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Ways to Show Your Grateful by Lory Fabian

 “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”  Henry David Thoreau

I am continually amazed how many people neglect, forget or never even think to say one of the first manners most of us were taught before kindergarten. Using those two simple words, ‘Thank You!’

I’ve experienced over and over again, the more you thank someone, the more that person feels appreciated. Coincidence or not, a smile and a thank you builds momentum because of the Law of Reciprocity.  How do you show your friends, family and customers how grateful you are for them?  Just as small steps can lead to big accomplishments, a simple thank you can have a huge impact on your life, and the life of that person.

If you find little ways and big ways to weave gratitude in your life, you life will be forever changed.  I wonder why so many people resist trying such a simple task. Most of us are in search of finding ways to be happier … and never realize or believe that Happiness is a Choice.

Need proof? Take the SendOutCards.com/loryfabian 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. SendOutCards.com is changing millions of lives. It is truly a phenomenon!  2 million cards of gratitude were sent in 90 days last summer.  Over and over again, we hear most about bad news.  Why does the main stream media neglect sharing the breaking news of people spreading love, hope and gratitude at a faster speed than ever before in history?

People around the world are becoming happier & making the people around them much happier as well. Sending and sharing appreciation and gratitude has a ripple effect that will make the world a better place. (Remember the story about the Boss who rips his Manager who then yells and shouts at his employee?  (Where the term, Stuff Rolls Down Hill comes from.)

When the employee gets home, he kicks his dog and does who knows what to his wife?  If the Boss would thank his hard-working & dedicated Manager, the Manager would then take his employee to lunch and praise him.  When the employee feels recognized and appreciated, he or she gives 110% more to the company, production goes up. The employee takes his wife home flowers and gives his dog a bone. The wife is happy, the children are happy and even the dog is happy!

Sound silly??  Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen if you try showing gratitude to your family and employees? Get rid of your old-school thinking that just because you pay your employees, you don’t have to thank them.  News Flash! Employees & Customers are people too!

Saying thank you isn’t really that hard!! Do you agree that it is so much easier than having to say “I’m Sorry?” Cardinal Rule: It is important that your sentiments are genuine and sincere or they may cause more harm than good.

John Lennon was on the right track when he wrote the song, Imagine, over 20 years ago. Spreading love and peace through cards and words is a great place to start. Agree?

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man (and women)

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

For those who need help coming up with a few ideas on how to show their gratitude, listed below are a few ideas that work for me:

1. Create a Gratitude Journal. John Tesh reported last week that people who keep a Food Journal lost over 50% more weight than those who didn’t.  Oprah keeps a gratitude journal. I believe many of her blessings came from her gratitude and acts of giving.

2. Send a thank-you note. Go to www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian and sign up for the 30 day Gratitude Challenge. Guaranteed to be a life changer!

3. Give a free hug. Donna Naumann, Nurse Practitioner, at Cave Springs Toastmasters recommends giving 9 hugs a day to see and feel immediate results.

4. Give thanks for today! – Thank God that you woke up this morning. Be thankful you are alive.  Today is a gift, be sure to live in the present. Be purposeful on your gratitude…and you will begin to recognize more and more blessings that you have.

5. Random Act of Kindness – A simple gesture of opening a door, paying for the meal or coffee of the person behind you in a drive-through, allow someone in front of you in line at the bank or grocery store in front of you.  Stop, smile & take a few minutes to visit with a senior citizen or veteran.  Most of us will be a senior citizen some day.  Some of us, sooner than later. Be sure to treat them how you wanted to be treated when you reach those golden years. What a great opportunity to show your children how they should treat you! LOL

6. Give a little gift. – Gifts are my love language.  The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. If you know someone whose love language is a Gift, write a surprise love note, deliver a single fresh flower, or share a box of chocolates or wine. Trader Joe has an awesome Hungarian Merlot Wine under $10. Most people’s favorite gift is the gift of Your Time.

7. Send a SOC Card that lists all of the wonderful and favorite things you like about that person. – I promise this card will be a forever card.  (Kids need to hear the good things they do and what you love about them, especially teenagers who tend to be criticized more frequently for what they are doing wrong and not being recognized for what they are doing right.) With SendOutCards.com/loryfabian you can personalize each card for each loved one and include a quote or Bible verse.

8. Acknowledge publicly. – Social Media is a free and powerful tool to give praise and gratitude.  It can be amplified by other friends and make a person glow inside all day or all month.

