Author Archives: Roy Revill

The 6 Best Thank You Page Examples of 2021

… Not exactly the message you want your customers inferring from your website’s Thank You Pages, is it?

Thank You pages are effective opportunities to demonstrate appreciation towards your leads, prospects, and customers for taking a desired action — and even potentially convert users or increase sales through additional CTAs. 

Here, we’ll explore six different purposes of a Thank You page, along with six stunning examples of Thank You pages to inspire your own designs in 2021 and beyond. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is a Thank You page?

Your customers and leads see your Thank You Page immediately after completing a form or making a purchase on your web page. It acts similarly to a confirmation email — except viewers don’t have to choose to open it. 

Think of a Thank You page as both the last step in your conversion process and the first step for customer retention. 

The Thank You Page presents a prime opportunity to turn a lead into a customer — or a customer into a brand advocate. The best way to do this? Make the next step(s) in the buyer or user journey:

  • … Obvious and clear
  • … Immediate
  • And exciting or desirable.

What is the benefit of a Thank You page?

Think of it this way: you may never have an easier, more natural opportunity to give a customer something that pleasantly surprises them and precisely fits what they want. 

How do you know what your customer wants? They just told you exactly what they want, by following a call-to-action on your site.

After someone follows the CTA on a landing page, take them to step two in their journey before they click away. Show customers you’re ready to deliver value time and time again.

For instance, if a customer makes a purchase on your site, use the Thank You page as an opportunity to add value through additional resources or content — which will build trust and delight customers. 

Alternatively, you might use a form Thank You page as an opportunity to provide leads with next steps. If the lead downloaded a Social Media Calendar ebook, the Thank You page can list out alternative social media resources you’d like to provide. 

To see this in-action, let’s explore Thank You page examples, next. 

Thank You Page Examples

1. Purpose: Contact Form Completion

Confirm to your customer that they completed their intended action successfully – and remind them what you will (and won’t) do with their information. Build trust and let them know you’re on their side. 

Let consumers know you’re interested in delivering value … and won’t be emailing them just for the sake of it.

This is your best chance to convince consumers your brand is different, and it comes long before they run across one of your messages in their inbox.

Best Contact Form Thank You Page

Axis Social tells a big, layered story on their Thank You page for new contact form sign-ups. Thanks to careful layout and crisp design, they manage to push their primary CTA while also reinforcing social validation and trusted partners.

2. Purpose: Downloadable

You likely have an ebook or other lead generation downloadable send automatically via email. However, it’s still best to offer a download link to the originally-requested item right on your Thank You Page, as well. 

This can keep your customer engaged on your site and increase the likelihood they’ll open and engage with your materials right away. 

Best Thank You Page for Downloadables

The Content Marketing Institute incorporates both native download links and curated suggestions for additional on-site content into their Thank You Pages. (It’s almost like they do this kind of thing for a living …)

Content Marketing Institute's Thank You page

3. Purpose: Purchase Confirmation Pages

The post-sale confirmation page is an often-missed opportunity to surface similar, related, or complementary products. 

To increase effectiveness, you’ll want to customize these recommendations with an aligning offer — such as a coupon, rewards program, etc. 

If customers can create an account with your site, but also have the option of checking out as a guest, the confirmation page is also a great opportunity to prompt a free account creation. 

Best Purchase Thank You Page

Few companies can even begin to approach the level of customer data that Amazon collects, stores, and leverages across their businesses. This quality of information – and the company’s essentially limitless supply of items and store listings – makes the purchase confirmation page incredibly effective (and, as a consumer, quite difficult to resist).

amazon thank you page

4. Purpose: Appointments and Reservations

When you’ve got someone newly signed up for an appointment, the Thank You Page provides a ready-made opportunity to expand or extend the conversation with them. Encouraging viewers to follow or engage with your organization on social is a natural next step.

Best Thank You Page for an Appointment or Booking

OpenTable incentivizes users to download the app once they’ve made an appointment so they can track and modify changes from within the app itself. The Thank You page also includes helpful notes about what to know before arriving at the restaurant. 

opentable's thank you page

5. Purpose: Account Creation Thank You Pages

This is a prime opportunity to usher your lead seamlessly into your onboarding or account setup process. 

You’ll want to make it so easy they don’t even think about clicking away. 

You know how hard you had to work to get them to this point in the first place. Why not capitalize at the start by moving them a step or two along in your retention lifecycle journey?

Best Account Creation Thank You Page

Backlinko goes above and beyond in laying out the next steps for their leads. They’ve infused their page’s messaging with urgency, but also friendliness and approachability. 

Backlinko's thank you page

6. Purpose: Donation Thank You Pages

A donor isn’t ‘buying’ a product in the same way most other customers are, but they’re undoubtedly looking for some element of reassurance, affirmation, appreciation, or — at the very least — some confirmation that their contribution is making a positive impact and being well spent. 

For nonprofits, political campaigns, and other donor-soliciting sites, use the Thank You Page to provide a window into each donation’s impact, right from the start.

Additionally, it never hurts if you can anticipate and answer questions about your efficacy before they’re even asked. 

Best Donor Thank You Page

Save the Chimps nails the impact of storytelling on their donor Thank You page, putting the chimps — the organization’s beneficiaries — front-and-center. 

save the chimp's thank you page

The Quick Guide to WordPress User Roles & Permissions

WordPress user roles and permissions may seem like a minor detail, but they are incredibly important. Whether you’re looking to enable content creators to add their own content while safeguarding your site, monetize your site with gated content only certain users can access, or looking to create email campaigns for your web-driven contact lists, you…

The post The Quick Guide to WordPress User Roles & Permissions appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Hello 2021 – Let’s recall our top 10 blog posts from 2020

It’s January, which means the somewhat stunted festivities are over. No more excuses for eating excessive amounts of chocolate and cheese. The decorations have been put away and we’re back in our home offices. So… we imagine, like us you’re glad to see the end of 2020.

2021 comes with a fresh start, new goals, new beginnings… and a new lockdown. However, it’s not all doom & gloom, we’re here to share our top 10 performing blogs from 2020. We’re pretty proud of them and hope they’ll give you some ideas of how to best maximise your business’s SMS marketing efforts for the year ahead.

Marketing campaigns of lockdown: The good, the bad and the ugly

A fairly clever chap named Albert Einstein once said: “Failure is success in progress”. Marketing campaigns are no different, but the good news is we’ve already found what you shouldn’t be doing. So have a read and see what you can learn from the good, the bad and the ugly campaigns from lockdown 1.0.

Using SMS to enhance back-to-business for hairdressers and barbers

Lockdown hair was a serious issue and every man and his dog wanted to sort out their DIY haircut with a professional. As such communication from businesses to customers needed to be effective. This post details all the ways SMS could be used to achieve just that, helping hairdressers and barbers prep for reopening. 

How to use SMS web pages to communicate during a crisis

Crises can come in all shapes and sizes, and 2020 required businesses to remain agile and navigate a number of different challenges. It’s important for companies to be fully prepared so they can react as quickly and efficiently as possible. This blog details all the ways SMS Web pages can be used to convey helpful information in an emergency. After all, combining the speed and reach of SMS with the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words, can be particularly useful in a crisis situation. 

How to track the ROI of your SMS campaigns

We like to spout the importance and effectiveness of SMS, but don’t just take our word for it. You need to track the results to measure your return on investment (ROI) to know what your customers respond to best. Here we detail 3 main ways you can achieve this with your future SMS campaigns.

Technology can help pubs and restaurants during COVID-19

Pubs and restaurants, remember those? Many have adapted to doing takeaway and pick-up options to keep revenue coming in. For these services to be successful, businesses must be able to effectively communicate with customers, whether it be opening times, menus, or delivery updates. Find out how SMS can help cut through the noise.

eCommerce trends for 2020

This one might seem a little outdated but it’s worth considering some of the key changes of 2020 and how that may have affected your business. Maybe it’ll spark some thoughts about the big eCommerce trends for 2021.

How hospitality businesses can bridge the revenue gap

Arguably, hospitality has been one of the most disrupted sectors during the pandemic. So to help our hospitality customers maximise customer engagement and drive revenue in these uncertain times, we outlined the campaign ideas which proved valuable for our clients back in July.

Best practice guide: Creating a business continuity plan

2020 didn’t exactly go to plan for a lot of businesses, but it did get us thinking. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Check out the helpful guide and see how you can integrate SMS for an even better business continuity plan.

What business practices are here to stay?

In many ways last year was a learning curve for businesses. There were some practices enabling companies to remain agile and effective, which it makes sense to continue with. See a quick rundown of our learnings and the things we think are worth maintaining moving forward.

How to successfully manage remote teams

Teamwork is as important as ever, but it’s also probably the hardest it’s ever been with remote working. Not having to sit in rush hour traffic or on the busy tube is great, but there are some challenges too. Here we delve into how to better manage your remote workforce. 

Well, we’re glad to see the end of 2020 and say hello to 2021. Hopefully, some of this content was useful to you. If you’ve got any ideas for topics you think we should cover, drop us a note at info@textmarketer.co.uk

The post Hello 2021 – Let’s recall our top 10 blog posts from 2020 appeared first on Textmarketer.

A Look at the Tech Trends That Will Shape the Future of Loyalty

How 2021 Will Be Won

“What a year we’ve had!” There are more than a few ways to read into that sentiment, but at least when looking back at the dramatic ways technology has shaped the converging landscapes of marketing and technology, the words are brimming with enthusiasm. 2021 will be an even more important year. Loyalty vendors are now teetering on a fine edge; they can either continue doing what they have always done, or they can change with the times to embrace the future of tech trends that will shape our world. The circumstances which have made 2020 a disaster for many have fueled technology applications acceleration, due to the necessity of remote interactions and virtual experiences. This evolution will continue into 2021 and beyond, even after the immediate effects of COVID-19 have subsided. Simply put, the world has changed, and will continue to change. Here are just a few of the future tech trends marketers should be ready to meet head on in 2021 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence

A concept which has been around for a long time, AIs are beginning to stir attention as their growing sophistication is allowing them to enter real-world applications. According to a Teradata study, 80% of enterprises report that their organization already has some form of AI in production. The study also revealed that one of the top planned areas for AI investment for brands was customer experience. AI can benefit all areas of the loyalty ecosystem including improving data and analytics, enhancing customer experiences, and predicting the behaviors of customers over short and long time horizons.

Case Study: Adobe Analytics

Adobe has recently announced some big upgrades to their Customer Journey Analytics product. The new toolkit will use AI learning to spot anomalies in retail areas such as shopping carts and will add context to solve problems. John Bates, director of product management at Adobe Analytics, said “enterprises are collecting thousands of different metrics and these [new] tools aim to get the signal through the noise.”

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps require extra effort from customers. They require a device. They oblige extra effort to download, store, and manage updates for a piece of software that takes up space on that device. Given the added considerations of this commitment, many pundits believed that turnkey web-based platforms would outpace apps as the preferred channel of loyalty access. But in fact, apps are more important than ever in today’s loyalty landscape. 52% of c-store shoppers prefer using a mobile app, according to PDI’s 2019 C-Store Shopper Report. This growth is increasing rapidly: the 2019 Road to Rewards Report noted that in 2016, only 20% preferred mobile apps for reward redemption. The number rose to 31% in 2017 and 44% in 2019. In contrast, the choice to use a website for reward redemption has declined from 36% in 2017 to 29% as of 2020.

What is propelling these trends? Simply put, app experiences are better. Personalized targeting and customized rewards can be sent directly to users, tapping into the constantly progressing computing power of mobile devices. And the data collected from these interactions is much richer, enabling marketers to better link performance and results.

Case Study: Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks rewards is one of the most successful app-based loyalty schemes of all time. Charged with bringing many innovations into mobile loyalty technology including real-time personalization and pre-ordering functionality to bridge the virtual with the physical. Plus, the program took another firm step into the future this fall by embracing currency neutrality. Reward members can now pay for orders by cash, credit/debit card, and select mobile apps.

Contactless Payment

As cashless customers continue to march steadily forward expecting frictionless transactions no matter which technology or financial institutions they choose to patronize, stores must keep up with the surge in demand for mobile payments. Cash was under pressure even before the circumstances of COVID-19 began tugging on the final seam in an aging wallet. But now, even credit cards are falling into the realm of the has-been, with customers opting to go completely digital with their payment decisions.

Case Study: 7-Eleven

7-Eleven, Inc.’s new app-based mobile wallet offers all customers — including those who would like to load cash — a true contactless, convenient way to pay nationally at participating U.S. stores. 7-Eleven Wallet, a feature built into the 7-Eleven app, allows customers to securely load funds in the form of cash, debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and prepaid 7-Eleven gift cards. Users are not charged any loading or transaction fees and incur no interest fees like those charged by credit cards.

The Digital Made Real

Perhaps the biggest tech trend of 2021 isn’t just a single app or hardware-enhanced feature. It’s a combination tools designed to integrate digital spaces with the real world as seamless, tangibly familiar experiences. It’s about augmenting reality in ways that were once only imagined in the most fantastical dominions of science fiction, and using technology as an interface to foster better loyalty connections, creating an all-encompassing omni-channel environment. Systems like voice and facial recognition paired with advanced AIs, real-time proximity marketing, strategic sensors, and smart screens will all combine — often behind the scenes — to create a new paradigm of shopping and loyalty across all areas of retail.

