The only hope now is to look to Europe, something that is of huge importance to Valencia. Their previous success in international competitions is an immense source of pride, with part of the Mestalla’s decoration dedicated to highlighting their UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup wins, and the club museum giving pride of place to those trophies as well as other European honours. Losing out on playing in the Champions or Europa League next season will hurt supporters immensely therefore, and reflect pretty badly upon their coach.Yet Neville also has an opportunity to use Europe to his advantage. Incredibly, despite their largely abysmal performances, Valencia still have a trophy left to play for this season, their Europa League last 16 tie against Athletic Club hanging by a slender one goal margin in the Basques’ favour. Turn it around and eliminate a fellow La Liga team to reach the quarter-finals, and the English coach could start to win back his team’s supporters, a famously vocal bunch who can either make or break a manager. When Valencia unveiled Gary Neville as their next head coach in the autumn of last year many observers feared for the worst, scepticism over how useful someone with no experience of management would be at an incredibly demanding club in a difficult moment. Unfortunately for Neville, it looks like the sceptics were right. The Englishman has lost almost half of his league games in charge of Los Che, and increasingly looks to be captaining a sinking ship.A string of three wins between February 13th and March 2nd suggested there may be some home for a domestic turnaround, but it was a false dawn. Valencia went on to lose twice in a row, and while being outclassed by Atletico Madrid was no surprise, the subsequent loss was much more damning. On March 13th, Levante won the Valencia derby 1-0, and more embarrassingly still, the team at the bottom of the La Liga table outclassed their city rivals. Thirteen points beneath the nearest European spot, the best Neville can now do in La Liga is to try and provide the lesser of various disappointments. The Bury native has a huge chance to change his situation, and in truth, it is probably a much bigger chance than he or his players deserve. Valencia were clearly bettered by Athletic in the first leg of their European tie, the difference in coaching ability between the two hopefuls particularly clear. At the San Mames, the visitors failed to get to grips with a difficult surface, barely stringing two or three passes together in succession and spending most of the game on the back foot as a result. Ernesto Valverde’s men, by contrast, were clearly instructed to keep the ball off the ground as much as they could, maximising the use of aerial outlets Raul Garcia and Aritz Aduriz. When that wasn’t possible, they took short touches to minimise the chances of being caught out by the unpredictable movement of the ball on the muddy field, all signs of detailed and well planned coaching. Los Leones dominated the game, bulldozing their tactically inferior opponents.Thankfully for Neville, mother nature intervened and saved his skin. Athletic were looking more and more likely to score a second goal when the heavens opened, the infamous Bilbao rain obliterating what remained of the San Mames grass and reducing the match to kick and rush.With the local climate not known for its kindness, Athletic are used to unfavourable conditions, but even they couldn’t cope with this kind of downpour, and what had at one stage looked destined to become a route eventually ended in a 1-0 win.Fortune dealt Valencia a favourable hand, the kind of gift their coach can’t afford to waste. Athletic are a quality side — certainly the better of the two — but the beauty of knockout football is that a 1-0 lead in a two-legged tie never provides certainty. Valverde’s team could have an off night on Thursday. Whether they do or not, Neville needs his team to have a good night, more than ever.It seems an age ago now, but it is perhaps worth remembering that Valencia took a 2-2 draw from Real Madrid at the Mestalla last January. They are capable of taking a win from Athletic, therefore.Sealing progression to the quarter-final of the Europa League through whatever means necessary and Neville would achieve the biggest result of his tenure. It could even be the start of saving his tenure.
Sheriff Chip Hall offers some safety tips for those youngsters who will be attending school this year.“Parents can teach their children the following safety tips which will inform the youngsters of the danger signs to watch for and avoid in going back and forth to school,” Sheriff Hall said.“Drivers should be cautious of children traveling back and forth to school,” added the Sheriff. “We can all learn from the safety tips below and abide by them to make Jackson County safer for all.”Ø While walking or waiting for the school bus, remember to always travel with a friend. Two heads are better than one, especially if there’s an emergency.Ø A stranger is anyone you or your parents don’t know well.Ø You or your friend must never take candy, money, medicine, or anything else from a stranger.Ø If a stranger in a car asks you questions, don’t get close to the car (you could get pulled in) – and never get in the car.Ø Strangers can be very tricky – they can ask you to walk with them to “show” them something; they can offer to pay for your video game, or ask you to help them find a lost dog or cat. Don’t be fooled!Ø Don’t tell a stranger your name or address when you’re walking and don’t think that because someone knows your name that they know you – they may just be looking at your name printed on your lunch box, school bag, or T-shirt.Ø If you think you’re in any danger, yell, and run to the nearest store or “safe house” or back to school.Ø Always tell your parents or teacher if a stranger has approached you.“By taking the time to carefully prepare your child on how to handle these situations, you can insure your child’s safety whether they are walking to or from school, waiting at a bus stop, playing in a playground, or riding their bikes,” Sheriff Hall concludes.
By 2020 expect there to be a lot of devices connected to the internet — with the emphasis here on ‘a lot’. Analysts and businesses can’t quite decide, but the number will be very big.Last year, Gartner predicted by 2020 there will be 26 billion devices connected to the internet, and they revised their estimate recently to 25 billion. But IDC thinks that it’s closer to 30 billion devices. Cisco expects that the number will actually be closer to 50 billion devices. And Morgan Stanley says it will be even bigger, closer to 75 billion devices. Do I hear 100 billion — anyone?Cisco’s John Chambers thinks the IoT will generate $14 trillion in sales over the next ten years. IDC estimates that the IoT market in 2020 will be about $3 trillion.It’s no wonder that IDC named their report on IoT futures “Billions of Things, Trillions of Dollars.”Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner, said that “by 2020, component costs will have come down to the point that connectivity will become a standard feature, even for processors costing less than $1. This opens up the possibility of connecting just about anything, from the very simple to the very complex, to offer remote control, monitoring and sensing. The fact is, that today, many categories of connected things in 2020 don’t yet exist. As product designers dream up ways to exploit the inherent connectivity that will be offered in intelligent products, we expect the variety of devices offered to explode.”Gregg Berkeley, Intel Corp’s global IoT business-development sales director, said that “everything can be IoT. For example, HVAC [heating, ventilating and air-conditioning], lighting, lifts, digital signage and parking. Currently, IoT is in the early stage globally. In my opinion, IoT will be in the mature stage within the next couple of year.”Jim Tully, analyst at Gartner, said that “The digital shift instigated by… cloud, mobile, social and information – and boosted by IoT – threatens many existing businesses. They have no choice but to pursue IoT, like they’ve done with the consumerization of IT.”
Do you have a great idea for a study that you want to share with the world? A new journal will gladly publish it. Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) will also publish papers on your methods, workflows, data, reports, and software—in short, “all outputs of the research cycle.” RIO, an open-access (OA) journal, was officially launched today and will start accepting submissions in November.“We’re interested in making the full process of science open,” says RIO founding editor Ross Mounce, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. Many good research proposals fall by the wayside because funding agencies have limited budgets, Mounce says; RIO is a way to give them another chance. Mounce hopes that funders will use the journal to spot interesting new projects.Publishing proposals can also help create links between research teams, Mounce says. “Let’s say you’re going to Madagascar for 6 months to sample turtle DNA,” he suggests. ”If you can let other researchers know ahead of time, you can agree to do things together.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)RIO’s idea to publish research proposals is “exactly what we need if we really want to have open science,” says Iryna Kuchma, the OA program manager at the nonprofit organization Electronic Information for Libraries in Rome. Pensoft, the publishing company behind RIO, is a “strong open-access publishing venue” that has proven its worth with more than a dozen journals in the biodiversity field, Kuchma says.The big question is, of course: Will researchers want to share promising ideas, at the risk that rivals run with them? Jeffrey Beall, a scholarly communications librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, doesn’t think so. “I don’t see people sharing their research proposals,” Beall says. “Research is competitive and you want to keep your secrets close to your chest.” Mounce says scientists shouldn’t be too concerned about that—on the contrary, by putting out an idea early, scientists can get credit for it, as well as valuable feedback from colleagues, he says.Others are more worried about RIO’s optional peer-review model. The journal will publish papers “almost straight away” after “basic technical checks to make sure the paper is not deeply unethical or a spoof,” Mounce says. For some output types, RIO also asks authors to get a presubmission review of their manuscript “from an appropriate colleague.” But “formal peer review” will be optional, at the author’s request—and for an extra fee. That makes the journal a “mishmash … neither an unrefereed proposal platform nor a refereed journal,” says OA advocate Stevan Harnad, a cognitive scientist at the University of Quebec, Montreal, in Canada.Harnad is not a fan of OA journals that charge publishing fees in general. Authors don’t need to pay a platform or a journal to host their papers or ideas, he says: “All they need do is post it on the Web or deposit it in their institutional repository.” “Firms like this favor people and ideas with money behind them,” Beall adds. “If you have money you can get your idea published and get a [digital object identifier] that makes it look more legitimate.”Mounce says that RIO is a for-profit operation, but not a profiteering one. Article submission fees will be affordable, ranging between 50 and a few hundred euros depending on the article type, size, and submission format, according to the journal. They will be waived for those who can’t afford them, such as scientists in developing countries.
A fresh set of leaks has given out some rare specifications of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note successor. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 20, which has been nicknamed Hermes, was first spotted a month ago.Regular leakster, @upleaks is the source of the new set of leaks. According to this, the smartphone will sport a full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display, although the screen size has not been divulged yet. It is also likely to be powered by a 64-bit MediaTek MT6795, octa-core processor. Some other features include 2 or 3GB RAM, and 16GB internal memory.The device is expected to run on Android 5.0 Lollipop based MIUI 6. Other leaks reveal a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front camera.Any details regarding the availability and pricing of the smartphone are yet to be known. Notably, the launches of four new smartphones by Xiaomi were also leaked when its product roadmap for the year was revealed earlier in the month.
We all know that the Internet is transforming business, but the Internet is also transforming our social and political lives as well in similar ways.A group of bloggers got together and came up with an idea – Blog Action Day. The idea is to have a huge number of bloggers all write about one issue – the environment – on the same day to call attention to the issue. They have also asked bloggers who make money from ads on their blog, to donate their ad revenue from that day to an environmental charity. That’s it. Pretty simple idea. In today’s world, this makes sense, sounds reasonable and not too difficult to pull off.But let’s rewind to about 15 years ago. Before normal humans used the Internet. Back to the old rules of marketing. Doing something like this would have meant coordinating huge media conglomerates that publish most of the content people consumed daily – the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, etc. A monumental task, perhaps impossible.But in the modern world where we are all now playing by the new rules of marketing, something like this is not that hard. In fact, just working on a volunteer basis, these few bloggers have enlisted some of the top blogs in the world, including many I read, like GigaOM, SEOmoz, and Copyblogger. They have had over 15,000 blogs sign up. This means that their reach is over 12 million readers. Plus the event itself is garnering media attention, increasing the reach and impact by a huge amount – of course some of the coverage is negative.How does all of this affect your business? Think about the personas you serve. Are there any issues that they care about? What does your market care about (besides your product)? HubSpot is targeting marketing professionals and small business owners – do you think this post about the environment and marketing below is interesting to them? Originally published Oct 15, 2007 9:31:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 Topics: Viral Campaigns Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
1999/2000 was the absolute peak of the outbound marketing era because small startups raised hundreds of millions of dollars and then spent that money on outbound advertising (TV, print, billboards) thinking that the more you spent on outbound marketing, the faster you would grow. This proved to be a completely false assumption, and the era of outbound marketing ended, including a gigantic crash of the stock market (only surpassed by the most recent financial crisis) and the loss of many jobs in the startup and Internet industries.For those of you who do not know the Pets.com Sock Puppet, it was the mascot of a startup Pets.com that was trying to sell pet supplies online. Not a bad business (in fact, people are making money in that business today), but their strategy was based on how you built a brand in 1950, not 2000. The Sock Puppet starred in numerous TV ads, including a Superbowl ad, and became quite famous… So famous that the company started selling toys based on the sock puppet. But none of that helped Pets.com build a profitable business. In fact, in their first year of operations, they spent $11 million on advertising to gain $600,000 in revenue.Big brands used to be built on outbound marketing. But then inventions like the remote control, cable TV, and the DVR made it more possible for people to control what they view, and ignore advertisements. The Internet and other new technologies take this to the extreme. Today, the outbound marketing model is broken, as Pets.com proved. The next 50 years are the age of inbound marketing. If Pets.com had built their brand differently, the Sock Puppet might not be collecting unemployment today.How are you building your brand? What do you think marketers can learn from the Pets.com example? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published May 26, 2009 10:44:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Inbound Marketing
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 15, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Marketing Strategy We are all living the marketing high life. Today, great inbound marketers can transform their business thanks to “free” traffic and leads from social media and search engines. Sure, this traffic isn’t exactly free — marketers have to invest in time and tools to take advantage of these inbound channels. But inbound leads are still 61 percent less expensive than outbound leads. Can This Last Forever? This week, interesting monetization news broke about Pinterest , the hot new social network focused on images. Pinterest is using a service called Skimlinks for its monetization. Skimlinks takes the URLs that people pin on Pinterest and attaches affiliate marketing referral codes to them, which allows Pinterest to get paid when a person discovers a product on the service and then visits a website to purchase that product. (Note: Understand that only ecommerce websites that have an affiliate marketing program pay Pinterest for conversions. If you don’t have an affiliate marketing program, then traffic from Pinterest to your site is free.)However, if you do have an affiliate marketing program, then you have to invest the time in building a community and sharing content on Pinterest, and still pay your affiliate marketing commission. But if you have a well optimized affiliate marketing campaign and you understand your target cost-per-conversion, then this can be a sustainable model for selling products. While potentially a good model, it is also extremely disruptive to the idea that social media traffic is free. Social Media Capitalism Social media is still very much in its infancy. In the early days of Facebook and Twitter, there were no monetization methods in place. Pinterest marks a shift in the social media industry, not for its innovative platform, but instead for its ability to monetize the service from the very beginning, rather than waiting years to figure out how to actually make money from it. We’ve seen LinkedIn succeed in monetizing by disrupting the recruiting market. Now, Facebook and Twitter both have strong and growing advertising platforms. However, what Pinterest is doing isn’t advertising. Instead, Pinterest is making money off organic interactions on its site, and some marketers can only opt out of paying for it if they cancel their entire affiliate marketing program.As Facebook prepares for its initial public offering and LinkedIn continues to battle the pressure of Wall Street, the only real certainty is that social media capitalism is here to stay. It’s all about leverage. The handful of successful social platforms that attract a critical mass of users that business want to reach have the leverage to make more aggressive monetization changes. The fact is, with the higher costs involved with offline marketing, social networks can make significant changes without pushing businesses away from the platform. Only the Platforms You Own Will Always Be Free So social media is starting to get more expensive. Yes, it is still far less expensive than many other forms of marketing, but what is a marketer to do? Take control. The only online platforms that you can ensure will remain free in your marketing mix are the ones you own and control yourself. Facebook could decide tomorrow that it wants you to pay a monthly fee to have a business page. While unlikely, it is completely possible.As marketer, you own your website and your blog. Failing to invest in both of these key inbound marketing assets could have a negative impact on your future cost-per-lead. This means that those Inc. 500 companies that indicated they were blogging less in a recent survey are heading in the wrong direction.You dictate all the terms of your blog and website — not only the content but also the design and call-to-action placement. Your website and blog are also the only inbound marketing tools through which you have complete control over accessing valuable marketing analytics information. Think about the limited insight you have now into the analytics of your social media channels. When it comes to third-party channels, you have no control over the data that you have access to. It’s all up to those third-party channels to decide what to give you. Making Money Costs Money Yes, marketing has defined cost structures in every tactic, both outbound and inbound. But great marketers understand that it’s important to invest in marketing to drive revenue growth. The important aspect of social media and marketing costs to understand is that social media costs are volatile. Social media moves quickly, and companies are forced to innovate rapidly. With this innovation comes new opportunities for monetization, which directly impacts marketers. Owning and leveraging your website and blog as the central hub of your inbound marketing activities will help to minimize volatility and manage your inbound marketing costs. Three Key Marketing Actions to Reduce Marketing Costs 1. Optimize Website Calls-to-Action for Your Entire Buying Cycle – Marketers underuse calls-to-action. The web is crowded, and visitors to your website or blog need clear direction for what you want them to do. But just having calls-to-action on your website isn’t enough. Instead, your calls-to-actions must map through your entire buying cycle. For example, if your blog generates a lot of traffic from first-time visitors, then asking them to join you for a product demo probably isn’t the best pick-up line. That type middle-of-the-funnel call-to-action would likely work much better on your product pages, where more qualified site traffic is likely to hang out. Conduct an audit of your calls-to-action to determine how to better map them to your sales cycle. 2. Create Blog Content Prospects Love – Stop talking about your products. No one cares about your products … yet. Instead, you need to create blog content that solves key problems your prospects and leads face . Once this content brings them into your blog via social media and search, you then have the opportunity to begin to share more product-focused information. Think like a trade publication, and create articles that you or a member of your company would proudly read and share with others. 3. Make Analytics Actionable – Looking at visits isn’t enough. You need to work on making your analytics actionable. This means you need to look at key inbound marketing metrics like conversion rates by traffic source as well as compare these rates to benchmarks for your industry. This benchmark data will allow you to decide which channels or types of content to invest more in to improve lead and customer yields for your business. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can use HubSpot’s marketing analytics tools to analyze which channels are driving traffic, leads, and customers, and compare metrics with competitors in your industry. How do you feel about the growing impact of social media capitalism? Image Credit: Images_of_Money
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 27, 2012 5:00:00 PM, updated February 28 2018 Topics: Forms Aaah, the elusive lead-capture form . Such a seemingly simple element of inbound marketing, yet also the subject of frequent debate, particularly when it comes to deciding just how many fields to include on that bad boy. How many is too many? How many just isn’t enough?As marketers everywhere struggle to strike the right balance between requiring too much and too little information, many are left thinking, what’s the magical form field sweet spot?Most experts will tell you to ask only for the information you need to effectively contact and qualify a lead, but surely it’s not that simple.Easily build and embed forms on your site. Try HubSpot Forms for free.Let’s dive into how you should make the decision about what is the right form length for your business. Form Length Isn’t the Only Factor First things first. While form length is definitely a factor, marketers must realize that a person’s willingness to complete a form isn’t only dependent on the length of the form. There are a number of factors contributing to your landing page’s conversion rate, and form length is only one of them. It’s important to recognize this, because you shouldn’t just assume that adjusting the length of your form will always have a major influence on your page’s conversion rate or the types of leads it generates. Note some of these other major factors that contribute to whether a landing page visitor will complete the form: The value of the offer to be redeemed. (Is it valuable enough to the visitor to be worth the form completion?) The types of information requested on the form. (Does the form ask for too-sensitive information that dissuades visitors from completing the form?) Website credibility and visitors’ perceived sense of privacy/security. (Does the visitor trust the website enough to feel secure in providing their personal information?)Marketers must understand that all of the factors above — not just form length — can contribute to landing page friction and, thus, impact conversion. Now that we’ve gotten that understanding out of the way, let’s hone in on form length and how to decide what length is best for you. Do You Need More New Leads, or More High Quality Leads? This is the single most important question you need to ask yourself when deciding on form length. In a nutshell, the length of your form inevitably leads to a tradeoff between the quantity and quality of the leads you generate. A shorter form usually means more people will be willing to fill it out, so you’ll generate more leads . But the quality of the leads will be higher when visitors are willing to complete more forms fields and provide you with more information about themselves and what they’re looking for.Therefore, shorter forms usually result in more overall leads, while longer forms will result in fewer, but higher quality leads . So when deciding on the length of your forms, make sure to involve your sales team in the discussion. Your decision on form length should hinge on whether you need more leads, or whether you need better leads, and input from your sales organization should be critical to that decision-making process. Let’s examine each scenario in more detail. Scenario 1: You Need More Leads If your sales team is suffering from an overall deficiency in leads and could benefit from more leads to work in general, this is an indication that your forms should be short and simple to eliminate as much friction as possible. The key here is to ask for enough information that allows you to contact your leads (i.e. name, email address, phone number), but to limit unnecessary form fields that only help to qualify leads and, thus, increase the likelihood potential leads will abandon your landing page without converting.You may want to ask for more than just your leads’ contact information to give your sales team more background on leads upfront, but remember, you can always ask for more information later in the sales process. Too often, companies request all kinds of contact information, neglecting to realize that their 15-field forms are significantly lowering conversion rates. Scenario 2: You Need Higher Quality Leads If raw, overall number of net new leads isn’t a problem for your sales team, but rather they’re wasting time trying to sift through lots of leads to separate the bad ones from the quality ones, this means you’d probably benefit from using your forms to better qualify your leads and help you separate the wheat from the chaff.To help achieve this, longer forms will do the trick . They’ll deter people who aren’t legitimately interested in your business from completing multiple fields, but they’ll capture people who are interested enough to complete the longer form. Additionally, longer forms will collect more information that helps sales people learn more about and further qualify leads before deciding whether to pursue them. Longer forms will save salespeople the trouble of contacting leads who they know aren’t typically a good fit for the products/services your business offers.So if lead quality, not quantity, is a bigger issue for your business, what types of form fields should you be adding to your forms? In short, any field that would collect information to allow you to determine whether a lead is high quality or not. Obviously, this will vary from business to business, and it will greatly depend on the buyer personas you’ve identified as your ideal target customers. If you have a clear understanding of the details that make up your buyer personas, you can start to understand which types of information you should ask for on your form to decide whether or not your new leads fit those personas and how strong those leads are — in other words, how likely they are to become a customer. The questions on your form could reveal background information such as demographics, location, industry, company name/website, role, etc. For example, if you’re a local plumber serving only home or building owners in a specific geographic location, you might ask prospective leads to include their location. Doing so would allow you to weed out any bad leads who are outside of the locations you service.You might also want to add in a question or two that would allow you to gauge their need for your product, their likelihood to purchase your service, or their fit with your company. For example, HubSpot sells marketing software , and all of the forms on our landing pages include an optional field that asks the visitor to describe their biggest marketing challenge. We use this information to learn more about and qualify our leads before putting them into our sales funnel.Information gathered in these fields could also serve as helpful data for more advanced lead scoring and lead management processes if that’s something your business would benefit from. Test to Determine Your Form Field Sweet Spot Once you’ve fit yourself into one of the two scenarios above — or if you think you might fall somewhere in the middle — the best thing to do to determine your ideal form length is to do some A/B testing. If you’re a HubSpot customer using HubSpot Enterprise, our Advanced Landing Pages tool makes it very easy to A/B test your landing pages, and you could specifically use it to test form lengths to determine your form field sweet spot. Here’s how to test for each scenario discussed above: Scenario A (You Need More Leads): Test a landing page using a longer form against the same landing page using a shorter form (or test multiple form length variations). When analyzing your A/B test, you should be looking to see how the various forms affect conversion rates. The hypothesis is that you will be able to gather more leads from your shorter forms, but if not, another landing page factor may having a bigger impact on your landing page’s conversion rate (remember — form length isn’t the only factor). If this is the case, spend some time optimizing other elements of your landing page such as copy, layout, and offer, and see if those changes positively impact your page’s conversion rate. Scenario B (You Need Higher Quality Leads): Run an A/B test on a landing page that tests longer forms but puts more of a focus on the different types of fields you include. When analyzing your A/B test, you should be looking for indicators of lead quality . The hypothesis is that your conversion rate will likely go down, but that you’ll notice leads that are higher in quality and easier to qualify right off the bat. You’ll likely need to consult with your sales team about their perception of the quality of the leads you produced from specific landing page variations to help you settle on the right number — and types — of form fields.For more detailed information about A/B testing, download our free Introduction to Using A/B Testing for Marketing Optimization ebook . How many form fields do you include on your lead-capture forms? Have you conducted A/B testing to determine your form field sweet spot? Image Credit: Victor1558
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 17, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 An individual’s purchasing decision can be influenced by a large number of factors. Are you considering how influential social proof can be in that mix? According to Goog le , 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. Furthermore, a CompUSA and iPerceptions study revealed that 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.While product reviews are only one type of social proof, those are some pretty persuasive statistics to consider. It demonstrates that people can heavily influenced by others’ experiences, making a case for why social proof is such a powerful concept for businesses to leverage. Are you giving the social proof of your business the visibility it deserves? In this post, we’ll lay out exactly what social proof is, discuss the various types, and explain the ways you can leverage it in your business’ marketing efforts. What Is Social Proof? ‘ Social proof ,’ also referred to as ‘informational social influence,’ is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trust those people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions. Social Proof Topics: Night clubs and bars limiting entry, making patrons wait in line outside to increase the perception that the venue is popular to attract more passersby.TV shows playing canned laughter or recorded applause to elevate the perception of funny or applaudable situations.McDonald’s fast-food restaurants displaying signs boasting “Billions and Billions Served.”So while the concept of social proof may be nothing new, the rise of the internet and social media adoption have certainly made social proof a lot easier to leverage and exploit, especially in a marketing context. Building and providing better visibility for your business’ social proof can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy . 5 Categories of Social Proof As I mentioned, reviews aren’t the only marketing tool that can be classified as social proof. In an article about social proof , TechCrunch clearly identified 5 different categories of social proof: Expert Social Proof: Approval from a credible expert, such as an industry blogger or other authority Celebrity Social Proof: Approval or endorsements from celebrities, especially those that are unpaid User Social Proof: Approval from current users of the product/service, such as customer testimonials, case studies, and those all-powerful reviews ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ Social Proof: Approval from large groups of other people (Our traditional examples above would fit nicely into this category of social proof.) ‘Wisdom of Your Friends’ Social Proof: Approval from your friends or people you know Now let’s discuss the various types of social proof your business has at its disposal, and how to surface them for marketing purposes. You might actually be surprised to find out that you have more social proof than you thought! 10 Types of Social Proof for Marketing 1) Social Media Mentions Regularly monitoring your social media presence can be a great way to source social proof, especially User Social Proof, on a regular and ongoing basis. Incorporate mechanisms to surface some of these instances of social proof into your day-to-day monitoring activities. If you’re using a third-party tool like HootSuite or HubSpot’s social media monitoring , you can track mentions of your products or services and surface any positive mentions you find.HubSpot’s social media marketing team, for example, stars any positive HubSpot brand and product mentions on Twitter as favorites, which can be viewed in the HubSpot Twitter account’s ‘Favorites.’ 2) Embedded Tweets Speaking of Twitter, have you played around with Twitter’s new embeddable tweets feature? If someone tweets something positive about you, now you can embed that tweet on your product or case study pages (or elsewhere) to add credibility and emphasize User Social Proof.Here’s a step-by-step guide to using Twitter’s embeddable tweets feature to help you get started, and below is what an embedded tweet looks like:@ HubSpot is the the best thing to have landed in New England since Tom Brady— Ted Engel (@iamtedE) April 6, 2012 3) Social Plugins Consider adding Facebook social plugins such as the Activity Feed, the Recommendations Plugin, the Like Box, and the Facepile Plugin to your website and blog content. These plugins put social proof at the forefront, showing site visitors thumbnail images and/or names of people they know who have already liked, recommended, subscribed to, shared, commented on, etc. the content the plugin is installed on. 4) Social Media Sharing/Follow Buttons Social sharing is a form of social proof, so make it simple and easy for your fans, followers, subscribers, etc. to share your content. Include social media sharing and follow links/buttons on all your content — on every blog post, every landing page, every page of your ebooks — everywhere! When you make it easy for people to share the content they love, there’s a better chance they’ll actually share it, expanding the reach of your content and spreading social proof for your business. For social game service provider Zynga, for example , friends inviting friends to play through Facebook and other social networks helped the company grow from 3 million to 41 million average daily users in just one year . 5) Case Studies & Testimonials Another great form of user social proof, publishing case studies and testimonials allows you to highlight the positive experiences of your happiest/most successful/passionate customers.Consider the various ways you can identify and feature your best customers. Connect with your customer service team and ask them to alert you whenever they come across a particularly happy customer. Then approach them for a testimonial or case study. At HubSpot, for example, we feature customer case studies on our case studies blog , feature user testimonials here , as well as showcase customer love through our ” I HubSpot Because ” campaign: 6) User-Generated Content User-generated content such as blog posts, photos, and even video can be another fantastic form of user social proof. Usually crafted by your brand’s biggest fans, this content is often very genuine, enthusiastic, and positive. Video user testimonials on YouTube, for example , generated 3x the conversion rate vs. organic traffic for Beachbody, the makers of P90x fitness.Consider holding a user-generated content contest, and feature the best submissions on your website, blog, and via social media. 7) User Reviews & Ratings User reviews and rating systems can be found on review sites such as Yelp, within social networks (LinkedIn Reviews is a great example), or particularly in the case of ecommerce businesses, implemented directly on your website. And according to Harvard Business Review research , a 1-star increase in Yelp rating leads to 5-9% growth in sales. To encourage more positive reviews on third-party review sites, check out this helpful guide to accumulating awesome online reviews . 8) Social Advertising One of the most recent internet-based applications of social proof is in social advertising, or ads that leverage the social context of the user viewing them. In other words, in social advertising, the marketer targets users based on what they know about that individual’s social network. Promoted Tweets and various Facebook Engagement and Sponsored Stories ads are great examples of social advertising, which enable marketers to better target their advertising efforts and leverage ‘Wisdom of Your Friends’ or ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’ Social Proof in advertising efforts, as seen in the example at right.To experiment with Facebook’s social advertising functionality, check out our free ebook on creating effective Facebook ads (no form submission required!). 9) User Statistics This form of social proof, which falls under the category of ‘wisdom of the crowd’ social proof, can be leveraged by surfacing such user statistics as blog subscribers, customer install base, user successes, etc. What are some of your business’ most impressive stats? Do you have an impressive install base (remember our McDonald’s example)? Is your blog subscribership something to brag about? Have you been in business for decades? Have your customers collectively accomplished something impressive?For example, HubSpot customers generated a grand total of 12.4 million leads in 2011, which is testament to the effectiveness of the HubSpot software — and a stat we were sure to include in the 2011 HubSpot Year in Review . 10) Media & Blog Mentions That’s right — media mentions are definitely a form of Expert Social Proof, so be sure you’re giving that PR coverage the attention it deserves! Keep your press room up-to-date and make it more social so people can easily find and share your positive press with their networks.To learn how to ramp up your media and blogger relations efforts to get more coverage, check out this blog post . Leverage Social Proof Everywhere Now that you know about the various social proof tools at your disposal, leverage them! Promote all those awesome testimonials, user statistics, tweets, etc. using your social media channels, sprinkle them throughout your website and blog, and create dedicated pages on your website to house certain types of social proof such as case studies, reviews, and testimonials. Use them in product marketing collateral, on landing pages, and in email marketing communications. After all, social proof will only be effective if you give it visibility. Are you giving your business’ social proof the visibility it deserves? Image Credit: deadserpents , wfyurasco