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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

How to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

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I’m a sucker for a good infographic. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to come across a truly remarkable one — one that’s achieved the perfect trifecta of good design, readability, and reliable data. But when they’re well-executed, infographics work wonders, transforming complex topics and dry statistics into visually enticing content. They’re liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. And, as a result, they can be an excellent tool for driving more traffic to your website.

But here’s a fun fact: Infographics can also be a helpful device to generate more leads.

Generally, the same rules apply here as for creating any effective visual content — it serves as a conversion path as a result of shareability and informative nature. Save countless hours using these free, pre-made templates to design your  infographics.

But what are the specifics there? What are the different ways to create the infographics that are going to generate leads? We identified five of our favorite ways to go about doing that, and outlined them below.

5 Ways to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

1) Represent an offer with an infographic.

How are you generating leads today? You might be creating downloadable content that’s gated by forms, or offering a free trial. Whatever those offers might be, pick one and break down the different ways it can be promoted.

To start, make a list of the 10 most interesting things about your offer, like the problems it will solve and the most important information it contains. Think: helpful bits of trivia, the most outstanding statistics it contains, and the best solutions it offers.

For example, let’s have a look at this infographic that was created by HubSpot Marketing Blog Editor Carly Stec:



Infographic example

This particular infographic could be an excellent lead generation tool for, say, a comprehensive guide to blogging. While writer’s block is just one pain point in blogging, it’s one that many people experience. Isolating that particular challenge and fleshing it out in a well-designed, shareable image is an excellent way to tease and promote the larger piece of content.

2) Know the design resources available to you.

If you don’t have a designer at your disposal, fear not — there are plenty of design resources available, many of them free.

One of them is this package of five free infographic templates. They’re in PowerPoint, and are very easy to customize. Just input the 10 pieces of information you selected in the previous step, and tweak the graphics to fit the data. At risk of sounding like a complete nerd — this part is really fun.

Otherwise, sites like Canva and Venngage are both free and easy to use a variety of visual content, including infographics — both also offer paid upgrades if you’re looking for something a little more advanced. Here’s a silly one that HubSpot Marketing Blog Senior Staff Writer Amanda Zantal-Wiener created — about her dog, not to be used for lead generation — for free using the former:



Lead gen infographic

3) Write a blog post to showcase the infographic.

Now that you’ve created your beautiful infographic, you’ll need a place to host it — ideally, somewhere on your site where people will find it.

Your blog is one such venue, and a post is a good way to exhibit your infographic. Even better, you don’t have to write a ton of copy. The visual content should “speak for itself,” if you will, so a small paragraph above the image with introductory text should suffice.

That said, the title of this blog post should still be interesting and optimized, primarily for two reasons:

  1. You want people to find your content organically with the right search criteria.
  2. Remember, one of the best things about infographics is how much they’re shared on social media. Having a strong title to go with a shared social post can encourage people to click on it.

4) Add a call-to-action to your blog post linked to your offer.

Next, you’ll want to create a landing page for your offer — you can click here to do that in your HubSpot marketing software. That way, visitors can fill out a form in exchange for the content you’ve created, and each completed form is a new lead.

Next, create a call-to-action (CTA) to insert into the blog post that’s hosting your infographic. That should be hyperlinked to your landing page — here’s an example of what that might look like:

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Not sure how to start creating a CTA? Check out this article with steps for doing so in your HubSpot software.

5) Make it easy to share your infographic via social media.

With certain blogging platforms, like HubSpot’s Content Optimization System, social sharing buttons will be added to each of your blog posts by default. But if your blogging platform doesn’t include that feature, AddThis is a great alternative. Simply sign up for an account, configure your social sharing bar, and add a bit of code to your blog.

AddThis

You can also add “Pin It” buttons like we did above, using Pinterest’s widget builder.

Also, consider turning sections of your infographic into ready-made tweetable images, like BookBub did for their infographic, “Using Back Matter to Sell More Books“:

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But remember — shareability isn’t just about including the buttons that make it easy to post content with one click. And while that convenience is important, the content itself has to be worth sharing.

So, just to reemphasize, make sure your infographic also meets a high standard of design and helpful information. After all, 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation, so make sure the information you include is both reliable and beneficial.

Let’s Get Visual

Lead generation accounts for a big portion of many marketing budgets — in fact, 58% of marketers plan to increase theirs in the coming year.

