The 3 Most Common Closing Curveballs (& How Sales Reps Can Avoid Them)

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In sales, the occasional closing curveball is inevitable. But if you’re consistently encountering unwelcome surprises in the later stages of your sales process, the problem doesn’t lie with your prospects: It lies with you. Asking the right questions along the way will help you identify potential obstacles while there’s still time to deal with them — and meet your quota.

For more advice on closing, check out The GSD Show — tips for salespeople, by salespeople.

Here are the three most common types of curveballs reps face, as well as the questions that will proactively surface them.

1) Timing Curveballs

I can’t tell you how frequently my reps run into misunderstandings around the timing of their prospects’ purchasing decisions.

HubSpot international sales and strategy manager Paul Rios and I discussed deal stages during our recent GSD Sales Show episode, The Modern Close.

We agreed reps often run into huge roadblocks because they don’t understand the stages their buyer must go through to buy a product or service. Your prospect might be completely on board, but the purchasing order takes four days to process, or Legal needs a week to review and approve the contract. These delays inevitably mess with your sales forecast and may even cause you to miss quota.

The solution is simple: Ask the buyer about their process. You can’t directly influence how quickly their company moves, but you can prepare a winning strategy and create authentic urgency once you know what needs to happen.

Ask questions like:

  • “What needs to happen from here?
  • “Who am I going to need to run this by?”
  • “How long does this process usually take?”

Pose these questions at every stage so you’re never caught off-guard. The best salespeople can articulate the exact steps a prospective purchase will necessitate, starting with the day the contract closes and working backwards. 

2) Competition Curveballs

Another common problem my reps run into is that they’re dealing with a prospect who is engaging simply to compare prices or get a quote they can leverage with their current vendor.

When you try to move a deal forward and a prospect says, “We’re just waiting for final numbers from my current vendor,” nine times out of 10 you’ve already lost. That response means you’re down to haggling price — and the cost of switching almost always outweighs the cost of staying.

You’ve also missed the window to compare feature sets, leverage customer case studies, or explore the buyer’s pain points with their current vendor.

To avoid this curveball, don’t be afraid to ask about the competition right from the start. Reps are sometimes afraid to bring up competitors out of the mistaken belief they’ll give their prospect ideas. But think about your own large purchases over the years: Car, cable provider, home, cell phone, and so on. When have you ever bought an item without comparing it to at least one competitive product?

Bringing up the competition won’t put any ideas in your prospect’s mind. They’re almost certainly looking at your competitors, including the incumbent, so surface this information at the beginning.

Ask where they are with their current supplier and understand which other companies are in the running.

These questions will be useful:

  • “What other tools have you considered?”
  • “Is there a chance you stay with your current vendor?”
  • “Which vendors are you going to seriously evaluate?”

Knowing the entire situation helps you better manage the deal — and could even provide an opportunity to lock out the competition with your product’s key differentiators. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

3) Authority Curveballs

I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding exactly whom you’re talking to and why you’re talking to them. Every company has a different approval and purchasing process, and you must understand “who’s who” in your demos or meetings.

Reps often discover late in the sales conversation that their main contact is an internal champion masquerading as a decision maker. Just because your point of contact likes the product doesn’t mean they can independently make the decision to purchase.

Politely ask questions like:

  • “How did this [project, process, initiative] begin?”
  • “How did you get involved and what is your role in the process?”

When meeting new people, don’t be afraid to ask them the same questions. In addition, always request their job titles and contact information. My favorite qualifying question is, “Can you tell me about the last time you made a purchase like this in the past?” The answer will tell you all you need to know about whom you are really dealing with.

If they’ve acted as a budget or signing authority in the past, follow up with detailed questions about timelines, obstacles, dependencies, and so on.

The sooner you know exactly which stakeholders will be involved in the purchase, the sooner you can provide them with the information they need to move forward. I encourage my reps to tailor the content of each of their online demos to appeal to the individuals in the room — and to do so, you need a good understanding of who is in the room.

With these questions in your arsenal, you can learn key details from your prospect before it’s too late. Stop being thrown by curveballs — start anticipating (and more importantly, avoiding) them.

Try join.me for simple, instant online demos. 

The GSD Show


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

April Social Media News: AR on Facebook, Ads on Snapchat & More

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April showers bring May flowers (depending on where you live). This April also brought an onslaught of augmented reality, or AR, from a few of your favorite social media apps.

Just like last month, Facebook and Instagram continued to compete with Snap Inc. in April, with all three apps launching new products and features to keep more users and marketers spending their time there.

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This is good news for marketers: Social media platforms are making it easier to do your job well. The tricky part will be figuring out where your audience wants to hear from you most, and where to best spend your time and resources producing and promoting content.

We’re here to help. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights in the social media space this month — what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers. And if you’re too busy to read the full roundup, here’s a quick video recap:

10 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

1) Facebook announced new AR, VR, and AI initiatives at F8 2017.

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Source: Facebook

At the annual F8 Facebook Developers Conference, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s next act would be further steps into the worlds of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). With the launch of new products like the Camera Effects Studio, the AR Studio, and Facebook Spaces, Zuckerberg hopes to make the Facebook camera “the first augmented reality platform.”

Down the line, Facebook plans to launch AR glasses and new 360-degree capable cameras, in addition to some truly mind-bending Building 8 initiatives, such as technology to type with your brain and hear with your skin. These announcements caught most of the headlines, but we think what was left off of the F8 agenda is just as important.

With almost no mention of Facebook Instant Articles, publishers, or Pages, it’s clear that Facebook is doubling down on high-tech visual content. So what does this mean for marketers? It’s tough to outsmart the News Feed algorithm and to drive content views and engagement. Our advice is to publish no more than 3X per day, to invest in live and native video content, and to connect with your audience and customers on Facebook Messenger (but more on that later).

2) Facebook surpassed 5 million monthly advertisers.

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Source: VentureBeat

Facebook also announced this month that it had achieved more than 5 million monthly advertisers — 75% of which came from outside of the United States. Digging into this massive number reveals even more interesting insights: 50% of these advertisers are mobile advertisers, and Facebook amassed more than 1 million new advertisers in less than one year.

