By Michele J. KuhnFAIR HAVEN – Maureen Bay has been responsible for bringing a lot of sparkle and beauty to the borough for 30 years.Bay, the owner of Gem of An Idea at 740 River Road, is celebrating her 30th year in business and is proud of the designs, quality and trust-worthiness she has been able to offer her customers for three decades.Maureen Bay is celebrating 30 years in Fair Haven as the owner of Gem of An Idea.Bay began in the jewelry business working in a store in Shrewsbury. She and another employee decided to become partners in 1983 and they opened a store in another borough location. Bay amicably bought her partner out about six years later and moved the business to her present address.Her longevity has given her the pleasure of serving not only her original customers but also their children and now some of their grandchildren as well.“I’m now on the third generation of some of the families coming in to me,” Bay said. “I almost feel a little motherly or, maybe sentimental, about my clients. I’m resetting diamonds I sold to a young couple and now they are using that for their son or their daughter and they are having a baby … It’s kind of nice.“It’s making me feel old but it’s also making me feel that, if you can hold on to three generations of customers, you must be doing something right.”Bay has a passion for her business and the things she designs and sells. “I’ve always said this business is two things: trust and emotion. People have to trust you but buying jewelry … is an emotional thing … Most of it is for an occasion. It takes on added importance.”Bay feels that sense of responsibility to help customers buy that gift “whether it’s a father coming in with his son buying something for Mother’s Day for the first time” or someone purchasing something more extravagant. “You have to steer that client toward something that has to be just right, be the right price, be right for the person getting it, say everything they want it to say.”Bay’s business has changed over the years. She says that when she and her partner founded the business, they were not as ambitious nor did they have a lot of money. “We did a lot of beaded jewelry,” she said. “We made a lot of our own things. I made a lot. I started out at the bench doing repairs. So my position with the business has moved from the bench area and creating to dealing more with the customers. Now I’m more behind-the-scenes again. I’m more into the operational part of the business.”While Bay is still creating exquisite pieces of jewelry, she has taken Gem of An Idea’s inventory over the years from its more humble start to more exclusive lines in gold and platinum and a wide variety of gemstones that represent her custom-designed pieces and various brands.Bay’s business philosophy is that she wants her customers “to feel comfortable … feel assured that they are dealing with someone who is honestly steering them in the right direction, someone who is offering them true value…I want them to feel confident and happy. I want them to walk out the door happy they came in and happy with whatever purchase or decision that they made.“I like to look a person in the eye and I like to be able to do the same thing 10 years after I sell them something,” she said.Bay estimates that within a mile of her store there are at least 15 jewelry stores, not to mention the various online retailers. “So why come in here?” she asks and then answers that she is “ offering something a little different, going out of our way for service … giving something to my customers that they can’t find elsewhere in terms of service, style, attention to them.“When someone walks in the door, they don’t remain anonymous for long,” she said proudly. “We go out of our way … whatever it takes.”Bay also is well known for her community spirit and has been actively involved in many Fair Haven occasions over the years. She was president of the Fair Haven Business Association for more than 20 years and has involved herself with different groups, including those fighting breast cancer, borough organizations, Clean Ocean Action, CPC Behavioral Healthcare and her alma mater, Monmouth University. “It’s important to give back,” she said. ”It’s also a way for people to meet me … and do something nice. If I have the ability to contribute, then I feel I have that obligation to support my community.”Bay came to the area from Massachusetts to attend Monmouth University in 1970. It was there she met her husband and graduated with degrees in fine arts and education. She taught school for a bit but decided that was not the direction she wanted to go and went into retail. She continued her education and is credentialed by the Gemological Institute of America.As someone surrounded by beautiful precious metals, fabulous pearls and glittering gemstones, Bay’s taste is “very eclectic.” Personally, she is drawn toward tourmaline. “It’s untreated, it comes in a variety of natural colors and it can be affordable or very expensive,” she said.She and her husband have enjoyed living in the area and riding their Harleys together. They have traveled extensively for more than 25 years around the East Coast on their motorcycles. They own five now. “It’s a good way to forget troubles of any sort,” she said.Though they now have a second home in North Carolina – found while on a motorcycle trip – and escape there whenever they can, Bay sees herself continuing with Gem of An Idea long past her 30 years in Fair Haven.“I like it here. I like the small town, close atmosphere. I like walking down the street and waving to people,” Bay said. “I feel very comfortable. I like the police. They watch me and make me feel safe … I like that people can park and walk into the store. It’s accessible and easy. It works for me.”
