Category Archives: Marketing Strategies

How to Use Account Mapping to Build an Effective ABM Campaign

Account-based marketing (ABM) is transforming the B2B marketing and sales world because of its effectiveness in reaching high-value target accounts — but it’s a difficult strategy to manage.

ABM has a lot of moving parts that need to move as a synchronized whole to bring success to your organization.

Fortunately, like any aspect of marketing, ABM is made easier with strategic planning.

Starting with your goals and mapping out a targeted plan is key to building an effective ABM campaign.

Here, we’ll break down the steps of how to put ABM mapping into practice within your organization and implement the right process to make it happen.

What is Account Mapping?

Account mapping involves selecting and organizing the accounts targeted within an ABM program.

After establishing goals, the next and arguably most critical step to ensuring a successful ABM campaign is selecting and mapping the accounts.

Once accounts have been selected and mapped, the sales and marketing team can build their engagement strategy and ensure both sides maximize their alignment.

How to Get Started With Account Mapping

Account mapping is an exercise in account research and documenting details that will be useful as you target an account on your journey to a successful close.

Here are the four main steps you’ll need to take when account mapping:

1. Identify Key Decision Makers and Influencers

After identifying what accounts to target through account planning, the next step is digging into the account to understand the organizational structure and how decisions are made. Starting with the top person in a functional area is an excellent place to begin mapping the functions.

The larger the account, the tougher this task, as many large organizations operate in a matrix environment where influence comes from many directions.

Nonetheless, sourcing these contacts and documenting their Buyer Role using HubSpot or alternative system of record will allow you to track and manage information related to each contact. This will also improve your ability to create unique experiences as a part of your ABM program.

It’s essential to consider buyer roles as it relates to the buying process, not a functional title.

Buyer roles to be considered include:

  • Decision Maker
  • Blocker
  • Influencer
  • Budget Holder
  • Champion
  • Legal & Compliance

Depending on the goods/service sold and the operational impact it may have in the account, there may be a need to expand the roles to meet the specific needs of the account, so you can edit or add new roles as needed.

Using tools such as LinkedIn or ZoomInfo can be helpful when researching an account and the key contacts within the account. Using the Buying Role Property within HubSpot is a great way to align your account intelligence to the contacts within the account.

During your research, you may find that one contact has multiple roles, so you can assign them accordingly as well as assign multiple contacts to the same role.

2. Gather Intel and Align Content

Understanding an account’s needs and pain points is an important input to your ABM engagement strategy. Whether it’s for content alignment or sales outreach, align relevant communications to each stage of the buyer’s journey.

While getting direct intelligence through discovery calls is an excellent way to explore account needs, you should use a wide range of sources to gather as much information as possible to fill any gaps.

Social listening, search intent, press releases, and Google Alerts are all great resources to leverage for information that can be used to gain insights into future account needs. Once well-documented, these insights can be used to map marketing content and sales playbooks to ensure each interaction with the account is meaningful.

3. Engage and Learn

Develop a plan for how and when you will engage the target account. Using a playbook for both sales and marketing engagement plans can help standardize the approach you take and identify points within the process that are working well or areas that need improvements.

Depending on where the account is within the sales cycle when you implement the ABM strategy, the engagement approach may vary. Targeting with account-based advertising may be an excellent first step to warm up the accounts if starting with cold accounts.

Many platforms can enable ABM advertising; however, using HubSpot’s Company List and its LinkedIn Ads integration provides a seamless introduction into account-based advertising without leaving HubSpot.

4. Document How Decisions are Made

Throughout the research and documentation process, you’ve been collecting data that will be useful for both marketing and sales teams. As you seek to advance the engagement process, direct outreach to contacts within the account will be required. Be sure to add value and use best practices to improve the quality of this interaction so that it’s a seamless and valuable experience for the prospect.

You have been gathering account intelligence through the planning process, so now it’s time to put those activities to work. Before reaching out, utilize LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator to research the contact. Using the outreach activities to fill data and intelligence gaps will help improve future interactions and engagements.

Of the things you need to learn, understanding who will influence the purchasing decision is high on the list. It’s also helpful to know how the company makes a purchasing decision and their process of awarding a contract. Ensure that you’re gathering these details effectively by recording information in your CRM under the deal, company, and contact records.

Account Mapping Software

There is a long list of software applications that can assist with the account mapping process. The good news is that a lot can be done with free tools, many of which are commonly used within both small and large sales and marketing organizations.

Below is a short list of free and premium tools, along with a brief description that will get you started with ABM Mapping.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is the centralized marketing platform that helps sales and marketing leaders execute marketing campaigns. HubSpot provides a set of tools that helps keep an ABM-centric campaign, which enables greater transparency between sales and marketing teams when compared to disparate systems.

Cost: Freemium to Paid

2. LinkedIn

The king of professional networking within a digital environment has become a dream tool for sales and marketing professionals. When targeting specific accounts, LinkedIn is a great free resource. In addition to general account research, LinkedIn also is a great integration partner for three of their paid services, which can be invaluable to ABM.

  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Sales Navigator
  • LinkedIn InMail

Cost: Varies depending on tools/service used. 

3. ZoomInfo

From prospecting to buyer intent, ZoomInfo is an excellent resource for finding and tracking companies that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). In addition to identifying the account, they provide a comprehensive set of products that offer deeper account insights, including organizational charts. ZoomInfo is also a HubSpot integration partner, which makes working with the tool seamless.

Cost: Free Trial to Premium

4. 6sense

If you are seeking to take action on Buyer Intent, 6sense provides solutions that improve the transparency into the buyer’s intent using AI. It captures signals across a wide variety of channels and connects it to prospect accounts. 

When moving into the engagement stage of an ABM campaign, these tools provide the ultimate reach and scale.

Cost: Paid (Contact 6sense for pricing details)

ABM mapping can be an effective process to help sales and marketing teams navigate complex account structures. While there are great tools that provide helpful insights, the mapping process is robust and tends to be manual.

An important part of the planning process will be to gain buy in from your internal team and properly assign team members who will be part of the research and documentation process so that your organization will have access to centralized information about your target accounts and contacts within them.

The payoff can be well worth the work if you take the proper steps while developing a focused account-based marketing strategy.

How HubSpot Video Managers Coordinate and Produce Content Remotely

In early 2020, video overtook blogs and infographics as the most used type of marketing content. Around the same time, remote work grew more than ever before.

As companies quickly began to pivot to remote workspaces, video marketers were left wondering how they would create content with the same production level as something filmed in a brightly lit studio with professional equipment. Additionally, video creators who once filmed interviews or explainers featuring thought leaders needed to determine how they’d continue to incorporate talent remotely.

Despite the challenges of making videos from home, companies like HubSpot ultimately figured out processes that allowed them to keep creating helpful content for their audiences.

If you’re a video manager working remotely for the first time, you might still be learning how to navigate and produce effective content on a timeline.

To help inspire new video strategies, I spoke to HubSpot’s Academy and social media teams to get tips on how they implemented and created new remote production processes.

How to Coordinate and Create Videos From Home

1. Brainstorm content ideas that your audiences will value.

As you would with any content marketing campaign, consider topics that will educate, entertain, and delight your audiences — even when they’re clearly filmed in an at-home setting.

To come up with video ideas, schedule a virtual brainstorm with your team. Consider your brand’s goals, messaging, and problems you can solve for your audience with informative content. Then narrow down a list of topics based on their level of value and how feasibly they can be made from a remote location.

For examples of marketing videos you can easily make from home — even on a limited budget — check out this blog post.

2. Create a video production plan.

Any great content marketing strategy begins with a production plan. This was especially true for our HubSpot Academy team, which regularly films and publishes video content from our physical offices.

“We put together our plan shortly after the HubSpot offices went remote,” says Stephen Fiske, HubSpot Academy’s video producer. “We’ve typically always filmed in our studio, but knew that wouldn’t be an option for the foreseeable future. So we had to pivot quickly, and come up with a solution that allowed us to continue creating content for our customers and prospects.”

To make a solid remote video plan, go over your current production process and determine which aspects you can make virtual, such as editing, filming yourself, or adding animation. Then, talk with your team to determine workarounds for the things you’re most used to filming in-person, such as studio interviews.

For example, the HubSpot Academy team had to ask questions like, “How will we film the thought leaders or Academy professors?” or “Are there ways we can support our talent remotely?” After answering these questions, the team came up with a strategy that enables their professors and thought leaders to film themselves.

With HubSpot Academy’s process, Fiske says, “We’ve been able to continue creating content efficiently while meeting our high-quality standards.”

“We know how important our education is for customers and prospects around the world, so we created this process for them,” Fiske adds.

Around the same time, HubSpot’s social media team also worked together to create a plan for their fully remote video strategy.

“For me, most of the pre-production process hasn’t changed much. There is certainly less in-person face-to-face interaction during ideation and pre-production but the process is still the same,” says Thomas Hutchings, an associate editor and animator on the social team.

“One big change, as you can imagine, is video production itself,” Hutchings admits. “From equipment to set space, I needed to dig deeper into my creative toolbox to come up with adequate workarounds that would still serve our customers and audience to the best of my ability given the circumstances.”

While HubSpot Academy’s new process primarily involved enabling talent to record themselves, Hutchings’ involved everything from, “DIY rigs to rearranging my whole living space.”

While Hutchings has done a lot to build out his home video production process, like Fiske, he notes that teamwork has been key to video production success.

“My manager and director have both been very helpful in making sure we have what we need, so I’m lucky to have their support,” Hutchings adds.

3. Get the right equipment.

When planning out remote video strategies, one of the major questions the Academy and social teams asked was, “What equipment are we able to use?”

“All on-camera presenters were sent a remote filming care package. Our video editors would do a “virtual location scout” of their homes to determine the best location to film in. They would also walk the presenters through how to set up the equipment,” Fiske explains.

Similarly, Hutchings explains that the social media department was able to get him the equipment he needed.

But, if you work at a startup that can’t ship equipment to you — or even budget it in the first place — that shouldn’t stop you from making videos.

According to HubSpot’s video managers, you can find a number of tools at home, or purchase them affordably online. Here’s a quick list of things you’ll need:

A High-Resolution Camera

In a HubSpot YouTube video, featured below, Hutchings explains that a DSLR is the best camera to use for at-home videos, but an iPhone or other digital camera will also work.

When it came to HubSpot Academy, video creators and subjects were loaned an IPad Mini and an attachable wide-angle lens, which were both easy to use and enabled solid video recording.

Lighting Fixtures

“Lighting can make a video look almost professional, even when it’s shot on just a phone, but it’s all about the placement,” says Lindsay Daly, a video editor and animator for the social team.

If you don’t have traditional film lighting tools, you use light fixtures you have at home, such as lamps or natural light. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is the angle and positioning of the lights and camera.

“Your light source and camera lens should be pointed in the same direction on to your subject. Otherwise, that video recorded in front of your window is going to look more like an anonymous silhouette interview from a crime drama,” Daly points out.

To avoid any video mishaps in apartments with poor natural light, HubSpot Academy also sent its video subjects a straightforward lighting ring with a stand. The stand holds the ring light as well as an IPad or phone to provide professional-looking lighting.

Sound Equipment

In Hutchings’ how-to video, he also explains that you should film yourself in a quiet environment. If sound is coming through muffled on your camera or phone, you can also affordably purchase a microphone online. One mic to consider is a lavalier mic, which can clip to a subject’s shirt. This type of mic was included in HubSpot Academy’s remote video kits.

microphone used by hubspot remote video marekters

For tactical tips on creating your own home production studio, check out this video tutorial that Hutchings created for HubSpot’s YouTube channel:

4. Pick the right background.

Despite how hard we try, many of our homes aren’t aesthetically pleasing on camera. Even if we have a clean house, brand new furniture, and gorgeous curtains, our homes might have unexpected issues that make it very hard to film on camera. These issues could include distracting decor or poor lighting.

This is why HubSpot Academy made picking the right background a priority in their process. According to Fiske, each presenter that’s filmed from home does a video test with the HubSpot Academy editor. As part of the test, the presenter walks around his or her apartment and sits in a few locations while on a video call with the editor.

After the talent or subject walks around their home, the editor gives feedback on which locations work best and lighting adjustments. This ensures that all videos the editor receive won’t need to be re-shot due to background mishaps.

According to Fiske, a few great background options that you might find in your own home include bookcases, backgrounds with plants, and brick walls. You’ll want to avoid sitting in front of windows without shades which can cause lighting issues, as well as plain white walls which can be dull, might also impact the white balance of your video.

If you don’t have a video editor to help you pick out your own background, it can be a good idea to film yourself in different locations with different amounts of light. As you review each clip, ask yourself questions like, “Is my background distracting?”, “Do I look like a dark shadow due to the lighting?”, and “Do I look overexposed because of too much lighting?”

5. If you’re not the subject of a video, enable your talent or thought leaders to film themselves.

Aside from sending Academy presenters equipment and testing backgrounds with them, Fiske explains that editors and video managers would try to support their talent in other ways via video call.

For example, if a presenter needs assistance or feedback, Fiske says that “during filming, our video editors can join the shoots remotely, allowing them to direct the talent, and work with them to get the best lighting, framing, and audio.”

Hutchings says his team has also taken steps to enable talent to film themselves for HubSpot’s social channels. To him, one key to this process is using empathy whenever possible.

“I’ve had to direct videos via Zoom and troubleshoot situations for things I didn’t anticipate, like dogs barking in the background, construction noises, or poor cellphone camera angles.” Hutchings shares. “One thing that keeps me on a positive note is empathy. I know that I’m not the only person going through this. I know that we are all in this together. So if a dog barks in the background and a viewer on YouTube notices it, maybe they can relate and appreciate the authenticity behind it.”

“Many folks are going through challenges of filming remotely, and it’s not just the editors that have hurdles. It’s also your talent,” Hutchings says. “They have become more involved in the shooting process than before, which can add another level of complexity. Being patient and providing thoughtful practices goes a long way.”

6. Create a remote video production guide for internal use.

Every business is different and can vary when it comes to video production budgets and capabilities. Odds are, if another video manager or employee joins your team, they’ll have some questions about how your brand creates videos scalably and remotely. This is why Hutchings and Fiske both made internal video production guides for their teams, talent, and other HubSpot employees.

“I created a short guide and an in-depth video to help our talent navigate the process of filming themselves and how to submit their footage,” Hutchings explains. “This will save you time, so instead of repeating yourself to new talent you can send along a guide and get back to what you do best, creating. Also, in the future if remote work does in-fact become more prevalent, these guides will come in handy.”

Meanwhile, Fiske created a detailed internal guide that highlights every step of HubSpot Academy’s production process from start to finish. He then shared it with the wider company so employees outside of his department can reference and use it as needed.

Creating Valuable Video Content for Your Audience

While the HubSpot Academy and social media teams might have slightly different strategies, they’ve approached remote video with the same goal: create valuable content.

As you continue to build your remote video strategy and test out scalable marketing content, your production process will get smoother and you’ll learn what videos truly engage your audience.

“No matter how fancy or basic your set-up is, content is still king,” Hutchings concludes. “If you still forge great content that provides exceptional value to your customer and audience, viewers won’t mind some lighting issues or audio that’s of lower quality. Equipment is important, but there’s a bit of wiggle room to be creative and find solutions that will still get the job done.”

If these tips have inspired you to create a remote video production process, check out this post on three effective marketing videos you can make from home.

How to Be a Better Marketer Through Mindfulness and Meditation

Let’s get this out into the open: I bite my nails. Or at least I did. (Kinda gross, right?)

But a few summers ago, I watched as my then three-year-old son chomped down on his fingernail. That was it. The final kick in the butt I needed to see to finally stop a decades-old bad habit.

Little did I know that in my quest to stop biting my nails, I’d unlock something much bigger for myself — both personally and professionally. It was mindfulness.

According to the folks at U-Cal Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, mindfulness is about “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” 

For me, mindfulness has helped me make better decisions, listen more, and above all, be present. Amidst the chaos of our busy, multi-screen, too-many-browser-bookmarked lives, it helps me return to a more centered self.

More and more, people are embracing both big and small mindfulness tactics. So, what can you do to get in on the goodness? I’ll tell you. Here’s how I met mindfulness. 

Consulting a Mindfulness Expert

I knew that guided meditation and hypnosis was probably a good bet to kick the nail-biting habit.

So, I reached out to Paul Gustafson, a Boston-area consulting hypnotist. Gustafson helps people — via guided meditation and hypnotic suggestion — with anything from quitting smoking to overcoming a fear of flying.

I sat down with him for three, 30-minute sessions where he talked me into a deep relaxation and then, as I reached a deep meditative state, he provided guidance and suggestions for me to figuratively cut the cord of my past nail-biting behavior. From there, I kept his guided meditation recording on repeat. 

“The immediate benefit of guided meditation is profound relaxation,” Gustafson told me. 

“It’s impossible to be stressed or to worry while enjoying deep meditative bliss. One of the long-term benefits of meditation is that the relaxation becomes the rule rather than the exception. People who meditate are happier, and often feel less affected by the pace of day-to-day life. They’re healthier and more productive.”

Paul has become an oft-invoked name at my house. My wife, also a marketer, has gone to see him and notes that it’s been entirely transformative in finding her chi, both in and out of work. (After all, anyone with small children can attest to the need for mindfulness.)

How Mindfulness Contributes to Better Marketing

Mindfulness is a terrific asset for today’s marketers … but you’re probably wondering where the data is, right? 

Well, a study conducted by INSEAD and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that 15 minutes of mindful meditation could help a person make better decisions. That same study shows that mindfulness “can reduce confirmation bias and overconfidence, allowing decision makers to better differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information.”

This isn’t the only study that points to how mindfulness can help you in the business world. More recent research suggests that 10 minutes of mindfulness each day can lower stress, improve your mood, and make you more creative.

Considering the vast information available to marketers, having a filter for the superfluous can let you focus on what’s most important and make decisions accordingly.

Gustafson has helped patients deal with stress related to dealing with a boss, or co-worker, too.

“I’ve had many clients come to me because of work-related stress. When someone repeats a stressful response to certain situations it becomes a pattern. Over time, patterns become rooted, and people feel powerless to change the situation. Guided meditation enables individuals to release and become free of unpleasant patterns,” Gustafson told me.

Some companies — like Google, Goldman Sachs, and Medtronic — have gotten on board the mindfulness train, too. 

I’ve been lucky enough to work for a company that values its employees’ approach to work, rather than just the output.

The HubSpot perk I took full advantage of while in my role was the Nap Room in the Cambridge, Mass. office.

For me, the nap room is a meditation chamber. Just 20 minutes of guided meditation — or slow, deep breathing as the hammock gently rocks back and forth — will clear the mind and bring a sense of focus that even the strongest cup of coffee can’t conjure.

But, unfortunately, many companies don’t have a Nap Room. Some also don’t take time to encourage mindfulness or positive mental health practices. If you’re in this type of situation, there are still a number of ways to embrace mindfulness in any environment. 

How to Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

What You’ll Need

When you really need to pause, contemplate life, or navigate stress, here’s a quick and simple recipe for a solid meditation session:

Mindfulness Ingredients:

  • A quiet spot
  • An open mind
  • 20 minutes each day

Optional:

  • Headphones, with guided sessions
  • Popular apps for reminders or self-guided meditation

Mindfulness Tips

1. Meditate in the mornings.

Akin to the adage that a trip to the gym in the morning gives you
more energy, a trip to mindfulness early in your day sets your mind up for success, too. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your bed. Just put on the headphones as you awake.

2. Or, try to meditate at night.

At the other end of the day, it’s entirely acceptable and effective to
fall asleep as you meditate. If you’re using a guided meditation track, whether you’re awake or asleep, your mind is taking in the information.

3. Block out time for meditation, yoga, or other mindfulness activities.

Set up a recurring daily calendar item so that others don’t cut into your “mindfulness meeting.” My colleague 
Steve Haase has written quite a bit on meditation and mindfulness. Haase and other colleagues sit in silence for 20 minutes on Wednesday mornings to clear their minds for the day.

4. Practice deep breathing.

Sometimes the biggest rewards come from the smallest of actions. Deep breathing falls into that category. Take deep breaths throughout the day when you feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, or just need to top off the mindfulness tank.

5. Fight distractions while meditating.

The brain is a muscle. And, when you work out any muscle, it can be hard to try doing something that feels unnatural with it. Sitting in quiet is something that is challenging for the brain, especially when you’re busy or stressed, but this is something you can train yourself to do. 

For many of us, our instincts when idle — in line at the grocery store checkout, in the elevator, at the traffic light — are to fill the void with a few swipes of the screen. Don’t do it. In much the same way that good ideas sometimes arrive whilst in the shower, lying in bed, or even sleeping, simply being present can be the difference in finding clarity or that elusive good idea you’ve been chasing.

6. Practice mindfullness and meditation regularly.

Like any new workout, you might fail the first couple of times you try to meditate. For some, it can be surprisingly hard. And, no matter how much you feel like you’ve gotten mindfulness down, your mind can still slip on any given day.

Are you going to enter a state of deep bliss every time you sit down to meditate? Probably not. Your mind will wander. Just like some runs or workouts feel better than others, so do meditation sessions. No two are alike.

Mindfulness Apps and Software

While finding a quiet space and trying to clear your mind will provide a good foundation for mindfulness and meditation, there are also a number of digital aids that can ease you into a more mindful state. Here are just a few:

Headspace

Headspace is a mobile app and subscription service which allows you to stream or purchase thousands of guided meditations from mindfulness experts. When search “Best meditation apps” on Google, it appears at the top of the list on a number of blogs. 

Aside from meditations, Headspace also offers sleep sounds and mindfulness workouts that people can try before going to sleep. 

Although you can get a free trial for Headspace, the subscription costs $12.99 per month. At the moment, Headspace is also offering free subscriptions to those who are unemployed. 

Calm

For those looking for a cheaper app, Calm (Roughly $6 a month or $70 perr year) similarly provides guided meditations, mindfulness training, and sleep sounds. The app allows a 7-day free trial before charging users.

When joining the app, you can answer a few questions about why you’re looking to learn more about mindfulness and meditations. This will help the software send meditations that fit your lifestyle. 

Calm app information formFor businesses and academic institutions that want to embrace mindfulness, managers and colleges can invest in a company Calm membership, which allows employees globally to use the app on multiple devices. This membership price is not specified on Calm’s site. 

Ten Percent Happier

If you’re skeptic of meditation, but interested in learning scientifically-backed meditation practices, you can consider the paid app, Ten Percent Happier. 

The app takes a realistic approach to meditation. The creators and brand admit that meditation isn’t perfect, easy, or an answer to all of life’s woes. However, science does prove that it can help you in some areas. The primary goal of the subscription is to make users just 10% happier. 

Ten Percent Happier Product ShotImage Source

Pricing is not directly listed on the app’s website, however, a paid membership includes hundreds of guided and daily meditations, as well as access to one-on-one conversations with a meditation coach.

Ten Percent Happier offers both a free trial of the full membership and a limited free version which offers basic meditations and information, stats related to meditation performance, and daily notifications reminding you to meditate. 

