Humble Pie

first_img Originally published Feb 4, 2008 10:12:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 What did I learn this weekend?  First, I learned that even Tom Brady can’t throw a football accurately with linebackers in his face.  Second, Tom Petty might be a bit old to be trying to rock out during halftime.  And finally, yes, I learned that inbound links, website grade, web traffic and other Internet marketing metrics do not affect what happens on a football field. To be honest, I think my prediction last week was clear that it was somewhat in jest.  But still, I make a full apology to our blog readers for going perhaps a bit too far last week when I predicted a Patriots victory using Internet marketing data.  I will now eat my Humble Pie just like the Patriots should be doing.But, that does not mean that all of you reading this article are off the hook!  Why?  Because all these metrics do matter!  Internet marketing metrics matter for your business. While predicting the result of a football game might not make sense, I do think you can predict the future of your business using things like traffic, inbound links and website grade.  More people visiting your website indicates more interest in your business. A higher Website Grade comes from you doing all the right things online, which helps more people find your website.So, I will eat my humble pie. But, your assignment is to get a free marketing report at Website Grader and add to your goals for 2008 to improve your Website Grade, double your website traffic and double your website lead flow. 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

Who Wants a Marketing Music Video? – Ke$ha Parody, “Clicks Talk!”

first_img Clients blowing up your phones Clicks Talk (Parody of And now the sales are lining up, you’re a content creator Tune in every Tuesday on our blog, or mvolpe ‘Cause when I start the preso I ain’t goin’ back Join fellow deadheads, HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan and acclaimed author, David Meerman Scott for marketing takeaways from the Grateful Dead! ?  @ If you liked the subscribe to our YouTube page. Producer and Director: That’s right. I’mma type Download the on-demand webinar now. Vocals: , @ Na Na Now Inbound what’s it’s all about HubSpot TV’s I’m talkin’ excellent SEO Cold calling’s for clowns Cortenberg Desktoppin’! Rocking the SFDC COLD CALLING’S FOR CLOWNS! Karen Rubin and Mike Volpe.  , @ karenrubin through song Want more videos? Update status: “19th floor Clients all lookin’ impressed music video, check out this one! This video guest stars Got my degree (MIT) and my plan of attack Laptops , @ I’m just so good it’s like cheating!” repcor Blogging just like the pros Clicks Talk repcor So! What did you think? Do you have any music video masterpieces that you’d like to share? Put ‘em up CHORUS I’m talking ‘bout Tweeting in the morning on the way to the meeting HubSpot put your searches up ‘s “Tik Tock”) by Woody Tondorf So we set up landing pages and they’re already here Content rocks and your blogging don’t stop no! Ain’t got a cent in your bank cause your inbox is clear Originally published Jun 1, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Do you ever want to inspire others to embrace the value of inbound marketing … And you’re tracking all your progress with our sweet Webinar: Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead Better than Kawasaki ‘Til we see the sunlight Ke$ha Lead generation success WoodyTondorf CHORUS: You Oughta Know Inbound Marketing @ Starring: Blowin’ up RSS feeds C to the M to the S @ Website Grader And cold calling’s for clowns 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

Everything a Marketer Should Know About QR Codes

first_img Originally published Jun 9, 2011 3:00:00 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 Barcodes, QR codes, readers, 2D barcodes (have you ever seen a 3D barcode?). There’s a lot of debate in the marketing world about just how useful these scan-able images can be for businesses. Opinions range from “who would waste their time using those?!” to “I just don’t think marketers have figured out how to use them yet.” What the Heck Is a QR Code? QR stands for quick response, and barcodes are nothing new. But to clear up any confusion, a QR code is simply a matrix barcode that is readable by QR barcode readers that can be installed on smart phones . The information that is encoded by QR codes can include text, a URL, or other data. Barcodes have been around for quite some time, but their use as a mobile utility for accessing information is new in the scheme of things. Just like any new piece of technology, the mass market will show signs of resistance before it starts to adopt it. And while there will always be naysayers out there, the fact of the matter is that if QR codes catch on with consumers (and there is nothing that suggests they won’t), businesses – especially local ones – can really stand to benefit from them.Even though the mass market has yet to fully embrace them, there are multiple reasons why local businesses should be embracing QR codes now as part of their mobile marketing strategy. QR Codes Can Help You Stand Out From the Crowd Differentiating your business from your competitors is definitely a marketing 101 lesson. The fact that QR codes have not yet been adopted by the masses means there are many people who see them and don’t know what they are. If used correctly, QR codes can spike the curiosity of your customers and prospects alike. Use this opportunity to link QR codes to exclusive offers or valuable content to carry that curiosity through to a sale. Boston Photobooth Rental is a local shop that rents photo booths for all sorts of occasions. They recently redesigned their business cards and used the back of the business card to host two QR codes. One leads to their website and other to their reviews page. Tell me using this otherwise wasted real estate is not a good idea! QR Codes Let You Target Consumers On the Go   Retailers, don’t you wish there was a way to interact with customers on the go? Integrate QR codes into your store signage and other print advertising. Whether you’re providing coupons for shopping in-store or an easy way to sign up for your newsletter, QR codes make it super easy for customer and prospects to access your information fast on their phone.REI, an outdoor sports apparel retailer, had this signage on the front door of one of their stores to pique interest about their frequent shopper program. Instead of calling out the program, they focused on the benefit (dividends) and provided a QR code linked to a list of products people were able to purchase with their dividend. QR Codes Make Real Life Interactive Like the Web   The incredible growth of the online marketing industry isn’t a fluke. Businesses are shifting their time and budgets to online channels because it’s much easier to track the success of their efforts and prove their strategy is working. QR codes essentially allow you place call-to-action buttons on any piece of physical content you have.center_img Brand Experience The best time to look at recipes (at least for me anway) is while I’m at the grocery store. My local Whole Foods store has a recipe board equipped with QR codes so shoppers can open the recipe right on their phones and make sure they buy all the ingredients they need. Genius! Setting Up QR Codes Is Free & Easy to Set Up There are multiple resources businesses can access that will allow them to insert a landing page URL and create a QR code that will direct users to that URL with the click of a button.Sites like Kaywa QR Code allow you to set up QR codes in a matter of minutes and provide you with proper image formats to use in your designs. The Market May Be Slow to Adopt, But the Telecommunications Industry is Ready for You An industry has sprung up around the use of QR codes and other mobile barcode technology. A great example is Neustar . They are veterans in the telecommunications space and recently launched a mobile barcode service that lets you take QR use to the extreme.Neustar users can utilize features like dynamic URLs for geographic or device targeted offers, day parting, and web analytics to make their campaigns incredibly efficient. All the Cool Kids Are Doing It This is not true at all. In fact, you could argue that only geeks are using these things. All kidding aside, the use of QR codes could open up new channels of traffic and customers to your business. At HubSpot, we talk all the time about testing new forms of media and marketing tactics. You won’t know if QR codes will work for business if you don’t at least experiment with them. Go ahead, test them out. If they work — awesome. If they don’t, then who cares? You’ve got nothing to lose. Either way, we’ll still think you’re cool, and actually, you’ll look like the cool kid in your industry if your use of them really pays off. Have you started to use QR codes or other mobile barcodes? Please share how you’re using them, how you are measuring results, and some tips to getting started. Photo Credit: pagetxlast_img read more