Story by Jenna Moldaver • Photos by Patrick Olivero |RED BANK – The streets of downtown Red Bank were alive and bustling early Saturday morning for the inaugural Red Bank Classic 5k, which drew about 1,000 runners and their supporters to the downtown.Among the participants were Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy of Middletown, who surprised many in the crowd when they showed up in sneakers to run the race together.The event was hosted by the Red Bank Business Alliance and Red Bank RiverCenter. It raised about $20,000 for the Red Bank YMCA and the borough parks and recreation department.“A bunch of businesses and the Red Bank community got together and we decided we needed a community event like this and to bring a race back to town,” said organizer Angela Courtney, a member of the Business Alliance. “It just organically happened and it grew into this amazing event. We expected 500 people and got over a thousand.”While runners and their supporters gathered on Broad Street, local businesses showcased their products and services in Marine Park. Kitch Organic, Jersey Shore, Evolution Acupuncture and more set out pamphlets and samples under tents throughout the park. While the main action of the day took place a few blocks away, Marine Park was a site of relaxation, offering foot massages, paddle boarding and yoga for runners and community members to enjoy.A pre-race warmup offered by fitness professionals Mike Rodgers Jr. and Elizabeth Murphy guided the runners in stretches, offering motivational words as the race start neared.On each side of the throng of runners, supporters watched from sidewalks, taking pictures, cheering and holding signs like those of Red Bank residents Wallace and Messiah Woods, a father and son who made signs reading “Run Honey Run” and “My Mom is # Run.”Runners came in every variety: experienced, first-timers, solo and in groups. They ranged from under 14 to over 75. There was a special fun run for the younger set.The overall winners were Ean Jaffe, 17, of Holmdel (0:17:18.0), Kerry O’Brien, 34, of Belford (0:17:22.7), Anthony Scamardella, 19, of Red Bank (0:17:45.3), Sean Rath, 34, of Atlantic Highlands (0:18:20.3) and Abraham Calderon, 15, of South Amboy (0:18:36.2).The Murphys finished at 27:06, placing them in the top 25 percent of finishers.Of the 31 teams that competed, the top finishers were Sweetest Sins, Orangetheory Fitness, Shrewsbury First Assembly of God, Red Bank Eye and CrossFit TreeHouse II.More than 30 runners represented Red Bank Eye. The group of colleagues and customers donned team T-shirts with their enthusiasm. “Almost the entire office is out here,” said Eatontown resident Tom Sasso. All of the results have been posted and can be found at redbankclassic.com.The event brought together families, friends and the community at large, a feat Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna described as the primary goal of the race. He likened the lively event to his experience growing up with a particularly strong sense of community in Italy.“I was born and raised in Italy and I remember as a kid, everybody would meet in the piazza, the square, to eat or drink,” Menna said. “People would just walk around, meet their neighbors, talk, and it was a lively place. In a lot of respects, Red Bank is a little bit like that because we do have a very safe, active downtown and what you do see a lot is that it brings a focus on community.”Menna said this race, the first road race in Red Bank since the long-running George Sheehan Classic ended in 2015, is an important step in revitalizing this focus. He said he believes these types of events are essential in uniting a community.“All of a sudden, you realize that we’re really this small world and somebody who’s a different color, somebody who’s got a different faith, somebody who acts differently than you, they’re really just people,” he said. “They’re humans just like we are. It’s just a matter of mingling.”Throughout the morning, this community spirit pervaded moments both big and small: a woman extended her hand to her husband so they could cross the finish line together; a father pushed his infant son in a stroller for the entire 3.1 mile course; friends discussed the plight of uphill treks and unforgiving leg cramps as they reveled in post-race glory over bagels in Marine Park.From the volunteers handing out water bottles to the triumphant friends posing with medals at the finish line, Red Bank beamed with community pride.Road races may have taken a hiatus in the town, but community members tied up their laces once again without missing a step.This article first appeared in the June 21 – 28, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
Manchester United are considering making a move for Raheem Sterling, the Sunday People say.It is claimed United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is monitoring the Harlesden teenager and sees him as a potential replacement for Nani.There has been speculation about Sterling’s future in recent weeks as he is yet to sign a new contract at Liverpool, who fully expect him to stay at Anfield.Manchester City have also been linked with him but it is suggested that Sterling’s advisers believe he may not be a first-team regular were he to move to the Etihad Stadium.The People also say Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala – managed by former Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink – are looking to sign Fernando Torres.Hiddink has a good relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the pair are understood to have discussed Torres’ current problems at Stamford Bridge.Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is finalising a £12m January bid for Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge, according to the Sunday Express.The Sunday Mirror suggest striker Darrent Bent could join QPR from Aston Villa despite falling out with Harry Redknapp when they were at Tottenham.The People say R’s boss Redknapp wants to sign his nephew Frank Lampard from Chelsea on a two-and-a-half-year deal.Lampard is a target for Arsenal, according to the Sunday Mirror.Meanwhile, The Sun On Sunday say Redknapp is planning a move for Rennes defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik.This page is regularly updated.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
