunes page, choose “Ratings and Reviews” from the top navigation.Click the button, “Write a Review.”Write your review.Hit “Submit.” Originally published Feb 10, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated December 04 2017center_img How to Write an iTunes Review on a Mac or PC1) Open up the iTunes Store.2) In the search box, type in the name of the podcast, show, movie, TV show, book, or app you’d like to review. 3) Click on the correct item in the search results to be taken to its iTunes page. 4) On the item’s iTunes page, choose “Ratings and Reviews” from the top navigation. 5) Click the button, “Write a Review.”If you’re not signed in yet, Apple will prompt you to sign in. 6) Write your review.A few things Apple suggests you keep in mind:Reviews are limited to 300 words. Apple does not edit reviews, so triple check your spelling and grammar before submitting them. Avoid the following things:Single-word reviewsBad languageContact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)URLsTime-sensitive materialAlternative ordering informationComments about non-product related issues such as service and support, resellers, shipping, sales policies, other Apple partners or Apple topics not directly related to the product’s features or functionality. 8) Hit “Send.”Note that your review may take a few hours to show up in iTunes.And that’s it! In just a few minutes you can help your fellow fans make better decisions about what they listen to, watch, and play — and help your favorite podcasts, shows, and artists get the info they need to improve.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

13 days agoHyypia has no doubt about Liverpool title focus

first_imgHyypia has no doubt about Liverpool title focusby Paul Vegas13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool Champions League title winner Sami Hyypia has no doubts about the team’s title focus.But while Liverpool stretched their lead over Manchester City to eight points going into the ­international break, ­Hyypia knows there is a long road ahead. He said, “It’s a great thing that no one left last summer – they kept all their big players. And, when I see them play, it looks like everyone wants to be there to play for this club and be in this team.“I watch them and it seems they are having fun ­playing at such an ­extraordinarily high level – but they are also ­demanding of each other. That’s why they won’t ease up.“I saw the episode with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, but, far from thinking that was ­damaging to the dressing room spirit, I thought that showed how strong it is.“It just shows that everyone wants to win together and what a great group Klopp has built with that dynamic.“It’s always good to have that kind of openness where players can call each other out. That’s part of the culture of winning.“All successful teams have that desire, which means they ­demand more from each other.“I remember some sparks ­flying between players when I was at Anfield – and that’s only good for the team.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

NCP leader Udayanraje Bhonsale resigns joins BJP

first_imgNew Delhi: Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Udayanraje Bhosale on Saturday resigned as a Lok Sabha MP and joined the BJP saying he was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. Earlier on Saturday, Bhosale first met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and submitted his resignation from the Lower House. He then arrived at the residence of Bharatiya Janata Party and Union Home Minister President Amit Shah, where he formally joined the BJP in the presence of Working President J.P. Nadda, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and several other senior leaders. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ After joining the BJP, Bhosale said: “I am inspired by the works and leadership of Modi, Shah and the BJP.” “I am happy to see that the BJP was following the paths of Shivaji Maharaj to strengthen the country.” Bhosale also hailed the Modi government for revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and said: “What nobody thought, they made it real by handling the sensitive matter in a very mature way to strengthen the country.” Bhosale also said that the people of the country were joining the BJP because of the leadership in the party and its ideologies. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Shah, while welcoming Bhosale, said: “The BJP and the Jana Sangh has always followed the ideologies of Shivaji Maharaj. And it was great that one of his family members has joined the party.” Praising Bhosale for resigning as an NCP MP just four months after the Lok Sabha elections, Shah said: “He resigned as an MP within four months on moral grounds to join the BJP, which is a matter of pride.” The Union Home Minister also stressed that the BJP, under the leadership of Modi in the Centre and Fadnavis in the state, will improve its tally in the Maharashtra Assembly elections scheduled later this year. “I have toured the state recently and I am assured that the BJP will improve its tally in the assembly elections and will win three fourth majority,” he said. Bhosale won in the Lok Sabha elections by a margin of around 1,30,000 votes from the Satara parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra.last_img read more

