Kickstarter opens to crowdfunders in Japan

Kickstarter has opened its proverbial doors to creators in Japan.

Though people in Japan have always been able to back Kickstarter campaigns from around the world, those seeking to crowdfund their own projects have had to look elsewhere. Moving forward, the Kickstarter app is available in Japanese, with local customer support and project reviewers on hand.

Japan actually represents the third Asian market launch for Kickstarter after it landed in Singapore and Hong Kong last year. But with a population of around 130 million people, Japan is far and away the biggest of the company’s markets on what is the most populous continent on Earth.

So this is a notable launch from Kickstarter, which is now open to creators in 22 countries. The company is also adamant that it has enough brand recognition in the region to hit the ground running.

“Since our launch eight years ago, more than 300 creators in Japan have worked with collaborators in other countries to run Kickstarter projects, including a documentary about sake production, an action platformer from a legendary video game designer, and a toy robot that connects family members through voice messages,” noted Kickstarter’s director of international, Sean Leow, in a blog post. “In the same time frame, nearly 100,000 backers from Japan have supported Kickstarter projects from all of our creative categories and from all over the world.”

Founded out of New York in 2009, Kickstarter has emerged as the poster child for crowdfunding and has helped facilitate more than $ 3 billion in pledges, to date.

The Japan launch is the first new market since cofounder and CEO Yancey Strickler announced he was stepping down. The company has yet to appoint a successor.

Social – VentureBeat

Social Media Marketing News

3 Insights on the Impact and Future of Business, Marketing, and Sales Operations

Operations that you may never be aware of are occurring constantly across your organization through various processes and details. As a marketer, you’re likely most familiar with marketing operations, and hopefully, sales operations because of your partnership with sales, but then maybe less familiar with business operations. But when it comes down to it, operations and the people that power those functions are absolutely critical to the work you do and the smooth functioning of your business.

In a recent infographic, InsightSquared partnered with LinkedIn’s Content and Research teams to examine the basic characteristics of three critical operations roles—marketing operations, business operations, and sales operations. This blog will take a look at a few of the key findings and define some of the similarities and differences between the roles.

Operations 101

Marketing Operations

Regardless of whether you’re a marketer that leans more heavily on the art or the science of marketing, you need marketing operations (MOPS). A solid MOPS team is a critical resource to any marketing team and the broader organization. They operate at both a strategic and tactical level—working on key business initiatives down to day to day marketing activities. Some of their critical functions include managing the data and its flow in and out of your MarTech stack, acting as a liaison with other teams like sales, product, and engineering, and creating and enforcing guidelines for your marketing technology processes for team members.

Business Operations

Like marketing operations, business operations (BizOps) is critical to strategic and tactical functions of a business. There are tons of recurring activities that take place to help a business run efficiently and effectively and allow its leaders to make informed, thoughtful decisions spanning departments and processes. BizOps often sits at the center of those activities and helps by synthesizing data across the business into clear, and actionable insights. According to LinkedIn, this can mean coordinating complex sales and marketing strategies and evaluating the impact of those strategies on the bottom line. But, business operations do not stop there, as it often evaluates the success of programs against a long-term strategy, helps ensure transparency between departments, and report on top-line initiatives.

Sales Operations

Sales operations, like business operations and marketing operations, is a critical function to any business that sells something, especially if they have a sales team. Simply stated, sales and its processes are very measurable and tied directly to company revenue. With that in mind, and according to HBR, sales operations (SOPs) at most organizations is on deck to oversee sales performance—from territory alignment, customer profiling, to targeting activities, administer to the compensation plan and goal planning for the sales team, manage their CRM system and processes (and therefore work VERY closely with their MOPs counterparts), and provide data, analysis, modeling, and reporting for business review.

Key Findings

So, now with our understanding of how foundational our different operations groups are within our businesses, let’s take a look at some of the key findings of what it takes to be and hire operations professionals from InsightSquared and LinkedIn as they looked across thousands of data points.

Enterprises Invest More Heavily in Operations

There are more operations professionals at enterprise organizations, specifically very large enterprises than there are at their small to medium business counterparts. When I saw this stat, specifically the fact that the heaviest investment was in business operations versus marketing or sales, it made sense to me because larger organizations tend to have more disparate data and processes that need to be evaluated and understood in order to see the big picture. It was also interesting to look at the data and see that organizations in the 1001-5000 employee band seem to invest predominantly in sales operations while the next band, 5001-10,000 employees, invests more heavily in marketing operations. This may be indicative of the goals or challenges that organizations at these sizes face at this specific stages of growth.