of Ann offers a guide that elaborates on the following steps: — specifically, how can you attract more fans and ultimately expand your reach? of How to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page & Get Lots of Fans Richard MacManus Try social ads. Lesson: Tracking Twitter Sherice’s article focuses on writing in a way that avoids boring and confusing your readers with “purple prose,” or needlessly flowery sections of writing. She strongly advises writers to crunch up their sentences and steer clear of rambling. In short, get to the point. Your readers will appreciate the instant gratification. Create fresh content for people to want to join. Learn how to use social media to attract more customers. Search Engine Journal Lesson: Attract fans to your Facebook fan page by making it interactive and updated with new content. Leverage your email contacts. Author: Whether you’re creating a brand new Facebook fan page or trying to enliven a stale one, Ann’s article offers five rounds of advice with specific recommendations on how to create a Facebook page that will attract fans. Search Engine Land Set yourself up an RSS reader already! It’s a great tool for organizing information in a cluttered Web world. Author: My RSS reader is a part of my daily life, yet with the emergence of more real-time sources of information like Twitter, it makes sense that RSS usage has been in decline. But as I’m still a huge proponent of the tool, I was happy to come across this article by Richard MacManus, which explains some really great uses of RSS readers that can’t be achieved through other services. Don’t beat around the bush. Keep your writing tight and clear, and communicate in a way that your readers can understand. Chris Brogan Ann Smarty Lesson: you should be aware of when reaching out to bloggers. Specifically, he advises you to do your homework, be there before the sale, make it easy, ask the right questions, and most importantly, don’t push. A Six-Step Content Marketing Check-Up For B2B Marketers Lesson: Facebook for business and learn how to generate more business using social media. of Galen DeYoung Does Your Writing Suffer from Purple Overload? Internet Marketing Blog Do you function as the PR professional for your business? Are you still trying to grapple with how to effectively communicate with bloggers to get your message out? When was the last time you took your content marketing strategy in for a check-up? Before you move ahead with your future plans, Galen urges you to first take some time to evaluate your strategy to date in order to make performance improvements to your existing assets. 1. Sherice Jacob , but still, the concept of good writing often gets brushed under the table. You may have great ideas, but they’re really no good if you can’t communicate them clearly and concisely. How to Reach Out to Bloggers Lucky you, Chris Brogan has put together a handy little how-to guide that covers some of the basic concepts and Author: business blogging of ReadWriteWeb Mobile News chrisbrogan.com Control over Information Flow 5 Reasons Why RSS Readers Still Rock Author: 4. Categorized News Blogger relations is a science, but do your homework before you pitch. 3. Facebook Engagement PR resources Before you jump into achieving your 2010 goals, evaluate your existing programs for improvements. Author: Copyblogger Promote on Twitter. of Galen discusses some content marketing must-haves that include mapping site content to the buying cycle, reducing friction on gated content, reviewing your content analytics, capturing the value of content, including sharing options with your content and optimizing your content for search. Video: How to Use Social Media to Attract More Customers 5. 2. Our top inbound marketing article this week tackles the topic of Lesson: Originally published Jan 8, 2010 7:20:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 So why are people still sticking to their readers? Richard highlights 5 main reasons: Download the free video Topics: Evolving User Interfaces Invite your friends to join. We often emphasize the power of Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Email Deliverability Originally published Nov 10, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Would you believe it? Email spammers have taught us honest email marketers a thing or two over the years. Mostly, it’s what to avoid if you don’t want to end up in handcuffs. But in their own twisted way, spammers have helped us figure out some email marketing best practices to keep in mind as your email marketing, lead nurturing, and marketing automation campaigns get underway.Here are 4 great email marketing tips from email spammers that you can apply to your (totally legit) email marketing campaigns.1. Remind people they can trust you.Online security company Bit Defender revealed that in 2011, Jay Leno topped the list of the most frequently used celebrity names by email spammers. Spammers knew that, by pure virtue of having a recognizable name, enough people trusted Leno to open the email.You don’t need a celebrity endorsement for higher email open rates, but you can gain trust by ensuring your recipients remember how they know you. You got your list legitimately (you did get your list legitimately, didn’t you?), so you can identify how you met each of your subscribers. Is this email part of a demo follow-up campaign? That recipient probably knows one of your employees, so that employee should be listed as the sender. Did they subscribe to receive blog updates from your site? Then they’re familiar with your company, and you should identify your company as the sender. People scan their inboxes quickly; if recipients don’t identify you as a recognizable, trustworthy name, you’ll end up right in their trash bin.2. Write with a specific goal in mind.Email spammers know exactly what they’re trying to get the reader to do. It’s not an esoteric goal, like giving the reader a better understanding of product offerings. How the hell can you measure success with that goal? Spammers want an email open so they can infect you with malware. Or they want a click to collect your banking information.Approach your email marketing goals with the same