Using infographics for this purpose is one of the most frugal ways to boost your lead generation efforts. And while creating quality visual content can take time, it can also pay off — so make sure what you’re producing is worth the investment.

How have you used infographics to generate leads? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

Need to Convert Traffic Into More Leads? Experts Bust Common CRO Myths [Live Hangout]

Many marketers have to find out the hard way that more website traffic doesn’t always translate to more leads.

Unless your site is optimized to drive visitors to take action and engage, you can attract thousands of visitors and never see one of them convert into a lead. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a systematic approach to increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.

Marketers can drastically increase the returns on their marketing activities by examining every conversion point in their website experience and making CRO a part of their day-to-day work.

Unfortunately, many marketers are trying their luck at conversion rate optimization without a holistic and scientific approach, which can do more bad than good. That’s why we’ve invited Unbounce‘s Senior Conversion Optimizer, Michael Aagaard, to debunk common myths for our audience in a live hangout with HubSpot Academy.

Michael began his career in CRO in 2008 as a freelance consultant, learning and applying these tactics in a variety of industries and companies. He routinely speaks at digital marketing conferences on CRO, and has published numerous informative posts on the Unbounce blog.

In this HubSpot Academy Master Class, Michael will explain the most common misconceptions around conversion rate optimization, and how to adopt a CRO mindset that can dramatically improve the marketing results you achieve through optimization.

Whether you’ve been tinkering with CRO on your website for years or you’re not sure how to get started, this Master Class will include new insights and actionable takeaways you can use right away. Click here to save your spot! 

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

20 Creative Writing Prompts That'll Help You Beat Writer's Block [Infographic]

Creative Writing Prompts.jpg

I’ve written a lot of blog posts over the past few years. (Read: I’ve stared at a lot of blinking cursors on blank screens over the past few years.) And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about business blogging, it’s that getting started is often the hardest part.

When you’re tasked with writing regularly and writing well, it’s natural to feel some pressure. My advice? Rather than letting that stress overcome you, consider what you can do to regain control of your time and output.

One technique I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in these situations is the act of freewriting, or writing continuously for a set period of time without worrying about accuracy, punctuation, or usability.

Trouble is, sometimes coming up with a topic to freewrite about can also leave you feeling stuck or stumped. That’s why we put together a handy list of creative writing prompts below to help you get started.

Creative-Writing-Prompts-Infographic



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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

3 Strategies to Increase Employee Retention

employee-retention-strategies.pngYou started young. You were still growing when you started your first business. You felt the thrill of making something out of nothing. Or maybe you needed a taste of the real world and you got a job after college. Either way, here you are now.

You’ve got a business.

You worked through the tough times. You had credit card debt and you put it all on the line because you knew there was something there. Now your relentless entrepreneurial commitment has, at the very least, led to putting food on the table. Or even better, perhaps you’re killing it, driving a Tesla to your hip office with brick walls and an industrial ceiling.

Check out our comprehensive guide on how to start a business. 

The only problem … one of your key employees left this week. It wasn’t about the money. It was “about the future … the opportunity ahead. It’s not you. It’s me”.  

You’ve got other key players in your business that you need to stick around to make it tick. What are you going to do to make sure you don’t lose another?

I was the one that went to college, got my MBA, and stepped on the first few rungs of the ladder. I worked for some huge software companies and consultancies. I was told by my manager one day that I “lacked a sense of urgency.” He offered some advice … when I walk down the hall, I should “walk faster and smile less, because perception is reality.”

I was fired.

I started my own software business on the antithesis of his advice, and sold to private equity 14 years later. I built a culture that attracted some of the best talent and kept them around for the long haul.

Through the years, I learned three strategies that you can begin to implement today to ensure you keep your key employees around not only through thick and thin but, as Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, says, “coming to work on the balls of their feet climbing the stairs two at a time.”

3 Strategies to Increase Employee Retention

1) Motivate from the inside.

Look at the organizations around the world that drive their followers to do unbelievable things. Look at SpaceX, Google, HubSpot, and the tens of thousands of charitable entities driving people to do amazing things.

What do they all have in common? They have followers and employees that believe in a vision and mission so much so that it’s aligned with their personal values or even becomes their own mission. These are the people that are passionate and committed. They are not leaving that organization any time soon. So what can you do to motivate and therefore retain your key employees?