These advertisers only represent about 8% of businesses with Pages, so it’s likely that Facebook will keep updating its Ads Manager to make advertising on Facebook more enticing, especially on mobile. Read our ebook for ideas on how to optimize your brand’s Facebook Page for more effective advertising on the mega-popular platform.

3) One in five Facebook videos are broadcast live.

Facebook’s head of video, Fidji Simo, shared a video announcing just how rapidly Facebook Live had grown in popularity — both among publishers and among viewers. One in five videos on Facebook is a Facebook Live broadcast. What’s more, Facebook Live watch time has increased more than than 4X longer over the last year.

Last year, Facebook announced it would start giving Facebook Live broadcasts greater weight in the News Feed algorithm as a result of its popularity. This increase in watch time could precede another algorithm adjustment favoring live broadcasts, so if you aren’t already doing so, recording Facebook Live videos could help your content earn more engagement and discovery in the News Feed. Read our guide for going live on Facebook here.

4) There are 100K active bots on Facebook Messenger.

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Source: CNBC

Facebook Messenger was another hot topic at the F8 conference, and one of the biggest announcements about the messaging app was that there are now 100,000 active bots deployed on the platform every month. Furthermore, Facebook announced that 2 billion messages per month were shared between Messenger users and businesses.

Messenger is becoming popular for customer service and content distribution, so Facebook announced changes to the platform to make it more discoverable and easy to use as a standalone product. These changes include a Discover tab on the home screen of Messenger and “smart replies” businesses can use to auto-answer frequently asked questions.

Marketers might consider using Messenger as part of their customer service or content distribution strategies — especially if their audiences are already highly engaged on Facebook. You can subscribe to HubSpot content using Messenger here.

5) Apple Clips achieved 1 million downloads in four days.

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Source: TechCrunch

Apple launched Clips, a media editing app designed to create photos and videos specifically for social sharing, and it rapidly achieved up to 1 million downloads in the four days after its launch in the App Store.

It’s still early to tell how the app will continue to perform, but App Annie noted that Clips was beating out Instagram’s own photo editing app, Layout, in the App Store during that period. This data is only based on United States numbers, but stay tuned for more coverage from us on media editing apps you should be using for easy social media sharing.

6) Pinterest kills the Like button

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Source: Pinterest Blog

In a blog post published this month, Pinterest announced it would be removing the Like button from the visual search platform and sticking with the Save button as an indicator of Pins’ popularity. Pinterest put this change into practice with an email to Recode: It stated, in no uncertain terms, that Pinterest isn’t about virtual reality or connecting with friends. Instead, it’s about visual content discovery.

If marketers are spending a ton of time using Pinterest as a social networking tool, they might want to rethink their strategy and metrics now. Instead, consider shoppable Pins if you sell products as a better use of Pinterest’s discoverability capabilities.

7) Snapchat added Geofilters to its ads API.

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Source: MarketingLand

Snapchat announced it would be adding Sponsored Geofilters to its ads API this month, making it easier for brands to customize and launch Geofilters for specific locations and events.

This is a big win for Snapchat. Now, advertisers can track the performance of Sponsored Geofilters within the Snapchat Ads API and get more insight into advertising ROI on the platform. We’ve talked before about how Snapchat’s analytics aren’t as robust as the other social media platforms it’s competing with, so this change makes almost all Snapchat advertising options available within the API for easy customization and performance analysis. Now, only Sponsored Lenses aren’t available in the API, and we’ll keep you posted if and when that changes as Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., grows.

8) Snapchat started measuring foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.

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Source: MarketingLand

Snapchat has started using a Snap to Store measurement tool that lets advertisers see how much foot traffic to physical locations was generated by Snapchat ad views. The measurement shows which visitors used Snapchat while in the brick-and-mortar location, how many people who visited had seen the ad on Snapchat, and the difference in foot traffic between visitors who saw the ad on Snapchat and visitors who hadn’t.

The Snap to Store measurement tool is still in the experiment phase with a few large brands for now, but we’ll keep you posted when it rolls out to all users. The measurement doesn’t distinguish between different locations if your brand has a chain of stores, so this might be a better fit for smaller businesses to test out.

9) Snapchat launched AR world lenses.

On the first day of Facebook’s F8 conference, Snapchat announced new AR lenses users could start adding to their photos and videos. With world lenses, users can add 3-D moving shapes and images to content to add another layer of fun and variety to their Snaps.

AR and VR features are the next logical step for Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company that rebranded itself as a camera company back in 2016. The announcement of world lenses just before Facebook announced its own AR camera capabilities at F8 was smart (and sneaky) timing, as marketers around the world start to consider how to incorporate AR into their visual content efforts.

Our advice — as always — is to experiment and iterate based on results. See if your audience responds and engages with world lenses on Snapchat and AR filters on Facebook, figure out what works, and replicate it in future posts.

10) Instagram Stories beat Snapchat’s user numbers.

instagram-stickers.pngSource: Instagram

Instagram Stories have officially attracted more users than Snapchat’s entire user base, hitting 200 million users this month. With roughly 161 million users to its name, Snapchat continues to face increased competition from its virtual replica on Instagram.

Case in point: In the same blog post announcing the user milestone, Instagram also demonstrated its new Selfie Sticker feature, which lets users take a mini-selfie that they can attach to images and videos in other Stories. If this sounds familiar, you’re right on the money — Snapchat introduced Scissors, which do the exact same thing, in December 2016.

More advertisers and marketers are turning to Instagram over Snapchat for their ephemeral marketing efforts. We suggesting focus your efforts on which platforms audiences are most engaged on, while still keeping a pulse on other platforms that might experience a resurgence if new tools or products are announced.

It’s not exactly a news story, but we wanted to make you aware of a new social media content creation tool, too. This month, HubSpot and Shakr teamed up to create StoriesAds.com, a platform to easily create videos for Instagram’s vertical format. Using StoriesAds.com, brands can easily create vertical videos for Instagram Stories and ads directly in a browser, so check out the tool the next time you plan to launch an Instagram campaign to make better content, more easily.

