Here's the 2017 State of Digital Marketing [Infographic]

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Digital marketing is one of those areas that’s become, in a way, all-encompassing. There’s social media, there’s SEO, and there are the analytics that come with both. And with the rapid pace at which digital marketing evolves, it can be difficult and confusing to prioritize which parts deserve your attention.

That’s why the Search Engine Journal launched the 2017 State of Digital Marketing.
To find out where digital marketers focus their time and budgets, and how they set parameters of success, over 200 industry professionals were surveyed, filling roles within SEO, paid search, and content marketing. 

Some of the most interesting findings were broken down into the handy infographic below. Among them were statistics on PPC spending — which ranges from $50 to $5,000 — and data showing that Facebook is still the preferred social media channel for 62% of marketers.

Want to know where things stand in other areas of digital marketing? Read on to learn more.


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Source: Here's the 2017 State of Digital Marketing [Infographic]
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

The Best Advice for Marketers in 2017: Insights from 11 Experts

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Don Draper wouldn’t know what hit him. Gone are the decadent days of the liquid lunch, three-piece suits, and Madison Avenue dominating the marketing landscape. Modern marketers have to be a jill-of-all-trades, with one foot in the real world, and one in cyberspace.

We live in an age of digital disruption and a constantly evolving marketing playground. 96% of B2C marketers believed they were experiencing “significant change” in 2014. That number would likely be 100% today.

Radio, television spots, billboards, full-page spreads in glossy magazines, and direct mail packages have been replaced by their online counterparts. In fact, companies with a comprehensive strategic vision combined with digital tactics perform 26% better on average.

Even online, though, certain tactics have already become obsolete. Banner ads and email blast campaigns, for example, don’t really cut it anymore. Evolve, or perish. Embrace digital, or be left behind. Diversify your channels, or risk being invisible.

Today, your marketing mix should include social media, SEO, influencers, PPC ads, a mobile-first mentality, segmented and transactional email, remarketing, content marketing, detailed buyer personas, big data, analytics … and probably about a dozen more components I’m forgetting at the moment.

Obviously, that’s a lot of moving parts. So what’s a marketer to do? Where do you focus first if you want to improve?

As always, you turn to the experts. I reached out to a handful of experts and influencers, asking them two simple questions:

  1. What’s the most important advice you can give a marketer in 2017?
  2. What are some traits and qualities that make a marketer successful?

Here are their responses. Read, learn, enjoy.

Marketing Advice for 2017 From the Experts

1) John Rampton, Due

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A prolific contributor to The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Entrepreneur, Rampton is an online influencer, serial entrepreneur, and CEO of Due

Question #1: “Don’t get stuck in a rut, relying on the same tactics year after year. Continually reassess what you’re using and doing because online marketing, social media marketing tools, and audience preferences change faster than you realize. You will be left behind. I re-evaluate what we’re doing at least once a year and stay on top of new platforms and channels I need to incorporate in an upcoming marketing strategy revision.”

Question #2: “A successful marketer needs to be flexible, open, an active listener, and creative.”

2) Ann Handley, Annhandley.com

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Handley hardly needs an introduction: she’s a bestselling author, keynote speaker, LinkedIn influencer, and chief content officer at MarketingProfs. Forbes named her the most influential woman in social media. See what all the fuss is about at her personal website.

Question #1: “Us[e] voice and tone consistently across all channels and accounts to convey brand. Your tone of voice is a differentiator in a sea of same, yet most organizations vastly undervalue it. Most spend a lot of time on the visual elements of their brand — but not a lot on tone of voice (what you sound like). So — embrace tone of voice as your gutsiest, bravest asset!”

3) Hiten Shah, Quick Sprout

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Shah’s list of SaaS startups reads like a who’s who of success: He’s the co-founder and former CEO of Kissmetrics, co-founder of Crazy Egg, and co-founder of Quick Sprout.

Question #1: “Always strive to find uncommon ways of marketing yourself and your business. That’s how you’ll discover some of the biggest, high leverage opportunities that others have not caught on to yet.”

Question #2: ” A childlike curiosity will serve you well not only in marketing, but also life in general. Never lose it.”

4) Michelle Killebrew, Nomiku

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With over 16 years of high tech marketing experience, Killebrew has led teams at both IBM and Fisher Investments. She describes herself as a marketing technologist, and is currently working with Nomiku.

Question #1: “This advice is a longstanding truth: Always put the customer first. Customer-centricity has always been a foundation to good marketing, but it’s becoming exponentially more critical as the customer has more control and less attention, more options and less tolerance for poor experience.”

Question #2: “Marketers must be inquisitive with a true thirst for learning. The landscape is changing daily — everything from the consumer expectation and attention, effective channels, strategies and methods, and the technology required to execute it all. Marketers must be inventors with a love of experimentation and iteration to serve their customers well and stay competitive.”

5) Michael Lykke Aagaard, Unbounce

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Aagaard is an international speaker and senior conversion optimizer for Unbounce, the landing page and conversion specialists. With stints in Europe and North America, Aagaard describes himself as a practitioner and theorist on the subject.

Question #1: “Do everything you can to understand your target audience. The better you understand what reality looks like through their eyes, the easier it will be for you to make the right marketing decisions. In online marketing, we’re seeing everything through a digital lens. It can be easy to forget that you’re in the business of influencing real human behavior and decision-making — not just moving numbers around in a spreadsheet. Your marketing activities will only be effective if they have real impact on your real target audience. My best advice is to invest heavily in customer insight and market research.”

Question #2: “Having a strategic approach to problem solving is absolutely crucial. You need the ability to approach a complex situation, look at the data, cut through the clutter, carve out the best way forward and then ‘attack’! Also, being bold enough to admit when you’re wrong is very important. Stubbornly clinging to cherished notions and personal darlings rarely leads to insight or better results.”

6) Michael Brenner, Marketing Insider Group

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He’s the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, an internationally recognized keynote speaker, and an in-demand author, blogger, and contributor. Brenner has passion for and insight on both leadership and marketing strategies that work.

Question #1: ” Set a measurable and customer-centric goal focused on the impact you create for them and your company. My favorite metric to use is subscribers. Subscribers will tell you if the content you create is actually helping your customers. And subscribers have the added bonus of having real value to your company!”

Question #2: “Successful marketers have the courage to support the best ideas from across the organization. Not the stuff you did last year, or the thing your boss thinks will work, but the ideas that create real impact for customers.”

