Signs of ancient cells and proteins found in dinosaur fossils

first_imgThe cupboards of the Natural History Museum in London hold spectacular dinosaur fossils, from 10-centimeter, serrated Tyrannosaurus rex teeth to a 4-meter-long hadrosaur tail. Now, researchers are reporting another spectacular find, buried in eight nondescript fossils from the same collection: what appear to be ancient red blood cells and fibers of ancient protein.Using new methods to peer deep inside fossils, the study in this week’s issue of Nature Communications backs up previous, controversial reports of such structures in dinosaur bones. It also suggests that soft tissue preservation may be more common than anyone had guessed. “It’s encouraging,” especially because the proteins were found in what appear to be the most unremarkable, ordinary bones, says Matthew Collins, an archaeologist and biochemist at the University of York in the United Kingdom. But he and others caution that the team hasn’t proven beyond doubt that the structures do contain ancient proteins.As early as the 1970s, researchers captured images of what looked like cellular structures inside dinosaur fossils. But did the structures contain actual tissue? Proteins commonly decay hundreds to thousands of years after an organism dies, but in rare cases they have been known to survive up to 3 million years. In a series of studies beginning a decade ago, a team led by North Carolina State University paleontologist Mary Schweitzer reported that they had extracted what appeared to be collagen, the most abundant protein in bone, from a 68-million-year-old T. rex fossil. They sequenced fragments of the protein and concluded that it closely matched that of birds, dinosaurs’ living descendants (see here and here). But other teams haven’t been able to replicate the work, and others suggested that the collagen could be contamination.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The new study, led by materials scientist Sergio Bertazzo and paleontologist Susannah Maidment, both of Imperial College London, has a different strategy for hunting down ancient proteins. Bertazzo, an expert on how living bones incorporate minerals, uses a tool called a focused ion beam to slice through samples, leaving pristine surfaces that are ideal for high-resolution imaging studies. He teamed up with Maidment to apply the technique to eight chunks of dinosaur toe, rib, hip, leg, and claw.What they found shocked them. Imaging the fresh-cut surfaces with scanning and transmission electron microscopes, “we didn’t see bone crystallites” as expected, Maidment says. “What we saw instead was soft tissue. It was completely unexpected. My initial response was these results are not real.”The U.K. team tested more fossils and ran microscopic samples from what appear to be collagen fibers through a mass spectrometer to get the weight of the component molecules. The weights came back as identical to those of the three most common amino acids in collagen, the team reports.But outsiders, including Schweitzer, say that the weights aren’t conclusive proof that the molecules being analyzed are amino acids, or that they came from a dinosaur rather than a contaminant. A different type of mass spectrometer that can provide the sequence of the amino acids in a protein fragment would strongly suggest the existence of collagen and replicate the earlier work, Collins says. Maidment says the team hopes to do such studies soon. If they succeed, the work may spur additional efforts to isolate dinosaur proteins and understand how they differed from those of their modern relatives.last_img read more

Vieira: ‘Balotelli can’t understand teamwork’

first_imgNice coach Patrick Vieira was “disappointed” with Mario Balotelli. “It’s really difficult for him to understand that football is about teamwork.” The Italy international has never hit the heights his potential warranted and is now also struggling at hometown club Brescia. “It was a real pleasure to work with Mario,” the Nice coach told beIN Sports at an event. “It was I think at a time where it was really difficult for him to understand that football is about teamwork, the team effort, and it’s something that is difficult for Mario to understand. “It has nothing to do with talent of the player, because he is a really special talent, but it’s disappointing that I was unable to get the best out of him, but he needs to understand as well that for him to play at this level, he needs to be part of the team. “I hope he understands that really soon, because there is still time for him to do so and he can go back to scoring goals. He’s got the talent to be the leader of the team, but the leader of the team has to put his talent at the service of the team.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: read more

Why HD DVD Will Beat Blu-Ray: A Better Name For Mere Mortals

first_imgI was recently shopping at BestBuy with my wife, Kirsten.  She’s close to the opposite end of the tech-geek spectrum as I am (she uses a computer every day, but mostly for useful things and is not particularly concerned about some of the religious debates around technology and the relative merits of one thing vs. the other.  She’s not going to be running out to buy an iPhone as soon as it launches (I likely will be). I’m currently in the market for a new DVD player at home.  I’m generally not big on DVDs as I find the whole notion of moving data bits around using atoms organized into shiny disks someone quaint.  My parents are visiting us from India, and there are some things they want to watch that are not “in the cloud” somehwere — only on DVD.  But I digress. What do you think? How important is a simple name in helpling customers make a decision? So, my question is this:  Of the thousands of mere mortals (i.e. not tech-geeks) that will make the DVD player buying decision in the coming months and years, how many times will this story repeat itself?  How many people will walk out the door with an HD DVD player simply because they think it’s the “natural” choice”?  How many of these decisions will it take for HD DVD to become the prevailing standard not on technical merit, but just because of the name?  If we think back to the VHS vs. BetaMax debate, I find a bit of similarity.  VHS (when people asked) stood for “Video Home System”.  BetaMax didn’t stand for anything.  Will history repeat itself? Originally published Jun 6, 2007 10:43:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 So, we are in the market for a DVD player.  I’ve been following the HD / DVD Blu-Ray debate for a while — primarily as a curious bystander, because it didn’t really affect me all that much — until now.  As I was walking down the DVD player aile in the store with Kirsten, she paused and pointed to one and said “why not just buy this one”.  (It was an HD DVD player).  I asked her why that particular one had caught her eye.  Her response:  “Well, it’s an HD DVD player.  Aren’t you all over that whole HD thing?”  She basically thought HD DVD was what connected to our HDTV and that was that.  The whole notion of Blu-Ray with all it’s technical merits never crossed her mind.  It just made sense to her that an HD DVD went along with an HD TV.  In her mind, Blu-Ray wasn’t even in the race.  Decision made. 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

8 Free Links to Promote a Blog

first_imgDo you have a new blog? Want to get 8 free links to your blog? Here is a list of free links in blog directories that you can get for your blog, along with the Page Rank of the blog directory (read this article to learn more about Page Rank: The Importance of Google PageRank: A Guide For Small Business Executives).So far, none of these links have driven a ton of traffic, however, more inbound links do help you a lot in terms of search engine optimization (read this article to learn more about linkbuilding: Executive Summary: Linkbuilding and SEO for the Internet Marketing Neophyte).We have submitted our own blog to each of these blog directories and can confirm that they are quality links from reputable sources, and they are all free and do not require a reciprocal link.8 Quality Blog Directories with Free, No-Reciprocal Links Page Rank  PR: wait… I: wait… L: wait… LD: wait… I: wait…wait… C: wait… SD: wait… Blog Optimization 3 Globe of Blogs 6 5 Bloggernity Did you like what you read? Want more? Get automatic updates by subscribing to our RSS Feed or Email List (top right hand side of this page). SuperBlog Directory 3 7 BlogFlux 6 Blog Listing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Bloggapedia Blog Directory Blogarama Topics: Originally published Nov 28, 2007 12:18:00 PM, updated October 18 2015 4 6 Bloggiolast_img read more

HubSpot TV – Listen to Your Fans, Friends & Followers with Scott Kirsner

first_imgEpisode #39 – May 8th, 2009 Marketing Takeaway Intro How to interact on Twitter: @ Closing @ On next week’s episode (May 15th, 2009), Mailbag will be on HubSpot TV Originally published May 10, 2009 7:37:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Boston Globe article: Products that might not be social at first glancemight be able to become social, giving them more inbound marketingpower. Optimize your website to get found by more prospects and convert more of them into leads and paying customers with HubSpot’s inbound marketing system. Recent The Future of the Boston Globe and Content in General Start your trial now! Miss last week’s episode?: If Twitter indexes not only Tweets, but also links, would it have more real time news information than Google? Boston is the Hub of Inbound Marketing Richie Hawtin created a system to live post what he was playing to his Twitter stream which used Traktor Pros system Marketing Tip of the Week Marketing Takeaway Twitter Competing with Google? Scottsdale Police Department Tweets Bank Robber’s Picture on Twitter @ScottsdalePD Marketing Takeaway: Scott Kirsner HubSpot TV Guest: mvolpe Great example of innovation based on your top users as well as using inbound marketing within your productcenter_img HubSpot Free Trial : Produce more content and in multiple formats to suit all of the audiences you serve. Richie Hawtin launches Twitter app for Traktor Headlines Do Press Releases count as content creation? Remember to subscribe in iTunes: : Promote the content you publish in social media to attract more visitors and links. Make sure you are listen to your most sophisticatedcustomers and understand how they are pushing, adapting and enhancingyour product. Cinema Tech (May 1, 2009) Boston Globe Still Strong Online @scottkirsner Doing it Right Traktor Pro added the functionality into the next release of the product BonusMarketing Takeaway: Boston Globe Journalist New book: Make sure you are listening to your customers to find new product innovations. karenrubin Twitter Plans to Squash Google’s Spider? Innovation Economy HubSpot TV – Ahh Choo! Marketing and Swine Flu Scottsdale PD Tweets Bank Robbers photo: Chris Brogan Newspapers Use Kindle to Boost Subscribers (Length: 27 minutes, 59 seconds.) Fans, Friends & Followers DJing Social Media & Inbound Marketing From PRSA Conference: 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