precision. Identify the goal of the email, and draft your call-to-action accordingly — to achieve that goal. If your goal is to get someone to download an ebook, you can measure how successful you are by tracking click-through rate, conversion rate, and leads.3. Stay trendy.Spammers get high email open rates and click-through rates by riding the pop culture wave. This plays into people’s desire to stay in the know, and it’s something you can do regardless of your industry.Use language in your subject lines and email copy to connote thought leadership, and recipients will be chomping at the bit to be the first to share this new information with their networks. When appropriate, leverage current events and news topics to add a sense of urgency and timeliness to your marketing messages. If your recipients think they’ll get juicy data and insights on the latest industry trends, they’ll not only open your email, but they’ll also share it with their networks, thereby expanding your reach and attracting more subscribers.4. Leverage email list intelligence.One way email spammers collect your information is through fake unsubscribe buttons at the bottom of emails. When you unsubscribe from their emails, it tells them a real person is using the account and gives them the opportunity to collect more information about you in the process.So stop and think. When was the last time you scrubbed your email list? Do you know if there’s actually someone on the other end of your email sends, or are they getting sent to an AOL email address from 1999? Have you considered why more recent subscribers aren’t reading your emails and what you can do to better communicate with these people? Just like a spammer, continue to refine your email list and learn more about what makes readers open, click, and share.What other tips can you steal from those annoying email spammers?Image Credit: comedy_nose Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
\R Hanoi, Jun 23 (AFP) Vietnamese police broke up an online football gambling ring worth around USD 26 million, arresting four people as authorities look to stop black market betting that surges during sporting events like the ongoing World Cup. Gambling is illegal in Vietnam apart from the state-run lottery and a few casinos which are only open to foreigners. But the law is widely flouted, especially during top-tier sports competitions when many punters head online or to illegal gambling dens to try their luck. The four people were arrested in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday, according to a report published the same day in the police’s official Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper. Several others were also summoned for questioning. The suspects allegedly admitted to operating transactions through a website hosted in the Philippines. “Since early 2017, the total transactions of the gambling ring have been worth more than 600 billion dong (USD 26 million)”, state-run Vietnam Television reported, adding that thousands of people across Vietnam had used its services. Under Vietnam’s criminal code, anyone participating in gambling or organising gambling could face up to 10 years in jail. The government has moved to ease restrictions, introducing a pilot programme in 2017 that would allow wagers on a limited number of international football matches and adopting a law earlier this month that permits state-sanctioned betting. But the illegal market remains dominant as the small amount allowed for betting — USD 44 per match — is deemed too miniscule by passionate punters. Authorities around the region are stepping up scrutiny of sports betting as the 2018 World Cup in Russia leads to a spike in online bets.advertisement Thailand arrested more than 2,500 suspected gamblers from June 14 to June 20 as part of a sweeping crackdown, according to deputy national police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen. Most of those arrested will face suspended sentences and a small fine, police said. In neighbouring Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen told listeners in a speech broadcast live on his Facebook page this week not to bet on the tournament because “the ball is round” and unpredictable. (AFP)HMB
1. Listening to Customer MentionsMonitor mentions of your brand and your competitors. By engaging in social listening to see when your brand name is discussed on social media, you can give instant customer support and feedback to people having issues with your product or service, regardless of whether they contacted you for help.And by monitoring competitive mentions, you can also capitalize on customers who are unhappy with other brands in your industry. Learn why they’re dissatisfied, and see if you can provide a better solution for them. At the very least, you can learn how to differentiate yourself from competitors; in the best circumstances, you can nurture them as a lead and turn them into your new favorite customer.2. Collecting Product FeedbackWhen rolling out a new product or making changes to features of your existing product, it’s common to experience backlash among your current customer base. Just look at, well, every new feature Facebook rolls out. While much of the hoopla dies down pretty quickly after customers adjust to the change, sometimes there are legitimate user experience and design issues that your team didn’t identify during development.Leverage your network before launching products to solicit the feedback of people you trust. The great thing about social media is that your network probably consists of not only current customers, but also prospects, target customers, and industry influencers. Getting a wide range of feedback on new products and features — whether they are easy to use, whether they are worth developing in the first place, or what should be next in your development queue — helps keep your ear to the ground and get the all-important community buy-in for greater adoption rates at launch time.3. Hosting Focus GroupsEffective focus groups have segmented audiences, and many social networks have advanced in such a way that there is sufficient functionality to perform your own R&D. For example, you could use Google+ circles to segment people by industry or location to better target your