5 Things Sorority Girls Can Teach You About Blogging

first_img Blogging Topics: Originally published Sep 14, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack This is a guest post written by Rachel Wilkerson. Rachel is a blogger, writer, social media consultant, and former sorority girl. She works for web startup Beckinfield.com while contributing to brands like Levi’s and U by Kotex. You can read her daily life lessons at www.RachelWilkerson.com and follow her on Twitter @RachelGettingIt.When I was in college, I ran all the recruitment activities for my sorority, and I loved it. It was a hectic time — the “parties” during which we met potential new members (PNMs) were simultaneously carefully choreographed and incredibly unpredictable. In the weeks leading up to recruitment, I led my chapter through hours of workshops to prepare everyone for the process of meeting hundreds of new girls and hoping that every single one of them wanted our house. Sure, it was tiring, but “We Rush Hard” was our motto.My sorority girl days are over, but I believe getting people to read your blog isn’t so much different than getting girls to think your sorority house is fabulous. Here are five things sorority girls can teach you about blogging.1. Know who you want.One of the best workshops I ever created was called “Finding Your Perfect PNM,” in which we described our “perfect” new member. We talked about all the details, from what she looked like to what her dream job was. We knew we couldn’t get good girls to join our sorority if we didn’t all agree on what we were looking for. In the same way, the “Find Your Perfect Reader” exercise can help you get more blog readers. Instead of saying, “I want more readers,” focus on the specific audience you think will get the most out of your blog, and then really seek them out and create content that targets them specifically.2. First impressions count.I know I’m totally reinforcing the “shallow” stereotype of sorority girls, but I’ll admit that we were perfectly aware that appearances mattered during recruitment. It wasn’t that everyone had to be a perfect 10, but we definitely put our best faces forward. We paid attention to the details, because we knew girls would be more excited to hear what we had to say if we looked polished and pulled-together. In the same way, your blog’s design and layout is your chance to make that great first impression. Does it need a manicure or have its split ends trimmed? Sure, it’s about as fun as getting a wax, but you do have to put some time and effort into your blog’s “outer beauty.”3. Make people feel at home.On the day we gave PNMs tours of our house, we wanted them to be able to see themselves living with us. This would be the place they’d call home for two years, and we wanted them to feel comfortable there. In the same way, you should be welcoming to your readers. Whether it’s making yourself easily accessible via email and Twitter, responding to more comments, or simply creating an “About” page that conveys warmth and enthusiasm to the reader, take the time to really welcome people and let them know you’d love it if they came back more often.4. Emphasize what makes you great…During recruitment workshops, we spent a lot of time talking about all the great things our chapter had to offer. Whether it was our cook’s amazing grilled cheese sandwiches or our house’s intercom system, we had a long list of things we could casually mention that made our house special. In the same way, you can design your blog to highlight what makes it special. And truthfully, it doesn’t have to be that special. Just like most sorority houses had cooks, most bloggers have an area of expertise, and it may not even be all that special. But highlighting your Q&A section or most informative posts with a link on your homepage sends a message that you do this well and that people can consider you an expert in that area.5. …but don’t be ashamed of who you are.As much as I wanted girls to love our house, I made sure our members knew that being real is more important than telling PNMs what they wanted to hear. Sure, we could spin everything and make it sound like we were perfect, but most girls wanted to join a house where they felt like they could be themselves. In the same way, don’t spin everything you do and create an image of yourself that’s perfect; your readers want to feel like you are who you say you are. When answering a question or tackling a tough topic, don’t just say what you think they want to hear. Say what’s real.Contrary to popular belief, sorority girls are interested in more than just frat guys and Greek Week. We care about our houses and want new members who will love our house as much as we do. And as a blogger, there is more to you than just top ten lists or a cool header. You love your blog and want people to read it and become a part of your community — so rush them hard!Photo Credit: Murray Statelast_img read more

Stop Linking to Our Website or We’ll Call Our Lawyers

first_img… Said nobody, ever.At least that’s what we thought, until @AnneRuthmann (is it okay that we link to you?) tweeted a pretty bewildering story our way. In a nutshell, a lawyer who provides anti-piracy and intellectual property protection services contacted a webmaster and asked her to remove an outbound link from her website that linked to his client’s site.Confusion, amusement, and dismay are all appropriate responses. Let’s dive into the story a little more to see what the heck happened.Oh, and just to clarify the title of this post, we don’t actually want you to stop linking to us ;-)Why a Website Sent a Lawyer to Another Website … Over an Inbound LinkA lawyer at Guardlex contacted Christine at Big Pink Cookie on behalf of their client — whose name Christine graciously removed in her blog post detailing this whole ordeal — asking her to please remove a link from her site that led to their client’s site. Since he works on behalf of the Anti-Piracy Department at Guardlex, which provides services that protect intellectual property, we presume the outbound link was classified as a piracy or intellectual property “problem.”According to the letter sent by the lawyer, the link from Christine’s website resulted in “material financial loses [sic] to the company.”How on earth would an outbound link result in material financial losses to a company, you might ask? Well, we’re going to get into some possibilities in the next section, but according to the letter, it was “due to search engine penalties resulting from the links originating under your control.”According to Christine, the link in question was from a blog post she wrote in 2001. That’s eleven years ago. So in terms of inbound links, it’s a pretty darn good link to get to your website. And the link was made even more valuable due to the fact that it was to an eyeglasses website, coming from a blog post in which Christine discussed the new eyeglasses she received. In other words, it was contextually relevant.I mean, it could have been a little more relevant, like if Christine’s entire website was dedicated 100% to eyeglasses. For example, let’s say I link to a site about men’s clothing in New York. That’s a pretty good link, because it has relevant anchor text and the HubSpot domain has some authority in the SERPs — we create lots of content and our domain isn’t brand spankin’ new. It’s not the best link they could receive because our website isn’t dedicated to talking about men’s clothing in New York, but it still has some helpful qualities. The point of all of this is that links like the one going from Christine’s site typically help your SEO, not hurt it.But even though this link sounds high quality, are there ever any instances in which an inbound link is not good for a website? Could this have been one of them?When an Inbound Link Might Hurt YouSaying an inbound link isn’t good for a website is different than saying it’s bad for a website. There are inbound links that don’t provide value for a website — those that are contextually irrelevant, from domains with low authority, or contain poor anchor text, for example. We’ve written about it in full in our blog post “Deconstructing the Qualities of High Quality Links” if you’d like to learn more. But those links don’t actually hurt the website that’s being linked to. In other words, just because someone doesn’t provide great anchor text doesn’t mean your website will get dinged by Google for it.There is precedent, however, for sites being dinged due to excessive linking from a host of low quality sites. That’s the whole precedent of the Panda updates from 2011! Sites like JCPenney that received hundreds of thousands of links from link farms were dinged in the SERPs when the first Panda updates rolled out. But that’s a much different scenario than Christine’s — her site is far from a link farm, and contains high quality content that I’d certainly want some link juice from.So when else could an inbound link cause damage to your business? Well, I supposed some damage could come if your business was positioned in a negative light on someone else’s website — but wouldn’t that fall under … slander? I don’t know, I didn’t go to law school, but it sure as sugar doesn’t fall under intellectual property and piracy. And the lawyer’s letter states the material financial losses sustained by his client were due to “search engine penalties resulting from the links originating under your control.” So it wasn’t that her link caused potential customers to stop visiting the website in question … it was that the link allegedly caused penalties in the SERPs.Learning From This StoryLike Christine and her hosting company note, it’s her call whether she removes the link to their website — which she did. In fact, the hosting company responded to the lawyer with a bit of an exasperated (and hilarious) tone, saying “We’ve had this discussion with you before: there is no infringement of anything in merely linking to one site from another — case law exists on this. We absolutely will not instruct our users to remove links that violate no statute or our terms of service. Whether they choose to do it on their own is entirely up to them.”So apparently this company is making money off of the notion that inbound links can cause damage to websites. That’s a pretty big bummer, because it means there are tons of businesses out there losing their money to lawyers fighting a fight that doesn’t need to be fought. I’m not saying Guardlex is doing this maliciously — and I’m not saying they aren’t, either. I will say that they offer copyright infringement protection plans on their website, if that sways your decision either way. But this could all be a symptom of a bunch of people not realizing that inbound links aren’t a violation of intellectual property; they’re internet currency that almost always make you more successful, not to mention common courtesy when you’re citing someone else’s content.The internet has been around for a while, but it’s still new in the grand scheme of things, so we’re all still learning “the rules.” And by learning the rules, I mean making them up as we go. And slowly but surely, our legal system is also catching up to those rules we’re putting in place as we all figure out the right way to work with one another on the internet. So while this could all be a huge misunderstanding fueled by lack of knowledge of how internet linking works, we can take it as a cue that not everyone “gets” it yet. And for goodness sake, don’t throw your money out the window because a so-called expert tells you to do something; there’s a chance they’re not much more in-the-know that you are … they might just seem like it.Have you ever asked someone to stop linking to your website? If so, why?Image credit: walknboston 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 20, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Link Buildinglast_img read more

