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10 Technology-Company Blogs to Model Your Blog After

first_img They understand that  . Originally published Sep 10, 2009 8:07:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Download the free webinar Webinar: Blogging for Business . a community around their business There’s usually just one thing they’re unsure of: Whether blogging is right for their industry. The blogs on this list received the highest percentile score for blogs we track in the technology industry. Grader One final note: Do you think there’s a blog that should be included on this list? Do you know of blogs that we should consider for lists of top blogs in other industries?   service from HubSpot. Blog Grader measures the marketing effectiveness of blogs by considering inbound links, Technorati rank, Google Page rank, social media mentions and other factors, then calculating a percentile score for each blog. Blog Optimization This list was generated by  build traction on social networks impact blogging can have on businesses Today we’re starting with this list of top technology-company blogs: Blog Grader By now, most marketers and small business owners understand the kind 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 , a free  If you’re in the technology industry, check out these blogs. See what they write about, how they structure their posts, and how often they publish. They’re all great models. . They understand that it helps  blogging helps with SEO Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Over the next few weeks we’re going to address some of these concerns with a series of posts highlighting top business blogs in different industries. to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. . And they understand that it’s a way to build  Topics: . Please add them herelast_img read more

How to Qualify New Leads Through Landing Pages

first_img .   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.center_img 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 forlast_img read more

Boston’s Best Marketing Week Ever

first_img and Among some of the speeches HubSpot’s User Group Summit The most eventful marketing week is coming up in Boston with the Inbound Marketing These days, there are hundreds of self-proclaimed marketing gurus online. But a lot fewer have actually earned that title by providing us with actionable marketing advice and insightful ideas. One week in September will bring you closer to these people. . IMS 2011, which will take place on September 14th and 15th, will feature some of the most In short, you don’t want to miss this event (and this week of events). So pack up and see you there! fifth annual Inbound Marketing Summit Future M The 2-day long Inbound Marketing Summit will provide you with content creation ideas, solutions for more efficient marketing and tons of networking opportunities. Honestly, we can’t wait to hear what the speakers are going to share about the rapidly evolving landscape of marketing!  (IMS), Originally published Jul 20, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated July 12 2013 , including Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Jon Ferrara, Clara Shih, YoungMe Moon and Dan Heath. you will hear at IMS 2011 are Chris Brogan’s “The Changing Role of the Trust Agent,” which will tackle the increasing need of using varied analytics and metrics to demonstrate marketing value. Steve Garfield will talk about the role of video content creation in a business’ inbound marketing mix. We are also very excited to hear Barry Libert’s “The Revolution Will Be Tweeted,” in which he will discuss what the Middle East revolt means to marketers.  Topics: recognized marketing luminaries Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How Closed-Loop Marketing Works

first_img 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 2019center_img 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. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Design a Site Structure Visitors AND Search Engines Love

