Originally published Aug 22, 2012 12:59:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 2) Revitalize Your CTA DesignsCall-to-action designs have the tendency to get old and stale, especially when they’re used over and over again within various marketing assets. Think about it — if you saw the same CTA design every time you visited a particular website, it probably wouldn’t get you clicking, even if you’ve never converted on the offer it’s promoting. This is true for multiple offers, too. If you’re using the same design for various offers, it can also get stale pretty quickly. Why? Because the design no longer captures your visitors’ attention. As a visitor who has seen the same design repeatedly, your eyes just end up glossing over it. On HubSpot’s website, for example, we’ve noticed that the longer a CTA design appears on our site, the lower and lower its click-through rate becomes.That’s why it’s important to regularly update the designs of your calls-to-action. Once you notice click-through rates dipping, spend some time updating the creative and copy of your CTA buttons, whether you do it yourself in PowerPoint or hire someone with design chops.3) Feature New OffersUpdating CTA designs can definitely improve dropping click-through rates, but it won’t do much if the offer you’re touting is outdated itself. Just like designs, offers have the tendency to get stale, too — and for a number of reasons. I mean, if you’ve been promoting the same offer over and over again, or if the content of the offer is obviously outdated, even to a new visitor (e.g. “Free Ebook: 10 New SEO Tips for 2010”), it’s probably not going to have the best conversion rate. The solution? Time to create or feature some new offers!Marketing offers aren’t effective forever, so put some time and effort into creating brand new ones or updating and repositioning evergreen offers that could benefit from some revitalization. Before you do, analyze the strength of your existing offers so you can put your content creation efforts into the types of offers that you already have historically performed well, whether it’s a particular offer type (i.e. ebooks vs. webinars) or certain subject matters.4) Update CTAs on High-Trafficked Blog Posts & Web Pages Imagine this scenario: you’ve just created a brand-spanking new offer, as we suggested in tip #3, and you’re testing it out for the first time via a call-to-action on a new blog post. Over time, that blog article becomes a big hit, getting tons of traffic and inbound links, and thus ranking extremely well for one of your most desirable keywords. But the offer? Despite that fact that you based the creation of that new offer on the success of an existing offer on the same subject, it’s not really delivering the same awesome results, and well, it’s kind of a flop (hey — it happens to the best of us!).But that fantastic blog post it’s on will still continue to get a ton of traffic, right? So keeping a CTA for a subpar offer on that post probably isn’t the smartest decision. No worries. All you have to do is swap out that CTA for a higher performing one. As a result, you’ll have much more success converting all those people coming to read that post into new and reconverted leads. Not a bad deal, huh? (Note: If you’re a HubSpot customer using our Call-to-Action tool, all you have to do is replace the underperforming CTA with a better performing one within the CTA group, and every post/page containing that old CTA will automatically be replaced with the new one. Easy!) While your website is definitely no one-trick pony, when it comes to its role as an inbound marketing tool, its ability to drive conversions — both in terms of net new lead generation and reconversions — is definitely one of its bragging rights.But surely there must be more you can do to boost your website’s conversion potential, even after you’ve got all the conversion basics down pat … right? Absolutely! Read on to learn about 9 different ways you can improve your website’s ability to convert.9 Tips to Improve Your Website Conversions1) Leverage Social ProofSocial proof stems from the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trust those people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions.Consider the various ways you can add some social proof to your marketing assets to drive conversions. This very blog, for example, uses it on our blog subscription CTA at the top right-hand sidebar as well as on our blog subscriber landing page. It encourages visitors to think, “76K other people have already subscribed? I probably should, too!”You could also experiment with other types of social proof such as testimonials on landing pages or on CTAs themselves. Check out what we did with our blog CTA for our ebook, “The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing,” for example. We added testimonial tweets to add credibility to our offer and emphasize that others thought it was worth the download — and worthy of a Twitter endorsement. Conversion Rate Optimization Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 5) Reduce FrictionHow friction-less is your website’s conversion process? Truth be told, there are quite a few distracting, annoying, and confusing obstacles that can prevent your website visitors from converting. And if you’re not aware of — and actively removing — these various hindrances from your website, you could be leaving precious conversion opportunities on the table.To reduce friction and increase conversion rates, here are 8 things you should consider doing (all of which we elaborate on in this blog post):Shorten your lead-capture forms.Create targeted landing pages.Remove top/side/bottom navigation from landing pages.Get rid of calls-to-action on landing pages.Share landing page links in social media.Place landing page forms above the fold.Use actionable language in CTAs and on landing pages.Make it as easy and user-friendly as possible to convert.6) A/B Test and Optimize Landing Pages and CTAsConducting regular A/B tests is a smart and data-driven way to improve the performance of your marketing, particularly when it comes to conversion rates. What’s more, there’s no shortage of variables you can test and optimize.When it comes to CTAs, consider A/B testing such elements as design, button size, colors, copy, messaging, tone, imagery, and placement. When A/B testing landing pages, you can test many of the same variables you test within your CTAs, in addition to variables like page layout, length, number of form fields, etc. (Note: HubSpot’s Call-to-Action and Landing Pages tools make it very easy to A/B test CTA and landing page variations.)If you conduct regular A/B tests, be sure to document your results so you can keep track of the insights you gather from them. Over time, you’ll be able to use these insights to develop best practices specific to your own business that can help you optimize your marketing efforts right off the bat! 7) Experiment With Secondary CTAsI know what you’re thinking: “Wouldn’t including two different CTAs on the same web page confuse and distract visitors from the action your want them to take?” The answer is, it depends on the offers your CTAs are promoting. Yes, displaying two CTAs on one page can distract your visitors from completing your desired conversion. However, when the secondary CTA is not promoting a competing offer, it can actually save a conversion when your visitor isn’t interested in — or ready for — the main offer.For example, if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you’ll notice that we actually have two separate calls-to-action there. One is for our main offer — our ebook on mastering the design and copy of calls-to-action. The secondary CTA, which isn’t as prominent, promotes subscription to this blog. And having that subscription CTA there might actually capture a few of those people who weren’t interest in the ebook (maybe they’ve already mastered CTA design and copy), but did find our blog content valuable enough to want to subscribe to future updates. Blog subscribers may not be as valuable to us as new or reconverted leads, but hey, they’re still valuable.Identify opportunities on your website where secondary CTAs for non-competing offers make sense, and monitor the results. If they seem to take away from conversion on your main offer, a secondary CTA may not make sense on that particular page. However, if you notice that they actually add more conversions when visitors typically would’ve left without converting on anything, including a secondary CTA is probably a smart decision.8) Appropriately Align CTA Selection With Web PagesWhen you’re selecting CTAs for your various web pages, there should always be a method to your madness rather than just slapping a CTA button on any page on your site, particularly if you have an arsenal of different marketing offers at your fingertips. But how do you determine which offer’s CTA goes on what pages of your website? We’ve created a detailed, step-by-step process for figuring this out, but here’s the jist of it …First, you’ll need to map your various offers to each stage in your sales cycle, since your offers are likely more appropriate for different stages. For example, a free trial of your software would probably be a better fit for a lead who is closer to making a purchasing decision than say, a first-time visitor to your website, who would probably be better suited for a lower-commitment offer like a free, educational ebook.After you’ve mapped your offers to your sales cycle, you’ll need to do the same for the various web pages on your website. In other words, based on a combination of common sense and your marketing analytics, you’ll need to determine how each page on your website aligns with the stages you identified in step 1. For instance, if you know that your blog attracts a lot of new visitors, you would probably associate those pages of your website with site visitors in the awareness stage of the sales process, not the purchase stage.Once you’ve mapped your offers and your website pages to the different stages in your sales cycle, you can start placing appropriate calls-to-action where they belong. Use your analytics to identify the top offers in each stage, and add them to pages you’ve mapped to that stage. Voila!9) Optimize Pages You Expect to Receive High TrafficFrom time to time, conversion optimization opportunities arise that are time-sensitive or events-driven. You just have to be quick to identify and leverage them! The idea is, if you expect a certain page or pages of your website to receive a surge of traffic around a certain time, you can proactively optimize those pages for increased conversions.So if you decided to launch a new marketing campaign that may end up driving more traffic than usual to a particular page (e.g. perhaps you included a link to your ‘About’ page in the description of a new contest you’re launching in social media), it would behoove you to audit and optimize that page for conversion opportunities. You might realize that it’s not optimized at all, that the CTAs on that page are stale, or that there are other opportunities for improvement.For example, at HubSpot, we expect that our INBOUND conference website will receive a surge of traffic next week during the conference, so it would make sense for us to swap out any CTAs for users to register for the conference, and place lead generation calls-to-action in their place since registration during the conference would be pointless.What other tips would you recommend to increase a website’s conversions?Image Credit: Katie@! Topics:
Just because other employees know they Reward your most prolific content creators. Originally published Jan 17, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 create guidelines they can follow contribute content, doesn’t mean they’ll feel comfortable doing so. This might stem from the misconception that they have to write like Shakespeare to get published on, say, your company blog. Let employees contribute to your blog in ways that best suit their talents. That could mean they create a video, an infographic, a SlideShare presentation, present data they’ve researched, or stick with the written blog post we all know and love. For instance, we work alongside a few extremely talented visual content creators, which is why fostered a content culture within their organizations. To create a company culture that celebrates content, it’s incumbent on leaders within your organization to communicate the benefits of being a published author. Explain to employees that having content published under their name will help establish themselves as thought leaders. That’s right, even hand I’ve found that the marketers who are most successful at sustaining a rapid pace of does Being a published thought leader helps them move upward within the company, and grow their careers. , this blog post is going to teach you how you can create a content culture within your company. If your employees can This blog post is written for those experiencing the latter. easily see for themselves how their content is directly contributing To make it easier for everyone to contribute, Creating content shouldn’t be reserved for just Marketing — or even just a couple people within Marketing. It’s natural to want Marketing to have a Encourage different content formats. to important company goals, like hitting Marketing’s leads goal, or Sales hitting their quota, you can bet people will be much more interested in creating content. I mean, how often does someone in, say, Support get to say they had a direct hand in generating new revenue? That’s a pretty good feeling. When I talk with inbound marketers about high quality content While fame is all well and good, sometimes a little friendly competition is all you need to get your company into the content creation spirit. For instance, let’s say you’re interested in getting more content about a particular subject matter on your blog to prepare for a product launch. Hold a contest to see who can write the blog post on that subject matter that gets, say, the most views, and reward the winner with a gift certificate. With a friendly competition like this, you’re winning on all fronts. You’ll get a higher volume of content, from a diverse set of people, on a subject matter that aligns with your goals; employees will get their name in flashing lights, some more thought leadership attached to their name, and maybe, a little moolah, too. In fact, we’ve seen this tactic work well in our favor to encourage contributions to this very blog! Poppycock. The content is a built-in online portfolio they can refer to years down the read. Reward these employees by highlighting their content and the specific results it achieved ( yesterday morning’s blog post was actually a SlideShare presentation Explain the benefit of being a published thought leader. ) in a public way. “Public” could mean your next marketing team meeting, your next company meeting, or even in an internal email or newsletter. Just be sure the content creator is present, and preferably some power players in your company, too 😉 you (Yes! You!) can be a thought leader! Here are a few benefits you can tell them to look forward to, the more they author and publish amazing content: Authoring content gets their name — and how wicked smart they are — visibility with important people, both inside and outside of your organization. ! Because the writer, Ryan Brown, totally rocks at creating visually compelling SlideShare presentations, why force him to write out a 1,000-word blog post when we have beautiful visual content at our fingertips that allows him to contribute to content creation? If they’re in a Sales or customer-facing role, it helps establish credibility with leads and customers. Topics: Finally, remember that your company culture comes from the top down. If you want to foster a culture that encourages content creation, that needs to come from the top down, too. Employees Communicate (and celebrate!) the bottom-line results can While enabling and encouraging content creation will help get people started, it won’t keep people going in the long term. To keep your entire company enthusiastic about the importance of contributing to content creation efforts, use numbers to communicate the impact it has on your business. Think about how much more meaningful it is to share that a blog post generated 10,000 page views, 50 inbound links, 20 new leads — two of which are poised to close this week — than to say, “Rachel wrote a really cool blog post last month. Good job!” content creation content drives. model executives’ behavior. So if the CMO isn’t blogging, some people might still blog; but if the CMO Content Creation If you’re starting your own business, growing your marketing department, starting a job at a new company, or just trying to motivate a shift in your company’s attitudes toward How do you foster a culture of content creators in your company? numbers are your friends here, marketers The first way is an exchange of tactics we’ve both employed to make content creation possible in the long term. The second way is detailing how difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, it is to keep up with the content creation pace they want to live up to. Play into people’s competitive spirit. in the content that goes out, but that doesn’t mean the entire burden needs to fall on your team’s shoulders. Instead, enable anyone in your organization to contribute content, from Sales, to Services, to Development. This is great because you’re getting content that highlights different perspectives and different areas of expertise, both of which make your content arsenal more well-rounded. Lead by example. Their content might lead to future opportunities, like speaking engagements, or being quoted as an expert in other publications. will Image credit: Some content is going to stand out among the rest — maybe it generates an unprecedented number of leads, maybe it gets picked up by a major publication, maybe it even goes viral! Reward the content creator for their innovation and brilliant execution, so you encourage other employees to strive to create this type of content. Enable anyone to contribute. create content on a regular basis, can you imagine how deep any other employee would have to dig to come up with the excuse for not also contributing? Pretty darn deep, I imagine. creation are the ones who have — specifically, how companies can create a sustainable internal content creation model — our conversations usually go one of two ways. content creation Kazarelth to make it more likely their content fits your publishing standards. You can even have content specialists on your team who train those extremely interested in contributing content on the types of editorial guidelines the marketing team follows. These folks — your marketing team’s “editors,” if you will — can be the ones who brush up the content you receive so everything that’s published aligns with the tone, style, and other guidelines you’ve established for your brand. Don’t forget to share this post! 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Originally published Jan 8, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Website Development Topics: Why Learn HTML?HTML and CSS are the basic programming languages for web development and design. They are beneficial to learn for developers, marketers, and people in many other disciplines. Learning HTML can be used for situations like formatting a blog or email, working with a CMS, embedding external content on your site, and creating usable content.I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I’m terrified of leaving something at home. I obsess over making sure I have enough T-shirts, jeans, shoes, travel-sized shampoos, earrings, books, magazines — because what in the world would I do if I didn’t have them, but needed them? And even if I over-pack, I know I’m prepared for any situation vacation will throw at me — a random fancy dinner out, a day at the pool, or just an afternoon out shopping with the family.In the same vein, knowing HTML is like making sure you’re fully prepared for a vacation. You may not end up using it every single day, but the times you do end up using it, you are so grateful that you had the foresight to figure it out. Knowing HTML can save you hours of frustration, precious time with your design team, or even money dealing with an external contractor.HTML has always been nice-to-have knowledge, but it’s becoming more than nice-to-have for the marketer trying to save a buck. (And that sounds like every marketer I’ve met.)In fact, there are a bunch of situations I’ve caught myself in in which handy HTML knowledge saved the day … and thus, this post was born. If you’re not quite convinced that you’d benefit from knowing basic HTML, keep reading. Here are seven* scenarios you might find yourself in that can be fixed with just a bit of HTML know-how. 1) When Formatting in Your Blog Post/Email/Landing Page Goes AwrySometimes, I swear my content has a life of its own — and a mean streak. That blog post that I worked on all day will suddenly have images with funky spacing, no text wrapping, and outrageous sizing, and, of course, all looks okay in my WYSIWG editor. Luckily, with some HTML knowledge, I can dig into the post to remove and tweak code that is causing the problem.HTML Pro Tip: If you find a bunch of funky tags you want to remove, copy the raw code and paste it into a raw text editor. Then, choose the Find and Replace option — you can search for offending snippets of code and leave the “replace” box blank. Once you’re done, you can paste it back into your HTML editor, and poof! De-bugged formatting. 2) When You Paste a Blog Post Into Your CMS From Word or Google DocsLots of people don’t know that writing a blog post in a typical word processing program — like Word or Google Docs — and then copying it into your CMS will give you lots of HTML headaches. Sometimes, when you do that, your CMS will add extra snippets of code to your piece that will mess up formatting.With some HTML knowledge and the pro tip above, you can easily remove any offending snippets when transferring content from Word or Google Docs to your CMS.3) When You Need to Tweak an Email TemplateI’m going to take a wild guess that you don’t want every email you send to look exactly the same. While sending consistent emails is a great thing most of the time, there will be specific campaigns you’re going to want to customize emails for. This could be as simple as right-aligning your images instead of left-aligning them or changing up the color of your text to stand out in your subscribers’ inboxes.With HTML knowledge, though, you can make these changes yourself, instead of relying on an in-house designer or hired development shop. Seriously, it’s empowering to make the changes yourself and move on to more pressing marketing matters. 4) When You Need to Make Your Content Easy to ReadOne of your top concerns when creating content is to make it easy for people to consume. This means using formatting (bold, italics, headers, colors, etc.) to make your content scannable and digestible. And while most WYSIWG editors will let you easily apply those formatting options to your content without touching code, not all will. So take control of the way your content looks by souping it up with some and
