Your Twitter Following Is About to Drop. Here's Why.

Your Twitter Following Is About to Drop. Here's Why.

Twitter announced today the latest of its effort to fight platform abuse and maintain authenticity on its network.

This week, wrote Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead Vijaya Gadde in a statement, Twitter will begin removing locked accounts from users’ total follower counts, potentially causing these numbers to drop significantly for some.

An account becomes “locked” when Twitter detects some sort of sudden suspicious activity from it, like tweeting a high number of out-of-context mentions or several links to false content.

In these cases, Gadde explains, the network lets the account owner know about the activity, and requests that it be revalidated with a new password. Until that happens, the account remains locked and the owner is unable to log in.

Now, these accounts will be removed from total follower displays for all users globally.

The majority of users, says Gadde, will lose a maximum of four followers — but those with a significantly higher following, like celebrities or major verified brands, might see a major reduction in these numbers.

These changes will take effect over “the next few days,” writes Gadde — starting as early as this Thursday, according to the New York Times

The announcement comes after a recent report from the Washington Post that Twitter is suspending roughly one million suspicious accounts each day since about May.

Twitter’s stock price fell the business day after the story ran, but since rebounded — and has held steady in the hours following today’s announcement.

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 2.35.44 PM

Source: Google

Most of this recent activity from Twitter — from its sweeping removal of suspicious accounts to removing locked ones from total follower numbers — are part of its ongoing efforts to improve the “health” of the social network.

In March, Twitter posted an official request for proposals from the public to conduct a comprehensive study of the social network’s ability to maintain, as CEO Jack Dorsey put it, “collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation.”

Along with such other Big Tech counterparts as Facebook and Google, Twitter has come under fire for not only failing to sufficiently fight platform abuse — but also, for allowing the network to be weaponized by foreign actors with the spread of false and divisive content to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Some public figures have been especially outspoken about their dissatisfaction with Twitter’s response to this ongoing crisis of communication — and according to our own survey data, skepticism of the company’s ability to truly resolve these issues is somewhat widespread.

Twitter has said it wants to fix platform abuse once and for all. Do you think it actually will? Data collected using Lucid

If and how this latest move from Twitter will have a significant, lasting impact on the network’s health remains to be seen — but as for its impact on users, some are likely to experience more setbacks than others.

“Follower counts have always been a controversial metric,” says HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick, “but it’s the main way marketers assess the reach and influence of someone on social media.”

“Follower counts have always been a controversial metric.”

– HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick

“The people who will be most impacted are the ‘influencers’ who have tried to buy their way to the top,” Dick explains, who might see more of a drop in follower counts than those with a more authentic Twitter audience.

“Many influencers have built genuine audiences through high quality content, and they shouldn’t have much to worry about,” he continues. “The rest … watch out.”


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Unriddled: New Ads on Facebook (This Time in AR), YouTube's Fight Against Fake News, and More Tech News You Need

Unriddled: New Ads on Facebook (This Time in AR), YouTube's Fight Against Fake News, and More Tech News You Need

Welcome one, welcome all to another Wednesday: the day that marks the halfway point — almost — to the weekend.

As the summer continues to progress and the days are hot and sunny, we know there isn’t a ton of time to spend on pouring over news. So, in keeping with tradition — we’ll keep this week’s “Unriddled” quick.

It’s our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we’re breaking it down.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Facebook Is Testing Ads in AR

Wouldn’t it be nice if — upon seeing a picture of an outfit, accessory, or pair of shoes you like online — you could see what it might look like on you, without having to try it on? Now, Facebook is testing ads that allow users to do just that.

michael-kors-AR

Source: TechCrunch

At F8, the company’s annual developer conference, both augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) took center stage, with Facebook promoting its various products and features within both. That’ll soon be extended to ad partnerships with a handful of brands — including Michael Kors and Sephora, for example — that allow users to “try on” different products through AR. Anthony Ha of TechCrunch has more.  Read full story >>

2. YouTube’s New Fight Against Fake News

Following the spring launch of the Google News Initiative, YouTube (which is owned by Google) has announced new efforts to curb less authentic video content — e.g., that concerning conspiracy theories — and promote high-quality journalism. The video-streaming giant says it will do so in part with a $25 million investment to build partnerships with such media companies as Vox, as well as filling new support roles to help news publishers better leverage the platform. Read full statement >>

3. Groupon Is Seeking an Acquirer

Daily deal site Groupon is looking to be acquired. According to Recode, the company has been courting public companies to gauge interest — and pay up. Groupon went public in 2011, when it was valued at $16 million — now, that number has dropped to $2.4 million. Read full story >>

4. Sonos Files for an IPO

Sonos, which among competition from Google and Amazon has made something of a name for itself within the smart speaker market — filed for an initial public offering last week. The audio electronics company will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market as “SONO,â€� and according to both The Verge and SEC filings, is in a strong financial position to do so. At the end of Q1 2018, Sonos said it sold 19 million products in about 6.9 million households globally, and at an average rate of three speakers per customer. Read full story >>

5. Scooter-Sharing Is a Big Deal, but No One’s Heard of It

Following announcements of Uber’s major investment in electric scooter-sharing company Lime, it’s clear that this “trend” is becoming more than that. And, this isn’t the first of the attention its earned from folks in Silicon Valley, including venture capitalists. But our research shows nearly two-thirds of people haven’t heard of it. How will this latest transportation trend go mainstream? Read full story >>

6. Twitter’s Sweeping Account Suspensions

The week did not start out well for Twitter, who was the subject of a report from The Washington Post on its massive account suspensions, which are recently averaging in the millions. But even with the social media company making a point of promoting its efforts to curb platform abuse, our survey data says over a third of users are skeptical. Read full story >>

That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you’d like us to cover.

Featured image credit: Facebook


Source: New feed

Personalization Versus Privacy: Making Sense of the Privacy Paradox

With so much competition online, personalized content and appealing to the individual consumer is a key way for businesses to break through the noise.

As customers, we want businesses to know what we want and tailor the content we see accordingly, but when companies appear to have too many insights into our personal affairs it sets alarm bells ringing — and quite frankly freaks us out — making us less likely to engage with the company again for fear of spilling more proverbial beans on our private information.

Whilst on one hand we’re more informed than ever about how marketers may be controlling our personal data, and are more cautious about protecting it. On the other hand, we are still sharing personal information freely online on a daily basis and liberally ticking boxes to agree with pages and pages of terms and conditions that most of the time we haven’t even read …

Welcome to the Privacy Paradox, a term coined to describe the way in which consumers today are torn between their desire for personalized content and their natural instinct to protect their personal information.

Are we signing our lives away?

Whilst the media are always quick to name and shame companies for their questionable use of personal data, consumers have to take a certain level of responsibility for how these companies managed to get their hands on this information in the first place.

In a recent experiment run by two communications professors, a fictitious social media platform was created and people were asked to read the terms and conditions before registering. Only 25% looked at the terms and conditions and 98% of respondents (that includes most of the 25% that claimed to have read through the legislation) signed consent without even noticing that paragraph 2.3.1 of the contract required them to surrender their first-born child to the organization as payment for the free service.

I think it’s safe to assume that this is not a hidden clause we have to be on the lookout for any time soon, however, it does demonstrate how many consumers are likely to be somewhat accountable for personal data leakage simply through disregard for terms and conditions and agreeing to contracts before they know what the relationship entails.

Why are we so generous with what we share?

The question of why we are so forthcoming with our personal information could generate enough discussion for an entire thesis, but ultimately it all boils down to three main factors:

1. We now live in a culture focused on documenting our lives rather than just living them.

When something exciting happens to us, before we even stop to truly enjoy it ourselves we’ve posted it on every social platform we can to make sure the world knows how much fun we’re having. The convenience of having instant access to what’s going on in the world, being able to share stories with all of our friends simultaneously and the ego-trip of seeing ‘likes,’ ‘loves’ and ‘tears of laughter’ when we do share distracts consumers from considering what prying corporate eyes may also be taking note of their activity.

2. Our right to privacy is invisible, inaudible and intangible.

Therefore, when we give it away, we don’t feel like we’re really parting with anything, much like putting those expensive shoes on our credit card and being stung by the interest later.

3. It makes for an easy life.

Smartphones and home working policies have made the nine-to-five shift a thing of the past for many corporate workers, and with those that work part-time often juggling childcare, household jobs, family food shops and trying to squeeze the gym in for good measure, time has become an invaluable asset. As a result, any brand or service that promises to save us time or offers efficiency is hard for consumers to refuse.

Personalization

The Business Perspective

For businesses, there is huge financial opportunity in personalizing content — it’s been suggested that personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI and boost sales by at least 10% (McKinsey) so it’s understandable why business owners are trying every trick in the book to capitalize on this powerful technique.

Long-term, having access to personal data will enable businesses to elevate their consumers’ experience of their website to a much superior level than their competitors, and therefore the brand will become synonymous with excellent service resulting in more organic traffic.

Mary Meeker’s internet trends report 2018 boldly claims that ‘there’s no need anymore to create generalized content as personalization and local marketing can lead to more successful results.’ However, some marketers are so dazzled by the depth of information that modern technology can unveil, they seem to have over egged the pudding when it comes to personalizing data and need to remember it’s the quality not quantity of customized content that matters.

Data collected by Accenture for their 2016 Personalization Pulse Check report shows that almost two-thirds of consumers who reported a brand experience that was too personal or invasive did so ‘because the brand had information about the consumer that they didn’t share knowingly or directly, such as a recommendation based on a purchase they made with a different business.’

Digital marketers need to apply the same social etiquette as if interacting with their consumer on a real-life, personal level. For instance, a shop assistant will discuss preferences and requirements with a customer in a high-street store in order to better understand their tastes and direct them to the relevant items in the shop to help them make an informed purchase.

However, they will not then follow that customer for the rest of the day recording their shopping activity ready for their next visit, that would be absurd. When we put the concept into a real-life situation, it’s easy to see why many consumers now feel that businesses are crossing the line when it comes to taking advantage of their personal data.

The Consumer Perspective

Consumers and businesses are not always on the same page when it comes to the use of personalized content in advertising, as illustrated by CEB’s research below:

 

(Source)

The fact that almost half of consumers were ‘creeped out’ by the way in which online ads had used their details suggests that they weren’t aware marketers had access to this information. One reason for this is that many consumers don’t truly appreciate what the term ‘personal data’ encompasses and what scraps of information marketers are pulling together to create customized content.

Bank details, addresses and passport numbers are all clearly data we actively protect, but research has shown that most moves we make online can be manipulated to uncover sensitive information that consumers think is secure.

For example, during his talk at TedxGhent 2014, Bram Bonne describes how information sent out by our devices when connected to free public Wi-Fi networks can easily be picked up by others on the same network. So companies could be picking up personal information you are sharing through messenger conversations, emails and websites simply through your use of their free public hotspot.

This type of invasion can be avoided but it relies on the consumer to actively read the privacy policies displayed to them and to ensure the required security tools are in place. This requires effort and more importantly time but, as we know, this is a highly valuable commodity in the modern age so it comes down to what consumers value more: their time or their privacy.

Making Sense of the Privacy Paradox

As terrifying and futuristic as this all sounds, it isn’t really news.

Companies have been tracking customer buying patterns for decades right back to the first supermarket club card scheme, the strategy has just simply evolved with the times and technology. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware that if a company really wanted to control our data, then they could, whether or not they should is another matter.

To exist harmoniously in the Privacy Paradox, both consumers and businesses need to adjust and take responsibility for their actions. Consumers need to start paying attention to what they are agreeing to and change their thought processes to consider the long-term consequences of sharing their personal information with the world wide web, not just the immediate gains.

Likewise, businesses need to start being transparent and practicing some restraint when collecting personal data and only seek information that will enhance the experience of the service they are offering. Less is more, and if consumers feel like a company knows too much about them, they probably do.


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The Best B2B Lead Gen Campaigns for Every Channel

The Best B2B Lead Gen Campaigns for Every Channel

Lead generation for B2B is not about chasing a “secret method� that results in a ton of leads. Instead, building the best lead generation strategy for your business is more about understanding tried-and-tested channels, and finding the most effective combination of tactics for your unique goals.

A disciplined B2B marketer should understand the different dynamics, budgets, and expectations typical of each lead generation channel.Download the beginner's guide to converting website visitors into leads for  your business here.

This article will help you gain insights into each major channel for B2B lead generation, including social media, PPC, blogging, and email. Best of all, we’ll show you effective strategies and impressive real-world examples for each.

Social Media Marketing Strategies

Social media is now a critical component of B2B marketing. It often doesn’t cost much for paid ads compared to traditional advertising costs, but offers broad mileage. However, unlike B2C where social media is among the most effective digital marketing channels, it’s more complicated in the B2B market.

What is the conversion rate of social media?

While there’s no single answer for B2B social media conversion rates, there are some calculated assumptions you can use to gauge efficacy. A Marketo study pegged social media conversion at 1.95%, vs. inbound at 3.82%, after studying more than 4,000 user account’s data.

Anecdotal stories, like the case of SaleCycle, suggest social media falls short in conversion rates compared to other B2B digital channels, despite its wide reach.

Quantity over quality seems to be the norm when it comes to B2B social media lead generation. This makes it an ideal channel for top-of-the-funnel awareness — for instance, you might promote a downloadable ebook to capture quality leads with an initial offer.

There are two main channels you should focus on:

  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Facebook Lead Ad

Let’s dive into each of these primary B2B social media channels now.

LinkedIn Ads

It’s no surprise that LinkedIn, the go-to B2B social network, has above-the-board figures when it comes to B2B social media conversion. LinkedIn is the top social media platform for B2B marketers, so it’s a viable channel to pursue.

Source: 2016 Content Marketing Institute.

However, investing your energy in a channel with high engagement rates doesn’t automatically guarantee success. The tactics you use on LinkedIn need to:

  • Audience targeting based on buyer persona
  • Lending to the ad a newsworthy, topical angle
  • Continuously testing CTAs, images and copy

You can learn more about the nitty-gritty of LinkedIn Ad strategies from this LinkedIn-HubSpot 2-week free course.

Facebook Lead Ads

You should also integrate Facebook Lead Ads into your social media strategy. A 2017 survey by research firm BCG showed 60% of B2B buyers used mobile in their recent purchases. Additionally, online business queries have been shifting rapidly towards mobile for the past few years.

Since Facebook Lead Ads are designed for lead generation inside the world’s largest social media channel, they’re especially potent. Facebook launched this service in 2015, after their analytics showed users found it difficult to signal to businesses their intent on Facebook mobile. Facebook Lead Ad solves this problem because it allows B2B users to sign up for your offer in just two taps, without leaving the social network. It’s both targeted to your audience and highly customizable.

Facebook Lead Ad isn’t designed to replace your landing pages. AdEspresso found their Landing Pages and Lead Ads had nearly identical cost-per-lead at around $0.94. While Facebook Lead Ad helps you capture leads inside Facebook, your landing pages are still necessary for capturing leads from organic search and PPC.

For more details, check out this step-by-step procedure on how to create Facebook Lead Ads.

Facebook Lead Ad lets your prospects sign up for your offer inside the social media mobile interface.

Examples of Great B2B Social Media Lead Generation Campaigns

Case #1: Use of scarcity and exclusivity. EntreLeadership used scarcity (a limited-time offer) to increase the value of their offer. Their slogan — “Sharing Dave Ramsey’s business wisdomâ€� — rings exclusivity. It’s a chance to gain rarefied insight. Their visual is also engaging, with the use of light colors against a dark background, while the key messages and CTAs are clearly highlighted.

Case #2: Asking for only the data you need. FreeAgent understands asking only for an email address during the first encounter greatly reduces opt-in friction at the early stage. More customer data can be gathered later in the campaign as leads are qualified with more product-specific offers. In the beginning, the email address-only approach guarantees a wider initial lead base.

Case #3: Give before you get. Digital Marketer doesn’t sell — it gives something valuable away for free. That’s a compelling deal. Their image amplifies the message and the CTA is clear but subtle. Instead of selling anything, Digital Marketer simply hooks leads through the law of reciprocity, which makes users feel they should return the favor during a later engagement.

PPC Lead Generation Strategies

Pay-per-click (PPC) lead generation campaigns focus on a wide range of paid advertising platforms — the most popular being Google AdWords and Display Network. However, you’ll find a wide range of PPC lead generation options outside of Google, including:

  • B2B review directories or comparison sites
  • Trade media display ads
  • Social media advertising
  • Affiliate marketing

What is the conversion rate in PPC lead generation?

The general consensus for Adwords conversion rate is 2.70%, and Display conversion is averaged at 0.89%. But the rates vary depending on your industry. It’s important to know your industry benchmarks. A good starting point is to ask the PPC vendor of their average conversion ratio across the board. This lets you evaluate your campaign results better.

Should PPC replace organic marketing? No — they complement each other. For instance, many high-value keyword searches have only PPC ads above the fold like this:

In other words, even if you have good organic ranking, it may be buried under PPC ads. Google researchers ran statistical models on their SERPs to find out if paid search eats up organic traffic. The result showed 89% of traffic generated by paid ads isn’t replaced by organic.

An Example of an Efficient PPC Lead Generation Channel

Among the PPC platforms mentioned above, B2B review directories and comparison sites can provide a uniquely fresh lead source. In a crowded industry, other PPC channels are most likely already saturated by big players in your space, the ones with deep pockets.

For instance, in SaaS, a highly competitive industry across verticals, AdWords bidding is highly competitive, so you need to target a lot of relevant keywords. Sometimes competitors even bid for keywords against your own brand — like this example, where Netsuite ranks higher for “Intuit Accounting”.

For many SaaS startups and SMBs, having another lead source like B2B review sites provides the option to meet and even surpass monthly lead quotas. Let’s take a closer look at which popular marketing tools are used for lead generation by such sites. For example, here’s what FinancesOnline, one of the top software review platforms, offers:

1. Lead generation campaigns: The review site can link directly to a vendor’s sign-up landing page, encouraging people who read your review to try out your free-trial next. These campaigns can generate as much as 24% conversion rate.

2. Premium placement: In an increasingly commodified SaaS category, like a CRM where features are more standardized than unique, being included in a premium placement can make or break your sales opportunity. You have a much higher chance of attracting new leads if you’re listed among the most popular solutions, as prospects will usually only try out a few products. Make sure you get on such a list, because your competitors are probably already there.

3. Industry awards: When buyers are comparing your product to your closest competitors’, having your product stand out thanks to a featured quality award can have a critical impact on your sale. FinancesOnline, like many other review platforms, can give your product an edge with such awards.

Here’s how premium positioning on FinancesOnline looks like

It’s important you look for a third-party online marketplace in your industry, and get in touch with these middle-men to ensure your product is listed.

Blogging Lead Generation Strategies

Blogging is at the core of content marketing, which is a strategy that focuses on creating content that is interesting or valuable to your defined audience with the goal of attracting and sustaining online engagement for leads down the road.

A lot has been said about the benefits of business blogging. Let’s reiterate the major advantages that apply to the B2B market:

  1. Drive traffic to your website. With the right SEO planning and editorial calendar, your blog gives you search presence, linking you to keywords being searched for by your prospects. Every blog post you write is one additional indexed page to get your content on Google.
  2. Convert traffic to leads. A well-placed CTA in a compelling blog post can direct prospects to your landing page for leads.
  3. Repeat business. A blog can delight existing customers with fresh content for repeat business or referrals.

How efficient is blogging for B2B?

As part of content marketing, blogging has its advantages. Here are three essential ones you should know:

  1. Content marketing generates 3x more leads vs. traditional marketing (DemandMetric).
  2. Businesses using content marketing experience 6x higher conversion rates vs. non-adopters (Aberdeen).
  3. Custom content influences 61% of consumers (Dragon Search Marketing).

Blogging also establishes niche authority and places prospects within your sphere of influence. We don’t need to go far — just search “inbound marketingâ€� or its derivatives and you’ll come across HubSpot consistently.

How effective is blogging in the long run? At HubSpot, about 90% of the leads their marketing team generates each month come from blog posts that were published in many months or sometimes years ago.

Which content types drive lead generation?

The content types listed below are most effective when they align with your marketing goals. In short, the hard work is still on you — you have to develop topics that are lead magnets to your audience.

  1. Authoritative posts: Topics you’re an expert in.
  2. Solid opinion pieces: Insights backed by data.
  3. Original research: Commissioned for industry consumption.
  4. How-tos: Tips, tutorials that address prospects’ problems.
  5. Trending content: Piggybacks on popular topics relevant to your business.
  6. Infographics: Information turned into digestible visual bits for easy consumption.
  7. Videos: Did you know 72% of prospects prefer to watch a video than read to learn about a product? (State of Video Marketing Survey, Wyzowl 2017).

Examples of Great B2B Blogging Campaigns

Case #1: Running your blog like a media pro. HubSpot is influential when it comes to inbound marketing. But it didn’t happen by accident — HubSpot’s marketing team works hard to run their blog as a media site with a full editorial calendar and a team of writers and editors manning the front.

HubSpot’s blog publishes tips, listicles, ideas, inspiration, insights, reports, ebooks, white papers, videos, etc. all relating to inbound across its niche segments in marketing, sales and service. The blog even outperforms entrenched business media like Forbes and CNN Money in SERPs about inbound marketing.

Case #2: Know who you’re talking to. FreshBooks is clear about its target audience. In fact, the first step to having great content is to know your audience (your “Ideal Customer” personas). For FreshBooks, this means delivering “actionable insights into all aspects of running a small business.â€�

Case #3: Banner your thought leader. Have a resident thought leader and put his or her insights and opinions about your business and industry into your blog posts. Your thought leader should be writing regular posts to leverage SEO and brand association, both of which can result in more leads down the road. Even Seth Godin needs to write daily.

Email Marketing Lead Generation Strategies

In a world of posts, likes, and shares, email doesn’t look sexy, but it is as relevant today as it was years ago. In fact, email is often the bridge between marketing automation and CRM, two cloud solutions most widely used by marketers today. The email opt-in is still the starting point of lead generation and email marketing is the core of lead nurturing.

How does email marketing hold up today? Actually, it was the best B2B digital marketing channel in 2014, according to a Chief Marketer study. Two years later, in 2016, DemandWave released its State of B2B Digital Marketing Report, which showed email marketing is right at the top of digital channels driving leads and revenues for U.S. B2B marketers.

The advent of automated lead scoring, predictive analytics and AI algorithms only reinforce email marketing with laser-focused, personalized touches and real-time delivery. In short, email marketing is still one of your best tools to engage intent signals, distribute content and deliver pitches.

