The Funniest SNL Commercial Parodies of the Year by HubSpot

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Whether SNL is having an on- or off-year, one place they always shine is commercial parodies.

Personally, I think they had an “on-year” this year — but whether or not you agree, you’ll have to admit they produced some laugh-out-loud fake commercials. I figured most marketers’ minds would be geared more toward New Year’s Eve planning than campaign planning today, so I compiled a round-up of the best SNL commercials of 2014 as a little light-hearted respite for you in the office today.

And it’s about commercials, so you can justify it as loosely work-related. Right?

(Warning: Some of these videos might be NSFW.)

The 5 Best SNL Commercial Parodies of 2014

1) Jim Carrey’s Lincoln Ad Spoofs

Steeped in a faux-profundity the SNL writers capture perfectly, Jim Carrey spoofs the Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ads in my personal favorite commercial parody of the year. (Bonus: There’s an Allstate parody woven in around minute 2:08.)

2) Swiftamine

Dr. Doctor explains a medical condition affecting millions … which serves as the best explanation I’ve heard for why legions of 30-something men vehemently defend the addition of the Taylor Swift canon to their iTunes libraries.

3) JoS. A. Bank Cleaning Product

Calling out JoS. A. Bank’s marketing strategy and product quality, SNL draws a biting parallel in this spoof that ends with a hilariously modified tagline.

4) CNN Pregnancy Test

Aside from the SNL writers’ creativity with the pregnancy test/CNN parallel, my favorite thing about this video is that the ad that played before it was for actually for a pregnancy test. 

5) The Group Hopper Preview

A commercial parody list wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of a movie preview. This looks like every commercial for a YA-novel-turned-movie you’ve ever seen. 

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Vía HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/funniest-snl-commercial-parodies

Designers Are Ditching The Mouse For The “Flow” 3D Motion Touch Controller

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Sliders suck. “Little too far to the left. Ugh. Little too far to the right. ARRHGH!!!” The mouse can be a frustrating controller for Photoshop, Final Cut, AutoCAD, or even Spotify. But a new input device called Flow lets you play your computer like an instrument, with infinite dexterity through feeling rather than sight. The Y Combinator startup Senic’s ~$100 wireless… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/techcrunch/startups/~3/dGR_f5igJE0/

Jeter, Penguins & Soft Drink Rivalries: 9 of the Best Ads of 2014 by HubSpot

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This post originally appeared on Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

The most effective ads become a part of our culture. They prompt dialogue and debates, they convey meaningful messages, and they aim to create a visceral response. Unlike sorry, stale ads that parrot back the status quo, influential ads aim to break new ground.

These ads made us laugh, made us cry, and in some cases made us question our conventional wisdom — but above all, they earned our attention in 2014. From the jokesters at Dollar Shave club to the brilliant minds behind the Pepsi brand, we’re tipping our hat to the best moments in brand creativity this year. (Warning: The sound in #4 is NSFW.)

1) Re2pect | Gatorade

In terms of storytelling, Gatorade nailed it. Maybe it’s the black and white approach or the Frank Sinatra music, but this ad really pulls at our heartstrings.

In fact, the ad had such a powerful emotional resonance that even Red Sox fans couldn’t stop watching:

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2)Thank You, Mom | P&G

Rather than pushing a product, Proctor & Gamble committed to focusing its efforts on building a relationship with the consumer. In doing so, they created a sense of empathy among moms everywhere.

*Wipes tears*

3) This is Not a Hamburger | HILTL

This clever ad pays tribute to the famous painting “The Treachery of Images” by René Magritte. While the original illustrates a pipe with the caption “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (this is not a pipe), HILTL (a vegetarian restaurant) used a play on the caption to promote their meatless meats. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

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4) Awkward Family Viewing | HBO

You’ve just settled down to catch up on a few episodes of your favorite show, when your mom comes waltzing in. (Queue the sex scene.) HBO’s “Awkward Family Viewing” commercials promoting its subscription-streaming service speaks directly to this familiar pain point. That’s what makes it so effective. At the same time, the ad uses the humorous situation to bring to light the benefit of its service.

(Warning: NSFW.)

5) Slides & Polls | Volkswagen

The underlying message in this Volkswagen ad is that getting from one place to another is fun (especially in Volkswagen’s new Polo GTI.) While these ads are entirely product-free, the fact that they likened slides and polls to the joy of driving a Volkswagen is enough to stir up a sense of childhood nostalgia and a desire to learn more.

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6) Monty the Penguin | John Lewis 

I’d be a Scrooge if I didn’t include a holiday ad in this round-up, right? Not only is this ad heartwarming, but it’s also tied to a series of promotions, including a children’s book, an app, and toys, that promote the department store.

7) Halloween | Pepsi

While calling out a competitor can be risky, Pepsi’s Halloween-themed dig at Coca-Cola was both timely and witty. If there’s one thing you take away from this ad, it’s that sometimes taking a risk is worth it.

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Bonus: While the image below is an unofficial response from Coke fans and not the actual company, it’s worth showing off:

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8) A Hero’s Welcome | Budweiser

This year, Budweiser gave us a lot of worthy ads to choose from — but this account of a soldier’s return home rose to the top. It’s an emotional play, but one that is quite effective. 

9) Security | Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club proves that a little humour goes a long way. By focusing on the not only the high cost but also the inconvenience of store-bought blades, Dollar Shave Club positioned its product as the only logical option.

Have other favorite ads from 2014? Share with us in the comments below!

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Vía HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-ads-2014

How to Write a Press Release [Free Template + Sample] by HubSpot

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When it comes to content, sometimes old school can be a good thing (namely, when it comes to old school rap or Throwback Thursday on Instagram). But when it comes to your company’s public relations strategy, being old school isn’t advantageous for your business or your brand. 

Ten years ago, people still relied on morning papers for news. Today, the vast majority of your company’s customers and prospects scan headlines on Twitter or see what’s hot in their Facebook feed. People now have control over where, when, and how they consume information. As a result, public relations is no longer about feeding into a traditional news cycle; it’s about providing relevant content when, where, and how your prospects, influencers, and customers will consume it.

(Short on time? Click here to download our free press release template and learn how to write a top-notch press release.)

Sounds pretty hopeless, right? Wrong. While it still takes relationship-building to get into popular publications, we now have the opportunity to quit playing the waiting game and generate our own buzz. By turning your PR strategy into an inbound one, you create opportunities that weren’t there before and carve out a place for your company, building meaningful mindshare in the process with your target audiences. 

Press Releases Can Be a Viable Content Type

One of the most crucial updates to make to your PR strategy is to think of press releases as an opportunity to connect to the audiences you care about — including, but not limited to, reporters. 

You see, most people think press releases have to be chock full of buzzwords and branded terms. Big data anyone? Five syllable words you have to look up on Thesaurus.com? Quotes from every executive on the planet that go on for pages? We’ve seen it all. Unfortunately, so have reporters — and they are not fans. 

So instead of stuffing your next release with jargon, take a page out of our book (okay, fine, ebook), The Newsworthy Guide to Inbound Public Relations, and brainstorm some creative approaches for your next announcement. Can you include new data? A remarkable graphic? A shareable SlideShare? If so, a creative angle will often help carry your content and increase the likelihood of social sharing. 

Even so, a press release can still be a really valuable medium for communicating news to your audiences. You just have to make it readable, relevant, and relatable.

We have crafted this comprehensive, easy-to-follow press release template complete with promotional plan and considerations for your next announcement. We use these same guidelines when writing our releases here at HubSpot and created a faux, sample release to illustrate what content goes where and why.

How to Write a Press Release [With Example]

You’ve got your announcement in mind, and now it’s time to get it down in words to share with your community, industry, and followers. Take Catbrella Inc., a fictitious ad agency, which just gained its 10th Twitter follower after two years of paid social media efforts. To announce its achievement, Catbrella could issue a press release like the one we’ve dissected below.*

Sample Press Release:

*Disclaimer: HubSpot is entirely responsible for the silliness of this faux announcement. 

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1) Make Your Headline Irresistible 

Just like writing the perfect blog post title, setting up your press release for success starts with your headline. You only have one line to work with, which can seem scary, but consider diction carefully to make your headline captivating.

Use action verbs, clear, understandable language, and keep your headline simple and short — fortune (and search engines) reward the brief, so keep your title to one line to clearly focus people’s attention on your topline message. 

Most importantly, make it interesting: Keep in mind that reporters get dozens, if not hundreds, of releases each day, so invest the time to write a compelling headline. It’s worth the time and effort on your part. 

2) Don’t Play Hard to Get

For reporters, analysts, influencers, or followers to be inclined to share your announcement, you have to tell them upfront why they should care.

The first paragraph of your release should cover the who, what, why, where, and how of your new launch, update, or development. Reporters don’t have a ton of time to sift through details and fluffy background information — they just need the facts that’ll help them tell your story to someone else from a position of authority.

There shouldn’t be any new, crucial information covered after this section that the reader could potentially miss. 

3) Offer a Tempting Quotable 

Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time to bring your details to life with a quote that reporters can use for context around your announcement and help paint a picture of how your news affects the given industry, customer base, and landscape.

Ideally, quotes will be from key stakeholders in your company including your executive team, project leads, or those directly impacted by your announcement. Quoting key figures and authorities underlines the importance of your development. The chosen quote should shape your narrative and emphasize the core of the announcement. Don’t ask everyone in your office for a comment or feel compelled to quote all 25 people included in the acquisition — pick 1-2 critical spokespeople and focus the quotes around their unique perspective. 

4) Provide Valuable Background Information

In this last paragraph, keep in mind that the reader already has all of the vital details and information they need to file a story or spread the word.

It can be tempting to provide superfluous facts and tidbits about your company or the development of your announcement — we sometimes think a piece of writing is lacking if it isn’t drawn-out and just shy of being a novella. However, a press release needs to be helpful and concise.

Offer details here that strengthen your narrative, like creative or noteworthy ways your company developed the project or announcement at hand. Or, when applicable, comment on future implications of your announcement. 

5) Make the “Who” and “What” Obvious 

Twitter is chock full of reporters lamenting press releases or pitches that don’t clearly explain what the company does or what the announcement is actually about, so instead of being the butt of a joke, make your release incredibly easy to reference. 

Describe what your company does in clear, plain English, include a link to your company’s homepage early on, and make your boilerplate succinct and straightforward. If you cite data, include a reference link for the data source, and make sure every name in the release has an associated title and company as well.

To keep yourself honest on this front, ask a friend or colleague to read the release without context and ask if they can easily and readily explain why the announcement matters, what your company does, and why the executives included are quoted. If the answer to any of those questions is no, get back to the drawing board. 

The key to keeping your PR strategy new school is forgetting preconceived notions of what public relations is and instead focusing on creating highly remarkable content. Traditional press releases can still be really valuable when executed well, so instead of ditching releases as a tactic, give them a modern makeover to make them more useful for your marketing. 

Think about how you’ve used inbound methods to transform your marketing strategies to be more personalized, approachable, and build relationships. Those same principles apply to your PR strategy: Create content to craft your own story and use tactful outreach to get reporters and analysts familiar with your brand.

What other best practices do you follow when writing press releases? Share your thoughts with us below, and don’t forget to download our free press release template here.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free press release template

 

Vía HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/press-release-template-ht

How to Create a Successful Blog Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide by HubSpot

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Today, age and experience no longer necessarily determine your credibility. Instead, people care about your ideas, your generosity, and your willingness to take risks and learn from mistakes — those are the kinds of things that can give you a voice in the conversation.

We’ve witnessed a blogging revolution over the past fifteen years, where individuals have become famous on the back of 500-word snippets or rants that resonate with some online audience. Many of the thought leaders of our time became well-known because of their blogs. But as more people blog, the quality of blog content is becoming more important — and this is especially true for businesses who are blogging to get found on the internet.

It isn’t enough to simply have a blog — businesses need to spend time creating a blogging strategy that allows for high quality content creation so you can, slowly, build a reputation for thought leadership that will pay off big time in the long term.

It’s the strategy part that trips up a lot of businesses. I’ve found that documenting your blog strategy is a great way to bridge the gap to successful execution. Check To help you get started, here’s a nine-step process for creating a successful blog strategy for your business. Each step is marked by a question. Adapt it based on your business needs and experience. (And you can download a template to document each of the steps below here.)

1) Purpose

Why does your blog exist?

What to document: One defining statement articulating the purpose of your blog.

Before you can dig in to the strategy of your blog, you need to clearly articulate its underlying purpose. Take a moment to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the greater purpose your company is trying to fulfill?
  • What story supports this purpose?
  • Who shares your passion for this purpose?
  • Is your team aligned with the meaning of this purpose?

If you can answer these questions with some clarity and then collate them into one defining statement, you create a powerful anchor for all future blogging (and marketing) decisions.

2) Buyer Personas

Who are your ideal customers?

What to document: A clear, detailed description of your ideal customer(s). 

Ideally, you’ll tailor your blog content to people who might buy from you — after all, your blog will become a great lead conversion tool. But who are these ideal customers? Once you can answer that question in detail, you’ll be able to write blog posts that are better tailored to their interests. (Here’s a helpful template for creating a buyer persona to get you started.)

Once you’ve arrived at detailed descriptions of your ideal customers, you’ll need to research their behavior so you can adapt and tailor blog content for their biggest challenges, interests, and curiosities. But isn’t customer research expensive, you might ask? Sure, it can be — but if you want to bootstrap it, here are a few places to start;

  • Question and answer forums like Quora, Yahoo! Answers, and Fluther.
  • Social media. I find LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Advanced Search, and Google+ Communities excellent resources.
  • Tools that tell you about other content being created in your niche and how popular it’s been with your potential customers (at least according to social shares). Examples include BuzzSumo and Topsy.
  • Blog comments on other blogs your potential customers might read. What type of content are they already engaging with on other blogs?

One main goal of inbound marketing is to build trust with your audience. If you discover the information your customers seek and then become the go-to blog for providing that information, they will likely start to trust you. This trust gains momentum over time, and before you know it, that high trust relationship will bring your customers back time and time again — and they’ll probably bring their family and friends with them.

3) Competition

Which of your competitors have blogs?

What to document: A list of 5-10 of your closest competitors with blogs you could conduct a content audit on.

Do you want your customers seeking purchasing information from your competitors? This is a rhetorical question — of course you don’t. But if your blog doesn’t provide the information your customers are looking for and your competitors’ blogs do, what choice do they have?

Try conducting a content audit of your biggest competitors. If they’re ranking higher than you for crucial keywords, then write and promote better content for those keywords. If you see gaps in the content on their site, capitalize on those gaps. Try QuickSprout, Open Site Explorer (by Moz), and SEMRush Competitor Research to find valuable competitor information.

4) Keywords

Which keywords are you targeting?

What to document: A list of 5-10 keyword groups you want to rank for and their associated long-tail keywords you can include in blog content

Keywords let search engines understand what your content is all about. When one of your customers searches for a specific phrase, you want them to find your blog (or web page), not a competitor’s. But what are your potential customers searching for? You’ll need to dedicate some time researching which keywords they tend to type into search engines, and then including those keywords in your blog posts.

Just remember: Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and is becoming more and more intuitive — and old tactics like keyword stuffing will hurt your ranking nowadays. Instead, marketers are better off writing copy that engages humans first, and search engines second(Click here to learn more about how to do keyword research.)

HubSpot customers have access to their built-in keyword and SEO tool. Non-HubSpot customers, I recommend trying KWFinder.com.

5) Distribution Platforms

Where will you distribute your blog content? 

What to document: A list of the platforms where you will distribute your blog content.

Rand Fishkin, SEO Expert from Moz, once quipped: “‘I hit ‘publish’ for the first time, and everyone just showed up’ – said no blogger ever.”

I love this quote. Writing quality blog content is a great start toward running a successful business blog, but the hard part is getting that content discovered and turning your platform into an authority.

But creating blog content can be time consuming, especially when you aim to command authority in your niche with well-researched posts. One tactic I’ve found very useful is repurposing your blog content. Take a look at the content you used to write a blog post — the ideas, research, structure, and stats — and using that same information in a different form. You’ll reach a wider audience and engage with people that may not have read your blog the first time.

There are many things you can do to get better results from your blog. Here are a few:

  • Take key quotes and takeaways from your blog post and schedule them across your social media networks, including links to the blog post. Even better, put these quotes into images using a platform like Canva and post them on social media.
  • Split up the blog post as a string of emails to your community, with links back to the blog post.
  • Create a SlideShare using content, stats, and so on from your post.
  • Create an infographic. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, and all you really need is PowerPoint. (Learn how to create an infographic in an hour or less here, free templates included.)

(Read this blog post for even more ideas.)

6) Promotion

How will you promote your blog content? 

What to document: A list of potential influencers in your niche, as well as all the other promotional tactics you will use to get your blog content discovered.

When it comes to blog strategy, “promotion” simply means getting your content out there so people discover it, read it, and (hopefully) share it with others. There are lots of inbound marketing tactics for promoting your blog posts, but for the purpose of this post, I’d like to focus on influencer marketing.

Using an inbound approach to promoting your blog content requires a lot of deliberate effort up front. You need to identify key influencers in your industry — people your customers perceive as credible and trustworthy. These influencers command authority in their field and provide access to authoritative sources.

First, create a list of influential people in your niche. Then, you can start placing deposits — for example, if they have a blog, read it, comment on it, and share it. If they have an email list, sign up for it and respond to (some of) their emails with thanks, and encourage others to join up. If they have a book, read it, review it, and generously promote it to your network. In the words of Adam Franklin, “Lead with generosity.”

It’s important to remain in regular contact with your list of influencers. I schedule time into my calendar to place further deposits with certain people. Typically, this looks like a brief email message or a social share, but sometimes it might play out as something more meaningful. If you work hard on placing deposits you expand your network to a group of people that command great authority with your ideal customers.

Now you can leverage the combined power of an extended network next time you publish a blog post. Influencer marketing is just one component of my blog promotion strategy, but I believe it’s the most important.

7) Headcount

Who will run your blog?

What to document: Exactly who is accountable for each role within your blog strategy.

You need to decide exactly who will execute on your strategy. As you can see from this blog post, there are lots of moving parts — and if you don’t create ownership around each of those components, your chances of success decrease. Here are some examples of the roles you need to effectively implement a blog strategy. (Depending on the size of your marketing team and the skills available, you may find one person holds responsibility for multiple roles.)

  • Keyword research
  • Facts, stats and examples research
  • Copywriting
  • Editing
  • Strategy and editorial calendar governance
  • Creative
  • Promotion
  • Repurposing

(Learn more about how to structure a marketing team of any size here.)

8) Rhythm

How many blog posts can you commit to scheduling?

What to document: An editorial calendar and the number of blog posts you can commit to scheduling per week.

The beauty of creating a blogging rhythm and publishing that in an editorial calendar is that it’s not about frequency, it’s about creating accountability. It makes sure that every blog is optimized for keywords, CTAs and is developed and scheduled on time. This gives you a consistent stream of blog content that your readers can get in sync with.

Your editorial calendar should be designed to align with the rest of your blog strategy. I like to incorporate the specific promotional tactics, goals and resources required for each individual blog post.

HubSpot customers benefit from an editorial calendar built right into the COS; for non-HubSpot customers, here’s an easy-to-use template for creating an editorial calendar on Excel, or instructions for creating an editorial calendar using Google Calendar.

9) Metrics

Which metrics matter to you?

What to document: The goals you aim to achieve from blogging and the metrics that contribute to those goals. (I recommend setting goals over a 60-day period. This gives you long enough to see whether your strategy is working, and allows you to then adapt and change your goals based on the results you experience.)

Traffic, likes, plus ones, re-tweets, follows, backlinks, subscribers… What do all of these metrics mean? How do any of them contribute to your bottom line?

Metrics are helpful, but they’re pointless if you can’t track them back to a meaningful outcome. Perhaps the most important element of an effective blog strategy is accurately defining the goals you want to achieve. Here are three helpful questions you can ask yourself while defining a goal or outcome:

  • Does this goal help us achieve our purpose, or is there something more relevant we can aspire to?
  • Is this goal aligned with the initiatives of other parts of our business?
  • Which metrics track the progress towards this goal? Are these metrics complementary or counterintuitive?

Answering these questions will help you set meaningful goals, and consequently, understand the metrics that will help achieve them. There is no exact science to measuring the effectiveness of your blog strategy, but this process creates a direct line of sight from your activity to a desired outcome. Once you understand exactly how many of a specific metric — say, a social share — contributes to a specific outcome — say, a sale — then your strategy becomes more targeted. (Learn more about which blogging metrics to measure here.)

Growing an influential blog in your niche is a surefire way to nurture your potential customers. By creating regular content that solves the challenges of your readers and fulfills their biggest curiosities, you’ll start to build a vault of trust and advocacy, which will inevitably contribute to the overall success of your business. Start with your purpose — the big why — and slowly unpack the individual levers that will contribute to your blog marketing performance.

Want an easy-to-use template of this nine-step process? Here’s a 60-day blog strategy canvas to get you started.

15 Business Blogging Mistakes

Vía HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blog-strategy-guide

Pinterest Will Open Promoted Pins To All Advertisers Following Success Of Beta Program

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PinterestP After years of questions about how it will make revenue, Pinterest roadmap to monetization is becoming more clear. The company announced today that its Promoted Pins, which it made available in beta to certain brands eight months ago, have performed “just as good and sometimes better than organic Pins” and it will make the program available to all advertisers on January 1. Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/techcrunch/startups/~3/oSmgGTzYQtQ/

Russian Startup Livemap Lands $300K Grant For Its Motorcycle Helmet With Built-In Navigation

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livemap helmet design As we’re coming up on the next Consumer Electronics Show, I got an update from one of the companies that participated in TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield at the last CES — Russian startup Livemap.
The Livemap team is working to create motorcycle helmets with voice control and GPS navigation directly in your field of vision — so while you’re riding, you can see… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/techcrunch/startups/~3/ssGbWtwspYM/

A Visual Introduction to Customer Lifetime Value [Infographic] by HubSpot

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This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

All customers are not created equal. Sure, you might like some more than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re your best clients. Sales comes down to revenue and ROI — so how can sales leaders objectively determine which customers are most valuable?

Through a customer lifetime value (CLV) analysis. But calculating CLV isn’t a cake walk — inaccurate data, confusing metrics, and inadequate technology can all block the path. But the organizations that do figure out a customer’s net costs and revenues over their engagement see the benefit: Three-quarters of senior executives in North America categorize CLV as a highly or extremely valuable indicator

This infographic from Aria provides a CLV primer, explaining the concept, covering how retention and satisfaction play into customer value, and suggesting ways to bump up your average client’s CLV. You’ll find that playing favorites based on net revenue versus rapport is a lot more profitable. 

CLV

Enjoy this post? To read more content like it, subscribe to Sales.

Vía HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/customer-lifetime-value-definition

Want More Sales? Try Using These 13 Influential Words by HubSpot

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This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

The pen is mightier than the sword. (Which is good, because you probably don’t want to threaten prospects into buying at sword-point.)

As the primary “weapons” to convert prospects into customers, words are incredibly important to salespeople. How sales reps deliver their messages and converse with contacts can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of a conversation. Using the wrong phrase might cast a negative shadow on the proposal, while tweaking just a few words in the pitch might induce someone to buy immediately. The underlying message is certainly critical, but the words used to deliver it are equally so.

That’s why all salespeople should become word nerds. Here’s a list of 13 words that can help you close more deals and earn your prospects’ trust in the process.

1) You

Selling is about your prospects, not about your company. A simple way to make that clear is by using the word “you” as much as possible. Think back to your childhood: Did your parents ever tell you it was impolite to talk about yourself? Apply that rule here. Every time you might be tempted to phrase a sentence from the perspective of your company, find a way to rework it to make your prospect the subject.

2) Value

“Customers don’t care about features and benefits,” Colleen Francis, owner of Engage Selling Solutions, writes in her book Nonstop Sales Boom. “They only care about value and achieving their objectives.” Again, it’s about them, not you. Skip over all the amazing features your product or service contains and instead make it clear how your offering will create value for your prospect’s business. 

3) And

This is a clever replacement for “but” when dealing with criticisms or objections. The word “but” signals to the prospect that you are about to utter a statement that runs counter to what they’d like to hear. “And” is, by its very nature, inclusive — you seem to agree even when you’re disagreeing. Consider these two examples from Sales Coach Seamus Brown:

“I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, but let me tell you why our system costs $100,000.”

“I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, and let me tell you why our system costs $100,000.”

Brown points out that the second sentence acknowledges the prospect’s budget, while the first steamrolls over the problem and makes the buyer feel ignored. What a difference one word can make.

4) Do

Many sales experts recommend using “do” instead of “try.” For instance, instead of “I’d like to try … ” say, “What I’ll do is … ” This makes the seller seem competent and trustworthy, and it boosts the prospect’s confidence in them.

5) Or 

If you present a single proposal to a client, you only give them the option of accepting or rejecting. But if you present them with two or three different variations on your proposal, suddenly you’ve doubled or tripled your odds of receiving some form of a “yes.” So, in negotiations, don’t just ask if they’d like to sign the contract — ask if version A or version B or version C is preferable. 

6) Should we … ?

Most people balk at being told what to do — especially when the person dishing out orders is not a member of their organization. With this in mind, the phrase “you should” can come off as arrogant and presumptive. Reformulating suggestions as questions helps the prospect keep an open mind and diminishes the potential for the conversation to take a nasty turn. 

7) Consensus

According to Matthew Dixon’s The Challenger Sale, “Widespread support for a supplier across their team is the number one thing senior decision makers look for in making a purchase decision.” So words that express agreement among stakeholders, such as “support” or “consensus,” could have a significant impact on your primary buyer’s mindset. If you have backing from the entire team, play it up as much as possible. If you don’t, stress how you’re going to attain it. 

8) Imagine

Stories stick in people’s mind more readily than straight sales messaging. The best reps don’t only use stories in their speech; they also make sure prospects see themselves as the protagonists. The word “imagine” can be helpful in this aim. Suddenly, the prospect isn’t just hearing about a better future enabled through a new product or service — they’re actually picturing themselves living it. And now the vision isn’t just in the salesperson’s mind; it’s a shared vision.

9) See, Show, Hear, Tackle

Okay, so this isn’t one word … but they’re all part of one family. Each of these words evokes a sense, and sensory language grabs people’s attention. Think about how the words you use relate to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic triggers.

10) Their Name

Just like “you,” using your prospect’s name makes them feel like they’re the focus of your attention, and your presentation is customized just for them. People also naturally pay attention better when their name is sprinkled throughout a speech.

11) Power Words

The English language is filled with words that provoke strong feelings — fear, joy, discomfort, safety.  A good sales presentation will summon all of these feelings and more at the right times. To hit all the appropriate high and low notes, incorporate power words into your speech. Jon Morrow’s list of 317 words that pack a punch is a good place to start.

12) Because

Ellen Langer, a social psychologist and professor at Harvard University, conducted a study where she tested the impact of phrasing on people’s willingness to let someone cut them in line. Here are the variations she used:

“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”

“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”

“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”

While only 70% agreed to let her cut in line when she used the first question, upwards of 90% let her skip when she used either the second and third phrasings. The takeaway? When asking people to do something, always include a reason. Don’t just request that your prospect introduce you to another stakeholder or fill out a survey — explain why you’d like them to take these actions. 

13) Opportunity

Problems are bound to crop up in the sales process, but that doesn’t mean you should acknowledge them as such. The word “problem” has a negative connotation and can make the prospect feel as if the process is difficult and unpleasant. With this in mind, replace it with more positive words. Instead of saying “no problem,” for example, say, “it’s my pleasure.” “I understand the problem” can become “I see an opportunity to make this run more smoothly.”

What are the selling words that you swear by? Share them in the comments.

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Vía HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/influential-words-that-sell

Apparently The Bitcoin Bowl Is A Real Thing That’s Happening Right Now

http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/bitcoin-bowl.jpg?w=649
bitcoin bowl When I first heard about the Bitcoin Bowl, I assumed it was a joke, or maybe a weird startup publicity stunt. It turns out that yes, the Bitcoin Bowl is promoting Bitpay, a Bitcoin-processign startup — but it’s also real college football game that’s underway as I write this on Friday evening.
Yes, one day you’ll be able to tell your kids about the very first… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/techcrunch/startups/~3/Fq0KK62XluA/