South African agriculture ‘creating jobs again’

first_imgEconomic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said between 2009 and 2013 the government had supported 700 000 smallholder producers through various initiatives, including access to finance and mentoring.Between December 2009 and December 2013 a total of 1 740 555 hectares of land had been acquired and redistributed or restituted. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterSouth Africa’s agriculture sector created 65 000 new jobs between December 2009 and December 2013, reversing a trend of farming job losses in the country that stretched back to the 1970s, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Tuesday.Speaking at a post-State of the Nation Address media briefing in Cape Town, Patel said that the government had spent about R20-billion on land restitution and redistribution between 2009 and 2013, during which period a total of 1 740 555 hectares of land had been acquired and redistributed or restituted.To ensure sustainable production on productive land, he said, 700 000 smallholder producers had been supported through various initiatives, including access to finance and mentoring.Fetsa Tlala (end hunger) programmeRegarding the Fetsa Tlala programme, which was launched by President Jacob Zuma in October last year, Patel said that planting was taking place on 230 000 hectares of land in six provinces, with half of this land set aside for smallholders.“A total of 10 271 resource-poor, historically disadvantaged producers were supported to access water for agricultural purposes, and over 18 000 hectares were irrigated during this period. From 1 April 2009 until 31 December 2013, a total 2 400 000 hectares of land has been added to the area of land under rehabilitation and restoration.”According to the minister, a total of 3 486 000 hectares was cleared as part of follow-up treatment.“A further 33 341 smallholder producers were assisted to access markets, and 1 284 producer cooperatives and marketing depots were established in order to increase their competitiveness and take advantage of market opportunities.”Patel said an additional 22 cooperatives had been linked to the Department of Social Development’s Food for All programmes as the government moved to procure produce for its social programmes from the smallholders it was supporting.Primary animal healthcare“Furthermore, we have committed to extending the primary animal healthcare programme to smallholders in all provinces,” Patel said. “In the past year, 23 mobile animal clinics were procured and delivered to remote rural areas.”The scientific committee of the World Animal Health Organization has confirmed the restoration of South Africa’s foot and mouth disease (FMD) free status, enabling the country to negotiate with its trade partners to lift their ban on its red meat exports.Patel said the confirmation of South Africa’s restored FMD free-status was a positive step for trade and markets access for the industry.Work opportunities in rural areasRegarding work opportunities in rural areas, Patel said a total of 3 384 small rural enterprises had been established in different sectors between 2010 and 2013.“We were also able to link 170 196 poor and vulnerable South Africans, including recipients of social grants, to economic opportunities,” he said.In rural areas, a total of 3 422 110 work opportunities had created through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), including the Community Work Programme, since 2010.Most of these jobs were created under the infrastructure sector of the EPWP. An additional 798 586 full-time equivalent jobs had been created in different sectors from 2010 to date.Source: South African Government News AgencyWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

South Africa to widen measures against rhino poaching

first_img13 August 2014 South Africa will build on the robust measures already in place to curb rhino poaching in the country, says Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday on the outcomes of the 2013 rhino census, conducted in the Kruger National Park, Molewa said that South Africa would continue to push strategies to stabilise the rhino population. “During the latest survey in 2013, conducted by SANParks, the rhino population survey showed that between 8 400 and 9 600 white rhinos are presently living in the Kruger National Park,” the minister said. South African National Parks (SANParks) conducts periodic population surveys. As of 2012, South Africa’s rhino population was estimated at 21 000. South Africa is home to 82% of Africa’s rhinos in total, including 93% of the continent’s white rhinos and 39% of its black rhinos. Molewa said the government was aware that rhino poaching was a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit trade. This, she said, was the reason they would put more emphasis on an integrated strategic management approach in order to save rhinos from poachers. “[W]e will continue to strengthen holistic and integrated interventions and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species.” Molewa said that, while the rhino population in the Kruger National Park had stabilised, the translocation of 1 450 rhino from the park between 1997 and 2013 had contributed to the rhino population’s growth in the country. “Poaching, natural deaths and the translocation of rhino from the Kruger National park presently match that of rhino births.” At the same time, the minister said, South Africa would continue to work with other countries to curb poaching. She added that forensic technology, including DNA analysis, in the judicial process would be introduced to support the successful prosecution of wildlife criminals. National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, also addressing Tuesday’s briefing, warned that poachers were becoming more sophisticated in their methods. She said she had directed a team of detectives trained in wildlife crime investigations, forensics experts, the SA Police Service air wing, the flying squad and the dog unit to assist the SANParks board with current investigations on poaching. “This additional team will attend to all the outstanding and new crime scenes and continue to do proper crime scene investigation and management.” At the same time, Phiyega urged communities living around game reserves to continue playing their role in helping police arrest poachers. “It is our ultimate objective to establish a long-term solution to drastically reduce the incidents of rhino poaching,” she said. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

USDA will issue second MFP payments before Thanksgiving

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. The payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of MFP-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% they have already received from the 2019 MFP.“This second tranche of 2019 MFP payments, along with already provided disaster assistance, will give farmers, who have had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters, much needed funds in time for Thanksgiving,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump has shown time and again that he is fighting for America’s farmers and ranchers. While we continue to have confidence in the President’s negotiations with China, this money shows President Trump following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access.”MFP signup at local FSA offices will run through Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat. MFP assistance for these non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of these crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.Acreage of non-specialty crops and cover crops had to be planted by Aug. 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments. Per-acre non-specialty crop county payment rates, specialty crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates are all currently available on farmers.gov.This is the second of up to three tranches of MFP payments. The third tranche will be evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the third tranche will be made in January 2020. The first tranche was comprised of the higher of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in tranche three.MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017 of less than $900,000 unless at least 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s AGI is derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.Many producers were affected by natural disasters this spring, such as flooding, that kept them out of the field for extended periods of time. Producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment.In June, H.R. 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019, was signed into law by President Trump, requiring a change to the first round of MFP assistance provided in 2018. Producers previously deemed ineligible for MFP in 2018 because they had an average AGI level higher than $900,000 may now be eligible for 2018 MFP benefits. Those producers must be able to verify 75% or more of their average AGI was derived from farming and ranching to qualify. This supplemental MFP signup period will run parallel to the 2019 MFP signup, from July 29 through Dec. 6, 2019.For more information on the MFP, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact the local FSA office, which can be found at www.farmers.gov.last_img read more

CITO 2019 Season 1, Halftime Show

first_img <> <> <> CITO Netherlands GC80PJY CITO Belgium GC82BB8 CITO California GC8399B CITO Germany GC82ZWH CITO Netherlands GC82R1G CITO Sweden GC83JKV CITO Switzerland GC82J36 CITO Australia GC83CZE <> CITO Czechia GC83Z90 CITO Germany GC83C2X CITO Sweden GC84XFC CITO Slovenia GC83WXD CITO Germany GC82C8P CITO South Africa GC829RR CITO Virginia GC84AYC CITO Spain GC844P3 CITO Texas GC8354X CITO New Jersey GC83R86 CITO Scotland GC834DT CITO Germany GC82C8Q CITO South Korea GC84NR6 CITO B.C. Canada GC84CXR CITO California GC84M5W CITO France GC84FN5 CITO Poland GC84K3A CITO California GC8419H CITO New Mexico GC84CE0 CITO Pennsylvania GC83WJC There are two CITO seasons each year with two separate souvenirs to earn. To earn your souvenir(s), attend any CITO event during the following dates: CITO 2019, Season 1Friday, March 1 through Friday, May 31, 2019That includes all of March, April, and MayCITO 2019, Season 2Sunday, September 1 through Saturday, November 30, 2019That includes all of September, October, and NovemberBut, of course, you can attend or host many more throughout the year. Interested in hosting? Even better! Read the 6 steps to organize a CITO event and check out the CITO section in our Help Center for tons of good info.Cache In Trash Out® (CITO) is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community. Since 2002, CITO has helped preserve the natural beauty of cache-friendly spaces. In that time, more than 363,000 people have volunteered at over 18,000 events.Share with your Friends:Morecenter_img Gorgeous garbage Working together CITO 2019 Season 1All good cachers go geocaching, what do great cachers do?CachersImproveTheOutdoors!The current count for Cache In Trash Out® 2019 Season 1 events is around 1,350. That’s a 24% increase over last year, and we’re only half of the way through the season. Woohoo! Additionally, the hashtag #trashtag has been trending on social media, piling onto the Earth-lovin’ frenzy. Double Woohoo!Check out some inspiring CITO 2019 events from around the world: CITO group photos Found it! CITO Florida GC82KT8 CITO Florida GC82KT8 CITO UK GC830Y7 CITO UK GC822BG CITO France GC830WY CITO Poland GC83M9C CITO Washington GC829P6 CITO UK GC82KFE SharePrint RelatedCache In Trash Out® (CITO) announcement for 2019January 7, 2019In “Environmental Initiatives”CITO 2019 Season 1 RecapJune 11, 2019In “Community”Confirmed Geocaching souvenir moments for 2019January 9, 2019In “Community”last_img read more

Indians paddlers gear up for individual events

first_imgWith the gold medal eluding them in the team event, Indian paddlers, led by defending champion Achanta Sharath Kamal, will be eyeing to better their performance in the individual competitions of the Commonwealth Games which begins on Monday.The Indian men’s team had to be content with a bronze, while their women counterparts, who went down to Singapore in the final, could lay hands on the silver medal in the team events of table tennis.Indian paddlers will be led by Achanta Sharath Kamal.By his own standards Sharath himself would be a disappointed man as the world ranked 40th paddler failed to earn the golden glory for the country in the team event, and this time he would be desperate to fetch defends his singles title at the table tennis venue inside the Yamuna Sports Complex.Although Sharath has already exuded confidence about retaining the crown, his biggest hurdle would be world number 17, Gao Ning of Singapore, who has beaten the Indian a number of times and did not participate in the Melbourne Games four years ago.”We expect some good performance from Sharath. A lot of things depends on him. I hope we will see some upsets in the men’s section by other players also,” India coach Bhawani Mukherjee told PTI.All the five Indian men have got direct entry to the main draw of the Delhi Games.A Amalraj and Bengal paddler Soumyadeep Roy are in good touch, while former national champion Subhajit Saha has also recovered from an injury to secure a berth in the Games squad and their contribution is going to play a crucial role if the hosts were to improve upon their three medals in Melbourne Games.advertisement”Now the singles and doubles events are coming. That will be totally a different game and we are eyeing to produce some good performance there,” Amalraj said.Women’s silver medal-winning performance in the team has fuelled people’s expectation but with a number of Singaporean paddlers in the main draw, it seems unlikely that Indian eves will go far in the individual category.Kumaresan Shamini and reigning national champion Poulomi Ghatak have performed well in the team event but they now have to think differently for the singles as well as doubles events.”There are five Singapore players and if we have to play them in the first round, it would be difficult for us. A lot depends on the draw,” Mukherjee said.Mouma Das and Madhurika Patkar have directly entered the main draw while the rest — Poulomi, Shamini and Mamta Prabhu — had to get their tickets through qualifying rounds.In the mixed doubles, Poulomi will share the table with fiance Soumyadeep Roy, and the duo will leave no stone unturned in their quest to make the Delhi Games memorable by laying their hands on the yellow metal together.”I am playing mixed doubles with my would be husband and if we can win medal here in front of the home crowd it would be a memorable achievement,” Poulomi said.”He (Soumyadeep) is my mentor. He tells me what to do and what is the right way to practice. I also listen to him,” she added.last_img read more

Krushnaa Patil is the first Indian woman to climb Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica

first_imgKrushnaa PatilKrushnaa Patil, 21, MountaineerShe’s all of 21 and already has several firsts to her credit. At 19, Krushnaa Patil became the first mountaineer from Maharashtra to reach the summit of Mount Everest and in the next two years scaled six of the world’s highest peaks, one in every continent.,Krushnaa PatilKrushnaa Patil, 21, MountaineerShe’s all of 21 and already has several firsts to her credit. At 19, Krushnaa Patil became the first mountaineer from Maharashtra to reach the summit of Mount Everest and in the next two years scaled six of the world’s highest peaks, one in every continent. She went on to become the first Indian woman to climb Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica.The Journey: Professional mountaineering happened by chance to the girl from Pune when she took a summer course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi after Class XII in 2007. Atop Mount Satopanth in Uttarakhand during her pre-Everest expedition, Patil was hooked.The challenge: She couldn’t find a sponsor for her Everest adventure, so she took a bank loan of Rs 30 lakh. “Sponsors don’t find it lucrative to put their money into mountaineering. It’s not a very popular sport,” says Patil.The future: She is setting up an adventure company.Second Opinion”Achievements at such a young age are noteworthy and we need such young girls in adventure sports.”Reena Dharmashaktu, first Indian woman to ski to south polelast_img read more

How to Attract More Clicks to Your Blog Posts: 11 Revealing Title Tests

first_imgEvery marketer in their right mind knows that in order to drive more traffic to your blog, you need to come up with blog post titles that are actually enticing. But that’s easier said than done. If only we had some data to show us how to scientifically create blog post titles that will attract more clicks …Well luckily, I’m about to share with you that exact data. I recently wrote a post on how to use content discovery platforms to amplify your reach, in which I share tips on using these platforms to share your blog content on other relevant sites across the web. Having experimented with this over the past several months, I’ve been able to collect data on the clickthrough rates of different title variations for the same blog posts. (What a great way to do A/B testing on your blog post titles!)So, let’s dive into the insights from this data, and see how you can use it to construct your most clickable blog post titles yet.Which Blog Post Title Won?1) Question vs. No QuestionVariation A: What Does Google’s Hummingbird Update Mean For E-Commerce Business?Variation B: What the New Hummingbird SEO Algorithm Means for Your Ecommerce BusinessThe Winner: Variation A (.07% vs. .01% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Frame your blog post title as a question to make it more intriguing.2) Broader vs. More Specific TopicVariation A: A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling ContentVariation B: A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Writing Amazing Blog PostsThe Winner: Variation A (.09% vs. .07% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Use broader topic descriptions to position your blog post as relevant to a wider audience.3) Common vs. Unique AdjectivesVariation A: 8 Excellent Reasons to Redesign Your WebsiteVariation B: 8 Tell-Tale Signs Your Website May Need a RedesignThe Winner: Variation B (.05% vs. .04% CTR, trend)Takeaway: Use adjectives that aren’t used as frequently in other blog posts to make your title stand out more.4) “You”-focused vs. “Me”-focused LanguageVariation A: 10 Things Marketers Need to Know About Inbound Marketing in EuropeVariation B: 10 Inbound Marketing Techniques that Make Us Sit Up and Take Note The Winner: Variation A (.06% vs. .02% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Craft your title language to be about the reader and what is interesting to them, not you.5) Asking a Question vs. Offering Exclusive InfoVariation A: What’s Next for Content Marketing Trends in Europe?Variation B: Survey of Europe’s Content Marketers Reveals Surprising Trends for 2014 The Winner: Variation B (.18% vs. .10% CTR, trend)Takeaway: Hint at the chance to access new and/or exclusive information, using words like “surprising” and “reveal” to position your content as exciting and unique.6) Stating Your Offer at the Beginning vs. at the EndVariation A: 5 Infographics to Teach You How to Easily Create Infographics in PowerPoint Variation B: Easy Ways to Create Killer PowerPoint Infographics (Free Templates) The Winner: Variation A (.09% vs. .07% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: If your blog post is meant to highlight a specific piece of content, make it clear what that content is up front, rather than putting it toward the middle or end of your post title.7) Number vs. No NumberVariation A: The Simple Template for a Thorough Content Style GuideVariation B: 7 Steps to Creating a Thorough Style GuideThe Winner: Variation B (.02% vs. .00% CTR, trend)Takeaway: Begin your blog post title with a number to help make the post’s content more actionable and its length clear to the reader. This will also reassure your readers that they can scan through your list post quickly if needed.8) Common vs. Unique Descriptions of Your ContentVariation A: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Compelling Blog PostVariation B: A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling ContentThe Winner: Variation B (.09% vs. .01% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Position your blog post as having a unique content format — there are “guides” and “checklists” all over the internet, but how many “fool-proof formulas” have you encountered?9) Fun vs. Serious ToneVariation A: 160 MORE Free Stock Photos You Seriously Need to Download NowVariation B: 75 Free Stock Photos for You to Use (and Tips for Customizing Them in PowerPoint)The Winner: Variation A (.11% vs. .05% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Your post titles will be more enticing with a fun, light tone than a bland, serious one.10) Emphasizing Content vs. Value PropositionVariation A: 55 Free, Downloadable Templates for Visual Content CreationVariation B: 55 Free Templates to Make Visual Content Creation Quick & PainlessThe Winner: Variation A (.13% vs. .05% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Sometimes including more words in your post title to enhance your value proposition can actually distract your readers from what it is you’re offering them. When in doubt, keep it simple.11) Clear vs. Vague TopicVariation A: Why Purchasing Email Lists Is Always a Bad IdeaVariation B: What’s the Quickest Way to Destroy Your Credibility as a Marketer? The Winner: Variation A (.03% vs. .01% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: While using a broad title can attract a larger audience, going too broad can have the opposite effect by being too vague and not piquing interest. Make it clear enough what your post is about that your readers know what they’re getting.I hope that seeing some of this data will not only inspire you to find unique ways to position your blog post titles to make them more clickable, but that it will also encourage you to try out different types of titles on your own blog to see what works best for your readers. Keep that creativity flowing!What types of blog post titles have worked well for you? Have you found any trends or patterns? Let me know in the comments! Originally published Apr 8, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How to Write a Blog Post Topics:last_img read more

The Anatomy of a Highly Shareable Infographic

first_img Infographics Originally published May 12, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 The hard truth about creating content online is the amount of time you put into it isn’t always proportional to what you get out of it. We all hope that everything we do is a grand slam resulting in traffic, leads, and reporters clamoring to talk to you. But that’s not always what happens.And while you can brush that off when you didn’t invest too much time in the content, when it’s something more resource-intensive — like an infographic — it stings a bit more.Luckily, there are few things we can do to infographics to hedge our bets a bit. So, we put together the following infographic on making highly shareable infographics — helping you rake in more views and conversion opportunities. Follow these tips, and your infographic will be much more likely to get shared. Editor’s note: We’ve included a few Easter eggs in the infographic to make it extra shareable. See if you can find them!Save 编辑触摸共享全屏此交互式图像使用ThingLink创建。在thinglink.com上查看此图像。接触图片分享图像…全屏Save Didn’t find the Easter eggs? Hover your mouse over the infographic to see them pop up. (My favorite’s in the top left corner!) We’re using a platform called Thinglink to add relevant context to the information in the infographic — and make it easy for you all to share the post. If you’re looking to maximize your shareability, you might want to try it out for yourself. Do you create infographics? What other tips do you have for making them shareable? Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Running an Email A/B Test? How to Determine Your Sample Size & Testing Time Frame

first_img4) 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 SlackSlackcenter_img 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: 5last_img read more

We Documented Our Agency’s Mistakes Every Week for a Year. Here’s What We Learned.

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 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 2017last_img read more