Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

19 Brilliant Examples of Holiday Marketing Campaigns

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

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

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

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

1. Walkers: All Mariah Carey Wants for Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Microsoft: Find Your Joy

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

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

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

4. Macy’s: In Dad’s Shoes

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

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

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

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

5. Airbnb: Airbnb Hosts Ring Our Opening Bell

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

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

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

6. Amazon: The Show Must Go On

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

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

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

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

7. Woodie’s: #WereAllHomemakers

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

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

 

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

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

8. Hinge: See What We’re Thankful For

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

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

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

[Click here to see the full email]

9. Lagavulin: Nick Offerman’s Yule Log

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

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

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

10. BarkPost: Yappy Thanksgiving Eve

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

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

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

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

11. reMarkable: Keep Your Goals for the New Year

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

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

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

Image Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Source

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

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

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

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

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

15. Sonos + Spotify: #PlaylistPotluck

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

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

Oh, look. That feature is available with Spotify!

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

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

16. Google: Santa Tracker

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

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

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

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

Google Santa Tracker

17. Disney: From Our Family to Yours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

19. Heathrow Airport: The Heathrow Bears Return

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

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

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

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

Go Forth and Be Merry

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

From our family to yours, happy holidays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Establishing the Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running the Surveys and Creating the Report Content

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

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

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

So, we brought in the humans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Designing and Developing the Web Experience

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

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

state of marketing report hubspot

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

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

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

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

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

How We Promoted the Campaign

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

1. The Story

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

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

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

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

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

2. Our Creative Assets

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

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

not another state of marketing report hubspot

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

3. Promotional Channels

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

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

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

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

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

Tracking and Analyzing the Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck with your future campaigns!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Audit existing blog metrics.

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

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

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

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

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

How to complete this step:

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

2. Group common posts together.

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

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

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

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

How to complete this step:

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

3. Determine the best content offer opportunities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to complete this step:

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

4. Create lead-generating content.

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

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

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

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

Blog Topic Cluster

Content Offer

Customer Experience

Customer Journey Map Templates

Sales Training

New Hire Sales Onboarding Template

Product Marketing

Product Go-to-Market Kit

Pricing Strategy

Sales Pricing Strategy Calculator

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising Checklist

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

How to complete this step:

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

5. Promote content with CTAs.

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

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

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

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

How to complete this step:

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

6. Analyze your results.

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

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

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

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

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

How to complete this step:

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

7. Align with SEO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to complete this step:

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

8. Repeat the cycle!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Tell if a Link Is Nofollow

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

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

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

Search "nofollow" in the code

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

Nofollow Link Example

How To Make a Nofollow Link

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

The code for a regular hyperlink looks like this:

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

Here’s an example using the HubSpot Blog:

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

How To Make a Nofollow Link in WordPress

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

Making a Nofollow Link in WordPress Manually

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

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

Red arrow pointing to link symbol

Image Source

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

Red arrow pointing to "Edit as HTML"

Image Source

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

Nofollow attribute within HTML tag

Image Source

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

WordPress text tab

Image Source

Then, manually add the nofollow attribute.

WordPress source code

Image Source

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

Making a Nofollow Link in WordPress With a Plugin

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

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

2. Create or edit a post or page.

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

Add link symbol in WordPress

Image Source

4. Paste the destination link into the field.

Field to paste destination URL

Image Source

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

Adding Nofollow links in WordPress

Image Source

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

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

1. MozBar

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

MozBar NoFollow Link Tool

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

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

MozBar NoFollow Tool

2. Varvy

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

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

3. NoFollow

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

NoFollow Chrome/Firefox Extension

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

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

Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021, According to 21 Experts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual Events

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

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

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

2. Community marketing will replace event-based marketing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brand Values

5. Customer-centricity will propel brands forward.

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

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

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

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

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

Revenue and Budget

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

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

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

8. Digital marketing spend will continue to grow.

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

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

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

10. Content marketing will start with conversations.

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

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

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

11. Many companies will decrease their marketing budgets.

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

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

Teams and Collaboration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Transformation

14. Brands will unlock the key to orchestration.

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

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

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

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

16. Brands will capitalize on change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19. Cross-channel integrations will continue to grow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3…2…1…let’s go!

What is a timeline graphic?

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

  • Data
  • Visual
  • Header
  • Description

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

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

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

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

How to Make a Timeline on Google Docs

So how do you make a timeline graphic?

1. Create a picture.

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

2. Start drawing.

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

3. Enter your text.

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

4. Save and close.

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

How to Make a Timeline in Word

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

1. Insert SmartArt

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

2. Find your timeline.

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

3. Enter your data.

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

4. Customize your timeline.

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

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

How to Make a Timeline in Excel

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

1. Create a data table.

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

2. Insert a scatter chart.

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

3. Import your data.

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

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

4. Eliminate gridlines, add error bars.

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

5. Connect the dots.

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

6. Insert event titles.

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

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

How to Make a Timeline in Google Sheets

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

1. Create a new timeline.

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

2. Customize.

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

How to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint

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

1. Select your design.

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

2. Insert SmartArt.

Click on “Insert”, then “SmartArt”.

3. Choose and fill your timeline graphic.

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

Timing is Everything

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

How to Schedule a Post on Facebook: A Step-by-Step Guide

While platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok have gained significant user ground over the past few years, one social channel is still the market leader: Facebook.

Recently, the Pew Research Center revealed that nearly 70% of all U.S. adults use Facebook, while 74% log on daily. Worldwide, Facebook has more than 2.7 billion users.

And, today, regularly posting timely and relevant content on Facebook is key to reaching its big and broad audiences. 

Why? Trends, content, and discussion on any social media channel move much faster than they do on older platforms, like television or radio.

While content is vital to winning over audiences, quickly and consistently creating new social posts can overwhelm even tech-savvy social media managers.

While creating content manually comes with the advantage of right-now relevance, it also requires site owners to constantly track trends and interactions on Facebook, then craft relevant posts to leverage current conditions.

But what happens if site owners aren’t online? What if users halfway around the world are just waking up and looking for content while social managers are still asleep. Scheduled posts can help.

There’s a solution for many of the problems above: Scheduled Facebook posts. 

Facebook’s post scheduling tool lets you to launch pre-created content on your Facebook Business page on a predetermined date and time. By scheduling a few posts in advance each week, you and your team can keep normal work hours while even free yourselves up for brainstorming new social media strategies. 

While it’s still critical to create manual posts that speak to specific events or emerging market conditions, scheduled posts can help streamline your social efforts at scale.

Not sure how to schedule an engaging Facebook post? We’ll walk you through how to to do this, as well as how to solve common scheduling issues below.

We’ll start with the steps for scheduling a standard post. If you’re interested in learning how to schedule a share of another page’s post, click here to go to that section.

Step 1: Log into your Facebook Business page.

The first step in making a scheduled Facebook post is making sure you’re logged into your business page. Currently, personal pages don’t offer the same range of publishing tools.

Step 2: Click on “Publishing Tools.”

In the left menu of your business Facebook page, click on “Publishing Tools.” This will bring up a list of all published posts, as well as options to see your scheduled posts, drafts, and expiring posts.

Step 3: Create a compelling post.

Select “Create Post” at the top of your post. Write your post in the provided text box and add any images or links — you’ll get a real-time preview of the post as you create it to help identify any potential issues. 

Click Create Post or view older posts in publishing options pafe

As you draft your post copy, don’t over-complicate your scheduled posts. Design them the same way as on-demand posts — be engaging, personable, and relevant. 

Step 4: Set a publish time. 

When you’re satisfied with your new post, select “Schedule” in the drop down menu under News Feed. This will open a box that allows you to pick an exact date and time.

Click schedule post in drop down menu.

Step 5: Consider putting spend behind your content.

Worth noting? You can also increase the reach of your Facebook post by paying the social media site to advertise it for a specific length of time. Select the “Boost” option next to “Publish” to select your budget, target audience, and desired post duration.

To learn more about how to promote Facebook content and run ads, click here. 

Step 6: Track and adjust your schedule.

The Publishing Options menu lets you keep track of what you’ve already posted and when new posts will be published. Check it regularly to make sure scheduled posts still make sense.

For example, if you’ve suddenly run into production or supply issues, you might want to unschedule posts about big sales on lower-stock items.

Step 7: Consider cross-promotional scheduling.

It’s also worth noting that scheduled posts don’t automatically trigger any other notifications — such as Tweets. If you want Facebook posts to go out in tandem with other social media posts, ensure you know your publish dates so you can boost the impact of cross-platform promotions.

Additionally, you can also use helpful tools like HubSpot’s Social Media Software to schedule posts across multiple platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 

Step 8: Embrace scheduling tools.

While you can create and manage all scheduled posts manually, this can get very complicated very quickly as the impact of your Facebook page expands. 

As mentioned above, it’s worth considering social media management tools like HubSpot or Oktopost to help streamline scheduling while you focus on the creation of more compelling, on-demand content.

Step 9: Don’t over-schedule.

It might be easy to think you can schedule all of your posts for weeks at a time, and then not deal with social media for days. But, that’s far from the truth. 

If you’re making multiple scheduled posts per day, customer interest can quickly dry up as your page starts to look more like a sales vehicle than a social platform. While it’s worth calling out the debut of new products or big business changes, don’t over-schedule yourself.

Step 10: Compare your scheduled content to the competition.

Want to schedule posts ahead of time, but worried about inauthentic or robotic copy? Look at what your best competition is doing. 

Check out the frequency and content of their posts and use that knowledge to improve your social efforts. 

The goal of analyzing your competition isn’t to create carbon copies, but rather take a cue from their scheduling to make the best use of social platform potential.

Interested in scheduling a post that shows Facebook content already shared by a brand partner or company you’re working with? Learn how to schedule shared posts below. 

1. Go to the post you want to share and click the three dots.

This will show you all of the settings related to a post. Please note that some posts, such as those on personal Facebook accounts might have different settings options and might not be shareable.

2. Click “Copy link.”

HubSpot Post with copy link drop down

3. Go to Post Publishing Tools.

As noted above, hit the “Create post” CTA to open a post creation page. 

4. Go to Settings to access the older version of the tool.

Here’s where things get tricky. When we tried sharing a post with Facebook’s new tool, the previews looked a bit glitchy. For the best preview options and to ensure the post will look normal, click the settings icon on the lower left to access the tool’s older version while it still exists. 

click classic tool to access the older version of facebook's post creation tool

5. Insert the link into the post text box.

You should instantly see the business’ post appear below the text box. If you’d like to share a caption about that post, you can also include it as this HubSpot blogger did below:

Screen Shot 2020-12-08 at 1.12.49 PM

6. In the drop-down menu under News Feed, select “Schedule.”

This will allow you to schedule a post similarly to how you schedule your own. 

toggle to schedule in news feed drop down

Why Can’t I Schedule a Post on Facebook?

Running into problems scheduling your post on Facebook? There are several common culprits.

First, check to make sure you’re logged into the right account. If you’re logged into a personal rather than business page — or if you’re not a page administrator — you won’t be able to schedule posts. 

Next, make sure you’re looking in the right place. Until recently, the post scheduling feature moved from the “Create Post” box on Facebook Business pages to the “Publishing Options” page. 

If you try to create a scheduled post from your front page, you won’t see the scheduling button, but you should see an information box that directs you to the Publishing Options page. 

an information box directs Facebook business page users to schedule posts from the Publishing Tools dashboard.

What can’t be scheduled on Facebook?

Unfortunately, you can’t schedule everything you publish on Facebook. 

While posts with links, photos, and videos can be scheduled, photo albums, polls, or events can’t be set to launch automatically. You also can’t schedule Facebook Stories

Creating an Effective Facebook Schedule

Scheduling Facebook posts is a great way to boost your business impact and drive user engagement. 

Remember to keep content simple and relevant, don’t over-schedule, cross-promote posts where possible, and leverage best-in-class tools to streamline scheduling at scale.

The 5 Best Ebook Formats for Marketers [Free Templates]

Some argue that in the world of marketing, ebooks are dead. Others say they are not. But the fact is that ebooks — when written, designed, and marketed properly — can generate thousands upon thousands of contact submissions for your business.

Whether you’re just getting started with ebook creation as a marketing tool, or you’re reconsidering the role of ebooks in your existing content strategy, you’re likely asking yourself an important question: What is the best ebook format for the ebooks in my marketing library?

