vendredi 31 octobre 2014

The Big Bang Theory’s Steven Molaro Talks Billy Bob Thornton’s Guest Appearance

The Big Bang Theorys Steven Molaro Talks Billy Bob Thorntons Guest Appearance image big bang theory billy bob thornton

“The Big Bang Theory” aired on CBS this past Thursday at 8pm EST with an all new episode titled “The Misinterpretation Agitation”. In the seventh episode of the show’s eighth season, the producers brought in “Fargo” actor Billy Bob Thornton to play awkward urologist Dr. Oliver Lorvis. Thornton played the role well, first appearing in a scene where he was pursuing Penny because of her flirtatious sales techniques.

Steven Molaro, the show’s executive producer, talked of the star’s guest spot on the hit show. Molaro spoke of how the cameo happened, saying, “A few months ago, we had seen an interview with Billy Bob talking about shows he likes. He was saying how much he likes ‘Big Bang Theory’, and watches it all the time. And we said that’s pretty cool – if he likes the show, maybe he’d do it.”

“The Big Bang Theory” saw the strange doctor fall for Penny, while all of the guys develop a man crush on him. As a urologist to the nerd stars, Raj, Leonard, Howard and Sheldon learn that the doctor has kept certain items belonging to high profile clients as mementos.

Molaro revealed to, “When we started thinking about Billy Bob, the thought was that he could be the doctor who doesn’t quite understand the signals – that this would be a socially awkward doctor who falls for Penny’s sales flirtations. We went back to Billy and his people with that thought, and they thought it was really fun and cool, so we went from there.”

Thornton did well to keep his short-lived cameo a secret, but they weren’t sure how the live audience kept quiet about it. He said, “It started with Billy and his people saying, ‘Hey, what if we kept this a secret?’ And we thought, ‘That sounds really cool!’ CBS obliged, but we didn’t quite know what to do with the studio audience – it was 200 people who saw it happen. But somehow people kept quiet enough that it was news to many viewers, and we were thrilled that it went down that way.”

The Big Bang Theory’s guest actor had a good time doing his part for the show. Molaro said, “He has said he had a wonderful time. After we finished taping, we had a table read the next morning. Everyone was a little sad that Billy was gone. It was that much fun having him around.”

Bernadette wants to be celebrated by a magazine for being smart and pretty, but Amy sabotages the idea and gets the article removed from the publication. In the meantime, Penny is chased by Dr. Lorvis based entirely on her looks and flirtations (she moves her wedding ring to the other hand while on the sales floor). Dr. Lorvis has some serious geek cred, but has no idea what to do in social situations with women. If Leonard hadn’t found Penny, it’s thought that he could’ve been taken down the same path.

The Big Bang Theory left us with some awkwardness when Amy and Bernadette had their tiff and we are left hoping that Billy Bob Thornton’s awkward doctor character will make his eventual return. What are your thoughts on the episode?

[Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Entertainment via EW]

The Big Bang Theory’s Steven Molaro Talks Billy Bob Thornton’s Guest Appearance

Content Marketing – Growth Secrets from Swayy [Interview]

Not long ago I wrote a post titled ‘7 Practical Ways to Find Content Your Followers Will Love’. In that post I mentioned the company Swayy. Swayy is a platform that helps you discover and share really awesome content with your audience through social networks (It’s linked straight to your social media pages like Twitter or Facebook).

Content Marketing Growth Secrets from Swayy [Interview] image Growth Secrets from Swayy4.png4 600x333

After hitting the publish button for that blog I was keen to get people to read it and see what everyone thought. So I took it straight to Twitter (Practicing what I preach when it comes to content promotion). In the past I have encouraged readers to mention industry influencers in blog posts as a method for increasing their social shares. This time I was attempting to target brands such as ContentGems, Swayy and Hootsuite, not individuals.

That’s how I met the founders of Swayy!

Content Marketing Growth Secrets from Swayy [Interview] image brand4.png4 600x600

Within hours of posting my first Tweet about the blog it had been re-tweeted by Lior and Ohad, two of the co-founders of Swayy. Something like this always amazes me, a simple blog post empowered me to connect with two dynamic entrepreneurs halfway across the world. Sometimes we forget the power of our generation to connect.

To cut a long story short, I communicated with Lior and Ohad on LinkedIn and earned the chance to interview Ohad for this blog post.

Content Marketing Growth Secrets from Swayy [Interview] image photo.JPG4 300x300Ohad Frankfurt: Co-Founder and CEO at Swayy

I’m just an ordinary dude with a pack full of dreams, failures and lessons learned. I talk and write mostly about social media, content marketing and startup culture.

I’ve gained extensive experience in product management, UX and online marketing while working in different industries including Telecom, SAAS and Online Gaming for the past 8 years.

I’m one of the co-founders at Swayy – a personalized content curation platform that helps you discover better content to share with your audience across social networks.

I’m also a contributing writer at The Next Web, Social Media Today, TheMarker and and proudly serve as a mentor at the Elevator Fund accelerator program. (Source: LinkedIn)

Here’s how the interview played out (plus some additional reflections from me about Ohad’s responses!);

Military service, a business idea, and a failure

Me: What were you doing before Swayy?

Ohad: Right after my military service (in Israel it is mandatory to serve 3 years in the army) I spent 5+ years working at a few tech companies here in Israel and at the age of 26 I started my first company (it was shut down less than a year later) and at 27 I founded Swayy with Lior, Shlomi and Oz.

Me: You mentioned you started a company at 26 and it was closed down a year later. What did that company do, and in reflection what made it fail?

Ohad: We wanted to allow people at conferences to have an easy way to change business cards with one another via their smartphones. Why did it fail? A mix of several reasons, but I guess we weren’t ready to build our own company. I learned some valuable lessons throughout this experience which later helped me & my team when building Swayy.

Reflection: It’s amazing how often entrepreneurial success stories start with a failure. This resonates with me personally, as cliche as it may sound; ‘Don’t Give Up The Dream’. More recently I’ve been living by the mantra that we are all as equally capable as each other, and if I or you don’t take the chances laid out in front of us someone else will.

Work with people that excite you

Me: What lessons did you learn on your journey before launching Swayy?

Ohad: One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that I should always get excited about my work and the people I work with. It allows me to actually enjoy and constantly improve on what I do.

Reflection: The harsh reality is that a large chunk of our life is dedicated to work. Don’t spend all of your time with people you don’t like. And more importantly don’t spend all of your time with people that don’t excite and challenge you to be the best you can be.

The experiment that started Swayy

Me: How did you come up with the concept of Swayy?

Ohad: Swayy was actually an experiment. We wanted to allow our community manager to easily discover and share content about social media on our Facebook page. we setup a daily email based on pre-defined topics and surfaced the web a few times a day to find the best content based on those keywords. It was a great experiment which allowed us to realize what we should do next.

Reflection: Every start-up success has a cool way they discovered their idea. It’s a little bit like how you met your life partner. My hypothesis is that we all have these great stories to tell, but many of us don’t think our story is special. I’m telling you right now, your story is just as awesome as Swayy’s, maybe it’s time you started telling people about it.

It’s also interesting to note that Swayy materialized from a problem that Ohad and his team were experiencing themselves. If you’re searching for that elusive business idea, perhaps you can sit back and reflect on the day-to-day difficulties you experience?

Swayy’s tech advantage

Me: Do you think coming from a tech-based background helped or hindered the launch of Swayy?

Ohad: My tech experience helped me to look at things differently. I’m sure that my years in the tech scene helped me to better understand how to think, design and build products. I don’t think previous experience in tech is something a start-up founder must have, but it definitely helps.

Accelerating growth with content marketing

Me: What’s been the most effective strategy with your marketing and growth?

Ohad: We started dedicating a lot of resources to content marketing. Through content we are always trying to spread the word about Swayy and share our experience with the community.

Me: You mentioned content marketing as an effective growth strategy. What channels have you seen the most traction with? Are there any recurring challenges you face in creating engaging content?

Ohad: I’d say that guest blogging is definitely something that helped us with our brand recognition and growth. It’s a great opportunity to get your content in front of a new audience. Definitely one of the main challenges we’re facing when creating content is distribution, that’s also one of the main problems we’re trying to solve here at Swayy.

Reflection: I love that these guys back content marketing as a growth strategy. It seems this is certainly where we all need to be spending our valuable marketing dollars (Inbound/Content it’s the same mindset). If you create regular content that addresses the fears, dreams and challenges of your ideal customers, you will build a community that no competitor can break down. Similarly to Swayy, I have found guest blogging a great way to gain exposure and boost my credibility. It’s certainly not dead, as long as you do it right.

Personalizing content – Swayy’s differentiator

Me: What is the number one thing that differentiates Swayy in the market?

Ohad: Our content personalization technology. For the past 2 years we have constantly try to improve it and learn what makes people decide they want to read or share a piece of content. As we see it, personalization should allow the user to discover the content he/she is really interested in.

Note: You can learn more about Swayy’s personalization technology by accessing their free app here.

Learning from other people makes a difference

Me: Who do you learn from?

Ohad: I’m lucky. I have surrounded myself with people I admire who always make me smarter. I have my partners, investors and other friends with so many years of experience. This is one of the main reasons why I love building stuff – it allows me to constantly learn from other people’s experience, mistakes and success.

Reflection: One of the best decisions I have ever made was establishing a mentoring relationship and getting a ‘coaching staff’. Once I realized I wasn’t the smartest person in the room, and surrounded myself with people who complement my skills and experience I began accelerating my personal development. Who’s on your coaching staff?

Accelerate success with trust and a shared vision

Me: What is the one bit of advice you would give an aspiring entrepreneur?

Ohad: Build a team that you trust and enjoy working with. Every successful business starts with a few talented folks that share the same vision and work together to make it happen.

What I learnt from Ohad at Swayy

It truly was a great experience interviewing Ohad and getting an insight into how Swayy started. I’d like to send out a big thank you to Ohad and Lior for being so welcoming!

My key take outs from this interview were the following;

  • Failure is often an essential part of the journey. Don’t give up the dream.

  • You or I are just as qualified as the next person to start a successful business. So if not us then who? And if not now then when? Let’s do it!

  • Surround yourself with people who excite, support and challenge you. Get your coaching staff of colleagues, peers, partners and mentors.

  • People crave content and the companies that provide the right content are the ones that are winning, and will continue to do so.

I’m ready to take action and chase my dreams, are you?

This blog was originally posted on Bluewire Media.

Content Marketing – Growth Secrets from Swayy [Interview]

Katy Perry’s Halloween Costume: A Sad Cheeto

Katy Perrys Halloween Costume: A Sad Cheeto image katy perry halloween costume sad cheeto

Katy Perry celebrated Halloween by attending Kate Hudson’s annual Halloween party as a sad Cheeto. Does Perry win the internet for this adorable costume? She wasn’t any regular Cheeto, though, she was of the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto variety. Completing her look was the pop singer carrying a handbag that mocked the Cheeto bag.

Also in attendance at the famed party was Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani dressed up as Dracula and his bride. In addition, Jessica Alba attended the party as former Guns N’ Roses rocker Slash. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe went to the party as Maleficent, while Adam Sandler went the more simpler route, wearing a three-cornered hat as a pirate.

Katy Perry’s costume clearly wins the entire holiday this year. Not only is it brilliant, but it’s cute and fun. Lily Allen’s “Dr. Luke Gynecologist” outfit was a clear runner-up for the title of best costume this year. That particular costume pokes fun at Dr. Luke’s sex scandal with Kesha as she and Allen are close friends.

Aside from Perry, also in attendance at Hudson’s party was Courteney Cox in an unidentifiable costume, Nicole Richie as Cruella DeVille and Sarah Hyland as Annie. It was no contest, however, as Perry’s sad Flamin’ Hot Cheeto outfit was the best, by far.

What are your thoughts on Perry’s costume this Halloween? Numerous outlets around the nation are painting it as the best celebrity Halloween costume this year. We’re just more upset that we didn’t think of attending any parties as a Cheeto. What are your thoughts on her costume? What would you say if you saw a human-sized Cheeto coming your way?

Have your say in the comments section below and as always, be safe at any Halloween events this year and have fun!

[Photo Credit: Twitter]

Katy Perry’s Halloween Costume: A Sad Cheeto

Amanda Bynes’ Conservatorship Bid Stands Despite Reversal Attempt

Amanda Bynes Conservatorship Bid Stands Despite Reversal Attempt image amanda bynes conservatorship1

Amanda Bynes was released into the wild Thursday night and was seen walking the Sunset Strip after being released from the mental health facility of which she’s been a prisoner for two weeks. Bynes was said to be in search of some dinner and a hotel room – or which she was denied.

Since, Bynes has gone to court to request that her parents conservatorship be overturned, but was rejected in court. The situation is sad because her parents want to help her, but she detests them for tricking her using Sam Lutfi in order to get her hospitalized.

Bynes was hospitalized in Los Angeles after flying from New York City in what she thought was a bid to bring a lawsuit against her parents. Lutfi assisted her parents with their ruse and was the main reason behind her being placed on a psychiatric hold.

TMZ reports:

Amanda said she was going to Ventura Court Friday to wage legal war to end the conservatorship … but the last we saw of her was in Hollywood during lunchtime where she was munching on watermelon.

A lawyer claiming to rep Amanda showed up, but the judge ruled she could not hire him because under the conservatorship she lacked capacity to enter into a binding contract. So the hearing ended even before it began, and the conservatorship stays in place.

Here’s the problem. Amanda is roaming the streets of Hollywood and clearly delusional. She has intense dislike for her parents, so they can’t control or influence her conduct. It seems it’s only a matter of time before she hurts herself or others.

Amanda Bynes’ parents currently have a conservatorship, but unfortunately they are unable to have her treated against her will. We were all under the impression that Bynes would be in treatment for a year’s time when her doctors received an order to that effect. Hopefully she will get the help she needs to be healthy before it’s too late.

[Photo Credit: Twitter]

Amanda Bynes’ Conservatorship Bid Stands Despite Reversal Attempt

Jennifer Lopez Calls Ben Affleck Her First Big Heartbreak

Jennifer Lopez Calls Ben Affleck Her First Big Heartbreak image jennifer lopez ben affleck

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were dubbed Bennifer in 2002 when the former couple became engaged. Despite being married to Cuban waiter Ojani Noa and former backup dancer Chris Judd, she called Ben Affleck her first big heartbreak.

Lopez wrote her memoir titled “True Love” in which she discusses her previous romance with Affleck. She talked with Maria Shriver about the memoir and opened up about her famed romance with the “Batman” actor. Notably, right after their relationship went south, Lopez began dating her third husband Marc Anthony.

When speaking about how quickly she moved on, Lopez said, “Right, you’re absolutely right. It was probably my first big heartbreak, and to have one of my best friends who I’d known for years, who I actually love and did have chemistry with, come into my life and say, ‘I’m here’…What you need to know is, nobody can save you or heal you. Only you can do that for you.”

Jennifer Lopez revealed, “It’s still a work in progress for me. It’s how you feel as a child, you know, being a middle child and kind of being invisible sometimes, or, you know, trying to get the attention.”

She continued, “So what did I do? I overachieved. I was the one who ran track and I won medals every weekend. Or I was the one who would go on the show and steal the show. And that would give me confidence. But there was a part of me that just wanted love, that felt like she wasn’t worthy of love.”

Since calling time on her marriage to Marc Anthony, Lopez has been linked to backup dancer Casper Smart. After dating for two years, she broke things off with Smart and has remained single since. Of that, she says, “I’m open to love, but right now, I think it’s better to just be on my own for a minute and learn more about myself.”

