Successful empathetic marketing is about connecting your audience and your brand. That doesn’t mean just throwing ads at your audience. It means creating truly valuable assets — content that serves customers’ needs and addresses their most significant pain points.
This type of content is much easier to create when it’s informed and driven by empathy. When you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, you can more easily acknowledge struggles and think critically about the best solutions.
Below, let’s go over why empathetic marketing is such a powerful strategy for businesses of all types and sizes, tips for infusing more empathy into your marketing, and a few real-life examples of empathetic marketing in practice.
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Empathetic Marketing
As Dr. Brené Brown notes, “Empathy is feeling with people.”
Showing empathy in your marketing helps build trust between your brand and your customers. And during a time when more consumers are losing confidence in brands, brand trust is a major win if you can achieve it.
A 2022 PwC survey found that only 30% of consumers have a high level of trust in companies.
If you can get on the other side, however, you may be on your way to becoming one of the most trusted brands by consumers.
All it takes is a more insightful perspective on where your customer is coming from, their needs, and how your brand can help them meet their goals.
Tips for Empathetic Marketing
You know you want to infuse more empathy into your marketing, but how exactly can you do that? Here are the best tips to remember if you want to be an empathetic marketer.
Put the customer at the forefront.
Empathetic marketing starts and ends with your customer, so it only makes sense to put their wants and needs at the forefront.
Empathy is about understanding something from another’s perspective by seeing something through their eyes. To empathize with customers, imagine their experience with your brand. Look at your product or service from their viewpoint, and think about each step they may take.
Better yet, you can follow real-life customer journeys to see their actions when shopping on your site or digesting your content.
To truly understand your customers’ experiences with your brand, take time to dive into each step of their journey so you can better understand what they may want or need during each stage.
Be open to feedback.
Operating in a vacuum is easy because that’s how they’ve always been done. But to truly practice empathy in your marketing, you have to bring your customers into the planning aspect so you can hear directly from them.
They can share what they want to see from your brand or what should be changed.
To collect feedback from your audience, go directly to the source. Run a survey or host a focus group to learn exactly what your customers’ challenges are, what they need, and how they view your brand.
These insights can help you better understand how your product or service plays a role in helping your customers navigate their challenges or achieve their goals.
Your customers will tell you if the messaging doesn’t land. Be open to shifting your approach if that’s what it takes for your message to resonate.
Always be listening.
While you should always collect direct feedback from your customers and audience, gathering insights that they don’t personally share with you is essential. People tend to be more honest when they aren’t talking directly to a brand or think the brand won’t see their comments.
Pay attention to the overall sentiment when your brand is mentioned online to see the general feelings towards your company, whether positive or negative.
Tune into your customers’ conversations, the feedback they’re sharing about their experience, and their general sentiment about your brand. You can do this by monitoring social media comments, checking out reviews on your site, or tracking reviews on third-party sites.
Understanding your audience and their various needs is essential to empathetic marketing. The last thing you want is to break their trust. Being fake or putting on a persona is the quickest way to do that.
Whenever you share content or conduct outreach, be genuine in your approach. Transparency goes a long way in being authentic, so always lead with empathy if you want your content or messaging to resonate.
Provide your customer with the right content.
After all of the listening and empathizing you’ve done, it would be a shame not to put that learning into practice. And yet, some brands continue to share content their audience isn’t interested in. This is the last thing you want to do.
If you want your marketing approach to resonate with your customers, delivering the content you promised them is essential.
After running surveys or focus groups, explore how you can adjust your product, messaging, or communication channels to better meet the needs of your most loyal customers.
Empathetic Marketing Examples
Now that you know what empathetic marketing is and how to incorporate it into your strategy, let’s walk through eight brands that nail empathetic content marketing across various media.
With the tagline, “Fresh, handmade cosmetics,” LUSH is a beauty brand that is all about natural products.
As such, we see its radical transparency in the “How It’s Made“ video series, where LUSH goes behind the scenes of some of its most popular products.
Each episode features actual LUSH employees in the “kitchen,” narrating how the products are made. Lush visuals (pun intended) showcase just how natural the ingredients are.
You see mounds of fresh fruits, tea infusions, and salt swirled together to become the product you know and love. It’s equal parts interesting and educational.
Why This Works
LUSH customers want to buy beauty products that are truly natural. They care about using fresh, organic, and ethically sourced ingredients — hence why the videos feature colorful, close-up shots of freshly-squeezed pineapple and jackfruit juices to drive that point home.
Taking customers inside the factory and showing them every part of the process — with a human face — assures them that they can consume these products with peace of mind.
LinkedIn Talent Solutions provides HR professionals the tools they need to improve recruitment, employee engagement, and career development practices within their organization.
LinkedIn Talent creates helpful content on a dedicated blog to supplement these tools. The blog offers tips that address the challenges of the talent industry. LinkedIn also develops reports offering deeper insight into different industry sectors, such as this Workplace Learning Report.
Why This Works
One effective empathy marketing tactic is education. LinkedIn wants to empower its audience to do work and hire better (and use its product to do so).
This report is just one tool that offers its audience deeper insight into the industry while positioning the brand as a powerful resource.
Through offerings like this, customers learn that they can rely on LinkedIn as a trusted source to guide them in the right direction, and LinkedIn can continue to provide solutions through its product offerings. It’s a win-win all around.
The Home Depot
The Home Depot is a home and garden supply store that caters to all types of builders and DIY-ers — whether you’re a construction worker building a gazebo or a homemaker experimenting with gardening.
In other words, their content must cater to various demographics.
Home Depot is all about DIY, so its marketing focuses on what its supplies can help you do.
This “How to Plant a Wildflower Garden with Seeds” guide teaches consumers to grow their own wildflower garden using seeds, common flower types to plant, and what supplies they need. It even outlines the difficulty level and estimated time to complete the project.
Why This Works
As one of the most trusted brands by consumers, Home Depot knows its customers rely on the store to supply them with DIY tools and navigate these hands-on projects — with a little encouragement along the way.
This quick guide delivers on these needs and inspires customers to take action.
We’ve seen just about every twist on gum marketing: sexy encounters, romantic trysts, and more. Extra is pushing past that narrative.
The brand realizes that gum is a seemingly mundane product, but its omnipresence means it’s there for many of life’s little moments.
Hence, the #ChewItBeforeYouDoIt campaign is all about taking a moment to chew a piece of gum before doing, saying, or acting during your daily life. Extra suggests that doing so can be the difference between a good moment and an awkward experience.
Why This Works
In many ways, gum is a product meant to enhance intimacy, making your breath fresh for more closeness. In our techno-connected world, those everyday moments of intimacy are often overlooked.
This campaign relates to regular moments we’ve all experienced and points out how something as simple as chewing gum can make a difference in your day.
Microsoft offers a range of products from Azure to Microsoft 365. Many of these products are generally used by developers to build their own platforms or tools. To make sure these developers are supported, Microsoft created communities.
These communities help developers connect and learn from one another and are organized into different product categories, such as Microsoft 365 or gaming. People can tailor their experience based on what topics they’re interested in.
Why This Works
Developers are always seeking tips and tricks for using their go-to tools, and while there are many digital channels from which to learn, going straight to the source is always a great option.
Through interactive communities, Microsoft ensures developers can get the support and training they need to use its tools and even connect with others.
In a world where Pinterest dominates, Michael’s chain of craft stores is making a play to capture its own audience on its own properties. The brand provides craft tutorials and product features on a projects page on its website.
These projects offer step-by-step instructions on creating various crafts for beginners and advanced crafters alike.
Each project on the site also includes links to materials you may need that can be found in Michael’s online store. If you want more help with your craft, Michael’s even offers virtual and in-store classes for select projects.
Why This Works
Crafting is an exciting hobby, but not without its own frustrations. Providing useful tips and hacks on how to do things better via a free publication helps readers do more of what they love with fewer headaches.
Additionally, fans get to share their enthusiasm through social by using the hashtag #MakeItWithMichaels, helping Michael’s extend its reach to a bigger crafting audience.
JetBlue is a brand known for superb customer service and humor. At this point, we know where it flies and we know its hook, so its marketing needs to extend beyond the services provided.
As such, JetBlue’s content focuses more on the world of flying and the experiences we all have.
JetBlue is a brand known for superb customer service and humor. At this point, we know where it flies and its hook, so its marketing needs to extend beyond the services provided.
As such, JetBlue’s content focuses more on the world of flying and the experiences we all have.
JetBlue addresses every type of customer who may fly on its planes, from families to pets to children. That’s one reason the airline launched JetBlue Jr., an educational video series for kids ages 7–10.
The videos go over all types of aviation topics, from vocabulary to physics, in an entertaining and digestible way for kids to learn.
Why This Works
If you’re a parent, you know how much of an undertaking it can be to fly with children.
Brand marketing isn’t often tailored to children, so it’s refreshing to see JetBlue consider all passengers and empathize with a parent’s desire to keep their kids entertained while traveling.
Girlfriend Collective is a sustainable clothing brand. While it has a devoted following, it’s always searching for ways to more deeply connect with its audience. The company’s email marketing channel is a fantastic outlet for that.
Girlfriend Collective uses email to share new products or upcoming launches. The brand also generally uses a targeted approach to help customers make purchasing decisions, sending more personalized emails.
One email from the brand was more personal than most and showed deep empathy and understanding for its audience.
Before Mother’s Day, Girlfriend Collective sent this email to customers, allowing them to opt out of receiving Mother’s Day promos.
Why This Works
Holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day can be emotional for many people for various reasons. Girlfriend Collective gave its audience a choice to opt out of seeing these potentially triggering emails, which not many brands take the opportunity to do.
This move demonstrates that Girlfriend Collective cares about its customers and sees them as humans.
Ready to Try It?
Approach the content you seek to create from a perspective that puts others’ wants, needs, and dreams before your own. That’s the smartest way to grow an audience.
In doing so, you’re showing people that you care about them as humans, first and foremost. People want to work with (B2B) or support (B2C) people that they like and companies that they believe “get” them.
You can always talk about your brand and what you’re peddling once a connection and a relationship are established. But if you do things right, people will be drawn to you, and you won’t ever have to toot your own horn.
Artificial Intelligence continues solidifying itself as a crucial tool within the marketing industry, especially regarding automation.
In fact, the market for artificial intelligence in marketing is expected to grow to more than $107.5 billion by 2028 — a huge leap from $15.84 billion in 2021.
So, marketers must stay current on the many ways AI marketing automation can and should be used to remain competitive. To keep you in the loop, here’s a breakdown of AI’s role in marketing automation and how marketers can leverage it.
How is AI driving marketing automation?
At its core, AI uses machine learning to mimic how humans learn and improve accuracy by analyzing large stacks of data. When applied to marketing automation, AI analyzes vast data sets to pinpoint patterns, predict customer behavior, and make immediate decisions.
As a result, AI and machine learning algorithms are helping marketers automate and optimize tasks that would otherwise be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. So, it’s no surprise that AI marketing automation is here to stay.
In 2020, the global market for marketing automation was $4,438.7 million, and it’s expected to grow to $14,180.6 million by 2030. Moreover, the top 28% of businesses actively use marketing automation and AI tools in their process.
Why Marketers Should Use AI in Marketing Automation
AI-powered marketing automation can streamline marketing processes. This gives marketers the time and space to focus on other aspects of their job — such as brainstorming and strategizing.
AI marketing automation also makes sending personalized content to customers easier, thanks to data and algorithms. Other benefits include cost efficiency and optimization of ROI.
Automating repetitive tasks can save money. For example, using AI chatbots to communicate with customers would eliminate the need for human customer service agents, which can save costs over time.
And companies that implement AI in marketing see an average increase in ROI of up to 30%, according to a study by Accenture.
Ways Use AI in Marketing Automation
Below are some ways marketers can leverage AI to automate their processes.
McKinsey’s Next in Personalization Report shows 71% of consumers expect companies to provide personalized interactions. Furthermore, 76% of consumers experience frustration when they don’t receive personalized interactions.
Creating personalized experiences for all of your customers can be tedious, time-consuming, and unrealistic without automation.
AI can automate the process by analyzing customer data and behaviors and using that information to tailor each customer’s experience.
For example, Whole Foods leverages AI to provide customers with personalized messaging.
In 2021, Whole Foods opened several Just Walk Out stores across the U.S. The stores allow customers to pick up their items and leave without stopping at a register.
Instead, the items are charged via AI. The purchase information gathered by the AI is then used to identify patterns and predict future behaviors. This allows the AI to send personalized messages to customers.
So, if a customer purchases frozen vegan dinners, Whole Foods could send promo codes and discounts for other vegan products.
Marketers can send tons of emails to potential leads, but it can take significant time away from more big-picture duties. Your company can quickly send thousands of personalized emails using AI for marketing email automation.
This is especially helpful as your email list grows because who has time to send 200,000 emails multiple times a week?
Furthermore, AI can analyze the performance of your emails in real time, and you can use the data to improve your next set of emails.
Lead Scoring and Nurturing
AI can quickly and efficiently analyze data to determine which leads will likely become customers. With AI, marketers can save time and money on lead scoring while improving their leads’ quality.
AI can also automate the lead nurturing process by effectively guiding leads through the sales funnel until they are ready to purchase, boosting conversion rates.
Part of being a successful marketer is being proactive and anticipating trends. Fortunately, AI is an excellent tool for analyzing and predicting customer behavior and trends thanks to algorithms.
This will allow marketers to adjust their marketing strategies according to predictive data. For example, the data can help a business predict the best time to launch a new product.
There are many channels to consider when marketing your brand, product, or service. With Al algorithms, marketers can easily identify which channels are the most effective in reaching their target audience.
This allows marketing to properly allocate time and funds to channels with the best return on investment.
Customer Service and Communication
62% of consumers would prefer to use a customer service bot rather than wait 15 minutes for human agents to speak with them.
Using AI to respond to customers instantly will improve your customer’s experience and satisfaction while saving time and resources.
AI-powered chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, recommend products, and process orders faster than a team could manually.
Successfully implementing AI Marketing Automation
To leverage AI marketing automation, you must identify the best tools and platforms to help you reach your marketing goals. From chatbots to software to AI-powered platforms, there are many applications to choose from.
For example, HubSpot’s content assistant is a suite of free, AI-powered features that uses generative AI to help create and share materials such as written content, outlines, and emails.
We also offer ChatSpot, a conversational CRM bot that marketing professionals can connect to HubSpot to maximize productivity.
The feature uses chat-based commands to interact with your CRM data, so you can accomplish everything you already do in HubSpot faster.
You don’t have to be super tech-savvy to implement AI marketing automation into your business.
All you need is to identify repetitive tasks within your process that could be improved by automation, then find the right tools or software to suit your needs.
Now that you know what AI marketing automation is, you’re ready to find ways to use it.
We’ve all heard this maxim, “First impressions last,” so we are aware how important it is to strike a good impression.
Showed up late for a job interview? That’s a bad first impression. Eat a clove of garlic and forget to brush your teeth before a first date? Also a bad first impression.
It turns out that the “make a good first impression” principle holds true not only in face-to-face encounters but in email interactions as well. The outcome of giving a good impression in emails goes a long way to connect with potential business contacts or customer
When you send a welcome email to a new blog reader, newsletter subscriber, or customer, you’re making a first impression on behalf of your brand. To help ensure you’re making the best first impression possible, we’ve rounded up some examples of standout welcome emails from brands big and small.
Pro Tip: Use HubSpot’s free email marketing software to easily create a high-quality welcome email sequence like the ones featured below.
Each example below showcases different tactics and strategies for engaging new email subscribers. Let’s dive in.
The Components of an Impressive Welcome Email
One factor that really impacts the customer onboarding process is the welcome email. While there’s no one-size-fits-all format, there are several key components that can help your email stand out from the crowd and connect with your intended audience. These include:
1. Compelling Subject Lines
Making sure recipients actually open your emails is the first step in making a good impression. Subject lines are critical, so opt for short and straight to the point subjects that state clearly what you’re sending, who it’s from, and why it matters to potential customers.
2. Content Recommendations
While the main purpose of welcome emails is to introduce your brand, it’s also critical to add value by providing the next steps for interested customers. A good place to start is by offering links to the great content on your website that will give your customers more context if they’re curious about what you do and how you do it.
3. Custom Offers
Personalization can help your welcome emails stand out from the pack. Customized introductory offers on products are something consumers often want. If you base these offers on the information they’ve provided or data available to the public through social platforms, welcome emails can help drive ongoing interest.
4. Clear Opt-Out Options
It’s also important to offer a clear way out if users aren’t interested. Make sure all your welcome emails contain “unsubscribe” options that allow customers to select how much (or how little) contact they want from you going forward. If there’s one thing that sours a budding business relationship, it’s the incessant emails that aren’t easy to stop. Always give customers a way to opt out.
Examples of Standout Welcome Emails
So what does a great welcome email look like? We’ve collected some standout welcome message series examples that include confirmation messages, thank you emails, and offer templates to help you with your customer onboarding process from start to finish — and make a great impression along the way.
