5 Ways Your Boss Wants You to Improve This Year

It’s a tradition to set New Year’s resolutions, and for many people, these goals involve improving things in their personal lives, like health and wealth. Consider how much time you spend on your career, however, and you’ll see it makes sense to set some resolutions relating to the workplace, too.

Try some of the following ideas to more deeply engage with your work life this year, and chances are your boss will recognize the investment.

Click here to download our free guide on how to succeed in your new marketing  job.

1. Create a Culture of Mentorship

Every workplace is filled with people who have vast experience, but don’t get an opportunity to put all their knowledge to work. Take a poll around your office to see what talents and skills people have and would be willing to share with others. You may find that people who are whizzes at building complex spreadsheets would welcome the chance to pass that knowledge on to others. A mentorship can make them feel good and improve productivity and confidence among those learning new skills.

Don’t limit people to skills directly tied to work, either. The boss’s executive assistant might have a black belt in karate, and teaching a self-defense class or two could let them apply those talents and make a real difference in someone’s life.

2. Stay on Track

A good leader works with their employees to create annual performance goals. If those objectives aren’t revisited until the middle or end of the year, it could be too late to catch up. Start the New Year by scheduling a monthly meeting with yourself to review your progress. If you aren’t getting to tasks that are critical to your career, sit down with your supervisor. You might need to adjust some goals, or your boss may have to curtail outside requests that are taking you away from the strategic goals you built together.

3. Pair Complaints with Solutions

Bosses are used to having employees complain to them, but no one wants to be known as the employee who does nothing but complain. You’ll be more respected and feel more empowered if you can suggest a couple of ways to fix what’s frustrating you.

“When you identify a problem, instead of coming to me to report the problem, try to come with the problem and your proposed solution,” says Paul McHardy, Technology Specialist at USDISH. “Nothing makes a boss’s job easier than when their people are proactive in providing solutions to issues. It helps the decision-making process of what to do much easier, and you earn major bonus points for being the one to solve it.”

4. Be the Brand

The company you work for has invested a lot of resources into building a strong brand, and you represent that brand whenever you’re in the public eye.

“Any time you attend a conference, business dinner, trade show, association meeting or social event, make sure you are representing both yourself and your company in the best ways possible,” says Jessie West, M.Ed., West Coaching and Consulting. “Share your expertise on LinkedIn, speak to a business group about your company’s products and services and maintain your professional reputation when using social media.”

5. Work Smarter, Not Harder

If you aren’t already looking for ways to be more efficient at work, make this resolution a key part of your career goals this year. Believe it or not, innovators aren’t just people like Steve Jobs who change the course of an entire industry. Innovators can be people like the director of a national nonprofit who implemented the use of a shared document to keep check-in meetings with their team on track.

“If you have an organizational or another idea that would help things run more smoothly in the office, let your boss know! They will likely appreciate it . . . and implementing it could make everyone’s jobs a lot easier,” says Valerie Streif, Senior Advisor with Mentat, a San Francisco-based organization for job seekers.

In the example above, creating a place where the leader and their employees could note things they needed to talk about during the week allowed for a level of preparation that made sure the check-in was efficient and effective.

Resolutions have a way of failing before January even ends. Commit to making things different with these career resolutions, and you’ll be happier with your work, your professional relationships and your outlook.

how to succeed in your new marketing job

7 of the Best A/B Testing Tools for 2019

In the marketing industry, we treat experts like they’re village elders, soaking up every tip and trick they have to offer so we can implement them into our own work, desperately hoping for similar results.

But, when you really think about it, marketing is always changing and experts often don’t have visibility into your unique context.

This naturally begs the questions — what should you do when you can’t find a solution to one of your problems on the internet? To find the answers to your unique problem, consider channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes and become an investigator. Investigators forage for information that’ll lead them to the answers of their own specific questions. And, as a marketer, one of the best investigative tools at your disposal is A/B testing.

Every company has a different set of customers, so there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for designing the most optimal website, crafting the most compelling copy, or building the most effective product. To figure out which website design, line of copy, or product feature will produce the best results for your company, you must discover what your unique set of customers prefer.

To help you do this, we’ve curated seven of the best A/B testing tools for 2019 that’ll help you optimize your website design, copy, product, and, most importantly, help you find the answers to your own specific situation.

1. VWO

A/B Testing Tools - VMO

Image Credit: VWO

G2Crowd Rating: 4.2/5.0 (130 reviews)

Trusted by over 4,500 enterprise brands including eBay, Target, and Virgin Holidays, VWO is an A/B testing and conversion rate optimization platform tailored specifically for enterprise brands. In their suite, you can build A/B tests, Split URL tests, and multivariate tests with a drop-and-drop editor.

To gauge the performance of your tests, VWO offers a robust reporting dashboard. VWO also offers a SmartStats feature that leverages Bayesian statistics to help you run faster tests, give you more control of your tests, and reach more accurate conclusions.

2. Optimizely

A/B Testing Tools - Optimizely

G2Crowd Rating: 4.3/5.0 (104 reviews)

With 24 Fortune 100 companies as customers, Optimizely is a digital experimentation platform for enterprise marketing, product, and engineering teams. Using their powerful A/B and multi-page experimentation tool, you can run multiple experiments on one page at the same time, allowing you to test various variables of your web design.

Optimizely also offers testing on dynamic websites, various experiment dimensions like ad campaign, geography, and cookies, and various experiment segmentation parameters like device, browser, and campaign.

3. Omniconvert

A/B Testing Tools - Omniconvert

G2Crowd Rating: 4.5/5.0 (47 reviews)

Omniconvert is a conversion rate optimization platform that offers an A/B testing tool, as well as survey, personalization, overlay, and segmentation tools. Using their A/B testing tool, you can run A/B tests on desktop, mobile, and tablet. Additionally, you can turn winning versions of an A/B test into the control for a future test and leverage Frequentist or Bayesian statistics to validate your tests.

Omniconvert also blends their segmentation tool with their A/B testing tool to let you test over 40 segmentation parameters, like geolocation, traffic source, and visitor behavior, to improve your website’s user experience, product features, and content’s ability to engage and convert. If you work for a medium-sized business, Omniconvert could be a great A/B testing solution.

4. Crazy Egg

A/B Testing Tools - Crazy Egg

Image Credit: Crazy Egg

G2Crowd Rating: 4.0/5.0 (28 reviews)

Crazy Egg is a website optimization software that offers A/B testing, heat mapping, and usability testing tools. Their A/B testing tool lets you test variations of every single page on your website by adding one snippet of code to the pages you want to experiment on.

Crazy Egg also lets you build A/B tests without any coding experience, sends more traffic to the optimal variant of your test once it recognizes it’s the winner, and offers intuitive conversion tracking and reporting tools. If you work for a small business, Crazy Egg is definitely a tool you should consider.

5. AB Tasty

A/B Testing Tools - AB Tasty

Image Credit: AB Tasty

G2Crowd: 4.4/5.0 (25 reviews)

Trusted by brands like Sephora, Ugg, and Carrefour, AB Tasty is a conversion rate optimization software that offers A/B and multivariate testing, data insights, marketing, and personalization tools.

Using their experiments tool, you can build and run A/B tests, split tests, multivariate tests, and funnel tests with their visual editor. You can also leverage their advanced targeting to test based off various criteria like URL, geolocation, weather, and more. To help validate your tests, AB tasty offers reports that display your tests and their confidence levels in real time. If you work for a medium-sized business, AB Tasty could be best suited for you.

6. Freshmarketer

A/B Testing Tools - Freshmarketer

G2Crowd Rating: 4.5/5.0 (24 reviews)

Freshmarketer, which is the marketing arm of the business platform Freshworks, is a conversion rate optimization software that offers A/B testing and split URL testing. Their A/B testing tool can test, target, and validate your experiment, integrate with Google Analytics, and even track the amount of revenue your experiments have generated.

