German players celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup.Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s,German players celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup.Rainer Fassbinder’s classic 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun is an allegorical tale about the moral complications and emotional cover-ups that surround Germany’s re-emergence as a strong state after World War II. Set between the war and 1954, the film’s heroine, Maria, thinks she has lost her husband at war, becomes the darling of a victorious American GI, kills him when the husband returns alive from the front, becomes the mistress of a wealthy industrialist as the German economy recovers, inherits his fortune in the 1950s and is set to be reunited with her first husband and about to live a life of luxury when she is suddenly killed in a gas explosion at her home.The explosion is the final scene of the film, and as the credits run one can hear football commentary for the 1954 World Cup final where West Germany won their first championship. ‘Deutshland ist Weltmeister’ screams the delirious commentator-while in the shot we see Maria Braun’s home go up in flames, her short life with all its sad secrets over, a new country reborn which can forget about the sins and complications of the past, rising again on the wings of the Wirtschaftswunder, ‘the German economic miracle’. In Germany, the World Cup is always about much more than just football.Germany first fancied themselves with a shot at the World Cup in 1938. After Adolf Hitler’s Anschluss of Austria excellent Austrian players were incorporated into a ‘Greater Germany’ team (though perhaps the greatest Austrian player of all, Matthias Sindelar, refused to take part in the Hitler-Mannschaft [football team] and went on to commit suicide in 1939). As with other areas of Nazi sports, the German football team had a strong ideological dimension, meant to prove Aryan superiority over inferior races. However, the German team had only managed fourth place in the 1934 World Cup, and were knocked out by minnows Norway in the 1936 Olympics. 1938 was meant to right all this-only for the Germans to draw 1-1 in their opening game against the Swiss in their first game, and then humiliatingly knocked out 4-2 in the replay.advertisementBut the tournament had some solace for fascism: Benito Mussolini’s Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in the final to win their second World Cup on the trot (football was much more important to Mussolini than Hitler, who saw more value in boxing and individual sports).West Germany were barred from taking part in the 1950 World Cup, and the 1954 edition was the first time the national anthem was played at an international sporting event since the War (though the stanza about ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ was cut). In the final, the German team were expected to be defeated by the all-conquering Hungarian team lead by the greatest player of his generation, Ferenc Puskas; the Hungarians had already thrashed them in a qualifying round. But after the Hungarians streamed ahead 2-0, the Germans pulled the game back to 2-2. They had no stars like Puskas but the weather was on their side: it was raining heavily and the Germans had the advantage, thanks to a new type of boot with innovative screw-in studs designed by a little-known company called Adidas. The Germans scored again after the break, and Puskas had a late equaliser ruled out for off-side. In Germany the match became known as the ‘Miracle of Bern’, the triumphant sporting symbol of Germany’s ‘Economic Miracle’. West Germany’s next World Cup Final win came in 1974 when they again managed to get the better of the greatest player of his generation, Holland’s Johan Cruyff, with a tenacious team display. But the most important political game in the 1974 World Cup had actually come in the first round, when West Germany played East Germany in a showdown between Communism and Capitalism. The tournament was overshadowed by the Cold War: the USSR had dropped out after refusing to take part in a match against a Chile where the US-allied General Augusto Pinochet had just ousted the Soviet sympathetic Salvador Allende in a coup d’etat; there was intense security as Germany was terrorised by the ultra left group Rote Armee Fraktion. The West Germans were clear favourites in their game: they were European Champions, with a core from the European Champions Cup-winning team of Bayern Munich, captained by Franz Beckenbauer. But the East Germans managed to frustrate their Western ‘brothers’ and won the match 1-0. Both teams had qualified for the next round by that point-but it was still a great moment for East German pride.advertisementThroughout the Cold War decades the West German team was one of the few ways Germans could confidently express their patriotism without feeling WW II awkwardness, and with Germany essentially barred from the geopolitical scene it became not so much a continuation of politics as its substitution. The West German team that evolved towards the end of the Cold War was everything Germany could never dare to be in diplomacy: Teutonic, powerful, self-confident. They peaked in 1990, in time with the West’s victory in the Cold War, with the man-machine Lothar Matthaus leading a Valkyrian team to beat Argentina: the losers again featuring the world’s greatest player, Diego Maradona, who like Cruyff and Puskas before him, could not conjure a victory against the less spectacular but more united Germans.1990 was the high water mark of West German postwar success. After the two Germanies were reunited, both the economy and the national team were expected to become superpowers: an idea that made many surrounding countries uncomfortable. Were we about to see a re-emergence of bad, bullying Germany? Instead the German economy slowly slumped, dragged down by costs of paying for the East and a burdensome welfare state. The team dwindled too: they reached the 2002 World Cup Final by luck and were easily blown away by Brazil. It was as if a reunified Germany was almost scared of being too successful and overbearing.Slowly, since 2004, a new German team has been reemerging. Except it’s a different type of Germany, not Aryan at all but made good with immigrants like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose. By winning the 2014 World Cup with such a globalised team, the demons of 1938 have been put to bed (though some things never change: again a unified German team beat the world’s best player, Lionel Messi). This globalised Germany is one which the nation can back with no remnants of Nazi hangups, it becomes acceptable to be patriotic as the patria (homeland) becomes less German. And at the same time Germany has re-emerged as the superpower of Europe. Except it’s no longer a case of other countries wanting to hold them back: “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,” Radek Sikorski said in 2011, as he hoped for Germany to be more assertive in the Eurozone crisis, and as he no doubt hopes now that Berlin will stand up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Germany is reclaiming its geopolitical status, but that will mean letting go of some of the benefits of being diplomatically neutral- such as being able to do business with everyone and never thinking of the geopolitical responsibilities (the German business lobby is the most involved in Putin’s Russia, is among his greatest supporters and has been vocal in stopping Berlin from sanctioning the Kremlin). Let’s just hope German Chancellor Angela Merkel is as good at her job as its football team’s coach Joachim Low is at his.advertisement
Q: What are your five favorite blogs? (Other than the HubSpot blog!) June 2006 keyword analysis A: I’ve written about 1,800 posts over the last 5 years so it’s a bit tricky to pick just one. Online Marketing Blog A few specific posts that are top of mind: Q: Blogging and social media may work for some technology-focused businesses, but what about businesses in more traditional industries? Do blogging and social media work for everybody? . The man who currently owns that spot is Lee Odden, a successful online marketer who, in addition to running a his popular blog, is CEO of in the top spot. A: I started blogging for . in The web has become very social and will continue to do so through technology that enables content sharing and connections. Search engine optimization is at the core of what we do in all our practice areas. Blogging and social media marketing efforts affect SEO and vice versa. Direct Marketing vs Social Media Marketing Make no mistake, measuring return on investment for marketing channels that are not direct response takes some creativity. But it is there and definitely measurable. to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Q. What impact has your blog had on your business? Q: What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve ever written? Why? That’s valuable real estate — over 700 searches per month, according to our . Lee was kind enough to spend some time earlier this week answering questions about his blog and online marketing. Q: How long have you been blogging? A: Blogging, SEO and social media are all intimately intertwined. I don’t see them as completely different marketing channels, although there are distinct metrics for each. Dec 2003 What’s important is the mix that will best help the client reach their goals. Marketing on the social web is about helping customers reach their goals. Consumer information discovery increasingly involves more than just search, so involving blogs and social media to some extent is almost always a part of every client engagement. If we can see opportunities for our clients to reach and engage their customers in specific areas of the web AND it can be measured, then we’ll make recommendations accordingly. I like a lot of the Top Rank Online Marketing because the majority contain great information and many are entertaining. A: The first thing to do is “listen” and pay attention to what others are blogging and doing within social communities. It’s simply not effective to publish and promote content via blogging and social media without being a participant. Get involved by subscribing to other blogs on and off topic to get an idea of voice, frequency and etiquette. Join social networks and connect with other like-minded people, share opinions, content and interact. Then you’ll have a foundation for going forward with your own blogging and social media marketing efforts. TopRankMarketing.com I’d also recommend using an outside consultant that clearly practices what they preach. Getting advice from an experienced blogger/social media participant can save time, embarrassment and money. That’s a big part of what TopRank does in our blog and social media marketing practices: serve as a guide to help clients help themselves. If you search Google for “marketing blog” chances are you’ll find A: Measuring the return on any marketing investment starts with setting goals. Knowing the audience, your objectives, a strategy and mix of tactics for reaching those objectives all lead up to the measurement piece. Internet marketing offers amazing metrics, far beyond what many offline marketing and advertising expenditures return. Webinar: Blogging for Business Digital PR and SEO: Social Media Monitoring A. Online Marketing Blog has been instrumental in growing our business. It generates daily new business inquiries, weekly inquiries from the media as well as candidates and marketing partners. Over 5 years we’ve posted over 2,000 articles on internet marketing topics and have been recognized in many ways for that besides growing revenue, which of course, is what pays the bills. A: We manage a list of over 500 blogs on our Q. In addition to advising companies on business blogging, your company offers search engine and social media marketing services. That’s a lot of different things. Do you advise clients to get involved in all of them? Is there one channel that’s best? Or most important? so I have a lot more than 5 favorite blogs. Originally published Jan 16, 2009 8:52:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 A: In terms of traffic, “25 Tips for Marketing Your Blog” posted in We identify expectations, business needs and reconcile those with goals for a marketing program. SEO is easier to measure in terms of a direct association with revenue. Blogs can be measured in that way too. Getting ROI measurements out of social media and blogging efforts most often comes from an association with other known channels. For example, if a blog ranks well in search engines, then the cost per click can be identified for those keyword rankings and a valuation can be calculated. If social media or a blog post result in media coverage, then a value for what it would cost to hire a PR firm to earn that coverage can be associated as a return on the social media or blogging effort. Content Distribution Networks A: Great question. Running our business in terms of day-to-day operation has little