Category Archives: Marketing Strategies

The Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Marketing in 2021

Every marketing team is challenged to do more with less — especially nonprofit organizations. Often times, resources are tight, and teams are small. Sound like your organization?

We want to help. That’s why we created this nonprofit marketing guide. Your organization might not operate for profit, but it can still value from the traffic, funds, and awareness marketing brings in.

Bookmark this guide for later and use the chapter links below to jump around to sections of interest.

Inbound Marketing for Nonprofits

Your nonprofit organization likely takes up all of your time, and building a marketing plan might seem like an added responsibility that’s just not worth it.

We’re here to convince you otherwise. Inbound marketing is all about creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business.

Inbound marketing for nonprofits can help you attract new supporters for your cause, connect to valuable donors, engage your constituents, and inspire your community.

Boost your organization’s awareness and compel action. See firsthand how HubSpot can transform your nonprofit organization.

Here’s how else nonprofit marketing can help.

Nonprofit marketing raises awareness.

Your nonprofit organization is a brand, therefore you need to raise awareness just like any other business or company. Marketing raises awareness of your brand, and brand awareness spreads the word about your organization and your overall cause.

Nonprofit marketing raises funds.

Nonprofit marketing and nonprofit fundraising go hand-in-hand. The more people that know about your organization, the more potential funding you can bring in.

Nonprofit marketing drives donor memberships and recurring donations.

Many nonprofit organizations offer donation memberships and monthly giving programs, like this one from Charity: Water. These programs are valuable because your organization doesn’t have to fundraise so actively and so often, and they can actually help you raise more money — the average monthly online donation is $52 ($624 per year) compared to the average one-time gift of $128.

Marketing your nonprofit gets your cause in front of fresh eyes and informs your donors about how they can consistently contribute.

Nonprofit marketing recruits volunteers.

Nonprofit marketing isn’t just for funding — it also drives manpower (and woman-power!) to your organization. Regardless of industry or size, all nonprofits benefit from volunteers, and marketing your organization can help bring in new hands.

Moreover, volunteers are twice as likely to donate as non-volunteers.

Nonprofit marketing promotes your services.

Awareness, funding, and volunteers are integral to your nonprofit, but what about the purpose of your organization? What about the people, animals, or cause you’re helping? Marketing can help with that, too.

The more people who know about your nonprofit organization, the more people you can help.

These are just a handful of reasons you should invest in marketing (particularly inbound marketing!) for your nonprofit. Now, let’s discuss how to build a nonprofit marketing plan so you can start bringing in new funds, volunteers, and constituents.

Crafting a nonprofit marketing plan might not be too different than a for-profit marketing plan, but it’s debatably more important. Increasing awareness and constituent engagement without exhausting your hardworking team requires approaching your marketing systematically.

That’s where a nonprofit marketing plan comes into play. Putting systems in place to produce and distribute your marketing content allows you to focus on operating and scaling your nonprofit.

Here’s how to create a successful nonprofit marketing plan.

1. Define Your Marketing Goals

Your nonprofit marketing plan exists to transform your organization’s mission and big-picture objectives into strategic, actionable goals.

For example, let’s say one of your objectives was to protect the welfare of animals in your community (like one of my favorite local rescues, ALIVE Chicago). I’d ask you to brainstorm three to five marketing ideas to advance that objective.

Some ways you could use marketing to advance that objective include:

  1. Create and publish content that educates your community on the state of animal welfare.
  2. Post on social media about your organization and the animals you have for adoption.
  3. Send a weekly email newsletter sharing your content, adoptable animals, and volunteer needs.
  4. Host a quarterly event with educational resources, foster training, and adoption opportunities.

Next, I’d ask you to turn these ideas into SMART goals. Let’s use idea number one as an example:

Specific

Educate the community on the state of animal welfare by producing one blog post per week.

Measurable

Increase traffic by 15%.

Attainable

Our blog traffic increased by 10% last year when we upped our publishing frequency to twice a month. A 15% boost in traffic with a 100% increase in production seems attainable.

Relevant

An increase in blog traffic will boost awareness of our organization, educate the community, and alert more people of our adoption opportunities — thus, saving more animals and bringing in more funding.

Timely

We will start producing one post per week and the start of next month.

SMART Goal: By the start of next month, our blog will see a 15% boost in traffic by increasing our content production from two posts per month to one post per week. This increase will boost awareness of our organization, educate the community, and alert more people of our adoption opportunities — thus, saving more animals and bringing in more funding.

See how I turned the organizational mission into a marketing objective, and then into a SMART goal? SMART goals are especially important when it comes time to analyze and measure your marketing performance (which we talk about later), so be sure to finish this step before moving forward in your nonprofit marketing plan.

Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. 

2. Understand Your Audience(s)

Nonprofit marketing is different from other types of marketing because your organization is likely targeting multiple groups: constituents, customers, volunteers, and donors.

It’s imperative to define and understand each of these audiences (a.k.a. buyer personas) because your marketing will differ based on who you’re talking to. (We’ll get into key messaging next.)

For example, following our animal shelter example from above, an email targeting donors will have different messaging than an email calling for volunteers.

One easy way to organize your different audiences is using a CRM to segment the different groups. By separating contacts with tags and lists, you can easily send marketing messages to the appropriate groups.

3. Craft Your Key Messages

Key messages encompass the information you want your audiences to hear, remember, and share about your nonprofit organization. Crafting these before you employ your marketing is important for a few reasons:

  • Key messages keep your organization aligned. No matter who’s doing the marketing, you can be confident the same thing is being said and promoted.
  • Key messages simplify your marketing. With these created ahead of time, you already know what you’re going to say in your marketing messaging.
  • Key messages help organize your different audiences (as we talked about above). As a nonprofit organization, you’re likely talking to donors, volunteers, constituents, and your community … more personas than a typical for-profit business. Developing key messages for each of your audiences informs your team and your marketing to make sure you’re targeting the right groups.

Continuing with our animal shelter example, here’s a look at how you can craft a key message for different audiences.

Key message: We protect the welfare of animals in our community through education, adoption and fostering, and animal advocacy.

  • For adoption customers/constituents: By adopting or fostering, or by alerting us of animals in need, you can help us protect the welfare of animals in our community.
  • For volunteers: We protect the welfare of animals through round-the-clock animal care and advocacy.
  • For donors: You can help us protect the welfare of animals by donating to support animal care, advocacy, and adoption promotion.

All of these key messages have the same purpose and undertone, but they vary slightly depending on your audience. Together with your nonprofit organization’s mission, vision, and goals, these messages will help effectively communicate and market your organization’s needs and purpose.

Download Now: Free Brand Building Guide

4. Choose, Plan, and Create Your Marketing Strategies

Many marketers jump right to this step — creating and publishing various marketing tactics. Marketing encompasses much more than an advertisement, blog post, or event. In order to execute successfully, you must complete all the steps prior to this.

Now that you’ve established your goals (what you want), your key messages (what you’re going to say), and your audience (who you’re going to say it to), you can determine your marketing tactics (how you’re going to say it).

Marketing tactics refer to channels like email marketing, social media, events, and more. We’ve dedicated an entire section to these marketing strategies — read about them in detail below.

Regardless of which tactic you choose, be sure to conduct thorough planning before and as you execute on it. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you prepare:

  • What will you do with this marketing tactic?
  • When will these marketing activities take place?
  • Why is this tactic important?
  • Who will be responsible for these activities?
  • How much do we plan to spend?
  • How does this tie to our organization’s marketing goals?

Tactical planning is an integral part of your overall nonprofit marketing plan. How you approach your marketing strategies and how they impact your organization is just as important as how you execute on them.

Before you hit the ground running on any of these strategies, be sure your team has a solid game plan and a full understanding of it.

5. Analyze Your Marketing Performance

Your marketing probably won’t perform perfectly from the get-go. That’s OK. Routine reporting and analysis help you figure out what’s working and what you need to change.

As you choose and establish your marketing channels, pay attention to the measurable performance indicators for each. Here’s a list of examples from our list of marketing strategies below:

Marketing Strategy Performance Indicator
Email marketing Email opens
Event marketing Ticket sales
Video marketing Video views
Social media Shares and comments
Website Page views
Public speaking Referrals
Content marketing Subscriptions

Remember the goals you defined in step one? The point of measuring your marketing performance is to stay aligned with those goals.

You can track these performance indicators using tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, and the analytics tools built into Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

If you know what you want to measure before you start marketing your nonprofit, you’ll know exactly what to look for — and how to determine success and impact — when your marketing is in play.

You’ve created your nonprofit marketing plan. Now, let’s talk about how to execute that plan with actionable marketing strategies.

Many of these nonprofit marketing strategies will overlap, like sharing your blog content on social media or releasing an event invite over email. These methods can and should be used in tandem, but we recommend introducing each strategy slowly so your team doesn’t overwhelm itself.

In fact, we recognize that your nonprofit is likely operating with a small (but agile!) marketing team. For this reason, throughout these sections, we’ll recommend tips for doing more with less. Ultimately, though, don’t hesitate to outsource your nonprofit marketing where needed.

Nonprofit Email Marketing

You might be using email sporadically to call for volunteers or confirm an online donation, but that’s not enough. Email marketing is a highly effective marketing resource, especially for nonprofit organizations. Why? It’s personal and powerful.

Here are a few ways to leverage email marketing to reach all of your audiences:

  • Send a weekly newsletter with your newest content, updates about your organization, industry data, and volunteer needs.
  • Send monthly emails with donation needs and opportunities.
  • Set up an email sequence for new subscribers thanking them for joining and educating them on your organization.
  • Set up an email sequence for new donors thanking them for their contribution and sharing how else they can support your organization.

Also, don’t forget to put information on your website about how to subscribe to your email list. Nonprofit organization Acumen does a great job of this by putting subscription opportunities on their homepage and in their main menu.

Acumen's nonprofit newsletter promoted in the footer of their website

👉🏼Nonprofit marketing tip: Automate as much as possible. Email marketing automation (like HubSpot) saves precious time and energy for your team and can be the key to growing your email list, donations, and memberships. You can also automate an email sequence triggered by website visitor behavior indicating a high level of interest, such as downloading educational content.

Click here to download our free beginner's guide to email marketing.

Nonprofit Event Marketing

Event marketing is one of the most effective (and enjoyable!) ways to grow awareness of your organization, connect with your community, raise funds, and garner support for your cause.

PAWS, which stands for Pets are Worth Saving, is another local animal rescue that I’m a fan of. They hold a PAWS 5K race every summer to raise awareness and funding for the organization.

PAWS Chicago 5K nonprofit marketing event page

This type of event impactful for multiple reasons:

  1. It inspires competition and physical activity. Runners raise money for the organization and participate in the run.
  2. It brings people in the community together to celebrate the organization and bring awareness to the PAWS cause.
  3. It provides PAWS a channel to promote their services and adoptable pets.
  4. It’s fun to attend and be a part of! Many people go to the event to support runners, play with dogs, and simply be a part of the fun — all while supporting and sharing PAWS.

From fundraisers to auctions to competitions, there are many different kinds of events you can organize to market your nonprofit organization.

Nonprofit Video Marketing

Whether they’re consuming content for work, school, or fun, people prefer video content. As a nonprofit organization, video marketing is a surefire way to garner interest and support from all of your audiences.

Here are a few reasons that video can help you market your nonprofit:

  1. Video is visual. We process visual content 60,000 times faster than written content. We also remember more content, longer.
  2. Video is personal. It inspires empathy and emotions, which can’t be said about other types of marketing.
  3. Video is educational. Many organizations need to educate their communities on their causes in order to garner attention and funding. Video can help you do that.
  4. Video is shareable. 92% of consumers on mobile will share videos with others. Consumers love sharing videos, especially those that inspire and resonate with them.
  5. Video is interesting. 60% of people are report that video is a media they consume thoroughly. Keep your visitors, followers, and supporters engaged and interested with video.

→ Access Now: Video Marketing Starter Pack [Free Kit]

The Girl Effect, a nonprofit that works to empower girls worldwide, is a great example of video marketing. The organization’s homepage is a video, which captures visitors’ attention right away. Moreover, when you click “See more,” the site opens an informative video telling you all about The Girl Effect.

The Girl Effect's nonprofit web page that uses video marketing

Nonprofit Social Media Marketing

Social media is a highly popular marketing strategy among nonprofits. Not only is it free, but it provides an avenue for organizations to show their brand personalities and engage with their followers and supporters.

Here are some ways to use social media for your nonprofit marketing, as inspired by a HubSpot study of 9,000 nonprofits:

  • Share news about your organization and cause
  • Boost brand awareness and recognition
  • Fundraise
  • Recruit volunteers and employees
  • Recognize donors, employees, and volunteers

Don’t forget to use the key messaging you crafted in your nonprofit marketing plan to keep your social media posts consistent and targeted. Also, make the most of each platform to promote your organization, such as the Donate button on Facebook.

HubSpot customer FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a nonprofit organization that works to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education among children.

FIRST makes use of social media in many different ways, such as using Facebook to post videos, news, fundraisers, and reviews — as well as making use of the Donate button. The organization has amassed almost 100,000 followers.

FIRST's nonprofit Facebook page with Donate button

👉🏼Nonprofit marketing tip: Curate content from volunteers, customers, supporters, event attendees, and donors. Implementing a user-generated content (UGC) campaign not only lessens your workload, but it also acts as strong social proof. To enact your UGC campaign, put out a call for constituent stories, images, and videos. Create a hashtag that people can use to alert you of new UGC.

Also, let curation tools work for you. Use Google Alerts and social monitoring tools to alert you when your organization, hashtags, or relevant topics or keywords are mentioned. This provides opportunities to source UGC, get inspiration for new topic ideas, and participate in relevant conversations.

Nonprofit Website

Every nonprofit organization should have a website. A website serves as a digital home base for your organization and includes critical information — what you stand for and how visitors can participate and help.

Your website also houses important assets like your blog, social media streams, event information, videos, and more … basically the rest of your marketing strategies. Lastly, your website serves as a way to intrigue, inspire, and engage your audiences.

Nonprofit organization (and HubSpot customer) American Nursing Association (ANA) is an example of an organization with an outstanding nonprofit website. The site clarifies the ANA mission, shares news and educational content, and informs visitors how to get involved through memberships, events, certifications, or donations.

ANA's nonprofit website

Nonprofit Public Speaking

It’s said that people buy into other people, not products. The same can be said about nonprofit organizations. If consumers believe in the people behind your organization, they’re likely to buy in your cause and donate money or time.

One of the best ways for consumers to get to know your leadership team, not to mention spread the word about your cause and organization, is public speaking. Whether you speak at a local event of 100 people or a multi-day conference with thousands, the impact is the same: telling a powerful story to real people who may not yet know about your cause.

charity:water founder Scott Harrison spoke at INBOUND18. While he shared some about the conception and organization of the nonprofit, he mostly talked about the people that his organization helps — and how the audience can support the mission. Harrison not only moved the audience of thousands but also effectively marketed the charity:water purpose and brand.

 

Nonprofit Content Marketing

Content marketing and blogging are valuable marketing assets for any nonprofit organization. Here’s why:

  • Content educates your audiences about your mission, cause, and industry news and trends.
  • Content (and SEO) bring in new visitors, subscribers, donors, and leads.
  • Content is shareable and serves as free PR among your audiences.
  • Content can be repurposed and made into different types of media, saving your marketing team precious time and energy.

Creating a nonprofit marketing blog isn’t always easy. Teams are short-staffed, budgets are low, and time is precious. Thankfully, there are lots of ways around those blogging challenges, such as sourcing story ideas from volunteers, donors, and customers as well as implementing an editorial calendar so you can plan ahead.

One of my very favorite nonprofit organizations is called Blurt Foundation, a UK-based organization that exists to increase awareness and understanding of depression and support those who struggle with it. There’s a lot of misconception and misunderstanding around depression, so Blurt Foundation uses their blog content and other content resources to educate constituents and supporters. They also incorporate these content assets into their emails, social media posts, and online store.

Blurt Foundation's nonprofit Resources page as a content marketing example

👉🏼Nonprofit marketing tip: Save time and resources by repurposing your content. Content is an appreciating asset that you can reuse and re-promote over and over. Repurposing content to create new marketing assets costs far less than creating entirely new content.

Outline all the ways you could repurpose the content you produce. For example, you could create the following list for your blog content:

  • Short version for use in emails or newsletters with link back to full post
  • Group with related posts for report
  • Two to three visuals images to share on social
  • Infographic with post information
  • Reaction piece to original post

Since you’re not going to promote and distribute each piece of repurposed content immediately, your content pipeline is never empty.

Check out HubSpot’s free nonprofit content today.

Strengthen Your Marketing, Promote Your Cause

Raise your hand if your organization has to constantly do more with less. 👋🏼

If that sounds like your organization, we recommend you use this guide to build a nonprofit marketing plan ASAP. Your organization might not operate for profit, but it can still value from the traffic, funds, and awareness that systematic marketing brings in.

And not only will these activities and strategies help promote your organization, but they’ll take a valuable load off the backs of your team and volunteers — freeing them up to dedicate more time to your cause and constituents.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

A Beginner's Guide to HTML5

HTML5 was designed to do virtually anything you want to do online without having to download browser plugins or other software. Want to create animations? Embed music and movies? Build advanced applications that run in your browser? You can with HTML5.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about HTML5, including:

What is HTML5?

HTML5 is the newest version of HTML. The term refers to two things. One is the updated HTML language itself, which has new elements and attributes. The second is the larger set of technologies that work with this new version of HTML — like a new video format — and enable you to build more complex and powerful websites and apps.

To understand how HTML has evolved over the years, let’s look at the differences between HTML and HTML5.

HTML vs HTML5

HTML is the World Wide Web’s core markup language. Originally designed to semantically describe scientific documents, it has since evolved to describe much more.

Most pages on the web today were built using HTML4. Although much improved since the first version of HTML written in 1993, HTML4 still had its limitations. It’s biggest was if web developers or designers wanted to add content or features to their site that weren’t supported in HTML. In that case, they would have to use non-standard proprietary technologies, like Adobe Flash, which required users to install browser plugins. Even then, some users wouldn’t be able to access that content or feature. Users on iPhones and iPads, for example, wouldn’t be able to since those devices don’t support Flash.

Cue, HTML5. HTML5 was designed to cut out the need for those non-standard proprietary technologies. With this new version of HTML, you can create web applications that work offline, support high-definition video and animations, and know where you are geographically located.

To understand how HTML5 can do all that, let’s look at what’s new in this latest version of HTML.

What is new in HTML5?

HTML5 was designed with major objectives, including:

  • Making code easier to read for users and screen readers
  • Reducing the overlap between HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Promoting design responsiveness and consistency across browsers
  • Supporting multimedia without the need for Flash or other plugins

Each of these objectives informed the changes in this new version of HTML. Let’s focus on seven of those changes below.

New Semantic Elements

HTML5 introduced several new semantically meaningful tags. These include <section>, <header>, <footer> <nav>, <mark>, <figure>, <aside> <figcaption>, <data>, <time>, <output>, <progress>, <meter> and <main>. These make it easier to write cleaner code that clearly delineates style from content, which is particularly important to users with assistive technologies like screen readers.

Inline SVG

Using HTML4, you’d need Flash, Silverlight, or another technology to add scalable vector graphics (SVGs) to your web pages. With HTML5, you can add vector graphics directly in HTML documents using the <svg> tag. You can also draw rectangles, circles, text, and other vector-based paths and shapes using this new element. Below is an example of a circular shape created using the SVG <circle> element.

  See the Pen   Drawing a Circular Shape with inline SVG by Andrea Fitzgerald (@afitzgerald53)   on CodePen.

Form Features

You can create smarter forms thanks to HTML5’s expanded form options. In addition to all the standard form input types, HTML5 offers more, including: datetime, datetime-local, date, month, week, time, number, range, email, and url. You can also add date pickers, sliders, validation, and placeholder text thanks to the new placeholder attribute, which we’ll discuss later.