10 Quick Tips for Generating Leads From Twitter

first_imgStarting slow can be the smartest way to develop your @twitter lead gen programs #twitter25— Rebecca Ferrell (@rferrell01) June 26, 2014 If you use an image, don’t put it right after your lead gen link – your link won’t stand out #Twitter25— Caitlin Shanly (@CaitShanly) June 26, 2014 2) Treat lead-gen tweets differently. Topics: 3) Keep hashtags to a minimum in lead-gen tweets. Awesome tweets for lead gen: Short, clear CTA, one link, and interesting copy. Do NOT use hashtags, mentions, multiple links. #Twitter25— Kelvin (KC) Claveria (@kcclaveria) June 26, 2014 Look at engagement rates, clicks, cost per engagement to measure success of tweets #Twitter25— Caitlin Shanly (@CaitShanly) June 26, 2014 Twitter isn’t just for getting followers, retweets, and replies — it’s also a valuable marketing channel for generating qualified leads. But when you’re trying to generate leads on Twitter, your tweets have to be a little different than normal. With a few tweaks, your tweets can be transformed into lead generation machines — you just have to know what those little tweaks are.Recently, Twitter’s Anne Mercogliano and HubSpot’s Kipp Bodnar teamed up to share their top tips for generating leads on Twitter in just 25 minutes a day. (You can click here to access the recording now.) In case you missed it or don’t have time to watch the recording, below are the top ten tips they recommended for getting leads from Twitter.1) Allocate time each day to your Twitter tasks. Want to share these tips? Here’s a ready-made tweet:Click to tweet: 10 Quick Tips for Getting Leads from Twitter – http://bit.ly/1qRsdrI by @DianaUrban at @HubSpot #TwitterTip #twitter25 5) Space out the link and image in lead-gen tweets. You don’t have to be on twitter #24hours a day to be successful. Find your “hot spot” times and determine your largest reach #twitter25— Chris (@live_tweetin) June 26, 2014 Originally published Jun 30, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 7) When creating Twitter ads, segment your audience. Target your audience on Twitter with content relevant to: – Keywords they’re using – Interests – Geography – Gender #twitter25— Diana Urban (@DianaUrban) June 26, 2014 8) Measure the performance of each lead-gen tweet. It’s good to have a balance of organic & paid tweets. Evaluate your goals. Use paid to supplement your organic reach. #Twitter25— HubSpot (@HubSpot) June 26, 2014 Hashtags are great for accessing conversations surrounding a specific topic, but may distract someone from clicking on a link. #Twitter25— HubSpot (@HubSpot) June 26, 2014 #socialmedia | Lead gen tweets do not have to be boring! Spice up your tweet copy with adjectives, questions, and variety. #Twitter25— TriCelerate (@TriCelerate) June 26, 2014 Don’t forget #inboundmarketing and following up with your leads! This will LEAD to huge success! #twitter25— Joel Szymanski (@wildtrek) June 26, 2014 10) Follow up with the leads you generate quickly. 9) Don’t burn through cash too quickly. 4) Don’t assume that lead-gen tweets need to be boring. 6) Supplement your organic reach with paid tweets. Twitter Marketing 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

Demand Generation Benchmarks & Trends: Software Marketer Edition

first_imgWhile creating the survey for this report, we were interested in whether the different industries had radically different conversion funnels across visitors, leads, and sales opportunities. The charts below feature a comparison between software companies and respondents from all industries. What we see is a similar distribution pattern of responses — imagine plotting two curves against these bar charts, and you’ll see that they take the same shape.There are probably a number of reasons why this trend exists. For one, there may be a coincidence in how marketers were selected for the survey’s sample. There could also be a hidden trend in what the different industries are doing from a strategic perspective. And of course, if we were to compare all industries on a 1:1 basis, we’d probably see more anomalies.Despite potential nuances, one takeaway stands out: These patterns suggest that marketing is a predictable process. With more visitors come more leads and more sales opportunities — a trend confirmed by the Demand Gen Benchmarks Report, which found a correlation between companies exceeding their revenue goals and generating a higher number of monthly website visitors, leads, and sales opportunities. Companies that didn’t know their demand gen benchmarks (indicating a lack of structure in their marketing programs) were less likely to be achieving their revenue goals.2) The software industry is more likely than other industries to rank inbound marketing techniques like content creation and marketing automation/lead management among their top three marketing investments. They’re also investing less in traditional advertising. (Tweet This Stat) The marketing formula seems simple: Attract audiences, engage prospects, convert leads, and facilitate retention. One of the biggest “wins” you can achieve is the ability to connect your disparate initiatives into a scalable, predictable demand generation engine.But when you’re in the trenches, you know this process is easier said than done. Marketers, immersed within their organizations, frequently lack access to industry data. The question of what’s “normal” can be challenging to answer — which makes it tough to justify your budgetary needs to your boss. That’s why benchmarks are so helpful — they help you figure out where you stand in your industry. Below, we dove into several demand gen benchmarks from one industry in particular: software. Read on to learn more.(If you’d like to get a deeper look into this industry or check out some others, you can download the full 2015 Demand Generation Benchmark Report here. It features data from a survey of more than 900 marketers in management levels and above, in 11 industries ranging from media & publishing, finance, healthcare, travel & tourism, consumer products, and consulting.)1) In terms of monthly visitors, leads, and sales opportunities generated, software companies aren’t radically different from other industries. (Tweet This Stat) Originally published May 8, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Lead Generation The survey asked marketers to rank their top and bottom three marketing investments to explore the relationships between companies’ marketing strategies and the benchmarks assessed in this blog post.What we need to keep in mind is that the top and bottom lists from this report don’t differentiate between the levels of budget spent on one tactic over another. For instance, we cannot tell whether content creation received more investment than marketing automation/lead management. What we can say is that content creation and marketing automation/lead management had the highest likelihoods of being ranked among software companies’ top three marketing investments.We have to be careful to remember that a higher investment in budget doesn’t necessarily correspond to an investment in effort. A company, for instance, could spend millions per year on a billboard but actually put more effort into content assets — dozens of blog posts and ebooks — that cost only tens of thousands of dollars to produce in house. The content investment wouldn’t be as high as the traditional advertising investment; however, the effort devoted to content would be much higher.What we can see, however, is that software companies are investing more heavily than other industries in inbound techniques. This trend relates back to a key point from the previous section — that structured marketing programs bridge the gap between effort and success. Inbound marketing efforts like marketing automation/lead management help connect the dots between otherwise dissociated marketing efforts (like tradeshows and email marketing) so you better prove ROI. 3) Software companies are paying higher costs per lead than other industries. (Tweet This Stat)Across all industries, companies reported paying between $1 and $25 on average per lead, while 44% of software companies reported paying more, at $51-$100 on average per lead. One possible explanation for this trend is that acquisition costs are higher for software than other industries due to higher levels of competition in the market and higher customer lifetime values (LTV).Regardless of the explanation, there’s a very clear takeaway from this trend: Wasted leads yield wasted marketing investments. Software companies especially need to make sure that their customers aren’t falling through the cracks. Paths to conversion are complex, and brands need to be present in their audiences’ sales journeys. Inbound techniques like marketing automation, lead nurturing, and content creation are crucial for driving ROI on cost per lead investments.4) Software companies tend to see slightly higher email open and clickthrough rates compared to other industries. (Tweet This Stat)center_img 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 More than 70% of surveyed software companies reported email open rates of higher than 10%, and close to 80% of software companies reported click-through rates of higher than 1%. Across all industries, the survey found a notable trend: Companies exceeding or achieving their revenue goals reported high open and click-through rates.One possible explanation for the trend below is that software companies are more likely than other industries to invest in marketing automation and lead nurturing techniques, which rely on segmentation, interest-based personalization, and targeted content.Final ThoughtsThe bottom line for the software industry is clear: Marketing relationships trump one-off tactics. Facing higher than average costs per lead, the software industry can’t afford to let their website visitors and leads fall through the cracks. Inbound marketing investments are crucial to the future of demand generation in this industry. Marketing is about people, and inbound builds structure around this mission-critical perspective.last_img read more

Facebook Changes the News Feed Again: Users Can Now Get Updates From Certain Friends & Brands First

first_img Originally published Jul 9, 2015 11:37:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Facebook News Feed This morning, Facebook announced three updates to users’ News Feed preferences that give users more control over the content they see in their News Feeds. These updates are available today on iOS and will be rolling out on Android and desktop over the next few weeks.This is part of their continued effort to show Facebook users the stories that matter most to them.Free Resource: How to Reach & Engage Your Audience on FacebookTo do this, Facebook ranks stories based on how interesting they think the stories are to users — all based on whom users interact with and which kinds of content they Like and comment on.With these updates to the News Feed preferences page, users will now be able to:Select which specific friends and Pages they want to see first in their News Feeds.Select which friends and Pages they want to follow and unfollow.Discover new Pages based on content they’ve interacted with in the past.Let’s take dive a little deeper into each new feature. But first, here’s how to get to News Feed preferences: Open the Facebook app on your phone and choose “More” at the bottom-left corner. Then scroll down to the bottom and select “News Feed Preferences.”1) Select Which Friends & Pages You Want to See FirstEarlier this year, Facebook wrote that they’d received feedback from users who were concerned they were missing important updates from the friends they cared about most. As a result, they updated their algorithm so that updates from users’ close friends appeared higher in the News Feed.This update takes this a step further. Now, users can handpick which specific friends and Pages they want to see at the top of their News Feed.How? Within News Feed Preferences, users can tap on a friend’s profile picture to see their posts first. From there on out, the user will see any news stories that friend has shared since their last visit to Facebook right at the top of their News Feed. A star in the top right corner of their post will indicate why the post has been prioritized. Then, users can scroll down to see the rest of their News Feed normally.Image Credit: Facebook2) Select Which Friends and Pages to Follow or UnfollowThis is an updated design of tools Facebook has launched previously. Now, users will be able to see a list of the top friends, Pages, and groups they’ve seen in their News Feeds over the past week. From there, they can select to follow or unfollow any specific friends, Pages, or groups if they want to stop seeing their updates in the News Feed. Users can also see whom they’ve unfollowed and choose to re-follow them any time they please.Image Credit: Facebook3) Discover New Pages to FollowThis update helps users find new Pages from businesses, publishers, and artists they might be interested, based on the types of Pages those users have Liked and interacted with in the past. This is an effort to help people connect with new businesses and read content from them they might be interested in.Image Credit: FacebookWhat This Means for MarketersAs organic reach on Facebook continues to decline, marketers are always looking for ways to boost their business Page’s audience. With these new updates, marketers who post compelling, relevant content to their business’ Facebook Pages and form real connections with their fans will have the opportunity to garner more consistent interaction with their target audience.We recommend focusing on crafting better Facebook posts instead of overwhelming your followers with a lot of Facebook posts. Then, couple that great content with encouraging your followers to add your Page to their “See First” section, perhaps by posting about the update directly to your Page or including a note in your Facebook cover photo.What do you think about the new updates to the Facebook News Feed? Share your thoughts in the comment section. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Viewability? It’s the Least of Publishers’ Worries

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 Oct 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Once upon a time, clicks and impressions were the currency of digital media. But today, times are changing. With banner blindness being the norm, advertisers are looking for new ways to get more out of their digital advertising investments. They’re looking to build long-term relationships through leads that they can nurture. The problem? There’s often a disconnect between media companies and advertisers.As this MediaPost article points out, viewability is one of the biggest areas of focus in digital media, as “companies are scrambling to develop technologies that improve viewability; trade organizations are hard at work setting new viewability guidelines.” From an audience experience standpoint, these investments are important, but they’re also only part of the digital media ‘success equation.’To be most successful for publishers and advertisers, viewability needs optimization: campaign owners need to connect the dots between first impressions and transactions.How Media Companies Can Connect Viewability to Down-Funnel ActionsSanity Check Your Campaign Goals It’s important to drive eyeballs to your campaigns. But you also need to make sure that these audiences are relevant and targeted to your advertisers’ products and services. As impressive as high impression counts may seem, they’re vanity metrics: only a subset of this audience will matter to your advertisers.The challenge with measuring views and impressions, however, is that it’s impossible to distinguish potential customers from passerbyers. That’s why it’s important to define a clear set of goals for every campaign that you execute. If you’re going to track views, make sure that they’re for very specific initiatives. Top of funnel examples include opt-in offers, webinar registrations, and complementary resources. A rule of thumb is to make sure that you can calculate a conversion rate from every single campaign: this is a metric that publishers and advertisers can both optimize.For a detailed guide on how to track this progress, check out this resource.Stop Equating Clicks With EngagementOnce upon a time, clicks were the currency of digital media. The rationale? They represented a sign of audiences taking action on an offer. But technology has improved dramatically. Why are publishers still relying on the same metrics that they did in 1999?Both advertisers and publishers know that clicks don’t equal engagement. There are too many variables at play: audiences may click on an ad randomly or accidentally—especially on mobile screens where viewing room is tiny. No matter the case, clicks aren’t substitutes for engagement or even viewability. Your advertising products and even your pricing models need some adjustment. The shortest and most impactful path forward? Price based on value.When it comes to measuring engagement, there are many audience actions that you’re already equipped to measure. Examples include newsletter sign-ups, offer redemptions, and social shares. What these conversion goals share in common is that they tell a very human story: a person came to a website, saw something that interested them, and took action. The most effective ad products and pricing models reflect this dynamic.But publishers may be hesitant to make the switch. Since the earliest days of the internet, digital media has been a numbers game, with advertisers using metrics like Alexa and Compete rankings to choose their publisher partners. Big numbers look good, so why make the switch to a model with much lower performance figures?The short story: advertisers want their campaigns to back out into an ROI. From a sales perspective, it’s better to attract a tailored focused audience than one that is completely irrelevant. From a common sense perspective, more isn’t always better: in fact, it’s a waste of your advertisers’ time. Publishers can optimize quality by tailoring their ad products around engagement—not clicks.Optimized Earned MediaEarned media is what happens when publishers and advertisers create really awesome content, offers, and campaigns: audiences start hitting the ‘share’ button, which results in free, incremental advertising. The end result? Publishers can justify higher price points on advertising campaigns, and advertisers won’t blink an eye. Even more importantly, target customers end up with products that they love. Earned media is a sign that everyone is winning.The most common form of earned media is social sharing—the online equivalent of ‘word of mouth.’ But even social metrics can have problems similar to clicks. An extra share doesn’t mean that your ad campaign is getting seen: audiences may be sharing your content, but are their friends responding and taking action?This question will bring you full-circle to point one from this blog post. You need to make sure that every ad campaign has a clearly defined campaign goal. WIth this mindset, you’ll be able to quantify the value of the earned media that your ad products are generating. Instead of saying “earned media took the form of X extra social shares,” you’ll be able to say, “earned media generated Y incremental revenue.”In a Nutshell To emphasize their added value, publishers need to get close to their advertisers’ bottom lines. Clicks, views, and social shares are important to this equation, but they’re also vanity metrics that are challenging to back into ROI. The reason? It’s impossible to see the intent behind these actions, and without this perspective, advertisers and publishers are limited to their best guesses. Two simple actions can help overcome these challenges: define your goals, and create campaign features that optimize them. Ask your audiences to take action by presenting a value proposition that they can’t ignore.last_img read more