Freshmarketer’s Split URL testing tool can help you test multiple variations of URLs, turn winning test variations into real web pages, and grasp the effectiveness of your web design by offering heatmaps of every variation of your split URL test. Freshmarketer could be the A/B testing solution for you if you work for a small business.

7. Convert

A/B Testing Tool - Convert

Image Credit: Convert

G2Crowd Rating: 4.7/5.0 (21 Reviews)

Trusted by brands like Sony, Unicef, and Jabra, Convert is an A/B testing and web personalization software that offers A/B testing, split testing, multivariate testing, and multipage experiment tools. Convert also offers an advanced segmentation tool that allows you to segment users based off their historical behavior, cookies, and JavaScript events.

Additionally, Convert can gauge the performance of all your tests by reporting on a large mix of metrics, from your variations’ click-through-rate to its return-on-investment. If you want to use Convert in conjunction with your other tools, they offer a ton of integrations with third-party tools, like WordPress, Shopify, and HubSpot. Convert is best suited for small businesses.

The Ultimate Guide to Relationship Marketing

There are plenty of studies that highlight the importance of customer retention — oftentimes, customer retention has been found to be even more critical to your company’s success than customer acquisition.

For instance, research conducted by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found as little as a five percent increase in customer retention can result in an increase in company revenue by 25-95%.

Alternatively, American Express discovered retained customers buy more often and spend more than newer customers — they’ve seen your worth and they’re invested loyally in your brand, so it makes sense they’re willing to turn to your business for their needs, again and again.

Need further convincing? Consider this — in 2016, I began using JetBlue for my flights to and from college in North Carolina. Why? Because I could earn points for every dollar spent on a flight (points which never expired), and I appreciated the airline’s customer-first mentality. Plus, I liked the free snacks.

Once I graduated college, I took it a step further, paying $99 for a JetBlue Plus credit card, which allowed me to earn more points on every dollar I spent using the credit card. I could use these points for future flights, but alternatively, I could also use them on car rentals, hotel stays, or purchases with JetBlue retail partners, like Amazon.

Then, a few months ago, I convinced my friend to get a JetBlue credit card, so she could reap the same benefits.

I’m not trying to convince you to fly JetBlue, but I am trying to show you the power of relationship marketing. By offering unparalleled rewards for long-term customers, and demonstrating a true desire to cultivate a deeper relationship with their audience, JetBlue doesn’t need to spend much time or effort on acquiring new customers — its existing customers are doing the heavy-lifting for them.

Download our free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure  customer loyalty programs for your business. 

Here, let’s take a look at some relationship marketing examples, and then explore how you can implement a strong relationship marketing strategy, today.

1. Domino’s

In the past couple years, Domino’s has taken its fair share of risks for the sake of innovation and improvement — including a series of ads called Pizza turnaround, in which they showcased a series of negative customer reviews, read by real Domino’s employees, before promising a new and improved recipe.

These self-deprecating ads appeal genuinely to viewers, but clearly go against any traditional sales playbook … which is why they work. By admitting their mistake, Domino’s re-invented its brand as transparent and honest — and who wouldn’t want to buy from a company like that?

Additionally, Domino’s has conducted other genius marketing campaigns like the Domino’s wedding registry, in which soon-to-be-married couples can create their own pizza registry. Domino’s has also done a fantastic job tapping into their digital audience — at one point, the company even allowed people to order pizza using a simple pizza emoji. Now, half of Domino’s sales are through digital channels.

Ultimately, there are plenty of risky steps Domino’s has taken to cultivate a loyal, long-term customer base. They accepted short-term losses for long-term gains by slowly and strategically re-inventing their product and their brand, and then engaging with their audience on their customer’s favorite digital platforms.

2. Marriott

Undoubtedly, a 35-minute film is not the most traditional avenue a hotel can take when it wants to increase sales — and yet, that’s exactly what Marriott chose to do with their film, “Two Bellmen Three“.

This film, along with other influencer content like “Snapisodes“, which mimic TV travel documentaries, enables Marriott to appeal to a younger demographic and build brand awareness on youth-dominant platforms like Snapchat. Best of all, their content rarely resembles an advertisement, and is typically focused on providing an audience with fun or helpful information on various travel destinations.

3. GE

Relationship marketing is ultimately about offering both new and existing customers valuable content — regardless of where they are in your buyer’s journey. Good relationship marketing should appeal to the random viewer as powerfully as it appeals to your long-term customers, to ensure your customers can grow with you for the long-haul.

GE does a great job of diversifying its content, and the platforms on which it promotes, to ensure it satisfies as many people as possible. For instance, GE created two sponsored podcasts, which have collectively resulted in nearly 8 million downloads. Additionally, the company has a popular YouTube channel, and a blog that ranges in topics from Arnold Spielberg to 3D printing.

By consistently offering a diverse range of quality content, GE shows its desire to satisfy its long-term customers even at the expense of short-term wins.

4. ArmorSuit

ArmorSuit’s warranty policy begins like this — “Most warranties are limited to 30 days or one year, but with our Lifetime Replacement Warranty, our customers can request for a replacement screen protector for a lifetime. This way, you never need to purchase a whole new kit when a replacement is needed.”

This way, you never need to purchase a whole new kit — a phrase you’ll likely never hear in traditional sales transactions. ArmorSuit’s lifetime warranty represents the company’s steadfast commitment to keeping its customers satisfied. While it might seem ridiculous to offer a lifetime warranty, it makes sense for building strong relationships with ArmorSuit’s customers — when the company’s customers then need other products related to tech, they’ll most likely check out ArmorSuit’s website first.

5. Panera

In 2014, Panera issued a statement promising its customers it would remove all artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from all Panera products by the end of 2016. The company remained transparent throughout the process, publishing progress reports to demonstrate a level of accountability and transparency to its customers.

Undoubtedly, it was a risky decision to admit they’d previously used unhealthy ingredients in their food — but it paid off big-time in 2016, when the brand could officially say “100% of our food is 100% clean”.

Now, they continue to focus on cultivating strong relationships with their customers through personalization. For instance, they alert loyalty members about new food offerings they feel will meet the member’s “flavor profile”.

They also meet their customers where they are — 26% of Panera’s orders are generated digitally, and they offer home and business delivery, rapid pickup, and catering. Their commitment to health and convenience has resulted in 28 million Panera loyalty members, and 13 million email newsletter subscribers.

Next, lets explore how you can create a strong relationship marketing strategy for your own business.

1. Provide personalized, customer-focused service.

When you’re creating a relationship marketing strategy, and when you’re engaging with your customers, your primary concern should never be focused on your product or service. Instead, your concerns should always revolve around the customer — Would the customer want to see this ad? Would the customer be excited about this Instagram post? Does our new product delight the customer?

Additionally, it’s critical you create channels for direct support when your customers need help. Perhaps you implement a Facebook Messaging Bot for service-related concerns. Alternatively, maybe you answer your customer’s questions via Instagram DM. By meeting your customers where they want to be met, you’re proving your willingness to help them despite the hassles it might entail for your overall business process.

2. Engage with the customer where they are.

The reason Marriott’s strategy works isn’t just because of the content they create — it’s also because of where they post that content. Creating videos specifically for Snapchat enables Marriott to appeal to a younger demographic on a platform already popular with that audience.

Similarly, it’s critical you do your research to learn which platforms are most popular for your ideal demographic. By reaching out to them through those channels, you’re demonstrating a level of helpfulness and understanding that will encourage those users to interact with your brand.