first_imgIf you have a website, then you have certain steps that you want your visitors to take; fill out a form, make a purchase, learn about a product or service, sign up for a newsletter, that sort of thing. Whether people actually reach those goals, however, is entirely dependent on how easy you make it for them — as in, how easy it is for visitors to navigate through your website.The best sites are created with a keen understanding of visitors’ interests, needs, and expectations. Text, visual design, organization, and navigation should all work together to allow visitors to find key information and reach a goal — the one you hope they reach as a marketer — quickly and easily. To get to this point with your site, you need a clear site structure that is easy to navigate, follows a hierarchy of content, and feels natural and intuitive to visitors. This post is going to give you some guidance around how you can make that happen for your own website.The Marketer’s Guide to Excellent Site StructureFor most websites, a tree-like or “hierarchical” information architecture is going to be the best way to organize your information. If you’re not sure what that means, think of it this way:Websites are usually organized around a single homepage, which then links to subpages. Kind of like a tree, with many smaller branches, and sub-branches attached to those, right? Or, you know, a hierarchy … if you’re not took keen on the leafy analogies. A hierarchical architecture of this form focuses on the organization and structure of content in a manner in which a user can navigate through it intuitively. Such architecture can range from a simple brochure-like site, all the way to a complex information system (see the example site later in this post).As a marketer, you have a tremendous amount of opportunity to impact how easily and quickly visitors reach your intended goal. There are many ways marketers can influence that outcome, but the two biggest pieces of low-hanging fruit are in identifying and defining visitor goals and expectations up front, and then organizing your site’s content areas around those goals and expectations.Identifying & Defining User Goals and ExpectationsStart by defining the goals of your website, and what journey you want users to take:Identify the “who” (stakeholders and target audience).Identify the “why” (your goals).Identify the “how” (functional website requirements).It’s highly advisable to actually conduct some user testing at this stage, and critically important to do so before you or a designer develops mockups and wireframes/blueprints of your website. You don’t want to run the risk of making costly assumptions or taking wild guesses at this stage. Remember, the aim is to make this site beneficial to your users, and often what we think is important … really isn’t. Having insight into how your users truly behave and intend to use your site will also lend some clarity to your overall site goals.Organizing Your Site’s Content AreasOnce you have a clear understanding of goals and usability, organizing content will be a snap. Knowing what content you need helps define “sections,” or “groupings” of content through which, ultimately, you’ll build subsections and subpages of your website.To help you plan and visualize the sections and subpages of your site, I recommend drawing out the structure. Whether you draw it out on a whiteboard, in PowerPoint or Excel, using professional design tools like Visio, or just on sticky notes, this activity will allow you to figure out the absolute best possible site structure, and move assets around until you’ve figure out something that’s most logical and in line with your goals. When you’re done, it will end up looking something like this:If you’re struggling with this section, and are unsure of what to put where, here are some best practices to keep in mind as you outline your site’s navigational structure:The closer you are to your homepage, the more general topics should be. The head sections of your site should paint a broad picture, start the conversation, and draw visitors in.Those head sections of your site should correspond with your primary offers, products, and/or services.Start by labeling sections, and work to refine those throughout the evolution of your site. You don’t have to get the labels 100% right the first time; iterations are your friend, and why you’re planning things out in advance!Conducting keyword research can shed light on which terms may be most relevant for that naming.Using analytics from your website’s site search (if you have one) can also prove to be insightful, as it will actually tell you what people are looking for. Make those items more easily accessible so users don’t have to go clicking around for them in the future.Make sure content doesn’t overlap from section to section. You want to avoid that redundancy for an intuitive user experience, as well as to avoid possible duplicate content penalties.Section names and the overall flow of the site should be clear and make sense to everyone, not just you.An Example of Quality Site StructureZappos.com is frequently used as a model for high quality site structure that’s centered around user experience. Why? Because everything is where you’d expect it to be. As you hover over “Shoes,” for example, you see a drop down list of all their shoe options. Imagine that!Then, if you drill deeper into a particular section, it gives you a more detailed side navigation. Having both top menus as well as side menu items simplifies browsing and allows users to easily jump from one section to another. The clearer and more concrete your site organization, the easier it will become for users to jump freely from place to place without feeling lost. Big win for both of you!Now imagine if Zappos (or any other site for that matter) were to strive for a structure that was anything but user friendly. Their site wouldn’t be number one in the SERPs, visitors wouldn’t like it, and conversions would suffer. Which takes us to our next point …Bonus Win: Designing a Site Structure Around User Experience Helps Your SEO!Think about what SEO really means these days: Search experience optimization, with an end goal of increasing conversions. First and foremost, you’re optimizing for users and user experience. After that, and only after that, are you optimizing for search engines, whereby you increase the likelihood of your content being found by the right audience.You want your site to be found, right? Right. And you want your site to be used, correct? Yeah, I sure hope so. Well just like Google, who is only as good as the results it delivers, your site is only as good as the experience it gives users. Who do you think Google’s going to bump to the top of the SERPs? The site that users love, or the one they can’t figure out how to use? As such, a site with proper structure is crafted to meet user expectations, and ultimately help them (and thereby you) reach a desired goal — whether it be fill out a form, make a purchase, learn about a product or service, sign up for a newsletter, whatever.  To get there, follow the site structure recommendations laid out in this post, make sure you create public and XML sitemaps for your website, and keep your site visitor in mind at all times. Your site will be created largely with standard navigational links — the head sections like “About Us,” “Product,” “Services,” etc. — and topical links embedded within the content to create a web-like mesh of links. Remember, you’re aiming for a tree-like structure that will be broken down by topic. Your keywords will naturally show up in the proper sections/subpages if you break down your site this way that makes sense for both users and search engines.What other tips do you have for marketers concerned their site structure isn’t as well optimized as it could be?Image credit: Steve Snodgrass Website Design Originally published Feb 20, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 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 Topics:last_img read more