questions. Or consider hosting a Facebook Live Q&A session to delve deeper into a user-generated suggestion.Because focus groups require feedback from an audience that fits specific criteria, they make their participants feel inherently special. They’re fantastic ways to get people actively involved in the success of your brand — while simultaneously soliciting quick feedback that helps you advances your business objectives.4. Conducting Surveys and PollsAsk people in your social network to share their opinions on a critical issue through a survey or poll. Or, it doesn’t need to be a critical issue — it can be a lighter question that helps give you context about your customers’ preferences and opinions. For example, here’s a poll we recently shared on Twitter to get an idea of how customers and fans were using a new social media feature: Topics: Customer Feedback 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 Dec 9, 2018 3:05:00 PM, updated March 12 2019 There are a variety of different ways to collect customer feedback, and surveys are usually the first method that comes to mind.But that’s not the only way to figure out what your customers are saying about your product — in fact, you could be missing out on valuable customer feedback coming in through a different channel: social media.Download Now: 17 Free Customer Service TemplatesSocial media is a meaningful channel through which to collect valuable customer feedback. With billions of people around the world already engaged in these social media communities, you should create profiles and provide customer support from your brand for those valuable customers who want an easier, faster way to get in touch with you than by hopping on a phone call.What’s more, it’s important to know what customers are saying about your brand on social media — because when millions of potential new customers can see tweets and Facebook posts blasting you for a bad phone call or a cumbersome subscription cancellation policy, word can spread fast — and not in a good way.So keep reading below to learn about the many ways you can use social media customer feedback to improve customer service and provide valuable insight to your entire organization — and learn more about our new multi-channel Conversations tool that connects your social media accounts into an all-in-one shared inbox.How to Use Social Media for Customer FeedbackListening to Customer MentionsCollecting Product FeedbackHosting Focus GroupsConducting Surveys and PollsAsking Industry Experts for InputSourcing Blog ContentSourcing Social ContentDeveloping Personas Quick poll! How many Facebook Stories are currently shared at the top of your page?— HubSpot (@HubSpot) April 11, 2017 It’s a unique and engaging way to ask for customer feedback that’s different from an emailed or texted survey, and it’s a good conversation to start with our audience. But what’s more, the results are a good indicator for our product team that we might not need to create a tool with which to publish Facebook Stories anytime soon.Reading audience and customer responses to polls and surveys on social media — whether it’s your survey or a competitor, the results will tell you about what your audience is doing, what they care about, and how you can meet their needs.5. Asking Industry Experts for InputOne of the reasons you’re using social media is to expand and strengthen your network, so take advantage of your reach to get answers from the best of the best. Need to know how to set up a PPC campaign? Skip Google, and ask someone in your network to introduce you to the best PPC campaign manager in town.Not only are you getting helpful advice, but you’re also meeting someone new and influential and strengthening your relationship with your mutual contact.6. Sourcing Blog ContentSuffering from writer’s block? Visit your social network to source blog content! I did this recently when I asked connections in my network to share their best blogging strategies. Their responses helped me frame the post around real-life challenges (some people even provided their solutions to those challenges, making my job even easier) and the result was content that more directly addresses the actual problems people are facing.This method can also be used to develop topic ideas when you’re struggling to come up with a meaningful post. Go to your networks, and ask what kind of content your fans and followers would like to see on your blog, and you’ll have a topic (or several) that you know will resonate with your audience.7. Sourcing Social ContentAlong the same lines as sourcing blog content, feedback from your customers and your broader social audience will help you identify what types of content perform best — and worst — on your social profiles.Although feedback can be tougher on social media than it might otherwise be in an email or phone call, sometimes the bluntness can be valuable and give you instantaneous feedback on the gut reaction of your audience.8. Developing PersonasDeveloping personas is a crucial part of a successful inbound marketing strategy, and it’s important information for customer success managers to relay to the product team, too. Instead of starting from scratch, ask members of your social media communities questions that will help you narrow down your target audience, identify personas, and hone your customer success strategy. Ask about pain points, demographic information, what they find valuable in your products and services, and even what they like to do on the weekends to paint a better, more relatable picture for your sales, marketing, and product teams.If you’ve already developed personas but would like to refine them as questions about your target audience’s characteristics arise, ask for responses from fans and followers that meet specific criteria. For example, you might post to your Facebook wall “If you’re a female office administrator out of college in the last five years, we’re curious to know what you majored in as an undergraduate.” As with the focus groups, your network will feel special if they fall into that very small niche and get excited about providing you information. After all, who doesn’t like to talk about themselves?To learn more, read about the steps to take when you receive customer feedback next.
