Indian-Origin MP Calls For Debate on Treatment of Highly Skilled Immigrants in UK

first_imgLabor MP Seema Malhotra is calling for a debate in UK Parliament on how highly skilled immigrants from India are being treated by the Home Office, the Times of India reported. Malhotra attended the protest held by a 300-strong crowd of highly skilled immigrants from South Asia in London on Feb. 21.The protest, which included about 60 Indians, was staged by highly skilled professionals like doctors, teachers, computer scientists, engineers under the umbrella of Highly Skilled Migrants Group outside the Parliament House on Feb. 21. Most of the participants were highly skilled professionals who were in the United Kingdom on Tier 1 visas, whose applications for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) were rejected because of mistakes or discrepancies in their tax returns.The letter of rejection from Home office had categorized these applicants under paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules used for criminals and terrorists. These letters of refusal will negatively impact their future visa applications for any other country, the protesters told the publication.Some applicants were given 14 days to leave the country while some others were allowed to stay and fight their cases without working. Very few of them could appeal against it and continue to work. The protesters also said that they had to hand in their passports to the Home Office. The Home Office’s decision on their appeal often took years and without their passports, they could not travel overseas.“There has to be an investigation into why they are using 322 (5),” Malhotra was quoted by the publication as saying. “It should not be used in this way destroying people’s livelihood, affecting their reputation and their ability to travel. There are ways of dealing with mistakes on a tax return but this rule should not be used in this way. I am going to call for a debate in Parliament about this.”Malhotra is not the only British MP backing the protest. British Sikh MP Tanmanjeet Dhesi and Scottish National party’s Alison Thewliss are also behind the cause.The protest came when the Opposition Labour Party made a speech about the hostile environment for immigrants in the country. “The NHS [National Health Service] crisis is caused by Tory cuts. One of its features is a huge shortage of doctors, nurses and other workers. And yet this government turns doctors away, in a failed effort to meet its net migration target,” Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said at King’s College London Policy Institute on Feb 21, according to PTI.The Home Office resolves all visa applications “as quickly as possible,” the home office spokesperson said in a statement. “It is vital however that the correct decisions are made, particularly with complex Tier 1 applications that require detailed consideration and verification of evidence with HMRC. These robust checks are essential to avoid the potential abuse of our immigration or tax system. Where such abuse is identified, we will act accordingly,” the statement said. Related ItemsBritainuk visaUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

Technology To The Rescue

first_imgTwo Rochester Institute of Technology scientists are using high tech imaging technologies used to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls to create digital copies of a 700-year-old palm-leaf Hindu manuscript stored in a monastery in Udupi, near Bangalore. P.R. Mukund and Roger Easton are working on digital preservation of the Sarvamoola Granthas, a collection of 36 philosophical commentaries by Shri Madvacharya (1238-1317).The 240 page palm leaf manuscript in Sanskrit – each leaf of which is about two feet long and two inch wide – has degraded over the years and made some of the writing difficult to read.  “It is literally crumbling to dust,” according to Mukund.The scientists took almost 8,000 digital images of the documents in Udupi and are now transferring it to different media, including silicon wafers for long-term preservation.“The book will never be opened again unless there is a compelling reason to do so,” Mukund was quoted in a RIT news release. “Because every time they do, they lose some. After this, there won’t be a need to open the book.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