to do with our blog. In terms of marketing and building thought leadership, it would certainly be possible to have a successful marketing program without a blog. It would involve other social media communication channels that allow two-way communications, frequent updates, engaging information sharing, etc – many features of a blog. However, with all that functionality contained right within blog software, I’d prefer to use blog software as a preferred way to create and promote content that inspires the kinds of conversations leading to new business, improved credibility and confidence in the TopRankMarketing.com brand. Q: Could you run your business without your blog? A: Within our organization my functional responsibilities involve our organization’s business strategy, business development, some training and marketing. Most operational duties are handled by my business partner, Susan Misukanis. The marketing portion of my job is to be the public face of our organization speaking at about 15 events a year and being social on the web via TopRankBlog.com, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack BIGLIST Q: What do you tell your clients when they ask about the ROI of social media, blogging or SEO investments? Q: What’s the most popular blog post you’ve ever written? A: Sometimes blogging and social media do not make sense for reasons other than a specific industry mis-match. If a company doesn’t have the resources or appreciation/understanding of how blogging and social media work – tech biz or not – it shouldn’t bother. At least not until they make efforts to get up to speed with internal staff and/or via outside resources. Back to your question. Wherever there are people talking online about a topic, there is an opportunity for blogging and social media. Industry is irrelevant to predicting the viability of incorporating social media into an organization’s marketing and communication efforts. It’s the customers that matter and if customers or potential customers are involved with and influenced by blogs and social media, then companies that serve those customers should participate. If not, their competition will. Q: When you’re not blogging, you run an internet marketing business — can you describe what you do? Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Download the free webinar Q: What advice would you give to a small business owner or professional marketer who’s just starting out with blogging and social media? has been the most popular. interviews we’ve done with SEO and social media people
Topics: Originally published Nov 19, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Salesforce.com Salesforce’s homepage includes three distinct calls to action above the fold: one that attracts people to their conference, another that gets people to a landing page, and yet another that places people in front of a demo of the software (a great example of secondary and tertiary offers.) One of the remarkable things about Salesforce’s calls to action is the simplicity of their design. Each one is a simple rectangular button with rounded corners, red outlines and simple text – and that’s it. This post contains older information, but has been left up for historical reasons. For more up-to-date information, please see our Lead Generation Hub . Calls to action are the gateways that your visitors must click through to become leads. If your calls to action aren’t optimized and attractive to your visitors, they are less likely to complete the actions you want them to on your website. Creating a great call to action isn’t simple of course, as it takes work to figure out exactly what to offer and how to portray that offer on your pages.As you begin to think about how to handle creating calls to action for your website, keep in mind that simple calls to action are often the most effective . By keeping it simple, you should be able to brainstorm and design some calls to action that really work.Whenever I start any creative project, I typically look at what other people have done for inspiration and ideas. If you’re stuck and don’t know how to portray your offer to your visitors, have a look at some of the examples below. These companies have nailed it down to a science; their calls to action convert their visitors into leads (or customers) and you should use their ideas to your advantage. Mozilla What I like about Mozilla’s call to action is that it gives a clear indicator of what a user can expect when they click on the button.The offer is laid out in front of the visitor; They get 1 Firefox download and it’s free. Clear. Easy. Attractive. The other remarkable thing about Mozilla’s call to action button is its size. It’s BIG! It sticks out on the page and draws your attention. Basecamp – 37 Signals The calls to action that 37 Signals feature are a little over the top. Check out the homepage of their Basecamp product and you’ll see what I mean. Basically the entire page, or at least everything above the fold, is a call to action. Their text is hierarchical, they employ lots of attractive images (of their products), and they top it all off with a big, fat button for the user to click on. Notice that on the button there is some text that indicates what the users can expect: a free, 30-day trial of the product and a super fast sign-up process. Remember, an effective call to action is always visible, attractive, and matched to a compelling offer. Regardless of how much time you decide to spend designing calls to action, always install the end product above the fold so that you can convert more of your visitors into leads and customers. Creating effective calls to action are a crucial piece to achieving inbound marketing success and often the most overlooked. What calls to action do you think are the most effective? What are your biggest questions about creating calls to action? Tell us in the comments! Commercial IQ The nice thing about Commercial IQ’s call to action is that it’s action oriented and attracts the visitor’s eye. They also follow other call to action best practices by placing the button up high on a page on a background that contrasts with the color of the button. The user can see the button really easily and they know exactly what to do. Calls to Action Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack BarackObama.com Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to admire the marketing effort of the Barack Obama team during the 2008 campaign, most notably their inbound marketing efforts. Check out their calls to action. First of all, there are 3 above the fold (visible) on the front page. One of them rotates which incorporates 2 more into the mix. All the calls to action are well-optimized, too. They begin with a verb, are action-oriented, and each of them are simple and concise. You know what you’re getting and what to expect when you click on any button on BarakObama.com
marketing analytics . You may come across an app that lets you organize your analytics in a way that helps you get more out of measuring your marketing. The gallery is chock full of tools to help Analytics users understand their web stats. It is currently divided into 12 categories, including business intelligence, campaign management, content management, data collection, e-commerce, , mobile solutions, phone call tracking, reporting tools, Originally published May 5, 2010 12:57:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 they should be Google’s Analytics Application Gallery Learn how to measure the effectiveness of Your web site. If you’re a Google Analytics user, take some time to browse the new gallery and check out Google’s Topics: If you’re a marketer, web analytics (different from Today’s launch of will hopefully make it a little easier. The new gallery offers applications that extend Google Analytics’ reach deeper into specific areas like eCommerce and content management. search optimization ). Analytics help you determine how each of your initiatives are performing and can indicate whether you need to change or improve upon your existing programs. In a nutshell, web and marketing analytics ) are a significant part of your marketing programs (and if they aren’t, Google Analytics Have you taken a look around the gallery? Are any of the offered tools useful to you? Share some of your favorite Google Analytics apps in the comments below. help you determine the ROI of your marketing efforts. Why is this helpful for marketers? Editor’s Picks email marketing Download the free video Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Trying to get more out of your Google Analytics? , site audit, and widgets & gadgets. Currently, there are 38 available apps, though this number will continue to rise as developers submit their new apps to the gallery. to learn how to measure the effectiveness of your web site. Video: Marketing Analytics 101: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Website
What other advice would you suggest when creating successful email offers? Learn how to generate more inbound leads using SEO, blogging, and social media. The title has to be succinct, but also crystal clear. Inbound Lead Generation Kit How many spam emails do you open that say something like “Free Yacht Just Click Here”? Probably very few, but I bet the email saying “Getaway in the South of Spain” grabs your attention quite a bit more often ( Jetsetter does a great job of this). 2) A Solid Offer (3 minutes) We recently found out that A common saying at HubSpot is that a blog article takes an hour to write, 40 minutes of which is dedicated to the title because without that, you’ve got nothing. Spend the most time of your 10 minutes around your sexy, clear title. 1) Witty Title (4 minutes) 4) Send It and Forget It (1 minute) Here is a great example and proof that the title caused me to open it: Make it personal and make it count. The more customization in the email itself the better, greeting by first name if your program allows is excellent. If not, don’t sweat it, focus more on what they find within the email body itself. When you get to the body trim the fluff and give just enough information for someone to know what they are getting. An example is one HubSpot launched last week for one of our webinars around lead generation; simple, sweet and letting you know what you will be spending 45 minutes on: sex sells on Facebook If you have the right methodology, creating a killer email offer can become less painful. Try Following the steps below the next time you sit down to create an e-mail offer. for tips and tricks to drive more leads and business to your site. If you want a prospect to open your email then it all comes down to the right title. Originally published May 20, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Photo Credit: This simple change can be incredibly effective, a recent customer of mine had previously never used landing pages or content on their site for simple email marketing. By taking an old white paper that was buried on the site and distributing it to a small portion of their database a lead goal of 3 was achieved in 2 minutes with nearly 30 leads coming in over 24 hours. Their lead goal was 50 a month and simplicity got them 30 in one day. sindesign 3) Make It Easy To Convert (2 minutes) , well we probably could have guessed that, but it is important to make your e-mail titles sexy and compelling. Download the free kit Topics: Opening the email to find an applicable offer inside should be said without being said, the key here is to make sure your e-mail links to a landing page that includes a few key elements. The most important element is a clear path for people to follow in regards to what the offer is, how it will benefit them, and what YOU want them to do, such as filling out a lead conversion form. Ron Popeil, the infamous infomercial rotisserie king, knew the way, you really do have to set it and forget it. It’s gone, so stop thinking about what you could have done differently or perhaps better. Instead, take a minute, step back and think about what you can do to improve future offers. Email Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Oh, hi there. Have you heard the news about video? It’s becoming really important for marketers to use. Imperative, even. Perhaps mandatory.”Sure,” you must be thinking. “And in other news, the sky is blue.”Okay, we get it. You know how important video is. That much is clear. In fact, 94% of marketers plan to add either YouTube or Facebook video to their content distribution efforts in the next 12 months. And that’s great — but we have a question. What makes a video viral?According to Dictionary.com, to go viral means to become “very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the internet.” And when executed well, that virality can last for a while — in fact, I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite ways to reminisce about my childhood is to ask my peers, “Remember that old jingle that went like … ?”Free Guide: How to Create Video to Increase Engagement So not only have we hand-picked our favorite viral marketing videos below — we’ve also explained what we believe makes them so effective. And given the aforementioned ability of viral videos to maintain evergreen popularity, you’ll notice that not all of them are terribly recent. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?6 Viral Video Marketing Examples1) Dallas Zoo & Bob Hagh: Breakdancing GorillaThe VideoWe start off with a bit of an unusual example. It all started when Dallas Zoo Primate Supervisor Ashley Orr captured this video of Zola, a footloose and fancy-free gorilla splashing around and dancing in a kiddie pool. Check it out: Why It WorksLet’s face it: Generally, what goes on in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. It’s a taboo topic — but it’s one that everyone experiences, and one that Poo~Pourri approaches and communicates with bravado.This brand’s products were created to solve a problem that people typically don’t like to discuss publicly, but still needs to be resolved. So Poo~Pourri created video content that says, “Hey, we’ll address and talk about it, so you don’t have to.”What are some of the discomforts/uncomfortable topics around the problem that your product seeks to resolve? Start a conversation about them — the one that your customer wants to have, but is too embarrassed to do so.And guess what? It doesn’t have to pertain to bodily functions. It can also be about bigger grievances, like wanting to quit your job. That’s the approach that HubSpot has taken with its Summer Startup Competition, for which we created the video below. The opening line? An unabashed declaration of, “Quit your job.”So, there you have it. From tear-jerking to hilarious, these viral videos illustrate the endless possibilities of how your brand can create similar content — the kind that could keep people talking about it far down the road.What are your favorite viral video marketing examples? Let us know in the comments.Want more tips for creating video content? Check out this data on the state of video marketing.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Originally published Jul 7, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 Within less than a week, the video was picked up by the likes of CNN, Maxim, and ABC, to name a few — just have a look at the search results for “dancing gorilla maniac.”Why It WorksHow many times have you watched a video and thought, “This reminds me of … “? That’s precisely what Hagh did here — took a video that was already cute, and added something simple to make it even more shareable.After Hagh’s “enhanced” version of the gorilla video went viral, I resolved to start observing those fleeting moments when I think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if … ?” And while there’s no guarantee that acting on those thoughts would have viral results — and we wouldn’t recommend investing a ton of time in something that isn’t likely to pay off — Hagh’s experience makes us say, “You never know.”So start paying attention to what you normally think of as silly ideas, and if there’s a low-effort opportunity to act on them, do so — but don’t just do it once, and pay attention each time, analyzing any metrics that you’re able to pull around performance. See who responds to each experiment and how, and it could inform your video marketing strategy.2) Dollar Shave Club: “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”The VideoThe video below is over five years old, and yet, out of all of Dollar Shave Club’s YouTube videos — of which there are more than 50 — it remains the brand’s most popular, with over 24 million views. “Even nanophysicists need to have a little fun,” the video’s description reads, explaining that, to make the video, “IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules … all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times.” Today, it holds the Guinness World Records™ title for the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film.Why It WorksRe-read the first part of the video’s description. “Even nanophysicists need to have a little fun.” Replace that job title with any other, and depending on your industry, it could apply to your work, as well. All marketers deserve to have a little fun. The question is, “How?”It presents another opportunity to start paying closer attention to those “Wouldn’t it be cool if … ?” thoughts, and thinking about how you can actually act upon them to create remarkable content. That’s especially important in B2B marketing, where creatively communicating your product or service in an engaging way is a reported challenge.So, we’ll say it again: Write down your ideas for cool things to do, and present them at your next marketing conversation with a plan for implementing them.P.S. Want to see how this film was made? Check out that bonus footage here.4) TrueMoveH: “Giving”The VideoTrueMoveH, a mobile communication provider in Thailand, triggered leaky eyeballs everywhere when it published this video in 2013. To date, it has over 20 million views and continues to be the brand’s most popular YouTube video. Video Marketing Topics: Why It WorksThis example is an interesting case of co-marketing. Tripp and Tyler made the video in partnership with Zoom, a video conferencing provider — but Zoom isn’t mentioned until the end, when the story being told in the video is largely over. It’s as if the video says, “Ha ha, don’t you hate it when that happens? Here’s a company that can provide a solution,” and then quietly exits.What are some of the biggest annoyances your customers or personas have to deal with? Do they align with the problems that your product or service is designed to solve? If the answer is “no,” then, well … you have some work to do.But if the answer is “yes,” find the humor in those problems. They say that “art imitates life,” so don’t be afraid to act it out, and use these common frustrations to create engaging content.6) Poo~Pourri: “Imagine Where You Can GO”The VideoPoo~Pourri, the maker of a unique bathroom spray, is known for its vast array of viral videos. And while we’re a bit too bashful to share its most popular one on here, here’s another one — which has earned over 13 million views — that’ll give you a general idea of what the brand is all about. I added some music to this. pic.twitter.com/UwjhTKpaeu— Bob Hagh (@BobHagh) June 22, 2017 But as if that wasn’t already fun enough to watch, Star-Telegram Video Producer Bob Hagh noticed that the gorilla’s “choreography” bore a striking resemblance to a routine from the movie Flashdance, which was performed to the song “Maniac.” Seeing an opportunity for a quick laugh, Hagh dubbed the dancing gorilla video with the same track. We’re not crying. You’re crying.Why It WorksLet’s think about some of the ads that have given us “all the feels,” as the kids would say, like Budweiser’s 2014 “Puppy Love” Super Bowl ad which, in January 2016, Inc. called “the All-Time Most Popular Super Bowl Ad.” They’re popular, and people continue to talk about them long after they’ve aired. That’s because they invoke empathy — and that can highly influence buying decisions, especially when there’s a story involved.This video tells a story. It follows the tale of a man who was unequivocally generous throughout his life and, in the end, repaid when it mattered most. The best part: Not once throughout the story is the brand mentioned. In fact, it isn’t until the end that TrueMoveH’s general business category — communication — arises.Start with your industry. Then, think of a story you want to tell — any story at all, as long as it invokes empathy. Then, figure out how that story ties back to what your brand does, and use it to create video content.5) Tripp and Tyler & Zoom: “A Conference Call in Real Life”The VideoThen, there’s the flip side of empathy — the kind that takes some of life’s biggest annoyances and applies humor to them. That’s exactly what podcast hosts Tripp and Tyler did in the video below, to illustrate what a conference call would look like if it played out in real life. Why It WorksThere’s something to be said for putting a face to a brand — in this case, it’s Dollar Shave Club’s founder, Michael Dubin. Employees can have up to 10X as many followers on social media as the companies they work for, and content shared by them receives as much as 8X the engagement. In other words, viewers like it when the people behind a brand advocate for it.That’s exactly what this video does — and following its success, Dubin hasn’t disappeared into the shadows, and to this day, continues to personally appear in the vast majority of Dollar Shave Club’s videos.We get it. Founders and executives are busy. Where the heck are they supposed to find the time to appear in all of these marketing videos? To us, the answer is: They make the time. By publicly making that investment in their respective brands’ content, an executive sends the message that she still believes in her brand, and that she hasn’t let its success change her character. It’s a unique form of thought leadership, but if Dollar Shave Club’s growth and popularity is any indication — it works.3) IBM: “A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie”The VideoHere’s another video that you can file under: “Oldie, but goodie.” Sure, this marketing video falls within the B2B sector to advertise IBM’s data storage services — but similar to the very B2C brand Dollar Shave Club, the example below remains its most popular video on YouTube, with over six million views. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Earlier this week, you determined what organic search keywords and referring sites Finally, figure out which of your inbound links or sites that link to you frequently could ask to link to your new page. While on-page optimization and a good internal linking system are helpful to having a quality page that ranks, ultimately Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , let’s develop a plan for recovering your search traffic. You first need to select a page from your existing website to optimize for one of your fallen words, or create a new page on your site. It’s best to create a new page if you can – Adding pages to your site is crucial to increasing your search rankings, and it can make it easier to start fresh if your other pages are already ranking and getting traffic. Don’t forget that if you have a blog on your website, a blog entry could fulfill all of these items – Attractive, interesting content that is well optimized for search and inbound links. search engine strategy and guidelines Also think about your page content, because it will both help this page rank well, and give your viewers something interesting and useful to read once they’ve arrived on this page, including a call to action to one of your landing pages or offers that can bring in your lead. Photo Credit: to your page to make it rank well. Having some really great and novel content on the page that people will want to link to helps a lot here – It’s always easier to get people to link into your site if they like what you have to say. Tell us your story of your best-optimized page. How you got it to rank in the comments? For the last step that’s directly on your website, think about the other pages on your site that could link into this page. Depending on your phrase, they might be product pages, your homepage, or other particular pages on your site. Add links on those pages with the link text of your crucial keyword, otherwise this page will be like an isolated island that no one can get to. Originally published Feb 2, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: alwaysmnky First Recovering Search Traffic Plan For the keywords where your search traffic has declined, let’s create new a new page on your website optimized around each word. For tips on how to optimize a page well, there’s plenty of content available on to make sure that you hit on your website. The major things to think about are simple though: Your page title, page address, the H1 headline on the page, and the meta description for your page. Make sure that they are all around the one keyword that you’re optimizing this page for, or one or two close variations off of that word (like a plural form). Measuring SEO you’ll need inbound links