Get Your Hands On Guitar String Bracelets From Music Industry Legends To

first_img Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) – D’Addario XL 10/46 strings used during Tracker Tour 2015. Jonny Buckland (Coldplay) – 5 (only) x Acoustic Guitar strings, used on the track Violet Hill from the Viva La Vida album. Coldplay were recently awarded Best British Group at the Brit Awards and received the ‘Godlike Genius Award’ at the NME Awards. Anthony Jackson – 1 set Half & Half bass. Guitarists are donating used strings from their guitars which will then be made into very cool bracelets and auctioned off to raise funds for the St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust.The auctions will take place on a specific date and will run for ten days.These are one off bracelets handcrafted to your specific size. If you would like to learn more about A&D Guitar String Bracelets you can visit their website here.Once the strings have been paid for you will be asked for measurements for the bracelet to be made to fit you. Once the bracelet has been made it will be sent to you along with authentication saying who actually donated the strings.The first ‘Strings for lupus Auction’ will take place on eBay on 14th March 2016

The following guitar strings will be auctioned on that date:
 Keith Richards (the Rolling Stones) – Heavily used acoustic strings, used in recording studios in London Dec 2015 on forthcoming Rolling Stones album. Copy of letter from agent authenticating strings. Squeeze – Set of electric strings. Chris Difford used on the controversial Andrew Marr show January 2016. Tony Visconti – 1 full set electric guitar strings used on the Holy Holy Tour 2015. Tony was also the producer of David Bowie.Upcoming auctions will feature strings from Paul McCartney, Brian May, Paul Rodgers, and many more.The auction will go live here on Monday, March 14.last_img read more

Field peas

first_imgby Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Nick PironioFor most Southern cooks, field peas are as familiar and enduring a staple as their summertime harvest-mates, tomatoes. This year, however, an heirloom varietal of pea, thought to have vanished, will be grown within Raleigh city limits. And it all started with a dead woman’s fridge.Two years ago, Raleigh-based farmer Sean Barker traveled back to his native town in Mississippi to visit family. Amid catch-ups with relatives and reminiscing about old friends, Barker and his uncle struck up a conversation about Mama Hill, Barker’s grandmother who had passed away in 1999.Mama Hill had been an A-class gardener and a Southern cook of the highest order. In fact, Barker credits her for giving him the “agricultural bug” that grew into his profession. As he and his uncle sat on the porch, Barker recalled some of the crops he ate from Mama Hill’s garden as a child: okra, oversize summer squash, and a particularly delicious calico field pea unlike any he’d had before or since.Barker’s uncle paused. “You know,” he said, “when we were cleaning out the house after Mama Hill died, I moved her refrigerator to my house but never really went through it; I just plugged it into the wall in my garage and sort of forgot about it.”It prompted an immediate visit to the matriarch’s fridge, and an amazing discovery inside: Sitting on a shelf was a grocery bag full of seeds Mama Hill had saved. There were rice peas and lady peas, and a third bag of peas with a scrap of paper tucked into it: In Mama Hill’s script it read: “polecat pea, 1984.”To a farmer, this was the equivalent of winning the lottery. Here were the calico peas of Barker’s youth, forgotten until now. After his mother successfully grew a test crop last season, Barker decided to plant a plot of the heirloom at Raleigh City Farm, where he and his business partner, Corbett Marshall, grow produce under the name Kailyard Farm.If all goes according to plan, Mama Hill’s polecat peas will likely be harvested this month, along with about 20 other varietals Barker planted this season. Kailyard Farm sells its produce, including field peas, at the Raleigh City Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at City Market).Grab some, if you can, and rekindle your romance with one of the South’s shining summer stars. Clockwise starting from the red seeds, Harico Rouge, Calico Crowder, Lady Pea, and Vietnamese Black.Field Peas with Cornbread and Tomato VinaigretteWhen I asked Barker how Mama Hill cooked her peas, he told me that she had a few tricks, including adding just a touch of sugar. In an ode to that maneuver, this recipe pairs the peas with a barely sweet tomato vinaigrette and cornbread crumbles. Like panzanella, the classic Italian tomato-and-bread salad, this dish works best with day-old cornbread.Serves 4-62 slices smoky bacon, cut into ½-inch thick pieces½ cup diced onion1 clove garlic, smashed2 cups fresh field peasKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper2 beefsteak tomatoes, cored and sliced in half1 tablespoon sherry vinegar1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon1 teaspoon fresh minced parsley½ cup extra-virgin olive oil6 ounces chevre, crumbled4 cups cornbread, broken up into 2- to 3-inch piecesIn a saucepan over medium heat, add the bacon. Cook until it begins to brown a bit and release fat, about five minutes. Add the onion, garlic and field peas and stir to coat. Add water until the field peas are covered by an inch. Bring to a simmer and cook until the peas are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the peas, discarding the cooking liquid and the garlic clove. Transfer the peas to a bowl and season with salt to taste.Over a large bowl, use a box grater to grate the flesh of the tomatoes (discard the tomato skin). Whisk in the vinegar, tarragon and parsley. Whisk in the oil in a slow steady stream until the mixture is fully emulsified. Add the field peas, corn bread and chevre, and toss to coat. Transfer to a platter and serve.last_img read more