Lucknow Version 2.0

first_imgLucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, in India, has for centuries played its part as the nerve center for artistic, cultural, culinary and political discourse in the country. The former seat of the Nawabs of the 18th century and the home of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (a term used for a fusion of Hindu-Muslim culture prevalent along the region of river Ganges and Yamuna) has lent the heritage city a unique cultural identity all its own.If lovers of history remember the place as the relic of important eons, such as the Sultanate era, the dynasty of Nawabs during the British Raj, for modern Indians, the city still resonates a dash of its gentility.Many of the great contemporary musicians and performers of our times, such as Javed Akhtar, Talat Mahmood, Anup Jalota, Naushad and Birju Maharaj, hail from Lucknow. The land of legendary poets, such as Mir Taqi Mir and Kaifi Azmi, has also been home to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Shankar Dayal Sharma.Even though during the past several decades the city has fallen victim to haphazard growth, witnessed by most Indian megacities, urban Indians world over still remember Lucknow as the city with an artistic soul. Despite the fact that what was once a cradle for leisurely art forms, like poetry and Kathak, is now struggling with urban rot, gridlocked streets and infrastructural nightmares, the city still invokes memories of courtly diction and luscious Awadhi cuisine for scores of NRIs now settled abroad. Current (left) v proposed (right) images of Lucknow.Good news then, that this city of beautiful baroque monuments, buckling under the pressure of a bustling metropolis, may be on its way to reclaim some of its lost charm. A few months ago, Lucknow, secured top place, in the list of Fast Track Smart Cities released by India’s Union Ministry of Urban Development. The competition was conducted by the central government among 23 cities that had improved the quality of life for their citizens by at least 25 per cent.Smart Cities Mission is a program aimed at urban renewal initiated by the Government of India. The idea is to develop 100 sustainable cities in the country, for which the cabinet has approved Rs 980 billion ($15 billion), including costs for rejuvenating 500 other cities.For many NRIs, who left Lucknow decades ago and witnessed a gradual erosion of its legacy over their occasional visits, it comes as a welcome initiative. Neha Dhawan, who came to New York, 15 years ago, having grown up in Lucknow, remembers the city as a quaint cultural replica of the past: “Over the years, Lucknow lost its affable character and became like any other city struggling with urban problems. I regret that even our historic markets, such as Hazratganj and Aminabad, have happily swapped our local traditional clothes and jewelry for super market finds from big cities like Delhi and Mumbai.” Hussainabad heritage walk Over the years, Lucknow despite being the proud custodian of some of the most historic monuments, somehow missed the bus as a tourist destination. Although Uttar Pradesh is in the top three states visited by foreign tourists, with nearly three million foreign footfalls in 2015, the bulk of travelers visited Agra or Varanasi.India’s golden triangle route, the most preferred tourist destination, carefully connects the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in a 720 km stretch, bypassing Lucknow, which stands tall as a cultural edifice, more so in modern times, with its contribution to various art and craft forms.The callous representation of Lucknow’s craft is reflected in how chikankari, the elegant shadow work embroidery on delicate muslin cloth, native to the city, lost out in popularity to pashmina from Kashmir. While every NRI and foreigner visiting India makes it a point to prize a Pashmina, chikankari is losing its grip even in India.Realizing this gap, a Lucknow native, Anchal Gupta, unable to find any good quality Lucknow chikankari and kamdani dresses online, started an online shop, a few years ago. The India based portal reports a growing clientele in countries like Canada, USA and Middle East. To cater to the NRIs, it has introduced western style tops, tunics, and palazzos in chikankari work.However, Dhawan laments that she misses seeing girls in Lucknowi dresses back home. She says, “The young in Lucknow are increasingly wearing what their counterparts in New York City wear; and yes that sometimes does take away the distinctness of the place.” She sheepishly admits, “Not sure if I can blame the young, as I myself do not have a single Lucknowi piece in my wardrobe.”Though it may be some time before Lucknow finds its place on the fashion map, state officials are hopeful that developmental work will bring NRI and visitor interest back to the city.Some years earlier, MA Yusuff Ali, managing director of Abu Dhabi based EMKE LuLu Group, ranked 24th on the Forbes 2015 list of richest Indians, announced plans to invest Rs 1,000 crores ($150 million) in the U.P. capital. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s initiative at the first Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Diwas, held in Agra, earlier this year, is another attempt to attract NRIs back to their state of origin while showcasing the business potential of the state.Lucknow has been witnessing infrastructural developments, such as the metro rail project and the Gomti river front development program, but what remains a growing concern is the neglect of the city’s historic past.Sourabh Gupta, principal architect, Archohm Consults, an architecture studio that has been involved in some of the new projects in the city, says: “Preserving one’s heritage means recognizing the very necessity of relating to one’s past, of the stories it has to tell and the role it plays in the present. This preserved past never remains static, but is in a constant state of change and this change is the value addition that each of the subsequent generations adds to its past.”In a quest to craft a balance between tradition and modernity, a bouquet of other projects, ranging from the master plan of the city, design of street signages, preserving the history, organizing heritage walks, farmer markets and cultural haats, along with specialty hospitals, modern residential units, hospitality ventures, etc. have been proposed or are underway to reinvent Lucknow.While these sound like spectacular plans to redevelop the heritage city that has often deservedly, earned the bad rap for failing in urban planning, whether the mission will succeed at a grass-root level remains an open question.Agrima Tewari, a Lucknow native who shifted to North Carolina, three years ago, says: “It’s welcoming to find that infrastructural changes are being introduced. Even till a couple of years ago, we had real third world problems, like restricted water supply and power cuts.”For Lucknow natives who have made Western shores their new homes, it’s these mundane troubles that remain a major roadblock in thinking of returning home. Tewari says: “There has been a clear under-representation of our heritage. Americans, are unaware of the existence of Lucknow. They do know Taj Mahal, but beyond that there is nothing in UP that they know of.”Gupta says, “If smart cities are exemplified by Singapore and Dubai and are defined by parameters, such as modern skylines, extreme efficiency and perceptible absence of poverty, then there are plenty of road blocks in making Lucknow a world-class city.”Despite the obstacles, the face-lift raises hope of reviving the city’s exemplary heritage. The Rumi Darwaza, a majestic gateway, built in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah, has been often compared to Gateway of Constantinople. The Dilkusha Kothi, the 18th century house built by British resident Major Gore Ouseley, reflects English Baroque architecture and the prestigious La Martiniere College is an example of Indo European style.Hearteningly enough, some of the newer initiatives seem to be keeping the sentiment of a city seeped in history alive. The Hussainabad Heritage Walk is aimed at educating visitors on a bevy of monuments belonging to the Islamic period, such as the Bara and Chota Imambaras, the Rumi Darwaza, the Satkhanda, the Asafi Masjid and the Bhool Bhulaiya.The state government has initiated a project for Shilp Graam, an artisan’s village spread across 20 acres, housing 200 craft shops.Lucknow, like all the growing cities in the world, has to move with the times, employ technological advances, address economic growth and exemplify social and cultural trends. But, hopefully, without losing its renowned tehzeeb. Related Itemslast_img read more

Hurricane Irma: Indians Come to the Rescue of Others in Florida

first_imgMany Indian-Americans who own hotels in Florida have decided to stay back and help others despite the US calling for a mandatory evacuation before Hurricane Irma’s landfall.The Indian hotel owners have opened up their properties for people in need, AFP reported. Many temples and community places, and non-profit organisations like Sewa have also come forward to prepare food and provide other necessary assistance to people effected by the storm.Indian missions on Sept. 10 also evacuated a large group of the diaspora and issued helpline numbers as the Hurricane Irma, with windspeeds of over 130kmph, battered Florida.The hurricane has left three million people without power. Three people died in Florida car crashes while 25 others lost their lives in Caribbean. The storm also hit Tampa’s retirement homes.Efforts were on to evacuate about 60 Indian nationals from St Martin in the Caribbean, which is a vacation island that has been devastated by Irma, according to PTI.“We have put the shutters, made all the precautions for any onslaught of the hurricane, because we have gone through these types of hurricanes every two years, so we know how to prepare,” Vivek Swaroop, who has his own consultancy business in Fort Lauderdale area of Florida, told AFP.The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area of Florida is the worst affected area. It has an Indian-American population of more than 40,000 and expects a landfall on Sept. 11.“Most of the Indian Americans that I know of, have barricaded their houses with shutters and essentials. Some of them who live on the East Side, which is near the ocean, have vacated,” Swaroop told the news agency.In this grave situation many Indian-American hoteliers in Florida have opened their hotels for others to take shelter in, and are even using the banquet halls to provide refuge to the ones who had to leave their homes.Florida has more than 128,000 Indian-Americans as per the 2010 census.Sandeep Chakravorty, India’s consul-general in New York, said they have set up a 24×7 control room in Atlanta to oversee relief efforts. “Atlanta is fully prepared to take care of evacuees from Florida. Some have already reached. Consulate is on call 24×7,” he told the media. Related ItemsHurricane Irma NRIIndian diaspora US hurricaneIndian government IrmaIndians Hurricane IrmaIndians Irma CarribeanIndians Irma FloridaLittle Indialast_img read more

