Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

19 Social Media Marketing Myths to Leave Behind in. 2020

Like any major marketing strategy of the past decade social media has had plenty of time to accumulate some big, inaccurate, myths.

And despite the fact that data has disproven a number of marketing myths today, some marketers will still hold on to few, simply because it’s hard to keep up to date on what’s really going on with social media.

Yes, social media landscapes change dramatically every day. However, as a marketer, it’s important to identify myth from reality in order to create an effective social media strategy. 

To help you separate fact from fiction, I put my Mythbusters hat on and drudged up some of the most common social media myths out there.

Let’s dive into some social media myths we’ve all probably heard around the water cooler. Then, I’ll explain why you need to leave these old ways of thinking behind. 

19 Social Media Myths to Leave Behind

1. My customers aren’t on social media.

In 2019, over 2.39 billion people worldwide were active on social media. Today, it seems like there’s a social platform for everything and everyone. While family and friends connect on sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; professionals are networking all over LinkedIn.

Odds are, at least one one social media platform has an audience that will align with your brand. Not sure which one is the best for you? Check out this blog post which highlights need-to-know social media trends.

2. You should join every single social media network immediately.

Just because I can name a lot of social networks, it doesn’t mean I should set up a profile on all of them.

By all means, research other social networks. Set up a company profile or page and give ’em the old college try. But you may find that some aren’t really worth your time. If that’s the case, consider removing your profile and move on. You should only devote time and resources to the platforms that align most with your audience and marketing tactics. 

The best marketers use data to identify which marketing activities yield the best results — if a social network isn’t helping you out, cut it loose. For a little help evaluating the usefulness of new social networks, reference this blog post, “8 Questions to Evaluate Whether That New Social Network Is Worth Your Company’s Time.”

3. Pinterest is only for B2C organizations.

It is totally awesome for B2C marketers, to be sure. But usually when someone says a channel is only for B2C, the B2B marketer in me takes that as a challenge to prove it’s not so. Turns out some of my colleagues feel the same way, because one of them wrote an epic blog post detailing exactly how B2B organizations can get value out of Pinterest. You can also check out the accounts of brands like GE, Microsoft, Econsultancy, and yours truly for some B2B Pinterest inspiration!

4. You should only try to get fans and followers that will become customers.

Quality is important, yes, but don’t underestimate the power of a large social reach. Remember some of these points next time you bemoan acquiring a fan or follower that lives outside of your sales territory or target demographic:

  • More fans and followers means you’re gaining access to their fans and followers.
  • If they’re an influencer, their clout transfers to you by association.
  • When they share your content, your SEO improves.
  • They may still refer business your way.

Learn more about why you need social media fans and followers who won’t even become customers in this blog post.

5. You should only schedule posts during the work week.

While you shouldn’t force your social media manager to work on the weekends, you certainly can schedule posts or launch social media ads on the weekends ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean it correlates to when people are using social media. Our social media scientist, Dan Zarrella, found out that you might actually have more success if you embrace contra-competitive timing.

CTR by day resized 600

While pique social media engagement times occur around the middle of the week, most platforms also have high engagement times during the weekends and evenings as well. For further details on the best times to post on various networks, check out this detailed guide

6. If your friends and family “Like” every update, your social presence will rock.

You can’t just have your mom and uncle Like every post you put up on Facebook. Although it might feel like you see a lot of posts that your friends or family members like, Facebook and other social media algorithms are a bit more sophisticated than that when it comes to determining which posts get seen.

To get social media feeds to favor your content, you’ll need a variety of people interacting with your content — both to grow your reach, and to show up in users’ news feeds. 

So, rather than encouraging just your friends or family members to Like or heart your posts, encourage your followers to Like, comment, or share to encourage further discussion and spread your brand awareness. 

7. You have to respond to social activity immediately.

There’s no doubt a speedy response is appreciated, but it isn’t always required. People understand that you’re running a business. There are other things going on. If you get back in a timely manner, but not in mere seconds, it’s alright.

There are exceptions, of course. For instance, Verizon runs a few Twitter accounts. One is @VerizonSupport. While Verizon will share blog posts and educational marketing materials on this Twitter, it also uses it to respond to questions or concerns from prospects or customers.

Because Verizon’s support account is for customer service rather than marketing, reps who manage this channel should be responding immediately to inquiries.

Another example could be if you’re running a social media account that receives a complaint which is public to all users and could hurt your credibility. In that scenario, you should consult your service team as soon as possible and write a thoughtful reply that shows you’re taking the feedback seriously seriously. 

8. Social media is only about engaging conversation, and not a place to share engaging content.

It’s not that conversations aren’t important. You can’t just ignore your fans. While it’s beneficial to stimulate conversations and discussions with your audience, it’s not the only point to social media marketing. Take a look at this data from Dan Zarrella, for example: 

reply percentafe resized 600

The data above shows there isn’t necessarily a positive correlation between the percentage of tweets that start with @ replies and the number of followers these Twitter users have.

Aside from allowing you to virtually connect with people, social media is a lead generator, a non-organic traffic tool, and a great place to share your best content. If you publish valuable posts, they might not always stimulate conversation, but they could lead people to your website and products.  

9. Social media marketing tactics don’t drive bottom line results.

Piggybacking off of the last myth, you can actually generate value beyond just “engagement” and “brand equity” from social media. Social media drives leads and customers, period.

Don’t believe me? Here are a few stats you should know:

  • Companies that use Twitter average 2X more leads than those that don’t.
  • Companies with 1000+ more Twitter followers get 6X more traffic.
  • 45% of marketers note social media has a below average cost-per-lead compared to other channels.
  • 62% of companies using LinkedIn for marketing have acquired a customer from it.
  • 52% of companies using Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer from it.
  • 44% of companies using Twitter for marketing have acquired a customer from it.

10. It looks tacky to seem relatable as a brand on social media.

The content you publish in social media should always keep your target audience in mind — but that doesn’t mean you can’t also publish content that shows your brand’s personality. Or, frankly, even your community manager’s personality.

There are people behind your company; don’t be afraid to show that with your own special brand of humor, pictures of people that work at your company, and links to news content that you find particularly entertaining … even if it’s not directly related to your industry.

11. Hashtags are essential for every post.

You know those tweets that look like this?

Love this article on #socialmedia #marketing that talks about #pinterest and has an image of a #puppy #lol

The point of hashtags is that they join together common conversation threads. So while it’s nice to have a hashtag for an event, like a webinar or a trade show, don’t lose your mind if it doesn’t become a trending topic. It’s not necessarily going to blow your leads goal out of the water if it does … think of hashtags as a way to be more user-friendly for those following the hashtag, not a way to make all your marketing dreams come true.

12. Social media monitoring takes forever.

One social media monitoring scenario: Glue your eyes to your computer screen, open five tabs for each of your social networks, chug three espressos, click between tabs and hit refresh like a maniac.

Alternate social media monitoring scenario: Use social media monitoring software that alerts you when important terms are mentioned; check back to your accounts briefly every hour or two to see if you need to respond to anyone, follow someone back, etc.

That second one takes you, in aggregate, maybe 30 minutes a day. No big deal. Everybody breathe. Everything’s gonna be alright.

13. Social media managers should be new graduates or have years of experience.

This isn’t just a myth. It’s actually an agist theory that should be completely abandoned — if it hasn’t been already.

Being good at social media marketing, or any job for that matter, has absolutely nothing to do with how young or old you are. You can learn the tools and strategies at any age, and make mistakes at any age, too.

Instead, of considering a social media manager’s age range, look for the candidate who’s both creative and analytically minded enough to manage your presence. To learn more about how to hire the best social media manager for your brand, check out this post.

14. Only young people use social media.

Think that the only people on social media are Gen Z and millennials? Think again.

Yes, 90% of 18 to 25 year olds were using social media in 2019, but, according to Statista, over 80% of 30 to 49 year olds, and nearly 70% of 50 to 64 year olds are on social media. 

Source

15. Newer platforms, like Snapchat and TikTok aren’t worth taking seriously.

Snapchat and TikTok are both mobile social media apps that have pulled in millennials and Gen Z due to their unique platforms. While Snapchat thrives on ephemeral content, AR filters, and Bitmoji features, TikTok highlights goofy, fun, or musical 10 to 60-second videos similar to Vines. 

Despite the fact that these platforms pull in odd content created by users, it doesn’t necessarily mean that brands can’t use the apps to gain credibility and awareness. 

At this point, a plethora of brands — from publishers to B2C companies — have created profiles or ads for TikTok. One of the most surprising and oldest brands to build a TikTok strategy is The Washington Post. Although the publication has a very formal social media presence on other platforms, they use TikTok to highlight the funny, yet human, side of working in a newsroom

Similarly, a number of larger businesses have also launched paid promotions or long-form Stories on Snapchat Discover. To learn more about these companies and the content they’ve launched, check out this blog post.

At this point, you certainly take any popular social media platform seriously. But, as we noted when debunking previous myths in this post, you should identify which platforms best match your audience and your goals before spending time and money to build a strategy for them. 

16. You don’t have enough content to have a social media channel.

The thing with social media is that it moves really fast. What’s posted today might very well be forgotten about tomorrow. It’s easy to think of this as a problem by saying, “I don’t have enough content to post.” But, alternatively, you could just repurpose content or reshare great content regularly.

If the topic your post discusses is evergreen, it will almost always be useful, even if you repurpose or repost it later. This doesn’t mean you should share the exact same link and update commentary day after day, but if a few weeks go by and you want to re-promote an something, go for it. Just do your loyal fans a favor and find a new interesting nugget of information to call out in your update.

17. Social media gives people a venue to publicly bash your company.

The truth is, angry customers already have plenty of venues: word of mouth, Google reviews, Yelp reviews, and many other places on the internet will allow them to give feedback when they aren’t happy. Not creating a Facebook page simply for fear of negative feedback isn’t protecting you from an angry wrath.

Instead, get ahead of the conversation by being aware when negative reviews are taking place, reading them, responding to the customer, and coming up with solutions. Then, when customers are pleased, encourage them to share their positive stories,

If you do need some help dealing with those negative nancies, we’ve got a blog post that will walk you through the steps to calm angry customers down.

18. Social media is too fluffy to have solid metrics around.

Again, social media isn’t about fluffy things we talked about earlier, like “brand equity” and “engaging conversation.”

Yeah, those things happen, but it doesn’t mean you can’t measure the effectiveness of your social media activities.

With HubSpot marketing tools, you can identify exactly how much traffic social media drives to your website, how many leads social media generates, and how many of those leads become customers.

From there, you can even calculate things like the average cost-per-lead and customer — across individual social media networks, and in aggregate — just like you do with every other marketing channel (right?).

19. Social media is completely free marketing.

It’s free to join, but it’s still a resource investment. Even if you are posting for free, you’ll likely need to pay an employee to manage your channels and build strategies. And, as your social media strategy grows more successful, you might decide to up time and money investments.

Luckily, social media is still one of the most affordable ways to boost audiences, brand awareness, and ultimately leads. This makes the investment worth your while. 

Navigating Social Media Marketing

Now that you’ve learned about the falsehoods and myths behind social media, it’s time to start looking at the actual research-back tactics that could make your brand successful on a given network. 

For more data that backs why you need a social media marketing strategy in 2020, check out this list of stats. For tactical advice on various social media tactics and platforms, read our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 but was updated in May 2020 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a video to learn something new than read about it.

Go ahead — you’re not alone. 59% of executives say they’d rather watch a video than read text, too. And really, that number makes sense — we are a society of video streamers. (I mean, hello, Netflix.)

But if you’re not sure how to run a live stream event on social media, fear not. We’re here to make sure you don’t just hit the “Live” button on Facebook and stare at the camera like a deer in headlights. Instead, we’ve come up with a comprehensive checklist to help you plan your first — or next — live stream. 

How Live Streaming Works

Live streaming is a way to broadcast your events to an online audience. It’s a digital alternative to something like selling tickets to an in-person event and allows you to reach people near and far with live video.

Brands use live streaming for a few different reasons, but according to a Brandlive survey, 74% of businesses used it to engage with their consumer base. So instead of being the proverbial “man behind the curtain,” you’re allowing viewers to put a face (or faces) to your organization’s name, all in real time.

Live streaming can be used for a number of different event types, as well. Everyone from the White House to fashion houses to chefs have live-streamed videos of economy briefings, runway shows, and cooking demos, respectively. Here at HubSpot, we’ve used it for things like interviews with thought leaders. So feel free to be creative — just make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Live Streaming

When you’re ready to start learning how to live stream successfully, follow these steps:

1. Plan your live stream like you would any other event.

Think about some of the most popular talk shows. Can you imagine if the guests, sets, lighting, and schedules for something like “The Tonight Show” weren’t planned in advance? To say the least, it might be chaotic.

You’ll want to put the same thought and due diligence into your live stream that you’d put into an in-person event of its kind. And you’ll want to have your goals in mind as you begin to make those plans; those will dictate a lot of the logistics.

Who

Knowing your target audience will determine a few pieces of the planning process. If it includes an international population, that should factor into the date and time of your stream — be sure to think about time zones or holidays that might not be top-of-mind in your home country.

What

Then, think of what category your live stream falls into, and create a title for your event. In case you don’t find any of the above examples fitting to your business, we’ve got some ideas for ways businesses can use live videos.

HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager, Chelsea Hunersen, stresses the importance of thoroughly researching the topic of your live stream in advance.

“Decide important points or stats to hit,” she says. And if you’re going to feature guests, “designate a moderator/host who can make sure these points are hit and can wrap up the conversation if necessary.”

Where

The platform you use (which we’ll get to in a bit) can also be dependent on who you want to view the stream. Different audiences use different channels, so you’ll want to pick the one that’s most likely to draw the crowd you want.

Finally, pick an optimal location from which you’ll broadcast your stream. Consumers have a low tolerance for a bad stream, watching for at most 90 seconds if the connection is spotty or poor-quality, so make sure your setting is conducive to a positive viewing experience. Does it have good lighting? Is it prone to a lot of noise? Is there a chance that your dog walker will barge in yelling, “Who’s a good boy?” loud enough for the entire audience to hear? (Not that that’s happened to me.)

Think of these contingencies, then pick a streaming venue that insulates you from them.

2. Choose your platform.

Here’s where you’ll really need to have your goals in mind since different platforms can achieve different things.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live Events tend to have “two goals,” says Megan Conley, HubSpot’s Content Marketing Strategist. “Registrants and attendees.”

So, if you’re looking to boost revenue — which 75% of marketing professionals are using video to do — YouTube Live is one of the best platforms to use.

Here’s how that works. First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create an account on Google, which you’ll then use to create one on YouTube.

Once that’s done, you can use YouTube’s Live Streaming Events dashboard to schedule a future stream — just click on “Enable live streaming,” if you haven’t already set it up.

YouTube requires a 24-hour buffer between the time that you enable live streaming and your first live. Once that 24-hour period is up, all you have to do is log into your YouTube Studio.

Then, click the “Create” button in the top right corner.

Screenshot of YouTube Create Button

This will prompt a drop-down that asks you to choose between uploading a video or going live. Choose “Go live.”

Screenshot of YouTube's Go Live Button

YouTube will then prompt you to complete some basic info such as its title and what age group the video is made for. You’ll also need to decide if you’re going live right away or scheduling it for a certain time. 

Screenshot of YouTube Live Information

After that, you’ll need to indicate if you want your event to be public or private — here’s where you’ll decide how you want to use your live stream to generate leads.

Screenshot of YouTube Live Privacy Settings

The Unlisted option accomplishes two things:

  1. I’ll be able to generate a link that attendees will get only after they fill out a registration form.
  2. It won’t stream directly onto my YouTube page.

Once you’re done, click “Next” You will be asked to smile to take a thumbnail, so make sure you’re camera-ready. From there, you have the option to “Go Live” or “Share” your content.

Screenshot of YouTube's Share Option

Click “Share,” and that will generate your event’s URL. As I mentioned above, you can keep that behind a landing page where attendees fill out a form to register.

Conley says that, generally, this type of live stream is embedded on a thank-you page behind a landing page form. 

If you use the HubSpot COS, all you’ll need is the link, and the system will generate the embed code for you.

Insert Media

Create Embed Code

Just click “insert media,” paste the link you copied from YouTube, and you’re done.

If embedding isn’t an option, you can still just put a link there — the embed code just creates a seamless design that you can place right on your thank-you page. Either way, be sure to use the thank-you page as a place to remind your attendees of the date and time of the event.

There’s also the option to make your YouTube Live Event completely open to the public. That’s a good option, Conley says, for a major event that you “want anyone and everyone to be able to find.” But if you make your stream public, she points out, make sure you use the event to promote gated content you want your audience to download.

“An image CTA would do,” she notes, as would holding up clearly printed short links throughout the stream (Make sure you have those printed out in advance!). In the image above, you’ll also see that you can add a message to your video — you can mention your gated content there, too. 

Facebook

Facebook Live has been making quite a few headlines lately, and businesses stand to benefit from it — Facebook Live videos produce 6 times as many interactions as traditional videos.

Even without pre-registration, you can definitely promote streams on this platform in advance, which we’ll touch on later. In the meantime, if you haven’t used it before, check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s overview of Facebook Live.

The interface for Facebook has recently changed, so you’ll have an easier time live streaming from your mobile Facebook app

Depending on your device, you may see the “Live” option right under the Composer when you open the app. Alternatively, you may need to click “Create Post” at the top of your News Feed, then select the three horizontal dots in the Composer. 

Screenshot of Facebook Composer Live Button

You’ll have a chance to write a comment about your video. Once you’ve done that, you can select “Go Live” in the bottom left corner. 

Screenshot of Facebook Start Live Video

Instagram Live

You can also live stream on Instagram. With Instagram Live, a functionality in the Instagram Stories feature, you’re able to broadcast video streams and save the replay to your Stories. Users are able to engage through likes and comments during the stream. 

This is a great platform for live streaming since Instagram Stories are used by 500 million users per day, and one-third of most-viewed Stories are from businesses. 

Keep in mind that you cannot post to Instagram from your browser, so open the mobile Instagram app to begin your live stream. Then, select the camera icon in the top left corner next to the Instagram logo. 

Screenshot of Instagram Live Camera Icon

At the bottom of the camera viewer is a menu that scrolls horizontally. Select “Live.”

Screenshot of Instagram Live Camera Viewer Live Button

The shutter button will change to a broadcast icon. This will immediately take you live if you tap it, so make sure you’re camera ready. 

Screenshot of Instagram Live Broadcast Button

 

Twitter Live

Twitter’s advantage is that you can easily share and promote content to a large audience, even if you don’t have a large following. In addition, hot topics spread more quickly than other media outlets. 

If you want to hit the ground running and generate buzz, Twitter is a great choice. However, you cannot go live on Twitter from your browser, so open the mobile Twitter app when you’re ready to start your broadcast. 

Once there, open the Tweet composer by clicking the button with the feather and plus sign. 

Screenshot of Instagram Tweet Composer Button

Select the camera icon. 

Screenshot of Twitter Camera Icon

At the bottom of the camera viewer is the choice between “Capture” and “Live.” Choose “Live.” 

Screenshot of Twitter Capture and Live Options

The shutter button will be replaced with a button that says “Go Live.” This will immediately take you live, so make sure that you have everything set up before pressing it. 

Screenshot of Twitter Go Live Button

TikTok

Since 2018, TikTok has had major buzz as the newest big player in the social media game as a platform for short-form videos. While TikTok’s audience trends younger with 41% of users between 16-24 years old, more people and brands are taking to the platform, as evidenced by its place as the fourth most downloaded app in 2018. 

One big drawback is that you can only go live on TikTok if you have 1,000 followers. For accounts where this isn’t a problem, here’s how to broadcast live: 

Open your TikTok mobile app and select the plus sign at the bottom of the screen. 

Then, enter the title of your stream and select “start.” 

It’s that easy!

The live streaming options certainly don’t end there. Major brands have also used platforms like Periscope, Livestream, and Twitch. They all have their own sets of features and advantages, so definitely take the time to look into which one best suits your needs.

3. Choose your equipment.

When it comes to the actual hardware required for your live stream, some of it is fairly intuitive: A camera is pretty standard, for example, or a device with one installed (like a laptop or phone).

But if you do use your phone, Conley says, be sure to use a tripod. “There’s nothing worse than recording a Facebook Live and having your arm start to fall asleep five minutes into the recording,” she advises. “Use a phone tripod to give your live streaming a professional look.”

Consider how professional you want your sound quality to be, too. Your camera might have its own microphone, but if your setting is more prone to noise, body mics might not be a bad idea, either.

And when you’re using an external camera, says Hunersen, you’ll also need some sort of encoding software (Facebook has a great step-by-step guide to that). That’s what converts the camera footage into a format that your streaming platform understands and can broadcast to viewers. The software you use might depend on your budget, but to get started, check out this one from Adobe.

Also, think about setting up a professional backdrop, like one with your logo. That can help to brand your videos and give them some visual consistency, which is a particularly good practice if you plan to do a lot of live streaming in the future.

Want to take that a step further? “Set up a makeshift studio in your office to speed up the prep time for all of your future recordings,” Conley says. “A beautiful, branded backdrop could be just what your Facebook Live needs to help grab the attention of someone quickly scrolling through their News Feed.”