7) Laura Bilazarian, Teamable

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Bilazarian is the CEO and founder of Teamable — an employee referral and diversity hiring platform. Previous investment banker, Vietnam hotel builder, and rugby player, she’s a graduate of the Wharton Business School.

Question #1: Be authentic and hold yourself to a high standard in terms of the quality of content that you associate with yourself and your brand. Make it genuinely data-driven and tactical. Go back to the standards of a college thesis with the content you create — cite scientific sources, offer unique and contrarian insights supported by data, and so on. Learn real data science so that your experiments lead to the right conclusions with the minimum input. Understand how to optimize ROI with limited resources. Learn from your cutting edge customers and put what they’re doing out into the world, again in a scientific manner, so that the discipline your product supports evolves forward.”

Question #2: “Data-driven, creative, contrarian, and intuitive. That’s the kind of marketers we need today.”

8) Talia Wolf, GetUplift

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Wolf was previously the founder and CEO of Conversioner, and is the founder and chief optimizer at GetUplift, a boutique conversion optimization agency. She’s a guest blogger, keynote speaker, trainer, and advocate for using emotional targeting and persuasive design.

Question #1: “You’re not the hero of the story, your customer is. Most businesses tend to focus their entire marketing strategy by talking about their product or service, the features they provide, and their pricing. However, no matter what you’re selling, customers care more about the why than the what. If you make it about them, they will listen, they will read, they will convert, and they will come back.”

Question #2: Skills and techniques can be taught, but passionate, dedicated people are extremely rare and should be held on to. It’s not about how advanced they are, or if they know how to set up a campaign in AdWords or a variation in an A/B testing platform. It’s about their passion to learn, grow, and drive the company forward.”

9) Jason M. Lemkin, SaaStr

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Lemkin is a SaaS founder, investor, and enthusiast, as well as the driving force behind SaaStr, a company that provides advice, wisdom, and investment funds to four to five SaaS startups each year. He previously worked at Adobe, and is a top three most popular author on Quora.

Question #1: “Understand what playbook works at which stage. Eventually, all playbooks converge. That, and protect your brand at all costs. Later, that and the quality of your team is all that will matter.”

Question #2: “Humility. A great marketer knows what she knows how to do, and what she doesn’t, and she seeks out help wherever she needs it. An arrogant marketer — or worse, a defensive marketer — is one destined for a series of short stints.”

10) Shama Hyder, Marketing Zen

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Hyder is a digital marketing strategist, bestselling author, CEO of Marketing Zen, a web and television personality, and a prolific guest contributor to sites including Forbes.

Question #1: Marketing today is an entire ecosystem and it is evolutionary. The best marketers approach it in that way — by constantly learning, measuring progress, and focusing on the bigger picture.”

 

11) Lars Lofgren, I Will Teach You To Be Rich

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Lofgren is the senior director of growth at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, the lifestyle and finance company started by Ramit Sethi. He previously worked in growth and marketing for Kissmetrics before switching to his current position.

Question #1: “If there’s only one thing you do as a marketer, work to be a solid copywriter. It’s the foundational skill of all marketing and also has the highest leverage. It’ll help you with every single campaign and every single project. It also teaches you the core concepts of marketing such as target market, value props, positioning, persuasion, sales, and so forth. And as most marketers are terrible copywriters, it’s the fastest way to uplevel your own career and set you apart.”

Question #2: A relentless drive for truth. The best marketers don’t delude themselves about what’s working and what’s not. They’re great at self reflection, taking feedback, and understanding when the market wants something different than what they’re offering.”

What Marketing Means in 2017

If there’s a running theme here, it’s that you need to be excruciatingly careful with your brand, and an all-consuming sense of curiosity is worth more than any formal credential.

Your brand is your digital word. Protect it. Your curiosity can keep you on top of emerging trends, new tech tools, and developing platforms, channels, and tactics. It can allow you to stand out.

Modern marketing isn’t about where you studied the field, or what company you interned for, or even how clever you can be with taglines and slogans. It’s recognizing that not only have the rules changed, but it’s an entirely new game. It’s customers first and foremost: where are they (online), how are they accessing (mobile), what do they want and expect (premium service and experience)? Your job is to identify and then think like them.

Are you up for the challenge? Do you have the right people in place to make it happen? The individuals here are walking the walk, and talking the talk. Their advice is good advice.

Are you set up to follow it? If yes, then do. If not, make the necessary changes. Your future self will thank you.

new-marketing-job

Source: The Best Advice for Marketers in 2017: Insights from 11 Experts
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

Creative Work Relies on Failure

Everyone wants to be creative, yet many of us are too fearful to pursue our most creative ideas. Why? Our fearful reaction is not a matter of choice — it’s often a knee-jerk reaction that can be attributed to our biology.

According to Adobe’s State of Create report, “At work, there is tension between creativity and productivity.” That could have something to do with previous research indicating that there’s a natural association of uncertainty with ideas labeled as “creative,” and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

So when you’re pursuing a creative path, this hurdle can feel insurmountable. How do you tackle and, ultimately, dismantle it?

Creativity vs. Fear of Failure

In my experience — and that of many creative professionals — the most familiar form of fear come is really that of failure. It’s a hesitancy to branch outside the norm and risk exposing yourself to the judgment of others. But that fear alone is not what inhibits your path to creativity. Not acknowledging is what’s truly damaging. Nelson Mandela summarized that notion quite well: 

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

The traditional narrative about the creative process tends to leave out fear. We hear about and romanticize the lone genius’ bursts of inspiration but that isn’t always accurate. As David and Tom Kelley note in Creative Confidence, “A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail.” They go on to cite UC Davis Professor of Psychology Keith Simonton, who found that many of the world’s most famous creative people — like composer Wolfgang Mozart and scientist Charles Darwin don’t give up at the first sign of failure. Rather, they keep experimenting until they find what works.

That’s one of the things that makes fear a necessary and important part of creative work — learning how to work with it. Unfortunately, in many organizations, fear tends to dominate, often stifling what could have been some of our most creative work. Only 4 in 10 employees would even describe themselves as creative, and out of those who do, less than half think they’re “living up to their creative potential.” Those are forms of fear, and even if you’re not aware of it, you’ve likely let it take control before. 

But how do you recognize it? Here are some familiar “traps” you might be falling into.

Letting Fear Hinder Your Creativity

Scenario

In the middle of a brainstorm, someone pitches an off-the-wall idea that the whole team thinks is edgy and hilarious. These ideas are often followed by a flurry of enthusiastic statements that start with things like, “what if we….” or, “imagine if…”. Despite the team’s excitement, you decide the client will think it’s too offbeat, so you pitch your safer — a.k.a., less creative — plan B.

