Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2020

Are you confused — even intimidated — by Google Analytics? Good news: you’re not alone. GA is notoriously complicated.

In fact, when I first started to delve into GA’s waters, I wondered if I’d ever truly get it. There were so many concepts to learn and reports to run. How did people ever conquer this thing?!?!

Lots and lots of reading plus some trial and error, it turns out.

I’m not saying I’ve reached total mastery — there’s always something new to pick up — but I’m vastly more comfortable.

And I want you to be, too. So, here’s the cheat sheet to everything I’ve learned over the years. This guide might be long, but it’ll take you from zero to hero in ~6,000 words. And if you still have questions, let me know! I’m @ajavuu on Twitter.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics, or GA, is an analytics tool that gives you an extremely in-depth look at your website and/or app performance. It integrates with Google’s marketing and advertising platforms and products (including Google Ads, Search Console, and Data Studio) making it a popular choice for anyone using multiple Google tools.

What other types of people is GA popular among?

Other marketing analytics options, such as HubSpot, can give you all the data you need with much less work. Oh, and here’s another aspect of GA you’ll want to take into consideration:

Is Google Analytics free?

There’s a free and a paid version of GA (the latter is called Analytics 360). Small and medium-sized businesses will likely get all the features you need from the free version. Enterprise businesses need to upgrade if you want:

  • Advanced funnel reporting and attribution modeling
  • Roll-up reporting
  • More views, dimensions, and metrics per property
  • Unlimited and unsampled data

Paying for 360 also gives you access to dedicated support, including your own account manager. This alone can make the subscription fee worth it.

And about that subscription fee? It’s not cheap. Analytics 360 begins at $150,000 per year (invoiced monthly) and increases after your site receives more than one billion monthly hits.

360’s cost will price out many businesses. However, if you have the budget for both the service and an agency or in-house analyst to manage your analytics operations, consider investing.

Now, what steps will you need to follow when setting up GA? Good question.

How to Set Up Google Analytics

Before you start using Google Analytics, you’ll have to set up a Google account. This means you must have a registered Google Account email address and password.

Once you’ve created a Google account, that doesn’t mean you automatically have access to GA — rather, you have to register for Analytics (which we’ll review how to do in the next section). But the important thing to note as you go to set up GA is that you can only access the tool by using a valid Google account.

Additionally, to set up GA properly, you’ll want to understand the various layers of the tool — specifically, the hierarchy.

Google Analytics Hierarchy

Here’s a look at the GA hierarchy:

Let’s dive into each of the sections within the hierarchy.

1. Organization

The organization is the highest level. It represents a company. For example, our organization is HubSpot, Inc. One organization can encompass multiple GA accounts.

Organizations are recommended for larger businesses, but not mandatory.

2.Account(s)

Accounts are not optional. Using Google Analytics requires at least one (sometimes several) accounts.

An account doesn’t mean a user account. I can log into the HubSpot Google Analytics accounts using my Google email ID. HubSpot’s head of technical SEO can also log into the same account using his Google email ID. Our historical optimization specialist can also log into the same account using his Google email ID.

Important details:

  • You can assign one property to each account or multiple properties to one account. Every account can hold up to 50 properties.
  • You can give user permissions for an entire Analytics account, a property in an account, or a view in a property.

You might be wondering, “What’s better: creating a new account for every property or adding every account to the same property?”

It depends on your use case and goals.

For example, suppose you have one website — the Stark Industries corporate site — and five subdirectories, including the Stark Industries blog, careers section, media resources, case studies, and investor relations information.

You want to create separate properties for each subdirectory so the people on each team can look at how their portion of the site is performing, as well as the larger site.

But maybe you have another site that discusses Tony Stark’s work with S.H.I.E.L.D. You want the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to see data for this subdirectory, but you don’t want them to see data for the rest of the website. You create a new account and property for the S.H.I.E.L.D. site.

Property

A property is a website or app. Each property can support up to 25 views.

View

At the minimum, you need two views per property:

  • One with zero configuration — essentially the “raw” version of the view
  • One with filters set up to exclude any traffic from within your company (i.e. a filter for your IP address) as well as bots and spam traffic

A view only captures the information after your filters and configured settings have been applied. And once you delete a view, that data is gone forever. For those reasons, it’s critical to keep an unfiltered view of your data.

Now that you have completed the basis for how how to set up GA, here are the steps involved in using the tool.

Here are the steps involved in using your GA account.

1. Create a Google Analytics account.

First, you’ll have to create a Google Analytics account. Or, sign in to your current account.

2. Add the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to track.

Choose which account you want to add the property to. You should create and name your Property at this point and enter the website’s URL as well as industry and reporting time zone. Then you’ll be able to Create and Finish this step of the process.

3. Add a view to your property.

Go to the account and property you want to add a view to — use the menu to Create a View, name your view, select the type of view (web or app), and answer a few other questions. Remember, you can add up to 25 views to a property in GA.

4. Add your tracking code directly after the <head> tag of your site.

When you create a property, you’ll have access to a unique ID for tracking and a global site tag (code you need to add to each site page you want to measure). This is how you’ll be able to collect data in your property.

Then, paste your global site tag right after the opening <head> tag on each site page you plan on measuring.

You’ll be asked to choose your type of site (static, dynamic, web hosting, Google Tag Manager) so that you can set up the data collection accurately.

(For more, read our guide to installing the Google Analytics tracking code on your site.)

5. Visit your GA portal and verify the code is working.

Lastly, verify your code is working. You can do this by looking at the Real-Time reports section while clicking around on your site in a different tab or on your phone. The report should show at least one visitor to the site (that’s you!)

And that’s pretty much it! After that review, you may be wondering the following:

Do you need to add the GA code to every page of your site?

That’s a lot of manual work — especially if your website has more than 50 pages. Plus, what happens when you create new pages? Do you need to add the tag every time?!

Relax, because the short answer is: no.

The longer answer: you only need to add the tag to every page template. So, if you have one page type on your site (meaning every individual page uses the same header module), you only need to add it to that module — and it’ll be applied to every page.

If you have two page types, you’d need to paste the code into the two separate header modules. Three page types? Three header modules.

And if you use a CMS like HubSpot, this task is even easier. These tools come with a separate field where you paste your tracking code just once. HubSpot users can follow these simple instructions for adding GA.

Additionally, to use GA successfully, you need to understand dimensions versus metrics.

Google Analytics Dimensions and Metrics

I’ve found the easiest way to think about it is:

  • Dimensions = categorical variables. Simple examples include names, colors, and places.
  • Metrics = quantitative variables. Basic examples include age, temperature, and population.

Or as my Data Analytics professor put it, “Metrics are what you can do math on.” Not the most eloquent phrasing, but it works.

Dimension Examples
  1. Browser
  2. Location
  3. Landing page
  4. Device
  5. Customer type
Metric Examples
  1. Sessions
  2. Pageviews
  3. Conversions
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Session duration

In any GA report, your dimensions are your rows and your metrics are your columns.

google analytics metrics

Custom Dimensions and Metrics

GA lets you create custom dimensions and metrics from Analytics data plus non-Analytics data. To give you an idea, suppose you track the membership type of customers who have created an account in your CRM. You could combine this information with page views to see page views by member type.

Or maybe you run a blog. If you want to understand how audience engagement impacts other metrics (like conversions, pages per session, etc.), you could create three custom dimensions for each type of reader:

  1. Advocate: user who shared one-plus posts on social media
  2. Subscriber: user who signed up for your email list
  3. Customer: user who purchased premium access

Using these dimensions will give you invaluable information.

What’s a Google Analytics audience?

An audience is a group of users that have something in common. That commonality could be anything: maybe you’re targeting consumers in Australia, so you have an “Australian audience,” or you want to sell to millennials, so you have a “25-34 audience.”

GA comes with several built-in audiences (including the two I just mentioned, location and age). You don’t need to do a thing to set these up — once you have the tracking code installed, GA will automatically break down your visitor data into these audience reports.

However, you can also create custom audiences. Perhaps you’re only interested in “Australian millennials”; you’d need to make a custom audience that only includes visitors who are A) in Australia and B) between the ages of 25 and 34.

Creating an audience is fairly easy. Honestly, the hardest part is figuring out what you’re trying to accomplish and then identifying the user characteristics that’ll help you do that.

Once you’ve done that, follow these instructions to create a new audience segment. From there you can import a segment to use as the basis for your Audience Report.

That brings us to the next question:

What’s a Google Analytics segment?

A segment is a subset of your data. I like to picture an entire pizza made up of all different slices — one slice has pesto and mozzarella, another has sausages and spicy peppers, another has ham and pineapple, and so on. Metaphorically speaking, each slice is a segment.

You can create segments based on:

  • Users (e.g. users who have bought something on your site before, users who have signed up for a consultation, etc.)
  • Sessions (e.g. all sessions that were generated from a specific marketing campaign, all sessions where a pricing page was viewed)
  • Hits (e.g. all hits where the purchase exceeded $85, all hits where a specific product was added to the cart)

Like audiences, GA provides you with several segments. I wouldn’t stop there: you can get incredibly granular with your segments.

To give you some inspiration, here are a few of HubSpot’s segments:

  • Users who viewed a specific product page and watched the demo video
  • Users who viewed the same product page and didn’t watch the demo video
  • Users who view a specific Academy course page
  • Users who view a specific Academy lesson page
  • Users who view a blog post and a product page

The sky is your limit — well, that, and GA’s segment cap.

Alright, now let’s look at GA Reports. Remember, you can apply up to four segments at a time to any report.

Google Analytics Reports

GA’s left-hand sidebar can be a bit overwhelming. You’ve got six reporting options (all with confusing, vague names), and clicking on any of those only gives you more options.

Let’s walk through each report together.

google analytics reports

Google Analytics Real-Time Report

As the name suggests, the Real-Time report gives you insight into what’s happening on your site at this very moment. You can see how many visitors are on your site, which pages they’re visiting, which social platforms they’re coming from, where they’re located, and more.

While this report is fun to look at occasionally, it’s probably the least valuable. Here are some ways to use Real-Time:

  • See how much traffic you’re getting from a new social or blog post
  • Know immediately if a one-day sale or event is driving views and/or conversions
  • Make sure tracking URLs and custom events that you’ve just set up are working as they should

These are useful, but as you’ll see, the other reports pack a far greater punch.

Google Analytics Audience Report

The GA Audience report gives you a high-level overview for the property you’re currently looking at. Check this report once a day to get a sense of how you’re trending overall.

Underneath “Overview,” you’ll see “Audiences,” as well as expandable menus for “Demographics,” “Interests,” “Geo,” “Behavior,” “Technology,” “Mobile,” “Cross-Device,” “Custom,” and “Benchmarking.”

google analytics audience report

Explore each of these sections to get a sense of what they can tell you about your visitors.

Every section describes an audience.

Active Users

Whoever named this report belongs in the same group as the person who named guinea pigs: “active users” doesn’t refer to users currently on your site — that’s the Real-Time report — and guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea.

The Active Users report shows you the number of users who visited in the last day (1-day active users), week (7-day active users), two weeks (14-day active users), and four weeks (28-day active users.)

google analytics active users report

What’s the value of this report, you ask?

If you have more one-day users than longer-term ones, you’re struggling with retention. People aren’t coming back to your site or app — you need to figure out why.

I’d also recommend looking at this report with various segments; for instance, perhaps you see that users in a certain age bracket have much better retention than the average.

Lifetime Value

First things first: do you need a refresher on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and how to calculate it? We’ve got you.

The Lifetime Value report gives you a sense of how valuable users are to your company. You can see lifetime value for, say, the users you generated from email marketing versus the ones you acquired from organic search. Armed with this information, you can decide which channel to invest more in.

A few notes: Lifetime Value is capped at 90 days. The Acquisition date range, however — which you can adjust — reflects all the users you acquired in that time frame.

Imagine you’re interested in looking at transactions per user for users you acquired in the week before Black Friday. You’d adjust the date range to that week specifically. Then you’d see the average transactions per user for that cohort over the following 90 days.

Because HubSpot is a SaaS company, not an ecommerce business, I look at goal completions per user, page views per user, and sessions per user by Acquisition Channel.

If my team has recently wrapped up a marketing campaign, I’ll look at the same metrics by Acquisition Campaign.

But if you are in ecommerce and want to see transaction and revenue data, you’ll need to have ecommerce tracking set up.

(By the way, here’s how to track revenue in HubSpot.)

Cohort Analysis

Some people have gone so far as to call Cohort Analysis “the single most powerful report in GA.”

So, how does it work? This report groups users by one characteristic — so far, “Acquisition Date” is the only “Cohort Type” you can use. By the way, Acquisition Date is the day a user first visited your website.

You have several options from there.

  1. First, pick your cohort size: day, week, or month.
  2. Next, pick your metric, or what you want to explore for this cohort. It can be further broken down into Per user, Retention, and Total.
    • Per user means the total count of that metric divided by the cohort size. So if you choose Transactions per user, for example, you’ll see the average number of transactions per user for that cohort.
    • Retention is simple: user retention, or the number of users who returned that day, week or month (determined by the cohort size you selected) divided by the total number of users in that cohort.
    • Total: the total number of sessions, transactions, etc. that occurred for that cohort size.
  3. Choose your date range. GA lets you see up to three months of data.

Now let’s dive into reading the report, because it’s not obvious.

google analytics cohort report

The left-hand column shows you the Cohort Type you picked — Acquisition date, by default — broken down by Cohort Size (day, week, or month).

The first row shows you the totals for all the users in that cohort. Each row underneath that represents the activity in that day, week, or month (in this example, we’re looking at month.)

The row outlined in light blue reflects the Cohort Size you’ve chosen. Remember that data only goes back three months at the max.

The row outlined in yellow shows you the values for the metric you chose (in this case, Goal Completions per User). In the eternal words of Calvin Harris: baby, this what you came for.

Look at the first row. This tells you the average goal completions for the entire cohort in the first month after they were acquired was 1.09. Average goal completions for the entire cohort in the second month after they acquired dropped to 0.09. By the last month, it’s 0.02.

Now look at the next three rows. It looks like average goal completions per user in the first month after they were acquired increased slightly from December to January and again from January to February.

This is pretty usual behavior. Let’s imagine that instead, this report tells us average goal completions per user for February 1-28, 2019 (the last row) was 4.07. Woah! That’s nearly four times as high as December and January.

We’d definitely want to investigate further. And to do so, all we have to do is right-click on the cohort we’re interested in.

Make sure you click on the column if you want the entire day, week, or month analyzed. Click on a cell if you want to analyze only the users who, for example, completed a goal three days after they were acquired on February 27, 2019.

google analytics cohort report

When you right-click, this box will pop up:

google analytics cohort segment

Give this cohort a descriptive name. Change the views to “Any View” if you want to use this segment across your entire property (which I usually recommend), then click “Create.”

Voila — now you can compare this cohort to any other segment in any report you choose.

Google Analytics Acquisition Reports

The Acquisition report breaks down your traffic by source: organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other). (GA uses the (Other) category when it doesn’t know how to categorize a subset of traffic.)

google analytics acquisition report

From All Traffic, you can click into Channels.

google analytics acquisition by channel

Click on any category to explore each source in detail.

Depending on the category, you’ll see landing pages (which URLs your visitors entered the site on), source (which website brought them to yours), or keyword (which query took them to your site.)

google analytics acquisition report

To see this information presented visually, click on All Traffic > Treemaps. This post walks you through how to read and adjust the Treemaps report.

The next report, Source/Medium, breaks down the general category of traffic (which you saw in “Channels”) into the search engine or domain.

It’s useful if you want to get more granular insight into the ways people are coming to your site. For example, you might notice that a whopping 70% of your referral traffic is coming from LinkedIn, while just 5% is coming from Pinterest. Depending on your marketing team’s priorities it may be time to shift focus.

The last report, Referrals, reveals the specific URLs that sent people to your site, e.g. your referral traffic.

google analytics acquisition by landing page

I like to add “Landing page” as a secondary dimension so you can see which pages on your site are receiving the referral traffic.

Google Analytics Behavior Reports

Out of all the reports in GA, I use the Behavior ones the most.

Site Content

This report gives you a review all of the blog posts, landing pages, web pages on your site.

All Pages

Let’s start with Site Content > All Pages. This shows the top-trafficked pages for your current view and/or segment. It’s useful in and of itself — you should always keep a careful eye on your most viewed URLs — but I especially like it when I’m analyzing traffic growth or declines.

To give you an idea, maybe total traffic to my website has dropped 10% month over month. I’d navigate to Site Content > All Pages and change the date range to this month compared to the last month (making sure the days of the week match up).

google analytics site content

Then I can see the differences in page views by URL:

google analytics page views

This helps me identify which pages received less traffic and contributed to that decline.

Helpful tip: I like to change the “Sort Type” from “Default” to “Absolute Change” so I see the results sorted by the greatest differences in percentage rather than total views.

google analytics

I also add Page Title as a secondary dimension so I can see the name of each page alongside its URL.

Content Drilldown

This report breaks down the structure of your site by subdomain and then subfolder. To give you an idea, for HubSpot we can see data for each of our subdomains, including:

  • blog.hubspot.com
  • developers.hubspot.com
  • community.hubspot.com

And so on. If I clicked into blog.hubspot.com, I could then see aggregated data for:

  • blog.hubspot.com/sales
  • blog.hubspot.com/marketing
  • blog.hubspot.com/service

You get the drift. This report is probably most valuable for those managing highly complex properties.

Landing Pages

Landing pages is another one of my favorite reports. GA defines a landing page as the first page in a session — in other words, the visitor’s first interaction with your website.

There are a few ways to slice and dice this report.

First, if you’re interested in the sources (organic, paid social, direct, etc.) driving users to the landing page, you can add Source/Medium as a secondary dimension.

This is basically the opposite version of the report we added earlier.

Second, if you only want to see which landing pages users visited from a specific source, on a specific platform, or within a specific category, you can add the appropriate system segment:

google analytics landing pages

Maybe you’re most interested in the landing pages that mobile and tablet users see — so you choose the Mobile and Tablet Traffic.

Or perhaps you’re curious about users who ended up buying something, so you choose the “Made a Purchase” segment. There are lots of possibilities here.

Exit Pages

This report shows the last pages users visited in their sessions before they left your site.

That’s a little confusing, so let’s use an example.

I want to find a place to grab dinner with my friends so I search, “Mediterranean restaurants near me.” A place that looks good pops up, so I click on it. First, I check out the menu. They have a hummus sampler — yum. Then I click on their press page. It links to a recent article on Eater, so I leave the site to read it. The reviewer loved the food. I’m sold.

The Press page would be my exit page.

You may hear that you should analyze your exit pages to understand why users are leaving your site — I think this example reveals why that strategy doesn’t always make sense. Just because someone has left doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the content.

Check this report out but take the data with a grain of salt.

Site Speed

This report is pretty self-explanatory: it tells you how quickly your site is loading for users. Obviously, the faster the better — not only do faster pages correlate with higher revenue, but Google’s algorithm takes page load time into account.

google analytics site speed

Site Speed Page Timings

This report delves into the average page load times for each URL. I use it to identify the slowest-loading pages on HubSpot’s site with the ultimate goal of figuring out why they’re taking their sweet, sweet time and how to speed them up.

google analytics site speed

The default metrics are page views and average page load time, but I also recommend looking at:

  • Avg. page load time and bounce rate
    • Change the Sort Type to “Weighted” so you see the blog posts with the highest page views first
  • Avg. page load time and page value

Site Search

First things first: if users can search your website, make sure you’ve set up Site Search in GA. You must enable it for every view separately (here are the step-by-step instructions).

Usage

I typically start with the “Usage” report, which tells me how many sessions occurred with and without one-plus searches. In other words, I learn how frequently people used site search for the view and time period I specified.

Search Terms

Here’s where you learn what people are searching for. Look for themes: if you see the same search terms coming up multiple times, there are a few conclusions you could draw.

Either you need to create new content that gives users the information they’re looking for, and/or you need to better surface existing content so it’s easier to find.

Pay attention to the “% Search Exits” column, as this tells you how many users clicked away from the search results page rather than choosing a result. You can usually infer there wasn’t a good answer for their question (or it wasn’t appropriately titled.)

google analytics search terms

Search Pages

This report displays which pages users are starting searches from. It’s important to think about this contextually. Maybe people are commonly beginning searches from your 404 page — that makes sense and isn’t anything to be alarmed about.

If, on the other hand, they’re starting searches from a product landing page, something’s wrong. The content clearly isn’t living up to the expectations they had when they clicked the ad link.

Loves Data provides a solid overview of GA’s Site Search reports if you want to explore them even further.

Events

A user clicks a button. Then they download a file. Next they watch a video.

No, this isn’t the world’s most boring bedtime story — it’s an example of a GA event. Three events, to be specific.

GA defines events as, “user interactions with content that can be measured independently from a web page or a screen load.”

Those user interactions are up to you; you’ll need to add special code to your site or app that tracks the specific actions you’re interested in. Here are the instructions.

If you’re not excited about events tracking already, I want you to get excited. There are infinite possibilities here: if you have an event set up for watching a product demo, and another for clicking a link to an external review of your tool, you can measure how many times each event happened.

Maybe you discover your video isn’t getting many plays. It’s probably time to optimize the current video, make it easier to find on your site, or create a new one. Or perhaps you see that way more users than you expected are checking out the third-party review of your product.

That tells you users want more social proof and testimonials. Since the review is favorable, you might want to put it front and center on your site.

Top Events

This report tracks the events taking place most frequently — pretty straightforward. You’ll see total events (e.g. how many times that event happened) and unique events (how many sessions included one or more occurrences of that event).

If you’ve set values for your events, this report also shows you how the total value of each event and its average value (or the total value divided by the frequency.)

Pages

In this report, you can see which pages generate the most actions. I typically add “Event Category” as the secondary dimension, then filter for the event I’m most interested in.

To give you an idea, my team tracks “Blog CTA.” This event fires whenever a user clicks a CTA embedded in a blog post. To get to the report below, I added “Event Category” as the second dimension, then filtered for “Page begins with blog.hubspot.com” (so I’d only see URLs on the blog) and “Event Category equals Blog CTA.”

Now I can see which posts generate the most CTA clicks. Hopefully you’re starting to see the power of event tracking!

google analytics page

Events Flow

The Events Flow report tracks the order in which events take place on your site. It can tell you:

A) Whether particular events tend to happen first — and if they trigger other events

To give you an idea, maybe users frequently watch your demo video, then click the CTA to schedule a call with a salesperson.

B) Whether certain event categories are more common than others

Imagine you see that videos are played far more often than PDFs are downloaded.

C) Whether users act differently based on segment

For example, perhaps people coming in via organic scroll to the bottom of your pricing page far more than people coming in via social media.

Note: This report is very subject to sampling. (Read more about GA’s data sampling practices here.) Sampled data is usually pretty accurate, but it means the more important the conclusion you’re drawing, the less uncertainty you’ll be able to tolerate.

To reduce the level of sampling, make the date range smaller.

Publisher

If you monetize your website with Google AdSense or Ad Exchange, you can use the Ad Manager and Google Analytics integration to bring information on how your ad units are performing into GA.

I won’t go into any more detail here, but I recommend reading the following resources if you want to know more:

Google Analytics Conversion Reports

If you have a website, you have an objective — probably several — for the people who visit your site.

Ecommerce store owners want their visitors to subscribe to their mailing list, make a user account, add something to their cart, and/or complete the order confirmation process.

Media companies want their visitors to stay on their site for as long as possible and/or view a certain number of pages (all the better to maximize their ad revenue.)

B2B businesses want their visitors to download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, or book a call with a sales rep.

Google Analytics makes it possible to measure all of these things — plus many more.

A goal is essentially a conversion that you’ve defined (which is why this info shows up under the Conversion section.)

There are four main types of goals:

  • Destination: This goal is completed when a user reaches a specific page, like a product page, order confirmation page, or thank you page
  • Event: This goal is completed when a predefined event fires (like the Events you can set up as, well, Events — think watching a video or sharing something to social media)
  • Duration: This goal is completed when a user’s session lasts longer than a pre-set time
  • Pages/screens per session: This goal is completed when a user views a specific number of pages (or screens for an app) per session

The first two are insanely useful. The last two are pretty useless. (If you have an interesting use case for Duration or Pages/screens per session, let me know on Twitter @ajavuu. I’d love to be proven wrong.)

Once you’ve identified your goals, take a look at these instructions for creating, editing, and sharing them. This guide on choosing goal values is also quite helpful.

Overview

Head here to learn how you’re doing goal-wise across the board. I get the most from this report when I compare date ranges and/or look at goal completions by segment.

For example, quickly looking at goal completions by device reveals mobile visitors sign up for the blog newsletter much less frequently than desktop and tablet visitors. That could be because it’s hard to sign up for the newsletter on a phone — or it could be mobile users are looking for one thing and ending their session as soon as they’ve found it. I should dig in more to decide which case it is.

Goal URLs

Knowing a goal was completed isn’t helpful in and of itself; you also need to know where it happened. Suppose you’ve embedded the same form in three separate pages on your site.

It’s great that Daenerys Stark from Dragonstone, Blackwater Bay just filled out your form to get in touch with a consultant, but which page did she fill it out on?

The Goal URLs report shows you. It breaks down conversions by “Goal Completion URL” (read: where it went down.)

google analytics goals

Reverse Goal Path

Reverse Goal Path is the unsung hero of the Conversion section. Well, I’m singing its praises now. This report allows you to see the last three pages a user visited before completing the goal.

It’s useful for goals that aren’t sequential. Maybe you have a contact form that appears in multiple places on your site, or there are two different paths that lead users into buying your ebook. Thanks to this report, you can understand the various ways people arrive at the end destination — and there’s no need to set up a funnel.

I usually filter down to a specific goal completion location or goal previous step 1, 2, or 3.

For example, since I’m interested in seeing which blog posts generated leads from content downloads, I added “Goal Previous Step – 1 containing blog.hubspot.com” to the filter.

google analytics reverse goal path

Here’s what I got:

google analytics reverse goal path

“(Entrance)” means the user came to the site on that step; “(not set)” means the user didn’t complete any steps prior to that one — because they weren’t on the website yet.

For a comprehensive exploration of Reverse Goal Path, take a look at OnlineMetrics’s guide.

Funnel Visualization

For sequential goals, Funnel Visualization is your go-to report.

Going back to the ecommerce example, the last goal would be “Arrived at the order confirmation page.” The goal before that, or goal #3, would be “Clicked checkout.” The goal before that, goal #2, would be “Added something to cart.” And the goal before that, goal #1, would be “Looked at product listing page.”

At each stage, you can see user drop-off. That lets you identify areas where you can improve conversion rates; for example, maybe you lose a lot of users during the checkout process. You change the flow so they can check out as a guest (versus needing to create an account), which dramatically reduces checkout abandonment.

To see this level of detail, you’ll need to map out your goals as a series. If all of your goals are simply the end objective, like “Arrived at the order confirmation page,” you won’t be able to reverse-engineer how users progress.

The Funnel Visualization report also requires you to mark the first step in the goal path as required or not. If you tell GA that yes, the first goal needs to be completed, Funnel Visualization will only show you the sessions where the user first finished goal #1. If a user skips goal #1 and goes straight to goal #2, their session won’t be represented here.

Goal Flow

If Funnel Visualization is the uptight relative who always made you take your elbows off the table and wash your hands before you ate, Goal Flow is the laid-back, fun relative who’d randomly take you out of school to go to the zoo.

All that to say: Goal Flow gives you a lot more freedom than Funnel Visualization. Unlike the latter, Goal Flow shows you all sessions that led to the completed end goal — regardless of whether the user completed the required goal #1 or not.

Another difference from Funnel Visualization: Goal Flow also shows you loopbacks — i.e. when a user goes back to a previous page or refreshes their current one.

If the user skips a step, Funnel Visualization “backfils” it. Goal Flow doesn’t.

If you edit an existing funnel or create a new one, Funnel Visualization will show you all your data from that moment onward. Goal Flow, on the other hand, can show you data from the past.

You can also toggle the Dimension and Level of detail of the report, as well as the segment, to get even more granular.

I recommend looking at various segments to see which convert at the highest and lowest rates — plus where they commonly drop out.

google analytics goal flow

Note: This report is subject to sampling. (Read more about GA’s data sampling practices here.) Sampled data is usually pretty accurate, but it means the more important the conclusion you’re drawing, the less uncertainty you’ll be able to tolerate.

To reduce the level of sampling, make the date range smaller.

Smart Goals

This report is helpful if you’re A) using Google Ads and B) not measuring conversions. Basically, Google uses machine learning to identify your “best” sessions — or those likeliest to generate conversions — and then translates those themes into Smart Goals.

Once you have Smart Goals, you can use them in Google Ads to optimize your ads performance.

Smart Goals are controversial within the marketing community because the data is minimal and businesses will be far better served by setting up their own conversion tracking. Keep that in mind if you decide to use them.

Now You’re Ready to Track

Google Analytics is a highly valuable tool for any business as it gives you tangible data that you can apply to grow your business. Bookmark this guide and come back to it as your data tracking becomes more sophisticated.

Good luck on your Google Analytics journey.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August, 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

The Ultimate Guide to PPC

Marketers, can we be honest with each other for a second? On a scale of 1-10, how much do you really understand the world of paid advertising?

Despite the fact that 45% of small businesses use paid ads, pay-per-click is still a concept that eludes many of us. But if half of small businesses are using it, we just can’t afford to ignore this channel, no matter how perplexing.

As a marketer, PPC is a skill that you should have in your tool belt — or at least have a basic understanding of.

This guide will help you grasp pay-per-click marketing in its entirety. To start, we’ll begin with the benefits of paid advertising and then get into some key definitions that you’ll need to know.

When done right, PPC can earn you quality leads. If you can create a seamless user journey (which you’ll learn how to do later in this piece), it could mean a huge ROI for your PPC efforts.

Pay-per-click advertising is most common in search engine results pages (SERPs), like Google or Bing, but is also used on social channels (although CPM is more common). If you’re wondering where you can find pay-per-click ads, they’re the results you see before and to the right of the organic search results. For instance, check out the ad that came up in my search for “cards”.

Benefits of PPC

So, why would you pay for ads when you can reach your audience organically through great content and strategically-placed keywords (otherwise known as SEO)?