How to Create a ‘To-Don’t’ List: A Productivity Trick for Focusing On What Really Matters [Infographic]

first_imgThis post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.When I got my first job, I was given one piece of advice over and over again: Say yes. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, raise your hand for side projects, and generally go above and beyond.Going above in your role is a great way to learn and grow. But sometimes, saying no is just as important. And while you’re probably already familiar with the to-do list, there’s another list out there that might be even more valuable.The to-don’t list, as its name suggests, itemizes all the things you won’t do throughout your day.Developed by Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, this tool helps you focus on what’s actually important and serves as a conscious reminder of what’s not.So what does a to-don’t list actually look like? Use the guiding questions in the infographic below to create your own, and check out what Daniel Pink includes on his to-don’t list.Save SaveShare this Image On Your Site read more

7 of the Best Mood-Boosting Websites We Could Find

first_img Topics: Live video by Animal Planet L!veSophia Bernazzani, Staff Writer, HubSpot Marketing Blog:I’m a huge animal lover, and during a hectic and stressful workday, watching a live feed of a bunch of kittens playing is a fun way to take a quick mental break without getting too distracted.”Visit this online destination if:You love watching adorable things happen in real time. There’s a reason why live videos get 3X more viewing time than pre-recorded ones — it’s fun to watch things unfold as they happen, even if it’s a cat discovering yarn for the first time.Author’s note: For my fellow dog people, there’s also an Animal Planet Puppy Cam.2) Huffington Post Good News SectionAja Frost, Staff Writer, HubSpot Sales Blog:When I need a quick reminder about all the cool, heart-warming, inspiring things people do for one another each and every day, I check Huffington Post’s Good News vertical. It’s a curated collection of happy news — often stories that are overshadowed by more dramatic (read: more depressing) events.”Visit this online destination if:You get overwhelmed by coverage of less-than-positive current events. This site provides great fodder for watercooler talk, but focuses on, well, the good stuff.3) Find the Invisible CowSource: StrauberryPlaysNick Carney, Social Media Marketer:Sometimes, there are days when you just need a win — something to pick you up and carry you through the rest of the day. For me, there’s nothing much more satisfying than finding an invisible cow. It makes me feel more accomplished and ready to take on the world, one elusive cow at a time.”Visit this online destination if:You like a tiny challenge with your midday break. While it’s not exactly a mind-bending game, Find the Invisible Cow provides just enough stimulation for your brain to feel like you’ve accomplished something. Plus, the more you win, the more animal options you have to choose from.4) Cute OverloadJanessa Lantz, ‎Principal Content Marketing Strategist:Cute Overload is my go-to rainy day pickup. Puppies wearing red galoshes and kittens snuggling with hamsters will always make me feel better about life. And even though it’s no longer publishing new content, the archive is still filled with joy.”Visit this online destination if:You’re the nostalgic type. In January 2016, Cute Overload decided to stop publishing new content — read more about that here — but its previous posts are still alive and well at the original URL. So if you’re the type of person who never gets sick of seeing videos about seals, bunnies, and polar bears that have been curated from a variety of sites, this destination is for you.5) SpotifyWhen I told Bernazzani that I would be writing this roundup, she quickly pointed me in the direction of Spotify. The digital music provider, she explained, “has curated playlists that are specifically about mood and attitude.” Some of our favorites? “Brain Food,” “Songs to Sing in the Shower,” and, of course, “Mood Booster,” which we’ve embedded below. Visit this online destination if:Working in silence makes you bonkers — or, if you really do need a quick and easy mood boost. Music is known for its multiple physiological benefits, which are reviewed quite thoroughly in this study of its neurochemistry. But not only can it help to regulate your mood, but also, it can be intellectually stimulating, making it a great way to take a break before resuming a challenging task.6) BarkPost HumorBarkPost is one of those delightful websites full of content that either leaves you in stitches, or clinging to your pets for dear life. If you prefer to avoid the latter — which is likely here, considering you’re seeking a mood-booster and not a downer — we recommend checking out BarkPost Humor, which is packed full of trending stories, photos, and videos of dogs being unintentionally hilarious. Is it hard news? Not really, unless you consider one woman’s tale of sending her dog and cat to a marriage counselor to be heavy-hitting journalism. But honestly, who wouldn’t want to read that story?Visit this online destination if:You never, ever, ever, get sick of seeing funny dog videos — whether you’re in a bad mood or not.7) Audiotree Emotion in Marketing Originally published May 12, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated May 12 2017center_img Don’t forget to share this post! You might be thinking, “Are all of these sites related to animals and music?” Well … almost. But hey, as per the studies cited previously, those are two of the biggest mood boosters out there.For the latter, there’s Audiotree, the aptly self-described “artist discovery platform.” Whether you’re into studio sessions, live-streamed concerts (and remember — that type of video gets over 3X the views as others), or documentaries, this site has something for you.But what makes this site particularly mood-boosting? For us, it’s the variety of content. It might seem like music is intuitively consumed one way — by listening to it — but Audiotree has made it a mission to diversify the way we do that. Plus, they share interesting stories about the people who write and perform it, adding a learning element to the way we enjoy a great song.Visit this online destination if:You love your favorite artists, but want to find something new. You may not have heard of the ones featured on this site before, but what better way to boost your mood than with a new favorite song?Get HappyI don’t know about you, but I feel better already. Many of these sites were unfamiliar to me when I first began working on this article, and just listening to my colleagues describe them with such enthusiasm was a treat. Experiencing them was even better — and I definitely found myself feeling slightly less stressed and preoccupied once I explored some of what they had to offer.And if you feel like you’re too busy to take a break, know this: The top 10% of most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. So if you feel your earlobes starting to leave marks in your shoulders, please — watch a cat video, listen to an awesome new song, or read about some good news. Take notes right afterward on how you feel, and see how taking these mini mood-boosting breaks impacts your disposition over time.What are your favorite mood-boosting websites? Let us know in the comments. I will never forget the day I learned that watching cat videos is proven to enhance your mood.Even to a bonafide dog person, the news was good. In a study conducted at Indiana University Bloomington, participants reported “fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before.”And it’s not just cat videos — the same conclusions have been drawn about humor in general. Researchers at Loma Linda University found that, in aging adults, watching comedic videos correlated with improved short-term memory. In other words: Funny is good.We believe these findings particularly apply during the work day. When our days reach a stressful climax, or we’re feeling particularly frustrated, that’s when self-care becomes imperative. But there’s time and efficiency to consider. In the middle of a winter afternoon, for example, a long walk might not be the best option. That’s where the internet becomes especially useful — it’s full of those mood boosting videos that even academic researchers have found to be mentally beneficial. Download our complete workplace productivity guide here.But what are some of the best go-to websites for mood-boosting content? I surveyed the web and my colleagues for some favorite online sources of a quick pick-me-up, and selected the seven best ones to seek out in the middle of a hectic work day. So go ahead — click, and smile. You’ll be glad you did.7 of the Best Mood-Boosting Websites We Could Find1) Animal Planet Kitten Camlast_img read more

How to Deliver Data-Driven Web Design to Clients [Free Ebook]

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Jul 11, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated July 11 2017 As agencies continue to adopt principles of Growth-Driven Design, their client service-offerings must shift to reflect the new needs of this approach.Continuous improvement cycles — the structured, on-going validation process within Growth-Driven Design — is one of the primary advantages for clients and agencies over a traditional web design and development offering.Agencies maintain a steady, ongoing pipeline of work, while clients experience incremental improvement in results and refinement of their web properties.As a part of implementing continuous improvement cycles within an optimization program, agencies must leverage data to make informed decisions around website development efforts. This data is often acquired by research methods such as user testing, A/B and multivariate testing, session replays, optimization-focused analytics reports, usability reviews, or on-page surveys.During a testing period, agencies can present the results of specific optimizations made to a website around increases to both unit and top-level goals such as revenue, leads generated, average order value, completed purchases, and more. Previously, if done at all, traditional web design and development projects may have been evaluated against site-wide metrics, which are often less reliable given the number of variables impacting results.By using these approaches in an optimization program to test design variations against a control, agencies can more definitively show the impact around web design and development efforts. And because optimization services rely on data, agencies get quicker client buy-in, and reduce the inefficiency of back-and-forth decision-making on design choices.Looking to offer conversation rate optimization services to your clients? Download the ebook here to learn more about how to implement CRO services today. Website Design Topics:last_img read more

The 2017 HubSpot Blog Redesign: A Detailed Look At What’s New

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: I have a long, interesting relationship with the HubSpot Marketing Blog.Before I became editor, I was a full-time writer for this blog. And before I was a writer for this blog, I was a guest contributor to this blog. And before I was a guest contributor to this blog, I was a fan of this blog — I learned from this blog.So when it came time to kick off the blog redesign I’m about to walk you through, I had a lot of strong opinions (and arguably too many ideas). You see, our last redesign launched in December 2014. To give you some context, since December 2014:Blog.hubspot.com has more than doubled its monthly traffic, growing from under 2 million monthly views in December 2014 to over 4.5 million.There have been over 20 updates made to the Google algorithm.Snapchat has more than doubled its monthly active users, scaling from 71M at the end of Q4 2014 to 166M at the end of Q1 2017.Facebook Live has been invented, released to influencers, and launched to the general public.It’s safe to say, even though it’s only been a few years, we’re living in an entirely different time than we were back then. Our team is fresh-faced. Our editorial strategy is new and improved. And our audience is continuing to grow and demand new things.Notice something different? Click here to learn more about the HubSpot blog redesign process.We’ve been overdue for a change for a while now, so a change is what we brought. Now let’s talk about what’s new — and why. Why We Redesigned the Blog (And What’s New)Reason #1: To set the stage for new mediums.During the back half of last year, we started to incorporate more video and audio content into our editorial strategy. We’ve experimented with “posts as podcasts”:And short video recaps of popular articles:This shift in strategy came at a time where you couldn’t visit a marketing or tech blog without bumping into a headline like, “Why 2017 Is the Year of Video.” But that wasn’t the only driving force.Around this same time, we’d just started to think about overhauling our email subscription, too. In doing so, we collected a lot of feedback from our subscribers that suggested they’d been craving different content formats — such as audio and video — for a while now.It quickly became obvious to us that this was long overdue. We needed to refresh the blog in a way that lent it to more than just written content. We needed brand new post-level designs that were specific to the medium we were using to tell a story, teach a lesson, share a finding, etc.How the redesign solves for this:To create some contrast around all of the different types of content we were creating, we decided that the redesign would offers three distinct post formats: written, video, and audio. Written Prior to the redesign, this was the only post type we had — though it lacked pizzazz. The new written post design incorporates large block quotes for highlighting key quotes and stats, easily shareable text, and a whole lot of white space to make for a clean, inviting experience.Video This new post format allows our video content to take center stage, so it feels less like a secondary element. The best part? When you start to scroll, the video shrinks and hops to the side of the screen so you can keep working through the content while staying tuned in. AudioBetween our own audio experiments on the blog and the steady stream of amazing audio content coming from our podcast team, we needed a place to show it off. Our new audio-centric post type includes a sleek audio player that puts the focus on the medium. Reason #2: To solve for content discoverability.After recognizing both a shift in the way search engines deliver results and the way searchers input queries, our in-house SEO experts introduced the team to a new way of looking at content mapping and search engine optimization.The topic cluster model puts topics before keywords, allowing a single “pillar” page to serve as a hub of content for an overarching topic. From there, “cluster content” covering related long-tail keywords then links back to the main pillar to boost its authority. This approach aims to create a more intentional link structure across the blog properties, making it easier for Google to crawl and rank our content. Needless to say, this new approach changed the way we organize content on the blog — and ultimately helped to make related content more discoverable. With nearly 13,000 posts in just the HubSpot Marketing Blog archive alone, we’ve incorporated new functionality that helps us ensure you’re not missing out on any old hidden gems, while also helping you easily surface content you care about.How the redesign solves for this:Our blog posts are now systematically tagged based on their associated topic cluster. For example, all of the posts within the “Social Media Trends” cluster receive a “Social Media Trends” tag which links back to the cluster’s pillar page. This link helps to push the authority towards the pillar page, allowing it take more easily rank for the term we’re going after. We also added a related articles section at the bottom of each post. This section pulls in articles from the cluster, allowing for more intentional link distribution. Reason #3: To introduce new ways of sharing content.At the time of our last redesign, Slack — a real-time messaging app for teams — had just celebrated its first birthday. Since then, the platform has gained some serious momentum — so much so that it’s referred to as the fastest-growing business app of all time. Here’s proof:Source: SlackAs of October 2016, the platform boasts over 4 million daily active users — including us here at HubSpot. Internally, we use Slack to communicate across our global offices, spark discussions, host meetings, make announcements, and perhaps most often, to share and discover interesting content.That’s why, when it came time to plan this redesign, we knew that we had to find a way to incorporate Slack into the blog’s functionality. And then there’s Facebook Messenger. With 1.2 billion monthly active users, this was another channel we’d had our eye on in terms of content distribution — especially after seeing the results from a few Messenger experiments some of my colleague ran. After testing Facebook Messenger against email as a content delivery system, they saw an open rate of 80% and an average CTR of 13% — this was 242% and 609% better than the email controls.How the redesign solved for this:The redesign introduces both Slack and Facebook Messenger as two new channels for sharing content. These additions can be found in the sticky sharing options to the left of the content. As an added bonus, Facebook Messenger has also been added to the hovering share menu that appears when you highlight any string of text. Reason #4: To refresh our branding.A former boss once said to me, “We really need someone to come in here and call our baby ugly.”Of course, he wasn’t referring to an actual baby. He meant our content. In a sense, it was our baby — and we’d grown so close to it that it was hard to pull out the flaws, missed opportunities, and so on. That was sort of the case here … except we were pretty well aware that our baby was, in fact, a little ugly.The old blog felt dated and sort of stale. It wasn’t set up in a way that let our content shine (at least not anymore) and it didn’t mesh with some of the newer, more polished pages across the website. But perhaps most importantly, it didn’t reflect our current brand — let alone the direction our brand was going in. How the redesign solved for this:If you’ve been following HubSpot for a while, you may have noticed that our branding underwent a bit of a makeover in the process of this redesign. For example, we’ve implemented new photo filters that reflect an updated color palette:These filters, and several other changes, serve as the first step in rolling out a larger visual brand refresh over the coming months — one that is true to our brand and values. Stay tuned. Feeling Inspired?If you’re starting to think that it might be time for your own redesign, we’ve got just the thing. Check out this redesign planning guide for a behind-the-scenes look at how we tackled this project — from start to finish. We’ve peppered it with free resources — like editorial calendar templates and CRO advice — to help you kick off a redesign on the right foot.Shoutout to the redesign dream team: Matt Eonta, Amelia Towle, Taylor Swyter, Brittany Chin, and Liz Shaw. Blog Optimization Originally published Aug 1, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated August 02 2017last_img read more

How to Remove the Background of a Photo in Photoshop or PowerPoint

first_img Images How to Remove a Photo Background in PowerPointKeep in mind that you’ll need to be using Office 2010 or later, and because PowerPoint isn’t as sophisticated as Photoshop, it may not work for some of the more difficult images. But if you don’t have access to Photoshop, this could be just what you need.1. Insert the image into PowerPoint.Images with white/solid backgrounds or those that have high contrast with the foreground are the easiest to manipulate in PowerPoint.2. First, click on your image. Then, under ‘Picture Format’ on a Mac (or ‘File’ on a PC) in your toolbar, choose ‘Remove Background.’3. PowerPoint will automatically try to remove the background, but it might not get it just right.4. Using the options in the toolbar, click to mark areas you want to keep or remove from the final cropped image.See how it’s cutting off part of the girl’s torso and cape above? First, drag the box around the image so it includes the entire area of the image you want to keep.Keep in mind that the areas highlighted in purple will ultimately be removed. Using your cursor, however, you can be even more precise about what you want eliminated. Hover over both the purple background and the subject in your picture — you’ll see your cursor produce either a plus sign or a minus sign. The minus sign, when hovering over your subject, allows you to mark areas to remove — simply click on any additional areas you would like to remove.If there are purple areas you actually want to keep, hover over any purple spot and click to mark areas to keep — they will feature a plus sign.To get a closer look at the areas you want to select, zoom in on your image. Below, you’ll see small minus signs surrounding areas of the girl’s hair — I clicked on these spots where I thought PowerPoint might get confused as to which parts of the background between strands of hair should go or stay.PowerPoint could see these strands of hair as the edge of the girl, and not remove the background between this hair and the rest of her head. In this type of case, these minus signs can help you.If you happen to mistakenly include or exclude something, just click on the plus or minus sign that covers the area, and it will disappear.5. Click somewhere outside of the image when you’re finished.Last but not least, save the image as a PNG file to preserve its transparent background.How to Make a Background Transparent in PhotoshopBecause Photoshop is much more sophisticated than PowerPoint, there are a few different methods you can use to make a background transparent. Each is good for a different kind of image. Click the links below to jump to the tutorial for each method:The Polygonal Lasso method is great for images with straight edges.The Quick Selection method is good for images with round edges.The Brush method is best for images whose edges require more precision.The Polygonal Lasso Method: For Images With Straight EdgesLet’s say I want to remove the blue background (as well as the pole) from this “stop spam” image.Because this image is made up entirely of straight edges, this method of background removal is perfect. Here’s how to make that blue background (and the silver pole) transparent.1. Get your image ready in Photoshop.The first thing you’ll want to do after you drag and drop your image into Photoshop is convert it into a “Smart Object,” and then rasterize it. Here’s how:Click on the Layer dropdown in your Photoshop menu, highlight Smart Objects, and then click Convert to Smart Object. Next, click on the Layer dropdown again, but this time, highlight Rasterize, and then click Smart Object. Now you’re ready to convert that pesky background into a transparent one.2. Zoom in on your image so you can be more precise with your background removal.You can zoom in and out by clicking the View dropdown and choosing Zoom In or Zoom Out, or using the keyboard shortcuts as indicated.3. Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool from the toolbar on the left.The Polygonal Lasso Tool looks like this: Once selected, click on a starting point, and trace the part of the image you want to keep using a series of clicks from point to point. I prefer to get rid of the black border on the stop sign, so I’m tracing the sign just inside the outer edge of the white border.4. Connect the line with your starting point.Once you’ve made it all the way around your image, connect your line to the first point you started with. You’ll know it’s connected when your cursor includes a little circle, as shown below.Once you connect your line to your first point, a flashing dashed line will form around your image, like so … 5. Select the background you want to delete.Do this by clicking the Select dropdown in the top menu, and clicking Inverse. This will highlight the entire background you want to make transparent.6. Delete the background.Hit Delete on your keyboard, and the background will turn into a checkered grid like you see below. This is how you’ll know your background is now transparent.7. Save your image as a PNG file. This will ensure your background transparency stays in tact. The Quick Selection Method: For Images With Round or Wavy EdgesOkay, now let’s say your image isn’t as straight-edged as the image in the example above, and it’s got some curve to it, like the image below. Here, you’ll want to use the Quick Selection Tool.1. Get your image ready in Photoshop.Just like we did with the Polygonal Lasso method, the first thing you’ll want to do after you drag and drop your image into Photoshop is convert it into a “Smart Object,” and then rasterize it:Click on the Layer dropdown in your Photoshop menu, highlight Smart Objects, and then click Convert to Smart Object. Next, click on the Layer dropdown again, but this time, highlight Rasterize, and then click Smart Object. (See step 1 within the Polygonal Lasso method tutorial for screenshots if you’re stuck.)2. Choose the Quick Selection Tool from the toolbar on the left.The Quick Selection Tool is right below the Polygonal Lasso Tool, and it looks like this: 3. Click the background to highlight the part you want to make transparent.This tool takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to remove the background from a photo. Start clicking around on the background to highlight the parts you want to remove.Adjust the size of the selection tool accordingly. I recommend starting with a larger size, since that will allow you to select larger sections of your background at a time, speeding up the process.Repeat this process until the entire background of the image is selected:4. Subtract selections as needed.Oops! Let’s say you notice part of the image you want to keep is getting highlighted along with the background, like you see in the screenshot below.Have no fear — you can subtract parts of the image that accidentally get highlighted:First, click on the Subtract From Selection button in the toolbar at the top. (Alternatively, you can hold down alt while you click on a PC, or option while you click on a Mac.)This is also something that may take some getting used to, but the trick is to position your cursor right along the inner edges of the part of the image you want to keep. You may want to adjust the size of your Quick Selection tool for some of the finer details. Then click so the incorrectly highlighted section gets detracted.5. Delete the background.Finally, click Delete on your keyboard to make the background transparent.6. Save your image as a PNG file. This will preserve the transparency of your background.Pro Tip: Sometimes using the Quick Selection Tool results in jagged edges, especially on parts of the image where the edge should be a straight line. This tends to happen most on low-resolution images. If it happens to you, try smoothing out the jagged edges using the Polygonal Lasso method after first removing the background with the Quick Selection Tool.The Brush Method: For Trickier ImagesThere’s a third method you can fall back on if the first two methods just aren’t cutting it. This is great for images that need a little bit more precision, although to be honest, the first two methods usually do the trick for me.The one time this method comes in handy for me is when I need to clean up some of the edges of images whose backgrounds were removed via the first two methods. For example, I used the Polygonal Lasso Tool in Photoshop to remove the background of the shark boy image at the very top of this article, but I cleaned up the spaces in between his fingers (which needed a little bit more precision) using the Brush Method.1. Get your image ready in Photoshop.Just like the first two methods, the first thing you need to do after you drag and drop your image into Photoshop is convert it into a “Smart Object,” and then rasterize it:Click on the Layer dropdown in your Photoshop menu, highlight Smart Objects, and then click Convert to Smart Object. Next, click on the Layer dropdown again, but this time, highlight Rasterize, and then click Smart Object. (See step 1 within the Polygonal Lasso method tutorial for screenshots if you’re stuck.)2. Select the Brush Tool from the toolbar on the left.The Brush Tool is right below the Red Eye Tool, and it looks like this: 3. Change the “Mode” and “Hardness” of the Brush Tool.Right below the top menu, change the Mode to Clear. Then click the drop-down arrow next to the brush size box, and change the Hardness to 100%. This will essentially transform your Brush Tool into an eraser.4. Brush away the background.Erase your background by clicking and dragging. Adjust the size of your Brush Tool and zoom in on your image for more fine-tuned precision.5. Save your image as a PNG file. Once you have your image the way you want it, save it as a PNG. This will preserve the transparency of your background.That’s it! Hopefully image background removal is now much easier for you using at least one of these methods. You know what one of my biggest design pet peeves is? When I’m designing something, but there’s an unwanted background on the image I’m editing.In this article, you’ll learn how to remove a photo background altogether, or make it transparent so the image assumes the look of any other background you put behind it.Consider the above feature image. The image to the left would be so much more useful to my call-to-action, SlideShare presentation, blog post, or ebook if I could just remove that pesky background so it looked like the image on the right.Explore Adobe Photoshop CC basics through quick tips, video explainers, and custom photo filters here.Or maybe you’ve downloaded another one of our collections of free stock photos that could also use a transparent background.Luckily, there is something you can do about it. Using either Photoshop or PowerPoint, you can easily remove the background of your photo or image in no time. And I’m going to show you exactly how to do it.First, grab an image to practice with. You can download one from our latest collection of royalty-free stock photo here … Got an image whose background you want to remove? Great — let’s get started.Because some of you may not have Photoshop at your disposal, let’s start with instructions for PowerPoint. You can also jump down to the instructions for Photoshop here.How to Make a Picture Background Transparent in PowerPointInsert the image into PowerPoint.Click on your image. Then, under ‘File’ (on a PC) or ‘Adjust’ (on a Mac) in your toolbar, choose ‘Remove Background.’PowerPoint will automatically try to remove the background, but it might not get it just right.Using the options in the toolbar, click to mark areas you want to keep or remove from the final cropped image.Click somewhere outside of the image when you’re finished.Save the image as a PNG file to preserve its transparent background. Topics:center_img Originally published Jun 14, 2018 10:26:00 PM, updated June 15 2018 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

