Map shows the location of Ocean City High School (bottom), Longport and Atlantic City High School (top).Students from Longport may start to attend Ocean City High School in September.David Hespe, acting commissioner of the state Department of Education, ruled this week that the Longport Board of Education can terminate its long-standing sending agreement with Atlantic City High School.Longport shares Absecon Island with Atlantic City, but Ocean City High School is closer to the borough and the Ocean City School District’s tuition would save Longport about $9,000 per student. Longport had appealed to the state to allow the switch.For Ocean City, the change could mean a small number of new students from a sending district. Nine Longport residents attend Atlantic City High School.It also could open up a small number of “School Choice” slots in the district. Some Longport residents attend Ocean City schools as part of the Choice program.The School Choice program, now in its third year, allows out-of-district students to apply to attend Ocean City schools — with the state paying Ocean City $13,825 for each student. It has allowed the district to compensate for a shrinking school population and sustain programs without increasing taxes.Total enrollment in the Ocean City School District fell from 2,248 in 2000 to 2,045 in 2010. The trend has been offset only by the addition of out-of-district students. Ocean City will receive $2.7 million from the state this year for School Choice tuition. Longport would pay tuition to Ocean City for any students it sends.Ocean City Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said Thursday that the district had just received news of the state ruling and will meet with Longport officials next week to discuss details.She said the district still has questions about how many Longport students would potentially move to Ocean City High School. There are 10 Longport residents finishing eighth grade this month, she said.The Ocean City Board of Education would have to approve a five-year send-receive agreement with the Longport Board of Education, and the Ocean City board will consider the measure at a public meeting scheduled for June 25.“We’re honored that Longport would want to send students to us,” Taylor said.
As the island awaits the start of another Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships, the question being posed is: what is the real cost of Champs? In January, the old boys’ associations of three of the biggest schools which participate in the annual event Calabar High, Jamaica College (JC), and Kingston College (KC) told The Gleaner that collectively they spend an average of $45 million each year preparing their respective athletes for the five-day championships. Manager of the JC team Ian Forbes, when asked how much his school spent on preparing a team for Championships responded: “To prepare a team properly, you would be talking in the range of $4 to 6 million.” When pressed further, he added that that amount would have been spent in only the final three to four months before the actual event. He added that the figure could go much higher. The all boys’ school has a team of 65 participating in Champs this week, down from a pool of more than 90. “If you look back to last July, last August, it’s not inconceivable. It could be in that neighbourhood ($15 million) actually. I was looking at the last three to four months,” Forbes said. “There are a number of things to be factored – nutrition, you have to pay coaches, there is medical, the feeding programme, transportation extra lessons for the boys because the boys spend such a lot of time practicing so you have to make it up somehow,” he added. Excelsior High School’s head coach David Riley, whose school runs a much smaller programme of approximately 80, split into boys’ and girls’ teams, said this week alone, his school will spend $1 million. Riley also noted that many of the facilities which other schools would have to pay for are already housed on Excelsior’s Mountain View Avenue campus, such as kitchen and boarding, which significantly reduces costs. “All costs of accommodations that other teams would incur, we have here, so we save ourselves that. And this year we are not buying new gear like, we did last year,” he added. Riley, a former head coach of Wolmer’s Boys’ School, said that while he was at the Heroes Circle-based school, the hotel bill for accommodation for Champs week alone was $600,000. “And that was for 40 people,” said Riley. This year, Champs’ title sponsors, GraceKennedy, invested $81 million into the event, a figure which represents less than one third of the amount JC spends in the course of a year to prepare its team. More than 200 boys’ and girls’ teams combined participate in championships. ISSA President Dr Walton Small said while some of the profits made from the Championships back to the schools, it is nowhere near the amount being spent. “Champs is not just about Champs. Champs is about ISSA,” he said, adding that the money ISSA makes from Champs helps to run the body’s other programmes. “To run the football programme is taking us well over $30 million or more than that, and that is just for the senior team. The Under-16 and Under-14, just the uniforms alone cost $19 million. The principals understand and the principals know that this is the main event we use to garner funds to run other sports. “Yes, we could give back more to the schools back more, but at what cost? Is it that we are going to ignore badminton, lawn tennis, table tennis, basketball, hockey, swimming? “We can’t do that. Plus we have a staff to pay and, therefore, a lot of the money from Champs goes back to those,” Small said. Meanwhile, Forbes said while the financial return to the school may not be immediately visible, there are other benefits which come from the investment. “There is the opportunity to provide for the athletes to get scholarships and professional contracts. It helps their whole programme from a marketing perspective. Everybody loves a winner, and when you win, good things flow. The stakeholders are happier, and when they are happier, they contribute more, so it’s a ripple effect,” he said.
