Excellent commercial brands with strong reputations support a positive nation brand – Brand South Africa CEO, Mr Miller Matola

first_imgIN reflecting on the value of strong commercial brands to a country’s nation brand, I stumbled upon the following definition of national competitiveness :“National Competitiveness is a term that can be defined on a number of levels. At its most basic level, a country’s competitiveness requires a good use of human and natural resources for a country to achieve some goal. The goals that a country chooses are a reflection of the philosophy of the country, but they typically have two things in common: productivity and efficiency. A country can achieve a better competitive position through its ability to introduce productivity and efficiency into its use of these human and natural resources.Ultimately, the competitiveness focus of a country is intended to drive some higher order benefit – from improved quality of life to longer life expectancy – but the common language for such goals tends to focus on increasing the inflow of capital to the country, in the form of exports or foreign direct investment.”Brand South Africa and Brand Finance will on 22 July 2014 announce the country’s top 50 commercial brands.  This explanation of a country’s national competitiveness becomes very pertinent when we consider why this announcement will matter to our overall nation brand, competitiveness and reputation.Indeed, Simon Anholt, who is regarded as the father of nation branding has said that “national image has more to do with national identity and the politics and economics of competitiveness.”In the politics and economics of competitiveness, we need to consider more than just the country’s GDP and other such numbers.We need to consider whether we are competitive in terms of being able to grow a nation that can compete equitably with global peers, are we growing individual brands with solid reputations that are considered as leaders in their individual industries?I believe that with any developing country and emerging economy, such as South Africa is, a plethora of challenges continue to confront our country and its developmental agenda.  The National Development Plan succinctly outlines these challenges and at the same time, proposes suitable remedies that must be implemented.  I recently heard a term – execution deficit – I am convinced that this is our country’s most serious affliction.  We have wonderful policies yet we simply do not implement them.  A cursory reading of many of them will make one ask the question, “Why do we need another policy?  Why do we not just implement what we already have in place?”However, on a corporate level, I think that we have begun to look systemically at what needs to be done to develop and sustain a competitive advantage in the global market place.Many of the Top 50 brands actually have a presence beyond the borders of our country and this attests to the fact that we are beginning to get the formula for sustainable competitive advantage correct.  Quite a few of our home grown commercial brands are now blazing the trail both on the continent and abroad, contributing to strong and positive associations of South Africa across the globe.  In turn, they build the attractiveness profile of the country for inward investment, “visitability” and skills.A country’ products and services are a critical competence and measure used by investors and consumers to rate the country’s appeal and attractiveness.  A nation’s brands are purveyors of the identity, image and attributes of a country and therefore go a long way in the nation brand building and promotion process.When one looks at our top national brands with their domestic and international presence, it is therefore befitting that South Africa continues to rank as a top destination not only for tourism but also inward investment.In this regard, the recent AT Kearny FDI Confidence Index ranks South Africa 13th globally, the only African country to be in the top 25 in the world while the EY Africa Attractiveness Survey attests to South Africa’s standing as the top destination for FDI projects on the continent. The country attracted 142 projects in 2013, Kenya comes second with 68 projects; Nigeria comes third with 58 projects; and Ghana comes 4th with 58 projects as well.Despite how good all of this sounds, something that stands out for me is the contribution these commercial brands make to our national GDP.  While this calculation is never an exact science, using the 2012 World Bank Local Currency GDP and ZAR revenue for the top 50 companies in 2013, we see their contribution to GDP at a phenomenal 66%.This by itself is a staggering figure but I’m certain the picture will grow more appealing if we look at the contribution of these companies to the fiscus through tax contributions and job creation.The central message is that our national top 50 commercial brands are an important driver of our nation brand reputation and competitiveness.This matters because South Africa is committed to positioning itself in the global marketplace as a destination of choice for inward flows of investment and capital.  This will contribute to our national priorities of economic growth, job creation and sustainable development and ultimately the implementation of the National Development Plan.Watch out for the announcement of the 2014 Top 50 Brands on Tuesday 22 July 2014.last_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2014: Five key players from Bosnia

