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SA sets up forum to tackle xenophobia

first_img27 June 2013 Home Affairs Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan has announced the establishment of a forum to conduct dialogues across South Africa on issues related to xenophobia. Chohan made the announcement after meeting with business and community leaders in Pretoria on Wednesday. Addressing the media after the meeting, Chohan said the government was gravely concerned about the level of violence directed at foreign nationals. “We felt there was a need to discuss the matter with foreign national business people,” she said. The discussions were sparked by the recent spate of incidents of violence directed at foreign nationals. In some instances, businesses belonging to foreign nationals were looted. Chohan said she hoped the forum would encourage people to address the challenges they faced. “We believe this is a healthy way to address conflicts. We hope this will result in a process and culture of resolving problems. We also think the forum will assist in bringing people together,” Chohan said, adding that there was a need to develop an understanding of other cultures. According to Chohan, the dialogues are expected to start in Gauteng, as it is the most affected province. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Cape Town Jazz Safari, with Andulela Experience

first_imgTour operator Andulela Experience offers visitors to Cape Town an interactive trip through the Cape jazz scene, which reflects life in the Mother City. (Image: Andulela Experience)• Monique Le RouxAndulela Experience+27 82 695 4 [email protected] KearneyFresh from another spectacularly successful Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Mother City is plunging into Jazz Appreciation Month, and as always, it is offering a good, jazzy night out.There are, of course, the various clubs and pubs, led by the notable The Crypt at St George’s Cathedral and Straight No Chaser in the city bowl, as well as the veteran spots like Swingers in Wetton. But for something more intimate, try a jazz safari for size.The 15th annual jazz festival took place on 28 and 29 March at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), and all tickets were sold out by 3 March, according to organisers ESPAfrika; the two-day passes for the entire festival were sold out by 7 January. It’s a popular weekend indeed.On the programme were national and international maestros, with the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim; Erykah Badu; Jonas Gwangwa; Mike Rossi Project; Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra, allowing virtuoso Marcus Wyatt to pay tribute to the original South African sextet, whose compositions they played on Saturday night; Shane Cooper Quintet; and, Jimmy Nevis among them. At 87, pianist Randy Weston led his trio towards the sublime at 2.30am on Saturday morning. But for many, the standout performance was Kyle Shepherd and Bokani Dyer.And there was the Sounds Fringe Cape Town. Though not officially part of the festival, it added to the atmosphere. There were also workshops for musicians, producers and journalists, and performances at venues around Green Market Square and at various hotels. At least 15 000 people were at the opening night, as always held in Greenmarket Square. At the main stage at the CTICC – there were five stages in all at the venue – 20 000 people turned out for the shows. On Sunday, venues in Paarl and Wynberg were included.It kicked off a good month: April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), recognised around the world, culminating in International Jazz Day on April 30.The American Jazz Museum explains that JAM highlights the glories of jazz as both “a historical and a living treasure. Here is one special month to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz… The story of America is embedded in the spirit and rhythms of jazz; captured in beats that have travelled through the African Diaspora and a spirit of freedom that has impassioned slave and free born, immigrant and migrant since America’s founding.”Indeed, the African diaspora has brought jazz to all corners of the world, and April 30 was declared International Jazz Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in 2011. It is led by Unesco Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, the jazz muso. Osaka, Japan is the 2014 global host city. Presented each year in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the day “encourages and highlights intercultural dialogue and understanding through jazz, uniting people in all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognised on the official calendars of both Unesco and the United Nations,” says the organisation. On safariThis all makes April the best time to book a Cape Town Jazz Safari, run by Andulela Experience. Cape Town’s jazz is a special sound. Andulela explains that South African jazz was forged in a climate of rebellion. “In the Johannesburg of the forties and fifties, the swaggering, cosmopolitan sophistication of African American bebop culture was adopted wholesale by the township youth; its style and lingo becoming a form of defiance against oppression. Artists, journalists and political activists came together around the music in the shebeens of Sophiatown, where the pioneers of northern ‘marabi’ jazz were making their names.”Down south in Cape Town, meanwhile, a different sound was emerging as American sailors brought the new jazz into harbour with them. “Somewhere between the docks and the Cape Flats, it was infused with the Mother City’s own charismatic melange of musical traditions, cross-pollinating with the carnival music of the “Cape Coons” and drawing on the rhythms of Europe, Asia, and all Africa. Thus Cape Jazz came into being.”In the 1960s and seventies, many local musicians fled oppression at home, going into exile, and much of South Africa’s jazz was better known abroad. Even after the 1994 democratic elections, the Cape jazz scene remained an elusive subculture. But in the past few years, with the exiled musicians returning, it has been claiming its place in the sun.Andulela co-founder Monique le Roux says the idea is to give to travellers something they would not usually get. “We are interested in real life stories, in visiting and getting to know people in their homes and working spaces,” she explains. The company began a decade ago, offering Malay cooking safaris – essentially tours of the historical heart of the Bo Kaap and its stores, notable the spice emporium, ending with a cookery lesson led by a local woman, in her home. Then, about nine years ago, it began offering jazz tours too, taking visitors “right into the fabric of the city’s musical spirit, at the same time giving back to the local music scene”. Mac McKenzie’s goema sound was a major contributor to Cape jazz. Mac McKenzie is “a guardian of goema music and its greatest innovator to date, re-imaging the boundaries of this style”. (Image: Andulela Experience) What’s onThe first visit is to the home of a professional musician, such as well-known pianist Hilton Schilder. Dinner, drinks, and exclusive performances in their homes are followed by a trip into the city to enjoy live jazz at a nightspot, or a saunter across town for a nightcap at the home of a second musician.“We deal in universal themes – music, food, the arts. If you have something in common, it is easier to exchange,” Le Roux explains. The company has Fairtrade certification, and 80% of its business is done with families in need. “Responsible tourism is a personal passion. We try to look at how to access another culture from a different socio-economic community in a realistic way. It is a delicate balance between contributing financially and cultural interest.”The walking tour component allows the visitor to feel, smell and listen more closely. The emphasis is on fun, real-life inspirational stories: the musician also talks about life and culture. And while it is primarily a listening experience, musicians on the tour are welcome to join in and jam. Responsible experienceThe jazz safaris operate on Fairtrade principles. It has several hosts who rotate the tours between them so that work is created over a wider area. The tours take a maximum of 12 people, but the ideal for a more intimate experience is eight. Taking place in the evening, from 7pm to 11pm, they cost R895 per person.Included in the price are dinner, transport and a guide, as well as wine – though you can bring your own too. “It is even interesting for non-jazz lovers,” Le Roux points out. “You can look at it as a specialised music experience, or as a cultural experience.”The hosts are icons of jazz in South Africa, she emphasizes. As the name Andulela stresses – it is a classical isiXhosa term for “to be the first” or “pioneer” – the company is offering a first in Cape Town, while punting the idea of responsible tourism. “The tours not only benefit the hosts financially, but there is also a cultural exchange. Seeing the world through their visitors’ eyes also broadens their horizons. It is an enriching, diverse experience from many sides.“Tourism as an experience is growing in popularity, with more and more people wanting more than simply to go somewhere to lie on a beach,” she concludes.last_img read more

How Social Media Consultants Dupe Their Corporate Clients

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… dave copeland A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Anyone can call himself a social media expert and find clients willing to pay thousands of dollars for advice. Here are some things to consider before hiring a so-called expert, including whether you really need a social media consultant.A friend of mine who works for a major grocery store chain mentioned to me that, during a PowerPoint slideshow presented at a meeting, up on the screen flashed a ReadWriteWeb story I wrote about Best Buy’s social media failures. The presentation was delivered by a marketing consultant who was paid handsomely to get the company up to speed with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the rest.I asked my friend what she had learned. The answer was jaw-dropping in its simplicity. The consultant’s tactics seemingly came from the book Social Media For idiots and basic SEO how-to websites. There was no discussion about leveraging Facebook’s social graph or using promoted posts on Twitter. By and large, the strategy outlined in an all-day meeting would have done little to engage existing customers and even less to attract new customers.(Both the chain and the consultant declined comment for this article, and because my friend is not authorized by her employer to speak to the media, I won’t identify any of the three. Suffice it to say that I often have similar conversations with people who work in industries other than tech.)My friend’s employer is plagued by common issues: IT spending and hiring are an afterthought, and the in-house marketing staff is qualified to manage in-store displays and traditional advertising, including print, broadcast and outdoor. In other words, the company has little digital expertise. That leaves it open to exploitation by so-called social media experts who take a one-size-fits-all approach to every client. These consultants often bill tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars before anyone realizes there is little or no return on the investment.Tell Me Something I Don’t KnowThe consultant included my ReadWriteWeb article in his presentation as a warning about what could happen to companies that don’t have a social media strategy: They risk going bankrupt, as Best Buy did (although, as ReadWriteWeb’s Dan Frommer elegantly explained in April, the reasons behind Best Buy’s trouble were not so simple).The rest of the presentation was part Social Media 101 (what’s the difference between Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest?) and rudimentary lessons in using social media (what’s a hashtag?). The consultant concluded by describing his recommended strategy: tweet photos of your employees preparing food, update your Facebook page with daily specials, and always include a link to your Website in your tweets.Note that he never suggested hiring someone so the in-house marketing team could execute a social media effort. Instead, he pushed the company to retrain traditionally schooled marketing people who tend to be reluctant and skeptical about digital media after years of doing things the old-media way. That, in my mind, also gave him ready-made fall guys to blame when his recommendations failed to move the needle.Why My Friend’s Company Should Fire Its Social Media ConsultantThere are, in fact, several reasons why my friend’s company should fire its consultant ASAP, but only one of them matters: The strategy he prescribed won’t work. Here’s why:It’s too basic. It’s most likely the same strategy he offers to competitors and companies in completely different industries. It doesn’t take into account the needs of this particular chain.It treats social media as another advertising platform. At best, his strategy treats social media as a brand-awareness tool. But the companies that have had the most success with social media are those that do all the things true experts recommend: engage with users, have conversations with customers and occasionally offer a targeted special to selected users.It preaches to the converted. His strategy allocates all the marketing team’s attention to people who already like the company on Facebook or follow it on Twitter. It does nothing to attract new followers (who can be seen as potential customers). The easiest way to do that is to explain promoted posts and tweets, but to do that would be to admit that a social media consultant’s advice only goes so far before a company has to pay for engagement.It doesn’t consider that social media may not be right for every company. My friend’s company doesn’t have a loyalty rewards program, which will become increasingly important as Facebook tries to link online advertising to offline purchases. There are other reasons why companies may want to just say no to social media, including the fact that spending too much time on a strategy with no proven return on investment will detract from what the company already does well.I remain skeptical of the return on investment in social media. It works for some companies naturally, and others have figured out how to make it work. But for many companies, using social media is a me-too corporate effort that yields little effect.The first step for most small- and mid-sized companies is figuring out if there is anyone in-house with the expertise to handle social media, as those people have a better understanding than any consultant of how the business works. Once the decision to hire an outside consultant is made, however, it’s important to not only ask what they have done for other clients but how what they do will be tailored to your company’s needs. Social media is advancing at a rapid clip. Social media experts need to keep up with the latest trends: sophisticated analytics, rapidly changing ways in which ads are targeted and displayed, and evolving thinking on ways to craft messages for maximum reach mean. A good consultant starts by assessing whether – or not – social media is right for the client. If it is, the company needs to take an all-or-nothing approach. If it isn’t, most companies would be better off focusing on what they already do well.center_img Tags:#marketing#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

3 Examples of Awesome B2B Marketing Viral Videos

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Video Marketing Originally published Sep 5, 2007 1:09:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Learn how to implement a comprehensive internet marketing strategy, step by step.Download this free ebook for step-by-step instructions on how to make internet marketing work for your business.center_img A lot of people’s eyes gloss over when you start to talk about B2B marketing.  I have a number of friends that work in consumer marketing and they always seem to think that B2B marketing is all junk direct mail letters and telemarketing.  I actually think that B2B marketing is both more difficult and has more opportunities for innovation than consumer marketing.So, just to show up my consumer marketing friends that even “boring B2B marketing” can be fun, viral and creative, I found 3 different B2B viral videos that I thought were both interesting or funny, and also were effective and well executed marketing campaigns for the companies.1) VerticalResponse “An App Thing” – VerticalResponse has joined the SalesForce.com AppExchange, and they want to get the word out and encourage people to use their email marketing solution with their SalesForce.com data.  There are LOTS of email marketing applications on AppExchange, so how do they cut through the clutter and get themselves noticed?  How about a rap that spoofs an old Dr. Dre song?What I like about this video is that it is entertaining, but also gets the message across and has a clear call to action.  It can be hard to balance working you marketing message into a viral video, but they have done an effective job.  One thing that surprised me about this video is that has less than 2,500 views on YouTube.  I have personal videos that have more views than that :).  It seems like they did not do much to get the viral ball rolling yet.  I think they should email it to all employees, friends and maybe even some customers or prospects, or post it in forums or something.  Viral marketing is great, but you need to prime the pump to get the effect going.  PS – They have another similar video (not quite as good IMHO) that you can see here on YouTube which has about 5,000 views. 2) SolidWorks vs. Origami Master Torimoto – SolidWorks is an engineering software company (CAD software), which sells mostly to engineers, especially mechanical engineers.  Maybe you think engineers can’t enjoy something funny, but SolidWorks clearly thinks differently.What I like about this campaign is that it is unexpected, funny and still gets some of the core benefits across about the product they sell.  Plus, there is a very clear call to action that generates leads for them.  I would have liked it more if it were more “shareable” and embraced web2.0 a bit more by putting the video on YouTube with maybe a link to the microsite they built.  For instance, the way Vertical Response did their video, I can embed it in this blog.  For SolidWorks, I have to link to it and send you away from this blog, or not link to it at all, making it less “viral”. Click here to open the site in a new window.3) Cisco “Don’t Have a Meltdown” – Cisco is promoting their unified mobile communicator service, I assume to IT folks and business people.  The video features a business guy having a total meltdown in a hotel lobby because he cannot contact a coworker.I like that the video is funny, and builds until the end where the guy really just blows up.  There is also a clear call to action in the video, and they have had over 80,000 views of the video on YouTube.  But, what I don’t like about this one is that it is not clear to me that the product they sell actually has a whole lot to do with the video.  Maybe the real problem is that I don’t get that the product has any real benefits over a Blackberry/Treo PDA, even after watching their product video. Do you know of another great B2B Viral marketing video?  Leave a comment below and tell me where it is and why you liked it.Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing Topics:last_img read more

How to Use Facebook to Get a 99% Discount Off Traditional B-to-B Advertising

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Facebook Advertising If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably using it to connect with friends, create groups and build a following for your business.Here’s a little secret: You should also be using Facebook’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising service. It’s an awesome deal.Since Facebook ads are charged on a PPC basis and very few people actually click on the ads, you don’t end up paying much. However, lots of people who don’t click on the ads see them, and since Facebook allows you to target the ads to very specific demographics, the impact of your ads ends up being far broader than what you actually pay for.Here at HubSpot we run Facebook ads targeted at marketers. The CPM (cost per thousand impressions) works out to about $.50. CPMs for traditional targeted B-to-B advertising run between $25 and $50. So we’re getting as much as a 99% discount. Pretty good. In the video below I walk through all the steps you need for setting up your own Facebook ad campaign.Facebook for Business:Free Marketing WebinarDownload Now –> Originally published Nov 21, 2008 8:30:00 AM, updated October 01 2013last_img read more

The Future of Marketing Starts with Publishing: Part 1

first_imgThe following is a guest post by Brian Solis. Brian Solis is the author of Engage, a new book that helps businesses build, cultivate, and measure success in social media. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook . Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack New Media thought leader, Brian Solis, shares how to implement and manage a Social Media Optimization (SMO) program. Download the on-demand webinar now  to increase your visibility in social media! Social Media Inbound Marketinglast_img read more

20 Ways to Increase Content Visibility on the Top 4 Social Networks

first_imgWith all the content and information cluttering the web, it’s a constant struggle to get people’s attention online. And with so many different social media channels available to marketers, it’s difficult to make your content truly stand out.As soon as you follow a few hundred Twitter users, a few hundred Twitter users are inundating your Twitter feed with information that may or may not pertain to you. So the question is, as a marketer, how do you cut through the clutter and direct the attention of prospects and customers to your social media content and messages?To help make your content stand out, we’ve come up with a list of 20 tips for increasing content visibility on the top four social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.How to Increase Content Visibility on Facebook1. Create a business page for your company or brand that shows what your company does beyond make money.2. Do something different. Everyone has a Facebook page now, and most brands are learning that they need to constantly engage with their followers. Start an interactive contest. Offer exclusive content only available to Facebook fans. Give your fans a reason why they should “like” you.3. Experiment with Facebook ads. They allow you to target your audience more accurately and help drive more people to your page.4. Don’t stop with text on Facebook pages: include videos and pictures! YouTube isn’t the only channel you can use to leverage video content and increase brand awareness. Furthermore, include infographics and pictures of people interacting with your brand. Make your Facebook a visual experience for those who visit.5. Create a custom landing page tab to promote content right off the bat. Make it the default landing page tab for new page visitors, and encourage them to like you and download a content offer such as an ebook.How to Increase Content Visibility on Twitter1. Leverage hashtags to not only keep track of who is talking about your company or event, but also to promote content.2. Start discussions with influential people on Twitter. The next time you share an interesting article, they may be the one retweeting it to their thousands of followers.3. Ask questions when you tweet about your content. It gives people a reason to respond, interact, and want to share your information.4. Share pictures on Twitter that relate to your content. Many people just skim their tweets, but if they see a photograph included, they may take a second look.5. Utilize Twitter lists. It helps you keep track of followers who may have previously engaged with you. That way, you can better target your tweets and get the continued attention of people who should be listening.How to Increase Content Visibility on LinkedIn1. LinkedIn isn’t about having the most number of connections. Start discussions on appropriate, industry-related LinkedIn groups to network with other people. When appropriate, link to content you’ve created that addresses a specific discussion topic. To really stand out, create your own group on an industry topic.2. Use LinkedIn Answers to answer industry-related questions and position yourself and your business as a thought leader on a particular subject. Just as in groups, link to your content as well if it supports your answer to the question.3. Create and optimize your LinkedIn Company page. Spend some time generating a following for your company to expand the reach of the content you share through your company updates.4. Share remarkable content through personal accounts, too! Many people don’t think of LinkedIn as a resource for content, but personal status updates give you the opportunity to share professional content. Encourage your colleagues to leverage their personal accounts to share your company’s content, too.5. Respond to others’ posts with references to your content. This will get others interested in some of the content you are posting and help you potentially reach a new audience.Ways to Increase Content Visibility on Google+1. Leverage your Google+ business page. If you haven’t already, create a Google+ business page, encourage your fans to add the page to their Circles, and optimize your page to expand the reach of your content on Google+. Google+ is a social network that thrives off of visual content, so incorporate images often in your Google+ marketing strategy.2. Be strategic about your Circles. When you share content and information, use the Circles to determine who will be the most interested in that information.3. Think outside the box…errr Circle. Consider sharing content using Google Hangouts.4. Tag others in your posts. Not only does it engage them, but it helps to spread your content to their connections, too.5. Make Your Page Eligible for Direct Connect. Google is starting to include Google+ posts from businesses with Direct Connect in its organic search results. Make your page eligible for Direct Connect so you can take advantage of Google+ being part of the most powerful social engine around.How do you make sure your content cuts through the clutter in social media?Photo Credit: The Cake Guru Topics: Social Media Strategy Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Nov 16, 2011 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

7 Pricing Mistakes That Can Seriously Stifle Sales

first_imgAs you can see, the final test performed the best of all, with slightly more people purchasing the “standard” beer, but with the added advantage of people now buying the super-premium beer as well, adding to overall revenue. The takeaway here is that you should be wary of anchoring your prices by introducing too many lower price points, but that you may be able to take advantage of the fact that many of your users will be perfectly fine paying for a higher price point as long as it offers a premium experience.6) Not Reducing FrictionNo matter what you’re selling, according to neuroeconomics experts, you’re always selling to the 3 types of customers that are out there: tightwads, unconflicted buyers, and spendthrifts. In this study from Wharton Business School, researchers break down the differences between these three as follows:Tightwads (24%) – People that have a lower ceiling for spendingUnconflicted (61%) – Average spendersSpendthrifts (15%) – People that have a higher ceiling for spendingSince previous research has shown that people will literally “spend ’til it hurts,” these categorizations are based on the ability of certain people to bear the “pains” of buying something. But since nearly a quarter of your potential customers could be conservative spenders, you should understand how to properly reduce friction to be able to better sell to those “tightwads.” According to the Wharton research, the following tactics work quite well:1) Reframe your product’s value. We all struggle with large numbers; they just aren’t as easy to digest as smaller amounts are. That being said, “tightwads” have a really hard time evaluating potential value for long-term expenses. Here’s an example: if I told you my service would cost $1000/year, you’d be a bit hesitant to buy, right? Right, that’s because $1000 isn’t pennies. What if, instead, I told you my product was $84/month? You’d be able to see (much more easily) if the $84 gave you enough value each month to justify a purchase. The thing is, those two price points are actually the same amount overall! For tightwads, though, being able to evaluate price on this smaller time scale has been shown to make them much more likely to buy. Referencing the cost of your product in smaller time spans can definitely help increase sales if you have a lot of conservative spenders.2) Emphasize value at every turn. In what I’ve dubbed the “silliest bump in conversions ever,” the CMU studies (cited above) successfully revealed that changing the description of an overnight shipping charge on a free DVD trial offer from “a $5 fee” to “a small $5 fee” increased the response rate among tightwads by 20 percent! Let’s look at that change side by side, to point out how absurd it is:”a $5 fee””a small $5 fee”The research shows us that tightwad spenders pay close attention to these details, and are more prone to be persuaded by reminders of “small fees” than spendthrifts, who likely don’t care about the fee at all. With a 20% increase in conversions by adding a single word, you need to be sure that your copy speaks to tightwads by emphasizing small fees when they are small, and by pointing out other details that frame the price as less inexpensive. Remember, while it may be obvious to you, these reminders make more cautious spenders much more likely to buy.7) Not Keeping Prices SimpleThis is one of the most surprising studies on pricing that I’ve ever come across. According to a recently published research paper from the Journal of Consumer Psychology on behavioral economics, researchers found that prices that contain more syllables when spoken seemed drastically higher to customers. What does that mean exactly? Compare the prices of:$1,499.00$1,499$1499They all mean the same thing, right? That’s right. But according to the study, the subjects felt both the first and the second example were much higher than the third. Despite the fact that the prices were the same value, when the extra syllables (and commas) were added into the pricing, it felt like a higher cost to those in the study. According to the researchers, this phenomenon occurred even when the prices were not stated out loud, meaning that reading the price aloud in their head was enough to make it feel more expensive.What does this mean for you? Ideally, you’ll avoid any and all “unnecessary” additions to your pricing’s structure. It may seem silly, but the research has shown us that you should have a “$2500” product rather than a “$2,500.00” product, despite the fact they represent the same cost.Gregory Ciotti is the marketing strategist at Help Scout, the invisible support ticket system that makes email support a breeze for you and your customers. See how Help Scout can help your business by checking out our free email support software guide.Image credit: Tax Credits Originally published Jan 29, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Topics: When it comes to evaluating price, most of us don’t have a clue what we’re doing. According to Priceless author William Poundstone, much of our strategy boils down to “just winging it,” and that’s not an effective way to do business:“People tend to be clueless about prices. Contrary to economic theory, we don’t really decide between A and B by consulting our invisible price tags and purchasing the one that yields the higher utility. We make do with guesstimates and a vague recollection of what things are ‘supposed to cost.’”How can you stay ahead of the curve and price your offerings the smart way? The answer is to rely on rigorously tested behavioral psychology research. Today, I’m going to do some of the heavy lifting for you, and below you’ll get a breakdown (in plain English) of some of the worst pricing mistakes you can make, informed by some of my favorite research studies on pricing. Let’s begin!Download Now: Free Sales Pricing Strategy Calculator1) Using Comparative PricingChest-thumping about your low prices can actually hurt your chances of persuading customers if you do it the wrong way. According to new research from Stanford University, outright asking customers to closely compare your prices against a competitor (without a solid case as to why they should) can decrease their trust in you. According to the lead researcher of the study, “The mere fact that we had asked them to make a comparison caused them to fear that they were being tricked in some way.” With comparative pricing, consumers may decide not to buy at all or to minimize what they perceive as a heightened risk, instead of following the advice that the marketer/sales person had in mind.The thing to keep in mind here is that this only applied to “explicit comparisons,” or when customers were outright asked to compare prices. Many customers make “implicit comparisons” when evaluating their options, but marketers should be wary of triggering customers to think about a competitor’s price, and should instead sell to customers based on the value their product provides.2) Selling Money Over TimeWhy do bargain beers like Miller Lite have slogans like “It’s Miller Time!” instead of emphasizing their low prices? According to research from Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker, that would be a horrible pricing strategy to pursue. Her study found that in many instances, customers had more positive memories when they were asked to recall past time spent with a product rather than recalling the money they saved. According to Aaker, “Because a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes — and to more purchases.”In additional research published by the Wharton Business School, Aaker and her colleagues were able to show that when prices were already low for an item, the best way to invoke positive thoughts about the product was to remind customers of the time they enjoyed with it or the time they saved by investing in it. Think of it this way: Does Miller Lite want you thinking about how cheap their beer is, or do they want you to recall a hot summer’s evening you enjoyed by drinking cold beers with good friends? When you’re selling bargain products, it’s ideal to invoke these positive moments in time, rather than trying to sell customers on your already low prices.3) Not Trying Out an Old ClassicDoes ending your prices with the number 9 really work so well that companies should keep doing it? Isn’t it trite and overdone by now? According to research from Quantitative Marketing and Economics, the answer is a resounding no. Prices ending in the number 9 were so effective, they were actually able to outsell lower priced goods. The study compared price points such as $39 and $34 for items of clothing, and the researchers were shocked to find that the $39 dollar price point actually outsold the cheaper price point by 24%.One has to wonder… is there anything that can outsell the number 9? According to the study, sales prices (“Was $50, now only $35!”) were able to beat the number 9 in almost all cases. There’s only one problem … combining sale prices + the number 9 was the best performer of all! So in the following two forms of pricing:1) “Normally costs $70, now on sale for $55!”2) “Normally costs $70, now on sales for $59!”… the second version actually performed the best of all, even though it was being sold at a higher price. Avoid using the number 9 at you own risk, I guess!4) Not Incorporating the Power of ContextWhen is one Budweiser worth more than another? Logic says that since they’re the same product, the answer should be never, but this research study in New York Times Magazine proves that this just isn’t the case. Researchers found that customers were more willing to pay higher prices for the same type of beer when it was sold from an upscale hotel than when it was sold from a run-down grocer (despite the fact that the beer was exactly the same). The lead researcher Richard Thaler was surprised that consumers had no objections to the higher prices when asked what they would pay.What does this mean for you? Your prices can be raised by simply changing the context in which you’re selling. I’ve noted in a previous article on raising rates that the very moment I started calling myself a “content strategist for software startups” rather than a generic title of “freelance writer,” I was able to double my standing rate for client work. Are you selling products, or full-feature solutions? Is your ebook for sale, or is your complete training toolkit available for customers and ready to solve all their problems? These wording choices may seem trivial, but on the web they’re often your best way to express your product’s value; and as we’ve seen from the research, part of your product’s value is based off of the context in which customers view it.5) Not Offering Enough Price PointsOne of the biggest mistakes that business owners can make is not offering enough price points. In particular, not offering prices that are high enough for super-users. Consider the following study from the book Priceless. Researchers conducted tests by using different prices of beer, starting out with just two prices and then shifting over to three. First, they started with a “regular” beer at a $1.80 price point, and a premium beer at a $2.50 price point, and measured the percent of people who bought either beer. This was the result of their first test (images by Nathan Barry):As you can see, most people chose the more expensive option, which is a good thing for your overall revenue. The researchers then decided to see what would happen when they introduced a third price point into the equation. In this case, the third price was a bargain price, and was priced lower than the $1.80 beer and instead set to $1.60. Here were the results of this new test: Not good! Adding the third price actually encouraged people to buy the middle price more often than not, decreasing overall revenue. But this study isn’t over yet! Researchers then decided to take out that bargain beer and add a super-premium beer priced at $3.40. Here are the results from the final test:center_img Inbound Sales (Marketing) Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Twitter Testing Automatic In-Stream Image Previews on Twitter.com, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Images What other stories did you hear about this week that we didn’t include?Image credit: niner bakes Originally published Jun 30, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:center_img There’s been a lot of buzz about social media this week, especially around social search and visual content. Companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Microsoft have all made some great new additions to their features to improve the social experience for their users. Some of these new features might not have come as a surprise, but we’re certain they’ll give marketers a leg up on their campaigns and strategies. So to make sure you get that leg up on the latest and greatest in marketing, here’s what happened this past week.Facebook to Review Which Pages and Groups Can Show Ads After Complaints About Inappropriate Content, The Next WebAfter a huge controversy last month about Facebook’s ad content policy, the social network is cracking down on which Groups and Pages are able to display ads alongside their content going forward. This upcoming week, Facebook will manually remove ads from Pages and Groups that feature controversial, violent, graphic, or sexual content. Marketers everywhere, rejoice! With these new changes, you won’t have to worry about your ad appearing next to controversial content that your brand wouldn’t support. Instead of spending time getting out of sticky situations, you can focus on really getting a return on your Facebook ad investment. Learn more about Facebook’s review process at The Next Web.Bing Experiments With Social Search by Adding New Bing Boards to Search Results, From Search Engine Land This week Bing announced that it is adding a new social element to its search pages called Bing Boards. Curated by bloggers, experts, and social influencers, Bing Boards will display a collection of images, links, and videos to the right of Bing’s organic search results. According to Bing, the Bing Boards could be curated about a variety of topics including politics, hobbies, social issues, and pop culture. With Bing’s new Bing Boards, marketers will have another opportunity to improve their search results rankings if they are chosen to be featured. Since there is no algorithm to increase the chance of being featured, marketers should focus on creating original and creative content (as always). Microsoft also mentioned that Bing Boards are just the first of several new social and community experiments coming in the near future — so marketers should keep an eye out for them in case they present new marketing opportunities. Learn more about Bing Boards at Search Engine Land. Watch Out, Amazon: Square Moves Into Ecommerce, From MashableIt seems as if Square is looking to take on Amazon in the ecommerce space. After having been quite successful in the mobile payment systems space, Square launched an online marketplace where merchants can open up virtual stores for free — however, Square will take a 2.75% cut of every item sold.With so many brands migrating to the virtual marketplace, Square’s ecommerce venture will offer another marketplace for companies to explore. We don’t know if Square will really be able to take down a giant like Amazon, but it does indicate a trend that retailers are moving away from physical stores. And this is great news for marketers — with a virtual store, it’s much easier to track the conversion path throughout your entire marketing funnel. Learn more about Square’s marketplace at Mashable. The Ecommerce Marketing Guide to Facebook, Free Ebook from HubSpotMarketing for ecommerce companies isn’t like marketing for brick-and-mortar shops — with different business needs, ecommerce shops need a personalized marketing playbook. If you’re an ecommerce business struggling with making the most of Facebook, you should check out our most recent ebook offer. We’ll show you how to plan your Facebook strategy, direct fans to your website, and turn leads into customers so you can hit the ground running with your ecommerce marketing efforts. Download the ebook today!LinkedIn Gets a Little More Watchful, Now Tells You Who’s Viewed Your Updates, and Where You’ve Been Looking, From TechCrunchLinkedIn has been making some design changes over the past few months. This week, the social network added two new features that could be extremely useful for marketers … but might end up being a bit creepy as well. The new enhancements to the LinkedIn homepage will include a “Who’s viewed your updates” section, which will allow you to see the performance of your updates and details on which profiles have viewed your status updates. The second addition is the “You recently visited” section, which tracks the personal profiles you have viewed while browsing through LinkedIn.These new enhancements are great news for marketers. Not only can you get an idea of which content resonates with your LinkedIn connections, but you can also use the new features to identify new business opportunities with leads and customers. Maybe someone views your profile after they commented on your latest blog post — and if you notice that that happened, you could take your professional relationship to the next level. Learn more about LinkedIn’s update at TechCrunch.Twitter Testing Automatic In-Stream Image Previews on Twitter.com, From The Next WebWith visual content on the rise, it’s about time Twitter started integrating visual content more seamlessly within the social network. This week, a few Twitter users have been included in a test roll-out of automatic in-stream image previews. The new feature removes the need to click on a tweet to see a posted image. Although a number of third-party apps already offer the feature, Twitter.com will hopefully be rolling this out soon to improve its user experience.For marketers and brands, this means that visual content will play a much heavier hand in attracting and engaging Twitter users. Text tweets are much easier to glance over and less appealing than an in-stream image, so marketers should step up their visual content creation game if Twitter decides to roll out this new feature to everyone. Learn more about Twitter’s experiment at The Next Web.Weekly Marketing Update Podcast With HubSpot CMO Mike VolpeInterested in hearing what the CMO of HubSpot has to say about the stories in this week’s roundup? View our Marketing Update podcast below for a taste of the latest inbound marketing news from our CMO Mike Volpe and his co-host, HubSpot Inbound Marketing Manager Rebecca Corliss. You can also subscribe to this weekly video podcast through iTunes if you can’t imagine a Sunday without some inbound-themed video antics. 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

The 7 Principles of Conversion-Centered Landing Page Design

first_img Originally published Jun 26, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Landing Page Design Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Designing an optimized landing page isn’t exactly a cakewalk. If you want to achieve a respectable conversion rate, that is. So … how schooled are you in the concept of conversion-centered design?Conversion-centered design (CCD) is a discipline targeted specifically at designing experiences that achieve a single business goal. It seeks to guide the visitor toward completing that one specific action, using persuasive design and psychological triggers as devices to increase conversions. Landing pages sit at the heart of CCD. A landing page is a standalone page that uses congruent design — working toward a single collective purpose — to usher your visitors toward the finish line, be it the collection of personal data or education about your product/service before passing the baton to the next phase of your conversion funnel.So how do you persuade a visitor to complete your conversion goal using design? There are a number of design elements that drive a visitor’s attention toward the desired area of interaction. Psychological devices can also encourage participation. Let’s dive right into these two types of CCD elements so you can start designing landing pages that actually convert.The 7 Principles of Conversion-Centered Design1) Encapsulation This is a classic technique used to hijack your visitors’ eyes and create a tunnel vision effect. You can think of it like creating a window on your landing page where your call-to-action (CTA) is the view. Here, a circular arch creates a frame for the feature in the distance, preventing your eye from wandering elsewhere in the photo.Landing Page Tip Use strong dynamic shapes to constrain your points of interest. Think of the classic James Bond intro sequence where you see him inside a circular design. The second example above shows how your eyes are immediately driven to the end of the tunnel. This example also uses elements of contrast and directional cues.2) Contrast and Color Using contrast is a fairly simple concept that applies across the color spectrum, but is most easily viewed in monochrome.Landing Page TipThe more you can make your call-to-action stand out from its surroundings, the easier it will be to see. If you have a lot of black/grey text on a white background, then a black or white CTA won’t provide the desired contrast, and you’d be better off with a colorful element. But if you have a very clean design without much detail or copy, a big black or white button can be dramatic.Color can be used to create an emotional response from your visitors. Orange, for example, is known to generate positive feelings and can be a great choice for the color of your CTA. The psychological impact of color in design is noted in the following list.Red: danger, stop, negative, excitement, hotDark Blue: stable, calming, trustworthy, matureLight Blue: youthful, masculine, coolGreen: growth, positive, organic, go, comfortingWhite: pure, clean, honestBlack: serious, heavy, deathGray: integrity, neutral, cool, matureBrown: wholesome, organic, unpretentiousYellow: emotional, positive, cautionGold: conservative, stable, elegant Orange: emotional, positive, organic Purple: youthful, contemporary, royal Pink: youthful, feminine, warm Pastels: youthful, soft, feminine, sensitive Metallics: elegant, lasting, wealthy Another important consideration is the contrasting effect of color. This idea borrows from white space and contrast techniques in that it’s a method of isolation via difference. Some say button color is irrelevant, but this is a falsehood when color contrast is the problem. A red CTA may not outperform blue under normal circumstances, but if the page is dominantly blue, then a red button will attract more attention than a blue one.In our first conceptual example, an in-your-face approach is used. The color is so overwhelming you can’t help but stare at it. In the second example, position and color contrast are used to move your eye toward the grasshopper. The reason this works is the entire image is a limited color palette except for the subject of interest.Landing Page TipLet your primary conversion target dominate the page.3) Directional Cues Directional cues are visual indicators that point to the focal area of your landing pages. They help to guide your visitors toward what you desire them to do, making the purpose of your page as soon as they arrive. Types of directional cues include arrows, pathways, and the directional impact of line of sight.Arrows As directional cues, arrows are about as subtle as a punch in the face, which is why they work so well. With so little time on your page, visually guiding the user to the intended focal point is a smart move. Arrows let you say, “Ignore everything else, and pay attention to this please.”The awesome example above shows three types of cues at once. The arrow is a directional pointer, the man opposite is then firing you right back to the guy with the arrow using his eyes, and finally the upside-down text acts as an interruption that makes you stop and stare, and most likely rotate your head to figure out what it says.PathwaysPathways are representations of real-world way-finding avenues that trigger our brains into thinking we need to follow them. This example shows a long straight road, leading your eye to the large rock formation at the top of the photo. Roads are so strongly ingrained in our psyche as the path of least resistance, that we naturally gravitate toward them as a transport guide.Landing Page TipDesign converging lines to draw people to your call-to-action. Triangles are the most dynamic of all shapes, and their natural tendency to point make them a special design tool, in the same way that an arrow is a more intricately designed pathway.The Suggestive Power of the Eye As humans, we’re all programmed to understand the purpose and use of eyes, and the meaning that comes from the eyes of someone or something else. Look at the following examples to see how it works.In the first example below, the capuchin is looking at the banana very intently. Curiosity is the motivation that forces you to follow his gaze.With eye movement comes head movement. In the second example above, you’re not only curious about what could be in the grass, but you also instinctively look down with the coyote. You’d want your conversion target to be where he, and everyone else, is looking.In the third example below, the directional cue is more subtle, but still very clear. Your attention is first driven to the elk in the bottom-right corner. This would be your primary headline or unique selling proposition. You then follow his gaze to the left to see what he’s looking at — arriving at the flock of birds flying over the river — which would be your CTA.Images of Babies and Attractive People An important aspect of design is imagery. It can create a strong connection between you and the photo, and therefore, the page. When it comes to the types of effective human images to use, babies and attractive people are well known to have an impact. Of the two, the most universal in persuasion are babies. The research suggests we are all wired to react to a baby’s face.In an eye tracking heat map study from UsableWorld, a baby was used to see what effect it would have on visitor attention. The first example shows how much attention is driven toward the baby’s face:In the second example, the power of suggestion is shown in full effect, as the baby still gets lots of attention, but the area he is looking at receives a lot more than in the first example:Attractive women have also proven to be a persuasive human element on a landing page. The next example is about the effect caused by a powerful personal connection, where the eyes of your subject mesmerize you into paying attention. This, like the eye contact illustrated in the first example, is a good way to increase a visitor’s time on page, providing valuable extra seconds for your value proposition to sink in.4) White SpaceWhite space (or blank space), is an area of emptiness surrounding an area of importance. The reason we say blank space is because the color of the space isn’t important. The purpose is to use simple spatial positioning to allow your call-to-action to stand out from its surroundings and give your eye only one thing to focus on.Landing Page TipGive your page elements breathing room to produce a calming effect and allow your CTA to stand out from the rest of your design.5) Urgency and ScarcityCommon psychological motivators are the use of urgency (limited time) and scarcity (limited supply). They’re simple concepts that can be applied in a number of ways.Urgency “Buy now.” “Don’t miss out.” We’re used to hearing these types of phrases. Statements of urgency are used to coerce us into making a purchasing decision right away. Amazon and Ticketmaster, for example, use this technique very effectively.Amazon: Order Before Date Most people are familiar with this one. Amazon is largely responsible for a number of pressure point triggers, one being the “order before” concept. This relies on using a finite period of time remaining to encourage an immediate purchase decision. Initially used to guarantee delivery for Christmas if you ordered by a defined date, Amazon has extended the strategy to cover everyday use cases. This makes it applicable for people’s birthdays, which can occur on any day of the year.Ticketmaster: 4 Minutes Left to Buy Your Ticket Ticketmaster has also found a way to increase the urgency of buying tickets. Once you’ve selected your seats, you only have a few minutes to complete your transaction before your opportunity expires, and someone else can swipe your tickets. You can see this time in the bottom-right corner of the screenshot below.Scarcity To use the concept of scarcity, you need to convince someone they need to buy right now, before supplies run out. This increases the fear of missing out on the desired opportunity.Expedia: X Seats Left Airline ticket purchasing is very sensitive to the concept of scarcity, because the number of seats rapidly diminishes as the flight time nears. To leverage this, Expedia uses transparency as a psychological trigger to encourage you to get your credit card out and book right away. They do this by showing the number of seats left on the flight, but only when the number is low, like only three seats left, as shown in this example:6) Try Before You BuyOne of the most common real-world examples of ‘Try Before You Buy’ is when people sneak a quick taste from a bunch of grapes in the supermarket. We’ve all done it. It seems to have become an internationally recognized form of acceptable thievery, although some feel guiltier about it than others. As a conversion-centered marketer, you can learn from this by allowing your visitors to taste your wares without fear of recrimination.In the example shown below, this grape vendor has gone the extra mile to provide a section devoted specifically to grape samples, showing the confidence of someone who has a quality product.The Preview If at all possible, give people a preview of what you’re selling. Giving away an ebook in exchange for personal data? Provide chapter one as a free PDF on your landing page. Or, excerpt a chapter and use it as a blog post, whose CTA is the full ebook download (just like we’re doing here!). Some people will decide they don’t want your product, but it’s better to separate the wheat from the chaff immediately instead of gathering 500 meaningless leads from unqualified prospects.Amazon is a classic example of this principle with its ‘Look Inside’ feature, which lets you read a portion of the book in advance.In Transparency We Trust By opening your product to scrutiny before the purchase, you appear authoritative and credible. This increases trust, and it can be an important factor in boosting conversions.7) Social Proof Social proof is created by the statistics and actions of a particular crowd, and it can greatly enhance the “me too” factor. The major benefit is a level of authentic believability. In the photo below, the line outside the store makes you believe something important is going on, even if you don’t know what it is.Landing Page Tip: Similarly, you can provide the sense something is happening on your landing page. By showing the number of social shares, webinar registrants, or ebook downloads to date, you might leverage a few extra seconds of attention to impress your message upon a visitor. Testimonials can also be a strong factor in creating a sense of trust, especially if they come from people in the same type of business as your prospect, where the name of the company is known to your target audience.Having said that, testimonials can hinder conversion rates if used incorrectly. You can read more about poor use of testimonials in “Why Your Customer Testimonials Are NOT Working.”The Man Looking Skyward Experiment In 1969, a study was performed on the streets of New York City in which a man was standing looking up in the air. The study showed people would walk past him and not pay attention to what he was looking at. However, when the number of staring people increased to five, people started reacting by joining in and looking up to see what was going on. Increasing the participants to 18 people resulted in a 400% lift of people joining the crowd. Clearly, the bigger the crowd, the bigger the crowd gets.This is an adapted excerpt from the free ebook, Conversion-Centered Design: Essential Elements of High Converting Landing Pages, written by Unbounce Co-Founder and Creative Director Oli Gardner. He is a former interaction designer who tends to use metaphor more than he probably should in his writing. Oli  writes about conversion-centered design (a term he coined), marketing, and landing page optimization. You can follow him on Twitter @oligardner. Download the complete ebook to learn more about how to beat the average and use design to help increase your landing page conversion rates. last_img read more