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  • 12 Realistic Ways to Make Your Social Media Data Actionable

    first_imgSocial media continues to rain data onto the market. Tools like Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, and even us here at HubSpot help pump and process this data, but it’s often ignored as it surges into the office. , according to 83% of marketers indicate social media is important for their business Social data can help you refine the topics you choose for your best — through event hashtags. This will also help uncover which sessions and speakers are the hottest, and which need improvement next time around. and A Word on Social Data Social data can reveal the people in your audience who and 😉 5) Gauge brand sentiment. before – Does your audience respond better to, say, a more casual tone versus a more professional tone? – What ideas are you generating from user-generated content and interaction? – When’s the best time to post content to social media? customer service , but social reach social data you can get your hands on, because it allows you to tie your social media activities back to the results that matter to your CMO, your investors, your sales organization, and the rest of the team who is working on meeting your goals each month. Feedback Ooooh, time to go spying! Social networks need information and content to survive, so many companies publish everything in their social feeds. By watching your competitor’s profiles, you can get a sense of the content, products, and marketing campaigns they’re running. You can also see which types of content and campaigns get the best reception from their audience by monitoring Likes, shares, retweets, and comments, and use that information to improve your team’s strategy. We’ve actually written an entire ebook about social media competition with a section dedicated just to gaining competitive social media intelligence — 1) 1) Optimize your social media content. 8) Improve and triage customer service issues. Social Media Analytics And if you dig into the comments and questions from the content you’re posting, you may just find topics you’d never even thought of that address people’s pain points better than what’s currently in your batting order. Post Time . To make this really helpful, though, it’s important that you tie the data back to specific campaigns and content so you can establish what it is you’re doing that people love, and what grinds people’s gears. This is really useful data for a content team to use to shape their tone, when check it out if you want to learn more , and of course is a PR professional’s dream! creating your buyer personas Before we get to the list, let’s review what exactly social data is. Social data is the information you can glean from studying your social media activities. This could include things like: Social Media Examiner – Are your interactions generally positive or negative? Originally published Dec 19, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 targeted audiences via social media than invest a lot of your time or someone else’s on something meatier, like a whitepaper, before you even know the topic’s a good addition to your current content strategy. Leads Generated magic of closed-loop marketing Consider monitoring the language prospects use in social media to help your marketing team execute its social media content – You’d want to break it out by each social network, or even each update type Let’s say you’re working with a co-marketing partner to host a webinar, and you’re having trouble coming up with a topic that will blow it out of the water. Why not use social media — and hey, you could even target your updates on some networks, or go the paid route on others — to see which subject matters generate the most engagement? The most shares? Heck, you could even use polling mechanisms. It’s way better to test out ideas on either general Sentiment – Again, you’d want to break this out for each social network to understand social media channels’ impact on lead generation, conversions, sales, and actual revenue. You know, the things marketing and sales organizations are measured on. By comparing your efforts across channels, you can understand where best to focus your efforts each month to hit your goals, and where to abandon ship. This kind of social data is some of the As you can see, not all of this social data is just numbers, either. Social data is any data point you can glean from your social media usage. The key is not just collecting social data, but also applying it to your marketing strategy! Here’s how … It’s easy enough to check out the search volume on keywords, but how do you actually come up with the search terms you should be looking for? Where many SEO strategies fall short is in the keywords they target, because the person doing the research is an expert in their particular field. That means you get a bunch of keywords that, frankly, aren’t even how your audience thinks or would ever, ever phrase a search query. For instance, I might search for “conversion rate optimization,” while someone new to marketing might search for a longer tail phrase, like “how to improve conversion rates.” that makes all of this incredibly simple, too, if the idea of JohnONolan Referral Traffic . Post Frequency 4) Invest resources wisely. Tone Social monitoring tools can process data across networks to measure how often your brand is mentioned, and whether it’s mentioned in a positive or negative light. Or if you don’t neet to quantify social media sentiment to this extent, you can simple gauge sentiment through a PPC keyword research. Heck, you can even use it to improve your writing, adjusting your tone to speak like your audience speaks. . Social networks provide a wealth of data you can use to segment your audience to improve targeting and personalization. For example, you can use activity data to keep customers who have recently engaged with your brand in a social network in a separate segment for special treatment. You can maintain a segment for followers who have shared your content in the past to make sure they receive calls-to-action to share your latest material. We actually have a new feature in HubSpot called that What social media data are you collecting? How are the insights helping you actively shape your marketing strategy? – How much social media content is too 2) Improve your overall content strategy. Your sales organization needs as much information as you can get your hands on to personalize their approaches, and frankly, just to make them generally better at sales. – Things like retweets, Likes, or comments 7) Improve products and services. – How large is your bad) assessments of new features as they’re rolling out. For example, one of Lady Gaga’s products (or services, I suppose) is her concerts — and her team uses social media to make her set lists! Before the show, her team looks at data from Spotify to identify the most popular songs in the concert’s region, and they make sure to include them on the set list. Brilliant! 37% say a lack of user data is a major challenge Data shows The most obvious application of social data is to improve your social content strategy. Reviewing your data can reveal the best and worst options for a variety of variables, including: Even though , you could even create an email list that automatically identifies those influencers based on how many times they’ve clicked on your content or how many followers they have. Building a relationship with the movers and shakers in your market can help you score mentions and endorsements from these power brokers, which will help your brand’s clout and social reach in the process. strategy, and it can also apply to every other aspect of your content strategy. And, of course, there’s much more to a content strategy than social media updates. For instance, have you thought about using social media as a testing ground for content ideas before you invest resources in their development? Here’s a use case for you. have large followings in social media. Once you find these influencers, set a plan in place to reach out and engage with them to build a relationship. If you have a in both marketing . These days they do, anyway. You can track your audience’s mentions and feedback during an event — or even figure out what local events you should be going to much? Too little? Does increasing your frequency affect your follower churn or engagement? Does it help you generate more leads? This concept of receiving product and service feedback can be similarly extended to a Customers are not shy about the products or services they love and hate. Especially the ones they hate. They will give you this feedback in social media, and product marketers can use it to get critical, unfiltered (which can be good setting. Social media is a notorious soapbox for upset customers — from legitimate complaints to straight up cursing, you can certainly glean a lot from reviewing social media customer service interactions. But you can also monitor this on an ongoing basis to try to address needs and problems outside of your industry bubble. Compile data about how your audience refers to your product, service, brand, competitors, and industry in general. All of this is rich information for your SEO – Which content formats perform better on which channels? centralized marketing database or ? What’s the rate of growth? What’s your fan/follower churn rate? 12) Close more sales. how to use Twitter to prospect Context is everything With that said, here are 12 ways you can take advantage of all that social data you’re collecting — whether you’re conscious of collecting it or not. Social Contacts is as appealing to you as it is to me. 6) Identify influencers. Reach Growth hashtags merging your top-of-the-funnel marketing and middle-of-the-funnel marketing 3) Improve keyword research. mention your brand, product, or service, and 11) Track event impact. Great events spark conversation. Great events also usually have , they continue to struggle to measure ROI and use social data to improve their strategies. I mean, what are the actionable takeaways from all this data we’re collecting? Below, we list 12 ways you can use social data to improve your marketing. This list will help you master these resources and use them to keep your strategy afloat.  and Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 9) Monitor the competition. community manager sales these days. Culling social data yourself, or empowering your sales team to both prospect and create richer profiles of their current leads based on their social profiles, can help advance leads further down the sales funnel. For example, one might engage a lead about a particular product or topic having seen the person Like, comment on, or share related material. Or perhaps you can leverage common LinkedIn connections to get an introduction to a prospect who might be perfect for your product or service. Even something as simple as the last tweet a person sent about your brand can help a salesperson speak in terms the lead will hear. If you’re interested in learning more about this concept, check out a recent blog post about Format right now Social media marketing used to be a big ol’ question mark in terms of ROI, but today companies can use the Engagement Identify your best performing posts and your worst performing posts. By monitoring data around post engagement, sharing, comments, and clickthrough rates, you’ll be able to learn whether the way you’re communicating with your networks is the best it can be. 10) Improve segmentation. search engine strategy Image credit: 84% of B2B marketers segment their email campaigns they get out of hand. Set up monitoring alerts around parts of your product, service, or brand to help get ahead of possible functionality problems. That way, you can alert your engineers, developers, or IT if you see an inordinate increase in problems around a certain term for which you’re monitoring, so they can get on a fix before more people run into the snafu. Topics: 12 Ways to Leverage Social Media Intelligence 2)last_img read more

  • How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit to Outrank Industry Rivals

    first_img Originally published Mar 26, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack A lot of marketers are interested in keeping tabs on their competitors’ search engine optimization (SEO). And it makes sense — whether you’re just starting out with SEO or have been at it for a while, you want to have a clear sense of the competitive landscape in the search engine results pages (SERPs) so you know where you stand, and how much work you need to do to see some progress.So … do you know who shows up, and where, in the SERPs? Do you know how your competitors’ SEO strategies should impact yours? Do you know what kinds of questions you should even be asking about their organic search strategy? Well, as you might have guessed, we’re about to talk about how to do all of this stuff. Dive in to learn how to perform your own competitive SEO analysis!5 Simple Steps to Perform Your Own Competitive SEO AnalysisArticulate your buyer personas.To understand how you want to stand out from your competitors in the SERPs, you have to understand your buyer personas, first. What pain points are you solving for? As a result, how will that impact how they will find you in the SERPs? Will they be using organic search to find you at a particular stage of the buying cycle — like the research phase? What terms will they be using to find you? Is it industry jargon, or are they using more descriptive phrases to get at what they mean?This information will help give you a clear sense of what your whole goal of “doing” SEO is … and more importantly, what it is not. That means there are keywords and topics your competitors will beat you for — and that you’re totally cool with them beating you for — because it isn’t part of your persona targeting strategy.Once you’ve thought this all through, you’ll be in the best position to move on to the next step of your competitive SEO audit if you have a list of keywords and topics that you think are most important to reaching your buyer persona, and generating leads.Identify key competitors.Chances are this has already been done — it’s pretty rare I come across a business that doesn’t have some grasp on their competitors. This list, however, could be a little less than comprehensive, so it’s your job to stay ahead of the game and see if there are new competitors emerging, or some you had never considered that are edging you out in the SERPs more than you might have expected. So, how do you do this? It’s all about knowing who’s in your space. And that means a bit of research. The easiest way to know who’s in your space is to do a Google search for your keywords. Search for your top keyword phrases — short and long tail — to see who else is listed with you in the SERPs for those phrases. Those surrounding you are likely competitors since you are literally competing for clicks in the search results.Also, don’t assume that just because you’re in, say, position 3 on page 1, that you’ll always be there. Have a full understanding of who appears below you and on subsequent pages, as well. You may soon find that someone on page 2 is getting closer and closer to your top position.Additional ways to find competitors include:Looking at other search engines. Bing may show you some competitors that Google missed, especially on the paid side.Exploring social media users and groups. Social media can help find new competitors you might want to keep tabs on.Signing up for Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your keywords, which may unearth other potential competitors.Talking and listening to your sales team. They’ll get insight from prospects about the competitive landscape all the time.Explore what the competition looks like.Now that you have a more comprehensive list of your true competitors, it’s time to assess what they’re doing that could impact your SEO strategy. Are they selling the same vision? What are their products and/or services? Are their buyer personas like yours? Are they addressing similar personas in a different way than you? What topics are they writing about, and at what volume?Tools and tactics to help you do this include:Searching for branded keywords in Google Trends; this will give you a great trend line of your performance compared to your competitors.Signing up for Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your competitors.Using Open Site Explorer to mine your competitors’ link graph — which sites are linking to them, and roughly how many inbound links to they have.Using BuiltWith to see what kind of tools a business may be employing. For example, you can easily identify which websites use shopping carts, what type of analytics they’re using, etc.Using competitive intelligence tools like HubSpot which allow you to plot trending patterns against an unlimited amount of different websites.Finally, here’s more information on additional competitive intelligence tools as written up by Avinash Kaushik.Compete, but don’t copy.Ever look at a really skinny person gobbling up pizza and wonder how they can eat that way, and still look great? Well the same rings true for your website. You’ll never know with 100% certainty what is or isn’t working for a competitor’s site — especially what exactly is driving results. I mean, just because they hold the top position for, say, “unicorn hairstyles” doesn’t mean they’re generating any leads and customers from it. Know what I mean?What you need to do is differentiate yourself. If you aren’t different, then you’re the same. And “same” in the eyes of search engines means redundancy, a good chance you’ll be viewed as duplicate content, and the associated risk of not showing up in search at all.Being different also opens the door to make you a better, new, more tasty alternative to your competitors’ SERP listings. This is particularly true for niche businesses. The more niche you are, the more important it is for you to diversify. You have to demonstrate uniqueness in order to compete, and you have to stand out among the crowd. Create genuinely remarkable content, products, and services, and stand by them.So don’t copy keywords from things like page titles or other content just because a competitor is ranking for it. Be concerned with the keywords that drive results or your business. Similarly, don’t aim to go after all the links they have, or spend money on ads just because they do it. Remember, the point of competitive audits is not to copy tactics and strategies, it’s to position yourself appropriately in your space.Define what sustained success looks like for you.So you’ve got an idea of where your SEO sits alongside competitors in your space, and you’ve even started making some topic and keyword adjustments based on this intel. What next?Well, the whole point of competitive analysis and the intelligence that you gather is to help you make informed decisions. Think about how you will use this information — whether it be for your content strategy, product or service positioning, social engagement tactics, etc. — all of which help with your SEO in the long run. So if a better balance of topics is what’s unearthed from your competitive audit, that’s where you can place resources to see sustained SEO success. Wherever you choose to allocate your resources, this is where you should hold you and your team accountable in the long-term for accomplishing — driving results that make SEO one of your most important marketing channels.How do you stay abreast of your competitors’ SEO strategies?Image credit: JD Hancock SEO Topics:last_img read more

