Channel-Level Funnel So you ask the logical next question: How much is he going to get paid? At this point, your son starts squirming, his face turns red and he admits that he forgot to ask. — This is the percentage of website visitors that converts to leads and the percentage of leads that converts to customers. This is important to know because you need to understand where in the funnel you can improve. Are you better at converting leads to customers? Or visitors to leads? The answer to that question will help you determine where to focus you energy and how to drive more sales. What do you think? Are you tracking this funnel? If not, what’s stopping you? — How to Generate Leads for Small Business Marketing Analytics Photo: and Leads How could he possibly agree to a job without knowing how much he’s going to get paid? How could he not know this?! Where did you go wrong? Kids! — Website visitors are at the top of the funnel. These are the people you’ve attracted to your site via channels like your blog, social media and search engine optimization. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack . Maybe they fill out a form in order to download a white paper. Maybe they requested an demo. Whatever it is, these people are potential customers, and you have more information about them than you have about your website visitors. Conversion Rates Website Visitors website Leads Originally published May 18, 2009 8:29:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 — This means tracking everything above (the funnel) for each channel. How many website visitors, leads and customers do you get from organic search traffic? How about from your blog? And what are the conversion rates for each? The answers to these questions will help you determine which channels to focus you marketing reasources on. Topics: blogging — then fail to find out how many of those website visitors actually convert to customers. Just like your teenage son, they work without knowing how much they’re getting paid. The worst part of the story? The information they’re missing isn’t hard to get. You just have to track the right things. Specifically, you should think of your business website as a funnel like the one in the image below. Spare the indignity. Adults — particularly adults in online marketing — do this all the time. They do endless hours of , SEO work, driving people to their are the website visitors who express interest in your product by submitting information on a landing page What!?!3#$% Download our Here’s what you should be measuring in this funnel: social media . Imagine this: Your teenage son comes home from school one day with a big smile on his face, and announces he’s accepted a summer job mowing lawns. Needless to say, you’re impressed. The summer hasn’t even started and he’s got something all lined up. What initiative! What great parenting! You’ve done well. — These are the folks who pay you. If you’re not already tracking them, you’re in trouble. Lead Generation for Small Business Webinar Customers Peoria Pundit Learn how small businesses can level the playing field and generate leads efficiently by leveraging inbound Internet marketing strategies and tools.
Quick! What are the four most frequently used words by B2B marketers? What are the sources of your new B2B marketing ideas? What inspires you? Do you use exclusively B2B marketing examples, or do you look to a wider range of sources? Join this live webinar How many times have you heard that refrain? Inspired by a great marketing campaign, you come up with a way to adapt it to your B2B marketing mix — except when you pitch the idea to your boss, a horse with blinders on, she objects: “But we’re a B2B company — that won’t work for us!” ZipCar Facebook is a robust, flexible platform. If you’re having success, take it a step further. new-car naming contests , they had a contests to pick their holiday card and they’ve given away gift certificates. Have fun. Experiment. Give up? Here’s the answer: B2B Lessons? (>100,000 fans) — Threadless is a community-powered online t-shirt store. Like many of the examples here, they have an active community on their page, where they share a lot of content. However, Threadless does more than the typical page — it makes it possible for people to actually purchase shirts on their Facebook page, and share their purchase history. Topics: B2B Lessons? Nick Kristoff B2B Lessons? How are you leveraging Facebook to foster community and build your brand? Engage with your community, enable them to create content. (>1,200 fans) — Logan is Boston’s main airport. Among other things, the airport posts weather updates, delay information, security announcements and airline promotions. A handful of threads on the page have produced comments criticizing the airport management, but that’s actually a good thing for the airport. They responded, and showed that instead of operating behind closed doors, they’re trying to be transparent and engage with their customers. December 22, 2009 at 2:00pm (>140,400 fans) — Nick is a New York Times columnist. He posts his articles on his Facebook page, but instead of just posting the headline, he posts each with with a sentence or two providing some context. The effect is a more conversational, intimate page, with more engagement. All Things Jeep Share content, have opinions and give people a reason to be passionate about your page. Boston Logan International Airport B2B Lessons? Originally published Dec 28, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 to see the latest data on how companies in your industry are using Facebook to grow their business. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How lame. Don’t just run contests and share content. Use Facebook pages increase transparency and provide practical information, too. Photo: beketchai on Flickr Live Webinar: How Businesses Are Using Facebook – With New Data & Case Studies (30 minutes Marketing today requires creativity, and creativity requires creative stimuli. If you’re trying to come up with new ways to do B2B marketing, but only follow B2B marketing examples, you’ll find yourself stuck in the same old B2B rut. Date & Time: “But I’m a B2B Marketer.” In order to do remarkable work, you need to draw on a range of different media and marketing campaigns. This is particularly true of social media applications like Facebook. For example, here are five Facebook pages that aren’t run by B2B companies, but that are still highly instructive to B2B marketers. Threadless B2B Content Marketing ) (>27,500 fans) — ZipCar is an urban car-sharing service. They have a lot of fun with their page and experiment with different ways of engaging people. They put a particular emphasis on contests. They hold (>2,300 fans) — All Things Jeep is an online store for Jeep clothing, jewelry and all other things. It’s a small business with a very active community of fans. Their page puts particular emphasis on photos. They have a fantastic fan photos section. They’re also very active in the comments of the page. In fact, their engagement might be part of the reason the community is so willing to share photos. B2B Lessons?
“We knew that the Yahoo-Twitter partnership would be comprehensive and more encompassing than Twitter’s search partnerships with Google and Bing, but now Yahoo tells us the integration will focus on three primary areas: Spam vs Mahalo: Matt Cutts Explains the Difference Comic response from SEO Black Hat: mvolpe HubSpot TV is LIVE every Friday at 4:00 p.m. ET. From HubSpotter Christopher Haddad – #HubSpotTV Citibank never called or warned Fabulis at all inbound marketing will pay off ), Karen Rubin (@ How to interact on Twitter: Include #HubSpotTV in your tweets! On the show today is Mike Volpe (@ Citibank Freezes Some Fabulis Assets Doin’ It Wrong Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Citibank apparently froze the assets of Fabulis because of “objectionable content” on the company blog. “Starting Monday, Bravo will begin offering Foursquare players badges and special prizes when viewers visit more than 500 Bravo locations. Locations will be picked by Bravo to correspond with select Bravo shows including “The Real Housewives,” “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Top Chef,” “Kell on Earth,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Shear Genius.” . karenrubin Matt Cutts (head of Google anti-spam team): “When trying to decide if a page is spam, it is helpful to ask yourself this question: if I remove the scraped (copied) content, the ads, and the links to other pages, is there anything of value left? If the answer is no, the page is probably spam.” Ability to update status from Yahoo Question from Inbound.org Marketing Takeaway Closing to learn how to use inbound marketing to generate leads and break your dependence on programs with recurring expenses. , and chat ) and Coleen Coyne (@ www.hubspot.tv Marketing Takeaway Intro Special Guest, Olympic Gold Medalist Colleen Coyne Download the free video Fabulis is an established company with investors ($625K) and an experienced entrepreneur as founder (Jason Goldberg – SocialMedian and Jobster), but they are “the social network that helps gay men connect with amazing experiences nearby and around the world” : Cheating does not work. Don’t spam Google, and don’t rely on PPC alone. Do the hard work and Video: How to Get Off the Google AdWords PPC Crack Marketing Takeaway Headlines Should Mahalo Say “Mahalo” to Google for Tolerating Spam SEO guru Aaron Wall gets upset that Mahalo is stealing his content, not adding value and still ranking in Google. : Aggressively communicate with customers and be available for comment quickly. This will help problems from spiraling out of control. Although this deal will help put Foursquare in front of millions of mainstream television viewers, it also offers the company a chance to try to blur the lines between traditional television media and mobile experiences. Although some television executives have been successful integrating TV and the Web, merging TV with mobile has proved to be more difficult. Episode #81 – February 26, 2010 Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive, said the company was excited to work with Bravo and push some of these boundaries further. “Bravo’s shows really overlap with our users and a new mainstream audience that we want to reach. I don’t think check-ins are a nerd-only experience. It’s about sharing content and experiences with others.” : If you are not Jason Calcanis, you need to create original and valuable content to rank in search . Twitter Goes Yahoo How many times should a keyword appear on a page for optimal density? , it’s going to work out in the end. There might be some bumps along the way, but the satisfaction of knowing you gave it a truly honest effort will be rewarding in and of itself. Additionally, you will definitely gain a following. There is no reward without risk, and there is definitely a market for authenticity.” March 19: HubSpot goes to Vegas! Access to your Twitter feed on Yahoo with us via Twitter using NEW hashtag, All old episodes are in iTunes: : Keep doing inbound marketing. Developments like this just make it more effective. Bravo to Foursquare as They Partner with Traditional TV Media Olympic athletes’ social media restrictions : Making trades is better than paying cash for advertising. Get creative! (Episode Length: 26 minutes, 41 seconds) “If you are honest in your approach to Forum Fodder Foursquare Teams With Bravo TV Watch the show in real-time at PPC is like liposuction Does Citibank Suffer From Homophobia Or Just A General Dislike For Startups? Learn how to break your Google AdWords addiction! . Ben Robbins – For several years now, good sources at Google (like Matt Cutts) have indicated that keyword density carries little or no importance in their algorithm. Keyword-related factors that are still considered include anchor text for editorial links, page title, page URL, and heading tags. They also seem to reward pages with lengthier content, maybe 500+ words, and long tail keyword variations. Marketing Tip of the Week http://itunes.hubspot.tv ColleenCoyne Marketing Takeaway creating content Details: The Yahoo-Twitter Partnership – ) Yahoo Search and media integration Originally published Mar 5, 2010 2:30:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Why I Would Hire Bode Miller as My Inbound Marketer
force DVD renters to watch movie trailers? Is 2010 the year to start clamping down on the distribution and availability of your content? In a world that gives movie enthusiasts a plethora of ways to view movies, some legal and some illegal, I would argue; “no”. . Thank you for helping to make the world just slightly worse. Content Marketing Warner Brothers decided they wouldn’t just settle for a degraded user experience, they also wanted to make inroads in decreasing the distribution of their product. Back in January, Warner successfully executed an agreement with Netflix (a company that has experienced huge success by making it easier to rent DVDs) that prevents Netflix from renting Warner movies until four weeks after they have been released. A similar deal was signed in February with another innovator in the movie distribution space, Redbox, also preventing them from renting movies until four weeks after the initial release. night when a Warner Brothers marketer decided to deliberately and abruptly interrupt me. After hitting “play” to watch the movie seems to think that is a dumb trend and is headed in the opposite direction. I sat down with my wife to watch a rented movie on Friday The DVD business is struggling right now. According to the I would also like to give a special shout-out to Philips for inventing the technology specifically designed to prevent you from skipping DVD ads, patented here: Fine, I figured I would just skip the trailers one-by-one by pressing the skip chapter button; “cannot operate”. Some swearing ensued followed by a desperate attempt to outsmart the DVD by ejecting the disc and then restarting it while pushing the menu buttons really fast. No dice. The only thing I could do was play each trailer at 3x speed, one-by-one, as each new trailer would put an end to my fast forwarding. There is nothing more emasculating than not being able to control your own DVD player. , instead of South African rugby I was greeted with a barrage of unskippable movie trailers. Then in March, Warner Brothers decided to embrace the least innovative movie distributor in the space, Blockbuster, by actually signing a new contract allowing them to continue to rent DVDs immediately after they are released. It’s almost as if they noticed that Blockbuster lost $435 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and thought: maybe we shouldn’t hurt the people who distribute our product. Is it really good for business to , first quarter of 2010 data show that “U.S. DVD rental revenue fell 14% from a year ago” and DVD sales were down 13% in 2009. The economy is being blamed, and of course piracy is always an easy excuse. In any event, forcing customers to watch commercials they don’t want to see on DVD’s they could only rent from one store cannot be helping. k8marieuk http://bit.ly/9MFNe0 I tried in vain to push all the buttons on the remote that might enable me to get past the unwanted nuisances. I pushed “Top Menu”; no luck. How about “Pop-Up Menu”? Nope. A simple message would appear on the screen saying: “cannot operate”. Did the DVD magically and suddenly forget what the menu button is supposed to do? Marketing Takeaway Inbound Marketing Originally published Jul 7, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated July 11 2013 Topics: Inbound Marketing Today, huge quantities of content are available free of charge everywhere. To compete, create high quality content and then give people a great user experience by making it easy to find and consume the content. There are plenty of options out there and anything less will send potential customers elsewhere to get a more gratifying experience. Warner Brothers, go read Photo Credit: Warner Brothers In a world with ever increasing choice of quality content, Warner Brothers has made a decisive move to worsen the user experience of their product. There is only one reason to disable the DVD functions during the previews; to try to force people to watch ads that they don’t want to see. Where is my “unsubscribe” button? Where is my do not call list? Why can I not opt out of this unwanted advertising? Never in the history of the world has it been easier to get incredible content inexpensively and conveniently. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack LA Times and I want my 5 minutes back. Invictus
In online dating , we are encouraged to keep emails and landing page copy short and to the point. It requires skill to provide people with enough context in a brief message. Often times, starting an email with a question yields positive results. In marketing , it is recommended to “show your best assets and put your best foot forward.” For example, if you have good abs, you should feel encouraged to showcase that. , you should be mindful of the words you use so that you don’t look spammy and inauthentic in your messages. “If you use the word ‘sexy,’ or ‘cute,’ or ‘beautiful’ in a message, you are going to get a 30% worse response rate than if you talk about interests that she has in her profile,” said Sam. conveying some behavioral data analysis from dating site OkCupid. Twelve seconds into the video interview with Sam Yagan, OkCupid’s Co-founder, I thought I was listening to expert marketing insights. In online dating , you should write grammatically correctly. Be funny and engaging. People value your efforts to be interesting and authentic. 8. Invest the Time 2. Optimize Presence for Search Engines & People In online dating In online dating In marketing Topics: case studies 7. Study Best Practices 3. Emphasize the Aspects You Are Good At In marketing In marketing , we offer tons of free marketing resources about each element of your business strategy. We have also published great success stories and In online dating In marketing Marketing Advice So I decided to really draw the parallel between online dating and inbound marketing. Here are the 8 top similarities: , the very first words you share with a prospective date can tremendously impact the progress of your communication. Your choice of a greeting, for instance, might affect whether or not you receive a response. , companies should not use Flash because it makes it difficult for search engines to crawl. This becomes pretty important if you add too many Flash elements to your site and thus have fewer pages indexed by Google. Originally published Feb 16, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 1. Be Selective with the Wording , you should be similarly remarkable with your content. Let your personality shine in your writing, email communication or video production. Don’t just dump text for search engines to index, but use your unique voice to convey a meaningful message. 6. Keep Your Messages Short In online dating At the end of the video interview, Sam admits that online dating “is a little bit of a marketing game.” No joke! , it is a best practice to demonstrate your company’s thought leadership and industry expertise. We often advise businesses to visit other departments and showcase the knowledge hidden within the organization. You can do that in the form of blog posts, industry reports, short videos… In marketing , you should be fully aware of the needs of your target audiences. Tweak your messaging to reflect the interests of your visitors and leads. Strike a conversation that ties into their previous activity on your site. And don’t sound spammy. , you want to keep your messages short. As Sam said, in the offline world, no one wants to hear a four-minute speech about “how great you are.” Instead, focus on the conversation partner and start a conversation by asking a question. , experts have covered a bunch of common tips and best practices in terms of what pictures and messages work. Read their blog with dating advice. While they are not there to “tell you how to date,” they give you the tools and research to make it a smooth process. In online dating video I recently stumbled upon a 5. Let Your Personality Shine In marketing 4. Create Authentic Messages , people are advised to “invest in your profile” and “take the time to write a very careful profile.” Put as much effort into it as you would put in a conversation at a bar, Sam advised. that can provide marketers with some valuable lessons. In marketing , the very first words you communicate with a prospect can influence the rest of your relationship. While in online dating people might prefer “Howdy” as a greeting, in email marketing they want to see a follow-up that corresponds to their latest activity, e.g. an ebook download, blog subscription or a webinar registration. , users should not use Flash because the player supposedly adds seven years of age. As Sam said, “a 28-year-old using Flash has the same attractiveness as a 35-year-old who doesn’t use Flash.” Though such tweaks might be trivial, they still exercise a big impact on one’s overall online dating success. , you should be constantly investing in your online presence and inbound marketing. Writing blog posts, optimizing pages, follow-up with leads, analyzing results–this is all going to take effort. Set the right expectations for yourself and invest the time. In online dating Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Pinterest Marketing Originally published Sep 5, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Getting started on a new social network — regardless of what it is — can sometimes feel incredibly daunting. You’re dealing with a lot of new things: new platform rules, new platform technology, new audience using the platform, and most likely a new marketing strategy to make the most of the new thing. And while all the changes in social media require inbound marketers like us to just embrace all of these new things, sometimes we just want to have someone walk us through using a network from start to finish. We’ve got so much going on in all of our other marketing activities that we sometimes want someone else to gather all the info we need and hand it to us.We’ve been there before, and we want to help. One of the social networks that people consistently ask us about is Pinterest — from setting up an account, to actually pinning posts, to optimizing pins, to proving its ROI, we get a ton of questions about it every day. So if you’re wondering how to get your Pinterest presences up and running, sit back, relax, and check out the resources we’ve compiled in our embedded Pinterest board below. We’ll also walk you through the 10 most important pins in our board in the rest of the post.HubSpotGetting Started With PinterestFollow On 7 Things You Need to Get Started With Pinterest for Your Business1) Get oriented with a beginner’s guide to Pinterest.First things first — you need quick crash course in marketing on Pinterest. In our Introduction to Pinterest for Business, We’ll answer the most crucial questions about the visual social network: What lingo do you need to know? Why should you even bother with the platform in the first place? How do you even sign up for an account? And what can you actually do on the platform to move your marketing metrics? Seriously, do this step first — it will help you determine if Pinterest is right for your business and give you a bunch of ideas to start implementing on Pinterest ASAP.Download our Introduction to Pinterest for Business to get started.2) Set up Pinterest buttons on your website.Okay, so you’ve decided you’re on board with Pinterest (#pinterestpuns). You’ve set up an account and added a few boards and pins. Don’t forget this crucial step: add Pinterest buttons to your website to drive your website visitors to engage with your Pinterest boards and pins. There are two types of buttons: the ‘Pin It’ Button and the ‘Follow’ Button. Learn how to set them up so you can organically increase your Pinterest following.Check out our blog post on adding Pinterest buttons to your website.3) Find or create the visuals you want pinned. Now that you’ve got both your Pinterest presence set up on the social network and on your website, you’re ready to find or create the visual content to be pinned. Since visuals are the crux are the reason why the social network exists in the first place, you want to make sure your pin’s visuals are compelling enough for users to click, like, or comment on. The best part about this whole step is that you don’t have to be a professional designer to make engaging Pinterest visuals. Check out the following free resources to create top-notch visual content that will blow your Pinterest followers out of the water:The Marketer’s Crash Course in Visual Content Creation: Learn the basic principles of design and apply them to your next pin design — we’ll even suggest a few tools to help you create top-notch visuals. How to Create Five Fabulous Infographics in PowerPoint: One of the most successful visual formats on Pinterest is the infographic … but it can feel daunting to create one of your own. Have no fear: just download this template and follow the steps in this blog post for creating an infographic in under an hour.17 Customizable Templates for Shareable Graphics on Social Media: If your goal is to get your pins repinned, definitely check out these free templates. Whether you’re posting inspirational quotes, an image to promote your latest blog post, or just a photo of your product, check out this template to spruce up your images.75 Free Stock Photos to Use in Your Marketing: Don’t really want to spend the time creating graphics for Pinterest? Pick one of these 75 free stock photos as the image in your pin instead. There’s no strings attached. Seriously. 4) Make sure people can easily find your content on Pinterest.So after you’ve created all of this great content for Pinterest … you want to make sure people can actually discover it. Yes, people will find it if others engage with you, but one of the most common ways they’ll find your content is through search. So make sure you’re prepared for search with this comprehensive guide to Pinterest SEO.5) Optimize posts to get more engagement.Besides optimizing for Pinterest search, there are a few other ways you can change up your content to get more comments, repins, and likes. Check out this data by Dan Zarrella to see how image height, description length, or word choice can affect your success on Pinterest. While these aren’t hard-and-fast rules, the data can give you a general direction to take — and after a while, you’ll have concrete data about your audience to inform your future Pinterest posts. 6) Take your Pinterest content elsewhere by embedding pins and boards.There are two other ways you can add Pinterest content to your website besides adding the ‘Pin It’ or ‘Follow’ buttons. You can actually embed Pinterest boards (just like we did in this post)! It’s pretty easy to do — you’re mostly copy-pasting code into your website or blog — but there are a few crucial steps to follow that most forget to tell you about. Check out this blog post to learn more about embedding Pinterest widgets on your website.7) Measure and iterate on your Pinterest presence.So after all that creation and optimization, you’re going to want to prove to your boss that your time is well spent on Pinterest. Get a run-down of Pinterest’s latest analytics tool update, learn how to track specific campaigns on the platform, and see which metrics are most important to investigate on the social network.Bonus: if you’re committing to Pinterest over a longer period of time, we’ll give you some formulas to calculate the long-term growth and success of your efforts. So go on, download our guide to optimize and measure your Pinterest account!What else do you want to learn about Pinterest for business? Share your questions with us in the comments, and we’ll update the board throughout the day with resources that can help. 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:
Originally published Nov 13, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Website Redesign I’m sick of looking at you, website. We started off well. You were a major improvement over my last website. But the thing is, you’re just not working for me anymore. It’s not your fault. The truth is, things have changed — I’ve changed. My businesses needs and you are just not compatible anymore. It’s time I start anew. You understand … don’t you?Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignOn average, we marketers redesign our websites every 18-24 months. Our reasons vary — from building a better customer experience, to reflecting a new corporate brand strategy. Regardless of the reason, we’re a constantly iterating breed.The good news is there’s a ton of content out there to help you make the right decisions for your website redesign. However, that’s also the bad news.With so much advice and content on redesigns, it can be hard to filter through it all to get to the best resources. Because I like you guys (and because we’ve gone through our fair share of redesigns ourselves), I’ve compiled a handful of top-notch resources for your next redesign.Deciding on a RedesignMake sure you’re not redesigning for the wrong reasons.I mentioned that marketers redesign their sites every two years on average — I didn’t say that every one of those redesigns is a good idea, though. This post by my colleague Jess Meher gives some common red flags that indicate you may be redesigning when you don’t need to.Scope out the project correctly.Website redesigns can take several months, but you are traveling a well-trodden path. Why not borrow the road maps of those who came before you? The following two resources should give you a good head start when it comes to scoping out your redesign project:Working with a designer? Inbound Marketing Agency Lynton Web has mapped out the 5 Phases of an Inbound Website Redesign.Doing it on your own? HubSpot’s got a Website Redesign Planning and Progress Kit that includes a spreadsheet to help you map out milestones, goals, benchmarks, and more. We’ve used this spreadsheet in our own designs to help us stay on track.Identifying Benchmarks and GoalsWebsite redesigns are filled with subjective measures. While gut reactions are worth listening to, the only way to really know if your redesign is working is to identify some benchmarks and set some goals.The effectiveness of your website can be measured by everything from bounce rate to conversions. To decide what works for you …Take a primer on marketing analytics.There’s a lot to cover in analytics. Should you track visits or unique visits? What’s the right balance of new vs. returning visitors? How do the rest of your marketing analytics fit into your website analytics? This 85-page guide covers the full gamut of marketing analytics, but pages 5-22 are all you need for your website redesign. Set up goals in Google Analytics.Google Analytics is the de facto free analytics program out there, but it changes quite often, so some of the content you may find out there is slightly outdated. This helpful post on Steamfeed, however, was published in September 2013 and gives step-by-step instructions on setting up your goals in Google.Compare the two types of analytics.Your website is not an island. As part of your redesign you should consider how website analytics fit into your larger marketing strategy. This post by fellow HubSpotter Pamela Vaughn explains the differences between website analytics and marketing analytics and guides you on what to measure for each. Preserving Your SEOIn 2009, Toys R Us paid $5.1 million to buy the Toys.com domain name, in an effort to scoop up the SEO benefit of having such a prominent keyword in their domain. So essentially, that’s $5.1 million the company spent to top the search charts.In a great error, however — that honestly could’ve happened to almost anyone — Toys R Us forwarded the entire domain of Toys.com to ToysRUs.com without using 301 redirects, and, in turn, Google de-indexed all of the Toys.com pages. It’s a fascinating story in and of itself, and one you can read about here.The lesson here? Be sure you preserve your SEO whenever going through a redesign. Here are a few more useful resources to help you make sure SEO is top of mind in your redesign.Learn the different types of redirects.There are a handful of different types of redirects you can use if you’re moving your pages from one web address to another. Search Engine People and Moz both have useful posts on the differences between these redirects. Search Engine People’s post is a bit more straightforward while the one by Moz is a bit more comprehensive.Discover other SEO strategies.There’s more to SEO than just the redirect. A website redesign offers you an opportunity to map out your content to really rank for certain keywords. Search Engine Land has a helpful post about building a keyword strategy in the context of a larger website redesign.Use an on-page SEO template.When you’re ready, HubSpot has a free on-page SEO planning template you can use to track all of your work and ensure all of your loose ends are tied down for the redesign.Planning Your Design and ContentOptimize your site for mobile.Mobile optimization is an essential part of creating an excellent visitor experience, driving conversions, and even ranking on search engine results. Make sure that any redesign includes a plan for mobile optimization. You can see how your current site looks on mobile devices here and learn the differences between mobile approaches here. Carefully plan your design.There is plenty of great advice out there on website design. Probably the most comprehensive is this post by Smashing Magazine, which covers everything from about-us pages, to 404s, to breadcrumbs, to calls-to-action. Some other great resources you can check out:Get inspired by looking at different homepage examples.Get scientific (sort of) through KISSmetrics’ Anatomy of an Effective Homepage Infographic.Understand your essential homepage elements.Learn why you don’t have to worry about the infamous website “fold” in this KISSMetrics post.Write your content.Words matter. A beautiful design and compelling words work together to make your site memorable and deliver your company’s unique value. I scoured the web to find some practical advice on moving your web copy from good to great.Get an overview of writing for web: This quick course in copywriting by Smashing Magazine is a nice primer in some of the concepts behind good copywriting.Don’t make it all about you: This Unbounce post explains some of the common pitfalls of company-centric website copy. Make a clear case for the problem that your company will solve for customers.Determine your value proposition: Different than a slogan or a tagline, your value proposition explains to prospective customers how your company will advance their goals. This post will walk you through a few steps to identify and communicate your value proposition.Choosing a Content Management System A website redesign is probably the best timing for assessing your current content management system and trying to decide if you are happy or want to move to a different platform. You’re starting over from scratch, so you have the opportunity to consider all the facets of the way you market online.To determine the best platform for you, think about your core needs. Would it be better for all of your marketing tools to be integrated into one platform or are you ok with separate tools? Is mobile optimization important to you? Do you have a designer to work on your site or need pre-made templates? One of the best ways to get to know the different platforms available is to take a look at review sites. There are a number of review sites around, but a few newer sites are doing a good job with crowd-sourcing reviews from actual users. Take a look at TrustRadius or G2Crowd to compare vendors. If Salesforce integration is important to you, you’ll also want to check out the reviews on its app exchange.Of course, we’re happy to talk with you about HubSpot’s content optimization system to help you determine if it’s a fit for your redesign. Don’t forget to share this post! 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As the content manager at Half a Bubble Out, part of my job the past couple quarters has been to focus on improving our performance around 11 different keywords.However, we’ve been doing this keyword rotation long enough now that we got to a point where it felt like we were fighting the keywords. We were having trouble coming up with original angles, and quickly becoming impatient with the content creation process. It just feels likes we’ve been there, done that, you know?Since I have the privilege of reading and editing each and every blog article that we post, I’ve recognized patterns during these last 9 months about how our staff members brainstorm ideas, create headlines, and use the keywords — and how sometimes our crazy ideas actually turn into great blog posts! So I thought I’d share some of the strategies we use when it feels like the well of ideas for important keywords is running dry. I hope one of these strategies will help you, too.1) Become the Super ResearcherThe Super Researcher just can’t get enough. They could sit all day and research (and if they aren’t careful, they will). The Super Researcher is very detail oriented and it’s important to them to provide some real meat in their blog posts, not just fluffy samples. They do this by researching, reading, and clicking on just about anything that looks interesting.The thing is, the Super Researcher actually does have a sort of superpower when it comes to research. They’re able to find some of the most random — yet interesting and relevant — articles and find original tie-ins to something seemingly unrelated. Like the article our staff member wrote on baby boomers and social media.If you like researching, try this approach to research, read, and relate it to your keyword.2) Become the New AnglerThe New Angler sees things differently. They can take a keyword phrase that has been done over and over again and totally rock it to appeal to a different business persona.For example, one of our keyword phrases has been “what makes a good website.” Instead of focusing on a different aspect of what DOES make a good website, the New Angler might do something like this: “What Makes an Otherwise Good Website Completely Useless.” Totally made a 180 with the keyword.I love this because I’m so not a New Angler — so I love it when I see it. If you’re stuck on how to use your keyword, try looking at it in a negative light “what not to do…” or “5 elements you’re missing.” It might spark an idea.3) Become the Case StudierThe Case Studier sees how things work together. If an individual or company has done something right — or wrong for that matter — recognize it and talk about how it relates to your keyword.The same is true for your own company, too. If you have a client or have performed a service that you think is exceptionally noteworthy — write about it in an educational manner (not a promotional one).Here’s an example of how to use a keyword phrase and relate it to a case study: We used the phrase “why is social media important” and wrote a blog post about WestJet and how its recent Christmas Miracle video went viral with the help of social media. Check it out to see an example of this technique in action.4) Become the NewsjackerFirst of all, if you’re unfamiliar with newsjacking, here’s an article that’ll get you caught up to speed.Now, this type of keyword strategy probably isn’t the best because it’s kind of dependent on what news is out there — but when it works. it works like a charm, and is one of the best ways to add a fresh perspective to a seemingly tired keyword phrase. So jump on that bandwagon!The Newsjacker is skilled at using their knack for always knowing what’s going on, and applying it to their keyword. If Facebook just announced a new feature called “Promoted Posts,” for instance, use that to talk about how it can help you with lead generation techniques for your business. (Did you guess that “lead generation techniques” was the keyword?)5) Become the Life LessonerThe Life Lessoner does just that — uses things they’ve learned or experiences they’ve had, and writes about it.Write what you know. It’s a good place to start. The Life Lessoner is honest, sometimes sentimental, and knows themselves well enough to be able to use a keyword phrase and relate it to a piece of their life. It can be as simple as talking about an experience with a client that taught you to view a situation differently, or as “out there” as relating the public transit in Boston at Inbound to what makes a good website. (And it worked. Take a look here.)6) Become the Out-of-the-Box ThinkerThe Out-of-the-Box Thinker isn’t afraid to try new ideas. They might just work! And … they might also suck. But you won’t know until you try.One way to think outside the box when writing content is rethinking the format that content appears in. For instance, if you’re used to writing how-to and list posts, perhaps you should try creating those posts in the form of a video, a piece of static visual content, or even a list of memes. Even if the idea seems a little too bizarre, remember that you can rebound quickly from a poorly performing piece of content … just write something else!7) Become the Whatever Comes to MinderI didn’t reveal the name of each lovely co-worker I identify with each keywording style above — I thought it would be fun for them to try and figure it out — but I will say that the “Whatever Comes to Minder” is me.I get my writing inspiration from the strangest places sometimes. For instance, I had a toenail fungus keyword looming over my head. It’s for a podiatrist client, and while reading The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss to my one year old daughter, I was inspired to write a blog offering foot care tips from a podiatrist and Dr. Seuss. The client enjoyed it, and maybe even more importantly, I enjoyed writing it.Another example … one day I was driving in my car and the song “More than Words” by Extreme came on, and it gave me the idea to write about how your blog is more than words; you know, all that other stuff Google cares about like conversion rates, social shares, etc. The Whatever Comes to Minder will have something totally random just pop into their mind and wonder if they could use a keyword and create a blog out of it. If this happens to you, don’t brush this off. Just write it down because I’m willing to bet you’ll think of some inspiring ways to create excellent, keyword-friendly content.Hopefully one or all of the strategies we use at Half a Bubble Out helped you. When you feel like you’re fighting your keyword, talk to those around you and relate your keyword to the world around you. Every good fighter has a team that surrounds them. Use yours to get your keyword fight on. 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: Originally published Jan 6, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Keyword Optimization
Negotiation This post originally appeared on the Opinion section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Opinion.So you’ve been through a few job interviews and now you’re down to brass tacks — you’re negotiating the offer. This can be complex, tricky business — and costly, too, if you don’t do it well.But complexity also creates opportunities, at least for people who have done some homework. Deepak Malhotra is a professor at Harvard Business School who teaches negotiation skills. He’s put together a pretty thorough list of 15 rules to follow when you’re negotiating a job offer, which I highly recommend.”Every situation is unique, but some strategies, tactics, and principles can help you address many of the issues people face in negotiating with employers,” Malhotra writes in a must-read article in the Harvard Business Review.After reading the article you might also want to watch a one-hour video where Malhotra gives a presentation about how to negotiate a job offer. You can see that here: 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 Mar 26, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Malhotra’s first rule, “Don’t underestimate the importance of likability,” may not come as a big surprise to most normal people, but remember, Malhotra is not advising normal people, he’s advising Harvard Business School students, many of whom actually do need to be told this. Another neat piece of advice is, “Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, not serially.” If there are four things you want, mention them all at once, and let the employer know the relative importance of each one. The thing you don’t want to do is just bring up one thing, such as salary, then go back and forth on that one point, and then say, “Okay, now here’s the next thing on my list.” Do that, and the employer “is unlikely to remain in an understanding or generous mood,” Malhotra writes.Other rules include: Understand the person across the table. Understand that this person has constraints in terms of what she can offer, and know what those constraints are. Consider the whole deal, not just salary. And avoid ultimatums. And another favorite: “Don’t negotiate just to negotiate.” Apparently this is a big problem for freshly minted MBA students. They’ve just taken courses in negotiation, so “they go bargaining berserk the first chance they get, which is with a prospective employer,” Malhotra writes. If something is important, then sure, fight for it. But don’t haggle over every little thing, just to show that you can.”Fighting to get just a bit more can rub people the wrong way.”
Topics: Originally published Oct 24, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 My boss was in Des Moines, Iowa a couple weeks ago, and sent me this message:Subj: Zombie BurgerBringing you the menu from that zombie burger place. Such a cool content story. The co-owner’s childhood dream was to one day open a zombie themed restaurant. Three years in they’ve sold 1 million burgers! There is always a wait. Always.Took photos of artwork. We should write about them.Between you and me, he had me at zombies, but the “one million” certainly piqued my interest. What is this place? (Zombie Burger + Drink Lab in Des Moines, IA.) How’d they make it to one million burgers on a zombie theme? (Their food, branding & content had a lot to do with it.) And the burgers … they’re actually good? (Yep.) Like … really good? (Yeah, they have like 8,000 Facebook reviews raving about them.)I wanted to learn more. So I did what I always do when I want to learn more — Googled them — to see if I could get in touch with the owners. Along with finding their Facebook account with almost 50,000 Likes and glowing reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and UrbanSpoon, I found an email address on their crazy cool zombie-themed website and shot them a quick note to see if they’d be willing to talk. They responded in four minutes. I think I’m starting to get why these guys are killing it.I talked with the Paul Rottenberg, the co-founder of the restaurant, to learn more about their “zombie marketing strategy” and what’s made them so successful. Here’s what he had to say.Why zombies? Where’d the idea come from?The idea really started out by having the desire to do a chef-driven burger restaurant. My co-founder, Chef George Formaro, and I had done several upscale places, and we wanted to do a place that was more fun and casual. We talked a lot about what the theme would be, and my partner is a horror movie buff, so he wanted to do a horror theme originally. We looked at a number of places, and nothing turned up that we liked — but then when one did, George said he wanted to do a zombie place. This was 2009, so by the time we opened it looked like we were riding on The Walking Dead thing, but the idea started before it ever came out.So the zombie idea came from George. Were you equally enthusiastic about it?To tell you the truth, I had never even watched any movies about zombies. So when he told me about it, I started watching movies and documentaries and reading books. And I remained unconvinced we could carry the idea of great food and zombies — I was worried it might be a concept diners didn’t want to think about with their food. It took me about six months to sign on. In fact, on the original loan applications, I just called it a hamburger restaurant because I didn’t know how the bank would respond to a zombie-themed restaurant.But I eventually got sold on the idea. I was meeting with our third partner, Jeremy Reichart, telling him about the idea. He said he thought it was a great idea and we oughtta do it. I asked him, “Will you put up a third of the money?” And he said he would. When did you know your idea was a hit?Even before it opened. We got a ton of attention from the press and the public. Before we opened we had 5,000 Facebook Likes and won best hamburger restaurant in Des Moines.Before it opened?I know, it doesn’t seem fair does it? It just had so much top of mind awareness. On opening day, we were prepared to serve 800 burgers, and we sold out by 9:00 p.m. From the time the doors opened there was just a huge amount of interest.How does this restaurant differ from the other restaurants you’ve opened? Does it serve a different demographic for Des Moines?Well, it’s in a hip part of town. We thought it’d be a kitschy fun place for the cool, young demographic to hang out in. But it’s the broadest demographic of any business we’ve opened. From little kids to grandmas, white collar to blue collar, every walk of life. It’s universally appealing.Even something as polarizing as gore and horror?Yeah, it’s weird, isn’t it? I had my first inkling I was going down the right path when I went to file some paperwork and had to write down the name. The lawyer said, “Oh, that’ll be great. My son is reading about zombies, we love zombies.” And then my friends, who are quite a bit more conservative than me, said they watch zombie movies all the time — another friend of mine said, “My first date was a George Romero movie!”It looks like you took that interest and ran with it. The zombie theme pervades everything — from the menu to the decor to the artwork.Developing a zombie burger facility and space was a real exercise in marrying blood and gore content with food. It was a challenge to figure out how to tell that story without offending people. To help with that, the original concept was that zombies were outside — that you’re boarded up in this tavern — and then Ron Wagner, a comic book artist that did the murals, created a story about the apocalypse happening outside.Once we opened, though, it got edgier and edgier because customers said we could do more.So the customers played a role in the story’s development?Absolutely. After that we added Frank, the zombie mannequin, and a ton of other things because there was a demand to kick it up a notch. It got edgier and gorier because the customer said to do more.From a business standpoint, we say it’s good to start with a good idea — but to be successful you have to listen to what the customers want you to be. We call it “Food that doesn’t try to be smarter than the customer.” George could be a chef at a 5-star restaurant anywhere, but he likes putting out food that makes people feel good.You’ve got over 8,000 reviews on Facebook, nearly 50,000 Likes, over 8,000 Twitter followers. Tell me about how that social media presence grew — did the zombie theme just make it happen, or did you work at it?It was a combination of work and natural interest. I believe once you get up into the high numbers, it becomes exponential. People come to us now with things they want to do together — for example, a guy that draws zombie comics wants to get some eyes on that, and we’re a natural place for him to show his talents.Who runs the social media accounts?All our accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are managed in-house with much of the content coming from the chef, Tom McKern, and Karen Davis. Tom runs the kitchen as our executive chef, and he’s just an incredibly funny guy. Karen is our general manager and has a long history in the entertainment industry — she was the manager of a chain that does a combination of beer, food, and movies. So they’ve both got a good sensibility about what will work on social.So they’re responsible for the #zbbasicbitch account on Twitter?[Laughs] That’s one of our burgers … I think they were doing a hashtag with that, but did they start an account?Yeah, a follower tweeted the account — @zbbasicbitch — and tagged @ZombieBurgerDM. Tom did a #basicbitch burger that was a spoof on the pumpkin spice thing. That was one of the #TweakedOutThursday burgers. I bet it was Tom that did it, I’ll have to ask him, but I guess it could have been anyone — these things just kind of build on themselves.It sounds like most of your customers would probably find that funny, but then again, you serve a really wide demographic. Do you care if stuff like that offends people? How do you decide what’s too edgy?Yeah, I do care. And I probably represent the most conservative of the sensibilities. We had a meeting about naming this burger. Tom talked about the idea and I can’t remember what the original name was, but it was even edgier, and we decided that might be too far. When we released it, most people got it and thought it was funny.Did anyone complain?We got one complaint. But even she said she loved the restaurant, just didn’t like the name. I think our restaurant has been able to develop a relationship with its customer base that’s kind of edgy, so I’m careful not to rein in those guys too much. Tom avidly studies social and is aware of the latest trends, so I’m careful not to stifle his creativity — we’ve had some big successes because of those ideas.What are some of those successes that came from being creative and current?We did an Undead Hasselhoff burger. It got picked up all over the world. Germany loved it.When Jim Gaffigan was in town, Tom started tweeting with him, and Jim answered him. Tom said he was going to create an Undead Gaffigan burger when he was in town, and asked him what he wanted on it. Jim said he wanted bacon, cheddar, white bread, five patties (he’s got five kids), and jalapenos. The burger ended up being featured in his latest book.You’ve clearly got some creative people on staff — is one of them responsible for writing the zombie newspaper stories on the back of the menu, too?George’s brother Tom Formaro — not the chef, a different Tom — is a locally-based writer and he writes those. He just wrote a book called The Broken Heart Diet. He’s hysterically funny. We try to change them a few times a year, and we’ll build on whatever is current in the season. For instance, in 2016 we’ll have the Iowa caucuses, so in that menu edition we’ll likely write stories that spoof on the candidates.Will you take any position, politically?We’ll steer clear of taking any political positions. We’ve got customers who are radically liberal and radically conservative who love the restaurant equally — and love zombie movies.Who knew zombies were the great equalizer?I think the reason zombies work is it just seems okay to hurt zombies. You know, cuz they’re dead already.But first and foremost, what we want to do is just build a better burger restaurant. Every item we send out is made by our team — so if we’ve got breaded jalapenos, we’ve made them there. We have the machinery to grind the burgers and cut the fries. Because people wouldn’t come back if the food wasn’t good. When you’ve got 50,000 people talking about your burgers on Facebook, it can go both ways — you’ve gotta win the conversation with a good product if you’re going to make those conversations work for you.So the brand and the product are inextricable?No question. The food needed to work, the environment needed to tell the story, and it needed to be a comfortable, functional restaurant. You could just have one or two of those things, but it blew up because it had all of those. All of those things had to happen.Artwork from Zombie Burger + Drink Lab restaurant. Marketing Case Studies Don’t forget to share this post! 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Co-marketing is a fantastic way to gain new contacts without having to wait for organic search to kick in … but it’s not always an easy job.The challenging part of co-marketing all boils down to one thing: your partner. Can you find partners who launch campaigns with the same strategy and thoughtfulness you do? Oftentimes, it’s a struggle.If you’re having trouble finding and evaluating co-marketing partners, keep on reading. In this post, I’ll outline 10 tips for making sure you’re entering into a healthy and prosperous co-marketing partnership.Let’s get to it.Click here to download a detailed guide and free templates for getting started with co-marketing.10 Tips to Finding the Right Co-Marketing Partner1) Start with a list of brands you admire. First, create a running list of brands and influencers in your industry that you admire from a marketing standpoint.If you’re an online wine distributor, for example, a great potential partner to include on this list would be a popular wine accessory company. Chances are, your audience would want cool wine accessories and gifts for their family and friends, and the wine accessory company would want an audience of wine lovers to buy more accessories. It’s a win-win!A few questions to ask yourself when you’re putting this list together:Are there potential partners in your space who have enjoyable-to-read blogs that would provide value to your audience?Do you follow any brands on social media that make lovable content that also speaks to your buyer persona’s needs?What apps, tools, or products make your customers’ lives easier? Once you nail down a list of companies that are a fit for your buyer persona, it’s time to dig a lot deeper.2) Consider competitive overlap.It can be tough to assess the “coopetition” of a new partner. It’s common sense to not go after direct competitors, but there is a gray area where a partner’s products are differentiated enough to where you might want to engage in a co-marketing relationship.My biggest pieces of advice when evaluating that gray area is to make sure you’re not fighting for the same keywords. If you’re an interior designer in Boston trying to grow outside of New England, for example, don’t co-market with another interior designer in Massachusetts as the keyword to find you would be “interior designer in Boston” or “interior designer in Massachusetts.” I’d opt to partner with somebody in the furniture or rug business that has a national footprint, as you can both drive traffic and leads to each other without cutting into each other’s business.3) Dig into social media profiles.The first thing I do to check out a new partner is visit their company’s profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.While I’m there, I don’t just look at the number of followers — I also look at engagement, replies, and the type of content their social team is posting. Why? Chances are, your co-marketing content will be promoted on social media. It’s important to know the potential reach and engagement of your partners’ social accounts so you can assess how much exposure your co-branded content will get on social.When you’re looking at their social media accounts, ask yourself these questions:Does the partner use high-quality, relevant, and aesthetically pleasing visuals to promote their campaigns?Is the copy engaging and easy to digest? Are people liking/favoriting and sharing posts?Is the partner answering questions from customers and prospects? Is the partner joining conversations related to your industry? Try to answer all of these questions about your future partner to determine if they’re on the same page you are when it comes to social content.Pro Tip: When you’re on Twitter, check out “Tweets & Replies” as well as “Photos & Videos” to better determine what your future new partner is up to.4) Assess the company’s overall web and content reach.In order to assess how much traffic your new partner could drive to a landing page, I look at their overall web presence on www.alexa.com and www.similarweb.com. These sites help me get a rough idea of traffic, bounce rates, keywords, and sources people are using to find that site, as well as the next action they take after visiting.Alexa specifically is a great tool, as it can help you dig into where visitors click from a company’s main site. If you find most of the clicks are going to a company’s blog or resources pages, that’s a great sign for me as their audience likes that company’s content. If it’s going to a pricing page or something that’s not as top of the funnel, it signals that there is a hole in their marketing and conversion path — they may not be a great co-marketing partner right now. Another tool that works well for assessing a potential new partner’s reach is Buzzsumo. It allows you to find specific types of content that perform well in an industry, as well as uncovers thought leaders in that space. This handy tool ranks content by the number of social shares to provide you insight into what’s working on this company’s site. Here’s a great video on Buzzsumo’s capabilities and a look into how HubSpot’s own SEO guru Matthew Barby uses the tool.image Source: SEMrush5) Google the company.To make sure you don’t start working with a partner who is on the verge of bankruptcy, Google the company and check out the first few pages to see what comes up, as well as the “News” section. If the latest news doesn’t shed a positive light on this potential partner, perhaps you should wait until the dust settles after a few months. If it’s too damaging, you might consider crossing them off your list of partners to reach out to.If the latest news is about their impending IPO or recent funding and growth, however, go get ‘em! 6) Sign up for their newsletters and subscribe to their blog. Sometimes the best way to find out if this company markets their brand and content well is to subscribe to their updates. A few questions to ask yourself:Is the content they’re promoting lovable?How often are they sending emails?Is there an unsubscribe link?Are their calls-to-action to landing pages and useful content, or to assets that don’t make sense?The importance of knowing how this future partner markets to their own database is similar to how they engage on social media. Eventually, if you co-market with them, they’re going to promote via email, social media, and their website. If you like the way they are marketing to their database in helpful newsletters, interesting blog posts, and relevant content, that’s a sign this company knows what their audiences likes and how to convert them into delighted customers and evangelists. If they’re not sending any emails or the emails themselves are irrelevant, that should be a red flag on moving forward with a co-marketing partnership.7) If applicable, check out reviews for their product or service.In the case of the wine distributor looking to pair up with a wine accessory company, I’d check out the Amazon reviews for those accessories or Google search “[insert company name] reviews.”If there’s a way to dig into the customer service and support of this company’s products and services, you should absolutely find out if customers like what they are purchasing as it reflects on how the brand treats their buyers. Go the extra mile and dig into customer reviews and their experiences with any potential partner, if you can.8) Google the person you’d be working with, if you know who they are.Do a quick search to see if this person has experience in the industry, recommendations of their work, and a positive footprint online. I don’t judge people for not having a YouTube channel on inbound marketing that has over 1,000 subscribers and hundreds of thousands of view to their videos, but I do check out their LinkedIn to see what experience they bring to the table. Ultimately, the person you will be working with will make or break your co-marketing campaign. I don’t discredit people or choose not to work with those who haven’t had several years of experience, but it’s nice to know whether you’re working with somebody who is an industry veteran or somebody who is starting to learn the ropes.9) Ask your network for references.Have any connections in common on LinkedIn? Send your common contact a message and ask if this person you’re thinking of pairing up with is recommendable. If someone you trust can’t recommend this person, that’s a red flag. The same goes for Twitter. If you’re a dog walker looking to pair up with a local dog treat company and see you have a few friends in common on Twitter, Direct Message your common friend and ask about the dog treat company owner you’re interested in working with. Can they vouch for that person? Are they hard workers, passionate about growing their business with inbound marketing, and in tune with their buyer persona and delighting customers?Great recommendations from your network are invaluable ways to research a potential new partner you’re trusting your brand name with.10) Have an introductory call to make sure you’re both aligned (and you get good vibes from the person).I’m a personal believer in first impressions being lasting impressions. Having an introductory call with a future partner is a great way to get a temperature check on their energy and enthusiasm about the co-marketing partnership. A few questions to ask yourself:Do they seem excited about the campaign?Did they come with great questions?Are you aligned on goals?Does the conversation flow well?As a best practice, always schedule a half hour call to get to know each other before agreeing to a campaign. This will give you enough time to ensure you align goals of the campaign, as well as deliverables and the timeline of those deliverables.I try to be as natural as I can on first-time calls. This gives the potential partner a sense of my personality and lets them know I’m excited about the potential for working with them. It loosens the vibe and allows for a more relaxed conversation, which means you can really get to know each other and your goals.At the end of this whole process, you should have a much better idea whether this person and company will be worth partnering up with — or just a waste of time. What other tips do you have for finding and vetting co-marketing partners? Topics: Co-Marketing Originally published Dec 29, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated August 29 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
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 Feb 24, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Social Media Marketers YouTube is a big business. There are over a billion people — that’s almost a third of all internet users — watching hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos every day.Clearly, YouTube’s TrueView ad platform presents a massive opportunity for marketers and brands. Campaigns in TrueView are set up and managed using AdWords, which makes it versatile in terms of targeting settings and ad formats. Not to mention, ads are less intrusive from a viewer’s perspective. The benefits of using TrueView as an ad platform are abundant. The two main options for running campaigns are in-stream ads (usually linking to your website and offering additional calls-to-action), which are shown before or during a video, and in-display ads (usually linking to a video) targeting keywords, which appear in the search results or in the side panel next to videos.There are multiple advantages of running TrueView ads as part of your inbound marketing strategy, including:1) YouTube advertising is young and low costThe relatively low cost of advertising on YouTube, in its infancy stage, means you can test out the flexible campaign settings and targeting options at your liberty. In contrast, when TrueView ads become more expensive in the future, advertisers will spend more money on experiments that fall flat. Get on board early, so you can learn the ropes before the market becomes saturated.2) It’s pretty nativeNative advertising is a growing trend right now, and TrueView ads have the potential to appear very naturally on the YouTube platform. After all, people came to the website to watch videos.In-display ads in particular, which can appear as suggested videos or search results, sit comfortably beside YouTube’s non-ad content.In-stream ads, on the other hand, can be more intrusive, so they should be well-targeted and engaging to encourage viewers to watch them rather than skip.3) For the most part, you’ll only pay for engaged viewersThe viewer has the option to skip your in-stream ads after five seconds, but you only pay when a whole clip or 30 seconds of the clip is viewed — whichever is shortest — or when a viewer engages with your video, if that interaction comes first.Likewise with in-display ads, you pay for clicks rather than impressions. As a result, you will usually only pay for those viewers who are interested in your message.4) Earned conversions are freeA viewer doesn’t need to watch the full video or click an ad in order to convert. In the days following an impression, they may decide to visit your website and later convert of their own accord.Make a strong first impression with your ad and your messaging will stick, whether they continue watching to the end or not.Ads shown to users which weren’t viewed or clicked on, but later convert, are earned views. These conversions aren’t charged for, so enjoy the free marketing!5) Targeting can be very granularUsing your AdWords account, it’s possible to target certain types of user (based on demographic categories like age group and gender), as well as categories of video and specific channels, so your ad gets shown only to the types of people likely to engage and convert.You can also target specific keywords to help you reach relevant audiences, and combine keywords with other targeting settings to zoom in on smaller subsets of YouTube users. For example, you might choose to target females aged between 18 and 24 who search for “bedroom makeover”.6) Ads can be highly contextualIt’s possible to advertise new and different content within your own videos which cover a specific topic. This could mean advertising short form content like a snippet of or an intro to a webinar and giving viewers the option to click a call-to-action to view the full video. This way, you’re benefiting from the opportunity to advertise a relevant video to viewers who are already engaged with the topic.7) There are multiple ad formatsTrueView is a very flexible platform when it comes to ad formats. For example, it’s possible to show banner ads as an overlay on videos, as well as showing banner ads next to videos as part of a Display Network campaign.For both in-stream ads and your longer videos, there are options to add cards (clickable overlays which point viewers to more video content, playlists or offers), CTAs and links to your website within the video display. This encourages viewers to continue engaging with your content and discover more about your brand and content.8) Push whatever content you wantA new webinar, your latest eBook, tutorials, some client testimonials or a product launch… the list is endless as to what you can promote via both in-stream and in-display ads. As long as you have the resources to make a video or presentation, you’re ready to go.9) Run remarketing campaignsTrueView ads offer the same targeting that’s available on Google’s Display Network or their remarketing platform; they allow you to push new content and messaging to new and relevant audiences via their internet history, as well as people already affiliated with your brand, to encourage them to revisit, reengage and convert.You can export your AdWords email list, so as long as your contacts are signed into YouTube, they will be shown specific ads depending on your settings. For improved relevance, segment your remarketing list into buyer persona and buyer’s journey stage, to make sure the right people are getting hit with the right messaging at the right time.By linking your YouTube account to your AdWords account, you can even create remarketing lists based on the videos people have watched. This can be used to create a funnel where each ad in a sequence helps to push your viewers through the buyer’s journey.TrueView Makes Sense for Inbound MarketersThere are so many reasons why inbound marketers should use TrueView to get their brand and messaging in front of YouTube’s viewer base. Whether it’s the cost efficiency, versatility, engagement levels or non-intrusiveness of TrueView ads that initially draws you in, you’re bound to find more benefits once you explore the platform in more detail.As with many things (and marketing tools are no exception), you’ve got to try it to love it. For a helping hand, download our best practices eBook. 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
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack What do the White House, Sports Illustrated, and my cousin Jimmy all have in common?They all publish content on Medium.For the White House, that content includes State of the Union addresses and policy announcements. Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, manages a sports news publication called The Cauldron. My cousin Jimmy? He publishes an ongoing series on advanced cat grooming techniques.And that, my friends, is Medium in microcosm: It’s a social publishing platform that is open to all and home to a diverse array of stories, ideas, and perspectives. As Medium founder (and Blogger creator/Twitter co-founder) Ev Williams wrote when he first launched the platform in 2012:Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say.”To help emphasize the importance of what it is you’re saying, the overall design of Medium is minimalistic, featuring lots of white space and limited formatting options. Want to change the header typeface to Comic Sans? You can’t. Medium won’t allow for such atrocities of design.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. But that’s just one of many little nuances that come with the territory for Medium users. In fact, if you’re just getting started on the platform, there’s a fair amount to learn before you hit publish. Let’s get into it …How to Use Medium: The Beginner’s Guide for MarketersAs a marketer, Medium presents an opportunity for you to reach a new audience with your content. But it’s important to understand that this isn’t just another Twitter, or Facebook. According to Williams, you can think of Twitter as “what’s happening,” you can think of traditional news as “what’s happened,” and you can think of Medium as “what really happened.” The platform is geared toward sharing longer-form, more well-thought-out content. (But of course, given the open-to-all nature of Medium, that isn’t the only type of content you find there.)Whether you’re looking into Medium for its publishing capabilities or you simply want to learn more about the platform before you set up an account and start exploring, you’ve come to the right place. Click on a link in the table of contents below to jump ahead to the section you’re looking for, or keep scrolling to read the full guide.1) Getting Started With Medium a. Creating an Account b. Following People, Publications & Tags2) How to Interact With Medium Content a. Recommending, Sharing & Bookmarking b. Highlighting c. Writing Responses3) How to Write & Publish on Medium a. Formatting Text b. Adding Images & Media c. Sharing Drafts & Publishing d. Measuring Results1) Getting Started With Mediuma. Creating an AccountWhile it’s true that anyone can view Medium content (regardless of whether or not they have a Medium account), in order to publish and interact with folks on the platform, you need to have an account and be logged in.Fortunately, you can create an account in less than a minute by going to Medium.com and clicking the “Get started” button in the center of the page (or the “Sign in / Sign up” link at the top of the page). From there you’ll have four different sign-up options to choose from: Twitter, Facebook, Google, and email.My recommendation: Sign up for Medium using Twitter or Facebook. That way all of your existing connections from Twitter/Facebook who are on Medium will automatically be following your account once it’s created. This saves you the trouble of having to build up a new audience entirely from scratch. Also, regardless of the option you go with to start, you can always link your Twitter or Facebook to your Medium account later via the Settings menu.The Settings menu is also where you can update your username/profile page URL. If you sign up with Twitter, your profile page URL, by default, will be medium.com/@YourTwitterHandle. But you’re free to change it. From the Settings menu you can also control what email notifications you receive from Medium. (You’ll learn about what triggers these notifications in the sections to follow.)The other main things to remember when it comes to setup? Adding a profile photo and writing up a short (160-character max) bio for your Medium profile page. (Note: If you sign up using Twitter, your Twitter profile photo and bio will be automatically synced to your Medium account.)b. Following People, Publications, & TagsWith a Twitter feed, the content that’s surfaced comes primarily from the accounts of the people and organizations you follow.With a Medium feed, the content that’s surfaced comes not only from the accounts of the people and organizations you follow, but also from the publications and tags you follow. What’s more, when you search for content on Medium, people, publications, and tags all show up in the results.Medium publications are collections of stories based around a common theme. Anyone can create them — yourself included — and the way they work is fairly straightforward. As the creator of a publication, you’re an editor by default, which means you have the ability to a) add writers to your publication, b) edit and publish the stories that are submitted by your writers, and c) review the metrics for all of the stories that are part of your publication. As the publication’s creator, you’ll also have the ability to appoint new editors (so they can do all of that stuff I just mentioned).To get a better sense of what Medium publications are all about and what types of stories appear in them, check out this earlier post I wrote: “8 Medium Publications You Should Be Following.”Now, on to tags.Tags are sort of like the hashtags of the Medium ecosystem. Or, as the Medium team puts it, tags are “a way of organizing and discovering content” on the platform.When you publish a story on Medium, you get the option to add up to three tags, which appear at the bottom of your story. Clicking a tag brings you to a page where you can see more stories with the same tag, as well as some suggestions for other tags you might be interested in.The main benefit of following tags is that it can help personalize your Medium experience. Instead of surfacing content based solely on your social graph (i.e., the people/publications you follow), Medium uses tags to surface content that’s based on your specific interests as well. For example, if you’re into baseball, you could follow the “baseball” tag. Into “small fluffy dog breeds”? Yep, there’s a tag for that (granted only one story has been published under it).So far in this introduction to Medium, we’ve acted mostly as passive observers. We’ve set up an account, and started following some accounts, publications, and tags. In the next section, we’ll dive into the more interactive aspects of Medium.2) How to Interact With Medium Contenta. Recommending, Sharing & BookmarkingThe “Recommend” is the “Like” of the Medium world. It’s a way to show you that you appreciate the content that someone has shared.When reading a story on Medium, there are two places where you can recommend it: At the bottom of the actual story …Or on the nav bar that appears at the bottom of the screen when you scroll back up in a story …In either case, you’ll need to click on that green heart outline icon you see. Once clicked, the heart will change from an outline to solid green. To see the full list of people who’ve recommended a story, you can click on that little number you see next to the heart.When you recommend a story, the writer, by default, will receive an email notification. (But that’s something you can control in Settings). The more recommends a story receives, the more likely it will be to get shared around the Medium network. Stories that receive the most recommends within a given time period get featured on Medium’s “Top stories” page, which is updated on an hourly basis.In the same two locations where you can recommend a story, you can also share that story to Twitter or Facebook (by clicking that little arrow icon), and you can bookmark the story for later reading by clicking the bookmark icon (which turns solid once clicked).Once you bookmark a story, it will appear on your “Bookmarks” page, which you can access from Medium’s homepage.b. HighlightingIn addition to recommending, sharing, and bookmarking Medium stories, you can unlock a second level of interaction by selecting a section of text with your cursor. Once you’ve highlighted some text, a pop-up menu will appear that gives you four options: Views: The number of people who visited a story’s page.Reads: An estimate of how many visitors read a story all the way through.Read Ratio: The percentage of visitors that ends up reading an entire story (i.e., the difference between reads and views). According to Ev Williams, this ratio is an important factor in determining how a story gets ranked/surfaced on Medium.Recommends: The number of recommends a story receives. Thanks for following along.Remember, this was just an introductory look at how to use Medium. There are several more features and options we haven’t covered, but we’ll do so in future posts.Anything specific you’d like to learn about Medium? Have any Medium tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below. Off-Site Content Topics: Originally published Apr 14, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Highlight: Clicking the highlighter icon will put a green highlight around the text you’ve selected, which is visible to your Medium followers. By default, a story’s writer will receive a notification when a section of that story is highlighted.Response: Clicking the speech bubble icon will allow you to write a response to the story you’re reading. The section of text you’ve highlighted will appear at the top of your response. (More on responses in a second!)Text Shot: Clicking the Twitter icon will generate a “Text Shot,” which is a tweet that automatically pulls in the text you’ve highlighted as a screenshot.Private Note: Clicking the lock icon will allow you to send the writer of the story a private note. (Note: This functionality can be turned on and off in your account settings.)c. Writing ResponsesUnlike traditional blog comments, Medium responses are treated as individual stories. That means in addition to appearing at the bottoms of the stories you respond to, the responses you write are documented on your profile page, and have the potential to take off and get highly circulated just like traditional stories.As a newcomer to Medium, writing responses can be a great way to engage with people on the platform without having to commit to writing a full-blown story. It can also help you come up with ideas for your first story when you do decide to write it.3) How to Write & Publish on Mediuma. Formatting TextFrom the Medium homepage, there are two places where you can access the Medium editor and start writing or laying out a story: via the “Write here … ” prompt near the center of the page and via the “Write a story” link at the top of the page.As you’ll likely discover, writing in Medium’s editor is highly intuitive and — from a stylistic perspective — nearly impossible to screw up.By highlighting text, you can unveil several basic formatting options, including bold, italics, and hyperlinking. You can also designate text as an H1 … Or as an H2 …And you can choose between two different styles of blockquote. Option A:And Option B:Of course, if you really want to get fancy, you can use Medium’s drop caps function. Know those enlarged, stylized letters you sometimes see at the beginning of sentences? Those are drop caps. According to the Medium team, they’re useful for “pacing, starting a new chapter, or just a little typographical delight.”Another option for creating some separation between different sections of a story in Medium is to use a part, or separator. In order to insert one, you’ll first need to click that little plus icon that appears when you’re on an empty line of your story.Clicking that plus icon will open up a menu with four options. The one on the far right — the icon with the two little lines — is the separator. Here’s what it looks like on the page:b. Adding Images & MediaAdding images, videos, and other media (e.g., tweets) to your Medium story can be as simple as copying and pasting their URLs into Medium’s editor. The editor, in most cases, can automatically recognize the media’s format and render it accordingly.Alternatively, you can click on the plus icon to open the same menu you used to insert the separator in the previous step. From there, you can upload an image from your computer, insert a URL to a video, or insert the embed code to another type of media using the corresponding icons.Depending on the specific size of the image you upload, you’ll have up to four different size options to choose from for displaying that image. These size options, which will appear in a pop-up menu after you insert an image, include left-aligned, center-aligned, wide (where the image width exceeds the width of the text) and full-width.By default, Medium will display the formatting option that best fits the dimensions of the image you insert.c. Sharing Drafts & PublishingWhen you’ve finished your story and are happy with how everything looks, head up to the top nav where you’ll find two links: “Share” and “Publish.”Clicking “Share” will generate a link to the draft of your story, which you can share with anyone — even if they don’t have a Medium account. And (as you can read in the screenshot below) the people you share the draft with will also have the option of leaving you notes.Clicking the “Publish” button, meanwhile, will open a menu where you can select up to three tags for your story. Medium will recommend some tags by default, but you can also search for tags and create new ones by simply entering text.Once you’ve selected tags for your story, you can hit the “Publish” button to share your story with the world.d. Measuring ResultsIn order to see how your stories (and responses) are performing, you can go to the “Stats” page using the URL medium.com/me/stats. You can also navigate to the “Stats” page via the dropdown menu at the top right of the Medium homepage.When you arrive on the “Stats” page, you’ll first see the aggregate number of views, reads, and recommends your stories and responses have received over the past 30 days. There’s also a graph that provides day-by-day granularity. By hovering over a column on the graph, you can view metrics for the specific day that column corresponds to.If you keep scrolling down the page, you’ll be able to view the individual stats for each of your stories. Specifically, Medium provides data on views, reads, read ratio, and recommends.Here’s a quick rundown on what those metrics mean:
Every brand has a story, but great brands that know how to tell that story well. Whether you’re selling coffee, bookcases, or enterprise software, the reality is that the competition is higher than ever before.Having a compelling brand story is key, but remember: your story is more complicated than just words. Your brand story is communicated through visual identity, tone of voice, PR, and social media channels. Sure is a lot to keep up with, huh?While churning out endless content hoping something hits the mark may feel like the solution, it’s definitely not. In order to stand out and rise in rank, you have to really connect with your audience. And as much as we wish there was, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ formula for that. Every business is different.That’s why HubSpot and MOO teamed up to bring you this Social & PR Branding Kit. From setting goals to vamping up your social media game, we’ve got you covered.We’ll walk you through the process of communicating your brand story online, offline, in social media, and in the press to help you win new customers, retain existing ones, grow your brand recognition, and gain that competitive edge. More specifically, this kit includes:How to craft a valuable ‘About Us’ page that people will read and remember.How to identify clear objectives focused on your brand vision and goals.What to post on social media, as well as why, and when to do so.A breakdown of different social networks.How to tell if your social media strategy is working.How to build media relationships and write killer press releases. Topics: Originally published Jun 27, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Branding Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
60% of leading advertisers will review their agencies within the next 12 months, according to a study from Advertiser Perceptions. As if to prove the point, Procter & Gamble announced in January they will review all ad agency contracts in 2017.Whether it’s due to the demise of the agency-of-record, growing concerns over transparency issues, or the invasion of management consulting firms on ad agency turf, marketers are actively shopping for agencies like never before.So what does that mean for agencies? You just might start seeing an increase in the number of RFPs landing in your inbox. Good for the upper-end of the sales pipeline, but you’ll increase your chances of converting a prospect to a client if you treat your RFP responses like the strategic sales tools they’re meant to be — and that means avoiding these six hazardous pitfalls.Download Now: Free RFP Templates6 Seemingly Harmless Proposal Mistakes1) You don’t know enough to make informed choices.The Fix: Ask the right questions.Having an RFP from a new prospect show up unsolicited in your inbox can elicit a giddy response. It’s a shiny object that leads you to believe your pipeline problems are over.Hallelujah. You knew something would come along eventually. Instead of thoughtful consideration of the RFP’s requirements and the client fit with your agency, you rally your team and dive right in.This is a risky, time consuming approach to winning new business.Instead, gain control from the start by asking the right questions. Why is the client conducting this review? Why now? Why us? Who will decide the winner? What’s the budget and timing? Has this scope of work even been approved?And don’t just ask the questions — know the right answers in advance to qualify this prospect as a worthwhile opportunity for your agency.2) You take the RFP at face value.The Fix: Interpret the RFP.Clearly, you must read the RFP. In fact, you must read the RFP multiple times and throughout the proposal process to make sure your response stays focused on the client’s needs, and doesn’t go off on unnecessary tangents.The hazard is taking the RFP at face value without interpreting important information that’s hiding in plain sight.For instance, most RFPs provide a list of people who will be involved in the review process at some level. Look at this list critically for things like who the decision-makers are versus who’s in a supporting or supervising role.How involved is senior leadership? Are some disciplines represented more than others? Are there any surprises, such as roles and responsibilities that aren’t typically associated with a marketing function (e.g., a big regional franchise operator in the case of a quick-serve restaurant chain)? All these considerations reveal internal politics and agendas, as well as valuable insights into the client’s decision-making process. 3) You use your response to tell the prospect all about you.The Fix: You grasp the issues that are important to the client and tailor your response to address them.Sounds like such obvious advice, doesn’t it? Yet I’m surprised at how infrequently agencies follow it.Suppress your natural desire to tell the prospect all about you. It’s hard, because many RFPs will give the impression that they want to know everything there is to know about your work process, capabilities, team bios, etc.Instead, start the process by establishing key messages you need to communicate (probably no more than three) to win the business. If you’ve hedged your bets and avoided hazards one and two on this list, you’re in a strong position to make those decisions.Make sure everyone who is contributing to the response knows what those messages are. Be a ruthless editor and discard anything that distracts from presenting your best argument.4) You “save” your best material for the presentation.The Fix: You reinforce your messages through artful repetition.We give clients way too much credit for remembering what we tell them. Here’s a reality check: they may be reading (or, more accurately, skimming) a dozen or more responses, most of them badly written, few of them with any differentiating qualities.If the story is good, telling it once is not enough. Humans love to be told the same good story over and over again. That might be why West Side Story was such a hit despite the fact that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet preceded it by almost 400 years, and Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe by almost 2,000.5) You weave yourself into a cocoon of jargon and generalization.The Fix: You tell a good story.Ad agencies deliver value to their clients predominantly through intangible services like strategy, planning and creative development. It’s difficult for agencies to describe those things in tangible ways. In their struggle, many fall prey to jargon and generalizations that end up telling the prospect nothing. This is why so many proposals sound the same.Storytelling is a foolproof cure.It makes the intangible tangible. It gives your prospective client, who may know almost nothing about you, something to relate to. It makes it easier for them to remember you — and to repeat to others what they liked about you.It’s not difficult to incorporate some basic storytelling techniques into your RFP responses. When I do persuasive writing workshops with agencies, I often use the Pixar Pitch as an easy framework to gently but effectively encourage my clients to experiment with storytelling.6) You break the wrong rules.The Fix: Don’t play fast-and-loose with stupid stuff.Sometimes it’s to your advantage to take a risk and break some rules. Usually these are “go big or go home” kinds of risks.What are the wrong rules to break? The ones that will buy you nothing except the client’s annoyance. These include changing the sequence of questions because you feel it would “make your response so much better.” Or putting your response in an unusual format to make a creative statement.Think about how your prospective clients are going to interact with your response. The client probably has a reason for organizing the questions in the way they did — like being able to compare answers apples to apples. You may not agree with their approach, but why put yourself at a disadvantage but messing around with their system?Don’t make responding to RFPs harder or riskier than it needs to be. Topics: RFPs Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Feb 22, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017
Originally published May 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated May 23 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Inbound Marketing Data The inbound movement has always been about one thing: being relevant and truly helpful to your audience.This approach shouldn’t change, but as technology and internal company relationships change, marketers and salespeople must learn how to adapt to better serve their customers.To better understand how our relationships with consumers and coworkers are changing, we collected data from more than 6,300 marketers and salespeople from around the globe, which we’ve compiled in the 2017 State of Inbound report. It examines the relationship between company leadership and employees, details on collaboration between marketing and sales teams, and a look at what the industry’s foremost marketers are adding to their strategy in the coming year.Check out the full report here, or view some of the most interesting highlights below.9 Stats You Need to Know From the 2017 State of Inbound Report1) 68% of inbound marketers believe their organization’s marketing strategy is effective. [Tweet this]Last year, we started to examine marketers’ thoughts on their organizations’ marketing strategy and found that inbound marketers are much more likely to be satisfied with their organization’s approach.We’re happy to report that this trend continued. 68% of inbound marketers believe their organization’s marketing strategy is effective. However, the majority of outbound marketers (52%) do not think their strategy is effective.2) 1/3 of marketers think outbound marketing tactics are overrated. [Tweet this]It’s not simply the effectiveness of the inbound philosophy that encourages us, but the success of inbound when compared to alternative methods. Each year, marketers tell us that outbound practices are overrated.While we admit we might be a bit biased, when we cut the data, marketers agreed. According to this year’s data, 32% of marketers rank outbound marketing practices such as paid advertising as the top waste of time and resources.3) C-level executives and individual contributors disagree about the effectiveness of their organizations’ marketing strategy. [Tweet this]Over the years, we’ve continued to examine the relationship between marketers and salespeople. This year, we discovered an interesting trend in the data: Company leadership and individual contributor employees are struggling under a growing corporate chasm.This means that leadership and employees often view their company, its performance, and its future very differently. For example, while 69% of C-level executives believe their organizations’ marketing strategies are effective, only 55% of individual contributors agree. Leaders who want their business to grow must learn how to effectively communicate the organization’s vision and goals with their employees.4) Marketers struggle most with metrics-driven challenges. [Tweet this]Marketers find tracking and making sense of their metrics a challenge. This year, 63% of marketers admit that their top challenge is generating enough traffic and leads. This is followed by 40% who struggle proving the ROI of marketing activities and 28% who are trying to secure enough budget.All three of these top challenges are metrics-driven. Without the proper tools to track concrete campaign results, these areas will continue to be a struggle.5) Organizations with an SLA are more than 3X as likely to be effective. [Tweet this]When we began publishing this report nine years ago, much of our data revolved around the adoption of inbound marketing. As the message spread, we began to see why it’s crucial for both marketing and sales teams to adopt the inbound methodology together. One of the main ways this is done is through a service-level agreement (SLA).Despite the fact that only 22% of organizations say they have a tightly-aligned SLA, the benefits of having one are clear: 81% of marketers with as SLA think their marketing strategy is effective. In fact, there is no combination of factors more strongly correlated with marketing success than being both inbound and having an SLA.6) 38% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder. [Tweet this]While marketers struggle with tracking the metrics of their campaigns, salespeople admit that getting a response from prospects is a growing challenge. However, as you dive deeper into the data, you see the problem starts long before salespeople begin contacting prospects.38% of salespeople say that they struggle most with prospecting. While there is an abundance of new technology and platforms to help salespeople connect and develop relationships with prospects, many are finding it difficult to incorporate this technology into their daily routine. In fact, 19% of salespeople say they’re struggling to incorporate social media in their sales process, and 13% say using sales technologies is now harder than it used to be.7) Marketers think video and messaging apps have the potential to disrupt. [Tweet this]As marketers prepare for the future, many plan to use a variety of content publishing platforms. In the past, content marketers poured their efforts into their email, website, and blog strategies. But with the rising trend of content decentralization, marketers are now seeing the benefit of publishing on a variety of channels.In our study, marketers are paying more attention to video’s global appeal, with 48% planning on investing in YouTube and 39% looking to add Facebook video to their strategy. In addition, many marketers are experimenting with messaging apps, while others continue to focus on more visual platforms such as Instagram.But don’t think the age of the blog is over. 53% of respondents say blog content creation is one of their top inbound marketing priorities.8) 45% of salespeople say they spend over an hour performing manual data entry. [Tweet this]Getting a response from prospects is not the only challenge salespeople are facing. According to our 2017 data, 45% of salespeople say they spend over an hour performing manual data entry. Another 23% of salespeople say their biggest challenge using their CRM is manual data entry.The more time salespeople spend on data entry, the less time they have to do what they are skilled at: closing deals. Not only is manual data entry time consuming, it can also be detrimental to the business. Storing contacts in an unorganized way or not properly using a CRM can lead to a disjointed sales strategy. Businesses should look to sales tools that include automation, integrate with their other platforms, and provide insight into the full customer journey.9) Marketers and salespeople don’t see eye to eye on the quality of marketing-sourced leads. [Tweet this]We know there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales teams around the definition of a quality lead, but this year’s report shows a drastic gap.59% of marketers say they provide salespeople with very high-quality leads, but only 25% of salespeople agree. In fact, the majority of salespeople — from the C-suite to individual contributors — rank marketing leads last, behind referrals and sales-sourced leads. This data continues to highlight the importance of SLAs.Want more data-backed insights? This is just a preview of the State of Inbound report. Download the report for free to discover how inbound marketing and sales is evolving.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
When you’re looking for a job, you should expect to be Googled.When you’re trying to land a speaking engagement for a big industry event, you should expect to be Googled.When you send a guest contributor pitch to a blog you admire, you should expect to be Googled.The truth is, anyone that may end up working with you in some capacity wants to get a good idea of your work and your personality before responding to your email or getting you to schlep all the way into the office.Click here for free professional bio tips & templates that will get you noticed.That’s where you personal brand comes in. Your personal brand refers to the way you present or market yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a personal brand that accurately reflects what you’re capable of.That’s why we put together the A to Z guide below. From consistency to networking, we’ll walk you through all of the elements that go into defining an impressive personal brand so you can feel good about those Google search results.The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding 1) A: AuthenticityBuilding a brand around you requires quite a bit of soul searching. In the process, you’ll likely learn a lot about who you are, what you value, what your strengths (and weaknesses) are, and so on. These are all elements of your authentic self.When working on your personal brand, be sure to tap in to those layers — those things that make you, you.2) B: BioYour professional bio provides a clear and concise summary of your professional background that can be used to represent you across a ton of different mediums — blog posts, social media, a speaker profile, etc. In many cases, it serves as a first impression — which is why it plays such an important part in defining your personal brand.Trouble is, most people fail to keep it updated.”A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don’t think about until, all of a sudden, we’ve been asked to ‘shoot one over via email’ and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it,” explains HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich.Don’t fall into this trap. If you need help ensuring your bio reflects your best professional self, check out our free professional bio guide, complete with plug-and-play templates to help you get started.3) C: ConsistencyThanks to the internet, discoverabilityOne example of how to exercise consistency in your personal branding would be to align your username across all of your social channels. This approach is more memorable and it makes it easy for folks searching for you across platforms to surface the right account quickly. Just be sure the username you choose reads professional.Think: RoseJMills across everything instead of MissRose8794, RosiexMills87, and RJM8794.In addition to username, employing a consistent headshot across your online accounts is also a personal branding best practice. Take a look at how HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah sticks with the same headshot across his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Inbound.org profile: Job Search Topics: 18) R: ReputationWhen it comes to reputation as part of your personal branding efforts, there are two key areas you want to focus on:1) Your online reputationThe process for making most major decisions starts with a Google search. And when it comes to your personal brand, your online presence can and will reveal a lot about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you.To keep tabs on your online reputation, set up a Google Alert for your name so you receive a notification every time you appear in a piece of content. This is a great way to track positive mentions of your name and your brand, while keeping a close eye on fires you may need to resolve.2) Your offline reputationYour offline reputation is determined by several factors including, the quality of your work, the way you treat other people, the way you respond to feedback, and the impact you’ve made on others.To achieve positive outcomes in all of these areas, you need to be committed to constant improvement by tapping into your self-awareness and self-regulation to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.19) S: Social MediaFor many people, personal brand and social media go hand in hand. In other words, if you want to establish a personal brand, you need to establish a social media presence to support it.That being said, simply having social profiles that you post to regularly isn’t enough. You have to be strategic about your social output — what you post, when you post, and why you post — to ensure that it reflects the behaviors and values that anchor your personal brand.Here are a few of our favorite tips for using social media to advance your brand:Follow people you admire. What types of content are they posting? How frequently? How do they engage with their followers? Make note of their strategy and look for nuggets that you can incorporate into your own.Align your title, username, and headshot across platforms. We mentioned this up in the consistency section, but it bears repeating. Make it easy for folks to identify you and what you do by maintaining consistent identifiers across accounts.Post often. Part of building a memorable brand boils down to properly setting expectations. Commit to posting at least once a day on particular channels so people can rely on your for consistent, fresh updates.20) T: TrustA great way to build trust and advance your personal brand is to ask those you have a strong professional relationship with to write a recommendation or testimonial that you can then use across your website or social accounts.Here’s a great example from experience marketing professional John Bonini’s personal website:Stumped on whom to ask for a testimonial? Try to capture a variety of people — managers, folks you manage, contacts at other companies you’ve worked closely with, etc.21) U: Unique Value PropositionAs a professional, what problem do you solve? What value do you add? How do you make a difference?Asking yourself questions like the ones above will help you determine your unique value proposition — a pivotal piece of your personal branding strategy.Think of your unique value proposition as the key differentiator that people will use to evaluate your personal brand and determine what makes you the most qualified person to do XYZ. You can use this on your resume, in a LinkedIn summary, or on your professional website.22) V: VisibilityOnce you have a foundation for your personal brand, it’s time to spread the word.One of the best ways to increase your visibility is through a strategic content strategy, where you’re focused on delivering your unique value through the mediums that matter to your audience. This could be blog posts, courses, email campaigns, video content, webinars, etc.Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, has done an impressive job increasing his visibility on LinkedIn through his #AllenAsks video series that has helped him grow his followership from a few thousand to over 35,000…. plus it certainly doesn’t hurt your credibility when you’re creating content with Mark Cuban. Nicely done, Allen.23) W: Well-roundedThis one may seem a little confusing at first. After all, your personal brand is typically centered around the one thing you do better than everyone else, right?In most cases, yes. You want to become known for one thing — like being an expert in classical music or a seasoned pastry chef. However, there are advantages to knowing and owning your niche, while also maintaining a basic understanding of a variety of unrelated topics.Why waste brainpower on broadening your knowledge? It’s simple: Knowing a little bit about everything makes you more relatable. It makes it easy for you to talk to people, which in turn, makes it easier for you to build connections that can advance your person brand.24) X: X FactorSimilar to your unique value prop, your “x factor” is the thing you bring to the table that your competitors or other folks in your industry do not.Think of it as your very own disruptor.Maybe you have access to an extensive network of influencers that are willing to work with you on projects, or you’ve been recognized as the top content marketer of the year for three years running. Whatever your “x factor” may be, it’s your job to bake it in to your personal brand.25) Y: YearWe’ll admit it, coming up with a term for ‘Y’ was a little challenging, but this one is actually important.Make a conscious effort to update all of your personal branding assets — resume, professional bio, LinkedIn summary, author bio, personal website, etc. — on a yearly basis as a best practice for maintaining an up-to-date professional narrative.If nothing else, this will help you avoid all of those “Oh sorry, I don’t work there anymore” emails.26) Z: ZealousIf you’ve made it this far, well, we’re impressed. Thanks for sticking with us.You must really be really zealous in the pursuit of personal branding knowledge. And that’s an admirable trait. Why don’t you try working it into your professional bio?What are your best personal branding tips? Share them with us on Twitter @HubSpot. Originally published Nov 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 4) D: DirectionWhen it comes to determining the success of your personal branding efforts, how will you know when you’re making progress?This is where the importance of direction comes in.Some of the most accomplished professionals have a clear sense of direction. This includes well-defined goals, a long-term vision, and a handful of vehicles to drive that vision forward.Before you make any major personal brand plays, stop to think about the professional direction you want to go in and then plan your next steps accordingly.5) E: EvolutionaryOld Spice. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Instagram.Source: Logo InspirationsThese are all hugely successful names that have undergone dramatic rebrands over the years. And there’s something to be said about their willingness to change and evolve.Much like these brands, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the success and relevance of your personal branding strategy and pivot accordingly.As you develop new skills, consider how you might evolve your brand to reflect that. Similarly, as certain mediums for promoting your brand fizzle, invest in new ones. Your personal brand should be consistent, yet constantly evolving to reflect the most current, accurate representation of you.6) F: FocusRome wasn’t built in a day — and you shouldn’t expect your personal brand to be either. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry or a noteworthy resource for any given subject requires a focused approach to delivering value to your audience while upholding your unique values.In other words, don’t expect overnight results. Instead, focus on what you can do today to strengthen your personal brand tomorrow.7) G: GrowthConsider the skills you already posses and the skills you want to build to advance your brand. If you have a fairly large skill gap to fill in order to achieve your desired outcome, it’s important to have a plan for prioritization.As you move towards mastering the skills on your “to-do” list, start by ranking each one by highest growth potential. In other words, which skills do you need to tackle first to make the biggest impact on your overall brand? Which skills are going to help you grow the most?Start there.8) H: HumanThink about the last time you scrolled through Twitter. We’re willing to bet that for every profound, original post from one of the folks you are following, there were about 20-30 automated tweets with a blog post title and a link.While there’s nothing wrong with automating aspects of your online presence — social, email outreach, etc. — it’s important that you’re strategic about how you go about it.Here are a few rules of thumb to help you strike the right balance:Don’t: Share just a link to an article. Instead, add color commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it.Do: Ask questions of your audience. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better position yourself as a trusted authority.Don’t: Send the same pitch to everyone. Take the time to do some research. The more personalized your outreach is, the more willing folks will be to give you a shot — whether it be a guest post, a consultation, etc.Looking for an example of someone with a human social media presence? Give Ann Handley a follow:9) I: InterviewsHere’s a piece of sage advice: Say ‘yes’ to every single interview you’re offered — whether it be for a potential job, a podcast, an article, etc.Depending on the nature of the interview, there are a few potential personal branding wins to gain by simply saying yes.For job interviews …Even if you’re not interested in the position on the table, going through the interview process can serve as a great exercise for refining and practicing your professional pitch, as it provides you with an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.What’s more, the feedback you receive from the interviewer can be extremely helpful in improving your personal brand. For example, if the interviewer questions a particularly weak part of your resume, you may identify an opportunity for improvement or clarity.For podcast or written interviews …If you’re comfortable talking about your industry or area of expertise, landing an interview — whether it is audio or written — is a really smart way to gain exposure for your personal brand.Depending on the spot you land, an interview can help you get your name in front of a large audience — one you may have not had access to otherwise. And in many cases, one interview can open the door for another. Momentum for the win.10) J: Join Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no shortage of professional groups to get involved with. And aside from the obvious networking aspect, joining these groups can be extremely beneficial when it comes to growing your personal brand.How so?Joining a community or group centered around something you’re passionate about and want to be known for can help you:Develop new skillsImprove ideasEstablish yourself as a resourceGain inspirationDon’t know where to start? Here’s an overview of how to find and join a group on LinkedIn.11) K: KnowledgeIn many cases, your personal brand is rooted in your knowledge in any given area. And knowledge can go a long way in helping you establish credibility with an audience.If you have a personal website, which we recommend for anyone looking to advance their personal brand, use that as a platform to highlight your expertise and share information with others. By volunteering your insight through blog posts, ebooks, or case studies, you are demonstrating your willingness to help.Marketer and entrepreneur Sujan Patel runs an inspiring blog where he gives away a ton of professional advice for companies focused on scaling growth. As a result, he’s become known as a trusted resource with a “mind for marketing.”12) L: LeadershipAnyone in a leadership position will tell you that personal branding comes with the territory.Think about it: It’s important that you are committed to developing yourself before you can prove that you can help others develop in their careers, right?This means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, honing your emotional intelligence, understanding how you like to receive feedback, and so on. All of these aspects contribute to your leadership style, which ultimately plays a role in defining your personal brand.13) M: MissionIt’s a best practice for companies to define a mission statement that sets the stage for what they do and, perhaps or importantly, why they do it. This statement serves as a guiding light, pushing those in the organization to uphold the company’s values and purpose.When it comes to personal branding, defining a statement that is specific to your professional development can be equally as effective.Before you sit down to write yours, take some time to reflect on the following questions:What are your personal career goals?What core values do you hold?What does success look like to you?What are you most passionate about? Why?14) N: NetworkWant to earn guest posting slots? Speaking gigs? Awards and recognition? All of these personal branding milestones require you to start by doing one thing: meeting people.By networking and building relationships on a regular basis, you’re constantly inviting new people in that have the potential to shape your brand by offering new opportunities for personal and professional growth.Need help kickstarting your networking schedule? HubSpot’s Chief People Officer Katie Burke suggests playing “Evenbrite Roulette.””Search for events happening in your area in the upcoming week and attend the third event that shows up on the page,” she advises. 15) O: OpinionA lot of people shy away from infusing their opinion into their personal brand, as they worry they might alienate part of their audience or say something offensive. While this is a valid concern, sticking to sweeping generalizations and careful word choice can actually hold your brand back.After all, part of establishing an influential personal brand means that you owe it to yourself to take a stance on the issues that matter most to you. And depending on your line of work, there is most certainly room for your opinion as a defining aspect of your personal brand.The key to success here? Share your opinion — but share it alongside your experience. This communication technique will help others understand where you’re coming from and opens the door for conversation around the subject.16) P: Public SpeakingWhether you’re comfortable with it or not, public speaking is a tried-and-true way to extend your personal brand. Speaking engagements help to position you as an authority, grow your network, and earn the trust of a new audience.Feeling a little shaky? Here are a few tips to ensure that your next speaking gig serves as a positive reflection of your personal brand:Speak about something you know inside and out. The more comfortable you are with the subject matter, the more conversational things will feel. Speaking about something familiar lends itself well to personal stories and experiences, which helps to humanize you.Know your audience. While you should always focus on being your authentic self, recognizing who your audience is will help you better direct your content. For example, your humor might land with one group, but not another. Know when to pull back.Get feedback. Practice your talk in front of a group of coworkers you trust before taking the stage. Running through your talk in advance will help you feel more confident in your delivery and also bring to light any areas you need to work on.17) Q: QuirkinessOne way to infuse your personal brand with a little individuality is to lean in to your quirks — the little things that set you apart from others. For example, maybe you’re known for calculating complicated math in your head, or doodling your notes, or being particularly clumsy.Whatever your quirks may be, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your personal brand. While they may seem senseless, they make it easier for people to relate to you, as they provide a level of interest and intrigue.Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of Man Repeller, provides a great example of how to play up your quirks as part of your personal brand: Don’t forget to share this post!
How many of your first-time donors go on to give again? What kind of impact would it have on your fundraising if you could retain more donors each year? We’ve asked two of the best fundraising experts to share their secrets. Join our free webinar on Tuesday, September 24 at 1pm EDT to learn from Jay Love and Tom Ahern as they show you how to create a communication plan that will help you retain more donors and raise more money. Register here.If you’d like to see more long-term benefits from your year-end fundraising and donor acquisition efforts, you do not want to miss this session.Turn First-Time Donors Into Repeat DonorsTuesday, September 24th 2013 1 pm EDT
The good news is that giving continues to grow. The bad news is that donor retention rates aren’t what they should be. Think about the donors who came into your organization’s ecosystem during the past year. Will they give again?You can improve the odds of keeping more of your supporters by declaring this year the Year of the Donor. What this looks like for your organization may be different than for your nonprofit peers, but here are a few basics to get you started:1. Have a solid plan.The biggest way to ensure your donors remain your top priority is to create a well-organized plan for cultivating your organization’s supporters throughout the year.To do: Create a comprehensive donor stewardship plan that complements your overall marketing strategy and retention goals. Your plan should include a timeline, messaging guidelines, and who will be responsible for each component of your donor outreach. For more planning tips, take a look at Network for Good’s donor stewardship checklist.2. Send an amazing thank you.Of course you’re thanking all your donors. Right? (Right?) But are you making it an amazing experience of effusive gratitude? Is your thank you so awesome that donors will tell their friends all about it? Even tell strangers? If not, there’s always room for improvement. Your goal: Express to impress!To do: Take the time to write a series of really great donor thank you letters. Make them personal, memorable, and full of gratitude. Your thank you letters should reinforce the projected impact of a donor’s gift and open the door for an ongoing relationship. If possible, hire a professional copywriter to polish your thank yous.3. Keep the conversation going.Your thank you note is really just the start of a new conversation with your donor. Keep this conversation flowing by updating your supporters on your work and how their gift has helped make it possible. Update supporters on what’s new in your community, your work, and how they can continue to be involved. As you build on this communication, you’ll have earned the opportunity to invite them to give again.To do: Create an editorial calendar to plan your outreach and news you’d like to share. Use your email marketing tools to segment your lists so you can separate donors from those who’ve yet to give. Communicate to these two groups differently when sending updates to tailor your message to reflect donors’ special status.4. Clearly articulate your impact.One of the main reasons donors don’t go on to give a second gift is because they’re not sure how their money was used to create real impact. It’s your job to make sure supporters know exactly how their gift is being used and how it makes a difference. Get in the habit of making this a part of everything you do—from fundraising appeals to your monthly newsletter.To do: Illustrate a donation’s impact through photos, testimonials, and quantifiable results that are easy for donors to understand. Incorporate these elements in every piece of donor communication you send. Build a collection of stories that are organized by program or locality so you can easily match these with the profiles of your donors.5. Invite donors for their feedback.More and more donors don’t want to just give and run—they want to be an active part of your cause. Because they’ve been moved enough to donate, they can offer valuable insight on what went into their decision and how you can continue to reach them and others in their network.To do: Regularly invite your donors to provide you with feedback. Add this to your donor thank you phone script and conduct periodic donor surveys to collect their input on everything from your newsletter content to how you contact them. Making them feel more invested in your work will bring donors even closer to your organization.6. Regularly test and improve.It takes a lot of work to acquire new donors, so it’s crucial that you do everything you can to keep the ones you’ve got. One way to do this is to find and fix any leaks in your process. Once you’ve fixed the obvious problems, optimize your donor retention strategy by testing new messages and acknowledgement techniques.To do: Track and measure every interaction with your donors. If you don’t have Google Analytics on your nonprofit website or donation form, that’s one place to start. Identify where donors may be falling off by looking at your website bounce rate, form abandonment, and email unsubscribes. Use A/B testing to see which calls to action and content types work best for your audience.7. Create feel-good moments.Everyone gives for different reasons, but we all want to feel good about our charitable gifts. To keep this positive vibe flowing, it’s important to create moments of connection and with your donors. Ronald McDonald House Charities does just that with this simple thank you video that puts the donor at the center of the experience and in the embrace of those who feel the impact of their donations every day:To do: Commit to making your ongoing donor outreach unique and personal. Get creative with photos, video, and perks for your donors to help your cause stay top of mind. Recruit volunteers and beneficiaries to help keep your communications authentic and original. (Want more ideas on using images to stand out? Read these 10 ways nonprofits can use visuals.)How will you make this year the Year of the Donor? I’d love to hear your plans, and I know your donors can’t wait to see what happens next.