first_imgBosnia boast of a lethal weapon in Manchester City’s star-striker Edin DzekoWith an attack-minded coach and a world-class striker leading the way, Bosnia is looking to score plenty of goals at the World Cup.Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko scored most of the team’s goals in qualifying, and coach Safet Susic will be looking for plenty more when the team gets to Brazil to face Argentina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F.A creative midfield run by Miralem Pjanic will help, too.Here are five Bosnia players to watch:EDIN DZEKODespite being in and out of the Manchester City squad, Edin Dzeko managed to score 10 of Bosnia’s 30 goals in World Cup qualifying.Dzeko, nicknamed “the Diamond” in Bosnia, has scored 26 goals in 49 international matches and will be the key man up front in an attack-minded lineup.MIRALEM PJANICRoma attacking midfielder Miralem Pjanic provides flair in the Bosnia midfield.Pjanic started his international career in Luxembourg following his family’s move to the country shortly before the outbreak of the war in Bosnia in 1991.He had to wait two years to get permission to play for Bosnia, making his debut in 2008. He has scored eight goals in 46 appearances for Bosnia.VEDAD IBISEVICVedad Ibisevic’s strike gave Bosnia a 1-0 win over Lithuania in Kaunas to assure his team of World Cup qualification.The Stuttgart forward has also played club football in Switzerland, the United States and France.In 2008, Ibisevic was awarded the “National Idol” award as Bosnian footballer of the year.advertisementHe has scored 20 goals in 51 appearances for Bosnia.ASMIR BEGOVICStoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is considered among the top netminders in the English Premier League.Begovic, who left Bosnia when he was 4, conceded only six goals in 10 qualifying matches for Bosnia.He opted to play for Bosnia ahead of Canada, the side with which he started his international youth career in 2004.ZVJEZDAN MISIMOVICMidfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic leads Bosnia with 80 international appearances, and has scored 26 goals.Playing for Wolfsburg and winning the Bundesliga in 2009, Misimovic led the league with 20 assists.Misimovic currently plays for Chinese club Guizhou Renhe.last_img read more

5 Ways Sales People Can Use Twitter

first_img 5 Ways Sales People Can Use Twitter brand building While email and phone might be your most common means of communicating with your customers, these become useless when your contacts change jobs. Using social networks like Twitter is a great way to stay in touch as your contacts move to new companies. And, new jobs can present new business opportunities for additional sales from your existing contact. We’ve experienced this a number of times, with a few repeat HubSpot customers who purchased the software each time they moved to a new company. Stay aware of big (or small) changes in your lead’s industry by checking into Twitter! For example, hear that your lead’s  competitor made an announcement but don’t know the details? Calling every day at 9 am might not be the most effective way of reaching your lead. If they’re on Twitter, you can get the inside scoop of when they’re traveling on business, or in meetings, or actually at their desk available to take a call. Not that this guarantees your lead will answer the phone, but you can bet that your chances go up if they’re actually at their desk. lead generation doug88888 We can – and do – go on and on about ,  how marketers can use Twitter 3. Find the Best Time to Contact Your Lead Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Originally published Oct 21, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 for the competitor’s name to find out if anything is indeed going on. Twitter’s real time updates are great for getting wind of big news before it’s even published across the web. Before calling up your lead, do some research – both on their website and on Twitter. Find out what their employees and their customers are saying about them so that you can start off a warmer call and show that you better understand their company and their needs. 4. Get Feedback on Your Pitch Topics: Download the free webinar used that feedback to actually improve our pitch going forward. 2. Stay Plugged in to Industry News for PR, thought leadership and  Twitter Marketing , and more. But a recent conversation I had with one of our very own awesome sales people made me realize all the ways sales people can use Twitter as part of their jobs as well. 5. Stay Connected When Customers Change Jobs Search on Twitter The best way to get honest feedback about your pitch is to find out what your lead says about you after they get off the phone with you. What do they say when they turn around to their friends and colleagues? Twitter gives you the opportunity to “listen in” on this conversation. In fact, we did just that recently and for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. 1. Research Companies Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Photo by Have any other ideas or experiences of sales people using Twitter? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 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

