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278 Social Media Holidays for Your 2021 Content Calendar [+Template]

Do you celebrate International Cat Day, Pizza Day, or Talk Like a Pirate Day?

There are a plethora of observance days worldwide during which marketers can share content relevant to their industries, get involved in a movement, or simply generate more awareness. But odds are, you probably don’t acknowledge these days until you see your favorite brand posting about it.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

These social media “holidays” are a fun way to connect with new and existing followers who share an affinity for a specific food, fictional character, or pet.

While we don’t suggest sharing content on social media and then adding an irrelevant holiday hashtag to it, these holidays can be a chance to promote your brand in a relevant way. Not doing so could cause you to miss valuable opportunities where your brand can join the conversations taking place among members of your target audience.

To help you plan for trending holidays, we created a list that you can bookmark, as well as a downloadable calendar so you can receive automatic reminders.

Downloadable Holiday Calendar

To help you keep track of all these unique holidays, here’s a Social Media Holiday Google Calendar.

Aside from 2021 holidays, we’ve also set dates on the calendar to repeat annually — either on the exact date they occur or the weekday they occur within the month.

Want to finish out your 2021 calendar with some upcoming holiday posts? Tap the + symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the calendar below to add it to your own Google calendar.

social media holiday calendar templateUse the Above Template to Plan Out Your Social Media Holiday Posts

National & Global Holiday Calendar: 2021

The list isn’t exhaustive (there are a lot of food-specific holidays out there), and these dates and hashtags may still be subject to change. But this is a great starting point for social media marketers who want to learn more about what’s trending and how they can plan their content in a way that will be fun and engaging on social platforms.

January 2021 Social Media Holidays

iowa state athletics national sticker day social media holiday tweet

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February 2021 Social Media Holidays

zach covey national weather persons day social media holiday tweet

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March 2021 Social Media Holidays

national park service national day of unplugging social media holiday tweet

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April 2021 Social Media Holidays

christina alexandria national siblings day social media holiday tweet

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May 2021 Social Media Holidays

violet the Newfy world password day social media holiday tweet

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June 2021 Social Media Holidays

Alex bowman National Donut Day social media  holiday tweet

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July 2021 Social Media Holidays

Stadium Give Something Away Day Social Media Holiday Tweet

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August 2021 Social Media Holidays

Wienerschnitzel National Lemonade Day Social Media Holiday Tweet

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September 2021 Social Media Holidays

Gaeilge @ Colaiste Naomh Caoimhin EDL 2021 Social Media Holiday Tweet

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October 2021 Social Media Holidays

The Beatles 4ever World vegetarian Day Social Media Holiday Tweet

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November 2021 Social Media Holidays

Nickelodeon STEM day Social Media Holiday Tweet

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December 2021 Social Media Holidays

Nobel Prize Day Globalnews.ca Social Media HolidayTweet

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Sources: National Day Calendar, Sprout Social, TrackMaven, Holiday Insights, Brownielocks, National Peace Corps Association, Sparkflow, There’s a Day for That

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 but is updated annually for comprehensiveness. The most recent update of this post was March 2021.

social media content calendar

The Best Free Business Budget Templates

Whether you’re a solopreneur or running a massive corporation, you need a business budget to understand where your money is coming from and going. A business budget template can help keep the numbers organized, making it easy for you to track revenue, plan for expenses, and save for future growth.

Click here to download 8 free marketing budget templates.

You don’t have to be an accountant to organize your business budget. There are thousands of business budget templates out there to make the process easy. Once you understand what a business budget is and how it can work for you, you can use one of the following free templates to start organizing your finances.

The business budget follows a set template, which you can fill in with estimated revenues, plus any recurring or expected business expenses.

For example, if you run a digital marketing business, you might know that you typically make about $10,000 for your work creating campaigns, plus an extra $5,000 for your digital courses. You’d list the estimated revenue from all of your business’ revenue streams as incoming money for the business.

Then, you have your recurring expenses, which you would list as outgoing money. This could include employee salaries, office expenses, and software and technology costs.

How to Create a Business Budget

Creating a business budget is a straightforward process, but it can be more complex for larger companies. Here are the basic steps to creating a business budget.

1. Find a Template or Make a Spreadsheet

There are many free or paid budget templates online these days, so you can either use one of those to start, or make a simple spreadsheet with custom rows and columns based on your business. We list a few helpful templates below.

2. Fill in Revenues

Once you have your template, you’ll start by listing all the sources of your business’ income. With a budget, you’re planning for the future, so you’ll need to estimate this based on previous months’ or years’ revenues. For a new small business budget, you’ll rely on your market research to estimate the first revenues for your company.

3. Subtract Fixed Costs for the Time Period

Fixed costs are the recurring costs you have during each month, quarter, or year. Examples include insurance, rent for office space, website hosting, and internet.

4. Consider Variable Costs

Variable costs will change from time to time. Examples include utility bills, advertising costs, office supplies, and new software or technology. While you may always need to pay some variable costs, like utility bills, you can also shift how much you spend toward things like advertising expenses when you have lower-than-average estimated income.

5. Business Budget Planning

Unexpected expenses might come up, or you might want to save to expand your business. Either way, you need to review your budget after including all expenses, fixed costs, and variable costs to find out how much money you can save. It’s wise to create multiple savings accounts for emergencies and for money meant to go back into the business to drive growth.

How to Manage a Business Budget

There are a few key components to managing your business budget to keep it healthy.

Budget Preparation

The process all starts with properly preparing and planning the budget at the start of each month, quarter, or year. You can also create multiple budgets, some short-term and some long-term. During this stage, you will also set spending limits and create a system to regularly monitor the budget.

Budget Monitoring

For larger businesses, you might delegate budget tracking to multiple supervisors, but even if you are a one-person show, you need to regularly monitor the budget. That means setting a time in your schedule each day or week to review the budget and track actual income and expenses, then compare the actual numbers to the estimates.

Budget Forecasting

With regular budget tracking, you can always know how your business is doing. Check-in regularly to determine how you are doing in terms of revenue, where you have losses, where you can minimize expenses, and how you can move more money into savings. You can use well-tracked budgets to create more accurate budgets for future time periods.

Why is a Budget Important for a Business?

A budget is crucial for businesses. Without one, you could easily be drowning in expenses or unexpected costs compared to incoming money.

The business budget helps with several operations. You can use a business budget to keep track of your finances, save money to help you grow the business or pay bonuses in the future, and prepare for unexpected expenses or emergencies.

You can also review the business budget to determine when to take the next leap for your business. For example, you might be dreaming of a larger office building or the latest software, but you want to make sure you have a healthy net revenue before you make the purchase.

Best Free Business Budget Templates

1. Marketing Budget Template

HubSpot Marketing Budget Template

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Knowing how to manage a marketing budget can be a challenge, but with helpful free templates like this marketing budget template bundle, you can track everything from advertising expenses to events and more.

This free bundle includes eight different templates, so you can create multiple budgets to help you determine how much money to put toward marketing plus the return on your investment.

2. Small Business Budget Template

Small business budget template

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For small businesses, it can be hard to find the time to draw up a budget, but it’s crucial to help keep the business in good health.

Capterra offers a budget template specifically for small businesses. It works with Excel, and you input projections for the year. Then, the spreadsheet will project the month-to-month budget, and you can input your actual revenue and expenses to compare and easily see profits and losses.

3. Startup Budget Template

Startup budget template

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What if you don’t have any previous numbers to rely on to create profit and expense estimates? If you are a startup, this Gusto budget template will help you draw up a budget before your business is officially in the market. This will help you track all the expenses you need to get your business up and running, estimate your first revenues, and determine where to pinch pennies.

4. Free Business Budget Template

Business budget template

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You might be familiar with Intuit, as many companies big and small rely on Intuit’s services like Quickbooks and TurboTax. Even if you don’t use the company’s paid financial services, you can take advantage of Intuit’s free budget template, which works in Google Sheets or Excel.

It features multiple spreadsheet tabs and simple instructions. You enter your revenue in one specific tab and expenses in another. You can also add additional tabs as needed. Then, like magic, the spreadsheet uses the data in the income and expense tabs to summarize the information and even determine net savings and the ending balance.

5. Department Budget Sheet

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A mid-to large-size company will have multiple departments, all with different budgetary needs. These budgets will all be considered into a massive, company-wide budget sheet, but having a specific template for each department can help teams keep track of spending and plan for growth.

This free template from Template.net works in either document or spreadsheet formats and can help different departments keep track of their income and spending.

Create a Business Budget to Help Your Company Grow

Making your first business budget can be daunting, especially if you have several revenue streams and expenses. But once you get it set up, it’s easy to replicate regularly, and it’s even easier to get started if you have a business budget template to follow.

With a helpful business budget template, a little planning, and regular monitoring, you can plan for the future of your business, including bonuses, new product or service offerings, and expansions.

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12 Gantt Chart Examples You’ll Want to Copy

Gantt charts. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, or can’t live without ‘em, they’re a reality of a marketer’s life. But how do you make yours stand out from the rest?

I’ve gathered some of the best examples around, along with some free templates to get you started. Dive in below and find your favorite. But first …

→ Download Now: Free Gantt Chart Template

The elements within a Gantt chart can be grouped into four categories: resources, milestones, tasks, and dependencies.

  • Resources: Project managers must have insight into what resources are needed for tasks outlined in a Gantt chart, in order for each to be completed on time.
  • Milestones: Along your timeline, there will likely be milestones, both small and large, that must be hit in order to keep your project on track. A milestone for a blog launch might be, “Blog post draft due on 5/30.
  • Tasks: There are specific things that need to be completed along the way of your project. In our blog post example, a task might be, “Edit blog post.
  • Dependencies: Tasks on your Gantt chart will be related to each other, for example, the editor won’t be able to complete her task of editing the blog post until the writer has met their milestone and submitted their draft on 5/30. These are dependencies and should be noted in your chart.

Benefits of Using a Gantt Chart

The main goal of a Gantt chart is to track the timeline and completion of a project. It’s beneficial for project managers who need to keep team momentum on campaigns with many moving parts, like product launches or marketing events. Here are some additional benefits of using Gantt charts: 

  • Visual tracking gives an overarching view of projects and their timelines, helping DRIs understand progress and assign responsibility accordingly. 
  • Clear project timelines aid with resource planning, as you’ll know which tasks require which tools and exactly when DRIs will need those tools.  
  • Visual understanding of which project elements rely on each other for completion so PMs can inform responsible individuals of high-priority tasks. 
  • Increased transparency, as all involved parties are aware of expectations and how individual progress impacts team progress.

You can create Gantt charts in Excel, PowerPoint, Google Sheets, and more, and this tracking method can be used in a variety of industries, from marketing to construction, and even design.

So, what does that look like? Let’s dive in with some beautiful Gantt chart examples, below. Prepare to geek out.

Gantt Chart Examples

1. Gantt Chart in Excel

Creating Gantt charts in Excel is a common practice and one you’ll likely come across in your work. Excel doesn’t have a predefined Gantt chart, but the “Stacked Bar” feature is your friend, once more, allowing you to show project progression. Here’s an example of an Excel Gantt chart. Download it free, here. gantt chart excel template

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And here’s a helpful “how-to” video for the excel-challenged among us <raises hand>.

 

2. Gantt Chart in PowerPoint

Want to include a Gantt chart in your next PowerPoint Presentation? Use this PowerPoint example as your guide. PowerPoint doesn’t have a built-in Gantt feature, but you can build and edit a chart inside of the platform using their “Stacked Bar” feature.

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How to Make a Gantt Chart in PowerPoint

When using the above template to make a Gantt chart in PowerPoint, consider these pro tips: 

  • Leverage the task bars to your advantage and adjust their length in accordance with your plan. This template is also flexible, so you can shorten or increase the length of tasks if things come up during your project execution process. 
  • Make unique color-codes for each specific task so you can place a corresponding milestone image when completed so you can monitor your progress and immediately understand what color means what. 

3. Gantt Chart in Word

What’s that? You’re not familiar with Microsoft’s “Stacked Bar” feature yet? Well, if you’re getting friendly with Gantt charts, you’ll be using this go-to feature quite a bit.

If you’re creating a Gantt chart in Microsoft Word, you’ll stack bars once more. But if you’ll be updating and tweaking your Gantt chart regularly, Excel or PowerPoint may give you better flexibility. gantt chart microsoft word template

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How to Make a Gantt Chart in Word

When using the template above, leverage the stackable bars feature to create an interactive Gantt chart to clearly demonstrate task progress and monitor your accomplishments. 

In addition, create a daily check-ins schedule on your chart so you can move the “Today” line forward as each day goes on, helping you stay on track and understand what’s to come.

4. Gantt Chart in Google Sheets

If Google Sheets is where you spend most of your time, this is the Gantt chart for you. G-Sheets makes it easy to build customizable Gantt charts you can edit as needed — all using a few simple formulas.

gantt chart google sheets templateImage Source

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets

If you’re creating a Gantt chart in Google Sheets, use the above template and circulation table for automated chart creation. Simply input the information specific to your business, and the chart will be created automatically. 

You have less creative freedom with this chart, but it is great for those hesitant to create a chart from scratch.

5. Gantt Chart in Google Docs

Want a Gantt Chart you can share and collaborate on with colleagues? Consider creating your chart in a Google Document. Save it to your Google Drive and share as normal. Google offers “Stacked chart” options in their “Chart Editor,” so getting started is a breeze.

gantt chart google docs templateImage Source

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Docs

In Google Docs, use the timeline template documents to your advantage and give yourself an overview of your project progress. It’ll help with visualization, staying on track, and allowing you to see how you’re progressing over time so you can share information with relevant stakeholders, internal and external.

6. Gantt Chart for Editorial Calendar

Take your editorial calendar up a notch with a Gantt chart. Include publication dates as your milestones, add subgroups for each phase of content creation, and add tasks to your chart.

gantt chart example: editorial calendarImage Source

7. Gantt Chart for Project Management

Project management is one of the most common verticals relying on Gantt charts. These charts help project managers identify the tasks involved in each project, create a timeline for each task, and assign dates, tools, and progress updates for each of the tasks within the project.
gantt chart example: project managementImage Source

8. Gantt Chart for Marketing Campaign

There are many tools available that help marketers create Gantt charts especially for marketing campaigns. This example, from GanttPro offers ready-made campaign templates with predefined tasks, subtasks, and milestones. gantt chart example: marketing campaign gantt chartImage Source

9. Gantt Chart for Design Projects

Designers, you can use Gantt charts, too. Plan design launches, track brainstorming, and share draft progress with a carefully organized chart, like the example below. gantt chart example: design projects

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10. Gantt Chart for Product Launch

Product launches have many moving parts. Keep track of research, budgets, team roles, and even risk assessment in a customizable Gantt chart like this one. You can even set dependencies and assign tasks to certain people.

gantt chart example: product launchImage Source

11. Gantt Chart for Social Media Campaign

When you’re mapping a social media marketing campaign using a Gantt chart, make sure to include the tools you’ll need, the content you’ll be sharing, and the assets used on each channel. We loved this example, from Fabrik. gantt chart example: social media campaign

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12. Gantt Chart for Event Marketing

From outreach prior to the event to “Thank you” emails once it’s over, planning an event requires high levels of organization. Use a Gantt chart like this one to keep track of your strategy, team progress, and key actions before, during, and after your event.
gantt chart example: event marketing

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When you’re ready to begin creating your own Gantt chart, refer to the high-quality examples on this list and download our free Excel template to get started. 

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20 Tips to Write Catchy Email Subject Lines [+ Examples]

No matter what they say, people do judge emails by their subject lines.

In fact, 47% of marketers say they test different email subject lines to optimize their emails’ performance. That’s why it’s so important to craft subject lines that are compelling enough to get people to click through.

While they may seem like a small part of your message, they’re one of the very first impressions you have on your email recipients. And, they’re a marketer’s ticket for standing out in a crowded inbox.

Do you want your email content opened, read, and clicked? It all starts with the subject line. Read on for some tried-and-true tips to help jazz up your subject lines and boost your email engagement.

Download Now: 100 Email Subject Line Examples

What makes a good email subject line?

Before we get to our tips, let’s go over some fundamentals of what makes a great subject line. Regardless of your goals, these are the essential elements that your subject line should possess:

1. Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is an efficient way to get people to take action. You can create a similar effect in your subject lines strategically.

By communicating a known start and end date to a special sale or promotion, viewers scrolling through their inbox will click to see what they can get in that window of time. This is also a good practice when done in a small series of emails counting down the window of opportunity — as long as you’re not flooding their inbox and coming off spammy.

2. Curiosity

Sometimes, subject lines work because of their ability to send the message, “You will benefit from opening this email.” But other times, it’s good to maintain some sense of mystery — especially if it pique’s the recipient’s natural curiosity and interest. Because they require opening the email to get more information, they can result in, well, a higher open rate. But make sure the subject line, while enigmatic, still aligns with your brand. Too obscure, and it could end up being seen as spam.

3. Offers

Here’s where that benefit of opening a given email comes in. At the end of the day, people love new things and experiences — especially when they’re free, or at least discounted. Open with that by including it in your subject line. Personally, I’m much more inclined to open my daily newsletters when there’s an offer or allusion for “free stuff” directly mentioned in my inbox.

4. Personalization

No two email subscribers are the same — and, sometimes, that means the emails you send to them shouldn’t be, either. At this point, marketers have never had more ways to learn about their subscribers’ preferences, jobs, or general (dis)likes. So when you send them content, on occasion, make it catered toward the individual.

5. Relevance and Timeliness

When we subscribe to an email list, it’s usually because we want to be kept informed, or at least learn more about a given topic (more on that later). Similar to piquing your audience’s curiosity, crafting email subject lines that incorporate trending topics or timely headlines can help you establish your brand as an authority within your industry — and can compel people to click to read.

6. Name Recognition

Let’s face it: We all have famous people who, at some point, we presently or previously have admired. And when you understand your audience’s preferences and interests, you can pique their interest by including the names of these admired, recognizable individuals by including them in your content — and mentioning them in your email subject lines. But take heed: This tactic really only works when it aligns with your brand, product, or service. So keep it relevant, rather than just throwing out a name for the sake of recognition.

7. Cool Stories

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, here’s another place where curiosity comes into play. By front-loading your email subject line with a compelling allusion to a story — but can only be read if opened or clicked — your audience is likely to become intrigued, and want to learn more. Again, make sure the story is relevant to your brand. Otherwise, it might just confuse your readers and prevent them from opening the email.

Now that you know the fundamentals, let’s dive into email subject line best practices.

Email Subject Line Best Practices

1. Learn from successful email subject line examples.

Whenever we’re scratching our heads wondering what to make our subject line, we often look to examples for inspiration. Seeing clever use of wordplay or emojis on one of our favorite newsletters can help us think of new ways to approach our subject line.

To help you do the same, we’ve compiled a list of 100 email subject lines from real businesses. We hope you’ll be just as inspired.

email subject lines examples

Download the Free Email Subject Lines Examples Guide

2. Keep it short and sweet.

Email subject lines will get cut off if they’re too long, particularly on mobile devices. And with up to 46% of email opens taking place on mobile, we recommend using subject lines with fewer than 50 characters to make sure the people scanning your emails read the entire message.

If you’re struggling to keep your subject lines short, think about which words matter less and where you can remove a frivolous detail. For example, if you’re sending an order confirmation, doesn’t “Your order is being processed” look better than “Order #9435893458358 is being processed”?