9. Surprise them with kindness. – Do you really need help with this one?  Probably not.

Ponder this!  We judge ourselves by our intentions, and we judge others by our actions. Why not surprise yourself & take action some today?

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’ William Ward

 

 

5 Ways to Turn Twitter into Your Most Powerful Social Media Tool by Jeff Bullas

What do you use as your daily Social Media dashboard every day?

Most likely not Twitter.com I am guessing.

Yet, in recent months, there were a great number of browser extensions released, specifically for Twitter.com. They help you create a much greater experience right inside Twitter.com.

What I like best about this is that you are in charge regarding how many bells and whistles you are adding. You can basically fully customize your own Social Media dashboard.

 

So here are my top 5 finds you can use to make Twitter.com a truly powerful Social Media tool for you:

Tool #1. Klout for Chrome

Function: Find top users more easily

There has been a lot of discussion around Klout in the last few months. One aspect, where it helps me greatly to make my daily Social Media life more efficient, is deciding how to best interact.

When I only have a few minutes at hand every morning, being able to glance through my Twitter stream with everyone’s Klout score next to their Tweets is a great filter. It helps me make better decisions and at the same time deepen my most important connections:

Tool #2. Buffer

Functions: Optimal timing, multiple accounts posting and old school retweets

Another extension I am using every day is Buffer’s Chrome extension. It puts a brand new Buffer button right into Twitter.com next to your Tweet button. If you click it, you can conveniently add any new Tweet to your Buffer to be posted later on at a better time:

The extension also allows you to Buffer your retweets, either posting them now in old school retweet style or later on, when more of your followers will be online.

There is plenty of more places you can now Buffer from on Twitter.com. Personally, I love going through my Twitter lists of top Social Media experts, Buffering everything that’s handy, without flooding my followers.

Tool #3. Pocket

Function: Save your best article finds to be read later

How often does it happen to you, that you come across a terrific article, but can’t read it right now because you are just too busy? From now on, instead of letting it go into Twitter’s limbo, just save it to be read later on with Pocket’s browser extension:

This way, you can save any article you are finding on Twitter to a reading list available any time later on for you. Personally, I found this to be a terrific way to just spend a few minutes browsing, and “pocketing” everything worth exploring later on:

Tool #4. Tweet Filter

Function: Unclutter your Twitter stream from the noise

One problem I have on Twitter is that it often takes lots of Tweets to glance through, until I spot one that is worth reading. And a lot of the time, it’s not even the people, it’s just that I am looking for certain things throughout the day.

With Tweet Filter, you can easily customize this for your own Twitter stream, getting rid of those Tweets that don’t add any value for you at that moment. Filter out words like “4sq, twitpic or award”. Whatever happens to add little value to you:

Tool #5. Embedly

Function: Get full media previews right inside Twitter.com

The last goodie I have for you to really make Twitter.com as powerful as it gets is a neat extension called Embedly. It allows you to expand any Tweet to show you the full article or video view right inside Twitter.com:

I find this to be a huge time saver. You don’t have to click through and see if the headline is really what you expected, but you can just read the first few paragraphs right where you discover that content:

 5 Quick Workflow Tips To Optimize Your Day On Twitter

Adding those 5 lightweight solutions to your Chrome browser have saved me hours of time every day. In case this helps you at all with your personal workflow, here is how I approach every morning on Twitter with just 20 minutes per day:

1.Glance through Tweets spotting the best ones using the Klout extension.

2.Previewing the articles I like best with Embedly right on Twitter.com

3.Saving those I want to go into more detail with Pocket to read later on

4.Adding the best Tweets straight to my Buffer as old school retweets.

5.Filter out any words that annoy me with Tweet Filter (this is something I don’t do daily though)

Hugs and Peace to Jeff.. Jeff Bullas is one of my Fav Tweeters.  If you’re looking for a short cut to growing your business, be sure to follow Jeff  Bullas on Twitter! 

The Anatomy Of A Social Marketing Campaign: 5 Steps To Success By Scott Lake

With so many social media platforms, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Keep a clear head by following these five steps.

A social marketing campaign is a pretty simple concept:

Use social media to promote an offer and encourage people to perform a certain action. Yet while simple in concept, it’s easy for marketers to get mired in the details and lose track of what matters as they jump from Pinterest to Facebook to SlideShare and Twitter.