WebM Video Format

Before HTML5, you needed browser plugins to embed audio and video content into web pages. Not only did HTML5 introduce <audio> and <video> tags which eliminated the need for browser plugins, it also introduced the WebM video format. This is a royalty-free video format developed by Google that provides a great compression to quality ratio. This can be used with the video element and is supported by most browsers.

Placeholder Attribute

HTML5 introduced the placeholder attribute. You can use this with the <input> element to provide a short hint to help users fill in passwords or other data entry fields. This can help you create better forms. However, it’s important to note that this attribute is not accessible to assistive technologies. Feel free to read more about the problems with the placeholder attribute.

Server-sent Events

A server-sent event is when a web page automatically gets updated data from a server. This was possible with HTML4, but the web page would have to ask

HTML5 supports one-way server-sent events. That means, data is continuously sent from a server to the browser. Think of how useful this would be if your website included stock prices, news feeds, Twitter feeds, and so on. Server-sent events were supported in the previous version of HTML, but the web page would have to repeatedly request it.

Local Web Storage

With the previous version of HTML, data is stored locally via cookies. With HTML5, web storage is used in place of cookies thanks to a scripting API. This allows you to store data locally, like cookies, but in much larger quantities.

Now that we understand what’s new in HTML5, let’s take a look at why you should be using it on your website.

Why HTML5?

HTML5 offers a wide range of benefits over previous versions of HTML — some of which we’ve mentioned briefly above. Let’s take a closer look at just a few reasons why HTML5 is so special.

It’s compatible across browsers.

HTML5 is supported by all the major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, as well as iOS for Chrome and Safari and Android browsers. It can even work with the older and less popular browsers like Internet Explorer. That means when building with HTML5, you know that users will have a consistent experience on your site, no matter what browser they use or whether they’re on mobile or desktop.

It enables offline browsing.

HTML5 allows you to build offline applications. Browsers that support HTML5 offline applications (which is most) will download the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and other resources that make up the application and cache them locally. Then, when the user tries to access the web application without a network connection, the browser will render the local copies. That means you won’t have to worry about your site not loading if the user loses or doesn’t have an active internet connection.

It allows you to write cleaner code.

With HTML5’s new semantic elements, you can create cleaner and more descriptive code bases. Before HTML5, developers had to use a lot of general elements like divs and style them with CSS to display like headers or navigation menus. The result? A lot of divs and class names that made the code more difficult to read.

HTML5 allows you to write more semantically meaningful code, which enables you and other readers to separate style and content.

It’s more accessible.

Also thanks to HTML5’s new semantic elements, you can create websites and apps that are more accessible. Before these elements, screen readers could not determine that a div with a class or ID name “header” was actually a header. Now with the <header> and other HTML5 semantic tags, screen readers can more clearly examine an HTML file and provide a better experience to users who need them.

How to Use HTML5

To start using HTML5 on your website, it’s recommended that you create an HTML template first. You can then use this as a boilerplate for all your future projects moving forward. Here’s what a basic template looks like:

Let’s walk through the process of building this file line-by-line so you can create an HTML template for your web projects. You can follow along using a basic text editor like Notepad++.

  • First, declare the type of document as HTML5. To do so, you’d add the special code <!DOCTYPE html> on the very first line. There’s no need to add “5” in this declaration since HTML5 is just an evolution of previous HTML standards.
  • Next, define the root element. Since this element signals what language you’re going to write in, it’s always going to be <html> in an HTML5 doc.
  • Include a language attribute and define it in the opening tag of the HTML element. Without a language attribute, screen readers will default to the operating system’s language, which could result in mispronunciations of the title and other content on the page. Specifying the attribute will ensure screen readers can determine what language the document is in and make your website more accessible. Since we’re writing this post in English, we’ll set the file’s lang attribute to “en.”
  • Also include the manifest attribute in your opening HTML tag. This points to your application’s manifest file, which is a list of resources that your web application might need to access while it’s disconnected from the network. This makes it possible for a browser to load your site even when a user loses or doesn’t have an internet connection.
  • Create the head section of the doc by writing an opening <head> and closing </head> tag. In the head, you’ll put meta information about the page that will not be visible on the front end.
  • In the head section, name your HTML5 document. Wrap the name in <title></title> tags.
  • Below the title, add meta information that specifies the character set the browser should use when displaying the page. Generally, pages written in English use UTF-8 so add the line: <meta charset = “UTF-8“ />.
  • Below, add links to any external stylesheets you’re using. If you’re loading Bootstrap CSS onto your project, for example, it will look something like this: <link rel=”stylesheet” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank” href=”bootstrap/css/bootstrap.min.css”>. For the sake of this demo, I’ll include a dummy link and a comment in HTML noting that it’s optional.
  • Now create the body section of the doc by writing an opening <body> and closing </body> tag. The body section contains all the information that will be visible on the front end, like your paragraphs, images, and links.
  • In the body section, add a header and paragraph. You’ll write out the heading name and wrap it in <h1></h1> tags, and write out the paragraph and wrap it in <p></p> tags.
  • Lastly, don’t forget the closing tag of the html element.

When you’re done, you can save your file with the .html extension and load it into a browser to see how it looks.

HTML template that would enable you to use HTML5 on your site

Image Source

To understand why the specification process spanned over a decade, let’s look at the complicated history of HTML5.

In 1999, the year after HTML4 was released, the W3C decided to stop working on HTML and instead focus on developing an XML-based equivalent called XHTML. Four years later, there was a renewed interest in evolving HTML as people began to realize the deployment of XML relied entirely on new technologies like RSS.

In 2004, Mozilla and Opera proposed that HTML should continue to be evolved at a W3C workshop. When the W3C members rejected the proposal in favor of continuing to develop XML-based replacements, Mozilla and Opera — joined by Apple — launched the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) to continue evolving HTML.

In 2006, the W3C reversed course and indicated they were interested in participating in the development of the HTML5 specification. A year later, a group was formed to work with the WHATWG. These two groups worked together for a number of years until 2011, when they decided they had two separate goals. While the W3C wanted to publish a finished version of HTML5, the WHATWG wanted to publish and continuously maintain a living standard for HTML.

In 2014, the W3C published their “final” version of HTML5 and the WHATWG continued to maintain a “living” version on their site. These two documents merged in 2019, when the W3C and WHATWG signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of a single version of HTML moving forward.

Below is a table to show the varying compatibility of the major browsers. Here’s a key:

  • ✓ Fully supported
  • ≈ Partially supported
  • ✗ Not supported
  Chrome opera Firefox safari Internet explorer
New semantic elements
Inline SVG
Expanded form features
WebM video format
Placeholder attribute
Server-sent events
Local web storage

 

If you want a more detailed breakdown of the different versions of browsers that support HTML5, check out Caniuse.com.

HTML5 is the Future of the World Wide Web

With its new semantic elements, expanded form options, format-independent video tag, and more, HTML5 is revolutionizing how developers build web pages. This, in turn, is changing consumers’ experiences online. We can now watch videos without being asked to update Flash or download another software. We can use applications when we don’t have an internet connection. We can have the same great experience on a site whether using a cellphone, tablet, or Smart TV — and more.

New Call-to-action

How HubSpot's Blog Team Comes Up With High-Performing Post Ideas

When I used to work at a marketing agency, I would read expert industry blogs, such as HubSpot, Marketing Brew, and Backlinko (to name a few).

One of my main questions every day was, “How do these brands do it? How do they constantly come up with brilliant blog ideas?”

Now, obviously, I work at HubSpot and I know what a blog strategy looks like at a big company with a recognizable brand.

By taking the time to do solid research and idea brainstorming, you can come up with blog topics that drive thousands of readers, like me, in — while boosting traffic, authority, and credibility.

Today, I want to pull the curtain back for you. We’ll discuss how the HubSpot blog continuously comes up with high-performing blog ideas.

How the HubSpot Blog Comes Up With Ideas

Before we get started, it’s important to know that when the HubSpot team comes up with blog ideas, several teams are involved (SEO, blog, and lead generation). Because of this, we divide our brainstorming process into two parts: trend research and SEO topic research. We then combine these efforts in our Insights Report on a quarterly basis (which you can download a copy of below).

Featured Resource: Search Insights Report Template

Search Insights report template by HubSpot.

Let’s dive into both those processes below.

How the HubSpot Blog Generates Trend-Responsive Blog Post Ideas

Blog topics that relate to trends, research, or thought leadership yield bursts in non-organic traffic that can help you gain visitors while you’re waiting for SEO-driven posts to rank. Because they often include data, quotes, or other exclusive information, these posts can also earrn backlinks, which indirectly boost your search authority.

However, finding trendy non-organic post topics isn’t always straightforward and often requires brainstorming.

Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Audience Growth Manager, leads the charge with our team’s brainstorming efforts while also managing the blog’s non-organic content strategy.

She says, “While our SEO team uses specialized tools to identify blog posts that will pull in organic traffic, I leverage a number of trend research tactics to identify post ideas that will pull in non-organic traffic from sources like email, social media, and referrals.”

Below is the process she asks bloggers to use during our virtual idea brainstorms.

1. Focus on your blog categories.

Before you get started, it’s important to have some sort of road map in mind. Choose the most important clusters, or blog categories, that you want to focus on for the quarter and develop ideas around them.

Immediately, just knowing the clusters you want to focus on could spark a few ideas for thought-leadership or data-driven research posts.

Each quarter, the HubSpot acquisition team chooses seven to ten clusters for each blog property — for us, that’s marketing, sales, service, and website. Usually the clusters relate to things like business goals or industry trends.

Additionally, we include other categories besides those clusters, such as Audience Growth, Lead Acquisition, and User Acquisition to help us brainstorm topics that are related to our lead generation goals.

2. Review the content you’ve already written to inspire new topics.

Now that you’ve done a quick brainstorm of some new ideas, let’s see what’s already been written in each cluster that you’re focusing on.

To do this, search your site for the cluster. We do site searches at HubSpot, but just typing in “site:blog.hubspot.com/service customer experience” in Google. With this formatting, you can change the link and change the keyword to be whatever you’re looking for. Then, Google will find posts on that keyword on that site specifically.

When you’re coming up with blog ideas, searching the site to see if the topic has been covered is very important. The reason you’ll want to do this is that you can find high-performing posts that give you inspiration for new angles or you can find posts that you want to update with more quotes, data, or new research. Additionally, this will help you avoid keyword cannibalization.

Caroline Forsey, the HubSpot Marketing Blog property manager, says. “Think of different angles for popular topics you’ve already covered. For instance, let’s say you have plenty of content regarding LinkedIn — but you have none from a thought leader in the space. Perhaps you could conduct an interview with a LinkedIn employee for a thought leadership angle, like ‘Top X Tips from a LinkedIn Marketer’.”

3. See what the competition is doing.

While you never want to copy your competitors, it’s important to see what topics they’re writing about. This will help you fill in gaps that your competitors are missing and perhaps improve on blog topics they’re discussing.

This also lets you know what’s going on in your industry. What’s the latest news and should you be writing about it?

Additionally, you can browse social media for this reason as well. Social media can let you know the pain points of your audience and check-in with what’s going on with your target audience.

Staying up on industry news is one of the best ways to brainstorm blog ideas.

Forsey adds, “When new features become available for a social media platform or tool, there’s often plenty of opportunities to explore new angles there, as well — recently, LinkedIn released its own version of Stories, so perhaps you brainstorm a topic like ‘X Best LinkedIn Stories We’ve Seen’, or ‘LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook Stories: Which is Best?'”

4. Have a checklist of blog topic idea criteria.

Once you’ve created some blog ideas, you should check and make sure each blog post topic is aligned with your overall blog criteria. If you don’t have blog criteria yet, maybe it’s time to set some standards around what each blog topic should cover.

For example, at HubSpot, all our blog posts need to provide value to your blog audience, align with a cluster or lead-gen goal, provide non-organic opportunities, be either trend-responsive or evergreen, and have some keyword opportunities.

5. Stay organized.

You should track your blog ideas in an organized fashion. At HubSpot, we use an idea generation spreadsheet where writers and editors can brainstorm ideas for quarterly clusters, or just write down ongoing ideas.

Ultimately, this process helps keep us organized when it comes to generating consistent blog post ideas.

Jay Fuchs, a blog writer at HubSpot, describes his process. He says, “I try to find topics that reconcile engaging subject matter with practicality when coming up with research or trend-based blog topics. That means finding buzzy, intriguing subject matter that lends itself to an article with a compelling title, interesting supporting materials, and — perhaps most importantly — actionable advice.”

Fuchs explains, “That could mean a piece about something like avoiding common pricing mistakes or sales strategies that will become prominent in the near future. One way or another, you need to pick topics that hook and help — ones that command your reader’s attention and let you make the most of it with insight that they’ll be able to apply, going forward.”

Now that you know the HubSpot process when it comes to generating non-organic blog ideas, let’s dive into the SEO side.

Brainstorming SEO-Optimized Ideas

While Bump and the blog writers brainstorm non-organic ideas, our SEO team is hard at work creating blog topics that have an organic goal in mind. This is their process:

1. Look at your company’s products, goals, and customer base.

To start, HubSpot’s SEO team will review our products, goals, and customer base.

Amanda Kopen, an SEO Strategist at HubSpot, says, “When coming up with blog post ideas, first you need to look at your company’s products, goals, and customer base. At HubSpot, we brainstorm blog posts as they relate to our different products (marketing, sales, service, etc.). Then, we narrow it down to topics where we have expertise but are potential pain points for our customers (social media marketing).”

During this phase, our SEO team is reviewing our personas, prioritizing blog clusters (decided by SEO and lead-gen teams), and brainstorming what would be helpful to our audience.

Additionally, the SEO team will identify large topics, underperforming topics, and old but high-performing topics.

2. Conduct keyword research and run a content gap analysis.

After the initial brainstorm, it’s time to do your keyword research and content gap analysis.

Kopen explains, “Once we have a potential pain point in mind, we use SEO best practices — like conducting keyword research and running content gap analyses — to see exactly what people want to learn about (how often should I post on LinkedIn), and we start writing from there.”

During this part of the process, our SEO team will gather domains with similar audiences and conduct a content gap analysis (find out what these sites are ranking for that HubSpot isn’t).

We’ll also look at related searches on Google to see what people are searching for. Then, we’ll identify opportunities where we can update old blog posts or recycle the URL (so we don’t lose the SEO juice, but have updated content for that topic).

3. See if there are any linking opportunities.

Finally, the SEO team will also communicate with HubSpot’s product and academy teams to see if there are linking opportunities such as any courses or products of ours we should be linking to.

Creating Traffic-Generating Ideas

And that’s how the HubSpot blog comes up with high-performing blog post ideas consistently. To learn more about our process, you can learn how SEO works for the HubSpot Blog with our Insights Report course on HubSpot Academy.

8 Simple Ways to Segment Your Social Media Audience

Segmentation is not a new concept for marketers. We use segmentation to send personalized emails, create buyer-specific pricing models, and understand the behaviors of our most loyal customers.

It is also a valuable tool for generating more leads on social media. While publishing more often and posting different types of content is great for generating engagement with your audiences, segmentation can bring additional benefits, like….

New to social media? Check out this featured resource: Social Media Certification Course 

This post will show you how you can apply the principles of segmentation to social media, outline the benefits it can bring to your business, and give you tips for accurately segmenting your social media audience.

Segmentation is important because it increases your marketing success. When you know the key characteristics and desires of your target audience, you can become more focused with your brand messaging and create hyper-targeted advertisements that speak directly to your audience’s interests. Then, when your advertisements are tailored to their interests, customers are more likely to interact with them and take further action.

Let’s go over eight strategies for segmenting your social media audiences.

1. Understand your audience.

Just as with any marketing strategy, understanding your target audience is the key to accurate, relevant social media segmentation. Without knowing who your customers are, what they want, and how they like to be marketed too, it will be challenging to devise other strategies to help you succeed in your process.

To better get to know your audience, you can create buyer personas from your analytics and research data. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers that help you focus your time on qualified prospects, attract high-value customers, and create content that best speaks to their interests and desires.

You can think of it like this: if the data you’ve collected shows you that Facebook brings you the most engagement, dig deeper into who your audience is on that platform and create a buyer persona that brings a more comprehensive understanding of who they are. These representations you’ve created directly relate to our next tip, as many social media platforms come with audience targeting tools that you can use to market specifically to your different segmented audiences.

2. Use native social media targeting tools.

When most people think of social media segmentation, they think of paid targeting options. However, for low and high budget marketers alike, there are organic targeting options on different platforms that you can use to speak to your various audiences.

For example, Facebook allows businesses to target their messages to users based on demographics, interests, and geographical location (as shown below).

hubspot facebook page audience targeting demo

On LinkedIn, there are also built-in targeting tools that allow you to filter and segment by industry, company size, and much more (shown below).

linkedin-ads-audience-attributes-750@2xImage Source

3. Create audience groups.

Social media is all about community. Building communities of people who share common interests is an easy way to segment your audience and gain valuable insights. You may decide to keep the group open (anyone can join) or closed (a moderator must approve new members), and there are advantages to each.

Open groups enable you to gather information about how a more general audience feels about your brand. You can use this forum to have discussions and ask open-ended questions such as, “What are your biggest challenges?” or “What makes excellent customer service?” You can also test new ideas with your audience members or discover new content ideas that they would find interesting and relevant. The advantage here is that you will have a large group to bounce ideas off of. The disadvantage? They may not be as knowledgeable about your industry as you need.

That’s where closed groups can come in handy. You are approving each member’s admission to the group, and you can cherry-pick the most qualified candidates. Maybe they’re a group of customers whose opinions you value or a list of people who have attended an event you’ve hosted. Regardless of admission requirements, this can be a great way to get specific, helpful feedback from a group you trust — but you may not get as many responses as an open group discussion.

Various social media platforms have group functionalities, specifically Facebook and LinkedIn. On Facebook, you can create a group that is relevant to your business and your target audience’s interests that can be public or private, as mentioned above. The same can be said for LinkedIn, but you should only opt to use it if your target audiences are professional-aged, business minded individuals.

4. Create audience lists.

Most marketers are familiar with creating lists — we do that every time we send a new email campaign. But did you know you can use lists to have more productive social media conversations? Social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow users to create lists of friends, followers, people who have attended an event, and more.

On Twitter, your lists can separate followers into specific categories, like where they are in their buyer’s journey. Whenever these people in your lists Tweet, you’ll be able to view them all within a specific channel to get an idea of what kinds of things they tweet about and what they enjoy. When you have this information, you can create better-targeted ads that speak to your segmented audience’s preferences.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, the lists you use for your email can actually be one and the same as your social monitoring lists. You can set up a stream for each one of your buyer personas, such as a stream for leads who are talking about your brand, or customers in a certain industry. You’ll spend much less time trying to filter through the noise, and much more time having relevant, targeted conversations.

5. Post at different times of the day.

As marketers, we know how important timing is to marketingespecially on social media. If you’ve created accurate, relevant buyer personas, you’ll likely realize that your followers are distributed throughout different geographic regions. This means that your followers in the central United States are going to bed while your followers in Australia are getting ready to wake up.

Differentiating your publishing times allows you to generate engagement from a larger portion of your audience, as followers from all over the world have the opportunity to engage with your posts.

An additional benefit to doing this is that you’ll have multiple posts out there for your target audience to see. You can think of it like this: if you post three times throughout the day for three different audience segments, each one of those segments can also see the posts meant for the other. Three more opportunities for them to interact with your content and three more chances to drive conversions.

6. Leverage multiple networks.

As you master the various ways to segment your specific audiences, more people will be interested in connecting with you through social media. If you don’t already run multiple social media accounts, you may realize that one of the best ways to serve relevant content to specific audiences is to create several social media profiles, each with specific intent.