Type of Welcome: Confirmation
Sometimes the tiniest of elements in a welcome email can speak volumes about a brand. And when it comes to Food52’s welcome email, the preview text at the top of the email, “We brought snacks,” definitely accomplishes this.
Also known as a pre-header or snippet text, the preview text is the copy that gets pulled in from the body of an email and displayed next to (or beneath) the subject line in someone’s inbox. So when you see Food52’s welcome email in your inbox, you get a taste of their brand’s personality before you even open it.
Food52’s welcome email also does a good job of building trust by putting a face (make that two faces) to their name. As soon as you open the email, you see a photograph and message from the company’s founders.
Type of Welcome: Video
From the subject line, down to the conversational tone in the email body, the image of a welcome email above keeps it friendly and simple, so the focus stays on the introductory video inside.
Monday.com is a task management tool for teams and businesses, and the welcome email you get when you sign up makes you feel like a CEO, because Roy Man is speaking directly to you. The email even personalizes the opening greeting by using the recipient’s first name, and this is well known for increasing email click-through rates (especially if the name is in the subject line).
The more you can make your email sound like a one-on-one conversation between you and your subscriber, the better. If you have just so many details that you need to inform your new customer about, follow Monday.com’s lead and embed them on a video, rather than spelling them all out on the email itself.
3. Kate Spade
Type of Welcome: Thank You
Let’s face it, the internet-using public is constantly bombarded with prompts to sign up for and subscribe to all sorts of email communications. So as a brand, when someone takes the time to sift through all the chaos to intentionally sign up for your email communications, it’s a big deal.
To acknowledge how grateful they are to the folks who actually take their time to subscribe, Kate Spade uses a simple but effective tactic with their welcome emails. They say “Thank You” in big, bold lettering. By placing that “Thank You” note on an envelope, Kate Spade recreates the feeling of receiving an actual thank you letter via mail. (The 15% off discount code doesn’t hurt either.)
Type of Welcome: New Customers
If there’s an ideal “attitude” that welcome emails should give off, Lyft has it. The company’s simple but vibrant welcome email focuses entirely on the look and feel of the app, delivering a design that’s as warm and smooth as the lifts that Lyft wants to give you.
At the same time, the email’s branded pink call-to-action draws your eyes toward the center of the page to “Take a Ride”, an inviting language that doesn’t make you feel pressured as a new user.
5. Munk Pank
Type of Welcome: About Us
The Munk Pank’s welcome email is the story of why the company was founded. This is a healthy snack store founded by a husband and wife. In their welcome email, they mention that they started the company because they never seemed to find nutritious snacks to keep them energized and on the go.
This is an excellent version of a welcome email because they let their customers know they can relate to the problems they’re facing and they’ve been there. This helps in building trust and relatability; it also gives customers a peek into what they should expect from their products.
The email ends by sharing the company’s mission to help them live a healthy lifestyle. This welcome email lets subscribers know that they’re joining a tribe that is concerned about their healthy eating and lifestyle; a mission that goes beyond snacks.
Type of Welcome: Product Story
Who Gives a Crap is an organization that sells organic toilet paper, and they’re passionate about it. Their welcome email is equally fun and informative. They state all the reasons why you should opt for organic and eco-friendly products. Then, they sweeten the pot (pun intended) by noting that they donate 50% of their profits to global sanitation projects.
The email reminds the buyer that they still get the toilet paper at the same price they do in the supermarket. They also have a compelling call to action in their welcome email that offers 10% off of their products for people who subscribe to their email list. The company added its “Shop Now” button for convenience, so if readers are convinced to buy, they can do so in one click.
Type of Welcome: Free Gift or Offer
SAXX Underwear specializes in men’s underwear, and their welcome email is very catchy and creative. Their subject line “Welcome to you and your balls” is just a taste of how they use a humorous and relatable tone to connect with their audience.
Their welcome email is visual, too. They demonstrate their comfort guarantee with images of models wearing their boxers.
The welcome email also gives a 10% off code for first-time buyers and directs them to their store. Besides the offer, they present their refund policy boldly to offer reassurance for prospects who may be unsure. These gestures help to build trust with their new subscribers and encourage them to buy from them.
What really stands out in the SAXX Underwear welcome email is the tone of the copy and the careful yet bold and catchy choice of words.
Type of Welcome: Free Trial
When you sign up for InVision’s free prototyping app, the welcome email makes it very clear what your next step should be.
To guide people on how to use InVision’s app, the company’s welcome email doesn’t simply list out what you need to do to get started. Instead, it shows you what you need to do with a series of quick videos. Given the visual, interactive nature of the product, this makes a lot of sense.
Type of Welcome: Confirmation
No fancy design work. No videos. No photos. The welcome email Drift sends out after signing up for their newsletter is a lesson in minimalism.
The email opens with a bit of candid commentary on the email itself. “Most people have really long welcome email sequences after you get on their email list,” Dave from Drift writes, before continuing: “Good news: we aren’t most people.” What follows is simply a bulleted list of the company’s most popular blog posts. And the only mention of the product comes in a brief postscript at the very end.
If you’re trying to craft a welcome email that’s non-interruptive, and laser-focused on adding value instead of fluff, this is a great example to follow.
Type of Welcome: Event Signup
Inbound attracts business professionals from all over the world. So, it’s fitting that its event confirmation email is simple and easy to follow, with useful links for event information, help, and accessibility.
Keep scrolling and you’ll see even more useful additions, like:
- Links to add the event to your calendar
- Social media sharing buttons
- Directions through Google Maps
This all-in-one approach to event welcomes makes sure that even if people who wish to attend only see one email, that email will include everything they need.
11. Creative Capital
Type of Welcome: New Donor
Nonprofit marketing can be a challenge, but this email sheds light on endless possibilities. In this welcome email, donors to Creative Capital get a healthy dose of inspiration.
The email begins with a striking GIF that combines the work of supported artists with bright thank you messages. It continues with a poetic message about the types of artists the org supports. This is a chance to inspire every donor. It reminds them who their donation is supporting and why that action has massive value.
12. Baltic Born
Type of Welcome: Customer Loyalty
Frequent shoppers can end up in more loyalty programs than they can count, so it’s important for these welcome emails to stand out and show off a big offer.
From the start, this email focuses on concrete rewards. Then, it gives a clear explanation of Baltic Born’s reward system. It continues with a button that compels the recipient to get more points.
And the monochromatic design is attractive, but not distracting or overwhelming, making it easy to read on mobile devices.
Type of Welcome: Confirmation
While many subscribers click submit to solve a problem, positivity is key in a welcome email. This org supports women on their path to wage equality. It could be tempting for this email to start with emotionally-charged language or statistics that show how big a problem the gender pay gap is.
Instead, PepTalkHer shows its understanding of its target audience. This email centers on the support, value, and overall awesomeness of this community. It also adds useful links to social media and website channels. This helps jump start each signup’s journey.
14. Third Love
Type of Welcome: Discount Code
As generative AI runs to the forefront of email marketing strategy, personalization is more important than ever before.
This email grabs subscribers with a personalized offer. The customer experience begins with a well-designed online quiz. Then, the results of that quiz are woven into a useful and personal email that includes size and product recommendations, along with a discount offer.
The writing style of this email is personal too, with a signoff that sounds both supportive and genuine.
15. Swipe Files
Type of Welcome: New Customers
There’s nothing quite like a personal welcome email to make an impression on new subscribers. It’s said that good writing is good thinking, and this welcome email is a great example of that idea. This message reads authentic, kind, and curious. It uses direct language, easy-to-read paragraphs, and simple calls-to-action. This shows every subscriber what they’re getting into with their subscription and leaves them excited for more.
16. Oui the People
Type of Welcome: Discount Code
Powerful graphics are another way to make a strong first impression. After signing up for skincare brand Oui the People’s mailing list, the welcome email that hits your inbox makes a gorgeous visual statement that shows the brand’s vision and personality. Then, it uses bold type to make a compelling offer.
The copy that follows not only matches but amplifies the vibe of the opening image. “Together, we’re going against the grain of traditional beauty to create (damned good) products that feel like they were designed just for you and all of your glorious complexity. Life-changing, not you-changing.” The one-two punch of graphics, CTA, and copy makes it tough not to engage with this welcome.
Welcome Email Templates
Need a little help in getting your welcome email efforts off the ground? We’ve got you covered with free welcome message templates to streamline the connection process.
Each template shows a different way you can welcome your customers. These examples make it simple to send a welcome email to meet your customer’s needs at their current spot in the customer journey.
An About Us welcome email introduces new subscribers to your company with a firsthand story. It gives you a chance to share who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. This helps you develop a relationship with your subscriber, which can help them feel more invested in your brand.
It’s also a chance to set expectations about the content or benefits you offer to your subscribers.
Product story emails showcase your product or service and give you a chance to educate and inspire with your welcome. A product story welcome email doesn’t just have to be about how you created your product. It can tell stories about:
- The problem your product or service solves
- Product benefits
- The materials you use to make your product
- Key product features
This welcome email can help you expand brand awareness as well as improve customer engagement and conversions.
Video welcomes are a quick and powerful way to connect with new customers, subscribers, or employees. You can feature the people, culture, or messaging that represent your brand in your video. Videos are also a great way to share:
- Product features and benefits
Video welcome emails can help your business stand out from companies sending text-only email communication. They’re also a quick way to grab attention as you begin your relationship with a new contact.
Free Gift or Offer
Free gifts and welcome offers give new subscribers and customers a tempting reason to re-engage with your brand. They’re useful for creating urgency. These welcome emails are also a great way to highlight personalized offers for the latest addition to your email list.
A free offer or exclusive gift can improve customer retention and loyalty, as well as build anticipation for future offers.
An event signup welcome email is key to the event registration process. This one piece of communication:
- Confirms successful event registration
- Offers important event logistics
- Highlights speakers and other event details
- Prepares attendees for the event
This type of welcome email is also a first step to connecting with a customer. It builds trust and shows how they can benefit from further engagement.
Confirmation emails can sometimes feel cold or impersonal, so this is another email where it’s vital to add some welcome. A confirmation email assures your subscriber or buyer that they’ve successfully completed signup. It’s also a chance to share useful information to make them feel more comfortable about what comes next.
For example, you might want to add order details, shipping, or the day of the week your newsletter comes out. Personalizing this welcome email can go a long way to building trust with your subscribers.
Your welcome email for a free trial is important because it sets the tone for your relationship with each customer. It’s a chance to say thank you, offer extra help, and set expectations for your product.
This first email is also a chance to show users how to make the most of your product and point out features and benefits they might miss on their own.
This welcome email has a specific goal — to turn that free trial into a paying customer. With that in mind, it’s important to strike a balance. This email should point out tips, features, and details, but not overwhelm with too much information.
Thank You welcome emails lead with gratitude to your subscribers and customers. Whether they’re signing up for your newsletter, RSVPing for an event, or making a purchase, this welcome email leads with the positive.
Welcome Email Template for New Customers
Your new customer welcome email often marks the beginning of the customer relationship. This email usually contains a lot of information. It might include order confirmation, product information, helpful tips, or a review request.
At the same time, it needs to set a tone that emphasizes the character and value of your brand and products. So, it needs to be welcoming, engaging, and encouraging.
Discount codes make great welcome emails. This is because they lead with something your subscriber wants. It encourages a purchase, but this email is also a chance to show appreciation, develop brand awareness, or boost new products.
To make the most of this type of welcome email, think about limited-time or occasion-specific offers. This adds urgency and gives you a chance to quickly boost your customer relationship.
Some customers will get more than one welcome email from you, so it’s important to make your welcome email specific. One example — your customer loyalty program. When someone signs up to be an affiliate or joins an incentive program for your brand, they need a different kind of welcome.
As you draft this email, focus on personalized connection. Whether you’re offering thanks for their support, sharing sneak peeks, or giving exclusive offers, each customer needs to feel special.
Use surveys, interactive features, and integrations to collect feedback from current customers. Then, once your subscribers become loyal customers, you can use these tools to make your loyalty welcome email super personal.
Each new donor has a major impact on your business’s future. So, the way that you welcome each donor is a key part of their experience.
This welcome email is a chance to offer thanks, review your company’s mission and vision, or ask for continued or deeper engagement. The donor welcome email is also a time to:
- Share inspirational stories
- Highlight the problems your organization is working to solve
- Offer recent data on the status of your work
Now that you’ve seen some great examples of welcome emails and templates, let’s dig into the process of writing a great email and catching customer attention.
1. Write a catchy subject line.
Research shows that while more than 90% of welcome emails are opened, just 23% of them are actually read. That means if your welcome email doesn’t catch the eye of your new customer, they may not know you sent it at all.
The best tool you can leverage to increase email open rates is the subject line. A catchy and actionable subject line can draw customers in and make them curious about your content.
When writing subject lines, be sure to include what your email is promoting and how it will benefit your customer. Remember to be concise, because the reader can only see a sentence or two in the preview. A good rule of thumb is that your subject line should give enough information to pique the reader’s interest, but not enough so that they need to open your email for the full details.
2. Restate your value proposition.
Although this may seem like an unnecessary step to take, it can actually offer some significant benefits.
The most obvious benefit is that it gives the customer some reassurance that they made the right decision signing up. It’s never a bad thing to remind customers why they created an account with you, and it clarifies exactly what they can expect to achieve with your product or service.
This also gives you the opportunity to clearly explain any ancillary services or features that you offer that could create more stickiness with your business. This is especially true if you have a complex solution with unique features that customers might not know about.
3. Show the next onboarding steps.
Now that you’ve reminded them why they signed up, get them fully set up with your product or service. Usually, there are steps that users must take after signing up to get the most out of the platform. Examples include:
- Completing their profile information
- Setting preferences
- Uploading necessary information (such as contacts into a CRM, profile picture for a social media profile, etc.)
- Upgrading their account or completing an order
4. Generate the “A-ha” moment.
This is one of the most important steps to take in a welcome email, and there’s a substantial and data-driven reason behind that. Former Facebook head of growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, discovered that if you can get a user to acquire seven friends within 10 days, they were much more likely to see Facebook’s “core value” and become a returning active user. This is known as an “a-ha moment,” in which the customer understands how they benefit from using your product or service.
The goal is to get the user to this aha moment as quickly as possible so your product sticks and the customer achieves success as soon as possible. This will produce a better overall customer experience and ultimately help your business grow.
To get this done, first identify your business’s “core value” and the obstacles or prerequisites customers must complete to receive this value. Then you can use your welcome email to guide new customers through these tasks.
5. Add helpful resources.
As mentioned in the previous step, you want the user to see the value immediately. But, customer success doesn’t stop there. Depending on the nature and complexity of your product, customers may need more help. For example, customers might need guidance on troubleshooting, utilizing advanced features, or getting the most value out of your core features.
It’s likely that you’ve already created help content addressing common questions from customers. Whether it’s tutorial videos, an FAQ page, or helpful blog posts containing best practices, this help content is essential to customer success. Why not include it in your welcome email? This gives them the tools they need upfront without forcing them to search for the information after a problem arises.
6. Provide customer service contact information.
The final step to setting your customers up for success is making sure that they know how to contact you. You can spend all the time in the world creating excellent help content, but you can’t foresee every possible problem that will arise for your customers.
Even if you could, customers are only human, and not all of them will be willing to pore through your help resources to find the answer to their questions. So it’s best to be forthright with customers on how they can get in touch with you for help.
Adding this contact information to your welcome email is a great way to lay the foundation of trust needed for building a relationship. It drives customer loyalty and reassures readers that you are available if they need you. Avoid sending customers on a treasure hunt just to find a way to ask you a simple question. This will lead to frustration and send them into the arms of your competitors.
7. Conclude with a call-to-action.
You should wrap up your welcome email with a call-to-action that entices customers to begin the onboarding process. After you’ve demonstrated your company’s values and explained how you’re going to help them achieve their goals, customers will be eager to get started. So, make things easier for them by providing a button at the end of the email that triggers the first step in the onboarding process.
Here’s one example of what this could look like.
Pro tip: To scale the process, you can use the steps above to create an AI prompt that will generate a first-draft welcome email in seconds.
Just plug your value props, next steps, and CTA into a tool like HubSpot’s Campaign Assistant to get started. You can even use the same prompts to create matching ad copy or landing page content.
How to Write an Employee Onboarding Welcome Email
Welcome emails aren’t just for customers. The onboarding process has a huge impact on how the new employees feel about your company, so it’s important to give it the time and energy it deserves.
One of the important parts of this process is the onboarding welcome email. It has to match the company’s tone and outline all the expectations you have for the new employee. If this is your first time writing an onboarding email, you’ll find the following steps helpful.
Here are the steps to follow when writing an onboarding email.
1. Decide on the content of your onboarding email.
Before you start, it’s important that you are aware of the content of an onboarding welcome email.