Sound Machines or Voice Assistants

While sound machines might offer a plethora of natural relaxing sounds or white noise that can drown out roommates or traffic outside, a voice assistant, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, might have a number of meditation or sound related skills pre-programmed on the device. Investigate what your voice assistant or sound machine can offer and identify ways to implement these machines in your mindfulness strategy.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Still feeling skeptical about whether or not you should try mindfulness and meditation practices? I’ll leave you with just a small handful of benefits to keep in mind:

1. Your mind will become more open to opportunities.

If you expect a lot from yourself, you’ve probably experienced the anxiety of your expectations actually
getting in the way of success. With mindfulness, you can open yourself up to the moment. You can focus less on the eventual outcome (though
mindful of that goal) and instead be present to new ideas.

2. Stress-management could become easier.

Do I get worked up still? Sure (ask my wife). But more often I can find myself navigating stressful situations with a bit more grace or awareness of solutions rather than focusing on frustrations.

3. Planning things on the spot might get easier.

A less cluttered, focused mind tends to provide more room for planful thought. I’ve found myself able to pull together a thoughtful response or tidy plan in less time.

4. Being present can improve your outlook on life. 

Take it
from Bill Murray. We do our best when we’re present. But it’s not easy.

8 of the Top Marketing Challenges Faced Globally [New Data]

Every marketer faces different challenges. Although we typically share similar goals, some teams are stuck on hiring top talent, while others are having trouble finding the right technology for their needs.

Whatever the case may be, there’s always at least one area that you can stand to improve. In other words, there’s always room to optimize the various components of your strategy and turn your marketing into an even more effective revenue generator.

Throughout the past few years, HubSpot has kept up with a number of global marketing challenge trends. We’ve also polled thousands of marketers on the challenges they face, as well as the tactics they’ve used to meet those challenges head-on.

While you might think that global marketing issues have changed drastically in past years due to evolving media platforms and emerging technology, you might be surprised by the trends research has actually shown.

In fact, we’ve found that today’s most common global marketing struggles haven’t actually changed much in the past few years.

In 2019, when we dug into the research of global marketing challenges, such as this survey from Attest, many of the results we found were fairly similar to what we found back in 2017 and 2018, when we surveyed thousands of marketers for our State of Inbound Reports.

Between 2017 and 2018, our State of Inbound Reports found that the top five challenges continued to stay the same, with some slight fluctuations in non-American regions.

According to research from 2017-2019, generating traffic and leads, as well as proving ROI continue to be leading challenges marketers face.

While the unchanging list of challenges is a good sign that marketers aren’t facing unprecedented barriers, it’s still important to take stock of the factors that continue to hold back marketers. Why? If marketers face the same problems today that they did in the past, it’s likely that these major challenges will continue far into the future.

So, what’s happening in 2020?

Below, let’s review the current global marketing issues impacting the industry.

1. Generating Traffic and Leads

Generating enough traffic and leads was the top global marketing issue, according to the 2017 and 2018 State of Inbound reports.

A 2019 survey from Vital shows that more than 35% of marketers face challenges related to leads and/or traffic, showing that this trend still continues.

In fact, the top priority for marketers in 2020 is generating leads.

Why It’s a Challenge

Clearly, marketers are struggling with producing enough demand for their content. And as the years progress and competition stiffens, this will only become truer. With so many options of platforms for marketers to publish their content and even more ways to promote it, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to creating content that produces enough traffic and leads, marketers should ask themselves two questions: Are you truly creating high-quality content — the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?

In 2020, the most common customer marketing tactic is creating exclusive content for customers.

For example, HubSpot Research has found that 53% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future, while only 14% want to see more blog posts. To learn more about how the way people are reading and interacting with content is changing, check out this HubSpot Research report.

Once you know you’re creating the type of content your audience wants, the focus shifts to promoting it in a way that makes your audience take notice. More than ever before, people are being flooded with content. Consumers don’t have to use a search engine to find answers. Instead, articles fill their news feed or buzz in their pocket via mobile notification.

2. Providing the ROI of Your Marketing Activities

Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities has remained a top marketing challenge globally year-over-year.

In fact, only 53.85% of marketers surveyed say they even measure Customer Acquisition costs.

It continues to be a vital way for marketers to understand the effectiveness of each particular marketing campaign or piece of content.

Plus, proving ROI often goes hand-in-hand with making an argument to increase budget: No ROI tracking, no demonstrable ROI. No ROI, no budget.

Why It’s a Challenge

Although return on investment is a crucial stat that shows your campaigns success or progress, tracking the ROI of every single marketing activity isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have two-way communication between your marketing activities and sales reports.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to providing ROI, there’s a strong case to be made for dedicating time and resources to establishing links between marketing activities and sales results. This means using both marketing software (like HubSpot) and a CRM solution (like HubSpot’s free CRM), and then tying them together to close the loop between your marketing and sales efforts with a service-level agreement (SLA). That way, you can directly see how many leads and customers are generated through your marketing activities.

We’ve found there’s no better combination than having an SLA and doing inbound marketing. According to the 2018 report, inbound organizations with SLAs had twice the ROI of misaligned organizations.

(Use this ROI calculator to simulate the potential ROI you could realize by conducting inbound marketing.)

3. Securing Enough Budget

How can you create a winning marketing campaign without a budget? The truth is, it’s pretty hard. But, even when you have a great, revenue-generating idea, you still usually need to get your budget approved by a higher-up.

For 2020, 64% of marketers said their marketing budget has increased.

Why It’s a Challenge

Securing more budget is a pressing challenge for marketing globally. And often, getting more budget is easier said than done — especially for smaller organizations that aren’t working with sizable nor flexible marketing spend.

But the key to securing more money for your team might not be that complex. Here’s what you can do.

What Can You Do?

The key to unlocking budget lies in being able to prove the ROI of your marketing efforts. According to our report, organizations that can calculate ROI are more likely to receive higher budgets.

Again, success with inbound marketing also plays a large role in driving higher budgets. Effective strategies obviously produce results, and our data shows those who feel confident in their marketing strategy are more than 2X as likely to get higher budgets for their marketing teams. But remember, inbound marketing is a long game. If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn’t back off — in fact, you might consider doubling down.

To learn more about how to understand and leverage marketing ROI, check out this simple guide.

4. Managing Your Website

Although managing a website is consistently a challenge to marketers, it seems to be growing less threatening.

Throughout the past few years, less and less marketers have been worrying about it as compared to other challenges like “identifying the right technologies,” which rose from the fifth to fourth biggest challenge in 2018’s State of Inbound Report.

In 2020, 63% of marketers are looking to make a website upgrade.

Why It’s Still a Challenge

Managing a website was the fourth biggest challenge for marketers in 2017. And chances are, your website’s performance is high on your list of priorities. It’s an asset that works around the clock to draw in visitors, convert them, and help you hit your goals, after all.

Issues with website management include a variety of different factors, from writing and optimizing the content to designing beautiful webpages. Here are a few things marketers can do to deal with this challenge.

What Can You Do?

First, read this report to see how your website stacks up against over 1 million other websites. It also includes a deep analysis on the four most critical elements of website performance and design, from average load time and website security to mobile friendliness and SEO.

If your primary challenge with managing a website has to do with the skills and resources you have available, you aren’t alone. This is especially true for small companies who don’t have all the talent in-house required to cover content, optimization, design, and back-end website management.

One solution? Hire freelancers and agency partners. To find freelancers, we recommend:

  • Tapping into your personal and professional network by posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks with a description of what you’re looking for.
  • Browsing freelance writers and designers based on their portfolios and areas of interest. For writers, check out Zerys and Contently. For designers, check out Behance & Elance.
  • Browsing HubSpot’s Services Marketplace, which lists a wide variety of designers from partner companies and agencies we’ve deemed credible.

Overall, you can make website management easier on your team by hosting your website on a platform that integrates all your marketing channels like HubSpot’s COS.

Finally, for the projects you want to keep in-house, here is a list of ebooks and guides that might be helpful to your team:

5. Targeting Content for an International Audience

Targeting is a key component of all aspects of marketing.

With 59% of marketers surveyed currently marketing internationally, it’s important to have an international strategy.

To be more effective at targeting, one of the first things any marketer needs do is identify their buyer personas to determine who it is they should be marketing to.

Why It’s a Challenge

If you’re expanding internationally, it can be a big challenge not only to figure out the best ways to market to an international audience but also to organize and optimize your site for different countries.

However, exchange rates are marketers’ biggest challenge with international marketing.

HubSpot Research recently analyzed the difference in content preferences across the world.

What Can You Do?

Download our free ebook, The Global Marketing Playbook. There are some really helpful tips in there that’ll help give you some direction on global marketing, including how to identify your top three growth markets, how to explore local trends, and tips on choosing the best localization providers.

Additionally, when marketing to a new region, the most common tactic marketers use is to shift their product offering.

Remember, your website visitors might speak a plethora of different languages and live in totally different time zones. To make your content appealing to a wide audience, you’ll need to keep your global visitors top-of-mind when creating all your content. This means being aware of seasonal references, translating units of measure and monetary references, and giving translators the tools and permissions to customize and adapt content for a specific audience when they need to.

Finally, be sure you’re optimizing your website for international visitors, too. For more tips and resources on global marketing expansion, browse our international inbound marketing hub.

6. Training Your Team

As companies scale and technologies continue to evolve, training your team will become a greater challenge for marketers.

Why It’s a Challenge

Whether it’s training them on the concepts and tools they’ll be using every day or making sure they’re achieving their full potential, the struggle is real across the board.

To combat this, I’ll share some tips I’ve used during my trainings to make sure the concepts and tool tips stick and have a lasting effect on your team and your marketing.

What Can You Do?

To get an overall idea of where your team stands, take a few minutes to assess each of your team members’ marketing strengths and weaknesses, levels of expertise, and passion/commitment to your company. Then, objectively rate the priority (or level of importance) of their expertise and their contribution to bottom line objectives (ROI) to date. Here’s a simple assessment tool from Lean Labs to help you evaluate your team so you can figure out who needs recognition and who needs coaching.

You also might consider requiring your team members to rack up some online marketing certification. HubSpot Academy, for example, offers certifications, documentation, and training programs to help people master the basics of inbound marketing. Google also offers training and certifications on analytics with their online Analytics Academy.

What about new hire training, specifically? We recommend creating a training plan for new team members. Here at HubSpot, each new marketer is given a 100-day plan like this one to lay out specific goals and help new hires demonstrate their effectiveness.

7. Hiring Top Talent

Hiring top talent is another challenge marketers commonly report experiencing.

Why It’s a Challenge

Many companies are shifting more resources to inbound marketing, which means higher and higher demand for top marketing talent. But supply simply isn’t keeping up. From sourcing the right candidates to evaluating for the right skills, finding the perfect person could take months … or more.

What’s more, the type of marketing talent companies are looking for is changing, too. According to a 2020 report from LinkedIn, employers are seeking marketers with soft creative skill sets as well as hard technical skills. And the quick rate at which the demand for these jobs are rising has caused a marketing skills gap, “making it difficult to find candidates with the technical, creative, and business proficiencies needed to succeed in digital marketing.”

What Can You Do?

Employers are looking for marketers with a diverse skill set that includes digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing. To find the best inbound marketer for your team, the first thing you should do is decide what that person needs to be able to achieve for your business.

Ask yourself: What will the new marketer’s tasks and duties include? What skills do those tasks and duties require? What goals or challenges will the new marketer face? Use your answers to these questions to write a compelling job description. (Here’s a long list of pre-written marketing job descriptions to help you get started.)

Next, post your jobs where talented inbound marketers will find them. While traditional job sites like Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, or LinkedIn will help you cast a wide net, we recommend checking out Inbound.org, which is the only job listing service in the world that’s exclusively focused on inbound marketing and sales jobs.

Finally, focus your job description and new hire 100-day plan what people value most in their careers.

LinkedIn data from 2020 shows that 87% of active and passive job candidates will consider new job opportunities. Additionally, the number one reason candidates will consider or accept a job is career growth. This means that job listings and company culture’s that offer employees a plan for growth will see the most interest from talent.

8. Delivering an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a new trend, which is a growth strategy in which marketing and sales collaborate to create a personalized buying experience for an identified set of accounts.

However, interestingly, the most common challenge with ABM is delivering a personalized experience.

Why It’s a Challenge

Currently, there aren’t a lot of software that are focused on account-based marketing. Many companies that are implementing ABM strategies are using manual methods, which means some accounts are getting lost in the cracks.

However, marketers strongly agree that personalized content (56%) and advanced data management (43%) are keys to ABM’s success.

What Can You Do?

To deliver a more personalized experience, you should use a software that helps you combine your sales and marketing information.

For example, HubSpot’s ABM software help unite your marketing and sales teams with collaborative, intuitive ABM tools that create seamless buying experiences for your highest-value accounts.

This software can enable collaboration among teams and personalize content.

Additionally, HubSpot’s software has account-level targeting added to the LinkedIn Ads integration, giving you the ability to target companies by target account status or tier, and contacts or subsets of contacts at target accounts. The account overview sidebar, the ABM playbook for sales reps, and a native integration to link your HubSpot and LinkedIn Sales Navigator accounts, help further deepen your relationships with people over time, helping build more authentic connections with stakeholders within each account.

Does Your Company Face Any of These Marketing Issues?

A thorough analysis of your marketing strategy and its current performance will help you discover where your biggest marketing opportunity lies. This will allow you to focus on improving the areas that need the most attention, so you can start making your marketing far more effective.

If you’re faced with a challenge and want ideas on how to best tackle it, you can always consider getting some help by any of the various types of marketing training that are available.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2012 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

A Beginner's Guide to SSL: What It is & Why It Makes Your Website More Secure

Have you ever noticed that some URLs start with “http://”, while others start with “https://”?

Maybe you noticed that extra “s” when you were browsing websites that require giving over sensitive information, like when you were paying bills online.

But where’d that extra “s” come from, and what does it mean?

To put it simply, the extra “s” means your connection to that website is secure and encrypted; Any data you enter is safely shared with that website. The technology that powers that little “s” is called SSL, which stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.”

As a consumer, you always want to see https:// when visiting any site you trust with your essential information. As a marketer, you’ll want to make sure you have an SSL or two for your audience.

So let’s talk about why SSL is a big deal.

What is an SSL Certificate?

Let’s define an SSL. This definition comes straight from SSL.com:

When you land on a page that has a form you filled in and hit “submit” for, the information you entered can be intercepted by a hacker on an unsecure website.

This information could be anything from details on a bank transaction to what you enter to register for an offer. In hacker lingo, this “interception” is often referred to as a “man-in-the-middle attack.”

One of the most common ways an attack happens is this: A hacker places a small, undetected listening program on the server hosting a website. That program waits in the background until a visitor starts typing information on the website, and it will activate to start capturing the information and then send it back to the hacker.

A little scary, right?

But when you visit a website that’s encrypted with SSL, your browser will form a connection with the web server, look at the SSL certificate, then bind your browser and the server. This binding connection is secure to ensure no one besides you and the website can see or access what you type.

This connection happens instantly, and in fact, some suggest it’s faster than connecting to an unsecure website. You simply have to visit a website with SSL, and voila: Your connection will automatically be secured.

An SSL is security technology. It’s a protocol for servers and web browsers that makes sure that data passed between the two are private. This is done using an encrypted link that connects the server and browser.

Companies that request personal information from a user, such as an email address or payment information, should have SSL certificates on their website. Having one means that the details you are collecting are private and ensures the customer that when they see that padlock and “https://”, their privacy is safe.

SSL certificates are categorized by the level of validation and encryption provided or the number of domains or subdomains under the certificate. There’s three types of certificates you can earn depending on the SSL you obtain. Let’s talk about them in more detail.

Types Of Certificates

The umbrellas that SSL certificates fall under are encryption and validation, and domain number. They each have three classifications, and can be applied for on the SSL website. Certificates are processed by a Certificate Authority (CA), which is software designed specifically for running and granting these certificates.

For encryption and validation certificates, there are domain, organization, and extended validation. For certificates defined by the domain number, the types are single, multidomain, and wildcard.

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate

This certificate shows the padlock, HTTPS, business name and country in the address bar to diminish being mistaken for a spam website.

Extended Validation (SV) SSL are the most expensive SSLs to obtain, but they are valuable in showing the legitimacy of your domain from the address bar. To set up an EV SSL, you must prove that you are authorized to own the domain you’re submitting. This ensures users that you are legally collecting the data needed to execute certain actions — such as a credit card number for an online transaction.

An EV SSL certificate can be obtained by any business, and it should be a priority especially for those that need identity assurance. For instance, if your website processes web payments or collects data, you’d want to get this certificate.

Organization Validated (OV SSL) Certificate

This certificate verifies that your organization and domain validation are real. Organization Validated (OV) SSL certificates offer a medium level of encryption and are obtained in two steps. First, the CA would verify who owns the domain and if the organization is operating legally.

On the browser, users would see a small green padlock with the company’s name following. Use this type of certificate if you don’t have the financial resources for an EV SSL but still want to offer a moderate level of encryption.

Domain Validation (DV) Certificate

The Domain Validation (DV) certificate offers a low level of encryption shown as a green padlock next to the URL in the address bar. This is the quickest validation you can receive, and you’ll only need a few company documents to apply.

This verification happens when you add a DNS to the CA. For this certificate, the CA will review the right of the applicant to own the domain being submitted. (Note: DVs don’t secure subdomains, just the domain itself).

Unlike the EV SSL, the CA won’t vet any identity data, so you won’t know who is receiving your encrypted information. But if you’re part of a business that can’t afford a higher-level SSL, a DV gets the job done.

Wildcard SSL Certificates

Wildcard SSL Certificates are in the “domain and subdomain number” category. Wildcard SSLs ensure that if you buy a certificate for one domain, you can use that same certificate for subdomains.

For example, if you bought a Wildcard for example.com, it could be applied to mail.example.com and blog.example.com. An option like this is cheaper than obtaining multiple SSL certificates for a number or domain.

Unified Communications (UCC) SSL Certificate

Also known as Multi-domain SSL certificates, Unified Communications certificates (UCCs) allow multiple domain names to be on the same certificate. UCCs were created to bridge communication between a single server and browser but have since expanded to include multiple domain names by the same owner.

A UCC in the address bar shows a padlock to display verification. They can also be considered an EV SSL if they are configured to show that green text, padlock, and home country. The only difference is the number of domain names associated with this certificate.

Multi-domain SSL certificates cover up to 100 domain names. If you need to alter the names in any way, you can do that with the Subject Alternative Name (SAN) option. Some examples of Multi-domain names you can use are: www.domain.co.uk, www.domain.com, mail.example.com, and checkout.example.com.

Single Domain SSL Certificate

A Single Domain SSL protects one domain. The thing to remember about this certificate is that you can’t use it to protect subdomains or a completely different domain.

For example, if you purchase this certificate for example.com, you can’t use it for blog.example.com or 2ndexample.com.

How can I get an SSL certificate for my website?

The first step is to determine what type of certificate you need. For example, if hosting content on multiple platforms (on separate domains/subdomains) it may mean that you need different SSL certificates.

For most, a standard SSL certificate will cover your content. But for companies in a regulated industry — such as finance or insurance — it may be worth talking with your I.T. team to ensure you’re meeting the specific SSL certificate requirements set within your industry.

The costs of SSL certificates vary, but you can get a free certificate or pay per month to obtain a custom certificate. On the free side — Let’s Encrypt offers certificates at no cost, but I would strongly recommend that you have someone knowledgeable about the DNS and technical setup of your website to help. These certificates will also expire every 90 days, so make sure they stay up to date.

One of the other key considerations is the validity period of a certification. Most standard SSL certificates that you purchase are available for one to two years by default, but if you’re looking for longer-term options, consider more advanced certificates that offer longer time periods.

Is SSL good for SEO?

Yes. While the primary purpose of SSL is securing information between the visitor and your website, there are benefits for SEO as well. According to Google Webmaster Trends Analysts, SSL is part of Google’s search ranking algorithm.

In addition, let’s say two websites are similar in the content provided but one has SSL enabled and the other doesn’t. That first website may receive a slight rank boost because it’s encrypted. As a result, there is a clear SEO benefit to enabling SSL on your website and across your pages.

How can I tell if my website has SSL?

When you visit a website with SSL, there are a few distinct differences that display within the browser. Click here for a free SSL checker tool..

1. The URL says “https://” and not “http://”.

The URL should look something like the screenshot below. Remember, an SSL-encrypted website will always have that “s” that stands for “secure.” Additionally, that text can show up green and follows a green padlock (another indicator, explained below).

Double checking your address is secure

2. You’ll see a padlock icon in the URL bar.

The padlock will show up on the left- or right-hand side of the URL bar, depending on your browser. For example, on Chrome and Safari, it’ll be on the left. You can click on the padlock to read more information about the website and the company that provided the certificate.

HubSpot SSL certificate padlock.3. The certificate is valid.

Even if a website has the “https://” and a padlock, the certificate could still be expired — meaning your connection wouldn’t be secure. In most cases, a site that displays as https will be secure but, if you encounter a site that asks for a lot of personal information, it may be worth double-checking to be sure the certificate is valid.

HubSpot's validity certificate.To find out whether the certificate is valid in Chrome, go to View > Developer > Developer Tools. From there you will need to navigate to the security tab to see if the SSL certificate is valid or expired. If you click the “View certificate” button, you will be able to see more information about the SSL certificate and the specific date it’s valid through.

The next time you visit a website, check its encryption status. I love knowing that by clicking a little padlock, I can see if my data is secure. On the flip side, if you are a part of a business that doesn’t have SSL certificates, make them a part of your next goal set, so you can protect your customers’ data and privacy.

Should You Be Blogging For Enterprise Customers? Yes, Here's Why.

When I sit down to write a blog post, I stick to a routine that has some flexibility.

The way I write changes from time to time, but two things never change: who I’m writing for, and how to deliver the best experience.

When you sit down to write, what are some of the questions you ask yourself? Are you keeping your audience in mind?

For example, if you are writing for enterprise audiences, how are you framing that content to achieve your goals? If you’re writing for the professional who is part of a large organization, how does your blog cater to their needs?

Though an enterprise audience is a smaller number of people to reach, blogging for those customers can be a huge driver for ROI and acquisition.

Many marketers agree — blogging is an important part of their content strategy.

Blogging does way more than populate your website with content. Did you know that B2B marketers obtain over 70% of their leads from blogging? Or that businesses that prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see a positive ROI?

When you blog for customers, you’re not only providing useful content. Properly optimized posts lead to an increase in brand awareness and conversions.

Enterprise customers have their own set of unique needs and challenges, separate from customers in a startup. Your blog can assist with these needs, like how to manage a positive scale within a company.

However, a successful enterprise blog stems from having a successful strategy. Implementing a process for writing makes your content stick to business goals.

1. Come up with the purpose of your enterprise blog.

The good foundation of any strategy is to define the purpose of your goal. So, think about why your blog is going to exist. Are you aiming to build brand awareness and increase conversions?

Content that serves a purpose is easier to write because it has a focus. For instance, if the reason for starting your blog is to increase the number of enterprise leads you earn, all of your content should support this goal.

Having a clear purpose will also help you fill in some of the blanks for the rest of your blogging strategy, like distribution and topic research. To get started defining your blog’s purpose, think about the goals of your company and identify how your blog can contribute.

For instance, if one of your goals is to bridge the gap between the awareness and delight stages for leads, think about how you can create content that gets customers thinking about the value of your company on a deeper level. Blog posts can be highly engaging vehicles to entertain and inform the reader, and with the addition of widgets like calls-to-action, offer your customers more ways to familiarize themselves with your company.

Once you identify the purpose of your blog, you can finalize a goal that will allow you to create content that reaches them.