What is the conversion rate of email marketing?

You’re looking at two variables when it comes to email marketing:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR)

A GetResponse study puts the overall email open rate average at 82.20% and CTR at 21.69%. The report further divided the figures by location, with North America at 21.01% (open rate) and 3.50% (CTR). By industry, internet marketing has 18.05% open rate and 3.16% CTR.

Meanwhile, Marketing Insider Group puts email marketing conversion into another perspective: you earn $44 for every dollar spent on email marketing. The general consensus is, yes, email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates, corroborating the DemandWave findings above.

Which factors influence email marketing conversion?

It takes creativity to brainstorm your content or offer, but with that aside, email marketing is more like a science. You can measure it, analyze it, and improve it. Here are the key factors that affect your email marketing conversion rates:

  1. Value offer: You must have a lead magnet to attract email sign-ups, whether it’s value content, freebies, deals, or anything that is interesting to your audience.
  2. Landing page: Optimize it by having a clear offer of your lead magnet, compelling CTA, permission and appealing visuals.
  3. Email subject line: Short, crisp, and compelling with clear benefit to the recipient.
  4. Segmentation: Split your list into sublists for more targeted messages, which will allow you to increase you open and click-through rates.
  5. Analytics: Run analytics to do regular clean-up of your lists and update it as necessary based on past recipient actions.

Examples of Great B2B Email Marketing Campaigns

Case #1: Storytelling. At its core, email marketing is about your message, and here’s where your skill in storytelling can weave magic into a bland topic like a business workshop, captivating the prospect’s interest. Perry Marshall, the best-selling author of Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, is a master of storytelling, able to hook seemingly unrelated subjects together, and all leading to his value offer.

Case #2: Use of humor. The visual allusion to the iconic film character used by Grammarly, the Godfather (and the cat!), is witty and helps engage readers for those few critical seconds. he vendor also uses a funny tweet at the bottom to cap the offer with even more humor. Note that the use of humor is tricky and can backfire if executed poorly; but in this case, it’s tightly woven into the offer’s message.

Case #3: Housekeeping. Email marketing isn’t all about the welcome — some goodbyes are in order, too. Cleaning up your list is one step towards qualifying leads for higher conversions down the funnel. Hire Value makes sure its list is updated by sorting out inactive subscribers.

 

Top 10 Lead Generation Best Practices

Our brief case studies above didn’t happen by accident, but rather as a result of their marketers’ relentless pursuit of techniques that work efficiently. We’ve highlighted some of these above, but let’s leave you with this checklist on the 10 best practices in lead generation:

  1. Target the right audience. Know your buyer personas. In B2B, your audience could be different people in different departments. Often, you don’t have an audience, but micro-audiences with varying interests and pain points.
  2. Create lead magnets. Develop content or offers that pique the interest of your target audience. The best lead magnets use NLP techniques in marketing, such as, clear, tangible benefit, urgency, exclusivity, social proof, authority and immediate gratification.
  3. Explore new lead channels. Search, social and top media sites are expectedly crowded with high-value sponsorships. You can, however, discover unique PPC channels like the B2B software review site FinancesOnline in our example above, or similar third-party marketplaces for your industry. Because these sites cater to your customers, they tend to have higher conversion rates and dominate high-value general organic search keywords.
  4. Capture the right information. The rule of thumb is to get only the most basic customer data at the initial stage (e.g. name and email address) and, as you work the lead down the pipeline, ask for a little more data.
  5. Score, sort, segment leads. Not all leads are valuable and not all have the same value. Based on your metrics, run a lead scoring tool to sort leads into proper segments, which will let you target your micro-audiences with personalized messages and offers. Today’s marketing automation software like HubSpot is very powerful and can automate this important process.
  6. Blog consistently. Regularly posting content improves your SEO, authority, brand awareness, industry stickiness, and, generally, your web presence.
  7. Integrate organic and PPC. These two complement each other. When executed together, they can fill in the gaps. For example, you can run paid search for any organic keywords for which you’re not ranking highly.
  8. Benchmark your conversion rates. Don’t be content with seeing your rates improve month-to-month or year-to-year. Compare them with the competition — that’s the true picture of your business’ competitiveness.
  9. Automate. The best marketing automation will put your lead generation in auto-mode, by capturing leads from your campaign, scoring them, nurturing them throughout the lead pipeline and qualifying and handing them over to sales.
  10. Go mobile. Mobile marketing is the next battlefield for B2B leads. More business buyers are using their smartphones in the purchase journey. Make sure your forms, emails, websites, and ads are optimized for mobile.

Those are some of the best B2B lead generation campaigns and techniques at your fingertips. Apply or reapply these time-tested techniques and share with us how much they improve your lead volume

Intro to Lead Gen

 
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The 8 Essential Management Skills You Need to Lead a Successful Team

The 8 Essential Management Skills You Need to Lead a Successful Team

Last week, on the Fourth of July, I was feeling rather patriotic, so I decided to binge watch the HBO classic Band of Brothers. The critically acclaimed mini-series takes place in Europe during World War II, recounting Major Richard Winters’ leadership of Easy Company from a grueling boot camp to the invasion of Normandy and on to the end of the war. The series is a touching tribute to these brave soldiers, and in my humble opinion, it deserves all seven of the Emmys it won.

But if there’s one thing I’ll remember about this show, it’s a scene that’s only three minutes long: Major Winters orders an ambush on Axis soldiers who are resting in an embankment across a field from them. But before his soldiers can charge, he tosses a smoke grenade and bolts across the field alone. He wanted the Axis to target him before they could target his men.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

Major Winters was willing to sacrifice his own life to preserve his company’s, and his courage and selflessness remind military leaders everywhere that you should serve others before you serve yourself. If you lead a team at work, this scene will also resonate with you — your job is to help your people succeed and achieve their goals.

But being a great leader isn’t something you can easily pick up and just start doing. Like any other skill, you have to work on it. So before you start channeling your inner Major Winters, here are eight management skills you need to learn to lead a team toward success.

The 8 Essential Management Skills You Need to Lead a Successful Team

1. You make your people feel safe at work.

Major Winters was an easy leader to follow because he always trekked into danger first, fought for his men, and did everything he could to protect them. He absorbed most of the risk so his men had a better chance of survival. And they respected and revered him for it.

Great leaders are always willing to protect their people, even if it means sacrificing their own interests, comfort, and a good metric or two. They want their people to feel safe at work. They want them to always know that they won’t get chewed out or lose their job if they fail. Their people know they can grow from these failures. And this results in a higher level of trust and cooperation.

When a leader risks and sacrifices herself to protect and improve her people, they’re willing to move mountains for her. Why? Because they know she’s already doing the same for them.

2. You can change your mind.

Even the smartest people get things wrong. But what seperates a good leader from a great one is the ability to admit that they’re wrong and change course in light of new information. Unfortunately, a lot of leaders won’t change their minds, even if it’s the right choice, because they don’t want to seem weak. Others have too much pride to admit that they’ve made a mistake. They’d rather pull rank and remind their subordinates that they’re in charge.

But admitting you were wrong requires a lot more strength than sticking to something that hurts your team or company, just because you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into it. For instance, Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, a company that provides open-source software products, decided to go to market without integrating a newly acquired product into one of their new technologies in 2008. He didn’t want to spend three months rewriting code and making it open source. But he soon discovered that he had made a huge mistake: Red Hat’s associates and customers didn’t like using the product. And the only move the company could make was to rewrite the code. It would push them a year behind schedule.