Step 1: Visitor Arrives on Your Site and a Cookie is Set on His/Her Referral SourceThis is the entry point of your closed-loop system. As leads progress through your sales and marketing stages, the cookie will enable you to attribute them back to the proper channel. For example, whether they came into your site from a URL you used on print collateral you distributed at a trade show, an email marketing campaign , or a search term, you’ll be able to trace them back to that original source. Here is what that data can look like, depending on your marketing analytics software. Below, you see a screenshot of HubSpot’s traffic by channel, brought to us by the marketing analytics tools of HubSpot’s software . By looking at this data, we are able to identify trends and compare channels, as each color represents a different marketing channel such as email, search, social media, etc. We know which are our most valuable sources of traffic and can work to optimize those that are underperforming.The easiest way to close the loop is to make your website the central hub for all your marketing activities. Organic search, social media marketing, email marketing, referral links, paid search, and even offline campaigns should get filtered to your website. Once someone visits your website, you’ll be able to put a cookie on them and start tracking their activity.Most web analytics systems will allow you to track sources of traffic like search terms or referring websites, but you’ll need to go a step further than this to make sure you’re accurately assigning your leads to the right marketing initiatives. To do so, you should assign a tracking URL to every marketing campaign that is sending traffic to your website.To create a tracking URL , you just need to add a parameter to the end of your website’s link that your analytics system can identify and associate with a particular campaign or initiative. This will enable you to more accurately track visitors who otherwise look like they are coming from direct search. The tracking token is added to the end of a link, allowing your analytics tool to pool a certain group of traffic. Different tools employ different tokens, but here is an example of what a visit from Twitter could look like: /?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter By attaching this to your URL, anyone who clicks that link is signaling to your analytics tool that they are coming from Twitter. The same type of tracking tokens apply to different channels, such as email, paid media, and referral traffic. Investigate with your marketing or analytics software to make sure you have tracking tokens in place and your data gets assigned to the appropriate categories.Step 2: Visitor Browses Your Website & Cookie Tracks the Visitor’s ActionsAs you attract traffic and identify where that traffic is coming from, you need to track the behavior of those visitors. Which pages are they viewing? What is their trajectory of actions? Such intelligence will illustrate a path that can, down the road, help you optimize for faster visitor-to-lead or even visitor-to-customer conversions.This is the trickiest part of closed-loop reporting: making sure that you can connect a visitor’s session with their lead information once they convert on a form. Without this piece, you’ll have two separate databases — one with anonymous visitor history, and one with lead information. As a result, you won’t be able to connect those leads back to their respective marketing source.In order to make this work for you, you either need to do something very technical on the back end of your analytics platform or start using some software that does this for you. There are already a few software providers out there that have figured out how to do this, and there is no point reinventing the wheel. (Full Disclosure: HubSpot software allows you to implement closed-loop reporting.) Here is a screenshot of HubSpot’s Prospects tool , which tracks visitors’ activity (when they are still anonymous) and provides some actionable next steps, such as social media account information. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Almost a century after John Wanamaker spoke those words, most online marketers can still feel his pain. The irony is, today, marketers have the technology they need to “close the loop” between marketing and revenue, but few are actually taking advantage of it.Closed-loop marketing is marketing that relies on data and insights from closed-loop reporting. “Closing the loop” just means that sales teams report to Marketing about what happened to the leads that they received, which helps Marketing understands their best and worst lead sources.Close the loop between your marketing and sales teams using this free guide.To many, setting up closed-loop reporting has remained too hard and confusing to implement. To be an effective marketer, however, you need to be able to tie every single lead, customer, and dollar back to the marketing initiative that created them. This is how marketers can prove their worth and understand how to more efficiently reach their audience.But how exactly does closed-loop marketing work, and what tools to you need to implement it? Let’s find out!The 4 Steps of Closed-Loop MarketingClosed-loop marketing can essentially be boiled down to four steps. Before we explain each step in detail, let’s take a look at how the process looks as a whole: Topics: Marketing Analytics Originally published Apr 12, 2012 12:36:00 PM, updated February 07 2019 Step 3: Visitor Converts Into a Lead by Completing & Submitting a Lead-Capture FormIn order to monetize the traffic you’re getting and send qualified prospects to your sales team, you need to convert visitors into leads . You can make this happen by sending incoming traffic to landing pages, which make information exchange possible and collect more intel from your visitors.More than just knowing where your visitors are coming from, you’ll also need to know who they are. This is crucial to closing the loop and