Author Archives: Roy Revill

How to Create Infographics in Under an Hour [15 Free Infographic Templates]

Wouldn’t it be great if creating infographics was as simple as writing regular old text-based blog posts? Unfortunately, making visual content like this usually takes a lot more time, effort, and let’s face it — skill — than the written word. Usually.

But considering the popularity and effectiveness of visual content in marketing today, you can’t just afford to throw in the towel.

That’s why we decided to take all the pain and suffering out of infographic creation. Seriously — don’t give up just yet. You, too, can create infographics that are professional-looking, high-quality, and completed in under an hour. I’m going to prove it. First things first:

Download our 15 free infographic templates here.

Then, all you have to do is provide the content to use inside them. Easy as that. In fact, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to make your own infographic by demonstrating with one of our 15 infographic templates in PowerPoint (pictured above). Then, I’ll explain exactly what I did so you get a sense of how easy it really is.

Want to watch and listen to the instructions as you read the steps below? Check out the video below:

1. Identify the audience for your infographic.

Infographics don’t sell themselves on design alone. You need to deliver “info” that’s just as compelling as the “graphic,” and to do that, you need to know the audience your infographic intends to reach.

According to Harvard Business Review, there are five possible audiences that can change how you choose and visualize your data: novice, generalist, managerial, expert, and executive. Start by comparing your infographic’s ideal reader with one of these five audiences — which one applies to your reader?

When thinking about the data you want to visualize, let the five audiences above dictate how advanced your data will be. A “novice” audience, for example, might need data whose meaning is more obvious at first blush. An “expert” might be more interested in getting into the weeds of your numbers and posing theories around them. An “executive” has more in common with a novice audience in that they only have time for the simplest or most critical information, and the affect it’ll have on the business.

2. Collect your content and relevant data

Using the audience you’ve chosen above, your next step is to organize all the content and data you’ll use in the infographic. You can either collect third-party data or use your own original data. If you use third-party data, just be sure you properly cite your sources — just like in any other good piece of content.

Organizing Your Data

When collecting your data, make sure you know what story you want to tell through this information. Data for the sake of data won’t add value to your infographic at all.

Compelling data needs to be “comprehensive” enough to give your readers proper context around the data you’re presenting. For example, a spike in website traffic from one month to the next doesn’t mean much — until, say, you reveal that traffic was on a steady decline over the previous three months. Suddenly you have a story of how you were able to reverse a downward trend.

Citing Your Sources

To keep your infographic uncluttered by a ton of different source URLs, a great way to cite your sources is to include a simple URL at the bottom of your infographic that links to a page on your site. You can also list the individual stats used in your infographic, and their sources — such as the landing page to the full offer on which you’re basing this free infographic. I’ll show you what this citation looks like in a minute.

That way, your infographic looks clean and professional, yet people will still be able to access the sources no matter where the infographic gets shared or embedded. It may also even drive visitors back to your site.

3. Choose your desired infographic template.

Your next step is to choose an infographic template appropriate for representing that data. The important thing is to choose a template that specifically works for the type of data set/content you want to present. As you saw pictured above, you can download our 15 infographic templates in PowerPoint and choose whichever template you’d like.

Some of your template options in the offer linked above include a timeline, flowchart, side-by-side comparison, and a data-driven infographic. Here are some basic ideas for choosing an infographic template that suits the story you want your data to tell:

  • Side-by-side comparison infographic: This infographic design can help prove the advantage of one concept over another, or simply explain the differences between two competing entities.
  • Flowchart infographic: This design is perfect for presenting a new workflow for your organization, or how a linear or cyclical process works across your industry.
  • Timeline infographic: This design can tell a chronological story, or history, of a business, industry, product, or concept.
  • Graph-based infographic: This design is suitable for content creators publishing a high volume of data and statistical information, making it a good fit for expert-level audiences, too.
  • Image-heavy infographic: This design caters to content creators who are trying to reveal trends and information from shapes, designs, or photography — rather than just numbers and figures.

4. Download your template to PowerPoint.

For the sake of time (remember, our mission is to create an infographic in under an hour), I’m going to create an infographic based on a compilation of steps and best practices we’ve put together in our new guide, How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign in 2018. For this, I’ve picked the “World’s Greatest Timeline” infographic template from our collection of infographic templates, which is helpful for my data set since it outlines each step of the campaign creation process in order.

The timeline infographic template is pictured below, and full of opportunities to make it your own:

5. Customize your infographic

Obviously, this is the most time-consuming part — but it’s also the most fun. Simply come up with a catchy title, plug in your data/content, and adjust your font sizes and formatting. Feel free to switch up the graphics and colors, too, so they’re relevant to your brand and the data you’re providing. For other templates, you can use the simple graphs and charts provided by PowerPoint to create things like the bar graph or the pie chart. (Note: Download our free infographic templates for a cheat sheet for using PowerPoint’s various features and tools.)

To customize the look of the infographic even more, you might add or change up the colors or font styles.

6. Include a footer with your sources and logo.

Finally, I included a link to my source (which can be found here), as well as the HubSpot logo so people know who created the infographic if it gets shared in social media or embedded on other websites — which is definitely something you want, since one of the main benefits of creating infographics is their shareability.

That’s it! This whole thing took me under an hour to put together — much shorter than it would’ve taken me if I’d started from scratch (not to mention more professional looking … and less expensive than hiring a designer). Here it is:



free timeline infographic template customized

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<p><strong>Please include attribution to blog.hubspot.com with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=’https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates’><img src=’https://blog.hubspot.com/hs-fs/hubfs/free_infographic_template_custom-1.png?t=1519094621186&width=1138&height=3412&name=free_infographic_template_custom-1.png’ alt=’free_infographic_template_custom-1′ width=’660px’ border=’0′ /></a></p>

7. Add embed code and a Pinterest button, and publish it.

The only thing left to do is to publish and promote your awesome new infographic. As I mentioned earlier, we recommend using your blog to publish it (including your list of sources), including a Pinterest button for visitors to easily “pin” your infographic on Pinterest, and create and add an embed code for visitors to share it on their own websites and blogs, as we did above.

Want more? Read How to Create Top-Notch Visual Content in PowerPoint [Tutorial].

download 15 free infographic templates

What the AI-Delivered Buyer’s Journey Will Look Like in 2030

It’s a new year, and you know what that means: new annual predictions. ‘Tis the season for companies to publish their thoughts and plans for 2019, including us. And we’re betting on big changes, like the growing importance of the customer experience and artificial intelligence (AI).

Our forecasting is based on research and deep knowledge of industry trends. But technology is always evolving—sometimes by leaps, but often by tweaks—so it can be difficult to notice incremental changes. That’s why we find it helpful to glance back over our shoulders to see just how far we’ve come.

Take the iPhone, for example. A decade ago, the smartphone was a year and a half old and only beginning to infiltrate schools, offices, and dinner tables. Now, the technology is ubiquitous. It’s hard to imagine life before—or without—smartphones. In 10 short years, Apple has had a tremendous impact on society.

We believe that AI has the potential to create a paradigm shift at the same level. So instead of looking to the past, let’s fast-forward a decade into the future and consider how AI could transform the buyer’s journey by 2030.

Search and Discovery

Picture Jane, a buyer. In 2019, Jane’s interaction with AI may be limited to chatbots that answer basic questions. At home, she might use digital assistants that learn from her preferences and offer personalized recommendations.

By 2030, AI’s power to collect and analyze large quantities of data will drive ever-improving customer experiences. Companies will be able to create a comprehensive picture of Jane based on her browsing preferences and past purchasing behavior. Her smart assistant will learn from her habits, then base its interactions and buying suggestions on those patterns.

AI will also completely change how marketers interact with customers. When Jane goes online to search for products, she’ll engage with a fully cognitive website. Every aspect of her search will be tailor-made just for her. It will be assembled from hundreds of pieces of microcontent and built-in real-time based on what resonates with her.

In the next decade, AI will make product search and discovery more frictionless—and Jane will feel heard and understood. Companies, by extension, will need to do less work to convert that feeling into a transaction opportunity.

Research and Review

While the early days of AI brought advancements like machine-powered image recognition and responsive retail, by 2030, we’ll have moved into the era of predictive commerce.

With more customer data available than ever before, AI will be able to evaluate trends and behavior patterns for every stage of the buying journey. Companies will have a much fuller grasp on what occurs during the research and consideration phase and will be able to create smarter funnels that lead to greater conversion. Every action Jane takes—from what she purchases to what she doesn’t purchase—will add to a growing knowledge base about her and audiences like her.

In 2019, we see first-name personalization in emails. By 2030, we’ll also be using information like what platforms Jane uses, the depth of her brand relationship, her location, and her social identity to facilitate AI-guided decision making.

From Jane’s perspective, these advancements will help her research and pick the most relevant products for her needs. Things like product recommendations and personalized offers delivered through email or new modes of communication will entice Jane without overwhelming her, as AI will make irrelevant sales pitches and marketing messages a thing of the past.

Marketers will also use AI to integrate insights from across all their tools. CRM data will combine with marketing automation and customer service information to create one extensive dataset. By breaking down silos, AI can unlock the true power of these tools and create a more comprehensive picture of customers like Jane.

This will give marketers a deep understanding of preferences and intent, allowing every contact with her to feel like it’s one-on-one. And with a granular understanding of the products available based on her location, AI will continue to create increasingly better recommendations for Jane. It could even actually predict what she might need next—and where she can find it.

Predictive Purchasing

In 2030, buying products will be faster, more customized, and even predictive.

Retailers will help Jane find products in her precise moment of need. In fact, AI may offer targeted products before Jane even recognizes the need herself. If she’s shopping online for party supplies, like balloons and paper plates, a retailer might anticipate that she’ll also need gift wrap. AI will do the hard work for her by instantaneously sorting through the data, like current price trends and local inventory, and offer her a selection of wrapping paper that she can bundle into her current purchase.

This degree of forecasting relies on identifying patterns within massive datasets that are always changing. AI will help marketers match Jane’s purchasing history and product preferences to local product location, pricing, and inventory for a seamless, intelligent shopping experience.

According to the Baymard Institute, nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. How many of those will become completed purchases when AI transforms “I’m just browsing” into “You knew just what I needed”?

