Business Blog: What Is The Best Time Of Day To Post?

first_imgI posted some thoughts of mine previously that were triggered by some statistics from Technorati, a leader in tracking, rating, and searching for the blogosphere.  I relooked at their statistics with the goal of sharing some additional thoughts around . Originally published Nov 10, 2006 12:19:00 PM, updated October 18 2015 starting a business blog I’m curious to hear if anyone else out there has seen similarly good results around blogs posted around 11am… Further evidence that 11am is the best time to post comes from HubSpot’s  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack we use to find all kinds of  interesting correlations between activities and results. For example, in the attached view, our best 5 posts (most visitors) were A (10:32am), G (11:39am), I (10:58am), N (11:32am), and Q (11:00am). Our worst 5 posts were C (6:11pm), D (1:38pm), H (1:46pm), O (12:30pm), and P (3:56pm). The five best were all within 39 minutes of 11am while the five worst were all in the afternoon. This feels like an arbitrage opportunity to me. the right time of day analytics tool — Brian Halligan. I often have wondered and have tried to test a bit when the best time to post a blog article was to increase your likelihood of getting into the social bookmarking sites and hitting some kind of tipping point.  Our readership is all over the world, but the most readers are on the east and west coast of the United States.  Based on what I see in the Technorati graph (horizontal axis is PST), I think 8am PST (11am EST) is the best time to post.  It is at a daily posting low for English language sites, so it will not get as much competition, but it also overlaps with the morning of both east and west coasters who I suspect are in the habit of reading their blog entries in the morning. to post a blog article with my cofounder, but I figured they were relevant to anyone out therelast_img read more

6 Reasons Every Small Business Should Be Blogging… Are You Missing the Boat?

first_imgI am amazed at the blog-reluctance of many small businesses. I hear things like “I don’t have time to blog”, “blogging doesn’t make sense in my industry”, and sometimes even the dreaded “what the heck is a blog?”The reality is if your company provides unique products or services, you should be blogging. (And if your company doesn’t, you should probably consider a career change.)Of course, the overall return on investment on a blog will vary from business to business. But there are 6 fundamental benefits to corporate blogging that should not be overlooked:1) Gain Visibility as a Thought Leader Each thoughtful post on your blog is a public demonstration of your thought leadership, personal integrity, humor, and professional insights. You don’t have to refute one of Einstein’s theories to get respect. For example, a summary of recent trends in your industry, or a reaction to a recent news article can be extremely effective blog posts.2) Engage Customers in a Dialogue If you blog using a solid blogging engine, readers will have the option to comment on each article. Folks who comment on your blog may be sales leads, or they may just challenge or support your views. Either way, comments beget comments, and you will soon be at the center of an industry-relevant dialogue with customers and partners.3) Every Blog Article is an SEO Opportunity The much-discussed “long tail” of search refers to highly specialized, low-traffic search terms that represent a significant amount of total searches. Translation: lots and lots of people are searching online for lots and lots of random things. You can’t realistically optimize your site for every long tail search term, but you can certainly write blog posts targeting niche keyword phrases that are likely to draw highly qualified prospects. For example, blog a reaction to a speaker in your vertical at a local tech conference. You may not draw much natural search traffic, but there is a good chance your blog will rank well very soon for searches like “vertical + conference + speaker + city”, and those visitors may be highly interested in your reaction to the speech.4) Blogs Are Link Bait Very few websites or bloggers will link to the “products and services” page on a corporate website. People don’t link to corporate advertisements. On the other hand, a good blog article is an industry-specific insight or a thoughtful critique. Blog articles garner links because they are interesting, informative, and not overly corporate or sales-focused. The benefit to you is that more links means better search engine rankings and more site traffic, which translates into more sales leads.5) Humanize Your Brand Blogs offer an opportunity for a company to present its insightful, helpful, thoughtful side. Through a blog, prospects will get a sense of your company’s people, culture, and vision. Blogs are an opportunity to provide a less antiseptic view of your company that is more personal and less “corporate”. Blogs can humanize your brand.6) In Google, Fresher Content = Better Website Google will periodically crawl websites looking for new and updated content. In general, it is better to have Google crawl your site as often as possible. Sites that get crawled more often have more frequent updates and more authority. Blogging consistently ensures there will be fresh content on your site.Despite these reasons why companies should be blogging, the same 2 objections surface time and time again:1) I Don’t Have Time to Blog The truth is you don’t have time *not* to blog.  You probably already write blog articles, you just don’t call them that. Blogs are the new email newsletters. Most anything that could go in your newsletter can go in your blog. You can still send the content out via email, and readers can subscribe to your blog to get posts via email. Portions of white papers can also make excellent blog articles. But a blog is better than a newsletter or a white paper because readers can join the debate and be positioned to respond to other “calls to action” you may place adjacent to or within posts. In addition, readers will be able to navigate your blog to read older articles that would otherwise be in a deleted newsletter or white paper. Best of all, each blog article you post will provide lasting benefit because it is a web page that can be optimized, indexed, and drawing natural search traffic for you ad infinitum.In addition, quality blogging engines can support multiple authors, so more than one leader in your organization can post articles. This takes the pressure off any one individual.  And remember that a good blog post might just draw a parallel between two or three recent articles, or suggest an explanation for a puzzling industry phenomenon. A good article doesn’t have to be a PhD thesis.2) What if My Customers Actually Find Out What I’m Thinking?  Some professionals don’t like the idea of blogging because it means relinquishing control over some elements of the corporate brand. A blog is less formal than a press release or an official marketing message, and the comments left by readers cannot be predicted. The point here is… too bad! In today’s world, consumers have access to thousands of opinions about your brand, and thousands of articles, commentaries, product reviews, etc. that will certainly impact the buying decision. The idea that you can control exactly how your brand will be perceived or keep consumers in the dark is outdated. The truth is your best option is to engage customers in an honest, open dialogue. Be confident that transparency is the best policy, and customers will reward your candor.In closing, get out there and blog! 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 Aug 24, 2007 12:03:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Business Blogginglast_img read more