Originally published Feb 20, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Koka Sexton, LinkedIn Koka Sexton, LinkedIn “When it comes to the tools needed, I think it’s important for sales professionals to be as visible as possible within every social network that their customers may be a part of. That’s what social selling is all about. Obviously LinkedIn works well for that, because it’s a professional network, but it may be Twitter or other networks as well.I think this is why what HubSpot and Evernote said about how marketing and sales can be aligned is so important. Mark put it best when he said, “There is no social selling without content.” And so to salespeople, I would say that you need to hold your marketing professionals accountable by providing you with the right content that’s in the right context for your buyers.I think context is something that’s often overlooked because where the buyer is within the sales cycle should determine what type of content you’re handing them, and ultimately how you’re delivering it to them. If email open rates are low, then why not try posting something in your social stream so you can feed your prospects the information they need at the time that they need it?” “When it comes to sales and marketing, I think it’s helpful to make sure there’s an open channel of communication so that collaboration can occur. So if a salesperson is talking to people on the phone and they know that they’re not able to send their prospects the right materials to close the sale or move things along, marketing needs to know that information.That’s a sign that there needs to be more collaboration between sales and marketing to make sure the salespeople have the sales tools and materials that they need to close deals. And vice versa – communication goes in both directions. If marketing feels that they’re out of the loop when it comes to what customers are thinking or saying or what their actual questions are, it’s definitely worth it to have more involvement with sales.” Mark Roberge, HubSpot Josh Zerkel, Evernote “There could be a couple of things going on. Sales might not be aware where the tools are or it may be that they feel it’s too difficult to access them. That’s why it’s critical to keep your content in a shared spot where it’s really easy to access and where salespeople feel comfortable.The other thing that might be happening is that the tools that marketing thinks are so awesome may not, in fact, be so awesome when it comes to real world deployment and social selling. So it’s probably worth it at this point, if sales isn’t using the tools that are being deployed, to have an in-depth conversation about what is really needed, what are people asking for, and then go back to marketing and share those findings.” Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social Selling “Sales professionals, and really every professional, need to understand that their LinkedIn profile is not their online resume. They simply need to take themselves out of that frame of mind. Your LinkedIn page is really your online brand, your professional profile.So salespeople need to use their LinkedIn accounts as a resource, and not a resume. Internally at LinkedIn, we call that ‘Resume to Reputation.’ It’s really about the transformation in how you use your online persona, building your reputation and becoming that brand that draws people in.This is where marketing can come in, too. If a salesperson is consistently posting great content about the industry, provided by the marketing team, it will be so much easier for that salesperson to build that personal brand and that social media credibility. That’s really what social selling is all about: Giving salespeople the tools they need to have genuine interactions on social media that help them in their sales processes.Next Step: The 3 C’s of Social SellingWith these core questions answered, feel free to check out the presentation deck from the webinar that prompted this discussion below. If you’d like to listen to the webinar recording for the full experience, just click here. This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe here.Social selling — it’s not just a buzzword anymore. It’s a crucial part of how successful sales teams communicate with their prospects. That’s why last week, HubSpot, LinkedIn, and Evernote hosted a webinar to discuss how organizations can align their sales and marketing teams to develop the tools that make social selling work through context, content, and collaboration. Toward the end of the session, three critical and common questions were asked that we’d like to address today:My sales team doesn’t have the right materials to help my prospects solve their problems. What should I do?Our marketing team creates a lot of content each month, but the sales team never uses it. How can I solve this problem?How do you present yourself on social media in order to do social selling? How do you leverage your social presence as a salesperson?Responses below come from our speakers: Mark Roberge, chief revenue officer at HubSpot, Koka Sexton, senior social marketing manager at LinkedIn, and Josh Zerkel, user education specialist at Evernote. Q: My sales team doesn’t have the right materials to help my prospects solve their problems. What should I do? Q: Our marketing team creates a lot of content each month, but the sales team never uses it. How can I solve this problem? “We’ve seen this problem at HubSpot ourselves to the nth degree — it’s actually something we’ve been focusing on with some hacker technology in the HubSpot Sales Labs. As you can imagine, we’re producing boatloads of content that have to do with different problems people have, different industries, different buyer personas.Then, on the other side of the fence, you’ve got sales actually out there talking to different buyers, on social media or via email, in specific industries with specific problems. It’s next to impossible, at this point, for those salespeople to know exactly the right content to follow up with — there’s just too much out there.We’re experimenting with a bunch of different solutions. We’re testing tagging content depending on the topic or persona, and then on the other side, having sales designate problems that different personas are having in our CRM. That way, the system can do some matching.Q: How do you present yourself on social media in order to do social selling? How do you leverage your social presence as a salesperson? Josh Zerkel, Evernote
4) Click “Calculate.”5) Your sample size will spit out. Ta-da! The calculator will spit out your sample size. In our example, our sample size is: 274.This is the size one of your variations needs to be. So for your email send, if you have one control and one variation, you’ll need to double this number. If you had a control and two variations, you’d triple it. (And so on.)6) Depending on your email program, you may need to calculate the sample size’s percentage of the whole email.HubSpot customers, I’m looking at you for this section. When you’re running an email A/B test, you’ll need to select the percentage of contacts to send the list to — not just the raw sample size. To do that, you need to divide the number in your sample by the total number of contacts in your list. Here’s what that math looks like, using the example numbers above:274 / 1000 = 27.4%This means that each sample (both your control AND your variation) needs to be sent to 27-28% of your audience — in other words, roughly a total of 55% of your total list.And that’s it! You should be ready to select your sending time. How to Choose the Right Time Frame for Your A/B TestOkay, so this is where we get into the reality of email sending: You have to figure out how long to run your email A/B test before sending a (winning) version on to the rest of your list. Figuring out the timing aspect is a little less statistically driven, but you should definitely use past data to help you make better decisions. Here’s how you can do that.If you don’t have timing restrictions on when to send the winning email to the rest of the list, head over to your analytics. Figure out when your email opens/clicks (or whatever your success metrics are) starts to drop off. Look your past email sends to figure this out. For example, what percentage of total clicks did you get in your first day? If you found that you get 70% of your clicks in the first 24 hours, and then 5% each day after that, it’d make sense to cap your email A/B testing timing window for 24 hours because it wouldn’t be worth delaying your results just to gather a little bit of extra data. In this scenario, you would probably want to keep your timing window to 24 hours, and at the end of 24 hours, your email program should let you know if they can determine a statistically significant winner.Then, it’s up to you what to do next. If you have a large enough sample size and found a statistically significant winner at the end of the testing time frame, many email marketing programs will automatically and immediately send the winning variation. If you have a large enough sample size and there’s no statistically significant winner at the end of the testing time frame, email marketing tools might also allow you to automatically send a variation of your choice.If you have a smaller sample size or are running a 50/50 A/B test, when to send the next email based on the initial email’s results is entirely up to you. If you have time restrictions on when to send the winning email to the rest of the list, figure out how late you can send the winner without it being untimely or affecting other email sends. For example, if you’ve sent an email out at 6 p.m. EST for a flash sale that ends at midnight EST, you wouldn’t want to determine an A/B test winner at 11 p.m. Instead, you’d want to send the email closer to 8 or 9 p.m. — that’ll give the people not involved in the A/B test enough time to act on your email.And that’s pretty much it, folks. After doing these calculations and examining your data, you should be in a much better state to send email A/B tests — ones that are fairly statistically valid and help you actually move the needle in your email marketing. Topics: Originally published Dec 11, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated October 29 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 A/B Testing Do you remember your first A/B test on email? I do. (Nerdy, I know.) I felt simultaneously thrilled and terrified because I knew I had to actually use some of what I learned in college stats for my job. I sat on the cusp of knowing just enough about statistics that it could be dangerous. For instance, I knew that you needed a big enough sample size to run the test on. I knew I needed to run the test long enough to get statistically significant results. I knew I could easily run one if I wanted, using HubSpot’s Email App…. But that’s pretty much it. I wasn’t sure how big was “big enough” for sample sizes and how long was “long enough” for test durations — and Googling it gave me a variety of answers my college stats courses definitely didn’t prepare me for.Turns out I wasn’t alone: Those are two of the most common A/B testing questions we get from customers. And the reason the typical answers from a Google search aren’t that helpful is because they’re talking about A/B testing in an ideal, theoretical, non-marketing world. So, I figured I’d do the research to help answer this question for you in a practical way. At the end of this post, you should be able to know how to determine the right sample size and time frame for your next email send.Download Now: Email Marketing Planning Template Theory vs. Reality of Sample Size and Timing in Email A/B TestsIn theory, to determine a winner between Variation A and Variation B, you need to wait until you have enough results to see if there is a statistically significant difference between the two. Depending on your company, sample size, and how you execute the A/B test, getting statistically significant results could happen in hours or days or weeks — and you’ve just got to stick it out until you get those results. In theory, you should not restrict the time in which you’re gathering results.For many A/B tests, waiting is no problem. Testing headline copy on a landing page? It’s cool to wait a month for results. Same goes with blog CTA creative — you’d be going for the long-term lead gen play, anyway. But on email, waiting can be a problem — for several practical reasons:1) Each email send has a finite audience.Unlike a landing page (where you can continue to gather new audience members over time), once you send an email A/B test off, that’s it — you can’t “add” more people to that A/B test. So you’ve got to figure out how squeeze the most juice out of your emails. This will usually require you to send an A/B test to the smallest portion of your list needed to get statistically significant results, pick a winner, and then send the winning variation on to the rest of the list. 2) Running an email marketing program means you’re juggling at least a few email sends per week. (In reality, probably way more than that.) If you spend too much time collecting results, you could miss out on sending your next email — which could have worse effects than if you sent a non-statistically-significant winner email on to one segment of your database. 3) Email sends are often designed to be timely.Your marketing emails are optimized to deliver at a certain time of day, whether your emails are supporting the timing of a new campaign launch and/or landing in your recipient’s inboxes at a time they’d love to receive it. So if you wait for your email to be fully statistically significant, you might miss out on being timely and relevant — which could defeat the purpose of your email send in the first place. That’s why email A/B testing programs have a “timing” setting built in: At the end of that time frame, if neither result is statistically significant, one variation (which you choose ahead of time) will be sent to the rest of your list. That way, you can still run A/B tests in email, but you can also work around your email marketing scheduling demands and ensure people are always getting timely content.So to run A/B tests in email while still optimizing your sends for the best results, you’ve got to take both sample size and timing into account. Next up: how to actually figure out your sample size and timing using data.How to Actually Determine Your Sample Size and Testing Time FrameAlrighty, now on to the part you’ve been waiting for: how to actually calculate the sample size and timing you need for your next email A/B test. How to Calculate Your Email A/B Test’s Sample SizeLike I mentioned above, each email A/B test you send can only be sent to a finite audience — so you need to figure out how to maximize the results from that A/B test. To do that, you need to figure out the smallest portion of your total list needed to get statistically significant results. Here’s how you calculate it.1) Assess whether you have enough contacts in your list to A/B a sample in the first place.To A/B test a sample of your list, you need to have a decently large list size — at least 1,000 contacts. If you have fewer than that in your list, the proportion of your list that you need to A/B test to get statistically significant results gets larger and larger. For example, to get statistically significant results from a small list, you might have to test 85% or 95% of your list. And the results of the people on your list who haven’t been tested yet will be so small that you might as well have just sent half of your list one email version, and the other half another, and then measured the difference. Your results might not be statistically significant at the end of it all, but at least you’re gathering learnings while you grow your lists to have more than 1,000 contacts. (If you want more tips on growing your email list so you can hit that 1,000 contact threshold, check out this blog post.) Note for HubSpot customers: 1,000 contacts is also our benchmark for running A/B tests on samples of email sends — if you have fewer than 1,000 contacts in your selected list, the A version of your test will automatically be sent to half of your list and the B will be sent to the other half.2) Click here to open up this calculator.Here’s what it looks like when you open it up:3) Put in your email’s Confidence Level, Confidence Interval, and Population into the tool.Yep, that’s a lot of stat jargon. Here’s what these terms translate to in your email:Population: Your sample represents a larger group of people. This larger group is called your population.In email, your population is the typical number of people in your list who get emails delivered to them — not the number of people you sent emails to. To calculate population, I’d look at the past three to five emails you’ve sent to this list, and average the total number of delivered emails. (Use the average when calculating sample size, as the total number of delivered emails will fluctuate.)Confidence Interval: You might have heard this called “margin of error.” Lots of surveys use this, including political polls. This is the range of results you can expect this A/B test to explain once it’s run with the full population. For example, in your emails, if you have an interval of 5, and 60% of your sample opens your Variation, you can be sure that between 55% (60 minus 5) and 65% (60 plus 5) would have also opened that email. The bigger the interval you choose, the more certain you can be that the populations true actions have been accounted for in that interval. At the same time, large intervals will give you less definitive results. It’s a tradeoff you’ll have to make in your emails. For our purposes, it’s not worth getting too caught up in confidence intervals. When you’re just getting started with A/B tests, I’d recommend choosing a smaller interval (ex: around 5). Confidence Level: This tells you how sure you can be that your sample results lie within the above confidence interval. The lower the percentage, the less sure you can be about the results. The higher the percentage, the more people you’ll need in your sample, too. Note for HubSpot customers: The Email App automatically uses the 85% confidence level to determine a winner. Since that option isn’t available in this tool, I’d suggest choosing 95%. Example:Let’s pretend we’re sending our first A/B test. Our list has 1,000 people in it and has a 95% deliverability rate. We want to be 95% confident our winning email metrics fall within a 5-point interval of our population metrics. Here’s what we’d put in the tool:Population: 950Confidence Level: 95%Confidence Interval: 5
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.Every Friday, our team comes together for a weekly reflections meeting. It’s our “touchy-feely-kumbaya” moment where everyone has an opportunity to open up and share what’s on their mind.Primarily, we try to focus on three things: what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what we learned. We then document those lessons, and once-a-year, we review the key themes. It’s surprising– and a bit embarrassing — how often issues we discussed in March are repeated in August and again in November, but it’s all part of the learning process. This year, a few interesting themes emerged that I thought would be valuable for others to review. Here are some of the most important lessons we learned in 2015.1) Outline project unknowns as much as knowns.It’s very easy to find yourself putting together a beautiful project scope or proposal that painstakingly details every requirement the client has mentioned during your sales calls. The problem is, once the project kicks off, you’re going to find yourself dealing with many, many things the client did not explicitly state. Image purchasing, content implementation, hosting fees, etc., are all aspects of any web project not typically top-of-mind for the client. Be sure your contracts and documentation tackle as many of these project unknowns as possible. Include language that provides a means of factoring in cost/time when these little surprises sneak up, as they always do.2) Transition from managing a sales pipeline to a relationship pipeline.The idea of a sales pipeline is to track opportunities across various stages in your sales process, each with their own weighted likelihood of turning into an actual deal. Having a sales pipeline helps you determine where to invest time and energy in opportunities. The problem, however, is that most sales pipelines only look at a 30-to-90-day window. With this narrow of a view, it’s far too easy to cast “slower” opportunities to the side.We found that focusing on building relationships with companies that could be great clients, even if they’re a year away from that, is far more valuable than ignoring every prospect who doesn’t meet the perfect profile for your sales pipeline. You shouldn’t expel that much energy on these prospects, but you should set reminders to connect periodically, invite them to relevant events, and send them useful content. This can lead to huge returns beyond this month or even quarter. 3) Help define success for your customer.The reason most potential customers are speaking with you is because you’ve demonstrated a capacity for solving their problem. Embrace this truth, and control the vision for working with your customers. Focusing on identifying and addressing their needs is critical to a successful sale, but don’t let them dictate all the terms of engagement.You’ve done this “thing” far more times than they have, and it’s important that you explain what will make a project successful. If timelines are unrealistic or certain content or systems need to be finalized before you can start a project, be sure to communicate this to the client. It’s far better, and far more profitable, to set clear “rules for success” with a potential client and hold them to those boundaries. 4) Don’t overlook easy money.If your agency thrives on large project-based deals, it’s tempting to always go after the “whale” and ignore the “fish” along the way. If every new deal is six-figures, why wouldn’t you put your time and energy into those opportunities? However, when you focus 100% of your time on these big wins, you often sacrifice opportunities for “easy money.”Support retainers, appropriate technology recommendations that have a referral kickback, and one-day workshops are all value-added services you could offer existing clients. These relationships are already established so they don’t require the same effort as a new deal. Sure, the check isn’t as substantial, but if you build in a practice of upselling across all of your clients, you could see an impressive uptick in account size.5) Focus on solving problems, not just implementing solutions.It’s not uncommon to find that your team is obsessed with how to implement a specific solution within a project. Whether it stems from client interest or internal interest, once you’re fixated on making something work, it’s hard to take a step back. Taking a step back, however, is often the only way to avoid blowing the budget on a project. This step back should not be focused on re-evaluating the solution, rather re-evaluating the problem. Ask both yourself and the client what the exact problem is that you’re trying to solve and the impact of not solving it. Sometimes the solution is simply doing nothing.6) Don’t view account management and project management as the same role.Many larger agencies already have this baked into their operations, but this was a big lesson for us to learn this past year. Although they can sometimes be tackled by the same person, the responsibilities associated with account management are not the same as those associated with project management. Account managers need to focus on defending the client’s needs at all times while project managers need to focus on defending the agency’s needs at all times. This sort of conflict is healthy as it ensures both sides are properly represented in the creative process.In addition, the very metrics each role should be focused on are considerably different. Account managers are accountable for growing their book-of-business with clients while project managers are accountable for expanding the profitability of the relationship. These are two very different mindsets, and two very different roles.7) Always be selling.Once that initial contract is inked, it’s tempting to pop the champagne and call it a day. Closing a deal does not mean that the sales function is over. A client who accepts a contract simply means she believes in your plan for solving her problem; it does not guarantee that she believes in your execution of that plan. Every person involved in the project needs to realize the importance of continuing to sell ideas and solutions to identified problems. Every new deliverable is a new first impression.8) Realize the difference between makers and managers.There is a big difference between “makers” and “managers” within an agency. Makers are responsible for creating deliverables and executing the plan for a client. Managers are responsible for setting that plan and ensuring resources are appropriately allocated to enable execution. Many agencies depend on their team members to play both a maker and manager role. Effectiveness as a maker requires long, uninterrupted time where execution can take place. Effectiveness as a manager requires continued communication and performance analysis to ensure the plan is on track. Treat team members differently depending on the role they play and their responsibilities, and respect the differing work needs of each type within the structure of your agency.9) Work in time blocks.Most tasks will take as long as you allow them to. And complicating this problem is that in most agencies, we’re inundated with so many tasks from so many different accounts that things are constantly done right before they’re due. Working in a reactive pattern, where tasks are constantly being shuffled around based on the latest fire or ASAP request, only perpetuates inadvertent procrastination. Take control of your workload by carving out distinct blocks of time to tackle projects, and set the end of that block as your hard deadline.10) Repeat everything. Repeat everything.Repetition is a key ingredient for success as an agency. This includes repetition in communication, resources, and process. Repetition in communication ensures everyone is on the same page and that expectations are met. Repeat those expectations, and repeat the plan for meeting them. Repetition in resources ensures you have a game plan should someone go on vacation, get sick, or quit a project. Having redundant roles is an important safety net for any project. Finally, repetition in process ensures that you create repeatable results and start building efficiency into your delivery. The more your processes repeat, the more likely they can be automated, leading to tremendous gains in efficiency and profitability. 11) Manage against scope or timeline, not both.Bumps come up in a project. Unexpected requests or roadblocks are inevitable. Budget is often that hardest thing to revisit in a project, so consider whether scope or timeline needs to be re-evaluated as problems emerge. If timing is critical, scale back on what needs to be accomplished within a specific timeframe. If completeness is key, push out your launch date. If the client can’t choose between the two, bring up money again.12) Negotiate constantly, but wisely.Remember this: You’re negotiating throughout the entire lifespan of a project. You’re negotiating for extra resources, reduced scope, quicker turnarounds, etc. As in any negotiation, the key to success is knowing all of the terms of which you’re negotiating. It’s far easier to get what you need from a client and still make them happy if you give them something they want. When faced with a significant problem in the project, ensure you understand what’s really important to the client and what’s really important to your agency. Oftentimes, negotiating over different terms and bringing awareness to that is all it takes for everyone to walk away happy.13) Have a process, but know that the process will change.Technology, experience, resources, and many other factors will lead to evolutions in your processes over time. You’ll add new deliverables, cut out unnecessary steps, and automate some of your workload. But this sort of benefit only works when you have a process that you’re currently using. You can only measure improvement or evaluate efficiency if you have a benchmark. If you have a process for how your projects are delivered and how your agency is run, you can track and improve things going forward.14) Build in padding for inaccurate project estimates. It seems no matter how many times we’ve done a project, something always comes up that affects our original project estimate. Perhaps it’s a desire to continue improving our processes or “one-upping” our last project, but things inevitably take longer than expected. Understand this, embrace this, and add padding to be conservative. Extra time and extra money provides room to over-deliver for your clients and make them even happier with the project’s outcome.15) Remember that contractors are not employees.In a world of specialization and the need for ever-changing scale, it’s likely that your agency depends on some sort of contract-based labor force. They provide the natural capacity necessary to take on larger projects or unknown technologies. For this very reason, contractors can be one of your greatest assets.However, remember that they are not employees and should not be treated as such. Employment and tax regulation aside, professional freelancers and contractors have chosen that profession for many of the benefits that come with it: unlimited vacation, remote working, schedule independence, etc. It’s foolish to expect that contractors will make the same sacrifices or meet the same demands as an employee. As such, it’s critical that you establish clear expectations on the “softer side of your relationship in addition to the scope, time, and budget requirements you’re bound to discuss. Agree on communication schedules, deadline management, and anything else that might cause a problem for a project down-the-line.16) Show, don’t tell.As agency folk, we’re participants in the “idea economy.” We’re paid for coming up with and executing ideas that will solve our clients’ problems. Clients are our lifeblood, and they command respect in the creative process. However, we cannot assume that the ideas in our minds are the same as those perceived by our clients. Hypothetical pitches and explanations might get people excited, but it doesn’t lead to consensus around expectations.Don’t be afraid to introduce working deliverables into your process solely to serve as a means of crystallizing ideas into a form that has boundaries. Even a napkin sketch will give a client a better sense for your vision than flowery language over a bourbon-fueled dinner. If the client is excited about an idea, she should be excited to spend 5% of the total time/money to sketch out the parameters of that idea before committing to it fully.17) Promote others first.Imagine going to a party where the guy in the corner is constantly shouting about all of the awesome things he’s done. It won’t take long for you to excuse yourself from the table. The same goes for your marketing efforts. If all of your marketing is focused on promoting how “awesome” your agency is, how long will it take for your audience to leave? Focus your marketing on educating and sharing the success of others before your own. It builds trust and credibility. It also builds community as those you promote will promote your work in turn.18) Do less marketing to do better marketing.It’s easy to start the year with a huge list of marketing activities your agency will pursue to expand your footprint: blogging, events, emails, advertisements, podcast, sponsorships, etc. It all sounds great on paper, but such a diffused strategy is more likely to lead to a bunch of smaller failures than one or two major successes. Figure out what channels resonate with your target clients, align these with your voice/skillsets, and determine how you can maximize the impact with the limited resources you have at your disposal. Double-down on those few things, and ignore everything else.19) Find the source of the stress.Agency life is fueled by deadlines and tight budgets. No one has ever claimed it’s a stress-free business. But letting this stress affect us leads to poor performance, which leads to more stress. When you find yourself feeling as though every project is going wrong, the problem is unlikely that everything sucks.Take a step back, and identify what the real source of stress is. Then, create an action plan for dealing with it. Is it personal? Did you lose a deal? Is a client being pushy? Not resolving the major stressor in your life will impact other responsibilities on your plate. Tackle the real source of stress, and everything else might just be a bit easier.20) Celebrate your accomplishments.You’ve won awards, generated millions of dollars in value for your clients, and created jobs that give people the opportunity to pursue their creative passions. Running an agency can be overwhelming, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Do not let the challenges of running the business overshadow the successes along the way. Take time to step back and celebrate wins individually and as a team. Reflect on how much has been accomplished during just one year, and use that to fuel your work going forward. Topics: Agency Marketing Originally published Feb 27, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. A lot of times schools will do this in the recruiting process, and recruits will opt to announce a “decommitment”, although the true story sometimes never comes out.During his visit to campus for camp earlier this summer, he told PFB that it was an easy decision for him and that OSU “just felt right.”“I met with the coaches and Mike Gundy at the mini camp and they offered me on the spot [on Sunday],” he told PFB. “I knew what I wanted so I committed right then and there, and I’m not regretting my decision at all.”Misko was recruited by OSU as a tight end/cowboy back. Oklahoma State, at least at this time, does not have another prospect to fill that position for the 2017 class, but Gundy has said he would like to take one per class. Reports surfaced from Scout.com last night that three-star tight end prospect Spencer Misko of Keller, Texas, is longer a part of OSU’s 2017 recruiting class.Misko is a hybrid tight end/defensive end prospect who held offers from Illinois State, K-State, Prairie View A&M, and Texas A&M Commerce. Misko’s situation with OSU shows the somewhat unfortunate, and dark side of what can come in the recruiting world. He was informed this week that his scholarship, which he earned four months ago at a camp, was no longer available to him, which is forcing him to re-open his recruitment.Tough lesson but I’m excited to re-open my recruiting process https://t.co/ItfJJPIGTb— Spencer Misko (@Misko_38) October 25, 2016
Mike Gundy had a pretty good day today. Not only did his unranked Cowboys knock off No. 10 West Virginia in homecoming, but he also earned his 100th career win as the Oklahoma State head coach.That calls for celebration.When you win your 100th career game on Homecoming, you #GundyDance #okstate #GoPokes pic.twitter.com/6ssJ3ymcxi— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) October 29, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Oklahoma State tailback Justice Hill continues to impress in his freshman campaign. Facing a second-and-short in the redzone, No. 27 had his number called — and he delivered with a spin-move away from a defender as he powered his way into the end zone.Justice Hill. Beast mode. pic.twitter.com/yxtqw5zcHH— Oklahoma State (@TheOkiePokie) November 12, 2016
While Oklahoma State’s offensive line has steadily progressed on the run-blocking front, there is still a lot of room to grow in one of the most important facets of the game.There’s no doubt that the most important player to the Cowboys’ success is Mason Rudolph. The record-setting junior has almost single-handedly turned this program around. He is 20-5 as a starter, but he’s been sacked at least once in every game this year. Taking care of him should be priority number one.Unfortunately, the Cowboys are currently 105th in the nation in sacks allowed, having given up 27 through ten games. That 2.7 per game is a step back from last season’s average of 2.46 and just marginally better than 2014’s abysmal 3.08.Let’s take a look at the Cowboys’ allowed sacks by year.For six years the Cowboys ranked in the top three in the conference and top 15 in the country at protecting their QB. Since then the numbers are drastically worse.That should be no surprise to any of us. We’ve belabored that point over the last three years.What should surprise us is that the Cowboys aren’t making any marked improvement on this front. In fact, as mentioned above, the Cowboys are on pace to take a step backwards this year. Given how good the run game has been, this is somewhat surprising.I will say, the last few games have been better. OSU only allowed four sacks total against WVU, KSU and Tech in the last three outings. That’s a marked improvement from the first seven. It’s no mistake that two of the best yards-per-play outings of the Gundy era have come in the last two games.#okstate has averaged 9+ yards per play in just nine games in the Gundy era. Two have come in the last two weeks. pic.twitter.com/9x1JpzvJFL— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 14, 2016Sack numbers aren’t just about protecting your quarterback. They are about protecting drives. Possessions are like gold to a coaching staff. If you break down a football game by the numbers, there are a finite number of opportunities to score. Each time your quarterback is sacked you lose a down and put your drive “behind the chains” so to speak.You can gain or lose an edge with turnovers and big plays. But while that’s worked out for the Cowboys at times, those can’t be depended on. Doing so is playing with fire. See Texas Tech. That’s why I don’t get too bent out of shape when Mike Gundy plays a bit conservatively. He knows that for every Rudolph-to-Washington 82-yard connection there is the possibility for a pick-six or a some other horrifying event.The Cowboys end the season with two tough road games. They figure to be underdogs in both. Can their O-line take care of business, protect Rudolph better and give Mike Gundy a fighting chance against TCU and OU to win the Big 12? We’ll see. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Football season is officially over. After the final game of the 2016 season, Oklahoma State players took to twitter to express their excitement after the bowl win. Here’s what they had to say:Great year! Couldn’t have ask for better teammates! I love you guys ? https://t.co/fLzZt6cTt7— Justice Hill (@jhill21_) December 30, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. There he go!! #ValeroAlamoBowl #weneedsomebigrings pic.twitter.com/cb1rt2SxIb— AJ Green (@AjGofor6) December 30, 2016 Easy W ? #GoPokes #Big12— Tyler Patmon (@Lion_hearted_26) December 30, 2016 So glad to be on this team. Alamo Bowl Champs. #SinorForHeisman— Zach The Punter (@ZachSinor29) December 30, 2016 Blessed! ??— Vincent Taylor (@BallOut_96) December 30, 2016 Ramon Richards (@chief_vii), The #OKState King of Hype pic.twitter.com/h8oq3MdVzP— Dekota Gregory (@dekotagregory) December 30, 2016 POKES BY A MILLION!!! Blessed for this and it was a bonus sending the seniors out right! #onemoreyear #AlamoBowlChamps— Chad Whitener (@MountChad) December 30, 2016 All love for the man @DezBryant pic.twitter.com/3xys7Ny0yz— Mason Rudolph (@Rudolph2Mason) December 30, 2016
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Major announcement coming later on tonight!!— Caleb Chandler (@DatBoyCC) January 6, 2017 #FlippinFridayBaby ????@CowboyFB_Elite Confirmed Flip!!! #GAConnection5️⃣5️⃣ set OVisit date‼️#RareBreedOL17 #OkState #GABeast #LETSRIDE pic.twitter.com/h3OO4lVgsN— Coach Arroyo?OREGON® (@coacharroyoTheO) January 6, 2017 Some major news appears to be coming — and with Arroyo’s batcall, it could be in Oklahoma State’s favor. And for OSU looking for a big bully offensive lineman to come in and contribute quickly, Chandler fits that bill. After losing the commitments of two highly rated offensive line recruits in December, Oklahoma State is on the prowl to bolster it’s big men up front before signing day in a month.Enter Caleb Chandler, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle recruit from Jefferson, Georgia, whom Oklahoma State extended an offer to earlier this week. 247sports ranks him as a four-star prospect, and he has 32 Division I scholarship offers that includes Louisville, Florida, Oregon, TCU and a whole bunch of others which you can check out here.Despite the crowded group of schools vying for his attention, Oklahoma State appears to be gaining some real steam in his recruitment. So much so that there may be some big news coming out of Georgia in favor of OSU on Friday night. Coach Marcus Arroyo sent this tweet alluding to some potential good news, and shortly after, Chandler himself signaled a “major announcement” was coming on Friday evening:
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Bovada recently released their preseason Heisman Trophy odds, and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was listed as a top-10 challenger with 12/1 odds.Rudolph is one of three Big 12 players on the list, with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield as the odds-on favorite, and Texas sophomore Shane Buechele listed at 35/1.Complete list of odds pic.twitter.com/4xBZLbLPuX— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) January 23, 2017Along with these odds from Bovado, Rudolph was most recently named a serious Heisman contender by Pro Football Focus.Needless to say, the senior signal caller will be receiving plenty of attention in his final season at OSU.
An OU football player was arrested on Friday. No that’s not a joke. It’s happened again.Baker Mayfield drank too much and got tackled by an Arkansas cop. Thankfully it doesn’t seem like anyone was put in danger because of Mayfield’s actions.Twinter lit up with commentary of course, though, and this isn’t the best of what we saw.To be real. Nobody in SEC country has caught him until now. Fayetteville PD jumps into top 25 now.— Jeremy Walker (@jwalk130) February 25, 2017Well, you may be on to something here…Yurcich- “Gundy, I know how we can win bedlam!”Gundy- “How?”Yurcich- “Hire 11 cops to play defense.” pic.twitter.com/vcLmv0USCC— Alex Luft (@alexgluft) February 25, 2017Eh, it was worth a shot. #SourcesSources confirm: Mike Gundy is not recruiting the police officer who tackled Mayfield.— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) February 25, 2017This… While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Cop must’ve run a 4.4 40, catching him from behind and all. https://t.co/5P7eDBAIgT— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2017Maybe, that officer still has a chance.Arkansas should definitely sign whichever cop caught a fleeing Baker Mayfield. Best defense played by any Razorback this year.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 25, 2017At least he (hopefully) had a good time earlier in the evening.I can confirm that Dickson Street > Campus Corner https://t.co/V4KwEH29QI— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) February 25, 2017Clay Travis from the top rope.Positive for Oklahoma fans is at least Baker Mayfield wasn’t charged with punching any women. Might have cost him a half against UTEP.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 25, 2017Always best to look at the bright side.Underrated part about the Baker Mayfield arrest is the booking time. 8:21 AM. First guy in the jail. NFL scouts love that work ethic. pic.twitter.com/i6PV2S5vJi— Bunkie Perkins (@BunkiePerkins) February 25, 2017Legal problems are serious business in Norman.Breaking: Bob Stoops announces that Baker Mayfield will be suspended for second half of OU spring game— Eric T (@Taylorical) February 25, 2017That’s not great.When you chug your whole Sex On The Beach and finish it off with a Gatorade shot!!! #Rage #Unable #BdaketfrMaygiueld pic.twitter.com/XxLwl9uleU— OKState Probs (@OKStateProbs) February 25, 2017In all seriousness, I agree with this.This isn’t to condemn Mayfield, but you can’t use the “typical college behavior” excuse on a non-typical college student. False argument.— StillyDad (@StillH2Odad) February 25, 2017
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The Oscar Awards are here! And for people who have zero cares about the real ceremony, but still enjoy a little sports fun surrounding it, CBS Sports named its Oscar Award winners from the 2016 football season.And Mike Gundy came away a winner … in makeup and hairstyling. Here’s what Chip Patterson of CBS said about Gundy’s wicked hairdo:The hairstyle — named perfectly by the coach himself as the “Arkansas Waterfall” — added a fun wrinkle to a wild 2016 campaign. Gundy nearly had to cut it in November because of a bet with his son regarding an upcoming test. Thankfully for us, Gundy’s son scored an 88 and not a 91, allowing the Arkansas Waterfall to continue its dominance of the college football hairstyling scene.Oh, yeah. I’m sure that Oscar will look nice hanging in Gundy’s barn, right next to where he keeps his stash of butch wax.Also included in the Oscars was (look away, quick!) Central Michigan wide receiver Jesse Kroll, who won the award for best player in a supporting role. No, he wasn’t the one who scored the go-ahead heart-breaking touchdown over Oklahoma State. He was the one who caught the first pass then flipped it back for the W.[Warning: Now would be the time to toggle back to the home page.]
Arsenal Wenger not ready to prioritise Europa League Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 07:13 3/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Arsenal Arsène Wenger Milan Milan v Arsenal UEFA Europa League Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League Videos Despite Arsenal being 10 points outside of the Premier League’s top four, the Gunners boss isn’t ready to fully focus on Europe Arsene Wenger will not shift Arsenal’s focus to the Europa League despite his side’s problems in the Premier League.Arsenal’s chances of Champions League qualification through the league appear remote, with the Gunners sixth in the table, 10 points outside the top four with 10 matches remaining.Next week’s Europa League round-of-16 tie against Italian giants AC Milan follows a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp But although the Europa League winners earn a place in the Champions League – the route taken by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United last season – Wenger says Arsenal will not necessarily prioritise the competition.”Look, I think we are in a situation where we first have to try and win the next game before making too long calculations,” said Wenger, whose side have suffered successive 3-0 defeats against Manchester City.”The game after always has an input and you always have that in your mind when you play so many games one after the other.”Jack Wilshere missed Thursday’s Premier League loss to City with an ankle injury, but Wenger is unsure whether the midfielder will be fit to return at the AMEX.”I don’t know because he has not practiced,” Wenger said. “I don’t know.”I will have to rest some players who gave a lot against City, for sure, because we have played a lot.”We will see how well he recovers.”With seven defeats in all competitions since the start of 2018, Arsenal have been beaten more times this year than any other Premier League side.But despite confidence dropping in the Gunners squad, Wenger backed himself to turn around a poor situation at Arsenal.”I’m always ready for a fight,” Wenger added. “Of course I am very disappointed but I have experienced these situations before.”I have faced difficult situations in my life and it helps to deal with this.”[I have] experience and desire to change things and to continue to help the team.”
UEFA Champions League Stop the Neymar show! The spotlight is now on Mbappe Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 16:00 6/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images UEFA Champions League PSG v Metz PSG v Real Madrid Metz PSG Real Madrid Ligue 1 Neymar Kylian Mbappé Opinion The injury sustained by Neymar means all eyes will be on the young French superstar, who has been thrust again into the limelight ahead of schedule Paris Saint-Germain’s signing of Neymar last summer for €222 million gave cause for concern to the club’s Qatari higher-ups. Uefa, not long after the deal, announced an investigation into how PSG intended to meet break-even requirements as stipulated by Financial Fair play regulations.Spending so much money without the relevant revenue streams elsewhere to cover it is always going to bring a club onto the financial radar and it was reported — post Neymar — that PSG’s squad was to split in two; transferables and untransferables.Among those to ship out in order to balance the books were Lucas Moura and Blaise Matuidi. Also in the transferrable pile was Angel Di Maria until an intervention by coach Unai Emery offered the winger a stay of execution. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Now he will get his chance to play from the start in the Champions League for the first time this season against the team with whom he won the cup in 2014 – Real Madrid. His place in the team comes at the expense of Neymar, convalescing following his high-profile foot injury suffered against Olympique Marseille a couple of weekends ago.That injury, combined with first-leg defeat to Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, is reckoned to have brought a certain amount of doom and gloom around Parc des Princes. Overturning a two-goal deficit against Zinedine Zidane’s team – so at home in the Champions League despite their domestic troubles – is a tough ask under any circumstance. But doing so without the world’s most expensive player and flagship signing is another thing altogether.But PSG’s band of transferables and untransferables will now come together in an attempt to prove they are capable of achievement without the preening Brazilian in their ranks. It’s no secret that Neymar has been indulged by PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi since his arrival from Barcelona. He enjoys extended breaks between matches — one incident last month saw the 26-year-old given two days off for his lavish birthday party while his team-mates sweated it out in a Coupe de France game against Sochaux. Di Maria, for the record, got a hat-trick that night.Neymar put Edinson Cavani’s nose out of joint earlier in the season by demanding primacy for penalty kicks. Tensions have been smoothed over in that regard but Neymar upset local fans by denying the Uruguayan the chance to achieve PSG’s all-time goalscoring record from the spot in a laughably one-sided game against Dijon in January. For better or for worse, there is no chance of Neymar taking any spot-kick away from Cavani this week.PSG in ordinary circumstances could be reasonably assured of a positive outcome. They have not lost a match in Paris’s 16th arrondissement in about two years. They are defending a run of 19 consecutive wins at home and their Champions League form in their own surrounds is formidable.Their last four games — a run stretching back to last season’s last-16 first leg against Barcelona — have yielded 19 goals and four victories. Barca, and Bayern Munich for that matter, have been swept aside. Di Maria was the architect of that brilliant night against Barca, scoring twice, and will relish the chance to restore his reputation in the competition’s highest-profile fixture.Much too will depend on the man opposite him on the other flank. Kylian Mbappe, whose permanent signing from Monaco was deferred lest PSG suffer further at the hands of Uefa, is already earning a sterling reputation across the continent. Now touted as the world’s finest attacking prospect, Mbappe has wasted no time in demonstrating his potency on the biggest stage.The 19-year-old has scored 10 goals in 17 Champions League games — being the youngest man to reach that 10-goal landmark in the process. Neymar was signed for the here and now with Mbappe marked out for a starring role in the future but he has made a habit of overcoming obstacles ahead of schedule. Now he is carrying the big burden.If it were a race between them to see who might win the Ballon d’Or first, well, it could be seen as neck-and-neck. Not many prospects have ever begun their top-level careers with this kind of hype but the boy from Bondy is justifying it.Madrid missed out on both Neymar and Mbappe at various points along their development path with options ultimately sought by their fathers and advisers elsewhere. Neymar missed his chance two weeks ago to show what he could do but now the onus will fall on Mbappe.He, too, is not in the rudest of health. He missed the routine dismissal of Troyes in Ligue 1 as a few days before an ankle injury befell him. He asked Emery for a substitution at half-time after receiving a knock against Marseille – the very team against who Neymar suffered four days prior. That weekend rest should see him fit enough to start and to attempt to lead the comeback against the defending champions.Last year it was Di Maria shining in the home leg against Barcelona while Neymar was very much the protagonist in the second leg comeback. Now is the time for Mbappe to show that he too can be the leader, the talisman, the spark, and that nasty Uefa business can wait until the end of the season.
Borussia Dortmund 3 Eintracht Frankfurt 2: Substitute Batshuayi to the rescue in dramatic finale Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 03:02 12/3/2018 Bongarts Peter Stoger remains unbeaten as Borussia Dortmund coach in the Bundesliga after a stunning 3-2 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. Substitute Michy Batshuayi scored an injury-time winner as Borussia Dortmund edged fellow Champions League hopefuls Eintracht Frankfurt in a 3-2 thriller on Sunday.Eintracht twice came from behind to seemingly claim a point at Signal Iduna Park, but Batshuayi struck the second of a personal double in stoppage-time to break the visitors’ hearts.With Eintracht hoping for an offside flag that would not come, Batshuayi lashed home to end a four-game winless run in all competitions for Dortmund. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp The visitors had deserved a draw, Niko Kovac’s men – who started the day level on points with Dortmund – levelling twice thanks to goals from Luka Jovic and Danny Blum.But it was not to be as substitute Batshuayi sent Dortmund back up to third in the Bundesliga, boosting their Champions League qualification hopes.Dortmund suffered a shock home loss to RB Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday but bounced back in stunning fashion to extend Peter Stoger’s unbeaten league run to 11 league matches.AUS! AUS! AUS! WAS FÜR EIN FINALE! #BVBSGE 3-2 FT pic.twitter.com/SL6pIFKB0v— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) March 11, 2018Andre Schurrle somehow headed Christian Pulisic’s cross wide in the 10th minute as Dortmund dominated the opening exchanges.But they were soon in front regardless, Mahmoud Dahoud sending Pulisic clear down the right to get Dortmund round the back of Eintracht again.The teenage winger’s cross was low this time and defender Marco Russ was only able to turn the ball in for his fifth Bundesliga own goal, Marco Reus having been lurking for a back-post finish.Reus, who had scored Dortmund’s three previous Bundesliga goals and signed a long-term contract this week, was proving lively while Dahoud created an opening for himself with some clever play, only to fire at Lukas Hradecky.Kevin-Prince Boateng almost equalised with a superb piece of invention two minutes after the interval, flicking a backheel at goal after a corner from half-time substitute Jonathan de Guzman caused chaos, but Roman Burki got down sharply to save.Pulisic sent a curler wide in the 56th minute and Timothy Chandler and Boateng blazed over at the other end as both sides traded blows.Eintracht had lost on their last six visits to Dortmund but they continued to set the second-half pace, De Guzman sending an acrobatic strike sailing over the crossbar.And the visitors got the leveller their hard work deserved in the 75th minute, substitute Jovic heading home another dangerous De Guzman cross, with Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer culpable for losing his man.But Eintracht switched off, Pulisic and Batshuayi linking up to stunning effect and the on-loan striker smashing in to apparently settle the match.Dortmund had not counted on Eintracht’s resilience, though, and they levelled again in the first minute of added time, Blum tapping in at the back post from a Danny da Costa cross.The scoring was not over though, Batshuayi leaving his mark on a breathless contest by hammering in an unstoppable 94th-minute finish to claim all three points for his side.It’s not who i am underneath but what i do that defines me … #BATSMAN pic.twitter.com/HHtPqWwVho— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) March 11, 2018Key Opta stats:- Marco Russ scored the fifth own goal in his Bundesliga career – in Bundesliga history, only two players scored more: Nikolce Noveski and Manfred Kaltz (6 each).- Four of the five goals in this match were scored by substitutes – the most since Robert Lewandowski’s five goals as a substitute against Wolfsburg in September 2015.- Only Heiko Herrlich, Stephane Chapuisat and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (five each) needed fewer Bundesliga matches for Dortmund to score five goals than Michy Batshuayi (six). read more
Sevilla ‘Sevilla win overshadowed by Man Utd exit’ – Simeone praises La Liga rivals’ magnificent achievement Jamie Smith 00:46 15/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Sevilla Manchester United Manchester United v Sevilla UEFA Champions League Atlético Madrid v Lokomotiv Moskva Lokomotiv Moskva UEFA Europa League Atlético Madrid Sevilla have not been given enough credit for knocking Manchester United out of the Champions League at Old Trafford, says Diego Simeone. Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes Sevilla’s stunning Champions League win at Old Trafford has been overshadowed by Manchester United crashing out of the tournament.Vincenzo Montella’s decision to send on Wissam Ben Yedder proved a masterstroke as the striker scored twice in six minutes to set up a 2-1 aggregate win, Romelu Lukaku’s reply proving only a consolation.Much of the post-match reaction has been dominated by analysis of United’s limp performance, with the achievement of Sevilla – Europa League champions three years in a row between 2014 and 2016 – somewhat overlooked. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp And Simeone does not think it is fair for Sevilla’s triumph to be judged in the context of Jose Mourinho’s United side suffering a surprise Champions League exit in the round of 16.”It is concerning that the general consensus is that this was anything other than a magnificent achievement with a great deal of weight and importance,” Simeone said ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie with Lokomotiv Moscow.”Sevilla played with huge levels of motivation, discipline and enthusiasm and their approach put them in good stead and made this look like a straightforward achievement.”Atletico hold a 3-0 lead from the first leg of their last-16 clash with Lokomotiv but Simeone is not taking a place in the quarter-finals for granted.”For me, everything I play is important,” he said. “We use these games as a way of continuing to grow, as we have been doing for six years.”Don’t forget what made us strong, because I remember the old days in the Europa League when we had no sponsor on the shirt. Now, we cannot forget that if we want to keep growing.”We aren’t thinking about what can happen later, only about overcoming the tie tomorrow. The objective is always our work day to day.”You will fill that periodically with opinions and debates, but what concerns us is to progress past each stage. The reality is tomorrow’s game and it is the only one that counts.”
UEFA Champions League Barcelona vs Chelsea: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 00:20 15/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Shaun Botterill UEFA Champions League Barcelona v Chelsea Chelsea Barcelona The Blaugrana welcome the Premier League outfit to Catalunya as they each attempt to reach the last eight of the competition Barcelona welcome Chelsea to Camp Nou on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.The sides are locked level after the first leg at Stamford Bridge, which finished 1-1, and they will be doing their utmost to ensure their place in the quarter-finals.With home advantage and an away goal under their belts, Barca come into the game in a better position than the Blues, but Antonio Conte’s men will be undeterred. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp However, the Catalan giants also boast a vastly superior set of recent results, going unbeaten in the last 14 matches in all competitions, while Chelsea have lost two of their last five. Game Barcelona vs Chelsea Date Wednesday March 14 Time 19:45 GMT / 14:45 ET Stream (US only) fubo TV (7-day free trial) TV Channel & Live Stream In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial). New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream Fox Sports 1 fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on BT Sport 2 and it can be streamed live online using the BT Sport app. UK TV channel Online stream BT Sport 2 BT Sport app Squads & Team News Position Barcelona players Goalkeepers Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Ortola Defenders Semedo, Pique, Alba, Digne, Vidal, Umtiti, Mina, Vermaelen Midfielders Rakitic, Iniesta, Busquets, D. Suarez, Paulinho, Roberto, Gomes, Alena Forwards L. Suarez, Messi, Dembele, Alcacer, Arnaiz Messi returns to the squad having missed Barca’s last game for the birth of his third child, while Andres Iniesta took part in training on Monday and could be involved.Nelson Semedo remains sidelined with an injury, while Philippe Coutinho is cup-tied because of his previous involvement in this season’s competition with Liverpool.Potential Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Vidal, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Suarez, Dembele, Messi. Position Chelsea players Goalkeepers Caballero, Courtois, Eduardo Defenders Rudiger, Alonso, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Emerson, Sterling Midfielders Fabregas, Drinkwater, Kante, Barkley, Hazard, Pedro, Bakayoko, Moses, Willian, Scott Forwards Morata, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi Chelsea are likely to be without defender David Luiz, who is recovering from an ankle injury, while Ross Barkley remains sidelined with a hamstring issue.Potential Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Zappacosta; Kante, Fabregas, Hazard, Willian; Morata.Betting & Match Odds Barcelona are 8/15 favourites to win the match and 2/9 to qualify for the quarter-finals according to dabblebet, while Chelsea are priced at 5/1 to win the game and 3/1 to progress. A draw between the teams, which, depending on the score, could see either side qualify for the next round, is a 16/5 bet.Click here to see all of dabblebet’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.Match Preview When the sides met in the first leg back in February, Chelsea, and Willian in particular, looked to have the measure of Barcelona, but Messi responded to the Brazilian’s goal by breaking his Blues hoodoo to hand the Catalan giants the initiative heading into the second leg.Since then, Conte’s side have struggled, with defeats to Manchester United and Manchester City delivering a serious blow to their hopes of securing a top-four Premier League finish and thus, Champions League qualification for next season.They improved somewhat in their last outing against Crystal Palace to claim a 2-1 win, with Willian again demonstrating the type of quality they will be relying on if they are to upset the Blaugrana at Camp Nou on Wednesday.Given that Barca are in sensational form and the fact that they are at home, where they have not lost a game since their Supercopa defeat to Real Madrid last August, Conte is aware that Chelsea must be patient as they attempt to defy the odds.”We must be very good but when you play against this type of team, which I think is one of the best in the world, you must be prepared to suffer, in the same way we did in the first leg, where I think we were almost perfect,” the Blues boss said.However, with Messi scoring five goals in his last four appearances and eager to continue that form, they will have to be careful not to end up suffering too much.