Jackson County Releases 2017-18 Visitor Guide

first_imgThe new Jackson County Visitor Guide for 2017-18 is on stands across the county and state, and features new hikes, waterfalls to explore, arts & culture and things to do that both tourists and residents will enjoy. The guide is produced by the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority, is available at no charge and can be picked up at visitor centers and select local businesses.The Visitor Guide showcases Jackson County’s rural, scenic and welcoming mountain communities of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire.The expanded 72-page, color guide with foldout maps is “full of information on restaurants and dining, accommodations, and things to do in the mountains,” JCTDA Executive Director Nick Breedlove said. “This year’s guide is 20-percent larger than last year and contains much more content,” he added.“Visitors to the area love to reference the foldout hiking and waterfall map to navigate our scenic trails,” said Breedlove. “In addition, we have a foldout for the WNC Fly Fishing Trail and information on Jackson County’s designation as NC Trout Capital.” Jackson County is home to the nation’s first-and-only fly fishing trail. With over 4,600 miles of pristine trout waters, Jackson County is a fisherman’s paradise.The “Things to Do” section of the guide contains six pages of helpful tips highlighting arts and crafts, outdoor recreation, shopping and adventures to experience while visiting our county. When asked, “What’s there to do in Jackson County?’, this list will be something one can hand to family or friends from out-of-town, and they’ll find more than a weekend’s worth of activities,” said Breedlove.The following additions and information are new in this year’s guide:Total Solar Eclipse- Being in the path of totality, Jackson County is a prime viewing location for the once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon on August 21, 2017. The guide provides visitors with information on the events planned around this spectacular event.“On the Silver Screen” – This section details the recent filming of Three Billboards and Dirty Dancing, both of which will air this year. Details on where visitors can go to see scenes directly from the films and details on what makes Jackson County’s picturesque towns such a hot spot for film crews are all included.Ale Trail- With a fourth craft brewery opening this summer on Main Street, Jackson County’s Ale Trail has expanded to four breweries in a walkable one mile stretch. Information about the Ale Trail and each brewery appears in this year’s new guide.Also, a feature not to miss includes a list and description of Jackson County’s greatest natural assets, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Panthertown Valley, often called the “Yosemite of the East,” encompassing some 6,295 acres of wilderness.The JCTDA is continuing its focus on environmental stewardship by promoting the “Leave No Trace Seven Principles.” The LNT principles support sustainable tourism and preserving natural resources for years to come.“People are discovering what’s so special about Jackson County, and they’re planning trips up from the city to get away for the weekend,” Breedlove said, citing increasing tourism expenditures.“We’re just over two and a half hours from Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville and many other areas,” he said, making it perfect for a trip to the mountains. “We offer a wide array of hotels, resorts, vacation rentals and cabins for travelers; pair that with Jackson County’s craft breweries, farm-to-table culinary scene alongside all our outdoor activities, and it makes for a perfect weekend getaway.”In 2015, tourists spent $175 million in Jackson County, an increase of almost three percent over 2014. “We expect even more visitors this year,” Breedlove said.last_img read more