Doctors, Nurses to be Excluded from Skilled Worker Visa Cap, Says UK Govt

first_imgThe government will ease tough immigration rules in a bid to allow several more medical professionals from foreign countries to work in the country’s National Health Service (NHS), Home Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on June 15.According to the changes introduced on June 15, doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap on skilled worker visas. There will be no restriction on the number of doctors and nurses who can be employed through the Tier 2 visa route, thus enabling recruitment of more international doctors and nurses to provide patient care when required, the UK government said in a statement.“I recognize the pressures faced by the NHS and other sectors in recent months. Doctors and nurses play a vital role in society and at this time we need more in the United Kingdom. That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route. This is about finding a solution to increased demand and to support our essential national services,” Javid said.The Tier 2 visa route, which has had an annual cap of 20,700 since 2011, has in recent months seen the number of applications exceed the monthly allocation of available places. This has been driven mostly by demand from the NHS— accounting for around 40 percent of all Tier 2 places.Along with providing a boost to the NHS, the new decision will also free up hundreds of additional places a month within the cap for other highly skilled occupations, like engineers, IT professionals and teachers, from around the world, including India.“Overseas staff have been a vital part of our NHS since its creation 70 years ago,” Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. He added that the news sends a clear message to nurses and doctors from around the world that the NHS welcomes and values their skills and dedication.“It’s fantastic that patients will now benefit from the care of thousands more talented staff. This builds on steps we have already taken to make sure the NHS has the staff it needs for the future – boosting training places for home-grown doctors and nurses by 25 per cent,” Hunt said in the statement.The government, however, insisted that it would still stand by the net migration target. “Net migration is falling — we remain absolutely committed to bringing it down to sustainable levels,” UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Guardian.The British Medical Association (BMA) council and the NHS have welcomed the move, saying that it will provide the much-needed relief to patients and staff. “It will be a relief to patients and staff across the NHS that common sense has finally prevailed and the tier 2 visa restrictions on non-EU doctors and nurses are to be lifted,” Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association council said, the Guardian reported. Nagpaul added that the change represented a victory for the British Medical Association, medical bodies and patients who have argued that this obstructive cap was doing real damage to patient services across the country.Others like Saffron Cordery of trade body NHS Providers also said that the change was the right decision, BBC reported. “This is going to be a huge relief for trusts up and down the country who have been really struggling to fill their doctors and nurses vacancies,” Cordery was quoted as saying. Related ItemsBritainNHSUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

London Olympics: Mary Kom through to semis, assured of bronze

first_imgMC Mary Kom is turning out to be the cerebral fighter at the London Olympics. Up against the tall and strapping Maroua Rahali from Tunisia, the diminutive Indian used a solid strategy to outpunch her opponent 15-6 and assured herself of a bronze medal.The Excel arena was again packed with Indians and had the commentators raving about the achievements of Mary Kom, whose popularity in London has increased manifold.Wearing blue gear and with a spring in her feet, Mary Kom realised that winning an Olympic medal is not about just punching hard, but using the head as well.”I am thrilled that I am assured of a bronze medal. What makes it special is this is the first one in the 51kg category,” said Mary Kom, who has been in touch with professional coach Charles Atkinson on phone in Liverpool daily. She said the two had been discussing strategies regularly.Up against the five feet and six inches tall Rahali, Mary Kom took time to gauge her opponent. There was no bravado about her approach and fleet-footed Mary did well in the first round to understand what her opponent was going to throw at her.The Indian’s slick footwork caught the eye again as she stayed away from the ‘punching zone’ of her opponent. Mary earned her first two points in style and did not exactly open out, hitting her punches but winning in a measured manner.Mary Kom had a strong guard to show in a tight second round where either boxer was not willing to take chances. Rahali, predominantly a southpaw, may have hoped to score points with her better reach. But full credit to Mary Kom for not doing anything dangerous as caution was the watchword.advertisementIt was a very different Mary Kom the Excel arena supporters saw in the third round. The vocal support for Mary Kom grew loud and the Indian responded beautifully. Realising that Rahali was not doing much damage, Mary Kom waded into her opponent and scored vital clean points. She registered five points in this period and went to the corner at the break with a smile on her face.Yet, Mary Kom realised there was no room for complacency in the fourth round, where her energy level was still high. The Indian used a solid punching strategy to get the better of the Tunisian in the last round with four vital points.Up next for Mary Kom is Britain’s Nicola Adams. The crowd support will be there for the Briton, but Mary Kom is not bothered.”I am aware I have to do my best and see if I can get silver. Let me tell you one thing, having moved to a higher weight category, it’s tough as I can’t put on weight,” said Mary Kom.”Competing in the Olympics and now being assured of a medal is a dream come true for me. I have been training with boys taller and heavier than me and it has helped a lot,” added the five-time world champion.Lest one thinks this has been an easy effort for Mary Kom, she was quick to add: “I have only been fighting at this weight for 51kg since a short time. It’s so hard,” said the Manipuri star.From the Indian point of view, Mary Kom’s bronze has assured the country its best haul at an Olympics. This is also the first time at an Olympics that two Indian women are winning medals. Saina Nehwal was the first to do so when she won bronze on Saturday.HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOUT:Samip Rajguru: “Best ever olympics for India confirmed.”Samip Rajguru: “Final score 15-6. Mary you rule the ring!”S Kannan: “Mary Kom scores well against the tall Tunisian. Mukkee pe mukkaa!”Samip Rajguru: “Mary wins in a style! One more bronze confirmed, but we are looking at gold. Nicola Adams is next for her in the semi-finals.”Samip Rajguru: “Mary fighting like a tigress… and leading like one too! Her opponent from Tunisia is the prey.” India Today: Three round of domination by Mary Kom. She has now stretched her lead to 11-4. Surely, she can’t lose it from here now. Just one more round to go. Gaurav Gala: “5-3 in favour of Mary after two rounds. More of the same please Mary.” India Today: This is amazing boxing by Mary Kom. She is bringing all her experience to the ring here. Superb show gives her a 5-3 lead after two rounds. A bronze medal is almost withing grasp. advertisementIndia Today: It’s a great start for Mary Kom. She has taken a slender, but important, lead in the first round for a 2-1 lead. Samip Rajguru: “Mary prayed before the bout for about 20 seconds. I will ask her and tell you about it after the bout.”Gaurav Gala: “Biggest cheer of the night just went up for Mary.” Samip Rajguru: “Excel arena is full with Indian supporters for Mary Kom. About 3 mins to start guy.”Gaurav Gala: “Mary Kom’s bout up next… Atnicipation at fever pitch now.”Aaj Tak Sports Editor Samip Rajguru: “Mary about to start in 5 mins…” India Today: Just a few minutes left for Mary Kom’s big fight. Her opponent is 24-year-old Maroua Rahali of Tunisia, who is fighting her first bout as she got a bye in the previous rounds. Mary had won her last fight 19-14.Mail Today Sports Editor S Kannan: “Mary Kom bout in afternoon. Are you ready?”Headlines Today Sports Editor Gaurav Gala: “India could gurantee two boxing medals today if Mary Kom and Vijender win their bouts.”last_img read more