The Drama-Hater’s Guide to Dealing With Office Politics

first_img Originally published Aug 22, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 There’s not a company out there that’s completely devoid of office politics. I’m willing to bet you could start your own business with yourself as the sole employee — and still manage to drag yourself into some drama. Maybe something about doing laundry during work time … or whether you archived that email or just straight deleted it.So, since you can’t really avoid office politics, how do you deal with it? Here are some guidelines to help you out.First thing’s first: Stay out of it.I know, I know … easier said than done. But there are people out there that successfully avoid it. They’re the types of people can just glaze over or slowly walk away when the gossip or politics start. As a result, they may not be the coolest cats in the office, but they have the long-term benefit of being able to make decisions without the influence or consideration of office politics.If you do get drawn in, be Socratic.I use the Socratic method in a lot of scenarios — and dealing with office politics is often one of them. If someone’s trapped you in a political conversation that you want to get out of, you don’t have to just stare blankly. (Or worse, start agreeing with them just to get them off your back.) Instead, try asking them questions about why they think or feel something — and then let the conversation naturally drop off into total and utter boredom. For instance:Them: “I can’t believe they’re going to choose Mandy for the project lead.”You: “You don’t think Mandy’s a good choice?”Them: “No, no one on the team likes her.”You: “Oh?”Them: “Yeah — John, Sarah, Casey.”You: “Oh, huh.”Notice how you never really have to say much of anything — even less and less as the conversation goes on. Chances are, the other person will lose interest when they’re not getting anything back from you. They might think you’re boring, but hey — if you’re just boring enough for them not to talk to you again about their weird political hang-ups, then consider it a win.Don’t start any smack talk.We just talked about how someone who’s pretty boring to talk office politics with will soon stop being invited into the conversation. Well, those who refrain from starting the conversations will be left out more and more often, too. There’s always someone with a reputation for being really political — probably more than just one person, in fact — but there’s usually a couple of people who get a reputation for being totally not political, too. Be that guy or gal.Make decisions transparently and consistently.Whether you’re evaluating an idea presented in a meeting, deciding who will work on a project, or giving peer feedback, always approach these situations with a consistent methodology. If you make it clear how you go about making decisions, and then follow that methodology each and every time with total transparency, it’s much harder for people to guffaw and say your decisions were politically based.In other words, if everyone’s ideas are subject to the same scrutiny, it’s hard to be accused of favoring those with more political clout.Don’t be exclusive with your professional relationships.A big part of office politics stems from those people who try to get all buddy-buddy with powerful influencers in an organization. But instead of playing office relationships like a chess game, treat it like a democracy. Make it clear you don’t play favorites. Everyone’s a viable connection and worth talking to, whether they’re the CEO or the intern. Showing that you care about what people have to say and their quality of the work — even if they don’t have the fanciest title — helps set the precedent that you’re not that interested in playing political games.Plus, doing this helps the quality of your work stand out more than your political know-how — which is probably what you’d rather be known for, right?Identify the sources of office politics and stay away as much as you can.There are plenty of people worth connecting with who don’t play into the political structure as destructively as these “sources.”But if you’re in the unlucky scenario of having to work closely with the source of the politics, fall back on the Socratic questioning method and know that, because of your democratic approach to office networking, you have other allies … just in case your failure to play politics bites you in the butt.If all else fails, just be direct.Having trouble avoiding political conversations? At some point, it’s appropriate to find a polite way to say you’re not interested in having this conversation. One way is to simply say, “I don’t know enough about it to comment.” Another even more direct option is something like, “I don’t like talking about this without the people involved present, why don’t we talk about X?”It might be a bit awkward for everyone involved, but by providing another conversation topic, you’ll be able to move on from that awkwardness pretty quickly. (Not to mention clearly establish yourself as someone who wants to stay out of the office politics.) Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Office Politics Topics:last_img read more