For example, if you’re a clothing brand, your target audience is likely widely dispersed age-wise. While you may hope to reach all of them on one platform, you’re more likely to get your younger audiences (aged 10-19) on TikTok and your older audiences on Instagram.

Additionally, within each of those different platforms, it’s also worth considering creating multiple accounts focused on various aspects of your business or the demands of your different audiences. At HubSpot, we maintain more than five different Twitter accounts to provide content relevant to each segment of our audience. For example, @HubSpotAcademy is a channel that marketers can use to learn how to be a better inbound marketer, while @HubSpotSupport is a channel that our customers can use to get help using the HubSpot platform. Both Twitter accounts are relevant to anyone interested in HubSpot, but they are most relevant to their particular segments.

Keep in mind that each social media account should still serve a larger audience, so be sure to work on building your overall audience from one account before you try building out more. If you decide to start building out more accounts, be sure that people can easily differentiate their purpose (ex: customer support, marketing materials, your yearly event, etc.) — otherwise, you’ll be creating more work for yourself.

7. Streamline your processes.

Should you choose to leverage multiple platforms or simply just want to streamline your processes, there are various social media tools that can help you create and publish advertisements built for your segmented audiences.

Falcon.io is one of those tools. It comes with an all-in-one social platform for creating paid and organic advertisements, managing customer engagement data from all your accounts, and even creating custom and lookalike audiences for further segmentation, as displayed by the image below.

falcon.io audience segmentation tool demo

Image Source

8. Test your strategies.

Although this tip is not directly related to grouping your audience, the success of your segmentation depends on how well you’ve created your groups. Using social media testing as a means of understanding how your content is performing among your target audiences is a way to know if you’ve accurately segmented your audience, and it can help you perfect your strategy.

For example, say you’ve found your millennial audience to be most active on Instagram. You know that they’re there, so you can begin creating content for them. However, what if you want to better understand their preferences? Maybe you want to know whether they prefer Instagram Stories or Instagram Reels? Conducting an A/B test with both of these content types will help you better understand how to communicate with these segmented groups.

Speak To Your Different Audience Groups

Unless you’re a very niche business, you likely have a large audience group. Within these audience groups, there are probably other distinct communities with different preferences and desires.

It may be challenging to figure out how to tailor your message to individually speak to all of your diverse customers, but the eight tips mentioned above will help you carefully segment your social media audience for more relevant conversations — and eventually, more conversions.

social media content calendar

How to Analyze Facebook Data to Understand Your Audience

With over 2.7 billion monthly active users and 1.82 billion daily users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. What began as a way for college students to network has become an essential marketing tool for more than 90 million small businesses.

All of those users generate a lot of data.

To help companies harness the massive amount of information created within the platform, Facebook released their Insights tool, which shares data about the best day to post, the ideal time to post, and what posts are performing well.

If you’re marketing on Facebook, understanding how all those numbers relate to your business and audience can be confusing at first.

But worry not. This post explains how to analyze Facebook data to get valuable metrics about who’s coming to your page and clicking around. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how Insights can help you connect with both current and potential customers.

Running a new Facebook Business Page? Find everything you need to know to elevate your paid and organic efforts in this Facebook Marketing Course.

How to Analyze Facebook Data

Facebook Insights is separated into two main categories: Audience Insights and Page Insights.

  • Audience Insights gives metrics about your Facebook audience, which helps you create relevant content, improve ad targeting, and attract more people to your Page.
  • Page Insights shows analytics for your Page, so you can see which posts are performing well and which aren’t.

This post focuses on Audience Insights, to help you understand both existing and potential customers. For an in-depth look at how to gather information from Page Insights, check out this guide to Facebook Marketing.

To access the data gold mine in Audience Insights, you first have to create a business Page. Once your Page is set up, navigate to Audience Insights by clicking Analyze and Report in your Business Tools menu. Now comes the sleuthing. Pull up your company’s target audience profile for reference, because it’s time to do research.

Step 1: Choose your audience.

A pop-up will appear and ask you to pick between the following options:

  • Everyone on Facebook: Start here for information to refine your target audience or attract new people to your Page.
  • People connected to your Page: Click this one to learn more about everyone who likes your Page to see if your target audience is showing up.

This part requires some strategy. Are you using Insights to build a buyer persona, see if your strategy is attracting the right people, learn about your audience’s interests, or something else entirely? By having a goal in mind, it’s easier to put the information to use.

Step 2: Filter to fit your goals.

With your goal set, it’s time to narrow down the audience. You can filter based on:

  1. Location
  2. Age and gender
  3. Interests
  4. Page connections

1. Location

Knowing where in the world your audience lives is helpful for many reasons. If you’re an online shop looking to expand, maybe you want to learn whether a specific country is interested in your products.

If your company has a physical location, select your city for relevant local metrics. And if you’re not bound to any location constraints, keep it open by including countries worldwide.

2. Age and gender

All Facebook users must be 18 years and older, so keep that in mind when evaluating audiences. If you have a specific buyer persona you’re researching, filter according to that age range.

But if you’re looking to expand your audience, it’s worthwhile to extend your age range or consider both genders to see if you’re missing out on potential customers.

3. Interests

This is where filtering gets fun — and a little complicated. Keep your search broad by selecting a handful of common interests, like food and reading, or select dozens of interests for a focused pool of people.

You have freedom to play with drop down filters or type anything that comes to mind into the search bar. Cooking, Entertainment, Adventure, Flying, Tech, Cake.

The list goes on, so let your imagination run wild. Just keep an eye on the number of people in your audience as you refine. If it drops below 1,000 people, Facebook won’t populate the data.

4. Page Connections

This filter shows the top “liked” Pages by people within your audience profile. If you’re scouting for competitors, this can let you know who to watch. Maybe you’re looking for content inspiration, and browsing connected Pages will give you ideas for a campaign collaboration or promotional giveaway. Either way, it’s good to know what other Pages pop up in your audience’s newsfeed.

Step 3: Understand your audience.

Sound the applause — you’ve filtered down your audience profile. Now it’s time to dig in further to four categories: Demographics, Page Likes, Location, and Activity.

Demographics

Facebook Insights lets you go beyond the basics to see audience information including Language, Relationship Status, Education, Job Titles, and Market Segments. Let’s say you’re a new food blogger targeting men ages 18-32.

If you plug in that information, you can get a detailed look at what your audience does for work, how educated they are, or even whether they’re primarily cooking for one or more people.

If your ideal audience turns out to largely be single with time-consuming office jobs, this can help focus your content strategy.

Maybe your audience would like a post about easy lunch ideas for work or meals that are even better as leftovers. I’m generalizing here, but the more you dig into demographics, the more data you have to hone your marketing efforts.

Page Likes

Similar to the Interests filter, this option shows what your audience likes. Check out the Top Categories to learn what people care about the most, with options like Movies, Charities, Companies, Music, Public Figures, News and Media, and Products.

Maybe those men whipping up meals for one are interested in TV series like “The Chef Show” or “Chef’s Table.” If you were to create a blog post round-up of your favorite cooking shows or episodes, it would likely do well among that audience. The key here is to look at what content is relevant both in and out of your industry to review competitors and connected interests.

Location

Use this filter to explore the top countries, cities, and languages of your audience profile. Say you’re based in the United States but discover your audience has a major presence in Montreal, Canada.

It could be worth adjusting your marketing efforts to include content that speaks to both Americans and Canadians. And if you do expand your audience, you may even consider adding a French language option to your website to cater to Québécois customers.

Activity

See how active your audience is compared to the average Facebook user. The most important information in this section is the activity within the past 30 days, broken down by actions like Comments, Posts Liked, Posts Shared, and Ads Clicked.

Maybe you’re interested in running Facebook Ads but are unsure if anyone in your audience would click. With the Activity data, you have a better idea of how many people would take action. For a more detailed look at how to analyze Facebook Ad performance, take a look at this guide to Facebook Advertising.

Explore more Facebook Insights

Now you can wield the power of Audience Insights to help you build buyer personas, hone in your target audience, and expand your customer reach. But if you’re on a research roll, you can explore more metrics under Page Insights to see how your content is performing, what people are resonating with, and what posts to promote.

So the next time you question whether you’re attracting the right followers or are looking for out-of-the-box ideas to engage your audience, pull up Facebook Insights and put the data to work.

Vimeo's 4 Tips for Generating Leads With Your Videos

As a marketer, you’re often tasked with accomplishing two main goals: making beautiful content that builds your brand recognition and tells your story … and generating qualified leads that will help you grow your business.

Traditional marketing ethos may consider those to be two different streams of work — crafting impactful video ads, and digging up lower-funnel users — but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re not using video as part of your lead generation tactics, you’re missing out on a serious opportunity to create impactful content that directly translates to more leads for your business.

Megha Muchhala, Product Marketing Manager at Vimeo, shares some key insights on how to integrate your video efforts with your lead generation tactics.

Vimeo’s Tips for Generating Leads Straight from Video

We all know how useful including video on a landing page or an email campaign can be in boosting your conversion rates, but there are also optimizations you can make to your videos themselves that will give you a marketing edge.

1. Add customizable contact forms.

Rather than simply relying on CTAs to boost your follows or website traffic, marketers should utilize in-video contact forms to capture specific information from leads. This can be as simple as gathering their email, or more detailed to capture demographic information, short answers to collect personal insight, or other actionable data. 

Include these forms on videos embedded throughout your digital ecosystem across your website, landing pages, and even blogs to passively build qualified leads, fast.

2. Use a multi-step format.

While you’ve probably heard of multi-step forms before, it’s possible you have yet to use one. That’s a shame, because it’s a format that’s been shown to increase form conversion by up to 52.9%.

multi-step-1A multi-step form is one that breaks a longer contact form up into a more digestible series of questions, which should boost user experience and, in turn, increase conversions.

Using a multi-step form reduces friction and helps you wait to ask for more user guarded information (like an email address) until the user is already a few steps into the process.

3. Optimize it for any platform.

You always want your user experience to stay tip-top no matter how they’re viewing your video content. We know you take the care to create videos in different formats and aspect ratios depending on your hosting plans, and your contact forms should be no different. Utilize a contact form that displays on mobile and desktop to ensure you’re capturing all potential leads.

4. Get creative with your placement.

There are pros and cons to dropping contact forms at any point throughout your video, and the right choice generally depends on what kind of content you’re sharing.

If you’re offering premium or long-form content, gating your video with a contact form right up front is a great way to boost leads. If you’re telling a shorter form story, placing a contact form in the middle or just before a climax can be incredibly effective in terms of incentivizing information sharing.

And while placing your contact form at the end of the video can be risky (considering 50% of viewers stop watching a video after one minute), it can also generate the most qualified leads: those who’ve watched all the way to the end are the most likely to be engaged with your brand or story anyway. Whatever you choose, we recommend setting up a few A/B tests to determine the best placement. A little testing can go a long way!

And speaking of placement, consider your video distribution when deciding your form messaging and placement. Audiences watching a video on your blog are likely far more invested (and thus likely to share some honest info and opinions) than those catching a video on your homepage. Alter your messaging accordingly!

Some Final Tips

Now that you know about the joys of in-video lead capture, let’s review some final tips to make the most of your tactics.

1. Don’t ask for too much too early.

Make sure to consider the sales funnel when optimizing your contact forms. If you know video is your main acquisition tool (meaning, the first piece of your brand consumers see before becoming fans), know that they might not be so willing to share lots of information with you upfront.

Customize your asks as they relate to steps in the funnel: users who are brand loyalists are a lot quicker to give up info than those who’ve just spotted you via a sponsored ad.

2. Remember to nurture your leads.

Leads are great, but if you don’t engage them, they’re pretty much useless. When capturing leads via contact forms, sync them to your email service provider to make it easy to nurture them. (Just so you know: Vimeo users can automatically sync their leads directly into their HubSpot account, making it simpler than ever to connect with your prospective customers.)Then, keep them engaged! Develop follow-up email campaigns around specific prominent demographics and use your gleaned data to make them even more engaging. Even better, further increase your click-through by embedding GIFs of your videos in your follow-up email campaigns to stand out and get noticed by leads.

3. Always keep SEO in-mind.

Your ability to generate leads in your video doesn’t mean a whole lot if no one watches your content. SEO can be a massively helpful organic discovery tool to send users to your business. Take the extra time to optimize your website, landing page, and video itself for maximum discoverability.

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.

How to Give a Persuasive Presentation [+ Examples]

A presentation aimed at persuading an audience to take a specific action can be the most difficult type to deliver, even if you’re not shy of public speaking.

Creating a presentation that effectively achieves your objective requires time, lots of practice, and most importantly, a focused message.

With the right approach, you can create a presentation that leaves a skeptical audience enthusiastic to get on board with your project.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of building a persuasive presentation. Let’s dive in.

What is a persuasive presentation?

In its most basic form, a persuasive presentation features a speaker who tries to influence an audience to accept certain positions and engage in actions in support of them. A good persuasive presentation uses a mixture of facts, logic, and empathy to help an audience see an issue from a perspective they previously discounted or hadn’t considered.

How to Plan a Persuasive Presentation

Want to make a persuasive presentation that connects with your audience? Follow these steps to win friends and influence people within your audience.

1. Decide on a single ask.

The key to convincing your audience is to first identify the singular point you want to make. A good persuasive presentation will focus on one specific and easy-to-understand proposition. Even if that point is part of a broader initiative, it ideally needs to be presented as something your audience can say “yes” or “no” to easily.

A message that isn’t well-defined or which covers too much can cause the audience to lose interest or reject it outright. A more focused topic can also help your delivery sound more confident, which (for better or worse) is an important factor in convincing people.

2. Focus on fewer (but more relevant) facts.

Remember: You are (in the vast majority of cases) not the target audience for your presentation. To make your presentation a success, you’ll need to know who your audience is so you can shape your message to resonate with them.

When crafting your messaging, put yourself in your audience’s headspace and attempt to deeply understand their position, needs, and concerns. Focus on arguments and facts that speak specifically to your audience’s unique position.

As we wrote in our post on How to Present a Compelling Argument When You’re Not Naturally Persuasive, “just because a fact technically lends support to your claim doesn’t mean it will sway your audience. The best evidence needs to not only support your claim but also have a connection to your audience.”

What are the target audience’s pain points that you can use to make a connection between their needs and your goals? Focus on those aspects, and cut any excess information. Fewer relevant facts are always more impactful than an abundance of unfocused pieces of evidence.

3. Build a narrative around your evidence.

If you want to persuade someone of something, it’s not enough to win their brain — you need their heart in it, too. Try to make an emotional connection with your audience throughout your presentation to better sell them on the facts you’re presenting. Your audience is human, after all, so some emotional tug will go a long way to shaking up how they view the issue you’re talking about. A little bit of emotion could be just what your audience needs to make your facts “click.”

The easiest way to incorporate an emotional pull into your presentation is through the use of narrative elements. As we wrote in our guide to crafting pitch decks, “When our brains are given a story instead of a list of information, things change — big time. Stories engage more parts of our brains, including our sensory cortex, which is responsible for processing visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. If you want to keep people engaged during a presentation, tell them a story.”

4. Confidence matters.

Practice makes perfect (it’s a cliche because it’s true, sorry!), and this is especially true for presentation delivery. Rehearse your presentation several times before you give it to your audience so you can develop a natural flow and move from each section without stopping.

Remember, you’re not giving a speech here, so you don’t want your delivery to come across like you’re reading fully off of cue cards. Use tools like notes and cue cards as ways to keep you on track, not as scripts.

Finally, if you can, try to practice your presentation in front of another human. Getting a trusted co-worker to give you feedback in advance can help strengthen your delivery and identify areas you might need to change or bulk up.

5. Prepare for common objections.

The last thing you want to say when someone in your audience expresses a concern or an outright objection during your presentation’s question section is “umm, let me get back to you on that.”

Carefully research the subject of your presentation to make the best case possible for it — but also prepare in advance for common objections or questions you know your stakeholders are going to ask. The stronger your command of the facts — and the more prepared you are to proactively address concerns — the more convincing your presentation will be. When you appear confident fielding any rebuttals during a question and answer session after your presentation, it can go a long way towards making your case seem more convincing.

Persuasive Presentation Outline

Like any writing project, you’ll want to create an outline for your presentation, which can act as both a prompt and a framework. With an outline, you’ll have an easier time organizing your thoughts and creating the actual content you will present. While you can adjust the outline to your needs, your presentation will most likely follow this basic framework.

I. Introduction

Every persuasive presentation needs an introduction that gets the listener’s attention, identifies a problem, and relates it to them.

  • The Hook: Just like a catchy song, your presentation needs a good hook to draw the listener in. Think of an unusual fact, anecdote, or framing that can grab the listener’s attention. Choose something that also establishes your credibility on the issue.
  • The Tie: Tie your hook back to your audience to garner buy-in from your audience, as this issue impacts them personally.
  • The Thesis: This is where you state the position to which you are trying to persuade your audience and forms the focal point for your presentation.

II. The Body

The body forms the bulk of your presentation and can be roughly divided into two parts. In the first half, you will build your case, and in the second you will address potential rebuttals.

  • Your Case: This is where you will present supporting points for your argument and the evidence you’ve gathered through research. This will likely have several different subsections in which you present the relevant evidence for each supporting point.
  • Rebuttals: Consider potential rebuttals to your case and address them individually with supporting evidence for your counterarguments.
  • Benefits: Outline the benefits of the audience adopting your position. Use smooth, conversational transitions to get to these.
  • Drawbacks: Outline what drawbacks of the audience rejecting your position. Be sure to remain conversational and avoid alarmism.

III. Conclusion

In your conclusion, you will wrap up your argument, summarize your key points, and relate them back to the decisions your audience makes.

  • Transition: Write a transition that emphasizes the key point you are trying to make.
  • Summary: Summarize your arguments, their benefits, and the key pieces of evidence supporting your position.
  • Tie-back: Tie back your summary to the actions of your audience and how their decisions will impact the subject of your presentation.
  • Final word: Try to end on a last emotional thought that can inspire your audience to adopt your position and act in support of it.

IV. Citations

Include a section at the end of your presentation with citations for your sources. This will make independent fact-checking easier for your audience and will make your overall presentation more persuasive.

Persuasive Presentation Examples

Check out some of these examples of persuasive presentations to get inspiration for your own. Seeing how someone else made their presentation could help you create one that strikes home with your audience. While the structure of your presentation is entirely up to you, here are some outlines that are typically used for different subjects.

Introducing a Concept

One common type of persuasive presentation is one that introduces a new concept to an audience and tries to get them to accept it. This presentation introduces audience members to the dangers of secondhand smoke and encourages them to take steps to avoid it. Persuasive presentations can also be a good format to introduce marco issues, such as this presentation on the benefits of renewable energy.

Changing Personal Habits

Want to change the personal habits of your audience? Check out this presentation on how to adopt healthy eating habits. Or this presentation which encourages the audience to get more exercise in their daily lives.

Making a Commitment to an Action

Is your goal to get your audience to commit to a specific action? This presentation encouraging audience memes to become organ donors could provide inspiration. Trying to make a big sale? Check out this presentation outline that can encourage someone to buy a home.

Remember: You Can Do This

Anyone can craft a persuasive presentation once they know the basic framework for creating one. Once you get the process down, you’ll be in a better position to bring in sales, attract donors or funding, and even advance your career. The skills you learn can also benefit you in other areas of your personal and professional life as you know how to make a case and influence people toward it.

What is a Dofollow Link?

The easier it is for potential customers to find your site in search engine results, the more traffic (and sales) you’ll generate.

As a result, there’s a kind of constant content competition underway as website owners and administrators look for ways to stand out from the crowd and improve search engine optimization (SEO).

Gone are the wild, wild west days of the World Wide Web where keyword spamming and content stuffing were the norm to drive search engine interest.

Now, brands need to focus on more tightly-controlled metrics — such as Google’s PageRank — to boost their online appeal and push their site listing closer to the first page, first result pinnacle.

While part of this effort comes down to writing relevant, accurate, and interesting content, there’s another key component: Dofollow links. With the right approach, these links can help leverage great content into higher PageRank and better search results.

Here’s how they work.

What is a dofollow link?

PageRank is effectively a weighted score that uses links to assign points — the more points, the better your site rank, and the better your SEO. Often referred to as “link juice” by online marketing professionals because of their ability to “flow” through websites with the right linking structure, getting these points is a priority for any site owner.

The problem? Almost immediately after their introduction, getting points in any way possible became the strategy of many unscrupulous marketers.

The easiest way to achieve this aim? Leaving comments on the posts of popular websites that contained links back to client sites, in turn boosting their profile. The more reputable the linking site — think well-respected retailers or news organizations — the bigger the link juice boost.

By default, these links were “dofollow” — they instructed search engines to follow the link back to the originating site and boost its PageRank. To solve the growing problem of spam links the “nofollow” link was created: Site admins could add an HTML tag:

… to any link on their site, which instructed search engines not to follow the link back to its destination and, in turn, not boost its PageRank.

Today, dofollow links remain an important part of SEO strategy — getting a “backlink” from a reputable site can significantly boost PageRank values and help brands stand out. The introduction of nofollow links, meanwhile, offers more control for site admins.

For example, most comment sections now include nofollow tags by default, and page creators can choose to add nofollow tags to blog posts and other articles. Changing these links from nofollow to dofollow is easy, but requires that destination site owners contact linking site admins and ask for the change.

How to Make a Dofollow Link

In most cases, no action is required to create a dofollow link. If your site is linked to by another site and they don’t choose to add the nofollow tag, search engines will naturally arrive at your page and increase your overall PageRank.

The same is true if you’re including links on your own site. For example, you may choose to add links to other reputable sites within your own content and allow search engines to follow these links.

If you’ve been asked by another brand to include their links on your page or are moderating blog comments, meanwhile, you may want to turn on automatic nofollow tags where possible or ensure that all links include the nofollow tag until you’re sure it makes sense to follow the link back.

This is especially critical if other links lead to low-quality or keyword-stuffed content, since this can reflect poorly on your own site.

Put simply? When it comes to external links from reputable sites that lead back to your page, dofollow is ideal. Links leading outside your site and linked from your own posts or attached to comments on your content should only be dofollow if the outgoing link site is reputable and relevant.

What tools are available for dofollow links?

Wondering if a link is dofollow or nofollow? If it’s on your own site, you can check the HTML code from your CMS admin page to determine if the nofollow tag is present, but what happens when the link comes from another, external site? Since you can’t see or edit their code, you can’t be certain if links are dofollow or nofollow.

In this case, it’s worth using dofollow link checker tools to determine if links will boost your PageRank or not.

Examples include:

The first tool is a web-based tool that checks entire pages for nofollow and dofollow links. Moz MozBar is a Chrome extension, while SEOquake is offered for both Chrome and Firefox. Link Analyzer, meanwhile, is a standalone tool that doesn’t require a specific browser. Each of these tools is free and works by following any links to your site to determine if they’re nofollow or dofollow, then reports the results.

Should I dofollow an external link?

Here, the answer depends on two factors: Where does the link lead, and what are the benefits if you opt for dofollow? Ideally, any dofollow links point search engines to content that’s current, relevant and accurate, in turn providing “link juice” for both the external site and your own website.

There may be cases where reciprocal dofollow links are a good idea, especially if you’re looking to expand site traffic and the external site has a similar ranking to your own page. Ideally, you want a mix of nofollow and dofollow links on your page to ensure search engines don’t view your content as simply a vehicle for PageRank points.

How long will it take Google to recognize a dofollow link?

While there’s no hard and fast answer here since search engine spiders crawl a significant volume of pages each day, dofollow links are generally recognized by Google within two to four days after being posted.

If your site has low traffic volumes and the dofollow links you’re creating or receiving come from similarly small webpages, it could take more time for PageRank to recognize these links. If you’re fortunate enough to receive a backlink from a highly-ranked site, meanwhile, you may see the benefit in just a few days.

Dofollow links remain a critical aspect of SEO and search ranking efforts, but must be used strategically to deliver substantive benefits.

Rethinking Your Premium Content: How to Build a Guided Learning Course

Are you seeing a lower return of effort for traditional premium content like whitepapers, webinars, ebooks and more?

Alternatively, do you find the biggest results just aren’t there for the amount of work you put into the creation? If so, you’re not alone. While these offers can provide in-depth insights for prospects, not every prospect sees the value in them.

Still, we continue offering premium content to build trust throughout the buyer’s journey and learn information about prospects along the way.

And yet, the problem remains: Where do you draw the line between offering free, useful content and charging for your expert knowledge and insight?

Some brands are beginning to define this blurry line by developing their own learning management systems (LMS), as a private hub for paid access to their best educational resources.

And yes, you can even build an LMS in HubSpot. Here, we’ll explore what a learning management system is, the benefits of using one, and how you can repurpose content into your own guided learning course. 

Let’s dive in. 

What’s a learning management system (LMS)?

First, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page with a definition.

A learning management system (LMS) is a software application to administer, document, track, report on and deliver educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.

It’s a portal that users can log into to exclusively access the premium content you develop specifically for your paid audience. (Paid can mean literal financial payment or the currency of data/membership).

While online courses aren’t new, using a learning management system (LMS) to deliver premium content is still uncharted territory for most brands.

As marketers, we’re always trying to create valuable content. But in a crowded marketplace, it can be difficult to demonstrate value in your content even if you have a strong content marketing strategy.

That’s where a guided learning course can prove beneficial. A guided learning course can offer in-depth solutions to your prospects’ challenges, and ultimately, can provide your company with higher-quality leads.

Which makes LMS’ invaluable to anyone wanting to create a guided learning course, since courses need to be built on a LMS. 

To explore the importance of guided learning courses, let’s consider an example. Let’s say you have two competitors, and both offer a webinar on “Email Marketing Strategy”.

To differentiate your own brand, imagine instead you take an hour-long webinar and split it up into a dozen topics for five-to-seven minutes each. That could easily be offered as a 12-module course.

Your prospect can now go through the content on their own time and only explore the sections that feel relevant to them, versus having to sit and listen to an hour-long webinar. The perception and value is magnified and fits the nature of how your prospect actually wants to consume the content.

Why use an LMS?

Once we know what an LMS is, it’s time to explore why. As you learn what an LMS is and how it works for users, let’s dig into why it could change your business.

1. User Accessibility

Right now most marketers create an ebook, promote that PDF through blog posts and social posts, then use workflows and emails to “guide” prospects and contacts throughout the journey.

We can tell when someone downloads the PDF, but we have no idea how much they consume. Then, with emails, information can get lost on the user side of the equation. So many of us delete emails or forget what the exact phrase in an email is we’re searching for … it can easily become a mess.

An LMS allows the user flexibility to go back into the journey and see what they need to see inside a comprehensive portal.

Users no longer have to rely on emails. Instead, they can reference each step in the learning path, see what’s next, and enjoy a more realistic and user-friendly experience.

2. Buyer’s Journey Trackability

On the marketer’s side, an LMS provides us with more data points to better understand a prospect’s position in the buyer’s journey — especially when using an LMS for lead management and education.

Imagine a world where you can watch your buyer discover your content during their awareness stage, and move through consideration and into the decision stage, all within your ecosystem.

It’s possible to track a prospect’s journey throughout the buying stages with guided learning courses that tailor to users in different stages of the buyer’s journey — this is what truly creating content for the buyer’s journey looks like.

With a webinar or PDF, you’re left wondering how much someone consumed. You don’t have access to the data with PDFs. You know prospects downloaded it, but did they actually consume the information? For the most part, it’s the same with webinars on the user level.

When you use guided learning or an LMS, you can see every module or every single page they viewed, and how far through the course users got. You can measure to make sure it’s effective in general, and you can also measure the intent and automate your systems based on topic performance and even individual chapter performance. 

3. Cross-Device Consumption

Want to know a bonus to creating a guided learning course that users sign into for consumption? Think about a frictionless cross-device experience.

How often do we start a video or article on our laptop while working or researching, only to want to continue it on our phone later? This is especially true when the content is longer than a 2-minute video.

When a user has a membership to your LMS, they can go to their laptop, their phone, their iPad … wherever they want to consume content at that moment, and it’s there waiting for them. That’s winning at UX!

Guided Learning Course Examples

What does a learning management system look like in practice? Let’s take a look at two examples right under our noses.

1. HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy is a great example of using an LMS for lead generation and trust building.

Academy courses teach users all about HubSpot’s philosophy and mindset. Users can learn about HubSpot before purchasing HubSpot’s products or services — but users can also learn about a variety of other marketing, sales, service, and web design topics without ever becoming a HubSpot customer. 

Consider the Marketing Software Certification course. Instead of a PDF with screenshots, users can walk through videos with screen-sharing options, download study guides, and take quizzes and exams along the way to assess progress.

2. SEMrush Academy

SEMrush offers solutions for SEO, PPC, content, social media, and competitive research. To appeal to both prospects and users, the company created SEMrush Academy, a Digital Marketing guided learning course with courses on SEO, content marketing, PPC, and more. SEMrush Academy is free and offers a certification when users complete courses.

Best of all, the guided learning courses have both video and text with some of the industry’s most well-known digital marketing professionals, and while all courses are offered in English, many of them are also offered in Spanish.

Whether you’re a content marketer looking to up your game or you’re already a customer of SEMrush, you’ll undeniably find value in their courses, ranging from beginner to advanced.

Image Source

For more inspiration, take a look at 60 Best Free Online Courses For Whatever You Want to Learn.

How to Repurpose Your Content into a Guided Learning Course

If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute … Now I have to create all this new content?” take a breath. Yes, new content is needed. However, you can also repurpose content you already have as you’re creating new content for your LMS strategy.

Most of your existing content can be reimagined into a guided learning course.

You can revisit popular ebooks, webinars, pillar pages, blog posts, slide decks and more to create a multimedia course to serve your customers. You can even turn toolkits and related offers into guided learning opportunities.

For instance, you might consider taking your ebook and using each chapter as a chapter or module in your course. Additionally, you might take some information on the subject from various blog posts and turn it into a checklist or template format for users to try for themselves.

At Impulse Creative, we can turn our Brand Plan ebook into the Brand Plan Course and create a whole new offering. Here’s how that would look:

LMS

You get the idea. Each chapter becomes a module, and the subjects in those chapters become the videos that make up the course. This way, you can keep videos shorter for more bite-sized consumption.

Additionally, you’ll want to perform a content audit to uncover what pieces you have and what problems each one solves before placing them into buckets. Then, you can take each of these buckets and create a course.

The content you have will act as a storyboard so you can script your videos. Then you can use the existing content with a slight refresh as the bonus materials in your courses.

Brands find themselves at a critical turning point today … Traditional content can feel stale — and users are demanding more.

There is a major opportunity for the LMS to serve multiple facets of your business, from lead generation to sales or customer success. Ultimately, you’ll want to figure out how a LMS could serve your own business needs, as well as the needs of your prospects and customers.

6 Ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses During the Holidays

2020 has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses. COVID-19 has forced most to pivot their strategies online and adapt to a growing digital landscape. While some have been able to stay afloat, others haven’t been as successful and many have had to close their doors permanently as a result.

Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic. In the United States, 26% of Black-owned businesses closed their doors permanently between February and May of 2020, compared to 11% of white-owned businesses.

That’s why, this holiday season, HubSpot is joining Google, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and other companies participating in Black-owned Fridays — an initiative to drive visibility and support for Black-owned businesses.

I spoke with Gianne Doherty, Founder of Organic Bath Co., to learn more about what businesses, and consumers, can do to support Black-owned businesses during this holiday season. Below are a few thoughts she offered during our conversation.

How to Support Black-Owned Businesses

1. Tell someone about a business or product.

Doherty started by saying that the simplest way to support Black-owned businesses during the holiday season is to tell people about their products. When you buy something cool or get a good deal, tell a friend. Online customer reviews are great, but a one-on-one interaction is usually the best way to convince someone to check out a business or product you love.

If you don’t know of any Black-owned businesses in your area, Doherty recommends heading to Google and doing a quick search. There are plenty of resources that can direct you to a Black-owned business in your area — one of which is the Official Black Wall Street Directory.

She also proposed searching social media sites to find Black-owned businesses online. For instance, if you search “#BlackOwnedBusiness” on Twitter, you can find plenty of accounts managed by Black business owners — liking, reposting, and sharing their content is also a great way to support these businesses.

Image Source

2. Refer customers to Black-owned businesses.

Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly important for small businesses, especially if you’re operating in a B2B setting. Doherty noted that customer referrals make a huge impact on buying decisions, because customers will trust each other’s recommendations more than they’ll trust your brand’s advertisements. If you have the opportunity this holiday season, refer a Black-owned business to your customers or peers and help promote their brand.

Doherty also emphasized the importance of focusing on the value of the products and services you’re referring — and not just the fact that they’re Black-owned. After all, “shopping Black or shopping small doesn’t mean lower quality,” as she put it. When making a referral, Doherty encouraged people to highlight the benefits of the product or service along with the fact that they have been created by individuals who have been historically underfunded.

3. Shop early during the holidays.

The holidays are already a busy time for small businesses, and COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to keep pace with customer demand. In the United States, 99% of minority-owned businesses are small businesses, which means that many don’t have their own shipping operations like Amazon or Walmart.

Most small businesses in the United States use the United States Postal Service (USPS) when shipping their products, which can lead to delays as orders pile up around the holidays. Doherty recommends that customers try to buy their products early in the holiday season to avoid any potential problems that might occur with shipping.

4. Be patient with small businesses.

Alongside shopping early, Doherty also noted that customers will need to be a little more patient with small businesses this year. The holidays are already busy as it is and now, with COVID-19, many businesses are still learning how to adapt their marketing, sales, and customer service strategies. There are likely to be some new roadblocks to tackle this year, and customers need to be patient with small businesses as they work to overcome those challenges.

Black-owned businesses have already saw an increase in customer demand this year when searches for Black-owned businesses increased by over 7,000% between May and July. Unfortunately, this growth has declined since, creating a greater need for buyers to support Black-owned businesses during the holidays. While it’s wonderful to see a sudden spark of interest over the summer, Doherty encouraged buyers to continually support Black-owned businesses year-round and not just when it’s trendy.

5. Partner with Black-owned companies.

If you’re a business owner, one way you can partner with black-owned businesses is on promotional campaigns. Doherty, for example, has been partnering with other Black-owned businesses to hold giveaways. She’ll give away another brand’s product while that brand will give away one of hers. This is a great way for each company to raise awareness for the other among their customer bases.

Here’s one example from her company’s Instagram page, where she partnered with two other Black-owned beauty brands to give away products.

Image Source

6. Buy from Black-owned businesses.

At the end of the day, the best way to support Black-owned businesses is to buy their products. Doherty said, “We’re voting with our dollars.” The businesses where we spend our money will be the ones that grow and thrive. If we don’t consciously shop at Black-owned businesses, we will continue to lose them at a disproportionate rate. If you really want to support Black-owned businesses this year, go out and purchase one of their products and tell a friend about them, too.

These are just a few of the ideas that Gianne Doherty wanted to share for Black-owned Friday. We hope it brings some attention to Black-owned businesses, especially those that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

If you’re a Black business owner and are looking for ways to optimize your visibility this season, below are a few resources from Google that can help you reach new customers.

How to Get Support If You’re a Black Business Owner

Here are three things that Google recommends doing if you’re a Black business owner.

 

How to Get Started With CRM-Powered Advertising [+ Why You Should]

HubSpot was founded during a time when people were under constant attack from aggressive outbound marketing tactics.

I’m sure nobody misses the unwanted ads, spam emails, and cold calls that used to interrupt their day back in the mid-00s.

Ad retargeting wasn’t a thing, so we all had to settle for repeatedly seeing the same ads for products we had absolutely no interest in.

Marketing has changed a lot since then. Thankfully.

Nowadays, companies have the ability to develop engaging advertising campaigns that complement their inbound strategies and speak directly to their audiences’ needs. The concept of journey-based advertising has been widely adopted and marketers can now create customized content for individuals at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Targeting has become more sophisticated, meaning that ads are now less interruptive and more informative — so sophisticated, in fact, that that we now take for granted the quality of the ads we get served in our Instagram feeds and YouTube videos.

Dare we say it — in some cases, the ad suggestions are actually really useful: “Oh, hey ad for that new running watch that I didn’t know I needed but now am obsessed with.” There is still a lot of bad advertising and mediocre marketing out there, but it’s important to recognize just how far we’ve come.

But, as advertising capabilities have evolved, so too has the digital landscape. And that has created a host of new challenges for marketers.

Cutting Through the Noise

There’s more choice online now than ever before, and what was previously helpful has, in many cases, become noise. Where we were once served two ads a day for a new jacket, we’re now served 22. Where there was once three restaurants in the local area offering takeaway menus, there’s now 30.

In 2020, this trend has accelerated due to COVID-19, as more and more businesses have moved online and added to the ever-increasing competition for attention. This increased volume of noise is causing consumers to tune out, and customer acquisition costs to go up. And marketers are struggling to make an impact.

To overcome these new challenges, marketers need a new approach — one that allows them to adapt the way they advertise to how consumers like to buy.

Today, the buyer’s journey is rarely linear. Consumers now interact with brands on laptops and smartphones and via social media, websites, and third-party influencers on the path to a purchase. And they still expect a consistent brand experience throughout.

Nowadays, the only way advertisers can break through the noise online and deliver a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints is with extreme relevance: both in terms of content and location.

Relevant messaging is the key to grabbing consumers’ attention, engaging them, and guiding them to the next stage of the buyer’s journey. The first step towards delivering this is meeting the audience where they are. With over four billion people worldwide now working from home, consumers’ purchasing behavior and content consumption habits are changing rapidly.

In the U.S., staying home has led to a 60% increase in the amount of content consumed — Americans are now watching roughly 12 hours of media content a day, according to Nielsen data. Knowing where an audience is paying attention is as important as knowing what messaging is likely to resonate.

Once a marketer understands where their target audience is spending their time, the next challenge is to create ad content that addresses their needs in an engaging way and is tailored to whichever stage of the buyer’s journey they are at.

For example, if a prospect is at the attract stage, an ad that helps them become more familiar with a brand name and core value proposition would probably perform much better than a niche ad that highlights a specific new feature. That type of ad would likely work better with audiences that are much closer to a purchase decision and comparing the feature sets of different products.

However, most companies today are struggling to deliver the type of relevant, engaging ad content that resonates with consumers. And, in most cases, the cause can be traced back to a disconnection between their marketing, website, and sales efforts.

When these elements aren’t working in unison, it becomes extremely difficult for marketers to get a clear view of where prospects are spending their time and which stage the buyer’s journey they are at. This makes it virtually impossible for them to deliver relevant messaging and leaves them with little choice but to resort to those dated outbound tactics I mentioned earlier.

In 2021, the secret to delivering better advertising lies in marketers’ ability to unlock the data at their disposal and leverage it to deliver hyper-relevant messaging and a unified buying experience.

At HubSpot, we call it ‘CRM-powered advertising.’

A Data-Driven Approach to Advertising

CRM-powered advertising enables marketers to create more relevant, engaging ads for prospects in three key ways:

  1. By providing them with up-to-date customer data, which allows them to understand their audiences’ preferences and purchase intent.
  2. By giving them reliable reporting based on holistic customer data, which provides insights into what’s working and what’s not.
  3. By enabling them to automate their ads based on live CRM data, which allows them to continually deliver relevant ads as prospects move to different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Say you’re a demand generation specialist working at a B2B company. Competition is rising in your industry and you’ve seen a decline in the number of qualified leads coming from your ads each month. You know that a more targeted and personalized approach is needed. And you turn to CRM-powered advertising.