Service and Support

No two buyers—and no two buyer journeys—are exactly alike. Just as AI will provide the tools to create intelligent websites and marketing campaigns, the evolution of AI-powered customer service platforms will ensure completely personalized, always-on customer care.

Currently, it can be difficult to evaluate how well customer support is functioning. Complex and disparate chains of logistics, like call centers, repair shops, and customer service departments, mean that cohesive information may be lacking. But in the next decade, AI will use data to standardize, measure, and optimize processes, ensuring buyers always receive top-notch service.

For Jane, this is great news. Holidays, time zones, and language barriers will no longer impede service. If Jane is assembling a piece of furniture and needs help at 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday, AI will make assistance available through advanced chatbots that can resolve complaints and answer questions 24/7.

And when the on-demand and predictive elements of AI meet, Jane will be alerted to products of hers that need upcoming support. She won’t have to remember when her car needs service, because AI will—and it will offer to book the appointment for her, too.

2030 is Right Around the Corner

Eleven years will pass in a flash. In fact, we’re already seeing some of these AI capabilities in marketing today. As the power of machines continues to expand exponentially—and the price of these tools continues to decline—AI, automation, and machine learning will completely change the face of marketing by 2030.

We owe it to ourselves to start thinking about what this future will look like now so we can play our own role in reshaping the marketing industry with AI by our side.

The post What the AI-Delivered Buyer’s Journey Will Look Like in 2030 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

.net vs .com: The Difference Between Domain Extensions 2019

When creating a website, users are required to pick a domain name accompanied by a domain extension. There are two main types of extensions that compete in the business realm: .net vs. .com. A .com extension is traditionally used by commercial businesses while a .net website extension generally denotes a network, email, or Internet service…

The post .net vs .com: The Difference Between Domain Extensions 2019 appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Does SMS marketing still work in today’s modern world?

SMS has been around for more than 25 years and because of its versatility, it is a core part of business marketing and sales plans. But after all that time, does SMS still stand up in today’s modern world?

Back in the 90s, SMS was a brand-new technology, allowing people to communicate through their mobile phones without ever uttering a word. As technology has rapidly advanced in those 25 years, is this somewhat old technology still a favourite for businesses?

We already know that consumers want to receive SMS from businesses and with it boasting a 98% open rate, 90% of these messages are being read within 3 minutes, plus it boasts a huge response rate of 45%, you would be right in thinking SMS marketing works.

So, do these stats alone show that SMS marketing works?

No!

We know, not the answer you were expecting, but bear with us.

Those stats show that sending customers a text message will mean your message will be read and if you need customers to reply then almost half of them will, but what it does not show is the other side, the business side. Do businesses get what they want from it?

This time it’s a yes.

We know it works as we have lots of great customer stories about how SMS has helped these companies get more website visits, reviews, and sales.

Now with both those amazing stats and great customer stories, does this prove that SMS works today?

Yes . . . But also no.

Yes, those customer stories, and many more like them, prove that SMS marketing works. But imagine if SMS was a product, those customer stories would act as amazing 5-star reviews. So we wanted to put SMS marketing to the test and really find out if all businesses give SMS a glowing 5-star review. To do this we put a short questionnaire on our website asking businesses if they were using SMS marketing, if it worked for them, and why it worked. This way we can once and for all give SMS marketing a star rating.

Now with those stats, customer stories, and our own survey this surely means we can answer the question, does SMS marketing still work?

Yes, it does!

And without further ado, here are the results from our SMS marketing survey.

Does SMS marketing work?

We are very happy to announce that a whopping 97% of all businesses that use SMS marketing, said it works.

We love the fact that 97% of businesses found success with SMS, and what was even better, this wasn’t just from a handful of businesses, the answers ranged from multiple different sectors, proving SMS works for everyone.

97% say SMS marketing works

Who uses SMS marketing?

We can’t think of a single business that wouldn’t benefit from using SMS, either for external communication, sales, updates, surveys, or using it internally with their employees or contractors.

A large majority of those who said they use SMS marketing were in the Retail sector (14.6%) with Healthcare (12.2%) and Marketing (9.8%) closely behind. We had a split of over 15 different sectors that use SMS marketing.

Sectors using SMS marketing graph

What is surprising however is that we had many businesses saying they had never used SMS marketing before, 67% in fact. This means that only 33% of businesses use SMS marketing.

It is a real shame that there are still some businesses who haven’t experienced the power of SMS yet, we already know that of those companies that have integrated SMS marketing into their plans, 97% said it works.

Sectors using SMS marketing split

Why does SMS marketing work?

We weren’t satisfied with just knowing that SMS marketing works for 97% of all businesses, we wanted to find out why it worked. At the end of our survey, we included an open-ended question, to give the respondents a way to express why it worked so well for them.

We had some great responses from being able to keep customers informed, SMS being more customer-centric, easy way to communicate, and our favourite answer by far, “98% open rate” – this person has clearly been reading our blogs.

“It informs my followers of upcoming exhibitions”

“Keeps customers informed”

“People do not have time to communicate through phone calls”

“People can instantly check the SMS, compared to email and other communications”

“Gets the job done”

“Everyone who receives the message reads it and it doesn’t get deleted. Nowadays people are always on their phones so when the message comes through, they see it”

“More customer centric, customer specific & has one of the largest social media reaches”

“Enables patients to turn up for their appointment”

“Easy way to communicate and gives consumers flexibility to reply if they want to or not”

“Quick response to surveys”

 

So even with all the amazing technology we have at our fingertips, SMS still stands up to all of that and works wonders for so many businesses.

If you are new to SMS and want to see how easy and amazing it is, sign up to a completely free trial and use our online messaging platform to try it for yourselves.

 

We would like to thank everyone who took time out to answer our survey.

Loylogic wins “Best Innovation in Loyalty” award at the 12th Customer Fest Awards 2019 in conjunction with partner JetPrivilege

Zurich, Switzerland | 6th February 2019

Loylogic, the global leader in e-commerce and e-payment solutions for loyalty programs has been awarded with “the best innovation in loyalty” award for “best use of promotions in a loyalty program” category together with their partner JetPrivilege, the frequent flyer program of Jet Airways.

As part of the 12th edition of The Customer FEST Show 2019 conducted by KAMIKAZE B2B MEDIA, the award has been handed over during the official award ceremony at Taj Land’s End on 5th February 2019 in Mumbai, India. Loylogic was shortlisted from a pool of multiple known names across the loyalty industry and finally declared as the winner after thorough deliberation and several jury rounds. The award recognizes Loylogic’s work and determination to provide unmatched solutions, services and success to its partners. Together with Jet-Privilege, Loylogic’s innovative REX solution and promotion strategy have made the frequent flyer program reach new heights in member engagement.

Commenting on this happy occasion, Dominic Hofer, Founder & CEO of Loylogic said, “We are very excited and proud to be awarded this prestigious “Best Innovation in Loyalty” award along with our long-term partner JetPrivilege. At Loylogic, we constantly innovate and work very hard for our partners’ success. Differentiating our partners in a competitive environment, helping programs to smartly reduce redemption cost and finding new ways for generating more points or miles sales to partners is what drives our team. There is no better recognition for our company and no stronger testament to the character of our team than winning another innovation award.  We look forward to creating more success stories together with JetPrivilege and our other partners around the world.”

About Loylogic

Loylogic is the world’s leading innovator and creator of points experiences, insights, commerce and engagement. By tantalizing members with more choices and arming programs with insights on behavior – anticipating both present and future needs – we deliver powerful solutions that amplify engagement and build loyalty. Founded in 2005 with offices around the world and a global content network of more than 500 merchants and 2,000 online stores offering millions of products and services, Loylogic, the new paradigm of points-based e-commerce and e-payment solutions, is the partner that the world’s leading loyalty programs trust with making their points and miles loved most.

Press contact: Richa Bakshi | richa.bakshi@loylogic.com

The post Loylogic wins “Best Innovation in Loyalty” award at the 12th Customer Fest Awards 2019 in conjunction with partner JetPrivilege appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

Everything You Need to Know to Start a Retail Business

I worked in three different retail stores while growing up. The most memorable experience I had was working at a clothing store on Cape Cod when I was 18. The store had been recently renovated and looked beautiful — the desk with the cash register was designed to look like it was built from parts of a large fishing boat and the nautical theme continued to the inventory, floors, and gift boxes.

The store manager was also incredible — she was meticulous, caring, a natural problem solver, highly organized, and knew our products inside and out. She trained all employees to ensure we were prepared to assist any customer who entered the store in a way that was helpful and on-brand. My experience working at this store was a prime example of everything a retail business should be.

From your store’s appearance to inventory to the manager you hire, there are a multitude of factors that impact the creation of a prosperous retail business Follow along and we’ll cover the steps you should take to start your retail business, the resources and tools you’ll need to manage your store, and how to find the right employees to work in your store. 

But first, a critical question.

Now that you understand what type of store falls under the definition of a retail business, you might be wondering how to actually go about starting one. Let’s review 11 steps that are critical when beginning your retail business.

Each of these 11 steps should be thoughtfully considered and completed when building your retail business as some are actually federal and state legal obligations. Also, these steps aren’t listed in any specific order so feel free to jump around and work through them in any way that makes sense to you.

1. Create a Business Plan

One of the first things anyone looking to start a business should do is create a business plan. This is the document that details all aspects of your company including what you’ll sell, how your business will be structured, who your target audience is, and your financial information. 

Creating a business plan is crucial because it provides you (and your partners) with a comprehensive overview of your business at once making it easy for you to determine what will or will not work and what needs to be modified. Your business plan should be concise, yet informative and detailed. It’s also important to remember this is a living document, meaning you can always make changes as you start to implement different aspects of your plan.

Discover how to create a business plan to help you kickstart your company.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure

Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice for your company to use when choosing your legal structure or building your retail business. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand these processes. This legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy. In a nutshell, you may not rely on any of this piece as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding. 

When starting a retail business, you’ll have to choose a legal structure. Legal structures are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and determine which income tax forms you have to complete and submit for your business. Here are five common business legal structures for your consideration:

Learn how to choose the right legal structure for your new business.

3. Name Your Business

Your business’ name should be catchy, easy to say and repeat, unique, and convey meaning. This way you know it’ll resonate with your customers and be memorable.