If you’re new to she could offer as a free download on Ethical Impact’s website. With a landing page, anonymous website visitors could drop their contact information in exchange for a relevant educational offer provided by Ethical Impact. inbound marketing educational resources , she learned blogging best practices. free HubSpot trial Ethical Impact Marketing Takeaway Adam Enbar Originally published Mar 4, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Kathryn had been blogging for years on WordPress but wasn’t seeing any business results. Using her Gaining the Knowledge to Make Use of the Tools Now that she had the offer available, she needed to send some traffic to the landing page. To do this, she added a call-to-action button on her homepage and did an email campaign to drive more visitors to the landing page. , she moved her existing blog articles over to HubSpot and started writing new articles automatically optimized for her best keywords. Using the Kathryn said, HubSpot trial , it may seem daunting to transform your marketing practices. Where do you start? How soon can you see results? I had a chance to chat with Kathryn Alexander of Ethical Impact, a recent HubSpot customer who used the While she had tried a variety of tools, what she needed was the knowledge of inbound marketing best practices and how to use tools like blogs and landing pages to her benefit. Step 2: Create a Landing Page Kathryn had an idea for a 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: is a small business providing strategic planning, consulting, auditing, and certification for businesses implementing sustainable business practices. Kathryn, the company’s owner and founder, was looking for a way to simply deliver results for her business. She was not generating leads through her website and didn’t know how to make the transition from the traditional marketing methods she had been doing for years. A Small Business Looking for Results Results: 16% Conversion Rate and 12 New Leads! By sending traffic to a landing page with an educational offer, Ethical Impact was able to generate 12 new leads in less than a month! On top of that, Kathryn saw a 76% improvement in their web traffic ranking, showing Ethical Impact was growing both traffic and leads. Since then, Kathryn has continued to blog, create new landing pages and offers and capture even more inbound leads! Step 1: Optimize the Blog whitepaper Step 3: Add a Call-to-Action it was figuring out what to do and making the transition from outbound to inbound marketing. So, don’t hesitate – start blogging and creating landing pages and promoting them on your website. Ethical Impact wasn’t generating leads through their website before and in fewer than 30 days she was able to turn that around and get the website to work for her! available to HubSpot customers and trialers, along with the great help of her inbound marketing specialist, to achieve success in fewer than 30 days. Blog Optimization It’s not accomplishing these marketing goals that’s difficult,
While search engine optimization is one of the core elements of inbound marketing, not enough businesses are incorporating an SEO strategy into their marketing efforts.It’s understandable — SEO can seem complicated if you’ve never focused on it. To help you get a handle on it, we’ve aggregated some helpful visual aids so you can start to understand how SEO can be helpful in your business’ marketing strategy.15 Educational SEO Diagrams1. Cycle of Social & SEO by TopRank Online Marketing2. Google’s Collateral Damage by SEOBook and Jess.net (click to enlarge)3. SEO Diagram by MentorMate4. SEO Success Pyramid by SmallBusinessSEM.com5. The SEO Process Chart by SEOBook6. Link Building 101 by ProspectMX (click to enlarge)7. The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors by Search Engine Land (click to enlarge)8. The SEO Flow Chart by SEOBook9. On-Page Optimization and Link Acquisition by SEOmoz 10. SEO Tactics by Response Mine Interactive (click to enlarge)11. Link-Building Risk vs. Reward by Conversation Marketing (click to enlarge)12. SEO Process by Digital Clarity Media13. The SEO Hierarchy of Needs by Bruce Clay, Inc.14. SEO ROI From Link Building Tactics by SEOmoz15. Search Engine Marketing Process by Komarketing AssociatesWhich educational search engine optimization chart/diagram do you like the most? Have any others to share? SEO Originally published Aug 25, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 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
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 Social Media Analytics Originally published Sep 14, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 This week, the media research firm Nielsen released its Q3 report on the state of social media. Unsurprisingly, social network usage is up, and the findings showed that nearly 80% of US internet users spend time on blogs and sites like Facebook and Twitter.Here were 6 of the most interesting facts from the report and what each means for marketers as they look ahead to Q4.1. 37% of consumers access their social media networks through their phone. (Tweet This Stat!)As a marketer, this means that any landing pages, blog posts, or ebooks you link to on Facebook or Twitter accounts should be optimized for mobile devices. It could mean the difference between a new lead and a lost opportunity.2. During May 2011, over 31 million people in the U.S. watched video content on social networks and blogs.(Tweet This Stat!)Providing a rich media experience for your company can increase engagement on your website. Video content is a great way to bolster your inbound marketing efforts.3. Tumblr nearly tripled its unique US audience over the last year.(Tweet This Stat!)As a marketer, it’s important to keep your eyes open to new online tools and forms of media and determine if you can use them to deliver your message. In May alone, Tumblr generated over 21,000 messages and links a day to the site. The amount of traffic you could leverage from a new medium like Tumblr should never be overlooked.4. 56% of mobile users most value the GPS capabilities of their smartphone.(Tweet This Stat!)In today’s world, geo-marketing is a powerful opportunity that both small and medium-sized businesses can leverage. Leveraging location-based applications and social media platforms can be a great way to engage with and capture a mobile audience of prospects.5. 53% of active social networkers follow a brand.(Tweet This Stat!)As a marketer, it’s important to engage with your users in social media, and make sure you’re providing them with valuable content. These active social networkers don’t just follow brands. According to the report, they’re also 60% more likely to write reviews about brands’ products or services as well.6. In May, internet users spent more time on Facebook than Yahoo, Google, AOL, and MSN combined.(Tweet This Stat!)With 53.5 billion minutes spent on Facebook, the site continues to prove the value of being “Liked.” While Google and other search engine rankings are extremely crucial for a company to get found, Facebook and other social media sites are also as important for companies to engage with their customers as well as prospects who can potentially be converted into sales.have you come across any other interesting facts from the report you think marketers should be aware of? Let us know!
Originally published Feb 22, 2013 8:30:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Marketing Advice 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: When we started HubSpot, we set out to transform the way the world does marketing. We believed then, and still believe now, that the marketing playbook is broken and that reinventing the playbook presents a great opportunity. The approach that will win the hearts and minds of customers leverages content and context to create marketing that intersects with a customer’s lifestyle, needs, and interests. By helping companies replace interruptive marketing across outdated channels with a more simple, measurable, and lovable mindset and methodology, we’re helping our customers reap the benefits of the new playbook we affectionately call inbound marketing.We have big ambitions for ourselves and for our customers. We believe that we have a unique opportunity to be a once in a generation company, and that we are fundamentally transforming how marketing is done around the world. As a result, it’s important to reflect on the prior year to see how we’re doing toward making our vision a reality. 2012 was a great year for HubSpot, but it was an even better year for our customers: after twelve months of using HubSpot, 92% of customers increased their traffic, and 93% saw an increase in leads. We’re proud that our customers and partners are benefiting from the power of inbound marketing, and we’re humbled to be a part of their success.Below we have summarized what we believe were some of HubSpot’s key achievements in 2012, along with a SlideShare that delves a little deeper into the details of what we experienced last year. HubSpot 2012 Annual Report from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing SoftwareHubSpot Growth & Key MilestonesIn 2012, the company experienced significant growth in revenue, people, and customers. But the growth that gets us excited to come to work every day is the growth our customers experience. 8,440 customers — 2,749 of whom signed up with HubSpot in 2012 — benefit daily from the intersection of software, services, and support our team provides. 92% of HubSpot customers saw an increase in traffic, 93% saw an increase in leads, and 38% of our customers doubled their lead flow in the first twelve months. The success of our customers and partners is truly remarkable, and we’re honored to be a part of it.Dan Moyle of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage captured inbound marketing as its core when he said: “we are much more purposeful and focused when it comes to our marketing. We now measure traffic and conversions, we test everything, and we know that traditional ‘spray and pay’ shout advertising simply doesn’t work for us.” Sonia Pelia of Thermo Fisher Scientific noted that the ease and simplicity of having all of your marketing and analytics on one platform makes her team’s life significantly easier, while Concentric Marketing in the UK quadrupled their retainer-based income as a Gold HubSpot Partner. We continue to be inspired by our customers and excited by the opportunity to make inbound marketing easier, more powerful, and more effective for thousands of companies worldwide.Another exciting milestone we marked in 2012 was our mezzanine round of financing, which brought $35 million in growth capital from a number of highly respected large institutional investors. These investors join a marquis investor team that includes Google Ventures, Salesforce, General Catalyst, Matrix, Scale, and Sequoia. We believe you’re defined by the company you keep, and we’re honored to have investment partners with all-star track records not just as investors, but also as innovators. With the most recent funding, we honed our focus on operating as a public company and hit the gas on growth. Our plans for the funds included investing aggressively in software development and product improvements, recruiting and training the world’s best inbound marketing and software talent, opening up to global markets, and generally expanding the business.Although HubSpot is a private company, we value transparency. We believe our entire community — customers, employees, partners, investors, and fans — benefit from knowing the problems we are tackling, the challenges we have overcome, and the opportunities we’re pursuing for continued growth. Consistent with our belief in transparency, we release our revenue numbers each year. In 2012, HubSpot’s revenues grew to $52.5 million, an 82% increase over 2011. In addition to making our investors happy, this number is a wonderful indicator of the power of inbound marketing. We believe this is just the beginning, and that 2013 will continue to demonstrate significant growth globally.Speaking of global, 2012 also marked the announcement of our European headquarters in Ireland. By year’s end, we hired and trained more than a dozen Dublin-based employees and sent many of our top sales leaders and consultants to spread the love for inbound marketing in Europe and beyond. HubSpot customers are located in 56 countries, and we have 100 partners and 600 international customers already. We expect the international side to grow as a percentage of our overall business in 2013, and are excited about Dublin providing the gateway to HubSpot scaling globally. 1+1=3 With HubSpot 3At our first annual INBOUND conference in August, we announced the launch of HubSpot 3 to the world, with 2,857 of our closest friends hearing the news in person. HubSpot 3 gives marketers all the tools they need to create a truly personalized experience for customers, including social media, blogging, landing pages, emails, and calls-to-action. We couldn’t wait to launch HubSpot 3, because we were able to give both new and existing clients the power to attract, convert, close, and delight prospects and customers in one easy-to-use tool. The value of HubSpot 3 can be summed up simply as 1 + 1 = 3: the ability to seamlessly integrate all of your marketing tools creates value well above the sum of the parts, if you were to solve for each marketing task individually. In the end, marketers benefit from the ease of use, while the end recipients of their efforts benefit from more personalized, lovable marketing.When we surveyed our customers about how they were using HubSpot 3, one of our customers noted: “HubSpot 3 has allowed us to market BIG on a small budget.” HubSpot 3 has enabled our customers to engage 46,133,635 contacts, send 555,125,987 permission-based emails, and track almost 2.5 billion page views. 49% of HubSpot 3 users reported a higher lead-to-sale conversion rate, and 20% said HubSpot directly shortens their sales cycle. HubSpot 3 combines power, ease, and results, and launching it this year was one of our biggest accomplishments. For the Love of MarketingAt HubSpot, we have always worked to maintain a culture where people have autonomy to solve problems that interest them, flexibility to design the work schedule that optimizes their time most effectively, and transparency to truly understand the business and vision. We all do what we do for the love of marketing: HubSpot employees know they are a part of the transformation that is happening in marketing and are driven to help customers and partners navigate that change.We added 125 HubSpotters in 2012, but most importantly, we did so without sacrificing the intelligence, passion, commitment, and quirkiness that has long defined our team. Sure, we added some serious bench strength in the form of seasoned executives, but we’ve also hired master content creators who helped produce 937 blog posts this year, launched a lunch roulette program to introduce new HubSpotters to company veterans, completed a CTO Swap with Kayak.com, and been recognized once again as one of Boston’s Top Places to Work. Fun HubSpotty Facts1) Many people know that we offer free beer, but we also offer a Free (As In Beer) Books Program. Anyone in the company can request a business book, and we’ll buy it for them. HubSpot employees have requested more than 81 books from the program. The most popular items? Steve Jobs, The Challenger Sale, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts.2) The most popular free snacks in the HubSpot kitchen were bananas, followed closely by Dove chocolate3) The HubSpot Charity Auction raised $14,894 for local non-profit organizations. Auction items included a custom rap (purchased by Mike Volpe) and a trip to launch a weather balloon with a built-in camera into space (purchased by Product Manager Anand Rajaram.)Lately, given our growth trajectory, it’s no surprise that we’ve gotten a lot of questions about our competitors in the space — who we view as our greatest competition, what we think of specific marketing technologies, etc. The short answer to all of those questions is that we simply do not believe anyone in our space is doing what we are doing — delivering a truly comprehensive inbound marketing system that gives companies all the tools they need to create marketing people love. Our product solves each variable in the equation, from social media to email to analytics, while everyone else is busy helping companies solve for one component of their marketing challenges. We think, act, build, and measure differently, and we believe our customers benefit significantly from that thinking.When it comes down to it, inbound marketing isn’t a tactic, a tool, or a trend. It’s a transformative way to think about marketing, better aligning sales and marketing and creating marketing (and results) people love. Looking back at 2012, we are grateful for the HubSpot employees, customers, partners, journalists, analysts, investors, critics, competitors, and friends who made this year a huge success. We showed the world that inbound marketing is the single most powerful way to grow your business and delight your customers, and for that we are proud, grateful, and energized.
Social Media Strategy There’s been lots of talk lately about Millennials and their roles in helping nonprofits (including on this very blog). It seems people are a bit confused as to how to connect with them … and by them, I mean us. As a 24-year-old Millennial, I often get asked how others can bond with my age group. These organizations are desperate to understand exactly what makes a Millennial tick.Churches are no exception.Many twenty-somethings fall out of the habit of attending church on a regular basis. But, the newest group of Millennials is taking it to a whole new level. The Barna Group, a national research organization, found that 59% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 drop out of church after regularly attending as a teenager. While reconnecting with this demographic may seem impossible, it’s not!There are a few approaches every church — and frankly, any marketer, business owner, or organization — can take to connect (or reconnect) with Millennials.Embrace the way Millennials want to communicate.Lately, when reading about Millennials, I’ve commonly seen the phrase “understanding the communication preferences of Millennials.” In order to really understand how Millennials communicate, you have to start by understanding the way we communicate isn’t a preference.The iPhone came out in 2008 — I was 18 years old and a senior in high school. Even before then, though, cellphones were already widely popular, and I don’t even remember a time before computers.This technology, passed on by the generation before mine, is innate to how I communicate. By understanding that one concept, you have the opportunity to connect with Millennials in a whole new way.Instead of seeing the Millennials in your church as young people who choose to communicate differently from you as a way to be rebellious, you’ll see them as another group of potential members of your congregation that want to interact with your church, but in non-traditional ways.Offer programs specifically for Millennials.Let’s face it: Every generation is different from the next. Your parents’ generation had a tough time connecting with you when you were 20, too. This isn’t a new phenomenon.This feeling is extended to the churches I work with. Especially while at church, we all — Millennials included — want to feel needed, accepted, understood, and successful.So, consider asking Millennials to join in on focus groups, building projects, worship teams, or community outreach. Show the young people in your church how much you respect them by valuing their opinions and ideas.Stay current — adopt new technology.A great way to show Millennials that you value them is by investing in new technology, like iPads in your church or an interactive website or online community where this younger generation can share stories and learn from each other.This can be driven through social media channels, like Facebook or Twitter. It’s also optimal to use your blog often to connect and give the Millennials in your church a place to keep up with information. Remember that the church has been addressing new ways of communicating for centuries, and it’s okay if you communicate differently!One of my favorite things about going to church is seeing hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of people of different ages and life stages in one place. The last thing you want to do is neglect one of those groups of people.An ideal way to connect to Millennials in your congregation is to give them the option of receiving information in a different way. Instead of making all the important information only available in your Sunday bulletin, show Millennials, and other tech-savvy people in your church, that you value how they consume information by putting it on a responsive website or church app that can be accessed on mobile devices.It’s okay to start small!If you feel like you aren’t there yet, that’s okay! The first step is to just start getting content out there. Here are some easy steps you can take to start building those online relationships:If you have an event, pick a specific hashtag Millennials can use to engage online, like #sundaypray.To get your blog off the ground, start by finding a good story to tell from your next special event and share it on your blog.If your website isn’t as modern as it could be but you don’t feel ready for a website redesign, start by working on getting your information organized and up-to-date. This will help keep your audience engaged and keep your website relevant to new members.If you’re a church leader who is overwhelmed by the feeling that you are falling behind when it comes to connecting with Millennials, know this: It’s not too late. Churches are on the cusp of great opportunity.Technology is constantly changing, and it can feel difficult to keep up when your audience consists of such a wide variety of ages. But connecting with Millennials through new communication techniques today means that you are setting the stage for a connected congregation in your church’s future.After all, Millennials won’t be Millennials forever.What are some of the tactics you use to engage younger demographics and get them more involved with your religious or community institution? Topics: Originally published Jan 16, 2014 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
Branding Originally published Oct 16, 2015 6:00:00 AM, 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: I’d been working on the HubSpot website for several months when the déjà vu struck.My team and I were going over the initial wireframes for a new page. As always, we’d started the project with the noble goals of better branding, an improved user experience, and sleeker designs. And, as always, we had ended up debating the most minute details.Do we use sentence case or title case for our headers? Did we decide to round the corners of our buttons? Which version of the logo did we want on landing pages? Hadn’t we had these conversations before?We all knew we needed to improve our process, but it seemed easier to put it off until after the next project. That is, until we reached a breaking point.It was time to make our process more manageable, scalable, and regulated. It was time to build our own website style guide. Here’s how it all played out. What’s a Style Guide?First off, we needed to define what was going into our style guide (or “pattern library”).Basically, a website style guide is a resource that defines all elements that go into the website: code snippets, design assets, guidelines for copywriting, etc. Some style guides focus more on design; others on development. Many style guides also formalize the best practices and processes for how the team should work together.The goal is to create a centralized hub of information that should allow anyone to understand and replicate the process of designing and building for your site. Building Our Designs From ScratchWith so many different designers and developers working on the website, we found ourselves with a hodgepodge collection of templates, style sheets, and modules on our hands. This was troubling, as there was no unified design that could be retrofitted into a cohesive style guide. Though this project was getting bigger by the second, we decided it would be better in the long run to start afresh and design brand-new styles for the site. We also wanted to incorporate some completely new elements, like adding a new font and reworking our form styles. And so we began the process of formalizing our designs. We decided to start with typography: choosing and updating font styles seemed relatively straightforward. Yet this seemingly simple update yielded some telling roadblocks.First, when I started testing out our approved font styles on existing pages, they didn’t always look as good as we’d imagined. It became clear that the font styles needed to be adjusted to be compatible with many different parts of the site; even then, some of our custom-designed pages needed to be reworked to fit the new styles.After typography, we backed up a little. We combed through our existing website, looking for patterns. Most pages were built with similar skeletons: some sort of photo header, various subheaders, blocks of copy or photos, and rows with one or two CTAs. We decided to make a list of the most important, repeated elements, and build those elements as reusable custom modules. We envisioned a set of full-width modules that could stack together to build any page.Making it ModularWhile the purpose of this style guide was to streamline our design and development process, it was also important that we created something non-designers and non-developers could leverage. The decision to make it modular was rooted in just that. By designing all the modules at the same time, we were ensuring that the style was cohesive, and we could mock up how pages would look with various combinations of modules. And even though we’d figured out an effective way to modularize our website, we still encountered some serious challenges.As we started to make final design decisions, I realized we’d all had slightly different ideas about how our site was going to look. Since the style guide touched so much of the website, we wanted to involve everyone who worked on design, development, or branding, however, it’s impossible to accommodate the insight and opinions of so many people. That said, we ended up making decisions that we deemed best for the website users, while building something flexible enough to allow easy updates.Preparing for the LaunchFinally, after months of designing, building, testing, and rebuilding, we had developed a set of modules for use across the HubSpot site. But how to display them?We wanted anyone using the modules to be able to understand the design principles that went into their creation. Furthermore, we wanted to create a reference for future designers on our team and anyone else who might need to iterate on our styles.After some discussion, we built out two pages to house our finished style guide: Foundations and Components. The Foundations page goes over our design and branding principles, including specific details regarding our typography, iconography, colors, logos, and imagery. The Components page shows those design elements in action: we use this page as a library of all our customizable modules used for website development. We then set up recurring trainings with the marketing team so that everyone could use the guide for their projects.And with that, the style guide had launched.Life After the Style GuideWhen we finished the style guide, I quickly realized that it wasn’t just a major revamp of our site styles; the style guide had totally changed how my team tackles new projects and interfaces with the rest of the marketing team.Now, all of our projects reference the style guide in some form or another. As soon as we receive a new project request, we check to see if it might be something that can be built solely through our style guide components. If not, we’re conscious of creating and building new elements that fit with our guide. When we receive a project that requires a more custom or novel approach, we’re cognizant of how we might be “breaking” our style guidelines; sometimes this opens the door to iterating on our current styles.The style guide has improved so many parts of our workflow, but I think these are some of the most important benefits:Design and development work together more efficiently. Before the style guide conversations, we didn’t have a shared vocabulary between design, development, and other stakeholders. Now, we all have a common reference point for our current and future designs.We get to work with cleaner, more scalable code. On the development side, our code base is now far cleaner and easier to maintain. Whenever I start a new project, I immediately reference the global styles and variables from the style guide. Furthermore, I can now make changes that will be reflected across all parts of the website. Our onboarding process has become more standardized. Getting new team members up to speed is so much easier when we can point to an interactive document to illustrate our design and development philosophies. The style guide also serves as an inventory of all our approved, polished design elements and their accompanying code, so there’s no need to track down old files or question whether or not something is out-of-date.Of course, it wasn’t just my team that benefited from the style guide: other members of the marketing team could now make their own pages without needing to wait for design or development resources. One of my coworkers was telling me how she was rebuilding a significant part of the website, a task which would have taken at least six weeks at her last company. The style guide allowed her to finish in about a day. How crazy is that?4 Tips for Building Your Own Style GuideA style guide can feel like it carries more weight than smaller projects, like one-off page builds or small-scale custom apps. And in many ways, it does: it’s a huge undertaking that will theoretically affect every page on your website. To build it properly, you need to make choices about countless creative details. To implement those changes, you’ll need to refactor or replace thousands of lines of existing code. It can be grueling. It helped me to remember that this is a one-time process that helps avoid those repetitive conversations in the future. Here are a few tips that I learned from the process: Before you start, designate the project leaders. I’d recommend starting with clear decision-makers on both the design and development sides so that you don’t get stuck waiting for your team to come to a consensus on any one detail.Look at other companies’ guides for inspiration. If you’re not sure where to start, go through other companies’ guides and pull out the parts that seem most important to your process. For starters, I’d recommend taking a look at Starbucks, GitHub, and MailChimp.Remember that your guide will change over time. It’s important to not get too caught up in nitpicky details. As long as you’re building your style guide to be easily maintained and updated, you can refine and iterate your styles over time. Make sure you DO change your guide. A style guide means that you don’t have to redesign your entire site to experiment with little changes, so try to make sure that your guide doesn’t sit stagnant post-launch. Start A/B testing, get user feedback, and observe how your team is working together.Ultimately, if your website is anything like ours — somewhat large, always changing, worked on by multiple designers and developers — a style guide becomes more than a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity. And it’s worth it, I promise. Want to check out the finished product? Our finished style guide consists of two pages, Foundations and Components. Both sections of the style guide were designed by Anna Faber-Hammond and built by me (Annabeth). We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.
2K+Save What makes a team truly great?Is it the mix of personalities? Is it how teams are measured and rewarded? Does the team leader ultimately determine their success?Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of all-stars.There is a lot of research and opinion on what ingredients are necessary to build a high-performing team because it is one of the most difficult things to do — you are essentially forcing people together — but it’s one of the biggest drivers of success in an organization. A poor performing team can negatively impact an entire organization, not to mention be the cause for missing goals or revenue targets. Weekdone created the below infographic detailing some of the defining characteristics of great teams. Learn what you should look for in a high-performing team and how to recruit to create your own. 2K+Save Topics: Originally published Jan 10, 2016 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 Collaboration/Teamwork
Originally published Apr 18, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Facebook is constantly making changes to the design of the profiles — for businesses and individuals alike. They’ve made a few cool changes in the past few years, including adding call-to-action buttons to business Pages and letting you record company milestones, like product launches and events.There are a lot of ways Facebook is helping brands build a follower base, increase visibility, improve branding, communicate with and engage fans, and even drive traffic and leads.To learn more about how to use Facebook for business, download our free guide here. So, what can you do to optimize your brand’s presence on Facebook? Check out the infographic below from Cafe Quill for helpful tips on getting the most from your Facebook business Page.20Save20Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Facebook Business Pages
Topics: Originally published Sep 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Career Development When was the last time you felt bad about something you did — or didn’t do?For me, it happened about 30 minutes prior to typing this sentence. I left the house later than I had planned, because I allowed extra time for my workout. I felt guilty for dedicating time to my own stuff, when I knew I had a looming deadline.But guess what? Yesterday, when I skipped my workout to get to the office earlier, I felt bad about that, too.I can sense the proverbial chorus nodding in unison with me. That’s because guilt is an epidemic — in fact, one in five people cite it as the reason why they don’t take breaks. And it’s killing the quality of our work.Many of us accept that as common sense — overwork = underproductive. So why do we continue to self-sabotage and feel bad about the time we don’t spend getting things done? Read on to learn the different ways we let guilt overtake our productivity, and why we do it.7 Ways You’re Letting Guilt Sabotage Your Work1) You feel like you can’t take a break.The correlation between workplace happiness and productivity isn’t exactly news at this point. And yet, we continue to ignore that advice. A survey conducted by Staples, for example, showed that 90% of employers say they encourage breaks. But here’s the thing — 55% of employees feel like they can’t leave their desks for one. It’s not like we don’t know any better, though. In that same survey, 86% of workers acknowledged that taking a break would make them more productive.So what’s stopping us?I’ve definitely experienced mixed feelings about leaving my desk frequently throughout the day. What if my colleagues think I’m weird, or that I’m not getting my work done? In today’s workplace, we’re big on perception.Luckily, I work somewhere that encourages taking that time to breathe, and has resources in place to support it. Maybe that’s why Staples Advantage, the division that conducted the aforementioned survey, says that employers need to play their part in creating a break-taking culture.Even if employees are fundamentally encouraged to take breaks, putting tangible resources behind it will create the cultural shift that really allows them to step away. Something like a break room goes a long way — 76% percent of respondents said that having a well-equipped one would help relieve stress throughout the workday.And the result of that relief? Getting more done, with higher quality. According to data collected by DeskTime, the top 10% most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. And during those periods, they use hyper focus: No work during breaks (that includes email), and no distractions during the work time.2) You feel bad asking for help.Earlier this year, New York Times Magazine did a great job of summarizing the fine line between stress and guilt.Guilt, Susan Dominus wrote, is “an especially corrosive form of distress: It’s that feeling that nags at you as you rush into the office, sweating, knowing that you are already late, or as you slip out for a ‘meeting’ that is, in fact, a much-needed haircut appointment.”Lying about the time we put toward self-care indicates how guilty we feel for acknowledging that we need it. So maybe that’s why we feel like we’re falling short when we can’t do everything ourselves.In turn, that makes us less likely to ask for help. In a survey of working mothers, Care.com found that 29% of respondents felt guilty about hiring someone to assist with things at home — they feared missing out on important moments, for example. But at the same time, 79% of them also felt like they were falling behind at work.The guilt had multiple sources. That’s the case for many of us — not just working moms.It makes sense that 75% of these survey respondents also saw an overall reduction in stress when they did hire outside help. That’s not limited to home or family care — asking for help at work, too, can be hugely productive.In fact, that’s something my own boss told me on my first day at HubSpot: “To help you be more successful, I’ll help you with whatever you ask me for help with. The most successful people ask for help when they need it!”I wish everyone’s boss would say the same thing. Because she set that tone for me from the very beginning, I knew that I didn’t have to feel guilty about not knowing something, or not being able to do something completely on my own. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, the person you need it from is happy to step in.3) You’re comparing yourself to everyone else.We all have those friends — or distant acquaintances who we observe on social media — who seem to have the so-called “perfect life.” And many of us are sometimes guilty of comparing our own lives to theirs, wondering if maybe — had we just done things a little differently — we, too, could have the perfect life.It’s no wonder, then, that 62% of folks think that their peers are holding it together better than they are. When we perceive that someone is doing a better job than we are, we feel guilty or inadequate.In the past, I’ve had to remind myself that anyone’s life can look perfect on the outside — especially on social media. I like to think of Facebook, for example, like tabloids. People can paint any picture they want, and post it for the world (depending on their privacy settings) to see.And even if someone else really is doing things “perfectly,” which is completely subjective, feeling guilty about how your performance stacks up to others’ is a waste of time. And we’ve already talked about how to use our time productively — squandering your precious minutes comparing yourself to others isn’t going to accomplish anything of value.4) You have Vacation Shame.Remember earlier, when we talked about how many of us feel bad taking time for ourselves? Vacation is no exception.In fact, that phenomenon has a name: “Vacation Shaming.” It was coined by Alamo Rent A Car after the company’s annual Family Vacation Survey revealed that 47% of workers feel shame or guilt at work for taking that time off. The same percentage feels the need to justify using their vacation days to their employer — even if they’ve earned it.There are certainly other reasons — financial ones, especially — why people don’t go on vacation. Nonetheless, 28% of people don’t take advantage of paid time off because they’re afraid they won’t look as dedicated to their work.But that logic is kind of counter-intuitive. I mean, for all intents and purposes, managers place the most value on your productivity, right? And in regions where people tend to take more vacation (like Brazil and Sweden, where paid time off is mandatory), employees tend to bring greater urgency to their work.That could be due to the fact that, according to the Harvard Business Review, “spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.” That echoes the research done by DeskTime about the productivity levels of people who take regular breaks.Simply put: Don’t feel bad about giving yourself the opportunity to step away, whether for a few minutes or a few days. It’ll enhance your productivity while you are at work, and give you a chance to decompress when you’re not.5) You’re just not busy enough.How many of you out there work best under pressure?Me. I do. I have never met a deadline I didn’t like. Am I insane? Probably. But also, I just don’t get as much done when I’m not bound by a timeline.As it turns out, I’m not alone. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was reported that people feel more motivated to complete tasks when they’re busy — even if the deadline to get it done has passed.“Being busy may make people more likely to fail to achieve a specific goal,” the authors report, but “it can also make people more likely to achieve the goal by augmenting the perception that a different goal [like using one’s time effectively] is being achieved.”In other words, when we mess up as a result of having too much to do, we don’t feel as guilty about it. After all, it’s not like we were sitting around doing nothing — we were being productive. But when we make a mistake and don’t have the excuse of our industriousness to fall back on, we feel bad.Staying busy at work might seem like a tall order when only 31.5% of us — in the U.S., at least — are actually engaged there. But there are ways to keep up your motivation and productivity, which my colleague Lindsay Kolowich wrote about here.6) You have action bias.We’ve all had friends who have gotten a bit upset with us at one time or another. When that happens, the best thing is to step away and give her space, right? I don’t do that, and that’s because I have action bias.Also known as a “bias for action,” the Business Dictionary defines action bias as the “propensity to act or decide without customary analysis or sufficient information,” or to “’just do it’ and contemplate later.”It reminds me of something that a leadership professor said to me about extroverts: “We tend to operate in the order of: Ready? Fire! Aim.”We’re all about taking action and getting things done, before all else. So when our time has to be spent on something other than our most essential tasks, or even inaction — like in the case of our angry friend — we freak out.Kolowich has experienced something like this. “In the past, I’ve felt guilty whenever I’ve been doing work that doesn’t have measurable output, like brainstorming, strategizing, and even catching up on industry news,” she told me. (She writes more about these biases here.)“Ironically, that can make you less productive because you’re less thoughtful in approaching the work you do do,” she continued. “I’m far more productive when I take the time to understand a project and plan it out rather than jumping right in.”That’s why it’s valuable to take the time to be thoughtful when it comes to your work, and even take the time to reflect on it. On the surface, that might seem like a waste of time, but it can actually be tremendously beneficial.Take this a Harvard Business School study, for example. A team of employees was divided into two groups. The first was instructed to spend the last 15 minutes of the workday writing their reflections. The other group kept working during those 15 minutes. When each group took a final training test, the one that spent the extra time reflecting performed 22.8% better than the one that worked longer.It might seem counter-intuitive, given our advice above about deadlines and staying busy. And we get it — for those of us with action bias, according to a Barclays white paper, “inaction can make a stressful time even worse.”But you can be industrious and also be patient, without feeling bad about it. Even when a deadline is present, take the time you need to bring quality to your work — you’ll be glad you aimed before you fired.7) You’re experiencing the Zeigarnik Effect.”The what?”The Zeigarnik Effect. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the psychological tendency to remember an uncompleted task rather than a completed one.”Sound familiar?At the end of the day, no matter how productive we’ve been, it seems like we always dwell on the things we didn’t get done. So maybe we can chalk it up the aforementioned Effect, named for Bluma Zeigarnik, the Russian psychologist who found that having a task interrupted can actually improve the focus you put toward it later.That’s good news — and it supports the advice to take breaks and step away from your work, without feeling bad about it. And even though I’m a repeat offender of what we’ve discussed, like action bias, I actually have experienced the value of letting a task go until the next day.I find that to be particularly applicable to writing. Of course, I have deadlines to meet, but every time I let an article “marinate” overnight, I see multiple things I want to change in the morning — and in the end, I’m actually glad I put it off, despite not feeling great about letting it go “unfinished” the night before.It probably took you a few minutes to read this blog, right? It likely took time out of your day. But hopefully, the time you spent reading it — and next, thinking about it — will actually help you bring more focus and less guilt to your work. How do you keep guilt from getting in your way? Let us know in the comments. 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 Sep 9, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Email Marketing 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 You know that you’re a true email marketer if every single one of your emails includes a call-to-action. And I’m not talking about email marketing blasts here. What I have in mind are the individual, personal email messages you send on an everyday basis.Yes, your personal email signature can provide a serious marketing opportunity.You’re most likely already using your own email signature to provide information about who you are and where you work. But you can take this practice to the next level by updating your signature to reflect the marketing campaigns you are running today.Easily create your own professional email signature with our free Email Signature Generator here.Are you missing out on another opportunity to spread brand awareness or nurture prospective customers? Wondering what exactly you can promote through your email signature? Here are 12 awesome suggestions.12 Professional Email Signature Ideas to Support Your Marketing Campaigns1. Your HomepageThe least you should promote in your email signature is your company’s website. But in order for this tactic to be efficient, you have to make sure your homepage acts like a landing page.In other words, it directs the visitor’s attention to the activity you want them to take. For instance, HubSpot’s homepage suggests that you receive a free product demo. Including your website’s homepage in an email signature also helps to expand awareness of your brand. Here’s an example (with help from our friend, Harry Potter):2. Social MediaWhen it comes to the usage of social media in email signatures, you have two options. You can either include a link to your personal accounts on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc., or you can include links to your company’s accounts. Both are good options. Check out how HubSpot’s Principal Marketing Manager Pam Vaughan promotes her social channels in the example below:3. Your BlogYour blog is one of the smartest things you can include in your email signature because it provides value to the community and gets updated on a regular basis. The fresh content on your blog is more engaging than a static homepage and will most likely retain the attention of the visitor for longer.If you do shine light on your blog, don’t forget to include calls-to-action throughout your posts to encourage readers to take the next step and become a lead. Using our email signature tool, you can hyperlink to your blog so recipients can click into your blog straight from the email. Check out the signature from my colleague, Carly Stec, made using HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator:4. BookHave you written a book? Has your manager or CEO written one? Don’t be shy about it. Share a link to your work in your email signature. This can help you build authority and credibility among the people you communicate with. Here’s our own Aja Frost promoting a book, made using HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator:5. Conferences & EventsIs there a company trade show coming up soon? Or maybe you are speaking at a conference? Change your email signature to reflect that. While your email signature might not necessarily help you generate more registrants, it will surely spread the word about the event and gain some awareness among your target audience. Here’s an event promotion signature from my colleague, Elijah Clark Ginsberg:(P.S. – Are you registered to see some of the most well-known marketing and sales professionals at INBOUND yet? Register here!) 6. New Marketing OfferHave an offer that’s doing a great job of converting traffic into leads? (You can tell by looking at their corresponding landing pages’ visitor-to-submission rates in your marketing analytics). Identify your best performing offers, and then expose them to more traffic. Use your email signature to share a link to a popular ebook or a webinar. Or if you’re currently featuring a new campaign that highlights a particular offer, use that in your signature instead. Here’s an example of my own signature promoting this guide:7. Industry ResearchSpeaking of data, don’t underestimate the impact that facts and figures can have in a marketing context. People on the web are overwhelmed with information, which encourages them to look for specifics. If you publish an industry report based on proprietary research, as Mimi An does over at HubSpot Research, consider including a link to it in your email signature:8. Case StudiesSalespeople love this one. If you’re talking to potential customers, what’s better than sharing stories of successful ones?For instance, you can mention how your product or service increased the ROI of customer XYZ, or quote a customer in your email signature to boost your company’s credibility.9. Free ToolIf your company happens to have a free tool, such as an ROI calculator, educational game, or blog topic generator, give it some marketing love. Free online tools have the power to engage readers and get them further interested in your product or service. Check out Eric Peters’ signature promoting HubSpot’s free email signature generator (meta, we know):10. Demonstration of Your Product / Free ConsultationWhen you are having a tough sales month, consider using an email signature that promotes a free consultation with your team or even a demonstration of your product. In that way, you’ll increase traffic to these middle-of-the-funnel marketing offers and show your sales organization that you’re taking advantage of every possible opportunity to help them out.11. News about Your CompanyIf your team or company has received recognition for exceptional work, highlight the news article or press release in your email signature. News that your company is doing exceptional work will drive traffic to your blog and promote greater brand awareness for your organization. Here’s an example from HubSpot’s Marketing Team Development Manager, Emily MacIntyre:Want an email signature like the one above? Make your own with HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator.12. Promotional VideosHas your company ever produced a promotional video? (Here’s an awesome video about HubSpot’s culture, for example.) Add a link to your company’s video so recipients can learn more about you without navigating away from the email message. You can promote a campaign, an event, or an offer in a more engaging way than a hyperlink alone. Here’s an example from our own Angela O’Dowd promoting HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program:Ready to rework your email signature? Simplify the process using HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator.
Topics: InVision uses witty copy and bright colors to catch the eye and entice their readers to click.Classy, an online fundraising platform for nonprofits, similarly uses the CTA as an opportunity to be more playful with their copy and create a memorable experience for their blog subscribers.6. You Keep It Short and Sweet How to Break It: Experiment With Length The Skimm’s 6 million email subscribers prove that emails don’t always have to be short and sweet, or highly visual to be successful. While some data points to ideally having relatively short email copy, the Skimm’s emails can get quite long (though they are broken into sections for digestibility). And while they don’t typically include very many visual components, they focus on making one thing very easy for the reader. Sharing.In this example alone, there are nine opportunities to share the email with a friend or colleague. Which leads us to our next habit:7. You’re Focused on Content How to Break It: Consider How Design Feeds GrowthIf content is King, design is Queen.Your content could be strong and interesting, but if your design doesn’t include the ability to easily share your message, you’re holding your content back. According to Bernadette Jiwa, author of Marketing: A Love Story, “Growth hacking is really the practice of creating and leveraging word-of-mouth with intention.”She continues, “Growth hackers optimize their business to acquire new customers by first delighting one customer and then making it easy for that customer to share the store with friends.”You work hard to ensure your content delights—don’t send it off to die in the bowels of your clientele’ inboxes. Incorporate tools that give your email the legs it needs to grow.8. You Use Personas to Make Assumptions How to Break It: Demonstrate Intimacy As marketers, we have to make assumptions. We can’t possibly know each of our audience members intimately. While segmentation and building personas is important to delivering relevant content, today’s consumers are expecting you to know more about them than ever.If you can’t demonstrate intimacy, you’re going to fall short. If marketers aren’t using segmentation by now, they’re at least aware of the tactic and how other organizations benefit from it. While developing personas and lists to send more personalized messages is a step in the right direction, we can take action to further personalize our content and show readers we’re paying attention—and that we’re listening.Consider what data you might share with your readers to develop a sense of intimacy or help them learn about their own behaviors.For example, Spotify uses data to demonstrate how well they know their users. These unique messages feel “one-of-a-kind” because they are. Each user receives a message with personalized data and insights around their own actions.9. You Talk Too Much About YourselfHow to Break It: Send an Email, Just Because It can be easy for messaging to get a little out of balance. After all, your marketing efforts are intended to make your audience aware of the value of your products and/or services. But to become a brand that people identify with in a meaningful way, you need to do more than just keep them updated on your latest deals and features.You need to add value to each person’s life. Develop a cadence for connecting over something unrelated to your sales efforts, but very related to your organization’s core values and culture.This will help you to grow a following of like-minded individuals passionate about who you are and how you make them feel, not just what you’re selling.For example, Spotify sends messages to let their users know about upcoming concerts in their area:Additionally, Chubbies sends a “Weekender” email every Friday that doesn’t include links to products. Instead, they round up fun and entertaining bits of information purely aimed at providing a laugh. This fits right into their culture and core values, as indicated by the statement on their website, “We believe in the weekend.”According to Kyle, one of their founders, “It’s all about all the wild stuff in the world and what you should be doing this coming weekend. And the purpose of it is to send you into the weekend. It doesn’t drive sales. It’s for nothing but creating a valuable experience with our customers. And we’ve done that every Friday for six years. That’s part of how we build a real relationship with our customers.”Ready to Switch Things Up?While best practices emerge for a reason, if you’re not regularly experimenting in this competitive communications landscape, your efforts will soon appear stale and your growth, stagnant. Build time into your team’s workflows to reassess your current best practices regularly to allow for ample creativity. Email Marketing Mistakes Don’t forget to share this post! Before you break any email marketing habits or best practices, it’s important to first understand why they work.Once you’ve mastered basic email content creation, you’ll be in a better position to experiment and test certain components of your strategy. In today’s ultra-competitive email landscape, you need to perform tests in order to find out what drives your specific recipients to open, read, and click.Click here to download our free ebook featuring 104 email marketing myths, experiments, and inspiration.While the right content and design are necessary components for email success, running tests will help you understand how to stand out in your readers’ inboxes. And to understand what to test, it’s helpful to revisit your current strategies and consider which email habits might be appropriate to mix up, or break altogether.In this post, we’ll explore a number of commonly overlooked email habits you should start breaking and experimenting with to find the best strategy for your company.9 Email Marketing Habits It Pays to Break1. You Always Use the Same Sender Name How to Break It: Get Friendly With Your “From” NameWhile it’s helpful to set certain expectations with your email recipients, don’t limit yourself to only sending messages from your company name, or from one team member. Experimenting with “friendly froms” can increase open rates. For example, instead of simply sending an email from the name of your company, you might provide an employee’s name, such as “Tim at Awesome.com”But before you go crazy, always ensure your email activities do not violate the CAN-SPAM act. Your froms should not be false or misleading. However, there are ways your organization can make adjustments that delight your recipients.Chubbies, a men’s fashion company with over 1.5 million Facebook followers, is well-known for getting creative with their from names. While their approach is very specific to their organization’s tone, style, and audience, you can look to them for inspiration.One study found that while Chubbies’ messages had slightly lower inbox placement rates, their “fun and unusual friendly forms” saw higher read rates and lower “delete without reading” rates.Here’s an example of how Chubbies gets creative with the friendly from:Chubbies also makes sure their fun “friendly” from names go with their subject lines and preview text.This synchronization allows them to use every space available to them in your inbox to grab your attention and make a lasting impression. Again, before testing strategies like this yourself, consult with a law professional about the CAN-SPAM act to ensure you’re not in violation.2. You Treat Your Subject Line Too Literally How to Break It: Write Copy That Visually Stands Out Consumers are inundated with emails all day long, which means your subject line is the one factor that will get someone to open your message.Consider the following example:What stands out? Caps lock text? Numbers? The use of an emoji? Personalization? Humor? White space?To catch someone’s attention as they scroll through their unread messages, it’s important to consider how your subject line appears next to others visually.While your subject line text should reflect the contents of your message and match your organization’s tone and style, it’s important to use this space as creatively as possible. Test small tweaks with your audience to see if anything helps grab their attention.3. Your Preview Text Is Auto-Populated How to Break It: Use That Hot Preview Text Real Estate If your email client supports preview text, also known as pre-header text, you can optimize it for every email you send. Allowing this text to auto-populate is a lost opportunity to grab attention or delight your recipients.Though it takes some code, the use of this space will help you stand out from others who do not go to the same lengths to make theirs unique.Experiment with clever, related text, like how Chubbies does in the example above, or try using just a few words to create more white space.In the example below, Crate and Barrel writes preview text that is an extension of their subject line and creates eye-catching white space.And in the following example, the Skimm uses their preview text to address a previous technical error in a light-hearted manner.4. Your Copy Is So Professional It’s Boring How to Break It: Develop a Distinct Tone of Voice Your organization’s tone of voice can be one of your biggest differentiators. Whether you use a certain style of humor or strive to sound as academic as possible, a well-crafted voice allows readers to connect with your organization on a human-to-human level.In a time when technological advancement has us fondly looking to the past and remembering more intimate times, businesses can struggle to both scale and maintain the “humanness” of a mom-and pop-shop.Your tone can help you combat that struggle. The answer is having a personality.According to one of Chubbies’ four founders, Tom, they thought, “Everything’s a little too serious in men’s fashion.” To stand out and attract people to their brand, he says, “We wrote our emails like we were writing to our friends.”In a podcast interview by Smart Passive Income, he advised organizations to think about their own brand as a unique person.“Think about it like a person with a personality. More often than not, that personality is going to be yours—as the business owner, as the person who’s going to be writing or creating this content. Write about the things you care about, write about the things that have an emotional connection with you, and that’s where you’ll start to find kernels. We were not knocking it out of the park every time we wrote but because we were passionate about it, it enabled us to keep testing and keep driving.”When you approach your communication under this lens, you’re bound to create content that doesn’t just deliver a message, but also forms a connection.5. Your CTA Is Literal How to Break It: Get Creative With Button Copy Every inch of your email is an opportunity and each word should be intentional, especially the areas that ask your readers to take an action.Here a few favorite examples of ways to get clever and entice your reader to click. Today’s consumer is well aware of the fact that you’re trying to lead them to a desired action. With that in mind, you might experiment with your call to action copy and use each “click here” spot as a chance to delight. Originally published Mar 6, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated December 04 2018
His autobiography, “Guts: One American Guy’s Reckless, Lucky Life,” will be published in May. Robert Nylen, an award-winning editor and publisher who founded New England Monthly magazine and, later, Beliefnet, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.Nylen died late last month, according to a report in the Boston Globe.He cofounded New England Monthly in 1984 with editor Daniel Okrent. The regional won two National Magazine Awards in its first two years of publication.Nylen, Vietnam veteran, also cofounded Beliefnet, an award-winning spirituality Web site.
Ajay DevgnYouTube ScreenshotAjay Devgn, who is seen in advertisements of pan masala products, has been publicly requested by a cancer patient not to endorse tobacco products.A 40-year-old cancer patient from Rajasthan, Nanakram, who also apparently is a big fan of Ajay, came up with around 1,000 pamphlets in which he mentioned how he was influenced to use the same product the actor endorses and asked him not to promote tobacco products.The pamphlets were circulated across various areas in the state. Nanakram expressed regret at using such products, which he thinks caused him cancer.”My father Nanakram Meena started chewing tobacco a few years ago and was using the same brand for which Devgn does the advertisement. My father was impressed by Devgn but when he was diagnosed with cancer, he felt that such a big star should not advertise for these kinds of products,” the patient’s son told PTI.Nanakram, who reportedly cannot speak, sells milk to run his family that includes two children. Well, it will be interesting to see if Ajay pays attention to the cancer patient’s request or remains oblivious to it.On the work front, Ajay will soon be seen in romantic comedy De De Pyaar De starring Tabu and Rakul Preet Singh. The trailer of the film has received a good response and the songs have added to the hype. The film will release on May 17.