4. Promote your live stream.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a lot of the major planning and setup for your live stream. Now, how do you get people to watch it?

As we’ve covered, using a landing page is a good way to get enrollment on a platform like Hangouts On Air (or, as of September 12th, YouTube Live). Here’s an example of how we recently used one at HubSpot:

HubSpot_CRO_Hangout.png

There’s a clear CTA here — “View The Video” — which, when clicked, takes the visitor to a registration form. (And check out this rundown of which channels drive the best conversion rates — it’s got some tips on getting people to your landing page in the first place.)

Form-2.png

Once someone fills out the form on your landing page, it should lead them to a thank-you page, where you can share some promotional information about the live stream.

HubSpot’s Co-Marketing Demand Generation Manager, Christine White, suggests creating a “Next Steps” section here with actionable items like “add this event to your calendar” and “check back here on [the date of your event]” to remind viewers that’s where they’ll go to view the live stream.

And once you have contact information for your registrants, Conley reminds us, “you can email the people on that list on the day of, and remind them when it’s going to go live.”

FB_Live_Promo.png

But to promote your Facebook Live stream, says Conley, “It’s really about doing a social image and spreading the word that you are going live at a specific time.”

Don’t rule out using social media to promote live streams on other platforms, too. Some of them, like YouTube, allow you to link your social accounts and push content in multiple places. And if your guests are active on social media, leverage that by including links to their handles in any related content, and ask them to promote the event with their own networks.

5. Do a dry run.

There’s a reason why we do dress rehearsals. When I was in a high school show choir — a humiliating but factual piece of history — it was to make sure I didn’t trip over my dance partner in high-heeled tap shoes.

In the world of live streaming, though, we do dry runs to avoid more technical, but equally embarrassing, missteps. Improv can be hilarious, but not when it means you’re verbally unprepared or your equipment stops working and you don’t have a backup plan.

6. Prep any guest speakers.

Is there anything worse than a moment of awkward, dumbfounded silence?

As part of your dry run, make sure your guests are prepared for any questions they might be asked. Don’t over-rehearse, but do what you can to prevent catching them off-guard.

“It may help to give some questions in advance to a potential guest,” says Hunersen, “but save some follow-up or in-depth questions for on-air, so that you’re able to let them be both prepared and react in the moment.”

7. Test your audio and internet connection.

You might want people to talk about your live stream, but not if all they’re going to say is, “We can’t hear you.” Make sure all of your audio equipment is working both during your dry run and on the day of the stream. Having an extra microphone and batteries on hand probably won’t hurt, either.

Make sure your network can handle a live stream, too. If you’re streaming high quality video, for example, you’ll need both a wire connection and a 3G/4G wireless connection, according to Cleeng.

In other words, make sure your WiFi is working, but also, “grab an ethernet cord,” says Conley. “One thing you can’t help is if your internet connection unexpectedly goes out.”

We know — even the sound of “ethernet” seems terribly old school. But if your WiFi suddenly drops, you’ll be glad you busted that cord out of storage.

8. Set up social media monitoring.

One great thing about live streaming is your audience’s ability to join the conversation and comment in real time. 

Juliana Nicholson, Sr. Marketing Manager at HubSpot, advises to “Have a plan for audience engagement. Know when and how you plan to incorporate audience feedback and Q&As and then clearly communicate that information to your attendees.” This will make it so much easier to encourage participation.

But that’s not all you should do with regard to engagement. If you’ve watched any Facebook Live feed, you’ve seen that the comments roll in fast. So while it’s awesome to invite and answer viewer questions, it can be overwhelming, especially if you personalize your responses.

That’s why it’s a great idea to dedicate someone to monitoring social media, comments, and questions during the live feed.

That task can be made a bit easier with something like a branded hashtag created specifically for this live stream. For platforms with built-in comment feeds, for example, you can ask your viewers to preface any questions with it — that can help qualify what needs to be answered.

You could even take that a step further and use the hashtag throughout the planning process, making sure to include it on your landing page, thank-you page, and promotional messages leading up to the event. That helps to create buzz around the live stream. And if you use HubSpot’s Social Inbox, here’s a great place to take advantage of its monitoring feature, which lets you prioritize and reply to social messages based on things like keywords or hashtags. 

After Your Live Stream

It’s always nice to follow up with your attendees after your live stream has ended. Thank them for their time, give them a head’s up about your next event, and invite them to download a piece of relevant content. If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve probably done a great job of using your live stream to generate leads, so keep up the momentum and nurture them

How Responsive Web Design Works

It’s no secret that more and more people are accessing the internet using their mobile devices in addition to or in place of desktop computers. In fact, there are almost 7 billion mobile users worldwide. (For reference, the world population is currently 7.7 billion. That’s a lot of mobile activity.)

But what they’re doing on those mobile devices is even more compelling for marketers like us.

40% of consumers use their mobile device to conduct research prior to making an in-person purchase. More than half routinely make purchases using their smartphones, and 55% of shoppers make mobile purchases after finding products on social media.

As a result, companies that have responsive websites generate more leads and maintain an increasing competitive advantage over companies that don’t.

But what exactly is responsive website design, how does it work, and why should you make the switch? This guide sets out to answer those questions, offer some compelling statistics, and teach you the key features of responsive design all marketers should know about. Let’s get started.

 

Responsive web design is no longer a suggestion — it’s a critical investment to build your brand awareness, diversify your user experience (UX), and convert more site visitors. 

It also saves your business valuable time. You can’t possibly design a separate website for each potential device your visitors may use — not to mention future technologies. Responsive web design ensures your website is compatible with all devices and screens to ensure a delightful experience … both modern-day devices and those yet to be invented.

Let’s dig more into why responsive design is so important nowadays.

 

Why Responsive Web Design is Important

Responsive design allows you to reach a broader, more engaged audience wherever and however they choose to browse.

More importantly, a lack of responsive web design can do the opposite — it can alienate your website from customers looking for an engaging mobile experience. In fact, research shows that you can lose up to 90% of your potential customers due to a poor mobile-friendly experience.

That’s a lot of customers — and revenue.

Let’s unpack three major benefits of responsive web design.

1. Responsive web design helps consumers discover your website.

A lot of people access Google on their mobile devices — 63%, in fact. Google also penalizes websites that don’t offer a responsive design. Its mobile-first indexing can actually impact how your website ranks and can cause it to be bumped down on search engine results pages (SERPs) in favor of websites that offer consumers a mobile-friendly design.

So, if the majority of your audience is searching on their smartphone (as the above statistic says), and your website doesn’t feature a responsive design, customers may not find your website at all.

2. Responsive web design keeps shoppers on your website longer.

Website bounce rates on smartphones are almost 40% (compared to only 27% for tablets). Also, a web page that loads in five seconds or less guarantees 70% longer viewing sessions. 

Mobile users expect quick, high-quality website experiences (so does Google) — expectations that you can meet with a responsive website design. (Use our Website Grader to see how your site performs.)

3. Responsive web design builds positive brand recognition and trust with consumers.

Finally, 57% of consumers say they’re not likely to recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile website. The same report shows that more than half of online shoppers who are disappointed by a business’s online presence are likely to think negatively about the business itself. 

Responsive website design delights online shoppers, encourages them to recommend your business, and brings them back to buy more.

 

How to Make a Responsive Web Design

It is possible to make your own responsive website using CSS and HTML. But this is like taking lengthy backroads when an expressway is available. In this case, the expressway would be a content management system (CMS) or a website builder. 

A CMS is a software that allows you to build your website without knowing how to code — and that includes knowing how to code for responsive design. Site builders are similar tools, but they give up some functionality offered by a CMS in exchange for ease of use and lower pricing.

Responsive web design can be achieved using either a CMS or site builder that facilitate responsive designs. Here are a few common choices.

1. CMS Hub

CMS Hub is a fully-hosted, fully-integrated CMS. It connects to your other HubSpot tools so you can present a unified marketing, sales, service, and site browsing experience for your visitors, customers, and employees.

In terms of your site building experience, CMS Hub offers pre-built website themes that are also mobile-optimized to meet your visitors and customers wherever and however they’re browsing.

how to make a responsive web design cms hub

Source

2. WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS and maintains this superlative by offering one of the most straightforward website builders — the Gutenberg editor.

WordPress offers thousands of themes and templates to start with, including numerous templates with responsive design. (Find more responsive WordPress themes here and here, too.)

how to make a responsive web design wordpress

Source

Note: Once you’ve set up a theme for your WordPress website, engage and convert your visitors with free forms, live chat, email marketing, and analytics by adding HubSpot’s WordPress plugin.

3. Squarespace

Squarespace is a popular site builder that offers gorgeous site designs and creative tools. 

Squarespace offers 60 mobile-optimized templates from which you can choose to quickly build your site. Within the Squarespace editor, you can also transition from desktop to tablet to mobile view to ensure your designs seamlessly respond to different devices.

how to make a responsive web design squarespace

Source

4. Wix

Wix is another site builder that offers free and paid website subscriptions. It provides an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, free hosting, and security features.

All Wix templates provide a mobile-optimized experience for visitors. Like Squarespace, the Wix editor allows you to see how your website looks on multiple devices.

how to make a responsive web design wix

Source

In addition to creating a responsive web design using one of the above CMS tools or site builders, read this blog post to learn how to optimize your website for mobile use, too. 

 

Responsive Web Design Best Practices

With an intuitive CMS or site builder, responsive design is easy. But even if you’re using the very best CMS, it can’t compensate for mobile-friendly content and media — that part is up to you. Let’s talk about some responsive web design best practices to help you create the most mobile-friendly web experience for your visitors and customers.

1. Don’t neglect your buttons.

What do you want site visitors to do when they land on your website? Take action, right? This could be by clicking a call-to-action (CTA) like Learn More, Download, or even Buy.

How do site visitors interact with these buttons when on your desktop site? If these CTAs pop up, scroll, or are located at the bottom of your web page, you may need to reevaluate how mobile visitors can access these.

For example, let’s say you offer a main CTA like Get HubSpot Free at the top of your desktop site where visitors can see if from every page.

responsive web design best practices hubspot

When you view your mobile site, however, it doesn’t fit into the header. Instead of removing it altogether, consider moving the button or including it in your hamburger menu (the three lines in the top corner), where visitors can still see and click it.

responsive design best practices hubspot mobile

In addition, consider the size of clickable areas on your mobile site. Unlike a desktop, where visitors can use a mouse cursor to click buttons and links, they’re using fingers to navigate your website on their smartphone or tablet.

It’s recommended that clickable elements on mobile devices be at least 48 pixels in height. This includes buttons, form fields, inline links, and menu navigation.

2. Use scalable vector graphics.

If your website includes illustrations or icons, they should be formatted as scalable vector graphics (SVGs).

Source

SVGs can be scaled infinitely, unlike other media formats like JPGs and PNGs. This ensures your website provides a high-quality browsing experience for users on any device. They also help your site load faster — which we’ve already discussed is a good thing for user experience and SERP rankings.

3. Make sure your images scale.

Illustrations and icons aren’t the only media type changing size on varying devices. Your images have to scale, too. 

For example, desktop websites may require images at 1200 pixels, whereas mobile websites may need those at 400 pixels. Using the larger resolution on all devices can slow down your page speed, so that approach isn’t recommended.

responsive web design best practices scalable images

Source

Instead, consider uploading different image resolutions and designating which image you want to display on each device. This is typically achieved by assigning different “media” tags to specific “source” objects (e.g. tablet or mobile) in your website code.

Note: HubSpot enables automatic image resizing on content — yet another reason to build your responsive website on CMS Hub!

4. Consider your typography.

A font that looks gorgeous on your desktop site may not read so well on a mobile device that’s a quarter of the size. If visitors can’t read your website, they certainly won’t click on or buy anything. 

responsive web design best practices typography

Source

Alternatively, revolving your website fonts around the mobile experience can leave your desktop users with ugly words that are too big and clash with your branding.

Here’s our best advice for typography on responsive web design:

  • 16pt body type is the rule of thumb for desktop and mobile web content.

  • Avoid uber thin fonts that fade away on smaller screens.

  • Make sure all headings are clearly larger than body and subheading content.

  • Use contrasting colors for your typography so it doesn’t fade into your website background colors.

5. Take advantage of device features.

While prospects and customers can’t call you over their computers, they definitely can on their smartphones. Consider changing your “Chat Now!” CTA to “Call Now!” and include your business phone number in lieu of email.

Additionally, if your business has a mobile application, prompt site visitors to open your app from your website — something they might not be able to do on their computers.

6. Test your website often.

As always, test your responsive website on different devices and browsers. Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how your site performs.

This handy tool by Matt Kersley will also provide a peek at your website on different sized devices. You can, of course, use your own mobile devices, too.

 

Responsive Web Design Templates

The best way to ensure your website has a responsive design is to start with a responsive web design template. Below are five gorgeous templates available on HubSpot Asset Marketplace that will give your site visitors a mobile-friendly browsing experience.

Get access to thousands of templates with HubSpot Marketing Professional.

1. DjanGo Responsive Design Template

Price: $200

django responsive web design template

The DjanGo template is a fully-customizable and responsive site template. Its modern, minimalist design allows visitors to focus on your site content and product information. 

2. Prodigy Responsive Design Template

Price: Free

prodigy responsive web design template

The Prodigy template is a clean website template that reaches your audience with bright media and multiple CTAs. It automatically converts its design to fit any device used by your site visitors.

3. Quantum Responsive Design Template

Price: $75

quantum responsive web design template

The Quantum template is a multi-purpose theme that captures your audience with bold headings and a video background. Customize your site with a variety of page layouts and custom modules.

4. Kalahari Responsive Design Template

Price: $199

kalahari responsive web design template

The Kalahari template is a responsive theme that offers dynamic navigation and customization at the page level. Use this template to convert your audience with bright, standout CTAs.

5. Startup Framework Responsive Design Template

Price: Free

startup framework responsive web design template

The Startup Framework template is a unique website template with bold typography and bright graphics. Build it natively within HubSpot’s content editor and choose from thousands of icons and dozens of custom modules.

Respond to Your Audience with Responsive Design

With so many consumers shopping and browsing on their mobile devices, responsive design is an absolute must-have. Without it, you could be missing out on leads, customers, and revenue.

Use these tools, templates, and best practices to get started with responsive web design today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Imagine a world where you could start the sales process by selling directly to your best-fit, highest-value accounts. No wasted time working to market and sell to unqualified leads who aren’t the right fit for your business. Meaning, you could move straight into the phases of engaging and delighting your target accounts.

Talk about efficiency, right?

With account-based marketing, all of this is made possible. The process allows you to align your marketing and sales teams from the get-go to promote long-term business growth, delight customers, and boost revenue.

This guide is here to help you make it happen. Let’s dive in.

Account-based marketing allows you to weed out less-valuable companies early on and ensure Marketing and Sales are in complete alignment — in return, your team can leap into the critical processes of engaging and delighting those accounts much faster.

ABM helps your business work and communicate with high-value accounts as if they’re individual markets. By doing this — along with personalizing the buyer’s journey and tailoring all communications, content, and campaigns to those specific accounts — you’ll see greater ROI and a boost in customer loyalty.

Before we take a look at additional benefits of account-based marketing and specific tactics you can implement at your company, let’s review its relationship with another important strategy: inbound marketing.

Often, these strategies are thought of as entirely different entities. However, they can be quite complementary.

Account-Based Marketing And Inbound Marketing

Batman and Robin. LeBron and D-Wade. Peanut butter and jelly. Arguably some of the strongest partnerships ever to exist 💪. These dynamic duos are forces to be reckoned with when they work together.

Similarly, when paired, account-based marketing and inbound marketing have the power to make waves (the good ones) for your business.

You might be wondering, “How exactly does this partnership work?”

Well, we just reviewed the definition of account-based marketing — as you learned, ABM is a highly-targeted strategy.

Meanwhile, inbound marketing is more foundational — the methodology and growth strategy allows you to attract customers through the creation of valuable content, SEO, and a delightful customer experience.

Rather than interrupting your target audience and customers (as you would with outbound marketing), inbound marketing allows you to more organically provide your audience with the information they want when they want it. Inbound lays the foundation for a strong ABM strategy by allowing for highly-targeted and efficient resource allocation of high-value accounts.

Here are a few more reasons to implement both ABM and inbound marketing:

  • Inbound marketing helps you attract target accounts and ABM then accelerates the flywheel so you can win and delight those target accounts with a remarkable customer experience (and as a result, you’ll grow better).
  • Inbound marketing lays the foundation for a strong ABM strategy — ABM builds off of inbound by allowing for targeted and efficient resource allocation of high-value accounts.
  • With this combined approach, you attract a broader group of prospects than you would while using just one method and catch any opportunities the other strategy may have missed.
  • Your content has a two-for-one value — you can create and use content that serves both an ABM and inbound strategy (e.g. create a personalized case study for a target account that you also share on your website).
  • Software options, like HubSpot’s account-based marketing software, are available and make it easy to implement ABM and inbound strategies in a complementary way.

🧡TLDR: Combine ABM and inbound marketing to grow better.

Next, we’ll take a look at some of the definable benefits of account-based marketing.

There are a number of benefits associated with account-based marketing. We’ve compiled the following list of commonly-noted results that positively impact (all types of) businesses.

1. Keep Marketing and Sales aligned.

Cross-team collaboration and improved communication across any organization are beneficial to growth. In terms of account-based marketing, this transparency and alignment will ensure your marketing and sales teams are focused on the same goals, stick to the mutually-agreed-upon budget, and understand the specific roles of each internal stakeholder.

This alignment helps ensure all communications, interactions, and content (and more) are consistent for the accounts you work with. Meaning, no matter how long an account works with your company, your team members can pick up where others left off at any point in time without question — this creates a seamless and delightful customer experience.

🧡The easiest way to maintain internal account-based marketing alignment is with the help of software, like HubSpot, which makes connecting your marketing and sales teams exceptionally easy.

2. Maximize your business’s relevance among high-value accounts.

Account-based marketing requires you to personalize everything (e.g. content, product information, communications, and campaigns) for each account you invest your resources in. Through this personalization and customization, your relevance among these accounts is maximized.

That’s because your content and interactions are tailored in a way that shows them how your specific products, services, offerings, and team are what they need to solve their challenges and to grow better. Meaning, ABM allows you to angle your business in a way that makes it the most-relevant and ideal option for your target accounts.

3. Deliver consistent customer experiences.

As mentioned, account-based marketing requires you to deliver consistent experiences for your accounts — this plays a major role in your success. A large part of the reason for this is because ABM is a long process that often lasts several months or years.

So, for your ABM efforts to be remarkable, you must maintain a long-term sense of delight among your accounts. This is how you’ll make each account feel as though they’re your business’s market of one — and why would they ever want to stop doing business with you if that’s their experience?

Delivering these long-term, consistent experiences may seem a bit daunting. Although this is understandable, the good news is that ABM is a process that naturally encourages you to do so.

Think about it this way: We already discussed the way ABM requires Marketing and Sales to be aligned on all things related to each account (e.g. their goals, budget, unique needs, members of their team and buying committee).

When there’s a universal understanding of these factors within your organization, Marketing and Sales (and anyone else involved) will be able to effectively and naturally deliver that feeling of consistency through everything they communicate and share with each account (e.g. personalized content, targeted campaigns, pricing and product information, and more).

4. Measure your return on investment.

With account-based marketing, you can easily measure return on investment (ROI) for each account you invest your resources and time into. This is beneficial because you can confirm whether certain accounts you invested in were ideal for your business.

Then, you can nurture and delight those accounts long term as well as identify and target similar accounts in the future. If your ROI proves your ABM tactics worked, use those results as a motivator to drive your strategy forward as well as one you can count on to continually improve your bottom line.

5. Streamline the sales cycle.

Depending on your business, industry, and resources, the sales cycle typically looks something like this:

1) Prospect → 2) Connect → 3) Research → 4) Present → 5) Close → 6) Delight

With account-based marketing, this cycle is streamlined — by focusing your efforts on specific high-value target accounts, you save time and resources, and spend more time on the stages of the cycle that positively impact your bottom line:

1) Identify Target Accounts → 2) Present to Target Accounts → 3) Close Target Accounts → 4) Delight Accounts

ABM streamlines your sales cycle by helping you stay efficient. Rather than experimenting with different tactics to prospect and qualify a large pool of leads, ABM ensures your target accounts are ideal for your business so you can quickly dive into building relationships.

The sales cycle stage of closing is also streamlined through ABM. That’s because your chances of converting accounts and retaining them long term increase thanks to marketing and sales alignment, consistent customer experiences, and personalization.

6. Expand business through account relationships.

The saying “quality over quantity” applies to account-based marketing. The process requires you to invest significant time and resources in engaging and delighting a group of carefully-chosen, high-value accounts, versus trying to quickly close deals with less-qualified leads who may not be the best fit for your company in the long run.

By taking the time to build these trusting relationships with accounts, you’ll expand business by retaining those valuable customers longer. And considering it costs more to obtain customers than retain them, this will positively impact your bottom line.

Additionally, as a result of personalized, thoughtful, and consistent customer experiences, accounts will become loyal to your business over time — and loyal customers become your best marketers, promoters, and brand advocates.