3. Offer incentive and rewards for customer loyalty.

To cultivate a long-term relationship with your customers, and to create lasting brand loyalty, it’s critical you continue to engage with customers even after they’ve purchased a product. Consider what you can offer them once they’ve become customers — perhaps they can get a discount on additional products, or receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences.

Consider Panera — by creating a loyalty rewards program, Panera continues to incentivize its customers to purchase additional products, and slowly forms a more meaningful relationship by gathering information about each customer and then using that information to offer unique suggestions depending on their individual food preferences.

4. Create valuable content that tells a compelling story.

If a customer has already purchased your product, they don’t need to see additional product advertisements to become brand loyalists — instead, they need to feel your business offers valuable content regardless of their purchase intent.

Marriott’s film isn’t meant to immediately convert a viewer into a paying customer. Instead, its purpose is to increase brand awareness, so that down the road, when that viewer is ready to book a hotel for an upcoming trip, they’ll remember the compelling film they saw once and think of Marriott.

5. Collect feedback regularly.

A relationship works two-ways — to truly develop a meaningful connection with your customers, then, it’s vital you ask them for feedback. What do they want to see from your brand? What do they like about your product? What do they wish you wrote about on your blog? This information is critical to ensure you’re consistently improving your relationship marketing strategy to best-fit the needs of your specific audience.

New Call-to-action

The Ultimate Collection of Free Content Marketing Templates

Does any aspect of your job intimidate you?

For content creators, sometimes the most stressful part of the role can be opening a completely blank document to start a new project.

Whether it’s writing a blog post, designing an infographic, or creating an ebook, it’s challenging to start creating a new piece of content from scratch, especially if you’ve never done it before.Click here to download our full collection of free templates for designing  stunning visual content including infographics and more.

Here in the HubSpot content shop, we want to take the work out of it for you. Instead of trying to master how to create every type of content in existence, cut down on the stress and inefficiency and read about our collection of nearly 400 free, customizable content creation templates.

We’ve broken this list down by each type of content marketing template represented. Jump ahead if you specifically want:

Content Planning & Calendar Templates

A Content Planning/Goal-Setting Template

(Download the content planning template here.)

HubSpot teamed up with Smart Insights to create a content planning template that will help you put together an effective content marketing plan for either your business or those of your clients. These templates will help you complete a SWOT analysis on your content marketing efforts (and develop a plan to improve them), define the right objectives and KPIs for that plan, brainstorm content ideas and map these across your funnel, and create a timeline for your content plans.

download free content planning template

A Content Mapping Template

(Download the content mapping template here)

You know you need a content marketing strategy in place to support the success of your inbound marketing and sales organizations. But how do you get started? We’ve created a content mapping template so you can walk through your target audience’s buyer’s journey. The template helps you identify buyer personas, their challenges and needs, and to brainstorm content that provides solutions. You’ll come away from the template with tons of targeted blog post ideas to attract your audience to your site and convert them into leads.

download content mapping templates

A Buyer Persona Template

(Download the buyer persona content template here.)

Marketing with buyer personas means marketing smarter. This buyer persona template will help you easily organize your research to create your very own buyer personas. Use it to create beautiful, well-formatted buyer personas that you can share with your entire company, while learning best practices for persona research along the way.

get the free buyer persona template

3 Blog Editorial Calendar Templates

(Download the blog editorial calendar templates here.)

Having an editorial calendar for your marketing content will save you a whole lot of time — not to mention sanity — as you plan your content release timeline. We realize there isn’t a one-size-fits all solution, so we’ve created three editorial calendar templates to use at your leisure: one for Google Calendar, one for Excel, and one for Google Sheets. (Read this blog post for a step-by-step guide for using the Google Calendar template.)

download the free blog editorial calendar template

2 Social Media Content Calendar Templates (for 6 Social Networks)

(Download the social media content calendar templates here.)

With so many different social networks to manage, a social media manager’s life becomes a lot easier when they can plan which content to share on each account — and when. This easy-to-use social media content calendar for Microsoft Excel lets you organize your social media activities far in advance. Use it to plan your updates and learn how to properly format your content for the six most popular social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.

get the free social media contet calendar template

10 Social Media Tracking & Reporting Templates

(Download the social media tracking & reporting templates here.)

Equipped with a social media calendar, you still need a way to track, report on, and even budget for the social media campaigns you run during the year. These 10 planning templates help you do just that: Track your social media followers, report on each post’s performance, manage your paid budget for promoted posts, and more. Download them using the above link or the below graphic.

10 social media tracking, budgeting, and reporting templates

On-Page SEO Template

(Download the on-page SEO template here.)

The more content you publish to your website, the more traffic sources you’ll want to prioritize. One of those sources is organic traffic. To make on-page SEO easier, we’ve rolled out a handy planning template to help you create a website structure that organizes each webpage, what its purpose is, how long it should be, and how to optimize the metadata associated with each new page you publish.

On-page SEO template

Written & Editorial Content Templates

5 Blog Post Templates

(Download the blog post templates here.)

Here’s the thing with blogging: There isn’t one, easy template you can fill in to produce a quality content offering. You need to spend some time brainstorming a title, outlining core content, and so on. While our templates are by no means a fill-in-the-blank type of deal, they’ll walk you through the critical steps for creating the following five blog post types:

  • How-To Post
  • List-Based Post
  • Curated Collection Post
  • SlideShare Presentation Post
  • Newsjacking Post

We’ve seen these formats crush it on our blogs, and we would love for you to use them to hit your own goals.

get free blog post templates

5 Ebook Templates

(Download the ebook templates here.)

Year after year, marketers cite lead generation as one of their top content marketing goals for the year. If you want to succeed at lead gen, then you need content offers — like ebooks — to help you get there. Our internal creative design team went to work building five, beautiful ebook templates — in both PowerPoint and InDesign — for you to download, customize, and use.

get free ebook templates

A Press Release Template

(Download the press release template here.)

While public relations has adapted to be more lovable and less spammy, press releases can be effective when used correctly. Our press release template takes this into consideration and provides an inbound-optimized version. This means the template can help you script press releases and do so in a format optimized for sharing on your company blog. It’s built in Microsoft Word, so you can easily adapt and customize as needed for your PR needs.

download free press release template

50 Call-to-Action Templates

(Download the call-to-action templates here.)

Redesigning your call-to-action buttons can improve clickthrough rates by 1,300% or more. That means visitors will spend more time on your website, and it’ll encourage them to become leads. To help you design clickable calls-to-action, we’ve built 50 pre-designed CTAs for you. These CTAs are super easy to customize, so you don’t need to know any fancy design programs — just PowerPoint.

Bonus: There’s also a handy free tool in there that lets you track your CTA clicks in real time so you can see the exact number of clicks that your designs are reeling in.

download free call-to-action templates

Design Content Templates

195+ Visual Marketing Templates

(Download the visual marketing templates here.)

Not a designer? Not a problem. We partnered with graphic design software company Canva to create over 195 visual marketing templates that are easy-to-use, work for any industry (finance, dentistry, agriculture, law — we’ve got ’em all), and are completely free. Best of all, they’re ready to edit in Canva’s online design tool, which is included for free with this set of templates. The templates include…

  • Infographics templates
  • Facebook ad templates
  • Facebook post templates
  • Twitter post templates
  • Email header templates
  • Blog title templates
  • Facebook cover photo templates
  • Twitter header templates
  • LinkedIn cover photos templates

download free Canva design templates

15 Infographic Templates

(Download the infographic templates here.)

We’ve created fifteen, pre-designed infographic templates right in PowerPoint (+ five bonus illustrator templates). That way, marketers can skip the frustrations and start creating the graphics right away. Within each template, we even provide guides to teach you how to use the templates effectively.

download free infographic templates

5 SlideShare Templates

(Download the SlideShare templates here.)

