Mary is now Hubspot certified!

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For my digital marketing class with Professor Pepe, I took the Hubspot Academy Inbound Certification Exam and am now certified in inbound digital marketing! Inbound digital marketing differs from traditional marketing in that the strategy focuses on being found by customers online based on their specific needs, rather than simply pushing content that the customers are not necessarily interested in. The methodology involves 4 stages: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.  The Attract stage involves using Search Engine Optimization, creating purposeful content, and utilizing social media to share this content. The convert stage involves calls to action that generate clicks, landing pages after a click, and thank you pages after a conversion is made. The Close stage deals with using email marketing to turn leads into customers, integrating marketing and sales goals, and creating inbound sales strategies. The final stage, Delight, is about developing trust and customer satisfaction. I am now equipped to apply these practices in digital marketing in the future.

 

 

Times Union Center: Events and Email Marketing

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It’s November, which means that fall is almost over and Siena basketball games at the Times carrieUnion Center are about to begin. The Times Union Center in downtown Albany is a great place to have fun not only for Siena students but also for the entire Capital Region. The TU is home to a variety of events including concerts by popular artists (Kanye is December 11th!), Albany Devils hockey games, and a variety of shows ranging from Freestyle Motocross to Disney on Ice. For the full Times Union Center event schedule through May 2017, click here.

For Professor Pepe’s Digital Marketing class, we are analyzing the email marketing strategies of companies whose emails we subscribe to. Like many Siena students, I am on the Times Union Center email list, and receive their emails frequently, once or twice per week. My first email from the Times Union Center to my Siena email address was October 31, 2014, which coincides with signing up for the Dog Pound for Siena Basketball as a sophomore. I suppose I joined the email list for more information about future events such as basketball games and concerts. However, given the fact that I have only opened 15 emails out of 128, or 11.7% of the emails the TU has sent me, it has not been a particularly useful subscription for me.

On July 5th, I opened an email with the subject line “Blake Shelton/ Carrie Underwood at the TUCenter!” This subject line enticed me because I have been a fan of Carrie Underwood ever since she won American Idol, and I wanted to know when the concert was so I could plan on going. The content definitely matched the subject line, because the main events advertised were Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood, but other upcoming events were advertised as well. The email was the following:screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-5-16-59-pm
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The call to action for this email is “buy tickets”. Clearly this was effective, because I clicked on the “Buy Tickets” link for Carrie Underwood in order to see the ticket prices. I did not buy the tickets at that time, so I did not generate conversion for the Times Union Center, but I did click through their ad to find out more information.

In terms of content, I think the Times Union Center could have focused on the two offers described in the subject line, rather than advertising other shows as well as Absolut Vodka. The inclusion of these other offers made the content appear visually overwhelming. They could have included tickets to more country concerts, because the audience that would open an email about Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood is interested in country music. Therefore, these offers would have been more relevant than the offers shown.

Given the variety of content advertised, I believe this email was not segment dependent and was sent to the entire database. Furthermore, I get emails about every event from the Times Union Center, including events such as the Albany Car show that I have no interest in whatsoever.

This email was effective in generating clicks and conversion as well as building the brand by advertising the TU center itself. However, it could have been more effective by targeting its content to a specific segment, such as country music fans. The next email should have been a reminder about these events to encourage more ticket purchases.

I ended up going to the Carrie Underwood concert, it was amazing! After the concert, I received the following email with the subject line “Thank you for attending Carrie Underwood at the TUCenter!” This subject line enticed me because I had just attended the concert, and thought there might be a special offer involved. The content did not really match the subject line because it focused on obtaining customer feedback through a short survey or a review on Yelp. screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-5-51-26-pm

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There are two calls to action in this email: “Take a short survey by clicking HERE” and “Review us on Yelp and let us know” Although I did not click on either link, I believe the call to action “Take a short survey by clicking HERE“is more effective because of the inclusion of the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card as an incentive. There is no incentive to review on Yelp, so I assume there would be fewer clicks on that option and fewer conversions through reviews than survey completions.

The quantity of the content was appropriate and there were not too many offers included. However, there was a picture of Carrie Underwood so large that I did not include the whole image in this post. I had to scroll down in order to see the rest of the content. Many consumers wouldn’t bother to scroll, and would simply think there was no additional content.

This email was definitely segment dependent, because it specifically thanked people who attended the concert. I believe I was in this segment and on this email list because I purchased tickets online through the Times Union Center’s website.

The email accomplished its objective in some ways. It promoted the Times Union Center through the ad at the top of the email about the TU’s upcoming renovation, and consumers can click on this ad to learn more. I believe that a smaller image should have been used in order for consumers to see the calls to action without scrolling. The next email should tell this segment about concerts by artists similar to Carrie Underwood, because they are likely to enjoy those concerts as well.

Overall, the Times Union Center effectively reaches their audience while advertising events through email, but they could benefit from more segmentation in order for relevant emails to reach the correct users. For more information about email marketing for events: check out this article.

5 October Weekend Activities near Siena

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We all know that Halloween season is a fun time to be at Siena. This October, there are plenty of festive weekend activities for you and your friends near Siena’s campus.

  1. Pumpkin Picking: Nothing says October like pumpkins! This weekend, bring your Siena roommates and pick some pumpkins for your room or your stoop.

Ellms Family Farm: It’s half an hour from Siena in Ballston Spa. There is a pumpkin patch and pumpkins already picked for your convenience. During the holiday season, Ellms becomes a Christmas tree farm!

Sunnyside Gardens: Being from Saratoga, Sunnyside is where I have always gone pumpkin picking every October. It’s about 45 minutes from Siena. If you aren’t into haunted hayrides, there’s a hayride that isn’t scary at all.

  1. Troy Chowderfest: You might be familiar with Saratoga’s annual Chowderfest in February, but did you know that Troy is having one October 9th? Go to Monument Square (near Bootleggers) in Downtown Troy this weekend, its only 20 minutes from Siena. Over 30 local restaurants will be selling chowder for $1 per cup. Have as much as you want and then vote for your favorite!
  1. Corn Maze: October is the perfect time to grab your friends and get scared in a Halloween corn maze. There are a few options near Siena!

Liberty Ridge Farm: This is the largest corn maze in Siena‘s area with 11 acres of 13-foot tall corn. On Friday and Saturday nights in October it becomes haunted. It’s half an hour from Siena!

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Schuyler Farms: This haunted corn maze is open every weekend in October, and becomes haunted at night. Don’t get lost, or lose your phone. Fun fact: I lost my phone in this corn maze in high school. Luckily, a friendly guy with a chainsaw helped me find it.

  1. Double M’s Haunted HayrideGet ready to get really scared this October! Double M’s Haunted Hayride is in Ballston Spa, New York, half an hour from Siena. If you’re not a fan of horror movies, this might not be for you because it is so well done. It’s a great thing to do with a group!
  1.  Fright Fest at the Great Escape: Every year, the Great Escape has an October festival to get everyone in the Halloween mood. Less than an hour from Siena in Lake George, Fright Fest has so many festive activities like haunted houses, corn mazes, and people jumping out to scare you. All these scary things combined with the Six Flags rides means you’ll be screaming the entire time!

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This blog is part of Professor Pepe’s digital marketing class. The two keywords I used are October and Siena. My title tag is <title> Fall Fun in the Capital Region </title>, my header tag is <h1> 5 October Activities Near Siena </h1>, and my URL for this page would be https://www.nycapfallfun.com/5-october-activities-near-siena.

Emack and Bolio’s: Great Ice Cream, Great Marketing

Go get Emack and Bolio’s Ice Cream while you still can, it closes for the season October 1st! Located on Delaware Ave in Downtown Albany, Emack and Bolio’s unique and delicious ice cream flavors in crazy giant waffle cones are every college student’s dream. With flavors like “S’moreo”, “Chunk-o-Funk”, and “Heaven”, there are so many delicious treats to choose from. The cones are outrageous, particularly the ones dipped in marshmallow and coated in Rice Krispie Treat, Fruit Loops, Oreos, or Fruity Pebbles. They also have cones dipped in chocolate; the M&M ones are my personal favorite. I chose to analyze Emack and Bolio’s of Albany’s website as part of a Digital Marketing assignment for Professor Pepe’s class.

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When you Google Emack and Bolio’s, the meta description is their slogan, “Ice Cream for the Connoisseur”, showing the quality of their product. The landing page of Emack and Bolio’s website is bright and eye-catching, showing icons for categories such as “Ice Cream and Yogurt”, “Shop Locations”, and “Fudge and Chocolate”, depicted as planets revolving around the company’s logo. Conversion is through contacting a representative to own a franchise or buy wholesale products, or to purchase paraphernalia such as hats and t-shirts. The website maximizes revenue by listing the locations of every store, which will bring sales to these stores, as well as by selling souvenir items. The domain authority of the page is 45/100 and there are 1047 total links.

Under the “Shop Locations” category, you can find the Albany shop’s specific website, http://www.ealbany.com. If you were to Google “Emack and Bolio’s Albany”, this is the first result. However, the meta description simply says “Web Design by Amble Studio”, which uses no key words and does not describe the content of the website at all, which is likely to decrease traffic to the website. A meta description with key words such as “Albany” and “ice cream” would more effectively increase traffic through search engine optimization.

The landing page of the Albany location is colorful like the main company page, but it has so much text that the overall aesthetic is overwhelming. There are logos from Facebook, Twitter, and TripAdvisor, which is a way of building traffic to the website. Conversion on the website is through cake and dessert orders directly from the website, as well as a party planning service (they have an ice cream truck!!) Conversion would be increased by creating a simpler and more user-friendly layout for the website. Emack and Bolio’s could maximize revenue by creating online forms for birthday party and catering orders rather than print forms. This would simplify the process of placing an order and motivate more customers to do so, which would maximize sales revenue. The website has a 29/100 score for domain authority, and only 107 total links.

Although Emack and Bolio’s websites, both the company’s website and the local Albany shop demonstrate very effective marketing, improvements could be made to create more traffic, boost conversion, and generate more revenue.

Best 5 September Activities Near Siena

NYCap Fall Fun will give you ideas to make your Fall 2016 semester at Siena the most interesting, adventurous, and most of all fun semester yet. It’s great to be a college student in the capital of New York, and there is a lot to do off campus. I’ll keep you up to date on event schedules in Albany and the capital district and give you ideas for great ways to spend your weekend!

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Here are some ideas to start off your September right.

  1. Apple Picking- Apple picking is such a basic fall activity, but everyone loves it. Go to one of these awesome apple orchards less than half an hour away from Siena. Then come back to campus and bake an apple pie, your friends will thank you.

Bowman Orchards:The closest apple orchard to campus, just 20 minutes away.They offer pick your own apples in the fall, as well as pick your own berries in the spring. They also have farm animals, including horses, sheep, and a baby cow!

Indian Ladder Farms: Only 28 minutes from Siena, this 100-year-old farm has a lot to offer. Indian Ladder Farms is a popular place for apple picking, but they also have a farm market selling local products, as well as the Yellow Rock Café, which is open for brunch on the weekends.

Saratoga Apple: It’s 42 minutes away from Siena, but in my opinion the trip is worth it. I go there every year! After getting a bag of apples, it’s really fun to have a hot apple cider and a donut and listen to the live music. They just launched 2 hard ciders for the first time, so enjoy-if you’re 21 🙂

I’ve heard they all have the best cider donuts, so go to all 3 and decide for yourself!

  1. Apples and Wine Festival: Speaking of apples, the Apples and Wine Festival is Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th at the Altamont Fairgrounds. There will be tons of food vendors, wine tasting, a craft fair, and a car show. Kids (and people with townhouses) can paint their own pumpkins.
  1. Larkfest: Larkfest is New York State’s largest one-day street festival, taking place on Lark Street on Saturday, September 24th. Students all over the capital region look forward to it every year because it’s always a blast. Albany closes down 8 streets for the festival, and there will be hundreds of vendors plus 2 live music stages.

Get on the bus across the street from Siena and have a festive day.

  1. Hiking- Siena is surrounded by good hikes!

John Boyd Thatcher State Park is super close to campus, and has some Insta worthy views of the Hudson-Mohawk valley as well as both the Green Mountains and the Southern Adirondacks.

The Adirondacks aren’t too far away- If you want a great view of Lake George, Buck Mountain, Sleeping Beauty, and Hadley Mountain are all good options. If you’re looking for a challenge, try Mount Marcy, the highest peak in NY. Prospect Mountain is especially gorgeous in the fall, and if you’re not a hiker, you have the option to drive up!

  1. Kayaking: Why not try kayaking while it’s still warm! Saratoga Lake has a great kayak rental shop, the Kayak Shak. They rent paddleboards too, which is also really fun. Just try not to fall in the lake!

If you would rather cruise than kayak, the Fish Creek Fall Foliage Cruise is every Thursday-Sunday starting September 16th at 4:30pm.

Go to Harvest and Hearth after, it’s right next to Kayak Shak and it’s my favorite pizza place.

I hope I gave you some great ideas for staying active in the Albany area on your September Weekends at Siena!