Hotels: Hotel Occupancy Rate Increases Year-over-Year

From HotelNewsNow.com: STR: US hotel results for week ending 29 April

The U.S. hotel industry reported positive results in the three key performance metrics during the week of 23-29 April 2017, according to data from STR.

In comparison with the week of 24-30 April 2016, the industry reported the following:

Occupancy: +3.7% to 70.3%
• Average daily rate (ADR): +5.1% to US$127.50
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): +8.9% to US$89.65

STR analysts attribute the level of performance growth to a comparison with Passover week last year.
emphasis added

The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateThe red line is for 2017, dashed is 2015, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 – the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels.

2015 was the best year on record for hotels.

For hotels, occupancy will now move mostly sideways until the summer travel season.

Data Source: STR, Courtesy of HotelNewsNow.com

via Calculated Risk

Ted Cruz booed lustily as he refuses to endorse Donald Trump

CLEVELAND (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tried to link arms with Republicans at the party’s national convention but was booed lustily by delegates when he ended his speech without offering Donald Trump his endorsement — or even saying he would vote for the New York billionaire.

As he appeared on stage Wednesday night, Cruz basked in a minute-long standing ovation. Cruz finished second to Trump in the crowded Republican primary campaign and congratulated the GOP nominee on his victory.

But as close as Cruz came to saying he wanted Trump to win the White House was when he said: “I want to see the principles that our party believes in prevail in November.”

Cruz didn’t tell the convention crowd that he plans to vote for Trump. Nor did he ask his supporters, hundreds of whom encouraged him to run for president in four years at an event on Wednesday afternoon, to vote for the newly minted Republican nominee.

Interrupted by chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump,” Cruz paused and said with a smile, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”

But as Cruz closed his remarks, and as the crowd of more than 2,000 delegates at the Quicken Loans Arena waited for Cruz to say something — anything — kind about Trump, he demurred.

“And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said. “Stand and speak, and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

The delegates responded with angry boos, and Cruz backer and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli escorted Heidi Cruz off the convention floor as she was heckled by Trump delegates.

But Trump said later on Twitter that Cruz’s lack of an endorsement was “no big deal!” But he said Cruz “didn’t honor” the pledge that Republican primary candidates had made to support the eventual GOP nominee.

A source familiar with the campaign inner circle’s thinking but not authorized to speak publicly said Trump, his relatives and closest advisers were angry at Cruz’s move and had expected, while not an endorsement, a warmer embrace of the nominee and less showmanship from the senator.

“He’s a chicken,” said Eugene Delgaudio, a delegate from Sterling, Virginia, who clucked like a chicken when asked about Cruz’s decision. “He needed to toughen up like every other Republican loser of any nomination battle in the last 100 years since Abraham Lincoln and just suck it up, be a man and back the nominee that he was beaten by, fair and square.”

The crowd’s boos quickly switched to cheers as Trump entered the arena at the moment Cruz finished. His daughter Ivanka and other members of the Trump party turned their backs on Cruz to stand and applaud Trump, who sat down in the front row of his VIP box to watch his son Eric deliver the next speech.

Cruz aide Jason Johnson said the Texas lawmaker told Trump in a phone conversation two days ago that he would not endorse him during his speech, a decision New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called “totally selfish.” The outspoken Trump backer, like Cruz bested by the real estate mogul in the GOP primaries, said the voters made clear that Trump is their choice.

“If we’re not going to do that, why do we have elections? Because Ted Cruz has decided that he knows better? Than all of the people who voted in the elections?” he said.

The booing was so intense the Trump campaign encouraged its many staffers on the convention floor to try to calm the delegates down, said a Trump aide speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal campaign discussions.

Cruz halted his campaign two months ago, having outlasted all but Trump in a field that once numbered 17 candidates. He finished a distant second in the delegate accumulation during the Republican nominating process.

He used his convention speech as the foundation for a fundraising email for his Senate campaign: “Will you stand with me by making an immediate donation $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can afford today?”

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What political news is the world searching for on Google and talking about on Twitter? Find out via AP’s Election Buzz interactive. http://ift.tt/1OLH0Ll

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Follow Thomas Beaumont and Steve Peoples on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/tombeaumont and http://twitter.com/sppeoples

via Yahoo News – Top Stories

These 10 Rules Will Help You Get Discovered (and Hone Your Craft)

austin-kleon-photo-by-ryan-essmaker-760px.jpgIn his New York Times bestseller, Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed us how to steal ideas, combine them, and create something new of our own. It’s the perfect book for those who want to create something, but don’t know where to start or fear they don’t have any good ideas.

This time around, Kleon tackles the challenge of promoting the work you’ve created. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered outlines several strategies to promote yourself and/or your work, even if you hate the idea of self-promotion.

Following the same approach as his previous book, Show Your Work is a quick read – concise and jam-packed full of actionable advice. In fact, you could build an entire marketing strategy around each chapter if you wanted to.

“I’m going to try and teach you how to think about your work as a never-ending process, how to share your process in a way that attracts people who might be interested in what you do, and how do deal with the ups and downs of putting yourself and your work out in the world”

-Austin Kleon

Below is a summary of each of Kleon’s 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered.

1. You don’t have to be a genius.

Although the term “genius” is thrown around often, very few people are actually geniuses. Instead of trying to become a genius, Kleon suggests you find a “scenius.”

When you look at many of the most respected and accomplished creatives in the world, more often than not they started as part of a group of creative people. You don’t have to be extremely smart or have a special talent to be part of a scenius, you just need to share ideas, build connections, and start conversations.

Embrace being an amateur. The true meaning of “amateur” is someone who does something for the joy of doing it, not for fame and notoriety.

Being an amateur gives you an advantage over the pro because you can be flexible and experiment without worrying that your mistakes are going to crush you. People expect amateurs to make mistakes.

You’ll never find your voice by looking for it. You have to use your voice and let it find you. 

2. Think process, not product.

Social media and blogging have completely changed the game for marketers because it allows us to take prospects and customers behind the scenes in real-time. More than ever, people want to see the real process behind the products they purchase.

Perfection is no longer necessary and, in some ways, it can actually work against you because it seems fake. Stop listening to your ego and start showing your authentic side.

3. Share something small every day.

“A daily dispatch is even better than a resume or portfolio, because it shows what we’re working on right now”

-Austin Kleon

Turn your flow into stock. Your flow is the feed of posts, tweets, and daily updates that remind people you exist — help you stay top-of-mind. Your stock is the content you produce that’s just as interesting in two months (or years) as it is today; it’s evergreen.

Maintain your flow while working on your stock in the background.

4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities.

People who get into creative work usually have good taste, big ideas, and vision, however, it takes some time before the quality of your work reflects your taste.

In the meantime, Kleon suggests you not be a hoarder and share what inspires you with the world. Not only does this help your audience understand the inspiration behind your work, but it helps you connect with people who share similar interests.

Most importantly, it gives credit where it’s due. You can’t expect others to give you credit for your work if you haven’t made a habit of doing so yourself.

To continue on to rules 5-10, click “keep reading” below.

via The IMPACT Blog

5 Digital Marketing Factors That Compel Online Audience to Buy

In today’s competitive online marketing space, every organization wants to secure top ranking when it comes to gaining online presence. Digital marketing is the most effective means by which online promotions are done. For online businesses, success is often measured in the number of generated and converted leads. Companies nowadays are looking to build strategies to grasp more audiences so they can maximize their online traffic to attain popularity and deserving profit.

For staying ahead of the competition, businesses are running from pillar to post, putting in all possible efforts to attain maximum audiences. Gone are the days when having a website was enough to get online visibility. Today, the scenario of marketing has been entirely changed, and numerous companies across the globe have realized it very well As a result, competition is at its peak, and a lot more and constant development is happening in the world of digital marketing. Chances for getting assured success heavily depend on the way companies carry out their digital marketing efforts and practices. In the end, the success of a business counts on the number of leads that a company succeeds to convert.

Let’s unfold the digital marketing factors that prompt potential buyers to buy. Take a look on these factors:

Mobile-Friendly Website

Having a responsive website is an excellent requirement of mobile-friendly sites. A mobile-friendly site brings several advantages for businesses as it has become one of the essential ranking factors in search engine result pages as announced by Google. The mobile-friendly website has been made mandatory because online searches through mobile have already surpassed searches through desktops. Thus, targeting mobile audience can yield outstanding results for your business. You can customize your content and call-to-action button the way you want, so you capture the direct response of potential buyers.

Smart Content for Mobile Audience

To the grab their attention and to sustain potential buyers on your site, smart content is key. You should allow the publishing of content on your site that captures the attention of visitors. Your focus should be more on the products or services you offer which must include the benefits that your customers can get if they choose your product or service. Thus, instead of showing how big your company is and what you have achieved since its inception, you should feed them the content that matters them.

 

 

Video Marketing with Enticing Narration

Posting a video with enticing narration can do a lot for your business. While content plays a significant role, you should also pay attention to the medium through which you deliver your content. Video marketing is considered one of the most powerful ways to deliver useful content. You can also include psychological factors like emotions that touch your audience and motivate them to take action that is beneficial for your business. Including psychological elements is a good practice, but it should be done carefully. Remember, it takes years to earn trust but only moments to lose it.

Adaptive Pricing

Price matters the most and is an important decisive factor for potential buyers. You cannot escape from the reality that today, before purchasing any product, audiences are likely to do online research, so that they can make the best buy. For surviving in today’s business environment where buying decisions are based on price comparison, you should make an offer that is irresistible. Keep in mind that if you offer a lower price than your competitors, then people may think you are compromising quality. Furthermore, if you are offering high prices, people will approach those who offer them less than your price. Moreover, if you are offering a competitive price, then you should supply reasons to compel them to think about your products or services. Thus, it is advised to know the taste of your audience and what your competitors are offering, so you make an offer that the potential buyers cannot deny.

Discount Coupons

Offering discount coupons to your clients is the best way to attract them to your products or services. For attracting audiences, numerous websites offer discounts on the very first buy. Once trust is established and your audience starts liking your website, you can identify their choices and shopping habits, so that you can offer them discount coupons to sustain them as a permanent buyer.

Final Words

The points mentioned above depict how you can compel online audiences to buy. Following these guidelines definitely can make a difference for a business’s success.

 


revcontent-98%-of-sites-get-denied-are-you-in-the-2%

via Relevance

How to Use Facebook Live: A Complete Guide

facebook-live-guide.jpeg

In their continued effort to promote video content in the News Feed, Facebook recently launched Facebook Live, a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast live videos from their mobile device straight to their Facebook News Feed.

Why are marketers getting so excited about Facebook Live? Because it’s an awesome way for them to use the power of live video to communicate their brand stories and build authentic, intimate relationships with fans and followers. 

However, for such a simple concept, Facebook Live has a lot of little nuances that marketers will need to learn if they want to get the most out of the platform. This guide is meant to help you learn the best tricks and tricks that can make a big, big difference in how many people see your live broadcast, how they engage with it, and how it performs.

In this post, we’ll walk through how to broadcast on Facebook Live, how to analyze your live video’s performance, and the top tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform. (Click here to skip down to the tips.)

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live

Historically, you’ve only been able to broadcast live videos from iOS or Android mobile devices. However, Facebook recently announced that the Live Video publishing tool for Pages now lets you use your existing video software or hardware to create professional-looking live video content. We’ll cover that in a later post, but for now, let’s focus on broadcasting from your mobile device.

So to get started, get out your mobile device and open up the Facebook app.

Step 1: Go to your own Facebook profile and open up the status bar by clicking facebook-write-status-update.jpg, as if you’re going to write a new post.

Step 2: Tap the "Live" icon, which looks like a human silhouette.

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Step 3: Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted.

You’ll stop receiving these prompts after the first time you use it.

Step 4: Press the blue "Continue" button on the introductory page.

Don’t worry — pressing "Continue" won’t start the recording. The next few steps will be preparing your live video before you go live.

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Step 5: Choose your privacy setting.

If you’re posting for a brand, you’ll probably want to make it public. But if you’re new to Facebook Live and want to test it out first, or want to see what something will look like, then switch the privacy setting to "Only Me." You can find the "Only Me" option by clicking "More" and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

change-privacy-settings.png public-privacy-setting.png

Step 6: Write a compelling description.

As with Periscope, you give your broadcast a description, which will show up on people’s News Feeds like a status update above the video. To get people to tune in, write an attention-grabbing headline and help them understand what your broadcast is about. Check out the example below from The White House’s live broadcast.

write-caption.png white-house-facebook-live-description.jpg

Image Credit: Facebook

Step 7: Set up your camera view.

Before you click "Go Live," be sure your camera’s pointing in the direction you want it to. The background of your setup screen will show you what your camera sees. If you want to change the camera view to selfie or vice versa, simply click the rotating arrows icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

set-up-camera-view.png

Note: The video will be a square, so it doesn’t matter whether you hold your mobile device vertically or horizontally.

Step 8: Click the blue "Go Live" button to start broadcasting.

Once you click it, Facebook will give you a countdown — "3, 2, 1 …" — and then you’ll be live. As soon as you start streaming, your live video will appear in your News Feed — and others’ News Feeds — just like any other post. (Note that Facebook does currently rank Live videos higher than other videos.)

go-live-1.png

Your broadcast can be up to 90 minutes long. Keep in mind that the longer you broadcast, the more people who are scrolling through their News Feeds on Facebook will stumble upon your post.

Step 9: Interact with viewers and commenters.

To keep your viewers engaged, encourage them to interact with your live video (which will help your ranking in others’ News Feeds). You can also interact with them both by speaking directly at them in your video and, if you want, by having someone else respond to comments from a desktop computer elsewhere.

Where can you see these comments? While you’re broadcasting, you’ll see the time elapsed on the top left along with the number of viewers, and comments will show up live on the bottom of your feed. They’ll appear in reverse chronological order, like on Twitter, so keep in mind that the earlier ones may be farther down.

Facebook_Live_Comments.png

Image Credit: Facebook Newsroom

Note: You can also block viewers during a live broadcast by tapping the profile picture next to a viewer’s comment and then tapping "Block." You can unblock someone you’ve previously blocked, too.

Step 10: Click "Finish" to end the broadcast.

Once you do this, the video will stay on your Timeline or Page like any other video post. 

Step 11: Save the video to your camera roll.

Once you finish your broadcast, you’ll be met with a screen similar to the one I’ve screenshotted below. Be sure to toggle the option to save the video to your camera roll so you have a copy of the original for safekeeping.

congrats-finished-live-video.png

Step 12: You’re done!

Voilà! You can always go back to the post on your Timeline or Page and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

edit-facebook-live-post.png

How to Analyze Your Live Video’s Performance

The performance analytics available for Facebook Live videos are similar to that of normal videos on Facebook, with some cool additions.

  • For Pre-recorded videos: Facebook lets you analyze minutes viewed, unique viewers, video views, 10-second views, and average % completion.
  • For Facebook Live videos: Facebook let you analyze all the metrics listed above, plus peak live viewers, people reached, reactions, comments, and shares.

facebook-live-video-details.png

In addition to all these static numbers, you can click in to each metric to see how it changed over time when the video was live. For example, if we click in to "Peak Live Viewers," we’ll see this interactive graph of video viewers over time:

facebook-live-analytics-1.png

You can see graphs over time like the one above for any of the metrics I mentioned.

How to Access These Analytics on a Business Page

Step 1: Go to your Page and click the "Insights" tab.

insights-tab.png

Step 2: Choose "Videos" from the menu on the left-hand side of your screen.

Step 3: Scroll down and click "Video Library" to open up all of your videos and their analytics in a new window.

In the "Video Library" window, videos recorded with Facebook Live will be indicated by that human silhouette icon, as shown below.

facebook-video-library.png

Step 4: Click the video you want to see the analytics for to open it.

Again, you can click into any of the metrics to see a graph of those numbers over time when the video was live.

Now that you’ve got the steps down, let’s get into some tips and tricks.

11 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Facebook Live

There are a lot of little things you can do to squeeze the most out of your Facebook Live videos. Before we get into them, check out the example below of a great Facebook Live video from Refinery29. This was the first video of a five-part live video series called "Chasing Daylight," showcasing a typical night out for women in five different cities around the world. I’ll be referring to this video in some of my tips.

Warning: Some NSFW language.

1) Test out live video using the "Only Me" privacy setting.

If you want to mess around with live broadcasting without actually sharing it with anyone else, you can change the privacy setting so you’re the only one who can see it — just like with any other Facebook post.

To switch the privacy setting to "Only Me," follow steps 1–5 in the instructions above.

change-privacy-settings.png public-privacy-setting.png

2) Space out live videos with other Facebook posts.

Here’s a tip from HubSpot’s social media manager Chelsea Hunersen. Because Facebook ranks Live videos higher than other videos and other types of posts, Hunersen recommends spacing out your Facebook Live videos with other Facebook content you post.

"Wait at least two hours before or after you post a Facebook live video," she says. "Otherwise, your Facebook Live video may cannibalize additional traffic."

3) Keep reintroducing yourself.

When you first start the video, take a minute to introduce yourself and what the video’s about. But keep in mind that when you first start live streaming, you may have zero people watching. Even a few seconds in, you could only have a handful of viewers. As people find your video on their News Feeds, they’ll join in — but that means you’ll want to reintroduce yourself a second, third, and even a fourth time to catch people up.

For example, in the Refinery29 video above, the host Lucie Fink introduces herself three times in the first few minutes, and several more times after that.

One second in:

Hello, Facebook Live! Hey! Lucie Fink here. I don’t know if we have anyone on the broadcast yet, so I’m going to wait about one minute to see who joins us."

One minute in:

Hello to the 309 viewers in here right now. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29. Just to recap what’s happening right now, this is Episode One of Refinery29’s new global initiative, ‘Chasing Daylight.’"

A few minutes in:

Just to give a quick recap on who I am, in case you guys don’t know — I’m Lucie Fink. I work at Refinery 29. Today, I’m doing this whole new series, and this is essentially giving you guys a glimpse into the lives of women all over the world."

15 minutes in:

So now that we have 3.5 thousand people in this broadcast, let me just start from the top because some of you might not know what is happening. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29, and you might know me from some videos, you might not. Either way, it is nice to meet you. Today, we are starting a new video series on Refinery’s Facebook Live platform. It’s called ‘Chasing Daylight,’ and it’s gonna be on every night this week."

25 minutes in:

That’s what I think is so cool about ‘Chasing Daylight.’ For the people who are new and don’t really get why I’m sitting on my toilet, the answer is, I am Lucie Fink, and I am Episode One, the New York version of ‘Chasing Daylight,’ which is Refinery29’s new live Facebook series that’s starting right now."

4) Make the video visually engaging.

Although all videos on Facebook autoplay in people’s News Feeds, they’re on mute until the viewer manually turns the volume on. That means you have to be visually engaging — not just at the very beginning of your broadcast (although that’ll be important for when folks view the video later), but throughout the video as more and more people join in.

The more visually engaging you can be, the more you can entice people to stick around. That means keeping the camera moving and not just sitting in one place — something Lucie did really well in that Refinery29 video.

Not only will you get more viewers this way, but you’ll also get your broadcast ranked higher in other people’s News Feeds. Why? Because Facebook started monitoring signals of video engagement — like turning on the audio, switching to full-screen mode, or enabling high definition — interpreting that as users enjoying the video. As a result, they’ve tweaked the algorithm so videos that are engaged with in these ways will appear higher up on the feed.

5) Make it spontaneous.

What makes a live video special? The spontaneous, interactive nature of it.

"People love the ability to interact," says Hunersen. "They love the novelty of viewing someone in a live moment when anything could happen. It’s the new reality TV."

A big part of what makes Refinery29’s live video so great is how much Lucie and her friends embrace the "live," spontaneous nature of it. For example, at one point, Lucie calls on her friends to reenact a scene from the Broadway show Hamilton. It was scrappy, unrehearsed, and really funny. Her other friends were laughing at her. It reminded me of a fun night with my own friends. "This is literally what we do at the office," Lucie said about the performance through laughs.

Later in the video, someone commented asking Lucie and her friends to tell a joke. They scrambled. "I’m not funny!" said one of Lucie’s friends. But after a few moments, you can hear Lucie say, "Oh, we have a joke! Go ahead, Deb."

"Dating in New York."

There was a pause, then everyone burst out laughing: "OHHHH!"

These moments are what make live video special, and they’re exactly what differentiates it from scripted, edited, or otherwise pre-recorded videos. Embrace the platform. Banter is always, always good.

6) Encourage viewers to Like and share the video.

One of the primary ways Facebook’s algorithm ranks a post is by how many people Like and share it. The more people who Like and share your live broadcast, the more it’ll show up in people’s News Feeds.

But when people are watching a video, they may be more distracted from Liking and sharing it than they would a text or photo post. (That’s something the folks at Facebook noticed about video content early on, which is why they began monitoring other video engagement signals as well, like turning on the volume.)

In Refinery29’s video, you’ll notice Lucie explicitly asks viewers to Like and share the video many times throughout. Here are a few examples:

  • "If you like this broadcast and share it right now, you guys will be part of this brand new series that’s starting right now on Refinery29."
  • "If you guys share this broadcast, you’ll be part of history. And what’s better than being part of history?"
  • "Thumbs up if you like Hamilton!" 
  • "Thank you guys for all these Likes. My screen is absurdly blue right now because I’m getting tons of thumbs up."
  • "Share this with your best girlfriend who you think is strong and powerful."

I like the last example the best because she’s asking viewers to share it with a specific type of person — in this case, a best girlfriend. This might prompt viewers to think, "Hey, she’s right, my friend Stacy might like this!" and then share it with that specific friend.

7) Engage with commenters, and call them out by name.

The number of comments on your broadcast is another way to get Facebook to give it a higher relevancy score, making it more likely to show up on people’s News Feeds. So encourage your viewers to comment, and engage with people who are commenting by answering their questions and calling them out by name. Not only will it get more people to comment, but it’s also a fun way to include your viewers in the live experience, which could make them stick around longer.

"Your audience will be thrilled to hear you mention their name and answer their questions when you are live," says Hunersen.

In the Refinery29 video, Lucie was constantly engaging with viewers and commenters. At one point, for example, she said, "We’re so excited to see you guys! Do you have any questions for someone who lives in New York City?" Then, she read a few of the comments that came in and responded to them — using commenters’ first names.

At another point in the video, she started talking about which outfits she might wear to go out. Her friend, who was holding the phone at the time, said to viewers, "You guys, comment if you like what Lucie’s picking out." As Lucie began taking shirts and skirts out of her closet to show, her friend read off comments and she responded. At the end of the exercise, she chose her outfit based on commenters’ feedback.

8) Have someone else watching and responding to comments on from a desktop computer.

When you’re the one holding the camera for a Facebook Live video, it’s really hard to see the comments popping up on the mobile screen. If the comments are coming in fast, it’s especially easy to lose sight of them as they disappear below the fold. Plus, you’re probably occupied by recording and entertaining viewers.

Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have an additional person logged in to the primary account to monitor the comments on a desktop computer. That way, they can take care of responding so the person recording the video can concentrate on creating a great experience.

9) Ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications.

In addition to asking for Likes, shares, and comments, ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications. To do that, all viewers have to do is click the small, downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the live video post, and choose "Turn On Notifications."

You can also ask them to Like your brand on Facebook, which will make it more likely that they’ll be notified of your next live broadcast. Lucie does this in the Refinery29 video. 

10) Broadcast for at least 10 minutes.

As soon as you begin recording your live video, you’ll start slowly but surely showing up in people’s News Feeds. The longer you broadcast — especially as Likes, comments, and shares start coming in — the more likely people are to discover your video and share it with their friends.

Because timing is such an important factor for engagement in these live videos, we recommend that you go live for at least 10 minutes, although you can stay live for up to 90 minutes for a given video.

11) Say goodbye before you wrap up.

Before you end your live broadcast, be sure to finish with a closing line, like "Thanks for watching!" or "I’ll be going live again soon."

Lucie from Refinery29 checked a few other engagement requests off the list at the end of her broadcast:

So, we are about to sign off. It’s been such an amazing first episode of ‘Chasing Daylight.’ . . . Don’t forget to share this to your friends right now so you can always find this series and go back to it. . . . We’re so happy that you tuned in to our episode in New York. . . . Goodnight from New York City!"

12) Add a link to the description later.

Once you’ve finished the live broadcast, you can always go back and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

Here’s where you can add a trackable link to the description in the post, which can direct future viewers to your live video series page, the site of whatever campaign you’re using the video to promote, or somewhere else. (Learn how to create a trackable link here.)

To edit the description of a video: Find the video on your Timeline or Page and click the downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the post. Choose "Edit Post" from the dropdown menu, and edit the description accordingly.

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There you have it!

We hope this has been a helpful guide. We’re curious to see how Facebook develops their live video platform to help brands connect more deeply with fans and followers, and individuals connect more deeply with friends, family, and community.

What other tips do you have for using Facebook Live? Share with us in the comments. 

free guide: how to maximize your facebook reach

via HubSpot Marketing Blog

7 Useful Reporting Hacks to Try in Google Sheets

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While it might not be as powerful as the industry standard, Microsoft Excel, Google’s online spreadsheet tool, Google Sheets, provides several other advantages. From offering more collaboration capabilities, to having a more attractive price point (re: free), it’s no wonder that more and more marketers are turning to Google Sheets for their reporting.

Whether you’re just getting started with Google Sheets, or you’ve already played around with it a bit, there are several "hacks" you can use to make the reporting process easier. Let’s walk through them.

(Want to uncover some useful Google Doc tricks while you’re at it? Check out this post for 15 Google Doc features you probably didn’t know existed.)

7 Google Sheets Hacks to Make Reporting Much Easier

1) Use keyboard shortcuts.

Want to undo that change you just made in your report? There’s a shortcut for that (Command + Z on a Mac / Control + Z on a PC). Want to quickly find a particular word or figure in your report? There’s a shortcut for that, too (Command + F on a Mac / Control + F on a PC). And the list goes on, and on, and on.

The most important shortcut to remember for Google Sheets, however, is Command + / on a Mac, or Control + / on a PC. That’s the shortcut for pulling up the master list of Google Sheets keyboard shortcuts. In the screenshot below, you can see some of the most popular shortcuts on the list.

google-sheets-shortcuts.png

2) Create a heat map with conditional formatting.

Setting up a heat map in Google Sheets is a great way to make trends and important data points easily identifiable. At its most basic, a heat map can show the highest values in your report in one color, and show the lowest values in a different color. All the values in between, meanwhile, will appear as a mix of both colors.

Confused? Don’t worry, it will all make sense after we walk though the steps. Step 1: Select your data, navigate to the "Format" menu in the top nav, and choose "Conditional formatting."

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Next, you’ll want to select the "Color scale" tab from the menu that pops up. Once you do that, Google Sheets will automatically apply some default colors, and you’ll be able to see your heat map.

color-scale-sheets.png

At this point, you could simply hit that blue "Done" button and call it a day. Alternatively, you could spend some time fine-tuning your settings. For example, by clicking those paint bucket icons, you can customize your heat map colors (see example below).

color-scale-custom.png

3) Easily add an image to a cell.

If you need to add a logo, screenshot, or other image to a report in Google Sheets, the standard protocol is to navigate to "Insert" on the top nav, choose "Image," and then upload an image from your computer. However, there is a much quicker solution available. Here’s how you do it:

First, select the cell you want to insert the image into and type "=image."

insert-image-cell-sheets.png

Next, add an open parentheses, followed by an open quotation mark, and paste in the URL of the image you want to insert. You’ll then need to close the quotation marks and close the parentheses.

image-url-in-sheets.png

Hit enter, and voilà: your image will appear.

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4) Add international currencies.

If your company does business internationally, being able to work with international currencies in your reports is essential. Fortunately, Google Sheets has got you covered.

To access Google Sheets’ massive A-to-Z list of currencies — from the Afghan Afghani to the Zimbabwean Dollar — you first need to click that "123" icon in the top nav.

123-icon-google-sheets-1.png

From there, head down to "More formats" and select "More currencies."

more-currencies-sheets.png

You can now choose a currency from the list and click the blue "Apply" button to set it.

currency-menu-google-sheets.png

5) Set up email notifications.

Want to know when a coworker makes changes to your report? Or are you looking for a way to get daily progress updates from a report a coworker is working on? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those questions, then this is the hack for you.

To set up email notifications in Google Sheets, first head to "Tools" in the top nav and select "Notification rules."

notification-rules-google-sheets.png

Next, select what notification rules you want to put in place and click the blue "Save" button. 

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(Note: Notifications can be triggered based on changes made to your spreadsheet as well as form submissions. To add a form to your spreadsheet, simply navigate up to "Tools," then select "Create a form.")

6) Validate Emails & URLs

Sorting through and making sense of hundreds (if not thousands) of email addresses and website URLs is no easy feat. And in some cases, this task can get even more complicated when, late in the game, you discover that some of those emails and URLs are invalid.

Once again, Google Sheets has got your back. Using the ISURL and ISEMAIL functions, you can quickly check whether email addresses and URLs are valid or not. For example, if you wanted to check if "hubspot.com" was a valid URL, you could select an empty cell, type in "=ISURL" and then put "hubspot.com" between parentheses like you see in the screenshot below. Even before you hit enter, Google Sheets will return a "TRUE" (valid) or "FALSE" (invalid) message.

is-url-true-google-sheets.png

You can follow the same instructions for the ISEMAIL function, just use an email address instead of a URL. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like:

is-email-true-google-sheets.png

For a full list of Google Sheets functions, check out this Google support webpage.

7) Unlock a ton of additional features with add-ons.

Did you know that you can sync Google Sheets with your Google Analytics account? Or that you can use Google Sheets to plot data onto a Google Map? These features — and many, many more — don’t come standard with Google Sheets. However, you can easily add them by heading up to "Add-ons" in the top nav and selecting "Get add-ons."

add-ons-google-sheets.png

From there, you’ll be able to choose from tons of free features. You can use the dropdown at the top left to narrow down the category of add-on your looking for, or you can search for it directly using the search field at the top left. For example, if you wanted to find that maps add-on I mentioned (which is called "Mapping Sheets," FYI) you could do a search for "maps."

google-add-ons-menu.png

Know any other tips or tricks for making reporting easier in Google Sheets? Share them below.

free marketing reporting templates

via HubSpot Marketing Blog

How to Perfect Your Customer Journey Maps to Increase Conversions

Want more conversions?

Increase the quality of your consumer interactions.

Salesforce reports that “86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey.”

To understand how your team interacts with every customer, it’s vital that you design a customer journey map that highlights every part of the purchasing experience.

“Journey mapping is a holistic approach to understanding the flow of experiences a customer has with an organization; it uses pictures to represent a process that cannot be adequately captured with words,” writes Adam Toporek, author of Be Your Customer’s Hero.

Let’s explore how to earn more sales. It starts with your journey map.

What’s the Purpose?

E-commerce businesses must be ready to adapt quickly to convert prospects. It’s one of the few ways to stay competitive in the market.

CSO Insights found that “companies with ‘dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes’ reported an average of 10% more sales people on-quota compared to other companies.”

You can’t box a sales transaction into a one-time occurrence. It involves more than just exchanging money for a product.

It’s called the customer’s journey for a reason. The cycle encompasses all the interactions and decisions leading up to the purchase and after the sale.

“Customer journey maps allow you to walk in your customers’ shoes by traveling with them as they interact with your company. When based on sound research, they provide an accurate outside-in view, focusing on desired outcomes from the customer’s perspective,” states Michael Hinshaw, CEO of McorpCX.

Decades ago, companies worried about gaining new customers. But today’s business climate requires your SaaS to retain consumers. Therefore, nurturing the customer through the cycle holds greater purpose.

Identify the touch points where customers interact with your brand. Understand how each interaction affects one another. Develop a buyer journey map using the five W’s: Who, Why, When, What, and Where.

buyer-journey-maps
Image Source

Learn where your team can fill in gaps and exploit opportunities to increase conversions. A customer journey map gives your team context.

For example, if a customer calls your phone support line and waits 12 minutes without receiving assistance, then how should your team respond to a not-so-nice email from the person?

Connect the dots in the customer experience. It will guide your business forward.

Infusing Data

Research shows that “74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to add value [and] insight.” Customers want to be educated, not sold.

And for your SaaS to offer value-added information, your team needs to focus on consumer data. You’ll uncover what matters to your customer, when to give specific content, and how to present your content.

So, if data is an afterthought in your customer journey, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Quantitative and qualitative data is a stepping stone to giving your customers value.

Dom Nicastro, staff reporter at CMSwire, suggests the following methods to collect data:

  • In-person focus groups
  • Online moderated forums
  • In-depth, one-on-one phone interviews

As your team analyzes customer interaction data, you will master how to “accelerate customer acquisition, encourage repeat business, and improve customer loyalty.” This leads to adopting new product features, defining customer segments, and identifying churn signals.

big-data-analytics-credit-card-company

Monitor how you acquire data. Ensure that it’s accurate.

Paul Boag, author of Digital Adaptation, says, “Be careful to make clear what has research behind it and what does not. Making many decisions based on assumptions is dangerous. Once management sees the benefits of research, they will be willing to spend more time on it.”

Moreover, integrated customer journeys provide a competitive edge. Harvard Business Review cites Oakland-based Sungevity for their personalized digital customer journey. It helped the company’s sales double to more than $65 million.

Gather data to learn more about your customers’ behaviors. Analytics is necessary for understanding the customer’s journey.

The Blueprint

Despite the effectiveness of customer journey mapping, only 34% of companies have undertaken the process. It’s an opportunity for your SaaS to take advantage of the benefits.

The value of mapping includes recognizing functional silos, identifying growth factors, and establishing development priorities. If you don’t know how your customers flow through the sales cycle, it’s harder to serve their needs.

The customer journey map doesn’t have to be elaborate. Initially, forgoing specific data may be an option for your company. Here’s a recommendation from Forbes contributor Micah Solomon:

“Your customer journey map needs to be, or at least needs to start out its life being, independent from all considerations of internal processes and departments, because your customer will never have precisely the same viewpoint as the viewpoint you have internally, nor fully match up to the inevitably awkward divisions of task in your organization.”

And every journey map isn’t the same. Maps can vary based on the industry, customer base, or management style. Several types exist, including business to business and tactical.

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Image Source

But all journey maps should serve the same purpose: Illustrate how the customer engages with you brand.

It shouldn’t be rooted in what your business thinks. Your team needs to document real experiences.

“Actionable journey maps clearly identify both positive and negative customer emotions throughout their journey and put them in context of customer behaviors, goals, and expectations. Businesses use their data to identify opportunity areas and to assess the impact of current and future CX/UX investments,” writes Kathleen Hoski and Phil Goddard of TandemSeven.

Build your plan to gain deeper insights to earn more conversions.

Facing the Challenges

Consider your journey map a living document that will continue to evolve. Get ready to add, subtract, and maybe even multiply your blueprint.

In this digital age, customers are becoming more sophisticated. Their interests pinpoint to niche markets. And their problems need customized solutions.

The key is to anticipate change. Recreating a linear path of the customer experience is only a waste of time, because we know customers take many routes to complete a sale. That involves research, justification, and cost analysis.

Your team also should aim to build ongoing trust with your customers. CMO Council’s Content ROI Center reports that no more than 9% of B2B buyers fully trust vendor content.

“They trust information that comes from people they trust: friends, family and network connections. You can’t be everyone’s friend, but you can stay in contact with a vast number of potential buyers on a regular basis thanks to social selling and automation,” says Daniel Ku, content marketing manager at Sales for Life.

And lastly, possess a full perspective of the customer. Avoid making one-sided decisions.

“Disparate systems and questionable data inhibit marketers from knowing and understanding who their customers are every time they engage. Without the single customer view, marketers face huge barriers from the very start,” says Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Campaign.

Challenges will arise. Prepare accordingly.

Start Mapping

Every SaaS team needs a path to sales. Build customer journey maps to facilitate the buying process.

Learn how your SaaS is currently engaging with customers. Use data to pinpoint unknown consumer behaviors. And develop a blueprint that illustrates your buyers’ needs.

Map out the customer journey. Increase conversions.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

via The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

The 36 Most Powerful Blog Promotion Tips You’re Ignoring [Infographic]

blog-promotion-tips.jpgYou could have the greatest blog this side of the Mississippi, but if no one’s reading it, what good is it doing your business?

To truly succeed at blogging for business long-term, you need to find and keep an avid audience.

While a great deal of this comes back search engine optimization, there are also many other actionable things you can do before and after you hit publish to get more eyes (and new eyes) on your content.

In this infographic by ReferralCandy, 36 of the most effect blog promotion tactics uncovered by Brian Lang of the Small Business Ideas Blog from dozens of industry experts. Ranging from targeted distribution to milking old content, the piece is full of invaluable advice.

The 9 Most Powerful Blog Promotion Tactics From Top Marketing Experts [Infographic]
ReferralCandy – Refer-a-friend Programs for Ecommerce Stores

 

Here’s a breakdown of everything covered:

#1: Before Everything Else, You Blog’s Gotta Rock

  • Be helpful
  • Be unique
  • Tell stories
  • Quote experts
  • Respond quickly to trends

#2: Make Sure Your Content/Blog is SEO-optimized

  • Do proper keyword research

#3: Incorporate Visuals

  • Create original images
  • Make images more effective with text overlay
  • Use Images to attract traffic
  • Invest in your content’s design
  • Create visual content

#4: Build & Use Relationships

  • Build real relationships with people first
  • Build a loyal audience
  • Share other’s content
  • Use social media to network and engage — not spam!
  • Be human on social media

#5: Know Your Target Audience

  • Really, really understand your audience
  • Match your content to the needs of your targeted audience

#6: Reach Out Via Email

  • Email people that you mentioned
  • Collect leads
  • Send better email
  • Email people according to content topic and interest

#7: Perform Targeted Distribution

  • Share with those who have already shared similar content
  • Send your content to specific targets
  • Reach out to Influencers
  • Prioritize promoters
  • Tag/mention relevant people
  • Add content when sharing
  • Get as much personal exposure as possible

#8: Capitalize on Social Media

  • Take note of timing
  • Share in more places
  • Retweet for visibility
  • Multiple tweets/shares at intervals
  • Milk older content for its worth
  • Use Pinterest

#9: Make it Happen

via The IMPACT Blog

#EmailChat with Litmus: Writing Emails That Sell

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “sales” or “selling”?

…Not good, right?

But when you have a product to sell, sales are kind of crucial to your business model. That’s why we asked John Bonini, Growth Director at Litmus, to help explain the difference between creating “sales-y” emails and emails that sell. (Trust us, there’s a difference.)

Missed out on the chat? Here are the 7 takeaways you should know before you hit ‘send’ on your next campaign:

Here’s what we really think about sales-driven emails.

We’re not just marketers, we’re consumers. And consumers don’t like being sold to – at least not in the way we traditionally think of sales.

“When I hear ‘sales’ I automatically think $$$ – which isn’t necessarily the mindset you want consumers to be in.”

“When I hear ‘sales/selling,’ I think, ‘You want something from me,’ not ‘You have something for me.’”

Sound familiar?

As John explained, it’s easy to let the consumer-perspective of “sales” affect the way we promote ourselves. Many of us have become fearful of coming across too aggressively in our sales approach – which can cause us to use more passive language that might lead to missed opportunities.

There’s a difference between being influential and being “sales-y.”

Here’s where sales gets a little fuzzy for most people. How do you know when you’re pushing too much? How do you know if you’re doing enough?

John says influence comes from uncovering people’s needs and wants – and delivering value that helps address them.

Another great way to avoid sounding like a salesman? Speak as though you’re talking to a friend, human to human. In other words, keep your content personal and aim to solve the problem of each individual you’re reaching out to.

Be both brand- AND subscriber-centric.

You can’t be brand-centric without being subscriber-centric. After all, your subscribers are the heart of your brand.

The folks at Really Good Emails have a really good formula for keeping your content focused:

“We like subscriber-centric content with brand-centric email design. Keep the messaging personalized and experience consistent.”

The right time to make your pitch.

Not sure when you should go for the sale? The answer is…

“When it makes logical and/or economic sense for someone to buy something from you.”

There’s no right way to answer this question. Every subscriber is unique and some may take a bit more convincing than others. That’s why it’s always good to offer value from the start – for free. Segmentation also comes into play here. Subscribers that consume more of your content than others early on are more likely to buy from you sooner, so keep this in mind when planning your email strategy.

Avoid using these terms and phrases in your emails.

ROI. LTV. ARPU.

What do these words even mean to the average consumer? Avoid sales and marketing jargon and talk like a human.

Also consider the tone of your emails. Nobody likes to be talked down to.

Take note from these brands.

Think about the brands that you buy from most frequently. What’s their secret?

Personally, I love being shown the versatility of a product. If you can tell me how to use it and why it will make my life better, I’m sold.

Free shipping/free returns? I’m in.

Oh, that product plays well with this one? Add it to the cart.

Don’t be afraid to sell.

A few bad experiences shouldn’t keep you from promoting your product and services. There are many reasons why people don’t make a purchase. Maybe it wasn’t the right time/place/etc. If you’re sending your stuff to the right people, you’ll be fine.

“Don’t think of it as selling. When you “sell” to people for whom it makes logical and economic sense for, you’re not selling.”

#ComingUp

Join us Thursday, May 19th for the next #EmailChat – Guest Host TBA. And stay up-to-date on the latest news, events and announcements by following us on Twitter.

What topic do you want us to chat about? Send me a tweet with your ideas and you could see it in an upcoming #EmailChat.

The post #EmailChat with Litmus: Writing Emails That Sell appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

via Email Marketing Tips

How to Turn Your Workspace Into a Den of Productivity

How to Turn Your Workspace Into a Den of Productivity

When it comes to improving productivity in the workplace, much of the advice we hear centers around the mindset or motivation of the individual in question — advice like “You need to set goals for yourself,” or “You need to focus on your passion,” or “You need to meticulously plan every portion of your day down to the millisecond.”

And while such advice can potentially be helpful, there’s one aspect of improving productivity that we often overlook: our environments.

via HubSpot Marketing Blog