Illustrated interview with Marvin Malecha

first_imgAfter 21 years as Dean of the College of Design at N.C. State University, Marvin Malecha retires this month and will become president and chief academic officer at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego, Calif. It seemed fitting in this interview with Walter to have the design visionary sketch his responses.What do you look like?A flash of white hairAgainst a black imageDefined by the geometry of eyewearFueled by an open spirit?But what does it matter?Do you have an alter ego?Yes and no. It is a circus.FriendsMentorsRole modelsComposed into an idealized aspiration.My alter ego has wings.Which building in Raleigh do you most admire?A building is a marker of life. It is architecture by its relationship to life. The vanishing tobacco barns are genuine. The Fadum House has a simple reality. The memory of the Catalano House haunts us. Dorton Arena reminds us of our better spirit, and the Hunt Library transforms our understanding.What’s your favorite thing to eat?In my personal quiet spaceA rich Italian red – Brunello and a bold cheeseWith my joyA soft black licorice with my granddaughterSo it depends …What are you afraid of?FEARTo restrict my curiosityTo cup my wingsThe authority of those who would seize my independenceCYNICISMTo drain me of my energyDriving color from my mindWhat’s on your feet?A message, a dialogue of Van Gogh,Heidegger, and Charlie Chaplin …Cole Hahn high tops todayMephisto for comfort yesterdayAsics from my son for exerciseMy identity!What is your favorite season?The season I am alive in! I am moved by the quiet of a snowfall and the crackle of the first steps in it. Who cannot be astounded by the brilliance of the color of a youthful spring? The lustiness of summer speaks for itself. But the beautiful subtlety of fall … the mature spectrum of color … the instigation … the demand for reflection – makes it my favorite.What’s on your mind?The past near and farToday … NOW!The transition to the future.Satisfaction for what has beenImpatience to be betterPossibilitiesColor!last_img read more

Clark Hipolito Art in motion

first_imgby Tracy Davisphotographs by Nick PironioRaleigh artist Clark Hipolito is a man in constant motion, a quality he shares with much of the art he makes. His reputation was built with murals and commercial interior design – art that stays where you put it – but his interests have led him to fill a unique niche on canvases that move: surfboards, skateboards, and guitars.“His artwork is absolutely amazing,” says master luthier Jay Lichty, who won Garden & Gun magazine’s 2010 top “Made in the South” award for his handcrafted guitars and ukuleles. One of Lichty’s ukuleles, painted by Hipolito, hangs on the wall of his dining room. “I treat this one more like art. It’s just too pretty to keep in a case. And honestly,” he pauses midsentence, examining the instrument, “I’m still not sure how he pulls them off. Is this gold leaf? It’s gorgeous.”A Connecticut native, Hipolito, 45, first found his inspiration in the Atlantic Ocean. During a 2003 trip to Charleston, where he was creating custom interiors and murals, Hipolito headed out to Folly Beach, noticed that the waves were great, and decided to rent a surfboard. He ended up with a decrepit old board and bought it on impulse. “If a board could have rust, this one would have.” He cleaned it up, painted it with a faux wood finish, “put art on it, and then rode it.” The board got attention. Soon Hipolito was painting boards for other surfers, and next thing he knew, he had a 15-board show in downtown Wilmington. Surfboards eventually led to instruments.Serendipity also played a role early on. After graduating from Seton Hall with degrees in business and design, Hipolito worked as an on-air graphics designer at MTV Networks in New York. He saw murals being painted and thought, “I want that. So, I started being an artist.” In 1994, he founded The Art Company, Inc., which he still runs, to create custom art. At about the same time, Hipolito moved South. Stints in Atlanta (“meh”) and Charleston (“liked but didn’t love”) failed to win him over, so a friend suggested he check out the Raleigh-Durham area. His introduction to the Triangle was a walk down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Everything clicked. “I loved it. Lots to do, pretty people, everyone’s friendly, good cost of living. All the basics. I thought, give it a year.”Hipolito decided on Raleigh, setting up in a warehouse on Yonkers Road where, surrounded by purveyors of lumber, lighting, and plumbing, he figured he could draw on the area’s innate grit and build-it vibe to turn the place into a SoHo artist’s loft. “Nope,” he says. “Completely didn’t work.” But a mural he painted there caught the eye of a couple shopping for tile and led to his first real job in Raleigh: a mural in their Italian restaurant, Casalinga Ristorante, at the time a popular spot on Capital Boulevard. The mural job snowballed into a collaboration to revamp the entire restaurant, and ultimately paved the way for fruitful connections with area builders.That ability to spark connection is another of Hipolito’s talents. Quick to smile, quick to make friends, quick to say yes, he’s not a “mull it over” kind of guy. That translates to an aptitude for “connecting the dots,” as he puts it, with the dots being people, ideas, and projects.From the start, both his clients and his art have been diverse. Early mixed-media commissions came from the Carolina Hurricanes and Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, and his paintings have appeared in TV series like Dawson’s Creek and Sex and the City. His art reflects influences as diverse as Roy Lichtenstein’s blending of text and image and the classical forms of Michelangelo. His work is also as likely to be on the ceiling or floor as it is to adorn a wall.So it was only natural that Hipolito – and his art – would go off-road.Things That Go When he first started painting surfboards, “I had no idea how to price them,” Hipolito says. For lack of a better plan, he created a silent auction with bid sheets at his first show. It created buzz from the start – it didn’t hurt that there were film crews in town – and prices shot up.  The boards sold out the first night. “I thought, ‘I need to stick to this!’ It was killer.”Surfboards led to skateboards, and then came the leap to guitars. That’s no surprise to anyone who knows Hipolito, an avid music fan. Guitars are “an intimate canvas,” he says. “You can focus.” He paints them on commission and in live settings, including at the Bonnaroo music festival and at Raleigh nonprofit Band Together’s annual Main Event.The 2010 Band Together show, with headliner Michael Franti, made for an especially serendipitous connection. “I’m painting live while Franti does his thing,” he says, “and after the show Franti tells me that he loves it. Then he says, ‘Got a minute?’” Franti showed Hipolito his favorite acoustic guitar and asked him to paint it, but there was a catch: It was the only acoustic Franti had with him on tour, and he needed it in Asheville, ready to play, less than 48 hours later.  “If you can do it,” said Franti, “take it.”“I went back to my house and got to work that night.” says Hipolito. Several hours later, his girlfriend drove Hipolito – borderline delirious from lack of sleep and a head full of lacquer fumes – to Asheville. He delivered it to a delighted Franti, and more projects came his way, all via word of mouth, including two guitars for members of Journey and an electric bass for the bassist of the rock band Umphrey’s McGee. “I have huge gratitude,” says Hipolito. “I get to see someone amazing playing my guitar on stage. And when those artists say good things about my art? It’s the ultimate gratification.”That appreciation for the talents of other artists – “the makers,” he says – fostered his collaboration with guitar maker Lichty, and with East Coast Surfing Hall of Famer and renowned surfboard shaper Will Allison, who approaches boards as functional sculpture. Their 2011 Birds of a Feather show, featuring Hipolito’s art on Lichty’s instruments and Allison’s surfboards, was held at Deluxe in Wilmington. It brought together everything Hipolito loves.“Those guys are masters,” says Hipolito. “There was a symbiosis, as well as a generational thing – these three compatible arts coming together.”For his part, Lichty met Hipolito when his client Mike Gossin of the band Gloriana commissioned a Lichty guitar, and wanted Hipolito’s art on it. Lichty wasn’t sure that was such a good idea. “The top of a guitar is the main tone producing part of it,” he explains, “so any art has to be absolutely thin, with no depth. Put too much paint on there, it’ll mess up the sound.”But he was willing to try. After Lichty built Gossin’s instrument, Hipolito came to his Tryon workshop to paint it. “He got there about 7 p.m.,” Lichty says. “I eventually went to bed, and when I got up at seven or eight the next morning, he was just finishing up,” recalls Lichty. “Then he heads back to Raleigh. He’s got some energy.” The two later met in Wilmington to deliver the instrument to Gossin, who loved how it looked and how it sounded. Says Lichty, “The consensus was, this was such a cool thing. Let’s do a project together.” The result includes the ukelele he now admires on his dining room wall.How he does itHipolito works in all mediums, but acrylics are his favorite. “You can do anything with them. They dry fast; they’re compatible with any surface.” And they take well to being sealed, which is especially important for art that has a job to do. Surfboards need resin; guitars need lacquer. “I’ve seen oils dissolve under a clear coat,” he says. “Not cool.”Because much of his art is made in public or commercial spaces, he doesn’t get many stretches of alone time with room for his thoughts to wander. So the solo all-nighter has become his favorite time to paint and create. “I’ll start something at maybe 11 or 12, and stay with it till 4 or 5,” he says. “Then sleep! And then head out for on-site stuff.”He works in his studio and at his home, both in Five Points, and also in a space above Wine On Main in Clayton, which he co-owns with Temple Phipps. He likes that the wine shop has become a meeting house of sorts for diverse groups in the community, and he has immersed himself in the city, chairing veterans’ memorial and public sculpture trail projects there. “Clayton. I love it. That main street is Glenwood South twenty years ago,” he says. “Just you watch!”Over on present-day Glenwood South, Hipolito’s newest work is at Devolve, a motorcycle and outdoor lifestyle shop. His surfboards are for sale, his murals are on the walls, and his passions are represented: art, travel, and bikes. Hipolito got his first motorcycle as a kid. He and his father chanced upon a bike in a random shop, and decided it was meant to be. “It fit in the trunk,” he says with a grin. “I can still see it. A Suzuki JR50.”If there’s a downside to living in-the-moment as emphatically as Hipolito does, it’s that there aren’t as many chances as he’d like to savor the moments as they come. There’s too much he wants to do.The top of that list: work with the band Widespread Panic. And, he adds, “I’d kind of like to do a hotel. Something in downtown Raleigh. A cool hotel.” Unlike Hipolito, a hotel just might hold still.last_img read more

Spotlight A room with a view

first_imgJillian Clarkby Mimi MontgomeryAs the city of Raleigh grows ever-faster, so does its number of visitors. One thing that hasn’t kept pace is the number of hotel rooms. A recent report commissioned by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says that the city needs more rooms to keep pace with demand.The new Aloft Raleigh, which opened this past October, is one of five new hotels expected to open by 2018. Geared towards the hyper-connected global traveler, the Starwoods Hotels-owned Aloft is a testament to Raleigh’s growing clout as a business hub. On Hillsborough Street across from the N.C. State bell tower, a healthy walk from downtown, the stylish 135-room hotel features tech-forward innovation and art, and holds events targeted to the young entrepreneurial crowd.The spirit of Raleigh is alive in two Thomas Sayre works – one an outdoor sculpture (shown above), the other an indoor installation incorporating clay from the North Carolina piedmont. The hotel’s collection also features pieces from nearby Roundabout Art Collective. The local food scene is represented by homegrown favorites like Gonza Tacos y Tequila and Jubala coffee shop; Videri chocolate is also a perk for guests. The WXYZ bar, which features an open-balcony view of Hillsborough Street and the downtown skyline, showcases Raleigh tunes with the hotel’s Live at Aloft Hotels music series. Guests who want to check the city out can borrow bikes.Aloft is betting big on the growth of the Triangle. A branch opened in Chapel Hill a few years ago, another in downtown Durham last fall, and a third is set to open near Brier Creek in the spring.2100 Hillsborough St.; read more

Spotlight Larkspur loveliness

first_imgNick Donaldsonby Liza RobertsHundreds of art and garden lovers came from all over the Triangle to Frances Alvarino Norwood’s lush North Raleigh gardens for her 21st and final Larkspur Party June 4 and 5. Garden lovers will still have a chance to see her flowery showplace, she says, on Aug. 7 and Sept. 4, but without the art that has drawn huge crowds to her residential neighborhood.The Larkspur party was created by Alvarino Norwoood to showcase the work of fellow artists to the public. It began  as a free, three-artist show in her front yard in 1995; this year featured 38 artists across her expanded three acres of flower and vegetable beds. The blooming sanctuary is itself a work of art, and a reflection of her other profession: gardener. “At some point,” she says, “we had to decide if we wanted more artists or more garden beds, and the garden beds won.” Still, she says, it’s been a good run, “an opportunity to share my mother’s love of gardening, and has allowed me to get to know some incredible artists and meet many other enthusiast gardeners.” Longtime fans thronged for one last hurrah. Tucked between Alvarino Norwood’s massive hydrangea, delicate poppies, and airy Queen Anne’s Lace were paintings, pots, wind chimes, and sculptures. Botanical illustrations by Preston Montague and silver jewelry by Dan Dye were standouts. In the larkspur itself stood Alvarino Norwood’s own elegant, elongated figurative ceramic sculptures, which sold out within the first hour. The Alvarino Norwood family will open their garden to the public without charge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 7 and Sept. 24.last_img read more