At its core, any social marketing campaign boils down to five key elements. Follow these steps to tackle your next social marketing campaign with more confidence and success.

1. Set your goals

Any successful campaign begins with a goal. Before you even think about diving in, focus on what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to increase sales, generate sales leads, or get feedback on a new product? Understanding the goals for your campaign will help you make the right offers, capture useful metrics, and determine how your campaign performed.

It helps a lot if the goal has a quantifiable business objective that you can track. Number of generated qualified leads is a great metric because they can later be tied to sales.

 

2. Develop a valuable offer

Most people don’t like to give up their email addresses or “Like” a brand of Facebook without good reason. That means for any campaign to be successful, you’ll need to provide real incentive. Your offer doesn’t always have to be free, but it does need to useful, valuable, engaging, and/or entertaining. Some common offers include:

•Information about something your audience is interested in

•Sneak peak at a new product or product video

•Exclusive discounts

•Social media contest

 

A key to developing worthwhile offers is having a tieback to your product or service, either directly or indirectly. You might get a lot of social love for providing a link to a free movie pass, but if it’s not related to the software product you sell then what’s the point? In and of itself, the movie pass does nothing for brand loyalty or generating targeted sales leads.

 

Make the offer valuable to people who would also be interested in your products or services. For example, if you sell social marketing software, consider offering a downloadable guide to social marketing. The people who will convert will be much higher qualified leads.

 

3. Create a landing page

A landing page, where people arrive after clicking on a campaign link, is arguably one of the most important, and frequently neglected, parts of a social marketing campaign. A landing page is where you encourage people to sign up, register, download, or make a purchase. The landing page lets you capture a visitor’s information, while the visitor downloads your campaign offer (downloads coupon, free trial, etc.). A social marketing campaign can drive traffic to your landing page, but it’s up to the landing page to convert those visitors into qualified leads for your business.

There are two common options for creating a landing page: Make it yourself on the web or use Facebook. Creating a web-based landing page offers more control over the page and its analytics–making it easier to test page variations and optimize the content.

Whatever method you choose, your landing page needs to have a clear call to action, a form to collect information to qualify a lead, and an explanation about what someone will receive after submitting their information. Before launching a landing page, you may want to create at least two versions with different headlines, graphics, or text. This lets you run A/B or multivariate tests to determine which one converts the best.

You may also want to create specific landing pages for each of the social communities that you are marketing. For example, a landing page that converts well for Twitter may not be optimal for your Facebook or blog audiences. The point is that you should always be sure to optimize the landing page for the highest number of conversions.

 

4. Launch the campaign

With a nice looking landing page (or two) created and an offer tied to your campaign goals, your social marketing campaign is ready to be launched. Decide how the campaign will be promoted. Just because it’s designed for social media, doesn’t mean it can’t be promoted using other channels such as email lists or offline. Work the hype machine.

Often, social marketing campaigns will be spread across several networks. In most cases, it’ll be Facebook and Twitter, but there are dozens of other social networks that can be embraced. For example, use Foursquare for location-based offers (i.e., coupon for a restaurant chain), or LinkedIn to promote an enterprise white paper.

If you run your campaign on multiple networks, repackage the message for each network to avoid being annoying or repetitive. Mix it up, and test out different posting styles and times. By creating more variations, you can get insight into what worked and what didn’t.

Don’t forget to use your email lists to promote your social media marketing campaigns. Many companies have nice email lists but only want to use them to put out a boring newsletter. Try to remember that email is one of the most useful social networks you’ll ever use. Don’t believe me? Put a shortened link to your website in your signature and see how much traffic it drives. You’ll be surprised.

5. Use shortened links

Since links are what send visitors to your campaign landing page, they can give you essential information on how various elements of your campaign are performing. Shortened links should be able to tell you what campaign the person interacted with, and which social property was used to promote the link. This info is usually hidden in the form of a browser cookie, which is activated when the link is clicked on. Once the cookie is in place, tracking code on the landing page will tell you if someone took advantage of your offer.

Use generated shortened links that let you track activity in real time and make changes on the fly. For example:

•Scheduling posts: Which post times drove the most conversions?

•Message creation: What combination of words and graphics attracted the most attention?

•The Medium: Which social networks are converting? Is anyone coming to the campaign from your non-social promotions?

