Toy story

first_imgScientists have long studied how atoms and molecules structure themselves into intricate clusters. Unlocking the design secrets of nature offers lessons in engineering artificial systems that could self-assemble into desired forms.In the Jan. 29 edition of Science, a team from Harvard led by Vinothan Manoharan and Michael Brenner presents additional clues to how and why groups of atoms and molecules may favor less symmetrical and more complex, flexible geometric patterns.Click here to view a video of a six-particle cluster transitioning from an octahedral to a polytetrahedral configuration.The answer relates to a familiar concept in physics called entropy, the ways in which particles are able to arrange themselves. The researchers first caught sight of the link by using magnetic  “stick and ball” construction toys that can make varying shapes.Manoharan, associate professor of chemical engineering and physics in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Physics, and his colleagues used colloidal particles, a suspended chemical mixture seen in semi-solid foods such as mayonnaise, to simulate the clustering behavior of atoms and molecules.“To allow clusters to form, we put a few tiny polystyrene spheres in microscopic cylindrical wells filled with water. The particles act as  ’sticky’ hard spheres and naturally cluster together just like groups of nearby interacting atoms and molecules do,” said Manoharan.The researchers expected that simple, highly symmetric shapes would arise most often. Instead, two surprising, related, and scalable phenomena arose when the number of particles used in their experiments reached six or rose above nine.Six particles can form into a symmetrical octahedron and into a more complex tri-tetrahedron shape. In terms of chemical structure, each shape results in 12 bonds, and hence, has the same amount of potential energy. With the potential energy being equal, Manoharan and colleagues thought that both shapes would occur in equal proportion. They found, however, that the tri-tetrahedron occurs 20 times more often than the octahedron.“The only possible explanation was entropy,” said Manoharan. “Most people are familiar with entropy as a measure of  ‘disorder,’ but the most useful definition of entropy is simply the number of differentways a bunch of particles can arrange themselves.”Natalie Arkus, a former applied mathematics graduate student who worked with Brenner, the Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics, provided a hint to solving the puzzle, as she discovered a method to calculate all the possible structures that could be formed using geometric magnetic toys made up of magnetic metal rods and silver ball bearings.Since there are more ways for the complicated tri-tetrahedron structure to form (something that can be seen by labeling the toy spheres and counting the ways they can be put together), the shape appears far more frequently than the octahedron. In general, among clusters with the same potential energy, highly symmetric structures are less likely to arise.The researchers also found that when the number of particles reaches nine or higher, entropy plays another important role.Because the number of possible structures with nine or more particles is vast, the team focused on what are called nonrigid, or flexible, structures. Nonrigidity occurs when a cluster is half octahedral and shares at least one vertex, allowing the cluster to twist without  breaking or forming another bond (something also easily seen by using the toys).“Because they can move flexibly, the nonrigid clusters have high vibrational entropy,” explained Manoharan. “In cases with nine or more particles, symmetric clusters do not appear as often due to rotational entropy. The ability to rotate is useful, as it allows clusters to have extra bonds.”As a general rule, the team found that for all clusters up to eight particles and a select number of structures with up to 12, the most symmetric structures occurred the least often due to entropy.“Our findings illustrate, in a tangible way, what the concept of entropy means,” said Manohran.Looking ahead, the researchers are interested in using their results to understand the emergence of bulk crystallization, or how particles come together in the early stages of forming a crystal.Manoharan and Brenner’s co-authors included Guangnan Meng, a research associate in the Department of Physics at Harvard University, and Natalie Arkus, a graduate of SEAS and now a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University. The authors acknowledge support from theNational Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.last_img read more

Lagos Country Club’s Tennis Festival Begins

first_img“Presently, we have the highest number of talents in the 12&under category in Nigeria. Some of these junior players went for international tournaments ahead of this event and we are expecting an exciting and competitive tournament.“At the senior level, interestingly, a few players have graduated from Group B and are looking forward to cause upsets in the Group A which is the elite class. The determination to excel can be seen in members that have steadied their training in recent weeks all because of the tournament,” statedAluko disclosed that the club intend to use the tournament to discover and nurtured more junior players for Nigeria.Matt Holmes defeated Kola Sofola to win the top prize last year.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The 2017 Lagos Country Club Tennis Festival has served off with over 100 participants vying for honours at the event which will end on September 16.According to section captain, Segun Aluko, the all-clay tournament which is partnered by 9Mobile, will see members feature in Men’s Singles A and B, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Veterans’ Doubles. The junior players are not left out as they will go through four days of clinic before the tussle for supremacy.last_img read more

House Committee Summons NFF to Defend Brazil 2014 Budget

first_imgThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been summoned for a compulsory appearance before the House of Representatives Sports Committee to defend its expenditure for 2014.The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Godfrey Gaiya, said at the weekend that the sitting is billed for March 10 and will feature NFF, the National Sports Commission (NSC) and its parastatals.Gaiya said the session will provide an opportunity for the members to deliberate on sports appropriation bills for 2014 since they been pre-occupied with over-sighting other agencies since the close of plenary by the House.The touch points will be the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland which are activities of national interest.NFF has proposed a budget of N1.6 billion to prosecute its entire programme, while the NSC will appropriate N5.6 billion. NFF appropriated over N1.7 billion last year.Gaiya further hinted  that the session might even consider reviewing the envelop to be handed to both NFF and NSC given that what is approved this year is far lesser than what appropriated last year when there was neither a World Cup nor Commonwealth Games.“We have the Commonwealth, World Cup and other sporting activities that require much money, yet the allocation is very low relative to last year. We can’t understand why there is a slash in the allocation in a very loaded year for sports competitions. We will passionately look at the envelope and see the possibility of tampering with it if need be,’ Gaiya said.last_img read more

5 Steps to a Successful Email Lead Nurturing Campaign

first_img Read more about how to set yourself up for smarketing success here. Deliver Results with Automated Email Lead Nurturing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack When prospects first come to your site, they’re researching information and aren’t ready to have a sales conversation. You need to create content that attracts them to your website and provides educational thought leadership content. Then as they continue to do their research and are ready to learn about your product, you want to have content that connects their problems to the solutions you offer. You need this combination of content to match leads at every stage of the sales and marketing funnel. Flickr photo by If you’re generating great leads but your sales team isn’t following up, your effort is wasted. Make sure you’re set up for success by working with the sales team effectively. Step 3: Map Content to Every Stage of the Sales Funnel Do not skimp on this step. It will direct your entire campaign – audience, content, and success metrics. Are you trying to reawaken cold leads? Increase lead quality? Generate new leads? View the Full Presentation with Example Campaigns Well, not a PhD or special expertise. Here are Step 2: Select a Persona and Business Problem judepics Step 4: Set Yourself for Smarketing Success 5 steps to creating a successful email lead nurturing campaign. Who are you trying to reach? What problem are you helping them solve? This is key for helping you create the content for your lead nurturing campaign. Your persona should be a pretty vivid picture of who you’re ideally trying to reach. Go as far as giving them a name, a job, responsibilities, hobbies.last_img read more

A Simple PowerPoint Ebook Template for Mere Marketing Mortals

first_img Originally published Jul 26, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 We talk a lot about the importance of creating lead generation content, and we often cite ebooks as one of those awesome lead generators. In fact, we invest a lot of manpower into our own ebooks — we’ve hired someone whose entire job is to write ebook content, and lay them out beautifully in InDesign. Thing is … we didn’t always have the resources to do that, and most of the marketers we talk to don’t have those resources, either. So we decided to figure out a way to do it in PowerPoint, and then created a plug-and-play PowerPoint ebook template so you can easily create a beautiful and effective ebook, too!This blog post is going to walk you through exactly how to use the template to create an amazing ebook. You’re going to be shocked at how simple this is, and how flipping fantastic it looks when you’re done! To follow along with the steps in this post, download the ebook template now and save it to your computer. It might be helpful to bookmark this post so you can reference the instructions in the future, too, but the template also contains helpful tips throughout to walk you through how to use it.Ready to get started? Let’s create a beautiful ebook together and generate you tons of leads!Step 1: Get Set UpYou shouldn’t just dive right into your ebook content. Ebooks are long-form content, and as such, it makes sense to treat it kind of like, well, a book. The first few pages should briefly explain what the ebook is about, who wrote it, and the content the reader will find contained therein. This will help them not only get oriented, but also allow them to scroll through to only the sections that interest them — if that’s their preference. Let’s walk through those first three pages now.The first page of your ebook is your cover. Keep it simple, including a descriptive title, your company logo, and a relevant cover image that reflects the content contained in the ebook. It’s important to keep your ebook branded so that when it’s shared, those new readers know who the original author is.The second page of your ebook is the author page, where you’ll include the author name, a little bio that explains who they are (and why they’re qualified to write this ebook), and a head shot. You can even include their social media information to help them gain a little personal clout for their contribution!Finally, fill in your table of contents with the chapter titles and page numbers on which those chapters begin so readers can skip ahead of they’d like. Which brings us to our next step in creating a fantastic ebook …Step 2: Create Chapter Title PagesWe just created your table of contents; those page numbers need chapter title pages to align with! Creating a title page for each chapter helps to separate your topics and help your readers more easily navigate your ebook. Take a look:Your chapter number and title should be big and bold, and the page itself should remain uncluttered so it’s easy for readers to identify the beginning of a new chapter when quickly scrolling through the ebook. You can place a visual on that page, though, that illustrates the concepts in that chapter to kick things off. The first chapter title page will occur immediately after the table of contents, and is also the first page in your ebook that you’ll include page numbers on. We’ve put ours in the bottom, left corner of each page.Step 3: Make Your Content Look BeautifulFrom here on out, it’s easy to just input your content into PowerPoint, but that doesn’t make for a very nice reader experience. You want your content to be reader-friendly, which means putting on your designer hat. Luckily, you don’t have to actually be a designer (I’m certainly not one, and I can use this bad boy) to make your PowerPoint ebook look amazing with this template. Let’s walk through some of the formatting devices and design elements you should implement to turn a boring chunk of copy into words that dance across the page.First, make sure you’re using the same 3-5 colors throughout the ebook. Take a look below, for example … there’s just blue, gray, and black on a white background. And that color scheme is maintained throughout the entire ebook.You should also take care not to use too many fonts in your ebook. Let the reader’s eye get used to two — maybe three — fonts that you use throughout the ebook for a pleasant experience.Consistency also comes with maintaining the same general format from page to page. That doesn’t mean you can’t include interesting design elements (more on that next) and move around your page elements; it just means the basic framework of each page should remain the same like you see in the image below.If you downloaded the PowerPoint template, you’ll notice that we’ve included a spot on every slide for you to put your ebook’s title, just like when you read a real book! Similarly, each page contains social sharing links so your ebook can get in front of more eyes on social media. To set up the links for those social sharing buttons, click here for a simple step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.Now that you have a consistent framework around which to work, you can start to input your content. But don’t just plop words on a page! Think of ways to draw the reader’s eye with visual call-outs, like we did on this sample page:Notice how we used a bright set of quotation marks that are exaggerated in size to indicate that we’re quoting someone? If you have a notable quotation in your ebook, use this to grab the reader’s attention on that page. You can do the same thing with fascinating data points, too — bite size chunks of information like the one you see above can grip your reader, and encourage them to read the rest of the content on the page that’s typed out in a simple text box. If you don’t have data points or quotations to pull out of the text on a page, you can also include a relevant image to make the page more visually interesting. Whatever you do, just ensure you don’t have too much text on one page, or you risk overwhelming readers and losing their attention.To make that text even easier to read, we recommend you use formatting devices found in any WYSIWYG editor, like bold text, italics, bullets, and check marks. You can also call out important keywords in a bright color if it helps convey the meaning of the page, like you see in our sample below. Topics: 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 Presentations Step 4: Optimize Your Ebook for Lead GenerationFinally, make sure you’re incorporating calls-to-action throughout the entire ebook. These will take a few forms, all of which you see here:First, go back through your copy and see if there are any opportunities to link text to a landing page. You know, your basic hyperlink. Then take it up a notch and incorporate visual CTAs on relevant pages. You shouldn’t do this on every page, but finding a few opportunities throughout the ebook will help you capture conversions for those who don’t read all the way to the end — because at the end, you’ll have a dedicated CTA page like the one outlined in blue above! That page should include a bold, actionable headline, visual CTA, and a short description of the offer. That’s right, you’re including an offer in your offer. How meta — and smart!When including these links, be sure you’re including tracking tokens so you know how many leads you’re getting from your ebook offer. If you need help creating tracking tokens, visit this blog post on the subject.Step 5: Convert Your Ebook Into a PDFYou could keep your ebook in a PowerPoint format, but that’s not really putting your best foot forward since it requires the reader to essentially launch a slide show on their computer. Instead, you could easily convert it into a PDF by simply clicking ‘Save As’ and selecting ‘PDF’ in the ‘Save as Type’ dropdown menu. Before you upload your new ebook offer to your thank-you page, be sure the file name is something logical, like “10 Ways to Braid Your Unicorn’s Tail,” as opposed to “unicorn_ebook_groomin_v4.” Once that’s done, well, congratulations! You just created a spectacular ebook!How do you create your ebooks so they’re reader-friendly and visually appealing? Share your ebook tips in the comments!last_img read more

Is Outsourcing Your Marketing a Good Idea? [FLOWCHART]

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 Originally published Aug 1, 2012 1:55:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Marketing is … well … it’s a lot of work. And if you’re a small business owner with no marketing team, finding the time to do everything you should be doing to market your business can definitely be a challenge. Social media? Content creation? Landing pages? SEO? Email? All those channels — while extremely beneficial to your marketing — can add up to a whole lotta work. That’s why it’s no wonder that 53% of surveyed marketing executives plan to outsource their marketing, according to the Harvard Business Review.But sometimes it’s really hard to know when it makes sense to outsource your marketing functions to an agency or contractor, and when to hire a dedicated team to do it for you in-house. Luckily, the folks over at Mavenlink have created a helpful flowchart to help you weigh the options and factor in your business’ specific variables such as size, cost, skills, and industry knowledge. Follow along for their recommendations, and if you find you could use some help from an outside team, feel free to mosey on over to HubSpot’s Services Marketplace, where you can find HubSpot-certified providers that can help you implement an effective inbound marketing strategy for your business — or even just help you out with a specific marketing channel.(Click the flowchart to enlarge.) Inbound Marketingcenter_img Topics: Do you have a dedicated, internal team of marketing rock stars, or do you rely on an expert agency for your marketing programs? Perhaps it’s a combo of the two?last_img read more

How to Showcase Your Work Using LinkedIn’s ‘Professional Portfolio’ Feature [Quick Tip]

first_img Topics: We’ve all heard the expression, “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”This idiom means a lot, particularly when it comes to proving your worth in the job market. Interviewers are constantly brainstorming new and unique questions for evaluating a candidate’s true potential, and while LinkedIn was once a great place for discovering such value, it quickly became another place where folks talked the talk … but didn’t necessarily walk the walk.The LinkedIn Professional PortfolioBut all of that is behind them now. With LinkedIn’s fairly new professional portfolio feature, launched back in May, LinkedIn users can now easily display their professional work via their personal profiles. This means you now have ability to showcase your presentations, ebooks, blog posts, videos, portfolios (or any work really) right on your profile. The idea is to give users the opportunity to display their work rather than just talk about it. Here’s an example from HubSpotter Rachel Sprung’s profile. As you can see, Rachel is able to actually show off the work she alludes to in the description of her current position. How to Begin Showcasing Your Value on LinkedInSo how can you start taking advantage of this awesome feature?To start, head over to your LinkedIn profile, and next to any module or position on your personal profile you’ll see a small square image with a plus sign on it. Click this to either upload a file or add a link to your work.If you don’t see this option on your profile, head here and click the blue “display your work” button.For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to add a link to my work under my current LinkedIn position at HubSpot. As shown in the below graphic, you’ll be asked to enter a URL and provide a description for that link. LinkedIn will automatically pull in an image for the work. In this case, it’s pulling an image from my most recent blog post.Voila! This link is now proudly showcased on my profile, right under recommendations. Now when someone comes to my profile, they can read what I have to offer … or see what I have to offer.TIP: Use the “Title” space to describe the work you’re placing on your profile, rather than using the generic title of the website link that LinkedIn populates. Examine the difference between the two below:Why You Should Take Advantage of LinkedIn’s New Portfolio FeatureNow that you know how to easily add your work to your LinkedIn profile, let’s talk about why it’s pretty sweet.Take Advantage of the Visual Content RevolutionLet’s start with the obvious. Social networks are getting increasingly more visual. With Facebook acquiring Instagram, LinkedIn acquiring SlideShare, and Twitter launching Vine, it’s clear that social thrives on visual content. With the introduction of this new feature, individuals can now easily share their work with the world. And this isn’t just limited to creative types; the option to share a link (as we saw above) opens a whole new array of opportunities for marketers and content creators to showcase their work and promote their business’ content. Marketers, designers, writers, architects, artists, and the like can now make better use of LinkedIn to showcase their core work and stand out from other job seekers. It can also benefit recruiters who are seeking top notch talent.Give Your SlideShare Content Greater ReachSlideShare has quickly become an effective channel for promoting visual content, and marketers are finding various ways to capitalize on popularity of the site. Considering LinkedIn’s acquisition of SlideShare, it only makes sense that the professional network would seek to integrate visual presentations more seamlessly with its core site, and now users have the ability to prominently display those SlideShare presentations on their LinkedIn Profiles (as Rachel did in our first example). Take advantage of it! What other benefits do you think LinkedIn’s portfolios feature has for users? Originally published Jul 18, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 LinkedIn Marketing 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

8 Mobile Apps You’ll Wish You Downloaded Yesterday

first_img Originally published Jan 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 Mobile Apps Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack You know that panicked feeling you get when your mobile device isn’t immediately nearby? Yeah, this post isn’t going to help that at all.It will, however, give you a handful of useful business apps to further extend that digital Swiss Army knife of yours.Some of these mobile apps are old favorites, and some are more new. All of them were built to make your work schedule easier and your end-goals more attainable.So … let’s get started, shall we? Here are eight notable apps to help your day and business run better. 1) HubSpot’s Free Sales ToolsLet’s start this list off with a brand new mobile app. The HubSpot Sales app notifies you when a contact has opened an email you’ve sent their way.From the Reviews”I’ve been a desktop user for awhile, and was pleased to see it translate to neatly to mobile. It’s really well designed, minimal fuss interface that does exactly what it sets out to do – show you who’s read your emails. syncs seamlessly with Gmail and apple mail accounts. You don’t even know it’s there until you need it”– santafescribe, iPhone, 12/2013iPhone: 5 stars with 5 reviews2) LinkedInLikely on many of your mobile devices already, the LinkedIn app is well-regarded for a reason. The app was redesigned in spring 2013 to be cleaner and simpler and make it easier to find what you need.The app seems built for people who consume information on the run. It enables you to quickly scroll a newsfeed of updates without ever being too far from main functionality like updating your profile, saving job listings, and seeing who has viewed your page. From the Reviews”Great mobile version of the site. Well implemented mobile version of the web site. Helps you keep up with your business network contacts while on the go.”– William Buckner, Android, 1/2014Lower-scoring reviews mentioned privacy concerns, functionality missing from desktop version, and bugs.Android: 4 stars with 168K reviews | iPhone: 4 stars with 145 reviewsRelated: Twitter and Facebook Apps for iPhone and Android. Twitter was made for mobile devices — after 140 characters, your thumbs start to wear out (unless you’re a teenager, in which case you can mostly likely write SMS novels by now). Neither Facebook nor Twitter have reviews as strong as LinkedIn for their latest versions, but new versions come out all the time with improvements. 3) TempoAs it turns out, meetings come with a lot of baggage. More often than not, there are related emails and documents to reference, directions and names to remember, and even access codes to log in. Calling itself a “smart calendar,” Tempo aims to organize all of that for you.It goes a step beyond your standard mobile calendar to incorporate webinar dial-ins, your email inbox, LinkedIn contacts, and GPS directions. The goal is to pull in all the information you need into one screen that you can quickly access in the hallway with one hand on your phone and the other on that triple grande latte you love so much.  From the Reviews”Intuitive setup, attractive design, feature-rich, but not bloated with useless add-ons. Well-done app that will be a great complement to the standard calendar.”– Our Lady of Guadalupe. 5 stars, 11/2013Lower-scoring reviews mentioned syncing bugs and additional functionality requests. iPhone: 4.5 stars with 1900+ reviews4), GoToMeeting, and WebExThere was a time before webinars … I think. It’s tough to recall now — the memory grows foggier every day. By now, most B2B companies have started to use some form of remote meeting software, whether for webinars, sales demos, or standard run-of-the-mill meetings. Dialing into one of these meeting using your smartphone alone can be a bit of a pain. That’s why the mobile apps from, GoToMeeting, WebEx, and others are pretty critical.What you use will depend on the software your company has gone with. If you don’t currently use remote-meeting software, is a good (and low-cost) start. From the Reviews”I found this app to work well right out of the box. Responsive, steady, affordable.”– BronxToBam on Join me, 4 stars, 11/2013Lower-scoring reviews for both apps focused on feature requests and some audio issues. GoToMeeting: Android | iOS/ Android | iOS /iPhoneWebEx: Android | iOS/iPhone5) HubSpotIt’s no wonder that we love our own apps for B2B marketing, but since so many of our readers are inbound marketers and HubSpot customers, this app was well worth the list.The HubSpot App first launched in 2012, with on-the-go analytics and a built-in Marketing Grader. The capability of this app has vastly expanded since then.Today, customers using HubSpot’s Mobile App carry with them:Marketing GraderUp-to-date marketing analyticsYour contacts database and lists of leadsSocial media publishing and analyticsSocial media monitoring (iPhone only)Email analytics (iPhone only)Android dashboard widget (Android Only)If you’re not a HubSpot user, you can still download the app for the free Marketing Grader tool.From the Reviews”I’m a marketing Junkie. I can’t stand to be without my info. This app lets me check my new leads, my visitor and contact progress, and handle my social media all in one spot. Love that it keeps updating based on our input.”– Julie Montgomery, iPhone, 10/2013Lower-scoring reviews mentioned crashes on Android devices and requests for more of HubSpot features within it (we’re working on it!) Android: 4 stars with 42 reviews | iPhone: 4.5 Stars with 149 reviews6) TripItIf you’ve perfected the art of pulling your laptop out of your briefcase and taking off your shoes in one swift movement, this app is for you.Designed for business travelers, TripIt gleans any travel information (flight confirmations, rental car receipts, hotel details etc.) from the tangled wasteland of your email inbox and presents it in a neat and orderly calendar view. Now all you have to worry about is whether your flight will have Wi-Fi. From the Reviews”Wonderful tool!!!! It collects itinerary info for any travel info that comes to the email account, including friends and family. No more searching emails for arrival times and flight numbers when picking up at the airport. Very slick!”– 1Wheeler2, 4 stars 12/2013Lower-scoring reviews mentioned some bugginess.Android: 4.25 stars 25K+ reviews | iOS/iPhone: 4 stars 24K+ ratings7) ExpensifyRated as the “Best Business Travel App” by Business Insider, Expensify aims to make capturing receipts and tracking mileage and other expenses for business much easier.Use your phone to take a picture of your receipts and complete expense forms. A built-in GPS will help you track mileage expenses and integrations with ADP, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Evernote, Excel, and Dropbox extend the functionality.From the Reviews”Intuitive and easy to use Great app. Didn’t take much time to learn and quickly add my expenses and generate reports. Love the fact that I can switch between my phone and my computer to work on a report. Integration with my bank account saves a lot of time not having to enter everything. Recommend it to anyone who needs on the go expense reporting.”– M Jared Baum, 4 stars 12/2013Lower-scoring reviews mentioned some missing functionality from the latest version and some app crashes upon launch.Android: 4.5 stars with 4000+ reviews | iOS/iPhone: 4.5 stars with 1100+ reviews8) PerchPerch is a new app, but pretty promising for those having to communicate with remote coworkers or clients.In its own words, “Perch is an ambient video communications app designed to bridge the culture gap and improve collaboration amongst distributed teams. Install Perch on two different iOS devices (iPhone 4s an above) to create an always-on video window between two spaces.”It’s like the Jetsons meets your weekly status meeting. From the Reviews”I love this app, super cool and smart, why has nobody before thought of using face recognition to start video chat automatically.”– Martin MELower-scoring reviews mentioned a desire to have this work with other versions of the iPhone.iOS/iPhone: 4 stars with 16 reviews (Note: Only for iPhone 4S and above)Each month brings new apps and new versions of existing apps, so undoubtedly, the list doesn’t end here. Add to this list content consumption apps like Evernote and Pocket or event apps like Eventbrite and your phone or tablet’s dance-card will quickly fill up.The best approach? Think about your biggest business needs on the run — do they center on productivity, reading, social networking, or something else? Then find the apps that will make those activities run a little (or a lot) more smoothly.What are some of the must-have business apps you really want? Share your wish list below! Topics:last_img read more

Dear HubSpot: My Mom Is the Only Person Reading My Blog

first_img Blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published May 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Hey folks, welcome to the second installment of this column. Since you seemed to enjoy the post last week, we’re going to make this a weekly thing. Last week, we talked about possible solutions to generating leads from your blog. This week, we’ll be answering a question about getting blog traffic when it seems like all hope is lost. If you’ve got a question you’re always wanted to ask (it doesn’t have to be about blogging, even though the first two questions were), submit it here. Based on the subject of your question, we’ll find an expert to answer it for you, right here on the blog. Getting your boss on board with inbound, working with your sales team, getting more people to use your product, figuring out just what the heck an MQL is, picking between two fonts for your next design project — pretty much whatever you want to ask, we’ll find an answer for. If we publish your question, we’ll even throw in a sweet penname to keep this whole thing anonymous.Sound good? So without further ado, let’s get to this week’s question — it was sent to us last week from a friend in Colorado.Dear HubSpot, I work for a company that has an extremely long sales funnel, in a field that almost every business uses, but nobody wants to talk about. It’s one of those “if it isn’t broken, why would we bother looking to fix it”.I’ve just started working here, and prior to me, the company did not have a blog or any real SEO work done. I’ve spent a lot of time building a foundation for all of this, and I’ve started to see results in our SERPs. I’ve been doing the “spaghetti” method with our blog, attempting to try a bunch of different topics to catch people before they’re thinking about making a purchase. Trying to see what do people visit most, what do they share.I’m having a really hard time getting people to check out our blog (besides my mother), but I’m extremely confident in the services we provide and the work that we do. I also feel that I could capture leads if we had steady blog traffic, but we don’t. I post one new blog a week, on a variety of business-related topics. Everyone always talks about how to “tweak” something to work better, but I’m not really sure how to even get that ball rolling so that I can tweak it. Is it just a time thing? Thanks!Budding Blogger in BoulderHey BBB,Thanks for the great question. Not sure how long you’ve been at this gig, but blogging does take some time to get results. If you’ve only been at it for a month or two, I’d hold out a little longer. You have been getting some results from search so far, so you must be doing something right.But if you’re looking to accelerate your growth and prove to your new boss that hiring you was a super smart decision, there are a few things you can try. Post more often.Posting once a week is great for when you’re first starting out with a new job or the whole inbound methodology, but you could get faster results if you post a few times a week. We’ve found that companies that blog over 15 times a month (boiling down to a few posts a week) get 2-3X the traffic as those who post once a week. As long as you’re maintaining the quality that you seem to have based on your relative SEO success, ramping up on volume could be the secret to being successful. Make your posts the right type of shareable. I know you said that you’re looking at what gets shared the most, but have you looked into how it gets shared? Are there any channels that your highest performing posts tend to get shared on? Figure out what those are, then optimize the rest of your posts for sharing to that channel.For example, let’s say that you’re getting the most traffic to your blog from email — try optimizing your blog to get even more of that. Add call-to-actions throughout your most popular posts that ask readers to share your post with a friend or colleague. You don’t have to get fancy with the CTA — adding something simple like this to the bottom of your posts could work:Here’s a template if you want any CTA design help. You could also add simple text reminders within the post itself to share it through email. By making sharing top-of-mind and easy to do for your current readers on the channels they already love to share, you could end up getting more traffic to your site.Email posts directly to personal, relevant connections. Another little “hack” you can try is doing some personal outreach to folks once you’ve put up a new blog post. These should be about five different people who you have somewhat of a relationship with (which can mean they’re anyone from someone you’re connected with on Twitter to one of your most excited customers) who would also be genuinely interested in the article.Send them a quick, personalized note letting them know the post is up and it’d be something they might enjoy — and ask that if they do end up enjoy it, would they mind sharing it with their network. Keep your email simple and unsalesy (something in the same vein as this email) so you don’t come across too strong. If you can keep the email tailored, simple, and not-pitchy, you could get these influencers to share your post with their network.This is a slower approach than previous ones, but it’s worked well for those trying to get their blog off the ground. In a similar vein, you might consider setting up a guest blogging relationship in which you post on a relevant industry blog, and vice versa — this helps you get exposure to a new audience, and guest bloggers will often promote the posts they write to their own networks, bringing in new traffic to your website.Ramp up social media promotion efforts. It’s unfortunate that on the web, the “if you build it, they will come” method doesn’t actually pan out. To get noticed, you’ve got to start promoting your content to the right people in the right place at the right time. But since you don’t have all the time in the world to devote to every single network, try to choose the one that already seems to be working. You can find this out by looking at which networks are already sending you the most traffic — find out what that network is, get on it, and rock it. “Rocking it” means you’ll be spending time growing your audience there and optimizing your posts to perform well on that specific network — not just posting link after link to your blog. If the network you’ve chosen is one of the big three (Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter), I’d highly suggest checking out this post for tips on crafting excellent posts on each network.To solve your specific issue, you may only need to try one of these tactics — or you could end up needing to do all of them. The key each is to find what is already working for you, then add more fuel to that fire. So, for example, if you find that “click here to email this post” CTAs perform really well at the bottom of your post, see if you can increase traffic and sharing by adding them throughout the body of your post. Hope that was helpful for you! Can’t wait to see your blog start to take off — your mom is definitely not the only person who’s interested in hearing from you.Sincerely,Got a specific question about inbound you’d like answered? Submit it here and you may be featured in a future blog post (along with your very own special pen name).  Topics:last_img read more

How to Launch and Grow a Business Blog From Scratch [SlideShare]

first_imgRoughly six months ago, I was tasked with launching a new business blog for Sidekick, an email productivity tool built in HubSpot’s startup labs.I thought sure, I’ve been blogging for HubSpot for over two years. Taking full ownership of a new content entity should be easy, right?Wrong. I spent days Googling “how to launch a new blog.” And every single time, my search results showed the same, repeated, worn-out, and unhelpful advice.”Just start writing!” Ummm about what?”Share your blog on social media!”Yeah duh.”Create quality content and it’ll get found!”How?!I felt completely lost.Fortunately, I was working with an amazing team. My manager, Brian Balfour, had perfected the art of audience research. And my teammate, Dan Wolchonok, had the perfect mix of coding expertise and marketing passion to quickly ship experiments. The three of us worked together to launch what is now the Sidekick Blog, and within five months we generated over 22,000 engaged email subscribers and retained an average of 30,000 monthly blog viewers. Now, we didn’t reach these numbers by making all the right moves. We messed up plenty of times. But the most important thing I learned throughout this entire process was that it should not be this hard to learn how to launch and grow a blog. So I documented every step we took, hoping to share a starting playbook that others could adopt and employ. Below is that playbook. Check it out to learn how you can actually launch and grow a business blog. Growing Readership If you found this deck helpful, please share it. The more its shared, the fewer marketers are left in the dark when they take on the exhilarating (and hairpulling) process of launching a business blog. Here are some tweets you could use:Finally! The foolproof playbook on “How to Launch & Grow A Business Blog” via @hubspot (Click To Tweet!) Originally published Sep 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: How @sidekick went from 0 to 22K engaged blog subscribers >> via @hubspot (Click To Tweet!) 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