2. Determine your persona.

Your business already has a buyer persona — a fictionalized idea of the perfect customer. Keep that customer in mind when you’re writing. If it’s appropriate, you might want to come up with an entirely different persona, one that’s solely based around your enterprise audience.

If you’re creating a persona from scratch, ask yourself what your enterprise customer will find the most useful about your blog. What stage in the buyer’s journey do you want to target with your content, and how will a blog help you get there?

When you have a persona to reference for your blog content, you’ll have an idea of how to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and focus on writing that’s going to serve them the best.

For example, let’s say you create a persona called “Enterprise Ernie.” When you created Ernie, you identified challenges and pain points that keep him from doing his job better, like roadblocks that come up from being a marketing team manager for an enterprise.

When you create content, then, you can focus on how to help Ernie be a more effective marketing team manager. You’ll brainstorm topics that solve those challenges and offer resources to reinforce that message.

3. Conduct keyword research.

Optimizing your blog for SEO shouldn’t be the extent of how you’re using SEO for your blog. SEO can help inform better business decisions, including better blog topic development. This happens through keyword research.

Keyword research is an SEO tactic that identifies possible words and phrases on the minds of your target audience. This is done by referencing the search queries your customers type in on Google. At HubSpot, keyword research informs the topics we write about each quarter.

Use this process, with a tool like Ahrefs, to understand what to write about to better serve your customers. If, by performing keyword research, you find the phrase, “customizable chatbots” a common trend among audiences. You’ll be solving questions that are common among your audience.

That way, when people in your audience use keywords in Google, your content has a high chance of ranking highly and driving traffic.

4. Think about possible topics.

After conducting keyword research, you’ll have an understanding of what enterprise customers want to read. Come up with a log of topics your keywords will fall under, such as “Marketing Automation,” “Marketing and Sales Alignment,” and “Product Launches.”

This does two things: First, it’ll help you organize blog ideas, and second, it’ll keep your content diverse. Diverse articles solve for your customer at every stage of the buyer’s journey. When you have your topics down, you can refer back to your list if you think of more or need more ideas.

5. Determine how to structure your posts.

Keep the structure of your posts consistent. This aids your writing process and keeps the look of your blog aligned. An effective post format guides readers through your content.

Use the tools available with your blog software to come up with a structure that fits your needs. When I first started blogging, I completely disregarded the use of headers and bulleted lists — for organizational purposes, I do not recommend this.

Headers separate the large portions of text in your articles. For instance, this section’s snippet, How to Create an Enterprise Blogging Strategy,” tells the audience what this section is about. The H3s in this section, like “Determine how to structure your posts,” indicate that I will give an explanation about format.

Even if your structure comes down to “Use at least one H2 and blockquote in every post,” having rules for how you guide your post will keep you and your readers on the same page. They’ll know what to expect.

6. Outline content to stay focused.

Outlines feel like they box in creative freedom sometimes. But when you’re a busy professional and need to structure your time, outlines are a gift.

Organizing your ideas into an outline gives you a vision of what you’re going to write. Once you pick a topic, like “Chatbot software tools,” start jotting down how the post would look. If you decide to write a listicle with 10 software tool options, list them out in your outline and begin to structure your piece using the rules you decided on earlier.

A full outline with short sentences about my introduction, the body of the post, and what to highlight in the conclusion are a huge asset for keeping ideas in order. Plus, if you don’t like planning out everything, don’t — outlines are for your benefit.

7. Write and edit your post.

Now, you’re ready to write. Get those fingers moving, and don’t forget to have some fun. Writing doesn’t have to be a pain. If you know what you’re writing about and how to write it, the rest will come.

You might have to conduct some extra research to beef up your points, so allow for that time and cite your sources. If you’re having trouble making the sentences flow, know that it takes time to really refine a technique. In the meantime, tools like Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, and ZenPen proof your writing and add suggestions for making the content better.

Even if you have tools installed, edit your post when you finish writing. Check for spelling mistakes and read for flow. If you’re nervous about being a “good editor,” don’t worry. Here are some resources for you to help the process:

8. Optimize your page with On-Page SEO.

You’re almost done. This step can’t be forgotten if you want that positive ROI. On-Page SEO raises the chance of search engines choosing your articles to populate search engine results pages (SERPs). Let’s talk about what you should do to optimize your page:

  • Choose a featured Image — Featured images with an alternate text description tell Google what your image is communicating to the reader. Write a sentence that includes your keywords, like, “This is a marketer choosing chatbot software tools.”
  • Include tags — Tags are keywords that describe a post. For a chatbot software listicle, tags would be something like “Marketing software,” “Software tools,” “chatbots,” etc. Notate in your CMSe what the tags are for each post — all this information informs search engines about the content of your page.
  • Compose a relevant title — The title of your post is the first thing many readers (including search engines) see. Even though it’s tempting to make the title something witty, make sure you are including keywords, so you can land on the right SERPs and clearly signal to your readers that you have the content they’re looking for.

Here’s a refresher on blog SEO. Once you’ve covered all your bases, you’re ready to post.

9. Decide how and where to promote your blog.

Part of your strategy should include a promotion plan. This, along with on-page SEO, is how you ensure that your content is seen by the right people. You might have the same promotion idea for every post across the board to streamline this process, or have a different idea for different posts.

For example, HubSpot’s socials do both. Sometimes, similar messages are posted on different channels to reach larger audience segments, but other times, messages are specifically tailored for each platform.

Whichever method you choose to promote your blog, make sure you’re doing so effectively. This means choosing a platform your customers frequent. It would be pretty hard to share posts meant for enterprise customers on a channel with few prospects.

Analyze the web behavior of your audience to get an idea of where they spend their time online. This can be done by looking at the demographics of web users and social channels, then comparing results to get a full understanding.

For example, 30 million companies are on LinkedIn — if your blog’s purpose is to increase brand awareness among other businesses, promoting your content on LinkedIn is a good place to start.

10. Repurpose and update old, applicable content.

Maybe you have a backlog of old content on your blog. Or maybe you have a bunch of outdated content in general. Before you delete this content from your archive, think about how it can be repurposed to serve your blog at its current state.

For example, if you have a post about how to navigate Twitter for Business written in 2017, consider updating it. Instead of rewriting the whole article, this time-saving method is more efficient.

Look for content that can still be helpful to your audience and align with your current purpose and business goals. That post from 2017 about adaptive testing is great for an enterprise audience, while a post about beginning a startup should either be deleted or rewritten to serve your customers.

Alright, we’ve defined a strategy for making your enterprise blog process smooth. To identify the tools that will make your posting process a seamless one, keep reading.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot’s blogging tool is a stand-alone feature and part of Marketing Hub Enterprise and Marketing Hub Professional. These are software designed to assist businesses where they are to drive growth efficiently and effectively.

Blogging Software’s features boast a fully integrated platform for stunning, professional content. The clean, sleek look that enterprise customers are looking for will be achieved through the tools in HubSpot’s system. Nearly every essential for managing a blog is present, from embedded multimedia tools, to easy formatting options, and analytics.

With on-page SEO suggestions (shown above) you’ll drive traffic to your blog and be able to analyze potential improvements. HubSpot’s system doesn’t suggest a post should be pushed live unless SEO-based steps are completed, like adding a featured image. That way, in case you forget a step, you’ll have a reminder.

Enterprise customers can enjoy a blog that fits in seamlessly with the rest of your website’s layout, supports an interactive experience, and includes easy navigation.

2. WordPress

WordPress is one of the most widely-used content management systems. It’s a platform that offers website creation software. WordPress offers tools that are essential for running a blog — like formatting options, layout editing, and templates.

An example of WordPress templatess

Image Source

A standout feature of WordPress is its widget hosting. You can implement a ton of widgets into your blog to personalize the experience for enterprise readers. For example, you can add a page scrolling widget to give your blog layout an infinite scrolling setup.

If you upgrade a WordPress account to one of their paid plans, you get access to a suite of on-page SEO tools to help drive traffic and growth. The ecommerce plan gives you the option to host an online store from a WordPress website.

3. Ghost

If you’re looking for an open-source, Node.js blogging platform, Ghost might be your winner. This service allows entrepreneurs, developers, and publishers to build and grow a fully-functional, easy-to-use blog from scratch.

Ghost offers content management, a text editor, SEO features, and email newsletters to support the success of your enterprise blog. You can use the software to insert paid memberships on your blog with no transaction fees — so everything you earn, you keep.

Ghost responsive website design example

Image Source

If you’re looking for a CMS that’s popular on GitHub and can be customized to your needs, Ghost is a great option. If your focus is to drive sales with a membership service, Ghost offers the software you need to bring that vision to fruition.

4. Blogger

Blogger allows users to create, monetize, manage, and archive a fleshed out blog, all under a free domain. If you’re a small business owner, Blogger can be a great choice to get your feet wet with running a blog.

Expansive features Blogger offers, such as layout templates, flexible editors, and multimedia support, are tools for creating attractive content for enterprise audiences.

Example of a Blogger blog.

Image Source

Blogger is also an integratable platform. For example, you can connect your account with Google Analytics so you can target your audience and get insight into post performance. Blogger itself offers analytics as well, so you’ll be able to compare those reports to inform your strategy.

An enterprise blog solves for the needs of customers at a different level of an organization. You’ll be able to raise traffic and conversions while offering valuable information to your readers. When you think about how you can reframe your blog, really keep your purpose and target in mind — that way, you’ll make informed decisions about where to take your channel.

34 Free Online Marketing Classes to Take This Year

I don’t know about you, but I miss taking classes. I miss taking notes, studying, and most of all, learning a ton of new skills.

That’s not to say I don’t learn a lot on the job here at HubSpot — because I absolutely do. But sometimes, there’s nothing quite like listening to a lecture, taking notes, and doing homework.

Given the frequency at which new technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up your knowledge by only reading blog posts and ebooks. That’s where self-paced online learning comes in.

I’ve taken a few awesome courses and certifications through HubSpot Academy, including an inbound marketing certification and a content marketing certification. These classes helped me be better at my job, so I started making a list of other classes I could take to learn more skills. When I finished the list, I realized that you, dear readers, might have similar skill gaps, so I wanted to share it in a blog post.

Below is a long list of free online courses you can take to beef up your skill set. These offerings vary in time commitment, but many are self-paced so you can work on your own schedule. The topics these courses cover include:

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. SEO Marketing
  4. Email Marketing
  5. Other Digital Marketing Courses

Want to learn more about brands and organizations that offer the courses on the list below? Scroll to the end of this post, or click here, to jump to a section on where to find affordable online marketing courses.

Content Marketing Courses

1. HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification – HubSpot Academy
2. HubSpot Content Marketing Certification – HubSpot Academy
3. Internet Marketing for Smart People – Copyblogger
4. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content – Coursera
5. The Strategy of Content Marketing – Coursera
6. Copywriting Blunders – Udemy
7. Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises – Udemy
8. Content Marketing – Udemy

Social Media Marketing Courses

9. Free Social Media Certification – HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy’s free online Social Media Certification offers eight lessons — from developing a social media strategy, to social media listening and moderating, to content strategy, digital advertising, and crisis communications. You’ll learn how to build an inbound social media strategy that delights your customers and grows your bottom line.

10. Developing an End-to-End Instagram Marketing Strategy For Your Business – HubSpot Academy
11. Strategic Social Media Marketing – edX
12. Diploma in Social Media Marketing – ALISON
13. Facebook Blueprint – Facebook
14. Social Media Analytics – Quintly
15. Social Media Week of Webinars – Buffer

SEO Marketing Courses

16. SEO Training Course – HubSpot Academy

17. Google Digital Marketing Course – Google

18. SEO Training Course by Moz – Udemy
19. Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy – Udemy
20. SEO – QuickSprout

Email Marketing

21. HubSpot Email Marketing Certification – HubSpot Academy
22. Email Marketing – QuickSprout

Web Development and Site Design

23. Make a Website – CodeAcademy
24. Learn Javascript – CodeAcademy
25. Learn Ruby – CodeAcademy
26. Learn Python – CodeAcademy
27. Learn HTML & CSS – CodeAcademy
28. Learn to Code Awesome Websites – General Assembly

Other Digital Marketing Courses

29. What Digital Advertising Is and How to Do It – HubSpot Academy
30. Paid Advertising – QuickSprout
31. Wordstream PPC University
32. Creativity – Canva
33. Photoshop 2020: One-on-One Fundamentals – LinkedIn Learning
34. InDesign 2020: Essential Training – LinkedIn Learning

Where to Find Free or Affordable Courses

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests. Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles. Check out mine on LinkedIn:

Copyblogger

Copyblogger is a content marketing company that creates content about content (so meta). Its blog provides a ton of great resources about digital marketing, and this class, “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” is made up of ebooks and emailed lessons and other course materials. Copyblogger espouses four pillars of content marketing success, which it delves into over the course of this class.

Coursera

Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system. These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule. Below are a couple courses that are perfect for content marketers — here’s what a module for #4 looks like:

Coursera content marketing course list

QuickSprout

QuickSprout is Neil Patel’s content and business marketing blog, and QuickSprout University features a ton of helpful videos breaking down and explaining a myriad of concepts and best practices. Each video also includes a transcript in case reading is more your learning style than watching a video. Here’s what one course video looks like:

Quicksprout content marketing course

Udemy

Udemy is another online learning platform that focuses specifically on courses related to skill building for working professionals. One thing to note about Udemy: The classes we’ve highlighted are free, but it offers a myriad of other paid options for as little as $10, in some cases. If you have a good experience with a free course, it could be worth a small investment to deepen your skills, too.

Wordstream

Wordstream is a search engine and social media marketing software company that helps marketers drive the greatest ROI from their paid search and social media campaigns. These free guides and ebooks distill learnings and best practices for users with varying levels of expertise running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some of its topics and offerings:

Wordstream social media marketing course on how to run PPC campaigns

edX

edX is another MOOC provider that features courses offered by top-tier universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. Like Coursera, classes are taught online and start at specific times throughout the year. Here’s a class we think you’ll find valuable:

ALISON

ALISON offers free online classes in various professional skills users can take at their own pace. In the Diploma in Social Media Marketing course below, students can get into the nitty-gritty and big picture views of different skills of different topics — just check out one of the many modules:

ALISON digital marketing course module

Facebook

At this point, you probably already know what Facebook is and what it does. What you might not know? It has a training and certification program. Facebook Blueprint offers self-paced and live e-learning courses for marketers seeking to grow their organizations using Facebook. Blueprint offers classes in different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram — here’s a peek at the course catalog.

Facebook Blueprint social media marketing course catalog

quintly

quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy. The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goaling using downloadable written materials and video lessons.

Buffer

Buffer’s Social Media Week of Webinars isn’t exactly a course — it’s a series of live webinar recordings on YouTube — but the videos are chock-full of current and valuable information for social media marketers from the experts. Topics include Instagram and Facebook marketing and how to do public relations on social media.

Google

Google is another company you’ve probably heard of before, and its digital marketing course offers a ton of valuable information if you plan to advertise and rank on the search engine. You can even take a Google AdWords certification at the end of the process that helps you beef up your resume (and your Google+ profile).

CodeAcademy

CodeAcademy offers free, interactive coding classes that take you from lesson one to building a fully-functioning website. The courses we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the courses; CodeAcademy offers many more, depending on your organization’s needs. CodeAcademy classes feature lectures and a workspace in the same browser window so you can see the effect of your work live, as it’s created.

Codeacademy digital marketing course workspace

Image Source

General Assembly

General Assembly offers live and online paid and free courses for a variety of technical skills and disciplines. General Assembly’s Dash offers a free online coding class that teaches the fundamentals of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript — watch the course overview below:

Canva

Canva helps people easily make beautiful images for web design, and Canva Learn offers design courses that are valuable for any kind of storyteller. The Creativity course explores the challenges of constant creation and innovation and how to do it well — with visuals, of course.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in May 2018, but was updated in June 2020 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

104 Email Marketing Myths, Experiments & Inspiring Tips [Free Guide]

There are a lot of myths out there: For instance, some say the Loch Ness monster is real, and others say lightning strikes in the same place twice.

Oftentimes, it’s fun to discuss myths with friends and debate whether or not they’re true.. Sometimes, the most popular myths are debunked by those who really want to know the truth. After all, that was the premise of the show “MythBusters“.

Here, we’re going to debunk myths, as well. But, instead of looking at myths about nature or stars, we will look at myths in the marketing world — and, more specifically, those surrounding email marketing.

But it’s possible that your company isn’t investing as much in email marketing because of the myths you’ve come across. If that’s true, you might be surprised to learn how some of these have been debunked by HubSpot email marketers.

Top Myths, According to HubSpot Email Marketers

Whether you’re an email marketing veteran or just getting started, you may be operating under certain common misconceptions about email that have been disproved by research.

Additionally, your email may be getting dull due to a lack of experimentation or inspiration. Maybe you’re aware that it’s time to switch up your email marketing, but it can still be hard to know where to begin.

Knowing these myths before you start your next email campaign can help you improve the effectiveness of your emails.

1. Using the word ‘free’ in emails will cause it to be sent to the spam folder.

While the language you use to construct your emails is important, keep in mind that there might not be as many rules as suggested when using making emails.

According to one of HubSpot’s Email Enablement Project Managers, Amanda MacDonald, “My least favorite email marketing myth is that using certain words like ‘Free,’ or exclamation points in your email will cause it to go to the spam folder.”

The wording you use in the body of emails keeps subscribers engaged as they read the message, so it’s unlikely that certain words will cause the email to be regarded as spam by the email browser’s filtering system.

For example, I received this promotion email, which uses the word “Free” in its subject line. The email was sent straight to my Promotions tab, where I engaged with the message:

“Email engagement is what determines if your email goes to the spam folder, so focusing on what drives engagement is key,” MacDonald states. “If that’s exclamation points or certain keywords, you shouldn’t be afraid to use them. The key is knowing your audience and your data.”

So if you’ve seen that engagement tends to be higher when you use language like, “Free deal!”, don’t shy away from turning to what works — email browsers won’t filter the message as spam.

2. Millennials don’t subscribe to marketing emails.

Adobe found that millennials check and use their emails more than any other age group. If your target audience includes millennials but you aren’t implementing an email marketing strategy, you may be missing out on a way to build customer relationships from a different channel.

The key to successfully marketing to millennials through email is focusing on quality over quantity. Though millennials prefer to engage with brands through email, too many emails may lead to fatigue from the age group.

You can always A/B test emails to see if it would be an effective move for your campaigns. Additionally, you can gauge the type of emails your millennial audience prefer as a result of testing.

3. Inserting video is an automatic engagement booster in email marketing.

“There is a lot of buzz about how including videos in your emails is great for email engagement,” recalls Jackie Lee, one of HubSpot’s email deliverability specialists. “However, including an actual video file in an email can be really bad for deliverability.”

This is because if large files, like video, are included in your email, it may impact the formatting — and, therefore, deliverability. Recall that deliverability focuses on the content of emails as much as its legality, so it’s important to make sure your emails look clean and professional.

However, this isn’t to say that you should never add videos. In fact, Lee suggests that, “Including a picture of the video with a play button overlapping the image that links to the actual video will ensure that you have a key element for engagement without risking poor deliverability.”

Check out this email I received as an example:

Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 7.14.14 PMThe video isn’t directly embedded into the message, but the play button has a link that will open another tab to play the video game’s trailer. The email’s formatting didn’t suffer for the sake of a video and it was sent to my main email folder. I was still able to interact with the content without deliverability being impacted.

4. Email marketing is a ‘dead’ practice.

Sometimes, it may seem like low engagement from subscribers points to the phasing out of email marketing. However, it has been found that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in engagement over the past year. This data from HubSpot suggests that email marketing is still an effective marketing tactic.

If you’re finding that email marketing isn’t providing as much ROI as you’re expecting, it may be time to redesign your strategy. Personalization is the growing trend in successful email marketing campaigns, as well as emails that are responsive.

When you design emails to be highly targeted and optimized for multiple devices, you are increasing the chance of subscribers being delighted by your messages. For instance, when I see my name in the subject line of a marketing email, I feel like it was made to fit my interests.

Take this email I received from a real estate site. This website sends listings based on web behavior. Getting sent targeted emails like that made me interested to check out more properties on the website:

Example of a successful email marketing subject line.

Eventually, I began to look forward to these emails so I could scour the site for more listings. The extra step of personalization in emails told me that the team working for this company cared about providing value to me through every stage of the buyer’s journey.

5. Emails are incredibly easy to design using HTML.

Are you familiar with the coding language needed for email design? I’m definitely not — I’d rather use email software to help me construct beautiful messages. But if you’ve never made a marketing email from scratch before, they may be more difficult to design than they seem.

This is because HTML doesn’t follow a basic set of rules for email providers, which is tricky when you want to design something specific and don’t know how. You might write a line of code that won’t make sense to the email browser, ultimately impacting email deliverability.

According to HubSpot’s Conversational Marketing Manager, Oluchi Ughanze, “HTML for web browsers is like an art class where everyone paints the same still life using the same materials. The painting might look different, but that’s because of the artist, not because of the still life or the colors.”

Marketing email design looks a little bit different. “HTML for email, however, is like an art class where, though you’re painting the same still life, everyone is given different materials. So it’s not as consistent to work with.”

“The only thing tying them together,” she continues, “Is the still life assignment, but nothing more. In this analogy, the still life is HTML, the materials are the clients or web browsers.”

Some things for HTML can look intimidating, but are pretty easy to pick up. For example, I’m pretty confident in my ability to bold text in a line of code if I need to. Other things, like email design, are a bit trickier.

For an easier, cost and time effective remedy for powerful email design, check out some email software tools that do all the HTML for you — so you can focus on delighting your customers.

6. Email subject lines have to be short and straightforward.

It’s become tougher to keep the busy mind of a subscriber engaged with marketing messages. But your subject lines don’t have to be short in order to keep your reader occupied.

It’s good to be concise with your wording, but it’s better to inform readers of what will be inside your email to avoid misleading messages. For example, I get email notifications from Patreon, a membership service platform, when the creatives I support upload new content. It’s helpful to know exactly what they’re uploading so I have an idea of when to interact with what they’ve posted.

Sometimes, though, that subject line can look a little lengthy:

Example of a lengthy email subject line that works

From the subject line of this email, I know exactly what the email will contain: exclusive live show details for patrons. Knowing this made me excited to open the rest of the email. But if the subject line stopped after the word “Show,” I wouldn’t have known the exclusivity of the content and might not have been as compelled to open the message.

Consumers prefer interact with their favorite brands through email, so be sure to communicate the impact of your message using as many characters as necessary. Chances are, those who subscribed to your emails generally enjoy the messages you’re sending out, so you can be a little more lax with how you use subject lines.

Myth 7: A spam email is just a poorly designed email.

When you think of what a spam email is, what comes to mind? I think of a sketchy-looking message that looks like it was made in the 1990s, like this beauty that landed in my spam folder not too long ago:

An example of an unattractive spam email.

However, that’s not entirely the case. While this email isn’t the best in the looks department, that’s not why it was marked as spam. “Some people think spam is super badly formatted garbage mail, but spam is any unwanted bulk marketing email,” explains Allpomonia Roman, email deliverability consultant at HubSpot.

The reason this email was marked as spam is because I never subscribed to the email list from this sender in the first place, not because it’s not great to look at. As Roman notes, “I could get an exceptionally targeted email from T.J. Maxx, for example, but if I didn’t sign up for those emails, it’s spam.”