Case Study: Star Alliance

The airline industry had a rough year in 2020, and will need a drastic upheaval from their historic operations to accommodate the change in demand and travel expectations from customers. Star Alliance, the world’s largest global airline alliance, along with founding member airline Lufthansa, is rolling out a new generation of biometric services at Frankfurt and Munich international airports called Star Alliance Biometrics, powered by NEC I:Delight. These innovations will help solve a key piece of the new air travel model: allowing for faster and more accurate identification than human screening while also reducing the need for human interactions.

Star Alliance aims to bring most if not all of its 26 member airlines onto the platform, and to expand the service beyond its member airline loyalty club and include all travellers. “We believe providing warm and personal customer service is an important element for airports and airlines to build customer loyalty,” says Jason Van Sice, Vice President of Aviation, NEC Corporation of America. “NEC I:Delight will not eliminate but enhance these initiatives by removing the distraction of document and ticket validation, and focus on known individuals with seat preferences, status, and more.”

The post A Look at the Tech Trends That Will Shape the Future of Loyalty appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

How to Monetize Your Brand's Blog, According to HubSpot's Blog Leaders

Whether you’re running a personal blog or managing the official blog on your company’s website, monetizing your work is entirely possible — it just takes a good amount of time and effort.

While there’s no exact formula to start making money, there are some tried and true strategies you can start experimenting with to see what works best for your content, your business model, and your audience.

Below, we’ll dive into some of these monetization ideas and get advice from HubSpot’s own blog leaders.

How Do Blogs Make Money?

Before we dive into the monetization strategies, you might be wondering, “How will my blog make money?” Well, your blog can make money in several ways including lead generation, affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, collaborations, or advertising. To find out more, you can learn about the types of blogs that make money and see which strategy would work best for your blog.

Now that we know a few ways that blogs can make money, let’s dive into the top monetization strategies for your blog.

1. Map blog posts to specific conversion points.

As a company, you can use your blog to drive leads and conversions.

AJ Beltis, a marketing manager on HubSpot’s channel monetization team, says, “Conversion is the foundation of blog monetization. Whether it’s an ecommerce purchase, a demo request, or a content offer download, it’s imperative to have your blog posts point to an intentional, related next step in the buyer’s journey.”

So, you might be asking yourself, “How can I do that?”

Beltis’ advice is to ask yourself what somebody reading this specific blog post would want or need from your company. Then, you should create the assets you’ll need to make that conversion happen in the form of website pages, forms, or content. After that, you’ll naturally place your calls-to-action to that next step in the blog post so readers are reminded about what your recommended next step is.

“By placing these CTAs in appropriate sections of the blog, you’re more likely to capture the attention of readers with high intent. This process puts more readers on the path to become paying customers for your business,” Beltis adds.

2. Include information about your product or service in your blog posts — but do so sparingly, and thoughtfully.

When you’re writing blog posts, it’s important that each post isn’t just a sales tactic. Your blog posts should provide educational content that anyone could benefit from, not just your customers.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever mention your product or service.

According to Caroline Forsey, the editor of the HubSpot Marketing Blog, “If you’re writing content about the best tools for X, and your product or service is a good solution to that user’s search query, I’d highly recommend including it in your total roundup of tools to increase exposure and, ideally, drive more leads and customers towards your product. This is one of the most effective ways to monetize your blog for the long-term, particularly since that same piece of content might provide your business with leads 3-5 years into the future.”

Again, this doesn’t mean you should always and only promote your own product or service.

Forsey adds, “You risk damaging your blog’s reputation if you do this too often, or outside of the appropriate context. Readers don’t want to see a random ‘buy my product!’ CTA in a piece of content irrelevant to your product — and, if they feel like your content is actually just a gimmick or hidden advertisement, they’ll distrust your brand as a whole.”

To avoid this, Forsey suggests only mentioning your product or service where it makes sense, and in a list of other tools you’d suggest for businesses so they feel you’re arming them with useful information so they can make their own decision best-suited for their needs.

“Trust me: if readers enjoy reading your content and feel your brand is genuinely helpful, they’ll give your product or service a second look,” she says.

3. Build a lead funnel for your product.

If you work at a B2B company or have a long sales cycle, reading a blog post is usually a customer’s first and furthest interaction from their actual purchase. But it’s also arguably the most important stage of the inbound funnel. Attracting your audience’s attention with helpful, educational, or entertaining content creates a larger pool of people to convert into leads and close as customers. In other words, your blog marks the start of a relationship with your customers.

Lestraundra Alfred, the manager editor of the HubSpot Sales Blog, says, “If you’re looking to gain exposure from your blog, your content should help bridge the gap between the problem the reader is trying to solve and your product, which can serve as a solution. By creating content that your ideal customer is searching for and interested in, you can build a solid community of readers who are a great fit for your product, and when nurtured, can turn into customers for your business.”

Ideally, you’ll want to craft compelling blog content that your audience can discover easily through a Google search or social media. You can also pay to amplify your distribution on Facebook, which has the best targeting tools out of all the social media sites and is cost effective, or through paid search, which can thrust you to the top of a high-volume Google SERP, although some keywords are expensive.

After people start reading your blog content more, and want to read it on consistent basis, they’ll sign up for your blog’s email subscription. Once strangers to your brand, they’re now regular visitors.

When these visitors read enough blog posts, you can entice them to download conversion offers like Beltis mentioned above. Then, you can then nurture qualified leads with more blog posts and lead generators through email or Facebook ads. Consistently educating them and helping them solve their problems will build their trust, making it more likely they’ll move to the middle of your funnel when they’re ready. And once you see them researching your product or service by reading case studies, requesting a demo, or trying to contact sales, you can move them to the bottom of the funnel, where sales will qualify their fit as a customer.

Sales will close some of these leads into customers, and they’ll be thanking you when they do. Your blog introduced their customers to your brand.

4. Offer sponsored content opportunities to other brands.

Publishers like BuzzFeed and The Dodo produce content that floods social media every day. And they make money by helping other brands do it too.

Brands will collaborate with their video production, social media, and analytics teams to craft posts and videos that follow their formula for virality. Publishers also distribute this sponsored content to their massive social media and website followings. This content is similar to the publishers’ native content, so their audience will enjoy reading it, exposing their clients to a huge, engaged, and new viewership and boosting their followings and audience engagement.

If your blog generates a significant amount of traffic, you can leverage your editorial expertise and audience reach to help smaller brands tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.

Doing sponsored content right can pay huge dividends for your brand. Not only does it create another revenue stream, but partnering with other marketing minds can help your team unleash unprecedented amounts of creativity. In fact, T Brand Studio, the New York Times native ad business, crafted paid posts that captured as much engagement as some of nytimes.com’s highest-performing articles.

5. Provide coaching services.

Your blog posts can serve as a teaser for how much your readers can learn from you about a certain subject matter. Because if you write about enhancing certain skills like selling, social savviness, sports, cooking, and music, your blog posts can only teach your readers so much. They need to practice these skills in real life to see substantial improvement.

But if your readers practice these skills on their own, they’ll only get so much better. If they really want to improve, training with a coach will guide them toward success faster than anything else. Think about it. What would improve your basketball skills the most? Reading Michael Jordan’s book about shooting and practicing his tips by yourself? Or reading his book and then taking shooting lessons with him?

If you’re running a personal brand, as a coach, your blog is your most important marketing asset. It helps your potential clients improve themselves while giving them a glimpse into what life would be like if they actually achieved one of their life-long goals. Your blog inspires readers to strive for their dreams. And when they’re more motivated to reach their potential, they’ll usually want an expert directing them toward greatness, not just themselves.

6. Market your freelance writing skills.

If you’re a freelance blogger, you need to show potential clients that you can write compelling content. To do this, you could try to attract their attention with your previous work, but you usually don’t have control over those topics. So what if they don’t pique their interest?

The best way to show potential clients you can write compelling content is by engaging them with your own content. When you start a blog, you have access to your post’s performance metrics and complete control over the topics you cover. This allows you to write content that you know your target audience will devour, attracting more and more potential clients to your blog. And once they realize they rely on you for content marketing advice, they’ll know they can trust you to help them improve their own content marketing.

For instance, Eddie Shleyner, a freelance copywriter and content marketer, markets his business called VeryGoodCopy by writing articles about copywriting, content marketing, and psychology. His articles are so engaging and insightful that organizations like The North Face, Geico, and Mercedes Benz hire him to write articles, eBooks, landing pages, website copy, and email campaigns.

7. Participate in affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize a blog when you don’t sell a product or service. It’s a relatively simple process too. You’ll partner with an ecommerce platform or businesses that have affiliate programs and pick out relevant products to promote on your blog. Your partners will then send you custom links to their product pages that can track customers referred by your blog. And if someone clicks on the link and buys the product, you’ll earn a commission.

One of the most popular affiliate marketing programs is Amazon Associates. You can choose from over one million of Amazon’s ecommerce products to advertise on your blog, and you can earn up to 10% in commission.

Out of all the ways you can make money blogging, affiliate marketing requires the least amount of time, money, and resources. You don’t have to build, market, or sell a product or service and inserting affiliate links in your blog posts doesn’t cost any money. All you have to do is wait for people to click on them and buy something.

Start Making Money with Your Blog

Choosing your monetization strategy will depend on the type of blog you’re running and the type of product or service you offer. To up-level your blog, learn how to set yourself up for success and avoid the top blogging mistakes.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

19 Brilliant Examples of Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Every year, as soon as Halloween is behind us, it seems like the floodgates open. Without warning, there are holiday marketing campaigns everywhere, with countless businesses rushing to cash in on a spending frenzy. There are holiday emails, social media posts, and TV ads — oh, my.

It might seem like holiday marketing is out of control. But some brands do it very, very well.

How? Well, these brands create campaigns that actually delight customers instead of adding to holiday “noise.” They evoke emotions and promote sharing, sometimes even connecting people with their loved ones, or partnering with a charitable organization.

Great holiday marketing campaigns come in many different shapes and sizes. Check out our favorites below, and use these ideas to fuel your own holiday marketing ideas.

1. Walkers: All Mariah Carey Wants for Christmas

While the holiday season is a time for caring and sharing, Walkers shows musician Mariah Carey doing the exact opposite. After filming a music video for her famous song, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey gets angry with an elf for taking her Walkers chips. To fend him off, she sings a highnote which makes him block his ears and let go of the chips.

This is a hilarious commercial because it shows that the only thing you might not want to share on Christmas is Walkers products. It also shows how even stars, like Carey, enjoy the brand.

2. Coca-Cola Canada:Give Something Only You Can Give

In a recent holiday commercial, Coca-Cola brings us the story of a dad doing everything possible to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa. 

The dad enjoys a Coke while deciding what to do with the letter. We can sense that he’s not sure whether he’ll get there in time. 

We see him sail through a sea, hike through a forest, ride across a desert, and climb a snowy mountain as he searches for Santa. Finally, he gets there, but Santa’s closed for Christmas. Just when we think the situation’s hopeless, Santa saves the day by cruising in on a Coca-Cola-branded truck and taking the dad home. 

His little girl’s wish? For him to be home for Christmas. (This ad will definitely make you cry.) 

While we’re always tempted to give expensive gifts, the best thing that you can give to your loved ones is your presence and time.

This installment is just one of the latest in the Coca-Cola company’s legendary holiday marketing campaigns — I mean, who doesn’t love the annual debut of the Coke-drinking polar bears?

3. Microsoft: Find Your Joy

The year 2020 was difficult for many of us. We spent more time on Zoom than ever before, and we heavily relied on technology to distract us from the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t celebrate the holidays and make the most out of it with our loved ones and pets. 

Microsoft’s holiday commercial takes a fun spin on this theme. The commercial begins with a puppy named Rufus. Rufus longs to play and approaches each member of the family, but everyone, from the mother to the grandpa, is enjoying a Microsoft product and doesn’t pay attention. 

Rufus grabs his best bud, a puppy from next door. Together, they go on an imaginary adventure involving the games and activities their humans had been enjoying. The ad not only showcases Microsoft’s offerings, but reminds us to cherish our loved ones (and to pay attention to our pets!).

4. Macy’s: In Dad’s Shoes

Macy’s campaign offers a new spin on what might be considered an overdone gift: socks. 

“In Dad’s Shoes” takes a little girl through a “Freaky Friday”-like adventure, where she finds herself literally walking in her dad’s shoes for a day. Even though we see her as the daughter, everyone else, from neighbors to passerby, greets her as if she’s her dad.

Throughout the ad, she realizes how much work her dad does and how many places he frequents throughout the course of the day. He spends a lot of time walking. That’s how she gets an idea for what she’ll get him: socks. We all know that you can’t get anywhere without a good pair of socks. 

We love that Macy’s showcases a simple gift borne out of empathy. This ad tells us that gifting doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or over-the-top.

5. Airbnb: Airbnb Hosts Ring Our Opening Bell

This is a great example of an ad that doesn’t explicitly allude to the holidays, but rather emphasizes the value of community and gratitude. 

Airbnb celebrates the season by thanking its four million hosts for opening their homes to strangers all over the world. The video shows various hosts from different countries ringing the bell and opening the door. We go from the United States to Japan, from Kenya to New Zealand, from Brazil to Spain. (We love that each of these countries were listed in their original languages!)

This campaign demonstrates that you don’t need string lights or artificial trees to create an amazing campaign that embodies the holiday spirit. You can uplift your company’s values, celebrate your wins, and appreciate those who’ve played a role in your success.

6. Amazon: The Show Must Go On

If you lived through the 2020 pandemic (which you most likely did if you’re reading this), then you know how much it derailed any and all plans. Being quarantined keeps us from achieving things, it turns out. Unless it requires alone time. 

In this ad, Amazon effectively punches us in the gut with the story of a ballerina who was chosen to play the lead in her dance school’s winter show. The girl is thrilled to be chosen, but as the months pass and the pandemic gains traction, the event is canceled. Ballet classes are moved online. The girl’s initial thrill fades, a feeling we can all relate to.

Her little sister remedies the situation by putting together a DIY event next to their apartment building. All of the tenants look down on her as she dances. The event is socially-distant, and the girl gets to dance the ballet she’d been practicing for since the beginning of the year. 

What we love most is Amazon’s tasteful product placement. Rather than showing everyone ordering all supplies from Amazon, the ad showcases the purchase of a single product: a flashlight. The flashlight is the critical piece that allowed the tenants to watch the show from their balconies.

7. Woodie’s: #WereAllHomemakers

This one made us cry. Woodie’s, an Irish home improvement store, reminds us of what the holidays are about through the story of Mrs. Higgins, an elderly woman who’s beloved in her neighborhood. 

Throughout the ad, we see multiple people greet her. Neighbors and passersby are fond of her. Even the rowdy teens who loiter in front of her house love her. She has one problem: the door that leads to her yard is missing a hinge. In the United Kingdom, homes typically have a fence with a gate. Every time she leaves and comes home, she struggles opening and closing that door, as one corner drags across the ground. 

 

When Mrs. Higgins comes home on one particularly snowy day, she finds that her door opens smoothly. The picture focuses on the new hinge that had been installed. 

Who fixed it? It turns out it was a one of the teenagers who loitered in front of her home. With this advertisement, Woodie’s not only subverted expectations but also effectively communicated what’s so wonderful about the holidays.

8. Hinge: See What We’re Thankful For

This holiday season, what are you thankful for? Recently, dating app Hinge sent around an email posing the same question to its members, using the opportunity to talk about its recent rebrand and subsequent growth — something for which Hinge itself has enormous gratitude, according to the email.

The timing for this sort of marketing is impeccable. The holidays are notorious for the sentimentality they invoke among the masses, and the desire to spend them with “someone special.” 

Hinge used this email to harness the holiday spirit and redirect attention to an app that helps people find meaningful relationships, instead of, well, shorter-term alternatives.

[Click here to see the full email]

9. Lagavulin: Nick Offerman’s Yule Log

This one is an oldie but a goodie. Actor, writer, and humorist Nick Offerman loves his whisky. He’s sung about it before, and during a previous holiday season, he joined his favorite whisky brand, Lagavulin, to film a 45-minute video of — wait for it — Offerman sitting in a leather chair next to a crackling fire, drinking whisky and looking calmly at the camera. Where do we sign up for that gig?

“This is smart branding on Lagavulin’s part,” Kristina Monllos wrote for AdWeek. “Creating an extended ad that can serve as a conversation starter — should consumers swap the traditional Yule Log video for Offerman’s at parties — will also get everyone talking about the brand.”

Since the video was initially released, a new 10-hour version of it became available. Consider it our gift to you.

10. BarkPost: Yappy Thanksgiving Eve

Holidays are traditionally a time to be spent with family. For many of us, that includes our dogs.

BarkPost is no stranger to marketing campaigns that help “dog ruvers” include their furry friends into day-to-day life. In November, the pet-friendly brand showed how to do that at Thanksgiving, with a clever email that included holiday-themed cartoons and videos, feeding safety tips, and other holiday survival techniques — which, of course, involve your dog.

Plus, check out that adorable call to action at the bottom of the email: “Stop getting cute dogs in your email. Unsubscribe.” I mean, who would want to unsubscribe from that?

BarkPost's Thanksgiving holiday email campaign includes safety tips and adorable puppies.

11. reMarkable: Keep Your Goals for the New Year

You may not have heard of reMarkable, but no matter: this company is the definition of cool and simple. Their single offering is a tablet that acts as a “digital notebook.” When you jot anything down, the reMarkable tablet automatically turns your writing into typed notes. Pretty cool, huh? 

In its New Year email ad, reMarkable embodied the simplicity of its product by creating an equally simple campaign. In the email, they entice you to splurge with a $50 discount. Everyone knows that New Years is a time to make plans, set goals, and get your things in order. 

reMarkable presents its product as the way to do that. They want to help you save time, which will help you spend more time with your loved ones and pets in the upcoming year. And who likes transferring notes from a notebook to a tablet?

Image Source

12. Kool-Aid: All I Really Want for Christmas feat. Lil John

In a music-video styled ad, rapper Lil John quietly sits down to drink a glass of Kool-Aid as the Kool-Aid man smashes through his wall. At that moment, the bass drops as a festive musical video begins showing Lil John rapping in front of a family Christmas gathering. The video goes on to show Lil John, the Kool-Aid Man, and Santa dancing along with shots of holiday food, presents, and Lil John’s Christmas list.

By launching a full-fledged music video with a prominent rapper, Kool-Aid both entertains prospects and demonstrates how “Kool” their brand is. Along with being humorous and entertaining, this ad also reminds you that you can still drink Kool-Aid during a time of the year where you’re mostly thinking about hot beverages.

13. Resy: Where to Spend New Year’s Eve

Don’t want to cook for New Year’s Eve? We don’t want to, either—mostly because washing dishes is a chore. 

That’s what Resy bets on in a recent New Year email campaign. In a short but effective email, the company invites its subscribers to the best places to dine in the San Francisco Bay Area for the New Year. (If you’re not in San Francisco, you have the option to look for local eateries near you, also curated.) Like OpenTable, Resy allows you to make effortless reservations for you and your loved ones.  

We love that this simple email keeps the focus on what we can do to celebrate New Year’s Eve. And what better way to do that than through delicious, local food that we don’t have to cook ourselves?  

Image Source

14. Erste Group Bank: #EdgarsChristmas #believeinlove #believeinchristmas

You might not recognize this company, but you’d definitely recognize their holiday ad from 2018. Remember the cute porcupine who couldn’t get any friends because his spikes were, well, spiky? The short film has more than fifty million views on YouTube and touched millions of people’s hearts on other social media platforms. 

Erste Group Bank did it again during their 2020 holiday campaign. This time, they made it just a little bit more clear what they offer: loans that can help you purchase something that may feel out of reach, but that may help bring your family together. 

The ad begins with a granddaughter handing her grandfather his hearing aids. Throughout the video, the grandfather seems unhappy. We later find out that it’s because he’s been wanting to play music, but has no way to because he doesn’t own a piano. 

The granddaughter purchases a piano for him. In the end, the grandfather gets to play a song he’d written for his mother. The entire family joins in, and they play the song together.

15. Sonos + Spotify: #PlaylistPotluck

One great way to celebrate the holiday season is with an event. And with events typically come music. Spotify is aware of that tradition, which is why it created #PlaylistPotluck.

It started with a partnership with Sonos. The brands got together to turn playlists into something like a potluck in which everyone contributes something to bring the event together (the tagline of the campaign is “One home. One host. Everyone brings a dish.”) Only, instead of contributing food or drink, everyone contributes a tune to a collaborative playlist.

Oh, look. That feature is available with Spotify!

The idea is delightfully interactive. Instead of using traditional invitations, guests RSVP to the potluck by adding songs to the collaborative playlist. And the cherry on top? Both brands also partnered with the PBS series “Mind of a Chef” for a televised holiday special, in which various celebrity chefs will be using the feature for their own meals.

What we love about this campaign is the fact that it incorporates several different elements and media formats to make it cohesive — a speaker system, a music-streaming app, and a televised special. Plus, if you participate, you’re entered for a chance to win your very own dinner party, hosted by a world-renowned chef. Bon appetit — and rock on.

16. Google: Santa Tracker

While Google’s Santa Tracker has been around for a few years now — and we recommend checking out the back story here — its features have evolved over time. Now there are interactive mini-games such as “Santa Selfie,” “Wrap Battle,” and “Build & Bolt.” Additionally, you can watch delightful short films such as “A Day at the Museum,” so you can see what Santa’s day-to-day looks like.

It’s hard to narrow down what makes the Santa Tracker so delightful, but if we had to summarize it, we’d say this — it combines the holiday wonder of a belief in Santa with real-life technology. What a wonderful way to teach kids about the web, while also allowing them to be kids. (Although, we adults certainly appreciate it, too.)

Google even introduced a B2B element of the Santa Tracker by sharing the code with developers and releasing other elements of the tool as open source. Why make all of that information public? To inspire developers to create their “own magical experiences based on all the interesting and exciting components that came together to make Santa Tracker,” writes Google’s Developer Programs Engineer Sam Thorogood.

Up until Christmas Eve each year, visitors can have a peek at the “North Pole,” to see what Santa’s elves are up to as the holiday approaches.

Google Santa Tracker

17. Disney: From Our Family to Yours

Culture, history, and holiday cheer come together in this holiday advertisement from Disney. The media giant takes advantage of their long-standing name to take us back to 1940, when a young girl gets her first Mickey Mouse plush toy.

As the video goes on, we see the little girl grow older until she becomes a grandma. She hands down the plush toy to her granddaughter, who doesn’t appreciate it as much as she becomes a young adult.

The granddaughter realizes how much it means to her grandma and restores the toy back to its former glory. We definitely did not cry when the grandma opened her holiday gift and saw her old toy fixed and restored. 

We expected something quite touching from Disney, and this one did not disappoint. We especially love how Filipino culture has been showcased to three million viewers and counting.

18. Black Owned Everything: Jingles and Things (with “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”)

Black Owned Everything, an Instagram curator of Black-owned businesses and brands, creates the perfect gift guide in Jingles and Things

Done in partnership with Netflix and the musical “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey,” Jingles and Things curates the very best gifts for the holiday season, including items ranging from fragrance to dishware to dolls. There’s truly something for everyone here—and the best part is that we can support Black businesses while completing our holiday shopping.

 

Zerina Akers, the owner and head curator of Black Owned Everything, introduces us to the shop by explaining that it’s not just a marketplace but an inclusive platform. There’s nothing more that encapsulates the holiday spirit than inclusivity, community, and belonging, and we love that Jingles and Things uplifts that theme.

19. Heathrow Airport: The Heathrow Bears Return

This adorable holiday commercial from Heathrow Airport shows the journey of two grandparent teddy bears as they decide to pack up, leave their sunny home, and go visit their teddy-bear grandchildren for Christmas. At the end, you see the bears reunite with their family in London’s Heathrow Airport.

For many, these bears are both nostalgic and relatable. They remind you of the bears you might have played with as a child and the average grandparents.  At the end, when you see the teddy bears join their family, you might also remember the happiness you felt when your grandparents came and brought you gifts or hugs during the holidays.

This commercial is a sequel to a similar commercial the Heathrow launched a year before, titled “Coming Home for Christmas”. This ad follows the bears riding and exiting the plane to meet up with their family at a Heathrow Airport Gate:

This series of commercials has all the great aspects of an ad campaign because it’s relatable, nostalgic, and incredibly heartwarming.

Go Forth and Be Merry

Out of all the things that we appreciate about these campaigns, there might be one thing we like the most — the fact that they put the fun back in holidays. This season, don’t let the stress get to you. Have a laugh or a cry with these examples, and please, be merry.

From our family to yours, happy holidays.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and was updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Modern B2B Marketing Attribution: Making the Business Case

When my father was in college, he had a friend who was blind. His friend made a deal with him – he’d buy a car they could share. The catch? When my father’s friend wanted to take a girl on a date, my father would drop any other commitments and be their designated driver. Sometimes, just for fun, they’d go to an empty lot and his friend would drive the car – flying around at a reckless speed with only the yelling and screaming of his pals to prevent catastrophe.

Now, while we expect this kind of risky behavior in college (based on stories we’ve heard, not our own experiences, of course), flying blind is no way to run a marketing department. Thankfully, today we have access to the marketing attribution software needed to clearly see what channels, content, and campaigns are working…and which are not.

KPIs that matter

When we start our careers as marketers, we tend to jam our foot into the gas pedal and hurry straight into driving programs and campaigns. We learn how to use marketing channels. We learn about content, creative and CTAs. In time, we master marketing metrics such as views, click-through rates, and marketing-qualified leads. Still, something eludes us. We are counting a lot of things, but none of them are what the CEO really cares about – pipeline and revenue.

For most of us, our first step into the light was single-touch attribution, often enabled by a CRM. Now we could attribute revenue credit to the single campaign which appeared to trigger an important event such as product purchase. Helpful, but also unrealistic in the context of a long B2B buying journeys comprised of dozens or even a hundred or more customer touchpoints. So, about ten seconds after we started using single-touch attribution, we realized its limitations in B2B marketing. We were still flying blind.

