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How 9 Brands With Physical Locations Made Their Services Virtual

In 2020, the era of digital transformation is in full swing.

At this point, video, blogging, and content marketing top the list of tactics brands are investing more heavily in. Meanwhile, 97% learn about businesses online more than anywhere else.

While most brands embrace digital transformation and today’s technology through online marketing tactics like blogs, social media marketing, and email newsletters, other companies are taking things a step further by bringing some of their in-person services online.

For example, in the last year, we’ve seen beauty experts, career coaches, tax representatives, and even educators begin to schedule online classes or consultations that allow their clients to learn from them without ever having to step foot in the same room.

The growth in virtualized services makes a lot of sense. In the past, in-person services relied on strong local marketing and a good geographical business location. But, now, virtual services can open a pool of clients up nationally or internationally. Not to mention, brands that make themselves more accessible to clients might even be perceived as companies that truly care about customer experience.

While it’s still not possible to bring all businesses and services online, recently, a number of unexpected companies have gotten creative to virtualize services that originally needed to take place in a physical store or location.

If you think that some of your products or services could go completely digital, but need a bit of inspiration, here are nine innovative examples of brands that made some or all of their once-physical services virtual.

9 Brands That Made Services Virtual

Planet Fitness

Recently, after temporarily closing all Planet Fitness branches and pausing gym membership fees, Planet Fitness began offering free virtual “work-in” classes and online training. Although they’re not making any money off of these classes, they serve as a strong customer retention strategy by encouraging those who aren’t regularly going to the gym to use Planet Fitness’ expert coaches to stay in shape.

Here’s a video of one of the “work-ins” which was first featured on Facebook Live.

When Planet Fitness locations open again, customers might remember the effort Planet Fitness made to keep everyone healthy and active despite gym closures. This could result in members feeling like the gym cares about its clients even when it isn’t generating revenue from them.

Lure Salon

In 2020, a number of local and name-brand hair salons have been offering virtual consultations, online beauty tutorials, and guided haircuts. One example of a local business that’s embracing video call technology to continue servicing customers is Lure Salon.

salon virtual consultations

According to the Dallas-based salon’s website, customers can book a time to FaceTime with a stylist. They can use this time to discuss what type of color or style they’re thinking of for their hair, create a coloring plan that can be done at home, and learn more about the tools that are necessary for safe hair-styling.

Sweet Farm

In March, Sweet Farm, an animal sanctuary based in California, launched a campaign where animal-lovers could invite one of the organization’s goats, llamas, cows, or other animals to video calls. The campaign is cleverly titled, “Goat-2-Meeting,” a play on GoToMeeting — a popular video meeting software.

farm tour virtual conference call

Source

“Our board member, Jon Azoff, came up with the idea and said, ‘You know, we’re having so many company meetings and happy hours but they’re all boring. What if we could get a goat or llama on the call?'” Nate Salpeter, Sweet Farm co-founder, told CNN.

According to the Goat-2-Meeting site, people all around the world can schedule an animal meet-and-greets for donations ranging between $65 to $750 depending on how many people plan to attend and whether the video call will be hosted for a small group of friends or a corporate company.

In most of the meeting formats offered, guests will get a quick tour of the farm, some information about the animal on their call, and an opportunity to ask questions about Sweet Farm or the animal.

Not only is this campaign adorable, but it also allows the farm to generate revenue and spread awareness about its organization’s mission on a viral global scale. According to Sweet Farm, the campaign has been so successful that there’s now a waitlist to book a meeting.

Venture Cafe Cambridge

Based in the startup hub of Cambridge, Mass., Venture Cafe is a physical venue that hosts events to promote the local startup and innovation community. Events often include pitching sessions, expert Q&As, fundraisers, networking nights, workshops, and presentations from business experts.

Recently, Venture Cafe, or VenCaf, began offering a number of virtual opportunities for those who couldn’t attend physical events. These virtual events include webinars, Q&As, workshops, and virtual networking. VenCaf has also launched podcasts, videos, and other online resources to keep the startup community informed.

Venture cafe virtual events for small businesses

Allstate

Since 2016, Allstate has been virtually inspecting insured property via drone streams. This strategy, which was considered incredibly innovative at the time it began has also been honored with an award from the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council.

When a customer applies or files a claim online for homeowners, renters, or business property insurance, Allstate can deploy drones to review the insured site or confirm visible damage.

While a rep might still need to visit and inspect certain sites or claims, drone photos or videos can expedite the process of getting insured customers money in a faster amount of time. This could also be safer for reps and insured people when the property is too dangerous to set foot on after a fire, flood, or other types of damage occur.

H&R Block

H&R Block offers an Online Assist add-on for tax filers which allows you to chat with a tax expert in real-time as you prepare your taxes. For more complex questions and troubleshooting, you can also video call and share your screen with an H&R Block representative who can walk you through how to fill out your tax forms.

HR BLock virtual accounting and tax consultations

Although this add-on is not equal to having an accountant file taxes, it might make customers feel more comfortable filing with H&R Block. For example, if someone can’t afford an accountant but is worried they’ll make a mistake on their taxes, they might file with the help of the Online Assist tool for a tax professional’s live reassurance that they are doing everything correctly.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker is well-known for making in-person aspects of glasses shopping into almost completely virtual experiences. While those who still prefer shopping for glasses in person can visit a Warby Parker store, those who just want to make a quick purchase can virtually try on glasses, purchase them online, and return them if there are any flaws.

On top of virtual fitting, Warby Parker now even helps you determine your vision prescription from home with the help of its Prescription Check app. With the desktop and mobile app, you’ll receive a few automatic prompts in a chat thread. Then you’ll be given tests to determine your distance and close-range vision. Following these tests, a real Warby Parker doctor will look over your results and confirm your prescription with you.

Warby parker virtual eye exam service

Ultimately, Warby Parker’s customer tools streamline the once fully in-person aspects of finding glasses. You can use them to determine your visual needs, map your face to determine if you need high-index or low-index glasses, get glasses shape suggestions, and ultimately purchase a pair that seems right for you.

Home Depot

Painting a house can take time, especially if you’re picky when it comes to color. Odds are, you’ll go to your local hardware store multiple times to get more paint swatches or different shades of paint. However, a number of hardware stores, including Home Depot, have attempted to streamline the paint swatching process by allowing you to virtually see different shades of their paint on your wall.

Home Depot’s paint preview app is called ProjectColor. With the app, you can not only preview your own rooms in all of Home Depot’s paint colors, but you can also see how the shades look in other rooms with different liking through stock photos available on the app.

Home depot home preview service

Aside from ProjectColor, you can also see how certain objects or appliances look in your house using Home Depot’s AR-powered preview tools.

L’Oreal

As someone who dyes her hair at least twice a year, I know that it can be a strangely strenuous process. First, you go online, Google different hairstyles, and discuss all the images you find with your friends to get their opinions. Then, if you aren’t able to go to a hairdresser, you go to a drugstore, compare all the different colors and boxes to the photos you have, hold the preview image on the box up to your hair to see how the dye will come out, buy the dye, and hope it works well for you.

Although L’Oreal can’t physically dye your hair for you without in-person interractions, they have developed a virtual tool that can help you streamline the color research and previewing process. The tool, called Style My Hair, uses AR to scan a photo of your face. From there, you can tap through a variety of haircuts and L’Oreal hair colors to get an idea of which would look best on you.

loreal hair preview service online

Once you’ve decided what you want to do with your hair, you can either screenshot the image to get feedback from friends or loved ones or buy the hair color products directly from L’Oreal’s website.

loreal virtual hair and makeover tool

 

Should You Virtualize Your Services?

As you try to determine if your business is a good candidate for a virtual transformation, ask yourself these questions:

Can any part of my services be done between a client and a rep through video chat?

H&R Block, Lure Salon, and many other organizations have realized that they don’t necessarily need customers to come in to provide value to them. Because of this, if they aren’t able to provide a physical one-on-one experience, they have their experts educate or aid clients over video calls, phone calls, or live chats. Later on, when that client is pleased with the service and interactions they had with the brand’s expert, they might seek out the brand for a physical service — like a complex haircut.

If you can’t make your core product virtual, are their digital resources you can offer?

Although Planet Fitness couldn’t make a virtual version of a gym, the company leveraged its fitness experts and trainers by asking them to film instructional workout videos. This allows customers or fans who can’t get into the gym to learn how they can stay in shape at home and still gain value from Planet Fitness when their physical branch is closed.

Will the cost of going virtual outweigh the reward?

While asking employees you already have to hop on a video call with a client might not cost you more money than running a physical service, hiring an AR developer to create product previews, or purchasing a drone to look at job sites, can cost a fortune for a small or medium business.

Be sure to look at your budget and your constraints to determine if a virtual approach will be worth it. Aside from looking at potential ROI, you should also consider how this virtual approach might impact customer retention or potentially bring in new customers that couldn’t visit your physical business for various reasons.

If you’re interested in offering virtual services or resources to your audience, check out these guides to running virtual events, live streaming, augmented reality, and video conference calls.

How to Create a Winning Resume in 2020 [New Data]

I’m willing to bet we’ve all heard a few hard-and-fast rules when it comes to creating a resume.

Keep it to one page, for instance — or No need to include a summary or objective on your resume.

Surprisingly, I’ve come to find out that both of those are incorrect, as reported by new data from Zety. (FYI, to boost your chances of scoring an interview, Zety found you should actually use a two-page resume, especially if you’re an experienced professional.)

Zety — a resume builder and a career blog — analyzed 133,000 real-life job applications created in their resume builder to compile this comprehensive resume analysis.

Which is likely exactly what job seekers need in these trying times.

Take a look at the results of their comprehensive study, below, to compare your resume with real-life competitors, see what you should improve, and spot any missed opportunities. 

perfect resume
resume sections
TOP 10 HARD skills
TOP 10 SOFT skills

How to Use TikTok Analytics for Business

Is your TikTok marketing working? Wondering how to find and use TikTok Analytics? In this article, you’ll discover how to read, analyze, and interpret your TikTok Analytics metrics to improve your TikTok marketing activities. How to Access TikTok Analytics To get access to TikTok analytics, you need to have a TikTok Pro account. If you […]

The post How to Use TikTok Analytics for Business appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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104 Email Marketing Myths, Experiments & Inspiring Tips [Free Guide]

There are a lot of myths out there: For instance, some say the Loch Ness monster is real, and others say lightning strikes in the same place twice.

Oftentimes, it’s fun to discuss myths with friends and debate whether or not they’re true.. Sometimes, the most popular myths are debunked by those who really want to know the truth. After all, that was the premise of the show “MythBusters“.

Here, we’re going to debunk myths, as well. But, instead of looking at myths about nature or stars, we will look at myths in the marketing world — and, more specifically, those surrounding email marketing.

But it’s possible that your company isn’t investing as much in email marketing because of the myths you’ve come across. If that’s true, you might be surprised to learn how some of these have been debunked by HubSpot email marketers.

Top Myths, According to HubSpot Email Marketers

Whether you’re an email marketing veteran or just getting started, you may be operating under certain common misconceptions about email that have been disproved by research.

Additionally, your email may be getting dull due to a lack of experimentation or inspiration. Maybe you’re aware that it’s time to switch up your email marketing, but it can still be hard to know where to begin.

Knowing these myths before you start your next email campaign can help you improve the effectiveness of your emails.

1. Using the word ‘free’ in emails will cause it to be sent to the spam folder.

While the language you use to construct your emails is important, keep in mind that there might not be as many rules as suggested when using making emails.

According to one of HubSpot’s Email Enablement Project Managers, Amanda MacDonald, “My least favorite email marketing myth is that using certain words like ‘Free,’ or exclamation points in your email will cause it to go to the spam folder.”

The wording you use in the body of emails keeps subscribers engaged as they read the message, so it’s unlikely that certain words will cause the email to be regarded as spam by the email browser’s filtering system.

For example, I received this promotion email, which uses the word “Free” in its subject line. The email was sent straight to my Promotions tab, where I engaged with the message:Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 7.14.21 PM

“Email engagement is what determines if your email goes to the spam folder, so focusing on what drives engagement is key,” MacDonald states. “If that’s exclamation points or certain keywords, you shouldn’t be afraid to use them. The key is knowing your audience and your data.”

So if you’ve seen that engagement tends to be higher when you use language like, “Free deal!”, don’t shy away from turning to what works — email browsers won’t filter the message as spam.

2. Millennials don’t subscribe to marketing emails.

Adobe found that millennials check and use their emails more than any other age group. If your target audience includes millennials but you aren’t implementing an email marketing strategy, you may be missing out on a way to build customer relationships from a different channel.

The key to successfully marketing to millennials through email is focusing on quality over quantity. Though millennials prefer to engage with brands through email, too many emails may lead to fatigue from the age group.

You can always A/B test emails to see if it would be an effective move for your campaigns. Additionally, you can gauge the type of emails your millennial audience prefer as a result of testing.

3. Inserting video is an automatic engagement booster in email marketing.

“There is a lot of buzz about how including videos in your emails is great for email engagement,” recalls Jackie Lee, one of HubSpot’s email deliverability specialists. “However, including an actual video file in an email can be really bad for deliverability.”

This is because if large files, like video, are included in your email, it may impact the formatting — and, therefore, deliverability. Recall that deliverability focuses on the content of emails as much as its legality, so it’s important to make sure your emails look clean and professional.

However, this isn’t to say that you should never add videos. In fact, Lee suggests that, “Including a picture of the video with a play button overlapping the image that links to the actual video will ensure that you have a key element for engagement without risking poor deliverability.”

Check out this email I received as an example:

Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 7.14.14 PMThe video isn’t directly embedded into the message, but the play button has a link that will open another tab to play the video game’s trailer. The email’s formatting didn’t suffer for the sake of a video and it was sent to my main email folder. I was still able to interact with the content without deliverability being impacted.

4. Email marketing is a ‘dead’ practice.

Sometimes, it may seem like low engagement from subscribers points to the phasing out of email marketing. However, it has been found that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in engagement over the past year. This data from HubSpot suggests that email marketing is still an effective marketing tactic.

If you’re finding that email marketing isn’t providing as much ROI as you’re expecting, it may be time to redesign your strategy. Personalization is the growing trend in successful email marketing campaigns, as well as emails that are responsive.

When you design emails to be highly targeted and optimized for multiple devices, you are increasing the chance of subscribers being delighted by your messages. For instance, when I see my name in the subject line of a marketing email, I feel like it was made to fit my interests.

Take this email I received from a real estate site. This website sends listings based on web behavior. Getting sent targeted emails like that made me interested to check out more properties on the website:

Example of a successful email marketing subject line.

Eventually, I began to look forward to these emails so I could scour the site for more listings. The extra step of personalization in emails told me that the team working for this company cared about providing value to me through every stage of the buyer’s journey.

5. Emails are incredibly easy to design using HTML.

Are you familiar with the coding language needed for email design? I’m definitely not — I’d rather use email software to help me construct beautiful messages. But if you’ve never made a marketing email from scratch before, they may be more difficult to design than they seem.

This is because HTML doesn’t follow a basic set of rules for email providers, which is tricky when you want to design something specific and don’t know how. You might write a line of code that won’t make sense to the email browser, ultimately impacting email deliverability.

According to HubSpot’s Conversational Marketing Manager, Oluchi Ughanze, “HTML for web browsers is like an art class where everyone paints the same still life using the same materials. The painting might look different, but that’s because of the artist, not because of the still life or the colors.”

Marketing email design looks a little bit different. “HTML for email, however, is like an art class where, though you’re painting the same still life, everyone is given different materials. So it’s not as consistent to work with.”

“The only thing tying them together,” she continues, “Is the still life assignment, but nothing more. In this analogy, the still life is HTML, the materials are the clients or web browsers.”

Some things for HTML can look intimidating, but are pretty easy to pick up. For example, I’m pretty confident in my ability to bold text in a line of code if I need to. Other things, like email design, are a bit trickier.

For an easier, cost and time effective remedy for powerful email design, check out some email software tools that do all the HTML for you — so you can focus on delighting your customers.

6. Email subject lines have to be short and straightforward.

It’s become tougher to keep the busy mind of a subscriber engaged with marketing messages. But your subject lines don’t have to be short in order to keep your reader occupied.

It’s good to be concise with your wording, but it’s better to inform readers of what will be inside your email to avoid misleading messages. For example, I get email notifications from Patreon, a membership service platform, when the creatives I support upload new content. It’s helpful to know exactly what they’re uploading so I have an idea of when to interact with what they’ve posted.

Sometimes, though, that subject line can look a little lengthy:

Example of a lengthy email subject line that works

From the subject line of this email, I know exactly what the email will contain: exclusive live show details for patrons. Knowing this made me excited to open the rest of the email. But if the subject line stopped after the word “Show,” I wouldn’t have known the exclusivity of the content and might not have been as compelled to open the message.

Consumers prefer interact with their favorite brands through email, so be sure to communicate the impact of your message using as many characters as necessary. Chances are, those who subscribed to your emails generally enjoy the messages you’re sending out, so you can be a little more lax with how you use subject lines.

Myth 7: A spam email is just a poorly designed email.

When you think of what a spam email is, what comes to mind? I think of a sketchy-looking message that looks like it was made in the 1990s, like this beauty that landed in my spam folder not too long ago:

An example of an unattractive spam email.

However, that’s not entirely the case. While this email isn’t the best in the looks department, that’s not why it was marked as spam. “Some people think spam is super badly formatted garbage mail, but spam is any unwanted bulk marketing email,” explains Allpomonia Roman, email deliverability consultant at HubSpot.

The reason this email was marked as spam is because I never subscribed to the email list from this sender in the first place, not because it’s not great to look at. As Roman notes, “I could get an exceptionally targeted email from T.J. Maxx, for example, but if I didn’t sign up for those emails, it’s spam.”

When you’re constructing your email list, check it twice, and make sure all subscribers chose to opt-in to your emails. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that it will be marked as spam.

I don’t have a favorite episode of “MythBusters.” They’re so compelling to learn about — and sometimes, dive into a rabbit hole with research. Now that some of these myths have effectively been busted by HubSpot marketers, which of them are you most interested in trying out for yourself?

I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Click here to download104 Email Marketing Myths, Experiments, and Inspiration.

 

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a video to learn something new than read about it.

Go ahead — you’re not alone. 59% of executives say they’d rather watch a video than read text, too. And really, that number makes sense — we are a society of video streamers. (I mean, hello, Netflix.)

But if you’re not sure how to run a live stream event on social media, fear not. We’re here to make sure you don’t just hit the “Live” button on Facebook and stare at the camera like a deer in headlights. Instead, we’ve come up with a comprehensive checklist to help you plan your first — or next — live stream. 

How Live Streaming Works

Live streaming is a way to broadcast your events to an online audience. It’s a digital alternative to something like selling tickets to an in-person event and allows you to reach people near and far with live video.

Brands use live streaming for a few different reasons, but according to a Brandlive survey, 74% of businesses used it to engage with their consumer base. So instead of being the proverbial “man behind the curtain,” you’re allowing viewers to put a face (or faces) to your organization’s name, all in real time.

Live streaming can be used for a number of different event types, as well. Everyone from the White House to fashion houses to chefs have live-streamed videos of economy briefings, runway shows, and cooking demos, respectively. Here at HubSpot, we’ve used it for things like interviews with thought leaders. So feel free to be creative — just make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Live Streaming

When you’re ready to start learning how to live stream successfully, follow these steps:

1. Plan your live stream like you would any other event.

Think about some of the most popular talk shows. Can you imagine if the guests, sets, lighting, and schedules for something like “The Tonight Show” weren’t planned in advance? To say the least, it might be chaotic.

You’ll want to put the same thought and due diligence into your live stream that you’d put into an in-person event of its kind. And you’ll want to have your goals in mind as you begin to make those plans; those will dictate a lot of the logistics.

Who

Knowing your target audience will determine a few pieces of the planning process. If it includes an international population, that should factor into the date and time of your stream — be sure to think about time zones or holidays that might not be top-of-mind in your home country.

What

Then, think of what category your live stream falls into, and create a title for your event. In case you don’t find any of the above examples fitting to your business, we’ve got some ideas for ways businesses can use live videos.

HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager, Chelsea Hunersen, stresses the importance of thoroughly researching the topic of your live stream in advance.

“Decide important points or stats to hit,” she says. And if you’re going to feature guests, “designate a moderator/host who can make sure these points are hit and can wrap up the conversation if necessary.”

Where

The platform you use (which we’ll get to in a bit) can also be dependent on who you want to view the stream. Different audiences use different channels, so you’ll want to pick the one that’s most likely to draw the crowd you want.

Finally, pick an optimal location from which you’ll broadcast your stream. Consumers have a low tolerance for a bad stream, watching for at most 90 seconds if the connection is spotty or poor-quality, so make sure your setting is conducive to a positive viewing experience. Does it have good lighting? Is it prone to a lot of noise? Is there a chance that your dog walker will barge in yelling, “Who’s a good boy?” loud enough for the entire audience to hear? (Not that that’s happened to me.)

Think of these contingencies, then pick a streaming venue that insulates you from them.

2. Choose your platform.

Here’s where you’ll really need to have your goals in mind since different platforms can achieve different things.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live Events tend to have “two goals,” says Megan Conley, HubSpot’s Content Marketing Strategist. “Registrants and attendees.”

So, if you’re looking to boost revenue — which 75% of marketing professionals are using video to do — YouTube Live is one of the best platforms to use.

Here’s how that works. First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create an account on Google, which you’ll then use to create one on YouTube.

YouTube Live Events

Once that’s done, you can use YouTube’s Live Streaming Events dashboard to schedule a future stream — just click on “Enable live streaming,” if you haven’t already set it up.

YouTube requires a 24-hour buffer between the time that you enable live streaming and your first live. Once that 24-hour period is up, all you have to do is log into your YouTube Studio.

Then, click the “Create” button in the top right corner.

Screenshot of YouTube Create Button

This will prompt a drop-down that asks you to choose between uploading a video or going live. Choose “Go live.”

Screenshot of YouTube's Go Live Button

YouTube will then prompt you to complete some basic info such as its title and what age group the video is made for. You’ll also need to decide if you’re going live right away or scheduling it for a certain time. 

Screenshot of YouTube Live Information

After that, you’ll need to indicate if you want your event to be public or private — here’s where you’ll decide how you want to use your live stream to generate leads.

Screenshot of YouTube Live Privacy Settings

The Unlisted option accomplishes two things:

  1. I’ll be able to generate a link that attendees will get only after they fill out a registration form.
  2. It won’t stream directly onto my YouTube page.

Once you’re done, click “Next” You will be asked to smile to take a thumbnail, so make sure you’re camera-ready. From there, you have the option to “Go Live” or “Share” your content.

Screenshot of YouTube's Share Option

Click “Share,” and that will generate your event’s URL. As I mentioned above, you can keep that behind a landing page where attendees fill out a form to register.

Conley says that, generally, this type of live stream is embedded on a thank-you page behind a landing page form. 

If you use the HubSpot COS, all you’ll need is the link, and the system will generate the embed code for you.

Insert Media

Create Embed Code

Just click “insert media,” paste the link you copied from YouTube, and you’re done.

If embedding isn’t an option, you can still just put a link there — the embed code just creates a seamless design that you can place right on your thank-you page. Either way, be sure to use the thank-you page as a place to remind your attendees of the date and time of the event.

There’s also the option to make your YouTube Live Event completely open to the public. That’s a good option, Conley says, for a major event that you “want anyone and everyone to be able to find.” But if you make your stream public, she points out, make sure you use the event to promote gated content you want your audience to download.

“An image CTA would do,” she notes, as would holding up clearly printed short links throughout the stream (Make sure you have those printed out in advance!). In the image above, you’ll also see that you can add a message to your video — you can mention your gated content there, too. 

Facebook

Facebook Live has been making quite a few headlines lately, and businesses stand to benefit from it — Facebook Live videos produce 6 times as many interactions as traditional videos.

Even without pre-registration, you can definitely promote streams on this platform in advance, which we’ll touch on later. In the meantime, if you haven’t used it before, check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s overview of Facebook Live.

The interface for Facebook has recently changed, so you’ll have an easier time live streaming from your mobile Facebook app. 

Depending on your device, you may see the “Live” option right under the Composer when you open the app. Alternatively, you may need to click “Create Post” at the top of your News Feed, then select the three horizontal dots in the Composer. 

Screenshot of Facebook Composer Live Button

You’ll have a chance to write a comment about your video. Once you’ve done that, you can select “Go Live” in the bottom left corner. 

Screenshot of Facebook Start Live Video

Instagram Live

You can also live stream on Instagram. With Instagram Live, a functionality in the Instagram Stories feature, you’re able to broadcast video streams and save the replay to your Stories. Users are able to engage through likes and comments during the stream. 

This is a great platform for live streaming since Instagram Stories are used by 500 million users per day, and one-third of most-viewed Stories are from businesses. 

Keep in mind that you cannot post to Instagram from your browser, so open the mobile Instagram app to begin your live stream. Then, select the camera icon in the top left corner next to the Instagram logo. 

Screenshot of Instagram Live Camera Icon

At the bottom of the camera viewer is a menu that scrolls horizontally. Select “Live.”

Screenshot of Instagram Live Camera Viewer Live Button

The shutter button will change to a broadcast icon. This will immediately take you live if you tap it, so make sure you’re camera ready. 

Screenshot of Instagram Live Broadcast Button

 

Twitter Live

Twitter’s advantage is that you can easily share and promote content to a large audience, even if you don’t have a large following. In addition, hot topics spread more quickly than other media outlets. 

If you want to hit the ground running and generate buzz, Twitter is a great choice. However, you cannot go live on Twitter from your browser, so open the mobile Twitter app when you’re ready to start your broadcast. 

Once there, open the Tweet composer by clicking the button with the feather and plus sign. 

Screenshot of Instagram Tweet Composer Button

Select the camera icon. 

Screenshot of Twitter Camera Icon

At the bottom of the camera viewer is the choice between “Capture” and “Live.” Choose “Live.” 

Screenshot of Twitter Capture and Live Options

The shutter button will be replaced with a button that says “Go Live.” This will immediately take you live, so make sure that you have everything set up before pressing it. 

Screenshot of Twitter Go Live Button

TikTok

Since 2018, TikTok has had major buzz as the newest big player in the social media game as a platform for short-form videos. While TikTok’s audience trends younger with 41% of users between 16-24 years old, more people and brands are taking to the platform, as evidenced by its place as the fourth most downloaded app in 2018. 

One big drawback is that you can only go live on TikTok if you have 1,000 followers. For accounts where this isn’t a problem, here’s how to broadcast live: 

Open your TikTok mobile app and select the plus sign at the bottom of the screen. 

Then, enter the title of your stream and select “start.” 

It’s that easy!

The live streaming options certainly don’t end there. Major brands have also used platforms like Periscope, Livestream, and Twitch. They all have their own sets of features and advantages, so definitely take the time to look into which one best suits your needs.

3. Choose your equipment.

When it comes to the actual hardware required for your live stream, some of it is fairly intuitive: A camera is pretty standard, for example, or a device with one installed (like a laptop or phone).

But if you do use your phone, Conley says, be sure to use a tripod. “There’s nothing worse than recording a Facebook Live and having your arm start to fall asleep five minutes into the recording,” she advises. “Use a phone tripod to give your live streaming a professional look.”

Consider how professional you want your sound quality to be, too. Your camera might have its own microphone, but if your setting is more prone to noise, body mics might not be a bad idea, either.

And when you’re using an external camera, says Hunersen, you’ll also need some sort of encoding software (Facebook has a great step-by-step guide to that). That’s what converts the camera footage into a format that your streaming platform understands and can broadcast to viewers. The software you use might depend on your budget, but to get started, check out this one from Adobe.

Also, think about setting up a professional backdrop, like one with your logo. That can help to brand your videos and give them some visual consistency, which is a particularly good practice if you plan to do a lot of live streaming in the future.

Want to take that a step further? “Set up a makeshift studio in your office to speed up the prep time for all of your future recordings,” Conley says. “A beautiful, branded backdrop could be just what your Facebook Live needs to help grab the attention of someone quickly scrolling through their News Feed.”

4. Promote your live stream.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a lot of the major planning and setup for your live stream. Now, how do you get people to watch it?

As we’ve covered, using a landing page is a good way to get enrollment on a platform like Hangouts On Air (or, as of September 12th, YouTube Live). Here’s an example of how we recently used one at HubSpot:

HubSpot_CRO_Hangout.png

There’s a clear CTA here — “View The Video” — which, when clicked, takes the visitor to a registration form. (And check out this rundown of which channels drive the best conversion rates — it’s got some tips on getting people to your landing page in the first place.)

Form-2.png

Once someone fills out the form on your landing page, it should lead them to a thank-you page, where you can share some promotional information about the live stream.

HubSpot’s Co-Marketing Demand Generation Manager, Christine White, suggests creating a “Next Steps” section here with actionable items like “add this event to your calendar” and “check back here on [the date of your event]” to remind viewers that’s where they’ll go to view the live stream.

And once you have contact information for your registrants, Conley reminds us, “you can email the people on that list on the day of, and remind them when it’s going to go live.”

FB_Live_Promo.png

But to promote your Facebook Live stream, says Conley, “It’s really about doing a social image and spreading the word that you are going live at a specific time.”

Don’t rule out using social media to promote live streams on other platforms, too. Some of them, like YouTube, allow you to link your social accounts and push content in multiple places. And if your guests are active on social media, leverage that by including links to their handles in any related content, and ask them to promote the event with their own networks.

5. Do a dry run.

There’s a reason why we do dress rehearsals. When I was in a high school show choir — a humiliating but factual piece of history — it was to make sure I didn’t trip over my dance partner in high-heeled tap shoes.

In the world of live streaming, though, we do dry runs to avoid more technical, but equally embarrassing, missteps. Improv can be hilarious, but not when it means you’re verbally unprepared or your equipment stops working and you don’t have a backup plan.

6. Prep any guest speakers.

Is there anything worse than a moment of awkward, dumbfounded silence?

As part of your dry run, make sure your guests are prepared for any questions they might be asked. Don’t over-rehearse, but do what you can to prevent catching them off-guard.

“It may help to give some questions in advance to a potential guest,” says Hunersen, “but save some follow-up or in-depth questions for on-air, so that you’re able to let them be both prepared and react in the moment.”

7. Test your audio and internet connection.

You might want people to talk about your live stream, but not if all they’re going to say is, “We can’t hear you.” Make sure all of your audio equipment is working both during your dry run and on the day of the stream. Having an extra microphone and batteries on hand probably won’t hurt, either.

Make sure your network can handle a live stream, too. If you’re streaming high quality video, for example, you’ll need both a wire connection and a 3G/4G wireless connection, according to Cleeng.

In other words, make sure your WiFi is working, but also, “grab an ethernet cord,” says Conley. “One thing you can’t help is if your internet connection unexpectedly goes out.”

We know — even the sound of “ethernet” seems terribly old school. But if your WiFi suddenly drops, you’ll be glad you busted that cord out of storage.

8. Set up social media monitoring.

One great thing about live streaming is your audience’s ability to join the conversation and comment in real time. 

Juliana Nicholson, Sr. Marketing Manager at HubSpot, advises to “Have a plan for audience engagement. Know when and how you plan to incorporate audience feedback and Q&As and then clearly communicate that information to your attendees.” This will make it so much easier to encourage participation.

But that’s not all you should do with regard to engagement. If you’ve watched any Facebook Live feed, you’ve seen that the comments roll in fast. So while it’s awesome to invite and answer viewer questions, it can be overwhelming, especially if you personalize your responses.

That’s why it’s a great idea to dedicate someone to monitoring social media, comments, and questions during the live feed.

That task can be made a bit easier with something like a branded hashtag created specifically for this live stream. For platforms with built-in comment feeds, for example, you can ask your viewers to preface any questions with it — that can help qualify what needs to be answered.

You could even take that a step further and use the hashtag throughout the planning process, making sure to include it on your landing page, thank-you page, and promotional messages leading up to the event. That helps to create buzz around the live stream. And if you use HubSpot’s Social Inbox, here’s a great place to take advantage of its monitoring feature, which lets you prioritize and reply to social messages based on things like keywords or hashtags. 

After Your Live Stream

It’s always nice to follow up with your attendees after your live stream has ended. Thank them for their time, give them a head’s up about your next event, and invite them to download a piece of relevant content. If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve probably done a great job of using your live stream to generate leads, so keep up the momentum and nurture them

How to Scale Facebook Ads: 4 Ways

Want to maximize the results of your top-performing Facebook ads? Looking for ways to get more leads or sales from your existing Facebook ad campaigns? In this article, you’ll discover four horizontal and vertical ad-scaling techniques for Facebook ads. Horizontal Facebook Ad Scaling To scale your Facebook ads for reach, try adding new ad sets […]

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19 Ways to Effectively Increase Your Conversion Rate

Have you ever heard the term “analysis paralysis”? It’s the concept that too many choices can inhibit a person’s ability to make a decision.

It’s like when a visitor is on your website and there are too many places to look or there’s a confusing design.

When this happens, visitors won’t convert.

As a marketer, it’s important to remove any type of barrier to conversion. To do this, you should calculate your conversion rate and analyze why visitors aren’t converting on your site.

Whatever the reason, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can improve your conversion rate.

Below, let’s review how to increase your conversion rate for both your desktop website and mobile site.

Improving Your Website’s Conversation Rate

1. Use a CRO planner.

Getting started with conversion rate optimization can seem like a daunting task.

The first step to improving your conversion rate? Use a CRO planner.

With a CRO planner, you’ll be able to analyze and develop a strategy for increasing your conversion rate.

For example, with HubSpot CRO planner, you’ll find instructions on how to conduct a site audit, identify areas to improve your conversion funnel, understand users on your site, and go through the process of A/B testing and experimentation.

CRO planners can be helpful because they take through the entire process from A to Z.

HubSpot's conversion rate optimization planner.

2. Shorten your forms.

One reason that users don’t convert is because there’s friction in the process. For example, if you have a long form, visitors might be hesitant to fill it out.

It’s your job to eliminate hesitation, not create it. By shortening your forms, you’ll create trust among your audience. Plus, it takes less time to fill out so users are more likely to complete it.

3. Include social proof.

Did you know that 92% of consumers hesitate to make a purchase if there are no customer reviews and 97% say customer reviews factor into their buying decision?

Without a doubt, your reputation and online presence impact your conversion rate. That’s why you should include social proof on your site.

You can link to your Yelp or any other directory page where customers have left reviews.

Additionally, you should also add testimonials and reviews right on your site so visitors don’t have to go to a third-party site.

It should be apparent that your customers have enjoyed using your product or service. If it isn’t, your conversion rate will suffer.

4. Track how people interact with your site.

It’ll be hard to improve your conversion rate if you don’t understand how users are interacting with your site.

But how can you see where visitors are getting tripped up? With website analysis tools, you can see screen recordings of users on your site. You’ll see what they click on, if they skip over an offer, or if they stop filling out a form in the middle.

Additionally, these tools should include heat maps of your site, so you can see what elements stand out and what draws the eye.

A tool like Crazy Egg or HubSpot’s website grader can help you see what you’re doing well and diagnose what areas of your site you need to improve.

5. Add live chat.

When a web visitor doesn’t convert, they might have a question or concern about your product or service.

To avoid losing potential customers, you should consider adding live chat to your site.

With live chat, your customer service or sales employees can alleviate concerns of prospects who are on the fence.

6. Test your offers.

Sometimes it can feel like you’ve checked everything — you’ve written strong copy, included social proof, and have optimized your forms … but you still aren’t converting.

When this happens, it’s time to check your content offers. Do they align with your audience? Are they creative and compelling? Do the offers make sense for the page they’re on?

Think about your current offers and answer those questions.

For example, offering a free trial or consultation is fairly generic. Instead, you could offer something like HubSpot’s Website Grader. With this offer, the customer is getting a lot out of it. They’re getting actionable advice, for free, and they don’t need to clear out time on their calendar to get it.

Tangible and compelling offers always perform better than a generic offer. To improve conversions, you need to analyze and test your content offers.

7. Communicate your value proposition.

On any landing page, your value proposition should be clearly communicated. To do this, you need to have a solid understanding of who your audience is and your buyer persona.

Write your copy specifically for your target audience. For example, you can address their goals, motivations, and pain points.

Additionally, you should discuss the benefits of your product or service over the features. Benefits will help your potential customers imagine their life with your product, while features are easy to skim and ignore.

Your copy should communicate how your product or service can solve your audience’s problem. If you aren’t converting, you should check and see how well your copy is written.

8. Incorporate multimedia elements to your landing pages.

Have you ever ordered something at a restaurant and when it came out, it looked completely different than what you imagined?

You don’t want this to happen when people download your content offers. To avoid this, include images and videos of your product or service on your landing pages.

Multimedia elements make your site feel more trustworthy. Plus, it’s the preferred way of consuming content.

To improve your conversion rate, try adding images of graphs and charts, or video testimonials to your site.

9. Write strong CTAs.

A huge component of conversion is your call-to-action (CTA). Your CTA could be to download an offer, share a post on social media, or subscribe to your email newsletter.

Whatever it is, you need to include CTAs throughout your website and landing pages. Usually, this means that they’re clear and easily accessible.

Typically, each landing page will only have one call to action, but be incorporated several times on a page. For example, this blog post has three CTAs that lead to one offer. One at the bottom of the page, one in the text in the introduction, and one that pops up after scrolling down the page.

The important thing to note is that you can access the CTA no matter where you are on the page.

10. Meet your audience’s expectations.

When someone clicks on your site after reading your meta description on Google or seeing your search engine ad, your landing page needs to follow through.

You have to deliver on the promises that were made in that copy. For example, if a user sees this post in Google, they’re going to expect to find strategies to improve their conversion rate. If they clicked through and this page only had pictures of puppies, they’d be confused.

If a landing page doesn’t deliver on what a user thought they were getting, they won’t convert. That’s why you need to think about the entire process from seeing an ad, going to your landing page, and downloading an offer.

If a landing page isn’t converting, review your social media posts and search engine descriptions to see if you follow through on the promises you made.

11. Conduct A/B testing.

It’s not always easy to know what’s working and what isn’t. When that happens, you should conduct A/B tests.

See what types of headlines, colors, copy, layout, and CTAs work for your audience. Get creative with your experiments.

For example, you can try testing an entirely new type of CTA or completely changing the format of your copy.

12. Increase trust and remove friction.

Users don’t convert if they don’t trust your brand or experience friction in the process.

So, how can you increase trust?

You can use several tactics, including money-back guarantees, updating your site content regularly, avoiding spammy links, and making the site easy to use.

If it looks like you haven’t posted a blog in two years or there are a lot of broken links — that’s friction and it creates distrust.

Additionally, you can include team bios so your audience knows who they’re getting information from.

If your site doesn’t include these elements, it could impact your conversion rate.

13. Create abandoned cart email campaigns.

Have you ever been on a site, added something to your cart, but decided not to check out? We all do it and that means it’s probably happening on your site too.

You shouldn’t forget about those potential customers. If someone abandons their cart, they should receive an abandoned cart email campaign.

With this type of an email campaign, you’ll email users a reminder about the products in their cart, send a follow-up, and then perhaps include a discount or offer.

If you don’t send this email, you’re losing out on conversions.

How to Increase Mobile Conversion Rate

14. Improve your page speed.

When it comes to mobile conversion, a huge obstacle is page speed. This is the time it takes for your content to appear on the screen.

Did you know that 40% of people abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load? On mobile specifically, a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

If your mobile page isn’t converting as well, analyze your page speed with Google’s PageSpeed tools. This will test your mobile page speed.

To improve your page speed, images need to be smaller and compressed. Additionally, your site should be responsive and optimized for mobile.

15. Optimize for mobile.

Since Google switched to mobile-first indexing, mobile optimization has been more important than ever. If you don’t optimize for mobile, your Google rankings might be impacted, which could reduce conversions.

You might be wondering, “How do I optimize my site for mobile?”

Before you begin, it’s important to remember that mobile and desktop experiences are different.

You can use Google’s mobile testing tool to see if your site is mobile-friendly. With this tool, you’ll get recommendations for how to improve your site’s mobile performance.

For example, you might need to increase your font on mobile, compress your images, or improve page speed.

16. Enhance the purchasing process.

Making a purchase on your phone should be a simple process.

That means you shouldn’t have too many steps in your checkout process and your payment buttons should be easy to see and click.

Additionally, try to remove restrictions on online forms where you gather payment information. Personally, I’m always stopped on mobile forms because the name of my city is too long (22 characters).

Users should be able to check out as a guest and use whatever payment method they want, whether that’s Google Pay, Apple Pay, or by PayPal.

Ultimately, this process should be easy and pain-free. A complicated checkout process will reduce mobile conversions.

17. Be creative with your mobile marketing.

When you want to increase your mobile conversion rate, that doesn’t just mean you need to adapt your site to the mobile experience.

You can also start to get creative and run mobile-only marketing campaigns.

For example, maybe you can start an SMS text message campaign, or you can use push notifications on your app.

These creative, out of the box techniques can help increase your mobile conversion rate.

18. Make adjustments to your mobile site.

Since the mobile and desktop experiences are different, your mobile and desktop sites should be different.

For example, your email subscriber form might be smaller or nonexistent on your mobile site.

Additionally, you’ll probably use different CTAs on your mobile site. For instance, when you read this blog, the website and mobile have different types of CTAs. While the offer is the same, the button and the way to access the CTA isn’t.

On mobile, less is more. Your mobile site should be simple and eliminate distractions. This can mean you have simplified navigation and use a hamburger menu so it’s easy to get around your site.

19. Localize your content.

Mobile users are usually on your site because they’re looking for contact information, want to know your location, find directions, or look up reviews.

That’s why you should optimize for local marketing. This means adding location pages to your website, managing your online directory listings, and creating local content.

To improve your mobile conversion rates, consider localizing your content so you perform better in local searches.

Before I sign off, I want to remind you that many of the tactics for improving your website’s conversion rate can be applied to mobile CRO.

At the end of the day, we’ve all been consumers before. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and think about whether you would make a purchase off your site.

Your Blueprint to Create the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Creating content can feel discouraging.

For instance, you might spend hours producing something that’s amazing, only to get little engagement, traffic, or leads. What’s more, later, you’ll have to explain that ROI to your boss — talk about a dreadful workday.

If you’re feeling frustrated or burnt out with your content creation process, you’re in luck. Here, we’ve created a complete blueprint to a successful content marketing strategy.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the different aspects of the content blueprint and why each facet is so important for marketers to include in an overall strategy. For more information on content marketing strategies, we’ve created a content marketing workbook that’s free to download.

Otherwise, let’s dive into creating a content marketing strategy that will bring you that ROI you’re looking to earn.

How to Develop and Implement a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

We’re going to look at three different stages that make up the blueprint. These stages will outline the main steps you can take to create your strategy. Then, we’ll go into depth with details about making that happen.

Let’s start with step one — getting decision-makers on-board with your strategy.

Stage 1: Getting buy-in from your stakeholders in order to green light your strategy.

All great content marketing plans start with getting people within the company to buy into your vision — basically, the people who can give you the resources, budget, or information that’s required to make your plans a successful reality.

For example, internal customer-facing teams, such as customer support, can share their expertise and help fuel your content creation efforts. Because they have regular contact with customers, they’ll know some of your audience’s biggest challenges or what they care most about — which comes in handy when you need to create content those customers care about.

Additionally, your marketing team likely has a limited budget. To implement certain strategies and forgo others, it’s vital you’re able to get leadership on board with your vision.

To make this happen, you’ll need a pretty awesome pitch. Generally, this pitch should do three things:

1. Talk about key challenges you will solve with your strategy.

You’ll want to give an overview of the key challenges your content marketing plan will solve. Instead of complicating this step with an overload of data points, keep it simple and concise. Summarize your key challenges in just a couple of charts so it’s more comprehensive.

For example, in this chart below, the marketer’s key challenge is that their overall CPL (cost per lead) is being inflated by the amount of money they are spending to acquire leads through paid programs.

example of CPLBy implementing a solid content strategy, CPL can be reduced. Notice how this chart states the need for a strategy, presents key supporting data, and makes that information easy to comprehend.

2. Talk about how your strategy will relate to business metrics.

Try to always keep your audience in mind. Senior management will be focused on cost and revenue. How can your marketing strategy help with those metrics?

In the example above, the answer is clear: Reducing the CPL reduces the cost it takes to acquire a customer, which can increase profit down the road.

When you present your pitch to decision makers, make sure to outline how reaching your goal will also help reach the greater goals of your business.

3. Give high-level details on your strategy to achieve these goals.

Finally, you might consider talking through how your content strategy is going to help solve these key challenges and influence those business metrics. You can use this template generator to help you organize your ideas. The goal of this step is to prove to senior-level management that you’ve thought through your plan and what resources you need to make it a reality.

Now, you’ve created your pitch and you’re ready to present to upper-level management. Remember, this pitch will help you convince the right people that your content marketing strategy will be successful.

You should have a pitch before you begin planning your content strategy because you’ll stakeholders will be aware of what campaign you plan to run to achieve your business goals. However, while you don’t need to fully develop your strategy until you get support from leadership, it’s still critical you spend time reviewing metrics and making a tentative game-plan for when you do develop the strategy.

Next, we’re going to talk about how to develop that aforementioned winning strategy.

Stage 2: Develop your content strategy.

In a HubSpot report, it was found that 56% of survey respondents said they were doing content marketing without a plan. Content creation can definitely be difficult, but having a content plan helps. It takes into account key challenges, business goals, and metrics, which will make you more successful in the long term.

Let’s talk about what a winning content strategy should include.

1. Include the buyer personas you are targeting.

At HubSpot, we align content around different buyer personas. This allows us to stay really focused on for whom we’re creating content. We keep our buyer personas’ goals and challenges in mind so we can address these at each stage of the buying process.

As an example, here is a persona I’ve built for a company software company that provides tools that streamline day-to-day business processes, offers inbound marketing courses, and makes reporting easier.

Meet “Marketing Macy”:

Marketing Macy persona

To make this persona, I used a free persona builder that made the process incredibly fun. In addition, I was able to point out exactly how to connect with a target audience by identifying why they would love a company and what challenges they were looking to solve.

To create content that’s going to be relevant to Macy at each stage of the buying cycle, we’ve included key information about her goals, challenges, and why she would love a company that offers CRM and CMS software. Knowing an ideal target customer like Macy makes it easier to connect with them.

2. Understand where the content gaps are in your buying cycle.

Make sure you understand where the content gaps are in the buying cycle for your buyer personas. To achieve this, you should conduct a content audit. Additionally, ask yourself if your buyer persona has the information they need at each point of the buying cycle.

For example, at HubSpot, content is created that attracts Mary to our site and helps her evaluate our software based upon what we know about her goals and challenges. We then ask ourselves if she has everything necessary to feel confident in purchasing our product based on those goals and challenges.

If you identify those gaps, you can focus on making sure that content is in your strategy. For instance, let’s say that you have a gap in content for the evaluation stage. Identifying that is the first step in creating helpful content for that stage.

Next, we’ll talk about how to create and push the content that will bridge those gaps.

3. Create relevant content ideas and stick to an editorial calendar.

Once you have identified your personas and understand what content you need to move them through the buyer process, it’s time to brainstorm content ideas to fill in those holes.

When you understand to whom you’re marketing, it can be easier to come up with relevant content. To ease the process further, check out our post about how to map out content. Ultimately, though, make sure every piece of content you create is engaging, delightful, and created with intent.

Ask yourself during the creation process if your content achieves those three things. Let’s look at this social media post as an example:

This post is engaging because it includes a graphic that attracts the attention of audiences. It’s delightful, because the graphic and supporting copy are easy to comprehend and uses emojis to illustrate a point. Additionally, it’s created with the intent to provide value to customers who may be looking for remote working tips.

Creating content is half the battle, though. Another thing to figure out is when to schedule the publishing of that content so it gets seen by the right people and is delivered consistently.

That is why all great content plans have an editorial calendar so that people within the company can see what content is being published and what dates that content is going live. Editorial calendars keep teams in sync and organized — as far as visual workflows go, it’s a necessity.

When you’ve identified your persona, created content for them, and have finalized a calendar-based schedule, this stage is complete. The next stage is to figure out the publishing details.

Stage 3: Determine a publishing plan for your content strategy.

One of the biggest shifts in marketing today is transforming our mindset from that of a traditional marketer to that of a publisher. Sometimes, as marketers, we think in terms of immediate wins, which is why we tend to prioritize our ad budget for paid media. We invest a certain amount of spend in return for an approximate number of leads and customers.

Moving to a publisher model means investing more upfront to start creating content assets that will have a far greater impact over a longer period of time. For example, the HubSpot blog generates most of its traffic from blog posts not published in that month. This is because the content we’ve created in the past has long-term value for the company in both the leads and customers they generate each month.

A lot of companies talk themselves out of publishing before they even get started due to a lack of immediate resources. However, a content team of one can be successful if they know how to source content effectively.

Here are two tips to keep in mind to become a publishing rockstar:

1. Think about scaling your content by repackaging in several formats.

Consumers today connect with brands across different channels, whether that be on social media, through email marketing, or on your website. When developing a new piece of content, think about how you can repurpose that content into various formats.

For example, if you’ve developed a series of blog posts, such as a series about customer retention, you could turn them into a comprehensive customer service ebook.

2. Make sure the quality of your content always remains high.

Whether you’re creating a single piece of content a week or several pieces a day, the quality of your content should always remain extremely high if you want it to pay off in the long run.

Creating an editorial checklist will help you manage this process. With a checklist, you can quickly check each piece of content for quality issues and educate your team on what it takes to publish content for your company.

In HubSpot’s content blueprint, you’ll find a range of templates that make scaling content really easy and provides an intuitive, ready-made editorial checklist.

Stage 4: Promote your content early and regularly.

So, you know about your target audience and you’ve created content specifically tailored to them. The task now is how to distribute that content to your audience effectively.

The key to effective distribution is to increase the number of distribution channels, such as blogs, email, and social properties. Additionally, you have to expand the reach of that content to a broader audience.

Promotion is a critical part of a content blueprint and something marketers should think about at great length during their planning phase.

To become an expert at promotion, you should:

1. Make promotion an essential part of the planning process.

When my team is planning out a content campaign, we put as much thought into the distribution of that content as we do into the campaign development. We want to know who that content is for and how can we make sure they get it.

For instance, if you are distributing content on social media platforms, discuss in great length how to prioritize budget, posting schedule, and using the tools offered by social channels to expand the reach of your content.

2. Make sure your team is equipped with promotional skills.

Being able to promote content to the right audience isn’t an easy job. Over time, the skills to distribute content effectively will be critical to long-term success.

If you want to learn more about how you can be effective at promoting your content, we have lots of information on outreach, seeding your content, and even the best way to repackage it for different networks to increase its exposure right inside — you’ve guessed it —our content blueprint.

Sometimes, learning the proper promotional skills comes with trial and error. You have to figure out what your audience responds to the most. For instance, you can create an A/B test with the content you want to push on social channels to see what types of messaging your audience prefers.

Additionally, you can experiment with multiple content types to get a gauge of what targeted content really resonates with your audience. To get an idea, check out what your competition is doing, and what works for them. You can also do some social listening to observe the patterns in web behavior of your target customers.

How are you doing with your content strategy so far in 2020? Where do you hope to improve your content marketing the most this year? With this guide, you’ll be fully prepared to take on the world of content marketing, and do it successfully.

Facebook Shops and Shops on Instagram: New Business Tools for Marketers

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Facebook Shops and Shops on Instagram with special guest, Allie Bloyd. Tune Into the Social Media Marketing […]

The post Facebook Shops and Shops on Instagram: New Business Tools for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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The Ultimate List of Types of Marketing [41 and Counting]

Like many of the people who work in the industry, digital marketing was born in the 1990s. Back then, email was the age of most college graduates, AT&T launched the first banner ad, and the CRM industry was just starting to thrive.

Needless to say, marketing has evolved at breakneck speed since then, sprouting many more types of marketing. Some are definitely more effective and relevant than others, so read on to learn about the top types of marketing around today.

The Ultimate List of Types of Marketing

1. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing refers to brand promotion on any kind of channel that has been around since before the advent of the internet. Because information wasn’t as easily accessible and readily available, the majority of traditional marketing relied on outbound tactics such as print, television ads, and billboards.

2. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing refers to intrusive promotion such as print ads, TV ads, cold calling, and email blasts. This marketing method is called “outbound” since the brand is pushing their message out to all consumers to spread awareness — whether they are in need of it or not.

3. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is focused on attracting customers rather than interrupting them. The majority of inbound marketing tactics fall under digital marketing as consumers are empowered to do research online as they progress through their own buyer’s journey (more on that later).

The focus for inbound is on creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business to pull prospects and customers to your website with relevant and helpful content. Once they arrive, you engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat and by promising continued value. Finally, you delight them by continuing to act as an empathetic advisor and expert.

4. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing, leveraging technology that didn’t exist traditionally to reach audiences in new ways. This type of marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers. We’ve broken some of these down in more detail below.

5. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, includes all activities in the effort of ensuring your business’s products or services are visible on search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a top result for that search query. The two types of SEM include search engine optimization (SEO) for organic search results and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for sponsored SERPs.

To get started with SEO, you must familiarize yourself with search engine ranking factors and produce content for search engines to index.

To get started with pay-per-click SEM, you must work with the search engine you’re looking to purchase placements with. Google Ads is a popular choice. There are also ads management tools to make creating and managing PPC campaigns a breeze.

6. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a key instrument in inbound and digital marketing because content is what allows audiences as well as search engines, such as Google, to find the information they need on the web. By definition, it involves creating, publishing, and distributing content to your target audience. The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets, like tools, ebooks, or webinars.

With content marketing, the goal is to help your audience along their buyer’s journey. First, identify common FAQs and concerns your buyers have before they are ready to make a purchase. Then, create an editorial calendar to help you create and manage your content. It also helps to have a content management system to make publishing easy.

7. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is creating content to promote your brand and products on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Remember your audience as you create content. No one logs on to social media looking for something to purchase, so think through what types of content that is useful, informative, entertaining, and/or compelling. Your unique content should be tailored to the specific platform you share it on to help you boost your post’s reach.

In order to make publishing content across platforms easy, there are a number of social media tools out there such as  that simplify the process.

8. Video Marketing

Video marketing is a type of content marketing that involves using video as a medium. The idea is to create videos and upload them to your website, YouTube, and social media to boost brand awareness, generate conversions, and close deals. Some video marketing apps even allow you to analyze, nurture, and score leads based on their activity.

9. Voice Marketing

Voice marketing is leveraging smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to educate people and answer questions about their topics of interest. Optimizing your website for voice search is very similar to optimizing for organic search, but beyond that, you can also get inventive by creating a Google action or Alexa skill.

10. Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending educational or entertaining content and promotional messages to people who willingly subscribe to your receive messages from you. The primary goal is to deepen your relationship with the customer or prospect by sending marketing messages personalized to them. Pushing that idea further, you can also use email marketing to nurture leads with content that moves them along the buyer’s journey.

Depending on your location, you must stay compliant with GDPR, the CAN-SPAM Act, and other regulations governing email. At their core, they boil down to responsible commercial email sending: Only send to people who are expecting messages from you (i.e. they’ve opted in), make it easy for them to opt out, and be transparent about who you are when you do make contact. 

With that in mind, the first thing you’ll need to do is strategize how you’ll build your email list — the database of contacts you can send email to. The most common mechanism is through lead capture forms on your website. Then, you’ll need email marketing software and a CRM to send, track, and monitor the effectiveness of your emails. To push your email strategy further and maximize productivity, you may also want to look into email automation software that sends emails based on triggering criteria.

To learn the ins and outs of email marketing, you can take the free email marketing course from HubSpot academy.

11. Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is the ability to have 1:1 personal conversations across multiple channels, meeting customers how, when, and where they want. It is more than just live chat, extending to phone calls, texts, Facebook Messenger, email, Slack, and more.

When you’re getting started, you’ll first identify which channels your audience is on. The challenge, though, is being able to manage multiple channels without slow response times, internal miscommunication, or productivity loss. That’s why it’s important to use conversational marketing tools, such as a unified inbox, to streamline your efforts.

12. Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing is a viral marketing strategy that leverages refreshingly creative content, interactive events, and community influencers to generate word-of-mouth marketing and anticipation for the product or service the brand is about to launch.

Buzz marketing works best when you reach out to influencers early and have a plan in place to generate suspense and perhaps even mystery. To track your buzz marketing efforts, it’s best to use social listening software to keep a pulse on how your audience is responding.

13. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers on social media. Influencers are considered experts in their niches. These individuals have a large influence over an audience you might be trying to reach and can be helpful marketing to those buyers.

To get started with influencer marketing, you must first create your influencer marketing strategy and define what type of influencer you’re targeting (their niche). Then, you’ll want to create a list of criteria that would make an influencer in that niche a good fit with you, considering things such as the size of their audience, how active that audience is, and the vibe on their profile. 

From there, you can find influencers and reach out to them by: 

  • Manually searching on social media
  • Using an influencer marketing platform
  • Hiring an agency to do the influencer research and outreach for you

From there, you’ll want to understand that the influencer is the one who knows their audience the best, so maintain a good relationship with that individual and allow them some creative freedom with how they handle your promotion.

14. Acquisition Marketing

While all types of marketing is geared toward acquiring customers, the majority of types have broader and softer goals such as improving brand awareness or driving traffic. In contrast, acquisition marketing is laser-focused on acquiring customers. 

Acquisition marketing is an umbrella type of marketing that employs the tactics and strategies of other types of marketing but focuses on how to turn those marketing benefits into revenue. Ultimately, the focus is on lead generation from the results you get driving website traffic from inbound marketing, including content, social media, and search engine marketing.

Once you have website traffic, you must turn that traffic into leads and, eventually, sales. That’s where acquisition marketing comes in. Acquisition marketing may involve a number of tactics to turn a website into a lead generation engine, including offering freemium products, launching education hubs, tightening the copywriting on the site, conversion rate optimization, and lead optimization. It may even include a lead optimization and nurturing strategy to facilitate the hand-off between marketing and sales.

15. Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing is targeting online users with different ads on websites and social media networks based on their online browsing behavior. The number one way to make contextual marketing efforts powerful is through personalization. A CRM combined with powerful marketing tools such as smart CTAs can make a website seem more like a “choose your own adventure” story, allowing the user to find the right information and take the right actions more effectively.

Contextual marketing takes strategy and planning, so start off on the right foot by accessing HubSpot’s free contextual marketing course.

16. Personalized Marketing

The goal here is to be thought-provoking and generate discussion so that your brand is remembered and associated with positive sentiment. 

In order to begin brand marketing, you need to deeply understand your buyer persona and what resonates with them. You must also consider your position in the market and what makes you unique from competitors. This can help shape your values and what you stand for, giving you fodder for storytelling campaigns.

17. Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is shaping your brand’s public perception and forging an emotional connection with your target audience through storytelling, creativity, humor, and inspiration.

The goal here is to be thought-provoking and generate discussion so that your brand is remembered and associated with positive sentiment. 

In order to begin brand marketing, you need to deeply understand your buyer persona and what resonates with them. You must also consider your position in the market and what makes you unique from competitors. This can help shape your values and what you stand for, giving you fodder for storytelling campaigns.

18. Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is when a brand hires actors or celebrities or uses pseudonyms to promote their product or service without consumers realizing they’re being marketed to. Some examples of stealth marketing are hiring actors to subtly promote products to the public, sockpuppeting, paying influencers to post about a product or service without disclosing that it’s actually an ad, creating fake viral videos, and product placement in movies.

19. Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is placing bold, clever brand activations in high-traffic physical locations to reach audiences in a creative and cost-effective way, grow brand awareness, and spread the word about your brand. Examples of guerilla marketing include altering outdoor urban environments, targeting indoor locations such as train stops, and promoting during a live event without permission from the sponsors.

20. Native Marketing

Native marketing is when brands pay reputable publishers to collaborate in the creative process of crafting a sponsored article or video that covers one of the publisher’s main topics and looks like a regular piece of content on their website. They also pay these publishers to distribute this sponsored content to their massive audience through social media and their website. In sum, when brands pay for a publisher’s native advertising services, they can leverage their editorial expertise and reach to help their brand tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.

In order to benefit from native marketing, you’ll need to either reach out to media publications yourself or go through a native advert network that helps find and facilitate ad placement.

21. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer rewards a website with a commission for each customer they refer through their promotion of one of the online retailers’ products. The website, often called an affiliate, will only get paid when their promotion generates a sale.

If you already have marketing assets that are performing, such as a website that generates traffic or an engaged network on social media or elsewhere, affiliate marketing is a great way to further leverage those assets. Choose a product or brand that closely aligns with what you sell (but does not compete with you) and promote it to your audience.

22. Partner Marketing

Partner marketing is attracting new partners to sell your product or service to another pool of customers. For example, a HubSpot, we have an agency partner program where inbound marketing agencies sell our product to their clients, and we give our partners a cut of the revenue.

23. Product Marketing

Product marketing is bringing a product to market and driving demand for it. This includes deciding the product’s positioning and messaging, launching the product, and ensuring salespeople and customers understand its benefits and features. This can be done through many of the marketing methods discussed in this article but with a focus on the product rather than an organization as a whole.

24. Account-based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hyper-focused marketing strategy where teams treat an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. Marketing teams create content, host events, and launch entire campaigns dedicated to the people associated with that account, rather than the industry as a whole.

The advantage of this is having personalized campaigns for your ideal client. Here’s how you can start: 

  1. Identify key accounts. 
  2. Create messaging based on issues that matter to those accounts. 
  3. Learn how to put that messaging in action with HubSpot’s introductory ABM lesson
  4. Find ABM software that can enable your efforts.

25. Customer Marketing

In contrast to acquisition marketing where the focus is on acquiring new customers, customer marketing is focusing on retaining your existing customers, delighting them with your product or service and customer service, and turning them into advocates for your brand who can spread the word about your brand. This is a great strategy because the cost of acquisition is much higher than what it takes to retain or upsell existing customers.

Customer marketing relies on constant improvement of the customer experience — or the impression you leave with a customer after you’ve provided service. Simple ways to improve the customer experience — and, as a result, tap into customer marketing — is by eliminating friction in the customer service process, providing ways for them to self-service such as through online knowledge bases, and using customer service software to manage and improve customer communication.

26. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is customers’ recommendations of a brand, which is the most trusted form of marketing today. To create as much word of mouth marketing as possible, you need to stay laser-focused on developing the best product or service possible and providing top-notch customer service. In other words, you need to serve your customers’ needs before your own. Only then will your customers turn into a loyal, passionate tribe that will recommend your brand to their friends and family.

27. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is a type of customer marketing that focuses on cultivating deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers to ensure long-term brand loyalty. Relationship marketing is not focused on short-term wins or sales transactions. Instead, it’s focused on creating brand evangelists that become promoters for the long-haul.

The key to doing this is by focusing on delighting your customers who are already satisfied with your brand. Start by using customer feedback software to run a Net Promoter Score (NPS) campaign to help you find out who those customers are. Then, come up with ways to turn those happy customers into raving fans. From there, you can request that they leave a testimonial, participate in a case study, or help you achieve your customer delight goals in some other way.

28. User-generated Marketing

User-generated marketing is when businesses ask the public for ideas, information, and opinions on social media or run contests to help them craft better marketing material, like a logo, jingle, or commercial.

29. Campus Marketing

Campus marketing is hiring college students to become campus ambassadors for your brand. They usually market your products or services to other students by setting up booths around campus or hosting giveaways.

30. Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing is when brands use Beacons, which are Bluetooth devices that send alerts to people’s smartphones based on their proximity to one of their stores, to promote discounts to any customer who walks by one of their stores and has their app. Beacons can also pinpoint people’s locations in a store and send them deals on the products and brands that are in the same section as them.

31. Event Marketing

Event marketing is planning, organizing, and executing an event for the purpose of promoting a brand, product, or service. Events can take place in-person or online, and companies can either host an event, attend as an exhibitor, or participate as a sponsor. Many organizations leverage their unique experience in the industry to provide present helpful informational sessions in exchange for the cost of admission and the brand positioning that results after being seen by attendees as an authority on the topic. Alternatively, or in conjunction with that strategy, there may be a pitch at the end of the event to prompt interested attendees to make a purchase.

32. Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing encompasses in-person events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between a brand and its target audience. Experiential marketing takes event marketing just one step further with the goal of making the experience magical for attendees, providing something they can take with them after the event is over — other than just information, of course. 

At HubSpot, we do our best to make our INBOUND conference an immersive experience that extends beyond breakout sessions by including networking opportunities, entertainment, parties and happy hours, food truck lunches, and other immersive experiences. Instead of a conference, INBOUND becomes a celebration.

33. Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing is an innovative type of marketing where your audience can interact with engaging visuals or videos within your content. This new form of marketing unleashes your creativity and, in turn, allows you to tell more gripping stories, crowning it as one of the best ways to capture your audience’s attention. Examples of interactive marketing include immersive video and interactive infographics.

34. Global Marketing

Global marketing is focusing on the needs of potential buyers in other countries. Typically, a global marketing strategy requires a business to do new market research, identify countries where the business’s product might be successful, and then localize the brand to reflect the needs of those communities.

35. Multicultural Marketing

Multicultural marketing is devising and executing a marketing campaign that targets people of different ethnicities and cultures within a brand’s overarching audience. Not only does it help you relate to and resonate with minority groups, but it also recognizes their ethnicities and cultures and helps majority groups realize that most countries are melting pots and not dominated by one main ethnicity or culture.

36. Informative Marketing

Informative marketing is a kind of marketing that refers primarily to the type of message your marketing gets across, focusing more on the facts and less on emotions. This marketing tactic highlights how your product’s features and benefits solve your customers’ problems and can even compare your product to your competitors’ product. Although this type of marketing relies on facts and figures to trigger a desired action, it’s usually framed in a compelling way.

37. Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing blends neuroscience and marketing to help brands gauge the emotional resonance of their current and future marketing campaigns. To do this, companies like Immersion Neuroscience and Spark Neuro have developed technology that can gauge certain neurochemical and physiological responses, which both signal emotional engagement while consuming marketing content.

38. Persuasive Marketing

Persuasive marketing focuses more on the emotions and less on the facts. It aims to make an audience feel something, associate those emotions with a brand, and trigger a desired action.

39. Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a type of corporate social responsibility that aims to simultaneously improve society and boost a brand’s awareness by promoting and supporting a charitable cause.

Sheryl Green, author of Do Good to Do Better, a book on cause marketing, describes this scenario: “There’s nothing fun about selling widgets … [so] Susan is about to discover the power of Cause Marketing. She pledges 1% of her gross sales to support her local food bank. She spends her Saturday mornings at soup kitchens serving the homeless. She has donation boxes set up in her employee break rooms and gives comp time to her employees who want to volunteer. And, she has switched her commercials from a description of the widget making process to a story about how her employees give back to the community and how they’ve served over 6000 meals in the last year. Susan is no longer selling widgets… now she’s selling warm fuzzies.”

All of this is because Susan, the fictitious owner of the widget company, chose to marry her business with her desire to support the community. 

Cause marketing begins by answering three questions: 

  1. What causes do I care most about? 
  2. How can I leverage my company’s position to support those causes?
  3. How can I tell my prospects and customers about my efforts so that they can get involved? 

That last question benefits both your business and the cause/charity you’re supporting.

40. Controversial Marketing

Controversial marketing doesn’t aim to polarize an audience. It’s an attention-grabbing technique for stating an opinion, and brands use it to spark productive conversations about certain moral values. In recent years, any stance taken on sensitive social issues can be considered controversial marketing. While you may turn off potential customers who disagree with you, your audience who agrees with you will be more committed to your brand and more likely to promote your message as it aligns with their world view.

41. Field Marketing

Field marketing is creating sales enablement content like case studies, product overviews, competitor comparisons, and more to help sales close their prospects into customers during the last stage of the buyer’s journey.

There’s no right or wrong way to do marketing — as long as it’s effective for connecting with your desired audience. Many companies use one, a few, or multiple types of marketing to promote their message across campaigns and other efforts. 

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose what works best for your buyers, niche, budget, and resources. It’s up to you to be on top of current trends and leverage that knowledge as you create your marketing plan.

5 Common Integrated Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Say there’s a mattress company that’s just designed a revolutionary new waterbed. Upon the model’s release, sales are less than stellar, and the business is struggling to make headway in the unforgiving, dog-eat-dog world known more commonly as the waterbed industry.

The company decides it needs to make a concentrated effort to stand out and looks to its marketing department for answers. The marketers at the company decide to promote a contest — one where consumers submit videos of themselves drinking individual glasses of water in creative ways.

Whoever submits the video deemed most creative wins a free waterbed and an all-expense-paid trip to Water Country — the preeminent waterpark in the greater Portsmouth, New Hampshire area.

To enact this campaign, the company sends out promotional email blasts to its subscribers. Its blog writers place calls-to-action referencing the sweepstakes in their posts. The company runs TV and print advertisements detailing how consumers can enter. And finally, its social media team regularly posts participants’ submissions across its various profiles.

The process that company undertook — its cohesive coordination of its marketing channels to work in tandem for its campaign — is known as integrated marketing.

It’s a practice that can have tremendous payoffs, but there are some typical pitfalls that many companies that attempt it often run into. Here we’ll discuss some common integrated marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.

Integrated Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid them

1. Tone-Deaf Messaging

Messaging is the lifeblood of successful integrated marketing campaigns. It’s the focal point that ties your various channels together, and its efficacy often hinges upon your sense of cultural awareness and flat-out common sense. If your messaging is offensive, hypocritical, or unjustifiably controversial, you’re setting your entire integrated marketing campaign up for failure.

Case in point, Levi’s “Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes” campaign. Though the underlying principle of Levi’s campaign sounded good on paper — empowering women to feel comfortable in their own bodies — the way the company executed its messaging was completely off-base.

Though the campaign was rooted in the idea that women of all “shapes and sizes” were beautiful, their marketing materials only featured thin models.

integrated marketing mistake Levi's

Image Source

Levi’s messaging was misguided, hypocritical, and lacked self-awareness. In other words, it was tone-deaf. The advertisements ran in print and online, but the controversy they stirred poured over into social media and the general blogosphere. Ultimately, the campaign might have been more trouble than it was worth.

The best way to avoid this potential pitfall is to run your core ideas and materials by a diverse team that can identify which aspects of your messaging might go awry. Your consumer base and the world around it have a variety of perspectives, so it’s in your best interest to have different voices partially vet the messages the general population is going to hear.

2. Inadequate Results Analysis

Successful integrated marketing efforts often rest on lessons learned from previous campaigns. Your integrated marketing initiatives need to be the byproduct of creativity within parameters set by knowledge and experience — accrued, in large part, through results analysis. That’s why it’s surprising to see so many companies hastily analyzing campaign data or neglecting to do so altogether.

Integrated marketing is a matter of progression. Your campaigns can’t be a series of entirely independent, uninformed, “I have a feeling this will work” events — they need to have some factual, analytical basis to them.

If your campaign produces a considerable amount of raw data. Don’t gloss over it. If no one within your organization can thoroughly make sense of the information, seek the advice of outside experts.

One way or another, make sure any results your campaigns produce are comprehensively analyzed and understood. Doing so will ensure you have legitimate, factual insight behind the choices you make with your future integrated marketing efforts — not just hunches and speculation.

3. Making promises you can’t deliver on

In 1996, Pepsi enacted its “Pepsi Points” integrated marketing campaign. The company ran ads through print and on television to promote a system where consumers could collect “points” through labels on Pepsi products that they could redeem for prizes like t-shirts and sunglasses.

The campaign was partly centered around a tongue-in-cheek bit about how consumers could redeem 7 million “Pepsi points” for a Harrier fighter jet. One advertisement featured a teenager flying the plane to school saying, “This sure does beat the bus!”

Integrated marketing mistake pepsi

Image Source

As I said, the advertisement was intended to be a joke, but a 21-year-old business student decided to take it seriously. He realized that it would cost $700,000 to accrue enough Pepsi points to buy the jet — which was valued at roughly $33.8 million. After finding enough investors to lend him the money he needed, he tried to buy the jet from Pepsi.

When Pepsi told him that they weren’t going to sell him a military-grade fighter plane for less than 2% of its value, he took them to court. A surprisingly extensive legal battle ensued before the courts officially ruled that the campaign was clearly in jest — saying, “The callow youth featured in the commercial is a highly improbable pilot, one who could barely be trusted with the keys to his parents’ car, much less the prize aircraft of the United States Marine Corps.”

Still, Pepsi’s integrated marketing campaign — where they supported their sweepstakes and point redemption system with print and television ads — was a bit careless. Though the company was making a joke, it was still making a promise that someone might take advantage of.

That’s a factor to be mindful of when constructing your integrated marketing campaigns. You always have to walk the walk. For instance, if you’re aligning your marketing channels and messaging with a specific social justice cause, you have to practice what you preach.

Integrated marketing campaigns often have a single, fundamental focal point. If yours is in that boat, make sure you understand what’s at its core and any promises it might imply. If you can’t handle them, you’ll need to adjust your efforts.

4. Neglecting Small Overlaps

Integrated marketing is the practice of creating a cohesive brand experience. And cohesion can often be measured by how seamlessly consumers can transition from channel to channel. Make sure you’re comprehensive in addressing any overlaps between different marketing facets — no matter how insignificant they might seem.

For instance, your email signature is an excellent place to plug your social media handles, website URL, or video links. You can include links to your website, blog posts, content offers, or other digital content in your social media bios. And your blog and website are prime territories to incorporate social sharing buttons.

Almost every channel presents some sort of potential for crossover. The steps required to get the most out of those opportunities are easy to take and offer consistent, substantial payoffs. So take the time to go through all your channels and see if there’s room for cross-promotion. If you’re thorough and thoughtful, you’re bound to find different ways to link the various aspects of your integrated marketing efforts.

5. Lack of Commitment to Cohesion

Integrated marketing takes a special kind of dedication. If you’re marketing through a single channel like television ads or email campaigns, addressing the issues and challenges the campaign might raise tends to be fairly straightforward.

That’s not the case with integrated marketing. Enacting a cohesive campaign that spans several different channels, mediums, and platforms takes extra effort and clearer communication across departments.

For instance let’s imagine a panini-maker company called Jay’s Sandwich Systems. It’s just released a new product — a panini-grill that doubles as a waterproof speaker.

The company opts to implement an integrated marketing campaign to promote it. The focal point of which is trying to get users to post videos of them using the grill to dance to the campaign’s official theme song, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie.

That’s what its TV spots, email marketing efforts, digital videos, and company blog are all pushing. But the campaign stalls as soon as it starts. Very few people are posting the videos Jay’s Sandwich Systems had hoped to see.

The company’s social media team notices that people online don’t think the song pairs well with the machine. Instead, there’s a movement where social media users are posting videos of the grill playing Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law.”

A solid commitment to cohesion in this situation would entail the social media manager relaying that information to the other departments. They would communicate clearly and determine whether it would make sense to shift the marketing efforts across their various channels away from Fergie to Judas Priest. If it made sense financially and culturally, they would make the shift across every channel that was part of their campaign

If your channels are completely siloed without consistency and communication, your integrated marketing campaigns won’t actually be integrated. Cohesion is mission-critical in these types of efforts. If your whole marketing team isn’t prepared to commit to that, you’re kneecapping the potential efficacy of your campaign.

In all likelihood, the success of your integrated marketing campaign is going to rest on your channels’ ability to move and adjust together. You have to maintain a cohesive message, and that takes thorough planning and consistent communication.

If the ideas at your campaign’s core are sound and well-informed, and you’re prepared to keep all the aspects of your marketing efforts on the same page, you’re going to be in a good position to implement an effective integrated marketing effort.

Facebook Organic Reach: How to Develop an Engaged Following

Want a more engaged Facebook following? Looking for creative ways to leverage organic marketing rather than ads? To explore how to develop an engaged organic following on Facebook, I interview Fallon Zoe on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Fallon is an organic reach expert who specializes in Facebook. Her Facebook-focused membership community for female business […]

The post Facebook Organic Reach: How to Develop an Engaged Following appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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24 Data-Backed Reasons to Personalize Your Marketing

When Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain, set out to study online consumer experiences earlier this summer, he knew that relevant content would be at the forefront of consumer minds. We’ve seen for years that emails which are personalized to the recipient do better than their generic counterparts.

But perhaps what he could not have anticipated was just how much consumers have come to expect personalization at every stage in their buying process. In truth, nearly three-fourths of respondents in the national poll expressed frustration at content that does not recognize them and adapt to their interests.

“These results [indicate] that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” Drebes explained. “Consumers have been pretty consistent and clear in their feedback, the way to avoid alienating them is to give them what they want — personalized, relevant content using their data in a responsible and transparent way.”

To put it plainly, consumers don’t just like personalized marketing experiences. They expect them. Here are 24 stats to prove why you need to embrace personalized marketing in 2020. 

Benefits and Challenges of Personalized Marketing

  • Message Personalization is the #1 tactic used by email marketers to increase engagement rates. (HubSpot)
  • More than 20% of marketers say personalization can improve email engagement. (HubSpot)

HubSpot State of Marketing 2020 data on personalized email

  • 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a“strong” or “extremely strong” impact. (Evergage)
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. (Epsilon)
  • 90% of U.S. consumers find personalized marketing content somewhat to very appealing. (Statista)
  • 78% of marketers say email is the most personalized channel, followed by websites, which 56% of marketers noted. (Evergage)
  • The biggest challenge that ABM teams face is personalizing their strategy. (HubSpot)
  • 40% of marketers say their biggest challenge with personalization is linking to data-related technologies, while 34% struggle with poor data quality. (Experian)
  • 78% of brands say they struggle with “data debt” or not having enough quick data about their customers to not launch relevant personalization tactics. (Experian)

Consumer Preferences of Personalized Marketing

  • 92% of marketers say customers and prospects expect a personalized experience — up from 85% in 2019. (Evergage)
  • 45% of consumers say the “coolest” personalized tactic they’ve seen is when a brand apologizes for poor shopping experiences. (Accenture)
  • 74% of consumers would find “living profiles” valuable if they could be used to curate the experiences, offers, and products they receive. (Accenture)
  • 67% of consumers think it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on current context. When brands don’t adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will “get annoyed” that content isn’t personalized. (Adobe)
  • 82% of consumers primarily engage with marketing content on smartphones, while 63% engage with content primarily on computers. (Adobe)

which platforms do people use to consume personalized marketing content on most?

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Data Privacy Preferences

  • 83% of shoppers would exchange data for a more personalized experience. (Accenture)
  • In a 2019 study, 79% of consumers surveyed believed companies knew too much about them, but 90% were still willing to share behavioral data for a cheaper and easier brand experience. (SmarterHQ)
  • Three out of four consumers say a business has never communicated with them online in a way that felt too personalized or invasive. (Accenture)
  • Of the one quarter of consumers who’ve received a personal or invasive brand experience, 64 percent) say it was because the brand had information about them that they didn’t share knowingly or directly. (Accenture)
  • In an Accenture survey, consumers said the “creepiest” personalized marketing tactics involved texting or sending a notification when someone walked past a brand’s store and launching social media ads for items consumers browsed on a brand website. (Accenture)

Anonymous vs. Permission-Based Personalization

There are varying opinions in marketing about the appropriate time in the customer lifecycle to use personalization.

While some argue that personalization should only take place after the end-viewer has consciously provided information to the company, other companies use anonymous data, like the location attached to a viewer’s IP address, in order to target viewers by location. In developing your personalization strategy, you’ll need to decide what the right approach is for your company and customers.

  • Regardless of what technology enables, it’s essential that your strategy start and end with the needs and preferences of the customer. For many, that will mean waiting until the customer has engaged with you before personalizing content.
  • 42% of surveyed marketers claim they personalize using anonymous data. (eConsultancy/Adobe
  • 57% are okay with providing personal information on a website as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways. (Janrain)
  • 77% would trust businesses more if they explained how they’re using personal information to improve their online experience. (Janrain
  • 62% of adults under 34 are willing to share their location for more relevant content. (Jiwire

Navigating Marketing Personalization

We have entered into an exciting time for marketers and buyers alike. The ability to create unique experiences for each prospective customer will undoubtedly lead to buying experiences that are more relevant, useful, and enjoyable. As we navigate this new space and develop strategies, it will be important to keep an open discussion going about what’s working and what’s not in the world of personalization.  

This data is helping to frame the early stages of that conversation. Hopefully the coming year will result in more results and good case studies of companies using personalization to create a more “human” marketing experience.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September of 2013, but was updated in May 11 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

Deal Pipelines Gain Positive Momentum in Mid-May [COVID-19 Benchmark Data]

For the last few months, businesses around the world have had to rapidly adapt to the impact of COVID-19.

In a time where it seems like things change every day, it can be difficult to gauge whether the challenges your business is facing are widespread.

That’s why we’re publishing week-over-week benchmark data for core business metrics like website traffic, email send and open rates, sales engagements, close rates, and more. These core metrics are split by region, company size, and industry cuts, so you can explore data for companies most similar to yours. You can find the data, and more context on the dataset and sources, here.

Because the data is aggregated from our customer base, please keep in mind that individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors.

These insights are refreshed every Thursday morning ET, and will be accompanied by this short writeup. You can find past writeups using this timeline.

Adapt 2020 HubSpot

We hope to establish useful benchmarks to measure your business against, and serve as an early indicator of when short- or long-term adjustments may be needed in your strategy.

What We’re Seeing

Here are the three key takeaways from the most recent week’s data:

1. Deals created and closed gain positive momentum as some industries and countries show encouraging performance towards mid-May.

After a 6% increase during the week of May 4, global deals created rose another 6% last week. Deal creation is still 7% below pre-COVID levels, but this metric has been trending in a positive direction over the past few weeks. The number of deals closed also increased by 8%, which is a promising sign after seeing the recent rise in deals created earlier this month. The combined growth of deals created and deals closed should provide optimism for sales teams, especially those working in industries that haven’t been as structurally impacted by COVID-19.

total-deals-created-closed

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Almost all industries experienced an increase in deal creation during the week of May 11, except for consumer goods which dropped 11% from the previous week. There are now four industries that are trending close to or above pre-COVID levels as construction is 17% above, computer software is 4% above, and manufacturing is 2% above the benchmark. Consumer goods is trending 4% below pre-COVID levels, and although it experienced a drop in deals created last week, that dip was accompanied by a 17% increase in deals closed-won, which is a hopeful sign for sales teams as we move towards the end of May.

Deals-Created-Industry

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For the last several weeks, we’ve been paying attention to countries that have been in the news for reopening their economies. Italy, Spain, and Germany, all saw increases in deals created during the week of May 11. Italy experienced the largest bump with a 12% increase in deal creation and a 14% increase in deals closed. Germany had a 5% increase in deals created and stayed on par with global averages for deals closed. Germany’s performance is similar to Australia’s as deals created there were 6% higher during the week of May 11 and are now trending just above pre-COVID levels.

The United States is another country that’s near the top of our watchlist. You can explore its macro-regional data here, but we’ll provide a more detailed breakdown later in this post.

2. Sales teams return to calling, marketing metrics show strong engagement, and the demand on inbound channels remains high.

After weeks of remaining flat, sales email response rates saw a slight increase during the week of May 11. While response rates are still below pre-COVID levels, this recent rise in engagement has given way for more sales activity.

Previously, email response rates reached their lowest average this year, but as they show signs of recovery in May, sales teams are able to resume higher levels of other, more direct prospecting activities, like phone calls. Call volume has increased 16% since the week of April 27 and contact growth has remained consistent with pre-COVID averages during the week of May 11. Now that more countries and states are starting to open back up, we’re seeing businesses returning to traditional outreach channels like calling clients and booking meetings.

total-sales-calls

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Marketing metrics, on the hand, remain strong. Marketers sent fewer emails this week, but send and open rates continue to trend well above pre-COVID levels. Email engagement was particularly high during the week of May 11 as open rates are currently trending 29% above the benchmark. That’s roughly a 10% boost from the previous week.

Engagement for other marketing channels remains strong as well. Customer-initiated conversations increased 4% during the week of May 11 and are 33% above pre-COVID levels. Web traffic was up last week, too, sitting at 23% above the benchmark. This indicates that there’s still a great demand for inbound strategies as people start to gravitate towards different marketing channels.

3. The United States remains on par with global sales activity as the country begins to reopen its economy.

As states across the U.S. continue to reopen businesses and lighten COVID-19 restrictions, sales activity has begun to rebound. Deal creation has remained steadily improved over the past five weeks and currently the U.S. is only trending 5% below pre-COVID levels. Deals closed-won increased by 2% as well, resulting in the most closed-won deals for the country since the week of April 6, when nearly all of the countries we’re tracking experienced a significant dip. Although the U.S. is still 10% below the pre-COVID benchmark for deals closed, we hope this will improve as we near toward the end of May.

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The volume of sales emails for the U.S. continues to trend above pre-COVID levels landing at 70% for the week of May 11. Response rates remain below pre-COVID averages and, like sales volume, remained flat compared to the previous week. Additionally, after trending downward in mid-March, call volume in the U.S. is now up 4%, but still sits 10% below pre-COVID levels. As more states start to relax their COVID-19 legislation, we expect sales activity to yield a positive trend over the next few weeks.

Marketing metrics for the U.S. have remained on par with global averages. Email send and open rates have been trending well-above the benchmark since mid-March and last week open rates hit a year-best, reaching 31% above pre-COVID levels. Web traffic has been really strong in the U.S., too, as last week marked the 15th week in a row where web traffic has been recorded above the benchmark. It’s now sitting at 28% above pre-COVID levels.

What This Means for Businesses

Sales teams need to reinvent how they prospect.

While sales results are incrementally improving week-over-week, salespeople are still spending a great deal of time reaching out to poor-fit prospects. The deal pipeline metrics are an encouraging sign that more businesses are reentering buying processes, but it’s still too early to tell how much of this growth will be sustained. For now, it’s a safe bet that your sales team should continue prioritizing high-interest, good-fit buyers rather than indiscriminately prospecting.

Resources to Help

Consider whether online advertising is a fit for your business.

The significant dip in advertising spend tells us that many businesses have paused their ad campaigns either temporarily or indefinitely. There’s an opportunity for companies to enter a more affordable market. Whether or not this approach is right for your company entirely depends on your audience and offering, but if online ads work for your business, now may be a good time to un-pause campaigns.

Resources to Help

Free Software to Get Started

Adapt 2020 HubSpot

21 Interactive Content Stats That Marketers Need to Know in 2020

In December 2018, Netflix viewers were introduced to the platform’s first interactive film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Bandersnatch followed a character named Stefan, a tormented game developer who was forced to make a number of simple and tough decisions to release a video game.

Each time Stefan had to make a decision — such as eating Sugar Puffs or Frosties for breakfast — two options would appear on the screen. Stefan’s fate was then in the Netflix viewers’ hands as they could choose what happened next.

The choose-your-own-adventure film — which allowed viewers to go down one of nearly one trillion paths based on their choices — was a viral hit.

Bandersnatch generated a ton of buzz on social media for Netflix, and the streaming giant was also able to use data from the decisions viewers selected. At one point, the streaming site released data to show which choices users commonly made.

Since Bandersnatch’s success, the entertainment industry and brands have continued to jump on the interactive content bandwagon with high-priced AR/VR and even video-game based campaigns.

But, as a small or medium-sized business marketer who isn’t ready to dabble in AR/VR just yet, you might be wondering, “Is interactive content really worth its price?”

Yes, interactive content is highly engaging, attracts customers, and provides value. But, you don’t necessarily need expertise in emerging technology to leverage it.

Below are 21 stats that highlight how interactive content is growing, the benefits it provides for brands, emerging interactive marketing technology, and a few of the most effective content types that marketers are using today.

21 Interactive Content Stats to Know

General Interactive Content Stats

  • 45% of B2B buyers say interactive content is one of their top three preferred content types. (SnapApp)
  • 51% of B2B buyers say interactive content is helpful when tackling business challenges. (SnapApp)
  • 62% of B2B marketers are already using interactive content. (DemandGen)
  • Interactive content gains two times more engagement than static content. (DemandGen)
  • 34% of marketers say at least 10% of their content is interactive. (DemandGen)
  • Meanwhile, 88% of marketers say at least 10% of their static content will be made interactive in the next two years. (DemandGen)
88% of marketers say at least 10% of their static content will be made interactive in the next two years.

Source

  • 77% of marketers agree that interactive content has “reusable” value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 73% agree that combining traditional content marketing tactics with interactive content enhances the retention of their organization’s message. (Content Marketing Institute)

Interactive Content Types

Quizzes, Polls, and Interactive Infographics

  • 85% of B2B marketers are already using or plan to use interactive infographics as part of their strategy. (DemandGen)
  • Women.com owns well over half the engagement for online quizzes, dominating even Buzzfeed, which is better known for this kind of interactive content. (Buzzsumo)
  • 75% agree that non-gated interactive content can provide a “sample” of the brand, resulting in a higher degree of lead nurturing. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • In a HubSpot poll, 15% of consumers preferred to tap through Instagram Stories with quiz or poll features. This interactive content type was the third most popular Story format. (HubSpot)

Interactive Videos, AR, and VR

  • 62% of B2B marketers plan to use or are already using interactive videos in their tactics. (DemandGen)
  • 43% of consumers prefer interactive video content over other types of video content because it gives them the ability to decide what information they want to view and when they want to view it. (MarketingCharts)
top online video qualities for consumer decision making

Source

  • 38% of agency experts say they help produce webinars for clients. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 45% of agency employees help brands create live experiences, such as virtual events or Q&As. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • In 2019, 42.9 million people in the US used a VR product, and 68.7 million people used an AR once monthly. (eMarketer)
  • In 2018, 88% of companies with budgets between $100 million and $1 billion were already experimenting with different forms of AR. (Deloitte)
  • A quarter of VR users believe it has a strong potential for brands and marketers. (GlobalWebIndex)
  • 71% of consumers would prefer to shop at stores with an AR experience (Lumus Vision)
  • 64% of consumers say VR has the most potential in gaming, while 52% recognize its potential in Film and TV. (GlobalWebIndex)

Testing the Waters With Interactive Content

If you’re primarily used to creating static content, wrapping your mind around how to make your branding more interactive can feel overwhelming.

Luckily, in 2020, you don’t need to be an AR expert or a coder to test the waters with low-cost interactive content. For example, you could leverage Instagram or Facebook Stories to poll or quiz your audiences, use an online quiz creator to generate an assessment for your website, or plan a live stream on a social platform that allows you to ask an expert questions from those who are commenting on it.

For a few great examples of how brands are getting interactive, check out this blog post. Ready to get started with your own content? Here are a few easy-to-use tools that can help you.

I Failed at Podcasting, and So Can You

In 2016, I thought I had the perfect plan.

My Georgetown graduate students desperately needed to get away from books and learn about start-ups through real world experience. And Washington, D.C. was booming with startups.

So I figured — why not launch a podcast called “Students vs. Startups … Showdown on the Potomac?”

In hindsight, “Students vs. Startups” encountered a perfect storm, and I steered right into it. Ultimately, the podcast’s failure boiled down to five major factors.

Here, let’s dive into the five factors that led to the failure of my first podcast, and what you can learn from them.

1. Have multiple sponsors who are eager to support your podcast.

In my case, my sponsor was a hot startup seeking great resumes to grow their company — and grow, it did.

Eventually, the startup caught the attention of a larger company that bought it out. Marketing decisions were taken out of the hands of my success-at-any-cost champion.

While it’s easy to blame the sponsor, I realized I failed on several levels:

  • By assuming the new organization would have the same hunger as the aggressive startup. From the new corporate perspective, sponsorship for the podcast was delegated to the marketing department, and funding eventually dried up when the marketing teams prioritized other avenues.
  • By not seeking other sponsors during the podcast. I should’ve had a backup sponsor in case my first sponsor backed out.
  • By not devoting 100% effort to the success of the podcast. I treated it as a line item in a month of activities. In addition to teaching, I was conducting corporate workshops, doing video interviews, speaking onstage, and consulting. I put the difficult work of finding a backup sponsor on hold for the relatively mechanical activities of the podcast: getting guests, students, and managing the freelance audio engineers.

Lesson: Launching a successful podcast means all hands-on deck. It shouldn’t be an isolated activity. To ensure long-term success, you’ll want multiple sponsors who are eager to financially support your podcast endeavors.

2. Ensure your host is engaging and can connect with the audience.

In my long broadcast career, I realized I’m able to control the energy of the show.

This is a subtle but powerful characteristic of the audio format — there are no visual clues to allow the audience to understand what is going on, so the speaker must give plenty of verbal clues to make the exchange appealing.

If the focal point was the students interacting with startups, the premise of my show was flawed. By letting the conversation flow organically, I missed out on opportunities to make the dialogue more engaging for the audience.

Listening to “Students vs. Startups” after a couple of years gave me a new perspective: Many times, the excitement dissolved after my opening. A mitigating issue must be the fact that the podcast was recorded at 6:30 PM, after everyone had worked a long day.

Lesson: If you are staking your reputation on the success of a podcast, take it upon your shoulders to handle the magic of the microphone, and ensure you have engaging talking points ready for your subjects.

3. Ensure your podcast can show up in search.

We know that humans search. A lot. A recent article indicates that Google receives 63,000 searches per second, on any given day — so it makes sense that you’d need a strong digital presence to enable searchers to find your podcast in the first place.

Search engines seek text, so you can more easily attract search bots by including text with your Show Notes page. This page should be the target of your inbound and outbound marketing efforts.

In your Show Notes page, make sure you have keywords placed appropriately, include images, the full transcript of the podcast, and a summary. These “Blog Basics” can help your podcast get discovered through search.

One essential in digital marketing is the art of the launch. Unfortunately, it was an afterthought for “Students vs. Startups”. If you have an established email list with thousands of followers, the launch of a podcast can be much smoother. When email recipients click on the Show Notes page, Google will get signals of popularity and can improve the domain authority of that page, making it easier to find.

“Students vs. Startups” began from scratch. It had no email list or promotion budget. It was remarkable the podcast got any listeners at all. An email list allows you to question, survey, and learn about the needs and desires of your intended audience.

Lesson: Hire a professional to take care of the audio and scheduling. Bring in someone to structure a Show Notes page that is fast, mobile-friendly, and can be found easily through search.

4. Listen to your audience.

Ultimately, the most important part of my podcast show was missing: the audience. I failed to connect to the audience and gain a better understanding of what questions they had for entrepreneurs.

And, of all the people in the world, I should’ve known this. For ten years I wrote a weekly technology column for The Washington Post called, “Ask the Computer Guy.” The idea of the column was to listen to the audience and help with their problems. This simple formula worked well — the column lasted a decade and had national syndication. Perhaps my hubris didn’t allow me to reach out to the startup audience to see what they wanted.

You may want to go face-to-face at trade shows and ask what topics people would like to hear. Beyond that, read forums, participate in LinkedIn groups, absorb Reddit responses, and see what questions come up on Quora.

Lesson: Get off your high horse and ask what the audience wants.

5. Your success ratio should be one hour recording, and 10 hours promoting.

For a successful podcast, you’ll want to budget one hour for studio time, and at least 10 hours for promotion efforts.

If you aren’t an audio engineer, you should outsource the audio editing to a professional. This will give you more time to promote your podcast.

For promotion, a great use of your time is to become a guest on other podcasts, which almost guarantees more downloads for you.

Lesson: 10X your promotion efforts. If you’ve done your homework and listened to the audience, when you promote it, people will say, “Wow, I was just wondering about that topic. I’m going to give it a listen.”

If you want to launch a corporate podcast, it’s critical you have a detailed plan for success. If you have a sponsor, deepen that relationship in case there are mitigating circumstances that can impact your financial situation. Always develop new business contacts in case things change.

The moderator can make-or-break the podcast. Lead with enthusiasm, stick with a theme, and control the interview.

Now, a little over four years later, I now have two successful podcasts: Federal TechTalk and Constellations. I’ve learned something from my past mistakes — I hope you can, too.

Why HubSpot’s Director of Analytics Wants You to Make Data More Human

Reporting and attribution have revolutionized marketing in every industry. Marketing data allows businesses to make more informed decisions about their audiences’ needs, challenges, and interests.

For years, demographic reporting has done wonders for marketers. Data points such as age, ethnicity, gender, location, education, and employment have informed marketing teams and heightened the impact of campaigns across the board.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much that demographic data can tell us about the people searching for and purchasing our products and services.

2020 is the time to make data more human.

Key Takeaways & Expert Insights

Humanizing a historically inhuman component of marketing (such as reporting and attribution) can be tough. Let’s talk about a few ways to do this.

Firstly, start to switch your reporting focus from demographic data to psychographic and behavioral data. This should be a major change your organization makes in how and why you collect data. We’ll talk more about how to do this later in this article.

Secondly, expect democratization of data. Today, data is difficult to gather and is typically controlled by a dedicated marketing analytics team. While this may be a good way to collect and manage your company’s data, it can create a silo that alienates your data from the people at your company who can actually apply and learn from it.

In 2020, expect analytics teams to start making data more accessible for all employees. To jump start this process within your organization, invest in systems that automate your marketing reporting and make it easier for your employees to access that information. Teach employees how to properly apply this data, too.

Strive for efficiency and alignment across your organization. Here are a few ways to do this:

1. Align all departments within the organization around being a data-driven company and agreed-upon goals.

2. Choose and define a home for your marketing data. Where does your data live? Is it currently available? How can employees access it?

3. Avoid common marketing reporting mistakes, including one-off reports and random data pulls. These waste time and produce inconsistent data that doesn’t speak to your audience or contribute to real results.

4. Document your marketing reporting process — this might look something like: gather data, define important patterns, automate, and repeat. Instead of assigning different roles or teams to each part of the process, consider dividing up your marketing reporting workload by data source. This will allow the same people to see your data through from collection to application.

Keep Investing in Attribution to Identify Bottom-Line Impact

In 2020, continue focusing on marketing attribution reporting. When did customers first touch your brand? When did they last touch it? Where are your visitors and customers coming from?

According to our 2020 State of Marketing report, only 50% of companies are currently using attribution reporting — and almost 30% answered “No.”

A pie chart titled "does your company currently use attribution reporting"

Attribution tools such as Databox, Looker, and HubSpot’s Marketing Hub are getting better and better at producing more accurate and timely marketing data.

Start Using Behavioral Data as Your Guiding Light

Consider behavioral data king in 2020. If you aren’t already, start tracking behavioral data and define relevant marketing key performance indicators (KPIs).

For example, instead of tracking demographic data like age or location, start paying attention to behaviors like click-through activity, online purchases, search query information, and on-site engagement.

Behavioral data is more impactful data than demographic data, and it helps ensure compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and future data regulations (which we’ll touch on below). It also helps you identify and understand (and then effectively target) people based on their actions.

Behavioral and psychographic data points represent people showing up and taking action. They are a better indication of interest and intention. Demographic data doesn’t adapt to users and behaviors in the same way.

According to our 2020 State of Marketing report, almost 25% of companies reported their top marketing priority for this year was closing more deals. If your priorities are the same, behavioral data-based reporting can help meet those goals.

At HubSpot, we focus on the data from a few tools (our own instance of HubSpot, for example) and on-page site data. We review each order of event sequences (i.e. how visitors came to land on and interact with our website) and take a look at where people landed, how they got there, and if they were satisfied with the results — if they converted, shared, and/or made a purchase.

For example, let’s say someone lands on the HubSpot homepage through a LinkedIn post. They explore the website by clicking on a few pages and finally, on the fourth click, land on a product page. There, they click to request a call with our sales team.

This approach to collecting data better informs our business strategy. It provides a deeper understanding of what content and which site placements help users find the information they need to perform the actions they want … like submitting a demo request.

“2020 is when we’ll get automated insights at scale. Between the continued development of natural language processing and AI-engines trained to understand which metrics are important to different industries, we anticipate being able to get relevant insights sent directly to you so you know where you need to focus.” — Jocelyn Chen, Analytics Lead at Seer Interactive

For those seeking buy-in for behavioral data, I recommend running an initial analysis of your site and reviewing the results. Establishing on-site patterns can actually provide more data to be shared with your team and business leaders.

These patterns can then integrate your business teams across marketing, sales, service, and more.

The top-line argument here is that demographics and segments have never been about the people — your audience and customers. When you understand how people are using your site, you can improve it immensely.

Stop Ignoring Important Data Regulations

Regardless of what types of data you introduce in 2020, you must stop ignoring data regulations. It’s time to get proactive with data regulations, rather than reactive. This is especially true for GDPR and CCPA. Even if you’re not operating in the European Union or California, these regulations will control your access to data — especially demographic data.

This is yet another reason to lessen your focus on demographic data. Not only will it become less available through more regulations, but it also poorly represents your audience. Demographic data is essentially bucketing people into segments that they didn’t choose and don’t make sense for them.

When you stop defining people by their demographic data, you gain a better understanding of their actions and intentions — and you work in tandem with data regulations, not against them.

My Recommended Reporting and Attribution Tool

Marketing reporting and attribution is not a manual process — an intelligent, robust tool is almost always required. But there isn’t one perfect tool — what works best for you is dependent on where your data lives and what platforms you’re already using. This will determine what you need going forward.

If you are dealing with a lot of disparate data sources, I’d recommend Looker. Looker is a very powerful query tool with a lot of flexibility. If you are more streamlined and have a lot of your data on one platform, there’s a ton of solutions — for example, if your data is in HubSpot, we offer many powerful reporting and attribution features.

Take a Deep-Dive Into the State of Reporting and Attribution

Dive deeper into HubSpot’s survey data by clicking the download button on the image below.

Editor’s note: This article was researched in December 2019 and January 2020, and was originally published in early February 2020 in our State of Marketing Report. A lot has changed in the world since then, so keep that in mind as your process these trends and data.

Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Operations In One Place

One of my favorite movies is “School of Rock,” which also happens to be one of 2003’s best films.

In the movie, Jack Black poses as a substitute teacher at a private school, and, after noticing the students are musically talented, he turns the 10-year-olds into a fully-fledged rock band.

When assigning roles to the students, such as “lead singer,” “lead guitarist,” and “keyboardist,” he approaches the class president and deems her band manager because she had the organization skills needed to help the band run smoothly.

“Summer,” he says, “You’re in charge of the whole thing.”

I think of this quote when I think about marketing operations. Without a marketing operations team, businesses that depend on technology would have a less-than-seamless experience carrying out their duties.

Known affectionately as “MOps” at HubSpot, the marketing operations team is responsible for making sure the highly complex technology used at HubSpot is always top-notch, which helps the greater marketing team (and business as a whole).

Let’s learn more about marketing operations and why these teams are essential to a business.

What is marketing operations?

Marketing ops enables the greater marketing team to run at an efficient level. They also have the ability to scale their operations as the company grows larger.

At HubSpot, the marketing ops team is responsible for supporting the systems and processes that enable the marketing team to perform optimally in their roles. This includes everything from permissions, conversational marketing, user data, forms, and email operations.

Without marketing operations, it would be tough for marketing teams to effectively complete essential marketing activities. Because technology is necessary to carry out most marketing tasks, a team to manage the complexity of that technology is also necessary.

That’s where marketing ops comes in. This team is responsible for being the powerhouse of the company — they align the processes, historical data, goals, and people of a business.

Marketing ops teams have a hand in multiple stages of marketing duties, including the creation and management of important projects. For example, a marketing ops professional might oversee the budgeting and planning for an automated email marketing campaign so they can document the ROMI.

A marketing ops department tracks the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). This is because the team’s core function is to keep track of how the efficiency of their strategies is contributing to initial investments.

A key function of how well a marketing ops team works is proper management. So, in the next section, we’re going to talk about marketing ops management and what it entails.

Marketing Operations Management

Before we get into the details of marketing ops management, let’s put a definition behind the term.

Marketing operations management is the framework for how a marketing operations team runs. It describes the optimization of a marketing strategy from beginning to end.

The goal of marketing ops management is to make marketing activities efficient. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for a marketing operations team to have a hand in content planning and campaign analysis. It’s also likely to find the tools needed to achieve this to-do list in software that handles marketing and business, like HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM.

Marketing operations defines the process of strategizing and optimizing, while marketing ops management defines how that happens.

Now that we have an understanding of what marketing ops is and what they do, let’s talk about the details of a marketing ops strategy.

Marketing Operations Strategy

Marketing operations team members need to have an expansive skillset. Some of the common roles within this department or team are email operations, systems analysis, customer data and marketing, user operations, and lead rotation.

All of these roles come together to align the process and platforms needed to carry out marketing tasks for the greater marketing team.

When thinking about a marketing ops strategy, think about the problems the marketing ops team needs to solve. For instance, it’s common for marketing operations strategies to solve the needs of customers, stakeholders, and the employees of your company.

To understand what a marketing operations strategy is, we’ll start with an example: Let’s say a marketing ops team wanted to make email marketing a more valuable process for both parties involved (customers and marketers).

1. Identify what you want your operations strategy to accomplish for stakeholders.

The first step in defining a marketing ops strategy is outlining major goals. For instance, your marketing ops team might decide sending email marketing messages, enabling sales to source quality leads, and identifying key marketers to execute that process are three goals they have for quarter one.

When you identify those major goals, make sure you also determine which stakeholders you are targeting. You might be targeting one group or many, but being positive about who you’re planning for will make sure your plan is actionable and valuable.

2. Determine actionable steps in your plan that will help you reach your goals.

Then, the team would look at how these tasks would help them complete their goals. For instance, the team would ask themselves, “How will enabling teams to effectively send email marketing help us reach our goals?” and estimate with an answer such as, “We should see a decrease in email churn rate.”

Determining these steps will help your marketing ops team stay organized as they work through their tasks. Additionally, by outlining these steps, your team can figure out what needs to be done and the resources needed to see success.

3. Figure out a measurable metric to determine the success of your strategy.

After identifying the tasks and the benefits for their challenge, the next step in strategizing would be to identify how the team would measure the success of the project. In this example, the team might conclude, “We will calculate churn by dividing the number of contacts who unsubscribed from emails in a month by the number of unique email recipients in a month.”

When you figure out a measurable metric, you’ll be able to keep track of the strategy’s success as your team works through the plan. The metric will remind your team of the goal you want to accomplish, and what stakeholders want to see as a result of your plan.

4. If needed, communicate how colleagues can take part in refining your strategy.

With the goal and measuring method identified, next, the team would outline what this change would mean for affected colleagues, for instance, the team members who create and distribute email marketing messages.

The team might conclude that, “Marketers can expect an easier email guideline process, a more effective format and to receive a form to offer input about how to make that happen.”

When you include relevant colleagues in the creation of your plan, you can have reassurance that your strategy will end up providing the most effective solution.

5. Assign team members to specific tasks that will contribute to the completion of your goals.

Having that set in place, what’s next for the marketing ops team is to assign team members certain tasks to help them achieve their goal. For instance, one team member might be in charge of redefining email marketing contact lists. Another might be in charge of auditing the current workflows in place for email marketing.

As team members complete these tasks, they would check them off in a centralized space so the entire team can stay updated on the status of the project.

This is how a marketing operations strategy would lead to solving for one of the most important parts of a business: the customer.

How will your marketing ops strategy empower the most important parts of your company?

Marketing operations teams are equally as effective with their strategies and management capabilities as Summer’s character in “School of Rock.” With her system of processes, the group was able to obtain their own rehearsal space and offer music classes.

They are able to come up with ways to increase customer satisfaction and ease the job of marketers. Their strategies make marketing activities and duties accessible to all, and because of that, are an essential part of a business.