It’s important to note that this question can be answered in two different ways:

  • What is the best ebook format for content creation?
  • What is the best ebook format for content consumption?

Here, we’ll cover best practices for both of these topics — and explain how HubSpot’s Ebook Templates can help you achieve your marketing team’s lead generation goals.

Featured Resource: 18 Free Ebook Formatting & Creation Templates

Download Free Ebook Templates

Need help formatting your ebooks? Our collection of 18 free ebook templates will help you create and format your ebook content for an incredible reader experience in Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, and Google Slides so that you can format your ebooks in the way that best suits your marketing team and your content readers.

The 3 Best Ebook Formats for Content Creation

1. Adobe InDesign

Adobe’s advanced design software gives content creators a myriad of options for creating and formatting their ebooks.

These advanced features do come at a price, but experienced marketing designers rely on Adobe InDesign because of those features.

Click Here to Download 6 Adobe InDesign Ebook Templates.

Pros:

Adobe is known for being feature-rich. As a result, you can expect your ebooks to look their best when made with InDesign, as you’ll be able to create and incorporate original design elements right in your document.

Cons:

For an inexperienced designer or for the marketer who just needs to get a serviceable offer released, the bells and whistles that InDesign offers might not be necessary. InDesign’s interface and usability aren’t the most straightforward, and could require you to put in more effort than is needed for your final deliverable.

2. Google Slides

Google Slides is a simpler tool for making an ebook when compared to InDesign, and the fact that documents live online mean you can collaborate in real-time with your team members to make a fantastic deliverable. Oh — and it’s free, which is helpful if you have a limited marketing budget. 

Click Here to Download 6 Google Slides Ebook Templates.

Pros:

Google Slides is a great tool for marketers who need to make a good ebook quickly — especially if you’re working alongside team members and are sourcing feedback from them. The interface of Slides is arguably more straightforward than InDesign’s, meaning you can move and edit creative elements faster if you’re new to both tools.

Cons:

Because Google Slides is primarily a presentation tool rather than an ebook creation tool, you may miss out on some necessary features that would help make your ebooks the quality they need to be in order to warrant your leads’ attention.

Conversely, you might need to make design elements elsewhere, such as an Adobe software or Canva, and later import these creative elements into your Slides deck. This could create an inconsistent creation experience if you need to track down design elements after you’ve created them.

3. Microsoft PowerPoint

A slightly more advanced option than Google Slides — but not quite as advanced as Adobe software — PowerPoint is another presentation-making platform that can be used to design an ebook.

Pros:

PowerPoint has some features that Google Slides does not, such as better effects for designing. PowerPoint is also an offline software, meaning you can build your ebooks without wifi.

Cons:

PowerPoint is a paid software, as opposed to a free tool available in G Suite. You’ll also be in asynchronous communication with your team if you’re collaborating with them on edits and additions. Lastly, while it has better creative features than Slides, it doesn’t come close to the advanced features of InDesign.

Click Here to Download 6 Microsoft PowerPoint Ebook Templates.

The 2 Best Ebook Formats for Consumption

1. Interactive PDF

The best ebook format for ebook consumption is an interactive Portable Document Format, or PDF.

PDFs are the go-to option for content marketing ebooks for many reasons — among them the consistency of their design and readability on different devices.

We at HubSpot use PDFs for our ebooks because we can embed links to relevant pages and sources in them, can upload them right into our content library and File Manager, and trust that the design will appear as intended if our leads open the ebook in Chrome, Safari, Preview, on their phones, or on a desktop.

The interactive nature also means if we include an open text box for readers to complete an activity in the book (like in our Content Marketing Workbook), readers can complete the activity in whatever application they’re consuming the content.

2. EPUB

EPUB, short for electronic publication and saved with an .epub file extension, is another way for you to save your ebooks.

EPUBs rose in popularity after becoming a prominent ebook format for e-readers, but given its accessibility on Apple macOS and iOS products via Apple Books, the format is also a viable — though somewhat limiting — option for content marketing ebooks.

epub-3One unique feature of the .epub file format is its scrollability. To mimic the reading of an actual book, readers can view one page at a time and must scroll or swipe horizontally, as opposed to vertical scrolling with PDFs, which gives your readers the feeling of reading a book as opposed to interacting with website content. However, this also means readers might have to do more work to navigate the content and find the information they are looking for.

Additionally, video and audio files can be embedded in the .epub format, unlike PDFs, which means your readers can consume more interactive content without leaving the ebook.

If you’re tired of the PDF option and want to spruce up your content format, you can save your InDesign ebooks as an .epub file – just be prepared for some readers being unable to read your content, which is something you likely don’t want to be the case.

Formatting Your Ebooks

There’s no one perfect ebook format, but that just means there’s more options for your team to work with.

If you’re just getting started, we recommended using Google Slides – since you’ll be able to collaborate with your team more easily, create your content for free, and see how your audience reacts to ebooks before making a major investment in time and resources.

As you scale, and if you’re able to work with a designer, we suggest formatting your ebooks in InDesign.

When it comes to saving your ebooks, it’s best to stick with the interactive PDF format for wider accessibility.

Either way, make sure you check out HubSpot’s 18 Ebook Templates for free InDesign, PowerPoint, and Slides templates to build, format, and design your ebooks.

How to Maximize Your Marketing Efforts with These High-Impact Techniques

As a marketer, I’d like to believe all my marketing efforts are high-impact.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Consider the blog post that resulted in 25 views, and 0 leads — or the Facebook campaign that totally flopped, with a much lower ROI than expected.

Of course, high-impact marketing is any marketer’s goal. High-impact marketing means you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck, and that your time and resources are having a strong, positive impact on your business’ bottom-line.

But high-impact marketing is easier said than done. Here, we’ll explore what high-impact marketing is, examples of high-impact marketing, and finally, how you might maximize your own marketing efforts for highest possible impact.

Let’s dive in.

What is high-impact marketing?

High-impact marketing is any marketing efforts that have significant impact on your business’ bottom-line.

High-impact marketing can range depending on your business goals and industry — additionally, high-impact marketing doesn’t necessarily correlate with the amount of money you spend.

For instance, perhaps you create a low-budget YouTube video that results in thousands of views, and a 15% lead conversion rate. That’s high-impact, regardless of the amount of money you put into the video.

Fortunately, this means high-impact marketing doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective. 

Of course, which types of marketing will have a high impact on your bottom-line depends on your unique marketing goals. For instance, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, perhaps you find Instagram has the highest impact. Alternatively, if your goal is to establish thought leadership, perhaps you find you have higher impact by guest posting on various blogs.

Examples of High-Impact Marketing

To fully understand the definition of high-impact marketing, let’s consider a few examples of high-impact marketing in-action:

  • A YouTube strategy that increases leads for your company while reaching new audiences and increasing brand awareness.
  • A podcast advertisement that increases sales for your new product.
  • A PR campaign that increases positive perception of your brand, as measured by a public perception survey.
  • A blog post with a 10% conversion rate, higher than industry standards.
  • An Instagram post that receives high engagement rates and increases your account’s follower count.
  • An online co-marketing webinar that enables you to reach new networks via your partner’s channels.

There are many more, of course, but ultimately, these examples are meant to demonstrate just how wide-ranging high-impact marketing can be.

High-impact marketing will depend on your goals, industry, and the types of marketing best-suited for your brand. What results in a high ROI for one company could be a waste of time for another.

Next, let’s dive into some specific high-marketing techniques you might implement depending on your goals to drive lasting results for your company.

How to Maximize Your Marketing’s Impact

1. Ensure you’re targeting the right audience.

Best for: Brand awareness, increased leads.

To create the highest-impact marketing campaigns, it’s critical you do your research to ensure you’re targeting your ideal audience.

Of course, your audience will vary depending on your goals. For instance, perhaps you’re putting together an online event targeted towards entrepreneurs. If that’s the case, you’ll want to target a wide audience by identifying any social media users who’ve shown an interest in entrepreneurship. Since your goal is to get as many attendees as possible, you don’t need to get too hyper-targeted.

Alternatively, let’s say you’re looking to increase sales on a new product. If that’s the case, you don’t want to target a large audience — instead, you want to focus on a select group of people who seem ready-to-buy. In that case, you’ll want to target viewers who’ve visited a landing page for your product, or viewers who’ve clicked on an ad for that product over the last six months.

Ultimately, you don’t want to spend too much money or resources targeting people who are never going to convert, so for truly high-impact marketing, it’s critical you take the time to target the right audiences.

Take a look at How to Find Your Target Audience to learn how to identify the right audience for your own goals.

2. Create a strong partnership program.

Best for: Reaching new audiences.

A partnership program, or co-marketing campaign, can help you reach new audiences, demonstrate expertise in your industry, create high-quality content for leads and customers, and so much more.

Additionally, backlinks from other companies is invaluable for SEO, so a partnership program is a win-win on all accounts.

To create a truly impactful co-marketing campaign, consider hosting a webinar with a partner, creating an e-book with a partner to share with the partner’s network and increase brand exposure, or writing a series of guest blog posts for each other’s sites.

Co-marketing campaigns can have high impact by delivering exceptional value to leads and customers. For instance, consider this actionable guide HubSpot created with LinkedIn to help viewers learn how to get the most out of their LinkedIn marketing efforts.

While HubSpot could have written its own content regarding LinkedIn best practices, it’s higher-value when it combines forces with LinkedIn. Additionally, this ebook is now shown to both HubSpot and LinkedIn networks, ensuring broader reach.

Best of all, co-marketing efforts don’t have to be high-budget. In fact, partnership programs can be incredibly cost-effective, since you’re dividing the amount of resources needed by half.

3. Publish on various social channels.

Best for: Increased brand exposure, establishing thought leadership in an industry.

Social media is one of the most effective opportunities to achieve any of your marketing goals.

Don’t believe me? Consider this: 54% of social browsers use social media to research products.

Additionally, 73% of marketers believe that their efforts through social media marketing have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.

Best of all, social media is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies.

Of course, a social media strategy needs to be comprehensive to be as high-impact as possible. For instance, to increase thought leadership, you might consider asking executives to post thought leadership content regularly on LinkedIn and share it with experts in the industry. Alternatively, perhaps you’ll want to post advice from industry leaders on your own Instagram or YouTube accounts.

Additionally, it’s critical you ensure you’re using the best platforms to reach the right audiences. There’s a wide variety to choose from — including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, YouTube, Twitter, and more.

Conduct research to find where your target audience spends the most time, and then alter your strategy accordingly.

4. Maximize referrals.

Best for: Increased sales.

Considering it costs anywhere from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, it makes sense that you’ll want to leverage existing customers for high-impact marketing.

The inbound flywheel is made up of three sections: Attract, Engage, and Delight. To create sustainable, long-term growth, it’s critical you enable your flywheel to reach maximum speed.

To do this, you might create a formal referral program, in which existing customers earn a discount for recommending new customers.

Additionally, you might consider encouraging current social media followers to refer new followers to your social pages. To incentivize them, you could host a giveaway — if a follower tags 3-5 friends in the comments section, they have the chance to win.

You’ll also want to ensure customers have a good experience with your brand, start-to-finish. If customers are impressed with your customer service, for example, they’re more likely to recommend you to friends for free.

Now that’s high-impact.

5. Optimize for SEO.

Best for: Demonstrating expertise, increasing exposure to new audiences.

Finally, optimizing your website, blog posts, and even social media pages for SEO is critical for long-term marketing success.

Your blog posts, for instance, will be much higher-impact if they appear in search results for related queries. Otherwise, email and social media traffic can only get you so far.

Additionally, your website will have much higher-impact on your company’s bottom-line if it ranks in the top ten search results for related keywords.

Consider, for instance, the impact your website might have on sales if prospects are able to find your company whenever they search for products or services related to your industry.

An SEO strategy is a long-term play, but it’s one of the best opportunities you have for creating content that continues to impact your bottom-line well into the future.

25 Stats That Make the Case for Infographics in Your Marketing

When we think about visual marketing content, it’s easy to default to popular mediums like television, web video, and social media. It’s for good reason, too. These channels do a great job of grabbing your audience’s attention and getting them familiar with the visuals related to your brand.

But, there’s one type of visual marketing content that’s sometimes overlooked by marketing teams. It’s not as flashy as high-end influencer videos or Super Bowl commercials, but it’s one of the most effective and reliable forms of marketing content.