We needed visibility to the whole journey – every buyer touchpoint, every channel, every content asset, and every campaign that made (or didn’t make) a difference. Only with this complete picture could we hope to optimize our marketing mix across every buying stage in order to grow the business. And, of course, we needed to be able to do this in a modern and automated way that didn’t involve spreadsheets and weekends.

Multi-touch attribution challenge

Led by Marketo (now Marketo Engage), marketing automation providers began to offer capabilities for taking on this multi-touch attribution challenge. In time, Bizible emerged as the leading attribution solution for B2B marketers. Bizible maintains this leadership today as a part of the Adobe Experience Cloud where it can take advantage of native integrations with Marketo Engage and other Adobe software.

So, what’s the value of not flying blind? What’s the value of knowing what’s working and what’s not? As it turns out, the value is immense. We see it with our Bizible customers every day and as we work with prospects to construct financial business cases for Bizible, we regularly come to ROI figures that are as compelling as you will find for any type of software. It makes sense when you think about it. As marketing teams grow in maturity and have gotten good at the mechanics of buyer engagement, there is really nothing more valuable than insights that help you tune that engagement for maximum impact and ROI. As one Bizible customer succinctly put it, “Bizible helps us understand where to put our marketing dollars.”

The financial value of an investment in attribution software

While we love to share customer success stories and create business cases with individual Bizible prospects, we know many marketers are seeking a more general description of the potential financial value of an investment in attribution software. To do provide this, we commissioned Forrester to perform a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study. Forrester’s TEI methodology provides a proven, industry-recognized approach for assessing the value of technology investments. Results are based on customer interviews and Forrester’s own independent analysis and expertise. In this case, Forrester interviewed five Bizible customers ranging in size from a $50M/year US company to a $52B/year global enterprise.

So, what did they find? What is the ROI of an investment in modern B2B marketing attribution? Forrester found an almost 4x return on investment in Bizible with a payback period of less than one year. Marketing teams were able to generate 15% more qualified leads and millions of dollars in incremental pipeline and revenue while also saving time thanks to Bizible automation. Meanwhile, marketing cost per sales opportunity was reduced by 17%, freeing up money to drive even more growth.

Forrester TEI of Bizible

Ultimately, it’s no wonder so many B2B marketing leaders consider Bizible a part of their playbook for professional success. While flying blind can be thrilling, there comes a time for every marketer and marketing team to graduate to what comes next. Those who do wonder how they ever did their jobs any other way. The B2B marketing attribution software exists today to understand the complete B2B buyer’s journey and link marketing to pipeline and revenue. With the new Forrester TEI study of Bizible, marketers now have a powerful new way to communicate that value to stakeholders and budget owners within their companies.

Check out the complete Forrester Total Economic Impact of Bizible report.

The post Modern B2B Marketing Attribution: Making the Business Case appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

What Are Taxonomies in WordPress?

WordPress taxonomies are built-in categorization tools for organizing WordPress posts. The two taxonomies that every WordPress site will come standard with are categories and tags. With categories, you can group your posts by topic or subject (e.g., website, SEO, and PPC for a marketing agency), and with tags, you can group posts by specific details…

The post What Are Taxonomies in WordPress? appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Cost Cutting Measures You Should Implement in Your Small Business

As we learned in the year 2020, we never know when business in America could take a dark turn. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies had to close their doors or turn to drastic measures to stay afloat. Many businesses cite part of their current survival on their rainy day fund. Implementing cost cutting measures as a small business owner could make all the difference when unforeseen circumstances arise.

If your small business struggled during the pandemic, then you need to learn from the past and start making the proper plans to cut costs in case the unforeseen were to happen again. Doing so is easier than you may think. Take it from the airline industry, for example — all it takes is cutting some unnecessary costs, talking to the right people, and thinking about how you do business.

Go Green

When it comes to saving money, every penny counts, and by going green, those small savings can grow over time. Start simple by changing over to LED bulbs that can both save energy and costs since they can last 25% times longer. Regardless of the type of bulbs you are using, turn the lights off when you are not in the room to avoid waste. Also, be mindful of the amount of heat or air conditioning you use. To avoid overuse, never set the thermostat below 72 degrees or over 78 degrees and consider a programmable system that can turn off the air when the office is empty.

Next, it’s time to think about going digital to use less paper, which not only overloads our landfills but also wastes money that you don’t necessarily need to spend. Take the time to create processes that eliminate the need to print paper, such as having PowerPoint presentations during meetings instead of handing out paper flyers. If you must print some paperwork, invest in a dual-sided printer so you can use less paper. When bringing in new customers or members, make the process digital, and avoid physical mailers.

You can also save a lot more money and paper by going 100% digital with your company and relying on the cloud. While this may take more work upfront, you can save major bucks by eliminating your physical office space and moving to a remote workforce. With the cloud, all software programs will be online, and employees can access data and collaborate seamlessly. That way you can cut down on the cost of rent, utilities, office space — and still keep business flowing.

Think About Your Employees

Now that your office is clean and efficient, think about how you can save money from an employee standpoint. Start with who you already have on staff. Is it possible to move from the standard five days schedule to a four days a week schedule with 10-hour days? If you can do something like that, then you can cut down on electricity and utility costs. Plus, if you have more people working at once instead of being spread out, you could save on staffing costs as well.

When it comes to hiring new employees, the choices you make could save you big money. One of the biggest choices in the hiring process is how you train your employees. Linkedin even suggests that by failing to do so can make your business lose money in the long run. Training may feel like a waste of time and money, but without it you have unhappy employees and unhappy clients. Additionally, this eventually leads to high employee turnover rates.

You may not think of it often, but the price of employee turnover can put a big dent in your rainy day fund. If an employee is unsatisfied and leaves, you then have to spend time and money recruiting, hiring, and training the new associate. You can cut those costs by ensuring employee satisfaction through benefits and perks. See what your business can afford as far as vacation time and health and wellness offerings, including health insurance. Show your employees that you value them, and they will stick around longer and refer other high-quality candidates to your organization.

Reducing Office Costs

Typically, your lease and the required office space to run your operation will take the biggest chunk out of your budget. If it’s impossible to move to the cloud or a remote workforce, then see how you can save money in other regards. Start by having a conversation with the landlord. If you have been a tenant for a while, you can ask about a discounted rate to keep your business in their building. If you are new to the building, ask about discounts for new renters.

If your staff is not filling your entire office space, then you could look into the possibility of sharing an office with another company. You could organize this by either having both companies in the area at the same time or working out a schedule where your employees work in the morning and the other company employs a night shift. This way, the other company can share rent and pay for expenses and save you a bundle.

While we have discussed many ways to save money, it may be inevitable that you will lack funds and need extra capital that will require you to take out a loan. However, you may be caught in a catch twenty-two and lack the credit score needed to get that loan. If this is the case, then you can still acquire a loan, it will just have a much higher interest rate, and you may have to provide collateral or a hefty deposit. If you are really in need of the money — and only as a last resort — try securing a personal or payday loan.

As a small business, your bottom line is everything, and there is seldom wiggle room for extra expenses. However, with some smart budgeting and a careful allocation of your resources, you can see more profit and save money for when you need it most.

The post Cost Cutting Measures You Should Implement in Your Small Business appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

How HubSpot's Report-Based Acquisition Campaign Hit 150% of Our Lead Goal in 30 Days

This post is a part of Made @ HubSpot, an internal thought leadership series through which we extract lessons from experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.

Acquisition marketing campaigns are critical to bring in new customers and revenue. At HubSpot, we run these campaigns quarterly.

Despite the rapid cadence, every quarter we work to create new, remarkable ways of reaching, informing, and converting our audience.

I wrote this post to share with you how we crafted our latest acquisition campaign to hit and exceed our acquisition targets.

Establishing the Campaign

The beginning of our Q1 2020 Acquisition Campaign started with a blinking cursor. As we brainstormed how to start our research, we had a few inputs to work with.

First, we knew our target audience consisted of marketing managers, as we were re-launching our Marketing Hub Enterprise product that month.

We knew that reports were a content type that worked well for us in the past. We saw our 2019 Instagram Engagement Report and a 2020 Social Media Report successfully attract new audiences.

At the very least, it was a motion that our audience was familiar with, which meant there was less of a barrier to show the value.

Additionally, seasonality played a large role in our planning. We wanted to build content to support marketers planning their strategies for the upcoming year.

With the combination of 1) a target audience, 2) an understanding of high-performing content types, 3) timing, and 4) our additional user research, we wanted to create a remarkable go-to resource for marketing managers building their strategies for the year.

Thus, the idea for “Not Another State of Marketing Report” was born.

In this article, I’ll talk through the report surveys and content, the web experience, the promotion, and the results. Hopefully, it gives you a peek behind the curtain and some inspiration for future campaigns.

Running the Surveys and Creating the Report Content

The first and most important thing about the content of this report was to start collecting survey data for analysis and visualization.

Working with our team at HubSpot Research, we ran our first survey in November/December of 2019 that went out to 3,400 global marketers.

After we sent out the survey, we talked about what might differentiate this content from other reports we had released in the past. While the data was valuable, we knew that data can be dull without human context or insights.

So, we brought in the humans.

Our first criterion for selecting our experts was their subject matter expertise. We had come up with a list of topics we wanted the report to cover (from SEO strategy to content marketing strategy and more) and wanted our experts to have deep and specific knowledge about the topic we chose them to represent.

Our second criterion was seniority. We were crafting a report for higher-level marketing managers, directors, and VPs, so we wanted our experts to have a similar level of seniority.

We are fortunate enough to work with a lot of brilliant marketers at HubSpot, so eight of our experts were internal. The other two, Cynthia Price (VP of Marketing at Litmus) and Ellie Mirman (CMO at Crayon) were generous enough to offer their time when we asked them to share their expertise with us.

We interviewed each of our experts for about an hour, took detailed notes, and recorded the interview. We also shared the survey data with them to gather their commentary about the data points. Finally, we worked with the experts to craft detailed articles with their advice for the upcoming year.

We decided to leave these articles ungated on the web experience, so we optimized them for organic search with extensive keyword research. We’ve seen some exciting results from that play — generating over 15,000 backlinks in the first two months and taking the number three result for the search term “state of marketing”.

When we received the initial survey data, we were thrilled by the results — but knew we needed to take it one step further. So, we ran an additional survey in January to a North American database of marketers.

At this point, with the additional survey data and expert commentary, we sourced some quotes from experts across the industry. We ended up with a great group of contributors from Dropbox, Twilio, and more.

When all was said and done, we had 19,000 words worth of insights and 70+ data points.

Designing and Developing the Web Experience

Differentiating this campaign didn’t stop at the expert insights. We wanted to create an immersive web experience to pair with the report PDF.

The result was a fully custom web experience with a homepage, nine child pages for each article, and custom interactive form that follows the user in a non-intrusive banner. It was designed by an incredible lead designer, and built from the ground up by three developers. (It’s better seen than described, so I’ll leave you with this.)

state of marketing report hubspot

We were curious about what kind of conversion rates this custom web experience could drive.

To date, the homepage of the report is converting at around 35%. This metric is calculated as the ratio of views vs. submission and is measured in HubSpot’s own HubSpot portal.

We’re really excited about that conversion rate, but we’ve noticed that it doesn’t stay as high throughout each page of the web experience.

For example, on a sample article page, we noticed the conversion rate was about 5%. The leading theory right now is that people are downloading the offer when they land on the homepage, and then they explore the rest of the experience after downloading, so they aren’t converting on the offer pages.

Overall, though, we’re very proud of how the web experience turned out and think it’s a strong differentiator. After all, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content doesn’t look pretty on the page.

How We Promoted the Campaign

When it came time for promotion, we had to decide on three things: the story we wanted to tell, our creative promotional assets, and the channels we wanted to pursue.

1. The Story

The literal offer that we were marketing was a report. However, the emotion that we wanted to portray was confidence. This was the story we wanted to report and campaign to tell.

For some marketing managers, feeling confident about a strategy can prove difficult. Are other people in the industry doing this? How will I know if it will work?

Data can help ease those concerns, as can long-form articles from deep subject matter experts.

So, we wrote 20 headlines around that concept. This was a good exercise because, although most of them ended up unused, we found this process sharpened our writing “muscle”.

One of the early headlines we landed on was, “A report for marketers who use data to outperform their goals.”

2. Our Creative Assets

The design of this campaign was important to us. We wanted it to feel cohesive across the web experience, the PDF offer itself, and our promotional efforts.

So, under the guidance of our lead designer, we put together a detailed brief for a freelancer, and he came up with some beautiful stuff.

not another state of marketing report hubspot

Our learning here is that cohesive design across all campaign assets makes the campaign feel larger than life.

3. Promotional Channels

On the Global Campaigns Team here, we like to bucket our promotion into three categories:

  • Paid : What channels can we activate that we have to put direct dollars into?
  • Owned: What organic channels and established HubSpot audiences can we leverage?
  • Earned: What are some additional free promotion and placements (e.g. organic SEO) can we leverage?

For our paid channels, we chose to focus on Facebook Ads (historically the lowest CPL for us) and LinkedIn Ads (typically more expensive but more effective targeting for the audience we wanted to attract). For this channel, we built a more standard landing page to drive conversions.