being able to associate closed customers back to their entry source. The way to capture this information is to direct website visitors to a landing page with a submission form (or also known as a lead-capture form). Once visitors fill out this from, you’ll have whatever contact information you asked them for: name, email, phone number, etc. As a best practice, you should be sending most of your traffic to landing pages and forms so you can grow your leads database. You can learn more about building awesome landing pages in this ebook .Step 4: Lead Becomes a Customer & Original Source is CreditedNow it’s time to figure out how these visits transformed into sales. Which one of your marketing channels contributed the most customers? Are there ways you can optimize the process for other sources? Closed-loop marketing enables you to identify the activities that bring in the most (and least) revenue.To do so, you need to look at all of the leads your sales team has closed and attribute them back to their original marketing initiative. If everything is set up correctly in steps one through four, this should be a relatively straightforward process. For most medium-sized businesses, the easiest way to achieve this is through your customer relationship management (CRM) system. For smaller businesses, you might do this more manually using a spreadsheet. Here is a screenshot of HubSpot’s analytics , providing us with insights on customer acquisition from different marketing sources, such as email marketing, social media, and referrals.The Tools Required for Closed-Loop MarketingBut if this all sounds pretty dependent on tools, you’re right — it does. In order to set up closed-loop marketing, you need to be able to map marketing activities to sales. As we hinted at earlier, such an integration requires connecting your marketing software to your customer relationship management (CRM) software. In other words, you need to be able to tie the intelligence emerging from your marketing communication with prospective, current, and former customers to the intelligence your internal team has built with these same people.Customer Relationship Management Software — The purpose of a CRM system is to synchronize the activities of your sales, marketing, and customer support teams. A CRM platform can support your business in a number of ways ranging from selling and fulfillment to identifying and rewarding loyal customers. SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and SugarCRM are some the most commonly known CRM systems.Marketing Software — Software like HubSpot keeps a record of your marketing data and makes it actionable — by giving you the information you need to optimize campaigns, enabling lead conversions, and revealing results.Integrating the Two ToolsAs a sophisticated marketer, you want the two systems to talk to each other. And technically, your CRM and marketing software are able to talk to each other through an application programming interface (API). So when one of your sales representatives closes a deal, he/she can mark that sale as “won” in your CRM, and that will trigger an update in the marketing software. You will then be able to go backwards and identify where this new customer originally came from. What channel brought them to your website? What pages did they view afterward? At what point did they convert into a lead, and then a customer?Benefits of Closed-Loop MarketingThe intelligence marketers can gather from closed-loop reporting will expose conversion assists, or pages on their website that visitors viewed before they converted into leads or customers. Understanding a website’s conversion assists can help marketers identify the most influential pages they own. In doing so, they can learn a lot about why those pages are (or aren’t) effective, and apply these insights to improve poorly performing web pages and enhance other components of their marketing .Closed-loop marketing also enables you to achieve alignment between sales and marketing and define the operations between the two departments. Other benefits of the integration between your marketing software and CRM solutions include the ability to implement sales assignment rules, lead scoring systems, lead nurturing campaigns, custom lead scoring, and monetary goal setting. To learn more about why closed-loop marketing is so beneficial to marketers, check out this post. What is Closed-Loop Marketing?Closed-loop marketing is marketing that relies on data and insights from closed-loop reporting. “Closing the loop” just means that sales teams report to Marketing about what happened to the leads that they received, which helps Marketing understand their best and worst lead sources. 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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: Hungry for more podcasting? Be sure to check out HubSpot’s Growth Show Podcast! Originally published Mar 26, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 It started with a few tweets here and there asking me to start a podcast (“I don’t have time to read all your blog posts!”), a couple of guest appearances on hangouts and other marketing podcasts, and next thing I know, for Inbound Marketing Week this year, I launched The Superheroes of Marketing podcast.Of course, there’s more to it than that.And the challenges of starting a podcast were well, challenging. I’m not good with hardware. Wires and plugs all look the same to me. As an introvert, the performance part of the project is exhausting. Like everyone else, I’m busy. Really busy. Podcasting is extremely time consuming (more so than I expected).But, here I am, planning, scheduling, recording and editing a weekly podcast with my co-host, Kelly Kranz. Am I crazy? Maybe. But here’s why it works.Why People Are Eating Up PodcastsLast spring, I found I couldn’t read all the blog posts I needed to in order to keep up with all the great content and updates I needed to stay up on. So I started listening to podcasts weekday mornings as I got