How to Fix Yahoo!: Building a Yahoo! Platform

first_imgRelated Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market 1. An Open APIWhen it comes to developer APIs, Yahoo! is at the forefront. According to ProgrammableWeb, Yahoo! ties with Google for having the most APIs (25), which is why it boggles my mind that they don’t have one for My Yahoo! the way Google does for iGoogle, or Facebook, or Pageflakes, or Netvibes do. Even more amazing, Yahoo! actually already has a widgets API, it’s just focused in the wrong direction: on the desktop instead of toward their own web platform.“The bottom line is, if we expect you to make My Yahoo! your home on the Web, then we need to deliver the content that‚Äôs important to your life. Hence we‚Äôre working around the clock to add more and more relevant modules to choose from.” — My Yahoo! Team, June 2007The best way to add more relevant modules is to open the platform to anyone. Why have a team of people adding only “official” modules and working from a limited perspective when you could have thousands of developers doing the work for you for free? Look at the explosion of applications on Facebook’s platform as an example of how well this works. Right now there are over 2300 apps on Facebook, created in just the first two full months of the platform, and that is about 500 more than there were 12 days ago.Sure not all of those apps will be great, and many of them will likely be downright awful. But the chances of adding applications that are useful to your users and will potentially attract new ones greatly increases when you open up your platform. Further, it is now your users, rather than a small team of paid employees, who are deciding which applications are useful to them. Yahoo! could still retain editorial control by approving applications before adding them to the site, or by featuring modules vetted by the editorial staff.Certainly for a content company like Yahoo!, opening up their platform might seem like giving their competitors a way to leech users away from their own content, but in reality the opposite it a true. It actually means giving users access to competitor content while keeping them on your site, which is a net positive.2. Richer ApplicationsCurrently most My Yahoo! modules are one-way, meaning that they give you information but you don’t really interact with them. I can get my email via a My Yahoo! module, but I can’t compose and send or even read a full email without leaving the My Yahoo! page. Some widgets have basic input functions — like the reference or stock quote widgets — but query results are still returned on a separate page, rather than inside the widget.iGoogle’s YouTube app can play videos directly in the app.For My Yahoo! to be taken seriously as a platform and compete with Facebook and iGoogle, they’ll need to support richer applications. That means applications that can be interacted with on the page, such as a dictionary app that loads the definition I am after without sending me away from my My Yahoo! page, or a Games application that lets me load a game of Literati right inside my start page, or a Flickr app that lets me upload photos and manage my galleries without actually visiting Flickr.One of the reasons people get so excited about Facebook and other burgeoning web platforms is that there exists the potential for nearly any sort of application. With the right apps, Facebook could theoretically become a one stop shop for web surfers to consume information and perform tasks. Support for richer applications would put Yahoo! in the mix for creating the web platform that demands the most of your attention.3. Make the Platform Social This is probably the last step Yahoo! should take when building their web platform. Richard and I have both talked about turning start pages into social networks (here and here), and this is certainly where I see these companies going. As Richard said, it seems to be almost a natural evolution — once you have the users, why not allow them to interact? But Yahoo! needs to focus on building out their platform for developers before turning it into a social network.It’s no secret that Yahoo! has long wanted a social network. There was their famous failed attempt to buy Facebook last fall, and they have since been linked with bebo as well. When Yahoo! launched the beta of their new My Yahoo! service last March, they hinted at the prospect of making their start page property more social, so it is possible they already have plans to do so.I think growing a social network around their platform makes more sense than purchasing one. My Yahoo! already has 50 million users (by December 2006 numbers) — or a lot more than Facebook. Since we’re already using My Yahoo! to tie Yahoo!’s services together and already want it to be the hub for the Yahoo! universe and the web at large, it makes sense to build in a social network, rather than purchase one from the outside and go through the headache of figuring out how to get it integrated.ConclusionCertainly the Yahoo! platform won’t fix Yahoo! by itself, but I think it should be a major part of their plans going forward. Turning My Yahoo! into an open platform for rich internet applications does two things: 1. it can unify Yahoo!’s services under one umbrella — something they have long struggled to do, and 2. it adds utility for users and gives them less reason to leave Yahoo!, and the longer people stay on the page, the more likely they are to start using Yahoo! for search.I think Yahoo! is actually in a better position to create a winning platform than Google is right now. Their start page is already established and has an enormous user base, they have a rich developer culture built around their other APIs and they can seed their platform with some of the best content on the web.What do you think of my proposed idea to turn My Yahoo! into a platform? Do you use My Yahoo! now? Would you if it was the platform I envision? Would that be a step in the right direction for Yahoo!? Leave your thoughts below. josh catone 1 Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… As part of our focus on Yahoo!’s next 100 days this week, I am going to dive into how I would go about fixing the company. Or at least starting along that path. According to comScore, Yahoo! is the 3rd most visited collection of web properties worldwide (trailing only Google and Microsoft), reaching about 61% of the global web audience. In the US, the company’s websites are still #1, and actually have a broader ad reach then Google domestically. Yet Yahoo!’s total revenues for the first six months of 2007 were less than Google’s revenue for just the last quarter.Though that serves as a table setter for the problems at Yahoo!, I won’t get into financials in this article, as that is not my forte. Instead I will focus on what can be done to create a more useful and meaningful Yahoo! for users, one that can keep people on the site and drive them to use their search engine. Remember that Google controls ~50% of the search market share and pay-per-click text ads on search results drive a significant portion of their revenue — search share is very important to Yahoo!The Platform is the Killer AppThe killer app on the web is the platform. We’ve talked about this before on this blog in terms of social networks and AJAX start pages, and software like Google Gears, the Adobe Integrated Runtime, and the Dojo Offline Toolkit that let developers take the web out of their web apps and have added credence to the idea that the platform of the future is the Internet. Social networking darling Facebook has realized the power of the platform, which is part of the reason for all the hype, so have start pages like Pageflakes and Netvibes, who are building sophisticated (and increasingly more social) web platforms for developers. These platforms are beneficial for users because, like a desktop operating system, they allow people to aggregate the applications they use in one, central, organized location for quick access. For developers, platforms are a central location to launch new applications to the greatest number of people. For these reasons, the platform itself becomes the web’s killer app.One need look no further than this year’s hottest gadget, the iPhone to see how beneficial a strong platform can be for a service or product. While Apple didn’t provide a platform for developers in the true sense of the word, the number of iPhone-specific web apps that have been developed for the phone grows daily. These applications extend the functionality of the device and add value to users at no cost to Apple. Often, it is third party applications on a platform that attract new users or retain existing ones.Building a Yahoo! PlatformYahoo! needs to realize that the web platform is getting more and more important. Google already has, and is building a platform around their start page, iGoogle, by encouraging developers to build “gadgets” specifically for it. For Yahoo!, a platform can unify their services — which right now are scattered — and add utility to their page that will keep users there long enough to conduct searches. Yahoo! controls some of the hottest and most useful properties on the web, but has not figured out how to tie them together. They’ve started to bring some of their acquisitions under the single Yahoo! sign-on umbrella, but that still doesn’t bring my del.icio.us links, my Flickr photos and my fantasy sports team management to one central location.The good news for Yahoo! is that they already have a property just waiting to be turned into a full fledged platform: My Yahoo!My Yahoo! is one of the oldest and most popular start pages on the Internet (I’ve used it since 1999), visited by about 50 million people monthly. The path toward a Yahoo! platform begins with My Yahoo!, which has been undergoing a major update via their new beta site. Many of the changes the My Yahoo! beta showcases are good: drag and drop page organization, more customization tools, multiple pages, and the ability to create a module out of any RSS feed are all great features. Yahoo! has also wisely begun to utilize their start page as a way to tie their various services together — for example, I can add a static module for my del.icio.us bookmarks or my Flickr images. But there is still a lot more they need to do. Below I will outline three things I think they need to do to compete with the other fledgling platforms on the web. Tags:#Analysis#web last_img read more

How the iPad Is Revolutionizing Local Businesses

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Beyond the tremendous cost, most of these POS systems are horribly out of date. Many of them run on Microsoft’s .NET architecture and are prone to all of the same hiccups that any Windows PC will face over the course of its life. Restaurant owners likely do not care how technologically out-of-date their POS systems are, as long as they work. According to Phil Beauregard from Boston-based Objective Logistics, the entire culinary industry tends to be about five to seven years behind technology trends. “When they first came out, they were essentially glorified cash registers,” Beauregard said. “The [POS industry] has mimicked the entire PC industry.”Like the PC industry, the POS sector is about to see a major change in how businesses are interacting with technology. “Everything is getting untethered,” Beauregard said. The Evolution: Mobile + Cloud“When you are carrying around a tablet, you are carrying a gateway to the cloud,” said Nebula CEO and former NASA CTO Chris Kemp in an interview last year.The fundamental thing to know about mobile technology is that its primary computing power is done in the cloud. Yes, chip sets have gotten smaller, cameras are more compact and powerful, and batteries are more efficient than they used to be, but the biggest driver of mobile technology is the ability to offload the actual data and computing power to the cloud. This is something that innovators and enterprises have known for some time. The average small business owner? Not so much. “Cloud computing” is like an abstract theory to most people. They know the term, they kind of know what it does, but the full meaning of the cloud is lost on them. For the most part, they do not care. Consumers just want things to work. Local businesses just want them to work, but also be cost efficient. This is where tablets are poised to disrupt the entire POS industry. They are cheap, collect data on customers’ purchases and make that data easily accessible across any type of computing system. They can be used to make payments, take surveys, provide coupons and notify consumers of offers. The best part for local businesses: Tablets are a lot cheaper than traditional POS systems. “For all new restaurant businesses, they’ll seriously evaluate some form of tablet as their POS. New locations of existing restaurants will probably stick with whatever tech they’ve got, but all brand-new businesses are going to be taking a hard look at the cheap/portable nature of an iPad or Android tablet solution,” said Seth Priebatsch, CEO of Boston-based SCVNGR, which provides a mobile payment tool called LevelUp. The leader in the charge to turn the iPad into the new era of POS terminal is San Francisco-based Square. The company that released the original dongle for smartphones to swipe credit cards has also created an iPad app called the Square Register. It has the ability to turn an iPad into a POS system that works as well or better than anything from the traditional POS vendors. As a standalone product, the Square Register is a great option for local boutiques or coffee houses, where all that is needed is the ability to make transactions and provide receipts.According to Square spokesperson Aaron Zamost, 75% of small businesses will buy a tablet this year. Only 6% of retailers said they haved used a mobile POS device, but half of survey respondents panned to adopt such devices over the next 18 months. Restaurants are another matter. When a server takes an order, that information needs to go to several different places within the establishment. Chefs need the ticket to know when and what to make (cooks call these “duckets”). Bartenders need the tickets to coordinate with the server on what drinks need to be made. In a restaurant, communication is vital and often that is handled through the POS system. The Square Register does not yet fulfill all the needs of such an establishment. But other companies are working to turn the iPad into a fully functional POS system for restaurant use. San Francisco-based Revel features a full suite of products designed to turn iPads into an effective POS system – including employee logins, order taking, payment processing and “cook view” for the duckets. It has customer relationship management (CRM) features and real-time reporting and inventory control. These are all capabilities a traditional POS could offer, but Revel does it for a third of the price, about $1,500 per iPad and a $100/month cloud service fee. Other services, like E La Carte, provide custom-built tablets without an upfront installation fee. dan rowinski Image: Revel iPad POSUntethered, Unplugged & DisruptedIn the chain of innovation, we are not talking about anything extraordinarily drastic. iPads have been around for three years now and the concept of cloud computing has been around much longer. The confluence of mobile and cloud technology has invaded enterprise organizations over the last couple of years and it is now starting to trickle down to the Main Street level. Smart startups have looked at the middle class of American businesses and seen that it is ripe for the plucking. Square recognized it first, but any company focused on marketing, payments, offers and infrastructure will soon see that there are billions of dollars at stake. Are you a local business owner? What do you use for a POS system? A classic register, a touch-based terminal or some type of mobile device? Let us know in the comments. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Tags:#Apple#apps#iPad#Microsoft#mobile#Trends The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement It was dinner at a fancy restaurant in Boston. After the last sip of Scotch was polished off, the waiter came over with the check… and an iPad. It was to take a survey about the quality of service, but it just as easily could have been used to pay the bill. Tablets, especially Apple’s iPad, are increasingly finding homes in restaurants and local businesses. They are changing how businesses conduct transactions and receive customer feedback. In a data-driven world, Main Street retailers are on the verge of a significant evolution.Disrupting the Point of SaleYou have seen it before. You make an order at your local coffee shop or restaurant, or buy an item from a local merchant. The server or cashier punches a couple buttons on a static touchscreen, runs your debit card and hands you a receipt. Using these Point-of-Sale (POS) systems is now so common that consumers pretty much take them for granted.The people who own the businesses do not take them for granted. They often have a lot of money invested in them. The top POS vendors, such as Aloha, Micros and POSitouch, charge thousands of dollars to restaurants and retailers to set up and maintain these systems. For a restaurant that seats 100 people, the owners likely paid anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 to set up three or four terminals. The more amenities that the local business wants, the more POS vendors will gouge its pocketbooks. last_img read more

How do you record audits against software?

first_imgIn the world of effective software inventory management there are audits. Those audits are done comparing the software to physical installations or against budget. There are audits performed when a HFE (Human Factors Engineer) analyzes your usability or those done to ensure that you have sufficient disaster recovery elements in place.This happens every day against dozens of software applications and I have to ask the question — where do you record this data? Does everyone have individual approaches and simply has a spreadsheet containing the data? Is it recorded anywhere?I have to wonder where the value is in gathering data that has no reuse or exposure to the owners of the software solutions.So I’ve been bouncing around an enhancement to allow certain groups to register (and report) on audits. Internally some people hate it and some love it.What do you do?Do you have yet another application for capturing software audits?Do you do them at all?Let me know.Previous topics include Application inventory, what do you capture?,  Application inventory starts with a definition, Application inventory as a cost savings initiative, Application Inventory, the start of data sustainability? and How do you measure data quality in your Application Inventory?.last_img read more

Happy National Candy Cane Day, Marketers!

first_img inbound marketing kit special day Your Marketing Takeaways: 2.  Decorating the tree with candy canes became fashionable during the 1850s when a resident of Ohio,  August Imgard, hung them on a Christmas tree to augment his homemade decorations. What type of “sweet” data points can you find in your business? 4. The modern candy cane was invented by Bob McCormack of Atlanta.  He started the curved candy trend sometime in the early 1920’s with handmade versions.  As the original candy cane maker in the United States, Bob’s Candies manufactured about two million each day in 2009. ,  ,  . Inbound Marketing Kit 1. The original candy cane did not have stripes.  Before the red stripe was introduced, a candy cane was simply a white, mint-flavored stick. 3. Some Christians believe the candy cane has a symbolic meaning with the “J” shape representing Jesus’s initial, and the red/white stripes representing Christ’s purity and blood.  Others view the candy as the shape of a shepherd’s hook.  , and a  6. Candy canes are made with sugar, corn syrup, and starch – a super-solid sugar rush.   Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our 7. Candy canes were once considered “medicine”.  The soothing peppermint and sugar combo was used as a pacifier for children. Other flavors – including anise and cinnamon – were used by apothecaries to help soothe and calm their patients (probably the parents of the kids that needed a pacifier).center_img Two billion candy canes, about $214 million worth, were purchased this holiday season by consumers with a sweet tooth.   tweets . YouTube videos Facebook application history Here are some fun facts to help you celebrate the sugary day of December 26.  And, if on this day after Christmas, you are looking for ways to creatively use your leftover candy canes, here’s a video to give you some helpful tips.   Finally, once you have utilized this information for your own marketing efforts, the content will be picked up over and over again by others in your industry, creating the thought leadership every CEO looks for!   Every product has something interesting to say about it. Even an innocuous product like candy canes has its own  Originally published Dec 26, 2009 9:19:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Using metrics or specific data points such as number sold, revenue generated, introduction of, or timeline/history, any company can create content that will resonate with its customers and prospects. You would be amazed at the number of statistics you can pull together once different angles are considered.  And, some of them can be fun! 5. The mass-produced version of the candy cane made the scene in the 1950s when Bob’s (see #3 above) brother-in-law figured out how to cut, pull, twist and package the confection in a factory setting.    , Twitter  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

3 Key Factors For Improving Ecommerce Conversion Rates

first_img Ecommerce Marketing Originally published Sep 14, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 While an ecommerce site will always be focused around driving transactions, capturing the huge non-transacting majority for emarketing presents a major revenue opportunity and marketing challenge. The very best converting ecommerce sites make extensive use of remarketing tools to improve their ultimate transaction rate and retain visitors who are not yet ready to buy. These sites capture visitor information early, use value-added marketing offers, and have unique product page content beyond the boring manufacturer’s same-old template. For ecommerce sites that don’t convert at 18% or better, implementing non-transactional leads can greatly improve their ultimate conversion rate. A poor implementation, however, can lead to an even poorer site conversion rate as traffic is siphoned off the primary ecommerce funnel. There are three critical pieces to a successful implementation of offer-driven lead paths. They are: Call-to-action button Landing page with a form Thank you page Keep reading for implementation and design specifics on these three key pieces.Call-to-Action Buttons That Don’t Cannibalize TransactionsA call-to-action button’s purpose is to capture interest and divert traffic that does not intend to transact immediately. The button itself needs to have specific design and language characteristics to accomplish this goal and not remove people from the primary transactional funnel. Two critical basics of non-transactional call-to-action buttons design on ecommerce sites: Clearly identify the buttons as paths to learning more , not continuing down the purchase path. Visitors will self-select to engage if they are interested but not ready to purchase.  Use messaging like “Looking for more? Download the buyer’s guide to…” or “Need more information before you buy?” to make this crystal clear.If the button is placed as a secondary conversion option in conjunction with “buy now” messaging, it should be less eye-catching than the “buy now” button or messaging .Landing Pages That Capitalize on an Indicator of InterestOnce a site visitor clicks a call-to-action button, they move to a landing page. A landing page is a page with one singular purpose: collect visitor information (a name and email) in return for an asset (a buyer’s guide, ebook, factsheet). As with the call-to-action button, below are 2 critical considerations particular to ecommerce sites: Visitors to your non-transactional landing pages have already indicated interest in downloading the asset and not converting. Take off the sales hat for just a moment ; time to allow visitors to get what they want as simply as possible. That means no “buy now” or product-level messaging and a relatively short form. Briefly express the value of your giveaway to capitalize on the previous indicator of interest from the call to action button click. Recall that visitors to the landing page have expressed that they are not ready to purchase right now and are looking for more information. It’s better to capture their information here than have them defect and buy from a competitor next week.Thank You Pages That Don’t Maroon ShoppersAfter a visitor indicates interest by clicking a call-to-action and completes the form on the landing page, the site needs to uphold its end of the bargain and deliver the asset. The most effective way to deliver the asset is on a dedicated thank you page. On this page, the asset is can be linked along with hooks back into the main site’s funnel. This page may even remain open as people peruse your content, so keeping links back to the main ecommerce funnel may yield some additional utility. Two important elements for thank you pages on ecommerce sites: Keep the first, clearest link on the page for the asset . People have come through the landing page and expect a simple method of receiving their asset. Give it to them.Other links on the page can fall into two categories, depending on your goals. The links can either continue visitors in the “learn more” mode, which they are already in, and link to a blog or other informational assets. Alternatively, if the asset given away on the thank you page helps visitors make a final buying decision, follow-up links can now direct traffic back into the main ecommerce site funnel. Now is the time to put on your sales hat back on and move people back into the product pages, if you like.Putting Non-Transactional Ecommerce Leads in Their PlaceWhen the time comes to make a purchase, would you rather have been in communication with a lead for 2 weeks? Or would you rather they make their own unaided decision to type your site into the address bar? By following the tips above, ecommerce marketers can begin to grow their up-funnel email list and increase customer retention in the critical consideration stage that precedes an online purchase. The best-converting ecommerce sites in the world are doing this already. Photo Credit: Яick Harris 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

Marketing Lessons From the Cupcake

first_img Topics: Originally published Apr 19, 2011 3:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you have recently attended a wedding, birthday party or Bar Mitzvah, you likely have noticed how trendy the cupcake has become. Starting at $3 a cupcake, these confectionery delights are the craze of party goers and bakery shoppers. Search Quora and you will see reports that their fame gained traction after being offered at Magnolia Bakery and subsequently spotlighted on Sex and the City. Others feel their cuteness alone carried them to stardom.4 Inbound Marketing Lessons from the Cupcake1. Experiment with New Channels and OffersThe cupcake wouldn’t have gained its popularity if the first bakery hadn’t offered it to customers. They may have been selling dozens of regular cakes a day but little did they know they could be drawing in more customers by experimenting with the offering of cupcakes. Marketing Takeaway: You won’t know if it is going to work until you try it. If you are using HubSpot’s software , you can use tracking URL’s on any new calls-to-action you experiment with. What channels haven’t you experimented with yet – YouTube , Twitter , email marketing ? How are you going to grow your reach if you don’t try new channels?2. Diversify Your ContentOne of the great things about cupcakes is they allow you to offer a variety of flavors to your guests. If you can’t entice someone with chocolate, perhaps a luscious lemon cupcake will get them to table. Marketing Takeaway: As suggested by Prashant Kaw in “ Are All Your Referral Eggs in One Basket ”, depending on one traffic source is really risky. It is important that you draw traffic in from a variety of sources. Connect with your target audience through a variety of channels. Don’t just offer them vanilla, use social media to share your content, answer questions on LinkedIn , and listen to what is being said on Twitter and Facebook . Your target audience likely has different preferences on how they access information, so publish videos to YouTube in addition to blogging , and try some targeted email campaigns that pull people to your site.3. Be ConciseCupcakes are cute, small and easy to eat. You don’t need a plate or fork to eat them and you aren’t stuck with left over cake for days after. Marketing takeaway: Get to the point quickly. Keep your page titles under 70 characters and your meta descriptions under 150 characters. When asking your visitors to fill out forms , don’t ask them to spend more time than necessary. The goal is to get visitors to learn about your products and take action.4. Create a StrategyWhile the end product is a tasty little cupcake, hard work and preparation goes into the end results. You can’t bake a cupcake if you don’t have flour, eggs, and sugar, and nobody wants to pay $3 for a burnt cupcake. Marketing Takeaway: To be successful, you have to have a strategy for how you will create and optimize your remarkable content . Research keywords that you are going to optimize for. Publish optimized blog entries frequently. The more you produce, the more search engines will trust your site and the higher you will rank in SEO . What has the cupcake taught you about marketing? Marketing Advicelast_img read more

Everything Email Marketers Need to Know About Sender Score

first_img Email Marketing Originally published Feb 20, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Email marketing seems like an easy win for your inbound marketing strategy. Write an awesome email, put in some snazzy images, fire it off to your opt-in list, and watch the customers roll in.Even if it all was that easy, though, the step marketers often overlook is just how difficult it can be to actually get your email into a recipient’s inbox in the first place. Seems basic, but there are tons of moving parts involved in email deliverability, and a huge one is the reputation of the email sender. Luckily, there’s a service called Return Path that has a metric called Sender Score, which gives you insight into your reputation as an email sender. Have you checked your Sender Score? If you do know your Sender Score, do you know what it means for your reputation as an email marketer? If you’re interested in your reputation as an email sender, read on to learn everything you need to know about Sender Score.What is Sender Score?A free service of Return Path, the Sender Score algorithm rates the reputation of every outgoing mail server IP address on a scale from 0-100. Gathering data from over 60 million mailboxes at big ISPs like BellSouth and Comcast, Return Path records if people frequently unsubscribe or report spam from certain email senders, and then assigns you a Sender Score based on that monitoring. Your Sender Score will continue to change depending on your email sending habits and the responses of your recipients.It’s a crucial number to stay on top of, because mail servers will often check your Sender Score before deciding what to do with your emails. The lower your Sender Score, the harder time you’ll have getting into someone’s inbox. There are plenty of things that can impact the deliverability of your email, but Return Path reports that 83% of the time an email is not delivered to an inbox, it is due to a poor sender reputation.Even if an email network or ISP doesn’t query your Sender Score to determine whether they will deliver your email, the factors used in determining your Sender Score are similar to those used by email networks and ISPs to determine your sender reputation. As such, the score is a great, free email sender reputation tool to ensure you are aware of and have the opportunity to fix any deliverability problems.How Do I Interpret My Score?To check your Sender Score, visit Return Path’s registration page, and you’ll soon have a report that looks something like this (but with different data, of course!)Scores are calculated on a rolling, 30-day average and represent the rank of an IP address against other IP addresses, much like a percentile ranking. The closer your score is to 0, the worse it is, and if you’re close to 100 like Return Path is in this sample report, well you’re in pretty great shape! Now let’s break down what each of the items you’re being scored on in this report mean:Complaints: How complaints about that IP address compare to all other IP addresses. Complaint rates are calculated as complaints divided by accepted mail, and complaint scores are a rank based on your complaint rates.Volume: While not an indication of a good or bad sender reputation alone, it is an important part of the overall reputation algorithm. For example, an IP address which sends 100 messages and receives 99 complaints is problematic, while an IP address which sends 100,000 messages and receives 99 complaints is probably okay. A higher score equates to larger volume monitored by the Sender Score Reputation Network.External Reputation: How the IP address compares to all other IP addresses on a variety of external blacklists and whitelists.Unknown Users: The rank of the IP address’ unknown user rate compared to all other IP addresses. Unknown user rates are taken directly from incoming SMTP logs of participating ISPs, tracking how often an IP address attempts to send a message to an address which does not exist.Rejected: This represents how often messages are bounced compared to other IP addresses.Accepted: The number of email messages accepted for delivery, this number is expressed as the number of messages seen minus the number of messages rejected.Accepted Rate: The ratio of email messages accepted for delivery compared to email messages attempted. This is the number of messages accepted for delivery, divided by the number of messages seen.Unknown User Rate: The ratio of unknown users, or invalid email addresses, compared to the amount of email seen.So, what’s a good score? If your score is over 90, congratulations! That’s a very good Sender Score. If your score is between 50 and 80, something isn’t right — move on to the next section of this blog post to see what you could be doing wrong that’s impacting your email deliverability. If your score is less than 50, well… looks you’re probably a spammer.What Do I Do If I Have a Bad Sender Score?The first step is knowing, so good job on checking your score. It can take weeks or months to fix a low Sender Score, so the sooner you’re aware of the problem, the better. There are several aspects of your email marketing that you need to check and possibly change to improve your Sender Score and email delivery rates — here are the ones that Sender Score takes into serious account:Inconsistent Volume of Email Sends: See the graph in the top right corner of the Sender Score report? Their email send volume goes up at a pretty steady rate, and as a result, their score maintains a pretty even number. However, if you were to send 5,000 emails on Monday, 200 on Friday, nothing for a week, and then suddenly another 15,000, you would likely get dinged for sending inconsistent volumes of emails.Frequency of Sends: Just as the volume of sends should be consistent, so should the frequency with which you email recipients. Email every day, every other day, every week — whatever your needs are. Just make sure you don’t jump on the email marketing bandwagon, abandon it after a month, then hop back on and expect no deliverability penalties. As you perfect your email marketing machine, you’ll be able to test the optimal email sending frequency for your recipients.Cold IP Address: If you’re new to email marketing, you may have neglected to warm up your IP address. Start email marketing on a new IP address with small batches of the best people on your email list — you know, the ones who love you and won’t mark you as SPAM or unsubscribe from your communications. Progressively increase the amount of people you email to warm up your IP and prove you’re a safe sender.Being Blacklisted: There are about 50 known blacklists out there that denote which IPs are spammers. Return Path has a service that lets you see if you’re on a blacklist. Assuming you’re a legitimate email marketer who just didn’t know some of the rules for good email deliverability, visit the sites of those who have blacklisted you to consult their information for being removed from their blacklist. If you contact them for removal, they will help you understand why you were blacklisted in the first place and what you can do to improve your email marketing methods.Getting Caught in a Spam Trap: A spam trap is an email address that was once valid, but no longer is, and will thus garner a hard bounce notice when you email them. However, when a mail server sees consistent traffic going to the dead email, they can turn the email into a spam trap that will stop returning a hard bounce for the known bad address, and instead accept the message and report the sender as a spammer. The moral of the story here is, if you’re not monitoring your hard bounces and removing them from your active email list, you could be perceived as a spammer.SPAM reports: Finally, if your email recipients think you’re a spammer and identify you as such via a SPAM report, your sender reputation is going to suffer. Check the rate at which your emails are marked as SPAM — an acceptable rate is 1 in every 1000.There are several other factors to getting your email into a recipient’s inbox — the content of your email, email infrastructure, recipients’ personal filtering preferences — more of which you can learn about in this email post about email deliverability. But if you’re looking to start email marketing on the right food, establishing and maintaining a reputable email sender reputation is one of the most important qualities of your email marketing program.Do you know your Sender Score, or have a gauge on how good your email deliverability is?Image Credit: 10ch Topics:last_img read more