As a first step, you create a different campaign for each stage of the buyer’s journey. For the attract stage, for example, you use data in your CRM to create a lookalike audience based on your happiest customers. This will be your target audience. You know that your company’s security features are a key differentiator in the market so you create ads that highlight that aspect of your value proposition.

Because the target audience you’ve created is reflective of your best customers, you get a high percentage of click-throughs. This leads prospects towards the next stage of the buyer’s journey, where they get the opportunity to download an ebook to learn more about your company’s products and services. Your software gives you the ability to create custom fields on the download form, which helps you to gain more granular preference data, and ultimately, get to know your prospects better.

You have set up your campaign to automatically route these new leads to your sales team, and because you’re working out of a shared CRM, you see a number of prospects move into the “demo” stage of their journey.

Again, using your CRM data, you sync these lifecycle stages to the display network you’re using, which automatically begins to serve a new set of ads to prospects based on the next stage of their journey. This allows you to deliver hyper-relevant messaging that addresses the pain points that are specific to prospects who are on the verge of making a purchase decision, such as social proof from happy customers.

As deals close, you then use attribution reporting to see exactly which new customers engaged with your ads and report to your leadership team on the number of deals your CRM-powered strategy influenced.

How to Get Started With CRM-Powered Advertising

HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is built to enable marketers to launch CRM-powered advertising campaigns and deliver a seamless experience for prospects — from the first time they see an ad to the moment they become a customer and beyond.

It offers ads tools that allow marketers to build deeply segmented audiences, serve different ads for different stages of the buyer’s journey, and precisely measure the performance of every campaign — all informed by rich CRM data.

Advertising has come a long way since the days of interruptive, irrelevant, and irritating content that once dominated our screens. A new era is unfolding — one in which consumers expect relevant messaging across every touchpoint and in which companies must find new ways to cut through the ever-increasing volume of noise online.

A CRM-powered advertising strategy, driven by a CRM platform built with this purpose in mind, empowers marketers to not only gain deeper insights into their customers’ needs, but to turn those insights into engaging content with the potential to delight prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

What Is a Focus Group in 100 Words or Less [+ Pros and Cons]

In an ideal world, you’d know just how your product or business idea would be perceived before it’s released. This knowledge could help you make alterations to what you’re offering for the best possible reception, and better inform your sales projections and marketing strategy.

Sadly, you’ll never know exactly how what you’re selling will be received by your target audience, which is why companies conduct market research.

But, while mass data collection through surveys provides you with necessary quantitative information, it doesn’t offer as much qualitative insight into your target market’s view or opinion of what you’re selling.

This is where a focus group comes in.

So, what is a focus group, and how can it help you navigate your market research? Let’s explore those two questions, next.

What is a focus group?

In the context of market research for businesses, a focus group is a cohort of individuals participating in a guided discussion about a business, brand, product, and/or service.

Typically, a focus group is facilitated by representatives from the business and is composed of individuals in the business’s target market who share their thoughts and opinions on the topic or offering in question.

A focus group is usually moderated by a representative or representatives of the company, who ask 5-10 questions to the participants over the course of 30-60 minutes, with another facilitator keeping notes on the focus group questionnaire.

Follow Along With a Free Focus Group Questionnaire Template

HubSpot’s Market Research Kit includes a questionnaire template to use in your focus groups, as well as four more templates to aid you in your market research efforts. You can download the kit here to help you plan your focus group and market research.

You can also read more about the process of conducting an effective focus group in our blog post, How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business.

Next, let’s explore the pros and cons of a focus group. 

The Pros of a Focus Group

1. You get the story behind the data.

In focus groups, qualitative data takes center stage. Survey data is unbelievably powerful, but it’s hard to understand the rationale for the numbers without context. Focus groups are a way to understand how someone truly feels about your business and provide the why behind the data.

If someone answers a question in a way that interests you, you’ll have the chance to dig deeper. Ask “Why?” See how the other participants feel about the specific answer. Gauge facial expressions and tone of voice to see how people react to what you’re talking about. You’ll end up with the emotional input from your target market that your surveys may not be able to provide.

2. Focus groups are interactive.

Those responding to a survey or a questionnaire can’t pick up your products or use them, but they can in a focus group. If the subject of your focus group is tangible, observe and ask questions about how participants use the product and feel about the packaging and design.

Here, you’ll see your product through the end-users’ eyes, which can help you realize something you hadn’t before.

3. They’re more efficient than interviews.

Interviewing individuals can take much longer than running focus groups with the same amount of people. Say you want to interview 100 people, and each interview or focus group takes one hour. Getting the opinions of those 100 people would take 100 hours if interviewed, but only 20 hours if participants were broken up into groups of five.

This way, you can get qualitative feedback from multiple people in a shorter amount of time — an enormous time saver, especially if most of your participants think alike.

The Cons of a Focus Group

1. They’re not entirely representative.

What you gain from depth of opinion from focus groups, you lose in sample size.

Because focus groups take longer than surveys, you’ll hear from dozens or hundreds of people in more time than it could take you to hear from thousands of people through your own surveys or exploring secondary research, such as previously conducted studies or surveys.

This constricts the amount of people whose input you’ll receive, which means your findings may not represent the opinions of your entire target market.

2. They could encourage groupthink.

Have you ever been in a meeting where one or two people voice an idea you disagree with, but everyone else agrees with the idea before you have the chance to say your piece?

As a result, maybe you decide to go along with the idea … even though you’re not its biggest fan?

That’s called groupthink, and it happens when a group rallies behind a vocalized idea that not everyone believes is correct for the sake of moving on or attempting to avoid a conflict.

Focus groups can quickly turn into one or two participants providing the bulk of the answers while the other four or five silently nod in agreement. The problem is you’re now only getting input from two participants – not the entire focus group, as intended.

You can avoid this by calling on specific group members to answer in-depth, but some may be reluctant due to shyness or disinterest.

3. Your focus group moderators may have confirmation bias.

Focus group moderators are often attached to the project in question, and can come into the session with an idea of where they think it will — or want it to — go.

For example, one moderator may want a product to be priced, packaged, or colored a certain way, and can lead the discussion towards that conclusion. This is known as observer dependency.

For instance, let’s say one moderator wants a product to be colored blue, and poses the open question to the group: “What color should this be?”

After everyone responds — and no one says blue — she might ask, “What about blue, would that work?” Everyone silently nods, and she notes that the group agreed blue would be a good color, despite that being far from the perfect truth.

To overcome this, focus group moderators should be explicitly instructed to put their personal preferences aside and act as an objective group facilitator. You could also work with a market research firm, which typically has less interest in the product or subject than those from the business who are actually creating it.

Focus groups may not be the most efficient source of gathering data, but when used appropriately, they can put a face and an emotion behind the statistics and quantitative data you’ve gathered to better inform your business, marketing, and product development.

Remember, focus groups are most effective when moderators organize their thoughts ahead of time and take notes during the session on a focus group questionnaire — which you can access for free here in our Market Research Kit.

Beyond Responsive Design: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Everyone can acknowledge the importance of a mobile-friendly website, especially after Google’s Mobilegeddon algorithm update.

Mobile optimization is here to stay, and it’s demanding more and more of businesses and their websites. But mobile optimization is about more than just a responsive website design.

In this article, we tell you why and how to adopt a mobile-first mindset for your website.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm change in 2015 (and a few more since then) was evidence that the search engine recognizes its responsibility to surface websites that painlessly get users what they need at the time that they need it.

Google doesn’t want to send mobile users to websites that provide a frustrating browsing experience — that would damage its promise to its users to always deliver helpful, relevant content.

Moreover, this algorithm change was and is a signal of a much larger shift that’s afoot — consumer behavior is changing, and it’s your job to adapt.

Building a mobile-friendly website is step one, but tweaking your website will not keep you ahead of consumers’ changing behavior and expectations.

In short, you have to infuse your marketing strategy with a mobile-first mindset. Here’s how.

1. Map your customer journey.

Imagine the experience of Sally, a young marketer who has just moved to Chicago. While out for a walk, Sally passes by a hair salon and realizes she needs a haircut. She pulls out her phone a search for hairstylists in Chicago who specialize in curls and color. Her Google search pops up Joann’s Stylez.

She flips through the website quickly and wants to research more, but it’s too hard while on the move — so she texts herself a link. When she gets home, she opens her texts on her tablet and quickly checks Yelp reviews, examines her calendar, and then books an appointment using the simple form on the Joann’s website.

When Sally loads up her laptop later that night to check her email, she discovers an email from Joann’s that confirms her appointment and gives her the option to add it to her calendar. The next day, 30 minutes before her appointment, she receives a push notification on her work computer reminding her of the appointment.

The next day, Sally receives a mobile email asking for feedback on the cut and offering to set up a recurring appointment at a discounted rate. She’s sold.

Sally’s experience is illustrative of the cross-device, omnichannel journey that many customers now make as they move through the marketing funnel. Every day, consumers switch a handful of different devices when completing common tasks such as online shopping, readying blog posts, booking appointments, or communicating with each other.

HubSpot’s Blogging Software equips you to publish relevant, conversion-optimized content you can preview on any device — allowing you to engage with customers wherever they are.

Consumers now expect this type of experience from all of their digital interactions. They want to be able to accomplish whatever fits their fancy on whatever device is at hand. This means that simply adapting your site to look nice on different devices is not enough. As a marketer, you must dig deeper into your customers’ and prospects’ lives.

For example, at HubSpot, we know that a visitor on a mobile device is very unlikely to fill out a long form on one of our landing pages. So we started using Smart Content to automatically shorten the form when a mobile viewer is looking at it. By doing this, our mobile prospects increased by 5x.

2. Seize intent-rich micro-moments.

You’ve likely already developed a strong set of buyer personas. You’ve conducted user research and testing to understand which content and CTAs to present to each persona as they move down the funnel. You must now go a step further. You must understand both the rhythm and rhyme to when, why, with what, and from where people are interacting with your website and content.

Google encourages marketers to identify the “micro-moments” in a customer’s journey:

Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.

A number of brands have figured out how to anticipate and capitalize on these micro-moments. Apple Passbook loads up your Starbucks card when you’re near a coffee shop. Hertz sends you an email when your plane lands to let your know that your car is ready. Starwood allows you to check in and open your hotel room with your smartphone.

Consumers are increasingly becoming acclimated to companies offering such intimately responsive experiences. 59% of shoppers say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from, and 39% of smartphone users are more likely to browse or shop a company or brand’s mobile app because it’s easier or faster to make a purchase.

How can you figure out these micro-moments and design your content to meet prospects’ intent? Tap into your data. Here are three analyses you should start with:

  • Search: Which queries, ads and keywords are bringing users on different devices to your website and landing pages? Once they land on your site, what types of searches are users on different devices performing?
  • Content: Examine the content that users access by stage in the funnel and by device. Is there a trend around what prospects on their phones are downloading? Sharing?
  • Flow: Dig into a flow analysis segmented by device. What is the path mobile-using prospects follow? What is the path tablet-using customers follow? From what sites and sources are these visitors arriving?

After building your trove of micro-moments, it would be easy to think: “Okay, we just need to strip our website down to the specific things our visitors will mostly likely want to access on the go.”

But mobile users are not limited to completing short, simple tasks. The device does not directly imply location or intent.

A busy professional may use her commute time to conduct in-depth industry research on her phone, process her email inbox on her tablet while watching a movie with her family, and browse the websites of potential contractors while flying across the country.

Confirming this intuition, the Pew Research Center’s study of U.S. smartphone found that 99% of smartphone owners use their phone at home, 82% use their phones while in transit, and 69% use their phone at work each week. (This study was conducted in 2015, but we believe it’s still relevant, if not more so, today.)

People don’t want a stripped down set of content. Instead, they want quick and easy access to the materials they need on whatever device they happen to be using.Thus, while you want to optimize your site, landing pages, emails, etc. for micro-moments, you do not want to force visitors into a box from which they cannot escape.

3. Consider (and reconsider) your metrics.

The metrics you established in the desktop-centric days may not seamlessly translate to our new multi-device, micro-moment world. For example, you might have fought tirelessly to find ways to increase visitors’ time on your site, recognizing that more time means higher engagement, which translates to higher conversion.

The micro-moments you identify for mobile visitors, however, might suggest that you want a lower time-on-site. A prospect visiting the website of a consulting firm may be looking for:

  • An infographic they want to show a coworker
  • The bio of a partner with whom they are about to meet
  • A case study to read while traveling

In order to meet this prospect’s expectations for their mobile experience, you must design your website to quickly and intuitively help them find the specific piece of information for which they are looking. If their mobile visit is distracting, frustrating, or too time consuming, you’ve damaged their perception of your brand.

4. Embrace the intimacy of mobile.

For better or worse, I go to bed with my phone (reviewing tomorrow’s schedule and reading a nighttime meditation) and I wake up with my phone (silencing the alarm and checking the weather). I communicate with my partner and my best friends everyday — all through my phone. When my MBA classmate sends a GIF of Tyra Banks being sassy, I turn my phone to the person next to me, and we have a good laugh together.

Day-in and day-out, these interactions create an intimate connection between my phone and me. And I’m not alone: Most consumers imbue their mobile experiences with more intimacy than desktop experiences. The Pew Research Center found that Americans view their smartphones as freeing, connecting, and helpful, and associate their phones with feelings of happiness and productivity. These associations can inspire greater engagement with and interest in content.

As marketers, we should take advantage of these trends and consider how to make our prospects’ mobile experience more personal and social. Perhaps change your website to increase the proportion of social CTAs you display when someone arrives on mobile.

5. Remember the basics and think ahead.

Overall, embracing the mobile mindset means ensuring that the entire customer journey is responsive, relevant, actionable, and frictionless. As a marketer, you want to help consumers quickly and easily find what they want to find and do what they want to do. Again, this means thinking ahead, understanding when, with what device, and from where your prospects will interact with your content.

This can seem daunting, but mostly it means diligently applying the basics across channels. For example, since nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile, ensure your emails are mobile optimized. We recommend doing the following:

  1. Use large, easy-to-read text.
  2. Use large, clear images and reduce file sizes.
  3. Keep layouts simple and invest in responsive templates.
  4. Use large, mobile-friendly calls-to-action and links.

Recognizing the personal associations people have with their phones, you’ll want to ensure that the “From” name is familiar and that the preview text is inviting. And think ahead: Don’t email a link to a form or an event registration landing page that is not mobile-friendly.

Use HubSpot’s Free Landing Page Builder to launch landing pages that look perfect across devices and automatically change content based on who’s viewing your page.

Over to You: Time to Optimize

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to living the mobile mindset and weathering the change in consumers’ digital behavior. Move quickly and your organization could be at the head of the pack.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

13 Businesses With Brilliant Global Marketing Strategies

Guess what? Global marketing is no longer reserved for brands with deep pockets, nor is it a huge hassle for already over-burdened marketing managers.

In fact, a global presence is possible for any business with a creative strategy and an understanding of world markets.

What Is Good Global Marketing?

Global marketing is the act of focusing a product on the needs of potential buyers in other countries. 

Like most types of marketing, though, a global marketing strategy comes down to one thing: audience. Knowing who needs your product, in what form to deliver it to them, and how to do it in a way that strengthens the brand are core ingredients of awesome global marketing.

Typically, a global marketing strategy requires a business to do new market research, identify countries where the business’s product might be successful, and then localize the brand to reflect the needs of those communities. However, localization is not always necessary. Some brands adopt a global standardization strategy instead.

In contrast to localization, where there’s a more differentiated marketing approach to each market, global standardization provides significant cost benefits as a result of less messaging and fewer campaigns.

However, the key is in knowing when a global standardization strategy will be effective. Because it banks on a universal appeal despite cultural or locational differences, you’ll need to research whether customers use or think about your products differently depending on their market. If there’s no difference between the usage and understanding from country to country, a global standardization approach is practical.

Choosing localization or global standardization is one aspect of creating a great global marketing strategy.

 

To give you an idea of what a great global marketing strategy looks like, we’ve compiled a list of brands that totally “get it.”

From adapting their social strategies to translate across multiple languages to adjusting their menus to appeal to the cravings of a diverse group of people, these brands are taking positive steps toward creating a solid presence across the globe.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration on how to craft a successful international marketing strategy and expand your business’ reach, check out these examples from these successful companies.

1. Red Bull

Austrian company Red Bull does such a great job with global marketing that many Americans assume it’s a local brand. How?

One of its most successful tactics is to host extreme sports events all over the world. From the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to the Red Bull Air Race in the United Kingdom to the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Jordan, the brand’s powerful event marketing strategy takes them here, there, and everywhere.

Red Bull website showing global map of extreme sports events

Aside from events, Red Bull’s packaging also plays a part in its global appeal.

“Red Bull really looks like a product from a global economy. It doesn’t look like a traditional American soft drink — it’s not in a 12-ounce can, it’s not sold in a bottle, and it doesn’t have script lettering like Pepsi or Coke. It looks European. That matters,” explains Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn in a 2001 article. Though it’s since diversified its product selection since that article was published, the fact remains that Red Bull’s consistent packaging has helped this brand go global.

2. Airbnb

Airbnb, a community marketplace for people to list and book accommodations around the world, was founded in 2008 out of San Francisco, California.

Since then, Airbnb has grown to 1,500,000+ listings in 34,000+ cities worldwide. A large contributor to the company’s explosive global success? Social media.

In January 2015, Airbnb launched a social media campaign around the hashtag #OneLessStranger. The company referred to the campaign as a “global, social experiment,” in which Airbnb asked the community to perform random acts of hospitality for strangers, and then take a video or photo with the person and share it using the hashtag.

Just three weeks after the launch of the campaign, over 3,000,000 people worldwide engaged, created content, or were talking about the campaign.

3. Dunkin Donuts

In case you missed it, National Donut Day was last June. And while we were getting our hands dirty with a Boston creme (or two) here in the states, Dunkin Donuts China was serving up a fresh batch of dry pork and seaweed donuts.

Global marketing strategy by Dunkin Donuts to celebrate National Donut Day in China

With over 3,200 stores in 36 countries outside of the U.S., Dunkin Donuts has evolved its menu to satisfy the sweet tooth of its global customers.

From Korea’s Grapefruit Coolata to Lebanon’s Mango Chocolate Donut to Russia’s Dunclairs, it’s clear that Dunkin Donuts isn’t afraid to celebrate cultural differences in an effort to strengthen its international presence.

4. Domino’s

Similar to Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s has prioritized menu innovation as a means of increasing international interest and awareness.

“The joy of pizza is that bread, sauce, and cheese works fundamentally everywhere, except maybe China, where dairy wasn’t a big part of their diet until lately,” explains Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle.

“And it’s easy to just change toppings market to market. In Asia, it’s seafood and fish. It’s curry in India. But half the toppings are standard offerings around the world.”

Domino's website with pizza catering to international tastes

By making a conscious effort to gain a better understanding of the preferences of the markets it’s trying to break into, Domino’s can deliver pies diverse enough to gain international attention.

5. Rezdy

Some companies may not be trying to attract global markets directly, but if their clients are, they better know how. Rezdy is an Australian-based reservation software designed to make online booking smoother for tourists and agents alike.

Though Rezdy’s clients are Australian-based, the company needs to cater to its clients’ international visitors. Click on the screenshot to check out this fun video on Rezdy’s homepage:

The first feature the video spotlights is “Internationalisation.” The video walks us through how easy the service is for users, but is sure to emphasize the language and currency customization tool upfront. Even if your company is marketing to other regional companies, consider their global customers as if they were your own.

6. World Wildlife Foundation

WWF took its Earth Hour initiative — a voluntary worldwide event where participants turn off their lights for an hour to show how easy it can be to battle climate change — and brought it to Norway’s mobile audience.