For our owned channels, we activated our brand channels (social media, email, etc.), our solutions partner channels, our customer channels, our HubSpot Academy Channels, and Sales Channels (our BDRs used the report as a conversation starter). We also asked our authors to promote it on their personal social networks, and we gave them personalized assets to make that promotion remarkable.

For our earned channels, we focused heavily on the organic SEO value of our ungated articles, the promotion from our partners in the report (Litmus and Crayon), and media placement in marketing publications.

Tracking and Analyzing the Results

This campaign was quickly successful: We hit 100% of our net new lead goal in 16 days and 150% of the goal in just over one month.

As of April 21st, there are 15,800 backlinks to the report. We are ranking for over 350 organic keywords and secured the #1 result for the search term “state of marketing.”

The custom homepage is converting at over 30%, and the paid landing page is converting at 25%.

About 50% (48%) of the net new leads for the campaign came from paid social media. We are hoping to see that percentage decrease as organic traffic continues to gain traction.

There were a lot of factors to our success, but we’ve identified the following as the main ones:

  1. Spend time in the strategic planning process. It’s tempting to rush a campaign out the door, but a well thought out strategy goes a long way. Use qualitative, quantitative, and search data to inform the direction you choose.
  2. Think about how you can contribute to a conversation that’s already being had in a new way. There are a lot of State of Marketing Reports out there. We focused on providing that same value but took it a step further.
  3. Help your creative team by giving them strong creative guidelines. This makes the design more cohesive and powerful in the end.
  4. Identify at least three channels you can activate for promotion. You should prioritize the ones that will most help you with your goal. Since we were looking to attract a new audience, our paid channels made the most sense to invest in.
  5. Double down on the details of your content. If someone is willing to give their information for your content, you better make sure it delivers on value.

Best of luck with your future campaigns!

How the HubSpot Blog Generates Leads [+ How Yours Can, Too]

It’s hard to believe that if the HubSpot Blog were a person, it would currently be in high school.

That’s right – for well over a decade, content has been published on the HubSpot Blog to help hundreds of millions of readers discover best practices in the areas of marketing, sales, customer service, website development, agency work, and general business best practices.

Behind the scenes, our team also thinks about how we can convince as many readers as possible to become leads and access more information, tools, and resources from HubSpot – and anyone who has worked on lead generation knows that accomplishing this task is much easier said than done.

Effective blog lead generation requires both creative and analytical skills. It’s about knowing what numbers to crunch, how to analyze your existing data, and how to make projections based off of traffic, monthly search volume, and conversion potential.

Additionally, any good marketer needs to understand the human aspect behind this process and not lose sight of the people reading your blog and the problems your business can help them solve.

Over the years, the team at HubSpot has landed on a process that continuously generates leads day-after-day, with a reliable blog view-to-lead conversion rate and a steady flow of traffic.

Here are the steps my team at HubSpot takes to generate leads from our blog.

1. Audit existing blog metrics.

To develop a process for growing our blog lead number, we first needed an understanding of how well we were performing.

To capture the current state of blog lead generation, we looked for the overall traffic number and number of leads generated from the blog. These two numbers gave us a baseline conversion rate (in this case, number of leads generated, divided by the total views to the HubSpot Blog in a given time period) from which we knew the team could only go up.

While the number of leads was the ultimate goal for our team, we wanted to take a deeper look at the overall conversion rate and how it changed month-over-month – this number would let us know for sure if we were growing traffic to posts and topics that were most likely to convert their intended audiences.

The big-picture conversion rate gave us an important directional view, but if we ever saw a major shift in that conversion rate, we needed to know where that shift was happening. For example, if we saw a surge in traffic to a low-converting post, that would hinder the overall conversion rate for the blog.

To drill down further, we also looked at all of our post-level data – that is, each post’s traffic number, number of leads generated, and CVR. By exporting and tracking this data monthly, we were able to see which posts were dragging down our CVR, which posts were keeping it strong, and which posts were prime candidates for a better CVR.

How to complete this step:

  1. Choose a time period (last quarter, last month, etc.) for which you want to know your conversion metrics.
  2. Determine your overall data for traffic and leads generated in this time and calculate overall blog CVR.
  3. Export your traffic and lead numbers for individual blog posts for this time period. Depending on your analytics tool, this may require you to export data from two different sources and combine metrics using a VLOOKUP on Excel or Google Sheets.
  4. For each post, divide the number of leads it generated by its traffic number to get post-level conversion metrics.

2. Group common posts together.

Over the years, HubSpot has published thousands of blog posts – and while this was immensely helpful for growing HubSpot’s email subscription base and ranking for countless keywords, it made the process of organizing and analyzing conversion metrics extremely difficult.

Luckily, the blog and SEO teams developed a model to group posts with similar search intent with the pillar-cluster model. In a nutshell, this model was the result of a massive audit to better organize our blog, reduce redundancy on the blog, and help search engines understand which pieces of content we wanted to be considered the most authoritative on a given subject.

As a result of this project, all of our blog posts were given a relevant “topic tag” – or the cluster for which each post belonged. For instance, any Instagram post is assigned an “Instagram Marketing” tag, and links back to our Instagram Marketing pillar page.

This process ensures effectiveness when analyzing metrics. For instance, when exporting blog metrics, we can analyze blog posts by tag (i.e. all “Instagram Marketing” posts), of which we have a few hundred — rather than analyzing each individual URL, of which we have over 10,000.

How to complete this step:

  1. Export all of your blog posts from your CMS or website analytics tool onto a spreadsheet.
  2. Categorize each of your keywords into a topic cluster. These topic clusters should be high in search volume, anchored by a long and high-trafficked post, and related to each other when it comes to search intent. For example, rather than put all of our posts on social media in one giant “Social Media” cluster, we created more niche clusters for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to help us categorize with more specificity.
  3. With each post properly categorized, organize your data with a pivot table to look at the numbers generated by each cluster rather than each URL. Your pivot table should include the number of posts in each cluster, the views generated, and the leads generated. From there, you can calculate the cluster’s CVR by dividing total leads by total views.

3. Determine the best content offer opportunities.

One of the major benefits of grouping your posts together is identifying a content offer opportunity that can be effectively promoted on multiple blog posts, as opposed to an individual post.

As acquisition marketers, it’s tempting for us to attempt optimizing the conversion paths for high-traffic posts. However, these high-traffic posts are oftentimes too general and unrelated to what it is we’re trying to market.

This mismatch results in misplaced efforts and unmet lead goals, as we’re quick to ignore blog posts which – on their own – may have lower traffic numbers, but together have a substantial traffic number.

Ask yourself – which of these two options is a better pursuit for lead generation?

  • A blog post that has little or nothing to do with your products or services, but is viewed 100,000 times a year.
  • 10 individual blog posts that have a clear connection to your company’s core competencies, but on average generate only 10,000 views each per year.

In either scenario, you’d be optimizing the conversion path for 100,000 readers – it’s only by grouping these posts together that you’d realize option #2 is a much better option for lead generation.

To address this issue, we organized all of our blog topics by the potential number of leads they could generate, but readily discounted any topic cluster of which we doubted the conversion potential. This crucial step ensured we only considered ideas that we believed would be worth our time and resources to create.

Along with dedicated CTAs for each blog post we create, we also create featured resources for certain topics we believe have high conversion potential. For instance, in this Ebook Format blog post, we created a special featured resource, 18 Free Ebook Formatting & Creation Templates:

How to complete this step:

  1. Calculate how many leads each topic cluster could be generating. At HubSpot, we do this by subtracting each cluster’s actual CVR from its target CVR, and multiplying that difference by the traffic number for the desired time period.
  2. Organize data by each cluster’s lead generation opportunity – looking first at the highest opportunity and at the lowest opportunity last.
  3. Work through your list of high-opportunity clusters and remove any low-intent clusters from your consideration, ensuring you’re only left with topic clusters that have a direct connection to your products/services.
  4. Select one (or many) topic clusters which you want to support with a lead-generating content offer.

4. Create lead-generating content.

By this point, you’ve identified topic clusters which you feel would benefit from a new, dedicated piece of lead generating content. Now, it’s time to create that piece of content.

Understanding what kind of content to create comes from knowledge of your industry, your market, and your buyer personas. In our experience, we discovered HubSpot’s Blog audience responds to actionable, personalized, and customizable content in the form of templates, tools, and kits.

However, this is not the case for all organizations – so figure out which content format works best for your audience by auditing the performance of your current library or testing out different formats to see what resonates with your blog readers.

With the knowledge of what formats work best for our readership, we got to work on creating templates for our most-read but lowest-converting clusters, so that readers would see our content as an actionable next step for them to apply the knowledge they gained in the blog post. Below are a few examples of how we mapped an offer to a topic cluster.

Blog Topic Cluster

Content Offer

Customer Experience

Customer Journey Map Templates

Sales Training

New Hire Sales Onboarding Template

Product Marketing

Product Go-to-Market Kit

Pricing Strategy

Sales Pricing Strategy Calculator

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising Checklist

The most important thing to remember during this step is to not overcomplicate your content. Remember, to secure a conversion, you need to convince a reader of your content’s quality and relevance. If you’re struggling to make the connection between your blog content and your offer’s content yourself, how well do you think a reader skimming your blog posts will make that connection?

How to complete this step:

  1. Look through the posts in the topic cluster you want to optimize with new content and think about what a natural next step would be for the reader.
  2. Cement an idea for a piece of content you can create that aids your readers in that next step.
  3. Create the content in your desired format (PDF for ebooks, Google Sheets or Microsoft Word for templates, etc.) and launch it behind a lead-generating form on your website.

5. Promote content with CTAs.

To facilitate a blog conversion, you’ll need to let blog readers know about the new lead-generating piece of content on the same page as your blog content.

Blog CTAs can take a variety of formats. Two of the most popular are:

    • Anchor Text CTAs – Hyperlinked text to the landing page of the offer you’re promoting. Remember to keep anchor text direct and clear so readers know what they’re clicking – action words like “download” and “access” are useful here.
  • Image CTAs – Hyperlinked images to your offer’s landing page. These CTAs might look like a banner ad and contain an image of the offer alongside copy explaining the value of it. These image CTAs could also be an image of the offer itself, which makes sense if promoting a template or a tool.

At HubSpot, the majority of our posts contain at least three CTAs – one anchor text, and two image. Depending on the intent we expect readers have on a specific post, we may include several more. However, all of these decisions are based on years of data collection and A/B testing – which we encourage you to rely on as well to ensure a non-intrusive CTA experience on your blog posts.

How to complete this step:

  1. Determine the CTA types you want to include for the blog posts you’re optimizing.
  2. If necessary, create CTA imagery with a design tool like Adobe or Canva.
  3. Add CTAs to each post, either by utilizing a CTA tool or hyperlinking each image or line of text you add into your blog posts. We recommend the former.

6. Analyze your results.

We gained confidence that this approach worked best for us when the results confirmed so.

After 30 days of launching a new content offer on a series of blog posts, we always answer two questions:

  1. How many leads did each blog generate before we optimized it with the new content offer?
  2. How many leads did each blog generate after we optimized it with the new content offer?

Far more often than not, these clusters see a notable increase in CVR, with some increasing by more than 1,000%.

However, there have been times where we missed the mark and the offer did not perform as expected. When that was the case, we reverted the changes and went back to the drawing board – equipped with the knowledge of what didn’t work, which helped us determine what would help us generate more leads in the future.

How to complete this step:

  1. Calculate the traffic, lead, and CVR numbers for each blog post optimized with the new offer before swapping out the CTA.
  2. Calculate the same for a set time period after the CTAs were swapped.
  3. Calculate the difference in leads and in CVR for each post.
  4. If the post did not increase in CVR as expected, consider reverting your changes and creating a new content offer.

7. Align with SEO.

When we discovered that this process was helping us hit our goals, our immediate thought was protection. HubSpot writers and SEOs work hard to ensure our blog posts continuously rank on the first page for the search results of their intended keywords — and we don’t want to lose that hard-fought real estate.

However, like all teams, SEO needs to prioritize which blog posts are most in need of protection from losing their SERP rankings and traffic – so it became our job to ensure HubSpot’s SEO team knew which posts were most important when it came to generating leads.

We’re fortunate here at HubSpot to work with expert SEOs who are able to quickly and effectively prioritize the right content.

As my colleague Braden Becker – HubSpot Senior SEO Strategist – said when we spoke about this topic at INBOUND 2020, “Traffic doesn’t pay the bills.”

Once we were all on-board regarding prioritization, our teams came to an agreement on how to best manage an SEO strategy for high lead-drivers while respecting the importance of maintaining high traffic numbers for posts across the HubSpot Blog.

The team takes the following steps to ensure lead generation goals are met:

  • Protect the traffic to high-traffic, high-converting blog posts by regularly checking performance and making as-needed updates to the content of these posts. By frequently optimizing these posts, we let search engines know we’re quick to add the most relevant information onto these pages.
  • Grow the traffic to low-traffic, high-converting blog posts – or ensure that these posts have maxed out their organic traffic potential.
  • Create posts for keywords that we have not written articles for – but align with related content offers or clusters – as these posts could generate substantial lead numbers for us. This step requires keyword research to ensure these new posts generate traffic.
  • Stop protecting traffic to high-traffic, low-converting posts. While strong traffic numbers are great, we came to the conclusion that a lower traffic number is acceptable if it means redirecting our historical optimization efforts away from posts that might not generate as much traffic, but will generate significantly more leads than other posts.

How to complete this step:

  1. Come up with a list of blog content that you’d like to see an increase or decrease of traffic to for lead-generation purposes.
  2. Present this list to your colleague(s) in SEO to determine what work can be done to redirect traffic growth efforts to the right posts. Note: it’s important to set expectations here, as an SEO cannot wave a magic wand and increase demand for a low-ranking keyword. Sometimes, a post is ranking as well as it can be – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t double check to see if there’s opportunity to grow traffic where possible.
  3. Present a list of high-traffic, high-converting blog content to see if there are similar keywords which could be written about in a new (or updated) blog post, in addition to potential keywords that could be the basis for net new posts.
  4. Come with data. SEOs aren’t in the business of risk-taking, so explain how a sacrifice of traffic in some areas could result in a stronger CVR and higher lead number from your company’s blog.

8. Repeat the cycle!

HubSpot’s bloggers are always creating new blog posts and historically optimizing existing ones. In other words, my team is always presented with opportunities to create new lead-generating content and ensure the content we’ve already made still holds up and is of value to our leads.

Whenever we create a piece of gated content, we always follow the seven steps above, and we’re consistently rewarded with an increase in leads from our blog.

How to Quickly Restore a WordPress Backup With UpdraftPlus

Site crashes are a fairly common occurrence. However, if your site was built with WordPress and backed up, it’s easy to get it up and running again. To restore your business website, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and go to “Settings” from the left-hand vertical menu. From there, select “UpdraftPlus” from the options…

The post How to Quickly Restore a WordPress Backup With UpdraftPlus appeared first on Fit Small Business.

4 Black Friday Trends That Could Predict Retail in 2021

By now, most shoppers have already unpacked their holiday purchases from Thanksgiving weekend. So now, let’s unpack just what all those orders mean.

More than 186 million people shopped in-store and online over the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. While that’s slightly less than 2019, it is more than 2018’s nearly 166 million, and 44% more shoppers shifted their buying to online.

However, overall shoppers spent markedly less each — $312 on average compare with $362 in 2019.

Those were the headlines from which retailers can plan the season. However, within all that spending one could detect subtle variations in behaviors that potentially predict not-so-subtle changes in what shoppers expect from their retail experiences in 2021.

So What’s The Story Behind The Big Black Friday Numbers?

When one digs into the figures that sum up the holiday weekend’s big shoppers trends, four under-the-radar movements are revealed that could lead to the following significant consumer, and retail, shifts.

Delivery could be the new experiential differentiator. “I want it now” is an expectation, not a plea. Amazon AMZN -0.4%, which expanded its warehouses and delivery systems to ensure it could fulfill more orders, is now expected to claim up to 42 cents of every dollar spent during this holiday season, compared with 36 cents in 2019, according to Wall Street firm Truist Securities. But securing the vehicles to get those boxes to shoppers is as important as the warehousing, as some major retailers learned the hard way. The United Parcel Service UPS -0.5% told drivers on Cyber Monday to cease picking up packages from Nike NKE +0.2%, Macy’s M +2.2% and others, because they had already reached capacity allocations. The time is ripe for alternative delivery solutions and tighter scrutiny on delivery costs. Look on the horizon — Amazon’s drone fleet won FAA approval in August.

Drive-thru shopping may become a thing. Happy Meals, meet snappy deals. As more shoppers migrated online, in-store foot traffic declined 52% on Black Friday, year-over-year. This sharp decline, combined with the high costs to retailers for online shipping, hastens the need to offset store expenses. Most major retailers offer buy-online, pickup in-store as an affordable alternative, and it ensures customers get what they need when they need it. Shoppers likely will soon expect stores, particularly those in malls, to offer complete curb-to-trunk delivery. Who knows, maybe some traditional malls will retrofit to accommodate drive-thru lanes, through which shoppers can conveniently pick up their orders. The convenience store chain Wawa is planning its first drive-thru store in New Jersey.

The mobile experience must be optimized for a wider audience. Spending via smartphones accounted for 46.5% of all holiday sales on Thanksgiving Day and 40% on Black Friday, according to research by Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping. Many of those shoppers were likely in their 60s and older. As I wrote in November, the pandemic is forcing more seniors to adapt to retail technologies. As they do, they will likely invest in newer, better-accessorized smartphones, which means more mobile-generated retail sales. In September, 42% of consumers already planned to buy new mobile devices during the holiday season, according to a national survey by MRI/Simmons. Retailers should ensure all of their digital experiences are personalized for the needs of all age groups, with color schemes and letter sizing that make for easy browsing.

Shoppers will require even less convincing to self-indulge. After nearly 10 months of saying “no” to eating out, family gatherings, vacations, spa treatments, play dates, concerts, museums (you get it, the list goes on and on), shoppers feel they are entitled to a splurge. This urge to self-indulge could reduce discount-hunting, but retailers should be cautious. Shoppers are conditioned to look for deals. Merchants will more likely see effective results if they promote lower-frequency discretionary goods that are fun and functional – think DNA kits (even for the dog, thanks to a surge in pet adoptions) and smart watches.

Recommended Read: Customer Loyalty in 2021: Trends and Future Predictions

Shopping Will Remain More Deliberate – Plan Accordingly

Until pandemic-required quarantines are lifted, consumers will continue to purchase their goods — discretionary and otherwise — with exceeding purpose and focus. This means placing high-necessity items within easy reach of the door (or home page), but complementing them with compelling goods that fill the need for comfort and accomplishment.

Holiday sales are projected to reach nearly $760 billion this season. Capturing those dollars is just a matter of meeting basic consumer expectations, which won’t change; they still want retailers to meet them where, when and how they shop, and (yes) at a good price. But make no mistake, the experiences behind every one of those dollars spent is presently forming retail’s new model.

Bryan Pearson is a Featured Contributor to The Wise Marketer and currently serves as a director and strategic advisor to a number of loyalty-related organizations. He is the former CEO of LoyaltyOne.

This article originally appeared in Forbes. Be sure to follow Bryan on Twitter for more on retail, loyalty, and the customer experience.

The post 4 Black Friday Trends That Could Predict Retail in 2021 appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

How to Find & Add Nofollow Links to Your Website [Step by Step]

Ever watch those game shows where contestants have to find the designer product in a sea of knockoffs?

Watching the contestants squint to examine the products is my favorite part. One, because I love game shows, but also because upon first glance, you really can’t tell the difference.

Well, nofollow links are kind of like that. You can’t tell them apart from regular links just by looking at them.

As Google continues to prioritize links in its ranking criteria, keeping track of them should be on your SEO to-do list.

So, how do you check for nofollow links and add them to your webpages? All those answers, and more, below.

This matters because links greatly impact your search engine ranking. And whether you’re linking internally or externally, doing so tells Google the destination page is valuable. This, in turn, may increase the page’s ranking — it’s called “link juice.”

The better your link building, the better your chances of ranking higher.

So, when you tell Google to ignore a link, the destination page will not get any link juice. For instance, let’s say a food blogger uploads a blog post. The blogger can add a nofollow attribute to the comment section to tell Google, “Hey, any link included here isn’t associated with me and I don’t vouch for it.”

With Google tightening up its linking requirements, it’s important that brands understand how they work.

How To Tell if a Link Is Nofollow

To find a nofollow link, you can follow one of two routes: Use a tool that will do it for you (jump to that section here) or check it yourself. For the DIY option, here are the steps:

1. While you’re on the page, right-click and select the “Inspect” option.

2. Hold Command + F or Ctrl + F to search for “nofollow” in the code.

Search "nofollow" in the code

3. Scroll to find the highlighted nofollow attributes. It should look something like this:

Nofollow Link Example

How To Make a Nofollow Link

Making a nofollow link is as simple as adding rel=”nofollow” to the anchor tag within the HTML code. If that made no sense, no worries. Here’s the breakdown:

The code for a regular hyperlink looks like this:

When you’re adding a nofollow link attribute, the attribute will go between the destination URL and the linked text, like this:

Here’s an example using the HubSpot Blog:

Once you have the link, you can add it to the appropriate section of the source code on your content management system (CMS).

How To Make a Nofollow Link in WordPress

When making a nofollow link in WordPress, you have two options: manually inputting one into the HTML code or using a plugin. Find the steps for each below.

Making a Nofollow Link in WordPress Manually

1. Select the anchor text you want to add a link to.

2. Click the link symbol to add a link into the field.

Red arrow pointing to link symbol

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3. Click on the three dots and select “Edit HTML.”

Red arrow pointing to "Edit as HTML"

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4. Add the rel=”nofollow” attribute and you’re all set.

Nofollow attribute within HTML tag

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If you’re using an older version of WordPress, you may have to access the source code through the “Text” tab.

WordPress text tab

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Then, manually add the nofollow attribute.

WordPress source code

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Once that’s done, go back to the “Virtual” tab and continue editing the post.

Making a Nofollow Link in WordPress With a Plugin

When making a nofollow link with a plugin, the steps will vary depending on the plugin you install. However, here’s an example of how it works using the “All in One SEO for WordPress” plugin.

1. Start by downloading the plugin and making it active.

2. Create or edit a post or page.

3. In your editing text box, select the anchor text and click on the link symbol.

Add link symbol in WordPress

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4. Paste the destination link into the field.

Field to paste destination URL

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5. In the same box, you’ll also see additional options for the link, including the “Add ‘nofollow’ to link” option.

Adding Nofollow links in WordPress

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6. Make sure this option is selected, and you’re done.

Pro-tip: A lot of SEO plugins have the nofollow link feature included. So, if you’re looking to optimize your site, you can install a plugin with multiple SEO features.

1. MozBar

This free Google Chrome extension, created by the SEO software company Moz, highlights all of the nofollow links on a page in one click.

MozBar NoFollow Link Tool

It also tracks followed, internal, and external links as well as keywords on the page. MozBar identifies each link type by color, making it easy to quickly scan the page and find what you’re looking for.

One thing to keep in mind while using the extension is that nofollow links under dropdown menus will not appear as you scroll down. You’ll have to click the menu to reveal the nofollow links. Confused? See the GIF below.

MozBar NoFollow Tool

2. Varvy

With Varvy’s free nofollow tool, finding nofollow links is as simple as entering the page’s URL and clicking “Test.” It doesn’t offer a visual for where the nofollow links are located on the page, but it does tell you how many there are.

Varvy NoFollow Link ToolThis is one of the simplest ways to get an idea of how many nofollow links you have. From there, you’ll have to find other tools to accomplish your next steps.

3. NoFollow

NoFollow is a free extension available on Chrome and Firefox. Similar to MozBar, it identifies the nofollow links on the page and highlights them using a red dotted box.

NoFollow Chrome/Firefox Extension

As long as the extension is active, it will work on every page you visit without prompting. Just as with the MozBar, if a link under a dropdown menu has a nofollow attribute, you won’t see it until you click the dropdown menu.

So, think of yourself like a game show contestant. To win the SEO game, you have to take a closer look at your website links. This will keep you on Google’s good side and increase your odds of landing (and staying) on the first page of the SERP.

The 6 Best Email Hosting Services for Small Businesses

Businesses depend on email, so you need dependable email. The best email hosting services not only provide a way to connect a custom domain but are reliable, affordable, and feature-rich. With so many email hosting providers on the market find the right one isn’t always easy, so we reviewed dozens of the top options, to…

The post The 6 Best Email Hosting Services for Small Businesses appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Deep SEO Thoughts For 2021

When I worked at NBC in the 90’s, The Clapper spent a boatload advertising on Seinfeld, and Friends, and probably even on The Cosby Show. Of course they would spend millions in advertising on TV as would the George Foreman Grill, as would Ron Popeil and his amazing Pocket Fisherman, as would pretty much any brand that wanted to sell the entire country something. Moms spent a lot of time watching As The World Turns, so it made sense that Cool Whip would want to be there. The problem with Cool Whip is it wasn’t as entertaining as Donny & Marie*:

Then again, those adorable Osmonds couldn’t help you if last minute company was arriving in 30 minutes and you needed a tasty dessert that also signaled you were not a failure as a mother, or worse, as a hostess.

So brands kind of did their thing, solving life’s problems for you, while the media did their thing, helping you avoid all of life’s problems for as long as possible.

Enter the Internet.

I like to imagine that in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was sitting in his office at CERN around lunchtime thinking “Damn that grilled cheese looks incredible. If only I could send a picture of it to the entire world, then everyone would see what an amazing life I am leading and I could die happy.”**

Enter Google.

Suddenly, while watching Notre Dame get their ass kicked by Bama, you could actually search for what is the best damn beer in the world instead of drinking beer-flavored water just because a team of horses gave you all the feels***.

So SEO in 2021 is not too different than SEO in 2020 or in previous years. Your SEO program will be somewhere on this graph:

The problem with beginning of the year SEO predictions posts is that most brands have already set their SEO budgets for 2021, and I guarantee 99% of them did not include building an in-studio ice rink for dancing skaters to help rank #1 for “queen sized mattress” in their Powerpoint decks.

If you are not prepared to be as entertaining as Donny & Marie, you should be prepared to be at least as informative as WikiHow****. Better yet, be prepared to be both.

Marginalia:

*Thank you Todd Mintz

**According to Herodotus, the happiest man is he who dies happy

***The origin of the Clydesdales is pretty great. Bud should do a Superbowl ad with the Clydesdales delivering Bud to quarantined homeowners; like an equestrian DoorDash.

****Full disclosure: At some point in time, LSG may have helped Wikihow figure out how to do SEO

The post Deep SEO Thoughts For 2021 appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Loyalty Newswire – January 4th, 2021

Welcome to 2021! Best wishes to all of our readers for a prosperous and healthy new year. Our goal is to make it easy and simple for busy loyalty professionals to stay up to date with essential news and trending topics. If you enjoy our content and want to show your support, subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive content, events and more!

  • Despite being a tough year for the fast-casual restaurant industry, Teriyaki Madness has revealed that loyalty program members spend 17% more than non-members
  • Pregnancy Tracker unveils the preliminary results of its new blockchain loyalty program designed to unify its customer base
  • Rymax donates hundreds of pounds of food to help local food pantry meet the increased demand
  • India’s government and drug regulators recognized the importance of telemedicine and e-pharmacies as essential services during the lockdown which prompted them to lift previous regulations
  • According to government data, Hong Kong retail consumption dropped by a record 25% between January and November compared to the same period in 2019
  • Big box retailers, such as Target, Best Buy, and Walmart, adopted the store-as-a-hub-model early, which helped them to survive throughout last year
  • 2020 set a new precedent for retail bankruptcies and store closures, however, will 2021 beat last year’s record?
  • Citgo and P97 Networks have partnered to bring mobile payment technology to the pump
  • New York’s MTA announces full support for customers using Apple Pay and other contactless payment solutions across all of its stations
  • New Brexit deal provides a six-month transition period for data flowing across different states, but what happens next is in fact up for debate
  • Sonesta enters agreement to acquire US-based Red Lion hotels in an all-cash transaction estimated to be around $90 million

LOYALTY PROGRAM NEWS:

Teriyaki Madness’ Loyalty Upgrades Aren’t Skinny Noodles

Quotable: “It’s a mad dash towards the end of 2020, but rather than letting the year simmer away into the distance of memory, Teriyaki Madness is wrapping things up with a sizzle of inspiring news for the world of loyalty. It’s been a tough time for restaurants, but the rapidly growing fast-casual Teriyaki Madness franchise is reporting positive results for its loyalty program and is doubling-down on further upgrades to its customer program.”

Pregnancy Tracker Launches Blockchain Loyalty Program to Critical Acclaim

Quotable: “Pregnancy Tracker, a service for pregnant women, has announced the preliminary results of its ongoing blockchain loyalty program designed to unify its ecosystem and spur more engagements. The company sought to improve and reward participation by developing a scalable networking system for users, advertisers, and partner corporations. Also, it looks to transform the ecosystem from a hub for pregnant women to the ideal platform for every modern family.”

Leading Loyalty Marketing And Rewards Provider Contributes Hundreds Of Pounds Of Food

Quotable: “Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) received a donation of an abundance of non-perishable foods, basic essentials and cleaning supplies from Rymax, a loyalty marketing and rewards provider based in Pine Brook, New Jersey. Their generosity assures the JFS Food Pantry can continue to meet the increased demand perpetuated by the current economic environment.

RETAIL NEWS:

After fast growth, e-pharmacies eye customer loyalty

Quotable: “It took a pandemic to realize the potential of telemedicine and e-pharmacies as a technological revolution in the healthcare space. After years of being under a regulatory quagmire because of lobbying by brick-and-mortar pharmacies, the segment witnessed a massive shift as India went into a lockdown in March to curb the spread of covid-19.”

Hong Kong fourth wave: record fall in retail sales over first 11 months of 2020 as coronavirus hammers economy

Quotable: “The government spokesman said the narrowing year-on-year decline was primarily due to the increase in sales at retail outlets of consumer durable goods. But the fourth wave of coronavirus infections had weighed on local consumption sentiment since the latter half of November, which would present a challenging environment for retailers in the near term.”

Future Of Retail: The Store As A Hub Model And The Consumer Is The Pilot

Quotable: “The store-as-a-hub-model—a framework that Target, Walmart and Nordstrom adopted early and one that every retailer will need to follow in order to remain relevant. Tarjay is the poster child for the store as a hub model. We only need to look to Target’s recent Q3 same store sales growth of 21% which was evenly split between digital and physical stores to understand why brick-and-mortar will continue to matter, albeit in a different way, in 2021 and beyond.”

Will store closings in 2021 beat last year’s record total?

Quotable: “Coresight Research calculated U.S. retail sales of apparel and accessories tumbled 30 percent year over year from January through October, ‘which is likely to lead to substantial store closure announcements and/or bankruptcy filings among retailers selling apparel and similar product categories’ in January. The firm added, ‘Moreover, many retailers likely hung on through the crucial holiday season in hopes that it would make up for a difficult year.’”

PAYMENTS NEWS:

CITGO Partners With P97 to Bring Mobile Pay Technology to the Pump

Quotable: “CITGO is teaming up with P97 Networks Inc. to bring an enhanced mobile app to its customers. With the updated technology, users will be able to purchase fuel, food and merchandise from a mobile device, receive customized offers, and roll back prices at the pump at more than 4,500 CITGO-branded retail locations across the United States.”

NYC subway now accepts Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods across all stations

Quotable: “New York City’s subway began adding support for contactless payments in May 2019, but since then, only a few selected lines have received the technology. However, New York’s MTA announced today that everyone can now finally use Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods across all its stations.”

DATA & PRIVACY NEWS:

Data can still flow freely between Europe and the UK. But for how much longer?

Quotable: “After years of negotiation, the UK and the EU have finally signed their long-awaited trade deal on Brexit, but that is not to say that every sticking point has been resolved – and among the issues that are yet to be agreed on, is the transfer of personal data from the continent to the UK. As the country left the European bloc, so did the UK exit the realm of the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR), within which personal data can flow freely from one member state to the next.”

TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY NEWS:

Sonesta Acquiring Red Lion Hotels

Quotable: “This past week it has been announced that Sonesta has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Red Lion Hotels. Red Lion is the 10th largest US-based hotel franchise company, and includes eight brands, like Red Lion Hotels, Knights Inn, America’s Best Value Inn, etc. Sonesta is acquiring Red Lion in an all-cash transaction for $90 million. Those who own Red Lion’s common stock will receive $3.50 per share in cash, an 88% premium over the November 4, 2020, closing price.”

Read last week’s newswire if you missed it: Loyalty Newswire – December 28th, 2020

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

The post Loyalty Newswire – January 4th, 2021 appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021, According to 21 Experts

Marketers are community-minded people. We collaborate across multiple departments in our own companies, while keeping track of competitive players and ensuring we’re deeply connected to the needs and goals of our customers.

So, to better understand what to expect or pay close attention to in 2021, I’ve connected with 20 marketing experts for their perspective.

While there is significant diversity of ideas and visions presented below, I love the common theme of how we’re working toward a better future together, which is why my prediction is this: Marketing in 2021 will be more empathetic than ever.

I continue to believe in my mantra that marketing is powerful and must be used for good, not evil. That might sound overly simplistic, but I do believe it’s paramount that marketers understand their influence and what a wonderful positive power it can be.

We are humans, serving humans. Whether B2B or B2C, customers are looking for brands they can trust to meet their needs and make their lives easier or more delightful. If we treat each person with loving kindness and respect, we’ll be making the positive impact I know we can while building a stronger, more loyal base.

Here’s what else 2021 has in store based on the predictions of this fabulous group of marketing leaders.

Virtual Events

1. Marketers will plan asynchronous events that plug into the funnel.

Latané Conant, Chief Market Officer at 6sense, predicts: “This year saw an explosion of virtual events as marketers adapted to a changing world. While I suspect a lot of us are feeling some virtual burnout right now, there will still be a place for these kinds of events, even after we resume in-person ones. Imagine a virtual event running 24/7.”

“Your prospects get triggered into the event as they proceed to the right steps in your funnel, and they engage with this event through multiple means, like Netflix meets Slack. There’s video content they watch on-demand, there’s a live stream playing on-site and there’s a community of users and fans who create a unique and engaging place to be. Prospects learn about your solutions and then, after watching videos and chatting with others, they get directed immediately to your product team. Now that sounds like a virtual event worth attending!”

2. Community marketing will replace event-based marketing.

Adam Masur, VP of Marketing at Credly, told me: “The era of anchoring marketing around a big, industry event is coming to a close. We’ve all seen the annual conference go virtual due to the impact of COVID-19. But I expect hosts to find that their audience’s appetite for the singular virtual gathering will wane, as well.”

“Look for more intimate, and more topical online get-togethers in 2021. Experts with verified digital credentials and a willingness to share will be highly valued virtual community leaders and influencers.”

“Companies should be ready to be active contributors and bring practical value to the conversation.” 

3. Businesses will find new ways to encourage online connections.

Kevin Alansky, Chief Marketing Officer at Higher Logic, says: “The virtual and digital-first world will continue in 2021 and possibly beyond. Many organizations have shifted their annual event and tradeshow to a virtual one. Many organizations have not succeeded, however, because they tried to replicate the experience on an outdated model. This has led to a flood in the number of virtual events and many people facing ‘Zoom fatigue.'”

“Organizations are now wondering how to fight this overcrowded market and stand out against the rest. The answer is online communities — how do you engage before, during, and after your event? We need to find ways to better engage our audiences and build meaningful connections between our organizations and our customers. We are seeing the demand for engagement already this year and this will continue to be a big trend through 2021.”

4. The interactivity that’s been promised for decades is now a necessity for 2021.

Jake Milstein, CMO at CI Security, told me: “When the pandemic hit, there was a huge spike in registrations and attendance in virtual events that attempted to mimic in-person events. Attendance at those events lasted a month or two and then dropped off quickly. People are looking for more human interactions — something out of the norm. Webinars just don’t do it anymore.”

“People are now interested in discussions and panels in which they can ask questions, they can be part of the action, they can offer their own expertise. That’s not something you could do when watching someone on-stage, but we all know it’s something you can do online. The interactivity that’s been promised for decades is now a necessity for 2021.” 

Brand Values

5. Customer-centricity will propel brands forward.

Natalie Severino, VP, Marketing at Chorus.ai, predicts: “Throughout the many challenges of 2020, revenue teams have been able to weather the storms and thrive by putting the customer at the center of every decision. This is only made possible through total alignment between sales, marketing, and customer teams, as all must rely on using the actual voice, pain points, and goals to create a winning partnership.”

“While conventional methods of relationship building, like in-person meetings, may not be possible today (or simply don’t scale quickly enough), entering 2021 provides us a paradigm shift for bringing relationships and shared business goals to the forefront of every opportunity.”

6. Brands will navigate an increasingly polarized social and political climate.

“One of the biggest trends to watch in 2021 will be how brands navigate an increasingly polarized social and political climate. Presidential politics, the response to navigating the global pandemic, and an increasingly siloed media and social media landscape is forcing brands to make hard decisions about how and where they align with their customers.”

“Every ad dollar spent, every choice of channel and platform, every social post, every inch of shelf space, and every conference or trade show will be evaluated through the lens of what a brand’s marketing decisions say about who they are and what they stand for,” says Tim Linberg, Chief Experience Officer at Verndale.

Revenue and Budget

7. A/B Testing will become a waste of time and budget.

R. J. Talyor, CEO and Founder at Pattern89, says: “The next decade will see the end of A/B testing. Marketers have long relied on validating their intuition with A/B tests to guide creative advertising and marketing decisions — however, the rise of AI makes this not only obsolete, but wasteful.”

“Once machine learning predicts the trends before they happen and provides clear guidance for marketers, why waste money to A/B test something that wouldn’t work as well? Soon, marketers will be able to go all-in on what will work best without having to test the theory.” 

8. Digital marketing spend will continue to grow.

Bridget Perry, CMO at Contentful, predicts: “We’ve found a digital innovation gap between what customers demand and what brands are currently capable of delivering. That’s why digital leaders across industries tell us they plan to spend, on average, 25% more on digital in 2021. And 25% is just the average — some plan to spend significantly more. CMOs who aren’t scaling up their digital spending will soon be outpaced by competitors.” 

9. Tech spending levels will return to normal over 2021 — but not all categories will benefit.

“Some companies will remain remote, others will move to hybrid offices, and some will — eventually — go back to business as usual. In 2020 we saw user searches jump on TrustRadius for software categories like e-signature, collaboration, video conferencing, endpoint security, antivirus, and of course telemedicine. Those categories will stay strong in 2021 and beyond, reflecting the new workplace. Other categories — event management and facilities management, for example — will radically reinvent themselves,” says Russ Somers, VP Marketing, TrustRadius.

10. Content marketing will start with conversations.

“The content marketing playbook we’ve been using is at least two decades old. Marketers are still focusing on keyword-heavy blog posts as the main tactic to captivate their audience. But it’s a strategy made for Google, not for people.”

“Today, your audience wants to have an authentic experience with your brand and the best way to do that is by leading with conversations.”