When you’re constructing your email list, check it twice, and make sure all subscribers chose to opt-in to your emails. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that it will be marked as spam.

I don’t have a favorite episode of “MythBusters.” They’re so compelling to learn about — and sometimes, dive into a rabbit hole with research. Now that some of these myths have effectively been busted by HubSpot marketers, which of them are you most interested in trying out for yourself?

I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Click here to download104 Email Marketing Myths, Experiments, and Inspiration.

 

The Ultimate List of Types of Marketing [41 and Counting]

Like many of the people who work in the industry, digital marketing was born in the 1990s. Back then, email was the age of most college graduates, AT&T launched the first banner ad, and the CRM industry was just starting to thrive.

Needless to say, marketing has evolved at breakneck speed since then, sprouting many more types of marketing. Some are definitely more effective and relevant than others, so read on to learn about the top types of marketing around today.

The Ultimate List of Types of Marketing

1. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing refers to brand promotion on any kind of channel that has been around since before the advent of the internet. Because information wasn’t as easily accessible and readily available, the majority of traditional marketing relied on outbound tactics such as print, television ads, and billboards.

2. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing refers to intrusive promotion such as print ads, TV ads, cold calling, and email blasts. This marketing method is called “outbound” since the brand is pushing their message out to all consumers to spread awareness — whether they are in need of it or not.

3. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is focused on attracting customers rather than interrupting them. The majority of inbound marketing tactics fall under digital marketing as consumers are empowered to do research online as they progress through their own buyer’s journey (more on that later).

The focus for inbound is on creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business to pull prospects and customers to your website with relevant and helpful content. Once they arrive, you engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat and by promising continued value. Finally, you delight them by continuing to act as an empathetic advisor and expert.

4. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing, leveraging technology that didn’t exist traditionally to reach audiences in new ways. This type of marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers. We’ve broken some of these down in more detail below.

5. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, includes all activities in the effort of ensuring your business’s products or services are visible on search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a top result for that search query. The two types of SEM include search engine optimization (SEO) for organic search results and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for sponsored SERPs.

To get started with SEO, you must familiarize yourself with search engine ranking factors and produce content for search engines to index.

To get started with pay-per-click SEM, you must work with the search engine you’re looking to purchase placements with. Google Ads is a popular choice. There are also ads management tools to make creating and managing PPC campaigns a breeze.

6. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a key instrument in inbound and digital marketing because content is what allows audiences as well as search engines, such as Google, to find the information they need on the web. By definition, it involves creating, publishing, and distributing content to your target audience. The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets, like tools, ebooks, or webinars.

With content marketing, the goal is to help your audience along their buyer’s journey. First, identify common FAQs and concerns your buyers have before they are ready to make a purchase. Then, create an editorial calendar to help you create and manage your content. It also helps to have a content management system to make publishing easy.

7. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is creating content to promote your brand and products on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Remember your audience as you create content. No one logs on to social media looking for something to purchase, so think through what types of content that is useful, informative, entertaining, and/or compelling. Your unique content should be tailored to the specific platform you share it on to help you boost your post’s reach.

In order to make publishing content across platforms easy, there are a number of social media tools out there such as  that simplify the process.

8. Video Marketing

Video marketing is a type of content marketing that involves using video as a medium. The idea is to create videos and upload them to your website, YouTube, and social media to boost brand awareness, generate conversions, and close deals. Some video marketing apps even allow you to analyze, nurture, and score leads based on their activity.

9. Voice Marketing

Voice marketing is leveraging smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to educate people and answer questions about their topics of interest. Optimizing your website for voice search is very similar to optimizing for organic search, but beyond that, you can also get inventive by creating a Google action or Alexa skill.

10. Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending educational or entertaining content and promotional messages to people who willingly subscribe to your receive messages from you. The primary goal is to deepen your relationship with the customer or prospect by sending marketing messages personalized to them. Pushing that idea further, you can also use email marketing to nurture leads with content that moves them along the buyer’s journey.

Depending on your location, you must stay compliant with GDPR, the CAN-SPAM Act, and other regulations governing email. At their core, they boil down to responsible commercial email sending: Only send to people who are expecting messages from you (i.e. they’ve opted in), make it easy for them to opt out, and be transparent about who you are when you do make contact. 

With that in mind, the first thing you’ll need to do is strategize how you’ll build your email list — the database of contacts you can send email to. The most common mechanism is through lead capture forms on your website. Then, you’ll need email marketing software and a CRM to send, track, and monitor the effectiveness of your emails. To push your email strategy further and maximize productivity, you may also want to look into email automation software that sends emails based on triggering criteria.

To learn the ins and outs of email marketing, you can take the free email marketing course from HubSpot academy.

11. Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is the ability to have 1:1 personal conversations across multiple channels, meeting customers how, when, and where they want. It is more than just live chat, extending to phone calls, texts, Facebook Messenger, email, Slack, and more.

When you’re getting started, you’ll first identify which channels your audience is on. The challenge, though, is being able to manage multiple channels without slow response times, internal miscommunication, or productivity loss. That’s why it’s important to use conversational marketing tools, such as a unified inbox, to streamline your efforts.

12. Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing is a viral marketing strategy that leverages refreshingly creative content, interactive events, and community influencers to generate word-of-mouth marketing and anticipation for the product or service the brand is about to launch.

Buzz marketing works best when you reach out to influencers early and have a plan in place to generate suspense and perhaps even mystery. To track your buzz marketing efforts, it’s best to use social listening software to keep a pulse on how your audience is responding.

13. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers on social media. Influencers are considered experts in their niches. These individuals have a large influence over an audience you might be trying to reach and can be helpful marketing to those buyers.

To get started with influencer marketing, you must first create your influencer marketing strategy and define what type of influencer you’re targeting (their niche). Then, you’ll want to create a list of criteria that would make an influencer in that niche a good fit with you, considering things such as the size of their audience, how active that audience is, and the vibe on their profile. 

From there, you can find influencers and reach out to them by: 

  • Manually searching on social media
  • Using an influencer marketing platform
  • Hiring an agency to do the influencer research and outreach for you

From there, you’ll want to understand that the influencer is the one who knows their audience the best, so maintain a good relationship with that individual and allow them some creative freedom with how they handle your promotion.

14. Acquisition Marketing

While all types of marketing is geared toward acquiring customers, the majority of types have broader and softer goals such as improving brand awareness or driving traffic. In contrast, acquisition marketing is laser-focused on acquiring customers. 

Acquisition marketing is an umbrella type of marketing that employs the tactics and strategies of other types of marketing but focuses on how to turn those marketing benefits into revenue. Ultimately, the focus is on lead generation from the results you get driving website traffic from inbound marketing, including content, social media, and search engine marketing.

Once you have website traffic, you must turn that traffic into leads and, eventually, sales. That’s where acquisition marketing comes in. Acquisition marketing may involve a number of tactics to turn a website into a lead generation engine, including offering freemium products, launching education hubs, tightening the copywriting on the site, conversion rate optimization, and lead optimization. It may even include a lead optimization and nurturing strategy to facilitate the hand-off between marketing and sales.

15. Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing is targeting online users with different ads on websites and social media networks based on their online browsing behavior. The number one way to make contextual marketing efforts powerful is through personalization. A CRM combined with powerful marketing tools such as smart CTAs can make a website seem more like a “choose your own adventure” story, allowing the user to find the right information and take the right actions more effectively.

Contextual marketing takes strategy and planning, so start off on the right foot by accessing HubSpot’s free contextual marketing course.

16. Personalized Marketing

The goal here is to be thought-provoking and generate discussion so that your brand is remembered and associated with positive sentiment. 

In order to begin brand marketing, you need to deeply understand your buyer persona and what resonates with them. You must also consider your position in the market and what makes you unique from competitors. This can help shape your values and what you stand for, giving you fodder for storytelling campaigns.

17. Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is shaping your brand’s public perception and forging an emotional connection with your target audience through storytelling, creativity, humor, and inspiration.

The goal here is to be thought-provoking and generate discussion so that your brand is remembered and associated with positive sentiment. 

In order to begin brand marketing, you need to deeply understand your buyer persona and what resonates with them. You must also consider your position in the market and what makes you unique from competitors. This can help shape your values and what you stand for, giving you fodder for storytelling campaigns.

18. Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is when a brand hires actors or celebrities or uses pseudonyms to promote their product or service without consumers realizing they’re being marketed to. Some examples of stealth marketing are hiring actors to subtly promote products to the public, sockpuppeting, paying influencers to post about a product or service without disclosing that it’s actually an ad, creating fake viral videos, and product placement in movies.

19. Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is placing bold, clever brand activations in high-traffic physical locations to reach audiences in a creative and cost-effective way, grow brand awareness, and spread the word about your brand. Examples of guerilla marketing include altering outdoor urban environments, targeting indoor locations such as train stops, and promoting during a live event without permission from the sponsors.

20. Native Marketing

Native marketing is when brands pay reputable publishers to collaborate in the creative process of crafting a sponsored article or video that covers one of the publisher’s main topics and looks like a regular piece of content on their website. They also pay these publishers to distribute this sponsored content to their massive audience through social media and their website. In sum, when brands pay for a publisher’s native advertising services, they can leverage their editorial expertise and reach to help their brand tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.

In order to benefit from native marketing, you’ll need to either reach out to media publications yourself or go through a native advert network that helps find and facilitate ad placement.

21. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer rewards a website with a commission for each customer they refer through their promotion of one of the online retailers’ products. The website, often called an affiliate, will only get paid when their promotion generates a sale.

If you already have marketing assets that are performing, such as a website that generates traffic or an engaged network on social media or elsewhere, affiliate marketing is a great way to further leverage those assets. Choose a product or brand that closely aligns with what you sell (but does not compete with you) and promote it to your audience.

22. Partner Marketing

Partner marketing is attracting new partners to sell your product or service to another pool of customers. For example, a HubSpot, we have an agency partner program where inbound marketing agencies sell our product to their clients, and we give our partners a cut of the revenue.

23. Product Marketing

Product marketing is bringing a product to market and driving demand for it. This includes deciding the product’s positioning and messaging, launching the product, and ensuring salespeople and customers understand its benefits and features. This can be done through many of the marketing methods discussed in this article but with a focus on the product rather than an organization as a whole.

24. Account-based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hyper-focused marketing strategy where teams treat an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. Marketing teams create content, host events, and launch entire campaigns dedicated to the people associated with that account, rather than the industry as a whole.

The advantage of this is having personalized campaigns for your ideal client. Here’s how you can start: 

  1. Identify key accounts. 
  2. Create messaging based on issues that matter to those accounts. 
  3. Learn how to put that messaging in action with HubSpot’s introductory ABM lesson
  4. Find ABM software that can enable your efforts.

25. Customer Marketing

In contrast to acquisition marketing where the focus is on acquiring new customers, customer marketing is focusing on retaining your existing customers, delighting them with your product or service and customer service, and turning them into advocates for your brand who can spread the word about your brand. This is a great strategy because the cost of acquisition is much higher than what it takes to retain or upsell existing customers.

Customer marketing relies on constant improvement of the customer experience — or the impression you leave with a customer after you’ve provided service. Simple ways to improve the customer experience — and, as a result, tap into customer marketing — is by eliminating friction in the customer service process, providing ways for them to self-service such as through online knowledge bases, and using customer service software to manage and improve customer communication.

26. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is customers’ recommendations of a brand, which is the most trusted form of marketing today. To create as much word of mouth marketing as possible, you need to stay laser-focused on developing the best product or service possible and providing top-notch customer service. In other words, you need to serve your customers’ needs before your own. Only then will your customers turn into a loyal, passionate tribe that will recommend your brand to their friends and family.

27. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is a type of customer marketing that focuses on cultivating deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers to ensure long-term brand loyalty. Relationship marketing is not focused on short-term wins or sales transactions. Instead, it’s focused on creating brand evangelists that become promoters for the long-haul.

The key to doing this is by focusing on delighting your customers who are already satisfied with your brand. Start by using customer feedback software to run a Net Promoter Score (NPS) campaign to help you find out who those customers are. Then, come up with ways to turn those happy customers into raving fans. From there, you can request that they leave a testimonial, participate in a case study, or help you achieve your customer delight goals in some other way.

28. User-generated Marketing

User-generated marketing is when businesses ask the public for ideas, information, and opinions on social media or run contests to help them craft better marketing material, like a logo, jingle, or commercial.

29. Campus Marketing

Campus marketing is hiring college students to become campus ambassadors for your brand. They usually market your products or services to other students by setting up booths around campus or hosting giveaways.

30. Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing is when brands use Beacons, which are Bluetooth devices that send alerts to people’s smartphones based on their proximity to one of their stores, to promote discounts to any customer who walks by one of their stores and has their app. Beacons can also pinpoint people’s locations in a store and send them deals on the products and brands that are in the same section as them.

31. Event Marketing

Event marketing is planning, organizing, and executing an event for the purpose of promoting a brand, product, or service. Events can take place in-person or online, and companies can either host an event, attend as an exhibitor, or participate as a sponsor. Many organizations leverage their unique experience in the industry to provide present helpful informational sessions in exchange for the cost of admission and the brand positioning that results after being seen by attendees as an authority on the topic. Alternatively, or in conjunction with that strategy, there may be a pitch at the end of the event to prompt interested attendees to make a purchase.

32. Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing encompasses in-person events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between a brand and its target audience. Experiential marketing takes event marketing just one step further with the goal of making the experience magical for attendees, providing something they can take with them after the event is over — other than just information, of course. 

At HubSpot, we do our best to make our INBOUND conference an immersive experience that extends beyond breakout sessions by including networking opportunities, entertainment, parties and happy hours, food truck lunches, and other immersive experiences. Instead of a conference, INBOUND becomes a celebration.

33. Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing is an innovative type of marketing where your audience can interact with engaging visuals or videos within your content. This new form of marketing unleashes your creativity and, in turn, allows you to tell more gripping stories, crowning it as one of the best ways to capture your audience’s attention. Examples of interactive marketing include immersive video and interactive infographics.

34. Global Marketing

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

35. Multicultural Marketing

Multicultural marketing is devising and executing a marketing campaign that targets people of different ethnicities and cultures within a brand’s overarching audience. Not only does it help you relate to and resonate with minority groups, but it also recognizes their ethnicities and cultures and helps majority groups realize that most countries are melting pots and not dominated by one main ethnicity or culture.

36. Informative Marketing

Informative marketing is a kind of marketing that refers primarily to the type of message your marketing gets across, focusing more on the facts and less on emotions. This marketing tactic highlights how your product’s features and benefits solve your customers’ problems and can even compare your product to your competitors’ product. Although this type of marketing relies on facts and figures to trigger a desired action, it’s usually framed in a compelling way.

37. Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing blends neuroscience and marketing to help brands gauge the emotional resonance of their current and future marketing campaigns. To do this, companies like Immersion Neuroscience and Spark Neuro have developed technology that can gauge certain neurochemical and physiological responses, which both signal emotional engagement while consuming marketing content.

38. Persuasive Marketing

Persuasive marketing focuses more on the emotions and less on the facts. It aims to make an audience feel something, associate those emotions with a brand, and trigger a desired action.

39. Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a type of corporate social responsibility that aims to simultaneously improve society and boost a brand’s awareness by promoting and supporting a charitable cause.

Sheryl Green, author of Do Good to Do Better, a book on cause marketing, describes this scenario: “There’s nothing fun about selling widgets … [so] Susan is about to discover the power of Cause Marketing. She pledges 1% of her gross sales to support her local food bank. She spends her Saturday mornings at soup kitchens serving the homeless. She has donation boxes set up in her employee break rooms and gives comp time to her employees who want to volunteer. And, she has switched her commercials from a description of the widget making process to a story about how her employees give back to the community and how they’ve served over 6000 meals in the last year. Susan is no longer selling widgets… now she’s selling warm fuzzies.”

All of this is because Susan, the fictitious owner of the widget company, chose to marry her business with her desire to support the community. 

Cause marketing begins by answering three questions: 

  1. What causes do I care most about? 
  2. How can I leverage my company’s position to support those causes?
  3. How can I tell my prospects and customers about my efforts so that they can get involved? 

That last question benefits both your business and the cause/charity you’re supporting.

40. Controversial Marketing

Controversial marketing doesn’t aim to polarize an audience. It’s an attention-grabbing technique for stating an opinion, and brands use it to spark productive conversations about certain moral values. In recent years, any stance taken on sensitive social issues can be considered controversial marketing. While you may turn off potential customers who disagree with you, your audience who agrees with you will be more committed to your brand and more likely to promote your message as it aligns with their world view.

41. Field Marketing

Field marketing is creating sales enablement content like case studies, product overviews, competitor comparisons, and more to help sales close their prospects into customers during the last stage of the buyer’s journey.

There’s no right or wrong way to do marketing — as long as it’s effective for connecting with your desired audience. Many companies use one, a few, or multiple types of marketing to promote their message across campaigns and other efforts. 

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose what works best for your buyers, niche, budget, and resources. It’s up to you to be on top of current trends and leverage that knowledge as you create your marketing plan.

What Is a Browser Cache? [FAQs]

So you’ve just finished redesigning your website. You’re excited, it looks great, and you’re patting yourself on the back. Before you start parading around this new great design like a kid showing off their new toy, you want to give it a whirl and see how it all looks from a visitor’s perspective.

And there lies your first problem: For some reason you can’t comprehend, your web browser is still showing the previous version of your site. What the heck’s going on here?

This is when your browser cache comes into play.

We’ve all heard this term before… but do we really know what it is? I’m willing to bet the majority of us have thought about our browser cache as some magical place that we have to go to and clear every so often so our site and others render as they should.

Show of hands? Yep — that’s what I thought.

Below, you’ll find a simple description detailing the ins and outs of browser cache that should clear up any misconceptions or questions about it you may have.

The Basics of Browser Cache

A web browser — such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer — is a software application that we use to fetch and see information living on the internet. In other words, a browser looks, finds, and presents to us websites and/or other pieces of information we look for via URLs.

A browser’s cache is its appliance or instrument through which it saves data, such as images and HTML, needed to see a website. The intent behind saving such data is to help with bandwidth.

So, the next time you go back to see a page, it takes less time to load as a cached version of the page has already been saved. In other words, because you have a cached version of a page, your browser will not need to send a new request to see that page.

How Browser Cache Relates to Cookies

Some of you may be wondering, “How does all this impact tracking cookies?” Let me explain.

Browser cache saves data like images and HTML, which are needed to see websites, right? Well, cookies are smaller pieces of data, such as names and email addresses, a website saves to your computer. This comes in handy because this is how a website knows who you are next time you visit.

Ever wondered how a website greets you by name? Yup, that’s cookies. A website picks up on the cookie it previously placed on your computer — therefore, it recognizes you.

The important thing to know is how a browser cache and cookies together can affect your work as it pertains to updating pages on your site, testing forms, and appropriately rendering pages. This is an easy variable to understand and usually one of the first ones to troubleshoot, as it can — in the vast majority of instances — resolve the issue(s) you’re experiencing with your site.

How to Clear Browser Cache

In order to eliminate browser cache as the culprit, you’ll need to clear it. The steps for clearing your browser cache will depend on the device and browser you’re using. Different browsers have different interfaces for accessing these settings. 

Here are the steps for the most common desktop browsers: 

Chrome

  1. Open Chrome. 
  2. At the top right, click the three vertical dots. 
  3. Click More Tools. 
  4. Select Clear browsing data. 
  5. Choose your time range for deletion. 
  6. Check the boxes next to “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files.” 
  7. Click Clear data. 

 

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on the cog symbol in the upper right corner of the browser. 
  3. Choose the Safety submenu. 
  4. Select Delete Browsing History. 
  5. Check the boxes next to “Temporary Internet files and website files,” “Cookies and website data,” and “History.”
  6. Click Delete.

 

Safari

  1. Open Safari. 
  2. Choose the Safari menu in the top left. 
  3. Select Preferences. 
  4. In the pop-up menu, click the Advanced tab. 
  5. At the bottom of the window, check the box “Show Develop menu in menu bar.” 
  6. This will add a Develop menu to your bar. Click that. 
  7. Select Empty Caches.
  8. You can also delete your browsing history by selecting the History tab. 
  9. Click Clear History. 
  10. Choose your time frame and select Clear History.

 

Firefox

  1. Open Firefox. 
  2. Click the hamburger menu (three stacked horizontal lines) in the top right corner. 
  3. Click Options. 
  4. Select the Privacy & Security panel. 
  5. In the Cookies and Site Data section, click Clear Data. 
  6. Check the boxes next to “Cookies and Site Data” and “Cached Web Content.” 
  7. Click Clear. 

 

Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Microsoft Edge. 
  2. At the top right, click the three horizontal dots. 
  3. Select History. 
  4. Click “Clear history” at the top of the new menu. 
  5. Check the boxes next to “Browsing history,” “Cookies and saved website data,” “Cached data and files,” and “Tabs I’ve set aside or recently closed.”
  6. Click Clear.

As you might agree, any good marketer is active and well-informed, and having basic knowledge on some of these topics, including HTML and CSS, can go a long way with impressing your colleagues or with a simple breakthrough in one of your projects.

After all, our inbound marketing world can be competitive, and these small nuggets of knowledge can make you more efficient, effective, and ahead of the curve.

A/B Testing on Facebook: How to Do It Right

According to HubSpot research, Facebook is the top distribution channel for content, and provides the biggest ROI for marketers.

In fact, over half of marketers agree that Facebook is where they see the most ROI, and Facebook Advertising is one of the top features for hitting those goals. Are you one of the marketers that can relate?

To illustrate, do you always have a tab devoted to Facebook Advertising efforts? Is one of your daily tasks to check the performance of your landing page ads?

Further, are you testing those ads before they get published?

Facebook offers so many ways to test the performance of your ads before they go live. One of the most popular tools Facebook offers is A/B testing.

A/B testing, or split testing, is a term used to describe the process of running marketing experiments to see which version connects better with your audience. Usually, they’re tested simultaneously, and the variables can be anything from layout, copy, or multimedia.

A/B testing is a very popular marketing method because it gives marketers an idea of what types of ads or UX visuals earn the highest conversion rates. Essentially, if you run an A/B test, you can begin to identify the performance of a piece of content before publishing.

Here, let’s dive into how you can A/B test your marketing ads on Facebook.

A/B Testing Facebook Ads

On Facebook, you can create A/B tests in multiple ways. This is dependent on the variable you want to test.

Fortunately, you can create an A/B test within the Ads Manager Toolbar. The Toolbar will let you use an ad campaign you’ve already created as a jumping off point for your new test.

Toolbar isn’t your only option, though — in the next section, we’ll cover all the ways you can A/B test your ads.

When A/B testing on Facebook, you can either access the Toolbar from your Ads Manager, duplicate a campaign or ad set, or use the Experiments tool.

First, let’s go over the Toolbar method.

How to use Toolbar to create Facebook A/B tests

Toolbar lets you quickly perform a test using a dropdown box located in Ads Manager. Here’s how:

1. Select “A/B Test”

When you access Ads Manager, go to the “Campaigns” tab. Under that tab, you’ll see an option for “A/B Test.” Keep in mind that you’ll need to have an existing ad campaign or campaign draft in order to complete the test.