Euro 2016: Germany call up defender Tah to replace injured Ruediger

first_imgGermany coach Joachim Loew has called up Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah to replace the injured Antonio Ruediger at the European Championship.The 20-year-old Tah, who made his only Germany appearance on March 26 in the 3-2 friendly loss to England in Berlin, was not included in Loew’s preliminary list of 27 players for the tournament in France, but he was given the nod Wednesday after Ruediger tore a cruciate ligament in his right knee in training on Tuesday.Tah, who played 29 league games for Leverkusen in his breakthrough season, missed the side’s last games because of food poisoning.”I sent Jonathan an SMS and wished him luck,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller told the Koelner Express newspaper. (Full Euro 2016 coverage )The 23-year-old Ruediger is expected to miss about six months after sustaining the injury in a tussle with Thomas Mueller. The Roma defender had been first choice to fill in for Mats Hummels, who has been struggling with a calf injury and is unlikely to feature in any of the group games.Only 15 outfield players took part in team training Wednesday at the Camille Fournier Stadium in Evian-les-Bains, along with the three goalkeepers.Loew said Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has a cold and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl has a slight muscle strain in his calf. Hummels underwent an individual training program but worked with the ball for the first time.Lukas Podolski, who was excused Tuesday because of the birth of his daughter, was expected back in Evian on Wednesday evening.advertisementGermany opens its campaign against Ukraine in Lille on Sunday. Poland and Northern Ireland are also in Group C.last_img read more

360i Picks Up Three Shorty Awards, Including Best Large Agency

first_imgWe’re excited to announce that 360i and our client partners have won three Shorty Awards. Among the accolades were top honors in the best “Best Large Agency” category, which 360i won for the second-straight year.360i client Oreo was named a Best Brand on Vine (a new category this year) thanks to popular content such as the “Snack Hacks” how-to series and clever Halloween Vines that parodied iconic horror movies. Other finalists in this category included Samsung and Dunkin Donuts.Additionally, 360i and Oscar Mayer took home top honors in the “Best Use of Social for Food & Beverage” category for the brand’s “Say It With Bacon” campaign, a tongue-in-cheek effort that allowed people to gift luxe bacon gifts for Father’s Day.360i earned finalist nods in three categories: Best Social Good Campaign (#Mamming), Best Use of Social Media for TV (HBO Game of Throne’s #ROASTJOFFREY) and Best Use of Animated GIFs (Bravo & GIPHY’s I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding).The Shorty Awards, now in its sixth year, honors “the best in social media” and has been dubbed “The Oscars of Social Media” by The New York Times. This year’s event featured host Natasha Leggero.Congratulations to all winners and finalists in this year’s Shorty Awards, and to the team at 360i and our clients for their ongoing partnership.Cover photo via read more

How to Spot Fake Electronics

first_img Post navigation Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Ever had a “duh!” moment that you regretted for years to come?Here’s one: you’re a college freshman living with your grandmother for the summer.You’re running a few errands in town with a friend and you pull into the parking lot of a grocery store. Some guy approaches and offers to sell you a “new” TV, “still in the box”, for just $40.Ah, your own TV! Wouldn’t that be great? No more sharing the TV with grandma. Can you have a look at it, you ask?“No, no,” the guy whispers. “Not here.”So you fork over the $40, suspecting it’s a hot TV, race home, and open it. And you find out it’s a piece of junk.Scammed!I know what that’s like because it happened to me many years ago.I wrote about this embarrassing moment in my last book, “Scammed: How to Save Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals.”It turns out this trick is one strain of the counterfeit electronics scam and — I hate to tell you this — it’s still being used successfully on consumers like you.Just a few weeks ago in Orem, Utah, authorities uncovered a scam involving fake iPhones.Someone approached the victim in a parking lot (sound familiar?) and offered her a new iPhone for “a good price,” according to a report.Too good to be true, it turns out. When she took the phone to get activated, she realized she’d been ripped off. The fake phone didn’t even turn on.She shouldn’t feel bad. Consumers fall for this scam all the time.So, how do you tell a real one from a fake?Turn it on.Counterfeit electronics look almost identical to the real thing, but they almost always don’t work right.Exhibit A: my scammy TV and the Utah iPhone.If you can’t fire it up, you’ve got problems. By the way, you shouldn’t buy legitimate electronics if you can’t turn them on, so make sure you get that little icon before you walk away with a purchase.Look for misspellings.Since many counterfeiting operations happen in countries where English isn’t spoken, you may find that some words are misspelled.That can be a sign of trouble. Most labels on legit electronics are copy-edited by someone who speaks English, and although it’s possible that a real manufacturer will misspell a word, it’s unlikely.Check for dates that don’t make sense.Any one of these could be a sign of a counterfeit item: A date code that hasn’t happened yet, or is unlikely (like, 01/01/1813) or that doesn’t match the product in the box.Criminals are not always detail-oriented, and they expect you won’t be either when you hastily buy a fake Samsung Galaxy in the parking lot of an Albertson’s.All the more reason to be a little obsessive.Find the hologram.Some things are difficult, if not impossible, to fake. If you can’t find a reputable certification mark such as the UL mark on the box and product, you might be looking at an impostor.Consider your circumstances.Look, I probably shouldn’t have to say this, but buying a TV in a parking lot makes about as much sense as buying a smartphone in a parking lot. It’s dumb.If you see a too-good-to-be true price for electronics at a flea market or anywhere gadgets aren’t commonly purchased, then you might not be dealing with the real thing.The Semiconductor Industry Association recently estimated that counterfeiting costs U.S. semiconductor manufacturers $7.5 billion a year in lost revenue, and costs U.S. workers nearly 11,000 jobs.Don’t become another statistic. Read the box on your electronics purchase, check for misspellings and bogus dates, look for the seal of approval and turn the darned thing on, fer cryin’ out loud.And please — don’t buy your next iPhone in a parking lot.Have you ever unknowingly bought fake electronics?Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate who blogs about getting better customer service at On Your Side. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or send him your questions by email.last_img read more