The answer is: keywords have become increasingly competitive. This makes it more difficult for a business that doesn’t have the domain authority to get them into the top rankings on a search engine or in front of their target audience on a social platform. In fact, so many businesses are using ads that organic results often don’t even start until you’re further down the page.

That doesn’t mean you should ditch all SEO efforts completely — your paid advertising should complement your SEO strategy as opposed to replace it.

“When people search for your keywords, you know their search intent and can display the most relevant ad to your audience. This means more clicks and a greater chance of conversion.” – Laura Mittelmann, Paid Acquisition at HubSpot

Paid advertising will help you rise to the top in a competitive market and be seen by potential customers who may not know that you exist. It can help you promote your next marketing initiative, improve brand awareness, or rank for difficult keyword terms. In other words, PPC is your shortcut to getting to the top within your niche. And, if done responsibly, PPC can be integral to your inbound marketing strategy.

PPC-Related Terms You Should Know

What’s a marketing channel without a few acronyms and a little jargon? If you’re going to enter the paid advertising space, there are a few terms you should know. Below, we review the main elements of a PPC campaign, ranging from broad to the more specific.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The objective of all forms of digital advertising is to rank for a target keyword, and that can be done in a number of ways. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to any digital marketing (paid or unpaid) done on a search engine, like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. SEM is an umbrella term that encompasses both paid advertising and search engine optimization, that is, ranking organically for keywords. It’s important to note that not all PPC occurs on search engines — social media has PPC ads, too (think: Facebook Ads).

CPC

Cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount that an advertiser pays for each click on your ad. CPC acts as your bid in an auction that determines where your ad will be placed. As you can imagine, a higher bid equates to better ad placement. You set your CPC at the maximum price you are willing to pay per click on your ad. What you actually pay is determined by the following formula: (Competitor’s Ad Rank / Your Quality Score) + 0.01 = Actual CPC. Let’s go over the terms in this equation so you know what you’re paying for:

Ad Rank

This value determines the position of an ad on a search engine results page. It’s equal to Maximum Bid x Quality Score.

Quality Score

This is the score that search engines give to your ad based on your clickthrough rate (CTR) — measured against the average CTR of ads in that position — the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and your past performance on the SERP.

Maximum Bid

This is the maximum you’re willing to pay per click on you ad.

Here’s an image by WordStream that illustrates what I mean:

maximum ad bid example

Source

You can set your CPC to manual, where you determine the maximum bid for your ads, or enhanced, which allows the search engines to adjust your bid based on your goals. One of these enhanced options involves bid strategies that automatically adjust your bids based on either clicks or conversions.

CPM (Cost per Mille)

CPM, also known as cost per thousand, is the cost per one thousand impressions. It’s most commonly used for paid social and display ads. There are other types of cost-pers… like cost-per-engagement, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), but for the sake of preserving your mental space, we’re going to stick with clicks, a.k.a. CPC.

Campaign

The first step in setting up your PPC ads is determining your ad campaign. You can think of your campaign as the key message, or theme, you want to get across with your advertisements.

Ad Group

One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why you’ll create a series of ads within your campaign based on a set of highly related keywords. You can set a CPC for each ad group that you create.

Keywords

Each ad within your ad group will target a set of relevant keywords or key terms. These keywords tell search engines which terms or search queries you want your ad to be displayed alongside in SERPs. Once you determine which keywords perform best, you can set a micro CPC just for keywords within your ads.

Ad Text

Your keywords should inform your ad text. Remember, your Quality Score is determined by how relevant your ad is, therefore, the text in your ad (and landing page for that matter) should match the keyword terms that you’re targeting.

Landing Page

A landing page is a critical piece of your paid advertising strategy. The landing page is where users will end up once they click your PPC ad. Whether it’s a dedicated webpage, your homepage, or somewhere else, make sure to follow landing page best practices to maximize conversions.

Best PPC Platforms

Now that you understand the PPC basics, I’m guessing your next question is: Where should I advertise?

There are dozens of online spaces where you can spend your coveted ad money, and the best way to vet them is by taking a close look at your potential ROI on each platform.

The most popular advertising platforms are effective because they’re easy to use, and, most importantly, highly trafficked. But for a smaller budget, you might consider a lesser-known alternative to these key players. Some additional things to consider when choosing a platform are the availability of keyword terms, where your target audience spends their time, and your advertising budget.

Here a non-exhaustive list of some of the top PPC platforms.

Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords)

cleaning supplies google ads ppc example

How many times a day do you hear the phrase “Let me Google that”? Probably more than you can count … hence why Google Ads is the king of paid advertising. On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, giving you plenty of opportunities to target keywords that will get your intended audience to click. The downside is that keywords are highly competitive on this platform, meaning a greater ad spend.

If you’re planning to use this popular platform, start with our free Google Ads PPC Kit.

Bing Ads

great coffee at home bing ppc ad example

The perks of using Bing Ads over Google Ads is a slightly lower CPC at the expense of a larger audience, of course.

Facebook Ads

example of ppc ads on facebookFacebook Ads blend in with other posts on the platform.

Facebook Ads is a popular and effective platform for paid ads (more commonly used as CPM than CPC), mainly due to its specific targeting options. Facebook allows you to target users based on interests, demographics, location, and behaviors. Also, Facebook allows for native ads, which means ads are introduced and blend into the social feed. Not to mention, you can use Facebook Ads to advertise on Instagram as well.

AdRoll

example of ad rollChipotle retargeting me as I search for dessert recipes.

AdRoll is a retargeting platform that advertises to people who have already visited your website. For instance, say someone read your article on cheese making. You can retarget them on other sites that they visit with display ads that advertise your online cooking classes. While retargeting is possible with Google Ads, the benefit of using AdRoll is that it can display ads on Google and social media sites, which gives you more opportunities to capture clicks or impressions, depending on your goal.

RevContent

RevContent focuses specifically on promoting content through PPC. It has the same impact as a guest post, where your content is displayed on an external site, except it’s in the form of an ad. You still bid on keywords and your advertisement is displayed next to content that is relevant to those keywords. With this platform, you’ll reap the benefits of a low CPC and highly engaged traffic.

How to Get Started with PPC Advertising

Now that you understand the benefits of PPC, have your key terms, and know what platforms you can advertise on, let’s dive into crafting a quality PPC campaign. You don’t need to tackle these items step-by-step, but you will need to work through each of them to ensure that you create an effective campaign.

Set Parameters

I know I wrote that you don’t need to do these things in order, but you should do this step first. Without parameters, you risk your ad being untargeted and ineffective. You want to put your ad campaigns into the context of your ultimate business goals. Consider how your paid campaigns will contribute to those goals. Then, think about what you want to accomplish with your ads — whether that be visits, sales, brand awareness, or something else — and how much you’re willing to spend to accomplish that goal.

Your ads should encompass a few things:

  • Who you want to target
  • Theme of your campaign
  • How you will measure success
  • Type of campaign you will run

Create Your Goals and Goal Metrics

Your campaign goals will give you something to show for your ad spend as long as you determine how you will measure those goals. Your goal metrics should not be confused with your campaign metrics, which we’ll discuss below.

Let’s touch on some common PPC goals and how to measure them.

Brand awareness is how familiar your target audience is with your company. It might be a good idea to look into display ads for this goal so you can supplement your copy with engaging imagery. You can measure brand awareness through social engagement, surveys, and direct traffic.

Lead generation is the direct result of having a relevant and engaging landing page to follow your paid ad. Since you will create a separate landing page for each ad group, you should be able to easily track lead conversions either in the Google Ads interface via a tracking pixel, or through UTM parameters, if you’re using a tool like HubSpot.

Offer promotion is great if you’re running a limited time offer, product or service discount, or contest. You should create a dedicated sign-up page or a unique discount code so you know which users came from your ad.

Sales can be measured by how much of your product or service is sold based on your paid ads. You should be able to track this through a quality CMS software or with attribution reporting.

Site traffic is a great goal if you have high-quality content throughout your website. If you’re going to spend money getting people to visit your site, you want to have some level of confidence that you can keep them there and eventually convert them into leads.

Choose Your Campaign Type

You don’t only need to know where you’ll advertise but also how. There are many different types of paid advertising campaigns, and the one that you choose depends on where you can reach your audience. That isn’t to say that you can’t advertise through various means; you can also try a combination of campaign types as long as you’re consistently testing and revising.

Search Ads are the most common type of PPC and refer to the text ads that show up on search engine results pages.

Display Ads allow you to place ads (usually image-based) on external websites, including social. There are several ways to buy display ads, including Google Display Network (GDN) and other ad networks.

Learn how to integrate Display Ads into your inbound marketing plan.

Social refers to any ads that you see on social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You can pay to show up in your target audience’s social feed or somewhere else within their profile, depending on the platform.

Remarketing can use either cookies or a list of contacts that you upload to target people who have previously engaged with your company through some action. That action could be filling out a form, reading a blog, or simply visiting a page on your website.

Google Shopping is most effective for ecommerce sites. Your ad — including image, price, and a short product description — will show on a carousel on a search page based on your target keywords.

Perform Keyword Research

Each ad group you create needs to be assigned a set of keywords to target — that’s how search engines know when and where to display your ad. The general rule of thumb is to select between one to five keywords per ad group, and those keywords should be extremely relevant — your Quality Score depends on it.

Select keywords that are closely aligned with the specific theme of your ad group. If you find keywords you want to target that fall outside of one theme, you should create a separate ad group for them.

It’s important to note that you’re not stuck with the keywords you start with. In fact, you should closely monitor your keyword list throughout your campaign — eliminating those that don’t bring in the types of visitors that you’re looking for and increasing your bids on those that do. Do your best to select the most relevant keywords, but don’t feel pressured to get it 100% right the first time around.

Set Up Google Analytics and Tracking

Google Analytics is free to use so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t install it on your website. The tool provides you with insights into how your website is performing, how users are interacting with your pages, and what content is attractive to visitors. The information you can gather from Google Analytics can be used for PPC and beyond.

Best Practices for a Quality PPC Strategy

You didn’t think we’d let you spend your hard-earned money on advertisements without providing some best practices to follow, did you? Of course not. We want to make sure you succeed with your next PPC campaign. So, let’s get into some PPC strategy that will help you maximize your efforts and your budget.

As a note, we’re going to dive specifically into paid search ads (those little guys you see in search engines) here.

PPC Ad Copy

Bidding on targeted keywords will get your ad in front of the right people; good ad copy will get those people to click on your ad. Like your keywords, your ad needs to solve for the intent of the searcher — you need to give the searcher exactly what they’re looking for and make sure that is clear through the words you use.

Search ads are comprised of a headline, a URL, and a short description, and each of these have limited character requirements to follow. To make the most of this space, make sure your ad copy does the following:

  • Speak directly to your target persona
  • Include the main keyword that you’re bidding on
  • Provide an actionable CTA so the searcher knows what to do next
  • Make the offer appealing
  • Use language that matches your landing page copy
  • Perform A/B Split tests with your copy

Landing Page Best Practices

Arguably the most important element of PPC (after your ad copy) is the page that you send leads to after they click on your ad. This page needs to be highly targeted, relevant to your ad, deliver what was promised, and present a seamless experience. Why? Because the point of your landing page is to convert your new visitor into a lead or customer. Not only that, but a high-converting landing page will improve your Quality Score, leading to better ad placements. There’s nothing that will diminish PPC profits like a poorly crafted landing page.

What should a PPC landing page include to increase conversions? Glad you asked …

  • Strong headline that mirrors your search ad
  • Clean design and layout
  • Responsive form that is easy to use with a stand-out CTA button
  • Copy that is very specific and relevant to your target keywords
  • Presents the offer that was promised in your ad
  • A/B tested

A/B Testing Your PPC Ads

Rarely will you as a marketer throw something out to your audience that works without testing. PPC campaigns are no different. A/B testing is as critical to your paid ad campaign as is every other element. The goal of testing your ad is to increase both your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate.

The good news is that ads are comprised of just four parts that you’ll need to test: headline, description, landing page, and target keywords. Small tweaks to just one of these elements can significantly alter your results, so you want to make changes one at a time so you can keep track of where improvements come from.

Since there are many variations that you could test one at a time, it’s a good idea to list out all the potential tests you can run and prioritize them by greatest impact. Finally, you should allow your ads to run long enough to gather the data you need and test them early enough so you don’t waste budget on a poor-performing ad.

Maximizing Your ROI

At a high level, maximizing ROI on your ad campaigns means considering customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs, which will help you determine how much is worth spending on a new lead and how much of that spend can come from paid advertising.

To get more granular, we need to talk inputs and outputs, that is 1) lowering your input (cost per lead [CPL]) and 2) increasing your return (revenue). There are a few factors to keep an eye on that will affect both, so let’s break it down.

Ways to Decrease Inputs

  • Determine an ad budget before you get started.
  • Create more relevant ads. The more relevant, the lower your CPC.
  • Improve your Quality Score. The higher your QS, the less search engines will charge your for clicks.

Ways to Increase Revenue

  • Follow landing page best practices to increase conversion rates.
  • Go after quality leads by being specific with your ad. The more quality your leads, the more likely they will convert and eventually become customers.

Additional PPC Tips and Tricks

There are a few other things you can do to maximize the ROI of your paid ads, whether it’s time spent, budget, clicks, or conversions.

Audiences

Google allows you to tailor your audience so you save marketing dollars and get in front of the right people. You can upload a customer list so that you don’t waste money on people who have already bought from you. Google also has options for prospecting audiences. For instance, In-Market Audiences employs user behavior tracking to put you in front of prospects who are in the market for a product or service like yours. You can also increase your bid for more relevant subgroups within your target audience — a practice called layering audiences. For example, HubSpot may layer on people who are in the market for CRM software and add a 30% bid adjustment because those people may be more likely to convert.

Bid Adjustments

Bid adjustments allow you to increase or decrease your bids based on performance. You can even make these adjustments based on different categories, like device, demographics, language, and more. For example, if a keyword isn’t performing as well on mobile as on desktop, you can add a negative bid adjustment so that when someone searches your keyword on mobile, you’ll bid X% lower than your normal bid.

Custom Ad Scheduling

You can set up ad scheduling in Google Ads to display your ad only during specific days and times. This can cut down on ad spend and improve relevance for your target audience.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions allow you to supplement your ad with additional information. For instance, if you’re running an ad for a seasonal promotion at a local store, you can add a sitelink extension to display your store hours and location. These extensions take up more real estate on SERPs and, therefore, stand out. Not only that, but they play a role in improving your Ad Rank.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking monitors how your landing page is performing via a tracking code that you place on the page where people land after completing your form (usually a “Thank You” page). By enabling this feature, you’ll be better equipped to make adjustments that can improve your conversions.

Keyword Monitoring

Don’t let too much time pass before you check how your keywords are performing. You can place higher bids on the keywords that are creating the best results for your campaign, and “defund” or eliminate others.

Match Types

Match Types in Google Ads allows you to choose how closely related you want your ad group to be associated with a search team. There are four match types: broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact match. Google will display your ad in results according to your selection. For example, if your keyword phrase is “how to catch geese” and you select “broad match,” then Google will display your ad for queries that include any word in your key phrase in any order … including “geese catch” and “geese catch how”.

Negatives Keywords

A negative keyword list tells search engines what you don’t want to rank for, which is equally as important as what you do. You might know some of these upfront, but likely you’ll determine these keywords by what isn’t performing so well within your campaign.

Social Media Ads

Although CPM is more common on social platforms, social media sites do offer PPC that works similarly to search engine ads in that you set a budget and bid on ad placements. The difference is social media ads can show up directly in your news feed on most platforms, decreasing the effectiveness of ad blockers. Social platforms, like Facebook, let you set targeted demographics as well as target people based on interests. While paid search is more keyword-focused, paid social is broadens into a demographic focus, leading to more ways to target your persona.

Social media has two paid ad functions that are critical to ad success — retargeting and Lookalike Audiences. Retargeting is remarketing to people based on site visits or manually uploaded contact lists. Lookalike Audiences reviews the people on your marketing list and creates an audience that parallels your list, which expands your potential target. Paid social also allows for a wider variety of ad types, like images, videos, text, and more.

PPC Management and Tracking

Paid advertising is not “set it and forget it.” You need to manage and constantly monitor your ads to ensure that you’re reaching optimal results. Management, analysis, and tracking is crucial to a PPC campaign, not only because they provide you with useful insights but also because they help you create a more effective campaign.

What is PPC Management?

PPC management covers a wide range of techniques, including creating and adjusting goals, split testing, introducing new keywords, optimizing conversion paths, and shifting plans to reach goals.

Managing your PPC means looking at both strategy and spend. On one hand, it means iterating on your plan to optimize keyword effectiveness. On the other hand, it means thinking about how to allocate resources to certain keywords as well as how to adjust those resources to maximize ROI.

A good management strategy also pays attention to providers — like search engines, social platforms, and ad networks — to monitor changes and updates that could affect paid campaigns.

Overall, PPC management is a hefty undertaking, which is why investing in solid PPC management tools could be a great idea.

Use our PPC management tool to monitor all of your paid campaigns.

PPC Tools and Software

With all of the variables that you need to track, PPC management tools should make things easier. You can opt to monitor your ads within platform, but if you’re looking for additional assistance and organization, a robust, easy-to-read spreadsheet or sophisticated software that gives you insight into your ad performance is key.

If you plan to go the software route, there are some features that you absolutely want to look for: multi-user support, cross-platform management, A/B testing, scheduling, reporting, and ad grading.

Here’s a list of some popular, highly-rated PPC software and resources.

  • WordStream automates the tedious parts of setting up and managing your PPC campaign.
  • HubSpot offers a robust template to help you monitor and manage the moving parts of your campaign, making it easy to keep track of your ad groups, keywords, and A/B tests.
  • NinjaCat lets you combine all of your analytics from multiple platforms into one report so you can track your entire campaign in one location.
  • Optmyzr has end-to-end PPC support, from creation to reporting … and they offer a free trial of their software.
  • SEMRush can help you manage the most important part of your PPC campaign — keywords. You can find relevant keywords, manage and optimize your keyword lists, and create negative lists.

PPC Metrics to Track

Metrics are everything (but you already knew that). Here are some key metrics to track within your PPC campaign.

Clicks refer to the total number of clicks you receive on an ad. This metric is affected by your keyword selection and the relevance of your ad copy.

Cost per click (CPC) measures the price you pay for each click on your ad.

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the percentage of ad views that result in clicks. This metric determines how much you pay (CPC). CTR benchmarks vary by industry.

Impressions is the number of times an ad is viewed. Cost per mille (CPM) is determined for every thousand impressions. Impressions are most relevant for brand awareness campaigns.

Ad spend is the amount you are spending on your ads. You can optimize this by improving your Quality Score.

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the ROI of your ad campaign. This metric calculates the revenue received for every dollar spent on ads.

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people that complete the call-to-action on your landing page and become a lead or customer.

Cost per conversion refers to the cost to generate a lead. This is calculated as the total cost of an ad divided by the number of conversions.

Quality Score (QS) determines ad positioning, so it’s an important metric to keep an eye on.

By paying close attention to each of these metrics, you can increase the ROI of your paid campaign and spend less for better results.

Go Paid!

Paid advertising is an effective tool that should be a part of your inbound marketing strategy no matter how long you’ve been in business. PPC just might be the boost you need to get an edge on your competition — or at least ahead of them in the SERPs.

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

A Look Back at How COVID-19 Impacted Businesses in Q2

Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, businesses have had to reckon with its economic impact for over a full quarter.

For the last several months, we’ve been publishing weekly cuts of data on core performance metrics, to provide business owners with useful benchmarks as they adapted to circumstances that were changing by the day.

Now that businesses have closed the books on Q2, we wanted to take a step back and assess where our customers are, four months later. How does the state of business compare today to where it was in March? How have teams changed their behavior to adapt to the new economic climate? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? And what changes are here to stay?

This retrospective takes a deep dive into buyer interest, marketing and sales outreach, and sales outcomes (spoiler alert: there’s a lot of engaged prospects out there, but sales teams have work to do in capturing that interest). We examine how different industries, regions, and company sizes have been impacted by COVID-19, and offer suggestions for investments that make sense right now.

HubSpot can’t make predictions about what will happen, and nobody knows what the future looks like. But we hope this report from our customer base provides a helpful reference as businesses enter the next quarter, and that the insights are useful to you in some way. To explore the accompanying dataset on your own, you can find our interactive microsite here.

This data is based on benchmarks calculated using weekly averages from Q2 vs. post-holiday weekly averages from Q1. Because the data is aggregated from our customer base, please keep in mind that individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors. While certain data is reported by industry, please note that we do not track all industries, and that HubSpot’s industry classifications may not correspond with standard industry classifications.

What We’re Seeing Today: A Q2 Snapshot

When COVID-19 began shutting down economies in Q1, businesses that already had an online presence were at a distinct advantage. The data shows steady and sustained growth in buyer engagement, and that businesses with an online presence were ready to capture that interest.

The story gets a little murkier once buyers actually start to engage with companies. Marketing teams have risen to the challenge of keeping prospects interested in a messy, chaotic crisis and met an audience of buyers who suddenly spend all day at their computer. While email volume has risen significantly — typically a no-no for teams hoping to keep their open rates up — open rates have risen faster than volume has grown, demonstrating that teams have been successful at providing relevant and helpful content.

On the sales side, things aren’t going so well. We at HubSpot are wholly empathetic to the uncertainty of buyers everywhere and the stressful situation salespeople work in right now — and that stress has been reflected in an explosion in prospecting activity. Sales teams sent up to 60% more email than pre-COVID benchmarks. But response rates have been dismal. Marketing teams have been able to connect, but sales teams haven’t. This is a huge area of opportunity for businesses as they enter the next quarter of COVID-19.

How COVID-19 Impacted Businesses in Q2

1. Buyer Interest

Site Traffic

Website traffic has been one of the strongest-performing marketing metrics over the last three months. As buyers have moved their purchasing online out of necessity, businesses with an established digital presence have reaped the rewards. Global site traffic increased by 16% during Q2 compared to Q1. Traffic started increasing the week of March 9 and peaked during the week of April 20, at 24% above the benchmark. The metric then settled in the 15-20% range throughout May and June, and currently sits at 20% above the pre-COVID benchmark. Since we saw a similar drop for this metric at the end of Q1, we hope that site traffic will rebound again in July.

With the exception of last week, construction is one of the few industries where website traffic has risen consistently, increasing by 28% since Q1. In fact, traffic to construction websites was almost 50% above the benchmark at the start of June, before coming down a bit later in the month. Computer software followed a similar trend until late April; its positive momentum stalled during May, but rose again in early June. Both industries plateaued last week, but are still trending around 40% above the benchmark.

All other non-structurally impacted industries are following the global trend at just above or below the benchmark. But this average is a tale of two pandemics — some industries are overperforming, while others are lagging far behind. Industries like human resources and manufacturing are seeing similar traffic patterns to pre-COVID, and have remained consistent throughout May and June. Travel, an industry that was structurally impacted by COVID-19, has recovered a remarkable 40% since the week of March 30. Its site traffic is now just below the benchmark at -1%.

Customer-Initiated Chat

Since the business world has suddenly shifted to a remote setting, chat volume has soared. Sales teams have pivoted to chat to grow their pipelines, while customer service teams are leveraging this medium to manage the increased demand for support.

With the exception of two weeks, chat volume has steadily risen week-over-week since the beginning of March, peaking at 45% above the benchmark in late-May. Total chat volume in Q2 outpaced Q1 by a notable 31%. As restrictions on businesses continue to be lifted around the world, it’ll be interesting to see if chat volume maintains this steady growth.

Every industry is trending above the benchmark when it comes to live chat. This is a positive sign that buyer interest is increasing, and that people are engaging with companies more frequently. The industries that have seen the strongest performance in Q2 are construction, consumer goods, human resources, and manufacturing, which all grew by 25% or more during this last quarter. Consumer goods and construction were certainly outliers in Q2, with both industries seeing a bump of 45-50% in volume.

2. Buyer Engagement

Email Marketing

Global marketing email sends rose significantly during the week of March 9, and stayed at elevated levels throughout Q2. Marketers sent 21% more emails during Q2 than Q1, and email sends have recently peaked at 36% above the benchmark during the week of June 15. This elevated volume is the basis for one of this report’s most surprising findings — open rates have not only remained steady relative to the increased send volume, they have actually gone up. The world has only gotten noisier since COVID-19 shut down business as usual, so this is a real testament to marketing teams that have been able to remain relevant and top-of-mind in a stressful time.

Email open rates have hovered around 10-20% above the benchmark throughout Q2. Currently, marketing email open rates sit at 18% above pre-COVID levels. It’s clear that marketing email has been a reliable outlet for engagement during the pandemic, leaving it up to sales teams to capitalize on these opportunities.

It’s also interesting to see how companies of different sizes pivoted their approach to email marketing during COVID-19. For instance, companies with 0-200 employees experienced the most growth in terms of marketing email sends during the past few months. In Q2, 0-25 employees grew 31% compared to Q1 and 26-200 grew 21%. Companies with 201+ employees sent 14% more emails in Q2, and currently this metric sits at 23% above the pre-COVID benchmark.

Even as open rates reached unexpected highs, one rule of marketing email remained true — companies that sent less email got more opens. Companies with 201+ employees had the smallest increase in email volume, and saw consistently higher open rates, currently performing 25% above the benchmark at the end of Q2. 0-25 and 26-200-employee companies also showed a strong end of June, with open rates roughly 15% above benchmark. These numbers are likely trailing behind larger companies because 0-200 employees are sending a lot more emails to a smaller customer base.

All the industries we’re tracking seem to be following the same global trend for marketing email sends, with the exception of human resources, which is sending 81% more email than pre-COVID levels. However, open rates have been quite volatile since late March, calling into question how effective their strategy has been. Right now, open rates for human resources are trending 4% below benchmark, consistent with the maxim that companies should be using email to communicate with customers, but not overusing it to the point where it’s ineffective.

Sales Emails

If Marketing’s job is to identify buyer interest, Sales is responsible for finding the prospects in that pool who will eventually become customers. While sales outcomes are improving (more on this later), sales prospecting has fallen short of its potential.

The number of emails sent by sales teams experienced an immediate and dramatic uptick following the pandemic declaration. From early-March to late-April, sales teams pushed hard to generate pipelines, leading to a 42% increase in email volume. Compared to Q1, sales teams sent 44% more email in Q2. Today, global sales email volume is at an eye-popping 59% above the pre-COVID benchmark.

The problem is that customers aren’t responding to sales emails the same way they’re responding to marketing ones. Like marketing, sales teams increased their email send frequency following the pandemic declaration. But, unlike marketing, their response rates fell significantly during the week of March 16, and have hovered at 25-30% below the benchmark ever since.

Response rates dropped 24% in Q2, even as email volume fluctuated throughout the quarter. As sales teams increased email sends, customers began to tune these messages out or even mark them as spam in their inboxes. So far, it seems if email send rates remain this high, we can expect response rates to trend in the opposite direction.

Two industries — construction and consumer goods — have really stood out. In Q2, both more than doubled the number of sales emails sent compared to Q1, are still well above the benchmark despite some decline in volume during June. Their response rates have been correspondingly lower than the global decrease, with both industries receiving 33% fewer responses in Q2 than Q1.

These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It’s easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn’t personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data. At this point, sales teams should be working closely with marketing to understand how they can improve their email engagement rates, and sending far less email.

Call Prospecting

As both marketing and sales email volume went up globally, call prospecting plummeted, falling to a low of 27% below the benchmark by the week of April 6. This has been trending upward since, as call events are now at 9% below pre-COVID levels. However, the total number of prospecting activities (email and calling) has increased by 19%, and the shifting ratio between calling and emailing is revealing. In Q1, the ratio was closer to 1:1 while in Q2, sales people sent more than twice as many emails as they made calls. Sales teams will need to return to their pre-COVID balance in order to see improvements in response rates.

All regions have demonstrated overall positive momentum since the week of April 27. EMEA is the furthest below benchmark at -18%, while NORTHAM and APAC are close to pre-COVID levels, trending at 6-7% below the benchmark. LATAM is currently the closest to the benchmark at -2%, following a recent rise in call activity in June. We hope to see these numbers continue to trend in a positive direction as we move into the start of Q3.

3. Sales Outcomes

Deal Creation

New deal creation took a nosedive in March, as companies paused “business as usual” to understand what cutbacks and operating changes they’d need to weather the pandemic. Globally, the number of new deals created was at its lowest point the week of April 6, where 30% fewer deals were created compared to pre-COVID levels. Overall, the number of deals created in Q2 is 8% less than the number of deals created in Q1, and this trend is reflected in all regions and company sizes.

More recently, this metric has been on an upward trajectory globally, though this growth has been volatile. In the 11 weeks since April 6, eight weeks have seen week-over-week growth in deal creation, while three weeks have seen week-over-week decline. The number of deals created have increased for each of the last four weeks, and businesses are hoping that this trend will hold.

All regions are trending positively and are re-approaching pre-COVID levels. APAC, the region that was first impacted by COVID-19 and has to date been relatively successful at containing the virus’ spread, created 5% fewer deals in Q2 than in Q1. North America created 6% fewer deals in Q2, and EMEA and LATAM trail the group at 12% below Q1 averages.

All company sizes are on a similar upward trend, though none have returned to pre-COVID levels. Companies with more than 200 employees are leading the pack, creating just 2% fewer deals in Q2 than in Q1. Compared to Q1, companies with 0-25 employees are down 8%, and companies with 26-200 employees are down 12%.

Unsurprisingly, deal creation cut by industry is seeing the most variability. Travel and entertainment, the two most structurally impacted of the industries we’re tracking, are still far below pre-COVID benchmarks (35% below and 27% below, respectively). Consumer goods is 11% below benchmark, human resources is 10% below benchmark, and computer software is 3% below benchmark. The two industries that are outperforming pre-COVID levels are manufacturing (6% above) and construction, a whopping 36% above benchmark.

Deals Won

Globally, the number of deals won is trending upward as well, and was 8% above benchmark the week of June 22. Like deal creation, this metric has been highly variable since its lowest point — also the week of April 6, when it was 36% below pre-COVID benchmarks. Deals won has seen week-over-week increases for 10 out of the last 11 weeks.

When comparing Q2 to Q1, this metric lagged slightly behind new deals created in its climb toward pre-COVID levels. There were 11% fewer deals won in Q2 compared to Q1, with variability among regions, industries, and company sizes balancing out to that number. As deal creation is a leading indicator of future revenue, this trend is to be expected.

By region, APAC has made the best recovery, with only 6% fewer deals won in Q2 than in Q1. EMEA is the farthest behind at 17% fewer deals won in Q2, while LATAM and NORTHAM are on par with each other at 13% and 9% below Q1 volume, respectively.

Companies with 0-25 employees are closest to Q1 volume, at only 5% fewer deals won in Q2. Companies with 26-200 employees won 17% fewer deals in Q2 than in Q1, while companies with 201+ employees won 16% fewer deals.

As with deal creation, deals won is the most variable when viewed through an industry cut. Four industries are closing more deals than pre-COVID, while three are still far below. Here’s how each industry we’re tracking shakes out:

Above pre-COVID benchmarks:

  • Construction: 24% above benchmark
  • Computer software: 14% above benchmark
  • Manufacturing: 13% above benchmark
  • Consumer goods: 8% above benchmark

Below pre-COVID benchmarks:

  • Human resources: 20% below benchmark
  • Entertainment: 21% below benchmark
  • Travel: 29% benchmark

Perhaps more than any of the other metrics covered in this piece, the long-term health of both deal creation and deals won wholly depends on how the biological reality of the pandemic unfolds. It’s also important to remember that this data should be viewed not as a commentary on the overall health of the economy, but rather as a snapshot of how businesses are behaving right now. Because our data is pulled from HubSpot customers, it is not reflective of the entire economy and does not capture the economic circumstances of any individuals or HubSpot’s own business.

Takeaways

1. Invest in chat.

As many businesses move online for the first time, live chat numbers have skyrocketed in a few industries: construction, consumer goods, and manufacturing. The next few months of the pandemic are, by all expert accounts, uncertain. But we can say that there will be a significant change in how structurally affected industries operate in the future. Many companies who have transitioned online recently will remain online in the future, and this is an investment businesses will be thinking seriously about.

Investing in chat is not only a way to capture the significant uptick in online buyer interest, it’s also a long-term play to help scale your business. Even simple chatbots can take the manual work of basic qualification screening, meeting booking, lead routing, and even simple customer service tasks off your team’s plate, leaving them free to focus on higher-value activities.

Resources to Help:

Free Software to Get Started

2. Shift prospecting away from quantity and toward quality.

The ratio of call prospecting to email prospecting was almost 1:1 before the pandemic. Now it’s closer to 1:2. But response rates are historically low for the non-holiday season, a disconnect between marketing and sales performance that cannot be explained purely by the economic downturn. Salespeople are prospecting 19% more than they were in Q1, and the quality of that outreach has suffered as activity has increased.

Calling is inherently a forcing function in quality sales prospecting. It’s almost not worth it to get on the phone unless you do some research, and that background is key to building rapport, qualifying (and disqualifying), and connecting with buyers. In the age of COVID-19, your entire qualification framework should change — a product that would never have been considered pre-pandemic could be business-critical today, and vice versa. Rethink what a “good fit” looks like right now, create crisp disqualification frameworks to work through leads efficiently, and reprioritize prospecting appropriately. Sales should also be borrowing tactics from marketing — personalization through content, adding a personal touch through video, and prioritizing help over selling.

This ratio also reveals a broader principle sales leaders would do well to remember. Part of sales will always be a volume game, and it’s pointless to deny that. Adopting automation and software cuts down on the time the team has to spend manually sorting leads, and frees them up to feel secure in taking a slower approach to prospecting. Prospecting must be worked from an individual and an operational perspective, and can’t succeed without investment in both processes.

Resources to Help:

Free Software to Get Started

3. Invest in online discoverability.

As a company that sells software to help businesses grow online, we’re witness to a unique moment for our industry. Huge numbers of businesses and buyers shifted online out of necessity, many for the first time. Because this data is reflective of our customer base, which contains companies that have chosen to invest in their online strategy, we don’t have a clear picture of what these numbers look like for businesses that are still 100% offline. But one thing is clear: Businesses that already had an online presence in March were at an advantage.

For most of us right now, our business’s online presence is our business. Whether it’s through a website, a landing page, or a business run through social media, buyers need to be able to find you online. Prioritizing relevant and helpful content, investing in SEO, or taking advantage of a cheaper-than-usual ad marketplace (global ad spend is 8% below pre-COVID levels, and fewer buyers means cheaper keywords), are just a few of the many options you have to reach the right buyers at the right time.

For businesses that do not already have online presences, it may seem intimidating to think about building a website. But the ubiquity of CMS software in 2020 means that it’s possible to stand up a simple site in half a day, for free. And social accounts take even less time. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution — if a website is too daunting right now, it’s perfectly fine to start with just one account and go from there. Any move to online will be more valuable than relying exclusively on analog methods of growing your business.

Resources to Help:

Free Software to Get Started

Sign up for this week’s webinar for more insights surrounding our three-month COVID-19 retrospective.

 

HubSpot COVID-19 Q2 Retrospective Infographic

What is the Purpose of Marketing? [FAQ]

Dictionary.com defines marketing as, “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”

If you work in a marketing role like I do, it’s probably difficult for you to define marketing even though you see and use it every day — the term marketing is a bit all-encompassing and variable for a straightforward definition.

This definition feels unhelpful.

The selling part, for instance, overlaps a little too snuggly with a “what is sales” definition, and the word advertising makes me think of Mad Men brainstorming sessions.

But upon digging deeper, I began seeing that actually, marketing does overlap heavily with advertising and sales. Marketing is present in all stages of the business, beginning to end.

At first, I wondered why marketing was a necessary component during product development, or a sales pitch, or retail distribution. But it makes sense when you think about it — marketers have the firmest finger on the pulse of your consumer persona.

The purpose of marketing is to research and analyze your consumers all the time, conduct focus groups, send out surveys, study online shopping habits, and ask one underlying question: “Where, when, and how does our consumer want to communicate with our business?”

Modern marketing began in the 1950s when people started to use more than just print media to endorse a product. As TV — and soon, the internet — entered households, marketers could conduct entire campaigns across multiple platforms. And as you might expect, over the last 70 years, marketers have become increasingly important to fine-tuning how a business sells a product to consumers to optimize success.

In fact, the fundamental purpose of marketing is to attract consumers to your brand through messaging. Ideally, that messaging will helpful and educational to your target audience so you can convert consumers into leads.

Today, there are literally dozens of places one can carry out a marketing campaign — where does one do it in the 21st century?

Types of Marketing

Where your marketing campaigns live depends entirely on where your customers spend their time. It’s up to you to conduct market research that determines which types of marketing — and which mix of tools within each type — is best for building your brand. Here are several types of marketing that are relevant today, some of which have stood the test of time:

  • Internet marketing: Inspired by an Excedrin product campaign that took place online, the very idea of having a presence on the internet for business reasons is a type of marketing in and of itself.
  • Search engine optimization: Abbreviated “SEO,” this is the process of optimizing content on a website so that it appears in search engine results. It’s used by marketers to attract people who perform searches that imply they’re interested in learning about a particular industry.
  • Blog marketing: Blogs are no longer exclusive to the individual writer. Brands now publish blogs to write about their industry and nurture the interest of potential customers who browse the internet for information.
  • Social media marketing: Businesses can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and similar social networks to create impressions on their audience over time.
  • Print marketing: As newspapers and magazines get better at understanding who subscribes to their print material, businesses continue to sponsor articles, photography, and similar content in the publications their customers are reading.
  • Search engine marketing: This type of marketing is a bit different than SEO, which is described above. Businesses can now pay a search engine to place links on pages of its index that get high exposure to their audience. (It’s a concept called “pay-per-click” — I’ll show you an example of this in the next section).
  • Video marketing: While there were once just commercials, marketers now put money into creating and publishing all kinds of videos that entertain and educate their core customers.

Marketing and Advertising

If marketing is a wheel, advertising is one spoke of that wheel.

Marketing entails product development, market research, product distribution, sales strategy, public relations, and customer support. Marketing is necessary in all stages of a business’s selling journey, and it can use numerous platforms, social media channels, and teams within their organization to identify their audience, communicate to it, amplify its voice, and build brand loyalty over time.

On the other hand, advertising is just one component of marketing. It’s a strategic effort, usually paid for, to spread awareness of a product or service as a part of the more holistic goals outlined above. Put simply, it’s not the only method used by marketers to sell a product.

Here’s an example (keep reading, there’s a quiz at the end of it) …

Let’s say a business is rolling out a brand new product and wants to create a campaign promoting that product to its customer base. This company’s channels of choice are Facebook, Instagram, Google, and its company website. It uses all of these spaces to support its various campaigns every quarter and generate leads through those campaigns.

To broadcast its new product launch, it publishes a downloadable product guide to its website, posts a video to Instagram demonstrating its new product, and invests in a series of sponsored search results on Google directing traffic to a new product page on its website.

Now, which of the above decisions were marketing, and which were advertising?

The advertising took place on Instagram and Google. Instagram generally isn’t an advertising channel, but when used for branding, you can develop a base of followers that’s primed for a gentle product announcement every now and again. Google was definitely used for advertising in this example; the company paid for space on Google — a program known as pay-per-click (PPC) — on which to drive traffic to a specific page focused on its product. A classic online ad.

Where did the marketing take place? This was a bit of a trick question, as the marketing was the entire process. By aligning Instagram, Google, and its own website around a customer-focused initiative, the company ran a three-part marketing campaign that identified its audience, created a message for that audience, and delivered it across the industry to maximize its impact.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

In the 1960’s, E Jerome McCarthy came up with the 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, promotion.

Essentially, these 4 Ps explain how marketing interacts with each stage of the business.

Product

Let’s say you come up with an idea for a product you want your business to sell. What’s next? You probably won’t be successful if you just start selling it.

Instead, you need your marketing team to do market research and answer some critical questions: Who’s your target audience? Is there market fit for this product? What messaging will increase product sales, and on which platforms? How should your product developers modify the product to increase likelihood of success? What do focus groups think of the product, and what questions or hesitations do they have?

Marketers use the answers to these questions to help businesses understand the demand for the product and increase product quality by mentioning concerns stemming from focus group or survey participants.

Price

Your marketing team will check out competitors’ product prices, or use focus groups and surveys, to estimate how much your ideal customer is willing to pay. Price it too high, and you’ll lose out on a solid customer base. Price it too low, and you might lose more money than you gain. Fortunately, marketers can use industry research and consumer analysis to gauge a good price range.

Place

It’s critical that your marketing department uses their understanding and analysis of your business’s consumers to offer suggestions for how and where to sell your product. Perhaps they believe an ecommerce site works better than a retail location, or vice versa. Or, maybe they can offer insights into which locations would be most viable to sell your product, either nationally and internationally.

Promotion

This P is likely the one you expected from the get-go: promotion entails any online or print advertisement, event, or discount your marketing team creates to increase awareness and interest in your product, and, ultimately, lead to more sales. During this stage, you’ll likely see methods like public relations campaigns, advertisements, or social media promotions.

Hopefully, our definition and the four Ps help you understand marketing’s purpose and how to define it. Marketing intersects with all areas of a business, so it’s important you understand how to use marketing to increase your business’s efficiency and success.

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

7 Steps to (Effectively) Branding Your Business on a Budget

In marketing, it seems like the word “brand” is used a lot — the leading brand, off-brand, personal brand … you get the picture.

But there’s often confusion around its meaning in business. What does it entail? Should you hire an expert?

Most of all — branding is expensive, right?

Not exactly. As it turns out, there are some creative ways to brand your business effectively without a ton of cash. And while it can require an investment of time, the ROI won’t go unnoticed — in some cases, it can actually help you save money, while also growing your business.

Building your brand is a crucial part of developing your business. It’s the foundation of giving your organization a voice, identity, value, and awareness among consumers. And, thanks to the plentiful number of resources, tools, and platforms available today, a brand build might not be as burdensome (or costly) as some think.

So read on, and see how you can use the following seven steps as a guide for your brand build.

How to Brand Your Business on a Budget

You don’t have to break the bank to grow and maintain a brand. In fact, you can complete most of these tips without spending money. The most important things to remember when brand building are to keep your customers in mind and deliver messages that support your company’s mission.

Below, let’s discuss a budget-friendly way to grow better on a budget.

1. Create a persona to understand your audience.

You’ve probably heard that knowing your audience is the key to creating marketing messages that appeal to them. A great way to get to know them? Create a buyer persona — a semi-fictionalized representation of the values and characteristics of your ideal customer.

Personas outline the challenges of that customer and where your business fits in to solving their problems. Below is an example of a buyer persona, Marketing Macy. Notice how my persona lists demographics, like age and education, as well as tools needed for the day-to-day, like a CRM.

The needs, goals, and behavior of your potential customers dictate how you convey your product or service. So for Macy, I want to focus on a B2B strategy that caters to her goals of lead generation and brand building.

Understanding those goals helps you determine what kind of media your personas are consuming, what motivates them, and where they “live” online. This information allows you to develop a compelling, effective brand that reaches the right people.

Make your own buyer persona with HubSpot’s free MakeMyPersona tool, which guides you through a series of questions about your ideal customer. The tool is fun, interactive, and meant to get you thinking critically about who you want to reach with your brand and how you want to reach them.

2. Develop an identity and voice for your brand.

Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, your brand can start to take shape. Create a brand identity — what makes your brand, your brand — and its voice, which is the tone you use in any copy or public communication.

Developing brand voice and identity is similar to constructing your personas. But instead of answering questions about your target audience, you’re answering questions that are more introspective to your brand: What are your company’s values, what do they represent, and how do you want people to talk about you?

When you answer these questions, focus on creating content that supports them. Craft compelling emails, blogs, social posts, and multimedia that reflect your company’s mission, values, and how you want to appear to customers.

For example, if one of your values is to be accessible to customers, communicate contact information on social media pages and answer service questions that appear in comment sections.

Developing your voice comes through in the copy of that content. Are you going to use conversational language that relates to customers? Or will it be more beneficial to reach your audience from a technical standpoint?

For example, one of my favorite brands to follow is Glossier, a beauty company with a great understanding of brand voice.

When I tag the company in a photo on Instagram, I usually get a reply with one of their famous logos: An emoji version of a smile and wave (🙂👋). This logo appears on the bottom of marketing emails and packaging, keeping the brand consistent across multiple formats.

Even if you’re not starting from scratch, establishing a strong(er) brand voice can be valuable. Just take operating system software service Android, for instance: Their 2019 rebrand was a logo re-up, making the design cleaner and modern:

The Android rebrand of 2019

Image Source

The logo came from a need to speak to a shift in audience. Initially, Android’s target audience was the developer, but instead, the company has become more consumer-facing. The change was bred from this analysis.

3. Map out a consistent social media presence.

So, we know who your personas are. And now, we have an idea of what and how to create messaging that connects with them. But where are they?

Since you have a clear picture of what your audience is interested in, next, figure out where they’re spending the most time on social media. We’ve talked about how effective it is to reach people where they’re already present, and that includes their online behavior.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to play Inspector Gadget to figure out where your audience spends time online. Check out competitors — see where they’re most active (and how their language may or may not connect to audiences).

Additionally, look at how your audience interacts with social media. For instance, the highest percentage of U.S. men and women who use Facebook are between the ages of 24 and 35. So, if your persona fits that bill, focus your strategy on Facebook.

If you find the majority of your audience prioritizes one social network, you’ll have an idea of where to allocate your resources. But don’t ignore other sites. When you build a presence on multiple social media platforms, you’ll have an opportunity to diversify how you reach audiences. Diversifying the methods and channels you use for obtaining new leads helps you to connect with as many potential customers as possible.

Maintaining a presence is just as important as building one — for example, have you ever gone to a brand’s Facebook page, only to find that nothing has been posted in the past three months? Chances are, it didn’t have a positive impact on your perception.

That can be avoided by planning and scheduling social media posts, like you would with any marketing calendar. This free Social Media Content Calendar can help.

4. Start a company blog.

We’ve covered the importance of blogging before, and it can’t be emphasized enough. It’s a core part of the inbound marketing flywheel, especially the “attract” stage, which turns website browsers from strangers to visitors.

Inbound Marketing flywheel attract stage.

Image Source

In fact, blogging is a fundamental step of inbound marketing. It helps you reach qualified customers, like your personas, by creating the content that matches what they’re searching for. That’s why it’s so important to make blog posts relevant to audiences (and optimize them for search engines — here’s how).

Customers are definitely looking for the information you’re able to provide. Plus, that content can serve as material to populate your social media networks. To find what your audience is searching for, conduct keyword research, which will tell you what the most important topics for your audience are via search engines.

While blogging is fiscally inexpensive, it does take time.

The inbound marketing version of that question would ask, “Would you rather blog for one hour each day and promote content created by and for your company, or several hours a day sourcing content for your ideal customer from your competitors?”

An editorial calendar is also helpful in maintaining consistent timing and fresh content on your blog. That’s why we put together a free blog editorial calendar template, complete with instructions and content management tips.

5. Make customer service a priority.

When we hear the name “Zappos,” most of us immediately think, “Unparalleled customer service.” The online apparel retailer built this level of service into its core approach to doing business.

Why is that so important? For Zappos, making excellent customer service the cornerstone of its brand actually saved money on marketing and advertising. That’s because it created word-of-mouth among existing and potential customers.

This is called earned media: The recognition that your brand has earned, not paid for, from people talking about something you did that was remarkable.

For example, when I’m shopping on a new website, the first thing I do is read reviews. If I see reviews that mention speedy shipping, friendly customer service, and high quality products, I’m more inclined to purchase.

This revisits the importance of your identity and voice. As you go through these brand-building steps, think about the values that you want your audience to experience, like excellent service. Those values are what shape the brand’s culture, and that influence the voice you project to an audience.

6. Take advantage of co-branding.

I’ll never forget what my colleague, Lisa Toner, says about negotiating co-branding agreements.

“Larger companies may have a large reach,” she explains, “But what do they not have?”

When you’re just starting to build a brand, you might not have the reach that Toner’s talking about. You can take the steps to build it, but that takes time. Until then, one way to get your name in front of a broader audience is to partner with a brand that does have that reach.

But don’t just pick any brand for a partnership. Make sure it’s one that’s aligned with yours so it makes sense in the minds of your audience. Here’s what we recommend in seeking a co-brand:

  1. Will your partner’s audience be interested in your brand? Is this audience difficult for you to reach without this partnership?
  2. Will your audience trust your co-brand. That’s crucial to getting them to listen to you, so make sure your partner reaches the audience in a way that instills confidence.
  3. Do you have something to offer your co-brand? Just like Toner asks, “What do they not have?” The experience should be a win-win-win: For you, your co-brand, and the consumer. As an example, if you have an international audience that your partnering brand doesn’t, consider pointing to that when discussing the partnership.

Building a brand might seem like a huge undertaking, especially when resources are limited. But there are plenty of economical ways to not only get started, but to continue the momentum.

And please, have fun with the process. Of course, there has to be a degree of strategy and logic involved — that’s why there’s tools to help you determine the different pieces of your brand. But it’s a creative exercise, so keep that in mind if you get bogged down in technicalities.

7. Host a masterclass or webinar.

What are some of the talents the minds at your company display on a daily basis? Are they masters of email marketing? Do they excel at coding? Do you earn a “World’s Best Brand Strategist” superlative every year?

A fantastic way to grow your brand — and earn leads — is to leverage these talents into a masterclass or webinar, and promote them online.

By optimizing your class with hashtags and witty captions, you’ll find audiences that are interested in the talents for which you’re offering lessons. These masterclasses can be a 45- to 60-minute session that provides an overview of your special expertise, how to do it right, and how use your own strategies to illustrate.

For example, if I were to offer a webinar, it would highlight the art of using emojis for business, an experiment I’m passionate about. I would start by describing why engaging copy is important for attracting customers. Then, I’d explain the pros and cons of emoji usage. Finally, I’d share the right and wrong times to include emojis in marketing messages.

After that, I would present an experiment and report on my findings. Whether the experiment supports or negates my thesis always leaves room for fruitful discussion — leading to the last portion, questions. Voila: An outline for a masterclass that uses my talents to back up the credibility of a business that focuses on, let’s say, marketing or social media.

Running experiments doesn’t have to cost a dime, and hosting a webinar takes only about an hour of your day. The result, however, is spreading the word about the talents of a company, providing data that supports credibility, and promotes company values like delighting customers and giving helpful, educational content to your audience.

Branding on a budget? Absolutely possible. What counts, when you’re brainstorming ways to brand effectively, is how to use the resources you have to the best of your ability. Keeping your audience in mind is the first step — after that, it’s about thinking of creative ways to engage those target customers.

Have fun with building your brand. After all, this is a creative process and while every experiment may not work, you can always learn to improve. Good luck, and happy branding.

19 Free Advertising Tips for Your Small, Large, or Local Business

When you work at a small business with a limited budget, it’s not really possible to shell out $340,000 for a 30-second TV commercial or $10,000 for an email marketing campaign.

It can be frustrating when your budget dictates how many people your business can reach. Here are some free and inexpensive ways to promote your local business: 

1. Use Google My Business to optimize for local search.

One of the most powerful free ways to advertise your business is through Google My Business, which enables companies to manage their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. The tool can bolster your rankings in local search results.

Ranking high in local search shows you’re a legitimate and relevant company: you wouldn’t rank #1 in Google for “pizza places near me” if you’d closed down six months ago. Plus, if you rank high in local search, more consumers will choose your business over a competitor’s. In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key.

Click here or scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to advertise on Google for free.

2. Check out Yext.

The more places your business is listed online, the better your chances of showing up in search results, and the easier it is for potential customers to find you. To ensure great local SEO, the details of your listings on every website and online directory need to match up.

For instance, if your website lists your company’s new phone number, but Yelp lists your old one, this inconsistency could hurt your SEO.

Yext scans the web to find every place your business is listed, so you can tweak your listings to guarantee accuracy.

3. Attend networking events and mixers.

Connecting with fellow professionals at industry networking events is a great opportunity to meet potential consumers in a place where they are eager to discuss your business. The niche topics of networking events ensure you’re meeting high-qualified leads. For example, a “Best Technology Startups of 2020” event will primarily be filled with participants who are interested in technology and startups.

Particularly for small businesses looking to make their first connections, networking is a chance to get your name out there, meet potential partners, and find opportunities for growth. Plus, it’ll keep you up-to-date on trends in your industry.

4. Speak at an association or local event.

Similar to networking, speaking at an event about a topic related to your industry is another way to exhibit your expertise. Giving a thought-provoking and powerful speech will draw attention to you and, by association, your business, which can increase brand awareness and prove your business is qualified to tackle consumer’s challenges.

To start, brainstorm different topics and volunteer at various upcoming networking events and trade association conventions. If you’re afraid of public speaking (don’t worry, a lot of us are), you could enroll in a local Toastmasters chapter to improve your game.

5. Put up brochures or flyers.

Putting up brochures or flyers in local libraries, coffee shops, and businesses is a unique way to market to offline locations where people spend a good deal of their time.

You can create free brochures and flyers on PowerPoint or Canva. Depending on your industry, it might even help you reach an ideal clientele: if you’re a physical therapist, for example, perhaps you could hand out brochures to local gyms or nearby hospitals.

6. Run geo-targeted Facebook ads. 

Facebook has more targeted advertising capability than any other platform. In addition to being able to advertise to a certain type of consumer based on interests or job description, you can target people who fit that criteria in a certain location. 

By putting a few dollars per day behind a geo-targeted Facebook campaign, you’ll build up a local following over time. Be sure to continue posting great content as well to keep this new audience engaged. 

7. Invest in direct mail campaigns. 

With direct mail, you’ll know that the right audience in your nearby area is receiving your promotions. 

While a single batch of mailers may not be enough to drive tons of business, doing frequent distribution campaigns will increase the number of impressions you make on your audience, which in turn drives brand awareness and keeps you top of mind. 

Surprisingly, there are also a lot of free ways to supplement your paid advertising efforts. By incorporating free advertising tactics into your strategy, you can remove some nonessential costs and dedicate your budget to deeper, more long-term plays.

In fact, we suggest some of these methods regardless of your budget. To help you spread the word about your business without breaking the bank, we’ve compiled a list of ways to get advertising for free.

1. Write guest posts for other blogs.

There are a few major advantages to guest posting for a well-established blog. You can benefit from connecting to that blog’s audience, and you can also start establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Since guest posting on a popular blog allows you access to an established audience and high domain authority, this practice can sometimes be more beneficial than posting to your own blog. Plus, you can link back to your own website from your article, giving you an inbound link that boosts your domain authority and can increase your own website’s ranking in search engines.

2. Answer Quora questions.

Writing content for Quora can expose your business to a large audience: in 2018, Quora reported a worldwide audience of 300 million monthly visitors.

Besides the large built-in audience, your business can answer direct questions from prospective customers. This lets you interact with high-quality potential leads and establish yourself as an expert in the subjects that matter most in your industry.

3. Publish content on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a platform to connect with professionals, which is why it’s also a great place to share business-related content. LinkedIn’s blogging platform lets you demonstrate your expertise within your industry.

Your connections and other LinkedIn members will engage with your posts and share them, doing the free promotion for you. With almost half of all social media traffic coming to B2B company sites from LinkedIn, it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t publish and promote content on LinkedIn.

4. Offer to do interviews on other business’ podcasts.

To figure out which platforms your team should prioritize, it’s important to diversify your promotion platforms to discover where your audience is already consuming content. Some of your audience might prefer listening to podcasts over reading articles. To reach those people, contact a few businesses with podcasts and pitch interview ideas.

5. Promote your website on your email signature.

With all the emails you send every day, it’s a shame if you aren’t taking advantage of the promotional potential of your email signature. Your email signature can also be unexpected property to promote a sale, contest, event, or even a new blog post.

Add a link to your business’ website on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles, as well.

6. Send email newsletters.

An email newsletter can be a useful vehicle to promote content, share business-related news, and build deeper relationships with both potential and existing customers. There are plenty of free tools out there that assist you in designing, sending, and optimizing your newsletter.

With the right time investment, an email newsletter can be the perfect place to share quality content with leads and potential consumers, establishing your brand as helpful and informative.

7. Do a free product giveaway or contest.

A product giveaway or contest is an easy way to incentivize new viewers to check out and subscribe to your social media channels or website. Plus, handing out inexpensive branded products like t-shirts or mugs is a good way to spread your brand name.

Word-of-mouth is alive and well — and a little swag can go a long way.

8. Create YouTube videos.

YouTube has more than two billion active users, which accounts for almost half of everyone on the internet. 

Moreover, in a recent study, 84% of people said they’ve been convinced to buy something after watching a brand’s video, and people reported being twice as likely to share videos with their friends than any other type of content.

Creating engaging, informative, and share-able YouTube videos is one of the most efficient ways to sell your brand. If done right, your YouTube videos will entertain viewers enough to share your content and seek out your website.

9. Take advantage of your partnerships.

Partnerships are an opportunity to offer supplementary services that you don’t provide. For example, a web design company and a copywriting agency might choose to partner together, so when a client requires written content for her web pages, the web design company can offer copywriting services from their partner.

This increases consumer satisfaction, and it also provides exceptional advertising opportunities. When your partner’s consumers need your services, your partner will point them in your direction.

10. Post on social media.

Nowadays, social media is crucial to most marketing strategies. Luckily, most types of social media platforms and posts are free — even to businesses. While many platforms will let you advertise, you can still post or tweet for no cost if you’re on a budget.

Pick the platforms that best suit your audience. Then, post links, photos, videos, or text posts about your company, product launches, or any other occurrence that you’d like to promote.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a suitable place to start for most businesses. They all offer a way to share video, text, photo, and link-based posts and have large user bases. To learn more about other forms of social media, check out this post.

11. Experiment with photo and video platforms.

While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn could be great platforms to start on, expanding to platforms like Instagram or Pinterest will give you more opportunities to show product shots or embrace the heavily-visual strategy of influencer marketing.

Aside from spreading awareness with free images of your product or service, most social platforms, including Facebook, offer live video and story features which can allow you to create video promotion related to your products. For example, you might use Instagram Stories or Facebook Live as an outlet to publish tutorials of how to use your products.

Because these videos and photos are on social, you can also boost their shareability by hashtagging them, creating interesting captions, and encouraging fans to react with actions like “likes” or comments.

12. Encourage happy customers to give online reviews.

Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to market your product. Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, especially when there are many great testimonies.

If you have happy customers, encourage them to write a review about their experience on popular review platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. If you want great reviews on Facebook, be sure to create a Facebook Business page if you don’t have one already.

How to Advertise on Google for Free

As mentioned above, you can create a free page on Google My Business which can help you rank higher or first in search results. Here’s how it works.

Create your Google My Business account.

First, you’ll want to create a Gmail account for your business. Then you’ll want to register for Google My Business with that account.

Google will first ask you to enter the name of your business. Then, you’ll be asked to select a “Delivery Area.” In this form, note the mileage and area where your target audience lives.

Optimize your business page.

After your setup process is complete, you’ll be able to fill out your profile. As you do this, you ideally want to fill out all the information Google requests for the best search optimization.

A few key things you’ll want to include will be:

  • Your address
  • A phone number, email address, and other contact information.
  • Your website
  • Hours of operation
  • Photos of your business and products
  • A detailed description on what your business offers
  • Pricing or menu information
  • The year your company opened
  • Other business attributes such as “free Wi-Fi.”

The above items are things locals might search specifically for. For example, if someone searches for a “cheap Mexican restaurant open after 8pm”, Google will examine the details in business profile and prioritize your restaurant if it seems like a great match.

Here’s an example of what it looks like when a Google business fills out all their information:

cambridgeside galleria google business listing

Verify and monitor your business page.

Once you’ve created your Google My Business profile, be sure to verify your listing so Google knows it’s a real, legitimate business. There are a few ways to do this including email, postcard, and phone verification.

You can also download the GMB app to monitor how your business is doing on a smartphone. This post walks you through the different verification processes.

Don’t forget about SEO.

Along with Google My Business, taking advantage of free SEO strategies can also help your website rise higher in search results. These tactics can be simple and easy to work into blogging, web design, or other processes. 

Don’t let your advertising budget dictate how many people your business can reach. Start putting together your advertising plan today.

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

How Dynamic Content Makes Your Marketing More Personal

The first time Amazon introduced me to the perfect book for me via their recommendation engine, I was completely awed.

The idea that a website could not only recognize a return visitor, but also discern their interests and alter their site experience accordingly felt like nothing short of magic. For instance, when I check Amazon’s site, I can find numerous personalized recommendations just for me, and it still feels like a delight, every time.

Since then, data-driven personalization has become more common, though not entirely pervasive in the marketing space — perhaps due to a lack of understanding around how it really works. I mean, just what drives all this highly adaptive content?

More than that, how does adaptive content affect a lead’s decision-making process? That’s what we’ll go to in this post. I’ll break down the concept of “smart,” or “dynamic” content, explain what it is, how it works, and give you some strategies for incorporating it into your marketing.

First, let’s explain what dynamic content is and why it’s important to use for your business.

What is Dynamic Content?

Smart content delights customers. When you utilize data-driven content, you can influence a lead’s buyer journey. Let’s talk about what exactly dynamic content means.

Dynamic content creates an experience that’s customized specifically for the visitor or reader at that moment. One of the most well-known examples of smart content is Amazon’s recommendation engine, which we talked about earlier. Other forms, however, range from personalization fields in emails to entire images or offers on a webpage that shift based on who is looking at them.

For example, let’s say I visit an ecommerce site for the first time. During this first visit, I browse around, click the “like” button on a few products, and maybe purchase something. When I come back a couple of weeks later, the home site has now changed to say “Welcome back, Kayla!”, and recommends items I might like based on my history.

Suggested items were chosen based on what I purchased previously, and the information I gave while purchasing, such as my name, was stored by the website’s scripts to create a personalized experience the next time I visited.

Dynamic content also works with ads. Earlier this morning, I browsed a cosmetics site I hadn’t visited before. After closing the website, I opened Facebook, and all of my ads were from that company I’d just visited. Facebook chooses ads to show users based on their browsing history and interests, so when I visited that makeup website, Facebook found the ads from that business and displayed them on my feed.

Now that we have a deep understanding of dynamic content, let’s take a look at how it works.

How Dynamic Content Works

The key to dynamic content’s effectiveness is its relevance. This content is developed from data known about the user based on behavior.

The data collection works by scripts in a webpage’s HTML that changes to make the page relevant to the user. This data is stored in the site’s database, and is what’s called a database driven website.

If a website is database driven, it’s dynamic. This is because most of the content on these websites are stored in its database. The content being stored is user data that’s then used to create personalized experiences.

Ultimately, dynamic content is collected from what the user gives the website, such as an email address, first name, or shopping history. This data will be organized and stored in database driven websites with associated values — think of this as a filing system. The website then assess the need of the page and shows the viewer content that’s relevant to the user.

There’s two different types of content-based websites, however. Other than database driven, dynamic websites, there’s websites that have its content stored in HTML files, known as static websites.

Next, let’s go in deeper about the differences between dynamic and static websites and how they work together.

Dynamic content vs static content

As we’ve learned, dynamic content is powered by a database driven website. Static websites are powered by websites where the content isn’t stored on a database, rather HTML files.

Generally, most are used to static websites. To sum it up, static websites are the ones that don’t recognize user behavior and change to be personalized. Think of pages you visit that don’t change based on your past behavior, such as ecommerce sites that don’t give you suggestions and marketing emails that don’t mention you by name.

It might be a good idea to use static pages if you don’t have the time to devote to creating dynamic pages. Additionally, if you want to get more comfortable with running a website, static pages take less time to create, and you can still create a delightful experience for customers if you manage your website using software to manage your pages seamlessly, like a CMS.

Even webpages that have a section similar to “Based on people you follow,” like Twitter, are dynamic. There’s awesome benefits to using dynamic websites, for instance, the personalized aspect can help improve KPIs like conversions and return visits.

Other benefits include an improved user experience, clean web design, and low maintenance. A page that’s dynamic doesn’t need to be constantly updated — it’ll always be active.

Technology dynamic web pages uses to be dynamic include:

  • A Centralized Marketing Database — Your marketing database is the brain behind your dynamic content. It stores your contacts’ download and interaction history with your site.
  • A Smart Content Generator — Informed by the database, a smart content generator will show or hide content (blocks of images or text) based on rules you set.
  • Malleable Web Pages — A dynamic site has to be one that is easily editable and typically marketing-controlled, rather than run through another department like IT.
  • An Integrated Email System — Extending smart content to the emails you send will require an email system that is tied into your contact database.

To sum it up, static content is easier to use and manage. Dynamic content thrills the viewer, but both can provide an engaging content to the reader if managed using the right software.

Let’s take a look at some strategies that can help you create dynamic experiences.

Smart Content Marketing Strategies

Now that you know what smart content is and how it works, you should use it all the time without discrimination.

Just kidding. Actually, the bottom line with smart content is to make sure you’re purposeful and intentional about its use. Smart content should create a better experience for your leads and customers.

When you’re integrating smart content of any sort into your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to start with the question of how it will improve potential customers’ time on your site or with your emails. Here are a few places to start if you’re having trouble envisioning how to integrate smart content into your marketing.

Eliminate Repeat Conversions

If a website visitor has already downloaded a particular lead generation offer or purchased a particular item, you can use smart rules to remove that offer from their view. The result is two-fold: you’ll create a website or shopping experience that never gets old for your customers, and create an opportunity for you as a marketer to expose fresh offers and products that boost reconversions.

To use smart rules, check for the option to add it on your CMS software. Alternatively, code it into your website. Here’s a page on how to add a transaction ID into your dynamic page to eliminate a repeat conversion.

Lead the Lifecycle Stage

A lead’s lifecycle stage refers to how far along the visitor is in his or her decision-making process. Is this their first visit? Are they ready to buy? Are they still evaluating options?

Taking what you know about how much experience a particular lead has can help you avoid over-selling to someone who is in the early stage of their research — or miss out on an opportunity to sell to someone who is ready to make a purchase.

The perfect remedy? Mapping content to the stages of a potential customer’s buying cycle . This is typically done through a series of gradually evolving emails in a lead nurturing campaign. Smart content tools, like HubSpot’s smart call-to-actions (CTAs) , can also extend this adaptability to your website and landing pages.

Example of customer mapping stageWhen you use smart CTAs, you are helping the customer along through every part of their journey.

Help Loyal Customers Skip Excess Steps

Many B2B companies offer content behind a form in order to generate leads. While this is a nice way to get to know new leads, it can be a hassle for customers who may be interested in the content, but have already filled out your forms previously.

Rather than having a customer fill out another form, using dynamic content recognizes a visitor as a customer and gives them a CTA. This CTA either minimizes the form fields or lets them bypass the download form entirely.

Reflect Different Industries or Personas

Most companies serve a number of personas from a variety of industries. While it may be difficult to tailor to every different industry you touch, dynamic content can help you create a highly customized experience for your highest-value industries.

Start by talking with your sales team about the different personas or industries with whom they have had the best success. Then pick one or two industries to focus in on at first as a test.

Use smart content to set a default, and then another set of images that reflect your top industry segments. In the example below, we’ve selected two images — one to represent the manufacturing industry, and another the healthcare industry. When anyone from those industries lands on a given page, this image will change to reflect that context.

Smart content leverages the valuable insights your visitors, leads, and customers have provided you with: their interests, preferences, and historical behavior. Make sure you put that knowledge to work by guiding and supporting your prospective customers with personalized content. Every potential buyer should be recognized as an individual with unique and evolving questions; smart content is one tool in your arsenal for creating marketing that’s more personalized and tailored to their needs.

The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Audio, According to HubSpot's Podcast Experts

In 2019, Google began rolling out what is arguably one of the most significant changes to its search engine since the introduction of dedicated video carousels in June 2018, or the introduction of featured snippets in October 2017: Google has begun to ad podcasts to search results.

Every minor tweak to the search algorithm can have marketers scrambling to understand how they can take advantage of this shift — or, for the more pessimistic, how to avoid getting pushed to the dreaded page two of search results.

Adding the podcast to search results is going to affect content creators, SEO specialists, marketers, and perhaps most importantly, it will also likely have a major impact on podcasts.

In this post, we’ll explore how to take advantage of the advent of audio SEO. Then we’ll dive into how you can create high-quality audio from home, if you’re creating a podcast remotely. 

But before we dive into how marketers can create SEO-friendly audio content, let’s look at the primary problem Google is solving by indexing all podcast content.

The History of Podcasts Discoverability Problem

If you do any reading on the podcast industry, you will find endless articles lamenting “the discoverability problem” of podcasts.

When people talk about the discoverability problem they’re not referring to being able to find a podcast they’ve already heard of — instead, they’re talking about how difficult it is to discover new, unheard-of shows.

For the majority of podcasting, there has been one primary mechanism for discovering new shows: the iTunes Charts. The vast majority of podcast downloads occurs on iTunes.

Despite Android commanding ~75% of smartphone ownership, iTunes commands the vast majority of podcast downloads.

As Google’s PM for Podcast Zach Reneau-Wedeen notes: “It’s actually so egregious that on a device-by-device basis, the average iPhone listens to over ten times more podcasting than the average Android.”

Due to Apple’s outsized command of podcast downloads, their charts have played a critical role in helping new shows gain traction.

As a quick overview, the iTunes podcast section has Top 100 charts based on regions. There are charts for the top shows, charts for the top episodes, and then a whole collection of categories and sub-category charts such as Top 100 Business Shows. These charts are algorithmically generated.

iTunes also has a hand-curated list such as “New & Noteworthy” where they can promote interesting new shows that have yet to gain a massive following. Beyond these charts, many podcasts are discovered through word-of-mouth or social media.

The problem with Apple’s system for discovering new podcasts is the shows that tend to get traction on the charts are the ones that already have built-in audiences. This is why you tend to see New & Noteworthy being filled with shows from reputable publishers.

The one area that has never been particularly effective for finding a new podcast has been search. In 2018, Google set out to change that.

Google’s Quest to Fix Podcast Discoverability

With over 700,000 podcasts out there, millions of episodes and even more hours of content, podcast are a set of data that Google can help people sift through. However, Google is not only trying to make it easier to find podcasts — they’re also trying to rapidly grow the number of people listening to podcasts.

As Google Podcasts
Product Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen notes, “Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years.”

Google’s approach to solving discoverability is two-fold: 1) make podcast discoverable via search, and 2) enable new content creators who have traditionally been excluded from the podcast world to develop new shows and attract new audiences.

Here’s what Google has done to help fix podcast discoverability:

  • June 2018: Google rolls out new Google Podcast App
  • October 2018: Google partners with PRX creator program to attract new creators and audiences to podcasts.
  • March 2019: Google begins indexing podcasts. Google collects information including the name of the podcasts, episode titles and descriptions, and transcriptions of new episodes.
  • May 2019: Podcast begins to surface in podcast results

Looking at Google’s new smartphone, the Pixel 4’s recorder app, you can see how incredibly good big G has gotten at transcribing voices. It makes sense, considering they have tons of data from YouTube videos, Google Home products, and all Android phones.

There is no company better positioned to digest massive amounts of audio data than Google.

So now that they have all of this data on podcasts, let’s explore how they’ve begun to integrate it into search results.

Google Adds Podcast to Search Results

As of writing this, the majority of search results that involve podcasts require the word ‘podcast’ to be in the search query. We are seeing podcast appear in two ways.

Broad Category Search aka Popular on the Web: When you search a broad topic like “business podcast”, shows will show up in a carousel at the top. Clicking on these results will simply open a new search for the name of the show.

Searching for an Answer: When you’re looking for a more specific answer and include the word “podcast” you will find a Podcast Carousel. The carousel appears to give weight to the title of the show, then the episode title, show description, and finally the actual content of the episode. In the example below, you can see a mix of shows that either including something about home building in the show, or in the episode title.

The “Popular from the Web” and podcast carousels are the two mechanisms for how Google is surfacing podcasts into search results. In terms of real estate, both these carousels occupy top positions in the SERPs.

HubSpot’s SEO strategist Aja Frost explains what the addition of podcasts will mean: “This will definitely have an impact on SEO.”

Frost says, “Search is a zero-sum game — there’s a set amount of space on the SERP, so every new search feature, like a podcast carousel, means there’s less space for the traditional blue links.”

Every marketer who cares about their position on Google should be interested in how to get their content into these coveted carousels.

What types of shows will do well?

In this new world of audio SEO who will be the winners? Here are some characteristics of shows we feel will do well:

  1. Lots of Episodes: The more episodes your show has, the more likely it will be to surface for a variety of search results.
  2. Short Episodes: Generally a show with shorter episodes is likely to have more of them, which increases ranking opportunities. Now that you can play an episode from the search results, it’s likely we will see shorter episodes become more popular when someone is looking to answer a question.
  3. Quality Audio: Your show will be less likely to be successfully transcribed if it does not have quality audio. This could impact your ability to appear in search queries.
  4. Titles Aligned to Queries: If the show title, episode title, or description aligns to a search term with a high search volume, those shows are likely to appear more often.
  5. Big-name guests: Elon Musk podcast is going to get a lot more searches than Sam Balter podcasts. Having celebrity guests will help you rank for more popular search terms.

Looking forward in time, we also expect shows with segments to do particularly well. We’re in the early stages of audio SEO, but we know that Google has already transcribed the content of the episode. Shows that take one topic and then have particular segments that align to the overarching search term will likely perform well.

For example, let’s say our episode is about digital advertising. We might have a segment for each show called “Overview”, where the host uses a search-friendly phrase like “Now we’re going to provide an overview of digital advertising on LinkedIn.”

Then, another episode might have the same “Overview” segment, and the host might say something like “Now, we’re going to provide an overview of digital advertising on Facebook.”

We believe show segments will help surface podcasts to page one of Google.

Optimizing HubSpot’s Podcast for SEO

We have officially relaunched our educational podcast Skill Up. The first season of Skill Up focused on SEO and had in-depth conversations with our SEO expert, Matt Barby. There were eight episodes averaging over 40 minutes long.

For the new run of Skill Up, we intend to take a different approach. We’re creating seasons based on specific topics which we identify as relevant to our core business and have high search volume. Episodes will be much shorter, averaging ~10 minutes per episode.

Additionally, individual episodes will include segments where the host mentions key phrases.

Finally, we are moving away from an interview format — instead, we want our Skill Up host to act as more of a narrator to the content.

By focusing the content of each season around a specific topic, we’re doing right by the listener by providing interesting bite-sized content that is easy to consume.

We’re also doing right by the search engines by making titles simple, descriptions keyword-rich, and integrating segments within the episode that makes it easier for search engines to identify parts of the episode.

A Word of Caution

Podcasts have evolved alongside but independent of search, social media, YouTube, and blogging. The success of podcasting today is built upon the backs of hard-working creators that have strived to make amazing shows that develop loyal followings.

Podcasts have not become successful through growth hacking, newsjacking, or search engine optimization. Keyword stuffing a low-quality show that does not inspire listeners to subscribe is a recipe for failure. No matter what changes Google makes to their algorithm, better content will ultimately rise to the top.

Above all else, remember you make shows for the listener, not Google’s web-crawler.

Next, let’s dive into how you might create a high-quality podcast from your living room. 

How to Create a Podcast From Home

2020 hasn’t exactly gone as planned, which likely means your company has pivoted to remote work for the foreseeable future.

If your company has a podcast, your team is likely recording podcast episodes from home. For most producers, that means calling guests via Zoom to interview them.

But that’s probably not the best way to do it.

That’s not to say a Zoom recording won’t work out well in a pinch. But to put it into baking terms, a Zoom recording is the panko crust. Great for texture, not worth a meal.

While audiences are more forgiving of audio quality during these times, they’re even more appreciative of any production effort.

Traditionally, high-quality recordings were done through tape syncs — booking local audio producers to record your guests in-person. Once you had your host and guest’s respective tracks, you’d sync the two together to make it sound like they were in the same room all along. Magic.

In this time of social distancing, however, it’s not safe to tape sync. What you need is to have your guests self-sync.

Here, let’s dive into the best practices you can use to create high-quality audio from home.

How to Self-Sync Audio

Fortunately, it’s easy enough to record high-quality audio within your own home.

Whether your team is working from home temporarily or you’re an entrepreneur aiming to create your own podcast from home permanently, you can follow these instructions to ensure your podcast is top-notch.

Note: To ensure you have backup audio, you’ll want to call your guest on Zoom and record through Zoom’s software.

To self-sync, your guest will need three basics: a laptop, headphones, and a cell phone. They can always swap the laptop for an iPad or a second phone. With those in hand, here’s the walkthrough list I send to every guest ahead of appearing on our The Growth Show podcast:

1. Use your laptop for the Zoom call

2. Plug in headphones to your laptop

3. Take one headphone out of your ear, leaving the other in

4. Turn down the volume of your headphones/laptop

5. Put your phone on Airplane Mode — or cell data turned off

6. Open the Voice Memo app on your phone (or Google Keep if you have Android)

7. Hit record in voice memo app & turn off screen

8. Put the phone to your non-headphone ear — like talking on a normal phone call

After the interview, you’ll need your guest to email you the audio file they recorded on their phone. This will act as your clean copy, and your Zoom will work as the backup. All that’s left is to sync the phone recording with your host’s track. Go ahead and dub yourself a wizard, because you just made magic.

One More Option

Another option is to record your guests through Zencastr — a cloud-based software that records guests locally through their computer’s built-in microphone. All it takes is a simple share of a link and you’re all set up.

Your guests will still need an external microphone to get the highest-quality. Otherwise, welcome to the wide world of room noise. There’s only so much you can do to fix it in post.

Ultimately, no set-up is perfect. And sound quality aside, the last thing you want is to re-record an entire interview. That’s the stuff of nightmares.

What’s most important is that you do your best to record a clean track, making sure to always have a backup in place. That way, when chaos inevitably reigns, there’s always a second option.

To learn more about successful podcast creation, check out The Anatomy of a Perfect Podcast Episode, According to HubSpot’s Podcast Expert.

29 Free Resume Templates for Microsoft Word (& How to Make Your Own)

No matter what industry you work in (or your experience level in that industry), a plain, black-and-white resume written in Times New Roman font can actually weaken a job application.

But just because resumes have gotten more creative doesn’t mean you need special design software to make your application stand out. On the contrary, writing your resume in good old Microsoft Word is still the perfect way to develop your personal brand, while also communicating your experience and career goals.

Read on to find out how to make your resume in word, then download one of these amazing resume templates that open directly in Microsoft Word.

1. Open Microsoft Word on your computer.

If you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, open the program and let it load for a moment. There will be a couple of helpful options waiting for you on the first screen, specifically for resume creation.

2. Select either “Basic Resume” or “Bold Resume” from the template menu.

Once you’ve launched MS Word, a window of templates will appear. Scroll down until you see the template options designed for resumes — there will be at least two of them. Double-click the one that suits your style and personal brand, but don’t be too particular about design just yet … you can customize these templates quite a bit.

 

3. Fill in your name and contact information at the top.

When your resume template opens, you’ll see placeholder text for each line of your resume, starting with your first and last name at the top. Delete this header text and enter your name, as well as any contact information by which you want the recruiter to contact you.

4. Draft a brief summary of your experience and goals.

Use the first line below your name and contact info to describe who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for in your career.

5. Enter your school and latest education.

List any relevant degrees or certificates you received through schooling. You can safely exclude secondary education if you’ve graduated from an accredited college.

6. Describe each job you’ve held using the lines prompted on the template.

Your professional experience is frequently the most important section of your resume, so feel free to rank this section above your skills and education, depending on how many jobs you previously held.

7. List all relevant skills.

If you have experience in certain software, exercises, problem-solving, or management techniques, use them to populate your skills. Your resume’s “Skills” section helps reveal what all of your previous jobs or related experiences have in common, based on what they taught you and what you provided them.

8. Describe any relevant accolades and accomplishments.

Finish out your resume with any personal accomplishments or accolades you think a hiring manager in your industry would appreciate. Although this section shouldn’t include a Most Improved recognition from little league, for example, it should definitely include your Marketer of the Month award from your last position.

Free Resume Templates That Download in Word

Of course, if you’re already employed full-time, it’s hard to find the time to apply to a new job opportunity, let alone update your resume to reflect your qualifications. Luckily, there are numerous publishers out there who’ve created incredible resume templates for quick editing and formatting in Word.

To keep you from hunting the internet for the resume templates that are both free and compatible with MS Word, we’ve listed 19 more options below for you to customize with your own information right now. Some of them come with variations so you can pick your favorite design. Four of them cater specifically to marketers.

They’re so nice, you won’t believe they open up in Microsoft Word once you download them.

1. Monogram Header Resume Template

We’ll start with a simple one. This is a HubSpot exclusive resume template that is simple and clean with attractive monogrammed headers to call out each section of the resume. The rest of the design relies on a simple serif font for easy reading, which is a good thing considering that hiring managers only take 7.4 seconds to evaluate a resume. You want your experience section to be easily scannable.

Download this template here.

2. Maroon Sidebar Resume Template

Pulling your more text-heavy information off to the side in an attractive color-blocked sidebar, this resume lets your experience stand for itself in white space at the top. It’s also easily customizable with no difficult-to-manipulate tables or formatting. The sidebars are in movable text boxes that can even be removed if you wish.

Download this template here.

Maroon Sidebar Resume

3. Centered Bar Resume Template

This resume takes on a different look than most resumes, centered around a single bar. This makes the resume more visually striking, which could draw attention as hiring managers are evaluating candidates. It also puts emphasis on the objective with your chronological experience supporting it underneath. All of this is in an attractive serif font that is elegant and classy.

Download this template here

Centered Bar Resume

4. Bold Serif Resume Template

Speaking of serif font, this resume puts forward an element of grace and formality with its font choices. It’s perfect for individuals who are looking for more organic color than the ones more typically found in resumes, and the colors are also easily changed in Microsoft Word’s theme settings. It also includes a skill-level bar, adding a nice visual touch to the template.

Download this template here.

Bold Serif Resume

5. Modern Chronological Resume Template

This resume template is available from Microsoft itself, and it’s one of many free templates the company has prepared for those who depend on Microsoft Office tools to create content. Yes, it is written in Times New Roman — don’t freak out. Designs like this can borrow an old-school typeface and still impress recruiters with a clean layout and subtle use of color. You can also change the font if you wish (and the same goes for every template in our list).

Download this template here.

Modern chronological resume template for MS Word

6. Digital Marketing Resume Template

The digital marketing resume below comes from our own collection of resume templates, all of which open directly in MS Word. Coming with two pages total, this sheet holds a wealth of information and offers the perfect amount of style while maintaining professionalism. Mid-level marketers all the way up to CMOs can find this template valuable.

Download this template here.

Digital marketing resume template

7. Simple and Clean Resume Template

This template is the perfect balance of creative and modest — best for the professional who wants to seem casual, thoughtful, but not over the top. Not only does it feature a space for a headshot on the top-left, but you can customize the color of that entire panel. Created by Zoki Design, the resume template also comes with a matching cover letter template.

Download this template here.

Simple and clean resume template for MS Word

8. Black and White Resume Template

The Black and White resume template below suits professionals who prefer using color and shading to add structure to their resume. The black banner at the top contrasts the applicant’s name nicely to help make him/her more memorable to recruiters. The gray banner just below the header is perfect for a summary or career objective — it makes one’s goals known but doesn’t overpower the experience listed below it.

Download this template here.

Black and white resume template

9. Urban Development Resume Template

The illustration on the top-left of this template shows who the designers at Hloom had in mind for this resume: civil engineers. But because it’s a Word document, that graphic is easy to edit and replace with an image that represents your line of work. Are you an analytics buff? Design a clever bar or line graph icon and place it next to your name in blue (or whatever color you’d like!).

Download this template here.

Civil engineer's resume template for MS Word

10. Email Marketing Resume Template

Red color never fails to stick out on a sheet of paper, especially if it’s included in small amounts. The resume template for email marketers, below, captures that balance. In addition to the professional title in the top-righthand corner, this template also stands out with a thin sans-serif font, helping make a lot of text easier for a recruiter to digest and read through.

Download this template here.

Email marketing resume template with red header text

11. Info Pop Resume Template

This one, also from Hloom, gives you exactly what the name suggests: ample space for the info you need, with headers that pop just enough to get your employer’s attention. Although the template fits a ton of text, its soft color palate prevents the document from seeming overwhelming.

Download this template here.

Info Pop resume template for MS Word

12. Dark Resume Template

Ironically, a dark background could be just the thing to ensure your resume doesn’t fall into the black hole of resumes piled on the hiring manager’s desk. Using soft, yellow font, the resume template below inverts the usual color scheme of a resume without trying too hard to be creative.

Download this template here.

Dark resume template with black background and yellow font

13. Neat and Confident Resume Template

Similar to the Simple and Clean template mentioned earlier, this resume design by Nowpixelse communicates a truly professional tone. The template’s muted colors work very well with the side panel layered over the top header.

Download this template here.

Neat and Confident resume template for MS Word

14. Inbound Marketing Resume Template

Here’s another resume template dedicated to the digital marketer. This sheet offers all the inbound marketing language you need to express your values as a passionate, brand-loyal professional. Similar to a few other templates on this list, it also uses just a dash of vibrant color in the applicant’s name at the top (where it matters most).

Download this template here.

Inbound marketing template for interns and marketers

15. Smart and Professional Resume Template

This is another sharp template that offers a basic but confident design for any professional. The warm-colored panel on the right-hand side is pre-formatted for a written profile, where you can write a summary of your background or a form letter to each employer. Just be sure to personalize this messaging to each new recipient so it works for the job you’re applying to. This template is available on Freesumes, and is free to users once they share the page to Facebook or Twitter.

Download this template here.

Smart and Professional resume template for MS Word

16. Spick and Span Resume Template

There isn’t a better name for the template below. The Spick and Span resume might be the cleanest-looking sheet on this list. It uses boldface, all-caps, and gray typeface to structure various headers of the document differently and maximize the hiring manager’s reading experience. And all that minimalism makes the professional headshot at the top pop off the page.

Download this template here.

Spick and Span resume template with clean, bold typeface and professional headshot

17. Timeline-Style Resume Template

Similar to the Centered Bar resume earlier in the post, Hloom’s Timeline template is a super simple but creative way to tell your story. You can convey your progression through various jobs you’ve held on one side of the vertical line, and more static elements of your background — such as skills and education — on the other.

Download this template here.

Timeline-style resume template for MS Word

18. Content Production Resume Template

This basic resume template is suited for content producers at all stages in their career. By spreading out the header and “Skills” text horizontally, the resume below fits a lot of crucial information comfortably on one page (of course, it also comes with a second page if you need it).

Download this template here.

Content production resume template

19. Fresh Resume Template

This is perhaps the most imaginative of all the Word-based resume templates on this list — with both a skills meter and a comic headshot. The template was designed by Venkata Naresh and comes with 12 different versions of the design you see below. Have you created a Bitmoji of yourself? Do you think your employer would find it creative? Match the template and add it as your photo.

Download this template here.

Resume template for MS Word with space for comic headshot

20. CV Resume Template

The curriculum vitae-style resume below flips the typical two-column resume so the basic applicant information is listed across the right side, rather than the left. Feel free to change the color of this sidebar in Microsoft Word if dark-red isn’t your thing — the template can pull off any color you wish.

Download this template here.

Reverse two-column resume template in CV style with red sidebar

21. Goldenrod Resume Template

This template, also offered on Freesumes, dares to use yellow as the dominant color — but doesn’t sacrifice professionalism in the process. The document anchors the education section to a thick, bright banner across the bottom, but you can likely change this to a skills section with some simple editing in Microsoft Word.

Download this template here.

Goldenrod yellow resume template for MS Word

22. Resume Template With Personal Endorsements

This resume template has quite a flashy header — no photography pun intended — but it’s not just for photographers. What makes this resume unique is the space for references on the lower right-hand side. Does your field need others to vouch for your experience? This resume gives you room for three solid recommendations.

Download this template here.

Photographer's resume template for MS Word with space for recommendations and endorsements

23. Creative Resume Template

This one was designed by the stationery experts at MOO and is offered for download by Microsoft. Simple but vibrant, this template hugs the text with an artistic header and footer — great for recent graduates who need to fill empty space on the page.

Download this template here.

Resume template for MS Word with header and footer design

24. Modern Resume Template

This resume embraces simplicity with a slight touch of color to make things a bit more interesting. It also nicely sections off Skills and Education notes from the Work History list. With LiveCareer.com, you can generate a template with your basic information and then download it to add small details.

Download this template here.

Modern Resume Template

25. Functional Resume Template

This NovoResume.com template is colorful and includes a place for your headshot which could make you look both interesting and confident to an employer. A colorful format like this might be great for someone in the media or advertising industry that wants to keep their job application visually memorable to prospective employers.

Download this template here.

functional-resume-template26. Elegant Resume Template

If you’re looking for simplicity and efficiency rather than something colorful, consider this Elegant Resume Template from Jofibo. With Jofibo, you can select this or other similar templates on the website, enter your information, and then download it quickly and easily.

Download this template here

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 2.23.03 PM27. Blue Corporate HR Resume Template

Canva, an easy-to-use design template website, offers a few great resume templates. One of them is this simple resume with a touch of color in the background. Because of the color and image, it’s pretty memorable. But, for those who prefer a more conservative resume look, this template is fairly simple.

Download this template here.

canva-blue-corporate-hr-professional-resume-MADftnj-Tj4 (1)28. Concept Resume

This resume is great for people in the technical space because it adds a touch of color and feels more compact, which will force you to get right to the point about your key skills, certifications, and work experiences. 

Download this template here

Concept Resume Template

29. Cream and Green Account Executive Resume Template

This resume is also downloadable and editable on Canva. It was created for account executives but could also be great for graphic designers or people working in visual fields due to its unique, but still professional, color scheme. 

Download or edit the resume template here.

Cream and Green Account Executive Resume Template

How to Save Your Resume

Remember, once you’ve finished personalizing your resume, you’re not ready to submit an application yet. To ensure your resume’s format stays the same for everyone who receives it, save the document as a PDF. Best case scenario? Even the hiring manager won’t believe your resume came from Word.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2018 but was updated in May 2020 for comprehensiveness.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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).

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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: 

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