Shortened links also solve the problem of “first touch” versus “last touch” attribution. Since social marketing offers often get cross-posted onto different social properties, the cookie generated in the shortened link will always be able to tell you what the true origin of your leads are and from which campaign and on which social properties they have responded to.

Next steps

After your social marketing campaign is a success, the obvious question is: What do all these signups really mean? Now that you’ve brought leads to the door, you have to offer more value, in addition to what attracted prospects in the first place. Don’t just carpet-bomb them with information. These leads are the most valuable data your brand will encounter: You need to treat them with the utmost respect and strategically lead them through your sales cycle.

To get more savvy about social media, sign up for Fast Company’s daily newsletters.

Peace and Love to Scott Lake.

He is the founder and CEO of Source Metrics, a social marketing optimization platform focused on ROI. He is the cofounder and former CEO of Shopify. You can find him on Twitter.

5 Crucial Tips for Editing Your Own Writing by Ali Luke

Measure the effectiveness of your writing

Are your blog posts, mailouts, sales pages and ebooks as successful as they should be?

If you always end up dashing them off in a hurry (or if you fret over every comma but never make any structural changes) then you’re falling down at the editing stage of writing.

No writer, however good, produces a perfect first draft – but every writer, however inexperienced, can hugely improve their work through editing.

Here are five crucial tips that you need to follow:

#1: Allow Plenty of Time for Editing

Maybe you’re always hitting “publish” right on deadline, or every Tuesday is a mad scramble to get your newsletter out.

If you never have time to edit properly, then write fewer pieces of content. Most readers are overwhelmed with blog posts and emails, and they’d rather have one great post each week instead of five mediocre ones.

#2: Write Then Edit

Do you find yourself editing the start of every sentence before you get as far as the period?

If you edit while writing, you’re going to make slow progress. You might never finish a piece because you get bogged down part way, or because you keep changing your mind. It’s much more efficient to get the whole thing written first and then turn your hand to editing.

#3: Let Your Work Rest Before You Edit

Perhaps you already edit your work, by changing around a few words around as soon as you finish each piece.

Instead, let each piece of content rest – for a few hours, or a few days – before you start editing. That way, you’ll see it with fresh eyes. Yes, sometimes you’ll need to edit immediately – but that should be a rare exception, not a habit.

#4: Fix Big-Picture Problems First

When you begin to edit, do you start fixing typos and fiddling with punctuation?

The first stage of editing is to get the focus, structure and flow of your post right. That might mean cutting, adding or rearranging paragraphs (or whole chapters, in an ebook) or altering the tone or style. There’s no point perfecting every sentence in a chapter that you later cut completely.

#5: Edit for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Last

If you’ve ever had a reader point out an embarrassing spelling mistake – one that’s been on your site for weeks or months – then you’ll know why getting the details right is so important.

Once you’re happy with the overall shape of your post, you can fix typos, spelling and grammar mistakes, and punctuation errors. That means reading through carefully, paying attention to anything that your spell-checker flags up – but also watching out for commonly confused words, like “its” and “it’s”.

Editing might not seem very exciting or creative … but it’s a crucial part of the writing process. By developing strong editing skills, you can make sure that your message comes across loud and clear. If you’ve got any questions, or any tips of your own to share, just pop a comment below.

 

Love & Peace to Ali who is a writer and writing coach based in the UK.

13 Ways to Create a Cringeworthy Social Media Presence by Corey Eridon

In May 2012, a new free social media tool called Klouchebag hit the web. If you haven’t played around with it already, it’s a tool that tells you how … uh … annoying you are on Twitter. Yeah, we’ll just go with “annoying” for the sake of this blog post. But it got me thinking: social media can be chock full of valuable content, but it’s often buried among the mundane and useless social media updates, or hidden behind poorly constructed social media profiles. And this makes a marketer’s job mighty hard.

So this post is going to outline all of the worst offenders we’ve seen in social media. If none of these apply to you, congratulations! Use these as entertainment over your lunch break. Otherwise, consider these cautionary tales to help protect your own social media strategy.

13 Ways to Make People Hate Your Social Media Presence

  • Launching a Private Social Media Account

Social media is about talking with and meeting new people. It’s right there in the name — social media. So why on earth would you set up a social media account and then set it to, gulp, private? That’s exactly what CVS did when they launched its CVS_Cares Twitter account. If you had tried to follow them around launch time, this is what you would have seen:

Seriously? Well, luckily they learned their lesson and now have a fantastic, active, public account! Remember, the benefits of using social media for your business are virtually wiped out when your social media accounts aren’t public — it prevents you from growing your reach, getting visibility for the content you publish, and growing referral traffic and leads back to your website.

  • 2) Having a Disproportionate Follower:Following Ratio

Have you ever seen an interesting tweet or gotten an alert that someone new is following you on Twitter, open up their profile to learn more about them and see if they’re someone you’re interested in following, and see one of the following screens?

Let’s break down each scenario, starting with that first set of data. This particular tweeter is following 825 people, but only 21 people have decided to follow him/her back. Why might that be? Well, the account only has 8 tweets. That’s not enough content to convince people you’re a worthy account to follow. Instead of maniacally following hundreds of people with the hope that one follows you back, spend time writing interesting tweets, linking to great content that you and others have created, and retweeting others’ tweets to build relationships and earn your followers.

Now let’s take a look at the second set of data. 4,044 people are following this person, and he/she has only returned the favor for 5 people. What gives? We just got done talking about how social media is a social platform … and that doesn’t sound like a two-way conversation to me. In this particular scenario, there are enough tweets to back up the large followership, but a lack of reciprocation such as this can rub many people the wrong way and prevent you from growing your social media reach at the highest rate possible.

  • 3) Writing Updates That Are Too Long

Did you know that Facebook lets you post an update that is 63,206 characters long? Nokia did. In fact, when Facebook expanded the character limit this past February, they took it as an opportunity to test the limits with this expansive status update on their Facebook page. If you’re counting, I cut it off a little less than halfway through.

Obviously, this was a joke (and a great marketing move!) by Nokia, but it certainly proves a point. Is anyone going to read so much text? If your updates are even approaching the length of the update in the screenshot above, get yourself an editor stat. In fact, data from Buddy Media shows that the ideal length for a Facebook update is less than 4 or 5 lines — posts under 80 characters receive 27% more engagement.

  • 4) The Airing of Grievances

You know what no one cares about? This.

Late last year, a Boloco employee tweeted about disliking her job at Boloco. Bad move, but pretty common. What ensued was a dramatic Twitter firestorm from the Boloco CEO, a truncated version of which is pictured above. It all started when he took to firing the employee over Twitter, and then tweets shot back and forth about the situation, attracting horrified onlookers.

The lesson? Keep your personal business to yourself and off of social media — whether you’re an employee, or an employer. If your brand, or employees representing your brand, go on a rant like this, you look petty, unprofessional, and offer nothing of value to your audience. There’s not much else to say on this one except if you’re thinking about using your social media presence as a soapbox to rant and rave, step away from the keyboard and walk away. Your PR team will thank you for it!

  • 5) Talking Smack About Competitors

It’s not just public rants that make you look petty. Attacking your competitors on social media makes you look just as unprofessional, and gives your more sensitive customers another place to send their business. Does anyone remember the Whole Foods case from the early to mid 2000s? For 7 years, Whole Foods CEO assumed an online identity completely unaffiliated with Whole Foods, visited forums and blogs, and posted complimentary comments about Whole Foods while smack talking a smaller direct competitor — who they then ventured to purchase. Aside from an SEC investigation when this was all uncovered, this type of behavior makes your organization look extremely unprofessional. Even if you’re tempted to draft a snarky Facebook update or pointed tweet, hold your tongue and rise above!

  • 6) Making Off-Color Comments

Finally, the last in the series of reputation management disasters. You’d think it would go without saying that joking about or commenting and capitalizing on sensitive news is the wrong way to go about newsjacking. You’d think. But for some reason, every few months we hear about some brand or spokesperson making off-color comments to propel their Twitter following or make a few extra bucks. Remember this tweet from Kenneth Cole?

When considering popular topics in the news to discuss in your social media updates, remember that everyone has a different sensitivity level. Sure, pushing the boundaries is alright, but defer to your common sense; if you’re on the fence about whether you should post something, you probably shouldn’t.

  • 7) Publicly Solving Customer Service Issues

Whether you like it or not, people will take to social media for customer support. Which is why more and more brands are being proactive by maintaining a social media presence (some have set up accounts dedicated solely to customer service, in fact) so they can handle questions and complaints expeditiously. Where some brands fall short, however, is failing to direct customers to an offline or private channel to actually solve their problems. Take a look at how KLM handles a customer service issue correctly on its Facebook page.

See how they sent Ali a private message to handle the details? That’s the right method — nobody wants to see how Ali is going to get a replacement card through a series of back-and-forth comments. The value is in seeing that KLM can handle all manner of customer service issues on its Facebook page, not how they solve them. Don’t clog up your fans’ and followers’ feeds with customer support, and show them that you’ll handle their problems quickly and professionally over email, the phone, direct message, Facebook message, etc.

  • 8) Hijacking Hashtags

What’s hashtag hijacking, you ask? Here’s an example from HabitatUK, courtesy of Social Media Today.

Notice all those hashtags called out in red? At the time, they were very popular hashtags (some still are) that indicate lots of people on Twitter are talking about that particular subject. So if your tweet includes the hashtag, it will appear in that popular conversation. Great! More visibility for your content, right? Well, yes, but it’s not good visibility, because those hashtags have absolutely nothing to do with what

HabitatUK does — sell home furnishings. When you hashtag hijack, you’re putting irrelevant content out to the masses and frankly, spamming. That’s not the reputation you want to have in the social sphere.

  • 9) Piling Your Tweets With Too Many Hashtags

Speaking of hashtags … Twitter has forced a certain kind of social media shorthand on us all. People r used 2 writing n reading updates in a dif way to fit everything into 140 characters. We’ve also all gotten used to reading through tweets interrupted by a hashtag — an annoyance, yes, but one that lets us piggyback on trending topics and find content related to our field more easily. But there’s such a thing as hashtag overload, as evidenced in this tweet:

I’m thrilled that this user shared my content! But including four hashtags — pretty generic ones, at that — make this tweet hard to read, give it a spammy feel, and doesn’t really contribute to the conversation around the subjects of social media, marketing, Google+, or Pinterest. Instead, choose one or two hashtags to include in your tweets that will really contribute to the conversation happening around those topics.

  • 10) Insulting Your Customer Base

Seems obvious, right? It wasn’t to online pawn show Pawngo. After the 2012 Super Bowl, Pawngo dumped a huge pile of Butterfinger candy bars in the middle of Boston’s Copley Square a day after New England’s heartbreaking loss. The reference was to New England Patriot’s receiver Wes Welker dropping the catch that sealed the team’s Super Bowl loss. Take a look at one of the tweets Pawngo sent out leading up to the PR stunt:

Pawngo ✔@Pawngo We’re giving Boston a late morning snack to get over Sunday’s loss #butterfingers

7 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Seem like a low blow? Customers certainly took it that way — and they took to social media to let them know. Quite a different hashtag than the one above, eh?

PROPER @plymptonproper 8 Feb 12 @Pawngo You’re venture capital group shouldn’t be impressed by PR stunt. Good business is a game of addition, not subtraction. #Customerlost

Pawngo ✔@Pawngo @plymptonproper Sorry we lost you as a customer. If you live chat w/one of our reps on the site, u might realize that we’re not that bad :-/

8 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Thing is, Pawngo really meant it to make Boston fans feel better; but it didn’t feel that way to Boston residents. Make sure you know your customers well enough to joke around with them before getting so familiar like Pawngo did.

  • 11) “Targeting” Poorly With Automation

Otherwise known as spamming people. That’s what happened to AT&T back in March when they were trying to capitalize on the March Madness hoopla for which they had set up a promotion. The goal was to get the word out about their contest to those who would be interested, but what actually happened was poor targeting. Take former HubSpot employee Brian Whalley, for example, who was the recipient of one of AT&T’s tweet. Brian doesn’t follow AT&T, he has never been their customer, he doesn’t tweet about basketball, and there is no indication he is even a sports fan, according to his biIn fact, the only thing Brian had in his profile to indicate he might be interested in the March Madness promotion was the fact that he lives in one of the many cities in which the promotion was happening. And it wasn’t just Brian Whalley who noticed this problem, either. Thousands of spammy tweets had gone out to unsuspecting tweeters that had little or no interest in such a promotion. Which brings us to our next cringeworthy social media activity …

  • 12) Posting WAY Too Frequently

Another result of AT&T’s social media automation snafu was a barrage of tweets that clogged up people’s news feeds. Take a look at this posting frequency:

That’s multiple tweets a minute. And nobody has that much remarkable, relevant content to share. Every social media network has a different optimal posting frequency. In fact, Twitter lets brands get away with the highest frequency of all the social networks because content is buried so quickly. But tweeting more than once an hour has shown to decrease the click-through rate of your links by over 200%, according to HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella. And if you’re using Facebook or Google+ for your brand’s social media presence, shoot for 3-5 updates per day.