The contents are going to vary based on the conditions. For example, an email onboarding remote employees is completely different from an onboarding email for an employee who will work onsite.
For an onsite employee, the onboarding email should include:
- Welcome events
- First-day schedule
- Arrival instructions
- How to access their workstation
- Break room details (where to warm lunch, get coffee, etc.)
- Dress code
- What they’re required to bring (passport, ID, social security work, or any other paperwork)
- Parking information
- Contact information
For a remote employee, the content may include:
- First-day schedule
- Contact information
- Signup details for collaboration tools
- Welcome video conference meeting (time to be held)
Again, you can change the content based on your company’s needs.
2. Decide on the tone you want to use in your email.
The next thing you need to decide on is the tone you want to use in your onboarding email. Do you consider your company friendly, casual, or super formal? Whatever your answer is, it should reflect on the tone of the onboarding email. This gives the employee an idea of the kind of workplace environment they should expect. It also sets the tone for how your new employee is expected to use when representing your brand.
3. Draft your onboarding email.
The next step is to draft your onboarding email. While the tone of your email might change to fit your needs, here is an example of a template you can use.
4. Edit your email.
After writing your email, make sure you edit it to make sure you include all the necessary details. You can also use tools like Grammarly for any grammatical errors. You can also have a colleague double-check the email. Remember to attach any necessary documents, links, or images as supplemental information.
5. Send or schedule the email.
Lastly, send the email or schedule it so it’s received in a timely manner. For example, you want to avoid sending an onboarding welcome email on Sunday evening, which may give the wrong impression.
This will allow the new Employee to be psychologically prepared and find the necessary documents.
Make a Great First Impression
Bottom line? Whether it’s in person, over the phone, or by email, first impressions matter. Your welcome email is often the first chance a prospective customer or contact has to see what your brand is all about and if you don’t stick the landing, they’ll likely go somewhere else.
Luckily, writing a great welcome email is simple. It’s not necessarily easy, but if you focus on what matters such as compelling subject lines, great content, personalized offers, and always, always a way to opt out, your first impression can help lay the groundwork for long-term relationships.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
The influencer landscape is incredibly lucrative. In 2022, the influencer market was valued at $16.4 billion and is estimated to hit $21.1 billion in 2023. If you want to step into the influencer market, you’re probably wondering how to become an influencer.
In this article, we’re going to dive into what it takes to become an influencer and the steps you need to take to find success. First, let’s define an influencer.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is a person with the ability to influence consumers to purchase a service or product by promoting, recommending, or using them on social media.
How to Become an Influencer for a Brand
If you want to become an influencer who works with brands, here’s what you need to do to reach your goal.
1. Find your niche.
First, figure out what you’re passionate about. Is it fashion, tech, entertainment, health, or something else? From there, carve out a niche within your passion to set yourself apart from other influencers.
For example, if you want to be a fashion influencer, you might decide your niche is thrift store fashion, DIY fashion, or stylish outfits on a budget. If you need help finding your niche, determine who your target audience is first.
To determine your target audience, consider your ideal consumer’s wants, needs, challenges, and goals. Then use that information to create a buyer persona to find the right niche to tap into your target audience or use HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Generation Tool.
2. Choose your platform.
Once you know your target audience, you must choose a platform (or platforms) to reach them. Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for influencers and brands, and it’s easy to see why.
According to our social media trends survey, 72% of marketers listed Instagram among the social media platforms on which they work with influencers and creators.
Furthermore, most marketers surveyed (30%) said Instagram is the platform they get the most significant ROI when working with influencers and creators. However, that doesn’t mean Instagram is the right choice for everyone — mainly if your ideal audience doesn’t spend much time on that platform.
For example, if you’re an influencer whose niche has to do with video games, Twitch might be the better platform. Video game fans often tune into Twitch to watch content creators play their favorite games or to stream their playthroughs.
If your audience is mostly Gen Z, you’ll likely want to consider TikTok as your platform of choice.
You should also research other influencers in your niche to see what platforms they leverage the most. For example, style influencers are primarily on Instagram or Pinterest. Entertainment influencers may mostly be on TikTok or YouTube.
Once you know which platform your audience and fellow influencers frequent the most, you can select the right social media platform to post your content.
3. Create a content strategy.
The format and quality of your content will make or break your chances of successfully building yourself as an influencer. Decide on the format you’ll use when creating your content.
The format should be feasible on the platform you choose to leverage, and it should be a format that allows you to deliver valuable information while showcasing your unique personality.
An effective content strategy will give your audience a proper balance of informative content and personal content. Remember, relatability and authenticity are the reasons people trust influencers.
In fact, 72% of TikTok users find “normal creators” more interesting than celebrities, according to the platform.
To find the perfect balance of content for your strategy, use the 5-3-2 principle. With the 5-3-2 principle, five out of every ten posts would be curated content from a source relevant to your audience.
Three posts should be content you’ve created pertinent to your audience, and two posts would be personal posts about yourself to humanize your online presence.
You’re probably wondering, “How will this help me become an influencer if half of the content I publish is curated?”
For starters, influencers are known for being able to provide valuable content to their audience. That includes sharing content written by others that they believe their followers will find helpful.
Sharing content published by other influencers in your niche will help you slowly get their attention. As a result, it will be much easier to reach out to them and ask them to do the same for you later on.
When it comes to the quality of your content, you should invest in equipment such as mics, cameras, and lighting to give your audience gorgeous content that will keep them coming back for more.
Pro Tip: Smartphones have excellent cameras these days, so you can use your phone to record your content if you’re not ready to invest in an expensive camera. Just make sure to use the front-facing camera for the best image.
4. Distribute your content.
No matter how great your content is, if you’re not getting people to see it and engage with it, it’s not exactly practical.
That said, it’s essential that you carefully plan out when you’ll be publishing and distributing your content on social media.
The best time to post content on social media hugely depends on which social media channel you choose. This infographic provides a detailed breakdown of the best days and times to distribute content for each popular social media network.
It’s just as critical to know how to post your content on social media. While each social media channel has its own rules and guidelines, here are some general best practices that are applicable regardless of which social media channel you use.
5. Start a website.
Whether you leverage YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, or some other social media platform — you should always have your website as an influencer.
Websites are great for SEO because they allow you a space to create evergreen content with keywords that are optimized to get you at the top of SERPs.
You can create content around themes and keywords your audience is searching for, allowing them to flock to your website.
Furthermore, a website is an excellent avenue for consumers to engage directly with and buy products from you. It also allows brands and advertisers to learn more about you and your content and reach out to you for opportunities.
Finally, securing a long-term home base is the most important reason to have a website. Social media platforms change constantly. An app that’s popular today can lose users to tomorrow.
Even worse, a platform can completely shut down, taking all your content with it.
A website that houses your business information, content, links, and points of contact will help you stay relevant and grow as an influencer for years to come.
6. Stay updated.
As an influencer, staying tuned into the latest trends and buzzy topics is essential.
So, follow other creators in your niche on social media, keep an eye out for trending hashtags and challenges, and know what keywords your audience is searching online.
You also need to remember that social media platforms will often change their policies, algorithms, and posting terms — so stay updated to avoid your account becoming irrelevant or, worse, deleted.
Most importantly, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines and policies, especially if you’re going to be collaborating with brands to promote their products and services on your social media accounts.
7. Be yourself.
Remember, authenticity is key to being a successful influencer. Almost 70% of marketers say “authenticity and transparency” are crucial to successful influencer marketing, according to Econsultancy.
Moreover, 61% of consumers prefer influencers who create authentic, engaging content.
The best way to be authentic is to be yourself. While your content should be quality, you yourself don’t have to be flawless to be an influencer.
If your house cat walks into your shot, or you laugh as a car blasting music drives by as you’re recording — it’s okay!
Don’t be afraid to be silly on camera or show off your sense of humor — consumers love influencers because they’re more relatable and “real” than celebrities or companies.
8. Engage with your audience.
When your followers leave a question or comment on your posts, take the time to acknowledge and respond to them. That can make them feel valued and that you sincerely want to help them. It will also help you develop a relationship with them.
Of course, not all of the comments and questions will be positive. As an influencer, expect that you’ll have your fair share of negative comments and criticisms. Make it a point to keep your cool and address them professionally.
9. Network with other influencers.
Collaborate with other influencers in your niche to expand your audience and grow your network. You can find potential collaborators through social media, online communities, or by attending conventions and vents.
Having business cards to pass to potential collaborators also doesn’t hurt.
10. Create a media kit and pitch yourself to brands.
A media kit is an influencer version of a resume or portfolio. An influencer media kit contains information about your work, successes, audience size, and why brands should work with you.
Every influencer should have a media kit to email to marketing professionals, brand representatives, and agencies to find work.
The kit’s design is just as important as its content because you’ll want a design showcasing your personality because personality is key.
Media kits also make you look more professional. Many people step into influencing and content creation as a hobby. Having a media kit shows companies you are not a hobbyist and are serious about your work.
Your kit should include the following:
- Your photo
- A short bio
- Your social media channels, along with your follower count on each platform
- Engagement rate
- Audience demographics
- Website link
- Information about past work and collaborations
You can design a media kit using Canva or purchase media kit templates from Etsy. You can also download media kit templates from HubSpot by clicking here.
11. Be consistent.
Your followers need to be able to consistently count on you to deliver quality content. If you don’t, they’ll eventually stop following you or at least paying attention to you.
Instead of manually publishing on each of your social media profiles, these tools allow you to create, upload, and schedule posts in batches.
12. Track your progress.
This step is crucial, especially if you’re looking to collaborate with brands for their influencer marketing campaigns, since this is one of the things brands look for in an influencer to partner with.
Most social media channels give you insights and analytics to monitor your progress — things like demographics, reach, and engagement rate that will show how quickly (or slowly) you’re building your audience.
It will also shed light on which content formats get the highest engagement rates so that you can create more.
How to Become an Influencer on Social Media
The steps above are all applicable to becoming a social media influencer. Some additional tips to keep in mind are:
1. Build an online community around your content.
Building trust with your audience is critical to your success as an influencer. One way to build trust is to build a community around your content.
Create a space where your audience can ask questions, engage with your content, and find others who enjoy your work or niche.
Some influencers start communities on Discord, Reddit, or other platforms to speak candidly with their followers. You can also host live Q&As or start your own hashtag for your followers to use to connect.
2. Repurpose content as necessary.
Fresh and interesting content should always be the priority when influencing, but sometimes it helps to repurpose content.
Repurposing content is especially helpful when you’re pressed for time, lacking fresh ideas, or just need to post something to keep on schedule.
You can also repurpose content to give your posts a second life on other platforms. If you have an Instagram Reel that performed well but could use more eyes on it — repost it to TikTok or YouTube Shorts.
For more ways to repurpose content, click here.
3. Always be willing to learn and be open to new platforms.
As I mentioned earlier, social media platforms often fall in and out of favor with audiences, so always be ready to pivot when a platform is losing steam.
Keep an eye out for up-and-coming social channels, and always keep a pulse on where your audience is tuning in.
Ultimately, to be a successful influencers you need to be authentic, organized, flexible, and willing to adjust to evolving trends.
And of course, you need to create quality content that shows brands and your followers that you are serious about your work. Now that you know the steps you need to take, you’re ready to dive into the influencer market.
How does YouTube SEO work? What are the steps to optimize your YouTube videos for search? The answers to these questions are simpler than you might think.
While it might seem difficult to get any exposure on YouTube, you can implement certain strategies to ensure that the YouTube algorithm favors you in the search results.
In this post, we’ll go over proven YouTube SEO tips that have worked for HubSpot’s YouTube channel and that will work for you, regardless of your channel size. Let’s get started.
How to Rank Videos on YouTube
To get videos to rank on YouTube, we must first understand the YouTube algorithm and YouTube’s ranking factors.
Just like any search engine, YouTube wants to deliver content that answers the searcher’s specific query. For instance, if someone searches for “how to tie a tie,” YouTube won’t deliver a video titled “how to tie your shoelaces.” Instead, it will serve search results that answer that specific query.
So, as you try your hand at YouTube SEO, think about how you can incorporate terms and phrases that are used by your target audience.
You’ll also need to think about YouTube analytics and engagement. When it ranks videos, YouTube cares about a metric called “watch time” — in other words, how long viewers stay on your video. A long watch time means that you’re delivering valuable content; a short watch time means that your content should likely not rank.
If you want your videos to rank, try to create content that’s optimized for longer watch times. You can, for instance, prompt users to stay until the end of the video by promising a surprise or a giveaway.
Is it worth optimizing videos on YouTube?
Trying to rank videos on YouTube might seem like a lost effort. Only the most well-known influencers and content creators seem to have any luck on the platform.
However, that’s not the case. As a business, you can enjoy views, comments, and likes on your videos — so long as you find the right audience for your content. In fact, finding and targeting the right audience is even more important than creating a “beautiful” video. If you’re actively solving your prospective customers’ problems with your YouTube videos, then you’ve done 90% of the YouTube optimization work.
In addition, ranking videos on YouTube is a key element of your inbound marketing strategy, even if it might not seem that way. As recently as a decade ago, inbound video marketing was a brand new idea. Marketers were learning that they couldn’t just publish a high volume of content — it also had to be high-quality and optimized in ways that made it as discoverable as possible through search engines.
That content was once largely limited to the written word. Today, that’s no longer the case. Instead, a comprehensive content strategy includes written work like blogs and ebooks, as well as media like podcasts, visual assets, and videos. And with the rise of other content formats comes the need to optimize them for search. One increasingly important place to do that is on YouTube.
If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry. We cover the most important YouTube SEO tips and strategy below so you can effectively optimize your content for YouTube search.
YouTube SEO combines basic SEO practices with YouTube-specific optimization techniques. If you’re new to search engine optimization, check out this complete SEO guide.
To be successful on YouTube, you’ll need a clear strategy. This strategy has two parts. First, you need to understand how YouTube SEO works. Then, you’ll want to use that knowledge as you choose a target audience, develop a plan for your channel, and set goals for growth.
How YouTube SEO Works
YouTube is part of Google and it uses similar search algorithms to show users the videos that best match their search queries.
This algorithm uses different elements in each video post to decide how that video will rank for specific search terms. These elements include:
- Video title
- Video description
- Number of views, comments, and likes
- Watch time
The algorithm also considers the past activity of the person who is searching. This helps search results feel more personalized to that user.
When combined, these signals tell the algorithm how relevant, popular, or engaging your video post is for a user’s query.
Choose a Target Audience
For many content creators, audience growth starts with picking a topic, then optimizing YouTube videos. But with growth comes competition. It was once simple to create a YouTube channel for a broad topic like product reviews or tech, but today new YouTube channels need a more specific focus.
As you narrow your target audience, think about who you want to engage with your channel and why. Ask yourself:
- How much do you know about your target audience?
- Why do they spend time on YouTube?
- What other social media platforms does your audience prefer?
- What inspires their interest and loyalty?
- Are there other YouTube channels or creators that you should partner with to connect with this audience?
Develop a Plan
Creating a content plan can seem simple if your YouTube channel centers on a topic you love. But most of the time, the challenge isn’t in coming up with ideas, it’s about making them happen.
If you want to optimize YouTube for SEO, content planning isn’t just about what videos you’re making and when to post them. It’s a process to figure out what resources you need to improve traffic, conversion, and engagement with your video content.
For example, you may have a great idea for a video about surfing, but where are you getting your footage? If you’re not recording yourself or your local community, it may be tough to find high-quality source material for your videos.
Building professional skills or a team with expertise in editing, sound, and animation can also boost the quality of your videos. But if those resources aren’t readily available to you, you may need a plan to create great videos without them.
This free content planning template can help you create a solid plan for your YouTube strategy.
Featured Resource: Content Planning Templates
Set Goals for Growth
YouTube offers many helpful metrics that can help you assess whether your team is meeting your strategic goals. Broad metrics can be helpful to track consistency and big shifts in performance, like algorithm changes.
But it’s also a good idea to choose focused metrics that align with your goals. For example, if you want to increase your audience, track your subscriber count, impressions, and audience retention. If engagement is your goal, look at likes, comments, shares, and watch time. Driving web traffic? Add links to your video descriptions and annotations, then track those sources on your website.
Tracking the metrics that align with your goals will help you learn how you’re growing your audience. You can use that knowledge to create more effective videos for your users and SEO. And that effort will help you keep growing your YouTube channel.
1. Rename your video file using a target keyword.
Just like you would when optimizing written content, you’ll use an SEO tool to first identify keywords you’d like your video to focus on (you can browse popular YouTube SEO tools later in this post, or just click this link).
With a keyword identified, the first place to put it is your video file — before you even upload it to YouTube. Why? YouTube can’t actually “watch” your video to see how relevant it is to your target keyword, and as you’ll learn in the tips below, there are only so many places you can safely insert this keyword on your video’s viewing page once it’s published. But, YouTube can read your video’s file name and all the code that comes with it when it’s uploaded.
