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Facebook Groups are nothing new to the marketing world, but they present a variety of interesting business opportunities.
They’re an excellent place for two-way communication between businesses and customers. And if a Group is public, it’s a great place for prospects to learn about your brand, products, mission, and current customers as well.
Ultimately, Facebook Groups give businesses the chance to engage with their audience in a more meaningful and authentic way than they ever could using their Page.
Here are eigth Facebook Groups that are crushing it to help inspire your future Facebook marketing strategy.
The purpose of this list is to provide you with the business and marketing inspiration you need to create, maintain, and manage a Group that your prospects and customers love.
HubSpot Academy’s Content Marketing Pros Group is a private group — meaning, members need to request to be a part of it. Once in the group, members can share ideas about content challenges and projects they’re working on as well as how they’re using or plan to use HubSpot in order to help them with those challenges and/or projects.
Members can share details about courses they’ve taken and how they’ve applied the lessons learned to their content marketing roles. They can also list ideas for courses they would like to see HubSpot Academy produce in the future.
The way that this Group is set up encourages a sense of community among customers and users as well as offers a space for them to provide actionable feedback and insights about the Group and/or product in discussion.
2. Instant Pot
This popular electric cooker brand uses its Group to create a space where the international community of Instant Pot users can ask questions, post unique recipes, and share the joy of cooking with their products.
They also offer limited trouble-shooting in the case that any customers experience any issues or have product-specific questions. They rarely ever promote their products within the Group, outside of the occasional giveaway where members can enter to win prizes to use with their Instant Pot.
When it comes to the art of inspiring and being a voice for change, there are very few who do it quite as well as National Geographic. This group, Women of Impact, focuses on “celebrating world-shaping powerhouses” and encourages anyone who’s passionate about women breaking barriers in their fields to join.
The publication uses Facebook Groups to connect with their audience members in a way that aligns with issues and initiatives that they, and those audience members, care deeply about.
Elementor, a WordPress page builder plugin, has a private Facebook Group that, on average, sees over 4,400 posts every month. The Group exists to serve as a place where Elementor users can help each other learn how to use the page builder and answer any questions or resolve any challenges they may be experiencing.
The group is managed by volunteers which just highlights the fact that Elementor isn’t using the community for promotional reasons but rather as a place where community members can communicate, collaborate, and encourage each other, as well as self educate.
The Official Peloton Member Page is a private Group where customers and users can come together to discuss Peloton products including Bike, Tread, and Digital. It also serves a hub where those customers and users can learn about Peloton’s latest announcements, feature roll outs, and product updates.
And when it comes to exercise, this type of network or group provides value to its members as they’re able to share exercise plans, techniques, schedules, and training methods with one another.
MobileMonkey’s Group is product-specific and provides an environment where members can ask questions and share knowledge about MobileMonkey’s Instagram and Facebook Messenger, SMS & Chatbot Marketing products.
In this group, social media marketers, inbound marketers, PPC marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, and more can turn to each other and the resources available in the Group to determine the best ways to use and resolve challenges around MobileMonkey’s main products (including multi-channel chat marketing for Messenger, native web chat, Facebook ad platform, and SMS marketing).
Canva Design Circle is where members can learn how to take advantage of the product and its many features and functions through their Design School. Within the Group, Canva users are notified of the most recent product updates and tips and can discuss any topic related to design.
Canva encourages new members of the Group to introduce themselves upon entry. This fosters a sense of community, trust, and belonging the moment one enters. That warm welcome leads to more introductions among other members in the Group and conversations about design work, projects, jobs, challenges, etc.
Tasty Facebook Group Members share recipes, ideas for substitutes, and cooking tips. The group drives engagement by encouraging members to share their recipes in order to stand a chance of having that recipe featured on their website. They also run polls related to cooking and baking based on trends, season, holidays, and more.
By creating these competitions, incentives, and group activities, the company drives engagement on the page — they encourage members to interact and connect with one another which fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among Tasty fans.
Get the Facebook Group Inspiration You Need
A Facebook Group can be a powerful way to create a community around your brand and product or service. It’s where your prospects and customers can come to connect with one another and your business — this community, support, access to self-education, and brand awareness is an effective way to foster loyalty and delightful customer experiences that keep people coming back.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Whether you’re a UX designer, freelance writer, or photographer, an impressive online portfolio is critical for impressing potential clients, and landing future jobs.
But crafting a good digital portfolio can feel like a daunting task, especially when you aren’t even sure which website you should use to create one. Here, we’ve created a list of the nine best portfolio websites for designers, freelancers, and photographers, to ensure you’re able to showcase your best work in any industry.
What is an online portfolio?
An online portfolio is a collection of your work that showcases your skills and abilities. A portfolio should include your past work experiences, qualifications and skills, degrees or certifications you’ve completed, any awards or accolades you’ve earned, as well as some examples of your work. Examples of your work might be photographs, writing samples, case studies, spreadsheets, or lesson plans, depending on your field.
Best Free Portfolio Websites for Freelance Writers
On Journo Portfolio you can create a sleek, modern digital portfolio easily. The site offers nine distinct themes, and adding an article is as easy as pasting a URL and clicking add — the site takes care of incorporating the title, publication, date, content, and image. Features include the ability to integrate with Google Analytics or use Journo’s built-in analytics tools to measure visitors. Additionally, your site is automatically mobile-ready.
You can also blog straight from the platform, which could be useful if you want to showcase freelance work and your current blog in one place. Journo lets you create multiple pages, so you can have a Contact Me or About Me page, as well as your freelance portfolio.
- Live preview editor
- Built-in analytics plus Google Analytics integration
- Pre-built themes
- Subscribe and contact forms
- Free plan limits you to 10 articles max
- For unlimited articles, you’ll need to pay $5-$10 per month
2. Muck Rack
Muck Rack is a free media database that helps connect journalists with PR professionals, so if you use the site, you’ll have good opportunities to network and receive PR pitches. You can even include specific topics you don’t want to cover, which will filter out unfit pitches.
Additionally, for true ease-of-use, Muck Rack creates and maintains your portfolio for you by automatically compiling articles and social media profiles. Once it’s finished, you have the option to customize your bio, or choose to spotlight certain pieces.
Muck Rack also offers a news alerts system, which enables you to track stories or tweets about a company, brand, or specific story angle. With their news alerts system, you can see when other journalists share information or publish stories related to your work, which will help you stay on-top of trends.
- Ideal for journalists
- Auto-updates profile
- News alerts system for tracking stories and trends
- Allows you to easily build media lists
- Some formatting issues when uploading content from Excel
- Does not integrate with other reporting and monitoring tools
WordPress, a major content management platform, lets you create a blog with a separate portfolio page for free. While not specifically geared towards freelance writers, WordPress offers over 100 free themes to craft a unique blog and showcase your work. If you want complete creative control over your portfolio, this is a good option for you.
Additionally, you might choose to use WordPress if you want to showcase your writing along with other skills — if you want a page for writing and a page for your photography, for instance, WordPress offers a variety of themes and is flexible enough to enable you to demonstrate various pieces of creative work.
- Ideal for bloggers
- Can create portfolio page separate from blog
- 100+ free themes available
- Comes with SSL certificate and JetPack features for improving website performance
- Free plan shows ads
- Limited storage at 3 GB
Best Free Portfolio Websites for Designers
With millions of UX/UI designers, artists, and photographers on the site, Behance is one of the most widely-used online portfolio websites. It’s also extremely simple and easy to use — you can organize your work based on project, list projects under construction, and ask followers for feedback. Additionally, the site allows you to link your portfolio to your social media accounts.
Behance’s massive digital community makes it a good option to get your name out there, particularly since recruiters and interviewers peruse the site to find talent, as well. However, Behance displays the number of people who have viewed your work and liked it, which can be more advantageous — but riskier — than a more straightforward website portfolio.
- Ideal for creatives who don’t have time to create their own standalone portfolio site
- Can get feedback from followers
- Includes social proof in terms of views and likes on portfolio site
- Limited design and feature options on free plan
- The display of views and likes can be risky if not enough people see or appreciate a project
If you already have a Creative Cloud membership, then Adobe Portfolio is an excellent option to create a single-page website, or a full gallery of your work. With Adobe Portfolio you’re able to set up a sleek and customized portfolio in minutes, and each of the platform’s themes are automatically optimized for any device.
Additionally, Adobe Portfolio offers the ability to integrate with Behance and Adobe Lightroom to import your projects for greater visibility.
- Option to create multi- or single-page website
- Offers 18 responsive themes
- Integrations with Behance and Adobe Lightroom
- Only free if have Creative Cloud membership
One of the easiest free portfolio websites, Crevado lets you use a simple drag-and-drop tool to upload your projects and rearrange on the screen for true ease-of-use. The site is also automatically optimized for any device, so your portfolio can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet as well as a desktop.
Crevado also comes with secure hosting and SSL certification so your portfolio site remains secure. You can customize your design to suit your preferences without writing any code. Best of all, you can sell your work online thanks to the platform’s integrations with PayPal and Fotomoto.
The only downside is that free users can’t remove the link to Crevado in their website footer. You’ll have to upgrade to a pro account to do so.
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Responsive designs
- Secure hosting and SSL certification
- PayPal and Fotomoto integrations allow you to sell work
- Free plan shows Crevado link in website footer
Best Free Portfolio Websites for Photographers
Undoubtedly one of the most well-known portfolio sites with billions of photos and millions of members, Flickr is a good site to share your own work, connect with other photographers, and find inspiration for future projects.
However, Flickr’s community-oriented platform can make it difficult to showcase your best work and appear professional — particularly since the site is typically used to share images with friends and family. For this reason, many designers also suggest creating a more polished portfolio website, and then linking to that website from Flickr.
- Ideal for photographers just starting out
- Great to connect with others and find inspiration
- Limited to GIF, PNG, and JPEG photo formats
- Limited to 1,000 photos on free plan
- Will likely outgrow the site as you advance
Portfoliobox is a website builder specifically designed for photographers, and it’s a good option for crafting a professional-looking responsive gallery of your best work. Additionally, Portfoliobox offers an ecommerce link that allows you to sell your prints or other artwork directly from the site (without paying any commission). With the free plan, you can create a blog to further attract visitors and potential customers to your site.
Best of all, Portfoliobox doesn’t make you use a standard theme — instead, you can integrate any style for any page to cultivate a unique, one-of-a-kind website. With more than one million users, it’s a good option for both professional and novice photographers.
- Ideal for photographers at any skill level
- Can sell prints on this site commission-free
- Can use different style for every page
- No drag-and-drop functionality
- Limited customization options for ecommerce
YouPic’s users include famous photographers like Joel Meyerowitz and Julia Fullerton-Batten. Another site specifically designed for photographers, YouPic enables you to craft a free stunning portfolio to showcase your work. It also allows you to buy prints from other photographers or sell your own to make some additional income.
Additionally, the site offers interactive courses to improve your photography skills, as well as a Pinterest-style “Explore” page that lets you check out popular photographs, new artwork, and stories to inspire your own gallery. And, most interesting to note, YouPic allows users the opportunity to copyright their photos on the blockchain, and is the first decentralized photography platform. That means YouPic is one of the few platforms that won’t take any rights or ownership of your work.
- Can sell prints on this site commission-free
- Can copyright photos on blockchain
- Doesn’t take any rights or ownership of your work
- Have to upgrade to premium membership for YouPic to promote your work
For further inspiration, check out 21 Memorable Photography Portfolio Websites to Inspire You or The 12 Best Graphic Design Portfolios We’ve Ever Seen, & How to Start Your Own.
Creating Your Online Portfolio
An online portfolio provides evidence of your work and skills, which can set you apart from other candidates or professionals in your field. Using any of the tools above, you can create a free portfolio in no time. What are you waiting for?
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
In college, I took an advertising class. It taught me what I needed to know about traditional advertising, but the social media portion wasn’t as expansive.
When we covered Facebook Advertising, for example, I found it difficult to follow along with a lack of examples and the lofty overview of content. Because of that, I decided to look online for a deeper take on the subject.
I ended up watching a video that covered a subject I’d struggled with in class — retargeting. The video gave an overview of the concept, then went in-depth about how that looks on Facebook with vibrant examples, really helping a visual learner like me.
If you’ve never used retargeting before, don’t worry — in the following post, we’ll go through the basics of how retargeting works, explain how you can use it to support your larger marketing goals, and outline an example of a Facebook Ad retargeting campaign.
How Retargeting Campaigns Work
There are two main types of retargeting: pixel-based and list-based. The way each works is slightly different, and each has different advantages based on your campaign goals.
Pixel-based retargeting is a way to re-display your material to any anonymous site visitor.
List-based retargeting works after you already have someone’s contact information in your database.
You can also use lists of your existing contacts for certain types of retargeting ads. To do this, upload a list of the email addresses to a retargeting campaign (usually on a social network like Facebook or Twitter), and the platform will identify users on that network who have those addresses and serve retargeting ads just to them.
Though it’s a little less common than pixel-based retargeting, list-based retargeting allows you to have highly customizable criteria for your ads because it’s based on more than behavior — you’re choosing who goes in which list.
On the flip side, it’s possible that a person in your list gave you one email address and the social network another — and in that case, they won’t see your ads. Also keep in mind that because you are in charge of uploading and maintaining the list, list-based retargeting also is less automatic and timely than pixel-based retargeting.
If you’ve ever heard of the term “retargeting,” it’s likely it was in comparison to remarketing. And while the two are often mistaken for each other, they do have differences. Let’s talk about when you would use either.
Remarketing and retargeting are often confused with each other. Though they share similarities, retargeting allows you to reach new prospects with your ads, while remarketing focuses on re-sparking interest of your company to current or inactive old customers.
A retargeted ad helps those who’ve never heard of your company understand how your product or service fits into their lifestyle or solves a potential problem. Retargeting helps you make the message more personal.
When you analyze sales, you can determine what’s popular among the audiences you’re aiming to reach. For instance, if you find that a certain line of products perform really well among millennials, pull images of them into a carousel ad and use it to retarget customers. The personalization of a separate ad promoting a collection, aimed at a segment of your target market, is one example of how retargeting can be successful.
Take this ad I saw today. Despite never having made a purchase from Nasty Gal, this ad showed up on my News Feed:
This ad introduces Nasty Gal to new leads (like me) by giving an overview of diverse clothes that are popular among target audiences.
It’s likely I saw this ad because I fit into Nasty Gal’s target audience set on Facebook, and because my previous behavior on the social channel involved looking for reviews of similar clothing retailers.
On the other hand, to re-engage a lost or inactive customer, you might decide to use remarketing. This tactic aims to improve customer relationships by utilizing marketing tactics that
Essentially, if you want to give customers an incentive to purchase again from your company, turn to remarketing.
For customers that are already acquainted with your brand and have shown a need for your product, create a personalized message to reignite their interest. For example, if your company offers a membership, remarket to those whose memberships are expiring and are up for renewal. This email I received is an example:
This marketing email not only served as a reminder to renew my subscription but was also Thrive Market‘s way of reminding me about the benefits of being a member. In the email, I got to see how much I saved by using the grocery service, where my membership money was being spent, and was offered a special promotion to renew.
Because I was already familiar with the brand, Thrive was able to use the email to add personal touches and provide a snapshot of what I can enjoy (again) as a member.
Like retargeting, this tactic is successful when messages inspire action. The email’s CTAs, like “Browse our options here!” told me that I could peruse my options in one click, so I did. Use remarketing efforts to remind customers of the perks that come with shopping with your brand, like easy shopping access.
Retargeting Ad Goals
Now that we have the background for how retargeting works and the different types of audiences you can segment by, we can focus on goals. The main types of retargeting campaigns you should consider running are those for awareness and those for conversion.
To generate awareness.
Awareness campaigns are useful when you want to re-engage website visitors and tell them about relevant products, features, or announcements. These ads are usually served to pixel-based lists.
The obvious drawback to awareness campaigns is that you’re serving less targeted content to people who haven’t engaged heavily with your brand. They’re not in your contacts database, and often, there are lower expected clickthrough rates than other types of campaigns.
However, since the goal is to make prospects aware of your business, impressions and engagement are acceptable metrics to track. Often awareness campaigns are precursors to a much more effective campaign goal: conversions.
To drive conversions.
Conversion goals are just that — you want to get people to click on your ad and take a next step, such as filling out a landing page form. Conversion campaigns are best used to align a specific list with a clear next step in the flywheel, and can be measured with typical conversion metrics like website clicks, form submission, and cost-per-lead (CPL).
The best thing about a conversion campaign is that you can use it for multiple parts of the flywheel. Pixel-based ads, for instance, generate leads and will direct people to landing pages where they can give over their information.
List-based ads better qualify those leads. Ads will appear to contacts who gave you limited information and lead them to longer forms with additional fields.
To complete the buyer’s journey.
Additionally, retargeting can be used to move qualified leads to complete the buyer’s journey cycle. For example, you might use retargeting to send a list of contacts that have downloaded an ebook an invite to sign up for a free trial of your product. When they see how your tool can help them meet their goals, they may be inspired to become a paying customer.
To increase customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Customer lifetime value is the amount of money you can expect from a single customer throughout their entire relationship with your business. When using retargeting, customers are reminded of your brand and encouraged to continue making purchases. The more purchases they make, the higher their CLTV.
To reduce cart abandonment.
Cart abandonment is when a customer places something in their shopping cart in your online store, but leaves your website instead of checking out and making a payment. Retargeting can help you recover these customers that have abandoned their carts and serve as a reminder that the item they were interested in is still available and ready for purchase.
To introduce new products.
When you know that customers have visited your website, made a purchase, or shown general interest in your business, retargeting helps you share new products with them that align with their interests. When they see your ads, you can lead them directly back to your site to discover your new product and entice them to follow through with a purchase.
Regardless of your goal, it is important to align the positioning, creative, and next step in the conversion process — whether that’s an offer landing page, site page, or request for more information — with your audience list.
List-based retargeting can have low match rates (users synced with accounts on each platform, usually by email address), so make sure you’re fueling your retargeting activities with inbound content.
Retargeting Platform and Tools
Truthfully, you’ve got quite a few options for actually implementing your retargeting. Specific platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer native tools, and there are also tons of third-party platforms to do web and social retargeting, and we’ll recommend some below.
SharpSpring Ads, formerly Perfect Audience, is a retargeting tool that allows you to create dynamic retargeting ads and display them in newsfeeds, websites, and social media platforms for your audience members to see. You can measure the impact of your campaigns to ensure you’re on the right track, and use their powerful analytics to get up-to-date information on click through rate (CTR), revenue, and conversions.
AdRoll uses 10+ years of consumer data and behavior to help you create retargeting ads that are effective, relevant, and shown to your audience on the platforms they frequently use. If you’re a HubSpot user, AdRoll can integrate with Marketing Hub, helping you easily sync your existing contacts and create a list of targetable audience members.
ReTargeter helps you create campaigns that are customized to your individual business needs and will help you stand out from your competitors. With this high-quality tool, you’ll be able to keep your business top of mind with your audience, wherever they spend time online.
Criterio helps you retarget your audience through contextual retargeting, where they use commerce data from your existing customers to understand which channels have been successful in inspiring purchases in the past. Your ads are then placed in these same channels for users to see, as they have shown to be high-impact and effective.
While email targeting can be effective, it’s important to note many of the other platforms that could also be beneficial. Although each platform you use to implement ads will be different, there are some advantages and disadvantages for choosing ones that serve up social media ads or elsewhere on the web.
Social media retargeting often works well since people are more likely to share, reply, and discuss your content on one of these well-known platforms. They can also see the ads are posted from a real account, as opposed to a small web banner ad with little text that could be posted by anyone. That being said, web retargeting works well for impressions since the ads follow your targeted audience throughout the internet, not just on a few specific social media sites.
What ad tracking method should you use to retarget people on social media who have visited your website?
If you choose to use social media as your channel for retargeting those that have visited your website, the best ad tracking method to use is to use tracking pixels.
As mentioned above, tracking pixels are pieces of code that collect information on the pages your users visit on your website. When they leave your site and go to a social media platform, they are retargeted with ads that are relevant to the pages they visit on your website.
Want to see what setting up a remarketing campaign is like? We’ll walk through a step-by-step process for setting up a retargeting campaign on Facebook and measuring its success.
Facebook retargeting is no different from the other types of retargeting we’ve talked about — It helps you advertise to potential customers and lost leads. Facebook’s technology leverages data from different profiles to help you connect with the right audience. Data, like web behavior, is used to show your ads on the right news feeds.
On Facebook, you have the advantage of its large audience. Coupled with the amount of data Facebook collects about its users, it’s highly likely that the leads you lost are seeing your ad. The website looks at the previous search history of users and pulls ads that are relevant.
For example, every time I online shop for clothes and leave the site without making a purchase, the ads I see on Facebook are from the store I’d visited. If I were to use the search bar on the social media network, I would see similar results.
To run a retargeting campaign on Facebook, you’ll set an ad campaign and choose your audience set — just like a regular campaign. The difference is this: In Ad Manager, you’ll toggle a switch that tells the website that the campaign is a retargeting one. That way, the software will know how to filter the right target market for your ad.
For this example, we’ll pretend we’re setting up a remarketing campaign for HubSpot. To drive qualified leads to a free trial, we’ll set up a mock Facebook retargeting campaign for leads in our database who we know are interested in marketing automation. Here’s how we would set up that campaign.
1. Create a list of existing contacts, or gather groups from pixel on your website.
First, you’d need a list of leads to retarget. In your marketing software of choice, compile a list based on two criteria: lifecycle stage, interests based on the topic of their most recent download. If this list is sufficiently large, you can move on to the next step. If it’s not, you should revisit your segmentation properties and/or type of retargeting.
2. Upload the list to Facebook’s Audience Manager.
Once our list is processed, we can export the .CSV file and import it into Facebook’s Custom Audience manager to match email addresses with Facebook Profiles. (There are third-party platforms that also sync these lists on social media, so feel free to pick which upload/sync option works best for your company.)
Select “Manage Your Ads” on Facebook’s advertising home page, click “Audiences” on the left toolbar. This will allow you to create a customer list by uploading a .CSV or .TXT file and options to sort by user ID, phone numbers, or emails.
Give your list an appropriate name to easily find it later. Additionally, leave at least a few hours for it to populate. if you try to create an ad immediately, the audience may not be fully loaded.
Aside from Facebook retargeting, Audience Manager will allow you to do standard targeting, which allows you to set demographic, geographic, and other audience targets for an ad — even without a retargeting list.
3. Determine your destination URL.
To create a new campaign on Facebook, hit the green “Create Ad” button in the top right of the ad platform home screen. This will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign. Whatever option you select, include a UTM tracking code — a snippet of text added to the end of your URL — to help you track success and attribute clicks and conversions from your campaigns. For example, we would create a campaign called “Retargeting” and our URL for the free trial would look like:
Once you create your URL, give your campaign a name. Keep similar names for your campaigns to make it easier to track if you have multiple running.
4. Segment your ads.
Select your custom audience and set the geographic location you want to target. The location is an “AND” setting, meaning if your list contains leads from all over the world and you only select “United States,” some people won’t be shown your ads.
Depending on your buyer personas, you can also segment by interest, behaviors, age, and other demographic settings which can help ads become even more targeted. For conversion campaigns, you’re retargeting to a specific list of contacts already interested in your product, so including other Facebook categories might not make sense.
5. Set your budget.
Before even starting the campaign, have a set budget for paid tactics, broken out by channel. For Facebook campaigns, set a lifetime budget for the length of the campaign, then monitor and adjust accordingly. Most beginners should leave the bidding to “Optimize for Website Click.”
You can also name your ad set at this stage, which is helpful if you’d like to differentiate lists, creative, budget, etc. for different ad sets in the same campaign (i.e. leading to the same page).
6. Creating your ad.
Each ad can have up to six images associated with it, so you can test which ones perform the best.Remember to be clear and concise with your positioning, and include relevant call-to-action buttons such as Shop Now, Learn more, Download, etc. on the bottom right of the ad.
By default, ads are shown on mobile newsfeeds, on the right column on desktops, and in partner mobile apps. Depending on where you’d like your customers to see these campaigns, you may want to turn one or all of those options off to only display in the desktop News Feed.
Some important details on Facebook ads:
- Image size is 1080 x 1080 pixels.
- Text can be used in headlines, but there are character limits depending on ad type.
- Under “Advanced Options” you can write a News Feed link description to better explain your ad and give context to users.
Once you have everything set up, go ahead and click the “Publish” button in the bottom right of the screen.
7. Tracking your progress.
Congratulations, you’ve now created a conversion-based retargeting ad on Facebook! Now you can track website clicks, reach, CTR, CPC, and total spend to match them up to your initial goals.
You can get a glance of how your Facebook retargeting campaigns are doing by going to your Facebook Advertising home page. If you want to dive further into the ad’s metrics, you can go into the ad set where you’ll see information like clicks and spending per day. It is also easy to make edits to your ad from this screen, such as extending the budget, schedule, and creative assets.
If you’re using a CRM, like HubSpot, most offer tools to look at the performance of your destination URL to track views, clicks, and submissions back to specific retargeting campaigns.
Retargeting is a great way to keep your prospects engaged and interact with people who have already shown interest in your company.
While it may sound like a simple enough concept, there are many aspects of a retargeting campaign that must be worked out before you make the ad copy and creative. Be sure to give enough time to make your lists, set goals and types of campaigns, determine the platforms your ads will run on, and tie the whole conversion path together.
If you could do one thing to dramatically improve your marketing ROI today, what would it be? If your answer was “use landing pages to convert new leads” I’d have to agree with you — here’s why.
Nearly 1 in 10 people who make it to a landing page will become potential customers or leads. If you’re new to the world of converting web traffic, that number might not seem impressive, but when you do the math, there’s reason to believe that 1,000 people could become leads on your landing page if 10,000 people visit it.
That’s a lot of leads for most small-to-medium-sized businesses. Let’s look at exactly what a landing page is and how having one (or more) can help you see results like this.
Generating leads for your business is a necessary part of your marketing campaign, and there are several ways to do it: through social media, content marketing, paid ads — the list goes on. With each digital campaign you run — no matter what channel you use — the people you’re targeting won’t convert themselves into potential customers. To do that, you’ll need a quality landing page that’s built specifically to convert those visitors. If you don’t have at least a few landing pages on your website, you’re missing out on opportunities to turn these individuals into paying customers down the line.
Today, we’ll explore the myriad of benefits that come with landing pages and how you might use one to reach your business goals.
Types of Landing Page Offers
Landing pages have a sole purpose: to convert leads for your business. However, you can target those leads using a specific content offer on each landing page.
Here are the types of content offers you can add to a landing page to convert visitors into leads:
1. Ebooks and Whitepapers
If you’ve written a blog post that introduces a topic your audience wants to learn about, you can satisfy their interest in that topic by elaborating on the subject in an ebook or whitepaper. Using a landing page, you can “gate” this resource behind a lead-capture form. Once your visitors complete the form, they’ll be able to access the content.
2. Email Newsletter Subscription
Let’s say you write a lot of blog content on a similar topic. Sure, you can develop an ebook or whitepaper that elaborates on specific details, but you can also offer your readers an email newsletter they can subscribe to for the latest content on that topic. On various blog posts, use a call-to-action (CTA) to invite readers to subscribe to your blog. This CTA can link to a separate landing page where they can sign up for your email list.
3. Online Course Enrollment
Whether you’re in the education industry or you offer various skill-based certifications to your audience, online courses should have their own landing pages, too. Using these pages, you can invite new students to sign up for a class you offer. This type of content adds value to the client’s experience — they’ll have more access to you through a private channel like email to discuss the course content and get feedback on their progress.
4. Event Registration
Similar to online courses, events require you to collect information on your audience so they can receive updates leading up to the occasion. An event, as well as its various sessions and keynotes, can have its own individual landing pages to turn interested prospects into event attendees and leads.
5. Free Trial
Are you offering a free demo of your product? Your demo offering could use its own landing page. Bring users to a page where they can sign up for a free trial of your software using their name, email address, job title, and any other information you deem necessary to give them the best customer experience.
6. Community Membership
If your business thrives on building community among customers — perhaps you should have a website dedicated to dialogue between users. You can do this by creating a landing page that lets website visitors sign up to become a bigger part of your business. There’s no harm in making it invitation-only either — in fact, it’s a great way to try your hand at relationship marketing to close these deals.
7. App Download
Developing a mobile app for your product doesn’t just improve your customer experience — it also gives your business another avenue to capture leads. A lead-optimized landing page that invites users to download an app is quite common. On the analytics side, you can use both Google Analytics to capture insights about who is visiting the landing page and downloading the app, then use that data to make your landing page even more effective.
The Benefits of a Landing Page
The benefits of building a landing page for each of your marketing campaigns or content offers are endless. In this section, we dive into detail about seven factors that make this lead generation tool indispensable.
1. Landing pages aim to increase conversions.
Having a targeted page that directly ties back to an offer or next step is critical to providing value upfront. This can also encourage new site visitors to provide their information in exchange for an immediate, tangible reward.
For instance, let’s say you’ve landed on a business’s website and you’re immediately greeted with a pop-up form asking for your name and email. That’s a bit jarring before you even know what the company is about, isn’t it?
Alternatively, imagine you’ve found a business’s free ebook on social media, which outlines ten immediate solutions to your problem. I’m willing to bet you’re more likely to provide your name and email for that valuable content, right?
Many companies send their advertising, email, or social media traffic to their homepage. This is a huge missed opportunity. When you know a stream of targeted traffic will be coming to your website, you can increase the likelihood of converting that traffic into leads by using a targeted landing page.
For instance, those users who convert on your social media ebook landing page are clearly interested in social media. To further nurture those leads, you might follow up with a personalized email, detailing additional content you can provide related to social media.
2. Landing pages can provide additional insights into your target audience.
By creating various landing pages with segmented offers, you can track which topics convert at the highest rate. This can give you valuable insights into your audience’s interests.
You could use the data you collect from your landing pages to create a more targeted, personalized marketing strategy. Plus, landing pages don’t just tell you which content your audience likes best — they also tell you which channels your leads prefer. This can enable your marketing team to refine the strategy further, promoting content and engaging with your audience on the channel(s) they’re already using.
For example, let’s say you notice your landing pages related to ecommerce perform exceptionally well, and most of those users find your landing page from your paid ads on Facebook and LinkedIn. This information can help you target future campaigns primarily towards your social audience. You would also have a basis for incorporating additional ecommerce content into your marketing strategy as a whole.
3. Landing pages can grow your email subscriber list.
In exchange for the content offered on your landing page, you’ll typically ask users to provide their email and name. This can help you quickly grow your email subscriber list, and segment that list to provide more personalized follow-up emails.
People who’ve filled out a form in exchange for content or information on your product or service have shown an interest in what you have to offer. This ensures your subscriber list is filled with potentially high-quality leads.
Consider how you might further nurture them by sending a “Thank you” email after they download your landing page offer, with additional resources related to the content in which they’ve shown interest.
4. Landing pages are testable.
A landing page is a fantastic opportunity to get creative and test out various designs to determine which visuals and copy perform best with your target audience. Additionally, it’s often lower risk to test out a new landing page, rather than making major design changes to your entire blog or website infrastructure.
For instance, AJ Beltis, HubSpot’s Content & Acquisition Manager, told me, “If you’re using a content management system with a built-in A/B testing tool (like HubSpot), you can easily set up and run a test to see which copy, design, imagery, and page elements yield a stronger conversion rate. This means you can quickly uncover new ways to drive more leads and contacts for your business.”
5. Landing pages allow you to measure metrics directly tied to business goals.
If you’ve created a specific landing page to market your new product or service, you can then use that landing page to measure metrics directly tied to your business goals.
For instance, let’s say your marketing team is tasked with increasing sales for your new email tool. To accomplish this, your team creates a campaign with a landing page offering a free demo of your tool.
You might measure conversion metrics on that landing page to determine how well your campaign is performing, or whether you need to make tweaks to communicate the true value of your new product. Additionally, you can measure which sites drive the highest conversions to your landing page, and put more resources into marketing your email tool on those sites — or social media apps — in particular.
6. Landing pages add context to your offer.
AJ Beltis told me one of the biggest benefits of a landing page is the opportunity to add context to your marketing offer. “Marketers feel motivated to bypass the landing page process and skip right to the conversion by encouraging form fills in other methods, such as through a chatbot,” Beltis told me.
Beltis adds, “However, this process eliminates the opportunity to add more context to what it is you’re offering. Imagery and essential information that can only be shared with a landing page provide content to those who need it before they decide to convert.”
7. Landing pages increase brand value and help make a good first impression.
Ultimately, a sleek, well-designed landing page can impress new visitors and turn them into leads by demonstrating the valuable content your company can deliver. A landing page is space you can use to tell your visitors what you’re offering, and how it can positively impact them. Even if a viewer doesn’t immediately convert, a well-designed landing page can increase brand recognition and help nurture leads for future sales.
For instance, take a look at this impressive landing page created by Talisker, a whisky brand. Using Ceros’ landing page product to design an immersive experience, Talisker is demonstrating brand value and, ideally, making a fantastic first impression on new visitors.
This is proof that a landing page doesn’t have to be boring — in fact, it shouldn’t be. Take the time to create an engaging, interactive, interesting landing page that communicates the value of your brand.
Best Practices for Creating a Landing Page
1. Find a landing page builder.
To create a landing page, you’ll want to start by exploring landing page builders — unless, of course, you’re using a content management system that already provides landing page templates, like HubSpot. Look for a landing page builder that is intuitive and simple to use, this way you’ll have a shorter learning curve and will be able to produce landing pages quickly. I recommend drag-and-drop style builders — they’re awesome for speeding up your workflow.
2. Use landing page templates.
Once you’ve determined the right software to build your landing page, get inspired with some landing page templates. You might also use this as an opportunity to take AJ’s advice above and A/B test two different designs to explore which design elements result in the highest conversions.
3. Communicate value.
Additionally, it’s critical any landing page you design effectively communicates the value you’re providing visitors in exchange for contact information. And, of course, you’ll want to include a form that visitors will fill out in exchange for the offer you’re promoting on your landing page.
To learn more about how to create a landing page in detail, take a look at How to Create a Landing Page: The Simple Step-by-Step Guide.
What makes a landing page effective?
Here’s the thing, a good landing page is the equivalent of a baseball mitt — it catches the traffic that your marketing campaign pitches to the audience. This means that the landing page you create should be specific to the type of traffic that it’ll be catching. For example, if your marketing campaign features an ebook, your landing page should also mention the ebook. It’ll be even better if the ebook is the only content offer mentioned on the landing page. This ensures people won’t become confused about what they’re going to receive when they share their contact information.
Because the landing page is targeting only the people who are (presumably) interested in this ebook, and because this ebook has exclusive information that elaborates on a topic your audience cares about, you can convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into leads, whom you can then follow up with using a lead nurture campaign.
Ready to create your first landing page, or improve on a landing page you already have? Here are some of the most important elements you’ll want to implement to ensure your landing page is moving your business closer to its goals:
1. Intuitive Navigation
You’ve brought your targeted traffic to a page where they can take your desired action. Don’t distract them! Limit the number of exits from your landing page so that your visitors are focused on filling out your form. A key part of this is to remove the website navigation elements on landing pages. This helps put the focus back on the content you’re offering.
See how the landing page below does this — aside from the HubSpot logo, there are no navigation buttons to confuse or distract visitors.
2. Sharing Options
Tap into the largest community of your best (and free) marketers: your audience. Add share links to your landing page to encourage your website visitors to share your content with their audiences.
3. Valuable Content Offers
First and foremost, if you have a valuable offer, your visitors will give up their contact information in exchange for your offer. Ask yourself whether your offer is compelling to your audience and make sure your landing page demonstrates that value.
One way to ensure your landing page adds value is to show your audience the content they’re going to receive — directly on the page. See how this can look in the example landing page below.
4. Succinct Copy and Lead Forms
The longer your landing page and form, the more friction you add to the lead-generation process. Keeping your lead form short and straightforward will increase your conversion rate.
Here’s a tip: Put as many contact fields as you can on the same line. Shortening the height of your lead-capture form helps you limit the more trivial fields you might be tempted to include, and prevents your landing page visitors from getting spooked by a form that’s asking too much of them. As shown below, sometimes all you need is a first and last name, followed by an email address.
5. Focused Communication
You might be tempted to create a catch-all landing page that mentions your online course, email newsletter, ebook, and every other content offer you’re promoting. However, this is not ideal.
The people who visit your landing page should be looking for one particular offer and this offer should match the communication they saw right before they clicked your landing page link. Did you share a social media post about your latest free email template? If so, that’s exactly what your landing page should communicate. Use the headline to grab the reader’s attention and let them know “Hey! You’re in the right place to download that free email template.” The imagery of the template and a few bullet points about the benefits of it will help communicate this point, too.
6. Tracking and Analytics
It’s one thing to know how many visits your landing page received. It’s another to know where those visitors came from.
You’ll need to know this information so that you can optimize your marketing campaign to generate more leads. If email marketing is generating more clicks to your landing page than the search engines, then it’s a good idea to focus on email marketing tactics while you optimize your landing page for the search engines.
UTM tracking parameters can help you uncover these insights, too. You can use tools like Google Analytics, Bit.ly, and HubSpot to create and track UTM parameters. Here’s a detailed guide on how to start using this tool.
7. Constant Improvement
As many best practices as you may read about online, your landing page can always use more testing and improvement. Make sure you have a landing page creation tool that allows you to create and test many different landing pages to see what works best for your business. Additionally, if you’re a HubSpot customer, consider some of the landing page tool integrations, such as briX.
Gotta Catch ’em All
You’ve spent weeks, months, or even an entire quarter developing the perfect marketing campaign and content offers to appeal to your buyer personas. Don’t let that hard work go to waste — remember, converting visitors to leads is your main goal. Building quality landing pages for each campaign or offer you create will be an important part of your lead generation strategy. Use the best practices in this article to build the perfect landing pages for your business and capture every lead you can.
If you are leaving your job, you’re not alone.
In April 2021 alone, around 4 million people quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. That number is the highest recorded since the bureau started recording such rates.
Even though millions quit their jobs every month, we understand that telling your boss that you’re leaving the company is never an easy conversation. A respectful resignation letter can mean the difference between an awkward goodbye and a chance for a long-term professional connection.
Ideally, you’ll provide a resignation letter two weeks before you leave the company. A resignation letter lets you officially announce your termination at the company and also offers essential housekeeping information, like your last day and other details about your departure.
An effective one helps you ensure a positive conversation with your boss and a smooth transition to your next journey.
But how do you write a good resignation letter? What should you include and exclude?
Writing a resignation letter can feel like a daunting task, so we’ve created a professional resignation letter template to get you started and included examples for inspiration.
What do I include in a professional resignation letter?
Writing a professional resignation letter starts with understanding each of its components:
1. Statement of Resignation and End Date
Begin your letter by stating your position at the company. This might seem redundant if you work at a small company and your boss knows you well, but it’s essential to include it since the letter is your official termination. Along with this information should be a simple statement of your resignation.
Also, providing an end date in the first body paragraph is helpful since that’s one of the first questions your employer is going to have.
Here’s what this first paragraph may look like in practice:
I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [Position Name] for [Company Name], effective [Date].
Take the time to consider how you’ve grown or what you’ve appreciated most about your time at the company. Be as specific as possible — perhaps the company provided professional development opportunities, or maybe you’ve enjoyed the climate the company fostered and the supportive atmosphere.
It’s also nice for your employer to receive a thank you for the time and resources they’ve used in supporting your career growth. Here’s an example of what this may look like:
I appreciate the opportunities for professional development that you have provided me over the past two years. I have enjoyed my tenure at [Company Name] and particularly feel honored to have been part of such a supportive team.
If you’d like, you can include where you’re headed next, too. For example, if you’re switching industries to pursue a passion or going to graduate school, it might be appropriate to include that. For example:
I accepted a position as a [New Job Title], and I’m looking forward to [pursuing my passion in X or continuing my work with a focus on Y].
However, if you’re leaving the company for a competitor, it’s better to omit such information.
3. Transition Details
In the third paragraph, mention your willingness to make the transition easier. For example:
If I can be of any help during this transition, please let me know. I am available to help train my replacement and ensure that all my reports are updated before my last day of work.
This sentence might look different for you. But regardless of what you write, it’s good practice to include specific details regarding how you’ll help.
As an optional follow-up paragraph, briefly review the work you’ll be surrendering when you officially leave the company. Although it’s technically your manager’s responsibility to pick this work up and determine how it will continue, it’s helpful to list all the projects and tasks you’ve been in charge of to make the transition even easier on the company in the interim.
If you didn’t serve in a managerial capacity or collaborate with other departments, you could skip this part.
4. Personal Contact Information
This last paragraph is optional and doesn’t need to be included all the time, particularly if you have no desire or need to use your former employer as a reference. However, many candidates choose to maintain their professional networks, so such a closing may look like this:
Thank you again for the opportunity to work at [Company Name]. I wish you all the best and look forward to staying in touch. You can email me at [Email Address].
Professional Resignation Letter Samples
With the above template in mind, let’s look at a few sample resignation letters for different positions, each taking a slightly different but amicable tone to their resignations.
1. Gracious Resignation Letter Sample
2. Brief Resignation Letter Sample
3. Immediate Resignation Letter Sample
While the best way to quit a job is to give at least two week’s notice and offer to help with the transition, sometimes circumstances make that impossible. If you need to leave your job immediately without notice, you need an immediate resignation letter.
Here is a sample that can help you:
Free Professional Resignation Letter Templates
Sometimes the nature of your position merits a more specific letter of resignation when you leave. Below are a couple of templates that help these more dynamic roles make a graceful departure from the company.
1. Contractor Resignation Letter Template
If you work freelance, you might need to adjust the focus of your resignation letter so it addresses your final assignments and how exactly you’ll be parting ways with your client. This includes your current duties, which tasks you won’t complete, and how you’ll accept your final payment.
2. Executive Resignation Letter Template
If you’re in an executive- or senior-level leadership role, a quick email or two-paragraph notice to your superior might not suffice as an official resignation. Because these roles are harder to fill, you might play a more significant role in the transition period — especially since you manage more people and decide on the direction of more projects.
The template below separates the resignation into two sections — the first is the resignation itself, and the second is how (and with whom) the resigner’s work will continue. It is just one of the different templates we have on offer.
Ready to Write Your Resignation Letter?
No matter your role, why you’re leaving it, and who you’re informing, be polite in your resignation letter. Gratitude and support during your departure go a long way with employers, and the last thing you want to do is leave the company on a sour note — even if you’re leaving for sour reasons.
By drawing inspiration from resignation letter samples and templates, you’ll protect your bridges and keep your professional network intact as you start your next adventure.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Your value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage. It clearly articulates why someone would want to buy from your company instead of a competitor.
It’s also one of the most important conversion factors (learn all about conversion best practices with this free guide). A great value proposition could be the difference between losing a sale — and closing it.
So how do you actually write a value proposition that’s strong enough to lift conversion rates and sales? In this article, you’ll learn the definition of a value proposition, what a value prop isn’t, tactics to create amazing value props, and examples of some of the best value props we’ve seen.
Ready to dive in?
Your value proposition is a unique identifier for your business. Without it, buyers won’t have a reason to purchase what you sell. They may even patronize a competitor simply because that business communicates its value proposition clearly in its marketing materials and sales process.
While your value prop should help differentiate you from the rest of the industry, keep in mind it’s not a slogan, tagline, or mission statement. Those types of copy are important accessories to your brand, but your potential customers and employees don’t choose one business over the other solely based on these elements.
Your value proposition goes deep into the problems you want to solve for buyers, and what makes your product or service the perfect solution.
The Elements of a Value Proposition
There are three main elements of a value proposition: the headline, the subheadline, and a visual element.
The headline of your value proposition describes the benefit the customer will receive as a result of making a purchase from your business. The headline can be creative and catchy, but it should be clear and concise first and foremost.
Subheadline or Paragraph
The subheadline or paragraph should explain in detail what your company offers, who it serves, and why. In this section, you can elaborate on the information in the headline.
In some cases, a video, infographic, or image may convey your value proposition better than words alone can. Enhance your message with these visual elements to capture your audience’s attention.
Step 1: Identify your customer’s main problem.
While this will require some upfront research, you can get a head start on this aspect of the value proposition by speaking with different members of your team. Customer service reps, marketing specialists, and salespeople can fill in the gaps about what problems your customers are looking to solve by using your product or service.
For example, let’s say your business sells tax software on a subscription basis and automated templates are included in the software package. Your ideal customer is looking for an affordable and user-friendly way to access complicated tax documents for their business. In this example, your business’s offerings could be the solution they need.
Step 2: Identify all the benefits your products offer.
This step can be as simple as listing out every product you sell and describing its benefit. The benefit should be concise and focused on a single customer need.
In our tax software example, you’d list each tax template, explain the benefit it provides, and why a customer would need it.
Step 3: Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
Next, add another sentence that explains why this benefit matters to the customer.
Using the same example above, the value would be that customers have affordable tax documentation at their fingertips — something that would normally cost them thousands of dollars.
Step 4: Connect this value to your buyer’s problem.
Next, pair the buyer’s problem to the elements that make your product or service valuable. Do they align? If so, you’re ready to refine your value proposition to differentiate your offerings from the competition. If they don’t align, repeat the steps above until you find a valid buyer need and a viable solution your business offers to meet that need.
Step 5: Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
Finally, polish your value proposition to make it unique. Is there a specific customer service offering your business provides that others don’t? Do you offer any additional services that other companies charge for? These elements can help differentiate your value proposition from competitors while keeping the focus on the buyer’s needs.
1. Conduct research to determine the value proposition of your competitors.
Because your value proposition is the differentiating factor between your business and the competition, it’s important to research the propositions of your closest competitors. You can use the value proposition canvas below to determine how each company meets the needs of your buyer persona.
Be honest here — it’s tempting to focus on the areas in which your competition doesn’t excel, but you’ll have a better idea of where your product or service fits within the market if you key in on your competitors’ strengths.
2. Explain the value of your products and services.
You’re probably familiar with outlining the features and benefits of your product and service offerings. This tactic takes that concept a step further. By matching the benefits of your offerings to specific values that your customers have, you’ll be able to align what your business provides with what your customers need.
3. Describe the benefits your ideal customer will experience when they choose your product or service over the competition.
When crafting this part of your value proposition, include details about how your product or service will benefit the customer and use examples where you can. Videos, photos, and live demonstrations are all effective ways to illustrate your value proposition because they show the customer exactly what they can expect from your business.
4. Develop a unique value proposition for each buyer persona you serve.
Ideally, you’ll be focusing your marketing efforts on a specific target audience. You’ll also find that this audience will have different needs based on their buying behaviors. Buyer personas can help you segment your larger audience into groups of customers with similar desires, goals, pain points, and buying behaviors. As a result, you’ll need a unique value proposition for each persona. Different products and services you offer may solve certain customer pain points better than others, so developing a value proposition for each persona will better serve each one.
5. Test your value proposition with your audience using various marketing channels.
Each of these tactics will likely be developed internally by your team which means you’ll want to validate your work with your target audience. Your value proposition will be communicated through various marketing channels like your website, social media accounts, video, audio, and in person. Test your proposition with members of your audience (both existing customers and non-customers) using each of these channels. Tools like UserTesting can help you streamline this feedback process so that you can implement changes quickly to finalize your value proposition.
What makes a good value proposition?
Your value proposition should aim to address a primary customer need. This limited focus helps keep your value proposition clear and easy to understand. With just one main idea to comprehend, your audience will be able to quickly decide whether or not your product or service will be the best solution for them.
Next, you’ll want to communicate the specific outcomes your customer can expect to receive from your product or service. Will they save time? Demonstrate how. Will their workflow become more manageable? Show a before and after workflow diagram. The specific outcomes will be critical components of your value proposition as they’ll exemplify exactly how your customers will use your solution to solve their problems.
Points of Differentiation
Not only are your potential customers evaluating your business’s offerings based on their own needs, but they’re also comparing what you offer against competitors. As a result, your value proposition will need to include detailed points of differentiation. These key points will help customers understand exactly what sets your company apart.
The value proposition canvas is made up of two major components: the customer profile and the value map.
The customer profile makes up the first half of the value proposition canvas. When performing this exercise you’ll want to start with this section first so that their wants and needs can influence the overall value proposition canvas.
The customer profile consists of three areas that we’ll detail below.
What is the task your customer needs to complete or the problem they’re trying to solve with your product or service? The answer to this question sums up the “customer job” or the purpose of your product or service in the eyes of the customer.
No matter what you sell, your ideal customer will have an expectation of what that product or service will do for them. In this section, you’ll use research to explain what your customers expect from you in order to purchase your product.
As your customer completes their “customer job”, what pains do they experience? Do they take any risks while they do the customer’s job? Do they experience any negative emotions? These pain points should be considered so that you include the most helpful products and services on the value map side of the value proposition canvas.
In this section of the value proposition canvas, three specific sectors help describe what the business offers to the customer.
These are features your products or services have that make the customer happy. Think creatively about the elements of happiness your customers experience. Consider their financial and social goals as well as their psychographics.
In the section above, we discussed customer pains. This section will define exactly how your business will help them overcome those pain points.
Products and services
While this section won’t list every single product or service your company offers, it should include the ones that will create the most gain and alleviate the most pains for your customers.
Determine Value Proposition-Customer Fit
Once you’ve completed the value proposition canvas exercise, the next step will be to determine how your value proposition fits with the customer profile. To do this, you’ll use a ranking process that prioritizes products and services based on how well they address the customer profile.
The Best Value Proposition Examples
Because value propositions are typically internal information and rarely stated verbatim publicly, finding a value proposition example to model yours after can be difficult. We’ve taken the liberty of using the value proposition canvas and applying it to some successful companies that have been recognized by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI).
In these examples, you’ll see real-world instances of customer gains and pains aligned with well-known products and services offered by these companies.
Our Take On FedEx’s Value Proposition:
Headline: Manage Your Home Deliveries
Subheadline/Paragraph: Sending and receiving packages is convenient and safe for individuals who want to ship ideas and innovations across the globe.
Customer Profile for FedEx
Value Map for FedEx
Products & Services
Our Take On LG’s Value Proposition:
Headline: State-of-the-art Living Experience
Subheadline/Paragraph: LG SIGNATURE delivers an innovative product design that creates an exceptional living experience for people who want to achieve a state-of-the-art living experience.
Customer Profile for LG
Value Map for lg
Products & Services
Our Take On Subaru’s Value Proposition:
Headline: The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever.
Subheadline/paragraph: The 2022 Subaru Outback takes drivers to the most adventurous places in style with the most advanced safety technology.
Customer Profile for subaru
Value Map for Subaru
Products & Services
Compose a Remarkable Value Proposition
The factors that influence a potential customer to become a loyal customer are limited. Whether your industry has a lot of opportunities to differentiate (like retail) or virtually no unique identifiers (like dairy), you’ll find that a value proposition will help you understand your ideal customer and position your business as the best solution for their needs. Use the tactics, tips, framework, and examples in this post to craft your unique value proposition.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
If you compare how product pages take shape across different companies, it’s clear they run the gamut. Some go for the direct approach, displaying an image of a product and explaining why someone should buy it. Other companies create elaborate pages with moving parts and fancy, interactive elements.
Still, other companies create delightful product pages that give users an authentic experience as they browse through what the company has to offer.
Believe it or not, the most captivating product pages don’t always have enterprise-level programming behind them. To give you an idea of what’s possible — from small business all the way up to household names — we scouted out 20 examples that we find truly admirable.
The pages below have mastered their messaging, value propositions, and general product descriptions such that these sites resonate with their unique buyer persona.
(And after checking out these pages, you might want to buy their products, too.)
20 of the Best Product Landing Page Designs
Bellroy sells thinner-than-typical wallets. There’s value to that — but what is it, and how do you get the consumer to understand it?
To answer those questions, Bellroy divided its product page into three stages of the buyer’s journey — understanding the problem, how to fix the problem, and how Bellroy can resolve the problem.
There’s even an interactive section that shows how the skinny wallet will fill up in comparison to standard wallets. As users move a slider back and forth along a line, both of the wallets fill up with cards and cash, visually displaying the very problem Bellroy’s skinny wallet solves.
Wistia is a video hosting and analytics company that provides users with detailed video performance metrics. It might sound like a snooze-fest, but let’s dive into what really makes this product page stand out.
First, we’re presented with five, colorful graphics illustrating the tools’ value propositions. And in case that’s all the user really needed to see, those graphics are followed by two calls-to-action.
But, if you continue scrolling, you’ll see a video with information about Wistia’s capabilities for that video — calls-to-action, email collectors, video heatmaps, and viewing trends.
One of the best ways to explain a visual platform’s features is to demonstrate them on a product page. This one shows users all of Wistia’s features and how they work, day-to-day.
Square is a mobile transaction company that merchants use to collect payment from customers — anywhere, any time, as long as they have a compatible phone or tablet.
The product marketing challenge here is to show why Square is an easier alternative than a typical cash register — and its product page displays those reasons in a visually captivating way.
The rest of the page is clearly organized headlines — which reads like answers to frequently asked questions — plenty of white space, succinct copy, and appropriate images. Anyone looking into each section can understand exactly how Square works at every stage of a transaction.
Some companies — especially in ecommerce — have up to thousands of product pages. Rent the Runway, an online dress rental company, is one of them.
Rent the Runway has an individual product page for every dress it carries, with all the information a customer could want — images, measurements, fabric, price, and reviews. So what sets them apart? The exceptional detail of the “Stylist Notes” and “Size & Fit” sections.
These details are clearly and carefully curated by stylists and reviewers. They don’t just explain what a dress is made of and how it looks — they cover how it fits on every part of the body, which undergarments should be worn with it, and for which body types it’s best suited. That kind of information not only delights customers and encourages their trust, but it also makes for a more confident buying decision.
Also, notice how there’s plenty of white space surrounding the product images and description. According to research by ConversionXL, that white space creates a higher perceived value — in this case, price — of the product in the user’s mind.
Daily Harvest develops superfoods in the form of smoothies, soups, and more, and delivers them to your doorstep. What makes these foods’ product pages so outstanding? They show you exactly what makes these foods so super in a format that’s both clear and digestible — no pun intended.
Check out one of Daily Harvest’s smoothie product pages, below. Not only can you see what the smoothie looks like, but hovering over the lefthand preview icon, below the main image, shows you the foods used to create this drink. Scroll down, and you’ll see each ingredient and a simple description of each one.
If you’ve seen any of Oreo’s marketing, you shouldn’t be surprised it’s on this list. But sometimes, being well known can make it harder to create a product page. So how did Oreo do it?
The focus of Oreo’s product page is how these simple, classic cookies can help people unleash their imaginations, dare to wonder, and become generally happier. It features a series of videos, one after another. One is accompanied by the lyrics, “It’s so easy to let your imagination go when you play with Oreo,” paying tribute to the age-old discussion about the “best” way to eat them. The page takes a creative, bold approach to marketing with what might otherwise be thought of as an ordinary snack.
Oreo also used a unique design for this page. Even though the cookies themselves are monochrome, the page is wonderfully colorful, from the videos, to the backgrounds, to the graphics.
When I took on this blog post, I asked a few people for their favorite product page suggestions. I was amazed how many people immediately recommended Fitbit — and after checking out the site, I can see why.
The page below helped unveil the original Fitbit Charge — now succeeded by the Fitbit 3 — and starts with a value proposition, rather than a list of features. It’s a hero image of people hiking a mountain, who we can imagine are wearing Fitbits, with the copy, “Energize your day.”
As you scroll down the page, it goes through four quick steps explaining how the product works. What’s more, a lot of these are interactive — the section under “Everything you need, all in one place” allows users to hover over different features to see how they appear on Fitbit’s mobile app.
But the page also explains why these features are valuable. For example, one tracks everything you do from walking, running, and sleeping. Why does that matter? Well, you can have your current records on hand, and try to beat them.
Knowing that users might not remember all of the specifics when they leave the page, Fitbit was sure to focus on how these features will actually make a difference in the visitors’ lives. Well played.
Volkswagen takes an interactive approach to its product marketing. Instead of listing all of the features you can have in a car, the company walks you through the process of actually building your car. As you go through that process, Volkswagen highlights the different features you could choose, then gives you a preview of what the car will look like and how that will affect the price.
Even though I’m not currently in the market for a new car, I personally had fun tinkering with the different customization features on the page. What color do I want? Do I want premium audio? (Yes.) It’s an interesting way for the brand to eliminate the notorious connotations of “car salesmen,” by allowing users to learn about and select features independently.
Plus, there’s a nifty matchmaking feature that allows you to see which nearby dealerships have the car with all of your preferences in its inventory.
The folks at Seattle Cider claim its cider is “not your standard cider.” Well, neither is the product page. It reads like a story, beginning with attractive, high-definition images of the cider selection, which happen to have really cool label designs. As you hover, an explanation appears of what differentiates Seattle Cider’s products from others, and what makes each variation special.
But my favorite part is what comes next: a cool, interactive display of how cider is made from start to finish, which plays for users as they scroll. It’s a surprising and delightful user experience that goes above and beyond the typical product page because it doesn’t just display the products. It shows where they come from, and how.
OfficeSpace sells facility management software to help folks manage, well, office spaces. Like the name, the product page is very clear and direct.
Each section of this product page is dedicated to a different feature of the software. The headline explains the feature, and the subheadline explains why this feature is important as you evaluate different software.
That makes it easy for prospects to quickly digest what the product offers, but also read more details on its value proposition — if they choose to. And, if someone wants to learn even more about a particular feature, there are clear calls-to-action to do so.
This carbonated citrus drink has been around since 1935, and it has exactly four products — original, red-orange, light, and tropical. So, how does Orangina keep its product page both current and special?
For one, it’s fun to explore. When you hover your mouse over any of the blocks, the picture or icon animates — the bottles dance around, the orange slices in half, and the thermometer drops. The animated images and bold colors fit in perfectly with the Orangina brand personality.
Also, you might notice that some of the blocks are actual products, while others are simply tips and details about its products. If you don’t have a lot of products to sell, consider interspersing them with tips and information about the products you do have available.
12. Mango Languages
Mango Languages creates “lovable” language-learning experiences for libraries, schools, corporations, government agencies, and individuals. Its homepage has illustrated calls-to-action for each of these buyer personas — from public libraries, to government offices, to those who are homeschooling their kids. Each of those calls-to-action leads to a different product page that’s colorful, clearly written, and very comprehensive.
Take a look at the example for homeschool teachers below. Like every other part of the website, it exudes Mango’s friendly, approachable, and helpful brand personality. The video couldn’t be more delightful. I mean, a guitar-playing mango in a top hat? Yes, please.
As you scroll, you’re greeted with clear value propositions that use playful language that’s true to the brand. Everything about the page says “simple to use,” “fun,” and “effective.”
13. Helix Mattresses
It’s one thing to sell a mattress — it’s another thing to sell a good night’s sleep. Helix Mattresses is laser-focused on the latter, having designed a product page that organizes each mattress by its level of plushness and support.
By looking at Helix’s product line in chart form, website visitors don’t have to examine each mattress individually to find the attributes they’re looking for. Simply find the row and column that matches your bedding needs, and click through to your chosen mattress’s product page to learn more.
Another reason why the Helix Mattresses product page is so effective is how it describes its products. It can be difficult to know what “plush,” “firm,” or “supportive,” really mean in a mattress — they all seem so subjective. For that reason, Helix is all about brevity in its product descriptions, using evocative explanations of each category a mattress might belong to.
“Plush Feel: Soft top of your mattress that lets you sink in like a cloud.”
“Balanced Support: Not too much, not too little. Best for side sleepers with thin to average body types.”
“Firm feel: Firm top of your mattress with no sink or give.”
Minwax makes products to help people care for wood furnishings and surfaces. Riveting, right? But the brand has managed to create a product page that’s not only relevant but helps users quickly and easily find what they’re looking for.
That’s thanks partly to the Minwax Product Finder module. It functions like a quiz, asking a series of multiple-choice questions, like “What kind of project is it?” and “What are you looking to do?”
Once you answer the questions, the quiz generates recommended products, which includes a handy “Don’t Forget” list with the tools you’ll need to get the job done — things like safety glasses, gloves, and sandpaper. Helpful tips like this go above and beyond a normal ecommerce product page.
Ministry of Supply specializes in comfortable formal wear, and it shows you just how comfortable any one of its garments are with its product landing pages.
Take the product page for the Juno Blouse, below. Underneath the photo gallery of a woman modeling the product, Ministry of Supply gives visitors “proofs,” revealing the blouse’s thread count, materials, and other key qualities that make the product unique.
The product page’s best trait might actually be its motion graphics, using basic looped videos that demonstrate the clothing’s resilience and flexibility.
Liulishuo is a China-based startup that builds English language-learning tools for personal development and test prep purposes. The company’s mobile app product page offers a clean but media-rich overview of its curriculum.
As you can see below, the bottom of the page plays a crisp motion clip of the video-based coursework in action on a smartphone. It’s essentially an app demo before users even download the app.
At the top of the page, Liulishuo makes cool use of QR codes by allowing users to download the app just by scanning the code on their mobile device. Presenting a software product in this way is a smart effort to increase customer acquisition simply by making the product easier to get.
17. Metavrse Engine
Metavrse, a virtual reality (VR) consultancy and product developer, has just about the most immersive product page we’ve ever seen. The company sells not just VR insight, but also VR and 3D tools to help modern businesses better engage customers with its goods and services.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be fascinated with this landing page.
Metavrse’s VR product page actually allows users to scan QR codes on mobile devices to put themselves into a virtual experience according to the product at hand. So if you wanted to hold the Solar System in your hands and create or reposition planets — you could do it within seconds.
This company’s capabilities are displayed in an organized and immersive way, making its landing page nothing short of excellent.
Nfant®, an infant nursing product, takes the transition from breastfeeding to oral feeding seriously — as is evident on the company’s product page for the Nfant®Nipple.
What sets this small business apart from other nursing and parenting services is its use of data to attract customers.
The product page below touts several types of bottle top-shaped nipples, and each one offers a different level of flow when the baby is drinking. As involved as the conditions of each product is, however, the product page delivers the information gracefully using color coordination, a video demonstration, and even a graph comparing each product’s flow range that nursing mothers can refer back to.
Nursing moms are always educating themselves on the resources they have for keeping their children healthy. With that in mind, Nfant’s detailed but easy-to-understand product page knows its buyer persona well.
19. Thinx Leggings
Thinx is a clothing and undergarments brand that makes absorbent, zero-waste products for people with periods. It’s well known for its long-lasting line of menstrual products that are more cost-efficient and less polluting than the alternative of pads and tampons.
In the Thinx product page, you’ll find a wide range of body shapes and sizes displaying the inventory. This makes it easier for customers to determine what would look best on different individuals. Additionally, it lets the audience know which garment is best for them according to flow and activity level clearly.
What really makes its product page pop is the interactive, 360-view feature on all of its products. You can spin models of different dimensions to see exactly what the customer should expect — a feature that makes the online shopping experience more reliable than competitors.
20. Jackbox Games
Jackbox is a party-game-making studio, enabling groups to play games under one roof or from anywhere in the world via the internet. This studio has brought many people together and has grown over the past couple of years, and its product page is aiding in its success.
From a visual standpoint, everything about the Jackbox product landing page is vibrant in color and interesting. The floating characters lead you to learn more about each game pack, all the fun features each one has, and specifies which gaming platforms you can access them through.
The Jackbox Party Pack stands out from other game product pages from its fun and whimsical appearance, giving customers a gleeful introduction to the fun its games have to offer.
Did you draw any ideas from these product pages? We hope you did, but before you start to work on your own, let’s go through some best practices.
Product Page Best Practices
So, what have these brands taught us about product pages? It boils down to a few must-haves:
1. Make it interesting and fun, especially if you have a less-than-riveting product.
No matter the type of product, your website should position itself in a way that is engaging, interesting to view and learn about. Your UX/UI designer or developer should make the product page interactive or, at minimum, visually appealing.
This practice can be as small as changing the colors of the page, or as large as reformatting each section and implementing more widgets to provide a better customer experience.
2. Help visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Make sure the page isn’t cluttered and makes the product specs as clear as possible to ensure customers can see its value. Customers will turn to your competitors if they can’t find the information they’re looking for in a timely, and organized manner.
To aid in this practice, you could benefit from providing current customers a usability questionnaire to collect their opinion directly.
3. Personalize the user experience.
Allow users to “build their own” product, to show them that you can meet their preferences. You can even go as far as to compare product capabilities against one another or other products in the market if you know they provide more value to your audience. This all boils down to understanding product marketing and how you can better serve your specific market.
4. Product descriptions should be informative.
Without bogging it down in detail, be sure to include the right pieces of information that will show users what sets your products apart.
Chances are your customer has already navigated to your page with a general idea of what your product can do for them, now it’s your job to dive deep into what your product’s purpose and value are — you should also back it up with evidence like other customer reviews, too.
5. Make images clear and quality.
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how much a blurry or outdated graphic can deter a customer. But no worries, this is one of the easiest problems to fix, and can make your product page look more professional in a matter of minutes.
6. Use live chat.
You want your product page to help customers find what they’re looking for, and adding a live chat feature will give them a helping hand as they explore it.
Live chat enables sales reps to address customer questions in minutes. Adding this feature can increase the efficiency of communication on your website, and help you improve it, too.
7. List not only the features, but benefits as well.
In product descriptions, it’s general knowledge to be thorough in detail, but take the extra step and describe how those features can benefit the customer, too.
For example, you could be selling a tech gadget with amazing specs in the description — but not all customers will see the point of all those features. Make sure to discuss the value of those features for better understanding.
8. Include customer reviews.
72% of customers won’t take any buying actions until they’ve read reviews.
When online shopping, customer reviews are extremely important for prospects. If they can read an honest review of a product, they will trust the quality of the brand more.
9. Compare prices.
If you are running special deals or discounts for your products, let customers know on the webpage. List the original price near the current offer and customers will feel more of a sense of urgency and be more willing to purchase quicker for a deal.
10. Make it convincing.
In all, you should know your product like the back of your hand. Make your product page just as convincing as you believe it can be — a solution to solve your customer’s pain points.
Design Your Product Page to Impress
The way you display your product can be the decision point for a potential customer. Because of that, you must make your products shine and convey its value properly.
Now that you’ve seen our list of effective product landing pages, we hope you have some new inspiration and will apply it to your website.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Trying to convince people to click on a long, jumbled link is almost as bad as a door-to-door salesman trying to sell people financial services.
If your audience sees a link they perceive to be spammy in one of your social media posts, they’ll do the digital equivalent of slamming the door in your face — scroll past it.
To avoid being perceived as spammy or sloppy when you have a legitimate link to share, check out our list of the best link shorteners that’ll turn your links into clean, consistent, and clickable URLs.
What are the benefits of using link shorteners?
Shortening your links makes them easier to share and track their performance. They’re an excellent choice for business owners, marketers, individuals, and anyone who’d like to post links that are easy to read and remember.
URL shorteners benefit your brand in several ways:
Shortened links are more user-friendly.
When you post long links on social media, it can look like spam or deter users from clicking on something they don’t recognize. In particular, adding tracking parameters (such as UTM codes) to your links can result in URLs that look long and confusing. Link shorteners can turn spammy-looking links into clear and user-friendly links.
You can track your links’ analytics.
Many link shorteners let you track your links’ performance and analytics, which can help you understand which pieces of content perform best on specific platforms. Typically, you’ll be able to see the number of people who clicked on the link in a preset amount of time and where most of the clicks are coming from.
You can include shortened URLs in your social posts.
Every social media network limits the number of characters you can include in your posts. Twitter and LinkedIn have the shortest character limits at 280 and 700 characters, respectively, so if you need to squeeze a link or an extra hashtag in one of your posts, link shorteners can help you stay within the limit.
Shortened links don’t need anchor text.
Anchor text refers to the word or phrase that’s hyperlinked. Marketers use anchor text to optimize their link and ensure it indicates the content that the link leads to. If you’re adding an URL in a place where you can’t add anchor text (such as in a social post or social media bio), you can opt to shorten the link and include the keyword in the slug.
Shortened URLs count as backlinks and improve your SEO.
Because shortened URLs are essentially 301 redirects, they count as backlinks, because they’re still pointing to your website. Using a link shortening service improves your SEO because it gives you the ability to link to your blog posts and pages in more places.
Convinced? Let’s take a look at the top link shorteners you can use.
Bitly (sometimes referred to as Bit.ly) is a link shortener platform that features a comprehensive dashboard that displays your links’ performance metrics, such as click-through rates and channel stats. It also shows you the geographic information of the people clicking on your links.
The tool also offers branded links and has integrations with social media management software (such as HubSpot) to help you seamlessly distribute your shortened links through your social media profiles.
Bitly’s free account offers up to 1,000 unbranded links and link reporting for 30 days, which is ideal for small businesses. Its enterprise plan lets you brand 10,000+ links a month and provides all the data and metrics mentioned above. This subscription tier is best for large businesses that want to brand and track every link in their marketing campaigns.
Individuals and small to enterprise businesses. It offers the advantage of being free while also allowing you to add custom slugs, making it ideal for both general and business use.
- Ability to shorten links without signing up
- 1,000 shortened links included in free version
- Ability to add 50 custom slugs per month in a free subscription
- Good choice for getting started with link shorteners
- You can only customize the slug once you sign up
As one of the more robust link shorteners out there, Bl.INK offers smart branded links that contain relevant words and not just a random string of characters.
It also provides analytic reports that can track clicks by date, time, language, referrers, device, and location. The tool integrates with web analytic tools like Google Analytics and Adobe.
Bl.INK offers five subscription tiers. Starting at $48 per month, it prices its plans based on the number of links you’d like to create and track.
Enterprise businesses with an established link shortening strategy. That way, you can use its wealth of features right away.
- Extensive list of features that are ideal for avid link shortening users
- Cheapest subscription offers 10,000 links — triple of what Bitly offers in their lowest subscription
- Ability to bulk edit links
- No option to shorten links without signing up
- It only tracks a limited number of clicks (starting at 7,500)
Trusted by over 250,000 customers, Rebrandly is a link shortener platform that can brand your links, track their performance metrics, or integrate with over 50 other platforms to seamlessly distribute your links.
With three plans for individuals and two plans for teams, Rebrandly offers link shortening solutions for small businesses that have a high potential for growth. For instance, its free plan offers 5,000 tracked clicks, 500 branded links, and 5 custom domain names, while its premium plan offers 150,000 branded links, 20 custom domain names, and 1,500,000 tracked clicks for $499 per month.
Note, however, that some services, such as Bitly, offer unlimited tracked clicks. If you expect to receive a large number of clicks, consider using those services instead.
Small businesses that want to start building a link shortening strategy. Rebrandly’s starting price is low, but its features rival and even exceed those of its top competitors.
- Ability to shorten links without signing up
- Includes a UTM builder in the free version — Bitly and BLINK do not
- Includes custom URL slugs in the free version
- No unlimited tracked clicks available
Developed by the social media management platform Hootsuite, Ow.ly is a link shortener that’s included in every free Hootsuite account. With Ow.ly, you can distribute your links and track their performance metrics directly in the Hootsuite platform, which allows you to shorten every single link you post to all your social media profiles. Ow.ly is a great option for anyone who already uses Hootsuite as their social media management platform.
The one limitation of this tool is that there’s no information on the features that Ow.ly offers, including the number of tracked clicks. A UTM builder is available within the platform.
Current Hootsuite users or those who are interested in managing their social media presence using Hootsuite. The best part is that it’s free, making it a good choice if you’re just getting started with Hootsuite.
- Integrated right in the Hootsuite platform
- Ability to see link analytics alongside other social analytics
- UTM builder available within the settings
- A natural choice for those who are using Hootsuite
- No option to shorten links without signing up
- Not a great choice for those who aren’t using Hootsuite; other options offer more robust features
Linktree isn’t strictly a URL shortening service. Rather, it’s a service where you add a list of links to a profile (like this one). Instead of listing all of the links you want to promote on every social post or profile, you add them to your Linktree. You then add the Linktree URL to your social bios.
This tool is ideal for platforms such as Instagram, where you can add only one link to your profile. The best part is that Linktree offers a short and user-friendly URL structure (e.g. linktr.ee/yourname) so that it looks and feels like a shortened link. You won’t have to clutter your Instagram profile with a long and spammy-looking URL.
It also offers analytics that allow you to see which links get clicked on the most and how much traffic your Linktree profile is getting.
Avid Instagram users who want to keep all of their links in one place. It offers analytics as well, so you could potentially use it for business and marketing purposes.
- Allows you to keep unlimited links in one place
- Short and user-friendly profile link is easy to remember
- Best choice for Instagram users
- Not a good fit if you’re trying to shorten individual links
- Free version doesn’t allow you to see detailed analytics
- Wouldn’t count as a backlink, while a traditional shortened link would
TinyURL is a free link shortening platform that’s perfect for users who want to shorten links every once in a while.
Using TinyURL is simple. All you have to do is go to TinyURL.com and follow the instructions. You can quickly fill in the link you want a short URL for and add a custom alias. If no one uses your alias, the link you will get will look something like “tinyurl.com/alias.” Once you fill in the URL information and press submit, you can rename, edit, and share the URL.
Don’t be tricked by the tool’s simplicity: It also allows you to track key metrics and analytics for your links after you sign up for a free account. Even if you only use it for a one-time project, you can track the success of the campaign with ease. The one limitation is that it only allows you to keep one active TinyURL at a time unless you upgrade to a paid subscription.
Hobbyists who want to shorten links only once in a while. Because of its emphasis on its plug-in-and-go link shortener, it’s a much better fit for you if you’re planning to trim one link at a time and use it for a short while.
- One of the easiest link shorteners in this list, with an emphasis in its plug-in-and-go tool
- Includes analytics in case you want to track clicks and performance
- Allows you to establish a custom slug right away — Bitly only lets you when you sign up
- Only allows you to keep one active TinyURL at a time on the free version
Tiny.CC is another free link shortener that allows you to create temporary short links by simply pasting your long link into a text box and pressing Shorten. Like TinyURL, you can also customize the slug.
If you register or become a paid subscriber, you can have non-expiring links and edit URLs later. If you’re a free user, the link will eventually expire and you cannot edit them once they’re generated. While it’s the most limited tool in this list, it’s also the easiest to use.
It has the added benefit of having a short domain name. Consider the difference between “TinyURL.com/example” and “Tiny.CC/example.” While the character count might not be so different, the shortened URL from Tiny.CC looks a lot more concise and trim.
Quick and easy one-time link shortening. If you’re interested in more robust features, you can upgrade to one of Tiny.CC’s premium plans.
- The easiest link shortener in this list — simply plug in and go
- Ability to customize the slug without needing to sign in
- Paid options start at a cheaper price point ($5 versus Rebrandly’s $29, as an example)
- Easy option for quick link shortening
- The free tool is much more limited in scope and features than other options
After you master shortening your URLs, you might also want to look into a similar process of creating QR codes, which acts like a shortcut to your website — but from print materials instead.
Navigating Link Shorteners
If you have to share a few ginormous links, there’s no harm in shortening them because the process is quick and simple. Aside from being easier to look at, shortened links can also be helpful for print ads, physical signage, or places where you can’t link to another site.
There is a handful of free or affordable link shortening websites out there. But you might be wondering which to choose. To help you, we’ll leave you with a few quick tips.
- If you don’t use website analytics software, you might want to use a link-shortener that includes basic stats like page views and clicks to measure your traffic.
- If you want to customize your link, choose a shortener that allows you to edit the URL slugs. All of the options on the list allow you to do that, but some, like Bitly, require you to sign up for an account first.
- Branded shortened links look and perform better than unbranded shortened links. Rebrandly and Bitly are two of the best options to brand your shortened links.
- Use Tiny.CC and TinyURL for quick link shortening. They don’t require you to sign up and allow you to edit the slug in one simple step.
- You won’t be able to transfer a link from one link shortener to another, so choose one wisely.
- If you’re looking for the cheapest premium option, Tiny.CC starts at $5 monthly and offers comparable features to more expensive options.
Use an URL Shortener to Drive More Referral Traffic
Link shorteners allow you to place a link on places with limited character count and space. By using a URL shortener, you can ensure your site is visible on all of the platforms you’re on, boosting referral traffic and increasing leads from your marketing efforts.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
You didn’t think we’d launch a podcast network without a new HubSpot show, did you?
We’re excited to announce our new flagship podcast, The Shake Up, featuring comedian Alexis Gay and Venture Capitalist Brianne Kimmel. It’s produced by Senior Producer, Matthew Brown and brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.
The Shake Up offers business leaders unfiltered insights into companies that dared to be different. Alexis and Brianne talk with business leaders from disruptive companies like Square, Daily Harvest, and Nerdwallet about their investments and go-to-market strategies.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, now we’re going to tell you how we did it, including:
- Our planning process
- Building the format of the show
- The structure of a successful podcast team
Let’s dive in.
How Can We Be Better and Different?
Once we know our business objective, audience, and budget we set out to put together a show concept that will resonate with our audience and help us hit our goals.
To do that, we needed to know what our audience is listening to today.
According to Chartable, there are over 8,334 branded podcasts on Apple Podcasts.
While we couldn’t audit all of them (we’re only human), we did want to understand the tactics used by the top podcasts in the business category. So, we did an audit.
We evaluated 20 high-performing business podcasts and gained five insights.
- Male Voices: 87% of the hosts were male.
- News & Commentary: 18 out of 20 podcasts provided commentary on industry news.
- Broadcast Communications: Very few shows used audience engagement tactics to connect the audience with the hosts.
- Business & Academic: The tone of the shows was lackluster and many used jargon.
This audit gave us the context to define our strategy.
How would our show be better and different?
- Diverse Voices: A commitment to diverse voices across hosts and guests.
- Research & Stories: Focusing editorially on relevant stories with added depth.
- Audience Engagement: Featuring our hosts and implementing tactics to engage the audience on social media.
- Business & Entertainment: We don’t have to be boring and unfashionable to talk business.
These became our editorial guidelines for the rest of the show.
Deciding on the Show Format
Next, we set our show format.
There are a few common podcast formats that have the ability to grow an audience.
- Interview: A show type that brings on an expert guest for a Q&A.
- Chat Cast: A co-hosted format where hosts provide commentary and criticism on a variety of topics.
- Debate: A co-hosted format where hosts take one side of the argument. Debating the facts, figures, and opinions on a given topic.
- Narrative: A journalistic-style podcast that includes research, scripts, and a strong storyline.
After exploring various formats, we went with a hybrid format — Chat Cast + Interview.
Bringing together the energy of a chat cast with the expertise of an interview.
Sample Episode topic: Why Is Every Company Suddenly A Media Company
Segment 1: The Context
In the opening segment, our co-hosts will provide context and talk through some fun facts and stats about the episode topic
Ex.) HubSpot acquired The Hustle
Segment 2: The Debate / Discuss
In this segment, we’ll give our hosts a series of questions on the topic and questions we are featuring for some off-the-cuff opinions on both.
Ex.) Should more SaaS companies follow suit? What happens to media companies if all companies are media companies?
Segment 3: The Interview
In this segment, we’ll bring on the business leader of the company/topic we are discussing to get the real story behind the decision and the other decisions that have made them successful.
Ex.) Kipp Bodnar about the Hustle Acquisition
Finally, we had to figure out how we were going to make this thing.
Your Podcast Team
To build a high-quality podcast, you need to invest in a team.
There are countless things that need to happen in the making of a show. We have broken down those responsibilities into eight core roles, but there are often teams of much more, and there are also teams of much less who are doing 3-4 jobs each:
- Executive Producer — The showrunner. Head of operations, creates a vision for the overall show, leads pre-production through post-production, and manages the staff and logistics.
- Senior Producer — Establishes content and narrative arc for each episode, writes and edits the scripts, coaches the host, manages the production calendar, research, prep; as well as produce interviews, tape edits, and does preliminary sound design.
- Producer — Booking, research, interview prep, transcriptions, edits tape, creates outlines, and works on scripts.
- Editor — Oversees the development of story ideas and gives critical feedback on story frameworks and scripts.
- Host — Storyteller who shapes the show through their editorial decisions and personality. They prepare for interviews and write / edit scripts.
- Managing Producer —New podcast development and builds management processes/paths necessary for a successful program.
- Engineer —The first and final stop in the production process. Creates the soundscape for the show by editing and mastering audio to create a seamless listening experience.
- Editorial Director — Shapes the vision and leads all planning and execution for podcasts. Drives the creative conception from ideation to execution. Collaborates with company leaders on distribution.
This list does not include the folks involved outside of podcast creation, including the creative team involved with making promotional assets, the person responsible for the communication plan of the show, and more.
Another layer of difficulty here is the decision of whether to build a team in-house or search for a podcast production agency that can fill these roles for you.
Resourcing was one of the biggest challenges in the creation of The Shake Up. We’ll let you behind the scenes on some of our decisions:
- Internal or external talent for hosts: A host will make or break a podcast. Simple as that. They can either draw an audience in or push them away. We had a very specific vision for the hosts of our show and for that reason, we chose to lead an external search for talent. We chose Alexis and Brianne because of their combination of dynamism and experience, among other things.
- Hire a sound engineer or bring in an agency: Engineers perfect the sound of your show. Because of the quality of sound we wanted for this show, we decided to bring in an agency because of the heavy expertise of their team and the resources they have for the job.
We were also lucky enough to have a Senior Producer, Matthew Brown, on staff, who has won awards for previous shows like The Growth Show.
So if you’re looking to invest in a team to create podcasts, use this list as a starting point to gain an understanding of the different moving parts, and carefully consider the decision of hiring for these roles, or bringing in some external help.
But the list is just a starting point, and if there’s anything that we can recommend about podcast creation, it’s the quote from Lao Tzu, “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” And your opponent, in this case, is the amount of work involved in creating a show.
Invest in the resources to do it right, and understand that it takes a village.
What Are You Waiting For?
Podcasts aren’t a new medium, but they are having a moment.
- Spotify has heavily invested in the podcast portion of their platform, striking exclusive deals with podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, and designing a total rehaul of the podcast UI.
- Statista predicts the industry will have a CAGR of 17%, reaching 164 million listeners in the US by 2023.
- Apple, not to be outdone, is making a bet on podcast subscriptions.
Will podcast marketing become as standard as content marketing? Will having a podcast become as ubiquitous as having a blog?
Time will tell, but it’s clear that this is the “wave” that many podcasters predicted.
At HubSpot, we have chosen to invest heavily in media going forward, and podcasts are a large part of that strategy. The HubSpot Podcast Network and The Shake Up are the first parts of that.
If, after reading this, you choose to invest in building one, here is a checklist you should follow:
- Define your audience and their problem.
- Decide if a podcast is a good medium to provide a solution to that problem.
- Audit the podcasts in your target space, figure out how you can be better and different.
- Propose the theme and format of your show.
- Build a podcast team: host, producer, sound engineer.
- You’re off to the races.
We are incredibly proud of the hard work that went into launching The Shake Up. Listen to it here on your favorite podcast platform.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 7% rate of job growth is expected for marketing managers from 2019 to 2029.
To help stand out from your competition in the hiring process as well as feel entirely confident in your ability to perform in your social media role, you may want to take a social media course.
In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the best social media marketing courses that are available today.
Best Social Media Marketing Courses
Platform: HubSpot Academy
HubSpot’s Social Media Certification course is a robust program designed to help you attract customers and partners, and build brand loyalty. Because social media is the key to inbound marketing, this course ties in the two concepts seamlessly.
The course is flexible enough so that you can work on it on your time. It covers essential topics such as measuring ROI, extending reach, social media content creation, and social listening. You might also select to take specific lessons within the HubSpot Academy course — for instance, this one on Social Media Advertising.
Notable Takeaway: Learn how to create an inbound social media marketing strategy.
Platform: Google Digital Garage
Google’s social media certification has over 300,000 students and provides courses in social media, mobile marketing, SEO, and web optimization.
The courses explain paid and organic search and teach you how to develop search-engine-optimized web pages.
Learning how to optimize pages for search on a popular search engine (for free) sounds like a win-win. At the completion of the course, you’ll receive a digital certificate you can add to your LinkedIn profile and resume.
Notable Takeaway: Better understand SEO and its relationship with digital marketing.
WordStream offers the necessary educational resources to develop a strong understanding of social media advertisements. This includes social media ads on a variety of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn.
There’s also information about why and how to advertise on social media as well as education around best practices while advertising across these platforms.
Lastly, you’ll learn about social media ad metrics and social shopping — this way, you can effectively track measure your success as well as target your audience when and where they’re ready to make a purchase.
Notable Feature: Learn about social ads on the major platforms including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn.
Platform: Constant Contact
Constant Contact is a great educational resource for beginners and those who are new to the world of social media marketing.
There are step-by-step instructions on how to create and maintain your social media presence across every major platform. This includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google My Business, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Notable Feature: Learn everything you need to get started in social media marketing.
Price: Free or paid (depending on the social media course)
On Skillshare, you can pick classes that suit your interests and save classes to refer to later. There’s a variety of business topics you can take classes on.
As for social media marketing specifically, you can filter social media marketing classes by the time that they take to complete, whether they’re free or premium, whether or not the topic is trending, and more.
Notable Takeaway: Select the specific social media marketing topic and lesson time that best suits your need.
Acadium is an apprenticeship and mentorship program — there are a number of lessons within the Digital Marketing Course that you can take before, after, or during your apprenticeship.
The courses offered cover an array of digital marketing topics including but not limited to social media marketing, paid advertising, email marketing, SEO, and content marketing.
Notable Takeaway: Get a full understanding of digital marketing while working an apprenticeship in which you can develop real-world experience.
Platform: Boot Camp Digital
Digital Marketing 101 by Boot Camp Digital is an impactful, video-led training that takes you on a deep dive into the basics of digital marketing and using it for social media. This is beginner-level training and can be completed in six hours.
Boot Camp’s clientele includes Nike, NASA, GE, and Georgia-Pacific, and the platform gives buyers unlimited access once purchased. It provides a digital marketing template, ROI information, benchmarking, and a bonus-free digital tools course.
Notable Takeaway: Learn about digital marketing and work through a comprehensive section on social media marketing and strategy.
Platform: Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
Wharton’s course is considered an intermediate dive into the intersection of digital marketing, social media marketing, and ecommerce. It’s a self-paced, six-week class that demands three hours of your time each week.
This course is structured specifically for marketing professionals, small business owners, and consumers who want to know social media techniques. You’ll learn how to produce marketing campaigns that are effective for your business.
Notable Takeaway: Marketing course designed for professionals.
Price: Enroll for free
Platform: University of California, Davis
In this online class offered by the University of California, Davis, you’ll learn how to create a content marketing strategy and develop an understanding of the ecosystem surrounding that strategy. Ample time will also be spent working on strategic writing and framing.
The different types of content marketing will be reviewed along with how they’re integral to social media marketing.There are five weeks worth of material paired with videos, exercises, readings, and quizzes.
Notable Takeaway: Learn about the power of integrating your content marketing and social media marketing strategies.
Rather than a complete level one course in social media, this offering, by Udemy is a Masterclass on the subject, uniquely centered around ethical digital marketing techniques.
You’ll learn how to set up a powerful marketing strategy and a schedule that aligns with accomplishing business goals.
You’ll also dive into how social media marketing integrates with your business, email marketing, and building an online community. This course can be completed in 20 hours, and gives you a certificate of completion at its end.
Notable Takeaway: Learn how to build a social media marketing strategy and schedule for your unique business.
Find Your Ideal Social Media Marketing Course
Social media marketing can be extremely powerful when done right — and understanding how to apply the most effective and up-to-date strategies will help you stand out from other social media marketers and strategists so you can propel your career.
So, identity the right course for your experience level, budget, and goals — then get started learning.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
“Curation” is one of those words that’s always conveyed coolness to me.
Take, for example, curating an art gallery, or curating music for a soundtrack. Cool, right? Content curation can be just as cool – and just as important.
Where do you get started on content curation?
In this blog post, you’ll find an explanation of what it is, how it can serve your brand and a series of tools you can use at every experience level.
What is content curation?
Content curation consists of finding material relevant to your audience from a variety of sources and sharing it strategically through your communication channels.
Say you’re a marketing agency. You could write a blog post with a roundup of top product demos and add some context on why you picked them. That list of demos would be curated by you based on what you believe your audience will find most valuable.
So, now that we’ve answered, “What is curated content? ” Let’s get into the benefits of this approach.
Benefits of Content Curation
One of the biggest benefits of content curation is that it adds value to your audience.
There’s so much information out there today and most consumers don’t have the time (or the desire) to sift through hours of content. That’s where you come in.
You can figure out what matters most to them, find the content they care the most about and present it to them in a perfect bow. Who wouldn’t want that?
Think about your favorite music station, whether it’s on the radio or a streaming platform like Spotify or Pandora. While you could listen to hours of music and create your own playlists, it’s even better when someone does it for you and delivers all the hits you love most.
That develops into trust. Even if the curator drops a song you haven’t heard before, you give it a chance knowing there’s a good chance you’ll end up liking it.
The same goes for content curation. As you deliver great content, your audience starts to trust you and see you as a thought leader.
Furthermore, content curation is a great strategy for those weeks when you’re low on original content.
It’s easier to gather content from other sources than start from scratch. So when in doubt, curate content that other experts in your industry have covered.
What makes a successful content curator?
1. Content curation should be personal.
The beauty of news roundup NextDraft is the personal touch and context that its chief curator, Dave Pell, gives to each story.
I don’t just want a bunch of browsable links – I want to know why I should read this stuff, and how it pertains to me. That personalized context creates a type of bond between curator and reader that link aggregators doesn’t humanize quite as much.
2. Content curation should build value.
No matter which industry your customers are in, all of them want to stay informed but also save time.
Just like you, they have demands and can’t possibly keep up with all the latest news in their industry – but they want to. Solving this problem through content curation presents a huge opportunity for brands to build a relationship with their audience.
If you can deliver a curated experience that saves your customers time in getting the information they need, you’ve taken a major step on the path of building trust and loyalty.
3. Content curation should offset promotional content.
Customers can grow tired of brands ceaselessly promoting their own wares, which is why brands must think beyond products or features.
The relationship customers have with brands today transcends the product itself. After all, that’s part of the foundation of inbound marketing. While a product may initially attract you to a specific brand, it’s likely something else – like great content or remarkable service – that keeps you around.
4. Content curation shouldn’t take all day.
Once you’ve decided to curate content, the hard part begins gathering content. While bookmarking and reading lists may work in the beginning, those are not sustainable options.
Instead, there are curation tools specifically designed to help you gather, sift through, and curate content. Here’s our list below, categorized by level of expertise.
For Beginning Curators
If you occasionally share a relevant post with your customers, you’re already curating content. To build this into a scalable strategy, here are free curation tools to help you start getting in the habit of curating content, without being overwhelmed by complex tools, subscription fees, or convoluted dashboards.
Flipboard is a mobile and desktop app that allows you to create mini-magazines with links to your favorite news stories, blog posts, and websites.
After creating these magazines, you can open them up to the public so consumers can follow your content and share them on social media networks.
You can also include your own blog posts and links in your magazine, making it an opportunity for readers to learn more about your business.
To start using Flipboard, all you need to do is download the app and create an account. You can also look through the magazines of other users and share their stories in your own mini “publication with a quick tap.
Here’s a quick demo that walks you through how to use the app:
Pocket is a great place to get into the habit of accruing content to save and read later.
Instead of a laundry list of bookmarks or countless emails you’ve sent to yourself with links, it stores all your chosen images, articles, and videos in one place for reference.
You can group articles with tags, and the site’s built-in search functionality makes finding those articles easy. Plus, it integrates with over 500 other apps, like Evernote, easy easy synching.
And as a bonus, Pocket tweets out their @PocketHits for the most-saved articles on their platform – a must-follow if you’re active on Twitter.
Collecting content from various websites and sharing them in a way that is presentable and context is key to successful content curation.
Elink.io takes the pain out of content curation and allows anyone to save links on the go and turn them into beautiful, shareable content.
You can convert your links into a web page and embed them on a website or send them as a newsletter. They have a whopping 30+ responsive templates that you can customize to your liking. With over 80,000 users worldwide, elink is one of the best tools when it comes to fast and beautiful content curation.
Twitter can be hard to keep up with if you don’t organize the accounts you follow. That’s where Twitter Lists come in handy: curated groups of Twitter users that you can categorize and follow separately from the rest of your feed.
Say you curate marketing content, you could create a Twitter list for email marketing, another for blogging, and so on. Even better, you can make it public so that other Twitter users can access your lists as well.
Furthermore, if you create a Pocket account (mentioned above), you can easily save articles from Twitter directly into your account.
Click here to learn how to start your first Twitter list.
Whatever industry you’re in, stay on the lookout for newsletter subscriptions. And if a good one doesn’t exist in your industry, that’s the perfect opportunity to create one.
But before you start your own newsletter, learn from what other outlets are doing. Here are a few that are doing a great job in original content curation:
- The Hustle – Every day, The Hustle brings business and tech news right to your inbox. The team expertly breaks down top news in a witty, sharp tone that its audience enjoys – plus links to read the original content.
- The Daily Carnage – Want to stay updated on all things marketing? Carney’s got you covered. Their daily newsletter includes snippets of news in the marketing world along with a longer section that provides context for an external article they link to.
- The Daily Skimm – What this newsletter excels at is the tone and the brand voice. The team behind The Skimm knows exactly that its readers want the TLDR version of top news stories in a digestible way. Their newsletter does just that and that’s why it resonates so well with readers.
- Quartz Daily Brief: Quartz has figured out how to make a text-heavy newsletter a stalwart in the news business with its Daily Brief. The beauty of the newsletter, because it’s text-based, is the cross-platform functionality. Without heavy images, the Daily Brief loads quickly on phones, tablets, and desktops, making it easy to read on any device.
- Internet Brunch: Digital agency Big Spaceship created Internet Brunch to help folks “find the best news, GIFs, and trends from across the Internet.” From holidays to current events, to celebrity birthdays, this roundup is sure to cover the important stuff that helps readers stay in the loop.
For Intermediate Content Curators
Here are some great sources for when you’ve got the basics covered and you’re looking for something a little more comprehensive.
I like to think of Scoop.it as a nexus of content curation and social media, with a Pinterest-like user interface.
Start with a topic of interest, and Scoop.it will generate the most relevant articles to view and share as well as suggest relevant topics
Why we recommend Scoop.it:
- Their smart engine can monitor the topics you’re most interested in and identify related content you may like.
- Easy integration with WordPress.
- Content creation for multiple channels, including websites, emails, and social media
Pricing: $0 to $79/month, with customized pricing available for enterprise accounts.
If you’re stepping up your content curation game, Feedly should be at the top of your list. This tool is a news aggregator powered by artificial intelligence, one the brand has named Leo. Image Source
When you add a few of your favorite sources to Feedly, you can aggregate and browse these feeds in one place from your desktop and mobile devices.
This tool is best for filtering the content you’re interested in. Feedly leverages Leo to identify the content you care most about and filter out the ones you don’t.
Pricing: $6 to $12 a month, with a customizable plan available for enterprise accounts.
You might be wondering why Sniply, a conversion platform, is on this list.
Well, this tool actually goes hand-in-hand with content curation.
Let’s say you have a monthly newsletter in which you include links to articles pertaining to your industry. With a tool like Sniply, you can place a call-to-action (CTA) on the page you’re linking to. This way, you can redirect users back to your content and help them convert.
It’s also a custom link shortener, so you can create branded links that are short enough to share on Twitter and the like.
Pricing: $29 – $299/month
Want to focus your content curation on social media? Consider Quuu. Image Source
Quuu integrates with most major social media scheduling tools, including HubSpot, and allows you to discover and share content.
Why we recommend Quuu:
- It auto-categorizes your content, making it easier to sift through later.
- It offers reader-mode to make your experience free of distractions.
- The integrated scheduling dashboard makes it easy to share the content you discover.
Pricing: $0 to $15.83/month
Are you looking for a one-stop shop for your content curation? UpContent’s got you covered.
UpContent’s top features include:
- Content recommendations backed by machine learning algorithms.
- Approval workflows to ensure articles meant brands’ guidelines.
- Integration with top web hosting, social media scheduling, and email marketing software.
Pricing: $15 to $265/month
For Advanced Content Curators
Now we’re getting into some serious, enterprise-level curation software. These solutions are ideal for companies looking for a proven platform capable of supporting a team of users, editors, and content curators.
Enterprise-level curation requires advanced algorithms to find identify relevant content, a centralized publishing platform, and customizable publishing options.
The power of Curata lies in its ability to recommend and help you discover relevant content relevant to their respective audiences without manual labor.
Users can fine-tune, customize, and categorize content sources for review, and then distribute them – all from one central platform.
You can then use Curata’s publishing and promotion tools to repurpose curated content across your blog, social media accounts, newsletter, and automated marketing platforms.
Pricing: Not available
Which Tool Is Right For You?
Before you select the best tools for your business, it’s important to understand the role content curation will play in your marketing operations and the size of your team.
If you’re a one-person marketing department, for example, the beginner and intermediate options should suffice for your needs. As your business and team grow, content curation may play a larger role and require more powerful software.
At that point, some of the advanced tools will help save time curating and ensure everyone is on the same page. Regardless of your team or business size, content curation should become a part of your content marketing strategy.
Great curators build trust with their audiences and become an indispensable resource, as they distribute content their audiences care most about.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
To a prospect seeking out a new service provider, the process can be a little overwhelming. It’s easy to wonder: Who are the real people behind all the smoke and mirrors?
Adding a “Meet the Team” page or section to your website is an easy, effective way to give your business an accessible face. As one of your most important pages, it gives prospects an idea of who exactly they’ll be working with, and shows potential employees that you’re proud of the people on your team.
For some inspiration, see how these companies introduce visitors to their most important creative assets: their people.
Cool ‘Meet the Team’ Pages
1. Yokel Local
Yokel Local is a HubSpot Agency Partner that positions itself as an extension of its clients’ marketing teams. For that reason, this agency showcases its staff to highlight the humans behind the brand.
What’s pleasing about this particular page is the simplicity: The grid design provides a modern feel, and clicking on a face opens a box with more information about the team member, including their bio, credentials, and social profiles.
Why this works: Yokel Local doesn’t go overboard with its “Meet the Team” page, and it doesn’t need to — everything potential clients need to know is presented in a clean grid format. This way, it’s clear who’s behind the agency.
2. Philly Reps
As a contrast to more elaborate designs we’ll see later in this list, Philly Reps is another agency that takes a cleaner, more minimal approach to its team page. Members are presented in grayscale images that take up the majority of screen space for a nice consistent look and feel.
Below images are brief descriptions of each member. Notice how Philly Reps has made each description roughly the same length to maintain balance and alignment between grid elements. Most won’t notice this detail, but it results in a page with maximum readability.
Why this works: Large grayscale headshots of team members bring character and personality to the brand while maintaining visual consistency.
Since most employee bios read a lot like a list of stats (“10 years in the industry … 4 years at the company … Managed 80 website redesign projects … “) the folks at Digital Marmalade decided to have a little fun with the format.
Each employee at the London-based marketing agency has a trading card-style profile detailing their actual marketing accomplishments and personal facts, as well as their fictional superhero abilities. It’s a quirky twist that gives visitors a colorful snapshot of the agency’s team, highlighting both their impressive experience and friendly culture.
Why this works: Digital Marmalade balances its show of technical proficiency and fun with employee stats that list both skills and “superpowers.” Additionally, headshots are all similar in composition and background.
CloudHorizon is a mobile product development company. On its about page, it says, “Some of the more rewarding projects we have had the honour to be involved in, started with simple ideas and grew profitable businesses from the ground up.”
With this in mind, CloudHorizon’s “Meet our team” section is a great way to illustrate that idea. When you hover over an image of a team member, their thumbnail flips to reveal a photo from their childhood with a small caption of what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Why this works: This clever idea highlights both the diversity of backgrounds that the CloudHorizon team brings, as well as the uniqueness of each member. It also provides a sense of friendly nostalgia to new visitors.
Bolden’s team bios are more conventional than some of the others on this list, but what they lack in invention they make up for in style.
Hovering over each team member’s picture produces a darker alternative almost like an image negative, revealing the employee’s name along with an outfit change. This is a great example of a minimal, accessible “Meet the Team” page that manages to look cool and introduce the faces behind the agency without going over the top.
Why this works: Bolden implements a subtle but unique and effective hover effect for its team member cards for some extra visual flair. As a digital design agency, these small moments show capability.
Rock Kitchen Harris, a full-service agency, decided to skip the photos altogether and showcase the cartoon versions of their employees instead.
Each employee at the English agency had a custom caricature drawn up, and every single one has a different personality. While some employees opted for representations reminiscent of LinkedIn profile pictures, others got a little creative with it, dressing their cartoon selves up as Ewoks and other characters. Employees can also be easily filtered by specialty.
Why this works: The choice to make renderings of each employee brings a lot of character and personality to this agency’s website. Plus, it gives the chance for employees to have a bit of extra fun as well.
FCINQ, a creative studio, introduces us to their team with a collage of colorful bubbles.
Hovering over an employee’s circle produces a zoomed-in effect, and clicking expands their headshot with their name and social profiles. The splashy setup is a stylish alternative to the expected rows of team photos and names.
Why this works: FCINQ’s team section is a nice departure from the standard grid layout while staying intuitive and informative.
This Canadian agency presents its founding team with refreshing comedic flair. While many agency leaders choose to represent themselves with stoic business portraits, the three leaders of Zulu Alpha Kilo opted for playful photos and cheeky bios.
Here’s an excerpt from the bio of Marcus Alpha — the agency’s “Ultra Chief Creative Director Officer”:
Marcus has a reputation for pushing his creative teams further than any other creative director. He makes them work late nights, weekends and through holidays in pursuit of that one truly breakthrough creative idea. And when they’ve finally cracked it after weeks of grueling and thankless work, Marcus will triumphantly stand in front of the client and present it as an idea he had in the shower that morning instead.
Why this works: Zulu Alpha Kilo leverages humor with its portraits and text content to draw potential clients in search of a partner on the quirky side.
We love this expertly color-coordinated slideshow of team members from Stink Studios. This creative agency has offices in five major cities around the world — including New York, Paris, and Berlin — but having a personable “Meet the Team” section helps give their business an accessible edge. They don’t call themselves “a global company with a local feel” for nothing.
Why this works: The broken grid layout of this website’s team page is colorful, inviting, clean, and a touch playful as well.
The video pros at the agency CRUX have crafted a truly captivating website that makes excellent use of their medium. The entire website is presented as a “video” inside an editing program; visitors can “play” the video by scrolling or via the timeline at the bottom of the screen.
When you reach the “About” section, each team member drifts into focus alongside a humorous description. This website is unlike anything we’ve seen before and establishes this team as unique, ambitious thinkers and creators.
Why this works: CRUX takes a one-of-a-kind approach to its team page (and its entire website) that cleverly combines visual features of a website with those of a video editing program.
As one of the more artsy entries in this list, this “Meet the Team” section from Drexler is proof that you don’t need a whole page devoted to introducing your employees — just a section can do the trick.
This simple but polished team member marquee appears down the homepage and plays with scrolling to reveal each team member’s portrait. The “hands-on” portrait aesthetic is certainly unique as well, creating a homepage that only this group could think up.
Why this works: Drexler utilizes scrolling to present team photos in a scanning pattern, complete with peculiar but captivating portraits.
As a branding agency, Matchstic knows the importance of identity, creativity, and individuality. Not only does its “Who We Are” section provide that identity by highlighting the human element of their brand, but it also shows their creative side. When you hover over each thumbnail, a goofy illustration is overlaid onto the photo.
In addition, the custom cursor, which only shows up on the About page, is a strong callback to the Matchstic brand, implying a kinetic energy that starts with the lighting of a match.
Why this works: Matchstic applies a cartoon-style hover effect to its employee portraits, implying fun, imagination, and creativity behind the otherwise straightforward profiles. The custom cursor is an extra, delightful touch.
Atlassian, a company behind many of the software solutions used in businesses worldwide, highlights photos of their team on their “people” page, interacting at the office and hard at work.
Below, they showcase their leadership team with colorful headshots that break out of colorful background boxes, similar to Matchstic. When you hover over, vector graphics appear relating to the individual’s unique role.
In addition, a popup appears on click with social icons and a bio. What’s particularly interesting is the option to download their headshot, some extra utility for media professionals.
Why this works: Atlassian’s people page is both professional and quirky, with useful features like bios, social media links, and an option to download headshots.
14. Heart Creative
Heart Creative presents its team members on its “about us” page, and hovering the cursor over portraits reveals some extra character behind each employee. Given the agency specializes in culinary endeavors, these alternate photos are usually food-related.
For some added navigational ease, users can sort cards by team. Selecting an option from the dropdown will show the relevant members. You have the option to visit each individual’s LinkedIn profile as well.
Why this works: Heart Creative lends a touch of fun to its “Meet the Team” section by displaying alternative portraits on mouseover. Each team member shows off what they love, which puts some extra personality behind the brand.
LiveChat, an AI customer service and chatbot solution, approached their team page in a completely different way. Instead of just listing out each team member’s roles and experience, they created a photo for each team member that illustrates who they are in a conceptual, fun, and metaphorical way. Given the size of the company, this was quite the endeavor.
LiveChat’s approach is extremely effective for showcasing the uniqueness of their team, and it compels the website visitor to take the team to look at each picture and read each bio. This results in longer time on page, an important engagement metric.
Why this works: The LiveChat team page places enormous emphasis on each member’s personality and interests. It’s clear that LiveChat values everyone and knows the real strength of any business is the people.
Many large companies forgo the traditional “Meet the Team” page because there are so many team members that it doesn’t make sense to display them all. At Etsy, though, they acknowledge all the people that make the popular online marketplace possible with a tiled “people board” that scrolls for days.
Why this works: While impractical to provide bios of every team member, Etsy compromises with a collage of team portraits as a testament to the strength behind the company.
Digital content specialists UWG have created a stunning team page that’s as much about personality as it is about personnel. Team members are shown in lively portraits against solid backgrounds. Most images are squares, but the page occasionally breaks this pattern for some visual variety. For more information about a team member, you can click a portrait to open a modal.
Why this works: This team page is simple, yet bold and effective. Each portrait is packed with personality, and together the images form a vibrant collage. It’s the kind of “Meet the Team” page that makes you actually want to meet the team.
The Correspondent is an organization that offers news without fear-mongering or financial gain. In true journalistic style, the site features each team member in a beautifully rendered cartoon style, providing an artistic feel to the page.
Clicking on each thumbnail leads the website visitor to a place where they can subscribe to that particular writer and view a feed of their pieces. Best of all, the individual’s mission is displayed across the top and contact information in the sidebar.
Why this works: Sketch renderings of every team member lend to the publication aesthetic of The Correspondent. Readers can easily find a particular writer’s stories as well by clicking a card.
What better way to convey the personality of your team than to display their favorite gifs on mouse hover? That’s what digital marketing agency Bluleadz does. You can almost imagine these folks in the scenarios their gifs represent.
Another useful feature of this “Meet the Crew” page is the ability to filter Bluleadz employees by function. Each button at the bottom corresponds to a team and brings up the individuals who “make the magic happen” in that area of the business.
Why this works: Yet another way to add personality to a team page, Blueleadz includes a favorite gif for each team member. It’s fun, entertaining, and potentially converting.
20. Media Junction
Bold blocky pops of color? Yes, please. HubSpot Elite Agency Partner Media Junction displays their team thumbnails on solid backgrounds with vector shadows. Each photo is a little silly, and many of them bring their furry friends into the picture with them.
In addition, their leadership team’s thumbnails are clickable so that you can read more about them and even send them a message for more information.
Why this works: Media Junction is afraid to show its playful side on the team page — images are colorful, inviting, and animated for a dash of style that keeps users on the page.
“Meet the Team” Page Best Practices
So, what can we learn from these exceptional examples? Here are some tips and design best practices that you can take away and apply to your own team page:
Most visitors will expect your team page to feature photos of your employees. Make sure these photos are high-quality and visually consistent (including dimensions). From there, you can add as much personality as you want. Or, you could try an illustrated alternative, as we saw in some examples above.
At the very least, each member profile should include a photo, name, and job title. For more details, you might choose to add a short bio of each employee that outlines their role, experience, accomplishments, and interests. This is especially fitting for agencies that collaborate extensively and in-person with clients — you’ll want to build trust, and bios are a great way to get there.
In addition to your employees’ names, titles, and bios, you might also choose to link to their social media profiles on your team page. While not necessary, this can help potential clients reach out to members through another preferred channel.
A LinkedIn profile link is likely enough, as you can be confident that employees will keep their posts professional on the site. However, link to other profiles (e.g., Twitter, Instagram) with caution, as you can’t be sure their conduct on these sites is company-appropriate.
Yes, simply saying “personality” may seem like a cop-out answer. We’re being intentionally vague here because each company will have its own approach to adding some extra character to their “Meet the Team” page. Depending on your brand, this might mean incorporating fun portraits, humorous descriptions, or eye-catching effects.
As we’ve seen, the best team pages inject personality in a way that aligns with their branding. Some pages lean formal but sneak in some fun elements, some are clearly aiming for humor, and others play it more serious. In all cases, the pages maintain a professional feel, even those that are funny.
You don’t need to go overboard here, but adding a little something extra can show your company is willing to go above and beyond for the best customer experience. It also helps your business stand out in the minds of users who might be wading through dozens of competing sites.
Show Off Your Team in Style
“Meet the Team” pages resonate because people like to buy from real people. The best practice is to determine what your brand stands for, then create a “Meet the Team” and About page that conveys that in the strongest possible way. Whether that’s going for an elaborate, eye-catching page or a simpler grid display, visitors will appreciate being able to put a face to your brand.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Running a successful website means staying alert for errors like broken pages or slow performance. However, sometimes there are problems that you just can’t avoid, and 404 errors are one of them.
A 404 occurs when a user requests a page on your website that doesn’t exist, thus throwing a 404 error page prompting users to return to the right place. No matter how many resources you put into ensuring your website never goes down … there’s always a chance that users could end up here.
It’s inconvenient, but a fact of life. And the reaction of visitors when they land on a nonexistent page can range from “taking it in stride” to “totally losing their minds.”
While there’s nothing you can do about the latter, you can make things a little less of a pain by having a creative error 404 message. This can do wonders to make your website visitors crack a smile in an otherwise frustrating situation.
To get your website design juices flowing, this post will showcase some of our favorite website error pages. Hopefully, you’ll be able to take away a few ideas to snazz up your own 404 message.
What is a 404 Error?
A 404 error is a standard HTTP error message code that means the website you were trying to reach couldn’t be found on the server. It’s a client-side error, meaning either the webpage was removed or moved and the URL wasn’t changed accordingly, or the person just typed in the URL incorrectly.
For the most part, you can configure your server to create a customized 404 error page. (If you’re a HubSpot customer, click here to learn how to customize your 404 page in HubSpot.)
Some customized 404 error pages include a hero image, witty description, site map, search form, or basic contact information.
The Best 404 Web Page Examples
Over the years, websites have found different ways to inform visitors of a 404 error and channel them back to the right place, some simply, some creatively, and some hilariously. Let’s start by looking at some creative 404 pages, then check out some funny examples that are sure to delight anyone who comes across them.
Page Not Found: TK Creative 404 Error Pages
While a 404 page can easily stick out from a website, Pipcorn’s error page aligns perfectly with the rest of the site’s branding. There’s a nice animated background, a friendly text prompt directing visitors to search the website (complete with a clever pun), and a piece of popcorn used as the “0” in “404.”
Music streaming giant Spotify has covered its bases with a clever 404 page. With a witty pun off Kanye West’s album “808s and Heartbreak” and a record animation, the website briefly entertains and then sends visitors back to the page they came from.
One simple way to ease the tension on your 404 page is to add a quick “Oops!” message — it helps your site feel more personable as you guide users back to the right place. In the case of Genially’s site, the page also includes a nifty illustration paired with some playful copy.
As you would expect, Adobe’s 404 error page is both useful and visually pleasing. It lists out popular links that visitors might want alongside some cool digital artwork serving as a visual metaphor for a broken or lost page. Honestly, websites should use visual metaphors more often.
The 404 page for Clorox cleaning products rotates between three lighthearted photos to signal to visitors that they’ve made a misstep. It’s a smart use of branding to add a brief delight moment while helping out lost users.
Other times, you might not need a witty blurb — just tell visitors that there’s no page at the address and let them move on. Entertainment consulting agency Duma Collective does just this with its error page, though it’s complemented by a background image for some minor flair.
Speaking of flair, self-care brand Chillhouse has put in the extra work to reroute its visitors in style. The 404 page is branded appropriately and even takes visitors on a little journey through a few image stills before they go back to the homepage.
If you enter an incorrect Bitly link, you’ll be taken to Bitly’s 404 page. We assume this happens a fair amount, which is why the 404 page gets straight to the point. It explains what might have gone wrong and prompts users to visit the Bitly homepage if that’s what they’re after.
Ikea’s 404 page is similarly minimalist but still manages to sneak some smart branding in there. This example shows that your error pages don’t need to be elaborate to get the point across, but there’s nothing wrong with injecting some fun either.
10. Moxie Design Co.
Sure, “blew up the Internet” might be a bit hyperbolic, but it tells visitors that Moxie Design Co. doesn’t take itself too seriously with small slip-ups like this one. Also, a search bar is conveniently placed at the bottom to send you on your way.
Ah, the classic “we lost the page” trick. Again, an easy way to present a 404 without alienating your audience. If you’re an agency like McKissack & McKissack that manages many client interactions, clear and concise copy is essential for all of your site’s pages, including error pages.
12. CSS Tricks
Ever ripped away a website’s wrapping to see what’s underneath? That’s the concept that CSS Tricks was going for in their 404 error page. This is both witty and reminiscent of what the website is all about: smart use of page styling.
13. Good Old Games
For other websites, you unwrap the front end and there’s … just the vast emptiness of space. This page is a clever reference to GOG Galaxy, which is Good Old Games’ native video game client. Thankfully, a little video game character is there to give visitors a place to report an error if they want.
For something a little different, check out Canva’s 404 page. It includes not just an error message, but a nifty tile puzzle visitors can play for some brief entertainment. There’s no harm in letting your visitors slack off for a couple of minutes, right?
Similar to Canva’s approach, Innotech features a Pong-esque game on its 404 page to provide some brief entertainment. Chances are you’ll remember a website like this. Plus, the fun detour complements a truly impressive website — seriously, when you’re done playing, head to the home page and take it all in.
Video agency Myriad has opted for a quirky, on-brand 404 page design that mimics the classic SMPTE color bars that appear on old tapes and TVs. It’s a funny throwback to older technologies while representing the more modern problem of a nonexistent web page.
Known for her popular cleaning and organization methods and brand, Marie Kondo has brought a similar feel to her website’s 404 page. The copy briefly and humorously harkens back to her tidying philosophy — a small but well-branded detail that fans will recognize.
Not only is the illustration on this error page detailed and engaging — the copy is clever, too. We love the reference to the Semisonic song “Closing Time”: “You can click anywhere else, but you can’t click here.”
Hot Dot’s error page stays true to its tagline, “the intersection of new technologies and design.” The page is animated by hundreds of tiny dots that change direction in response to where you move your cursor. It’s mesmerizing and a great showcase of the agency’s design capabilities.
If you’re going to give an error message, why not entertain the user for a few seconds while you help them out? Following a friendly greeting, OrangeCoat offers a flowchart that actually helps users figure out why they reached an error page in the first place.
21. Ervin & Smith
This 404 page does more than redirect users back to active pages. Instead, Ervin & Smith’s 404 page invites you to scroll down and learn why you need a digital marketing agency, and why to choose Ervin & Smith in particular, capped off with a contact form. True to its mission, this agency shows that any page can be a conversion opportunity.
22. DayCloud Studios
… or, your 404 can just be a place to waste time for a minute, as can be seen on the website for DayCloud Studios. Moving the cursor around the screen reveals a 404 message illuminated by lasers shooting from a cat’s eyes. Because why not?
Another instance of a website smartly incorporating its brand messaging into a 404 page — guided meditation app Headspace makes the effort to calm users, encouraging us to take a deep breath, then return to the main site.
24. Wildwood Bakery
Some websites thus far have integrated clever branded copy in their pages, while others have hosted full-blown online games on theirs. But, there’s nothing wrong with a brief push back in the right direction. Wildwood Bakery’s exquisite site keeps things short and sweet (literally).
Page Not Found: TK Funny 404 Error Pages
Design agency Astuteo’s 404 page is a perfect balance of elegant visuals, humor, and helpfulness. The minimal layout gives users the information they need alongside another amusing visual metaphor, a sinking cargo ship and a fleeing figure.
There’s few words needed on LEGO’s 404 error page — the character’s expression makes everything clear. Plus, fans of the LEGO movie franchise will enjoy the fun reference in the copy.
In this funny error message, Magnt pokes fun at the fact that, yes, they could have broken something — or, you just can’t type. The visual serves as a quick way to quickly illustrate their point.
IconFinder’s error page is simple but delightful. The company’s mascot wearing a robe and appearing weary is a relatable nod to lost visitors. No worries though, since the site lists some of its links to visit down below.
29. Sweet Dreams
Apparently, the team at sleep aid company Sweet Dreams took too many of its products according to the website’s 404 page. Not only is this page humorous — it also blends well with the rest of the site’s front-end aesthetic and messaging for a cohesive feel.
The line “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” refers to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi mind trick on Stormtroopers in Star Wars Episode IV, and it’s become a well-known phrase used to tell someone they’re pursuing the wrong course of action. GitHub plays on this famous line in their 404 error message.
Patagonia’s custom 404 page captures the brand’s vibe perfectly, complete with a boomerang video of a frisbee twirler, a clever pun combining “404” and “aloha,” and links to its product pages. It’s a friendly and funny way to greet visitors who wound up in the wrong place.
32. Cloud Sigma
Check it out: Cloud Sigma’s letting us in on some behind-the-scenes action. Their 404 error page pretends to be a “junior developer’s homepage” — that junior developer being, well, a cat.
33. AMC Theatres
You might have been to an AMC movie theater before, but you’ve hopefully never seen their website’s 404 page. The website makes use of a quick, funny, and relevant one-liner before it sends you back to the right place.
It’s no coincidence that creative agencies are great at coming up with cool 404 pages. Here’s another one from the creatives at Bruno that plays off the 2000 cult comedy classic Dude, Where’s My Car? No, it has nothing to do with the company or website, but it’s sure to get a chuckle.
At first, NPR’s error page seems like nothing special. But keep reading and you’ll see how they cleverly link to some of their great stories about lost people, places, and things, like a piece on Amelia Earhart and one on Waldo. This might just make lost users feel a little less alone.
Medium takes a similar approach to NPR’s 404 page, recommending articles about getting lost and losing things. Check these articles out if you have time — they’re quite good reads.
HomeStarRunner.com, home to a Flash-animated cartoon series, has had a series of hilarious 404 error pages over the years. The most recent features characters from the cartoon series in a scene that could’ve come straight out of one of their episodes. If you turn the sound on when you load the page, you’ll hear their character Strong Bad — known for yelling phrases out loud — saying, “404’d!”
Here’s a simple idea that ends up looking slick: Blizzard Entertainment’s 404 page features an animated character lost in an actual blizzard and some humor that World of Warcraft fans will appreciate.
39. Hello Big Idea
A quick trip around marketing and social media experts Hello Big Idea’s website will tell you what you need to know about its bold and blunt style of copy. And, of course, its 404 error page is no exception.
It happens to us, too! This is the message we put up to tell our site visitors that there are some website issues. Our goal was to stay true to HubSpot’s brand voice by being as lovable, empathetic, and helpful as possible.
Turn a 404 Error Page Into a Delight Moment
Nobody wants to land on a 404 page — they’re annoying and unexpected. However, you can’t really avoid them, so it’s always a good idea to have a 404 page to fall back on for your website.
And, from a user experience perspective, your 404 page should be a small speed bump, not a brick wall. The right design can be the difference between a frustrated bounce and a possible conversion, so why not make it fun?
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a new blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of Black business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they’ve grown or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures within their companies, or created side hustles, and how their stories can inspire and inform your own success.
Since the early 2000s, social media has impacted every aspect of people’s lives, including business. Entrepreneurs from all over the world have and continue to use social media as a tool to launch their brand, connect with people, and garner new customers.
Social media quickly replaced flyers as a form of marketing, and now business owners are investing their time into marketing strategies to reach 4.2 billion social media users worldwide.
Additionally, a Forbes article stated that 84% of respondents who completed a CMO Survey report using social media for brand building. One might even argue that social media is just as critical as a company’s website.
Social media has served as a staple in the Black community to connect in creative and hilarious ways through pictures, videos, words, and more. In fact, we’re so connected that it can take only a few minutes for people, services, or products to go viral on major social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or Snapchat.
These sites have also helped Black-owned businesses gain visibility and engage with users in free, innovative ways.
I spoke with three social media experts who shared a list of strategies, resources, and success stories Black business owners can use to increase their following and expand their audiences. Let’s dive in.
6 Social Media Strategies for Black Business Owners
1. Build a community by creating engaging content.
Social media manager coach and content strategist Bolaji Ajibare believes creating engaging content is one of the main strategies Black-owned businesses should leverage.
Ajibare, who is popularly called TheSocialMediaOga, says that business owners should create material that allows them to interact with their followers. Entrepreneurs can grow their community by asking their audience what kind of information they’d like to see on their page to serve them properly.
Ajibare says it’s a good idea for users to incorporate various information to appeal to followers — including promotional, inspirational, and educational content, to display balanced material on their page.
Content and design strategist Alicia Noelle further emphasizes that business owners should post creative content that influences people to interact with them. Creating polls and responding to followers in the comments section are a couple of ways that business owners can communicate with their followers. Noelle says these efforts are the critical difference from simply gaining followers.
“I think that that’s what small businesses are going to have to realize as they change their marketing tactics in 2021, and beyond — that people are no longer going to buy from you because it looks pretty,” Noelle said. “They want to feel like they belong in your community, and you have to create that atmosphere for them.”
Social media expert and CEO of Thames Media Solutions, Michelle Thames, shared similar sentiments. Thames states that people forget that humans are on the other side of social media, and they still want to feel like they’re a part of a community.
“You have to nurture your audience by giving them tools and the resources,” she said.
Thames adds, “Whether you have a product-based business or a service-based business, you have to solve [your audience’s] problem and let them know why they need to come to you.”
Noelle and Thames mentioned natural hair care line Mielle Organics as an example of a Black-owned business that has successfully curated a community around their social media pages.
Social media influencers promote their line, and the company also offers promotions and giveaways. Mielle Organics features customers who use their products on their social pages, as well.
2. Write captions that resonate with your followers.
Noelle recommends that business owners develop prompts for their captions to complement their graphics or videos before they post.
According to the content and design strategist, every caption needs to tell a story that resonates or connects with a business’s audience. The text should be more than two sentences and should also include a call-to-action encouraging followers to subscribe to the company’s email list, sign up for discounts, or buy an item.
Noelle used Breanna Aponte as an example of an entrepreneur who writes good captions. She says that Aponte tells stories with her posts that resonate with her followers. Even though her posts may be unrelated to her business, she can still sell her social media services because of her authenticity.
Noelle suggests that business owners create captions that put followers in a different mindset and influence them to want to read what they have to say.
Business owners can share a behind-the-scenes look of their brand on their IG Stories, Twitter Fleets, or Facebook Stories.
Mattie James is an example of an entrepreneur who uses her Stories feature effectively as an influencer. James posts consistent content highlighting her family, daily routine, links to brand promotions, and more.
The Stories feature for all platforms is also a great way for entrepreneurs to promote what they have to offer and communicate with followers who respond to their posts via DM.
Thames recommends that businesses should spend 30 minutes to an hour each day engaging with customers and followers to prove that they’re a trusted, reliable source. This effort also makes followers feel like business owners care.
3. Create videos and reels.
Using videos and Instagram Reels is critical for businesses to maintain engagement and attract new followers.
“If you’re looking to do videos, Reels are going to help you get in front of more people because Instagram prioritizes their new features. Reels is a new feature, and they want to make sure that users use it,” Thames said.
Thames revealed she gained roughly 1,200 followers in 30 days using Instagram Reels, and she doesn’t even post every day. She emphasized that business owners’ Reels need to either be entertaining or educational. They should also be short, quick, and to the point, since people often have short attention spans on social media, proving why the feature is so popular.
She incorporated Instagram Reels into her clients’ social media strategy by encouraging them to make posts three to four times a week. She also mentions that entrepreneurs should be using IG Video and TikTok.
4. Post multiple times a week.
No matter if it’s a photo, Reel, story, or video, business owners should post on their page multiple times a week to not only secure sales, but to stay relevant.
Noelle identifies this strategy as the rapid-fire strategy for social media. She suggests business owners who sell products to post a minimum of once a day, but ideally two to three times a day by creating content using the other aforementioned strategies.
If it is a service-based business, Noelle recommends businesses to post at least three times a week since solopreneurs usually lead this type of company, which can make this effort a daunting task. This strategy can also work for product-based businesses if they’re unable to post multiple times a day.
Mahdi Woodard is a marketing and branding guru who does a great job posting frequently on his page. Woodard posts simple but highly effective content to keep his followers engaged. He uses inspirational quotes and videos to promote his brand.
5. Leverage hashtags.
Hashtags are frequently used on platforms such Instagram and TikTok. Entrepreneurs use hashtags to attract potential followers and customers because it’s an easy way to be found, especially when they use niche and location-based hashtags.
Users tend to use hashtags a lot on Instagram and TikTok. Hashtagged words or phrases are one of the best free marketing tools if used correctly.
For instance, I found all three social media experts by using the #socialmediaexperts hashtag on Instagram for this blog post.
6. Use templates.
Bolaji says templates can be a beneficial tool for entrepreneurs because it makes your content layout look clean and consistent. It also makes life easier for business owners because they can use templates to publish their material quickly and efficiently.
Millennial money expert and founder of My Fab Finance, Tonya Rapley, uses templates on her Instagram page. Her page has a consistent color scheme which makes her page look cohesive and appealing.
Every strategy mentioned above is guaranteed to help businesses grow, but Bolaji admits that sometimes business owners can’t use the same approach that got them to 1,000 followers to get 10,000. Even if they’re using all of these strategies, business owners have to stay up-to-speed and learn what method works best for them at various levels of their success.
7 Social Media Tools Black-Owned Businesses Can Use
The strategies listed above are beneficial, but business owners can’t produce quality content for followers if they don’t have the effective tools to make the process easier. Social media tools are essential for business owners to cater to their customers’ needs and provide excellent customer service through proper planning.
Take a look at the tools the social media experts suggested Black-owned businesses use, below.
Canva is a platform used for graphic design. Users can use the tool to create social media graphics, templates, documents, and other visual content.
Free Version: $0.00
Pro Version: $9.99/month or $119.99/year
Enterprise Version: $30.00/month per person
Flodesk is an email marketing service provider that’s built for creators to design and send automated marketing emails to help grow their following.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that has a social network integration feature that gives users the ability to share content onTwitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinetrest and YouTube.
Later is an all-in-one social marketing platform that allows businesses to plan, analyze, and publish content for the top social networks.
Free Version: $0/month
Created as the first visual planner for Instagram, Planoly plans, schedules, and measures content across social networks such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
Free Version: $0
Solo: $7 billed annually or $9 month to month
Duo; $15 billed annually or $19 month to month
Custom: $23 billed annually or $29 month to month
Pixistock is a Black-owned visual content creation service that offers photos and graphics for websites and social media feeds.
- 1-5 photos: $35 each
- 6-9 photos: $30 each
- 10-19 photos: $28 each
- 20-29 photos: $25 each
- 30-49 photos: $20 each
- 50+ photos: $18 each
- 1-5 photos: $45 each
- 6-9 photos: $40 each
- 10-19 photos: $38 each
- 20-29 photos: $35 each
- 30-49 photos: $30 each
- 50+ photos: $28 each
Airtable is a low-code, cloud collaborative platform that allows users to build software tools that fit their needs. Users can customize their workflow and collaborate with other creators and creatives.
Free Version: $0
Plus: $12/month or $10 per seat/month billed annually
Pro: $24/month or $20 per seat/month billed annually
Although it takes commitment and time, social media provides Black entrepreneurs and creatives a space where their voices can be heard. I hope these suggestions will help Black-owned businesses share their talent — whether it be a service or a product — with the world.
You can apply marketing strategies all day, but if they aren’t effective, those efforts don’t matter in the long-term.
Measuring marketing effectiveness is crucial to improving your go-to strategies over time. Are your methods hitting KPIs? Are they helping your clients reach short- and long-term milestones? Use each campaign to learn and grow.
By measuring marketing effectiveness, you can better ensure high ROI or return on marketing investment, ROMI.
Measuring Marketing Effectiveness
How do you measure marketing effectiveness? Sure, you can look at traffic or sales metrics, but it goes further than that.
Ultimately, the KPIs you choose to measure can vary by company and strategy. But there are some metrics to pay attention to when measuring marketing effectiveness.
First, when you consider revenue, look into how much of the revenue is a direct result of the marketing efforts. This can help provide clear, high-level insight into how successful the marketing efforts are for the company.
Next, consider pipeline ROI or pipeline growth. Do you continue to generate more and more new leads via your marketing efforts? If not, your marketing effectiveness might be falling flat.
Conversion rates are also a strong KPI to review. Keep in mind that impressions, views and even clicks don’t necessarily translate to a successful marketing strategy. If users are clicking but not following through with a purchase, why aren’t they converting? Conversion rates can offer a better look at the success of your marketing.
When considering long-term effectiveness, look at retention rates. Are customers sticking around with your company for the long haul, or are they making a few purchases and leaving? Don’t forget to continue marketing to ongoing customers while also reaching new audiences.
Marketing Effectiveness Metrics
The types of metrics you consider can also vary by medium. Marketing efforts used to center on tangible but harder to measure media, like billboards, magazines, or television.
Today, digital marketing is front-and-center, and with it comes a wide array of things to measure to determine effectiveness. Here are three top marketing segments and metrics to consider for each.
1. Social Media Marketing Effectiveness
Social media marketing is newer to the scene, but it can be huge for company revenue and lead generation. Measuring marketing effectiveness on social media is pretty straightforward.
It’s easy to track the number of inquiries or leads through gated content on social media, and engagement can also be tracked through reposts/shares, comments, and follower count.
Conversion rate plays a role here too. If your account has a high follower count but comparatively low engagement rates, you can start investigating where to tailor your social marketing strategy for improved engagement, leads and revenue.
2. Content Marketing Effectiveness
Content marketing is vast, with options to market through a website, videos, articles, courses, and other digital content. The goal is not to say, “Hey, purchase my product and engage with my brand!” but rather to provide valuable, informational content for customers.
Because there are so many methods for content marketing, measuring effectiveness can vary widely depending on the source at hand. You might check conversion rates from your website to your paid online course, or you might consider engagement with your informational video or webinar.
3. Email Marketing Effectiveness
Email marketing is thriving. There are a number of metrics to consider when measuring email marketing effectiveness. First, you can review delivery, open, and click-through rates.
High delivery rates means your emails are reaching inboxes, but don’t depend solely on this metric. Open rates are important, as a low open rate can reveal that you need to focus on writing shorter, more intriguing subject lines.
Of these three, click-through rates are arguably the most important. Are potential customers clicking on links in the email, or are they opening it and then deleting the email? Click-through rates offer a higher chance of converting to revenue. Conversion rate is, again, important here and can help gauge marketing effectiveness for emails, content, social and traditional marketing methods.
How To Present Marketing Effectiveness
So you know how to measure marketing effectiveness, but how do you best share this information with external stakeholders? An insightful marketing report can show clients exactly how impactful last quarter’s marketing campaign was on business.
These metrics can also be used in requesting a higher marketing budget or determining strategies for the future.
Here’s how to prepare your presentation, from the data to include and how to organize it to truly show marketing effectiveness.
Data to Include
Typically, a marketing report will review quarterly campaigns. First, you want to include the goals of the marketing strategy for that quarter to measure the actual results against the expected outcomes. Include all methods of marketing, such as content, social and/or email, and their accompanying KPIs.
Also, include market research to identify the target audience within the report and ensure external stakeholders know why your strategy addresses this specific audience through these specific methods.
The aforementioned KPIs like conversion rates, social engagement, revenue as it relates to marketing campaigns, click-through rates for emails, and customer retention rates can all be included in the report for external stakeholders.
Organizing the Presentation
The presentation should be a sensible roadmap, starting with the goals and expected outcomes and leading through the metrics measured for each type of marketing. Goals can include traffic numbers, revenue, customer satisfaction, or lead generation.
Organize metrics by social, email, content, and any other inbound or outbound marketing types you pursued over the quarter. You can also note specific goals and results for each type of marketing.
Don’t forget to include explanations. Share what is doing well, and why; also outline what is underperforming, why, and how you plan to tackle that next quarter.
KPIs to Prove Effectiveness
Again, KPIs are crucial to share with external stakeholders, as they will clearly showcase marketing effectiveness.
For content marketing, show lead generation, conversion rates, bounce rates, and even SEO-related metrics like page rank on the search engine results page (SERP).
Email marketing should outline delivery, open and click-through rates. You can also analyze bounce rate, both emails that bounced back from unavailable email addresses and from your website’s pages that include email signups. Additional email marketing KPIs to consider are the number of emails sent, new subscribers for the quarter and unsubscribes per email sent.
Social media insights can also focus on lead generation and engagement rates. As social continues to develop, some revenue rates will be gauged directly from social, as platforms add shopping functions.
Measure Marketing Effectiveness To Inform Goals
You might spend weeks pouring energy into an email marketing campaign that just doesn’t generate the leads you had expected while leads are pouring in through social despite a lack of focused efforts there.
Without reviewing and analyzing your marketing strategies, it’s hard to know where to best channel your time, creative energy, and budget to continue boosting your pipeline and revenues.
Marketing effectiveness uses key metrics to identify high and low points of your marketing strategies, so you can share this information with external stakeholders and better inform future strategies and goals.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is incredibly important for marketers. When you optimize your web pages — including your blog posts — you’re making your website more visible to people who are using search engines (like Google) to find your product or service.But does your blog content really help your business organically rank on search engines?
In this article, you’ll find the answer to this question and more. Get ready for an in-depth exploration into the world of blog SEO, the factors that affect it, and tips to start optimizing your blog site for the search engines.
Although it’s clear blog content does contribute to your SEO, Google’s many algorithm updates can make publishing the right kind of blog content tricky if you don’t know where to start. Some blog ranking factors have stood the test of time while others are considered “old-school.” Here are a few of the top-ranking factors that can, directly and indirectly, affect blog SEO.
Pro tip: As a rule of thumb, take time to understand what each of these factors does, but don’t try to implement them all at once. They each serve a specific purpose and should be used to meet a specific SEO goal for your blog. Listen to HubSpot’s Matt Barby and Victor Pan take on this topic in this podcast episode.
Factors That Affect Blog SEO
1. Dwell Time
Although dwell time is an indirect ranking factor for Google, it’s a critical factor in the user experience — and we know that user experience is king when it comes to SEO. Dwell time is the length of a time a reader spends on a page on your blog site. From the moment a visitor clicks on your site in the SERP, to the moment they exit the page is considered dwell time. This metric indirectly tells search engines like Google how valuable your content is to the reader. It makes sense that the longer they spend on the page, the more relevant it is to them.
However, there’s a reason this metric is an indirect indicator for SEO — it’s completely subjective. The search engine algorithms don’t know your content strategy. Your blog could be focused on short-form content that takes just a minute or two to read. You might also include pertinent information at the beginning of your blog posts to give the best reader experience, which means less time spent on the page. So yes, dwell time can affect SEO, but don’t manipulate your content to change this metric if it doesn’t make sense for your content strategy.
2. Page Speed
We mentioned earlier that visual elements on your blog can affect page speed, but that isn’t the only thing that can move this needle. Unnecessary code and overuse of plugins can also contribute to a sluggish blog site. Removing junk code can help your pages load faster, thus improving page speed. If you’re not sure how to find and remove junk code, check out HTML-Cleaner. It’s an easy-to-use tool that doesn’t require coding knowledge. It simply shows you the unnecessary code and lets you remove it with the click of a button.
I also recommend taking an inventory of your blog site plugins. Decide which ones you need to keep your blog running day-to-day and which ones were installed as a fix for a temporary issue. Plugins that affect the front-end of your site are a threat to page speed, and odds are, you can uninstall more of these plugins than you think to increase your overall site speed.
3. Mobile Responsiveness
More than half of Google’s search traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices. On an individual level, your blog site might follow that same trend. There’s no way around it — optimizing your blog site for mobile is a factor that will affect your SEO metrics. But what exactly does it mean to optimize a website for mobile? The industry rule-of-thumb is to keep things simple. Most pre-made site themes these days are already mobile-friendly, so all you’ll need to do is tweak a CTA button here and enlarge a font size there. Then, keep an eye on how your site is performing on mobile by taking a look at your Google Analytics dashboard and running a mobile site speed test regularly.
4. Index Date
Search engines aim to provide the most relevant and accurate information available. A factor search engines use when determining what’s relevant and accurate is the date a search engine indexes the content. Indexing means a search engine finds content and adds it to its index. Later, the page can be retrieved and displayed in the SERP when a user searches for keywords related to the indexed page.
You might be wondering: Is the date the content was indexed the same as the date it was published?
The answer: yes and no. If a blog post is published for the first time, it’s likely that say, a Google crawler, will index that post the same day you publish it. But content can be backdated for several legitimate reasons, too, like archiving information or updating a sentence or two.
One way to positively affect this SEO factor is to implement a historical optimization strategy. This strategy works well on blogs that have been established for a few years and have a fair amount of content already. By updating these older posts with new perspectives and data, you’ll be able to significantly impact your blog SEO without creating a lot of net new content. Site crawlers will reindex the page — taking into account the updated content — and give it another opportunity to compete in the SERP. It’s truly a win-win.
5. Recent Data
Recent data, another indirect ranking factor of SEO, should be included in blog posts. Recent data gives visitors relevant and accurate information which makes for a positive reader experience. When you include a link to a credible site that has original, up-to-date data, you’re telling the search engine that this site is helpful and relevant to your readers (which is a plus for that other site). You’re also telling the search engine that this type of data is in some way related to the content you publish. Over time, your readers will come to appreciate the content which can be confirmed using other metrics like increased time on page or lower bounce rate.
How to Optimize Blog Content for Search Engines
1. Identify the target audience for your blog.
No matter what industry your blog targets, you’ll want to identify and speak to the primary audience that will be reading your content. Understanding who your audience is and what you want them to do when they click on your article will help guide your blog strategy.
Buyer personas are an effective way to target readers using their buying behaviors, demographics, and psychographics. Without this insight, you could be producing grammatically correct and accurate content that few people will click on because it doesn’t speak to them on a personal level.
2. Conduct keyword research.
Now that you’ve selected your target audience and prepared a buyer persona, it’s time to find out what content your readers want to consume. Keyword research can be a heavy task to take on if you don’t begin with a strategy. Therefore, I recommend starting with the topics your blog will cover, then expand or contract your scope from there. For an in-depth tutorial, check out our how-to guide on keyword research.
3. Add visuals.
Search engines like Google value visuals for certain keywords. Images and videos are among the most common visual elements that appear on the search engine results page. In order to achieve a coveted spot in an image pack or a video snippet, you’ll want to design creative graphics, use original photos and videos, and add descriptive alt text to every visual element within your blog post.
Alt text is a major factor that determines whether or not your image or video appears in the SERP and how highly it appears. Alt text is also important for screen readers so that visually impaired individuals have a positive experience consuming content on your blog site.
4. Write a catchy title.
The title of your blog post is the first element a reader will see when they come across your article, and it heavily influences whether they’ll click or keep scrolling. A catchy title uses data, asks a question, or leads with curiosity to pique the reader’s interest.
According to Coscheduler’s Headline Analyzer, the elements of a catchy title include power, emotional, uncommon, and common words. In the right proportions, these types of words in a blog title will grab your readers’ attention and keep them on the page.
Here’s an example of a catchy title with a Coschedule Headline Analyzer Score of 87:
The Perfect Dress Has 3 Elements According to This Popular Fashion Expert
- Highlighted in yellow are common words. They’re familiar to the reader and don’t stray too far from other titles that may appear in the SERP.
- “Expert” is an emotional word, according to Coschedule. In this example, the word expert builds trust with the reader and tells them that this article has an authoritative point of view.
- Purple words are power words — this means they capture the readers’ attention and get them curious about the topic.
- Another element in this title is the number three. This signals to the reader that they’ll learn a specific amount of facts about the perfect dress.
5. Include an enticing CTA.
What’s a blog post without a call to action? The purpose of a CTA is to lead your reader to the next step in their journey through your blog. The key to a great CTA is that it’s relevant to the topic of your existing blog post and flows naturally with the rest of the content. Whether you’re selling a product, offering a newsletter subscription, or wanting the reader to consume more of your content, you’ll need an enticing CTA on every blog post you publish.
CTAs come in all types of formats, so get creative and experiment with them. Buttons, hyperlinks, and widgets are some of the most common CTAs, and they all have different purposes. For instance, you should add a bold, visible CTA like a button if you want the reader to make a purchase. On the other hand, you can easily get a reader to check out another blog post by providing a hyperlink to it in the conclusion of the current article.
6. Focus on the reader’s experience.
Any great writer or SEO will tell you that the reader experience is the most important part of a blog post. The reader experience includes several factors like readability, formatting, and page speed. That means you’ll want to write content that’s clear, comprehensive of your topic, and accurate according to the latest data and trends. Organizing the content using headings and subheadings is important as well because it helps the reader scan the content quickly to find the information they need. Finally, on-page elements like images and videos have an impact on page speed. Keep image file sizes low (250 KB is a good starting point) and limit the number of videos you embed on a single page. By focusing on what the reader wants to know and organizing the post to achieve that goal, you’ll be on your way to publishing an article optimized for the search engine.
Now, let’s take a look at these blog SEO tips that you can take advantage of to enhance your content’s searchability.
Note: This list doesn’t cover every SEO rule under the sun. Rather, the following tips are the on-page factors to get you started with an SEO strategy for your blog.
1. Use 1–2 long-tail keywords.
Optimizing your blog posts for keywords is not about incorporating as many keywords into your posts as possible. Nowadays, this actually hurts your SEO because search engines consider this keyword stuffing (i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).
It also doesn’t make for a good reader experience — a ranking factor that search engines now prioritize to ensure you’re answering the intent of your visitors. Therefore, you should use keywords in your content in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced.
A good rule of thumb is to focus on one or two long-tail keywords per blog post. While you can use more than one keyword in a single post, keep the focus of the post narrow enough to allow you to spend time optimizing for just one or two keywords.
You may be wondering: Why long-tail keywords?
These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience. For example, the long-tail keyword “how to write a blog post” is much more impactful in terms of SEO than the short keyword “blog post”.
Website visitors searching long-tail keywords are more likely to read the whole post and then seek more information from you. In other words, they’ll help you generate the right type of traffic — visitors who convert.
2. Use keywords strategically throughout the blog post.
Now that you’ve got one or two keywords, it’s time to incorporate them in your blog post. But where is the best place to include these terms so you rank high in search results?
There are four essential places where you should try to include your keywords: title tag, headers & body, URL, and meta description.
The title (i.e., headline) of your blog post will be a search engine’s and reader’s first step in determining the relevancy of your content. So, including a keyword here is vital. Google calls this the “title tag” in a search result.
Be sure to include your keyword within the first 60 characters of your title, which is just about where Google cuts titles off on the SERP. Technically, Google measures by pixel width, not character count, and it recently increased the pixel width for organic search results from approximately 500 pixels to 600 pixels, which translates to around 60 characters.
Long title tag? When you have a lengthy headline, it’s a good idea to get your keyword in the beginning since it might get cut off in SERPs toward the end, which can take a toll on your post’s perceived relevance.
In the example below, we had a long title that went over 65 characters, so we placed the keyword near the front.
Headers & Body
Mention your keyword at a normal cadence throughout the body of your post and in the headers. That means including your keywords in your copy, but only in a natural, reader-friendly way. Don’t go overboard at the risk of being penalized for keyword stuffing.
Before you start writing a new blog post, you’ll probably think about how to incorporate your keywords into your post. That’s a smart idea, but it shouldn’t be your only focus, nor even your primary focus.
Whenever you create content, your primary focus should be on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can include a keyword or keyword phrase in that content. Focus on being helpful and answering whatever question your customer might’ve asked to arrive on your post. Do that, and you’ll naturally optimize for important keywords, anyway.
Search engines also look at your URL to figure out what your post is about, and it’s one of the first things it’ll crawl on a page. You have a huge opportunity to optimize your URLs on every post you publish, as every post lives on its unique URL — so make sure you include your one to two keywords in it.
In the example below, we created the URL using the long-tail keyword for which we were trying to rank: “email marketing examples.”
Your meta description is meant to give search engines and readers information about your blog post’s content. Meaning, you must use your long-tail term so Google and your audience are clear on your post’s content.
At the same time, keep in mind the copy matters a great deal for click-through rates because it satisfies certain readers’ intent — the more engaging, the better.
3. Optimize for mobile devices.
We learned earlier that more people use search engines from their mobile phones than from a computer.
And for all those valuable queries being searched on mobile devices, Google displays the mobile-friendly results first. This is yet another example of Google heavily favoring mobile-friendly websites — which has been true ever since the company updated its Penguin algorithm in April 2015.
(HubSpot customers: Breathe easy. All content created on HubSpot’s platform is automatically responsive to mobile devices.)
So, how do you make your blog mobile-friendly? By using responsive design. Websites that are responsive to mobile allow blog pages to have just one URL instead of two — one for desktop and one for mobile, respectively. This helps your post’s SEO because any inbound links that come back to your site won’t be divided between the separate URLs.
As a result, you’ll centralize the SEO power you gain from these links, helping Google more easily recognize your post’s value and rank it accordingly.
Pro tip: What search engines value is constantly changing. Be sure you’re keeping on top of these changes by subscribing to Google’s official blog.
4. Optimize the meta description.
To review, a meta description is additional text that appears in SERPs that lets readers know what the link is about. The meta description gives searchers the information they need to determine whether or not your content is what they’re looking for and ultimately helps them decide if they’ll click or not.
The maximum length of this meta description is greater than it once was — now around 300 characters — suggesting it wants to give readers more insight into what each result will give them.
So, in addition to being reader-friendly (compelling and relevant), your meta description should include the long-tail keyword for which you are trying to rank.
In the following example, I searched for “email newsletter examples.”
The term is bolded in the meta description, helping readers make the connection between the intent of their search term and this result. You’ll also see the term “E-Newsletter” bolded, indicating that Google knows there’s a semantic connection between “email newsletter” and “E-Newsletter.”
Note: Nowadays, it’s not guaranteed that your meta description is always pulled into SERPs as it once was. As you can see in the above image, Google pulls in other parts of your blog post that includes the keywords searched, presumably to give searchers optimal context around how the result matches their specific query.
Let me show you another example. Below are two different search queries delivering two different snippets of text on Google SERPs. The first is a result of the query “no index no follow,” and pulls in the original meta description:
The second is a result of the query “noindex nofollow,” and pulls in the first instance of these specific keywords coming up in the body of the blog post:
While there’s not much you can do to influence what text gets pulled in, you should continue to optimize this metadata, as well as your post, so search engines display the best content from the article. By creating reader-friendly content with natural keyword inclusion, you’ll make it easier for Google to prove your post’s relevancy in SERPs for you.
5. Include image alt text.
Blog posts shouldn’t only contain text — they should also include images that help explain and support your content. However, search engines don’t simply look for images. Rather, they look for images with image alt text.
You may be wondering why this is. Since search engines can’t “see” images the same way humans can, an image’s alt text tells the search engine what an image is about. This ultimately helps those images rank in the search engine’s images results page.
Image alt text also makes for a better user experience (UX). It displays inside the image container when an image can’t be found or displayed. Technically, alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML.
Here’s what a complete image tag might look like:
When you incorporate image alt text, an image’s name in your blog may go from something like, “IMG23940” to something accurate and descriptive such as “puppies playing in a basket.”
Image alt text should be descriptive in a helpful way — meaning, it should provide the search engine with context to index the image if it’s in a blog article related to a similar topic.
To provide more context, here’s a list of things to be sure you keep in mind when creating alt text for your blog’s images:
- Describe the image
- Leave out “image of… “— start with the image description instead
- Be specific in your description
- Keep it under 125 characters
- Use your keywords (but avoid keyword stuffing)
HubSpot customers: The SEO Panel will recognize whether or not you have optimized your images. Though these elements are not as important as some other optimizations, they’re still necessary (not to mention, easy to add).
6. Limit topic tags.
Topic tags can help organize your blog content, but if you overuse them, they can actually be harmful. If you have too many similar tags, you may get penalized by search engines for having duplicate content.
Think of it this way, when you create a topic tag (which is simple if you’re a HubSpot user, as seen here), you also create a new site page where the content from those topic tags will appear. If you use too many similar tags for the same content, it appears to search engines as if you’re showing the content multiple times throughout your website. For example, topic tags like “blogging,” “blog,” and “blog posts” are too similar to one another to be used on the same post.
If you’re worried that your current blog posts have too many similar tags, take some time to clean them up. Choose about 15–25 topic tags that you think are important to your blog and that aren’t too similar to one another. Then only tag your posts with those keywords. That way, you won’t have to worry about duplicate content.
Here at HubSpot, we use a Search Insights Report to map specific MSV-driven keyword ideas to a content topic each quarter. The process helps us target a handful of posts in a set number of topics throughout the year for a systematic approach to SEO and content creation.
7. Include user-friendly URL structures.
Before you publish your blog post, take a careful look at its URL structure. Is it long, filled with stop-words, or unrelated to the post’s topic? If so, you might want to rewrite it before it goes live.
The URL structure of your web pages (which are different from the specific URLs of your posts) should make it easy for your visitors to understand the structure of your website and the content they’re about to see. Search engines favor web page URLs that make it easier for them and website visitors to understand the content on the page.
This differentiation is baked into the HubSpot blogs’ respective URL structures. If I decided to go to the Marketing section from this main page, I would be taken to the URL http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing.
If we want to read the Sales section, all we have to do is change where it says “marketing” in the URL to “sales”:
This URL structure helps me understand that “/marketing” and “/sales” are smaller sections — called subdirectories — within the larger blog.
What if there’s a specific article we want to read, such as “How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner’s Guide”? Its URL structure — http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-do-keyword-research-ht — denotes that it’s an article from the Marketing section of the blog.
In this way, URL structure acts as a categorization system for readers, letting them know where they are on the website and how to access new site pages. Search engines appreciate this, as it makes it easier for them to identify exactly what information searchers will access on different parts of your blog or website.
Pro tip: Don’t change your blog post URL after it’s been published — that’s the easiest way to press the metaphorical “reset” button on your SEO efforts for that post. If your URL is less descriptive than you’d like or it no longer follows your brand or style guidelines, your best bet is to leave it as is. Instead, change the title of the post using the guidelines we covered earlier.
8. Link to related blog posts.
You may have heard that backlinks influence how high your blog site can rank in the SERP, and that’s true — backlinks show how trustworthy your site is based on how many other relevant sites link back to yours. But backlinks aren’t the end-all-be-all to link building. Linking to and from your own blog posts can have a positive impact on how well your blog site ranks, too.
Inbound links to your content help show search engines the validity or relevancy of your content. The same goes for linking internally to other pages on your website. If you’ve written about a topic that’s mentioned in your blog post on another blog post, ebook, or web page, it’s a best practice to link to that page.
(You might’ve noticed that I’ve been doing that from time to time throughout this blog post when I think it’s helpful for our readers.) Not only will internal linking help keep visitors on your website, but it also surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines.
For example, if your blog is about fashion, you might cover fabrics as a topic. Adding a hyperlink from a blog post about cotton to a post about the proper way to mix fabrics can help both of those posts become more visible to readers who search these keywords. The search engines will also have one more entry point to the post about cotton when you hyperlink it in the post about mixing fabrics. This means the post about cotton fabric, and any updates you make to it will be recognized by site crawlers faster. It could even see a boost in the SERP as a result.
HubSpot customers: The SEO Panel automatically suggests linking to other internal resources on your website.
You can think of this as solving for your SEO while also helping your visitors get more information from your content.
9. Review metrics regularly.
Google’s free Search Console contains a section called the Search Analytics Report. This report helps you analyze clicks from Google Search — it’s useful to determine which keywords people are using to find your blog content. You can also learn how to use Google Search Console by reading this blog post written by my colleague Matthew Barby, and by checking out Google’s official support page.
If you’re interested in optimizing your best-performing older blog posts for traffic and leads like we’ve been doing since 2015, this tool can help identify low-hanging fruit.
Remember, many content marketers struggle with optimizing their blog posts for search. The truth is, your blog posts won’t start ranking immediately. It takes time to build up search authority.
But, when you publish blog posts frequently and consistently optimize them for search while maintaining an intent-based reader experience, you’ll reap the rewards in the form of traffic and leads long-term.
10. Organize by topic cluster.
The way most blogs are currently structured (including our own blogs, until very recently), bloggers and SEOs have worked to create individual blog posts that rank for specific keywords.
This makes things unorganized and difficult for blog visitors to find the exact information they need. It also results in your URLs competing against one another in search engine rankings when you produce multiple blog posts about similar topics.
Here’s what our blog architecture used to look like using this old playbook:
Now, in order to rank in search and best answer the new types of queries searchers are submitting, the solution is the topic cluster model.
For this model to work, choose the broad topics for which you want to rank. Then, create content based on specific keywords related to that topic that all link to each other to establish broader search engine authority.
This is what our blog infrastructure looks like now, with the topic cluster model. Specific topics are surrounded by blog posts related to the greater topic, connected to other URLs in the cluster via hyperlinks:
This model uses a more deliberate site architecture to organize and link URLs together to help more pages on your site rank in Google — and to help searchers find information on your site more easily. This architecture consists of three components — pillar content, cluster content, and hyperlinks:
11. Publish evergreen content.
When planning and writing your blog articles, ensure it’s evergreen content. Meaning, the content is about topics that will remain relevant and valuable over a long period of time (with only minor changes or updates). Let’s look at a few reasons why evergreen content is so important:
- It’ll help you rank over time, not just in the near future.
- It contributes to steady amounts of traffic coming to your blog (and website) long after it’s been published.
- It’ll help you generate leads over time as a result of the traffic it continually generates.
All blog content — whether it’s a long-form article, how-to guide, FAQ, tutorial, and so on — should be evergreen. Even the images you use in these posts should be evergreen. Check out this blog post for some examples of and ideas for evergreen content on your blog.
12. Update existing content.
To improve your SEO, you may assume you need to create new blog content. Although that’s partially true, you should also focus a great deal of your time and energy on your existing blog content. Specifically, repurposing and updating your current content, as well as removing your outdated content.
This is because it takes a lot longer for a completely new piece of content to settle on the search engine results page (SERP) and gain authority, whereas you could update a piece of content and reap the benefits fairly immediately in comparison.
Not only will your updated content rank on the SERP faster, improving your number of visitors and leads, it also takes a lot less time and fewer resources to update an existing piece of content rather than create a brand new article.
Additionally, updating and repurposing some of your most successful pieces of content extends its lifespan so you can achieve the best results over a longer period of time (especially if it’s evergreen content).
The final step entails removing your outdated content that’s no longer relevant to your audience. Although your goal is to ensure your content is evergreen, some of it is bound to become outdated over time. This includes statistics, product information (if you have any listed in your blogs — as your products and business evolve), or information that changes across your industry over time.
Create Blog Content Your Readers (and Search Engines) Will Love
We don’t expect you to incorporate each of these SEO best practices into your content strategy right away. But, as your website grows, so should your goals on search engines. Once you identify the goals and intent of your ideal readers, you’ll be on track to deliver relevant content that will climb the ranks of the SERP.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Enterprise data modeling is nothing new. This tactic has been around for years, but it is still relevant to modern businesses today.
It can feel like an abstract, complex concept at times, but it is an important part of data governance, which helps manage and secure a company’s data assets.
In today’s world, data security is important, as is boosting productivity and efficiency with up-to-date applications and digital processes.
Enterprise data modeling can help ensure company apps and data are standardized, secure and in-line with the business mission.
What is an Enterprise Data Model?
Simply put, an enterprise data model is a visual representation, or graph, of an enterprise business’ data. It focuses on high-level, more abstract components as it tries to define and standardize an entire enterprise business’ data.
That means enterprise data modeling can be a massive task, but it will be important to help reduce duplicates, inaccuracies, and errors in a business’ data.
Why Do You Need an Enterprise Data Model?
There are numerous reasons why you might need an enterprise data model. Let’s dive into four, now.
1. Improve Data Quality
Even small companies handle a lot of data on a daily basis. Over time, this data can quickly become irrelevant. Errors can slip in unnoticed, as can redundancies. The more issues in the data, the less accurate it becomes. When companies revisit data to inform decisions, data riddled with errors and redundancies can impact company sales and growth. By taking an overarching, comprehensive look at the data and defining it via enterprise data modeling, these issues can be addressed appropriately.
2. Defining All Data
Enterprise data modeling is a massive task, but that’s because it addresses all of an enterprise business’ data. A company can clean up data and align applications, so everything is cohesive and running smoothly, with an enterprise data model.
3. Managing Data
Similarly, managing data is easier when it is all addressed and defined in one graph. The enterprise data model will be more high-level, so deeper dives and more intensive data modeling will be needed to define the specifics. But overall, a company can better manage all the data assets it has when they are all placed in one data model.
4. Data Governance
Businesses rely heavily on technology, as do consumers. The more we move online, the more regulations that need to be in place to maintain privacy and security. Businesses that do not protect consumer data will find themselves in hot water. An enterprise data model can help identify a business’ data, better manage it, and ensure the business is complying with data and privacy laws.
Benefits of an Enterprise Data Model
The benefits of an enterprise data model are similar to the reasons a business needs it.
First, if a company wants to ensure high-quality data, it must remove redundancies and errors, and also apply any business-specific rules regarding the data. This can all be done through the extensive enterprise data modeling process.
An enterprise data model can also help a business be more cohesive and standardized in its processes by aligning the various applications and technologies the company uses daily.
Finally, a huge benefit to enterprise data modeling is its ability to help a business align its data with data governance. For example, GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, addresses how companies use customer data and gives more privacy and data control to the consumer.
When this regulation was implemented, companies needed to ensure that they were properly handling data. This regulation is still in effect, so newer businesses also must comply. Not complying with government data policies can lead to legal implications, which is what makes an enterprise data model so invaluable.
How to Create an Enterprise Data Model
The enterprise data model consists of a few smaller models. Starting with the enterprise subject area model, you’ll move through each of the following steps to create the enterprise data model.
1. Enterprise Subject Area Model
The ESAM is a high-level model that defines the main subject areas of a business as well as the relationships among these subject areas. For example, this could include Accounts, IT, Billing, Finance, Sales.
2. Enterprise Conceptual Model
Next, each ESAM is broken down further into enterprise conceptual models, which consist of major business concepts and how these concepts are related.
3. Enterprise Entity Model
Finally, the enterprise entity model includes the main interests for each business concept and details their relationships with one another.
Enterprise Data Model Example
The enterprise data model can be visualized as a pyramid. The entire pyramid is the enterprise data model, which, let’s say, is a retail store with a brick-and-mortar location and an online shop.
The top of the pyramid is the enterprise subject area model, with 10-20 business subjects defined. Those could include Stores, Staff, Warehouses, Products, Payments, and Customers, to name a few. Arrows would show how these subjects relate to one another.
Below that, the middle of the pyramid is a slightly more fleshed out enterprise conceptual model, which defines eight-15 main business concepts per subject area model. For example, Products could be broken down by ID and type, or Payments could be broken down by credit cards, debit cards, and cash.
Finally, the base of the pyramid is the enterprise entity model, which would identify the main areas of interest for each conceptual model.
Enterprise Data Model Tools
Now that you have a better understanding of enterprise data modeling, you might be ready to dive into this project. These data model tools will help make this process less taxing on your team.
Teams can work together on Lucidchart to create collaborative diagrams and data models. It meets international privacy and security standards, making it a safe option.
Drag-and-drop components allow team members to build data models with ease, and each person can select portions of the diagram and leave feedback comments. You can test it out for free, and prices range depending on business size.
2. Erwin Data Modeler
The Erwin Data Modeler is specifically tailored to visualizing and standardizing enterprise data assets.
All data, whether from a data warehouse or in the cloud, can be handled in one interface, and automated models can help reduce redundancies and errors to improve data quality. Pricing varies by business needs, but you can explore this modeling tool with a free trial before committing.
Diagrams.net (formerly draw.io) is a free data modeling tool that allows you to make flowcharts and graphs for your enterprise data. Drag-and-drop features make it easy to place shapes, lines and arrows exactly where you’d like on the gridded, blank diagram.
You can also draw free-hand shapes. Newly added in February 21, diagrams.net also offers data governance options, and you can store all data models on your enterprise-level storage platforms, like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Ideal for enterprise businesses, ER/Studio handles company data with ease. This enterprise data modeling software allows for forward or reverse engineering, source and target mapping, naming standards and more. You can model data from various sources and define and enforce standards within this tool. This is a paid tool, and prices vary depending on needs; you can also request a demo.
5. Ab Initio
Another popular tool for enterprise businesses, Ab Initio incorporates self-service and automation into your data models to improve efficiency. Users can model and catalog data securely, complying with data governance. The tool will even generate automated operational data quality rules for data processing. Licensing rates vary.
Improve Data Management With an Enterprise Data Model
Sure, enterprise data models can be intimidating. But they are more important than ever in our data-driven world. Enterprise data modeling can help standardize data assets for a business and better manage and secure these assets.
Most importantly, an enterprise data model can help a company avoid legal troubles by complying with data governance. By using one of many tools for data modeling, this arduous but crucial task can be made simpler and more collaborative.
Troubleshooting an HTTP 500 internal server error is like solving a mystery.
You don’t know what exactly happened or why it happened — all you know is that something’s wrong and you need to fix it.
To guide you through the hassle of troubleshooting the dreaded HTTP 500 internal server error, let’s go over what it exactly means and its most common causes and solutions.
Here’s what your 500 error page might look like in your browser:
How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error
Unlike other server-side errors like a 502 code or a 503 code, a 500 internal server error is it doesn’t immediately tell you what the problem is, nor does it tell you how to fix it. If the error persists for too long on your site, it could even negatively impact your SEO.
So, let’s dive into a few potential causes of the error. Then, we’ll present some solutions so you can try to fix the issue.
Potential Causes of a 500 Internal Server Error
A 500 internal server error is, as the name implies, a general problem with the website’s server. More than likely, this means there’s an issue or temporary glitch with the website’s programming.
Some potential causes of a 500 internal server error include:
- Corrupted or broken .htaccess file
- A permissions error
- Faulty third-party plugins or themes
- The PHP memory limit being exceeded
Fortunately, there are a few effective solutions for fixing most of these problems.
If You’re Trying to Load a Page with a 500 Internal Server Error:
1. Refresh the page.
This might seem obvious, but if it’s a temporary loading issue, you might find success if you refresh the page. Before trying anything else in this list, reload the page and see what happens.
2. Come back later.
Since the error is on the server side, I’m willing to bet the website owners are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue. Give it a few minutes or up to an hour or so, and then reload the URL and see if the development team has fixed the issue.
3. Delete your browser’s cookies.
If clearing the browser history doesn’t work, you might try deleting your browser’s cookies. If the cookies are associated with the error-prone webpage, deleting the cookies might help reload the page.
4. Paste your URL into the website “Down for Everyone or Just Me.”
Head to downforeveryoneorjustme.com and paste in the URL where you’re seeing the internal server error. You’ll either be told that the website is only down for you, or that the website is down for everyone.
If it’s a problem with your server, this should help assuage any concerns that it’s an issue with your own computer.
If the 500 Internal Server Error is on Your Own Website:
1. Deactivate a plugin or theme.
Newly activated software, add-ons, or third-party scripts might be conflicting with your current server configuration. To determine this, try (carefully) deactivating or uninstalling your software add-ons one at a time to identify what exactly is causing the internal server error.
If you run a WordPress website, this is easy to do with plugins. From your dashboard, choose Plugins > Installed Plugins, then deactivate the first plugin. If the error resolves, you know this plugin is part of the issue. Reactivate the first plugin, then repeat this deactivate-reactivate process one at a time for all plugins to determine which ones are causing your error.
You might find that having fewer active plugins on your site helps things run more smoothly.
Alternatively, if you just upgraded your software, your current plugins or themes might not be compatible with the new upgrade. Deactivating plugins or themes one at a time until the error disappears is the best way to find the root cause of your problem.
2. Use a plugin like WP Debugging to identify the issue.
If your site is powered by WordPress and you’re comfortable with WordPress debugging processes, consider installing a plugin to help you identify the issue with your server.
The debug plugin WP Debugging, for instance, helps you figure out exactly what’s wrong with your site, which will result in a speedier fix.
3. Ensure your PHP setup is configured correctly.
If the issue is related to a PHP timeout, consider creating timeout rules or error handling in your script to resolve the issue. Here’s a full list of php.ini directives to configure your PHP setup.
Additionally, wrong permissions on a file or folder that has a script, like a PHP or CGI script, won’t allow the script to run. Check your permissions and make sure you set them correctly on your server.
4. Check the code for your site’s .htaccess file.
Incorrect coding or improper structure with your .htaccess file could be the reason you’re seeing the 500 internal error. The .htaccess file helps you manage how long resources should be stored in a browser’s cache. Try editing the file if you’re seeing a 500 internal server error.
To locate your .htaccess file, access your website files through a file manager like cPanel or via FTP/SFTP. The file will probably be located in your public_html directory. There’s a good chance your server will hide this file from view by default and you’ll need to toggle hidden files on to see it.
Coding errors in .htaccess and custom scripts can also cause an HTTP 500 internal server error.
5. Ensure your new software is installed correctly.
Finally, check to see if your recently installed or upgraded software actually failed to install or upgrade. To refresh your software, check the vendor’s website for instructions.
Last Resort: Ask a Server Administrator for Help
If troubleshooting popular software problems or debugging server-side scripts doesn’t fix your HTTP 500 internal server error, you should read about the most common causes for this type of issue in your server’s documentation — an HTTP 500 internal server error can occur in different operating systems for a multitude of reasons.
You can also ask your service provider to access your error logs and find evidence for the root cause of your problem.
Internal server errors are irritating because they’re unhelpful — it’s basically the web server’s way of saying, “Eh, I’m not sure.” Hopefully, one of the above steps will resolve the problem so you can get back to life as usual.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.