Social Media Is Not an Eating Contest

first_img , ? Isn’t it something smart marketers should be experimenting with and embracing? of Twitter. Alerts Grader Social Media can be highly efficient new marketing channels for your company, but they shouldn’t be your company’s only marketing channel. Businesses also need to Twitter The way people talk about social media these days, you might think it’s an eating contest — to succeed you need to gorge yourself, to be become the If you’re a marketer or business owner dubious of this dynamic, don’t worry. Social media is not an eating contest. Most people get sick when they eat too many hot dogs, and most businesses lose money when they spend too much time on Twitter. — Don’t try to do too much. But, wait — isn’t social media a foundational element of LinkedIn create content Want to learn more about monitoring social media? Facebook search engine optimization , do , live webinar (3) Pick Worthwhile Interactions So what’s the right balance? Here are four simple ways to find the right balance for your business: inbound marketing and Time-box this Wednesday, March 10 at 1 pm, ET.center_img 10 minutes every day to check the community sites that are important to your business. That isn’t enough time to make a huge impact, but it is enough time to listen and see what’s going on in your industry. Twitter Grader Photo: (1) Start With 10 Minutes of Monitoring a Day Topics: Originally published Mar 8, 2010 8:30:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Takeru Kobayashi Feastoffun.com , nurture leads — and analyze the volume and conversion rates through your marketing and sales funnel. — Make sure you pick the right people to interact with. Reach out to the specific people who are likely to help your business. That means the people connected to the communities you want to reach, the people with the most reach themselves, and the people who are most likely to become customers. Use tools like — Which channels are working best? Where are you getting the most volume? Where are you getting the best conversion rates? At HubSpot, we get the most out of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. You need to know which channels are driving conversions for your business. to do this. collect leads (2) Monitor Your Brand — When you finish your 10 minutes of listening, respond to the people who have specifically reached out to you. For most businesses, this should be quick. If the volume builds, you’ll have a community, so consider ways of empowering it to help answer questions. (4) Pick the Right Social Media Channels . , How do you find the right balance? Are you stuck in a social media eating contest or do you have a healthy diet? Let us know in the comments? I’ll be speaking about some of the ideas in this article and more during a Sign up here Yes! And, yes! But that doesn’t mean you need to over-do it. 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