Inbound Lead Quality from a Sales Rep’s Perspective

first_img Inbound marketing is like a synchronized rhythm of sales, marketing and prospects. Passing Leads to Sales Inbound Marketing Kit , that’s what happens.  now Topics: Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our Why? What if marketing were able to remove the 97 “bad timing” calls I was making and make all my calls as productive as the remaining 3?  With  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack As a sales rep., working for a smaller company and calling a lead that is generated via inbound marketing is far more productive than calling an existing client from a huge brand name company. That’s because timing is everything. Timing is everything, especially in sales and marketing.  The difference between  inbound and outbound marketing is timing. Less than a year ago, I worked for a very large company — a leader in its industry, a house hold name.  I carried a territory of existing clients and I was responsible for up-selling and adding new products and services.center_img Originally published Mar 10, 2009 8:31:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 inbound marketing kit . This means that with inbound marketing, all my calls are the quality of what it used to take 100 calls to generate.  My last company would be considered a safer place to stay considering the state of the economy.  However, after 8 years, I packed up and came to work for HubSpot, a much smaller, venture-capital-backed company.   inbound marketing . Although HubSpot is a smaller company, I’m now calling leads who’ve found us. Furthermore, they found us because they’re looking for help with initiatives they’re dealing with  What sales rep wouldn’t want to make calls to leads that found their company while looking for help with the services their company has to offer   Chances are, what I was offering, wasn’t what they were currently working on. It’s said that for every 100 calls a sales person makes, 3 will be an actual opportunity or the “right timing.”    You’d think the calls I was making into an existing book of business would produce lots of opportunities. But this wasn’t the case. Although I was calling clients, I was still calling at random, not knowing if they were looking to buy the additional services or product I was selling. I was interrupting my contacts from the initiatives they currently had on their plate.last_img read more

A Holiday Wish: May All Your Conversions Be High [Video 3]

first_img And more qualified leads! We wish you a high conversion! Webinar: Always Be Testing: 10 Tips For Increasing YourLead Conversion Rate A valued call to action We wish you a high conversion! Lyrics We wish you a high conversion! Originally published Dec 21, 2009 10:29:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Downloadthe free webinar We wish you a high conversion! We wish you a high conversion! Tweet this Merry Marketing Carol! Topics: Video Creditscenter_img Good prospects you’ll bring for your sales team kin Is a landing page win! Producers: @ repcorand @ shaxxon And more qualified leads! to for tips on testing, measuring, andanalyzing your marketing programs to improve your lead conversionrate. We wish you a high conversion! Conversion Rate Optimization May your 2010 marketing be merry! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Learn how to convert website visitorsinto leads with calls to action and landingpages HubSpot Singers: Common Sound What is on every B2B marketer’s Holiday list this year? An increased traffic to conversion rate while maintaining (or improving!) lead quality, of course!last_img read more

Demand Generation vs. Inbound Marketing – Is There a Difference?

first_img Inbound Marketing is More Marketing Centric: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack What Does it Mean for You? Inbound Marketing Live Webinar: The State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation ———- Have you ever wondered what the difference is between demand generation and data we can see that inbound marketing budgets are increasing Is There Really a Difference? inbound marketing Demand Generation is More Sales Centric: This is what I like to call a holy grail question – every organization will be starting from a different level of skill, attitude, and belief set so the mix will vary greatly from company to company. If we look at the Let’s call demand generation what it really is….. it’s really just a new approach to driving revenue with traditional outbound marketing approaches. There are some cool technologies that are improving on the last 50 years worth of demand generation best practices, but there is nothing really and truly paradigm shifting. It is the same type of outbound marketing practices that prospects are getting more adept at shutting out – think unwanted cold calls (these days called warm calls), email blasts, list buying, TV commercials, sponsored webinars and the like. The demand generation approach is really gravitated to by companies with sales driven cultures that place an emphasis on the cold call. and traditional outbound marketing budgets are declining. The marketing mix is shifting to inbound marketing and expect this trend to accelerate in the years ahead. Learn how companies are using inbound marketing techniques to generate higher volume and lower cost leads and customers. The big idea is that for the vast majority of companies a budget focused on inbound marketing instead of traditional outbound marketing will be more than enough to improve revenue, bottom line profitability and make your job much easier. Photo Credit: Download the On-Demand Webinar Now! @chadalevitt Chad Levitt is an Inbound Marketing Specialist with HubSpot and author of the New Sales Economy blog that focuses on how sales 2.0, social media, and how inbound marketing can be used as a . Originally published Jun 17, 2010 7:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 sales strategy Inbound Marketing is paradigm shifting and the strategies used to implement inbound marketing have been around for less than ten years. The real shift has only occurred in the past five years as blogging, true opt-in email, social media, and SEO have grown in popularity. Inbound marketing is all about creating content and viewing yourself, company, etc. as a publisher of content, that when combined with other inbound marketing best practices,  can generate quality inbound leads for your business, inside and outside sales teams. Inbound marketing leads are also less expensive than traditional outbound marketing approaches to demand generation. This approach is adopted by forward thinking companies that place an emphasis on being where the marketplace is moving. What is the Right Mix of Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing? ? What does each phrase mean for marketing and sales? Which approach should your company focus on? Is one more relevant or important than the other? If you find yourself scratching your head trying to hammer out the differences between demand generation and inbound marketing so you can execute, well, this post is for you. Garrett Albright are pretty similar at first blush, but don’t be fooled. Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing are very different. Topics: Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing for the Web 2.0 world. You can connect with Chad on Twitterlast_img read more

Marketing Experts Say Google and Facebook Will Decline in Importance

first_img Social Media Strategy Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:  Source: http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/center_img Many businesses find social media overwhelming – there are so many networks available, and they’re always adding new features for you to learn and integrate into your plan. If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, your success depends on creating a simple and sensible strategy that fits your resources and goals.Here are a few steps you can take to focus your energy:1. Define your target audience.If you haven’t already identified and documented your buyer personas, start by defining the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach – age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies and interests, etc. Think about the challenges they’re faced with, and what problems they’re trying to solve on daily basis. Try to focus on the 3-4 types of people that represent the majority of your buyers – don’t get hung up on all the exceptions, or you’ll never get started!2. Start blogging.Fresh content is the linchpin of a successful social strategy, so you’ll need to commit to creating fresh, quality content on a consistent basis. Brainstorm a list of the most common questions you hear from your prospects, and commit to writing at least one new blog post a week focused on addressing these questions. 3. Create educational content.Consider creating downloadable content like ebooks, checklists, videos, and infographics that address your buyer’s pains. If the content is truly helpful and educational, people will be more likely to share it on social media and extend your reach.4. Focus on a few key social channelsMost small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a great social media presence on more than a handful of channels. It can also be overwhelming to learn the rules of engagement on a bunch of different networks at one time.Here’s a video by HubSpot Academy explaining all the possible social channels to which you might post content on behalf your business.So, start small. Research key networks to learn where your target audience is most likely to spend time, and focus your effort on building, nurturing, and sustaining a community there before moving on to another channel.5. Develop a recipe card to guide you.Social media isn’t an exact science, so you need to establish a consistent posting and engagement schedule to start seeing results. Start by developing a reasonable recipe card you feel comfortable sticking to. Set goals for how frequently you’ll post content and engage your followers, and hold yourself accountable to following your recipe. (Get a free social media content calendar here to organize your efforts.)6. Measure your results.There are a million things you can track related to social media, so start by looking at how much traffic is being driven to your website or blog from social media. Watch your posts to see what people are responding to, and look for trends related to particular topics or keywords that generate more interest than others. Once you have a sense of what’s possible, set goals for key metrics and start keeping a scorecard to measure your progress. Be sure to chose metrics that are easy to gather – if it’s too time-consuming to track, you’ll fall off the wagon!Net new fans and followers# of interactionsVisits to your site from social7. Adjust your tactics.Unless you’re a celebrity, social media doesn’t start working overnight. It takes time to build a following, establish yourself as an influencer, and start seeing results.  You’ll need to experiment a bit to find the right combination of channels, content, and messaging that works for your audience. Over time, you’ll be able to adjust your recipe card, content, and personas based on the information you’re gathering – which will help you fine tune your strategy and generate more consistent results!Still overwhelmed? Try using the Whole Brain Group’s handy Sensible Social Media Checklist for Businesses – newly updated for 2016 – to get yourself organized. Originally published Feb 18, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated August 09 2017last_img read more

31 Fluffy Buzzwords Marketers Overuse and Abuse

first_img Marketing Resources Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Jan 26, 2012 3:45:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Let’s be honest—marketers have quite the repetitive vocabulary, and we tend to get in the habit of using the same words obsessively around like-minded people. To the outside world, we could be repeating the phrase “meat-and-potatoes, meat-and-potatoes” over and over, and it wouldn’t make a difference. So to optimize our communication’s effectiveness, let’s strategize more efficient messaging to change the perception around marketers’ conversations and engagement. Whatever that means.Here Are 31 Fluffy Words Marketers Use Way Too Much:1. Strategize: To create a plan-of-action to achieve a certain goal2. Personalization: Alteration of a piece of content to fit a specific individual3. Conversation: An exchange of words or ideas between two or more individuals4. Impression: A single view of a piece of content on the internet; a set of eyeballs that saw something5. Share-of-Voice: The percentage of people that a company owns for a specific topic or niche6. Brand Equity: The value of a brand based on the public’s perception of it7. Perception: A person’s personal opinion of something based on their own context8. Positioning: The angle used for a specific piece of content9. Engagement: Activity between a group of people around a company, concept, or each other10. Listening: The act of consuming content or messages from others11. Utilize: To use something….somehow13. Effectiveness: A quality describing whether something or someone was able to complete a certain task or goal…or not14. Efficiency: A quality describing whether something or someone was able to complete a certain task or goal based on the amount of effort the person planned to use15. Organic: The quality of something achieved without financial support or paid online efforts (meaning you got it without spending any cash money)16. ROI: Also known as “return on investment”—another buzzword! How much you got for how much effort or money you put in17. Campaign: A bundle of actions that work together to achieve a certain goal18. Synergy: The combination of two actions or ideas in one effort (more scientifically known as the red + blue = purple effect)19. Evaluate: To reflect on a certain action, hopefully using numbers, to decide if the action was effective (hehe) or not20. Awareness: A “measurement” of the public’s knowledge of something—like a company, campaign, or person21. Branding: The act of associating a certain feeling, image, or idea with a company. What do you think of when you think of HubSpot? 1, 2, 3…GO!22. Buzz: The amount of chatter around a certain idea, company, etc. This can be in the form of social content or even in normal, everyday conversation.23. Viral: The quality of content items that are naturally shared from person to person in rapid succession (’cause they just can’t help themselves!)24. Empower: To inspire a person or group of people to do something on their own25. Optimize: To improve an object’s ability to complete something, so that object can complete that action either harder, better, faster, or stronger26. Streamline: To improve a series of processes so it takes less time or effort to complete the desired task27. Messaging: The central concept or idea that a marketer wants a person to understand when consuming a piece of content 28. Alignment: The shared goals and coordinated efforts of two parties to make something happen (think SMarketing)29. Transparent: Open about one’s intentions and inner-workings, as well as open to feedback and able to admit mistakes30. Authentic: True to one’s nature instead of putting on a front or putting up a facade31. Influencer: A person who is capable of convincing a group of people to think a particular way or perform particular actions. Now go share this blog post.As a marketer, at the end of the day, being clear, direct, and thoughtful with our words is going to work best when communicating to others—in writing and in speech. So don’t get in a marketing vocabulary rut (even we’ll admit we’re sometimes guilty of it). Instead, say what you mean, and you will be rewarded with better results.What other fluffy buzzwords can you think of?last_img read more

You Won’t Believe What This Company Used as Their Meta Description

first_imgLast week, I was doing some research for a piece I was writing about anonymous social networks when I came across one of the most horrifying SEO (and PR) mistakes I’ve ever seen. It was a meta description. A measly 50 characters. But it made me immediately think negatively of Whisper, and leave an impression that, days later, feels just as fresh.Here’s what it said (beware, it has NSFW language):At first I thought it must have been a mistake, so I reloaded the search to find that it wasn’t. I thought it must have been a secret someone shared on Whisper that somehow got autopopulated into the meta description … but when you click through, you see nothing but Whisper’s homepage.I felt horrified. Someone wrote this? And Whisper is really featuring it in their meta description? Yikes.I snapped the above screen shot to show my equally horrified colleagues, then I moved on with my day. But then this morning, I remembered the meta description and went to go see if Whisper had fixed it — and there was a new secret snippet.The website had probably been recrawled, and it seemed like it was just pulling in a random secret for their meta descriptions. But I still had one big question on my mind.Is This a Strategy or Mistake?I started to think about Whisper’s SEO strategy. The whole concept of the product is to reveal secrets in public, but anonymously. So chances are, there’ll be some shocking admissions there … and that’s part of the appeal. To get more people using the social network, Whisper would want there to be juicy, clickworthy secrets populating the meta descriptions, right? And technically it worked — I clicked through to the website.But just because the strategy could work well for clicks (just like link-bait headlines), doesn’t mean it won’t alienate people. I’m definitely in Whisper’s target demo and I’m not easily offended … but this still left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Not exactly a successful brand strategy in my opinion, nor a successful SEO strategy (I clicked through because of the meta description, but also wouldn’t use the app because of the meta description).Purposeful or not, there’s still one giant, glaring takeaway for us. Regardless of what Whisper’s strategy is, we should all remember to always always be aware of what’s being populated in our meta descriptions. Don’t rely on a machine to populate this crucial piece of real estate. Even though search algorithms don’t really care about your meta descriptions, they’re still a determining factor in whether a searcher clicks on your link, or passes you by for another result. Editor’s Note: Neetzan Zimmerman, Editor in Chief at Whisper, confirmed that this meta description was a bug and in no way an SEO tactic. They became aware of the issue a couple weeks ago and have been working to fix it. The meta description has been fixed.Have you seen some truly horrendous meta descriptions? Do you think they could hurt (or maybe even help) you capture more search traffic? Originally published Feb 26, 2014 2:30:00 PM, 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 SlackSlack Blogging Mistakes Topics:last_img read more

Four Strategies for Matching Gift Success for Your School or Nonprofit

first_img Originally published Mar 13, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Nonprofit Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Everyone notices that ill-advised tattoo you got in high school for your nonprofit-obsessed girlfriend. You know, the Latin quote on your left forearm, written in fancy cursive, that translates to, “She who matches gifts wins.” Or is that just me? Either way, marketing matching gifts online is just like a conspicuous tattoo: the ink only takes up a small portion of your skin, but it grabs everyone’s attention.Proper matching gift marketing requires several tattoos on many body parts, such as matching gift requests on your emails, calls-to-action on your social media profiles, and asks on your donation page. This means incorporating matching gift requests throughout your online presence. In the grand scheme of things, this marketing effort will equate to one noticeable tattoo, and not sleeves of ink that distract from your nonprofit’s primary skin.1) EmailI’ve always thought that a great punishment for undisciplined children would be to make them count, one by one, how many emails I receive in a single day. Email is not torture, but your message is one of hundreds of daily messages, so your matching gift request needs to stand out among a blur of information. We’re going to focus on acknowledgement letters and newsletters, as they demonstrate two important strategies for soliciting matching gifts through email.Acknowledgement LettersAs with a stranger holding open a door for you, all donations require a proper thank you. Along with your thanks, you have the opportunity to ask for a matching gift. However, don’t rush to the ask, because, as with thanking door holders, you have to hold the thank you long enough to earn the benefits of gratefulness.While the acknowledgement letter presents the opportunity to ask for matching gifts, the core of the message is gratefulness. Earn the call-to-action to submit a matching gift with your gratitude. You can include two links, one hyperlink and one clickable graphic, for donors to click to discover if their employer matches gifts by taking donors to their dedicated matching gift page.One might call this killing two birds with one stone, but I like to call it feeding two birds with one email. You’re plumping up your donor’s happiness with a thank you and hopefully adding necessary funds to your wallet.NewslettersYou can have a dedicated newsletter that focuses exclusively on matching gifts to increase awareness for corporate giving programs. But, your nonprofit likely has other topics to share in its newsletters, too. As you plan your nonprofit’s content strategy, make sure you’re finding ways to include requests for matching gifts.The National Kidney Foundation provides a nice newsletter template: The newsletter’s focus is split between the kidney walk and matching gifts. Not all of your newsletters need to revolve around matching gifts, even in this split capacity, but the occasional message that details what matching gifts are and how to submit them will go a long way to increasing donations. Sometimes it’s necessary to provide detailed matching gift information in the email, but, for the times when you need to discuss other topics but still want to ask for matching gifts, there’s a graphic for that.When supporters click on the links, they’re taken to the National Kidney Foundation’s dedicated matching gift page. The page includes an overview of matching gifts, key information such as a mailing address for forms and the organizations Tax-ID or EIN #, answers to frequently asked questions, and a way for donors to find details on corporate matching gift programs. That way, their bases are covered in terms of sharing information on the dedicated page and not dedicating an entire newsletter to the details of matching gifts. 2) Social MediaSometimes I compare how many friends I have on the internet to how many I have in real life and, while I wonder if it’s appropriate to ask random people in-person to be my friend, I recognize that the internet provides a prime opportunity to pitch matching gifts to everyone and their mother. There may be more social networks than characters in this article, so we’re going to focus on the channels with the greatest reach: Facebook and Twitter.FacebookWith no character limitations, Facebook provides the versatility to provide in-depth explanations of matching gifts and how to submit them, as well as the ability to include conspicuous images or relevant videos. You can get creative with your posts, and there are a ton of ways to tell your nonprofit’s story. We’re going to run through the basics as they pertain to matching gifts.Facebook post from CMTA: In a mere six lines, CMTA provides a link to discover if an employer provides matching gifts and discusses the benefits of these additional donations. To grab attention, the post uses a palatable picture. You don’t need an image in every matching gift post, but a call-to-action and a link to a dedicated matching gift page are the bare minimums. There’s nothing not to love here, unless you’re picky about your ice cream.Twitter140-characters really cramps my style when I’m trying to rant about how submitting matching gifts online requires a mere five minutes that will not throw off your schedule such that you lose time to peruse the rest of your Twitter feed for today’s most adorable cat pictures.Deep breath.Despite the lack of post versatility, as compared to Facebook, Twitter provides sufficient room for an authoritative matching gift ask: You don’t have the room to explain what matching gifts are or their specific benefits, but you have plenty of space to do what the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation does: ask the donor to click a link to double their donation (and go to a dedicated matching gift page). Twitter might not allow you to explain matching gifts up front, but the beauty of this platform is its minimalism, which lets you get donors to step through the matching gift doorway.3) Dedicated Matching Gift Page I keep mentioning dedicated matching gift pages, but what is this voodoo magic? Legend has it that dedicated matching gift pages are collections of pixels on your website that both educate your donors about matching gifts and make it simple for donors to search and discover if their employer offers such a program. Sometimes, as in this case, legends are true. On a matching gift page, you should define matching gifts, detail their benefits, and inform donors about matching gift programs. The page can be this simple, as the basic idea is to create a landing page where donors can discover if their donations can go twice as far.You can include:Matching gift statisticsLinks to relevant websitesNumbers on how much money matching gifts raised for your nonprofit last yearA list of companies who donated through matching programs last yearYou could even go a step further and add a widget to aggregate this information. Creating a dedicated matching gift page does not need to be a hassle, and it will increase your effectiveness at landing matching gifts.4) In the Donation ProcessIt doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that a prime time to ask for matching gifts is when donors are making their donations. The idea is to present information such that your website says, “Hey, look at you being awesome and donating money to a great cause. While you’re at it, why not give twice as much without shelling out additional money from your own pocket? Matching gifts only take five minutes!”Your opportunities to solicit in-the-moment donors are on the donation page and on the confirmation screen, which equates to if at first you don’t succeed (on the donation page), try, try again (on the confirmation screen). Donation PageThe simple plan is to include a link, a graphic or text, to your dedicated matching gift page. You can include a simple link on your donation form, or alternatively you can include matching gift informaiton on the credit card form, so you don’t have to leave the donation page. This is la crème de la crème of donation page options. What’s necessary is to include some reminder and a call to action about matching gifts.For nonprofits on a budget, simply including matching gift information can provide a boost in donations. Urge people to check with their HR reps to find out if their employer matches gifts. Share pertinent matching gift statistics, such as how much money you raised from doubled donations during the previous year. Provide a link to a dedicated matching gift page which features information on or a list of top matching gift companies. Your approach doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to call attention to matching gifts.Confirmation ScreenAfraid some donors might overlook that beautiful matching gift link on your donation page? That’s why the internet created confirmation screens. Everyone deserves a second chance.First and foremost, exert good manners and give thanks for the generous donation. Then, of course, since money feeds your nonprofit, ask for seconds so that you can sustain yourself a while longer. The ask for matching gifts should come across as a suggestion, as the donor just gave money and is likely in a willing state of mind to give more. Provide a matching gift search box to make the process easy, and soon you’ll be feasting on twice as much green as before. Green because you’re a healthy nonprofit who eats its vegetables!Successful matching gift marketing requires dedication to presenting the program across the breadth of your online presence. It will take time and effort, but the more you put the option of matching gifts in front of donors, the more gifts you’ll receive, and your efforts will more than pay off. Then you can get a sweet tattoo to celebrate. Topics:last_img read more