There’s Not a Standard Certification

Now that you’re thoroughly convinced that operations are not only foundational to your success but probably a huge time-saver and resource you’re probably wondering, “How can I hire an A+ Operations person?”. Well, if you’re looking to hire an operations professional there are a variety of skills you can look for, but a standardized certification across business, marketing, and sales operations simply doesn’t exist. The data shows that while there are some certifications, a relatively low percentage of operations professionals get them and those that do seem to get them for their specific area of operations—for example, being a Marketo Certified Expert and working in Marketing Operations.

Industries are Investing in Operations at Different Rates 

Operations—business, marketing, and sales—seems like a fairly critical function for any business, but the data shows that some sectors are adopting and hiring operations professionals at faster rates than others, and it varies based on the type of operations professional you’re looking to add to your team. You’re probably not surprised to see Technology & Software sectors lead the charge on business operations and marketing operations, but you may have been surprised, like me, to see that they don’t when it comes to hiring sales operations professionals. In fact, Retail & Consumer Products leads the way for sales operations hiring. More interesting, the same industries don’t appear for each type of operations, indicating that they may have some ground to cover from both a data and insights and the people-hiring perspective if they want to achieve at their peak levels.

The last finding? There is a definite demand for operations professionals. With over 60,000 open roles on LinkedIn, it seems the time is ripe for someone looking to work in this field. And if you think about how much data marketers, sales teams and businesses sift through on a day to day basis, hiring people to help them digest, and interpret that data to make intelligent and informed decisions makes sense.

Interested in learning more about the data? Check out the full infographic here, or the original blog from its creators.

Did any of these results surprise you? Or, how do you see and understand the role of operations at your organization either similarly or differently? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Marketing Nation Roadshow

The post 3 Insights on the Impact and Future of Business, Marketing, and Sales Operations appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Marketo Marketing Blog

Tips for Email Success in the Engagement Economy

There’s no doubt that email is critical for B2B marketing—in fact, it’s often rated the top channel in industry surveys.

But when it comes to the Engagement Economy, the B2B email playbook is woefully behind. Email is primarily a 1-way channel for outbound marketing, rather than a 2-way channel for engagement marketing. Most companies don’t encourage engagement in an email, and many companies downright prevent engagement (e.g., sending the email from a “no reply”)!

For comparison, consider the way you ask for 2-way interactions on other channels:

  • When you blog, you ask for comments.
  • When you post on social media, you ask for replies.
  • When you run a webinar, you encourage real-time questions.
  • When visitors come to your website, you ask them to talk via live chat.

In all these channels, you open the door to engagement by asking buyers to engage. So why do very few B2B email programs encourage customers to respond, give feedback, and start a conversation? The answer: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

So how do you start to transition from a 1-way email sending program to a 2-way email engagement program?

Luckily that change doesn’t require a complete overhaul. You already have an excellent database, tons of intelligence on your leads and customers, and you already know how to tailor and target messages for your audience. Now you just need to go from being a great sender of email to also being a great receiver of email.

In this blog, I’ll give you three email marketing tactics to help you make your email marketing successful into the Engagement Economy.

1.) Ask for Replies

When you write a personal email to engage a colleague or friend, you ask them to respond. Sales people do this as well in their 1-to-1 outreach. So why should a marketing email be any different? Can you formulate your CTA in a question and directly elicit a reply? If a customer or prospect wants to engage with you, isn’t clicking the reply button in their email client the easiest possible buyer experience?

This tactic presents some challenges in routing those responses to the right person and tracking responses for campaign analytics and reporting. But, if enabling engagement makes your buyer experience better, these are problems worth solving. There are a variety of tools, like Siftrock, that can help you manage and measure email replies at scale across diverse programs.

It doesn’t mean that 100% of your emails should have “reply” as the CTA, but this can be a great tactic to drive engagement at certain times in the buyer’s journey. As a bonus when people do reply, you’ll also be boosting your deliverability—receiving mail servers love engagement, just like buyers.

2.) Humanize Your Formatting

If I’m asking a question, I want you to engage. I don’t need a lot of heavy formatting, graphics, or large CTA buttons. In this area, marketing can borrow a page from the outbound sales playbook and make emails more straightforward and conversational. Emails that feel like a human speaking to another human, instead of marketer-to-target, will drive more engagement.

Here’s a great example from Uberflip:

Uberflip Email Marketing Example

It feels like the business wants to engage with me. There’s not much formatting and no crazy CTA buttons. It just reads like a message from one human to another.

3.)  Humanize The “From” Address

We already know that sending from a “no-reply” alias is bad for deliverability and sends a bad message to customers. Fortunately, that practice is mostly dead in B2B.

Sending from a general marketing@ or newsletters@ alias is better, but even if it’s monitored, it’s not likely the most inviting setup for a response. When the from address is human, people are much more inclined to respond naturally. Take for instance this email for the Marketo Summit VIP event. It’s sent from Kevin Lau, a real person. It includes his email signature, and as the reader, I feel like I have the option to reply with questions or to engage.

Marketo Example of Email Marketing

Sending from a single person’s real alias is not always feasible at scale. But, there are other options to humanize your from address:

  • Send on behalf of reps/account owners.
  • Send from a “spokesperson” alias that is managed by a team.
  • Send from an alternate alias for a CXO that is operated by a team.
  • Send from program owner (e.g., webinar emails come from the webinar manager).

Choosing the right format depends on both what will be ideal for the buyer experience and what your organization can reasonably manage.

Wrap Up

Transitioning email into a channel for engagement marketing will create a better customer experience and drive better results for marketers. B2B marketers who don’t make this change will likely find customers tuning out of opting out at higher rates. As Marketo CEO, Steve Lucas points out, marketers “need to ‘engage with’ and not ‘market to’ their buyers” in the Engagement Economy. Email is no exception.

The transition requires slight mindset shift to go from thinking about email as a 1-way channel to a 2-way channel. But luckily this doesn’t take a massive overhaul of your tech or systems, just a handful of simple tactics can start to move the needle.
How are you adjusting your email programs for the engagement economy? What strategies and tactics are working best for your business?

The post Tips for Email Success in the Engagement Economy appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Marketo Marketing Blog

8 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Influencer Marketing Campaign


You’re going to start your very first influencer marketing campaign, and you want to make sure it’s a success. Or maybe you’ve executed a few campaigns before, and you want the next one to deliver better results. Either way, knowing how to manage your campaign effectively is crucial if you want influencer marketing to work for you. While it’s not always easy to manage influencer marketing campaigns, you’ll find it much easier if you remember the following steps: 1. Set Up a Goal You should always start with a defined goal, regardless of whether it’s influencer marketing or any other…

The post 8 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Influencer Marketing Campaign appeared first on The Daily Egg.

The Daily Egg

Let’s Dispel Two Myths About Blog Posting Frequency & Word Count


Watch this video: Moz’s Whiteboard Friday – The Perfect Blog Post Length and Publishing Frequency is B?!!$ #÷x Information has been floating around for a while that suggests you will rank better in search engines and / or get more traffic by: Blogging more frequently Writing longer blog posts (higher word counts) While we’ve noticed that both of these have seemed to be true in the past, at least anecdotally, this appears to no longer be the case. Myth busted? There’s Nothing Wrong With Posting Frequently You’re allowed to post as often as you’d like. There is certainly no rule against…

The post Let’s Dispel Two Myths About Blog Posting Frequency & Word Count appeared first on The Daily Egg.

The Daily Egg

Smart list management for savvy retailers

As a retailer, you likely know it can be difficult to rise above the clutter in people’s inboxes. From ultra-specialized boutiques to massive retail chains, it seems every business tries to attract buyers’ attention nearly daily. But that doesn’t mean you have to get lost in the pack. With some careful list segmentation, you can improve your emails’ performance. Segmentation makes your emails more relevant to your readers and their needs, elevating the likelihood those readers will open a campaign and click where you want them to. Segmentation beats the one-size-fits-all approach nearly every time.

Here are a few tips for retailers looking to make segmentation work for them.

1. Segment by in-store versus online customers

Do you have one group of customers that, without fail, shows up in person to purchase your goods or services? Maybe you have another group of customers that exclusively makes purchases online, or simply calls up your business when they need something. Separating these two sets of customers into different segments helps you send email campaigns that resonate more closely with their needs and desires. Offer in-store demos, event invitations or in-store coupons to the in-store group, for instance. Then send information on new products that can be shipped, or offer online-only (or phone-only) coupons, to the customers who prefer to do all their shopping from home. 

2. Segment by purchase history

If you carry popular products that many customers have bought, segment those buyers into their own list. Send them tips for getting the most use out of their purchases, answers to frequently asked questions about the products, or information on add-on products and services that may complement the initial purchase.

3. Segment by shopping cart status

If you offer online shopping, you no doubt have encountered abandoned shopping carts on your website – that is, customers who place items in their cart and then leave your website without completing the purchase. Segmentation can help you salvage these potentially lost sales by allowing you to send a targeted email to shoppers who have abandoned their carts. With this kind of segmentation, you can remind those consumers they didn’t complete the transaction, offer additional information that may spur them to click the “purchase” button or even give a small discount as an enticement.

4. Segment by geography

If you have more than one location for your business, surely you’ve noticed that customers who shop one outpost are not identical to customers who shop your other store(s). You may need to carry slightly different inventory, offer different in-store events or alter your marketing tactics. Your store located near a school, for instance, may have a very different clientele from your store located near a retirement community. If you’re primarily an online business, your customers may be even more far-flung. Different communities, different states, even different countries may have varying interests and buying habits. Segment your contact lists by location to more readily send emails relevant to each group of readers. 

5. Segment by demographic data

Geography isn’t the only demographic information that helps segment your contact lists. If you know the gender, birthdays/anniversaries, ages and other information about your contacts, you’re well on your way to bucketing those readers in a number of ways. Men and women have different buying patterns and are interested in different products or services. The same goes for age groups: Customers in their twenties have different interests and buying habits than customers in their fifties. Don’t underestimate the power of knowing a milestone date like a birthday or anniversary, either. Send birthday coupons to everyone celebrating a birthday in a given month, for example, or remind one spouse to buy a gift for the other before an upcoming anniversary.  

These are just a few of the segmentation tactics retailers can take advantage of to make the most of their email marketing. Start segmenting today and watch your emails make a bigger impact.

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© 2017, John Habib. All rights reserved.

The post Smart list management for savvy retailers appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Vertical Response Blog

Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

As a travel marketer or agency marketer servicing the travel industry, you have a tricky gig. You need to convince your prospects to spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time.

Meanwhile, your prospects are increasingly wary of the legitimacy of your offers (thanks a lot, Fyre Fest).

Here’s to hoping your vacation is memorable, but not in a meme-worthy kind of way.

Your challenge then is to effectively convey trust on your travel landing pages. Doing so can help ease prospects’ conversion anxiety, resulting in more travel leads and sales for your business.

The importance of trust on your travel landing pages

We often talk about the importance of trust and credibility on your landing pages — this isn’t a new idea.

But for some industries, a lack of trust can have hugely detrimental effects on conversion rates.

In a recent analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform, data scientists found that travel landing pages can realistically achieve conversion rates of at least 12%. Even more impressive is within the travel and tourism industry, the very best pages convert over 25% of their visitors (schwing!).

Notice the dramatic conversion rate difference between percentiles? If you’re part of that percentile getting 2.1% or lower conversion rates, your pages have lots of room for improvement. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

If you’re not hitting these benchmarks, it might be time to take a hard look at your marketing and ask yourself if you’ve done enough to make your prospects trust you.

And don’t worry if your answer is “No” or “I’m not sure.” We’ve compiled four data-backed ways to boost trust on your travel landing page. Use them as a jumping off point for your optimization efforts.

1. Bolster your copy with trust words

Using an Emotion Lexicon to analyze copy, Unbounce data scientists found evidence that visitors to travel landing pages have slight concerns about the legitimacy of the offers.

However, they also found that using at least 7% (and up to 10%) of your copy to establish trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.

Notice the uptick in conversion rate once trust-infused copy is used more liberally? Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Unbounce data scientists found that these are some of the words that impart trust on travel landing pages:

enjoy, perfect, secret, top, team, guide, save, personal, spa, food, planning, policy, provide, star, award, real, share, friendly, recommend, school

(Keep in mind, though, that these words were generated by an algorithm and should still be applied using common sense. Just adding the word “spa” to your page — especially if you don’t offer spa services — is not going to increase your conversions.)

The travel experts at Nordic Visitor do a great job of using trust words to build confidence on their Iceland site. It’s not a landing page per se, but the same principles apply.

“Team,” “planning,” “provide” and “personal” are all words found to positively convey trustworthiness. Adding these and other trust words to your copy could be the subconscious nudge your prospects need to convert.

Take stock of the trust words you’re using in your marketing, and particularly on your landing pages. If they’re looking a little sparse, test out using confidence-building words to describe destinations in detail.

2. Cut copy that brings up emotions of fear and anger

Just as trust words can drastically improve your conversion rates, words that subconsciously trigger fear or anger will have a negative impact on travel landing page conversion rates.

In fact, Unbounce data scientists found that if even 1% of page copy reminds your visitors of feelings of anger or fear, you could be seeing up to 25% lower conversion rates.

No one wants to be angry while on vacation. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Words that may instill fear or anger in your prospects include:

limited, tree, money, hot, desert, endless, challenge, treat, fee, feeling, rail, stone, bear, buffet, bang, cash, cross, despair

So instead of…

“Feeling endless despair this Canadian winter? Warm yourself up with a limited-time-only vacation in the hot Mojave desert.”


“Escape the Canadian winter at a five-star award-winning vacation rental in sunny California.”

Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestions

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how emotion and sentiment may be impacting conversion rates in your industry.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust

Persuading your prospects to put their trust in you is tricky business, and it’s even trickier when it comes to travel, because they’re likely working with a tight budget and only a few weeks of precious vacation. They don’t want to take a leap of faith — they want a sure thing.

A proven strategy for easing prospect anxiety is to use social proof. It’s the “everybody’s doing it” mentality that helps convince your prospects to convert.


When you let your satisfied customers sing your praises, your credibility goes through the roof. Including testimonials on your travel landing page can have a positive impact on how trustworthy your prospects perceive you to be, but not all testimonials are created equal.

To best enhance your chance of conversion, heed the following testimonial commandments:

  • Be specific
  • Include a photo of the person
  • Avoid hyperbole (i.e., This pedicure literally saved my life!)
  • Choose testimonials that demonstrate the transformative effect of your product or service on the lives of your users

Nordic Visitor takes it one step further with a video testimonial from several happy customers:

Don’t tell your prospects how great you are, show them with real live, happy customers.


Similar to testimonials, including reviews on your travel landing page can help convey trust to your prospects.

The luxury travel designers of Jacada Travel have embedded reviews from Trustpilot, a reputable online review community, directly into their landing page.


If you recall, the word “award” is associated with trust on travel landing pages. So if your company or client has won any reputable awards, be sure to flaunt ‘em.

Tour guide company Kensington Tours not only includes several award crests on their travel landing page, they also mention in their Adwords ad that they’re a National Geographic award winner.

Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers.

4. Security measures

Persuasive trust-infused copy and social proof are wonderful, but when you’re collecting travel leads and even money, you need to assure your prospects that their data and money is safe.

There are many ways to do this, but the two most impactful strategies are to enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and to include trust seals.


SSL creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor’s browser. It’s identified by the little lock icon and the “https” (vs. http) in the top left-hand side of your browser search bar.

Enabling SSL on all your web properties (but especially on your lead gen and ecommerce landing pages) assures your visitors that they’re not at risk of being hacked.

Psst: SSL is available on all paid Unbounce plans. Don’t publish a landing page without it!

Trust seals

Trust seals help to reinforce the message that your landing page is secure. These can be obtained by whichever third-party security vendor handles your SSL certificate, and easily added to your travel landing page with a few lines of JavaScript.

Nordic Visitor nails it yet again with a trust seal from GeoTrust and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017, further reinforcing their credibility.

All aboard the Conversion Cruise

A lack of trust in any industry can hurt conversion rates, but in the travel industry the stakes are extra high.

Fortunately, this means the opportunities to improve your conversion rates are plenty. And if you nail the whole trust thing down, you could be seeing some of the highest conversion rates across any industry.

Leveraging a combo of effective copy, social proof and security measures, you can make your prospects forget about the stress associated with booking a vacation. Skip that trip to Poor Conversions-ville and instead put your feet up with a Mai Tai in hand on the Conversion Cruise.

For even more data-backed conversion insights in the travel industry, or for insights into industries such as health, finance, higher education and more, download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industries

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your conversion rates stack up against the competition — and how to improve them.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.
Launching a travel landing page from scratch? Try out one of our travel landing page templates, designed specifically to boost conversions.


Find Your Call-To-Acton Sweet Spot With Scrollmap

Don’t know exactly where to put your CTA? Should it go up top? Or at the bottom? Is my web page too long? With Scrollmap not only can you determine the best length for your landing page to receive more conversions but you can also know exactly where to place your calls-to-action. Easy to Understand Color Coded Data When looking at Scrollmap you’ll see the hottest area on the map in white, so with the help of the color meter, you’ll be able to see the amount of impressions coinciding with each color on the report. No more not knowing…

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