5 Real-Life Examples of Awful PR Pitches

first_img Business Pitches Topics: Originally published Jan 26, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 As we’ve discussed in past blog posts, it’s not easy to pitch journalists. They receive hundreds — if not thousands — of pitches every day, which makes it easy to understand why they have to ignore most. So while it’s inevitable that your pitches will end up in journalists’ trash bins every now and again, there are still some ways to increase the odds that your pitch captures journalists’ attentions — and even warrants a response! One of these ways is to stop making sloppy pitching mistakes, which can be detrimental to the success of your pitch. To help you, we’ve gathered 5 awful examples of real-life pitches to demonstrate what NOT to do in your media pitches. We’re sure these pitches went straight to the trash; learn from their mistakes so you can avoid the trash bin yourself. (Note: We’ve changed the information within brackets to preserve privacy.)Example 1: It’s Vocus’ Fault!This pitch was just your regular, run-of-the-mill email.  At the bottom, it read:This press release was sent through the Vocus PR platform. Should you no longer wish to receive these communications, please unsubscribe through the link in the footer. If you do not want to be listed on the database, please contact Vocus directly to request for your details to be removed: [PHONE NUMBER]Source: Bad Pitch BlogHow Can You Make It Better?Sure, many public relations professionals use databases like Vocus or Cision to get in touch with media professionals. It is also a great resource to gather more information about a journalist and help you build a relationship. But it is also interpreted by many to be a way to spam a lot of journalists in a short period of time. When using software to gather a list of names and email addresses, put some additional thought and research into it. Gather more personalized information about the journalist. What has he or she written about in the past? It’s fine to use information you source from your software, but it’s still important to make it a personal pitch.  Example 2: Acting Casuali work with [XYZ] university school ofhospitality in miami, a leading business school in the country specializing in thehospitality and tourism industry(with graduates living & working all over the world as business owners- everythingfrom hotels, resorts, restaurants, catering operations, to specialevents logistics companiesto department heads in major hospitality corporations- marriott, hilton, W- asfront and concierge desks, human resources, accounting, housekeeping,beverage & revenue management departments, etc.)and was hoping we could work together on a storyabout what happens after graduation-as you know, high schools & colleges are graduating a lot of studentscome this april and may, and i would love to work with you on a storythat wouldanswer one of these 2 questions:a). does an internship lead to a job? is it worth working for free?b). what’s next- how to look for a job.as you know, i work with [XYZ] School of Hospitality in Miami,a leading hospitality school in the country,a)and i can introduce you to students who are interning,and students who have gotten jobs as a result from their internship,as well as employers who work with interns as well as with employers whohave hired their interns.and one more option:an interview with someone who got a job with another employeras a result of a recommendation from the employer they interned for.b). and if you wanted to work on the 2nd idea,i can connect you with graduating seniors and academic advisor atschool about tipsshe would have to land a job in this economy.let me know your thoughts,and we’ll get it done!thanks much,and i’ll speak w/u soon,Source: Bad Pitch BlogHow Can You Make It Better?Even if you have known a journalist for years, you should never be this casual in a pitch email. Pitches need to be professional and demonstrate your value as a resource. There should be no grammar, punctuation, or capitalization errors — especially not an entire, long-winded, rambling email full of them. Yes, bulleted or numbered lists to get your points across is a best practice, but it should be a concise, organized list. You may know everything about your company or cause, but the journalist does not. Make your pitch clear, succinct, and organized.Example 3: Mail MergeHi FIRST NAME, I represent a major potato crisp brand that will launch an exciting new contest on Monday with a popular late night TV host. Readers of [your company] can win big including a chance to showcase their comedic talents and a trip to NYC. Our brand is as serious about blogger relations as we are about taste, so before sending you any details you could live without, our policy is to first ask for your opt-in. If youd like more information, just let me know and Ill shoot it your way Monday morning. Please let me know if you would like to hear more. Thanks!Source: PRNewserHow Can You Make It Better?Of course, the FIRST NAME error is obviously bad. But that’s not necessarily the main offense in this pitch. The problem here is lack of originality. The pitch is vague, and it doesn’t even include a compelling call-to-action. There is no reason why the reader of this email should opt-in to the offer, given he/she has no idea what it’s about. Even if you don’t want to reveal the full campaign, you need to give the journalist a reason to ask for more. Example 4: Kind of a StretchSinus Problems, Cancer Stand in the Way of Healthy Valentine LipsNation’s ENTs Urge Patients to Keep Lips KissableAlexandria, VA- What’s a Valentine’s Day without the kiss, and what’s a kiss without your lips? This year, the nation’s ear, nose, and throat doctors offer a reminder that healthy lips are the key to a memorable Valentine’s Day experience; unhealthy ones can indicate serious health conditions.”Healthy lips are certainly important on Valentine’s Day,” said [Bob Smith], MD, member of the American Academy of [XYZ]. “Dry, cracked lips, which aren’t good for kissing, can be the result of sinus problems and nasal blockage from septal deviations and other causes. Those sinus problems can also result in snoring, which will take the romance right out of that Valentine’s night.”Cracked lips can occur when a person with a blocked or stuffed nose is forced to breathe through his or her mouth. The flow of air decreases the moisture in the skin, and causes the lips to crack and peel. As a side effect of nasal congestion, stuffiness, or obstruction of nasal breathing, cracked lips add to the real discomfort of nasal congestion. The discomfort is one of the most common complaints seen by otolaryngologists.”Cracked lips are just the tip of the iceberg when we discuss lip health,” Dr. [Smith] warned. “Perhaps most concerning is lip cancer, which can severely impact one’s quality of life, and in some cases, lead to death.”Lip cancer usually appears as squamous cell cancer and/or malignant melanoma. Most squamous cell cancers occur on the lower lip, and can be caused by tobacco usage, UV exposure, or alcohol use. They may look like the more common, and less dangerous, basal cell cancers, and if caught early and properly treated, usually are not much more dangerous. If there is a sore on the lip or lower face that does not heal, consult a physician. Malignant melanoma classically produces dense blue-black or black discolorations of the skin. However, any mole that changes size, color, or begins to bleed may be trouble. A blackish spot on the lips, face, or neck, particularly if it changes size or shape, should be seen as soon as possible by a dermatologist, otolaryngologist/ear, nose, and throat surgeon, or at least by a primary care physician.”Before you wind up with lip cancer, it might be a nice Valentine’s present to your loved one to give up those cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco,” [Smith] added. At the very least, make sure to protect your lips from sun exposure with a UV-rated sunblock, just as you do the rest of your skin, he said.Source: Bad Pitch BlogHow Can You Make It Better?It’s great when you can leverage the timeliness of a current event or holiday in your pitch, but it’s not great when that connection is unnatural and forced. Using Valentine’s Day as a way to talk about lip cancer will just make journalists feel uncomfortable, and it might even be offensive to some. Instead of talking about Valentine’s Day, research a few fundraisers for cancer that your business may be able to participate in. Sponsor a support group for cancer patients and their families. The key is figuring out other ways to connect your business to the cause. To top it off, this pitch is obviously just a press release, and it’s extremely long. Most journalists would’ve quit reading after the first sentence. Don’t just repurpose a press release as a pitch. Entice journalists with the interesting nuggets that get them asking for more information.Example 5: Press ReleasesDear [Joe],Please consider the press release below for publication in an upcoming issue, either on-line or in print.Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks in advance for your consideration.Source: Bad Pitch BlogHow Can You Make It Better?We started hinting at this in our last example, but let’s elaborate. In the past, a lot of journalists depended on press releases. What many people don’t realize is that, unless you accompany it with a compelling pitch, your press release will be ignored. Instead of sending something like the above, tell them some of the exciting news that your press release contains. Outline some of the main points into a list. Consider including information that the press release does not contain to show why it’s awesome. But do not rely solely on the press release.What are other ways you can improve your public relations pitches?Photo Credit: Big West Conference 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

LinkedIn Launches Company Follow Button (How to Add It Now)

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Feb 27, 2012 11:08:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 LinkedIn Company Pages Looking to generate more followers for your awesomely optimized LinkedIn Company Page? (It is awesomely optimized, right?) This morning, LinkedIn made it just a little bit easier to generate company followers with the launch of its new follow button. Like Twitter’s follow button and Facebook’s like button, LinkedIn’s version makes it simple for your website visitors to follow your company’s LinkedIn page with just one click. No navigating to the LinkedIn website required!And yes, you should want some more followers. In a recent study of over 5,000 businesses, HubSpot found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, almost 3 times higher (277%) than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%). In other words, increasing your reach on LinkedIn will likely increase your website’s LinkedIn referral traffic, and because of the powerful conversion rate of LinkedIn traffic, you’ll likely see an increase in leads, too!Convinced you should spend some time building the reach of your LinkedIn Company Page? Here’s how to add the new follow button to your website. It’s easy!How to Install the LinkedIn Follow Button1) Visit https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/follow-company2) Enter your company name or ID. (Or select your company as you begin typing and the dropdown menu appears.)3) Choose your button’s count mode preference — whether or not you’d like the button to display your LinkedIn Company Page’s follower count.4) Click “Get Code,” and voila! Copy and paste this code onto your website and blog where you’d like the button to appear (your About Us page, your blog’s sidebar, and your homepage are great places to start). Now you’ll start easily converting website visitors into new LinkedIn Company Page followers.But … Do More Than Just Add the ButtonWhen your website visitors click the LinkedIn follow button on your website, they’ll automatically follow your company if they’re already logged in to LinkedIn (or they’ll get prompted to log in first if they’re not). As a result, these visitors will start receiving the status updates you publish to your LinkedIn Company Page in their LinkedIn homepage’s updates feed.But the value of adding the LinkedIn follow button is dependent on how effectively you use your LinkedIn Company Page to begin with. If you rarely or never post status updates to your company page, the value of the new followers you generate from the LinkedIn follow button is moot.So if you don’t have company status updates installed on your company page, learn how to do so here. And start using them regularly! While you’re at it, start improving your company page so new followers have a reason to follow you to begin with. Here are a few blog posts that will help:”How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page in 15 Minutes””The Ultimate Guide to Optimized Social Media Updates””10 Type of Updates to Power Your Social Media Presence””How to Boost LinkedIn Lead Gen With Targeted Company Pages”And, what are you waiting for? Go add the LinkedIn follow button now! And start following HubSpot’s LinkedIn Company Page while you’re at it ;-)Image Credit: Coletivo Mambembelast_img read more

The Secret to Being an Awesome Marketer? Act Like a Child.

first_img Topics: Originally published Jul 23, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 “Stop acting like a child!”When’s the last time you heard that? Most likely it was when you were growing up and your parents were trying to get you to stop throwing temper tantrums or tormenting your little brother. But even as adults, we sometimes get admonished for being immature. After all, no one wants to work with someone who acts like a child, right?Not so fast. Being childish can, in many ways, be a bad thing. However, did you know that it can also help you be a better marketer? It can even help you grow your company’s sales and revenue. While we’re not suggesting that you draw on your office walls with crayons (unless you work at Crayola), there are many ways that a little bit of childishness can help you be awesome at marketing your company.Children Are FearlessEver notice how a three-year-old will try anything? They have no fear. Children have not yet developed that inner recording that plays through all the terrible things that could go wrong when considering something new. They just do it. Adults often see a new idea and think, “What if this happened, and that happened, and this went wrong, and my boss found out, and oh my goodness … this sounds way too scary to start working on!” While you and I are busy making spreadsheets analyzing the risks involved with a new idea or project, your toddler would have completed it and moved on to three new things. How does this apply to your role in marketing? Inbound marketing is all about balancing the creative with the analytical — the “art” with the “science.” Don’t get me wrong, following proven recipes and using data is critical to a successful campaign, but some of the best marketing concepts come from off-the-wall ideas that may seem silly at first. Take HubSpot’s “Inbound Style” parody video that got over 200,000 views. Does something like this happen in a boardroom with careful analysis? No … it happens because someone says “Hey! This sounds like fun!” Being creative in inbound marketing takes a willingness to try new things without fear. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail, but you move forward faster than those who let the “I’m scared” recording hold them back.Children Are Exhaustingly CuriousWhat are the most commonly-used words in a child’s vocabulary? If you said “why” and “how,” you win a cookie. Kids ask questions all the time. They want to know why things happen and how things work. As an adult, this can be exhausting at times — especially after answering questions all day. But this is how kids learn. They are inexperienced at dealing with the world around them and have not yet acquired the same knowledge that you have. This very same attitude can help you become a master at delivering content to your customers and prospects. You and your team are experts at what you do. Whether you work in healthcare, finance, manufacturing, consulting, technology … whatever … your company has deep expertise that makes you good at what you do. Guess what? Your customers and prospects don’t have this knowledge. This is your opportunity to step back and channel your inner 3-year-old. Look at your company’s products and services and start asking “why” and “how” things are done. After doing this for a while, you’ll find yourself with an unending supply of blog topics, ebook ideas, video concepts, and other content ideas that can provide powerful fuel for your inbound marketing campaigns. What’s even better is the fact that you will be answering questions that your customers and prospects are actually asking. So while your competition is busy writing boring articles that no one reads, you’re delivering interesting, relevant, and easy to read content that actually helps and inspires people.Children Are Good at Breaking ThingsKids destroy things. Give your brand new smart phone to a toddler and see how long it lasts. In all fairness, it’s not really their fault. (See points #1 and #2 about being fearless and curious.) Taking things apart and exploring all the possibilities is how they learn. Ask any talented engineer how they got started and chances are they will tell you how they took things apart as a kid just to see how they worked. Your work in inbound marketing is not so different. Are there things about your company’s processes that you can try to “break,” and then sit back to see what happens? What are some of the flaws in how your customers implement solutions or use your products? What are some “broken” aspects of your industry that need to be exposed? These are all terrific opportunities to help people. It’s also a great opportunity to create some controversy. Both can be excellent tools for generating traffic and authority for your company. Whether it’s uncovering inherent flaws in SMART goals or pointing out how bad marketers are at communicating with CEOs, don’t be afraid to break stuff and then explain how to fix it.Children Tell the TruthEver been embarrassed by how “honest” your kid can be? I’m sure your 4-year-old didn’t mean to call that lady fat … While this unflinching honesty can be embarrassing, telling the blunt truth can also help you promote your company better. Take Keith Frankel’s recent blog post “Your Designers Are Not Artists, and You Need to Stop Thinking That Way.” This post points out a bold fact about the industry that no one really talks about. It tells the truth about designers and helps correctly frame how business leaders should think of their team members in the design department. And like any honest conversation … it was a little bit uncomfortable for people to say, and to hear. What are some potentially scary, little-known, or controversial truths in your industry that no one is talking about? Be bold and start a conversation about it. After all, your competition is probably too scared to do it.Don’t Grow Up Too FastYou’re a professional. You need to show leadership and demonstrate good judgment. Those are all important qualities of someone making good use of the power of inbound marketing. But don’t be afraid to act like a child, once in a while.Try new ideas without fear of failure. Ask lots of questions. Uncover what’s broken, and be bold about telling the truth when you find it. With this attitude, you will enjoy a never-ending flow of content ideas, campaign concepts, grateful followers, leads, and customers that trust your brand, and of course, lovable marketing. Now get out there and play! Michael Reynolds is President/CEO of SpinWeb — a digital agency and HubSpot Gold Partner located in Indianapolis, IN. In addition to his obsession with marketing and technology, Michael devotes part of his brain to ballroom dancing and classical music. Prior to earning degrees in both Cello Performance and Management Information Systems from Ball State University, Michael studied the cello with a real live Klingon and still plays regularly in church and the occasional chamber music gig. For more information about booking Michael for a speaking engagement, visit his speaking site at www.michaelreynolds.com. Marketing Advice 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

10 Deadly Reasons Most Websites Fail [SlideShare]

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Out of the 10 reasons why a website fails, here are my top three takeaways:1) Most websites treat everyone the same.Just because advertising is mass-market doesn’t mean your website should be. Each visitor on your website has different needs or is in a different stage of the buying cycle. Then why treat everyone the same? A website that contains great content plus context delivers a more personalized and delightful web experience.For example, let’s say I’m shopping for a new car. I’ll visit the website of a major auto company for the first time and then browse around the website. Then I’ll play around with one of those handy online tools that enables me to customize a car and its options and know how much it costs. Next, I’ll even request an appointment with a local dealer to talk about a specific make and model. At this stage, it’s clear I’m in the buying process.But what happens when I visit the website 5 days later? The website treats me as if I’m a first-time visitor! If I were this company, I would instead say, “Hi Jessica, welcome back. How’s your search for a new SUV going? Did you know about our new leasing promotion on this car? Check it out.”Quite a different experience, isn’t it? If the company knows what pages I’ve visited and even that I wanted to speak with sales, why wouldn’t they use that information to personalize the website for me?Netflix is a great example of a company doing personalization right. When I visit Netflix, it knows what movie or TV show I just watched and asks me to rate it. Then it recommends new shows that I might like, as well. I love that.You don’t need to be a Netflix to create more personalized experiences. Using dynamic content in even smallest ways helps to show visitors that you know them. Context helps marketers connect the right information to the right visitor at the right time.2) Most websites focus on me-leadership instead of thought leadership.When visitors arrive on your website, it’s important to clearly state what you do or offer and why visitors should stay on your website instead of hitting the back button. But too often, websites turn into promotional brochure-wear where it’s all about “me, me, me” and not about the actual customer. That might be why the average bounce rate is 60-70%.Even with a good SEO strategy and a beautiful design, a website needs to be regularly fed with great content that positions you as a thought leader and not a me-leader. The primary function of a website is to attract visitors, convert leads, and delight customers through rich, relevant, and valuable content.This means turning your website into an inbound marketing machine with fresh offers (whitepapers, guides, videos, discounts, etc.), landing pages, calls-to-action, new media, social conversation, and other content assets. By doing this, you grow traffic and leads organically without having to rely on paid campaigns and you build a loyal following of fans and evangelists. At HubSpot, we started this inbound marketing blog and developed The Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing even before we had a product to market. Once we launched the HubSpot software, we already had a subscriber base we could market our product to. Seven years later, we now have more than 200,000 blog subscribers, 555,300 likes on Facebook and 311,660 followers on Twitter, all because we put valuable content at the center of our marketing.KunoCreative is another great example of thought leadership in the agency space. They’ve created top-notch offers and stellar blog posts that speak to their audience, such as this one on storytelling in marketing.Buyers today are looking to companies for their expertise. They don’t care how many awards you’ve won or how amazing your last press release was. Here’s a guide to Creating Killer Marketing Content to get you started.3) Most websites are still ignoring mobile.I browse the internet on my iPhone or iPad more than I do on a desktop computer. So does the majority of world, apparently. It’s estimated that by 2014, more people will access the web via a mobile device than a PC (Tweet This Stat). It amazes me how many websites are still not optimized for mobile despite the growth trends in this area (here are 23 eye-opening mobile marketing stats you should know). A study by MarginMedia found that 48% of users say that if they arrive on a business site that isn’t working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring. I guess I’m not the only one.Mobile optimization is critical because it improves usability when browsing with a finger and not a mouse. Another study found that 46% of mobile users report having difficulty interacting with a web page, and 44% complain that navigation was difficult (Tweet This Stat).Here’s a success story. Last week I was checking my Facebook feed on my mobile phone when I noticed a friend liked a post that caught my eye. The post was for a company called BlueApron, a service that delivers fresh food and pre-organized meals and recipes right to your door. For a busy person like me who rarely has time to go grocery shopping, I had to research this service further.In just one browsing session I decided to join BlueApron and sign up for the weekly service. And I probably wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t have a mobile version of their website. It was super easy to navigate through and the check-out process was a breeze (by the way, more proof that yes, you can acquire customers from Facebook).Companies like Desk.com, ESPN, ModCloth, Julep, CBS, HuffingtonPost, and many others have developed exceptional mobile experiences and more companies should follow their lead. The best part about designing for mobile: It helps to boost revenue! 62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile increased sales (Tweet This Stat). What’s not to love about that?Sure, the website may be 22 years old, but in an age where buyers are in control, your website is more important than ever. If you focus on creating a website that highlights your thought-leadership by leveraging valuable content with the right context, and that is openly accessible for any device and channel, then you’ll have yourself a website that wins.To learn more on how to build a great website that leverages these tips, download this free ebook: The 4 Essentials of Every Great Company Website (And How to Design Yours). Website Design Topics:center_img 22 years ago, something remarkable happened. 36-year-old physicist Tim Berners-Lee, changed the world forever using just a few lines of computer code.That day, the first ever website was born.While the website was basic at most, it was the just the start to connecting millions of people to endless amounts of information.Now there are more than 700 million websites on the internet and every 60 seconds more than 5,067 web pages are created (Tweet This Stat). A lot has changed in 22 years. Think about it. Without Berners-Lee’s masterful creation, social media and search engines wouldn’t exist. As companies, how the heck would we have marketed ourselves?Oh yeah: ads, telemarketing, fancy brochures, and door-to-door sales. All the things consumers love and enjoy! Cough.For most businesses, a website is the Grand Central Station of marketing — connecting branding, social media, email, lead generation, ecommerce, and more. But not all websites are created equal. Out of the millions of websites we’ve analyzed through MarketingGrader, 72% received a failing grade of 59 or below (Tweet This Stat). Yikes! There’s no question that since its introduction, the website and the technology behind it has evolved. The question we should be asking is: have marketers?Here’s Where the Problem LiesThe way we market online, and the way we build websites, hasn’t evolved with the huge change in buyer behavior we’ve experienced over the past decade. Buyers today want to consume information when and how they want it. They want to be educated and entertained but not sold to. Instead of adjusting to this change, we stuff our websites with content no one really cares about. Or with annoying pop-ups. Or we force people to buy when they’re not ready. Or we make it really difficult to find the right information. Or we focus more on SEO or making our sites look pixel-perfect than creating a delightful user experience.What does this all mean? Quite frankly, we’ve turned our websites in the ads, cold calls, and brochures of 22 years ago.The good news? This can be fixed! Here are 10 deadly reasons why so many websites fail. Granted, not every website will commit all 10 sins, nor is every site perfect — but every one you can avoid turns your website into a better website. Originally published Sep 12, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

7 Elements of a Perfectly Optimized Social Media Account [Infographic]

first_img Topics: One of the toughest parts of being a marketer is staying up-to-date with all of the changes on social media. One day Facebook doesn’t have hashtags, and the next it does. The next week, Twitter has a completely redesigned profile layout. After that, Pinterest unveils promoted pins. And as a marketer, it’s part of your job to navigate through all of these changes.Besides keeping up with the news (and subscribing to your favorite marketing blogs), your first step toward navigating these changes is to understand the basic best practices that work across almost all popular social networks. The infographic below is a great visual representation of exactly how you can optimize every one of your social media accounts. While there are certainly nuances to posting on each social network, these tips are the common thread across all your social media accounts.(And if you want to learn best practices for executing on the other essential elements of inbound marketing, check out The Anatomy of Inbound Marketing.)The Anatomy of an Optimized Social Media Account191Save Social Media Marketing Originally published Sep 15, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 191Save1) Your Logo as Your AvatarYou want people to recognize that it’s your brand interacting with them on a social network, so it’s often best to make your avatar your logo (or a version of it), and to keep your avatar consistent across all your accounts.2) Your Company’s Name as Your UsernameWhen people go to mention you on social media, they’ll look up whatever seems logical — usually your brand name. So if you can swing it, make sure that your social media username is your brand name. If your brand name is a really common word or phrase or it’s too long, you may have to change it slightly. (For example, LeadIn’s’ Twitter handle is @LeadInApp.)3) Appropriately Frequent PostsEvery social network is different, so your posting frequency strategy should reflect the norm of the network you’re on. On Twitter, try posting between 5-20 times a day. On Facebook, try 5-10 times per week. On Linkedin, try posting once every business day.4) Mentions of Relevant UsersThe whole point of being on social media is to talk with other people, so when you’re sharing other people’s content, be sure to give their username a proper shout-out. A simple “via [username]” works.5) Shortened Links With Tracking TokensShortened, trackable links let you see which pieces of content and which social networks are driving the best results for you, all without taking up much space. Make sure that every link you post has some UTM codes added, and then is shortened. (If you’re a HubSpot customer, this is all built into the software.)6) High-Quality ImagesYou’ve likely heard the hype about visual content in social media before — it’s incredibly important for you to use high-quality images in your posts. Need help with creating visual content, but don’t have Photoshop? No problem: Check out these other great resources.7) Timely and Contextual Responses Because social media is social, you should not only be sharing content, but also be responding to those who reach out to you. They expect it — according to survey data from Lithium Technologies, 53% of surveyed Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to on Twitter in less than an hour. That number rises to 72% when they have complaints.Besides being timely, you should also make sure you’ve got context on who you’re responding to — are they a VIP customer? An evangelist you should thank? A lead that’s really ready to buy from you? (If you’re using HubSpot’s Social Inbox, that information is readily available in your conversation stream.)Want to get more actionable examples of the key inbound marketing elements? Download this free ebook.last_img read more