Sanjay Manjrekar picks India’s playing XI for 1st T20I vs Australia, no place for MS Dhoni

first_imgAs India prepare to take on Australia in the first Twenty20 International of the two-match series at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam, Sanjay Manjrekar feels MS Dhoni should not feature in the playing XI for the home side.Manjrekar named his predicted playing XI for the first T20I against Australia in which Dhoni does not find a place. He though decided to hand the wicket-keeping duties over to Rishabh Pant for the game.”Considering that MS Dhoni is now certainty for the World Cup, it is worthwhile having a look at someone like Pant again, create healthy competition,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.Manjrekar’s XI -Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar/Krunal Pandya, Mayank Markhande, Yuzvendra Chahal, Siddharth Kaul, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit BumrahWhen asked about what the T2oIs will mean for India as they begin their last stretch before the 2019 ICC world Cup, Manjrekar said it will be “relaxed”.”A little bit of relaxed kind of approach because this is T20s and preparation for 50-over World Cup cannot really be based on T20 performances. I guess it will still be in the minds of the selectors,” Manjrekar said.”A few spots still are open – people like Rishabh Pant coming in contention, Vijay Shankar, Ravindra Jadeja as the spin alternative and Markhande as well as – who India can try like a wild card entry into the World Cup squad,” Manjrekar said.With Hardik Pandya out injured, it will be a great opportunity for Shankar to strengthen his case while Pant will also look to make the most of the chances he gets.advertisementFor Karthik, who is still in the mix, the two T20s will be his last chance to make a statement.As for India captain, Kohli will look to straightway get back among runs after a sterling 2018 where he ended the year with an astounding 2,735 runs from 38 matches across formats.He averages 61 from 13 T20I innings against Australia with five half-centuries in those games.Also Read | Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul in focus as India play Australia in final series before World CupAlso Read | Want to declare Pakistan as the apartheid of cricket: CoA chief Vinod Rai to India TodayAlso Read | The tale of two captains, Virat Kohli vs Aaron Finchlast_img read more

13 Essential Features for Taking Payments on Your Website

first_img E-Commerce Websites Topics: There are a lot of things I used to buy in person that I now buy online. I wouldn’t call myself lazy, but it’s just so much easier to carry a box of paper towels from my doorstep into my apartment than it is to carry it down the street from my local grocery store.And I’m not alone. Whether it’s because of the larger selection, better pricing, convenience, or something else, a lot more people are buying stuff online nowadays instead of in person. According to a 2015 study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the number of online shoppers will grow from 1.079 billion back in 2013 to 1.623 billion in 2018.Despite the growing number of online shoppers, though, people are still wary of the setbacks of paying for stuff online. In particular, people still get nervous about giving their personal and credit card information to online retailers.If you’re an ecommerce business, a big part of attracting and delighting your customers will be providing them with a stable, reliable, secure, and smooth online shopping experience. If you plan to take payments on your website, then be sure you’re checking everything off from the list below.Download Now: Ecommerce Marketing Plan Template13 Essential Features for Taking Payments on Your Website1) Multiple Login OptionsWhile it’s more convenient for your marketing to require shoppers to create an account before placing an order, it doesn’t always benefit your customers. You might lose people along the way if you don’t give them the option to check out as a guest. Remember: You can always ask them to create an account once they’ve bought from you and feel a little closer to your brand.Image Credit: VWOYou should also think about offering shoppers the option of logging in with one of their social media profiles, like Facebook or Twitter. This can reduce registration friction because it makes the login process a lot faster. Make sure you add that you’ll never post without the customer’s permission, if applicable.The caveat of allowing a social login? It’s the one connection shoppers will have to log in — and if anything changes about that connection (the terms of service for the social network change or they delete their account on the network), their ability to log into your site will change, too. So if you’re allowing people to authenticate with social logins, figure out other ways ask for more contact information.2) Authentication/Login LayersCustomers who do have an account with you want to know that their information is safe — even if they forget their login information. To give them peace of mind, be sure to require several verification layers before you restore their login information. For example, if a customer forgets her password, your site could require various security questions before sending an email to a pre-determined email address.3) PCI ComplianceThe PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) defines a series of specific Data Security Standards (DSS) that are relevant to all merchants, regardless of revenue and credit card transaction volumes.If you host and manage your own ecommerce platform, it’s your responsibility to ensure PCI compliance at the required compliance level, which is based on credit or debit card transaction volume over a 12-month period. Most SaaS shopping carts will have PCI compliance built in. Read this blog post to learn how to achieve PCI compliance.4) Integrated Payment ProcessorWhile you can get away with payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, Google Wallet, and Amazon Payments if you have a very small website and a low number of transactions, it’s much better to integrate a payment process directly into your website.With some processors, online shoppers get redirected off your website to a pay site that doesn’t look like yours — which disrupts their experience, visually disconnects them from your brand, and can be confusing or nerve-racking and prompt them to abandon their cart.An integrated payment solution that processes your customers’ information on your own server allows for more flexibility and customization. Plus, it’s a much smoother experience for your customers. There are a lot of payment processing options out there — check out this list of the pros and cons of some popular options.An integrated payment page will require an SSL certificate to ensure a secure connection. Which brings me to my next point …5) SSL CertificateEvery ecommerce website needs an SSL certificate to protect customers’ personal and credit card information. SSL is the standard security technology that makes sure all data passed between a web server and a browser remain private.Without it, hackers can steal your customers’ information — and online shoppers won’t feel safe submitting their information on your website. Online shoppers will be able to tell your website’s secure when they see an “https://” at the beginning of your URL, as opposed to just “http://”. Read this blog post to learn how to get an SSL certificate on your website.If you’re a HubSpot customer using the Website Platform, you can get a standard SSL certificate for free starting October 1. If you’re a customer but don’t have the HubSpot Website Platform, SSL is available for purchase. (To find out more, contact your Customer Success Manager or visit our pricing page.)6) Credit Card Logos and Security SealsSpeaking of keeping online shoppers at ease, you might want to add credit card logos and security seals to your website to reassure shoppers that your site is a secure, trusted place to do business. Make them visible at least in the shopping cart and checkout phases of your site, or even try integrating them into the footer of your website.7) Checkout ButtonsThe less time customers have to spend looking for an option to check out, the sooner they’ll take action and buy. We recommend putting checkout calls-to-action — in a color that really stands out — at the top and bottom of your web pages.Check out this checkout button example from ModCloth (no pun intended):Want a little button design help? Click here to see our library of 50+ call-to-action button templates.8) Visual Checkout ProcessIf you need to spread the checkout process across multiple pages, give shoppers a visual indicator of how far they’ve progressed and how long they have left to go. Again, ModCloth does this particularly well:9) Return & Refund PolicyShoppers don’t get to physically look at or feel a product before they purchase it online, which can make some people nervous and disincentivize them to buy. To help mitigate this, make your return and refund policy readily available. Consider making it part of the checkout process and even putting it in the footer of your website.Be sure your policy is succinct, informative, engaging, and easy to understand. Say whether the customer will get a refund or an in-store credit, stipulate a timeframe for returns, define the condition you expect the product to be in, and disclose any fees up-front — like who will cover the cost of shipping.10) Clear Path to Your Contact InformationOnline shoppers want to know they can easily reach your company for support — especially if they’re first-time customers. If you don’t give them a clear path to your contact information, they may either hesitate to buy from you, or they may not get the support they need to complete a transaction.Include contact information like a phone number (with availability hours), email address, street address, and social media accounts. Preferably, list this information as text (not as an image) so it’ll get picked up by search engines in local searches. Some retailers also like to offer live chat options — just be sure that you’ve integrated it with your customer records so you can build smarter marketing campaigns in the future.11) Detailed Confirmation Page Before CheckoutBefore allowing online shoppers to check out, you’ll want to take them to a detailed confirmation page before finishing the transaction. This page should let them review their cart, give them the option to change the quantity or remove items, include a final price (including tax and shipping), and indicate when the items will be shipped.You might also want to include a photo of each item in their cart, as 92.6% of shoppers say visuals are the most influential factor of their buying decision.12) Optimized Checkout Page DesignThe best checkout pages are functional, easy to use and navigate, secure, and well-designed. Check out this infographic for details on how to create the perfect checkout page.13) Confirmation EmailFinally, you’ll want to create a confirmation email that includes the order number, the product, payment, and shipping information, and your return and refund policy — just in case. If possible, use a real “from” email address (instead of noreply@company.com) that can be answered by a member of your customer support staff. You’ll also want to make the order confirmation page easy to print. This is the time when you can offer guest customers the option to sign up for an account, too. Originally published Sep 22, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated August 09 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

How to Create Useful Content: 12 Steps to Follow Every Time [Infographic]

first_img646Save Topics: Gearing up to create your next piece of marketing content? If you want it to stand out from the rest of the noise on the internet, you have to be focused on producing something both delightful and engaging. That said, there’s some planning to be done before you jump right in. What’s the purpose of this piece? Where can you fit in credible data and examples? Who’s gonna edit it once you’ve written — and rewritten — your draft? How do you plan to spread the word about it so, you know, people actually read it? You need a strategy. To provide you with a process, check out the infographic below from Ann Handley and Visually. They’ve stolen valuable tips from Handley’s latest book, Everybody Writes, on everything from planning to publishing. (And check out our content creation kit to learn how to create powerful content in more detail.)Click here to download our full collection of free templates for designing stunning visual content including infographics and more.646Save Originally published Oct 20, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 24 2019center_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 Writing Skillslast_img read more

Why Generation Z Should Be Included in Your Content Strategy [Infographic]

first_imgI’ll admit it: I’ve always been a bit befuddled by the letters assigned to generations. In fact, I remember the day that I lamentably found out that I wasn’t a member of Generation X. I had missed the mark by just a hair, and growing up in the 90s, learning that it wasn’t me who the Spice Girls were singing about in soda commercials was very sad news.But now, pop musicians are singing to one of the newest populations, and as marketers, it’s time for us to turn our attention to it: Generation Z.If you’re asking, “what is Generation Z?”, here are a few fun facts, courtesy of Adweek:Generation Z is comprised of those born between about 1996 and 2010.Members didn’t witness the dawn of the online era like Millennials did — they were born into it.Half of them say they “can’t live without” YouTube.But why should marketers pay attention to this particular generation? Well, like every other one before it, Generation Z is steadily gaining some degree of purchasing power, especially those who were born in 1999 or earlier. Many of them are about to start or graduate from college and enter a new phase of independence and decision-making. And who’s there to help guide those decisions? Brands, of course.But what’s the best way to reach them? To find out, look no further — Adweek broke down the digital behavior of Generation Z into this helpful infographic, which we’ve shared below.298Save298Save Content Marketing Strategy Topics: Originally published Jun 2, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated June 02 2017 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

UX vs. UI: What’s the Difference?

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Jun 21, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 Understanding the difference between UX and UI can get confusing — the roles work closely together, and sometimes the terms are used too ambiguously to firmly understand either one.To understand the difference between UX and UI, let’s start with an example: YouTube.Take a look at the YouTube home screen. Everything you’re seeing — the search bar at the top, the “Trending” and “Subscriptions” and “History” categories on the left, the “Recommended” videos below — is all the work of a UI designer.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. At its most basic level, UI is the presentation and interactivity of a product — where’s the sign-up button, is it easy to navigate, where’s the logo and if I click the logo where does it take me?Now, imagine every YouTube video you click loads slowly. Imagine you search “cats” and nothing comes up. Imagine you can’t search account user’s by their username, so it’s hard for you to find that girl who sang an acoustic rendition of that Ed Sheeran song.With those actions, you’re having a less-than-ideal user experience. You don’t enjoy engaging with the product, and it isn’t offering you what you want. Those problems are the responsibility of a UX designer.Cognitive scientist Don Norman, who first coined the term UX in the 1990s, and Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, explain the difference of UX versus UI this way:“Consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.”In this example, both UX and UI are critical components for the user to enjoy the product, but a user can’t appreciate the interface of a product if the product itself doesn’t deliver what the user wants.Let’s define UX and UI in more detail now, to further clarify the difference between the two.What’s UX?UX, which stands for user experience, is the process of researching, developing, and refining all aspects of a user’s interaction with a company to ensure the company is meeting the user’s needs. A UX designer must ensure people find value when they interact with a company’s products or services.A UX designer is responsible for all aspects of a user’s interaction — this means a UX designer is not solely responsible for the technology behind a product. They’re responsible for how a user interacts with a company both on and offline, including customer service and other facets.Essentially, a UX designer must answer the question: “How can my company’s product best meet our user’s needs?”Now, what’s left for a UI designer to do?What’s UI?A UI designer’s responsibilities are more cosmetic than a UX designer’s — a UI designer is responsible for the presentation of a product. But that doesn’t mean a UI designer just picks some pictures and a logo and calls it a day.A UI designer is responsible for how everything on a page aligns in relation to each other. The visual elements you see on a page, such as buttons and icons, and the interactivity of a product, falls on the UI designer.Have you ever visited a website and thought, “Wow, this company is really cool and has a great product, but what really sold me was their website’s intuitive and sleek layout?”That’s largely due to their UI designer.How do UX and UI work together?Now that we’ve explored UX and UI separately, let’s see how they function collaboratively.Let’s say your company wants to develop a running app, so your CEO hires a UX designer. The UX designer is first going to do some research into competitor’s apps and your user’s pain points.With this information, she will decide the core features of the app (“must monitor heart rate and mileage”), and explore user personas in-depth to create a site map and initial prototype.From there, a UX designer will create wireframes, test and refine them, and convert those wireframes into mockups. Then, the UX designer will conduct research and refine the product for the market. Throughout all stages, the UX designer is focused on the structure and value of the product and how that product is or isn’t meeting user’s needs.Towards the end of development, a UI designer will then take control over the app’s appearance, including on-screen forms, images, buttons, links, and icons.As you can see, the primary difference between UX and UI is goals: a UX designer is focused on the users’ experience, including anything that might motivate or frustrate them, why they would or wouldn’t enjoy the product, and what the product needs to include to delight the user.A UI designer is given those constraints — she’s told what the app must include and exclude, and how it’s going to work. Using those constraints as a guideline, she works on the design and interactivity to ensure the user understands the product and enjoys the presentation of it.You can’t create an exceptional product without both UX and UI. Without a UX designer, YouTube would appear beautiful and appealing but completely unusable. And, without a UI designer, YouTube would be a great idea in theory but would be difficult and confusing to navigate on the screen.  User Experience Topics:last_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