Infographics are an excellent marketing tool for educating customers and sharing information. They describe a product, service, dataset, or action in a visual way so that it’s easier to comprehend as the reader. Infographics have been used for marketing purposes since the 19th century and they continue to be an effective tool for marketers to this day.

Read on for some additional stats you should know about infographics this year.

Infographic Stats to Know in 2020

Marketing Efforts

  • 32% of marketers believe that visuals are the most important type of content that they’re business creates. (Social Media Examiner)
  • In 2019, 74% of marketing content contained a visual element. (Venngage)
  • 65% of brands use infographics for marketing purposes. (Xerox)
  • 56% of marketers use visuals in all of their marketing content. (Social Media Today)
  • Infographics can increase website traffic by up to 12%. (One Spot)
  • Infographics are the fourth most-used type of content marketing. (HubSpot)
  • In 2018, 69% of marketers said that visual content was either “very important” or “absolutely necessary.” (Venngage)

Image Source

Buyer Behavior

  • 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. (Infographic World)
  • On average, people will remember 65% of the information they see in a visual. Whereas they will only remember 10% of the information that they hear out loud. (Cognition)
  • Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read in their entirety than blog posts or news articles. (Digital Information World)
  • 65% of buyers are visual learners — meaning they absorb the most information when they look at an image, graphic, or video. (Pearson)
  • Web articles that contain images receive 94% more views than articles that don’t. (Jeff Bullas)
  • When directions are accompanied by visuals, readers are 323% more likely to complete the action described. (Springer)
  • Web content that includes images gets 650% more engagement than content that only includes text. (Webdam)
  • 84% of people who have used an infographic consider them to be useful. (Infographic World)

Sales Engagement

  • Infographics and other colorful visuals can increase sales by up to 80%. (Xerox)
  • Consumers tend to focus on “information-carrying images” like infographics more than they read the page’s text. (NN Group)
  • Buyers understand infographics better than they understand written instructions. (Springer)
  • The brain processes visual information 60 times faster than written information. (Content Factory 1)
  • Presentations with visual aides are 43% more persuasive. (MIS Research Center)
  • In 2018, 42% of marketing teams spent less than 10% of their budget on creating visual content. (Sproutworth)
Infographic-stats-sales

Image Source

Social Media

  • Infographics are liked and shared more than any other type of content on social media. (NN Group)
  • Facebook posts that include an image receive twice as much engagement than posts that don’t include an image. (BuzzSumo)
  • 74% of marketers include visuals when posting on social media. (Social Media Examiner)
  • Tweets that include visuals are 150% more likely to be retweeted. (Buffer)

Image Source

Using Infographics With Your Marketing Strategies

Infographics are used in a variety of marketing campaigns. You can use them to educate buyers about new products or services, or you can use them to enhance your marketing content by adding an eye-catching visual element.

You can also utilize them to explain how to use a product or service effectively. Adding visuals to your onboarding process can make it a lot easier for new customers to learn how to use your product or service — which can make a significant difference in customer satisfaction and retention. After all, your customers may be happy when they buy your product, but they won’t be thrilled for long if they can’t figure out how to use it.

If your looking to create you’re own infographics, learn how to create infographics with free PowerPoint templates.

The 'Ethics' You Didn't Know Existed in Design

Just the other day, I was Googling something in a rush and came across a blog post that I thought would give me all the information I needed.

But, when I clicked on the page and tried to start reading the post, the entire screen went dark and a giant “Subscribe to our email” CTA popped up — completely interrupting my experience.

I looked around for a “No thanks” button or an “X”, but I almost couldn’t find one. Just before I went to click the back arrow, I noticed a very faint, tiny “X” that was nearly the same color as the CTA background. It was obvious that this site’s designers wanted to trick visitors into signing up for an email list before reading their content.

Not only did this CTA almost backfire by causing me to bounce off the site, but it also made me judge the brand’s morals.

Although some business people might not think a code of ethics matters in design, it does.

In this post, I’ll explain what design ethics is, what guidelines ethical designers might use, and a few tips for avoiding questionable design ethics.

Why are ethics in design important?

One of the best places to highlight your brand’s mission, as well as its ethical values, is in your marketing and designs. After all, these are the areas of your company that prospects and customers might see most.

While ethics, inclusivity, and accessibility are not necessarily always top of mind for some busy marketers or designers,, it’s incredibly important to review any public-facing projects from an ethical perspective.

Today, more than ever, consumers are paying attention to the moral standards of brands. Research shows 62% of consumers are attracted to brands that have strong, authentic ethical values.

When companies are considered ethical, consumers trust them, feel like the brand cares about their experience, and identify with the company. On the other hand, when brands use tactics that feel unethical, consumers lose trust in the brand which could lead to less brand loyalty or purchases.

Ultimately, every aspect of your brand’s design contributes to the message you’re putting out. If you want to create content and that demonstrates your company’s values, you should regularly review your brand’s design ethics.

Ethics in Graphic Design

When creating marketing content like landing pages, web experiences, or other visuals, ethical graphic designers consider a handful of guidelines. Here are just a few:

1. Designs should not be misleading.

You should aim for your designs to engage people and nurture them towards converting. Your designs shouldn’t mislead, pressure, or coerce audiences into doing or thinking something.

In the intro, I noted a website I visited that tried to pressure me into signing up for email before I was even able to read their content. This just one of many sneaky dark pattern design techniques.

While it’s not uncommon or unethical to create colorful or embellished designs that draw attention away from an “X” or opt-out button, dark pattern designs happen when designers make an obvious and conscious effort to trick visitors into doing something, such as giving out personal information.

For example, making the “X” nearly invisible and darkening content behind a pop-up ad so visitors think they need to convert or subscribe to email list to see content is a dark pattern technique. You might also see similar techniques in spammy emails where the unsubscribe link is hidden or made illegibly small so you can’t easily find it.

While it’s understandable that you want to get as many people as possible on a promotional email list, tricking visitors into subscribing for something is not the answer.

Why? If the contact didn’t want to get signed up for the email, they might complain about the sneaky design, mark the email as spam, and unsubscribe immediately. If they aren’t annoyed to the point of unsubscribing, they might not engage with the email because they weren’t expecting it or were never interested in promotional content in the first place. This, in turn, could negatively impact email performance and future deliverability.

Ultimately, sneaking consent from visitors isn’t likely to create major engagement or brand loyalty. So, if you must use a similar tactic or an automatically checked box in your design, make sure the text is large enough so visitors can see it and easily uncheck the box if they aren’t interested in your offering.

2. Designs shouldn’t hurt the user experience.

We’ve all been on a website where an ad or full-page CTA blocked the content we wanted to see. Sometimes, this gets so annoying, it causes us to leave websites entirely.

When we bounce off a website with too many pop-ups or design glitches, the site not only loses visitors and credibility, but it also loses SEO strength.

Designers should make sure they’re creating experiences that nurture an audience member into doing something rather than force-feeding them an offer or advertisement. To do this, they should be asking themselves, “How can I design valuable online experiences that help visitors rather than shamelessly selling products to them?”

At HubSpot, we encourage companies to nurture leads rather than using unethical or desperate marketing tactics to trick them into signing up for something. Our natural lead nurturing approach can be seen right on our blog.

Each HubSpot blog post includes unintrusive CTAs at the bottom of the page, as well as a slide-in CTA that appears when the reader has scrolled passed a certain point in the post. Here’s what the bottom of a post looks like:

Not only do these CTAs fit smoothly within our blog design (and don’t cover up the content), but they also relate to the content we’re posting. This way, the reader gets a taste of our expertise in our blog content. Then, they can choose to dive deeper into our offers.

With unintrusive CTAs like this, we primarily send offerings to contacts that want them most, are likely to download more free resources, and might turn into qualified leads later on.

3. Messaging, disclaimers, and policies are clear and legible.

In the design below, another example of dark pattern design, the disclaimer, “Your subscription will renew automatically. You can cancel at any time,” is so small you might not notice it.

example of unethical design

Image Source

Because of this, visitors might give credit card information not realizing that they’ll be charged without being asked at the end of their free trial. Ultimately, when someone’s card is surprisingly charged for a service they didn’t want because they didn’t see this message, they might get annoyed with the brand, unsubscribe, and potentially complain about the small text.

On the other hand, if your text is legible and understandable, you might only receive the customers that understand free-trial policies, are serious about your service, and won’t rush to complain if they forget to cancel their subscription before the credit card charge.

4. Use proper representation and embrace inclusion, whenever possible.

Ethical designers always ask, “Does this design accurately represent groups of people discussed?”

Between 2011 and 2015, Access Icon embraced inclusive design ethics when they revamped the International Symbol of Access — often seen on accessible parking spots or wheelchair-accessible bathrooms — to better represent people with disabilities.

While the original symbol showed a simple stick figure sitting in a static wheelchair, the new symbol shows a person’s arms moving with their body tilted forward as if they’re actively moving or speeding in their wheelchair.

redesigned wheelchair symbol

Image Source

The new design came after a 2011 Boston-based street campaign, where Access Icon members placed a moving body over the static body on accessibility signs.

wheelchair symbol redesigned

Image Source

Although Access Icon did not intend to replace or criticize the original symbol, created in the 1950s, the organization wanted the new version to create an “occasion for asking questions about disability and the built environment, in the largest sense. Who has access—physically, yes, but moreover, to education, to meaningful citizenship, to political rights?”

Between 2012 and 2015, state governments, cities, major companies, and local businesses around the world adopted the symbol.

By refining this design, the group aimed to accurately represent people with disabilities as mobile, energetic, and empowered, rather than as static, less mobile figures. Ultimately, they realized the original design wrongly depicted those with disabilities and created a new design that solved for it.

Ethics in the Design of Technology

Design ethics doesn’t just stop with imagery or website UX. Tech products, software, and other tools also need ethical designers to create smooth, pleasant, and trustworthy experiences for customers. While technical or product designers think about the ethical guidelines noted above, there are a few additional standards they might follow:

1. Designs should be accessible.

In recent years, accessibility has been a major topic in the world of tech and product design. Although you might not realize it, people with varying accessibility needs might be using your product. And, when your product is accessible to more people, more people can use it and buy it.

One recent example of an accessible technology design was Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller.

After learning that children with physical disabilities, such as missing limbs, were having trouble playing Xbox video games with the console’s controllers, Microsoft developed an adaptive touchpad controller, which enabled people with multiple types of disabilities to play games with their friends.

Microsoft gaming design

Image Source

Aside from two circular touchpads, which replace small controller buttons, the Xbox Adaptive Controller features large programmable buttons and can connect to external switches, buttons, mounts, or joysticks that make gaming more accessible for users.

The process of designing the controller was highlighted in a Super Bowl ad called, “We All Win,” which you can watch below:

On a smaller scale, accessible technological design could also involve including accessibility tools and symbols within your software interface or web page. 

For example, some brands might offer an accessibility icon at the bottom of their website where you can click to adjust settings for a smoother experience if you have a disability. Or, to make their site or UX accessible to people in other countries, websites, like HubSpot’s offer an icon and menu that allow you to toggle between languages:

HubSpot's blog homepage design is accessible to international users who speak languages other than English as a menu on it allows you to change languages.

2. Designs should promote safety and security.

In 2020, many people are thinking about data security as many are buying smart devices and software for workspaces and their homes. With many devices listening to our voices, logging our lifestyle habits, and even recording health data, some worry that this information could be sold, stolen, or used unethically later on.

Because of data concerns, many tech firms are emphasizing security in their overall product design.

For example, when smart home devices with virtual assistants initially hit store shelves, consumers panicked when they learned that some devices, such as Amazon’s Echo, would surreptitiously record them.

To make consumers feel more secure with Echo devices in their homes, Amazon designed each device with a very visible mute button on them. When the button is pressed, the Echo’s light ring and the button turn orange to visibly show people that the device has deactivated recording.

Echo light design

Image Source

While this button might make Echo owners feel secure at home, it might also ease the nerves of prospects who see it in product shots or Echo ads before purchasing it.

3. Consider or respond to unexpected ethical dilemmas.

If you’re helping to design a new piece of technology, you should consider all of the potential ethical dilemmas it could create and create a design that could either solve for them or ease your audience’s concerns.

In 2018, Netflix was forced to address a design strategy on its platform when a recommendation algorithm was panned across the web.

The algorithm in question, which Netflix called, “Artwork Personalization,” aimed to show users show thumbnails based on the design traits of thumbnails they’d previously clicked. While it sounded like an interesting personalization experiment, consumers quickly argued that this personalization was racially targeting users.