You should also search the web to ensure it hasn’t been used. To double check your name hasn’t already been taken, you can search for a trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database. If you are beginning a C Corp or an LLC, you’ll need to visit your Secretary of State’s website to ensure your business entity’s name hasn’t already been used. (Here’s what the Massachusetts Secretary of State website looks like for reference.)

4. File for an Employer Identification Number

You’re most likely going to need to file for something called an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, when you start your business. This is an identifier almost every business in the US and US territories — provided by the IRS — must obtain. Your EIN is what your business will use to report income tax activity.

You can check with your state to make sure you need an EIN as well as review the IRS EIN checklist to make sure you qualify. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to apply for your employer identification number.

5. Understand Other Retail Business Laws

One final legal step for you to complete to set up your business — understand all other retail business laws at both the state and federal levels. We’ve covered a lot of the tax information you’ll need to be aware of, how to legally name and trademark your business, and how to file for an EIN. But you’ll also want to make sure you have all other legal matters taken care of before opening up your retail business. 

Every state’s government website should have a section that reads something like “starting a business”, similar to this one from the Massachusetts government site. Here, you’ll be able to work through a checklist of items to make sure everything you’re doing is legal. You’ll also be able to acquire any other necessary retail business papers and permits. In terms of government laws related to your business you should have a general understanding of tax, employment, and labor, antitrust, advertising, environmental, and licensing laws among other retail laws

Our recommendation to you is hire a lawyer or consultant to help you throughout this process — or at least get you started. The last thing you want to do is go through the effort or starting your retail business and then find yourself in legal trouble. A lawyer or consultant can ensure you consider and understand all retail business laws and requirements. 

Now, it’s time to get out of the legal mindset and move onto some more creative aspects of your retail business.

6. Pick a Location and Make Your Store Attractive

Your store’s location and appearance matter. This is how you’re going to make sure you have the foot traffic and visibility you need to kickstart and maintain a high volume of customers. It’s also how you’ll attract customers and make them want to enter your store.

Retail Store Location

If you decide to go with commercial space for your retail business — which is a building intended for stores or companies to conduct business and make a profit — make sure your location is a good one by chatting with other businesses next door and nearby. You can even conduct an informal foot traffic study by hanging out in the area to observe the number of people who shop there as well as the type of clientele to determine whether or not it resembles that of your buyer personas.

When looking at commercial spaces, you should also think about whether or not you want to rent/ lease the space and work with a landlord or buy the space so you have full control. 

Learn how to create buyer personas for your business to enhance your marketing strategy.  

You might decide to conduct your retail business out your of your home rather than a commercial space. While this will save you a lot of money because you won’t be putting any towards a separate building or retail space, it might feel slightly less professional to your customers. It may also be harder to bring in foot traffic depending on the location of your home. 

No matter what type of retail location you choose, be sure to look into your city’s zoning and planning details. These are typically provided by every town’s zoning commission and tell you whether or not changes to the area, such as construction or traffic, will create any problems or limitations for your store.

Retail Store Appearance

From the way your inventory is presented to your choice in cashier counter to your window displays, everything your customers see and experience should feel and look professional, clean, and beautiful. This way customers want to enter your store and feel excited to do business with you. 

You can make your store look great and feel inviting by using visual merchandising techniques to help you design it in a way that’s well-organized, well-lit, and on-brand. You can also hire a consultant to come in and help you lay out your store in a way that’s visually appealing.

7. Find Your Inventory

Finding the right inventory to sell is crucial. You need to give your customers a reason to come to your store by providing them with unique items they’d have a hard time finding anywhere else — especially since online shopping is so common today due to its convenience. To help get you started, you can search for one of a kind items and unique pieces at fairs, trade shows, and festivals

Here are a couple more things to think about when trying to determine how you’ll source your business’ inventory:

Current Trends

Keep up with current trends within your retail niche (clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc.) to determine the type of inventory you should sell. With the help of social media, retail blogs, and magazines, and by simply learning about what’s doing well in other retail stores similar to yours, you’ll be able to determine the ideal inventory for your brand and buyer personas. These resources will ensure there’s a base of customers looking for the type of inventory you’re going to be selling.

Supplier

Consider the type of supplier you want to get your inventory from — this might be through a manufacturer, individual maker, or wholesale.

  • Manufacturer
  • Individual Maker
  • Wholesale

Working with a manufacturer gives you a lot of flexibility because they help you create products that don’t already exist. Although you can determine the design, quality, and look of the product you crate, this also means working with a manufacturer can become expensive and time-consuming. 

Individual makers are people who create unique pieces of inventory themselves. An example of this would be someone in town who makes knit scarves and hats and sells them to you to then sell in your store. This is a great way to ensure your store has one of a kind pieces. It also means you’ll have to take the time to find talented makers who create quality items that are on-brand and would appeal to your buyer personas. 

Using wholesalers is a great option if you want to sell products in your store that are already being sold by other stores and online retailers. You’ll receive wholesale items directly from the company that makes them for a lower price but you’ll have less say when it comes to your selling margins, as the wholesaler will have control over them.

8. Create Store Policies and Procedures

Creating store policies and procedures for your customers and employees is critical if you want to maintain a sense of order within your retail business. Policies and procedures between your business and customers may include things like your return and exchange policies or whether not you want to allow pets in your store. Policies and procedures between your business and employees may include things like dress code and scheduling expectations.

By creating these store policies and procedures you avoid making customers and employees feel confused about the way something works within your business or at your store. This also helps you set standards for the way you want people to interact with your business on a regular basis.

9. Develop a Customer Service Plan

When starting your retail business, you’ll want to think about how you’re going to develop a customer service plan. Customer service is how you help your customers solve problems, teach them how to use your products, and answer their questions. Your customer service plan details the ways you’re going to do this. Customer service work is proactive. Meaning the point of developing a customer service plan and related policies is to solve for your customer’s problem prior to them even realizing they have an issue.

Let’s cover a few ways you can implement a customer service plan for your retail business through customer-friendly policies, employee training, and customer-loyalty programs.

Customer-Friendly Policies

By creating customer-friendly policies, you’ll make shopping at your retail store simple and stress-free for your customers. For example, you can can create return policies that allow your customers to bring an item back for a full refund with or without a receipt.

Other policies that prevent pain points and enhance customer service include a 100% satisfaction guarantee or complimentary hemming when you buy a piece of clothing in store.

Employee Training

You should train your employees about how to handle different situations with your customers such as exchanges, complaints, and refunds. Training will provide your employees with the exact steps they should take to ensure a professional interaction with your customers that resolves the issue at hand.

Your customer service training should also cover how you expect your employees to deal with larger customer issues and disputes. Provide them with a way to escalate an issue to you — or your store manager — when they’re unable to reach a resolution that satisfies your customer on their own.

Customer Loyalty Program

By proactively providing an incentive for people to return to your store with a customer loyalty program, you’ll likely increase your sales and number of promoters (the people who tell their network about your business). You also enhance their experience doing business with your business as well because you’ll be providing them with discount codes, details about sales, information about your latest products, and any other exciting event or piece of news you have to share.

10. Recruit a Team of Employees

It’d be difficult to grow your retail business without bringing on some team members. You may start as your sole employee, but as your business flourishes you’ll likely need some assistance. You can determine the most important qualities you’re going to look for in candidates, whether they’re related to personality, prior retail experience, or culture-fit. Then you can select and tailor specific retail interview questions to help you narrow down your pool of candidates. (We’ll cover more details about which skills you should look for in your candidates shortly.)

11. Host a Grand Opening

You might choose to have a grand opening for your retail store. This marks the date in which you are officially open for business. Grand openings may include celebratory beverages, food, and sale items to excite your new customers.

Prior to your grand opening, you might also have a soft launch, or soft opening, for your business. Soft launches are when you, the business owner, invite a group of guests to your store to essentially test everything out. These events are a great way to make sure everything works perfectly before your grand opening — meaning this is your last chance to ensure your customers love your inventory, your store is appealing to your guests, and your everything in your store, such as your POS system, functions perfectly. 

You’ve officially worked through all 11 steps required to build your own retail business — congrats! Now, you’ll need to create your retail marketing strategy.

Every retail business should have a retail marketing strategy — this will serve as the marketing plan you’ll use to promote your business. It’ll be the way you get the word out about your business and help you build your base of customers and promoters. Here are six steps to work through when creating your retail marketing strategy.

1. Define your positioning.

Defining your positioning is a critical part of your marketing strategy. That’s because your positioning is what makes your retail business stand out and differ from your competitors. Think about what it is that makes your business unique and use those details to define your positioning. This might be where or how you source your inventory, how you display all of the items in your store, or your impeccable end to end customer service experience.

2. Define your audience.

Once you define your positioning, you should be able to get a better idea of the audience you’re going after. Think about what type of consumer would appreciate your positioning, the products you sell, and how you sell them. By clearly defining your audience, you’ll be able to create buyer personas to help you develop a steady customer base and understand their wants and needs. 

Learn how to create buyer personas for your business with easy to use templates.

3. Create your mission statement.

Your mission statement is another critical part of both your retail marketing strategy and your business as a whole. It’s a formally written statement explaining your business’ goals and values — it essentially explains the reason why your business exists, the purpose it serves its audience, and how it differs from competitors. Your mission statement is what you and your employees can turn to when you need guidance or inspiration, and it’s what your customers can turn to when they want to learn about who you really are as a business and brand. And if you need some help envisioning what yours should say, you can always review mission statement examples from other companies. 

Naturally, as your company evolves and grows, the details of your mission statement may also shift. That’s alright because your mission statement is a living document, meaning it can (and should) be updated over time as you see fit.

4. Decide on your branding.

Your retail business’ branding should feel like a combination of your audience and mission statement. Meaning you should think about what type of branding your chosen audience will respond well to and how it’ll help you represent and depict your company’s goals and values. 

You should study the branding of your competitors to ensure yours stands out and looks unique to your customers. Lastly, make sure your branding is memorable — you want someone to look at any piece of your marketing and know it’s yours.

5. Think about your content marketing strategy.

A great retail marketing strategy includes a content marketing plan. This consists of media you create for your retail business such as written and visual content. A comprehensive content marketing strategy will help you establish a strong online presence and promote your business

For example, a common way to establish an online presence through content marketing is via social media. Social media marketing allows you to promote your business through various platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Once you determine the different aspects of your content marketing strategy, you’ll want to ensure you plan and schedule all of that great content you’ve just created.