  • How a 24-Hour Marketing Push Could Transform Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Strategy

    first_img Originally published Mar 22, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Nonprofit Fundraising Newsjacking may sound like a dirty word, but in these cases, it’s definitely being done for good. Being that today is World Water Day, we found it very relevant to highlight some nonprofits and companies that are trying something different to raise a ton of money, via one dedicated day of fundraising.These organizations are “newsjacking” one particular day in the calendar year to help catapult their cause to the forefront of their audiences to make a massive impact … in just 24 hours. Whether it’s leveraging a national holiday or dedicated day of awareness, or creating your own day to help support your cause, these organizations are finding ways to condense a whole lot of fundraising and awareness “oomph” into just one day. Whether you’re a nonprofit organization or not, maybe these campaigns will inspire you to do something similar in your marketing!charity: water’s World Water Day (Today!)charity: water launched their annual 2013 World Water Day campaign today, asking individuals of all ages to pledge their birthday to support ending the world water crisis. Quite the call-to-action, right? They leverage World Water Day to encourage individuals to pledge their birthday and fundraise on While this is a year-long campaign, driving a large marketing campaign on World Water Day brings all the focus to charity: water for one entire day. The goal is to funnel a ton of energy into one short period of time, and see the amplification effects bring in more pledges through a very specific, clear call-to-action.Last year, they had 5,400 birthday pledges made on the actual day, and by the following week, they had over 12,000 pledges. This year they hope to get to over 15,000 pledges and have revamped their birthday page to highlight all the individuals who have pledged this year so far on their website, including some well-known celebrities:Pledge your birthday for World Water Day today.”The Great Minnesota Give Together” From Razoo GivingRazoo, an online fundraising platform, has designated November 16th as “Give to the Max” day. That’s right, they created their own day to help non-profit organizations raise more money.This day is focused on fundraising for a group of nonprofits in one specific state in the US. In 2012, November 16th was “The Great Minnesota Give Together,” which involved 3,972 nonprofits and over 47,000 donors. In one day, using Razoo’s fundraising platform, this large group of nonprofits raised over $13M.The local focus really drove interaction between individuals and the nonprofits. They offered donation matching, large donation prizes for chosen nonprofits and even a “golden ticket,” where they randomly choose a donor every hour during the day and added $1,000 added to their donation.The moral of the story here is that your own organization doesn’t have to work in a silo, and you don’t have to blanket the nation for this one-day approach to work. Consider a more localized approach, and partnering with another organization or donation enablement platform to help get your message out.Half the Sky’s “Game for Change” on International Women’s DayFour days before International Women’s Day on March 8th, Half the Sky, a women’s empowerment organization, launched a Facebook “Game for Change” that raises awareness and funds to empower women and girls across the country. Their sponsors donated $500,000 that was available to be unlocked by gamers completing specific quests within the game. The game also had the option for individuals to make personal donations to any of the game’s nonprofit partners.Half the Sky used gamification to educate, inspire, and raise money for their cause. And social media is a great place for this kind of activity to take place if you want to really amplify the effects of consolidating your fundraising into one day — Facebook supports gamification through app development, and the more personal nature of the network jives with the emotional connection to a cause that nonprofits need to foster. Nothing like EdgeRank to help you amplify, am I right?Groupon & Crowdrise’s Earth Day PartnershipGroupon partnered with Crowdrise, an online fundraising platform for 2012’s Earth Day on April 22nd, to offer green deals, as well as run an earth day online fundraising challenge. 70 teams fundraised on Crowdrise for various nonprofits to raise over $335,000 dollars in one day.Alongside the team challenge, Groupon launched 50 grassroots campaigns across the country. Supporters were able to rally together and impact their local communities in ways they couldn’t do alone. Groupon provided each campaign with a $1,000 grant to jump start their fundraising, totaling a $50,000 grant to support local organizations. The Charleston Waterkeeper in Charleston, South Carolina, for example, ran a campaign to have 40 people donate $10 so they could test 16 samples of local water for bacterial contamination. They had over 100 people donate $10 on the day of.Yet again, we see the power of localization, a condensed time frame, and partnering up to help a good cause; and it’s all under one theme — making the Earth a healthier planet on Earth Day.World AIDS Day Campaign From ONEBono’s organization ONE leveraged World AIDS Day on December 1st, 2012 to launch their “It Starts with Me” YouTube campaign. They had several individuals and celebrities record videos to encourage others to sign a petition to support the fight against AIDS. This campaign inspired hundreds of individuals to record and upload their own videos to encourage support for ONE, bringing their YouTube views to over 8 million.Allowing your supporter’s stories to become your stories can create an booming network of advocates that are all personally connected and making your cause’s story even stronger.Amplify Austin’s Local Fundraising FestivalAmplify Austin was a 24-hour festival across the city of Austin, Texas on March 4th, 2013. Hundreds of local businesses promoted kick-off parties, concerts, and donation stations at bars, clubs, stores, and coffees shops across the city. Through the one-day event, over $2.7M was raised for hundreds of nonprofits. There was also a central concert stage that kicked off the event to bring everyone together, and featured several local bands.The idea to rally a city around raising money for local organizations is something that can happen anywhere, and really impact your community immediately. It’s also a great way to leverage and show local support of philanthropy, as well as your small business community. This was a give-give, win-win for the city of Austin Texas, and shows that the in-person event still has a place in your marketing and fundraising activities — especially when you’re trying to condense it all into a one-day time span.Giving Tuesday From the 92nd Street YGiving Tuesday, which takes place on November 27th, has been deemed by the 92nd street Y as the unofficial day of giving. This annual day of giving, which started in 2012, leverages the hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where people are more inclined to shop for the holiday season. Giving Tuesday asks these people to support an organization by making a donation.This campaign was very much driven by social media, especially with the #GivingTuesday hashtag, and was driven by both nonprofits and businesses across the globe. Over 1,500 partners pushed out the message to give on Giving Tuesday to their networks, and 2,500 nonprofits ran special fundraising campaigns. Skype, for instance, launched to ask for donations to support the organization Peace One Day and help educate children around the world about world peace.Blackbaud reported that $10 million dollars was raised on Giving Tuesday 2012, and they saw a 53% increase in year-over-year donations made online on November 27th. Giving Tuesday was a great example of how to leverage social media, partners, and digital tactics to fundraise and bring awareness to a large number of causes, as well as encourage new individuals to give that might not have a personal connection with your organization otherwise. Everyone was inspired to give back and do good, not just go shopping.What other organizations do a great job at “newsjacking” a day of the year to amplify awareness of their cause and drive donations?Image credit: Derek Bridgeslast_img read more

  • 15 Insider Tips for Creating a Content Creation Machine [SlideShare]

    first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content Marketing Strategy Originally published Apr 1, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:center_img 1) Compile List PostsA tried and true content method, top lists are a mix between original content and aggregation. You aggregate the ideas, and write short blurbs about each (kind of like these 15 tips!). This is excellent content for a new writer, because each blurb in the list can be somewhat brief (just link to other resources for more in-depth information), and the post provides a built-in structure to work with. For more tips about creating lists posts, check out this blog post about the top 10 qualities of high-quality content. (See what we did there?)2) Teach Readers How to Do SomethingIf you know how to do something your readers would appreciate knowing how to do, it should be pretty easy to transfer your knowledge to paper … or your computer screen. Remember — blogs are conversational by nature. Just write it out like you’d speak it if you were telling a lead, customer, or colleague. In fact, we can teach you exactly how to write stellar how-to posts in this … how-to post! How meta.3) Answer FAQsThink of the questions leads and customers ask you every day, and turn those into pieces of content in which you answer those FAQs. Sit down with your salespeople or customer service reps who are talking to your prospects and customers all the time, and create a list of potential topics from those common questions and concerns. If you spoke at an event or were involved in a Twitter chat and heard some interesting questions, gather them and answer them in a new post. 4) Curate Remarkable ContentRecognizing remarkable content from others is a core link- and relationship-building strategy. It also just happens to require little original writing, and more aggregation — perfect for those just getting started with content creation. We often do this when we spot remarkable infographics, eye-opening marketing statistics, or must-read marketing blogs. There are simply some pieces of industry content that are too good not to share. Get more tips about content curation in5) Forget About LengthThere is no optimal length for a blog post, ebook, and so on. Good content is good content, regardless of how long it is. Instead of asking yourself if a piece of content is long enough, ask yourself whether someone will read it and take away enough information to consider it valuable. Ask yourself if your audience will be left wanting more information or feeling confused, or if the content answers all their questions about that particular topic. At HubSpot, we focus more on making sure our content is comprehensive, not long.6) Take Advantage of Data-Based ContentWhether you have your own original data or you stumble across interesting industry data in your reading, compile original data into a data-based report, or take one or many external data points and compile them into an article. Furthermore, using supporting data can spice up a piece of content, and data in general is very shareable. It also tends to say a lot in few words. If you only come across a few interesting stats, share them and provide your opinion on them.7) Excerpt ContentWhen you publish a gated piece of content (typically lead generation content like an ebook that is behind a form on a landing page), a quick source of content is an excerpt of that piece. The excerpt can also serve to promote the gated content, giving readers an idea of what they’ll get if they download the full version. This is similar to the preview of a few pages of a book you can view on or Amazon, and it makes for quick and easy blog content.8) NewsjackBy its very nature, the process of newsjacking needs to be executed quickly in order to be effective. So when a piece of news that impacts your industry — or for which you could find a relevant spin for your audience — hits the press, hop on it like white on rice. To learn how to be a successful newsjacker, check out our complete guide to newsjacking here.9) Produce Evergreen ContentEvergreen content is content that stands the test of time. For example, you may have published that blog post months and months ago, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still relevant or discoverable through channels like search engines and social media. Create content that is timeless — content that even if someone read ten months from now would still be relevant and valuable. For example, if you create an evergreen ebook, that’s a piece of content you can promote time and time again and continue to generate results from it. 10) Use an Editorial CalendarAn editorial calendar — both for your blog and other content — can help you stay organized, manage multiple contributors, monitor your keyword use and topic balance, and manage your blog’s timing and deadlines. They also allow you to spot any holes in your content variety. Are you discussing the same topic too much? Or are you balancing an introduction of new ideas with historically successful ones? Do you have enough content to generate the leads you need to fuel your sales team? Get started with our free blog editorial calendar template.11) Turn Presentations Into SlideSharesWhen you put together a stellar educational presentation, whether for an internal training session, a conference speaking gig, or a webinar, try spiffying it up and turning it into a SlideShare presentation. This gives you an entirely new piece of content to promote or embed in a new blog post.12) Update Historical ContentIf you have content that has performed well in the past but has since gotten out of date, why not update and re-launch it? This can help you continue to reap SEO benefits from your high-trafficked content that has gotten stale. And since this content is written already, making updates to it by swapping in the latest information should be an easy way to publish new content. Learn more in this post about how to revitalize evergreen content for a lead gen boost.13) Create Video ContentIf you’re suffering from writer’s block, a video could be the way to go. Videos are excellent alternatives to how-to posts in which you talk through a concept like you would to anyone in-person — no bells and whistles required. You might also schedule an interview, another helpful video format that doesn’t require a lot of investment. Or maybe you just create a fun video that shows off your company culture.14) Invite Guest BloggersNot all your content has to be written by you. Guest bloggers can offer a fresh perspective, so be open to inviting other industry experts to write content for your blog, and build a relationship with them for future co-marketing opportunities. You can reward the favor with inbound links — which every marketer loves.15) Keep a Backlog of IdeasBrainstorm all your best ideas and store them in a backlog that you can refer to when you’re feeling stumped. Book 30 minutes with your team to shout out their best ideas, and develop the brainstorm with the ideas people share. You can keep those all stored for future content pieces — perhaps within a tab on your editorial calendar!To learn more about creating your own content creation machine, check out our new ebook and join us on HubSpot’s Facebook Page, where our various content experts will be available to answer all your questions about content from 1-2 p.m. ET Tuesday through Friday of this week.What additional tips do you have for creating a content machine?Image Credit: kennymatic I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, “How the heck does HubSpot crank out such a high volume of content?!” Well, content lovers, today I’d like to share some of our content tips and secrets with you, so you too can create a well-oiled content machine.First things first: To “do” inbound marketing, you also need to “do” content. Be careful here. Content is not your entire inbound marketing strategy. Yes, content is a vital, irrefutable part — but so is social media, SEO, email marketing, lead nurturing, and so on.So to help make all your marketing content dreams come true, we’ll be sharing content tips all week long. In fact, the first 500 people to download our latest offer, How HubSpot Does Inbound: Creating a Content Machine, will be entered for a chance to win a free, one-hour blog consultation with one of our blogging experts, Corey Eridon. Grab the ebook now for your chance!Now, without further ado, check out our 15 top tips for turning your marketing team into a high-quality content machine.15 Tips for Making Content Creation Faster, Easier, and More Effective How HubSpot Does Inbound: Creating a Content Machine from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Softwarelast_img read more