Specifically, some users noted seeing primarily content recommendations with white people in thumbnails while some BIPOC users saw mostly thumbnails that showed people of color. While Netflix denied that the algorithm targeted users by race, the news went viral.

In this scenario, had Netflix designers and developers researched their design tweaks or audited it from an ethical perspective, they might have been able to tweak the algorithm before launch.

How to Promote Design Ethics

If this post has inspired you to develop a new ethical standard for your designs, here are a few next steps you can take.

Audit Your Past Designs

Even if your designs have been successful in the past, it’s still good to re-audit them to ensure that they continue to promote design ethics. For example, you can look at your website or product’s design to ensure that they’re accessible, easy to comprehend, and inclusive to all potential web visitors.

Review Your Current Projects.

Whether you’re working on a product, website, graphic, or software-related design, reviewing it from a design ethics perspective might lead to a successful launch with fewer risks of complaints or concerns from the public.

Pivot if Needed

Sometimes a design tactic you once embraced is now considered out of date. For example, a design symbol that used to be culturally acceptable or valuable might now be seen as a misrepresentation or offensive. When you notice things like this changing, it’s smart to adjust or modernize your design tactics.

Want to learn more about design and ethics? Check out this post for additional information on dark-pattern design or this post on ethics in modern marketing.

Most Consumers Changed Brands in 2020: Research Explains Why

Now that 2020’s global pandemic has taught most of the world how to live and work completely from home, marketers planning their 2021 strategy are asking one big question:

“Will this uncertain time change the way people spend money?”

McKinsey — which recently polled consumers in over 48 countries about their 2020 spending habits — says, “Yes.”

One of the biggest findings in the McKinsey study was that 75% of consumers have changed brands at least once during the pandemic.

McKinsey’s research also noted four other key shifts in consumer spending behavior that could majorly impact brands in the near or far future.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through all five shifts noted in the McKinsey study, while giving our insights on how marketers and brands can navigate them.

How Purchasing Behaviors are Changing in 2020

1. Brand loyalty is being tested.

At the beginning of the pandemic, as entire cities began to close non-essential businesses, consumers raced to stores or hopped online to order essential products they’d need in the coming months. This caused a major disruption in supply chains and product shortages around the world.

And, even in the earliest days of the pandemic, consumers were paying heavy attention to how companies handled shortages and bursts in product demand.

While some brands saw an influx of new customers that they once lost to bigger competitors, other companies lost customers to because they simply couldn’t keep up with a high demand.

“Over 60% of global consumers have changed shopping behavior, many of them for convenience and value. In the US, the percentage was 75%,” the McKinsey study notes.

When it comes brand shifts outside the U.S., a whopping 91% of Indian consumers and 82% of Chinese consumers say they’ve changed brands at least once since the beginning of the pandemic.

Image Source

According to McKinsey, the top three reasons consumers changed their habits or brands were value, availability, and convenience.

As you can guess from the data points above, the risk of losing a customer to another brand is higher than usual in 2020. Even if a product appears essential or valuable to a prospect, they might not buy it if another brand can deliver a similar item faster.

How Brands are Navigating

At this point, some large brands are working to better align teams to ensure that products can be discovered, ordered, and delivered quickly — even in times of high demand. Meanwhile, some smaller brands are making their products more available online and in-stores to prospective customers who can’t get an item quickly enough from brands they’ve used in the past.

According to a post from Repsly, which included data from anonymous name brands, companies that thrived in 2020 used data and company-wide communication strategies to identify areas at risk of high product demand around March and continued to align with teams including marketing, service, and supply chain teams to ensure their shelves and warehouses stayed stocked.

In another recent report from McKinsey, researchers similarly predict that successful high-demand brands will develop an integrated approach between their supply teams, sales, and marketing departments. McKinsey also discourages brands from raising prices in times of high demand and focusing on other vital business and customer experience strategies instead.

“Operational concerns may be even more important than pricing strategy, including stabilizing the supply chain, keeping products on the shelves, addressing customers’ urgent needs, and maintaining quality,” the McKinsey report explains.

2. Consumers aren’t rushing to grab their wallets.

Before the pandemic, Gen Z was the major age group that prioritized essential products over other purchases. Meanwhile, other generations were more likely to splurge on products based on their brand name or non-essential perks.

But, after business closures and financial uncertainty related to the pandemic, consumers in all generations are reconsidering spending habits.

Even as cities, businesses, and workplaces slowly reopen, shoppers plan to stay cautious about their budgets.

In the U.S. alone, 40% of consumers say they’ll continue to be mindful of where they spend money, while 31% plan to buy less expensive versions of items to save money. And, whenever they make those purchases, 21% of consumers aim to do more brand and product research than they had for pre-pandemic purchases.

How Brands are Navigating

While consumers might have made purchases with motives related to fun, entertainment, brand name, or other perks before the pandemic, many are now more budget-conscious than ever.

For the most part, consumers are primarily zoning in on essential product purchases. And, if someone does buy a less essential product, such as an item that entertains them, they’ll do thorough research to ensure they’re getting the best value for their money.

At this point, many essential and non-essential product companies have caught on to consumer budget concerns and have begun to leverage online marketing strategies to ensure that consumers can discover their products, learn about their value, and determine that they’re worth purchasing.

Particularly, companies that sell essential products have created campaigns, advertisements, and messaging reminding consumers of how important the items are. Meanwhile, companies that sell less essential items are getting creative to identify new value propositions for their products or brands.

For example, in the ad below, Procter & Gamble acknowledges the COVID-19 crisis, explains how it will be donating products to families and philanthropies in need, emphasizes the importance of their household and health items, and reminds viewers of how its brand has helped consumers disinfect their homes for generations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4xF40TnlS0

The P&G ad is effective because it highlights that the brand offers affordable and available products that people trust for cleanliness, shows how the company is actively aiming to help people impacted by the pandemic, and reminds audiences of how essential its products are to global households.

In another example, Ice Breakers, a mint company that sells products that might be considered less essential, made an ad to highlight how eating mints before you put on a mask can prevent smelling your breath.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXU7JFKaSJQ

While the P&G campaign acknowledges why its brand’s products are essential to people around the globe, the Ice Breakers ad cleverly places new value into a non-essential mint product that people might not be rushing out to buy at this time.

3. Shoppers need ecommerce.

McKinsey notes that “most [product] categories have seen more than 10 percent growth in their online customer base during the pandemic.”

Additionally, across most product categories, at least 30% of U.S. and U.K. consumers expect to make even more online purchases after the pandemic.

How Brands are Navigating

While many bigger brands are amping up their ecommerce strategies, a few prominent tech giants have begun to offer solutions that can help smaller or medium-sized brands, such as boutiques, retailers, or restaurants, generate revenue online.

For example, Facebook recently launched a tool called Facebook Shops, which enables any company with a Facebook or Instagram Business page to create a mini-online store that links with all platforms owned by the social media brand. Meanwhile, meal delivery apps like DoorDash temporarily reduced commissions of local restaurant orders so those business owners could sell food virtually while earning fee-free revenue for each order.

4. Health plays a role in purchasing decisions.

With the pandemic impacting thousands of Americans, people began to consider their health and safety more than ever before — even when purchasing products.

In the past, health-conscious consumers might have glanced at back labels of various products, the interest in health and safety has gotten even deeper. Now, they might ask, “What’s the packaging process for these products?”, “Are the cashiers in the grocery store given PPE?”, or “How are businesses actively preventing the spread of germs?”

While health and safety of consumers and brand employees might not be the biggest purchasing motivator, it’s one people are thinking about much more in 2020.

Ultimately, when big or small businesses take action to show that they genuinely care about people, consumers might identify with, trust, and value them more.

How Brands are Navigating

Although it might sound easy to buy an ad spot with a commercial that simply says, “Our brand cares about you,” this approach might not convince your audiences that the message is authentic.

Many of the brands that are thriving in this time demonstrate how they care, rather than just saying it.

For example, as global mask shortages occurred in the early days of the pandemic, fashion companies like Louis Vuitton and Burberry diverted clothing production to make face coverings.

Aside from creating PPE, other companies have donated to causes related to the pandemic or taking extra steps to keep their customers and staff safe.

Target, which is considered an essential business, has been publishing online content about how the company’s aiming to help customers, employees, and communities at this time.

Rather than centering its YouTube page around content that highlights products, sales, and deals, Target features a playlist aimed to help shoppers and communities during COVID-19.

Along with health and safety tips related to shopping, videos on the playlist explain how Target is working to create safe in-store experiences and smooth online shopping options for customers.

Target Homepage of Youtube with playlists shown

Aside from creating videos on how the chain is aiming to help customers navigate COVID-19, the brand has also created a $10 million pandemic relief fund which dedicates $1 million to assisting Target employees. This demonstrates that Target is taking action to help its community, customers, and employees who work in essential in-store roles.

5. Shoppers have become homebodies.

According to the survey, 70% of consumers don’t want to resume activities or work outside of their homes just yet, despite pushes to reopen the economy. If they won’t leave home to work, travel, or dine out, McKinsey notes that many won’t leave home to shop either.

When looking into the near future, “More than 3 out of 4 [consumers] who adjusted their behaviors due to the pandemic said that easing government restrictions will not change their cautious behaviors. Consumers are following guidance from medical experts for reassurance,” notes McKinsey.

How Brands are Navigating

Brands can’t just assume that people will flock back to stores as businesses reopen. While some consumers might not feel comfortable or safe leaving the house immediately after a pandemic, others won’t want to shop in physical stores because they know they can buy almost any product they want online.

At this point, successful brands are trying to continue to meet customers where they are, even if they don’t leave the house.

While some brands are building out online stores and digital services, others that don’t sell a physical product are launching online events or virtual experiences to gain awareness, continue to generate revenue, and delight their customers.

One example of a brand that made an in-person experience into a virtual offering was an animal sanctuary called Sweet Farm. When the California-based farm, which runs on donation revenue, closed to the public amidst the pandemic, its owners created a virtual offering where businesses or individuals could pay $65 to $750 for a farm animal to guest star in their virtual hang out or meeting.

The campaign was cleverly titled, “Goat-2-Meeting,” a play on GoToMeeting — a popular video meeting software.

According to Sweet Farm, the campaign, which began in March, was so successful that there was a waitlist for animal meet and greets by April, Sweet Farm has also partnered with more sanctuaries to increase meeting availability and share donation revenue with other organizations that care for animals.

How Marketers Can Navigate 2021 — and Beyond

This year, marketers and businesses were tested by the global pandemic and economic landscape. As you consider what’s next for your brand, keep these consumer behavior trends in mind:

Consumers crave value and availability.

More than ever, consumers will choose to shop from a company because of product value and availability, rather than brand loyalty. Business owners who’ve relied on loyalty and credibility to make sales should also monitor their supply chain and pricing to ensure that their products are worth the price and accessible to customers. Meanwhile, lesser-known brands can use a competitive analysis or other tactics to learn where they can help consumers that are struggling to find affordable or high-demand products.

Digital transformation is key.

Brands can no longer assume a billboard or foot traffic will generate vital revenue. At this point, many companies that were once mostly physical are building online stores, leveraging different online channels for marketing, and thinking outside of the box to create virtual offerings that will delight and retain customers.

“Human” brands will reap benefits.

In 2020, customers began to care more about how businesses treated employees, how they kept customers safe, and how companies stepped up to help others in times of uncertainty. Ultimately, brands with leaders who genuinely care about people will get better reviews, word of mouth, and positive awareness than brands that throw caution to the wind.

Looking to learn more about how businesses are evolving in 2020? Below you’ll find content from HubSpot’s Adapt 2020 series:

How Brands Can Nurture and Develop Emotional Intelligence (and Why It Matters)

Emotional intelligence has long been discussed as a critical component of leadership.

The ability to regulate your own emotions — as well as the emotions of others’ — has proven invaluable on an individual level.

Consider, for instance, the supreme importance of having a boss who doesn’t cry or yell every time a meeting doesn’t go her way.

Alternatively, think about how important it is to have a leader who encourages positive, effective conflict resolution between teams when misalignment or miscommunication occurs.

All of which is to say: emotional intelligence matters.

But Kristin Harper, CEO of Driven to Succeed and author of The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career, takes it one step further, arguing that emotional intelligence can (and should) be fostered by brands, not just individuals.

Here, let’s dive into how you can nurture and develop emotional intelligence for your brand as a whole — and why it matters in the first place.

