Warby Parker Now Worth $1.2 Billion, Focusing On Building More Brick-And-Mortar Stores

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Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 10.32.11 AM The e-commerce eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker has raised $100 million to expand physical store locations from 12 to 20 by year’s end and to work on technology that will allow customers to conduct eye exams on their mobile phones.
Global investment management firm T. Rowe Price led the round, along with participation from Wellington Management and from previous investors Tiger Global… Read More

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NeonMob Is A Platform For Creating, Trading, And Collecting Digital Art

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Screenshot 2015-04-30 12.07.53 Digital art is gaining popularity, with companies like Curioos dedicating entire marketplaces to the medium, but the idea of scarcity when it comes to the internet is relatively new. NeonMob is looking to change the way we think about that with a platform dedicated to digital art collectibles. The company offers tools to creators so that they can build out a collection of art —… Read More

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Zero’s New Email App Can Help You Reach “Inbox Zero”

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Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 10.56.03 AM A new mobile email application called Zero is launching today to help users power through their inbox on the go, in order to achieve the often sought-after state of “inbox zero” – meaning an inbox that has no unread emails. Aimed at heavy email users who receive a lot of inbound email, an app that promises to speed up email processing by 30% or more sounds too good to be true. Read More

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Airtable Launches Its API And Embedded Databases

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airtable Two months after launching its unique organizational tool, Airtable is rolling out two new features that’ll make it easier to share your personal spreadsheet/database hybrids with others in a way they’ll find useful. Read More

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The Tale of Two Ecommerce Companies That Turned Down Shark Tank Deals by HubSpot

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 Shark Tank Ecommerce

Choosing what to sell online is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as an entrepreneur. To be successful, you need to pick products that you’re passionate about and find an ecommerce model that resonates with your personality. With that in mind, let’s look to popular TV show Shark Tank to help you get started on the right foot –– because no one embodies passion and personality like the stars of the Tank.

PetPaint’s Shark Tank Advice: Listen, Learn –– Then Sell

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It’s tough being thrown into the Tank. Judges on the popular television show, Shark Tank, will hit you with tough questions and there is a lot to learn from the best of the best in the entrepreneurial industry. Sometimes, you need to listen to the words of a seasoned mentor.

“Shark Tank was a good experience for me in that you walk into this room and you exchange a lot of ideas and a lot of questions in a short period of time,” says Abe Geary, founder of PetPaint. “Mark Cuban’s biggest advice on the show was, “Why don’t you go the ecommerce route rather than trying to build the wholesale-retail network? Go straight to the consumer.”

That was in 2013. Since then, Geary has taken his PetPaint idea to the web, like Cuban suggested, increasing his sales 130% year over year. His Shark Tank appearance certainly helped to gain valuable eyeballs on his products. After the show aired, Geary saw a 55,000% spike in traffic.

“The biggest challenge, and the greatest asset, that we have is that it’s a new and exciting product,” Abe replied.

“All the more reason why the web would have worked great for you,” Cuban countered.

To truly utilize the web to grow product awareness, one of Geary’s top priorities was in building a robust PetPaint community. Before Shark Tank, he used the online store as proof of concept, setting up the company for future growth with consumers and retailers. But, PetPaint has continued to build their fanbase with offline events as well. The product is especially popular as a charity fundraiser and with rescue organizations looking for a safe way to help deserving dogs find a forever home.

petpaint_sharktank.jpg

Since his appearance on Shark Tank, Geary has honed in on another particularly engaged customer segment: dog groomers. By providing professionals with a new way to boost their own revenue, he’s establishing a base of loyal repeat buyers. Their artistic creations, which range from zebras to cartoon characters, are also a great way to show off PetPaint in action.

“My goal for PetPaint is to take it from a novel product to actually creating an industry segment,” he said. “Nobody’s heard of paint for dogs in the past, but you’re going to think about it in the future. And you’ll have a place to buy it, whether it’s from my ecommerce site, multiple other online avenues or your nearest pet store. That is my goal for the next five years.”

SoapSox’s Shark Tank Advice: Don’t Go On Until You’re Ready

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SoapSox, a successful Kickstarter idea turned company, had a unique journey into the Shark Tank. The company was accepted for the 2013 season, when they already had a deal with Nordstrom but no sales.

“I was terrified to go on national TV and look like an idiot,” says Ray Phillips, founder of SoapSox, a unique and fun washcloth for kids. “So we respectfully declined. The producers urged us to reconsider, ‘Few people get calls back, so really think about it. We’d love to have you back, but we can’t guarantee anything.’ But we knew we weren’t quite ready.”

Over the next six months, SoapSox built a solid customer base and got some serious sales numbers under their belt. The company also received a rejection email from Shark Tank for Season 6, but when Phillips reconnected with the casting director again at a New York trade show, the producer told him to delete the email. SoapSox moved forward with filming on Shark Tank in 2014.

“The people at Shark Tank are amazing,” Phillips said. “The whole experience was so amazing, I can’t even tell you how amazing it was! When you have a platform like Shark Tank, that changes the whole ballgame. We didn’t know we’d air until for month, so we had a Plan A and a Plan B. We went with Plan B. We want to ride the Shark Tank wave as much as we can.”

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In the end, however, Phillips turned down all offers from the Sharks. He came into the tank asking for a $2.6 million valuation, offering 10% of the company for $260,000 in capital infusion.

FUBU founder Daymond John started off a round of bidding after all of the other judges opted out. Daymond offered the men a steep $260,000 for 33% of the company, cutting their valuation by more than half. Shortly after Daymond entered his offer, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec entered back into the mix, offering $1 Million. Lori and Robert saw the product moving in a different direction, and they said in order to move in that direction, they needed to own the company outright.

Phillips rejected the offers, but has been riding the Shark Tank wave ever since. SoapSox is now available in 51 Nordstroms across the country as well as online.

Shark Tank Tips for Entrepreneurs –– Whether You’re in the Tank or Not

Proprietary is Priority

Your product must be safe from copying. The Sharks are keen to deal with products, processes and technologies that are securely owned, so it’s best to try for a patent. Being proprietary helps prevent any competition from popping up by mimicking your property. You also have the ability to license your property to other businesses, guaranteeing yourself a nice check in the mail for little effort.

Complacency Will Sink You

Did you know sharks will die if they stay still? So will entrepreneurs. According to the Sharks, you must constantly be on top of your game, innovating and improving your business. Whether it be a rise in sales from an amazing press release, a stellar marketing strategy, or a climb in your SEO rank, what goes up must come down. Being able to constantly adapt to changing technology, consumer behaviors and competition is something a successful entrepreneur cannot survive without. Your products can fade into obscurity quickly, so, as un-inspirational as it sounds, it’s best to be planning for the worst –– consistently pushing the limits of your creativity to stand out.

Economies of Scale

An investor isn’t interested in dumping some money on a product with low margins, so it’s best that you reduce the cost to manufacture your product. Being able to produce your product as cheaply and efficiently as possible in large volumes, while retaining its quality, allows you to lower your cost of goods sold (COGS) and improve your returns, overall increasing company revenue.

Passion Alone Just Won’t Cut It

If you aren’t motivated and don’t believe in your product, you’re just treading water. But investors are merciless, and you won’t receive an investment on passion alone, no matter how committed and emotional your pitch is. Numbers speak louder than words, and actions speak louder than promises. Your product’s past sales revenue, market performance, and potential competition are what earn you an investment.

19 (Easy To Fix) Blunders That Are Hurting Your Conversion Rates

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Mobile Action Raises $2 Million To Help App Makers Attract More Users

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mobile-action Getting apps discovered in an increasingly packed app store is a challenge, which is why a number of firms in recent years have launched services that help app publishers figure out how to better optimize their app’s search result ranking when users type in various keywords into the app store’s search interface, as well as gain other competitive intelligence. One such firm, San… Read More

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Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream

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duflfeature The absolute worst part of traveling, whether it’s for business or for pleasure, is packing and unpacking a suitcase. The work it takes to pack a bag is negligible, but having a clean inventory of clothes each time you pack takes far more planning. Dufl, a service that launches today, is looking to change all that. The idea behind Dufl is that frequent travelers waste a lot of time… Read More

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The Social Media Content Calendar Every Marketer Needs [Free Template] by HubSpot

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We have a 9 a.m. meeting? Yikes! Hold on — let me just click around the internet like a maniac to find something for the morning tweet. 

Sound familiar? Scrambling for social content is not a new phenomenon. We have meetings. We run late. Things come up. And it’s really hard to get any meaningful amount of work done when you have the next social media update looming over your head every 30, 60, 90 minutes. It all moves so fast that you might periodically feel a case of the vapors coming on, which is why pre-scheduled social media content should be your new best friend.

A few years ago, we created a social media content calendar template to help, which we recently updated to be better, faster, stronger, and just generally prettier. You can fill it in at the same day and time every single week to prep for the following week’s social media content. That means when you burst through the office doors at 9 a.m., it’s not in panic mode looking for something to push out to your Facebook fans — you already took care of that last week.

This blog post will walk you through exactly how to use the template to stay on top of your social media content planning for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Download the free social media content calendar template here to make this walk-through interactive.

(Note: HubSpot customers can also schedule content through Social Inbox, or use this spreadsheet to organize their content and subsequently upload it to Social Inbox. Detailed instructions for doing this exist in the cover sheet of the template.)

How to Use Your Social Media Planning Template

Alright, if you open up the social media content calendar template, you’ll notice the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet has several different tabs, most of which are dedicated to a specific social network.

Social Media Planning Template Tabs

The reason you’ll want a different worksheet for every social network is simply that every social network is a little bit different; you can’t just craft one social media update and use it across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You may promote the same piece of content across all four of those networks, but that doesn’t mean you’ll craft your update the same way. (You may even want to add new tabs if you’re active on other networks, like Quora or YouTube.)

This following sub-sections will walk you through how to fill out each of the four tabs you see in this template — the updates for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. But before we get to that, let’s just walk through the “Monthly Planning Calendar” so you know what that’s for.

Monthly Social Media Planning Calendar

The monthly planning calendar provides an overall snapshot of your monthly social media campaigns. It’ll help you coordinate better with other stakeholders, not to mention keep all the moving parts straight in your own mind. Here’s what it looks like:

Social Media Monthly Planning Calendar

There are three sections to take note of when you edit this template for your own purposes. First, the color-coding key: these are the types of content or campaigns around which you might coordinate. Though some of this might be relevant to you, it’s simply there to indicate what one might put in there, so be sure to edit it to align with your own campaigns.

The other two sections you’ll need to edit are the Month and Year at the top of the calendar (duh), as well as the cells below each day of the week. In those cells, you should enter the type of content you’ll be promoting that day and color-code it to align with the campaign it’s supporting.

Instead of deleting all the content in this spreadsheet each month, I recommend copying this worksheet twelve times over, and creating a separate sheet for each month. (If that gets to be too overwhelming, you can always save those tabs as a separate file.)

Twitter Updates

Alright, now let’s get to the social media content. This section will be the lengthiest, because all subsequent sections will draw on the instructions we go through here. So if you read one section, read this one.

Let’s say you want to add some tweets to your scheduling template. Skip over to the “Twitter Updates” tab, where you’ll see this:

Social Media Planning Template Twitter

The first four columns, “Day,” “Date,” “Time,” and “Date and Time” are there for your convenience, and if you choose to use a third-party app for pre-scheduling your tweets, these columns will be useful. For now, just fill in the date on which you’d like your updates to publish to Twitter, and the time at which you’d like them to go out. The “Date & Time” column will automatically change based on what you input in the previous two columns.

Now, let’s move over to the “Message” column. Here, input the copy you’d like to appear in your tweet, bearing in mind you should keep it under 118 characters to allow enough room for a link and/or image. This spreadsheet will auto-calculate the number of characters you’ve entered to keep you on-point, turning yellow when you’ve reached 95 characters, and red when you’ve reached 118 characters. After you’ve composed your tweet, paste the URL you’d like to include in your tweet in the “Link” column; be sure to include UTM parameters so you’ll know whether all of these tweets are actually driving traffic, leads, and customers. This is an important step to remember if you’d like to be able to demonstrate ROI from social. You can also use the “Campaign” column to add an associated campaign, which helps which more robust tracking and reporting.

Finally, in the “Image” column, attach the tweet’s image (if you have one). For Twitter, we recommend images that are 876 x 438 pixels. If you’re having trouble attaching your image to the spreadsheet, follow these steps:

Step 1: Right-click the cell in which you’d like your image.

Step 2: Click “Hyperlink,” then click the “Document” button, and finally, click “Select” to choose your image.

Step 3: In the “Choose a File” window, select the image from your computer and click “Open.”

Step 4: You’ll now see the image attached to the “Insert Hyperlink” screen. Feel free to edit the “Display” text to change the file name, then click “OK.”

Note: This process is simply for organizational purposes. If you decide to upload the spreadsheet to your social media publishing software, it will not attach — you will have to do that with your marketing software. If you’re a HubSpot customer, details for how to bulk upload your Twitter content to Social Inbox can be found within the downloaded template.

Facebook Updates

Now, let’s talk about how to set up your Facebook content in advance with the template. Navigate on over to the tab in your template labeled “Facebook Updates.”

Social Media Planning Template Facebook

Facebook updates work similarly to Twitter updates, with the exception being bulk uploading your content is not possible in Social Inbox.

The first three columns, “Day,” “Date,” “Time,” and “Date and Time” are there for your convenience. Head on over to the column labeled “Message” and input the copy you’d like to appear in your status update, corresponding to the days and times you’d like those updates to run. Then move to the “Link” column and input the link you’ll be, you know, linking to in the update. (Don’t forget that tracking token.) If you’d like the update to be tagged to a certain campaign, include this in the “Campaigns” column. Finally, attach an image just like you did with your Twitter updates — if you’re using one, we suggest you edit it to be 1200 x 900 pixels.

LinkedIn Updates

LinkedIn updates are the most unique, because you have both Company Pages and Groups to consider. To demonstrate the difference between Company Page updates and Group updates, let’s navigate over to the column labeled “Title (For Group Discussions Only).”

Social Media Planning Template LinkedIn

LinkedIn Groups let you post a few kinds of updates, one of which is called a “Discussion.” You will only fill out this column if you’re looking to post a Discussion to your LinkedIn Group — because Discussions are the only update you’ll be posting that requires a title. If you’re not posting a Discussion to a LinkedIn Group, you don’t need to fill out this field, because your update will not have a title.

You’ll fill out the next column, “Message,” for every type of update you post, whether it’s for a Company Page or a Group. Simply input your copy into this column, and then navigate to the next two columns, “Link” and “Campaign” to input the URL to which you’re directing readers with the tracking token you’ll use to track activity, and the associated Campaign if one exists. If you’d like to use an image for an update, attach it per the instructions laid out in the “Twitter” section. We recommend editing the image to 700 x 520 pixels.

Google+ Updates

Finally, we come to Google+. Start in the “Message” column and input your status update. Then move over to the last two columns and input the link to which you’re directing readers, and the campaign associated with that update. If you’re attaching an image, you could use multiple different sizes, but 960 X 960 pixels works best.

Social Media Planning Template Google Plus

Content Repository (Or, Where to Source Social Media Content)

This template also provides you with a tab called “Content Repository,” which should help you keep track of all your content and maintain a healthy backlog of fodder to make sourcing social media content easier.

Social Media Content Backlog

As you create more assets, you’ll likely want to resurface and re-promote those pieces down the line, too. To ensure you don’t lose track of all of that content, record it on this tab so you’re never at a loss for what to publish on social. If the content you’re promoting isn’t evergreen, be sure to include an expiration date in the column marked “Expiration” so you don’t promote it when it’s jumped the shark.

This tab will also help you maintain a healthy balance of content: A mix of your own content and others’, a mix of content formats and types, and mix of lead generation content vs. MQL-generating content vs. traffic-friendly content. 

Don’t Forget

Whether you use this spreadsheet to plan your content out in advance or upload to a third-party app, you’ll still need to supplement these updates with on-the-fly content. Breaking news hits? Whip up a quick update to share it with your network. Someone in your network tweets something interesting? Give it a retweet with some commentary. Got a fascinating comment on one of your updates? Respond with a “thank you” for their interaction or an additional follow-up comment. This is all to say that coming up with and scheduling your social media content in advance is a huge time-saver, but it should go without saying that you still need to monitor and add to your social presence throughout the day.

Finally, we encourage you to experiment with your social media publishing. This template provides publishing dates and times for each social network, but you may find those are way too many updates for you to fill, or perhaps too infrequent for your booming social presence. You should adjust your social media publishing frequency as needed.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free social media content calendar template

 
free social media content calendar template

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Campus Job, Connecting College Students With Employers, Raises $7.8 Million In Series A

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campusjob Nearly eight months after launching a platform to connect college students with local job opportunities, Campus Job has raised a $7.8 million Series A round of funding led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from Index Ventures, Box Group, SV Angel, Slow Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and others. The company originally launched with a model that allowed students to sign up on… Read More

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Real Estate Startup Suitey Rebrands As TripleMint, Raises $1.65M

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TripleMint Search Page TripleMint, a New York City startup aiming to take the pain out of buying, selling and renting an apartment, has raised $1.65 million in seed funding. Investors include Dominion Capital, Winklevoss Capital (yes, those Winklevoss twins), Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Kima Ventures, Archangel Ventures, Fabrice Grinda, Tom Falus (former president of Cushman & Wakefield) and Mike… Read More

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