  • 13) Retweeting Instead of Generating Original Content

Okay, so I did a little photo editing of my own Twitter account to prove a point for this one, but it did come from a particularly RT-heavy week for me. See those green arrows in the top right corner of every tweet? Those indicate the tweet was written by another user, and retweeted by me to my followers.

Retweeting is a way to share someone else’s content — a good thing! But doing it to this extent is going too far. That’s because people have followed you to hear what you have to say. That means they want to hear your original ideas, see links to your content, and get access to the content others have published that you find valuable. If your balance tips too heavy on that last part, back off the RT button and start creating more of your own content that you can publish to your fans and followers.

Shout out to Corey Eridon @ HubSpot

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process by Ellie Mirman

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process

by Ellie Mirman.

In an effort to break through the clutter and get the attention of more potential customers, are marketers going too far? A recent article from Forbes reported that decision simplicity was the number one driver of likelihood to buy, and the impact of simplifying purchase decisions for consumers is 4x stronger than the favored marketing strategy of engagement.

In fact, research company Corporate Executive Board (CEB) also found that a 20% increase in decision simplicity results in a:

96% increase in customer loyalty;

86% increase in likelihood to purchase and;

115% increase in likelihood to recommend.

CEB is not the first organization to tout simplicity as a key driver in increasing conversions and sales. MarketingExperiments also advocates for limiting “unsupervised thinking” among your prospects in order to effectively guide more people to conversion. As it relates to landing pages, many marketers have adopted a lot of best practices based on this principle — removing navigation and distracting calls-to-action, keeping forms short, and clearly advertising the value of the offer. But this principle is applicable to all areas of our marketing — by simplifying our marketing, we can illuminate the path to conversion to drive better results.

**Below are 16 ways you can simplify your marketing to make your prospects’ decision-making process easier.*

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process

1) Add Calls-to-Action

The first place to start is to add a call-to-action (CTA) to your website. On any given web page, you should be able to answer, “What do I want people to do here?” Then, make it clear to your visitor that exact path. Do you want them to call you? Download an ebook and become a lead? Follow you in social media? Tell people exactly what you want, and it’s more likely they’ll end up doing it. Effective calls-to-action use actionable language (e.g. “Download Now”), numbers, a sense of urgency, and stand out among the rest of the page.

2) Limit Distracting Calls-to-Action

On the flip side, you don’t want to overwhelm your prospects with too many calls-to-action. From the visitors’ perspective, suddenly they’re in Times Square with ads all around, and they don’t know where to look or what to do. Rather, you want to create a one-way street — not a 10-way intersection that paralyzes your prospects or helps them tune out your calls-to-action. If you do have multiple CTAs on a page or in a piece of content, make one primary by featuring it more prominently, and when your prospect clicks through to its actual landing page, remove any additional navigation links or CTAs on that page to focus their attention on completing the conversion you want them to.

3) Deliver What’s Advertised

Some sneaky marketers used to do a bait and switch — advertise a raffle for a free iPad, but when someone clicked through, they’d display an ad to buy a car. Any time you deliver on something different from what’s advertised, you not only confuse your leads, but you also generate unqualified leads. If someone’s signing up because they’re interested in iPads, it’s very possible they’re not going to be interested in whatever you deliver that is not an iPad.

4) Tell People What They’re Getting

Any time you’re offering something to your prospects, be clear about exactly what it is. The point of the offer is to give your prospects a reason to engage with you — if they don’t know what it is, why would they bother? Is it an ebook, a webinar, a slide deck? What is the topic covered in your offer?

5) Tell People WIIFM?

Not only do you need to tell people what they’re getting, but you also need to explain why they should care — the value of your offer. In other words, ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM?). Any transaction should be an equal (or better) exchange between you and your prospect; for example, they give you their email address in exchange for a free ebook.

6) Don’t Hide Your Pricing Information

Any time I come across a website with no pricing information, I start to think that something is fishy. Either they customize their pricing for every deal individually (in which case, I worry I’m going to get tricked into a worse deal), or the price will be so high it’s out of my range. Either way, I’m not interested in engaging with your company. Don’t withhold your pricing information. Instead, make it easy to navigate to within the products section of your website.

7) Provide Product Guides (About Your Product and Your Industry)

I (as a prospect) have a decision to make: whether or not to buy your product, or possibly opt for another competing product. I’ll take any information you or anyone else can provide to help me with that decision. Providing product guides — either about your own product or an analysis of the industry and the competing products available — is a great help in supporting your prospects’ evaluation process.

8) Share Recommendations/Testimonials From Customers and Experts

While it’s great to provide your own take on your product and the industry, you are of course biased, so providing any third-party recommendations — from users or experts — is a great way to ease a prospects’ decision to go with your company. At HubSpot, for example, we curate social media threads, blog articles, and case studies from customers and experts and feature them on our website — even on our homepage.

9) Let People Know How They Can Get in Touch

How can prospects get in touch with you? By phone, through email, via online chat? Make it clear on your website how people can get in touch with you, so those hottest prospects can reach out when they most want to talk with you. At HubSpot, this was a big piece of feedback we heard from our prospects — a lot of people wanted to talk with someone and didn’t know how. As a result, we added our phone number and a way to contact sales in the footer of every web page on our site.

10) Align Navigation With What Your Buyers Are Looking For

As marketers, we can sometimes get lost in our own work and how we discuss things internally, and if this translates into our marketing, it can cause a lot of confusion for your website visitors and prospects. For the content on your website, think about how your buyers speak, think, and what they might be looking for — and align your content and navigation around those revelations.

11) Surface Top-Searched or Top-Visited Content

Aside from surfacing the key sections of your website that your prospects want to navigate to, take a look at the most popular content on your site, and surface that as well. By looking at your most popular content (top-searched, top-visited, etc.) you can understand more about what your prospects are looking for and make it even easier for new prospects to find it. Two great ways to do this is to feature your top-performing offer on your homepage, and list the most popular articles on the homepage of your blog.

12) Don’t Ignore Questions or Feedback

Sometimes we marketers get tough questions and critical feedback — especially considering prospects’ ease of commenting on blog articles or speaking up in social media. Oftentimes, ignoring these comments can worsen the situation, leaving a prospect unhappy or inciting them to post even more critical comments. Every time a prospect asks a question or provides feedback, you’re given a great opportunity to engage with them and address any questions or issues they have. Be sure to monitor and respond to any blog or social media comments to catch these opportunities to lead more prospects to conversion. There are plenty of free and paid tools available to help you monitor conversations in social media. And if you’re both a HootSuite and HubSpot customer, you can use our closed-loop social integration to directly monitor your leads on Twitter!

13) Categorize Your Content by Skill Level, Role, Etc.

It’s very likely that you’re already targeting different types of potential customers — various roles, backgrounds, and needs among your buyer personas. Help these personas to self-identify what content and which products are best suited for their particular needs by categorizing and labeling your content. At HubSpot, they label their content by skill level (introductory, intermediate, and advanced — just check out the top of this very article!) and by industry and role (small business vs. marketing teams, non-profit vs. ecommerce, etc.). This helps your prospects find the best content for them more quickly, rather than giving up, getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content we provide, or getting lost on your website.

14) Assign a DRI/Owner for Each Channel/Asset

A DRI is a Directly Responsible Person — an owner for a particular asset. Having an owner for each marketing channel or asset allows you to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. You’ll be more able to evaluate the potential conversion paths, respond to questions from prospects stuck at different stages of the conversion path, and make sure you’re getting the best results from each channel and asset. Here are a few more ideas for structuring an effective marketing team.

15) Pick a Campaign, and Focus All Channels on It

It can be overwhelming to juggle a lot of different offers, channels, and campaigns all at once — both for you as a marketer, and for your prospect as someone following your company. Look for opportunities to combine marketing efforts and focus multiple channels on a single campaign. Not only will you rest a little easier, but you’ll also get better (compounding) results and help focus your prospects on your top campaign.

16) Focus on the 1-3 Metrics That Are Most Important to Your Business

Not only do you want to simplify your prospects’ experience with your company, but you also want to simplify your marketing efforts. This helps you focus your efforts for better results. A key part of that is focusing on a few metrics that are most important to your business, as this will influence your strategy and where you focus your time, your calls-to-action, and other efforts mentioned above. To determine which metrics should drive your strategy, spend some time determining your marketing team’s specific goals, and then identify the top metrics that will indicate success or failure to achieve those goals.

Shout out to HubSpot