When you focus on what seems like the safer path and make decisions purely based on risk-avoidance, you lose sight of supporting your actual objective. That’s common in group dynamics, and even has a name: Groupthink, which occurs “when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation,” according to Psychology Today. It’s often masked as rational thinking, but playing it safe is actually the enemy of good creative work — the more you stay in the same place, the less effective your work becomes. Conversely, doing good creative work requires comfort with risk.

Letting Fear Dictate Your Creativity

Scenario

Your competitor releases a new product or service, or updates its branding/website, thereby staking its claim as the industry leader. Your fear of being outshined prompts a response focused solely on beating your competition, instead of doing what’s going to benefit your customers — and therefore, your business — the most.

While most people are aware that their respective brands must constantly innovate and evolve, letting fear control your efforts is also dangerous. When fear fuels your motivation and objectives, your work can become less meaningful due to a lack of passion or enthusiasm behind it. Plus, spending an unbalanced amount of time trying to keep up on every trend saps your resources and focus. When you succumb to fear, you often end up paying the price in the long run, with results like a bad user experience or looking like a copycat. As Karen Martin wrote in her book The Outstanding Organization, “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”

Why You Need Failure

Yes, there is a right way to fail. When you creatively experiment — just as Mozart and Darwin did — there are times that you will fail. But when you fail in this manner, you learn from it. For this reason, it is important to accept and even honor your creative failures. View them not as a hindrance to creative success, but as a powerful conduit that gets you closer to your goal next time around. Accept that failure is an option, and one that you are quite capable of recovering from, with the right perspective.

In my experience, the only way to overcome your fear — or at least prevent it from sabotaging your day-to-day — is to reframe it. When you think of the framework for failure, replace the word “failure” with “learn.” That approach encourages confidence and a willingness to learn, which are vital for high-quality creative work.

At my company, C5, our vision is to help build a world where everyone can have a healthy and fulfilled life. We take this mission seriously in the work we create, the clients we work with, and the way we interact with each other. But “healthy” and “fulfilled” don’t have to translate to “rainbows and sunshine.” Fulfillment really comes from the fruit of your labor, which only grows through hard work and, sometimes, results that you weren’t hoping for. Knowing that, we believe that sometimes rising to the challenge is its own reward.

In our organization, we are pursuing an effort to remove unnecessary sources of fear and anxiety from how we approach our work. Letting our creativity come to front doesn’t mean we do things flippantly, take uncalculated risks, or play roulette. But we do cultivate environments in which we can take intentional risks.

We’ve outlined some of the pieces that, to us, comprise a calculated risk.

Determining Objectives of the Situation at Hand

Naturally, your actions are influenced by your goals. But creativity can always be cultivated within confines. In fact, structure is often beneficial. Just because you have always done something one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do it. When strategizing how best to achieve a goal, consider alternate solutions, try new methods, and conducts A/B tests. For example, when Microsoft Internet Explorer requested an infographic from our agency, we ended up pitching a video concept, instead, because we felt it would deliver the message more effectively. The client agreed, and the “Child of the ‘90s” spot we created for them garnered over 49 million views.

Learning to Operate From a Place of Conviction and Commitment

If you have a unique or unusual creative idea, lead with confidence. Whether you’re pitching it to a client or trying to secure budget from management, if you drown in self-doubt at every stage, it’s likely to show. You should certainly listen to valid objections, but remember that passion and enthusiasm are contagious. Again — Microsoft would have surely rejected our pitch had we not made a well-supported, confident case for it.

Allowing the Freedom to Fail, Learn, and Grow

Nurturing an environment that not only encourages but demands experimentation is vital to push your creative boundaries. You can help cultivate this at every touch point in your organization, whether it means building out longer timelines, schedule regular out-of-the-box brainstorms, or encourage employees to work on their own passion projects. Pushing your team to experiment will only benefit you. Our agency has even closed up shop for a “hack day,” during which everyone — from accountants to designers — collaborated on creative solutions in a consequence-free environment.

Be Brave

As you face creative challenges, I encourage you not to give into fear — in fact, give it a chance. Without fear, there is no bravery. And without bravery, no risks are taken. And you can’t improve if you aren’t taking risks. Learn from what doesn’t work, and use it to build something even better.

What are some of the creatively-charged risks you’ve taken? Let us know in the comments.

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Source: Creative Work Relies on Failure
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

How to Make Quotes for Instagram: 7 Apps to Try

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When you come across a beautiful sight — be it a beach, a mountain, or your pet’s face — sometimes, it inspires you to think bigger about what certain sights and experiences mean.

For those moments, you might consider posting a photo on Instagram with an equally inspiring quote as the caption. But you could take it even further — and save characters — by posting the photo with the quote.

Download our essential guide to Instagram for business for more helpful tips  and tricks.

You’ve likely seen quotes on Instagram posts before, but you may never have created one for your brand’s account. Here’s a recent Instagram quote we shared here at HubSpot:

 

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Apr 17, 2017 at 7:21am PDT

See what we mean?

Posting quote images on Instagram can diversify your content on the platform and humanize your brand a little, too. Everyone could use a motivational quote during a busy Monday morning or a slow Tuesday afternoon, so try out an Instagram quote for your next post with the help of these free apps. 

7 Apps to Easily Create Quotes for Instagram

1) FaceGarage

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FaceGarage is a browser tool that helps you create Instagram images with quotes overlaid in just a few simple steps. You can upload an image of your own or use one of the site’s stock background images, type in your quote, adjust the font, text size, color, and formatting, and voila — you generate your image and download it to post on Instagram. Our favorite thing about FaceGarage is the images don’t come with a watermark, so you can create more beautiful posts that don’t have a logo in the corner.

2) Recite

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Recite is another quick and easy browser tool you can use to create quotes for Instagram. Its two-step process involves selecting one of the ready-made background themes, typing in your quotation, and pressing “Create.” From there, you can upload the image to a variety of social networks (not including Instagram) or download the image to upload and post on Instagram. The downside to Recite’s ease of use is the highly visible watermark in the bottom-center of each image, but you might be able to crop it out using your phone’s photo editor before uploading to Instagram, depending on the design you choose.

3) InstaQuote (iOS or Android)

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This free app offers a lot of options to customize your quote image, font styles, and color schemes. You can use your own photos or one of InstaQuote’s, and it allows you to automatically upload your image to Instagram so you don’t have to download it and then upload it. The downsides to many free apps — including InstaQuote — are the prevalence of ad interruptions, and that many features are locked unless you upgrade to the paid version.

4) Text2Pic (iOS or Android)

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Text2Pic stands out from the crowd in a couple of ways. It has the widest variety of font style and formatting options — including 3-D and shadowing capabilities to add more effects to your text. It also auto-connects to Instagram for seamless uploading and posting on the platform. The biggest downside we’ve noted is the inability to upload your own photo as a background image, but Text2Pic makes up for that with a ton of different background options to choose from.

5) Quotes Creator (iOS or Android)

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Quotes Creator has a neat feature that suggests quotes to use — including their attributions — to take the work out of creating an inspirational post for you. We also like how subtly transparent the watermark is to make it as distraction-free as possible. This is another easy-to-use app that creates quotes for Instagram in just a few simple steps — with an easy tap to upload to the platform. Quotes Creator’s stock background options are a little cheesy, so we recommend finding your own and uploading them.

6) Quote Maker (iOS or Android)

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Quote Maker is another free app that tries to upsell its Pro version to unlock more background and style options, but you can always upload your own background if you feel too limited. Where Quotes Maker takes the cake is its cool font styling and effects. You could add neat decals to your brand’s name or a stamp-like effect to a company motto or mission statement. We recommend exploring the app, but another warning — it’s slightly glitchy and crashed a couple times during the making of this image. 

7) Text on Photo Square (iOS)

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Text on Photo Square is only available on iOS devices (for now), but its distinction from the rest of the pack is that users can add quotes to videos, in addition to photos. You can upload your videos and add quotes to create a neat audio and visual experience for your Instagram followers. A cool quote-video might distract from the watermark, which is admittedly one of the larger ones on this list.

Some of these apps might be worth investing in the paid version to create more unique images — without the watermarks — to post quotes on Instagram. But for now, try out these free options during the next social media holiday to see if your audience is ready to be inspired.

What tools do you use to create special effects on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

how to use instagram for business

Source: How to Make Quotes for Instagram: 7 Apps to Try
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

9 Easy Ways to Get Busy People to Respond to Emails

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You might think you spend the majority of your time at work sitting in meetings or talking on the phone, but you could be wrong.

In fact, a significant portion of your work week could be spent writing, ready, and responding to emails.

A recent study from Adobe revealed that workers are spending 4.1 hours per week checking and interacting with our work emails. Despite the adoption of tools like Slack, workers are using email more than ever — and what’s more, it can take us up to 25 minutes to get back on task once we’ve interrupted by checking and reading email during the workday.

So needless to say, when you draft an email — whether it’s to your manager, your direct report, or a contact you want to work with — you want it to be well-crafted and impactful so it doesn’t expend even more time. So we’ve put together these tips for writing emails — that will get opened and replied to, without wasting anyone’s time.

How to Write Emails Your Contacts Will Actually Reply To

1) Write a descriptive subject line.

Your subject line should outline the reason for your email so the recipient is compelled to open and answer it. It should also be clear and succinct — after all, if your subject line is clear, your email will likely be, too. We suggest avoiding full sentences and only putting the meatiest part of your reason for emailing in the subject line.

Phrases to Avoid:

  1. “Checking in”
  2. “Touching base”
  3. “Following up”

Example Subject Lines:

  1. “Question about your blog post about Snapchat”
  2. “Meeting information for Monday, 5/1”
  3. “New data: 43% of consumers want video content”

2) Get to the point, and quickly.

In the opening lines of your email, you might be tempted to enumerate on your credentials or your organization, but you can do that later. Instead, the opening line of your email should immediately get to the point so the recipient immediately understands what’s being asked of them.

The basic format of a successful email should be:

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing greeting

This format is considerate to your reader, who has trouble maintaining attention for long periods of time, and it compels you to write clearly and compellingly to make the recipient keep reading.

3) Use basic language.

Remember the episode of Friends when Monica and Chandler asked Joey to write them a letter of reference, and he used his thesaurus too enthusiastically?

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Source: Rebloggy

In this case, Joey changed so many words to their more advanced synonyms that his original meaning was completely convoluted. This can happen with your emails, too.

Resist the urge to use industry jargon or flowery language and stick to the basics. Make your sentences clear, straightforward, and short — if a sentence requires more than one comma, consider breaking it into two sentences. The easier your email is to understand, the easier it will be for the recipient to quickly respond.

4) Use numbers.

There are a few ways you can use numbers and statistics in your email that will make it easier to attract and keep the recipient’s attention.

  1. Numbers written as numerals (23) instead of words (twenty-three) have been shown to attract reader attention when they quickly scan what they’re reading online — which research shows internet users are more and more likely to do.
  2. Numbers as statistical data lend your email more credibility. Numbers represent facts, which your reader might be more compelled to respond to.

See what we did there? The numbered list probably drew your eye more than writing that out in paragraph format would have. Formatting helps too — more on that later.

5) Keep it as short as possible.

Keep it short and sweet.

Researchers analyzed over five years of emails, and they found that shorter emails resulted in faster response times. That’s helpful when you consider that reading and responding to emails can eat up so many hours in your week. Shorter emails help you and the recipient spend less time writing and replying to emails, which makes everyone more productive.

Our trick for keeping emails short is by typing them in Twitter first. Emails don’t have to be under 140 characters, but it’s a good guardrail for having maximum impact in fewer words. You can keep your emails shorter by using numbers, omitting unnecessary words like adjectives and adverbs, and thinking carefully about formatting. 

The ideal email length varies depending on your industry, but we suggest keeping your emails under 200 words in length. The average screen reading speed is 200 words per minute, so aiming to keep messages below that target is a good rule of thumb.

6) Use bullet points.

Whenever possible, use bullet points or a numbered list to organize your email structure. Here’s why:

  • Bullets don’t require full sentences, so you can use fewer words to get the same message across.
  • Bullets help break up the formatting of an email to maintain the reader’s attention.
  • Bulleted or numbered lists help clearly outline steps in a process that need to be taken, which is useful for email documenting meetings or initiatives.

We suggest using only three bullets. Studies have shown that our brains like to be presented with three options to consider. Use three bullets or numbered items in your emails for maximum impact.

7) Answer the question “so what?”

Just because the subject of your email is important to you doesn’t mean the recipient necessarily agrees. You need to ensure that your reader comes away from your email with the answer to the question “so what?”

Psychologist Ellen Langler found that the use of the word “because” made people more likely to comply with the request. By providing the reason behind asking someone to help you or do something for you in an email, you make it easier for the recipient to say “yes.”

When asking for someone else’s time and effort, make sure to include a “because … ” so they can understand the impact their compliance will have.

8) Make your ask clear.

Some emails have clear asks, and some emails do not. Either way, make sure to clearly state what exactly you need from the recipient of your email to make it easier for them to reply.

Remember the email structure we mentioned above?

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing greeting

Start your email with the reason you’re emailing, provide the recipient with details and the “so what?” of your message, and close your email with a clear ask for next steps. Whether you need them to edit a blog post, attend a meeting, or you don’t need any specific action from them at that time, make sure that is the last line of your email.

The final line of your email will likely be most memorable, so if the recipient doesn’t reply right away, they’ll be able to easily remember what they need to do next.

9) Know when to take it offline.

Sometimes, the best email isn’t an email at all. Instead, it’s a phone call, a Slack direct message, a virtual conference, or an in-person meeting.

We’ve told you to keep your email as clear and succinct as possible. So if you’re drafting your message and finding that it requires any of the following, that could be an indication that it’s time to sit down and talk about what you’re working on:

  • If your email is highly time-sensitive, explore if there is a faster way to reach that person in the office or using a messaging app.
  • If it takes you multiple paragraphs to get your point across, consider if you want to produce a slide deck to present in a meeting.
  • If you need answers to multiple complicated questions (that don’t involve a yes or no answer), send a meeting invitation instead — but include the questions in the event description so the recipient can prepare.

A good indicator to determine if you should take your message offline is how long it takes you to write out your email. If you have to keep editing and rewriting to make your points clear, they might not be clear to your recipient, either. 

Luckily, meeting invites are short and sweet, and they involve a simple yes or no answer. Make sure to provide context in the event description, or a pre-meeting email, so attendees can prepare for the conversation early.

Email Is an Art

If you’re emailing your colleagues and contacts, they’ll understand a run-on sentence or a typo here and there (although we advise self-editing before pressing “send,” of course). But when it comes time to start emailing subscribers and leads on behalf of your brand, check out our free beginner’s email marketing guide for more suggestions and ideas.

What are your strategies for writing actionable emails? Share with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the transactional email add-on, contact your CSM.

Source: 9 Easy Ways to Get Busy People to Respond to Emails
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

7 of the Best Mother’s Day Ads We’ve Ever Seen

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Sometime in early May each year, search volume for “When is Mother’s Day” begins to reach a panicked spike.

Consider this article your official reminder: Mother’s Day is this Sunday (May 14th), and we have a selection of hilarious and heartwarming ads about moms to get you in the spirit.

From a lighthearted garden gathering with the royal family to a moving tribute to mothers of sick children, each of these campaigns celebrate those authentic moments that bond us with our moms.

A word of caution to those of you currently in the office: you might want to get some tissues ready. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

7 Great Examples of Mother’s Day Advertising

1) Moms Explain What Their Kids Do in Advertising | MRY (2015)

If you work in the digital marketing or advertising space, you’ve probably struggled at some point to concisely explain what your job entails to your family. To celebrate Mother’s Day 2015, the folks at digital agency MRY posed a seemingly simple question to their moms: What do you think I do for a living?

The answers — delivered via web cam by the moms themselves — range from “Online Advertising Through the Computer for Any Kind of Internet Kind of Thing” to “Annoying Pop-Up Creator” — and more than one childhood art project is unearthed for some unsolicited praise.

2) The Body Shop | British Roses for the Queen (2016)

The Body Shop enlisted the help of London-based agency Mr. President to produce this candid, home video-style ad featuring a cast of (very convincing) royal family doppelgangers celebrating Mother’s Day in the royal garden.

Allison Jackson, a BAFTA-award winning director best known for her lookalike photos of celebrities, was brought on to ensure the video looked authentic.

3) SickKids vs. MomStrong | Sick Kids (2017)

A somber follow-up to the SickKids vs. Undeniable ad released in 2016, this Mother’s Day spot from SickKids Hospital underscores the agony and strength of mothers with chronically ill children.

If the anguish depicted seems real, that’s because it is — Cossette Toronto, the agency behind the ad, cast real mothers in the short video, gently revealing personal, often unseen moments of pain and resilience.

4) FlyBabies | JetBlue (2016)

After watching this ad from Boston-based agency MullenLowe, maybe you’ll think twice before judging the mother with the screaming baby on your next flight.

For Mother’s Day 2016, this JetBlue stunt offered passengers a 25% discount on their next round-trip flight every time a baby cried on the plan. With four babies on the plane, their odds of getting a completely free flight were pretty good. This ad ultimately achieves the unachievable: getting airline passengers to clap and cheer each time a baby cries.

5) Swear Like a Mother | Kraft (2017)

74% of moms admit they’ve accidentally sworn in front of their kids before. The other 26%? “Full of sh*t”, suggests Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing.

To champion Kraft’s message of giving yourself a much-deserved break once in a while, CP+B Boulder asked Mohr to share some of her tips for those not-so-perfect parenting situations. Because being a mom is tough, and it’s healthy to remind yourself you don’t have to be perfect.

6) Texts From Mom | Samsung (2015)

Long ago, your mom taught you how to do things like eat, roll over on your belly, and use the bathroom. Some things are just not as intuitive as think, so don’t be too hard on your mom for her lack of texting expertise.

This R/GA-produced Mother’s Day spot takes a hilarious look at some of the texts you might get from your mom, and reminds you to give her a call this Sunday.

7) Tattoo | American Greetings (2017)

In this heartwarming spot for American Greetings, MullenLowe took inspiration from a friend of creative director Allison Rude. After her father died, the friend discovered a card from her father, and got a meaningful handwritten line tattooed on her wrist. In the ad, a daughter gets a similar inked tribute to her late mother.

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Source: 7 of the Best Mother’s Day Ads We’ve Ever Seen
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

20 of the Best Website Homepage Design Examples

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression — that’s why your homepage is undoubtedly one of the most important web pages on your website.

For any given company, the homepage is its virtual front door. If a new visitor doesn’t like what they see, their knee-jerk reaction is to hit the “back” button.

That’s right — unfortunately, a lot of people still judge a book by its cover.

What makes a website’s homepage design brilliant instead of blah? Well, it takes more than looks alone — it also has to work well. That’s why the most brilliant homepages on this list don’t just score high in beauty, but also in brains.New Call-to-action

But before we dive into the examples, let’s dissect some of the best practices of homepage design.

What Makes a Good Website Homepage Design

All of the homepage designs shown here utilize a combination of the following elements. Not every page is perfect, but the best homepage designs get many of these right:

1) The design clearly answers “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”

If you’re a well-known brand or company (i.e., Coca-Cola) you may be able to get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do; but the reality is, most businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the “right place.”

Steven Krugg sums it up best in his best-selling book, Don’t Make Me Think: If visitors can’t identify what it is you do within seconds, they won’t stick around long.

2) The design resonates with the target audience.

A homepage needs to be narrowly focused — speaking to the right people in their language. The best homepages avoid “corporate gobbledygook,” and eliminate the fluff.

3) The design communicates a compelling value proposition.

When a visitor arrives on your homepage, it needs to compel them to stick around. The homepage is the best place to nail your value proposition so that prospects choose to stay on your website and not navigate to your competitors’.

4) The design is optimized for multiple devices.

All the homepages listed here are highly usable, meaning they are easy to navigate and there aren’t “flashy” objects that get in the way of browsing, such as flash banners, animations, pop-ups, or overly-complicated and unnecessary elements. Many are also mobile-optimized, which is an incredibly important must-have in today’s mobile world.

5) The design includes calls-to-action (CTAs).

Every homepage listed here effectively uses primary and secondary calls-to-action to direct visitors to the next logical step. Examples include “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Demo,” “Buy Now,” or “Learn More.”

Remember, the goal of the homepage is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don’t get overwhelmed or lost. More importantly, CTAs turn your homepage into a sales or lead-generation engine, and not just brochure-wear.

6) The design is always changing.

The best homepages aren’t always static. Some of them are constantly changing to reflect the needs, problems, and questions of their visitors. Some homepages also change from A/B testing or dynamic content.

7) The design is effective.

A well-designed page is important to building trust, communicating value, and navigating visitors to the next step. As such, these homepages effectively use layout, CTA placement, whitespace, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements.

Now, get ready to learn about excellent homepage design through the following 16 real-life examples.

Website Design Inspiration: 20 of the Best Homepage Designs

1) FreshBooks

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s easy to consume. There is much debate on whether short or long homepages work better. If you choose to do the latter, you need to make it easy to scroll and read — and that’s exactly what this site does. It almost acts like a story.
  • There’s great use of contrast and positioning with the primary calls-to-action — it’s clear what the company wants you to convert on when you arrive.
  • The copy used in the calls-to-action “Get Started for Free” is very compelling.
  • FreshBooks uses customer testimonials on the homepage to tell real-world stories of why to use the product.
  • The sub-headline is also great: “Join over 10 million small business owners using FreshBooks.” FreshBooks expertly employs social proof — 10 million is a big number — to compel its target audience to join their peers and try the tool.

2) Airbnb

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It includes the destination and date search form that most visitors come looking for, right up front, guiding visitors to the logical next step.
  • The search form is “smart,” meaning it’ll auto-fill the user’s last search if they’re logged in.
  • The primary call-to-action (“Search”) contrasts with the background and stands out; but the secondary call-to-action for hosts is visible above the fold, too.
  • It offers suggestions for excursions and getaways Airbnb users can book on the same site as their lodgings to get visitors more excited about booking their trip on the site. It also shows which of these offerings are most popular among other users.

3) Mint

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s a super simple design with a strong, no-jargon headline and sub-headline.
  • The homepage gives off a secure but easy-going vibe, which is important for a product that handles financial information.
  • It also contains simple, direct, and compelling call-to-action copy: “Sign up free.” The CTA design is also brilliant — the secured lock icon hits home the safety message once again.

4) Dropbox (Business)

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • Dropbox carries over its simple design and branding. It includes only what is important: A large, relevant image with supporting copy, and a “Try free for 30 days” call-to-action button
  • Dropbox’s homepage and website is the ultimate example of simplicity. It limits its use of copy and visuals and embraces whitespace.
  • Its sub-headline is simple, yet powerful: “The secure file sharing and storage solution that employees and IT admins trust.” No need to decode jargon to figure out what Dropbox really does.

5) 4 Rivers Smokehouse

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • Drool. That’s what I think when I arrive at the website for 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Combined with great photography, the headline “Brisket. 18 years to master. Yours to savor.” sounds like an experience worth trying.
  • The parallax scrolling guides you on a tour through the services, menu, and people having a great time — a great use of this popular design trend.
  • The only negative? I don’t live close enough to this place. Boo.

6) Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The headline and sub-headline appeal to the visitors’ emotional side: “Work With a Company That Gets It”; “Trust us. We’ve been there too! We’ll find jobs where you can thrive.” That value proposition is unique and compelling.
  • It’s hard to tell from the screenshot above, but the headline is on a rotating carousel that caters to specific personas, from job applicants to people searching for a therapist for their schools.
  • There are several pathways visitors can take when they arrive on the page, but the calls-to-action are positioned well, worded simply, and contrast with the rest of the page.

7) Jill Konrath

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s simple and gets straight to the point. From the headline and sub-headline, it’s clear exactly what Jill Konrath does (and how she can help your business).
  • It also gives easy access to Jill’s thought leadership materials, which is important to establishing her credibility as a keynote speaker.
  • It’s easy to subscribe to the newsletter and get in touch — two of her primary calls-to-action.
  • The pop-up subscription CTA uses social proof to get you to join her thousands of other fans.
  • It includes news outlet logos and testimonials as social proof.

8) Evernote

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • Over the years, Evernote has turned from a simple note-saving app into a suite of business products. This isn’t always easy to convey on a homepage, but Evernote does a nice job packaging many potential messages into a few key benefits.
  • This homepage uses a combination of rich, muted colors in the video and its signature bright green and white highlights to make conversion paths stand out.
  • Following a simple headline (“Remember Everything”), the eye path then leads you to its call-to-action, “Sign Up For Free.”
  • Evernote also offers a one-click signup process through Google to help visitors save even more time.

9) Telerik by Progress

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • “Stuffy enterprise” isn’t the feeling you get when you arrive at Telerik’s website. For a company that offers many technology products, its bold colors, fun designs, and videography give off a Google-like vibe. Just one important aspect to making visitors feel welcome and letting them know they’re dealing with real people.
  • I love the simple, high-level overview of its six product offers. It’s very clear way of communicating what the company does and how people can learn more.
  • The copy is lightweight and easy to read. It speaks the language of its customers.

10) eWedding

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • For those love birds planning their big day, eWedding is a great destination to building a custom wedding website. The homepage isn’t cluttered and only includes the necessary elements to get people to starting building their websites.
  • The sub-headline “Over 800,000 wedding websites built!” is great social proof.
  • It’s included excellent product visuals, a great headline, and a call-to-action that reduces friction with the copy, “Start website.”

11) Basecamp

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • For a long time, Basecamp has had brilliant homepages, and here you can see why. It often features awesome headlines and clever cartoons.
  • The call-to-action is bold and above the fold.
  • In this example, the company chose a more blog-like homepage (or single page site approach), which provides much more information on the product.
  • The customer quote is a bold and emphatic testimonial speaking to the benefits and results of using the product.

12) charity: water

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • This isn’t your typical non-profit website. Lots of visuals, creative copy, and use of interactive web design make this stand out.
  • The animated header image is a great way to capture attention.
  • It employs great uses of video and photography, particularly in capturing emotion that causes action.

12) TechValidate

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • This homepage is beautifully designed. I particularly love the use of whitespace, contrasting colors, and customer-centric design.
  • The headline is clear and compelling, as are the calls-to-action.
  • There’s also a great information hierarchy, making it easy to scan and understand the page quickly.

13) Chipotle

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The homepage is a great example of agility and constant change. Chipotle’s current homepage is all about the forthcoming holiday, which it uses as a unique value proposition to get you to start clicking through your site. When I think Chipotle, I don’t necessarily think about catering, but the site is a great reminder to consider different uses for the burritos you already know and love.
  • The food photography is detailed and beautiful, and it actually makes me hungry looking at it. Now that’s an effective use of visuals.

14) Medium

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • This is perhaps one of the best uses of whitespace I’ve seen. It allows Medium’s app tagline and photo to take center stage while still drawing your eye to the darker section titles on the site.
  • Medium makes it easy to sign up — on the site, or with a simple text message to your mobile phone. I’m much more responsive to a text than an email, so this is a great strategy to keep people engaged in the signup process.
  • The homepage uses social proof to get visitors to start clicking around: The “Popular on Medium” and “Staff Picks” sections let me know where to find high-quality content.

15) Digiday

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • Unlike other online news publications that inundate homepages with as many headlines and images as possible, Digiday’s first section showcases just one article. Its featured image (in this case, a scary one) is eye-catching, and the headline is just asking to be clicked now that the visitor has an idea of what they’re going to read.
  • The top of the homepage, where websites normally showcase a ton of different sections and options to click through, only has one icon to click — which leads you to a subscription page.

16) KIND Snacks

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The bold colors produce contrast, making the words and images stand out on the page.
  • The CTA — “Shop KIND” — is clever. It urges the visitor to click to learn more while making a play on the word “kind” — implying that it’s a good choice to shop there.
  • KIND Snacks’ tagline is straight up brilliant — when I read it, the message immediately resonated and made me want to read the snack bar’s label.

17) Ahrefs

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The color contrast between the blue, white, and orange colors is eye-catching and makes the headline and CTA pop.
  • The sub-headline and CTA are a compelling pair: To be able to start tracking and outranking competitors for free is a great offer.
  • The homepage presents a multitude of options for the visitor, but it isn’t cluttered thanks to the solid background and simple typography.

18) A24 Films

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The film company’s homepage is made up of only trailers for its new films. We know video content is format audiences want to see more of, and this is a great strategy to showcase A24’s work in a highly engaging way.
  • At the top of the homepage, A24 immediately offers a myriad of ways to get in touch via social media and email — something I appreciate as a visitor when so many other sites bury contact information at the bottom of the page.

19) Ellevest

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • “Invest Like a Woman: Because money is power.” These headlines are powerful and make me want to learn more about the product — both as a woman, and as someone interested in making smart financial choices.
  • The images show, rather than tell, one of the company’s value propositions: a desktop site and mobile app that move with you.
  • “Get Started” is a great CTA — in fact, we use it ourselves here at HubSpot. When clicked, it takes visitors through a few simple steps to set up a profile and start investing.

20) HubSpot

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VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant (If We Do Say So Ourselves)

  • The LEGO characters catch your attention (because they’re cute), then they cleverly illustrate and reinforce the messaging in the headline and sub-headline.
  • It bears another eye-catching “Get Started” CTA — with bonus microcopy detailing our free versions users can choose to upgrade in the future.
  • Throughout the homepage, our bright blue and orange color themes keep returning to draw your eye to links and CTAs.

What do you think of these homepages? Which are your favorites? Share with us in the comments below.

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

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Source: 20 of the Best Website Homepage Design Examples
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

A Brief History of Content Marketing, Back to the Future Edition [Infographic]

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If you ask us, there are three things that we marketing nerds might love more than anything else: History, visual content, and the 1985 film Back to the Future.

So when it came to our attention that our friends at Uberflip combined all three of them, we were thrilled, to say the least. An infographic that uses our most beloved 1980s movie characters to explain the history of content? Be still, our beating hearts.

In all seriousness, have you ever thought about where this whole idea of content marketing really began? Perhaps you’ve wondered what its earliest forms looked like, before there was social media, blogs, or even — gasp! — the internet. After all, it’s the very thing that, for many of us, can make or break an online presence. So who do we have to thank for it?

This fun infographic has the answer, pointing out some of the most important landmarks and developments in content marketing’s history along the way. Let’s hop back in time, and figure how we got to the present — something that was once a rather futuristic vision.



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free do-it-yourself-design guide and resources

Source: A Brief History of Content Marketing, Back to the Future Edition [Infographic]
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

8 Snapchat Mistakes to Avoid (and How to Fix Them)

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Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your phone — just tapping away at your various apps to see what’s going on?

It’s my go-to method for killing time when I’m commuting or waiting for my TV show to return from a commercial break. And I’ve found that when I’m bored, I’m more likely to breeze through the content I’m consuming without really looking at it. Do you know the feeling?

The name of the game when it comes to producing exceptional content on social media is to be eye-catching. Literally — your content needs to jump out from busy social media feeds to make me stop my scrolling and read, watch, or click on it.

To that end, we wanted to help you learn from mistakes we’ve seen on Snapchat that don’t make us want to click to learn more. Read on for common problems — and solutions — for making your Snapchat Stories as compelling and clickable as possible.

8 Snapchat Mistakes You Might Be Making

1) Your Stories are too long.

The problem: Your Story is made up of too many images and videos.

The solution: Keep your Story to 10 Snaps or fewer, and make them impactful.

Clicking is hard work.

Well, it’s not exactly grueling labor, but Snapchat users don’t want to spend a ton of time clicking through a myriad of Snaps to get to the meat of what you’re trying to communicate. If your message can’t be quickly told, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important message — it just might not be the best fit for an ephemeral Snapchat Story.

Here’s a Snapchat Story from Netflix (@netflix). It’s made up of 10 Snaps that effectively tell a story without taking too long or boring the viewer:

2) Your Stories are too short.

The problem: Your Story is so short as to be uninformative.

The solution: Make sure your stories have enough context to make sense.

Don’t go overboard with being concise, either. Make sure you’re posting enough Snaps that your Story is just that — a clear narrative. Use text, emojis, and narration to provide context for the viewer so your Story is memorable and helpful. 

Here’s an example of a short and sweet Snapchat Story from the United States White House (@whitehouse). The Story is only made up of two Snaps, but text and filters provide enough context for the viewer:

3) You post Stories too frequently.

The problem: You’re posting Snapchat Stories too often.

The solution: Post more impactful Stories at a lower frequency, and spread out Snaps throughout the day.

All social media platforms are different, and you should post on them differently. What works on Twitter won’t work exactly the same on Snapchat, and we recommend that you plan to post only once or twice per week on Snapchat.

Additionally, the more recently you’ve posted a Snap to your Story, the higher your brand’s name sits on the “Recent Updates” list. So when you plan out your Snaps for a Story, don’t post them all at once. Spread them out over the course of the day so absentminded scrollers (like me) see your brand’s name at the top of their feed whenever they log in.

4) Your Stories offer no way to engage.

The problem: Your Snapchat Story doesn’t include a call-to-action.

The solution: Include prompts to reply, take a screenshot, or visit a website.

If you’re using Snapchat for a brand, make sure there’s a call-to-action for your viewer to drive your goals. We suggest asking viewers to interact from within the Snapchat app by replying to Snaps, screenshotting images, or tuning in for more news at a later time. You can drive viewers to your website by asking them to screenshot a URL, too. Just check out this example from NASA on Snapchat (@nasa) that drivers viewers to its website:

5) Your Stories are too similar.

The problem: All of your Stories features the same people or themes.

The solution: Source content from other team members, and brainstorm creative one-off events to keep your Stories unique.

We know it’s hard to spice up your Snapchat Stories if you’re a one-person social media team. To help diversify your content and keep intriguing your visitors, invite your team members to submit pictures and ideas, and ask other people to “host” Snapchat Stories from time to time. You can plan out unique content for company events or social media holidays, too.

6) Your Snaps aren’t creative.

The problem: Your Stories are simply point-and-shoot images.

The solution: Use drawings, stickers, emojis, filters, and lenses.

Snapchat is far too fun to keep things simple. Instead of just shooting and posting raw photos and videos, make sure to explore the different creative features to make your content more unique.

Use creative features in moderation, and don’t go too overboard. Geofilters, emojis, and lenses are fun ways to make a selfie more interesting, add context to a Snap, or to show the lighter side of your brand’s personality. Just look at how Refinery29 (@refinery29) does this with emojis and drawings in its Snapchat Story interview:

7) Your Stories require sound.

The problem: Viewers have to turn up the volume to get the message of your Stories.

The solution: Use text and writing so videos can be consumed with or without sound.

Most videos on social media are watched while users are scrolling through their feeds, where videos auto-play on mute unless the user clicks to turn up the volume.

What does this mean? Your videos on Snapchat must be compelling and communicative, even without sound. Use captions, doodling, emojis, and filters to make your images say 1,000 words — without your followers needing to plug in headphones. If you need lots of text or narration to get your point across, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad story — it just might not be the best fit for Snapchat. Consider a post on another text-based social media platform, like Facebook or Twitter, instead.

Here’s an example of a thorough Snapchat Story from Sephora (@sephora). It’s narrated if you turn up the volume, but viewers still get all of the information they need just from watching:

8) You aren’t recording important Story metrics.

The problem: You’re only recording Story views and screenshots

The solution: Track Story clickthrough rates to analyze how viewers like your Snaps.

Snapchat’s analytics leave something to be desired for marketers wanting to track growth and engagement. As it is now, marketers can only track the number of story views and screenshots their Snapchat Stories earn, and these numbers must be recorded manually within the 24 hours before a Story disappears.

Another valuable metric that isn’t as self-evident? Story clickthrough rate change.

If you post a Snapchat Story made up of 10 separate Snaps, analyze how many views your first Snap received compared to your last Snap. If the number of views drops over the course of your entire Story, that’s a sign followers are tapping through the first or second Snaps — and then navigating away.

You can roughly calculate this by subtracting your last Snap’s number of views from your first Snap’s number of views. So for example, if your first Snap earned 100 views, and your final Snap only earned 80 views, your clickthrough rate declined by 20%.

Analyzing this, in addition to your number of views and other engagements, will give you an idea of who’s watching your Stories from start to finish. If you observe a lot of dropoff between your first and last Snaps, that’s a sign you need to experiment with shorter Stories or different content to keep followers paying attention.

Happy Snapping

These are just a few ideas for how to create compelling and engaging Snapchat Stories for your brand. We suggest referring back to tip #3 often and analyzing how your followers engage with your content. If you aren’t getting many screenshots or clickthroughs, your Snaps could be falling victim to people like me — the mindless tappers.

For more ideas on how to create engaging Snapchat Stories for your audience, read our Snapchat for business guide, and learn more from our experts in the video below:

What are your hard and fast rules for brand Snapchat Stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

The Best Schedules for Productivity (No Matter What Time You Wake Up)

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If you’re a lover of sleeping in and staying up late like I am, titles such as the ones below might stress you out.

“The Morning Habits of 5 Fortune 500 CEOs”

“Why These Startup Founders Swear by Exercising in the Morning”

“Train Yourself to Be a Morning Person”

Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.

To all the early birds out there, I salute and admire you — I simply can’t fathom the idea of waking up before sunrise. A lot of content about productivity and scheduling espouses the importance of getting up early, but an early alarm isn’t the only way to get things done.

Whether you wake up early or like to sleep in, the key is to schedule your tasks accordingly. You won’t see benefits from waking up early to exercise if you haven’t slept enough, and your evening routine will influence how early you’re able to get to bed. Syracuse University created the schedules below to optimize your day for productivity, whether you wake up at the crack of dawn or like to hit snooze a few times. Try them out, and see if they help you have a more productive — and restful — day.

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Source: Communications@Syracuse

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