With that in mind, replace the “business_ad_003FINAL.mov” file name (don’t be embarrassed — we’ve all been there during post-production) with your desired keyword. If your keyword is “house painting tips,” for example, your video’s file name should be “house-painting-tips” followed by your preferred video file type (MOV, MP4, and WMV are some of the most common that are compatible with YouTube).
2. Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.
When you search for videos, one of the first things that your eyes are drawn to is the title. That’s often what decides whether you’ll click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also clear and concise.
Although your keyword plays a big part in your video title, it also helps if the title closely matches what the viewer is searching for.
It’s a good idea to optimize your title for keywords so long as the keyword fits naturally into a title that tells viewers exactly what they’re about to see.
Lastly, make sure to keep your title fairly short — HubSpot campaigns manager Alicia Collins recommends limiting it to 60 characters to help keep it from getting cut off in results pages.
3. Optimize your video description.
First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it’s okay to use all that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read an essay.
If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters. After that point, viewers have to click “show more” to see the full description. That’s why we suggest front-loading the description with the most important information, like CTAs or crucial links.
As for optimizing the video itself, it’s smart to add a transcript of the video, especially for those who have to watch it without volume.
An optimized description can also help you show up in the suggested videos sidebar, which can be a great source of views.
If you need a high-performing video description, try one of these proven YouTube description templates.
4. Tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic.
YouTube suggests using tags to let viewers know what your video is about. But you’re not just informing your viewers — you’re also informing YouTube itself. YouTube uses tags to understand the content and context of your video.
That way, YouTube figures out how to associate your video with similar videos, which can broaden your content’s reach. But choose your tags wisely. Don’t use an irrelevant tag because you think it’ll get you more views — in fact, Google might penalize you for that. And like your description, lead with the most important keywords, including a good mix of those that are common and more long-tail (as in, those that answer a question like “how do I?”).
Use these simple instructions to add and make the most of tags in your YouTube videos.
5. Categorize your video.
Once you upload a video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it winds up in different playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience.
It might not be as simple as it looks. In fact, it’s important to go through a comprehensive process to find which category each video belongs in. Answer questions like:
- Who are the top creators within the category? What are they known for and what do they do well?
- Are there any patterns between the audiences of similar channels within a given category?
- Do the videos within a similar category share qualities like production value, length, or format?
6. Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link.
Your video thumbnail is the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results. Along with the video’s title, that thumbnail sends a signal to the viewer about the video’s content, so it can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.
While you can always pick one of the thumbnail options auto-generated by YouTube, we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. YouTube recommends using images that are 1280×720 pixels — representing a 16:9 ratio — that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to confirm that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.
It’s important to note that your YouTube account has to be verified to upload a custom thumbnail image. To do that, visit youtube.com/verify and follow the instructions listed there.
7. Use an SRT File to add subtitles & closed captions.
Like much of the other text we’ve discussed here, subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting important keywords.
To add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you’ll have to upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file. For the former, you can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video.
Adding subtitles follows a similar process, but you can limit the amount of text you want displayed. For either, head to your video manager then click on “Videos” under “Video Manager.” Find the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning to, and click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button. Then, choose “Subtitles/CC.” You can then choose how you’d like to add subtitles or closed captioning.
Find out how to add closed captions to your YouTube video in the video below.
8. Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.
When you’re watching a video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner, or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which YouTube describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”
You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:
- Channel cards that direct viewers to another channel.
- Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations.
- Fan funding to ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
- Link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
- Poll cards, which pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
- Video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube content of this kind.
For detailed steps on adding a card to your video, follow these official steps from Google, or check out the video below.
End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don’t display until a video is over and are a bit more visually detailed in nature. A good example is the overlay with a book image and a visual link to view more on the video below:
There are a number of detailed instructions for adding end screens depending on what kind of platform you want to design them for, as well as different types of content allowed for them by YouTube. Google outlines the details for how to optimize for those considerations here.
It’s important to note that YouTube is always testing end screens to try to optimize the viewer experience, so there are times when “your end screen, as designated by you, may not appear.” Take these factors into account as you decide between using either cards or end screens.
These factors may seem a bit complicated and time-consuming, but remember: The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled year over year. There’s an audience to be discovered there, and when you optimize for YouTube, your chances of being discovered increase.
9. Add hashtags to increase reach.
Hashtags are a part of the YouTube user interface that allow you to add related terms to your content, just as you would on LinkedIn or Instagram. Hashtags show up right above your video title for easy clicking and discoverability. You can use your company name, as HubSpot does below, or include related keywords.
We also recommend using hashtags in your YouTube description, but don’t go overboard; the YouTube algorithm constantly checks for spam. Overly hashtagging may get you inadvertently flagged. Instead of using every hashtag you can think of, choose 2-3 that you feel most accurately describe your video.
10. Create a playlist about your video’s general topic.
As you add more and more videos to your content library, group them in keyword-optimized playlists. This won’t only signal to YouTube what your videos are about, but it will also keep viewers clicking from video to video, increasing your view count and, by extension, your rankings.
For example, Yoga with Kassandra grouped all of its short yoga classes in a playlist titled “5-15 min Yoga Classes.” Not only is the title short and descriptive, but the playlist description includes related keywords such as “10 minute yoga classes,” “10 minute morning yoga stretches,” and “bedtime yoga classes.”
11. Experiment with video length.
The more time viewers spend watching videos on your channel, the better it is for your SEO. But not every person on YouTube will stick around for 10 minutes or more.
For example, over 70% of watch time on YouTube happens on mobile devices. While some people can watch an hour-long video on a small screen, this figure shows how important it is to know your audience.
To find the right watch time for your audience, try creating videos of varying lengths. Then, do a quick analysis of the watch time, average view duration, and audience retention for each video and adjust your strategy.
12. Use YouTube’s autocomplete feature.
This feature makes it simple to find the most popular search terms for your video topic. Just start typing a keyword phrase and see what other keywords and phrases come up. Then, add the most relevant terms to your title, descriptions, and tags.
You can also use this tool to discover top YouTube trends or to figure out which keywords your competitors are targeting. These insights can help you pivot your YouTube SEO strategy for better results.
Check out this post for more useful YouTube features.
13. Try timestamps.
Timestamps mark different sections of your videos. They make it easy for your audience to find the content they’re looking for within each video.
Adding a timestamp can improve retention and user experience because it sets expectations. Timestamps give watchers an easy way to jump to what they want to see in a video or a reason to wait for that section to appear on-screen.
Timestamps also improve SEO because they make it easier for YouTube’s algorithm to understand your video content. This helps your video appear for search terms within your video, not just the overall theme of your video.
For example, if your video is about baking a cake, your video might include sections on baking equipment or cake trends like geode cakes. If you add timestamps to mark these sections, a user might not find your video when searching for “how to make a cake” because of competition for this keyword, but they could find it searching for “how to make a geode cake.”
You can manually add a timestamp or add and edit automatic video chapters with YouTube Studio.
14. Add a call-to-action (CTA) in your video and video description.
Calls-to-action are a powerful way to foster engagement. A CTA that offers value not only encourages likes, subscribes, and shares, it can also improve viewer engagement metrics. This can boost your video’s visibility in search results and suggested video features.
For maximum effectiveness, vary your CTAs. On one video you might do a verbal CTA asking viewers to like, subscribe, or share. For another video, ask your audience to bookmark your video or click shared links in your description.
You’ll also want to ask your viewers to share comments and feedback. These actions aren’t just valuable for user experience. They also give signals to YouTube that your video is engaging and offering value to your viewers. Check out these call-to-action examples for inspiration.
15. Review YouTube search analytics.
While analytics are useful for tracking progress toward your goals, you can also actively use this data to improve your YouTube SEO.
Say you’re trying to figure out why traffic suddenly jumped up for one of your videos. It might be that your video is ranking for a popular keyword. Or a popular website recently added your video.
You can dig into the video-specific data and see why that jump happened. Then you can figure out how to optimize other videos with the same tactics.
YouTube analytics can also help you anticipate keywords that are increasing in popularity. Optimizing your videos for those keywords early on gives you a better chance of ranking higher in those search results.
Finally, your analytics can help you better understand your audience. It’s not unusual to start a YouTube channel with an intended audience and then see those demographics shift over time. Analyzing the age, location, and interests of your real-time audience can help you make smart changes.
16. Optional: Leave a pinned comment on your own video.
Leaving a comment on your video might seem over the top, but it’s a smart strategy. Not only do more comments improve your video’s rankability, but they can generate high levels of audience engagement. A pinned comment may result in hundreds of replies, like it did for Matt D’Avelia below:
Be sure to leave an engaging comment that furthers the conversation or offers more value for readers. Here at HubSpot, for example, we leave a resource pinned so that viewers can further their knowledge on the topic. Check out this post for more on YouTube comment management.
1. Choose a target keyword for your video. This can be a topic, a question, or a highly specific query. If you’re not sure of the right target keyword, use a keyword research tool, or simply explore YouTube’s existing content library for inspiration.
2. Include the target keyword in the file name. Don’t use spaces between each word, but rather dashes (-) or underscores (_).
3. Include the target keyword in the title. Next up, work the target keyword into the title of your video, but be creative, and be sure to do it naturally. You don’t want the title to simply be “[keyword].” The title is the first thing users will see, so try to create intrigue and interest while promising to help the viewer in some way.
4. Include the keyword, as well as keyword variations, in the video description. The video description is the lifeblood of your YouTube SEO strategy. Write a natural description with 1-2 mentions of your target keyword, as well as variations of this keyword.
5. Add related tags to your video. While most users don’t use tags to find videos, they can help the YouTube algorithm categorize your video and serve it to the appropriate audience. Add around 5-8 industry tags, being sure to not overdo it so that you’re not flagged as spam.
6. Add your video category. While not as specific as tags, categories help users find your video and help the YouTube algorithm understand what your video is about. Categories come into play on the home page, the explore page, and the sidebar menu.
7. Upload a custom video thumbnail. Create a thumbnail that includes either a variation of your keyword or a short phrase that could generate clicks (like “1,000 organic followers, fast!”). As mentioned, you’ll need to verify your YouTube channel to get access to custom thumbnail uploads.
8. Add subtitles and closed captions. Subtitles and closed captions are a much-needed accessibility component of your videos. They also indirectly help you optimize for YouTube search by giving YouTube a text version of your video content.
9. Add cards and end screens that tie into the topic of your video. Cards are equivalent to internal and external linking, and end screens allow you to engage viewers during those critical last few seconds when a viewer might be tempted to click to another piece of content.
10. Add hashtags to your video. Hashtags are different from tags. They show up above your video title and help you increase reach and authority by further signaling what your video is about.
11. Create a playlist about your overarching topic. One of the best ways to optimize YouTube videos is to create playlists. Finding a few related videos and putting them in a playlist will not only attract more viewers, but it will also help the YouTube algorithm understand how your video relates to others in your upload library.
12. Optional: Leave a pinned comment to generate engagement or provide more value. As a brand, you can and should comment on your own videos — not only for replies to your commenters, but to offer more value to readers.
Now, most of the SEO tips above rely on you finding a keyword and promoting your video correctly. And not all of those tips can be carried out through YouTube alone. To get the most bang for your videography buck, consider some of the tools below to optimize your video for search.
Our SEO marketing software, developed here at HubSpot, allows you to find popular keywords for creating content and organizing keywords into groupings — what we call “topic clusters.” By sorting your content into topic clusters, you can oversee which pieces of content are related to one another, which types of content you have planned, and what you’ve already created.
While the keywords you discover in HubSpot reflect their popularity in a standard Google search, many of these topics will also produce videos on Google’s search engine results pages. In those cases, you can create topic clusters that have both blog and YouTube content belonging to them.
Clustering your content — and linking from videos to blog posts, and vice-versa — can give you more authority in the eyes of Google and YouTube, while giving you more ways to capture traffic from the people searching your topic.
Pro tip: HubSpot integrates with YouTube for useful dashboards and performance tracking.
Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO platform that allows you to monitor a website’s ranking, estimate the organic traffic you’d get from each keyword, and research keywords for which you might want to create new content.
One popular feature of Ahrefs is Keywords Explorer, which allows you to look up details related to a keyword you’re interested in. And as you can see in the screenshot above, you can filter your keyword results by search engine — including YouTube.
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer gives you a keyword’s monthly search volume, how many clicks for videos ranking for that keyword, related keywords, and more.
You might know Canva as a design template for creating all kinds of cards, photos, logos, and more. It just so happens this popular product has a Thumbnail Creator just for YouTube videos.
As stated in the tips above, thumbnail images are critical to promoting your content in YouTube search results and enticing users to click on your video. Using Canva’s Thumbnail Creator, you can create the perfect preview image for your video in 1280 x 720 pixels — the thumbnail dimensions YouTube requires.
4. vidIQ Vision
This is a Chrome extension, available through Chrome’s web store in the link above, that helps you analyze how and why certain YouTube videos perform so well. This includes the tags a video has been optimized for, its average watch time, and even how quickly that video might be gaining traffic.
The vidIQ tool then gives an SEO “score” you can use to create content that performs (or outperforms) the results you already see on YouTube.
TubeBuddy is an all-in-one video platform that helps you manage the production, optimization, and promotion of your YouTube content. Its features include an automatic language translator (which helps you rank for non-English keywords), a keyword explorer, tag suggestions, a rank tracker for your published videos, and more.
Cyfe is a large software suite that offers, among other things, a YouTube analytics platform. On this platform, you can track performance on YouTube and on your site.
In addition to traffic analytics, Cyfe can show you which keywords you’re ranking for and which ones are most popular across various search engines. Sounds a lot like Google Analytics or Moz, right? That’s because Cyfe has data from both of those tools, and more, built into it.
Start Optimizing YouTube Videos
Video marketing is crucial for businesses and creators. No matter what SEO tip or tool you start with, a successful YouTube channel begins with good content. Make sure your viewers have something high-quality and relevant to watch when they find you.
Optimizing your YouTube videos can help attract more views and build community — and lead to more conversions and sales. So, start today and watch your YouTube channel grow.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Whether you’re launching a new business or already have one, having a small business marketing strategy that includes a strong online presence for your brand is essential.
Consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else, with Statista predicting the number of ecommerce users to grow to nearly 290 million by 2027.
If you’re a small business owner with little experience in online marketing, creating a strategy to boost your online presence may feel overwhelming. Have no fear — we’ve got you covered.
In this post, we’ll help you build and optimize your small business marketing strategy using inbound marketing, setting you up to attract new clients and ultimately grow your business.
Small Business Marketing
Marketing is meant to raise brand awareness and build a pipeline of qualified leads that turn into sales. With a small business, getting the word out can be challenging due to less visibility and lack of resources (like budget or time).
However, there are key strategies that can help you scale your small business’s marketing efforts.
Whether you’re struggling with a limited budget, the time restraints caused by a smaller team, or even a lack of direction, a marketing plan appropriate for your business can guide you as you scale.
These strategies are fundamental as you generate awareness and revenue for your organization:
1. Know your audience.
A key mistake is thinking that “anyone” is your buyer. Larger companies may be able to appeal to a wide market, but they say “the riches are in the niches” for a reason.
You’ll have the most leverage as a small business in a niche. And to develop a niche and appeal to buyers within it, you must understand their pains, problems, triggering events, and priorities.
What is pushing them to make a purchasing decision? What does it look like if they succeed? Knowing these things will help you craft messaging that resonates and makes a compelling case for your solution.
Start by thinking about your existing customers and who you’d like to work with. Then, create a buyer persona to get into your ideal client’s head.
2. Emphasize your value proposition.
If there’s no difference between you and your competition, there’s no reason why a buyer would be compelled to work with you.
Your value proposition is what will differentiate you from others in your space and make up your prospects’ minds that you’re the provider to go with.
What do you do better than anyone in the industry? Conveying this makes a compelling argument.
3. Stay focused on singular goals and objectives.
If you’re exploring the world of marketing, you may have noticed that there are a gazillion directions you can go in. It’s tempting to do it all at once and craft a complicated machine in hopes that you covered all your bases.
However, this strategy makes it easy to take on too much.
Instead, identify where the biggest impact will be. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing prohibiting your growth?
Set a performance goal around that one key area and focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will achieve that one performance goal.
You can expand your efforts or pivot to other initiatives when you’ve made more progress toward that singular goal.
4. Capitalize on short-term plays.
Start scrappy. As you scale, it’s critical to see ROI sooner. This will give you the momentum and cash flow to put toward larger projects, long-term plays, and more sustainable growth models.
Tactics that take time to build (such as SEO) are poor fits for your primary initiatives because you won’t see a return soon enough for your liking. If you have enough resources to start there, great. However, don’t put all your eggs in that basket.
If you have evidence that people are taking to Google with purchasing intent for your particular solution, you may find that paid ads will give you that short-term ROI.
5. Double down on what works.
Once you have your initiatives running and you’ve experimented with a few things, pay attention to the data. This can inform you of what’s working. As you scale, it’s a good idea to double down on proven methods of generating revenue.
6. Understand the power of existing customers.
On average, acquiring a new customer costs five times more than closing an existing one. This means you shouldn’t stop marketing once they’ve made a purchase.
Identify your opportunities for repeat purchasing, upselling, and cross-selling. Because your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you.
If you’ve provided a good experience, you’ve given them a reason to do business with you again should the need ever arise.
Even if the need doesn’t arise (in cases where it’s a one-and-done purchase with no upsell opportunities), you should still delight your customers. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) promotional tool.
7. Use free promotional tools.
Speaking of free promotional tools, it’s important to note that since you’ve committed to a limited goal and scope, there’s no need to inflate your overhead with gadgets.
Use free promotional tools where possible, and only commit to paid tools if you know they will drastically improve existing operations or performance. Here’s a helpful list of marketing tools (some free, some paid).
8. Create a website to own your online presence.
A professional-looking website is one of the most important assets you will create for your small business. This is where you will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can contact you.
It is a channel you will always own, and it has the capability of generating organic traffic in addition to being a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.
Your website isn’t just a simple brochure, either. You can turn it into a 24/7 salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn them into leads (more on that later).
For one of the best website tools, check out HubSpot’s CMS.
9. Consider blogging to attract prospects for your website.
Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic, particularly for those prospects who have not reached a purchasing decision yet. In addition, it can establish credibility in your space and position you as a thought leader.
To start a blog, you can use an inexpensive or free website tool to make a free site and use one of their templates.
Even if you only publish once a week, it will improve your website’s visibility online and help educate your potential customers on why they should trust your company.
If you plan to write your posts yourself, check out this beginner’s guide to writing.
Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action (CTAs) on your posts for visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive emails.
This is a great way to start collecting leads and offering potential customers a way to get information if they aren’t ready to buy anything from you yet.
10. Promote yourself on social media.
With billions of potential customers using various platforms daily, social media is a powerful business tool. Social media marketing can help you engage with potential customers, build brand awareness, and promote your products.
Why wouldn’t you want to be seen where your potential customers spend their time?
11. Collaborate with influencers to create brand awareness.
Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are top of the list when it comes to social media platforms. But, if your small business is not yet well known on these outlets, consider collaborating with well-established influencers in your niche.
Influencer marketing is currently the top marketing trend. Collaborating with influencers is a surefire way to get your business in front of the eyes of your audience. Influencers understand their (and your!) niche.
Not only do they understand the niche, but influencers have a knack for storytelling — meaning, they’ll be able to effectively tell your business’s story and sell your brand to the appropriate audience.
Consider reaching out to influencers in your niche to add to your small business marketing strategy.
12. Create short-form video content.
Marketers know that a good marketing strategy for your small business should include more than just written content. In fact, in 2022, 44% of social media marketers focused their efforts on creating video content for TikTok.
Adding short-form video content to your marketing strategy is a great idea, as platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook make connecting and engaging with your audience convenient.
Short-form video content is easily shared, meaning you can quickly get your product or service in front of the right audience — and their friends.
13. Stick to a social media posting schedule.
You shouldn’t just post to your social media platforms hoping that something will become a viral post. Instead, you must focus on intentional content creation and posting.
After you find the social media platform that works best for your business, create a social media content calendar and stick to a regular posting schedule.
But, don’t just post every day for the sake of posting. 83% of social media marketers say it’s better to post at a lower frequency with high-quality content than daily posting.
You’ll likely post irrelevant, low-quality content when you post daily.
Take the time to create engaging, thoughtful content and schedule it for the appropriate times to stand out from the competition.
14. Invest in ads.
Organic traffic takes a while to build, and as a small business, you want to invest in short-term plays. Pay-to-play tactics that target buyers with high intent are great for short-term wins to jump-start other objectives.
80% of brands use some form of paid advertisement. Google Ads are perfect if you know that your target audience is searching the web for your product or solution. If they aren’t, you might consider social media ads instead.
Individuals on social media have less buying intent, but with highly targeted ads and enough impressions, you’ll gain the interest of your audience.
15. Make sure you’re capturing web prospects’ information.
We’ve been talking a lot about visibility and traffic but haven’t really covered how these will help drive revenue yet. One simple way to start generating leads or customers from your website is to implement a conversion tool.
A simple, free option is HubSpot Marketing Free. By using this tool to add a pop-up widget to your website, you can start collecting the email addresses of potential customers.
From there, you can send out promotions and offers and convert them into paying customers. You can also implement any of these 24 conversion tools to help you optimize your website and use it to drive leads.
16. Use email marketing to nurture leads.
Just because you’ve converted website traffic into leads doesn’t mean those leads are ready to buy yet. It’s important to stay top of mind and move them closer to a purchasing decision.
This strategy is an easy, free, and scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.
Once you have an email marketing tool in place (many are inexpensive or even free), experiment with emailing out newsletters (with your sleek new blog posts) and other promotions to your database.
We know small business owners don’t have tons of free time to devote to digital marketing, so consider using marketing automation to make this process even easier for yourself.
To get started planning your email marketing strategy, check out this guide and template from HubSpot.
17. Manage relationships with a CRM.
Email marketing works best when you’re sending personalized, targeted emails. This begins with a customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Your CRM stores information about your leads, prospects, and customers so that you can keep track of customer interactions and identify sales opportunities more effectively.
HubSpot has one of the best CRMs (and, best of all, it’s totally free).
18. Lean into word of mouth as a promotion channel.
As mentioned previously, delighting customers can have a big impact on your business, primarily in repeat purchases and word of mouth.
If you provide a great experience, your customers will be more inclined to leave reviews, give testimonials, and tell their friends about you.
That’s why measuring customer satisfaction and encouraging customers to spread the word is a good idea.
19. Connect with other local businesses.
Take your business to the local community and connect with other local business owners in your area. Consider partnering with local businesses to create discounts, deals, or coupons for customers.
Start a live stream with local business owners during a promotional event or coordinate a giveaway.
Connecting with other small businesses is both great for word of mouth and collaboration. If you collaborate with other local businesses, advertise the promotion or sale on your social media outlets.
Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are tips for improving whichever marketing strategies you choose.
1. Determine your brand’s identity.
A consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers. According to a 2020 study, nearly 9 out of 10 people are brand loyal.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has described a company’s branding as “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
In other words, your brand is people’s feelings and emotions when hearing your company name. It combines your brand name, logo, aesthetic, and the design of all your assets, plus the values you support, which is becoming more important to consumers.
2. Identify your buyer persona.
When you imagine a customer searching for your product or service, what are they like? What are their pain points? What is their job? Creating a buyer persona that tells the story of your ideal customer can help you optimize a website for them.
By learning more about your target customer through creating a buyer persona, you can better figure out what types of things they may be searching for so you can include those terms on your website.
3. Design a logo and other assets.
To start getting the creative juices flowing, consider your color scheme and peruse palettes with Adobe Color or Coolors. You can create your own or look through pre-made or customized color palettes.
There are free and less expensive options for designing your own logo online, although using a freelancer or agency can give you a higher quality product and connect you with a designer who can change and update your brand assets as your company grows.
4. Build your website with a CMS template.
If you’re a tech-savvy small business owner, you’ll probably want to build your own website. A content management system (CMS) makes the process simple.
Most CMSs offer customizable templates for your site that you can get for free or for a small fee. There are templates for various skill levels — from beginner all the way to advanced.
Once you’ve created your website, most CMS platforms offer plugins to help you optimize your content for search (look for SEO plugins). This will help you rank better in Google — which we’ll discuss more in-depth in a bit.
5. Draw up a go-to-market strategy.
Once you’ve activated all the tools you need to promote your product or service, you’ll need to create a promotional plan that aligns with the customer journey.
Consider which content will attract, engage, and delight your prospects and how you will convert them into a customer.
To help you plan out this process, use this template.
6. Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content.
If you need help creating regular blogs or promotional content, consider hiring a freelancer over investing in a full-timer. Try Upwork for a freelance blogger, videographer, or photographer.
You could also consider hiring a marketing agency for a larger project.
7. Consult agencies or freelancers for web design help.
If you aren’t technical and want a website built for your small business, you can use a freelancer or a marketing agency specializing in web design.
This is a great option for businesses with an existing website that needs to be updated and revamped for SEO to help improve your Google ranking.
8. Track your site with analytics tools.
If you’ve never made a website and aren’t entirely comfortable with the technical elements, many free tools and services can help you get started.
9. Boost your Google ranking with SEO.
If you already have a business, have you ever searched for yourself or your product/service online? If so, did you think, “Why isn’t my website showing up on Google?”
If so, you probably thought, “How do I rank on Google?” or “How can I improve my Google ranking?”
There are a lot of factors that play into why a certain site or page appears in the top spots on the Google (or another search engine) search engine results page (SERP).
Backlinko reports some of Google’s top factors, which include having relevant keywords (and their placement on your site), the length of your content, having high-quality content, how fast your page loads, how often you post content, and more.
When it all boils down, Google tries to find the best content to present to the person searching.
For example, if I’m searching for the best salon in Newport, Rhode Island, it wouldn’t be helpful for me to find a web page of a salon that has closed down and is located in Newport, Kentucky.
It would, however, be helpful for me to find a salon in my area with great Yelp reviews, an easy-to-navigate website, and contact information readily available.
Google always wants to surface the most relevant, highest-quality piece of content.
HubSpot explains SEO as “techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
This makes your website more visible to people looking for solutions that your brand, product, or service can provide via search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.”
In other words, it’s the basic concept of structuring your website and blog posts to be in the best shape for appearing first on search engines.
SEO strategy usually consists of a few things. These include buyer persona research, keyword research, and on-page SEO research.
These three areas can help you learn how your target market is searching online and position your business to get discovered by the right people.
10. Research keywords opportunities.
Keyword research is an extension of buyer persona research. You can use the personas you’ve created to search for the best keywords for your brand, then use a tool like KW Finder to find related keywords for your target audience.
Then, you can do some on-page SEO research and optimization. This is where you put those keywords in the correct places on your website — like in the meta description, page titles, and H1 tags.
11. Optimize your website for mobile devices.
Most Google searches are done on mobile devices, so it’s important to have a site that looks clean and is easy to navigate when someone enters it on their smartphone.
A mobile site can also be beneficial for SEO, with search engines like Google, which reward you with a higher ranking if you have a mobile site.
You don’t have to be a tech expert to build a site that looks good on mobile. In fact, most CMS platforms like HubSpot already offer mobile-optimized templates.
12. Write optimized blog posts.
Content and blogging are extremely important for your search engine ranking. The more often your desired keywords appear in your high-quality and helpful content, the more likely you are to appear in search results.
A great way to become an authority on your topic, product, or service is to blog.
13. Experiment with photo and video content.
According to HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands. Additionally, most social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram, are embracing more visual layouts.
To keep up with these trends, it’s a good idea to make a few marketing videos. If you use these tips, producing a few can be quite inexpensive.
14. Launch business pages on Facebook and Yelp.
If your business is focused on a local area, the most important accounts for you are Facebook, Yelp, and Google’s business feature.
Having high Yelp reviews improves your authority online and helps your search ranking. You can claim your business on Yelp for free, customize your profile, add pictures, and ask for reviews.
The same thing goes for registering your Google business page. You can register your business with Google (for free) and add pictures.
If you’ve ever searched for your business in Google Maps and been disappointed not to see it, it’s because you haven’t claimed it yet!
On Facebook, you can create a Facebook business page so that people can find your location and hours.
15. Build out your social media strategy.
While Facebook and Yelp will be great tools for local searches and reviews, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter will offer you even more opportunities to share your posts, content, and promotions.
If your customers can purchase your products or services online, these platforms will also give them another way to find you.
Be sure not to spread yourself too thin by joining too many platforms at once. To make strategizing easier, here’s a guide to the five types of social media platforms and the pros and cons of each.
16. Use social media for customer service.
Once you’re on your chosen platforms, be sure to answer customer or follower questions when they ask them through post comments or direct messages. This will make your company look responsive and credible.
Here are some great examples of how brands have used Twitter for customer service.
If you have the means, consider hiring a social media manager with community management experience.
On top of posting content on a regular schedule, community managers are charged with responding to questions or concerns of followers.
Interested? We published a guide on what it takes to be a great social media community manager.
17. Build interesting landing pages.
A landing page offers your potential customers a free resource in exchange for filling out a short contact information form.
When they receive the resource, they might be even more pleased by your company and more interested in buying the full product.
Because landing pages raise your chances of customer conversion, you want yours to look enticing. To get started, read this landing page guide to learn more about what makes this strategy successful.
Then check out these free and professionally designed templates.
18. Plan an email marketing strategy.
Once you start creating regular content and building out landing pages, you’ll want to share them with the prospects who seem most interested in learning more about your product.
For this reason, we suggest building an email marketing strategy.
While you want to be careful not to bombard those who sign up for your email list with too many emails, you want to send just enough to keep your prospects informed and engaged.
Here’s how our metrics improved when we streamlined our email marketing strategy.
If you’ve never sent regular newsletters before, you can use HubSpot or a number of other affordable tools to create and send an email with a professionally designed template.
Many email tools also offer basic analytics that allow you to track open and click rates.
19. Offer coupons in newsletters or on landing pages.
Placing a coupon in your marketing emails can engage and delight your audience. After buying a product or service at a discounted rate, they might also be more willing to pay full price.
If you have a subscription service, offering prospects a code for a free trial can also be helpful so they can test it out.
20. Share your distribution channels on your website.
Once you have a few social media accounts and a newsletter, connect them to your website so your visitors can follow you.
One way companies do this is to display all of their linked social icons and a newsletter sign-up CTA on all pages of your website. A good place to include these is on the top right corner or the footer of each page.
This way, they’re visible but aren’t distracting from any content.
21. Offer a free webinar.
A webinar allows potential customers to sign up for a short online course hosted by you. These courses are usually between 30 minutes to an hour and allow you to give tips and answer questions related to a topic your brand is familiar with.
While this strategy can help you boost your credibility in your field, it can also offer you potential leads and sales opportunities.
22. Try co-marketing.
Is there a local business in your area that isn’t a direct competitor but offers a product or service to a similar target audience?
Consider working with them on a cobranded campaign where you promote each other on social media, via email, or in your blog.
While you’ll give your partnering company added promotion, it will also allow their fanbase to learn more about you.
23. Encourage happy customers to share their experiences.
When a happy customer talks about how great your company is on social media or a review site, your product or service looks like a good investment.
Even on social media, word of mouth is still a huge factor in someone’s purchasing decision.
If a prospect sees a friend raving about your business on Facebook or if they post a photo of a meal from your restaurant on Instagram, they might be more likely to go.
After all, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase based on social media referrals.
If customers tell you they love your product, encourage them to share the experience on Yelp, Google, or social.
If you have a physical business, you should place signs up with your account handles so customers know who to tag if they post a picture of your product.
24. Try out marketing experiments.
If you’re interested in a new social platform or a new marketing trend, don’t be afraid to experiment. If an experiment goes well, you could be ahead of the game, and it never hurts to be a thought leader in your industry.
When you experiment with a new marketing strategy, have a solid hypothesis or question in mind. This will keep you focused on the end goal and reduce the desire to chase the next big thing as it comes along.
Also, prepare for your next steps if you get good or bad results. Here’s a quick guide to leading a successful marketing experiment.
Small Business Advertising Ideas
Now that we’ve covered some marketing strategy basics, let’s look into how you can put your advertising dollars to work. Below are some ways to tackle advertising for small businesses.
1. Set up Google My Business.
Creating a free Google My Business profile is a simple first step to helping potential customers find your business. It only takes a few minutes to add your business contact information, business hours, photos, and a list of your services.
Another perk of having a Google business profile is that you don’t need a storefront to create one. Your profile also comes with analytics that can help you better understand how customers are connecting with your business.
Additionally, you can check out and respond to customer reviews and learn what keywords brought them to your business page.
2. Consider PPC ads with Google & Bing.
Using pay-per-click (PPC) ad programs like Google Adwords or Microsoft Advertising can also help drive customers to your business. If you’re working hard on SEO, but are still looking for an extra boost, consider PPC advertising.
Before you dive into PPC, you’ll want to make sure your landing page is as optimized as possible. If you are paying by the click and those who click on the page don’t convert, you will lose advertising dollars.
To help you get started, read this Ultimate Guide to PPC. Then, use this PPC planning template to create an optimized campaign. You can also use a few handy tools and software to edit, track, and report on your campaigns.
3. Run social media ads.
Most major social media platforms offer affordable advertising options that can help you target your posts to a specific audience.
While many small businesses have been advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for years, Instagram now allows brands to advertise through its Shoppable tool.
Pinterest is also an excellent option for small businesses to advertise. In fact, Pinterest users say the platform has more influence on their purchasing journey than other platforms.
Shopping ads on Pinterst drive three times the conversion of other competing platforms.
4. Sponsor products on Etsy & Amazon.
If you’ve already set up shop on Amazon, you can boost your products by participating in their sponsored products program.
This cost-per-click ad program generates ads from your product listings and automatically targets your ads, making it a great option if you’ve never created a campaign before.
If you’re a maker and sell your wares on Etsy, consider using Etsy Ads to advertise your products. Similar to Amazon, this is a cost-per-click model with a default minimum daily budget of one dollar.
With Etsy Ads, your products will stand out in Etsy Search, category pages, and marketing pages.
5. Leverage user-generated content.
Some of the best advertising you can get is from existing customers. Happy customers can vouch for your brand and add social proof to your marketing campaigns.
Ask your customers to leave reviews, or if they’ve already created content on social media involving your brand, ask permission to share it.
6. Develop a referral program.
Speaking of enlisting the help of your existing customers, you can incentivize them by using a referral program. Offer a discount, free gift, or other perk in exchange for them bringing in new customers.
Referred customers are 18% more loyal than those who aren’t and spend 13% more on purchases. Since these new customers will have been referred to you by someone they know, they’re more likely to have a positive customer experience.
7. Advertise with your local chamber of commerce.
If you have a storefront, advertise with your local chamber of commerce.
Each city is different, but you can typically be featured on their website, promoted on their social media channels, and included in their email newsletter for an annual fee.
It’s a great way to get your brand out there and an excellent opportunity to network with fellow small business owners.
Start Marketing Your Business Today
Small business owners looking for a way to track ROI and brand awareness need digital marketing.
Not only is digital marketing a must-have for promoting your products or services, but optimizing your online assets is also critical to your business’ overall success.
You may have a long road ahead to build your online presence, but any steps you can make will have a huge impact on your business.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
How do you know if Facebook is a worthy investment, or if you’re getting enough traffic from your recent promotional campaign? The answer: UTM tracking links.
UTM codes help you track where traffic is coming from, allowing you to properly measure each campaign’s, platform’s, or medium’s ROI.
In this blog post, you’ll learn what UTM codes are, how to use them, and how to build them in both Google Analytics and HubSpot.
UTM codes are also known as UTM parameters — or tracking tags — because they help you “track” website traffic from its origin. Marketers customize this text to match the webpage the tagged URL is linked on, in order to attribute the success of that campaign to specific pieces of content.
Now, you might be thinking, “Ginny, I have HubSpot, so I already know if my website traffic is coming from Google, email, social media, and similar marketing channels. What does a UTM code tell me that I don’t already know?”
HubSpot Marketing Hub provides you with these high-level sources of traffic, but UTM also helps you drill down into specific pages and posts within these traffic sources. If you’re promoting a campaign on social media, for example, you’ll know how much traffic came from social media. Building a UTM code, however, can tell you how much of that traffic came from Facebook or even a particular post on Facebook.
UTM Code Example
UTM codes can be overwhelming at first, so let’s take a look at an example. Here’s a URL with its own UTM code:
Let’s break this link down.
- https://ift.tt/bDi2Ftw: This is the base URL of the page.
- ?: This signals to your analytics software that a string of UTM parameters will follow.
- utm_campaign=blog_post: This is the first UTM parameter, specifically for the campaign the visitor engaged with (in this case, a blog post campaign).
- &: This denotes that another UTM parameter will follow.
- utm_medium=social: This is the second parameter, specifically for the channel the visitor came from (in this case, social).
- &: This denotes that another UTM parameter will follow.
- utm_source=facebook: This is the last parameter, specifically for the specific website the visitor came from (in this case, Facebook).
In the example above, you’re saying that once traffic comes in from people who click this link, the traffic should be attributed to Facebook. The “medium” is social media, while the “source” is Facebook.
Adding these snippets of code after the question mark above doesn’t affect anything on the page — it just lets your analytics program know that someone arrived through a certain source inside an overall marketing channel, as part of a specific campaign.
UTM Code Benefits
As we’ve already covered, UTM codes are small snippets of code that you can add to the end of a URL to track where website traffic is coming from. They may seem small, but they bring big benefits to marketers. Here are just a few:
- Better tracking: UTM codes allow you to track exactly where your website traffic is coming from, so you can see which marketing tactics are actually driving results. With UTM codes, you can see which sources, mediums, and campaigns are bringing in the most traffic, leads, and sales.
- More accurate attribution: UTM codes also allow you to give credit where credit is due. For example, if a visitor first finds your website through a Google search, then comes back later through a Facebook ad, you can see the entire customer journey and attribute the sale or conversion to both channels.
In summary, UTM codes are a simple but powerful way to get more insight into your website traffic and marketing campaigns. They allow you to track sources and mediums more accurately, and give you a clear picture of which channels are driving the most value for your business. By using UTM codes consistently, you’ll be able to make smarter marketing decisions and optimize your campaigns for better results.
With that, let’s dive more deeply into the ways UTM code links help marketers accurately attribute lead sources.
How do UTM links help marketers?
Crucial aspects of being a great marketer are being able to measure your success and measure your impact. No matter which metrics you use, you want to prove to your boss (and the company) that you’re worth your salt.
You deserve your budget — and maybe need more of it — and you deserve to dedicate time to the marketing activities that work. Building UTM codes that track your campaigns’ success is the best way to prove it.
Relying on your analytics tool’s source and medium breakdown isn’t enough to prove whether a certain strategy is working. UTM links provide more granular data that allow you to drill down to the specific source of the traffic. You can use the following UTM parameters, which we’ll cover in more detail later:
With that in mind, UTM tracking codes can help you determine:
1. Where the traffic is coming from (Source).
First up, you’ll be able to tell the specific website the traffic is coming from. Examples include:
- Social websites (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc)
- Search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc)
- Paid posts and sponsored listings (paid ads, sponsored posts, etc)
- Other websites (your own site, competitor’s sites, publisher’s sites)
2. Which general channel the traffic came from (Medium).
It’s also important to know the general categorization of the source. That way, you can determine whether social media in general is a worthwhile investment, as an example. Organic search, social, CPC, and email are a few mediums you can use.
3. What type of content people clicked on (Content).
What gets the most clicks? An image, a sidebar link, or a menu link? You can tell this information with the content UTM parameter. This is essential for determining whether you need to add more images, for instance, or improve your sidebar link structure if no clicks are coming through that content.
4. Which term they used to access the page (Term).
UTM links can also help you see which terms are driving traffic to a specific page. By using the term parameter, you can determine which keywords are driving the most traffic to you, and which need more love.
Putting it all together, here’s what a UTM-tracked URL can look like:
Now, let’s take a closer look at the definition of UTM tracking and the UTM parameters you can use.
UTM Parameter Examples
UTM codes can track a medium and a source within that medium. Where it gets more flexible is in the language you use to describe that source. Maybe you want to attribute website traffic to a social network, a type of content, or even the exact name of an advertisement on the web.
Here are the five things you can track with UTM codes and why you might track them:
Campaign-based tracking tags group all of the content from one campaign in your analytics. The example UTM code below would help you attribute website traffic to links that were placed as a part of a 20% discount promotion you’re hosting.
A source-based URL parameter can tell you which website is sending you traffic. You could add the example code below to every link you post to your Facebook page, helping you to track all traffic that comes from Facebook.
This type of tracking tag informs you of the medium that your tracked link is featured in. You can use the example UTM code below to track all traffic that comes from social media (as opposed to other mediums, like email).
4. Piece of Content
This type of UTM code is used to track the specific types of content that point to the same destination from a common source and medium.
It’s often used in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or with two identical links on the same page, as shown in the sample UTM code below.
Example: utm_content=sidebar_link or utm_content=header_link
A term- or keyword-based tracking code identifies the keywords you’ve paid for in a PPC ad. If you pay for a Google Ads campaign to rank under the keyword, “marketing software,” you might add the following UTM code to the end of the link you submit to Google to run this ad.
The best part about UTM parameters is that you can make any combination you like of these codes — use the bare minimum (campaign, source, and medium) to track all of your links, or use all of them to get super specific about your tracking.
Okay, so you’re on board with UTM codes … but how the heck do you set them up? It’s easy.
Below are instructions for setting up and measuring UTM parameters in Google Analytics and HubSpot.
How to Build UTM Codes in Google Analytics
Here are the steps involved in building UTM codes in Google Analytics.
1. Open Google’s Campaign URL Builder.
There are three different types of tracking tags you can create in Google, two of which help you track traffic to new apps on app marketplaces. You’ll be using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder — the third option on this list.
2. Fill in each link attribute in the following form.
Visit the page linked above and click the link to see this URL builder. Then, you’ll see the UTM builder shown below. Add the URL, Campaign, Source, and Medium information into their respective boxes.
3. Use the link in your marketing campaign.
If you’d like to shorten it, you’ll need a tool like bit.ly … or just use HubSpot’s URL Builder if you’re a HubSpot customer.
4. Measure your success.
If you already have Google Analytics set up for your site, Google will automatically track incoming campaigns. Like in HubSpot, you can access them under “Audience,” then “Sources,” then “Campaigns.” Click on each campaign to view the source and medium.
And that’s it — you’ll have custom tracking codes set up and running in no time! In a few weeks, you’ll be able to make a case for what you need because you’ll have the right metrics available.
How to Build UTM Codes in HubSpot
Here’s how you’d go about building UTM codes in HubSpot.
1. Navigate to your Analytics Tools.
In your Marketing Hub dashboard, select “Reports” on the top navigation bar. Then select “Analytics Tools” in the dropdown, as shown below.
2. Open the Tracking URL Builder.
In the menu of analytics tools that appears, look to the very bottom-righthand corner. You’ll see the option, “Tracking URL Builder.” Click this option at the bottom of the page, as shown in the red box below.
3. Open the Tracking URL form to create a new UTM code.
Whenever you create a web campaign that includes at least one UTM code, you’ll see this campaign listed on the page shown below.
This page outlines a tracking tag’s source, medium, term, content, and creation date, which you can see along the bottom of the screenshot below. Click “Create Tracking URL” in the top-righthand corner.
4. Fill in each attribute of your UTM code and click “Create.”
In the form that appears, fill in the URL, Campaign, Source, and Medium fields. If you’d like to add Content and Term, you can do so in the bottom two fields of this form. When you’re done, you’ll see an orange “Create” button become available at the bottom.
Click it, and HubSpot will log your UTM code as a new campaign, and this link will be ready to include on any webpage from which you want to track the traffic.
5. Use the shortened link in your marketing campaign.
6. Measure your success.
You can track your UTM parameters in your Traffic Analytics dashboard under “Other Campaigns,” as shown below. Click on the individual campaign to break down the source and medium.
As you can see in the second image, below, the name of the campaign appears to the left — based on the text in the UTM code you created — with the traffic from people who used each URL to arrive at your campaign’s main webpage.
Now that you know how to set up UTM links, how do you use them? Let’s take a look.
How to Use UTM Links for Your Campaigns
You can use a combination of UTM codes and parameters in a lot of ways. Here’s how you can use them in your day-to-day as a marketer.
1. Track the success of a promotional campaign.
Dropping product prices or launching a new product can be daunting, because if there’s no measurable ROI, it’ll be wasted effort. Luckily, you can tell whether users are effectively arriving to your site from your promotional efforts using UTM codes.
Here’s one example for a product launch:
Or, if you’re running a discount campaign through Instagram influencers, here’s what a UTM link can look like:
2. See how well your social channels promote your content versus when your followers promote your content.
How do your organic social efforts stack up against your followers’ promotional efforts? You can create two UTM campaigns to find out.
For your own posts, you can share a link as follows:
Then, prompt your followers to share the word about you, but let them share the following link:
3. Measure the effectiveness of guest posting referral traffic.
If you’re guest posting on several industry websites, it’s essential to know whether those posts are driving traffic to your site. Guest posting can be a time-consuming, costly endeavor, especially if you’re paying a freelance writer or for a spot on the publication.
Whenever you create a guest post for another publisher, ensure all the links pointing to your website on that post have UTM parameters that tell you where the traffic came from. Here’s one example:
4. Track the same piece of content across multiple marketing channels.
This is probably one of the most useful ways to use UTM tracking codes: Creating different ones for the same piece of content, and using it across different platforms. You can drop the campaign parameter for this use case, and simply track the medium, source, and content.
Let’s say you want to track referral traffic from a video you posted on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook. Here are the three different links you could use:
5. See where most people click on your internal links in a blog post.
Is your internal linking strategy working as intended? You can track where your content gets the most clicks by adding UTM parameters. Here are three examples:
Above the Fold: mywebsite.com/my-content?utm_source=blog&utm_content=above_the_fold
Bottom of the Post:mywebsite.com/my-content?utm_source=blog&utm_content=bottom
Note: Use this strategy with caution, as using too many UTM parameters in internal links can cause confusion to Google. You should use it on a small batch of internal links, collect the clicking patterns, delete the UTM links, and then act on those results for your future internal linking efforts.
As always, ensure that you’ve set a canonical URL for each link to minimize confusion and prevent duplicate indexing.
UTM Tracking Best Practices
UTM tracking URLs are a powerful marketing tool, but to get the most out of them, it’s important to follow some best practices. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Create consistent UTM tracking codes.
Make sure your URLs and links are consistent, clean, and easy to read. I’d even recommend creating a standard for link tagging, or a UTM parameter guide (kind of like a brand style guide) to ensure consistency across platforms and campaigns.
For example, for monthly newsletters, you might choose to always input the “utm_medium=email” in the medium parameter and use the “utm_campaign=monthly_newsletters” in the campaign parameter.
Then, for all Facebook posts, you would always use “utm_medium=social” in the medium parameter and “utm_source=facebook” in the source parameter. Same for paid ads: You would always opt for “utm_medium=cpc” in the medium parameter and “utm_source=google” in the source parameter.
By using the same UTM parameters for similar campaigns, you can ensure that all data is accurate and easy to analyze when it’s time to calculate your ROI and put together marketing reports. This allows you to make data-driven decisions about which campaigns are most effective.
2. Capitalize your UTM codes carefully, or not at all.
UTM codes are case-sensitive, so stick with either all lowercase or uppercase. Lower case is easier to remember, because that way you don’t have to wonder whether only the first letter or the whole parameter is capitalized.
It’s not just beneficial for remembering your UTM tags easily. Having a standardized way of tagging your links makes it much easier to review and analyze your overall marketing efforts.
Plus, you’ll avoid annoying discrepancies in your website analytics. Inconsistent capitalization can create duplicate entries or split data across different channels, making your data difficult to analyze.
With consistent capitalization, you can more accurately monitor and analyze the performance of your UTM-tagged links, improving reporting across all campaigns and channels.
3. Keep names short but descriptive.
When creating UTM parameters, make the names short but descriptive. That way, your UTM codes are easier to read and remember. They also take up less space in blog posts and social media updates, ultimately making the links look clean, attractive, and professional.
But the most important benefit is that you can avoid any confusion or mix-ups between campaigns with similar names. Clear and concise UTM codes can make it easier to differentiate between similar campaigns, which is especially critical if your team runs a large volume. You really want to be specific with your parameters so your tags clearly state what you’re tracking and where.
For instance, let’s say you’re launching a new ebook as part of an email marketing campaign. A short but descriptive UTM code for this campaign might look like this:
In this example, we have used short, but meaningful names as UTM parameters. You can’t possibly get confused — unless you’re launching two ebooks at the same time. (In which case, you might differentiate your UTM parameters with each book’s name!)
4. Keep a running list of your UTM links in an accessible location.
Creating yet another spreadsheet may make you cringe, but hunting down a wide variety of UTM-tracked links is what’s sure to give you a headache. Keep a list of your UTM links so everyone on your team knows which tagged links currently exist.
I recommend maintaining your list on a cloud-based platform such as Google Sheets (as opposed to keeping it in a local Excel file), then splitting the links by campaign or platform. That way, it’s easier to see all of your links depending on your preferred categorization.
Having a running list will also prevent your team from creating duplicate UTM codes for the same campaign, which can skew your analytics data and create unnecessary confusion. With a running list, everyone on your team will have an easy reference point to ensure they are using correct UTM codes for new campaigns.
You’ll also be able to manage and maintain the codes themselves, which is critical when campaigns are changed or discontinued. In your spreadsheet, you can easily update, modify, or delete UTM tracking codes as needed.
5. Connect UTM tracking codes to your CRM or marketing tool.
Adding your UTM tracking URLs to your CRM or marketing tool is essential. (If you’re not sure of what that can look like, here’s an example of how to do it in HubSpot.) By doing so, you’ll be able to better understand the customer journey, accurately attribute sales and conversions, and make decisions based on data.
Taking this step may feel unnecessary, but linking your UTM codes to your CRM will allow you to better track the customer journey from first-touch to conversion. By tracking which campaigns and channels drive the most website traffic, you gain a better understanding of which of your marketing efforts effectively reach and engage your audience.
As a result, you’ll be able to identify trends, assess performance over time, and make informed decisions based on the success of past campaigns.
Start Creating UTM Tracking URLs
Use the steps, best practices, and tools above to start creating and using UTM tracking URLs so you’re able to track the performance of your marketing campaigns and content. That way, you can reliably boost your metrics and improve the ROI of your digital marketing strategy.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Have you been on a time crunch to create social media content?
Most of us have and it’s a stressful position to be in. Creating content in the moment it needs to be published is less than ideal for more reasons than you may realize. Not only is your content less likely to meet the needs of your audience, but you’ll also miss out on the creative social topics and events that can be planned for in advance.
In this guide, you’ll get the best social media content calendar template and a step-by-step guide explaining how to use it.
Why do I need a social media calendar?
A social media content calendar allows you to keep track of deadlines, better manage your content creation team, and create transparency with stakeholders who rely on your social media publishing schedule.
Creating a great content calendar isn’t as simple as adding a few Instagram post ideas to your Google calendar. Let’s take at the benefits of having a social media calendar.
1. Better Organization
Having a content calendar keeps you and your team organized, which is essential when managing multiple social media channels.
Rather than coming up with content ideas on the fly, you can plan your content around your organization’s needs. It can also provide more time for creating content about trending topics and upcoming holidays and events. For instance, if your company has a big event coming up, a content calendar will help you strategize how to promote it in advance.
Best of all, a social media calendar keeps everyone on your team informed on when content is being published. This will help avoid potential miscommunication and confusion down the road.
2. Easier Scalability
Another benefit to having a social media calendar is that it can help you scale your content production without overwhelming your marketing team.
You can pace the production around your team’s bandwidth and other duties your department is responsible for by planning the content in advance.
As you scale, make sure you track post analytics to see how your content is performing. While there’s no magic number for when or how often you should post on social media, keeping an eye on performance will help you and your team determine what content engages your audience the most.
3. Higher Quality Content
Lastly, using a social media calendar ensures that your team has plenty of time to do their best work.
Planning your posts in advance allows time to double check your work and ensure there are no typos or mistakes. It also enables your team to create a cohesive and consistent brand image because you have more time to strategize and work on valuable campaigns.
Perfecting your social media content calendar doesn’t have to be a chore. With these essential components, you’ll have a foundation to organize your social media strategy at a tactical level.
As you noticed in earlier sections, your stakeholders will appreciate having an easy-to-read key that they can use to understand the information in the calendar.
As long as your key is clear, just about anyone in your organization can view your social media content calendar and understand exactly what’s happening on all platforms.
URLs and UTM Parameters
URLs and UTM parameters are similar, but they’re not one and the same. URLs are the links you’ll want to share from your website (or even another website if you are curating content) on your social media platforms.
On the other hand, a UTM parameter is an extension of your URL. It’s a string of tracking code that’s appended to the end of the URL and it helps social media marketers track how well their posts are driving traffic to their website. By tracking and analyzing UTM parameters, you’ll be able to see what content is meeting your conversion goals and what content is better for engagement on social media platforms.
Date and Time
If you have stakeholders or other teams that rely on your social media content, you’ll quickly see the benefit of including dates and times in your social media calendar.
When teammates can view the calendar and identify exactly when a post was or will be scheduled, they’ll be able to quickly proceed with their workflow which is beneficial for you, too. That means you won’t be interrupted to give status updates about every Tweet on the docket for the day.
Transparency and context are invaluable when it comes to social media content calendars. Giving a brief synopsis of the message or even sharing the caption for a post can go a long way in helping others within and outside your team understand what the intent of the post will be.
Pro tip: If you’re adding a video to your social media content calendar that isn’t finished, consider adding a short Loom video that gives an overview of what the video will be about.
When it comes to tracking, it’s too late to start when the campaign is over. Start tracking your social media campaigns in your content calendar. You can make this prescriptive by having a dropdown list of predetermined campaign names, or if your campaigns are few and far between, simply copy and paste the names next to the corresponding content.
Pro tip: Align your campaign name with the campaign section of your UTM parameter for seamless tracking.
Your social media content calendar will become just another spreadsheet without some imagery. Since much of your social media content will probably be visual, add a thumbnail-sized version of the image that will be included in the published post. Coupled with the message, stakeholders who view the calendar images will have a pretty good idea of what will be shared and when.
To make editing your images for each platform easier, check out this cheat sheet for ideal image dimensions on each platform.
Before creating your social media content calendar, it’s essential to take a step back, look at the big picture, and plan. Here’s how.
Step 1: Identify your goals.
The first step you want to take to build your social media content calendar is to identify your goals. These will determine how often you post, who should be involved in the content creation process, and which channels you’ll want to use.
If you’re not sure where to start with setting up your social media goals, we cover that here.
Step 2: Align your team.
With your goals etched in stone, it’s time to align your team toward these goals. Social media content creation is a tall order, especially for lean marketing teams, so don’t short yourself on resources — especially talent.
One thing we know to be true today is that video content is taking over just about every major social platform. That means you’ll want to have on-camera talent dedicated to producing video content to meet the needs of your social media calendar.
If you can, find a content creator who is well-versed in short-form written content, video content, and audio content to keep your content production moving quickly and prevent bottlenecks.
Step 3: Consider diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are topics to consider when developing your social calendar. You’ll want to make sure your content reflects and respects the values and experiences of your audience. Moreover, the faces, voices, and stories you share on social networks should be representative of your audience and the larger community where your business operates.
This isn’t something that can happen by accident, so you’ll want to plan for diversity and inclusion as you develop your content calendar. If you’d like some guidance on creating diverse and inclusive content, check out our original research on the topic.
Step 4: Set up UTM tracking.
One of the most important parts of a social media calendar is actually the part you don’t see — analytics and tracking. The easiest way to track how your social media content is performing is to use UTM parameters to track it. “UTM” sounds like a scary acronym, but they’re simple to set up and use.
Once you’ve got them in place for each link on your social media posts, you can review the metrics of your social media content.
Step 5: Create an analysis tracker in your calendar.
For stakeholders who want to stay abreast of how well your social media content is, create a tab that shows clicks, views, engagements, and other metrics you plan to track to deem your content a success. Tracking analytics can be as simple or detailed as your team prefers.
For a full list of metrics to track and tools to do it, take a look at this year’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Analytics.
1. Complete a social media audit across all platforms.
The first step before creating a social media content calendar is to complete a social media audit. Which social media platforms are you on? Which platforms are you not on, but your competitors are? Which platforms get the most versus least engagement? Which content formats do you use most often and least often? Which types of posts get the most versus least engagement?
Spend some time perusing your social media analytics to answer these questions. It’s essential to back your conclusions with data and not found them entirely on your gut instinct. We recommend using a social media report template to help you keep track of your findings.
Featured Resource: Social Media Report Template
Doing an audit of your social media presence will allow you to determine how to move forward as you create your social media content calendar. For instance, you may be on TikTok now, but it turns out that’s the platform where you get the least engagement and very few leads. That may mean it’s time to remove TikTok from your lineup and invest more time on a better-fitting platform.
- How to Conduct A Social Media Audit
- How to Conduct a Twitter Audit of Your Account
- The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Analytics
2. Pick the top 3-5 social media platforms you’ll use.
Believe it or not, you don’t need to be on all the social media platforms to get a high social media ROI. In fact, you should choose only the best ones in order to increase your ROI — not only because this will save your team effort and time, but because it will result in a much more manageable social media content calendar.
Every social channel is different and the content you post on each one should appeal to the layout of the platform and the users who use it. Imagine having to post on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Tumblr — that is… a lot. Instead, choose the top three to five platforms that, based on your social media audit, yield the highest ROI.
As you choose your platforms, you might also want to pay attention to trends and growing channels. Even if you’re a marketer at a small B2B business, it won’t hurt to test out a platform before all your competitors do.
Featured Resource: Social Media Trends Report
If you’re a seasoned marketer or have a large team, you may find that using all of the popular channels and even experimenting with a new one could be beneficial to the goals you set in step one. However, if you’re a team of one, or your team is already stretched thin, it’s OK to start with a few social channels and work your way up to more.
- The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each
- Which Social Media Channels See the Most ROI?
- Social Media Platforms Marketers Should Watch
- The Fastest Growing Social Media Platforms
3. Choose your social media content formats and post types.
You’re now armed with the social media platforms you’d like to pursue. But which social media content types will you post? Will you post mainly videos, images, or text-based updates? Will you post informative, relatable, or funny content?
As always, we recommend choosing a mixture of content types to maximize your ROI. Plus, it will ensure that you’re serving content that addresses different segments of your audience while increasing your level of reach.
As you decide on your post types, take into account your team’s resources. If you have dedicated social media managers who can create content in-house, then you can be more ample with your choices. But if you only have a generalist marketer on staff (or if you’re that generalist marketer!), consider what is most realistic in terms of content creation, or ask for a budget to hire a freelance content creator.
4. Create social media content templates, lazy hashtags, and lazy copy.
As you build out your content calendar (hopefully after downloading a free social media content calendar template!), remember that the purpose of your calendar is to make posting as easy and painless as possible. In pursuit of that, take some time to create content templates, list out the hashtags you’ll use most often, and even create “lazy” copy for either you or your coworkers to use.
We recommend storing your templates in an online bank, such as Google Drive or a tool such as Canva, where people can quickly edit a template and adjust it to create a new post. Generally, you want to have various customizable image templates.
Featured Resource: 150+ Content Creation Templates
Don’t forget to keep your most-used hashtags easily accessible for easy copying and pasting, as well as lazy copy that only needs to be customized from post-to-post. As you draft your templates, be sure to keep your brand voice in mind. Whether you’re serious and corporate, or open and friendly, you want every post to embody your company’s branding.
- 150+ Content Creation Templates
- Instagram Templates for Business
- YouTube Templates for Business
- Pinterest Templates for Business
5. Fill in your social media holidays, events, and campaigns.
What is a social media content calendar that doesn’t show your forethought and planning? Well, it’s still a content calendar — just not a very useful one! As you build out your social media content calendar, identify the holidays and events you’ll be participating in, and note any campaigns you may have planned for the future.
If you’re attending an event or a conference, you should plan to broadcast that in your social media channels. Or if you’re doing a virtual event such as a webinar, you should plan a series of posts around that, too. Or if you’d like to create a holiday post or a paid social campaign — the possibilities are endless. You should plan for each upcoming event with at least a month’s advance notice.
Creating all of your other posts is already stressful enough. There’s no need to get stressed about upcoming dates and events that you’re already aware of. And remember: You don’t need to create a campaign for every single holiday.
- Social Media Holidays for Your Content Calendar
- Top Marketing Holidays of the Year, According to Marketer Data
- The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing Campaigns
- Social Media Campaign Ideas to Try
6. Determine a social media posting schedule.
It’s time to get into the most useful part of your content calendar: Determining your posting schedule. Your calendar should have a “Time” column that will allow you to proactively keep track of this information.
Different social media platforms require various posting times. By first creating different tabs for each platform, or color coding posts for different channels, you’ll be able to easily fill in the times you’d like to publish the posts. Consider also syncing publishing times to your calendar so you can get a timely reminder.
Here’s a quick of overview of the best times to post on each platform:
- Instagram: 6 PM – 9 PM, 12 PM – 3 PM, and 3 PM – 6 PM
- Facebook: 6 and 9 PM and 12 PM – 3 PM
- Twitter: 9 AM – 12 PM
- LinkedIn: 9 – 12 PM, 12 – 3 PM, or 3 – 6 PM
- YouTube: 6 PM and 9 PM
- TikTok: 6 to 9 PM, 3 to 6 PM, and 12 to 3 PM
Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for brands to post daily on platforms like Twitter while posting once a week on LinkedIn may be more than enough to keep that audience engaged.
Take a look at the research for each social media platform you plan to use to get a sense of the posting cadence best practices. Then, compare that to the bandwidth on your team and the goals you want to achieve. Remember: the goal of a social media calendar is to create and publish a sustainable stream of content to your audience — it’s a marathon, not a race.
- The Best Times to Post on Social Media
- How Often to Publish on Social Media for Business
- When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
- Best Times to Post on YouTube
- Best Time to Post on LinkedIn
- When to Post on TikTok
7. Schedule posts using a social media tool.
If you’re publishing updates on a variety of platforms, with different campaigns and holidays, at different times and days, that can quickly get overwhelming. We recommend integrating your social media calendar template with a social media management tool.
That will allow you to schedule posts well in advance of publication, limiting manual work. Paired with the social media templates you’ve already created, you’ll enjoy a much more expedited publishing process, which is especially useful if you’re a generalist or are the sole social media manager in your team.
Many tools allow you to cross-post across different social media channels. This can be useful to an extent, but we recommend proceeding with caution: What might work on LinkedIn might not work on Facebook, and vice versa. Since each platform serves a specific audience segment, you want to ensure your posts are personalized for each one.
8. Monitor your social media posts’ success metrics.
Once your social media posting schedule has matured and you have a backlog of posts to analyze, it’s time to delve deeply into your social media metrics and learn what worked, what didn’t work, and what you should change moving forward.
Hopping from platform to platform and looking at their individual analytics dashboards can be a good place to start. But as you continue scaling your marketing efforts, you should consider investing in social media analytics software to compile all of your engagement data for you.Try HubSpot’s social media analytics software for free.
As you analyze your success, try to link it to your company’s bottom line. How many leads did you earn? How many of those leads turned into sales? How much money did you spend on paid social media versus how much revenue did you generate? Here’s a guide on measuring social media marketing ROI to help you answer these questions.
- The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Analytics
- Best Social Media Analytics Tools for Marketers
- How to Create a Social Media Report
Social Media Content Calendar
If you don’t have time to create your social media content calendar from scratch, start with HubSpot’s free social media content calendar template.
The calendar has everything you need to plan your social media content, coordinate campaigns, grow reach and engagement, scale posting schedule, and boost productivity. Download it now, and follow along with the steps below.
Featured Resource: Social Media Content Calendar Template
Our template includes everything you need to scale your social media marketing efforts. You’ll gain access to:
- Social Media Content Schedule: See each of your individual posts and draft individual messages and images for each one.
- Monthly Planning Calendar: See your upcoming social posts for the month in a user-friendly, big-picture format.
- Content Repository: List out all of the content you’ll be sharing with your followers, from blog posts to offers to website pages.
- Platform-Specific Tabs: Plan out your updates for each specific platform, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
Below, we dive more deeply on how to use the template.
Social Media Content Calendar Template Tutorial
The following subsections will show you how to fill out each of the tabs you see in this template — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Step 1: Review the Monthly Planning Calendar tab.
The tab Monthly Planning Calendar provides an overall snapshot of your monthly social media campaigns. It’ll help you coordinate with other stakeholders and keep all the moving parts in order. Here’s what it looks like:
There are three sections to take note of when you edit this template. First, the color-coding key. Each color represents a type of content or campaign you might coordinate, like ebooks, webinars, blog posts, product launches, and so on. Though only some of these might be relevant to you, they’re just the beginning of what you may want to include here — so be sure to add and remove categories that align with your own types of content.
The other two sections you’ll need to edit are the Month and Year at the top of the calendar, as well as the cells below each day of the week. In those cells, you should enter the type of content you’ll be promoting that day and color-code it to align with the campaign it’s supporting.
Instead of deleting all the content in this spreadsheet each month, I recommend copying this worksheet twelve times over and creating a separate sheet for each month. (If that gets to be too overwhelming, you can always save those tabs as a separate workbook.)
Step 2: Populate your first social channel in the calendar.
Alright, now let’s get to the social media content part of the calendar. For the sake of this blog post, we’ll use Twitter as an example, but these steps will work for each social channel tab in the template.
Let’s say you want to add some tweets to your scheduling template. Scroll over to the Twitter Updates tab in the content calendar spreadsheet, where you’ll see this:
Day, Date & Time
The first four columns, Day, Date, Time, and Date & Time are there for your convenience, and if you choose to use a third-party app for pre-scheduling your tweets (like HubSpot’s Social Media Management Software), then these columns will be useful. For now, just fill in the date for when you’ll publish updates to Twitter, and the time at which you’d like them to go out. The Date & Time column will automatically change based on what you type in the previous two columns.
Now, let’s move over to the Message column. Here, input the copy you’d like to appear in your tweet, bearing in mind you should cap it at 217 characters to allow enough room for a link. (Read this blog post for a full character count guide.) This spreadsheet will auto-calculate the number of characters you’ve entered to keep you on point, turning yellow and eventually red as you approach 240 characters.
After you’ve composed your tweet, paste the URL you’d like to include in your tweet in the Link column. Be sure to include UTM parameters so you’ll know whether these tweets are driving traffic, leads, and customers. This is an important step to remember if you’d like to demonstrate ROI from social media. You can also use the Campaign column to add an associated campaign which helps with more detailed tracking and reporting.
Finally, in the Image column, attach the tweet’s image (if you have one). For Twitter, we recommend images that are 1200 x 670 pixels.
If you’re having trouble attaching your image to the spreadsheet, follow these steps:
Step 1: Click on the cell where you’d like to place your image.
Step 2: Click Insert in the top row, then click the Image button, and finally, click Image in cell to choose your image.
Step 3: In the Insert image window, choose the option your photo will come from. In this example, we uploaded an image from our computer.
Step 4: You’ll now see the image appear in the cell.
Pro Tip: This process is just for organizational purposes. If you decide to upload the spreadsheet to your social media publishing software, it will not attach — you’ll have to do that manually. If you’re a HubSpot customer, details for how to bulk upload your Twitter content to the HubSpot Social Publishing Tool can be found within the downloaded template.
Don’t Forget to Interact With Your Followers
Whether you use this spreadsheet to plan your content or upload it to a third-party app, you’ll still need to supplement these updates with on-the-fly content. Breaking news hits? Whip up a quick update to share it with your network. Did someone in your network tweet something interesting? Give it a retweet with some commentary. Got a fascinating comment on one of your updates? Respond with a “thank you” for their interaction.
Coming up with and scheduling your social media content in advance is a huge time-saver, but it should go without saying that you still need to monitor and add to your social presence throughout the day.
Finally, we encourage you to experiment with your social media publishing. This template provides publishing dates and times for each social network, but you may find those are way too many updates for you to fill, or perhaps too infrequent for your booming social presence. If this is the case, you should adjust your social media publishing frequency as needed.
Now that you’ve got the ins and outs of a social media content calendar, download the one below for free and start planning your content.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
If you’re reading this, you likely want to ask for a promotion but are unsure how to approach the topic. It makes sense because asking for a promotion can be nerve-wracking, but it’s necessary for career growth.
If you want to know how to ask for a promotion, you’ve come to the right blog. Here’s how you can prepare for the conversation beforehand and how to discuss it with your superiors.
When to Ask for a Promotion
Before asking your superiors about a promotion, ask yourself if now is the time. Below are a few cases where it’s most likely time to ask for a promotion.
Your work has positively impacted the business.
All your work in your current position is necessary for pushing the business forward. Still, if you notice your work is making a measurable difference — you could have an excellent case for a promotion.
Keep a log of all your accomplishments, such as revenue-boosting projects or highly successful campaigns. Furthermore, ask your manager if you have any other opportunities to impact the business more.
You’ve taken on more responsibilities.
Look at your job description and assess whether your current responsibilities go beyond the initial scope of your job.
It’s normal for a job’s duties to evolve, but if you notice your position is growing into more of a leadership or management role — it could be time for a promotion.
Discuss with your manager the expectations for your current position and how they can fit into a higher role.
You’re ready to grow within the company.
If you’ve been in your current role for at least a year or two, you may feel ready to move and apply the experience you’ve acquired to a more significant role. It’s common for companies to hire internally to save time and resources.
So, if you notice a position in your company is open and think you’d be a great fit, speak to your manager about the opportunity.
You may have a greater advantage than other candidates due to your experience and familiarity with the company.
How to Ask for a Promotion at Work
Before asking for a promotion, research the skills necessary for the role you wish to assume and try to have early conversations with your manager about your career trajectory.
Once you feel like you’re ready to take your career to the next level with a promotion, keep the following tips in mind:
Consider your relationship with your manager.
If you’re on good terms then you can likely have a candid talk with you manager about your career trajectory.
The best managers are the ones who know how to create or find opportunities that combine your skills, interests, and challenges, so these are some things to outline before the conversation.
However, if your relationship with your boss isn’t so splendid, or they are not in a decision-making position, look higher. Figure out who the best person is to speak with, even if they work in a different department.
Be aware of the promotion process.
Before you can ask, you must check to see if there is a formal process you and your manager must follow when handling promotions. Do you have to be at the company for a specific time?
Is there a particular way you need to communicate about promotions?
If you need to figure out your company’s formal procedure regarding promotion, or if it has one at all, then you need to ask your manager.
If you’re nervous about asking your manager about the formal process before discussing a promotion, career strategist Jennifer Brick says to remember one thing:
“If you’re not having an open and candid conversation with your boss about your career ambition and the fact that you want to get a promotion, you’re not putting them into a position where they’re going to be able to help you get it.”
Brick says your manager will be best poised to give you the support and guidance you need to advance within the company.
“[Having that discussion] will make your life so much easier,” she says. “And it’s going to increase your likelihood of getting the promotion and a pay increase, whether you have a formal process or don’t.”
Approach a promotion as an investment.
“In essence, you are asking the company to invest in you,” says Patrick Barr, owner and managing partner of Barr Performance Coaching.
“Therefore, we need to see it as an investment decision, and therefore we need to think about it as a business case,” he says.
Barr says that while job promotions impact the individual, taking the “personal” and emotions out of the question and approaching the topic from a strictly business stance is essential.
“The first thing you need to think about is your impact on the company,” explains Barr. “What is it that you deliver? What is it that you bring in terms of value to the organization that makes it appropriate for the organization to pay you more?”
Barr also suggests making the decision easy for your boss because your boss still has to make a case to their superiors for why you should get a pay raise or promotion.
“The best way to do that is to write out, very clearly, the improvements you have made over the last 12 months in your role and the improvement you plan to drive in the future,” he said.
Align your promotion with the company’s success.
Career Coach Brittany Hayles of Hayles Consulting agrees with keeping a highlight reel of your progress and achievement within your role to present to your manager when you’re ready for a promotion.
Hayles also suggests highlighting how a promotion benefits the company and your team.
“In addition to talking about those career highlights and how amazing you are, now align it to say, ‘Because I’ve done all these amazing things when I get promoted, it’s going to give me more autonomy to do even more amazing things.”
Hayles says to focus on autonomy.
“A promotion is supposed to lead to more autonomy,” she says. “It’s supposed to lead to the opportunity to have more control over leadership — whether you’re leading more people or leading more processes.”
So, emphasize moments where you took the initiative alone without being told what to do. This will show that you can be trusted to be more autonomous in your next role.
Essentially, you want to keep your manager in the loop of your career aspirations, and you’ll need to pitch your promotion as something that will benefit the company and not just yourself.
To do this, start keeping track of your progress and achievement as soon as possible, so you can make your case that a promotion will bring the company closer to its goals.
And no matter what — be confident! If you want the company to believe in your promotion, you must first believe in yourself.
Marketers commonly use social media to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and improve traffic.
If you’re tasked with starting a social media strategy for your company, you might be wondering which type of platforms you should be on. Your platform choice will likely change based on your audience.
The list of social media platforms is growing, and well-known platforms like Facebook are always evolving and adding new features.
With a greater and greater need for a social presence and an overwhelming amount of platform choices, it can be hard to pick which social channels to use.
You might not want to spread yourself too thin by managing a channel on every imaginable platform, but you also don’t want to miss great brand-awareness opportunities.
To help you make informed decisions about which platforms to use, this post will guide you through some of the core types of social media, examples of platforms within each category, and the pros and cons that each type might present.
By the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what kind of social media strategy will work for your business.
Examples of Major Platforms
- Facebook: 2.9 billion monthly active users
- Twitter: 368 million monthly active users
- LinkedIn: 900.2 million members worldwide
Social networking is possibly the most traditional form of social media.
If you’re a small business, like a restaurant, a platform like Facebook could be a great place to start your social strategy. With Facebook, you can build a business profile that includes links to your website and details about your menu.
Once your profile is all set up, you can post regular updates about your business, “like” other pages, and answer customer post comments or messages. Business profiles also allow other Facebook users to give you reviews.
You can also leverage Facebook’s community feature and set up a community page for customers to ask questions or rave about your products and services.
In fact, we found that businesses that leverage social media communities will see excellent results in the marketing strategy.
According to our State of Social Media Survey, 90% of marketers say building an active online community is crucial to a successful social media strategy in 2023.
This makes sense, considering our Consumer Trends survey found 20% of social media users joined an online community in the past three months, and 22% actively participated in one.
Brands looking to build an audience of professionals from a certain industry can create a business profile there, categorize it with an industry type, and then use posts and messaging to publish updates.
They can also use messaging and comment features to interact with their audiences, or users who comment on their posts.
A Twitter account could be helpful to companies in a wide spectrum of industries, from entertainment to e-commerce. This platform similarly allows you to create a profile where you can list and link company information.
You can then use Twitter to post about company updates, tag companies or customers in posts, retweet positive customer tweets, and respond to customer questions via tweet or direct messages.
Like Facebook, you can also post content like photos or videos.
On all three networks, users can easily communicate with others through simple actions like tagging, hashtagging, commenting, private messaging, reacting to posts, and re-sharing content.
Aside from social interaction, newsfeeds on common social networking platforms are designed to show off a mix of text and visuals, rather than one primary content type.
This flexibility makes social networking platforms easy to begin a social strategy on because you can experiment with different forms of content before branching out to platforms that require more specific content types.
Here’s an example of Facebook’s newsfeed:
For those who want to dabble in video or graphics, these platforms could be a great place to test this new content.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also started to encourage native video and photo uploads more heavily.
Recently, Facebook even adjusted its algorithms to favor live video and image uploads. This has caused these types of native content to gain greater user engagement.
Pros and Cons
- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the most prominently used forms of social media
- Social networking sites often integrate with scheduling tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite, and TweetDeck software
- All platforms have capabilities for photo and video.
- Those interested in just posting links may have a harder time getting engagement than those uploading photo and video.
- Some platforms, like Facebook, put individual user posts higher than business posts in newsfeeds.
Example of Major Platforms
- Pinterest: 450 million monthly active users
One of the biggest platforms that specialize in photo sharing is Pinterest. Pinterest describes itself as a “visual discovery engine” for users looking for cooking, style, home decor, and general visual inspiration.
If you’re wondering why Instagram isn’t mentioned here — don’t worry! We’ll have more on that when we get to the video platforms.
Like the social networking platforms above, Pinterest users on most photo-sharing platforms can interact with others through tags, likes, comments, or direct messages.
Photo-sharing platforms would be helpful to companies like restaurants or stores that want to take photographs, display content, and update followers about their food, goods, or products in a crisp, clean way.
Pinterest is well-suited for ecommerce companies, such as those who sell home goods, and businesses that would like a place to share crisp standalone product images with links.
It similarly offers a photo-based feed with posts that can include a photo and short description. The platform also allows all users to link directly to websites or product landing pages in posts.
One interesting aspect of the platform is that users can heart posts from others, or assign them to a themed “board.” For example, users might make boards centered around topics like “Inspirational Quotes” or “Bedroom products.”
Once a board is created, other users can also follow it. A business could potentially make a board with their own product posts, or find their products on another user’s board.
Here’s an example of what a board looks like:
Before getting started on a platform like Pinterest, you’ll want to determine whether your goal is to gain brand awareness or link-based traffic.
When choosing a platform, you may want to consider your content-related bandwidth. Both require visual imagery, but you might also need to include video creation within your strategy.
Pros and Cons
- These kinds of platforms help with brand awareness. Approximately 80% of Pinterest users say they’ve learned about products or services on the app.
- Pinterest provides an outlet for showing off visual content or product shots.
- Upkeep on these platforms might require a photo budget or dedicated production time.
- Some platforms, require you to post from a mobile app.
Examples of Major Platforms
Roughly 88% of marketers say video gives them a strong ROI and 90% feel the level of video competition has increased.
Adding a video platform to your social strategy could make your brand look relevant and keep you up to speed with your competitors.
Video can be helpful to a wide range of industries. While a restaurant could have a vlog with cooking tips, a technology company might focus its video strategy around product demos.
To help you pin down a strategy that’s right for your industry and service, check out our video marketing guide.
When it comes to long-form video, YouTube is one of the leading platforms.
YouTube also seems to have better opportunities for advertisers and monetization, while Vimeo offers viewers the perk of no pre-roll ads.
For a longer list of similarities and differences, check out this head-to-head piece where we compare the business capabilities of Vimeo and YouTube.
Along with YouTube and Vimeo, the more traditional social networking platforms have also begun to embrace video marketing more aggressively.
In the last few years, Facebook launched Facebook Stories and Facebook Live, and added a tab on their mobile app dedicated to video. Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed users to launch live video streams which are powered by its Periscope software.
Another top contender for video platforms is Instagram. You’re probably thinking, “But isn’t Instagram a photo-sharing app like Pinterest?”
However, to compete with apps like TikTok, Instagram has shifted away from being a photo-sharing app.
In fact, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri clarified in 2021, “We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app.”
While users can still post photos to Instagram, the platform mainly promotes Reels and video stories. It’s also worth mentioning that Instagram video posts are more than twice as likely to generate engagement than image posts.
Pros and Cons
- Videos can be longer than on other social platforms.
- Both platforms have website linking capabilities.
- Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo often offer analytics.
- Both YouTube and Vimeo have search optimization features.
- Content might take more time and money to create.
- These platforms require more backend tasks like SEO.
Examples of Major Platforms
- Snapchat: 229 daily active users
- TikTok: 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone
These two apps include AR/VR filters, musical overlays, and interactive games. Their audience bases are also prominently Gen-Z.
Because mainly large companies are just starting to experiment with these new applications, marketers who are just beginning a social strategy don’t need to prioritize these interactive apps before traditional social networking platforms.
The large companies on these platforms tend to produce high production-level content. Brands with large followings might also publish Snapchat Stories, or videos that are curated from fans.
Without a high-budget or giant online following, these strategies might be difficult for a company that’s just starting out on social.
Brands and influencers on these apps tend to cater their content to the platforms’ younger audiences. For example, on Snapchat, you might see stories that present beauty tutorials, wellness tips, news, or trendy new products.
If you’re really interested in interactive media, there are still a few viable ways you could get involved with Snapchat or TikTok.
This account allows you to send publish temporary stories, just like individual accounts can. However, those with a business account can also purchase ad space.
Here’s a comprehensive video that explains how to use Snapchat:
If you’ve set up an account, check out this guide to getting started on Snapchat.
TikTok, an app based around short, repetitive clips offers five types of advertising options for businesses. While large businesses may find value in all five, smaller businesses may lean more towards “In-Feed Ads.”
These ads are 9-15 second clips that can be skipped by the user.
If you do test out these platforms, you might want to make sure your industry and content fits in with the young age demographic.
You should also try to properly estimate the time and money that might go into keeping these accounts up-to-date and relevant.
If you’re unsure of how short video ads can benefit your business, remember short-form videos have the highest ROI when compared to other video formats.
Furthermore, 54% of social media marketers report using short-form videos like TiKTok videos and IG Reels in their strategy.
Pros and Cons
- These platforms are very creative and experimental.
- They have young audiences, which can help brands better target Gen-Z.
- Stories can be used to give your following a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.
- Producing regular content could be expensive and time-consuming.
- Business accounts aren’t promoted up-front on the Snapchat interface. You may want to promote your channel on your website or other social channels because users will need to search for you with your Snapcode or username.
- Snapchat and TikTok are limited to mobile and aren’t as easy to use.
Examples of Major Platforms
When users publish a post, these platforms allow other users to share them or add to the conversation with their own commentary.
Both blogging and community building platforms could be helpful to those who want to encourage discussion around very niche industries or topics.
By blogging, you can write posts about topics in your company’s industry and link them to your product or site.
While many people have a blog on their website, platforms like Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up — or just want to see what others in your industry are blogging about.
With a discussion site like Reddit, you could share a link or a post about a specific topic on a discussion board related to your industry and see how users respond.
You could also start your own board if a topic you’re looking to encourage discussion on doesn’t have one yet.
These two platforms specifically encourage web chatter and post shares from users that care about the same topics.
Both also allow users to follow you or subscribe to your blogs or Reddit boards so your content could show up on their feeds. Here’s an example of what Reddit’s feed looks like.
When someone publishes something on Reddit, other users can up-vote or down-vote it. Up-voting makes a post show up higher in Reddit feeds while down-voting does the opposite.
On Tumblr, the feeds are organized by time. However, a post can show up higher when it is re-shared by other users. When a user shares or interacts with your Tumblr content, they give it a note.
When they reshare, they have the option to post a comment with the post that gets added to a thread.
Here’s an example of how notes and threads can be used to encourage discussion:
Pros and Cons
- Both platforms allow you to share text posts, photos, and videos about your business, brand, or individual thoughts.
- These platforms enable you to start conversations about a topic.
- Both platforms allow linking to outside websites.
- Longer blog posts might take time to craft or write.
- Getting downvoted on Reddit or no reaction from Tumblr users means your posts may go unseen.
- Your audience might be too niche or limited to just those on the specific platform you use.
A Few Things to Consider
Before you start logging in and setting up your accounts on a bunch of platforms, be sure to consider these factors:
- How much time do you have to devote to strategizing around a social platform?
- Do you have resources for creating graphics or videos?
- Do your goals involve boosting brand awareness, or traffic and revenue?
- Will you need an additional staff member to run this platform, or will it be easy to maintain?
Once you’re on a platform or two, be sure to stay in the know of how it’s changing and what marketers are doing. For a current outlook, check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.