Try it out: Start the dialog around why you’re doing what you’re doing. Bring your employees into the conversation. Spend weeks on this, if not months. Don’t rush it, but be deliberate about it.

Identify a purpose. The why… Watch Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED talk. With purpose comes dedication. With a purpose comes the person that goes well beyond the job description. With a purpose you have an employee who is by your side faithfully.

It’s not the salary. It’s not the bonus. Those are nice, and the money is necessary, but it’s not what really drives people and keeps them around. You may even find a couple other little things like a vision and values come out of this little exercise, as well.

2) Trust your employees like they’re family.

I don’t mean trust that they’ll pay you back for the $20 you let them borrow at the casino 3 months ago. And I’m not talking about the trust it takes to open up and spill your soul. I’m talking about the trust it takes to give them something important to figure out, knowing that it’s going to be ok.

Giving them a project without necessarily weighing in on it, uninvited. Give them a little dang breathing room. If failure is too common, figure out why, but have some faith that you hired the right people for the job. Because, here’s what happens: The employee starts to own it. I mean really, really own it. They begin to take pride in it. And nothing drives someone as much as pride, except maybe autonomy and mastery… Yep. That’s Dan Pink.

Try it out: The next time you give someone a project or something to figure out, let them own it. Give them the desired outcome and ask them to report in on regular milestones.

Here’s the one rule: You need to let them own it and intervention can only happen if it’s going to hurt the business. That’s it. Mmmmm. Try it. Hey, try it at home with your kids too. But don’t hold me responsible for that one.

3) Create a cadence that form good habits.

So think about all those nasty habits you have. Ok, you don’t have any, but others do … like your grandmother who smokes a pack a day and she’s almost 90. And your college friend that hasn’t grown up yet still drinks too much because cool kids drink, right? Why is it that we don’t do good things as habitually?

Well, we do actually. You have a morning routine. I’ll bet you work out, brush your teeth, and clean yourself. Let’s open that up to the office now. Every business has a cadence — your team meetings, your company meetings, your financial reporting, Taco Tuesday, etc … There are other things, however, that you can start to make routine that will help drive employee engagement and therefore retention and loyalty.

Sustainability is all about the habit forming cadence. Recognition and feedback often lack consistency. Cadence. Career and professional development often lack consistency. Cadence. Attention to strategy often falls on the way-side. Cadence.

Try it out: Identify a few things in your company that are hard to keep top of mind. For example, employee recognition. This is something we tell ourselves we need to do better. I’ve even talked to some entrepreneurs that set calendar reminders to give props to their employees. It can be easier.

Get your employees helping you out. Establish a peer to peer recognition program and set it up with a cadence that creates a habit. It might be a weekly or monthly routine. Or find something else you need to do better. Turn it into a cadence. Turn it into a habit.

At one point, while building my business, we ran into a difficult period. We were losing money. We needed to either let some people go or reduce compensation across the board. I reached out to my key employees and told them the scenario. I needed to ensure they were behind me on this. All of them confirmed they were on board. I made the difficult announcement and over the six month recovery, we didn’t lose a single employee.

We had built a strong culture and money was not the key motivator. There was trust and autonomy. And our best habits were driven by a cadence.

Put These Strategies Into Practice

If you’re successful at embracing these three strategies, you will never ever lose another key employee, even in the tough times — or at least it reduces the likelihood.

In fact, you’ll have their friends hitting you up for jobs. You’ll have customers and clients asking to work for you. And you’ll see your employees walking in the door with smiles on their faces. They’ll arrive to work in the morning “on the balls of their feet climbing the stairs two at a time.”

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

These 7 Brands Take Personalized Marketing to a New Level

When I sit down to write an article, I have a pretty standard routine. I outline the story in our Content Optimization System (COS), copy and paste it into a Google doc, find a good photo to accompany it, do research, write, proofread, and carry it back over to our COS. It’s a weird series of steps that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, but it does for me. They’re my very own personal blogging habits.

Those habits aren’t just limited to my writing process. I have morning, evening, and weekend routines, as if my entire life has become a series of established patterns. Knowing what those habits are, I learned during step four of the above, is a veritable goldmine for marketers.

I figured that out from a 2012 New York Times article called, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” Penned by Charles Duhigg, it was written largely as a follow-up to what became a public incident: An angry father marched into a Minnesota Target store, demanded to know why his teenage daughter received coupons for baby products, only to later find out that she was, in fact, pregnant. The retailer, it turned out, was able to predict her pregnancy and subsequently personalize the promotions she received, thanks in large part to a ton of (completely legal) data collection and analysis. Download our free guide here to learn how to personalize your own emails to  generate more opens and clicks.

Creepy — or great marketing?

The article details exactly what that information and accompanying process look like, and why psychology makes it easier for marketers to customize the messages they send us. But how does that work, and how have other brands put it into practice? We’ve dug a little deeper, and shared what we found below.

7 Personalized Marketing Examples

1) Target

The Example

To continue the above tale, we thought it might be helpful to share more information on how, exactly, the retailer pulled off the aforementioned personal prediction. As Duhigg explains in his article — which goes into much greater detail than I will here — every Target customer is assigned a Guest ID number after the very first interaction with the brand. That ID is used to store the customer’s demographic information, ranging from ethnicity to job history, and to track buying behavior. And by doing the latter, specifically with those who had baby registries with the store, Target’s marketing analysts were able to form a “pregnancy prediction” score, which allowed them to determine which purchasing patterns indicated a customer was in the early expectant stages.

It was a game changer. “Once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained,” Duhigg writes, “it’s incredibly difficult to change them.” That is, until, a major life event takes place, like finding out that a baby is one the way. That’s when routines are forced to change. Suddenly, there’s a deadline, and people start to buy products that they never previously considered, like “cocoa-butter lotion” and “a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag,” the article says. Those are the behaviors that trigger Target’s pregnancy prediction score, prompting the customer to receive special deals on baby-related items.

The Takeaway

While this level of personalized marketing is admittedly fascinating, it could backfire. Duhigg summarized it well in his article:

Using data to predict a woman’s pregnancy, Target realized … could be a public-relations disaster. So the question became: how could they get their advertisements into expectant mothers’ hands without making it appear they were spying on them? How do you take advantage of someone’s habits without letting them know you’re studying their lives?”

That’s not to say that marketers should completely do away with personalization, as it’s effective when done correctly — personalized emails, for example, have a 6.2% higher open rate than those that aren’t. But in an era with growing concern over privacy and security, tread lightly. Let your customers know that you understand them, without being intrusive. Curious to learn how to do that with your HubSpot Marketing and Sales software? Read more about how personalization tokens work here.

2) Vidyard

The Example

Last week, my colleague, HubSpot Academy Sales Professor Kyle Jepsen, forwarded me an email with the comment, “Taking personalization to a whole new level.” The video below followed:

Source: Vidyard

He wasn’t kidding. This particular brand could have just superimposed each recipient’s name onto the whiteboard in this video and kept the same script for each one. But it didn’t stop there — Cole, the gentleman speaking in the video, not only addressed Kyle by his first name, but also referred to his specific colleagues and the conversations he had with them.

The Takeaway

Considering that the average online reader loses interest after about 15 seconds, personalizing your mixed media content is an interesting and often effective approach. “I mean, clearly he made the video just for me,” Jepson said. “It’s an interesting case study.”

And while this sort of personalization is memorable, it’s also extremely time-consuming. So if you set out to create it, be absolutely sure you’re targeting the right people. There’s nothing worse than taking the time to produce something highly customized, only to find out you’ve sent it to someone who doesn’t have the decision-making power you need.

3) Coca Cola

Personalized Coke Bottle.png
Source: ShareaCoke.com

The Example

Back in 2011, Coca Cola launched its famous “Share a Coke” campaign in Australia, bringing it to the U.S. in 2014. It was an effort to reach millennials, in which each bottle contained one of the most popular first names assigned to that generation. Eventually, bottles contained semi-personal labels beyond first names, like “better half.” Today, according to Ad Age, over 800 first names are used.

According to that same source, Coke will soon be adding surnames to bottles, like Garcia and Thompson. “Last names give us an opportunity to invite more people into the campaign,” Evan Holod, Coca-Cola’s brand director told Ad Age. “It’s just a great way to up the reach.”

In addition to that effort, according CNBC, Coca-Cola Great Britain will soon be including the names of famous vacation destinations on bottles, like Hawaii and Miami. The goal of that initiative is “to remind people of the refreshment and great taste that only an ice-cold Coke can bring on a hot summer day,” read the official statement. Plus, those bottles will come with the chance to win a trip to those locales.

The Takeaway

Putting first names on Coke bottles was a successful move. In the U.S., it resulted in increased sales volume for the first time in roughly four years. Plus, it provides a cheap thrill — I know that I internally squeal with excitement when I actually find a bottle that says “Amanda.”

The last name move, however, could be a bit different. While there is the option to customize your own bottle labels at ShareaCoke.com — which allows you to write whatever you want, like a customized event hashtag or something like “congratulations” — it could be deemed as exclusionary to those with unique or hyphenated last names. For example, while my feelings aren’t hurt knowing that I won’t find a bottle labeled with “Zantal-Wiener,” I’m not about to pay $5 for a customized one, either. So when you set out to personalize a product, make sure it’s appropriately customized to reach the right segment of your audience, but isn’t restrictive, either.

4) Amazon

The Example

Amazon’s personalization efforts aren’t exactly new. Since at least 2013, its product curation and recommendation algorithm has made for headlines and case studies. And yet, every time I visit my Amazon homepage, I can’t help but scroll down and get a kick out of its recommendations for me. Have a look:

Amazon-3.png

Those who know me are aware of my borderline obsession with hip hop, which is also the motivation for a lot of my online shopping behavior. Clearly, Amazon has taken notice. And as I continued scrolling down, the fitting personalization went on. There was a header reading “For a night in” with recommendations on what to stream on Amazon Prime — an activity that comprised the majority of my weekend. Its recommendations for dog and kitchen products were on point, as well. After all, those are the categories where I make the most purchases.

It’s not just me. When I asked my colleagues what their Amazon homepages looked like, they were equally pleased. Sophia Bernazzani, a fellow Marketing Blog staff writer (and self-proclaimed “cat mother of three”), had a plethora of personalized cat food recommendations, while Managing Editor Emma Brudner’s suggested Prime streaming titles came with the header, “Bingeable TV.”

“Amazon,” Brudner remarked, “You know me so well.”

The Takeaway

Here’s a personalization example where we don’t have a ton of complaints. As Brudner said, Amazon seems to know us pretty well, though I do question why, as per the image above, its algorithm thought I might like to buy a pair of leg warmers.

The nice thing about personalization of this nature, when it’s executed correctly, is that it often can lead to unplanned purchasing decisions. For example, the purpose of my most recent visit to Amazon was to check out its personalization features for this article. But then, I discovered that Rapper’s Delight: The Hip Hop Cookbook was in my recommended books. Did I buy something I don’t need? Sure. But I also was left delighted by the fact that it was brought to my attention with very little effort.

If you’re in the business of personalizing curated items or recommendations for your customers, remember: The best part about it, for the user, is the resulting discovery of new things that we like — whether it’s a book, a tool, or an article.

5) Spotify

The Example

In 2015, Adam Pasick penned a story for Quartz explaining the “magic” behind Spotify’s “Discover Weekly”: A curated playlist of tracks that it thinks a given user will like. It’s carried out, like many other personalization and recommendation platforms, largely with the help of an algorithm that determines a user’s “taste profile,” based on listening behavior and the most popular playlists among the entire Spotify audience. The technology behind it is from Echo Nest, a “music intelligence company” that was acquired, according to Pasick, by Spotify in 2014. Here’s a great diagram from the article that visually represents the process:

flowchart-v2.png
Source: Quartz

As much as I use Spotify — which is close to daily — I’ve never actually bothered listening to my Discover Weekly playlist. So after a colleague brought it to my attention, I decided to take it for a spin.

Spotify Discover Weekly.png

The results were hit-or-miss. There were a few new songs that I was thrilled to discover and plan to listen to again. But for the most part, my experience was similar to Pasick’s, who described many of the songs on his personalized playlist as “meh.”

But those behind Discover Weekly acknowledge that personalization isn’t a perfect science. They also have suggestions for how to make it better, like adding the Discover Weekly songs you like to your library, or skipping the ones you don’t — “If users fast-forward within the first 30 seconds of a song,” Spotify Product Director Matthew Ogle and Engineering Manager Edward Newett told Pasick, “the Discover Weekly algorithm interprets that as a ‘thumbs-down’ for that particular song and artist.”

The Takeaway

Most personalization initiatives aren’t going to be perfect. Even with a great algorithm, they are, at best, very educated guesses as to what’s going to be applicable to your customers. For that reason, it might be best to take a conservative approach to your recommendations, especially in the earliest stages of any personalization efforts you make.

This is an area where small-batch testing can be helpful. When you want to try out a personalization project or algorithm, identify your most active users, and invite them to pilot out the technology. Listen carefully to their feedback — good and bad — and see what you can do to make it better.

6) Iberia Airlines

The Example

During the 2016 holiday season, Iberia Airlines customers received emails posing the question: If you could visit any vacation destination, what would it be, and who would you go with? To answer, customers were redirected to a microsite where they would fill in responses, as well as the email address of the person they wanted to travel with. Not long after that, the friend would receive an email with a holiday greeting about the dream vacation — only, in order to view the card, that person had to click a link to view it in his or her browser.

It was that last step, Skift writer Brian Sumers explained, where “Iberia … put its advertising budget to work, using cookies [with the user’s permission] so the traveler’s friend would see banners across the web, suggesting the perfect Christmas gift.” That gift, of course, was the dream vacation. Let’s say, for example, I sent one of these cards to a friend. She might subsequently see several ads while browsing that said things like, “It’s never too late to fulfill Amanda’s dream. Do it with a trip to Mykonos.”

The Takeaway

The idea is certainly a cute one — and around here, we’re suckers for a good holiday marketing campaign. But one of the most important items to highlight here is Iberia’s use of cookies, and the fact that the brand wasn’t sneaky about it. As per the video above, a clear request was made to the user to allow cookies, and that’s essential. Even the best customized marketing becomes less personal, and definitely less desirable if it’s carried out without the user’s agreement.

7) Twiddy

Twiddy

The Example

Having enough data is essential for marketing personalization — but knowing what to look at and how to use it is just as important. That’s what made a tremendous difference for Twiddy, a vacation rental company based in the Outer Banks.

“Unless we had a good way of looking at the data,” Marketing Director Ross Twiddy told Inc., “how could we make good decisions?”

One of the major pieces of information that Twiddy began to more closely examine was how rental volume and demand shifted from week-to-week. Noticing those trends allowed the company to start making “pricing recommendations” to homeowners, according to Inc., “on the basis of market conditions, seasonal trends, and the size and location of a home.” The week after Independence Day was one that stood out to the team in particular, in that rentals showed a precipitous drop during that period.

Because Twiddy observed that trend (among others), it allowed the owners of its managed properties to start experimenting with pricing for that particular week as early as January. Not only did it benefit the customer — setting more realistic prices for lower-demand periods actually increased the bookings made for them — but it was just one way that Twiddy was delighting its customers with helpful, actionable information. It paid off, too. Since the brand began to use this data to help homeowners with decisions like pricing, its portfolio increased over 10%.

The Takeaway

There’s a famous saying that goes, “Help me help you.” Data, in general, can be a tremendous asset to brands. And it doesn’t have to be about your customers’ behavior — it can be about the habits of their customers, like the vacationers that rented from Twiddy’s homeowner clients.

As long as it’s something that can be shared ethically — like objective buying or seasonal trends — share the data and insights with your customers that’s going to help make them more successful. That’s the type of thing that makes a brand remarkable, and can help benefit your business, too.

Get Personal

One of the fundamental purposes of any personalization effort is to let your customers know that you’re paying attention to them. But striking a balance between, “We think you might find this helpful” and “we’re watching you” isn’t a simple process, so be sure to do some careful research, planning, and testing before you jump into any large-scale customization initiatives.

Remember that while you might be a marketer, you’re also a consumer. When it comes to experiments like these, put yourself into the shoes of the customer and ask, “Is this delightful? Or is it just creepy?” If it leans toward the latter, find out what’s giving it that vibe, and try something different.

What are some of your favorite personalized marketing examples? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

13 Project Management Terms You Should Know [Infographic]

The legendary management consultant Peter Drucker once famously wrote, “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”

This nugget of wisdom is especially relevant to project managers. Effective project management is all about cutting through the clutter to focus on the things with the biggest impact on the project’s bottom line — the basic pillars that hold your project up. There’s no use optimizing the details if your core process is flawed.

This handy infographic from Taskworld identifies 13 basic, big-picture project management terms you should know to keep things running smoothly and on-schedule from kickoff to post-mortem.

Some of the areas listed might seem self-explanatory, but they’re worth your attention as you start planning out your next big project. They’ll help you communicate your goals effectively, allocate resources efficiently, and keep your team focused and supported. Check them out below.

How do you make sure your big projects stay on track? Let us know in the comments.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing