Most Expensive Homes for Sale by City

first_imgHow much do you pay for heating? Depending on where you live, it’s a good chunk of money during the wintertime. Even though we live in the South (in lovely Raleigh!), we’re not immune to getting some cold weather.   With winter coming… Full Story,Tips to help turn those homebuying dreams into reality. From outstanding credit card debt to massive student loans, financial difficulties are barring more and more millennials from becoming homeowners. While the vision of buying a first home may seem hopelessly… Full Story,When most people imagine buying a house, they think about how many bedrooms they need or what kind of porch they want. When they think about homebuying costs, they decide how much to put down and what their maximum home… Full Story,One of my favorite shows is Sex and the City. Those women lived glamorous lives I could only dream about. And, Carrie, a writer, was living my dream life as a famous writer in Manhattan. One of the storylines that… Full Story,Last year, my husband and I were packing up our Denver apartment to prepare for our move back to his home state of Indiana. We’d put an offer in on a house and had only given ourselves a couple of… Full Story,A few years ago Dave Munson and his family decided to move from their 5,600-square-feet, 8-bedroom house in the city of San Antonio, Texas, to a smaller, unique living situation: tents. Well, fancy, upscale tents that total 2,000 square feet… Full Story,It’s a well-known fact that your personal environment affects your mental health. If you live in a beautifully decorated home with plenty of plants and green space nearby, your risk for anxiety and depression is lower. If you spend your… Full Story,My husband and I were so excited to buy our house. We’d been renting since college and were eager to have our own place. Finally, no one could tell us how many dogs we could have or how many posters… Full Story,Last summer, I was forced to relocate out of my cozy, bungalow-style apartment in West L.A. Living in one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the U.S., I was resigned to the fact that, to enjoy my ideal setup… Full Story,When you buy a home, you’re making an investment in yourself and your future. You’re building  financial stability, equity, and experience. You have a place to call your own and you can customize the space just how you want. As… Full Storylast_img read more

American Family Budget: The Pros and Cons of a Cash Envelope System

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Post navigation My husband and I switched from using our debit card all the time to paying for most things with cash.Our goal is to use paper money and completely cut out plastic. Since our society is so credit-card-centric, we have faced several challenges in switching away from it, not the least being organization.Since we’re new at this, we are trying what many others have sworn works well for them: an envelope system.We have found that some things work well but some aspects of our system are downright frustrating.The SetupAt the beginning of the month, I go through our budget and determine the amounts of cash we’ll need to cover each category.I start from our monthly average, then adjust based on what I expect our expenses will be over the next 30 days.Then I decide what specific bills I’ll need. For example, I need seven hundreds for groceries, two twenties and a ten for my miscellaneous spending money, and so on.I total each one up into a list, and bring that with me to make it easier for the bank teller.The Pros:Control: There’s no way to accidentally go over budget in a cash category. When the money’s gone from the “restaurant” envelope, there’s no more eating out!I also enjoy being the Keeper of the Money. We don’t carry all this cash around with us all the time. We keep the envelopes in a special spot.When Stewart needs some cash for things like potting soil or a treat for the kids, he comes to me and asks, even though he knows where it is and can take the money out and note it on the envelope.He also gets $50 of spending money that he can use however he wants to, no questions asked.Ease: The envelopes are intended to release me from meticulous accounting.I don’t have to make sure every purchase goes into the right category in Quicken, because I already know that $50 was for “spending money.”Physical reminders: As I’m putting all the right bills into their envelopes, I feel happy.The money is a visible, touchable reminder of our efforts and our progress toward taking control of our spending.At the end of the month, we can see any leftover money – it’s another visual affirmation.We can deposit that cash in our savings account, use it as an end-of-month treat, pay it forward to have more money in that envelope next month, or redistribute it to another category where we felt a lack.The Cons:Reduced spontaneity: All that cash doesn’t do you any good if you forget to take it with you when you need to make a purchase.Since I’m not comfortable carrying $1,200 around with me, I have to plan my day in advance, knowing whether or not I’ll need cash from the “household” envelope to buy cleaning supplies at a discount store, or “parking” fees, or “postage” money for stamps.Multiply this scenario times two people and you have quite a clumsy accounting system.At first Stewart blithely used his debit card several times instead of cash, which made me, the spreadsheet nerd, lose my mind over the math it created.Every time one of us makes an unplanned cash category purchase with our debit cards, I have to remember to account for it in the budget and in the check register in Quicken.I try to find a creative way to get that amount back into the bank account.For example, I asked Stewart to pick up some groceries on his way home.He didn’t have any grocery money with him (or any cash at all, which is ridiculous considering we are now the all-cash family) so he used the debit card to buy $30 worth of groceries.The next time I got gas for my car, I handed over $30 from the “groceries” envelope.Yes. It’s mentally exhausting. So all this time and worry I’m supposed to be saving by switching to cash is not quite working out.Potential for Loss: Money, money everywhere. Stewart leaves his spending money in a pile on the bedside table.I take grocery money with me to the store, and forget to put the change back in the envelope. The kids get their allowance and put it away sometimes but leave it out sometimes too.Money for different categories proliferates in my purse. There is money everywhere I look.While that might sound like a good problem to have, it drives me crazy, because it’s the opposite of the organization I crave.If you’re following along, you might observe that I am making a lot of extra work for myself, and that may be true.After all, if I use my debit card for all purchases, Mint.com will happily sort each transaction into the category that I select for it.But despite the cons listed above, I have indeed found that setting aside a finite amount of cash for most purchases truly makes me more mindful of how much I am spending and more likely to stay within budget.TipsI keep reminding myself that we’re in an adjustment period. We’ve been doing this less than three months. Learning from our mistakes is an important part of the process!I’ve gotten great tips from others to help make our conversion to cash work.My friend Suzanne uses a coupon and receipt organizer to carry her cash in her purse nicely filed into categories. That could work for me if I just take some of the money with me.And Mint reader Micah suggested a “cash emergency fund,” something to cover any category that you can “pay back.”I’m considering arming Stewart with a fund like this so I can call on him to run errands on his way home from work if I’m in a time crunch.If you use mostly cash, what works for you?Kim Tracy Prince is a Los Angeles-based writer who has a husband, two little boys, and a slightly unhealthy obsession with spreadsheets.  She publishes kimtracyprince.com.last_img read more

5 Health Foods You Should Make at Home

first_imgYour healthy journey doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, AND it can be simple to make at home. By making all of these food trends at home, you will add to your health and protect your bank account. What could be better?Enjoy all the healthy goodies this year has to offer! Xo.Follow along!Over the next few months I’ll be covering a variety of ways to be healthy on a budget. Keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedHow to Budget for Food and Cut Down on Waste When SingleFebruary 7, 2018In “Budgeting”How to Get Your Food Budget for Two on PointFebruary 21, 2018In “Budgeting”Cooking International Meals on a BudgetJune 7, 2018In “Budgeting” Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.Health trends grow in popularity during January, as people recommit themselves to their health journey. If you are jumping on the bandwagon, but don’t want to break the bank then there are certain health food trends you should always make at home. While the ease of buying food at restaurants and cafes can be appealing, you will definitely overpay for these trends.I find that it is much easier and more cost effective to make health food at home than you may think. I’m here to give you the low-down on which foods aren’t worth your money, and how to make these trends at home. Your journey to a healthier life can be easy and cheap – never fear!5 Health Food Trends to Make at Home1. SmoothiesKeep bags of frozen fruit or vegetables in your freezer to make delicious smoothies in a pinch. Freeze over ripe bananas. Use smoothies as a way to incorporate produce that you need to use up. This will not only help you reduce food waste, but it will also help you save money. Plus, it’s much less costly to “upgrade” your smoothie at home by adding nut butter, protein powder, collagen powder, etc. You can buy your extras in bulk and spend much less money in the long run than paying $5-$10 on a premium smoothie somewhere else.Try these smoothie recipes: Pineapple Mint Green Smoothie, Calming Blueberry Smoothie, Healthy Cookies and Cream Smoothie, Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie2. Avocado ToastIt’s no secret that people love avocado toast. It makes a great meal or snack, because it’s loaded with delicious healthy fats. However, the prices you pay to eat bread and avocado in a restaurant are exorbitant. Keep your favorite bread and some avocado on hand at home, and top it with eggs, radishes, sprouts, seeds, hummus, hot sauce, etc. No matter what you do, it will cost less than the $7-$20 you would spend at a restaurant.Try this Fall Avocado Toast with Kale Pesto and Ricotta.3. Acai BowlsAcai is a berry from Brazil that has gotten a lot of attention for its health benefits. It has been deemed a superfood and people charge lots of money to blend it into a smoothie bowl. However, you can buy four frozen acai packets at your local Whole Foods for $7, which is just as much as you’d spend on an acai bowl. So instead, grab some frozen packets and add them to your smoothies for a flavor and nutrition boost!Try this Blackberry Acai Frozen Yogurt.4. Chia PuddingChia seeds combined with milk and set in the fridge create an amazing, creamy pudding that you can eat for breakfast or dessert. Add in your favorite flavorings and sweeteners to make a healthy treat you can’t resist. You only need about ¼ cup chia seeds to every 1 cup of liquid, so the cost is very low when you make this at home. Plus, you can customize it to your liking!Try this Health-ified Banana Pudding, Chocolate Chia Mousse, Green Tea Chia Pudding, or Lemon and Berry Chia Seed Pudding.5. JuiceJuice cleanses are incredibly popular this time of year, and if you don’t have a juicer at home it can feel like the only option is to buy it. That is so very wrong! You can make juice at home with just a blender and a nut milk bag. Use any and all produce you need to use up in your refrigerator, blend it on high and then strain it through a nut milk bag. Voila – juice! Plus this way, you are saving money and cutting down on your food waste.Try this Pumpkin Spice Juice Cooler or this Pear Mint Morning Tonic. Post navigationlast_img read more

9 top tips to combat allergies in the spring

first_imgWith spring just around the corner, many allergy sufferers will be braced for a season of discomfort and suffering, as pollen count increases.Around 35% of the population will be affected by one form of allergy at some stage in their lives, and this figure is even higher in children, with 50% suffering from an allergy.Hay fever is one of the most common allergies, affecting around 25% of the population, with most allergic to grass pollen. This means that spring and summer can be difficult for those with this allergy during pollen season.Other common allergies come from dust mites, mould spores and pet dander, which can trigger different reactions, from respiratory reactions like asthma to eczema skin reactions. The intensity of the response varies from person to person.Chris Michael, director of Meaco, the air purifier specialist, gives his top tips on relieving the symptoms caused from a variety of allergies to make your spring much happier…1. Check the pollen count every day so you can plan your life around this.2. When the count is high, do not dry laundry outside as pollen can stick to your clothes.3. If you have outdoor activities in mind, then do them after a rain shower. This is when pollen count will be at its lowest.4. As soon as you get home, change your clothes so you do nottransfer pollen from outside all over the house.5. Rather than wait for spring to carry out your spring clean, do it just before so you don’t have to deal with hay fever and dust at the same time.6. Clean mould in the bathroom regularly to avoid the spread of mould spores.7. Good ventilation is key in removing allergens so make sure the bathroom and kitchen are well aired to help remove excess moisture.8. When levels of damp are lower, there are less mould spores and dust mites. You can buy a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels in your home.9. It’s important to get a good night’s sleep and have a bedroom as free from allergens as possible. Air purifiers can provide relief from these allergens.Sourcelast_img read more

Psychologists Reveal 9 Important Skills to Save a Relationship

first_imgGuy Winch, a family psychologist who has been helping couples for more than 20 years, thinks that happiness and satisfaction in a relationship depend on three key factors. More than that, these factors are not instinctual and require learning and preparation. The skills must be developed which takes a lot of practice. Winch’s colleagues also talk about other habits which help couples stay satisfied with their relationships for many years.We decided to tell you about these skills and habits. And at the end of the article, there is a bonus about emotional hygiene. According to psychologists, it just as important as brushing your teeth every day.1. CompassionCompassion is the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes and give them some feedback: support them or comfort them, be sad or happy together.After you’ve lived a few years with someone, you might think that you know each other very well. However, this can be an obstacle in your way of developing empathy for each other in the relationship.In order to avoid this mistake, practice your compassion. Try putting yourself in someone else’s place. Close your eyes, and, taking the person’s character and the circumstances they are in into account, try to imagine how they must be feeling. Forget about your opinion of the problem, try to understand the other person’s emotions. This will allow you show empathy which is so important for a happy and healthy relationship.2. Emotional understandingThe previous point kind of leads to this one. We mean that it’s important to not just be able to put yourself in someone else’s place when they are in trouble, but also during very heated arguments between the two of you.Of course, during an argument, very few people ever say: “You have the right to feel this way, and I understand that.” It seems that saying that may only make things worse, but it won’t. These words can have a miraculous effect. Your partner will realize that you understand their feelings and even though you are upset, you accept the way they are feeling. This realization leads to feeling relieved and forgetting about the negative emotions.3. Attention and politenessWe all have an inclination to underestimate the importance of small acts of politeness and attention. A vicious circle often appears in relationships: one partner demonstrates they are upset, the other one does the same, and it all leads to a serious conflict. In this case, attention, like a bouquet of flowers, a favorite chocolate bar, a tasty dinner, or a hug, can help take the edge off and break the circle.Of course, attention and politeness can’t fix this type of situation if you made someone suffer. But if the situation is not that bad yet, don’t discount this tactic.4. PartnershipSome couples get so used to each other that they start treating each other like roommates. And every person starts living their own lives. In this situation, some people often ignore their partners’ opinions when they make a decision.And this is the worst thing you can do. This approach will most likely lead to frequent arguments and breaking up. To avoid this, you should make important decisions taking your partner’s opinion into account. Because these decisions will likely influence your and your partner’s life.5. SpeculationDon’t try to read between the lines when your partner tells you something neutral or even nice. This way you are escalating a non-existent conflict. Or a conflict that only exists in your head.Don’t speculate in any situation, just ask your partner directly about what they really meant.6. GratitudeTell your partner how grateful you are every chance you get. You may not believe this, but these words are magical. Your partner will fell that he or she is useful, needed, and realize that you really think this way. And you will probably hear the words “thank you” more, not just for something big, but even for the normal things.7. Not taking each other for grantedAll relationships need boundaries, limits, and responsibilities. And you shouldn’t take everything in a relationship for granted.To make sure that both partners are satisfied with a relationship, they need to work on it, learn to talk, learn to solve problems, and make compromises. Don’t take your partner’s words or actions for granted. Then, your partner will do the same for you.8. HappinessMany people think that the person they love is accountable for their sense of contentment. This is only partly true. The foundation of your happiness is not someone else, it’s you. If you were unhappy with your life before the relationship, then the relationship can improve the situation only temporarily. And after that, your past emotions will return.Don’t think that your partner is responsible for this. You are the architect of your happiness. Just remember that.9. GossipingNever say anything bad behind your partner’s back. It’s not even that he or she will most likely find out and be upset. The problem is that sooner or later you will probably solve the problem, but your mother or your friends who you complained to will remember the bad words you said. And let’s be honest, you told them to get support, and it didn’t matter at the moment if it was right or wrong.Be wiser. Discuss the problems in your relationship with your partner, don’t talk about the flaws that both of you have during a heated argument, but only when you are calm. In this case, the chances that you will be happy together for a long time are much higher.Bonus: emotional hygieneVery few people pay as much attention to their psychological health as they do their physical health, even though we get more psychological injuries that physical ones. And Guy Winch is convinced that the worst enemy of your psychological health is rumination.Rumination is thinking about the same things over and over again. Like when you fail something or get rejected in a relationship, you keep thinking about it for a long time.Winch thinks that every time you start thinking about negative things that happened, you should deliberately find something positive to think about. After a few minutes pass, you will be thinking about good things and this will become a habit over time.Sourcelast_img read more

Left in the Dark on Pollution, Mongolia’s Poorest Communities Must Use Contaminated Water

first_imgLike Tsend’s village, poor communities across Mongolia—those that still depend on local water sources—have suffered most from the water pollution that has accompanied the country’s gold rush. Lead, arsenic and other toxic chemicals released during gold extraction processes have leached into Mongolia’s groundwater and flowed untreated into rivers. Exposure to these pollutants can cause severe, long-term health effects, from skin and bladder cancers to irreversible immune system and neurological disorders.Contaminated water also threatens Mongolian herders’ livelihoods. For many families, livestock are their primary, and often only, source of income. When their animals get sick or die from drinking bad water, herders are left with nothing. They have few financial safety nets and limited economic opportunities.As the scramble for gold in Tsend’s village heats up again, water pollution is also on the rise across Mongolia and throughout Asia. Each year, industrial facilities dump 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, toxic sludge and other pollutants into the world’s waters, and in Asia, 80-90 percent of wastewater flows untreated back into ground and surface water sources. Yet secrecy around the amount and type of chemicals that companies discharge is still the norm, especially in Asia. Worldwide, 80 percent of countries do not provide comprehensive information on the amount of pollution that companies release into the environment.Gold mining has contaminated Zaamar’s water. Photo by Zolbayar Bayasgalan This article is the second in a series on WRI’s latest report, Thirsting for Justice: Transparency and Poor People’s Struggle for Clean Water in Indonesia, Mongolia, and Thailand. This post focuses on Mongolia, where toxic chemicals from gold mining threaten residents and their herds.Baasan Tsend, a nomadic herder living in the Mongolian gold mining region of Zaamar, suspects that the water he uses for drinking, bathing and raising his livestock is toxic. Over the past two decades, he’s watched dozens of multi-million-dollar corporations and powerful Mongolian companies pillage his ancestral homeland in search of gold. He’s seen these mines contaminate the groundwater and rivers that have sustained his family’s way of life for generations and consoled neighbors whose animals died after drinking the polluted water.“We cannot live here,” Tsend says, holding his grandson’s hand. “It is now impossible for any human or animal to drink from that water.” But in Mongolia, Indonesia and Thailand, the data that governments disclose concern ecosystem impacts or threats to overall water quality―not the local, facility-specific and health information that communities need. Mongolia, for instance, does not disclose individual facilities’ pollution discharges, issue permits regulating these discharges or provide companies’ compliance records. Our research partners were also unable to locate any information about health risks associated with using contaminated water, or water quality data for local sources.In Indonesia, community members face comparable challenges accessing facility-specific information. Although their government publicly rates companies’ compliance with Indonesian environmental regulations, including water pollution controls, officials do not disclose the criteria they use to evaluate compliance. Nor do they release any information on the amount or type of pollutants that facilities dump into local waterways.Inaccessible Water Pollution InformationThe information that Indonesian, Mongolian and Thai governments do release is inaccessible to local community members, many of whom live below the poverty line and reside far from government offices. Villagers in Tsend’s hometown of Tumstii, for example, have few computers and limited internet access, making it nearly impossible for them to navigate national websites or access online databases.Similarly, when community members in Thailand’s Rayong province submitted information requests to get water data that they couldn’t find online, officials told them that they had to search for the documents in Bangkok—a demand that shifted the burden onto poor villagers to cover travel costs and forfeit a day’s earnings.Technical, Hard-to-Understand DataEven when people can successfully access water pollution information, the data that governments provide is so technical that community members cannot understand it. Indonesian fishermen in Serang, a village on the Ciujung River, had to rely on civil society organizations to translate the raw data provided into pictures that they could understand. Mongolian herders also needed local nonprofits to explain the technical responses they obtained through information requests. Community members we interviewed in Thailand received official documents in English, a language they couldn’t speak.Suffering the ConsequencesWithout access to pollution information, Tsend can’t protect his grandson from drinking contaminated water. He can’t determine whether it’s safer to give his herd groundwater from a well or let them drink from the river. He can’t meaningfully participate in local decision-making, pressure his government to protect his community from exploitation, or hold companies responsible for environmental violations.Improving transparency of water pollution data will give Tsend’s village and poor communities throughout Asia access to the information their governments are legally obligated to provide and a voice in the water justice movement. It is an essential first step in claiming their right to clean water.center_img A new WRI report, Thirsting for Justice: Transparency and Poor People’s Struggle for Clean Water in Indonesia, Mongolia, and Thailand, examines vulnerable communities’ access to water pollution information in these three countries. It finds that, like many Asian nations, Mongolia, Indonesia and Thailand have all established comprehensive laws that mandate proactive disclosure of water pollution information to the public. Mongolia’s laws, for instance, recognize citizens’ right to obtain environmental data from the government, and establish concrete steps officials must take to release this information to local communities. Yet WRI’s report shows that, despite passing these strong “right to know” laws, Mongolia, Indonesia and Thailand are putting many of their poorest communities at risk by not effectively telling them if their water is safe to use.Resolving this environmental injustice will require these governments, and others across Asia, to address three barriers that obstruct local communities’ access to information:Gaps in Local Water Quality InformationAcross the world, people need to know if their water sources are too contaminated to drink, cook with, fish or give to their livestock. They need to understand what pollutants companies are releasing into their water sources, how these chemicals will impact their health, which companies are contaminating their waterways and what steps governments have taken to prevent further degradation. Access to this information not only allows families to make more informed choices about their water use, but also enables them to monitor industrial facilities’ compliance with environmental regulations and hold law-breaking polluters to account.Cattle also rely on local water. Photo by Zolbayar Bayasgalanlast_img read more

At COP24 in Poland, Negotiators Must Lay Down Ground Rules for the Paris Agreement

first_imgClimate leaders will gather once again next week to make progress in the global fight against climate change. This year’s meeting, the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place in Katowice, Poland marks the most important moment since countries celebrated adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Countries will need to come to agreement on the implementing guidelines (or colloquially, the “Paris Rulebook”) necessary to operationalize the landmark 2015 agreement, signal their intention to strengthen their national climate plans by 2020, and make progress on questions around finance. (Learn more here.)Though outcomes on all three of these elements are important at COP24, the rulebook negotiations will receive significant attention. Countries will be trying to meet the deadline they established in 2016 to finalize the rulebook this year.What You Need to Know About the Paris Agreement RulebookThe goal of the rulebook is to turn the Paris Agreement into action. It will transform the Agreement’s text into a functioning and dynamic system that moves climate action forward.The rulebook will provide guidance to countries on how to produce their national climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); how they communicate their emissions-reduction targets; how they can cooperatively implement their targets; how they adapt to the changing climate; how they track climate finance; and how to review both individual and collective progress toward the Paris Agreement’s goals.To understand broadly what the rulebook is about—what it is, what it does and why making progress on it this year is so essential—we’ve just published a new brief, Explaining the Paris Rulebook: What You Need to Know for COP24 (see also versions in français and español).Key Elements of the RulebookNegotiating and adopting the Paris rulebook is a highly technical and political exercise. We discuss many of these technical and political elements in the paper, Setting the Paris Agreement in Motion: Key Requirements for the Implementing Guidelines. Here are a couple of the key elements that would make up an ambitious rulebook:Common timeframes: In preparation for the Paris Agreement, countries submitted intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), which outlined their individual contributions to fight climate change. However, these plans did not have the same implementing periods, with some ending in 2025 and others in 2030. The rulebook should specify that countries’ climate plans cover the same time frames. To ensure NDCs reflect the dynamism of the Paris Agreement and the highest possible ambition, countries should submit in 2025 plans with targets for 2035, with a five-year implementing period (2031-2035).Reporting and accounting methodologies: In order to understand countries’ efforts and build confidence in the Paris Agreement, the rulebook should establish guidance for tracking efforts to a) adapt to climate change; b) mobilize finance; and c) assess progress on the implementation and achievement of emissions-reduction targets. In order to achieve the most effective rulebook, we expect countries to establish common guidelines, while providing flexibility for developing countries that need it in light of their capacities. For example, countries should all agree to use the latest IPCC methodologies for completing greenhouse gas inventories, since it already provides flexibility for those that need it, instead of using different versions of those methodologies.Transitioning to the new transparency framework: There are already a number of transparency requirements in place under the UNFCCC, and countries are negotiating new requirements under the Paris Agreement. One of the biggest questions for the discussions in Katowice is when these new requirements will come into effect. To signal commitment to the Paris Agreement and to allow the new transparency system to feed into the first global stocktake, the Paris Agreement process for assessing collective efforts to address climate change, countries could begin reporting under the Paris requirements in 2022. Developing countries may need flexibility in adhering to the new system, but strengthening their capacity with more human, institutional, technological, and financial resources can help ease the transition.Effective peer review processes. The review processes established in the Paris Agreement are crucial, not only to hold countries accountable for their climate pledges, but also to share experiences, identify challenges and barriers, and explore further opportunities to incentivize action and collectively achieve the Paris Agreement‘s goals. Technical advice could emerge from the expert review of countries’ individual efforts by highlighting areas for improvement without impinging on national discretion. How much this year’s Talanoa Dialogue—the first collective stocktaking exercise under the Paris Agreement—will set a precedent for the global stocktake remains to be seen. Negotiators will debate how they should consider issues such as loss and damage (limits beyond adaptation) and response measure (minimizing unintended or adverse effects of actions to reduce emissions).For the Paris Agreement to come to life effectively, the rulebook must provide the framework to support countries as they plan, implement, review and upgrade their low-carbon transition. The rulebook must establish a delicate balance between providing clear and ambitious international directions, while acknowledging the country-driven nature of the commitments made, together with the need for flexibility for developing countries who need it. Ensuring that the scope of the guidelines and processes adopted are comprehensive enough and that the ultimate package is coherent will also be challenging until the final hour. But robust, clear and empowering rules are within reach. Let’s make it happen.last_img read more

