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Will Elitist Science Lead to Mind Control?

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 When you can’t convince the public, try zapping or manipulating them.A disturbing paper appeared in PNAS recently: “Selectively altering belief formation in the human brain.”  Why would anyone want to do that?  The abstract explains,Humans form beliefs asymmetrically; we tend to discount bad news but embrace good news. This reduced impact of unfavorable information on belief updating may have important societal implications, including the generation of financial market bubbles, ill preparedness in the face of natural disasters, and overly aggressive medical decisions. Here, we selectively improved people’s tendency to incorporate bad news into their beliefs by disrupting the function of the left (but not right) inferior frontal gyrus using transcranial magnetic stimulation, thereby eliminating the engrained “good news/bad news effect.” Our results provide an instance of how selective disruption of regional human brain function paradoxically enhances the ability to incorporate unfavorable information into beliefs of vulnerability.  (Sharot et al., PNAS, September 24, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1205828109.)Much as altruistic people might like to help the misinformed learn to exercise better judgment in financial decisions and disaster preparedness, or to alleviate the sufferings of those with phobias or schizophrenia, this Frankenstein method of “magnetic stimulation” to alter beliefs resurrects visions of psychopolitics (think Soviet Russia or North Korea).  People with knowledge of 20th century history might be justly alarmed by scientists who come with promises, “we just want to help you.”  Why not put the magnets away and try reasoning with people as fellow human beings?A reference to “the evolution of overconfidence” reveals where these psychologists are coming from.  Evolution, they say, has left us vulnerable to bad beliefs.  Humans don’t engage in good Bayesian reasoning.  They don’t update their beliefs when presented with new information.  “The consequences of readily integrating good news into our beliefs while underweighting bad news are likely to be considerable for an individual and for society.”  This raises fearsome questions about what should be done – and by whom.  Yikes; look at what they did to their subjects, right out of Frankenstein:TMS [trans-cranial magnetic stimulation] pulses were delivered by a Magstim Rapid2 Stimulator (Magstim) at 40% of the maximum stimulator output using a small TMS coil (figure-of-eight shape, 50-mm diameter). We used an off-line continuous cTBS protocol, which consisted of three pulses at 50 Hz repeated at 200-ms intervals for a total duration of 40 s. A 5-min rest period was implemented after the termination of cTBS before participants started the task.Oh sure, they were nice to the 30 adult participants, all of whom had given informed consent.  The interviewers were undoubtedly courteous as they asked the subjects questions before and after the “treatment”   But this smells like something out of The Twilight Zone.  If “psychologists” and “neuroscientists” can find the secret to manipulate our beliefs with magnets, where will this lead?  Will politicians or a scientific oligarchy armed with this information care about “informed consent” when they decide it’s time to “fix society”?There are even scarier ways, believe it or not, to manipulate people.  One is the “nudge” tactic advocated by Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s czar  for “Information and Regulatory Affairs.”  Don’t force new ideas on people, he advises; they’ll just react.  Instead, “nudge” them bit by bit, and over time, they will come around.  (This sounds like the “frog in the pot” method.)Be very worried, then, about what’s on the minds of the Economic and Social Research Council, a group whose motto is “Shaping Society.”  In a press release echoed uncritically by PhysOrg, the council discussed the pros and cons of the “nudge” strategy vs. the “think” strategy.  Whew; they didn’t toss out the “think” strategy.  But what they decided works best could be as deceptive as a half-truth: use both!  If people think you’re making them think, when you are simultaneously nudging them, they may think you’re looking out for their best interests.They didn’t use magnetic pulses on their experimental subjects.  They didn’t have to.  They thought nudging, and nudged thinking.  Remember “community organizing”?  Here’s how they envisioned their goal: “The findings are very positive and supports the idea that a local approach using nudge and think techniques can lead to citizens getting involved in collective neighbourhood activities.”  Very nice.  Strangely, notions of individual liberty were absent from the strategizing  about “techniques.”The ESRC press release seems harmless in itself.  After all, rhetoric (the art of persuasion) has a long history.  People should want to influence other people.  But what if leaders of a society determine that its people need to be deprogrammed from “misinformation”?  People can be misinformed, can’t they?  Sure; look how many people think Justin Bieber has talent.  What’s disturbing is (1) when powerful leaders set themselves up as judges of what comprises misinformation, and (2) when the art of rhetoric turns to the science of manipulation.Look now at Science Daily‘s entry, “Misinformation: Why It Sticks and How to Fix It.”  Here’s how the article starts: “Childhood vaccines do not cause autism. Barack Obama was born in the United States. Global warming is confirmed by science. And yet, many people believe claims to the contrary.”  The concern here is not whether these statements are true or not (although regarding global warming, be sure to read yesterday’s entry).  What should raise eyebrows is that psychologists are experimenting on humans to figure out how to “fix” their erroneous beliefs.  “Misinformation is especially sticky when it conforms to our preexisting political, religious, or social point of view,” the article said, ignoring pre-existing “scientific” points of view, which by implication, are infallible (10/24/2011).  “Because of this, ideology and personal worldviews can be especially difficult obstacles to overcome.”  There’s the rub: a worldview, in the minds of these self-proclaimed experts, is an obstacle to be overcome.  Think here about how manipulators might want to nudge overcome a Christian’s views on gay marriage, abortion, or the deity of Jesus Christ.  After all, religious people have an ideological worldview, whereas scientists have none.  Scientists are objective, rational, and unbiased.  They care.  They want to help, but all those misinformed Christians with their preexisting religious worldview ideologies are hindering progress.There’s no disputing that misinformation is rampant in society.  A misinformed person, by definition, is “someone who disagrees with me.”  Who doesn’t want to win friends and influence people?  These psychologists want to do it, too, using reasoned discussion, evidence, and persuasion.  So far so good.  But the manipulation shows through in some of their methods: (1) “Provide people with a narrative” (code for “talking points”).  (2) “Focus on the facts you want to highlight, rather than the myths” (presupposing the psychologists know the difference).  Fairfax’s Law comes to mind (“Any facts which, when included in the argument, produce the desired result, are fair facts for the argument.”).  Points 3 and 4 are sound rhetorical counsel (keep your point brief, know your audience).  Point 5, though is “Strengthen your message through repetition.”  Ah yes, brainwashing.Repetition is not necessarily bad.  Every good teacher uses it; students know that practice makes perfect.  But let’s say a psychologist wants to deprogram conservatives from their opposition to gay marriage or gun control.  Or let’s say “The New Teacher” walks in the door to welcome the children to the new regime (see must-read commentary to 12/21/2005 entry).  When the speaker views himself or herself as the elite, and the listeners are the misinformed who need to be educated out of their myths, training in these manipulative arts can be powerful and dangerous tools for indoctrination (think 1984).These worries are not just fiction.  A Nature book review on Sept. 6 pointed out the dark history of eugenics.  In The Science of Human Perfection: How Genes Became the Heart of American Medicine (Yale, 2012), Nathaniel Comfort described the disturbing legacy of an “ever-evolving group of geneticists, eugenicists, psychologists, medics, public-health workers, zoologists and statisticians intent on using heredity to improve human life” over the span of a century.  Lest one think that detour is behind us, the reviewer warned, “Today’s hybridized discipline, he says, is noble in intent but rife with social and ethical questions centred on the ‘illusion of perfectibility’.”Psychologists are our friends, aren’t they?  They just want to help us, don’t they?  Just don’t let the populace know that evolutionary psychologists have an unsavory history of fraud (9/05/2012, 8/15/2012, 11/05/2011) and are overwhelmingly leftist in ideology (9/07/2012).  Ditto for evolutionary anthropologists and sociologists (2/16/2011).Maybe the take-home technique should be: Psychologist, nudge thyself.One of Rod Serling’s most memorable Twilight Zone episodes was “The Obsolete Man,” a parable about how an elitist who had eliminated others became the victim when the regime came to view him as obsolete himself.  Psychologists, suppose a time came when your opponents were in the majority.  Would you want them to use these techniques of manipulation on you?Forewarned is forearmed.  We may want four arms to combat the manipulative “techniques” that elitists desire to use on all us uncooperative sons of liberty, but one is sufficient, if it is armed with the truth – a word sadly lacking in all the above articles.last_img read more