Scandinavian countries like Norway experience extreme daylight hours in different seasons, making the country a prime candidate for WWF’s Blackout campaign. Using digital agency Mobiento, the nonprofit placed the Blackout Banner across Norway’s top media sites to promote Earth Hour. With one tap of the banner, the screen went black. Finger swiping the black screen slowly revealed the Earth Hour countdown. The banner attracted roughly 1,000,000 impressions and the campaign received three MMA Global Mobile Marketing Awards back in 2012.

WWF earth hour campaign banner with plug strips

Image Source

Have a cool idea? Don’t be afraid to try it out on one international market — just make sure it’s the appropriate audience. (Also, don’t be afraid of the dark.)

7. Pearse Trust

With offices in Dublin, London, Vancouver, Atlanta, and Wellington, Pearse Trust has grown to be an international authority on corporate and trust structures. But it takes more than offices all over the map to reach an international audience.

That’s why Pearse Trust keeps content flowing on its Facebook page that engages its various markets. In this screenshot below, you can see Pearse Trust posts lots of content featuring international affairs relating to the company’s practice.

pearse trust facebook post regarding international affairs webinar

It also levels out external articles with Pearse Trust content, featuring news from places like Germany, Ireland (where it has a Dublin office), and the U.K. (where it has a London office). This is a great example of focusing on common interests shared among your company’s various markets while also making the content relatable to customers by region.

8. Nike

Nike has been able to evolve its global presence through the careful selection of international sponsorships such as its previous long-standing relationship with Manchester United.

Although sponsorship spending can be fairly unpredictable — demand costs tend to surge due to triggers like championships and tournaments — these partnerships have certainly helped the brand capture the attention of a global audience.

Nike’s NikeID co-creation platform serves as another strategy that the company is using to appeal to international markets.

Nike ID website allowing global users to customize shoes

By putting the power of design into the hands of the consumer, Nike is able to deliver customized products that align with different cultural preferences and styles.

9. McDonald’s

We all know McDonald’s is a successful global brand, so unlike its menu, I’ll keep it light.

While keeping its overarching branding consistent, McDonald’s practices “glocal” marketing efforts. No, that’s not a typo. McDonald’s brings a local flavor, literally, to different countries with region-specific menu items. In 2003, McDonald’s introduced the McArabia, a flatbread sandwich, to its restaurants in the Middle East.

McDonald’s has also introduced macaroons to its French menu:

And added McSpaghetti to its menu in the Philippines:

Global McDonald's advertisement for the Philippines

This “glocal” approach has helped put McDonald’s at
#9 on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2014.

10. Innocent Drinks

Innocent Drinks is the leading smoothie company in the U.K., but that’s not the only place you’ll find its products. In fact, Innocent products are now available in 15 countries across Europe.

And despite its widespread reach, the company’s “chatty branding” remains consistent across the board. For instance, the website is very bubbly, with contact information that reads “call the banana phone” or “visit the fruit towers.”

European global marketing strategy by Innocent Drinks

While global expansion and rapid growth can sometimes distract a company from consistent branding, Innocent Drinks has managed to remain true to itself. By ensuring that the brand’s voice is interpreted the same way around the world, Innocent is able to create a more recognizable brand.

11. Unger and Kowitt

The phrase “glocal” can be defined as “Think Globally, Act Locally.” But what happens when you switch the two around.

Whoa, fasten your seat belts — literally. Unger and Kowitt is a traffic ticket law firm based in Fort Lauderdale defending drivers in the state of Florida. Not very global, right? Well, Unger and Kowitt understands that America is a melting pot and that Florida is bursting at the seams with different cultures and languages.

Website of Unger Kowitt showing global marketing strategy in user experience

Though a domestic service, the firm’s website is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Creole. With these options, Unger and Kowitt can cater to Florida’s nearly 3.5 million Floridians who speak Spanish, Portuguese, or Creole. Don’t miss out on expanding your client base — sometimes you don’t have to look far to attract international business.

12. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a great example of a brand using international marketing efforts. Though a large corporation, Coca-Cola focuses on small community programs and invests a lot of time and money in small-scale charity efforts.

For example, in Egypt, Coca-Cola has built 650 clean water installations in the rural village of Beni Suef and sponsors Ramadan meals for children across the Middle East. In India, the brand sponsors the Support My School initiative to improve facilities at local schools. Not to mention, the brand sticks with selling an emotion that can’t get lost in translation: happiness. Now, tell me this doesn’t look like fun:

13. Spotify

As of 2018, Spotify was newly considered one of the best global companies in the world, according to Interbrand. We’ve all heard of Spotify (no pun intended), but how did it suddenly, and so quickly, expand from Sweden into other countries?

Spotify’s business model is focused on helping you find something new.

spotify diverse genresIt’s one thing to select a genre of music to listen to — it’s another thing to select a “mood” to listen to. The screenshot above is part of Spotify’s “Browse” page, where you can listen not just to “country” and “hip-hop,” but also music that caters to your “workout” or “sleep” preferences.

By changing how they describe their content, Spotify gets users to listen to music that goes beyond their favorite genres, and instead satisfies habits and lifestyles that people share all over the world. This allows international artists to access listeners from other countries simply because their product is being categorized a different way.

Spotify now has offices in 17 countries around the world.

If you have global aspirations for your business, you need to find out what customers in different communities have in common — and how to localize your product for these different markets. Your first step? Take inspiration from one of the businesses above.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

The Ultimate Guide to Integrations and Why Your Business Needs Them

Have you ever found yourself working on a project in which you had to toggle between different software and applications? Perhaps you had to plug data from one system into another or rewrite the same content over and over again to ensure it was in multiple locations.

Although few people have the time or patience for this type of tedious work, it’s common and often critical to your business’s success — these mundane tasks need to get done.

What if there was a way to connect your software to the applications you use in a way that successfully brings them together? This would mean all of your information and data would live in a central location with no manual entry required, even if those applications don’t actually come with the software itself … sound nice?

Well, good news! This type of solution exists … it’s called an integration.

Integrations are a complex topic to understand. So, let’s simplify the concept with the help of an analogy we can reference throughout this guide.

Let’s pretend you want to plug your MacBook laptop into your TV using a connector cable so you can watch reruns of Friends on Netflix on the big screen. And integration kind of works like this — I’ll explain more as we go.

Back to our analogy: If your software is your laptop, you’ll use a connector cable, or integration, to then watch Friends on the TV, or application.

example of an integration

Now, let’s run through some commonly asked questions about integrations to help you get a better grasp on what they are, how they work, and why your company needs them.

Why use integrations?

Integrations solve and simplify your need for new software as your business grows and evolves. They allow you to keep the system you’re currently using by simply adding connections to third-party applications to enhance system functionality and provide additional features you may need but aren’t able to build within your software. You can keep your current laptop and TV, and simply use the connector cable to watch Friends on the big screen.

By leveraging integration connections across your systems, you can power your business to achieve a much wider range of tasks on your software as you enhance its functionality. This is especially helpful as your business expands since your needs are bound to change.

Although your software may have the functionality you need when you start your business, you’re likely going to want additional applications to provide the features you end up needing later on, as you grow.

There are many types of integrations, each of which has specific functions to help meet different needs. The easiest way to think about the various types of integrations is by category. Some integrations have several functions, meaning they could technically fit into many categories because they serve more than one main purpose. Other integrations have one specific function.

Who needs integrations?

Integrations are helpful tools for virtually every business, no matter the size or industry. There are integrations suited for every type of company (startups, SMBs, and enterprise companies) with any purpose (advertising, analytics, or content).

If you sell software, as we do at HubSpot, you’ll find yourself not only using connections for your internal software but also for your customers to use along with your software. This is because your software may not have every feature and function your customers need to run their business. So, by adding an integration, they’ll get that added feature or function while continuing to use your software.

Referring back to our analogy, without the integration, or connector cable, your laptop wouldn’t be able to communicate with your TV to allow you to watch Friends on the big screen. You need that integration, or cable, to allow for added functionality and watch the show on TV — without it, this wouldn’t be possible.

How do you get integrations?

Integrations are almost always located in some type of marketplace, where customers can review and browse all of their options. The HubSpot App Marketplace is an example of this. Our marketplace allows visitors to search and learn more about the various integrations and their functions, and then connect HubSpot to their integration of choice.

(No, you can’t go to Best Buy to pick up your integration as you would with your connector cable to watch Friends on your TV… you’re right, the example doesn’t quite work here.)

How do integrations work with APIs?

API stands for application programming interface. An API is an interface that software uses to receive information (whether that’s data, servers, applications, etc.).

All of the integrations we’re going to discuss below are built on APIs. By building integrations on APIs, you can connect your integrations to your software and use them in tandem with one another. The integration allows for the flow of information to and from apps and devices in real-time — APIs allow them to talk to one another.

Think about this in terms of our analogy from above: The application is the TV, the programming allows your laptop to communicate with the TV, and the interface is how you (the user) are able to interact with the application (by watching Friends on your TV). In this example, the API is the port on the side of your laptop in which you actually insert your integration (the cable) to then connect your laptop to your TV.

Integration vs. iPaaS Solution

If you’ve heard of integrations before, chances are you’ve also heard about iPaaS, or Integration Platform as a Service. The difference between the two is an important distinction to make when determining which one you need for your business. While an integration is a one-to-one, direct connection solution, an iPaaS solution is not.

Instead, iPaaS is a cloud-based platform that connects your applications and systems — whether that’s in the cloud or on-premise — between an organization and third-party software without the use of middleware.

So, if you look for an integration solution on your software’s marketplace and don’t find the connection you’re looking for, then you’d turn to an iPaaS solution to solve your need for that connection. There are a few integrations available today (called “connector integrations”, which we’ll look at an example of below) that can help you build custom integrations..

So, which integrations should you actually use? Let’s look at a list of some of the most popular integrations available.

Popular Integrations

The following integrations are categorized by business need to help you browse through your options. (Almost all of these integrations fit into multiple categories, as they have functions that allow them to do multiple things. Below, we placed them in the category they’re best suited for.)

It’s important to note these are just some of today’s popular integrations — there are hundreds of more integrations to learn about and choose from as your business grows.

The list we’ve compiled below is of integrations that connect with HubSpot. This isn’t to say these HubSpot integrations don’t also work with other software. In fact, most of these integrations are compatible with dozens of programs in addition to HubSpot.

Let’s take a look.

Advertising Integrations

Advertising integrations help you market to and reach your target audience. Data about the success of your ads and/ or the leads obtained from them is automatically added to your HubSpot CRM so you can learn more about the people who interact with your ads and nurture them into customers.

1. Facebook Ads

The Facebook Ads integration allows you to connect your Facebook Ads account to HubSpot. This integration gives you the ability to attribute your ads directly to the contacts who interact with them. It also allows you to review real data about which ads impact your bottom line. This simplifies the reporting process for all of your Facebook Ad efforts.

2. AdRoll

Different businesses and products have various buyer personas. The AdRoll integration gives you the opportunity to create personalized retargeting ads for different lead segments in your HubSpot contacts. You can personalize several parts of the ads, such as content and formatting, that will best relate to your prospect.

This allows you to focus on your audience’s attributes so you can effectively reach your prospects — you can gather intricate details about your prospects from your CRM via the integration so you’re able to successfully retarget them.

3. Instapage

If you’re not a developer, creating your website’s landing page might sound like an overwhelming task. The Instapage integration provides a straightforward option for anyone who wants to create and personalize their landing page and then send lead information straight to HubSpot. These details are automatically placed under the associated contact in HubSpot for you— meaning, there’s no need to perform this transfer manually.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Integrations

ABM stands for account-based marketing. ABM integrations help you leverage your account and audience data so you can tailor your messaging, CTAs, and marketing strategies to close deals and attract customers.

1. OrgChartHub

The OrgChartHub integration allows you to efficiently build customer organization charts without ever leaving HubSpot. You can create customer organization charts while in HubSpot so you’re able to easily identify unknown contacts, visualize key stakeholders, and customize your sales personas without manually sending any of this information back and forth.

2. CaliberMind

With the CaliberMind integration, you’ll be able to look at your cross-channel account engagement and create alerts for your reps about which deals they should focus on closing to meet quota. The integration takes your contacts directly from HubSpot and automatically matches them to their associated accounts so you don’t have to.

3. Metadata

The Metadata integration provides account-based advertising services. You can automatically identify specific target accounts and contacts from HubSpot to create personalized advertisements at scale to help you close more deals and reach your target audience more effectively.

Analytics and Data Integrations

These integrations help you measure your success across a number of analytics platforms. You can look at your data in different ways and ensure all of this information is well-organized in HubSpot so your team can review it at any time. These integrations help you learn more about which of your efforts are working and which ones need to be modified.

1. Databox

With the increase of remote employees across businesses and the number of people who access their work while on-the-go, having the ability to review and manage your key performance indicators (KPIs) from anywhere can be quite helpful.

The Databox integration provides you with access to all of your analytics data in HubSpot from a wide variety of sources including Google Analytics, SEMRush, mobile, desktop, Facebook, and more.

2. Hotjar

In a world where many website visitors are uninterested in completing forms and providing their personal information, Hotjar is a great way to learn about who your visitors are and what they’re looking for on your site. The Hotjar integration gives you insight into who your website and mobile visitors are and what their needs consist of directly from HubSpot.

3. Klipfolio

The Klipfolio integration shows you your most important metrics in real-time and creates easy-to-read dashboards in HubSpot so you can track and analyze performance across all of your platforms from one location. This allows you to improve your data transparency and reach your targets faster.

Calling Integrations

Whether it’s a meeting with fellow employees or your prospective and current customers, calling integrations will make all phone and video call interactions simple. Your contact’s information and details about the call will be recorded in HubSpot for easy access. This also provides sales reps and support team members with the necessary background information to assist the prospect or customer appropriately.

1. UberConference

With UberConference, it takes just seconds to schedule your meetings with colleagues and prospective customers so you can focus on tasks that require more attention. The integration allows you to schedule meetings quickly and easily without ever having to leave your HubSpot portal.

2. Aircall

Phone calls remain one of the most effective ways to interact with your prospective and current customers. Whether it’s a sales or support call, the Aircall integration allows you to manage your call flows and attentively assist your leads and customers all within HubSpot so your contact’s information lives in one, central location.

3. CallRail

The CallRail integration is a call tracking and analytics system which allows you to customize segments and actions based on your specific calls with prospects and customers. All of your call and text data will automatically be added and organized in HubSpot under the associated contact so you don’t have to manually enter any data.

Connector Integrations

Connector integrations provide you with access to dozens of applications which sync to HubSpot to save you time and add functionality. Some connector integrations offer a wide range of applications and some have more specific types of applications. Additionally, some connector integrations can assist in creating a custom integration to suit your needs.

1. Automate.io

The Automate.io integration connects to HubSpot to give you access to over 80 applications. By syncing with these apps, you’ll be able to transfer data to them to create customized integrations so you can manage all of your data in a way that works for your business all within HubSpot.

2. Zapier

The Zapier integration allows you to automatically connect your software to over 1,000 applications. It links your apps to HubSpot for you in just a few clicks to save you time. There’s no coding required and your apps will be able to begin sharing data in an easy-to-read workflow format in your HubSpot portal.

3. PieSync

The PieSync integration provides real-time, two-way contact sync. This means every time you add a contact to HubSpot, it automatically syncs to an application (such as Google Contacts or Outlook), and vice versa — you don’t need to worry about any importing or exporting, expediting and simplifying your contact syncs.

Content Integrations

Content integrations help you create, design, and share custom content for your website. They also help you learn about who’s interacting with the content and how they’re interacting with it. That information is then synced to HubSpot so you can organize it and add it to specific contacts.

1. Beacon

If your website has a collection of blog posts, the Beacon integration might be a good option for you. The integration ensures your content looks professional and allows you to drive more leads by getting more value out of your existing content — it connects to HubSpot to automatically convert your blog posts into downloadable content such as eBooks.

2. briX

The briX integration connects to HubSpot so you can design and personalize web pages for your site. You don’t need a background in web design or coding to create beautiful pages — the drag-and-drop template and 100+ customizable features make it easy to organize your content in any way you choose. This integration is ideal for easily designing and personalizing web pages directly from HubSpot.

3. Belch.io

Customized landing pages, web pages, and emails provide a professional look and feel for your visitors, leads, and customers while interacting with your business online. The Belch.io integration connects to HubSpot so you can personalize and brand all of these things in just minutes.

It’s a great option for anyone without a background in coding or web development who wants to design and customize their site pages and emails to complement their brand all from HubSpot.

Customer Success Integrations

Customer success integrations connect to HubSpot to make your internal and external interactions with employees (cross-team) and customers straightforward. They simplify communication and help you share information and/or data when you need to.

1. Slack

The Slack integration is a digital workspace and communication tool that allows you to connect and talk with your team members. The integration is ideal for team collaboration and coordination from anywhere.

By connecting the integration to your software, you can use Slack’s and HubSpot’s features in either the application or the software so you don’t have to waste time toggling back and forth — the same information will be found in both locations in real-time.

2. Zendesk

Zendesk offers a ticketing system to keep track of customer inquiries and allows you to keep details about all of your customer interactions in one place. It helps you provide consistent customer experiences among your fellow employees and customers.

By connecting HubSpot to the Zendesk integration, you’ll be able to bring the work of your sales, marketing, and support teams together in a central location. It also allows these departments to communicate with each other while in HubSpot as well.

3. LiveChat

The LiveChat integration allows you to communicate with potential customers in real-time when they need assistance or guidance while on your website from HubSpot. Whether it’s a question about your product or the need for help in the checkout process, LiveChat allows you to walk them through the information they need to help you boost conversions and build strong relationships with prospects and customers.

Ecommerce Integrations

If you have an online store, ecommerce integrations are a great way to learn about what your customers and visitors are doing while they’re on your website. By connecting these integrations to HubSpot, you’ll know when your visitors are most frequently abandoning your site or their carts so you can create re-engagement content to regain their interest.

1. Shopify

The Shopify integration allows you to easily incorporate all of your ecommerce data and customer data within HubSpot. It automatically syncs customer, product, and deal information in HubSpot under the associated customer’s profile, so your entire team can view all of these details in one location. You can also create cart abandonment nurturing tactics, re-engagement ads for your website from HubSpot once you connect the integration to the software.

2. Typeform

The Typeform integration helps you create and design web and mobile forms for your leads. You can create contact forms, sign up forms, quizzes, and more, and all of your responses will automatically be sent directly to HubSpot so you can easily review your results and responses and compile them under the associated contact in HubSpot.

3. Magento

The Magento integration helps you create and send upsell, cross-sell, and reorder emails as well as develop abandoned cart nurturing tactics to boost your conversions. It automatically sends all of your customers’ ecommerce-related data, as well as emails between you and your customers, straight to their respective HubSpot contact record.

Email Integrations

Email integrations help you track a prospect’s interactions with sales reps, personalize your email automation with certain contacts, and measure the success of your email campaigns among your target audience — all from HubSpot.

1. MailChimp

The MailChimp integration allows you to sync HubSpot with your email service provider. You can build email campaigns and rest easy knowing the Intelligent Error Handling feature will continue engaging your contacts even if a syncing error occurs between the software and application.

By connecting MailChimp to HubSpot, you’ll have the ability to automatically add contacts from HubSpot into your application’s email lists and vice versa so you never have to do it manually.

2. Privy

Privy helps you make more sales and turn more prospects into delighted customers. The integration uses targeted pop-up ads, banners, bars, and more to help you boost conversions and decrease page abandonment. It also automatically syncs all of your new leads from your website to HubSpot so the software can help you nurture them and convert them into customers.

3. Front

The Front integration is a collaborative inbox, meaning all members of your team can see and access your contacts, review deals, and see all activity history while working in HubSpot. All of these details are automatically synced in Front and your CRM. This helps you improve your customer experience and ensure it remains consistent no matter which employees your customers work with.