In other words, your accounts will help you expand your business among their networks (e.g. partners, customers) through referrals, word-of-mouth marketing, testimonials, and more.

Now let’s cover some account-based marketing tactics you can apply to your strategy to improve the likelihood of success.


ABM tactics are the building blocks of your strategy — so, work through the following list to ensure your ABM efforts and investment are successful.

1. Secure organizational ABM alignment.

One of the most important account-based marketing tactics is arguably one of the most straightforward: Secure organizational ABM alignment.

This means getting all internal stakeholders on board with the various factors related to your account-based marketing strategy. In doing so, it’ll be easier for your business to create consistent experiences for accounts and make sure your strategy is as efficient and streamlined as possible.

For example, your VP of Marketing and VP of Sales should secure organizational alignment and spread awareness regarding:

  • Marketing and sales team members who are directly involved in the strategy
  • Account buying committee members and any other account stakeholders
  • Your business’s point-of-difference for each target account
  • ABM budget and resources
  • ABM goals and KPIs

2. Build your ABM team.

Similar to the first tactic we reviewed above, VPs of Marketing and Sales will also likely be leaders in the discussion regarding how you’ll build your ABM team.

They, along with managers on their respective teams, will need to identify a minimum of one marketer and one sales rep who will be completely dedicated to the accounts you work with.

These people will create and publish content for accounts as well as work to manage and close business deals with each account’s buying committee. (As a rule of thumb, try to limit your team size to no more than ten sales reps and one marketer.)

In addition to the marketer(s) and sales rep(s), don’t forget to identify any other internal key players — such as customer success reps — who should be aware of and aligned on your ABM strategy.

3. Identify and pick your ideal set of target accounts.

Identify and pick your ideal set of high-value target accounts to invest your time and resources in.

Here are some recommendations on how you can do this:

  • Set search alerts for your ideal customer profile on LinkedIn.
  • Create a workflow that filters incoming qualified leads based on specific criteria (e.g. company size, industry, etc.) and tags them as an ideal customer type in your CRM.
  • Ask, “If we could replicate one deal from last year, what would it be?” Then, use the characteristics of that deal (e.g. industry, company size, value) to help you identify other good-fit customers.
  • Pick target accounts based on a particular industry or geographical location.
  • Review major companies and leads who are using and engaging with your inbound content but don’t have a deal attached (yet!).
  • Identify the lighthouse accounts you could use for reference.
  • Stick to no more than 10 accounts per sales rep.

4. Encourage Marketing and Sales to create account plans together.

Throughout this guide, you’ve probably picked up on the fact account-based marketing is a team effort. That’s why ensuring appropriate marketing and sales team members are involved in account planning is so important.

Make sure Marketing and Sales ask the following questions while they work on account plans:

  • Who will we need to know at each account (e.g. buying committee members and account stakeholders)?
  • What content will we need to attract and engage account buying committee members (and any other stakeholders)?
  • Which channels will we use to share content with the right people at each account?
  • How will we (marketers and sales reps) provide the right type of support throughout each stage of the strategy and sales process — in other words, how will sales help at the outset and how will marketing support in the later stages?

🧡Store your account plans as pinned notes in your HubSpot CRM, Google Docs, Asana Boards, pinned messages in Slack, and more to allow for easy access and collaboration.

Here are a few other tips Marketing and Sales can use to make your account plans successful:

  • Ensure Marketing and Sales align on your product or service’s value proposition and point-of-difference for every account.
  • Create personalized content — or update existing content — so it’s tailored to each unique account.
  • Customize your allocated resources and budget for each account.

5. Attract contacts from high-quality accounts.

Next, you’ll want to attract the buying committee members and stakeholders of your target accounts. Depending on how long you’ve been in business and any previous ABM work you’ve done, you may or may not already have contacts for specific accounts.

The key to successfully attracting high-quality accounts is to personalize content to those accounts — this will help you elevate brand awareness and maximize relevance among audience members.

Here are some GDPR-compliant recommendations for attracting high-quality accounts:

  • Engage accounts on social media (e.g. determine which platforms they’re on, join the groups they’re in, contribute to conversations they’re a part of, and share helpful and relevant content you’ve created).
  • Produce a podcast or video series and invite a leader from the account to be a special guest.
  • Sponsor a booth at a target account’s conference or event.
  • Send direct messages via social media and direct mail via email or post.
  • Communicate through LinkedIn InMail outreach (do this simply and without ever leaving HubSpot with the LinkedIn integration).
  • Build custom landing pages tailored to the needs, questions, and concerns of accounts.
  • Offer gifts for engagement and interaction (e.g. prizes, swag, and discount codes).
  • Distribute content such as blog articles across channels that are relevant to each account (e.g. website, social media, and magazines).
  • Create ad campaigns and social ads to target different factors such as location, skill, and job title.
  • Ask current contacts, accounts, and customers for referrals.
  • Invite contacts to (physical or digital) events and ask attendees to invite their colleagues.

6. Forge strong relationships with the account’s buying committee.

Once you’ve attracted high-value accounts, it’s time to forge strong relationships with their buying committees. This is something your team will likely work on over an extended period of time — in fact, it often takes months and even years to develop these bonds. Think of this tactic as one tied to delighting your accounts — you never stop the process of delight.

Here are some thoughts on how you can forge strong, long-lasting relationships with an account’s buying committee.

  • Provide education around the value your business — and your product/ service — brings accounts through tailored interactions and engagement.
  • Create and share personalized content, such as case studies, to prove the ways you’ll exceed expectations and resolve the challenges of each account.
  • Communicate one-on-one when possible to make buying committee members feel like they’re your only priority.
  • Host events with and for account members (e.g. dinner) so they get to know your brand and team on a personal level.
  • Stick to organized, well-timed meetings.
  • Use email sequencing to enhance all communication, be professional, and maintain consistency.

🧡HubSpot’s account-based marketing software can help you forge strong relationships with target accounts.

Learn how to showcase your company’s success using compelling case studies with a free case study creation kit.

7. Measure and analyze your ABM results (and make necessary iterations).

While working through and upon completion of the tactics above, it’s crucial you monitor your success. By reviewing and analyzing your ABM results, you’ll identify any gaps or parts of your strategy that need to be changed. This will allow you to make your strategy more effective for your business, marketing and sales teams, and accounts.

Here are some examples of common account-based marketing KPIs that provide insight into how you’re doing:

  • Deal creation
  • Account penetration (net new contacts added to an account)
  • Account engagement
  • Deal-to-close time
  • Net-new revenue
  • Percent of deals closed

🧡If you’d like some support with your analysis, enlist the help of HubSpot’s library of 12+ ABM reports to gain valuable insight into how to modify your ABM strategy for greater success.

Grow Better With Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By working through the tactics we’ve listed above and implementing software — such as HubSpot’s ABM software — for your marketing and sales team to use together, you’ll identify valuable accounts more efficiently, reduce any friction impacting your flywheel, and grow better.

The Free and Paid Instagram Analytics Apps You Need in 2020

Using Instagram for marketing purposes is rapidly growing in popularity, with over 70% of companies using the platform in 2017, compared to less than 50% in 2016.

It’s important that you leverage Instagram for your own business, but once you start, it can be difficult to discern whether you’re truly successful. Without the right metrics, you’ll never know if you could be doing more to engage your audience or grow your following.

There are plenty of Instagram analytics apps to help you keep track of your progress and discover areas for improvement. Here, we’ll focus on the best free Instagram analytics apps, so you can focus your money and efforts on the Instagram content itself.

1. Instagram Insights

Key specialty: Followers and mentions

Image via Later.com

If you have a business account on Instagram, you automatically have access to their free analytics tool, Instagram Insights. The Insights tool can show you when your audience is on Instagram, which of your posts are most popular, and your account’s impressions and reach.

Additionally, you can compare your original post with a promoted version of the post to figure out if your paid efforts are working. Unfortunately, you can only use the tool within the app (there’s no desktop version), and it’s not the most user-friendly, but it provides a good basic overview of your Instagram analytics for both individual posts, and your account as a whole.

2. Iconosquare

Key specialty: Social monitoring 

iconosquare-instagram-analytics

Iconosquare is a three-in-one Instagram solution for social media marketing. The platform allows you to schedule new posts, monitor what people are saying about the industry (or your brand), and of course track your Instagram analytics. These analytics show you trends related to engagement, impressions, your posts’ reach, and even how your Instagram Stories are performing.

Iconosquare also includes hashtag and competitor tracking, allowing marketers to compare themselves against the people and topics they care about. The platform comes with a two-week free trial, as well as a variety of free tools such as a full Instagram Audit.

3. Squarelovin

Key specialty: Follower insights

squarelovin-instagram-insights

Squarelovin’s free Instagram Insights tool provides most of the information you’d need to conduct an analysis on your progress over the year — for instance, you can obtain a monthly analysis on your posts, or a history of your posts broken down by month, day, or even hour.

Additionally, the tool offers insights into your followers’ interests, and how to drive further engagement to your posts. You can even figure out the best time to post, depending on when your followers are most likely on the app.

4. Crowdfire

Key specialty: Content curation

crowdfire-instagram-analytics

Crowdfire allows marketers to schedule posts, measure their performance, and track mentions of their brand, as well as curate content related to their industry from all over the internet. The product delivers article and image recommendations from other websites, helping marketers expand their visibility when considering what content to include in their Instagram strategy.

Crowdfire’s analytics tools visualize your Instagram data in several user-friendly charts. They also drill down into a number of advanced metrics that show you how you’re performing over long periods of time.

5. Pixlee

Key specialty: Social reports

pixlee-instagram-analytics

Used by Kenneth Cole, Sonos, and plenty of other big brands, Pixlee offers an impressive free tool. It allows you to create shareable reports that you can distribute to your entire marketing team, and analyze metrics to figure out how to drive more engagement and attract new followers.

Additionally, the tool helps you find influencers or brand advocates promoting your products, so you can create more effective influencer campaigns.

6. Union Metrics

Key specialty: Hashtag analytics

union-metrics-instagram-checkup

While it doesn’t provide its Instagram Analytics tool for free, Union Metrics does offer a free monthly Instagram checkup. The checkup tells you which hashtags will increase your engagement, which posts resonate best with your audience, and what time your followers use the app.

While the tool can’t give you analytics beyond 30 days, it’s a useful option for taking a look at short-term themes and patterns, and learning how you can quickly improve your metrics.

7. Socialbakers

Key specialty: Competitive analysis

socialbakers-instagram-analytics

Image via Socialbakers Support

While admittedly not the most visually appealing tool in the list, Socialbakers still offers critical information, including your most liked and most commented on posts, and your top performing filters.

Additionally, Socialbakers offers an Instagram Report, which compares your own Instagram account to your competitors’, to see where you fall in the industry and what you can do to improve.

1. HubSpot Social Inbox

Key specialty: Post scheduling and social analytics

instagram-analytics-toolsImage Source

Using HubSpot’s Social Inbox, you can easily build out campaigns and publish to multiple social platforms at once. You can also integrate your social inbox tool with your blog, enabling you to automatically share new content to your LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social channels the minute it gets published.

Additionally, you can create custom keyword monitoring streams to keep track of conversations regarding your brand, to ensure you’re consistently communicating with your prospects and customers wherever they are.

Best of all, HubSpot’s Social Inbox tool enables you to report on the success of your social strategy across every channel from one centralized location to clearly identify how your social team impacts the company’s bottom line. This helps you keep track of the platforms that perform best for your brand, and tailor future campaigns for optimal ROI.

Price: Included with Marketing Hub Professional

2. Hootsuite

Key specialty: Post scheduling and team collaboration

instagram-analytics-toolsImage Source

You can use Hootsuite to create a customized dashboard that enables you to monitor analytics for multiple channels, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Additionally, you can use the tool to schedule hundreds of social media posts simultaneously across various platforms.

With Hootsuite, you can collaborate with your entire team on social media campaigns and scale across the organization. For instance, Hootsuite offers features that enable you to assign tasks to various team members, create reports to share key metrics and insights with the team, and even track which employees or departments are posting the content with the highest ROI.

Price: 30-day free trial; “professional” plan is $29 per month after that (which allows you to manage 10 different social media profiles)

3. Keyhole

Key specialty: Hashtag analytics

instagram-analytics-toolsImage Source

This is a great tool for tracking the performance of individual hashtags on your social posts to ensure you’re using the right hashtags for highest ROI. Used by over 5,000 agencies and marketers, Keyhole can provide critical metrics like your top Instagram hashtags by engagement, competitor activity, and your follower activity. Best of all, you can create customized hashtag reports for clients’ to demonstrate the value of your social media campaigns.

Additionally, if your brand regularly hires influencers to increase brand awareness and sales, you can use Keyhole to keep track of which influencers are most successful. This can help you tailor future influencer marketing campaigns to your needs.

Price: 7-day free trial; $99 per month (it’s typically $199/month but it’s 50% off right now) for three keyword and account trackers, plus 20,000 posts per month.

4. HypeAuditor

Key specialty: Influencer metrics

instagram-analytics-toolsImage Source

If you’re planning any sort of influencer marketing campaign, this is a good tool to check out. HypeAuditor’s Instagram Reports allows you to analyze the quality of an influencer’s audience, engagement rate, and audience insights including location, age, gender, and interests. These metrics can help you find influencers who engage most with your target audience, allowing you to create more powerful and effective influencer marketing campaigns.

Additionally, the tool provides you with critical insights to ensure you choose the right influencer for your brand — for instance, you can use HypeAuditor to figure out other brands an influencer has worked with, and analyze sponsored post performance. Additionally, HypeAuditor provides an Audience Quality Score to ensure you’re choosing authentic, engaging influencers for your upcoming campaigns.

Price: $299/month for starter

5. Command

Key specialty: Hashtag analytics

instagram-analytics-toolsImage Source

This is one of the cheaper tools in the list that offers hashtag analytics, so if you don’t have a huge budget for Instagram, it’s a good one to check out. Command can show you which hashtags deliver the most engagement for your brand, as well as average likes and comments you get from different hashtags.

Ultimately, this is a great tool for figuring out which hashtags drive the highest engagement for your brand. This can give you critical insights into your target audience’s interests. For instance, if you notice #remotework is a hashtag that performs exceptionally well, you might consider using that insight to produce more remote content on your blog or other social channels to attract higher engagement across the board.

Price: Free to download; $9.99/month for premium version

6. Sprout Social

Key specialty: Post scheduling and hashtag analytics

instagram-analytics-toolsImage Source

Sprout Social is a comprehensive social media management tool that enables you to schedule, publish, and track analytics for multiple Instagram accounts; source user-generated content to monitor and respond to comments; and simplify your editing process by using a centralized Asset Library to ensure all posts stay on-brand with your overall theme and Instagram Feed aesthetic.

Additionally, you can use Sprout Social to measure frequently used hashtags and deliver reports on which hashtags achieve highest engagement for your brand. This can help you figure out an effective social strategy as you experiment with hashtags, and increase brand awareness by continuing to use the hashtags that garner highest ROI.

Price: 30-day free trial; Standard is $99 per user per month (which allows for five social profiles)

Where to Find Public and Private Small Business Funding in 2020

With the recent passing of a $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package, small business owners impacted by COVID-19 have been given options for low-interest loans, financial assistance, and other aid that can help them in this uncertain economic time.

Aside from this stimulus package, a number of private, state and local institutions have also stepped up to provide aid, assistance, and loans to small business owners suddenly facing unforeseen challenges.

With a number of different options emerging, small business owners might be asking themselves, “Which options am I eligible for?” and “Which funding option is right for my particular business?”

To help business owners and entrepreneurs looking for financing options, we’ve compiled a list of public and private opportunities for small businesses.

National Funding Resources for Small Businesses

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration is a federally funded organization that provides loans, debt relief, and other financial aid to small businesses with 500 employees or less.

Currently, the Small Business Administration oversees small business loans from SBA-approved lenders, such as banks. While SBA doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions. This process reduces the risk for lenders, which — in turn — enables more small businesses to receive loans.

Source

Here are a few examples of loans that the Small Business Administration coordinates:

Paycheck Protection Program

This program provides low-interest loans of up to $10 million funded by the recently passed CARES Act. These loans aim to prevent the financial downturn of small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The program assists business owners in paying employee payroll, mortgage payments, or other vital business expenses.

According to the SBA’s site, up to 100% of the loan is forgivable and partial forgiveness will be granted if all employees stay on the payroll for eight weeks or more after a business receives the loan.

Economic Injury Loan Assistance

As part of another emergency preparedness act, small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply on the SBA site for a low-interest disaster loan of up to $2 million. Applicants will receive a decision about their loan within three days of applying.

These low-interest loans will have a payback period of up to 30 years, determined by lenders on a case-by-case basis. Each loan’s interest rate will be 2.75% for non-profits and 3.75% for other small businesses.

Standard 7(a) Small Business Loans

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guarantee percentage and loan amount, vary by the type of loan. These small business loans are often used for smaller startup business costs and are not related to emergencies or disasters.

The 7(a) loan size is usually between $350,000 and $5 million. Lenders are not required to take collateral for loans up to $25,000. For loans over $350,000, the SBA requires a lender to accept as much collateral as possible. This collateral could include a business’ fixed assets, trading assets, or real estate.

Express Small Business Loans

Express loans are similar to 7(a) Small Business Loans in that they max at $350,000 and will require lender collateral. The key difference is that applicants will get a decision and disbursement within 36 hours of applying for the loan. Like other SBA loans, the lender determines the eligibility and the loan’s terms.

For more urgent loans, exporters can apply for an Export Express loan. Applications for these loans, which cap at $500,000, will get a response from lenders within 24 hours.

Aside from the loans mentioned above, SBA also offers assistance for veterans, businesses that require short-term seasonal loans, and small businesses that need loans for international trading purposes.

You can find more about SBA’s standard loan programs here. On the SBA website, you can also find information about SBA lenders.

While SBA primarily provides loans, the administration also works with organizations to provide grants to businesses in certain fields, such as scientific research and development and exporting. Information about these specific grant opportunities can be found on the SBA’s grant page.

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a comprehensive site that educates grant applicants about funding opportunities and allows them to search a huge catalog of federal, state, and local grants from a variety of different organizations.

While anyone can use the website to find grants for many different purposes, small business owners can filter searches to grants that directly pertain to their company or industry.

Grants.gov grant search database

Although there are thousands of searchable grants on this database, it’s important to note that many of them focus on non-profits, health, education, or public service. Additionally, many of the grants offered are from federal or state-funded organizations. This means that some for-profit small businesses might have difficulty finding grants related to their field.

Private Assistance and Lenders

In the coming months, many private banks will be offering assistance or special funding opportunities for individuals or small businesses. Here’s a quick rundown of companies with temporary assistance or ongoing small business loan programs:

JPMorgan Chase’s Small Business Pledge

In light of COVID-19, JPMorgan Chase has pledged $2 million to its nonprofit partners around the world and $8 million to “assist small businesses vulnerable to significant economic hardships in the U.S., China, and Europe.”

The banking company says they will be working with community development financial institutions around the world that will provide low or zero-interest loans and interest rate buydowns to owners. JPMorgan Chase will also aim to financially help those who’ve benefited from its Ascend and Entrepreneurs of Color funds.

Along with the aid noted above, Chase and JPMorgan are SBA-approved lenders, meaning they offer many of SBA’s low-interest loan options. They also offer real-estate, equipment, and business trade financing to small businesses.

Small business owners can also apply for short-term loans of up to $5,000. These loans have fixed or adjustable rates and can be paid back between one and seven years.

TD Bank Loans and Lines of Credit

TD Bank offers credit lines, loans, mortgages, and equipment leasing to small businesses.

According to TD, credit lines are best for borrowing $25,000 to $500,000. However, larger lines are available for commercial-sized businesses. Interest rates vary based on the credit line. When paying the money back, credit line recipients have the option to pay towards the overall credit line, or just pay interest-only.

When it comes to loans, mortgages, and equipment leasing, TD Bank says it can lend up to $1 million to small business owners. Similarly to credit lines, larger loans are available for commercial companies.

Like many other financial institutions on this list, TD Bank is an SBA lender and also claims to offer competitive interest rates.

Capital One

Capital One is also an approved SBA lender. Aside from SBA lending, Capital One also offers business installment loans. These loans are fixed-term loans of $10,000 or more.

According to Capital One’s website, the loans require monthly payments with a max payback period of five years. The company also aids small businesses in consolidating debt, so they only have to pay one lender each month.

Wells Fargo’s Small Business Initiative

According to a recent press release from Wells Fargo, the banking chain will soon be offering resources to meet the urgent needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

As part of Wells Fargo’s initiative, the institution will dedicate $2 million “to the deployment of flexible capital in collaboration with Opportunity Fund and will also provide immediate cash boosts and financial coaching support of entrepreneurs and their low-wage workers in coordination with SaverLife.”

Aside from the initiative noted above, Wells Fargo offers three types of loans: unsecured business loans, Equipment Express Loans, and an Advancing Term loan. The first two loans are aimed at one time projects or purchases.

The loans can be for an amount between $10,000 and $100,000 and have payback periods of one to five years or two to six years respectively. The Advancing term loan is a $100,000 to $500,000 working capital loan which requires business assets as collateral.