The same goes for your regular emails: Don’t waste your time including the word “update” or “newsletter” in the subject line. Some studies even suggest these words can decrease the message’s open rate since it tells readers the email is associated with a series, and therefore they can catch the next one.

3. Use a familiar sender name.

That name recognition we mentioned earlier doesn’t just apply to the famous — it applies to the familiar. When setting your sender name, be as human as you can. Olivia@yourcompany.com is both inviting and unintimidating to people when they open their inboxes.

If you’ve already met your recipients from a previous conversation, use your own name as the sender’s address — even if the email is technically coming from the company as a whole. The best impression you can make on your customers is that they’re working with you, the individual — not the entire business.

“If the ‘from’ name doesn’t sound like it’s from someone you want to hear from, it doesn’t matter what the subject line is,” explains Copy Hacker‘s Joanna Wiebe. Ultimately, people are busy, and they simply don’t bother with you if you don’t sound like someone who would make for an easy (or at least friendly) conversation.

4. Avoid the ‘no-reply’ sender name.

Thanks to the amount of spam people get these days, most people hesitate to open emails from unfamiliar senders. And, even fewer people like talking to a robot. Think about when you call a company and can’t get a hold of an actual person. It’s frustrating, right? This goes for email, as well.

Never use “noreply@company.com.” I repeat: Never use this email address. Not only does it make it look less personable, but it also stops people from adding your email to their address book.

Instead, avoid using a generic email address and send the email from a real person. For instance, we once found that emails sent from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot” performed better in terms of opens and click-through rate than emails sent from just “HubSpot.” (HubSpot customers: Learn how to personalize the “From” name and email address here.)

5. Use personalization tokens.

Remember the personalization we mentioned earlier? Using personalization tokens — like name or location — in the subject line adds a feeling of rapport, especially when it’s a name. Everyone loves the sound of their own name. Plus, it increases clickthrough rate: In fact, research has shown that emails that included the first name of the recipient in their subject line had higher click-through rates than emails that did not.

One example of how brands affix this information to subject lines is the dog-walking company, Wag! who does this with dog names. Here’s one such email that a HubSpot writer received:

Email newsletter by Wag dog-walking service with pet name in the subject line

That’s great personalization and great timing.

Another personalization tactic that works is to tailor subject lines to the recipient’s location — things like lists of their respective cities’ best outdoor bars and restaurants.

Just don’t go overboard with the personalization here. That can be a little creepy. But little personalized touches show that you know more about your recipients than just their email address. However, if you can’t (or don’t want to) use personalization tokens in the subject line, use “you” or “your” so it still sounds like you’re addressing them directly.

6. Segment your lists.

While email blasts that go out to your entire list might be relevant and helpful to some people, it won’t be to others — and could cause confusion or frustration. Why is this restaurant sending me a list of the best local steakhouses when I’m a vegetarian? Why is this company sending me case studies when I just signed up for its email list yesterday?

Personalize the experience using information from the actions your customers have already taken — from which forms they’ve filled out, to which industries they’re in, to what their personal preferences are. In email marketing, you can personalize your recipients’ experience using a little thing called list segmentation.

7. Don’t make false promises.

Your email subject line is making a promise to your reader about what you will deliver in your message. Make sure that you make good on that commitment — and do not try to get your email opened by making false promises. This will irk your audience, and they’ll learn not to trust your subject lines, resulting in a lower open rate and a higher unsubscribe rate.

8. Do tell them what’s inside.

Speaking of making promises, if your visitor has downloaded an offer and you’re delivering it via email, it’s a great idea to use a subject line that says something like, “Your new ebook inside!” or, “Your guide awaits!” This works better than a simple “thank you” in the subject line because it makes it clear that something is waiting inside the email.

9. Time it right.

Sending an email at the right time with the right subject line can make a huge difference in open and click-through rate. A prime example? When food publication Eater sends at 6:45 P.M. on a Wednesday evening that said, “Where to Drink Beer Right Now” — just in time for happy hour. Nailed it.

Another favorite example is a classic email from Warby Parker with the subject line, “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.” It was sent two weeks before the recipient needed to renew his prescription. By sending an email at the right time, Warby Parker increased the chances of their email getting opened — and included a relevant call-to-action about getting a glasses upgrade, too.

10. Use concise language.

Keep in mind that people scan their inboxes very quickly — so the more clear and concise your subject line is, the better. It’s usually a lot better to be concise than it is to use complex and flowery language — unless you’re going for an elusive subject tone to entice your recipients.

When you’re going for a concise subject line, think about how your email will benefit your recipients. You’ll want to make that benefit very clear. For example, “Increase your open rates by 50% today” is more appealing than “How to increase open rates.”

11. Start with action-oriented verbs.

Subject lines are similar to calls-to-action, in that you want the language to inspire people to click. Subject lines that begin with action verbs tend to be a lot more enticing, and your emails could be drastically more clickable by adding a vibrant verb at the beginning.

Actionable subject lines will inspire people to click on your email by instilling urgency and excitement. For example, in an email inviting people to a hockey legend dinner, the email subject line might read, “Dine with Bruins legend Bobby Orr,” rather than a more generic (and less actionable) “Local Boston Sports Legend Meal.” The former email uses “Dine” to help the reader envision themselves at a dinner table.

12. Make people feel special.

The psychology of exclusivity is a powerful thing. When people feel like they’re on the inside, it gives them a sense of belonging which builds loyalty and compels them to convert on your emails.

The right phrasing can make your recipients feel special — and the effect can be magical. A few ideas for phrasing include:

  • “For our beloved customers only”
  • “An exclusive offer for you”
  • “My gift to you”
  • “You’re invited!”
  • “Private invite”

13. Create a sense of importance.

There’s a phrase that, for many of us, is reminiscent of classic infomercials: “Act now!”

And while we wouldn’t encourage using that exact language in your content, we do agree that communicating urgency and scarcity in an email subject line can help compel readers to click (or act) — when phrased creatively and strategically.

But because you don’t want to be known as “the brand that cried wolf,” use these subject lines sparingly, and try to limit them to when the occasion genuinely calls for immediate action.

14. Use numbers.

A lot of businesses send emails with vague statements in their subject lines — which is why using data and numbers is a great way to get your emails noticed, demonstrate a clear and straightforward message about your offer, and set the right expectations.

Just like with blog titles, using numbers in your subject line is an effective email marketing best practice. You might use numbers to refer to the title of your listicle, the page length of an offer, a specific discount, or the numerical benefit of a particular resource you’re providing — like “Join more than 750 others at this event!”

15. Pose a compelling question.

Asking a question in your subject line can also draw readers in — especially if you’re asking a question you know is relevant to your recipients’ buyer persona. This is just one way to pique that curiosity we mentioned earlier. For example, you might try the following: “Are you making these SEO mistakes?” or “Do you know what your website is doing wrong?”

Zillow once sent an email with the subject line, “What Can You Afford?” that linked to a website showing apartments for rent. A subject line like this is both encouraging and a touch competitive: While it gives hope that there are apartments out there that’ll fit within your budget, it also pits your cash against what the market offers.

Another example comes from DocuSign. It sent an email late in the lead nurturing process, with the subject line, “What are your customers saying?” The body of the email contained a bunch of case studies that were meant to help the recipient move closer to actually purchasing DocuSign. This was a smart move: Folks who are further down the funnel are likely more receptive to hearing customer testimonials.

16. Don’t be afraid to get punny.

Most people love a good pun. It’s a great way to delight your recipients and spice up your emails. Some of the best punny email subject lines come from JetBlue, with subject lines like “Land wander-ful low fares now!”

Quirky — a community-led invention platform — worded one of its email subject lines like this: “Abra-cord-abra! Yeah, we said it.” That second part is conversational and self-referential — and exactly what most people would say after making a really cheesy joke in real life.

If you’re the least bit punny, think about small ways you can slip them into your emails when it’s appropriate. Just don’t overdo it. And remember the rule: When in doubt, ask a coworker.

17. DON’T USE ALL CAPS or overuse exclamation points!!!

A subject line that says, “OPEN NOW AND RECEIVE A FREE TRIAL” or, “50% off coupon today only!!!!!!!!” isn’t going to get your email opened. If anything, it’ll probably get your email ignored.

Why? People don’t like to be yelled at, and using all caps and/or a lot of exclamation points can rub people the wrong way.

Not only are these tactics disruptive, but they look spammy. So instead of using disruptive tactics like these to stand out in people’s inboxes, try personalizing your emails, establishing relevance, and using catchy and delightful language.

18. Don’t include a question and exclamation in the same subject line.

Here’s a subject line that can automatically wind up in a recipient’s spam folder: “Want a solution fast? Act now!”

The fast solution isn’t the problem in the example above. It’s also not “act now” — although those are known email marketing spam words. It’s both phrases together. This is a classic email saboteur, and it comes in many forms. All you need is to ask and yell at the same time.

Oftentimes webservers flag emails as spam if they contain both a question mark and an exclamation mark in the subject line. The example above is a common one. A good solution? Don’t do that!

Not only is this format overdone, but it’s alienating to your audience. Open-ended questions are a show of ignorance; any good marketer knows their leads better than that.

19. Use engaging preview text.

While preview text isn’t technically part of your subject line, it does appear right near the subject line — and it certainly deserves your attention.

Preview text provides recipients with a peek at the content inside your email, which email clients like the iPhone Mail app, Gmail, and Outlook will display alongside the subject line. (The exact amount of text shown depends on the email client and user settings.)

email preview text in inbox

When you don’t set the preview text yourself, the email client will automatically pull from the body of your email. That can look messy depending on your email content, and it’s also a wasted opportunity to engage your audience. (HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to set the preview text of your emails.)

20. A/B test your subject lines.

Although these tips and best practices are a great place to start, what works best for some companies may not work as well for others. It’s all about figuring out what works best for your specific audience. That’s where A/B testing comes in.

While it can be tempting to use your intuition to predict what subject line language will make people click on your emails, you should always A/B test your highest-stakes subject lines, and tweak the wording according to your results. What works best for your audience: Long or short subject lines? Including numbers or not including numbers? Questions or statements? (HubSpot customers: Learn how to A/B test emails in HubSpot here.)

Now that we’ve gone through our best practices, let’s review the steps to creating good email subject lines.

How to Write Good Email Subject Lines

Step 1: Identify the purpose of the email.

Why is the email being sent and how does that inform the subject line? Identify the true purpose or intention of the email and use that as the foundation to build upon when brainstorming your subject line idea.

Step 2: Determine the call to action.

What will make the user click on the email? A discount? Something free? Important information? What is enticing enough to make them want to see or learn more about your offer? Having a call to action with an incentive yet to be seen is tempting.

Step 3: Draft multiple subject lines.

Write similar subject lines that use varying words and tones. You want to have a few ideas to choose from, so you’re not stuck stewing over the same sentence for long.

Step 4: Get feedback.

Have colleagues review the subject lines to give their feedback on which they preferred. Having a second opinion can help you see it from a different perspective.

Step 5: Test your subject line.

As mentioned earlier, perform an A/B test to see which subject line performs best. After you’ve conducted the test, take the most effective email subject line and use it in your upcoming email marketing campaign.

Now that we’ve gone through the steps to create a good subject line, let’s examine some effective examples.

Examples of Catchy Email Subject Lines

To give you some added inspiration, here’s a quick list of the most intriguing subject lines we’ve seen recently.

EF Tours: “👻 Trip or Treat!”

examples of catchy email subject lines: EF Tours

This subject line from EF Tours has tasteful use of a quirky emoji, coupled with a sense of urgency from a time-bound sale. These two tricks create an email subject line that would stand out from the rest of your inbox.

Chanel: “Smoldering Red Lipstick”

examples of catchy email subject lines: Chanel

This example from Chanel is simple but effective. Viewers can visualize a beautiful red lip, and feel enticed to click to see if the product really achieves a “smoldering” look.

Wish: “Electrify your night out.”

examples of catchy email subject lines: Wish

Wish helps the reader to see how much more fun their night could be in one of its dresses. With this imagery, they’ll want to see how fun their selection of dresses could be — especially if it’s discounted.

Drizly: “…here’s $5 to stay in.”

examples of catchy email subject lines: Drizly

This subject line is more unique than others — it makes you question what Drizly means by the first half and explicitly gives you an incentive to open the email.

Shutterfly: “Claim your UNLIMITED free photo book”

examples of catchy email subject lines: Shutterfly

While we mentioned earlier to be careful with CAPS lettering, it doesn’t overwhelm this Shutterfly subject line and makes an interesting offer.

Mediabistro: “Generous PTO and Summer Fridays”

examples of catchy email subject lines: Mediabistro

The viewer can envision themselves taking advantage of work perks like these from Mediabistro, and will feel inclined to read more on the subjects presented.

Catch more Clicks with Catchy Subject Lines

At the end of the day, if your emails aren’t getting opened, they’re not getting seen. By using some of our tips, we hope you can come up with creative and engaging subject lines of your own. You already have great content to share — now, prove it in your subject line.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in July 2018 but has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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5 Email Unsubscribe Button Ideas That Could Save Subscribers

Do you ever wish you could unsubscribe from a conversation? As an introvert, I do, quite often. Though unsubscribing from a conversation with another person isn’t always possible (and could potentially be seen as rude), unsubscribing from emails is perfectly acceptable behavior.

As a consumer, the unsubscribe button can feel like a gift from the divine when your inbox is overflowing. As a marketer, the unsubscribe button can be standing between you and your email marketing goals if your list undergoes a mass exodus faster than you’re able to bring in new leads.

Download Now: 28 Free CTA Templates

However, the unsubscribe button in your emails doesn’t have to be feared. In fact, when leveraged wisely, the unsubscribe button can be a powerful tool that helps you curate an engaged email list of your ideal customers who are ready and willing to hear your message.

Let’s break down the ins and outs of the email unsubscribe button, and how to set it up in a way that helps your business.

What is an unsubscribe button?

An unsubscribe button is a link or button module typically found at the bottom of a marketing email that gives email subscribers the chance to opt-out of future messages with one simple click.

Why Have An Unsubscribe Button

I know, the idea of subscribers leaving your list may prompt a bit of panic, especially if you have aggressive list-building goals. However, having an unsubscribe button or link can be to your benefit. One of the most important email marketing metrics you should measure is your open rate or the percentage of people on your list who actually open (and likely read) your emails.

If you have a large number of subscribers who are on your list but don’t want to be, that can significantly drive down your open rates (and negatively impact your click-through rate). Having a large email list isn’t valuable if your audience doesn’t actually want to engage with your emails, because that could indicate they are even less likely to buy your products.

Having an unsubscribe button makes it easy for those who are uninterested to opt-out of communication, freeing up space for potential subscribers who are genuinely interested in your message and product.

Do you have to have an unsubscribe button in your emails?

You may be wondering, “Do I have to have an unsubscribe button in all of my emails?”

The short answer is yes, yes you do.

In the US, the CAN-SPAM Act requires all businesses using email to include clear instructions on how to opt-out on all email communications and these opt-out requests must be honored by law. Businesses that violate the CAN-SPAM Act can face hefty fines for each email violation, so it’s in your best interest to make sure you give your subscribers a chance to opt out in every email communication you send.

Beyond the CAN-SPAM Act, there are global email marketing regulations that are designed to protect consumers and ensure they’re able to opt out of communications they no longer want to receive. People unsubscribe from emails for a number of reasons, and it’s important for businesses to honor that decision.

Unsubscribe Button Best Practices and Ethics

Now let’s cover unsubscribe do’s and don’ts.

1. Make sure your unsubscribe button uses clear language.

Avoid using confusing language or making your unsubscribe button or link difficult to understand. Doing so can be a CAN-SPAM violation. Your unsubscribe option should be clear and easy to understand for the average person.

2. Don’t hide your unsubscribe options or make them difficult to see.

Your unsubscribe button or link should be visually accessible for readers. Companies that purposefully hide or make the unsubscribe feature difficult to see can also be subject to fines and legal repercussions so avoid using fonts or colors that make your unsubscribe options hard to find or visually inaccessible.

3. Offer the option to update email preferences.

If your email service provider gives you the option, allow subscribers to update their email preferences. Perhaps they don’t want to opt out of all communications but would prefer to receive messages about specific topics or want to hear from your company less often. Doing so can help spare unsubscribes while fostering trust with your readers.

4. Avoid using negative language.

Though it may not violate any laws, having rude or whiny language in your materials when people unsubscribe can come across as needy and unprofessional, and can be a big turn-off. Honor your contact’s decision to unsubscribe, and focus on those who want to engage with your content and products.

5. Don’t require a login to unsubscribe.

Ideally, the ability to unsubscribe should be one to two simple clicks away for most users. Requiring contacts to retrieve login information or gating the unsubscribe process creates friction and can lead to frustration.

6. Include links to your company’s social media profiles.

While having a user on your email list gives you more control over when and how your company is able to communicate with them, having contacts unsubscribe doesn’t mean that’s the end-all-be-all of them interacting with your company. Make sure your emails include links to your company’s social media profiles so users who would rather keep in touch on those platforms can easily follow along.

Unsubscribe Button Examples

Looking for unsubscribe button inspiration? Check out these options.

Marketing Brew

Unsubscribe button example from The Marketing Brew

Marketing Brew is an email newsletter by The Morning Brew that focuses on marketing-related news and content. In this email footer, subscribers can easily edit their email preferences to specify how often they’d like to receive emails or unsubscribe altogether.

The Hustle

Unsubscribe button example from The Hustle

The Hustle, a HubSpot media company, has a daily tech and business newsletter where readers can offer real-time feedback about that day’s issue. The footer of each daily email has a cheeky unsubscribe button that’s easy to understand and may make the reader think twice before unsubscribing.

The Skimm

Unsubscribe button example from The Skimm

The Skimm has several variations of its popular newsletter. The Skimm Money newsletter has easy-to-understand language in the footer to empower readers to take control of their email preferences. Again, the reader could see they have subscription options that could better suit their needs which could prevent them from unsubscribing.

Lavendaire

Unsubscribe button example from Lavendaire

Self-care content and stationery company Lavendaire has a gentle message for those looking to unsubscribe, emphasizing the importance of having an engaged list.

HeyDay

Unsubscribe button example from HeyDay

HeyDay, a company that offers skincare services has an unsubscribe message that is incredibly on-brand, comparing clogged pores to full inboxes. This brand also provides a great example of giving readers the option to modify their subscription or unsubscribe completely.

When it comes to email marketing, having users unsubscribe is a natural occurrence. By making the process as straightforward and simple as possible, you can create a better experience for your contacts and brand.

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Cloud Integration: 6 Best Cloud Integration Platforms & Tools

Cloud-based applications make it possible for marketing teams to connect with customers, conduct critical research, and make data-driven decisions that can help boost ROI.

The challenge? With other business departments using their own sets of cloud apps and services, silos quickly emerge. And this departmental disconnect is growing as application volumes increase: Recent survey data found that large businesses use 175 cloud-based apps on average, while smaller companies deploy 73 on average.

Cloud integration platforms offer a way to bridge this digital divide by making it possible for IT teams to monitor and manage disparate applications from a single, centralized system. In this post, we’ll cover what cloud integration is and the best tools you can use to break down departmental silos.