[Note: the italic headings are the questions we asked Harper. The subsequent text is Harper’s direct quotes.]

1. How can brands nurture and develop emotional intelligence?

Let’s start first with the definition of emotional intelligence for individuals, which is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

EI is a combination of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

For brands, I define EI using four pillars:

  • Brand Consciousness: Defining the brand identity including its attributes, values, heritage, tone of voice, and personality in a way that resonates with your target audience and distinguishes itself from key competitors
  • Brand Management: Providing relevant, predictable brand assets and experiences that delight the target audience, address their unmet needs, and build loyalty
  • Customer Intimacy: Taking a genuine interest in the challenges, concerns, feelings, perspectives, and unmet needs of its customers and stakeholders to build an emotional connection
  • Customer Engagement: Activating marketing campaigns while engaging in thoughtful, intentional, two-way dialogues with customers

Whether people or brands, the most effective way to develop emotional intelligence is through unbiased curiosity. Spend time learning, observing, asking questions, and discussing what’s on people’s hearts and minds. Doing so in a non-judgmental way will increase empathy, emotional intelligence, and naturally lead to more relevant products, services, and advertising.

2. How can a brand learn to measure its emotional intelligence? Are there any quantitative or qualitative opportunities to measure EI in companies?

It’s not uncommon for mature brands to measure brand consciousness through equity studies.

In addition to awareness, performance attributes, brand imagery, and purchase behavior, these quantitative studies can also measure customers’ feelings and attachment towards a brand and how it changes over time.

However, in a competitive marketplace where consumers are evolving, the pace of business is accelerating, and there is more data than people know what to do with, it’s important for brand teams to complement their brain power with heart and intuition on a regular basis.

This is best done through lively, meaningful conversations with your customers or target audience. At Driven to Succeed, we offer online Community Dialogues, where we uncover deep insights around brand perceptions and opportunities for growth.

3. Which brands stand out to you as examples of ones with high emotional intelligence?

The insurance industry’s response to the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 is a prime example of brands demonstrating high emotional intelligence.

From Allstate to Nationwide and beyond, multiple insurance brands have adapted to these unprecedented times by issuing premium refunds, deferring payments, and communicating with customers with an on-time message and an empathetic tone of voice.

Image Source

4. How can emotional intelligence impact a business’ bottom line? In other words, why does it matter for brands to try to develop and demonstrate emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence leads to empathy, action, and increased market share for brands.

When a brand is in-tune with their customers, they can develop and charge a premium for innovative products and services, deliver more relevant advertising, and engage with customers in a way that is distinct and preferred versus their competitors.

Ultimately, demonstrating emotional intelligence builds loyalty, increases market share and helps to drive top and bottom-line growth.

Kristin Harper is CEO of Driven to Succeed, LLC which provides market research, brand strategy consulting, and keynote speaking on leadership and emotional intelligence. She is also author of The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career.

The Comprehensive Guide to Impression Shares

Online advertising is booming.

But, when you’re launching digital campaigns, you want to be sure you’re maximizing your efforts — and your profits — by boosting your ad’s impression share. Your impression share tells you how well your ad is performing compared to its total potential audience, and boosting it can help increase engagement as well as profit. 

If you’re only engaging a small portion of your target audience, then analyzing your impression share is usually a good place to start. Increasing this value will help you propel ads to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and ultimately generate more engagement for your campaigns.

In this post, we’ll explain what impression share is as well as the different types that your marketing team can track during your online ad campaigns.

Each time your ad is displayed on a webpage, that’s counted as an impression. Ads have the potential for more impressions for different reasons, especially when they’re keyword-savvy, attractive, and relevant.

When you track impression share, you have a clear representation of how well your ad is performing and how you can improve it over time particularly through keywords. While there are plenty of metrics that can track how well your ads are doing, impression share helps you identify the shortcomings of your ad so you can fix it and make it more engaging to your audience.

Read on to learn about the different types of impression share that your business can track to generate more engagement for its ad campaigns.

Types of Impression Share

Search Impression Share

Search impression share is your ad’s impression share on a search network. According to Google, a search network is “a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear,” including Google search results, Google apps such as Maps and Shopping, and on Google search partners’ websites. This metric divides the impressions that your ad receives by the number of impressions it could receive on the search network.

This metric is greatly impacted by budget. If you have a low daily budget on Google, your ad will no longer be shown once you hit your budget. This means your ad might be getting impressions, but it’s still missing out on more engagement because of this daily limit.

If you’re not looking to spend more on your campaign, another way to improve search impression share is to focus on the quality score, target, bid, and conversion rate of your ads. These metrics gauge the effectiveness of your ad and improving them will lead to more engagement.

Display Impression Share

Google defines its Display Network as a group of over two million websites, videos, and apps where ads can appear. Display Network sites reach up to 90% of internet users and can show your ads in a particular context, or to a specific audience.

With display campaigns, you can increase your ad placements to improve impression share, but you’ll need to adjust your budget to accommodate this increase as well. Or, you can decrease your number of placements to make your campaign more cost-effective, but this will reduce the frequency of your ad’s display. The best approach is testing the number of placements until you’ve reached a point where you’ve optimized impression share without going over your campaign’s budget.

Target Impression Share

Target impression share provides an automatic approach to bidding on ads. With this tool, you can set automated bids for your campaign, which gives your ad a better chance of reaching the top of the SERP. And, with a more prominent position on a search results page, your ad is likely to gain more impressions over time. 

Although impression share is only available per campaign, you can track target impression share for all of your campaigns at once. There are plenty of options for customizing it, too. For example, you can set it to bid for a certain section of the page — like the top half — or for certain times and places.

Adwords Impression Share

Wondering how to access your impression share data in Google Ads?

Once you’ve logged into your Ads account, just go to Campaigns > Columns > Modify Columns > Competitive Metrics > Impression Share, then click Save.

Image Source

Now, your impression share will appear in a table that you can download.

Exact Match Impression Share

Exact match impression share is just as it sounds. This metric compares the impressions your ad received compared to how many it was eligible to receive for searches that exactly match your keywords. You can use exact match impression share to hone in on your keywords and improve your ads.

Search Lost Impression Share

The “Search Lost Impression Share (budge)” column shows you the percentage of impressions that you’re missing out on because of your budget. A high percentage here may mean that investing in a larger budget could boost your advertising efforts and sales in the long-run.

The “Search Lost Impression Share (rank)” column shows you the number of impressions you’re losing based on a low rank. If this percentage is high, advertisers should consider how to boost rank through quality score and cost-per-click rates. Quality score evaluates your keywords’ past performances, ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected clickthrough rate.

Consider making adjustments to your campaign’s keywords and creative assets if your search lost impression share (rank) is high. A relevant ad with great keywords will rank higher on the SERP, which can lead to more impressions, clicks, and sales.

If you want to manually determine the impression share for an ad, below is a formula that can help you calculate it.

As Google explains, “Eligible impressions are estimated using many factors, including targeting settings, approval statuses, and quality.” Once the maximum number of impressions is determined, all you have to do is divide the number of impressions that the ad receives by the maximum number of impressions that Google decides it’s eligible for.

We can see how this formula is written in the example below. 

Impression-share-formula

Image Source

We can also modify this formula to find the total number of impressions that our ad is eligible for. For instance, if we already know our impression share, we can reformat the formula to look more like this. 

impression-share-available

Image Source

Impression Share Formula Example

Let’s say we created an ad and Google says there are 5,000 potential impressions available. After monitoring our ad’s performance for a month, we recorded about 4,000 impressions. This would mean that our impression share is 80% (4,000 recorded impressions / 5,000 available impressions =  80% impression share). 

Impression share is a handy metric for determining how well an ad campaign is doing and what your team can do to help it reach its full potential. By tracking impression share, you can automate bids, fine-tune your budget, and track keywords and quality score to reach your targeted audiences more often and generate greater brand awareness and profits.

For more ways to boost online ad engagement, read this list of helpful SEO tips.

Top GDPR Compliance Software

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with EU data privacy laws like the GDPR. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand the GDPR. This legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy.

In a nutshell, you may not rely on this as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding.

 

It’s not enough to implement a few changes for data protection in your business and forget about it. As part of the GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation that’s now in EU law, businesses need “data protection by design and by default”.

This means building data security and privacy into every aspect of your business’s data management strategy. From data capture to storage, maintenance, transfer, use, and cleaning, it’s essential to take care of your contact data ethically and securely.

While we’re not advisors on GDPR, we can follow the experts and present their recommendations. This includes collecting clear consent for communication, managing data securely, and implementing requirements such as cookie banners and privacy notices.

One of the most straightforward ways to meet these requirements is with GDPR compliance software.

GDPR compliance software helps businesses to manage customer data, consent forms, and data security. Some platforms also enable a company’s customers to edit the personal data that is stored or processed about them.

What is Personal Data Under the GDPR?

Personal data includes information related to people who can be identified from it, whether directly or indirectly. Pseudonymized data can help reduce privacy risks, but it is still personal data by this definition. The GDPR applies to the processing of personal data wholly or partly by automated means, such as a form on your website, or the processing of personal data which forms part of a filing system.

How GDPR Impacts Email Campaigns

When whispers of GDPR first started surfacing many moons ago, one of the questions that most perplexed business owners had was whether they could continue sending emails to their existing contacts.

As an email marketer in the world of GDPR, you need to collect freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous consent (Article 32) before sending emails.

Adhering to data protection in your email campaigns includes adopting these practices:

  • Requiring all leads to specifically opt-in to communications before sending email campaigns.
  • Offering contacts an easy way for their personal data to be edited or removed.
  • Purging contact data you no longer require or after the communicated storage time in your terms and conditions.

To maintain a clear oversight of all contact data, you can sync your current lead and customer data as well as their latest subscription and consent status between apps with a two-way data sync. You can also implement a consent management platform to collect and manage consent for all contacts.

 

Simplify GDPR Compliance with a Consent Management Platform

One key part of GDPR is documenting each contact’s consent to store their data and communicate with them. While you can use built-in features in each of your apps, it’s also helpful to choose a dedicated consent management platform, or CMP. Here are some of the top CMPs to consider:

  • Didomi is a popular consent and preference management platform with comprehensive solutions to collect, store, and leverage user consents and preferences. After completing the setup process, you can see a compliance score out of 100% for your business. With their Privacy Center, you can also offer customers a dedicated space to easily access and manage their consent and preferences.
  • Piwik PRO was built as an analytics platform but now includes a Consent Manager to manage your marketing stack’s compliance in one centralized place. It’s designed to get your tools up to speed with GDPR, California’s CCPA, Brazil’s LGPD, and other privacy laws around the world.

Other Apps to Streamline GDPR Compliance

As well as adopting a consent management platform, there are several other types of apps to help you manage your contacts compliantly. Here are some GDPR-friendly apps to consider adding to your stack:

  • LogicGate Risk Cloud is an agile GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) cloud solution. It includes enterprise-level solutions for risk management, compliance management, and data privacy.
  • Boxcryptor makes your cloud storage more secure with encryption for OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive among other providers. It’s free to use for one storage provider on two devices, and you can upgrade for unlimited devices, providers, and advanced filename encryption.
  • Onna integrates, unifies, and protects knowledge platforms in one centralized and secure place. Connectors include Google Suite, Microsoft 365, Dropbox Business, Zoom, and Slack Enterprise.
  • iubenda generates instant cookie banners and terms and conditions that are customized to fit your business, tech stack, and the data you collect. It’s especially valuable for websites and small businesses to comply with legal requirements quickly and simply.
  • PieSync and its two-way data syncing tool existed before GDPR, but it has some handy benefits for secure data management and up-to-date contact information, including subscription status. The two-way sync enables you to create a “single source of truth” between your apps and make your customer data easier to use and manage. Next to the subscriptions, you can also sync consent status and preferences between apps with customizable filters and rules.
  • Fathom Analytics was co-founded by entrepreneur and author Paul Jarvis, Fathom Analytics offers simple, fast, and privacy-focused website analytics as an alternative to Google Analytics. It doesn’t collect any personal data, so it’s instantly GDPR-compliant and you don’t need to include it in your cookie notice.

Keep Your Company Compliant

To maximize your organization’s GDPR compliance, there are certain steps you need to follow and checkboxes to tick. However, there are ways to streamline the process. GDPR compliance software can reduce many of the headaches and make it easier to meet the most important requirements, enabling you to get back to your other business goals sooner.