R150m financial aid boost for students

first_imgR17-million to fund 258 first-year students.R4-million for the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme.R4.6-million for 67 first-year bursaries.R11.5-million to support 245 first-year students pursuing studies in chartered accountancy at the University of Fort Hare. In a bid to ease access to Further Education and Training colleges and help the country to meet its needs for intermediate and technical skills, hard-working students from poor families would this year be exempted from paying academic fees. The bursary, to be allocated to students whose parents earn a combined salary of R122 000 per annum, will cover tuition, accommodation, meals and transport costs. However, Nzimande called on recipients to work hard, as the department will be monitoring their performances, warning that if they failed to produce good marks, the bursary would be forfeited. “This is not a free ride, we require students to work hard,” he said. “You can’t continue to get a bursary if you don’t deliver.”Career guidance Nzimande also announced that his department and the South African Qualifications Authority had entered into a partnership with the SABC to provide pupils with information on career guidance. The career information will be broadcast on all Nguni radio stations. “Our aim is to ensure that information flows to rural schools and that no learners go to school without such information. It should be made available earlier in their schooling careers.” Pupils and ex-pupils can get advice from the career advice website www.careerhelp.org.za or from the Career Advice Helpline on 0860 111 673. The helpline can also be contacted via SMS on 072 2045 056 or by e-mailing help@nqf.org.za. Source: BuaNews 11 January 2011 South Africa has allocated an additional R150-million to its National Student Financial Aid Scheme to help tackle the backlog of scarce skills in the country. Making the announcement in Pretoria on Monday, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said that, through the National Skills Fund, the government had set aside R22.9-million for funding 820 first-year students and R7-million for a bursary scheme targeting rural students who did exceptionally well in the 2010 Grade 12 exams. R21-million had been set aside for 300 first-year bursaries for students with disabilities, with the balance of R99.1-million to be allocated to students who were already studying in fields of scarce skills.Career Wise bursaries The National Skills Fund will also be allocating R100-million Career Wise bursaries in the following categories:last_img read more

Internet Marketing Inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk

first_img recognizable brand ( experience page Register for HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University online training program in a huge way, too, and not everyone has completely wrapped their head around the implications. That blows my mind. If you would have told a marketer twenty years ago that they could hear what their consumers were saying about their product, they’d be pumped! My book shows how you can take advantage of this shift. 8. What is your least favorite type of wine, and what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? , make sure that you’re acting the way you want to be perceived. Then start getting in the trenches and reaching out to your community and customers and start interacting. You can’t dictate your brand anymore, it’s going to be the result of a two way conversation you have every day with the world. live webinar class 7. Which marketers, blogs, leaders, etc. do you get your inspiration (marketing or not) from today? @garyvee 2. What kinds of cool and interesting things are you doing to promote the book? Do you feel like a total rockstar? More importantly, what exactly is your book advising readers to crush? 13 archived webinar classes and notesheets An idea isn’t enough though! Passion gives you the drive it takes to make a product awesome and convince people that it’s as awesome as you know it is. Building a business isn’t just about having ideas, it’s about executing them. Passion helps on both ends and that’s why I think it’s so important for people to start following theirs. Inbound Marketing University , Gary helped transform his family’s wine business, who had formerly been using outbound marketing tactics, from a $4 million business to a $60 million business.  Join Gary for his By far the most impactful thing we’ve set up is the You can’t be a fake brand. You need to back up your talk. The Internet has made it so that everything is becoming transparent. What we need to start think of as branding is letting people know who you really are. So if you’re a business looking to create a Marketing has changed To pick one, I look at a company like Zappos that totally understands how to conduct business in today’s world. Tony Hsieh and his team have redefined the concept of customer service and are a perfect model for any brand learning how to navigate the social media space. Wine Library TV I was one-percent unhappy. I woke up on my 30th birthday and realized that I wasn’t going to own the New York Jets if I didn’t make a change. Also, I had been waiting for an opportunity to get involved in the Internet. I’m not a good writer, so blogs passed me by, but when the Wine Library developers showed me Ze Frank, I was like, this is where media is going! I sent a stock boy out to the store to buy a camera, and I was off to the races. The challenge, which is what will face anyone trying to follow this model, is that you have to be patient. It took 6 months before anyone really took notice of what I was doing. And during that time I was working—hard! Engaging in the community, leaving comments on wine blogs, answering every email until 2 and 3 in the morning. It’s hard, hard work, but if you love what you’re doing, your passion fuels your engine. 3. You talk a lot about the importance of passion in building a successful business. Why do you think it’s such a pivotal attribute? Won’t an awesome product just sell itself? Wine Library TV , which helped grow your family wine business from $4 million to $60 million. What was your inspiration for starting the video blog, and what sorts of challenges did you face and overcome when you started it? IMU includes 2 new free webinar classes plus I don’t have a least favorite wine. My whole philosophy is to try new things and expand your palate. Even if something doesn’t strike my palate the right way, I am a more knowledgeable wine drinker for having tried it. The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten is the foam handrest next to my keyboard. One day it just ended up in my mouth. , Passion-Inspired Video & Other Content next Wednesday, October 28 at 1 p.m. EDT. 6. Through your experience, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned about branding? How can this be applied to any business looking to create a recognizable brand on and off the Web? . The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam. Originally published Oct 22, 2009 7:08:00 AM, updated July 18 2013 in March that everyone should sign up for, by the way. Basically a lot of stuff. Gary Vaynerchuk 5. Why do you think your video blog has been such a hit? What’s the secret sauce that has made it such a marketing success? Crush It Cruise CRUSH IT! 4. You’re best known for your video blog, Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Free Inbound Marketing University Online Training Program I don’t feel like a rockstar, I feel ridiculously lucky to be able to go out and meet tons of great people and make some new relationships. The book is about this little thing called the Internet, and how it has changed the game. The gatekeepers have lost their power, and content producers have a never-before-seen opportunity to get their voice out and build brand equity. The cost of entry is now zero. Because it’s so cheap to get in, anyone can succeed as long as they’re willing to put in the sweat equity necessary to get themselves out there. , which lets people get added value out of a book purchase–whether it’s a wristband or a personal video or even dinner with me. I really feel that giving people an opportunity to interact beyond the physical book is going to be where more and more people are going to be moving in the future. Of course we also have gotten really involved with the blog community and the media, and I am beyond excited for the ), the “Social Media Sommelier,” is perhaps one of the most admired video bloggers on the Web.  Using social media to promote his video blog, Maybe more importantly though, I cared. I cared about my community. I cared about everyone who had something good or bad to say about the show. People can tell when you care and when you don’t, and if you really truly care, you’ll win. 1. You’re currently on tour for your new book, I care and I have the chops. Wine Library TV wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t have the wine knowledge to back it up. Wine is something I’m passionate about, I’ve been training my palate since before I was even able to drink it, and so people could see that I had put in my time and knew what I was talking about.last_img read more

Social Media Makes No Sense For My Company

first_imgI talk to business owners from hundreds of different industries each month and I’ve observed that a wide variety of companies have begun to take interest in social media. According to a Originally published Oct 29, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated March 21 2013   76% of marketing and PR professionals “agree” or “strongly agree” that social media marketing is changing the way their organizations communicate. This data signifies a strong interest in social media but it does not necessarily mean every industry has started participating. The two most significant barriers cited to social media adoption were “lack of knowledgeable staff” and ” Internet marketing moves quickly, and the longer you wait the more difficult it is to catch up. Video: How to Use Social Media to Attract MoreCustomers Go to and learn how to generate morebusiness using socialmedia. Type in a keyword phrase that represents what you do or a product you sell. answers.yahoo.com This means that regardless of who your audience is, chances are at least some of them are on Facebook or Linkedin or on another social media site. Don’t believe me? Why not try a simple little test…. If you were one of the early adopters to have a website, or if your company among the first companies to register their domain name, then you are probably reaping the benefits today. These benefits include higher Google Page Rank, a secured domain name, and likely some valuable links you have gained to the site overtime. Just registering a domain has made some people millionaires. Below are a few of the social media monitoring tools Fund.com interact with them in a social media environment. – 1999 for $7.5 million According to the 2009 Marketing Sherpa Report on Social Media Marketing & PR Why should this matter to you? Let’s use twitter as an example. Have you registered your company twitter name? What about your own name on twitter? Even if you are not using twitter today, having this registered could potentially save you money, and a lot of hassle. It would take you less than 5 minutes to register both….that is if it’s not too late. (Especially if your competitors read the same .” Fortunately, there are social media consultants who have emerged over the last few years to fill the knowledge gap, and many tools (such as Hubspot’s Clock Oscillator most expensive domain names sold in history: ) are available that help to easily monitor social media accounts and join in on the conversation. reach out to your audience Cone Business in Social Media Study I did.) Why You Should Start Using Social Media Today: The First Mover’s Advantage Remember if you are an expert in your field, your expertise is very valuable to your audience. Just by performing the Yahoo Answers test above, you probably unearthed several opportunities to , sixty percent of Americans use social media, and of those, Business.com According to the survey, 93 percent of social media users surveyed believe a company should have a presence in social media, while an overwhelming 85 percent believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media. In fact, 56 percent of users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can The old adage “The Early Bird Gets The Worm” took on new meaning when the internet age came to be. That bird got a name (Twitter) and the Worm became known as “The First Mover’s Advantage.” – $9,999,950 – Sold in 2008 CreditCards.com (22 questions in Yahoo Answers) inability to measure ROI Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack even if you belong to an extremely niche industry. Whether you are a sales consultant, a real estate agent, software Company, or in the manufacturing industry, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain from at least getting started in social media. Concrete Vapor Barrier (56 questions on Yahoo Answers) Learn how to use social media to attractmore customers. 59 percent interact with companies on social media Web sites. One in four interacts more than once per week. As you can see conversations about your industry are happening in social media whether you’re participating in them or not. So why not join in? Download the free video I work mainly with B2B customers, so here are a couple extremely niche examples that you may be shocked to see on social media: study done by Cone Business – $2.75 millionlast_img read more

Crisis Communication Report Card: How HP Handled Charges of Racist Computers

first_imgWhat do you think about HP’s response? While the video’s creators, Wanda Zamen and Desi Cryer, say they originally made the video with the intention of being funny, it’s accumulated over 750,000 views on YouTube — probably not the best-case scenario for the folks over at HP.HP responded with a post on its The Next Bench blog addressing the situation and stressing that “Customer Feedback is Important.”  Did HP handle the situation the best they could?  Let’s evaluate: Timeliness of Response (Grade: C)Wanda and Desi’s video was posted on Thursday, December 10, and went viral over this past weekend.  HP published their response on Sunday, December 20, but for a better grade, they should’ve issued their statement within hours — not days — of the video’s YouTube explosion. Social Media Monitoring/Involvement (Grade: B+)At least HP was paying attention to its customers in the social media-sphere, and they obviously don’t have a restrictive policy against social media engagement , which is more than we can say about some other big brands like Carnival Cruise .  But again, closer monitoring of the situation could have resulted in a timelier response.  Quality of Response/Statement (Grade: B)HP’s blog post was not too shabby, but we think it could’ve been better.  For one thing, they could’ve included a simple apology for anyone they may have offended to cover their bases.  And while they indicated they’re looking into the problem, it’s always a good idea to promise the issue will be fixed.  Who doesn’t like a guarantee?Tact (Grade: A)HP did an awesome job of crafting their response in a way that downplayed the racial angle while still showing sesitivity about the issue.  Instead of focusing on the racial undertones, they treated the video as a help desk issue.  Well done! Communication (Grade: A)The fact that HP actually issued a response via their blog garners respect in itself.  Social media monitoring means nothing if you don’t react, and HP’s use of social media for two-way communication is exemplary.  As seen from the Kryptonite bicycle lock case study , we know what can happen if you choose to ignore customers’ reactions on the Web. We also like how HP continues to encourage customer feedback via the forums on its blog and on Twitter by messaging @HP_PC . Final Grade: B+  Overall, HP did a pretty good job handling the situation. But what could HP have done to make their handling of the situation go from good to great? How about making lemons out of lemonade, like EA Sports did (below) in response to the YouTube video that surfaced showing the glitch in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’08 video game? HP computers are racist?  Who knew?  In a humorous video that went viral on YouTube over the weekend, two sales associates point out a flaw in HP’s facial recognition software, which apparently fails to recognize black people (see video below). 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 Dec 23, 2009 1:05:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

Top 5 Inbound Marketing Articles to Start the Week: Motivating Content Contributors

first_img Originally published May 3, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2013 establish your brand’s social media authority Create Evangelists for Your Brand on Twitter of , but rather for those looking to grow their networks and expand their reach.  One way to do this, he suggests, is by creating brand evangelists.  is Chuck highlights 5 ways to socialize a presentation, expanding on the following tips: on Search Engine Journal 5 Tips for Making Your Presentations More Social Download the webinar now in the first place. Pete Kistler Use the backchannel, but wisely. Author: Topics: social-friendly how to overcome this challenge presentation. Use interactive polling. Catherine Caine We’ve all suffered through one: a dull PowerPoint presentation that bores rather than engages the audience.  Obviously, the  2. Write pleasurable content. Webinar: The 2010 State of Inbound Marketing Content creation definitely doesn’t have to fall completely under the wing of your business’s marketing team, but it can be tough to inspire others to contribute.  While Mark’s article first stresses the fact that blog article contributions from other employees should still follow content best practices, he also highlights 5 ways you can OPEN Forum His suggestions include performance-based incentives, monetary incentives, company acknowledgments, paid time off incentives and an end of year prize. motivate your employees to lend a hand Inbound Marketing Add variety and new perspectives to your content by inspiring non-marketing team members to contribute. Darren Barefoot Copyblogger Marketing Takeaway: to learn how more than 230 professionals have been using inbound marketing to transform their businesses. Chuck Dietrich Catherine’s article applies the words of wisdom of poet William Morris to quality content.  In a nutshell, she communicates the principle that every piece of content you produce should be either useful or beautiful (or both).  While she recognizes this concept may scare some of you out there, she also provides a few guidelines that can help you trust your judgment on whether your content Author: Create anticipation. Trust can make or break a successful marketing program . on Our top pick of articles to get you in the inbound marketing mindset this week will give you some tips about How to Motivate Employees to Contribute Content He recommends a number of steps to help create these evangelists, which can ultimately serve to strengthen your online brand.  His suggestions?  Define your goals, engage major players in your industry, proactively join relevant conversations, engage people in your area, and focus on quality over quantity.  Marketing Takeaway: The Two Vital Attributes of Quality Content Listen to Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at HubSpot for a 30 minute overview of the 2010 State of Inbound Marketing! Marketing Takeaway: 4. How to create beautiful content: Marketing Takeaway: 2. on on  1. Write meaningful content. , which is why it’s extremely important to develop and nurture a transparent and honest relationship with your prospects and customers. But just like with any other relationship, Darren warns, building trust takes time. useful and/or beautiful. Here’s how to tell… Marketing Takeaway: the Twitter beginner  1. Write content that suits your audience. Pete’s article is not for  2. Write specific content. Mark Thompson  3. Write actionable content. Make your presentations more memorable by taking more “social” approaches. and motivate employees to lend a hand in your company’s content development strategy. Develop and strengthen relationships on Twitter to help Author: best presentations 3. Ten Ways to Build Trust with Online Customers To help you start building online relationships you can be proud of, Darren gives his 10 best tips you can use to create friends out of strangers and customers out of friends. These tips include respecting people’s time, telling the truth, acknowledging every mention, obeying the cocktail party rule, and speaking as individual humans, among others. 1. 5. How to create useful content: Keep the conversation going after you’ve left the podium. Author: Photo by Conor Lawless Mashable Create a Building great online relationships can help propel and maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Author: Personal Branding Blog are those that achieve the latter, so this Mashable article offers some ideas for making your next presentation more social and interactive. Create effective and lasting content by making sure it’s useful and/or beautiful. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

A Foodie’s Guide to Inbound Marketing

first_img , once said that in his restaurant Friday and Saturday are for the tourists — customers that bring in cash but probably aren’t reliable sources of money. During the week, he said, is when his regulars come in and it’s on these days he might send out a little amuse bouche, free treat or try a more exciting dish. He actively works on getting people to switch from a casual diner to a regular because he depends on these customers and their business. , the chef has standards like burgers and roasted chicken but he also has specials like confit buffalo wings with watermelon cucumber salad and blue cheese dressing. When you create content, you want to follow the same process. You need content that builds upon keywords that you know you already rank for/want to rank higher for as well as content that is centered around keywords you’d like to rank for. This let’s you show that you are knowledgeable about your industry and the “classic topics” as well as that you can create innovative content that gets people talking. Inbound Marketing . What exactly is it?” While trying to think of how to explain inbound marketing to my foodie friend, I realized something: Inbound Marketing is like opening a new restaurant. A great restaurant never let’s their menu get stagnant. They constantly iterate based on what’s fresh or on something that slightly worked last week but maybe could be better. Highland Kitchen, for example, keeps iterating on the idea of buffalo chicken wings – first buffalo scallops, the next month deep fried buffalo brussels sprouts and most recently, the buffalo confit chicken legs. They clearly are analyzing what ingredients cost that week and what part of the dish is successful. Learn how to generate more inbound leads using SEO, blogging, and social media. , guest blog posts and more. Just as important and half the calories! After all this explanation my friend seemed satisfied that he understood inbound marketing best practices a little better. So I’ll leave you with “Bon Appetit” or “Happy Marketing!” whichever your next meal or inbound marketing activity might be! Inbound Marketing Finally, you’ve got to promote yourself. A new chef often does events designed to get the word out about their menu and dishes. Beer dinners, tasting events, charity functions — all can help spread their delicious “content” to possible diners. With content creators, you need to promote your content through Inbound Lead Generation Kit Anthony Bourdain Once you’ve got your menu (content) you have to optimize it. In the restaurant industry, this is done through exclusive “friends and family” dinners. At these events, a carefully cultivated group of guests gets to taste the menu for free and then provide feedback on their thoughts. For content creators it’s a series of constantly examining what you are producing and the quality of it – both through your own analysis and perhaps running some past close advisors, mentors and business colleagues. When I’m not working, my passi photo courtesy of: Pretend you’re a talented chef who is just opening your first restaurant. It comes time to develop the menu, what do you want to show off? Probably a blend of classics with your spin on them as well as some more inventive dishes. For example, at the popular restaurant With Highland Kitchen Topics: With inbound marketing you need to do the same thing. Figure out a way to convert the occasional traffic to your site into a lead (possibly regular) and then customer. Someone who goes from having a brief relationship with you or your product into a longer, deeper engagement with you on is food; eating it, cooking it, reading about it and talking about it. So naturally, it’s started to invade other parts of my life — including how I think about inbound marketing. Earlier this week while we were out having a dinner, a friend asked “I don’t get it’s similar. If you want to be found for a specific keyword or be seen as a thought leader on a specific subject, you have to keep trying out new content strategies until you’ve got something successful. Then once that mystery is solved, you can iterate on how to continue down that line buy saving time, money or improving your brand. Convert: How to Find Your Regulars vicky.seba, flickr.com for tips and tricks to drive more leads and business to your site. The well known author and chef, Get Found: Creating the Menu & Packing the Tables Download the free kit Originally published Jun 4, 2010 12:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Analyze: Constantly Changing Inbound Marketing social media Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Understanding Viral Growth [Marketing Math]

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Viral Campaigns Topics: Originally published Feb 8, 2011 9:25:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend less money and time on marketing and sales, and still get tons of new customers? Some businesses have figured out a way to do this.  Companies like Skype, Dropbox and Google have figured out that they can get their customers do the work for them.   They’ve managed to build applications that 1) their customers want to share with their friends and 2) are easy to share.  These businesses prove that, if you have an exceptional product and you enable your users to invite others to use it, your product can quickly achieve viral growth. Google did this with Gmail in March 2004.  Only 1,000 people were initially given Gmail accounts.  Those 1,000 people each got a limited number of invitations to share with friends and family.  (This invitation-only model made Gmail invitations so coveted, that people started selling them for as much as $200 !)  Google finally made Gmail open to the public in February 2007, however by that time the application had already achieved viral growth.  By April 2006, just 2 years after the beta launch and still in invitation-only mode, Gmail had an impressive 7.1 million users .So what did it take to achieve such growth in such a short period of time?  For those of you who enjoy playing with cool Excel models, David Skok recently published a great article around the topic of viral growth , which includes a handy spreadsheet containing the math.  You can use the model to project how quickly an application will gain adoption based on these variables:Initial number of users (1,000 in Gmail’s case)# of invitations each user sends to his friends%  of invitees who convert to usersCycle Time: # of days from the time someone first sees the application to the time his invitee sees the applicationI was curious to calculate what Gmail’s conversion rate had to have been in order to reach 7.1 million users within 2 years.  I ran the model for the Gmail scenario, assuming that each user invited 5 people to use Gmail and that the cycle time was 7 days. Based on these inputs, Gmail experienced an enviable conversion rate of 21%:Marketing TakeawayAlthough this kind of viral growth is elusive, you can still acheive efficient and consistent growth with the following key ingredients:Make an application that is easy to shareEncourage your users to share it; consider giving incentives for sharing.Create an application with value that is so compelling, your customers will be happy to share it with others!You don’t have to be a software company to leverage viral growth for your business. Instead think about the problems your customers are trying to solve and create an automated way to help solve it. This is the approach we took with Website Grader here at HubSpot and it has now been used by more than 3 million people!What can you do to apply this idea to your business?last_img read more

5 Foolproof Ways to Prevent Landing Page Abandonment

first_imgDriving traffic to your site is all well and good, but how do you turn that traffic into customers? To make your growing web traffic worth something (ahem, money?), the first step is to convert those visitors into leads, and landing pages are an efficient, low cost way to get that done.Easily build and embed forms on your site. Try HubSpot Forms for free.But if you’re noticing that some of your landing pages perform better than others, there are some logical explanations behind your underperformers. Let’s take a look at the 5 most common reasons your site visitors click through to your landing page and then abandon it in a flash.5 Reasonable Explanations for Landing Page Abandonment1.) Your landing page didn’t pass the blink test. The blink test refers to the first three seconds a visitor spends on any page of your website during which they orient themselves and glean what they can do on that page. The user clicked to your landing page with a vague idea of what they might find there, but in the first three seconds, it is your duty to make it abundantly clear what they will find on that page. You can do so by crafting a clear headline, call-to-action, and providing a form above the fold.2.) Your landing page had too many distractions. If you only have three seconds to orient a new visitor, you need to let them focus! Remove all visual distractions such as Flash or animation, a navigation that lets them click away, and large and intimidating blocks of text. Instead, include a pleasant (but reasonably sized) image that is relevant to your offer, and make use of all those wonderful formatting tools like bullets, numbers, and bolded headlines to break up text.3.) You didn’t use actionable language. It’s not that your readers aren’t smart; just don’t make them think too hard while they’re on your landing page. Tell them exactly what to do by using verbs and explanatory language in your headlines and on your ‘submit’ button. Let’s do a little compare and contrast. Which headline do you think will result in more conversions on a landing page?Your How-To Guidevs.Download Your How-To Guide About Creating Content for the HolidaysIf you guessed the second one, you’re right on the money! It tells visitors explicitly what they should do on the landing page, and what they’ll receive for doing it. Just be sure to explain the value of your offer with some brief copy after you write your awesomely actionable headline.4.) Your form just wasn’t worth the work. There’s a delicate balance to strike between gathering enough qualifying information about your leads, and losing leads to excessively long forms. If you’re not sure how many form fields are too many, start small and build up. Through the magic of A/B testing, you’ll be able to find your sweet spot where neither leads nor information is compromised.5.) Your offer didn’t match your call-to-action (CTA). If your call-to-action was enticing enough to get a visitor to click through to your landing page, make sure what you actually offer aligns with the original CTA. You can prevent visitor disappointment by being as specific as possible with your call-to-action. If you’re offering a how-to guide, mention what it’s about in both the call-to-action and on the landing page. Use the same language so continuity is maintained throughout the conversion process.If you’re experiencing dismal conversion rates on your landing pages, do a quick check for these five common problems. Once all of your landing pages are in line with these best practices, you can fine-tune and A/B detailed aspects of your page like button color or page layout to get the best possible conversion rate from each landing page you produce.Have you seen a lift in conversion rates from solving for landing page abandonment? What was your most common landing page offense?Image credit: Post-Software Originally published Nov 30, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 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: Landing Page Designlast_img read more

Understanding How Your Marketing Analytics Gives Credit for Conversions

first_img Originally published Apr 19, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 When chatting with marketers, one of the most common questions we hear at HubSpot is regarding “first touch” versus “last touch” attribution in marketing analytics . First touch, last touch, and assist reports are all different ways to attribute conversions on your website, and each of these attribution methods will tell you something different and important about the effectiveness of your marketing and the behavior of your visitors.The following guide will help you understand the difference between “last touch,” “first touch,” and “assists” attribution, as well as give you a sense of the primary use-cases for each approach. As a wise man once said, you should always give credit where credit is due! What Are ‘Attributions’ in Marketing Analytics? Before we begin, first a definition …’Attribution’ is a way of understanding which marketing channels or campaigns contributed to a conversion on your website. In HubSpot software , for example, you’ll notice that our Marketing Analytics tools report on the number of leads and customers generated through various marketing efforts — that information is what you’d call an attribution. But because a lead’s or customer’s lifecycle with your company is made up of a number of different interactions, there are multiple ways to report on attribution. Understanding how attribution works will help you understand which of your marketing efforts are actually generating results.Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s discuss the different attribution methods that can be used in your marketing analytics. Last Touch Attribution Most analytics packages, including Google Analytics, use  last touch attribution as their main method of reporting. Last touch data shows you the most recent interactions and conversions your leads had on your website before they converted. When It’s Useful As its name suggests, last touch reporting is useful in determining what happened right before your leads converted. If we were presenting last touch data for a given soccer game, for example, it would attribute the winning goal to whoever kicked the ball into the net. Last touch analytics, therefore, is often a good measure of the effectiveness of different landing pages , email campaigns, or other efforts that tend to lead to a direct conversion. What it doesn’t tell you, however, is anything else that led up to that conversion. So, if we were to extend that same soccer analogy, it wouldn’t give credit to the defender who made that great forward pass that made the goal possible.  HubSpot’s Landing Page Analytics report (pictured below), for instance, uses last touch attribution to help marketers evaluate which landing pages were most effective at generating leads and customers. Looking at first touch attribution for the two customers who converted on the Introduction to Business Blogging ebook offer, however, would show marketers an entirely different view.  First Touch Attribution First touch attribution answers the question, “How did this lead or customer originally find you?” What brought him or her across your digital doorstep for the very first time? In HubSpot software, for example, first touch attribution is used in the Sources report , which shows marketers a breakdown of which channels brought in leads and customers in a given time frame. (Note: Google Analytics doesn’t have a report for first touch attribution out-of-the-box, but if you are tech-savvy,  Will Critchlow of Distilled put together some helpful instructions on how to use a .js code to adapt Google Analytics to show first touch attribution.) When It’s Useful First touch attribution is useful for evaluating the effectiveness of different channels at generating website visitors and leads. Often, first touch reveals valuable, closed-loop ROI information for channels that are traditionally difficult to measure, like social media or search. Below, you can see that organic search brought us at HubSpot more than 1,400 leads and one customer since the beginning of the month. That one customer may not have purchased our software the very first time he or she visited us through search, but it was search that brought the customer in originally, so through first touch attribution, search is credited with bringing in that customer.  Assists Attribution If first touch attribution shows you how a lead originally came across your website, and last touch attribution shows you the final interaction that triggered a conversion, I bet you can guess what assists attribution reveals. Marketers use assists reporting to identify the pages that were viewed throughout the lifecycle of people who ended up converting. ( Note: Different analytics platforms handle assists reporting in different ways. Google’s multi-channel funnels detail assisting interactions in the 30 days prior to a conversion. HubSpot’s Conversion Assists version , pictured below, shows you the web pages, blog articles, and landing pages that were most commonly viewed by people who ended up converting as leads or customers.) When It’s Useful Just because a page wasn’t the first page people saw or the final page they viewed before converting or buying, doesn’t mean it was insignificant in their decision-making process. Assists reports can help you identify and optimize influential pages on your site, and we’ve actually written an in-depth article about how assist reports can help marketers do this.Ultimately, you’ll want to use an assist report for insight into the middle of your marketing funnel. For example, Olympia Steel Buildings , a HubSpot customer, used assists data to find that a photo gallery of its pre-engineered steel buildings was influential to a sizeable number of people who ended up converting into leads. Armed with that information, Olympia Steel made that gallery easier to find by integrating it into their homepage navigation and including it in their lead nurturing emails. Below is another example of HubSpot’s own Conversion Assists report and some valuable information our own marketing team could glean from assists data: Which Attribution Method Does Your Marketing Analytics Software Use? Because you can slice marketing data a number of different ways, it can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly what you’re measuring. The best approach to marketing analytics is to start with a question. Determine what it is you want to know, and then find the attribution method and analytics report that will get you the closest to the answer.If you’re not sure how your marketing analytics service provider handles attribution, make it your prerogative to find out. As you witnessed in this post, HubSpot’s analytics tools leverage different attribution reporting methods depending on the goals of its various reports. Your analytics package might do things differently. Either way, it behooves you to know how your analytics is reporting attribution so you can fully and completely understand the data you’re gathering from your marketing efforts. Image Credit: A6U571N Topics: Marketing Analytics Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more