17 February 2012 South Africa remained committed to prudent economic policies supportive of growth and job creation, the National Treasury said at the weekend following ratings agency Fitch’s revision of the outlook on the country’s sovereign credit rating. Fitch Ratings announced on Friday that it had affirmed South Africa’s long-term foreign and local currency credit rating at BBB+ and A respectively, but that it had revised the outlook from stable to negative.Economy’s ‘inability to create sufficient jobs’ Purvi Harlalka, director in Fitch’s sovereigns group, told Reuters that the revision “reflects the limited progress on several long-standing structural issues that have over time caused South Africa’s economic performance to fall behind its peers. “Not least of the problems that require urgent attention is the economy’s inability to create sufficient jobs for its labour force,” Harlalka said. “This inability has not only constrained growth and kept the tax base narrow but has also caused public finances to become increasingly redistributive in an effort to address the lack of social mobility. “The resultant narrowing of fiscal space undermines a key support to South Africa’s creditworthiness.”Key rating drivers remain strong The Fitch statement, however, confirmed that South Africa’s key rating drivers remained strong, and that the country’s BBB+ rating remained underpinned by the strength of its institutions relative to its peers. “Indeed, South Africa’s gross debt to GDP ratio of 40 percent reflects a sustainable debt burden,” the Treasury said on Friday, while the country’s macroeconomic and fiscal frameworks were “set to remain robust over the medium term”. Finance Minister’s medium term budget policy statement (MTBPS), tabled in October, set out a number of interventions aimed at boosting South Africa’s sustainable long-term growth. State expenditure would grow moderately over the next three years, the Treasury said, while South Africa remained committed to moderating the country’s rising wage bill, and changing the composition of expenditure from consumption to investment.Responding to global economic uncertainty The Treasury said it viewed Fitch’s revision, which came barely a year after the agency revised South Africa’s outlook from negative to stable, in the context persistent global economic uncertainty. “Europe, a major trading partner, accounts for more than 30 percent of our manufacturing exports is currently experiencing major economic challenges. This therefore impacts negatively on South Africa. “Mindful of these developments, the MTBPS responds to these challenges by maintaining a delicate balance between supporting the economy while starting the process of fiscal consolidation.” South Africa, the Treasury said, was taking steps to look for new markets for its exports. Asia now accounted for 35.9 percent of the country’s exports, and China in particular had become an important trading partner, accounting for 12.4 percent of exports. At the same time, South Africa was growing its exports to other countries in Africa – where 7 of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are located. SAinfo reporter
Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… When Is A Search Box Not A Search Box?Microsoft made an odd choice by including what looks like a search box at the top of each page. It’s not. Instead, typing in a topic there creates a post, using that word as the first search term.And creating content is where Socl shines. Yes, Pinterest focuses on images as well. But creating a post on Socl takes just seconds: add a headline, search Bing for images, links or videos, and drag them over to the posting box. Microsoft and Fuse have put themselves on the cutting edge here, and Facebook feels old and tired by comparison.Each photo layout is the same, however: one main image, with several smaller ones. Each picture will resize itself to fit in, with some dynamic reorganization in places to maintin the relative alignment and photo format. There’s a limit, though, of about three small square photo icons, and about fifteen rows. While you can add movie links, clicking on the icon for the “Prometheus” trailer I added took me to the Yahoo page it was housed in, rather than playing the video directly from the page. Related Posts Socl’s “Firehose” Makes It Worth A VisitIn general, Socl is worth a visit. If you understand that nothing you post on Socl is truly private, it’s a bit of a rush. Yes, we’ll probably see the spammers drop in. Some marginally risque photos have already surfaced, although users can flag such content as inappropriate. And each picture is too big; I’d like the option to shrink things down to a more pleasing size.But Socl offers something that other social networks don’t: the chance to ride the firehose. To be carried along by every user that publishes something to the system. Compare that with Quora, which absolutely refuses to let you in unless you sign up for the system, and then wants to provide you only with content your friends care about.I hate that. I like to break free occasionally, to cast myself in the raging torrent of serendipity and encounter things I never knew existed. Will I be able to grab hold, and establish a clique of content providers like I have on Twitter? I don’t know. But for right now, I’m enjoying the uncertainty. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Microsoft’s Socl social network, now open to all, is big, bright and beautiful. And perhaps just a bit too much of each.Although Socl became available in May to students, Microsoft employees, and some VIPs, this week Microsoft opened up the site to the world at large. Socl still identifies itself as “beta.so.cl,” perhaps indicating that it’s not quite completed. But in a hands-on with the new site on Wednesday, I encountered no bugs, and every feature the site promised, it delivered.The Casual Social NetworkWhat is Socl? Think of it as a casual social network, like Pinterest, but more verbose. And with some elements of Google+ thrown in for good measure. Basically, Socl makes it extremely easy to share Web pages, images and videos you’ve found on the Web (with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, of course), and even like them with a “Smile” icon. And while there’s a dash of the “Metro-style” typography from Windows 8, it’s neither obtrusive nor one of the primary design elements. Remember, Socl was originally designed by Fuse Labs, part of Microsoft’s research arm.Socl opens by asking you if you’d like to log in with your Facebook or Microsoft account. While there isn’t an option to sign in with just a user name or password, Microsoft reassures you that the site will never post on your timeline without your permission. (I turned my Facebook privacy settings for the associated Socl app to “just me,” just in case.) However, if you sign in via Microsoft, the Socl VNext app will view your name, email, gender and contact list, including the email addresses of your friends. That might seem a bit offputting, until you realize that many other social networks, including Google+, does the same. Parties Aren’t Any FunIf you want to share videos, “Parties” may be a better choice. At this point, “Parties” is a vague enough term that I suspect this tab will be beefed up in the future; I suspect it will eventually include Google Hangout-style video chats, powered by Microsoft’s Skype.For now, however, Parties is the place to loop videos, and where others can drop in to join them. But it doesn’t work very well.Instead of a collaborative, living-room feel, Parties feels like an art installation, where a film loop plays in a darkened room. People drop in, holding a virtual glass of champagne, mutter