Did we miss any big social media stories? Share with us in the comments below.

Learn more about HubSpot Classroom Training!


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

4 Powerful Ways to Boost Confidence Forever

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Changing your thoughts is the most essential aspect of boosting your confidence. Your thoughts create your reality. Your thoughts also produce the emotions you have about yourself and your abilities. If you think you’re incapable, not smart enough, or lacking in some way, you’re flooded with negative feelings that suck your energy and motivation.

The optimal way to approach creating confidence is by changing your thoughts and your behavior at the same time, even if you have feelings of fear or doubt. By mindfully ceasing old thought patterns and replacing them with new ones, you’re teaching your brain new habits and creating new neural pathways.

As you shift your thinking about yourself and your confidence, and support that shift with confident actions, you’ll notice your emotions will follow suit. You’ll feel less and less insecure and anxious, and increasingly self-assured about your capacity for success and happiness.

1) Notice negative thought patterns

Random thoughts float around in your head like uninvited guests. If you examined your thoughts, you’d see many of them — probably most of them — are negative and self-sabotaging. You dwell on the past, worry about the future, obsess about failures and mistakes, battle shame and guilt, and allow your thoughts to drift into mine shafts of negativity and anger.

Action Steps: Awareness is always the first step toward change. For a few days, pay attention to your thoughts. This will take some focus, so you may want to post reminders around your house, your car, and your office. Try to notice patterns of negative thinking and the triggers that set off these thoughts. Make notes about these patterns and the topics of your negative thoughts so you don’t forget.

2) Practice pattern interrupts

As you become aware of patterns of negative thinking, your goal is to break the patterns. The more you allow negative thoughts to have free reign in your mind, the stronger and more debilitating they become. Repetitive negative thinking can lead to depression, anxiety, and even physical illness. It can certainly prevent you from being happy, productive, and confident.

Replace the negative thought with a positive thought. If you leave a void, your brain will automatically return to the negative thinking pattern.

Action Steps: Put a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you notice negative thoughts arising, gently pop the rubber band as a physical pattern interrupt for your brain.

Create a positive statement that’s the opposite of the negative thought. For example, if your negative thought was, “I’ll never meet my quota this month,” change the thought to, “I have the resources and skills I need to meet my quota this month.” Even if you don’t believe the new thought initially, say it out loud if possible and to yourself several times. Don’t worry if it feels silly or useless. You are taking control of your thoughts and retraining your brain.

3) Replace thought loops with action

Interrupting negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones is a powerful tool for change. You can reinforce this practice with action. When you are focused on something that requires mental focus or physical exertion, your brain is occupied with the task at hand.

Have you noticed when you’re engaged in a project, intently focused on a sport, or doing anything that’s challenging, your worries disappear — at least for a while? Action prevents you from getting stuck in negative thought loops, and it has the further advantage of allowing you to do something productive or useful. Taking control of your thoughts, deciding to take action, and accomplishing something useful all add to your confidence.

Action Steps: Plan ahead for this strategy by choosing activities or projects you enjoy that require focus and attention. It could be something creative like cooking, drawing, or playing an instrument, or it could be a work project or household task that is mentally challenging. It needs to require enough focus that your mind doesn’t wander to your negative thoughts.

When you notice yourself in a negative loop, replace the thought as outlined in #2, and then take action on one of your pre-planned activities. As you practice, your negative thoughts will simply become a trigger for positive thought and action. You might even come to view negative thoughts as your motivator.

4) Challenge limiting beliefs

Negative thoughts that have had years to percolate in your mind will grow into limiting beliefs. These beliefs might have had some element of truth initially — or they may have no truth at all — but you accepted them as truth because they were implanted so powerfully. Limiting beliefs often go back to childhood experiences, and the pain that accompanies the beliefs makes it very difficult to disengage from them. However, when you challenge these beliefs and shine the light of truth on them, you can begin to loosen the stronghold they have on you and your confidence.

Action Steps: Think about the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. These beliefs often relate to your worthiness, intelligence, appearance, personality, and abilities. In some area of your life, you were told or it was implied you weren’t “enough.” Write down these limiting beliefs. Then think about the initial source or reason you adopted the belief in the first place. Now think about how the belief is no longer true for you or maybe never was true. Find specific evidence in your life that contradicts the belief. If you can’t find the evidence, what could you do to create it now or in the future?

Editor’s note: This post is an excerpt from Barrie Davenport’s book Confidence Hacks: 99 Small Actions to Massively Boost Your Confidence, and is republished here with permission.

HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

9 Link Building Email Outreach Templates That Actually Work

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Thanks for joining me here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog today. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all a few things you might not know about me.

I’m ambidextrous (I can write with both hands), I’m the adoptive mother of three cats (one of whom is named Kitty), and before coming to HubSpot, I spent a lot of time writing and sending link building outreach emails.

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Inbound links back to your website play an important role in achieving your inbound marketing goals. They also require strategy and diligent work to come by. I would know — I worked very hard to earn inbound links for a long time.

Whether you’re just starting out with inbound link building or you’re getting fatigued by nobody replying to your outreach emails, I wanted to help you out. I’ve created nine different templates for killer outreach emails that you can borrow and adapt for your own link building strategy.

What Is Link Building?

Before we dive into the templates, let’s quickly review the basics of inbound link building. If you’re already caught up to speed, skip ahead to check out the templates.

Inbound links, otherwise known as backlinks, are links pointing toward your website from another website.

Here’s an example: Check out this publishing volume experiment analysis on the Moz Blog. If you’ll notice, the previous sentence contains a link pointing toward Moz’s website. That’s a backlink. And if you read the article, you’ll notice it contains a link pointing back to our website here at HubSpot. That’s a backlink, too.

Now that we all understand what inbound links are, why are they important?

  1. Inbound links drive traffic to your website. In the example above, the HubSpot blog earned traffic from any of Moz’s blog readers who followed the link to HubSpot’s website.
  2. Inbound links improve your search engine rankings. Inbound links tell search engines that your website knows what it’s talking about — otherwise, why would someone link to it? The more inbound links you earn from high-quality sites, the higher your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERP).

To sum up, inbound links are valuable because they help your website rank higher in search, which helps more people find your organization, start clicking around, and eventually become a lead.

Link building is the process of obtaining those inbound links. When your website is a high-powered, well-respected content engine, other sites and individuals online will link to your content organically — without you having to ask. But if you’re like a lot of other inbound marketers out there, your website still has a ways to go.

A dedicated link building strategy starts with an ask — usually via email — and that’s where these templates come in.

Link Building Outreach Rules

But before we get to the templates, some rules.

There are right and wrong ways to go about improving your site’s SEO, and inbound link building — when done correctly — is generally regarded as one of the right ways. You’re pitching your content to publications that might be interested in sharing it with different audiences. A backlink is just the cherry on top.

However, there are wrong ways to go about asking for inbound backlinks, and I want to make sure you sure understand the rules of the road before you start emailing.

1) The best way to generate quality backlinks is to publish exceptional content publishers organically cite.

That being said, a dedicated backlink outreach strategy can be helpful for newer websites or if you’re promoting a specific piece of exceptional content. The more content you produce and, in turn, promote with social media content and backlinks, the more search engine authority your site will accumulate.

2) Only pitch guest posts or backlinks that add value for the reader.

Instead of asking your contacts to randomly link back to your site somewhere on theirs, ask publishers if you can write for their blogs or conribute new ideas and data for content they’re already working on. Offers such as these will result in quality backlinks that provide readers with valuable information.

3) Send individualized emails to specific publishers.

Never, and I mean never, mass email an enormous contacts list with a pitch template. It’s spammy, impersonal, and likely won’t get you the results you want anyway. Adapt the templates below if you like them, but it’s critically important to individually craft specific emails for particular publishers.

The first step of your outreach process should always be researching publications and specific people who might be interested in your content. You shouldn’t start with typing up an email and sending it to everyone in your industry with a website. Read on for new ideas for how to ask for an inbound link — in ways that are polite, clever, and might just get you that backlink.

Note: These email templates are based on emails I’ve sent and received. Any references to industries, companies, or individuals are meant to illustrate these fictitious email examples.

9 Link Building Outreach Email Examples to Try

1) The preview

If you don’t have any connections with the person you’re pitching, offering a preview might be an effective way to share your content. With this type of email, you’re asking first if the recipient would like to see the piece of content you’d like them to link to. The key to getting a reply is making sure you’ve personalized your email and enticed the reader with enough details to get them to reach back out.

Interest in new infographic about social media stats?

Hi Sophia,

Happy Friday! I’m reaching out because I’m an avid reader of your work on the SocialVille blog — I loved your latest piece about social media news.

I just followed you on Twitter, and I saw you’ve been tweeting about Facebook’s F8 conference. What did you think of the event?

I work over at SocialWorld, where we conduct market research and collect data for social media analysts and experts. We recently produced an infographic detailing a breakdown of the social media market and what changes you can expect over the next year.

Would you be interested in checking it out? I’d love to see what you think.

Let me know if you’re interested, and I can send you the infographic to take a look.

Best, Jack

2) The exclusive offer

If you’ve produced new research or data with surprising or intriguing results, it might be worth pitching your content as an exclusive before pressing publish on your own blog. An exclusive offer to a top-ranking publication in your industry could get you a lot of traffic from a single link, so it might be worth adjusting or reconsidering your own publication schedule.

When pitching to top journalists whose inboxes are probably flooded, keep your subject lines detailed and your emails short to communicate as much information in as few words as possible.

Exclusive: New data about Snapchat ads

Hey Sophia,

I’ve been reading your coverage of the competition heating up between Snapchat and Instagram, and I wanted to let you know that we’re releasing new data about Snapchat ad usage this week.

Among other insights, we found a surprising number of brands and publishers that were regularly advertising and publishing on Snapchat have started transitioning over to Instagram, where they achieve higher ad clickthrough rates.

I’d be happy to give you exclusive early access to our full report to be the first to write about it on the blog this week — what do you think?

Best, Jack

3) The DYK

Everyone likes to learn a fun fact. Couch your pitch as a “did you know” moment to pique the recipient’s curiosity to read the rest of your content for more fun and new information. If you were able to teach them something new, they may want to feature your fresh insight for their own readers.

DYK bots are more popular than blogs?

Hi Sophia,

Did you know that there are more than 100,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger?

If you aren’t already communicating with your audience via Facebook Messenger, you could be missing out on an opportunity to provide better customer service — and faster.

We rounded up more Messenger bot usage stats in a new report that I’ve attached below. Do you think it would be a good fit for an article on the SocialVille blog? Thanks in advance for checking it out, and let me know if you have any questions.

Best, Jack

4) The personalized pitch

The most critical part of a successful outreach email is personalization. I’m not talking about addressing your email to the correct name and spelling everything correctly — although you should definitely do both of those things. By showing the recipient that you know who they are and what they’re about, your pitch reads as genuine, and you read as a comprehensive possible partner.

It’s easy to write, “I loved your last article about [subject],” but it takes some digging and understanding to write, “I love reading your monthly social media news series. Did you catch the latest Facebook update that came out today?” Make sure your email shows that you’ve taken the time to understand what the person is all about and what they regularly cover.

Hi from a fellow Snapchat diehard

Hi Sophia,

I know you’ve been closely following the social media smackdown between Snap Inc. and Facebook — and I know who we’re both rooting for. So I wanted to show you this interactive timeline we created that compares the growth trajectories of the two companies.

Snap Inc. is similar to Facebook in a lot of ways, but its path to growth into the billions is mired with more competition. But this competition hasn’t limited Snapchat’s engagement — users are spending up to half an hour a day inside the app.

I noticed that you publish a social media news roundup every month featuring the latest stories and research, and I wondered if you thought this timeline could be a good inclusion. Let me know if you have any questions about the data!

Thanks, Jack

5) The offer

Nobody likes having extra work on their plate, so why not pitch doing the work for them? If you pitch a great idea alongside an offer to write a guest post, the recipient might be more inclined to say “yes.” But remember to do your due diligence before pressing “send.” If the person you’re pitching has already written about a specific angle a few times before, make sure you’re pitching something new and different to avoid getting ignored.