The delay angered and frustrated his employees, and most of them thought Whitehurst wasn’t competent enough to run the business. But instead of blaming the issue on external factors, Whitehurst blamed himself. He owned up to his mistake and told the company why he made his decision. They then understood the rationale behind his decision. Not long after, many of his employees told him how much they appreciated his honesty and that he changed his mind about their go-to-market strategy. And that’s what ultimately earned him back their trust and support.

3. You understand the importance of team bonding.

Sometimes, team outings can feel like a forced way to bond — kind of like the annual Christmas get-together with your cousins growing up — but after a slightly awkward beginning of the night, you’re having a great time. And by the end of the night, you don’t really want to go home.

Solving an escape room or participating in a scavenger hunt can contribute to this fun, but most of it stems from bonding with your team on a personal level and learning about each others’ personal stories.

Sharing stories and having positive social experiences is the best way for a leader to develop trust with their team. Both of these things trigger the release of oxytocin, the hormone that helps us empathize with people, and it prompts us to help, relate, and care about others in the same way we do for our families. In other words, it’s the best way connect.

Having genuine conversations about what you and your team are passionate about, your lifestyle, and career motivations will break down barriers and build your team’s trust with each other and you, their leader. And this personal trust is what you need from your team to passionately support your overall mission and purpose.

4. You’re empathetic.

Every good leader should be able to be empathetic, right? Well, according to two Canadian neuroscientists, the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the harder it is to feel empathetic.

The part of your brain that triggers empathy is the mirror system. And whenever you see a person do something, it activates the thoughts and intentions that spark when you do the same exact thing. This helps you understand what motivates that person’s actions. But when you hold power over others, like in most leadership roles, the mirror system isn’t very stimulated, making it harder to place yourself inside other people’s shoes.

To stay on the same level as your team, consider trying a management technique called perspective-taking. If your colleague says something that frustrates you, take a step back and ask yourself why they took that position. How do they feel? Where is this perspective coming from? If you were in their role before, try to remember what it was like doing their job. Think back to your biggest fears and challenges. What made you feel threatened or insecure? Ultimately, perspective-taking will allow you to understand the root cause of your team’s problems and help solve for them.

5. You challenge your team.

During the 1988-89 NHL hockey season, Brett Hull led the St. Louis Blues with 41 goals scored. And after the season ended, he walked into his exit meeting with his head coach, Brian Sutter, expecting nothing but praise. But Coach Sutter didn’t give him any praise at all. In fact, he told Hull he needed to get better. Hull had the potential to be one of the greatest hockey players to ever live, but he could only be a Hall of Famer if he improved his work ethic. The next season, Hull arrived to St. Louis in the best shape of his life. And he almost doubled the number of goals he scored, with 72. The season after that he scored 86 goals. Hull was eventually inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame, and it’s all thanks to a coach who pushed him to train and perform at his best.

Like Brett Hull, everyone on your team can level up. Even your top performers. And to help them enhance their work ethic and skill set, push them to reach their potential and let them handle their own projects. They’ll be grateful for your guidance at the end of the day.

6. You don’t let your emotions influence your decision making.

Great leaders do what’s right, even if it causes a great deal of emotional pain. If they need to let someone go, even if they personally like them, they let them go. When they need to give constructive criticism to someone, even if they don’t want to hurt their feelings, they tell them what they need to improve on. The easy way out never pays off in the long term, and great leaders can blast through any anxiety or discomfort to do what’s best for their team.

7. You’re transparent.

Great leaders trust their people, especially with information. They know their team can sense problems in the organization. And since humans have a psychological bias that makes them more scared of ambiguity than risk, they make sure to provide as much information as possible about the issue and clearly communicate that they’re doing everything they can to resolve it.

Keeping things under wraps will only make their team feel anxious and unsafe — if they know something’s wrong, and they know their leader hasn’t disclosed all the information, they’ll ruminate about the worst possible outcome. And this is likely to scare the leader’s team and make them lose trust in him.

8. You acknowledge and appreciate your top performers.

As a leader, you must know how to make your team feel valued. It’s one of the most important emotional needs to meet. If you don’t, your team will feel unhappy at work — failing to recognize employees is one of the most common causes of employee dissatisfaction. To make them feel important to the team, happier, and incentivize them to keep improving, recognize and reward your employees for their accomplishments. You can does this in front of their peers, one on one, or even on Slack. This is also a way to inspire other members of your team to improve and earn recognition too.

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How to Use Snapchat Geofilters to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

How to Use Snapchat Geofilters to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

With over 100 million daily active users, Snapchat provides the opportunity to reach a massive audience. Snapchat is also the most popular social media platform for teens ages 13-17 — a hard demographic to reach through more traditional marketing efforts.

But how can your business best engage with Snapchat users? Sure, you can buy Snapchat ad space, but that won’t allow your message to spread organically. To get the most out of Snapchat, you might want to check out Geofilters. A national Geofilter can typically be seen by 40 to 60% of the daily Snapchat audience — that’s 40,000 to 60,000 people. Local Geofilters have impressive scope, as well. Bell Media ran a Geofilter campaign for five hours at The Quad at the University of Alabama, and reached over 19,000 people.Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. 

A Geofilter is a location-based overlay you can find by swiping right on your Snapchat photo. It’s a particularly useful tool for promoting your business. If you create your own Geofilter, anyone on Snapchat in your chosen location can use that filter on their Snapchat images and videos — which means you’ll attract a large audience without much effort at all.

To clarify what a Geofilter is, here’s a picture of a Starbucks’ Geofilter, which I can only find from my current location (near a Starbucks in Boston):

A Geofilter can help you alert foot traffic of your business’s nearby proximity. It can also spread brand awareness to users both in and outside your chosen location, as users can send a Geofilter to anyone regardless of their location.

There are two types of Geofilters you can create — personal or business. For our purposes, we’ll focus on creating a custom business Geofilter to supplement your marketing strategy. However, you’ll follow similar steps if you’re creating a Geofilter for personal use, like a wedding or birthday party — the only step you’ll change will be the last one, where you’ll select personal instead of business.

Disclaimer: You must abide by Snapchat Submission Guidelines when creating a custom Geofilter. Read these before submitting your filter.

How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter:

Creating a Snapchat Geofilter takes almost no time at all — the only challenging aspect is the design itself. Take a look at the 12 steps you need to follow to create a Geofilter for business or personal use.

1. First, go to Snapchat’s Create a Filter or Lens product page and click “Create Filter�.

 

2. You have a few options for design. You can use a Snapchat pre-made template, create a custom filter using the Snapchat design tools, or “Upload� your pre-designed filter from elsewhere. For our purposes, I’ll upload my design.

3. Canva provides pre-made Snapchat Geofilter templates for easy design, so I chose to use Canva. However, you could also use Photoshop, Illustrator, or virtually any other design tool, particularly if you’ve got something specific in mind.

4. You can use Canva templates to create filters for conferences, national holidays, birthday parties, weddings, or any other event. I created one for “HubSpot’s Sponsored Weekend Market� (yes, this is fake … ). I chose a template and simply filled out the text boxes.

5. When you’re happy with your Canva design, click “Download�.

6. You need to download your filter as a PNG.

7. Your PNG image size must be 1080 x 2340 — you can resize the downloaded image in Preview, Photoshop, or another tool.

8. Now, back on Snapchat’s Create a Snapchat Filter page, click “Upload� and import your PNG file. You can add color, text, or other elements from within the Snapchat page, or click “Next�.

9. Choose the dates you want your Geofilter to appear, or select “Run indefinitely�. Then, click “Next�.

10. Choose the area you want your Geofilter to appear — your location cannot be more than 50,000 square feet. Then, select “Checkoutâ€�.

11. Here, you’ll specify if your filter is for business or personal use. If you select “Business�, you’ll need to include a filter name and a business name.

12. When you’re satisfied with all your filter specifics, including dates, location, and design, input your payment information and click “Submit�.

Snapchat Geofilters are one of your cheapest social media paid marketing options, so it’s worth giving it a try if it fits with your target audience. If you’re still a little hesitant, take a look at our complete Snapchat Marketing guide for further inspiration.

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Scooter-Sharing Is a Big Deal. There's Just One Problem: No One's Heard of It

Scooter-Sharing Is a Big Deal. There's Just One Problem: No One's Heard of It

Everything old is new again. 

That’s so often the case with fashion, movies, and other key elements of pop culture. And now, it’s true of the modes of transportation we use to get around — in some cities, anyway.

When I was in San Francisco in April, it seemed that — in nearly an instant — everyone was talking about electric scooters and the new system of sharing them: scooter-sharing. 

My fellow tech reporters were tweeting jokes about their popularity. Abandoned, unreturned scooters were strewn about sidewalks throughout the city, many residents still trying to figure out how they ended up there, or what purpose they even served.

Nevertheless, this mode of transportation — which many of us haven’t considered since before we had driver’s licenses — has been on the minds of Silicon Valley professionals. Among them are investors, who are leading to the valuation of some of the companies behind electric scooters to reach the billions.

But if you haven’t heard about this new transportation trend — despite its popularity — surely, you’re not alone. (That’s what our research shows, anyway.) Allow us to enlighten you, and figure out if (or how) scooter-sharing will go mainstream.

Will Scooter-Sharing Be the Next Uber? Maybe, Once People Hear of It

What Is Scooter-Sharing?

The concept of scooter-sharing is comparable to the models of Uber, Zipcar, or city bike rental programs. With scooter-sharing, electric scooters are available to rent for short-term periods, and some of the companies behind them — like Lime — offer similar systems for traditional bicycle rentals. 

Equally similar to ride-sharing systems like Uber and Lyft, most scooter-sharing also requires an app through which users can unlock a scooter for a ride by scanning a QR code on the handles. Here’s what it looks like on Lime (since Lime-S, its scooter-sharing service, isn’t available in Boston yet, I was obligated to pretend-scan a plant on my desk.)

IMG_2171-1 IMG_2172

Scooter-sharing companies, at least in San Francisco, are currently stuck in what Megan Rose Dickey of TechCrunch calls “a bit of a legal gray area” — they aren’t fully regulated, though they’ve faced issues in cities like Indianapolis and Honolulu, and  the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is looking to create some sort of legislation that would formalize how these companies operate within the city.

Some companies appear to have rules, however, such as requiring a helmet or a valid driver’s license to operate the scooter, the latter of which is a traffic law. (When I downloaded both Lime and Bird, I wasn’t asked to provide proof of a valid driver’s license, though I also didn’t get to the point of fully unlocking a scooter.)

Bird asks users to bring their own helmets, while Lime provides the option to purchase one from the company — though, again, it’s unclear how either verifies that the rider is following that guideline.

IMG_2174 IMG_2170 IMG_2175

The (Un)Awareness of Scooter-Sharing

Several arguments have been made in favor of scooter-sharing permeating the market. It’s been advertised as an alternative to automobile use, as Lime’s own data indicates that 60% of users said their Lime-S ride replaced a trip that would have otherwise been by car — personal, rideshare, or taxi.

And while scooter-sharing’s relationship with public transportation is up for debate, it appears as though this newer mode of transportation might complement bus or subway systems. That same data from Lime also indicates 40% of users got to or from public transit stations on one of its scooters.

electric-scooters-in-san-francisco-6

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Source: Lime

It’s worth mentioning that Lime’s survey sample was 7,000 scooter riders in San Francisco — for context, that’s about .08% of the city’s population, which has placed a market cap of 1,250 Lime-S scooters (which 93.8% of the company’s survey respondents said was too few).

But outside of this tech-centric metropolis, what do people think of scooter-sharing? According to our data, most haven’t really heard of it.

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This data raises the question: Can scooter-sharing go mainstream, and if it can, how will it get there?

The Sustainability of Scooter-Sharing

Here’s the thing about ride-sharing systems that use traditional automobiles: They’re complicated.

Lyft, for instance, has communicated an intention of reducing car ownership overall by making its services more widespread. That can have several implications for the environment, city planning, aging populations, and others who drive less for a number of reasons.

But Christina Bonnington of Slate points out a bit of a contraction there: Although “250,000 Lyft users abandoned vehicle ownership in favor of ride-sharing, and half of its users reported driving less frequently now … the company put 520,000 additional drivers on the streets” in 2017.

How good that is for the environment is up for debate.

That’s where the impact of bike- and scooter-sharing programs come in. The scooters run on battery power, eliminating any fossil fuel emissions. As for bicycles — well, they’ve been known as one of the eco-friendliest and healthiest modes of transportation for years.

The same could soon be said of traveling by scooter. Lime, for its part, reports that more than 250,000 trips have been taken on its scooters since its San Francisco launch, which translates to an “offset in airborne pollutants … equivalent to 280,389 lbs CO2 saved.”

And while it might not be a vigorous cardiovascular workout, it could be argued that it’s still healthier than a mode of transportation where the commuter is largely sitting — whether that’s in a car, bus, or subway train.

But just as many emerging transportation trends before it — like ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles (the second of which is still in it earliest days) — there are safety concerns to consider alongside the benefits. Scooter riders still need to share the road with cars (riding on sidewalks is discouraged), and as I mentioned earlier, the enforcement of the helmet requirement is ambiguous.

If I had to predict scooter-sharing’s viability, I would specifically point out how, historically, transportation and related safety concerns have evolved. Automobiles, for example, didn’t always have seatbelts. Once upon a time, helmet laws for traditional bike riders didn’t exist. And as for ride-sharing, we’re watching it continue to iron out its kinks in real time.

But have a look at the progression of user numbers within the ride-sharing industry since 2016 — and where it’s expected to go by 2022. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 2.56.03 PM

Source: Statisa

When Uber first emerged in 2009, it was nearly unheard of — especially on the east coast. There were few drivers. The idea seemed like a radical novelty. And getting a ride took, if I remember correctly, at least 20 minutes before the car arrived.

At present, scooter-sharing appears to be at a similar point. There appears to be some lack of awareness around it, as well as accessibility — the service is in its earliest stages and is only available in a limited number of cities.

Despite this lack of awareness, investors have taken note.

Take Lime, for instance, which recently received a direct investment from Alphabet (Google’s parent company) — which is part of a bigger $300 million funding round. That round also includes GV — Alphabet’s investment arm — which was also an earlier investor in Uber.

Are we seeing a pattern yet?

Whether good or bad, the concept of scooter-sharing raises eyebrows — and could be here to stay. Let’s watch, and see where this new, niche ride takes us.


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The Definition of Negative and Positive Feedback Loops in 200 Words or Less

The Definition of Negative and Positive Feedback Loops in 200 Words or Less

Negative and positive feedback loops are used to draw attention to significant product or company issues. These feedback loops use customer or employee complaints to create long-term product or workplace solutions.

Here, we’ll dive into the definitions of negative and positive feedback loops, and provide examples, so you can ensure your company is using constructive customer and employee feedback to cultivate higher customer retention, and a happier workplace.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

The Definition of a Negative Feedback Loop

A negative feedback loop is a process where a company listens to customers’ complaints or grievances, and then uses that feedback to improve their products or customer service. It’s considered a loop because the customers’ feedback (output) is used as constructive input on a redesign of their product, creating a circle.

The negative feedback loop benefits both businesses and customers — customers feel valued and respected by the business and are more likely to become long-term advocates for the brand, and the business’s design is improved to increase customer satisfaction.

To explore successful negative feedback loops in more depth, let’s take a look at some examples.

Negative Feedback Loop Examples

1. Best Buy

Best Buy, the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, effectively uses a negative feedback loop to improve their customers’ experience.

In 2010, Best Buy created a research tool, called VOCE (Voice of Consumers Through Employees), and used it to collect customer feedback and complaints.

Steve Wallin, Senior Director of Best Buy’s Consumer Insights Unit, said, “Our ability to listen and learn from our customers in real time allows Best Buy to lead the industry, helping people bridge gaps in selection, service and convenience.�

After they collected customer feedback via VOCE, Best Buy took immediate and drastic steps to improve their service model. Among other things, they streamlined their mobile pickup orders, separated the Customer Service and Geek Squad so customers weren’t confused where to go for which service, and created a “Geek Squad Lounge,� so customers could find one-on-one help before leaving the store.

Ultimately, Best Buy saved money and guesswork by listening to their customers and strategically improving areas their customers cared about most. If, instead of a negative feedback loop, Best Buy used market research, they might not have been as effective in targeting aspects of their service most directly impacting their customers.

2. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s, a grocery chain, ranked in third place in 2017 for the grocery store with the highest customer satisfaction, ahead of Whole Foods. To maintain that high standard of customer satisfaction, Trader Joe’s doesn’t employ traditional customer service methods, like service reps manning phones.

Instead of traditional customer service, Trader Joe’s puts a strong emphasis on in-person interaction between employees and customers. Their retail staff spends most of the day on the floor, interacting with customers and immediately responding to their needs.

Trader Joe’s employees’ attention to human interaction is necessary for impressive customer service. Trader Joe’s often goes above-and-beyond to respond to any negative feedback. For instance, when Marynne Aaronson requested her favorite soy ice cream cookie in their Reno, Nevada branch, they stocked up on it just for her. In Phoenix, Trader Joe’s opened before nine a.m. so the Phoenix customers could shop earlier, when they wanted.

Those one-off experiences aren’t necessarily easily replicable, but they’re hugely influential for creating long-term customers.

The Definition of a Positive Feedback Loop

A positive feedback loop is a process where a company listens to employees’ complaints or grievances, and uses that feedback to improve internal structure and workplace satisfaction. As a result of improved workplace satisfaction, the company is then able to increase their profits. It’s considered a loop because employees’ feedback (output) is used as input on a restructuring of the work culture, creating a circle.

A positive feedback loop, essentially, focuses on employees’ input to make the workplace better — as opposed to a negative feedback loop, which focuses on customers’ input to make the product better.

A positive feedback loop can be a formal or informal process, in which you collect employee feedback on their overall work satisfaction, and respond to that feedback to make your employees’ happier.

A positive feedback loop is essential for your business’s long-term success. Having happier employees is valuable, but not just for employee retention — it’s also critical for your company’s financial success. In an excerpt from Noelle C. Nelson’s book, Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy, she found stock prices for Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work Forâ€� rose an average of 14% per year since 1998 — compared to six percent rise since 1998 for the market in general. Ultimately, studies have found employees are willing to invest more time and effort into their work when they are happy at the company.

Positive Feedback Loop Examples

1. Microsoft

In 2014, Microsoft hired a new CEO, Satya Nadella, to deal with Microsoft’s toxic work culture. The high pressure and intense internal competition at Microsoft had turned employees against each other. The employees no longer felt united.

After Satya Nadella was hired, his first major project was restructuring the company to alleviate the competition between departments. To tackle this, he asked every employee to re-focus on three common goals. He outlined these goals in an email sent to his employees, along with his new mission statement for Microsoft’s culture: “Team, I believe that we can do magical things when we come together with a shared mission, clear strategy, and a culture that brings out the best in us individually and collectively.�

Satya Nadella ended his email to Microsoft employees with this remark: “I believe that culture is not static. It evolves every day based on the behaviors of everyone in the organization.�

Nadella used employee feedback to improve internal structure and unify the company. Now, Microsoft doesn’t operate under divided teams with competing goals. Instead, each product falls under one vision, so employees can happily share responsibilities and work together.

2. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines, a U.S airline, first started flying in 1971 — at the time, their vision was “to make flying affordable enough that anyone could fly.â€�

Katie Coldwell, Director of Communications at Southwest Airlines, said, “Once we achieved this mission, it would have been easy to step back and say, ‘Okay, we’ve done it, we’re done.’ But we didn’t. We kept aspiring for something greater.� In the summer of 2013, Southwest Airlines rolled out a new mission statement: “to become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.�

While it might’ve been easy to remain loyal to their old mission, Coldwell explained it was important for Southwest to outline a deeper purpose in their mission to inspire employees and make them feel like they were making a difference. This is more important than ever — in a 2016 Purpose at Work LinkedIn Global Report, 75% of purpose-oriented professionals reported satisfaction with their jobs, compared to 64% of non-purpose oriented professionals. Additionally, purpose-oriented professionals were more likely than non-purpose oriented professionals to stay at a job for more than three years.

To increase a sense of purpose in the workplace, Coldwell encourages companies to ask their employees, “What is the value you bring to the world?�

Southwest Airlines has been listed on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work for eight consecutive years, from 2010 to 2018. Their flexibility and openness to change, despite being an older and well-established business, enables them to grow and continually inspire employees.

How to Gather Your Feedback

If you’re ready to use a negative feedback loop to improve your own product or service, take a look at our Customer Feedback Strategy guide. You might choose a survey, an NPS, or a feature request board to collect valuable information from customers — or, depending on your business’s onboarding process, you could collect product feedback when you speak with customers.

If you’re ready to use a positive feedback loop to improve employee satisfaction, consider some of the steps Microsoft or Southwest Airlines took to make their employees happy — perhaps you try collecting feedback via email or department leaders, or adopt anonymous feedback systems like the Employee Net Promoter System (ENPS).

Ultimately, there’s nothing better for your business than happy customers and happy employees, and both of these loops are critical for achieving both.

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YouTube Analytics: The 15 Metrics That Actually Matter

Some marketers might have an unhealthy obsession with metrics — they track too many of them. Maybe we think we can prove any marketing campaign is producing results if there’s a eye-catching percentage by its name. But, deep down, we all know that some metrics are more revealing than others.

There are a ton of KPIs that provide minimal insights. Fortunately, though, we created this guide to help you navigate YouTube Analytics and measure the metrics that actually matter. It’ll save you from drowning in the sea of analytics that most marketers only have a lifebuoy in, helping you not only stay afloat, but swim safely to land.

Read on to learn about the YouTube metrics that actually matter, and how they’ll enhance your video strategy.

YouTube Analytics: The 15 Metrics That Actually Matter

1. Watch Time

Watch time is the total amount of minutes viewers have spent watching your videos. It’s a key metric because YouTube elevates videos and channels with higher watch times in their search results and recommendations section. YouTube does this because the more watch time a video has, the more engaging their algorithm presumes it is.

In the watch time report, you can see the amount of watch time your videos have accumulated. You can also rank each of your videos by watch time and group your videos by themes, styles, and lengths to determine your most engaging types of videos.

2. Average Percentage Viewed

Average percentage viewed is the percent of each video the average viewer watched. It measures your video’s ability to hold viewers’ attention for its entirety. And when YouTube realizes your videos can hold people’s attention, they’ll reward it with higher search and recommendation rankings. You can find this metric in your watch time report.

3. Average View Duration

Average view duration is the total watch time of your video divided by the total number of video plays, including replays. This metric measures your video’s ability to engage viewers. If your video can’t engage viewers, they’ll bounce from your video quickly, leaving you with an unimpressive average view duration. But if your video can engage viewers, your average view duration and total watch time will increase at the same time, boosting your search and recommendations rankings. You can also find this metric in your watch time report.