Money Moves to Make During Cold Spells

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related5 Top Habits to Help You Stress Less About Your FinancesNovember 5, 2018In “Financial Literacy”Jessica Naziri of TechSesh on the New Mint for iOS LookSeptember 25, 2018In “Budgeting”12 Tips to Help You Live Within Your MeansAugust 13, 2013In “How To” Post navigation With much of the country experiencing frighteningly cold temperatures, it doesn’t seem like the time to issue “ways to save during winter” advice. With temperatures well below zero, the last thing anyone should be doing right now is turning off the heater and just bundling up with an extra blanket. I’m even hearing advice on the radio such as, “Worry about your heat bill later,” and I couldn’t agree more. But, this IS potentially a time to check off some of those long put-off tasks that could have big positive impacts on your financial life. Here are a few to think about taking care of while you’re stuck inside:Make the callWhen we talk about ways you can improve your financial lives, many points include actually picking up the phone and making a phone call. Whether it’s with a credit bureau to remove old dings or a credit card company to negotiate a lower interest rate, now that you’re on lock down, pick up the phone and follow through on this advice. It’s the kind of thing where it doesn’t hurt to ask and the rewards can be plenty.Do your taxesIn case you missed it, last Tuesday was TurboTax‘s very own #W2sDay, IRS opened for e-file on January 28th, and you should start seeing your W-2s, which means you can officially get a jump start on filing your taxes! With your W-2 in hand, you have what you need to file your taxes for free with TurboTax. With TurboTax you can get a jump-start on your taxes by snapping a picture of your W-2 or importing your W-2 from your employer or payroll provider and the information will go to the correct forms without data entry.  For many, they are almost done with their taxes once they snap a picture of their W-2 and answer a few questions.And, if you have tax questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average of 15 years-experience to get your tax questions answered. A TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent can also review, sign, and file your tax return in the comfort of your own home so have no fear! There’s absolutely no reason to make the trek to a tax store. So don’t delay – get one step closer to your biggest possible refund on this blistery day.Check your transactionsWhen’s the last time you took a detailed look at your transaction history? I once caught fraudulent activity  – it was only a $10 charge – but I knew it wasn’t mine. When I called the credit card company, I made the joke that if they were going to use my card, I didn’t understand why they’d only make a $10 purchase. But there’s a reason for it! I guess fraudsters will often use your card for a smaller purchase as a way to check it will go through before running up your balance on larger purchases.Other benefits to combing through your transactions? Know where you’re spending your money. When you use Mint, your transactions are categorized so you can see how much you’re spending on restaurants, ride shares, and your weekend getaways. When you have this high-level view, you can easily see if your money is disproportionately going to one category – giving you an eagle eye view into a potential money saving opportunity.Another money saver? You’re not eating out! With the weather too cold to venture out into, your outflow of cash will more than likely decrease on restaurants, gas and activities. It may mean making up for it in your heating bill, but at least you can take some peace of mind that you’re saving in other ways during this time. Just stay off the online shopping sites shopping for vacation clothes!Stay warm and safe, Minters!last_img read more

Inbound Marketing Sponsors Disney World!

first_img What do you think? Originally published Dec 15, 2008 1:17:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 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: This is an absolutely brilliant marketing idea.  It’s one of those things you’ll wish you had thought of.  Watch the video and you’ll know what I mean.  If the video doesn’t play for you, it’s because the viral marketing campaign was so successful, the servers couldn’t keep up. last_img

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

Talking Happy: 10 Phrases That’ll Make Your Customers Smile [SlideShare]

first_img The Art of Talking Happy from KayakoEnjoy this post? To read more content like it, subscribe to Sales. Customer Success 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 post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.Happy ears aren’t such a good thing in business. But happy voice? A very good thing. Even the slightest error in phrasing can put a prospect off — which means salespeople spend a lot of time thinking about the particular words they use to pitch their products and converse with buyers.But no matter how hard a rep tries to weed out all of the overtly negative or unnecessary terms in their vocabulary, there are always going to be a few that fly under the radar.Even though certain words don’t seem insidious on the surface, they can strike prospects the wrong way. Offputting words = frowning prospects. And frowning prospects don’t sign contracts. What are some of these deal-destroying words? Kayako has identified such 10 verbal culprits in this SlideShare, and provided happier suggestions that will make both salesperson and buyer smile. Turn those frowns (and perhaps any negative sales trends) upside down.center_img Topics: Originally published Feb 7, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 07 2015last_img read more