[Photo Credit: Twitter]

Jennifer Lopez Calls Ben Affleck Her First Big Heartbreak

Great Design: An Expense or Investment?

Design plays an instrumental role in driving business success. But it’s often difficult for marketing managers to convince C-Suite leadership of the importance of good design.

Great Design: An Expense or Investment? image FULL design.jpg 600x241

Design is an investment in innovative thinking—branding and communication that creates value through competitive advantage, customer trust and market share—ultimately increasing profitability. It can be a differentiator when it truly matters.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some examples:

Design and the stock market

A 2013 study revealed that design-led companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by an impressive 228% over the past 10 years. A “design-led company” was strictly defined as companies that embedded design leadership at senior levels and utilized design as an innovation resource. Those companies, not surprisingly, include: Apple, Coca Cola, Ford, Herman-Miller, IBM, Intuit, Newell-Rubbermaid, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Starwood, Steelcase, Target, Walt Disney and Whirlpool.

People notice

When design looks good, people notice. And when design looks bad, people notice that, too. You want your brand and design to be memorable for the right reasons—after all, you only get one chance for a first impression. Good design not only gets your company noticed, it helps build trust with clients and customers. People tend to make a decision regarding an organization’s credibility in a split second—and that judgment is often based on design.

Design needs strategy

Design should be at the center of your corporate strategy. Nike is a great example of a company that has leveraged design for bottom line results. CEO, Mark Parker, has a design team that reports directly to him, and no decision is made without their input. Through directly interaction with practicing athletes the team devises authentic performance innovations and style updates. This intentional elevation of design to a C-suite priority not only impacts Nike’s brand, it has created a competitive advantage and allows the company to command higher price premiums for its products.

As a result of Nike’s design-centric strategy, Nike ranked 24th on Interbrand’s 2013 list of the World’s most valuable brands—two slots up from the prior year and a 13% increase in value to $17.085 billion. Nike was also ranked #7 most innovative company by Fast Company in 2014.

Design and user experience

In today’s digital world, user experience is critical to success, whether it’s your company website, mobile app or other tool. Great design is at the core of a solid user experience and can make the difference between a complex, frustrating experience and a delightful one. Well-designed interactions can save clients time, make them more productive, and, in turn, make them feel better.

For example, think about when you use a financial app like Mint, or a banking app. When you are able to easily check your accounts, deposit money, or make transfers, you’re pleased with your interaction with that brand. Now think of a time when you were trying to navigate a site or app and were unable to find what you needed. You likely closed out of it because you were frustrated.

Every interaction with your brand, whether digital, print or in person, matters. Companies that have outdated websites are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with clients and prospects and add value to their experience. By providing a great user experience through strategic design, you will add value to your company and brand.

Design is an investment

Good design is strategic, engaging, functional and impactful. It exemplifies your brand, tells your story and helps you stand out from the competition. It adds perceived value both internally and externally—allowing you to have higher margins than your competitors. Demonstrating that you value your brand by investing in good design can pay significant dividends that are hard to ignore.

Is it possible to have a successful company without good design? Yes, it’s possible. But is it worth the risk? Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar, said, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

Great Design: An Expense or Investment?

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit?

Since 2009, Google has been the subject of antitrust lawsuits from almost 20 companies across Europe. Although the plaintiffs in these cases come from different sectors of the tech industry, their complaints are universal – that Google is too big, too powerful, and isn’t playing fair.

At the heart of the matter lies Google’s dominance in the European search market, and its engagement in business practices that other tech companies operating in the sector perceive as unfair.

Although Google already settled in several cases, and relented to provide more real estate to competing businesses in European SERPs, the appointment of a new European competition commissioner could reignite the debate all over again. Margrethe Vestager, who formally takes office tomorrow, could levy additional charges against Google, a move that could cost the search giant billions of dollars.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit? image google antitrust european union flag.jpg

Image via Mac Observer

Unfortunately for Microsoft and the rest of the plaintiffs, their case has no merit.

Sore Losers

The biggest, and most frequently vocal, opponent to Google in Europe is Microsoft – ironic, for those who remember the FTC’s investigation of Microsoft in the early 1990s and the subsequent legal battle that unfolded.

Google currently enjoys as much as 96% of the search industry market share in Europe, with Bing carving out just 3%. Against such overwhelming opposition, it’s easy to see why Microsoft would rather take its chances in the European courts than accept the fact that Google has such a deep market penetration simply by virtue of offering a superior, more popular product.

However, it’s the smaller companies that have even less of a case against Google.

In an interview with NPR, Shivaun Raff, founder of price comparison service Foundem, said that her business has “suffered” due to shady, underhanded tactics by Google.

“Google is manipulating its search results to increase its profits,” Raff told the news source.

The point Raff – and many others – seem to be missing is that this is Google’s right as a business.

Google is NOT a Public Service

I’m not against antitrust suits on principle. I believe that, at times, some wider regulatory oversight is required to ensure a level playing field. The proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, which would significantly weaken net neutrality, is a prime example.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit? image google antitrust comcast monopoly.png 600x428

However, these cases differ in that internet access can – and should – be considered a public utility. Twenty years ago, when the web as we now know it was in its infancy, internet access was considered a luxury, and was far from essential to most households. However, times have changed, and now internet access drives much of society, necessitating an alternate approach to how the telecoms industry is regulated.

Google, on the other hand, is NOT a public service. Despite its ubiquity (particularly in Europe), Google has always been a business first and foremost. As we’ve discussed at length in the past, the majority of Google’s considerable revenues comes from its advertising business, and everything Google does – from changes to the SERPs to adjustment of its algorithms – is designed to increase profit by offering users a superior search engine.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit? image google antitrust shopping.png 600x315

The question is not why should Google be allowed to prioritize its own commercial services, such as Google Shopping, but why shouldn’t it?

Popularity Contests

Speaking frankly, sites such as Foundem will never be able to compete with Google, and it’s got nothing to do with how Google prioritizes its own Shopping results in the SERPs. The reason that companies such as Foundem are virtually guaranteed to fail is that they have chosen to compete against one of the largest, most well-funded companies on the planet.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit? image google antitrust monopoly.jpg 600x334

Now, before you say it, yes – competition is a good thing for consumers, and monopolies genuinely reduce consumer choice and stifle innovation. However, what happens when consumers actively choose services offered by the biggest and best in the business?

Nobody is forced to use Google, and there are plenty of smaller search engines that offer excellent services. Duck Duck Go, for example, is an excellent search engine that offers not only relevant results, but a secure, (relatively) anonymous search experience. Best of all? Duck Duck Go was created by one man, Gabriel Weinberg, and his small startup is still based in Paoli, a tiny suburb of Philadelphia.

Industry insiders frequently cite Duck Duck Go as one of Google’s most serious competitors, proving that superior products and services are the best way to tip the balance of power from the supposedly evil giants like Google.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit? image google antitrust duck duck go founder.jpg 600x399

Duck Duck Go Founder Gabriel Weinberg. Photo via Fast Company.

Innovate, Don’t Litigate

It’s true that Google seems to have strayed far from its former motto of “Don’t Be Evil.” Its complicity in the recent NSA domestic surveillance revelations and its apparent leniency toward larger, wealthier advertisers with regard to black-hat SEO have all (rightfully) drawn fierce criticism.

It’s also true that many small businesses are forced to play by the unspoken rules of a game with only one referee – Google – and that sometimes, the little guys don’t always win. This isn’t fair, and in a utopian world, there would be another way. For now, Google holds all the cards. If businesses don’t like it, nobody’s forcing them to play.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit? image google antitrust european court.jpg

The answer in Europe is not going to be found in the courts. Microsoft and the other plaintiffs in the ongoing antitrust case should focus on delivering the type of experience users have come to expect. Innovation, not litigation, is what will win the battle against Google’s dominance.