How to Stop the Most Common Productivity Prohibitors [Infographic]

first_img Topics: 285Save Productivity Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Originally published Aug 11, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 A text here. A few emails there. Just 10 ( … or 30) minutes of surfing your favorite websites. Oh, everyone’s getting coffee? Wouldn’t want to miss out!These workplace distractions are familiar to all of us. But when you add up the time you spend distracted, you start to realize just how much they cut into your productivity.For example, every week, employees spend an average of five hours surfing non-work-related websites. (And who could blame us when there are so many good ones out there?)That’s not to say that it’s inherently bad to do things that are deemed “distracting.” After all, studies have shown that taking timed, calculated breaks throughout the day actually helps you work smarter overall.But if you’re trying to get stuff done, it’s best to be aware of the things prohibiting your productivity so you can stop them in their tracks. Check out the infographic below from SurePayroll for some interesting facts and statistics on workplace distractions — and tips on how to avoid them.285Save last_img read more

From HBR to Mashable: How to Be a Guest Writer on 11 Popular Sites

first_img Topics: Guest blogging is a wonderful and mutually beneficial relationship between writer and publication.It’s great for the writer, of course, who might be looking to get her name out there as a thought leader and industry expert while also helping grow her own readership.At the same time, it’s great for the folks at media outlets.It’s a good look for them to publish a diversity of voices and opinions on their site — not to mention more articles means more indexed pages, which can be a boon for a site’s SEO.Most media outlets allow people to submit authentic, original articles on topics that are relevant to their readership. But each one has different requirements and submission instructions. While some require you to submit full articles, others accept topic pitches and are willing to work with you on an outline. Some will get back to you in a few days if they like your post, while for others, it could be a good few weeks if at all.When you’re trying to submit a guest post, it can be confusing to sort through all these different requirements. That’s why we’ve scoured the websites of top media outlets for their submission guidelines and instructions. From HBR.org to The New York Times to Business Insider and more, check out the list below of top media outlets and their guest blogging guidelines.Before you submit anything, remember to spend time reading through the site to get a good idea of the topics and formats they like to publish. (For more tips, read about the 12 essential elements of a guest blog post.)Guest Blogging Instructions & Guidelines for 11 Top Media Outlets1) Entrepreneur.comEntrepreneur.com is geared toward business owners who are starting and/or growing their own businesses. Their writers cover “actionable information and practical inspiration for business owners.”To Contribute:Here’s their “Become an Entrepreneur Contributor” page.To become a contributor, go to their “Become an Entrepreneur Contributor” page and follow those guidelines.Along with your basic information, it’ll ask for links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, themes or story ideas you’d cover, why you’re an expert on the topic, and links to samples of your work.2) HBR.orgHBR.org is Harvard Business Review’s online publication, which covers a wide range of topics including strategy, leadership, organizational change, negotiations, operations, innovation, decision making, marketing, finance, work-life balance, and managing teams.The content is original and sometimes even disruptive — if it’s about a well-worn topic, they’ll be looking for a unique argument or insight. “”HBR readers are smart and skeptical and busy,” they write. “If you don’t capture their interest right away, they will move on to something else.”They publish articles written by subject matter experts. Ideas and arguments should be backed up by evidence, whether it’s in the form of supporting research, relevant examples, or interesting data.To Contribute:Here’s their “Guidelines for Contributors” page.Send a short pitch to web [email protected] prefer you send them a short pitch instead of a full article so they can give early feedback. However, they do need to see a full draft before officially accepting your piece, even if they’ve asked you to write it.You may be asked to do multiple rounds of revisions, as they have a very thorough editorial process.If they’ve passed on something you’ve submitted, they encourage you to try again with another idea. If their editors have said no multiple times, it may mean your work isn’t a good fit for their audience.Article length can vary. They also