Alabama ~ Corporate Income Tax: Apportionment Rules Repealed and Replaced

first_imgThe Alabama Department of Revenue has repealed and replaced its apportionment rules for corporate income taxpayers, effective June 25, 2016. The new multistate tax rules are promulgated to reflect the correct LRS numbering format, amendments to the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) rules as approved by the MTC executive committee, technical corrections, and statutory changes. Some of the changes are set forth below.Business income. The definition of business income has been up updated to reflect legislative changes by Act 2001-1113, providing that business income is income arising from transactions or activity in the taxpayer’s trade or business.Payroll factor. For purposes of determining a taxpayer’s payroll factor, a leased employee is an employee of the client (lessee) organization. A leased employee is also treated as an employee of the employee leasing company. The rules also provide guidance for temporary employees by specifying that compensation paid for personal services provided to client companies by employees of temporary help agencies is included in the payroll factor of the temporary agency and is generally excluded from the payroll factor of the client company. Finally, in order to prevent distortions in the payroll factor, the Commissioner may require compensation paid to a related member’s employee to be included in the payroll factor of a taxpayer regardless of which entity actually paid the compensation.Property factor. Intangible drilling and development costs are included in the property factor whether or not they have been expensed for either federal or state tax purposes. Also, for purposes of the valuation of rented property, “annual rent” does not include royalties based on extraction of natural resources, whether represented by delivery or purchase.Sales factor. The rules are updated to reflect statutory changes including double weighted sales and market based sourcing. Special rules address liquid assets. Also, the provision that excludes, from the sales factor, substantial amounts of gross receipts that arise from incidental or occasional sale of a fixed asset used in the regular course of the taxpayer’s trade or business has been removed.Petition for alternative method. Specific guidance is provided for a taxpayer that petitions to use an alternative method of allocation or apportionment. Petitions must be in written form and submitted directly to the attention of the Department Secretary. A petition attached to an original or amended return will not be considered a valid petition. If the department processes a return that uses an unapproved alternative method that does not mean the department has accepted the taxpayer’s proposed alternative method. The department will notify the taxpayer, in writing, that an alternative method has been approved. The taxpayer may then file an amended or original return utilizing the approved alternative method. Proposed alternative methods not approved within 90 days of the post mark date of the petition are denied unless the taxpayer and the department agree in writing to extend the time period. In order to appeal the denial of a petition, the taxpayer should file an amended return using the proposed alternative method. If that return involves a petition for a refund the taxpayer may appeal its denial or deemed denial of its petition for refund either to the Alabama Tax Tribunal or Circuit Court.Special industry rules. The MTC special industry rules, including airlines, construction contractors, publishing, railroads, television and radio broadcasting, trucking companies, and telecommunications and ancillary service providers have been adopted.Rules 810-27-1.01, 810-27-1.02, 810-27-1.09 through 810-27-1.19, Alabama Department of Revenue, effective June 25, 2016last_img read more

4 Tips to Increase eCommerce Holiday Sales

first_img Topics: Originally published Sep 20, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Holiday Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack The time for eCommerce holiday shopping is quickly approaching, and if you are not already developing your plan to maximize your return on the spike of online sales, you need to start now!!  According to a report provided from comScore , the 2009 eCo mmerce Holiday S pending reached $27 billion.   This year will be no different — and I am willing to bet that this number will rise even higher.  Are you prepared to take advantage? Be   Prepared for the Online Holiday Rush 1.  Write blog posts that are optimized for the long-tail of “holiday” centric keywords.  For example, if you sell shoes, you could write blog posts around the subject of holiday specials for your products.   “5 Reasons Ugg Boots and Slippers Will Dominate Holiday Gifts”    “3 Great Tennis Shoes for a Boy’s Christmas Present”   “Christmas Basketball Shoe Sales Will Be A Slamdunk in 2010” Writing content that includes your products and the holiday terms (Christmas, holiday presents, holiday gifts, Christmas ideas, boy holiday gifts, girl Christmas gifts, ect.) will help your website rank better for these longer-tail niche keywords.  Make sure that you have strong call-to-action buttons on each of your blog posts that link to landing pages explaining holiday promotions for specific products or product categories.   2.  Develop Promotional Landing Pages that are designed to target Holiday traffic.  Entice your visitors to buy from you by giving them time-sensitive pricing incentives that are only available during the holidays.  Showcase your top performing products on holiday themed landing page with great offers.  “20% off when purchasing $50 or more before X date.”  “Free t-shirt included when you purchase before X date.” Maybe your visitors are interested in your products, but not committed to purchasing immediately. Help convert these visitors to customers by giving them incentive to sign up for exclusive promotional offers.  “Sign up for exclusive holiday deals only available for existing or new subscribers.  This Special will expire on X Date.  Sign up now to secure your discount!”    3.  Send Holiday marketing emails and use lead nurturing.  Increase your holiday revenue by nurturing your visitors that haven’t committed to a purchase and rewarding your existing customers with exclusive offers.   Existing customers have already purchased from you and like your products — reward and entice them to buy more for their friends and family!  Send an email reminding your existing customers that the holidays are quickly approaching, and that you are offering them an exclusive, limited time offer.   Give a coupon code with a reminder that this code will expire by “X” date.  Make sure that this email includes links back to either your blog posts about your most popular seasonal items or landing pages designed to show additional value for shopping early.   Additionally, you should use lead nurturing emails to leverage the holiday season in your favor by placing new leads into campaigns designed entice earlier purchases.  Remembering to segment your lead nurturing campaigns is an important step.  If a visitor comes to your website and is interested in getting a special holiday deal on jackets, make sure that you send them emails designed to sell jackets, not shoes!   4.  Monitor and promote your brand and products in social media with holiday keywords.  Monitoring and promoting your most popular products is essential for eCommerce stores in 2010.  Tracking holiday centric keywords is an advanced skill that can help you sell more.  Instead of just tracking the keyword “Ugg boots” track “Ugg boots christmas” and “Ugg boats holiday present.”  Tracking these terms in Twitter will allow you to see tweets that say, “All I want for Christmas are Ugg Boots!” and “Are Ugg boots for my daughter for a good holiday present?”  You could then engage these tweeters to let them know about your new article “5 Reasons Ugg Boots and Slippers Will Dominate Holiday Gifts”.  Or you could send them links to a landing page that offers 20% Off Ugg Boots when signing up for promotional discount emails. Utilizing these inbound marketing tactics will ensure that your eCommerce site is prepared for the holiday rush.  Have you seen your favorite stores already using some of these tactics mentioned?  Do you have other suggestions?  I would love to hear your feedback! Photo curtesy of Luiz A. Villa last_img read more

Can a Career in B2B Marketing Be Fulfilling? [SlideShare]

first_img Career Development Our buddy Doug Kessler is at it again — this time with yet another fantastic SlideShare presentation that should be required viewing for anyone who calls themselves a B2B marketer.First, he had us mesmerized by his commentary on crappy content. Then it was his secret ingredient to great content. This time, he’s searching for the meaning in B2B marketing. Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. Have you ever questioned whether your career is worthy? Let’s face it — our jobs as B2B marketers aren’t particularly glamorous or altruistic. “When you were a kid, you never said, ‘I want to be a B2B marketer when I grow up.'”But all that’s not to say a career in B2B marketing can’t be fulfilling, and that’s exactly what Velocity Partners Creative Director and Co-Founder Doug Kessler emphasizes in his latest SlideShare masterpiece, “The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing.”So whether you are in fact questioning the meaning of your B2B marketing career, or you just want to check out another example of remarkable content, give Doug’s SlideShare a look. In it, he shares his 7 sources of meaning — the things that give him fulfillment and a sense that his work is worthwhile. Something tells me you’ll be able to relate, or at least benefit from a little Monday morning burst of inspiration. And if you want to learn more about the genius behind Doug’s content creation, we spoke to him one-on-one about it here, and actually called out this very SlideShare, too. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 24, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Topics: The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity PartnersWhat do you find fulfilling about your B2B marketing career? Share it in the comments!last_img read more

How to Create Social Sharing Links in Under 5 Minutes [Quick Tip]

first_img Topics: Pretty cool, eh? Now — let’s learn how to make them.Meet the Share Link GeneratorThe Share Link Generator is an awesome free tool on the web that helps you create social sharing links for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest quickly and easily.How does it work? We’ll get to the long version in a second, but here’s the short version:Copy the URL of whatever you want to share.Paste that URL into the Share Link Generator (along with a few accompanying words or hashtags, depending which social network you’re posting to).Press a button, and it spits out a brand new URL and HTML link, which you can then put on your webpages to lead viewers to social networking sites that are pre-populated with whatever URL and accompanying words or hashtags you put in.Now that you get the general idea of how it works, let’s get into the step-by-step.How To Create Your Own Share Links1) Go to Choose the social network you want people to share your content on.The Share Link Generator lets you post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.3) Fill in the blanks.For Facebook, all you need is a URL. Facebook disabled custom share fields in February 2014, so you can’t pre-populate viewers’ Facebook shares with your own words or hashtags. They’ll have to write that in themselves.For Twitter, you need to write the tweet you want people to share. Make sure to include a shortened link in there. (Check out this post for advice on constructing great tweets.)For Google+, all you need is a URL.For LinkedIn, you need a URL, a Title, and a Summary. The Summary is optional on the website, but don’t leave it out: It gives viewers context that could compel them to click on the link. Include a shortened link in the Summary copy to optimize your LinkedIn post.For Pinterest, you need the URL of the image you want to pin (which you can get by right-clicking on the image in your browser and choosing “Copy Image URL”), the source of the image (e.g. the website where you want the image to link to from Pinterest), and a description to give the image context.Once you’ve filled in those blanks, click “Create the Link!” and keep the resulting URL and HTML link handy. Here’s an example of a Twitter share link I made:What’s the difference between “URL only” and “HTML link”?You can put the HTML link directly into the HTML editor of your website. The result will be the words “Share on Twitter” hyperlinked with the share link. You can change that text by deleting “Share on Twitter,” which I’ve highlighted in the image above, and replacing it with the text you want.But sometimes, you may want social sharing links in the form of icons, not words, to catch the reader’s eye. To make images like icons clickable, you only need to worry about that URL only link.4) Download a social button icon.If you already have social media icons or images, you can skip this step. If not, check out our library of 135 free icons for marketers. You can download and use them for free — without any licensing or attribution — wherever you please on your website. And if you want to change the color of any of these icons, they come with a free guide for how to do that using PowerPoint.5) Make the icons clickable using your share link.Your goal is to make your social icon clickable so it sends viewers to the share link. The exact steps here vary depending on your CMS. First, upload the icon image into your CMS’ file manager and insert it into your website. Then, go back to the Share Link Generator and copy the content of the “URL only” box.Finally, link the icon image to that URL. (In HubSpot, that means highlighting the image, clicking the “Insert/edit link” button, and pasting the share link URL there.) Here’s what the final product looks like:That’s all, folks. Wasn’t that quick? Now you’re ready to add social share links anywhere on your website. Have fun with it! What is a social media share link?A social media share link is a URL that when clicked populates a set message and image that can be shared on social media. They are useful for amplifying your message and minimizing the time it takes someone to compose a social media message about your content.You know that feeling when you see or read something fantastic and you just have to share it with every human you know? (I get that feeling a lot when I read BuzzFeed and Upworthy.) When I get that urge to share stuff, the first thing I do is glance quickly around the website for social sharing links so I can pass on whatever I’m reading with just the click of a button.But when the social sharing buttons aren’t there, well … sometimes I just don’t feel like opening up a new tab, logging in to a social networking site, creating a new post, and manually pasting the URL I want to share into it.Yeah I know, it’s kinda lazy — but then again, 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Think about it: A lot of people get frustrated or just don’t do things on the internet if it takes even a few extra seconds. That could translate to a lot of people not sharing your webpage who normally would.When you spend all that time creating cool content, you want people to share it. You can make your content more share-friendly by adding social sharing links that are visible and lead to pre-populated posts.Improve your social media post engagement with the help of this free checklist.Before we get into how to create them, let’s quickly review what social sharing links are.What Are Social Sharing Links?Social sharing links are those small, clickable social media icons lurking on the pages of ebooks, blog posts, and other webpages. When a viewer clicks on one, she is sent straight to a social media site with an update pre-populated with your content.Here’s an example of social sharing buttons from a page of a HubSpot ebook. Notice the links are in the form of social media icons — I’ll show you how to make your own later on.You can create social sharing links just like these and put them right into your ebooks, blogs, and webpages — all in just a few minutes. Here are examples of what they’ll look like when you’re done. (Go ahead, try ’em out!) Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Social Media Engagement Originally published Jun 6, 2014 4:04:00 PM, updated September 05 2017last_img read more

The Sh*t Buyers Say, Translated [Comic]

first_imgThis post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.Sales can be a bit like detective work at times. It would be nice if you could take everything your prospects said at face value. But, as any sharp salesperson knows, buyers aren’t always forthcoming or totally honest about what they’re really thinking.Take pricing objections, for instance. They tend to sound something like this: “I’m not so sure about the price … “Alas, this simple phrase can have one of a plethora of meanings:”I just committed to another project yesterday, so the budget is tight.””I heard you gave Company Inc. a 10% discount. I want one, too!””This is actually less expensive than I expected. Did you remember to account for all the features I want?””Purchases over $100 have to go through my boss, and she’s really busy right now.””I was quoted another number by your colleague a month ago.”How does a seller connect a prospect’s seemingly straightforward phrase with their secret meaning? They don their Sherlock Holmes hats and ask pertinent questions to reveal the buyer’s true feelings. If you’ve ever longed for a what-my-buyer-is-saying to what-they-actually-mean translator, today’s your lucky day. The comic below takes a humorous look at eight common “buyerpspeakerisms” and translates them into plain English. But it’s not all fun and games — take a look at the last panel for an actionable takeaway.Like this graphic? Repost it on your site with the following embed code:Share this Image On Your Site read more

The Top Business Podcasts You Need to Be Listening To

first_img Topics: Podcast Suggestions Love learning about business and how some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs and companies are operating?Business podcasts serve as a great way to stay informed (and inspired).All you need is your smartphone and a pair of headphones to tune in to everything from one-on-one interviews with today’s top leaders to recaps of the day’s most pressing business news.So whether you’re a seasoned executive looking for something to listen to during your commute or just someone who’s always itching to learn something new, this list of the best business podcasts is for you. From Kai Ryssdals’ Marketplace to Tim Ferriss’ self-titled collection of wisdom, the following seven business podcasts will teach how to strategize, lead, and grow your business. (If you’re new to podcasts, here’s a quick primer on how to subscribe to a podcast on your phone so you can listen on the go.)7 Business Podcasts Every Marketer Should Tune In To1) HBR IdeacastHBR’s Ideacast is consistently one of the top business podcasts on iTunes (for good reason). From an interview with Evernote CEO Phil Libin on the new ways we work to a discussion about how CEOs are succeeding in Africa, the HBR team covers a range of executive-level topics on a weekly basis.The best part? It’s snackable.Each episode is usually under 20 minutes and accompanied by a longer piece of content on the HBR website. 2) APM: MarketplaceYou may have heard Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal on the radio over the years, but now you can get American Public Media’s Marketplace — one of the most popular business programs in America — on-demand right on your phone.Marketplace has always been a must-listen to get caught up on all of the important businesss news from the day, only now you don’t have to worry about being in your car at just the right time to tune in.3) EntreLeadership EntreLeadership is a concept created by Dave Ramsey that explores how businesses can use effective management to create ventures that grow and prosper.An author, speaker and radio host, Ramsey wrote a book all about the concept of EntreLeadership back in 2011. Today, there’s a podcast with the same name focused on sharing lessons, tips, and tricks from some of today’s top entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, and Simon Sinek.4) How to Start a StartupThis might be the closest thing to getting an actual MBA.In the fall of 2014, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman started a new class at Stanford all about how to starting a business. But instead of only making it available to students enrolled at Stanford, Altman decided to share every lecture with the world. His lectures have since been transformed into podcast episodes for your listening pleasure. Tune in to this educational postcast to learn lessons like how to manage, how to build products users love, and how to raise money from some leaders such as author Ben Horowitz, Facebook’s VP of Growth Alex Schultz, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.5) The Tim Ferriss ShowTim Ferriss is what you call a tinkerer. He’s always trying to find new ways to optimize his work, life and health, and lucky for all of us, much of it gets documented on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.  If you’re interested in business, the real value comes when Ferriss interviews his friends — people like investor Chris Sacca, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ferriss has a unique ability to go in-depth and uncover nuggets about what makes these successful people so successful, including how they work, how they build their teams, and even things like what the eat.6) TEDTalks BusinessThis great example of the power of podcasts needs the shortest explanation. Why?It’s just that good. Instead of having to sit in front of your computer to watch a TEDTalk, you can take it with you and listen on the go. Just make sure you have your notepad ready because the insights you’ll uncover are brilliant. 7) The Growth ShowEach week, HubSpot sits down with one of today’s top executives to unpack how they’ve been able to grow and build a world-class business. The Growth Show guests have included Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal, Slack CMO Bill Macaitis, Tough Mudder CEO Will Dean, and theSkimm Founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin.Ready to Listen?Check out this list of all of the business podcasts from this post on iTunes:</ifra Originally published Jun 19, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated March 06 2017 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

Why Some Things Go Viral — And Others Don’t [Video]

first_img 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 Viral Campaigns Originally published Feb 22, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Today, internet users have more control over what they look at online than ever before. To earn their attention, marketers like us have to create content that’s worthy of our audience’s time and emotional investment.But what’s the best way to cut through the clutter to make sure our content gets seen?Well, it helps to create content that’s poised to go viral, of course. For a piece of content to go viral, each viewer has to generate at least one more viewer, on average. The “super-sharers,” though, are actually responsible for over 80% of shares that make content go viral — so the trick is to find and reach those people.But for those super-sharers to even think about sharing your stuff, it has to have “viral potential.” After all, there are reasons why some content takes off and other content doesn’t.To learn more about the two powerful drivers of viral success and the emotions that make us want to share, check out the video below from Harvard Business Review.last_img read more

Bring Your Community into Your Marketing

first_imgThese days, the competition for audience attention is fierce, and nonprofits often don’t have the resources or time available to compete with 7 to 8 figure big-brand marketing budgets. Marketing teams at budget-conscious organizations have another asset that they can rely on— their creativity.Instead of aiming to reach potential members or donors through expensive advertising, why not aim to partner with them and build an online community instead? After all, word of mouth is one of the most powerful, genuine, and authentic marketing channels. It’s also dramatically cost-effective: when audiences share your content and talk about your organization’s work, you’re getting free exposure.But strong ‘word of mouth’ marketing campaigns don’t happen by accident. You need a careful strategy in place to ensure that you’re reaching the right audiences. Turn “I” to “you” in your marketing—Here are a few important steps to take:Optimize Your SEO Around CausesWhen audiences search for content around your cause, they’re typically seeking out information. But are they searching for your organization, specifically? Likely not. The reason?The Internet has eradicated international borders. Somebody could stumble across your website from a completely different part of the world. Depending on your organization, you may be able to expand your member and donor base.That’s why you’ll want to position your organization as an educator and authority with rich information to share. When they look up information related to causes, they’ll find your organization.When you bring this audience to your website, make your community presence known–even if the ‘ask’ is as simple as mentioning that you’re on Twitter and that you have a Facebook page, you should take advantage of the opportunity: it’s important to establish a touchpoint, even a light one, with your target audience.Build Trust with Bundled Content OffersMoney isn’t your target member’s most valuable asset: it’s time. And when audiences venture out to research causes and nonprofit organizations, they are really looking for a way to spend some of their time.That’s why you need to put your full identity forward. But storytelling is hard, and videos are hard to produce. What should you do instead?Start a blog that tells your brand’s story. Make part of that blog accessible via free membership (perhaps, any content after the fifth most recent article)Create a few ebooks, maybe even out of that blog content that you createdFind out what topics to cover by researching the needs and pain points of your target audienceWith bundled content, you can start to build nurturing campaigns as your research-oriented audience warms up to whether or not they want to spend their time with your organization. You can even remind your audience to share these bundled offers with their colleagues and friends. Your audiences will feel great because they are sharing valuable information. You’ll be happier because you’ve increased your audience base by +2 for every +1 that you reach.Create Incentive-Worthy EmailsHaving trouble generating sign-ups to your email list?If so, you’re not alone. Most businesses in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors struggle with this pain point. That’s because an email list isn’t value proposition enough to generate sign-ups. Online audiences want more than just content in their inboxes. They’re looking for a strong enough value proposition.One way that you can generate more sign-ups is to provide an incentive like free template, ebook, guide, or case study. Explain why that asset is valuable, and continue to engage your audience with interesting content through an email nurturing campaigns.You’ll create a marketing engine that continues to build on itself, especially as your audience starts sharing and talking about these opportunities within their own communities.Provide Reminders of Your ValueContinue to remind your members why they should be spending their time with you. Offer strong members-only benefits such as events, premium content, and even webinars. In your marketing copy, provide reminders of the value that you provide by encouraging members to participate in exclusive opportunities.This messaging is especially important around renewal season. It’s important that the language and energy around your organization remain highly positive and upbeat.Create a community worth joining. Getting StartedNot sure where to get started in terms of building your community and generating engagement? Put yourself in your members’ shoes, and start conducting some field research. Talk to them about their unmet needs and perception of your organization. Use that information to start developing content that addresses your members. Provide credit where it is due, and make it public that you rely on feedback from your community during your organization’s ideation processes.Keep talking to your members to understand what’s important to them. Keep developing information to meet their unmet needs. Make it possible to engage in a dialogue within your community and between other members of your website. Your organization’s community will emerge naturally. Originally published Mar 10, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Community Management 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

6 Little Ways to Delight Your Customers This Holiday Season

first_img Topics: 3) Tap into referrals that reward.Referrals are a great way to get customers to sell your products for you. It’s a simple evolution of word-of-mouth marketing, as customers usually refer friends or colleagues.For example, when shopping with The Clymb, you are gently reminded to refer a friend in the website header:Notice how it provides a clear call-to-action along with an incentive — $10 for your loyal customer and $10 for a future one — encouraging visitors to take action even before they start shopping.4) Use premium packaging.Anyone that’s spent any amount of time wresting with a roll of wrapping paper and tape dispenser knows the value of a pretty package. In fact, according to a 2015 Dotcom Distribution packaging study, 49% of online shoppers said that branded packaging made them more excited about receiving or opening an item, while 44% admitted that packaging reinforces that a product is worth its cost.The lesson? First impressions make a huge difference in our fast-paced lives, so by using premium packaging you allow your product to stand out against others. Take Pad & Quill, for example. This tech accessories company packages its iPhone and iPad cases in paper with friendly messages printed on it. It even uses an authentic-looking Roman seal to give a more hand-wrapped feel.5) Turn the small print into a feature.Refund and exchange policies are often part of the small print on your website. During the holiday season, you have an opportunity to make them a feature. After all, these policies are in place to increase trust and promote sales, right? Make them known.When buying gifts, customers prefer a return policy that ensures that if the recipient doesn’t like it, they can easily return it. If you can offer this, you have a better shot at increasing sales, while keeping your customers happy.Nordstrom does a great job of displaying all of its holiday shopping, shipping, and return perks right on the homepage, giving potential and existing customers peace of mind during one of the more stressful times of the year:6) Create a holiday-inspired video.Why does everyone love and anticipate the John Lewis holiday advertisements year after year? Because they tell a story that evokes emotion.Fortunately, you don’t need a million-dollar TV advertising budget to do this, just an idea for a great story. As video is becoming more and more popular, it’s key that you apply it to all areas of your marketing strategy.Back in 2014, the Lowell Police Department went viral due to its “Christmas Surprise Traffic Stop” video. In the video, police officers asked the folks they pulled over for traffic violations questions about what they wanted for the holidays. Meanwhile, their behind-the-scenes crew quickly purchased the items and drove them to the scene. Watch the magic unfold below — trust us, it’s worth the four minutes:The holiday season is a time of giving, so be creative with how you can implement goodwill into your marketing campaign.Wrapping UpOffering compelling discounts with creative call-to-actions will inspire your customers to buy, but great customer service is why they return.Remember to focus on the value that you are bringing your customer, not just how low you can get your prices.How are you creating the holiday cheer with your marketing this year? Share your ideas with us in the comments below. It is much more cost effective to keep a customer than it is to find a new one. In fact, according to a report by Adobe, returning customers account for up to 40% of a company’s revenue.Trouble is, a 2016 small business survey revealed that while 72% of small businesses plan to allocate the majority of their marketing budget to customer acquisition, only 28% plan to allocate the majority to customer retention.To help marketers refocus their retention plans — especially those in the ecommerce industry — I’ve put together six creative ways to keep your loyal customers coming back. Check them out below.6 Little Ways to Reward Your Customers This Holiday Season1) Offer a compelling discount.By a compelling discount, I don’t simply mean “20% off your next order.” Instead, try a discount that will inspire your customer to continue shopping with you.What does that look like? It depends. And there are a couple things to consider:Focus on the value your product or service provides customers, not just the price you discount it by. In other words, position yourself in a way where buying your product is a complete no-brainer.Choose your words carefully. According to research from Psychology Today, a “Get $ Off” promotion emphasizes achieving a gain, while the “Save $” wording emphasizes avoiding a loss — and customers recognize that difference.For example, check out how T-Mobile positioned this holiday deal on the Samsung Gear S2:2) Get personal.Great customer service is about more than just solving your customer’s issue. Try going above and beyond by creating something awesome to remind your customers why they love your business.For example, you might send out a personalized holiday card or thank you note to their home address. Even though we’re in a digital word, it means a lot to receive something handwritten, and capitalizing on the holiday spirit in this way can build a positive brand association.Not only do the folks at Buffer engage their audience on social, but they also go out of their way to send handwritten cards, stickers, and t-shirts to their clients: Wearing my @buffer t-shirt with pride. #bufferlove— Jason Thompson (@nosaj_jason) January 25, 2016 Originally published Dec 15, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Their strategy works well because with every exchange, they are encouraging customers to become brand ambassadors. Customer Success Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

Stephen Currys Bombs Are Too Good To Be True

One of the reasons Stephen Curry’s 2015-16 season has been so magical is that it has been about more than just dominance — that’s more LeBron James’s turf — it has been about doing things in basketball that we didn’t really know were possible.Last week we published “Stephen Curry Is The Revolution,” in which I discussed how Curry’s unique skill set — particularly his seeming immunity to defensive pressure — suggests that this historically great Warriors team could be even better if it let Curry take even more shots, with the upper limit for just how many he should take still completely unknown.But the idea that “you can never have too much Curry” was pretty much true even before this season. The 2015-16 Curry is on another level. Not only has he gotten better at the things he was already good at, he has also started dominating at things that add new dimensions to the analysis. For example, as my colleague Kirk Goldsberry has written, Curry is now one of the most efficient shooters close to the basket, after struggling from that range early in his career.But the most dramatic change in Curry’s game is his suddenly impossible-seeming range. If you’ve spent more than 30 seconds watching “SportsCenter” in the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard about Curry’s newfound affinity for ridiculous bombs — like that time he scored three baskets from 29-plus feet in 90 seconds.And it’s true, Curry’s long-range shooting has been off the charts. Here’s how he has done from various ranges in the past two seasons1For this analysis, I used the shot-tracking data from, current through Dec. 7 (though it may miss a game or two here and there for technical reasons). I then added in Curry’s shots through the Warriors’ game on Dec. 8, and his shots that had been missing because their Nov. 12 game against the Timberwolves wasn’t in the data.: So Curry is taking a lot of last-ditch threes from long distance and has been hitting them at the second-best rate of any player in the past three seasons, despite taking about five times as many shots as the player with the best rate, Damian Lillard, did in 2013-14 (the dot in the upper left).Shooting 38.5 percent in these circumstances is, of course, ridiculous — the league average is just 12 percent, and Larry Bird’s career 3-point average (from regular distances and under regular conditions) was 37.6 percent — not to mention it supports the idea that, for Curry, no number of shots is too great, regardless of how they come.Perhaps more importantly, Curry is taking a lot of these shots “voluntarily” — that is, even when there’s enough time left on the clock to try to set up a normal shot, he’s still tossing the bomb: Last season Korver beat Curry at virtually every distance — yet his distance drop-off was normal (perhaps even a little steeper than the league as a whole), as was Curry’s.This season, of course, Curry has blown past Korver in efficiency as well as volume. Curry’s 13 makes from 28-42 feet (“bomb range”) this season are more than he and Korver had combined last season (12).So what’s going on? On the face of it, these don’t look like big numbers. Most of the hullabaloo is over 13 made shots in 31 attempts, which is not outside the range of luck. But it would take a lot of luck: Curry made shots from bomb range about 17.3 percent of the time in the previous two seasons. If that were his true rate, he would make 13 of his first 31 shots about once every 500 years. One-in-500 events aren’t impossible in sports, but with all the ways that Curry has defied basketball norms already, it behooves us to look for nonrandom explanations. For example, an interesting segment of ESPN’s Sport Science recently broke down Curry’s unusual shot mechanics on these bombs:Normally I’d take those kinds of stats as just fun trivia, but the observation that most NBA players generate velocity for their long shots by changing how they jump, while Curry does it entirely with his wrist, is exactly the kind of thing that could explain how Curry is doing things that previously seemed impossible.Another thing we’d like to do is compare how big Curry’s phenomenon is relative to other hot long-range-shooting seasons. But to do this we have to break things down a little bit further. Not all bombs are created equal. Most NBA players are smart enough NOT to take these kinds of shots unless they’re necessary. About 68 percent of shots from 28 to 42 feet come with the shot clock turned off or with time about to expire (less than four seconds remaining). We’ll call shots taken under those conditions “involuntary.” Here are all the player-seasons for such shots over the past three seasons: His shooting improved basically across the board. For the most part, he is still shooting worse when he’s farther away. You can beat other humans, but you can’t beat science. (I think.) But relative to the league, as well as to his own recent history, his distance curve this season is incredibly flat: He’s shooting 43 percent on shots taken 26 to 28 feet from the basket and 42 percent on shots from 28 to 42 feet. (The 42 feet corresponds roughly to half-court, though most of his shots are much closer to the bottom of that range.)Not only is this not normal for Curry, it’s nowhere close to the norm for anyone, even other great 3-point shooters. For example, Kyle Korver is one of few players who, on a shot-by-shot basis, could brag about being more efficient than Curry last season — albeit with a significantly smaller shooting burden. Here’s how he stacks up to Curry, then and now: The NBA as a whole has seen about one voluntary shot from 28-plus feet every two games over the last three seasons. This relative scarcity has been wise. Even though these are “voluntary” shots — where players presumably thought they had good looks — they’ve been made at a rate of only 25.4 percent (corresponding to 76 points per 100 attempts, well below the efficiency of the worst offenses in history). The undisputed king of the long shot over the last few years — indeed, the only other player to take a substantial number of such shots over full seasons — is Lillard, who has taken 98 voluntary bomb range shots in the past three seasons and has made 32.7 percent of them (corresponding to a respectable 98 points per 100 shots). Curry, on the other hand, had not shown any inclination for these shots and hit them at an average rate — before this season. Now he is averaging just less than one such attempt per game and has hit 47.1 percent — corresponding to 141 points per 100 attempts — far beyond what any offense has ever managed in overall efficiency. In other words, Curry’s typical voluntary shot from more than 28 feet is worth more than most players’ layups.Moreover, note that Curry’s break from his own precedent is also stunning: He is attempting these shots at three times the rate that he used to, yet he’s making them twice as often!This is a thrilling development, but its lack of precedent makes its consequences unknown. If Curry is now a legitimate threat from 30 feet, it will do more than just give defenses fits, it will disrupt the balance of the game in unanticipated ways. And my half-joking argument that he should be taking “all the shots” would drop to more like a quarter joking.But as much as I admire Curry’s skills, this simply MUST be too good to be true. Consider the fact that the game has never seen it, and that Curry himself hasn’t shown anything like it before, and it seems like a prototypical case of a thrilling phenomenon destined to come back down to earth.Then again, the more absurd things we see from Curry, the more they corroborate each other. All is possible. Either this narrative or the game itself will unravel.Check out our 2015-16 NBA Predictions. read more