Tag Archives: Ways

4 ways Artificial Intelligence changes the game for SEO


Will 2017 be the year that computers outsmart human brains? Maybe. It’s one of the many high-tech trends that everyone is keeping an eye on. But how does that change the game for Google search and those working so hard to optimize their websites for search? Here are the ways Artificial Intelligence can affect you if Google search and SEO are important. Less black-hat tactics As Artificial Intelligence takes over Google search, one of the things SEOs will need to be on the lookout for is the ability for search engines like Google to catch bad behavior amongst webmasters and link…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Intel


The Next Web

11 Ways to Help Animals While You Shop

11 Ways to Help Animals While You Shop

Do you shop? Do you like helping animals? Well, thanks to these compassionate programs (and others on the PETA Mall website), you can do both at the same time! From your Amazon shopping cart to your credit card, here are 11 shockingly easy ways to help animals while you shop:

1. AmazonSmile

If you’re looking for a way to help animals from the comfort of your couch, check out AmazonSmile. Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases each time you shop. Log in to AmazonSmile with your normal Amazon log-in info, select PETA as your charity, and shop ’til you drop.

amazon smile

2. PETA’s Amazon Wish List

Check out PETA’s Amazon wish list, which is full of items that we need to help animals. From leashes to treats, you pick the items that you want to donate and check out, then Amazon sends the gifts to PETA, where they’ll certainly be put to good use.

3. WebThriftStore

Get rid of some clutter and help animals at the same time. Round up the items that you’d like to donate, then list them here. (Don’t forget to select PETA as your charity!) And if you’re looking for deals, don’t forget to see what other people are listing.

4. eBay for Charity

With eBay for Charity, you can donate proceeds from your sales ranging from 10 to 100 percent. Simply select PETA as your charity and start selling for animals.

ebay-for-charity

5. PayPal Giving Fund

Is PayPal your trusted way of spending money online? We’ve got you covered. With PETA’s PayPal Giving Fund account, you can make sure that 100 percent of your donation supports animals.

6. PETA Visa

If you’re thinking about a new credit card, consider applying for a PETA Visa card! A percentage of all purchases goes toward our lifesaving work, and if you use the card within 90 days of approval, an additional $ 60 is donated.

7. Caring Cent

Help animals with every purchase! When you pay with a credit or debit card, Caring Cent will round up your purchase amount to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to PETA.

8. Humble Bundle

Like video games? Like helping animals? Now, you can enjoy both at the same time. Visit Humble Bundle, select PETA as your charity, and you’re good to go. Even better, you get to set your own price!

9. TisBest

TisBest allows you to buy gift cards for your friends and family (or even yourself) that can be spent on the charity of your choice—and PETA, of course, is an option.

10. Walk for a Dog

Download the WoofTrax “Walk for a Dog” application to your smartphone, and when choosing what cause to walk for, select PETA (listed as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The next time that you and your canine companion go for a walk to your neighborhood shops, just click the “Start Walking for …” button and the app will keep track of the walk for you. Once you’re finished, it’ll donate to PETA for each step you took.

dog-on-leash-and-harness-take-your-dog-to-restaurants

11. PETA Checks

Choose from unique check designs created especially for PETA!

If you’re looking for a more direct way to help animals, consider becoming a PETA member!

For more ways to help animals:

The post 11 Ways to Help Animals While You Shop appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

15 Easy Ways to Make Your Commute More Productive

commute

It’s easy to think of commuting as a total waste of time. When you’re standing on the train platform or waiting at a traffic light, every minute that ticks by can seem like a minute lost from an already jam-packed day at work. But there’s good news for those of you who wish you could spend that time more productively.

There are a lot of fun, creative apps out there that help you make use of that time — whether it’s a 10-minute walk or a 60-minute bus ride. (Drivers: We don’t advocate the use of any of the apps on this list that involve reading or typing.) Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.

Check out this roundup of 15 easy ways to make your commute more productive, and the apps that will help you make it happen. Try them out, and hey — you might even start looking forward to your trips to and from the office.

15 Ideas for Increasing Productivity on Your Commute

1) Create your to-do list for the day.

Apps: Wunderlist, Evernote, Dragon Dictation

If you’re the kind of person who likes to get organized first thing in the morning, spend some time listing the things you need to accomplish that day. Taking that extra time to think about each task can help you prioritize and set realistic expectations.

There are a number of to-do list apps out there, but Wunderlist and Evernote are among the best. They sync between your mobile devices and your personal computers and allow you to drag and drop tasks between days and categories, as well as set alerts and due dates. You can even share lists and notes with others. Here’s a look at the Wunderlist app:

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For you drivers out there, you can use the free app Dragon Dictation to get your to-do list (and any other thoughts) down on your phone. Simply speak while the app is recording, and your text content will appear. If you’re an avid Evernote user, note that Evernote also has a voice recording function, too.

dragon-dictation-screenshot

Source: OT’s with Apps & Technology

2) Clear your inbox.

Apps: Gmail, ASAM

There’s something so satisfying about arriving at the office with a clean inbox. That’s why I like to go through emails and delete anything extraneous before I even get in to work. It saves me at least a half hour and a loss of momentum during my most productive time of day.

If you’re driving, you can use ASAM — a free app from AgileSpeech — to “read” your emails. The app will read your emails out loud and word-for-word. (And when I say word-for-word, I mean it reads everything — disclaimers, signatures, and other information you might’ve skipped otherwise.) When the message is finished, the app will “ding” and you have the option to dictate a reply.

ASAM screenshot

Source: Google Play

3) Set and check in on your goals.

App: Coach.me

Believe it or not, there’s a new year right around the corner. And if you’re into resolutions, checking your progress regularly and finding ways to stay motivated is key to maintaining them. The free version of the Coach.me app lets you set personal and professional targets, get reminders, and choose whether to make your achievements visible to a community of active users so you can give and receive support. And starting at $ 15 per week, you can hire a coach to actually help you achieve them.

coach-me-appcoach-me-app

Source: iTunes

4) Learn a language.

App: Duolingo

Once upon a time, maybe after college, you were almost fluent in Spanish. Or French. Or something else you learned in school. But then, you stopped practicing.

Want to get your language skills back on track? Duolingo is a fantastic (and free) app that makes (re)learning languages fun. Each lesson is short, painless, and super visual. Slate called it “the most productive means of procrastination I’ve ever discovered.” Be warned, though — it can get addictive.

duolingo-screenshotduolingo-screenshot

Source: iTunes

5) Listen to a podcast or audiobook.

Apps: Stitcher, Podcasts, This American Life, Audible

If you’d rather not spend any more time staring at a screen during your commute, then listening to a podcast or audiobook can be a really pleasant way to spend any length of time. Plus, you’ll learn a lot of really cool information you can impress your friends with later.

The free app Stitcher lets you make playlists of all your favorite podcasts.

Stitcher-1.png

As for which podcasts to listen to, our favorites include:

Looking for something else? Take a look at Stitcher’s list of Top 100 Podcasts.

6) Read an actual book.

Apps: iBooks, Kindle, Zinio, Apple News

I don’t know about you, but I constantly lament how little time I spend reading. You know, actual books, newspapers, or print magazines. And while I also enjoy turning a physical page, I always forget to pack my print materials before I leave for work.

Luckily, there are numerous apps that address that issue, and let you read any book, newspaper, or magazine you choose from a mobile device.

For news and magazines, we like Apple’s News app, which lets you choose from a vast catalogue of publications that you can read right from your phone. You can store your favorites and choose from them with a simple tap.

Apple News.png

But for actual books, there are the Kindle and iBooks apps, which let you download full reading materials and enjoy them from your phone or tablet. Kindle transfers any ebook purchases you’ve made on Amazon right to your device, so you can take in whatever great literature you please, right from the bus or subway.

Kindle1 Kindle2.png

7) Read the articles you’ve bookmarked.

App: Pocket

Using the Pocket app, you can save articles (and videos, and pretty much any type of content) in one place for easy reading on your commute. You can save content directly from your browser, emails, or from over 500 apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite. So while Evernote is a great app for long-term content storage, Pocket is perfect for bookmarking stuff to read later.

Pocket app.jpegpocket-app-screenshot

Source: iTunes // Just the Best Apps

8) Read the newest posts from your favorite online sources.

Apps: Feedly

We’ve covered how to catch up on the latest content from your favorite publications. But what about your favorite blogs or other online news sources? Feedly is an RSS reader that lets you subscribe to the publishers whose posts you never want to miss. You can separate them into different lists, mark articles as “read,” share your favorite pieces, and even browse for new content.

Feedly1Feedly2

Source: Google Play

9) Get your social media fix out of the way.

Apps: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more …

Not all of us are lucky enough to include browsing and posting on personal social media accounts in our job descriptions. Help resist the urge to check your news feeds and notifications at work by doing it to your heart’s content during your commute.

Instagram fix

10) Brush up on your marketing & sales progress.

App: HubSpot Mobile

Remember those days when you absolutely had to be at your desk to get your work done? Those days are close to being gone, thanks in part to the new HubSpot Mobile app. 

With this app, you can take advantage of your HubSpot software, even if you’re on the go. It starts with a customizable dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance breakdown of the most important metrics to you — landing page, blog, and email performance, as well as deals and sales tasks.

You can also easily access your contacts database, marketing insights (like email analytics) and your sales pipeline. For that last part, you can use the app to add notes, activities, or tasks, and keep track of deal stages.

HubSpot Mobile contacts  HubSpot Mobile Email

11) Clean your house.

App: iRobot HOME

Weekends: The perfect time to catch up with friends, family, the TV you missed last week and house-cleaning. Okay, how many of us really get around to that last one? (Hint: I don’t.)

But my colleague, Eric Peters, let me in on a little secret about the internet of things. Thanks to its HOME app, if you own a iRobot device like Roomba, you can remotely clean your house from your mobile device.

“My new favorite productivity app is from iRobot,” he told me. “I can turn on my Roomba and clean my floor, and not have to vacuum later.”

What’s more? You can even set a cleaning schedule for the week, in case you forget to spontaneously turn on your devices.

iRobot2 iRobot1 iRobot3

Source: iTunes

12) Clean up your Twitter feed.

App: Twindr

Ever scrolled through your Twitter feed and realized you’ve been just a bit too generous in how many people you follow? Twindr is a free app that works kind of like Tinder, but for unfollowing people on Twitter. All it takes is a few quick swipes to clean up your follower count.

twindr-screenshot

Source: Gizmodo

13) Get zen.

Apps: Insight Timer, Personal Zen, Headspace

Mondays, amirite? Suddenly, in the midst of pre-workday standing nap among the subway masses, you find your mind flooding with a mental to-do list of all the stuff you didn’t get done when you left the office early last Friday.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you’ve got to breathe — which can be tough to do on a Monday morning. But there are apps out there that can help you get zen during your commute, no matter how long it is.

We especially like Insight Timer, since — as its name suggests — you can actually set a timer for the window you have to meditate and select a combination of ambient sounds to use in the background. Or, you can select from any number of the app’s guided meditations. Om…

Insight Timer Custom Insight Timer Guided

14) Set a step goal for the day.

Apps: Fitbit, Withings, Jawbone UP, Apple Health

A great way to get more exercise and burn more calories throughout the day is by building incremental physical activities into your daily routine. If that sounds like your style, use an app like Fitbit or Withings to set step goal for each of your commutes. (While these companies sell expensive devices that sync with their apps, they have the ability to measure your steps for free.) And if you have an iPhone, the Health app will track any steps you take when you have your device with you.

Each morning and afternoon, try to hit your goal. If you drive, park your car some distance away from the office and walk the rest of the way. If you take the train or a bus, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. If your mode of transportation gets delayed, get your steps in by walking back and forth on the platform.

UP24goals.png

Source: Jawbone

15) Plan your meals.

Apps: Eat This Much, Pepperplate, BigOven

You work hard. Your days are long. That’s why it’s so easy to resort to something that’s quick and already prepared for dinner. But you don’t have to fall victim to the easy way out — if you plan ahead. There are apps out there that can help you do that, by making it simple to plan your meals for the week in advance.

We get especially geeked-out over the Eat This Much app, in part because it’s linked to grocery-delivery apps, if they’re available in your area. Plus, it lets you set nutrition goals and set parameters for any dietary restrictions you might have, like vegan, gluten-free, or specific food allergies.

EatThisMuch2 EatThisMuch1

Source: iTunes

Get Appy

See? Your commute doesn’t have to be so bad, after all. 

And even if you’re lucky enough to love your work, it never hurts to have that time to yourself to take care of the things that these apps are made to do. So get happy, get healthy and get “appy” — it’s one of the best ways to make the most of your precious time.

What do you do to make your commute more productive? Share with us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free productivity tips

  free productivity tips


HubSpot Marketing Blog

30 Ways to Slice Your Email Database for Better Email List Segmentation

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If you’re new to the world of email marketing, you might be unfamiliar with the importance of segmenting your email lists. But it’s a big deal: According to DMA, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. 

The best part about email segmentation? There are a ton of creative ways you can segment your email list to run innovative and effective campaigns that leads and customers will enjoy, from geography and industry to content format and topic. The more information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails to resonate just right. Download our complete guide to email marketing here for even more email  segmentation and optimization tips.

To get your brainstorm started, check out the comprehensive list of email list segmentation ideas below. (Then, download this email marketing planning template to keep all of your email efforts organized.)

30 Ways to Segment Your Email List for More Targeted Email Marketing

The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients. To do that, you’ll have to take the time to craft targeted campaigns that take into account not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further. (Our marketing team uses the Email App and the Lists App in the HubSpot Marketing Platform in combination with HubSpot CRM to accomplish this.)

Bear in mind that while some of these recommendations will work wonderfully on their own, many of them are at their absolute best when crossed with other segments, triggers, and lead intelligence data. 

1) Geography

Knowing where your contacts live can be seriously powerful information. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you wouldn’t want to send in-store offers to out-of-towners, right? Or let’s say you’re a national franchise — you better be segmenting by zip code to ensure you’re not infringing on someone else’s territory, or worse, marketing to a location that your organization doesn’t even service yet.

Here’s a geographically-segmented email I received from Vamoose, a bus service I’ve used frequently to travel between New York and the Washington, D.C. area. (I can’t believe it’s already time to start planning travel for Thanksgiving.)

vamoose.png

2) Age

People of all ages have access to the internet these days, which means you could be emailing a college student, a retiree, or even a little kid. You may find knowing the general age range of the people on your list helpful to remove those not in your target audience, or to adjust the messaging of your email communications.

3) Gender

Just as you’d speak to a retiree and a college student differently, you might adjust your messaging and offers based on gender, too. If you have a wide product offering that extends across genders, consider segmenting your list in this manner — and beefing up the segmentation with other demographic and psychographic details as well.

4) Persona

Speaking of demographics and psychographics, you should have buyer personas that include information of this nature, as well as more detailed explanations of what makes these folks tick and why your solution provides value for them. If you don’t have buyer personas created already, use these free templates to create your own — and then segment your list based on them. Because each persona has different needs and value propositions, they’re all going to require different email content for the best clickthrough and conversion rates.

5) Organization Type

Do you sell to other businesses? Are they franchises? Non-profit organizations? Ecommerce companies? Enterprise organizations? Small businesses? They all have different needs, and as such, their email content should be different — so segment your list accordingly.

6) Industry

If you’re selling to other businesses, you may encounter leads and contacts across many different industries. Knowing your lead’s industry will allow you to add another level of personalization to your email marketing.

7) Job Function

As a B2B marketer, your email list could contain a whole melee of different job functions — office personnel, salespeople, marketers, consultants, developers, customer service, accountants … the list goes on. Considering the breadth of job roles within any given organization, doesn’t it make sense to segment your list accordingly?

8) Education Level

You could segment your list based on how many degrees they hold, or how educated a lead or contact is regarding your brand and the subject matter you discuss. If you segment your list based on the level of understanding they have on the topics you write about, you can tailor your lead nurturing content to speak at the right level.

Here’s an email I received from Idealist, which they sent to me based on my previous indication that I had already earned a Bachelor’s degree:

idealist.png

9) Seniority Level

There are different job roles, and there are different levels of seniority. Perhaps your contact said they work in marketing, but is she the VP of marketing, or a marketing coordinator? Those two contacts will differ in years of experience, salary level, pain points, decision-making potential, and a whole host of other differences that make segmentation critical for effective email marketing campaigns.

10) Past Purchases

If a segment of your list has purchased from you before, use that information to send them emails catered to that which interests them. Then make your bottom line bigger by identifying upsell opportunities with additional services or complementary products they’d enjoy based on their past purchases.

Here’s Casper, the maker of my bed made of clouds, shooting me an email about the other products they offer:

casper-1.png

11) Purchase Interests

You can infer someone’s purchase proclivities from past buying behavior, or you can just ask. My colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, highlighted companies who do this in creative ways — such as with surveys — in a recent blog post about awesome email marketing campaigns to help them create better targeted emails.

12) Buying Frequency

Segment your email list based on how often someone purchases. Not only can you try to increase shopping frequency for some, but you can also reward frequent shoppers with an invitation to your loyalty program to make your brand even stickier. (Download this free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure customer loyalty programs for your business.)

Here’s a customer loyalty email I received from my mobile provider, AT&T, about early ticket access to a concert they’re hosting. (Do you think they somehow know I attended a Panic! At the Disco concert when I was in middle school? This is embarrassing, readers.)

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13) Purchase Cycle

Do certain customers come to you on a weekly, monthly, yearly, or quarterly basis? Or perhaps they only need you at a certain time of year — a pool cleaner might see upticks in spring and fall, for example. Segment your list based on customers’ purchase cycle so you can be there right at their point of need.

14) Content Topic

Here at HubSpot, we’ve noticed that some of our leads and contacts are far more interested in certain content topics than others. There’s one segment that’s extremely interested in sales and marketing alignment, while another is far more interested in Snapchat for business. So it only makes sense that we segment our list based on the topics our contacts have showed interest in. Take a look at what content gets people clicking, and segment your list based on that.

Here an example of an email I received from Twitter featuring suggestions for who to follow next (and it worked):

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15) Content Format

You may find that specific content formats are more appealing to certain segments of your database — some like blogs, others prefer ebooks, and some may only show up when you put on a webinar. For example, in a recent HubSpot Research survey, 43% of respondents wanted to see more video content in the future. If you know how certain segments of your list prefer to consume content, you can deliver the offer content in your emails via their preferred format.

16) Interest Level

Just because someone converts on a content offer, doesn’t mean they actually liked it. Segment your list based on how interested leads are in your content. For example, we might email a segment of webinar attendees that stayed engaged for 45 minutes or more with a middle-of-the-funnel offer to help move them along in the sales cycle, while those that dropped off before 10 minutes might receive another top-of-the-funnel offer — or even a feedback survey to gauge what specifically lost their interest.

17) Change in Content Engagement Level

Have you noticed an increase or decrease in the amount of time leads are spending with your content? This is an indication of their interest in your company, and should be used to either reawaken waning interest, or move leads along through the sales cycle while they’re at their height of engagement with your content.

Here’s an example from Udemy, who segmented their email list to try to re-engage inactive users (I still highly recommend Udemy’s online classes):

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18) Change in Buying Behavior

Similar to a change in content engagement, a change in buying behavior can indicate a lead is becoming more or less interested in your company. Leads that decrease purchasing frequency, for example, might need a little extra love — and thus, a dedicated lead nurturing campaign.

I typically buy glasses and contact lenses at Lenscrafters once yearly with my vision insurance benefit, but I haven’t yet this year, so they wisely sent me this nurturing email with a gentle reminder to purchase from them:

lenscrafters.png

19) Stage in the Sales Cycle

I’ve mentioned it a little bit here and there, but the stage a lead is at in the sales cycle should determine which email segment they fall in. At the very least, set up separate lead nurturing tracks for those at the top of your sales funnel, in the middle of your sales funnel, and at the bottom of the sales funnel.

20) Email Type

There’s a lot you can tell by someone’s email address. You design your emails for different email clients if you’re really into sophisticated email design, or if they’re Gmail clients, responsive email design.

21) Satisfaction Index

Many businesses use satisfaction indexes to determine how happy their customer base is — Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a very popular one. If you’re measuring satisfaction numerically, consider sending an email segmented based on your customers’ level of happiness with your organization. Those with a high NPS score, for example, might provide opportunities to gather reviews, referrals, or even upsells. Those with lower scores, however, may get emails that give them access to educational materials that will make them happier and more successful customers.

Here’s Wayfair‘s email asking me to review how a recent purchasing and delivery experience went:

wayfair-1.png

22) Customers Who Refer

Consider creating a list segment full of those customers who repeatedly refer new business your way. These are your biggest brand advocates, and should receive emails targeted towards loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts, even possibly trials for new products or services you’re releasing to get honest feedback before widespread rollouts.

23) Customers Who Haven’t Reviewed

You should always be trying to get more positive reviews of your business, so why not create a list segment that targets those customers who haven’t written a review yet? You could combine this list segment with, say, those that are also social media fans and have a high NPS score. Think about it … you know they follow you on Twitter and their NPS score indicates they love you. That’s just begging for an online review email campaign. (Check out this case study guide + template to help you successfully reach out to potential participants and engage them in the process.)

Here’s LinkedIn‘s email asking me to participate in a feedback survey:

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24) In-Store vs. Webstore Visitors

If you have both a brick-and-mortar location as well as a website, segment your list based on where your customers like to shop. You can give invites to in-store events to those customers that give you foot traffic, while those that only visit your webstore might receive offers that should only be redeemed online.

25) Shopping Cart Abandonment

After analyzing 34 online studies of ecommerce shopping cart abandonment, Bamyard Institute determined that, on average, 68% of shopping carts were abandoned prior to purchase. Yikes. If you run an ecommerce webstore, you absolutely must have an abandoned shopping cart email program, and you should be segmenting your contacts based on this behavior.

26) Form Abandonment

Not an ecommerce company? You still have abandoners on your site — form abandoners. If someone starts filling out some forms on your website and then loses interest, gets busy, has a lousy internet connection, gets eaten by a zombie … you know, whatever … segment out those leads for nurturing aimed at bringing them back to your website to complete the form. The offer was interesting enough at one point in time to pique their interest, so why not try to recover some of those form abandoners?

27) Usage

Whatever it is you offer, there are some customers who you could consider “power users.” These are the ones that totally get how to navigate your website, use every feature in your software, and make the most of their relationships with your service providers. Then there are the rest of us. Segment out the power users and the strugglers, frequent users, and infrequent users; then send email content that teaches them how to be more successful with your product or service. The more customers use your product, the more likely they are to stick around: Bluenose found that lack of use was the number one driver of software customer churn.

Here’s a use-segmented email I received from MapMyRun. I feel misleading including it because I truly can’t remember the last time I went running, but it’s still a good example of list segmentation:

mapmyrun.png

28) Event Attendance

Does your organization host book signings, conferences, or social events? Don’t miss the opportunity to reach out to leads and potential customers you’ve already made a positive connection with. Segment your email list depending on the type of event, the topic or theme of your events, or even to RSVPs who didn’t make it out. You’ll be able to keep inviting them to events while sharing relevant content offers based on what you learned about them from past events. (P.S. – Have you registered for INBOUND 2016 yet?)

29) Page Views

You can tell a lot about your contacts from their behaviors, and the web pages they’re browsing are no exception. Are there certain blogs they’re reading or questions they’re asking when they come to your website? Experiment with lead nurturing campaigns dedicated to different topics your website covers to appeal to your site visitors’ patterns.

30) Call-to-Action Clicks

A clickable call-to-action is what takes your website content to the next level because it helps you generate leads and contacts. (Download 50 customizable call-to-action templates here.) You can tell which types of language work on your contacts based on what makes them click, or not click, on your CTAs. Are they more inclined toward time sensitive offers to “act now” or “try this month,” or do they prefer more explicit offers of “free” or “discounted” products? Use their clicking habits to determine how you segment your email list, and what language you use when reaching out. 

I hope this list has given you ideas for ways to segment your own lists, and most importantly, sparked some creative email campaigns you can run as a result of this new segmentation.

So what about you — what other ways can you think of to segment your email lists? Which of these segmentation ideas could you combine with others for really epic results?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to optimizing and segmenting email

  free guide: how to segment your email marketing


HubSpot Marketing Blog

Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce Shares 6 Ways to Improve the Value of Your Email #CMWorld

mathew-sweezey-salesforce

Today’s customers are busy, savvy and frustrated. But why? They’ve taken on too much and are looking for ways to improve their own efficiency, old email marketing tricks no longer have an impact and they’re tired of receiving pitch after pitch that doesn’t add value.

However, email marketing is just as important (and effective) now as it has ever been, especially when it’s integrated with marketing automation.

And if you’re going to learn about the intersection of email and marketing automation from anyone, Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce is the person to listen to. In his session at Content Marketing World, Mathew covered some of the top values that exist within email marketing today.

Value #1: Email is a Mobile Strategy

In 2015, mobile search took over desktop search. In fact, a recent study from Marketing Land found that 68% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. That means, email is very much a mobile strategy.

Value #2: Email Can Be Hyper Targeted

How does media affect relationships between businesses and consumers? If we can understand that, then we can make marketing best practices made for this era, for this time.

The vast majority of people looking for answers online batch their research. They’ll go online and download a lot of things at once and then read them when they have time. This is the new buyer behavior. Once marketers understand this principle, they can start to optimize for great content conversions.

According to Sweezey, the average page views on a website are 1.7. Why? Because Google has trained users to go back to Google if they don’t immediately find what they’re looking for at that moment.

If we understand what people are asking, we can implement stage-based marketing.

salesforce-stage-based-email 

Value #3: Email Can Be Quickly Created

On average it takes marketers 2-5 weeks to create a piece of content. So, if you were to create a piece of content for each segment, it would take you roughly 1.5 years to create just one piece of content.

This is not possible, or scalable.

Instead, consider that anything that includes a URL is a piece of content that you can send via email. Below is an example of a simple email that you can quickly create and send with a URL included.

effective-email-rich-text

Value #4: Increase Email Value By Writing Like A Human

These emails should be authentic in a way that builds trust with the recipient. If they expect an email to be from a person, then it needs to look like it’s from a person.

Our job isn’t to be pretty. It’s to be effective.”

According to Sweezey, believe it or not, rich text is authentic. Have you ever hand created a full HTML and CSS email and sent it to a single person? Probably not. So do you really think you’re fooling your audience with an HTML email?

Mathew and his team works with one of the largest banks in the United States and found that when they send rich text versions of emails instead of HTML, their engagement increased 4x.

Value #5: Email Can Shorten the Sales Cycle

Research has found that companies who use lead nurturing close deals over 30% faster than those who don’t.

The key to creating nurture programs is to move prospects to the next stage, by getting them to ask the next question. Secondary CTAs in email communications are a great way to get them thinking about the next thing they want to know.

Value #6: Email is the Key to Omni-Channel

In today’s world, personalization is key to marketing success. In order to achieve this, Sweezey shared that the MINIMUM connected systems to accomplish this include:

  • CRM
  • Marketing Automation
  • Website
  • Product

Top Considerations for Adding Value with Email

To be honest, the tips above only scratch the surface of Sweezey’s awesome insights into more effective email marketing. In all, brands should absorb and evaluate the following and see how their email marketing measures up:

  • Email is the center of the entire marketing life cycle
  • Email is best when human
  • HTML isn’t best in class email anymore
  • Email programs scale businesses efforts
  • Social media + email drives engagement
  • Best in class brands use email automation for both internal, external and partners.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce Shares 6 Ways to Improve the Value of Your Email #CMWorld | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce Shares 6 Ways to Improve the Value of Your Email #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Email Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

12 Clever Ways to Use Your Email Signature to Support Your Marketing Campaigns

signature-1.jpg

You know that you’re a true email marketer if every single one of your emails includes a call-to-action. And I’m not talking about email marketing blasts here. What I have in mind are the individual, personal email messages you send on an everyday basis.

Yes, your personal email signature can provide a serious marketing opportunity.

You are most likely already using your own email signature to provide information about who you are and where you work. But you can take this practice to the next level by updating your signature to reflect the marketing campaigns you are running today. Easily create your own professional email signature with our free Email  Signature Generator here.

Are you missing out on another opportunity to spread brand awareness or nurture prospective customers? Wondering what exactly you can promote through your email signature? Here are twelve awesome suggestions.

12 Professional Email Signature Ideas to Support Your Marketing Campaigns

1) Your Homepage

The least you should promote in your email signature is your company’s website. But in order for this tactic to be efficient, you have to make sure your homepage acts like a landing page.

In other words, it directs the visitor’s attention to the activity you want them to take. For instance, HubSpot’s homepage suggests that you receive a free product demo. Including your website’s homepage in an email signature also helps to expand awareness of your brand. Here’s an example (with help from our friend, Harry Potter):

harry.png2) Social Media

When it comes to the usage of social media in email signatures, you have two options. You can either include a link to your personal accounts on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc., or you can include links to your company’s accounts. Both are good options. Check out how HubSpot’s Principal Marketing Manager Pam Vaughan promotes her social channels in the example below:

pamfinal.png3) Your Blog

Your blog is one of the smartest things you can include in your email signature because it provides value to the community and gets updated on a regular basis. The fresh content on your blog is more engaging than a static homepage and will most likely retain the attention of the visitor for longer.

If you do shine light on your blog, don’t forget to include calls-to-action throughout your posts to encourage readers to take the next step and become a lead. Using our email signature tool, you can create a dynamic email signature that includes an RSS feed, which shows the title of your most recent blog article and automatically updates as new articles get published. Check out my editor, Carly Stec‘s:

carly.png

4) Book

Have you written a book? Has your manager or CEO written one? Don’t be shy about it. Share a link to the book in your email signature. That will help you build authority and credibility among the people you communicate with. Here’s our own Aja Frost promoting her ebook:

aja_sig.png

5) Conferences & Events

Is there a company trade show coming up soon? Or maybe you are speaking at a conference? Change your email signature to reflect that. While your email signature might not necessarily help you generate more registrants, it will surely spread the word about the event and gain some awareness among your target audience. Here’s an event promotion signature from my colleague, Elijah Clark Ginsberg:

elijahfinalfinal.png

(P.S. – Are you registered to hear from Alec Baldwin, Serena Williams, and other marketing and sales professionals at INBOUND 2016 yet?)

6) New Marketing Offer

Have an offer that’s doing a great job of converting traffic into leads? (You can tell by looking at their corresponding landing pages’ visitor-to-submission rates in your marketing analytics). Identify your best performing offers, and then expose them to more traffic. Use your email signature to share a link to a popular ebook or a webinar. Or if you’re currently featuring a new campaign that highlights a particular offer, use that in your signature instead. Here’s an example of my own signature promoting this ebook:

2016-09-08_1018.png

7) Industry Research

Speaking of data, don’t underestimate the impact that facts and figures can have in a marketing context. People on the web are overwhelmed with information, which encourages them to look for specifics. If you publish an industry report based on proprietary research, as Mimi An does over at HubSpot Research, consider including a link to it in your email signature:

mimi.png

8) Case Studies

Salespeople love this one. If you’re talking to potential customers, what’s better than sharing stories of successful ones?

For instance, you can mention how your product or service increased the ROI of customer XYZ, or quote a customer in your email signature to boost your company’s credibility.

hermione.png9) Free Tool

If your company happens to have a free tool, such as an ROI calculator, educational game, or blog topic generator, give it some marketing love. Free online tools have the power to engage readers and get them further interested in your product or service. Check out Eric Peters‘ signature promoting HubSpot’s free email signature generator (meta, we know):

ericfinal.png

10) Demonstration of Your Product / Free Consultation

When you are having a tough sales month, consider using an email signature that promotes a free consultation with your team or even a demonstration of your product. In that way, you’ll increase traffic to these middle-of-the-funnel marketing offers and show your sales organization that you’re taking advantage of every possible opportunity to help them out. 

dumbledore.png

11) News about Your Company

If your team or company has received recognition for exceptional work, highlight the news article or press release in your email signature. News that your company is doing exceptional work will drive traffic to your blog and promote greater brand awareness for your organization. Here’s an example from HubSpot Senior Recruiter Emily MacIntyre:

emily_sig.png

12) Promotional Videos

Has your company ever produced a promotional video? (Here’s an awesome video about HubSpot’s culture, for example.) Add a link to your company’s video so recipients can learn more about you without navigating away from the email message. You can promote a campaign, an event, or an offer in a more engaging way than a hyperlink alone. Here’s an example from our own Angela O’Dowd promoting HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program:

angelafinal.png

Ready to rework your email signature? Simplify the process using this free email signature generator.  

Have any other ideas for what your email signature can promote? Share them in the comments section below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free email signature generator

  free email sign


HubSpot Marketing Blog

7 Ways You’re Letting Guilt Sabotage Your Work

Guilty_Puppy.jpg

When was the last time you felt bad about something you did — or didn’t do?

For me, it happened about 30 minutes prior to typing this sentence. I left the house later than I had planned, because I allowed extra time for my workout. I felt guilty for dedicating time to my own stuff, when I knew I had a looming deadline.

But guess what? Yesterday, when I skipped my workout to get to the office earlier, I felt bad about that, too.

I can sense the proverbial chorus nodding in unison with me. That’s because guilt is an epidemic — in fact, one in five people cite it as the reason why they don’t take breaks. And it’s killing the quality of our work.

Many of us accept that as common sense — overwork = underproductive. So why do we continue to self-sabotage and feel bad about the time we don’t spend getting things done? Read on to learn the different ways we let guilt overtake our productivity, and why we do it.

7 Ways You’re Letting Guilt Sabotage Your Work

1) You feel like you can’t take a break.

The correlation between workplace happiness and productivity isn’t exactly news at this point. And yet, we continue to ignore that advice. 

A survey conducted by Staples, for example, showed that 90% of employers say they encourage breaks. But here’s the thing — 55% of employees feel like they can’t leave their desks for one. It’s not like we don’t know any better, though. In that same survey, 86% of workers acknowledged that taking a break would make them more productive.

So what’s stopping us?

I‘ve definitely experienced mixed feelings about leaving my desk frequently throughout the day. What if my colleagues think I’m weird, or that I’m not getting my work done? In today’s workplace, we’re big on perception.

Luckily, I work somewhere that encourages taking that time to breathe, and has resources in place to support it. Maybe that’s why Staples Advantage, the division that conducted the aforementioned survey, says that employers need to play their part in creating a break-taking culture.

Even if employees are fundamentally encouraged to take breaks, putting tangible resources behind it will create the cultural shift that really allows them to step away. Something like a break room goes a long way — 76% percent of respondents said that having a well-equipped one would help relieve stress throughout the workday.

And the result of that relief? Getting more done, with higher quality. According to data collected by DeskTime, the top 10% most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. And during those periods, they use hyper focus: No work during breaks (that includes email), and no distractions during the work time.

2) You feel bad asking for help.

Earlier this year, New York Times Magazine did a great job of summarizing the fine line between stress and guilt.

Guilt, Susan Dominus wrote, is “an especially corrosive form of distress: It’s that feeling that nags at you as you rush into the office, sweating, knowing that you are already late, or as you slip out for a ‘meeting’ that is, in fact, a much-needed haircut appointment.”

Lying about the time we put toward self-care indicates how guilty we feel for acknowledging that we need it. So maybe that’s why we feel like we’re falling short when we can’t do everything ourselves.

In turn, that makes us less likely to ask for help. In a survey of working mothers, Care.com found that 29% of respondents felt guilty about hiring someone to assist with things at home — they feared missing out on important moments, for example. But at the same time, 79% of them also felt like they were falling behind at work.

The guilt had multiple sources. That’s the case for many of us — not just working moms.

It makes sense that 75% of these survey respondents also saw an overall reduction in stress when they did hire outside help. That’s not limited to home or family care — asking for help at work, too, can be hugely productive.

In fact, that’s something my own boss told me on my first day at HubSpot: “To help you be more successful, I’ll help you with whatever you ask me for help with. The most successful people ask for help when they need it!”

I wish everyone’s boss would say the same thing. Because she set that tone for me from the very beginning, I knew that I didn’t have to feel guilty about not knowing something, or not being able to do something completely on my own. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, the person you need it from is happy to step in.

3) You’re comparing yourself to everyone else.

We all have those friends — or distant acquaintances who we observe on social media — who seem to have the so-called “perfect life.” And many of us are sometimes guilty of comparing our own lives to theirs, wondering if maybe — had we just done things a little differently — we, too, could have the perfect life.

It’s no wonder, then, that 62% of folks think that their peers are holding it together better than they are. When we perceive that someone is doing a better job than we are, we feel guilty or inadequate.

In the past, I’ve had to remind myself that anyone’s life can look perfect on the outside — especially on social media. I like to think of Facebook, for example, like tabloids. People can paint any picture they want, and post it for the world (depending on their privacy settings) to see.

And even if someone else really is doing things “perfectly,” which is completely subjective, feeling guilty about how your performance stacks up to others’ is a waste of time. And we’ve already talked about how to use our time productively — squandering your precious minutes comparing yourself to others isn’t going to accomplish anything of value.

4) You have Vacation Shame.

Remember earlier, when we talked about how many of us feel bad taking time for ourselves? Vacation is no exception.

In fact, that phenomenon has a name: “Vacation Shaming.” It was coined by Alamo Rent A Car after the company’s annual Family Vacation Survey revealed that 47% of workers feel shame or guilt at work for taking that time off. The same percentage feels the need to justify using their vacation days to their employer — even if they’ve earned it.

There are certainly other reasons — financial ones, especially — why people don’t go on vacation. Nonetheless, 28% of people don’t take advantage of paid time off because they’re afraid they won’t look as dedicated to their work.

But that logic is kind of counter-intuitive. I mean, for all intents and purposes, managers place the most value on your productivity, right? And in regions where people tend to take more vacation (like Brazil and Sweden, where paid time off is mandatory), employees tend to bring greater urgency to their work.

That could be due to the fact that, according to the Harvard Business Review, “spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.” That echoes the research done by DeskTime about the productivity levels of people who take regular breaks.

Simply put: Don’t feel bad about giving yourself the opportunity to step away, whether for a few minutes or a few days. It’ll enhance your productivity while you are at work, and give you a chance to decompress when you’re not.

5) You’re just not busy enough.

How many of you out there work best under pressure?

Me. I do. I have never met a deadline I didn’t like. Am I insane? Probably. But also, I just don’t get as much done when I’m not bound by a timeline.

As it turns out, I’m not alone. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was reported that people feel more motivated to complete tasks when they’re busy — even if the deadline to get it done has passed.

“Being busy may make people more likely to fail to achieve a specific goal,” the authors report, but “it can also make people more likely to achieve the goal by augmenting the perception that a different goal [like using one’s time effectively] is being achieved.”

In other words, when we mess up as a result of having too much to do, we don’t feel as guilty about it. After all, it’s not like we were sitting around doing nothing — we were being productive. But when we make a mistake and don’t have the excuse of our industriousness to fall back on, we feel bad.

Staying busy at work might seem like a tall order when only 31.5% of us — in the U.S., at least — are actually engaged there. But there are ways to keep up your motivation and productivity, which my colleague Lindsay Kolowich wrote about here.

6) You have action bias.

We’ve all had friends who have gotten a bit upset with us at one time or another. When that happens, the best thing is to step away and give her space, right? I don’t do that, and that’s because I have action bias.

Also known as a “bias for action,” the Business Dictionary defines action bias as the “propensity to act or decide without customary analysis or sufficient information,” or to “’just do it’ and contemplate later.”

It reminds me of something that a leadership professor said to me about extroverts: “We tend to operate in the order of: Ready? Fire! Aim.”

We’re all about taking action and getting things done, before all else. So when our time has to be spent on something other than our most essential tasks, or even inaction — like in the case of our angry friend — we freak out.

Kolowich has experienced something like this. “In the past, I’ve felt guilty whenever I’ve been doing work that doesn’t have measurable output, like brainstorming, strategizing, and even catching up on industry news,” she told me. (She writes more about these biases here.)

“Ironically, that can make you less productive because you’re less thoughtful in approaching the work you do do,” she continued. “I’m far more productive when I take the time to understand a project and plan it out rather than jumping right in.”

That’s why it’s valuable to take the time to be thoughtful when it comes to your work, and even take the time to reflect on it. On the surface, that might seem like a waste of time, but it can actually be tremendously beneficial.

Take this a Harvard Business School study, for example. A team of employees was divided into two groups. The first was instructed to spend the last 15 minutes of the workday writing their reflections. The other group kept working during those 15 minutes. When each group took a final training test, the one that spent the extra time reflecting performed 22.8% better than the one that worked longer.

It might seem counter-intuitive, given our advice above about deadlines and staying busy. And we get it — for those of us with action bias, according to a Barclays white paper, “inaction can make a stressful time even worse.”

But you can be industrious and also be patient, without feeling bad about it. Even when a deadline is present, take the time you need to bring quality to your work — you’ll be glad you aimed before you fired.

7) You’re experiencing the Zeigarnik Effect.

“The what?”

The Zeigarnik Effect. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the psychological tendency to remember an uncompleted task rather than a completed one.”

Sound familiar?

At the end of the day, no matter how productive we’ve been, it seems like we always dwell on the things we didn’t get done. So maybe we can chalk it up the aforementioned Effect, named for Bluma Zeigarnik, the Russian psychologist who found that having a task interrupted can actually improve the focus you put toward it later.

That’s good news — and it supports the advice to take breaks and step away from your work, without feeling bad about it. And even though I’m a repeat offender of what we’ve discussed, like action bias, I actually have experienced the value of letting a task go until the next day.

I find that to be particularly applicable to writing. Of course, I have deadlines to meet, but every time I let an article “marinate” overnight, I see multiple things I want to change in the morning — and in the end, I’m actually glad I put it off, despite not feeling great about letting it go “unfinished” the night before.

It probably took you a few minutes to read this blog, right? It likely took time out of your day. But hopefully, the time you spent reading it — and next, thinking about it — will actually help you bring more focus and less guilt to your work. 

How do you keep guilt from getting in your way? Let us know in the comments.

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HubSpot Marketing Blog

Animals Aren’t ‘Freight’: 12 Ways You Can Help Them

Animals Aren’t ‘Freight’: 12 Ways You Can Help Them

Every week, more than a billion live animals are transported worldwide over long distances, through blazing heat and freezing cold, often without food, water, or veterinary care—as if they were nothing more than freight. Their grueling journeys frequently end at a slaughterhouse, where they face a terrifying death. Others end up on pet store shelves or in laboratory cages.

On August 29, caring people around the world will participate in a global day of action against all forms of live-animal transport. The day will mark the 20th anniversary of the world’s worst live-export disaster, when more than 67,000 sheep burned to death or drowned when the ship carrying them across the Indian Ocean burst into flames and sank. 

The best way to help animals is never to buy them or their body parts for any reason, but we can also help reduce their suffering by taking action now to improve their transport conditions. Here are 12 actions you can take:

Tell Air France officials that you won’t fly with them until they stop shipping live monkeys.

The airline continues to ship monkeys to laboratories to be tormented in experiments, even though every other major airline in the world refuses to do so. The monkeys are bred in captivity on squalid factory farms or torn away from their homes and families in the wild before being crammed into tiny wooden crates and loaded into the cargo holds of both cargo and passenger planes.

Refuse to attend circuses that use animals.

Animals used in circuses are forced to spend most of their lives in cramped, barren cages and trailers. Elephants are kept in leg shackles that prevent them from taking more than one step in any direction, and Ringling Bros. forces big cats to travel for up to 50 weeks a year. Most are allowed out of their cages only during the short periods when they have to perform. Help end this abuse by attending only animal-free circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil.

Caged Tigers in Caravan

Speak up for horses transported internationally and slaughtered for meat.

Every year, more than 100,000 American horses are crammed into livestock trailers and trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, often without food or water. Urge your legislators to support bills that would end this cruelty.

Kevin Silverlaspia at Livestock Auction

Write a letter to your local paper about chickens transported for food.

Let people know that chickens are rounded up by workers who grab them by the legs and sling them into crates for transport, often breaking their fragile bones. They are often deprived of food and water, and the journey to the slaughterhouse may be up to 12 hours long, through all weather conditions.

Chickens on the Truck to Slaughter

Urge Australia to end cruel live sheep exports.

Australia sends more than 2 million live sheep to the Middle East every year—a grueling trip across the Indian Ocean in the searing heat, sometimes taking weeks. More than 200 million animals have been crammed onto filthy cargo ships over the last 30 years, and more than 2.5 million of them have been trampled to death or have died of dehydration, starvation, or disease.

Meet with your political representative to discuss the way cows are transported for slaughter.

They are crammed onto trucks for journeys that can be 1,500 miles long. Many collapse in hot weather or freeze to the sides of the truck in winter. Cows who are too lame to walk when they reach the slaughterhouse are often dragged to their deaths by ropes or chains.

cows in transport truck© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Don’t buy betta fish.

A PETA investigation revealed that betta fish are often transported from dealers to pet stores in tiny plastic bags stuffed into cardboard boxes. These sensitive animals can be jostled around for days, often from one end of the country to the other. Help spread the word and encourage others to let fish live in peace in their natural homes and not to support pet stores that sell them.

Ask the Canadian government to improve transport regulations for all animals.

Canada’s notoriously lax animal-transport laws allow some animals to be shipped for up to 52 hours without water, food, or rest. Add your name to the petition to improve Canada’s regulations governing the handling and transport of farmed animals—before the September 21 deadline!

Pigs Crammed Onto a Transport Truck

Never patronize pet stores.

Even if a store claims that it doesn’t buy from puppy mills, it probably buys from a broker that does. Puppies are torn from their mothers, packed into crates, and shipped for hundreds of miles in pickup trucks, tractor trailers, and airplanes, often without adequate food, water, ventilation, or shelter. Every penny spent at a pet store supports this abuse, so buy your animal-care supplies only at stores that don’t sell animals or online, and always adopt from animal shelters.

dogs at a puppy mill

Don’t go to zoos.

Zoos routinely transfer animals among facilities, which is a stressful and terrifying ordeal that sometimes kills them. Transporting giraffes and zebras is especially risky because they’re skittish by nature and try to flee when frightened. Giraffes’ bodies are so fragile that they routinely injure themselves—sometimes fatally—by running into the sides of transport cages in panic. This happens so often that the primary transporter of giraffes for zoos factors the cost of a government fine for accidents into its shipping price.

Hold a vigil or remembrance service for pigs transported for food and invite media to attend.

In order to force terrified pigs onto trucks bound for the slaughterhouse, workers often shock them with electric prods. No laws regulate the duration of transport or the provision of food, water, and rest. According to industry reports, more than 1 million pigs die each year during transport.

Sad Pig on TruckAnita Krajnc | Toronto Pig Save

Spread this message far and wide to your family, friends, and colleagues.

There’s no better way to do this than by sharing the Animals Are Not Freight Day of Global Action on social media. Knowledge is power—let your friends, neighbors, and family know about this campaign so that we can end the extreme crowding, exhaustion, dehydration, pain, and stress endured by animals in live transport.

Animals who suffer during transport need compassionate people to speak up for them—and your voice can make a difference. For example, thanks in part to individuals who voiced their concern, almost every major airline in the world now prohibits the transportation of primates to laboratories. Let’s make a difference by speaking out against cruelty in the transportation of all animals!

The post Animals Aren’t ‘Freight’: 12 Ways You Can Help Them appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

5 Ways to Encourage the World to Go Down-Free

5 Ways to Encourage the World to Go Down-Free

Happy rescued geese

Can’t stand the thought of geese being plucked alive for down? Neither can we. Here are five easy ways that you can encourage people to join the flock of compassionate folks who aren’t down with down:

1. Down-Free Vacationing

Traveling soon? Give the hotel a heads-up that you require down-free bedding for optimal relaxation, and be sure to confirm your down-free reservation upon check-in. If the hotel is accommodating, leave a nice comment on its Facebook page so the public will know.

Vegan talking on the phone

2. Up With Alternatives!

Holiday shopping is in full swing. Let’s raise the revenue of compassionate companies. Remind your friends and family to buy products that don’t contain down. They’re cheaper and more comfortable. Check out PETA’s resources, and tell your friends and family about down-free beddingcoats, and even ski gear!

download (2)

3. Raise Your Voice.

Lululemon is still being a sourpuss and selling products that contain down. Tell the yoga-apparel company that you’re opting to namaste away from it until it ditches the down.

pluck-lululemon-ia

 

4. Down Is Harmless? As If!

You’d be surprised by how many people are clueless about down. Share actor Alicia Silverstone’s exposé on your social media pages, and your friends will be totally buggin’ at the thought of ever purchasing it again.

5. Some Down Is on the Down-Low. Expose It.

Check out these nine places where down could be hiding, and share your insight with everyone.

Colorful Photo of Plucked Down Geese On GrassCopyright Friedrich Mülln

Want to find more ways to speak up for animals?

Already part of the Action Team? Speak out against humane meat.

The post 5 Ways to Encourage the World to Go Down-Free appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

7 Ways Sales Emails Fail & 7 Ways to Win

 

7-ways-to-win

Like you, my email inbox is filled with email marketing newsletters, requests for information, spammy emails that managed to make it through my filter and the urgent things I actually need to respond to. Each day as I watch the number of unread emails grow, it takes more and more convincing for me to open the emails that do not come from people I know.

In my role as the Director of Agency marketing for TopRank Marketing, I receive a steady influx of emails each day from sales reps at various companies trying to meet with me about how their solution will make me more effective at my job. Nine times out of ten, I have had no previous contact with these reps, nor have I signed up to receive emails from them.

As marketers we know that a good email marketing campaign will provide value to our audience and build credibility. So, why should sales emails be any different? If the average buyer gets over 100+ emails per day, opens 23% of them and clicks on just 2%, what can you do to make sure your emails don’t fall into the 77% of emails that end up in the inbox graveyard?

Examples of Bad Sales Emails I Have Actually Received

I’ve selected a few of the more mild yet still ineffective sales emails that I have received recently. The names and companies have been removed to provide anonymity. 

Email #1

Subject: quick question

Dear Ashley,

We have invented a technology that targets the WiFi in a household, on a 1:1 basis with 95% accuracy. This is possible because we have mapped the IP addresses of over 160 million households, most of the major colleges throughout the USA, hotels, airports, and more.

We are the only company in the world that has this technology. Would you have 15 minutes to chat?

Looking forward to hearing back!

Regards,
Name
Company
Phone

—————————–

Email #2

Subject: Quick Question 

Hey Ashley,

Have you considered building your team?

I’d like to share a quick idea with you that has helped our client with customer retention and acquisition.

Ashley, let’s schedule a quick 15 minute call so I can share the ideas with you. When works best for you?

All the best,
Name
Title
Phone Number
Physical Address

Email #2 Part 2

Subject: RE: Quick Question

Hey Ashley – I sent an email to you three days ago. I was wondering if you put any thoughts into growing your team?

Ashley, let’s schedule a quick 15 minute call. What day works for you?

All the best,
Name
Title
Phone Number
Physical Address

——————

Email #3

Subject: a few ways

Ashley – I have a few ways you can improve your growth strategy and operations over the next few months, while gaining better insight into your business.

Interested in a quick 5 minute chat later this week?

P.S.: I promise it’ll be more effective than your current strategy.

Name
Title
Company
Physical Address

———————-

The list could go on and on and on. While these aren’t the worst type of emails you could send or receive, they aren’t impactful and don’t garner a response. What is fundamentally wrong with these emails?

7 Ways Sales Emails Fail

#1 – They Are All Cold Emails
No effort was made to connect with via social networks or other means before sending out a cold email trying to convince the reciptient to give them money.


#2 – There Is No Personalization
These emails could have been sent to anyone. A little research about your prospects can go a long way.


#3 – There Is No Empathy For Pain Points
If someone is on an email list, they should have had access to the company website as well as the title of the person they are reaching out to. With this information, it should be fairly easy and quick to uncover what some of the challenges someone in that role experiences, or what it is that they actually do.


#4 – Some Are Borderline Insulting
Promising to deliver a better strategy than what is currently being executed current insults what it is that a prospect does as a professional. Plus that’s a very bold statement when you have no insight into the performance of the current solution.


#5 – There Is No Way to Find out More About the Company
In order to test the legitimacy of some of these emails, it would have been nice if they would have included a hyperlinked URL to their company website in their signature or somewhere else in the email. None of them did.


#6 – There is No Value Being Offered
Not one of these emails offered up a case study or any validation that they could truly help in some way, or an example of how they had helped other companies in a similar situation.

#7 – Harassing Prospects Doesn’t Work
Telling your prospect that you’ve sent them numerous emails before is not a good way to elicit a response. The prospect doesn’t owe you anything.

7 Ways to Win

#1 – Network & Connect With Prospects FIRST
Before reaching out cold, make an effort to network to prospects by seeing if you know someone in common on LinkedIn or have similar interests. You can also begin following them on social networks like Twitter. This can create an opportunity for recognition when you do reach out via email and provide you with insight into what types of content they share and care about.

#2 – Personalize Your Approach
By putting in a few minutes of research before reaching out, you can quickly identify ways to personalize your email communication. It could be a matter of reading articles they’ve published, finding out where their company is located and making mention of it in your email, the opportunities for slight personalization to have an impact are vast.

#3- Show That You Understand Their Pain Points
You may not have met your prospect personally but with a little legwork you can determine that person xyz that works at this size of company and has this job title will likely experience these pain points. Use a portion of your email communication to show how your company/solution/services can help make life easier for them.

Keep in mind that if you’re emailing the marketing manager, director of marketing or CMO at a company, there will be different pain points or approaches that you need to take in order to sync with their specific needs.

#4 – Compliment & Flatter Your Prospects
We all like someone to take notice of the work that we’ve done. If a person trying to connect with a prospect makes mention of something created by the person they are reaching out to, it is likely that they will be much more open to what is being said.

#5 – Ask for Permission, Don’t Assume
When you use language that indicates you’re confident that the prospect will respond or participate in your ask, it can be a major turn-off. Instead, ask if they are interested in learning more or connecting. It is less invasive and allows the prospect to feel like they are in control instead of being manipulated.

#6 – Offer Proof of Concept
If you’re going to make bold statements in your outreach email, you had better be able to back it up with data. Linking to examples of your work or case studies within the email are an incredibly effective way of showing proof of success and how you have helped other people like them solve similar problems.

#7 – Make it Easy for Prospects to Research You
The simple inclusion of a link to the company website, blog or social links can make it easy for prospects to determine the legitimacy of a company sending them a communication. Since we know today’s buyers are self-directed, it will also give them an opportunity to dive in and learn more about your offering  on their own.

Start Creating More Meaningful Communications Today!

There is a clear opportunity for sales and marketing teams to collaborate and follow email marketing best practices as it relates to sales emails. The convergence of these two teams can help companies create a better and more cohesive experience for all prospects, no matter where interactions are happening. 

Are you guilty of sending sales emails that fail? What do you think you can do to create more effective emails that provide a better experience for your sales prospects?

Header image via Shutterstock


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