The Best Social Media Management Tools

In the world of social media marketing, there are hundreds of tools and software with features capable of helping you with different aspects of your social media strategy. These tools — also known as social media management tools — can assist with social media creation, collaboration, planning, scheduling , sharing, analysis, and more.

In this blog post, we’ll cover what social media management tools are, how your team can benefit from them, and 12 of the best options available today.

Let’s get started.

What is social media management?

Social media management is the process of handling (managing) your entire social media strategy. This includes planning, publishing, engaging, strategizing, and analyzing your social media content across the social platforms your business uses. It also entails understanding your social media strategy’s level of success so you can improve upon it.

Get certified in social media strategy with a free social media marketing course.

Social Media Management Tools

As mentioned above, there are a plethora of social media management tools available today. Some are meant to help with a wide array of social media management needs. Meanwhile, other tools are meant for specific types of social media management (e.g. tools for agencies) or facets of social media management (e.g. social listening or analytics). No matter your needs, goals, or industry, there’s a social media management tool for you.

Why use social media management tools?

Social media management tools assist with your social media strategy — typically, they have scheduling, publishing, collaborating, listening, and/or reporting capabilities. They also often have the ability to streamline interactions with followers cross-platform, offer access to all of your social accounts via a single dashboard, and analyze your success. They may also integrate with other tools your team uses such as your Marketing Software or CRM.

The 12 tools below are separated into categories based on what they’re meant for — as you read their descriptions, keep in mind that some of them overlap categories. For example, many of the general tools are great for small businesses — and many of the free tools are too.

Best General Social Media Management Tools

The following tools are ideal for all social media management teams — you can customize them to help you meet your specific needs and goals.

1.HubSpot Social Media Management Software

HubSpot monitors all interactions, conversations, and audiences on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. It allows you to effectively target specific audiences with personalized messaging using context from the contact database in your CRM as well as data from your Marketing Software. Meaning, with HubSpot, you can manage your entire social media strategy — from planning to sharing to analysis — from a single and central location.

Here are some other notable features you’ll get from using HubSpot’s Social Media Management software:

  • Turn your content offers into social posts.
  • Schedule social posts weeks in advance on all of your profiles.
  • Keep up with current trends by monitoring keywords that are important to your brand and audience.
  • Reply to anyone who commented on your profile or post through HubSpot.

2. Sprout Social

sproutsocial social media management tool

SproutSocial is a social media management tool that assists with social listening, publishing, engagement, and analysis. The tool streamlines the processes of sharing relevant content on social platforms as well as creating and sending personalized messages to prospects, customers, and followers — all of this support frees up valuable time for social media managers.

Customer service features exist to help you offer assistance to customers on social when they want and need it. With Sprout Social you’ll be able to develop a better understanding of who your audience members are and what they want from you on social as well as how you can improve upon your current strategy.

(Note: Sprout Social’s customer care functionality integrates with HubSpot.)

3. Falcon.io

falcon.io social media management tool

Falcon.io is a social media marketing platform with a social media management solution that saves you time by helping you maximize reach, impact, and engagement among your audience.

The software has social listening capabilities to help you identify target audience members and prospects, understand what people are saying about your brand on social media, identify opportunities for engagement, and efficiently respond to any customer comments or concerns.

There’s also a content calendar that makes cross-platform social media planning easy and quick. Plus, you can view and respond to all customer messages and questions on one dashboard so no queries go unresolved.

(Note: Falcon.io integrates with HubSpot so you can easily sync customer data for campaigns, create custom audiences, and offer effective customer service via social media.)

Best Free Social Media Management Tools

Here are some effective free social media management tools. It’s not uncommon for tools to have a free version as well as paid plans that you can upgrade to as you grow and require greater functionality from your tool.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media marketing and management tool. It has a dashboard through which you can manage all aspects of your social media strategy. Although there are paid plans with more capabilities, Hootsuite offers a free plan that works well if you’re a small business. With the free plan, you can schedule up to 30 social posts in advance.

You’ll also be able to manage three different social profiles from your dashboard with Hootsuite’s free plan. Lastly, this option works for small businesses because only one person has access to the account.

2. TweetDeck

tweetdeck free social media management tool

Although TweetDeck is just for Twitter users, it’s a powerful social media management tool if you’re on the platform. This free tool allows you to simultaneously manage multiple Twitter profiles via a central dashboard.

Schedule Tweets ahead, monitor your competition, set alerts for your most important Tweets and Twitter activity, and manage your lists with ease. You can also customize your timelines as well as view and respond to conversations and Tweets in real-time via your dashboard.

3. Buffer

buffer free social media management tool

Buffer has a free plan that you can move to once you’ve completed your free trial with the software. Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer’s free plan works well if you have a small business with a small social media presence. This plan offers the ability to manage three social channels. You can schedule 10 posts in advance and only one user has access to your Buffer dashboard.

Best Social Media Management Tools for Small Businesses

Here are some social media management tools meant for small businesses.

1. Everypost

everypost social media management tool for small businesses

Everypost is a social media tool that allows you to manage multiple profiles and accounts at once. Customize your social posts, schedule them in advance, and share them all via a single platform.

Tailor social content for different platforms and then cross-post it from Everypost to streamline the process of sharing content across profiles. Use the tool to collaborate internally and manage roles — this way, you can delegate content to certain people on your team as needed.

2. Agorapulse

agorapulse social media management tool for small businesses

Agorapulse is a social media management platform that helps you improve social engagement and relationship building across your social profiles.

With this tool, you can schedule your content, interact with followers, and get reports to determine the success of your strategy and ROI of your engagement. There’s also a single inbox through which you can view, share, and respond to customer comments and questions.

Real-time collaboration makes it easy to send different team members customer inquiries and work on content together. Take advantage of the flexible scheduling features to either schedule individual posts or bulk schedule posts.

Additionally, the Agorapulse CRM that this tool automatically comes with tracks followers and their interactions with your brand so you can learn from those engagements now and reference them in the future.

3. Content Cal

content cal social media management tool for small businesses

Content Cal is a social media management tool meant for planning and publishing content. There’s an easy-to-use visual calendar you can pair with approval flows to ensure specific posts are shared at the right time.

Pull in content from other tools — such as Facebook, Slack, Google Drive, or Dropbox — to share on social. You can also collaborate with team members and ask for their feedback easily using the tool’s comments feature.

Best Social Media Management Tools for Agencies

The following social media management tools are ideal for agencies.

1. Sendible

sendible social media management tool for agencies

Sendible is a social media management platform specifically designed for agencies. The tool has an interactive and customizable content calendar so you and your team can view and collaborate on all social posts that are created, planned, and shared.

Use the content suggestion feature to get new ideas for content that’s likely to resonate with your client’s audience. There’s also a single-view inbox so you can look at all client messages at once — plus a priority filter option which allows you to filter and prioritize chats.

Lastly, set up user hierarchies and workflows to set permissions for certain team members — this way, certain people have to sign off on client content prior to it going live.

2. Nuvi

nuvi social media management tool for agencies

Nuvi is a social media management, marketing, and customer experience (CX) platform. It includes management tools for social listening, planning, publishing, engaging, reporting, and more — all with an end goal of creating an excellent experience for your customers and clients. Add permissions to your workflows so team members at your agency can collaborate and ensure all content is reviewed by the necessary people prior to it going live.

Create, plan, and schedule your content so it goes live when it needs to. Then, measure performance and keep an eye on competitors to understand what social media strategies are working best for them.

The engagement feature will make it easy to prioritize social media engagement and allow you to organize, prioritize, and share those engagements internally with the correct team members. Plus social listening features will ensure you don’t miss a beat across any of your accounts.

3. HeyOrca!

heyorca! social media management tool for agencies

HeyOrca! is a social media management tool for agencies. The platform allows you to manage all of your social content and clients in a central location so you can offer a seamless and memorable customer experience.

The content calendar allows you to share your plans for scheduled content easily with team members and/or clients. Create multiple content calendars — each with unique team members and social profiles — for each of your clients to keep things organized.

Create mock ups of all content you plan to share on social so your team members and clients can give the go-ahead prior to it being shared. You can also easily share your content with clients via HeyOrca! to get their feedback (and you can choose which versions of that content you want your clients to be able to see or not see).

Lastly, offer clients easy-to-understand reports to show them how successful the content you’re creating for their social media profiles is.

The management tools we reviewed above have the power to help you reach (and exceed) your social media goals. Determine what you need out of a tool to help you identify which option has the capabilities and features needed to help you achieve those goals.

13 Great Landing Page Examples You'll Want to Copy in 2020

While many landing pages look different and use a variety of interesting strategies to pull in audiences, they all serve one major purpose. These pages get website visitors to convert to the next stage in the buyer’s journey.

Rather than serving as a basic advertisement that shows a customer a product, a landing page aims to engage and delight a customer by offering them something that relates to the product or the company’s industry. When they fill out the form and receive a reward of interesting content, they might be even more likely to trust your brand and become a customer.

Quick tip: Want an easy way to add a form to your landing page? HubSpot’s free form builder tool can help you fill your CRM with leads from your website.

Let’s talk through an example of when a landing page can be especially effective. If a business wants to sell an AI product that helps salespeople, they might create a landing page that offers audiences a free video on how to use AI in the sales industry. Interested audiences might offer their contact information in exchange for the valuable information. If they enjoy the video they’ve received, they might be more likely to respond to or purchase a product from a company rep who calls them.

In another scenario, a publishing company that targets an audience of chief executives might create a landing page that invites audiences to sign up for a webinar hosted by an executive at a major company.

After giving their email address on the signup form presented on the landing page, the leads get an email with the webinar dates and log in information, as well as instructions on how to sign up for the publication’s newsletter or subscription. If the user is pleased by the webinar, they might sign up for the newsletter or a subscription to keep up with similar publication content.

Although their purpose is simple enough in theory, actually designing a successful landing page requires some detailed planning and creative testing.

Even after launching your landing page, you’ll want to pay attention to conversion rates to see how well it’s doing.

To determine your conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions a webpage generates by the number of people who visited that page.

If your conversion rate isn’t close to the average just yet, don’t worry. Nailing those percentages can be a bit challenging at first, especially is you have a lot of regular page visitors. Luckily, there are a number of simple conversion rate optimization strategies that can help you boost your current rate quickly.

Regardless of what your business is selling or the conversion action you hope to instigate, it’s helpful to get inspired by seeing what other great landing pages look like. And because there’s no one “right” way of designing a landing page, you’ll want to check out examples from lots of different industries for different stages of the buying process.

Want to get inspired? Check out the great landing page examples below.

We don’t have access to the analytics for each of these landing pages, so I can’t tell you specifically how well they convert visitors, contacts, leads, and customers. But many of them do follow best practices while also implementing a few new experiments that could give you ideas for your own landing pages.

13 Great Examples of Landing Page Design

1. Lyft

We love that on Lyft’s landing page, they zero in on their drivers’ main motivation: earning money easily.

We also love that, in addition to the “Apply Now” form, drivers can type their city and the number of hours they might drive for Lyft in a week to calculate how much they’d make. When visitors fill out that information and press “Calculate,” they aren’t taken to a new page. Instead, they see a dollar amount followed by a new call-to-action button to “Apply Now” (which, once clicked, takes drivers up to the form).

By offering these two conversion paths, they’re able to address two different types of people in the conversion path: those who are ready to make the decision now and those who need a little more information before they convert.

2. The Professional Wingman

Okay, so the whole idea of having a professional wingman to help you find dates and a meaningful relationship is already pretty cool. But when you’re faced with the prospect of hiring one, it also raises questions. How does it work? How much does it cost? Is this really going to help me?

That’s why we love this landing page for Thomas Edwards, the original Professional Wingman himself, which outlines exactly what a complimentary coaching session is going to achieve. Plus, it’s clear that it’s complimentary, thanks to the boldly-colored call-to-action button above the fold.

Once you click that button, you aren’t taken to a new page. Instead, an interstitial form appears right there. And while it does request a lot of information — some of it a bit personal — it also sends the message that The Professional Wingman is going to take this seriously, but only if you do, too.

professional wingman landing page

3. Muck Rack

This landing page design has it all. It’s visually appealing and interactive, offers scannable yet descriptive headers about Muck Rack’s services, and uses quotes from industry professionals as social proof. Plus, the page is intuitive and easy to navigate.

The cool part about this landing page is that it can appeal to both of Muck Rack’s audiences. The top of the page is split into two, featuring their two different services side by side. Once a visitor moves his or her mouse over either of the “find journalists” or the “build free portfolio” CTAs, a very simple form appears — and that’s important, so as not to distract the user from the task at hand.

muckrack landing page

4. Cigital

There are a few things that make this Cigital landing page work. It has simple and relevant imagery. The headline is straightforward and the description of the ebook informs viewers of the specific value they will get by downloading it. There is only one call-to-action — “READ THE EBOOK” — that stands out on the page thanks to a bright yellow CTA button.

The only thing we’d change about this landing page is that we’d remove the navigation bar at the top. They tend to distract visitors and lead them away from the intended action. Not only is this a landing page design best practice, but we’ve also conducted A/B tests that’ve shown removing navigation links from landing pages increases conversion rates.

Cigital landing page

5. Khan Academy

The hard part about using your homepage as a landing page is that you have to cater to several different types of audiences. But Khan Academy’s homepage does that very well. This page is clearly designed for three different types of visitors: those who want to learn something, those who want to teach, and parents who are interested in using Khan Academy for their kids. Plus, how motivational is the emblazoned “You can learn anything” text at the top?

The remainder of the page is designed for viewers who are not completely familiar with Khan Academy. It colorfully and largely spells out the key benefits of using the learning platform — all of which are easy to scan and understand. There’s also a recurring CTA: “Start learning now.” As soon as viewers feel they have enough information, they can click the CTA to get taken back up to the form at the top of the page without having to scroll.

khan academy landing page

6. Club W

A little bit of delightful copy can go a long way on your landing page. We love the playful little aside — “(Hint: It’s Wine)” — that Club W included below the header of their corporate gifting landing page. It humanizes the brand and makes them likable, which could have a positive impact on their conversion rate.

The images below that header make a nice use of negative space, showing the user exactly what his or her gift recipient might actually receive, should they choose to gift with Club W. And, of course, there’s that bold call to action — “Email Us”.

The one thing we’d change? The CTA prompts the users email software to open, which drives traffic away from the site and the browser entirely. A form might be more effective here — not only would Club W be able to dictate what information it wants to capture, but also, it would keep the user on-site.

club w landing page

7. Codecademy

I like this page because it’s simple in both copy and design. The image above the fold is a computer screen displaying an HTML bracket with a blinking cursor — a whimsical, clear visual to accompany the form on the right.

The form itself is simple and only requires an email address, username, password, and a validation that you’re not a robot to create an account. Or, you can just use your Facebook or Google Plus login, shortening the conversion path even further.

For visitors who need more information before creating an account, the landing page also offers a video below the fold that explains their concept and value by way of a real-life success story. Again, this helps make the potentially intimidating world of coding more approachable for beginners.

Those who need even more convincing can continue scrolling for additional testimonials and other forms of social proof.

codecademy landing page

8. Poached

I don’t think we’ve ever lived in a time when, culturally, we’ve been so food-obsessed. Poached has turned that into a B2B model with a platform to connect proprietors and culinary talent.

When you visit the homepage, there’s no mystery about what you’re there to do — the giant “Post a job” and “Choose a city” calls to action help with that. And once you click on one of them, you’re taken to a no-frills form to become a member or log in, or a list of jobs in each city. It’s colorful and comprehensive — and, it makes us hungry.

poached landing page

9. Breather

Here’s another example of clever, delightful design on a landing page. As soon as you visit Breather.com, there’s an instant call to action: indicate where you want to find a space. Plus, it uses location services to figure out where you are, providing instant options nearby.

We love how Breather used simple, to-the-point copy to let the visitor know what the company does, followed immediately by the CTA to select a city. And if you need to scroll down for more information, you can see that Breather played with the microcopy with personality (“no commitment, ever”), reminding us there are real humans behind the design. That brings us a little closer to the brand. The negative space and soothing color scheme are also aligned with the product — essentially, room to breathe.

breather.gif

10. Startup Institute

Visitors to your website won’t hand over their personal information without knowing what they’re going to get in return. On its landing page, Startup Institute makes abundantly clear what will happen after you apply by listing a Q&A right beside the form. It might prompt some people to say, “They read my mind!”

To avoid hesitancy to fill out a form, use your landing page to set expectations upfront. That clears the air, and can also weed out the people who don’t take your content, product or service seriously.

Startup Institute landing page

11. Edupath

Who is your landing page’s target audience? While most of Edupath’s website content is directed toward students, there are sections dedicated to advising parents on helping their teenagers through college applications and SAT preparation. The landing page below is in one of these sections.

When parents fill out their teenager’s name, email address, and mobile number, a link to download the Edupath app is sent directly to them. The folks at Edupath know students are likely to do something if their parents ask them to — especially if it means they don’t have to surrender their phones.

Plus, it’s an easy, one-click process. This whole conversion path is a clever and helpful way to get the apps on more students’ phones by way of their parents.

edupath landing page

12. Taster’s Club

If there’s anything we enjoy more than a fine whiskey, it’s a whiskey club homepage that makes it easy to either join or learn more about membership. Case in point: Taster’s Club, which immediately serves up those very two CTAs on its landing page — which also happens to be its homepage.

For those to wish to learn more, clicking that CTA will immediately scroll the user down to colorful, image-rich details on what a Taster’s Club membership includes. Keep scrolling, and you get user testimonials.

But clicking the “Join Now” button is where the real fun begins. After doing that, you get to pick your poison — that is, the type of whiskey you like the most — and view the membership or gifting options available for it. Once you make your selections, you’re taken to an easy-to-navigate checkout page to enter your payment information. Good design and ease of use? We’ll drink to that.

taster's club landing page

13. Microsoft IT Showcase

The landing page below has been used to market and generate leads for one episode of Microsoft’s IT Showcase webinar series.

Microsoft IT Showcase Webinar Landing page

This simple and straightforward design does a great job of presenting why the webinar being offered is important to IT professionals. Along with a quick blurb describing what the webinar will discuss, the page also includes links to similar webinars, details on the speakers, and links to Microsoft resources that touch on the topics that will be discussed.

An IT company which has access to thought leaders or experts in their industry could similarly use this webinar landing page strategy to generate both leads and prospective customer trust. Audiences who feel informed after reading the landing page might sign up expecting the webinar to be insightful.

If the webinar seems informative and credible, these audiences will think that the IT company has an expertise in the product and might have quality product offerings. This will make them more willing to talk to a representative to learn more or purchase a product.

Ready to build your landing page?

If these examples have inspired you, but you’re not a design expert, we’ve also created a great list of free, professionally designed landing page templates.

If you’re looking for more landing page design examples, check out some of our favorite HubSpot landing page examples. You can also check out this quick guide to landing page design.

5 Ways to Explain Inbound Marketing to Your Family This Thanksgiving

When Thanksgiving rolls around, there are a few questions that we don’t exactly look forward to hearing: “When are you getting married?” “When am I getting grandchildren?” “Have you been moisturizing?”

And yet, none of those oh-so-polite questions even come close to the complexity of explaining what, as an inbound marketer, you actually do for a living.

It’s not that inbound marketing requires a long, drawn-out answer — after all, it can easily be described in 44 words. But explaining it requires some fundamental knowledge of how technology, marketing, and the internet work. You know, the things that your grandparents might not fully grasp in one fell swoop.

Good news — all you really need are a few storytelling strategies. We found five ways you can explain inbound marketing to your family. And sure, some of these are useful, and some are just sarcastic. But hey, family is family, right? They’ll still love you.

5 Ways to Explain Inbound Marketing to Your Family This Thanksgiving

1. The Food Analogy

Source: Giphy

In the U.S., Thanksgiving typically consists of a few staples: turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, to name a few. And while it might sound strange, you can use that knowledge to your advantage by using food preparation as an analogy for different aspects of inbound marketing.

To explain lead nurturing, you can use the pumpkin pie. Sending unnurtured leads to sales is like giving an unbaked pumpkin pie to your guests. I suppose the pumpkin pie could be eaten raw, but … gross. Instead, you should bake the pumpkin pie — that ultimately makes it richer and more palatable.

Nurturing leads before sales contacts them works in the same way. It warms them up to your brand, and starts to qualify them with better information on what they might need. “Warm” leads, like the cooked pie, are already familiar with your business, and will close at a much higher rate than those that are “cold.”

Use whatever analogy you like to describe inbound marketing — it clarifies confusing issues by comparing them to something that, quite literally, is right in front of everyone.

2. The Real-Life Scenario

Telemarketers

Source: Giphy

When I’m asked about inbound marketing, I like to use real-life examples of interruptions that they’ll likely recognize, and explain how the inbound methodology pertains to it. It usually sounds something like this:

Amanda: Hey, Dad. You know how much you hate telemarketers calling you in the middle of dinner?

Dad: Yes. Hate it. Why? Is that what you do for work?

Amanda: No, actually. Inbound marketing is the exact opposite. That’s interruptive marketing. They literally interrupt you. So annoying, right?

Dad: Yes. I’m surprised they’re not interrupting us right now.

Amanda: Well, in my job, I create marketing that doesn’t interrupt what people are doing. In fact, I create content that people are actively looking for, because it’s helpful, entertaining, or informative. Instead of a telemarketer who is calling to sell you spoons, I create stuff that someone looking for information about spoons might be searching for on the internet.

Dad: So I would find you, instead of you calling to bother me?

Amanda: Yes! I provide you with actual value from my company, which makes you more interested in what my company sells.

The keys here: 1) Identify which interruptive media your dinner guests are familiar with, and 2) play into their pain points when dealing with that media. Inbound marketing is much more logical when you explain it that way — even if your family doesn’t work in marketing or communications.

3. The Theatrics

Thanksgiving theatrics

Source: Giphy

If you’re feeling especially creative — and you have at least one Thanksgiving guest who is willing to participate — you could set up a role play. There are lots of scenarios you can act out, but a classic one would be the telemarketer/dinner guest scenario.

Let’s use the telemarketing example above — and be warned, it might require a few minutes of planning before everyone sits down to dinner. You play the role of the telemarketer, and your dinner guest can be, well, the dinner guest. First, put his or her phone’s ringer on the highest volume possible. Then, as soon as someone asks you about your job, excuse yourself and duck out to a quiet area with your own phone.

Next, call the dinner guest, and have him or her answer the call on speaker while you pretend to be a telemarketer selling something completely unnecessary at that point: Halloween costumes.

Be sure your dinner guest uses key phrases like “You’re interrupting me in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner with this irrelevant call,” or, “Don’t you think it’s a little late to be calling me about Halloween?” or, if you really want to go nuts, “I wish you had sent me a targeted, personalized email in October about those costumes — I would have bought them.”

Then, have them slam down the phone on the table. You can return from your “bathroom break” and say, “See? Telemarketing, or any type of interruptive marketing like that, is profoundly annoying. In my job, I create marketing that helps people — not annoy them.”

End scene.

Depending on the talent of your guest, you might be able to improv the entire thing. Otherwise, you might want to type a script out and email it to the guest beforehand. And if you really want to go overboard, stay in character the entire dinner. The sight of you dressed up as a skeezy telemarketer with a headset will be just too intense to forget … that is, at least until your mother requests, “Please remove your headset from the table.”

4. The Puzzle Pieces

Puzzles

Source: Webnode

This technique boils down to an age-old philosophical question: Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? Aristotle thought so, but when you’re describing inbound marketing to an unfamiliar audience, it’s probably okay to explain the three ways you might apply inbound marketing specifically: attract, engage, and delight. 

Try explaining inbound marketing by breaking it up into those three aspects, and explaining each one individually.

For instance, you might say to grandma: “Attract means drawing in the right people with valuable content and conversations that establish you as a trusted advisor with whom they want to engage. Engage means presenting insights and solutions that align with their pain points and goals so they are more likely to buy from you. And delight means providing help and support to empower your customers to find success with their purchase.”

Of course, it’s easier said than done. And I’m willing to bet diving into how the inbound methodology serves as a strong foundation for the flywheel, which creates momentum and eliminates friction in your organization, is another feat entirely. 

5. The “I Write Articles on the Internet”

Writing on internet

Source: imoviequotes

If the previous four have all failed, you can always say, “I write articles on the internet for a living.” I mean, it’s somewhat accurate — you drive real business results with inbound marketing, and you don’t just spew out nonsense blogs about your feelings to get paid — but it can get your family off your back, especially if you’re not sure they’d be interested in hearing the whole shebang. If you choose this path, be prepared to hear how easy it is to blog, and how many of your family members wish they could get paid to do it.

Then, try to switch the subject quickly to something everyone can relate to. “Hey, Uncle Eddie, I’d love to get your amazing stuffing recipe.” Trust us … It works every time.

We’re Grateful for You

Good luck out there. And remember: There are so many people who want to know what you do — which, admittedly, is why we love writing about it every day.

We always give thanks for you, our amazing readers. And to express our gratitude, we put together what we hope is a hilarious video of what our families think we do. Happy Thanksgiving!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

How to Post on Instagram: A Step-by-Step Guide

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is undoubtedly one of the most far-reaching social media networks you can use for marketing purposes.

Instagram has proven a viable advertising option for businesses today, and shows no signs of slowing down — in fact Instagram ad revenues will exceeded $20 billion in ad revenue in 2019, an exponential increase from 1.86 billion in just three years.

If you’re not already using Instagram for your business, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunity to grow brand awareness and reach a wide audience. Fortunately, adopting an Instagram strategy can be relatively easy with enough time and effort.

However, if you’ve never used the app, you might be daunted by the first question likely to cross your mind — How can I post my first image?

If you’re ready to post an image to Instagram, we’ve got you covered. Here, we’ve cultivated a quick-and-easy guide to posting on Instagram, to ensure you can begin attracting the attention of  your audience with Instagram marketing.

How to Post to Instagram

Posting to Instagram consistently can help businesses find resonance with their audience and grow better, but doing it right is just as important. Here’s how to post to your Instagram account step-by-step.

1. Tap the + icon at the bottom of your screen.

See that plus sign [+] in the image above? That’s your starting point. See that post from our culture account? That’s your end point. Click that plus sign and you’ll be ready for the next step, below.

2. Choose a photo or video from your library — or shoot one in the app.

Instagram will show you the photos already saved to your phone. Choose one of those to post. Alternatively, you can click “Photo” or “Video” in the bottom to take a photo or video within the Instagram app itself, if you don’t already have an image you want to use.

Once you choose an image, click “Next” in the top right.

Instagram Gallery Photo Picker

3. Crop the image.

You aren’t limited to just a square image on Instagram. You can actually share horizontal or vertical images as well. To get more of your image seen, pinch the screen of the photo you’ve selected on the Library screen.

Cropping Photo on Instagram by Pinching

However, while Instagram does allow vertical and horizontal options, the images still need to fit into some specific dimensions. So, you might still need to crop a tiny bit of your photo to get it to fit.

4. Try a carousel post.

Do you have multiple photos and want to highlight them all? Instagram allows you to do this with its carousel feature.

Instagram "Select Multiple" Feature for Carousel Posts

As you go to tap a photo or video, first tap the icon just above your photos to the right that looks like stacked squares. Once you tap this, you’ll see a number on the corner of every image or video you tap. This number notes where the content will show up in the carousel.

5. Pick a filter.

Instagram offers 24 filters — scroll to the right to peruse your options, and click on one to preview how it will look on your photo. (Take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Filters to learn more).

Instagram Filters

6. Edit your photo.

You can also click “Edit” at the bottom right to adjust contrast, brightness, etc.

Instagram Photo Editor

When you’re ready, click “Next” in the top right.

7. Type your caption.

Get creative and write a nice, interesting caption to go with your photo. Since text can help optimize your post in Instagram’s search, writing something can only benefit you.

Instagram-Caption

8. Use hashtags for post optimization.

With Instagram’s search feature, users can search by hashtags. So, you should make sure to write relevant hashtags in your caption. If someone does a search of a hashtag you placed in your caption, they might find your post as well as others that included the same one.

9. Tag friends.

Want your friend or their followers to see a photo that you posted of the two of you? Tag them!

On the post page, you can click “Tag People” to tag other Instagram accounts in your post. Alternatively, you can include their handle (or their username beginning with an @ symbol) in your caption.

10. Add your location.

If you’re on a fun vacation or at a neat event and you don’t feel like including that information in your caption, you can mark where you are in another way. On the post page, tap “Add Location” to put a location on your image (which makes it easier for people to find your post).

When you post an image or video with a location, it will show up between your name and the block of content on the feed.

11. Play with emojis.

Emojis are fun and can make your caption more eye catching. If you know of a few relevant emojis that could fit with your post, stick them in the caption area.

For example, if you’re posting a vacation photo, you could include a beach umbrella or a plane to show you flew somewhere.

Be sure not to go overboard and post emojis just for the sake of posting them. If you post a bowling emoji along with a photo of a beach, that obviously won’t make sense to people. Similarly, if you post 20 emojis that loosely relate to a post, you might just annoy your followers or come off as desperate.

12. Share the post on other social media platforms

Finally, if you want to share your content on your other, connected social media sites (like Facebook or Twitter), simply slide the bar from the left to the right.

When you’re ready to post, click “Share” in the top right.

Instagram-Share-Post

Instagram Saved Drafts

If you’re not ready to post right away, you can also save it to your Instagram Saved Drafts. Simply go back to the filtering and editing step, tap the back arrow in the top left, and select “Save Draft.”

13. Edit the post.

Typos happen to everyone! If you just posted something and notice a glaring spelling error, don’t panic. Simply tap the three dots that appear on the right across from your name, then tap “Edit.”

Instagram Post Edit Menu

Now that you know how to post to Instagram, you can begin creating content for the platform and connecting with your audience. If you’re a business or brand, you’ll want a solid strategy for earning engagement and awareness. 

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

The 11 Best Social Media Dashboard Tools & Apps

When implementing your social media strategy, it’s easy to realize that manually posting on multiple different websites, multiple times a day, isn’t optimal for your busy schedule. But it’s not easy to tell from a baseline or pricing page which tools are not only the best for efficiency but best for your business.

Instead of spending hours of extra research combing through all of your options and sitting through countless demos and free trials, we’ve compiled a list of the best social media dashboards that fit your budget and brand.

These social media dashboards are optimized for every type of SMB; whether you’re a social media team or a party of one, these apps will help you accomplish your goals in a streamlined, efficient way.

1. HubSpot

Price: Included in Professional version ($800/mo) or Enterprise version ($3,200/mo)

Why it’s great: All-in-one social media software

With HubSpot’s social media management tool, you get an all-inclusive package. Connect up to 300 accounts and schedule up to 10,000 posts a month. Plus, for super in-depth planners, you can schedule posts up to 3 years in advance.

HubSpot’s social media management features include monitoring mentions and engagement, and provides full analytic reports. You’re able to schedule posts all in one place without leaving the system.

2. Later

Price: $9, $19, $29, $49 per month, and enterprise pricing

Why it’s great: Instagram scheduling

While you can connect Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest profiles, Later is best for Instagram scheduling. This is because of its image-based content calendar scheduling, so you can see a bird’s eye view of your brand in a monthly, visual format.

later scheduling example

Image Source

Later is also an Instagram partner, which means it integrates with Instagram’s API. This partnership means your account information will stay completely safe, which is important for Instagram Business accounts that have Shopping set up.

3. Sendible

Price: $29 up to $299 per month

Why it’s great: Agency-based management

Are you a social media or marketing agency? Sendible may be the answer to unkempt management: it’s a tool fit for an agency with clients. It helps you streamline how you manage brands and offers a couple unique features that help you succeed.

sendible report example

Image Source

Sendible has a royalty-free image search tool and a Canva integration. Sendible also has social listening tools, a Reports function, scheduling, and post previews. To put it simply: this is a full dashboard and suite of tools to put your client accounts all in one place.

4. Tailwind

Price: $9.99 up to $799.99 per month, or enterprise pricing

Why it’s great: Pinterest and Instagram management

Tailwind is a very unique program, providing services for two apps normally not paired with each other: Pinterest and Instagram. It makes sense, however, considering both apps focus on visual multimedia. Offering a full media dashboard with scheduling, social listening, and analytics tools, Tailwind also has a few interesting program-specific services.

tailwind report example

Image Source

First, it gives suggestions about how to improve Instagram and Pinterest performance. It also comes with a way to promote Pinterest content and manage Instagram user-generated content. If your brand is heavily focused on visuals, Tailwind may be right for you.

5. Sprout Social

Price: $99 up to $249 per user per month

Why it’s great: Team-based management

Sprout Social is a dashboard platform that’s focused entirely on social media teams. What you get for your money is a full suite of tools, including options that allow you to create and schedule posts, social listening tools, and most of all: analytic data.

sprout social report example

Image Source

The analytic tools are the shining star of Sprout Social. Expansive, in-depth reporting is available. If that’s a focus for your brand, consider Sprout. They make the reports so professional and easy to read, there’s no editing required.

6. MeetEdgar

Price: $49/month

Why it’s great: 100% automated scheduling

MeetEdgar is an app with a different approach to social media management, is. All users do is upload categorically-based content into their account and create time slots for when they want their account to post said content.

meetedgar category example

Image Source

Then, according to the time slots and categories, the app will schedule and upload content. If you want your Twitter account to post a meme at 11 AM on a Thursday, MeetEdgar would search through the “Meme” category of content you’ve already uploaded, schedule, and post it.

Managers might like this option, if they don’t have enough time to constantly schedule and upload content. They can plug in their entire content calendar at the start of the month and remove the heavy lifting for the next few weeks.

Post-enhancing dashboards such as these three can take care of your social strategy without losing any of quality.

1. TweetDeck

Price: Free
Why it’s great: Twitter dash management

TweetDeck is amazing if you’re tired of flipping back and forth through the different tabs on Twitter. It’s a free extension of twitter (no download required) that automatically gives you your account’s Home, Notifications, Trending, and Messages in a dashboard view.

tweetdeck dsahboard example

Image Source

This app is especially handy for posting quickly. You can engage with your Twitter in-app, and it feels like a much faster method of running your account than the in-browser functionality . Plus, TweetDeck automatically updates with any new notifications.

2. TweetStats

Price: Free
Why it’s great: Free basic Twitter analytics

This little website is super handy if you don’t have the budget to pay for analytic tools. TweetStats can give you the analytics of any Twitter account in about two minutes. The website displays graphs of when you’ve tweeted, the volume of tweets, time you usually tweet, and your most used words and hashtags.

tweetstats analytics example

Image Source

Using TweetStats is especially helpful if you want to view the ecosystem of your Twitter. Are you staying on-brand? Are you meeting your tweet goals? What hashtags can you elevate the use of?

3. TubeBuddy

Price: Free plan, or $9 up to $49 per month
Why it’s great: YouTube management

If you have a large YouTube presence, consider TubeBuddy. TubeBuddy offers a hefty suite of perks to present a full dashboard. Categories include video dashboard, video SEO, bulk processing, promotion, data & research, and productivity.

tubebuddy card template

Image Source

The screenshot above features one of TubeBuddy’s card template features. Card templates streamline the process of uploading and finalizing YouTube videos, making it easier to sort videos into a playlist on your channel.

You can install the program for free on Chrome, working sort of like an extension. The free plan gives you access to analytics, productivity, and SEO tools to get started. TubeBuddy is also a YouTube Partner and integrates with Alexa.

4. MavSocial

Price: Free plan, or $19 up to $499 per month
Why it’s great: Visual-based streamlined management

This is a great post-enhancing tool. MavSocial has a focus on visual-based management, and as such, offers unique perks, like editing multimedia content and a stock photo digital library. With the editing tools, you can add filters to your photos, crop, and search for royalty-free images.

mavsocial dashboard example

Image Source

On top of all of this, MavSocial has a full dashboard suite, meaning you can schedule content and engage with followers. MavSocial supports YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The app is also an Instagram Partner.

5. Hootsuite

Price: Free plan, or $29 up to $599 per month
Why it’s great: All-in-one social media management

Hootsuite is a popular social media tool and boasts over 15 million users. The free plan lets you add three social accounts from different platforms on one screen and has a limit on how many posts are available to make.

hootsuite dashboard example

Image Source

While user-friendly, Hootsuite is an expansive app. You can create ads, running an ROI report on those ads, and also has options to schedule and create posts. Note that you can only post on your Instagram using the scheduler, if you have an Instagram Business account.

Every business is unique, and so is every social media dashboard. Because of that, finding the best fit can be daunting. Covering all your bases can be simplified with a social media dashboard, as well as building a community and social presence.

If you want to take a crack at building your own content calendar that’ll help you plan your social media posts, check out our article here.