The sooner everybody realizes this, stops crying foul, and starts focusing on improving their products, the better.

Does The European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit?

5 Reasons Why Social Advertising Isn’t So Scary

5 Reasons Why Social Advertising Isn’t So Scary image 5 Reasons Why Social Advertising Isn’t.png 600x374

Happy Halloween! When it comes to spending your marketing budget, it’s important to allot a good portion of that money to social media advertising. Almost anyone can draft a tweet, but trying to take a social media plan one step further gives some people the heebie-jeebies. You shouldn’t let social advertising scare you away! In the end, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.

Spooktacular Setup

In regards to setting up ads on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, each channel offers a fairly straightforward process. Start by figuring out what you’re trying to get out of your new campaign. Is the overarching goal to grow your audience, generate website clicks and conversions, or simply to amp up engagement? Once that is settled, the next steps are figuring out who you’re trying to target and how much you’re willing to spend. Then, take it from there.

Benefits That Will Make You Go “Batty”

Whether you’re promoting your overall brand presence or spreading the word about a specific event, social advertising can provide you with a wide array of benefits. No matter what your campaign objective may be, take the time to consider how social ads could amplify your efforts. More often than not, ads are the perfect compliment to any daily social media routine.

Boo-tiful Campaign Analytics

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow you to keep close tabs on your campaign with a variety of helpful analytics that allow you to gauge your campaign’s success. From there, you can decide if you need to make any changes to your targeting or raise your daily budget.

Remember, the more money you’re willing to spend, the more times your ads will be shown. After all is said and done, these campaign analytics prove how your ad campaign has helped your existing marketing efforts and serve as a great benchmark for the next time around.

Fang-tastic Cost Effectiveness

Thanks to the variety of targeting options available, social advertising efficiently spends the money you invest in each campaign. Instead of creating a bulk set of ads and crossing your fingers that they work, you have the freedom to A/B test with multiple ad variations. By creating different copy and using multiple images, you can ensure that your dollars are being spent in ways that make the most sense for your brand’s campaign objective.

Targeting Options are Scary Good

Arguably the best feature of social media ads is how specific you can get with targeting. Each social media platform has a wide variety of targeting categories to choose from, which in return, increases your potential reach of the ads. From age, demographic, interest, and so on, ads are there to catch people who are ready and willing to convert. Regardless of your business, what you offer, who your target demographic is, or the goals you’re trying to reach, you have total control over the people that you serve your ad to.

By choosing the best channels for your ads and pointing them to right group of people, you have the ability to create custom content and images that reflect specific interests. Gone are the days of creating generic marketing messages in an attempt to lure the crowd. Social ad targeting allows you understand and meet the needs of your audience.

Just keep in mind – there are many things to be scared of this Halloween, but social advertising definitely isn’t one of them.

5 Reasons Why Social Advertising Isn’t So Scary

R.I.P. Blog: What Went Terribly, Horribly Wrong [Infographic]

R.I.P. Blog: What Went Terribly, Horribly Wrong [Infographic] image twitter eulogy infographic.jpg

It’s a tale told too often. What starts as a brightly burning flame awash in good intentions is snuffed out in an untimely blip. The life of a corporate blog is precarious, fraught with obstacles, and often ends before its prime.

The enterprise blog is the backbone of your website and content marketing efforts. Your blog is the content destination of your brand voice and holds the power to generate leads and create true and lasting relationships with your audience. Yet, the sad truth is that 77% of all businesses have a blog and only 85% of those have five or fewer posts, according to IBM.

R.I.P. Blog: What Went Terribly, Horribly Wrong [Infographic]

What was led to the untimely demise of this blog? And how can we prevent another pointless death?

Barry Feldman, the creative mind behind Feldman Creative, eulogizes our lost friend, Web Log, for ClearVoice, a content marketing platform that champions writers and brands. In this haunting infographic, he points a grim finger to what the blog was lacking and how its life was tragically cut short:

  • Valuable, engaging content that resonated with the audience

  • A defined viewpoint designed to educate, entertain, or inspire readers

  • Influential guest contributors that enhanced its credibility and outreach potential

  • A consistent posting schedule

  • A cross-platform, visually appealing, easy-to-read layout

What can we learn from the tragic death of one blog gone astray? And is your brand on the precipice of an untimely death?

Read on for the sad yet hopeful tale of one web log and heed the signs.

R.I.P. Blog: What Went Terribly, Horribly Wrong [Infographic] image eulogy for a blog infographic.jpg

R.I.P. Blog: What Went Terribly, Horribly Wrong [Infographic]

Texas Town Postpones Halloween – For Football

Texas Town Postpones Halloween For Football image texas town postpones halloween for football

Recent rumors of Halloween being canceled in various locales due to Ebola fears have had families on edge, but one Texas town really is electing not to celebrate the candy-laden holiday Friday night. However, it’s not for fear of illness — it’s because of football.

In Van, Texas, the high school football team, the Vandals, is holding an undefeated record, and they don’t want to miss a chance to keep that record solid. The town’s mayor agrees — and he’s announced that instead of the football game, it’s Halloween that will be rescheduled.

KETK reports that the Mayor wanted families and fans to be able to attend the game, but not everyone in the town is pleased with the decision.

Mayor Dean Stone explained,

I had several calls over the last weekend and I came in and talked to the city manager and I made the decision to change it to the Saturday night due to the fact there will be a tremendous amount of people out of town Friday night.”

The town will hold Trick-or-treating on Saturday night, instead.

It’s certainly not the first time Halloween festivities have been shifted. Some towns even routinely move them to a weekend, when Halloween falls during the school week. However, it’s a controversial move.

There was an uproar earlier this month, when a rumor said that the city of Dallas would allow no Halloween celebrations due to Ebola fears, though that rumor proved completely false.

Not much in America’s southern states can create the level of fervor, dedication and excitement that football can, but it appears that Halloween is close.

Still, the mayor says he has no second thoughts about the decision.

Sure, some of them are upset with it and that’s okay. I hope they don’t stay upset because I’m not, but I really feel like the end result, they’ll be more happy people with what went on.

There’s no word on whether the opposing football team has also postponed Halloween.

[photo credit: Icky Pic]

Texas Town Postpones Halloween – For Football

The Hidden Gems of iOS 8: Tools to Try

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iOS 8 is here! Most of you have probably installed it, played around with it for several minutes, then thought… It looks exactly like iOS 7. Think again! Though the new OS sticks to the boastful simplicity of its predecessor, with only minor design changes, it also has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.

1. Credit Card Scanning Fear no more the 16-digit headache. iOS 8 equips the camera with a new scanner tool that grabs & (safely) stores your credit card info.

2. Apple ID Management I have to use my computer?: What we all exclaimed when we realized Apple IDs & billing info could only be changed through that oh-so-passe program called iTunes. Now you can update your info right through your phone. No need to wipe the dust off your laptop screen.

3. Battery Stats My now-outdated iPhone has the longevity of an asthmatic distance runner, landing at 1% after hours of little use. The new battery stats in the iPhone’s Usage settings detail exactly what’s draining your battery. Consider it your phone’s inhaler.

4. Enhanced Privacy Celebrities aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about this one. The new OS offers a hide function for photos and App Store purchases. To make a private photo invisible, just hold down on it until you’re prompted with the Hide option.

5. Image Recovery We all know the sharp panic of an accidental deletion. No longer an issue with iOS 8! You can go the Recently Deleted section of your photos and recover a deleted image up to 30 days after your mis-click.

6. Do Not Disturb Just put your digital sign up when you don’t want to be bothered by notifications. You can quiet individual threads through the Details section in the Messages app. Particularly useful for overly active group texts you wish you’d never been included in…

7. New Themes Prefer it when things are black & white? Say goodbye to color with the new theme options in the Accessibility section of the iPhone settings.