The banking institution also offers credit lines between $5,000 to $100,000. Interest rates vary depending on the line. No collateral is required for these lines and all businesses that use them are automatically enrolled in Wells Fargo’s rewards program. For larger businesses, which make $2-to-$5-million annually, Wells Fargo also offers a Prime Line valued between $100,000 and $500,000

BlueVine

BlueVine is an organization that provides small businesses with loans between $5,000 and $5 million. Interest rates for loans and credit lines start at 4.8% and vary based on the type and size of loan selected. The company offers three specific types of lending: Credit lines of up to $250,000 with no repayment penalties. term loans of up to $250,000, and Invoice factoring — a credit line specifically for invoices — of up to $5 million.

To apply for a BlueVine credit line or loan, you must have $10,000 in revenue and have been in business for more than six months. The business owner must also have higher than a 600 FICO score. Eligibility information is not noted online for BlueVine’s invoice factoring service.

Once an application is submitted to BlueVine, the lender could respond within five minutes or 24 hours.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle offers small business loans between $25,000 and $500,000. Loans are fixed term and can have a payback period between six months and five years. Interest and origination fees might vary based on the type and size of the loan.

The company says that loan applicants will receive a decision within 24 hours of applying. According to its website, Funding Circle also provides loans for female entrepreneurs, minorities, and small business acquisitions.

Funding Circle is also an SBA-approved lender. According to its website, it will soon be offering loans funded by the Paycheck Protection Program, noted in the CARES Act.

Small businesses that are interested in working with this company to receive Paycheck Protection Program loans can sign up to receive email notifications when applications are launched specifically for it.

It’s important to note that certain Funding Circle loans require a one-time fee before they’re dispersed. When an applicant is approved for a loan, they’ll receive the fee and interest information before being required to commit to the loan.

To receive a loan from Funding Circle, business owners must have an Experian credit score of 660. Additionally, businesses in some industries are ineligible for term loans. These industries include speculative real estate, nonprofit organizations, weapons manufacturers, gambling businesses, and marijuana dispensaries. They also cannot provide loans to businesses in Nevada due to the state’s lending regulations.

PayPal Business Loans

PayPal offers small business loans between $5,000 and $500,000 to companies that have been in business for nine months or more and have a free PayPal Business profile.

According to PayPal’s site, no interest is due on the loan if it is paid back within the first six months. The amount of interest and payback period varies based on the type of loan businesses apply for.

To receive a PayPal loan, businesses must be more than nine months old, earn $42,000 annual revenue, and not have any active bankruptcies. Any business owner in the United States can apply for a PayPal loan, but they must have a FICO score of at least 550. Like Funding Circle, PayPal notes that some industries are ineligible for business loans.

Citi Fee Waivers

For retail customers and small business customers, Citi has waived fees on certificate of deposit withdrawals until May 2020. For small businesses, Citi will also provide waivers for monthly service fees and remote deposit capture.

Additionally, those with a Citi credit card might qualify for a forbearance program which would delay them from needing to pay back their full balance.

State and Local Funding Resources for Small Businesses

State-Funded Programs

Each state offers different benefits, tax exemptions, loans, or grant opportunities for businesses. To learn more about state-based assistance and funding, visit your state department’s website.

For example, small business owners in Massachusetts can visit mass.gov to find information about state-mandated COVID-19 relief. On this page, you’ll find information about Massachusetts’ own relief funding, as well as federal loan options.

Additionally, you can also check out the grants.gov database or this interactive map that allows you to see assistance opportunities by state.

Local Banks and Credit Unions

While many big banks are currently offering loans related to the financial climate, your local bank or smaller chains might also be allowing small business owners to take out loan amounts with interest rates and payback periods that work for them.

Tips for Picking the Right Funding

While the CARES Act and private business initiatives have opened the door to a number of financial opportunities for businesses, there are still a few things small business owners should keep in mind.

First, it’s important to note that some of the loans above might come with fees. For example, you might have to pay a small fee to disburse the loan in the first place.

Secondly, some of these loans do not disperse all at once. For instance, loans of up to $10 million designated by the CARES Act will offer small businesses a cash advance of up to $10,000 before the rest of the funds are dispersed.

Before committing to a loan, small businesses might need to look at their timeline for paying bills and other expenses and make sure that a loan’s disbursement works for them.

Lastly, and most importantly, when accepting a loan, a small business owner agrees to pay it back.

While some loan programs are currently offering deferment or partial forgiveness programs, most will expect all the funds plus interest to be paid back. As business owners research these loans, they should fully understand the payback and interest rate terms before committing. They should also have a financial plan and backup plan for how they will pay off the loans and interest in the future, regardless of whether their business is or is not running.

Disclaimer: This blog post is meant as a basic resource and not a comprehensive guide. We will regularly update it to add more information as funding opportunities become available or change.

25 Stats That Prove Why Workplaces Need to Embrace Diversity

As a legally blind person who’s held roles that involve editing, design, and highly visual tasks, I thought I had it easier than a lot of other visually impaired people in my field.

I’d never been blatantly discriminated against or felt like I didn’t receive an offer due to my vision. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to work on teams run by women or diverse leaders.

However, as I got older, I realized that I hadn’t completely evaded misjudgments related to my eyesight. While I’ve had a handful of great experiences, I’ve run into a few subtle job interview scenarios that seem more and more unacceptable each time I reflect on them.

In my first job search after college, I realized that disclosing my blindness would always result in a look of concern or an incredibly awkward series of questions from a hiring manager. Many of these questions didn’t even have to do with the job role I was interviewing for.

Sometimes, an interviewer would try to hide a look of concern. Then, they’d make things even more awkward by trying to relate to me with statements like, “My second cousin is blind too! I should ask her what she has.”

Ultimately, I followed my instincts and didn’t work for any of these people. However, even after I built a list of glowing recommendations from past employers, those uncomfortable interview memories stuck with me.

Because of how these experiences, I felt like I had to give certain prospective companies a “fluffier” description of my sight to protect myself against any possibility of job discrimination.

For example, if a hiring manager noticed my low vision, I’d say, “I’m just visually impaired” or “I’m super nearsighted.” If I didn’t think they could tell, I’d say nothing about it until I was handed an offer. Even when filling out anonymous self-identification forms on job applications, I’d always decline to check the “disabled” box.

It wasn’t until I learned more about self-advocacy and workplace inclusion that I realized that some of the interview experiences I had weren’t okay. And, by following my gut instinct of not working for employers that made me feel uncomfortable during the interview process, I ended up working for employers that accepted and empowered me.

Today, I work at HubSpot, a company that heavily invests heavily in diversity and inclusion. Because my organization is always taking steps to make everyone feel a sense of belonging, I find it much easier to open up about my own differences.

But, as I’ve learned, most companies aren’t as forward-thinking as HubSpot. And the sad reality is, people like me still do feel that they need to protect themselves from job discrimination.

Although my negative workplace experiences have been light, I personally know plenty of people who’ve dealt with something worse due to a disability, cultural background, or gender identity.

In fact, three in five people have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination.

Scary right?

This is why businesses need to invest in diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion isn’t just a strategy that helps managers keep employees feeling psychologically safe. Embracing diverse backgrounds also opens the door to better problem solving and innovative ideas.

In fact, diversity is so important to innovation that HubSpot’s CTO Dharmesh Shah took the main stage at INBOUND 2019 to make the case for it.

In his speech, Shah told the story of YouTube’s early days. When the platform first launched its app, they realized that 10% of users were uploading horizontal videos upside-down.

Upon further research, YouTube’s team realized that 10% of the population was left-handed. When these left-handed users filmed videos from their own perspective, they held the phone in the opposite way that the average right-handed users would. As it turns out, there were no left-handed people on the app’s early team to point out this UX issue before the launch.

When the app feature was fixed to include left-handed tilts, the user experience was better for all possible users.

The moral of the story?

“Magic happens when different but complementary people intersect,” says Shah.

When you have diverse people and perspectives on your team, your product will benefit. This is because there’s a greater likelihood that someone with different experiences will pitch a great idea that you haven’t even thought of yet.

But achieving success with diversity and inclusion isn’t just about hiring someone who identifies as different and speaking to them in a politically correct way. It’s about looking at talent for their accomplishments, recognizing how their differences can help you, and creating a culture that encourages your employees to similarly embrace diversity.

If you’re aiming to truly embrace your team’s unique qualities in 2020, here are 25 stats to know about the state of workplace diversity, how it benefits companies, and where companies are still falling behind.

25 Stats About Diversity in the Workplace

General Stats

  • Diversity in the U.S. is growing. Roughly 51% of children under 15 identify with a social or ethnic minority — more than any percentage in past generations. (Brookings)
  • In 2019, 29% of Baby Boomers were working or looking for work, outpacing generations before them at their age. (Pew Research Center)
  • The workforce is aging. In 2018, employees over 55 made up 23% of the labor force. This number is expected to rise to over 25% by 2028. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • More than 40 million Americans have a disability. (Pew Research Center)
  • More than 4.5% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ+. (Gallup)
  • The workforce will grow more diverse as Gen Z enters it. More than 48% of the age group, which outnumbers millennials, identifies as racially or ethnically diverse. (Pew Research Center)

How Diversity Improves the Workplace

  • In a 2018 study of over 1,700 companies, organizations with a diverse leadership team had 19% higher revenue on average than companies with less diverse leaders. (Boston Consulting Group)
  • By 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams that have diverse members and embrace inclusive strategies will exceed financial targets. (Gartner)
  • More than 77% of job candidates consider a company’s culture at some point when determining if they’ll accept an offer. (Glassdoor)
  • 65% of people say they stay at their jobs primarily because of the company culture. (Glassdoor)
  • Most leading companies site diversity as one of the most valuable aspects of company culture. (Glassdoor)
  • Average employee performance in diverse organizations is 12% higher than performance at non-diverse organizations. (Gartner)
  • In 2019, more than half of employees globally prioritized solid work culture over salary when deciding on a job position. (Glassdoor)

Source

  • In 2017, gender diverse executive teams deliver 21% more profitability than teams with no gender diversity. This number rose from 15% in 2014. (McKinsey & Company)

Improvements in Workplace Diversity

  • From 2018 to 2019, the number of U.S. job listings related to diversity and inclusion rose by 30% while the U.K. saw a 106% boost. (Glassdoor)

job listings for diversity and inclusion

Source

  • In a 2018 global study, 75% of companies said their workplaces were aiming to improve diversity at their companies. (Boston Consulting Group)
  • In 2018, the unemployment rate of male and female U.S. veterans dropped to 3.5% and 3% respectively. This decreased from an average of 5.1% for all veterans in 2016. (BLS)
  • In 2019, the unemployment rate of foreign-born workers (3.1%) was less than U.S.-born workers (3.8%). (BLS)

Where Workplaces are Lacking

  • In 2019, a survey found that three in five U.S. employees have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination related to age, race, gender or LGBTQ+ identity. This is higher than the global average of 49%. (Glassdoor)
  • In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities rose to 8% while the unemployment rate of those without disabilities is only 3.7% (BLS)
  • The most commonly witnessed form of discrimination is ageism, which 45% of people say they’ve witnessed or experienced. (Glassdoor)
  • The second and third most common forms of workplace discrimination are racism and gender discrimination. Roughly 42% of employees say they’ve witnessed or experienced each. (Glassdoor)
  • When it comes to ageism, 52% of employees between 18 to 34 have seen or experienced it while only 39% of employees aged 55 or older have reported it. (Glassdoor)
  • More men (38%) have experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination than women (28%). (Glassdoor)
  • Between 2008 and 2018, the number of job reviews that spoke negatively about a company’s diversity rose from 25% to 32%. (Glassdoor)
Employees are increasingly pessimistic about workplace diversity

Source

Embracing Diversity in the Workplace and Beyond

As you can see, embracing diversity can provide numerous benefits to your company. And while diversity and inclusion still have a long way to go in the workplace, your company shouldn’t stop there. Inclusion should span every aspect of your company, from your people operations to your marketing campaigns.

To learn more about how to cultivate an inclusive work environment, check out this helpful blog post. If you want to take things further by embracing diversity in your marketing, here’s a rundown of seven brands that nailed inclusive marketing.

Want to learn more about the benefits of diversity? Click here.

How to Create a Revenue-Generating Google Ads Campaign

The trouble with search engine optimization (SEO) is that it takes a long time to work and doesn’t come with any guarantees. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, on the other hand, can provide results a lot faster. For companies that have no organic presence and need ROI fast, a paid ad is sometimes your best bet for driving traffic to (and conversions from) your website.

The problem is that your competitors are using the same search terms and keywords you will. Not only do you need to know how to build a campaign through Google Ads, but you also need to know how to stand out from the crowd.

What Is a Google Ads Campaign?

Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) system for advertising in the search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google. You can create Campaigns, which are used to organize groups of similar ads. Your Google Ads account can have one or many Campaigns running at a time.

Let’s start with a few real examples of Google Ads campaigns — a service formerly known as Google AdWords — and then throw in some pro tips for succeeding with your own search engine marketing (SEM) strategy. By the time we’re done, you’ll be an expert.

1. New Breed Marketing

Search term: what is inbound marketing

Links to:

new breed marketing landing page

Some searchers are experiencing a pain that’s led them on a path to purchase, but they may not be clear on what it is that will solve that pain. That’s the thinking behind the first Google Ads campaign example above.

New Breed Marketing, an agency partner of HubSpot, is an inbound marketing service provider. Because New Breed’s customers might not know what they’re signing up for with “inbound marketing,” the company sought to define the term for them — helping buyers confirm that inbound marketing is indeed what they’re looking for.

New Breed Marketing’s Google Ads result above is as simple as search engine marketing gets. The meta description is just one sentence long but indicates to searchers that inbound marketing is a “process” to be invested in.

Meanwhile, the blue link, called a Site Extension, itself promises to explain inbound marketing in the form of a downloadable “guide.” This ensures those who click through to the website are prepared to submit their contact information and become a lead in exchange for that guide. Remember, Google Ads campaigns cost you money every time somebody clicks on one of your ads — you need to get something out of those clicks.

2. Nettitude

Search term: cybersecurity

nettitude google ads campaign

Links to:

nettitude landing page

In general, the broader the search term, the less likely the searcher will want to buy something right away (a pay-per-click concept called “match types“). In the Ads campaign above, however, Nettitude bid on a broad, one-word search term — “cybersecurity.” While this broad search term doesn’t target a specific searcher, the details of their Google Ad ensures the link can satisfy many different types of searchers no matter what their interest was when they typed in the word.

Nettitude’s AdWords campaign, above, does two things well:

First, its meta-description has several value propositions that most cybersecurity customers would be receptive to. This includes a “2 hour response time” and a “free initial consultation” to make a prospect’s initial outreach convenient and low-commitment.

Second, the ad displays a phone number directly on the page. When you bid on a search term that yields such a broad, diverse group of people, getting them on the phone is often the easiest way to nurture their interest so they don’t wander off to another search result and forget about you.

3. Rock Content

Search term: content marketing course

rock content google ads campaignLinks to:

rock content landing page

Rock Content, an agency partner of HubSpot, is a content marketing service based in Brazil.

Its Ads campaign bid on a search term that’s only somewhat related to the service Rock Content is offering on its landing page. Here’s why it works.

The search term “content marketing course” is intent on finding classes that help marketers increase their content marketing knowledge. Rock Content looks to pivot searchers from taking a class for improving their content knowledge to entering an “evaluation” for determining how much they already know.

This evaluation might not satisfy every searcher, but it is a smart way of pivoting their interest to a related service and introducing them to Rock Content’s offerings at the same time.

4. Destination Canada

Search term: cheap holiday destinations

destination canada google ads campaign

Links to:

destination canada landing page

Canada Destination’s Google Ads campaign above uses a searcher’s general interest in taking a holiday trip to advertise all the fun parts of Canada. Similar to the third example on this list, the strategy is to pivot off of a broad search term to drive value into its own offering. It’s not a casual article, but it’s also not a flight itinerary — that middle-of-the-funnel space is what makes this campaign work so well.

The link above also uses two sub-links beneath the main Site Extension, highlighting the key subjects covered in the website to maximize the ad’s click-through rate.

When people search for “cheap holiday destinations,” it can be hard to gauge their level of interest just right. When launching a Google Ads campaign, you don’t want your ad to be too broad to convert customers, but you also don’t want to be so close to the cash register that your searchers aren’t ready for what you’re offering them. Canada Destination’s digital tour of the country captures that middle ground perfectly, holding users’ interest without chasing them away with overly specific content.

5. FM Training

Search term: leed certification online

fm.training google ads campaignLinks to:

fm.training landing page

FM Training is a certification hub for facility managers (FMs), the same people who work to make their building facilities LEED-certified. Lots of coursework can go into earning this certification, but it can be a challenge to find curricula that caters to these professionals.

FM Training’s Ads campaign makes sure FMs know they’ve come to the right place.

While the five Site Extensions beneath the ad help users jump directly to the information they’re most interested in, the first sentence of the meta-description is what really reaches out to this audience: “FMs …” — the audience is clearly stated in terms they’d understand — “… see a salary increase of 6% or more within 1 yr.” The ad uses the limited space it has to send a message designed to encourage clicks and make the ad worth the investment.

6. LeftLane Sports

Search term: hiking boots for women

leftlane sports google ads campaignLinks to:

leftlane sports landing page

This campaign by LeftLane Sports is an example of local business advertising done right. The company doesn’t even need people to click on the link to make money from it.

If prospects in the Boston area search for “hiking boots for women,” they won’t just see a paid result by LeftLane Sports; they’ll see where the brand’s nearest storefront is and how long they’re open. It’s the perfect way to drive website traffic to the appropriate product pages and promote a local presence in the process.

1. Get a Google Ads account.

Before you can do anything, you’ll need to visit the Google Ads website and sign up for an account. 

As part of signing up for a Google Ads account, Google will automatically take you through the process of creating your first campaign, so be prepared with your financial information. Google takes its fee with each click, so your banking credentials are required during the setup process.

Note: There’s no need to worry about getting charged for ad spend as you go through your first campaign setup. You can always turn it off once you get through the registration process.

2. Set your Campaign Goals.

The Google interface will prompt you to select a goal type from the following three options: 

  • Get more calls
  • Get more website sales or signups
  • Get more visits to your physical location

This goal will be tied to your advertising campaign, so you’ll want to choose the one that most closely represents the results you want to see.

3. Complete the “Describe your business” section.

The Google interface will prompt you to select a goal type from the following three options: 

  • Get more calls
  • Get more website sales or signups
  • Get more visits to your physical location

This goal will be tied to your advertising campaign, so you’ll want to choose the one that most closely represents the results you want to see.

4. Designate your geographic area.

In this section, you’ll designate where you want your ads to appear. This is particularly helpful for local businesses. 

At the same time, if you are an online shop, you may be less concerned about geographic constraints. It’s still not a bad idea to consider where, exactly, the majority of your audience lives. If you don’t know, you may want to back up a step and consider your buyer personas first. Why spend money advertising to people in the Midwest if the bulk of your customers live in the Northeast?

You can also reach other countries if your company serves international buyers. Just be sure you’re prepared for any of the buyers who come your way as a result of your ads. You might pay a lot of money for visitors who can’t make a purchase if you’re not careful.

5. Set up keyword themes. 

Google will determine different themes based on your website content. You can customize your keywords based on their suggestions as a jumping off point for your campaign. 

Keep in mind you’ll be competing against many other companies for the same audience when choosing keywords for which you want your ad to show up. Take some time to think of the keywords that will reach people who are ready to buy. For instance, instead of using “luxury shoes” in your PPC ad, you can use keywords such as “red leather heels.” Maybe you’ll miss out on people who are looking for shoes of all types, but you’ll snag those who have a particular shoe in mind. They’ll be more likely to make a purchase if your ad leads to a landing page with red leather heels, and that will more than pay for their click.

You can also use negative keywords and save a lot of money on your clicks. These tell Google what you don’t want your ad to show up for. In other words, you can use keywords such as red leather heels, not stilettos.

6. Write your ad.

This is the most important aspect of your Google Ads education. The copy you use is what will convince potential buyers to click. You want to attract plenty of people, yes, but you also want those people to buy. If they don’t buy, you pay anyway. 

In this section, you’re setting up the headlines and meta descriptions for your first ad(s). Note that you can choose to set up multiple ads in a single campaign, though Google starts you off with one. 

For each add you create, you have three considerations: 

  • Headline
  • Description
  • Destination URL

interface where you write your google ad

Headline

Start with a great headline that uses search terms that will reach your niche. Google splits the headline up into three sections of 30 characters each, so make each character count. You might even need to use abbreviations, or you can search for shorter synonyms.

Description

After the headline, you get another 90 characters for the first description. Use this space to highlight any benefits. How will the product solve your buyers’ pains? Then, in the second description, you can capitalize on a feature.

Be ready to change these if you notice your ad isn’t gaining a lot of traction, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Destination URL

This is where you can choose where clicks on your ad go to. Just choose the page you want them to land on and paste the URL in the field.

7. Set your ad budget. 

Here, you’ll be designating your daily budget. 

You want to include enough money to make a difference, but you really don’t want to break the bank. You can manually set the bids for clicks, which gives you more control. This also means your ads will stop showing once your budget is spent. That means you won’t end up with a shocker of a bill later.

Once you start to review the results from your campaign, you can always adjust the budget.

8. Complete the “Budget and review” section. 

In this section, you’ll be reviewing your campaign settings. It’s best to double check each of the following: 

  • Your daily budget
  • Your monthly budget
  • The impressions you’ll get for that budget
  • The clicks you should expect based on the impressions
  • The location you’re targeting

 

9. Double check your double check.

It’s always a good idea to check over everything one more time before you set your ad in motion. Is everything spelled correctly? You’ll miss out on keyword searches if there’s a typo one of them. When you’re sure you did everything correctly, then take a deep breath and move on to the next step.

10. Set up billing.

Because Google charges per click, it needs the payment information during the Google Ads account setup. By providing your payment information, you’re giving Google the ability to charge accrued advertising costs from your campaign.

11. Hit Submit. 

By doing so, you’ve set up your first Google Ads campaign.

To create additional campaigns, perhaps with different or tighter keyword groups, you’ll want to select Campaigns from the page menu on the left. Then, click the blue plus button and choose New campaign. The Google interface will walk you through the additional steps. 

Beyond setting everything up correctly, you’ll also want to A/B test your results often. Change headlines, introduce new features, focus on different benefits — and then take note of the number of conversions. There’s always a way to make your ad perform better.

40% of People Say They Don't Read Blogs: Here's How You Can Still Get on Their Radar

According to our 2020 State of Marketing report, blogging is the third most utilized form of content marketing, just behind video and infographics.

Like any successful strategy, many brands, publishers, and individuals have jumped on the blogging bandwagon. Currently, there are 600 million active blogs globally. Meanwhile, the number of active U.S. bloggers rose from 22 million to 32 million between 2014 and 2020.

“Despite the numbers that show the enduring impact blogs can have on business, the perception of blogging as a valuable content marketing channel is continually called into question: the phrase ‘is blogging dead?’ has 26.8 million results on Google.

To determine where blog readership might stand today, I surveyed 400 people about how often they read blogs.

As a blogger who constantly writes, discovers and reads blogs online regularly, I was expecting that a large number of people would say that they read blogs at least daily.

However, after I performed the Lucid survey, I found the end results surprising — and a little unnerving.

When I asked participants, “How often do you read blogs?”, a whopping 40% of them said, “Never.”

Data Source; Lucid

Before you go deleting your blog just because of one survey — remain calm. While 40% of people in this survey say they never read blogs, other research suggests that nearly 80% of internet users interact with them regularly.

It’s also important to note that some people might not even be realizing how often they’re actually reading a blog. For example, people might not seek out a blog to answer their questions, but a page they discover with helpful information on it after a search query might be a blog. Additionally, people that follow a blog or company might read blog posts on their corporate site, but could still just think of them as “articles” or “company announcements.”

Not to mention, blogging is still incredibly valuable for search engine optimization. In fact, having a blog on your website can result in a 434% increase in indexed pages and a 97% increase in indexed links.

Although I was a bit concerned by the number of people that claim they “never” read blogs, this content strategy still seems to be effective. While 40% of the group claims they don’t read blogs, 60% say they read them more than once weekly. One-third of this group even reads blogs four to six times a week or more.

In short, you should definitely still be blogging.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that this survey was a random sampling of consumers from all industries and age groups. While people in some demographics might have less need for reading blogs, people in industries like marketing or B2B might rely on them to stay up to date in their industry.

While you should take the results above with a grain of salt, the percentage of people who never read blogs is still worth noting. This large percentage shows how blog-based marketing might still run into barriers. This could also be part of the reason why it’s fallen from the top to third-most-common content marketing tactic in past years.

Yes. Less innovative blog content won’t cut it anymore. But, when you think strategically about your blog, the overall tactic is still highly effective. The HubSpot Blog that you’re on right now is living proof.

If you’re a small to medium business marketer, these results shouldn’t deter you from starting a blog. Instead, they should make you realize that you’ll need to get creative to build a competitive blog that generates traffic and leads.

To help you grab attention from large audiences — even if they less frequently read blogs — here are six ways to innovate on your blog strategy.

Six Ways to Combat Low Blog Readership

1. Experiment with video and text in your posts.

One of blogging’s biggest competitors is video content marketing — a.k.a. the top content marketing strategy according to …. But, if you don’t have time to test a full video strategy, you can consider posting a few blog posts with videos on your blog instead.

On the HubSpot Blog, we regularly add videos to our own blog posts in order to give more in-depth detail or expert tips on the topic we’ve written about. This way, readers who find the blog post can either read or watch the content.

Here’s one example of a blog post where we included a video related to its topic:

How to blog post from HubSpot with video

On top of improving the user’s experience, placing videos on your blog can also make web content rank in video-based search results. Additionally, video content can also be incredibly engaging when you share them on your social media channels.

If you’re thinking that creating videos will be too expensive or technical for your business, there are strategies you can use to produce videos on a budget. This step-by-step guide walks you through how to brainstorm, script, and affordably shoot videos for your blog or other platforms even when you aren’t working with a big budget.

2. Add infographics or other original images to your content.

In the first few years of my career, when I worked as an editor in newsrooms and small startups, I designed a number of page layouts and basic web graphics. Now, I often create charts and graphs for my blog posts — including the one you see in the intro above. But, interestingly enough, I’ve only ever taken one formal course in graphic design.

The truth is, with all the technology and design-related apps we have today, creating basic graphics isn’t impossible, hard, or time-consuming. In fact, while working on a tight deadline, I used Canva to create the chart seen in the introduction in under five minutes.

If you hire a graphic designer or get the hang of creating graphics quickly, you can also test out posting infographics as the centerpoint of your blog posts. Here’s a post where the HubSpot Blog did just that:

Infographic blog post from Hubspot

While it might take a little bit longer to create branded designs and templates for your blog at first, these visuals will be incredibly helpful for gaining image search traffic. Like video content, original images can also be highly shareable and engaging on social media.

3. Publish original data, quotes, and expert insights.

Some bloggers think that they can get away with writing short. Light-lift blog posts between 200 to 300 words. While tiny, low-effort posts might get some search traffic, they’re not going to make your content feel original or interesting to the reader.

To compete with more experienced blog sites, write in-depth posts that include data and facts to back up each point that you discuss. If you can, leverage data collection platforms like online survey platforms to collect original data that you can then post on your blog. This will make your content look more credible and trustworthy, but it also can boost search traffic. Here’s how:

When you include your own data in blog posts, other bloggers or journalists looking for data to back up their points might link to your blog posts as evidence. These links are often called “backlinks.” While getting mentioned on other websites certainly boosts brand awareness, backlinks also improve your authority in search engines.

Like data, original quotes also encourage backlinking. Aside from this benefit, blog posts with quotes or expert insights from industry thought leaders might be shareable or engaging on social media platforms like LinkedIn.

5. Use SEO strategies to build traffic and rank on search pages.

While many of the tips above will help you boost your non-organic traffic as well as the reader’s experience, you should also pay attention to organic traffic — which will likely account for most of your views. Aside from videos, visuals, and encouraging backlinks with original information, you can also improve organic traffic by leveraging keyword research and other SEO strategies.

If you’re new to SEO, or search engine optimization, it’s actually not that hard to get up to speed on these strategies. While some tactics are as simple as adding alternative text to your images, others include internal linking related blog posts to a new piece you’re publishing. To get up to speed on a few easy and effective SEO tactics, check out this blog post.

6. Promote your content on the right platforms.

Although SEO will likely be a primary source of traffic for you, you’ll still want to make sure you promote blog posts on social media channels.

Why? While it will take time for blog posts to rank in search result pages, you can share your content on social media, email, or other channels to gain non-organic traffic immediately after you publish a post.

Lastly, promoting any content from your website effectively boosts brand awareness. By posting valuable blogs on your channels, you could gain more followers, post shares, and engagements from audiences that you didn’t have before building a social media strategy.

Building a Better Blog

As 2020 continues, we’re going to see even more bloggers take on competitive strategies that embrace new content formats in order to gain audiences and prevent low readership. Regardless of which tactics you decide to test out, keep these things in mind:

  • Add videos and visuals: Video and graphic marketing are getting more abundant and effective when it comes to generating traffic and leads. Additionally, younger generations are engaging with this content more than others before them. If you have the bandwidth, be sure to experiment with visual content.
  • Offer original insights and tips: As mentioned above, original quotes and data will boost your search and non-organic traffic while making your blog look more credible.
  • Leverage search and social opportunities: Most internet users are still finding blog posts primarily through search and social media platforms. So, even when you’re experimenting with new content types, be sure to leverage keywords, alt-text, and other SEO tactics to make sure you’re not ignoring search opportunities. You should also give them additional promotion on your social media channels.

To get more insider tips on how to be an effective blogger, check out this post with insights directly from the HubSpot Blog team.

A Marketer's Crash Course to Hyperlocal Marketing

A couple of weeks ago, I was planning a trip to New York. I’d never been, so I was excited to start planning and figure out my itinerary.

Once my hotel room was booked, I started looking for things to do during my time. I wanted to stay close to my hotel so I could find my way back after a long day of exploring. This goal of mine meant that most of my Google searches would have “near greenwich village, NY” in the queries.

When I was planning out places to get food, for example, my query was “vegan restaurant near greenwich village”. The results Google picked for me based on this search weren’t by guessing or magic — most likely, the restaurants used hyperlocal marketing efforts to optimize their businesses for “near me” searches.

Hyperlocal marketing targets audiences who have similar researching methods to mine — those who use “near me” in search queries in hopes of picking out a business to try out in person based on the business’s location.

For my New York trip, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time commuting, so finding places near my hotel was essential. I knew I was going to see a Broadway play during my trip, and I found similar results for “shopping near broadway”.

If your business is struggling locally, or you’re looking for a way to boost foot traffic, you may benefit from hyperlocal marketing. Here, let’s explore what hyperlocal marketing is, how you can implement hyperlocal marketing at your own company, and examples of hyperlocal marketing to further understand why it matters.

What is Hyperlocal Marketing?

Hyperlocal marketing is a method of marketing that focuses on a targeted audience within a local area. This tactic zeroes in on a small number of consumers who want to buy from businesses near them.

Hyperlocal marketing accomplishes one main goal: raising foot traffic to a store’s physical location for people who rely on “near me” queries for shopping.

For example, if I wanted to find a coffee shop in my area, I would Google “coffee shops near me” to figure out where the nearest one is. Any coffee shops that has teams are using hyperlocal marketing as a strategy would then pop up on the results page.

Hyperlocal marketing is a good choice for you if you want to increase in-person sales and boost brand awareness. Next, let’s talk about some strategies that’ll impact your hyperlocal marketing results.

Hyperlocal marketing strategies

These marketing strategies contribute to the goal of getting more local audiences to find your business from a simple Google search. Although they’re focused on hyperlocal results, you can also use these strategies to make sure your business is optimized for online search in general.

1. Make and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

If your business isn’t set up on Google My Business, that’s an important first step. Google My Business is the aptly-named tool businesses use to show up on “near me” search queries. When you make your listing, or if you already have one, it’s critical you properly optimize the page to show up on search results for “near me” queries.

Some things to keep in mind: add relevant keywords in your business description to increase your chances of being found. Make sure you post high-quality photos to make your listing professional. Additionally, increase your visibility by choosing categories that best describe your business and business goals.

Google My Business queries’ most fundamental element is location, so your optimization efforts should focus on that. When you optimize your listing, you raise your chances of being ranked highly on local results pages.

2. Make Sure You’re Accessible

On your website, make your contact information easy to find. It should be labeled clearly on your webpage. This tells customers your business is accessible and welcomes interaction.

If you have business pages on social media platforms, be sure to link back to your website, provide your store location, and include contact information as well. As a consumer, I find most new local restaurants on social media — if I can’t contact them about my dietary restrictions, I won’t make a reservation.

If your business is near any popular landmarks or attractions, you can note them in the description of your business to draw in customers who are looking for businesses near attractions. Those keywords will expand your reach.

3. Optimize For Local Search

Review your website. When was the last time it was optimized for SEO? Your website should be optimized to the same standards your Google My Business page is.

Let’s go over what it means to have your website properly optimized. First, it should be easy to navigate, so first-time visitors can find their way around.

Next, your URL structure should be informative. Google sees URLs first and asks questions later, so the information in your URL should be relevant to search queries. If your business provides marketing solutions in Las Vegas, for example, one of your website pages should have a URL structure that includes the keywords “marketing company,” and “Las Vegas”.

After checking URL structure, be sure to check the language on your website. It should emphasize the locality of your business. What helps with this is using hyperlocal keywords, like nearby landmarks or popular tourist destinations near your business.

When you use hyperlocal keywords on your site, have a local-based website structure, and keep your website properly optimized for SEO, you increase the chances of locals and tourists finding your business on Google.

4. Create Content That’s Hyperlocal

In the same notion of making language on your site hyperlocal, take it a step further and make content that’s hyperlocal. Small businesses whose teams turn to a local marketing plan have the advantage of leveraging content ideas that center around locality. Local content can increase the rank you have on pages that concern location.

How do you come up with local content? Think about your current strategy, what you’re doing now, and how you can put a local spin on it. If your highest-performing content is already focused on location, see how you can modify previous or upcoming content to do the same.

Additionally, local businesses can make content about local events, like a city-wide festival or pop-up shop. You could write a short blog post about the history of a local festival, or take pictures of your business participating in a local networking event for social media.

Most content ideas you have, you most likely won’t have to modify that much, especially if they’re performing well with audiences.

Now, let’s look at some examples of companies whose online presence is benefitting from hyperlocal marketing content.

Hyperlocal marketing examples

1. Diesel Cafe

Let’s look at an example of an awesome Google My Business page. Remember, Google My Business pages helps those who turn to Google first to find local spots near them. So when I typed in “cafe near me” as a search query, this is what I saw:

Sample "near me" search results.

Let’s talk about why this example is awesome.

First, the most important details are listed: the company address, menu, contact information, and website. If I were to click on the website or the menu, all of the links work, making this listing accessible and comprehensible.

There are also plenty of photos, from customers and business owners, to establish the vibe the cafe has from the inside to the outside. Additionally, look at the rating and amount of reviews: I could pour over almost 1,000 reviews if the 4.4 stars didn’t convince me at first glance.

Diesel Cafe excelled at hyperlocal marketing here because their page is properly optimized for hyperlocal marketing. The biggest clue is that it was one of the first results when I typed in my search query. To test the quality of your page, see if you can use a vague search query, like “cafes near me,” to find it.

2. Lamplighter Brewing Co.

For this example, let’s look at an optimized website.

Boston-based brewery Lamplighter Brewing has been filling the glasses of locals and visitors alike since 2014. Lamplighter is very successful at hyperlocal marketing and their website reflects how dedicated they are to providing visitors with an experience that keeps Boston at the forefront.

For instance, let’s look at Lamplighter’s “About” page. As a first-time visitor, I’d be looking for local language, such as location, and business hours in the location’s time zone. I’d also be looking for services and local flair to help make my decisions.

Lamplighter brewing "About" page

Source

From the “About page,” I can see the brewery’s location, services offered, a business goal of sticking to New England IPAs, and what makes the brewery different from other options in the area. This is a wonderful example of a business page that was optimized using hyperlocal strategies, like location, and the business’s local ties.

Because of their optimized website, when I search “craft beer in cambridge mass” in Google, I could find Lamplighter in the first five results, with their website listed on Google.

3. Glossier

Here’s an example of hyperlocal marketing by a global company. Beauty company Glossier opened a pop-up location in Boston’s Seaport area during 2019. To market their new pop-up, Glossier used a lot of Boston-based hyperlocal marketing efforts to build interest with a specific audience: Boston-based customers who could travel to Seaport.

Let’s look at their Instagram ad:

This post was uploaded three days after the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LIII. The location of the image? A public transit stop less than ten minutes away from the location of Glossier’s pop-up.

The image shows the middle of Super Bowl festivities, sure, but it also shows an ad for a Glossier product. The marketers at Glossier saw a golden opportunity to boost local interest by showcasing their ad and how locals interact with it during a massive local event.

4. Dollop Coffee Co.

Hyperlocal marketing on Twitter? Chicago-based coffee chain Dollop proves it’s possible. From their bio, which includes local language and contact information, to their tweets, which have a theme of slipping location into most of them, it’s clear Dollop uses Twitter to target and engage with local audiences.

For instance, check out their pinned tweet from December 2019:

This tweet gives the hyperlocal marketing essentials: location, cool features, a peek at the store’s hours, and high-quality photos. If I were visiting Chicago and came across this tweet, I could easily copy and paste the address in my search bar.

To check and see if Dollop’s hyperlocal Twitter strategy was working, I searched “coffee chicago” on Twitter, and clicked on the “People” section. Dollop’s account is in the top ten results. For such a vague search query, it’s clear to see that Dollop’s strategy is paying off.

Now that we’ve gone over some hyperlocal strategies and examples, you’re ready to start planning how to effectively implement a hyperlocal plan for your business. To see how your business ranks hyperlocally, start with search queries. Type in “near me” queries and see what businesses ranking above yours are doing to improve their ranking.

Will I see your business next time I’m traveling and looking for places “near me”?

How to Actually Generate Leads on TikTok [Infographic]

As a marketer, you’ve likely heard the buzz around popular social platform TikTok, which now has 500 million monthly active users and is the third-most downloaded app globally.

The video-based social app has incredible potential for marketers, particularly since it’s so popular with the Gen-Z and millennial demographic. But, despite its potential, many marketers are unsure how to approach marketing on the app.

Some brands are already making headway on TikTok, of course — for instance, Chipotle has over 55K fans on TikTok, while the NBA has an impressive 5.1 million.

But, despite a few early adopters, most marketers still haven’t figured out how to monetize TikTok … or whether it’s even worth it to do so.

If you’re considering investing in TikTok in 2020, we’ve got you covered. Here, Visme put together an infographic featuring 10 steps to generating leads on TikTok. Take a look to decide for yourself whether you’re interested in testing out these steps with your own social team./p>

But first — why use TikTok for lead generation at all?

Why use TikTok for lead generation?

There are a few good reasons TikTok can be a great platform to generate new leads

1. It allows for mobile-first campaigns. 

The 2010s has been the decade of mobile, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing. The number of mobile users in the world continues to grow, as even those from developing countries start to get their hands on smartphones at increasing rates. 

But what makes TikTok particularly enticing, aside from its increasing growth, has been its use of micro-videos that are easy to watch on mobile

The majority of mobile users allot their time to watching short videos. The way TikTok is built, users can create 15-second videos at most. It isn’t surprising, then, to see the platform grow the way it has over the years as its format is perfect with what mobile users prefer to consume.

Additionally, from an operations standpoint, the mobile format is relevant. You can run a business right from your phone, so investing in a mobile-based application like TikTok can fit right into your mobile-first campaigns.

2. It’s great for brands targeting a younger market.

From its inception, TikTok made it a point to target younger viewers. They understood the youth uses social media applications differently, and that directed most of their features and campaigns. Very quickly, they became the application younger audiences were addicted to.

To this day, the number of TikTok users online grows at a rapid rate, with a large chunk of those users in their late teens and early 20’s.

Image Source

This information is especially important for businesses who are trying to reach a younger audience. After all, the younger demographic is going to be the market with the most purchasing power in the future — in fact, it’s already projected at about 40% in 2020

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 11.23.18 AMImage Source

3. It enables your brand to produce authentic content.

Authenticity matters, especially to millennials and Gen Z. Keeping things real and genuine is key in getting buyers to believe your business does more than just get consumers to buy products.

Doing this can be difficult, but a great place to start is by focusing on storytelling. Focusing on narrative shows your business goes beyond money and emphasizes the human element to things.

In a nutshell? Authentic brands attract quality leads. And with TikTok paving the way for authentic brand building — especially with content creators who have huge influencing power — this platform is the place to be.

Next, let’s explore the 10 steps to generate leads on TikTok: 

10-Steps-to-Generate-Leads-on-TikTok_(1)

How HubSpot Manages a Giant Website With a Tiny Team

I can’t write a single line of code.

So, it was a big surprise to me when I was asked to lead our new global web strategy team three years ago.

If you’ve followed HubSpot’s history, it’s also probably a big surprise to you that we had 20,000 customers and went public years before we had a team to manage our web strategy.

And, as you might expect, things were pretty complicated before my team was implemented. Prior to 2016, we referred to our giant website as “the wild, wild west.”

The brand team owned the homepage, but anyone who asked for access could make or edit any of our web pages. The web developers and designers had an endless list of requests, but no way to prioritize them. And while some individual marketers measured the success of pages that contributed to their lead goals, nobody was measuring the overall success of the website.

You may be wondering how the HubSpot marketing team could fail to recognize the need for someone to manage its websites. The truth is, it wasn’t a matter of ignorance. — It was actually a matter of fear.

HubSpot has always had an autonomous culture. Before the team was implemented, stakeholders were afraid introducing a centralized team could hinder that autonomy. Because most of our marketers and cross-functional teams used the website for their initiatives, marketing leaders worried that one management team would slow people down or stifle innovation.