4. Audience Retention

Audience retention shows you the percentage of viewers who watch and leave your video at every single moment of the video. YouTube elevates videos with high audience retention in their search rankings and suggestions because these videos can effectively capture viewers’ attention.

Audience retention can also inform your future video strategy. The most engaging parts of your video could be your next best video topics. And watching your video during steep dips of engagement will tell you what might be boring your viewers, allowing you to scrap those elements from current and future videos.

In YouTube’s audience retention report, there will be two graphs: the absolute retention curve and relative retention curve. The absolute retention curve shows you how well your videos retain viewers. And the relative retention shows you how well one of your videos retains viewers compared to all other YouTube videos of similar length.

Image Credit: YouTube

5. Re-watches

Re-watches are the amount of times viewers re-watch certain parts of your video. If a lot of people are re-watching a specific part of your video, then they’re probably interested in the topic your video is covering during that moment. These topics can be fodder for your future video strategy. You can find this data in the absolute audience retention graph. Re-watches are usually indicated by rising curves in the graph.

Image Credit: YouTube

6. Engagement

Comments, shares, likes, and dislikes provides marketers with a lot of valuable qualitative data.

Comments can paint a clear picture of your video’s emotional effect on viewers. Shares can gauge how much viewers value your content and brand — since people share content that confirms their ideal self-persona, people who share your video are publicly displaying that they trust and support your brand. Likes and dislikes can help you determine what video topics work best with your particular audience. You can find your videos’ engagement metrics in YouTube’s Interactions Report.

7. Impressions Click-Through Rate

Impressions click-through rate measures your video’s ability to prompt people to watch your video after seeing it on their homepage, recommendation section, or trending section. A high click-through rate means your title was compelling and your video’s topic resonates with a lot of relevant audiences on YouTube.

A common trend for impression click-through rates is that they usually spike immediately after you release your video — your subscribers will see the video at the top of their home page and probably click on it. But once your video spreads beyond your core audience, your click-through rate will decline and then stay at a stable rate.

You can also couple this metric with average percentage viewed and average view duration to see if people actually watch your video after they click on it. A high click-through rate is great, but if people are leaving right at the beginning of your video, your title or thumbnail could be misleading. Preparing viewers for what’s to come is crucial because if your title or thumbnail is inaccurate, they’ll feel deceived and lose trust in your brand.

A low click-through rate but high engagement could mean that the video has a small yet specific audience that is enamored by the content. Go to the Analytics tab in YouTube Studio to examine this metric.

Image Credit: YouTube

8. Card Click-Through-Rate

Cards are slide-in panels that encourage people to take a desired action during a video like watch another video, subscribe to a channel, or click through to a different website. Each of your cards’ click-through rate tells you which action your viewers prefer to take while watching your videos. This can help you place the most engaging card in each of your videos, potentially boosting your watch time, subscriber growth, or website traffic.

Analyzing card click-through rates can also help you uncover the optimal timing, placement, and duration of your cards in future videos. You can find your cards’ click-through rates in the Cards Report.

Image Credit: YouTube

9. Playlist Engagement

Playlists are a great way to organize your videos in a digestible way. It helps your viewers easily consume videos about their favorite topics and prompts them to keep watching, which racks up watch time for your channel.

You can uncover your playlist engagement by analyzing two metrics in YouTube’s Playlist Report: views per playlist start and average time in playlist. Views per playlist start is the average number of video views your playlists gather, and average time in playlist is the average amount of time that viewers viewed the videos in your playlist. If these two metrics are underperforming, try starting your playlist with videos that have the highest retention rate.

10. Unique Viewers

Unique viewers is the estimated number of individuals who watch your videos over a certain period of time. This metric really helps you understand the actual size of your audience.

You can also use this metric to gauge your subscriber’s engagement with your videos. If your unique viewers are lower than your subscriber count, then your subscribers aren’t watching as much of your video as they could be. To get them to be more active, ask them to set up notifications for your new videos. You can find this metric under the Reach Views and Audience tab in YouTube Studio.

11. Views Per Unique Viewers

Views per unique viewers is the amount of times the average viewer watches your video. This metric tells you if people can’t get enough of your video and keep rewatching it. Video topics with a lot of views per unique viewers could also be your most popular content topics, and if you cover them more, you could generate more views, watch time, and subscribers.

Image Credit: YouTube

12. Who’s Watching Your Videos

In YouTube’s demographics report, you can see the different types of people who watch your videos, segmented by age, gender, and geography. This data tells you who your most engaged audience is and who your target audience should actually be. You can take the opposite approach with this data too. If you’re not reaching the audience you want, try pivoting your video strategy and cover topics that would attract them.

Image Credit: YouTube

13. Subscriber Growth

Subscribers are your most loyal fans. They’ve made a public commitment to your brand, content, and values. And they’re most likely to be your evangelists too. Subscribers are also important to your channel because YouTube will send them notifications about your new videos and feature them on their homepage. This means they’ll see your videos more frequently, which’ll help generate more views. Subscribers also watch twice as much video than non-subscribers, so the more subscribers you have, the more watch time your videos will collect.

YouTube’s Subscribers Report will show you which videos, locations, and time periods gain and lose subscribers. This data will tell you what video topics resonate with your subscribers and where to target new subscribers. And by prioritizing your subscribers’ needs, you’ll create videos that they crave, increase your watch time, and boost your search rankings.

14. Traffic Sources

External referrals like social media or sites that embed your videos and YouTube referrals like search, the recommended section, and the homepage are all traffic sources. The Traffic Sources report shows you how viewers found your videos and what sources rack up the most views and watch time. You can use this data to better optimize your video promotion strategy.

Image Credit: YouTube

15. Keywords

In YouTube’s Search Report, which is under the Traffic Sources Report, you can see the most popular queries guiding viewers to your videos. If these queries are slightly different than your video’s topic, consider updating your video to fill these content gaps and add the keywords to your metadata. If there’s a stark difference, consider making a new video about these popular queries.


Source: New feed

The 1-Minute Guide to Making Google Your Homepage

When you ask someone a question nowadays and they don’t know the answer, you almost always know what they’ll say — “Just Google it.â€� With over 3.5 billion searches a day, Google’s typically your entry-point for anything you need to do on the web, so I’m not surprised you want to change your homepage to Google.

Having the world’s number one search engine as your homepage is undoubtedly helpful. Who wouldn’t want everything from dinner recipes to news stories a mere keyboard tap away?

If you want to make Google your homepage, here’s how to do it in a minute or less.

How to Make Google Your Homepage on Firefox

1. Open your Firefox browser, and search “www.google.com.�

2. Hold the “Google� tab down, and drag it onto the home icon.

3. A “Set Home Pageâ€� message will pop up — click the blue “Yesâ€� button.

How to Make Google Your Homepage on Chrome

1. Open your Chrome browser, and click the three-dot icon in the top right corner. Then select “Settings�.

2. Under “Appearance�, find “Show home button�. If it’s disabled (you’ll know if it’s grey), slide the button to the right.

3. With the indicator now blue, you’re free to select the button beside “Enter custom web address� (below “New Tab page�). In the line beside it, type “www.google.com�.

How to Make Google Your Homepage on Safari

1. Open your Safari browser, click “Safari� on the navigation bar, and select “Preferences … �.

2. Go to your “General� tab.

3. Where it says “Homepage:�, fill in the box with “www.google.com�. Then click the “Set to Current Page� button.

4. Click “Change Homepage� in the pop-up.


Source: New feed