publish graphics, podcasts, videos, slide presentations, and just about any other media that might help us share an idea effectively.They retain final decision rights over headlines.The piece must be original and exclusive to HBR.org. They don’t publish pieces that have appeared elsewhere, that come across as promotional, or that do not include rigorous citations (though these may not appear in the finished piece).3) The New York Times’ Op-Ed SectionThe folks over at The New York Times allow submissions to their Op-Ed section only. What does that cover? Op-Ed and Sunday Review Editor Trish Hall explains: “Anything can be an Op-Ed. We’re not only interested in policy, politics or government. We’re interested in everything, if it’s opinionated and we believe our readers will find it worth reading.”In particular, Hall says they’re partiucularly interested in publishing points of view different from those expressed in Times editorials, which tend to be pretty liberal. They’re interested in presenting the points of view that are to the left or right of those positions.To Contribute:Here’s their “How to Submit an Op-Ed Article” page.Submit a finished op-ed article to opi[email protected] Alternatively, you can fax it to +1(212) 556-4100 or send it by mail to the following address:The Op-Ed Page620 Eighth AvenueNew York, NY 10018Articles tend to be 400–1,200 words long, but they’ll consider submissions of any length.The piece must be original and exclusive to The Times. They won’t consider articles that have already been published either in print or online.They like writing that’s in “conversational English that pulls us along. That means that if an article is written with lots of jargon, we probably won’t like it.”You can also submit an opinion video. Read more about that here.4) Inc.comInc.com is an online publication that publishes articles with advice, tools, and services to help small businesses grow. You’ll find their contribution guidelines are fairly short.To Contribute:Here’s their “Contact Us” page.Pitch your story idea to [email protected] If you’d like to become a regular columnist for Inc.com, submit your request to [email protected] We recommend keeping your email pitch as simple and straightforward as possible.5) Business InsiderBusiness Insider is an American business, celebrity, and technology news website. Most of their contributors are experts on one or more of the wide range of topics they cover. Contributors include professors, investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, executives, attorneys, consultants, authors, professional service providers, journalists, technologists, and engineers.To Contribute:Here’s their “How to contribute to Business Insider” page.Send the final draft of your piece, a proposed headline, brief bio, and links to any other pieces you’ve published to [email protected] syndication team will review your submission and get back to you if it’s something they’re interested in posting. They can’t make publishing guarantees.6) Fast CompanyFast Company is an online business publication that covers topics in technology, business, and design. They publish leadership-related topics like productivity, creativity, career development, culture, strategy, and innovation.What type of articles do they like? Ones that “introduce new ideas and advance conversation around topics and trends that engage our readers — think op-ed rather than marketing,” they write. “We appreciate lively, polished writing that balances research or news with fun and memorable anecdotes or examples that help illustrate your point of view.”To get a better idea of the types of pieces Fast Company likes to publish, read their post, “How To Write Thought-Leadership Pieces That Get Published And Don’t Make Editors Want To Die.” To Contribute:Here’s their Guidelines for Submission page.Send completed articles to Leadership Editor Kathleen Davis at [email protected] you think your article would be better suited for one of Fast Company’s sub-publication Co.Design, Co.Exist, Co.Create, or Co.Labs, then consult their masthead and send your idea or completed article to the appropriate editor for consideration.Article length is typically 1,000 words or fewer.They request that guest posts are exclusive to Fast Company’s site for 24 hours, after which time they can be reprinted in part or full on other sites, with a link back to the original article on Fast Company. (They’ll syndicate articles that have already run on another website occasionally, but typically would rather print original and exclusive content.)If they like your article, they’ll likely get back to you within a few days. They review submissions about once a week and aren’t able to respond to all submissions. They’re cool with you sending one follow-up email to check in, but after that, you can assume it wasn’t a fit.Contributed articles run online only. The print magazine is almost exclusively written by staff or by professional journalists who contribute regularly to the magazine.7) MashableMashable is a social networking and web news blog. While they do write a lot about technology, it’s not their core focus — so they’re not necessarily interested in online tools, software, and similar topics.To get a better idea of what the folks at Mashable are looking to publish, read their posts “12 Tips for Getting Your Startup Featured on Mashable” and “12 Things Not to Do When Pitching a Story to Mashable.”To Contribute:Here’s their “Submit News” page.Submit a pitch, tip, or full article by filling out the form on their “Submit News” page.The form asks for the topic of submission, asks “What’s the scoop?”, allows you to attach up to two files, and asks you to check off whether it’s an exclusive story, a news update, a hot tip, an editorial suggestion, or something else.Want them to write about your startup or business? You can also submit to their Startup Review series by sending an email to [email protected]) Forbes’ Opinion SectionForbes publishes content on business and financial news, covering topics like business, technology, stock markets, personal finance, and lifestyle. They allow guest contributions to their opinion section on any topic related to public policy, politics, arts, and culture.To Contribute:Submit your completed article to [email protected] article can be any length.The piece must be original and exclusive to Forbes. They won’t consider articles that have already been published either in print or online.They ask that you allow five business days (i.e. excluding weekends and holidays) for them to review your article. If you haven’t heard from them after five business days, you can submit your article elsewhere.No follow-up emails.9) TechCrunchTechCrunch is an online publication that covers the current and future state of technology, entrepreneurialism, and investment. Any of these topics are great for guest submissions.To write and submit a post for TechCrunch, follow these submission guidelines.To Contribute:Here’s their “Got a Tip?” page.Send a tip, pitch, or full article by visiting their “Got a Tip?” page and filling out the form.The form asks for your name, headline, and the tip or pitch.Want to become a regular contributor to TechCrunch?Submit your headline and article text using the instructions listed under their submission guidelines, linked above.Pro tip: They don’t like when people put two spaces after a period.10) MozThe Moz blog publishes content from the SEO and online marketing industry’s “top wizards, doctors, and other experts.” They look for content with in-depth and actionable information.What’s a good fit? “Actionable, detailed content with references tends to do the best on YouMoz, and case studies or examples are particularly popular,” they write. “Think about the readers of this post, and try to make it so this is something that the reader could take to their boss and say, ‘Let’s give this a try. Here’s a post where this person tried it, they got good results, and they explain how to implement it.'”To Contribute:Moz has temporarily “closed the submission process for the old YouMoz Blog”. Stay tuned here for updates. 11) MediumUnlike the first ten media outlets in this post, Medium is a blogging platform where anyone can create an account and publish a blog post without having to submit it for approval. It was created so people could publish their thoughts, tips, and learnings and then share them with a built-in audience.Through a combination of algorithmic and editorial curation, posts on Medium get spread around based on interest and engagement. You can learn more about posting on Medium here.To Contribute:First, sign in to Medium or create an account. Once you’re signed in, click “Write a Story” on the top righthand side of the homepage.Consult their Help Center page for writing for tips on titles, formatting, images, publishing, and more.If you want, you can request notes from other Medium users before you publish. Any collaborators or editors you invite to add notes can do so throughout the article, kind of like a collaborative document in Google Drive.Article length can be whatever you want, but some of the best advice on length, timing, etc. with Medium posts comes from Medium’s data team. They’ve reported there’s a direct correlation for how long people spend on their posts and how well the posts perform.You’re free to repost content from your blog or website on Medium to expose it to a new audience.You can add any links you want back to your own website, or add any type of call-to-action you want, whether it’s to a piece of long-form content, a subscribe page, or something else.Want to contribute to HubSpot’s blog? Check out our Guest Blogging Guidelines.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Guest Blogging Originally published Sep 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated September 30 2019last_img read more