Content marketing schedule

Once you have developed your content marketing strategy, you’ll need to make sure the actual content you’ve created is posted, distributed, and shared when you want it to be. Create a content marketing schedule that you and your team can work from to ensure all content is shared as planned.

There are a number of different content marketing scheduling software options, such as CoSchedule, to help you do this. Depending on your business’ needs, you may also choose to use a much broader marketing automation software such as HubSpot, or a more specific social media automation software such as Hootsuite. These software options speed up the scheduling process, ensure your content is shared on time and as planned, and allow you to dedicate employees to certain content.

6. Decide on your budget.

You’ll need to set a marketing strategy budget to work within when developing all of these different pieces to your plan. Think about how much money you want to put towards each of these steps so everyone on your team is aware of the parameters they’ll need to work within. 

When determining your budget, you might find that you’re a bit limited to the amount you can put towards each of these retail marketing strategy steps simply because you’re a new business with fewer resources. That’s alright and totally expected — just remember to expand your budget when necessary as your business grows. 

To help get you started, you can consider the following recommendation regarding marketing strategy budgets by the US Small Business Administration: If you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit range is 10-12%, spend 7-8% of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising

Now that you’ve worked through the steps to building your retail business from the ground up and have a better understanding about how you can approach the creation of your retail marketing plan, let’s discuss some of the resources and software you’ll need to run your retail business.

Resources and Software Every Retail Business Needs

The following six resources and software are tools often used by retail businesses. As you start planning your business, you may think of more tools you’ll need depending on the retail business you’re opening. The following list will get you started most likely need to be modified for your store needs.

1. POS System

One of the most important tools you’ll need to run your retail business is a point of sales system or POS. 

A point of sales system is a software that allows you to conduct customer checkouts and accept multiple forms of payment such as cash, credit cards, and mobile payments. The software also prints receipts, scans inventory barcodes, and stores cash. There are a number of retail-focused point of sales systems to choose from to help you manage all of your customer transactions which we’ll discuss shortly. Without a POS system, it would be exceptionally time-consuming and difficult to keep track of all of your sales and payments.

Here are some POS systems for retail businesses to help kickstart your search for the perfect one for your business: 

You may also want an inventory management software for your retail business. This will keep track of all information about your inventory to understand which items you need to replenish and how often you need to do so. These days, many POS systems, including the five we just listed, have inventory management systems built into them so you may not need to worry about finding another software.

2. Stock Keeping Units

Typically, retail businesses will have some type of stock keeping unit, or SKU, system to keep track of every single piece of inventory they have. A SKU — which is typically located alongside an item’s barcode — is a combination of numbers and letters used to identify and organize each piece of your inventory by characteristics such as size, color, and brand. 

Source

Instead of having to come up with your own SKU, POS systems with included inventory management capabilities also have SKU creation features.

4. Retail Blogs

Every business owner needs inspiration every now and then. Retail blogs are a great way for you to keep up with the latest retail trends and learn about what is and isn’t working well for other similar businesses. Retail blogs, such as The Retail Doctor and Medallion Retail, are focused on topics including growth, industry trends, new software, and in-store business vs. online business.

6. Employee Scheduling Software

As your retail business grows, you’ll most likely find yourself adding members to your team. Managing any number employees — and their schedules — is simple with an employee scheduling software, such as Ximble or TSheets, which allows you to organize and update your business schedule so your employees know exactly when to show up for work. 

Now that you have a better understanding about the resources and tools you’ll need to start your retail business, let’s talk about how you’re going to find the right employees to work in your store.

What to Look For In a Retail Employee Candidate

Who are the people that are going to help you grow your business? What traits should your employees possess to ensure they’ll be impactful additions to your store? Let’s cover some of these important characteristics to help you identify candidates who will be quality employees.

Communication Skills

Retail employees need to be great communicators — they’re interacting with your customers every day. They must be able to communicate details about your inventory to help them find the items they’re looking for. If someone calls your business with a question or issue, they’ll need to communicate their answer or provide a solution. Lastly, your employees need to be able to communicate with you about things such as their schedule and how their experiences with your customers are going.

Positive Personality

Whether your employees are chatting with your customers in person or online, about a topic that’s good or bad, your employees need to maintain a positive attitude. They act as the face of your brand and you want them to represent your business well. So, hiring people with a positive, can-do attitude that’s ready to tackle any situation that may arise — even if it’s a complex and involves an unhappy customer — is important.

Patience

You’re bound to have an unsatisfied customer at one point in time. Your employees must be patient as they listen to the issue in which the customer describes. They also need to be patient while working with that customer to find a solution. Otherwise, it’d be difficult for your employees to turn your customer’s negative experience around.

Empathy

Empathy is feeling and understanding another’s emotions. Whether a customer is in a rush, has to purchase a sympathy gift, or is unhappy with an item of yours, your employees must be empathetic. This is how they’ll find a solution that fits the needs of the given customer. Empathy is what will help turn a customer’s negative experience into a positive one so they’ll continue doing business with you in the future.

Dependability

Whether you have one employee or 10, they need to be dependable. You depend on your employees to represent your business, work hard to delight your customers, be professional and kind, and simply show up to work (on time, of course) when scheduled.

Prior Retail Experience

Requiring your employees to have prior retail experience is up to your discretion. You may choose to focus on personality traits and culture fit instead of work history. However, if you do want employees with prior experience, you could look for candidates who have worked in other stores before or even have an education in fashion, design, or communications.

Start Selling

Starting a retail business is hard work. But, by following the steps we discussed, you can make it happen. Remember there are a lot of moving parts that come with starting a retail business that may change, such as your business plan and mission statement, as you begin putting your ideas into action. Start by obtaining the right resources and tools and hiring the right people to help you start growing your retail business.

4 Ways Internal Brand Awareness Pays Big Dividends for Marketing

Do your front-line employees, like customer service representatives and salespeople, know how to communicate your brand story?

Most marketers laugh when they hear this question because they don’t have a high degree of confidence. In fact, according to my company’s research, 66% of marketing executives believe their brand message is lost by the time it reaches the front lines.

A company’s marketing investment is designed to drive demand, but demand isn’t valuable unless it converts to sales at a high rate. This investment is far more effective and efficient when it improves conversion rates, but Econsultancy reports that only 22% of companies are happy with their conversion rates. There’s obviously a problem somewhere along the way.

When companies don’t prioritize internal brand awareness, their marketing and advertising make promises to customers that their front-line employees don’t deliver upon. When a business falls short of customer expectations, its conversion rate tends to dip. This disconnect also leads to poor brand perception, lower customer satisfaction, and other challenges.

Meanwhile, brands that present a consistent message are nearly four times more likely to experience brand visibility later, according to Lucidpress. Considering the costs of the disconnect, how consistent is your messaging?

The Last Item on the To-Do List

I’ve been working with one company that is in the process of pushing a new brand story out into the marketplace. The company recently acquired several smaller brands, and it’s now working to educate its customers—and the broader public—about its new name and identity.

The company’s marketing team has been getting this new message out through advertising and digital marketing, but internal branding has fallen to the bottom of its to-do list. The result, according to the head of marketing, is customers who “don’t know what the company is.” The company is at risk of losing longtime customers if it doesn’t connect the dots between the new identity and the brand’s customers had grown to trust for years (and even decades, in some cases).

There are plenty of seemingly valid reasons marketing teams fail to focus on internal branding. To start, they might think someone is already doing it—especially if the company has a training department or internal communications team. But these teams don’t always invest the time necessary to understand the brand positioning, which unfortunately means they cannot clearly communicate it.

In other cases, teams might not see the importance of internal branding because they already produce “sales support materials.” The marketing teams compile product details, believing that sales and customer service can take a one-sheeter and turn it into a productive conversation. The information, however, is tailored to external customers rather than internal audiences.

Lastly, marketers are hesitant to put their limited budgets toward internal marketing efforts. They have been conditioned to throw gobs of money at external marketing to drive demand, even if conversions are low. Internal brand awareness is a different path to the desired result—more customers—but most marketers don’t realize the potential of this approach.

The Power of Preaching to the Choir

Considering everything standing in their way, it’s no wonder, so few companies ever think about marketing to their own teams.

Here are four reasons to bump internal brand awareness up from the bottom of your to-do list:

1) It Fosters Consistency

Every marketer seeks consistency with her company’s story. If customers do not hear the same narrative every time they learn about your business, it can lead to confusion and doubt. Doubt leads customers to your competitors.
Southwest Airlines, for example, doesn’t have a brand story; it has a brand attitude. The airline’s team members—from flight attendants to ticket agents—are pleasant and genuine in trying to help customers, and they generally make it easy to do business with Southwest. That’s because the company has made customer service a significant part of its brand. What you hear is what you experience.

2) It Creates Conversions

Consistency is a building block to conversions, which should be the most important metric for every marketing department. Impressions and likes are great, but customers cast their most important votes with their wallets. Unfortunately, marketing departments don’t spend accordingly: Econsultancy reports that companies spend about $92 on customer acquisition for every $1 they spend on conversions.
Front-line teams will win more customers if their brand story is sound and their message is consistent. I once worked with a client that worked in-home services and repairs business. After this company invested the time necessary to outline a consistent process for its call center team that was designed around its brand and desired customer experience, its conversions jumped by nearly 10%.

3) It Encourages Cross-team Cooperation

My team conducted a study of marketing executives, and the respondents rated marketing alignment with front-line teams as the premier opportunity for improving marketing ROI. Better internal alignment leads to superior execution and efficiency, which benefits every department.
The more marketers invest in helping these partners tell the same brand story, the more these groups will be willing to collaborate. This collaboration can lead to tangible results, with a study by MarketingProfs indicating that sales and marketing teams can generate 208% more revenue by working together.

4) It Gives You Better Insights

A focus on internal brand awareness helps marketing teams concentrate on what is happening in the trenches. How are customers responding to your message? What ideas do front-line employees have for improving customer conversations?
Feedback fuels successful companies, and this is particularly true in marketing. In one instance, we saw a call center representative share an idea about a valuable use case for a product. Not only did the company’s marketing department approve of its use in the brand story, but the company also incorporated the example into external marketing campaigns. No one knows your customers better than the people who are talking to them on a daily basis.