8. Selfie Perfection Introducing the selfie timer… the answer to every teen’s dreams. Add a 3- or 10-second delay to your camera to allow for proper prep time, or select Burst Mode to take more than one pic at a time and catch your best angle.

9. Email Notices Set up special alerts for your most awaited replies using the Notify Me option in the email’s More menu. No need to obsessively swipe to refresh every 5 minutes you don’t hear back on that job application.

10. Responsive Messages One of the most popular new features, type-in banners now allow multitaskers to reply to texts, emails, and WhatsApp without leaving behind what they’re doing. Finish up choosing that Instagram filter—don’t let us stop you.

Put your company on the mapp (get it?!) by developing an app with us today! We design & refine so you can impress on every OS.

The Hidden Gems of iOS 8: Tools to Try

Break the Rules – Part 2

Break the Rules – Part 2 image 1414079328659

Welcome to the first edition of our brand new weekly series, Break the Rules. Each week our plan is to highlight something you will have heard from some marketing expert as a best practice to be disobeyed at your peril. And we’ll tell you why it’s a rule you should break.

Last week’s rule was Use Shorter Subject Lines.

This week’s rule = Don’t Mention Competitors

Mentioning competitors in your marketing is considered taboo. Most marketers will tell you to avoid it for various reasons.

The first reason, they’ll say, is that when you name your competitors, you are clueing your consumers into the fact that they exist. Maybe your consumers had no idea there were other companies out there that offer what you do. Why would you do them a favor and promote them, even if it is done in a way to show that you’re better?

The next reason they will give is that when you call out your competitors, they will do the same to you. When there are multiple companies competing for the same customers, most times none of you will mention the other by name. But once one company breaks the silence, others will join in the fight. It will get more personal, and the competition will get even more competitive.

Most times I would give this same advice. But in the interest of trying something new, we must break the rules. And this is one rule I think you should break.

How you break this rule is up to you, but here is one suggestion. Create a page on your website that people will frequent and create a simple chart that compares your company to others in the space. Pick the most popular or biggest brands in your space. Illustrate what you do that is better than them.

For example, if your prices are lower, show them side by side. If you offer better service, more value, longer hours, etc. show it all. Any way that you’re better than they are is worth calling out in your chart. This will give customers a side by side comparison that they might be looking for. And it will clearly demonstrate the value you offer better than you could ever say otherwise.

However you choose to do it, start calling out your competitors and shake things up in your market.

Have a “rule” you think we should write about? Share it with us in the comments below or post it to Twitter @zheller using #marketingrules

Break the Rules – Part 2

Spooky Calls-To-Action For Converting Visitors

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Today is the day I get to make my FAVORITE cookie – Oreo truffle eyeballs – and watch a spooky movie on Netflix (I’m taking suggestions! Anyone?)

I would write a post devoted to the virtues of the Oreo eyeball, but it’s time for the Microinteraction of the Month, so I wanted to feature some impressive tactics I’ve seen recently for converting visitors (including myself – they work).

Microinteractions are the small moments that can have a huge impact – negative or positive – on your customer’s experience. Considering creative and compelling ways to make a lasting impression can lead to huge emotional dividends.

By playing on people’s fears, these “spooky” calls to action (CTA) act as subtle reminders the recipients might not know exactly what they’re doing yet. After all, why does someone visit a website? Usually it’s to research a product or learn something.

I find companies that address these needs in bold and daring language – all in just a few words – to be spooklicious! They not only manage NOT to scare customers away, but even better- they spook customers into taking the next step.

Here’s how you can do the same!

1) Stop your visitors in their tracks.

The internet is a sea of the same old CTAs like this one:

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That’s it? How many times have you seen one like this? Too many.

Let them know exactly what you’ll help them with and what they’re putting themselves into if they DON’T listen to you.

2) Show confidence in the knowledge you offer.

It makes you more trustworthy when you mention you’ll show the “how” versus the “what” because the latter doesn’t imply any actionable results.

3) Connect through empathy.

Your visitors have a reason for being on your website so get into their hearts and minds. Address their concerns, fears and struggles through the power of words. You’re not being the bad kind of spooky. You’re showing them you know how to improve the situation and you’re ready to pass along the gift of knowledge.

Check out these spooklicious examples for converting visitors!

1) Social Triggers

Very few people understand building email lists better than Derek Halpern…and he knows it.

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2) The Daily Muse

Wing it, or ace it? Seems like a clear winner. Sign me right up!

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3) The Middle Finger Project

“Eh!?” Who said that? Oh no sir, let me get to the bottom of this. Here you go!

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4) Bounce Exchange

But I…I…oh, how dare me for not wanting to reduce bounce rates. I pick yes!

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I found this on Search Engine Journal’s Not for the Faint-Hearted: 11 Daring Ideas for Conversion

With some word craftiness, you can create impactful CTAs that won’t scare customers away. When done right, you can spook people out of making the mistakes they’d make without your help!

How can you leverage your customers’ fears to increase conversions?

Featured image by ginnerobot via Creative Commons license

Spooky Calls-To-Action For Converting Visitors

Better Lead Generation Starts at Home – 3 Homepage Hacks

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Capturing more leads on the most-visited page of your website is often a matter of making some very simple changes to your home page. So let’s jump right in to the easy homepage hacks that can make a world of difference in your lead generation success.

Make it Easy for People to Become Leads

If your website isn’t bringing in as many leads as you would like, it could simply be because no one can find your premium content and sign-up forms. Make opportunities for lead conversion impossible to miss by adding more calls to action (CTAs)!

Don’t limit your CTA placement to just one “resources” page (though those are a good idea) or a couple of links in the side bar. Make sure your best offers are on your homepage as well. You might want to consider offering a sampling of offers for each stage of the buyer’s journey. For instance, you could feature a whitepaper for the first-time “just looking” visitor, a case study video for the visitor looking for viable solutions, and a “get a quote” form for people who are ready to talk.

Review Your Home Page Messaging

Your homepage messaging needs to be quick and to the point. Your visitors should know what they’re going to get out of your site immediately. Otherwise, they’ll be presseing that “Back” button faster than you can say, “sit down and stay awhile.”

Messaging for the content on your homepage matters too. If you have plenty of quality content, but your messaging isn’t effective or motivating, you still won’t get the leads you’re after. In everything you do, keep in mind your buyers and what they need to know to accomplish goals and overcome challenges.

Keep it Simple

If your website navigation, design, and layout aren’t visitor friendly, people will not stick around long enough to become leads.

Here again, the buyer’s journey comes in to play. What do they need to know at various stages of their buying cycle and what content can you provide to answer their questions? Answer those questions and use your homepage to funnel them through the entire buyer’s cycle, giving opportunities for them to convert and reconvert as leads along the way.


  • Add great CTAs to the home page – for all stages of the buyer’s journey.

  • Address “What’s in it for me?” right on the homepage.

  • Keep it simple.

Implement those three changes and you’re going to get more leads from your website. We promise.

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Better Lead Generation Starts at Home – 3 Homepage Hacks

4 Tips on How to Boost Engagement By Writing to Your Target Audience

Now days, it seems like everyone is jumping onto the blog bandwagon. People are flocking to their keyboards to write about their interests, which are as diverse and varied as those who write them. But with so much information being created and shared, how do you ensure that you get noticed?

Here are four tips to help you stand out and engage with your readers:

Know Your Target Audience

When you’re creating content, you need to consider your audience’s interests. There are many ways to identify this but some key areas include age, education and profession. Try developing personas to help with this. By determining primary, secondary and even tertiary users, creating content that engages them will become very simple.

Determine How You’re Going to Address Them

Once you’ve figured out who you’re talking to, it’s important to recognize why you’re writing to them. If you’re targeting a casual reader, write in a light tone and keep your sentences and paragraphs short. If you know that your audience is a little more serious—for example, you’re writing for an academic reader—you can expand on your ideas more and use more technical language. When writing your content, regard your audience and what will appeal to them. This will affect the style of your writing, your vocabulary and the level of detail.