5 Key Characteristics Every Social Media Community Manager Should Have

first_imgSocial media is an effective tool to engage your target audience, drive website traffic and, ultimately, boost sales; so why do so few companies employ a social media community manager? You know, the person that manages the whole thing? . Some of our clients even have Tomorrow People presence, as well as many other companies we work with — and they’re all seeing great results from it. So how do social media not . 3) Grows the Network It seems crazy, in the midst of a global financial crisis, to suggest that companies should go to the expense of hiring a community manager to oversee their social media presences. But at our company, By employing a team of full-time and part-time community managers, we’ve cut down on the number of sales people we need to employ because the inbound leads we’re producing are highly qualified. We’re doing the same for our clients, such as LinuxIT and Workbooks; by engaging effectively with communities online, their sales teams are more efficient because they’re receiving far more These tasks detract from the central role, but are all too often lumbered on community managers. Email marketing A community manager isn’t responsible for: do? Twitter 2) Listens to the Buzz Lead nurturing make the leap? This post will tell you everything you need to know about integrating a community manager into your marketing department. Quantity is important to establish reach We have packaged the model into a 5-step methodology we call Zoober: listen, create, engage, transform, grow. This is a process of continuous improvement, where we constantly measure and amend our approach. Our community management team delivers the ‘Engage’ stage of this model — telling people what we’re doing and bringing them to our website. , we apply the lean manufacturing continuous improvement methodology Six Sigma to our internal processes, assuming the leads are the final output. We use HubSpot to measure our traffic and social media engagement. This should include blogger outreach, too — finding the right person to get to know and ask for guest blogging opportunities. You could also consider reaching out to the publications, forums, and Q&A sites your target audience uses. 5) Joins the Conversation and you What are a community manager’s roles and responsibilities? Google+ . Additionally, our average money hiring sales people or in other marketing hires. Develop a process or methodology to ensure you continually improve your social media results each month, and document & review those processes every month. Give your community management team great tools & remarkable content to get the best results. Managing social media communities is a highly skilled, challenging role — which is why we’re amazed how many companies think they can get their intern to do it in their spare time. , but just transfer this step to whatever tool you use — and ensuring profiles are standardized and present the company in a professional light. They should also increase your Facebook fans and What does the community manager Community managers should also investigate the various social media automation tools available, and stay up to date with technology, marketing, and industry news. 4) Distributes Content A good community manager should then grow your networks by engaging every day online (via forums and owned communities) and offline (via events, conferences, and meet ups). They should also, of course, craft status updates, posts, and tweets — because like most of your other marketing channels, social media also depends on sharing excellent content.center_img Originally published Oct 9, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 We’ve also noticed that Twitter and LinkedIn contacts. Your community manager should promote your blog and website content to your network. They should help your company foster meaningful business discussions that will allow you to reach your target audience and gain more clients. It’s about dialogues, not monologues. employing a community manager drives approximately 30% more traffic to our website every month It’s definitely worth the effort for us — and we’re sure it could be worth it for you, too! Too many companies don’t bother with social media engagement, or engage with it in an ad hoc fashion. Simply asking your copywriter to tweet every now and again, or getting the intern to update your company LinkedIn profile, won’t cut it; you need people who can focus on this role strategically and consistently to engage your online audience effectively. The benefits are clear — but the process requires a professional. generate more leads , we’ve been developing our community management team and processes to real effect over the past 16 months. I also know that HubSpot invests in employees dedicated solely to managing their no This involves replying to online questions and comments immediately, giving your brand a face, and creating a relationship with prospects. The community manager should represent the client’s voice, but should also be able to get their individual personality across. Especially in blogger outreach, conversation should come naturally to them — they shouldn’t be struggling to find a voice when contacting strangers. A good community manager should listen to the buzz already online — finding out what groups your target audience is joining on LinkedIn, for example, and who they’re following on Twitter. What are they talking about? Who are your rivals? What are they interested in? When are they most likely to read a tweet, or an update? Are they aware of your brand? Who are the key influencers within your industry who you should develop a long lasting relationship with? Marketing strategy quality First, what are the benefits of having a community manager? 1) Sets Up and Manages Profiles Content creation we use HubSpot . You should also remember that while hiring a community manager is certainly an expense, you could visitor-to-lead conversion rate for our B2B clients is 8% Topics: qualified leads sales people, as they sell online: so the community managers are driving their sales directly! Alistair Norman is the Marketing Director of HubSpot’s International Partner Agency of the Year 2012, the UK inbound marketing agency Tomorrow People. Alistair is also an auditor of the MA/MSc programme at Birmingham City University’s New Technology Institute. Follow Alistair on save For us, it has made sense to hire a community management team, but it may make sense for other companies to retain these skills — it’s all about finding people with the right skills and enabling them to develop a community for you in the long-term. Building efficiency into our process to Is it worth it? Where does the community manager role fit? Nothing makes your company look like it doesn’t care like half-filled in, out of date employee and company pages on LinkedIn or Facebook. Our community management team sets up and manages our company and employee social media profiles and groups. This involves setting up the content within our social media publishing tool — Community Management , but your community manager should also focus on creating a larger base of high quality social media fans and followers. A thousand Facebook friends from the wrong industry may not be as valuable as 20 very influential friends with the right connections. 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

They Grow Up So Fast: How 7 Brands Made It Big Practically Overnight

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 Any business owner will tell you: Overnight success can happen — it just takes 5 to 10 years of work first.Stories of companies with meteoric rises abound, and it may seem like they’ve been fated from the very beginning.For many, however, growth hasn’t always been straight and even. These companies just made some smart marketing decisions that led to some serious growth spurts along the way.  Let’s take a look at some of the decisions that proved to be watershed for seven companies and led to major increases in traffic, revenue, and brand evangelism.1) UberWhen Boston Public School buses went out of commission in early October due to a worker strike, thousands of parents were left trying to find alternative avenues for their children to get to school. Uber, a mobile app that connects riders to taxis and car services, took this event as an opportunity to help.After the idea was first raised by an Uber user on Twitter, the company began offering free rides to Boston Public School students stranded by the strike. The good gesture resulted in news coverage from major publications, including the New York Times, Venture Beat and, of course, the Boston Globe. It also exposed a new audience to Uber: parents in need of a safe way to transport their children.  This isn’t the first time that Uber has offered to help out during a time of crisis. In March, after a fire left a massive section of Boston without power and caused subway service to halt, Uber offered rides out of the darkened neighborhood for half off. Also, after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Uber provided free rides to area hospitals.Through these standout actions, Uber has ingratiated itself in the local community, spread brand awareness, and grown significantly as a result. In the last year, according to Inc. Magazine, Uber has expanded rapidly from 12 to 35 cities and grown its revenue by 18% a month. Takeaway: It’s essential to pay attention to current events and where your business can fit in.2) FeedlyIn March 2013, Google announced plans to shut down its beloved RSS reader, Google Reader. The decision left millions of Google Reader users abuzz with concern. Where would they go? Would they have to rebuild all of their feeds?Feedly, an upstart RSS reader, jumped on the opportunity to win over the Google Reader expats. It announced a one-click migration and pursued a number of thought leaders to try their service out. The company spoke directly to the Google Reader audience and created a ton of content for likely searches, such as “Google Reader Alternatives.”By the end of the campaign, Feedly had secured the lion’s share of Google Reader customers and its user numbers tripled from 4 million to more than 13 million. A day after the paid tier became available, the company sold out of its 5,000 Pro accounts.Takeaway: Change is your friend. Be watchful of an evolving marketplace and be quick to act on new partnership opportunities or sudden needs (even if you don’t have all of the answers figured out).3) PinterestIf there was ever a case for an overnight success, it would be Pinterest.In 2011, the social medium’s traffic grew 40x in six months. Pew Research shows a 286% increase in Pinterest use between 2011-12. The site skyrocketed from 700,000 users to more than 20 million, with 15% of Internet users now on Pinterest.But even Pinterest’s founders will tell you that success was 4 years in the making. Even still, how did Pinterest accumulate such wide use in such a short amount of time? The answer is layered, but key to it was how deeply the company built social sharing into to the product.  Social media wasn’t an afterthought with Pinterest — it was a central artery of the way the site operated. When you join Pinterest, you automatically sync up with your connections from other social media networks, enabling you to avoid the cold-start syndrome of having to build a community from scratch.The company also made sharing content on its site exceedingly easy with a bookmarklet and social sharing integrations. According to ShareThis, this year, Pinterest is closing in on email as the third-most popular way to share behind Facebook and Twitter.  Takeaway: We can’t all have our own share buttons, but what can we learn from this? For starters, think about sharing as an integral part of the website visitor experience. Identify the natural places where sharing could occur (e.g. after a purchase or consumption of a piece of content) and make sharing an easy and nearly intuitive part of that interaction. 4) FireRockExponential growth isn’t reserved for web-based companies alone. FireRock, a HubSpot customer, saw significant bursts in growth after getting serious with its social media strategy. FireRock manufactures high-quality, pre-engineered masonry products, including indoor and outdoor fireplaces, chimneys, outdoor ovens, and fire pits.Beyond having a useful blog, FireRock has one of the best Pinterest accounts I’ve seen from a B2B company. It helps that the company creates really beautiful stone fireplaces, so the imagery is captivating, but it also knows how to optimize Pinterest for its business. FireRock smartly tags its posts by geography and focuses on visual content that spreads well. Five months after it began focusing its social media strategy, FireRock increased its reach by 330% and saw a related increase (189% over eight months) in website visits.Takeaway: Know your channels. FireRock knew it had the sort of visual content that would do well on Facebook and Pinterest and targeted its efforts there. You may have content better suited to LinkedIn, Twitter, or another network. 5) ROGETECHFounded in mid-2011, ROGETECH is an IT distribution company specializing in industrial barcodes, tablets, and scanners. The company is also a very new company competing in an older market with established brands. At launch, it knew it needed a way to differentiate from all the other IT distribution companies. The company was starting from scratch, with no email list, domain authority, followers, or fans. In short, ROGETECH knew that to unseat the incumbents, it’d need to win at the search box. It started a strategy of blogging and content creation around a very strategically cultivated keyword list. Not knowing what kind of results it’d see, the company decided to run it as a three-month experiment.Andre Jensen of Inbound MD, an inbound marketing agency that worked with ROGETECH, explains: “We started blogging in mid-December 2011. The month of December 2011, they had 77 unique visitors from organic traffic. After just one month of blogging, they had 695. Two months after, 2,296 organic visits. Three months, they reached 3,454.”  The company centered its posts around technology trends, IT distribution, and tips for successful purchase in the IT industry. This way, it had posts that were both industry-specific and appealing to the masses. One of its most popular blog posts, “What is the Barcode and How it Works,” talks about what a barcode is, how it works, and how a computer interprets it. The company didn’t blog haphazardly. Instead, it stuck to a schedule and well-researched key search phrases.In one year, as a result of all of its efforts, its traffic grew 4,000% and it found that 84% of it was being generated organically through search results, without additional cost to the company. The firm also built a great foundation for future growth, climbing to the number-one rank on Google for nearly all of the products it sells.Takeaway: Know your competitors’ weaknesses. If no one is really dominating the search results for your key terms, go after them. Make a plan to unseat bigger, more established companies with agile content creation. ROGETECH Organic Traffic Growth for 20136) The Rodon GroupIt’s amazing what can happen when a marketing campaign taps into a larger cultural issue. The Rodon Group, a HubSpot customer and manufacturer of plastic injection molding services, was an unlikely candidate for the national spotlight, and yet, after a brief campaign focused on U.S. vs. overseas production, that’s exactly what the company got.  In 2012, The Rodon Group’s president, Michael Araten, drew media attention to what he saw as a trend in manufacturing contracts coming back to the U.S. due to supply chain complications and shipping expenses. “We’re in year three of what I think will be a 10-year transition back to U.S. manufacturing as a world leader,” he explained to Businessweek.His interviews with Businessweek were accompanied by others, including ones with CNBC and The Today Show. The Rodon Group was even visited by President Obama, where he spoke about the importance of keeping American manufacturing and family-owned businesses competitive.But how did he get the national spotlight to begin with? It all started with a campaign the company ran to promote U.S. manufactured plastic injection molding as more affordable than using overseas companies in China. The campaign was anchored on an ebook entitled “Top 10 Critical Reasons to Bring Your Plastic Injection Molding Back to the U.S.” and supporting posts and materials to compare and contrast its services with those of overseas companies.Takeaway: This campaign worked for a couple of reasons.It struck a national chord: The campaign was about more than the company. It focused on an emerging trend that could affect the economy, jobs, and entire industry. It can be easy to get caught in the day-to-day of your job, so try to keep an eye for the larger context in which your company is working. It was well-timed: With national elections coming up, the company knew all eyes would be on the economy and jobs. What external milestones could help bump up the newsworthiness of your company or products? 7) Human Rights CampaignNonprofit organizations and political action committees are among the best at galvanizing wide support in a targeted amount of time. There is perhaps no better example of accumulating momentum around a given event than the United For Marriage campaign run by the Human Rights Campaign in 2012.The campaign, which ran for two weeks, leveraged the timing of an impending Supreme Court deliberation to launch a major public action campaign.  Core to the virality of the campaign was the freedom its audience had to adapt its logo and materials to reflect themselves. Business partners — from Bud Light, to Bonobos, to HBO, to Smirnoff — all adapted the iconic logo with their own. The campaign not only put a message out, but it also gave people the platform to personalize that message.  Much like The Rodon Group campaign, the HRC campaign had a concentrated timeline that hung on a major Supreme Court decision date. The timeline upped the urgency for action and gave participants a sense that this would be a limited-time activity. The company’s results were outstanding. Below is just a segment of its results — you can find the full results here, which include this stat: 700,000 unique visitors were recorded for the campaign website, 86% of whom were brand new to the organization. Takeaway: Give your campaigns a clear start and end date and funnel your entire marketing focus into them. By concentrating all channels and activities toward one goal and milestone, you can increase the urgency and reasons for involvement. There’s no such thing as luck in marketing — only opportunities spotted and acted upon. These companies range wildly in size, mission, industry, and audience, but one commonality that unites them all. They paid attention to the world around them and the experience of their users or customers. They noticed trends, gaps, and opportunities and they were strategic in how they tackled them.The combination of observation, action, timeliness, and measurement are at the heart of each of these efforts. What can your company adjust to better position yourself to do the same? Let us know below! Originally published Oct 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Marketing Case Studieslast_img read more

Want to Grow Your SaaS Company? Track These 12 Marketing Metrics

first_img Topics: Originally published Nov 10, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Clearly defined and closely monitored marketing metrics are critical to the success of any SaaS company. Not only do they help measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, but they also help diagnose risk and identify opportunities to accelerate growth.How do I know? I’ve spent the last six years of my professional life tracking a small list of SaaS marketing metrics very closely — maybe even somewhat obsessively at times. In doing so, I’ve found that these metrics function much like a scorecard for marketing. By highlighting the performance of particular tasks or initiatives, these metrics hold the keys to what almost every growth oriented-marketer wants: bigger budgets, accelerated growth, and bigger opportunities.Below I’ve detailed 12 of the most important metrics I’ve kept my eye on over the years. While these metrics have helped fuel the SaaS companies I’ve worked with, it’s important to keep in mind that all businesses are a bit different. To help move your company forward, pull from this list as you see fit.12 SaaS Marketing Metrics That Matter1) Unique VisitorsUnique visitors are simply the amount of unique individuals coming to your website. To be honest, this is the closest thing to a “vanity metric” on this list because unique visitors gives you no sense of the quality of the visitors to your website. That said, it’s a helpful measure of how accessible your website is, and it’s worth keeping tabs on the mix of visitors that come to your site organically, directly, and from paid programs.2) LeadsIt’s critical that sales and marketing teams hash out and agree on the difference between “leads” and “qualified leads.” In the vain of keeping this simple, I like to refer to “leads” as any lead that’s closer to the top of the funnel. In other words, maybe they’ve expressed interest in a topic related to your product by reading a blog, but they are yet to show direct interest in the product itself. To help you gain a better understanding of how to weed out leads that aren’t a great fit, check out this post.3) Qualified LeadsWhen I say “qualified leads,” I’m generally speaking about leads that I’d classify as living in the middle of the funnel — commonly product demos or free trials. A prospect that requests a demo has signaled a desire to see how your product works. Even better, a free trial is interested in kicking the tires on the product to see how it works for their business. These types of leads are frequently referred to as “marketing qualified leads,” and I like to report on them as such.4) New CustomersThis one’s as straightforward as it gets: How many new customers signed up for your product this month? This quarter? This year? While revenue typically trumps new customer sign-ups in terms of importance, it’s still useful to know how often you’re winning and how much of the addressable market you are capturing.5) RevenueCash on the books means a great deal to the success of your business. By tracking monthly recurring revenue (MRR), annual recurring revenue (ARR) and average revenue per account (ARPA) you’ll be able to strengthen your understanding of how much money is actually coming in. 6) Qualified Lead to Customer RateIf you’re interested in “growth hacking,” there’s no better place to start than trying to improve the rate at which you convert qualified leads into paying customers. What percentage of free trial sign-ups end up buying your product? What percentage of prospects who request a demo buy?7) Unique Visitor to Qualified Lead RateSo you have thousands of unique visitors coming to your website every month … that’s great. But what percentage of them actually interact with your site and become a qualified lead?Once you know this number, you can use A/B testing software to run experiments that can influence your conversion rate. For guidelines on how to run an effective A/B test, check out this resource.8) ChurnChurn can be expressed in terms of either revenue or customers, and it’s absolutely one of the most important metrics for any SaaS company. In essence, churn tells you how much business you are losing over a given period of time. While many argue that churn is a product or customer service metric, I’d argue that it’s an “everybody metric,” including marketing. There is not a more sure-fire way to increase your churn rate than to market and sell your product to people who don’t truly need it.To measure customer churn, take the number of customers you had at the beginning of the month, say 500. Once you have this number, subtract the number of customers you lost in that month, say 50. Your customer churn rate (expressed monthly) would be 50/500 = 10%.9) Customer Lifetime ValueCustomer lifetime value (CLTV) refers to the amount of money your average customer pays over the course of their relationship with your company. To calculate CLTV, you must first calculate your average customer lifetime. To do so, use this formula: 1/customer churn rate (expressed in months or years). For example, if you have a 10% monthly churn rate your customer lifetime is 1/.10 = 10 months.Once you know your average customer lifetime, you must then multiply it by your average revenue per account (ARPA) over a given time period. To do so, use this formula: Total revenue/total number of customers. For example, say your business made $5,000,000 in revenue last month off of 5,000 total customers. $5,000,000/5,000 = $1,000 in revenue per account.Finally, to determine customer lifetime value, you’ll simply multiply customer lifetime (CL) by your average revenue per account (ARPA). In the example above that would be 10 months*$1,000 = $10,000 in customer lifetime value.10) Customer Acquisition CostCustomer acquisition cost (CAC) divides your total sales and marketing spending by the number of new customers you add in a given period. For example, if you spent $250,000 in sales and marketing expenditures last month and added 250 customers, then your CAC would be $1,000.It’s important to note that CAC calculations should include personnel-related expenses — the cost of your sales and marketing teams (both salaries and benefits). As your company scales and spends more money on marketing expenses not as tightly correlated with customer acquisition (think PR), you may want to filter some of these expenses out of your calculation of CAC. However, for earlier stage start-ups, I’d recommend that all sales and marketing related expenses be folded into your CAC calculation.11) CLTV:CAC RatioThe relationship between the lifetime value of your customers and the amount you spend to acquire them is the single metric I rely on most to measure the health and growth potential of customer acquisition programs within any SaaS company. A general rule of thumb is that your company must have a CLTV three times greater than your CAC in order to be a “healthy” business. If your CLTV:CAC ratio is greater than 3:1, then you have a customer acquisition engine that is working and likely warrants additional spending in sales and marketing. (Depending on the nature of your product, you may fall slightly outside of this baseline.)Pour money into the machine, and favorable returns will be spit out.12) Gross MarginGross margin is commonly considered a financial metric, but I think it’s an important marketing metric because marketing should play a role in pricing your products and services — which contributes significantly to your gross margin. Quite simply, gross margin looks at the percentage of sales revenue that a company retains after it subtracts the costs associated with delivering their products and services. (Gross Margin (%) = Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold/Revenue.)For example, if a company made $10,000,000 in revenue and it cost them $2,000,000 to deliver their products and services, then the company’s gross margin would be ($10,000,000-$2,000,000)/$10,000,000 = .80 or 80%.Keeping Tabs on MeasurementWhile tracking these metrics well is critically important for any SaaS company, it’s worth mentioning that doing so isn’t always so easy. Issues with data integrity and simply defining what measurement systems you’ll use are not always so straightforward. To ensure you’re reporting on factual numbers, here are two pieces of advice: Declare “systems of record” for each metric. This ensures that your measurements will be consistent. It also makes it easy for everyone to understand where you’re getting your data from each month. When determining which system to use, take the time to understand how each option calculates the number you’re looking for so that it can be easily explained to others. Use a business intelligence tool that pulls data from multiple sources into one dashboard. There are many tools on the market today that pull together your data from CRMs, spreadsheets, marketing automation systems, and other data sources into a single repository. This typically allows data from different sources to be used in the same calculation if necessary.Metrics Don’t Matter If Nobody CaresWhile it’s typically the responsibility of your company’s marketing leadership to track these metrics and be able to explain the relative importance of each of them, it’s also important that they are drawing connections between the numbers and the people on the team. This starts with making your data accessible, and then hinges on making your data easy to understand. Everybody on your marketing team should know very clearly that success for them means influencing one of these metrics in a positive direction. In other words, if you want to move numbers in the right direction, you need to get people to care about them. What metrics to you track? Let us know in the comment section below. Marketing Metrics 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

How to Find the Perfect GIF: 10 Must-Try Websites

first_imgIf you’re looking for something specific, try filtering the GIFs by the categories offered at the top of the page: Television, Film, Politics, and Music.10) ImgflipLast but not least, we have Imgflip. There are a few ways to browse Imgflip content, as detailed on the website:Hot/Latest images on the homepageUse the Previous / Next / Random navigation on image pagesUse the hotkeys as described on image pagesTag pages (such as cats)Meme pages such as Grumpy Cat, found on the meme templates page 5) GIFbinHere’s another stellar resource for uncovering GIFs.On GIFbin, users can filter thumbnails by “Newest,” “Top Rated,” and “Most Viewed,” or by tags. The interesting thing about GIFbin’s tag system is that they are categorized by both name and count.While the names are pretty standard search terms — animals, babies, sports, etc. —  the count feature allows you to easily uncover terms with the highest volume of available GIFs. Check it out:6) Hulu’s The Perfect GIFWho knew Hulu had its own GIF gallery?Powered by Tumblr, this site was launched back in April of 2015 to generate brand awareness and engage users. What’s more, all of the GIFs are Hulu-branded and inspired by popular television shows. Aside from the standard search box, users are encouraged to browse the gallery of GIFs using three filtering options: Shows, Actions, and Reactions. At the bottom of each respective page, “Featured Tags” appear to help you narrow your search even further. So many George Costanza GIFs, so little time.7) Awesome GIFsThis website offers a little less in terms of search functionality, but if you’ve got some time to kill, there’s a lot to seen. And if you’re really looking to go down a rabbit hole, check out the “See a Random GIF” button on the left side of the page — it’s like StumbleUpon for GIFs. One unique thing about Awesome GIFs, though, is that they offer users the ability to save a GIF directly to their Dropbox account. Given the popularity of Dropbox, we love that they lower the barrier by making it super easy for people to save and share their GIFs. 8) Animal GIFsThere are few things in the world that will communicate your feelings better than a cat GIF … or any animal GIF for that matter. For that reason, we couldn’t wind down this list without mentioning this awesome site. This simple Tumblr resource serves up a healthy dose of animal GIFs that will make you laugh, cry, and really want to visit a pet store. Whether you’re a cat person, dog person, turtle person, or adorable baby pig person, you’re bound to find something that fits your needs.9) GIFs From Last NightWhen something memorable goes down on television, in a movie, or on the news, the internet wastes no time. And thanks to GIFs From Last Night, users can “relive the best of TV, movies, and news through animated GIFs” almost instantly. This site keeps pace with all of the “important” moments sweeping the internet at any given time, such as these:Channing Tatum IS Beyoncé on Lip Sync Battle One way is to use the dropdown menus on the left side of the site. These menus allow users to surface GIFs that match a specific feeling (tired, confused, proud, etc.) or answer (yes, no, undecided, etc.). For example, a search for “excited” might surface something like this: Users also have the option to search by galleries or tags. Galleries are organized into categories such as “OMG,” “Dance Party,” and “LOL,” while tags cover a more expansive list of themes: Tina Fey does the BEST Robert De Niro Source: ImgurAs explained on the /r/reactiongif’s wiki page, “A reaction gif is a physical or emotional response that is captured in a .gif which you can link in response to someone or something on the Internet. A gif which is a metaphorical reaction to something does not qualify as a reaction gif. Generally speaking, most posts that use the term “How I Feel When” are analogy gifs.”3) What Should We Call MeThe two best friends behind this GIF website really get me … and I think you’ll feel the same way once you check out their page.Not only do they post a handful of times a day to keep things fresh, but they also do an excellent job of pairing relevant GIFs with relatable scenarios. Check it out:We all know that feeling, am I right?The GIFs featured on the site are either handmade in Photoshop by the creators or sourced from different websites — and they’re pretty good about giving credit where credit is due. 4) Reaction GIFsThis site serves up an appropriate GIF for just about anything you’re feeling or thinking. Depending on what you’re searching for, there are several different ways to uncover a perfect match.  Video Marketing Source: ImgurAnalogy GIFcenter_img Serving as snackable — and often laughable — bits of visual content, GIFs help us accurately convey our thoughts and feelings when we’re limited to virtual communication.The trouble is, finding the perfect GIF by hunting through Google Image Search or that desktop folder of your favorites can take way more time than it’s worth.Finding the right GIF doesn’t have to be a lengthy process — you just have to know where to look. To help, we’ve collected 10 awesome websites below that’ll help you find what you’re looking for quickly … without forcing you to lower your GIF standards. (Or, want to create your very own GIF? Check out this tutorial to learn how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop.)Note: Some of these websites might feature GIFs that are NSFW.Free Download: How to Use Photos in Marketing10 Sites for Finding the Perfect GIF1) GIPHYThis is my go-to resource for GIF hunting. Launched in February 2013 by Alex Chung and Jace Cooke, GIPHY started out as a search engine for GIFs. Since then, they’ve grown GIPHY significantly by partnering with brands, introducing integrations, creating browser extensions, and much more. (To catch up on all of their expansion efforts, check out GIPHY Labs.)The best part? Navigating their database of GIFs couldn’t be easier: Users can browse categories — Adjectives, Music, Nature, Science, etc. — or seek out a specific word or phrase using the search functionality. 2) RedditReddit is like the mothership for GIFs: The community boasts not one, but several impressive GIF-related subreddits. Here are a few noteworthy ones:/r/gifs//r/reactiongifs/r/analogygifs/r/highqualitygifs/r/dancegifsWhile all of the different, specific options make it easy for you to find what you need, many of these subreddits commit to a series of guidelines to refine their entries even further. For example, while “reaction gifs” and “analogy gifs” may sound pretty similar, there’s actually a difference. Allow me to demonstrate …Reaction GIF Topics: Want to earn yourself a spot on the leaderboard? Use Imgflip to create your own GIFs. If your GIF gets upvoted, you’ll earn points that can help you land a spot on the board. Want more visual content tips? Check out these video marketing and advertising campaign examples. Jimmy Fallon and the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens go a cappella Originally published Jan 18, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated October 08 2019 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 Stats that Prove the Importance of Product Videos for Ecommerce

first_img Topics: Originally published Feb 2, 2016 10:30:00 AM, updated August 09 2019 Producing quality videos for your ecommerce site is hard, we know. Equipment is expensive, and specialists who know how to use that equipment cost even more. For that very reason, many ecommerce businesses will settle for photos and graphics just to get the job done.These video marketing statistics show that video might just be an investment worth making. Sure, you’ll have to dig a little deeper into those pockets at first, but the results will return more than you dreamed.Download Now: Ecommerce Planning Templates + KitVideo Appears in 14% of Internet Search ResultsWhen consumers search for products like yours, 14% of the results could very well be product videos. If they’re not your videos, then you’ve lost a significant portion of the audience, haven’t you?Google also says video campaigns will soon be grouped just like any other ad through AdWords. That means videos will soon be even more likely to show up in Google searches.73% More Visitors Who Watch Product Videos Will Buy Did you know that your products are more likely to sell if you create videos for them? There are quite a few reasons for this, which we’ll cover in the next points. The most important thing to note, however, is simply that videos for your products do prompt more purchases. That’s really the biggest and most important statistic you need.Almost 46% Will Showroom If Video Isn’t AvailableShowrooming has been considered the bane of brick-and-mortar stores’ existence, but it can go the other direction, too. If you have buyers on your site who really want to see the products in action, they might drive to the nearest store. If they do that, you’re likely to lose that purchase. Instead of letting your buyers leave your site for any reason, give them videos so they can see your products in action.71% of Consumers Think Video Explains the Product BetterWhen consumers feel like they understand the products you sell, they’re more likely to take a chance on spending their money. Video clears up a lot of that confusion. Isn’t that what your marketing is all about, anyway? Answering questions with quality content? 57% Are Less Surprised By Products with VideoThose buyers who see the videos and understand what they’re buying are less likely to be surprised by the products when they arrive. As you might imagine, those consumers who are less surprised by their purchases also end up happier. And happy customers are less likely to return a product for a refund.58% of Shoppers Think Companies with Product Videos Can Be TrustedAll of this adds up to trust. By providing product videos, you give buyers quality information that doesn’t hide behind good angles and lighting. They understand the products they’re ordering and are happier with their purchases. With every great transaction, you build more and more trust.And a consumer who trusts your business is worth the investment you’ll make in product video production, isn’t it? Ecommerce Marketing 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