Internal brand awareness drives conversions, which fuel revenue growth. If the people who represent a brand can tell a compelling story of their company’s strengths, they will win over more customers. When front-line employees have confidence and conviction in the products or services of their brands, it has a direct effect on customer buying decisions. Don’t let that potential fall by the wayside because internal brand awareness isn’t a priority.

The post 4 Ways Internal Brand Awareness Pays Big Dividends for Marketing appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

33 Innovative Salon Marketing Ideas to Build Your Clientele

Salons are everywhere, and if you’re planning to get into the beauty business, it’s important to understand how you can market yourself to attract clients. To help you out, we spoke with industry professionals to get their advice so you can maximize your marketing and client base. Here are 33 salon marketing ideas from the…

The post 33 Innovative Salon Marketing Ideas to Build Your Clientele appeared first on Fit Small Business.

The 4 best call to actions to use in your SMS marketing messages

A call to action or CTA is a phrase designed to encourage people to take a desired action. It is used across all areas of business, particularly in sales and marketing. Call to actions are everywhere, you may not notice them, but they are there.

The above are just some of an infinite number of examples of a call to action, with over 170,000 words in the English Dictionary, you can imagine the thousands of combinations that businesses have come up with to encourage consumers to complete a task.

Even with all these words and extremely creative marketers, the most popular call to action is the very basic, ‘Buy Now’. It’s is clear on what the desired outcome is and it directly relates to selling a product or service, which is the ultimate goal for businesses.

However, ‘Buy Now’ would not work in all scenarios, nor would a lot of call to actions. It is imperative that the right call to action is used in the right situation. You wouldn’t include ‘Click Here’ on a poster, nor would you have ‘Read More’ in a radio ad, and SMS marketing is the same.

SMS is the perfect medium to connect with your customers and promote your products and services, however, it cannot directly sell a product or sign someone up. SMS is a delivery mechanism, which is why you need a call to action at the end to get your desired outcome.

Call to actions to use in a text message

1. Link to website
Perhaps the most common call to action to use at the end of a text message is to include a link to a website. With this, you can ask your customers to click the link to find out more, buy the product you are promoting, sign up, or just browse your website.

You can even track which of your customers clicked your link with our tracked URL Feature.

“Visit our website for more information www.link.com” or Buy now and save 40% here www.link.com

2. Text back
By adding ‘please text us back’ at the end of your message, you can get your customers responding to you quickly. The end user has received your message on their phone, and replying is quick and effortless.

Two ways you can allow your customers to text you back:

Virtual Mobile Number – use your virtual mobile number as the sender ID and replies will go straight into your Message Box account.

Sender ID: 447618920983 “If you want to learn more about the services we offer, please text us back with any questions.”

Keyword – add your desired keyword into the body of the message and use that to get customers to reply to you.

“Text SAVE to 88802 to get one of our adviser to call you back.”

3. Call us
Similar to asking customers to text you back, asking them to call you is just as easy as for them. Either include a phone number in the body of the message or use your own number as the sender ID.

If you do use this option, make sure you have enough people to answer the calls or use our Schedule Message feature and spread your messages over a couple of hours. We have had customers send bulk messages and included a ‘call back’ call to action which meant their phone lines got jammed with lots of customers all ringing at once.

“For more information call us on 0123 456 7890” or Sender ID: 447618920983 “To speak to one of our advisors call us back on this number.”

4. Visit us
You may want to use SMS to increase footfall to your store, so the correct call to action here would be to ask them to visit your store. We would advise that you either include the address of your store in the body of the message, a link to google maps, or a link to your website where they can find your store location on.

Some of your customers may only ever shop online and do not know where your store is, so just asking customers to visit your store without including any directions is poor customer service. Spending time locating a store could decrease the likelihood of them visiting you.

“Come visit our store located on Highland Road just off the main high-street.” or “Come see us in store and save, we are located here www.link.com.”

 

Remember that no matter which of the 4 options you use in your SMS messages, make certain it is clear what you want your customers to do. Ask them to call or text you back, tell them if they want more information to visit your site or come to your store. Don’t just include your telephone number or website link without specifically asking them to do something with it.

Executive Interview: Michael Grillo of ACI Worldwide

Michael Grillo runs the marketing efforts at ACI Worldwide’s Merchant Solutions area.  The fact that ACI Worldwide is so large is a well-known fact in loyalty marketing circles.  What may be less well-known is the extent to which they power the backbone of the entire payments ecosystem.  They are, quite literally, everywhere.

I met Michael at the recent NRF Big Show event in New York
City.  As you’ll see, he is an affable
and very smart individual with a lot on his plate.  Our conversation at NRF was wide-ranging and
touched some very interesting developments in our space – one of which is the challenges
associated with the emerging BOPIS trend and the technologies needed to effectively
pull it off at scale.

(For the uninitiated, BOPIS is a recently-coined acronym that stands for “Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store“.  It’s ok – I had to ask too.)

Think about it for a moment. 
It takes a lot more data coordination to merge an online & offline transaction
– and do so in real time – than it does to process a purchase in either channel
alone.  And then there’s the fraud
consideration.

Michael and I talked about those challenges and some of the technological wizardry that ACI has developed to stem BOPIS fraud before it becomes a trend in itself.

The Wise Marketer Executive Interview: Michael Grillo from Wise Marketer Group on Vimeo.

Mike Giambattista is Editor in Chief at The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

The post Executive Interview: Michael Grillo of ACI Worldwide appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

3 Easy Ways You Can Speed Up a Video

Transitions are arguably the most important element of any piece of creative work. Whether it’s an article or video, engaging someone throughout its entirety requires you to elegantly weave your individual ideas and thoughts together into a cohesive narrative. Otherwise, if you abruptly hop from one point to another, you’ll throw your audience off and confuse them, increasing the likelihood that they’ll disengage with your work.

If you’re a video editor, you know that one of the most common and effective transitions when creating videos is shooting a clip in slow motion, and then speeding up the ending during post-production. To show you how to do this, we’ve put together a guide that fleshes out three easy ways you can speed up a video and, in turn, craft engaging transitions in Adobe Premiere Pro.

1. Use the Speed/Duration command in Adobe Premiere Pro.

If you want to use the Speed/Duration command in Adobe Premiere Pro to speed up one of your videos, follow the instructions below.

1. In your Timeline Panel or Project Panel, select one or multiple clips.

2. Click “Clip” and then choose “Speed/Duration”.

Image Credit: Adobe

3. Change your clip speed to your desired percentage. The higher your percentage, the shorter the duration of your clip will be.

4. To keep your clip’s audio at its original pitch, click “Maintain Audio Pitch”.

2. Use the Rate Stretch tool in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro’s Rate Stretch tool adjusts your clip’s duration by altering the clip’s speed so the entire clip fits within the desired duration, no matter how much you shorten it. To use this tool to speed up one of your clips, follow the instructions below.

1. Click on the Rate Stretch tool

2. Shorten your clip by dragging either edge of it in toward the middle of your clip. This will speed it up.

Image Credit: Adobe

3. Use the Time Remapping tool in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Time Remapping is another tool in Adobe Premiere Pro that you can use to speed up one of your video clips. To do this, follow the instructions below.

1. Right-click on your clip, select “Show Clip Keyframes”, “Time Remapping”, and then “Speed”.

2. After you do this, the clip will be shaded blue and a horizontal line will appear across it. To increase the speed of your clip, drag the line up toward the top. The change in speed will be displayed as a percentage of your clip’s original speed. Time Remapping doesn’t alter your clip’s audio.

Image Credit: Adobe

video marketing starter pack

51 YouTube Stats Every Video Marketer Should Know in 2019

In 2005, when I was 10 years old, a kid from my neighborhood was bear hugging a fallen tree trunk that bridged across our creek and yelled, “I better not see this on YouTube!”

That was the first time I’d ever heard of YouTube. And it definitely wasn’t the last time I’d hear about it. YouTube has experienced explosive growth since it was founded in an office garage in 2005. Just one year after its inception, it was attracting more than 65,000 new video uploads and 100 million video views per day. A couple of months later, the high-growth startup was acquired for over $1 billion by a titan in the tech industry — Google.

Since then, YouTube has opened up avenues for brands to advertise on their videos and, in turn, let content creators earn a living just by making videos. This potential for monetization has incentivized content creators to craft the most engaging videos possible and host them on the platform, which has enabled YouTube to become the second most trafficked website and the second largest search engine in the world.

As a video marketer, you already know how crucial building a YouTube presence is for boosting your videos’ and brand’s visibility. But if you just started your brand’s YouTube channel or need some help convincing your boss to double down on your YouTube efforts, we’ve got you covered.

Check out these 51 stats about the platform’s mobile usage, its demographics, subscriber growth, general usage, and history that can help you build your YouTube following or persuade your boss to focus more of your efforts on the video platform.

51 YouTube Stats Every Video Marketer Should Know in 2019

YouTube Mobile Stats

4. On mobile devices alone, YouTube reaches more adults aged 18-49 during prime time than any cable network does in an average week.

5. 75% of adults report watching YouTube on their mobile devices.

6. More than 70% of YouTube watch time is generated from mobile devices.

7. YouTube mobile ads are 84% more likely to hold attention than TV ads.

8. Over 50,000 years of product review videos have been watched on mobile devices over the past two years.

9. In 2018, YouTube was the most popular IOS app.

YouTube Demographics Stats

10. Over 90% of 18-44 year old American internet users watch videos on YouTube.

11. Over half of American internet users who are aged 75 and over watch videos on YouTube.

12. Over 50% of YouTube’s audience is female.

13. 59% of Generation Z (16-24-year-olds) have increased their YouTube usage since last year.

14. 46% of millennials (25-34-year-olds) have increased their YouTube usage since last year.

15. 70% of millennial YouTube users watched a YouTube video to learn how to do something new or learn about something they’re interested in.

16. 15.8% of YouTube users are from the United States.