Zach Crabtree Breaks Down Best OSU Plays of 2016

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. This is fun. More of this, please. Zach Crabtree lists his top 10 offensive plays of the 2016 season and then breaks them down on film with Allison Gappa. His No. 1 surprised me (it would not have been the one I would have picked), but I loved the self-deprecation from the Kansas State game (“I had a terrible block on my part”) and the insight into various plays OSU ran throughout the year. Also, all the Texas plays!And I still can’t believe this happened (and that it might not have been his best November truck stick …)dec-22-2016-08-37-46last_img read more

Gov’t Meets Six of 10 EGC Policy Recommendations

first_imgStory Highlights Additionally, he noted that the Ministry completed work to develop the framework for public debt reduction through a programme of State asset privatisation and sale. Mr. Lee-Chin also advised that the Ministry of National Security has commenced a feasibility study to create a Global Jamaican Immigration Card for issuance to members of the Diaspora. The Government has met six of the 10 Economic Growth Council (EGC) policy recommendations targeted for implementation during the April to June quarter.EGC Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin, made the disclosure at the presentation of the Council’s third quarterly report at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, July 27.The policy recommendations come under three areas of reform – business climate, specifically public procurement; asset utilisation, in particular debt reduction and State asset privatisation; and Diaspora involvement in relation to immigration.Mr. Lee-Chin said that among the targets met in the area of business climate reform was work by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to draft the Public Procurement (Techniques, Procedures and Offsets) Regulations and Public Procurement (Reconsideration and Review) Regulations, which were completed and tabled in Parliament in May.Additionally, he noted that the Ministry completed work to develop the framework for public debt reduction through a programme of State asset privatisation and sale.The Chairman noted, however, that the May timeline to finalise and table the Public Procurement (Registration and Classification of Suppliers) Regulations, and complete the Handbook of Public Sector Procurement Procedures were missed.“The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has advised that they are actively working on the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, which is a prerequisite for the tabling of the third (set of) regulations,” he said.“Public procurement is an important tool for stimulating economic growth and development. The central government and its public bodies, together, purchased approximately $100 billion of goods and services last year. We are, therefore, urging the Ministry of Finance to urgently finalise the regulations and enact the Public Procurement Act,” he emphasised.center_img The Government has met six of the 10 Economic Growth Council (EGC) policy recommendations targeted for implementation during the April to June quarter. Mr. Lee-Chin also advised that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) met the April timeline for the creation of a protocol supporting the establishment of enterprise teams to handle transactions related to improving the scalability and efficiency of the privatisation and sale of State assets as well as the public/private partnership process through which these would be pursued.Additionally, he said the DBJ submitted a protocol and framework to Cabinet for the outsourcing of privatisation processes to for-profit firms.The Chairman pointed out, however, that Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and Factories Corporation of Jamaica, which fall under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, missed the May timeline for the submission of a plan to divest up to 20 per cent of their assets.“The Ministry is finalising the submissions with respect to the UDC’s assets, and the FCJ’s Board is working on a list of assets to be proposed for divestment,” he informed.Mr. Lee-Chin also advised that the Ministry of National Security has commenced a feasibility study to create a Global Jamaican Immigration Card for issuance to members of the Diaspora.This exercise, which got underway in May, is being undertaken by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in St. Andrew.Chairman of the EGC’s Diaspora Engagement Subcommittee, Dr. David Panton, told delegates attending the just concluded Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference that SALISES was selected through a competitive tender process.Meanwhile, Mr. Lee-Chin advised that while regulatory amendments that will facilitate the investment of pension funds in a wide range of products have been drafted, the June timeline for their tabling in Parliament has been deferred to allow for further analysis and consultations.last_img read more