Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Got some land and aren’t sure what to do with it?Whether you’re a small farmer who already has farming operations underway and wants to learn more options, a landowner wanting to put some unused acreage to work, or even a large-scale farmer looking to put some fields to other profitable use, the “Living the Small Farm Dream” conference may have the answers.The April 2 small farm conference and trade show is designed to help make landowners and small farm operations more successful, profitable and sustainable, said Tony Nye, an Ohio State University Extension educator who coordinates OSU Extension’s Small Farm Program.While the event is targeted to small farmland producers typically with less than 100 acres of land who are looking for production opportunities, the conference is open to anyone who has land and may be looking for information on opportunities for additional income, Nye said.“The conference is open to anyone who has aspirations for alternative enterprises for their land, or wants to focus on management and marketing skills to enhance their current farm enterprises,” he said. “The conference caters to those who are looking to start a farm enterprise or those already running one and want to enhance their production, marketing or management skills.”Researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, as well as industry experts, will conduct the conference sessions. The conference is from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at OARDC’s Shisler Center, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster. Participants will have the opportunity to attend a trade show featuring agricultural vendors and agencies offering assistance to beginning farmers.Topics to be presented at the conference include:• Vegetable production and season extension with tunnels.• Selling eggs and poultry meat.• Grass-fed beef.• Raising small ruminants.• Basic vet and livestock health skills.• Farm labor and communication.• Farm business plans.• Maximizing pasture with rotational grazing.• Using and evaluating hay.• Pumpkin, strawberry, and bramble and grape production.• Soil health.• Cheese making.• Organic systems planning.• Pesticide application for small acreages.The conference is an outgrowth of the Ohio New and Small Farm College, an eight-week program created by OSU Extension that offers an introduction to the business of small farming for those who are new to the industry. The program offers information on budgeting, business planning and developing a farm structure, among other issues.Registration for the “Living the Small Farm Dream” conference is $60. The deadline to register is March 25.For more information or to register, go to agnr.osu.edu/small-farm-programs or contact Nye at 937-382-0901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new generation of content creators are harnessing the power of the web to drive viewers… and revenue. These are the conferences they attend to up their game.Above image via HitFilm’s 2015 recap of VidConThe annual National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas every spring is the preeminent event for video professionals. Thousands of exhibitors crowd the halls to show off the latest production and post gear, workflows and software. With roughly 100,000 attendees, the focus is on the professional video market — mostly large-scale and enterprise-level offerings for television stations, studios and video production companies. When most video pros talk conferences and events, NAB is at the top of the list.But times are changing and the web is democratizing video distribution. No longer are the most-viewed online videos created by major brands and agencies. Video pros are having success garnering millions of eyeballs on YouTube and Vimeo, without large-scale budgets and production setups. In this vein, a slew of smaller conferences have also popped up, aimed squarely at the ‘do it yourself’ web video creator. Below are our top five video conferences and events that offer a more intimate experience, sharing actionable and accessible knowledge for video professionals.Note: For a listing of the largest video events, see our previous post The Best Conferences for Filmmakers and Video Pros.1. VidConYou can’t talk about video events without mentioning VidCon, unarguably the world’s biggest annual event focused solely on online video. Attended by the biggest YouTube stars — and the fans that follow them — the conference is a mix of those who have ‘made it’ and rising up-and-comers. Two session tracks are beneficial for video pros: Creator sessions show you ways to improve your projects and your reach, while Industry sessions focus on the changing landscape of streaming videos and the personalities/brands behind them. In recent years the focus has extended to platforms other than YouTube (the event’s main sponsor), including Facebook, Snapchat and other networks.Bonus reading: At VidCon, the World’s Biggest YouTube Convention, Rival Video Platforms Rush the Stage (via Entrepreneur.com)2. WistiaFestOver the last few years Wistia, a popular video hosting and analytics platform, has put on a small three-day event for creative video pros. WistiaFest’s focus rests primarily on creating marketing videos for businesses and agencies — and how to measure the results of those projects through online analytics. Past topics of breakout sessions include:Generating and Nurturing Leads Using VideoTools and Techniques for DIY Video ProductionMaking the Most of Your Onboarding VideosThe event is lively, fun and absolutely worth exploring for anyone looking to up their production skills and be more effective with their video marketing.Bonus reading: 11 Things I Learned at WistiaFest (via JohnBarker.com)3. InFocusAt InFocus, the target is successful independent filmmaking — whether you’re making commercial ‘films’ for a client or a narrative video. The three-day event tackles hands-on production education, as well as the logistics of raising funds and producing film and video content for both commercial and passion projects. The speaker lineup is a veritable who’s who of the top independent video pros, including Ryan Connolly, Joe Simon and other well known web and wedding videographers.4. Brightcove PlayFor those into more of the logistics of web streaming and distribution, Brightcove’s Play event has got you covered. As a platform, Brightcove focuses on multi-screen streaming, video monetizing, web players, and encoding. It’s no surprise that the topics covered at this event follow suit:Keep ‘Em Coming Back: Video for Customer Loyalty and RetentionGrowing Reach and Revenue with Syndication and SocialBrightcove’s Guide to Live StreamingThe conference is especially useful for those already using the Brightcove platform (as many of the topics covered directly address the product).Bonus viewing: Keynote addresses from past Brightcove Play events (via Brightcove.com)5. NAB Online Video ConferenceNAB is a complete frenzy of new gear and products — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Off the show floor there are breakout sessions and education tracks focused on different segments of the pro video industry. One conference track highlights the rapidly evolving landscape of online video — especially in regards to management and monetization of web video properties. A few of the sessions covered at this year’s event include:How to Reach Millennial Audiences With VideoHow Online Video Is Unleashing CreativityMobile Video’s Explosion: Personalized TV Has ArrivedBonus Events for YouTube Super Fans: StreamCon & Playlist LiveOnline video — and YouTube specifically — has created legions of rabid fans who religiously follow the most popular channels and web personalities. At two annual events, StreamCon and Playlist Live, the focus is on web superstars and the fans who clamor for their content. There’s not a lot to be taken away from these events from a training and education perspective, but if canoodling with the next ‘viral video’ star is your thing, well, we’re not here to judge.Bonus reading: Everyone’s a Star at StreamCon, the Convention for YouTube Sensations (via Vice) and We Went To A YouTube Convention, And It Was Insane (via Business Insider)
. information that will help them establish connections, build relationships, and close deals qualify leads and give your sales team great information One important factor that gets lost in this discussion of how many form fields to use on your Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Finding a balance between gathering relevant information from your leads and not sacrificing your conversion rate can be difficult. You want to generate as many leads as possible while hooking your sales team up with Photocredit: This may be the hardest part. How the questions are presented and written greatly impact how they’re interpreted. The key in all of this is to limit the amount of anxiety a visitor has in filling out your form and answering the new questions you’re asking. I suggest working with a team and saying the different qualifying questions out loud and seeing how they sound. If it’s too intrusive sounding then you try and devise another question or wording that will still get you the answers you want. . Find Out What Your Sales Team Wants To Know Lead Generation Note: If you’re just starting out generating leads through your website you probably shouldn’t experiment with asking too many questions to start. Wait until your lead flow is steady and that you’re in the position to sacrifice a bit of your conversion rate percentage. Or, if you’re finding that your current forms are not generating any valuable information for your sales team then you might experiment with this a little earlier. The actual physical size of the form can make a huge impact on visitor’s initial feelings when they get to your landing page. And, with all of the great questions you want to ask them the form could initially look big and be perceived as a daunting task. The size alone could deter some visitors and get them to abandon the page without even reading the questions. To combat this, experiment heavily with drop down menus. Originally published Apr 20, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 You can’t properly come up with the right questions to ask and form fields to create without talking with your sales team. What information helps them make that first connection either via email or phone? How do they qualify the leads themselves and decide who to reach out to first or who is worth more of an effort? Understanding these critical information points will allow you to craft questions on the forms of your landing pages that will give your sales team a head start. And they’ll love you for it. Test, Test, Test What are some of the things you do to qualify leads for your sales representatives to be more successful? You won’t know which questions on forms work to generate more qualified leads until you test. You can experiment with a number of different things from the questions you actually ask to the way they’re presented. Small tweaks to your forms with the understanding of what works and what doesn’t can lead to huge increases in conversion rates and impact your bottom line over time. is the quality of leads that you’re generating from those pages. Clearly, when it comes to inbound marketing sheer numbers aren’t all that matters. That’s more of an advertising and cold calling motto. Lead quality and the end result are as important, if not more, than the overall lead number itself. Low quality leads can cost precious sales time that could have been better spent on other prospects. A large number of low-quality leads is just be a pretty number in a marketing report. At the end of the day, what truly matters is whether or not these leads are becoming customers. So, how can we use the form fields needed to capture visitor’s information as a way to landing pages emilysway Decrease The Physical Length of the Form Craft The Form’s Questions ? Topics: more targeted messaging for your email marketing and lead nurturing efforts Drop down menus allow the form to shrink even though the different options to the question include multiple choices. It also limits the amount of thinking the visitor has to do if the choices are laid out in front of them. Furthermore, asking questions in the form of drop downs allows you to segment your entire list of leads from this offer into smaller segment for
Ecommerce Marketing Originally published Aug 16, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated August 09 2019 Topics: This is a guest post from Scot Wingo, the CEO of ChannelAdvisor . ChannelAdvisor offers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for managing ecommerce channels. This year ChannelAdvisor will process over $3b in transactions across search, CSEs, and marketplaces for over 3,000 online retailers. One common pitfall that many online retailers make is the ‘field of dreams’ problem. They put their entire budget and efforts into building a great site but then have little-to-no plan for how to drive traffic to that site. Many retailers put too much focus on one source of traffic like search engine optimization (SEO). While this source of traffic is great because it’s high quality and free, there are other channels that ecommerce websites should take advantage of for effective multi-channel ecommerce.Download Now: Ecommerce Marketing Plan Template Different Ecommerce Channels 1. Direct Traffic – Direct traffic channels include email marketing , affiliate marketing, and direct URL navigation/bookmarking. 2. Paid Search – Paid search means buying traffic from search engines (e.g. Google and Bing) on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. Search engines can drive traffic to your site for further conversion, and paid search requires you to master the creation and management of keywords, keyword-level building, conversion rates, etc. 3. Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) – There are over 100 comparison shopping engines with a variety of different business models from free (Google Product Search and TheFind.com) to pay-per-click (Shopping.com, Shopzilla, Nextag, etc.). CSEs can also drive traffic to your site (usually item pages) for further conversion. 4. Marketplaces – Marketplaces are sites that allow you to offer your items for sale. The consumer purchases them from the marketplace, not your site. eBay is the largest marketplace, followed by Amazon. Amazon’s success in marketplaces has led to an explosion of new marketplaces like Sears, Walmart, Newegg, and Buy.com . 5. Mobile – The use of smartphones with sophisticated web browsers and barcode-scanning applications has increased their usage in online shopping. While still small, it’s an area retailers need to be tracking carefully, and we strongly recommend building capabilities in this area. 6. Social – With over 750 million active users on Facebook and 200 million Twitter users, online consumers are spending a bulk of their online activities engaged in social media . As Facebook and Twitter mature, they are also looking at social commerce. Some online retailers are already seeing significant primary and secondary sales from these channels, and we recommend retailers start experimenting there now.This chart shows how consumer behavior has changed over the last ten years and the last 2-3 years:As you can see from the chart, consumers have changed their shopping behavior from a majority being direct (75% in 2001) to the majority driven by ecommerce channels (direct is only 9% in 2010) such as search, marketplaces, CSE, etc.This chart represents ecommerce businesses overall. Every retailer will have a different mix and number of channels. For example, maybe your ecommerce business is made up of 100% direct. However, if that is the case, you are currently missing out on 91% of the other ecommerce activity happening through other channels, and there are several risky implications for that. 4 Lessons to Learn from Multichannel Ecommerce The ecommerce channel chart above will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to those businesses not taking advantage of multiple channels. Here are some of the top lessons retailers have learned from this. 1. There’s no such thing as a free ride. If you rely on free/direct sources of traffic, you are fighting share losses. Direct has gone from 75% to 9% over the last ten years, while ecommerce has been growing 15-25%. Don’t put all your focus just on SEO strategies when other channels are proving important as well. 2. Diversify . Furthermore, many other small online retailers we talk to put too much concentration on one channel, whether it’d eBay, Amazon, Google paid-search, SEO, etc. Even though they all offer strong ecommerce channels that can work, a concentration in any one channel adds risk to your business and means you are missing out on other important pieces of the overall ecommerce pie. 3. Build a portfolio of ecommerce channels. Most successful larger online businesses use portfolio theory (just like you have in the world of investing) to minimize risk to their business and maximize sales. When you use this approach, you have some ecommerce channels that are high margin, some that are lower margin, some that drive customer acquisition, and others that are more about retention. Finally, some channels are best for one set of products and other channels may favor others. Advanced retailers source against the channel product bias to help them continue to grow. 4. Put your products everywhere. Ecommerce is a zero sum game. This means each consumer is only going to buy from one retailer out of thousands, and that one retailer will win that specific consumer’s order. If you don’t have the widest possible distribution of your products, you’ll lose opportunities and another online retailer will gain opportunities. Here’s an example. Sally tends to start her shopping via Google, Joe uses Shopping.com, Bill uses eBay, and Lucy prefers Amazon. If you are not utilizing all of those channels, you will not be able to sell to Sally, Joe, Bill, or Lucy.The timing and order that online businesses leverage these ecommerce channels is a common theme we have seen over the years. Many businesses ‘bootstrap’ using marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. They use the experience from those channels to expand to a site, and then utilize search and CSE. What is the goal for your online business? What are some of the channel and infrastructure investments you should make today to achieve your goals in the future? Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Vintage is so in right now. There are apps that send in-real-life postcards, and rotary phone handsets that plug into your iPhone. And for a while now, there have been mobile apps like Instagram that recognize this nostalgic desire and give amateur photographers the ability to kick it old school with sepia-toned filters and scratch-ridden borders.While everyone is moving toward mobile, Instagram — who started as a mobile-only platform — is taking a step back and joining the rest of the world on the web, launching web-based Instagram profile pages.Ooooh, visual and social web content?! What a novel idea!Except that we already have Pinterest. So, what’s the deal with Instagram’s move to the web? Is it any different than Pinterest? Should marketers even bother setting up their Instagram profiles on the web? This blog post will give you the full breakdown of what’s going on, and whether it’s worth your while. Because the last thing you need is another social media presence to maintain.All About Instagram’s Move to the WebInstagram is not dramatically altering the way its flagship app functions. The mobile app will remain as is, but users will now have their own web-based profile pages. These profiles, however, are the only Instagram feature to move to the web. There is no uploading from the computer, no feed of those you follow, and no search function. Then, when a follower likes your photo on Facebook, this activity is posted on his/her page. Now you’re gaining exposure with not only your followers, but his/hers too. See what I mean by extended reach?It’s also important that you consider these web profiles as important organic search mechanisms, even though people can’t search for users or hashtags on the Instagram website. You want your profile to turn up in the SERPs, so optimize your profile with keywords, and use relevant hashtags with every picture. Besides, just because there’s no search functionality on the site now, doesn’t mean it wont show up in a later iteration. Might as well be prepared, right?Finally, you must remember that Instagram is still primarily mobile. That means:1) Don’t overload your audience with a new photo every 5 minutes.2) Don’t post pictures solely of the products you’re trying to sell.That kind of posting works on Pinterest, a place for users to do some virtual window shopping. Instagram, on the other hand, provides the consumer with a new lens to see a more complete digital picture of the brand’s personality. Post interesting content with the aim to drive engagement, not to annoy, overwhelm, or bombard with hundreds of photos of your latest product.Will you be using the web version of Instagram? Do you think it’s sufficiently different from Pinterest, from either a user’s or marketer’s standpoint?Image credit: jenni from the block So, Which Should I Use? Instagram or Pinterest? It’s not so much that you should choose one network over the other, but rather that you should understand the different functions of each, and utilize them accordingly. As we told you a few weeks back, 21% of people with a Pinterest account have purchased an item after seeing it on the social network. It makes sense given that a brand’s Pinterest boards are set up like digital catalogs, displaying items that link directly to product pages. Pinterest targets users that are ready to jump to the actual point of sale — or at least who have some intention of making that decision. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not Instagram can produce this same kind of purchasing power. Companies like Chirpify, for example, are trying to make it happen by allowing users to complete a transaction by commenting “buy” on a qualifying Instagram photo.Simply Measured recently reported that while 63% of Interbrand 100 companies have Pinterest accounts, a close 54% (and growing) of those companies have also added Instagram pages to their social media strategy. Not only this, Instagram’s adoption rate has grown in the last quarter more than Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter combined. According to Mark Zuckerberg, two year old Instagram now boasts 100 million users to Pinterest’s 11 million, a number that took both Facebook and Twitter over 4 years to achieve.The point here is simple: more and more brands and businesses are using Instagram every day, and if you have the visual content to back it up, it may be worth experimenting with the web platform to see if it yields and results. I mean … if you thought Pinterest was a joke and were then pleasantly surprised with the results, well, you might feel the same way after a few months using Instagram, right?If you want it boiled down to a simple either-or, though, I’d say that Pinterest may present a call-to-action that more directly impacts transactions — “click on this product to buy it” — while Instagram drives more audience engagement and helps you expand your social reach.How Marketers Can Use Web-Based Instagram EffectivelySo you want to give this new Instagram a try. How do you do it right? We’ve got a few tips for you.First, when posting to Instagram, make sure your brand’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are linked to your Instagram account so that your photos post seamlessly to all of your networks for extended reach. Unfortunately, you can only link your brand’s Facebook account if you are uploading from an iPhone. If you are using an Android, you won’t miss out on the web exposure completely — your web Instagram page will still automatically update with your latest photos, it’s just that your brand’s Facebook page won’t. Pinterest Marketing The layout of profile pages makes it obvious that Instagram and Facebook are related — remember, Facebook acquired Instagram a little less than a year ago. Similar to Facebook’s cover photo, the profile displays a large banner at the top, populated by a sleek grid of the user’s photos, softly transitioning from one to another. Below this, thumbnails of each photo are laid out in an organized grid. There’s very little white space, with lots of pictures and places for your eyes to wander.But Wait, Isn’t That Just Pinterest?Okay, so what’s the difference between Instagram and Pinterest? Here’s the basic breakdown of similarities and differences so you can keep these things straight in your head.Both Instagram and Pinterest allow users to post original content, “like” photos or pins, comment on posts, and follow specific users. The differences in the two are in organization and audience reach. Instagram photos are free-standing and cannot be shared or re-posted by other users. Pinterest, however, thrives on features like organizing pins into “boards” and sharing or “re-pinning” other users’ content. Make sense?The biggest difference between the two networks, however, is in how users treat the networks’ similar features quite differently. For example, clothing and home furnishing store Anthropologie has both an Instagram and a Pinterest page. Their Instagram photos tend to have up to 8,000 likes, whereas Pinterest pins barely hit 200 likes. Similarly, their pins produce a few comments at most, while their Instagram photos consistently have upwards of 20.On the other hand, Anthropologie’s pins have hundreds of re-pins, which means its ability to spread and share content far outweighs Instagram’s. And that content differs, too. Anthropologie’s Pinterest page has 1,710 pins, often of models dawning new collections; and their Instagram page has only 214 pins, including photos of jewelry-making workshops, office events, vintage-filtered bottles of champagne and, of course, puppies. 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 Nov 14, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016
Originally published Jun 21, 2013 6:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Image credit: Raja Singh Inbound Marketing Happy Friday, marketers, and welcome to the longest day of the year! Here’s a bit of trivia. For reasons we can’t explain (science is hard!), if you live in certain parts of the western United States, then for you, the solstice actually began late last night, on June 20, according to the Huffington Post. Something to do with the earth’s axis.Oh, and this weekend there’s a supermoon, which could cause massive global tidal waves and leave entire continents underwater. Just kidding. It’s just, like, a really big moon. Okay. Let’s talk marketing.Vine Steps Up to Fight Off InstagramVine is trying to stave off the new competition from Instagram (which just added video features) by tacking on some new features of its own, including the ability to save drafts before you publish them, TechCrunch reports.Also, Facebook-worshipping TechCrunch writer Josh Constine went temporarily insane over the new Instagram feature and penned an embarrassing poetic tribute to Instagram, calling it “technology’s window to the soul.” Ooookay. A week ago Constine broke a huge scoop claiming that Facebook was going to announce a news reader, which was an amazing story in every way except for the part about how scoops are supposed to be true. His wasn’t. Whoops.Conan to Brands: Don’t Be CreepyConan O’Brien, speaking at Cannes, says brands have to learn to let go when they’re trying to do brand integrations with his show, Adweek reports. Advertisers “ know that if we can incorporate them in a way that lets me be myself — great. If sometime during the integration I have to pick up some Doritos and say ‘They sure are crunchy, and delicious! Mmmmm, very satisfying!’ and not acknowledge it, it’s creepy. It doesn’t feel right, and we have to say no,” O’Brien says. We agree — definitely creepy.A Talent Agency for Vine CreatorsMarketing bro and HubSpot pal Gary Vaynerchuk is starting a talent agency for people who are good at creating Vines, Fast Company reports. Agency Name: Grape Story. First client: Virgin Mobile. Mission: Crush it!Times Changes Paywall RulesThe New York Times now lets non-subscribers read three free articles a day via mobile device, Mashable reports. That’s a better deal than on the desktop, where non-subscribers can look at 10 free articles a month. Mashable points out that you can get lots of free content by combining desktop and mobile usage … but if you’re reading that much of the Times, honestly, you might as well just pay up and go legit.Rest in Peace, James GandolfiniJames Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano, has gone to the big McMansion in the sky. We’ve seen lots of tributes, but the nicest one, maybe, came from the ice cream parlor in Bloomfield, N.J., where the finale of The Sopranos was filmed. Holsten’s Brookdale Confectionary paid its respects by putting a “Reserved” sign in the booth where Tony and Carmela filmed their famous scene.Holsten’s honors memory of @JamesGandolfini reserves table where final scene of #TheSopranos was shot. pic.twitter.com/JMf5xuFEra— John Klekamp (@JKlekamp) June 20, 2013Onion Video: Freeze Your Hot Young FacePutting off marriage and kids while you build your career? You’ll want to check this out. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Inbound Marketing Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 2, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 25 Inbound Marketing Quotes from the Most Unlikely Experts from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing SoftwareA Few of My Favorites, and Why … People are inspired in different ways, but these were a few of my favorite quotes from the collection, and how I think about them in the context of inbound marketing.1) “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14 per cent of people know that.” – Homer SimpsonData serves an invaluable role in marketing and sales, and plays an increasingly important role in how people consume information on a daily basis. Fact and figures can be used to generate leads, to increase your conversion rates, and to create urgency in a sale. Statistics help contextualize trends, and make your prospects and leads more comfortable to drive purchase intent.However, every single industry and line of business leverages statistics to try to sell their business (even people like Homer — d’oh!). So inbound marketers need to make data a competitive advantage. Here are three specific things you can learn from Homer’s insight:Ensure that your data hierarchy matches your customers’ needs. There is no shortage of data available, so make sure you prioritize the data that moves the needle most for your prospects, leads, and customers, and helps solve their problems in a meaningful way. Put your customers at the center of your data publication strategy; if the facts, figures, and reports you publish don’t help them do their jobs more easily or make the case for your product, move on.Paint a picture with your data (literally). Anyone can read data reports in Excel, but it’s certainly not going to drive action or inspiration — so how you present your data is as important as what you present. Consider infographics, pie charts, video representations of your data, and other mediums to bring data to life and show people why your facts and figures matter. Creative presentations break through the clutter. (Bonus: Need some inspiration? Check out what one office did to represent their snack preferences or this periodic table of potential visuals.)Source and qualify appropriately. Homer’s quote perfectly illustrates one of the pitfalls of data: it’s everywhere. When using data in your marketing, ensure that you have high quality sources that you can verify and link back to. If you’re doing primary research to publish on your own, make it as easy as possible for people to find your data and cite you — we tried to take our own medicine on this one with the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report.2) “If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.” – Woody AllenEach and every one of us has been in a marketing rut; it happens to the best of us. Woody Allen’s quote is a nice reminder for filmmakers and marketers alike to push the envelope with greater frequency, and variety. Failing on occasion doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible marketer; it means you’re brave enough to try things that other people aren’t.Not sure if you’re in a marketing rut? Ask yourself the questions below:Quickly scan your Facebook and Twitter pages. Have all the posts been similar recently? If so, commit to doing something totally different for a week — change up the visuals, change up the message, find a co-marketing partner to mix it up, or set an extremely aggressive social media goal for a short campaign. Each of these tactics can help you take more risks and bring new ideas to the table that’ll result in more engaged, and brand new, fans and followers.Conduct a one week blog experiment. Spend one week in which you force your team to blog outside the box. No long-form posts, perhaps — only visuals. Or start throwing in 1:1 interviews, short expert guest posts, or SlideShares.A/B test to your advantage. Start using A/B testing in email to try out a new email format, copy, or call-to-action. If you don’t have HubSpot’s awesome middle-of-the-funnel tools, try a small email send to a small group of your customers and get their feedback before sending it to a broader group. Emails don’t have to be boring and static — mix it up and measure your success!3) “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. SeussIt’s really easy to get overwhelmed by long days of to-do lists and busy calendars, but at the heart of your marketing efforts are some really wonderful people who love your product or service, and care about your success. In all the chaos of our marketing efforts, it’s very easy to forget the human beings on the receiving ends of our emails, tweets, and campaigns — and we do so at our peril.This week, make it a priority to take an hour to talk to your customers. Don’t interview them or pepper them with questions; instead, focus on understanding what their day is like, what challenges they face, and some ideas and messages they’ve seen from others that they really like. Making the human beings on the other side of your marketing messages feel that you understand and care about their needs and interests can be incredibly humbling, and help inform your marketing efforts for months to come. It’s definitely time well spent.Regardless of whether you’re a Barbra Streisand fan, a Coco Chanel devotee, or a lover of all things Martha Stewart, I hope the quotes have helped motivate, inspire, and inform your marketing efforts — even in the worst of marketing ruts. Plus, it’s always nice to know you’re in good company as an inbound marketer. And being in the company of Bruce Springsteen and Jerry Garcia is good enough for me.What are your favorite inbound marketing quotes that aren’t from inbound marketers — or even about our discipline? Share some inspiration with us! We all know famous inbound marketers, from David Meerman Scott to Seth Godin to Guy Kawasaki to our very own Mike Volpe.But what you may not know is that Coco Chanel, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Didion, and Michael Jackson all have indispensable advice to inform your inbound marketing strategies and tactics.We thought it’d be fun to outline what the most unlikely experts — folks like Coco and Bruce and Joan — can teach us about marketing. Their quotes have helped inspire, engage, and revitalize our inbound marketing from time to time, and there’s no time like the present for a little pick-me-up.Take a look at the quotes in the SlideShare below, and keep reading to see what some of these pearls of wisdom can teach us about being better inbound marketers.
Topics: Inbound Sales (Marketing) “I don’t get cold called enough, especially during meal times and when I’m with my family,” said no one, ever.Over the last twenty years, the way people work, live, shop, and buy has fundamentally changed, and consumers are armed with more tools than ever to block out interruptive marketing and sales messages. I think the most telling stat in this power shift is that prospects have made about 60% of their buying decision before talking to a sales rep, according to Corporate Executive Board. The buyer is more than halfway sure whether or not they’re going to be your next customer based solely on information they’ve discovered online. This means your website and content are your de facto sales reps for the majority of the buying process. More importantly, it means the prospect is going to have a pretty good idea of how your product or service does and does not meet their specific business needs.Salespeople need to have context before that first conversation with a prospect because the call isn’t a pitch anymore — it’s an exchange. To empower salespeople with context when reaching out to prospects, we recently launched Signals. Within the first week, 12,000 new users downloaded Signals to see when prospects opened and clicked on their emails to be sure they were getting into the conversation at the right time. As a result, it’s imperative that those of us in Sales and Marketing adapt our approach to reflect the needs of the modern buyer. Customers are now controlling the buying process and inbound selling is how modern salespeople can keep up. Check out the SlideShare and blog post below to learn how. 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 Sep 6, 2013 3:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Why Sales Is Going Inbound (And How You Can Keep Up) from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing SoftwareHow You Can Take Your Sales Inbound TodayHere are a few ways your sales team can keep every step of the buying process personalized and valuable for both the prospect and the sales rep. 1) Re-Evaluate Lead GenerationWe know that about 60% of a prospect’s buying decision is made based on what they’ve found online. It’s crucial that what they are finding online makes a positive, valuable, and lasting impression. If most of your resources are going toward cold calling and other sales tactics for lead generation, think about reorganizing them so that your marketing efforts are stronger. Relevant, useful content is how you’ll get found online and build relationships with prospects — your budget should reflect that. 2) Give in to the Leverage ShiftWhen I was a sales rep in the 90s, prospects had to go through me for pricing information, service plans, product details, and ROI data. Now, anybody can find that information with a quick Google search. The internet is at your prospects’ fingertips and you can’t stop it, so focus on making the information they want readily available, easy-to-digest, and helpful. Make your website their go-to source so they don’t have to go digging online. Prospects will get annoyed and your competitor’s public-facing content will be waiting with open arms.3) Beware of Seller-BewareThanks to social media, email, and blogs, word of mouth travels faster and further than ever. If you call a prospect who has downloaded several of your ebooks and ask if he is familiar with your services, you can bet someone across the country, or even the world, will know about your conversation before you put down the phone. Your prospects and customers hold a great deal of influence on the way your company is perceived and talked about. Don’t just aim to get customers in the door, shoot to make them happy customers for life by restructuring your sales process to recognize the value of delighting customers before, during, and after they sign on with your business. 4) Take Your Charm OnlineThe days of door-to-door salesmen and business pitches over fancy dinners are a thing of the past. Now that it’s so easy to communicate remotely, salespeople rarely, if ever, meet prospects and customers in person. It’s a bit harder to be charming over GoToMeeting or Skype than it was when we were taking prospects out to lunch, which is why spending time with your online profile is important. Being personable through your social platforms, email signatures, and any content you create makes it easier for prospects to connect with you. 5) Understand the “Everything-as-a-Service” Pricing ModelWe talk a lot about delighting the customer with content and context, but what about delighting them with what they’re most worried about? It used to be that reps sold massive up front price tags with a small tail of revenue later, regardless of your industry or product. In 2013, almost everything is packaged as a service with a revenue stream that happens over time and a profit not occurring on a customer unit basis for many months or years. As a rep, keep in mind that your customers are used to subscription models like Netflix or Spotify where they can extract value over time alongside their payments, and leverage your product pricing, packaging, and sales process to fit that mold. An “everything-as-a-service” pricing structure helps put prospects at ease, and you can have more constructive conversations from the get-go.With so many companies falling to the wayside because they are stuck in the past, it’s crucial to keep up with your customers and how they want to shop and buy. Inbound selling reflects the way people have changed, so update your sales process and go all inbound. Image credit: nate steiner
Extra budget: It’s a great problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.Some budgets are the use-it-or-lose-it kind — so if you don’t spend it now, you’re not going to have it next quarter. Other budgets will let you roll over extra budget, but if your executive team sees that you’re not using that extra budget, you could lose it anyway. At the same time, you don’t want to just recklessly buy junk to spend your budget — your boss won’t like seeing hundreds of dollars go to random purchase that have nothing to do with your business. So if you’re going to try to spend some of your budget before the end of the year kicks in, you’ve got to be strategic. To help you figure out what to do with your leftover cash, here are 20 things you can buy right now that’ll make your team and boss happy. We’ve included a range of ideas that could fit budgets of different sizes. So read on and get buying!1) Content subscriptions Most times during the year, it’s really hard to justify buying content. But if you have some leftover cash, you could purchase content subscriptions to publications like eMarketer or even mainstream media sites like The Wall Street Journal for the team. Your teammates will be smarter in the long run for it. 2) Video equipmentLooking to get started with video but don’t have the right equipment? Buy a tripod, camera, lense, and/or lighting material with your extra cash. Our friends at Wistia can recommend some tools to buy here. 3) Professional team headshots Each member of your team reflects your company’s brand and its values … so don’t you want them to look good? Tell your teammates to wear their Sunday best, and then hire a photographer to come to the office to take their closeup. Your teammates will be thrilled to finally remove that selfie they’ve been using on their LinkedIn profile for the past few years. 4) Extra Mac adaptorsThe worst feeling as a presentor is to get to your speaking gig with a Mac, only to find out that there aren’t any adaptors available. Our suggested solition? Get a few extra for your conference rooms or for people who speak frequently elswhere to keep with them. 5) Evernote for BusinessI’m a huge Evernote fan (hey, I even wrote a blog post using it). I love organizing my day there as well as brainstorming new content ideas. My colleagues have started using the Business version and it’s even better because you can collaborate with other people on all of your notes. Definitely worth the $10/month/person price.6) Promote your account on Twitter for the dayIf you want get more followers and leads through Twitter, and have some extra budget lying around, try promoting your account for a day. If the experiment works, maybe you can roll out more Twitter advertising to support your monthly goals.7) SignalsAre you or your teammates Chrome users who send a lot of email? Try out Signals, a Chrome extension that’ll alert you when your email recipients open and click on your emails. You can get a personal version for free, or shell out $10/month/user for a more robust experience.8) Adobe Creative CloudWorking without design software is something we cater to all of the time on this blog — but when you have the chance to buy creative software, do it. Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes things like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, is an amazing resource for even the most beginner designer.9) Mophie external batteryThis is definitely one of those “nice-to-haves” if you’re running social media, events, or pretty much doing anything requiring you to be accessible most hours of the day. This external battery will fully charge your phone when you’re out of juice — all without adding much weight or bulk to your phone.10) Class reimbursement Regardless of what position you hold at your company, we all need to brush up on our marketing skills. Try purchasing classses from places like Codecademy, Skillshare, and your local continuing ed classes to keep yourself at the top of your game.11) Marketing books Along the personal development vein, you can also buy marketing-related books for your team to help everyone brush up on the latest trends. If you need help picking books to buy, check out a few 5-minute overviews of some top marketing books.12) Marketing templatesTemplates can greatly cut down on the time it takes to create and publish a piece of marketing material — whether it’s a blog layout, email, ebook, or landing page. Of course you don’t always have to pay for them (we offer a bunch of these for free), but sometimes, it’s worth shelling out some cash to make them tailored to your business. 13) Stock photosAgain, this is something that you can find for free, but having a huge library of photos to choose from and take your marketing to the next level. 14) SmartphonesIf you have a larger budget, think about getting your team phones. If you have lots of budget to slice, look into getting a personal smartphone for each person. You can justify it this way: It’ll be easier to communicate with them when they’re on-the-go.15) TabletsIf you’re on the road a lot, this is a luxury that you won’t ever want to give up. They are way easier to carry around than a laptop and quite helpful if you’re going to be giving presentations. Bonus: You can use it in the office to test out your marketing on a new device.16) Business cardsSome people argue that business cards are dead … but they’re still quite important to have when networking. They’re also pretty cheap and won’t take more than a few hours to order for the whole team. There are lots of places you can order them from, but I’m pretty partial to Moo. 17) Slide clickersIf you or someone on your team is giving presentations frequently, a slide clicker can be a lifesaver. And if you have the extra cash, you can get one with a laser pointer integrated.18) WiFi hotspot It’s frustrating to go to a conference or business trip and not have WiFi access. If that happens to you or team quite frequently, it might be time to invest in a WiFi hotspot — you just plug in a USB into your computer, and you have internet access. 19) Laptop chargers This is a very-nice-to-have bonus, but one that your team will love: separate laptop chargers for home and for work. They’re a pain to haul — especially if your teammates aren’t driving to work — so knowing that you will always have access to one will be a lifesaver. 20) Team outingLast, but certainly not least, you can just take your team out for a nice outing. Maybe grab dinner, go bowling, or even have a night out at the bar. Whatever helps your team relax after a year of hard work and gear up for the next!If you want more ideas, check out these 6 additional ways you can put that budget to use. What else would you spend your leftover marketing budget on? Share your ideas with us in the comments. Topics: Originally published Dec 27, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Company Culture
Originally published Aug 14, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 trend is out of style, or are some of them actually seeing real success? After all, it’s understandable that we’re constantly looking for ways to bridge offline and online marketing in our internet-driven world — so to us, links you can “click on” in real life are a godsend.Data from MarketingCharts suggests that the average marketer’s view on QR codes is “somewhat at odds with the consumer statistics. Whereas relatively few consumers say they’re actively scanning QR codes, marketers are finding them to be quite an effective mobile marketing tactic.” To be specific, of the marketers who responded to an Experian survey about the effectiveness of QR codes as a mobile marketing tactic, 29% of them rated QR codes very effective, and another 66% effective. So what does this data all mean? Basically, QR codes appear to be working for that small, stagnant population that knows how to use them. While QR codes aren’t “dying,” they’re certainly not thriving. The question is why, given how many consumers have smartphones nowadays.What Happened?There are a number of reasons why QR codes might be going “out of style,” but the most important is probably that they’re often misused. They’re in subway stations where there’s no WiFi, on TV commercials that have an air time of a second or two, and some of them lead to broken links or landing pages that aren’t optimized for mobile. Once a consumer is disappointed by the mobile experience behind a QR code, she may never scan one again. For those of you who use QR codes properly and offer great mobile experiences behind them, this is probably very frustrating. But even when QR codes are used properly by businesses, the bigger issue is that the many users don’t know how to use them properly. They have been poorly adopted in the United States and haven’t really broke out of the tech-savvy crowd. And although mobile devices incorporated a preloaded version of a QR code reader into their system (Apple’s is built into Passbook, not the camera itself), that isn’t very widely known or used. It turns out that the action of taking out your phone, opening a QR code reader, holding the camera from the app up to a QR code with steady hands, and pressing a button isn’t super intuitive — so you should probably adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.What’s a Marketer To Do?Marketers who believe QR codes are alive are already drinking inbound marketing Kool-Aid — they’re just trying to use an offline channel to drive website visits. So, what are other ways to bridge the online/offline gap and draw more people to your website?One practical solution is to lock down a short, memorable URL and give people that URL. Consumers are becoming more and more familiar with their smartphones, and nowadays, typing a URL into a mobile browser is not a problem for most people. Just make sure that these URLs are short and that they contain a unique UTM tracking code so you can measure your success. (HubSpot customers: learn how to create a tracking URL for a landing page in HubSpot here.) And, besides QR codes, there are other effective ways to attract people to your website, add you on Twitter, or buy your product — you can click here for some ideas.If QR codes are a part of your marketing strategy and you believe they bring you success, I suggest that you run an A/B test or two to gauge their effectiveness. For example, at your next event, you could include a QR code on half of your programs, and a shortened, easy-to-remember URL in the other half, both linking to the same page on your website. Put separate UTM tracking codes on the QR code link and shortened URL so you can compare how many people visit from each, and voila — you can see if your audience likes to use QR codes. Just because QR codes don’t work for some companies doesn’t mean they won’t work for you, and this type of testing is the only way to know if they work for your unique audience.What do you think? Are QR codes dying? Brand Experience Topics: Just a few years ago, QR codes seemed to be “the next big thing.” Shop windows, food labels, band fliers, magazine advertisements — those distinct little black-and-white squares were everywhere, vying for our attention.And while small business owners and marketers thought they’d hit the jackpot, the QR code trend didn’t become as popular with consumers as some had predicted. A 2013 survey found only 21% of American smartphone owners say they’ve ever scanned a QR code, and just 2% say they scan a QR code at least once per day.You might think that, in an age when consumers tend to keep their smartphones close by at all times, an application that connects the physical and digital worlds — kind of like Instagram, FitBit, and thousands of other apps do — would take flight.But I’ll be honest here: I’ve never scanned a QR code in my entire life, and I’m pretty tech-savvy. I can’t even recall watching a friend scan a QR code, either. But I realize I’m a sample size of one, and I’ve heard people argue — marketers especially — that QR codes are still alive and well. I found myself thinking, could that even be possible?Download our free guide here to learn how to create QR codes for yourself.So I decided to look for success stories and data to see whether I was ill-informed or QR codes really are still a thing. Though I could hardly find a data point that was less than two years old, I’ll tell you what I did find, what I think it means, and what marketers should do about it.Are QR Codes Dead?Like I said, this isn’t an easy question to answer because of the limited data. But the data I did find suggests that QR codes are not widely used.For example, Inc’s 2012 research found that 97% of consumers don’t even know what a QR code is. Digital business analytics company comScore found that 6.2% of the total U.S. mobile audience scanned a QR code on their mobile device in 2011.Since 2011, the number of mobile users has increased, especially among the younger population, while QR codes seem to have maintained steady popularity and visibility. According to comScore’s report, the number of people who have scanned a QR code seems to have plateaued since 2012: As the number of smartphone users continues to rise, the number of consumers scanning QR codes remains the same. Don’t forget to share this post! 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