Conduct User Surveys

Content creation isn’t a one-way street. Listening to your audience and interacting with them is a huge opportunity that many companies miss out on. The simplest way is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask what they think of your content and how to improve it. Whether they’re leaving comments on your blog or across social networks such as Twitter or LinkedIn, it’s important to listen to your readers’ opinions.

You should also use this opportunity to interact with them as well. If they have questions or concerns, address them in an honest and open way. Opening a dialogue in an open forum on the internet is a great way to talk to people and spread your message.

Check the Data

Once the numbers start coming in, things can get confusing rather quickly. Between constantly checking your accounts (Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and trying to figure out how to interpret all that data, when do you actually find time to create content? Luckily, there’s Atomic Insights. It not only condenses all of that information in one place, but it analyzes the data. By using this tool, you can quickly identify not only who your audience is, but when and where they’re interacting with your content.

So there you have it, remember these tips when you’re creating content and watch your engagement skyrocket. Now get out there and get writing!

4 Tips on How to Boost Engagement By Writing to Your Target Audience

‘Scary Stories In Five Words Or Less’ Challenge Thrills Reddit, Twitter Users

Scary Stories In Five Words Or Less Challenge Thrills Reddit, Twitter Users image scary stories five words or less

A challenge to write ‘scary stories in five words or less’ (though grammar lovers are cringing and whispering ‘fewer!’) has circulated recently, popping up on Reddit back in August, and being brought to life again by Comedy Central’s @Midnight series. Now Twitter users are having fun with it — and some of the stories they come up with will have even the staunchest horror reader cringing.

The Reddit thread, posted by user CraftJunkie two months ago, boasts a number of unrepeatable examples, but it also brings out some horror classics:

I frown, my reflection sneers.

Ziptied to the railroad tracks.

Others appeal to more modern and societal fears:

Home alone. Toilet Paper gone.

Both your girlfriends are pregnant.

After @Midnight’s Chris Hardwick offered it up as a challenge on the Comedy Central late-night show, though, the trend dashed to Twitter, where users strove to create five word scary stories, with similar results.

There, too, many lean toward classic fears, mirroring (no pun intended) some of the same ones that always recur:

Many, though, are more political:

On Twitter, too, many express fears of social embarrassment or taboos:

It’s a fun game, but ‘scary stories in five words or less [fewer!]‘ also reveals something about the things we’re all really afraid of. Even though the idea of your reflection doing something you didn’t do is still high on society’s scare factor scale, there’s a lot of fear, too, about the wrong person (whoever you happen to believe that is) in a position of power. Also, we’re all pretty afraid of information we thought was private or secret (even if we published it publicly) getting out.

To find more scary stories in five words or less, check out the Twitter hashtag #scarystoriesin5words. What are you afraid of?

[photo credit: ford]

‘Scary Stories In Five Words Or Less’ Challenge Thrills Reddit, Twitter Users

How KPIs Will Simplify Your Field Management

How KPIs Will Simplify Your Field Management image Analysis green.pngFor Field-Based Organizations which regularly perform merchandising, marketing, selling, inspection, or servicing functions, day-to-day operations likely involve a great deal of Field Activity Management (FAM). While things like mobile data collection and real-time communication are made easy with cloud-based FAM software, there is still the matter of converting collected information into a format which helps to guide the decision-making process. This is where KPIs come into play.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are constructs used in business to measure the success of individuals and organizations at achieving certain goals. While KPI’s vary from organization to organization, the fundamental purpose of KPIs remain the same: to measure the success of individuals and organizations at achieving certain goals.

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How exactly can managers go about applying KPIs to their Field Activity Management strategies? The two primary components of an effective KPI strategy are creation and interpretation.


The creation process involves looking at seven different characteristics and tailoring your approach around them. An indicator which possess all seven of these characteristics will be far more helpful than one without them.


These KPIs then must be compared against specific, intelligent goals. What’s more, these goals cannot be static; they must be measured over time to be of any use. For example, the KPI “Number of Customers” is useless if the data is only collected from a single period as it gives no indication as to the growth or relative performance of the number compared to previous data or industry standards. To derive any value from the data means looking for one of these three things:

  1. Variance (Compares Data to the Goal)

  2. A Developing Trend (Compares a Minimum of Three Data Points Over Time)

  3. A Net Change Over Time (Compares Data to Prior Periods)

Understanding the creation and interpretation stages of KPIs in greater detail is vital for managers and business owners looking to optimize their organizational efficiency. KPIs are useful for everything from measuring employee performance to choosing your next retail location. Making sure KPIs are clear and visible to representatives is vital to their success. Knowing the metrics by which their performance is measured will provide guidance and encouragement to reps in the field, and will allow managers to make important decisions while maintaining communication across the entire organization.

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How KPIs Will Simplify Your Field Management

Generating Leads With Mobile Marketing

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Whether it’s viewing a website on your phone or playing an online game on your tablet, by now, you’ve probably been exposed to mobile marketing.

What is mobile marketing, exactly? Mobile marketing is as simple as optimizing your marketing strategies for people using a mobile device-it doesn’t actually have anything to do with the device itself. According to a Google Report, over 90% of people use multiple screens to accomplish a task.

What does that mean? Well, it means that someone could start reading an article on their phone, continue on their iPad and finish on their laptop. To make things easier for them, your job is to create a seamless, optimized experience for every single device. That means, if a website loads on their laptop, make sure people are also able to view it on their phones.

How do you make sure that every person on a mobile device has a seamless, optimized experience? Well you need to put some thought into responsive design and mobile ROI. When your website has a responsive design, it will be formatted properly across any device and you can start generating leads based on similar tactics I’ve already covered in previous blog posts such as Top 12 Calls-to-Action.

A Mobile Strategy Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Building an App

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If you’re thinking that all mobile strategy leads to app creation, stop it. Mobile strategy is about much more than an app. It’s about driving traffic to your website using responsive design. Responsive design gives users an optimized experience while browsing through your website no matter what they use, from their phones and tablets to laptops or desktop computers. This web design concept automatically re-packages the design so that it fits the device viewing it. What makes it versatile is because you can even use free website building tools like and it will allow you to preview how each template design you’ve chosen or created looks on a laptop, a tablet or a phone.

Top 4 Benefits of Responsive Design

1) Responsive design leads to higher conversion rates

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Generating Leads With Mobile Marketing image rw co mobile.pngClose to 70% of users are more likely to purchase a product if the website is mobile friendly. That means closer to 30% of users will leave the website if it’s not optimized for their conversion experience.

Take a look at this example of the RW & CO clothing website. Not only do you have to scroll down quite a ways to get to the clothing items you’re looking for, but every time you want to zoom in on an item, you have to pinch your fingers together, if you want to zoom out, you have to spread your fingers apart. Add that to the fact that you also have to wait for longer load times.

Compare that to Nike US’s mobile website and immediately after you enter the URL, you’re taken to a main page where you can see all the links immediately, the photos load up quick and crisp and navigation is breeze to scroll through. In a few clicks, you can find what you’re looking for.

So remember, the easier it is to convert on a website and for customers to find what they’re looking for, the more likely it is that customers will purchase products on the mobile site. Just help them along by making your website mobile-friendly.

2) Responsive design is less stressful to maintain than apps

Even though it may seem like a lot of work to manage and maintain content and design on several versions of the same website, in fact, with responsive design, you only have to update ONE version of your website because it’s just one device that conforms to the size of the screen. So, with one update, you can still maintain a website that’s easy to access to across all devices!

The result is that you save time, money and energy and you don’t have to have a web developer make updates for you! You avoid bottlenecks, save time on meetings and the approval process, which will help your marketing department become more efficient!

3) Responsive design improves SEO

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As you probably know by now, it’s vital to optimize your webpages with the keywords you’re trying to rank for. By having responsive design, you can update your web pages once and your website will automatically update across all platforms. Responsive design also eliminates the chances of you publishing duplicate content and splitting your inbound links.

Also, one URL helps Google establish indexing properties for your content on the website which helps the site rank better. Google also ranks mobile-optimized sites higher in mobile searches. With 15% of traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s really important how well your website ranks.

4) Responsive design calls for better usability

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Having a mobile-optimized website allows for better usability because it fits all different screen sizes. Moreover, according to Google, close to 75% of users want mobile sites to fit their smartphone screens better, have bigger CTA buttons, scroll up and down rather than left to right and be more clean and efficient.

Responsive design satisfies all these requests from mobile users by fitting into screens of varying sizes, having bigger CTA buttons, be clean and efficient and allow users to scroll up and down.

Now that we’ve covered why and how responsive design works to help you generate more website traffic, here’s 6 tactics that will help you generate leads.

1) Employ Progressive Profiling Forms

Most of the time, web forms can be too small for a mobile site, not to mention all the scrolling and zooming it you’d have to do to see and fill in the entire form.

But forms are vital to marketers, it’s a great lead capturing device, so you can’t exactly get rid of them. That’s where progressive profiling forms come in.

Progressive profiling technology is an extension of dynamic form fields allows you to set up forms that designate what questions appear to each lead based on what you already know about them. That way, every time a lead fills out the form, you’re progressively gathering more information and keeping your forms short and easy to complete. This helps you optimize your mobile site with shorter forms and higher conversions.

2) Create Simpler CTAs.

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This is a topic I’ve already covered in my post on the Top 12 Tips for Great CTAs, but on mobile sites, it’s even more important. Make sure whatever images you use are large enough with clear text on them that get your point across quickly.

3) Provide Discounts and Customer Loyalty

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You can measure your mobile presence through discounts like promo codes and customer loyalty discounts that are redeemable through your mobile device. Starbucks is a great example. Mayors of individual Starbucks stores were able to unlock the Mayor Offer and enjoy a money-saving perk for their frequent store check-ins.

4) Optimize Content for a Mobile Screen

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When you’re writing for a mobile audience, there’s a few things you need to remember. Frontload your content in case people don’t read all the way to the bottom and don’t put the punch line as the last line of the article and make sure the purpose of the article is visible from the beginning. Bold your headlines and make them something that people will want to share. Lastly, test some of your content to see what your audiences like better. Are top 10 lists getting more shares and comments or are how-to articles?

5) Make Your Phone Number an Active Link

When someone picks up their phone, they’re much more action-oriented than if they were on a laptop. Whether it’s searching for a website, opening an app or composing an email, people tend to do a lot more on their phones. Knowing this, one of the most effective ways to get your potential customers to the point of conversion faster is to make your phone number a clickable link. By doing so, they can automatically give you a call for more information. The fewer steps it takes for a potential customer to act, the more likely it is that they’ll do it rather than leaving the website.

6) Try a Text Campaign

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Although this might seem like a riskier option, there is still room in a marketing strategy for you to try an SMS campaign. Take Julep, for example. They ran a SMS coupon campaign for their newest nail polish and Julep was able to track what percentage of their mobile subscribers clicked on the link in their SMS coupon and how many of those subscribers purchased the promotion. This one SMS coupon generated a 34.23% click-through rate, and an astounding 17.44% purchase conversion rate based on subscribers that clicked the link.

How to Unlock Mobile ROI

Online-On Device Conversion

Most businesses allow customers to purchase products through their mobile sites. 61% of consumers have said that if they can’t find a product in that mobile site, they’ll turn to the competitors. The easier it is to convert on a website, the less likely consumers will turn to competitors. You must also make sure that the flow and design of your mobile site is optimized for the best usability.

Online-Mobile Apps

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Apps are popular because they can resourceful and easy to use. Typically, a purchase can be made within two steps, which makes them an efficient alternative to mobile sites.

The travel booking agency Priceline recognizes that 82% of their customers make their bookings less than a day before their arrival. So, they made their app easier to book reservations on the go. On the Starbucks mobile app, you can purchase items, locate the nearest location, reload your Starbucks card or share your purchases via social media.

Offline-Click to Call

Lots of times, consumers want to be able to phone the businesses easily. Comcast makes it easy for users to call them by including their phone number in their mobile site and their search ads. The company built a mobile ad extension that allow people to call directly from the search results.

As a result, Comcast got a 270% click through rate through their mobile ads than their desktop search ads.

All of these points indicate just how valuable mobile sites are to your overall marketing strategy. By providing mobile users with the information that you know they’re looking for, you can guide them through to a purchasing decision; which helps your business and leads to happy customers.

Keep reading every week to get more posts on awesome marketing strategies and tips on how to use different marketing tools. In meantime, learn more about how to understand your customers better!

Generating Leads With Mobile Marketing

Teacher Who Said “I’d Kill All Black People” Allowed To Return To Work

Teacher Who Said Id Kill All Black People Allowed To Return To Work image teacher who said she would kill all black people returns to work

A North Carolina teacher has been allowed to return to the classroom after allegedly telling a student that, with only days to live, she would “kill all black people.” It’s left parents wondering why she was allowed to return after only a few days of paid suspension.

According to 10WAVY, a student at Camden County High School went home a few weeks ago and told her mother of a conversation in the school cafeteria that day.

It seems several students were discussing ‘bucket lists,’ things they’d want to do if they learned they had only a short time to live, and the teacher joined the conversation to say what she’d do if she had only 10 days to live.

I’d kill all black people.

Though no other context is offered for the conversation, there is no possible context in which that statement is not problematic and threatening, particularly coming from a teacher.

Though an investigation ensued, including the school and the Camden County Police Department, the teacher returned to school after only a few days of paid suspension, reports say.

On Facebook pages relating to the school, Camden County residents are speaking out.

They should not let a racist teacher teach at that school. They should of fired her.

On Twitter, too, people are expressing shock that the teacher was allowed to return to work after several students report witnessing the statements.

Ramsey herself has made no public comment, though the County Sheriff said he had turned over information discovered in the investigation to the District Attorney, who would make the determination whether to press any charges against the teacher.

The teacher who allegedly said she’d like to “…kill all black people” is not only a teacher at the school, but the head of the math department, with the accompanying degree of seniority and influence.

[photo credit: <a href="">tncountryfan</a>]

Teacher Who Said “I’d Kill All Black People” Allowed To Return To Work

How To Optimize Mobile Pages To Drive Phone Leads

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According to a study of 3,000 mobile searchers by Google & IPOS, nearly half indicated that they are more likely to convert elsewhere if they can’t call a business directly from the search result.

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That same study shows that phone calls are a powerful measure of purchase intent and are most likely to happen when a prospect is ready to convert (see the full study here).

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While the study is focused on mobile search, let’s do some critical thinking about the behavior & mentality behind why people respond this way.

Personally, I know when I’m on my phone, there are times when I’d much rather just talk to someone because it’s way faster to finish what I’m doing. For example, If I’m ordering a pizza, I don’t want to spend 5 minutes building a pizza & filling out a form, when I could just call and place my order with the person on the other side of the line.

While this isn’t the case for everyone, it was found that over half of the respondents said they always or frequently need instant access to the business they’re searching for.

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In another study that examines our multi-screen behavior, we see that even though a large percentage of behavior starts on a smart phone, the majority of traffic eventually moves over to the desktop.

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This could be for a number of reasons, ranging from wanting to get more in-depth descriptions to it being easier to enter personal details with a mouse and keyboard.

But could it also be that 96% of users reported encountering websites that were not built with mobile in mind?

While making mobile convert is a rabbit hole on it’s own, one of the benefits of a smartphone is that you can, you know, call someone when you wanted to.

Pillar 1: Turn Your Mobile Landing Pages Into Call-Drivers

If your business is already seeing success from phone leads, testing mobile landing pages that focus on getting your visitor to call in might be the perfect next step.

For example, this case study from String Automotive shows just how much impact focusing on Click To Call from a design standpoint has been able to increase conversions to inbound phone calls for their car dealership clientele.

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Read the full study here

With mobile, it’s imperative you recognize that a different canvas means different tactics. What works on the desktop might not be as effective on a handheld screen.

For instance, Neil Patel at CrazyEgg postulates that pages with multiple calls to action placed near persuasion points might convert better- especially when there is a lot of information to take in – because it’s easier to take action when there’s a button right there. But this may not be the case on a 5 inch screen.

Take a look at this call-to-action filled homepage from Dish:

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In just the above the fold area alone, there are 8 different calls to action.

If this page were directly translated to a smartphone it would be a mess, as you’d likely click a button while scrolling down the page.

Dish is smart though, because when they re-imagined this page for mobile, they tightened up the language & only focused on 2 calls to action. You can tap Call or Explore Packages – that’s it.

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While studies show that on the desktop, longer, content-rich pages can dramatically increase conversions for products that cost more or need more explanation, with mobile ( and especially with visitors from mobile ads) it’s been observed that longer call times can correlate revenue increases.

In other words, the need to gather information is the same, but the method of which it is gathered is different, given that your visitor is on a mobile device.

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If call leads are important to your business, you’d be wise to rethink mobile analytics all-together, as understanding a person’s behavior when they have their phone in their hand is a hell of a lot more complex than when they’re tethered to a desk somewhere.

Give Your Visitors a (Good) Reason To Call

Here’s the thing that most developers I know take for granted. Mobile isn’t just a smaller version of the desktop, there are technologies that are unique to mobile that can really encourage the visitor to want to call.

For instance, when Dish worked with agency amobee, they created a 3D banner ad campaign that took advantage of the smartphone’s acceloromter & pinch to zoom to make for a memorable brand interaction and significant lifts in interactions.

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“On average, mobile users spent 90+ seconds in-ad, beating industry benchmarks by 3X. Mobile users clicked on in-ad hotspots over 16,000 times, with an overall engagement rate of 83%”

While it’s unclear if/how this translated into phone calls, it is clear that the campaign went beyond expectations & delivered an enjoyable experience for users that was unique to the mobile device.

Something else to consider is the user’s real world environment.

Are they watching television? Are they reading a magazine? Are they in an urban environment? Are they coming from relatively new advertising medium like and NFC Poster?

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Depending on the environment, a “good” reason to call will be highly contextual, so it’s important to tailor your value proposition to the environment.

In a hypothetical scenario, let’s say this poster for The Black Keys concert were NFC enabled, posted around the city, and prompted visitors to use their device to purchase concert tickets.

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Mockup of original poster

After placing their phone on the poster, and landing on the site, visitors would have the option to order tickets by phone or via mobile checkout.

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Please Note – This is a Mockup

Having this option to order by phone would allow the mobile visitor to carry on with the transaction without having to stare into their screen or mess around with clunky mobile interfaces in a potentially busy environment.

Use A Vanity Number As A Branding Opportunity

A recent study by RingBoost found that vanity phone numbers were 33% likely to drive clicks in mobile ads than their generic counterparts.

Even though the context is through ads, it’s important to consider the underlying reasons behind this.

According to a 2011 study, vanity phone numbers had a 75.4% higher recall rate than standard 1-800 numbers, and for Home Health Associates, their 1-800-HomeCare lead to a 38% increase in call volume.

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Make The Number Instantly Clickable

You would think this goes without saying, but it amazes me just how many mobile sites don’t even make their phone number clickable.

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I’ll just assume that if the number on your mobile landing pages isn’t clickable, it’s because you don’t know the proper code to make it work.

If that’s the case, here you go:

<a href=”tel:+1-800-555-5555″>Call 1-800-555-5555</a>

You’re welcome.

Pillar 2: Analyze On-Page Behavior

Once you’ve designed your mobile landing pages, you already know tracking their performance is essential to making improvements down the road.

But, as you may already know, tools that are really good at tracking behavior on the mobile are harder to come by.

Yes, tools like Inspectlet & SessionCam allow you to filter sessions by screen size, but these can be somewhat limited when it comes to mobile as they don’t also let you know which elements resulted in a call or track that call to the individual user. So while they’re extremely effective for the desktop & form behavior, they become somewhat limited once the CTA becomes calling in.

Implement a Call Tracking Solution

Since you’re optimizing for phone calls, the first step is to employ a call tracking system to understand how your web pages are leading to conversions.

Most platforms work by provisioning phone numbers for every visit, which contradicts our recommendation for a toll-free number, above. If branding is a concern, and/or you’ve invested in a memorable phone number, you might consider a single-number tracking system.

With a single-number system, you’re able to retain your vanity number while also marrying the call data to the caller. There are many other benefits to call-tracking in general, for example, being able to view your calls as events in Google Analytics:

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Identify Which Elements Drives Calls

Another reason for using a tracking system that integrates tightly with web analytics is that you’ll be able to tell which buttons drives the most phone calls.

With traditional methods, this would require assigning a different phone number to each element, which disrupts branding and easily becomes a hassle, especially if you use multiple calls to action on a single page.

A new breed of heat maps, known as “call heat maps”, solve this by linking web clicks to the phone calls the clicks generated. Outleads’ platform shows a heat map report that aggregates all calls, as well as the element click associated with each individual call.

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These systems track any web element and easily scale to support an unlimited number of elements on any given page. The catch? It only works on mobile devices, though these comprise a sizable – and growing – share of phone call volume.

Analyze In-Page Behavior

By showing you how far visitors are scrolling down your pages, you can confirm that visitors are seeing your full pitch – or understand which content causes them to stop, convert, and/or abandon your site.

Combining call heat maps with scrollmaps and/or classic heat maps would be an ideal, all-in-one analytics solution.

Pillar 3: Optimize For Call Quality

Phone calls are expensive, and optimizing for high-quality, new lead calls – as opposed to generic service or general information calls – will help you mitigate costs and filter out junk phone leads.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is through a call tracking system that tracks call outcomes.

The ability to record phone sales, which is starting to surface in some platforms, is one way to distinguish quality calls from lesser ones. Outleads records phone and offline sales as eCommerce transactions in Google Analytics:

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If you’re tracking calls internally, and are able to accurately map phone calls to web visits, you might also consider using Google Adwords’ offline conversions tool to selectively import only quality calls into your account.

Another method, involves a subjective determination of call quality. Using web tags, call operators can label a call as “quality” which can later be analyzed in conjunction with other data (such as heatmaps) at a later date.

This is typically performed while updating a call record in another dashboard, such as a call center management software (e.g., Zendesk or Five9) or a CRM (e.g., Salesforce).

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Labels are sent to a web analytics system, as extensions of the visits that triggered the calls. In Google Analytics, you can then segment the visits with these labels, and analyze them as a group, whether on its own or in comparison to your site visitors as a whole. You can even create a remarketing list from these segments.

You can also set goals to be automatically completed when a label is applied to a visit as an event, which can be imported into Adwords.

Consider this your final “Aha!” moment: you’ve optimized your pages, and can now evaluate exactly which changes are not only driving phone calls – but drive quality ones that increase your bottom line.


Once you’ve successfully optimized for phone calls on your landing pages, you can use many of the same techniques to drive more phone calls from additional mediums. Consider incorporating click-to-call in your e-mail marketing, Facebook posts, Tweets, videos and other properties.

Call tracking plugins like this one for Mailchimp, or this one for Constant Contact are propping up everywhere, and it’s only a matter of time before they become standardized as a part of the “essential” marketing toolbox.

Big thanks to Dorin Rosenshine, the CEO of Outleads for suggesting the topic and providing the research for this article.

How To Optimize Mobile Pages To Drive Phone Leads