We needed a strategy for managing our websites that could accomplish our team needs: it needed to empower the many people at the company who contribute to the website and ensure a consistent user experience that delivered on measurable business goals.

As the days of the “wild, wild west” ended, my team, limited to a small group of people as we proved our worth, began creating a web management process.

The website management strategy we have today isn’t perfect, but it’s helped us grow and restored some sanity to the creators working on the site. Our team of just 17 people is able to manage our core website in six languages while providing an optimal user experience and consistent branding across our web properties.

Since developing the centralized website management team, we’ve grown the conversion rate on our core site by 76% while redesigning multiple related sites and site sections. And, thanks to the tools we’ve used, we’ve only needed to grow the team by a few people.

If you don’t have a huge budget to keep an agency on retainer or hire a full army of developers, here are five tips on how to scale your web strategy with a small team. For each tip, I’ll walk you through how we did it in our own strategy.

How to Develop a Scalable Website Strategy Like HubSpot

1. Identify your website’s purpose and goals.

Customers often touch a brand’s website at every single stage of the customer journey: From their first interaction of reading a blog post to looking for customer support documentation after they’ve become a customer.

This puts a lot of demand on a website and the team that manages it.

Since our strategy could go in multiple different directions, our team first needed to articulate a clear purpose. We did this by crafting mission and vision statements.

  • Our Mission: Help professionals grow their businesses better by connecting them to HubSpot’s content and software on our global websites.
  • Our Vision: Oversee HubSpot’s websites to ensure that they are on brand, user-friendly, global, and optimized for conversion.

We also wanted to go one step deeper in our responsibility to the business by creating some quantifiable goals.

When determining our KPIs, we debated between using click-through-rates, conversion rates, or estimated revenue. We ultimately decided to track the overall website’s performance by conversion rate.

The conversion rate was relatively easy to measure and the most isolated KPI that would relate most to the work that we’d do.

We also considered using revenue as our main measure, but we lacked direct attribution reporting. Revenue can also be impacted by many external factors such as changes in average sales prices and sales close rates. However, we still used revenue to evaluate the winner for any conversion rate optimization tests that we’d run, as they would be taken over a short period of time and less subject to changes in those external factors.

To make sure we still put the customer experience first, over quantified business metrics, we created a hierarchy of website goals.

We felt this hierarchy was important to document because being too focused on increasing numbers like conversion rates can lead to bad behavior. Examples at their most extreme include the extensive use of misleading clickbait copy or interruptive pop-up CTAs. I wasn’t worried about my team getting that misguided, but we had seen pages that were off-brand or could be confusing to some users that still yielded high conversion rates.

We wanted to hold ourselves accountable for having the best of both worlds — iterating and testing a subpar design until we could find a variant that converted well, was consistent with our brand, and could generate positive user feedback.

2. Choose a content management technology that meets your team’s needs.

To help manage a website without a full team of developers, both big and small brands often use content management systems.

CMS platforms allow those with less web experience to create or design webpages or content using a simple interface. Meanwhile, those with development or coding knowledge can still customize or make more advanced changes to a website. In short, a CMS enables most employees to contribute productively to a website without any help.

Our website has always been powered by HubSpot’s CMS— as you probably might have guessed.

As HubSpot employees, we like to use our own products to do our jobs. Aside from staying loyal to our own brand, the CMS aligns with our web management needs,

The CMS software was designed for quickly-growing companies just like our own. It’s powerful enough to handle the governance and other website management needs our development team demands, and straightforward enough that marketers who can’t code can still easily use it. It empowers web managers or editors of all levels to create or manage successful website content.

Aside from the CMS, we also use our CRM, Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub.HubSpot products that power different aspects of our website. For example: while the Marketing Hub helps us with SEO, analytics; and automation, the Sales Hub allows us to enable chatbots and live chat on our site.

With HubSpot, we can also integrate third-party software to help us execute our strategy. Here are a few examples of helpful tools that work with HubSpot:

  • Cloudwords: For localization of our non-English websites
  • Google Analytics: For measuring web traffic, click-through rates, conversion rates.
  • Google Optimize: For running conversion rate optimization experiments. We use this to complement HubSpot’s own testing tools.

3. Plan your operating model.

When you count every single blog post or landing page in every language across all of our domains, we have nearly one million website pages. That’s a lot of content to maintain and optimize. Our team simply can’t touch every page.

To help us manage even the pages we don’t regularly touch, we needed to develop a system of ownership and prioritization that would find the right balance of empowering other marketers to manage aspects of the site, while still maintaining control over consistent user experience and business goals.

So we developed a framework to define ownership across our various websites:

Framework for website management strategy

The design and development teams also created a Web Style Guide, which made it possible to have a flexible website that empowered others and ensured a consistent user experience. This guide is a toolkit of consistent, on-brand web modules that other stakeholders can use to create and edit website pages. These modules are the building blocks for making a landing page.

With all marketers and website stakeholders pulling from the same library of modules, there’s an automatic system in place to ensure a consistent user experience across our many site pages. And if we want to make a global change to update a design element, like one of our brand colors, our developers can roll it out universally.

If you’re building out a web strategy for your site, you’ll also want to prioritize what tasks are important for your core team and which site pages can be delegated to other marketers.

For example, if you have a core website and a robust blog, you might want one marketer to oversee the website’s main pages, while a blog manager manages your blog site. This will free you up to focus on the larger branding-related tasks that we were able to take on.

4. Identify talent with different strengths for your website management team.

Odds are, your website will have many different elements to it, such as a homepage, a mobile-optimized design, a blog, or product purchasing pages. Because of this, it only makes sense that you should build a web strategy team with multiple types of marketers that can give you insight on how to maintain each aspect of your site.

One of the really unique things about our team is that it brings together people with a wide range of expertise, all working towards common goals. Our group is incredibly cross-functional, and the work we create is a testament to the power of diversity of thought.

Below are examples of people you’ll want on your web strategy team. In my case, the people in the following roles don’t all report to me. However, I still consider anyone outside my direct org a member of my team:

  • Conversion Rate Optimization strategists: Use qualitative and quantitative data to run experiments and improve the conversion rate on existing pages, or apply these principles to creating successful new pages
  • Copywriters: Write short-form copy for website pages based on the audience’s needs and business goals
  • Web developers: Develop site pages, applications, and user experiences
  • Web data analysts: Implement analytics technologies and analyzes data to identify opportunities
  • Project managers: Prioritize projects and facilitates collaboration across the team
  • International website champion: Establishes our localization strategies across our various language sites

5. Prioritize your goals and projects.

As you scale up, it can seem like there are hundreds of things to do on your website. It can be hard to identify what’s really the most important thing to be working on. Even when you do, a sudden product launch or company announcement could cause you to need to change course on a project.

Once your website strategy and your team are in place, it’s crucial that you continue to prioritize work in a way that aligns with the goals, mission, and purpose you’ve decided on.

On our team, work falls within three main categories:

  • Optimization: Conducting research to understand data and user behavior to inform website experiments intended to increase conversion rates on a page (ex: A/B testing copy headlines)
  • Business Updates: Altering copy and design on a page or multiple pages to communicate information about our product offerings, brand messaging, partner programs, etc. when there is a strategy change (ex: launching a new product)
  • Redesigns: Completely altering the site structure or making significant, multiple changes to design and copy all at once based on a complex business strategy change or insight about user behavior (ex: updating the site navigation and corresponding pages to simplify conversion paths)

Aside from picking key areas to focus on, as we’ve done, you should also consider an annual planning process or meetings designed for prioritizing upcoming tasks.

In our case, we always have more project ideas and opportunities than team bandwidth. And business changes come along all the time that we weren’t expecting. This combination has led us to create a diligent annual planning process with quarterly revisions.

At the beginning of each year, we spend time with leaders across the business to understand what business updates are coming and how they’d like the website to better support their initiatives.

We also create our own wish list where we see opportunities and create an additional bucket for ongoing maintenance, experimentation, and unforeseen projects.

Then, we determine how many people we’d need across our many disciplines to execute on every project. This helps us create a prioritization system to rank the projects.

After a series of meetings with the marketing leadership team, where we iterate on headcount and prioritization, we end up with the list of projects we’ll commit to delivering.

Every quarter, we revisit the priorities and make adjustments based on any business changes, new opportunities identified, or shifts in goals from our team or the broader business,

Through this process, we’re able to prioritize more urgent matters, while still being able to revisit or re-prioritize the less urgent matters in the future.

6. Recognize potential challenges and make goals to work through them.

Even if you have a winning team and an army of developers, you still will run into challenges as your site grows and your brand evolves. When running a web strategy, it’s helpful to acknowledge those challenges and how you’ll combat them.

Our team has come a long way in establishing an effective and scalable website model, but we still have a lot of room for improvement.

One of the main things we struggle with, which is common to any growing company, is finding the right balance of executing against short term goals with building scalable systems for the future. Trying to do both can feel like already driving a car while you’re still trying to build the car.

We’re trying to get to the point where we never have to do a classic redesign to any of our sites or site sections ever again; instead, we want to continually optimize, update, and evolve our web properties through testing and ongoing improvements.

Start Building Your Website Strategy

Even after three years of directing global web strategy, I still can’t write a line of code.

But, as long as I have a great tech stack and a team that’s committed to empowering marketers, I don’t intend to learn.

If you’re a marketer at a growing business, you don’t necessarily need to be a development expert to lead its website strategy. If you can envision what a smooth website experience looks like for your customers, navigate a CMS, and pick the right mix of development and marketing talent for your team, you can build a successful process.

To learn more about how to build an effective website or scale up your strategy, check out this step-by-step guide to creating a website, or this post on redesign strategies. If you’re interested in testing out our CMS, click here for a free trial.

6 Advertising Tips to Draw Customers In

Today, I was scrolling the Bon Appetit website, and by the end of my visit, I’d signed up for their newsletter.

When I saw their newsletter advertisement, it was so effective that I just couldn’t help myself.

Good ads get consumers to stop and stare. Effective ads inspire engagement. And when I saw this, I stopped scrolling, laughed, and typed in my email:

Source

This ad successfully combines humor and relatable language to compel me to subscribe — additionally, it solved a “problem” (learning how to cook pasta) I didn’t know I had. Those are three elements of what can make an amazing ad.

Oftentimes, marketers assume a good ad can only be made with a big budget. Additionally, marketers sometimes believe ads are most effective if they’re busy or loud.

While having all the factors above do make for an enjoyable ad experience, they shouldn’t be the only things marketers focus on when designing an ad. In fact, some of the most effective ads I’ve come across have none of them.

The ad above, for example, isn’t busy, moving, or flashy at all, but it’s still an example of a good ad. In this post, let’s explore six components for creating a good, engaging ad.

Not every ad needs to have every single component to be successful. In fact, picking one to three of these components can still make a dazzling ad experience for consumers. Basics every ad should have, like engaging graphics, are covered in this excellent post about ad creation.

Additionally, the tips we’ve outlined below help elevate an ad, and can enable you to refine your ad to ensure it delights your viewers.

Use these tips as a reference when creating an ad or refining for finishing touches. They can be that last step before an A/B test, or a starting step when brainstorming content ideas.

1. Use keywords to rank on search.

Remember, keywords help rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). If a marketer wants to place an ad using Google, but doesn’t use any keywords in their ad, it can be ineffective.

For instance, let’s say I was Googling a laptop for professional use, so I type “business laptop” into Google. This is the first ad that comes up:

Dell ad on Google

From this ad, I can tell that business laptops are being sold at Dell, which is what I want. Using ambiguous language in an ad doesn’t bring much traffic. It also doesn’t help consumers know what’s being sold.

A small business would benefit using their industry or their product when advertising, especially if the product is in a niche market.

2. Solve a problem for your audience.

Your product or service solves a problem, and you probably know that advertising should tell the audience about how your product or service is a solution. If you’re thinking this method is outdated, it doesn’t have to be.

For instance, rather than taking out an ad in a newspaper or spending huge money on a billboard, you can use Twitter for Advertisers, a tool that lets users shop from the app by clicking on a link.

Take a look at Kohl’s ad, which was created on Twitter’s platform:

Copy such as “For the whole family” solves the problem of a busy parent having to go to different stores for clothes shopping. This ad is effective, showing siblings of different ages modeling clothing in a comfortable home setting.

By clicking on the ad, consumers will be able to see every piece the models are wearing, the price, and even purchase items without leaving the app.

3. Ask your audience important questions.

Asking questions engages idle consumers. A question gets browsers thinking, much like the copy from this ad from BuzzFeed on Facebook:

BuzzFeed ad on Facebook

Source

Language in this ad is great — it’s fresh, young, and personable. If I were idly scrolling Facebook, I’d pause on this ad because I’m always looking for an easier way to shop. Here, BuzzFeed recognizes a pain point of its readers and pulls readers into the article by identifying it with a question.

The way the relatable question is posed would make me look at the ad, while the no-frills design of the ad (a simple photo), coupled with the call-to-action, (“Get This Amazing Deal Today”) would make me open the ad.

That initial pull to the ad is possible due to the question. Ultimately, by beginning your ad by posing a question that peaks interest, you’re inviting viewers to click.

4. Include a customer or user’s testimonial.

The reason consumers love websites like Yelp so much is that it’s an entire platform of customer reviews about a product or service that help consumers make more informed decisions.

For instance, check out this ad for TriNet:

Example of TriNet ad

Source

“Learn how one C.E.O. imagines passion in the people who work there” — this copy effectively notates a powerful key player of business and caters to thought leadership.

The headline, “These Employees Know Their Work in Making a Real Difference in the World,” is a powerful sentence that plays to emotions — it makes readers think, “Am I making a difference in the world? How are they? I should click on the ad and find out.”

By letting satisfied customers speak for you, you can deliver an ad message that’s personalized and relatable. Additionally, having that boost of a real-world interpretation of your product or service makes you more reputable.

5. Evoke a sense of urgency in your copy.

Using a tone that’s urgent makes consumers feel like they need a product in their life. Take this ad, for example:

MasterControl ad example on LinkedInSource

This copy carries a sense of urgency to download the whitepaper. The caption introduces the ad and says what the ad doesn’t, saving space for more copy, and making sure all the important things are included.

Notice how the ad copy mirrors a CTA. To create urgency in your advertisement, you might consider using call-to-action language, such as “Learn,” or “Discover,” which engages browsers in a way that’s professional and knowledgeable.

6. Use data points.

Numbers are informative. Statistics and data visualizations get the mind moving and bring numbers to life. And the best part is, numbers aren’t just for ads about sales or data points.

For instance, this promoted tweet has nothing to do with statistics or data collection. It’s a blog post for an Amazon round-up of bags, plants, and more knick-knacks.

As a consumer trying to waste time on social media, a blog post about 30 A-plus purchases from Amazon sounds like music to my ears. The relatable language of “100x Again” is a clever way of including numbers that are convincing without confusing or boring the audience.

Ultimately, numbers make an ad seem impressive, show research, and also connect with a younger crowd, making an ad more clickable.

When planning out ads, consider whether or not you would be engaged if you saw it, and use tools that help achieve that vision.

45 Tech Terms Translated Into Plain English

Ever seen the movie The Social Network about Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook?

In the movie, people kept saying “he’s wired in” or “they’re wired in” over and over again in reference to people coding intensely with their headphones on.

Not knowing anything about programming, I always imagined that being “wired in” meant the programmers were somehow listening to the computers, or that they were connected to the code somehow … or something weird that us non-programmers would never understand.

Turns out it just meant they were concentrating really hard with headphones on. Well, good thing I never hypothesized out loud.

We all misinterpret some of the techy terms floating around web and product design nowadays — but now more than ever, marketers need to be familiar with this vocabulary so we can communicate better with our IT, web design, or product development departments.

To help bridge the gap, here are 45 techy terms every marketer (and human) should understand.

(For a few of these, we drew on these 60 marketing acronyms every industry pro should know.)

301 Redirect

A permanent redirect from one URL to another — usually from a company’s old website to their new website. They’re also used to redirect web traffic from those old web pages to the new ones that have replaced them.

404

Web visitors see 404 error pages when they try to reach a web page that doesn’t exist. This usually happens when the web page has been deleted or the visitor mistyped the URL. Check out HubSpot’s 404 page here.

Alt Text

“Alternative text,” or “alt text.” The text associated with an image. It’s usually the file name of that image, but alt text can be customized using most content management systems (like HubSpot’s). When an image isn’t able to load in an email, website, or blog post, the alt text is displayed instead. 

It’s important for all the images on your website to have alt text because it’s the only way search engines like Google can understand what an image is about, which helps you optimize your website for search. It also makes images accessible to the blind because screen readers can read aloud the alt text.

API

“Application programming interface.” A computer programming term meaning a series of rules. APIs allow an application to extract information from a service and use that information in their own application, or sometimes for data analysis. It’s kind of like a phone for applications to have conversations — an API literally “calls” one application and gets information to bring to you to use in your software. APIs facilitate the data needed to provide solutions to customer problems.

HubSpot has APIs that developers use to get information from our software into theirs. It’s important for marketers to understand what APIs can do to factor them in to their marketing strategies. Learn more about how marketers can use APIs here.

AWS

Amazon Web Services is a service that helps web developers and ecommerce owners in developing certain shopping-related features of their websites. 

Browser Cache

The appliance or instrument through which a browser saves the data needed to see a website, like images and HTML. When you revisit a web page, it’ll take less time to load than the first time you visited it because a cached version of the page was already saved the first time you were there. Because you have a cached version of the page, your browser doesn’t need to send a new request to see that page. Learn more about browser caches here.

“Cached out” can also be slang for really, really tired.

Blockchain

In simple terms, blockchain is a ledger system that uses an open, distributed record to keep track of transactions — transactions could mean cryptocurrencies, medical information, voting or home records, and more.

Cart Abandonment

When people add products to online shopping carts but don’t check out and actually purchase those products. According to Fireclick, 62.30% is the average online cart abandonment rate. It’s a common problem for many ecommerce stores. Learn 8 reasons for cart abandonment and how to combat it here.

CDN

“Content delivery network” or “content distribution network.” A system of servers on the internet that provides content rapidly to multiple users by duplicating the content on multiple servers and directing the content to users based on proximity. CDNs enable better performance and availability — plus, they offload traffic served directly from the content provider’s website. They’re especially good for streaming audio, video, and internet television programming.

To give you a better idea of how the system works, CDN operators get paid by content providers (like media companies and ecommerce vendors) to deliver their content to end users. In turn, CDNs pay ISPs (internet service providers), carriers, and network operators for hosting its servers in their data centers.

Cookies/Tracking Cookies

A small file that a web server automatically sends to your personal computer when you browse certain websites. The identifying information they contain includes login credentials (including usernames and passwords), shopping cart information, and preferences. They’re stored as text files on your hard drive so servers can access them when you return to websites you’ve visited before.

Ever made a return visit to a website like Amazon and seen content tailored to your user preferences? That’s because on your first visit, a cookie was installed. When you came back, the website server read your cookie and recognized you.

Learn more about how marketers can use cookies here.

CMS

A CMS, or content management system, is a platform that allows less-techy people to build websites and content from professionally designed templates. More tech-savvy users can often further customize these templates or website themes with HTML edits or plug-ins, which you’ll learn more about on this list. Notable examples of CMSs include WordPress and WIx.

CSS

“Cascading style sheets.” A language that manages the design and presentation of web pages: color, look, feel, and so on. It works together with HTML (see HTML), which handles the content of web pages. “HTML is the skeleton of your web pages, while CSS is the clothing,” as one of our colleagues says.

With CSS, you can create rules to tell your website how you want it to display information. And you can keep the commands for the style stuff — fonts, colors, and so on — separate from the commands for the content. They’re called “cascading” because you can have multiple style sheets, with one style sheet inheriting properties (or “cascading”) from others. Learn more here.

Disaster Recovery Plan

A plan that helps an organization prepare in the event that its website goes down or something happens to the webmaster. These disasters could be hard drive failure, hackers, and so on.

Disaster recovery plans include recording important website information, performing and saving regular backups of your website, determining an implementation plan for recovering your website should anything happen, and keeping an extra copy of your website data in a safe place.

DNS

“Domain name server.” Servers that translates web addresses into one or more IP addresses. This is why you can enter HubSpot.com instead of having to remember our IP address.

DoS/DDoS Attack

“Denial-of-service” or “distributed denial-of-service” attack. An attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. DoS threats usually target websites or services hosted on high-profile web servers like banks and credit card payment gateways, but they’re also common in business in the form of website attacks.

For example, one common type of attack on businesses would be attempting a service overload — i.e. flooding a network with so much information that it either can’t respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly that it’s basically useless.

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do to avoid being a victim of a DoS attack except securing passwords and installing anti-virus software and a firewall. Signs of an attack are unusually slow network performance, unavailability of a website, or the inability to access a website. Contact your IT team if you sense something’s off.

Hosting Servers

The web servers where website files are housed, served, and maintained.

HTML

“Hyper-text markup language.” The language used to direct the architecture of your website, landing pages, and emails. HTML lays out the structure of your website, from the title and first header, to a bulleted list, to your footer. Remember, “HTML is the skeleton of your web pages, while CSS is the clothing.” Learn more here.

Interface/GUI

GUI stands for “graphical user interface,” known also as simply “interface.” An interface is the part of a piece of software that the end user actually sees and interacts with.

IPaaS

IPaaS, which stands for Integrated Platform as a Service, is a cloud-based platform that connects various applications, systems, and technologies within the cloud or on-premise. It allows for the deployment and maintenance of integration flows without the need for hardware or middleware either within an organization or between an organization and third-party software.

IP Address

“Internet Protocol address.” A numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.

ISP

“Internet service provider.” An organization (commercial, community-owned, nonprofit, or otherwise privately owned) that provides internet services.

Javascript

A computer programming language used to create interactive effects within web browsers. For example, it allows you to perform calculations, write interactive games, add special effects, check forms, create security passwords, customize graphics, and so on. It has become the standard equipment in virtually all web browsers and is well-suited to a large range of non-web-related applications. 

Mimification

Mimification involves going into a web page or piece of content and pulling out all of the useless or excess code or spaces. This can help to increase page load speeds which can also boost your Google SEO. 

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is an artificial intelligence technique where algorithms are trained to recognize patterns and respond to them by performing tasks. For example, a customer service bot for a travel site might be trained to send you deals related to Bermuda if it recognizes the words, “beach vacation” or “Bermuda.”

NLP

NLP, or natural language processing, is when machine-learning algorithms are trained to comprehend large amounts of human language and respond to those commands. You might hear about this machine learning technique most when you are reading about voice assistant products that can respond to multiple spoken commands at once, like Amazon’s Echo. 

Parallax Design

You’ve probably seen those super-cool scrolling website designs like this one from Wildlifethis one from Bagigia, or this one from Honda? That’s parallax — a web design that takes a visual storytelling approach to guiding visitors through a website, and brings user experience to a new, interactive level.

Pixel

Pixels from external ad networks work similarly to the HubSpot tracking code. Once installed on your site, the pixel detects visits to your pages. This data is the basis for creating ad audiences. These ad audiences to target ads can be used to target your ads at specific visitors. Pixels also collect data that can help optimize ads and measure your ads’ results.

Plugin/Plug-In

A software extension that adds a specific feature to an existing software application. You’ve probably heard of plugins in the context of web browsers to add new features like virus scanners, for example. Ever enabled Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft Silverlight QuickTime Player on your internet browser? Yup — those are plugins.

Registrar

A company that registers domain names, like GoDaddy.

Responsive Design

The method of designing web pages that automatically appear in their optimized form on all devices. In other words, responsive design automatically reformats your website for all screen sizes so your website visitors can easily interact with your site no matter what device they’re using. Due to the rapid increase in mobile usage in recent years, responsive design has become somewhat of a necessity.

Here’s how responsive design gets you more from your website

RSS Feed

“Rich site summary feed.” A web feed that publishes frequently updated information like blog posts and news stories. They let publishers syndicate data automatically, which is why they’re sometimes known as “really simple syndication.” When you subscribe to a website’s RSS, you no longer need to check their website for new content — instead, your browser will automatically monitor the site and give you timely updates.

SaaS

SaaS stands for “Service as a Software.” This acronym categorizes platforms that help professionals and B2B employees with daily tasks or other aspects of their own job. Examples of SaaS platforms are HubSpot, Slack, and DocuSign. 

Sandbox

A place to run a program for testing and experimenting in software development. Basically, it’s a testing environment that isolates untested code changes and experimentation. This isolation protects live servers and their data from changes that could be damaging.

Scrum

A framework for managing product development used in agile software development. In Scrum, projects are divided into succinct work cadences known as “sprints,” which are usually one, two, or three weeks long. At the end of each sprint, the team meets to assess their progress and plan the next sprint. One key to Scrum’s popularity and success is that it has a simple set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that never change. Learn more about Scrum here.

Session

In computer science, a session is a dialogue, conversation, or meeting between two or more communicating devices, or between a computer and a user (like a login session). It typically involves saving information about the session history in order to be able to communicate. 

SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is a strategy that optimizes your site and content so it can easily be found and promoted on online search engines.

Showstopper

Slang for anything that could stop the launch of a new product, like a bug.

Site Map

Site maps show a hierarchical view of a website’s pages and content. It helps website designers figure out what content is needed on a website before they begin designing it. Site maps can also be web pages that offer links to all of the pages on a website.

UI

“User interface.” A type of interface that allows users to control a software application or hardware device. A good user interface provides a user-friendly experience by allowing the user to interact with the software or hardware in an intuitive way. It includes a menu bar, toolbar, windows, buttons, and so on. Learn how to create a user-friendly website registration process here.

UTM

A UTM is a code that shows up in a tracking URL that allows a website, such as HubSpot to track views from a specific source, such as a social post or promotional email. Learn how to create and track UTMs and tracking URLs here.

URL

“Uniform resource locator.” Also known as a web address, a URL is a specific character string that refers to a resource. It’s displayed on the top of a web browser inside an “address” bar. Learn how to optimize your URLs for search here.

UX

The overall “user experience” a customer has with a particular business, from their discovery and awareness of the brand all the way through their interaction, purchase, use, and even advocacy of that brand. To deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to think like a customer, or better, think about being the customer. Learn more here.

Vector Graphics

A computer graphics term to describe the use of “geometrical primitive objects” like points, lines, curves, and shapes to represent images. Here’s an example of a real phone that has been “vectorized.”

                  vectorized-phone

Waterfall Development

A sequential design process often used in software development processes, where progress is seen as “flowing” steadily downward through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production/implementation, and maintenance.

The point of waterfall development is to spend more time in the early stages of the software production cycle because catching bugs and other issues early on is cheaper and easier to fix than catching them later.

Web Accessibility

The ability for your website to be accessed by people with different physical and mental abilities, age, location, and so on. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to the web as a basic human right.

Properly designed websites and web tools can be used by people with disabilities. Here are a few examples from W3C of things to include on your website to make them accessible to people with disabilities:

  • Alt text for images — Alt text makes images accessible to blind people because their screen readers, which read aloud the information on a page, also read out the alt text for visual images. It also makes the image information available to people who turned off images on their mobile phones to lower bandwidth charges or people in rural areas who turn off images to speed download. (Alt text is also important for SEO purposes because it lets Google know what the subject matter of the image is.)
  • Transcripts for videos and podcasts — Include transcripts to give access to people with hearing disabilities.

Wired In

Working with headphones on, indicating you don’t want to be disturbed. When programmers write code, sometimes they’ll plug in earphones to isolate themselves from the outside world so they can be totally focused on coding.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in July 2014, but was updated in November 2019 for comprehensiveness. 

 

9 Valentine's Day Marketing Campaigns to Inspire You

 

Love, flowers, chocolate, bla bla bla …

Where are the marketing results?!

Okay, probably not what your Valentine’s date cares about. But if you’re a marketer, you might be interested in merging the most lovey-dovey of days with your marketing. But how?

Well, these companies have figured out some creative ways to leverage the warm and fuzzies (or unadulterated rage and crushing loneliness … whatever) that Valentine’s Day instills in people. If you don’t have a marketing campaign planned for the 14th, maybe some of these will inspire you to get in on some last-minute Valentine’s Day action. Pun totally intended.

9 Effective Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns

1. Frankie & Benny’s “Lady & the Tramp” Instagram Post

Last year, the Italian restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s referenced romantic scenes from notable films like “Lady and the Tramp.”

In a cute Instagram post, two real dogs are seen on a classy date at Frankie & Benny’s holding the same strand of pasta in their mouths. This mimics a class scene from Lady and the Tramp where two dogs kiss after accidentally eating the same strand of pasta.

The carousel post then highlights actual photos from iconic movies like, “When Harry Met Sally.” In the post’s caption, it encourages Instagram audiences to guess which movies are being referenced.

While the real dog’s mimicking Lady and the Tramp grabbed attention, especially from the animal lovers on Instagram, this post’s caption and other photos encourages audiences to interact with the brand by guessing which movies are being referenced.

This is both a fun way to boost brand awareness, and leverage the holiday to gain engagement on social media.

2. Panera’s Engagement Offer

In 2018, Panera tweeted that customers who got engaged in one of their restaurants on Valentine’s Day could win free wedding catering from the chain. 

The tweet included a short and simple video which announced the promotion and showed two Panera employees cheering, as if they were witnessing a proposal.

This is a quick and sweet way to leverage the holiday and social media to gain foot traffic into a physical business. Although Panera is a giant corporation, this campaign strategy is so simple that smaller businesses could create something similar with a tweet, short video, and offer that drives foot traffic.

3. Facebook Messenger Heart Feature

Just before Valentine’s Day in 2018, Facebook Messenger’s Twitter announced that if you shared that you were “In a Relationship” with a friend you were messaging, celebratory hearts would rain down in your Messenger thread with that person.

Although a small business probably can’t add a major feature to their product just because of a holiday, this is a good example of how you can theme something related to your product, such as your website, around a holiday temporarily. 

Another thing that’s interesting about this campaign is that Facebook is using a competing social platform, Twitter, to announce this new feature. This slightly undermines Twitter, which also allows direct messaging but with less interactive features.

4. “Adults Meal” – Burger King

Burger King is no stranger to poking fun at its biggest competitor, McDonalds. This was no different before Valentine’s Day 2017 when they created an “Adult Meal” alternative with a similar box shape to McDonalds’ kids’ meal.

In the ad, Burger King explains that Kids’ Meals are for kids. But, on the night of Valentine’s Day, Burger King customers can buy an adult meal with an “adult toy.”

This campaign is pretty cheeky. However, it’s edgy mission and subtle comments about its competitor’s product make it memorable and funny. 

5. “Romance On Demand” – Uber

On-demand car service company Uber launched a Romance on Demand campaign in most of the cities where they operate. Take a look at the short, cute video they shot to explain the campaign:

If you didn’t watch the video, the gist of the campaign is this: You can request roses be sent to a special someone by selecting the “rose” in their app. You set the delivery location, and a black car arrives at that location with a driver totally suited-up to deliver a bouquet of roses.

Uber is a startup that’s figured out a way to create a campaign that delights its audience and drives additional revenue for its business — all without a tremendous resource investment. I mean, their drivers are already on the road, ready to take customers; but if there are Uber customers who don’t need a ride but totally need to send some flowers, and send them with style … well, let’s just say transporting roses at a premium price isn’t much different than transporting people. Except the margins are way better for Uber. Pretty impressive stuff.

And even better, they’re using inbound tactics to get the word out there! They launched the Romance on Demand campaign on their blog, via social channels with the hashtag #romanceondemand, with that adorable video you might have watched up above, and even by establishing local partnerships in the cities where they’re running the campaign to enter participants into a drawing to win some extra goodies. This is a low cost, high return campaign for Uber that totally aligns with its customer persona — high convenience and high style.

6. “Whose Heart do You Love” – MegaRed

MegaRed is a type of krill oil supplement sold in nutrition stores. If you don’t know already, fish oil is an excellent dietary supplement for those concerned with heart health, so it makes sense that its Valentine’s Day campaign theme is “Whose heart do you love?” Here’s how it works.

MegaRed is relying heavily on Facebook to facilitate this campaign, in which visitors can request free samples of their supplements through their Facebook app. What’s totally endearing about this campaign is that you can request the supplement for “The heart of someone you love.” In other words, you can give someone you love — whose heart you want to keep in tip-top shape — a free sample of their product. Even better? If you choose to give the free sample to a loved on, MegaRed will give you a free sample, too. And the love doesn’t end there: If they can reach 100,000 free samples given away, they’ll donate $100,000 to the National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease.

Aside from the great feeling this campaign instills — I mean, promoting heart health is kind of hard to argue with — I love their use of social media to get the word out there. For instance, on Twitter, MegaRed is seeing celebrities like Joy Bauer and Toni Braxton posting about the campaign. Pretty impressive. And on YouTube, there’s this fun, short, touching video that will, forgive me, but totally touch your heart:

This campaign is being handled by an agency, but one thing that made my heart smile is a quote from MegaRed’s CMO, Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, to the New York Times. “We want to start making digital and social a significantly greater priority for us,” she said. “People are spending four to five hours a month online researching supplements if they’re supplement enthusiasts,” Steeves-Kiss shared, and additionally, they are in the middle of an acquisition by a company whose executive are “great proponents” of social and digital marketing.

We can’t help but smile at seeing the adoption of inbound methods by brands that have millions to spend on traditional advertising methods!

7. “Show Your Love for the Jersey Shore” – The State of New Jersey and the SBA

The State of New Jersey, along with the Small Business Association, are running a pro-business campaign called “Show Your Love for the Jersey Shore.” The call-to-action for the campaign? To spend your vacation dollars — particularly on Valentine’s Day — at the Jersey Shore. It’s being promoted on Facebook, Twitter, via email, and via live events in partnership with destination marketing organizations. Information about special promotions being offered by shore businesses will be shared socially, too, so if you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, check it out 😉 For instance, you might be interested in …

I know I sure would be!

The goal of the campaign is to show that the Jersey Shore is open for business after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The problem some shore businesses are facing is the perception that businesses aren’t recovered from the storm. While there’s still much more recovery to be done, there are some businesses that are, indeed, ready to accept tourists. They just need the word to get out there.

Director of Jenkinson’s Aquarium, Cindy Claus, told NorthJersey.com, “I think so many people see on the news that we got hit by the storm. They see all the destruction, and yes, there’s a lot of destruction and a lot of sadness, but there’s a lot of businesses that were able to get opened. And you need to come back because that’s the only way these businesses are going to survive.” The aquarium was able to open back up on February 1, and is hoping this campaign will help get the word out there that they’re welcoming visitors with open arms.

Whether the campaign works or not remains to be seen, but it’s fantastic to see federally funded institutions finding a way to, essentially, newsjack as a way to aid the shore community — particularly affected businesses — in attaining their previous levels of visitors.

8. Scribbler Valentine’s Day Campaign

Scribbler, a UK-based personalized greeting card service, has won my heart because of its celebration of content in its Valentine’s Day campaign. Using their blog, they’ve asked their audience to share what their definition of “love” is. All you do is visit their blog, and answer these three questions:

Or, you can tweet your response to the Scribbler Twitter account. The winner will get a free iPad mini, and the best answers will be compiled in their Valentine’s Day ebook. To inspire people, Scribbler is also using Facebook and Twitter to post some of the best answers that are coming their way. This campaign is fantastic for a few reasons:

  • It’s a simple way to generate leads that can be nurtured later.
  • It’s a simple way to get people aware of and engaged with their social channels to expand their reach.
  • It’s a simple way to crowdsource content.

This campaign is an excellent idea for anyone trying to expand the top of their funnel — campaigns with a low time commitment but high level of delight are great ways to make new fans that you can later nurture into customers.

9. UncommonGoods Email Marketing Campaign

When I stumble across good email marketing, I get excited. When I stumble upon lovable email marketing, I swoon. Take a look at the lovely email ecommerce company UncommonGoods sent last week to remind/enable/capitalize on last-minute shoppers:

ucgemail resized 600

 First of all, one of the great things about all of UncommonGoods’ emails is their attention to detail. For instance, they tied the Valentine’s Day theme into more than just the design and theme of the email campaign: Take a look at the little tiny text at the top left of the email to see what I mean. Instead of just saying, “For an HTML version of this email, bla bla bla,” they said, “Email still a sweet nothing? Click here.” Love is in the details, as they say.

But the layout of the email also makes taking action super easy for the recipient. Notice how they’ve divided up the gifts, essentially, by persona. “Whose heart are you aiming for?” they ask — at which point you can click on the person you need to shop for, and be brought to a landing page with content that aligns with your need.

But you know what takes all this to the next level? The fact that UncommonGoods finds a way to incorporate blogging into all of this! If you visit UncommonGoods from this email, you’ll see the following (pay particular attention to the orange call-out):

vdayemail resized 600

Not only does the design from the email align with design on the website, but when you click on the parts of that little box — let’s say you’re looking for gifts for your girlfriend — you get taken to a blog post of the top ten gifts for girlfriends, with a picture of that gift, a fun and well-written description of that gift, and a CTA to make the purchase next to each gift.

ucgpage resized 600

Nothing like integrating your marketing channels to sweep a marketer off her (or his) feet!

Valentine’s Day Campaign Takeaways

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in Feb. 2013, but was updated for comprehensiveness on January 30, 2020.

Event Invitation Emails: How to Create One that Rocks

Running a successful event can be stressful, especially when you have so much to coordinate, including the agenda, the venue, and the speakers

Email event invitations, however, shouldn’t be stressful.

If you’re struggling when deciding what to include in your email event invitation, consider what you’d like to see in an invite — probably information about the agenda, venue, and speakers, right?

Answering the questions your audience will have about your event is a great place to start when writing an email invitation. The rest comes easily, as long as you consider good look at design, inclusive language, and personalization depending on your recipients.

Event invitation emails are helpful because they inspire interest for the event, makes emails personalized, streamlines the process of messaging.

If you’re looking for ideas about how to write an amazing event invitation, keep reading.

How to Write an Email Invitation For an Event

Remember, not all event invitations need to be snazzy, high-budget, high-time investment productions. In fact, effective email invitations can be made in about 20 minutes.

Use this section as a base-level cheat sheet for ideas to implement in your next email campaign.

Before you hit “Schedule,” or “Send,” think about if you can answer the “So what?” question audiences will ask after seeing your invitation in their inbox.

To create a stellar email invite, you have to make sure it’s personalized to the reader, instills curiosity, and effectively communicates what the event will entail.

1. Answer the 5 “W’s”.

First thing’s first, tell your audience what’s happening. In school, some of us learned about the 5 W’s — who, what, when, where, and why.

This is a good rule of thumb when writing an email invite. If you can point to your email and identify all five, you’re off to a great start.

Take this email, for example:

This is a wonderful event email because it answers the five questions:

Who: Vanessa De Luca

What: A seminar called “Women Who Lead”

When: December 11th, 4-6 PM

Where: HubSpot

Why: To have a conversation that emphasizes creating space for women to share and own their narratives.

By reading this email, I wouldn’t have any follow-up questions about event logistics. I know exactly when and where I need to be, and what the event will be about. Notice how this email isn’t the flashiest or most animated, but it gets the job done and still has personality.

2. Remember that less is more.

You need to cover all your bases in email invites, but remember not to crowd your email with details. If you find yourself struggling to fit the time of the event in your email, you probably have too much other information.

You don’t want to make it confusing to read, which might turns readers away from your event. I wouldn’t want to attend an event that comes with a poorly organized email — since I’d assume the event could be poorly organized, as well.

To consider the “less is more” sentiment, take a look at this email from Starbucks about their Happy Hour, which are special times where Starbucks Rewards members can enjoy specialty drinks at lower prices:

starbucks happy hour event email invite

This email still answers all base questions without needing paragraphs to explain. So if your event is a recurring one or something low-key, forego the extra words and set up the email as more of a reminder to RSVP.

3. Don’t forget a CTA.

I’m not sure what we were doing before adding calls-to-action (CTAs) to event invitation emails, but it’s a good thing we’re not in that world anymore. Take this sample email I made using HubSpot’s email software:

HubSpot email event invite example

As a consumer who forgets nearly everything that’s not on her calendar, I need a CTA that automatically adds an event to my calendar. Additionally, it makes it easy to RSVP, since all it takes is a click of a button

As a marketer who cares about click-to-open-rates and tracking those who clicked on the CTA, it means being able to measure those results in a content management system to think about ways to improve for the next event email.

Including a CTA is a win for both sides — as a marketer, it gives you metrics to track click-through rates, and consumers will appreciate the delightful user experience.

4. Make the design enjoyable.

Before you finalize your email, think about whether you’d attend the event based solely on the design. If the answer is no, you probably need to put more effort into the aesthetic of your email.

You might be pulling a blank on how to design a beautiful email, and that’s okay. Keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Stick with your branding — Start by choosing the colors that match your brand and incorporate them into your email. Colors go a longer way than traditional black and white text.
  • Choose a template — As someone who knows little about coding and equally as little about design, templates have become a lifesaver. Websites like Canva or Mailchimp have an array of templates you can use to create your email, like this template from Canva:
Canva example of a stunning template

Source

  • Play with simple elements — Simple things, like shapes and sizes, really help an email’s design. Refer to the image above and how it uses circles and cylinders to fill negative space in an interesting way.

Thinking of elements like these can brighten up an email, as well as experimenting with sizes of text. If you’ve found you want to take up more space in your email, make the font sizes bigger and incorporate shapes or designs like stripes running across the header.

5. Consider your language.

Always, always check the language of your email. Think about the vibe your message sends, and if it’s the right one you want to convey. You’re communicating your event details, but you’re also conveying your brand.

Double-check elements like your CTA: Is it more inviting than the standard, “Learn more!” that has become routine in emails? What about your text? Does it drop playful language where applicable?

Stunning language in an email example

For instance, this INBOUND email is a great example of laid-back language. The language is more conversational than formal.

When you use conversational language, the reader feels more connected to your invite, like you already know them.

6. Think about the details.

When you’re done designing your email, think about little details that will delight your invitees. Have you created a thank you or follow up email? Have you made the subject line something that will captivate subscribers?

Little details like subject lines can be more emotionally engaging to your audience. Ultimately, audiences will be delighted if you show in your invite that you had them in mind. Some people open emails based on the subject line, so it can also make or break your email performance.

If your event location is difficult to find, consider including directions in the bottom of the invite. An event that includes some kind of map or directions in the invite tells me that the sender took people’s commutes into consideration, like this one:

Example of delighting customers in an event email invitation

You can include directions by adding a Google Maps screenshot into your email, or using email marketing software to embed a Maps feature into your template.

Your event is set to go off without a hitch, and your email event invitation should, too. If you use online software to create an email, you can pull off a professional, flawless design in less time than you think.

By focusing on the important information, honing in on simple yet effective design elements, and making the language pop, your email invite will set itself apart from others in a way that’s inviting and delightful for readers.

Don’t forget to scroll through your own inbox for inspiration, too!

What Is a CMS and Why Should You Care?

Deep in the sea of acronyms in the marketing world, there’s an overwhelming amount to keep straight. SEO, CRM, SERP, CTR, and CToR are all important acronyms that can roll off of the tongue for most of us.

What about CMS?

Whether you’re new to marketing or have been in the industry for years, this acronym may be completely new to you. It also may be the answer you’re looking for if you need a professional website, fast, with limited technical resources.

A CMS can help you build exciting, delightful content, resulting in more conversions and lead generation. If you’ve never heard of it, or have always seen the term thrown around and never knew exactly what it meant, this post is for you.

Rather than opening up HTML or JavaScript, CMS software does that for you, so you’re able to pick and choose how your content will look once it’s live on a webpage. Additionally, to save you the task of building systems that create pages and CTA buttons, a CMS can take care of those things for you.

Having a CMS helps marketers who need to operate a fully-functioning website, but lack coding experience. A CMS can be used to create web pages, such as an “About” page or a blog, so focusing on customer-specific content is easier (and less stressful).

Why do you need a CMS?

If any of these scenarios are pain points at work, it may be time to look into how a CMS can help you streamline processes and organize content.

Limited Resources

If you’re working with limited technical resources, it might be imperative to save you time and the gripe of wondering if your website is professional enough. For example, maybe you don’t have the software needed to code a webpage or don’t have a developer.

Because CMS software is so expansive and comprehensible, it’s a simple process to add, update, or remove content from a website. You won’t have to spend extra time figuring that out.

SEO Plugins

Additionally, with a CMS, you can optimize web pages for search engines, which is extremely helpful in getting your contact to rank highly on Google. That way, potential leads can find you, and you’ll have an amazing-looking website when they do.

Lack of Coding Knowledge

You may find yourself in a position where you need a new landing page or something similar, but you don’t have enough time to build one from scratch. With a CMS, that process can be straightforward.

Allows for Collaboration

Multiple members can have access to CMS software. Every team member would individually use their account to work collaboratively on team projects, like editing a landing page. They also have the capability to save templates of webpages, as well.

Ultimately, a CMS consolidates processes that may be impossible to a marketer.

Best CMS Platforms

HubSpot offers a CMS that’s for businesses at any stage. If you’re thinking of piloting a CMS, find out more about HubSpot’s trial here. There are alternative CMS options like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, as well — take a look at WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal: Which Is the Right CMS Platform for Your Site? To investigate alternative options to HubSpot.

HubSpot

HubSpot’s CMS allows you to build websites that are powerful, optimized for search engines, and secure. You can manage all of your marketing and content in one place, which allows for easy collaboration.

The tools in HubSpot’s CMS lets you personalize every visitor experience. Personalized content improves the experience of the user, having felt targeted.

WordPress

With WordPress, you’ll have more than a blogging website. With the plugins and widgets you can add to a WordPress site, you can create a unique experience specific to your brand.

These plugins and widgets can add sidebars, calls-to-action, unique forms, and more. The easy-to-use tools in WordPress is that you can be as minimal with the design or as flexible as you want.

Joomla

Joomla is similar to WordPress in that it offers many plugins and widgets to expand your website. Both platforms are also free and come with webpage templates.

While other CMS platforms adopt an expansive all-in-one experience with content management, Joomla focuses on building and designing websites. It’s a good platform to use for straightforward website management.

Drupal

Drupal’s homepage has CMS information split into sections for developers, marketers, and agencies. As an open-source platform, Drupal is another website that allows for a lot of customization opportunity.

Drupal is different because the platform is more on the technical side. It would mostly benefit the marketer with more than a working knowledge of code who doesn’t have the time to learn the extra skills needed to build an entire website.

It can be a huge pain to get a proper website up and running — that’s why more SMBs are finding that having a CMS has helped them exponentially.

If you’re in a spot that sounds similar, give a CMS a try and see if it works for you.

7 Incredible Examples of A/B Tests by Real Businesses

Whether you’re looking to increase revenue, sign-ups, social shares, or engagement, A/B testing and optimization can help you get there.But for many marketers out there, the tough part about A/B testing is often finding the right test to drive the biggest impact — especially when you’re just getting started.

So, what’s the recipe for high-impact success?

Truthfully, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe. What works for one business won’t work for another — and vice versa.

But just because you can’t replicate the same test and expect the same result doesn’t mean you can’t get inspired by other companies’ tests.

In this post, let’s review seven excellent examples of how companies use A/B testing. While the same tests may not get you the same results, they can get you inspired to run creative tests of your own.

1. HubSpot’s Mobile Calls-to-Action

HubSpot uses several different calls-to-action in its blog posts. For instance, on this blog, you’ll notice anchor text in the introduction, a graphic CTA at the bottom, and a slide-in CTA when you scroll through the post.

However, on mobile, these CTAs might seem intrusive. That’s why HubSpot tested mobile CTAs.

Previous A/B tests revealed that HubSpot’s mobile audience was 44% more likely to click through to an offer landing page and 18% more likely to convert on the offer if all CTAs were stripped from blog posts and there was only one CTA bar at the bottom of the page with no ability to exit.

So, HubSpot decided to test different versions of the bottom-of-the-page CTA bar, using thank you page views as the primary metric and CTA clicks as the secondary metric.

HubSpot used four variants for this test.

For variant A, the control, the traditional placement of CTAs remained unchanged.

For variant B, the CTA had a maximize/minimize option so readers could dismiss the CTA. This could be accomplished by an up/down caret.

For variant C, the CTA had an X that would completely dismiss the CTA from the post. At this point, there would be no formal CTA on the blog.

HubSpot bottom of the page CTA with an exit option.

For variant D, the CTA had no X or minimize/maximize option.

HubSpot bottom of the page CTA bar.

Overall, variant B saw a 7.9% increase, variant C saw an 11.4% decrease, and variant D saw a 14.6% increase.

From those numbers, HubSpot was able to project that using variant D on mobile would lead to about 1,300 additional submissions each month.

2. Groove’s Landing Page Design

Every marketer will have to build a landing page at some point. But building a landing page that’ll convert is hard.

Groove experienced that first hand when the company learned one of its landing pages was only converting at 2.3%.

However, Groove wasn’t sure why the page wasn’t converting. To figure it out, its team went on a journey. They looked up resources and talked to marketing experts to figure out why their site wasn’t working.

That’s when the company learned that the messaging was all wrong. To figure out how to appeal to its customers, Groove decided to reach out and actually talk to real users.

Then, when the team rebuilt their landing page, they focused on copy first, and design second. Only when the copy was completely finished and approved did they start the visual aspect of designing.

Overall, the tweaks to messaging ultimately doubled their conversions to 4.7%.

Groove's old landing page compared to its new landing page.

Image Source

3. HubSpot’s Site Search

Most websites contain a search bar at the top of the page that gives users the ability to search for a specific topic or term on the site.

Based on previous data, HubSpot found that non-bounce desktop users who engage with search have a 163.8% higher blog lead conversion rate than those who do not. However, only a very small percent of blog traffic interacts with the search bar. That’s why HubSpot decided to test the visual prominence and functionality of the site search bar.

HubSpot used three variants for this test, using offer thank you page views as the primary metric.

For variant A, the site search bar increased visual prominence and altered the placeholder text to “search by topic.”

HubSpot site search A/B test variations.

For variant B, the search bar had increased visual prominence, the placeholder text was altered to “search by topic,” and the search function searched the blog, rather than the whole site.

For variant C, the search bar had increased visual prominence, the placeholder text was changed to “search the blog,” and the search function searched the blog, rather than the whole site.

HubSpot site search bar altered language from A/B test.

As a result, HubSpot found that all three variants increased the conversion rate. However, variant C showed a 3.4% increase in conversion rate and a 6.46% increase in users who engage in the search bar.

4. Csek Creative Homepage Design

The copy on your homepage is important because it helps users decide whether they want to continue looking deeper into your site.

In this example, a digital agency decided to test the tagline on its homepage. Ultimately, the goal was to decrease the bounce rate.

Before the A/B test, Csek’s tagline read: Csek Creative is a Kelowna based digital agency that delivers the results that make business sense.”

Csek Creative control landing page language.

Image Source

To make the copy less vague and more explanatory of the services it offered, Csek Creative changed the verbiage to: “Csek Creative is a digital agency that helps companies with their online and offline marketing needs.”

Csek's newly written tagline on its homepage.

Image Source

Expecting minor results, this change actually resulted in an 8.2% increase in click-throughs to other pages on the site.

5. HubSpot’s Email vs. In-App Notification Center

Gathering reviews from users isn’t always an easy task. That’s why HubSpot decided to A/B test ways to reach out to customers. The methods tested? In-app notifications versus email.

HubSpot decided to send an in-app notification and email alerting users that they were the champion user of the month and would receive a $10 gift card if they left a review on the Capterra site.

For variant A, HubSpot sent a plain text email to users.

HubSpot's plain text email requesting users leave a review.For variant B, HubSpot used a certification, templated email.

HubSpot's templated email asking customers to leave a review.

For variant C, HubSpot sent an in-app notification.

HubSpot's in-app notification to users requesting they leave a review.

HubSpot found that unlike with emails, in-app notifications are often overlooked or missed by users. The emails outperformed in-app notifications by 1.4x. From both emails, 24.9% of those who opened the email left a review, compared to 10.3% of those who opened the in-app notification.

6. Humana’s Site Banners

Many landing pages showcase large banners at the top of the page. That’s valuable real estate, and if the banner isn’t optimal, it could end up doing more harm than good.

That’s why Humana, a healthcare insurance provider, decided to test its landing page banners.

In the control, Humana had been using a banner that displayed a lot of copy, a weak CTA, and no clear and concise message.

Humana control banner for its A/B test.

Image Source

However, for variation B the company decided to simplify the message. This variation ended up receiving 433% more clickthroughs than the control.

Humana variation B site banner.

Image Source

Humana didn’t stop there. Once variant B became successful, the company decided to make it the new control and wanted to test the CTA.

With variation C, Humana switched the CTA language to include language that was a harder sell, such as “Shop.” The company decided this would be a good approach because customers signing up for Medicare have a limited window to make a decision.

Humana uses a harder sell for its CTA on its landing page.

Image Source

The change in language resulted in a 192% increase in clickthrough.

7. Unbounce’s Tweet vs. Email CTA

On most landing pages, marketers typically ask users for an email address to deliver their content offers.

However, Unbounce decided to test whether customers would rather give an email address or just tweet about a product.

Both options have pros and cons for the company. Asking for an email address means your company can build a list of potential prospects while asking people to tweet can build viral momentum and increase social exposure.

The first landing page in this A/B test asked users to give their email address in exchange for an ebook.

Unbounce landing page asking users for an email address.

Image Source

The second landing page asked users to send a tweet in exchange for the ebook.

Unbounce landing page asks users to tweet about a product in exchange for a content offer.

Image Source

Overall, people far preferred giving out an email address. In the end, the email landing page had a 24% conversion lift.

These companies all saw these amazing results because they started testing. If you want to get the same results, you’ve got to get started, too. For more information, be sure to check out the on-demand webinarOptimize Your Online Marketing Channels,” hosted by Optimizely and HubSpot.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

How to Build a Product Ecosystem Buyers Will Want to Be In

When I hear the word ecosystem, I think of my science class as a kid. Specifically, I remember having to choose an environmental ecosystem to do a project on. I chose the tundra ecosystem and talked about how the living and nonliving things in this climate worked together to survive the harsh, frozen, and typically snow-covered environment — none of them would make it without the value each element and organism provided.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you this story (a valid thought on your part, if that’s the case). Here’s my logic: An environmental ecosystem functions in a very similar way to a product ecosystem. A product ecosystem is when products can coexist in a way that’s beneficial for the customer (not to mention, brings in more revenue for the business).

In this post, we’ll take a look at successful product ecosystems and why buyers want to be a part of them.

Why is a product ecosystem valuable?

The process of building a successful product ecosystem is valuable for businesses for numerous reasons — product ecosystems work …

  • To solve for all of the needs of your customers — which helps improve brand loyalty and advocacy.
  • To boost revenue by making it easy for customers to expand their library of your products.
  • To prevent your customers from having to invest in other products that are sold by your competitors and other brands.
  • To make the lives of your customers easier by solving for a wide array of challenges within the system they’re already a part of.
  • To create products that support each other and coexist in a way that makes them stronger and more useful for customers.
  • To support the development of your product line over time by making updates that improve their ability to connect and work in tandem with each other.
  • To offer a greater range of services for customers and, therefore, improve your chances of becoming known as an impactful player in your industry.

Next, consider an example of a successful ecosystem to gain a better understanding of the way in which they function.

Example of a Product Ecosystem

An example of a successful product ecosystem is the one Apple has created. Apple has a host of products that connect with each other to effectively and easily meet the technological needs of its target audience. Read the following potential scenario to see what I mean.

Plug your iPhone into your MacBook Pro to view all details related to the phone including your storage, different aspects of your phone’s history, your music library, and more via your laptop. And speaking of your music, connect your AirPods in just seconds to your iPhone and your MacBook for seamless listening opportunities cross-device.

Then, lock your phone and close your MacBook Pro prior to heading out on a run. Throw on your Apple Watch so you can leave those larger devices at home while maintaining access to your music with your AirPods. Don’t worry, your Apple Watch will still notify you of your call, text, and email notifications while out on the running trail. Meanwhile, your mileage, time, heart rate, and other workout details will also be recorded while you’re running. Then, when you return from your run, head into your home office and plug your Apple Watch into your iMac to view your workout summary on the easy-to-view display screen.

This is just one example of how a few of the products within Apple’s ecosystem coexist to improve their value to and simplify the lives of its customers.

How to Build a Product Ecosystem

You can build your product ecosystem in a number of ways. Below, we’ll review four of the most common steps when doing so. These steps are all-encompassing so you can incorporate them into your process no matter the industry you’re in.

1. Listen to your customers.

For a product ecosystem to be beneficial to buyers, you need to ensure your products or services are effectively solve the challenges and pain points of your target audience. To do this, listen to your customers. Ask them what they’re missing in your current products and services; ask them about the work they do on a daily basis so you can determine the best ways to meet and exceed their needs with the support of your product ecosystem.

Here are some ways to develop a stronger understanding of your customers, and listen to their needs, to ensure your product ecosystem is valuable:

2. Simplify the connections within your product ecosystem.

Part of the reason buyers want to be in a product ecosystem is the ease that comes from using the products of a single brand. For example, as a HubSpot user, you can manage your entire business, across all departments, within the one system. As the businesses of HubSpot customers grow and their needs expand, they can easily purchase or connect to additional products, tools, or Hubs within the software in mere seconds.

By making connections and integrations simple, your product ecosystem becomes more valuable for customers. This also helps you improve your brand loyalty, as customers will be less likely to get frustrated and spend time identifying the product ecosystems of other businesses that are simpler and more efficient.

3. Consistently update and improve your product ecosystem.

As mentioned, your first step in creating a product ecosystem requires you to ask for, and listen to, customer feedback. Continue to do this as your ecosystem evolves and expands, not just as you make your initial plans to build it.

This way, you create products within the ecosystem that effectively solve the needs of your customers. It will also help you update and improve individual parts of your ecosystem as needed in a way that makes being a part of it valuable for customers.

4. Make joining your ecosystem valuable for customers.

By working through the above steps, you’ll likely have no issue achieving this final step — however, it’s still important to reiterate the need for your product ecosystem to be valuable for customers to join. 

Think about it — your ecosystem won’t succeed among your target audience and customers if it includes products with functions and features that aren’t cohesive or powerful when grouped together. After all, this is how any ecosystem functions — through the collaboration of each piece and member.

Build Your Product Ecosystem

Building a product ecosystem your buyers want to be a part of is how your business can improve loyalty among customers, boost revenue, improve retention rates, and become better-known as an industry leader. So, think about the needs of your customers, the ways in which you can better serve them with your ecosystem, and how an ecosystem can make your product line more valuable.

Your Personal Lifestyle Essay or dissertation – this Confederacy

Modern day lifestyle very own wonderful pieces in conjunction with bad. Own life is the latest chain of experiences. We have a singular element I’ve observed a number of within this unique living, individuals are offending, they typically look tangled and often fearful of tips on how to address factors they may be facing. When you prefer to be effective on your life, and then first thing of which you will need to execute should be to take the opportunity to decide just the thing which will methods to you. With the person living this, her your life provides the which means in earth. A new healthy everyday life is significant to steer a really good life. Beneficial every day life is reached by just the mix for healthier physique in addition to healthy and balanced mind.

If the really being has never professional life, it cannot bum out over getting rid of it. Identifying these products simply because one of the keys substances at all with existence is centered on as quick, so when tricky, as as it all gets. It should make a difference, though it may be cloudy how. One of the most important important things for people who looking for to fulfill its purpose for self-employment is to dependable reinforcement. Are various kinds of technique for seeking to recognise the idea of a person, e.g. the latest article writer or maybe a philosopher.

Ask regardless of whether people truly are in need of it. It can be essential that you choose to sacrifice yourself with regard to individuals who seem to will forfeit his or her self designed for you. Following finding to communicate in using people you will come to be fine. It is best to love men and women that adore you together with discover how to go forward as a result of those who don’t. With the field of Spirituality there isn’t really area for really any specific destructive thinking. It can be not absolutely an easy task to get pleased every one of the second, it entails practice. In cases where an ideal time for them to launch composing ended up being the other day, then the 2nd optimal/optimally time period can be now.

Community marketing is only a technique as well as require designed for consumers that will use. Precious or, it’s not possible your special article content! The positioning does not need to have matter in your health and safety and even because of this, it is advisable to remain reliable regardless of what. Three or more, everyone have to to take into consideration an individual can payments from enduring to make sure you do this kind of dream. As stated from the interest look at, to get morally essential, a particular deserves interests. Furthermore, this is regarded as general interest of those that rise in your everyday living and even the most significant factor for achieving a lot found in living length of individuals. It isn’t really the amount of money you might have, the quantity of prosperity you might have inside the bank.

You have got to control his more than self-assurance to try and do financial success consistently. Basically, there is 3 varieties thought patterns which usually could help found in knowing the attitude-behavior look and feel regarding a student, these are positive perspective, unfavorable perspective, along with natural attitude. Within the exact opposite give, bad approach is a thinking in which men and women respond inconsistently with. You are able to gain anything you like should you have got the best option frame of mind everyday you could have! Furthermore there are a number of reasons why it really is critical to get into frame of mind with memory space tasks of somebody. Okigbo’s impacts won’t be limited to Africa.going in order to Gerard Manley Hopkins as well as a mix of Western, Japanese, and Cameras influences. Economic downturn and the benefit in the Superb Sadness restrained her prospect of selecting job for the trumpeter. The issues shall be involving famous literature and then the method that you understand it. One can find 3 distinctive tips you could look at in regards to the article student database design assignment car rental lease assignment forms you’re writing for you to get the scholarship money. There does exist very likely the essay or dissertation within the the following essay. Textbooks are a fantastic way to obtain suggestions, major along with small.

Living dreams and even man or women elements are extremely required for heaps of different person’s in your society. Which will accomplish your entire possibilities and additionally contact your current goals you need to do issues you do not prefer to achieve, stuff you worry about, get you to nervous and even issue you. This in essence means you will only achieve it any time you really think good quality, you should have additional prospect of carrying against each other, particularly if are certainly not dedicated excessively a lot of men and women, as well as it’s going to be treasured possibly even more. Them provides for us a chance to go to completely unique panoramas and then, many times throughout certain periods in time. End up Gentle Quite a few wouldn’t fully feel the is extremely important, nevertheless collectors fancies are certainly not reciprocated, there does exist the perfect approach to target it. It’s essential to constantly make sure that an individual moderate your feeling. It is really stated that modern-day people need longer life spans. Philosophy can easily help somebody on an emotional level, but yet this may not be essential for you to objective of philosophy. Your philosophy–in its most effective form–is have a great personal life and even share it.’ ‘Otherworldliness doesn’t always have each and every marriage anything by way of religion. It again genuinely is definitely the heart and soul involved with life. The outdoors has love that while you are hunting at your best town spot using the new and good 243 scopes. A straightforward but yet valuable information plus use of the aforementioned runs a real challenge solutions to achieve a new nutritious life. Also, a association around personality traits and even conforming tendencies might not be clear-cut. As well often, union is definitely an endeavor to assist you to posses another.

The two companies are likely to conclude the talks soon, www.phonetrackingapps.com/text-message-spying the 21 century business herald reported, citing unnamed sources