Creating a SlideShare presentation in PowerPoint doesn’t have to be daunting. With the right and tools at your disposal, you can easily create an engaging, visual presentation — all without fancy design programs, huge budgets, or hiring contractors.

To help you make a SlideShare of your own, we’ve created some free PowerPoint presentation templates for making awesome SlideShares — so your presentations will look great and be a breeze to put together. (Read this blog post for tips on how you can update and edit the templates to suit your specific needs.)

download free slideshare templates

37 Pre-Designed CTA Templates for Ecommerce Marketers

(Download the ecommerce CTA templates here.)

Every marketer uses calls-to-action (CTAs) to generate leads from their website content. If you’re in the business of ecommerce, however, purchases are just as important as downloads when it comes to your website visitors. The CTA templates above are starter designs specifically for marketers who want to direct attention to their product pages and, ultimately, drive transactions within their online store. Get these templates by clicking the link above.

Social Media Content Templates

100 Social Media Graphics Templates

(Download the social media graphics templates here.)

Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content. But we know well that creating visual content takes more time and resources — which why we’ve created these 100 customizable templates for you. These templates are in PowerPoint, so they’re very easy to edit — no Photoshop skills required. Simply customize the text on an image, save it, and post it to social media.

download free social media graphics templates

5 Social Media Cover Photo Templates

(Download the social media cover photo templates here.)

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have trouble keeping straight the different size dimension requirements on different social media networks. To take the guesswork out of it and to avoid frustrating re-designs, we’ve created five templates in PowerPoint that are pre-sized for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. You can customize them for your social networks without researching design specifications — don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.

download social media cover photo templates

11 Facebook Cover Photo Templates for Businesses

(Download the Facebook cover photo templates here.)

With how frequently businesses change and improve on their Facebook pages today, it’s crucial that you have new material in the pipeline. Double-down on your Facebook designs with these 11 templates dedicated to your Facebook cover photo. Get these designs by clicking the link above or the graphic below.

11 Facebook cover photo templates

Email Content Templates

15 Email Templates for Marketing and Sales

(Download the email templates for marketing and sales here.)

Did you know that workers spend almost one third of their time at work reading and replying to emails? There are many ways you can streamline your inbox to save time, but you ultimately will still have to create and send emails. That’s where these content templates come in. We’ve written the copy for 15 emails marketers and sales reps are likely to send over and over again to save you time and get you results.

download email templates

There you have it, content marketers: nearly 400 templates to help you start creating content easily and quickly and further your inbound success.

Free Download Content Creation Templates

The Opportunity Cost Formula That’ll Help You Make Optimal Marketing Decisions

As humans, we hate loss. In fact, losing something emotionally impacts us more than gaining something of the same value. We can get so loss-averse that we’ll take risks just to avoid a loss, like how we sometimes cling onto a stock that continues to plummet in value because we desperately want the price to magically shoot back up.

Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. 

Needless to say, loss stings. And this rings especially true if you work in marketing. Allocating precious budget to the wrong campaigns or tools not only loses website visitors and leads, but it also wastes your spend — money that you’ll never get back again.

Fortunately, calculating the opportunity cost of each decision you make can help you separate the campaigns and tools that actually produce results from the ones that only burn cash.

To help you avoid wasting your budget and losing website visitors and leads, read on to learn what exactly an opportunity cost is and a formula for calculating it.

What Is an Opportunity Cost?

An opportunity cost is the benefit you sacrifice by choosing one alternative over another. For example, if you choose to allocate the last portion of your budget to Facebook advertising, and the next-best alternative is LinkedIn advertising, the opportunity cost of allocating budget to Facebook advertising is the loss of benefits you would’ve reaped if you allocated budget to LinkedIn advertising.

Opportunity Cost Formula

For example, if you expect an ROI of 50% from investing in Facebook ads and an ROI of 40% from investing in LinkedIn ads, the opportunity cost of investing in Facebook ads is -10 percentage points (40% – 50%). However, since the opportunity cost of investing in LinkedIn ads is 10 percentage points (50% – 40%), this choice would incur a higher opportunity cost than investing in Facebook ads. We can then conclude that allocating budget to Facebook ads would be the better option.

If you need help calculating return on investment, the formula is ((Gain on investment – cost of investment)/cost of investment)

Return on Investment Formula

There’s an opportunity cost for not calculating your opportunity cost.

No marketer wants to squander their budget and lose business because they made an avoidable decision. But if you really want to bypass this type of loss and make the smart choice, consider getting analytical and calculating every one of your decisions’ opportunity cost. Otherwise, you might actually squander your budget and lose business — and there’s nothing you can do about it.

free marketing goal setting template

What’s Authentic Leadership, & How Do You Practice It

Whether you’ve recently been promoted to a leadership position, or you’ve been leading your team for years, it can often seem tricky to discern what being a “good” leader actually means.

When you’re trying to determine the components of a successful leader, it’s easy to fall-back on certain terms we commonly associate with leadership — words like “assertive”, “inspirational”, and “confident”.

But what about being “authentic”? While the idea of authentic leadership is not a new concept — it has its roots in Ancient Greek philosophy, which posited that authenticity is an important state of being and enables you to control your own destiny — it can certainly feel like a novel component of leadership today. I mean, what does “being true to yourself” have to do with anything?

In fact, research has shown authentic leadership serves as the single strongest predictor of an employee’s job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and workplace happiness.

To ensure long-term happiness and productivity out of your team, then, it’s critical you demonstrate a level of authenticity as a leader.

Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

Here, we’re going to explore how the Authentic Leadership Theory can help you become a better, more inspiring leader, today.

authentic-leadership-hubspot

Authentic Leadership Theory

There are four distinct components to the Authentic Leadership Theory. Let’s dive into those, now.

1. Self-Awareness

As a leader, it’s critical you have a strong sense of self, including your strengths, weaknesses, and values. It’s impossible to demonstrate authenticity as a leader if you’re unsure of who you are or what you stand for in the first place.

Additionally, by displaying both your strengths and weaknesses to your team, you’re able to demonstrate that you have nothing to hide, and don’t play games. In this way, you’re better equipped to build trust among your team, and when your employee makes a mistake, she’ll feel more comfortable admitting her error to you.

Self-awareness is also critical for you to grow as a leader, and strengthen other components of authentic leadership. For instance, perhaps you’ve noticed you don’t do a great job at displaying transparency with your team. By acknowledging this weakness, you can take steps to rectify it.

In Bruce J. Avolio and Tara S. Wernsing’s essay Practicing Authentic Leadership, they outline three ways authentic leaders should practice self-awareness:

  • Seek feedback from the environment
  • Use self-reflection to better understand your behavior
  • Practice regular self-observation to stay aware of your feelings at all times

Self-awareness is vital for acting appropriately as a leader, and feeling empathy for how your employees might perceive your feedback. For instance, perhaps you feel a conversation you had with your team was demoralizing — you’d just received some disappointing news about your team’s performance, and you’d spoken out of frustration. It’s critical you seek feedback from your environment by asking your team what you can do to help them improve moving forward.

Additionally, perhaps you can mitigate these issues in the future by regularly practicing self-observation, so you’re able to notice, in the moment, “I am very frustrated right now, so I will wait until I am calm to have this conversation with my team.”

2. Relational Transparency

Passive aggression, subtle messaging, and convoluted feedback have no place in leadership. To truly foster authenticity, it’s critical you remain genuine, straightforward, and honest with your team. Let them know where they stand — if they mess up, tell them.

While it might seem counterintuitive — “How will I become close to my team if I am often providing constructive rather than positive feedback?” — it works in your favor in the long-run, as your employees trust that you are not “hiding” your true feelings regarding their performance.

Transparency and honesty must be encouraged from the leadership level if you want your business to be successful. For instance, when Former President and CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally, began working at Ford, he implemented a system in which business leaders would produce color-coded charts at each of their meetings — green to signify success, red to signify failure.

At the time, Ford was forecast to lose 17 billion that year. At the meeting, however, Mulally noticed every chart was green. He recognized that Ford’s culture was one in which leaders hid problems, and avoided transparency out of a fear for job safety.

When one leader, Mark Fields, handed over a chart with red on it — due to a production issue — Mulally began clapping. His reaction signified the concept that failure can be seen as an exciting opportunity for growth, and honesty should be always rewarded. The following week, he saw charts varying from green to yellow to red.

The point is, authentic leadership must start with you displaying behavior you hope to see in your employees, as well. If you aren’t transparent and honest, how can you expect your employees to come forward with problems when they arise?

3. Balanced Processing

A leader needs to make decisions and stay true to her decision in the face of opposition — but she must also be capable of receiving and considering alternative viewpoints before choosing a plan of action.

When making major decisions, it’s important you ask for alternative opinions and remain open to discussion. While it’s important you stick to your values, it’s equally critical you seek out opposing viewpoints, which can help you see flaws in your initial course of action, or enable you to strengthen your argument by understanding all points of view.

Additionally, if you want to be an authentic leader, it’s critical you create an environment in which employees feel both safe and encouraged to share their opinions. This ties back to self-awareness — you must be self-aware enough to accept that your opinion, by itself, is likely biased or partial. By collecting outside feedback, you’re able to see more potential weaknesses in your decision.

4. Internalized Moral Perspective (“Do the Right Thing”)

An authentic leader needs to know when to put the needs of the company and its customers ahead of herself and her team. Ultimately, a leader should be focused on doing the right thing for the long-term success of the business — not herself.

Additionally, it’s critical a leader have strong ethical values and integrity, and exercise these traits even in the face of tempting shortcuts.

For instance, let’s say your employee comes to you with a “make money quick” scheme — his idea is to make it difficult for customers to know how to cancel their subscription, so they are forced to keep paying unless they call up customer support.

As a leader, it’s important you recognize the downfall of this type of decision. While it could temporarily help boost your team’s numbers, it’s not a decision made out of integrity or fairness for your customer, and won’t result in lasting loyalty.

Emmy Jonassen, Director of Acquisition at HubSpot, seconds this point, noting the importance of being a leader whose behavior matches up with the values you want to instill in your team:

“Being an authentic leader means leading by example. It’s demonstrating through your actions that you practice the same values and behaviors you expect from your team.”

She goes on to say, “For example, if you ask your team to come to meetings on time and prepared, you should as well. If you impress upon your team that no task is beneath anyone if it works toward team goals, you should help out with team ‘grunt work’ every now and again by being the notetaker, cleaning up after a team birthday celebration, and so forth.”

By being a leader who emphasizes the importance of doing the right thing, you’re better equipped to set up your team for long-term success.

Why Authenticity in Leadership is Difficult to Achieve

Ultimately, the four components of authentic leadership are good jumping-off points, but it’s important you remember the true meaning of authenticity — the ability to express yourself as you truly are.

The meaning of authenticity makes it inherently difficult to prescribe in any one way.

Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, describes it like this — “It’s funny that something so basic as being yourself starts to become harder as you gain responsibility and scope. But the truth is, being authentic as a leader has to be consciously worked at.”

“There are too many examples of how other people lead. There are no examples of what’s authentic to you until you get there. So, you have to search for it.”

She goes on to say, “You have to create touch-points in the course of meetings, presentations, management that remind you of yourself — who you are and where you’re strongest. When I give speeches, I tend to start with a personal story to set the tone for the rest of the talk, because there’s no way to tell a personal story without being myself. When I’m out of my depths on something, or need time to think before a decision, I make sure to say so, so that my team knows I don’t always have the answers. Authenticity requires touchstones to remind yourself and the people around you that you’re human.”

Ultimately, authenticity is a leadership skill like any other — and skills can always be developed (or weakened) over time, depending on your conscious efforts. To ensure you’re able to lead your team as well as they deserve, it’s critical you remain focused on demonstrating authenticity whenever possible.

New Call-to-action

The Ultimate List of Instagram Stats [2019]

With more than 500 million daily active users, brands are quickly recognizing the need to have a presence on Instagram.

But, as with any social network, the brands that are getting the most out of Instagram are the ones who are smart about what they post, when they post, how often they post, and whom they’re targeting.

But how do they know what’s a “smart” post for their business?

Download our guide to learn how to use Instagram for business here.

That’s where the Instagram data comes in. There’s a whole lot of research out there about Instagram — everything from the demographics of its users and how often brands are posting, to how caption length affects engagement and what the most popular emoji is on Instagram. (See #32.)

Read on to uncover more social media stats that’ll help you get ideas and improve your own Instagram posting strategy.

48 Instagram Stats

Click on a category below to jump to the stats for that category:

  1. Instagram’s Growth
  2. Audience & Demographics
  3. Brand Adoption
  4. Instagram Post Content
  5. Instagram Posting Strategy

Instagram’s Growth

1. The Instagram community has grown from 90 million monthly active users in January 2013 to 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2018. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-monthly-active-users

Image Credit: Statista

2. Instagram’s more than 500 million active users place it well ahead of Twitter (326 million active users) Snapchat (150 million active users), and Pinterest (250 million active users). Tweet this stat! (Source)

3. The proportion of online adults who use Instagram has grown by nearly 400% since Pew Research Center first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012. Tweet this stat! (Source)

adults-using-instagram

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

4. Instagram’s user base is growing far faster than social network usage in general in the U.S. However, Instagram is projected to grow more slowly in the next few years, from 13.1% growth in 2018 to 4% in 2022. Tweet this stat! (Source)

5. Between 2016 and 2020, eMarketer predicts Instagram will add 26.9 million users — almost double the incremental users expected for Twitter, and far more than any other social platform tracked. Tweet this stat! (Source)

social-network-usage-growth.gif

Image Credit: eMarketer

6. In 2019, nearly 25% of Facebook’s total ad revenue is expected to come from Instagram. By 2020, Instagram’s share of that revenue will grow to 30% globally. Tweet this stat! (Source)

7. Instagram and Snapchat are tied for the second-highest used messaging app (behind Facebook Messenger) for millennials at 47%. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-messaging-app.jpg

Image Credit: Refuel Agency

8. Other than Instagram’s own account, the most-followed Instagram account as of January 2019 is run by professional soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, followed by celebrities Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-accounts-most-followers

Image Credit: Statista

Audience & Demographics

9. 72% of teenagers use Instagram and nearly as many (69%) use Snapchat. Both have increased by more than 20% since 2015. Tweet this stat! (Source)

teens-using-social-media
Image Credit: 

Pew Research Center

10. 35% of adult internet users used Instagram in 2018, up from 26% in September 2014. Tweet this stat! (Source)

11. 71% of young adults (ages 18–24) used Instagram in 2018, compared with 37% who did so in 2013. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-young-adults-usage

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

12. In 2018, 60% of Instagram users used the platform daily, including 55% of young adults who visited several times a day. This 60% figure reflects a 9-point increase from 2016, when 51% of Instagram users reported visiting the site on a daily basis. Tweet this stat! (Source)

13. More than one-third of Instagram users have used their mobile devices to buy something online — 70% more likely than people who are not on Instagram. Tweet this stat! (Source)

14. On average, women make up 56% of Instagram’s user base in Latin America. Tweet this stat! (Source)

15. More than 80% of Instagram’s user base consists of people living outside of the U.S. Tweet this stat! (Source)

16. As of January 2019, the countries with the most Instagram users are the U.S. (121 million), India (71 million), and Brazil (64 million). Tweet this stat! (Source)

countries-instagram-users

Image Credit: Statista

Brand Adoption

17. Businesses that are on Instagram get up to 37% of their total impressions from Instagram Stories, the ethereal content that users can publish separate from their feed and disappears after 24 hours. Tweet this stat! (Source)

18. Eight of the top 15 most followed brands on Instagram are in the business of retail. Tweet this stat! (Source)

19. Approximately 80% of all Instagram users follow a business on Instagram. Tweet this stat! (Source)

20. In a 2018 study, the higher education industry had the highest engagement rate of any other industry per post on Instagram, at 3.39%. Second was sports teams at 2.28%, and third was nonprofits at 2.14%. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-post-engagement-rate-industry

Image Credit: RivalHQ

Instagram Post Content

21. More than 100 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram each day. Tweet this stat! (Source)

22. On Instagram, photos showing faces get 38% more Likes than photos not showing faces. Tweet this stat! (Source)

23. In a study of 8 million Instagram images, images with a single dominant color generate 17% more Likes than images with multiple dominant colors. Tweet this stat! (Source)

dominant-color-instagram-engagement.png

Image Credit: Curalate

24. On Instagram, images with a high amount of negative space generate 29% more Likes than those with minimal negative space. Tweet this stat! (Source)

25. On Instagram, images featuring blue as the dominant color generate 24% more Likes than images that are predominantly red. Tweet this stat! (Source)

26. There’s little correlation between caption text length and engagement rate on Instagram. Tweet this stat! (Source)

caption-length-engagement-instagram.png

Image Credit: Simply Measured

27. When Instagram first introduced video in June 2013, more than 5 million were shared in the first 24 hours. Tweet this stat! (Source)

28. One in four ads on Instagram is a video. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-ads

Image Credit: SensorTower

29. In a study of 100 top brands, the brands’ Instagram captions averaged 2.5 hashtags per post. Tweet this stat! (Source)

30. In one study, posts with nine to 12 hashtags received more engagement than posts with any other number of hashtags. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-ideal-number-of-hashtags

Image Credit: Track Maven

31. Instagram posts that include hashtags between 21 and 24 characters in length perform better than average. Tweet this stat! (Source)instagram-hashtag-length

Image Credit: Track Maven

32. Posts tagged with a location see 79% higher engagement than posts not tagged with a location. Tweet this stat! (Source)

33. The red heart is the most frequently shared emoji on Instagram, which is shared 79% more than the next most popular symbol, a smiling face with heart eyes. Tweet this stat! (Source)

most-popular-emojis-instagram.png

Image Credit: Curalate

34. Four of the top five most popular emojis are positive smiley faces (including the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying icon). If you look at the top 20 emojis, smileys comprise half. Tweet this stat! (Source)

35. The American flag is the only flag emoji to break the top 100, ranking #59. The next most popular flag comes from Italy, ranked #125, followed by the French flag at #160 and the Japanese flag at #166. Tweet this stat! (Source)

36. Pizza is the most popular Instagrammed food, behind sushi and steak. Tweet this stat! (Source)

Instagram Posting Strategy

37. In a study of 55 brands, all brands posted an average of 1.5 times per day. Tweet this stat! (Source)

38. The best time to post on Instagram is Thursday between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. in your respective time zone.  Tweet this stat! (Source)

39. The most common posting frequency for brands on Instagram is 11–20 times per month, with almost one-third of companies measured falling into that bucket. Tweet this stat! (Source)

40. 90% of the Interbrand 100 companies now have Instagram accounts. Of all 100 companies, 80% post at least one Instagram photo or video per week. Tweet this stat! (Source)

41. Many posts by top brands take more than 19 hours to hit 50% of their total comments, and another 10% of comments coming after 19 days. Tweet this stat! (Source)

42. Many posts continue to receive low-level engagement for days and weeks after posting. Most brand posts continue to receive Likes and comments 18–24 hours after posting, just at a slower clip than the initial fast pace. Tweet this stat! (Source)

43. While Instagram is still by far the best social network for organic engagement, its per-follower interaction rate of 2.2% is barely half what it was in 2014. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-organic-engagement-1

Image Credit: Forrester Research

44. In a study of 100 top brands, engagement per post has grown at a rate of 53% year-over-year. Tweet this stat! (Source

45. In a study of several thousand brand posts, the average engagement rate is 4.3% and the median is 3.5%. That means that the average post in this sample saw 4.3 activities (a Like or a comment) per 100 followers. Phrased another way, to get 100 Likes and comments on a post, a brand would need approximately 2,325 followers. Tweet this stat! (Source)

46. One brand added 36X its typical number of new followers each day during the 4 days it ran a set of sponsored posts on Instagram, increasing its follower count by 18.15%. Tweet this stat! (Source

Instagram Templates

 
how to use instagram for business

Be Mine: A Brief History of Valentine’s Day Marketing

When I was in grade school, Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite holidays. There were cards. There was the possibility that your crush actually liked you back. And, there was the chocolate — so much chocolate.

Little did I know that the roots of this holiday bore little-to-no resemblance to my childhood experience of it. We were never taught that Valentine’s Day actually originated with an arguably gruesome ancient festival, where there was no chocolate or exchange of cute, red-and-pink cards. But love it or hate it, those are the types of things we associate with the holiday today. After all, there’s a reason roughly 114 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year — it’s what’s become expected of us.

So how the heck did we get from an ancient Roman festival to a holiday that compels many of us to spend no less than $147 on celebrating it? That story, it turns out, is thousands of years old — but we’ll try to condense it.

How Valentine’s Day Began and Evolved

Ancient Rome

Circle_of_Adam_Elsheimer_The_Lupercalian_Festival_in_Rome.jpg
Source: Christie’s

The roots of Valentine’s Day are cited by some sources to lie in the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, largely because it took place annually on February 15 — the day after what is today the observed date of Valentine’s Day — and involved some very primitive forms of courtship and matchmaking. But it was also ancient Rome that saw the famous execution of a St. Valentine on February 14, around 278 A.D. According to legend, he wrote a letter on the night before his execution to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended, and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”

Over two centuries later, Pope Gelasius ordered that Lupercalia be replaced with the February 14 observation of St. Valentine’s Day. That set the tone, some believe, for the day’s forthcoming tradition of exchanging “love messages,” perhaps in remembrance of St. Valentine’s farewell letter.

The Romans are also credited with constructing the idea of Cupid — a god of love often depicted with arrows that, as the legend goes, inflict love upon those who are hit by them. The Roman version of Cupid was adapted from Eros, a god of passion and fertility in Greek mythology. It seems that no one is quite sure when cupid became associated with Valentine’s Day, but the fact that both have origins in ancient Roman culture suggests that there may have been some very early overlap between the two.

Shakespeare (and Chaucer) in Love

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 11.53.32 AM.png
Source: Internet Archive

When NPR’s Arnie Seipel set out to explore the history of Valentine’s Day, he found that it first became romanticized by classic authors like William Shakespeare in the late 16th century, and Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1300s.

Chaucer

Dartmouth English professor Peter Travis cites Chaucer’s epic poem The Parliament of Fowls, which was one of the first literary references to St. Valentine’s Day, or “Seynt Valentynes day,” as Chaucer spelled it. One such mention is made, Travis explains, alongside the line, “Now welcom somer, with thy sonne sonne, That hast this wintres weders over-shake.” In other words, when we celebrate love in the coldest depths of winter — in February, for instance — it’s so heartwarming that it makes summer feel less far away.

Shakespeare

Some literary historians credit Shakespeare for the permeation of love into popular culture with his composition of “Sonnet 18” — said to be written between 1593-1601 — a.k.a., “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” It’s unclear when or how this particular work became associated with Valentine’s Day, but like Chaucer, Shakespeare compares love to the seasons.

“While summer days may fade and fall into” colder months, writes Shakespeare analyst Lee Jamieson, “his love is eternal.”

Of course, Saint Valentine’s day is alluded to outright in Hamletwritten between 1599-1601 — when the character Ophelia recites a song about a young lady’s experience with the holiday, which includes lyrics like, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,” and, “To be your Valentine.”

The 17th Century and Beyond

HowlandValentine2.jpg
Source: American Antiquarian Society

By the 1700s, it’s said that Valentine’s Day made its way from Europe to the United States, which aligns with the establishment of the North American colonies between 1607-1770. It became traditional, according to HISTORY.com, “for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes.” That was more common in England, however, where the Industrial Revolution began earlier and eventually included the production of “fancy valentines [that] were extremely expensive to import.

It’s said that one American woman, Esther Howland, was so intrigued when she received her first English valentine greeting in 1847, that she became infatuated with the idea of manufacturing them in the U.S. She was an early entrepreneur, and instinctively believed that there could be an American market for these formal, English-style greetings. After procuring materials like high-quality paper and lace from her father, a stationer, she created what many credit as the earliest American Valentine’s Day greeting cards.

Today, Howland is still honored with the nickname “Mother of the American Valentine,” with many citing her work as the start of a multi-million-dollar industry. But it didn’t happen overnight — let’s take a look at how her work paved the way.

A Brief Timeline of Valentine’s Day Marketing

1714

Charles II of Sweden begins communicating with flowers, by assigning a different message to each type. This tradition allegedly assigned love and romance to the red rose, setting the stage for this flower to be exchanged during the later, commercialized era of Valentine’s Day. However, it remains unclear if a specific brand is responsible for first marketing flowers as part of Valentine’s Day gift-giving.

1822

Cadbury-heart-shaped-chocolate-box.jpg
Source: The Chocolate Journalist

In England, where Valentine’s Day had by now already been celebrated with the exchange of gifts and cards for many years, the Cadbury chocolate company sells the first heart-shaped box of chocolates.

1849

In Massachusetts, Howland produces a dozen sample Valentine’s Day cards and sends them off with her brother to distribute during a sales trip for their father’s company — S.A. Howland & Sons — hoping to earn $200. Instead, he returns with 25X that amount, indicating a much higher-than-expected demand.

1850

The first print advertisement for Howland’s cards appears in the Worcester Spy.

1866

Necco-Candy-SweetHearts.jpg
Source: Evan Amos

Conversation candies are developed, when Daniel Chase — brother of New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) founder Oliver Chase — uses vegetable dye to print words onto confections.

1870

Howland incorporates her booming card business as the New England Valentine Company, operating out of her home via an assembly line that was largely comprised of her friends.

1879

public-domain-images-ester-howland-new-england-valentine-company.jpg
Source: Viintage

The New England Valentine Company moves operations from Howland’s home to a Main Street factory in Worcester, Massachusetts. That same year, the company publishes the Valentine Verse Book, which contained 131 “verses” that people could cut out and paste inside of cards that came without a greeting — or those with a greeting that the buyer didn’t like.

1880 – 1881

Howland sells the New England Valentine Company to the George C. Whitney Company.

1888

George-C.jpg
Source: Worcester Historical Museum

Whitney has acquired at least 10 competitors, including Berlin and Jones, which had become New York City’s “largest manufacturer of Valentines.” Ten years later, the company moves to large-scale headquarters on Worcester’s Union Street.

1894

The Hershey Chocolate Company is founded, bringing what was previously “a European luxury product” to the U.S.

1902

Conversation candies become heart-shaped.

1906

American Greetings Ad 001.jpg
Source: Vintage Recycling

American Greetings is founded, eventually becoming one of Whitney’s chief competitors.

1907

The Hershey Chocolate Company introduces Kisses candy.

1910

COLL3_146.jpg
Source: Period Paper

That January, a massive fire destroys much of Whitney’s headquarters. However, most of the Valentine’s Day products had already been shipped for the season, having little impact on that particular holiday.

That same year, Hallmark is founded. Meanwhile, 1910 also saw the creation of Florists’ Telegraph Delivery — today known as FTD — which pioneered the remote ordering and delivery of flowers, providing a way to send them to far-away loved ones.

1913

Hallmark produces its first Valentine’s Day card.

1948

4b00a8257f35dcada692f79473bf40c6.jpg
Source: Vintage Ads

The De Beers diamond company launches its “A Diamond is Forever“ campaign, sending the message that gifting high-end jewelry can be used as an expression of love.

1986

Hershey’s begins packaging Kisses candies in pink and red foil specifically for Valentine’s Day.

2005

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 4.45.48 PM.png
Source: Wayback Machine

Valentine’s Day begins to go digital. On February 14, 2005, YouTube — which originated as an online dating site — makes its debut. Co-founder Steve Chen still credits its invention as the brainchild of “three guys on Valentine’s Day that had nothing to do.”

2013

valentine_phones2_1501.png
Source: Uber

Ride sharing company Uber rolls out “Romance On Demand,” allowing users to send flowers on Valentine’s Day via the app. This initiative would continue to progress, with on-demand skywriting becoming available the following year.

2016

NetBase, a social media analytics platform, releases a Valentine’s Day Sentiment Analysis, measuring how people engage with and discuss the holiday on social media. In total, it measured nine million mentions of Valentine’s Day, with the vast majority of them mentioning a specific brand — Netflix. The top hashtag was #happyvalentinesday.

Be Ours

Like so many other holidays, Valentine’s Day has experienced a transition into pop culture that has shaped the way it’s perceived, discussed, and celebrated. Sure, it’s often accused of being nothing more than a money-making marketing holiday — just look at these numbers compiled by HISTORY.com. But next time you hear someone label Valentine’s Day as “Hallmark holiday,” you’ll have a wealth of historical information to respond with.

From our hearts to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day. We’ll be keeping an eye on its continued evolution.

51 YouTube Stats Every Video Marketer Should Know in 2019

In 2005, when I was 10 years old, a kid from my neighborhood was bear hugging a fallen tree trunk that bridged across our creek and yelled, “I better not see this on YouTube!”

That was the first time I’d ever heard of YouTube. And it definitely wasn’t the last time I’d hear about it. YouTube has experienced explosive growth since it was founded in an office garage in 2005. Just one year after its inception, it was attracting more than 65,000 new video uploads and 100 million video views per day. A couple of months later, the high-growth startup was acquired for over $1 billion by a titan in the tech industry — Google.

Since then, YouTube has opened up avenues for brands to advertise on their videos and, in turn, let content creators earn a living just by making videos. This potential for monetization has incentivized content creators to craft the most engaging videos possible and host them on the platform, which has enabled YouTube to become the second most trafficked website and the second largest search engine in the world.

As a video marketer, you already know how crucial building a YouTube presence is for boosting your videos’ and brand’s visibility. But if you just started your brand’s YouTube channel or need some help convincing your boss to double down on your YouTube efforts, we’ve got you covered.

Check out these 51 stats about the platform’s mobile usage, its demographics, subscriber growth, general usage, and history that can help you build your YouTube following or persuade your boss to focus more of your efforts on the video platform.

51 YouTube Stats Every Video Marketer Should Know in 2019

YouTube Mobile Stats

4. On mobile devices alone, YouTube reaches more adults aged 18-49 during prime time than any cable network does in an average week.

5. 75% of adults report watching YouTube on their mobile devices.

6. More than 70% of YouTube watch time is generated from mobile devices.

7. YouTube mobile ads are 84% more likely to hold attention than TV ads.

8. Over 50,000 years of product review videos have been watched on mobile devices over the past two years.

9. In 2018, YouTube was the most popular IOS app.

YouTube Demographics Stats

10. Over 90% of 18-44 year old American internet users watch videos on YouTube.

11. Over half of American internet users who are aged 75 and over watch videos on YouTube.

12. Over 50% of YouTube’s audience is female.

13. 59% of Generation Z (16-24-year-olds) have increased their YouTube usage since last year.

14. 46% of millennials (25-34-year-olds) have increased their YouTube usage since last year.

15. 70% of millennial YouTube users watched a YouTube video to learn how to do something new or learn about something they’re interested in.

16. 15.8% of YouTube users are from the United States.

17. YouTube attracts the most visitors from the United States, India, Japan, Russia, and China.

18. YouTube is available in more than 91 countries.

19. YouTube is available in 80 different languages.

YouTube Subscriber Growth Stats

20. The number of channels with more than 1 million subscribers increased by more than 75% since 2017.

21. The number of YouTubers who earn six figures per year has increased by more than 40% since 2017.

22. The number of YouTubers who earn five figures per year has increased by more than 50% since 2017.

23. The top ten YouTubers earned 42% more revenue in 2018 compared to 2017.

24. PewDiePie is the most popular YouTube channel, with 85 million subscribers.

25. The most popular branded YouTube channel is LEGO, which has over 7.1 million subscribers and has received over 8.7 billion views.

YouTube Usage Stats

26. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine.

27. YouTube is the second most trafficked website behind Google.

28. YouTube users collectively watch over 46,000 years of content each year.

29. 68% of YouTube users watched a video to help them make a purchase decision.

30. 80% of YouTube users who watched a video to help them make a purchase decision said they watched the video at the beginning of the shopping process.

31. 95% of the most popular YouTube videos are music videos.

32. 47% of on-demand music streaming was listened to on YouTube.

33. There are twice as many small- and medium-sized businesses advertising on YouTube since 2016.

34. Four times as many people prefer watching video on YouTube rather than on social media platforms.

35. YouTube users watch more than 180 million hours of content on TV screens every day.

36. YouTube users are three times more likely to prefer watching a YouTube tutorial video compared to reading the product’s instructions.

37. “Relaxing” and “feeling entertained” are the top two reasons viewers watch YouTube.

38. Relaxation videos like soap cutting and slime playing experienced a 70% increase in watch time in 2018.

39. Comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and “how to” are the four most popular content categories on YouTube.

YouTube History Stats

40. “YouTube.com” was activated on February 14, 2005.

41. “Me at the zoo” was the first video uploaded to YouTube on April 25, 2005.

42. Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion on October 9, 2006.

43. YouTube launched InVideo ads in December 2007.

44. YouTube streamed the United States presidential debates for the first time in 2012.

45. The youngest YouTuber is Ryan ToysReview, who is a 7-year old boy who makes $11 million a year and has 18.2 million subscribers.

46. “Gangnam Style”’s surge in popularity broke the video’s view counter.

47. YouTube provides a free space in Los Angeles where YouTubers with over 10,000 subscribers can learn, connect, and create videos with each other.

48. The first YouTube video that reached one million views was a 2005 Nike ad that featured football star, Ronaldinho.

49. The YouTube video that received the most views in 24 hours is Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video, which attracted 55.4 million views in a single day.

50. The most liked video on YouTube is the music video for the song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee. It has received over 31.96 million likes and boasts an 89.25% like percentage.

51. YouTube’s own YouTube Rewind 2018 video is the most disliked video on the platform. It has received over 16 million dislikes and owns an 86.53% dislike percentage.

How to Run a Structured Interview (Questions Included)

Imagine this — a hiring manager is choosing between two candidates of similar expertise, so she invites them both into the office for an in-person interview. However, she’s given power to choose which questions she asks each one.

She notices the first candidate went to school at her alma mater, so she decides to gear her initial questions towards that commonality to build rapport. On the other hand, she will begin the other interview with a basic, “Tell me about yourself” question.

Seem fair? Probably not.

If an interview is unstructured, it doesn’t mean the hiring manager didn’t prepare questions ahead of time. However, an unstructured interview allows employees to ask different questions to each candidate — which could become an opportunity for employees to judge candidates based on who they get along well with, as opposed to whether the candidate is qualified for the role.

Structured interviews help you minimize biases or personality preferences that could otherwise affect a hiring manager’s decision to move forward with a candidate.

A structured interview is a process established by HR in which all candidates are asked the same predetermined questions in the same order. Your team will then rate each candidate using a standardized scoring system.

Structured interviews have demonstrated a high degree of reliability, validity, and legal defensibility compared to unstructured interviews. Additionally, a structured interview makes it easier to provide interview feedback to a candidate.

To implement a structured or semi-structured interview at your company, keep reading.

Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of  all-stars.

Structured Interview Questions

To create structured interview questions, you must first craft a detailed job description with all the necessary components of the role, as well as any “nice-to-haves”. Once you have a job description, use it as a guide to write a list of hard and soft skills you’re looking for in a candidate.

Next, you’ll want to create a list of role-specific questions. For instance, you might consider asking:

  1. Give me an example of a time you had to [important job skill].
  2. What do you think will be your biggest challenge with this role?
  3. What most excites you about this role?
  4. Tell me how you would handle [specific job challenge].

These questions will vary depending upon the role. You’ll also want to gauge the candidate’s interest in your company in general, as well as her work ethic.

Here are a few general structured interview questions:

  1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  2. What do you know about the company?
  3. What are your greatest professional strengths? Alternatively, what are your weaknesses?
  4. What is your greatest professional achievement?
  5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Lastly, there are structured interview questions you might want to ask to get a better sense for someone’s leadership skills, willingness to learn, or ability to handle herself under pressure.

Take a look at the following structured interview questions, divided by category, for further inspiration.

To rate leadership ability

    1. You indicated on your resume that leadership is one of your strengths. Describe an experience in which you used your leadership abilities.
    2. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project to others effectively.
    3. 3. Tell me about a time you took the lead in a team project. What was the project outcome?
    4. 4. Can you recall a time where you had to give negative feedback to a colleague. How did you express this feedback?

To rate dependability

      1. If your manager asked you to complete a task you thought impossible at first, what would you do?
      2. Tell me about a time when you had multiple important projects to finish and how you prioritize them.

To rate willingness to learn

      1. Tell me about a time you failed at a project. How did you try to avoid failure? What did that experience teach you?
      2. Tell me about a time you had to learn something you weren’t familiar with very quickly.
      3. Which other companies in [your industry] do you admire? Why?

Semi-structured Interview

A structured interview has plenty of benefits — but, of course, it also has its drawbacks.

A structured interview leaves little room for building rapport. When a candidate answers a question, you’re simply instructed to move to the next question, even if the following question has little relevance to the candidate’s unique response.

If you feel a structured interview is too rigid for your workplace, but still want to use general guidelines to ensure fairness in your recruitment process, you might consider a semi-structured interview as an alternative.

A semi-structured interview still requires your HR team to create a list of open-ended questions, and subsequently train interviewers to ensure they ask role-specific questions and use a standardized rating system to determine a candidate’s fit.

However, a semi-structured interview also provides more opportunity for the interviewer to tailor the conversation naturally, either by excluding questions they feel are redundant, or asking follow-up questions when they feel it’s necessary.

Ultimately, a semi-structured interview requires your team to follow a predetermined set of questions, but allows the interview itself to feel more conversational by nature. The interviewer has the power to change the wording of the question, or the order of the questions, which could enable the interviewer to dive deeper or ask follow-up questions depending on the candidate’s responses.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team