something about Bauhaus and butterflies, and depart. Even though Microsoft allows users to post images from Google’s YouTube, the controls are gone: you can’t pause, rewind, fast-forward or even put the video into a full-screen mode. It’s nearly useless, especially for long-form content. A privacy page offers you the ability to control notifications, and erase all content from the system. But keep in mind – and for privacy nuts, this is paramount – what you post will be seen, at least for a few seconds, by the entire world, and who ever searches for it. Socl is far more consistent with Mark Zuckerberg’s concept of “everything is shared” than Facebook is.Right In The Thick Of ItAfter signing in, Socl drops you into the thick of it: the front page. As far as I can tell, every post made to the site ends up here, although just for a second or two: As you’ll quickly notice, each post – dominated by a picture or pictures – takes up at least a third or half of the available space. Combine that with the frequency that others post, and your “Hello World!” introduction won’t last long. Make it interesting enough, however, and you’ll pick up your first Followers.Yep, Followers.Like Twitter, you can follow who you like, and a “People” page shows some of the most popular users, including those you’ve chosen to follow and those who follow you. At this early stage, there’s a disproportionate number of Microsoft employees, but the looky-loos from the Internet at large may soon alleviate that. I was disappointed by the lack of an easy option to follow a user who had added an interesting post, however. I had to click into the post, then to the user’s profile page, and then add him – not as convenient as I would have liked.At this point, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed. If so, it might be worth heading to the “Interests” tab, where you’ll be able to narrow down your search. At the top of the page, picture-driven categories like “Tech” and “Music” appear, and you’re always welcome to search for a topic using the small magnifying glass icon to the middle right. Tags:#Facebook#Microsoft#Pinterest#social networks#Socl markhachman The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit
“ What is the ROI?” is the question that usually follows announcements of new marketing activities. No matter how creative your marketing initiative might be, if it does not result in benefits larger than the initial investment, it is worth a revision. . in which a company develops a loyal base of customers who voluntarily spread positive messages about it. As “evangelists,” happy customers engage others in positive communication around a specific service or a product in order to “convert” them. Though word-of-mouth promotion existed before the emergence of digital media, its power has now been reinforced by this new platform. Topics: Consider launching a monthly survey in which your sales department can rank the performance of case studies and testimonials overtime. Once you receive the feedback, work based on it to keep producing such content or shift efforts elsewhere. If you have forms that encourage product sharing within an existing pool of customers, make sure you track the success of these initiatives. How many of the visitors actually filled them out? Customer Success . Tweet this word-of-mouth marketing The ROI question has now long been part of the conversation about , Facebook , a Boston word-of-mouth marketing agency, showed that the return on investment reaches about 400 percent. If a company spent 50 cents on generating a discussion, it would profit 38 cents every time a consumer engaged in an eight-minute conversation about the brand. ( customer evangelism ) . Yet, it remains less visible in the realm of another marketing channel— A 2008 study by BzzAgent Though this piece of data is optimistic, it might not be entirely useful for your business needs. You will need specific metrics in order to measure the success of your customer evangelism. And though tracking customer evangelism might be a difficult task, it is certainly not impossible. Here are three major ways in which you can do that: inbound marketing But what is the ROI of customer evangelism? Digital Word of Mouth: Let Customers Transform Your Marketing , email and Customer evangelism is a type of If you are creating customer case studies, make sure to track their views on different social media platforms like Track Referral Submissions social media YouTube . and Measure Social Media Following SlideShare Survey Your Sales Team Originally published Aug 23, 2010 11:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 For more insights about the power of customer evangelism, download our free eBook and sign up our webinar, Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Social Media Marketing Make sure to select blogs under the Type to get on blog article results. 3. YouTube Reviews No, there isn’t a specific section on YouTube for reviews, but people sure love filming themselves while critiquing the products they’ve bought. Even if there aren’t reviews for the specific product you offer you can still gather information on product categories and the features or use they like and dislike. Find out what is it about certain products they love and hate and what they would buy for. You might even find reviews for your products, that you could embed on your product pages. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack These are just 3 ways you can use social media to help position your eCommerce products, do you have any more to add? Have you tried any of these three methods and what success have you had in any changes you’ve made to your product positioning strategy. Topics: In this instance you may see that positioning some of your cameras based on durability will appeal to parents who want something long lasting for their kids.You may even consider adding negative keywords to the “None of these words” columns to reduce the noise in your search. 2. Google Alerts Using Google Alerts , you can similarly monitor conversations in the blogosphere around your product types or target market. Try multiple variations at first and then refine your alerts once you start seeing and can analyze the results. Most importantly, view the comments under each blog article to see what multiple people are saying for even more insight. Originally published Nov 8, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Wouldn’t you love more up to date and continuous insight as to what makes people buy your products? How can you make your product much more appealing and make them proceed through checkout from your product page? Fortunately for you, this insight from consumers is available all over the place your selling your products – the web.So, how can eCommerce business discover how to do better marketing and positioning of their products? One way is by closely monitoring the conversations happening in social media. With millions of people tweeting, posting, and updating their thoughts or actions a lot can be discovered just by listening. Considering the number of conversations and free access to this information, it would be irresponsible not to monitor conversations in the socialmediasphere.Here are 3 ways eCommerce businesses can listen through social media to better position and market their products. 1. Twitter Advanced Search Within Twitter’s advanced search you can sift through conversations based on keywords. By creatively coming up with different keyword combinations you can narrow your search to conversations related to shopping online and your target market or product. For example if your eCommerce website sells cameras you might try “online shopping camera”.
Save Why People Buy: 8 Important Takeaways1) The top factor driving purchasing decision (56%) is product quality. [Tweet This Stat]2) The most important store features driving purchasing decision (80%) is competitive pricing. [Tweet This Stat]3) 62% of shoppers research big-ticket items in-store before buying online. [Tweet This Stat]4) 9 out of 10 say they watch videos about the tech products they may buy. [Tweet This Stat]5) 54% of shoppers are smartphone owners, and 76% of smartphone owners use them while shopping. [Tweet This Stat]6) 81% say posts from their friends directly influenced their purchasing decision. [Tweet This Stat]7) 30% are most likely to respond to brand offers when they have been reposted by a friend. [Tweet This Stat]8) 44% of people are most likely to engage with branded content that contains pictures; video content is close behind at 40%. [Tweet This Stat] Originally published Apr 23, 2014 5:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Ecommerce Sales Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.There’s a lot of talk around the changing sales and online marketing landscape. But this evolution is driven by one important factor: the customer.The way people buy products and services online has dramatically changed over the years — and these days, the customer has more power than ever. To understand more about what influences today’s customer, the folks at BigCommerce analyzed a range of ecommerce sites to give us a broader understanding of what people value when shopping online.Download our free guide to marketing psychology here to learn more about what influences purchase decisions.While these findings may be specific to online ecommerce shops, we believe there’s some valuables lessons here for all business types. Take a look, and keep reading below for some tweetable takeaways.Save
Topics: Responsive Design Originally published Jul 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Do you remember the last time you went to a mobile site and had an — ahem — unmoving experience? (Pun intended.) Maybe the site wasn’t responsive. Or perhaps it was really difficult to find what you were looking for. Or, maybe it just loaded really slowly.Whatever it was, you may have left to go to another site as a result. Google knows that unhappy website visitors will go elsewhere, thereby increasing bounce rates and decreasing the chances a site will rank on mobile searches.That’s why, back in April, Google released their much-anticipated mobile update — which set the marketing world ablaze with commentary.Download our free guide here to learn how to design your own mobile-friendly website.Millions of tweets were posted about the mobile update, hundreds of thousands of people searched for “mobilegeddon” on Google, and people made a lot of graphics that look like this one:Image Credit: SearchEngineLandWhile some of the commotion was certainly a bit extreme, the update was a big deal, is a big deal, and will mean billions in revenue gained or lost in the coming years. This is especially true now that mobile search queries have already begun to surpass desktop.Many brands across the globe have been working to improve their mobile website experiences. To help inspire your own mobile web design, the team here at Crayon has compiled 16 companies that are doing a great job with their mobile optimization. Let’s take a look at the designs of their mobile websites and go over what makes them so great.16 of the Best Mobile Sites1) BeaglecatWith its bold colors and simple design, Beaglecat’s mobile homepage gives visitors a lot of helpful information without seeming overwhelming. With a few quick scrolls, visitors can quickly get an overview of Beaglecat’s mission, the value they provide, and who’s on the team. To learn more about any of these things, you can click on big call-to-action buttons that say things like “More Details” and “Learn More.” Finally, the forms on their pages are really short and easy to fill out on a mobile device.2) Oakley Hall HotelWhen you’re looking for a hotel, the top three things you want to see are big pictures of the rooms and spaces, room availability, and pricing information, right? Oakley Hall does a tremendous job capturing the essence of their hotel with big, high-definition images and a mobile-friendly availability feature that leads users to pricing options. They also provide concise but enticing descriptions of their room styles, as well as call-to-action buttons for users who want to learn more about weddings and their exclusive dining club.3) Impact Branding & DesignImpact’s mobile site is a great example of blending multiple elements of your value proposition into one, succinct scrolling page. Starting off with easy-to-click buttons, users can learn more about what Impact does and the value they provide — followed by customer testimonials, a graphic on what inbound marketing is, and finally, a big call-to-action button linking to their learning center.4) SpeckyboySpeckyboy is a design blog — so you’d expect a great mobile experience from them, right? Well, they deliver. The experience scrolling through Speckyboy’s blog is flawless, including intriguing imagery, article titles in large fonts, and an easy-to-read introductory paragraph teasing each article, which users can click if they want to read the rest.For lead capture, Speckyboy offers a mobile-friendly form that solicits subscribers to their newsletter: All you have to do is enter your email address. Toward the bottom of the homepage, Speckyboy keeps users engaged by offering two separate list of historic blog posts that users can click, including the “Most Popular” and “Recommended.”5) Landscape LeadershipOne of the first things users see on Landscape’s mobile homepage is a press-to-dial phone number that connects directly to the firm. We love the placement of that call-to-action. The rest of the site then goes on to explain what Landscape specializes in, followed by useful content including blog articles, website links, and large, easy-to-press social media buttons. For visitors who want more information, Landscape provides a large search box near the bottom of the mobile page.6) SyncShowEverything about SyncShow’s mobile website is clear, crisp, and concise. Their mobile homepage immediately offers can’t-miss call-to-action buttons, followed by a full description of their target market, B2B and B2C manufacturing companies. When you scroll down you’ll find succinct explanations of how the manufacturing industry’s changed, which is very relevant for their target audience. You’ll also find a short description of the company’s value proposition and a case study highlighting a recent 5X return on customer investment. The pattern here? Short blurbs followed by call-to-action buttons for visitors who want to learn more.7) NudeAudioNudeAudio sells portable speakers — and their mobile homepage does a great job of providing visitors with exactly what they’re looking for on the website: Striking product imagery coupled with feature details and big call-to-action buttons. They also include product update links that send people directly to their blog, as well as a one-field form where visitors can enter their email address to sign up for the newsletter.8) Influence & Co.Near the top of Influence and Co.’s mobile website is this compelling, inviting, and easy-to-understand value proposition: “We work with you to get you published in targeted online publications that showcase your expertise to your exact audience.” They go on to display a visual testimonial from Dell, along with a very short, touch-friendly form for interested prospects to quickly drop off their contact information.9) 1252 Tapas BarWhat would you want from a tapas bar’s mobile website? If you answered food pictures, a blurb about delicious, locally sourced food, and menus, then you’ll love this website as much as we do. Their full menu is designed to be mobile responsive, so no pinching and zooming is needed. They also tell a charming story about their head chef, Wes Tyler right on the homepage, which gives a welcoming feel to this local restaurant.While the page has all of the relevant contact information and hours of operation, we love the special offering at the bottom of the page, which highlight 1252’s weekly food-and-drink specials with delicious-sounding descriptions.10) TrendKiteTrendKite takes all the good things about desktop websites and puts it on their mobile page. Their homepage starts with an aesthetically pleasing visual above the fold, and then goes on to explain their value proposition and contact information. Keep scrolling, and you’ll be able to click into ebook offers and read more information catered specifically to you, as they separate content “For Brands” and “For PR Agencies.” There are well-positions call-to-action buttons throughout.11) Dog-a-holicsGreat mobile webpages have a lot of compelling imagery — and Dog-a-holics knows to lead with their best K-9 face forward. Following an adorable first picture, visitors can read three, succinct reasons the company loves dogs, which are separated by delightful little icons.Before providing all details on store locations, hours of operation and clickable contact information, Dog-a-holics includes a few humanizing details about the company to make them feel closer to the customer: a picture of the founder, and a call-to-action offering visitors the option to join as a “special member” of the store.12) Rover LabsRover Labs’ mobile homepage does three things exceptionally well. First, the page tells an easy-to-understand yet compelling story of why they exist and why their target audience needs them. Second, they include some awesome product shots that are really easily digestible on mobile. Finally, the entire experience is clean, brief, and offers users plenty of information along with calls-to-action to learn more.13) VentureFarVentureFar’s mobile website has a difficult goal: They need to convince users to climb Mount Kilimanjaro … on a cell phone. What’s impressive about the site is that they actually do a really good job. Starting off with a postcard image of the mountain, they immediately offer users the ability to compare tour-operating prices. (Yes, they know their demographic well.) They also include one of the better mobile responsive charts we’ve seen, which includes a simply designed but detailed chart showing all the tours they offer. Finally, their homepage ends with a short blurb answering frequently asked questions, like “Why Climb?” and “When Should You Go?” Being a remote tour company, VentureFar is also sure to include details on their licenses/verifications and options to book direct.14) Blue Zone SUPBlue Zone SUP is a stand-up paddle boarding camp in Costa Rica, and after seeing their mobile site, we totally want to go. Their site begins with an enchanting hero image, followed by a quick company description and well-produced video that works really well on mobile. They also show visitors a nice chart they can measure their skill level by on a scale of one to five. This way, when browsing camp dates (which is offered via call-to-action button under their video), visitors will know which weeks are most applicable to their skill level. To showcase more of the company culture, Blue Zone provides links to blog articles and additional imagery.15) TinyPulseTinyPulse’s mobile homepage is loaded with visuals, including customers from more well known brands and PR features from national publications. Instead of a text-heavy value proposition, the one on their mobile site is visual and concise, and they follow it with a mobile responsive product video.16) AX Fitness, LLCAX Fitness wastes no time in showcasing their culture: The very first thing you see when you go to their mobile site is a large picture of a group running a foot ladder workout, along with the phrase (in all caps): “Real People. Serious Fitness.” We commend the focused approach. Keep scrolling, and you’ll immediately see a “first free class” call-to-action button along with a special first month deal. It also includes a few words from the owner, showing visitors her passion and commitment to customers as both a gym owner and fitness enthusiast. From there, users can learn about personal training, group fitness, read blog articles, and get information on exciting, upcoming events.(To see all of the designs featured in this article, visit the HubSpot COS Websites Collection as well as the Squarespace & WordPress Collection at Crayon.)Oftentimes, visitors to your website will visit your website from both desktop and mobile devices. Perhaps they’ll find your site while scrolling through their mobile Twitter feed, then switch to desktop for more in-depth research later, and then send themselves an article from their desktop research session to read on mobile on the train home.The takeaway here? It’s critical your content can be read anywhere, with ease.So, what other companies have fantastic mobile sites? Share your favorites with us, and be sure to mention why they’re so great.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. 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Email Design Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack As marketers, we typically send and receive hundreds of emails a week. Occasionally, those emails are sent to people we don’t really know that well — or don’t know at all.This is cold outreach, and, for better or for worse, it has its purpose.Sometimes, in order to further our marketing campaigns, it’s helpful to send a few cold emails. But how do we do this without being seen as spammy? How do with do this and actually get results?Create a new, on-brand email signature in just a few clicks. Get started here. (It’s free.)I’ve identified five elements of the perfect cold outreach email, as well as expert examples to go along with each one. Ready to see them in action? Keep reading.5 Outreach Elements Used By The Pros1) RelevanceI recently received an email from BackLinko’s Brian Dean. The pitch was simple. Aware that I had both shared and professed my admiration for his link strategy, The Skyscraper Technique, Dean thought it would be worthwhile to let me know that he had a new, related case study coming out.Here’s the exact script:What I love about this outreach email from Brian is that it is relevant.He phrases it as though he’s just giving me a heads up. The article isn’t even live yet and he’s asking permission to send it to me when it’s done.He notes that I’m a fan of the strategy because he’s seen me comment on the post and share it, and offers to let me be one of the first to see it.In short: Everything adds up. Needless to say, I agreed to see the post when it was launched and ended up sharing that too.Takeaway: Think about how your pitch relates to something relevant to the blogger or business. For example, mention an article they wrote, a recent social media share/comment, or a project they are working on.2) TimingMany people undervalue the benefits of an aptly timed pitch. This is because timing is very difficult to scale, and you can’t force it whenever you want. Some opportunities just present themselves at the perfect time, and if you can capitalize on them, it will greatly increase your chances of success.For example, I was recently browsing Product Hunt and came across Noah Kagan’s new course, Traffic1m. After taking a look at the website, I instantly knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. They had 16 featured experts … but no one was talking about influencer marketing. I wondered: Did they have room for one more?So I shot them an email that looked like this:There aren’t a heck of a lot of words in this pitch, but in essence, it says everything it needs to say.They’re gearing up to launching this course. They want to make it as epic as possible. They’re looking for experts. And here I am, presenting myself and our tool as something that could add benefit to their course.Perfect timing.A couple of back and forth conversations ensued, and I earned my spot as lucky #17. My write up was sent out to thousands of people on their email list and produced great exposure for us.Takeaway: Think about how to relate your pitch to something that is top of mind to the recipient. Are they working on a new case study, or did they recently launch something? If you can tie your pitch into that, they will take it more seriously.3) CreativityI recently read an article by VideoFruit’s Brian Harris that shared one of the simplest and most creative strategies for outreach I’ve read this year. The process is so simple it’s easy to be overlooked, and everyone I’ve mentioned it to thus far has said, “I’ve got to try that.”Here’s what you do:Subscribe to the newsletter for the person/company you want to connect with.Reply to the first email they send.That’s it.Here’s an example of Harris using it in action with Neil Patel from QuickSprout:By responding to the newsletter, Harris is showing that he is a “true fan” of Patel and his work. Most marketers cater to their newsletter subscribers first and foremost, and the fact that the email is sent as a reply provides a subtle distinction that makes it feel less like cold outreach, and more like a conversation.As a result of this conversation, Brian was able to secure video production work for KissMetrics.Takeaway: In order to stand out from the hundreds of emails people receive weekly, you have to be creative. What’s one channel that you can go through that most people are overlooking?4) CredibilityWhen your pitch asks someone to expose their audience to your brand, you want to make sure you build in a lot of social proof. This is particularly important if you’re looking for:A guest postA product reviewAn affiliate relationshipOr anything else that effectively turns the recipient into a carrier of your message and brand.An example of this being done well is Alex Turnbull from Groove’s pitch to Buffer for a guest post:Can you see how Turnbull builds credibility into his pitch?Firstly, he mentions that they have 7K subscribers. This is no small number and proves that they have a strong brand.Secondly, he references the guest posts he did on KissMetrics and Shopify — two well-respected brands.Finally, he builds in additional credibility for the post itself by citing the 300% increase they received as part of this case study.Above all, I like that it doesn’t come across as bragging, but is mentioned in a very subtle fashion. If you aren’t paying attention, you’d almost miss it entirely. This outreach resulted in a guest post on Buffer’s blog that sent them droves of traffic and sign-ups.Takeaway: If you’re asking someone to take a chance on you and your brand, build credibility by referencing your following as well as additional brands you’ve worked with.5) PersonalizationOf all the five elements, I imagine personalization is the one you could have guessed. After all, every outreach script you’ve seen so far has some degree of personalization — some more than others.But in this case I wanted to highlight an email that really does it right, which is from Gregory Ciotti of SparringMind to well-known entrepreneur, Derek Sivers.Sivers has got to be one of the busiest people around, but this personalized email got his attention.Can you see it?It’s beyond just relating to the fact that Sivers is a musician, and that Ciotti is acquainted with CDBaby. It’s beyond the fact that he referenced Siver’s philosophy on customer engagement. It’s that he wrote an article entirely dedicated to it. This article was meant for Sivers, meaning that the outreach was planned before the article was even written.That’s personalization.As a result, Sivers shared the post and it took off with zero additional outreach to thousands of visitors.Takeaway: Just because you hear a lot about personalization, does not mean that it should be viewed as cliche. Take it seriously and you can dramatically reduce your outreach efforts by focusing on some key prospects.Implementing Your Own Outreach CampaignIt’s unlikely that every email you send out is going to check the box on each of these five elements. Even the above examples don’t.Regardless, if you can keep these five elements in mind, you’ll likely find more opportunities than you realize to improve your outreach scripts and inevitably your results.What else makes for a good outreach script? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Originally published Oct 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:
Topics: Off days. We all have them from time to time.Maybe you didn’t sleep well the night before, or perhaps you’re working on a project that isn’t particularly exciting. Or maybe there’s no viable explanation at all, and you’re just straight up not feelin’ it that day.First of all, that’s OK. We can’t be on all the time. Motivation is an ebb and flow: We all have periods of high energy where productivity comes easily, as well as periods of low energy where your work doesn’t come so easily.Get motivation on-demand with free quotes, videos, and songs from our motivational chatbot.But alas … unless we’re physically ill, we’re all expected to show up at work and get our work done regardless of how tired we are or how “meh” we’re feeling.It’s times like these when we need to find that motivation within ourselves. The next time you’re feeling exhausted, unmotivated, or lethargic at work, try one or a few of these 10 ways to get motivated again.10 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re Exhausted1) Just get started.Have you ever found yourself faced with a deadline or a looming task, only to realize that was the perfect time to clean your house or start a new season of 24? Turns out, that’s your brain playing tricks on you.A study by Dr. John Bargh, an award-winning psychology researcher, showed that, before we start on a big project, our brain attempts to simulate real, productive work by focusing on small, mindless tasks. The result? We don’t get started on the tasks that are most meaningful. And the longer we procrastinate, the more anxious we feel.Thankfully, once you get over that hump of just starting already, you’re more likely to work ’til it’s done. That’s a phenomenon called the Zeigarnik Effect, which is best defined as “the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete.”That’s why, sometimes, we don’t need a particular thing to motivate us — we just need to get started, and a more focused and productive mental state will follow.2) Make or rework your to-do list. (The right way.)When your energy is low, it can be hard to get in that get-stuff-done mindset. So when you feel yourself dragging, stop what you’re doing and take a few minutes to either make a new to-do list or rework the one you already have.After all, studies show that when we write down our goals, we’re more likely to achieve them. This small step can not only help your productivity, but it can also help get rid of that uncomfortable, anxious feeling you get when you procrastinate.There are a lot of different ways to make a to-do list — and what works for you may not work for your neighbor. But it turns out there is one similarity to how most of us write our to-do lists: We tend to start with the easier tasks first, and save the daunting tasks for last. That way, we can cross items off the list faster … and feel good about it.But according to Charles Duhigg, saving the harder stuff for last increases stress and other negative emotions. To more effectively motivate yourself with a to-do list, Duhigg suggests:Thinking of your stretch goal for the day.Writing down this goal at the top of your piece of paper or worksheet.Breaking down your goal into actionable, measurable, and manageable steps. Collaboration/Teamwork Originally published Mar 31, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated August 31 2017 To get started, think about what part of that broken-down task you can accomplish right now or today, and begin working on it with the more manageable and achievable goal in mind.3) Commit publicly.Accountability works. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. Chances are, if you’ve promised to do something publicly, you’ll be more likely to achieve it. That’s why so many people do things like create public blogs or Instagram accounts to hold themselves accountable for fitness and weight loss goals.You don’t have to go public with your goals to reap the benefits of accountability. You can do it with coworkers, or with friends and family.For example, here at HubSpot, the blogging team holds a daily standup meeting where we come together in the morning to list out what we plan to get done that day. If we find ourselves repeating the same task over a series of consecutive days, it becomes clear to ourselves and our colleagues that we either need to prioritize that task to get it done, or reevaluate whether it really needs doing in the first place. (You can also use collaborative to-do list apps like Trello or Wunderlist to share tasks with others digitally.)Simply recruiting a reliable friend to become your accountability buddy can help, too. Psychology professor Dr. Gala Matthews conducted a study on goal achievement in the workplace worldwide. She found that more than 70% of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend either completely accomplished their goal or were more than halfway there. Compare that with 35% of those who kept their goals to themselves without even writing them down.4) Change up your location.According to Duhigg’s research, your physical environment is one of the most powerful drivers of our habits and behaviors.Take the six-month study published in The American Journal of Public Health, for example. The scientists that ran the study found that by changing the environment and the way food and drinks were displayed in a large hospital cafeteria, they could get people to eat and drink healthier — without even thinking about it. Just by moving bottled water closer to the cashier and moving soft drinks away from it, the number of soda sales dropped by 11.4%, while bottled water sales increased by 25.8%. Similarly, where you work can affect your motivation levels. Duhigg says this might be because we mentally assign behaviors, habits, and routines to particular locations, like bed for sleeping, desk for working, couch for relaxing. (Another reason taking your lunch break away from your desk can do wonders for your productivity.)Need to really focus? Step away from your desk, move to a workspace with no distractions, and hone in on whatever it is you need to do. That’s what Amanda Sibley, a demand generation manager at HubSpot, told me works for her: “If there is something I must get done in a day — a deck due to our CMO, for example — then I turn off email and shut myself in a room for an hour or so until it’s done.”5) Listen to pump-up music.Music motivates us. Think about it: Why do people listen to music when they go to the gym? Because it gives us energy.We don’t just have an emotional reaction when we listen to music; we also have a physical reaction. Music engages our bodies’ sympathetic nervous systems. Our airway opens, our heart accelerates, and our muscles become primed for movement. When the speed, intensity, or volume of the music rises, our pulse quickens and our breathing accelerates.This is great for physical exercise, of course. But it’s also great for reenergizing you when you’re feeling tired or bored. Not only will it help refocus you, but studies have shown that music can help draw our attention away from the negative aspects of whatever task we’re doing.”During my training and races it became obvious that even in really horrible weather conditions, or when I was physically suffering, that I could use music (and my imagination) to create a parallel universe that had little to do with reality,” said Jacob Jolij, an athlete and researcher from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “I used music to stay optimistic and see the glass as perpetually half-full while doing ultra-endurance races. You can use music as a tool when you work out or in your daily life the same way. “So the next time you’re tackling something that doesn’t quite thrill you, consider putting on some happy tunes. If you need some music ideas, try one of these science-backed productivity playlists.6) Meditate.Listening to pump-up jams not your cup of tea? Perhaps meditating is.It’s funny: We rest our aching muscles after a tough workout without a second thought, and yet we expect our brain to work hour after hour, day in and day out. It just doesn’t make sense. Burnout is real, folks.Taking ten or twenty minutes out of your workday to meditate is a great way to use a break time — especially when you find your attention and motivation wavering. According to one study, intensive meditation can help you focus and sustain your attention — even during the most boring of tasks. It also helps boost your mood: A 2012 study found that people who mediated “stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative feedback after task performance.” Never meditated before? You don’t need any experience to enjoy the benefits of meditation — especially with the many apps out there that offer guided meditations. Next time you feel disconnected or unmotivated at work, try using one of these free apps:Headspace: This app gives you 10 free guided meditation sessions. If you end up getting hooked, you can sign up for a monthly subscription.Calm: This app offers over two-dozen guided meditation session for you to choose from that range from a few minutes long to about 30 minutes long. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 7) Talk to a coworker. (Or talk to yourself.)Sometimes, taking a short break to talk with a colleague can be enough to reenergize you for several more hours. In a study of call center workers, those who talked to more coworkers in between calls actually got through calls faster and felt less stressed — all while having the same approval ratings as their peers.If you just need a break from the task at hand, grab a coworker and talk a short walk. If you need some inspiration, choose that coworker wisely, and use the time to bounce ideas off of them. If you’re really struggling, try asking them for advice on how to refocus or reprioritize.If you’re working from home or no one’s available, leave your current workspace (see tip #4: change up your location) and interact with someone — anyone. “Go outside and find a human to interact with — ordering your coffee, running an errand, whatever,” suggests my colleague Corey Wainwright. Or, give yourself a pep talk. Giving yourself advice and encouragement in the second-person voice actually works, according to a study on self-motivation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “People are used to receiving and giving advice in the second-person, and they seem to prefer using the second-person pronoun to psych themselves up before engaging in action,” study coauthor Dr. Sanda Dolcos told The Huffington Post. “Self-advice expressed using ‘You’ probably enables people to adopt a broader perspective, considering how a significant other might view the event, and to reproduce the kind of encouragements previously received from others.”8) Eat an energy-boosting snack.Food is fuel for our brains and our bodies. What we eat — and when we eat it — has a direct impact on our performance at work. Recent studies show that willpower is a limited resource and depletes throughout the day, but may be strengthened by the food we eat.To function at its best, your brain needs a constant supply of glucose and fat that come from the right nutritional sources — i.e., not junk food. Our brains work best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in our blood stream, which is about the amount found in a banana. So when we’re feeling sluggish, snacking on a banana between meals can actually help us reenergize our brainpower.On the other hand, if we were to snack on something high in sugar, like a handful of M&Ms, then we risk a much higher blood sugar spike followed by a crash. While we may feel energized for a short period of time, we’ll ultimately enter into a slump. The result? Low energy and low productivity.The same is true for coffee, which only gives us short caffeine bursts. (If you love coffee, though, try bulletproof coffee, which has a longer-lasting, positive effect on your energy levels.)Healthy snacks that’ll supercharge your brainpower and help you gain energy when you’re tired include bananas, yogurt, blueberries, avocados, olive oil, salmon, broccoli, eggplant, and dark, leafy greens. (Check out our infographic on “the productivity diet” to learn why these foods help you focus.)9) Move your body.Whether it’s spending some quality time at the gym or simply going for a short walk between meetings, regular exercise can do wonders for your health, your happiness, and your productivity and energy levels at work. In fact, researchers have found that people who exercise during normal working hours are actually more productive at work, even if they technically log fewer hours.Another study out of the University of Georgia examined whether exercise can be used to treat fatigue. It showed that even low-intensity exercise can significantly help feelings of fatigue.“A lot of people are overworked and not sleeping enough,” said Patrick O’Connor, co-director of the university’s exercise psychology laboratory. “Exercise is a way for people to feel more energetic. There’s a scientific basis for it, and there are advantages to it compared to things like caffeine and energy drinks.”Here are 10 ideas for sneaking in exercise at work without looking silly, from taking short “active breaks” to replacing your desk chair with a stability ball.10) Take a power nap.Another way to unleash your brain’s natural energy? Take a power nap. Researchers have found there are clear benefits to napping, including increased alertness after your nap. The key is doing it right. In other words, napping for the right amount of time, and at the right time of day.According to Sleep Expert Dr. Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University, the best naps are between 1 p.m. 3 p.m. and last between 20 and 40 minutes.That afternoon timing is best for your body clock, whereas napping later in the day can affect how well you sleep that night. Taking a nap longer than 40 minutes can cause your brain to slow-wave (deeper) sleep, which’ll leave you waking up in a state of confusion — the opposite of what you were trying to solve for.Then, once you’re up from your nap, get back to it.What if it doesn’t work?If you’ve tried some of these tactics and none of them are helping you refocus and reenergize, be careful: You might be burned out.Burnout is defined as a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. Although people experience burnout differently, a telltale sign is when you’re experiencing the trifecta of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy all at once. Remember: It’s OK to take your foot off the gas pedal every once in a while and to adjust your work output to your current motivation level.But if you’re feeling the symptoms of burnout, take care to dedicate specific time for unplugging and relaxing — and even take a vacation if you can. It’s good for you, and even your boss would agree: 91% of business leaders believe their employees return from vacations recharged and ready to work more effectively.Want more? Read 28 of the Best Motivational TED Talk Videos to Inspire You.Get motivation on-demand with free quotes, videos, and songs from our motivational chatbot.