Event and Webinar Integrations

Whether it’s an in-person event, a webinar, an online meeting, or a video conference, the following integrations simplify every aspect of hosting an event. They allow your contacts to book meetings with you and you can update all information related to your contacts post-event or meeting in HubSpot.

1. Eventbrite

Eventbrite helps you use inbound marketing tactics to attract more prospects and customers to your in-person events. Once connected to your software, the integration automatically takes data from your contact lists in HubSpot to help you uncover effective ways to connect with your target audience, face-to-face.

2. GoToWebinar

No matter the type of event you’re hosting, the GoToWebinar integration automatically syncs all of your registrant and participant information in HubSpot under the associated contact. You’ll never have to worry about manually importing data about your webinar contacts again — instead, you’ll have more time to focus on the event itself.

3. Setmore

The Setmore integration simplifies appointment scheduling for you. It automatically imports your booked appointments (and information about the customer who booked the appointment) to HubSpot under the correct contact’s profile so you don’t have to do it manually.

Lead Generation Integrations

Lead generation integrations help you transition early-stage leads into delighted customers. All of your leads’ information will automatically be synced to HubSpot so you can view it at any point during the buyer’s journey. This is helpful to learn more about your target audience and to manage customer information so your sales and support teams can refer to it if needed, all from one location.

1. WordPress

The WordPress integration helps you optimize and align your WordPress website with the data about your contacts and business goals you have in HubSpot. Your HubSpot account and all of your growth tools will automatically be connected to your WordPress site so you can work to attract, engage, and delight site visitors and customers on your site from either WordPress or HubSpot.

2. Unbounce

The Unbounce integration helps you with the lead capturing and nurturing processes. You can create lead generation forms and send all data collected about your leads directly to HubSpot. At any point in time, you can take this data about your leads and use it to create campaigns. You’ll also have the ability to export any data in just seconds from your Unbounce account and share it anywhere.

3. SurveyMonkey

With the SurveyMonkey integration, you can create and distribute custom surveys to your prospects and customers, collect all data obtained, and view your responses within HubSpot. This is ideal because you can then segment and organize all your contacts based on their survey responses to easily manage the type of content and/or follow up they receive.

Live Chat Integrations

By adding live chat integrations to your website, you’ll be able to communicate with prospects in real-time and nurture them into customers. You can answer their questions, respond to their concerns, and assist them in their purchase decisions. Then, this data is compiled into HubSpot under the specific contact it belongs to so you can follow up appropriately.

1. Intercom

The Intercom integration allows you to capture new leads and prospective customers with the help of live chat on your website. Intercom allows you to convert more leads by actively engaging with them at any time while they’re on your website once connected to HubSpot. You can then qualify your leads with custom bots, talk with them directly, and track them — then, all of this information is automatically organized under their contact in HubSpot.

2. ManyChat

Once connected to HubSpot, the ManyChat integration allows you to automate your messenger marketing so you can easily organize, nurture, and track your leads from the software. You can also take any HubSpot form and submit information obtained from it by sending custom field data to HubSpot Form Submissions.

3. Drift

The Drift integration provides live chat for your website so you can assist your leads in real-time form HubSpot. The integration allows you to watch and save all of the lead’s activity on your site in HubSpot under the correct contact. Additionally, your sales reps can use Drift to customize their outreach and follow-ups based on that activity to improve the chances of conversion.

Sales Integrations

Sales integrations help you bring your sales tools, tactics, and prospects’ information together using HubSpot. You’ll be able to keep your marketing, support, and sales details in a central location for all teams to access, analyze, and refer to as needed.

1. HelloSign

Once connected to HubSpot, you’ll automatically be notified of any action a prospect takes on any document you send them with the HelloSign integration. Examples of the actions you’ll be notified about include when a prospect or customer receives, opens, or signs the document.

Then, this activity data is sent to the contact it belongs to in HubSpot so reps know where the prospect or customer is in the buyer’s journey and how they should go about following up with them.

2. Salesforce

If you’re a Salesforce user, you can automatically sync all of your contacts’ information from the database into HubSpot once connected to the Salesforce integration. This allows you to work with reps to get strong lead intelligence and revenue reporting. You can mesh your marketing and sales work, content, and information so you and your team can access any information from either system at any point in time.

3. PandaDoc

When it comes to sales work, there are many tasks involved that don’t necessarily include the process of actually closing a deal. The PandaDoc integration automatically organizes and reviews information from HubSpot about your prospect to help you with non-selling tasks like creating and sending quotes, proposals, and contracts.

Social Media Integrations

Understanding your social media following is a huge part of successful marketing. Social media integrations help you learn about your followers, understand the type of content they interact with and share, and automate specific parts of your social media strategy.

1. Facebook

With the Facebook integration, you can automatically connect your business’s Facebook account to HubSpot. Schedule Facebook posts ahead of time analyze and measure post’s performance. This integration is ideal if you want to manage your Facebook marketing strategy alongside your other social media marketing strategies directly from HubSpot.

2. LinkedIn

By connecting your LinkedIn account to HubSpot through the LinkedIn integration, you can easily engage with your network and communicate with all of your contacts from HubSpot. You can also auto-publish your blogs and share specific content with your followers to nurture them into leads and customers. This integration is also great for tracking engagement along with all of your other social media channels and marketing efforts all from HubSpot’s social media tool.

3. Twitter

Schedule Tweets ahead of time, monitor Twitter streams, view Tweets and Twitter interactions of your competitors, and monitor accounts that are important to your brand from HubSpot with the Twitter integration. All information about your current and new followers will be added to your contact lists in HubSpot so everything is organized appropriately.

Video Integrations

With the rise of video and video marketing in business today, integrations that help you incorporate this media on your website have become quite useful. They allow you to create and implement videos on your site pages and forms as well as measure the success of your video marketing efforts.

1. Wistia

The Wistia integration provides you with the ability to integrate videos on your website, and then incorporate HubSpot forms with those videos to improve video engagement (and hopefully, conversion) rates. If any lead converts on a video, their information is automatically sent to HubSpot so you’ll have their video-viewing data paired with their contact details.

2. YouTube

The YouTube integration connects your YouTube channel to HubSpot. This way, you can easily report on your video and channel success and compare this data to that of your other social platforms using HubSpot’s analytics and social media tools and dashboards.

3. Promo

With the Promo integration, you can choose from over three million clips, templates, and music options to use to create a video for your site directly from HubSpot. You can easily throw in custom messaging, branding, or logos to personalize the video for your business based on a specific prospect’s needs and interests, found under their specific contact in HubSpot.

Get Integrated to Grow Better

Integrations have the power to enhance all aspects of your business. No matter the software you use to run your company, you can find integrations that can help simplify your processes, optimize your efforts, and empower your fellow employees. So, find the right integration marketplace for your software and begin connecting to the applications suited for your business needs.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

20 Stats About Australian Instagram Users & Trends

In July, nearly 41% of Australia’s population was on Instagram.

And, with Australia being one of the biggest internet and social media growth regions, its Instagram audiences are likely to keep getting bigger.

Yes. No matter what country you’re marketing in, Instagram’s platform is primed for brand awareness. You might think with growth stats like this, Australian brands are rushing to Instagram.But that’s not the case — many Australian businesses are actually missing out on the opportunities Instagram offers. In fact, recent research reveals that only 32% of Australian SMBs use it in their social media strategy.

Although Instagram sounds promising, SMBs with limited time, budget, or bandwidth might be hesitant to add any new social platform.

Why? Even though an Instagram account can majorly boost local and global brand awareness, building a scalable strategy for it can seem intimidating and time-consuming for smaller brands.

Luckily, Australian businesses don’t just have to launch an Instagram account and hope it works. In 2020, there’s plenty of data that can help these brands determine if the platform is appropriate for their goals, and how to engage Australian audiences once they’ve made a Business page.

If you’re an Australian social media marketer looking to improve your Instagram strategy or are working to boost a brand’s Australian presence from afar, here are 20 stats to know about Australian Instagram usage, marketing, and peak engagement times.

Australian Instagram Usage Stats to Know

Australian Instagram Users

  • There were 10.45 million Instagram users in Australia in July 2020: roughly 40.8% of its entire population. (NapoleonCat, 2020)
  • Australian Instagram users grew from just over 9 million to 10.45 million between May 2019 and July 2020. (NapoleonCat, 2020)
  • 46% of Australian social media users say they regularly use Instagram, making it the second most popular channel in the region. (Yellow Sensis Social Media Report, 2018)

Image Source

  • Most Australian Instagram users are women, with the highest ratio of women to men being in the 45-to-54 age group. (NapoleonCat, 2020)
  • More than 3.2 million Australian Instagram users are 25 to 34, making them the largest user group. (NapoleonCat, 2020)
  • Roughly 9.1 million Instagram users are listed as over 18. (Laurel Papworth, 2020)
  • 48% of Australian Instagram users follow a brand on the platform. (Yellow Sensis Social Media Report, 2020)
  • Instagram is the third-most-used non-gaming mobile app in Australia. (We Are Social, 2019)

Instagram User Behavior in Australia

  • More than 51% of Australian Instagram users log on to the app at least three to five times a week. (Statista, 2018)

Most Australian Instagram users log on to the app at least once daily.

Image Source

  • Three regularly-trending Instagram hashtags in Australia are #photography, #Australia, and #Sydney, which have 450 million, 55 million, and 28 million posts associated with them, respectively. (Talkwalker, 2019)
  • 45% of Australian social media users have taken a selfie for platforms such as Instagram. Selfies posts are more common among men and 18 to 29-year-olds. (Yellow Sensis Social Media Report, 2018)
  • Roughly 40% of Australian social media users have posted a picture of food on channels such as Instagram. (Yellow Sensis Social Media Report, 2018)

Australian Business on Instagram

  • 22% of Australian SMBs have advertised on Instagram (Yellow Sensis Social Media Report, 2020)
  • 32% of Australian SMBs have an Instagram account, compared to 90% and 33% respectively on Facebook and LinkedIn. (Yellow Sensis Social Media Report, 2020)
  • Instagram influencers whose accounts were about yoga experienced 127% growth in overall Australian engagement in March 2020. (Statista, 2020)
  • Also in March 2020, hotel-related Instagram accounts experienced a 100% decrease in Australian engagement. (Statista, 2020)

Peak Engagement Times in Australian

  • When using Instagram in any global region, the best time to post to get local post engagements is 2 PM and 3 PM in your brand’s timezone. (HubSpot, 2020)
  • The best day to post on Instagram in Australia is Thursday in the AEDT timezone. (ShareMyInsights, 2020)
  • Weekday posts on Instagram get more impressions from Australians than weekend posts. (ShareMyInsights, 2020)
  • When aiming for global post engagement, the best times to post on Instagram from Australia are 12 AM to 2 AM, 6 AM to 8 AM, and 9 PM to 10 PM AEDT. (ShareMyInsights, 2020)

Growing Australian Brand Awareness with Instagram

From looking at the data above, it’s clear that Australian businesses can benefit from Instagram, which has a huge pool of users that will follow, engage with, and potentially purchase products from all sorts of brands on the platform.

But, simply creating an Instagram account and forgetting about it won’t boost your brand awareness. To truly gain audience engagement, you’ll want to create an active account with content that entertains users, grabs their attention, and educates them about your brand and your products.

If this list has inspired you to get ahead of the one-third of Australian SMBs missing out on Instagram, check out this guide or the free resource below for proven tips on building an effective Instagram strategy.

6 Reasons You Really Need to Write A Business Plan

Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially if you’re starting from square one.

It’s easy to feel stuck in the whirlwind of things you’ll need to do, like registering your company, building a team, advertising, the list goes on. Not to mention, a business idea with no foundation can make the process seem incredibly intimidating.

Thankfully, business plans are an antidote for the new business woes that many entrepreneurs feel. Some may shy away from the idea, as they are lengthy documents that require a significant amount of attention and care.

However, there’s a reason why those who take the time to write out a business plan are 16% more likely to be successful than those who don’t. In other words, business plans work.

What is a business plan, and why does it matter?

In brief, a business plan is a roadmap to success. It’s a blueprint for entrepreneurs to follow that helps them outline, understand, and cohesively achieve their goals.

Writing a business plan involves defining critical aspects of your business, like brand messaging, conducting market research, and creating pricing strategies — all before starting the company.

A business plan can also increase your confidence. You’ll get a holistic view of your idea and understand whether it’s worth pursuing.

So, why not take the time to create a blueprint that will make your job easier? Let’s take a look at six reasons why you should write a business plan before doing anything else.

1. Legitimize your business idea.

Pursuing business ideas that stem from passions you’ve had for years can be exciting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a sound venture.

One of the first things a business plan requires you to do is research your target market. You’ll gain a nuanced understanding of industry trends and what your competitors have done, or not, to succeed. You may find that the idea you have when you start is not likely to be successful.

That may feel disheartening, but you can always modify your original idea to better fit market needs. The more you understand about the industry, your future competitors, and your prospective customers, the greater the likelihood of success. If you identify issues early on, you can develop strategies to deal with them rather than troubleshooting as they happen.

It’s better to know sooner rather than later if your business will be successful before investing time and money.

2. Give your business a foundation for success.

Let’s say you’re looking to start a clean beauty company. There are thousands of directions you can go in, so just saying, “I’m starting a clean beauty company!” isn’t enough.

You need to know what specific products you want to make, and why you’re deciding to create them. The Pricing and Product Line style=”color: #33475b;”> section of a business plan requires you to identify these elements, making it easier to plan for other components of your business strategy.

You’ll also use your initial market research to outline financial projections, goals, objectives, and operational needs. Identifying these factors ahead of time creates a strong foundation, as you’ll be making critical business decisions early on.

You can refer back to the goals you’ve set within your business plan to track your progress over time and prioritize areas that need extra attention.

All in all, every section of your business plan requires you to go in-depth into your future business strategy before even acting on any of those plans. Having a plan at the ready gives your business a solid foundation for growth.

When you start your company, and your product reaches the market, you’ll spend less time troubleshooting and more time focusing on your target audiences and generating revenue.

3. Obtain funding and investments.

Every new business needs capital to get off the ground. Although it would be nice, banks won’t finance loans just because you request one. They want to know what the money is for, where it’s going, and if you’ll eventually be able to pay it back.

If you want investors to be part of your financing plan, they’ll have questions about your business’ pricing strategies and revenue models. Investors can also back out if they feel like their money isn’t put to fair use. They’ll want something to refer back to track your progress over time and understand if you’re meeting the goals you told them you’d meet. They want to know if their investment was worthwhile.

The Financial Considerations section of a business plan will prompt you to estimate costs ahead of time and establish revenue objectives before applying for loans or speaking to investors.

You’ll secure and finalize your strategy in advance to avoid showing up unprepared for meetings with potential investors.

4. Hire the right people.

After you’ve completed your business plan and you have a clear view of your strategies, goals, and financial needs, there may be milestones you need to meet that require skills you don’t yet have. You may need to hire new people to fill in the gaps.

Having a strategic plan to share with prospective partners and employees can prove that they aren’t signing on to a sinking ship.

If your plans are summarized and feasible, they’ll understand why you want them on your team, and why they should agree to work with you.

5. Communicate your needs.

If you don’t understand how your business will run, it’ll be hard to communicate your business’s legitimacy to all involved parties.

Your plan will give you a well-rounded view of how your business will work, and make it easier for you to communicate this to others.

You may have already secured financing from banks and made deals with investors, but a business’ needs are always changing. While your business grows, you’ll likely need more financial support, more partners, or just expand your services and product offers. Using your business plan as a measure of how you’ve met your goals can make it easier to bring people onto your team at all stages of the process.

6. It makes it easier to sell your business.

A buyer won’t want to purchase a business that will run into the ground after signing the papers. They want a successful, established company.

A business plan that details milestones you can prove you’ve already met can be used to show prospective buyers how you’ve generated success within your market. You can use your accomplishments to negotiate higher price points aligned with your business’ value.

A Business Plan Is Essential

Ultimately, having a business plan can increase your confidence in your new venture. You’ll understand what your business needs to succeed, and outline the tactics you’ll use to achieve those goals.

Some people have a lifetime goal of turning their passions into successful business ventures, and a well-crafted business plan can make those dreams come true.

How to Increase Your Instagram Engagement Rate

Instagram turns 10 in 2020. It was launched in October of 2010, where its app store
debut prompted 25,000 downloads in just one day. Two years later, Facebook purchased the app for $1 billion.

In 2020, the app has grown larger than expected, with 500 million daily users. Its popularity has led it to become a source of income for content creators and brands worldwide, many using the app as their sole source of income.

Since the potential to make money, connect with your audience, and build a reputable brand on Instagram is so high, understanding how to use it is essential. While there are various ways to market yourself or your business on Instagram, it’s impossible to do so without first understanding your Instagram engagement rate.

Why does Instagram engagement rate matter?

Instagram engagement rates are significant because they measure an audience’s interest, brand relevance, and social authority.

Audience Interest

If your content appeals to your target audience, your engagement rate will be higher. If you take the time to review your best performing content, i.e., posts with the most likes, shares, saves, and comments, you’ll get a feel for what your users want to see. It’s important to note high impressions may indicate that your content has been viewed a lot, but engagement is typically defined as concrete interactions with your posts.

Relevance

If you have a high engagement rate, it’s likely your audience sees you as a relevant source of information. They may favor your content over competitors because your content sets you apart. However, if you have a high engagement rate now, will it stay the same in three months? Is it higher than it was last year? If you aren’t monitoring your engagement rate and using it as a benchmark for relevance, your score can decline.

Social Authority

While you’ve probably already identified your target instagram audience, it’s never bad to add new followers and fans to the list. These new users will take notice of your engagement — your followers, likes, comments, etc. — to decide whether or not to follow you. They’re likely to move on to your competitors if they notice your brand’s engagement, a.k.a. social authority is not strong.

What is the average Instagram engagement rate?

There is no one-size-fits-all definition of a “good” engagement rate. They vary by industry and depending on your strategic goals.

However, Instagram does have higher engagement rates than other social media networks. According to the HubSpot Instagram Engagement Report, posts on the platform generate 23% more engagement than Facebook, even though Facebook has 2x more monthly users.

If you want a numerical value to compare your score to, Rival IQ found that the average engagement rate across all industries is 1.22%. Specific sectors have higher rates, like higher education with 3.57%, sports teams with 2.33%, and influencers with 1.67%.

Because of this, it’s safe to assume that an engagement rate of around 1% is a good engagement rate.

If you’ve already run the numbers and found that your engagement rate is significantly lower than average, don’t fret. There’s room for improvement — but maintain a healthy perspective. Assess how your engagement rate has changed over time and begin devising strategies to raise your score. Start this process by calculating your engagement rate.

How To Calculate Your Engagement Rate On Instagram

There is debate among marketers on the best way to calculate your Instagram engagement rate, as different industries define success in different ways. Your preferred method depends on your goals as a brand or influencer.

Calculating Instagram engagement rate for brands

This formula is best for brands on Instagram because it considers the number of people who have seen a piece of content (impressions) rather than the total number of followers.
 
 
Brands typically convert more leads via exposure first, rather than follower count. When branded advertisements get viewed, engagement rates go up, especially if they follow the advertisements to Instagram profiles and become followers. Note that Instagram accounts need to be public
Business Profiles to see impressions.

Calculating Instagram engagement rate for influencers

Since sponsors often recruit influencers on Instagram based on their likes and follower count, their engagement rates incorporate these two factors. Since this metric doesn’t require any personal data, it’s possible to compare your engagement rates to competitors.

formula to calculate influencer instagram engagement rate

No matter your engagement rate, there are always steps to be taken to raise your score.

1. Maintain consistent branding.

Maintaining consistency with your content is extremely important, and there are a variety of actions you can take to do so.

Firstly, your username should be similar or the same to your other social media usernames. For example, if your twitter handle is @greenbookworm, your Instagram handle should be the same if it’s available (or something very similar).

You should also make sure that your content is visually consistent as well, and you should have a format that you use for all of your posts. Take a look at Nike’s Instagram, for example. nike instagram profile

Source

Whenever they post content that includes typography, they use the same backgrounds and font. When they post photos, they’re high quality and use the same filter.

nike instagram text post brand consistency

Source

When your content has a similar look, your profile becomes aesthetically pleasing, and users can recognize your photos as a consistent brand. If they come across your content on another social media site and can realize that it’s yours, they may follow you there as well.

There’s data to back this up — WebDam found that 60% of the best-performing brands on Instagram used the same filter every time they post.

2. Understand your audience.

You can’t begin creating content without knowing your intended audience. Developing Instagram personas is a helpful tool for increasing your engagement rate. If you know who your followers are, creating content that they want makes them more likely to engage with you. Take the time to monitor your audience statistics, and update your personas accordingly.

You can use Instagram insights to get a demographic understanding of your followers. If you have an Instagram business account, navigate to the audience tab from the Insights menu. 

instagram audience insights to increase instagram engagement scoreFrom here, you can see the top locations your users are in, your users’ age ranges, and their gender. All this information will give you an understanding of your users.
instagram insights for followers gender, age range, and top locations If you’re a HubSpot user, you can utilize the Social Reports data to find these same insights.

Regardless of your target audience, your content needs to be accessible. Utilizing Instagram’s accessibility tools is crucial, and you can use it to add image alt text, subtitles, and captions to your content.

3. Post regularly.

Once you know your target audience, post content they’ll enjoy and do it regularly. In 2018, 60% of Instagram users reported visiting the site daily, and 38% of those users visited multiple times a day.

The number of times you post depends on your marketing strategy, but the average brand posts 1.5 times per day. Again, this metric is an average, and it may not work for everyone. Posting too much content can overwhelm your users, and they won’t hesitate to unfollow if their feed is clogged.

It’s also important to know the best times to post for your followers. Instagram insights will also tell you the best days and hours to post.

instagram insights for best time and day to post on instagram to increase engagement rate

Do keep in mind that quantity doesn’t equal quality, which brings us to the next engagement raising strategy.

4. Create better captions.

Unless you’re @world_record_egg, who posted a photo of an egg with no caption that has generated over 12 million likes, you need to focus on your captions. Use the brand voice you’ve developed to sound consistent and keep your intended audience in mind. You can create short captions that are serious or light-hearted.

You can also create longer captions that tell stories and take your users on a journey. Take the instagram account @humansofny as an example. They regularly feature the personal stories of people around the world.

humansofny long instagram caption

Since engagement metrics factor in the length of time users spend on your posts, consider alternating shorter and longer captions.

Hand-in-hand with writing better captions is using quality hashtags — Instagram was built on them, after all. It’s still the algorithm’s primary method of filtering through content. If you’re unfamiliar with hashtags, here’s a summary.

Captions can hold up to 30 hashtags per post, but there must be a balance. Hashtag dumping, which is similar to keyword stuffing, may make the algorithm think you’re spamming for engagement, and you can be shadowbanned. The goal is to figure out what works for you and stick to it.

Your hashtags should be a mix of popular and specific, long-tailed keywords. For example, if you’re running an Instagram for your hotel, you’ll want to use common hashtags like #hotel and #travel. However, those are also very broad, as a search for the #hotel tag has 31 million posts. Be more specific and targeted towards your needs, and maybe say #hotel, #travel, and #hotel + your hotel name + the name of the city you’re in. So, for example, #hotellisamiami.

You can discover the best hashtags to use by doing keyword research and categorizing those that work best for you and your brand. You may also want to consider coming up with a brand-specific hashtag that users can recognize as yours.

5. Engage with your followers.

After you post, engage with your followers. While Instagram has the ‘Turn off comments’ feature, opt to keep them on.

Reply to comments that your followers make. Maybe they’re asking questions or proclaiming their excitement for your product. Paula’s Choice, a beauty brand, is an excellent example of this.

paula's choice replying to follower instagram comment

Source

They regularly host Instagram Q&A’s, where users ask questions and they answer them on their Instagram stories.

They’re taking actions that they know will entice their audience into interacting with their Instagram content, which factors into engagement rates.

Engaging with your followers also entails sharing their content on your site, known as user-generated content (UGC). Surfing through your brand-specific hashtags can help you find users that are posting about you. You can screenshot their content to share on your story, and even post on your feed.

Your followers will be excited that you interact with them, as engagement may signify a personal relationship with your brand. Here’s an example of Paula’s Choice posting UGC.

paula's choice instgram user generated content post to increase instagram engagement rate

Source

6. Engage with similar accounts.

There wouldn’t be a point to using Instagram if you’re not following and interacting with other accounts.

Using the platform to engage with accounts similar to yours is extremely important. If you’re a brand, this can mean partnering with influencers in the same industry. If you share products with them, they’ll post content wearing your brands. If they tag you, their followers will see your account, and many may follow you—all of these metrics factor into your engagement rate.

Emma Chamberlain is a popular YouTuber, holding almost 10.4 million Instagram followers at only 19-years-old. She regularly posts sponsored content, and her sponsors post her. She entices her followers to interact with those brands, and vice versa.

emma chamberlain sponsored content instagram postSource

This establishes trust between brands, influencers, and their followers, which paints a picture of ‘high engagement’ to those browsing Instagram, and they’ll follow you in return.
 
In addition to influencers, simply engaging with brands within your industry is essential as well. Commenting on industry-standard accounts can give you exposure to users in that same comment section, and they may click your profile and become new followers.

7. Create mixed content.

When the app was first launched, all you could do was post photos. Now, there are five types of content posts supported on Instagram: photos, videos, Instagram TV (IGTV), Instagram Reels, and Instagram Stories.

It’s no longer enough to just post photos; you need to do all of it.

Videos

Zenith Media estimated that the average person would spend 84 minutes a day watching videos in 2020. That’s a significant amount of time spent watching videos, so use it to your advantage.

There are five video options within Instagram: Reels, IGTV, Story videos, Instagram Live, and video posts. You’ll need to decide which method is best for you, but a well-rounded Instagram strategy will include all. If people are watching content on your page, they’re spending more time on your site, factoring into your impressions rate.

If you’re a sports brand, post enticing videos of recognized athletes using your equipment to practice their sport.

Stories

Instagram Stories are essentially the same as Snapchat stories. HubSpot’s Instagram engagement report found 22% of users watched branded content Stories from a company, business, or brand more than once a week, and 36% liked, commented, or shared branded Stores.

You can take advantage of these numbers and use this feature to draw attention to your new posts by sharing them on your Story or simply posting Story exclusive content.

This feature can also be used to engage with your audience. Post quizzes and questions and make them shareable for other users. Stories can also be used to get feedback from customers, asking them to submit experiences with your products and services.

Circling back to influencer sponsorships, having them go live on your account via Instagram Live is a great strategy. Instagram Live’s can also be saved to your account, so new users can watch them even if they occurred three months before.

8. Use calls-to-action (CTAs).

A CTA is an image, line of text, hashtag, or swipe-up-link that is meant to entice your audience to take action — hence the call-to-action.

The specific action you’re asking users to take should be decided based on your brand, service, or influencers’ needs. This may mean notifying them of a sale by including a swipe up link in your Instagram story, asking them to tag a friend in the comment section, or sharing links to partner-posted content.

While links to other sites don’t directly impact your Instagram engagement rate, they still require users to spend more time on your profile, and you can convert them into leads on other platforms. Here’s an example of National Geographic advertising a new product on their story using a swipe-up CTA.

national geographic instagram story swipe up call to action

Source

9. Track your statistics.

Why would you bother taking action to improve your engagement rate if you’re not taking the time to understand if it’s working? Tracking your progress is extremely important, and it should be something you focus on.

Trial and error is expected, and it should be used to inform your current and future strategies. Use your preferred CRM to find your most effective posts or pieces of content, and use the strategy employed in those for your next content posts.

After you’ve calculated your engagement rate for the first time, you should devise a timeline in which you’ll recalculate it again. Maybe you’ll set a goal of raising your score by .10% in a year, so you may plan to re-calculate the numbers every three months. This can also help you understand what isn’t working — if your numbers haven’t budged, something needs to change.

All in all, Instagram engagement rate is a measure of how your audience interacts with your content. Your rate is an indication of your Instagram profiles’ social authority, relevancy, and audience interest.

If your content is good and your followers are engaging, your engagement rate will demonstrate that. When you spend time working on your engagement rate, you collect valuable data to inform your entire Instagram marketing strategy.

You should see your engagement rate as a benchmark for customer loyalty and satisfaction.

If your users like you, it’ll show.

7 Tips for Running Engaging Instagram Giveaways (+Tools to Get You Started)

With 80% of Instagram users following at least one business, it makes sense you want to increase your own visibility and reach on the platform — but with such immense competition, it can be a difficult task to accomplish.

Fortunately, there are a few specific Instagram marketing strategies you can implement that have proven effective. For instance, you might optimize your posting times to ensure maximum engagement, partner with an influencer to spread awareness, or designate a content creator to craft more compelling content.

Additionally, to delight your current followers and attract new visitors to your page, you might consider hosting an Instagram giveaway.

Simply put, an Instagram giveaway allows you to offer something for free in exchange for an Instagram like, comment, or other pre-determined requirement.

For instance, take a look at this giveaway from Fabletics:

Image Source

There are a few reasons why this giveaway works — first, Fabletics partnered with Blissworld, which enables both businesses to reach the other brand’s audience. Second, Fabletics asked viewers to “tag your bestie” and follow both brands. This doubles the reach they might’ve had if they’d only asked one follower to comment.

When done correctly, giveaways can help you establish your brand on Instagram, cultivate a loyal following, and share your impressive products or services with a larger audience than you could organically.

Here, we’ve created a complete guide on how to run your own giveaway, to ensure you’re able to delight and engage both new and existing followers on Instagram.

1. Choose the prize for your giveaway.

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on the product, service, or experience you’ll giveaway as your prize. This will vary depending on your goal — if you want to spread awareness around a product launch, for instance, you’ll likely want to giveaway that specific product as your prize.

Alternatively, perhaps you want to partner with a brand and create a unique prize that will appeal to each of your audiences.

Lastly, you might try offering an experience instead of a specific product or service — like a weekend trip, a spa day, or the chance to meet a leader in your industry.

2. Determine the entry-criteria for your contest.

Your entry-criteria depends, again, on your ultimate goal. For instance, if you simply want to spread brand awareness, you might ask each participant to like your post and comment with the name of a friend — this allows you to increase your reach quickly, and could result in new followers.

Alternatively, maybe you want to draw attention to your blog, or another page on your website. If this is the case, you might ask participants to go to your blog or web page to find entry-criteria there — such as a question you then want them to answer in your Instagram comments section.

Lastly, perhaps you’ve partnered with a brand and, in exchange for one of their products as a prize, they’ve asked you to include a request to follow their brand as part of your entry-criteria.

3. Decide on a goal for your Instagram contest.

By determining a specific goal, you’re able to tailor your strategy more specifically and keep track of whether or not your giveaway was successful.

Your goal might be an increase in website traffic, more followers, an increase in engagement, or a boost in sales — it’s to you to choose what makes the most sense for your brand.

4. Consider a brand partnership.

To explore the benefits of brand partnerships for Instagram giveaways, I spoke with Conor Janda, an Associate Manager of Marketing Partnerships at Chomps. He told me, “A giveaway is a nice way to align with peer brands and partners, and drive traffic to your account.”

Janda also mentioned giveaways are particularly successful when new brands partner together. “For instance, a brand might post a recipe, and then mention specific brands in the ingredients section,” he told me. “A successful giveaway is typically when a brand partners with a content creator or influencer to make something specific, and then they push that prize out through both of their channels.”

Ultimately, a giveaway could allow you to reach a similar brand’s followers, and vice-versa — a win, win.

5. Select a campaign hashtag.

On Instagram, hashtags help your content surface on Explore channels, and oftentimes increase visibility on the platform. Consider creating a compelling and unique campaign hashtag to help spread awareness of your giveaway. For instance, along with #giveaway, you might include #winitwednesday #[yourbrand]giveaway #[yourbrand]contest, or something of similar nature.

6. Put a time-limit on your contest.

Tell your participants how long they have to complete your requirements by putting a time limit in your caption, and then adding “Giveaway Closed” at the end of that time. For instance, you might put, “Giveaway! Over the next 24 hours, please tag a friend in the comments and include your favorite place to travel for a chance to stay overnight at one of our resorts.”

The time-limit will ideally create a sense of urgency, and incentivize followers to engage with your post more quickly — which will also help your giveaway stay at the top of your followers’ Instagram feeds.

7. Launch and promote your Instagram contest.

Once you’ve chosen your prize, entry-criteria, potential partners, hashtag, time-limit, and goal, you’re finally ready to launch and promote your post! Remember, Instagram users favor posts during a certain time in the day, so you’ll want to plan wisely.

Additionally, you’ll likely attract further attention to your giveaway if you also post giveaway details on a blog post, Facebook page, or another social channel. Consider where else you can promote your giveaway for optimal results.

Instagram Giveaway Rules

Instagram’s rules are relatively simple when it comes to giveaways.

First and foremost, it’s critical you include a statement like the following, so viewers know your promotion is not tied to Instagram:

“Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.”

Additionally, you’ll want to ensure you don’t ask participants to tag themselves in your content, or tag something that isn’t in the photo — Instagram will penalize you for this.

Take a look at Instagram’s promotion guidelines for a full list of rules and regulations.

Instagram Giveaway Ideas

Once you’re ready to post your giveaway, there are a few different action items you might ask your participants to accomplish in exchange for the chance to win.

Here’s a list of some of the more common giveaway ideas:

  1. Like to win: Have followers like your post for a chance to win a free product or service. This helps you boost engagement.
  2. Tag a friend to win: Have followers tag one of their friends in the comments section for a chance to win. This allows your brand to reach new potential leads on Instagram and grow your audience.
  3. Like and share to win: You might ask followers to like your giveaway and repost it on their own channels for the chance to greatly expand your brand’s reach — if ten followers with 100 followers each re-post, that’s a chance to reach 1,000 new people.
  4. Follow to win: Ask followers to follow your brand, or a partner (or both) for the chance to win. This is a popular tactic since it’s an easy way to increase your follower count.
  5. Photo contest: Ask participants to upload a photo of themselves using your product or service. This is another easy opportunity to spread brand awareness, since your participants’ posts will be seen by their own network of followers and friends. You should ask participants to include your brand’s hashtag, or tag your brand, for optimal visibility.
  6. Caption this: Some brands post images and leave the caption section blank with a “Caption this for a chance to win” command. Your participants will enjoy the chance to offer creative captions for your image, and you’ll be able to add the caption to your post with credit to the winner once your giveaway ends.

Instagram Giveaway Picker Tools

Once you’ve closed your giveaway contest, it’s time to pick a winner — but how can you do that and ensure fairness?

There are a few tools you can use to truly randomize your winner. Here are a few options:

1. Use a free number generator.

While admittedly tedious, particularly if you have hundreds of entries, you might consider counting the total number of participants who engaged with your giveaway, and then using a number generator to select your winner.

For instance, let’s say you count 500 participants in your comments section. Go to Google and type “random number generator” into the search box, and Google’s number generator will appear as a box in the search results (you can also use another number generator tool, if you want).

Your minimum should stay 1, and your maximum should be the total number of participants. When you click “Generate”, the tool will provide a random number. Now, simply go back to your comments section and count until you land on the username that matches that number.

2. Use Easypromos’ Instagram Sweepstakes App.

You might consider using a tool like Easypromos’ Instagram Sweepstakes App to organize your giveaway, which can help you ensure fairness and efficiency when choosing a winner.

With Easypromos’ app, you can filter finalists based on number of mentioned friends. Once you’ve closed your giveaway, the tool can randomly select between one and 1,000 winners, and alternate winners automatically. The tool provides a test run that you can try before the final draw.

Best of all, Easypromos’ offers a link to a certificate of validity that guarantees the draw has been random, ensuring a level of transparency and honesty between you and your participants. You can customize the certificate for your brand.

3. Use a random name picker.

This last option is likely the most tedious, but if your giveaway participant pool is relatively small, you could consider using a random name picker to choose your winner by username instead of number. Particularly if you’ve already compiled your list of names into a spreadsheet, this could be a good option for you.

To use a random name picker, go to a website like Miniwebtool.com and input all usernames, each on a separate line, into the text box. Then click the “Pick a name” button.

1. Wishpond

Wishpond is a great tool that can help you organize and track your Instagram giveaways.

With Wishpond, you can run an Instagram hashtag giveaway and view all the entrants on your dashboard. You can even add a voting capability for users to vote on the best entry.

The goal of this type of tool is to help you take your giveaway and promotions to the next level. If you want to run regular contests on Instagram, it might make sense to invest in a platform like this.

2. Easypromos

Similar to Wishpond, Easypromos makes running an Instagram giveaway or contest a seamless process.

This tool will help you track comments on one or several posts. It will help you determine if people tagged the right amount of friends in the comments section and help you randomly choose the winner.

The basic plan is affordable, with no-frills added. This is a great option if you want to run simple giveaways without adding on landing pages or marketing automation.

Alternatively, if you are running enterprise level giveaways, there are other paid options that will include the features you need.

3. Woobox

With Woobox, you can easily create and run successful contests, giveaways, polls, coupons, forms, and more.

You can download your Instagram comments and pick one or several random winners. Additionally, this tool allows you to easily collect winner contact info and export Instagram comments.

If you’re looking to use an affordable tool, this is an excellent option. There is a free plan for smaller giveaways, but also an enterprise level power plan for larger contests.

Using a tool is a great way to organize and track your giveaways. Now, let’s see what a giveaway looks like in action.

Instagram Giveaway Examples

1. Domino’s

Dominos Instagram giveaway.

One of the more impressive giveaways in this list, Domino’s offered the chance to win $10,000 for any participant who followed @Dominos, posted a picture to prove they’re a superfan, and used the hashtag #PieceofthePieContest.

With simple, clear instructions, I’m willing to bet this was a successful giveaway as followers quickly spread the word about their love for Dominos — and likely incentivized followers to order a pizza from the brand.

2. Ali Fedotowsky

Ali Fedotowsky hosts an Instagram giveaway.

Ali Fedotowsky, a lifestyle and fashion blogger and ex-Bachelorette, partnered with Sole Society to giveaway a pair of loafers and a purse. Since she’s also well-known as an affordable fashion influencer, the partnership makes sense, and likely resulted in new followers for both Ali and Sole Society.

Additionally, Ali wisely instructed participants to check out her blog for the final requirement, likely resulting in an up-tick in traffic.

3. Cakesmiths

Cakesmiths hosted an Instagram giveaway.

Cakesmiths does a giveaway every Friday and uses the same hashtag, #FridayFavourite, to evoke loyalty and engagement from their Instagram followers. Cakesmiths is proof you don’t need any outrageous prizes for a giveaway — sometimes, a simple treat will do.

4. Dig Local Asheville

Dig Local Asheville Instagram giveaway.

Dig Local Asheville partnered with @findyourspiritfest to inspire people to visit distilleries in the local Asheville, N.C. area. This is a good example of how you might use your giveaway to increase awareness and excitement regarding one of your company’s upcoming events.

5. SojoS Vision

SojoS Vision sunglasses giveaway on Instagram.

SojoS Vision cleverly asked participants to like six of their photos instead of just one, which likely helped them increase their Instagram engagement rates. Additionally, SojoS included ‘Giveaway’ text at the top of the image — if your followers don’t often stop to read captions, this is a smart way to draw more attention to your giveaway.

If you’re interested in learning more about Instagram marketing, consider taking an online course, like HubSpot’s Instagram Marketing Course.

Ultimately, running a social media giveaway should help you increase your brand recognition and attract more followers.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.