Download Now: Free Marketing Reporting Templates

Cloud Integration: When and How

As noted by research firm Gartner, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions market is on track to reach more than $122 billion in 2021, fueled in large part by the demand for agile and flexible applications that let teams work anywhere, anytime.

The more applications your business uses everyday, the more complicated your IT environment becomes. As a result, it’s often worth deploying cloud integration platforms as soon as possible — companies can get familiar with key features and functions before application volumes begin to scale up exponentially.

Integration itself can be handled in-house by deploying infrastructure and services that support cloud connections, but this approach is time-consuming and costly, even for large enterprises. Cloud integration platforms, meanwhile, are designed to streamline this connective process and reduce the amount of lead time required for deployment.

Benefits of Cloud Integration

Deploying cloud integration platforms provides several benefits for businesses, including:

Improved Collaboration

Silos are problematic for small businesses — if marketing teams are using one set of applications and data, while product development, production and HR teams are using another, the results can range from mismatched business objectives that limit ROI to duplicated work that reduces total efficiency.

Cloud integration platforms offer a way to connect disparate applications and departments, making it possible for teams to leverage and collaborate on the same data in real-time.

Increased Visibility

Companies also benefit from increased visibility when using cloud integration platforms. By unifying application environments under a single solution, IT teams can easily see what’s happening, when, and why. As a result, companies are better prepared to deal with application conflicts or team requirements as they arise, rather than after the fact.

Enhanced Cost Control

Cloud applications left unchecked and unmonitored come with significant costs over time, especially if they’re continually collecting or using data. Cloud integration makes it possible for businesses to see what’s running on their network and evaluate how often applications are used, allowing them to better manage and monitor overall technology costs.

Potential Pitfalls of Cloud Integration

Generally speaking, cloud integration platforms streamline the deployment, use, and monitoring of cloud-based applications. The evolution of this market vertical means that substantive challenges are few and far between, but there is a potential pitfall that businesses must address: Choosing the right platform.

With a host of options now available and each offering a different mix of features and functions, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. The result? Businesses may end up selecting a platform that performs adequately rather than exceptionally given their specific mix of applications, services, and staff needs.

Need some help finding your best fit? Let’s break down the top cloud integration platforms, as rated by trusted review site G2.

1. JitterBit

G2 Rating: 4.7/5.0 (228 Reviews)

Cloud integration platform: JitterbitAs one of the leaders in the iPaaS space, JitterBit lets you fuse thousands of SaaS, cloud, and on-premises applications into one interface. You can also leverage their pre-built templates and workflows to automate your business processes. Additionally, you can create new application programming interfaces (APIs) from your existing enterprise applications or data on their API platform. You can even blend your newly created APIs with external APIs to roll out new business solutions.

What we like:

Jitterbit is all about making it easy for companies to connect applications and APIs in days rather than weeks. The solution is used by thousands of companies worldwide and includes powerful app and API integration tools that empower businesses to not only streamline key processes but collect intelligence data on-demand.

2. Operations Hub

G2 Rating: 4.6/5.0 (297 Reviews)

Cloud integration platform: Operations Hub

Operations Hub leverages intelligent 2-way sync technology from PieSync to update any customer’s information in one app after it changes in the other. The cloud integration platform also gives you complete control over the apps you choose to sync, consolidates customer information from multiple apps, and stores and updates all your data in one place so you can access it and make the most accurate data-driven decisions for your business.

What We Like

Sure, we’re a bit biased, but the fact remains that Operations Hub is one of the best-reviewed cloud integration solutions on G2. With a host of tools including data sync, data quality automation, and the ability to slice and dice data on-demand, Operations Hub has everything you need to run — and grow — your business.

3. Zapier

G2 Rating: 4.5/5.0 (729 Reviews)

Cloud integration platform: ZapierWith the ability to connect to and share data with over 1,000 web apps, like Facebook, QuickBooks, and Google Drive, Zapier can automate almost any type of business process. All you have to do is build a workflow in their editor, pick the apps you want to include in your workflow, and watch your apps work together without additional intervention.

What We Like

Zapier is based on three key principles: Integrate, automate and innovate. Integration links web apps in just a few clicks, automation passes data between applications using workflows called “Zaps,” and innovation lets you build better processes with no code required. All told? It’s a win-win-win.

4. MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

G2 Rating: 4.5/5.0 (495 Reviews)

Cloud integration platform: MuleSoftTrusted by over 1,600 enterprise companies, MuleSoft Anypoint Platform lets you manage all your APIs and integrations on one platform. You can also build and integrate your APIs; integrate with any application, data, or device; deploy on-premises integrations to the cloud without rewriting any code; and protect your data and administer access to employees by leveraging edge gateways and encryption.

What We Like

Mulesoft is all about speed and simplicity. Reusable API assets make it easy to create app integrations with just a few clicks, and machine-learning recommendations help automatically transform data. Plus, businesses get real-time visibility into APIs and integrations from a single interface.

5. IBM App Connect

G2 Rating: 4.3/5.0 (207 Reviews)

Cloud integration platform: IBM App ConnectWith IBM App Connect, you can integrate your data between on-premises and cloud-based applications, build APIs on an intuitive, code-free interface, and build workflows that automate your business processes within different apps. You can also deploy IBM App Connect in any cloud or on-premises environment.

What We Like

Part of the appeal here is that IBM has long been a leader in the technology integrations and operations space, but it’s the specifics of the solution that really set it apart. Using prebuilt app connectors and agile integration architecture (AIA), organizations can easily connect all apps across all environments for maximum operational flexibility.

6. Dell Boomi

G2 Rating: 4.2/5.0 (222 Reviews)

Cloud integration platform: Dell BoomiTrusted by over 8,000 brands, Dell Boomi lets you fuse all your digital platforms into one. By uniting all your data, applications, and processes, Boomi essentially stores all of your technology systems and assets in one place. With Boomi, you can also manage your APIs, maintain the quality of your data, build workflows with minimal coding knowledge, and develop applications.

What We Like

With more than 15,000 customers worldwide, Boomi remains one of the top cloud integration platforms. The Dell solution focuses on three key areas: Data, systems, and people. It promises instant integration of all three to help accelerate and simplify cloud-based operations.

Making the Most of Cloud Integration

Cloud integration platforms can help streamline and simplify application management across your small business. More importantly, they can help break down operational silos by providing a way for teams to collaborate and connect regardless of how, when, or where they use company data. This will empower your team to deliver actionable insights and make the most of cloud-based applications at scale.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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LinkedIn vs. Facebook: Which Is Best for Your Business?

The slew of social media channels available today can paralyze even the savviest business owners.

Where do you start? Which one is best? How do you avoid wasting time on channels that won’t bring in a solid ROI? The struggle is real.

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Facebook and LinkedIn are two of the biggest social media platforms and provide a number of opportunities to reach your audience. This leaves us with this question: Which one should you focus your efforts on?

We’ll cover the pros and cons of each platform below.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook for Business

Let’s recap quickly.

At its core, LinkedIn is a professional network that was initially created as a corporate recruitment platform. Now, it boasts many features similar to traditional social media sites, including status updates, blogging capabilities, and private messages.

It’s also the most effective platform when it comes to delivering content and securing audience engagement.

Facebook, on the other hand, was specifically designed as a place for people to share and communicate. The “sharing” element is its most prominent selling point, but there are still plenty of other features that allow businesses to effectively reach their audiences.

In fact, one survey by Facebook found that 74% of American consumers use the platform to discover new products and brands.

LinkedIn and Facebook both have the Groups feature that allows you to connect with other like-minded people, and they both have powerful ad setups.

So with similar features, what are the key differences between the two? We’ll cover those here.

Numbers-wise, Facebook wins hands down.

Facebook has an astounding 2.8 billion monthly active users (MAU) across the world, which makes LinkedIn’s 64.7 million MAU seem small in comparison.

On both platforms, the biggest age group is 25- to 34-year-olds, according to 2021 data from Statista. However, Facebook has a wider range of users with roughly 10% falling below 18 years old or above 64 years old.

This is because LinkedIn caters mostly to professionals looking to network whereas Facebook hosts the everyday consumer.

Furthermore, the 2020 State of Marketing Report by HubSpot revealed that marketers see the highest return on investment from Facebook, with LinkedIn being the 4th highest out of 8 platforms.

LinkedIn is a stronger B2B platform.

As mentioned before, LinkedIn is a go-to spot for business-driven individuals. As such, it’s a great platform for business-to-business brands.

Here’s a breakdown of why:

  • It’s easy to identify key decision-makers (and reach them in ads).
  • Social selling is embedded into the platform.
  • It’s easier to network as the platform was built specifically for that purpose.

In fact, eMarketer reported that LinkedIn occupies the largest share of B2B display ad spending at 32%. But we’ll talk more about ads in this section.

Facebook may work better for brands that want to reach consumers directly. In addition, you gain access to ten times more prospects and have a great place to generate brand awareness and engagement. So, while Facebook leads in numbers, LinkedIn takes the win when it comes to generating tangible leads.

Thought leadership happens more organically on LinkedIn.

Thought leadership is one way brands are gaining credibility as well as visibility. According to a 2020 Thought Leadership Report by Survey Monkey, 66% of marketers consider it a top priority within their marketing team.

A thought leader’s role is to educate, encourage conversation and drive action. The same study shows that thought leadership programs help with lead generation and brand awareness efforts by increasing website traffic, media mentions, subscribers, and more.

When it comes to thought leadership articles, LinkedIn has a leg up. The platform is already designed for business conversations. As such, brands can have more success with thought leadership content compared to Facebook.

So, here’s a quick recap:

  • Facebook pros: Large user base, proven ROI
  • Facebook cons: Isn’t the best for B2B marketing
  • LinkedIn pros: Business-driven platform, social selling and networking tools, great opportunities for thought leadership
  • LinkedIn cons: Smaller user base

Now that we’ve taken a general look at the two platforms, let’s take a more detailed look at some of the key features they have for businesses.

LinkedIn Groups vs. Facebook Groups

The Groups feature on both LinkedIn and Facebook gives businesses the chance to mingle and connect with prospects and other like-minded businesses.

However, it’s critical to keep in mind people’s motives when they’re on different sites. When users are engaging with others in LinkedIn Groups, there’s a high chance they’re in a work-related mindset in some capacity.

In Facebook Groups, on the other hand, people are more likely to share their personal opinions on everything – from lifestyle and food to politics and hobbies.

So, when determining which Groups feature is best for you, think about the audience you’re targeting.

For instance, if you’re targeting general consumers with an interest in cooking because you’re selling the latest food blender, Facebook Groups is probably the way to go.

However, if you’re selling a high-priced service for top-tier management personnel, LinkedIn Groups might be a better bet.

Finally, let’s touch on the ads aspect of both platforms.

In terms of variety, both platforms have reached pretty equal footing.

While Facebook has boasted a diverse range of ad types for years (we’re talking canvas, carousel, video, dynamic, and lead ads just to name a few), LinkedIn now also offers several ad formats, including video, carousel, lead, dynamic, and Sponsored InMail ads.

Each offers a user-friendly ad manager. This means that you can start organizing your creative assets on a content marketing platform like Casted, then build your ad in just a few steps on either LinkedIn or Facebook.

Targeting-wise, if you think Facebook has the capability of reaching more people, you’re right. However, this doesn’t mean that LinkedIn doesn’t have powerful targeting capabilities.

Both platforms are centered around user input and serve up ads and content relevant to the information their members give them.

On both Facebook and LinkedIn, you can target users based on job title, household income, company, location, and age on both platforms. Where Facebook has the upper hand is that you can dig a little deeper on Facebook, targeting users depending on their life milestones, behavior, and other personalized information.

In addition, both platforms allow brands to use source audiences to reach consumers who are similar to their current audience. Facebook calls it “Lookalike Audience” while LinkedIn has named it “Audience Expansion.”

Lastly, it’s important to consider the cost.

Typically, you get more for your money on Facebook. According to WebFX, the average cost-per-click for a LinkedIn ad is a whopping $5.26, compared to just $0.97 with Facebook.

However, a higher cost doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

Who Wins? You Decide

While LinkedIn and Facebook do share common features, it’s clear their purpose and audiences are quite different.

Which one you decide to use depends entirely on what industry you’re in, who you’re trying to reach, and your marketing goals.

It’s also important to note that you don’t necessarily have to choose. Perhaps you use LinkedIn for a targeted lead generation campaign, while you use Facebook to increase brand awareness and engage with your customers.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

social media content calendar

310 Best Instagram Captions: Good, Cool, Funny, & Cute IG Quotes

If you’re anything like me, you take about four minutes choosing a filter for your Instagram photo, and about four hours deciding on a caption.

Worst of all, after much creative effort and advice from friends, I’m usually barely able to write a caption that goes beyond, “Had a fun day with friends!”

And I’m a writer — go figure.

Next time you’re contemplating a witty line of text to go with your Instagram photo, take a look at our complete list of captions that suit any mood or occasion you’ll be sharing with the world. You can also customize these captions to make them perfect for your feed.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Instagram page to see how we incorporate fun, witty, and engaging captions into our social media content.

Free Download: 52 Examples of Business Instagram Captions

You can incorporate many of these captions into an Instagram business strategy (just make sure your audience would find your caption funny, clever, or the right amount of sassy).

Click one of the following links to jump to a section:

Business Instagram Captions

Instagram captions: If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat. Just get on.

  1. Good evening, [city]! We’re in town for [event] at Booth [#]. Stop by and say hi!
  2. “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” -Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
  3. Our [#]-person squad completed the [road race name]! And we did it all for the post-run sneaker selfie. 👟
  4. We got product in the pipeline … check back for an exciting announcement on [date]!
  5. Diversity isn’t a recruitment metric — it’s an ingredient for success. At [company], we thrive on the unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of our people.
  6. Spot the CEO. 😉
  7. At [company name], our best asset is our people.
  8. We had a great time with our customers at [meeting/event]! @[client/partner], you guys rock.
  9. Thrilled to have [customer] at our office today! Come back any time. 😊
  10. [Company name] is off for [holiday]! We hope you all have a safe long weekend.
  11. Big things have small beginnings. [Company]’s HQ began right here.
  12. “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” –Herman Melville
  13. How many [company name] employees does it take to spell “TEAM”?
  14. Want to work with these awesome people, working on a lot of awesome things? We’re hiring! Click the link in our bio to see our current openings.
  15. Check, check, one, two … is this thing on? [Company name] is now on Instagram! Follow us to learn about our culture, product, and (awesome) people.
  16. Tired of [customer pain point]? We’ve got good news. Click the link in our bio to learn about [product]’s latest feature.
  17. [Company] presents our latest product — made with love just for you. ❤️ Link in bio to learn more.
  18. Stop wasting time with [customer pain point]. Our [product] will help you achieve [X] more efficiently — just ask our current customers. Check out our latest case study here: [Link]
  19. Handmade in [location] and delivered to your door. That’s the [Company] promise.
  20. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When [company name] gives you [type of product], you make money.

Quote Instagram Captions

  1. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” –Nelson Mandela
  2. “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” -Margaret Mead
  3. “You change the world by being yourself.” -Yoko Ono
  4. “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln
  5. “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” – Oprah Winfrey
  6. “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” -Dalai Lama
  7. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” -Mae West
  8. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  9. “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” -Vincent van Gogh
  10. “Success isn’t about the end result, it’s about what you learn along the way.” -Vera Wang
  11. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” -Confucius
  12. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” -George Addair
  13. You become what you believe.” -Oprah Winfrey
  14. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt
  15. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney
  16. “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” -Bob Marley
  17. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” -Maya Angelou
  18. “Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.” – Janelle Monae
  19. “Success is a collection of problems solved.” – I.M. Pei
  20. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
  21. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” -Gandhi
  22. “I dream. Sometimes I think that’s the only right thing to do.” -Haruki Murakami
  23. “We become what we think about.” -Earl Nightingale
  24. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill
  25. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis
  26. “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” -Lao Tzu
  27. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein
  28. “If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” -Steve Jobs
  29. “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
  30. “Stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.” -Michelle Obama

Funny Instagram Captions

Instagram captions: We know the voices in our heads aren't real, but sometimes their ideas are just too good to ignore.

  1. My favorite exercise is a cross between a lunge and a crunch … I call it lunch.
  2. I need a six-month holiday, twice a year.
  3. We tried to be normal once. Worst two minutes of our lives!
  4. There are 16-year-olds competing at the Olympics and some of us (me) still push on “pull” doors.
  5. That awkward moment when you’re wearing Nike’s and you can’t do it.
  6. I’m just a girl, standing in front of a salad, asking it to be a cupcake.
  7. What if we told you … you can eat without posting it on Instagram?
  8. I know the voices in my head aren’t real, but sometimes their ideas are just too good to ignore.
  9. We don’t know what’s tighter: Our jeans or our company culture.
  10. Friday … Our second-favorite F word.
  11. We don’t care what people think of us. Unless they’re our customers. We definitely care what customers think of us.
  12. All you need is love … and investors. All you need is love and investors.
  13. Hi, we’re [company name]. We build amazing apps and eat amazing apps.
  14. They say “Do what you love and money will come to you.” Let’s see what happens, I just ordered tamales.
  15. My favorite subject in school was recess.
  16. No thoughts brain empty just tacos and cats.
  17. [Food item] so good it’s got me weak in the knees.
  18. The best part about waking up is going to sleep eighteen hours later.
  19. The older you get, the better you get, unless you’re a banana.
  20. Bring the alcohol! Because no great story started with someone eating a salad.
  21. Don’t worry if plan A fails. There are 25 more letters in the alphabet.
  22. If you’re not supposed to eat at night, why is there a light bulb in the refrigerator?
  23. First rule of Sundays: If you can’t reach it from your couch, you don’t need it.
  24. If you fall, I will be there. Signed, Floor.
  25. The first thing I do after coming to work is logging off.
  26. I used to think I was indecisive, but now I am not so sure.
  27. Friends buy you lunch. Best friends eat your lunch.
  28. Darn it, just accidentally had another thought again.
  29. My goal this weekend is to move… just enough so people don’t think I’m dead.
  30. You think nothing is impossible? Try getting me out of bed before 12 PM.

Clever Instagram Captions

Instagram captions: Success is making those who believed in you look brilliant.

  1. Patience — what you have when there are too many witnesses.
  2. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s the Clarendon filter.
  3. “Life is short.” False — it’s the longest thing you do.
  4. Happy Sunday! There may be no excuse for laziness, but I’m still looking.
  5. Rejection is just redirection.
  6. Better an “oops” than a “what if.”
  7. Anyone looking for a heart? Selling mine for $2. (Used, good condition)
  8. The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.
  9. Seven billion smiles and these are my favorite.
  10. Stop working hard and start working smart.
  11. I found your nose. It was in my business.
  12. Imposter complex is just a byproduct of success.
  13. Life is simple. It’s just not easy.
  14. The best times begin at the end of your comfort zone. So you can catch me on the opposite end of the end of my comfort zone.
  15. When nothing goes right, go left.
  16. “Success is making those who believed in you look brilliant.” -Dharmesh Shah
  17. “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” -Harry Truman
  18. The world changes by your example, not your opinion. So get acting right.
  19. It’s always a good idea to be on the right side of history.
  20. When you learn, teach. When you get, give.
  21. Don’t quit your daydream.
  22. Legend has it that if you look hard enough you’ll see the weekend approaching!
  23. It’s time to make new memories. But first, five tequila shots.
  24. I’m on a seafood diet. I see food, I eat it.
  25. Sorry I didn’t get back to your text. I was too busy converting oxygen into CO2.
  26. Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.
  27. “Arguing with a fool proves there are two.” -Doris M. Smith
  28. Well, enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?
  29. We’re all one more minute closer to dying. What’s one more shot going to do?
  30. There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you find it, let me know so I can get some.

Cute Instagram Captions

  1. Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep sleeping.
  2. My fave sound is you snoring next to me.
  3. Here’s to a hundred more years with you.
  4. Happiness is watching you do what you love 💗 Hopefully that’s me.
  5. I like you more than [food]. And I looove [food].
  6. Wearing a onesie to bed just in case my SO steals the covers again.
  7. Cuddle time with the pup 💞
  8. Just showing off my [item] a little. Be jealous.
  9. Always wear cute pajamas to bed; you never know who you’ll meet in your dreams.
  10. You got me like 🥴️
  11. I’d move to [state] for you. And I hate [state].
  12. 🥺️ 👉👈
  13. I have no idea what I was doing before you came around. Sleeping, probably.
  14. No one can touch my books or my tacos 😤
  15. Not me standing there like🧍‍♂️
  16. Don’t mind me while I drink my tea 🍵
  17. Did someone say [something you like]? 🏃💨
  18. They say elephants have a perfect memory. So do I when it comes to you.
  19. My pup is the salsa to my whole enchilada.
  20. I hate it when I’m singing a song and the artist gets the words wrong.
  21. Being an adult is like folding a fitted sheet. No one really knows how.
  22. Here’s a 🥇 for being the cutest human to walk this earth.
  23. Me before you: 🌱 Me after you: 🌻
  24. 🤟
  25. Just got that Friday feeling.
  26. Are you a timekeeper? ‘Cause time slows down when I’m with you.
  27. I can’t see heaven being much better than this.
  28. I’m not lazy, I’m on energy-saving mode.
  29. My pillow is my best friend (sorry, [best friend’s name])
  30. A day doing [activity] is a day well-spent.

Sassy Instagram Captions

Instagram captions: A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can't go anywhere until you change it.

  1. What’s a queen without her king? Historically speaking, more powerful.
  2. Be a little more you, and a lot less them.
  3. We’re an acquired taste. If you don’t like us, acquire some taste.
  4. Well-behaved people don’t make it into history books.
  5. Be sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.
  6. We got 99 problems, but an awesome marketing team ain’t one.
  7. Sometimes you just need to do a thing called “what you want.”
  8. You can’t do epic stuff with bad people. And we got the best in the biz.
  9. It’s not called being bossy, it’s called having leadership skills.
  10. You did not wake up today to be mediocre.
  11. A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.
  12. We’re entrepreneurs. They call us dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.
  13. All of us have the capacity to light up a room. Some when they enter, others when they leave it.
  14. Brains are awesome. I wish everybody would have one.
  15. Common sense is like deodorant. The people who need it most never use it.
  16. You see that? That’s my patience leaving.
  17. I’ll have you know, I’ve completed plenty of marathons. [Show 1], [Show 2], and [Show 3], to name a few.
  18. Everyone has that one annoying friend. If you don’t have one, then it’s probably you.
  19. Above: A photo of me pretending to be listening.
  20. Oh, you sent me an email? Expect a response in approximately never.
  21. Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.
  22. If you like me, raise your hand. If not, then raise your standard.
  23. If you don’t succeed the first time, then burn all the evidence you tried.
  24. Underestimate me. That’ll be fun.
  25. I like my coffee how I like myself: Dark, bitter and too hot for you.
  26. People say I act like I don’t care. It’s not an act.
  27. They say good things take time … that’s why I’m always late.
  28. Focused. Intelligent. Motivated. Oh, and cute.
  29. “The question isn’t who is going to let me: it’s who is going to stop me.” -Ayn Rand
  30. It’s okay if you don’t like me. Not everyone has good taste.

Song Lyrics for Instagram Captions

IG captions: But like the sun, know you know I find my way back 'round.

  1. “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist.” — Sia, “Chandelier”
  2. “I live for the nights that I can’t remember, with the people that I won’t forget.” — Drake, “Show Me a Good Time”
  3. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” — Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance”
  4. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” — John Lennon, “Imagine”
  5. “If you give, you begin to live.” — Dave Matthews Band, “You Might Die Trying”
  6. “Outlining my findings, using life as a stencil.” — Kero One, “In All the Wrong Places”
  7. “Feeling good living better.” — Drake, “Over My Dead Body”
  8. “Say oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight, like this city is on fire tonight.” — OneRepublic, “Good Life”
  9. “Time makes you bolder.” — Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide”
  10. “If I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believe.” — Whitney Houston, “The Greatest Love of All”
  11. “The rest of the world was in black and white, but we were in screaming color.” — Taylor Swift, “Out of the Woods”
  12. “Lightning strikes every time she moves.” — Calvin Harris, “This Is What You Came For”
  13. “We aren’t ever getting older.” — Chainsmokers, “Closer”
  14. “Sing with me, sing for the years, sing for the laughter, sing for the tears.” — Aerosmith, “Dream On”
  15. “Life is good.” — Future & Drake, “Life is Good”
  16. “Life without dreaming is a life without meaning.” – Wale, “Aston Martin Music”
  17. “But like the sun, know you know I find my way back ‘round.” — J. Cole, “Crooked Smile”
  18. “I will overcome any hurdle or obstacle that’s in my path.” — OutKast, “Knowing”

Holiday Instagram Captions

New Year’s Instagram Captions

  1. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. Didn’t make it to midnight.
  3. Resolutions are made to be broken.
  4. Ringing in the new year — like a bell.
  5. “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” — Brad Paisley
  6. New year, same me.
  7. Time to show off my bubbly personality.
  8. Any excuse to wear glitter.
  9. Starting off the year on the right foot.
  10. There are 12 months ahead of us to make a difference.
  11. Day 1 of 365
  12. Sip, sip, hooray!

Valentine’s Day Instagram Captions

IG captions:  You can't blame gravity for falling in love

  1. Roses are red. Violets are blue. Consider this post my Valentine to you.
  2. Don’t tell me you love me. Tell me you’re outside with pizza.
  3. All I need is you. (And maybe wine + chocolate too.)
  4. “You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.” — Albert Einstein
  5. 99% of my socks are single, and you don’t see them crying about it.
  6. I will do anything for love. Except that. And that. Or that. Or…
  7. Sorry, I’m in a relationship with tacos.
  8. “All the single ladies…” — Beyonce, “Single Ladies”
  9. In love with my best friend.
  10. I’m better when I’m with you.

Halloween Instagram Captions

  1. Creepin’ it real.
  2. I brake for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
  3. “When the spooks have a midnight jamboree, they break it up with fiendish glee…” — The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)
  4. You’re just my (blood) type.
  5. How to eat candy corn: don’t.
  6. #squadghouls
  7. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  8. Driving me batty.
  9. “Scary hours.” — Drake

Thankgiving

  1. I’m wearing my elastic pants.
  2. “For those of you who cannot be with family this Thanksgiving, please resist the urge to brag.” — Andy Borowitz
  3. On a veggie diet this Thanksgiving: Carrot cake and pumpkin pie.
  4. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
  5. I think, therefore I cran.
  6. Bad day to be a turkey.
  7. Need fuel for Black Friday.
  8. “Okay, guys. I have exactly 28 minutes before I have to baste again.” — Monica
  9. Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.
  10. Who made the potato salad?
  11. There’s always something to be thankful for.

Christmas & Hannukah Instagram Captions

  1. You sleigh me.
  2. Fa la la la llama.
  3. “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, your ornaments are history.” — The Cat
  4. “It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters. It’s who’s around it.” — Charles M. Schulz
  5. Dear Santa, let’s not talk about this.
  6. Rebel Without a Claus
  7. Doesn’t Santa have anything better to do than watch us while we’re sleeping?
  8. All I want for Christmas is you (and wine would be nice).
  9. To all you cotton-headed ninny-mugginses out there.
  10. Drop it like a top.
  11. Wishing you a latke love this Hanukkah.
  12. I want to eat 8 latkes for the calories of one.
  13. One little candle can light up an entire room.
  14. Keep calm and spin that dreidel.
  15. Deck the halls with matzo balls!
  16. It’s Christmas time and I’m the gift.
  17. The best gift is to be present with the ones you love.

Seasonal Instagram Captions

Spring Instagram Captions

  1. Hello, spring!
  2. “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” — Louis Armstrong
  3. April showers bring May flowers.
  4. I think I just experienced all the seasons in a single day.
  5. I love allergy season, said no one ever.
  6. Currently soaking up the sun and smelling the roses. Please leave a message after the beep.
  7. I owe a lot to the inventor of flip-flops.
  8. “Here comes the sun, and I say… It’s all right.” — The Beatles
  9. “Warm winds in the springtime.” — SZA, “Warm Winds”
  10. Springing into the new season.

Summer Instagram Captions

IG captions: Here comes the sun and I say its all right

  1. “Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. Life’s a beach.
  3. School’s out, sun’s out, guns out.
  4. “A little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.” — John Mayer
  5. 90% happy, 10% burnt.
  6. Girls just want to have sun.
  7. “Summer lovin’ had me a blast, summer lovin’ happened so fast.” — Grease
  8. Happiness is a cold popsicle.
  9. Life is better by the pool.
  10. “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” — Ella Fitzgerald, “Summertime”
  11. “Here comes the sun, and I say… It’s all right.” — The Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun”

Fall Instagram Captions

  1. My favorite color is October.
  2. “Wild is the music of autumnal winds amongst the faded woods.” — William Wordsworth
  3. My favorite kind of weather.
  4. It’s never too early for pumpkin spice.
  5. Meet me in the corn maze.
  6. Crisp air. Apple cider. Flaming foliage.
  7. Pumpkin spice and everything nice.
  8. “Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” — Shira Tamir
  9. Leaves are falling, and autumn is calling.
  10. “Days in the sun and nights in the rain. Summer is over, simple and plain.” — Drake & Majid Jordan, “Summer’s Over”
  11. Falling never felt so good.

Winter Instagram Captions

  1. “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus
  2. If it’s snowing, I’m not going.
  3. Cozy nights. Good books. Hot chocolate.
  4. Do you want to build a snowman?
  5. Running on caffeine and holiday cheer.
  6. “Winter is not a season; it’s a celebration.” — Anamika Mishra
  7. Merry and brrrrrrright.
  8. Having snow much fun.
  9. ‘Tis the season to be freezin’.
  10. “Timb’ laces get tighter and parka hoods flip up.” — Drake, “Come Winter”

Selfie Instagram Captions

IG captions: Smile! The happiness is right under your nose

  1. Me, myself, and I.
  2. Be yourself, there’s no one better.
  3. It’s the happiness for me.
  4. Smile! The happiness is right under your nose.
  5. My favorite filter is reality.
  6. Self-care selfie!
    Conquer the world one smile at a time.
  7. It’s a great day to have a great day.
  8. The greatest gift you can give someone is a smile.
  9. Self-love is the best love.
  10. “But she looked powerful. She wore the sun like a shiny pin on the side of her hair.” –Lilian Li
  11. I don’t need a hair stylist. My pillow gives me a new hairstyle every morning.

Vacation Instagram Captions

  1. A chance to get away from the everyday.
  2. Work. Save. Travel. Repeat.
  3. Staycation loading…
  4. Collect the moments, not the materials.
  5. Another destination off the bucket list.
  6. An adventure to fill the soul.
  7. The scenic route is always better.
  8. I need a six-month vacation, twice a year.
  9. Be back never.
  10. Catch flights, not feelings.

Capture the Feeling with an Instagram Caption

Even though an image is worth 1,000 words, a well-written caption couldn’t hurt. These days, the caption can make just as much of a statement as the image! For all of the occasions that are worthy of a post to your feed, use one of the quotes from this list and customize it to make it your own.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

instagram captions

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

 

How Apple’s iOS 15 Could Impact Email Marketers

As one of the HubSpot Blog’s email marketers, one of the key metrics I use to measure email success is open rate.

When an open rate is high, it hints that your subject line did its job to pull readers, you’re sending emails at the most engaging time of day, or your subscribers are eagerly waiting to get your content in their inbox. When it’s low, it signals that your email subscribers might not even be reading your content.

But, now, the way email marketers leverage open rates could change as soon as this month with Apple’s incoming iOS 15 privacy features.

At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company announced a rollout of a handful of new iOS 15 privacy features that will include:

  • Mail Privacy Protection (Free): According to reports from Litmus, those with early access to iOS 15, and other tech journalists, Apple Mail will allow users to opt in to mail privacy features that mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data.
  • iCloud+ (Subscription): An iCloud subscription with additional privacy features including a VPN-like Private Relay feature, which prevents sites from tracking Safari users who opt-in and allows users to see which websites they’re sending information to.
  • Hide My Email (within iCloud+): An email address-cloaking feature that enables users to give sites a “fake” email address. While promotional emails sent from the brand to the fake address will still go to someone’s inbox and shouldn’t impact important communication, brands will not be able to see the person’s real address unless the contact shares it.

While the paid features might not create a huge impact for marketers because they require users to buy a service, the free Apple Mail privacy feature has already caused a stir in the marketing community.

So far, all Apple has said about this feature is, “In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”

Although Apple hasn’t explicitly said whether Mail Privacy Protection will be an opt-in or automatic feature, some iOS testers have shared images showing the Mail app prompts them to turn Mail Privacy Protection on when they enter the app:

apple ios email permission page

Image Source

At this point, marketing experts say this feature could specifically impact the tracking of open rates and email-based A/B testing.

Although this move might seem scary, it isn’t surprising as it follows a trend of internet privacy rollouts from tech giants. Most recently, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update limited mobile app tracking by requiring users to opt into sharing information when they opened an app after downloading it. Meanwhile, Google has been building out its Privacy Sandbox while preparing advertisers and marketers for Chrome’s phase-out of third-party cookies in 2022.

When it comes to Apple’s iOS 15 pivots specifically, marketers aren’t only unsurprised, but many — including members of the HubSpot team — believe this will be a positive change for user experience.

“From its inception, HubSpot has been relentlessly focused on helping businesses match the way they market and sell to the way people want to shop and buy. Our founders developed the philosophy of inbound marketing in the early 2000s,  and Apple’s moves only serve to reinforce these trends,” says Will DeKrey, HubSpot’s Group Product Manager of Campaigns.

“Buyers get to be in charge of the data they share; not sellers. And big corporations shouldn’t get to create markets for tracking and selling personal data, giving them an information advantage over smaller businesses,” DeKrey says.

“This means that each individual company, large or small, will need to get better and better at building trusted relationships with their audience, earning the right to learn who they are and what they’re interested in.”

“What’s true about people today is that they want BOTH privacy AND personalization. They still want content that is targeted and messaging that speaks to their interests. Given Apple’s changes, email marketers will likely need to focus even more on creating remarkably relevant content that drives their audiences to take action, versus experimenting with headlines just to see if they can get a click,” DeKrey explains.

“Personalization isn’t going away. Conversion optimization isn’t going away. A/B testing isn’t going away. But each of these will need to be more focused on building deeper relationships and more meaningful actions,” concludes DeKrey

Although Apple’s recent open tracking pivot could be great for iOS users who’d like to feel more secure, we know that email marketers still have a lot of questions.

To help email marketers navigate the potential changes that could happen, here are a few tips and strategies teams can consider as the iOS 15 rollout gets closer.

Click here to download our free lookbook that's packed with our favorite email  newsletters.

How Email Marketers Can Navigate Apple’s Open Privacy Changes

1. Continue following updates from Apple.

Although Apple’s iOS 15 features are starting to roll out, there’s still a lot that we’re still learning about how it could impact the ways we work with email.

As the feature continues to roll out, HubSpot’s own email product team will be looking into the change and considering solutions if there will be a major open rate impact.

“On the HubSpot email product team, we’re going to take time to consider what the next best steps are for our customers. In this ever-evolving email landscape, our priority will be to support our marketers in continuing to create highly impactful emails and get the most value from our email tool,” said Shane Janssens, Email Product Manager at HubSpot, this summer.

As we know more about these new features and how they could impact HubSpot email analytics, we’ll continue to update this post with more information and links to helpful resources to keep you in the know.

2. Remember, this change won’t impact all email readers.

Although Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices make up over 35% of the email provider market share globally, Google, Outlook, and other email providers haven’t announced similar privacy moves, which means their open and IP data could still provide solid tracking information for email marketers.

While you should be wary that other companies, like Google or Microsoft, could follow suit on email privacy, it’s important to remember that you’ll still get open data from them for the time being and can still make some judgments on the success of opens from these email providers.

3. Consider adjusting open-rate goals.

Although open rates aren’t going away any time soon, a large chunk of email audiences might become untrackable. Because of this, you might need to lower or pivot your open rate goals to determine what your new low, average, and high open rates are.

If your goals are set by a manager above you, it will be important to audit and communicate how many opens you usually get from iOS users to help your manager and your team estimate how they could change after the rollout. You might also want to consider tracking your email open rates for a month or so after the rollout to see what new averages look like based on hard data.

4. Leverage other email marketing data.

While open rate is a key email marketing KPI at many companies, it’s certainly not the only data you can use to determine if your email content is successful. In fact, when sending HubSpot Blog emails, the open rate is just one of many metrics I look at. Here are a few others that I plan to continue to zone in on, even if open rates are impacted:

  • Clicks and click-through rates: If you share links to content, such as blogs, product pages, and offers in email, the number of clicks and your click-through rates give you insights on how many or how often email readers engaged with and clicked on your content. High clicks or click-throughs can hint that your content was very engaging while lower clicks or click-throughs could hint that readers were less interested or skimming through your email.
  • Traffic to your site: With software like HubSpot, or the use of tracking URLs, you can determine how much traffic came to your website from one single email — or which pieces of content sent the most visitors to your site. Ultimately, if you’re trying to build your audiences, get people to make purchases, or aiming to increase offer downloads, you’ll need to send people to your website. Good email traffic hints that you’re successfully getting visitors where they need to go with your content.
  • Clickmaps: Many email providers, like HubSpot, allow you to see which content people clicked most or least in the email. This can help you see which content within your email was most and least clickable,
  • Unsubscribe rates: While these usually don’t vary much, a spiked unsubscribe rate could indicate that an aspect of your email strategy (such as the content you sent or the frequency of emails) caused you to lose more audience members than usual. Meanwhile, a consistently low unsubscribe rate hints that you’re continuing to retain or even gain subscribers.
  • Survey or email persona research: Aside from metrics you can gain from your email marketing platform, you can also leverage other strategies, like surveys or polls to learn more about your subscribers’ interests, what they’d like to see more of, and where you can improve your content.

On top of leveraging KPIs that are less impacted by Apple’s change, you can also use email tools or benchmark reports to see how your email rates compare to that of other brands in your industry.

For example, HubSpot users can leverage HubSpot’s Email Health Tool to compare your open, click-through, unsubscribe, and bounce rates against our benchmarks.

Evolving Your Content for a More Private World

Apple’s announcement is not the only privacy pivot that’s impacted digital marketers — and in 2021 — it certainly won’t be the last.

Although the world might be changing in a way that poses some challenges for digital and email marketers, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to innovate your strategy to meet prospects or audiences where they are.

While open rates are certainly important, there are many other ways to get to know your email subscribers, learn from KPIs, and continue to create great content for them.

Looking for more information on how email could change, or the HubSpot Email tools? Check out this HubSpot Community post

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What is an A/A Test & Do You Really Need to Use It?

What’s worse than working with no data?

Working with “bad” data.

As marketers, we love to test headlines, call-to-actions, and keywords (to name a few). One of the ways we do this is by running A/B tests.

Free Download: A/B Testing Guide and Kit

As a refresher, A/B testing is the process of splitting an audience to test a number of variations of a campaign and determining which performs better.

But A/B testing isn’t foolproof.

In fact, it’s a complicated process. You often have to rely on testing software to pull the data, and there’s a high probability of receiving a false positive. If you’re not careful, you could make incorrect assumptions about what makes people click.

So how can you ensure your A/B test is operating correctly? This is where A/A testing comes in. Think of it as a test to the test.

The idea behind an A/A test is that the experience is the same for each group, therefore the expected KPI (Key Performance Indicator) will also be the same for each group.

For example, if 20% of group A fills out a form on a landing page, the expected result is that 20% of group B (who are interacting with an identical version of the landing page) will do the same.

Differences Between an A/A Test and an A/B Test

Performing an A/A test is similar to that of an A/B test; an audience is divided into two similarly sized groups, but instead of directing each group to different variations of content, each group interacts with identical versions of the same piece of content.

Here’s another way to think about it: have you ever heard the idiom, “Comparing apples to oranges”? An A/B test does exactly that — compares two different variants of a piece of content to see which performs better. An A/A test compares an apple to, well, an identical apple.

When running an A/B test, you program a testing tool to change or hide some part of the content. This is not necessary for an A/A test.

An A/A test also requires a larger sample size than an A/B test to prove a significant bias. And, due to such a large sample size, these tests take much longer to complete.

How to Do A/A Testing

Exactly how you do an A/A will vary depending on the testing tool you use. If you’re a HubSpot Enterprise customer conducting an A/A or A/B test on an email, for example, HubSpot will automatically split traffic to your variations so that each variation receives a random sampling of visitors.

Let’s cover the steps to run an A/A test.

1. Create two identical versions of a piece of content — the control and the variant.

Once your content is created, identify two groups of the same sample size you would like to conduct the test with.

2. Identify your KPI.

A KPI is a measure of performance over a period of time. For example, your KPI could be the number of visitors who click on a call-to-action.

3. Using your testing tool, split your audience equally and randomly, and send one group to the control and the other group to the variant.

Run the test until the control and variation hit a determined number of visitors.

4. Track the KPI for both groups.

Because both groups are sent to identical pieces of content, they should behave the same. Therefore, the expected result will be inconclusive.

A/A Test Uses

A/A testing is primarily used when an organization implements a new A/B testing software or reconfigures a current one.

You can run an A/A test to accomplish the following:

1. To check the accuracy of an A/B testing software.

The intended result of an A/A test is that the audience reacts similarly to the same piece of content.

But what if they don’t?

Here’s an example: Company XYZ is running an A/A test on a new landing page. Two groups are sent to two identical versions of the landing page (the control and the variant). Group A has a conversion rate of 8%, while Group B has a rate of 2%.

In theory, the conversion rate should be identical. When there is no difference between the control and the variant, the expected result will be inconclusive. Yet, sometimes a “winner” is declared on two identical versions.

When this happens, it is essential to evaluate the testing platform. The tool may have been misconfigured, or it could be ineffective.

2. To set a baseline conversion rate for future A/B tests.

Let’s imagine that Company XYZ runs another A/A test on the landing page. This time, the results of Group A and Group B are identical — both groups achieve an 8% conversion rate.

Therefore, 8% is the baseline conversion rate. With this in mind, the company can run future A/B tests with the goal of exceeding this rate.

If, for example, the company runs an A/B test on a new version of the landing page and receives a conversion rate of 8.02%, the result is not statistically significant.

A/A Testing: Do You Really Need to Use It?

To run an A/A test, or not — that is the question. And the answer will depend on who you ask. There is no denying that A/A testing is a hotly debated topic.

Perhaps the most prevalent argument against A/A testing boils down to one factor: time.

A/A testing takes a considerable amount of time to run. In fact, A/A tests typically require a much larger sample size than A/B tests. When testing two identical versions, you need a large sample size to prove a significant bias. Therefore, the test will take more time to complete, and this may eat into time spent running other valuable tests.

However, it makes sense to run an A/A test in some cases, especially if you are uncertain about a new A/B testing software and want additional proof that it’s both functional and accurate. A/A tests are a low-risk method to ensure your tests are set up properly.

A/A testing can help you prepare for a successful AB testing program, provide data benchmarks, and identify any discrepancies in your data.

Although A/A tests have utility, running such a test should be a relatively rare occurrence. While A/A test can run a “health check” on a new A/B tool or software, it may not be worth optimizing every minor alteration to your website or marketing campaign due to the considerable amount of time it takes to run.

The Ultimate A/B Testing Kit

When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2021? [Cheat Sheet]

To build a sizable Instagram following, you need to create compelling content that your audience actually craves. But if you don’t post your content at the right time, most of them will never see it.So how do you figure out the optimal post time for your specific audience? The best way to find an ideal posting time is by testing the timing of your posts to see which post time generates the most audience engagement.

If you lack the resources or time to conduct your own tests, Sprout Social, a social media management platform with over 20,000 customers, has you covered. In 2020, their team analyzed customer data to see what time and day their social media posts generated the most engagement. Here’s what they found.

New Data: Instagram Engagement Report [2021 Version]

Global Instagram Engagement

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that our worlds are more interconnected than ever before on a global scale. Our social media strategies have to reflect this new way of life in order for our businesses to meet their goals.

The chart below shows the global engagement on Instagram by the time of day and day of the week. Note: The time is in CDT. That means you wouldn’t post at 11 AM for every timezone individually — 11 AM CDT works just fine across posts published for a global audience.

Need a visual to strategize around? Check out this Sprout Social chart which shows Global Instagram Engagement hotspots.

Global Instagram Engagement Graph by Sprout Social

Image Source

Sprout Social went into even more detail about the best times to post on Instagram, including the best times for post engagement. We’ve summarized the key findings from their report into a quick cheatsheet that you can reference later.

Best Time to Post to Instagram Cheatsheet

Best Time to Post on Instagram Cheat sheet

The day of the week on which you post can change how much engagement you get during that same time.

Why? Think about the little differences in your daily mood and routine — the ones you might not realize you have — and how they affect your behavior. The same goes for everyone following your Instagram account.

As much as we don’t like to admit it, many of us check our social media first thing in the morning to catch up on the night before. Then, it’s time for a lunch break scroll. Finally, we take one last look at what our friends and favorite brands are up to before bed. It makes sense that the heaviest engagement hours align with the way our audiences live their lives.

Here’s another look at the best times to post on Instagram each day as well as some additional insights from Sprout Social:

Best Time to Post on Instagram Each Day

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 11 AM – 12 PM CDT – Consider that most of your followers are taking a lunch break around this time and will be more likely to scroll through Instagram to catch up on the latest from their friends, favorite brands, and influencers. During these time periods, share content that is easy to engage with and share.
  • Tuesday, 11 AM – 2 PM CDT – Similar to the above, lunch breaks are common around these hours. However, the longer timeframe can be a fitting opportunity to share long-form content like IG TV videos or even go live on Instagram.
  • Thursday, 11 AM CDT – For these shorter lunch breaks on Thursdays, try posting Instagram stories with engagement boosters like polls, questions, and quizzes to get quick responses that users will come back to read later on.

When scheduling posts for Instagram, the same hours may not work for each day. Consider both the day of the week and the industry you’re in (we’ll talk about the latter in just a minute).

Pro Tip: Post to Instagram between 7 AM and 10:30 AM CDT from Monday to Friday. You’ll get the most consistent engagement that way because your content will have time to pick up views and shares leading into the peak engagement hours around 11 AM CDT.

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry

The general data above about optimal post timing is a great starting point for growing an engaged Instagram audience. But if you want to get more granular, here are the best times to post on Instagram if your organization is in the technology, restaurant, education, healthcare, and non-profit industries, according to Sprout Social’s research.

Best Times to Post on Instagram for Technology Companies

Best time to post on instagram for tech companies

  • Best Time: Monday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM CDT
  • Most Consistent Engagement: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM CDT
  • Best Day: Monday
  • Worst Day: Sunday

Best Times to Post on Instagram for Restaurants

Best time to post on instagram for restaraunts

  • Best Time: Monday 9 AM – 1 PM
  • Most Consistent Engagement: Monday 9 AM – 1 PM
  • Best Day: Monday
  • Worst Day: Saturday

Best Times to Post on Instagram for Educational Organizations

Best time to post on instagram for education

  • Best Times: Friday 4:00 AM – 5:00 AM, Thursday 2:00 PM CDT
  • Most Consistent Engagement: Friday 4:00 AM – 1:00 PM CDT
  • Best Day: Friday
  • Worst Day: Sunday

Best Times to Post on Instagram for Healthcare Companies

Best time to post on instagram for healthcare

  • Best Times: Tuesday 8 AM – 12 PM, 5 PM – 8 PM
  • Most Consistent Engagement: Sunday, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM CDT
  • Best Day: Monday, Tuesday
  • Worst Day: Saturday

Best Times to Post on Instagram for Nonprofit Organizations

  • Best Time: Wednesday 10 AM – 6 PM CDT
  • Most Consistent Engagement: Monday to Friday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM CDT
  • Best Day: Wednesday
  • Worst Day: Sunday

Boost Instagram Engagement on Your Schedule

Organic Instagram engagement and a scheduled posting schedule go hand in hand. Each industry has natural peaks and valleys of engagement throughout the day which means your Instagram strategy should flow with them. Use this helpful cheat sheet to plan your social media calendar for next quarter and watch your engagement rate soar.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

instagram statistics

Want to Be a Better Manager? Work on These 7 Management Skills

You’ve worked hard to become a manager and now you feel ill-prepared. Or perhaps you’ve been in your role for a while and feel stuck, stagnant.

The imposter syndrome sets in and you’re not sure how to succeed in this role.

→ Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh  Shah [Free Guide].

Management skills aren’t innate, they’re learned over time so the work is never fully done. Succeeding as a manager is a fluid dance that requires a willingness to learn.

If you’ve already identified areas of improvement, this article will offer actionable tips. If you have no idea where to start, you will learn the top management skills every people manager needs and the ways to refine the ones you already have.

Types of Management Skills

There are three facets of management skills that every leader will need to succeed in their role.

The first is interpersonal skills. How are you with people?

Are you able to build relationships with leaders, peers, and direct reports? Would they describe you as trustworthy and reliable?

To be a great manager, you have to hone the skills to navigate conversations within – and outside of – your team. On a personal level, interpersonal skills will allow you to empathize, celebrate and motivate those around you.

The next facet of management is the strategic facet. As a leader, you’ll be tasked with identifying roadblocks, problem-solving and developing strategies to improve efficiency. This can be anything from helping your team improve its workflow to providing an innovative way to reach customers.

As for the technical piece, think of this as the foundational piece. It includes software knowledge, the ability to operate certain machinery, expertise in equipment used at your company.

To be a great manager, you should aim to be strong in all three management areas. Start by ranking yourself in each area and identify which one(s) you should focus on improving.

Read the following section on what steps to tackle next.

Developing Management Skills

So you’ve identified some management areas you want to want on. So how do you actually develop them? There are three main ways:

  • Training – This is the first thing you should do once you know what you want to work on. Ideally, your company offers internal training to help leaders like you improve their skills. You can also seek out training programs online and reach out to your business network.
  • Mentorship – A mentor is a valuable asset to have when learning how to model new behaviors and skills. With a mentor by your side, you can discover new ways to do things, get feedback on your process, and brainstorm ideas.
  • Experience – Nothing beats experience. While getting training and a mentor is great, going through your own experiences is the best way to learn. While it isn’t always the easiest route, as you can hit roadblocks and make mistakes, you’ll likely face unique situations that will prepare you well for the future.

Top People Management Skills Every Leader Needs

As a people manager, you have to be multi-faceted – able to support your team, colleagues, and leaders all at once.

Here are the top skills you’ll need to succeed:

  • Communicator
  • Motivator
  • Able to take accountability
  • Business-minded and strategic
  • Problem-solver and decision-maker
  • Organized and willing to delegate
  • Trustworthy and reliable

Your team will look to you for guidance and support, your peers will look to you for collaboration and your leaders will look to you for strategic thinking and an innovative spirit.

1. Get to know your team.

In an ideal world, you would use the same approach to manage your team. In reality, everyone operates differently and requires a different management style.

To know what works best for your team, you have to get to know them. You’ll find that each person varies in how they communicate, receive feedback, want recognition, address conflicts, and more.

So, how do you get to know them?

  • Have weekly 1-on-1s.
  • Conduct personality assessments and surveys.
  • Have non-work activities on a regular basis, like a weekly watercooler or a monthly game night.
  • Ask them about themselves, like “What are your goals for the next 6 months?”, “How do you prefer to be recognized?”.
  • Host team-building activities.

Once you understand which approach to take, you’ll build a stronger relationship with your team and be equipped to handle any roadblocks down the line.

2. Be empathetic.

Now more than ever, employees want empathetic managers and leaders.

A 2021 State of Workplace Empathy Study, administered by software company Businessolver, revealed that only 1 in 4 employees believed empathy in their organizations was “sufficient.”

The same study revealed that while the majority of CEOs recognize the positive impact an empathetic culture has on business, 68% still fear they’ll be less respected if they show empathy.

The same study “84% of CEOs and 70% of employees believe empathy drives better business outcomes” however 68% of CEOs say they fear they will be less respected if they show empathy in the workplace, up 31 points from last year.”

However, one study suggests that couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to the 2020 Empathy in the Workplace study by the Center for Creative Leadership, leaders see managers who show more empathy to their direct reports as better performers than those who show less or little empathy.

How do you show empathy? Here are a few ways:

3. Build trust.

Trust is a core pillar of any workplace environment.

In 2017, Harvard Business Review reported that employees who work in a culture of trust are more productive and have higher energy levels. High-trust organizations also have better employee retention rates.

The key thing to remember here is that trust is a two-way street. Employees must trust their managers to support and guide them. However, managers must also instill trust in their team.

Otherwise, you’re left with a micromanager who’s unwilling to delegate and empower their team.

Building trust takes time, but here are some tactics you can start using today:

  • Be transparent about the reasons behind your decisions, address mistakes and setbacks, be clear about your goals and vision.
  • Follow-up on conversations you’ve had with your team. It will show that you listen and take action.
  • Make yourself available to your team, whether it’s by having an open-door policy, setting office hours, having regular 1-on-1s.

4. Uplift and celebrate your team.

When I spoke to 5 HubSpot managers on their management journey, they shared one common belief: A key part of their role involved taking a backseat to allow their team to step into the spotlight.

This can take many forms. One way to uplift your team is by identifying high-visibility opportunities. For instance, your direct report suggested using the audio and video content platform Casted for an upcoming project.

Instead of relaying the message to the DRI, you could find a way for your direct report to collaborate on the project.

Start by checking in with your team to understand their goals and from there, you can find opportunities that will help them meet their objectives.

Another way to uplift your team is by recognizing their performance.

One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone likes recognition the same way.

Some employees may like public recognition while others prefer private, quieter celebrations. This goes back to knowing your team and understanding how they operate.

5. Learn how to manage your time.

Time management is a skill you should master, whether you’re a team lead or an individual contributor.

As a manager, it’s particularly important because you’re responsible for more than just your work. As such, you’ll need to organize your time in a way that factors in your tasks as well as time to support your team.

6. Cultivate self-awareness.

Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are?

Some of us never think about them outside of job interviews, but it’s important to check in with yourself on a regular basis.

This self-assessment will allow you to identify areas of improvement and seek out resources to be a better manager for your team.

7. Lean on your peers and mentors.

You’ve done everything you can on your end to become a better manager. That’s great – now lean on those around you.

Your peers can offer insight into their strategies and thought processes to help you on your own. A mentor will have a breadth of knowledge and experience that you can learn from to grow as a manager.

In fact, one 2019 CNBC/Survey Monkey survey found that employees are more likely to be satisfied with their job when they have a mentor than those who don’t.

We naturally tend to stay in our comfort zone and seek out information that validates our current beliefs and biases. By seeking out guidance from others, you widen your lens and gain an opportunity to do things differently.

Improving your management skills won’t happen overnight. However, if you stay in tune with your team’s needs and maintain a willingness to learn, you’re well on your way.

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What is Expert Power and How Can You Develop It?

Have you heard the expression that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to make you an expert?

That’s approximately 417 days if you were practicing 24 hours a day. Since that’s impossible, calculating about 3-4 hours a day of deliberate practice, it would take around 8-10 years to be considered an expert at something.

Yet, perceived expertise is different. Much of the time we consider people at our company experts in a certain field, even if they haven’t been in that field for 10 years yet.

That’s because they have expert power.

In this post, we’ll discuss what expert power is and how you can develop it as a leader.

→ Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh  Shah [Free Guide].

expert power

Examples of Expert Power

If you work in a corporate setting, those who are at the director level or above often have expert power since they’ve risen to their position presumably because of their extensive knowledge and experience. Many times those who have expert power are in positions of leadership, however, this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Expert power is situational and anyone can have it in different areas. As a millennial, growing up with technology, I’m often perceived as an expert in social media. After talking to me and hearing me discuss my love of reality TV, I’m usually given expert power in pop culture as well.

On the other hand, if I was talking to my uncle, who is in a high leadership position in finance, I would have no expert power in that scenario. Expert power can switch dynamics depending on the subject matter.

When you have expert power at work, you’ll stand out in your career, rise the ranks to leadership, and display confidence in your area of expertise because of your high skill level.

With expert power, you’ll be trusted with high-pressure decisions and you’ll feel more confident in your ability to make those decisions because of your expertise. Now, let’s discuss the benefits of having expert power.

Benefits of Expert Power

1. Streamlined business decisions.

With expert power comes the ability to make more informed, streamlined decisions for your company. The longer you do something, and the more you focus on your education in that area, the better decisions you’ll make, and the more confident you’ll be in those decisions.

For example, when I was first getting started in writing, my process wasn’t refined or streamlined. It took me much longer to complete writing tasks. Now that I’ve been a writer for over 10 years, I can write much quicker, and make better decisions in my writing. I know when I’m researching what to include and what not to include. That confidence and ability come with time, continuously working with my mentors and managers on my skills, and getting consistent feedback.

When you have expert power in a certain area, your decisions are more streamlined, quicker, confident, and efficient.

2. Opportunity for career advancement.

One of the main benefits of expert power in the workplace is the ability to advance your career (hopefully at an accelerated pace). When you’re getting started in your career, a great thing to do is spend a lot of time learning and developing your expertise.

Once it becomes clear that you’re focused on a certain area and developing certain skills, you’ll have perceived expert power and be able to advance your career. Personally, I’ve been able to achieve promotions and advance my career because of my expert power in writing.

3. Developed leadership skills.

Besides gaining confidence and being able to further your career, you’ll also be developing your leadership skills, which will be a huge benefit to your career. While I might not have expert power in something like engineering, I’m confident in my ability to lead a team of writers, because I’ve worked on enough teams and been doing this for a certain amount of time.

However, it’s important to note that just because you’re an expert in a certain field doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be a good leader. That’s why it’s important to continue developing expert power and leadership skills. Let’s dive into how to do that below.

1. Deliberate practice.

Becoming an expert in your field doesn’t mean that you can just show up and achieve expertise through osmosis. You have to be deliberately practicing and studying. This means that the first step to developing expert power is to practice, practice, practice. Whether it’s a tactical skill like construction or a conceptual skill like business strategy, you need to immerse yourself in the world. This means you might have to work an entry-level job to gain real-world experience in your industry.

2. Work with mentors and leaders.

The best way to continue developing your expert power is to work with mentors and leaders from who you can learn. Having a mentor means soaking up their knowledge, asking them for tips and advice, discussing what’s going well in your career and what isn’t going well, and then just listening. Expertise comes from experience and you can benefit from listening to the stories of other people’s experiences. Additionally, you’ll gain leadership skills by studying how your mentors lead others.

3. Volunteer your expertise.

Whatever level of expertise you have, don’t be afraid to share it. If you work in a corporate setting and are a developing business leader, share your experiences and what you’ve learned when your team is discussing strategy. Don’t be afraid to enter those conversations. Not only will people begin to realize that you’re an expert in a certain area, but you’ll also learn a lot from other people’s feedback.

4. Never stop being a student in your industry.

To be an expert in something you also have to be a student in that industry. If you stop being a student, then your expertise will expire. You should read books, stay up to date with the news and trends in your field, and volunteer for projects at your workplace so you can soak up knowledge. That’s how you’ll truly develop expert power and maintain it.

5. Keep your credibility.

You’ll only have expert power if you have credibility in your field. Maintaining your ethics and reliability is of vast importance because expert power only comes to those who can be trusted to make strategic business decisions on an ongoing basis. If your expertise is haphazard you won’t have perceived power from those around you.

6. Work in a fast-paced environment.

A great way to develop expert power is to work in a fast-paced environment and learn to make strategic, decisive choices quickly. This means keeping yourself cool, calm, and collected in the face of a critical situation. With this experience, you’ll develop excellent expert power and leadership skills.

7. Lead with HEART.

At HubSpot, our culture is defined by having HEART — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. We have a culture of amazing, growth-minded people whose values include using good judgment and solving for the customer. These traits will help you develop expert power because you’ll be remarkable in your industry, but also humble enough to adapt and listen to those who have expert power in areas that you don’t.

8. Be solution-oriented.

Something I’m always trying to develop as an aspiring business leader is to be solution-oriented. When you come to your manager with a problem, have a few solutions ready as well. This will help you develop your expert power because you’ll get immediate feedback from your manager on your solutions. They’ll be able to tell you from their experience if those solutions will work, and then you’ll level up your expertise with every problem you face.

Expert power is something that is hugely important for aspiring business leaders because it’s this power that gives you the ability to lead with confidence and humility. With those two things, you’ll be successful in whatever industry you choose.

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Are Employees More or Less Productive Than They Were in 2020? How Marketers Can Navigate [New Data]

2020 was a whirlwind year for managers.

For instance, among her own personal experiences learning how to work in a pandemic, my manager also needed to demonstrate empathy for employees who had stresses that interfered with their ability to work at their best.

She adjusted deadlines, re-defined team goals, and created new standards for success that enabled her employees to perform well while also dealing with everything else they had on their plates — including childcare, health concerns, and, well, a global pandemic.  

Amidst the stresses of 2020, you’d be hard pressed to find a manager who didn’t make exceptions for her employees as they settled into this “new normal”.

But now, as we near the end of 2021, most of us have fully adjusted. I’ve ordered an at-home monitor and standing desk; my teammates and I regularly touch-base during our weekly Zoom meetings; and, in some respects, I’m more productive at home than I ever was in the office. (“Meet at the Smoothie Bar?” “Sure! Be there in five.”)

Which leads me to question: Are employees more productive now than they were in 2020? And, if they’re not, how can leaders respond to this potentially long-term shift in productivity levels?

Here, we conducted a survey to determine whether employees have become more or less productive than they were in 2020. We also asked respondents whether their work environment impacts their productivity — plus, how managers can boost their team’s productivity in the current landscape.

Let’s dive in.

→ Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh  Shah [Free Guide].

Are employees more of less productive in 2021 than they were in 2020?

For starters, roughly 40% of our respondents say they have the same level of productivity in 2021 as they did in 2020.

This makes sense. Most of our workspaces haven’t shifted too drastically since 2020. For instance, we had a whooping 71% of U.S. employees working from home during the peak of the coronavirus in 2020 … but the number of full-time remote employees in the United States is still expected to double in 2021, as reported by Enterprise Technology Research.

This means, now that employees have fully adjusted to their new remote lifestyle, it makes sense that we’ll see similar productivity levels in 2021 that we saw in 2020.

Additionally, one-fourth of our respondents feel even more productive in 2021 than they did one year ago.

To Charlene Strain, HubSpot’s Associate Marketing Manager for Global Co-Marketing Acquisition & Partnerships, this shift to a more productive workplace makes sense.

Strain says, “I believe employees are more productive than they were in 2020, since we have settled into a more cohesive routine in 2021 than we had in 2020.”

She adds, “Whether that’s figuring out a better work-life balance, taking a step back to think about what makes us happy at work, vocalizing wins and concerns, or bringing more of our authentic selves to the workplace — it has all contributed to an improved personal and team morale over the past year.”

In 2020, surveys found employees were more productive when they worked remotely than they’d been in the office … so it’s impressive that some employees’ have built upon that momentum to become even more productive this year than they were last.

However, a combined 24% of employees felt they were either much less productive than they’d been in 2020, or at least slightly less productive.

So … While some employees are feeling better than ever, why are others’ motivation dwindling?

As Karla Cook, Senior Manager of HubSpot’s Blog Program, notes: “There are a lot of valid reasons why employees might be feeling less productive and burnt out right now. We’ve had high expectations for things to simply ‘return to normal’ in 2021, but obviously that hasn’t been the case for many of us.”

Cook adds, “I think we’re all collectively realizing there isn’t a switch we can flip on in our brains to go back to ‘normal work mode’, and that can cause some feelings of inadequate productivity.”

Many of us expected the stresses and challenges outside of work to disappear with the new year. We likely expected to ‘hit the ground running’ in our roles, but as we’ve seen, it hasn’t quite turned out like that — the old way of life, and work, doesn’t seem to be returning anytime soon. 

All of that might result in unrealistic expectations to perform at pre-pandemic levels. As Cook puts it, “There’s pressure to return to a pre-pandemic level of work and way of life, or even go above and beyond that, and I think that’s backfiring in a lot of cases and making a lot of people feel like they aren’t doing enough.”

Perhaps the decrease in productivity also has to do with varying work preferences. For those who say they work more effectively from home — and who have an at-home setup conducive to remote work — it makes sense that they’ve reported increased productivity since the pandemic.

But there are others, like myself, who thrive on office culture. These workers need the energetic buzz of people around them, as well as a separate space outside their apartments to truly dial into their work.

It’s worth noting that some employees might also not have the physical infrastructure to support a fully productive at-home office — perhaps, for instance, you have employees who need to work odd hours because they’re taking care of children at home. Alternatively, maybe some of your employees have no choice but to work in distracting common spaces with other roommates.

Data supports the notion that a work environment has a strong impact on productivity. As shown in the graph below, 25% of workers report feeling more productive in a physical workspace than they do while working from home. This means some of your employees might be more productive than ever in 2021 — while others might still struggle to find their remote rhythm.  

If you do manage a team that feels they’re less productive now than they were in 2020, you’re in luck.

Here, I spoke with seven HubSpot Managers to learn why employees might be struggling to work in this current landscape, as well as tips for boosting productivity for 2022 and beyond.

How Managers Can Respond to Changing Productivity Levels

1. Find daily or weekly activities your team can do together.

On the Blog team, we host weekly ice breakers during our team stand-up every Monday.

There might be a similar activity you can conduct with your own team to promote relationship-building and give your employees a chance to have some fun.

As Strain told me, “To boost team productivity, especially remotely, I’d suggest having a daily and/or weekly ‘question of the day’ where each team member gets to ask a silly, fun, or more serious question via Slack or email. This helps the group get to know each other and take a break from the work day.”

Alternatively, consider creating a team playlist for your team when working remotely. Music can be a great promoter of productivity, and it adds an element of camaraderie if you’re able to get your whole team involved.

how to boost team productivity in 2022 according to hubspot manager Charlene Strain

“Having a weekly playlist in terms of theme, artist, genre, or decade — which everyone contributes to or comments on while working — is a great way to boost team morale,” Strain told me.

She adds, “Alternatively, weekly team activities like two truths and a lie, maps of where we’ve traveled, etc. are also great opportunities for promoting productivity.”

This might seem counterintuitive — Like,Wait, you want me to encourage my team to play games as a way of boosting productivity? But, in reality, building a strong team culture is a critical component for increasing productivity, as it helps your employees feel more engaged at work and increases team morale. 

As Strain puts it, “The more we get to know each other outside of work, the better team productivity is since we see each other as fully-fledged people with hobbies, worries, successes, and insecurities rather than just a name or face on the screen.”

2. Paint a clear vision for your team’s future.

Clint Fontanella, a Marketing Manager on HubSpot’s Blog team, argues that employees are more productive in 2021 than they were in 2020 based on HubSpot’s industry benchmark data.

As he points out, “Since early 2021, ad spend continues to increase, conversations have skyrocketed, web traffic remains high, and sales email and call volume continues to climb. To me, this means that sales teams are trying to play catch-up from last year and are aggressively reaching out to contacts via email, phone, and live chat to do so.”

“Marketing teams,” He adds, “are also working hard to meet the sales team’s demand by increasing their ad spend and capitalizing on rising web traffic to acquire new contacts. If we compare contact growth from 2020 to 2021, it’s significantly higher than last year.”

So — amidst all that newfound demand, how do you spark optimal productivity? Fontanella says it comes down to painting a clear vision for your team’s future.

He told me, “We’ve talked a lot about uncertainty this past year, but industries are slowly becoming more stable. Employees had to adapt to a new working world, and now that they’ve adjusted, you need to paint an attainable future for them to work towards rather than ambiguity and uncertainty.”

Fontanella encourages managers to “set a team goal, explain how you’ll achieve it, and keep employees updated as you reach new milestones along the way.”

3. Foster both trust and boundaries.

It can be difficult, but a fully remote team requires an additional level of trust to operate effectively.

If you’re leading a team in an office space, it’s easy enough to check-in on colleagues, monitor who’s working (and when), and have daily in-person interactions to understand what each team member is working on.

A lot of this disappears with remote work – and that’s okay. Knowing when and where your employees work doesn’t translate to knowing how well they work. As HubSpot’s Culture Code states, “Results matter more than the hours we work, [and] results matter more than where we produce them.”

To lead a productive remote team, then, trust and clear expectations are key.

As Team Manager of Content Conversion Carly Williams says, “For me, keeping my remote team productive boils down to two things: trust and boundaries.”

“A lack of trust often leads to micromanagement, which can be really demotivating for employees. To avoid this, I stay out of the way by setting clear expectations and creating accountability.”

“As for boundaries,” Williams adds, “I’m conscious of the fact that working hours becomes blurred in a remote environment. To avoid overworking and burnout, I lead by example and avoid sending late night emails or Slack messages. I also encourage my team to take a minimum of one mental health day a month (outside of regular vacation time) to step out of their work routines and recharge.”

If you can create trust and autonomy amongst your team, you’ll likely see the outcomes you want. To do this, ensure your expectations are clear, and set healthy boundaries for your team by setting them for yourself.

Additionally, consider creating team-accessible dashboards or a shared Google Doc so team members can report on their progress without requiring constant check-ins.

4. Focus less on productivity — and more on individual well-being.

While it can be tempting to pretend nothing has changed, ignoring the reality of our current lives is detrimental to your ability to effectively lead your team.

As Meg Prater, HubSpot’s Senior Manager of Content, told me — “While the pandemic, at times, has seemed less bleak or more hopeful in 2021, the landscape has changed rapidly. Employees who are struggling to keep unvaccinated children safe while sending them back to school, experiencing mental burnout at 18+ months living in this new but unbalanced normal, and evaluating everyday decisions for risk, are tired.”

Prater adds, “For a lot of us, not feeling like we’re giving 100% at our jobs for sustained periods of time is demoralizing. Asking people, amongst all of that, to perform at a pre-pandemic level is exhausting.”

Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to. Adjusting to this new normal requires empathy and learning how to manage human-to-human.

Rather than constantly focusing on output, consider how you might alter your approach to develop trust within your team and show employees you care about their well-being.

how to boost team productivity in 2022 according to hubspot manager Meg Prater

As Prater puts it, “For managers, I think the weight of checking in with employees throughout 2020 and 2021, attempting to keep morale at a new normal level, and managing results can be really difficult and draining.”

She adds, “I’d recommend focusing less on productivity, and focusing more on individual professional well-being. Meeting your team members where they are, giving them the individualized and evolving support they need, and making sure they’re able to take time to recharge and care for themselves or their families, is the best, most responsible thing I can do for my employees and my company this year.”

To demonstrate your investment in your employees’ professional well-being, ensure you’re creating space for your direct reports to vocalize how they’re feeling about their workload, or just how they’re feeling in general.

Understanding their challenges can help you ensure you’re providing them with the support they need to do their jobs at optimal levels.

5. Bring your team together to share challenges and offer solutions. 

Matt Eonta, HubSpot’s Senior Manager of Project Management, believes the early pandemic days “actually energized a lot of folks who were looking for a stable, known quantity to spend time on and pour themselves into. People often seek that in times of uncertainty.”

He adds, “Coupled with a lot of collaborative, interactive, and culture-focused programming, work — and the desire to be productive and successful at it — drove a lot of people in 2020, even if their home environments and obligations weren’t always conducive to that.”

During such a tumultuous and stressful time, checking work emails or diving into a project with colleagues likely fueled a sense of control that people weren’t getting from the outside world. 

In 2021, however, we see that some employees’ energy levels compared to 2020 are fading — fast. As Eonta puts it, “Into 2021, it seems some folks are finding that unsustainable. This isn’t the two week or two month work-from-home mandate some expected. We’re on month 18, and sustaining that energy is difficult.”

Fortunately, there are solutions to re-igniting some of the energy managers saw from their direct reports in 2020. 

For his team, Eonta describes his commitment to investing in collaboration, storytelling, and shared experiences. “At an individual level, nearly everyone gets energy from solving problems and helping others.”

“When our team comes together and shares more of what they’re working on, the problems they face, and solutions they’re investing in — it really fosters some energetic, exciting, and uplifting conversations among the larger group.”

Eonta adds, “It also sets a bar for the team and builds connections we may not have known were there, especially given our inability to collocate.”

It’s important to note: Sustaining a work-at-all-costs mentality isn’t healthy, or even possible. So if your employees are simply re-calibrating back into their pre-pandemic selves when it comes to productivity, that might not be such a bad thing. 

6. Set clear expectations. 

Being a strong leader has always depended on setting and managing your employees expectations — and Karla Cook believes that has never been more true. 

She told me, “It’s always important as a manager to set very clear expectations around individual and team performance with your employees, but in times where a lot is uncertain, it becomes even more critical.”

“As a manager,” Cook adds, “you should be providing a lot of stability and structure around work, and checking in with your team regularly to make sure they understand what is needed from them, how they’re doing, and how their contributions plug into the bigger-team picture.”

To create structure around expectations, perhaps you let your employees know in weekly 1:1s how they’re performing in their roles, or highlight team performance against goals in a monthly email.

Alternatively, perhaps you discuss expectations — and how your employees are performing against those expectations — in regular performance reviews. 

Whatever the case, to ensure optimal productivity, you want to be clear and specific when outlining the expectations you have for your team, and how it impacts the business at-large.

7. Acknowledge that productivity looks different for every individual.

I have a colleague who works non-stop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. She sits at her desk as she eats her lunch, and keeps her phone in her purse to avoid distractions. Then, at abruptly 4 p.m. every day, she leaves to attend a workout class, grab dinner, and head home.

On the other end, I have another colleague who logs on around 10 a.m. and works until 6 p.m., but he takes regular breaks for lunch, afternoon workouts, or brief morning walks. 

Both of these colleagues are exceptionally productive and hardworking — but the ways in which they achieve productivity look vastly different. 

As HubSpot’s Marketing Blog Manager Lestraundra Alfred told me, “The past two years have been challenging for many people, and what we considered ‘productive’ pre-2020 just isn’t relevant. I’ve learned ‘productivity’ is relative to the employee.”

She adds, “Everyone has a different style and workflow that changes depending on what they’re working on, the social climate, and personal matters they may be going through.”

So … what’s the solution here?

Alfred says, “Learning to support my team’s productivity levels based on where they’re at and how they work —  not my definition of productivity — has helped build trust and accountability.”

Ultimately, as a manager, it’s vital you trust your employees enough to give them the autonomy to choose where, when, and how they’re most productive. 

Additionally, it’s critical you take the time to assess whether your team’s productivity levels compared to 2020 are actually a real concern here.

Perhaps, as Eonta pointed out, your team threw themselves into work in unsustainable ways in 2020 to avoid the harsh realities of a pandemic — and are simply re-calibrating back to a workflow that is more conducive to long-term professional and personal success. 

Alternatively, maybe the pandemic put work-life balance into perspective for your employees. 

Whatever the case, it’s vital you take the time as a leader to discover the root cause of your employees productivity levels if you feel they’re performing below expectations, but keep in mind they’re people, too — and 2021, just like 2020, was anything but normal.

If you focus on building trust and psychological safety with your team, you’ll be able to figure out long-term solutions to performance and productivity together. 

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The Death of the Third-Party Cookie: What Marketers Need to Know About Google’s 2022 Phase-Out

What do marketers and Sesame Street monsters have in common? They LOVE cookies.

For years, brands have been using them to track website visitors, improve the user experience, and collect data that helps us target ads to the right audiences. We also use them to learn about what our visitors are checking out online when they aren’t on our websites.

But the way we use cookies and Google ad-tracking tools could change dramatically with Google’s efforts to phase phase out the third-party cookie on Chrome browsers by 2022.

The third-party phase-out was initially announced in February 2020, but Google accelerated buzz around it this month when they announced that they won’t be building “alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”

“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses,” a Google post wrote.

“We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers,” says Google.

Download Now: State of Marketing in 2021 ReportHow Marketers and Advertisers are Reacting to Google’s Phase-Out

While numerous advertising agencies criticized Google’s pivot, companies like GetApp have begun to research potential marketing impact. In a recent survey. GetApp, which provided HubSpot with exclusive data, discovered that: 

  • 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.
  • 44% of marketers predict a need to increase their spending by 5% to 25% in order to reach the same goals as 2021.
  • 23% of marketing experts plan on investing in email marketing software due to Google’s new policy.

Below, I’ll note a brief history of how the third-party cookie phase-out, and Google’s pivots for tracking security, came to be. Then I’ll highlight a few things marketers should keep in mind as we get closer to 2022.

A Brief History of the Third-Party Cookie Phase-Out

While you might be seeing this news for the first time, we’ve been following it since 2020 and just recently updated this post to reflect Google’s most recent statements.

In February of last year, a Google blog post announced the phaseout ang gave initial reasoning for the pivot. Like the statement noted in the intro, Google similarly explained that this move was being done to protect users asking for more privacy.

“Users are demanding greater privacy–including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used–and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” the post wrote.

Although Firefox and Safari had already phased out the third-party cookie, Google’s post said that its changes will happen over the course of two years as the tech company works with advertisers to ensure that this pivot doesn’t destroy the online advertising business.

“Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem,” the blog post notes. “By undermining the business model of many ad-supported websites, blunt approaches to cookies encourage the use of opaque techniques such as fingerprinting (an invasive workaround to replace cookies), which can actually reduce user privacy and control. We believe that we as a community can, and must, do better.”

Although Chrome isn’t the first browser to phase out the third-party cookie, it’s the biggest. In late 2019, Google Chrome made up more than 56% of the web browser market. Chrome also accounts for more than half of all global web traffic.

Most used website browsers.

Source: Statista

Meanwhile, Safari and Firefox, which have blocked third-party cookies since 2013, come in a distant second and third place, respectively.

Because Chrome, Safari, and Firefox will all no longer support this type of data tracking by 2022, publications like Digiday are calling Google’s phase-out the “death of the third-party cookie.”

What happens next?

As with any major shift involving privacy, data, and advertising, business experts and publications have been frantically buzzing about how the phase out and Google’s rejection of ad-tracking will change the way we do business online.

But, do we really need to panic?

The truth is, Google Chrome’s privacy efforts could heavily impact some areas of the marketing and advertising space, while other tactics will still stay pretty much the same.

However, if you’re an advertiser or a marketer who’s thrived on third-party data or individual data for pinpointed online audience targeting strategies, you might be worried about how you’ll navigate this pivot.

Although some big changes might be underway, new alternatives are also emerging. To help you prepare for a world without third-party cookies, here are four things you should keep in mind about the latest cookie phase-out.

5 Things to Know About Google’s Cookie Phase-Out and Privacy Pivots

1. Google isn’t banning all cookies.

If you’re thinking that all your cookie-fueled marketing strategies will soon be rendered obsolete, take a breath.

So far, Google says it’s only planning to phase out the third-party cookie on its browsers. However, first-party cookies that track basic data about your own website’s visitors are still safe.

In fact, in Google’s 2021 announcement, the tech giant called first-party relationships “vital.” So, ultimately, any first-party data you gain from your website’s visitors on all browsers will still remain in-tact.

Still not sure about the difference between first-party and third-party cookies? Here’s a quick breakdown.

First-Party Cookies

A first-party cookie is a code that gets generated and stored on your website visitor’s computer by default when they visit your site. This cookie is often used for user experience as it is responsible for remembering passwords, basic data about the visitor, and other preferences.

With a first-party cookie, you can learn about what a user did while visiting your website, see how often they visit it, and gain other basic analytics that can help you develop or automate an effective marketing strategy around them. However, you can’t see data related to your visitor’s behavior on other websites that aren’t affiliated with your domain.

Ever wonder how Amazon always remembers your login information, the language you speak, the items in your cart, and other key things that make your user experience so smooth? This is because Amazon uses first-party cookies to remember these basic details.

On the other hand, if you’re a marketer running a website on a CMS, you’ll have access to analytics dashboards that track first-party cookie data. For example, you’ll usually be able to see basic analytics, such as the number of web sessions on a page, the number of pages people click on during a visit, basic browser types, geographical demographics, or even referring websites where visitors clicked a link to your site’s URL. However, this data doesn’t inform you of everything your visitors do online.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are tracking codes that are placed on a web visitor’s computer after being generated by another website other than your own. When a web visitor visits your site and others, the third-party cookie tracks this information and sends it to the third-party who created the cookie — which might be an advertiser.

If you’re an advertiser, third-party cookie data allows you to learn about your web visitor’s overall online behaviors, such as websites they frequently visit, purchases, and interests that they’ve shown on various websites. With this detailed data, you can build robust visitor profiles. With all of this data, you can then create a retargeting list that can be used to send ads to your past visitors or people with similar web profiles.

Want to visualize how third-party cookie data might work? Say you research a particular smart TV on Amazon. Then, you go to another site later in the day and see an ad Amazon advertisement for the same exact product. If you aren’t on an Amazon-owned site, it’s very possible that this advertisement was triggered by third-party cookie data.

While first-party cookies are accepted automatically, visitors must be informed that they are accepting a third-party cookie due to the amount of data that companies can retain from them.

The bottom line? If you’re just aiming to track your website’s visitors’ behaviors, preferences, and basic demographics only while they’re on your website, you probably won’t be deeply impacted by this change.

However, if you’re a marketer that relies on robust data for online advertising, pop-up ads, or a pinpointed audience-targeting strategy, you’ll need to continue to follow the news around this phase-out, and consider alternative first-party strategies, as the phase-out nears.

2. Many marketers saw the cookie phase-out coming.

While the “death of the third-party cookie” might seem shocking, it certainly wasn’t a surprise.

Recently, governments around the world have been investigating and cracking down on data privacy issues. For example, in an October 2019 shakeup, Europe’s highest court ruled that users in the EU must actively consent to all analytics cookies when they log on to a website. If not, the website can’t drop analytics or web tracking cookies on the user’s browser. 

The GDPR ruling means that websites can no longer rely on implicit opt-in (meaning, a website displays a cookie banner but the user continues to browser. Websites must not capture opt-in consent before any analytics or web tracking cookies are placed on a browser.

A banner that asks users for permission to use cookies.

If your website only catered to local or domestic users outside of the affected countries, you might not have been impacted. However, international websites took a major reporting hit as numbers from Google Analytics — which relies on cookies — started to appear inaccurately low.

For international brands that relied on Google Analytics, this was a scary reminder that data-driven brands are vulnerable to software-related issues. It also showed us how governance and privacy regulations could dramatically impact our strategies.

Earlier, in August, Google announced it was developing a “Privacy Sandbox.” Although Google didn’t have a product created when they announced the move, a blog post explained that the tool that could allow marketers to continue to publish and circulate ads to the right audiences without having the same amount of user data.

“We’ve started sharing our preliminary ideas for a Privacy Sandbox — a secure environment for personalization that also protects user privacy,” wrote Justin Schuh, Director of Chrome Engineering, in the Google blog post. “Some ideas include new approaches to ensure that ads continue to be relevant for users, but user data shared with websites and advertisers would be minimized by anonymously aggregating user information, and keeping much more user information on-device only. Our goal is to create a set of standards that is more consistent with users’ expectations of privacy.”

In a January 2020 interview with Digiday, Amit Kotecha, a marketing director at data management platform provider Permutive, explained the key features of the proposed Sandbox:

“The most significant item in the Privacy Sandbox is Google’s proposal to move all user data into the [Chrome] browser where it will be stored and processed,” said Kotecha. “This means that data stays on the user’s device and is privacy compliant. This is now table stakes and the gold standard for privacy.”

Between the Privacy Sandbox and GDPR rulings that impacted data tracking, it’s become apparent to marketers that the third-party cookie was at risk of governance or other tech company changeups that could render it obsolete. This was so apparent that advertising software firms and publishers were already contemplating alternative solutions before the official news of Google’s cookie phase-out broke.

At this point, data management firms, like Permutive, are looking at creating alternative tools for advertisers that more heavily leverage first-party cookies and lump visitor profiles into more anonymous “segments” similar to what Google’s Privacy Sandbox is predicted to do.

3. Marketers aren’t just concerned about data.

While the elimination of third-party cookies on Chrome will be inconvenient to some, marketers are also concerned about Google’s reasoning behind the phase-out.

Without Chrome-based third-party cookie data, you’ll still be able to leverage and target Google Ads, which will be powered by Google Chrome’s first-party cookies and the Privacy Sandbox tools. However, some ad software and platforms that require third-party data will take a huge hit without support from Chrome.

“This move, while good for consumer privacy (in theory) is likely going to hurt most of the third-party ad platforms that utilize these cookies to generate revenue,” says Matthew Howells-Barby, HubSpot’s Director of Acquisition.

“The big question behind all of this for me is what’s motivating Google to phase third-party cookies out? Is it to improve privacy for the end-user or is it to gain a further grip on the ad market by forcing the adoption of Chrome’s own first-party cookie, which would likely result in many of those dollars being previously spent on third-party platforms to move in Google’s bottom line.”

Howells-Barby isn’t the only marketer to voice these concerns. In fact, in a joint statement, the Association of National Advertising and the American Association of Advertising Agencies called the tech giant out for disrupting healthy competition in the advertising space.

“Google’s decision to block third-party cookies in Chrome could have major competitive impacts for digital businesses, consumer services, and technological innovation,” the statement said. “It would threaten to substantially disrupt much of the infrastructure of today’s Internet without providing any viable alternative, and it may choke off the economic oxygen from advertising that startups and emerging companies need to survive.”

Later in the statement, the two advertising groups urged Google to push back the third-party cookie “moratorium” until effective and meaningful opportunities were made available to advertisers.

4. Google won’t stop tracking people entirely.

While Google will not invest in tech that tracks people at an individual level, it will still be investing in alternatives. Along with Google’s Privacy Sandbox development, the company has already seen successful advertising results from FloC, a technology that tracks groups of people rather than individuals.

“Our latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests,” Google’s recent announcement explained.

“Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and we expect to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2. Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and the industry,” the post added.

5. This move still opens the door for innovation in advertising

While things look grim for one type of cookie, this might not be a bad thing for skilled and adaptable brands.

Although this move does cause concern, Google and other browsers have still taken a stand for user privacy. As privacy laws continue to arise, this might be a great opportunity to look at other less-vulnerable advertising alternatives just incase another governance renders one of your marketing tactics or processes as obsolete.

Why? As a marketer with an innovative mindset, you should always be asking yourself questions like, “Are we too reliant on this technology?” or “What happens if and when our strategy gets regulated?” Innovative marketers will be able to come up with more clever alternatives and ads that identify with the masses — aside from just hyper-targeted content or annoying pop-ups.

Another area that could be innovated is the way we leverage and use data. As noted above, data management platforms are now looking to create alternative tools that help advertisers track data in a way that makes the most out of the third-party cookie. While these options might be different from your third-party cookie solutions or require some new strategizing, they would still allow you to target and learn about relevant audiences without getting intrusive.

How to Prepare for Google’s Third-Party Phase-Out

Don’t panic. At this point, marketers, advertisers, and data engineers alike are actively looking for solutions to determine what will happen next. And, because the third-party cookie was already weakened by Safari and Firefox ad blocking, it likely wasn’t the strongest advertising tool anymore anyway.

Right now, the best thing to do as a marketer is to continue to stay up-to-date with news related to third-party cookies and other data privacy moves that could impact your business.

If your advertising strategies rely on third-party data, start considering alternatives now. As you continue to follow the news related to the phase-out, you should also vet any software or solutions that can help you better transition away from this type of cookie.

For example, although marketers are wary of Google’s move, the tech giant’s Privacy Sandbox and could still serve as valuable alternatives for ad targeting. You could also consider strategies or software that can better help you leverage first-party data.

Additionally, you could also revitalize older strategies, like contextual advertising. While third-party data allowed you to place ads directly in front of people who matched certain user profiles, contextual advertising allows you to circulate PPC ads on websites that rank for similar keywords as your ad. This way, if you’re selling sports apparel, your PPC ad could show up on sports-oriented websites.

Lastly, to make your brand as safe as possible from future governance or monopoly-related policies, brainstorm even more basic strategies that you can still use to reach your audiences even without cookies, hyper-targeted ads, or mass amounts of data. This will allow you to be less vulnerable to technology, even when you can benefit from the latest tracking software.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with EU data privacy laws like the GDPR. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand the GDPR. This legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy.

In a nutshell, you may not rely on this as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in February 2020 but was updated to reflect current announcements from Google in September 2021. 

state of marketing

7 Reasons Scale-Ups Earn Investments, According to HubSpot’s Founder

Every successful company starts with a single idea.

It’s how those ideas are approached, molded, and questioned that dictate whether or not they go on to evolve into a startup.

However, reaching startup-dom doesn’t complete the lifecycle of these ideas. Instead, becoming a startup is the moment when ideas begin to grow into something actionable, driven by a collection of intentional goals.

And as all of us who have lived the startup life know — when you’re a startup, more often than not your goal is simple: to survive.

I like to think of being a startup as treading water. Succeeding as a startup requires constant motion to ensure you can find product-market-fit, drive early customer growth, and build a baseline product all at the same time. The moment you stop moving is the moment you lose traction.

And this is all before you’ve even begun to scale.

Fortunately, there comes a point where you’ve treaded water long enough to reach your first lifeboat: Investments.

That’s where it gets exciting.

As startups move from idea mode to scaleup mode, there are a number of signs I look for in order to determine if I’m going to invest. Of course, not every scaleup has to get every one of these signs right to be worthy of investment, but the more positive signals a scaleup has to offer, the higher the odds of long-term success for that organization.

So, what is the secret sauce that these special startups have?

Access Free Resources to Help Your Company Scale

7 Signs that a Scaling Company is Worth the Investment

While scaling is a universal concept, the act of scaling efficiently rarely looks exactly the same for all companies.

Instead, each scale-up encounters their own unique trials, speed bumps, and roadblocks on the path to sustainable growth. When I am looking for scaling companies to invest in, I always take into account the individual circumstances of each company in the context of their growth to see whether or not they have set themselves up for long-term success.

As an investor, these are the core values I’ve seen that have proven to be present at companies with growth potential.

1. There’s evidence of customer happiness.

The customer experience doesn’t lie. In fact, it’s become a key part of GTM strategies at companies like HubSpot, which are investing in Chief Customer Officers and finding more ways to serve the customer across the organization. That’s all to say — the customer should be at the center of every decision.

For evidence of customer happiness, take a look at the NPS (Net Promoter Score) and other customer satisfaction scores of the company in question. If the results are in the green, you’re looking at a scale-up that is already making a positive impact on their customers. If instead the results are in the red, investors take warning.

Another way to determine customer happiness is to look for low or decreasing churn. A company’s retention rates are the first sign that they are either a fan favorite, or a stepping stone that customers take on their way to a more prepared company.

2. The organization’s primary roles have great people.

In the early years of a startup — when the primary focus is on the product — other roles like sales, marketing, and operations aren’t typically fully staffed. However, this practice doesn’t cut it when it comes to scaling.

When you’re a scale-up, these roles should be filled with amazing people. If not, there should at least be a plan in place to hire them.

After all, the potential of a scale-up lies in the potential of the people who are dedicated to its growth.

Without staffing all of the necessary teams with top talent, you could be unknowingly stunting your company’s growth. In the early days at HubSpot, Brian and I surrounded ourselves with people who were smarter than us, and invested in people we believed in. (Somehow they weren’t all developers, like I requested … but I digress …). Those investments paid off, big time, and we’re still surrounded by those people today.

3. Unit economics are stable and sustainable.

Of course, no one expects scale-ups to already come with an impressive ROI. A vanity metric or single data point isn’t exactly enough to convince an investor that your scale-up is worth their time and money. Instead, what I look for is stability and sustainability.

To be primed for viable growth, your customer lifetime value should be some multiple (usually 3+) of your customer acquisition cost. What this number will tell me is that your company is not only desirable by your customers, but that you already have what it takes to retain them and continue to gain value from them as they grow with you over time.

Scalability and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. With the ability to establish sustainable unit economics early on in your lifespan of startup-hood, you’ll be primed to scale when the time comes.

4. The culture of the organization is well-articulated.

Company culture is not something that appears overnight. Instead, it’s embedded in every decision your company makes and in the people who work at your organization. Every organization has their own specific company culture, but some are better at articulating theirs than others.

Company culture encompasses your mission, vision, and values and is the mark of a company with what speaker and author Angela Duckworth has coined as “grit.” Grit is “the power of passion and perseverance,” which translates nicely to what makes startups successful — having a clearly defined passion, and the perseverance to achieve the long-term vision.

Of course, to be effective, your company culture doesn’t need to be composed in a slide deck with 128 slides, but it should be written down. This way, when potential investors like myself take a look at your scale-up, we won’t have to spend our time guessing the motives and shared vision that drives your organization. Instead, we will be able to see how your culture guides decision-making across your organization.

It’s a good idea to begin defining your culture sooner rather than later. Company culture provides a stable jumping-off point for most of your initiatives, including recruitment, retention, and alignment. The greater understanding you have of your culture, the more efficiently you’ll be able to create a shared vision for your organization.

If your company culture could use a tune-up, take a look at HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Company Culture.

5. There’s a strong focus on creating customer value.

There’s a reason why I’m so intent on investing in companies who keep a close eye on their customer value. By continuously integrating customer feedback and preferences into your scale-up, you’ll be more prepared to proactively create customer value, as opposed to operating in a purely reactive state.

The companies that succeed today are no longer those that just delight their customers sometimes, but rather those that consistently find ways to exceed expectations and create a personalized experience.

Ultimately, the best way to maintain a strong focus on creating customer value is to open up a line of dialogue between yourself and your customers. If you haven’t yet, take this as a sign to begin establishing your means of gathering customer input.

Start by asking yourself questions like:

  • How is your team getting customer input and acting on it?
  • Beyond customer support, who else is focused on the customer?
  • Is there a customer success team?
  • Have you defined the voice of your customers?
  • How is your customer involved or represented in your business’ decision-making?

6. The company has a strong strategic planning process, and knows how to determine product priorities.

Remember what I said earlier about the importance of creating sustainable systems? The important thing isn’t that the planning process works seamlessly and is already primed to scale.

The emphasis is on the fact that there is a process and mechanism in place for making these decisions at all.

Trust me: A disorganized planning and priority-setting process makes it impossible to scale.

The process of scaling is all about proactively setting your company up for future successes. When you have a clearly defined planning process, you’re communicating to any potential investors that you are looking to the future and priming to scale.

As an aside, while you’re evaluating your processes, take a look at your systems. Are they built for scaling organizations? Will it be easy to upgrade when you’re ready?

7. The organization has an engaged workforce. 

Last, but certainly not least, the final sign that a company is scaling sustainably and worth investing in is the satisfaction of their employees.

An unhappy workforce is a red flag (for new hires and investors alike). Not only should a company have a process for regularly collecting employee feedback, but they should also have a proven record of responding to and acting on the results of the feedback they collect.

A handful of disengaged or unsatisfied employees is typical, but a collection of them becomes a trend to be prevented at all costs. If you experience high turnover rates, you’ll want to fix that quickly — it’s impossible to scale without investing in the long-term growth and development of your employees.

At HubSpot, we have an eNPS (employee NPS) survey that we conduct every quarter for all employees. This way, we are consistently in tune with their needs and preferences, so we can provide employees with the supportive work environment they deserve. We read and evaluate every comment and are constantly looking for ways to improve our employees’ experience.

To begin conducting comprehensive employee surveys of your own, here is Everything You Need to Know About eNPS.

And there you have it! The secret sauce I’ve noticed in startups with real potential to scale, and what they did to stand out.

Whether I am actively looking for new companies to invest in or not, I always have my antenna up to notice exciting new scale-ups. To invest in sustainable models that support growth at your organization while prioritizing your customer experience, download our guide to Scaling Sales Operations for Customer-Centered Growth.

scaling showcase

How to Build and Scale a High-Performance Marketing Team, According to Leaders Who’ve Done It

In 2020, I started using Headspace.

And, as it turns out, so did everyone else.

The meditation app, which was first launched back in 2012, initially generated roughly $30 million in revenue and, as of 2017, had 40,000 subscribers.

Today, the app has over 2 million users, and is valued at $320 million dollars. How’s that for growth?

But, when any company scales that quickly, it begs the question: Will the business survive, and even thrive under its newfound success? Or will it crumble?

Perhaps your company is experiencing similar growth, and your marketing team is feeling the growing pains. Or, maybe your business is brand new, and you’re focused on effectively building a strong marketing team for the first time.

Whichever the case, the challenges that come along with building or scaling a marketing team can be detrimental to an organization if handled poorly. Which is why I sat down with marketing leaders at Google, Microsoft, Wistia, Canva, and Typeform to learn their tips for successfully building or scaling a team — so that you’re ready when it’s your time to grow.

Let’s dive in.

Access Free Resources to Help Your Company Scale

Tips for Building an Effective Marketing Team

1. Hire with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind.

There are countless benefits to diversity in the workplace – for instance, did you know organizations with a diverse leadership team have 19% higher revenue on average than companies with less diverse leaders?

Or, how about the fact that diverse teams can solve problems faster than cognitively similar people?

Suffice to say, diversity matters.

When building an effective marketing team, it’s critical to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion from the very beginning.

As Google’s Global Head of SMB Partnerships Marketing, Elana Chan, told me, “Hiring is the most important thing you’ll do as a leader — and that also means you need to think about DEI. It’s easy when we’re running fast to just ask people in our own networks to apply for open positions, but it’s worth it to diversify. Every study and even my own experience has proven that diversification and different points of view are important.”

Chan adds, “It takes longer to hire people who are outside of your natural network, but it’s worth it. You’ll get the right people for the job and also set the right tone across your organization. It’s important to walk the talk when it comes to DEI, not just when it’s convenient.”

When you’re first building out your team, you’ll want to ensure you incorporate DEI into your recruitment plans. To do this, consider writing inclusive job descriptions, advertise roles through diverse channels, and standardize your interview process.

You might also try using recruitment technology like Greenhouse Inclusion to reduce the risks of unconscious bias when interviewing.

elana chans quote on building strong marketing teams

2. Hire people who are hungry enough to try anything.

If you’re just starting out, you don’t have unlimited budget to hire a slew of marketers who specialize in various marketing activities. Instead, you likely only have the budget for a handful of marketers — or perhaps even just one.

So … how do you make that one hire count?

Above all else, Wistia co-founder and CEO Chris Savage believes it’s important to consider how driven your first marketing hire is.

He told me, “You want to find someone who is extremely hungry, and can make their own things — whether that is video, written content, or audio. Whichever assets your team needs, if you can find someone who can be both the creator and manager of those assets, then you unlock the ability to try things much more easily.”

“At Wistia,” he adds, “I hired a lot of misfits who were so hungry that they were willing to try anything. Maybe on paper it didn’t make sense, but in reality, it was incredible.”

For instance, perhaps your marketing team has identified YouTube as a viable opportunity to reach new audiences and convert those users into leads. If that’s the case, consider hiring someone with experience creating video — along with a strong desire to learn quickly, and try new things. 

3. Hire a marketing customer experience (CX) leader.

When asked what the most crucial early hire on a marketing team is, John Cosley, Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing at Microsoft Advertising, told me: “Two years ago, I would have said a marketing data scientist — someone who can analyze datasets and help their organizations better understand their customers and identify future opportunities, as well as advise on marketing tactics and analysis methodologies.”

“Fast forward to today,” He adds, “And I would say that the marketing customer experience (CX) leader is the most crucial early hire in scaling a marketing team. Consumer journeys have increasingly become digital and multi-modal and expectations have increased around privacy and trust, personalization, and quality.”

If you’re interested in creating a customer experience strategy for your business, take a look at How to Define a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy.

Ultimately, a customer experience is about putting the customer first. As Cosley told me, “Consumers are more likely to value a brand that values them, so it has become critical for brands today to prioritize the customer experience all the way through the purchasing funnel.”

4. Hire early. 

Hiring as you’re scaling can be a bit like trying to build a plane while you’re flying it.

It can be difficult and messy to get new hires up-to-speed at the same time you need them to perform optimally so your consumers don’t feel the friction. To minimize these challenges, consider hiring months ahead of when you’ll need certain roles filled. 

As Francois Bondiguel, Canva’s Global Head of B2B Marketing & Growth, told me, “A big challenge that many face as they scale is getting the organizational structure and strategy right. This includes hiring the right people, and ensuring they have leaders in place to guide them through this transformative phase and help them remove roadblocks so they can move fast.”

“On that note,” Bondiguel adds, “it’s important for key hires to be brought in early to ensure they are properly onboarded prior to projects ramping up. This helps avoid placing unrealistic pressure on new team members as well as the broader group.”

To do this effectively, take a look at your team’s long-term vision, and brainstorm which role(s) will need to be filled to get your team to the next level.

5. Use one data set to guide your entire department.

When you’re first starting out, I’m willing to bet your lean startup team understands the importance of making data-based decisions … but they likely also work in silos.

Maybe you have two content strategists who focus on lead generation numbers. Then, perhaps you have another social media marketer who focuses on cost-per-acquisition.

The issue? “When you’re operating in silos, there are also data silos,” Chan tells me. “Which means you can never pull the same number across teams. That’s a mistake. If you start off providing your team with a unified data set, then it’s easier to grow together. It’s much harder to merge data sets later, and then it becomes politics to determine the right numbers to use.”

To fix this, ensure you have a unified system for collecting and analyzing data even when your team is small. Consider using a CRM to store your data in one place, or creating a department dashboard in Google Analytics.

Whatever the case, it’s vital you provide your team with a centralized location so your data processes can grow with you as you scale.

6. Focus on customer retention in the beginning, rather than just customer acquisition. 

When you start to see your list of customers growing, it can be tempting to want more, more, more

But as a startup, you need to be careful. If you focus exclusively on acquiring new customers, you forget one of your strongest weapons — your existing customers. 

As Typeform’s VP of Growth, Jim Kim, told me, “Many SaaS-based startups … focus exclusively on customer acquisition and tend to neglect customer retention until they see issues with the customer base size growing.”

Kim adds, “By focusing early on efforts to engage and retain the base of customers already acquired, the startup develops a more holistic understanding of the customers they serve, and can gain insights into the things customers really care about that can then be added to the acquisition activities.”

To prevent customer churn, you’ll want to build out an incredible customer support strategy that enables your existing customers to get their needs met. Additionally, consider how you might provide value beyond the purchase, or create a personalized customer experience so your customers know you care about them.  

As Kim points out, “It’s an obvious point, but in my experience, it’s hard to remember that retention can actually be a faster way to grow the customer base than new acquisition and usually has a higher marketing ROI, since it’s (generally) cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one.”

jim kim quote

Tips for Scaling Your Marketing Team

1. Don’t stifle the energy of a startup.

As you begin to scale, the workplace inevitably changes. Before, conversations happened casually across office desks, or when grabbing a cup of coffee — now, there are formal meetings with agendas.

And, while you could previously test out a new idea without necessarily requiring buy-in from leadership, now you’re expected to follow stricter processes, which limits the experiments you can try.

And yet, one thing shouldn’t change as you scale.

As Chan puts it, “It’s important not to stifle the energy of a startup. That’s the exciting part of being where you are, and I think the acknowledgement that you’re building the car as you’re driving it is okay — and fun.”

Chan adds, “At Google we have a saying: ‘Operating at the edge of chaos’. If you imagine a frontier, one side is not enough chaos, and the other side is too much chaos. If there’s too much chaos, no one knows what’s happening, and nothing gets done. But if there’s not enough chaos, then there’s no innovation and you’re not moving forward.”

“It’s your job as a leader to operate as closely to this frontier as possible, and I think in a startup that’s even more true.”

When you begin to scale, you’re going to need to implement more formal processes. But these processes shouldn’t restrict your employees from taking risks, testing out new ideas, and pushing the boundaries of your marketing efforts.

Consider, as you scale, how you can protect that “startup energy” at all costs.

2. Stick with what’s working.

As you begin to scale, you’re probably looking for new growth opportunities. And, at this point, it might feel like the sky is the limit — your business is rapidly growing, so why not take some risks?

But, while certain risks are inevitable, it’s not a good idea to expand too far beyond what’s already working.

As Savage told me, “If you’re a startup that’s making progress in terms of bringing in customers and getting them to use your product or service, then it’s easy to think, ‘Okay, I have one channel that’s working … now let’s add a channel on top of that, and another channel on top, and that’s how I’ll scale.’ Like, PR is working, why not add paid advertising on top?”

The mistake, Savage says, is that there are often one or two channels you end up underestimating in terms of growth potential. If your content is performing exceedingly well and driving leads for the business, it’s not necessarily a good idea to pivot away from content. Instead, you want to ask yourself — How much more can we expand with our content?

Chris Savage quote on scaling businesses

“There’s good advice in personal finance,” Savage says, “which states that most wealth is built through a concentration of risk, and it’s maintained through a distribution of risk — so, basically, if you want to become wealthy, you need to take just a few big risks.”

“It’s the same thing when scaling customer acquisition … There are a few big things you can do. It’s very important to go big on the things that are already working.”

Rather than investing in social media, digital marketing, video, PR, and blogging all at once, consider which channels drive the most leads for your business. Those are the channels that got you this far, and those are likely the same channels that will get you even further if you focus your efforts.

3. Treat your culture as a business priority.

It’s easy enough to foster and maintain a strong culture when you’re a small team. But, as you scale and expand your team, it can get harder to protect the culture that attracted employees to your office in the first place.

And while culture might just sound like a buzzword used to replace beer garden and yearly ski trips, it’s not.

In reality, culture is vital to your business’ success — in fact, companies with strong cultures are 1.5X more likely to report average revenue growth of more than 15% over three years.

As Cosley told me: “In any growing organization, the key to success is embracing and honoring the culture to which you aspire. It’s likely what made your company a great place to work and attracted the high-quality talent that is driving your growth.”

Cosley adds, “It’s not hard for core values and cultural priorities to erode or even get lost during expansion if that work is not made a priority. As you scale, you’ll want to think and act intentionally about how your culture grows with you, how you define and memorialize it, how it impacts your hiring and onboarding, how you train your leadership, and how you evaluate performance.”

Keep in mind — whether or not you’ve actively fostered it, your company already has a culture … it just might not be a strong one. And strong cultures can both attract and retain employees for the long-run, so it’s an important business initiative to take the time to create one that aligns with your values and purpose.

John Cosley quote on scaling businesses

Additionally, Cosley notes, “Culture is not one-dimensional. You need to consider it across areas such as retention and hiring, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement. And culture is contagious. Not only does it deliver more positive outcomes and business results, it helps with critical talent retention, and can lower the cost and time to acquire new talent.”

“Treating your culture as a business priority is essential. Without doing so, it could be detrimental to your organization’s potential.”

To ensure your culture grows with your organization as you scale, take a look at HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Company Culture.

4. Institutionalize key values on your team.

To build a strong team culture, Chan recommends institutionalizing key values.

For instance, perhaps you value autonomy, empathy, adaptability, or intellectual growth. As a leader, it’s vital you use these values as foundational building blocks on which your team can grow.

Chan told me, “For me, learning and intellectual curiosity are really important, so I say to my team, ‘You’re responsible for making the person next to you smarter’. And that creates the onus on bringing your own best game because everyone around you is so incredibly talented — so how are you being additive, collaborative, and innovative from within that culture? You owe it to each other to be your best.”

5. Praise what’s right … and punish what’s wrong.

Once you’ve identified the values that matter to your organization, it’s vital you encourage those values in each of your employees.

When providing performance reviews, for instance, take the time to identify where employees have demonstrated key team values, and where they might still be lacking.

As Savage told me, “The way you scale it is, you praise the right stuff and punish the wrong stuff. It’s that simple — most culture is modeled. You need the most senior people to act the way you believe you should be acting, and if you do that, it permeates the building.”

As an example, let’s say you value risk-taking on your team. If that’s the case, you’ll want to praise your team when they take risks, and even praise the failure that might result from those risks.

Alternatively, if you’re in a mode where you’re risk-averse and looking for optimization of processes, you’d want to praise actions that demonstrate risk management.

6. Hire for the future — not just today.

Finally, when you’re scaling, you want to consider who you can hire today that will continue to meet the needs of your business even as those needs change over time.

For instance, when I was first hired at a startup, I was hired to create blog content. Fast-forward six months, and I was additionally tasked with creating a podcast, and increasing the subscriptions to an email newsletter. As the business scaled, my role changed quickly. So it’s vital you hire with the future in-mind. 

When asked about the biggest challenge leaders face when scaling, Kim told me, “[It’s] the challenge to balance long-term and short-term hiring. For a larger, more established business, scaling a team is not as challenging. The roles are already clearly defined, and there is likely already someone doing that job. It’s easy to hire for a role like this.

“But,” Kim adds, “when the team is trying to scale, the roles may be less clear and transitory. What you think you need today could be wildly different tomorrow. Balancing the needs of today, while keeping an eye out on how things might change in the future is something that’s extremely hard to do.”

Hiring and recruiting isn’t an easy task, but to ensure you’re hiring for the future, you’ll want to take the time to determine someone’s work ethic, flexibility, and ability to shift roles as the needs change. And, as mentioned above, you’ll want to find someone who’s hungry to be there.

7. Create processes for effective communication. 

As your team scales, it becomes even more important to ensure you have processes in-place to ensure fair, effective cross-team communication. 

francois quote on scaling high-performing marketing teams

For instance, perhaps you’ve noticed your meetings have become opportunities for your most extroverted employees to share their successes, while the majority of your team stays silent.

To combat this, consider creating a meeting agenda or slide deck, so people know what they need to share, and when. 

As Bondiguel puts it, “Another challenge is communication. You need to put good processes in place (access to documents, meeting cadence, etc.) to ensure the entire team has all the information and context they need to perform and do their best work. This has never been more important as teams adapt to hybrid work environments.”

And there you have it. Whether you’re officially in the scaling phase or still in the startup phase, these tips should help you ensure you’re building a strong foundation for the future. 

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How to Create Landing Pages for Real Estate [+Examples]

When people are looking to buy or rent a new house, what’s the first thing they do? That’s right, they go online.

In fact, 51% of home searches start on the internet. People search Zillow, Apartments.com, Redfin, and local real estate websites.

Additionally, people also turn to the internet when they want to value their home or learn more about the real estate market.

All this to say that when it’s time to generate leads in the real estate industry, posting online and creating a landing page is the first step.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to create a landing page for real estate and review sample real estate landing pages to inspire your own.

Free Resource: Real Estate Strategy Template

1. Choose the type of landing page you need.

Before you can get started, it’s important to understand the different types of real estate landing pages.

The three main types include:

  • Home valuation: This type of landing page lets users type in their address and get a quick idea of how much their home is worth.
  • Buying/selling websites: These websites are where buyers and sellers go to place listings online, including Zillow or Redfin.
  • Free content: This landing page is usually targeted toward those who want to start working in the real estate industry or are in the beginning stages of buying/selling. You can place free content on a landing page to get leads to download the offer so when the time comes to buy or sell, they think of you.

Depending on the type of landing page you need, the process and design will be a little different.

2. Use a simple lead capture form and search function.

When creating a landing page for real estate, the goal is to gain leads through a lead capture form asking for information (whether it be a name, email, or phone number). The first step to doing this is to have simple search functionality that is front and center in your design for home buying/selling or home valuation.

If you’re creating a landing page for free content, you won’t need a search function, but you will need a lead capture form that is simple and easy to use (this should also be a large part of your design that is easy to see).

The simplicity of the search function or lead capture form will make your call to action (CTA) stand out and get people searching through your site.

With Zillow, the home page has a simple search function so homebuyers can search for houses in a certain area. This keeps the site clean and it gets straight to the point — no distractions.

real estate landing pages: zillow

3. Always pay attention to curb appeal.

Everyone knows that curb appeal is important when it comes to buying or selling a home. The same holds true for your landing page. Use clear, crisp imagery that inspires home buyers to imagine their new life in the house you’re selling. When this happens, buyers are more likely to convert.

The visual design of your landing page is even more important than most landing pages. If people don’t like the design of the landing page, they might not even like the house because they can’t see past the poor web design.

4. Write honest copy.

The copy you write for each house should be honest. You’ll want to include detailed information and use descriptive adjectives that will paint a picture for prospective buyers. But don’t embellish.

When people start visiting your house they’ll see what’s true and what isn’t. If you aren’t being honest in your copy, then people won’t want to work with you because they can’t trust you. You should use short copy that’s punchy and to the point.

Buying or selling a home is a major financial and life decision. Trust is of the utmost importance between you and your prospective leads.

5. Include testimonials.

Although most home buying efforts begin online, most people hire real estate agents through referrals. In fact, 42% of sellers who use real estate agents find these agents through referrals and 82% of all real estate transactions come from referrals. This means that customer testimonials and reviews are very important. On your landing page, include testimonials so visitors know they can trust you.

It’s a particularly good idea to place testimonials near your CTA, so it motivates people to click on your form.

You can also place badges or awards on your landing pages to instill a sense of professionalism and credibility.

6. Highlight the benefits of your offer.

Depending on the type of landing page, you might need to highlight the benefit of your content offer. For example, if you have a home valuation calculator, it’s important to write copy that emphasizes why this will give a seller more power in the process. Or if you’re giving away a free checklist or ebook, explain how it helps people in the process of buying or selling.

This is how you’ll communicate your value with your leads, which will inspire them to convert.

7. Be personal.

The intent of your landing page is important. Your landing page will look different if it’s a home valuation, buying/selling, or content offer page. The point of creating a landing page is to create a personal experience for those interested in certain offers.

That’s why landing pages are different from your everyday website. These pages keep customers focused on going down the path they want: searching for a home, getting in contact with an agent, etc.

Additionally, the design of your landing page should be personalized to the experience of the viewer. This means that your page should be optimized for mobile, tablet, and desktop experiences. You might also have an app that will help your visitors come back anytime they’re looking for a home.

Best Real Estate Landing Pages

1. Redfin Home Valuation Landing Page

Talk about a simple landing page. This is a no-fuss home valuation landing page that lets visitors get a real-time estimate of how much their home is worth.

This landing page is a good example of being simple, using short, punchy text and engaging graphics to draw attention to the simple CTA of entering a home address.

real estate landing pages: redfin

2. Hill Realty Group

This is a great example of a realty group’s home search landing page. First, it focuses on the curb appeal of the properties and areas that it sells houses in. Then, it includes a simple property search where you can include your location, bed and bath requirements, etc.

real estate landing pages: hill realty group

3. The H. Williams Group

This is a sample real estate landing page with a content offer. This realtor has a simple lead capture form enticing visitors to download her guide to Alexandria. This is a great content offer because people looking for a guide to the area are most likely going to move there and may contact her to be their realtor.

Additionally, this page is great because all the focus is on the simple capture form. The design is sleek and simple, with a logo, picture, headline, and capture form. That’s it. That’s why this landing page works.

real estate landing pages: the H Williams group

Creating a real estate landing page is very important for marketing your listings or offers. That’s why it’s important to create a landing page that will convert visitors into buyers.

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