Offer to write up new report for SocialVille?

Hey Sophia,

You’ve written previously about successful Facebook ads and headlines, and I wanted to share some new research my team has put together about effective Facebook ad copy. We found that Facebook ads under 20 words in length performed significantly better than longer ads, along with a ton of other eye-opening stats.

Do you think this would be a good fit for the SocialVille blog? I’d be happy to write it up for you to take the legwork out of it. Let me know if you’d like me to get started.

Thanks for your consideration, Jack

6) The mention

Everybody likes to see their name in print. A clever way to angle for a backlink is to mention a product or an individual in a published piece, then circle back and share it with them. Ask for their feedback to get them reading the post, and they might link to it or share it on social of their own accord.

Your data featured in our latest report

Hey Sophia,

I love reading your stuff on the SocialVille blog! In fact, we featured your recent data about the impact of tools on productivity in our report on the growth of productivity as a business — I’ve attached the PDF below, and we’ve also shared it on Twitter.

I wonder if you’d be able to check out the report and let me know what you think or if I missed any important stats.

Thanks in advance for checking it out, and thanks for such an interesting write-up.

Best, Jack

7) The social proof

Social proof is the concept that consumers will be influenced by what others are already doing. For example, if you head to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll notice that we ask you to subscribe, noting that 300,000 marketers have already subscribed. That’s social proof in action: You might be more likely to subscribe now that you know hundreds of thousands of people are already doing it.

So, if you’ve published a great piece of content that people are responding positively to, tell people that when you pitch it for backlinks. They might be more inclined to cite you if other people in their field are already doing so.

Guide to Instagram ad analytics

Hi Sophia,

I’m sure you get a lot of content submissions, but I wanted to bring to your attention to a new guide we released about the ins and outs of Instagram ad advertising.

This helpful how-to guide tells you everything you need to know about advertising on Instagram and how to drive ROI, in addition to sharing real-world examples of ads that delivered results. Shameless #humblebrag here — the guide has been downloaded more than 5K times and has been retweeted more than 4K times — so I wanted to make sure you had a chance to check it out.

Do you think it would be a good fit for the SocialVille blog? I’d love to get your thoughts.

Best, Jack

8) The joke

Tread carefully with humor, but if you’ve perused their social media and they seem like they would appreciate a goofy joke, it could be a smart way to get your recipient’s attention.

As in the rules of the workplace or cocktail parties, avoid making jokes about politics, religion, or anything rated PG-13 and up.

What do cats, cooking videos, and your latest blog post have in common?

… they all went viral on social media!

Forgive the silly joke, but I knew cats would get your attention. I loved your recent piece about social media predictions for the coming year, and I wondered if you’d given any thought to predictions for where SEO is headed, too.

Here at SearchWorld, we predict that AMP and machine-learning will take center stage in Google’s quest to make search easier and more intuitive for the searcher.

We put together a report about how SEO has evolved and other predictions for where we think it’s headed next, and I think it would be a great reference if you decide to write a follow-up piece about the future of SEO. I’ve attached the report below — take a look, and let me know if there are any changes you’d suggest!

Thanks in advance, Jack

9) The response

This is another risky outreach strategy, but it could pay off if you do it properly.

The ultimate way to demonstrate that you’re an avid reader (instead of just saying so) is to respond to someone’s work with an opinion — even if it’s divergent. Other options besides the counterpoint in the example below could include:

  • A case study of you taking their advice and applying it to your brand
  • A different content format on the same subject — for example, a video explainer instead of a blog post
Quick question about your Facebook F8 recap

Hey Sophia,

Thanks for writing such a thorough recap of Facebook’s F8 conference. It was super helpful for those of us who couldn’t attend in person or watch the live stream!

I thought you made an interesting point about the competition heating up between Facebook and Snap Inc., but I think you could be missing a bigger idea here. I think it’s not as much a competition for users as it is a competition for features innovation vs. features execution.

I wrote up my take on the brands’ competition on our blog today and cited your recap — would you like to take a look? Maybe we could collaborate together on a blog post or video on how social media marketers should best evaluate the two companies’ competing apps.

Thanks, Jack

Email Link Building Best Practices

So, you might have noticed that these aren’t the traditional templates you can copy and paste into your own inbox.

And that’s because I don’t want you to simply plug in these emails and replace them with your own pitch. Part of the reason successful link building takes time and effort is because you have to craft a personalized email every time. You should use the guidelines I’ve outlined above, but copying and pasting the same exact message is just bad news for all involved. Don’t do it.

Below are more of my link building outreach email best practices:

1) Edit, then edit again.

Nothing makes me less interested in responding to a pitch email than when there is immediately a typo or grammatical error as early as the subject line — or my name. Double-check to ensure that all names are spelled correctly, that capitalization is perfect (Hubspot vs. HubSpot), and that punctuation is perfect.

On the other side of editing, cut your email down wherever you can. It’s better for your email to be on the shorter side than too long, so try to delete any extra words and phrases that aren’t completely necessary.

2) Keep your subject lines short and sweet.

My rule of thumb for subject lines is to avoid making them complete sentences. Stick to the important details to communicate as much enticing information in as few words as possible. If your brand name is recognizable, make sure to name drop yourself, too.

3) Don’t fake flattery.

If it’s easy to tell when someone’s compliments are inauthentic in person, it’s even easier to tell via email. Don’t flatter people you’re contacting for the sake of it — genuinely compliment their work, their insights, or their achievements, and take the compliment a step further to add value with your own content.

4) Do the legwork before you send.

Demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about by doing your research before you press “send.” When you think you’ve found the right person to pitch, take some time to research what they’ve written about in the past and what they discuss on social media. Pay attention to timing, too. If an author has just written about social media statistics, they might not want to write about the same angle one week later, so try to bring a new or related pitch to the table.

5) Don’t follow up more than once or twice.

Let’s face it — we’re all busy. Even if your outreach email is impeccable, it could get lost in someone’s inbox during a busy morning. You should feel free to reach out once to follow up, but don’t go overboard in pestering someone if they’re not getting back to you. After one or two follow-ups, let your pitch go, and reach out to them with another pitch further down the line.

For more link building strategies and best practices, the pros over at Moz can point you in the direction of more replies and backlinks and fewer ignores and “no”s. For more must-have SEO strategies to tackle in 2017, check out our free guide here.

Do you have an email link building outreach email that got you great results? Share with us in the comments below.

seo myths 2017


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

7 Seemingly Harmless (But Secretly Deadly) Sales Phrases

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How much of what you say do you think other people receive and interpret correctly? Seventy-five perent? Ninety?

The truth is, we miscommunicate just as often — if not more — than we communicate accurately. While that’s a scary thought for any professional, it’s especially relevant to sales. After all, reps spend the majority of their time making phone calls, sending emails, and meeting prospects. In other words, talking to people.

We’d give you the ability to read minds (and thus avoid communication errors) if we could. But technology isn’t quite there yet, so in lieu of that, we’re providing you with seven seemingly harmless — yet secretly deadly — phrases. If you want to send the right message, cut these from your lexicon.

7 Terrible Sales Phrases to Drop From Your Vocabulary Right Now

1) “Interesting.”

People love to call things “interesting.” New data? Interesting. Surprising suggestion? Interesting. Counterintuitive fact? Interesting.

via GIPHY

Up until a few weeks ago, I was a card-carrying member of the “interesting” camp. But here’s the thing: Since we use “interesting” to describe pretty much everything, the word has lost all its meaning. You can contribute far more to a conversation by actually describing what you think.

Let’s say the prospect reveals her company is in a unique position. Rather than saying, “That’s interesting,” you could say, “Thanks for sharing that information — most companies in your space experience the opposite. With that in mind … ”

Or if she proposes an unexpected idea, you might reply, “Nice, I hadn’t thought about it from that angle! What if we …”

As you can see, cutting out the “interesting” crutch forces you to be more specific — and that’s always a good thing.

2) “I trust you’re doing well.”

If “I hope you’re well” scores a five on the spectrum of meaningless cliches, “I trust you’re doing well” is a solid 10.

At least the former suggests some concern for the person’s well-being. The latter, on the other hand, is like saying, “I have no idea how you’re doing, and I’m not going to ask, but let’s just assume everything’s swell.”

via GIPHY

Plus, it sounds stiff and overly formal, like it’s the 1800s and you’re penning a letter to your mother-in-law. Not exactly the effect you’re going for.

Switch out this phrase with a reference to something that recently happened in the prospect’s world. For example, if their department just hired two new employees (which you can easily find on LinkedIn or their company blog), you could say, “Congratulations on the new marketing hires.” Or if the prospect just had a work anniversary, say, “Saw you just hit three years at ScaleVid — way to go!”

Now it’s clear you know they’re doing well, because you’ve done your research. No “hope” or “trust” required.

3) “Don’t worry.”

It’s easy to respond to your prospect’s concerns with a breezy, “Don’t worry!” But telling someone not to be anxious isn’t just ineffective — it’s patronizing.

And ironically, consciously trying to suppress a specific thought or emotion brings it to the front of your mind. That means your well-meaning reply will actually make the prospect more anxious.

via GIPHY

You’ll get much better results by acknowledging how they feel, then proposing a solution.

Imagine your prospect says, “A new coffee shop opened across the street, and they’ve definitely drawn customers away from our cafe.”

Using the two-part framework, you’d respond, “That can be tough. In fact, I had a customer last year in a similar situation — a sandwich chain bought the space next to their subs joint. To help them stay competitive, I … ”

Showing the prospect that you’re on their side and giving them a potential fix is far more soothing than a cliche.

4) “I know how you feel.”

Expressing empathy is always a good idea. However, reps should steer clear of saying, “I know how you feel” — after all, unless you’ve coincidentally experienced the exact same thing as the other person, you don’t know how they feel. And the more extreme the situation, the more aggravating this statement becomes.

via GIPHY

You can convey the same idea (without sounding presumptuous) with a couple simple swaps.

Try one of these alternatives:

  • “That sounds difficult.”
  • “I can imagine that would be hard.”
  • “That must be challenging.”
  • “That situation seems like it would require [patience, grit, creativity].”

And as you can see from the last example, bringing up a former client who faced something similar is also smart. Not only do you prove that you’re familiar with the issue, but you get to weave in a case study. Win-win.

5) “No problem.”

When it comes to apologies, “No problem” is a perfectly good response. You’re telling the other person no harm, no foul, and you’re ready to move on.

via GIPHY

But when someone thanks you, it’s a different story. Saying “no problem” doesn’t just minimize your actions, it implies the prospect’s request was, well, a problem. You’ll immediately lose some of the goodwill you just scored.

Fortunately, the fix is simple: Say “You’re welcome” instead. If you want to switch it up, use “I’m happy to help,” “Glad I could help,” or even “My pleasure.”

6) “As I said before …”

People typically use this phrase as a reminder that they’ve talked about a particular point during an earlier conversation. Unfortunately, the prospect hears, “You’re clearly not smart enough to remember I’ve already covered this, so I guess I have to go over it again.”

via GIPHY

To avoid seeming passive-aggressive, skip the qualifier and launch straight into your comment. Here’s an example:

Before:As I said, our basic package is best for teams with less than four people … ”

After: “Our basic package is best for teams with less than four people … ”

Worried about needlessly repeating yourself? Tell the prospect, “Stop me anytime if we’ve covered this to your satisfaction.”

7) Obviously

Salespeople often unthinkingly use this word to point out something that’s crystal-clear to them. But if that fact or detail isn’t evident to the buyer, the rep seems condescending.

For example, if she’s discussing her product’s capabilities, she might say, “Obviously, it can’t do X or Y, but … ”

via GIPHY

Her prospect will wonder, Wait, why can’t the product do X and Y? Are those functionalities not developed yet? Am I supposed to know about this?”

Use your expertise to deepen your prospect’s trust in you, not make them feel stupid or ignorant. Rather than inserting “obviously” into your statements, simply deliver them. The buyer will feel more comfortable asking questions, and you’ll avoid coming across as patronizing.

Dropping these phrases from your speech will definitely improve communication with your prospect. However, you’ll also need to pay close attention to their body language, tone of voice, and responses — so if your message is taken the wrong way, you’ll know in time to do some damage control.

Which phrases do you always see being misinterpreted? Let us know in the comments!

HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

5 Essential Skills Marketers Need to Succeed This Year [Infographic]

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The marketing landscape evolves at what often seems like a bewildering pace. There are changes in consumer preferences. There are updates to search algorithms. And, we can’t forget the frequent updates and features added to various social media channels.

For that reason, being a successful marketer today might appear to require a never-ending list of skills. Where do you need to excel — content creation, social media, web analytics, or all of the above … and more?

Relax. In a perfect world, it would be possible to constantly maintain all of these skills at an expert level. But in reality, it’s okay — and helpful — to prioritize. The question remains, however: What skills do marketers need the most to both keep up with the industry, and be good at their jobs?

Luckily, the infographic below from TEKsystems outlines five crucial skills — largely digital ones — that marketers need to succeed this year:

  • Digital Advertising
  • Social Marketing
  • Website Design/Development
  • Content Development
  • Mobile Marketing

It’s a helpful guideline for marketers who want to help their brands stay up to speed, as well as job seekers and recruiters who want to know which knowledge is the most valuable in today’s landscape. We’ve elaborated a bit on each one below the image — so read on, and learn more about the skills you need to start, continue, or foster a lucrative marketing career.


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5 Essential Marketing Skills to Succeed in 2017

1) Digital Advertising

Many marketers are trained to draw a bold line between marketing and advertising. But the latter, in its digital and analytical form, has become the work of the savviest marketers. That includes things like creating strategic ads on different social media channels, as well as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. According to TEK systems, some of the other specific skills that fall under this umbrella are:

  • Search engine optimization/marketing (SEO/SEM)
  • Digital business analytics — data like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights
  • Digital project management

2) Social Marketing

Long gone are the days of simply posting the occasional photo or update on social media. Social marketing has become far, far more complex — so much so that many brands dedicate full-time roles to it. Within this realm, you might see many overlapping skills with digital advertising, like understanding the same analytics and managing PPC campaigns.

While there’s a detailed subset of skills required in social marketing, the major ones fall under strategizing and managing social media posts and presence, according to each channel. That’s one form of content strategy, which we’ll get to.

3) Website Design/Development

As the infographic puts it, “The website is the face of your brand.” It’s often the first line of interaction that a customer will have with your company — that’s why an optimal user experience is imperative. After all, that’s one of the core principles of inbound marketing: Create the content that’s going to draw and benefit your buyer personas.

For that reason, here’s yet another area where — like most of these five skills — understanding content strategy is going to be important. But that’s not the only knowledge required here. TEKsystems also identifies the following top skills sought after by marketing hiring managers:

  • UX design
  • Front-end development
  • Web development
  • Consumer and behavioral analytics
  • Product management

4) Content Development

Finally — content gets its own category. Of course, understanding how to develop the best content for your various distribution channels is important. But then, there’s understanding how to develop consumable content that doesn’t necessarily reside on your social networks or website copy, like reports, or other downloadable items. And in addition to being well-produced and informative, it should be sharable, and a content developer needs to understand how to create something of that nature. Related skills, therefore, include:

  • Analytics
  • Project Management
  • SEO/SEM

5) Mobile Marketing

Mobile is gradually becoming the primary way we consume online content — 48% of consumers, for example,  start mobile research with a search engine, while 26% start with a branded app. That’s why mobile marketing has become such a valuable skill, from understanding how customers use mobile, to how a brand’s digital presence and content can be optimized for that platform.

And while mobile marketing might be a bit different from mobile development — the latter is a bit more technical — it doesn’t hurt to at least understand how that (and app development) contrasts from traditional web development. Additionally, valuable skills here include:

  • Mobile traffic analytics
  • E-commerce analytics
  • Mobile design

The More You Know

We’re not suggesting that marketers need to become experts in every single one of these areas. However, if there’s a specific area of marketing that interests you the most, or into which you’d like to move, understanding where you’ll need to excel can help you get there that much faster.

Plus, as your brand and the landscape continue to evolve, this list can serve as a good reference when you feel like you might need to brush up on certain skills, or at least become more aware of them when it’s necessary. That way, in addition to honing your own skills, you can understand where you might need to focus team-building efforts.

What are your most sought-after marketing skills? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

The 6 Surprising Characteristics of Successful Pitches [New Research]

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What are the differences between a sales call that leads to a closed deal and one that leads to an unresponsive prospect?

You might chalk up failure to a number of things — the prospect wasn’t interested in the value prop, they were looking for a cheaper solution, your product didn’t offer all the features they needed, and so on.

But a new article in Harvard Business Review suggests your attitude may be the culprit.

Lakshmi Balachandra, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College and negotiation and pitching expert, spent 10 years studying meetings between venture capital (VC) investors and entrepreneurs. The takeaways will improve your sales pitches.

Focus Your Delivery

Most founders think the contents of their sales pitch is the biggest determining factor of the investment. In other words, making investors believe in the mission and product will lead to funding.

However, Balachandra says investors are actually judging entrepreneurs on their personality. By the time they get to an in-person meeting, the VC has already reviewed the founder’s pitch.

Calls between salespeople and prospects work the same way. Most buyers won’t agree to speak with you unless they see your solution or expertise as relevant to their situation. To build on this foundation and actually win the deal, you must create the right impression.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should put 100% of your energy toward your delivery. If buyers don’t fully understand the value of your offering, they won’t make good customers. Connect your product’s features to their pain points, encourage questions and feedback, and reinforce your points with customer stories.

Dial Down Your Enthusiasm

According to common wisdom, you should be energetic and passionate about your product. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, how will the buyer?

Yet when Balachandra analyzed 185 pitches, she discovered people prefer calm demeanors over “passionate” ones. Follow-up research revealed calmness comes across as leadership strength.

With that in mind, don’t be too enthusiastic on sales calls. Act cool, collected, and self-assured. Your prospects will instinctively give more weight to your argument.

Trust Is Crucial

We’ve always stressed the importance of credibility, but it turns out winning your prospect’s trust might be even more significant than we knew.

Balachandra discovered investors would rather work with a trustworthy founder than a competent one. Believing the entrepreneur is honest and straightforward decreased their sense of risk — and unlike specific skills, it’s nearly impossible to “teach” character.

What does that mean for salespeople? First, never claim to know something you don’t. It’s better to admit your ignorance than risk being caught in a lie. The buyer may even trust you more because you’re clearly honest.

Second, use case studies and testimonials to reinforce your credibility. Broad claims like, “Our tool will make you more efficient” aren’t very believable, but specific, data-backed ones like “Our tool allows Dataguard’s average salesperson to give five more demos per week than before” are.

Other Quick Tips

There are three more takeaways from Balachandra’s research that you can implement immediately to start closing more business.

Add some humor. Laughing makes entrepreneurs likelier to get funding. During your sales call, demo, or presentation, crack a joke or two. It will make you look more confident and help you build rapport with your audience.

Highlight mutual connections. Founders who mentioned friends they have in common with the VCs were more successful. If you don’t have any shared contacts, bring up mutual customers or the other companies in their space using you. Your goal is to enhance your authority with names or businesses they’ll recognize.

Avoid being overly emotional or expressive. When founders were too warm, expressive, or emotional, their chances of success went down. With this in mind, try to be assertive and relatively neutral.

Pitching to VCs and pitching to prospects are very similar. To win their money, you need to earn their trust. And to earn their trust, you need to demonstrate confidence, credibility, and preparedness.

What do you think — is this research helpful from a sales rep’s perspective? Let us know in the comments.

HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

6 Cover Letter Examples That Got Something Right

Let’s face it: A job search is, typically, anything but fun.

It’s almost as if it carries its own stages of grief. At first, there’s denial of its demoralizing nature. Then comes the anger over either radio silence or rejection from prospective employers. Of course, there’s bargaining — “I promise to never complain about work again, if I can find a new job!” That’s often followed by depression, and the idea that one is simply just unhireable. Then, there’s acceptance: “This is awful, but I have to keep trying, anyway.”

But we have good news. It is possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process. The magic, it turns out, could be in your cover letter.

It may be true that 63% of recruiters have deemed cover letters “unimportant,” but that doesn’t mean yours has to contribute to that statistic. In fact, it might be that cover letters are deemed insignificant because so few of them stand out. Here’s an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process. Personalization, after all, goes beyond replacing the title and company name in each letter you send to recruiters. Boost your resume and join 30,000 marketers by getting inbound  marketing-certified for free from HubSpot. Get started here. 

What does that look like in practice, and how can you make your cover letter stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these contain NSFW language.

6 Cover Letter Examples That Nailed It

1) The Short-and-Sweet Model

In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received.” That letter contained three complete sentences, as follows:

short-and-sweet.png
Source: Harvard Business Review

One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.

“The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me,” writes Silverman. “Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.”

When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:

  1. Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under “reports to.” Address your letter to that individual.
  2. Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.

The key here is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you provide solutions for her. Not sure how to learn more about a leader’s personality? Check out any content she shares on social media, or use Growthbot’s Personality Profile feature.

2) The Brutally Honest Approach

Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example “the best cover letter” (which he received while he was with Squarespace):

Brutally honest.png
Source: Title Needed

As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.

“Remember that I’m reading these all day long,” Hertzberg writes. “You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out.”

3) The One That Says “Why,” Not Just “How”

We’ve already covered the importance of addressing how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse, a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

Why Example.png
Source: The Muse

Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview. Make sure your story is nonfiction, and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.

If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.

4) The Straw (Wo)man

When I was in the throes of my own job search and reached one of the later stages, a friend said to me, “For the next job you apply for, you should just submit a picture of yourself a stick figure that somehow represents you working there.”

Et voilà:

AZWstrawCoverLetter.jpg

I never did end up working for the recipient of this particular piece of art, but it did result in an interview. Again, be careful where you send a cover letter like this one — if it doesn’t match the company’s culture, it might be interpreted as you not taking the opportunity seriously. Be sure to pair it with a little bit of explanatory text, too. For example, when I submitted this picture-as-a-cover letter, I also wrote, “Perhaps I took the ‘sense of humor’ alluded to in your job description a bit too seriously.”

5) The Exercise in Overconfidence

I’ll admit that I considered leaving out this example. It’s rife with profanity, vanity, and arrogance. But maybe, in some settings, that’s the right way to do a cover letter.

A few years ago, Huffington Post published this note as an example of how to “get noticed” and “get hired for your dream job”:

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Source: Huffington Post

Here’s the thing — if the Aviary cited in this letter is the same Aviary I researched upon discovering it, then, well, I’m not sure this tone was the best approach. I read the company’s blog and looked at the careers site, and neither one indicates that the culture encourages … this.

However, Aviary was acquired by Adobe in 2014, and this letter was written in 2011. So while it’s possible that the brand was a bit more relaxed at that time, we wouldn’t suggest submitting a letter with that tone to the company today. That’s not to say it would go unappreciated elsewhere — Doug Kessler frequently discusses the marketers and brands that value colorful language, for example.

The point is, this example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.

6) The Interactive Cover Letter

When designer Rachel McBee applied for a job with the Denver Broncos, she didn’t just write a personalized cover letter — she designed an entire digital, interactive microsite:

Source: Rachel McBee

This cover letter — if you can even call it that — checks off all of the boxes we’ve discussed here, in a remarkably unique way. It concisely addresses and organizes what many hiring managers hope to see in any cover letter: how her skills lend themselves to the role, why she wants the job, and how to contact her. She even includes a “traditional” body of text at the bottom, with a form that allows the reader to easily get in touch with her.

Take Cover

We’d like to add a sixth stage to the job search: Experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will. That’s why it’s important not to copy these examples. That defeats the purpose of personalization.

So get creative. And, by the way — we’re hiring.

What are some of the best cover letters you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing