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The Video Game Industry Is Growing: Here Are 4 Ways Brands Are Reaching Gamers

Nearly 70% of Americans play some type of video game each day.

And, with the growth of live streaming, mobile gaming, AR, and VR, this number could get even bigger.

While Twitch.tv, the leading live-streaming platform, hosts millions of users that air video feeds of themselves gaming, many smartphone users also find themselves tapping into multiple mobile games per day.

Right now, it seems like there’s a video game or gaming platform for everyone. And as many of these games and game systems are beginning to use emerging technology, marketers are getting even more aggressive in this space.

Although big companies are looking at in-game marketing tactics more than ever, the interest in reaching gamers actually isn’t that new. In fact, video game marketing precedes some of today’s most popular video game consoles. While brand awareness strategies have evolved in this space, they’ve nearly always been there.

On top of the opportunities that emerging media might offer marketers in the video game industry, gaming audiences also mirror target audiences of many consumer-facing brands. This means video gaming platforms could be a great place for brands to connect with their target audiences.

Gamers are primarily millennials, evenly split in gender, and have aged with the gaming industry. While they were children when the earliest, less-sophisticated games came out, millennials have become very tech-savvy and have embraced today’s more innovative gaming platforms.

Because of their age, millennials also able to make both big and small purchasing decisions in their households. At this point in their lives, millennials can buy or lease a wide range of products, from soft drinks to mobile devices, to cars. This is one reason why marketers zone in on mediums where this age group is prevalent, such as the gaming space.

Along with newer gaming content, millennials also respond well to games that make them feel nostalgic. One example of this was the successful release of the Nintendo Switch, a game system modeled after the 1980s Nintendo. Within 21 months of its launch, 8.7 million Switch units were sold — making it the fastest-selling gaming console of all time.

As marketers read about the possible opportunities associated with video game marketing, they might wonder how brands are actually using this medium to promote products. They also might be asking, “Is this strategy even accessible to me?”

In this post, I’ll discuss the evolution of video game marketing, show a few examples of how brands are innovating in the space today, and note some tactics that marketers might want to consider if gaming does become more accessible in the far-term.

While in-game promotion probably won’t be viable for most brands in the short-term, another new platform, such as a viral social media site, might inspire you to get creative with your marketing techniques. Even if marketers can’t replicate the strategies below today, they can still use the campaigns as examples of how companies thought outside the box to engage audiences on a new or emerging platform.

To give some added perspective on how much the gaming industry has changed, I’ll start by noting some of the earliest video game marketing examples.

A Brief History of Video Game Marketing

In the early 1990s and 2000s, big brands zoned in on young gamers by creating branded video games. Two memorable companies that did this were Chex Mix and Burger King.

Chex Mix’s Chex Quest (1996)

In 1996, as children were starting to play video games on their parents’ PCs, Chex decided to engage its young audiences by placing a CD-ROM game called Chex Quest at the bottom of Chex Mix boxes.

In the intergalactic game, players controlled a space hero called “Chex Man” as he fought off green aliens who would cover their enemies with goo. The game featured multiple levels of difficulty and challenges, including an alien-filled maze. To maintain Chex Man’s strength and health when fighting off aliens, players needed to search for and direct him to foods like fruits and boxes of Chex Mix.

On a deeper level, the game told a commercial-like story of how heroes and astronauts are fueled by healthy breakfasts, like Chex Mix. This game was not only creative, but it also won many prominent advertising awards. In 1996, the video game won a Golden Effie for Advertising Effectiveness. It also won the Golden Reggie Award for Promotional Advertisement in 1998.

Burger King’s Branded Games (2006)

Ten years after Chex Quest, Burger King also identified that its audiences enjoyed gaming. In 2006, the restaurant chain began its first foray into the game world by including one of three branded Xbox games — PocketBike Racer, Sneak King, or Big Bumpin’ — in value meals. Customers could also buy the games for $3.99 each.

Each branded game, or advergame, featured the Burger King mascot along with a burger-related theme. Essentially, all of the games, which were created by the ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, were like interactive advertisements that entertained players and reminded them of Burger King.

For example, in Sneak King, players would step into the role of “The King,” who looks like Burger King’s mascot. Gamers then had to deliver Burger King meals to other characters. While the game entertained players, it also highlighted Burger King’s menu options and brand in great detail, similarly to a commercial.

Within the first weeks of Sneak King’s launch, approximately 2.7 million copies of the advergame were sold, making the campaign an ROI success and a win for Crispin Porter & Bogusky. The campaign also won a Clio Award after Burger King claimed it lifted the chain’s overall sales.

Here’s a trailer for Sneak King:

The Current State of Ads in Gaming

Games and consoles have changed drastically since Chex Quest and Sneak King. Not only do video games look more visually stunning, but many online games and Wi-Fi-powered consoles connect players and strangers from all around the world.

As the gaming space has evolved, so has video game marketing. While reaching gamers used to require marketers to create an entire branded video game, big brands are now able to re-work traditional strategies, like influencer marketing, product placement, and native advertising to fit into the gaming space.

Twitch Streaming

Twitch.tv, which was purchased by Amazon in 2014 and now has over 15 million daily active users, allows people to air a picture-and-picture stream of their computer or game console screen along with a webcam video of themselves.

If a person’s Twitch profile gets a large number of views and subscribers, they can apply to be verified as a Twitch Partner. Once they’re verified, Twitch will give them a small percentage of its advertisement revenue based on their stream’s views and the account’s subscriber counts.

Because of this picture-and-picture format, Twitch quickly became thought of as the social platform for gamers. Since this platform launched, normal people have earned major revenue and gained a huge online following just by streaming themselves playing popular video games.

When it comes to marketing on Twitch, there are two major options: One is to advertise and the other involves starting or sponsoring a stream.

While Twitch has been growing its advertising program since being purchased by Amazon, it recently began asking advertisers to commit upwards of $50,000 in ad spend per campaign. While Digiday reports that Twitch reps seem confident about advertising ROI, this is definitely a hefty cost for most companies.

Because advertising is quite expensive on Twitch, many brands have experimented with starting their own streams. Here are just three notable examples:

Wendy’s

Wendy’s first Twitch stream, which won a Gold Clio, followed an avatar dressed as Wendy who appeared on the online battle game, Fortnite.

At one point in Fortnite’s online storyline, players were prompted to hunt cattle and transport beef to freezers at nearby restaurants. Once they did this, the players would earn coins.

When the Wendy’s team heard that Fortnite players were being encouraged to put beef in freezers, the chain tasked its marketing agency, VMLY&R, in creating an avatar that looked like Wendy. Wendy’s and its marketing firm then launched a Twitch stream where the avatar began to break into restaurants and destroy freezers:

Like a commercial, native ad, or advergame, the goal of the campaign — aside from engaging new audiences — was to remind Twitch audiences that Wendy’s makes an effort to serve the freshest, best tasting beef to its customers.

During the stream, mentions of Wendy’s on social media went up by 119%. The stream was also viewed for a total of 1.52 million minutes with a quarter of a million viewers.

The campaign also allowed Wendy’s fans to interact with her avatar and the stream, which led other Fortnite players to start smashing freezers as well. Viewers of Wendy’s stream also began tweeting about it or posting in the feed’s comment thread. Because of engagement like this, it made Wendy’s company values, brand, and live stream incredibly memorable to gaming audiences.

This campaign led Wendy’s and VMLY&R to win gold medals at the Clio Awards and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

According to one Cannes Lions Jury Chair PJ Pereira, the creativeness of this campaign might have opened the door for new marketing opportunities in the future.

“[Making Fortnite Fresher] was setting up a new trend instead of being the apex of a previous trend,” Pereira told Ad Age.

By hosting a nine-hour Twitch stream that followed its mascot playing Fortnite, Wendy’s interacted with gamers in a unique new way.

Old Spice

In 2015, Old Spice launched a stream that followed a dopey avatar named Nature Man who was “contractually obligated” to do what Twitch viewers told him to do as he walked around a computer-generated forest. As Twitch viewers commented with commands for the avatar, an Old Spice rep that was controlling him would make him fulfill these tasks.

At certain points of the Old Spice event, viewers told Nature Man to do things like chop down trees, fight multiple bears, and eat random birthday cakes. Here’s a quick highlight reel:

Although Old Spice’s live stream wasn’t directly about its products, it was still very in line with the brand’s 2015 commercials, which argued that its body spray “smelled as good as nature.”

In and before 2015, live streaming was still very experimental. But, like Wendy’s, Old Spice identified that many young male audiences were gaming on Twitch and decided to create an experimental campaign to engage them. This strategy seemed to work, as the stream received 2.6 million total views.

Totino’s

During a campaign called, “Live Free, Couch Hard,” Totino’s partnered with Twitch influencers to market its pizza rolls through various Twitch streams. In one of the Totino’s streams, which was produced with the help of its marketing firm, 72andSunny, a handful of Twitch stars with millions of subscribers tried to play video games on a couch that moved around like a bucking mechanical bull machine.

During Totino’s stream, viewers could watch the influencers attempt to play video games while also commenting to say which direction the mechanical couch should move next. Viewers could also comment with an emoji that looked like a pizza roll face created just for the event.

Here’s a highlight reel that one of the influencers posted on their stream after the event:

According to a post from Jason Donaldson, a senior writer for 72andSunny, the stream was watched for a total of 1.8 million minutes and it was the number one trending discussion topic on Reddit during the event.

Technically, the focus of Totino’s stream was on the notable gamers riding a mechanical couch, rather than on playing one specific game. However, the food company does a great job of identifying alternative content that gamers will still watch and subscribe to — even if they aren’t getting specific game tips.

Gamer Sponsorship

For years, brands have embraced influencer marketing on various social platforms and in many media campaigns. In sports, you might see an athlete wearing running sneakers from a shoe company. In the makeup industry, you might see a vlogger giving a sponsored tutorial for a new lipstick. Now, as gaming has gotten more interconnected and social, influencer marketing is also starting to thrive in the video game industry.

As online gamers grow a following, brands now seek them out for endorsements or sponsored content. Here are a few examples:

Xfinity Comcast Sponsors Evil Geniuses

Along with sponsoring single gamers, big brands have also sponsored a number of online gaming teams.

Many of these teams successfully compete in ESports, a gaming category that includes online sports, competitions, or battle-oriented games.

In many major ESports games, players can compete individually or join a team. As they get better at a game, their game ranking amongst other online players will go up. Those who gain high rankings on ESports games often get recruited to better-performing teams or can even get sponsored by brands, similarly to real-life athletes.

Since 2016, Xfinity Comcast has sponsored an ESports league called Evil Geniuses. This league, which is now incorporated as its own company, is made up of top-performing gamers who’ve gained expertise and high rankings in ESports games like Call of Duty, Halo, Starcraft, and Rocket League.

As part of the sponsorship, the Evil Geniuses, which has a major gaming industry following, received a decked out Xfinity Comcast gaming studio. The Xfinity logo has also been placed on Evil Geniuses’ official website and added to uniforms that players wear on Twitch streams or at gaming events.

Evil Genius’s Twitter account also regularly mentions Xfinity or the sponsored gaming studio on its social media accounts. 

Coca-Cola Sponsors Alex Hunter

For over 20 years, thousands of people around the world have been playing EA Sports’ FIFA World Cup video game series. The ESport game series releases a new World Cup game every year, which allows people to virtually play soccer with others around the world. Like other ESports games, players that get great scores will rise up in online rankings and might gain a following from fellow gamers.

Recently, a highly-ranked player from the 2018 FIFA video game, Alex Hunter, got sponsored by Coca-Cola. As part of his sponsorship, Hunter endorses Coca-Cola at real-life gaming events and dresses his avatar in all red. Hunter’s avatar was also featured in a Coca-Cola commercial where a child’s avatar offers him a Coke before he goes to play a virtual soccer game.

Product Placement

McDonald’s Products in Splatoon 2: Splashfest

Splatoon 2: Splashfest, a Nintendo Switch game created for all ages, opens by giving gamers a choice between two items, such as ice cream or cake. Each of the items that gamers can choose from has a hard color background. At the beginning of each game, users lock in the choice they want to make and get a paintball gun filled with paint that matches the background color of the item they chose.

In the recent Japanese release of Splatoon 2: Splashfest, there was a blatantly obvious product placement from McDonald’s. Gamers were asked to start the game by choosing between McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets or French Fries. The McNuggets were associated with red paint and the French Fries were associated with purple.

Here’s a quick video (in Japanese) where the hosts discuss which item they think is better to ramp up players before they make their choice.

During the game, 71% of those players joined the French Fry team, but the Nugget team surprisingly covered the field with more paint. It’s not clear how many people were playing the game, however Splatoon 2 sold over 2 million copies by 2019.

This is a great example of a product placement because it feels natural to players and allows them to think about and weigh the differences between two main products rather than just one.

Mobile Gaming Ads

Outside of PC or console-based video game marketing, brands are also putting major advertising dollars into mobile game ads.

While most people might think that mobile gamers find ads annoying because they block the entire game, research shows that mobile game players are actually more receptive to ads than users of other mobile apps.

When I heard about this, I was pretty surprised myself. So, I conducted a quick survey using Lucid software to see if people were actually interacting with ads.

Out of a sample of 265 people, 70% said they’d tapped on an ad in a mobile phone game before.

Mobile video game advertisement poll

This Survey was conducted with Lucid Software

Right now, there are a few major ad strategies related to mobile games. One is a standard native ad that links to a business’s website. Another is an interactive ad that lets viewers tap and interact with the content in some way. Lastly, big brands like Starbucks are also beginning to experiment with location-based ads in AR games.

Here are a few examples of mobile game ad types that you might regularly see:

Interactive Mobile Ads

Disney

While Disney makes a host of mobile games related to their films, they have also invested millions of dollars into mobile game advertising. In one ad, which they launched to promote the film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” viewers were prompted to look for and tap a series of items as they watched the film’s trailer. Tapping on the ad sent them to more video-based content.

While the ad is no longer available to view online, AdColony’s Jude O’Connor described the interactive storyline in a post from The Drum,

“During the trailer, the user was prompted to play a search game and find objects within the trailer itself, tap the screen and it was almost like a playable ad experience,” said O’Connor. “Then, when they were able to find additional pieces it unlocked new content, additional trailers for them, character content at the end of the video. The user then became part of the experience.”

AdColony, the agency which created the ad for Disney, does not specify results related to the ad, but has noted that it was a success. Here’s a Creative Showcase piece where the company goes into detail about what might have made the ad so effective.

Disney’s interactive mobile game ad strategy is smart because those playing video games want to be interactively entertained. While a standard ad might bore them, something interactive might interest them while in a gaming mindset.

Native Ads

Apple

Apple runs ads for Apple Music on a number of smartphone and tablet games. This ad is pretty simple and shows mobile gamers the Apple Music logo, an animated music symbol, and a description of the service that says, “Enjoy over 50 million songs. Always ad-free.” At the bottom of the ad is a CTA that says “Listen on” followed by Apple Music’s Apple Store Icon. Users can tap on the ad to be directed to Apple Music’s app store page,

 

Native mobile video game ad from Apple

Like many effective mobile ads, Apple’s design simply explains exactly what the service its selling does without overwhelming mobile viewers with too many words or visuals.

Tully

Tully, a financial advising and savings app and service, launched a simple and semi-interactive ad for mobile games. In the ad, you can swipe left to see the benefits of using Tully and screenshots of how the app works. At the bottom, you see a quick description of what the app does, it’s five-star App Store rating and a CTA button that says “Download.”

Mobile video game ad from Tully

Tully’s mobile game ad is an example of how an ad can be simple but still interactive. Even though this ad probably didn’t take as much time to design as a more intricate interactive ad, it still allows the viewer to engage with it by swiping through different pages of it to learn more.

Augmented Reality Ads

Starbucks

As video games like Pokémon Go combine AR and geo-location to create a new style of mobile gaming experience, brands have also experimented with AR in-game ads. To date, a great example of this was Starbucks — which sponsored Pokémon Go locations.

In 2016, when Pokémon Go was going viral, the coffee chain teamed up with the game’s developers to mark 7,800 of its physical locations into Gyms or PokéStops on the AR map. When players entered a Starbucks Gym or PokéStop, they saw an ad for a limited-edition Pokémon Frappuccino.

Pokemon Go and Starbucks partnership

Photo from Pokémon Go

Although Starbucks did offer a more traditional in-game beverage ad to players who arrived at its Gyms and PokéStops, the chain more importantly pulled in significant foot traffic from gamers before even revealing the beverage in the Go app.

By sponsoring Pokémon Go locations, Starbucks creatively leveraged an AR platform to entertain its customers and pull new audiences into its physical store.

Navigating Gaming and Emerging Mediums

While marketers shouldn’t just shift all of their resources to start their own version of Chex Quest, it can’t hurt to keep up with new mediums that might provide opportunities in the far future. While gaming might not be one of them, a new social media platform might be a great place to experiment with interactive content or other strategies that engage new audiences.

The examples above demonstrate how brands identified their audiences, learned about the platforms they were using and aimed to meet them on those platforms. As media continues to evolve, marketers at all company sizes will want to keep thinking of new strategies that will meet their prospects where they are — even if those audiences are on a somewhat newer platform.

Creating Branded Content on Instagram: What Marketers Need to Know

Thinking of partnering with other businesses to create Branded Content on Instagram? Wondering how to get started? In this article, you’ll discover how to set up, create, and analyze branded content posts on Instagram. What Is Branded Content on Instagram? Branded content posts were first introduced on Facebook and have now moved over to Instagram […]

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Fixed Cost: What It Is & How to Calculate It

“Business is personal — it’s the most personal thing in the world.”

These are famous words by Michael Scott from the TV show, The Office. And although this quote conflicts with the universal belief that business isn’t personal, Michael’s point of view is perfect when learning about a business’s fixed costs — or those costs that don’t change as a company grows or shrinks.

To identify and calculate your business’s fixed costs, let’s start by looking at the ones you’re already paying in your personal life. Then, we’ll explain how a business manages its own fixed costs and review some common fixed cost examples.

What Is a Fixed Cost?

Fixed costs are those costs to a business that stay the same regardless of how the business is performing. These costs are known as fixed costs to distinguish them from variable costs, which do change as the company sells more or less of its product.

Consider your personal routine. As a single adult, your expenses would normally include a monthly rent or mortgage, utility bill, car payment, healthcare, commuting costs, and groceries. If you have children, this can increase variable costs like groceries, gas expenses, and healthcare.

While your variable costs increase after starting a family, your mortgage payment, utility bill, commuting costs, and car payment don’t change for as long as you’re in the same home and car. These expenses are your fixed costs because you pay the same amount no matter what changes you make to your personal routine.

In keeping with this concept, let’s say a startup ecommerce business pays for warehouse space to manage its inventory, and 10 customer service employees to manage order inquiries. It suddenly signs a customer for a recurring order that requires another five paid customer service reps. While the startup’s payroll expenses go up, the fixed cost of a warehouse stays the same.

Average Fixed Cost

Keep in mind you have to keep track of your business’s fixed costs differently than you would your own. This is where average fixed cost comes into play.

Average fixed costs are the total fixed costs paid by a company, divided by the number of units of product the company is currently making. This tells you your fixed cost per unit, giving you a sense of how much the business is guaranteed to pay each time it produces a unit of your product — before factoring in the variable costs to actually produce it.

Average fixed cost formula

Let’s revisit the ecommerce startup example from earlier. Assume this business pays $5,000 per month for the warehouse space needed to manage its inventory, and leases two forklifts for $800 a month each. And last month, they developed 50 units of product.

The warehouse and forklift costs remain unchanged regardless of how many products they sell, giving them a total fixed cost (TFC) of $5,000 + ($800 x 2), or $6,600. By dividing its TFC by 50 — the number of units the business produced last month — the company can see its average fixed cost per unit of product. This would be $6,600 ÷ 50, or $132 per unit.

Fixed Cost Examples

So far, we’ve identified a handful of fixed cost examples since considering the costs we already pay as individuals. A home mortgage is to a lease on warehouse space, as a car payment is to a lease on a forklift.

But there are a number of fixed costs your business might incur that you rarely pay in your personal life. In fact, some variable costs to individuals are fixed costs to businesses. Here’s a master list of fixed costs for any developing company to keep in mind:

  • Lease on office space: As long as your business operates in the same building, your rent cost doesn’t change.
  • Utility bills: Your heating or cooling bill might fluctuate as seasons change, but it is generally not affected by business operations.
  • Website hosting costs: When you register your website domain, you pay a small monthly cost that remains static despite the business you perform on that website.
  • Ecommerce hosting platforms: Ecommerce platforms integrate with your website so you can conduct transactions with customers. They typically charge a low fixed cost per month.
  • Lease on warehouse space: Warehouses are paid for the same way you’d pay rent on your office space. They do not change in price as you store more or fewer products inside, but can have storage and capacity limits.
  • Manufacturing equipment: The equipment you need to produce your product is yours once you buy it, but it will depreciate over its useful lifetime. Depreciation can become a fixed cost if you know when you’ll have to replace your equipment each year.
  • Lease on trucks for shipment: Truck leases work the same way as a car payment, and will not charge differently depending on how many shipments you make.
  • Small business loans: If you’re financing a new business with a bank loan, your loan payments won’t change with your business’s performance. They are fixed for as long as you have a balance to pay on that loan.
  • Property tax: Your office space’s building manager might charge you property tax, a fixed cost for as long as your business is on the property.
  • Health insurance: Health insurance costs might be a variable cost to an individual if they add or remove dependents from their policy, but to a business, the recurring costs to an insurer are fixed.

Calculating your fixed costs isn’t always the most fun part of growing your business. But knowing what they are, and when you’ll pay each one, gives you the peace of mind you need to serve and delight your customers.

 

LinkedIn Events Relaunches: What Marketers Need to Know

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore LinkedIn’s relaunch of Events, new LinkedIn page features, and Facebook Stories ad updates with special guests, Amanda […]

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101 Blog Post Ideas Straight from the HubSpot Brain Trust

We all know blogging is an ultra-important asset to your business when it comes to building traffic and reputation. The hidden dark side, though, is how hard it is coming up with topics that will give you that ultra-good traffic.

If you’ve hit a roadblock when it comes to the content on your blog, don’t sweat it.

An age-old question between marketers is “What do you blog about?“. It can quickly feel like your company has blogged about everything under the sun.

To help, we polled fellow HubSpotters — who know a thing or two about blogging — and we’ve created a list of 101 ideas to keep your queue filled.

Multimedia

1. Create a roundup of all the best GIFs on the internet marketers can relate to

2. Make a parody song that describes your office culture

3. Recap your latest company event with photos and/or videos

4. Post a product demo;

5. Write a post explaining a social media channel

6. Make a video that highlights your industry and write a post about it

7. Start a podcast and transcribe each episode on the blog

8. Record an interview with a colleague and conduct a corresponding writeup

9. Upload a photo diary of how your company celebrates culture

10. Share a cartoon that represents your company

Research

11. “ We Asked People About [insert topic], Here’s What They Said

12. Research unusual holidays (ex: National Burger Day) and create a roundup your favorites

13. Make an infographic about your analytics and break down the pros and cons of each

14. Research the most popular social media channel and break down their numbers

15. Discuss the importance of knowing your lead data from a business standpoint

16. Share the most popular apps among a target audience and what that means for your business

17. Make a list of tools that are the best for you IT team

18. Explain your knowledge base and why it matters

19. Do an in-depth case study about delighting customers and examine the results

20. Based on the past, what are your predictions for the industry’s future?

21. “Here are our failures, and what we learned from them”

Community Engagement

22. Highlight local rockstars in your field

23. Interview a local business owner

24. Create a survey about your business’s ecosystem

25. Make a post that celebrates your user-generated content

26. Spotlight a “client-of-the-month”

27. Discuss the most practical uses for your product

28. Use employee stories to inspire your audience

29. Ask for guest posts from network members

30. Run a product/service giveaway

31. Throw a community-based event and recap it

Instructional (Guides and How-to)

32. A list of ‘musts’ for a career in your field

33. Interview an industry heavy-hitter about their tips for business

34. Post a series on landing your dream job

35. Write a roundup about “What I Wish I Knew When I First Started.”

36. How to gain the right skillset to advance in your career

37. The hardest part of your job — and how you tackle that

38. Tips to handle burnout

39. Write an ultimate guide

40. Create a pillar page

41. Bust common myths about your field

42. Demo how to use a specific social media channel

43. Write about how to collect data from webpages

44. Recommend the best tools for completing certain daily tasks

45. Offer the benefits of a current trend your company has mastered

46. Relate your content to a current celebrity

47. Write a post about how to give an incredible speech under 20 minutes

Multichannel Integration

48. Discuss social media trends

49. Explain how your most recent Facebook Live session delighted customers

50. Rank the top social media channels for your brand

51. Dive into a social network’s latest update

52. Explain how you use Instagram Stories to grow your engagement

53. Spotlight a brand killing it among multiple social channels

54. Rate five of the best Twitter polls in the right place at the right time

55. Find the best memes for content marketing on Twitter and Instagram

56. Discuss how your brand uses LinkedIn to connect with your community

57. Share your top analytics services and explain why they’re great

58. Write about how you engage millennials

59. Explain how YouTube is an asset to your business

60. Take a stance on a recent blog post from your favorite news-sharing site

61. Round up recent news in your industry

62. Share great quotes from an ebook in a roundup

Thought Leadership

63. Describe what your mission statement means to you

64. Dive into how a company boosted their blog traffic exponentially

65. Break down what an ideal company culture would look like

66. Write about ways your company is focusing on diversity and inclusion

67. Explain diversity and why it matters

68. Come up with a list of company outings for remote teams/employees

69. Describe how your team combats burnout and provide helpful tips to avoid it

70. Create a list of industry trends to keep an eye on

71. Compare and contrast different topics about marketing, business, or your industry, such as different types of advertising

72. Post a recap of breaking industry news

Content Marketing

73. Create a post dedicated to one or more FAQs

74. Invite a guest blogger to contribute

75. Create an office playlist and share the tracklist

76. Profile a co-worker or manager

77. Interview a customer

78. Run a contest

79. Write about your day-to-day workflow

80. Describe your career in five words and provide helpful advice to others

81. Compile a list of the best movies that depict your field

82. Invite your audience to join in with a quiz on your blog

83. Embrace popular holidays and make a themed post about them

84. Post a “Year-in-Review” about lessons learned throughout the year and what it means for your readers

85. Round up brands using IGTV brilliantly

86. A roundup of ways your team conducts successful content marketing

Miscellaneous/Fun

87. Have your team weigh in about if they work while traveling

88. Interview questions that help finalize decisions

89. Resources most helpful to SMBs

90. List of books that inspire professionals in your industry

91. “What has changed about our workflow habits over the years?”

92. Compile a list of weekly/monthly aspirations

93. Give your favorite historic moment about your industry

94. Your grade sheet on measuring quality product launches — and how it works in action

95. Explain common acronyms in your workplace or industry

96. Talk about a fun day at the office recently

97. Give a short history of your company

98. A peer-curated list of hobbies outside of work

99.Share highlights from a recent conference

100. Examine a recent movie trailer and how their marketing should be noted

101. Come up with a staff bonding event and recap how it went

Because it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of your industry, it’s also easy to run into the same types of blog posts. Blogs are important for SEO and lead generation, so picking the “right” topics is a crucial step in marketing planning.

Remember to mix it up and have fun with blogging it doesn’t have to be the most formal part of your website. Blogs are an asset to your business, not a hindrance, and these post ideas are some of our favorites as HubSpotters.

For more interesting content ideas, check out our ultimate list of tips here.

What California’s New Data Privacy Act Means for Marketers

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with U.S. data privacy laws like CCPA. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand CCPA. 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.

Nowadays, marketers rely on the information they receive from consumers to make decisions on what type of content their audience prefers to receive, and in what form.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with using information to create a better, more personalized marketing strategy.

In fact, when done well, it can largely benefit the consumer — for instance, when I’m scrolling through Instagram, I like to see content from some of my favorite brands, like HelloFresh. By staying up-to-date on their products and offerings, I’m able to make better purchasing decisions.

However, marketers get into murky (or even illegal) territory when they misuse the information their consumers have provided. If a consumer fills out a form on your website, for instance, she’s letting your company have access to that information — and your company alone. She is not agreeing to share that same information with third-party sources.

In 2017, we covered What is the GDPR? And What Does it Mean for the Marketing Industry? Here, let’s dive into what The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) means for you as a marketer, and how it differs from GDPR.

CCPA Requirements

As mentioned above, the California Consumer Privacy Act was approved by California’s State Governor back in 2018, but won’t go into effect until January 1, 2020.

Ultimately, the law applies to any companies that conduct business in the state of California, and have one of the following criteria:

  • Has revenue of $25 million or higher
  • Receives information of over 50,000 consumers, households, or devices annually
  • Derives 50% or more of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information

It’s important to note — the law stretches beyond businesses that have physical brick-and-mortar shops in California. That means if you’re a marketer for an ecommerce business that sells to residents living in California (and you have one of the three criteria listed above), you’ll still be affected by the law.

If you’re wondering where this is coming from, here’s a little backstory — in 2018, you might remember scandals erupting as a result of companies misusing consumers’ personal data. The congressional hearings that followed these scandals pointed out that any personal information shared on the internet can technically be subject to misuse and theft.

As a result of these hearings, California legislature moved to protect Californians’ right to privacy by implementing this new data privacy act.

What the CCPA Means for Marketers

Now, you might be thinking — okay, but I’m not the CEO of my business, I’m a marketer. What does this law mean for me?

If the CCPA applies to your business, this means whenever you collect your consumers’ personal information — whether it be for a social media campaign, email survey, or something else — you’ll need to disclose what information you’re collecting, and how you’ll be using your consumers’ personal information.

Additionally, you need to give your consumers the right to opt-out of having their information sold to third-parties, and you need to let consumers view and delete the information you’ve collected about them.

There are a few additional differences between GDPR and CCPA that are worth noting.

One main difference is, GDPR focuses on data related to the EU consumer, while the CCPA considers data related to both the CA consumer and the household. Additionally, the CCPA only considers data provided by the consumer, as opposed to data sourced from third-parties.

Additionally, there are differences in penalties — GDPR’s penalty for companies that violate their regulation is up to $20 million or 4% worldwide turnover, whichever is greater.

In comparison, CCPA’s penalty is up to $2,500 per violation or $7,500 per intentional violation, plus an additional $100-$750 per incident to the affected individuals.

There’s also a difference in the type and scope of data collected. GDPR applies to all data collected about EU citizens. The CCPA, on the other hand, applies only to data collected directly from, and about, California consumers.

If you’re unsure whether the CCPA will affect your business, you’re not alone — a recent ESET survey found 44% of respondents had never heard of the CCPA, only 11.8% didn’t know if the law applied to them, and 34% of executives weren’t sure if they’d need to change how they capture and process data to comply with the law.

Fortunately, if you’re a marketer who’s already done the work to ensure you comply with GDPR regulations, it shouldn’t be too difficult to additionally comply with CCPA. For more information, check out our web page designed to help you prepare for the CCPA.

How to Use YouTube and Instagram to Establish Authority

Want to be known as the expert in your field? Wondering how video on Instagram and YouTube can help? To explore how to build rapport with any audience using YouTube and Instagram Stories, I interview Amanda Horvath on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Amanda is a video marketing strategist who helps people become thought leaders […]

The post How to Use YouTube and Instagram to Establish Authority appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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AppsKitPro – Crea Apps Móviles para tu negocio en App Store y Play Store

AppsKitPro es la herramienta para crear apps de móvil para tu negocio en iOS o Android sin teclear código. Con su tecnología de Arrastrar y Soltar podrás crear tu app para tu negocio en sólo tres pasos en cualquier nicho. También podrás crear concursos, programas de fidelización, push notifications, reservas, agendar citas, módulo especial para hoteles…. Ahora la tienes por un único pago .

 

Demo en español de AppsKitPro

Características del Software


Automatización


Bonus Socialancer


Creación de concursos


Cumple RGPD


Diseños Personalizables


Encuestas


Estadísticas


Gamificación


Generador de Testimonios


Integraciones con otras plataformas


Optins


Pop-ups


Responsive


Segmentación de leads


Software descargable


Software en la nube


Test A/B


Verificación opiniones de usuarios


Videotutoriales Socialancer en Español

Públicos


Agencias


Autónomos / Freelancers


Bloggers


Consultores


Desarrolladores


Diseñadores


Emprendedores


Marketers


Negocios Locales


Profesionales SEO


Publicistas


eCommerce

 

 

 

Qué es AppsKitPro

Es un kit para crear aplicaciones móviles para tu negocio de todo tipo que puedas imaginar orientado para que alcances más clientes, aumentes la tasa de retención y con ello hagas más ventas

Esta es la amplia variedad de apps que puedes hacer para cualquier nicho con AppsKitPro:

  • Cupones (cupones GPS)
  • Geofencing o GeoValla: contacta con tus clientes o potenciales clientes cuando pasan por tu tienda, cuando entran en ella o cuando se van.
  • Programa de puntos de fidelización para tus clientes más fieles
  • Reservas (restaurantes, dentistas, estilistas, peluquerías, taxis…)
  • Apps para franquicias o multi tiendas: en una app puedes tener hasta 10, 20, 50… o 1000 versiones
  • Descarga tu recibo o factura de los productos o servicios que compren tus clientes
  • Opiniones o Testimonios de tus clientes (con programa de premios)
  • Sistema de pedidos (restaurantes, compra de productos./servicios..)
  • Horarios de tus empleados
  • Tarjetas regalo
  • Premios a clientes referidos
  • Gamificación
  • Notificaciones (push notifications)
  • Formularios
  • Mensajes automatizados a tus clientes como Follow up, promociones, recordatorios (webinars, inicios/final de rebajas, etc)… Conecta con tus clientes sin que ellos se hayan bajado tu aplicación con mensajes, imágenes y video
  • Sistema de tickets para eventos: con diferentes sistemas de pago -online/offline, donación o gratis, añádeles ubicación, códigos de promoción, códigos de barras, descarga de recibos, tickets en PDF…
  • Módulo especial para hoteles
  • Carrito de la compra
  • Sistema de avisos: avisa a tus clientes en tiempo real de cuánto tiempo de espera tienen hasta disfrutar de tu servicio (mesa en un restaurante, corte de pelo, estética, dentista…)
  • Crea tu propio listado de Páginas Amarillas de negocios locales de tu zona
  • Calculadora de propinas para restaurantes o actividades de turismo
  • Websites
  • etc…

 

 

Y lo mejor de todo es que lo puedes crear en tres sencillos pasos gracias a su tecnología de arrastrar y soltar para que no tengas que picar ni una línea de código:

 

PASO 1:

Elige el diseño que te guste para tu app móvil: formato, colores, tipografía según tu imagen de marca…

 

 

PASO 2:

Elige el flujo de trabajo de la aplicación, funciones, complementos y otras características técnicas. Y … ¡¡sin tener que escribir ningún código complicado!!

 

 

PASO 3:

Publica tu aplicación directamente en la Play Store de Google y en la App Store de Apple. Haz que tu aplicación esté fácilmente disponible para usuarios de iOS y Android.

 

Además te permite:

  • Acceso a ¿datos /estadísticas? de tus clientes
  • Asignar puntos por acción
  • Automatizar campañas
  • Personalizar el diseño de tus apps con tu marca
  • Digital punch card
  • Tener feedback /reviews
  • Geofencing, geo valla o geo cerca
  • Galería de imágenes
  • Integración con CRM
  • Integración con SMS
  • Integraciones con tu plataforma de email
  • Integración con redes sociales
  • Actualizaciones de por vida
  • Compartir contenido
  • Localizador de local o tienda
  • Envío ILIMITADO de notificaciones

 

 

Una vez compres la Versión Básica, puedes acceder también a 4 OTOs o ampliaciones:

 

OTO 1 – Versión Business

Licencia Business Básica – 97$ Pago Único
Licencia Business Agencia – 147$ Pago Único

 

  • Crea hasta 500 apps móviles o APPS ILIMITADAS (según versión)
  • Accede a la Versión PRO de Agencia
  • Crea “Aplicaciones Contenedor”, que pueden tener dentro cientos de aplicaciones en una sola app, y gestiónalas todas de forma centralizada (perfecto para cadenas o franquicias)
  • Módulos y Características adicionales: Mensajes en piloto automático, sistema de chat integrado y mucho más
  • Sistema de geolocalización avanzado que envía notificaciones a tus clientes cuando se encuentran en un lugar específico, como por ejemplo cerca de un negocio de la competencia, con lo que puedes indicarles con un mensaje que tú no estás lejos
  • Gestor de cuentas dedicado para ayudarte más deprisa con cualquier problema que te surja (y con nuestro soporte desde Socialancer incorporado)
  • Derechos de desarrollador para las apps que hayas creado
  • Webinar de Entrenamiento Exclusivo de 3 horas (en inglés) para dominar la creación de apps y habilidades de ventas
  • Webinar de Entrenamiento Exclusivo sobre cómo monetizar apps, proporcionar valor y ganar dinero con tus clientes
  • Incluye tu propia marca en el backend de la plataforma

 

OTO2 – Versión Revendedor

Licencia Revendedor Lite (10 cuentas) – Ahora 197$ Pago Único
Licencia Revendedor Pro (30 cuentas) – Ahora – 297$ Pago Único
Licencia Revendedor Ninja (100 cuentas) – Ahora – 497$ Pago Único

 

  • Crea hasta 100 Cuentas de usuario de Agencia PRO (según versión)
  • Vende cuentas de clientes a CUALQUIER precio si quieres y quédate con los beneficios
  • Soporte Prioritario
  • Paquete de Marketing completo que incluye imágenes, gráficos y emails
  • Paquete completo de campañas de Facebook Ads y de retargeting de públicos (en inglés)
  • Copy de conversión probado en inglés para atraer clientes
  • Entrenamiento detallado paso a paso sobre cómo generar tráfico hacia la oferta de tu franquiciado

 

OTO3 – AppsKitPro Hecho Para Ti (DFY)

Licencia DFY dROId Plata – Ahora 47$ Pago Único
Licencia DFY dROId Oro – Ahora – 97$ Pago Único

 

  • Servicio de creación de apps hecho para ti
  • Envío de 10 Pantallas de Inicio para apps mensuales en nichos probados
  • 10 kits de creatividades y módulos
  • Estos kits incluyen lo necesario para crear una aplicación en cuestión de minutos
  • Pantallas de Inicio que incluyen pantallas de temporada
  • Estrategias para conseguir nuevos clientes y potenciar a los que ya tienes
  • La Versión ORO añade lo siguiente: Módulo de Reservas de Taxis, Módulo de Tiques para Eventos, Sistema de Pedidos de Comida, Módulo de Contenedor de Apps, Módulo de Reservas de Hoteles

 

OTO4 – AppsKitPro Academy

Ahora un único pago de 447$

 

  • Acceso súper exclusivo a entrenamientos y estrategias secretas (en inglés)
  • Aprende a crear un negocio completo de creación de apps para clientes locales y globales
  • Soporte de máximo nivel
  • Te llevarán de la mano durante la implementación
  • Consigue un certificado de calificación como Consultor Local Certificado de AppsKitPro para aumentar tu credibilidad y el portafolio
  • Los entrenamientos incluyen grabaciones de entrenamientos y webinars en directo

 

 

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HubSpot’s 5-Step Process to Fix Images With Facebook Debugger

With 2.4 billion monthly active users on Facebook, it’s important that your posts show up correctly in the newsfeed.

But we’ve all been there. You’re drafting a post and the wrong image shows up in the preview. Or worse, no image is showing up at all.

How can you fix this?

It’s actually an easy process. Using the Facebook debugger tool, you can ensure your social media posts are formatted properly.

Below, let’s review HubSpot’s step-by-step process for fixing images with the Facebook debugger tool.

What Is the Facebook Link Debugger?

The debugger tool allows you to see what information Facebook pulls for a specific URL. For instance, if you want to share a blog post, you can use the debugger tool to see what image, preview text, and title will show up in the newsfeed.

As a marketer, you write and promote blog posts often. However, understanding the code or how your blog page is built is a different matter.

Have you ever posted a blog on Facebook and the incorrect image or no image at all shows up in the preview? That’s because your blog page doesn’t have open graph tags (the meta title, description, and image) set up correctly.

The Facebook debugger tool simplifies this process, so all you need to do is communicate the issues found on the debugger tool with the developer and let them know that the errors. For example, it could be something like this, “the og:image tag is pointing to the wrong URL.” The tool facilitates the conversation between you as a marketer and your web engineers.

Now that we’ve explained the purpose of this tool, let’s dive into how you use it.

How to Use Facebook’s Link Debugger

Using the debugger tool is simple. Below is HubSpot’s five-step process:

1. Paste the URL in the debugger tool.

To begin, copy the URL of the blog post and enter it into the debugger tool. Then, click “Debug.”

Once you click “Debug,” you will see the information Facebook will use when posted on its platform.

For example, below I’ve pasted in a link to a HubSpot blog post.

Facebook debugger tool homepage.

2. Review the information and any error codes.

After you hit “Debug”, the tool will give you the information that it will use when posted to its platform. Plus, it also gives a preview so you can see if your image will post correctly.

If everything is as expected, then you’re good to go.

If not, you might experience a few errors on this page. Facebook will put errors in a “Warnings That Should Be Fixed” section at the top of the page.

You could encounter errors like:

  • Missing images: Facebook can’t find an image and guesses which one to use.
  • Old images: Facebook is showing an old image.
  • Image resolution: The image is missing due to image size and resolution.
  • Incorrect images: Facebook is pulling the wrong image.

There are also other errors you could get surrounding open graph tags, but for the focus of this blog, we’ll only touch on images. As an aside, to fix these issues, you’ll want to include open graph tags in your coding for the post. Communicate any issues with the open graph tags to your web developer.

In the example below, you can see that there’s a warning, but since it doesn’t have to do with the image, we’ll ignore it. Below the warning, you can see the link preview. In this case, Facebook is pulling the correct image. After the preview, you’ll find the open graph data including title, meta description, and image link.

Facebook debugger tool showcases warnings and errors in post.
Facebook debugger tool portrays post preview so you can ensure everything looks accurate.
Facebook debugger tool shows issues with open graph tags.

3. Fix the issues.

If your images aren’t displaying correctly, you should be able to easily fix the issue. Below we’ll break down the common issues and how to fix them.

Missing Images

If Facebook can’t find your image, it might be because you didn’t make it your “Featured Image” in your CSM.

To correct this, check that your image is uploaded to your CSM.

Old Images

Sometimes Facebook will pull up old images because it can’t see the new one. This happens due to caching issues in your browser or content management system.

To fix this, clear your cache in your CSM, Facebook, and browser.

Image Size & Resolution

Your image could be missing due to image size and resolution. If you see an error regarding the “og:image” property, it typically means your image is too small. The minimum Facebook size is 200×200 pixels and the minimum resolution is 600×315.

Wrong Image on Page

If you have multiple images on your blog post, Facebook might pull the wrong image as the featured image.

When this happens, you need to edit the meta tag in the backend of your blog post (the HTML coding).

To do this, go to the HTML code, find the open graph tags, and edit the “og:image” tag to ensure it’s pointing to the URL of the correct featured image.

4. Scrape the URL again.

When you’ve gone through and fixed the issue, go back to the debugger tool and click, “Scrape Again.”

This will force Facebook to update your page in its cache.

Once it scrapes again, check the preview link and ensure your image is showing up how you want.

The debugger tool will list the time of the latest scrape and any errors that occurred during that process. The image below shows what that will look like.

Facebook debugger tool showcases what time a URL was scraped.

5. Share your post.

If there are no more errors, you’re ready to share your post! Go back into Facebook, input your URL, and check out the link preview.

Ensuring your social media posts look right is an important aspect of planning a social media campaign. If you’re having trouble getting the right information to display, you can guarantee the right title, description, and image with open graph tags.

Learn more about open graph tags here.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2019

How many times have you seen a killer marketing campaign and thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I would’ve thought of that!”

(Glossier, I’m looking at you.)

We’ve all been there.

The truth is, when you’re just starting out, it can be tough to know whether your strategy is as comprehensive and powerful as it could be.

To help ease some of that uncertainty, we’ve created this guide that’ll show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned.

Let’s dive into the five critical components of a complete marketing strategy in 2019, followed by some examples for further inspiration.

1. Create buyer personas.

If you can’t define who your audience is in one sentence, now’s the chance to do it. A buyer persona is an example of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy’s could define a buyer persona as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her 30’s living in a suburb, looking to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macy’s Marketing department can picture Budgeting Belinda and work with a clear definition in-mind.

Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information — including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of those attributes in her description.

You don’t have to create your buyer persona with a pen and paper. In fact, HubSpot offers a free template you can use to make your own (and it’s really fun). Buyer personas should be at the core of building your strategy.

2. Identify goals and tools.

Your marketing strategy goals should coincide with your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attend your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting online RSVPs by 10% at the end of the month.

Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals. Online software like social media schedulers gives you analytics to help you keep track of what your audience likes and doesn’t. Alternatively, you might consider Google Analytics to measure blog and web page performance.

Additionally, it will be helpful if you make your goals SMART — to do so, take a look at How to Write a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template].

3. Account for existing resources.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories — paid, owned, and earned media.

Recall that paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer paid media options that boost your exposure.

Owned media is any of the media you create — blog posts, ebooks, images, and infographics that your marketing team has created are examples of owned media.

Earned media is another way to say user-generated content. Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your company are all examples of earned media.

Gather your materials in these areas and consolidate them all in a single vehicle so you’ll have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate the three channels together to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that’s rolling out weekly content in your niche (owned media), you might consider promoting your blog posts on Twitter (paid media), which customers’ might then re-tweet (earned media). Ultimately, that will help you create a better, more well-rounded strategy.

The free option? Tweet it from your company’s Twitter or post it on Instagram and use relevant hashtags to spread it.

If you have resources that don’t fit into your goals, nix it. This is a great time to clean house or identify gaps in your materials.

4. Audit and plan media campaigns.

Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you. Focus on your owned media and marketing goals. For instance, will updating the CTAs at the end of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs to your event?

Next, look at your buyer personas. Let’s say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your persona’s challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don’t have any content that reflects that, make a 15-second demo video for Instagram to show how great your product is at solving that challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include the title, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it’s solving for your buyer persona.

For ideas on content creation or a more in-depth look at how to create a content plan, check out our post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

5. Bring it to fruition

Finally, we’re at the last step. First, let’s go over what you should have by this point:

1. Buyer persona(s).

2. Specific marketing goals that coincide with your business goals.

3. Existing paid, owned, and earned media inventory.

4. An audit of a media campaign.

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed (and by which teams).

The final step is to bring that all together — to put actions into your planning. Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.

To paint an example, let’s go back to the video software company.

Maybe in January, you will launch a software update that improves the exportation process for users. In April, you want to publish an ebook that explains editing terms to your buyer personas, and in September, you plan to launch an integration with other software.

Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be, as well. As long as the strategy includes all of the necessary information, you’ll be all set to take your company’s brand from okay to outstanding.

Now that we’ve explored five critical steps of a complete marketing strategy, let’s look at some “Why didn’t I think of that?” strategies to inspire your own.

Examples of Successful Marketing Strategies

1. Regal Movies

Digital strategy: Owned media

Regal Movies took the Halloween spirit to a new level, even re-naming their Twitter to reflect the spirit of the season. This “Monster Madness” poll is a fun, interactive way to get followers invested in Regal’s content:

Regal Movies' owned media

Image Source

Regal’s tweet is an example of owned media because the company was in full control of the answers followers gave (and, apparently, American Werewolf didn’t stand a chance). Regal effectively kept true to their brand by using only classic movies in their poll,, while still putting a modern spin on it.

This is also a good example of how retweets don’t necessarily equal success. While four retweets isn’t that big of a deal, check out the votes: 461. That means there were over 400 interactions with a single tweet.

2. Taco Bell

Digital strategy: User-generated content, earned media

Real love is taking your engagement photos at your favorite fast food Mexican restaurant — right? User-generated content is one of the best ways to gain traction in your strategy — it demonstrates your appreciation for loyal customers, and also incentivizes other users’ to promote your products for the chance at a similar shout-out. Plus, sometimes the content your brand-lovers create is really, really good:

It’s not every day someone takes engagement photos at a fast-food restaurant, and Taco Bell jumped at this earned media opportunity. Earned media is at work here because this couple is saying they love baja blasts and crunchwraps as much as they love each other — so it must be delicious.

3. Small Girls PR

Digital strategy: Event marketing

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?

Small Girls PR is a boutique PR company based in New York, and one of the company’s talents is throwing amazing events for their clients, like Olay. This event recap carousel on Instagram is an effective event marketing example.

Event marketing is a fantastic opportunity to boost awareness for your brand. Not every business needs to throw lavish events, either. Event marketing can be as simple as the last company outing you had at your team’s favorite brewery.

Posting a quick recap on Instagram sheds light on your business’s culture, and demonstrates your appreciation for your employees’, ideally incentivizing others to apply.

4. Diesel Cafe

Digital strategy: Word of mouth

Boston-local cafe Diesel Cafe is more than just a great location to get vegan bagels. It also rocks at word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, Diesel even has a website dedicated to it — a place where fans can submit letters about the fun times they’ve had at the cafe:

Check your company’s Yelp climate. Are people giving you nice reviews? Showcasing some of them on your social channels is an effective opportunity to provide social proof that your products or services are a worthwhile investment, since people typically trust peers more than ads.

5. Target

Digital strategy: Paid media, Twitter cards

If you’ve got the budget for paid media, take full advantage of it. Paid media is when you pay social channels, like Twitter, to promote your content on their site. By doing this, your content reaches new audiences you might not be able to reach organically:

An inclusive ad from Target about fall shopping uses Twitter cards to promote their brand and offer easier ways to shop — simply click on the photo, and you’re redirected to a purchase page. More social channels are offering ways for shoppers to purchase in-app or close to it, driving sales and boosting exposure for brands.

Ultimately, creating a complete marketing strategy isn’t something that can happen overnight. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to ensure you’re reaching your ideal audience, whenever and wherever they want to be reached. Stick with it (and use some of the resources we’ve included in this post), and over time, research and customer feedback will help you refine your strategy to ensure you’re spending most of your time on the marketing channels your audience cares most about.

How to Generate Leads on LinkedIn, According to LinkedIn’s VP of Marketing

As a marketer, you’re undoubtedly aware of some of the major social media sites you can use for lead generation.

I’m willing to bet you’ve already heard about the importance of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter — and if you use all three as part of your lead generation strategy, you might think you’re all set.

But if you’re not using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool, you could be missing out on a major opportunity to grow both brand recognition and revenue.

In fact, studies have shown that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.

This makes sense. Consider the average Instagram user — scrolling through her feed, liking photos of her friend’s beach vacation and her sister’s bridal shower, and occasionally using the platform to find and purchase products.

Alternatively, the average LinkedIn user is on the site specifically for professionally-geared content. They’re already seeking out information to help grow their businesses. If you can provide them with high-quality content, it becomes much easier to convert.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, particularly when trending content on LinkedIn ranges from SEO to customer acquisition to goal-setting. Without a clear strategy in mind, the task of lead generation on LinkedIn can feel challenging.

Justin Shriber, Vice President of Marketing at LinkedIn, was interviewed as part of HubSpot’s new campaign, “Advertising, a Look Behind the Screens“. Take a look at the full interview series here, or keep reading to learn some of his key insights regarding lead generation and building a brand across the platform.

Shriber’s Steps for Growing a Brand and Generating Leads on LinkedIn

1. Make sure your executives have a strong LinkedIn presence.

When you’re first getting started on LinkedIn, it can be tricky to know where to dedicate your initial efforts. Should you create a compelling LinkedIn Page, and immediately start posting content to your business’s feed?

Maybe, instead, you should start by posting all your job openings to attract new talent?

Shriber suggests another strategy: “We definitely want to fuel the growth of small businesses that have aspirations to grow to become larger, and we put together a playbook that allows them to do that. The playbook always starts with the individual LinkedIn profiles of the employees at the company, and in particular, the executives at the company.”

“[Executives are] trendsetters. They can make statements about what they stand for, and in many cases, develop a strong following in relatively short order.”

Consider the leaders at your company and their current LinkedIn presence. Could they contribute more thoughtfully to LinkedIn groups within your industry, or post more often to their feeds? More likely than not, your executives could be doing more to grow their LinkedIn following.

For instance, let’s take a look at Sallie Krawcheck’s LinkedIn activity:

Krawcheck is CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, and a powerful leader in the financial industry.

Krawcheck uses LinkedIn wisely, leveraging the platform to promote content from her own investment company, while also liking or sharing other relevant financial content geared towards women.

Ultimately, Krawcheck uses LinkedIn to build a personal brand and help her followers find useful content related to investing and women in finance. Ideally, your own executives should be doing the same.

2. Create a powerful LinkedIn Page for your business.

Once you’ve ensured your own executives have a strong LinkedIn presence, it’s time to cultivate an impressive page.

You’ll want to ensure your page is active, with thought-provoking content and contributions to conversations already happening on LinkedIn.

Shriber notes — “Once you’ve got a strategy related to your executives and their presence on LinkedIn, step two is to think about the presence of your company on LinkedIn. We have a product called LinkedIn Pages, which has been incredibly powerful for businesses that want to establish their place in the world’s professional community.”

“[LinkedIn Pages is] a free product,” Shriber adds, “and really, at the end of the day, it’s a place for you to stage the content that you have to offer, and really promote all of the benefits that you have for people that want to follow you.”

He continues, “So, when you come to a good LinkedIn Page, you’ll find information about what the company does, but beyond that, some of the thought leadership that’s happening. There will be video content as well as the written word, commentary from executives, but also in many cases, information that’s curated from other sources. It doesn’t just need to be from the marketing group or from an internal source.”

To ensure your page is strong, consider posting a variety of content, including video. Additionally, follow the page analytics closely to figure out what content resonates with your audience.

It’s equally critical you use LinkedIn to join communities and have conversations with other professionals in your industry. LinkedIn, at its core, is a social platform like any other. If you don’t engage with your followers and follow trending articles related to your business, you’ll lose out on making meaningful connections.

If you post an article once a week and then log out, you haven’t leveraged LinkedIn for all it has to offer. Instead, you should be learning from others in your industry to further inspire better content and connect more closely with the prospects you’re hoping to attract.

3. Use paid products to ensure your content reaches your intended audience.

Businesses with small marketing budgets may be wary to put money behind paid campaigns on LinkedIn. They often ask– we have a small marketing budget and we want to use it wisely. Where should we spend it?

Remember, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. And, ultimately, using LinkedIn’s paid products will help your brand and content appear in prospects feeds.

Shriber told me, “Once you’ve built that strong LinkedIn Page, companies tend to realize that that audience that’s consuming information is incredibly valuable, and it’s different than what they’re finding on other platforms.”

He adds, “We have a series of paid products that you can then move into that allow you to insert content into the LinkedIn feed. Now you’ve got a series of followers or you’ve got a set of targeted members that you care about. Suddenly, they’re seeing your content appear in the feed itself and there are some really rich ways to turn that engagement into actual activity.”

LinkedIn can help you convert prospects faster, with limited friction. For instance, on one of your paid ads, your prospects might have the option to immediately fill out a form or respond to an event. Since their information is already saved on LinkedIn, it’s a one-touch process for them. Best of all, it provides your sales team with invaluable data related to their industry and how you might best serve their professional needs.

4. Ensure you have strong sales and marketing alignment.

You’re likely all too familiar with the recent shift in consumer buying behavior. Nowadays, customers are researching online ahead of time and typically use marketing content to help inform their purchasing decision before even reaching out to a sales rep.

Shriber describes the shift like this: “What you’re seeing now, is consumers are becoming more savvy about learning about products and services that they need and progressing deep into the sales process before they reach out, raise their hand, and say that they need help.”

He adds, “It’s becoming incumbent upon marketing to really meet the needs of customers that are investigating and exploring, and then seamlessly handing that off to salespeople so sales has context on the journey customers have already traveled.”

Additionally, he notes: “Salespeople, in many respects, are [also] becoming brand experts.”

“I’ve got a number of customers that have come to me and said, my salespeople know my target customers better than my marketing group. They’ve been in the business for 20 years, and they know all the key people, so I’m going to use them to create awareness, build a brand in a way that historically has been reserved for marketing.”

On the flip side, of course, marketers are playing a more heavy role in closing a deal. Shriber told me, “Imagine, for example, that you’re procurement and you’re trying to negotiate a contract. Historically, that’s been the domain of a sales professional, but today, savvy marketers know that that’s where you are in the sales process.”

Shriber adds, “They’re able to target that procurement person, send in some relevant content related to validation of the solution, why it’s valuable, what other customers are saying about it, and all of a sudden, that marketer has played a key role in getting the deal closed.”

All of which is to say — it’s absolutely critical you align your sales and marketing teams, since they play equally valuable parts in finding prospects and closing deals, and they overlap more heavily now than ever before.

To figure out strategies for better aligning your sales and marketing departments, take a look at this Ultimate Guide to Sales and Marketing.

Ultimately, if you aren’t using LinkedIn or aren’t using it often, you’re likely missing out on major opportunities to grow your business. As Shriber told me, “We’ve really tried to think through the full spectrum of what you might care about, from building a brand to generating leads, whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise — and we built playbooks that address you where you are, and help you to get where you’re going.”

Learn more from Justin Shriber and other advertising leaders by accessing an exclusive interview series with LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook.

How 10 Companies Use Twitter’s Unique Features for Growth

Twitter is an undeniably popular social network — in fact, the social site is ranked as the 7th most visited website in the world.

Additionally, 88% of medium-sized businesses use Twitter for marketing purposes.

You likely already know about the power of Twitter for marketing. However, there are a number of unique features on the platform you might not know about that can strengthen your Twitter strategy.

For instance — you might know about Trending Topics, but did you know you can figure out which topics are trending in your own personalized social networks, rather than across the web as a whole? Alternatively, how often have you used Twitter polls to engage and connect with your audience?

To ensure you’re using Twitter in the most meaningful way possible, we’ve created this list filled with examples of how 10 companies use Twitter to reach and engage with both new and existing audiences. Let’s dive in, now.

This blog content is a taste of what you’ll find in the HubSpot Academy Twitter Marketing Strategy course. If you like what you read, you can take the full, free course here.

1. Create content that aligns with trending topics.

First, let’s consider the trending topics feature on Twitter. These trending topics are configured based on your personal preferences.

There are a couple of choices you can make — you can choose to see everything from your country, everything from a certain city, or you can even choose tailored preferences (also called “Trends for You”) which relies on the Twitter algorithm to show what’s trending from the people you follow and their Twitter communities.

If you choose to follow “Trends for You”, you’re more likely to see tweets based upon subjects you prefer, since presumably you follow people who like similar topics.

There are two ways to take advantage of trending topics. One great way is to plan ahead. It may seem funny to plan ahead for something that’s trending, but on Twitter there are a number of things that trend at certain times. That could include holidays, certain TV shows or movies, or even hashtags like #MondayMotivation.

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Here are a couple of examples of how Skittles takes advantage of trending topics. They have clearly planned ahead for these particular days to create content that is more likely to trend:

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 2.33.05 PM

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As another example, the team at G Fuel uses trending topics to create conversation.

Patrick Curran, the director of social media at G Fuel, explains — “I love to hop on other conversations and threads from other companies, and trending topics that don’t mention us or our name whatsoever.”

Curran says, “It gives us the ability to become a name in a thread that, again, doesn’t have anything to do with us, but that gives us great exposure. If it’s a comment that someone likes, we just gained a fan. So it has everything to do with interacting with other threads, interacting with other companies. That’s how you get your name out there.”

Two sites that can help you find what’s trending beyond what you’re seeing on the Twitter platform itself include Trendsmap and Trends24.

2. Live-tweet during major events.

Another popular Twitter action that goes hand-in-hand with trending topics is the idea that you can live-tweet during a certain event. This could be something like tweeting during a sports event or TV show.

Live-tweeting can also be extremely beneficial if you’re attending an event with your company or if you’re hosting an event. It allows you to bring people who aren’t there into the conversation.

Here’s a great example of how SEMRush combined live-tweeting at INBOUND with some prepared material to share with the audience who couldn’t attend the conference:

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One tip is to make sure that you are being thoughtful of your audience and don’t go too overboard with live-tweeting at a conference or an event, because you may turn a few people off if you’re bombarding them. Leave some intervals in-between your tweets.

3. Use gifs available in the Twitter platform, or create your own.

Companies should really be jumping on the animated gif bandwagon. You can use the Giphy gifs that are available in the Twitter platform.

Alternatively, you can create your own, which is what many brands choose to do so they’re not diluting their brand with other people’s content. Here’s an example of how HubSpot creates its own gif to draw attention to HubSpot’s Support team:

However, I would challenge brands to consider using popular gifs or gifs that align with pop culture, because it creates a connection with your audience in a way that you may not be able to do with your own branded gif.

SmallBizLady, Melinda Emerson tells us — “On Twitter, animated gifs rule. So, I think any time you can respond to someone with an animated gif, or put an animated gif on a blog post that you got, people love that. People love to laugh. People love to be entertained, so you can’t go wrong.”

For instance, check out this branded gif from Kate Spade:

Alternatively, some brands don’t use gifs in the tweets in their main feed, but they’ll use animated gifs in their responses, such as this example from G Fuel:

4. Use Twitter polls to engage with your audience.

Twitter polls is another effective feature that can get the conversation flowing.

For instance, HubSpot uses Twitter polls to both educate and engage its audience:

Additionally, T-Mobile uses polls to have fun with their fans:

Take a look at How to Use Twitter Polls to Engage Your Audience: 13 Examples From Real Brands to learn more about Twitter’s poll feature.

5. Use Twitter Moments to compile multiple tweets.

Next are Twitter Moments, which is a feature that is often underutilized.

Social media strategist Dhariana Lozano tells us — “Companies can really take advantage of Twitter Moments. Twitter Moments allows you to take up to 10 tweets and compile them into one continuous story. It’s when you go on Twitter and you see the trending topics, and you can click on them, and there’s multiple tweets attached to them. That’s what a Twitter Moment is, and you can create one for your brand.”

Lozano adds, “There are lots of ways to use them. Think about event recaps, Twitter chat recaps. Even if you have 10 tips that you can put together as a resource for your brand, that is a great way to put Twitter Moments to use.”

Here’s a wonderful example from General Electric, which put together a Twitter Moment to demonstrate how technology and fashion coincide for the Met Gala:

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If you’re interested in creating your own Twitter moment, take a look at How to Create a Twitter Moment: A Step-by-Step Guide.

6. Consider implementing video and live broadcasts on Twitter.

While putting together our Twitter course, all of our influencers talked about the power of video. It can be used to inform, educate, and entertain — additionally, it’s often a preferred method of consuming content.

You might not realize this, but you can use video content on Twitter to engage with an audience. Check out this example from Intel, which uses video to provide information about one of their newest products:

Additionally, let’s talk about how you can create live broadcasts on Twitter. We asked Twitter expert Madalyn Sklar about going live on the platform:

“Twitter Live is a great feature, but it’s highly underutilized. I think people forget that there is a live button when you’re composing a tweet, and some people say, ‘’Well, why would I do a live video? What’s the purpose?’ Video is a great way to connect with your community, and so doing this live allows you to talk to them in real time.”

Sklar adds, “When you’re broadcasting live, you’ll see all the comments, you’ll see the conversation happening, and you can actually talk to people and it makes for a really fun way to converse with your community.”

There are two ways you can go live on Twitter. The first is through your smartphone. You can start a broadcast from Twitter’s Periscope app or the Twitter app. Once you’re live, anyone on Twitter and in Periscope can join the live video and see your experience. Best of all, the video will show up at the top of your news feed if people go to your profile.

Alternatively, you can use Twitter’s Periscope Producer Platform, which enables you to create higher-quality video with professional-grade cameras or multiple cameras. There are a lot of brands and media organizations that use Periscope producer for their content.

7. Don’t forget about text.

In the midst of all of the different kinds of content that you can create on Twitter, it’s vital you don’t forget about text. There is a ton of power in the text posts that you share on Twitter. In fact, you can have a successful Twitter strategy that relies primarily on text.

Ana Filipovic from Motley Fool explains — “If you look at our Twitter account right now, we’re using a lot of post text, a lot of polls, a lot of questions to engage with our followers because we really want to have that conversation with them and we really want to be positioned as a thought leader in the industry. In order to grow to that point, we’ve employed different tactics that did include linking to our articles, CTAs, and videos and images — all those things you use when you want to grow your business.”

“If you check out our account maybe in six months, we might be using a different strategy and that’s the beauty of social media. It really gives you the opportunity to try out different things and see what works best with your audience.”

Ultimately, you’ll want to test these unique features to see what resonates best with your audience. As you can see, there are a lot of options for the kinds of content you can share on Twitter. You are only limited by your own imagination, so start brainstorming and get creating!

Take our full Twitter Strategy course here.

35 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Halloween is a fun holiday, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It doesn’t have recognizable songs or vacation days associated with it, and it falls on a busy time of year for most people in the workforce.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip the festivities at your office Halloween celebration.

How many days of the year are you encouraged to dress up and goof around at work? Probably just one — Halloween — and even then, it can be hard to know what’s office-appropriate.

We want you to have fun this Halloween, so we’re taking the work out if it for you. We’ve compiled a list of DIY Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together, inexpensive, and perfect for the digital marketer or tech professional.

If your family and friends don’t get your costume, your colleagues definitely will.

29 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Computer or App-Related Costumes

1. Alt Text

Alt text isn’t just the metadata of an image published on the web — you could also say it’s an “alternative” fashion statement with the text to describe the era. This was HubSpot Director of Content Corey Wainwright’s office Halloween costume a few years ago. It’s great because you don’t even look dressed up if you have a casual office dress code, so you can just blend in.

To dress as alt text this halloween, break out your best 90s alternative garb — our coworker Corey went with black jeans, combat boots, and a flannel. Then, tape hyphenated text that best describes what you’re wearing, much like an image of your outfit would do online to help search engines read the file.

We edited a sash of alt text on to the alternatively dressed girl below, just to help you picture your awesome costume.

Computer costume of girl in 90s alternative outfit with alt text written across her shirtSource: That’s Life

2. SEO Ninja

Speaking of dorking out on SEO, you could be everyone’s favorite LinkedIn title — the SEO ninja. Dress in all black, buy a black ski mask, and tape keywords all over yourself. Voila … you’re an actual ninja — just one much more concerned with search engine optimization than lurking in the darkness.

seo-ninja-costumeSource: Pinterest

3. Mobile App

Wander around holding an appetizer — candy, cheese and crackers, chips and dip … whatever you have on hand. Boom. You’re a mobile “app.”

This costume also doubles as a great way to introduce yourself and make friends at a party.

mobile-app-costume.pngSource: Opportunity Max

4. Instagrammer

Want another way to turn handing out food into a costume? Dress up like a hipster and hand out graham crackers. You’re an “instant” “gram” cracker server — or, for short, an Instagrammer. Pun absolutely intended.

5. Ghostwriter

Have you ever written something for somebody else’s byline? Such is the life of a “ghostwriter.” Turn your author-less accomplishment into this year’s office Halloween costume.

To dress up as a ghostwriter, grab a white sheet and cut a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, get a book and one of those feather quills (or just get a feather, I suppose), and boo — you’re a ghostwriter.

ghostwriter-costume

6. Whitespace

Whitespace on the internet might just denote all the blank space you use to help your design stand out, but on Halloween, “whitespace” isn’t just the absence of space.

Dress in all white — add white face paint and a white wig if you’re ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit, like a colored tie or scarf, or even a paint splotch. That color splotch will make the white space more prominent, transforming you into “whitespace.”

7. Error 404 Code

You’ve most likely encountered a funny error 404 page before, and you can make it a funny costume, too. Grab a sheet of paper, write “Error 404: Costume Not Found,” and tape it to your outfit.

 

A photo posted by RachAel Klopfenstein (@theklopf) on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

8. (Monty) Python

If you’re into programming code, British comedy, and low-effort costumes, being (Monty) Python is perfect. Dress up in anything remotely snakelike in your closet: olive green clothing, snakeskin accessories, and fake vampire teeth that can serve as your fangs.

Then, to amp up the dork factor on this costume, add two coconuts or a gold chalice to embody Monty Python on his quest for the Holy Grail.

9. Facebook

Grab face paint or eyeliner and write “book” across your cheeks. Just like that, you’re the world’s biggest social network for Halloween.

And for your sake, we hope your colleagues actually get it:

Halloween-Jim_Bookface-Jim.jpgSource: AndPop

10. Unicorn

Here’s another tech-friendly, double-entendre costume: Be your own version of a tech unicorn. Here at HubSpot, we love this tech icon, and you can easily make your own version of a unicorn horn with help from this article.

aid2617087-v4-900px-Make-a-Unicorn-Horn-Step-10-Version-3.jpgSource: WikiHow

11. Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are nothing to joke about — they can seriously threaten your technology and data security. But on Halloween, you can dress up as a play on phishing emails for an easy DIY costume. All you need are a stick, a piece of string, and an envelope. Bonus points if you own a bucket hat and vest to complete the ensemble. Check out an amusing version of this costume below.

Email phishing Halloween costume with fishing rod with Passwords label as baitSource: Car and Driver

12. Copycat

“CNTRL + C” is the popular keyboard macro allowing you to copy items from one place to another on your computer. Well, here’s a technology spin on a classic Halloween costume. All you’ll need are cat ears, eyeliner-drawn whiskers, and a sheet of paper. Write “CNTRL + C” on the paper, tape it to your outfit, and you’re a “copycat.”

Girl in copycat Halloween costume with black cat makeup and CNTRL + C labeled necklaceSource: BuzzFeed

13. The Blue Screen of Death

You know the screen, even if you don’t know the morbid nickname the tech world has given it. This classic error screen is known for signaling the end of a computer’s useful life, and you know it when you see it. It causes so much stress on site, in fact, that the color alone is scary enough for October 31.

Believe it or not, there are official T-shirts you can get with the blue screen of death copy printed on them. Want to make your own? All you need is a royal blue t-shirt and a printed version of this horrifying error message to pin to it.

T-shirt with Blue Screen of Death error message printed on itSource: Spreadshirt

14. GPS Costume

This will work best with two people. You can cut a Point A and Point B pin shape out of cardboard, paint both red, and simply write A and B on it. From there, you can personalize the costume whichever way you’d like. You can even get more intricate by finding a T-Shirt with a map on it. 

GPS office costume

Source: Pinterest

15. Dead Battery and Low Wi-Fi 

Nothing is more terrifying than a dead battery or no Wi-Fi. This costume brings all of techy’s fears to life. It’s also pretty simple to create. Just tape or glue images of dead Wi-Fi and low battery signals on to a black shirt. To emphasize the low-connectivity fears, put on some zombie or skeleton makeup. 

Although this can work as a couples costume, this could also be a fun option for office colleagues. Since both costumes within the set don’t rely on each other to be understandable, an individual could also wear either the Dead Battery outfir or the No-Wi-Fi suit and still be easily recognized.

Dead Battery and Low Wi-Fi Halloween Costume

Source: Pinterest

Emoji Costumes

16. Information Desk Girl

This genius professional found a golden (or, rather, purple) opportunity to be the “information desk emoji, the many gestures of whom we’ve all come to know, love, and use at some point in a text conversation.

The best part about this awesome tech reference is that you don’t need to alter your regular attire to make it work. As Naomi shows us below, it’s all in the hand gestures.

17. Dancing Girls Emoji

If you’re the owner of one of the nearly more than 1 billion Apple iPhones sold worldwide, you’re probably familiar with the dancing girls emoji, shown below.

The easiest version of this costume is to find a buddy and dress all in black together. If you’re committed to emoji authenticity, buy black bunny ears to complete the look.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.13.14 PM.pngSource: Brit + Co

18. Heart Eyes

Are you just in love with Halloween? Prove it with this passionate emoji face. You don’t have to paint your entire face, chin to hairline, to get the Heart Eyes Emoji just right, but it certainly helps. It’ll also disguise your stress when you’re at your most focused during the day.

“This employee just seems to love her job, I can’t put my finger on why,” your manager will think … See how to paint this emoji onto your face below (you’ll need some help for this one).

Topical Office Costumes

19. Fully Vested

At work, “fully vested” usually refers to one’s ability to earn all matching funds of a 401(k) retirement plan. But for some, you just can’t help but picture someone wearing lots of sleeveless jackets at the same time. Now’s the time to personify that image.

If you work in a company where people would get the joke, put on a bunch of vests (at least three, but even more is encouraged), and that’s about it. You’re fully vested.

20. Nerd

What I love about the nerd costume is that it’s effortless and always unique — there are many ways to be a nerd in this day and age. Are you a tech nerd, a video game nerd, or a book nerd? The sky is the limit with this costume. Show up wearing glasses with your favorite accessories, such as a magic wand, book, or lightsaber, to complete the effect.

Worlds cutest nerd costumes. Erin Harrison and Chandler Abney everyone!! ;) Follow me for my next Halloween costume!

Source: Pinterest

21. A Solar Eclipse

Last year, the solar eclipse took over the internet — and the country. As millions of people flocked to the path of totality to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of this rare event without burning their corneas, millions more made jokes about it on social media.

To dress up as a solar eclipse for Halloween, you’ll need a work pal to dress up as the sun and the moon with you. One of you wears black, the other wears yellow, and you both wear dark sunglasses. Then, at the Halloween party, the one dressed in black spends the whole time standing in front of the one in yellow.

Two girls dressed in solar eclipse costume at an officeSource: Pinterest

22. The ‘Evil Kermit’ Meme

If you haven’t heard of this mega-popular meme this year, you’ve probably seen it somewhere: It features Kermit the Frog, face-to-face with his evil twin, Evil Kermit. Evil Kermit looks identical, except for the black cloak.

For this costume, you and a coworker can keep it simple: You both wear green shirts, and one of you wears a black hoodie or jacket on top. If you really want to commit to the costume, you’ll spring for some green face paint to complete the ensemble. Walk around the party together, facing one another, for maximum effect.

evil kermit halloween.png

23. Fifty Shades of Grey: PG Paint Swatch Costume

Want to do something cheeky, but still office friendly? This is PG pun costume shares the name of a popular romantic novel and film, “50 Shades of Grey.”

Go to your local paint or hardware store and buy 50 grey paint swatches. Then, tape them to a black shirt and tell your colleagues you’re, “50 Shades of Grey.” 

50 Shades of Grey Pun Halloween Costume

Source: Fox 24 of Kansas City

24. The “But That’s None of My Business” Meme

If you love Kermit the Frog, but don’t have a colleague to team up with for the “Evil Kermit” costume, consider going solo with a costume based off of the “But That’s None of My Business” meme, where Kermit is seen judgmentally drinking coffee.

All you have to do is stick a pair of eyes on a green hoodie and start sipping your tea or coffee. For an added effect, you can cut a white photo frame to hold in front of you so you can look like an image posted on social media. 

But That's None of My Business Meme Halloween CostumeSource: Pinterest

25. Eleven from Stranger Things

Eleven from Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things is universally beloved, and it’s a bonus that her signature look is a comfortable and easy-to-assemble costume. Rock your best Eleven with a dress, a denim jacket, and a box of Eggo Waffles.

the-stranger-things-actress-behind-eleven-doesnt-love-eating-tons-of-eggo-waffles.pngSource: Business Insider

26. Scoops Ahoy Employee from Stranger Things

While Eleven, noted above, is an absolute classic Stranger Things character, 2019’s season inspired another great costume opportunity. During the newest installment of episodes, Stave, a main character played by Joe Keery, worked at an icecream shop called Scoops Ahoy. As a server, he had to wear a goofy sailor uniform alongside his coworker Robin

Since the season aired, the uniform has been regularly worn by cosplayers and at Comic Con as people mimic Steve and Robin.

Since it’s a pretty generic sailor uniform, you might be able to easily find one that’s similar in a variety of Halloween shops. This costume could work for both individuals or two colleagues. 

27. Pokémon GO Trainer

Pokémon GO had roughly 45 million people walking around in cities glued to their phones last summer (I, among them). To pay homage to the explosion of this tech trend, you’ll need a t-shirt that’s red, yellow, or blue. Using fabric paint or permanent marker, write Valor (for red), Instinct (for yellow), or Mystic (for blue) on your shirt.

Spend Halloween walking around pointing your phone at objects, and you’re the spitting image of a Pokémon GO trainer. Gotta catch ’em all, right?

 

A photo posted by Odinia (@marshmallowsie) on Aug 9, 2016 at 4:44pm PDT

 

 

Group Office Costumes

28. The Sales Lifecycle

At HubSpot, we love embracing team costumes. In 2018, a handful of HubSpot employees grabbed some T-Shirts and wrote the stages of the sales lifecycle on them. Then they lined up accordingly and passed a fake prospect listing around to symbolize the process of making a sale. This was such an easy costume to coordinate that the team could even include an out-of-office employee over a video call. 

HubSpot Employee sales cycle halloween costumeSource: Maggie Bomze, Principal Customer Success Manager of Strategic Accounts at HubSpot

29. Social Media Channels

While this Pinterest image shows classmates posting as the major social media networks, this could easily be modified to fit the office setting. 

Simply pick out a solid list of the hottest social networks, then by blank T-Shirts that match the colors of each platform. From there, you can either draw, tape or glue the logos on to each shirt. If you’re not interested in the tutus worn below, you could also find matching pants, or just wear jeans and keep things simple.

Social Media Network team costumes

Source: Pinterest

30. Google Algorithm Update

Find a couple of office buddies for this one — one panda, one penguin, and one pigeon. You might be thinking, “what the heck is the pigeon algorithm update?” 1) It’s a thing, and 2) we checked Amazon for hummingbird costumes and there aren’t any cheap ones available.

google-algorithm-update-halloween-costumes.jpgSource: Opportunity Max

31. Black Hat and White Hat SEO

This is another SEO-related costume, and I think you can figure this one out on your own. I recommend wearing a black hat for one, and a white hat for the other, and having “SEO” embroidered on each one — which you can easily custom order.

Black hat with SEO label on topSource: SEO-Hacker

32. Snapchat Filters

Here’s another group costume idea that pays tribute to Snapchat’s filters feature.

There are numerous options that you and your team can choose from to embody this costume. You could dress up as vomiting rainbows, cat and dog ears, a flower crown, or a face swap, and this could be as DIY or store-bought as you’re interested in pursuing. For example, here’s some inspiration for a couple of the dog filters:

snapchat filter team costumeSource: PopSugar

33. Snapchat Ghosts

Put a marketing spin on a classic Halloween costume by arriving as a Snapchat ghost. You’ll all need a white sheet and to pick which ghost you like the most.

Snapchat Ghost team halloween costumeSource: YouTube

34. PAC-MAN and Company

Here’s yet another awesome ghostly costume idea your whole team at work can get in on. Have your team lead wear the yellow pie-shaped garb of PAC-MAN, with each team member dressed as the multi-colored ghosts that roam the screen in this vintage arcade game.

Just make sure the team lead doesn’t actually try to eat the ghosts — you’re in an office, and you’re all technically on the same team.

Group costume with PAC-MAN, four ghosts and fruit from the vintage arcade gameSource: Meningrey

35. Instagram Filters

For this group costume, you’ll need white t-shirts and fabric markers. Draw an Instagram photo frame on the front of your shirts, and each team member can write a different Instagram filter‘s name inside the photo frame. Or, create frame props with different filters on them like the group did below:

Instagram Filter Halloween costumesSource: Nails Magazine

The clothes don’t make the marketer, but the costume can certainly make the culture at your company. Find out what it takes to hire and train the best fits for your open roles in the free ebook, available below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published October 21, 2018 but was updated in October of 2019 for comprehensiveness.

15 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation

Are your contacts going with the flow, or are they just sitting dormant in your marketing database? If you don’t have any automated email workflows set up, your answer is probably the latter — which means you’re missing out on some major opportunities to nurture and engage your existing contacts.

Did you know that marketing automation can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity? But wait … there’s more.

Lead nurturing campaigns aren’t the only type of email marketing automation you can use to get more out of your contacts database. Think about the contacts who are already your customers. Email automation can not only help you convert leads into customers, but it can also help you delight your existing customers and encourage activity like greater product adoption, upsells, evangelism, and additional purchases. 

Email marketing automation is useful because it eliminates small but time consuming tasks, such as preparing email lists, sending generic messages, or scheduling events manually. This allows marketers and salespeople more time to work on more productive projects or bigger deals.

If you want to get more out of your contacts database, this post will give you some ideas for automated email workflows you can set up to engage and activate all different types of contacts in your database.

Setting Up Email Marketing Automation Workflows

If you hadn’t already guessed, email workflows need to be set up using marketing automation software. Different software providers will have different features and functionality, but the concept of marketing automation is pretty universal.

If you’re using HubSpot’s Workflows App, for example, you can create personalized, automated email workflows that can get triggered in a number of different ways — when a contact gets added to a list, submits a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your AdWords ads, or becomes a marketing qualified lead. 

You can also set up email workflows based on any information you have about the contacts in your marketing database, such a page views, email or social media clicks, content downloads, contact properties, or any combination of these and more. That’s some pretty powerful stuff! 

And that’s just the beginning of what you can do with workflows. Workflows can also enable you to automate other actions besides email, such as setting or clearing a contact property value, updating a contact’s lifecycle stage, adding/removing a contact from a list, and other administrative tasks that allow for more targeted, effective marketing to your prospects and customers. But we’ll save all that for another post. 😉

Now let’s walk through some examples of automated email workflows you can set up to start getting more out of your contacts database and marketing automation tools.

13 Examples of Email Marketing Automation Workflows You Should Try

1. Topic Workflows

Main Triggers: Page Views or Content Offer Downloads

Create a workflow for each of the industry-related topics you create content about. So if, hypothetically, you’re a unicorn breeder whose main content topics include unicorn diets, unicorn gear, and unicorn boarding, you could bucket your content marketing offers (e.g. ebooks, webinars, kits, etc.) and blog posts by these topics, create an email workflow for each topic, and trigger the appropriate workflow when one of your contacts views a page or downloads an offer centered around that topic.

You can trigger a content download workflow based on a form submission from a tool like HubSpot’s free conversion tool, HubSpot Marketing Free. (HubSpot customers: You can add Lead Flows, HubSpot’s pop-up forms, as an add-on by following the instructions here. To trigger an automated workflow in HubSpot, you can use the “Lead Flow Submission” option as the starting condition.)

So if a contact downloaded your ebook called 10 Tips for a Balanced Unicorn Diet, your “unicorn diet” workflow would be triggered, sending that contact other helpful content, like blog posts about unicorn dietary tips.

2. Blog Subscriber Welcome Workflow 

Main Trigger: Subscription to Your Blog

Give your brand new blog subscribers a nice, warm welcome with a blog welcome email. You can use this email to thank contacts for subscribing, remind them what they’ll get out of reading your blog, review their subscription settings (and allow them to make adjustments), and promote your blog’s best-performing articles or other offers.

Get tips for creating a successful blog welcome email here, and learn more about optimizing welcome emails here.

3. New Customer Welcome/Training Workflow

Main Trigger: Lifecycle Stage

While we’re on the subject of warm welcomes, consider setting up a series of welcome emails when a contact converts into a paying customer, which you can trigger when a contact’s lifecycle stage gets updated to “customer.”

Not only is this a great way to kick off your new customer relationship on a positive note, but it can also keep your customers engaged after they buy. And if your product or service requires a little training on your customers’ part, use this workflow as an opportunity to introduce helpful training materials on an incremental basis.

4. Engaged Contact/Evangelist Workflow

Main Triggers: Visits, Clicks, or Form Submissions

Create a dynamic list (we call these Smart Lists in HubSpot’s Marketing Platform) that automatically updates to include contacts who are really engaged with you. To create this list, use trigger criteria such as a high threshold of visits to your website, clicks on your emails or social media posts, or form submissions. Then create an email workflow to leverage this list as a way to encourage evangelism of your top content in social media.

Because these contacts are highly engaged with you already, they’re more apt to share your top content. You can also consider adding list criteria to pull in contacts with a certain number of Twitter followers so you can leverage the power of those social media influencers in your database. 

5. Lead Nurturing Workflow

Main Trigger: Multiple Top-of-the-Funnel Conversion Events 

If a contact has downloaded several of your top-of-the-funnel marketing offers like ebooks and webinars, it might be a good sign they’re ready for a little bit more. Set up workflows that help to advance these contacts further down the funnel.

If the contact is a lead, try sending them emails containing more middle-of-the-funnel content that might upgrade them to a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or an opportunity in your sales process. This workflow could include content and web pages you’ve identified from an attribution report analysis as influential in converting leads into customers — perhaps content like customer success stories/case studies, free trial offers, or product demos. 

(Bonus: If you’re using HubSpot’s Workflows, you could set up a condition that automatically upgrades these leads to a new lifecycle stage as a result!)

6. Internal Sales Rep Notification Workflow

Main Triggers: Bottom-of-the-Funnel Page Views/Conversion Events

On any given website, there are certain page visits and conversion events that indicate product interest more so than others. First, identify these pages and conversion events using an attribution reporting tool like HubSpot’s. You’ll notice that, more often than not, the pages you unearth will be your pricing page, your product pages, etc. — pages contacts view when they’re truly evaluating your products or services.

Use workflows here to trigger an internal email notification to your sales rep informing them of these high-value activities. Using personalization, give the rep all the information they need about the lead in question, including relevant mid- and bottom-of-the-funnel content that they can send to the lead in their outreach email. This allows you to connect sales reps with the best possible leads at the right time.

7. Re-Engagement Workflow

Main Trigger: Inactive Contacts

Reawaken inactive contacts with a re-engagement workflow, enrolling contacts once they’ve met certain list criteria. For example, you could set conditions such as the length of time since their last form submission, website visit, or email click, triggering the email when it’s been a while since a contact last engaged with you.

In your workflow, try sending them an exclusive offer or coupon to get them excited about your company again. For more tips about launching an effective email re-engagement campaign, check out this post.

8. Event Workflow

Main Trigger: Registration or Attendance

Hosting a live, in-person event? Or maybe an online event, like a webinar? Use email workflows to automate your communication to event registrants and attendees before, during, and after the event.

For example, create a workflow that delivers important information registrants should know leading up to the event, such as hotel accommodations and agenda information for live events, or webinar log-in information for online events. When the event ends, set up a workflow that gives attendees online access to session slides and continues to nurture them with additional content or promotion for future events. 

9. Abandoned Shopping Cart Workflow

Main Trigger: Shopping Cart Abandonment

If you’re an ecommerce business, you’ll likely benefit from an abandoned shopping cart workflow. The concept here is simple: When someone adds an item to their online shopping cart but leaves your site without completing the purchase, you can trigger an email workflow that reminds them of their forgotten purchase and motivates them to complete the transaction by offering a special discount code or some other incentive to buy.

10. Upsell Workflow

Main Trigger: Past Purchases

Communication with your customers shouldn’t stop after they make a purchase. This is especially true if you sell a variety of different products and/or services. Use workflows as an opportunity to upgrade or upsell your existing customers, or sell them complementary products and services depending on what they’ve already purchased.

Create dynamically updating lists of contacts who purchase a certain productor combination of products — and create workflows aimed at recommending other products/services or encouraging upsells or add-ons.

11. Customer Happiness Workflow

Main Trigger: High or Low NPS Scores

If you administer regular Net Promoter surveys of your customer base, you can use customers’ Net Promoter Scores as a property to trigger workflows.

Simply determine what your ideal customer happiness score is, and use that as the threshold for your dynamic list of happy customers. Then trigger a workflow for customers with “happy” scores and reward them with exclusive content, offers, or discounts.

Trigger a different workflow for your “unhappy” customers that includes content/offers aimed at helping to improve their happiness. We’ll give you a few bonus points if you segment those unhappy customers by the reasons they’re unhappy, and send them even more targeted workflows aimed at addressing the issues that are making them so grumpy.

12. Customer Success/Engagement Workflow

Main Triggers: Success Metrics or Product Usage

If you keep track of customer success metrics, you have a prime workflow opportunity on your hands. For example, if you’re trying to build up your arsenal of customer case studies, you could automatically trigger an email that asks customers if they’d be interesting in being featured as a success story once certain customer success metrics were met.

Furthermore, if you keep track of customers’ product adoption or feature usage, you could trigger a workflow for users who are exhibiting low product engagement, providing resources that educate and train them on how to use the product features they’re not taking advantage of.

13. Upcoming Purchase Reminder Workflow

Main Trigger: Purchases Made on a Cycle

Does your contacts database include customers who typically purchase on a cycle? Enter those people into a workflow that gets triggered when they make a purchase.

For instance, let’s say you sell eye care products, and a customer purchases a six-month supply of prescription contacts. Enroll that customer into a workflow that sends them an automated email five months later as a reminder that their six-month supply is about to run out, and it might be time to order a new batch of contacts.

14. Customer Service or Ticket Workflow

Main Trigger: A customer or prospect contacts customer service via email or an online form.

Sometimes, your customers or prospects might have trouble using your free or paid software. When this happens, fielding a bunch of customer service emails and messages can take tons of valuable time from your schedule. 

One way to avoid this it to create a workflow that categorizes that makes customer concerns into tickets that can be categorized, labeled and assigned to customer service reps on your team. These tickets can also help you keep tack of ongoing problems as well as when issues with a customer or prospect are resolved. 

15. Deal-Based Workflows

Main Trigger: When someone e-signs a quote or contract.

Sealing the deal is obviously key to successful sales. Automating small aspects of this process, like emails someone might get after signing a contract or quote page with you, can allow you to spend more time nurturing the client over the phone, during demos, or through other messages.

With a deal-based workflow, you can trigger confirmation emails when a prospect becomes a client or qualified lead by signing a quote or contract. With systems like HubSpot, you can also set the workflow to change the contact’s status to show where they are in the sales lifecycle.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

 
Free Download Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2019

How many times have you seen a killer marketing campaign and thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I would’ve thought of that!”

(Glossier, I’m looking at you.)

We’ve all been there.

The truth is, when you’re just starting out, it can be tough to know whether your strategy is comprehensive and as powerful as it could be.

To help ease some of that uncertainty, we’ve created this guide that’ll show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned.

Let’s dive into the five critical components of a complete marketing strategy in 2019, followed by some examples for further inspiration.

1. Create buyer personas.

If you can’t define who your audience is in one sentence, now’s the chance to do it. A buyer persona is an example of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy’s could define a buyer persona as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her 30’s living in a suburb, looking to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macys’ marketing department can picture Budgeting Belinda and work with a clear definition in-mind.

Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information — including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of those attributes in her description.

You don’t have to create your buyer persona with a pen and paper. In fact, HubSpot offers a free template you can use to make your own (and it’s really fun). Buyer personas should be at the core of building your strategy.

2. Identify goals and tools.

Your marketing strategy goals should coincide with your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attend your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting online RSVPs by 10% at the end of the month.

Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals. Online software like social media schedulers gives you the analytics you can refer to in order to keep track of what your audience likes and doesn’t. To keep track of blog page performance and page views, Google Analytics is great at it.

Additionally, it will be helpful if you make your goals SMART — to do so, take a look at How to Write a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template].

3. Account for existing resources.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories — paid, owned, and earned media.

Recall that paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer paid media options that boost your exposure.

Owned media is any of the media you create — blog posts, ebooks, images, and infographics that your marketing team has created are examples of owned media.

Earned media is another way to say user-generated content. Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your company are all examples of earned media.

Gather your materials in these areas and consolidate them all in a single vehicle so you’ll have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate the three channels together to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that’s rolling out weekly content in your niche (owned media), you might consider promoting your blog posts on Twitter (paid media), which customers’ might then re-tweet (earned media). Ultimately, that will help you create a better, more well-rounded strategy.

The free option? Tweet it from your company’s Twitter or post it on Instagram and use relevant hashtags to spread it.

If you have resources that don’t fit into your goals, nix it or don’t use it. This is a great time to clean house or identify gaps in your materials.

4. Audit and plan media campaigns.

Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you. Focus on your owned media and marketing goals. For instance, will updating the CTAs at the end of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs to your event?

Next, look at your buyer personas. Let’s say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your persona’s challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don’t have any content that reflects that, make a 15-second demo video for Instagram to show how great your business is at solving that challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include the title, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it’s solving for your buyer persona.

For ideas on content creation or a more in-depth look at how to create a content plan, check out our post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

5. Bring it to fruition

Finally, we’re at the final step. First, let’s go over what you should have by this point:

  1. Buyer persona(s).
  2. Specific marketing goals that coincide with your business goals.
  3. Existing paid, owned, and earned media inventory.
  4. An audit of a media campaign.

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed (and by which teams).

The final step is to bring that all together — to put actions into your planning. Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.

To paint an example, let’s go back to the video software company.

Maybe in January, you will launch a software update that improves the exportation process for users. In April, you want to publish an ebook that explains editing terms to your buyer personas, and in September, you plan to launch an integration with other software.

Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be, as well. As long as the strategy includes all of the necessary information, you’ll be all set to take your company’s brand from okay to outstanding.

Now that we’ve explored five critical steps of a complete marketing strategy, let’s look at some “Why didn’t I think of that?” strategies to inspire your own.

Examples of Successful Digital Marketing Strategies 

1. Regal Movies

Digital strategy: Owned media

Regal Movies took the Halloween spirit to a new level, even re-naming their Twitter to reflect the spirit of the season. This “Monster Madness” poll is a fun, interactive way to get followers invested in Regal’s content:

Example of Regal's owned mediaImage Source

Regal’s tweet is an example of owned media because the company was in full control of the answers followers gave (and, apparently, American Werewolf didn’t stand a chance). Regal effectively kept true to their brand by using only classic movies in their poll, while still putting a modern spin on it.

This is also a good example of how retweets don’t necessarily equal success. While four retweets isn’t that big of a deal, check out the votes: 461. That means there were over 400 interactions with a single tweet.

2. Taco Bell

Digital strategy: User-generated content, earned media

Real love is taking your engagement photos at your favorite fast food Mexican restaurant — right?. User-generated content is one of the best ways to gain traction in your strategy, by demonstrating your appreciation for loyal customers who promote your product, while incentivizing other users’ to promote your products for the chance at a similar shout-out. Plus, sometimes the content your brand-lovers create is really, really good:

It’s not every day someone takes engagement photos at a fast-food restaurant, and Taco Bell jumped at this earned media opportunity. Earned media is at work here because this couple is saying they love baja blasts and crunchwraps as much as they love each other — so it must be delicious.

3. Small Girls PR

Digital strategy: Event marketing

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?

Small Girls PR is a boutique PR company based in New York, and one of the company’s talents is throwing amazing events for their clients, like Olay. This event recap carousel on Instagram is an effective event marketing example.

Event marketing is a fantastic opportunity to boost awareness for your brand. Not every business needs to throw lavish events, either. Event marketing can be as simple as the last company outing you had at your team’s favorite brewery.

Posting a quick recap on Instagram gives your brand culture definition, depth, and demonstrates your appreciation for your employees’ and work-life balance, ideally incentivizing others to apply.

4. Diesel Cafe

Digital strategy: Word of mouth

Boston-local cafe Diesel Cafe is more than just a great location to get vegan bagels. It also rocks at word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, Diesel even has a website dedicated to it — a place where fans can submit letters about the fun times they’ve had at the cafe:

Check your company’s Yelp climate. Are people giving you nice reviews? Showcasing some of them on your social channels is an effective opportunity to provide social proof that your products or services are a worthwhile investment, since people typically trust peers more than ads.

5. Target

Digital strategy: Paid media, Twitter cards

If you’ve got the budget for paid media, take full advantage of it. Paid media is when you pay social channels, like Twitter, to promote your content on their site. By doing this, your content reaches new audiences you might not be able to reach organically.

An inclusive ad from Target about fall shopping uses Twitter cards to promote their brand and offer easier ways to shop — simply click on the photo, and you’re redirected to a purchase page.. More social channels are offering ways for shoppers to purchase in-app or close to it, driving sales and boosting exposure for brands.

Ultimately, creating a complete marketing strategy isn’t something that can happen overnight. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to ensure you’re reaching your ideal audience, whenever and wherever they want to be reached. Stick with it (and use some of the resources we’ve included in this post), and over time, research and customer feedback will help you refine your strategy to ensure you’re spending optimal time and resources on the marketing channels your audience cares most about.

How to Use Informational Marketing to Actually Help Your Audience

In the 1970s, you couldn’t watch an episode of Monday Night Football without seeing the Big Mac commercial and trying to sing that catchy jingle.

For those who don’t know, the Big Mac jingle was a fun way to market McDonald’s newest sandwich while getting a song full of ingredients stuck in your head.

Don’t believe me? Check it out, here:

With this commercial, McDonald’s used informational marketing to their advantage. Even if you didn’t know what the Big Mac was, if you had a TV in the 70s, you knew what was in it — two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onion on a sesame seed bun.

If you’re not sure what informational marketing is, or are wondering how you can use it for your own marketing purposes, keep reading.

What is Informational Marketing?

Informational marketing displays details about a product or service. Simply put, it educates your audience about the basics — including how you stand out from competitors, where your product is sold, and your product’s core features.

Think of informational marketing as showing the specs of a product. It provides factual details, right there in the campaign — like the Big Mac song.

You’ve most likely interacted with informational marketing before, even if you’ve never heard the term. Ebooks, “How-to” videos, blogs, and brochures are all types of informational marketing because they present you with an exact explanation of a service or product, and what sets it apart from other products or services in the industry.

This method of marketing shows your audience the nitty-gritty so they won’t have to leave your website to find out what your product or service is. It can be especially useful for products with a lot of specs, like phones or cars.

informational-marketing-keurig

Image Source

For instance, consider the advertisement above, from Keurig. Keurig’s website takes advantage of informational marketing by providing specs and comparison details for their brewers, as well as information about their products, like the now infamous K-Cup.

By telling you how it works and why you’ll love it, Keurig leaves a memorable impact on someone looking for an alternative to coffee machines. Additionally, since they provide this information directly on their website, Keurig ensures potential customers don’t have to search on Google to learn about K-Cups or compare K-Cups to competitors’ products.

Next, let’s look at some other examples of informational marketing.

Informational Marketing Examples

1. HubSpot’s infographic.

Let’s look at this infographic from HubSpot. It provides details of how customers want to receive marketing, and the caption gives advice on how to put the customer first. In other words, it gives information on how HubSpot’s CRM is useful.

2. Yelp’s infographic.

Yelp took market research and user-generated specs to create this brilliant infographic. The illustration gives audiences in the U.S. a state with which to identify, and shows them Yelp categories they might not have known existed based on “most popular categories” per state.

Ultimately, it’s a hidden tutorial on how to use Yelp to maximize your shopping trips.

You can use an infographic to take a large portion of data and make it easier to swallow for visual-oriented audiences. If you’re looking for a new way to present data other than an Instagram gif, why not try an infographic?

3. Cars.com website specs.

Like the Keurig example, above, website specs give consumers details on the business’s website so consumers don’t need to conduct any additional research. Popular car shopping website Cars.com does just that, providing tons of information about cars on one website so you don’t have to have a million tabs open when researching cars.

Informational marketing about a car

Image Source

Because cars are such a big purchase, car websites benefit greatly from having all the specs car buyers are looking for in one place. If you’re marketing products that are considered big purchases, having specs on your website might be a good idea.

3. Tasty videos.

This commercial features Tasty’s most popular content creators, Alix and Rie, who both develop and film recipes for Tasty and vlog about their daily activities in the Tasty office. When fans of Alix and Rie see the two content creators on the YouTube thumbnail, they’ll likely immediately click. (As a big fan of Rie, I absolutely did).

Additionally, Tasty presented the products’ specs in a relatable way. Rather than having Alix say, “This is a nonstick pot,” she said, “I made a sticky sauce in this pot and it slid right out,” demonstrating the product’s quality. This is an example of informational marketing that’s casual, and more personable.

Remember, the point of informational marketing is to help your audience find what they’re looking for through the content you create. If someone wanted to know how K-Cups worked but Keurig didn’t provide that information, prospects might be hesitant to purchase the product, especially if they’d never heard of it. 

4. Colourpop’s eyeshadow video.

What better way to market a visually-aided product than to provide a video tutorial? This video by cosmetics brand Colourpop takes full advantage of informational marketing by creating a look using most of the colors in their new eyeshadow palette.

By doing this, prospective buyers are educated about how the colors look and how pigmented they are. Additionally, prospects can learn about other Colourpop products that work well with this palette. 

5. Adobe’s logo video.

Adobe’s take on informational marketing comes in the form of a logo tutorial. With this video, Adobe customers and potential customers can learn how to use Adobe’s software to create a logo.

This short, impactful video goes in-depth regarding Adobe’s capabilities. Video length is important here, because it suggests that making a logo can be easy and time-effective.

The next time you are drafting your upcoming campaign, think about how you can educate your target audience about your product.

Additionally, pertaining to the interest of your audience is a critical component of any informational marketing strategy. If your marketing doesn’t relate to your product, it probably won’t interest your audience, either. Keeping this in mind will help your next informational marketing tactics shine.

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2020

Vanessa Carlton said it best: Your company is making its way downtown, faces pass, and you’re “success” bound. See what I did there? Anywho, your company is on its way. But how do you communicate that with your stakeholders and the public?

Between blog writing, drafting ad copy, and setting up an email workflow, it’s hard to make time for brand awareness and media management. That’s where a public relations (PR) agency can help.

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” In today’s world, PR and marketing overlap and intertwine, making it necessary to work together.

You might have questions about how your marketing team and a PR agency can work together like, “What will a PR firm do?” or “What services does a PR agency provide?”

Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about hiring a PR agency.

While the duties of public relations and marketing can overlap, the two serve different functions. Allie Decker, a writer on HubSpot’s pillar page team, wrote about public relations and marketing in this blog. She says, “The main goal of PR is to boost the reputation of your brand. On the other hand, the main goal of marketing is to drive sales.”

PR and marketing can work together by aligning their goals. For instance, people may become aware of your brand through PR tactics such as organic social media presence, and then convert into sales from your marketing tactics such as Facebook ads. With PR and marketing collaborating on strategic messaging, you’ll build your reputation and drive more sales.

1. Reputation management

Reputation management is one of the main services that public relations firms offer. Tactics might include email newsletters, messaging on website copy or blog content, social media management, responding to reviews, and engaging with followers.

For instance, Taco Bell uses social media to build its reputation. In the example below, Taco Bell responds to a customer on Twitter with an authentic, engaging tweet making the brand relatable and boosting its reputation.

Taco Bell maintains brand on Twitter.

Image source: Twitter

2. Crisis management

According to data from PwC, 69% leaders have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last five years — with the average number of crises experienced being three. Your company will most likely face at least one crisis during your tenure. That’s why you might have a PR firm come up with a crisis communication plan so you’re prepared when the time comes.

For example, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a leading breast cancer charity, faced the consequences of lacking a crisis communication plan in 2012. They stopped funding Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings after 7 years of funding. When the announcement was made by Planned Parenthood, the story went viral on social media with attacks coming from all sides. Komen waited a while to respond, put up a video failing to take responsibility, and then reversed the decision.

According to PRSA, there are many lessons to learn from Komen’s mistakes, including “Don’t position yourself as a victim. It won’t work.”

3. Media relations

One way to build your reputation and get your name out there is through the media. PR firms can handle the relationship between the media and your company. Tactics include writing pitches to journalists and influencers to attain mentions in industry news and get more media coverage.

For example, if you own a sustainable beauty company, a PR firm might pitch you to the Organic Bunny blog for an interview about sustainable beauty products.

4. Social media

Social media is a large factor in reputation management and one of the main ways to communicate with your audience, so maintaining your social media accounts can become a public relations tactic. Since you own your social media accounts they’re an easy way to build your brand. Plus, your social media strategy might involve engaging with influencers in your niche.

In the example below, Poo-Pourri uses its own social media account to boost its reputation and spread the word about an earned media opportunity. Also, note how the founder is active in the community, attains media coverage, and builds her company’s brand.

Poo-Pourri uses social media to boost brand reputation.

Image source: Twitter

5. Speech writing

Speech writing is a useful public relations tactic that you might use if your company holds press conferences and events or your employees speak at industry events. Any speeches given on behalf of your company should represent your brand as a whole. If anyone in your company has to give a speech, you might consider hiring a PR agency to handle the strategic messaging.

In the example below, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, and other members of his team, give several speeches about new products and updates during Apple’s annual innovation event. Apple may or may not have worked with a public relations firm, but this is a great example of an event where you might talk to a PR firm about the strategic and brand messaging.

6. Press releases

Your company might have to write a press release to announce new products, launches, campaigns, or movements. This tactic goes hand-in-hand with media relations. For example, if you work at a shoe company and want to start a movement on Twitter to #walkmore, a PR firm can write a press release to announce the campaign and hopefully attain media coverage.

7. Event planning

Event planning can be a marketing and public relations tactic to promote your brand, product, or service. If your company puts on an event for the purpose of boosting your brand reputation, you might consider working with a PR agency. A PR agency can help communicate with your stakeholders and publics, attain media coverage, and plan your event.

For example, INBOUND, an annual experience event for those in the marketing industry, is an event that is used to elevate the INBOUND brand. At this type of event, INBOUND provides value to the public, while also boosting its brand reputation. While this event is planned internally by INBOUND, it’s a good example of the type of event that a PR agency could help plan.

8. Outreach

Do you want to ensure your company is active in your niche’s community, including trade shows and events? A PR agency can help with that. Public relations firms use outreach as a tactic to boost brand reputation and increase brand awareness. For example, if you work at a fish store, your public relations firm might reach out to the Global Pet Expo to attain a booth at the event. Then, they might promote your involvement through social media, a press release, and media interviews.

9. Market research

The most important element to communicating and building relationships with your publics is to understand them. That’s why a PR firm would likely use market research as a tactic. They might use surveys, feedback forms, or focus groups to learn about your target audience. For example, if you own a protein company, a PR firm might send out surveys to see who buys your protein, what kind of flavors they want, and what they value in a protein company.

10. Media training

Many companies and brands in the public eye undergo media training. Media training is a tactic public relations firms use in order to produce consistent, strategic messaging for the brands they work with. If your company or brand will have several employees speaking in public, everyone should be on the same page in regards to messaging. If there is only one person who will be the face of your brand, it’s important to anticipate common reporter questions and have canned answers prepared.

In the example below, the Kardashians attend media training to practice answers to the most controversial questions reporters ask them. As a brand, the Kardashians have a lot of moving parts, and the family had never discussed or practiced the messaging they’d use when talking to the media.

11. Internal copywriting

Writing internal copy is a public relations tactic PR agencies use to communicate with employees. Your employees are a stakeholder and public of your company, so a PR firm could manage that relationship. You might need to communicate with your employees to discuss major changes, build morale, or celebrate successes.

Our tip from HubSpot is to have a main communication channel where communication is stored and disseminated. For example, HubSpot has an internal Wiki (see screenshot below), where our employees, who span seven countries, can communicate.

HubSpot uses internal hub to communication to employees.Image source: HubSpot

The different types of PR firms vary depending on the services they offer and the publics they serve. There are general and specialized PR agencies.

1. General strategic communication

A general public relations firm will handle all aspects of your PR strategy. They will be responsible for building your reputation and brand awareness through many of the tactics described above, including social media, media relations, internal communication, and more. A general communication PR firm is a good fit for you if you need help with several public relations tactics.

2. Press communication

A PR agency that specializes in press communication will focus on media outreach, pitch writing, attaining media coverage, and getting interviews with journalists or influencers. If you only need to work with a PR agency in order to improve your media coverage, a specialized firm might be an option to consider.

3. Crisis management

A crisis management PR agency can strategize and implement a crisis communication plan. Typically these firms are used on a temporary basis, to either draft or implement a plan when your company experiences a crisis.

4. Internal communication

Internal communication PR firms specialize in disseminating information to your employees. Whether it be through a monthly newsletter or an internal hub, they will facilitate employee communication.

5. Community management

A community management PR firm focuses on managing customer relations. They will handle the communication between you and your community in places like Facebook Groups and social media.

6. Nonprofit public relations

A nonprofit PR firm specializes in working with specific organizations rather than focusing on certain tactics. Nonprofits will typically have different rules and regulations when it comes to communicating with its publics, which is why many firms specialize in nonprofit. A nonprofit PR firm will work with organizations in industries such as health, medical, or charity.

7. Public affairs public relations

Similar to a nonprofit firm, a public affairs PR firm specializes in working specifically with government officials as a communication tool. For example, if your company wants to endorse a political candidate or a government official wants to be a spokesperson for your company, a public affairs PR firm can manage that relationship.

1. Set your objectives

Now that you’ve decided to hire a PR agency, your next question might be something like, “How do I even start?”

To begin, start thinking about your goals. Answer questions like “What do I want to accomplish by working with a PR agency?” and “How can a PR agency help my company?” When you begin working with a PR firm, you’ll most likely draft SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Once you have an idea of your goals, our next tip is to think about what type of PR firm can help you meet those objectives (see types of PR firms above). For example, if your company has experienced a social media crisis like Komen (described above) you might want to work with a crisis management firm. On the other hand, if you work at a nonprofit charity foundation like the Red Cross, you might work with a nonprofit public relations agency.

2. Create a budget

Before you begin researching which PR agency you want to work with, create a budget. Consider how much you’re willing to spend on public relations efforts. You should be able to answer questions like “Will this come out of our marketing budget?” or “What percent of our budget can we contribute to PR?”

Megan Conley, a video editor/animator at HubSpot, writes about creating a budget in this blog. To create a budget, she says:

  • Align your goals with your budget
  • Consider hidden costs
  • Remember your priorities (think of those SMART goals)

To get better at prioritizing your PR line items, download the PR Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).

You can also check out the average 2019 rates for a PR agency below.

3. Research PR firms

With your goals and budget in hand, begin researching the right kind of PR agency you’ve decided to work with. Gather information on their reputation, reviews, cost, social media presence, testimonials, clients, etc.

Aja Frost, a senior SEO strategist and former writer for the Sales blog at HubSpot, writes about creative prospect research strategies in this blog. These same strategies can be applied to researching a PR agency.

Frost suggests:

  • Look at their company’s job page: This will give you an idea of their current objectives and what tactics they’re focusing on. For example, are they developing a social media team or looking to hire an expert in crisis management?
  • Look for strategic announcements: By researching for announcements, you can learn about initiatives, successes, new strategies, and their own brand reputation. It’s important to consider how they handle their own PR.
  • Read the shareholder letter: This gives you an idea of their financial strength, unique value proposition, and accomplishments. You want to find a reputable PR agency to work with.
  • Go on Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a great place to learn about employee reviews, company culture, and goals. This will give a good idea of their reputation.

4. Write a list of questions to ask

After thoroughly researching different PR agencies, create a shortlist to contact. Before you contact an agency, write down a list of questions to ask.

You’ll want to learn about:

  • Price
  • Experience/expertise
  • Previous clients
  • Prior successes
  • Reviews/testimonials

See examples of questions to ask a PR agency below.

5. Have meetings

Armed with your questions, your next step is to have meetings with different PR agencies. Go through your list of questions and gather the information you need to make a decision. For these meetings, our tip is to pay attention to who you have chemistry with. It’s always easier to work with people who are adaptable and can have an intelligent conversation about your strategies. After your meetings, compare the proposals you receive, from price to strategy.

6. Set expectations

Once you’ve decided which PR firm you want to work with, ensure you’ve made your objectives and goals clear. Set up a clear line of communication, while also defining your expectations. Talk with your PR agency about your SMART goals and identify how you’ll measure success.

7. Onboard your PR firm

The final step to hiring a PR agency is to go through the onboarding process with them. Figure out who your main point of contact is and discuss your communication goals. Ask questions like, “How often will we touch base?” or “How will we track the results of our work together?”

Questions to Ask a PR Firm, Agency, or Rep

1. “Do you specialize in a certain industry?

There are different types of PR firms (see examples above) that you might work with. Before you hire a PR agency, find out if they specialize in a certain industry or have only worked with certain kinds of businesses. This will give you an idea of how and if they can help your company.

2. “How will you get us media coverage?

It’s important to find out what tactics the agency uses to gain media coverage. In addition, see if they mention their media list when they answer this question. Most PR agencies have a media list and have built relationships with people in the industry. Also, see if they have any new strategies or tactics that you haven’t heard of before, such as influencer marketing or guerilla marketing.

3. “How do you measure success?

An important quality of any marketing or public relations agency is to be able to track ROI. Every agency should have a system in place for tracking results and analytics for their campaigns. Also, see what success looks like for them. Ask questions like “How have you tracked success for previous clients?”

4. “How do you plan to work with our marketing team?

When you hire a PR agency, you should consider how they will work with your marketing team. The two go hand-in-hand, especially because some tactics might overlap. Ask questions like “How do you account for our marketing team when you plan a campaign?” or “How do you communicate what your agency is responsible for versus our marketing team?

5. “What do the first few months look like?

Figure out how they plan to get started. Do they focus on market research in the first few months? How long would that take? It’s important to figure out how they get started with their clients and what their strategy would look like for your company.

6. “What’s your pricing structure?

Of course, budget is one of the main points you want to inquire about. Learn about their pricing structure. Ask questions like “Do you price per project, per hour, or a retainer fee?” and “How often do you charge?” Affording your PR agency is the main priority.

7. “Can I see work you’ve done for businesses in my industry?

Again, you want to see that they’ve had success with other businesses or brands in your industry. This tells you that they might have a media list they can contact right away. It also lets you know they can be successful for you, because they’ve done it before.

8. “Can I contact past clients?

Once you know that a PR agency has seen success with other brands, ask for references. Ask previous clients questions like “Was [PR agency] enjoyable to work with?” and “How did they measure success for you?”

9. “Do your employees have experience working in marketing and sales as well?

This is an important question to ask because your PR agency should understand how marketing, sales, and PR all work together to drive sales. If its employees have experience in marketing and sales, they will understand the context of how PR fits in your strategy.

10. Who would I be working with?

Ask about their systems. The PR agency you work with should have a communication plan in place. Figure out what their team structure is like. Will you have one point of contact, like an account manager? Or will you work with several people on the team depending on the project?

11. How can your company grow with us?

As your company grows, you want to have a PR agency that can understand your needs from startup to scale up. Ask if they’ve worked with brands of all sizes and see if they’ve worked with anyone from the startup to enterprise.

How much does PR cost? Average 2019 Rates

According to the 2019 Holmes Report, PR budgets and agency spend has been increasing. This year, the number of CMOs and CCOs who were managing budgets of more than $100 million reported PR has accounted for 31% of the budget. On the other hand, for companies with a budget between $75 million and $100 million, budgets dropped to 6%. For those handling a budget between $50 million and $75 million, PR has accounted for 17% of their budget.

Overall, the amount you pay for PR will vary depending on the services you need as well as by location. It’s also important to take into consideration that PR agencies offer many different pricing structures. Agencies can charge on an hourly, retainer, or project basis.

Ellie Flanagan, a senior corporate communications manager at HubSpot, says “The cost of hiring a PR agency can vary depending on the size of the firm and the types of services you”re looking for. Most agencies bill hourly against a retainer, which guarantees a certain amount of work each month. Those costs can be between $100-500 per hour per each person on the team, depending on the seniority of each team member. You can work with the agency to determine how much work is required and how experienced the team needs to be.”

During my research for this piece, I found the current average cost of public relations is about $3,000-5,000/month. Project-based costs tend to be lower, running at about $1,000.

For example, Paranoid PR charges anywhere from $1,450-5,000/month for a retainer fee, depending on the intensity of the ongoing support. They also offer per-project pricing, charging around $250-500 for individual projects or $750-1,250 for mini-campaigns, depending on the complexity of the projects.

On the other hand, PRA Public Relations offers pricing based on different level programs offering different levels of service. Their programs range from $2,500/month to $7,000/month.

Pitch PR offers a standard PR program costing $3,000. No other options were listed on their website.

Bridgeview Marketing offers several PR programs ranging from $2,500/month to $8,000/month.

A PR agency could be a great complement to your marketing efforts, drive more traffic to your site, and facilitate reputation management and brand awareness.

Want to learn more about public relations? Check out our ultimate guide.

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