  • The Top 8 Priorities for Any One-Man Marketing Team

    first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 5, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated June 27 2019 Topics: Marketing Advice When you’re the Jack or Jill of all trades at your company, it’s hard to always follow every piece of inbound marketing advice you read. You know you could follow it if you had a dedicated team to support you, a million-dollar budget to play with, and 48 hours in a day — but that’s not how real life works. Especially for a small business.It’s easy to get into the “if only” mindset when you’re the only marketer at your company, but if you want to grow your business, it’s important to shake it off and get solution-oriented. Instead of having an all-or-nothing attitude, try to focus on getting the most bang for your buck from every marketing activity you can muster the time and resources to execute. That means recognizing that not all marketing tactics are equal — some may take you forever to execute and have little reward, while others, with a small tweak, could have a huge payout.Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.To help you get on the path of agile marketing for your business, we’ve compiled eight incredibly important marketing activities that a one-man or one-woman team can and should execute that will also start moving key metrics. No more dilly dallying around with things that don’t move the needle.1) Set strategic and measurable marketing goals.Before you start posting blog posts, sending emails or scheduling tweets, you’ll find you’re more effective in the future if you’ve properly set goals for your marketing. Think of your marketing like a road trip — you wouldn’t start driving until you’ve found your destination, and mapped out the most effective route to get there. In the same way, you should always make sure your activities and goals help you drive your business forward.For example, you wouldn’t want to set a goal of converting more leads to customers if you didn’t have any visitors converting to leads in the first place — you can’t pull people through the funnel until you’ve gotten them there in the first place. If you need help determining which goals are right for your business, check out our guide to setting SMART marketing goals.Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. And of course, ensure the goals you set are measurable, For instance, if your goal is to increase visitor-to-lead conversion rate, think about whether you have the tools in place to measure whether you’re doing that. HubSpot customers can easily do that with our closed-loop software, but if you’re not using HubSpot software, see how your marketing tools work to measure this and other goals you set.2) Establish exactly who your audience is.With only so much time in the day to devote to marketing, you want to make sure that every piece of content you produce — whether an ebook, landing page, blog post, or email — is on-target and effective. Wouldn’t it be frustrating to spend a ton of time creating content that falls on deaf ears? The best way to guard against wasting your time creating content is to create and use buyer personas.If you’re not familiar with buyer personas, they’re models for what your ideal customers are like. You can have one persona, five personas, whatever – as many as you need to bucket your target customers. Here at HubSpot, for instance, we have five core personas!A persona includes information such as what sort of person they are (education, income level, or job, for example) as well as what’s important to them (saving time or money, for example). If you haven’t developed them yet, or you think you could put a little more elbow grease into ones you already have, here’s a free template to help you put together your buyer personas. If you put together buyer personas now, and then create every piece of content with a persona in mind, your content will work harder for you — in fact, you may find persona-driven content results in your audience marketing your content for you!3) Focus on the right social media platforms.Now that we have some important baselines established that will make your subsequent marketing efforts pack a more powerful punch, let’s figure out the right places to spend your time (so it’s not wasted in the wrong ones). And if there’s one area rife with opportunities for misspent time, it’s on social media.It’s tempting to try to be on all of the social media platforms because everyone else is doing it, and it feels like that’s what good marketers do. Fortunately for you, they are most definitely wrong. Instead of wasting your time engaging on social networks that won’t help you achieve your SMART goals, strategically choose one or two platforms to be on and knock them out of the park.To find out which social networks you should spend your time on, check out your analytics. In your sources report Identify which social networks are already sending you the most traffic, and then capitalize on them. If you have closed-loop analytics, I also recommend drilling down further to see which networks are sending you the most leads and customers. Have access to all of this information will help you make better decisions on which social networks you spend your marketing time.Download Now: Free Social Media Calendar TemplateBe prepared to be surprised, by the way — you may find that a top social network for you isn’t Facebook or Twitter, but rather a niche social network specific to your industry. Many B2B marketers, for instance, have found that LinkedIn and Quora actually bring in far more relevant traffic and leads than, say, Twitter. Instead of wasting time on a big social network because it’s something you’re just “supposed” to do, switch your efforts to social networks that will pay off big time for your business.4) Schedule out social media updates.Now that you know where to spend your time on social media, let’s make your time spend on it both efficient, and effective.First, let’s talk about scheduling your content in advance. Instead of freaking out every day trying to find something amazing to post to social media, sit down once a week to think of all of the subsequent week’s social media content. While you may have a couple things come up that warrant posting – like breaking industry news, for example – bucketing your time like this will make you more efficient. It might also help to download this free social media publishing template, which lets you customize for your publishing frequency, and across social networks.Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s make your time on social media more effective by thinking about the best times of day to publish your content. While this may differ for your audience, our recent webinar, The Science of Marketing Automation, unearthed some guidelines that might help. For example, did you know that Twitter accounts with the most followers tweet around 22 times per day? That makes a good case for charting out that content beforehand, eh? Schedule those bad boys out using automation, and enjoy more efficient and effective Twitter marketing.I encourage you to look for timing trends for your own social media presences — but if you want a little guidance on where to start, check out The Science of Timing.5) Create evergreen content to reap short- and long-term benefits.Since content creation can get pretty time consuming, focus on creating evergreen content – content that stays relevant over a long period of time — to pack the biggest punch. This type of content pays for itself over and over again. Because it’s not time-sensitive, search engines will continue to drive traffic to evergreen posts, helping to drive leads long after you hit publish. We’ve used this technique on our blog before — take the post “How to Retweet the Right Way in 4 Steps” as an example. Even though it was written in 2011, we continue to get traffic and leads from it today since it answers a very common question that plagues a lot of people.If you’re having trouble finding an evergreen topic to write about on your company’s blog, try focusing on long-tail keywords that answer common problems. Not only do long-tail keywords tend to be a bit more problem-oriented, but because you’re not trying to rank for extremely competitive keywords, you’ll be much more likely to be found by visitors in the SERPs.6) Lean heavily on calls-to-action (CTAs) to pull people through the funnel.A colleague of mine told me a story that I want to relay to you:A friend and small business owner had just got into inbound marketing. He was really excited about a blog post he wrote that was a huge hit. When he showed it to me, beaming at how much traffic he got, I was really excited for him too. Then I asked him how many leads he got from it, and he looked a little baffled. When I scrolled up and down the screen, I saw there was no call-to-action in the post. I felt like I rained on his parade – he did a great job writing a big hit blog post, but it wasn’t working for him as hard as it could have, because there was no way for all that traffic to turn into a lead.I told you that to tell you this: If you’re not putting calls-to-action in your blog posts, start doing it today. In fact, go back to any blog posts you’ve published, particularly the ones still driving traffic, and put a lead generation call-to-action somewhere in the post.If you’re already using CTAs in your blog content, step your lead generation up a notch by including CTAs 1) in more places on your site, and 2) that address all areas of the funnel. To put it plainly, the more CTAs you have out there, the more opportunities for conversion. By putting CTAs on, say, your homepage, your product pages, your FAQ pages, your About Us page, and your Resource pages, you could be generating tens of hundreds of thousands of leads you weren’t capturing before.It’s also important to select the right CTAs for each placement. Consider the stage in the sales cycle visitors are most likely to be in. For instance, visitors on a product page are more likely to be in a buying frame of mind than someone visiting an educational blog post, so consider putting a more middle- or bottom-of the funnel CTA there. This ensures you’re not only generating leads that fill the top of your funnel, but leads that are further along in the buying process and are likely to have a shorter time to close.(Tip: You don’t have to be a mind reader to figure out what stage of the buying cycle site visitors are in. You can use dynamic, or smart CTAs that display CTAs based on the lifecycle stage a visitor is in.)7) Set up a few automatic workflows and let them work their magic.A little bit goes a long way with automatic workflows. Like dominoes, automated workflows set a process in motion after people complete certain tasks or exhibit a certain behavior on your website, blog, social media accounts, or email. For example, you could set up an automated workflow for people who sign up for your blog — any time someone subscribes, they are automatically sent an email welcoming them, and maybe also asking them to connect with you on social media.Automated workflows are a great tool to help pull people through your marketing funnel with minimal work on your part. With a simple workflow, there’s hardly any legwork you need to do besides set it up, leaving you free to focus on the rest of your business’ needs. Like scheduling your social media updates, having automated workflows will put your marketing to work for you while you’re checking off other items on your to-do list.8) Use A/B tests to help drive intelligent marketing decisions.You don’t have the time or money (or heck, the patience) to guess what landing page layouts, copy, and CTAs work best for your audience. If you guess wrong, you’ve wasted valuable resources your business desperately needs. Instead of relying on intuition or what the latest marketing “guru” says is best, take some time to execute a few A/B tests. To run an A/B test (also known as a split test), you take two versions of one piece of content (like an email, landing page, or CTA) and test them with two similarly sized audiences to see which version performs better.Like setting goals and establishing buyer personas, there’s some initial time investment into A/B testing, but the payout can be huge. Actually, A/B testing has been shown to generate up to 30-40% more leads for B2B sites, and 20-25% more leads for ecommerce sites – think about what an incredible difference that could make for your business. When you have limited time and resources, A/B testing cuts out the guesswork to maximize your marketing efforts.Free Download: A/B Testing Guide and KitThere’s no way you can be doing every single best practice ever if you’re a one-person marketing team. When you have limited time and resources, it’s absolutely essential to spend your time doing marketing activities that will pay off for you tenfold. Once these activities have helped you grow your business to the point of having a larger, dedicated marketing team, you can focus on nailing the smaller stuff.last_img read more

  • 3 Ways for Floundering Agencies to Find Growth

    first_img Originally published May 2, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Scaling an Agency Have you had a conversation with a college sophomore lately?In this example, it is also the equivalent of talking with a 7-year-old.“I want to be a nurse or a psychologist. I want to save the world. No, I want to make money, so I’ll be a lawyer. But I really like writing, so I’ve thought of getting an English major and then getting my master’s in education. I heard the job prospects were bad for accountants, so I was thinking of going into engineering.” Ask any 7-year-old the same thing: “I want to be a fireman and a ballerina and an astronaut and maybe a teacher.”Ask most agencies what they do and you’ll get a similar response — a list of things they can do, want to do, and might be able to do. It’s a dizzying response to a basic question. And the answer has much larger consequences.Running an agency requires more clarity and focus, and without it, most communication firms move forward like they’re stuck on those banned playground merry-go-rounds. There’s little chance for growth when you’re simply spinning. An agency loses an account and fires three people. It wins an account and brings on five new employees. It changes its branding every two years. It eliminates departments. It adds new services based on one client. There’s little stability, and its biggest selling point is the brands it has worked with.So, how you can stop the madness and point your agency toward growth?Find a FocusA marketing agency has to be a chameleon; with each new client comes a different audience, voice, mission, and goals. In order to do this — and do it well — the agency is constantly changing its mindset to accommodate its clients’ needs.This innate ability to adapt leads to two types of problems for the agency’s own brand: it either creates a blank slate, where clients’ work and PR shout-outs command the attention, or the agency tries to be all things to all types of clients by listing off services like The Cheesecake Factory’s 50-page menus.A Pinterest/YouTube mashup of past work isn’t necessarily detrimental to an agency’s ability to land an account. But seeing isn’t believing, and in this case, thoughtful, knowledge-based information about a specific area of expertise or industry will do more to convince a client of the possibilities that a partnership will bring.The same is true for the agencies that create a rolling list of services — everything from direct marketing to event activation to SEO. Few clients truly believe that you can do all those things you list off well. They are looking for an agency that specializes in marketing to a niche audience while having a strong history of, say, successful public relations campaigns. They are searching for an agency that has experience matching live events with social media and technology. Show this, but also talk about the strategy, challenges, and unique insights your company brought to the project.Having more than one service gives you the ability to create an integrated marketing experience for clients, but having a clear focus will bring the clients to you.Invest in EducationLiving in a town with one of the best journalism schools in the country has given me the opportunity to meet, mentor, and train young talent who are looking to jump into the advertising industry after graduation. This has also given me the opportunity to see first-hand the substantial disconnect that exists between traditional training and the real world. Agencies that hire based on a book of designs and copy are doing a disservice to their existing team. Hiring someone who can create the “big idea” is not enough anymore.Unfortunately, it is then up to the agency to train and evolve to make up for this gap in knowledge. Someone who knows “how” to use a CMS is much different than someone who understands the possibilities and limitations of the platform. A social media manager who can throw in a few hashtags but doesn’t understand the rules of engagement in a crisis is less useful than a fax machine.Allison Kent-Smith, founder of Smith & Beta, a digital-centric educational program said: “For years, the industry has continued to look mostly outside agency walls for digital talent. We continue to trade and exchange the same talent with an average tenure of about 18 months. A formal agency digital education program elevates the literacy of many, rather than relying on the expertise of a few. Reality is, a few experts does not scale. So if an agency wants to grow and evolve (or lead), they must invest and reinvest in employees. This education investment does not start and stop — it is an integrated, ongoing part of everyday 21st century work.”Marketing firms that implement a structured, year-long learning program to create a knowledge base of content, SEO, user experience, data mining and analysis, information architecture, and technology will not only create big ideas but will also be able to execute (on time and within budget) on those strategies.Acquire New Business StrategicallyMany marketing firms are great at building relationships with existing clients and maintaining those for years. But more troubling to agency leadership is the quality of new business opportunities. A big part of this is a lack of structure and strategy. If the agency does have a dedicated new business professional, she usually lacks the resources and support from leadership to develop and implement a sales strategy, one that includes tracking and managing leads and informing how the agency is marketed and seen by prospective clients. New business then becomes a goose chase — responding to RFPs, making calls, networking, spamming people on LinkedIn, etc.New business needs to be a cross-functional role where not everyone is expected to bring in new leads, but each staff member should be required to provide support to the new business department on an ongoing basis.”I often hear advertising and digital agencies lament the fact that they have an on again off again business development program,” said Peter Levitan, a new business consultant. “I think the only way that an agency can overcome this malaise, the malaise of not having a consistent business development plan, is to make sure that the plan and process is baked into the agency’s DNA. That means that the CEO, ECD, and partners must wake up hungry every day and make sure that all employees understand that their futures are dependent on agency growth.”Growth of an agency needs to be strategic. Bring on clients who understand, believe in, and support how you approach work. Don’t hire more talent that isn’t a fit for your culture just to be able to support a client win. Think through how “big” you can get and still feel like the same agency you were passionate enough to build. Find your focus and plan for growth. The merry-go-round might just stop long enough for you to find yourself on stable ground.Jami Oetting is the executive editor of The Agency Post, an online publication for marketing and advertising professionals. The publication is running The Agency 100, an annual ranking of the fastest growing marketing companies in the U.S., to celebrate growth, solid client relationships, and stability. Connect with her on Twitter @jamioetting or on Google+.Image credit: The Knowles Gallery Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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  • INBOUND Keynoters Nate Silver and Scott Harrison Named ‘Most Creative People in Business’

    first_img Conferences He became famous by creating a blog; his work is data-driven and based on statistical analysis; and he has disrupted the world of politics by applying science and information to a field where pundits and practitioners traditionally relied on an inefficient and outdated mix of voodoo, superstition, and intuition.Is it any wonder that everyone at HubSpot loves Nate Silver, and why we’re psyched that he’s doing a keynote speech at our INBOUND conference in August? Apparently we’re not alone in our Nate Silver fandom, as Fast Company just placed this 35-year-old “freelance data scientist” at the top of its 2013 “100 Most Creative People in Business” list.Also on the Fast Company list, at #10, is another INBOUND keynoter — Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water. Indeed, the list is filled with people that we’d consider “inboundy,” from Jackie Wilgar, the EVP of marketing at Live Nation, to Aneel Bhusri, the co-founder and co-CEO of software maker Workday, to Ruzwana Bashir, the co-founder and CEO of Peek, a site that is rethinking travel.Why We’re Excited About This ListTo us this reflects a growing awareness of the huge tectonic shift that’s taking place in how people work, shop, and learn, and in how companies do business. It’s a signal that the old way of reaching customers (via guesswork and wishful thinking) is being displaced by data-driven analysis, and that we’re entering an age where companies start by listening to customers, and finding ways to connect with them emotionally.Harrison’s organization — charity: water — is a non-profit whose goal is to bring clean drinking water to people in developing countries. It’s a cause we believe in, and an organization we admire for its “inbound” philosophy — spending zero dollars on traditional marketing, building awareness by creating great content and using social media, and being extremely transparent and metrics-driven. For what it’s worth, charity: water uses HubSpot software. So we’re doubly thrilled to see Scott Harrison and his organization getting this recognition.”Scott is such an inspiration, not just because of what he is accomplishing but because of his quasi-magical ability to make being in his sphere incredibly fun and rewarding. People get excited about charity: water because they deliver such a consistently awesome experience, whether it’s with their core mission, or their website, events, storytelling, and trips to see the projects get built,” said HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan, a long-time charity: water fan.Harrison’s response to the recognition was typically modest: “I’m honored and humbled to be in such great company,” he responded when we reached out to congratulate him on making the Fast Company list. Nate Silver, King of the NerdsSilver, the top pick, also personifies the power of inbound thinking. He began his rise to fame by creating content that drew people to him. He started out by playing around in his spare time using statistics to spot promising minor league baseball players. He later moved into politics, launching his blog to predict the outcome of presidential elections.In 2008 Silver correctly called 49 out of 50 states. In 2012 he got all 50 correct, plus had the satisfaction of ticking off big-name political pundits like “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough. Before the election Scarborough called Silver “a joke” for predicting an Obama win, and made a public bet with Silver on the outcome. When the dust settled, Scarborough paid up and offered an apology. Silver took a “cool nerd” victory lap, doing all the morning shows, where he was hailed as a kind of quant superhero.But Silver’s triumph was about more than just one nerd winning a bet. It was an indication of a bigger tectonic shift, a signal that the old ways of doing business (via guesswork and wishful thinking) was over, displaced by data-driven analysis.Fast Company’s Jon Gertner says Silver’s story proves that “a skinny supernerd with a big data set and a killer algorithm can be a swashbuckler, too,” and shows that “we have arrived at a moment when data and creativity are bound together in the same vocation.”You will get no argument from us at HubSpot, and it’s exactly why we’re excited to see folks like this getting serious recognition from other companies and publications. We believe the same mix of data and creativity makes for marketing that people can actually love. Gertner paints Silver against the wider backdrop of an approach to business that we call “inbound” and that we see sweeping across industries, led by Amazon, Google, and others.“By vacuuming up the exhaust from web users,” Gertner writes, “such companies have made extraordinary gains in efficiency, trend-spotting, sales, and … research that sometimes translates into societal rather than corporate advantages.”Does all of this start to feel like a movement? It does to me. And while I have no idea what Silver and Harrison will talk about at the INBOUND conference, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be creative, and amazing.Let’s celebrate creative, inbound-minded people out there. Who would you nominate to the list of the most creative inbound thinkers? Originally published May 16, 2013 5:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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  • Google Launches Dramatic Redesign of Google+, Emphasizing Context and Content Discovery

    first_img6) Stand-Alone Hangouts AppGoogle+ has also transformed Hangouts into a free, stand-alone application which includes text, photo-sharing, and live video features, available for Android, iOS, and the desktop. The revamped version of Hangouts features richer, more responsive messaging; conversation histories; notifications that sync across your devices (so you only see them once); and free, face-to-face video chatting. It’s also available practically everywhere — download Hangouts from Google Play, the App Store, and the Chrome Web Store, or access it via Gmail or Google+.7) New Photo Features The final set of new Google+ announcements has to do with its new photo features, which include cool things like …Automatically backing up pictures taken with your mobile devices, as you take themAutomatically highlighting higher quality photos and weeding out duplicates, blurry images, and bad exposuresAutomatically enhancing photos to improve elements like brightness, contrast, etc.Automatically animating a sequence of photos or grouping photos into a single collageHere’s What We’re Dealing With, MarketersIn thinking about the Google+ redesign, I’m picking up three main marketing themes here: 1) an emphasis on context, 2) an emphasis on content discovery, and 3) an emphasis on visual content.1) An Emphasis on ContextNo surprise here, especially given that context seems to be the overarching theme of the I/O conference this year — as well as a very hot topic for marketers these days. We’ve talked before about how leveraging contextual information to inform your inbound marketing can make it much more powerful and effective, and Google+’s new features like related hashtags are clearly aimed to help deliver more relevant and contextual content to its users. As a marketer, use this to your advantage, tagging your Google+ posts with relevant hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Which leads me to theme numero dos …2) An Emphasis on Content DiscoveryAside from the element of discovery that Related Hashtags bring to the table, the Pinterest-like redesign of Google+ makes content discovery much easier, surfacing more, better scannable content through the new tiled design. And while it seems like there’s an algorithm behind which images and video Google decides to display more prominently, marketers should recognize the chance that the visual content they share may get featured more prominently than text-based content. (Man, these segues are uncanny …)3) An Emphasis on Visual ContentWith its Pinterest-like resemblance, there’s no doubt that the Google+ redesign puts a much greater emphasis on visual content. It’s no surprise either, given the effectiveness of visual content in social media. The takeaway here for marketers is pretty straightforward — invest in visual content creation. Especially considering the chance that Google+ may feature your visual content more prominently, marketers who excel at creating visual content have a better opportunity to stand out from other content in users’ Google+ streams.What do you think of the Google+ redesign? What other takeaways do you think apply to marketers? Learn more about how to adapt your Google+ marketing strategy to the new design in our recently updated ebook, An Introduction to Google for Business: A Setup & Strategy Guide for Marketers. Google+ Marketing Now onto the specifics. Here’s what’s new and exciting about the Google+ redesign:1) Consistency Across DevicesAccording to a 2012 Google study about multi-screen usage, 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal. In other words, people may start reading an email on their phone on the train home from work, but finish reading it at home on their tablet — or maybe they watch a commercial on TV and then turn to their laptop to research the product. Based on what we know about users’ multi-screen habits, it’s no wonder Google’s design changes to Google+ attempt to achieve consistency across all devices. While the Google+ tablet and mobile apps had already accomplished a consistent look and feel, prior to the redesign, this same consistency had been lacking in the web platform. The Google+ redesign makes the experience across all devices much more cohesive through the following changes …  2) Multiple Columns Depending on the size and orientation of your screen, Google+ users may now see one, two, or three columns of content on their main Google+ stream, their personal profiles, and Google+ Business Pages. Here’s how this looks on HubSpot’s Google+ Page, for example:Very Pinterest-esque, am I right?3) Larger Sized MediaSimilar to the more prominently displayed starred content you see on Facebook, Google+ users will notice that certain media content such as photos and videos will sometimes span the width of the full Google+ stream, like you see in the example below. However, it’s not clear how Google+ decides which cards (i.e. the individual posts resembling tiles, or “cards”) get featured more prominently, and unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be something individual publishers or page admins have control over.Cover photos, both on personal profiles and on business pages, have been blown up significantly as well (obnoxiously so, in my opinion). As a result, it’s important for marketers to make sure the image they use for their business page’s cover photo is high resolution. When it comes to sizing, Google+ indicates cover images must be at least 480 pixels wide and 270 pixels tall.4) AnimationsGoogle+ users will also notice that a lot of features are animated now, boosting the interactivity of the social network. For example, the sidebar navigation slides out from the left when you hover over the home icon on the top left, the sharebox bounces toward the center of the screen, and the cards flip and fade (more on this shortly).5) Related Hashtags One of the limitations of the former Google+ design was that it lacked depth. While users could scroll up and down to scan posts, there was really no way to go deeper and explore a particular topic even further. The redesign solves for this by automatically adding hashtags to the content you share. Google+ will look at your post to determine what it’s about, hashtag it accordingly, and then rank relevant conversations across the network. When users click on the hashtag, the card flips, and users can browse related content right there (see below). Users can also add their own hashtags or remove the ones automatically generated by Google whenever they want. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:center_img If you can’t remember, here’s a quick, very recent blast from the past screenshot showing you how Google+ used to look, thanks to TechCrunch: Originally published May 17, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 You may have caught wind of some of the announcements coming out of the Google I/O conference over the past couple of days. And while we made some high-level observations here yesterday about how this year’s emphasis seems to be on context, there was one announcement we thought deserved more of our attention: the complete redesign of Google+.Uhh … yeah. Did you miss that? We kind of glossed over it, too. So in this post, we’ll pick apart what’s different about Google+’s new look — which Google is rolling out over the next week — and what these changes mean for marketers like you.What’s New With Google+?First take a quick look at the changes to Google+ in this 57-second video from Google: last_img read more

  • How to Write a Fluff-Free Mission Statement

    first_img Originally published Jun 14, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Company Culture Topics: Mission statements. They sound inherently business babbley, don’t they? But even if you think they’re a little … silly … they’re really important guideposts for making decisions, staying inspired, and setting a bigger picture that gives your day-to-day work purpose.Problem is, because the idea of a mission statement is so vague and broad, a lot of companies have trouble nailing one down.Free guide: How to define inspiring mission and vision statements.I did some research on companies with excellent mission statements, and pulled out the characteristics they all have in common. This post will show you how to write a great mission statement, told through the lens of some of the best ones out there.Common Mistakes People Make When Writing Mission Statements1) It’s too long. (This will, ironically, be the longest section of the post.)In one of my first “real world” jobs, my boss — the CEO — asked me to write a mission statement for the company. I knew they were supposed to be pretty short, so I wrote a couple paragraphs.Wrong. Thank you for playing, Take this toaster as a lovely parting gift.Just kidding, he didn’t fire me, but we were both equally as clueless about how to write a great mission statement. The first thing to know is that they should be really short — as in, like, a sentence. Maybe two. Check out Southwest Airlines’ mission statement, for example:”The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”To give you an idea, I probably would have written that something like:”Southwest Airlines’ mission is all about customer service. Not just any kind of customer service — but high-quality customer service — whether at ticketing, on the plane, in the terminal, even on our website. This should come through in a few places. First, warmth. Warmth means … “And on, and on, and on … and on …Make it short and sweet. If you can’t say it in a sentence or two, you haven’t really nailed the mission statement.2) You’re thinking too small.Think beyond the tactical. Your mission isn’t to create widgets. That’s what you do — but it’s not why you do it. Take a cue from Microsoft, for example. Its most recent mission statement is:”To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”I consider this a huge improvement from its previous mission statement: “A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.”Why is it better? The old one wasn’t bad, but the new one addresses something bigger than just selling a product. The new mission statement tells you who they want to reach — people and businesses — and what they want to help them do through Microsoft’s products. It gives Microsoft a reason to exist as a business, beyond just making money.3) It’s not specific.There’s a tendency to work in generalizations when writing a mission statement, because you’re trying to encompass … well, a mission. And missions are big. (Remember, we just talked about not thinking too small.) But if you get too specific, you’ll back yourself into a corner.This isn’t the right mindset. You can’t be everything to everyone — otherwise, what’s your differentiator? What are you adding to the universe?Zappos does a great job of communicating a larger mission, without compromising specificity. Their mission statement reads:”To provide the best customer service possible.”They’re not trying to loop in price, quality, changing the world, having the best corporate culture … they want to provide the best customer service possible. That might include all of the aforementioned when it comes down to tactics, but it doesn’t need to be in the mission statement. This is the perfect balance between thinking big, but still being specific.4) The language is full of jargon.This is where the business babble starts to creep in. (And often, the business babble creeps in because you’re not being specific enough.) We all know what business babble is, so let’s just look at a jargon-free mission statement to set the precedent for what we should all be striving for. Google’s is an excellent example:”Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”They could have said that like this:”Google’s mission is to utilize the digital information inputs of various sources and outlets and dispense it in a structure optimized for user-understanding.”But they didn’t. Because that’s ridiculous. (And it’s pretty much the opposite of making information “accessible and useful.”)5) It’s not something people want to “get behind.”Your mission should resonate with people, particularly you and your employees. It should address a real problem — or something people care about, at least. Think about why you wanted to get into your business in the first place … you were probably inspired by something, right? Whatever motivated you then (unless it was for the money, in which case ignore this advice) might be what you want to tap into when crafting your mission statement.Inspiring mission statements aren’t just for nonprofit organizations, either. I happen to think Google’s mission statement is one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard. Or take a look at Coca-Cola — how can a beverage company have an inspiring mission statement? Its mission statement is:”To refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference.”That last part is a little vague and verging on business babble (what does “create value” really mean?), but I love that middle part. Your mission statement should be a bit lofty. That’s okay. Aspiration is good — it inspires people to be creative and work hard.Questions to Ask That’ll Help You Write Your Mission StatementIf you’re totally stuck on your mission statement, ask yourself the following questions to get the flow of ideas going. Think of it like getting past writer’s block … but, you know, for a mission statement.1) What do we do?2) Why did I go into business in the first place?Or, if you’re not a founder of the business …3) Why did I want to work at this company/in this industry?4) What do I want this company’s legacy to be?5) What doesn’t matter to this company’s legacy?6) How do I want to help people?7) What value does our company bring that’s unique from other companies?Remember, your mission statement isn’t set in stone. It’s actually wise to revisit your mission statement once in a while to see if it still aligns with your company’s goals. Some companies, for instance, choose to write mission statements that help them solve a short-term problem their company is facing — these can be updated later to reflect a larger mission once your short-term issues are addressed.However you approach your mission statement, just check back every couple years to see if it still aligns with the space you play in, and the world you live in. If your company is around for a long time, it will inevitably change — your mission statement might have to change along with it.FWIW, HubSpot’s mission statement reads: Our mission is to make the world inbound. We want to transform how organizations do marketing. What’s your company’s mission statement?Image credit: David~Olast_img read more

  • The New Gmail Inbox: How It Works and Why Email Marketers Should Pay Attention

    first_img Originally published Jul 25, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Email Inbox Tips When I use my email, I’m a control freak. I label and color-code almost every email I get — for both personal and work email addresses. My inbox is regularly at zero — not because I don’t have emails to respond to, but because upon getting an email notification, I immediately file it away into my “Needs Response,” “To Remember,” or another descriptive label. I’ve even enabled Gmail’s “Multiple Inboxes” feature so that I can monitor labels on the side of my inbox and still see incoming emails. Is this a little neurotic? You betcha. But this obsession with filtering and control saves me a ton of time wading through the mess that is my email inbox.Download our free email productivity guide here for even more time-saving email management tips. Then, at the end of May, my beautiful inbox organization was needed no more. Gmail announced a new layout where email messages are automatically filtered into (at most) five different categories. Here’s what the inbox looks like in action:So you can imagine my reaction when I took the plunge with Gmail’s new inbox. Personally, I was a bit frustrated, but mostly pumped. Even though the labels I had worked so hard to create and maintain wouldn’t be relevant, I’d have a “smart” inbox that could learn which emails should go where — automatically. Automation and control, yay!But, as a marketer, I got nervous. Did this mean that I’m going to have to work doubly as hard to have my hard-earned leads see my emails?After a month and a half, the data is a still inconclusive. On the one hand, my fellow HubSpotter Evan Murphy looked at aggregate data from all our customers’ email sends and found one answer: HubSpot customers saw an average of 58.9% more email opens and 63% more unique email opens in June than May after the new feature was rolled out. On the other hand, MailChimp found that open rates decreased three weeks in a row after the new layout was launched … so it’s pretty much up in the air whether this new layout helps, hurts, or doesn’t affect email marketers at all.No matter what, marketers should pay attention. Gmail’s new inbox layout isn’t the only type available, but with the buzz it’s gained this past month it certainly should cross the minds of email marketers. Considering Gmail has more than 425 million active users, it’s incredibly important that inbound marketers know how the email service’s layout and functionality work and how they may affect how people see your email — especially if Google continues to iterate on the design and functionality of their inbox.How Does the New Inbox Work?Before we get into the nitty gritty of the marketing pros and cons of the new Gmail layout, let’s figure out how this darned thing works! To enable the new inbox you can do two things: 1) Wait for Gmail to automatically switch you (like some of my annoyed colleagues) or 2) If you’re impatient (like me), click “Configure Inbox” under the gear icon in the top right corner.Then, you can choose which tab categories you’d like to display. Here’s what appears in each category:Primary: Google gives this tab the highest priority in the inbox layout. Appearing first, it features messages from family, friends, and contacts that don’t appear in any other tab. It also can feature starred messages.Social: Messages from any sort of social site you use. Expect emails from social networks, dating websites, and gaming platforms to appear here.Promotions: Your marketing emails will most likely appear here. This is where any deals, offers, and any other promotional email will go. (If you’re a HubSpot blog subscriber, for instance, chances are your subscriptions will appear here.)Updates: Automatic notifications of bills, statements, and reminders. Most likely, your airline reservations and your monthly credit card statements will appear here.Forums: Messages from any forums or discussion groups you participate in will be featured here.And here’s what it looks like in action:Of course, when you first enable the inbox tabs, it won’t be perfect. Some messages will get put in the wrong bucket. Lucky for us, you just have to drag and drop a message to appear in another folder — and you can even tell Gmail to always send emails from that sender into another folder.With a little bit of direction, your Gmail inbox will learn which messages should appear where.Oh, and if you’re a label-freak like me, your messages will still get filtered into categories you have set up — you just can’t use one of the inbox tabs as a label anymore.All in all, pretty cool update, right? So … What’s in It for Marketers?You’ve already bought into the whole inbound marketing methodology, so you know that today’s buyer has all the power in the marketing relationship … but historically, email hasn’t made it easy for consumers to embrace their power. People had to manage the fire hose of information targeted at their inbox alone. Filters, labels, stars, reminders … you get the picture. With all of the information bombarding your email subscribers, chances are, they felt a little less powerful than before.With the new Gmail feature, the email control goes right back where it belongs — in the arms of your leads and customers. With only a little up-front work, they can start engaging with the emails that matter to them.If you’re doing lovable email marketing, that’s great news for you. When people choose to go to a certain tab, they’re already open to receiving your message. They are actively seeking that type of message out instead of wading through a billion irrelevant messages in the general inbox. Plus, you’re not trying to compete for attention with emails from your subscriber’s best friends, family, and social networks. Bonus: Gmail’s filtering is smart, so once your subscribers engage with your email, the more likely they are to appear in the coveted “Primary” tab. Also, if your email subscribers are into doing a little up-front work, they’ll never miss one of your emails again. All they have to do is click and drag your emails to the correct tab, and choose to always filter those messages in that folder. But, It’s Not Perfect So your email contacts have more control over their inbox clutter. No longer will they have to wade through their inbox to get your highly personalized, engaging emails, right? Basically, inbound marketing heaven.Not exactly. While you’re competing with less messages overall, you’ll most likely have more content to compete against in the “Promotions” tab because of the way Gmail’s new ads are being displayed. Before, Gmail’s ads were small text banners scattered around the inbox layout. Now, they look even more like emails — right at the top of your “Promotions” tab, you’ll sometimes see an email that’s highlighted in yellow and marked as an ad. Here’s what it looks like:Ads in GMAIL – sent as normal emails. Anyone else saw this?— antonio.gulli (@gulliantonio) July 18, 2013It’s not clear how people react to these ads since they are only rolled out to select users now. This ad layout reminds me of the current search PPC ads – and those, most people gloss right over. But I’m not convinced that people will do the same in the new Gmail “Promotions” inbox — they have at least four other filters they can visit to ignore the ads. Will people just stop going to the “Promotions” tab altogether to “opt-out” of a rather invasive ad experience? If so … your content could get ignored. No good.How You Can Make Sure Your Emails Get NoticedEven though we have data showing that this new inbox layout may be increasing email opens, I know you want to really make sure your emails aren’t getting lost in an inapplicable tab. These two tips are ALL up to your email subscribers to do, so you might want to let your subscribers know how they can stay up-to-date with your emails in Gmail. (Or, maybe forward this post via email to a colleague or tweet it to your followers ;-)If They Want to Make Sure Your New Emails Appear in a Certain TabLike we said earlier in this post, it’s easy to train Gmail to always put an email from a certain sender in a specific folder. Show them how easy it is — all you have do is click and drag the email to the correct folder and then be sure that you select that action for future messages:This works for any of the tabs selected (including Primary) — but it doesn’t work for past messages. If you need the step-by-step, feel free to point your subscribers to the screenshots above. If They Want to Organize Your New and Old Emails to Appear in Their “Primary” FolderIf your email subscribers want your emails to automatically appear in their primary tab as well, there’s a really quick hack you can do, courtesy of our aforementioned HubSpot email expert Evan. With a simple filter, you can automatically star messages from certain senders — which will automatically send them to your “Primary” tab if you follow the right steps. Here’s how you do it:1) Click the gear icon in the top right corner, select “Configure Inbox,” and then check the box “Include starred in Primary.” Then, click “Save.”2) Click the gear again, then choose “Settings.” Once you’re in Settings, select “Filters.” At the bottom, click “Create New Filter.”3) Type the email address of the sender you want to receive in your “Primary” inbox tab in the “From” box. Then, click “Create filter with this search.”4) Select “Star it” and “Also apply filter to matching conversations” to enable past and future emails to go to your “Primary” tab.Then, ta-da! Your emails will appear in the “Primary” inbox tab.So the moral of the story here is that the new Gmail inbox layout could help you engage your subscribers more than ever before … but, it’s still up to you to create amazing, engaging, and lovable email content. Have you switched over to the new Gmail inbox? Share your impressions with us — as a user and as an email marketer — in the comments. And don’t forget to add HubSpot blog updates to your “Primary” folder to always get our posts in your inbox. ;-)Image credit: opacitylast_img read more

  • Google+ Update Makes It Easier to See What Your Friends Like, and Other Inbound Stories of the Week

    first_imgThis week, brands everywhere started to switch things up. New features, new monetization models, and even new data cropped up everywhere … and you’ve got to make sense of all of these new shiny objects in case they could be a great opportunity in your marketing. To help make sense of the ever-changing world of inbound marketing, we compiled the top stories of the week with some quick takeaways for you. So you can, you know, spend your time kicking butt at your job instead of searching for news stories. Enjoy!Google+ Update Makes It Easier to See What Your Friends Like, From MashableLast Tuesday, Google+ made it easier for your content to spread on the social network. Now, Google+ users can see posts that people in their circles have +1’d as well as their own successful posts all in their main stream. That being said, only your public posts will have the potential for an expanded reach — anything you post on Google+ that is for your circles only or is private will not be promoted.Marketers, let’s get pumped! With this new feature, you’ll have more opportunities to extend your content’s reach. Of course, you’ll still need to create top-notch content for this feature to kick in in the first place … but still, this new feature is something to get excited about. Read more about this update on Mashable.How Millennials Shop Online, From eMarketerIf one of your buyer personas is a millennial, you’re in luck this week. eMarketer released some interesting data on how millennials shop online, detailing things like how much time they spend shopping online and what types of products they prefer to purchase online versus in-store. Whether you’re an ecommerce shop or a brick-and-mortar business, these trends are definitely something to be aware of. Learn more about millennial shopping habits over at eMarketer. Instagram Enables Photo and Video Embedding to Spread Its Content Across the Web, From The VergeThe lack of embedding feature for Instagram posts has been a big pain point for a while. If you ever wanted to use your Instagram photos and videos elsewhere, you had to have some hacking knowledge. Lucky for us, Instagram just released a feature that allows all public photos and videos to be easily embeddable. (If you want a step-by-step guide to embedding Instagram photos and videos, check out our blog post).This is fabulous news for us marketers who itch to include visual content in our marketing … but may not have the best design skills. It’s easy to take a picture or video on Instagram, and to include it on your blog or website you just have to copy and paste a snippet of HTML code. The new embed feature can also give our Instagram content a potentially wider reach through you and your fans’ networks. Learn more about this new feature on The Verge.A Practical Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy, a Free Ebook From HubSpotStruggling to get started with creating your own content? It can feel daunting, especially when you have a zillion other marketing activities on your plate. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out our latest ebook, “A Practical Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy.” You’ll get a ton of tips and tactics to take away so you’ll be cranking out quality content in no time! Download the free ebook here. Publishers Try a Different Kind of Pay Wall, Unlocked by Watching Web Video, From Ad AgeMedia outlets are still trying to find their secret monetization sauce. Though native advertising and the comeback of paywalls have been all the rage lately, some publishers are trying out video ads instead. Most people are used to seeing ads before YouTube videos, so this could be a potentially profitable source of income for publications. That being said, videos should be kept short, as data shows that only 12% of America will watch a video ad for 30 seconds.For marketers, this could be a new advertising opportunity or even a trend to keep an eye on if you plan on pitching participating publications. While there isn’t enough data yet to determine whether this is a solid form of revenue, it’s an interesting bit for us as savvy inbound marketers to watch out for. Learn more about this new type of paywall at Ad Age.Pinterest Now Has 70 Million Users and Is Steadily Gaining Momentum Outside the U.S., From The Next WebYes, we all know that Pinterest is a top social network, but did you know that it’s increasingly attracting an international audience? According to data by Semiocast, 45% of new Pinterest users that registered in June 2013 were from outside the U.S. While U.S. users are still far more active on the platform, international folks could start becoming a larger and larger chunk of active users as more people register.For those of us who are marketing to international audiences who haven’t jumped on Pinterest yet, it may be time to take another look at the social network to see if it works for your organization. If you need help getting started, take a look at our guide for using Pinterest for business. Learn more about this data over at The Next Web.What other stories did you hear about this week?Image credit: .faramarz Originally published Jul 14, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Google+ Marketinglast_img read more

  • How to Add Alt Text to Your Email Images [Quick Tip]

    first_img Images Originally published Jul 15, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated August 25 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Once you hit ‘send’ on an email, its fate is in the hands of the email gods. In other words, things like recipients’ email clients, the devices they’re using to open it, and their browsers. Your recipients could see an email that’s beautifully designed, perfectly aligned, and the optimal size … or those graphical elements might not even show up at all.The point is, all that time you spent designing beautiful graphics for your email goes down the drain if images aren’t enabled in a certain email client. But you can still get your message across — and maybe even get more clicks on your calls-to-action (CTAs) — if you add custom alt text to your emails.Click here to download our free beginner’s guide to email marketing.What is alt text, you ask? When an image isn’t able to load in an email, website, or blog post, the “alternative text” (AKA alt text) is displayed. Often, it’s simply the file name of the image — which may or may not be relevant to the person seeing the alt text. Instead of being hit with random file names, you should make sure your recipients will see relevant, clickable text — especially if you’re using images as CTAs.Let’s take a look to see what this would look like in real life in Quartz’s email below. I’m a huge fan of the publication’s morning roundups, but I don’t always have images enabled. Here’s what I got in my inbox last week:Because Quartz included alt text, I knew who was sending me the email and who sponsored it — something Adobe would probably be really happy about. Bottom line: Alt text isn’t something you should forget about when designing emails. But how do you go about adding alt text to your emails?How to Add Alt Text to Your Images in EmailsNote: Other email service provider will have very similar processes, but we’re going to use HubSpot’s Email tool for tutorial purposes. If you’re using a different email tool, keep an eye out for the alt text tag when you’re uploading and formatting an image to customize it.Step 1: In an email, click the ‘Insert Image’ icon in the rich text editor.Step 2: Select which folder you’d like to add the image to.Step 3: Upload the image you’d like to use (either click and drag, or click ‘Upload a File’).Step 4: Click on the image you just uploaded, then select ‘Use Image.’Step 5: Click on the image within the text of your email, and an options box will pop up. Within the options box, select ‘Edit Image.’Step 6: Add the text you’d like to display as alt text, then click ‘OK.’If you need help writing effective alt text, check out this post.Step 7: Boom! You’re done. This is what it will look like in your email.For images that are serving as CTAs, make sure your alt text is actionable, like “Download Now!” — and hyperlink the image so the alt text is clickable. This way, your alt text will act like a text-based CTA and may still result in clickthroughs…. And that’s it! Now, let’s get creative. How could you use alt text to make your emails stand out? Share your ideas with us in the comments.Image credit: CarbonNYClast_img read more

  • The Anatomy of a Perfectly Search Engine Optimized Web Page [INFOGRAPHIC]

    first_img Originally published Aug 12, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: SEO can be tricky. You’re optimizing your pages to be surfaced by robots, yet at the same time they must be engaging to humans. You also encounter constantly changing algorithms which means that some elements of your SEO strategy might be great one day … and then completely irrelevant (or even detrimental) the next.In short, there’s a lot to keep in mind.Lucky for us, our friends at Moz created an infographic that will make the world of on-page SEO a little less overwhelming — and we couldn’t help but share it with you. To make sure you’re hitting all the most important SEO points on your web page, refer to the infographic below. (May I even suggest you print it out? Or for the most digitally-minded, a bookmark would do, too!)(Click infographic to enlarge.) What tips do you have for making sure each element on your site is SEO friendly? Share your advice with us in the comments!Image credit: JD Hancockcenter_img On-page SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • A 3-Step Guide to Performing Prospect Research (Before You Pick Up the Phone)

    first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Passing Leads to Sales What’s the difference between a poor first-time connect and a successful one? One word: context.Researching potential prospects before you first email or call them can make a world of difference between a deal or a bust. By understanding the background of a company and the person you’re trying to speak to, you can better frame a conversation.And just like no two prospects are the same, no two prospects’ interactions with you should be the same. It’s important Sales take the time to collect information and then create more tailored experience from first touch. By creating relevancy, you’re much more likely to engage a prospect and have a positive, meaningful conversation.Download 37 Tips for Social Selling on LinkedInBut we also know that time is precious. While there’s a lot to gather from your research, ultimately it’s important to train yourself to spend no more than around five minutes researching potential prospects. With practice, you can start to develop a sixth sense for knowing what to look for — here’s a guide to start you off.Step 1: Learn About the CompanyVisit the company website. Make note of its mission and vision. At the end of the day, this company wants to be great at what it does, and if you can identify how your products or services can help it achieve its vision, you can paint a more meaningful picture for your prospect.Some basic information you should quickly gauge include:Company SizeNumber of EmployeesProduct or Service OfferingsTypical Sale SizeYou should also do some more in-depth sleuthing that gives context to that information. Search for any recent third-party publications mentioning the prospective company — is an industry blog talking about struggles that company is facing, or something the company is doing really well? Who are its competitors? Does this company have its own blog? Do they use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn? What are they talking about there? Has the company just published a post about a new product they’ve released, or about an event they were a part of? Knowing this type of information can add relevancy when you reach out to start a conversation, and allow you to send relevant information their way.If you’re looking to learn more about how Sales can use social media to close business, check out this free ebook. (Bonus Tip: What is the company tweeting about? Does it seem to be trying to push one or two types of content — maybe ebooks for a specific product or service, or a thought leadership piece? You might be able to discern some top priorities based on what’s being communicated in their own lead generation content.)Step 2: Do a Background CheckIt’s incredibly important not only that you reach out to the right company, but also to the right person at that company. Are you talking to an influencer, a decision-maker, or someone who has no reason to ever talk to you about your product or service? For example, HubSpot sells software for marketers — so reaching out to someone on the R&D team of a company would result in either no connection, or a much longer sales process as they forward a representative onto someone else.First, look at the company website’s “About” and “Contact” pages. Does it list bios of employees? Do they have contact information for certain areas, such as “please contact for all marketing inquiries”? LinkedIn should also become your best friend. Do some digging around people listing your company of interest as their employer. Look for information such as recent job changes, their job function, and their education. What’s their role? How long have they been at the current company? Someone who has only recently started may not have enough context about the company’s needs or may have less influence in the decision-making process. Build a persona in your head of who this person is, and think over how you’d address him or her if you were face to face. Step 3: Hypothesize Pain PointsTry to find out what a company is doing to address their problems relevant to your product or service offerings, already.If you’re selling an inbound marketing platform like HubSpot, for instance, you’d look at how a company is currently trying to drive traffic to its website. Perhaps the company’s using banner ads and paid search, which can be costly. Your “in” here would be to bring up these points in the initial conversation – “I noticed that you’ve been using paid advertising. How well has this been working? Have you been able to hit your traffic goals? Why, or why not?”.The information gleaned before even reaching out can turn you from a salesperson into a consultant. Instead of talking at a prospect, you’re starting a problem-solving process that you both have a stake in.Since you’ve already narrowed down your list of potential people to reach out to, you should also look at these people’s personal channels. What are they tweeting about? Are they part of a special-interest group on LinkedIn? It’s all about relevancy — build an idea of who this person is, and what that person’s pain points are within the context of their company’s goals, before you reach out to them.Remember, Don’t Judge a Book By Its CoverMethodology for pre-qualifying prospects differs from salesperson to salesperson, but one important rule of thumb is to never rule out a prospect if you can come up with even one reason they might buy your product. As you research, hypothesize different scenarios a potential prospect might be facing so you can be prepared to address it. Is there any reason they wouldn’t buy your product or service? Is there any reason they couldn’t be a potential customer?There are some cases where, as someone familiar with your industry, you just know a prospect is not workable. Other times, you can prioritize prospects based on likeliness of converting them into a customer. Assign them with a high/medium/low value and organize your time accordingly. Go with your gut on these, but err on the side of caution — it’s better to send an email and make a call and not have anything come of it than lose a good opportunity. Most of the time you simply cannot know what is going on in a prospect’s head, and the only way to find out is to get him or her on the phone and ask them.In short — don’t judge a book by its cover, but make sure to read and analyze what’s right in front of you, too. Knowing as much as you can about a potential prospect before you reach out can save you time and energy by reaching out to the right prospect, with the right message that is tailored to them, at the right time. We are living in the age of context, and using relevant information to create a unique experience for each prospect will yield a more fruitful start to the sales process.What are some pre-connect researching tips you have when prospecting?Image credit: Rev Dan Catt Originally published Aug 6, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated August 26 2017last_img read more

  • BANT Isn’t Enough Anymore: A New Framework for Qualifying Prospects

    first_img Topics: Sales Qualification A long time ago, IBM revolutionized sales with the introduction of BANT. The mantra is familiar to any salesperson: qualify your prospects based on their Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline.This used to work well.In a world where prospects didn’t know and could not figure out solutions to their own problems via a simple Google search, their favorite blogs, or by posting a question on a social media site, they were reliant on salespeople. Salespeople could quickly identify a problem through a good well-delivered positioning statement, confirm the prospect’s interest in fixing it, qualify on BANT, and schedule a presentation.Today, prospects are much more informed about you and your competitor’s products and services, have identified their own needs, and started to design their own solutions — all before even thinking about talking to a salesperson.While new research from RAIN has debunked the myth buyers are 57% of the way toward a buying decision when they first make contact with a salesperson, reps still have less control over the prospect’s decision making process than ever before. Put simply, BANT isn’t good enough anymore.One sales qualification process we’ve developed internally to best qualify whether a prospect truly could benefit from our products and services is a three-part framework called GPCTBA/C&I that we go through during an exploratory call.Yes, we totally agree this is the longest string of acronyms in sales, ever, but it works. Here’s a breakdown of each part of this sales qualifying process.Free Download: 101 Sales Qualification Questions1. GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline)Ask questions and listen to your prospect:What are your prospect’s goals?What are their company’s goals?Are these goals something your product can help them achieve?What are your prospect’s plans to achieve his or her goals, and the company’s goals?Based on your experience helping hundreds of people in their situation, do you think their plan will get them to their goals? Is there a better way?Does their current plan require a product like yours?What challenges are your prospects facing, or do they anticipate facing, as they implement their plan?Can your product help the prospect overcome or avoid these challenges?What is the timeline for implementing their plan and achieving their goals?Based on your experience and their situation, is that timeline reasonable?GoalsThe goals you want to identify are quantifiable goals your prospect wants or needs to hit. There are really only a few reasons to buy any product: to make more money, save money, or avoid some risk of losing money.Sometimes, companies haven’t defined or quantified these goals very effectively or they haven’t determined how their high-level goals relate to their day-to-day metrics or milestones. This is opportunity number one for salespeople to establish themselves as an advisor by beginning to help prospects reset or quantify their goals.When discussing goals, salespeople can often help prospects think even bigger or more realistically based on their experience helping others in similar situations. For example, at HubSpot, we often help marketers determine lead generation goals based on their company’s sales targets.Many times, we have to revise lead generation goals down based on the marketer’s bandwidth. More often than not, though, we can help a marketer figure out how to more predictably hit their target with less effort or expense than they thought. Some qualification questions you can ask include:What is your top priority in 2013?Do you have specific company goals?Do you have published revenue goals for this upcoming quarter/year?Are there any other company goals that are important?Do you have personal goals that go along with these?PlansNow that you have a sense of what the prospect’s individual and company goals are, you want to find out what their current plans are that they will implement in order to achieve these goals.You want to really nail down whether they tried this before and how it worked. You want to know why they think their plan will succeed or fail, what changes they’ve made along the way in their plan and why, as well as what their backup plans are if their current plans don’t work out.During this process, you want to begin making your own assessment of whether you think their plan will get them to their goal. Listen for excuses such as “the economy was bad last year, we should do better with reaching goals this year” — that might tip you off to the fact that they aren’t really in control and confident that their plan will work without a little intervention from a higher being … or someone like you.You’re also listening for good plans such as “We plan to do X, Y, and Z to grow our revenue by 25%.” Usually, as you poke holes, your prospect will admit that they aren’t 100% certain their plan will work perfectly to help them achieve their goals. At this point, you should get permission to suggest new and better ways that they can get where they need to go. Ask questions such as:What did you do last year? What worked and what didn’t? What are you going to do differently this year?Do you think xyz might make it hard to implement your plan?Do you anticipate that implementing this plan will go smoothly?Do you have the right resources available to implement this plan?Would you like to hear about how other people I’ve worked with have implemented plans like these?Are you open to thinking differently this year about how to reach your goals?ChallengesThe most important moment in any sale is determining whether you can help a prospect overcome their and their company’s challenges; ones they’re dealing with as well as ones they (or you) anticipate.Most companies don’t invest money just to achieve a goal. They’ll prefer to just do more of what they’re already doing, and will resist change until they really need to make change. That usually happens because what they’ve done just isn’t working or they ran into a challenge they simply can’t overcome. The trick is getting prospects to admit that they are stuck.Questions you can use to establish challenges are:Why do you think you’ll be able to eliminate this challenge now, even though you’ve tried in the past and you’re still dealing with it?Do you think you have the internal expertise to deal with these challenges?What are specific hurdles that you think may stop you from reaching your goals?How are you addressing these challenges in your plan?If you realize early enough in the year that this plan isn’t fixing this challenge, how will you shift gears?TimelineIt’s all about timing. When do they need to achieve their goal? When can they implement their plan? When do they need to eliminate this challenge?If your prospect doesn’t have bandwidth to deal with these issues or has more important goals that take precedence, their timeline might be “in the future” and you have to make the decision whether to invest time now or not. Determine whether you can help them at this time or not by asking questions such as:How quickly do these results need to be achieved?When will you begin implementing this plan?Is hitting this goal a priority right now?What else is a priority right now?What other complementary (or competitive) solutions are you evaluating?Do you have bandwidth and resources to implement this plan now?Would you like help thinking through the steps involved in executing this plan, so you can figure out when you should implement each piece?Is it more likely that you will revise the goals, or revise the timeline, if they aren’t realistic?2. BA (Budget and Authority)If you’ve determined that you can help your prospect achieve their goals, implement their plan, overcome their challenges — all within their required timeline — it’s time to start talking about how they’ll make the decision and where the funding is coming from.BudgetIt’s critical to establish what your prospect’s budget is. After all, you can’t help them if they can’t invest in your solution. Assuming you’ve done a good job quantifying their goals and challenges, now’s the time to remind them of the upside and confirm that they agree on the potential ROI.Next, you should find out what else they’re spending money on. If they’re investing elsewhere to solve the same problems and it’s not working, and you have a solution that can do it more effectively and within budget, you can say something like:”We’ve established that your goal is X and that you’re spending Y now to try and achieve X. But it’s not working. In order to hire us, you will need to invest Z. Since Z is pretty similar to Y and you’re more confident that our solution will get you to your goal, do you believe it makes sense to invest Z to hire us?”AuthorityIn a world where prospects are busy, buying committees are formed to find solutions and lower level non-budget-wielding, non-people-managing employees are sent to search the internet for the latest and greatest goal-achieving, challenge-overcoming solutions.As a result, salespeople often don’t get to talk to the economic decision maker until later in the process, if ever. Yes, great salespeople still call higher-ups. But realistic salespeople are willing to try and turn influencers into champions.A mistake many buyers and sellers make is thinking that the right way to sell internally is to make it an internal conversation. Make sure to stay involved by guiding the process with the influencer:Are the goals we’ve discussed important to the economic buyer?Amongst their priorities, where does this fall?Do they have ways they’d like you to overcome challenges?What concerns do you anticipate they’ll raise?How should we go about getting the economic buyer on board with our plan?What if they have concerns you haven’t considered and we haven’t discussed yet? How will you handle those?Does it make sense for us to have this call together? How should we prepare? What role do you play versus what I play?When you do get the decision-maker involved, you should start from the beginning of the process. Don’t assume that the goals you’ve uncovered in their organization based on prior calls are their top priorities. Go over GPCTBA with them and confirm that you understand their world. Emphasize the ROI of your product.3. C&I (Negative Consequences and Positive Implications)What are the negative consequences if your prospect does not achieve their goal? What are the positive implications if your prospect reaches their desired goal? Can your product help the prospect mitigate the risk of not achieving his or her goals and further increase the chances of achieving them?If your product can significantly help them avoid consequences and further aid in achieving even bigger follow-up goals, you’ve got a very strong value proposition. Questions that can help you determine C&I include:What happens if you reach your goals? Does this affect you on a personal level?What happens if you don’t hit the goal? Does this affect you on a personal level?What great things will you do next when you achieve this goal?When you overcome this challenge, what will you guys do next?Do you get bonuses, stand to get promoted, or get more resources if you can achieve this goal? Would you get fired, lose responsibility, or be demoted if you can’t figure this out?Embracing GPCTBA/C&I has helped our sales team spend time wisely, so that they have more time to spend helping more people. We’re on a mission to inspire marketers to make marketing people love. We can’t do that without a lovable sales process, too.Want to learn more? Check out 38 sales questions to quickly identify your customers’ core needs.  Originally published Jun 12, 2018 7:30:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • The Marketer’s Guide to Getting Started With Content Personalization

    first_img Topics: Content personalization has been a hot topic for marketers over the last few years. As Big Data gets bigger, so does the level to which marketers can personalize content. At the same time, consumers have grown to expect getting the answers they seek instantly from their smartphone, tablet, and computer — not just generic answers, but specific, tailored ones. Plugging in a person’s name in an email salutation isn’t enough anymore.Netflix and Amazon are notable brands that have mastered real content personalization. Their custom-built recommendation engines are uncannily accurate. This type of application has undoubtedly led to the creation of thousands, if not millions, of long-term, happy customers. Fortunately, marketers don’t need to build their own personalization technology. It’s built into many of the applications they use today. But for marketers just getting started with content personalization, it can seem overwhelming. There’s so much data that can be used and so many factors to consider. Fear not — below, I’ll break down all of the parts and pieces marketers should consider when creating and launching impactful, tailored marketing that consumers love.There are four major considerations for planning and mapping a personalized inbound marketing experience.1) Channel-Based PersonalizationOn-PageThe Amazon and Netflix examples above represent this channel. Both of these brands provide tailored experiences in real time on their websites. They do this in a dynamic way by examining past behaviors and attributes and concluding which content would be most relevant to deliver. Marketers can use this same strategy to deliver the most prudent calls-to-action and on-page content.There are static ways to deliver a personalized experience on a page, too. If someone converts on a landing page, the following confirmation page could include another offer that is highly aligned or relevant to the one just converted on.Social MediaSocial media is a vastly underutilized mechanism for delivering personalized content. This channel can be tricky because if the content is not personalized enough due to automation, the user will know it and the brand will look spammy. However, with enough profile data, a customized social interaction at the right time can be a powerful marketing tool, and tools like HubSpot’s Social Inbox can be extremely helpful in personalizing responses and delivering real social ROI.EmailEmail is likely the best known and most utilized channel for delivering tailored content. But many marketers tend to overdo the personalization in emails. Don’t fall into this trap. List segmentation and subtle personalization are email best practices. Here are some great examples of email personalization in action.MobileThere is still a lot of innovation happening within this channel. Services and delivery departments are finding text messaging to be an efficient and effective means to deliver personalized content. Many businesses are using dynamic content to create a more personalized mobile website experience. Mobile apps are also a great way to distribute custom content. Apps like Flipboard, for example, have mastered this.2) Persona-Based PersonalizationAttributes and BehaviorsThe level of sophistication in persona development can vary widely across companies. Regardless of the level of sophistication, traditionally developed offline personas need to be redefined using known online attributes and behaviors. These attributes are typically acquired via online form submissions — examples might include revenue, number of employees, industry, etc.Progressive profiling large numbers of attributes can help marketers develop very robust persona profiles, too. The more information gathered, the more granular the personalization can be.As far as behaviors go, it’s important to keep track of the digital body language of website visitors. This information helps in determining which content is most desired and assists in identifying which content and channels likely nurtured leads to customers.All of this information will help in persona development, too. It’s also a way to measure the effectiveness of personalized content.3) Buyer Journey The buyer journey can be defined in many different ways. Below is just one representation. Customizing content across all channels based on a person’s position in the marketing and sales funnel is a critical consideration. When executed properly, it can accelerate the buyer’s journey and delight the consumer.Website VisitorSubscriber Lead Marketing Qualified Lead Sales Qualified Lead Opportunity Customer Former Customer Current and former customers should be provided a different digital experience than a first time visitor or lead. Marrying the stage in the buyer journey with the defined persona to deliver personalized content is a powerful way to deploy marketing that people love.4) DeviceA marketer can get every other aspect of personalization right, but completely miss the mark if the content is not optimized for the correct device. For example, flash video can’t be viewed on an iPad or iPhone. Also, mobile-only websites offer a poor user experience when engaged from a computerThe best solution for delivering a personalized inbound marketing experience regardless of device is responsive design. The device a person chooses to use is an extension of them, and thus, personal. Responsive design ensures content is properly tailored for the consumer.Today’s consumers don’t want a personalized experience, they demand it. Planning for the above can go a long way in helping quench this demand. It’s no longer about delivering content to the masses; it’s about delivering content with context that delights. The brands that get this right today will be the future Fortune 1000 companies of tomorrow. This is a guest post by Chad Pollitt. Chad is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and former army commander; a member of a Forbes Top 100 List, and the director of marketing at DigitalRelevance. His articles have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and websites throughout the world. Image credit: marinedelcastell Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Personalization in Marketing Originally published Sep 12, 2013 6:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

  • How to Edit a Post on Facebook [New Feature]

    first_img Facebook Marketing Originally published Sep 26, 2013 6:05:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: You know when you’re really busy and you haven’t had a chance to update Facebook for a while, so you hammer out a post real fast?And then because you’re really busy, it reads a little something like this:Did you all hear about Goorgle’s encryption news? If not, you should read about it, especially if you’re doing a lot of SEO, crap.Even worse? When you only notice your Goorgle mistake after you’ve gotten like, 20 Likes and 4 comments (two of which are mocking you for saying Goorgle). So now you have two choices: Endure the shame, or delete your post and rewrite it, and lose all that social engagement you’ve racked up.Soon, (or depending on when you’re reading this, now) you won’t have to go through that anymore. Facebook Starts Rolling Out the Ability to Edit PostsFacebook rolled out the ability to edit comments on posts a while back, which was a great feature. However you couldn’t edit the post itself. According to Mashable — and confirmed by Facebook — many Android users now have the ability to edit their Facebook posts. The feature should roll out to web users over the next couple days, as well as remaining Android users who haven’t seen the feature arrive yet. The next iOS update will probably see the update, as well. It doesn’t appear to be a feature on business pages … at least not yet … but the comment editing feature was enabled for business pages, so I’m hopeful.Here’s how the feature works. When you post an update that you want to change, simply find that little gray arrow in the top right corner of the update, like so:Then, you’ll click “Edit,” and be given the opportunity to change the text, like so:When you’re happy with your edits, just click “Done Editing,” and you’re good to go!To prevent people from pulling a huge bait and switch — posting something that will get a ton of engagement and then swapping it with something lame later on — Facebook’s enabling you to see revision history on comments.So no sneakiness, ya hear?Have you seen this feature roll out for you yet?Image credit: owenwbrown Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • How to Add Your Brand’s Colors in PowerPoint Presentations [Quick Tip]

    first_img Topics: Presentations If you’re a marketer who hacks away at design to get your content out the door like I do, this is a post for you.The one aspect of designing that has always been a pain for many marketing pros is matching their design work with the same colors used in their branding.You can download a free template for designing, but unless you can alter the color palette to align with your brand, your content won’t match your overall presence.Free Download: 4 PowerPoint Presentation TemplatesThis post delves into how you can grab your brand colors and use them in your design work in PowerPoint. We’ll discuss how to not only alter colors of your text or shapes used, but also how to recolor an image to better match your brand.How to Change Text or Shape Colors in PowerPointLet’s start by wanting to change the color of your copy or shape to match your brand colors.For example, let’s say you’re trying to customize one of our 50 customizable PowerPoint CTA templates. I’m going to customize one of the basic buttons from slide 13:Now, let’s say I wanted this to match the same yellow as our Inbound Marketing Methodology chart. Here’s what I’ll do.Step 1: Paste in the Colors You Want to GrabIn my example, I’m going to start by inserting the image of the colors I want to grab.Step 2: Extract Your ColorTo change the shape or text to the desired color, I’ll click into the shape or highlight the text. Then, I’ll go to the “Fill” icon in the toolbar and click on “More Colors.” There’s a magnifying glass at the top of the module that appears. I’ll click on it in the box and use it to pick up any color I like.In this case, I’ll grab my desired yellow. Here it is visualized:And voila! The shape is now colored with the brand color of my choice. The same steps apply for changing text color.How to Recolor Images in PowerPointWith that out of the way now, let’s move on to another helpful tip: the steps to recolor images used in a PowerPoint.Say you’ve purchased an image or icon you want to adjust the color of. While you can’t perfectly adjust the color into your brand color, you can change an image hue.This means that while the image won’t automatically convert into your brand color, it can be shaded differently to better match your brand. This is purely a function of how PowerPoint works and how the base colors of your image are imported into PowerPoint.Here’s how this works.Step 1: Insert Image for RecoloringFor this example, I’m going to pull one of the general icons from our collection of 135 free icons, and insert it into PowerPoint.Step 2: Recolor ImageOnce the image is in PowerPoint, double-click on the icon. Then, go to “Recolor” in your navigation, and click a color to change it to. If you’d like to recolor it to a brand color, follow the same steps from above by going to “More Colors.”But, as mentioned, keep in mind that the color won’t come exactly as you’d like, but rather present a shaded version of what you’d like.As a result, you’ll see an image recolored to a shade similar to what you’d like. In my case, I adjusted the black icon house to be a more HubSpotty orange!Now doesn’t that look lovely?Got any PowerPoint quick tips of your own you think are worth sharing? List them in the comments below!Image credit: Capture Queen ™ Originally published Oct 25, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • How Nonprofits Can Easily Get Around Apple’s Ban on In-App Donations

    first_img Topics: Mobile giving has become a hot trend in the last few years, with new platforms popping up regularly and the huge success of text-to-give campaigns during natural disasters. But the perceived high cost of developing an app and lack of time and resources to do so has slowed many small-to-medium-sized organizations’ adoption of a mobile strategy.Apple’s ban of in-app donations through any of its iOS applications in 2010 also put a damper on the mobile giving revolution. Android and Google, meanwhile, have been slightly more open about their mobile giving policies and recently relaunched their mobile donation app called One Today.Though mobile fundraising may seem limited for nonprofits, utilizing mobile still offers plenty of viable avenues for organizations of all sizes to take to boost their donations.A large number of organizations have used the power of mobile to attract thousands of donations, many coming from the Millennial generation, who use their phones more than any other generation for everything, including giving to causes.In a recent Social Good podcast on Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tom Watson of CauseWired pointed out a few “mini trends” in mobile philanthropy:1) Text-to-give fundraisingThis has been very successful for large, national organizations as well as entities fundraising during natural disasters, like those who garnered donations during the recent Typhoon Haiyan.2) Mobile-ready fundraising websitesMany organizations are integrating mobile applications for their endurance events, galas, and auctions. The ease of use and having a lot of people in one place are really beneficial when leveraging apps.A hot trend Watson mentioned — and ArtsKC’s Kate Forristall implemented successfully to raise $15,000 in just one day — is mobile responsive giving platforms that run through your web browser instead of a mobile application. These platforms have several benefits:It’s easy for an organization to set up its branded mobile giving programs online within a single day.Nonprofits can avoid waiting for their donations to go through the phone companies with the easy transfer of funds into organizations’ bank accounts in as short a period as 24 hours.It’s not biased to iPhone or Androids, so any smartphone user is able to access these platforms and make a donation.Most platforms have a small monthly fee to maintain the branded page and process the donations, so your organization can focus on the fundraising, not the nuts and bolts of developing an app.Millennials are much more attracted to giving through their smartphones than through direct mail or in person.Also, using these platforms provides a safe, easy way for younger generations to give.How has your organization adopted a mobile giving strategy? Nonprofit Fundraising Originally published Dec 4, 2013 6:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • How to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile Devices

    first_img Originally published Dec 12, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: One of the (true) stereotypes about inbound marketers is that we’re an analytical bunch. We like quantifiable data and metrics and benchmarks and statistics. We like concrete evidence to support our conclusions.Well, we’ve got a number of stats that inbound marketers simply can’t ignore. For instance:48% of emails are opened on mobile devices69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile89% of email marketers are losing leads and opportunities because they’re not optimizing their emailsLead generation and lead nurturing are two of the top priorities of any email marketer. And the concrete evidence points to a clear conclusion: If you’re not optimizing your emails for mobile, you’re losing a significant amount of opportunities.So, wanna get your email marketing efforts optimized for mobile? That’s what we thought 🙂 Here are some quick tricks to help you start doing so right away.1) Reduce image file sizes.As MDG Advertising relays in this infographic, 94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images.Mobile download speeds have been ramping up each year, but if your images chunky, they’re still going to load more slowly on mobile devices than on desktops — and in mobile, lack of speed kills. Every 1 second delay in loading time results in an average 7% drop in conversions.Source: GoogleYou can optimize your emails by using smaller image files. Services such as FastStone Photo Resizer and JPEGmini and can reduce file size by as much as 80% without reducing the quality of your image. That way, you can capture the reader’s attention with visual content without worrying about whether they’ll bother waiting for the image to actually load.2) Resize images by proportion of screen.Images are worth a thousand words, so here’s a visual example of what happens when images aren’t optimized for mobile:The user experience is terrible, because the image isn’t resized to fit on a mobile screen. Here’s what happens when the image is mobile-optimized:Much better, right? Luckily, it’s easy to make sure your images fit whatever screen size your device is. In your email’s HTML editor, you’ll need to alter the style portion of the code so that your image size is defined by a proportion of the screen, not pixels.Set the width of the image to the proportion of the screen you want it to take up (the example above is set to 80% of the screen width). Then, set the height to “auto” so that it will automatically adjust based on the width. Here’s how the code looks (I’ve highlighted the width property you need to change):3) Increase the size of links and CTA buttons.Fat thumbs or not, it’s definitely harder to be precise with your finger than with a cursor. So make sure you don’t let mobile device users experience a case of the bad touch.According to a recent MIT study, the average size of an adult index finger is 1.6-2 cm, which translates to 45-57 pixels on a mobile device. Here’s a visual of a 57×57 pixel square:For the best user experience, make sure any text links and CTA buttons are taller and wider than this range. In addition, space your links far enough from each other that there isn’t any accidental clicking.4) Create a responsive grid system (in other words, your own template).I’ll give you fair warning on this one: This is for marketers with intermediate coding skills. If you don’t want to create your own template, just skip to #5 below.Think you’re up to the task? Then you can create your own responsive email template using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML.In your email tool’s CSS editor, you will need to create classes for sections in your email template. Each section (up to 12) will correspond to a certain proportion of a device’s viewing screen. This means that whatever width your columns are, they’ll retain their proportions no matter the size of the device screen.After you have created the responsive code in CSS, you can go into your email tool, open up the HTML editor, and create your responsive templates.Confused? Don’t be! Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to set up a responsive grid system. 5) Invest in responsive email templates.Creating your own responsive template may be beyond your particular skill set or bandwidth (or both — I’m not exactly a coding wiz myself). Sometimes, the most economical solution is to just license or buy email templates from the people who do it best.There are a lot of different email tools that come with responsive templates built into the software. In addition, there are many companies that offer well-designed, affordable templates. Here’s a collection of 32 responsive email templates you can use for your business.Technology moves fast, but only 11% of marketers have responded to one of the biggest trends that’s shaping our landscape: the rate of mobile adoption. Don’t lose valuable opportunities over something as simple as unresponsive emails.Get ahead of the pack and optimizing your email marketing for mobile devices with these tips.How are you preparing to optimize your email marketing for mobile devices? Mobile Optimization Don’t forget to share this post! 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