HubSpot TV – Inbound Marketing Explosion with C.C. Chapman

first_img Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results.  Special Guest Vatican 2.0 inbound marketing kit http://itunes.hubspot.tv 23000% increase in DVD sales since YouTube Channel launch!!! Blog vs. Podcasting what’s more fun? Whats more effective? USPS delivering mail 5 days per week http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4546/Survey-Shows-Inbound-Marketing-Sales-Leads-Are-Cheaper-Than-Outbound.aspx Today Gov. Deval Patrick visited HubSpot because we tweeted so much! http://www.hubspot.com/blog/bid/4549/HubSpot-Twitterers-Land-a-Visit-From-the-Governor State of Inbound Marketing C.C. Chapman http://hubspot1k.eventbrite.com/ Marketing Takeaway – Fewer people are sending snail-mail which calls into question the long term viability of direct mail and the postal system.   Tell us how social media is like fishing. How long have you been blogging? podcasting? How did you get started? Cut your lead costs by 3x by using inbound marketing. Originally published Jan 31, 2009 2:15:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Inbound Marketing Kit How do you find the time to create so much content? Bacon Explosion Inbound marketing means lower cost per lead – almost 3 times lower Myspace finished dead last – least useful for business Marketing Tip of the Week: http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090129/FREE/901299995/1078 http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2009/01/pope_warns_agai.html http://blog.clickz.com/090123-120332.htmlcenter_img http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/dining/28bacon.html About the same spending on inbound and outbound marketing http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/01/23/free-monty-python-videos-on-youtube-lead-to-23000-dvd-sale-increase/ The Advanced Guard Download our  Marketing Takeaway: Giving away free content does not decrease sales! (Show Length: 29 minutes 7 seconds)  Marketing Takeaway: Yes another reason why you should be doing more inbound marketing and less outbound marketing. Small businesses are the most aggressive inbound marketers – allocating bigger % of budget to blogging, seo and social media The Advanced Guard Episode #25- Marketing Takeaway: If the pope can be on YouTube, your old established company with lots of history and tradition can too. of Marketing Takeaway: Create delicious salty smokey content.  .  Inbound Marketing Closing HubSpot 1K Customers Party! Febuary 19th! http://blog.clickz.com/090123-120332.html Intro How to interact on Twitter – @karenrubin @mvolpe @cc_chapman Within social media, blogging is viewed as the most effective technique January 30th, 2009 Topics: Remember to subscribe in iTunes – 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 7 Step Guide to Email Deliverability

first_img Greet the newcomers when they sign up for your newsletter or other types of email communication. In the welcome email, set some expectations explaining why that person is receiving your messages, how often they are going to be sent out and from whom exactly. These details will help you build a relationship that goes a long way. When you sign up for GroupOn, for instance, you expect to be receiving daily emails and look forward to them. Follow GroupOn’s example and make your subscribers look forward to your emails. and How often do you open your mailbox, grab the pile of unsolicited mail and throw it in the trash? Probably a million times. How often do you pause to think you might have unintentionally thrown out non-spam? Probably a lot fewer times. Get ready for the same type of experience online. 7. Track Your Complaint Feedback Loop The last place you want to see your emails is in the spam folder. Yet with the further sophistication and higher demands of Internet Service Providers, the probability of this happening is high. That is why deliverability becomes a critical element of a successful email marketing campaign. To help you tackle this issue, we put together some best practices for increasing email deliverability:   You are probably tracking hard bounces and soft bounces. But do you know how many people clicked on the “This Is Spam” button? First, Make sure your subject line and body of email don’t include any keywords that can trigger spam alerts. Some Email Service Providers (ESPs) help you identify these phrases with features such as register for our Science of Email Marketing webina Branding is vital to how emails are being read and how recipients understand them. It helps people make the connection and say, “This is the real thing, not just a third-party email.” Include your logo in your email communication and make it clear this really is your company. Also consider including your company name in the subject line of your emails. To learn more about email marketing, don’t forget to Mail clients have started tying the engagement levels of your email subscribers to your reputation as a sender. In response to this, you will need to keep your recipients highly engaged in order to appear reputable in the eyes of Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc. Do your recipients click on emails or do they delete them? Do they mark them as spam? What action do they take? Make sure your subscribers don’t get what they don’t want. Are you keeping track of the percentage of hard bounces you get? You need to be. If that number is rising, bring it up with your ESP. Since hard bounced can really hurt your reputation, you will have to clean your list regularly. Make sure you suppress against them if that is not already something your ESP is doing on the back end. . But the most universal piece of advice you can adopt to avoid spam-triggering words is to keep your emails out of the box. Be bold and think outside the frame of what other companies are using. 2. Suppress Against Hard Bounces   6. Use a Preference Center If a recipient wants to update her email address, does she have an easy way to do that? Provide her with a preference center, in which she can make that selection and tell you what the best email is to be contacted at. Give people the option to mark how frequently they want to receive emails from you and share their favorite topics. Such a feature will show you care for your subscribers and respect their preferences. 1. Check Your Copy for Spam-Triggering Words  center_img 5. Don’t Forget Branding , Originally published Jan 31, 2011 4:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 4. Set Expectations in the Welcome Email Content Detective 3. Increase Engagement Levels r. ContentChecker look into that SpamAssassin These best practices will help you monitor your deliverability and improve it overtime. Don’t be the piece of mail that got stuck in the spam pile and unintentionally got thrown out. Stand out. Topics: and understand how many of these complaints you are getting. If the number is significant, you will have to take action. Remove the subscribers who have complained and stop torturing these poor souls. Also consider putting the unsubscribe button at the top of the email instead of at the bottom. (Unsubscribing is better for your reputation than having your email reported as spam.) Email Deliverability 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

Fascinating Event Marketing Stats [New Ebook]

first_img Event Marketing Originally published Sep 8, 2011 3:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 Today, we released a new ebook created in collaboration with our friends from Constant Contact. The ebook, which includes some amazing statistics on how companies market their events, is based on 2010 survey data from 931 respondents. Respondents included B2B and B2C companies as well as nonprofit organizations.It’s no coincidence that we’ve described the stats as fascinating.Here are some examples of stats presented in the ebook:Companies usually spend less than 20% of their budget on event marketing. (Tweet This)Only 11% of companies use blogging for event marketing. (Tweet This)On average, companies use 5 different methods of event promotion. (Tweet This)Email is the most widely used event promotional channel. (Tweet This)40% of companies use social media for event marketing. (Tweet This)47% of companies still mail invites for event marketing. (Tweet This)Nearly a third of companies still send press releases for event marketing. (Tweet This)No doubt, such data might prompt you to rethink your event marketing plan. Do you have a big enough mix of promotional platforms bringing people to your events? Are you investing in channels that you can track better (e.g. blogging instead of direct mail)? Have you started using social media for event promotion yet?There is plenty of food for thought here. To get all stats, grab your free copy of the ebook today!Which stat fascinated you the most? Topics: 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

7 Ways to Optimize Content for Social Sharing

first_img Social Media Engagement Originally published Sep 14, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social media can be a very valuable tool for promoting content. While it’s a good idea to make sure you’re spreading it to your direct network of fans and followers on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, the true value that social media provides is its ability to spread content beyond your direct network of social media connections. By making it easy for others to share your content to their personal networks as well, you’ll be significantly extending the reach of your content.So what can you do to help move this process along? While you can’t directly influence whether someone decides to share your content, there are several things you can do to indirectly encourage and make it simple for them. Here are some great tips…How to Make Your Content More Social Media Share-Friendly1. Magnetize your article titles. By “magnetize,” we mean it’s important to make the article titles and headlines of the content you share in social media really stand out and pull people into your content. Boring titles be gone! Be sure the headlines you use are eye-catching, interesting, and clearly indicate what the content will be about.2. Keep your article titles brief. Certain social media sites — like Twitter — limit the number of characters that can be used in a post or update. When people share an article, they often like to include some of their own commentary with it. Keep in mind that the post will also need to leave room for a shortened URL to the content itself. Don’t take up that precious social media real estate with a long title. Keep it brief so your sharers can add some of their own insight, too.3. Add enticing meta descriptions. When you share a post on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, they automatically pull in a description of the post. Most sites generate this description from the URL’s meta description. While meta descriptions no longer mean very much for search engine optimization, they are very helpful for social media optimization. Be sure each blog post, web page, and landing page you create includes an enticing meta description to motivate social media users to check out your content.4. Add an attention-grabbing image. Similarly, when posting content to social media sites, most sites will also pull in an image to show. Make sure your social media shares are more visually pleasing by making it a habit to add photos and images to all your content.5. Include hashtags or Twitter usernames in titles (when appropriate). Sometimes you want to give your content some extra visibility. Maybe it’s an important news announcement or your talking about a particular person or event. When appropriate, consider including the event’s hashtag or the person’s @username directly within the title. Then when people share your content, it will automatically show up in the hashtag’s stream or the @username’s mentions, which will give it added visibility and encourage even more sharing.6. Add social sharing buttons. According to a recent study from BrightEdge Technologies, websites that include social sharing buttons generate 7x more mentions than those that don’t. Adding social sharing buttons for sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ is a great way to encourage your site visitors to share your content in social media, so add these buttons to every landing page, web page, blog article, and other piece of content you create. Don’t miss out on this juicy piece of low-hanging fruit.7. Make sure your content is high in quality. At the very least, the content you’re hoping will spread in social media needs to be good. You can try every one of the tricks we just mentioned, but if your content is no good at its very core, none of it is going to matter. Focus most of your energy on creating high quality content, and usually, the shares will follow.What other tips would you suggest to make your content social media share-friendly?Image Credit: carlos_mayalast_img read more

11 Editorial Guidelines Every Business Blog Needs

first_img Topics: Many business bloggers have learned that their blog is one of their most crucial inbound marketing assets. Not only do companies that blog generate 55% more web traffic, but 57% of businesses have also won a customer through their blog. So if you’ve decided to give your blog content a little more love or you’d like to increase the frequency at which you post content to your blog, adopt the mindset of an editor-in-chief to ensure that you can scale without losing focus on quality.Plan your content for every persona and stage of the buying cycle. [Free Content Mapping Template]Even sans an editorial background, you can be your blog’s editor-in-chief by simply drafting some editorial guidelines to share with all writers and contributors. While some companies use editorial guidelines to cover stylistic and grammatical expectations, we believe in transparency, and thus extend them to also include strategic objectives for the blog. If you can adapt these editorial guidelines to your business blog, you’ll see less editing and proofreading time, better quality content from internal writers and external contributors, and as a result, a better reputation, a growing readership, and more leads coming from your totally rockin’ business blog.11 Editorial Guidelines to Enforce for Your Business Blog1. Explain the blog’s objective. Writers and contributors should know how your blog fits into your business’ overarching inbound marketing strategy. Is it a lead generation mechanism? Do you use it to drive traffic to other parts of your website? Does your blog help you gain more social media followers? It may seem obvious to you, but to those less familiar with your blog, it provides some much needed context.2. Explain the content’s objective. What you’re trying to achieve with the content on your blog is different than what you’re trying to achieve with your blog as a whole. Explain to bloggers what your content should provide to readers. For example, HubSpot wants every blog post to give actionable advice. That means each piece of content should have at least one takeaway that readers can apply to their business’ marketing strategy. List these content objectives out so bloggers know whether their blog post hits the mark.3. Describe your audience. Have you crafted specific marketing personas that describe your business’ ideal customer(s)? Explain who your target customers are so writers can create content tailored to the needs and interests of your blog’s target audience.4. Require topic approval. Ask new bloggers to run topic ideas by you before they begin writing. The best content begins with an awesome topic; if a topic is weak, no amount of editing can save it. When writers send you topics before they begin writing, you can tell them if their topic rocks, or if it needs some more work. Writers will appreciate this feedback up front, as it saves them time they would have spent drafting a blog post that ultimately would have been rejected.5. Provide examples of high-performing blog posts for reference. Provide your guest bloggers with a few examples of blog content that performed well and point out the strengths of that content so they have something to emulate while writing. You can also include examples of bad content and highlight that content’s weaknesses to further clarify the difference between remarkable content and snooze-worthy content.6. Explain your linking policy. Do you link to outside blogs and websites? If so, are there any competing publishers or companies that are off limits? Do you expect internal linking? If so, how do writers determine to which posts or landing pages they should link? Or, will you handle the internal linking for them after they draft the blog post? Can guest bloggers link to their own company’s website? How many of these links do you allow per post? Set all of these expectations up front.7. Share your photo expectations. Should writers include images in posts? Unless you plan on doing image research yourself, tell your writers where to get images and how to cite them, if necessary. If you have a subscription to a stock photo site, share that with writers if that’s where you prefer to pull images.8. Give style and formatting tips. Offer tips such as “write in short sentences,” “break up large blocks of text with bold headings,” and “bullet your major points.” Blog writing isn’t like writing a business plan or even a feature article for a newspaper, so depending on the industry your writers come from, blog writing may be a brand new beast. If you can teach new bloggers how to style their content, it will save you formatting time during the revision process.9. Help with headlines. Great headlines draw more traffic and generate more social media shares and click-throughs. Include examples of awesome headlines, and be willing to work with writers on titles since it’s not everyone’s forte.10. Explain your content review process. Quality content takes time to edit and prepare, so explain the length of your review cycle up front to writers and contributors. This explanation should include when you expect their content to be delivered, how long your review and editing process takes, how many revision cycles you go through, and the final publishing date.11. Be clear about your re-posting policy. Decide up front whether or not guest contributors and freelancers can re-publish their content on their own blogs. Be clear about when they can do it, and how they should link back to your blog if they re-post.To some people, such guidelines might seem a little strict, but think of it this way: if that’s how it seems, they’re not right for your blog. You may also find enforcing the guidelines is difficult, but it’s crucial not to waver on the standards you’ve set. Being steadfast with your editorial guidelines will not only improve blog performance, it will also save everyone time because you’ve provided clear directions on how to write killer content for your business blog.Have you written editorial guidelines for your blog? What guidelines have you included that help set expectations for writers and contributors?Image credit: rahego Originally published Dec 13, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated August 26 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 Content Marketinglast_img read more

How to Stop Buying Lists & Start Building an Opt-In Email Database

first_img Topics: It’s difficult, I know. If you’ve been buying lists since … well, the dawn of Marketing. It’s hard to imagine another way of doing things. Even as your lists get worse and worse (along with the results they drive), it just feels like that’s the way things are. You just have to buy more lists, and negotiate better prices to make up for the decreasing returns.But there actually is another way — a more sustainable, lovable way — to build an email list and generate leads for your sales team. Want to know what it is? I promise, it’s well within your reach.Wait, I need to stop buying lists?Yes. While it’s been the way marketers have been doing email marketing for a long time, the practice of emailing purchased lists is getting less effective and will likely be illegal before too long (it already is in Europe and Canada). You can read more about why buying lists is always a bad idea, but here’s the gist:Reputable email marketing service providers don’t let you email purchased lists. For all the reasons listed in the subsequent bullet points.There’s no such thing as a good list for sale. No one ever volunteers to put their email address on a list available for purchase. So what you’re getting is scraped, defunct, or bad email addresses.People on purchased lists don’t want to hear from you. The reason you had to purchase that list is because that person doesn’t know who you are and has not opted in to your emails organically. But what that means is they don’t want to hear from you.You will hurt your email deliverability and IP reputation. Purchased lists — because the quality is lower and the people don’t want to hear from you — have higher bounce, unsubscribe, and spam rates. Which hurts your email reputation and future deliverability.You want to be a lovable marketer. A key task of marketing is to communicate and engage with prospective customers, and spamming them is not a lovable way of engaging with your audience.All of this adds up to this: A house opt-in email list is more effective than emailing a purchased list.Okay, okay, so how do I make the switch?First off, you should know that building an opt-in list takes time and effort — but it will bring you significant long-term gains with higher response rates and continued growth at a lower cost. What I propose in these 4 steps is to completely cut off all list purchases immediately, and focus on your long-term list building strategy while supplementing it with more legitimate paid marketing efforts to give you some short-term results, as well.Step 1: Start blogging to attract website visitors.The first thing you need is content, and a blog is a great way to create lots of short bits of content that can get indexed by search engines. Each blog article is another page that can indexed by search engines so that when your prospects go to search for an answer to their question, you have more opportunities to show up. Blog content in particular should be educational and valuable to your target market so that they have a reason to come read it and share it with their network. Make sure your blog has social sharing built in so that you can encourage others to share your content and extend your reach beyond a single target visitor or email subscriber.It’s simpler than you think to create that first blog article. Just ask yourself, what is the most common question you hear from a prospective customer? That’s the title of your first blog article. The body of the article is simply the answer that you’re used to giving on a daily basis. Pretty simple, right? Now repeat for all the other common questions you get — after a while, you’ll get more and more used to creating educational blog content. It’s that initial hump that’s the hardest to get over. Here are a few more strategies for creating business blogging content if you’re concerned about ongoing blog content creation.Step 2: Create an offer to convert visitors into leads.Now that you’ve attracted visitors to your blog and your website, you need a way to convert them and let them opt into receiving your email communications. If you don’t have any offers on your website where someone can give you their information in exchange for a free resource, I’d suggest starting with two offers: one top-of-the-funnel, educational piece of content (like an ebook on the top 10 challenges facing your target customer), and one middle-of-the-funnel offer to let someone request to speak with your sales team and get a demo/quote/consultation. By having these two offers, you can capture potential leads that are at different stages in the buying process.Now that you have these two offers, promote them all over your blog and website. On any given page of your website, your visitor should know — what should I do next? If they’re reading a blog article and enjoy your content, the call-to-action at the end can offer them to download your ebook on top 10 challenges. If they’re on your product page and are interested in learning more, they should have that clear opportunity to sign up for a demo with a sales executive.Once you have your first two offers covered, it’s time to create more offers tied to different challenges or topics of interest to your potential customers. One great way to figure out what to use as the topic of your next offer is to look at the content that’s popular on your new blog, and create an offer around that (and then you can even repurpose some of your blog content!). Here are the complete steps to creating lovable marketing campaigns to help get you started.Step 3: Supplement with paid marketing in the short term.The above two steps will help you build a high quality, opt-in email list over time. But it won’t necessarily get you the volume of leads you need immediately. So in order to supplement your lead generation efforts in the short term, there are a few paid marketing efforts that can tide you over.Pay-Per-Click Advertising in Search Engines – Run ads that will show up beside search results in Google, Yahoo, etc. This is a great way to capture some percentage of the people who are going to search engines to find an answer to a question. You can therefore catch people at the time that they’re doing their research and target based on keywords to show more relevant ads. Make sure your ads lead to a targeted landing page that aligns with the content in your ad to capture as many of those new opt-in leads as possible. New to PPC? Here’s how to get started with your PPC campaign.Social Media Advertising – Similar to search PPC, you can do social PPC where you run ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to reach people when they head to social media during the day. After all, social networks reach 82% of the world’s internet users, and those internet users spent 6.7 billion hours on social networking. And that was just in October, 2012. (See more similarly crazy stats here.)Blog/Email Sponsorship – There are likely organizations, bloggers, or other companies that have a similar target market to yours and have already built up their own in-house list. Some of them will allow sponsorships of their emails or blog, and display or share your content in their emails or on their blog. This is a fantastic way to accelerate the growth of your own list because you’re building on an existing relationship and you can target a very specific audience and encourage them to opt in to your list by downloading your content.Step 4: Communicate the change.It’s one thing to write about this marketing shift; it’s another to do it. And it’s yet another to get the rest of your team and executives on board with it. If you anticipate this shift being confronted by resistance from the sales or management team, you may want to consider presenting a proposal that outlines an experiment where you will try this approach for 6 months and set target metrics to show if it’s working. Here are some of the things you can include in such a presentation:Current Program and results – Outline your current process of purchasing and emailing a list, including a typical campaign with number of emails purchased, response rate, number of leads generated, total cost, and cost per lead. This gives the team a baseline of what’s going on today, and sets their eye on a metric that matters — number of leads generated. If you can go further down the funnel to marketing qualified lead, opportunity, or customer, that’s even better.Why the Current Program Isn’t Effective – Share points like Email marketing to third party lists was ranked the least effective strategy by marketers, and perhaps even ask the team the last time they responded to such a cold email.Proposed Plan and Target Metrics – Set out the goal of number of leads generated and cost per lead, and outline the plan for how you’re going to generate those leads using a new approach. You can even detail how many blog articles you’ll publish per week and offers you’ll create per quarter.Such a presentation that’s focused on results, backed up by data, and supplemented with a clear plan can help get buy-in from the team and give you some run-way to switch to this approach. Want a head start on that presentation? Here’s a customizable starter PowerPoint presentation with the above points. Just fill in with your numbers, brand accordingly if you desire, and plan and present to your team!Are you fully transitioned off of purchased or rented email lists? How did you get internal buy-in to make that transition?Image credit: jenny downing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 14, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Email Lists and Segmentationlast_img read more

From Direct Mail to Digital: How Your School Can Avoid the Dreaded #CollegeMail

first_img Topics: Letters, brochures, and magazines from hundreds of schools overwhelm students as soon as they start their college search. But current high school students are more connected online than any other generation, ever.You don’t want thousands of dollars of “marketing” to go right into the trash or end up in the wrong hands. In fact, the deluge of mail has gotten so bad that many students have started posted using the hashtag #CollegeMail — on both Twitter and Instagram.Take a look:And another: And yes, another:Don’t let your hard work be mocked on social media and end up in the trash. You want to send right information to the best potential applicants at the right time to get the best return on your marketing investment. Here are four ways to attract the right applicants to your school and engage with them online.Offer information online that you would usually print. Not everyone is ready to apply today. They may be looking at different programs, and want to learn more about your school. Instead of sending out thousands of brochures and magazines, offer this content online — specifically through downloadable PDFs that are available in exchange for personal contact information. You can host this content on landing pages and promote it via your social channels and on your website homepage. You can even offer online informational sessions for those that cannot attend an in-person event.The goal here is to make it easy for the potential applicant to learn more online on his or her own time.(Pro Tip: Make sure to include specific questions on your landing pages so you can use the submitted information to segment your prospective applicants better. For example, asking about their program of interest can help you provide more tailored content to that individual that helps nurture them over time to apply.)Start blogging about specific areas of study.If you have an area of study or a specific program that you’re trying to fill with applicants — let’s say nursing, for example — it’s important you start creating content soon to help potential students with their research.You can start writing blog articles about your program, students that have been successful getting jobs post-graduation, and upcoming student events where interested candidates can network. You can also target students that are looking for a program in your city by writing location-specific content — such as posts around “nursing programs in Chicago.” To help give that content a boost, you can invest some paid social promotion behind it that’s geo-targeted to the location you’re going after.At the end of these program- and/or location-specific blog posts, make sure to include a call-to-action to download more information about the program, directing the reader to a program-specific landing page. This is how you can grow you potential list of applicants that you can then nurture with relevant content via email.Share your content on social media.Your future students are all using social media to stay connected. If you’re sharing your content on your Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram, you have a much bigger chance of getting those students to visit your website, download your content, and provide you with their contact information.Remember: Be sure to drive your social media traffic to landing pages that offer educational content they can download. That’s the best way to inform your applicants while giving you the opportunity to keep the conversation going.Build a LinkedIn University Page.LinkedIn University Pages are a great way to make use of LinkedIn’s millions of members, including high school students who are now able to create LinkedIn profiles. You can create LinkedIn groups to connect your current and graduated students with prospective ones that want to get a feel of what it’s like to be a student on your campus. Learn more about LinkedIn University pages in this blog post.Offering information online is the best way to save direct mail costs and convert the right potential students into applicants. As you’re going through this process, be sure all your content is mobile-friendly and can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet — as many Millennials are doing their research via mobile, too! Originally published Apr 11, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 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 Education Marketinglast_img read more

Form Length Isn’t Everything: 3 Other Ways to Optimize Your Forms for Conversions

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 Forms Originally published May 20, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 What’s the best length for landing page forms? Would a shorter form increase submissions while retaining quality, or are longer forms better?These exact questions have been at the center of a hotly contested debate that’s been raging on since 2009. In fact, the popular website WhichTestWon that catalogs A/B tests, has 40+ tests on forms alone. Because forms are a central component to your inbound strategy, it’s important to optimize them for conversions while retaining any of the indicators of quality that you and your sales team care about.But here’s the thing: It isn’t all about form length. You should be creating specific forms based on on the context of your web visitors (like whether they’re arriving on your landing pages on desktop or mobile), as well as that of your own goals. Only after considering that context can you test and refine form length to provide higher or lower quality leads.In this post, we’ll walk through how to consider the context of your forms, and how you can use dynamic forms to improve quality and lead flow.What to Consider Before You Change Your FormsBefore you begin to alter form length or change questions within forms, be sure to …a) Get a measure of lead quality.I would recommend doing this in two ways. First, look at your overall leads and how many are making it to the marketing qualified lead (MQL) stage. Then determine the close rate (i.e. how many are actually turning into sales).Once you have a handle on close rate, speak with a few people on your sales team and get their opinion on quality. Combining the qualitative information with in-person feedback can provide a good signal of whether lead quality needs to improve, or if it’s already really good that may allow you some room to experiment.b) A/B test elements of your form.If your forms have a lot of questions, consider asking them in different ways, or having different ways of filling out the form. For example, changing your form from requiring a free text response to offering multiple choice answers could increase form submissions and help standardize answers — as long as the variability in free text is not crucial to your team. Display a Dynamic Form by ChannelIf your highest quality channel is email, you may be able to display a longer form to visitors knowing they won’t bounce as easily. For other channels that don’t provide as a high quality leads, you could choose to display a shorter form and nurture any low-quality prospects towards your goal, or display a long form to weed out potential low quality submissions.How Do You Know If It’s Working?Look at the form’s conversion rates, lead quality, and the bounce rate on that page by different referral sources.HubSpot customers: You can use smart content to display different forms based on the referral source of the visitor, and to easily change out forms without needing a line of code.Show a Mobile-Specific FormMobile visitors fundamentally interact with your site differently. If you’re displaying the same form to them as you are to desktop users, they may not complete it due to length, form fields, or style.For example, if you have a number of questions requiring free text responses, it’s unlikely many mobile visitors will want to complete the form because typing out a long answer can be tedious. Instead, try showing mobile visitors multiple choice fields. Consider testing how the length of your form impacts conversion rates as well as quality, too.Here at HubSpot, our standard form length for ebooks and similar content is 15 questions. We use this form for any desktop visitors; but recently, we started to display a shorter form for mobile visitors that has fewer fields that can be completed easily. The result? Our mobile prospects increased by 5X in two weeks.While you should consider form length for mobile visitors specifically, first think about how long your form is today. If it’s only a few questions right now, try keeping it the same and then try increasing and decreasing the number of questions to find the optimal length.How Do You Know If It’s Working?Look at submissions of the mobile form in particular. Are they high quality enough for your sales team? Do they need additional information? Use these questions (and the submissions) to gauge next steps on your mobile form.Display a Different Form for Prospects vs. MQLsYou want prospects who are already familiar with your business to have the best experiences possible. One surefire way to deter them from having a great experience? Continue asking the same questions all the time.Instead, we should be asking different information about our prospects than we do about MQLs, or even customers. Consider removing questions that are unnecessary at different stages of the buyers journey. For example, the question “What’s your budget?” may not be required at the bottom of the funnel.Changing the questions and form length for each of these can lead to a much higher quality of leads and information, a better experience for visitors, and an increase in conversions as a result.How Do You Know If It’s Working?Your close rate should be able to tell you how prospects are moving through your funnel. You can also look to see whether that conversion rate between each stage changes. There you have it: Three ways of changing your form length dynamically. It’s not necessarily all about the length of your form, but when combined with the context you can easily decide what length is appropriate while ensuring that you are getting the required information. Topics:last_img read more

The Landing Page Template HubSpot Uses to Convert at a 35% Rate

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! In sales, most professionals say getting prospects 99% of the way towards a purchase is easy, but getting them across the final 1% is the hardest part of the job. Crossing the finish line, just like in a marathon, is extremely challenging.In marketing, the same principle applies. You can write the most gripping blog post you’ve ever written, persuading an audience that your offer is just as captivating and insightful, but if your landing page or even one of its elements disengages them, their odds of downloading it will plummet.Fortunately, we’ve tested and iterated our landing pages enough to determine which template converts our website visitors into leads at the highest rate possible, and we want to share it with you.Check out our analysis of each segment of our Customer Service Metrics Calculator offer’s landing page to learn how we convert visitors into leads at a 35% rate.Free Download: 77 Examples of Brilliant Web Design The Landing Page Template HubSpot Uses to Convert at a 35% Rate1. The Hook We lead off our landing page with a graphic, title, and synopsis of our offer to visually and mentally engage our audience right off the bat. This grabs their attention and generates interest in the rest of the landing page and the offer. We also include a CTA at the beginning of the landing page to enable readers who were already interested in our offer to immediately download it.2. The Reason Why People Should Care About the OfferSpotlighting your offer’s insights is crucial for generating conversions. But before you do that, you need to clarify why people should care about you offer in the first place. People buy the “why” behind things, not the “what” or “how”, so when you’re asking for someone’s contact information, which is basically a transaction today, you should be able to give your audience a good reason to do so.For our Customer Service Metrics Calculator offer, our “why” is that word of marketing one is of the largest business acquisition sources today and certain metrics can track your customers’ happiness and, in turn, their willingness to refer your product or service to their family, friends, and colleagues.3. The Summary of the OfferAfter we clarify why people should care about our offer’s topic, we naturally segue into what our audience will learn by reading our offer. This is a logical transition that answers the question our audience most likely thought of after they grasped the importance of tracking customer service metrics — “Which customer service metrics are the most important to track?”4. The Sneak Peek of the OfferSneak peeks are just like movie or TV show trailers. They offer you an inside look at what you’re about to experience, which builds suspense and anticipation for its content.To generate as much hype as possible without giving away too much information, we usually reveal our offer’s most important concepts or the pages that preview the majority of our offer’s insights.5. The FAQsConcerns about privacy and personal data collection are at an all-time high now, so it’s easy to understand why people usually ask why they need to enter their contact information to access our offers. To relieve them of any stress or anxiety they might feel about filling out a form, we cleared all the ambiguity out of the way by informing them why we ask people to fill out forms and that it doesn’t cost any money.With your landing pages, make sure you can field questions from your audience about them and provide the answers to the most frequently asked questions on your landing pages.6. The Call-To-ActionA wise content marketer once said, “If you don’t tell your reader what to do next, you might as well have never written your content in the first place.” This principle rings especially true when you create landing pages. Obviously, if you don’t include a call-to-action on your landing pages, no one can actually download the offer. But creating effective call-to-actions hinges more heavily on your CTA’s copy and its ease of use — and much less on if it exists.The best CTAs command your audience’s attention with a gripping headline and makes it easy for your audience to actually download the offer by limiting the amount of forms your audience needs to fill out or auto populating their information in your form, if their cookies are turned on. Originally published Apr 29, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 Topics: Landing Pageslast_img read more

Vizag 176 will be defining innings of Rohit Sharma’s Test career: Sachin Tendulkar

first_imgA few years ago, Sachin Tendulkar had tipped Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to carry his legacy forward in Indian cricket. Virat Kohli is now the undisputed king of world cricket and while Rohit Sharma had long since asserted his authority in the shorter formats, a classy 176 in Vizag underlined his promotion as an opener in Test cricket.Several cricket experts over the years were left perplexed with Rohit Sharma’s inability to translate his remarkable talents into success in Test cricket. He started off with hundreds in his first two Tests before struggling to make his mark consistently. However, after 5 hundred in the 2019 World Cup, it was clear as daylight Rohit would soon be given a longer run in Tests.The middle-order is packed and each man selects himself. Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkjya Rahane are the backbones of this batting line-up while Hanuma Vihari secured his spot with some sterling performances in the West Indies. Rohit Sharma was then slotted in to open against South Africa in the first Test in Vizag after the team management finally lost patience with KL Rahul, who had opened alongside Mayank Agarwal in West Indies.Rohit Sharma grabbed the opportunity with both hands and scored an entertaining 176. He also added 317 for the opening wicket with Agarwal. The two are now only the third Indian pair to add 300+ for the first wicket in Test cricket. Incidentally, Rohit Sharma was dismissed for a duck in a warm-up match against the South Africans days before the opening Test but such is his class that Rohit overcame the disappointment in style once the Test match got underway on Wednesday.advertisement”Before this innings he got out for zero but these practice matches don’t count. He has got runs when it counts. I think this innings is a defining innings for him,” Sachin Tendulkar told India Today.Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking numbers as an opener in white-ball cricket are well documented. But the world wanted to see how he countered the early swing against the red new ball.Sachin Tendulkar said Rohit Sharma’s decision to walk down the track to counter Vernon Philander’s swing early in the innings proved decisive. “For me the turning point was when he decided to step down the track to negate Philander’s swing. As it is he was batting outside the crease. Till then Philander had bowled three good overs to him. He reduced the distance and forced him to change his line and length. South Africa was then forced to ask the wicketkeeper to come up. That’s one thing the fast bowler never enjoys. The bowler gets distracted and I think Rohit forced Philander to distraction. It was a game-changing moment,” he said.”After that we know Rohit’s class. The way he batted, his front foot defence; the manner in which he began to defend with a long stride forward, that was special. Once a batsman of Rohit’s calibre gets going, it’s difficult to stop him. Watching Rohit’s batting always becomes fun,” he added.Having seen off the new ball, Rohit Sharma became difficult to dislodge and his 244-ball 176 laced with six sixes made many wonder if he could become the next Virender Sehwag in the Indian Test team.Tendulkar refused to get into the comparison game. “I would say there should be no comparisons. Both Sehwag and Rohit are fantastic players. But I am not a big fan of comparisons personally.”But when it comes to talent, I have no doubt that he can get runs against any attack in any conditions in the world. He has proven every now and then but the change in position to opening slot requires a different mindset and over a period of time he will gel into this position. He has started with a huge explosion.”Everyone was expecting him to do something big and he has not disappointed anyone. Rohit has a tremendous ability. (He is) someone whose bat swing is I think one of the best in the world. And I want to wish him all the very best,” Tendulkar said.Also Read | Not right to compare Rohit Sharma to ‘demolisher’ Virender Sehwag: Robin UthappaAlso Read | India vs South Africa: Ashwin, Jadeja rock South Africa after Mayank Agarwal 215Also See:last_img read more

Brightening the world for children

first_imgThree years ago, Rida Ali took a rather tough call, one that altered the course of her life. “I still remember vividly that it was a Friday, and I had spent the entire week battling internal dilemma and societal expectations,” she shares. “But I finally turned down the offer. I knew that I had to work with children and for child-ren,” says Ali about not taking up a cushy job with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where she was interning.And now, she is brightening the lives of more than 130 children in different parts of Delhi, chiselling them into better human beings, seeking happiness in their small achievements and widetoothed-grins. Ali, and her group of friends are teaching underprivileged children in Sarita Vihar, Okhla, Nizamuddin Basti and Madanpur Khadar life skills as well as working on their emotional and mental well-being. Education, sports, creative arts, health are some of the six verticals Ali focuses on.”They may be children of the lesser god, but they are powerhouse of talent. We just need to recognise that and give them opportunities that bring out the best in them,” says the 28year-old who is currently pursuing PhD from Jamia Millia University. She adds, “I started with developing life skills in them instead of education which is the usual course. I wanted them to be confident, empathetic and self-aware. Initially, it was a pilot project of three months because I was still testing waters. A few of my friends joined me and now we are a group of four.” Initially, it was a pilot of three months because Ali was testing waters, and was doing it all by herself.advertisement”A few of my friends joined me along the way, and now we are a group of four working in various areas. I used performing arts as means to bond with them,” she says.Q & AWhat are the six verticals that your work is primarily based on? The concept was designed on need-assessment basis covering life skills, education, sports, health, rights and responsibilities and performing arts. Under education, we are constantly adapting to what the children need according to changing times instead of pushing rote learning. There is a lot of reading, critical thinking, problem solving that is done as part of the education. For kids who have never been to school, before helping them with admission, we teach them using age appropriation methods, to bridge the gap between what they know and what they should know at their age. We give tuitions to those going to school, helping them with their homework etc. To channelise their energies, they play rugby, and basket ball. We would soon be introducing roller blade and cricket. Health is the most crucial aspect as it covers both mental and emotional well-being. We hand hold them through their journey of dealing with the outside world, boosting their confidence, counselling them.What is Bucket List? It is the most heart-warming part of the project. Children share their wishes with us, which are granted by the genies. For instance, a small boy wanted to sit in a car and be driven around, a little one wanted to have a bicycle for a day. These small desires, when fulfiled, aspire them to dream big.last_img read more

On Your Feet: The Comfortable and Stylish Adidas Tubular

first_img Yes, You Can Wear Boots to the Office: Here are the Best Pairs Editors’ Recommendations On Your Feet is all about that new shoe feeling- from the first time you open the box until they’re worn into the ground. Sometimes we’ll sift through the constant Air Jordan releases to bring you the gems other people will leave on the shelves, and sometimes we’ll slide on reclaimed leather loafers from Prague, but we’ll always focus on comfortable shoes with appealing and creative aesthetic. So lace up your new kicks and stand on the precipice of adventure, where will we go together?Last year was a banner year for athletic and lifestyle clothing company Adidas, with 2014 heralding the release of the game-changing ZX Flux, a slew of variations on the classic Stan Smith, and more artist and musician collaborations than we can count. They didn’t slow down going into the end of the year though, waiting till November to release an updated version of an overlooked shoe from 1993 that took sneakerheads and runners alike by surprise.The original Adidas Tubular took its inspiration from bike tires, with tread and lots of air cushioning to soften the blow without adding unnecessary bulk. Despite a marketing campaign that included an ad directed by David Lynch (Dune, Twin Peaks), and an external pump that allowed you to customize your support experience, the release was shortlived.This time around, the concept behind the technology is the same, with a focus on shock absorption and lightweight construction. The upper has been totally reworked, with a design concept reminiscent of Y-3, Adidas’ high-fashion line. Neoprene and TPU make for breathable, flexible uppers, with leather to reinforce where it’s needed. The result is a sneaker clearly influenced by the simplicity of old traditions, with an eye on the most modern of trends and advancements.The main feature, however, is the tubular outsole. Adidas hasn’t been afraid to push away from the traditional running and training soles in search of something new, with the Boost material finding its way into basketball and lifestyle shoes, and the flashy Springblades, but they may have found a real winner with the Tubular. The round, smooth pipes that form the underside of the shoe are understated, but appeal to those who like something a little different on their feet.More recently, the Adidas Tubular has been seen with an upper construction that pulls its design and style from moccasins, substituting neoprene and TPU for leather and soft suede, and larger stitching instead of fused panels. It will be interesting to see what other shoes the Tubular outsole ends up on in 2015.You can find the Adidas Tubular in a number of colorways on the Adidas website. You Won’t Believe the Price Tags on 10 of the Most Expensive Shoes For Men Dive In Feet First With the Best Rubber Boots for Men A Quick Overview of the Sustainable Adidas Outdoor and Five Ten Line Essentials The Best Men’s Waterproof Boots for Tackling All Weather last_img read more

Cisco joins Google to launch free public WiFi in India

first_imgKochi: In a bid to benefit millions of Internet users and connect the next billion users, global networking giant Cisco has teamed up with Google to roll out free, high-speed public Wi-Fi access globally, starting with India. The first pilot under the partnership has been rolled out at 35 locations in Bengaluru, Cisco said here on Monday, adding that it will work with Google’s “Station Platform” to provide communities around the country access to high-speed public Wi-Fi. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year By September this year, 200 locations in Bengaluru will be Wi-Fi enabled, followed by another 300 in the second phase, the two technology giants said at the “Cisco India Summit” here. The locations include public spaces like bus stops, hospitals and government offices, etc. Google said that it was committed to make the service secure. “It will run on https environment — the same environment in which you do online banking transactions,” Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director and Business Head, Google Pay and “Next Billion User Initiatives”, India, told reporters here. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India “The service will be supported by advertisements. We will think of more products to make the service commercially available”. According to Cisco, the vision behind rolling out this service is that Internet should be a fundamental right in this country. “Moving from slow to high-speed Internet access will increase user engagement and benefit millions of Internet users throughout the economic spectrum. The success of digitization and digital citizen services is also closely tied to the proliferation of high-speed internet,” said Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India & Saarc. “This also represents a significant growth opportunity, the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100X over the next 3 years, creating new markets for Cisco and our partners,” he added. Currently, about half a billion people in India are online, while 800 million are still not connected to the Internet. According to a TRAI report, globally, there is on Wi-Fi hotspot for every 150 people, and in India, eight million additional hotspots must be installed to achieve the same ratio — creating new market opportunities for infrastructure providers and internet service providers. India has only 52,000 Wi-Fi hotspots today, necessitating a proactive strategy to make high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots ubiquitous across the country. “It is an important partnership from the context of furthering the vision of Digital India, by making hi-speed public Wi-FI as pervasive as possible in congested city settings,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CyberMedia Research, told IANS. According to the Cisco VNI (Visual Networking Index) report, nearly 59 per cent of Internet traffic will be offloaded from cellular networks to Wi-Fi by 2022. “The Cisco-Google partnership brings together the expertise of Cisco in network infrastructure, and Google in providing seamless broadband experience, and expertise in developing vernacular web content and platform innovations. The partnership aims at bringing hi-speed public Wi-Fi to the next billion mobile users, a cohort that includes unconnected and under-connected Indians across highly-congested city locations,” Ram explained.last_img read more