What to Look at When Segmenting Your Audience for Sponsored Content

first_img Originally published Aug 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Email Lists and Segmentation Topics: When running a sponsored content campaign, you need to create great content. What’s more important however, is making sure that content gets into the hands of the people who will find it most relevant.Quite literally, targeting capabilities pay. In fact, calls-to-action targeted to the user perform 42% better than calls to action that were generic.Creating Segments of ReadersPeople take actions on your site all the time. Reading articles, clicking links, sharing on social media. The first step to tracking these valuable actions, is by getting a user to give you a piece of information that allows you to tie all of these actions together—for example, an email address. After a reader gives you his or her email address during an initial conversion on a form, all of the information on them can be associated with one unified contact record, which you can then use to target your content offers.From these individual contact records, you can begin creating buckets (or lists) of people who meet specific sets of criteria. These lists can then be used to power segmented marketing, serving readers with content that’s most appropriate for them on your website and in your emails.This is all great in theory, but without the right forms, tracking system, and know-how, segmentation becomes a lot more difficult. So what tools and information should a publisher focus on when segmenting their audiences? Below are several suggestions to help you get started. What Device are They Coming From?Showing the right message to the right screen type has powerful results on reader engagement rate. However, this type of segmentation cannot (and should not) be done manually. Have a content management system in place that can detect device type and adapt your content so mobile and desktop readers automatically get the best viewing experience possible. For instance, use dynamic content in your emails to display shortened copy, or on your landing pages to show an abbreviated form.When is Their Subscription Renewal Date?By integrating your contact database with your fulfillment software, you can create lists of people who have subscription dates that are within a certain number of days from each other. For people who’s end-date is approaching, send emails with CTAs to drive renewals, for those who have just signed up, send out satisfaction or feedback surveys.What’s Their Job Title, Company Information or Industry?By including questions on your landing page forms that dig into job function or industry information, you can target readers with content that’s focused on what they actually do every day at work. This type of information can inform what type of wording you use in your emails, or help you pinpoint audiences that are most likely to buy—making them prime targets for emails with sponsored content from your advertisers.Did They Attend Any Events or Purchase a Digital Product?Again, having all your user data in once place allows you to create lists based of off people who have made purchases through your site before, and cross promote your other products to them. Not to mention, you can also delight these customers with follow-up content such as event summaries fir event attendees or additional content based on similar topics as previous editorial purchases.>> Learn how to unify your publising database hereWhat are They Doing on Your Site?Being able to see what pathways readers are taking on your site, and what specific pieces of content they’re clicking on tells you what topics they’re interested in. Once you have this knowledge, you can segment your audience by topic area to match them with similar content offers or email newsletters and increase click-throughs or time on site.Any of these criteria can, and should, be used to create list based personalization rules within your emails and on your website. As you can imagine, scaling personalized content is a tricky task. However, the strategies discussed above are a great place to start. You’re audience may contain 50,000 readers, but you want each email to feel like it’s only being sent to one. 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 Ad Blocking Works: Everything You Need to Know

first_img Originally published Oct 1, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How do Ad Blockers Work?Ad blockers are applications (plugins or browser extensions) that remove or alter advertising content on a webpage. While a webpage is loading, the ad blocker looks at the site’s scripts and compares them against a list of sites and scripts it was built to block. If it finds any, it blocks them.Download Now: Free Ad Campaign Planning KitWhen Apple unveiled its new iPhone and iOS 9 operating system two weeks ago, it dropped a proverbial wet blanket on marketers everywhere: A new feature in the operating system called Content Blockers will now allow iOS 9 users to install ad blocking applications from the App Store. These ad blocking applications will let people easily block advertising, trackers, and other third-party scripts.The new feature isn’t a total shocker: Apple gave the go-ahead for iOS 9 app developers to build ad blocking extensions for Safari, its default browser app, back in June 2015. And ad blocking applications aren’t a new concept — they’ve actually been available for desktop and Android for a few years now.So why is everyone freaking out? Because this is the first time Apple is allowing them for its over 700 million iPhone users. Use of the mobile Safari app represents more than half of all mobile internet usage.There’s a fair amount of confusion around what ad blocking applications are, how they work on iPhones and iPads with iOS 9, how they affect websites, and what marketers like us should do about them. We know many of you are concerned, so we’re here to clear the air as much as we can. Let’s dig in together.What Are Ad Blockers?Ad blockers are applications (like plugins or browser extensions) that remove or alter advertising content on a webpage.Some of these applications replace that advertising content with something else. Others don’t replace it with anything, leaving holes or broken links on the page where the ads would’ve been.What do ad blockers block? The specific content that’s disallowed varies from app to app. Some of them are meant to eliminate all advertising on a webpage. Others specifically block things that could compromise a user’s privacy — which includes the tracking codes that provide marketers with information about visitors’ activities on the page (like how long a person spends looking at the page or which other pages they look at on the website).Right now, ad blockers target the more “annoying” types of ads like pop-ups and banner ads. According to HubSpot Product Manager Lars Osterberg, Google Adwords ads are often whitelisted by default by many popular ad blockers since they’re seen to be useful (and, in some cases, because they pay ad blockers to do so.)The Pros & Cons of Ad BlockingBlocking ads, tracking codes, and other third-party scripts benefits users by increasing page load times, improving battery life, and protecting privacy. Not to mention, you know, eliminating the annoyance of interruptive ads.At the same time, some argue they totally undermine the infrastructure of the web. After all, advertising is how a lot of free content on the internet is supported financially. When a product is free, you are the product. Your attention is what’s being bought and sold.That’s why there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Apple’s newfound support of these applications, and why the creator and developer of the popular ad blocking app Peace actually ended up pulling his app from the App Store.”Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: While they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit,” Arment wrote in a post to his personal blog.“Users are inadvertently putting their favorite websites out of business,” said Sean Blanchfield, a long-time online gaming engineer who worked on Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.Among those who ad blockers hurt are marketers — they could potentially lose a lot of analytical data from people using iOS 9. Many of the most popular tools marketers use to measure and analyze visitors’ activities on their websites — and improve user experiences — may be affected.Luckily, there are ways to create content on the web that aren’t affected by ad blockers. It’s just a matter of understanding what they are and how they might affect your website, and then prioritizing strategies that aren’t affected. How Do Ad Blockers Work?First, a person downloads and runs an ad blocking application, whether it’s a plugin or a browser extension or something else. Then, that person opens their browser and tells it to visit a website. While that webpage is loading, the ad blocking application they downloaded looks at the site and its scripts and compares them against a list of sites and scripts it was built to block. If it finds any, it blocks them.The ad blockers available to iOS 9 users work in much the same way, except for one difference: On iOS 9, the Safari browser app can process the list of what to block before the page even loads. The result? Much faster page load times iOS 9 users who’ve downloaded one of those content blockers.Check out how page load time is improved for a Bloomberg article, for example:Image Credit: TheNextWebFaster page load times, eliminating annoying ads, and more secure web browsing … the benefits for users are crystal clear.For marketers, not so much.How Ad Blocking Can Affect Your WebsiteWhile ad blockers have clear benefits for users, the tools widely used by marketers to measure and improve online experiences may be affected.(Keep in mind, by the way, that the iOS ad blocking applications only block ads for users browsing the web in the mobile Safari app. In-app ads won’t be blocked for mobile users — so anyone scrolling through their Facebook News Feed on the Facebook app will still see Facebook ads, for example.)It can mess with your analytics.Because many of the ad blockers available on iOS 9 block both advertisements and analytics scripts, marketers could have trouble collecting the data that gives us insights into our web visitors’ behavior.Any iOS 9 visitor to your site on the Safari app who has a script blocker installed will appear “invisible” in your analytics. So, let’s say 100 people came to my website, and 10% of those people were using the Safari app and had script blockers installed. My analytics would tell me that only 90 people visited my site, and those 10 people would be totally invisible to me.Your website could be totally functional for the end user, but you could still be losing out on critical marketing data like page views and traffic sources.It can mess with user experience.Some apps don’t let user experience of the hook, though. Remember when I said some ad blockers don’t replace blocked content with anything else? To a site visitor using one of those apps, your website might look like it’s straight up missing content or has broken links. Or it could look like you traveled back in time to 1994 with just inline text and images dropped on a page.For instance, the folks at KISSmetrics have reported missing calls-to-actions thanks to ad blockers. Below you can see what users see when they don’t have the ad blocker Adblock installed (left) versus when they do (right): Topics:center_img Image Credit: KISSmetricsSo, What’s a Marketer to Do?While most marketers have likely run into issues caused by ad blockers on desktop, we haven’t had to worry too much about this on mobile devices until now. But mobile users are more important now ever, thanks to online search on mobile devices surpassing desktop searches earlier this year.But alas … ad blocking technology isn’t going away. The reality is that marketers will need to learn to live in a world where desktop, Android, and now iOS users have access to ad blockers for some browser applications.Overall, this means we’ll need to reevaluate and be smarter about where we spend our marketing dollars. Here’s what we recommend.1) Evaluate how well your ads are actually working for your audience.If ads are part of your media mix, it’s time to sit down and dig in to how well they’re really working for your business. If you’re just throwing money at advertising and not being critical about whether it’s actually working, then an increase in ad blocker usage is only going to make it worse.First, ask yourself: Does your target audience use ad blockers? If you’re marketing to people who aren’t super tech-savvy, then there might only be a small chunk of your audience using ad blocking technology … and you may not need to worry as much. But if you’re marketing to a more tech-savvy crowd (like gamers, where all of this ad blocking technology originated) then you’ll have to worry more.Who tends to use ad blocking technology, you might be asking? While it’s too soon for there to be any significant studies on the demographic of people downloading ad blocking apps on iOS 9, Adobe and PageFair conducted a study on ad blocker usage in 2014 that gave us a better idea of the demographic of people who use ad blockers.For example, they found ad blocking is most popular with millennials: 41% of people between 18-29 years old say they use ad blocking software. They also found that men are 48% more likely than women to use ad blocking software when browsing the internet.Next, do some research to find out how your prospects and customers really feel about your ads. Do they like them and think they’re helpful, or do they totally hate them? If your audiences like the way you advertise, you might be on to something. If they hate them, well … you’ll need to restrategize.You can ask your customers using a survey. The big networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn also offer feedback loops that’ll give you an idea of whether people like your ads on those networks.For example, Facebook calls this metric “negative feedback,” which is “a rating based on the number of times your audience hit your ad or otherwise indicated a negative experience, such as choosing not to see ads from you.” If your negative feedback is high, it means people don’t want to see your ad.At the end of the day, make sure your ads are making money for your business. Watch your metrics closely, and if you’re seeing that ads aren’t affecting your bottom line — or, even worse, if you’re seeing a noticeable decline — then it’s definitely time to rethink your strategy.2) Focus on ad viewability.Real talk: Are your ads even being seen? Digital ad fraud has always been an issue for advertisers: Before the iOS 9 update, a study from ANA found that 11% of online display ads and 23% of video ads aren’t actually displayed to real people. Instead, they’re being seen by robots creating fake impressions and clicks.Now, we have to worry about ads being hidden or removed from our websites by ad blockers, which would render those views and impressions invisible altogether to our marketing analytics. This won’t just affect display and banner ads; it could also affect native ads for iOS 9 users using ad blockers who are browsing the internet on Safari.If you’re advertising on Google, the Google Display Network will help tell you how many of your ads are actually being viewed by people. They’re trying to set a new standard in the industry by only counting an impression if they’re confident it’s being seen by a real human.Marketers who use display advertising in their marketing strategy should take the same approach, says Marcus Andrews, product marketing manager at HubSpot. They should demand viewability, and be more critical and more focused on making sure their ads are being seen — and restrategizing and reprioritizing if they’re not. 3) Choose ad networks that have a more inbound approach to advertising.Google’s display network was engineered to measure true viewability for display advertisements — as in, only reporting the number of actual humans they believe views those ad.Facebook’s changes are also geared toward creating better experiences for its users. This includes their News Feed updates, which give users more and more control over which content they’re shown in the News Feed. It also includes Facebook’s approach to native advertising, which encourages marketers to advertise their content in a way that doesn’t feel like an advertisement.LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates take a similar approach by letting users not only reach a broader audience than their followers, but also by promoting content that’s relevant, helpful, and interesting to that audience.(Remember: While some of the most popular iOS ad blocking applications can still block native advertisements in the Safari browser, they won’t be able to block them for mobile users who are viewing the in-app advertisements.)So put your money with ad networks like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter because they’re doing advertising the best right now. And if you want to advertise with publishers, here’s a directory of HubSpot-verified publishers that are some of the best and most trusted out there.4) Take a more inbound approach yourself.Being hooked on advertising has never been sustainable — but now, it can put marketers in an even more precarious spot. The rise of ad blocking on mobile is yet another reason for marketers to think: Should inbound marketing be a bigger part of my mix?Increase organic traffic to your website instead of relying on referral sources by building out your website’s blog and content. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website. Every new indexed page is one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive organic traffic to your website. (Read this blog post for more tips on building out your company’s blog.)Now that Apple’s opened the doors for ad blockers for such a huge online audience, it’s more important than ever for marketers to be smart about where they invest their advertising resources. They want to avoid getting their ads blocked — and, you know, create better ad experiences for their site visitors. Advertising Best Practiceslast_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

The Anatomy of an Optimized Marketing Email [Infographic]

first_img Topics: Originally published Dec 3, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 263Save For email marketers, the inbox is a battlefield.Chances are, the folks on your email lists are receiving promotional emails not just from you, but from a lot of different businesses. Whether they open your emails depends on a lot of things, including your subject line, how well they liked your past emails, and so on.But with 91% of consumers checking email every day, it’s still one of the best places to reach your target audience. To inspire them to open and click through your emails, you’ll need to make sure you’re consistently sending great marketing emails that warrant your recipients’ time and attention.So, what does a great marketing email include? Check out the infographic below from QuickSprout to learn the anatomy of an optimal marketing email, including how to optimize your subject lines, body content, and calls-to-action.Download our free guide here to learn how to create awesome email newsletters of your own. 263Save center_img Email Templates 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

Experts Share Their Top 8 Holiday Email Marketing Tips for 2017

first_imgCustomize your offers and deals according to the behavioral data you have at hand, or if you don’t have any, ask them what they like or what they would like to see in your holiday emails.Update the content of your triggered emails. What if someone is signing up to receive your emails around the holiday season? You wouldn’t want to send them your regular welcome template, would you? Don’t let your new subscriber miss out on the holiday fever and holiday-specific promotions.6) Take the responsive route (it’s not just an ‘option’ anymore!).Imagine a subscriber opens your email on a smartphone or iPad and sees a broken design. This is certainly not the user experience you are wanting to provide, especially not during the peak holiday season! What if the subscriber unsubscribes?Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy Officer at ReturnPath, is of the opinion that since 54% emails are now opened on mobile devices, there’s no option but to create a responsive design. If you’ve never designed a responsive email before and don’t have a developer at your disposal, these tips can help you keep it streamlined and simple:Single column layoutMinimalist designUser-friendly navigation and CTA buttonsCompact images with proper alt-text7) Get real with real-time content.The use of real-time content is increasing, powered by the robust technology to support its integration into emails. “Real-time content can let your emails reflect changes in inventory, among other benefits, which is a major concern for holiday shopping,” explains Ryan Phelan, Vice President, Marketing Insights at Adestra. “Having more control over the message means we can make email a more realistic experience instead of the moment-in-time experience it is now.”Adding a dynamic countdown timer is a great way to create urgency in emails, and there’s no better time to use them than the holidays. Use a timer to promote your sales, shipping deadlines, etc.Take a look at this countdown timer in Joybird’s email. Doesn’t it create urgency? Holiday Marketing 8) Break the boundaries of email and go social.Your subscribers are looking for gifts for their loved ones (and maybe even themselves too!). But as any holiday shopper knows, you need to browse around for the perfect gift. Offer your subscribers multiple ways to connect and stay in touch, reminding them of your product at every stage of the shopping season.”Combine social media with email marketing and you’re onto a winner! However, don’t hijack any trending hashtags without robust prior planning and outcome analysis,” advises Sam Hurley, Founder, OPTIM-EYEZ. This email from Pandora Plus has the social buttons in place so that subscribers, if interested, can connect with them on the platform of their choice. Ready or not, the holidays are right around the corner. And that means it’s time for email marketers to start planning one of their biggest email campaigns of the year.To help you prep for all the holiday madness to come, the team at EmailMonks asked a group of seasoned email experts and industry insiders to share their insights on Holiday Email Marketing Tips and Trends for 2017.Click here to download our free beginner’s guide to email marketing.Check out their advice for holiday email trends below, and get inspired to tackle your company’s holiday campaign with style.The Top 8 Holiday Email Marketing Tips of 20171) Start planning way before you think you should. According to the State of Email Production Report, a mere 20% marketers plan for the peak email season more than 3 months in advance. You’d ask, is it really necessary to start planning for the holidays so early? Well — yes.Planning well in advance goes a long way, giving you enough time to ensure your email really stands out. “Do get started on your holiday email marketing strategy and planning early,” advises Christopher Donald, the President of Operations & Managing Partner at InboxArmy. “Create planning, creative, production, and deployment calendars to better execute your campaigns. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to do.”2) Focus on the customer, not an aggressive sales agenda. Marketers send more emails than usual during the holiday season, but it’s important to remember that there’s a real person at the other end of your email communication. The holidays are a busy, hectic time for everyone (not just marketers!) and they probably won’t appreciate having their inbox flooded with hard-sell emails. Respect their time, and adopt a helpful, customer-centric approach.Kara Trivunovic, VP/GM Client Services, Global Industry Evangelist at Epsilon, believes you need to find out what the subscriber expects from you during the holidays rather than driving your agenda of selling.It’s the holiday season, after all, you can’t just pen down some sales oriented copy and call it a day. Tap into your subscribers’ emotions, and focus the copy on how you can help them spread joy through the gifts they can buy from you. Even a simple holiday greeting can go a long way in building trust with your customers.This email from Mutual of Omaha is just about warm wishes.3) Interactivity and fallback go hand in hand.Visual, interactive elements like GIFs, cinemagraphs, and gamification will add interest and flair to your holiday messages this year. Interactivity in emails is an engagement tactic that will help to drive attention and generate excitement during this holiday season, according to EmailMonks Director Jaymin Bhuptani.Innovate content with the help of a drop-down Menu, Accordion, Slider, Flip Effect or maybe gamification in your email. However, with limited email client compatibility, it is essential that you provide fallback support, says Lauren Gentile, VP Creative, Digital solutions at Epsilon. And yes, test, test, and test some more before you send out the emails.Check out this fun gamification email by Taco Bell:4) Segment and rule.According to a Mailjet study, 27% subscribers over 55 years of age believe that the emails they receive are targeted towards millennials. Segmenting your lists to ensure the content appeals to the recipient is essential all year long, but it becomes even more important during the holidays, when emotions run high.If you’ve been keeping track of information like what your subscribers browse for on your website and what they’ve purchased from you, segmenting will not seem like a Herculean task. The better you know your subscribers’ preferences the better you can segment them and send targeted emails during the holidays, which will ultimately lead to better, more qualified conversions.”Data is obviously key all year round, but when it comes to the holiday season, focusing your efforts on key customer groups could be more fruitful and a better use of resources,” explains Tink Taylor, the Founder & President of Dotmailer.5) Get personal. According to Shanon Strahl, Senior Digital Marketing Leader at Shaw + Scott, personalization will play a pivotal role in the success of your email campaign this holiday season. Dynamic content created on the basis of subscribers’ likes and needs is bound to create a great impression of your brand in the minds of the subscriber and also generate a better ROI for you.Check out this awesome personalized email from Lyft. Topics: Originally published Nov 15, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated November 15 2017 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more