ready for the day. For me, it was a matter of making the most of my time — and I’m hooked.It’s not just me. Commuters, runners, busy moms and dads – all want content, but they don’t always have time to sit down with a book or a video. You can clean the house, walk the dog, drive to work and learn something amazing instead of listening to the typical lousy morning radio show. Muli-tasking, baby.Why Podcasting Is Worth the Effort1. Brand Loyalty and AdvocatesIn January, the Social Media Examiner episode, Podcasting for Business: Why Marketers Are Betting on Podcasts really helped move things along. In it, Jay Baer says “There is something about bringing somebody inside your head through your ear holes that ties you to that person in a way that reading a blog post or reading a book or anything else just doesn’t.”Marketers know that most buyers will be about 80% in to the buying cycle before they pick up the phone to work with you. How far along do you think it could move a buyer if they’re letting you in to their “ear holes” on a regular basis?2. Build Awareness in a Less Crowded SpaceThe blogging world is saturated. People only have so much time to read. Getting YOUR content to the eyeballs of your target audience is getting harder and harder.Podcasting is still in early days, and the barrier to entry is higher than just slapping up a website and writing 500 words a week, which means the field is still pretty wide open. Take advantage of it now.3. You’ll Start a ConversationEven with just a few episodes under our belts we’ve had some wonderful comments, reviews and social media shares and conversations. Having a website with your podcast episode show notes can be your home base for social shares and comments.It’s unbelievably rewarding to hear strangers say they got a benefit from your show and your guests. And you never know when that will lead to a new business relationship.4. Network and be the “I know a guy” Guy (or girl)We are only seven episodes into our podcast. Already though, we have deepened connections with our online connections. While our show seeks to highlight the super powers of our guests and listeners, we hope we come across as knowledgeable in our field as well.Beyond the vague “networking” benefits, we’ve already had someone ask if we “know a guy” who can do website design. Not only do we know someone, we ARE someone.5. The Auto IndustryWhat’s that now? Many new cars are coming out with smart dashboards that make podcast consumption even easier. The audience will just continue to grow and the technology becomes more and more integrated in our lives.6. Blog Seeds!When you are producing and editing your podcast, you should be writing your show notes which become blog posts! No longer do you need to worry about what to write about. Instead you’re repurposing what you’ve already done. I like to write mine during my final listen-through after editing. How to Get Started with PodcastingOf course, the first step to beginning any new marketing effort is determining what your goals are. You’ll also need a way to differentiate yourself from the plethora of new podcasts coming out every week. Can you find an under-served niche or an angle that hasn’t been done (or that you think you can do better?)?Once you’ve decided what you want to do and the format you want to take, it’s time to get technical. Commit to quality in sound. Listeners will not put up with tinny, amateur sound. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have a great sound. Check out this article by Discover Pods on the best podcast mics.There are some incredibly helpful resources out there. You can hire a consultant, ask a friend who is already podcasting (that’s what I did – thanks, Ralph and Carol Lynn!), or take advantage of the quality podcasts for podcasters and free webinars available.Lose the HangupsMaybe you hate the sound of your own voice and can’t stand the thought of having to hear it over and over as you edit it. Maybe you are, like me, a long-time addict of amazing shows like NPR’s RadioLab, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me or This American Life (Serial, anyone?) and you want to sound just like them.Get. Over. It. You WILL get used to the sound of your own voice (even if you never love it). And you are NOT going to be RadioLab. You are going to be you, and you are going to improve over time.So, what do you say? Will 2015 be the year YOU become a podcaster? We’d love it if you’d check out our show and let us know how we can improve. How to Podcast
Originally published Jul 8, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 On-page SEO We all know that optimizing your website — both for searchers and search engines — can do wonders for your organic traffic and lead generation efforts. The tricky part, of course, is figuring out how to actually optimize your website’s pages.After all, reading about SEO best practices in blog posts and ebooks will only help you up to a certain point. Inevitably, you’ll have to take the plunge: You’ll have to develop and implement your SEO strategy, and keep tabs on how your optimized pages are performing.And that’s exactly where our On-Page SEO Template comes into play.Created in Microsoft Excel, this template walks you through the entire SEO process, from documenting existing page titles and URLs, to identifying target keywords, to measuring conversion rates. Here’s a peek at the first section of the template so you’ll know what to expect. (Look a little complicated? Don’t worry! Detailed instructions are included on the first tab of the Excel document.)After downloading and using the On-Page SEO Template, you’ll be able to answer questions including:How many indexed pages does my website have?How long should my page titles and descriptions be?When was the last time I updated X page?What is the conversion rate for the CTA (call-to-action) on X page?Ready to put your SEO plans into action? Click here to download the free template. 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: