Qatar Scraps Visa for India, 79 Other Countries

first_imgCitizens of 80 countries, including India, will no longer require visa to enter Qatar, officials announced on Wednesday. According to the new changes, these nationals can now visit Qatar for free for up to 90 days at a time. The change, which is applicable from immediate effect, implies that citizens from these 80 countries, which include the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa, Seychelles, Australia and New Zealand, would now be able to enter Qatar “with no paperwork, no payment and no visas,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said.Waivers Rather Than VisasQatar announced that it will issue waivers rather than visas, and will not charge for the service. “A multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket,” according to the official release.For citizens of some nations, the waiver will be valid for 180 days, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar with multiple entry options. Visitors from India and some other countries are entitled to multi-entry visit valid for 30 days from the date of issuance that can be extended for a further 30 days.“With 80 nationalities eligible for a free visa waiver upon arrival, Qatar is now the most open country in the region and we are delighted to invite visitors to discover our renowned hospitality, cultural heritage and natural treasures,” Hassan Al Ibrahim, acting chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority said, according to Reuters.Most Open Country in the RegionThe move makes Qatar “the most open country in the region,” officials from Qatar’s tourism and interior ministries who announced the new immigration rules said, according to media reports. Qatar’s visa change could help the Persian Gulf country reach its target of hosting 7 million tourists annually by 2030, NPR reported. The move could also provide some relief from the blockade that the country faces from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. On June 5 this year, the Gulf countries had accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and imposed a boycott, cutting off all transport links with the country.Qatar had earlier introduced a free transit visa in November 2016, allowing passengers from all countries transiting in Qatar for a minimum of five hours to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours.  Related ItemsLittle IndiaQatar visaQatar visa for IndiansQatar visa IndiaQatar visa waiverQatar visit ruleslast_img read more

Obama Received Gifts Worth $3,000 During 2015 India Visit

first_imgFormer American President Barack Obama received gifts worth about $3,000 during his visit to India in 2015 as the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations, according to the U.S State Department. Obama was the first U.S. president to attend the event.Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented Obama a telegram facsimile from the U.S. to India’s Constituent Assembly in 1946 and reproduction of the cover page of a report on India’s Constitutional debates, according to the State Department’s Protocol Office.The gifts also included a framed photograph of African American singer Marian Anderson’s radio interview in India and a hand-carved wooden jali box with a small wooden latch and a photo of Marian Anderson’s radio interview in India on the lid, along with a CD set titled All India Radio Interview with Marian Anderson, November 18 1957, New Delhi.The State Department estimates the value of the hand-carved black wooden jali box with the painting on the lid, a blue shahmina shawl, a red shahmina shawl, and beige and cream colored shahmina shawl at $1,231. The Rajghat Samadhi Committee gifted Obama a model spinning wheel with white thread looped around the wheel and a cloth scroll listing the Seven Social Sins as articulated by Mahatma Gandhi.Obama also got Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of My Experiments With Truth, and a bronze colored bust of Gandhi on a wood base. They were estimated to be worth about $929.Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee gifted Obama books — Thoughts and Reflections, Winged Wonders of Rashtrapati Bhavan RB Series 2012-2014 and a photobook titled State Visit of His Excellency Barack H Obama, President of the United States of America and Michelle Obama to India on January 25 to 27 January 2015. Their price was estimated to be $825.Michelle Obama was given a hand-embroidered Shahmina shawl, hand-carved wooden jali box, and assorted Indian tea with an estimated value of $662. As per the Office of Protocol, only the tea box was handled as per United States Secret Service policy, while the rest went to the National Archives.Mukherjee gave the then First Lady a pashmina shawl with hand-embroidery and a specially commissioned tea set, including a pot, six cups, six saucers, a milk pitcher, and a sugar jar, with an estimated value of $900. Related ItemsIndiaModiObamalast_img read more

India Posts Biggest Increase in Immigrants Getting U.S. Citizenship

first_imgIndia and Ecuador posted the biggest increases among origin countries for eligible immigrants choosing to become American citizens between 2005 and 2015, a study conducted by Pew Research Center showed.The total number of naturalized immigrants in the United States increased from 14.4 million in 2005 to 19.8 million in 2015, marking a 37 per cent increase. Among the 20 largest immigrant groups in the United States that were surveyed, the rate of naturalization in India and Ecuador was the highest, with as many as 80 per cent of Indian immigrants eligible for U.S. citizenship getting naturalized in 2015, as compared to 68 per cent in 2005.The corresponding figures for Ecuador were 68 per cent of immigrants eligible for U.S. citizenship getting naturalized in 2015 as against 55 per cent in 2005. Both India and Ecuador registered a change of 12 points, followed by Peru and Haiti, which recorded a change of 9 points. Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Poland and Jamaica recorded a change of 7 points each.“By 2015, eligible immigrants from India had one of the higher naturalization rates (80 per cent) due to a 12-percentage-point increase in its naturalization rate since 2005. Only eligible immigrants from Ecuador (68 per cent in 2015) had as large an increase,” the PEW Research Center said in a statement.Only a handful of nations did not have increases. The naturalization rates among eligible immigrants from Honduras, China and Cuba declined or remained largely unchanged from 2005 to 2015.According to the study, the U.S. government denied nearly 1 million naturalization applications from 2005 to 2015, or 11 per cent of the 8.5 million applications filed during this time.“The roughly 19.8 million naturalized citizens in 2015 made up about 44 per cent of the United States’ foreign-born population. Another roughly 11.9 million immigrants were lawful permanent residents, among whom an estimated 9.3 million were eligible to apply for US citizenship,” said the statement.Mexican immigrants are the largest group of lawful immigrants: About 2.5 million Mexican immigrants held U.S. citizenship and another 3.5 million were eligible for naturalization.The findings of the same study published in September last year said that a record 20 million Asian Americans trace their roots to more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. “The U.S. Asian population grew 72 per cent between 2000 and 2015, from 11.9 million to 20.4 million, the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group,” the statement revealed.The largest groups are of Chinese, Indian and Filipino origin. Indian-origin Asians accounted for 20 per cent of the national Asian population or four million, while China is close to five million and Filipino is 3.9 million.The study also revealed that Indians have the highest level of educational attainment among Asian Americans, with 72 per cent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015.Benefits of being a citizen of the United States include being able to vote in most elections, travel with a U.S. passport, eligibility for some federal government jobs, protection from deportation and participation in a jury. In addition, research shows that immigrants who become U.S. citizens have higher incomes than those who do not. Related ItemsCitizenshipIndian AmericanUnited Stateslast_img read more

A Million Mutinies Now

first_imgNobel laureate and novelist V S Naipaul, who in 2001 stirred a literary firestorm by accusing EM Forster of being a sexual predator and ridiculed Irish author James Joyce as incomprehensible, is now lambasting literary giants Henry James as “the worst writer in the world” and Thomas Hardy as “an unbearable writer” who “doesn’t know how to compose a paragraph.” In an interview with The Literary Review, Naipaul is equally contemptuous of Jane Austen’s “nonsensical writing” in Northanger Abbey: “I thought halfway through the book, “Here am I, a grown man reading about this terrible vapid woman and her so-called love life.” I said to myself,  “What am I doing with this material? This is for somebody else, really.”Naipaul is no less scornful of Ernest Hemingway for being “so busy being an American” that he “didn’t know where he was.  I find it very difficult to read that kind of writing or to take it seriously.”Sir Naipaul, arguably Britain’s most accomplished living writers, is equally dismissive of literary heavyweight Charles Dickens:  “There’s so much rubbish in Dickens. Wordiness, too many words, repetitiveness.”Got to hand it to Sir Naipaul, who shot to fame with A House For Mr Biswas. At 73 he is certainly not vapid in his criticism.  For the sake of highschoolers worldwide, can he speak to Shakespeare? Related Itemslast_img read more

Well-Educated Star

first_imgAn altercation involving an Indian woman passenger during which she berated a train conductor with repeated references to her elite educational upbringing has gone viral on the Web.The passenger, who has been identified as Hermon Kaur Raju, a New York University graduate, who interned at BNP Paribas, by various websites, boarded the train headed to New York City in Westport, Conn. She became irate after a conductor approached her to tone down her cellphone conversation and the use of profanity, launching into a tirade peppered with numerous references to her stellar educational credentials:“Excuse me, do you know what schools I’ve been to and how well-educated I am?”“I am not a crazy person. I’m a very well-educated person.”“I was not cursing, excuse me, do you know what schools I’ve been to?”“I’m sorry, do you think I’m a little hoodlum?”Raju deleted her Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts after video of the altercation surfaced and went viral. Several parodies of the incident have since been published on YouTube. And Facebook now hosts a page “Hermon Raju is More Educated Than You.”According to some reports, a public announcement was made on the train’s speaker system after the incident requesting passengers to refrain from using profanity, “especially those people who went to Harvard or Yale or are from Westport.”  Related Itemslast_img read more

USC Medical School Dean Rohit Varma Quits Over Sexual Harassment Case

first_imgThe University of Southern California is in the news once again for the wrong reasons after Dr. Rohit Varma, its medical school dean, resigned from the post over a sexual harassment case that took place 15 years ago. The USC announced on Oct.5 that Varma no longer held the post.“Based on previously undisclosed information brought to the university in recent days, USC leadership has lost confidence in Dr. Rohit Varma’s ability to lead our medical school. As of today, he is no longer dean of the Keck School of Medicine,” USC Provost Michael Quick said in a statement.“I understand how upsetting this situation is to all of us, but we felt it was in the best interest of the faculty, staff and students for all of us to move in this direction,” Quick said in the statement on Oct.6. “Today we learned previously undisclosed information that caused us to lose confidence in Dr. Varma’s ability to lead the school. Our leaders must be held to the highest standards. Dr. Varma understands this, and chose to step down.”Varma, who assumed the post less than a year ago, was found to have behaved inappropriately toward a female medical school researcher, following which he was formally disciplined by the USC in 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing confidential records accessed by it and interviews it conducted with people familiar with the matter.The CaseThe incident, according to the publication, took place when Varma and the woman travelled to an ophthalmology conference. The complainant accused him of making sexual advances towards her, and told investigators that he said he had booked only one room and expected her to share a bed with him. He also threatened to have her visa revoked and took her cellphone away when she protested.USC paid her $135,000 in settlement, of which about $11,000 was personally paid by Varma. He was also temporarily blocked from becoming a full member of the faculty and his salary was reduced by $30,000, LA Times said, quoting the records and interviews. He was, however, given his original salary in 2004, and promoted to a full professor in 2005.Varma was appointed the dean of USC medical school after his predecessor, Dr. Carmen Puliafito, quit following charges that he had alcohol and drug problem, and partied with other drug users and prostitutes. At the time of his appointment in January this year, the university called Varma an outstanding candidate, with a press release stating that Varma, who obtained his medical degree at the University of Delhi in India, was a volunteer at a leper colony with Mother Teresa as a medical student. Related ItemsDr Rohit VarmaDr Varma USCIndian medical dean resignsLittle IndiaRohit Varma controversyUSC scandallast_img read more

Several vehicles from Tata Motors to be launched by 2020

first_imgTata Nexon compact SUVTata Motors, which has been facing troubled times in the past, except for the success of Jaguar Land Rover sales, is now looking at a makeover for itself. The company has not launched any new products for a while, and with the Zest now, it aims to bring on an onslaught. With contribution from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Tata Motors will look to enter new segments as well as phase out some of its existing products, as per their vision till 2020.Tata Motors aims to launch two new products every year till 2020, a move which has already been initiated with the Zest. Similar to Tata Zest, the Bolt (hatchback) will also be launched later this year. Zest is a sub-4 metre compact sedan with cutting edge design and technology, built to compete against heavyweights Honda Amaze, Maruti Swift DZire and Hyundai Xcent.Girish Wagh, Senior Vice President, Program planning & Project Management said, “We have a clear plan, either there will be a product intervention on the existing product or it will get repositioned, or some of the products will get phased out. From customers perspective, it should be almost new products.” He further explained that Tata Motors was looking to enter into segments where it had been lacking presence in the past. Models launched would be a mix of new products, mid-cycle enhancements, facelifts etc.    Known for building a majority of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), Tata Motors’s future products will include a mix of compact SUVs with traditional ones. The Nexon, a futuristic compact SUV showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, can be expected either later this year or early 2015. Giving information about this segment, Mr. Wagh said, “You will see a lot of action in the SUV segment. In UVs over the last two years, customers have migrated from traditional SUVs to soft roaders or on-roaders, and that has doubled the market for the segment.”advertisementThe comp[any recognises that perception of its brand is definitely an issue in India, which will be addressed strongly. To change this perception, Pratap Bose, Head of Design for Tata Motors said that with the design perspective in mind, his team and himself are working very hard. But with the current crop of competition, we are quite sure that this journey will not be easy.last_img read more

Boxing’s new leader steps into fight to keep Olympic status

first_imgPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Rakhimov’s status on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list — with alleged links to international heroin trafficking which he denies — is part of an International Olympic Committee inquiry examining boxing’s place on the Tokyo Games program, and the AIBA’s right to run the sport.“Mr. Rakhimov did a great job since he was interim president (in January 2018) and we thank him for that,” Moustahsane told The Associated Press on Friday. “But AIBA is now going forward.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe Moroccan doctor said he had not yet met Nenad Lalovic, the IOC executive board member chairing a three-member inquiry, nor the Olympic body’s president Thomas Bach.“We are confident they are working for the best interests of the sport,” Moustahsane said in an interview. Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Asked if Rakhimov staying out of office could be a condition of keeping boxing in the Olympics, Moustahsane said: “The IOC have never said that there’s a red line. Mr. Rakhimov stepped aside so we don’t have to discuss this issue now.”The IOC is also concerned about the integrity of some bout results at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the AIBA’s finances.Moustahsane chaired a panel allocating referees and judges to bouts in Rio, though then-AIBA executive director Karim Bouzidi was publicly demoted during those Olympics and took the blame.“We turned the page and saw that there was something to do improve our sport,” Moustahsane said, insisting he saw no wrongdoing in Rio and preferred to look forward rather than “stay on the past.”An offer to clear the AIBA’s reported $16 million debt by its executive committee member Umar Kremlev of Russia was announced last month.“We asked Mr. Kremlev to put this proposal to the (executive committee),” Moustahsane said, adding the AIBA had not asked about the source of the money.The American federal sanctions on Rakhimov have left banks in Switzerland reluctant to do business with the Lausanne-based boxing body.“We are working according to Swiss law and nothing is out of order,” said Moustahsane, who described an AIBA account held in Serbia as “not something important.”Despite the IOC inquiry, the AIBA is still working with around 200 member nations and planning for world championships in Russia. The men’s tournament in September and women’s in October are meant to decide the first Olympic qualifying places.A legal fight would be possible if the IOC decisions go against the AIBA. For the love of the game Asked if his organization could appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Moustahsane said: “This is not one of our values.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte FILE – In this Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, Kazakhstan’s Vassiliy Levit, right, fights Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko during a men’s heavyweight 91-kg final boxing match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The International Boxing Association has as few as six weeks left to save the sport’s place at the 2020 Olympics. Now its new interim president has arrived in the IOC’s home city Lausanne for the final rounds of lobbying. Mohamed Moustahsane is a long-time ringside doctor from Morocco, who praised his predecessor whose alleged links to organized crime helped provoke the crisis in Olympic boxing. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, FIle)LAUSANNE, Switzerland — With as few as six weeks left to save boxing’s place at the 2020 Olympics, the governing body’s new interim president is now in the IOC’s home city for the final rounds of lobbying.A long-time ringside doctor, Mohamed Moustahsane stepped into the arena last month as the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) temporary leader after elected president Gafur Rakhimov stepped aside.ADVERTISEMENT Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated View comments MOST READ Two deadlines weigh heavily in the AIBA’s near future.A May 22 meeting of the IOC board to assess the inquiry panel’s report could see boxing removed from the Tokyo program, or choose to go ahead outside the AIBA’s control. Bach’s board already decided in November to freeze planning for men’s and women’s boxing tournament in Tokyo and block AIBA officials contacting organizers in Japan.The AIAB could also be formally derecognized by the full IOC membership at their June 24-26 annual meeting in Lausanne.Rakhimov helped negotiate a settlement with the AIBA’s main creditor, in Azerbaijan, before he was formally elected president in November by member federations. That vote triggered an inquiry panel being created by the IOC, which privately warned the AIBA against electing him.Moustahsane stepping into the presidential seat for up to nine months is seen by some skeptics as a tactic to placate the IOC before a Rakhimov return.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

10 Hilarious Blogs That’ll Make You Feel Better About Your Job

first_img Blog Examples 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 Oct 11, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 There’s something cathartic about commiserating in awful shared experiences — especially if you can find humor in them. Like that one time you were working on four hours of sleep and included a typo in a blog post title. The typo got included in a notification to all of your email and RSS subscribers, and they all made fun of you in the comments for being a terrible, horrible, no good blogger. Horrifying at the time (seriously, you will never make that mistake again!!), but when you describe the situation later to a fellow blogger, it’s funny and makes everyone feel a little better about that same situation happening to them. That is the precise reason why I love funny marketing blogs — they somehow manage to identify all of the awful, frustrating, and down-right hilarious things that happen in our marketing jobs. And the following 10 are ones that really take the cake. So if you’ve had a rough week or just need a few minutes to hear about someone who has, check them out. Be warned: Some of these blogs include profane language.1) Clients From HellWhether you work in an agency or just across teams within your company, you will love this website. While it’s created from the viewpoint of a designer, we’ve all worked with people who have nearly impossible standards to meet and questions up the wazoo. So step into client hell — and maybe even submit a story of your own.2) Sharp SuitsOkay okay, this isn’t exactly a blog — it’s an art project — but it’s hilarious and definitely deserves to be included here. It’s basically “Clients From Hell” … but in visual format. And trust me, the visual format is what makes it. Just look at an excerpt below to see what I mean. I check them out and wonder if real human beings actually say some of these things — while also knowing that I’ve definitely said at least one of them in my lifetime. 3) Tom Reads His SpamSpam is slowly taking over the internet. It’s overflowing inboxes, dominating comments, and even creeping into Twitter accounts. It’s funny enough when you see it … but have you ever listened to it? Lucky for us, Tom Webster, VP of Strategy and Marketing at Edison Research, makes listening to spam possible — and hilarious. Embedded below is my favorite one, but definitely give his blog a gander.4) What Should We Call Social MediaLots of us manage our company’s social media accounts, which comes with a whole bunch of highs and lows. You’re scared of getting called out by unhappy customers. You’re pumped when someone influential mentions you. You’re scared of making a typo (just like our blogger friends). And then you’re pumped when someone favorites something of yours (Yes! Engagement!). With all of these universal, polarized emotions, it’s only natural that someone would capture these highs and lows on a blog with GIFs. 5) I Love ChartsYou already know how to make gorgeous charts and graphs, so you’ll know well-designed — and hilarious — graphs when you see them. If you love visual content, pop culture, and snark, which sometimes turn into full-out rants, you seriously have to check out this blog. 6) I Am the ClientSo we’ve already covered a few funny blogs from agency folk, but what about our in-house, corporate, or start-up friends? Don’t we get a cathartic, funny blog? Introducing, “I Am the Client,” a blog for the rest of us. While the blog hasn’t been updated since April, the posts are pure gold. The latest post — “Laugh your way to the top” — is just so truthful and funny that you want to start reading more and more and more … and then you realize it’s an hour later and you haven’t left the site. If you need something to help kill the last few hours of your workday, this is your best bet.7) 99 Problems but a Pitch Ain’t OneNow, a blog for our friends in public relations. A spin-off of the very popular Tumblr GIF blog, “What Should We Call Me,” this blog documents the all-too-true day-to-day situations of a PR pro. Had an email pitch fall flat or an executive let something horrible slip on camera? Read this blog to feel a little bit less alone in this world.8) The OatmealThough technically not a marketing blog, “The Oatmeal” is hands-down one of my favorite blogs in this universe. Matthew Inman, the author, draws comics that often touch on marketing, business, or just general web trends. While you’re reading his often random yet spot-on assessment of our industry, you can’t help but laugh. If you’re into snarky, funny cartoons, you better check out “The Oatmeal.”9) This Is Advertising LifeLike “99 Problems but a Pitch Ain’t One,” “This Advertising Life” is a blog with GIFs — but it focuses on advertising professionals. (Shocker, I know.) So if you’re a GIFanatic like I am, go bookmark this blog for the next time you need a little pick-me-up.10) Crap BrappsLast, but certainly not least, is a blog all about apps from brands that are unfortunately … crap. While a branded app could be a smart move in certain campaigns, you’ll often wonder who thought of the app ideas featured on this blog. My favorite? T.G.I. Friday’s YOLO app … for all of your YOLO moments with friends and family. Be warned: This one probably has the filthiest language of all.These are just a few of the marketing-, advertising-, or business-related blogs that make us laugh. Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments. Topics:last_img read more

Want to Get More Leads? Stop Making These 12 Landing Page Mistakes

first_img Topics: There are few feelings worse than knowing you’re missing out on something. Scientists have even given that feeling a name: FOMO (fear of missing out). Whether it’s missing out on an outing your coworkers are all going to or realizing you could have made that meeting if you only left five minutes earlier, we all get that same feeling of unrest in the pit of our stomachs when we miss out on something. Typically, FOMO has applied to events or actual things you could miss out on … but there are lots of other things that give us that same feeling, too. You know, like that time you realized if you had only done one more thing to your landing page, you’d get 30% more leads.That feeling sucks, so we want to help you steer clear of it, especially on your landing pages. Some of these could be two-minute fixes while others could be full-day projects, but each of these mistakes could be costing your business money.So save your company some moolah (and maybe get a pat on the back from your boss) and read the following about most egregious landing page errors. 1) It doesn’t pass the blink test. You have 50 milliseconds. Ready, set, go! Stop.The time it took you to read that last sentence is longer than you have to make a first impression on your landing page. A study by researchers at Carleton University found that people make judgments about a website within 50 milliseconds of viewing it. Yep, roughly the time it takes for you to blink once. Tough crowd, I know, but a crowd you’ve got to please if you want to improve your conversion rates.Make sure your landing pages are passing this blink test by following the guidelines here.2) It doesn’t have a clear value proposition. If someone has to do lots of thinking while they’re on your landing page, you’re doing it wrong. The value of downloading the piece of content you have hidden behind your form should be apparent from the get-go. That way, your landing page visitors aren’t spending time figuring out what the heck you’re offering — they’re actually filling out the form to get it. There are lots of ways to accomplish this — adding more descriptive copy or updating the landing page image to reflect what’s inside your offer could do the trick. Or maybe it’s as simple as clarifying what your offer is in your headline. If you’re having trouble figuring out if the value proposition is clear on your website, try sending it to someone within your buyer persona’s field (maybe a current customer of yours?) and give them zero context about what happens after someone would fill out the form. Then, ask them to tell you what they think they’ll get once they give over their contact information and if that exchange (content for their contact information) seems reasonable. If it’s not, you’ve got some tweaking to do!3) Your form is too long.One of the biggest mistakes people make on landing pages is to make a long form. It makes sense why you’d want to — you only have someone’s attention for a bit, so why not get all the information you can out of them … right? Not quite. A long form becomes a huge barrier to entry for your landing page visitors simply because it looks like it will take forever to fill out. Even though you know it’ll only take a minute or so, a minute seems like a long time to invest for your visitors — especially those on mobile.Those impatient visitors (aka, most of the people who’ll come to your site) want to get your offer and get out, so think about how you can make it easier for them to do that. Remove form fields that are “nice to haves” and also think about using progressive profiling to capture important, yet secondary information on the second time someone fills out a form on your site. 4) Your form is too short.On the flip-side, your form may be too short, which could very well mean you’re getting a bunch of unqualified leads flowing into your contacts database.If this is a big problem for you, consider adding a form field or two to the offers that keep sending you unqualified leads. You could also leave the initial form alone, but then use progressive profiling on future forms to collect more lead information — and the only rotate those leads to your sales team. 5) Your landing page isn’t ready for mobile.Like we said in number 3, landing pages with long forms aren’t really mobile-friendly — but that’s not the only thing that could deter mobile and tablet visitors. You might have a page that’s not responsive, making your mobile visitors swipe and swipe and swipe to scroll half an inch on the page. Or maybe your landing page image is huge, making it impossible for your visitors to access your form. Or maybe your CTA is below the fold, thus making it unclear how to submit the form. The point is you need to think about mobile traffic to your landing pages — engaging those visitors could mean the difference between hitting your monthly goal — and not. So, make sure you’re following the mobile marketing best practices outlined in this ebook.6) Your leads aren’t redirected anywhere after filling out a form. Someone wants to download your offer, so they fill out the form, hit submit, and then … nothing. They’re confused. Did their information get submitted? Will they get an email with the offer? What the heck just happened?!?!?You don’t want people to experience that confusion on your landing pages — it makes for a poor user experience that not many (if any) visitors want to go through again. Bonus: Having that type of experience on your landing pages means you’re missing out on more traffic, leads, and customers. The best way to fix this? A thank-you page. Basically, this is another page leads are redirected to after they’ve filled out the form on your landing page. There, leads can actually download or interact with the offer itself, share it with friends, and maybe even convert on another offer. It’s valuable real estate you shouldn’t miss out on. 7) Your “submit” button says “submit.”You know that phrase “you don’t know something until you know it”?  While it is “duh”-inducing, it’s actually a great reminder for your landing page designs.For example, if someone’s filling out a landing page form for the first time — in other words, the majority of people you hope to be filling out the form — they have no idea what’s going to happen when they hit “submit.” What tangible thing will they be getting for handing over their information? What is going to happen when they push that bright red button? That’s a lot of anxiety that comes with filling out a form on a website … but it’s uncertainly like this that could affect your conversion rates.To reduce that uncertainty, be extra clear on what will happen when you hit “submit.” Customize the button to say something like “Download your Ebook” or “Get Your Free Guide.” Custom buttons will help assuage some of the anxiety your landing page visitors may have and convert them more readily into leads.8) Your page has text on text on text. In short: You need images on your landing page. They help convey information faster than a hundred words of text, so you can convert visitors faster to leads on your landing pages. Sounds like a good idea, right? So go on, add a relevant image to your landing page to help communicate what your visitors will be downloading. Need help finding or creating visual content for your landing pages? Check out these 10 free design tools.9) The images you do include on your landing page aren’t helping anything.  Images can tell your story quickly and easily (they are worth 1,000 words after all) … but what if the ones you’re using on your landing pages are telling the wrong story? You can’t just throw up any old image on a landing page and expect people to convert just because there’s an image on it. You’ve got to be strategic: Check out this blog post on conversion-centered design to help you pick out the right images to use on landing pages.10) You still include a main navigation. When visitors get to your landing page, you want them there for one purpose and one purpose only: to convert to be a lead. Don’t distract them with anything — multiple CTAs, website footers, or even a top navigation. All of those elements seem like they’d be helpful, but they can actually reduce your conversion rates.So on pages where your main goal is converting people to become leads — you know, on landing pages — cut the main navigation. Then, feel free to bring the navigation back on the thank-you page and other supplementary web pages. 11) You’re asking for the same information over and over and over again.You know those people who ask for your name every single time you meet them, but you’ve met them several times before? And you know how annoying those people are? You just want them to recognize you!That’s exactly how people feel when they go to your landing pages and get asked the same questions on forms over and over and over again. So think about using smart forms and progressive profiling to reduce the number of fields people need to fill out — and thus make it easier for them to convert on your landing pages.Not only is it a delightful experience for your visitors, but it’s also it’s a way to increase your conversion rates. 12) You set your landing page and forget it. Like with any other part of your marketing, you can’t just set your landing page and forget it. Your conversion rates are never going to be perfect (and neither are ours), but you can always work toward more efficient and effective layouts and designs.Thus, it’s imperative you run A/B tests to see what works best for your visitors and your leads — what may be a tried and true best practice may not always work for your audience.So keep testing to find out what does! You never know what will work for your audience until you test it.These are just some of the landing page mistakes we see happen all the time. What other grisly landing page mistakes did we miss? Add your ideas to the comments below. 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 Dec 12, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Landing Page Optimizationlast_img read more

How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template]

first_img Buyer Personas When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information. For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms. Take into consideration your sales team’s feedback on the leads they’re interacting with most. What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?Interview customers and prospects, either in person or over the phone, to discover what they like about your product or service. This is one of the most important steps, so let’s discuss it in greater detail …How to Find Interviewees for Researching Buyer PersonasOne of the most critical steps to establishing your buyer persona(s) is finding some people to speak with to suss out, well, who your buyer persona is. That means you’ll have to conduct some interviews to get to know what drives your target audience. But how do you find those interviewees? There are a few sources you should tap into:1) CustomersYour existing customer base is the perfect place to start with your interviews, because they’ve already purchased your product and engaged with your company. At least some of them are likely to exemplify your target persona(s).Reach out to both “good” and “bad” customers. You don’t just want to talk to people who love your product and want to spend an hour gushing about you (as good as that feels). Customers who are unhappy with your product will show other patterns that will help you form a solid understanding of your personas. For example, you might find that some of these “bad” customers have bigger teams and thus need a collaboration element to the product. Or you may find that “bad” customers find your product too technical and difficult to use. In both cases, you learn something about your product and what your customers’ challenges are.Another benefit to interviewing customers is that you may not need to offer them an incentive like a gift card (a typical incentive for participating in surveys or interviews). Customers usually like being heard, and interviewing them gives them a chance to tell you about their world, their challenges, and what they think of your product. Customers also like to have an impact on the products they use, so you may find that, as you involve them in interviews like this, they become even more loyal to your company. When you reach out to customers, be clear that your goal is to get their feedback and that it’s highly valued by your team.2) ProspectsBe sure to balance out your interviews with people who have not purchased your product or know much about your company. Your current prospects and leads are a great option here because you already have their contact information. Use the data you do have about them (i.e. anything you’ve collected through lead generation forms or website analytics) to figure out who might fit into your target personas.3) ReferralsYou’ll probably also need to rely on some referrals to talk to people who may fit into your target personas, particularly if you’re heading into new markets or don’t have any leads or customers yet. Reach out to your network — co-workers, existing customers, social media contacts — to find people you’d like to interview and get introduced to. It may be tough to get a large volume of people this way, but you’ll likely get some very high-quality interviews out of it. If you don’t know where to start, try searching on LinkedIn for people who may fit into your target personas and see which results have any connections in common with you. Then reach out to your common connections for introductions.4) Third-Party NetworksFor interviewees who are completely removed from your company, there are a few third-party networks you can recruit from. Craigslist allows you to post ads for people interested in any kind of job, and UserTesting.com allows you to run remote user testing (with some follow-up questions). You’ll have less control over sessions run through UserTesting.com, but it’s a great resource for quick user testing recruiting.Tips for Recruiting IntervieweesAs you reach out to potential interviewees, here are a few tips for getting a better response rate:1) Use incentives. While you may not need them in all scenarios (e.g. customers who already want to talk to you), incentives give people a reason to participate in an interview if they don’t have a relationship with you. A simple gift card (like an Amazon or Visa credit card) is an easy option.2) Be clear this isn’t a sales call. This is especially important when dealing with non-customers. Be clear that you’re doing research and that you just want to learn from them. You are not getting them to commit to a one-hour sales call; you’re getting them to commit to telling you about their lives, jobs, and challenges.3) Make it easy to say yes. Take care of everything for your potential interviewee. Suggest times, but be flexible; allow them to pick a time right off the bat; and send a calendar invitation with a reminder to block off their time.How Many People Do You Need to Interview?Unfortunately the answer is, it depends. Start with at least 3-5 interviews for each persona you’re creating. If you already know a lot about your persona, then that may be enough. You may need to do 3-5 interviews in each category of interviewees (customers, prospects, people who don’t know your company).The rule of thumb is, when you start accurately predicting what your interviewee is going to say, it’s probably time to stop. Through these interviews, you’ll naturally start to notice patterns. Once you start expecting and predicting what your interviewee is going to say, that means you’ve interviewed enough people to find and internalize these patterns.20 Questions to Ask in Persona InterviewsIt’s time to conduct the interview! After the normal small talk and thank-you’s, it’s time to jump into your questions. There are several different categories of questions you’ll want to ask in order to create a complete persona profile. The following questions are organized into those categories, but feel free to customize this list and remove or add more questions that may be appropriate for your target customers.Role1) What is your job role? Your title?2) How is your job measured?3) What does a typical day look like?4) What skills are required to do your job?5) What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?6) Who do you report to? Who reports to you?Company7) In which industry or industries does your company work?8) What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?Goals9) What are you responsible for?10) What does it mean to be successful in your role?Challenges11) What are your biggest challenges?Watering Holes12) How do you learn about new information for your job?13) What publications or blogs do you read?14) What associations and social networks do you participate in?Personal Background15) Describe your personal demographics (if appropriate, ask their age, whether they’re married, if they have children).16) Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, which schools did you attend, and what did you study?17) Describe your career path. How did you end up where you are today?Shopping Preferences18) How do you prefer to interact with vendors (e.g. email, phone, in person)?19) Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information?20) Describe a recent purchase. Why did you consider a purchase, what was the evaluation process, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?The #1 Tip for a Successful Persona Interview: Ask “Why”The follow up question to pretty much every question in the above list should be “why?”Through these interviews, you’re trying to understand your customers’ or potential customers’ goals, behaviors, and what drives them. But keep in mind that people are not always great at reflecting on their own behaviors to tell you what drives them at their core. You don’t care that they measure the number of visits to their website, for example. What you care about is that they measure that because they need a number they control to show their boss they’re doing a good job.Start with a simple question — one of our favorites is, “What is your biggest challenge?” Then spend a good amount of time diving deeper into that one question to learn more about that person. You learn more by asking “why?” than by asking more superficial questions.How to Use Your Research to Create Your PersonaOnce you’ve gone through the research process, you’ll have a lot of meaty, raw data about your potential and current customers. But what do you do with it? How do you distill all of that so it’s easy for everyone to understand all the information you’ve gathered?The next step is to use your research to identify patterns and commonalities from the answers to your interview questions, develop at least one primary persona, and share that persona with the rest of the company.Use our free, downloadable persona template to organize the information you’ve gathered about your persona(s). Then share these slides with the rest of your company so everyone can benefit from the research you’ve done and develop an in-depth understanding of the person (or people) they’re targeting every day at work.Here’s how to use the template to do it …Fill in Your Persona’s Basic Demographic InformationIf you didn’t feel comfortable asking some of these demographic-based questions on the phone or in person, you can also conduct online surveys to gather this information. Some people are more comfortable disclosing things like this through a survey rather than verbal communication.It’s also helpful to include some descriptive buzzwords and mannerisms of your persona that you may have picked up on during your conversations to make it easier for people in your sales department to identify certain personas when they’re talking to prospects.Here’s an example of how you might complete Section 1 in your template for one of your personas:Share What You’ve Learned About Your Persona’s MotivationsThis is where you’ll distill the information you learned from asking “Why” so much during those interviews. What keeps your persona up at night? Who do they want to be? Most importantly, tie that all together by telling people how your company can help them.Help Your Sales Team Prepare for Conversations With Your PersonaInclude some real quotes from your interviews that exemplify what your personas are concerned about, who they are, and what they want. Then create a list of the objections they might raise so your sales team is prepared to address those during their conversations with prospects.Help Craft Messaging for Your PersonaTell people how to talk about your products/services with your persona. This includes the nitty gritty vernacular you should use, as well as a more general elevator pitch that positions your solution in a way that resonates with your persona. This will help you ensure everyone in your company is speaking the same language when they’re having conversations with leads and customers.Finally, make sure you give your persona a name (like Finance Manager Margie, IT Ian, or Landscaper Larry), and include a real-life image of your persona so everyone can truly envision what he or she looks like. Purchase an image from a stock photograph site like Thinkstock, or download one of our royalty-free images. It may seem silly, but it really helps to put a name to a face, so to speak!And if you’re a HubSpot customer, you can add your persona right into your HubSpot Marketing Platform. Just follow this step-by-step setup guide. Now, find out the best questions to ask when creating your next buyer persona. Finance Manager Margie. IT Ian. Landscaper Larry. Do you know who your business’s buyer personas are? And exactly how much do you know about them?Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all — in marketing, sales, product, and services — internalize the ideal customer we’re trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.”Okay, so personas are really important to my business. But … how do I actually make one?”Download Our Free Buyer Persona Guide + Templates Ahh … the million dollar question. The good news is, they aren’t that difficult to create. You just need to ask the right questions to the right people, and present that information in a helpful way so the people in your business can get to know your persona(s) better than the backs of their hands.Now for the even better news: As you may have noticed above, we’ve put together an interview guide and a free template for creating buyer personas, so it’s easy as pie to do your persona research and compile it all into a beautiful, presentable, palatable format. So follow along with this interview guide, and download the persona template so you can start plugging in your research. Before you know it, you’ll have complete, well thought-out buyer personas to show off to your entire company!Before we dive into the buyer persona-creation process, let’s pause to understand the impact having well-developed buyer personas can have on your business — and specifically your marketing.Why Exactly Are Buyer Personas So Important to Your Business?Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. In other words, you may know your target buyers are caregivers, but do you know what their specific needs and interests are? What is the typical background of your ideal buyer? In order to get a full understanding of what makes your best customers tick, it’s critical to develop detailed personas for your business.The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. But if you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.What About “Negative” Personas?Whereas a buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer, a negative — or “exclusionary” — persona is a representation of who you don’t want as a customer.For example, this could include professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire (because of a low average sale price, their propensity to churn, or their unlikeliness to purchase again from your company).How Can Personas Be Used in Marketing?At the most basic level, developing personas allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience. It also enables you to target or personalize your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.Furthermore, when combined with lifecycle stage (i.e. how far along someone is in your sales cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content. You can learn more about how to do that by downloading our Content Mapping Template. And if you take the time to also create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer — and see higher sales productivity.Now, are you ready to start creating your buyer personas?How to Create Buyer PersonasBuyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside your contacts database who might align with your target audience.Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to develop personas: Topics:center_img Originally published May 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated May 17 2018 Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content. 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

Event Swag Your Attendees Will Love … and Loathe

first_imgThe main attraction of any live event is (or should be) the content. At HubSpot’s INBOUND 2015 event, for example, we had over 100 speakers from marketing, sales, and beyond, designed to attract thousands of attendees.But sometimes, it’s the little things that can make an event go the extra mile: the special surprises the coordinators throw in, the prizes companies hand out, the contests that take place. You know … the free swag!When event swag is really cool, it can really delight attendees at an event. But when event swag is really lame, it can make your attendees grumble … and look for the nearest trash can.So, to help out all the conference coordinators out there, we’ve collected examples of the best and worst swag we’ve come across at events. We hope it helps inspire you to create awesome swag bags, and leave behind all the lame trinkets that ultimately end up in the dumpster.Download free resources for executing your best event yet. [Free Kit]What Does ‘Swag’ Mean?”Swag” is a slang term used, for our intents and purposes, to describe the free stuff companies give away as a form of advertising. It’s usually branded with the company’s name, logo, and/or colors.So, that company-branded t-shirt you saw someone wearing on the subway? That’s an example of swag. Same with those logo stickers you see on people’s laptops, and that branded mug on your desk. People can get swag from events and conferences, like we’ll talk about here, or through a company’s blog or website.14 of the Best & Worst Swag Ideas for Your Next Conference or EventThe Best1) Mobile Device ChargersEveryone and their mother is on their phone at conferences — all the time. Whether they’re tweeting, checking their email, or trying to meet up with other attendees, their phone is most likely going to be at 50% battery life by lunchtime.Give out mobile chargers, and every attendee will love you for it. Oh, and they’ll probably learn your name, too. Not only will they be pleasantly surprised when they see such practical and thoughtful swag, but having their phones charged will mean they’ll be able to engage even more throughout the conference, which is great for the conference coordinator. Finally, they’ll likely use that mobile charger beyond the last day of the conference. In other word, your logo will be exposed to them — and to others around them — long after the conference is over. That’s a beautiful thing.2) Seasonal ItemsEveryone likes unique gifts in their event swag bags. One way to make your swag bag stand out is by filling it with fun, seasonal items. Most companies don’t give out seasonal items because they’re looking for gifts that can be used year-round, but that fact alone makes these items even more special.If you’re hosting a summer conference or an event in a beach location, for example, then think about giving out items like beach towels, flip flops, and frisbees. They cater to activities attendees can partake in during the event. Also, let’s think even another step ahead: When and where will attendees use your swag items? They’ll probably use beach items and outdoor sports paraphernalia in public places where other people might see them and ask, “Where did you get that?” or “What company is that?” The result? Your company’s exposure will go far beyond the conference’s attendees.3) UmbrellasAs much as we all wish we could predict the weather (trust us, we’re from Boston), we simply can’t always foresee the rain. As many of you well know, unexpected rain can be one of the most frustrating annoyances at a conference — which is where free umbrellas can come in clutch. Not only will it make their experience better, but it’ll also create buzz around how well prepared your company was for any given situation. Let’s face it, that’s just impressive.The other great thing about umbrellas? You really can’t have too many of them. So you can be sure that your swag — with your logo on it, of course — will be used and seen long after the event ends.Image Credit: ZDNet4) T-shirtsLike umbrellas, I would argue you can never have too many t-shirts, either. (Get back to me around spring cleaning, though. ) If you’re giving away t-shirts with cool designs or sayings (as in, not just a t-shirt with your company name or logo on it), then chances are, a lot of people will pick one up — even if they’ve never heard of your brand before. Who knows, they might even pick one up for their coworker, too, who would just love a shirt like that. It’s something people will wear in many different contexts outside of the event itself. Image Credit: HubShop5) Reusable Water BottlesIt may sound like a simple idea, but reusable water bottles are some of the most valued swag items given out at conferences. First of all, they’re convenient — and a lot easier to handle than open cups of water that can easily be spilled everywhere. They also encourage attendees to stay hydrated, which can be hard for people to remember when they’re rushing from event to event. Finally, reusable water bottles pair well with the recent emphasis on conferences going green.Not to mention, reusable water bottles are yet another item that can be used long after the conference is over. (Are you seeing a theme here?) HubSpot gave away thousands of reusable bottles at Dreamforce a few years ago, which were soon spotted all over the city.6) Unique Food ItemsPeople always stop to chat if you’re giving away food — after all, people tend to go long periods of time without food at conferences since they’re usually scurrying around from place to place. But you’re doing it right if the food you’re giving away is unique and could be a conversation-starter.For example, the folks at Digital Talent Agents once gave away Coffee Cereal (coffee-flavored cereal that has caffeine in it), which served as a unique conversation starter for attendees who’d never heard of it before. One year, the New York Post  gave away buckets of gummy bears. As you would imagine, this gift went over really well. (In fact, my coworker still talks about how awesome it was.) While these won’t last as long as other great swag items, they can serve as an interesting way to get people talking about your brand at the conference itself. Image Credit: Capital New York7) MoleskinesWhile unique swag like frisbees and flip flops can be a lot of fun, don’t leave all office-related swag items off the table. Even old-school, paper-related items like moleskin notebooks can be coveted pieces of swag.After all, in a time when everything is done digitally, moleskines are still one of the most popular items for notetaking. They’re also a lot nicer-looking than your classic spiral notebook, making them more of a novelty that many attendees will enjoy using both during and after the event — an important consideration when you’re picking out what to give away.Image Credit: Fincel Design… And the Worst8) KeychainsIt used to be cool to get a keychain in your swag bag … until everyone started to give out keychains in their swag bags. It didn’t take long to become one of the least effective ways to get attendees to remember your brand.Some companies have adapted the keychain so that it has other functions, like doubling as a bottle opener or a whistle. But let’s face it: People don’t really want a keychain with your company’s logo on it. It’s not that useful, and it’s not unique — there are probably several other vendors who didn’t read this blog post and are giving out keychains at the very same conference. Not a great way to stand out.9) PensSure, everyone can use an extra pen, but I mean … come on. A pen? Giving out a pen at a conference is the oldest of old school. First of all, we’re smack dab in the middle of a this giant mobile movement, meaning people aren’t relying on pen and paper as much as they were ten years ago. Additionally, the pens given out at conferences are known to run out of ink pretty quickly and be of very low quality. If you’re willing to spend a substantial amount of money on higher quality pens, it may be worth it, but you could also put that money toward a more unique and memorable experience for your attendees with a better swag item.10) USB Flash DrivesA few years ago, I would have said this is the perfect item to give out at an event. After all, it’s small, it’s easy to carry, and you can load it with cool stuff like session presentations. But now that people are storing documents in the cloud, not many people use flash drives anymore. Plus, the reasonable priced ones don’t have a lot of storage and can break really easily.If you want to share digital folders with attendees, it’s much more user-friendly nowadays to use programs like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. Point being? You may want to rethink your decision before ordering up something people probably won’t use. 11) Phone CasesThere are some items that each person only ever needs one of, and they probably have it already. A great example of this is a phone case.I’ve seen a number of phone cases given away at conference lately, and yet I’ve seen no attendees put them on their phones. Why? Because they already have a phone case — one they’ve carefully chosen and then paid for. While something like a phone case that doubles as a cardholder is cool in theory, chances are your attendees won’t switch out their own for one with your company’s name and logo on it. When you’re thinking unique, also think about something people might actually use.12) BackpacksStrictly in practical terms, you could make the argument that backpacks are a great swag item. They’re reusable in many different contexts, they can flatten and fold up for the trip home, or they can be used to help carry all the other swag and stuff attendees picked up at the conference, right?But from a human perspective, you have to admit … branded backpacks are a little bit nerdy. How many attendees do you think are really going to take home a backpack with your logo on it and wear it around — especially if they’ve just having heard of your company for the very first time? Probably not many. I’ve seen far too many conference attendees throw free backpack giveaways in the trash … and that’s a big item to throw away. Even tote bags are more reasonable. Think instead of wearable items your attendees might actually wear even if they haven’t heard of you, like t-shirts.13) Paper WeightsWhere do I even begin?Paper weights are the single piece of swag that breaks every rule in the Good Swag Rulebook. (Note: not an actual book. That we know of, at least.) Not only are they dated, but they’re heavy and bulky — two things that traveling conference attendees don’t want to deal with while going from session to session and traveling home. When thinking of what conference swag to purchase, pick out something that’s light, useful, and easy to travel with.Speaking of getting swag that’s easy to travel with …14) Large Items (In General)This is a bit of a broad “item,” but it’s a critical piece to remember when purchasing your swag. A lot of conference attendees travel a long distance to come to the event, and many of them traveled there via airplane and don’t have much extra room in their luggage.Take these people into consideration when picking your event swag. If your swag’s too large, like a backpack or a teddy bear, it’ll probably get abandoned in a hotel room or thrown out. Remember, the best swag items last beyond the conference — so make sure your giveaways are a manageable size.What’s the best or worst swag you’ve seen at a conference? Share with us in the comments.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Originally published Sep 3, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated June 25 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Event Marketing Topics:last_img read more

19 Brands with a Cult Following (And What You Can Learn From Them)

first_imgEver wonder how Dollar Shave Club turned razor subscriptions into a billion dollar exit? Or how LaCroix’s fans strong-armed their beloved bubbly’s way to the top of the sparkling water food chain? The answer is simple. They inspire impressive devotion from their large fan bases.That’s especially true among Millennials — 62% of them tend to stick with one brand, compared to 54% of the population at-large. How does a brand garner that kind of advocacy? I found myself asking the same question, so I compiled a list of 19 brands with faithful followings, along with the marketing tactics that might contribute to their cult status.Download our essential guide to branding here for even more tips on branding your company. Note: It’s easy to look at the behemoth brands below and feel a little overwhelmed. From one marketer to another, stop, breathe deeply, and give yourself a break. The strategies these brands employ don’t require billions of dollars or global teams. They’re simple enough that even a lone marketer can incorporate them into their next campaign — that’s why we love them.Free Download: Slogan Writing Guide and Examples19 Brands with a Cult Following (and What You Can Learn From Them)1) Southwest AirlinesSource: Brand NewWhen I say Southwest, you probably think of cheap fares, funny flight attendants, and drink coupons. If you also think of great branding, there’s a reason for that. In September 2014, Southwest unveiled a branding refresh that earned positive media attention and made marketers swoon.Southwest rolled out a PR campaign for its rebrand, explaining the reasoning and research behind the airline’s new look. It included videos that maintained the company’s playful brand voice while touting the new message, “Without a heart, it’s just a machine.” Southwest proved that sharing its new identity was as much a part of the rebrand as the redesigned packages of peanuts.Branding Best Practice: Own Your RebrandYour rebrand may not be at the scale of a major airline, but it’s still a big undertaking, so don’t hide the results. And remember, it works in a number of sectors — at least half of nonprofits, for example, say that a rebrand has increased their revenue.Use your rebrand as a way to create buzz within your industry. Make it clear why you felt a rebrand was necessary, how you considered your audience, and what the positive results will be. Think of it as another way to reinforce your new image and foster adoption of your refreshed identity.2) LaCroixSource: LaCroixDo you know someone who’s obsessed with LaCroix? Hypothetically, you might be addicted to the fizzy water yourself (raises hand slowly). Sales for the bubbly drink have more than doubled over the past two years, but chances are, you won’t see a ton of LaCroix TV ads.Instead, LaCroix has executed some impressive social media campaigns, specifically with Instagram. In 2015, the brand grew its Instagram followers from 4,000 to 30,000 in just eight months. Today, it has almost 60,000 followers.But how? First, LaCroix engages with anyone who tags the brand, no matter their number of followers. If you’re lucky, you might even receive a free case of Pamplemousse for posting a photo. Second, LaCroix is quick to adopt relevant trending hashtags like #Whole30approved (to promote its partnership with Whole30 nutrition) and branded ones like #LiveLaCroix. Third, Instagram micro-influencers are smartly targeted with free products and other perks in exchange for featuring LaCroix in lifestyle images shared with their large following.Branding Best Practice: Discover Where Your Audience Hangs OutFind out who your target audience is and where they’re hanging out. LaCroix knew that 55% of online 18-29-year-olds are active on Instagram and doubled down on efforts there. By promoting user-generated photos and rewarding influencers, LaCroix went from sitting on dusty grocery store shelves to becoming a drink of choice for Millennials.3) In-N-OutSource: In-N-OutLet’s not even get started on the In-N-Out vs. Five Guys and Shake Shack debate. That’s a blog for a different day (and, probably, a different website). But if you’ve been to California, you might have made at least one stop for a Double-Double Animal Style — one of In-N-Out’s more notable menu items. And, the chain maintains its fervent following by knowing that meals like that are part of its brand, even being a bit protective of it.The brand is comprised of burgers, fries, and shakes, as it has been for 68 years, insulating it from fad-food missteps. And while it’s tough to find an In-N-Out beyond the west coast, the brand extends much further. In September 2016, a pop-up shop came to London, selling out of burgers in an hour. “These events also help to protect the In-N-Out Burger brand,” the company said in a statement, “in important regions like England and Southeast Asia.”Branding Best Practice: Protect Your BrandsIt’s been said that your brand is more important than the product or service you sell. Building a brand strategy, getting buy-in from your team, and sticking to the plan are important parts of ensuring that your marketing efforts reinforce your brand standards.4) Trader Joe’sSource: Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s products draw levels of adoration that would make something like pumpkin spice jealous. (I mean, hello, cookie butter.)So what’s the secret sauce in the brand’s marketing efforts? Well, the funny thing is, it doesn’t really have any. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have an official Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, nor will you see television ads. What it does offer are great products that the brand is openly passionate about.But they have discovered one thing that works. The Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer newsletter is one of the brand’s dedicated marketing channels — and people seem to love it. With a selection of featured items and an astonishing amount of copy, the Flyer waxes eloquent on Trader Joe’s hotdogs, apple cider, and more.Branding Best Practice: Be Strategic About the Channels You Engage InWhat the success of Trader Joe’s doesn’t mean: you should shut down all marketing channels and “let your product speak for itself.” Unless you start selling products like cookie butter by the gallon, that strategy probably isn’t right for you. But it does mean that stepping back and taking an unbiased look at which unconventional channels could work for you. What’s your brand’s “Fearless Flyer”? Figure out what makes your brand different, and capitalize on it with something unexpected.5) Saturday Night LiveSource: GiphySaturday Night Live (SNL) first aired in 1975. And while a 41-year run is prone to its share of tough seasons and dry spells, this sketch variety has remained strong and relevant.While a talented cast might be the backbone of the show, it’s the weekly guest hosts and musical talent that keep each episode topical and trending. That impressive lineup allows SNL to leverage current events (e.g., when Ronda Rousey hosted after her impressive six-win UFC streak). It also allows the show to test out different hosts and bring back fan favorites, like Justin Timberlake.Branding Best Practice: Incorporate Guest Contributions Into Your Content StrategyWhile having a strong, core content team is important, guest contributions are a great way to keep your brand relevant and credible. But remember — these guests have to be aligned with your brand. Think of it as a co-marketing agreement. These partnerships have to be strategic and both parties have to benefit from it. Check out our tips on how co-marketing works in branding here.6) IKEASource: Home DesigningIKEA has a simple vision: “to create a better everyday life for the many people.” And while some patrons might give credit to the in-store meatballs — the brand is rumored to sell three million each day — IKEA turns to research to learn what its consumers really want.But there’s no reliance on customer surveys and downloaded data. Instead, design experts are actually sent into people’s homes to learn what’s important to them and what their pain points are. That information is funneled into content that’s relevant to customers, ranging from the brand’s over 50-year-old catalogue, to the award-winning web series “Easy to Assemble,” which ran for four seasons.Branding Best Practice: Do More Than Audience SurveysUnderstanding your audience goes deeper than sending out a survey. That’s said to be especially true of Millennials, who are more interested in conversing with a brand (see LaCroix’s Instagram example above) than spending time on a questionnaire. Finding out what motivates and challenges your consumers is arguably the most important part of a marketer’s job, which also means you have to allocate your marketing time and resources accordingly. Focus on the conversation — engagement through social media and other conversation-centric platforms can help bring your user personas to life.7) Dollar Shave ClubSource: BrandfolderRazors are not exactly an exciting topic. In fact, they’re probably a topic that most of us avoid discussing — because, gross. But when Dollar Shave Club (DSC) burst onto the startup scene in 2012 with a launch video that people are still talking about, it made shaving worth talking about.The deep care for the brand is often evident, like in one interview with Brandfolder: “From our packaging to our digital presence, the DSC brand identity informs everything we do.” That devotion to the brand shines through every piece of marketing content produced. From witty emails, to carefully branded packaging that makes you stop and read your razor wrappers, DSC’s brand is carefully and craftily infused into everything they do.Branding Best Practice: Organize Your Brand AssetsHow do you incorporate your brand identity into each piece of marketing you own? With brand consistency. While your brand might have several moving parts, they have to be cohesive — in fact, 90% of consumers expect this kind of consistency across all channels, especially when shopping for a product or service. Not sure where your brand inconsistencies might be hiding? Check out this list.And once you have achieved that consistency, consider using digital asset management: the technology that makes any of your digital branding collateral — logos, images, and standards, to name a few — easily accessible to your team (and ready to implement).8) AppleSource: AppleYear after year, new Apple product announcements get people talking — whether it’s industry chatter or consumer debate. So how does the tech giant manage to generate buzz about yet another new iPhone, even now?For one thing, the launch messages tend to be simple and consumer-focused. For example, the iPhone 7 landing page reads that this version “dramatically improves the most important aspects of the iPhone experience.” See that? Experience. Before I even read the list of features that follows, I’m already thinking about which aspects of my iPhone are most important to me, and how much better they’ll be on this new device.Branding Best Practice: Keep it SimpleChoose the benefits that matter to your customer and build a marketing strategy around them. And don’t forget to keep that marketing message simple and unapologetic — focusing on too much at once can lead to brand confusion, which might be why 69% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand based on its simplicity.Focusing on benefits in a no-frills way can also imply confidence. For example, Apple was noticeably unapologetic about removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. Instead, the official announcement proclaimed, “Oh yeah … and the headphone jack from over 100 years ago has been removed (shocker) for the more versatile Lightning port.”9) StarbucksSource: TechGenieMobile has seen some interesting developments as of late. 51% percent of digital media is consumed via mobile (versus 42% on desktop), and voice search is on the rise. It makes sense for marketers to be focused on mobile, and Starbucks is no exception.When Starbucks introduced the “Order & Pay” feature of its app in 2014, it saw adoption rates between 4-10% in stores. The brand capitalized and built on that, creating an in-app experience that remembers and recalls your favorite orders, suggests pairings, and guesses where you’d like to pick up your order.Branding Best Practice: Invest in Mobile MarketingIf you’re not investing time and resources into your mobile marketing strategy, you might want to get started, especially when it comes to building an app for your brand — 56% of digital time is spent using them.But if an app is out of reach or not relevant for to your brand (after all, just look at the Trader Joe’s example), how else can you elevate your mobile strategy? Start by making sure your site is mobile-friendly, and look into push notifications or other unique offerings that your organization can use to its advantage.10) ZapposSource: ReferralCandyZappos has built its brand around customer service — a brand that CEO Tony Hsieh has defended and protected over the years, even famously saying, “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” At any other company, it might be considered inefficient for a customer service rep to engage in an almost 11-hour phone call with a customer, but at Zappos, that kind of dedication is encouraged.But it doesn’t stop there. From sending flowers to a bereaving customer, to overnighting free shoes to a best man whose footwear hadn’t made the flight to the wedding, Zappos leads with a customer service story and keeps their fans coming back from more.Branding Best Practice: Delight Your CustomersIn a marketplace where consumers have hundreds and even thousands of choices at their mobile-savvy fingertips, you need to set yourself apart. And sometimes, all your consumer needs to make a decision between you and three other competitors is exceptional service — especially since U.S. businesses collectively lose about $41 billion dollars each year because of bad customer service. (I suppose sending flowers can’t hurt, either.)11) TED GoPro makes handheld video cameras that are high quality and easy to use. The return has been huge — in 2011, less than a decade after being founded, the brand saw a 112% increase in net income after spending only $50,515 on marketing. In 2013, marketing costs went up by $41,000 and income by $28 million.Maybe that has something to do with the company’s expertise in putting user-generated content to work for their brand. By simply encouraging its audience to use the #GoPro hashtag when posting images captured by its camera, GoPro succeeded in building strong brand loyalty and a powerful content machine. At least, that’s how I see a company with 6,000 user-branded videos uploaded to YouTube every day.Branding Best Practice: User-Generated Content is KingHow is your audience using your product or service? That information might already be out there and on social media — it just doesn’t have a branded hashtag yet. Once you get that information, ask users to tag your brand or submit content for you to post on your own networks. Some companies, like West Elm, are hopping on this trend by almost exclusively featuring user-generated content on their social media feeds — a smart strategy that can conserve your marketing budget.19) Philz CoffeeSource: MINTPhilz is a California coffee chain with a rabid following and well-cared for social media channels. In 2014, when content marketer and Philz devotee Caitlin Roberson tweeted her displeasure at the brand’s then-generic Twitter responses, Philz tweeted back their apologies. Today, you’ll find genuine and customized responses to followers on each of the coffee house’s social media channels — especially on Twitter.For a business that built its brand on delicious coffee and a small shop vibe, that’s an important part of the marketing strategy. Could the social media team get by just fine by continuing to post generic responses to their followers? Probably. But going the extra few steps leaves their fans with anything but a bitter taste — in fact, a personalized customer service experience on Twitter, for example, leaves people 83% more satisfied.Branding Best Practice: Talk to Your Customers Like They’re Real PeopleMake sure you’re interacting with your consumers in a genuine and rewarding way. Yes, it takes time to thoughtfully respond to customers through on social media and customer support channels, which are sometimes one in the same. But the benefit to both your brand and your consumers, however, will be well worth the extra brainpower — since Roberson’s noted interaction with Philz, the brand’s Twitter following has nearly doubled.If You Build It…Take time to really understand what motivates and moves your audience, and create a content and brand marketing plan accordingly. Stay confident and genuine in your message. Then, share it with your audience in a relatable way. You might just find yourself with advocates who believe in your brand as much as you do.How are you building your brand’s following? Let us know in the comments. Brand Awareness Topics: As marketers, we have our favorite TED talks. Maybe yours is Simon Sinek explaining the golden circle, or my personal favorite, Susan Cain speaking on the power of introverts. Regardless, TED talks have become a go-to resource for quick, insightful information across almost any topic.In a time when consumer attention spans are shorter than those of goldfish, TED does what might seem impossible to some marketers. The brand holds five million YouTube subscribers captive for talks that average 20 minutes in length. There’s no flashy light show or catchy theme song — just solid storytelling that’s largely spread by word of mouth.Branding Best Practice: Focus on Quality ContentPut time, effort, and money into creating quality content. While you might be able to grab someone’s attention for eight seconds with a catchy headline, valuable content is what will transform that one-time view into a regular reader, and hopefully, a customer. Plus, quality content is imperative to SEO — without it, your rankings can take a serious hit.12) LululemonSource: LululemonLululemon is one of the hottest fitness brands in the market today. Ask someone why she spent just short of $100 for a pair of yoga pants, and you might get a lecture on the superior quality of Lululemon’s products. That’s the kind of brand loyalty sought after by every marketer on the planet, and it starts with Lululemon ambassadors.While consumer word-of-mouth is one form of brand loyalty, Lululemon fosters a more formal type of ambassador in yoga teachers and fitness trainers who have been selected to represent the brand’s values and lifestyle. They lead classes at storefronts on weekends, share photos of themselves wearing the brand, and provide aspirational advertising.Branding Best Practice: Experiment with Influencer MarketingBrand ambassadors are a form of influencer marketing — which, according to Twitter, is responsible for 49% of user purchases. Look at who the movers and shakers are in your industry, and learn how you can partner with them through guest contributions, using, or writing about your product.13) SoulCycleSource: SoulCycleTelling a colleague that you’re headed to the gym can elicit a number of responses. You might hear, “good for you,” or receive a grimace face that says, “I feel your pain.”But SoulCycle, similarly to Lululemon, has found a way to rebrand your workout. One visit to its website or Instagram profile is all it takes to find mantras about pushing your body to its limits with your #SoulMates and #SoulSquad. By sending the message that exercise is a community-bound opportunity, SoulCycle makes it seem like less of a chore, and more like an exclusive club.Branding Best Practice: Market to Your Consumer’s Emotional SideHow can you make your product or service sexier? Consider how you can tap into your client’s emotions, and touch on the things that are important to them. In fact, a study that measured consumers’ brain activity in response to ads found that higher activity indicated a 23% increase in sales volume. And considering that 60% of consumers who feel a “high brand connection” are more likely to make a purchase — even at a higher price point — it quite literally pays to understand their potential feelings toward your brand.14) Life is GoodSource: Life is GoodLife is Good was founded in 1994. Within 11 years, the brand was boasting $50 million in sales — having never run a single ad — and $100 million by 2015.What was the strategy behind that rapid growth and success? Say sibling co-founders John and Bert Jacobs, it was simple — “rely on the good vibes and social power of their community to spread the word,” according to Inc.Instead of traditional marketing, Life is Good pours its advertising dollars into different events for its charity, Life is Good Playmakers. In addition to impressive sales, these efforts have resulted in an avid fan following and even partnerships with celebrity musicians.Branding Best Practice: Think Outside the Advertising BoxConsider new, less traditional forms of advertising — especially since 84% of Millennials, for example, don’t even like advertising. By sponsoring local events or supporting a charity that aligns with your company’s mission, you could generate more than just good PR. You could also gain fans who respect and appreciate your work. Plus, 80% of consumers believe that corporations can (and should) work to benefit their communities — a win-win for both brands and the people they serve.15) MoleskineSource: The Next WebMoleskine is not just a notebook. It’s “a free platform for creativity,” Maria Sebregondi, Moleskin’s head of brand equity once said. What’s more, it’s found a way to make paper cool and relevant in the digital age.The notebook brand expertly balances its heritage past — touting Hemingway and Picasso among its early brand advocates — with the digital present, launching a smart notebook and companion app. This balance of yesterday and today helps maintain the brand’s relevance — and appear to consumers who love the latest tech, but still have nostalgia for paper.Branding Best Practice: Allow Your Brand to EvolveEvery brand should evolve. Our shortened attention spans aren’t limited to the content we consume — they apply to the products we adopt, as well. It is possible to maintain your brand’s legacy while also letting your marketing evolve, but it requires being flexible and open to your product changing.16) ChacoSource: ChacoChaco is a lifestyle and outdoor footwear brand with an active following. Just look at its Instagram profile — it’s packed with user-generated photos of fans hiking, adventuring, and camping in these colorful sandals. And that’s key — such bold visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.The branding also travels well, hitting up music festivals and gear shops around the country in what Chaco refers to as “Z the World Tour.” The tour allows the brand to interact with consumers in-person, advocate for the product, and raise awareness directly.Branding Best Practice: Don’t be Afraid to Put a Face with Your BrandConsider taking your marketing on the road. Sales teams often suggest closing deals through in-person meetings and, sometimes, marketing can follow the same strategy. Want to recruit brand advocates? Let them experience your brand in a tangible way.17) CrossFitSource: CrossFitCrossFit, a workout regimen created by CEO Greg Glassman, is today a billion-dollar business with what some describe as a cult-like following. So what’s in the CrossFit Kool-Aid everyone’s drinking? Great marketing, of course.Similar to SoulCycle, CrossFit taps into the desire for community. CrossFit’s website wastes no time nodding to that idea with photos of and journal entries from its “elite” pool of members. The brand could have called them “testimonials,” but CrossFit’s careful use of language ensures that its messaging reads more like a movement, and less like a product. Another example of this strategic word choice: describing itself as a phenomenon that’s “harnessing [a] natural camaraderie.”Branding Best Practice: Inspire Ownership in Your BrandHow can you give your audience more ownership in your brand? Simple language tweaks like calling your audience a “community” instead of “members” can go a long way in building brand advocates. That goes back to the idea of shared values that we mentioned earlier — 64% of consumers cite that as the main reason for even having a relationship with a brand.18) GoPro Originally published Nov 7, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

A Professional Yet Kind Rejection Letter Template

first_img Human Resources It’s never easy telling a candidate they didn’t get the job after hours of preparation and interviews.Oftentimes, the awkwardness leads to generic emails, like “We have chosen not to move forward with your application at this time.”You might feel like there’s simply no good way to tell someone they’ve been rejected. Fortunately, that’s not true. By wording your rejection letter kindly, you’ll make it easier for the candidate to hear the news.Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of all-stars.Additionally, if you were impressed by the candidate, you want to keep the door open. Perhaps another position will open up which you believe to be a better fit, or maybe you’ll reconsider the applicant once she’s had more real-world experience.Ultimately, there’s no harm in taking the time to craft a courteous rejection letter, and there’s certainly plenty of benefits to doing so. To write a professional yet kind rejection letter, follow the steps below.Rejection Letter After the InterviewBelow is a professional yet kind rejection letter template. Remember, it’s critical you remain positive with your language, and avoid more negative words like “Unfortunately”. Also, focus on language from the job description itself when telling the candidate why she wasn’t chosen — it will remind the candidate this isn’t personal.It’s important to remember that a rejection letter is a fantastic opportunity for the candidate to receive positive feedback and learn how to do better in the future. Consider how you can include specific and valuable feedback in your letter. Dear [Name],Thank you for interviewing for [position] on [date of interview]. We appreciate candidates like yourself expressing interest in our company. While we are thankful for the time you took, we have selected another candidate for the position. At this time, we’re looking for candidates with more experience in the field. It was a very hard decision. We would like to stay in touch with you for future opportunities that might be a good fit. Please let us know if you’re interested in remaining in our talent pool.Our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills, but we felt you lacked experience pitching advertisement campaigns. We’d recommend taking an advertising course to improve. Thanks again for taking the time to apply and come in to meet the team. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and thank you for your interest in our company. Sincerely, [Name] Paragraph One:Your first sentence should include the position and date of the interview, so the candidate knows the letter has been personalized and isn’t a generic template. Next, thank the candidate for their interest in your company. Finally, it’s critical you tell the candidate within the first paragraph you’ve decided to move forward with another candidate. You can let them down kindly by including a compliment in the rejection, such as “While your qualifications are quite impressive …”.Paragraph Two:It’s considerate to give the candidate a reason she wasn’t chosen for this role — but your reason doesn’t have to be too detailed (in fact, legally-speaking, it’s safer if it isn’t). Instead, focus on one aspect of the job description you feel the candidate didn’t quite match. If your job description required a candidate to have five years experience, but the applicant only had three, you might say, “At this time, we’re looking for candidates with more experience in the field.”If you were impressed by the candidate and genuinely feel she’d be a good fit for your company down the road, leave the door open by telling her you’ll put her into your contact database and reconsider her in the future. Additionally, if it was a difficult decision, tell your candidate — it can help soften the blow. Paragraph Three (Optional):The candidate took time out of her week to prepare for your interview process, so if you were impressed by her during the interview, it could make a huge difference to let her know. Simply include one strength of hers you remembered from the interview process, like “Our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills.”To truly add value, however, you’ll also want to include constructive feedback to help your candidate understand areas she can focus on improving. Take detailed notes during the interview, and when you reject your applicant, provide one or two areas of improvement. Your feedback could help her career success in the future. Paragraph Four:Conclude by wishing the candidate luck in the job search, and thanking the applicant for taking the time to consider your company.How to write a rejection letterIn paragraph one, start by including the position for which the candidate applied, and the date of the interview, so the candidate knows this is a personalized letter, not a generic template.Thank the candidate for her time and interest in your company, and then tell her you’ve decided to move forward with another candidate. If possible, include a compliment.In paragraph two, provide a reason related to the job description why the candidate wasn’t chosen for this role.If you were impressed by the applicant, tell her you’ll put her in your company’s contact database and consider her for future roles.Optional — mention one of your candidate’s strengths you remember from the interview. Additionally, provide constructive feedback to help her in the future. Finally, conclude by wishing the candidate luck in the job search, and thank the applicant for taking the time to consider your company. Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Oct 12, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated October 12 2018 Topics:last_img read more

The 27 Best WordPress Themes and Templates in 2019

first_imgWith a great WordPress theme or template, your website will easily be transformed into the web home you always knew it could be. With different layouts, content options, and features to choose from, there is an option that will work for every business and industry. Give a few of the themes and templates mentioned above a try, or head to the WordPress theme and template library to review even more options, and get started designing your dream website today. Envision your favorite website.Does it have a theme? Is the content organized in a way that makes sense? Does it match the overall aesthetic and look of the company’s branding? Are there images and other visual features paired with the written content?All of these elements, which are common on successful websites, can easily be implemented on your own site with the help of a theme or template. And for those who create (or plan to create) your website on WordPress, there’s even better news — the software makes it exceptionally easy to implement a theme or template on your site.Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.WordPress has an entire library of plugins and theme options available for you to install and use instantly. With these themes and templates, your business — no matter the size or industry — can have a website with a unique and visually pleasing appearance.Below, we’ve listed 27 of the best WordPress themes and templates and categorized them by type. Whether you’re looking for a multi-purpose theme or one made for e-commerce, creative content, or niche work, there is an option that will help you achieve the look and organization you are hoping for on your website.Best WordPress Themes and TemplatesRevolution ProStudioPressTheme XPro ThemeTheme FusionDiviAvadaUx ThemesOverlayIndigoSalientUndsgnPixelgradeBridgeJupiter XKaliumHestiaUltraStylemix ThemestagDivCreateUpSolutionGeneratePressBlossom Coach ProTravel Agency ProLawyer Landing Page ProBlossom Shop Pro Originally published Oct 26, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated November 14 2019 Topics: WordPress Website Don’t forget to share this post! Multi-Purpose WordPress ThemesMulti-purpose WordPress themes are suitable for all industries. They’re versatile and can fit the needs of any business.1. Revolution ProRevolution Pro gives you a simple framework, the Genesis Framework, which you can build on with their themes. StudioPress allows you to use features to completely customize your website, access expert support whenever you need it, and work on multiple websites at once. There are also automatic, free migrations that save you time, as well as included SSL (secure sockets layer) so your site is as fast and secure as possible. Revolution Pro is a part of StudioPress, which gives you access to more than 35 different themes suitable for any type of business — from a startup, to a blog, to an enterprise. All themes are “Gutenberg ready” (Gutenberg is the WordPress editor) so you can spend less time on your website’s content design and editing processes and more time on your business.2. StudioPress Source: StudioPressStudioPress is unique because it gives you a very simple framework, the Genesis Framework, on which you can build upon with their themes. StudioPress allows you to utilize features to completely customize your website, access expert support whenever you need it, and work on multiple websites at once. There are also automatic, free migrations that save you time, as well as included SSL (secure sockets layer) so your site is as fast and secure as possible.With StudioPress, you’ll have access to over 35 different themes suitable for any type of business, from a startup to a blog to an enterprise. All themes are “Gutenberg ready” (Gutenberg is the WordPress editor) so you can spend less time on your website’s content design and editing processes and more time on your business.3. Theme XSource: Theme XTheme X has an easy-to-use page builder, shortcodes that help you customize your site, and a responsive design. The theme also allows you to use their live previewer to see exactly what your website will look like with your logo, content, and images before publishing it online.Theme X includes four “stacks” that allow you to choose from a variety of unique designs and layouts. Each theme allows you to customize your layout, move your navigation bar, and create custom pages for any business.4. Pro Theme Source: ThemeCoPro Theme goes beyond the capability of WordPress to give you the power to design and build your website header, content, and footer without a single line of code. In addition to the dynamic front end page builder experience, Pro also gives you access to dozens of premium plugins and over 100 design layouts ready for you to use.Pro Theme is completely customizable to your liking and is a great option for professional website builders that want control over each and every part of their site.5. Theme Fusion Source: Theme FusionTheme Fusion makes it easy to browse all theme and template options, none of which require coding. It’s customizable down to each element on your site and is a great option if you’re looking for a multi-purpose, easy-to-use WordPress theme. It also has professionally created demos available for download so you can import them into your site and add whatever content you want.6. DiviSource: DiviDivi is one of the most popular themes on the market today due to its versatility and ability to work for so many different types of businesses. It offers responsive design and editing, premade layouts, and minimal website page loading time. The theme has 46 content elements and 20+ premade theme layouts that you can mix and match to achieve any look you want.7. AvadaSource: Avada”This theme uses a drag-and-drop builder that makes it possible for nearly anyone to build, design, and customize a web page. I have no web design background, but when our web designers are on a tight schedule, Avada makes it easy for me to lend a hand and help them with their web design and development projects,” says Keri Lindenmuth of KDG.Over 450,000 websites use Avada, making it one of the most popular themes on the market. It’s easy to use, versatile, and requires no coding knowledge. You can achieve virtually any look or style with Avada — it has dozens of customizable templates fit for any business.Ecommerce WordPress ThemesGive your online store a unique look and great user experience with these themes fit for all of your e-commerce site needs.1. UX ThemesSource: UX ThemesUX Themes is the creator of the Flatsome WooCommerce Theme for WordPress. The Flatsome Theme includes a responsive design and drag-and-drop page functionality, which means no coding knowledge is required.UX Themes is ideal for e-commerce sites. Their themes have predefined layouts so you can quickly add your content and go live. There are also demos for each theme option so you can easily envision the look of your own website prior to making a purchase.2. OverlayOverlay is built to be light and fast so your website is fast and has high performance. You can build a simple site or have a fully customized online store. You’ll have full control of all the elements from your website’s layout to spacing and full-color settings. Overlay offers deep integration with WooCommerce, Elementor, and other top plugins.Source: Kaira Web3. Indigo Source: IndigoIndigo is quick to install, can be translated into any language, and is optimized for mobile. Your theme will be updated automatically, and Indigo’s constant support provides you with assistance whenever you need it.The theme is ideal for e-commerce sites because of its unique features, such as a contact form builder, access to Google Fonts, and the ability to upload custom fonts. There are also unlimited custom sidebar options to achieve any look you want.4. Salient Source: SalientSalient has a unique visual design that includes a mobile video background so your video auto-plays on supported devices. This adds an experience many other WordPress themes don’t provide. The theme also has an interactive design that’s great for online shopping, item browsing, and making purchases.Creative WordPress ThemesWhether you are sharing your portfolio, blog, or freelance work, these creative themes have layout options and visual features that will make your website stand out.1. UndsgnSource: UndsgnUndsgn allows you to “test drive” the theme with all of your content prior to making a purchase. You can customize your navigation bars, fonts, colors, and images on each page of your website with this theme. You can also insert page redirects and change your menu styles within the theme so your site functions how you want it.. Undsgn works best for creative businesses, web-studios, and designers.2. PixelgradeSource: PixelgradePixelgrade is the company behind Felt, an eye-catching magazine WordPress theme that allows publishers to properly showcase their content by placing it front and center. The theme allows for large visuals, ads (if you so wish), and collecting subscribers through the WordPress theme’s built-in form tools. On top of this, it has full e-commerce capabilities, thus creating an online store is a breeze.3. BridgeSource: Bridge”The Bridge theme comes with around 350 demo sites so you can get the bones of a fully styled site and a working responsive design in no time.” – Marcus Miller of Bowler Hat.With interactive elements, the Google Font library, and custom menus, Bridge is a great theme option for anyone looking to implement a portfolio layout on their WordPress website and mobile site.4. Jupiter XSource: ThemeForestJupiter X is a creative WordPress theme that is ideal for large businesses, freelancers, and marketers. You can choose from over 240 pre-built websites or build your own design from scratch with Elementor. You have unlimited possibilities with your header and footer design, blog styles, menus, pop-ups, forms, and more.5. KaliumSource: KaliumKalium is one of the easiest themes to set up due to its “Premium Page Builder” feature that lets you build pages in a matter minutes. But if you do have time to spare, you can use it to create custom post layouts. Kalium allows you to select from multiple styles and formats so you can make the content you’re sharing more exciting to view and read.Kalium is a great theme option if you’re looking to create a website for fashion, photography, travel, restaurant, freelance, or agency work. The theme has one-click installation and over 30 portfolio item types to choose from to help you customize your site.6. Hestia Source: WordPressHestia is an SEO-focused theme with a Retina-ready design. It has a multi-purpose, one-page design that works best for creative businesses and startups. The theme also contains a blog page and several layout options for portfolio work.7. Ultra Source: WordPressUltra has a straightforward, responsive design, drag-and-drop layouts, and a customizable homepage with a full-width headline. All Ultra themes are SEO-optimized and backed by an expert support team available whenever you may need it. This theme has a clean design, which makes it easy to customize pages without having to write your own code. Ultra themes are ideal for creative businesses, portfolios, and blogs.Niche WordPress ThemesIf you work in a specific industry or require certain features from your WordPress theme due to your unique website needs, the following options for niche businesses may be right for you.1. Stylemix ThemesSource: Stylemix ThemesStylemix allows you to create a tailor-made WordPress theme for your website. The theme works best for business, education, and sports and health websites. No matter which theme you choose, Stylemix ensures you get a professional and polished look with their editor, free updates and consultations, access to a ticket system and forum, and 24/7 customer support.Stylemix has very specific themes that are helpful for niche businesses. The business category has themes that are tailored to industries like cryptocurrency, consulting, and car dealerships. Their education themes cover all levels of schooling, and the sports and health themes work for sports clubs, health coaches, and dentists, and doctors.2. tagDiv Source: tagDivtagDiv is a series of WordPress themes created specifically for news sites. The themes are fully customizable and include drag-and-drop features that allow you to completely rearrange your site’s layout so publishing your news-related content is quick and easy. There are two options to choose from — one for newspapers and one for news magazines.3. CreateSource: WordPressCreate’s WordPress theme has a responsive design, reliable support, and a large headline with a full-page background to give your website a unique look. The theme also comes with a built-in German translation.Create has theme options that work well for large organizations and enterprises that want to create web portals — which are websites that contain and organize information from a wide group of sources in a uniform way. The theme allows you to add widgets to your sidebar and tailor it to your user’s needs.4. UpSolution Source: UpSolutionUpSolution themes allow you to choose unique color combinations and animations to enhance your website’s appearance and user experience. You can test out as many visual options you want and input all of your website’s content prior to making a purchase.UpSolution’s two themes are tailored to different types of businesses. Impreza is a multi-purpose, creative theme ideal for startups, portfolios, blogs, and agencies. Zephyr is ideal for anyone looking for a material design theme (meaning it integrates with other technologies such as HTML5) so your website visitors have a better user experience tailored to their exact needs.5. GeneratePressSource: GeneratePress”GeneratePress is very well optimized … [it is] great for those that want light and speedy sites,” says Marko Saric of HowToMakeMyBlog.com.Since GeneratePress is “light” (the theme is only 30kb), it takes up minimal space and keeps your site quick and responsive. Hooks, filters, built-in fonts, and compatibility with a number of WordPress plugins make this theme ideal for businesses that want a website they can completely customize.6. Blossom Coach ProBlossom Coach Pro is a premium WordPress theme built for coaches, mentors, speakers, lawyers, consultants, therapists, and other such professionals and influencers. Although it is most suitable for influencers, this multi-purpose theme can be used for building other kinds of blogs and websites as well. The theme incorporates features that highlight you and your services which helps in increasing your followers. You can display your services, achievements, client reviews, and put highly convertible newsletters on the more-effective areas to get more email subscribers.Key Takeaways:Responsive, SEO friendly and lightweight One-click content demo importHighly-converting Call-to-Actions (CTA)7. Travel Agency ProTravel Agency Pro WordPress theme is an ideal option for travel and tour operators to build travel booking websites. It is powered by the popular travel booking plugin, WP Travel Einge. With this theme, you can add trips, trip types, destinations, and recommend trip packages to your visitors. The theme offers features like advanced slider, video banner, unlimited color options, five header layouts, 12 homepage sections with sorting options, multi-language compatibility, unlimited sidebar option, and so on.Key Takeaways:Premade pages for destinations, trip types, activities, and moreFree Trip Search Add-on worth $39SEO optimized and Schema ready  9. Blossom Shop ProBlossom Shop Pro is a clean WordPress theme great for building online stores. You can use this WooCommerce compatible theme to build all kinds of online stores like fashion design, clothes, cosmetics, watches, accessories, furniture stores, and so forth.Its powerful homepage design comes with multiple pre-made layouts of headers and body sections. You can show your products in different categories, display a quick view of products, highlight items in navigation, let your customers add products to wish-list, and do so much more. Key Takeaways:WooCommerce compatible to create online shop One-click installation of pre-designed demoMultiple header, slider and product layouts  8. Lawyer Landing Page ProLawyer Landing Page Pro is a premium WordPress theme built for law firms, legal officers, consultants, advisers, and other such kinds of professionals. It comes with a powerful options panel to customize your site as you like. The theme has default and one-page website demos, nine predefined header layouts, seven predefined pages, 16 custom widgets, and a floating menu. Sections like the banner with a contact form, introduction, practice areas, attributes, services, accomplished projects, team introduction, and testimonials are aligned well to help you build a complete landing page for your business.Key Takeaways:Multiple Call-to-ActionsFree one-click content demo importBuilt for lawyers and law firms last_img read more

India vs West Indies, 1st Test: Ajinkya Rahane hits 1st international hundred in 2 years

first_imgAjinkya Rahane has roared back to form with his 10th Test hundred in India’s World Test Championship campaign opener against West Indies in Antigua.Ajinkya Rahane had gone hundred-less for 29 innings in Test cricket and more than 2 years in international cricket. However, the India vice-captain ended the unwanted phase of his international career with a stroke-filled hundred against West Indies on Day 4 of the ongoing 1st Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.India vs West Indies, 1st Test Day 4: Live Cricket ScoreAjinkya Rahane came close to ending the hundred drought in the 1st innings but he was dismissed for 81 by Shannon Gabriel. Rahane rode his luck in the 2nd innings as he survived an LBW appeal and a drop catch to get to the 3-figure mark in the post-Lunch session on Sunday.Rahane added 106 runs for the 4th wicket along with captain Virat Kohli as the duo put India in the driver’s seat at Stumps on Day 3. However, West Indies began Sunday’s play on a high removing captain Virat Kohli off the very first ball he faced in the first session.Rahane though managed to restart and refocus and went on to grind down the West Indies bowlers on a hot day in Antigua. Rahane has added a 100-plus stand with Hanuma Vihari who has looked spottless during his knock of 71 and counting.The 100-plus stand for the 5th wicket has taken Inida’s lead close to 400 runs as India are looking set to clinch 60 points in their first match of the World Test Championship.advertisementOpener Mayank Agarwal (16) was the first wicket to fall for India in the second innings, trapped by Chase in the 14th over although TV replays showed the ball was missing the leg stump but the batsman didn’t go for review ion Saturday.After Agarwal’s departure, KL Rahul (38) and Chesteshwar Pujara (25) added 43 runs for the second wicket to take India forward.Rahul, however, gave away his wicket, bowled by Chase. He went across his stumps while going for a sweep, only to expose all the three stumps and the West Indian spinner stuck as the batsman failed to connect the ball.An over later, Roach went through Pujara’s defence to reduce India to 81 for three.Before that, India bowled out West Indies for 222 in 74.2 overs in their first innings in reply to 297 with Ishant Sharma returning with best figures of 5 for 43.Besides Ishant, Mohammed Shami (2/48) and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (2/64) scalped two wickets a piece.Also Read | I never gave up: Ben Stokes on heroic 135 not out vs Australia in 3rd Ashes TestAlso Read | Will name my 1st child after you: Fans react to Ben Stokes’s Ashes heroicsAlso See:last_img read more

Birthday wishes to India’s greatest match-winner: Gautam Gambhir to Anil Kumble, who turns 49 today

first_imgFormer India captain Anil Kumble is turning 49 today (October 17) and wishes have started to pour in for the legendary leg-spinner from all over the world, including his former teammates.Virender Sehwag posted a quirky birthday wish for Kumble in his own inimitable style.”One of India’s greatest ever Match winners and a terrific role model. Sorry for depriving you of your second century @anilkumble1074 Bhai. But I pray that you score a century in real life. Only 51 more to go. come on ..come on Anil Bhai! Happy Birthday,” Sehwag tweeted.One of India’s greatest ever Match winners and a terrific role model. Sorry for depriving you of your second century @anilkumble1074 bhai. But I pray that you score a century in real life. Only 51 more to go.. come on ..come on Anil Bhai ! Happy Birthday pic.twitter.com/P7UnvoLBlUVirender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) October 17, 2019Former batsman and current BJP lawmaker Gautam Gambhir called Kumble the biggest match-winner for the country and tweeted: “Birthday wishes to India’s greatest match-winner @anilkumble1074! Have learnt so much from you and you are the best leader that I have played under! Thanks for inspiring generations of cricketers”.Birthday wishes to India’s greatest match winner @anilkumble1074 ! Have learnt so much from you and you are the best leader that I have played under! Thanks for inspiring generations of cricketers. pic.twitter.com/NAM2KeFdtXGautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) October 17, 2019″Wishing you a very special birthday and a wonderful year ahead @anilkumble1074 May God shower you with blessings today and always and I am sure this special day will bring you endless joy and tons of precious memories,” former middle-order batsman VVS Laxman tweeted.advertisementWishing you a very special birthday and a wonderful year ahead @anilkumble1074 May God shower you with blessings today and always and I am sure this special day will bring you endless joy and tons of precious memories! pic.twitter.com/Sun4LaLY6QVVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) October 17, 2019″Greatest spinner ever played the game. biggest match-winner for india.. happy birthday @anilkumble1074 my bowling partner and guru,” India spinner Harbhajan Singh tweeted.Greatest spinner ever played the game.. biggest match winner for india.. happy birthday @anilkumble1074 my bowling partner and guru pic.twitter.com/u9ef40SrjsHarbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 17, 2019″Many more happy returns of the day to India’s greatest match-winner @anilkumble1074 Bhai. May you continue to inspire and have a healthy and joyful life ahead,” former cricketer Mohammad Kaif tweeted.Many more happy returns of the day to India’s greatest match winner @anilkumble1074 bhai. May you continue to inspire and have a healthy and joyful life ahead. pic.twitter.com/kaoFkp5QzlMohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) October 17, 2019Kumble took up a career in coaching after retiring from the sport with 619 Test wickets and 337 ODI wickets. His tally of Test wickets is the most by an Indian bowler and third on the overall list.The spinner also took ten wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999, emulating Jim Laker’s feat.Many many happy returns of the day @anilkumble1074 .Dreams and success go hand in hand. On this your birthday, I wish you all of the successes and dream fulfillments life has to offer. Happy birthday!Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) October 17, 2019Many happy returns of the day @anilkumble1074 bhai! Wishing you best of health and prosperity. pic.twitter.com/V77DjtPHQlPragyan Prayas Ojha (@pragyanojha) October 17, 2019One of the greatest personalities to ever walk into the Cricket ground in Indian Blue, you are an inspiration to uncountable dreams. Wish you a very happy birthday and a great life ahead @anilkumble1074 pic.twitter.com/Joxh96GBppRajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) October 17, 2019Many more happy returns of the day @anilkumble1074 bhai. Hope you celebrate it the Jumbo way.Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) October 17, 2019Today are birthdays of Aravinda de Silva (54th) and Anil Kumble (49th).DYK? Kumble has dismissed Aravinda on seven occasions in Test matches, the most the latter has been dismissed by any bowler!Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) October 17, 2019Happy birthday Anil bhai @anilkumble1074 , wish you a lifetime of health, happiness & success! pic.twitter.com/P9z8IkPltxSuresh Raina (@ImRaina) October 17, 2019Kumble was last week appointed head coach of IPL team Kings XI Punjab for a period of 3 years. He spoke to India Today on Wednesday about the challenges that lay ahead for him in the upcoming season.”I have got another opportunity to work with the players and I am really looking forward to that. In IPL, whether you have a good start or not the finish has to be good, it’s a roller coaster ride. I don’t want the team to panic because it can happen when if you constantly focus on the points table.advertisement”If you are third on the table and lose 2 games then you can drop down to 7th. Then after a win you can go up again. You keep going up and down in the table in the IPL. Consistency will be my main focus in Kings XI Punjab,” Kumble told India Today.last_img read more

Back-to-back wins propel Sourabh Verma into main draw of Hong Kong Open

first_imgIndian shuttler Sourabh Verma entered the men’s singles main draw of the Hong Kong Open after clinching straight-game wins in his two qualifying clashes here on Tuesday.Sourabh, seeded fourth in the qualifiers, first defeated Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-15, 21-19 before getting the better of Lucas Claerbout of France 21-19, 21-19 in the final qualifying round.The other Indians featuring in the men’s singles main event will start on Wednesday. World No.10 Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap are those in fray in the competition.While Srikanth has a tough opening encounter against world no.1 Kento Momota of Japan, Sourabh’s brother, Sameer will be up against Tzu Wei Wanf of Taipei.B Sai Praneeth too has a tough opening round encounter against third seed Shi Yu Qi of China, while Prannoy and Kashyap will take on China’s Huang Yu Xiang and Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.Later on Tuesday, the Indian shuttlers will open their campaign in the mixed doubles event.While the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will be up against Thailand’s Nipitphon Phuangphuapet and Savitree Amitrapai, the combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy will face third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.Also Read | Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty, Sai Praneeth achieve career-best badminton rankingslast_img read more