When you choose that option, this is what you’ll see if you don’t have an existing campaign:

Select your desired campaign, and then you can choose which variable you want to test.

2. Choose A Variable

There are several different options for variable testing, and they’re categorized based on the goals of your campaign.

The variables are as follows:

  • Audience —This variable will look at the effectiveness of your ads based on the audiences you aim to reach. For instance, you can test different audiences based on region.
  • Creative — Creative A/B tests will focus on the visual assets of your ad. So if you want to test different images, videos, or carousel, you will choose the “Creative” option.
  • Placements — If you want to test where on Facebook your ad will be most effective, you’ll want to pick “Placements.” This option allows you to test automatic placements.
  • Delivery Optimization — This A/B test option is used to compare ads with budget optimization and without, in order to gauge the performance of both. For instance, if you are unsure if you should spend more to optimize a certain ad to gain more conversions, this would be the proper test to run.
  • More than one — Let’s say you want to test multiple variables on an A/B test in order to compare a strategy that’s more complex. In this case, you’d want to choose a “More than one” test, which will allow you to test based on the same cost per result or cost per conversion lift.
  • Product Set — If you want to test different sets of products, you’ll want to go with this choice. You can choose two product sets to run on Facebook.

All of these variables can be managed from the “Ad Set” tab in Ads Manager, which is right next to the “Campaigns” tab.

Once you’ve chosen your test type, you’ll be ready to perform your test. You can check the status of your test in Ads Manager, and choose how long you want your test to run. To find the progress or check the status of your ads, check your “Account Overview” tab, and look for the icon that resembles a beaker:

Ads Manager test resultsIf you find that you want to go with a different route for your A/B test, there are also options to set them up differently. For instance, let’s talk about duplication next.

How to use Duplication to create Facebook A/B tests

When you choose this option, you can easily create a test by changing one variable in a nearly identical campaign or ad set. This is for ads or campaigns that have already been created.

1. Access Ads Manager

When you go to Ads Manager, go to your “Campaigns” tab. Here, you’ll see a list of your campaigns that are currently running. You’ll also see your drafted campaigns. You can choose either for duplication.

2. Select “Duplicate”

After you’ve decided which campaign or ad set you want to test, highlight the section under the title and you’ll see a “Duplicate” option. When you click it, this is what you’ll see:

Duplicate campaign, step one

Select the option that notates creating a duplicate specifically for an A/B Test. Remember, this option will let you choose a variable to change to analyze performance, so choose a campaign that fits that criteria.

3. Choose A Variable

If you’re choosing an ad set to duplicate, Facebook will provide suggestions of which variable to change for you, and you can pick from there. I chose traffic, but you can choose based on your ad type or audience.

4. Publish To Test

After choosing your variable, you’ll see your tests next to each other in a preview. After making any necessary changes in this stage, you’ll be ready to publish. To do this, click the green button underneath the audience you’ve selected:

How to publish your test in DuplicateWhen you publish your test, audiences will be able to interact with them, so make sure you’ve ironed out all the details before finalizing. However, you’ll be able to check back on your test in Ads Manager to access the most current insights.

Next, we’ll cover my favorite option: Experiments.

How to use Experiments to A/B create Facebook A/B tests

The Experiments tool lets you create or duplicate ad campaigns to test. The difference between using Experiments to test instead of Ads Manager is the ability to fine-tune and learn more about the impact of your test while it’s running.

1. Access Experiments

This test won’t run in Ad Manager. Instead, you’ll go to the top of your Business account and select “Experiments” under “Measure & Report.” You can also search “Experiments” in the search bar. This is what you’ll see when you access the Experiments page:

AB test through Experiments step one

 

2. Select “A/B Test”

Click “Get Started” underneath the “A/B Test” option. When you do this, you’ll be taken to a menu that lets you fill in the ad details. For example, you’ll have to choose the campaign you want to test:

Experiments tool AB test details

 

Here, you can schedule the run time of your test, fill in the test name, and even decide how you want Facebook to choose the winning campaign. You can either choose cost per result or cost per conversion lift:

 

More Experiments test detailsWhen you’re finished filling in the details, Facebook will show you how powerful your test is. Essentially, this is to make sure that your draft fits the criteria of an A/B test before you publish. After filling out this menu, you’ll be ready to push your experiment live.

Facebook uses the same base technology to run your A/B tests. The different versions of tests you can run help you make the best choices to optimize ad performance. No matter which test you run, however, you can see all of your results in “Test and Learn” when they’re finished.

Next, let’s go over some best practices for running your A/B test on Facebook.

Facebook A/B Test Best Practices

Keep these best practices in mind before you begin your split test — they’ll help you run tests that are valuable and applicable to your next campaign.

1. Choose one variable that’ll help you reach your goals.

When you A/B test on Facebook, make sure you’re only choosing one variable to test. There’s a separate multivariate test that you can run, but for A/B, one variable is key. Your test results will be more conclusive with only one variable.

2. Pick audiences that you want to reach with ads.

Choose a new audience for your test. They should be large enough to provide measurable results, but shouldn’t be the exact same audience as a campaign you’re already running. If they’re the same as a drafted campaign, that’s okay because they’re not published.

However, if you choose the exact same audience as a campaign you’re already running, Facebook’s system might mix up your ads and provide contaminated results.

3. Use hypotheses that are measurable and valuable.

In order to analyze your test results so they’re the most valuable to you, make sure your hypothesis is measurable. To put it another way: Make sure your hypothesis is clear, easy to understand, and able to be determined with an A/B test.

Your hypothesis can be as simple as, “Which method of delivery do my audience members respond the best to?” This question can be answered by using the Delivery Optimization A/B test on Facebook.

4. Make time frames that are ideal.

Recall that when you set up your A/B test, you can choose a time frame. You can choose to run your test for up to 30 days. Facebook’s Business Center suggests at least four days, which is enough time for the technology to produce accurate results.

5. Choose a budget that works for your business.

Facebook can provide an ideal budget for you based on your test details, or you can choose an ideal budget for yourself when you’re filling in test details. Setting an ideal budget will help you determine a winning strategy — it factors in Ad Spend into the success of your test.

According to one of HubSpot’s Paid Ads specialists, Nicole Ondracek, “A big value of split testing is being able to prevent audience overlap so you know that the same audience is not seeing multiple variants which could affect the results. That way, you can confidently say which one is the clear winner.”

A/B testing gives you a better understanding of audience behavior. Performing them on Facebook streamlines the process and gives you more comfortability with Facebook’s ad system.

Additionally, Ondracek mentions that depending on split testing results, advertisers can begin to shape what type of creative they need to use for the future.

How will you use split testing on Facebook to help your creative advertising efforts?

80 Things to Check Before, During, and After Launching a Website

Admit it: Launching a new website is stressful — even for the most seasoned digital marketers.

Websites are complex. There are so many things that are easily overlooked, like a broken link or a misspelled word. 

And of course, a handful of things could go very, very wrong. Like what if you forget to test an important data capture form and then lose out on generating a bunch of new leads? Or worse, what if you forget to properly set up site redirects, and those valuable search engine visitors get a page not found message?

Instead of worrying about the what ifs, wouldn’t it be much easier to have a comprehensive website checklist to run down before every site launch? One that you could use for enterprise websites, microsites, landing pages, and everything in between?

What You Should Do Before Beginning Your Site Design

Whether this is your first website that is being built from scratch or you are doing a website redesign, there are a few steps that you should take before hiring a web designer or diving in yourself.

1. Analyze your previous website (if applicable).

In order to make good decisions, you must first understand where you’ve been. That starts with your existing website if you have one. Ask yourself: 

  • What is the purpose of a new design or overhaul?
  • What haven’t hasn’t been accomplished with this existing site?
  • How will a new design serve the new organization?

The answers to these questions can help you identify your gaps, which can then inform goal setting for the new site.

2. Crawl your old site (if applicable) and document its structure. 

You can get an idea of your site’s existing structure, pages, and assets by using a crawling tool such as Screaming Frog. This is a necessary step in creating your website development plan because you’ll have a more concrete view of what pages existed before, what redirects are in place, and what the meta data currently looks like.

3. Obtain benchmark data from your previous website (if applicable).

Not only will you want to compare how your new site performs compared to the old, but you’ll also want to continue identifying gaps that will provide data-driven insights to aid your new strategy.

4. Identify your goals for the new design, how you’ll achieve them, and how you’ll measure success.

Once the gaps are fully fleshed out, you can begin crafting your goals for the design. You may come to conclusions such as: 

  • The current site is unwieldy, and we need ease of use. 
  • The current site no longer looks trendy, so we need a visual refresh. 
  • The current site doesn’t perform, so we need a more SEO-friendly structure with a better UX. 

Whatever your goals, you’ll want to understand exactly how a new site will help you achieve them so that you can craft its implementation accordingly.

5. Choose a Solid CMS.

If you’ve never launched a site before, the long list below might intimidate you. However, it actually shouldn’t take too long to run through most of the aspects on this list — especially if you built your website with a solid CMS. 

A CMS, or content management system, often allows you to design a website from a pre-created template, optimize your content for SEO, and edit content after it’s published. If you’ve already built your website, you might have already gained experience with using a CMS. 

But, if you’re still building a website, one way to make going through this checklist less time consuming is by building your pages on a CMS that already does a lot of the work for you.

For example, HubSpot’s CMS that allows you to create and edit content including landing pages and blog posts. It’s features also allow you to organize your content, schedule it, track analytics, and optimize it for SEO. 

Alternatively, you can also test out CMS platforms like WordPress, Wix, or even Drupal.

6. Develop a consistent brand.

Decide on a consistent brand message and tone, one that you’re committed to presenting consistently across. This will make you look more legitimate, credible, and memorable.

  1. Understand your value proposition.
  2. Choose a mission statement, vision statement, and tagline that represents that value as well as your brand identity. 
  3. Choose colors and fonts that convey that identity well. 
  4. Decide on the type of imagery that you’ll use to further convey your messaging.

7. Create your technical SEO strategy.

Take some time to ensure that your website has been given a solid foundation for SEO success. From site architecture and content hierarchy to metadata and XML sitemaps, do not leave any stone unturned.

  1. Perform keyword research and decide what you want to rank for. 
  2. Create a content strategy that satisfies those keywords. 
  3. Understand how your existing pages (if applicable) can be adjusted and which pages will need to be created new. 
  4. Figure out which pages are no longer necessary.
  5. Map out where unnecessary pages can be redirected to (using a 301 redirect).

8. Strategize your conversion paths.

Once you have an understanding of the primary pages that will exist on your site, you’ll need to figure out exactly what actions you want users to take and how you’ll capture their information. This includes thinking through: 

  • What premium top-of-the-funnel offers are needed
  • What bottom-of-the-funnel action will be presented on main pages
  • What forms need to be created
  • What landing pages and thank you pages need to be created
  • How conversions will be tracked
  • What actions will happen after a website visitor converts (email responder, etc.)

9. Set up analytics software.

  1. Choose which analytics platforms you will be using on the new site.
  2. Decide if any previous Analytics tracking scripts will be used or if new accounts/scripts are needed. 
  3. Set up new accounts (if applicable).

What to Check Once You’ve Built Your Site

Once you’ve chosen a CMS and built a site that you’re ready to launch, here’s a list of 80 things to check before, during, and after going live. Feel free to copy, edit, and make your own based on the software you’re using to launch and host your website.

Don’t have time to check all 80? Here’s a list of the most important highlights from each section:

We’ve grouped items based on pre-launch and post-launch, making sure to touch on page content, design, functionality, SEO, branding, analytics, security, and compliance. Keep on reading to make sure you don’t forget a thing before your next launch.

Website Pre-Launch Checklist

Before you launch, it’s important to review all of the content on your website with a fine-tooth comb. Of course, that means page content, but don’t forget about your premium content too. From data-driven content and downloadable documents to rich media such as videos and images, you want to make sure everything is in place, working properly, and looking beautiful.

1. Make sure text is accurate and error free.

  • Site content has been proofread for spelling and grammar.
  • Company contact details are accurate throughout the website.
  • Generic content, such as lorem ipsum, has been properly removed and replaced.
  • All premium content, such as case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, have been proofread. Spelling and grammar are correct.
  • Copyright date (perhaps in the footer) includes the current year.

2. Replace all placeholder images with final images and designs. 

On occasion, a website designer may use a placeholder image if they didn’t have the correct asset at the time of the page’s creation. It’s up to you to make sure each page is picture-perfect.

3. Ensure copy aligns with the new brand.

  • The text has been copy-edited to ensure consistent brand voice and style. 
  • All company taglines and mission statements are up to date.

4. Check that all styling preferences have been implemented.

  • Paragraphs, headers, lists, and other formatting are correct.
  • Brand colors have been implemented correctly, including link and button colors.

5. Ensure your design is aesthetically pleasing.

  • Scripts are optimized across web pages.
  • Images are optimized across web pages.
  • CSS is optimized across web pages.

6. Ensure that rights to images, fonts, and other content have been properly licensed or cited.

Even if you outsourced the design to a web designer/developer, the responsibility falls on you to ensure there are no copyright licensing issues. Otherwise, you could end up with a hefty infringement settlement on your hands.

7. Test the site for User Experience (UX).

  • Website pages are compatible across browsers.
  • Website pages are compatible across devices.
  • Images, videos, and audio files are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.
  • All premium content, such as case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, are stored in their proper libraries/databases and work properly.
  • Internal links across web pages are working properly. 
  • Social media share icons are associated with the correct accounts.
  • Company logo is linked to the homepage.

8. Check that the conversion paths have been implemented properly.

  • All necessary forms are present. 
  • Landing pages and thank you pages have been implemented. 
  • The correct buttons and calls-to-action (CTAs) are present in the proper locations. 
  • Everything is linked together appropriately.

9. Create your site backup strategy. 

You can prevent loss of data and protect against malware and other damages by properly setting up site security and regular backups. Check that:

  • Backup schedule has been created. 
  • Backup location has been identified. 
  • A plan for implementation is set to be put in motion after launch.

10. Store passwords and credentials in a secure place. 

Many individuals have likely been involved in the website launch up until this point, so ensure that passwords are reset when the time comes and proper password etiquette is followed.

11. Audit the technical SEO implementation for errors. 

  • Pages have unique page titles. 
  • Pages have unique meta descriptions. 
  • Each page has a specific purpose, and pages meant to rank organically are optimized around a single keyword or set of keywords.

Website Post-Launch Checklist

Let’s say you’ve done it. The button has been pushed, the domain is pointing to the new site, and you’re about ready to tell the world…

But wait just one second because you still have things to check for now that your site is officially live.

12. Test the site for user experience again. 

Just in case there was an issue with the implementation, you’ll want to ensure the experience is consistent with what you reviewed before it went live.

  • Ensure your design is rendering as you expected it to across browsers. 
  • Ensure your design is rendering as you expected it to across devices. 
  • Ensure CSS/HTML is properly validated. 
  • CSS styling is rendering properly.
  • Favicon is in place and rendering properly. 
  • Internal links across web pages are working properly.
  • External links across web pages are working properly, and open in a new tab.
  • Social media share icons are working properly.
  • Feeds are working properly (RSS, news, social media).
  • Company logo is linked to the homepage.
  • 404 Redirect pages are in place (page-not-found.aspx).

13. Test your conversion path’s functionality.

Take some time to test and validate all of the different features on your website. Lead generation forms, CRM integration, and any other technology should work flawlessly across your website.

  • Forms are submitting data properly.
  • Thank you message or page displays after form is submitted.
  • Form data is being emailed to a recipient and/or stored in a company database.
  • Auto-responders are working properly (if applicable).

14. Check that integrations with third-party tools are running smoothly.

Integrations such as your CRM, e-commerce software, and/or marketing platform link to your site and help you run your business. If there is a potential issue that can cause data loss, you don’t want to find out way after the fact. 

15. Make a copy of the final website for backup purposes. 

Now that everything is in place and finalized, you want to have a pristine copy of it should you experience data corruption or loss. 

16. Ensure that backups are running properly. 

Now is the time to check the implementation of your backup strategy. Check that ongoing copies of the website are being created and stored on a regular basis.

16. Make sure your site is secure.

  • 24/7 monitoring scripts are installed.
  • There’s a plan in place for updating plugins (if applicable). 
  • Ensure that all applicable parties are aware of your organization’s password etiquette policies.

17. Comply with all applicable laws.

Make sure your website complies with any applicable laws and regulations. Internet law can be sticky, and each industry has its own set of rules to follow. So it’s best to consult with your legal counsel to make sure you aren’t missing anything — this post is not legal guidance. Here are a few you might need to know about:

  • Web pages offer accessibility for users with disabilities (WAI-ARIA).
  • Web pages announce if the website uses cookies (required in some countries).
  • Website is compliant with usage rights for purchased or borrowed code, images, and fonts.
  • Terms and privacy policies are visible to website visitors.
  • Website is PCI compliant (if you’re storing and processing credit cards).

18. Crawl the site to ensure no errors happened on launch. 

Compare the crawl to the previous crawl and see if you find any inconsistencies that were not intentional. You’ll also want to ensure that all pages have the proper search engine indexing settings.

18. Check the technical SEO components for errors.

  • Page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs are all present and match the original technical SEO strategy.
  • Load time for site pages is optimized.
  • A dynamic XML sitemap has been created.
  • The XML sitemap has been submitted to search engines.
  • Page URLs consistently reflect site information architecture.
  • 301 redirects are in place for all old URLs (redirecting old to new pages).
  • rel=”nofollow” tags are in place on applicable links and pages.

19. Optimize your metadata.

  • Metadata is properly in place for any content in an RSS feed.
  • Metadata is properly in place for any social media sharing content.
  • Spelling and grammar are correct in all metadata.
  • Alt tags have been added to every image.

20. Set up analytics.

Make sure your website is set up to capture web data and analytics. This valuable information will allow you to continually improve your website going forward, so you don’t want to forget this stuff.

  • Your website analytics codes and tracking scripts have been inserted on website.
  • Relevant IP addresses have been excluded from analytics tracking.
  • Funnels and goals have been properly created in your analytics software (if applicable).
  • Google Webmaster and Google Analytics accounts have been properly synced.
  • Google Ads accounts have been properly synced (if applicable).

How Do You Announce a New Website Launch?

This (hopefully) wasn’t a vanity project; you did all of this work so far for the benefit of your website visitors, prospects, and existing customers. Your next step is to tell the world about your new site design. Here’s how:

21. Build anticipation with teasers before the site is live. 

A launch of a new product, a launch of a new movie, and — yes — a new site launch all require marketing before the actual release. Think of the last movie you watched in the theater. Did you see the trailer before you decided to buy those movie tickets and popcorn?

Teasers for your website launch can only help to build anticipation and get users wondering what the new experience will be like. This can build buzz and interest once you finally break the news.

22. Create a social media strategy for the announcement. 

Decide what channels you want to promote the news on, how you will make the announcement, and how long the promotion will last. As you craft your messaging, remember to focus on new features and how they benefit your audience. 

23. Identify exciting ways to promote engagement for the new site. 

For users who aren’t as involved in your brand, a new site launch might not seem like a big deal. Your goal, then, is to make it one. Provide an exclusive offer for the first users who visit the site. Or, create a contest that promotes engaging with the site’s new features. Whatever you choose, make sure you make it fun and interesting.

24. Send an email to your existing database. 

You may want to give existing leads and customers a head’s up about the new design, especially if it will cause any confusion when they next visit. You can break the news as a matter of courtesy but also sneak in ways to underscore the value you’re providing.

25. Continue to promote the launch for a month. 

Just because you post about your new website once on social media does not mean that your audience will drop everything to visit the site in droves. Make your launch a big deal, and keep the new functionality top of mind so that your audience is prompted multiple times to check it out.

Resources for Launching Your First Website

Launching a new website can be a tedious task, but you can alleviate some of the stress by using this comprehensive website launch checklist.

If you’re just getting started on your first website, here are a few tools that can help you streamline your process

  • CMS: As mentioned above, a CMS can help you design your website, optimize and publish content, and track your analytics once it’s launched. If you’re looking to test out a few CMS options, start by checking out our 14-day free CMS trial.
  • Blogging Guides: If you’re interested in using your website to publish a blog that could help you boost brand awareness, it can be helpful to start brainstorming topics. Here’s a great guide to how to be a better blogger with tips from our team.
  • Landing Page Templates: A landing page is a great way to highlight a product or resource that your brand is offering. It’s important to know what elements lead to a landing page that will convert. Here’s a guide with examples. Additionally, when using a CMS like HubSpot’s, you can create landing pages from pre-designed templates.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in August 2014, but was updated for comprehensiveness and freshness in May 2020.

How to Write the Perfect Page Title With SEO in Mind

In high school, the hardest part of writing an essay for me was coming up with the title.

To be honest, titles are still a struggle for me to this day.

However, writing titles for blog posts or page titles are a part of my day to day as a marketer.

And now I have to think about SEO as well.

If you’re anything like me, it’s helpful to learn best practices you can refer to when you’re writing a title.

Below, let’s learn how to write the perfect page title while keeping SEO in mind.

Page Titles and SEO

A page title is the title tag that tells a search engine like Google what the title of your web page is.

However, a “title tag” is distinct from the “H1” of a page. Your web page can have an H1 that’s different from the title tag, though they’re often the same by default unless changed in the HTML header of the page.

For example, an article title is your H1. If you had a creative idea for an article title, but wanted Google to index a title tag that’s more likely to get clicked, you could edit the title tag to be different from the H1.

When you type in a query on Google, title tags are the titles you see on the search engine results page (SERP).

So, why do you have to keep SEO in mind when you’re writing a page title?

The main reason is because your page title (and other meta tags) signal to the search engine what your page is about. Your page title helps search engine’s determine if your web page satisfies search intent and answers a user’s question.

Now, you might be wondering, “How can I get started?” Below, let’s review the best practices to keep in mind when writing SEO page titles.

Best Practices for Writing SEO Page Titles

1. Be specific.

Every page on your site should have a specific purpose. Think about the page in front of you, and try to describe it.

If you’re using “and” to combine multiple thoughts on this page, it’s time to make some new pages.

When writing the titles for each of these pages, keep the specifics of the page in mind. If this is a page just about “toasters”, the title should include your keywords centered around “toasters”, and not a more generic keyword phrase like “kitchen appliances.”

2. Explain why this page is unique.

Just like every page title should be specific to each page, you should also make sure that each page title is unique across your entire site.

This helps prevent traffic cannibalization, which is when two pages from the same domain are ranking for the same keyword, and therefore stealing traffic from each other. With unique page titles, you’re less likely to create pages that Google believes are serving the same keywords.

If you’re following the first rule and making sure that every page is laser-focused on a single topic, it should be extremely easy to also make sure that each page title is unique.

3. Be compelling.

When you’re looking at a search engine results page, there’s only three things that appear for a visitor – the page title, the page description (bonus points if you’ve got a unique and targeted meta description), and your page’s URL.

Try and treat your page titles like the titles for your blog posts, and make them compelling.

In the example below, HubSpot used a unique and compelling title to tell user’s that the CRM software is free and compatible with small and enterprise businesses.

4. Don’t be repetitive or stuff keywords.

Your page titles shouldn’t include multiple variations of similar keyword phrases.

A great example of a bad page title is “Toaster, toaster oven, kitchen toaster, college toaster, 8 slice toaster, bagel toaster | Chris’ Toaster Emporium”.

Titles like this promote worst practices and often lead to having the same page titles used across most (if not all) of the pages in your site.

Plus, it doesn’t help user’s understand what’s on the page.

5. Pay attention to length.

Google will cut your title off around 70 characters, and you’ll be left with a set of ellipses at the end of the title – and everything you’ve written above the 70 character limit is essentially negated.

In the example below, the blog post title was too long and the user is left unsure of what’s on the page.

Long page title on Google.

6. Don’t put your company name at the front.

In most cases, your website will already rank high for your company name.

Leverage the fact that search engines allocate more weight to the words that appear at the beginning of a page title, and form your titles using your keyword phrases first, and then your company name.

Keep in mind that CMS’s will sometimes add your company name in the front by default. As a content creator, you’ll need to remove them from the HTML header field if you don’t want it to show up on Google.

7. Include your primary keyword.

While you don’t want to stuff your page titles with keywords, it’s still a good idea to include your primary keyword.

If you can, putting it near the front can help search engine’s and user’s determine what your page is about quickly.

If you can’t include your primary keyword, you should try to include some type of variation of your keyword that satisfies search intent.

8. Write for the user.

At the end of the day, your content should be written for the reader, not for the search engine. User experience is far more important than a search engine.

While writing titles can be hard, it doesn’t have to be. Keep these best practices in mind when you’re crafting your next page title.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples You'll Want to Steal

You’ve done it. You provided valuable content to your readers and they’ve converted into leads. Now, it’s time to nurture these leads into opportunities for your sales team.

Trouble is, cutting through the inbox clutter isn’t an easy feat. And many of these folks just aren’t ready to buy yet.

That’s where lead nurturing comes in: It’s a way to stay connected to the leads you collect that aren’t ready to buy from you yet, and build up trust until they are ready.

If you want to learn more about lead nurturing in general, you can check out this guide. But for the sake of this post, we’re going to dive deep into one of the best channels for carrying out your lead nurturing efforts: email.

To help you better understand how to pair the two concepts, check out the lead nurturing email examples below. From ecommerce to product marketing, there’s something for everyone — no matter what industry you operate in. 

Pro tip: Use the following anchor links to jump to examples within the industries that interest you most: Ecommerce, B2B, Retail, Travel, Food & Beverage, Services, Product Marketing.

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples to Inspire Your Strategy

Here are the top lead nurturing examples that you can refer to and review while developing your emails. 

Ecommerce Lead Nurturing Email Examples

1. Framebridge

Not all lead nurturing emails need to be strictly promotional. Engagement will lead to sales, so it’s important to send recipients something they’ll want to open and read. Framebridge does something in their nurturing emails that works like a charm: education. By teaching the reader a helpful skill, they are providing value in exchange for an ask from their recipient (reading the guide).

It’s also worth mentioning that they only use one clear call-to-action — “Educate Me.” According to WordStream, simply using one call-to-action (CTA) in an email increases clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

Source

2. Casper

Your product is only as good as its reviews — in fact, most customers read a review or testimonial before making a purchase. In this traditional abandoned cart email, Casper adds a bit of social proof with a fun customer testimonial.

Casper’s abandoned cart email is clever and to-the-point. It asks the reader if they’d like to revisit a cart they have added to, shows what they were shopping for, and includes two simple CTAs.

casper lead nurturing exampleSource

3. Sephora

For visual products, video is a great method of communicating or explaining. Sephora includes a fun video from an employee with educational content as well as product offerings. They do have a lot of calls-to-action, however, the main focus is to watch the tutorial which is helpful to the reader. A visual email for a visual brand, it grabs your attention and shows off the products in a unique and interesting way.sephora  lead nurturing example


B2B Lead Nurturing Email Examples

4. Litmus

Triggered email messages yield 67.9% higher open rate and 241.3% higher click rates than standard email messages, according to Epsilon. In other words, when you use a person’s behavior — lets say that downloaded content about email workflows — to trigger a relevant email based on that action, it will perform well.

Here’s a great example from Litmus that demonstrates how to use clever, clear copy to provide recipients with a relevant email that adds provides even more value.

litmus  lead nurturing example

Retail Lead Nurturing Email Examples

5. Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods shows their products in context and creates a Pinterest-inspired section for each different aesthetic. Each collection has a featured CTA and the email feels more like a curated pinboard than a sales email.

Not to mention, this email is also very mobile-friendly, which can play a big part in the success of an ecommerce lead nurturing email: 56% of email is opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus.

Uncommon Goods Email  lead nurturing example

6. Chubbies

Chubbies is well known for their cheeky marketing and their emails do not disappoint. With over 1.68 million Facebook Likes, they put the social, fun aspect of content first. Their email newsletter serves as a hub for user-generated content, promotions, and all-around humor.

Part information, part fun, this email encourages its reader to enjoy reading it even if they aren’t planning to buy anything in that moment. The copy relates to its audience, the visuals are on-brand, and they offer multiple CTAs (purchase clothing & follow on Snapchat).

s  lead nurturing example

chubbies2.png


Travel Lead Nurturing Email Examples

7. JetBlue

JetBlue has some of the best email copy around. Not only is this email funny, helpful, and full of great puns, but it also reflects JetBlue’s commitment to engaging and retaining customers through email. One of JetBlue’s email objectives is to convert current or past customers into TrueBlue members, as demonstrated below.

(Want to learn how long your emails should be? Check out this helpful blog post that takes audience and message into consideration.)

JetBlue Email lead nurturing example

8. Airbnb

Airbnb’s emails have one goal in mind: give their readers wanderlust.

This email has a clear CTA, highlights beautiful travel destinations, and doesn’t ask too much of the recipient. Not to mention, company anniversaries are always a good opportunity to reach out to subscribers without seeming pushy. It feels personal and curated.

airbnb lead nurturing example


Services Lead Nurturing Email Examples

9. Handy

The combination of clear buttons, information about the service, and a nice photo make this email from Handy feel uncluttered and effective. More specifically, the photo of smiling customers is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. It helps to draw attention to the effect their product has on those who buy it: happiness.
  2. Human photos saw 95% higher conversion than object photos, according to VWO.

Handy Email  lead nurturing example

10. Freelancer

I’m a sucker for a good illustration and Freelancer’s caught my attention immediately. They prove the value of the service through a drawing, then provide a clear ask in the CTA: “Get Started Today.” If you can align images in your email while educating your readers, the message will stick with them for longer and have a higher impact.

Freelancer Email lead nurturing exampleSource

11. Skillshare

At the top of this email, Skillshare includes a nice reminder to its recipients that their trial is about to expire — a smart move that’ll hopefully result in a renewal or purchase.

The reminder is accompanied by some unobtrusive, helpful CTAs for various educational classes. Notice how the simple, stylish boxes stand out as an alternative to a traditional button.

Skillshare Email  lead nurturing exampleSource


Food & Beverage Lead Nurturing Email Examples

12. Thrive

When a person hears something, they’ll remember 10% of that content three days later. However, when paired with a relevant image, they will remember 65% of the information three days later. This concept is referred to as the picture superiority effect.

Thrive takes advantage of this theory through their use of product images. They highlight their products in an attractive way, include a good amount of content, and encourage the reader to start shopping.

Thrive Food Email lead nurturing exampleSource

13. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts used an announcement for a new item as a way to reach out to its audience. This simple email asks its readers to find the location nearest them, showcases the new drink, and has a secondary CTA to add them on Snapchat. (Speaking of which, check out this guide to Snapchat for business.)

DDPerks Email  lead nurturing example

Product Marketing Lead Nurturing Email Examples

14. InVision App

Newsjacking is defined by HubSpot as “the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” By mentioning a current, trending topic into your marketing, you can bring in a new audience and engage with your current users.

InVision monopolized on the “Stranger Things” trend by highlighting its typography in this email and relating it back to the design industry. They also used it as an excuse to teach their newsletter recipients through workshops and training.

invision lead nurturing example

15. Zapier

According to DemandGen, leads that are nurtured with personalized content convert into sales at 20% higher than those who aren’t.

This email is from the CEO of Zapier asking how he can help them get setup proves that they’ve got a handle on the whole personalization thing. This user is being targeted with a name personalization token as well as a trigger indicating that they are yet to setup the product.

For technical products, friendly, helpful emails based on activity can perform extremely well. Notice how they even include a link to their help documentation for added value and clarity.

zapier lead nurturing exampleSource

16. Sprout Social

Sprout Social uses a new feature as a reason to reach out to leads. They teach the audience about this new feature, let them know that their trial is expiring, and provide helpful feature descriptions to inform their decision.

By giving your readers a taste of your new products and services, they will be inspired to learn more, so be sure to also include relevant links and information for them to continue their research.

Sprout Social Email lead nurturing exampleSource

17. Typeform

Writing email copy is difficult. It’s important to be friendly, helpful, and straightforward.

That’s why Typeform really hit the nail on the head with this email. In the example below, you’ll see that they’re not only being relatable and honest, but they are also strategically taking advantage of their user’s inactive status to position the outreach. And the challenge to look at their leaderboard is a nice secondary CTA that doesn’t ask too much.

Typeform Email lead nurturing exampleSource

18. Square

Holiday marketing is a common type of lead nurturing. Both B2B and B2C companies take full advantage of running holiday-themed campaigns throughout the year.

Square leverages the Valentine’s Day holiday to encourage its recipients to take action with their own customers. They provide a helpful and powerful statistic to prove value, and keep it short and sweet.

Square Valentines Email lead nurturing exampleSource

19. Duolingo

Duolingo taps into their users’ affinity for learning by asking them to nominate a favorite teacher for a contest. This is a great way of engaging with your audience while providing a helpful and fun reason to click.

They also make use of two different types of testimonials. They tell the reader to join “350,000 teachers” as well as including two quotes from teachers using the product. What a great use of social proof.

Duolingo lead nurturing example

Now that you’ve been inspired by these great brands and products, learn how to write email copy like a pro and create compelling images.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

25 Live Video Stats Marketers Need to Know in 2020

In the past year or so, live video has quickly become one of the most popular types of online content, especially on social media.

Not only is Facebook Live thriving, with one in five videos being live streams, but other major platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and — most recently — LinkedIn, have embraced similar features.

Aside from the older social media platforms allowing live streams, some emerging platforms, like Twitch.tv, now cater specifically to live stream viewers.

While people find live streams entertaining because they offer them a chance to see raw, authentic footage, view behind-the-scenes video from their favorite influencers, or interact in live Q&As with industry experts, brands also find this content beneficial for boosting awareness.

For example, many companies have sponsored or hosted the live Q&As I noted above. Alternatively, they’ve also sponsored live product tutorials from social media influencers. Aside from smaller Q&As and tutorials, some brands have even created entire virtual events that rely on live streams.

When it comes to live video, there are many creative opportunities that could allow brands to reach and interact with their audiences. But, because this tactic is still somewhat new, many companies might not know where to start when brainstorming live content.

Like with any new trend, brands might also wonder, “Is streaming live video worth my time, or is this strategy just built on hype?”

To give you a bird’s eye view of the live video landscape, here are 25 stats that you should keep in mind if you’re considering live video.

25 Live Video Stats That Marketers Need to Know

Growth in Live Video

  • In 2019, internet users watch 1.1 billion hours of live video. (StreamElements)
  • The video streaming market is projected to hit 184.3 billion by 2027. (Grand View Research)
  • In 2018, 47% of live streaming video viewers worldwide are streaming more live video compared with the year before. (IAB)
  • Also in 2018, 44% of live video viewers said they watch less live TV “as a result of live streaming.” (IAB)
  • 67% of consumers were streaming live video worldwide by the end of 2018. (IAB)
  • By the end of 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic. (Go-Global)

How Live Streaming Benefits Brands

  • More than 35% of marketers use live video as part of their social media strategy. (Social Media Examiner)
  • 52% of live stream viewers prefer free, ad-supported content over subscription content. (IAB)
  • 82% of people prefer live video from a brand over standard social media posts. (Livestream)
  • 67% of audiences who watch a live stream event will purchase a ticket to a similar event. (Livestream)
  • 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog. (Livestream)

Live Streaming Platforms

  • In May 2019, YouTube Live videos were watched for 284 hours. This was a monthly record for YouTube. (StreamElements)
  • Non-gaming content has been a major growth driver for Twitch representing 11% of the hours watched in December 2019 compared to 8% in December 2018. (StreamElements)
  • In Q2 of 2019, Twitch users watch 2.9 trillion hours of live content. (StreamElements)
  • In Q1, Twitter hosted more than 1,200 live-streamed events. (Twitter)

Source

  • 70% of consumers prefer to watch live video on YouTube over other platforms. (Livestream)
  • 60 of the most-viewed YouTube live streams happened in the last two years. (Think With Google)
  • Facebook Live Stream” saw a 330% increase in searches between 2016 and 2018. (Mediakix)
  • One in five Facebook videos is a live broadcast. (Facebook)

Live Stream Audience Behaviors and Content Preferences

  • On average, 1.05 million viewers were on Twitch at any given time in Q4 of 2019. (Statista)
  • 70% of consumers who live stream do so at least once per day. (IAB)
  • 67% of people say the quality of the video they’re watching is the most important factor of a live stream. (Livestream)
  • The most-watched live streams have to do with news coverage, while concerts and live conferences tie in second. (Livestream)
  • 87% of people will watch a live stream if it includes behind-the-scenes content. (Livestream)
  • Almost half of Gen Z watches their favorite shows live on social media. (eMarketer)

Planning Your Live Video Strategy

From the stats above, we can see that live video isn’t going away any time soon.

But, before you start your first live video, you’ll want to plan out your live event ahead of time to ensure that it’s both valuable and professional looking to your audience.

You’ll also want to determine which platform will allow you to reach audiences that most align with your brand. For example, if you’re interested in gaining awareness from a more general audience, Facebook Live might be a great option due to the platform’s age and its number of users. On the other hand, if you want to reach gamers or Gen Z, you might want to test out a Twitch stream.

If you’re interested in creating your own live campaigns, but don’t know where to start, here’s a great guide to help you.

Trying to pick out the right live streaming platform for your brand? Check out this post that directly compares Facebook Live and YouTube. You can also read up on one of the fastest-growing live platforms, Twitch, here.

39 Call-to-Action Examples You Can't Help But Click

Think about all the times you’ve signed up for things in your life. Did you once download Evernote? Dropbox? Spotify? Maybe you’ve even taken a class on General Assembly.

Each one of these signups is likely a result of an effective call-to-action (CTA).

Think about it: If you hadn’t been drawn in by the copy or design of the CTA, or been guided so eloquently through your sign-up process, you would probably use a lot fewer apps and websites than you do now.

It’s really important to guide your visitors through the buying journey using strategic CTAs.

What a CTA Means in Marketing

As a marketer, CTAs are relevant because they encourage your audience to take action on a marketing campaign.

Ultimately, the goal of any marketing campaign is to guide your audience in the buyer’s journey so they eventually make a purchase.

However, each marketing campaign might have a different action for the audience to carry out because there are several tactics you can use to guide your audience in their journey.

Below are a few examples of the types of CTAs you might use in marketing:

Sign up.

In this type of CTA, the audience might be invited to sign up for a free trial, an online course, a future event, or even a software product. It all depends on the CTAs context on an ad or website.

Subscribe.

This CTA doesn’t commit a person to a purchase. Rather, it invites them to receive updates from the company. “Subscribe” CTAs are common to company blogs, for which the business wants to develop a readership.

Try for free.

Nearly every company website has a free trial offer today. Each of them are CTAs of this variety, and they allow people to demo a product before deciding if it’s worth the cost to them.

Get started.

This CTA can drive a variety of behaviors for a company, from a free trial to virtual reality experience.

Learn more.

Sometimes, all you want is to give your potential customers a little more information so they’re prepared to buy something. That’s what this CTA is for.

Join us.

Do you manage an online community. Is your product built on collaboration between users? You might find yourself placing “join us” CTA somewhere on your website.

Learn more about the purposes CTAs can serve in this blog post.

The above types of CTA all serve a designated purpose, but keep in mind the language they use can vary. And today, marketers everywhere have put some creative spins on their calls to action to generate the leads their businesses depend on.

To help you identify what’s effective and what’s not, we’ve listed out 31 examples of CTAs that totally rock. These call-to-action examples are broken out into three categories:

  • Simple and effective CTAs
  • CTAs with great call-to-action phrases
  • CTAs that balance multiple buttons on one page

1. Evernote

CTA: Sign Up

“Remember Everything.” Visitors can immediately understand that message the moment they land on this page. The design on Evernote’s website makes it super simple for users to see quick benefits of using the app and how to actually sign up to use it. Plus, the green color of the main and secondary CTA buttons is the same green as the headline and the Evernote logo, all of which jump off the page.

2. Dropbox

CTA: Sign up for free

Dropbox has always embraced simple design with a lot of negative space. Even the graphics on their homepage are subtle and simple.

Thanks to that simple design and negative space, the blue “Sign up for free” call-to-action button stands out from everything else on the page. Since the CTA and the Dropbox logo are the same color, it’s easy for the visitor to interpret this CTA as “Sign up for Dropbox.” That’s one effective call-to-action.

Example call to action button by Dropbox

3. OfficeVibe

CTA: Subscribe

Here’s a slide-in call-to-action that caught my attention from OfficeVibe. While scrolling through a post on their blog, a banner slid in from the bottom of the page with a call-to-action to subscribe to their blog. The best part? The copy on the slide-in told me I’d be getting tips about how to become a better manager — and the post it appeared on was a post about how to become a better manager. In other words, the offer was something I was already interested in.

Example call to action button by OfficeVibe

Plus, I like how unobtrusive slide-in CTAs are — as opposed to what my colleague Rachel Sprung calls the “stop-everything-and-click-here-pop-up-CTA.” I find these CTAs offer a more lovable experience because they provide more information while still allowing me to continue reading the blog post.

4. Netflix

CTA: Join Free for a Month

One big fear users have before committing to sign up for something? That it’ll be a pain to cancel their subscription if they end up not liking it. Netflix nips that fear in the bud with the “Cancel anytime” copy right above the “Join Free for a Month” CTA. I’d venture a guess that reassurance alone has boosted signups. Also, you’ll notice again that the red color of the primary and secondary CTAs here match Netflix’s logo color.

Example call to action button by Netflix

5. Square

CTA: Get Started

To achieve effective CTA design, you need to consider more than just the button itself. It’s also super important to consider elements like background color, surrounding images, and surrounding text.

Mindful of these additional design components, the folks at Square used a single image to showcase the simplicity of using their product, where the hovering “Get Started” CTA awaits your click. If you look closely, the color of the credit card in the image and the color of the CTA button match, which helps the viewer connect the dots of what to expect if/when they click.

Example call to action button by Square

6. Prezi

CTA: Give Prezi a try

The folks at Prezi are also into the minimalist design look on their website. Other than the green dinosaur and the dark brown coffee, the only other color accompanying the predominantly black-and-white design is a bright blue — the same blue from their main logo. That bright blue is strategically placed on the homepage: the main “Give Prezi a try” CTA, and the secondary “Get Started” CTA, both of which take users to the same pricing page.

Example call to action button by Prezi

7. Full Bundle

CTA: Our Work

Full Bundle is another company that uses negative space to make their primary CTA pop. The white “Our Work” call-to-action stands out against the dark greys of the background. Their choice of CTA is strategic, too. Given that they primarily exist to build out clients’ online presences, it’s important for them to showcase their work — and that’s what most folks are going to their website for.

Example call to action button by Full Bundle

8. Panthera

CTA: Join

The folks at Panthera are looking for users who really care about wild cats around the world and want to join a group of people who feel the same way. To target those people in particular, we love how they use language that would speak to big cat-lovers: “Join the pride today.” The page itself is super simple: an on-page form with two, simple fields, and a button asking folks to (again) “Join.”

Example call to action button by Panthera

9. EPIC

CTA: Let’s start a new project together

The folks at the agency EPIC use their homepage primarily to showcase their work. When you arrive on the page, you’re greeted with animated videos showing some of the work they’ve done for clients, which rotate on a carousel. While there are plenty of other places users might click on their site — including their clients’ websites — the main call-to-action stands out and always contrasts with the video that’s playing in the background.

I love that it features friendly, inclusive language — “Let’s start a new project together” — which gives a hint to users looking for a creative partner that they’re an especially great team to work for.

Example call to action button by EPIC

10. Aquaspresso

CTA: Send Me Specials Now!

The whole point of a call-to-action is to direct your site visitors to a desired course of action — and the best CTAs do so in a way that’s helpful to their visitors. The folks at coffee company Aquaspresso really nailed that balance here with the pop-up CTA on their main blog page.

Here, the desired course of action is for their blog readers to check out what they’re actually selling (and hopefully buy from them). There are many ways they could have done this, including putting out a CTA that urges people to “Check out our most popular products!” or something very direct. But we love what they’ve done instead: Their CTA offers blog readers something much more helpful and subtle — an offer for “today’s specials” in exchange for the reader’s email address.

Adding that the specials are for today only is a great example of a psychological tactic called scarcity, which causes us to assign more value to things we think are scarce. The fear that today’s specials are better than tomorrow’s might make people want to fill it out and claim their offer while they can.

Example call to action button by Aquaspresso

(The call-to-action above was created using HubSpot’s free conversion tool, Leadin. Click here to learn how to easily create CTAs like this one using Leadin.)

11. QuickSprout

CTA: Are you doing your SEO wrong? Enter your URL to find out

No one wants to be wrong. That’s why a call-to-action button like QuickSprout’s slide-in CTA on their blog is so clickworthy. It asks the reader, “Are you doing your SEO wrong?” Well, am I? All I have to do is enter my URL to find out — seems easy enough. It’s language like that that can really entice visitors to click through.

Plus, having the CTA slide in mid-blog post is a great tactic for catching readers before they bounce off the page. Traditionally, many blogs have CTAs at the very bottom of each blog post, but research shows most readers only get 60% of the way through an article. (Click here to learn how to add slide-in CTAs to your blog posts.)

Example call to action button by QuickSprout

12. Grey Goose

CTA: Discover a cocktail tailored to your taste

Here’s a fun, unique call-to-action that can get people clicking. Whereas site visitors might have expected to be directed to product pages or press releases from the homepage, a CTA to “Discover a Cocktail Tailored to Your Taste” is a pleasantly surprising ask. People love personalization, and this CTA kind of feels like an enticing game. The play button icon next to the copy gives a hint that visitors will be taken to a video so they have a better idea of what to expect when they click.

Example call to action button by Grey Goose

13. Treehouse

CTA: Claim Your Free Trial

A lot of company websites out there offer users the opportunity to start a free trial. But the CTA on Treehouse’s website doesn’t just say “Start a Free Trial”; it says “Claim Your Free Trial.”

The difference in wording may seem subtle, but think about how much more personal “Claim Your Free Trial” is. Plus, the word “claim” suggests it may not be available for long, giving users a sense of urgency to get that free trial while they can.

Example call to action button by Treehouse

14. OKCupid

CTA: Continue

OKCupid’s CTA doesn’t seem that impressive at first glance, but its brilliance is in the small details.

The call-to-action button, which is bright green and stands out well on a dark blue background, says, “Continue.” The simplicity of this term gives hope that the signup process is short and casual. To me, this CTA feels more like I’m playing a fun game than filling out a boring form or committing to something that might make me nervous. And it’s all due to the copy.

Example call to action button by OKCupid

15. Blogging.org

CTA: Countdown Clock

Nothing like a ticking timer to make someone want to take action. After spending a short amount of time on blogging.org’s homepage, new visitors are greeted with a pop-up CTA with a “limited time offer,” accompanied by a timer that counts down from two minutes.

As with Aquaspresso’s example in #10, this is a classic use of the psychological tactic called scarcity, which causes us to assign more value to things we think are scarce. Limiting the time someone has to fill out a form makes people want to fill it out and claim their offer while they can.

Curious, what happens when time runs out? So was I. Hilariously, nothing happens. The pop-up CTA remains on the page when the timer gets to zero.

Example call to action button by Blogging.org

16. IMPACT Branding & Design

CTA: What We Do

CTAs can feel really pushy and salesy (yes, that’s a word…) if the wrong language is used. I like IMPACT‘s educational approach, where they challenge visitors to learn what the company does before pushing them to take any further action. This call-to-action is especially intriguing to me because they don’t even use an action verb, yet they still manage to entice people to click.

Impact Branding & Design 'What We Do' call to action button

17. Huemor

CTA: Launch (Do Not Press)

If you went to a website and saw a “Launch” CTA accompanied by the copy “Do Not Press” … what would you do? Let’s be honest: You’d be dying to press it. The use of harmless reverse psychology here is playful, which is very much in keeping with Huemor’s brand voice.

Example call to action button by Huemor

18. Brooks Running

CTA: Find out when we have more

How many times have you hotly pursued a product you love, only to discover it’s sold out? Well, as you might know, it’s no picnic for the seller either. But just because you’ve run out of an item doesn’t mean you should stop promoting it.

Brooks Running uses a clever call to action to ensure their customers don’t bounce from their website just because their favorite shoe is out of stock. In the screenshot below, you can see Brooks touting an awesome-looking shoe with the CTA, “Find out when we have more.” I love how this button turns bad news into an opportunity to retain customers. Without it, Brooks’ customers would likely forget about the shoe and look elsewhere.

When you click on the blue CTA button depicted below, Brooks directs you to a page with a simple code you can text the company. This code prompts Brooks to automatically alert the visitor when the shoe they want is available again.

Brooks Running shoe product availability CTA

19. Humboldt County

CTA: Follow the Magic

Humboldt County’s website is gorgeous on its own: It greets you with a full-screen video of shockingly beautiful footage. But what I really love is the unconventional call-to-action button placed in the bottom center, which features a bunny icon and the words “Follow the Magic.”

It enhances the sort of fantastical feel of the footage, making you feel like you’re about to step into a fairytale.

Humboldt County follow CTA button

What’s more, once you click into that CTA, the website turns into a sort of choose-your-own-adventure game, which is a fun call-to-action path for users and encourages them to spend more time on the site.

Humboldt County adventure CTAs.

20. Uber

CTA: Sign up to drive | Start riding with Uber

Uber’s looking for two, very distinct types of people to sign up on their website: riders and drivers. Both personas are looking for totally different things, and yet, the website ties them together really well with the large video playing in the background showing Uber riders and drivers having a good time in locations all over the world.

I love the copy of the driver CTA at the top, too: It doesn’t get much more straightforward than, “Make money driving your car.” Now that’s speaking people’s language.

Uber double call to action buttons

21. Spotify

CTA: Go Premium | Play Free

As soon as you reach Spotify’s homepage, it’s pretty clear that their main goal is to attract customers who are willing to pay for a premium account, while the CTA for users to sign up for free is very much secondary.

It’s not just the headline that gives this away; it’s also the coloring of their CTA buttons. The “Go Premium” CTA is lime green, making it pop off the page, while the “Play Free” CTA is plain white and blends in with the rest of the copy on the page. This contrast ensures that visitors are drawn to the premium CTA.

Spotify call to action buttons

22. Ugmonk

CTA: Send me the coupons | I’m not interested

Exit CTAs, also known as exit intent pop-ups, are different than normal pop-ups. They detect your users’ behavior and only appear when it seems as though they’re about to leave your site. By intervening in a timely way, these pop-ups serve as a fantastic way of getting your reader’s attention while offering them a reason to stay.

Ugmonk has a great exit CTA, offering two options for users as a final plea before they leave the site. First, they offer a 15% discount on their products, followed by two options: “Yes Please: Send me the coupon” and “No Thanks: I’m not interested.” It’s super helpful that each CTA clarifies what “Yes” and “No” actually mean, and I also like that they didn’t use guilt-tripping language like “No Thanks: I hate nature” like I’ve seen on other websites. Finally, notice that the “Yes Please” button is much brighter and inviting in color than the other option.

Ugmonk call to action buttons

23. Pinterest

CTA: Continue with Facebook | Sign Up

Want to sign up for Pinterest? You have a couple of options: sign up via Facebook or via email. If you have a Facebook account, Pinterest wants you to do that first. How do I know? Aesthetically, I know because the blue Facebook CTA comes first and is much more prominent, colorful, and recognizable due to the branded logo and color. Logically, I know because if you log in through Facebook, Pinterest can pull in Facebook’s API data and get more information about you than if you log in through your email address.

Although this homepage is optimized to bring in new members, you’ll notice a very subtle CTA for folks with Pinterest accounts to log in on the top right.

Pinterest signup call to action button

24. Madewell

CTA: Take me there | What’s next?

Madewell (owned by J.Crew) has always had standout website design, taking what could be a typical ecommerce website to the next level. Their use of CTAs on their homepage is no exception.

When you first arrive on the page, you’re greeted with the headline “I’m Looking For …” followed by a category, like “Clothes That’ll Travel Anywhere.” Below this copy are two options: “Yes, Take Me There” or “Hmm… What’s Next?” The user can choose between the two CTAs to either browse clothes that are good for travel, or be taken to the next type of clothing, where they can play again.

This gamification is a great way to make your site more interesting for users who come across it without having a specific idea of where they want to look.

Madewell clothes shopping call to action buttons

25. Instagram

CTA: Download on the App Store | Get it on Google Play

Since Instagram is a mainly mobile app, you’ll see two black CTAs of equal size: one to download Instagram in Apple’s App Store, and another to download it on Google Play. The reason these CTAs are of equal caliber is because it doesn’t matter if someone downloads the app in the App Store or on Google Play … a download is a download, which is exactly what Instagram is optimizing for. If you already have Instagram, you can also click the CTA to “Log In” if you’d prefer that option, too.

Instagram signup call to action buttons

26. Barkbox

CTA: Get Started | Give a Gift

The two CTAs on Barkbox’s homepage show that the team there knows their customers: While many people visiting their site are signing up for themselves, there are a lot of people out there who want to give Barkbox as a gift. To give those people an easy path to purchase, there are two, equally sized CTAs on the page: “Get Started” and “Give a Gift.”

As an added bonus, there’s an adorable, pop-up call-to-action on the right-hand side of the screen prompting users to leave a message if they’d like. Click into it, and a small dialogue box pops up that reads, “Woof! I’m afraid our pack is not online. Please leave us a message and we’ll bark at you as soon as pawsible.” Talk about delightful copy.

Barkbox call to action buttons

27. t.c. pharma

CTA: Find out more | View products

Turns out Red Bull isn’t its own parent company: It’s owned by Thailand-based t.c. pharma, a company that makes popular energy drinks, electrolyte beverages, and functional drinks and snacks.

Its homepage features two call-to-action buttons of equal size: “Find out more” and “View products” — but it’s clear by the bright yellow color of the first button that they’d rather direct folks to “Find out more.”

t.c. pharma product info call to action buttons

28. General Assembly

CTA: View Full-Time Courses | Subscribe

As you scroll through the General Assembly website, you’ll see CTAs for various courses you may or may not want to sign up for. I’d like to point your attention to the CTA that slides in from the bottom of the page as you’re scrolling, though, which suggests that you subscribe to email updates.

Although this feels like a secondary CTA due to its location and manner, I actually think they try to sneak this in to become more of a primary CTA because it’s so much more colorful and noticeable than the CTAs for individual classes. When you create your own CTAs, try using bolder colors — even ones that clash with your regular stylings — to see if it’s effective at getting people’s attention. (Click here for a tutorial on how to add slide-in CTAs to your webpages.)

General Assembly subscribe call to action button

29. charity: water

CTA: Give by Credit Card | Give by PayPal

Charity: water’s main goal is to get people to donate money for clean water — but they can’t assume that everyone wants to pay the same way.

The CTAs featured on their homepage take a really unique approach to offering up different payment methods by pre-filling $60 into a single line form and including two equally important CTAs to pay via credit card or PayPal. Notice how both CTAs are the same size and design — this is because charity: water likely doesn’t care how you donate, as long as you’re donating.

charity: water donation call to action button

30. Hipmunk

CTA: Flights | Hotels | Cars | Packages

When you land on the Hipmunk site, your main option is to search flights. But notice there are four tabs you can flip through: flights, hotels, cars, and packages.

When you click into one of these options, the form changes so you can fill out more information. To be 100% sure you know what you’re searching for, Hipmunk placed a bright orange CTA at the far right-hand side of the form. On this CTA, you’ll see a recognizable icon of a plane next to the word “Search,” so you know for sure that you’re searching for flights, not hotels. When you’re on the hotels tab, that icon changes to a hotel icon. Same goes with cars and packages.

Hipmunk flights and hotel bookings CTA form

31. MakeMyPersona

CTA: Grab the template! | No thanks

Here’s another example of a great pop-up with multiple calls-to-action — except in this case, you’ll notice the size, color, and design of the users’ two options are very different from one another. In this case, the folks at MakeMyPersona are making the “Grab the template!” CTA much more attractive and clickable than the “No, I’m OK for now, thanks” CTA — which doesn’t even look like a clickable button.

I also like how the “no” option uses polite language. I find brands that don’t guilt-trip users who don’t want to take action to be much, much more lovable.

MakeMyPersona template download call to action button

32. TeuxDeux

CTA: Get Started for Free | Try for Free

Another example of simplistic design, TeuxDeux’s main website features one phrase and two CTA buttons.

That’s it.

Using the company’s colors, the background is just a splash of red and some black.

The CTA buttons stand out against the color and emphasize that you can try the product for free.

I like these CTAs because they show that the company understands its audience. Whenever I’m researching to-do list apps, I always want to try it before I buy it. It’s something that people are very particular about and want to test-drive. TeuxDeux’s CTAs shows that they understand this about their audience.

TeuxDeux CTA example.

33. Betabrand

CTA: Get involved

Betabrand is a clothing company that sells yoga/dress pants for women. Usually, clothing brands tend to use similar CTAs such as “Shop Now.”

However, Betabrand’s homepage CTA is unique in that it involves the audience. Here, users can vote and impact the design of new products.

This is a fun way to get the audience involved and do something different.

Betabrand homepage CTA.

34. Fabletics

CTA: Limited Edition

This Fabletics CTA uses several marketing tactics: scarcity and a holiday.

On the homepage, the brand announces a limited edition collection that’s tied to a holiday (Mother’s Day).

Additionally, the CTA uses a bright color so the CTA stands out on the simple homepage.

Fabletics limited edition CTA.

35. Ashley Stewart

CTA: Shop the Lookbook

Ashley Stewart is a clothing brand catered to plus-sized women. In this CTA, the company uses a fun design to entice website visitors. The entire collage of images looks like a behind-the-scenes camera roll, which is interesting to look at.

Additionally, the CTA copy is straight to the point, which is helpful for visitors who are looking to browse.

Ashley Stewart CTA example.

36. Amazon Music

CTA: 3 months free

This is a great example of several of the elements we’ve talked about in one CTA.

Amazon uses two strategically placed CTAs, colorful, yet simple design, and offers the product for free.

With this CTA, Amazon is promoting one of its own products and services on its homepage instead of other products listed for sale on the site.

The only message they want to get across? That you can try their product, Amazon Music, for free for three whole months. This CTA accomplishes that goal with a simple design.

Amazon Music CTA example.

37. Barnes and Noble

CTA: Shop Now

Barnes and Noble uses a simple CTA to entice visitors to shop a limited collection during the Mother’s Day holiday.

I like this CTA because the landing page design is so cohesive with the branding of the overall company.

Additionally, the graphics and the fonts are all interesting and match the brand’s messaging.

Barnes and Noble CTA.

38. Slack

CTA: Learn More | Contact Us

Slack uses beautiful, simple design on its homepage to entice visitors to click on one of the two CTA buttons.

I like this example because Slack has two CTA buttons for two different audiences. If you’re just getting started in your research, you can click “Learn More.” However, if you’re a repeat visitor and know that you want to talk to a sales person, you can click “Contact Us.”

This is a great example of serving two audiences with your CTAs on your homepage.

Slack home page CTA.

39. Nintendo

CTA: Compare Features

On Nintendo’s website, the company is focused on answering any questions a visitor might have.

In fact, one of the main CTAs is “Compare Features.” With this CTA, Nintendo answers one of their most popular questions because they understand that many visitors are still doing their research before purchasing a product.

Nintendo CTA example.

There you have it. By now, we hope you can see just how important little CTA tweaks can be.

Full Disclosure: We don’t have data to know if these are all scientifically successful, but these examples all follow our best practices. If you decide to recreate these CTAs on your site, please remember to test to see if they work for your audience.

Want more CTA design inspiration? Check out some of our favorite HubSpot call-to-action examples.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Deal Volume and Sales Response Rates Drop to New Lows [COVID-19 Benchmark Data, Updated Weekly]

The economic impact of COVID-19 is undeniable. Businesses all across the globe are learning how to adapt to these new circumstances. We’re all learning how to operate in a “new normal” that’s constantly changing.

That’s why from now until the end of June, we will be publishing week-over-week trend data for core business metrics including such as website traffic, email send and open rates, sales engagements, close rates and more. We plan to add additional cuts, like channel and region, over time.

This week, we’ve added an additional dimension to our dataset — company size. You can explore all the data we’re publishing here.

About the Data

  • These insights are based on aggregated data from over 70,000 HubSpot customers globally.
  • The dataset includes weekly trend data for core business metrics in 2020, focusing on changes occurring during and after March 2020.*
  • Charts in this post are measured against a  benchmark on the y-axis. The benchmark for each metric was calculated by taking weekly averages from January 20, 2020 through March 9, 2020. 
  • The data from HubSpot’s customer base reflects benchmarks for companies that have invested in an online presence and use inbound as a key part of their growth strategy.

*The spread of COVID-19 has had a different timeline in different regions, so we are using the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 as our “official” start date.

NOTE: Because the data is aggregated from HubSpot customers’ businesses, please keep in mind that individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors.

What We’re Seeing

After a slight rally the week of March 30, both the number of new deals created and deals marked closed-won in HubSpot CRM dropped the week of April 6, particularly in EMEA and LATAM. The Easter holiday partially contributed to an end-of-week dip in deal volume in all regions, but deal creation was already trending downward before the holidays. As a leading indicator of future revenue, continued decreases in deal creation here don’t bode well for April and Q2 sales results. We will be watching this metric closely.

Sales teams are sending about 50% more email to prospects than they were pre-COVID, but responses continue to drop. Last week, sales response rates hit an all-time low for 2020 at 2.1%, a lower response rate than Christmas week 2019.

Like last week, marketers are having more success. Customers still seem willing to engage with marketing materials, as open rates climbed another 8% this week. Marketing email volume began to stabilize week-over-week, but the total volume of email sent is still far higher than pre-COVID levels. 

Buyer-initiated chat and database growth suggest that interested customers are still out there. Chat volume, despite declining last week, is still far above pre-COVID averages. Database growth currently sits at February levels; while the aggressive growth of the last few weeks has slowed, it’s encouraging to see that the metric is still holding steady with historical averages for now.

Surprisingly, businesses of all sizes were impacted almost equally. Our data showed that buyers demonstrated neither a preference for supporting small businesses, nor a desire to buy from more established and stable companies. You can explore the entire dataset here.

How Metrics Changed in March

The number of deals created continues to decline, particularly in EMEA and LATAM.

After a slight end-of-quarter rally the week of March 30, the number of deals created dropped 11% the week of April 6.

Deals created are down in every region. North America saw the smallest decline (a 3% decrease the week of April 6). EMEA and LATAM had the biggest with 19% and 16% drops, but it’s worth noting that business closures for Easter may have contributed to the drop in these regions.

Deals closed dropped 19% as well, though we expect to see this happen between an end-of-quarter week and the first week of a new quarter. Some of this decrease may come from the 15% drop in deals created the week of March 23, but the bulk of that impact will likely be felt in the coming weeks, so expect this number to continue shifting. We’ll be watching it closely.

The week of April 6 saw the lowest weekly volume of closed deals this year.

Buyers continue engaging with businesses online.

Buyer-initiated chat volume dropped slightly, but is still around 10% higher than pre-COVID levels — conversational marketing remains valuable to businesses. Database growth has slowed but also has not fallen below February averages.

Other online metrics looked healthy as well. Monthly website traffic increased by 13% in March, compared to February.

Website%20traffic%20Column%20(1)

The average number of contacts added to portals dropped 19% last week, after a 36% drop the week of March 30. These look like big drops, but the average weekly number of contacts is still at the same level of February weekly averages. Continue watching this metric closely.

The number of customer-initiated conversations dropped 4.5% the week of April 6, after steady growth throughout March. This drop did not wipe out March’s gains, as last week’s numbers are still well above pre-COVID levels.

Engagement with marketing emails continued increasing and responses to sales outreach reached new lows. 

Marketing email open rates increased as volume held steady.

Marketing email volume has held steady the last three week, growing by less than half of a percent the last two weeks. That being said, overall volume the week of April 6 is still higher than pre-COVID levels by about 20%.

Open rates on these emails continue to grow. April 6 saw an open rate of 25.5%, the highest single-week average of 2020, and an 8% increase from the prior week.

MarketingEmails

Sales email volume dropped for the first time in eight weeks, as response rates reached a record low.

Outreach was down almost 4% last week — the first time this number has trended downward since February 17 — but the total volume of email sent is still around 50% higher than pre-COVID levels.

This prospecting continues to be ineffective. Response rate hit 2.1% last week, which is a 10% lower response rate than the week of Christmas in 2019. This is the lowest weekly response rate of 2020 thus far, and 40% lower than the highest response rate of the year (3.51% the week of January 6).

SalesEmails

Transitioning to remote work for the first time? We teamed up with Slack to create this guide to moving your business online. 

What This Means for Businesses

Targeted prospecting matters more than ever.

This week’s headline is the 11% drop in new deal creation, while sales outreach still remains far higher than pre-COVID levels. Some increase in email prospecting is expected as outside sales teams have transitioned inside, but this doesn’t fully account for the acceleration of sales outreach. Instead, the data suggests that many sales teams have reacted to the economic climate by reaching out to a significantly broader base of prospects than they normally would target. 

Not only is this ineffective — response rates hit their lowest levels in 2020 last week — it’s a foreboding sign for longer-term sales forecasts as well. As deal creation is the best indicator of future revenue, course-correction needs to happen quickly. Many businesses will need to rethink what prospecting looks like to bolster their long-term pipeline.

Operationally, regularly adjust your sales projections to reflect potentially extended sales cycles or lower deal size so forecasts remain accurate. Just a touch of process (or improvements to existing processes) goes a long way in creating a clear picture of your business over time.

On individual calls, encourage your team to emphasize a helpful, consultative selling approach. Certain factors, like your customers’ budget and willingness to enter sales conversations at this moment, are out of your control. Instead of cold calling your whole database, use your knowledge of your customers’ industries to prioritize reaching out to:

  • Industries that have been minimally impacted or those that are transforming quickly to meet the new challenges 
  • Industries where your solutions are particularly relevant or useful in this moment

We hope to see sales outreach trend down toward pre-COVID levels accompanied by higher response rates in the next few weeks, which would indicate that companies are doing a better job of targeting buyers who have shown interest in their products. 

Resources to Help

Free Software to Get Started

Focus on education, not promotion.

The increase in website traffic and marketing email open rates suggest that customers are still looking to engage with companies.

Your customers may be more interested in learning and education right now. Our own website has seen an uptick in visits to educational resources like our blog, certifications, and Academy classes.

Instead of dialing up the promotion of your products and services during a crisis — an approach that may be insensitive to your customer base, focus on nurturing the long-term relationship. Identify where you can help your customers today, without asking for anything in return. 

Resources to Help

Free Software to Get Started

Incorporate chat into your strategy.

While chat volume declined week-over-week, total volume still far exceeds pre-COVID levels. Conversational marketing offers a real-time way to answer customer questions, as well as automating the lead routing process so your business can serve prospective and existing customers even when your team is out of the office.

Investing in chatbots to get customers answers more quickly, automate lead qualification or book meetings can help your company meet the increase in customer inquiries.

Resources to Help

Free Software to Get Started

We hope these benchmarks provide useful context as you monitor your business’ health in the coming months. We plan to refresh these insights and add further breakdowns over time (such as by channel and company size). You can sign up to be notified of new insights as they’re available here.

How to Do A/B Testing: A Checklist You'll Want to Bookmark

When marketers like us create landing pages, write email copy, or design call-to-action buttons, it can be tempting to use our intuition to predict what will make people click and convert.

But basing marketing decisions off of a “feeling” can be pretty detrimental to results. Rather than relying on guesses or assumptions to make these decisions, you’re much better off running an A/B test — sometimes called a split test.

A/B testing can be valuable because different audiences behave, well, differently. Something that works for one company may not necessarily work for another. In fact, conversion rate optimization (CRO) experts hate the term “best practices” because it may not actually be the best practice for you.

But A/B tests can also be complex. If you’re not careful, you could make incorrect assumptions about what people like and what makes them click — decisions that could easily misinform other parts of your strategy.

Keep reading to learn how to do A/B testing before, during, and after data collection so you can make the best decisions from your results.

To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of one piece of content, with changes to a single variable. Then, you’ll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences and analyze which one performed better over a specific period of time (long enough to make accurate conclusions about your results).

Explanation of what a/b testing is

Source

A/B testing helps marketers observe how one version of a piece of marketing content performs alongside another. Here are two types of A/B tests you might conduct in an effort to increase your website’s conversion rate: 

Example 1: User Experience Test

Perhaps you want to see if moving a certain call-to-action (CTA) button to the top of your homepage instead of keeping it in the sidebar will improve its click-through rate.

To A/B test this theory, you’d create another, alternative web page that reflected that CTA placement change. The existing design — or the “control” — is Version A. Version B is the “challenger.” Then, you’d test these two versions by showing each of them to a predetermined percentage of site visitors. Ideally, the percentage of visitors seeing either version is the same.

Learn how to easily A/B test a component of your website with HubSpot’s Marketing Hub.

Example 2: Design Test

Perhaps you want to find out if changing the color of your call-to-action (CTA) button can increase its click-through rate.

To A/B test this theory, you’d design an alternative CTA button with a different button color that leads to the same landing page as the control. If you usually use a red call-to-action button in your marketing content, and the green variation receives more clicks after your A/B test, this could merit changing the default color of your call-to-action buttons to green from now on.

To learn more about A/B testing, download our free introductory guide here.

The Benefits of A/B Testing

A/B testing has a multitude of benefits to a marketing team, depending on what it is you decide to test. Above all, though, these tests are valuable to a business because they’re low in cost but high in reward.

Let’s say you employ a content creator with a salary of $50,000/year. This content creator publishes five articles per week for the company blog, totaling 260 articles per year. If the average post on the company’s blog generates 10 leads, you could say it costs just over $192 to generate 10 leads for the business ($50,000 salary ÷ 260 articles = $192 per article). That’s a solid chunk of change.

Now, if you ask this content creator to spend two days developing an A/B test on one article, instead of writing two articles in that time period, you might burn $192 because you’re publishing one fewer article. But if that A/B test finds you can increase each article’s conversion rate from 10 to 20 leads, you just spent $192 to potentially double the number of customers your business gets from your blog.

If the test fails, of course, you lost $192 — but now you can make your next A/B test even more educated. If that second test succeeds in doubling your blog’s conversion rate, you ultimately spent $284 to potentially double your company’s revenue. No matter how many times your A/B test fails, its eventual success will almost always outweigh the cost to conduct it.

There are many types of split tests you can run to make the experiment worth it in the end. Here are some common goals marketers have for their business when A/B testing:

  • Increased Website Traffic: Testing different blog post or webpage titles can change the number of people who click on that hyperlinked title to get to your website. This can increase website traffic as a result.
  • Higher Conversion Rate: Testing different locations, colors, or even anchor text on your CTAs can change the number of people who click these CTAs to get to a landing page. This can increase the number of people who fill out forms on your website, submit their contact info to you, and “convert” into a lead.
  • Lower Bounce Rate: If your website visitors leave (or “bounce”) quickly after visiting your website, testing different blog post introductions, fonts, or feature images can reduce this bounce rate and retain more visitors.
  • Lower Cart Abandonment: Ecommerce businesses see 40% – 75% of customers leave their website with items in their shopping cart, according to MightyCall. This is known as “shopping cart abandonment.” Testing different product photos, check-out page designs, and even where shipping costs are displayed can lower this abandonment rate.

Now, let’s walk through the checklist for setting up, running, and measuring an A/B test.

How to Conduct A/B Testing

Follow along with our free A/B testing kit with everything you need to run A/B testing including an test tracking template, a how-to guide for instruction and inspiration, and a statistical significance calculator to see if your tests were wins, losses, or inconclusive. 

Before the A/B Test

Let’s cover the steps to take before you start your A/B test.

1. Pick one variable to test.

As you optimize your web pages and emails, you might find there are a number of variables you want to test. But to evaluate how effective a change is, you’ll want to isolate one “independent variable” and measure its performance — otherwise, you can’t be sure which one was responsible for changes in performance.

You can test more than one variable for a single web page or email; just be sure you’re testing them one at a time.

Look at the various elements in your marketing resources and their possible alternatives for design, wording, and layout. Other things you might test include email subject lines, sender names, and different ways to personalize your emails.

Keep in mind that even simple changes, like changing the image in your email or the words on your call-to-action button, can drive big improvements. In fact, these sorts of changes are usually easier to measure than the bigger ones.

Note: There are some times when it makes more sense to test multiple variables rather than a single variable. This is a process called multivariate testing. If you’re wondering whether you should run an A/B test versus a multivariate test, here’s a helpful article from Optimizely that compares the two.

2. Identify your goal.

Although you’ll measure a number of metrics for every one test, choose a primary metric to focus on — before you run the test. In fact, do it before you even set up the second variation. This is your “dependent variable.”

Think about where you want this variable to be at the end of the split test. You might state an official hypothesis and examine your results based on this prediction.

If you wait until afterward to think about which metrics are important to you, what your goals are, and how the changes you’re proposing might affect user behavior, then you might not set up the test in the most effective way.

3. Create a ‘control’ and a ‘challenger.’

You now have your independent variable, your dependent variable, and your desired outcome. Use this information to set up the unaltered version of whatever you’re testing as your “control.” If you’re testing a web page, this is the unaltered web page as it exists already. If you’re testing a landing page, this would be the landing page design and copy you would normally use.

From there, build a variation, or a “challenger” — the website, landing page, or email you’ll test against your control. For example, if you’re wondering whether including a testimonial on a landing page would make a difference, set up your control page with no testimonials. Then, create your variation with a testimonial.

4. Split your sample groups equally and randomly.

For tests where you have more control over the audience — like with emails — you need to test with two or more audiences that are equal in order to have conclusive results.

How you do this will vary depending on the A/B testing tool you use. If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer conducting an A/B test on an email, for example, HubSpot will automatically split traffic to your variations so that each variation gets a random sampling of visitors.

5. Determine your sample size (if applicable).

How you determine your sample size will also vary depending on your A/B testing tool, as well as the type of A/B test you’re running.

If you’re A/B testing an email, you’ll probably want to send an A/B test to a smaller portion of your list to get statistically significant results. Eventually, you’ll pick a winner and send the winning variation on to the rest of the list. (See “The Science of Split Testing” ebook at the end of this article for more on calculating your sample size.)

If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer, you’ll have some help determining the size of your sample group using a slider. It’ll let you do a 50/50 A/B test of any sample size — although all other sample splits require a list of at least 1,000 recipients.

a/b testing sample size slider

If you’re testing something that doesn’t have a finite audience, like a web page, then how long you keep your test running will directly affect your sample size.

You’ll need to let your test run long enough to obtain a substantial number of views, otherwise it’ll be hard to tell whether there was a statistically significant difference between the two variations.

6. Decide how significant your results need to be.

Once you’ve picked your goal metric, think about how significant your results need to be to justify choosing one variation over another. Statistical significance is a super important part of A/B testing process that’s often misunderstood. If you need a refresher on statistical significance from a marketing standpoint, I recommend reading this blog post.

The higher the percentage of your confidence level, the more sure you can be about your results. In most cases, you’ll want a confidence level of 95% minimum — preferably even 98% — especially if it was a time-intensive experiment to set up. However, sometimes it makes sense to use a lower confidence rate if you don’t need the test to be as stringent.

Matt Rheault, a senior software engineer at HubSpot, likes to think of statistical significance like placing a bet. What odds are you comfortable placing a bet on? Saying “I’m 80% sure this is the right design and I’m willing to bet everything on it” is similar to running an A/B test to 80% significance and then declaring a winner.

Rheault also says you’ll likely want a higher confidence threshold when testing for something that only slightly improves conversation rate. Why? Because random variance is more likely to play a bigger role.

“An example where we could feel safer lowering our confidence threshold is an experiment that will likely improve conversion rate by 10% or more, such as a redesigned hero section,” he explained.

“The takeaway here is that the more radical the change, the less scientific we need to be process-wise. The more specific the change (button color, micro copy, etc.), the more scientific we should be because the change is less likely to have a large and noticeable impact on conversion rate.”

7. Make sure you’re only running one test at a time on any campaign.

Testing more than one thing for a single campaign — even if it’s not on the same exact asset — can complicate your results. For example, if you A/B test an email campaign that directs to a landing page at the same time that you’re A/B testing that landing page … how can you know which change caused the increase in leads?

During the A/B Test

Let’s cover the steps to take during your A/B test.

8. Use an A/B testing tool.

To do an A/B test on your website or in an email, you’ll need to use an A/B testing tool. If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer, the HubSpot software has features that let you A/B test emails (learn how here), calls-to-action (learn how here), and landing pages (learn how here).

For non-HubSpot Enterprise customers, other options include Google Analytics’ Experiments, which lets you A/B test up to 10 full versions of a single web page and compare their performance using a random sample of users.

9. Test both variations simultaneously.

Timing plays a significant role in your marketing campaign’s results, whether it’s time of day, day of the week, or month of the year. If you were to run Version A during one month and Version B a month later, how would you know whether the performance change was caused by the different design or the different month?

When you run A/B tests, you’ll need to run the two variations at the same time, otherwise you may be left second-guessing your results.

The only exception here is if you’re testing timing itself, like finding the optimal times for sending out emails. This is a great thing to test because depending on what your business offers and who your subscribers are, the optimal time for subscriber engagement can vary significantly by industry and target market.

10. Give the A/B test enough time to produce useful data.

Again, you’ll want to make sure that you let your test run long enough in order to obtain a substantial sample size. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to tell whether there was a statistically significant difference between the two variations.

How long is long enough? Depending on your company and how you execute the A/B test, getting statistically significant results could happen in hours … or days … or weeks. A big part of how long it takes to get statistically significant results is how much traffic you get — so if your business doesn’t get a lot of traffic to your website, it’ll take much longer for you to run an A/B test.

In theory, you shouldn’t restrict the time in which you’re gathering results. (Read this blog post to learn more about sample size and timing.)

11. Ask for feedback from real users.

A/B testing has a lot to do with quantitative data … but that won’t necessarily help you understand why people take certain actions over others. While you’re running your A/B test, why not collect qualitative feedback from real users?

One of the best ways to ask people for their opinions is through a survey or poll. You might add an exit survey on your site that asks visitors why they didn’t click on a certain CTA, or one on your thank-you pages that asks visitors why they clicked a button or filled out a form.

You might find, for example, that a lot of people clicked on a call-to-action leading them to an ebook, but once they saw the price, they didn’t convert. That kind of information will give you a lot of insight into why your users are behaving in certain ways.

After the A/B Test

Finally, let’s cover the steps to take after your A/B test.

12. Focus on your goal metric.

Again, although you’ll be measuring multiple metrics, keep your focus on that primary goal metric when you do your analysis.

For example, if you tested two variations of an email and chose leads as your primary metric, don’t get caught up on open rate or click-through rate. You might see a high click-through rate and poor conversion rates, in which case you might end up choosing the variation that had a lower click-through rate in the end.

13. Measure the significance of your results using our A/B testing calculator.

Now that you’ve determined which variation performs the best, it’s time to determine whether or not your results statistically significant. In other words, are they enough to justify a change?

To find out, you’ll need to conduct a test of statistical significance. You could do that manually … or you could just plug in the results from your experiment to our free A/B testing calculator.

For each variation you tested, you’ll be prompted to input the total number of tries, like emails sent or impressions seen. Then, enter the number of goals it completed — generally you’ll look at clicks, but this could also be other types of conversions.

hubspot ab testing calculator

The calculator will spit out the confidence level your data produces for the winning variation. Then, measure that number against the value you chose to determine statistical significance.

14. Take action based on your results.

If one variation is statistically better than the other, you have a winner. Complete your test by disabling the losing variation in your A/B testing tool.

If neither variation is statistically better, you’ve just learned that the variable you tested didn’t impact results, and you’ll have to mark the test as inconclusive. In this case, stick with the original variation — or run another test. You can use the failed data to help you figure out a new iteration on your new test.

While A/B tests help you impact results on a case-by-case basis, you can also apply the lessons you learn from each test and apply it to future efforts.

For example, if you’ve conducted A/B tests in your email marketing and have repeatedly found that using numbers in email subject lines generates better clickthrough rates, you might want to consider using that tactic in more of your emails.

15. Plan your next A/B test.

The A/B test you just finished may have helped you discover a new way to make your marketing content more effective — but don’t stop there. There’s always room for more optimization.

You can even try conducting an A/B test on another feature of the same web page or email you just did a test on. For example, if you just tested a headline on a landing page, why not do a new test on body copy? Or color scheme? Or images? Always keep an eye out for opportunities to increase conversion rates and leads.

Start A/B Testing Today

A/B testing allows you to get to the truth of what content and marketing your audience wants to see. Learn how to best carry out some of the steps above using the free e-book below.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

What Is Quora? A Marketer's Guide to the Most Underrated Platform of 2020

Part of a social media manager’s job is to filter through which platforms are or aren’t relevant to their industry — or, more importantly, their audience. But there’s more to choose from than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Believe it or not, Quora is one such platform you might want to add to your marketing portfolio.

Quora entered the social marketplace about eight years ago, and it has since become a website worthy of a marketer’s attention. Before we get into why, let’s talk about what exactly Quora is. 

So, why is this website compelling to marketers? A handful of unique features, including: 

  • Follow users — and be followed.
  • Answer questions relevant to your industry.
  • Display personal and professional titles above your answers.
  • Reap SEO benefits for your business over the long term.
  • Access new audiences via Quora emails.
  • Use links in your answers to bring traffic to your website.

If all that sounds good, and you’re ready to dive in, let’s get straight to how to use Quora’s tools to enhance your marketing efforts, next.

How to Use Quora for Marketing

Use Quora to follow users.

Quora emulates a feature of Twitter and LinkedIn in that it has a follow feature. This follow feature allows users to connect with readers, colleagues, and other businesses so that they can associate with people who contribute to similar conversations. Users on Quora can ask or answer questions while following questions and people to create a stream of information aligned with their audience’s interests.

When first signing up for Quora, you can start by following your connections from Facebook and Twitter. This allows you to connect and nurture your relationship with those you already know you’ll want to answer questions for. It also helps you understand what your core customers and readers are most interested in learning about.

Answer questions around your industry.

Quora shares features with other popular social applications, so what makes Quora unique? Two main elements: design and community. Quora’s forum-like design makes for a positive user experience in that it focuses its users entirely on specific questions and answers, rather than broad trending topics that brands can’t easily participate in.

In other words, whereas social networks like Twitter and Facebook focus primarily on the user, Quora is designed to focus on the question. In doing so, all Quora users “play by the same rules,” so to speak. This ultimately helps business users carry over their subject-matter expertise and extend that expertise to more audiences.

Display professional titles to establish authority.

In addition to design, Quora’s community provides rich and relevant answers to the things people are searching for and talking about. This ensures that the focus of the website will always depend on and cater to the interests of each user and their followers.

Opposite what you might think, this open-dialogue community doesn’t produce as much subjective or inaccurate information as you’d think. Each user’s answer competes with the answers other users post under the same question. The answer’s relevance therefore depends on how many views and upvotes it receives by the Quora community.

This competition among answers encourages only the most knowledgeable users to participate. For this reason, many of them display their professional titles and business affiliations as an added sign of trust in their response. Quora also allows you to publish photo headshots, reinforcing its commitment to real, human answers — with a hint of networking potential for the employee answering the question. See how this looks in the Quora question below.

The expertise of the people who are answering questions on Quora is truly impressive and only adds to the value of using the platform.

Use Quora as an SEO boost.

You’d think because Quora answers can be posted for free by anyone, Google wouldn’t rank these answers all that highly. On the contrary, Quora answers do quite well in search engine rankings because Quora is designed to rank its best answers by how much its users trust them.

In other words, Quora has done all the work for Google already — all you have to do is write an answer that users view and trust the most, and you can give your business some great exposure on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keep in mind that Quora answers are automatically given “nofollow” tags, which prevent search engines like Google from ranking website links inside your Quora answer any differently just because the Quora post itself might appear high up in a search result. For this reason, you should still invest plenty of time into your website’s on-page SEO — the search engine optimization given to your own webpages, as opposed to the tactics used elsewhere, like Quora.

Access new audiences via Quora emails.

Just because you have a limited amount of email subscribers to your emails doesn’t mean you can’t get some brand recognition in Quora Digest …

Quora Digest emails typically consist of 10 answers to questions the recipient would likely want to see. Recipients can receive these emails as often as multiple times per week or as infrequently as once a month. It all depends on how much time the user spends on Quora.

Although the content of Quora Digest emails is generated automatically by Quora, marketers can still win a spot in these emails by answering questions that rank highly on Quora. The more questions you answer, the more authority you’ll build. This increases your answers’ rankings and, ultimately, puts you in a Quora Digest.

The best part? These Quora emails go right to users who are interested in the topics you’re answering questions on. You get direct exposure to the people who fit your buyer persona without any of the heavy lifting involved in adding them to an email list.

Use links in your answers to bring traffic to your website.

Many businesses use Quora not just to connect with potential customers and build authority on a subject, but to gain website traffic, too.

When looking for questions to answer on Quora, consider if you already have webpages or blog posts that answer the question a user is asking. If so, take an excerpt from your blog post and use it to build your answer in Quora. When you’re done, link out to your blog or website content as an invitation for users to learn more about the subject. See what this looks like in the Quora question below.

Answer to Quora question with a link to author's website for more info

It’s unclear how effective this tactic is when done at length, so be careful how much you rely on Quora for blog or website traffic. Ultimately, you want most of your information to live in one place, that place should be your website.

As you can see, there are several clear benefits to Quora. For one, it caters to specific subject matters. You can pick your own expertise areas and then stay there as your chief engagement. If your business or expertise is in foreign currency exchange, for example, you can write for a dedicated category of questions where you can relay your leadership and help answer questions for your followers.

And yes, that very field has its own category of questions on Quora where people want to learn more about currency exchange. Check it out below.

Group of Quora questions about foreign currency exchange

Then, as a marketer, you can consider the people who are asking questions or engaging in discussion with you as your potential leads.

If you see someone is asking for help picking a good foreign exchange broker, or how to know if someone is a good adviser, don’t be afraid to mention your services and include the URL to your website when answering their question.

You can also use Quora to do research on what you should blog about. Any good answer is going to be more than a paragraph, and could be used as the basis for your newest blog post. This is a great way to do keyword research and get a sense of what the keyword phrases and description that your potential leads really use, and see what they don’t understand or should know about your business.

If someone is asking a fundamental question about your industry, think about writing a blog post to reply and then linking them in your answer to the blog post. You can bring them to your website, show them your calls-to-action, and present them with an offer all while answering their question.

Have you started using Quora yet for your business?

Local Lead Generation: The Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Do It Right

Let’s imagine you manage a balloon animal artist collective in Omaha, Nebraska. You notice your company’s growth is plateauing. You mostly serve a strange crop of repeat customers who throw a lot of parties and really like balloon animals, but they can only do so much for you.

You realize you need new business and decide a base of interested contacts would be a great place to start. In other words, you need to generate new leads, but you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do.

Your company isn’t some multinational balloon animal conglomerate — it’s just a collective that features three of the top ten most celebrated balloon animal artists in the greater Omaha area. And you only book customers in Douglas County (that’s where Omaha is — I just looked it up.)

If you’re trying to generate leads for your business, it doesn’t make sense to employ the same lead generation strategies as companies that operate on a global scale. Instead, you would do something called local lead generation.

Let’s get a picture of what that concept is and how to do it right.

Local Lead Generation Tips

Local Lead Generation Software

What is Lead Generation?

Before understanding what local lead generation is, it might help to know what lead generation itself is. As per HubSpot’s own definition, “Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting a strangers and prospects into people who have indicated an interest in your company’s product or service. Some examples of lead generators are job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content.”

There’s a wide variety of lead generation strategies available, including tactics specific to social media platforms and lead generation through paid-per-click (PPC) ads.

A solid lead generation strategy is an invaluable asset for a business of any shape or size. So that brings us to the point of this article — how can doctors, dentists, smaller law firms, contractors, construction companies, and any other business that operates regionally turn prospects into leads?

More bluntly, how can a local business construct and leverage an effective lead generation infrastructure?

Local Lead Generation

On a fundamental level, local lead generation is just another category of lead generation. That might sound obvious, but it’s still helpful to keep in mind. You’ll be using the concept’s same core principles, but you’ll apply them within specific parameters. Here are some important factors and tactics to consider, and what they mean in the context of local lead generation.

Local SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the process of expanding a company’s visibility in the organic search results on engines like Google. Its endgame is to drive more visitors to a company’s site, increasing chances for more conversions.

Ranking well on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is one of the most important factors for local lead generation, but ranking locally is a different process than ranking nationally.

To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.

There are several strides you can take to ensure that your local SEO strategy is optimal and effective. These steps include improving your website’s internal linking structure, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, engaging with customers on social media, and ensuring your contact information is consistent online.

This is obviously a very high-level overview of local SEO. For a more thorough, technical explanation of the optimization process, check out this article.

Local SEM

HubsSpot defines SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, as “using paid advertising to ensure that your business’s products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result for that search query.” In a nutshell, it’s the process of placing targeted advertisements on search engine pages.

The practice can be leveraged by businesses of any size and provides another excellent avenue for local companies to generate leads. Like SEO, targeted search engine ads are rooted in search interest — meaning high ranking SEM ads generally bring in already engaged prospects.

If your ad placements can rank well for regional search inquiries and keywords, you should be in a good position to generate local, interested leads. To learn more about SEM, check out this article.

Landing Pages, Forms, and Offers

Landing pages — website pages specifically dedicated to turning visitors into leads — are central to almost any virtual lead generation effort. A landing page contains lead forms that ask visitors for their contact information, but they won’t give that information up for nothing.

The process is transactional. Prospects can’t be expected to dole out their phone numbers or email addresses without receiving something in return. That “something” is known as an offer. It’s some sort of incentive that is designed to drive interest in a company while establishing its credibility.

Offers are often content-based. Whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars are all examples of potentially compelling offers. But offers don’t always have to be content-specific — particularly when it comes to local businesses.

Local companies might get more out of offering a discount or a free consultation in exchange for a prospect’s email. No matter how your business operates, well-constructed landing pages and compelling offers are crucial when it comes to converting an interested website visitor into a legitimate lead.

There are also various kinds of software available to aid your local lead generation efforts.

1.HubSpot Marketing Hub

The HubSpot Marketing Hub’s suite of features can assist with your audience targeting efforts. It contains resources that provide real-time SEO suggestions to help you tailor a content strategy to your local audience.

It also enables more sophisticated and effective promotion over social media and other online marketing avenues. Businesses can also leverage the platform to design compelling calls to action and personalize messaging based on location, traffic source, buyer persona, and more.

Ultimately, The HubSpot Marketing Hub is an affordable option for local businesses looking to attract and garner interest from prospects. It provides the necessary resources for any local business to get a picture of who its customers are, how they’re interacting with its marketing efforts, and what it can do to translate prospects’ interest into legitimate leads.

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console can be an invaluable asset to any local SEO strategy. The software brings data about where your content appears in Google’s search results to light and shows how often search visitors are interacting with your site when it appears on search result pages.

The console’s reports provide legitimate, quantifiable visibility into the impact of your content marketing, considering factors like clicks, impressions, and page rank. It also offers insight into keywords or phrases people are searching for when your site appears on the results page — a powerful resource for coming up with new content ideas based on the keywords your prospects are actually searching.

3. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a conversion optimization toolkit that features resources to generate leads, gain subscribers, and ultimately provide sales opportunities from your site’s traffic.

It contains templates to create offers and a powerful targeting and segmentation engine — taken together, these tools can identify when to show the right visitors offers relevant to their interests. It also has analytics resources to measure the efficacy of your campaigns. 

Source: OptinMonster

4. Google Ads

Google Ads can be one of the most mission-critical components of a local business’s SEM efforts. And the software’s HubSpot integration allows companies to identify and reach highly-targeted local audiences.

It can use any CRM data point to serve as a reference for targeted messages — an asset to local businesses looking to pinpoint who and where their potential customers’ interest is coming from.

It also lets small businesses set their own advertising budgets by offering insight into which ads are most effective — allowing local companies to keep careful tabs on the ROI of their paid ads.

5. Typeform

Typeform allows you to capture more leads with engaging interactive forms. The software features mobile-ready contact forms, surveys, quizzes, and more — all from premade or custom templates.

Its automatic tracking tools allow you to pinpoint where your most engaged audience is coming from — whether it be specific social media channels, your website’s home or contact page, or any other source that feeds leads to your business.

No matter the shape, size, or nature of your company, gaining exposure to interested prospects will always be in your best interest. Local businesses still need to grow, and new customers are central to that process. Companies with any sort of online presence should always be looking to generate new leads — no matter how far or wide their geographical reach extends.

So when you’re ready to take your balloon animal collective to the upper echelon of the Omaha, Nebraska novelty party entertainment scene, be sure to look into the different local lead generation strategies explored in this article.