17. YouTube attracts the most visitors from the United States, India, Japan, Russia, and China.

18. YouTube is available in more than 91 countries.

19. YouTube is available in 80 different languages.

YouTube Subscriber Growth Stats

20. The number of channels with more than 1 million subscribers increased by more than 75% since 2017.

21. The number of YouTubers who earn six figures per year has increased by more than 40% since 2017.

22. The number of YouTubers who earn five figures per year has increased by more than 50% since 2017.

23. The top ten YouTubers earned 42% more revenue in 2018 compared to 2017.

24. PewDiePie is the most popular YouTube channel, with 85 million subscribers.

25. The most popular branded YouTube channel is LEGO, which has over 7.1 million subscribers and has received over 8.7 billion views.

YouTube Usage Stats

26. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine.

27. YouTube is the second most trafficked website behind Google.

28. YouTube users collectively watch over 46,000 years of content each year.

29. 68% of YouTube users watched a video to help them make a purchase decision.

30. 80% of YouTube users who watched a video to help them make a purchase decision said they watched the video at the beginning of the shopping process.

31. 95% of the most popular YouTube videos are music videos.

32. 47% of on-demand music streaming was listened to on YouTube.

33. There are twice as many small- and medium-sized businesses advertising on YouTube since 2016.

34. Four times as many people prefer watching video on YouTube rather than on social media platforms.

35. YouTube users watch more than 180 million hours of content on TV screens every day.

36. YouTube users are three times more likely to prefer watching a YouTube tutorial video compared to reading the product’s instructions.

37. “Relaxing” and “feeling entertained” are the top two reasons viewers watch YouTube.

38. Relaxation videos like soap cutting and slime playing experienced a 70% increase in watch time in 2018.

39. Comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and “how to” are the four most popular content categories on YouTube.

YouTube History Stats

40. “YouTube.com” was activated on February 14, 2005.

41. “Me at the zoo” was the first video uploaded to YouTube on April 25, 2005.

42. Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion on October 9, 2006.

43. YouTube launched InVideo ads in December 2007.

44. YouTube streamed the United States presidential debates for the first time in 2012.

45. The youngest YouTuber is Ryan ToysReview, who is a 7-year old boy who makes $11 million a year and has 18.2 million subscribers.

46. “Gangnam Style”’s surge in popularity broke the video’s view counter.

47. YouTube provides a free space in Los Angeles where YouTubers with over 10,000 subscribers can learn, connect, and create videos with each other.

48. The first YouTube video that reached one million views was a 2005 Nike ad that featured football star, Ronaldinho.

49. The YouTube video that received the most views in 24 hours is Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video, which attracted 55.4 million views in a single day.

50. The most liked video on YouTube is the music video for the song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee. It has received over 31.96 million likes and boasts an 89.25% like percentage.

51. YouTube’s own YouTube Rewind 2018 video is the most disliked video on the platform. It has received over 16 million dislikes and owns an 86.53% dislike percentage.

YouTube for Business

[Ebook] Introducing The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics & Analytics

Now more than ever, marketing has to prove its impact on the success of the business. All too often, it’s assumed that marketing exists solely to support sales, or that we throw fancy parties with nothing to show for our work. With the pressure increasing,  it’s time for marketers to take control of the revenue process. The time is now to earn the respect of our organizational peers. We’ve earned a seat at the revenue table. So, what must marketers do to be seen as an integral part of the machine that drives revenue and growth?

In this 2019 guide, you’ll learn how to establish a culture of accountability, plan programs with ROI in mind, create a framework for measurement, and how to build dashboards to inform complex decisions. You’ll learn how to embrace revenue performance management and master the art of forecasting. And above all, you’ll learn how to make insight-driven decisions across teams, tactics, and technologies.

Marketers are continually tasked with doing more with less. We’re continually striving to prove our worth and to show how our marketing activities matter to bottom- and top-line metrics.

Download The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics & Analytics to learn how to drive impact and secure your spot at the revenue table.

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42 Creative Hotel Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customers

Hotels need to be creative in the ways they market themselves in order to stand out. It’s not enough to be listed on travel sites anymore—you need a polished website, positive online reviews, and high-quality content. To help, we spoke with experts to find the best hotel marketing ideas for your business. Here are 42…

The post 42 Creative Hotel Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customers appeared first on Fit Small Business.

The Loyalty Newswire – February 11, 2019

This week, research is pointing us into some unexpected directions, artificial intelligence is the thing everyone is talking about, managing GDPR is a lot harder than it looked last year, and … an invitation.  Here is what we’re following in loyalty news:

RESEARCH

83% Of Consumers
Believe Personalized Ads Are Morally Wrong

Wait – isn’t personalization supposed to be the savior of all marketing?  This is a good, quick read and it presents a case for marketers to be more circumspect rather than blindly chasing the holy grail of personalization.

Brand Keys 2019
Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Identifies Secret to Lasting Loyalty

The venerable brand research consultancy has released its 2019 study listing out the top brands as ranked according to several engagement and affinity markers.  Brand Keys surveyed more than 51,000 people (not a small undertaking) for this year’s study and has identified several emerging trends and up-and-coming brands.

Brand Loyalty in
2019: What Companies Need to Know

Wikibuy surveyed 5,000 people about how they view brand loyalty, including what keeps them loyal to brands and what would make them switch loyalties.  Although a modest-sized sample, the findings do provide some insight into consumer mindsets and motivations.

AI

8 Ways Artificial
Intelligence Is Revolutionizing Retail

Within the first 20 minutes at this year’s NRF Big Show in New York, it became clear that if you’re not talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning, then you may as well not be talking at all.  PC Magazine did a splendid job of re-capping some of the more interesting applications of AI there.

McCormick Uses
Artificial Intelligence to Develop New Flavors

McCormick boasts that it’s a perfectly positioned for using AI. “We have more than 40 years of documented data, sensory and taste data, in our system,” according to McCormick’s chief science officer Hamed Faridi. They teamed up with IBM to create 3 new flavors that will be hitting store shelves “soon”.

Food Delivery Apps
Bet Big on Artificial Intelligence to Boost Delivery in India

AI to deliver personalized discovery experiences for consumers.  AI for time-based demand prediction models to help restaurants plan ahead.  And the (fascinating) list goes on.  As we mentioned above, if you’re not talking about AI right now then you may as well not be talking.

BRANDS

Why Target is
focusing its mobile strategy on a single app

Last week Target announced a major restructuring of its loyalty strategy (which we covered here).  This week we take a few minutes to consider their tactics, and their seemingly odd decision to point everything to their app.

Starbucks doubles its
loyalty program customers in India in two years

This quick note to let you know that the coffee loyalty juggernaut is a genuine international phenomenon.

DATA

Report: Over 59,000
GDPR data breach notifications, but only 91 fines

For the record, we’ve been wondering how this would play out.  Also for the record, in principle, we at The Wise Marketer are pro-data-responsibility.  But with the sweeping GDPR mandate, how in the world could regulators possibly keep up?

The true impact of
loyalty card fraud

Unlike bank accounts and credit cards, many people don’t check their loyalty points balances regularly. The situation presents an opportunity ripe for fraud.  This short piece outlines some of the business reasons why companies need to pay attention to loyalty fraud.  For real, actionable insights and help, please visit our colleagues at the Loyalty Fraud Prevention Association.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Atlasglobal and
Loylogic Announce a Strategic Partnership for Akruu

Speaking of colleagues, our friends at LoyLogic have been busy assembling one of the great deals of early 2019. Akruu, Loylogic’s state-of-the-art, collection portal, offers Atlasmiles members more diversified ways to collect miles online

Points for People
Awarded for Best Use of CSR Initiative at 12th Customer Loyalty Awards

“Since its inception, Points for People has empowered 130 million members across (India) to donate loyalty and rewards points towards social causes like Education of the Girl Child, Water and Sanitation, Livelihood, adding Cancer Care to its platform.” Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

EVENTS

The Wise Marketer presents the fourth Loyalty Academy Conference

This year’s theme, “Winning with Customers by Making Changes that Matter” boils down the flood of change occurring in the world of customer loyalty, into a sharp focus on the most important and impactful topics we need to be addressing right now. It’s a unique event within this space (ask anyone who has attended previously) and its designed to build dialogue and bridges between loyalty practitioners and the organizations that support them.  You can find conference and registration information here.

The Loyalty Newswire is compiled and edited by the staff at The Wise Marketer.

The post The Loyalty Newswire – February 11, 2019 appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

The Ultimate Guide to Crowdsourcing

When Charlie Jabaley, co-founder of the artist management and marketing firm Street Execs, released one of his first client t-shirt designs, the euphoric high he felt in the morning plummeted to a heartbreaking low by night.

He had only sold a total of eight t-shirts.

With famous clients like 2 Chains and Travis Porter, Jabaley’s pressure to succeed was already stifling. But this failed merchandising campaign had just jacked it up to suffocating. Instead of freaking out and sulking about his woes, though, Jabaley took a step back and breathed in some well-needed fresh air.

He decided to frame this embarrassing flop as an opportunity to learn. And after some deep reflection and analysis, he dug up a silver lining that would eventually lead to a multi-million dollar model for merchandise design.

The silver lining Jabaley plucked from the shambles of his failed campaign was realizing he needed to focus on his customers more. More specifically, he needed to understand their’ true preferences. So rather than following the standard formula of merchandising — which was designing products based off a whim, buying hoards of inventory, and then marketing them — he broke conventional thinking by reverse-engineering the process.

Before he bought inventory, Jabaley would post merchandise designs on Instagram and use follower behavior and feedback to help him scrap unpopular designs and turn popular designs into merchandise.

By following his new method, Jabaley knew exactly what his customers wanted and what they were willing to buy, allowing him to solely focus on creating products that had proven demand, avoid wasting precious cash on unwanted inventory, and unload a huge amount of risk off the merchandising process.

Eventually, Jabaley’s method for determining which merchandise designs would sell, and which would not, helped him produce his first merchandising hit — a Dabbing Santa sweater that generated $2.1 million in only 30 days.

Image Credit: Shopify Plus

Charlie Jabaley isn’t the first person to inform his product design using the public’s opinion, though. It’s actually a method that iconic brands like Budweiser, Pepsi, and Oreo have leveraged for years — a method called crowdsourcing.

What is crowdsourcing?

When businesses crowdsource, they ask the public for ideas, information, and opinions to help them craft better products and services. By crowdsourcing, companies can tap into a huge group of people’s expertise and skill sets, ensuring diversity of thought, expedited production, and cost-cutting, since they don’t need to hire new, in-house employees.

Companies who crowdsource usually break massive projects into individual tasks, which allows them to assign hundreds or thousands of people small jobs that they can work on by themselves.

Companies can also crowdsource on social media to gauge people’s opinion on their new product releases or updates. Additionally, companies can run contests to see who can create the best marketing material for them — like a logo, jingle, or commercial.

To help you fully grasp the concept of crowdsourcing, here are some concrete examples of the practice in action.

Crowdsourcing Examples

1. Waze

 Image Credit: Mashable

Waze is a community-based GPS traffic and navigation app. Their users, which has grown to over 90 million around the globe, report real-time traffic and road information, like police traps, accidents, road hazards, traffic jams, and the cheapest gas stations near your route. All of this crowdsourced information allows users to help each other reach their destinations promptly and safely.

2. Unsplash

What started out as Mikael Cho’s fun side project on Tumblr, taking half a day and $19 to create, eventually turned into his flailing startup’s top referral source and became its own standalone company — Unsplash.

Unsplash experienced hockey-stick growth because their service offered the ultimate remedy for a huge pain point in the content marketing space — free, unlicensed stock photos. And by using their initial boom in buzz and traffic to convince photographers to contribute free photos to their library as a way to market their art, Unsplash has successfully fostered a community of over 110,000 photographers, built a library of over 850,000 photos, and generates more than nine billion photo impressions per month.

3. Contently’s Freelance Rates Calculator

 Contently, a content creation platform that also connects brands with freelance talent, built a freelance rates calculator to provide more transparency across the industry and help freelancers better negotiate their rates.

By combining their public freelance rates database, where freelancers anonymously submit the rate they received from various companies, with their platform’s own internal data, Contently has crowdsourced precious information from freelancers in order to help the entire freelance community earn a fair rate in the future.

4. Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl

 “Time Machine” is arguably one of Doritos most memorable commercials, but you might be surprised that it had a budget of $300 and only took six hours to make. Well, that’s because it was created by an aspiring filmmaker who entered the spot into Doritos’ annual Crash the Super Bowl contest in 2014, and won the whole thing.

Frito-Lay, Dorito’s conglomerate, ran Crash the Super Bowl every year from 2007 through 2016, awarding the winner with a huge cash prize and an airing of their commercial during the Super Bowl. And by offering such a can’t-miss opportunity, which allowed them to tap into tens of thousands of people’s creativity, Doritos could associate some of the most unforgettable Super Bowl ads with their brand.

If you’re a freelancer looking for work or a brand looking for talent, check out the following crowdsourcing sites.

1. Fiverr

Fiverr is a freelance service marketplace that empowers freelancers. Instead of being a platform where freelancers search for jobs posted by brands, Fiverr is a place where brands search for freelancers with the expertise and skills for which they’re looking. Most freelancers on Fiverr offer skills and expertise in graphic design, digital marketing, writing & translation, video & animation, music & audio, programming & tech, business, and lifestyle.

2. Upwork

Similar to Fiverr, Upwork is a freelance service marketplace where freelancers create profiles, and then brands can hire them for short-term tasks, recurring projects, or full-time contract work. Most freelancers have skills and expertise in web development, mobile development, design, writing, administrative work, customer service, sales, marketing, accounting, and consulting.

3. CrowdSource

Trusted by brands like Target, Coca-Cola, and Major League Baseball, CrowdSource has trained, tested, and qualified a community of over 200,000 freelancers who can provide copywriting, content moderation, data entry, and transcription expertise and skills. Brands can also search for freelancers by the agency, marketing, publishing, retail, and service provider industries.

4. Contently

Contently is a content creation software that connects enterprise brands with freelance talent, so they’re constantly on the lookout for freelancers who can fulfill their clients’ needs, as well as their own.

If you’re a freelance creative looking for gigs with some big brands, you can register as a freelancer on Contently’s platform and create a free portfolio. You’ll need to get approved and complete their training before you can work with any of their clients, but once you do that, you’ll be apart of their freelance network.

If you’re a brand looking for freelancers to help you craft original stories, check out Contently’s platform here.

5. Skyword

Similar to Contently, Skyword is a content creation software that also connects enterprise brands with freelance talent. If you’re a videographer, writer, photographer, or designer, you can create a portfolio that Skyword’s clients will have direct access to.

If you’re a brand looking for freelance talent, check out Skyword’s platform here.

Crowdsourcing Jobs

If you’re interested in working a crowdsourced job, check out the following gigs you could find in each of the job categories below.

Marketing

Writing

Videography

Design

Photography

Animation

Web development

Mobile development

Editing Jobs

Copy editing

Content evaluation

Content moderation

Proofreading

Administrative

Virtual assitant

Customer service

Usability testing

Audio transcription

Social media post categorization

Image and video processing

Image categorization

Data Jobs

Data entry

Data research

Data categorization

Data processing

Data verification and clean up

Research Jobs

Information gathering

Price checking

Product display checking

Business location verification

Web research

Google searching

Odd Jobs

Making deliveries

Cleaning

Dog walking

Survey taking

case study creation kit - guide + template

5 Reasons to Get Excited About the HubSpot Platform in 2019

 This time last year, we put a stake in the ground by announcing that HubSpot was building a centralized platform.

We believe the world has changed. We see businesses using more kinds of software, not less, that all needs to work together. To help our customers grow better in this environment, HubSpot is evolving from an “all-in-one” suite into an “all-on-one” platform.

Delivering remarkable end-to-end customer experiences is a team sport. Our goal in becoming a lovable platform is to make it easy to complement HubSpot with a rich landscape of apps built by other companies, or custom apps built uniquely for your business by an agency or your own developers.

We want to make it easy for our customers to orchestrate all of this.

In collaboration with our growing collection of platform partners, we made great progress in that mission over the past year. Here are our platform highlights from 2018:

1. We listed 94 new apps in our directory, growing our platform partner ecosystem by 70%.

Good platforms are flywheels: More customers attract more developers, who build more apps, which attract more customers, and so on. Customers get an ever wider set of capabilities, while developers get an ever wider audience they can distribute their apps to.

That flywheel is starting to accelerate on our platform, and it’s inspiring to see the wide variety of innovative companies who are bringing new integrated apps to our customers.

We welcomed 94 new official apps into our ecosystem in 2018, bringing our integrations count to over 200 across 17 categories, that help grow our customers’ businesses.

One of the categories that grew the most in 2018 was Calling. Just within that category, you can find 21 different apps for video conferencing, integrating with cloud-based phone systems and call centers, inbound and outbound SMS, voice-powered chatbots, AI-driven analysis of phone calls, and more.

In 2018, the top 20 most popular apps in our ecosystem by total number of installs were:

  1. Zapier — integrations automation
  2. Mailchimp — email and marketing automation
  3. Slack — collaboration hub for work
  4. WordPressfree content management system
  5. SurveyMonkey — survey collection
  6. Eventbrite — event management and ticketing
  7. Salesforce — CRM
  8. Databox — KPI dashboards
  9. GoToWebinar — video conferencing
  10. MagneticOne Mobile — business card sync
  11. Automate.io — integrations automation
  12. Hotjar — heat mapping
  13. UberConference — video conferencing
  14. Zendesk — support ticketing and customer service software
  15. Shopify — ecommerce platform
  16. Typeformonline form and survey-building
  17. PandaDoc — proposal software and eSignatures
  18. Unbounce — landing page building
  19. Import2 Wizard — seamless data sync
  20. PieSync — integrations automation

As you might expect, many of these were our earliest partners, and it’s great to see their continued success. But we were also excited to see new partners quickly gain traction. The 10 fastest-growing new apps in our ecosystem last year were:

  1. Import2 Wizard — seamless data sync
  2. Typeformonline form and survey-building
  3. Slack — collaboration hub for work
  4. Zoho Analytics — informative sales reports and dashboards
  5. GetSiteControl — online form and survey-building
  6. CircleLoop — advanced calling
  7. OrgChartHub — organizational chart building
  8. Map My Customers — mapping and data visualization
  9. Jira — project management
  10. Skyvia — cloud application and database sync

Many more exciting apps are in the pipeline now and will be launching over the course of 2019.

We also built a number of native integrations last year, including Zoom, Slack, Shopify, Stripe, Youtube, and Workplace by Facebook.

We deliberately invest in a small number of native integrations relative to our ecosystem’s size. This allows us to focus our developers’ time on the handful of companies that we know will be the most valuable for our customers. For instance, we were launch partners for some of Slack’s new APIs, enabling a deep integration between our two products. We were a launch partner for Workplace by Facebook. And we built a groovy new YouTube integration for actionable video metrics.

Whenever we build an integration ourselves, we look for ways to enable other partners in our ecosystem to build off those same extension points. For instance, when we built our Shopify integration, we also created the Ecommerce Bridge API, which enables companies to sync and manipulate ecommerce data using HubSpot functionality. One of our integration partners, Unific, enables customers to connect their Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce, or WooCommerce store to HubSpot using this API. We also recently added a tight integration with Zoom and are working to make it possible for other video conferencing providers to plug into HubSpot in the same way.

2. We added 95 new API endpoints and hosted our first annual platform partner day.

Our product teams have been enthusiastically opening more APIs and UI extension points to enable developers to build and integrate more kinds of apps on our platform.

Last year, we added 95 new API endpoints (for a total of 355), creating programmatic access to tickets, products, line items, CRM pipelines, GDPR compliance features, and more. We launched an Ecommerce Bridge API and Analytics API to facilitate deeper integrations with a wide range of partners in ecommerce and analytics categories. And we unveiled a new Workflow Extensions model that lets partners create branded, native-like actions for customers within workflows across our Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub products.

Last spring, we also hosted our first annual Platform Partner Day at our headquarters in Cambridge. Over 60 of our top integration partners joined us to meet with our engineering and marketing teams, learn about upcoming product releases, and discuss how we can jointly create better apps and integrations for our shared customers.

We’re now gearing up for our second annual Platform Partner Day this spring with exciting new developments to share and even greater opportunities to collaborate.

3. Customers adopted integrations at a record pace.

There’s a positive correlation between the number of apps a customer connects to HubSpot and their growth on our platform. It makes sense: The more our customers invest in a unified experience for their customers, the more they can accomplish.

App adoption across our customer base in 2018 was record-breaking. The vast majority of our customers now have at least one other app integrated with HubSpot, and the average number of apps per customer jumped by more than 50% year-over-year. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of additional app installs.

We’re energized by this number, which indicates that customers are seeing benefits from our platform. But it’s also exciting for our platform partners who are seeing greater adoption among our customer base.

4. We connected our platform partners, agencies, and startups.

Some of the most valuable opportunities we can offer platform partners are connections with programs and communities across HubSpot.

For instance, our global network of thousands of agencies and consultants helps businesses leverage our software to grow better. Increasingly, these providers are adding our platform partners’ products to the solutions they’re delivering to clients. This gives their clients more capabilities, expands their own service offerings, and lays the foundation for a powerful go-to-market channel.

We’re seeing our agency partners leverage our platform in powerful and innovative ways. For example, Nextiny, a Platinum agency partner has curated a “tech stack” of apps from HubSpot’s platform ecosystem that they regularly deploy together for clients. Nextiny used this stack to overachieve on key business goals for their client, Jeeves Florida Rentals, and their success landed them a 2018 Impact Award for Integrations Innovation.

Nextiny

To facilitate these types of relationships, we launched the Apps for Agency Services program last spring. It provides a structured way for platform partners who qualify to help agencies sell and service their software, including sales enablement tools and a free subscription for their own internal use.

HubSpot for Startups is another thriving program partners with over 1,500 accelerators, incubators, and VC firms (like Y Combinator and Sequoia Capital) to provide startups with educational resources, event programs, and startup-friendly discounts on our software.

Last year, we enabled platform partners to provide special discounts to qualified startups to help them build relationships with new ventures.Airtable_HSFS

To further build momentum between our platform partners and startup community, our platform marketing team researched the most commonly used apps for startups in our ecosystem and curated collections of apps for startups and free apps (including those with a freemium offering) in our directory.

We were inspired by all the successful connections between platform partners, agencies, and startups that happened last year. We’re committed to facilitating even more of them in the year ahead.

5. We launched HubSpot Ventures and announced co-investment from Amazon Web Services (AWS) in programs to grow our ecosystem.

In addition to expanding our platform’s APIs and extensibility and creating new app distribution opportunities for partners, we also made a couple of big announcements about growing the ecosystem itself.

In December, we launched HubSpot Ventures, a new $30 million fund to invest in startups that align with our mission to help millions of organizations grow better. Some of the previous investments that we have made include Blissfully, Grow, Lorem, Privy and Terminus.

At the same time, we announced a three-year commitment with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help startups grow better. All AWS Activate members have access to HubSpot for Startups and AWS now offers Activate memberships and credits to participants in HubSpot for Startups too. AWS will also support HubSpot’s platform partner program by co-investing to build an ecosystem for HubSpot partners, including content tailored to developers.

And, in the spirit of investing in our platform partners, we also extended HubSpot for Startups discounts to all certified platform partners who aren’t yet HubSpot customers but want to make the switch.

Onward and Upward in 2019

We’ve got big plans for our platform ecosystem in the year ahead. For customers, we’re eager to bring you more apps and integrations that will expand your business’s digital superpowers. To see the latest ones, check out the new and noteworthy category in our directory.

For partners, we’re dedicated to creating more opportunities for you to build your business on our platform. Last year, our entire executive team went on a field trip to learn from some of the best platform companies in the Bay Area. Our overarching takeaway was this credo: A platform should be measured by the success of its ecosystem. In 2018, we added three key hires to our team who are specifically tasked with helping our ecosystem succeed. Samantha Ceppos, our director of global partner and platform marketing, scales our ecosystem and ensures our partners are always looped in to changes and updates. Elizabeth Ruscitto, our director of developer relations, is leading the charge in improving our developer documentation, tools, and support. You can access our latest resources and sign up for a developer portal for free here. Hugh Durkin, our director of platform partner success, is focused on shaping our platform partner program to help partners grow their businesses within our ecosystem.

Are you interested in joining us as an app platform partner? Learn more about the program here.

We’re eager to grow better together.

 

Where Marketing Attribution Falls Short—and How to Get it Right

With the CMO often considered the most precarious position in the C-Suite, marketing attribution is top of mind for everyone looking to really measure the impact of their marketing departments. And with good reason—new data shows that 60% of marketers face pressure to prove ROI. CMOs are under increased pressure to demonstrate their team’s ability to influence buyer cycles, so the importance of delivering strong insights is as important as ever before. But, it is critical that these insights are statistics that actually matter. The rise of statistics like “impressions” and “mindshare” that do not truly get at the actions driving sales further muddies the waters of what makes an important marketing statistic. It makes sense, then, that only 22% of marketers feel that their organization is using the right attribution model.

A small improvement is the increasing emphasis on pipeline, but that does not always convert into sales. Additionally, there are increasingly convoluted and complex ways to track lead quality. CMOs need to look elsewhere to prove real attribution. Specifically, alignment with sales and customer success, coupled with mid- and bottom-funnel marketing technology, will allow for more accurate and robust attribution. 

Aligning with sales

Better and more consistent conversations with sellers will open up areas to pinpoint impact on revenue, sales acceleration, and close deals. Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing departments see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates. Communication between marketing and sales will create an understanding for the marketing department of what content is making the biggest impact and truly leading to sales. This feedback will improve the content creation process and boost content ROI. You will better understand content effectiveness, or which content is actually moving deals through the sales cycle. While determining what content contributes to customer engagement can be tricky, the sales team will know directly from the customer what concepts and content are making the biggest impact. The biggest key is lead conversion. This measures not just the quality of leads marketing is generating, but marketing’s ability to equip sales with everything they need to successfully interact with new leads. This allows marketing to hone in on the most effective messages and create the right campaigns around them.

Aligning with customer success

While sales alignment is critical, marketing efforts do not simply end when the ink dries on a deal. Increasingly, CMOs are being tapped to lead customer experience and customer success. Customer experience is the role that marketers have taken control over the most in the last 12 months. With customers being willing to pay more for a better experience, the reasoning for this is obvious. And when CMOs are leading customer experience, they are expected to deliver results. There are a few metrics that can prove value in customer success. First, marketing should be creating new customer advocates. Marketing’s efforts on improving the customer experience should lead to new fans and endorsers of your brand. Second, new customer content should be a breeze with a strong customer sucess & marketing alignment. Newly identified case studies, success stories, and potential partnerships will create strong content to be used across the entire organization. Lastly, when CS is tapping into marketing’s abilities to create personalized, hyper-relevant marketing content, the customer will feel more attended to and more likely to sign a larger deal during contract re-ups.

Using the right technology

There is more marketing technology than ever on the market, and all of it can inundate you with data and different forms of analysis. But only so much of the data, and the technology at large, is useful to understand what marketing decisions are working and what decisions are not when it comes to making an impact. It is critical to find technology that can share valuable data points. More numbers is not always better. This is also a chance to better integrate with the technology used across your organization in sales and customer success to find cross-functional utility. If there is valuable shared data coming from technology that is useful across all of your departments, you will be more likely to speak the same language when you need to collaborate and best understand the impacts of marketing efforts.

Creating the right alignment within your own organization, combined with the right marketing technology that will enhance these alignment efforts, unlocks a new level of understanding for marketing attribution. Gone will be the days of struggling to understand the utility of certain statistics and feeling siloed from different departments. When your organization can strategize around these keys, you will find a much clearer picture into marketing’s effectiveness.

The post Where Marketing Attribution Falls Short—and How to Get it Right appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Top 27 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros

Statista reports that 77% of the U.S. population is on social media, yet there are still businesses without a social media presence in 2019. With proper attention, social media can have huge benefits for your company. We asked experts to share their insights on developing the best social media marketing strategies for businesses. Here are…

The post Top 27 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Example SMS Web Pages for food outlets

As a business that relies heavily on the taste of food, being able to whip up scrumptious dishes is the number one goal for every restaurant, takeaway, or food outlet. This will be second nature to your chiefs, but what is the point of making amazing looking and tasting dishes if no one is there to eat them?

Being able to promote your restaurant or takeaway is another kettle of fish. Some restaurants have a whole team of marketers working around the clock to promote them. Unfortunately, this can’t be said for most restaurants and takeaways, who will only have a handful of employees, meaning marketing your business and being able to attract new customers can be very hard.

A great way to promote your business is by taking high-quality pictures of the food and uploading these to your website. But unless people come onto your website, how will they see your dishes?

Including a photo next to an item on a restaurant menu increase its order by 30% (Source: Menu Cover Depot)

Wouldn’t it be great if you could almost guarantee that all your customers would see your amazing dishes exactly when you wanted them to? Well, you can with SMS marketing and SMS Web Pages, the perfect combination for promoting your restaurant or takeaway.

SMS has a 98% open rate, meaning more of your customers will see your message than if you send an email or posted a message on social media, and with our SMS Web Pages feature you can create your very own landing page, include images of your incredible dishes, extra information on what you are serving, and a big button for your customers to click and order or book a table.

63% of consumers said good images are more important than product description (Source: UltraLinx)

SMS Web Pages is the perfect tool to showcase your food and to ensure you get the most out of it, there are a few key attributes that you need to have to maximise the effectiveness of the landing page.

To help you get an idea of what you can create with SMS Web Pages, we have created 4 great examples of how restaurants and takeaways can use it to get more orders and reservations.

SMS Web Page example food

Order food
The most popular way that we see restaurants and takeaways using SMS is to promote their food, which is why SMS Web Pages is a perfect match. You can include a couple of your most popular dishes and a great incentive to tempt customers to order from you.

Nothing makes the mouth water than a big juicy image of a pizza dripping with cheese – now that sounds tasty.

Order food SMS Web Page

Book a table
Whether you want customers to book a table on a Friday night or you want them to book a table for a specific event, sending them an SMS Web Page with information on how they can book a table, with a nice image, will encourage your customers to book a table with you.

Book table SMS Web Page

We hope these examples have helped you create your very own SMS Web Page, but if you are still struggling, one of our design team can do it for you, just give us a call and we can give you a bespoke quote.

Remember that when sending your customers a text message, make sure you send it at the right time. Sending it after they have already eaten is a waste of everyone’s time.