“As marketers aim to create a more human-centric experience, we will see more content pulled from actual conversations with people in the industry who can provide that genuine interaction today’s consumers are looking for,” Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO of Casted, told me.

11. Many companies will decrease their marketing budgets.

Melissa Sargeant, CMO of Litmus, says: “In the coming year, marketers will experience budget cuts and even smaller teams. But, by doing this, companies are setting themselves up for failure. During an economic downturn, companies that pull back and starve marketing efforts, do not perform well. And, when our consumerism-driven environment re-engages, those brands will be further behind than they were when they made those budget-conscious decisions.”

“Ultimately, the pandemic has accelerated trends in business. Look at digital transformation and work from home initiatives, for example. But, if there were cracks within a business’s model beforehand, the pandemic brought those to light so now is the time for them to fix it, not bury it. Businesses have to position themselves the best they can now in order to come out even stronger in the end. And, it requires a mature, advanced multi-channel strategy with experienced marketers.”

Teams and Collaboration

12. In 2021, it’s all about people, people, people.

Caroline Tien-Spalding, CMO at Aptology, says: “Marketing’s north star will be evolving in 2021. Marketing has always been about understanding people and acting on that knowledge. A key difference in 2021 is that marketers are able to know more than ever. It’s the rise of the psychologist, and the rise of the digital marketer.” 

13. Many companies will implement a new Web Operations team.

Christy Marble, CMO at Pantheon Systems, predicts: “Marketers will require technology to enable real-time responsiveness to customer needs that span the customer lifecycle and each customer touchpoint. The events of 2020 taught us that we must demand the agility to transform on a moment’s notice to respond to customer needs. This forced an end to the era of lengthy multi-year brand and website re-builds.”

“In 2021 those will be figments of the past, replaced by cross-functional teams that collaborate through technology-enabled workflows to continuously test, learn, and evolve their digital customer experience. These WebOps teams will have a distinct advantage — especially those supported by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.”

“The pace of change has accelerated, but one thing will remain constant: Marketers who focus on people — on customer experience — will be the ones who will keep pace with change. Focus your team on improving personalization, advancing your customer journey, and creating a truly authentic web experience that meets your customers where they are.” 

Digital Transformation

14. Brands will unlock the key to orchestration.

Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO at LeadMD, told me: “Data should be on every marketer’s mind as we enter 2021, but not in the way it usually is. B2B marketers must realize they’re generally strong with orchestrating their own data, but weak with third-party data — which must be a top area of focus. They can’t afford to depend on marketing automation or CRM platforms for this, but will need to strongly consider creating their own system, something along the lines of a CDP. If they do that? They’ve unlocked the key to orchestration and success with data in 2021.”

15. The ‘panic pivot’ will turn into more purposeful reinvention.

 Laliv Hadar, VP Marketing, InVision Communications, says: “In 2020, out of pandemic-induced necessity, marketers have rapidly transformed face-to-face events into virtual ones, and developed innovative ways of connecting with audiences digitally. In 2021, this reactionary ‘panic pivot’ will turn to more purposeful reinvention of the ways we engage our core audiences. That reinvention will manifest in hybrid audience experiences that are wholly connected across the communications ecosystem. This integrated brand approach will be built on the premise that our audiences comprise real human beings, whose brand perceptions are shaped by their experiences, and now, more than ever, crave professional empathy and connection.”

Because while quarantines, social distancing and remote work will play a critical role in our eventual emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, they also have had a significant side effect: Disengagement. 2021 will see marketers tapping into the human need for just the opposite: engagement.”

16. Brands will capitalize on change.

John Graff, Chief Marketing Officer at Sonim, predicts: “I believe 2021 will be a year that will provide significant opportunities for companies to grow/expand market share. Why? Because many companies will fall into the trap that there will be a post-2020 ‘return to normal.’ Marketing has already been experiencing constant change and evolution the last decade, and just because many people are ready to get past COVID times, does not mean the change will stop. In fact, for best of breed, it very much will accelerate. Everything has been changed, whether it’s work-from-home, education, online retail, and more.”

“The best marketers will look to capitalize further on those changes in 2021, while others unfortunately revert to the old pre-COVID playbooks. It’s a great time for marketers to further embrace change, and be the stewards of helping their companies grow and gain share in 2021!”

17. Marketers will continue to incorporate real, true personalization.

“Marketing automation should not be confused with personalization. Oftentimes, it’s just quicker batching and blasting. When marketers use intent data and data-based insights to fuel their automated communications, they can create remarkable brand experiences sophisticated consumers rely upon. In the year ahead, marketers will better incorporate real, true personalization.” says Nick Runyon, CMO of PFL.

18. Marketers will rely on deep data insights and machine learning to deliver value to prospects.

Richard Jones, CMO of Cheetah Digital, predicts: “The next generation of personalization is not about cookies or third-party data, it’s not about merchandising, and it’s not about guesswork. The next generation of personalization is about relying on deep data insights, first and zero-party data and using machine learning to derive not only the right content, not only the right offer, not only the right channel but, the right sequence of events that leads to an automated path to conversion.”

“The next generation of personalization is about providing a value exchange for consumers in the ‘moment’ when you have them on your mobile app, on your site, in your store. How can you provide them something that will generate trust and affinity with the brand?”

19. Cross-channel integrations will continue to grow.

Meg Scales, CMO of SlickText, told me: “Incorporating multiple channels within campaigns is much more effective than simply putting all your resources into one channel — even a versatile channel like SMS. It’s why we’ll see channels and varying tactics continue to cross-integrate in the coming year.”

“For example, channels will adopt services like loyalty programs to better connect brands with customers through a variety of strategies within just one platform. Also, a customer interaction in one channel could trigger a personalized, automated sequence in another, creating data- and behavior-driven campaigns many are unable to produce currently due to a lack of time, money and expertise.”

20. We’ll see an acceleration with the digital-first shift.

Auseh Britt, VP, Growth Marketing at Terminus “We saw an acceleration in the shift to digital in 2020, mainly due to the gap left by live events. Substitutes like virtual conferences lacked the ability to really engage audiences, making them glorified webinars, exacerbating the ‘Zoom’ fatigue.”

“I see this trend continuing in 2021 as we look for more creative ways to engage customers and prospects through hyper-personalized outreach, high impact direct mail, intimate and interactive virtual experiences, and relevant educational content.”

How to Make a Timeline Graphic in Google Docs, Word, Excel, Google Sheets, and PowerPoint

Infographics are a great way to capture user attention and communicate key concepts. Why? Because they combine relevant information with graphic impact to increase retention and engagement.

Data backs up this common-sense assertion: Research found that people retain 65% of the information they see — but only 10% of the information they hear — and spend 39% less time searching for the content they need when it’s displayed in infographic format.

One of the most compelling uses for this functional format? Timeline graphics. These date and data delivery vehicles offer a way to quickly communicate important information — from key dates in your company’s history to upcoming project milestones or predicted market trends.

Of course, it’s one thing to see the value in timeline graphics and another to actually create attractive and effective visuals. In this piece, we’ll tackle timeline tactics for familiar applications including Google Docs, Word, Excel, Google Sheets, and Powerpoint.

3…2…1…let’s go!

What is a timeline graphic?

While there’s no single format for timeline graphics, the most common composition uses four parts:

  • Data
  • Visual
  • Header
  • Description

Each timeline element contains all four parts, and elements are then arranged in left-to-right order of oldest-to-newest events. This format offers simplicity of form and function — elements are easy to read and identify, and the “flow” of time is simple to spot.

Let’s say you’re creating a timeline of key events in your corporate history using this framework. It might look something like this:

This (very basic) example was made in Google Docs and uses an arrow to denote the passage of time. Dates above the line are paired with brief details below. Some timelines will include both a header — such as merger — with a longer description below. How much information is worth including depends on the complexity of the topic at hand, who’s going to be using the chart, and its overall purpose. In this case, our graphic element is the line itself but you can also insert relevant images of people or places associated with the event to increase user engagement.

Another common graphic timeline format runs top-to-bottom with earlier dates at the top of the page and later dates further down. To maximize space many of these top-to-bottom templates alternate information left-and-right down the line.

How to Make a Timeline on Google Docs

So how do you make a timeline graphic?

1. Create a picture.

Head to “Insert”, then select “Drawing” and “+ New”. This will bring up a new window that looks like a checkerboard.

2. Start drawing.

Select the “Line” button from the top menu and choose “Arrow”. Then, draw a line across the screen. To make sure it’s straight, look at the left-hand side — if you only see one line, it’s level. If you see more than one, it’s at an angle.

3. Enter your text.

Click on the Text Box tool — represented as a T surrounded by a box — and create a box above or below your line to start adding details. You can either copy and paste multiple boxes to ensure consistent sizing and spacing or use a single, giant text box. While the latter option is quicker to create (we used it) the natural left-to-right format of the box means you’re limited in how information appears.

4. Save and close.

When you’ve entered all of your timeline data, click “Save and Close” and the image will be automatically added to your Google Doc.

How to Make a Timeline in Word

Maybe you don’t like Google Docs, maybe your company uses Microsoft Office exclusively, or maybe you don’t like the idea of potentially shared timelines. Whatever the case, it’s also possible to create a timeline graphic in Word.

1. Insert SmartArt

Open a new Word document and head to the “Insert” tab, then select “SmartArt”.

2. Find your timeline.

From the new menu that appears, select “Process”. This will bring up a host of potential timeline graphic options, everything from single, large arrows to connected text boxes to linked circles. The simplest option is the “Basic Timeline” which contains dots embedded in a large, transparent arrow.

3. Enter your data.

Use the text pane located on the left-hand side to enter your timeline data. Pressing “Enter” creates a new timeline entry — if you need to add more information to a specific timeline item, press Shift+Enter to create a line break.

4. Customize your timeline.

Customize your timeline dots and arrow with shapes or colors to achieve your desired look.

Word does not automatically calculate time between events; as a result, all items on your timeline will be equidistant from one another. If you need to communicate a larger span of time, you can drag events further apart manually, but this will eventually distort the graphic.

How to Make a Timeline in Excel

If you enjoy using Microsoft Office for creating timelines but want to make things more difficult for yourself, try building an Excel timeline. While the finished product offers easily-accessible data in a familiar format, the effort required is significantly more substantial.

1. Create a data table.

Create a three-column table in Excel that contains your timeline data. Use the first column for dates and the second for event titles. In the last column, enter a series of numbers — these numbers will determine the height of your timeline plots. You can set them all to the same height with the same number or different heights in a repeating pattern depending on your preference.

2. Insert a scatter chart.

Select “Insert” from the top Excel menu, then “Charts”, then select a Scatter chart.

3. Import your data.

Right-click the chart that appears and choose “Select Data Source.” Select the “Add” button in the “Legend Entries (Series)” menu that appears. Click on the small spreadsheet image that appears next to the “Series X values” box, then choose the column of dates you created.

Then, select the small spreadsheet next to the “Series Y values” box and choose the data in your timeline height column. Click “OK” and you’ll create a scatter chart with dates at the bottom and dots at varying heights.

4. Eliminate gridlines, add error bars.

Select your chart and find the “+” in the upper-right to bring up the Chart Elements menu. Uncheck “Chart Title” and “Gridlines”, then check “Data Labels” and “Error Bars”

5. Connect the dots.

Head to the “Error Bars” menu option and select “No Line” for your Series X Error Bars — this will remove the horizontal lines on each side of your data points. For your Series Y Error Bars, set the direction to “Minus” and the Error Amount to “100%”. This will create vertical lines between your dates and your data points.

6. Insert event titles.

In the “Format Axis” menu, select “Series 1 Data Labels”, uncheck “Y Value”, and select “Value from Cells.” Then, click the small spreadsheet icon. Select your event titles column and then click “OK”.

This should create a basic timeline with dates along the bottom and data points at varying height, each with a small description above. If desired, you can add extra formatting and color options from the Format Data Series menu.

How to Make a Timeline in Google Sheets

The polar opposite of Excel, Google Sheets makes it easy to create project timeline.

1. Create a new timeline.

Open Google Sheets and select the “Project Timeline” option.

2. Customize.

Edit your timeline. Change any text box, add colors, and modify dates as required. While customization is bounded by the basic format of this Gantt chart, Google Sheets offers one of the easiest ways to create and share a timeline.

How to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint

Making a timeline in PowerPoint is almost identical to the process used in Word.

1. Select your design.

Head to the “Design” tab and select your theme.

2. Insert SmartArt.

Click on “Insert”, then “SmartArt”.

3. Choose and fill your timeline graphic.

Select the timeline you prefer and it will be created with three elements. Add text to the elements directly, and use “Add Bullets” to add bullet points below. Select “Add Shape” to additional timeline sections.

Timing is Everything

Timeline graphics add convenient context to otherwise dry data points. From details about your company from inception to current interaction to in-depth project milestone markers, visual timelines in Google Docs or Sheets, or Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint offer a way to capture critical data while simultaneously boosting viewer interest and bolstering information retention.

7 Best Domain Name Generators for Business Websites

Domain name generators are helpful tools you can use for free—whether you’re a blogger or a business owner—to discover available domain names for your website based on keywords. If you’ve tried to find a relevant domain, chances are you’ve found just how difficult it can be. Thanks to a domain name generator, you can save…

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