Bloom bill expands hearing aid coverage

first_imgHomeFeaturedBloom bill expands hearing aid coverage Feb. 21, 2019 at 5:00 amFeaturedNewsBloom bill expands hearing aid coverageMadeleine Pauker2 years agoNewsrichard bloomSanta MonicaRichard Bloom The state assemblymember representing Santa Monica is introducing a bill to require California health insurers to cover hearing aids for children.Richard Bloom, a former Mayor of Santa Monica who represents the Westside in the California State Assembly, introduced a bill Tuesday that would make California the 25th state to mandate that private health insurance companies cover the costs of hearing aids for children. Only one in 10 deaf or hard of hearing children in privately funded plans has coverage for hearing aids, leaving more than eight thousand California children without any kind of health insurance coverage for their devices.Hearing aids cost between $1,500 and $4,000 per ear and must be replaced every three to five years. Children from families who earn less than $40,000 per year receive free hearing aids through California Child Services, but middle-class families receive no assistance, said Dr. Michelle Christie, executive director of the Culver City-based No Limits for Deaf Children and an advocate for the bill.In California, 195 children who need hearing aids do not have them because their families cannot afford them, according to the California Health Benefits Review Program. Even families who can afford to purchase the devices often postpone their child’s hearing aid maintenance or audiologist visits because private insurers do not cover the cost of hearing aid services.“We believe that a child’s ability to hear should not be based on their family’s income,” Bloom said. “Yet here in California, thousands of families have to pay for their child’s hearing aids out of pocket. Some are forced to forego hearing aids altogether while others have to delay maintenance or replacements. I introduced AB 598 because I believe that needs to change.”Michelle Marciniak, co-chair of Let California Kids Hear, a coalition that promoted AB 598, said the legislation has been introduced twice before but momentum in California and around the country for such legislation has risen in the past few years. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Children’s Hospital Association and the California Academy of Audiology all support the bill, she said.All California children receive a hearing status screening at birth, Christie said, and if they get hearing aids before they are six months old, they grow auditory neural pathways and develop academically at the same rate as hearing children. Children who receive hearing aids by age six still reap many of those benefits.But because very few private health insurers cover hearing aids, some children miss out on those opportunities, Christie said. Parents are often surprised to learn that they are not covered because insurers cover dental and vision care, she added.“No Limits believe every child should have the opportunity to hear and that insurance companies should cover the cost of hearing aids,” she said. “Hearing aids impact a child’s entire life. We need to remove the financial stress for parents so they can focus on their child’s happiness and abilities, not on gathering money for their basic needs and rights.”[email protected] :Newsrichard bloomSanta Monicashare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentThe Great Nina SimoneJudge’s ruling says City had time to plan for District based electionsYou Might Also LikeFeaturedNewsBobadilla rejects Santa Monica City Manager positionMatthew Hall8 hours agoNewsCouncil picks new City ManagerBrennon Dixson19 hours agoFeaturedNewsProtesting parents and Snapchat remain in disagreement over child protection policiesClara Harter19 hours agoFeaturedNewsDowntown grocery to become mixed use developmenteditor19 hours agoNewsBruised but unbowed, meme stock investors are back for moreAssociated Press19 hours agoNewsWedding boom is on in the US as vendors scramble to keep upAssociated Press19 hours agolast_img read more

Auburndale girls basketball dominates Northland Lutheran

first_imgBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterAUBURNDALE — Paiton Richardson had 23 points and nine rebounds, and the Auburndale girls basketball team pounded Northland Lutheran 59-14 in a Marawood Conference South Division matchup Thursday night at Auburndale High School.Auburndale cruised out to a 21-5 lead after the first quarter and went up 45-10 by halftime in a dominating performance.Taylor Gotz added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Shannon Yahnke had 11 points for the Apaches. Auburndale improves to 15-4 overall and finishes its Marawood South season with a 9-3 record. Northland Lutheran is now 7-13 and ends up 2-10 in the conference.Auburndale hosts Athens in a nonconference game Tuesday and will play in the Marawood Conference third-place crossover game on Feb. 20 against an opponent yet to be determined.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Apaches 59, Wildcats 14Northland Lutheran 5 5 2 2 – 14Auburndale 21 24 9 5 – 59NORTHLAND LUTHERAN (14): Beka Edelberg 0-5 2-4 2, Ashley Colby 0-4 0-0 0, Hannah Kloehn 2-6 2-6 7, Mesa Haag 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Fenske 1-4 0-0 3, Sidney Moore 0-2 0-0 0, Halley Engelbrecht 0-6 0-0 0, Erin Gast 0-1 0-0 0, Melissa Neumann 0-2 2-2 2. FG: 3-31. FT: 6-12. 3-pointers: 2-10 (Kloehn 1-1, Fenske 1-4, Neumann 0-1, Engelbrecht 0-1, Edelberg 0-1, Colby 0-2). Rebounds: 14 (Neumann 6). Record: 7-13, 2-10 Marawood Conference South Division.AUBURNDALE (59): Rachel Gronemeyer 0-1 0-1 0, Cassie Mitchell 0-3 0-0 0, Ashley Peplinski 0-2 1-2 1, Allison Linzmeier 3-4 0-0 6, Cheyenne Karl 0-1 0-0 0, Jenna Peplinski 0-2 2-4 2, Sylviann Momont 1-7 1-2 3, Paiton Richardson 9-15 5-6 23, Shannon Yahnke 4-7 3-4 11, Taylor Gotz 4-14 5-6 13. FG: 21-55. FT: 17-25. 3-pointers: 0-1 (A. Peplinski 0-1). Rebounds: 34 (Richardson 9). Assists: 13 (Momont 3). Record: 15-4, 9-3 Marawood Conference South Division.last_img read more

Unholy Baba: Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s fall from guru to rapist

first_imgTwenty years of hard labour and a Rs 30.2 lakh fine for two counts of rape and criminal intimidation. His jail term, the judge told Singh, would be extended by an additional four years in the event of any default in depositing the fine. What occurred next is most revealing:,Twenty years of hard labour and a Rs 30.2 lakh fine for two counts of rape and criminal intimidation. His jail term, the judge told Singh, would be extended by an additional four years in the event of any default in depositing the fine. What occurred next is most revealing: an apparently devastated Singh turned remorseful. “Mujhe maaf kar dijiye (please forgive me),” bawled the convict, who only days ago was the omnipotent spiritual guru of Dera Sacha Sauda, with a claimed following of 70 million doting adherents. Eyewitnesses-jail guards present at the hearing-say Singh wailed and needed to be physically removed to the prison cell that will be his home for the next two decades. The fateful afternoon at the model jail outside Rohtak city, safely distant from the dera followers concentrated largely in Sirsa and Punjab’s Malwa region, was a huge comedown from the massive power, influence and political clout that was at Singh’s command while he was still a free man.”Hamein maarna apne aap ko maarne ke barabar hai (To kill me is akin to killing yourself).” This opening line of the trailer of MSG: The Messenger of God, Singh’s cinematic debut in January 2015, was meant to be a grim warning to all those who opposed him. The message: it would not be easy to take him down. And he wasn’t too wrong. After all, it took 15 years, over 200 court hearings and the dogged perseverance of the two young sadhvis (one of them a minor) who first accused Singh of raping them. “There is no doubt that I am God,” the beastly baba had said to ‘Prosecutrix A’, the young Kurukshetra girl who courageously described her torment in a 2002 letter to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.advertisementPhoto: Milind Shelte In the three-page letter she wrote to him, the young girl stated she wasn’t Singh’s only victim. Blowing the lid off a sordid saga of rampant sexual exploitation of young disciples, she wrote: “If the press or some government agency” were to investigate her allegations, “40 to 50 girls living on the Dera Sacha Sauda campus would come forward to reveal the truth”. CBI officers who investigated the case reportedly tracked down 18 of Singh’s victims. But having escaped his clutches, most of them had got married and settled into a life safely away from the dera, and none but the two sadhvis, who stayed until his conviction, agreed to testify. Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, editor of the Sirsa-based newspaper Poora Sach, who had more than a fair notion of the sordid goings-on inside the dera, prominently published the sadhvi’s ‘cry for help’ in his newspaper. He was threatened, allegedly by Singh’s henchmen, but he refused to be cowed down, instead launching a campaign against Sacha Sauda. Chhatrapati was murdered in cold blood.Months before, Ranjit Singh, once a part of Singh’s inner coterie at the dera but also brother of one of the sadhvis who were raped, was shot dead in the fields outside his village in Kurukshetra district.Also probed by the CBI, the trial against Singh and others in Ranjit’s murder is in its final stages, with the next hearing on September 16.The contrast between these dark and sordid crimes and the garish mix of buffoonery, spiritualism and showmanship with which ‘Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’ made himself known to the world at large is stark. But behind the self-fabulism of the guru and the self-delusion of the flock of ‘millions’ lies a grittier story. A story of our times.Gurmeet Singh is the only child of Maghar Singh and Naseeb Kaur, a land-owning Jat Sikh couple of Gurusar Modia village in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district, who were devout followers of the then dera head Shah Satnam. Singh’s village schoolmates remember him as a “distinctly precocious and confident young lad, extremely fond of sport and very good in studies”. But there is evidently a generous proportion of ‘alternative truths’ infused into the narrative about him. There are also memories in Gurusar Modia of Singh ‘misbehaving with girl students’, ‘failing his final exams’ and eventually being ‘expelled’ while he was in Class 9. ‘Initiated’ into the dera when he was just seven years old, Singh went on to inherit its leadership when the ageing incumbent, Shah Satnam, “voluntarily” proclaimed him his successor and passed him the gaddi on September 23, 1990. Anointed a ‘saint’, he was thenceforth called ‘Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’. His supporters at the dera immediately proclaimed Singh the reincarnation of Beparwah Mastana Balochistani, who founded the sect in April 1948 and prophesied in January of 1960 that he would be reborn after seven years. Gurmeet Singh’s birth on August 15, 1967 proved convenient to his ascendancy. But here too, there’s an alternative, albeit carefully whispered, sequence of what may have actually transpired. Gurjant Singh alias ‘Rajasthani’, chief of the dreaded Sikh terror outfit Khalistan Commando Force and Gurmeet Singh’s longstanding friend, used to frequently drop by at the dera in Sirsa. Former Punjab Police intelligence officers say he even used the sprawling premises to stock arms and, on occasion, as a hideout. Rajasthani was there when Singh was anointed as the ‘third Master’, and according to one persistent rumour that has always been vehemently, sometimes violently, discouraged within the dera, “a revolver pointed at Shah Satnam-ji’s temple” was enough for him to pass on the mantle.Rajasthani was gunned down in an encounter with the Punjab Police in Mohali on August 31, 1991. But by then, Singh was in complete control of the dera, having resolutely stamped out every slightest sign of dissent. And that is also when he set about expanding Dera Sacha Sauda to achieve the huge power and influence it would eventually come to wield.advertisementWhat used to be a relatively humble ashram expanded to more than 700 acres with scores of new buildings-rows of shops, schools, three state-of-the-art hospitals, seven schools and colleges, two posh hotels for paying devotees, even two petrol pumps. And at the centre of it all, Singh’s own gufa (cave)-an ultra-luxurious abode with access zealously restricted to just a select few, other than the unfortunate young sadhvis. Unverified video images on social media, showing Haryana policemen entering the gufa on August 29, depict expensive, gilt-edged furnishings and air-conditioned chambers with larger-than-life pictures of the ‘guru’ adorning virtually every inch of wall space. The man clearly liked looking at himself.Singh also succeeded in growing Dera Sacha Sauda far beyond its modest beginnings in Sirsa. A list of the dera’s assets compiled by CBI investigators shows properties in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, as well as overseas centres in Victoria (Australia), Italy and the UK. A compilation of the dera’s assets still under way in Haryana and Punjab, on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has revealed over 230 premises, mostly naam charcha ghars (congregation centres). Not counting assets held in cash, bank accounts or other securities, the Punjab administration has conservatively valued the dera’s prayer centres at approximately Rs 60 crore. Adding to this, the takings from the dera’s hotels, sales from MSG Foods (an online groceries store) and sale of products to devotees at its many centres are estimated to be worth Rs 1 crore per day.But apart from all his wealth, the dera chief’s massive political clout also came from his mushrooming following. Consider this: from a relatively meagre ‘subscriber base’ of under a million adherents when he grabbed the gaddi in September 1990, the dera claims its following swelled over 70 times under Singh’s leadership. “Nearly a third of Guruji’s followers are youth who have chosen to forsake intoxicants, non-vegetarian food and immorality,” the dera’s chief spokesman, Aditya Insan, told india today months before Gurmeet Singh’s current troubles.advertisementIt was the burgeoning population of youth in his flock that led Singh to song, dance and eventually cinema. “It is a sugar-coated pill of quinine to attract the youth,” he admitted to a reporter in one of his first media interactions in November 2014.MSG: The Messenger of God was an over-the-top rendition of the Bollywood formula blockbuster, about truth triumphing over evil. It was an overdose of rock and rap music, dance and action sequences. His people proudly said, “Guruji writes his own lyrics and has arranged the musical score for each one of his songs.” Lead actor, co-director, lyricist, playback singer, set and costume designer for his movies, Singh plays himself, depicted as a larger-than-life protagonist pulling off impossible stunts while riding a series of custom superbikes, all-terrain vehicles, even hopping on and off helicopters, possibly inspired by a mix of James Bond and Akshay Kumar movies.His four subsequent movies- MSG-2: The Messenger, MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart, Hind ka Napak ko Jawab and Jattu Engineer-have been equally outlandish, but each one was lapped up by his followers. Together, Singh and the dera reportedly raked in over Rs 1,000 crore from the films.Despite, or perhaps in preparation of, his impending reckoning with the law, the dera under Singh also accumulated a long list of ‘achievements’ that would leave most other social outfits gasping. As part of 133 ongoing public welfare projects, voluntary blood donation campaigns run by Dera Sacha Sauda have collected more than 300,000 litres of blood (the dera’s website claims 35,000 units of blood are collected every year at the Sirsa premises alone), bringing in three successive Guinness world records. The dera also claimed to have won 22 Guinness awards for de-addiction, ophthalmological, diabetic and cardiac clinics, tree plantation and cleanliness drives. Also, from the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, devastating floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 to the floods in Kashmir in 2014, the Shah Satnam Ji Green ‘S’ Welfare Force Wing, by now a 70,000-strong collective of trained volunteers given to martial uniformed parades, has delivered disaster relief in some of the most adverse conditions.Singh and his supporters have long been insisting that the allegations of rape, murder and 400 forced castrations against him are false. He points to “conspiracies” by liquor and drug cartels and their political masters who, according to him, are losing business because of the dera’s sustained campaign against alcohol and narcotics.As per its own claims, the dera-since Singh assumed charge in 1990-has “rescued close to 65 million people from the clutches of alcoholism and drug abuse”. But wait, that adds up to more than the entire population of Punjab and Haryana put together!There was a clear and deliberate attempt to exaggerate the truth. Take the 22 Guinness records, most of them awarded to the ‘Rev. Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan’, for instance. They include awards for some decidedly trivial accomplishments-the largest poster, largest finger-painting, most people sanitising hands, even the most (32,207) birthday videos received in a single day-which dera spokesmen seldom talk of to outsiders. The dera’s smartly designed website (www.derasachasauda.org) is most revealing. It is mobile-ready, besides serving as a one-stop shop for everything, from healthy living tips to information about upcoming discourses to diet charts to shed flab. The portal also carries PDF files of 20 separate ‘pledge forms’ that devotees can sign and submit-to take an oath against female foeticide, volunteer as a blood, eye, skin, bone or whole body donor, surrender subsidies, promise never to tease girls, even, believe it or not, to quit homosexuality!There’s more. An entire section on ‘miracles’ performed by Gurmeet Singh, unbelievably, features testimonies crediting the godman with everything from “curing cancer and mental illness to restoring eyesight, even averting accidents, reviving a dead child and guaranteeing the birth of a boy”. Based on the pledges since Singh assumed the mantle, spokesman Aditya Insan, who’s been slapped with sedition charges following the August 25 Panchkula violence, claimed in a conversation with india today that the dera was the biggest repository of “human skin (for grafting), bone (as a cheap alternative to joint surgery), corneal eye tissue, and volunteer organ donors”. He also claimed that the dera has been the “single largest blood donor to the Indian army since 2006”. However, no offer was made to verify the claims. Pleading for a lenient sentence in the makeshift court in Rohtak jail, SK Garg Narwana, the dera chief’s longstanding legal counsel, predictably invoked Singh’s claimed social welfare enterprises. “The convict is running social work in Haryana, especially when the government of Haryana has failed to do such works,” Narwana told the court, adding references to Singh’s contribution to drug de-addiction and motivating his followers to marry “even prostitutes”. Judge Jagdeep Singh was not impressed.Dera Sacha Sauda’s claimed following of 70 million adherents in India and abroad is, in all probability, similarly overstated. But even if grossly exaggerated, the numbers have been more than sufficient to bring politicians of all hues flocking to Singh-seeking his blessings, but more importantly, his benevolence prior to an election.Gurmeet Singh’s spectacular rise and fall from grace may seem uniquely lurid, but his story is closely enmeshed in a larger and equally disturbing sociological phenomenon. In recent decades, Punjab, Haryana and other north Indian states have witnessed a growing ‘dera culture’ amid the mushrooming of socio-religious sects invariably headed by self-styled godmen. Their followers transcend religion and caste, but are largely from the economic and social margins of society. Dalits comprise 32 per cent of Punjab’s population. In Punjab and Haryana, a significant section of them is affiliated to some dera or the other.Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh launches a cleanliness drive in Delhi with the BJP’s Manoj Tiwari and General VK Singh. (Photo: Ramesh Sharma / Mail Today) Dera Sacha Sauda, like some 3,000 other deras in the region, draws adherents from among Hindus, Sikhs, backward caste converts to Christianity and Muslims. Pramod Kumar, political scientist and director, Institute for Development and Communication (IDC), Chandigarh, describes deras as “poor cousins of institutionalised religion”. He says their popularity is rooted in the region’s religious tradition where rather than engage with scriptures, devotees prefer listening to discourses delivered by glib-talking gurus or spiritual leaders. The rise of deras, however, is also a consequence of the failure of institutionalised religion (Sikhism in Punjab) to embrace such people as well as the inability of the state to guarantee a dignified living and security. Jawaharlal Nehru University sociologist Surinder S Jodhka says: “Deras offer a sense of security to their followers and a personal touch, which is completely missing in mainstream gurdwaras and temples.” Womenfolk, particularly, are fervent supporters. Apart from discouraging drinking and running successful de-addiction programmes, deras like Sacha Sauda have accumulated extensive wealth, which is spent on the welfare of followers. Kumar says deras provide followers everything that the state denies them. Since early 2000, the expanding base of six of Punjab’s biggest sects-Dera Sacha Sauda, Dera Baba Jaimal Singh of the Radha Soamis, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan at Nurmahal in Jalandhar district, Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar, the Namdharis and the Nirankaris-have brought their leaders extensive political clout. Sacha Sauda has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to swing elections in 27 assembly seats in Punjab’s Malwa region. An IDC study shows the Radha Soamis can influence outcomes in 19 assembly segments, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan and Dera Sachkhand Ballan in eight each, the Nirankaris in four and the Namdharis in two constituencies. Most deras don’t proclaim their political preference, but Sacha Sauda changed that in the 2007 Punjab polls, announcing support to the Amarinder Singh-led Congress. It backed the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP in 2012 and 2017. And though Singh had always insisted that he has never directed his followers to vote for a particular politician or political party, the dera’s political wing, the Saadh Sangat Rajnitik, would invariably send out a clear signal on the preferred political direction ahead of any state assembly or Lok Sabha election. Just days before voting in the Haryana assembly elections in October 2014, Dera Sacha Sauda’s political wing declared support for the BJP. This after Kailash Vijayvargiya, the party’s election in-charge for Haryana, met the dera chief with 40 BJP candidates. Significantly, the decision to support the BJP was preceded by PM Narendra Modi’s public praise for the dera’s cleanliness drives, during an election speech at Narnaund.The quid pro quo with deras means political parties are unwilling to or incapable of acting against dera leaders, as evident in the case of Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar government. While Punjab (where the ruling Congress doesn’t enjoy the dera’s support) cracked down on troublemakers in the aftermath of Gurmeet Singh’s conviction, Haryana not only permitted some 100,000 dera supporters to gather in Panchkula, but also assured the courts that everything was under control-until, predictably, all hell broke loose.Sadhvis at the Dera ashram in Sirsa. (Photo: Ravi S Sahani)  But all that is history now. While Singh’s 82-year-old mother Naseeb Kaur, on August 28, proclaimed his son Jasmeet Insan as the new custodian of the dera, this is certain to be challenged by Honeypreet Kaur aka Priyanka Gupta, a young woman Gurmeet Singh adopted in 1999. There is also a third contender in 34-year-old Vipassana, a young woman who is close to Singh and who was until now responsible for the day-to-day running of the dera. However, there may be no ‘spoils’ to share. A full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, consisting of acting Chief Justice SS Saron, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Avneesh Jhingan, has ordered Punjab and Haryana to compile and attach all assets of Dera Sacha Sauda while also barring any transfer, sale or mutation of such assets, including bank accounts. This, the bench said, would be used to pay for the damage caused by dera supporters in Panchkula and elsewhere.Dera Sacha Sauda ashram in Sirsa. (Photo: PTI) And while many of the dera’s now disillusioned adherents might well go their way, even perhaps returning to the fold of mainstream religions, more trials await Rohtak jail’s ‘Prisoner number 1997’-Gurmeet Singh.Apart from charges related to his role in the 2002 murders of journalist Chhatrapati and of Ranjit Singh, the CBI has also been probing allegations that Singh ordered the forcible castration of 400 followers. Trials in all these cases are expected to conclude by the end of this year.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

Finding Blue Ocean Keywords: A Fresh Look At The Long Tail

first_img Whether the notion of the “long tail” resonates with you or this idea of “blue ocean” keywords works, the key to attracting more free traffic to your site from search engines is to create more great content on your site than your competitors do.  Focusing less on the most common or obvious keywords and more on carving out your own unique set terms will likely result in faster and better results. keyword research It occurred to me that applying the essence of their theory to your or In Kim and Mauborgne’s metaphor, a red ocean represents existing and competitive industries where lots and lots of people are fighting for limited market share; picture sharks in a feeding frenzy.  A blue ocean represents new industries where opportunity is abundant and competition is non-existent; picture the clear, blue ocean water. “business consulting” “consultants” “consulting” A few years ago we posted an I created a spreadsheet (represented above) of about 1500 keywords that we track (presuming they are all reasonably relevant).  Then, based on the intensity of competition for each keyword, I applied a gradient with blue being applied to those keywords with little or no competition and red being applied to those with steep competition.  The result is a pretty cool visual representation of which keywords would likely deliver the quickest and most qualified results. .  They are easy to identify and they are attractive because lots and lots of people tend to search for them.  To actually generate organic traffic from them, however, is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for most companies; there is just way too much competition. Typically, these “red ocean” keywords are also very expensive if you were to consider buying them as part of a paid search campaign.  As it turns out, these popular search terms are also rather vague and are less likely to send high quality traffic your way.  In general, Kim and Mauborgne would recommend against spending any time competing for those terms on the right. , Keyword Research strategy could open up a sea, if you will, of opportunity. Keywords farthest to the right represent those that are common or most obvious.  For a consulting company, examples might be by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.  Essentially, the book encourages entrepreneurs to think differently about their business plans.  Instead of entering an existing industry and fighting for market share, create a brand new industry.  Instead of working hard to beat the competition, eliminate it.  Blue Ocean Keywords Topics: Red Ocean Keywords Keywords on the left, on the other hand, represent creative, outside-the-box keywords that differentiate a product or service from the masses.  Using the same fictional consulting company as above, examples of “blue ocean” keywords might be “small business IT consulting”, “small business network implementation” or “IT consulting company Cambridge, MA”.  These types of “long tail” terms are searched for less frequently, but they are more specific and therefore will bring more qualified traffic to your site.  There are also far fewer sharks in the water.  That “blue ocean” on the left – and even in the middle- is where the greatest opportunity lives and the list is endless.  What you see in the image above is just an illustration to make a point.  Blue ocean keywords are innumerable, all you need to do to take advantage of this opportunity it create the content.  Publishing often and writing relevant content will result in increased (and qualified) traffic form search engines.  And, if you are just getting started and you are considering jumpstarting your efforts with a paid search campaign, blue ocean keywords are usually far less expensive. article inspired by the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” Originally published Oct 27, 2010 8:00:00 AM, 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

Lessons in Viral Marketing From the Sh*t My Dad Says

first_img … Enable ease of social sharing but adding social sharing links to all your content so those who come across it can easily spread it across their networks. Consider creating content in bite sizes or construct a whole piece of content that can be broken down into smaller pieces. Slide presentations that curate different data points or statistics are one example of this. the next big hit on YouTube Sh*t My Dad Says Justin Halpern, on the other hand, hit the word of mouth motherlode with his ‘ Viral Campaigns or that our little marketing meme ultimately spreads across Facebook and Twitter like wildfire, let’s be honest — the majority of our efforts won’t make it that big. 3. Make Sure It’s High in Quality . Follow these tips, and who knows, you might just get lucky like Justin did. ” web series, Justin shares his story about how he got to where he is today. Creating content that goes viral is no easy feat. While many of us marketers are secretly crossing our fingers that the new video we produced ends up Marketing Takeaway: 1. Make it Easy to Consume One of the reasons Justin’s Sh*t My Dad Says series spread so quickly is because it offered bite-sized content that was easy to consume. People could quickly visit his Twitter feed and read as many or as few of his posts as they had time to. Whether they spent 5 seconds or 5 minutes perusing his Twitter feed didn’t matter. Either way, they still walked away with the same user experience. still have marketing value Marketing Takeaway:center_img As Justin mentions during his interview, when he first starting tweeting the funny mutterings of his father, he didn’t think much of it. “Everyone thinks their dad is funny,” he commented, which led him to believe the sh*t his dad said might not be funny to an audience on a broader scale. Well, turns out his initial skepticism was wrong, since Justin never would have made it as big as he did had the content he created been, well, the opposite of funny. Rise to the Top 3 Key Lessons for Creating Viral Content From Justin Halpern ‘ phenomenon. Originating as a fun, silly hobby he shared with friends, Halpern’s musings have since gone viral and generated over 2.3 million Twitter followers, more than 16k Facebook Fans, and led to two book deals and a TV sitcom on CBS for Halpern. key elements of many successful viral sensations You can create as much bite-sized, easy-to-share content as you want. The bottom line is, if people don’t like it, they won’t want to share it, and it won’t go viral. Put time and effort into creating content to increase the likelihood that it will spread. Marketing Takeaway: While there may be no secret sauce that guarantees you a viral marketing hit, Justin’s success reminds us of a few Topics: Originally published May 16, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 2. Make it Easy to Share In the below interview with David Siteman Garland on his ” While creating viral content is difficult to achieve, there are definitely best practices to observe when it comes to producing something that has the potential to spread. And even if your creation doesn’t become a raging viral phenomenon, it will Similarly, Justin’s phenomenon was easily spreadable. People could quickly share a link to his Twitter feed, retweet their favorite Sh*t My Dad Says tweets, or post them to Facebook and other social networks. 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

What Topic Do You Want To Learn About in HubSpot’s Next Ebook?

first_img Loading… Originally published Jun 2, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated July 19 2013 Go ahead … don’t be shy!center_img 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

How to Tailor Lead Nurturing Content to Suit Individual Personas

first_imgAccording to Forrester Research , companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost. If this is the case, then why are only 49% of marketers taking advantage of lead nurturing tools , as evident by Loopfuse’s Marketing Automation Study ?One of the main reasons marketers fail to adopt lead nurturing as part of their marketing mix is a lack of content. To effectively execute a lead nurturing program, you can’t exactly have a deficiency in content. You need enough of it in order to keep your lead nurturing emails interesting and relevant at every stage in the sales and marketing funnel, from a lead’s initial discovery of your business all the way through to purchase-readiness.Furthermore, while many of the more basic lead nurturing campaigns focus on delivering content solely by leads’ stage in the sales cycle, the most successful lead nurturing campaigns deploy content specifically tailored to the needs of different marketing personas, too. According to the Aberdeen Group , personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% , and conversion rates by 10% . But this also translates to a whole lotta content, so it’s no wonder many marketers are hesitant to get started with lead nurturing.But here’s a little secret: you don’t need to create all this content from scratch. If you have even just a general baseline of marketing offers, you can re-work this very content to suit the needs of your various marketing personas and segments, saving you a lot more time and effort than crafting brand new content from scratch. Here’s how to do it right… Identify Your Personas The first thing you’ll need to do is identify your various buyer personas, which serve as detailed profiles of the people who are most likely to make great customers for the products and services you sell. If you don’t already have well-defined personas for your business, that’s where you’ll need to start. Ask yourself the following 9 questions when developing your personas ( we elaborate on them here ):What is their demographic information?What is their job and level of seniority?What does a day in their life look like?What are their pain points?What do they value most? What are their goals?Where do they go for information?What experience are they looking for when shopping for your products and services?What are their most common objections to your product or service?How do I identify this persona?As you’re thinking about these questions, you’ll identify clear distinctions between each persona, and you’ll begin to understand why it’s important to treat each differently in the content/offers you provide them through your lead nurturing campaigns. Using these questions as your guide, create detailed profiles for each of the personas you’ve identified. These profiles will be helpful to reference as you start tailoring the content you have to suit each persona.Depending on your business, industry, and how many different products/services you sell, you may find that you have 1, 2, or 10+ personas (or anywhere in between). Businesses that sell a lot of different products for various target audiences, for example, may identify several very unique personas. And the more personas you identify, the more content you’ll need (sigh).As you complete this exercise, you may even start finding that you can nest specific groups of personas under broader persona categories. But when you’re first getting started targeting your lead nurturing content so you can base campaigns on personas as well as stage in the sales cycle, we recommend you start catering to broader groups of personas first. You can always get more granular as you build up your content arsenal , and it’ll get easier and easier to more closely tailor existing content once you get started. Select Your Best Marketing Offers for Each Stage of the Sales Cycle Lead Nurturing As I mentioned earlier, most of the more basic lead nurturing campaigns are based solely around stages in the sales cycle. The process sounds kind of like this: A lead converts on a top-of-the-funnel offer like an educational ebook , so they get nurtured with similar top-of-the-funnel content. Then, once they’re ready, they convert on a more middle-of-the-funnel offer like a product demonstration, a consultation, or a free trial, thus getting removed from the top-of-the-funnel nurturing campaign and swapped into the middle-of-the funnel campaign to get nurtured by content/offers more appropriate to that stage in the buying cycle. And so on and so forth. Make sense?Most sales cycles can universally be boiled down to 3 distinct stages in the sales cycle: awareness , evaluation , and purchase . You can learn more about each of these stages and how to appropriately map types of lead nurturing content/offers to these stages in this post , but here is a brief rundown:So, in order to have content for each persona to nurture leads in each stage in the sales cycle, you’ll need to identify 3 of your best generally targeted offers for each stage: 1) your best top-of-the-funnel offer (which caters to leads in the awareness stage ), 2) your best middle-of-the-funnel offer (which caters to leads in the evaluation stage ), and 3) your best bottom-of-the-funnel offer (which caters to leads in the purchase stage ).And by “best,” we mean top-performing, so consult your marketing analytics to determine which offer you have for each of these 3 stages has the best conversion rate . For top-of-the-funnel offers, you should be looking at visitor-to-lead conversion rate; for middle-of-the-funnel offers, look at lead re-conversions; and for bottom-of-the-funnel offers, look at lead-to-customer conversion rate. Tweak Content to Cater to Each Persona Once you’ve chosen your 3 general offers, it’s time to tweak them to suit each of your personas. So if you’ve identified 2 personas to start out with, you’ll need to tweak each of your 3 offers for each persona, meaning you’ll end up with 6 separate offers. Whether you’re tweaking a top-of-the-funnel ebook, a middle-of-the-funnel product webinar, or a bottom-of-the-funnel live demo, the following tips as well as the detailed persona profiles you created earlier will help you tailor your offers to suit these individual personas. Cater to the Persona’s Individual Needs, Problems, and Interests Think about that persona’s individual needs, problems, and interests. Is there anything specific they might care about or need a solution for that your offer doesn’t address because it was meant for a more general audience? If so, work these concepts into the content.For example, if you’re a school that provides horseback riding lessons to learners with a variety of skill levels, you may have 3 different types of students — beginner riders, intermediate-level riders, and more advanced riders. If these are your three personas and you’ve identified that your best top-of-the-funnel offer is your ebook on  The 10 Skills Every Horseback Rider Needs , you’ll probably want to tweak this content to cater to the 3 skill levels of your students. If this is the case, the skills that advanced riders need probably aren’t very applicable to skills needed by beginner riders (and vice versa).  Adjust Formatting, Depth, and Length To piggyback off my last point, because different personas will likely have varying interests, the way you present certain information may need to vary. For example, if you’re catering to an advanced horseback rider in your ebook compared to a beginner, that content might lend itself to more in-depth explanation of certain topics than content suitable for a beginner, who may prefer bullet point summaries of the topic. In other words, the way you present your content — in format, depth, and length — may vary depending on the individual persona you’re targeting. Keep this in mind. Modify Language and Tone Another modification you’ll want to make involves changes to the language and tone used in the offer. Do your different personas respond to the same type of language, or do they prefer to be communicated with differently? Do they prefer language that is more formal and professional, or a more informal and casual tone? Are there any variations of the jargon these different groups use to describe similar things?Sticking with our horseback riding school example, let’s say you were tweaking your bottom-of-the-funnel offer, which is a free-20 minute horseback riding lesson. In your lead nurturing email to promote this offer, you’d likely want to tailor your language based on the skill-level of that prospective student. An advanced student, for instance, would probably have a wider knowledge of advanced horseback riding terminology, so it’d be suitable to use this jargon in your email. The language used to promote the lesson to a beginner-level student, on the other hand, who probably isn’t familiar with advanced terminology, would need to be much more basic and novice. Incorporate Industry/Persona-Specific Examples Another thing you’ll want to do is make sure your content/offer is as specifically relatable to each persona as possible. A great way to do this is to incorporate examples that resonate with that particular persona. Does that persona correlate to a specific industry? If so, replace general examples with industry-specific ones to illustrate your points in a more targeted way (or add these examples where there are none). This makes it so the content is even more personalized to the needs, interests, and problems of that particular persona.Let’s refer to our horseback riding school example one last time. If you were creating a middle-of-the-funnel webinar discussing the teaching methodology your horseback riding school follows, and you were targeting an intermediate-level rider, you could include a case study of an intermediate rider who came to your school and, as a result of your methodology and training, became one of the top riders in their division and moved on to compete with more advanced-level horseback riders. Modify Your Lead Nurturing Campaigns Once you’ve tweaked your content/offers based on persona, then you’re ready to start incorporating them into your lead nurturing campaigns! Using your marketing analytics and lead intelligence, determine which characteristics to use to categorize individual leads by persona. By identifying which leads correlate with what personas, you can then use your lead management system to segment them into different lead nurturing campaigns based on their stage in the sales cycle as well as their persona. Congratulations! You now have much more segmented, personalized, and effective lead nurturing campaigns set up. Let us know how they perform! In what other ways can you tailor your lead nurturing content and offers to better suit your individual marketing personas? Image Credit: Hello Turkey Toe Originally published Mar 14, 2012 3:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:last_img read more

17 Examples of Creative Facebook Page Cover Photos

first_img Topics: Images Originally published Apr 5, 2012 2:37:00 PM, updated August 26 2017 Facebook’s new “Timeline” design has been mandatory for all Facebook businesses pages for almost a week now, and you may have noticed your cover photo is now taking up some serious real estate. So even if you don’t take the time to use new features like pinning, starring, and milestones, it’s certainly worth taking some time to make your cover photo stunning, creative, functional, or all of the above.But innovation doesn’t just come out of nowhere … you need a creative spark before you can fan the flames!Free Templates: Facebook Cover Photos for BusinessesSo we scoured Facebook looking for some of the coolest cover photos out there we thought would inspire you. Take a look at how these brands are making the most of their new Facebook cover photo real estate. Then get out there and design a cover image that makes your Facebook page fans and visitors “ooh” and “ahh!”1) Sunrise SignsWe love when our customers get really into their marketing, and Sunrise Signs is certainly showing an interest in the new Facebook cover photo capabilities with this fantastic one that showcases exactly what its product does — without words. They also highlight their clients, a great way to show customer love!2) Old SpiceOld Spice has opted for an Eye of the Tiger meets Diehard theme in its cover photo, also known as the punch you in the face approach. Actually, it seems like their spokesman really might jump out of the computer and punch you in the face, considering Old Spice’s clever cover photo/profile image alignment. But if you’ve seen any Old Spice campaigns in the last couple years, it’s completely on point with their brand. And while it might not be your cup of tea, there’s no denying it captures your attention.3) SharpieSharpie’s cover photo is simple and clean, but also really, really captivating. Look at that detail and artistry! It shows fans how to use this everyday product — a Sharpie permanent marker, and a paper cup — in a creative way. Plus, that pop of red draws your eye in, matches the pop of red in Sharpie’s logo, and reminds us Sharpie actually has colored markers!4) OverGo StudioOverGo Studio is another star HubSpot customer/partner, and their Facebook cover photo is effective because it explains what they do to an audience who may need more information about their services. Yes, they’re using words, but it’s not overpowering! The font is bright and crisp, and the lighter blue words in the background let someone who is really studying the photo learn about their service offerings in more detail without overwhelming visitors with copy-overload. They’re another example of an intriguing, yet subtle use of cover photo-profile image alignment.5) UberUber’s Facebook cover photo is effective because it’s both functional and brand-enhancing. The cars on the map show the cities in which they operate, and the old school map reflects the understated, classic, exclusive feeling of its customers’ experience.6) DropboxDropbox’s Facebook cover photo made this list because it is simply adorable. And you know what? Sometimes the best thing you can do in marketing is just make people smile. Just look at that little guy in the plane! This cover photo also aligns with Dropbox’s Twitter background, and helps make a relatively unsexy service (file hosting) more fun and accessible.7) LivestrongWe featured Livestrong’s Facebook cover photo in a previous post about brands that are making great use of the new features on Facebook’s brand pages. Livestrong’s cover photo is simple, but still artistic and strong. It just goes to show that you don’t always need to get fancy — just be visually captivating. And while we’ve seen a lot of brands play around with the alignment of their cover photo and profile image like we just saw with OverGo Studio and Old Spice, Livestrong cleverly carries its cover photo design into the ‘Views and Apps’ section of its page, where it features the Livestrong blog.8) Murder Mystery CompanyThen again, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a little flash in your marketing! HubSpot customer Murder Mystery Company takes you into their dramatic world with their Facebook cover photo, letting you in on the experience of attending one of their murder mystery performances. Plus, it has a little sex appeal — never a bad thing in marketing!9) McDonald’sMcDonald’s uses its Facebook cover photo to give you sense of the company’s history. Nostalgia is a great approach for McDonald’s — it showcases what I think many would agree is a more enchanting time for the fast food industry.10) Jive SoftwareJive Software’s success with its Facebook cover photo is in the details. When you click on the photo, you see that the caption is “The People are the Network.” What a great sentiment for a social business software company’s social media page! It creates a sense of community, and the image tells us that Jive’s customers are the foundation of the company.11) PhotoShelterUnlike Jive Software, HubSpot customer PhotoShelter lets you actually see the faces of people in its cover photo for a more engaging effect. Including pictures of people in your social media is always a great idea, as long as they look natural and not like stock imagery. These photos both reflect the company’s purpose, and put sympathetic faces behind the brand.12) iStockphotoAnother photo site, it’s no surprise iStockphoto has a spectacular Facebook cover photo — they’ve got a whole website full of them! So it’d be foolish for them not to show off the best of their product. If you look closely, the bottom right corner of the photo gives credit to the photographer, and when you click into the photo, it provides a link to the website where you can purchase the photo. Talk about a subtle call-to-action!13) VerizonVerizon gets their customers involved with their Facebook cover photo. Verizon changes the photo every day, replacing it with an image taken by a real customer. Then they add a picture of the customer in a small call-out, include the name of the customer who took the picture, and the name of the device they used. It not only pays tribute to Verizon’s customers, but it also shows off the capabilities of their products.14) ZipcarZipcar got some clever copywriters involved with their Facebook cover photo! They combined a funny, quippy saying with an image that shows where you can go with a Zipcar. And notice that directive in the bottom right corner? It tells fans what to do — get out, and zip!15) Lawyers.comLawyers.com has gotten around the call-to-action restrictions of the new Facebook design by including an image of their latest piece of content. When you click into the photo, they include a link to the post which then takes you to the full piece of content.16) UrbanDaddyUrbanDaddy’s Facebook cover photo is exceptional at reinforcing their brand, but with subtlety. The photo doesn’t tout their product — which is their content — or their offers. It’s all about the person who reads UrbanDaddy, and the lifestyle they embody.17) HubSpotAnd of course, we wanted to give our own Facebook cover photo a little love! We combined the orange our brand is known for with the Boston skyline — it is our Hub, after all!What creative Facebook cover photos have you seen? Share them in the comments so we can all be inspired!Image credit: Sean Rogers1 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

7 Questions Marketers Should Be Asking Their Sales Reps

first_img Originally published Sep 4, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 All too often, we think of marketing and sales as separate entities within an organization. As marketers, we just have to generate the leads and hand them over to the sales team. And that’s it, right? Well actually, no. In fact, as marketers, it’s our job to make sure that we’re not only generating leads for the sales team, but that we’re also generating high quality leads that our sales team can close as customers at as high a rate as possible.We’ve discussed the concept of “smarketing” in the past — aligning sales and marketing to make both teams stronger and more effective. And while there are a number of ways to do this, a good place to start is simply having a conversation with your sales reps. You’d be amazed how much insight you can glean about your marketing, your leads, and all the pieces of your strategy from any given member of your sales team.So go ahead, grab one of your sales reps for a half hour-long chat, and take some detailed notes about their answers to the following seven questions.7 Questions to Ask a Sales Rep Right Now1) What does your sales process look like?Okay, this one may seem a little rudimentary if you already know the basics of how your sales team operates. But first of all, a little review never hurts, and second, you may be missing important pieces of the sales process that you hadn’t realized.For example, do you know how your sales reps begin a conversation? Do you know how — and how quickly — they work in information about your product or service? How much time do they spend on the phone with a lead? How long does it take the sales rep on average to get your product in front of the decision maker at the lead’s company? It’s critical to develop a strong understanding of exactly how your sales team works your leads. That knowledge should be used as the foundation of your strategy, and it will prove immensely valuable for increasing your marketing effectiveness, since you’ll have a better understanding of how you can create marketing campaigns that complement — not counteract — the sales process.2) What qualities make a lead good or bad?Now, you may already have a lead scoring system in place (and if you don’t, you might want to consider it), and that’s a great tool for qualifying leads, but it’s still important to get detailed feedback from your sales reps about what they think makes for a particularly strong or weak lead. Your reps may also have different opinions about what qualities are most indicative of a lead that will most likely close or a lead that most likely won’t, based on their various experiences and techniques. Find out what factors they look for when they’re deciding which of their leads to call, and figure out how you can generate more of those kinds of leads for them.3) Are there specific marketing offers that signify a particularly strong or weak lead?This one goes along with number two, but it will give you a narrower focus on the actual content you’re using to generate leads. Let’s say you’re creating ebooks and hosting webinars as part of your lead generation strategy. Are leads more likely to convert into customers if they downloaded an ebook or attended a webinar? What about if the ebook was intended to teach readers about your specific product versus a facet of the broader industry?You should already be tracking this data so you can analyze your marketing offers to know which ones convert at what rates, but you may also find that your sales reps can provide additional insight into which offer topics and formats work best. Ask them which types of conversion events they like to see when they decide which leads to call. Are there any offers that make it particularly difficult or awkward for them to start a conversation? Use this feedback to make your offers stronger so you can generate the kinds of quality leads that your sales team likes to work.4) Do leads typically have the right expectations about what they’re getting?Messaging is a core part of marketing. You need to make sure you’re setting expectations correctly. Check with your sales reps to see if the leads they’re calling actually know why the rep is getting in touch with them in the first place. Are they aware that they’ve requested a demo of your product? Maybe your calls-to-action are unclear. Maybe your landing page copy needs rewriting, or your email subject lines are misleading. If you’re sending your sales team leads that didn’t intend to sign up for a free trial, and a rep calls them, saying, “I see you’ve requested a free trial,” not only is that embarrassing, but you’re also wasting your rep’s valuable time.5) What is the number one thing leads like and dislike most about our offers?Are your reps conducting demos of your product? Providing free trials? Maybe assessments of some sort? Find out how these offers are performing from the rep’s perspective, and ask your reps to shed some light on how helpful these offers are from their leads’ perspectives, too. What do people enjoy most about the demo or assessment? How valuable are they finding your ebooks, webinars, or other downloadable content? What are a few pieces of criticism the rep has received? Understanding what your leads do and don’t like about your marketing offers will help you improve both their format and delivery, as well as your ability to effectively position these on the marketing side.6) What are the top reasons a lead doesn’t close?This is a big one. As marketers, our job is to not only generate new leads for sales, but to also nurture leads who are not yet qualified, which include ones that reps have attempted to work but were not yet ready to buy. Instead of just throwing all of these not-yet-ready leads into one bucket, ask your reps about the most common reasons why those leads were not ready to buy. Let’s say the top 3 reasons are budget, timing, and not seeing the value of your product. That’s extremely valuable information to you as a marketer, because now you can segment those leads accordingly and target your nurturing campaigns to address their specific pain points. The more effectively you can nurture these leads, the more effectively you can get them to be sales ready and hand them back to your reps to close.7) Are there any ways marketing can help or do better?It’s good to get a general idea of how your sales team feels your marketing team is performing, but chances are, they’ll have some specific points of feedback that could be really useful to both you and them. Don’t forget — they have insights into the qualities, needs, challenges, and behaviors of your leads and their sales cycles that you most likely don’t. Maybe there’s an opportunity to hand a certain type of unqualified leads back over to Marketing to nurture. Maybe a new type of lead-gen offer, a different positioning of your product, or a new angle for your follow-up messaging might be more effective in getting your leads to be sales ready. Let your sales reps share their ideas, and see which ones make sense to implement.It’s easy to get caught up in your own strategy. And while you should absolutely be conducting your own analyses to figure out what works and what doesn’t, your sales reps are the ones who are actually talking to your leads, and taking it from where you leave off. A short conversation can go a long way. So go grab a rep, grab some coffee, and make your marketing — and your smarketing — way more effective.What other questions do you ask your sales team to help improve your marketing strategy?Image Credit: Collection Agency Inbound Sales (Marketing) 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