13 Case Studies That Prove the Power of Word Choice

first_img Landing Page Copy 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 Mar 14, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Your website copy is responsible for more than just presenting your visitors with basic information. In fact, your words alone have the ability to influence how visitors feel about your brand, what they choose to click (or not click), and how your site ranks in search engines.How can you ensure that it’s working the way you want it to? Testing. Sometimes the tiniest change in word choice can have a major impact on your conversion rates. While the difference between a checkout button that reads “Add to Cart” rather than “+Cart” might seem insignificant, it can significantly alter your website’s performance.Still not convinced? Check out these 13 case studies that prove word choice does indeed matter when it comes to optimizing for conversions.Click here to learn best practices for optimizing landing pages and generating more leads.15 Case Studies That Prove Word Choice Matters for Conversions1) Fab Increased Cart Adds by 49%In order to optimize their sales, the online retail community Fab experimented with the “Add to Cart” button on their site. After changing the button from one that showed a picture of a shopping cart to one that spelled out the words “Add to Cart,” the website saw a 49% increase in cart adds.Source: OptimizelyTakeaway: In trying to increase conversions, the more obvious you can be, the better. Always make your desired action as easy as possible to achieve, and leave nothing to be inferred.2) NuFACE Increased Sales by 90%In an effort to increase sales, an anti-aging skin product company called NuFACE decided to offer free shipping on all orders over $75. The result was a 90% increase in sales.Source: VWOTakeaway: The word “free” still works like magic. According to author Dan Ariely, it serves as a powerful emotional trigger that can cause us to instantly change our behavior. If you can find a legitimate way to include it on your website, you might just see a big change in conversions.3) Monthly1K Increased Sales by 6.5%Monthly1K — a software solution for entrepreneurs — wanted to increase the number of online courses they were selling. To do this, they experimented with a new headline that read: “How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business.” This replaced the old headline that read: “How to Make Your First Dollar.”Source: AppSumoThe result was nearly a 6.5% increase in sales.Takeaway: Most people are optimists, and if you can promise them big returns on their investment, then invest they will. As long as you can back up these promises, don’t be afraid to use them to increase your sales.4) GoCardless Increased Conversions by 139%A debit supplier in the UK called GoCardless tested two different versions of their CTA, each one only differing by one word. The first one read “Request a demo,” while the second read, “Watch a demo.”Source: GoCardlessUltimately, the company found that the second version led to a 139% increase in conversions.Takeaway: Some words have a connotation that can cause visitors to hesitate. The word “request” draws up images of having to fill out forms and wait for responses, while the word “watch” implies a far quicker and more direct process. Pay careful attention to the emotional connection of each word you use, especially when it comes to your CTA.5) JCD Increased Conversions by 18%No matter what you’re selling, writing engaging copy is vital. The iPhone repair service JCD, for instance, saw this first hand when they replaced their straightforward, factual web copy with an entertaining and humorous description of their services.Source: CopyhackersThe result? Almost an 18% increase in conversions.Takeaway: It’s important to include specific details, but be sure you’re writing them in a way that’s entertaining and engaging. Even giving your copy a small dose of personality can drastically increase the chances of it actually being read by a visitor.6) Pink Pest Services Increased Conversions by 96%The pest removal service, Pink Pest Services, decided to alter their advertisement so both the header and the copy below it were focused on their free quote, rather than having the header focus on the quote and the copy focus on a free report.Source: Marketing ResultsThe results were a 96% increase in the number of conversions they saw.Takeaway: Your copy needs to be consistent. Expounding on your first offer is far more effective than transitioning to a second offer under the same heading.7) DaFlores Increased Sales by 27%DaFlores is a company that sells and ships fresh flower arrangements through their website. In an effort to improve sales, the company added a sense of urgency by displaying the text “Order in the next [x] hours for delivery today.” In exchange, they saw a 27% increase in sales.Takeaway: Often times, urgency is the key to driving impulse purchases. By adding a sense of urgency to your website — whether through a limited-time sale or through guaranteed delivery, as what DaFlores offered — you can open up an opportunity to drastically increase your number of conversions.8) Stride Increased Conversions by 112%The folks at Stride decided to switch up their abandoned cart emails by focusing more on the customer and their needs, rather than the company. Notice the consistent use of “you” and “your” in the email copy below.Source: AWeberAs a result, they were able to rack up a 112% increase in conversions.Takeaway: While it can be incredibly tempting to tout the accomplishments and strong-points of your company, website, or services in your copy, you would, in general, be far better served by staying focused on the customer.9) Raileasy Increased Email Opens by 31%In this case, an online travel agency, Raileasy, wanted to improve the effectiveness of the emails sent out to customers who abandoned their shopping cart. To do this, they use personalization to customize email subject lines based on the name of the destination the customer was shopping for.Source: Which Test WonAs a result, Raileasy saw a 31% increase in email opens.Takeaway: People are obviously interested in the item they added to their cart, or they never would have made it that far. Reminding them of that interest is a more effective way of re-engaging them than a generic abandoned cart email.10) TextMagic Increased Conversions by 38%The goal of one of TextMagic’s CTAs was to send people from the company’s homepage to its pricing page. The original text in their CTA read “Buy SMS Credits,” but when TextMagic changed this to read “View SMS Credits,” they saw nearly a 38% increase in conversions.Takeaway: People are always a little wary of pressing buttons on the internet. If your text leads them to believe that pressing a button equals buying a product, they’re often less likely to follow through. Instead, ease hesitant customers through the process with more comforting language.11) L’Axelle Increased Cart Adds by 93%L’Axelle’s goal was to increase the number of underarm sweat pads being sold on their website. To do so, they changed their ad copy from “Feel fresh without sweat marks” to a more action-oriented phrase: “Put an end to sweat marks!”Source: KissmetricsThe result was a 93% increase in items added to cart.Takeaway: It’s called a call-to-action for a reason. By making your copy direct and action-oriented, you’ll leave your visitors feeling more inspired and compelled to follow through.12) Betfair Increased Conversions by 7%The online betting service, Betfair, tested six different persuasion tactics on their website, including reciprocity, scarcity, commitment and consistency, liking, authority, and social proof.While each page that employed these specific tactics fared better than the control group, the top performer was the website that employed social proof by pointing out the number of “Likes” Betfair had on their Facebook page.Source: VWOThis variation in particular enjoyed a 7% increase in conversions over the control.Takeaway: Social proof is a powerful tactic. If people believe that there’s a buzz about your product or service, they’re more apt to want to join the party themselves. Don’t be quick to rule out other persuasion tactics, though. All six of the strategies tested proved effective for Betfair, and which one works best for you will depend on your specific website and goals. (Click here for tips on how to add social proof to your landing pages.)13) Bloomspot Increased Conversions by 20%Last up, Bloomspot took the surprisingly obvious step of making the text on their landing pages match the images on their landing pages. For example, if the image was of a restaurant, the text mentioned deals on top restaurants in the area.Source: KissmetricsAs a result, they saw a 20% boost in conversions.Takeaway: Images and text are both two different means of conveying a message. When both your images and your text convey the same message, you’re giving your visitors a double dose of your CTA and increasing the likelihood of them converting.As these case studies make clear, word choice matters — whether it’s in your CTAs, your headlines, or your body copy. Take their wisdom to heart by using them to identify areas on your own site that may be falling victim to unclear or uninspired language usage.Have another great case study to add to this list? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below. Topics:last_img read more