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LinkedIn Updates Ad Features and Mozilla Blocks Ad Tracking

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore enhanced LinkedIn Advertising features and analytics, why web browsers are blocking third-party tracking, and more. Our special […]

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The 15 Best WordPress Booking Plugins in 2019

The more you can automate, the more you can focus on delivering value for your customers. However, it can be difficult to create automated processes without diminishing the customer experience.

Fortunately, certain tools are able to provide both efficiency for you and satisfaction for your customers — and one of those tools is a WordPress booking and scheduling plugin.

In fact, a myriad of WordPress booking plugins exist to help you save time while actually providing a smoother and more convenient experience for your customers.

Take a look at this list of WordPress booking plugins, which can help you free yourself up to focus on the more important aspects of your business by increasing your efficiency, eliminating stress, and providing clarity.

Learn how to redesign your website with this free guide.

The 6 Characteristics of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

How do you know which plugin is best for your business? Good WordPress booking plugins do the following:

  1. Provide customers with your work hours and availability.
  2. Allow them to choose a time.
  3. Encourage customer input.
  4. Save the input in a customer database.
  5. Automatically save your event to the calendar.
  6. Send confirmation notification to you and your customer, and tells you both if there are changes to your event.

If the tool does all of the above, you’ve got a keeper. However, each tool varies in their pricing structure, so make sure to find the one that best fits your needs.

1. HubSpot Meetings

Price: Plans range from free to $3,200 per year, based on your needs

Hubspot Meetings is a simple yet powerful booking app that allows you to share your calendar and availability with anyone through a unique link.

It starts out for free, but on the paid tiers, you can also embed the calendar onto your site so clients can pick and choose bookings based on your availability, even if they don’t have access to your unique link.

The app integrates with the HubSpot WordPress plugin, and it also pipes all the data directly into the HubSpot free CRM, making this a winner on the data integration and organization front.

2. Bookly

Price: Free, or Pro for $89/month

Bookly is a WordPress plugin designed to smooth your scheduling system while simultaneously creating a customer database from the booked appointments.

The process is automated and is integrated with the WPML plugin to facilitate multilingual web pages. Optimized for mobile use, Bookly allows you to offer discounts and options for recurring payments and appointments.

Additionally, Bookly lets you do group bookings, so this service is perfect for companies offering appointment-based services such as tutoring, beauty appointments, massages, etc.

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3. Booked

Price: $49

Booked is a frontend shortcode calendar for booking appointments with strong backend features to help you manage your bookings or appointments. This widget translates your calendars if needed, and enables you to customize the colors to match your branding.

You can show your availability as well as when you’re on vacation — additionally, you can build in buffers before and after every meeting, or for a certain amount of time after the present date to incorporate time to prepare.

The customer creates an account and selects their time, but you can manage your appointments from the backend and send out individualized notifications if needed. There’s also an option for your users to “Add to Google Calendar.”

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4. Team Booking

Price: Pricing starts at $28/month

Team Booking is a customizable booking app that integrates specifically with Google Calendar. It allows you to divide your availability by room, employees, time, or service offered.

Team Booking is a collaborative tool and comes with shortcodes on the frontend, so it’s user-friendly and easy to maintain a group calendar, as well as an individual one.

Calendar events are available times customers can book. Once the event is booked, notifications are sent to each party involved. Customers can pay directly with PayPal or Stripe, and once they book or fill out a reservation form, their information is saved in a customer database that you can download.

Team Booking is integrated with WPML and converts time zones to eliminate confusion with international companies or teams.

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5. WooEvents

Price: Pricing starts at $39 per month

WooEvents is an event scheduler that lets customer sign up and schedule their own events based on availability, but also lets you sell tickets. It has a calendar function with email notifications for event changes, but also provides a mapping function for people to find the event location.

You can sell custom types of tickets, see your event status, and limit how many people can book. Once they’ve booked, their data is entered into a customer database.

WooEvents works with iCal and Google Calendar. You can manage all of your current events, delete past ones, and set up recurring events for the future.

Users can pay through the WooEvents widget as it boasts integrations with several companies like PayPal and Stripe, and it has short code for placing links on your site.

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6. Booking Calendar

Price: Custom pricing based on your needs

Booking Calendar operates directly out of your WordPress site and allows you to manage reservations and bookings without leaving WordPress. Plus, it develops a client database once the booking is made.

Bookings are kept in your WP database, so there’s no need to have a database management tool. It’s optimized for mobile and can process payments through third-party services like Stripe or PayPal. It’s one of the most-installed WP plugins out there.

Available functionalities for Booking Calendar depend on your needs, number of clients, and budget, but the premium version offers tons of features that are easily customizable to your business needs.

It’s not just good for services, either — huge hotel chains, equipment rental companies, and doctor offices can use this plugin for appointments or resource scheduling.

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7. WP Simple Booking Calendar

Price: Tiered pricing ranging from free to $139/month

WP Simple Booking Calendar is ideal for house or apartment rental companies. It’s aesthetically pleasing with a simple, user-friendly design. Additionally, shortcodes are provided for you to embed on your site.

Users can see the unbooked dates for properties they’re interested in, and managers can easily alter bookings from the backend as needed. WP Simple Booking Calendar allows for website translation, which is crucial if your website is booking international clients.

The free version should be more than enough for most people, but pricing goes up to $139 per month if you need more advanced services.

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8. Advanced Booking Calendar

Price: The plugin is free, Pro is $56.10 USD for six months, or $72.93 USD for one year

Advanced Booking Calendar is an excellent mobile-optimized WordPress booking plugin, and works particularly well for hotels or B&B rental companies. It offers a calendar that displays availabilities, which allows you to adjust prices seasonally, per room, or for certain services.

It’s a little different from others in this list because it works with your Google Analytics account to monitor a user’s trajectory through your booking form. This enables you to identify warm leads and friction points.

Once a guest creates an event, every person involved receives a notification confirmation (email templates are provided) and customer data can be stored in the form of cookies.

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9. WP Quick Booking Manager Pro

Price: Pricing starts at $26 per month

The WP Quick Booking Manager Pro plugin has a strong administrative backend feature that makes this tool appealing for those who want more power over their calendar. Here, administrators can edit, add, confirm, decline, or delete events, and change the CSS from the backend.

This is an excellent plugin if you run a hotel or are renting out apartments and B&Bs because it allows for photo galleries, and also boasts a PayPal integration.

Additionally, there’s no cap on the number of events or bookings created in the calendar, and you can book directly from the website, which shows your full calendar availability.

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10. WooCommerce Easy Booking

Price: Custom pricing

WooCommerce Easy Booking has many of the features of the other calendar plugins and widgets here, but its pricing structure is really what sets it apart. You can rent WooCommerce as needed, from daily to annually, an option which other products don’t offer.

Visit the website and answer a few simple questions to calculate your individual price. The eCommerce toolkit works well with this, and both are optimized for the mobile experience.

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11. EDD Bookings

Price: Prices range from $80 per year to $250 per year

EDD Bookings makes the dream of single-page admin design a reality. Each calendar can be customized by category, color, and time zone to reflect the needs of users, all of which is optimized for mobile.

Emails notify involved parties once the customer creates an event or appointment, and there’s no cap on how many events can be generated. Events can be sorted by multiple filters, including length of session, price of service, etc., and activities can be assigned to certain employees.

On the backend, EDD Bookings provides an analytics dashboard and customer database, as well as accounting tools and payment integrations including PayPal.

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12. Amelia

Price: $59

Amelia is a round-the-clock WordPress booking service with a minimal, intuitive design made to smooth your booking workflow. The plugin requires as little as 2-3 clicks per booking, and offers online payment options. It has a dashboard explaining crucial KPIs to monitor, and an analytics tool to provide that data.

Amelia is simplistic and can be customized to reflect your brand colors. It’s integrated with Google Calendar, WooCommerce, PayPal, and Stripe, and provides quick booking shortcodes for your web pages.

Your users can choose the time, date, place, service, employee, or other necessary filters to find the right time slot. Amelia sends SMS notifications to you and the customer, and you can manage appointments from the administrative dashboard if needed.

Amelia is unique in that it suggests demo sites with a WordPress theme for your site to emulate based off of your industry’s standards, so that you remain neck-and-neck with your competition is terms of mobile optimization, service, and user-friendliness.

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13. Event Booking Pro

Price: $33 for six months, $170 for extended license over six months

Event Booking Pro is an exceptional WordPress booking plugin if you’re looking for a solution that provides ticket-selling software. It’s made with single-page bookings in mind to keep everything as simple as possible.

Shortcodes are given so you can embed your calendar or events on your website, which will display your calendar availability as well as which days you’re unavailable.

PayPal works through the site so you can sell tickets and send coupons. You can sell tickets with Event Booking Pro, and you can customize notification emails that get sent to any user who books with you.

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14. WordPress Pro Event Booking Calendar

Price: $33 for the regular license, $125 for the extended license

WordPress Pro Event Calendar operates similarly to the other booking plugins on this list, but stands out in some critical ways — one of which is the ability for customers to enter their individual events.

The plugin has an advanced filtering system that allows you to sort your customer database swiftly and efficiently. The event calendar plugin is integrated with Google Maps and Facebook, as well as in ICS format.

The plugin also enables you to embed calendars to your web pages and set up events on a recurring schedule. It also offers the ability to curate the events and edit as needed.

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15. BirchPress

Price: Tiered pricing, ranging from free to $249 per year

BirchPress is a booking plugin that allows you or your customers to create events in a calendar by inputting their information into a customized form.

The plugin allows you to send customized emails to your customers without needing to use a separate email marketing system, and makes it easy for them to pay online with WooCommerce or PayPal.

Additionally, the admin capabilities make it easy to manage bookings — whether they’re changed, canceled, or rescheduled. It integrates with iCal and Google Calendar, and is very user-friendly for developers.

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These are just the most popular WordPress booking plugins in 2019. Whatever tool works best for you and your business workflow is the one you should go with, because when you’re running a business, time is money.

If you want a comprehensive booking tool that integrates with both WordPress and a free CRM, check out HubSpot Meetings.

Blog - Website Redesign Workbook Guide [List-Based]

How to Use Quora for Marketing

Do you want to learn more about Quora? Wondering how Quora can enhance your marketing efforts? To explore how to use Quora for marketing, I interview JD Prater. JD is Quora’s full-time evangelist, a speaker, and host of the Grow with Quora podcast. JD shares what Quora can do for your business. You’ll also find […]

The post How to Use Quora for Marketing appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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How to Generate Quality Leads From Your PPC Campaigns

You’ve poured thousands of dollars into your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search campaigns and have managed to generate a substantial number of leads. You’re rocking your conversion rates and your cost per lead is great.

What’s the problem?

It’s only when you start analyzing your results and dig a little deeper that you realize an overwhelming majority of these leads are in essence “junk leads.” Very few are turning into opportunities, let alone customers. The bottom line is, you’re just not seeing a healthy ROI.

Free Guide, Template & Planner: How to Use Google Ads for Business

In this post, we provide 10 proven strategies that you can use to generate better quality, bottom of the funnel leads from your B2B PPC campaigns. Let’s dive in.

PPC Lead Generation

1. Set up proper URL tracking.

To accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, you need to make sure that you are able to track other important elements besides conversions. This data will allow you to determine which campaign and site a lead came from, the keyword they searched for, the device they were on, and so on.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use UTM Parameters and ValueTrack Parameters. These tags are data that you append to the end of your landing page URLs, and you’ve probably seen them when you clicked a link or ad. They look something like this

http://bit.ly/1UAGLGc

As a best practice, you should use the naming convention specified below and use at least these 6 parameters in your URLs:

UTM naming conventions and parameters for URLs

In Google Ads, the most efficient way to set up tracking parameters is in the “Campaign URL options (advanced)” section under campaign settings. Here, you can enter your parameters after “{lpurl}?” as shown below. The {lpurl} portion will be automatically replaced with the landing page URL that you have set up for each ad within your campaign.

utm_tracking and advanced campaign URL options

2. Determine where your opportunities are coming from.

Once you have your tracking parameters, you need to capture them on your landing pages and store them — along with with other lead details — into the contacts database of your marketing platform. This is usually done by creating hidden fields in your landing page form. You’ll need one field for each UTM parameter that you have passed to your landing page:

HubSpot lead generation form setup area

You might first need to create custom fields or properties in your contacts database before you map them to the new hidden fields in your form.

Next, you need to make sure that your contacts or leads data is synced with your CRM and that you’re able to view all opportunity data for your leads.

At a minimum, you should be able to view lead status or stage — whether they are a sales qualified lead, marketing qualified lead, opportunity, or customer — and the opportunity size or deal amount. If you have lead scoring data associated with each contact, this will be extremely beneficial as well.

Once you have all of the available data, you should create reports to isolate and segment it.

The most important data you want to extract are:

  • The number of opportunities, opportunity amount, and customers won for each source, campaign, keyword, and device.
  • The name, email, company, lead status/stage, lead score, opportunity amount, source, campaign, keyword and device for each lead.

You’ll then be able to determine which opportunities are being generated from a particular search engine, campaign, device and keyword.

When you combine this with the spend data from your ad platform, you’ll be able to get your true ROI.

Opportunities-and-Customers-Screenshot.png

Next, isolate poor quality leads. If you use lead scoring, look at the leads with the lowest scores. Otherwise, look for leads that have provided invalid or junk data in the name, email and company fields. Then check to see what campaigns, devices or keywords these leads have in common.

3. Segment your campaigns into many groups.

Many companies make the mistake of setting up campaigns or ad groups for each product or service they have. They don’t dig deeper into the many different ways in which their target audience is searching for the solutions they offer.

You can address this by carefully planning your campaigns in order to segment your offer into as many groups as possible. You can segment by each main feature, benefit, sub category, target industry, or geographic location relevant to your product or service.

For example, let’s say you provide web design and development services. You can segment your campaigns as follows:

  • Sub-category: Ecommerce website design, custom website design, responsive web design, etc.
  • Feature: WordPress web design, Magento Development, PHP development
  • Benefit: high end web design, agile web development, enterprise web development
  • Target industry: real estate website design, restaurant web design, healthcare website design
  • Geographic location: San Francisco web design, California web design, New York web design

Once you identify the segments you want to go after, you can set up each campaign with the necessary assets:

  • Keywords: All keywords related to the associated segment
  • Ads: Ad copy customized to that segment
  • Landing Pages: Customized landing page that has content only about that segment

Setting up campaigns in this way allows you to focus your efforts, and will result in better quality leads and increased conversion rates.

4. Target relevant keywords.

Keywords are at the heart of every paid search campaign, and you need to go wide and deep to identify the best ones for your business.

The first step is identifying the most focused and relevant keywords. Segment your campaigns as described in the previous section and then search for keyword ideas within each segment. There are a lot of excellent keyword research tools that you can use to find the best keywords.

To attract the best quality leads at the bottom of the funnel, you have to target keywords with searcher intent in mind. For example, when someone searches for “WordPress website design services” you know that they’re looking for a company that provides WordPress services.

However, when someone just types in “WordPress website design,” you can’t be certain about their intent.

They could be looking for services or they could just be looking for a how-to design guide. Location-based searches also convey searcher intent adequately. For example, “San Francisco web design” indicates that the searcher is looking for a web design company in San Francisco.

Based on the volume of searches, you can also decide to further segment your campaigns to get even more focused. The more tailored your campaigns are—including keywords, ads and landing pages—the better your leads will be.

For example, you could create a new campaign that combines two of the segments we just discussed titled “San Francisco WordPress website design.” Some of the keywords in this campaign could be:

A list of WordPress keywords that notes competition.

Another way to get more focused with the keywords you’re targeting is to find long-tail keywords — those that consist of four or more words. Searchers who type in these longer search terms have typically done their research and honed in on exactly what they are looking for, making them quality prospects.

A good tool to find long-tail keywords is Übersuggest, but you can also source them directly from Google. After conducting a search, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and look in the section “Searches related to…”

A search for “ecommerce design services,” for example, shows the following suggestions:

Google search suggestions with bolded keywords

5. Filter out irrelevant keywords.

Targeting the kinds of keywords we discussed in the previous section, will go a long way in attracting high quality leads to your ads, but there are also steps you can take to proactively ward off less desirable clicks.

Look over your Search Terms Report to determine whether you are getting any irrelevant clicks to your ads. If you find any such clicks (or impressions), add those keywords to your negative keywords list — this tells Google or Bing not to show your ads for any of these keywords.

Going back to our earlier example of web design services, some negative keywords you would likely want to add are: cheap, free, themes, school, jobs etc. This will make sure you don’t waste your money on clicks from users searching for keywords like “San Francisco web design jobs” or “WordPress website design theme.”

If you followed our guidelines for tracking and opportunity attribution described in sections one and two, you’ll now have the ability to determine which keywords are leading to poor quality leads and which keywords are producing opportunities.

If you find that certain keywords are predominantly producing poor leads, you can add them to your negative keywords list to stop receiving traffic from these types of searches.

On the other hand, you’ll now have a list of keywords that have produced opportunities (and customers) for your business.

Keyword_opportunities_highlighted

You can double down on these keywords in three ways:

  • Increase their bids so your ads rank at the top of search results.
  • Segment these keywords into a new group or campaign so you can have more customized ads and landing pages for them.
  • Find other related keywords you may have missed the first time.

If you need help determining strong keywords and negative keywords, it can be helpful to use a template or build a keyword plan for your campaigns. Here’s a guide that walks through how to use our free PPC campaign management template.

6. Use ad copy to pre-qualify visitors.

Writing ad copy that focuses solely on increasing click-through rates is a mistake. You should write ads that pre-qualify visitors, so that the traffic you do get will be a lot more relevant and targeted to your business. Some of the best ways of doing this, are by adding the following elements to your ad copy.

Business size

If you target businesses of a certain size, reflect that in your ad copy. For example, if you want to target larger businesses, you can add “enterprise” to your ads and create copy such as, “enterprise class WordPress design.”

Industry

If you work with specific verticals, you can make that clear in your ads. For example, your ad could read: “WordPress design for healthcare.” This usually works best with segmented campaigns and keywords (see tips three and four).

Pricing

Many companies are uncomfortable adding pricing to their ad copy, but this is a good way to weed out prospects who may not have the budget for your solution. You can do this by adding text such as, “Starting at $499/month,” or “Packages starting at $10,000.”

Target Persona

Including your target persona in your ad copy is another excellent way of pre-qualifying your ad traffic and even personalizing your ads. You can do this with text such as “For small business owners” or “For discriminating marketing executives.”

It’s also important to consistently A/B test your ads to optimize their performance. As a general guideline, you should always have two ads running for each ad group in your campaigns.

You can then decide which ad is performing better by looking at the number of conversions and opportunities generated from each, in addition to the click-through rates.

7. Develop tailored landing pages for your ad groups.

Once a visitor gets to one of your landing pages you’ve already paid for the click. This means that measures such as adding extra form fields or validating for a business email address in an effort to reduce the number of poor-quality leads, are misguided. Instead, you should focus on maximizing the conversion rates of your landing pages by optimizing the elements below.

Tailor your landing pages to the needs, wants, and challenges of your ad groups with particular focus on the content you have above the fold.

It’s ideal to create unique landing pages for each ad group. But, sometimes this isn’t feasible — especially if you’re working with dozens of different ad groups.

Should this be the case, you can use dynamic headlines and subheadings on your pages. This will let you alter the content of your landing pages by passing in headlines and sub headings as parameters of your landing page URL.

It’s also important to follow key landing page best practices to nurture those who click into converting. These include no navigation, a content or coupon offer in exchange for information, and imagery or visuals that add more information about whatever is being offered on the page. Still not sure where to start? Use these great design examples for inspiration.

Determine which offers drive the most results.

Test multiple offers to see which get the most traction. Make sure you look beyond conversions to see which offers are producing the most opportunities. Some offers to test include: free trials, demo scheduling, free evaluations, consultation requests, proposal requests, and free assessments.

Test, test, test.

A/B test your landing pages to determine which variants are driving the most conversions, opportunities, customers, and ROI:

A panel showing an ad's live A/B testing

Always A/B test a single element at a time to isolate the effect of that element on performance. Also, test only two variants of the page at a time.

The most important elements you should run tests on are above the fold. These include:

  • Headline: Test different versions of your main selling point, benefit, or offer.
  • Call-to-Action (CTA): Try out different CTA copy, colors, sizes, and placements.
  • Hero Shot or Background: Test different images or videos for your hero shot or background.
  • Form: Test different lengths and placements for your lead generation form. You might display your form in the hero area, at the­­ bottom of your page, or as a popup.

8. Use your competitors for keyword inspiration.

If your competitors are getting precious real estate on search engine result pages, look into their strategy. Try using similar keywords and calls to action without blatantly copying them.

While knowing what your competitors are up to can be beneficial for your strategy, you should be sure to avoid using their branded keywords in your ads. This might make you look less credible, and Google may penalize you. Learn more about that here.

9. Make adjustments based on mobile performance.

If you implemented device tracking as described in tips one and two, you’ll be able to determine which devices (computer, tablet, or smartphone) are driving opportunities. If you find that mobile leads are not converting into opportunities, you can stop running your campaigns on mobile devices or reduce bids so that computers and tablets receive the bulk of your traffic.

10. Create an ad schedule.

Even if you are running your ads 24/7, you should set up an ad schedule for your campaigns. You can add days of the week or break your schedule down further by adding hourly segments for each day. Once you schedule your ads, you’ll be able to track performance for each day or hourly segment that you define:

ad_schedule

By combining opportunity data and your ad schedule, you can determine which days or hours produce the most opportunities. From there, you can adjust your bids for each segment or stop running your campaign for those segments.

You should typically look at this data over a longer period of time — at least one quarter. If you find that you’re not generating any opportunities on weeknights or weekends, you could stop running most of your campaigns during those times and move your budget over to regular business hours.

PPC campaigns are an effective way to attract B2B leads. However, many companies struggle at generating opportunities and driving a positive ROI from their campaigns. The 10 strategies above will help you create targeted campaigns optimized for high quality lead conversions. They might help to boost your bottom line.

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12 Gantt Chart Examples You’ll Want to Copy

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

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

What is a Gantt Chart?

Gantt charts provide a way to track and manage project timelines, progress, and deliverables. Vertical lines or bars are used to visualize each task, and each Gantt chart includes resources, milestones, tasks, and dependencies.

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

The main goal of a Gantt chart is to track the timeline and completion of a project. It’s especially helpful for project managers who need to keep team momentum going on campaigns with many moving parts, like product launches or marketing events.

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

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

Gantt Chart Examples

1. Gantt Chart in PowerPoint

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

powerpoint-gantt-chart-exampleImage source: Office Timeline

2. Gantt Chart in Excel

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

Image source: HubSpot

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

 

Image source: Smartsheet

3. Gantt Chart in Word

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

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

Image source: Template Lab

4. Gantt Chart in Google Sheets

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

google-sheet-gantt-chart-exampleImage source: Lifewire

5. Gantt Chart in Google Docs

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

google-doc-gantt-chart-exampleImage source: Smartsheet

6. Gantt Chart for Editorial Calendar

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

editorial-calendar-gantt-chart-exampleImage source: TeamGantt

7. Gantt Chart for Project Management

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

8. Gantt Chart for Marketing Campaign

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

9. Gantt Chart for Design Projects

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

Image source: SmartDraw

10. Gantt Chart for Product Launch

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

product-launch-gantt-chart-exampleImage source: GanttPro

11. Gantt Chart for Social Media Campaign

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

Image source: Fabrik

12. Gantt Chart for Event Marketing

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

Image source: Smartsheet

Are Gantt charts only the beginning for you? Check out our guide packed full of the best marketing tools for every business and budget — customized for this year.

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8 Social Media Tools You Need to Use in 2019

You already know how important social media is to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, and ultimately score more conversions. The world is on social media — 45 percent of it, at least — so if you want your product, service, and mission to reach the maximum amount of people, your business needs to be on social media, too.

Social media, however, can be extremely time-consuming. Additionally, it spans so many diverse tasks, ranging from number-based activities like tracking analytics, to creative jobs such as designing graphics.

It can be difficult to find the skills and manpower needed to execute a good social media strategy — which is why you need social media tools to help you out.

Here, we’ll cover the top eight social media tools you should be using in 2019 to help you save time, while getting more conversions than ever.

Download Now: Free Social Media Calendar

What Makes A Good Social Media Tool?

Although the term “social media tool” is very general and can apply to a wide range of services, there are a few key features each social media tool should have.

1. Saves You Time

The goal of a social media tool is to save you time while getting similar — or better — results than you could without it. Look for social media tools that automate a process, but make sure the process still happens correctly, since some shortcuts might be too fast and therefore won’t focus on quality.

2. Increases Brand Awareness

One of the biggest benefits of social media is its ability to increase your brand awareness, which is why each social media tool you select should perform its services with brand awareness in mind. Maybe your tool of choice is an editing platform such as Lightroom, which can help you create images to match the rest of your feed. Or, maybe it’s an Instagram scheduler so you can preview your profile before you post images. Whatever the case may be, social media tools should focus largely on brand awareness.

3. Easy to Use

Social media tools are only a time-saver if they’re easy and intuitive to learn how to use. Each tool you select should be super user-friendly so that your accounting team could edit photos if they needed too, and your creative, right-brained writers could still use the analytics function to track daily social metrics.

Many social media tools provide tutorials on their websites. Others, such as Kicksta, have top-notch customer service so you can get immediate expert advice if you need help getting off the ground.

4. Affordable

Social media tools should be affordable (and most of them are). Many high-quality social media tools are even free, such as the Unfold app, which is perfect for creating Instagram stories. With social media tools, there’s no need for you to go back and forth with the accounting department trying to get your budget approved. Most social media tools are already budget-friendly so all you need to do is sign up.

5. Focuses on Organization

One of the ways social media tools save you time is by keeping you organized, so make sure the social media tools you decide to use are efficient and tidy.

For example, HubSpot’s social inbox tool helps you prioritize your social media interactions, and graphic design website Canva saves your designs so you can go back and edit them later.

1. HubSpot’s Social Inbox Tool

Price: Starts at $800/month, included in the Marketing Hub Professional tier

HubSpot’s social inbox tool saves you valuable time while still optimizing your social efforts. Schedule your posts, integrate your social networks with your blog, and monitor messages and mentions so you can nurture new leads.

HubSpot also integrates all of your marketing with your CRM, so it’s easy to figure out how many leads and customers you’re receiving directly from social media. “HubSpot Marketing Hub… puts the potential of corporate marketing within everyone’s reach,” one customer says.

 

2. Kicksta

Price: Starts at $49/month for individual creatives

Kicksta is an Instagram growth service that helps you get more organic followers on your Instagram business account. Using your company account, the growth service “likes” around 30,000 photos a month on carefully-targeted accounts. Those users — real people, not spam bots or fake accounts — will begin to follow your account, increasing your brand awareness.

Kicksta is a good fit for any industry and provides a friendly, responsive, and helpful customer success team. “Kicksta helps introduce new audiences to our brand while providing consistent organic Instagram growth,” says Ryan Beltran, CEO of watch company Original Grain. “It’s great for social proof too!”

Image courtesy of kicksta.co

3. Later

Price: Starts at $9/month for solopreneurs

Social media marketing platform Later lets you plan and schedule your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest posts. The drag-and-drop calendar makes it easy for you to map out your upcoming posts and see at a glance how your feed will look.

You can also track your analytics, which will help you figure out the best time of day to post, and the best hashtags to use. Additionally, the Linkin.Bio feature for Instagram helps your posts become instantly shoppable.

“I love that you can either use it via the website or app on-the-go,” one user remarks. “It is one of those apps that I could not live without … Later is [a] super easy tool to set up.”

Image courtesy of later.com

4. Lightroom

Price: Starts at $9.99/month

Adobe’s Lightroom product is a tool that lets you organize and edit photos. Since social media is all about visuals, it’s critical your business’s social media accounts showcase vibrant, on-brand photos.

Sliders, filters, and many other features make Lightroom a user-friendly tool to create beautiful photos even if you don’t have much editing experience. Lightroom is available for both mobile and desktop, and best of all, changes made on one device immediately apply to all devices.

Image courtesy of adobe.com

5. Canva

Price: Free or $12.95 per team member per month

Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design website where you can create custom, on-brand graphics for your company’s social media accounts. The website has dozens of templates — everything from Facebook banners to Instagram stories to Twitter posts — so if starting from scratch to create social graphics seems intimidating, use a template instead.

One user said, “Canva has been a lifesaver to me and my business. No more hours sitting in front of the computer coming up with graphics for social media post[s] or Pinterest post[s].”

Image courtesy of canva.com

6. Unfold

Price: Free

Described as “a toolkit for storytellers”, Unfold is an iOS and Android app that helps you create beautiful templates for Instagram stories. Bringing your creative visions to life is the driving idea behind Unfold. It’s an ideal app for lifestyle brands who want to create stylish collages to keep their social media accounts on-brand and receive the maximum amount of engagement from followers.

Image courtesy of Apple iTunes.

7. HypeAuditor

Price: Starts at $30/credit (one credit equals one Instagram report for one year)

You’ll never earn money from fake followers — they just make your engagement look bad (think millions of followers, but only a few hundred likes per photo) and ruin your reputation. That’s why HypeAuditor weeds out fake followers on your Instagram account to help you determine your organic reach.

Additionally, HypeAuditor analyzes your audience to figure out where they live, their age and gender, and which of your followers are ghosts.

Image courtesy of hypeauditor.com

8. Retouchup

Price: Starts at $0.25 per image

The website Retouchup provides an easy way to edit photos for social media, from basic color correction to more advanced Photoshop-like features such as adding or removing people from a photo. With Retouchup, you don’t do the work yourself — instead, just submit a photo and the website’s experts will edit the photo for you within 24 hours.

“You’re making me look like an awesome photographer!” one user gushed. Retouchup can save you time during the editing stage, and make your images appear higher-quality and more compelling.

Image courtesy of retouchup.com

There are numerous choices out there for high-quality social media tools. Ultimately, it’s your job to decide which tool is the best fit for your needs, your budget, and your marketing goals.

Need a painless way to track your social interactions? Try HubSpot’s social inbox tool today.

social media content calendar

The Ecommerce Marketer’s Guide to PPC Advertising

If you’re a PPC veteran, it’s tempting to devote all your time to the bigger picture and finding creative new ways to drive cheap, conversion-friendly clicks.

This is especially true for ecommerce businesses, which are playing in an incredibly complex and competitive space, particularly when using PPC.

Even small businesses are getting on the pay-per-click bandwagon. According to a 2018 study, 45% of businesses under 50 employees invest in PPC. That number jumps to 74% when it comes to small businesses with 50 employees or more.

Because of the complexity and constant competition, it’s quite common to overlook some of your low-hanging fruit.

Why is PPC so important to ecommerce businesses?

Unsurprisingly, online product searches — especially on Google — are booming. More and more ecommerce businesses are taking notice and buying into PPC. In Q4 of 2018, spend on Google Shopping ads rose by 43%.

Although Amazon is still the first stop for many customers’ product searches, Google isn’t far behind. According to Wordstream, the average customer buys a product within 20 days of searching it on Google and with 26 days of searching it on Amazon. They also report that 35% of users purchase a product within 5 days of the Google search.

Below is a list of five tips that ecommerce marketers can use to gain an edge on competition without overspending.

Ecommerce PPC

1. Balance out broad and ultra-specific keywords.

Imagine you sell tires and rims for a living. You just opened a location on the same street as a number of different auto dealerships. (I know, you’re an ecommerce marketer, but stay with me here).

You see customers walking in every day that are still in research mode and have no idea what brand they want or which size tire they even need.

You find that many of those walking into your store tend to talk with your employees for advice and end up leaving with you in mind, but clearly look elsewhere for better prices now that they’re more informed.

Now let’s say you came across a number of customers who knew exactly which tires they needed down to the specific model number.

These customers who are much further down the sales cycle are much more likely to purchase from you if they walk in your store first.

There is a very similar scenario being played out in the ecommerce space for those bidding on competitive terms. In this industry, for example, those might be, “cheap tires” or “tire deals online.”

Users may click on 4 to 5 different ads, use your site to do some research, and then purchase from whoever has the lowest price.

While you may never escape the vicious cycle of paying for expensive clicks on the more general and competitive keywords, you can begin to balance it out by targeting the specific end of the spectrum. To do this, you might try keywords like model numbers, part names, or UPC codes.

You’ll rarely see the same volume of users typing in queries with this level of granularity. But there are plenty of potential customers out there who know exactly what they want and just need to figure out the easiest way to get it.

Not only are the clicks significantly cheaper due to the low competition on model number keywords, but the conversion rates are much higher. This will help bring your overall CPA down.

Additionally, when someone clicks on your model number ad, you can send them directly to a product page which gives them everything they were looking for in one place.

2. Identify and expand on long-tail keywords.

There might also be customers who know a lot about what they’re looking for, but aren’t quite typing in a UPC code just yet. They likely be typing in long-tail keywords like, “red capri pants in petite,” or “Red Sox bleacher seats.”

In the Google Ads interface, take a peek in your Search Query Report. (If you’re having trouble finding it, look within a campaign under “Keyword Details.”) This report will show the exact searched keywords and phrases that triggered your ads.

Sort by the keywords that have resulted in conversions and try to identify long-tail keywords which may contain a few specific product details.

For example, imagine you’re bidding on the term “new rims” but learn that someone purchased a product on your site after searching the brand, size, and color of rims they wanted. Here, you could add that long-tail keyword to the appropriate ad group and bid on it aggressively since you know it converts well.

Think of your broad keywords as casting a wide net. They will catch a great deal of fish. But, in order to find gems, you’ll need to analyze data to see which keywords actually converted, and identify long-tail keywords that you’re missing.

3. Bid on keywords similar to your competitors’.

Now that you’ve covered those users searching for specific products, why leave out those searching to buy specifically from your competition? Plenty of searches come from those who’ve heard about a specific brand to buy from — but they’re not convinced yet. These searchers might be open to other options with better offers.

In the physical shopping world, someone might walk into a competitor’s store next door to yours if they have signs boasting better prices and bigger selections. This is why it can be helpful to create campaigns targeted to competitor keywords with simple ads making customers aware that you’re also an alternative, affordable option.

4. Don’t use a competitor’s branded keywords.

While targeted a competitor’s ad keywords, you should avoid targeting branded keywords. A few things might happen if you do this:

  • You’ll be paying for less qualified traffic.
  • When your competitor notices, they may drive up your costs dramatically by bidding just a little bit more themselves (because they have a higher quality score).
  • Your competitors could complain to Google and you’ll get a slap on the wrist (or worse).
  • You’ll look like a poor sport, or even a bit of a jerk.

None of those are too appealing. Instead of directly targeting branded keywords, take cues from your competitors’ PPC ads to help inform your own strategy.

For example, if a competitor is bidding on keywords that are important for your business, you might consider getting a paid presence for those terms, too.

Or, on the flip side, a couple competitors are winning organically for keywords that are important to you, but it’s going to take you months to edge them out. In the interim, using PPC to win some traffic for those terms is a great stopgap.

5. Include transparent pricing in your ads.

With the limited amount of characters we can use in text ads and the rising cost per click, it’s become increasingly important to qualify your traffic before your ad is actually clicked on.

Even when you target certain keywords, there’s only so much you can infer from a person who types in general terms. You can’t ask them how serious of a buyer they are, whether they’re still in research mode, or what their level of intent is.

However, you can screen out less qualified people by simply putting pricing information in your ads. If you let someone who is only willing to spend $40 on a product know beforehand that all your products are $75 and above, chances are they won’t click on your ad.

This saves your ad spend for those qualified leads who saw your prices, know what to expect, might not be scared away by price, and are much more likely to convert into a sale.

When it comes to optimizing PPC, this advice is just the tip of the iceberg. If you need further help planning out your next campaign, use this guided template to drill even further down on keywords, landing pages, and AdGroups.

free Google AdWords template

Bing PPC Ads: How They Work (and Compare to Google Ads)

If Googling has ever let you down, you may have come across another search engine called Bing. This search engine is powered by Microsoft and strives to outdo Google at every turn. Bing wants to revolutionize digital search and rival the industry’s long-standing powerhouse.

It’s an ambitious goal, but one place where Bing differentiates itself is through its Pay Per Click ads or PPC. According to our guide. Pay Per Click ads are, “a form of search engine marketing (SEM) where the advertiser pays for clicks on an ad.” The advertiser has to pay the publisher whenever a visitor interacts with the ad. In exchange, the ad is added to the search engine’s database, which displays the ad whenever the content matches a visitor’s searched keyword.

While Google Ads offers a popular PPC feature, Bing’s has unique advantages that distinguish itself from the search engine giant. And, if you’re the owner of a small- to medium-sized business, you may be more interested in Bing’s PPC benefits than Google’s.

In this post, let’s break down how Bing PPC ads work, as well as how they compare to Google Ads.

Free Guide, Template & Planner: How to Use Google Ads for Business

Bing PPC

Bing PPC ads operate on Microsoft’s three popular search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. When you use Bing campaigns, your content is shared across all of these platforms at once. With over five billion monthly searches being made on the Microsoft network, this makes Bing PPC a notable marketing tool for paid ad campaigns.

In terms of functionality, Bing PPC ads work similarly to Google ads. You bid on keywords based on their traffic volume, then your ad is displayed when that keyword is searched, and finally, you pay Bing whenever a visitor clicks on your ad. Like Google, your ad’s copy can have up to 80 characters and Bing even has support tools that can help your team build a cost-effective keyword list, so you never waste money on ads that aren’t being displayed.

With Bing, you can also set up targeting filters that determine where and when an ad will be published. For example, if you want your ad to only appear on mobile devices, you can select the mobile traffic option. Or, if you want the ad to appear solely on Yahoo, you could filter it from Bing and AOL. This gives your team more flexibility and optimizes the effectiveness of your PPC campaign.

Bing PPC ads present a timely opportunity for marketing teams. It’s less competitive than Google AdWords, and its users shop online 36% more than any other search engine. While Google AdWords is still a very powerful tool, there are some advantages of Bing that makes it attractive for small- to medium-sized businesses. So, now that we’re familiar with how Bing PPC ads work, let’s discuss some of the key differences between Bing PPC and Google AdWords.

Bing PPC vs. Google Ads

Key Product Features

While both Bing PPC and Google AdWords allow you to filter your ad’s targeting, Bing’s software has a unique innovation that sets it apart from Google. With Bing, you can set age filters for your search ads, so only visitors of a certain age group will see them. Or, you can set up a location filter so visitors in a certain part of the world see your content. This way, you’ll ensure qualified leads are being exposed to your marketing campaigns.

Another key feature that Bing has an advantage in is its social extensions. Social extensions are a line of copy on your ad that tells the visitor how many social media followers your business has. On Bing, this feature shows your social following for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Google AdWords, however, can only show you the number of Google+ followers.

Platform Reach

According to Microsoft, Bing represents more than 34% of the world’s desktop search engine marketplace. That means about one in every three people will use Bing over another search engine. And, more importantly, Bing’s PPC ads can reach 60 million users that Google AdWords cannot.

In terms of the largest audience, Google is the outright favorite. But, that doesn’t mean Bing isn’t worth your investment. Bing has over 137 million users who search roughly six billion times each month. These people tend to be older than Google’s users, and have an income of more than $100K. So, even though Google has a larger audience, Bing works with users who have substantial buying power.

Visitor Engagement

When tested by Blue Corona, Bing PPC experienced a 34% higher click-through rate than Google ads. Additionally, new research found that financial and shopping services have experienced the most success with Bing PPC. This is mostly attributed to MSN’s and Yahoo’s popular financial reporting, which yields more keywords related to online shopping and business reports.

Bing users tend to be more engaged with sites after ad clicks as well. In one industry, Bing ads had a 56% higher conversion rate than Google AdWords. That’s because Bing users typically have more interest in e-commerce and are willing to spend money online.

Ad Display and Positioning

Since there are fewer users on Bing, its ads tend to display higher on search results than Google AdWords. In fact, Bing ads appear 35% higher in search results than Google ads. Bing copies Google’s keyword auction technique, which favors its users because they don’t have to outbid Google’s massive user base. With Bing’s less-competitive market, you won’t have to bid as much on keywords to maintain your spot on the search results page.

Cost Per Click

With fewer competitors bidding on keywords, you can expect to spend less on your Bing ads. In fact, one business spent 35% less on Bing ads than it did on Google AdWords.

In terms of cost-per-click (CPC), ReportGarden found that the average CPC for Bing was $7.99 whereas Google’s was $20.08. Since there’s less overall traffic occurring on Bing, CPC is typically less expensive. This presents an opportunity to obtain a strong ROI if you can capitalize on the right keyword at the right time.

Business Value

If you’re choosing between Google AdWords and Bing PPC, both tools can be valuable assets to your marketing team. With Google, you have access to a massive audience with users from many demographics, and you can trust that your content will be displayed on the world’s preferred search engine. However, this space is highly competitive, and you’ll need to monitor your campaign diligently if you want to see a positive return on your investment. Your marketing team will need plenty of means and experience to make Google AdWords a reliable source of lead generation.

Bing PPC presents a lower-risk option for paid ad campaigns. You still have access to a large audience, but keyword bidding isn’t as competitive as Google. The tradeoff here is that Bing traffic is significantly lower than Google’s. So, while your ads may be positioned higher and cost less, they may not be seen by as many people. That limitation may be discouraging to larger companies that have bigger marketing budgets.

For more information about PPC ads, read these PPC campaign tips.

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How to Improve Your Writing Skills and Escape Content Mediocrity (Infographic)

Delivering high-quality content is an undeniably critical component of any successful marketing strategy. Content creation can help your business rank highly in search engines for keywords related to your core products or services, increase your brand awareness, and allow you to engage more genuinely with an audience.

In fact, marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.

But ‘delivering high-quality content’ is much easier said than done, particularly when you’re on a tight deadline to turnaround blog posts or other written content for your business. And when you’re stressed, you might notice the quality of your writing starts to diminish.

You’ll never see the kinds of results you want to see — like an increase in brand awareness or a page one slot on Google — if your writing isn’t top-notch.

But how can you become a better writer — and, better yet, how can you become one quickly?

Fortunately, Henneke Duistermaat, founder of Enchanting Marketing, created this hand-drawn infographic to display 29 tips she believes will help you cultivate more deliberate, powerful content — and, best of all, avoid mediocrity. Take a look to learn how you can improve your writing skills today.

Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

29 ways to improve your writing skills infographic

 

29 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills and Escape Content Mediocrity, courtesy of Henneke at Enchanting Marketing.
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How to Get Started With Facebook Business Manager

Do you have more than one person handling your Facebook marketing? Wondering how to share access securely to your Facebook pages and ad accounts? In this article, you’ll discover how to give people access to your Facebook business assets in Facebook Business Manager. Create a Facebook Business Manager Facebook Business Manager is a powerful tool […]

The post How to Get Started With Facebook Business Manager appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

from Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner http://bit.ly/2QM56A0
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The Secret History of the Google Logo

Roughly 3.5 million Google searches happen each day. With stats like this, it’s not unlikely that the average person might see the Google logo anywhere from one to 30 times per day.

Throughout the past two decades, the Google logo has been iconic and easy to recognize. And across all of its evolutions, it has stayed misleadingly simple. 

Learn how to run effective marketing campaigns using Google.

What many don’t know is that there’s a fascinating backstory to the most well-known design on the internet. It all started in 1996.

Below is a full timeline of Google logos over the years.

Google Logo History

1996: The First Google Logo

The search engine’s very first logo actually predates the name “Google.” Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally called their web crawler “BackRub.” Brin and Page chose this name because the engine’s main function was to search through the internet’s back links.

Google's first logo with its old name, BackRub, and a hand in the background

Luckily, by 1997 they’d changed the company’s name to the much less creepy “Google” — a misspelling of “googol” — a Latin term that literally means 10 to the 100th power (written out, that’s one followed by 100 zeros). The idea behind the name was that Google’s search engine could quickly provide users with large quantities, or googols, of results.

1998: First (real) Google logo

Some sources credit Page with the creation of the first Google logo, while others say Brin designed it with a free image editor called GIMP. Whomever it was, their design wasn’t exactly the most polished. 

Earliest Google Logo from 1998 with colored letters and exclamation point
Want another little fun fact? An exclamation point was supposedly included in Google’s rebranded design because Yahoo!’s logo also had this punctuation. All tech companies followed each other’s leads back then, it would seem.
 

1999-2010: Ruth Kedar’s logo designs

A mutual friend introduced Brin and Page to Stanford assistant professor Ruth Kedar. Because they weren’t in love with their logo, they asked Kedar if she’d design a few prototypes.

She started with a mostly black logo using the Adobe Garamond typeface. She also removed the exclamation point that was in the original logo.

Page and Brin like this logo because the mark in the middle looked like a Chinese finger trap, Kedar says.

Early black serif font Google logo prototype where Os are connected by a colored square pattern

The graphic designer’s next attempt used the Catull typeface (which should look familiar). The logo was meant to evoke accuracy, like a target.

Black font Google logo where O is a compass and bullseye

Then Kedar got a bit more playful, experimenting with color and interlocking Os. Those Os ended up becoming the basis for the Os at the bottom of every search engine results page.

Early Google logo where letters are black except for Os which are designed to look like a compass

Between the crosshairs and the magnifying glass, Brin and Page thought this design was a little visually overwhelming.

Early capitalized Google logo iteration with solid colors where the first O is a compass and the second O is a magnifying glass.

The next few iterations appear more like the Google logo we know and love today. These designs feel younger and less serious than their precedents.

Early iteration of Google logo where the O is a magnifying glass with a smiley face

Kedar makes the letters pop off the page with shadowing and thicker lines.

Google logo iteration from Ruth Kedar using more intense coloring and thicker lines

The eighth design was the simplest yet. Ultimately, Kedar wanted to show Google’s potential to become more than just a search engine (hence the removal of the magnifying glass). She also changed the traditional order of the primary colors to reemphasize how untraditional Google was.

Early iteration of Google logo by Ruth Kedar which includes a risen O

This version’s colors and the slanted angling make it feel youthful and energetic.

2010 Google logo iteration by Ruth Kedar

The final design is one of the most minimal. It was Google’s official logo from 1999 to 2010.

On May 6, 2010, Google updated its logo, changing the “o” from yellow to orange and removing the drop shadowing.

Original 1998 Google logo compared to iterations from Ruth Kedar launched in 1999 through 2010

2015: A new logo for Google

In 2015, designers from across Google met in New York City for a week-long design sprint aimed at producing a new logo and branding.

Following the sprint, Google’s logo changed dramatically. The company preserved its distinctive blue-red-orange-blue-green-red pattern, but changed the typeface from Catull to the custom schoolbook-inspired Product Sans.

At the same time, Google also rolled out several variations on its logo, including the rainbow “G” that represents the smartphone app and the favicon for Google websites, and a microphone for voice search.

Google mobile app logo launched in 2015

The new logo might look simple, but the transformation was significant. Catull — the former typeface — has serifs, the small lines that embellish the main vertical and horizontal strokes of some letters. Serif typefaces are less versatile than their sans-serif typefaces, since letters vary in weight.

Google's full name desktop version of logo Product Sans is a sans-serif typeface. That means it’s easy for Google’s designers to manipulate and adapt the logo for different sizes — say, the face of an Android watch or the screen of your desktop computer. As Google’s product line becomes more and more diverse, an adaptable design becomes essential.

The logo is also meant to look young, fun, and unthreatening (read: “I’m not like other massive tech corporations, I’m a cool massive tech corporation.”) This was a prescient move — since Google unveiled this design in 2015, concerns about data privacy have reached a fever pitch.

A Dynamic Logo

Google’s logo is also now dynamic. When you begin a voice search on your phone or tablet, you’ll see the Google dots bouncing in anticipation of your query.

As you speak, those dots transform into an equalizer that responds to your voice. And once you’ve finished talking, the equalizer morphs back into dots that ripple as Google finds your results.

“A full range of expressions were developed including listening, thinking, replying, incomprehension, and confirmation,” explained a Google design team blog post. While their movements might seem spontaneous, their motion is rooted in consistent paths and timing, with the dots moving along geometric arcs and following a standard set of snappy easing curves.

Implementation and Growth of the Google Doodle

In 1998, Google started playing with the Google Doodle — a temporary modification of the traditional Google logo.

The first Google Doodle originated in 1998 — before the company was technically even a company. Page and Sergey were attending the Burning Man festival. As a kind of “out of office” message, they put a stick figure drawing behind the logo’s second O.

Image result for google doodles burning man

As the years progressed, so did the detail of the featured doodles.

In 2000, Brin and Sergey asked then-intern Dennis Hwang to come up with a doodle for Bastille Day. Users loved it so much that they appointed Dennis “chief doodler.”

Today, doodles are often used to commemorate holidays, special occasions, and birthdays of scientists, thinkers, artists, and other important people.

The first Doodles tended to mark well-known holidays, like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Indian Holi (in India). But as time has gone on, they’ve become more and more global and creative. For example, on September 1, 2017, this Doodle celebrated the first day of school (or mourned it, depending on who you ask.)

To decide which events, figures, or topics get doodles, a team gets together periodically to brainstorm. Doodle ideas can also come from Google users. After an idea or doodle pitch gets the green light, the actual doodles are designed by illustrators and engineers.

Google reported in 2015 that they’d launched more than 2,000 doodles for various homepages around the world. While Google hasn’t shared more recent stats on its doodles, PRI noted that they’d climbed over 4,000 by 2016.

Google has continued to embrace doodles with a verified Twitter account devoted to updating its audience about newly-published doodles. The account has over 127,000 followers.

Google also invites people to submit ideas for doodles at proposals@google.com.

There’s more than meets the eye to Google’s logo. As people and technology evolve, the design has too. At the rate things are changing, we’ll probably see a new version in a few years.

How to Run a Marketing Campaign with GSuite

The 13 Types of Landing Pages & How to Pick One for a Campaign

You know them, you love them, you lay awake late at night thinking of them. Yes, marketers, we’re talking about landing pages. Those lovable lead drivers we optimize, tweak, update, and test.

Whether you’re a blogger, social media marketer, or paid marketer — you have a healthy relationship with the landing page. Sometimes, you might go through rough patches where you wonder why landing pages exist. But they’re always there for you, increasing conversions, netting new leads, and driving traffic to the offers you’ve worked so hard to create.

Build landing pages that convert visitors for free.

But, to be honest, there are a lot of different types of landing pages. It’s a little hard to keep track of them all. So, let’s round up the top types of landing pages and discuss how to pick the one that will make your next campaign successful.

1. Squeeze Page

79% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel for demand generation, so it’s not surprising that squeeze pages are one of the most important and effective landing pages out there.

A squeeze page is one in which the goal is to capture the user’s email address. Once you have the address, you can begin to nurture that lead with relevant content and other offers.

The most common type of squeeze page is gated content or a prompt to enter your email address to receive a newsletter, ebook, whitepaper, or other content offer.

Make sure your squeeze page is simple, your CTA is tempting enough to get your user to give up their email address, and you make it easy for users to click out of the page and onto the content that brought them to your site.

squeeze-page-landing-page-exampe

Image source: Neil Patel

2. Splash Page

A splash landing page doesn’t always have lead capture as the main goal. These pages are often used when someone clicks a social media or content link. Instead of being sent directly to the article or social media destination, the user is sent to an intermediary page: the splash page.

This page might share an announcement with the user, such as “We’ve just unveiled new dates for our 2019 marketing conference!” It might also ask your user for a language preference or to enter their age. The splash page might also present an ad, which the publisher benefits from, if the user clicks on the ad.
splash-page-landing-page-example

Image source: Variety

The splash page above does two things really well: First, it offers a countdown to the end of the ad and the ability to easily click to the article once the ad is done. Second, it serves a clear purpose — to show the user an ad.

3. Lead Capture Page

A lead capture page is similar to a squeeze page, but generally sources more information. Name, business name, email address, job title, and industry are just a few things these landing pages seek to earn.

The information you request depends on the goals for the page and those of your sales and marketing teams, as well as where the customer is in the funnel. If your lead capture page is top of the funnel, step away from the eight-lined form, please.

If, however, your customer is landing on your lead capture page after demonstrating real interest in your product/service (i.e., they downloaded two case studies) you should be able to ask for more information to help qualify and direct them. lead-capture-page-landing-page-example

Image source: HubSpot

4. Click-Through Landing Page

Every marketer knows you must provide value to your customer before asking them for money. A click-through landing page provides that value without pummeling your customer with a “Buy Now” button before they’re ready.

Often, this looks like a landing page that shares the benefits and features of your product/service with a CTA button encouraging your customer to try a free trial. Once they click on that button, they’re taken to another landing page which provides pricing details and requires payment information to begin the trial.

By the time your customer lands on this page, however, they’re primed and educated on why they should move forward with the trial. In the examples below, you see the click-through landing page, and then the payment landing page customers are sent to when they decide to embark on a free trial.click-through-landing-page-example

click-through-page-example-2Image source: Dropbox Business

5. “Get Started” Landing Page

A “Get Started” landing page should lead with your offer above the fold. Take this page, from Mailchimp, which explains their overarching benefits: tools that turn audience data into insights that will guide campaigns.

Hooked already? Great, because a “Get Started” button awaits. Need more convincing? Well, the details follow as you scroll a feature- and benefit-laden landing page. get-started-landing-page-example

Image source: Mailchimp

6. “Unsubscribe” Landing Page

Obviously, you’re not going to build a campaign around your unsubscribe page, but it’s important not to neglect it. Make sure it successfully unsubscribes your users, offers them a chance to manage their preferences or adjust the cadence, and consider including links to other areas of your website, like this example from Whole Foods.

unsubscribe-landing-page-exampleImage source: Whole Foods

After all, just because they don’t want to receive your emails, doesn’t mean they might not want to browse your site. Consider adding a “second chance” button that prompts users to resubscribe, just in case they get cold feet.

7. Long-form Sales Landing Page

On a long-form sales landing page, brevity is not your friend. You want to think of every question your customer might have for you, every barrier to purchase they might face, and every benefit they’ll enjoy by making a purchase when they scroll to the bottom of the page.

Take this example, from Seth Godin’s altMBA. long-form-sales-landing-page-example

Image source: altMBA

It starts with an informative video that tells you why now is the right time to apply. Then you see the names of companies and pictures of students who have benefited from the course.

Quotes follow, along with links to join mailing lists, learn more about the program, and read testimonials. Finally, at the bottom of the page is a CTA button for the application, and program dates that add a sense of urgency.

A sales landing page should be detailed and lack the minimalism of, say, a squeeze page, simply because your goal for the page is to close business.

8. Paid Advertising Landing Page

If you’re not sending customers who click on your paid ads to the right landing page, you’re throwing money away. Generally, you want to generate leads from these ads — not necessarily sales.

For example, while scrolling through Facebook, I clicked on this ad from Airtable.
airtable-paid-ad

Image source: Airtable

When I clicked on the ad, I was taken to this squeeze page: paid-advertising-landing-page

Image source: Airtable

The ad didn’t take me to a pricing or plan page, and it didn’t take me to a page packed with features and benefits. It landed me strategically on a page that asked for one thing: my email address.

It also featured a live demo of the project management tool that instantly grabs my attention and shows rather than tells me why Airtable is different and valuable.

9. 404 Landing Page

404s are never a good look, but it’s important you make them look as good as possible — and work for you a little as well. Get creative with 404s, using humor to offset the error, and always direct your audience back to your homepage or other neutral landing page.

Then, put your 404 landing page to work as a lead generation tool. Take our own 404 page, here at HubSpot. We offer the user three options: visit our blog, learn more about our software, or sign up for a free demo.

404-example-landing-pageImage source: HubSpot

10. “About Us” Landing Page

Your “About Us” page doesn’t have to be a dead end. Make this landing page a lead generation page as well. Take this example from makeup company, Glossier.

They pack their “About Us” page with plenty of history, vision, and mission, but they also let the reader know how to move forward. The bottom of the page offers a reminder (and links) to shop, follow, email, and join the company, and an email subscription offer captures emails.
about-us-landing-page-example

about-us-landing-page-glossierImage source: Glossier

11. “Coming Soon” Page

Launching an exciting new product soon but aren’t quite ready to reveal the full offer — or the incomplete landing page? Set up a simple “Coming Soon” landing page instead.

Tease your offer, provide a launch date if you have one, and add a CTA that asks them for their email address in exchange for an email notification when your product or service is live.

comming-soon-landing-page-exampleImage source: MiEvent

12. Pricing Page

If you’re unveiling new pricing or product tiers, you might consider pushing customers to your pricing landing page. Regardless, your pricing page should be one of the most heavily optimized pages on your site. Take this one, from Wistia, which clearly outlines their three tiered packages, with links to more information or to get started.

What I really love about their pricing page, however, are the two boxes right after a list of features and before a carousel of testimonials. They offer special callouts for interested parties who might not fall within the needs of one of the three boilerplate pricing templates.

And if even those additional CTAs don’t speak to your needs, scroll down to the bottom and find a CTA that offers customers the ability to “Choose your own adventure.”

pricing-landing-page-example pricing-page-example-2

pricing-lp-example-3Image source: Wistia

13. “Thank You” Landing Page

Too often, a “Thank You” page serves no real purpose. It tells you what you already know, “You’ve downloaded the greatest whitepaper in the world! Access it here.” Put your “Thank You” page to work by including additional offers or gifts.

You’ve been given an incredible opportunity to provide more value to a highly motivated, already-interested customer. Don’t waste it.

Take this example — another one from HubSpot. I downloaded a guide on user-generated content, and the “Thank You” page provided me an additional offer to receive free advice on leveraging user-generated content.

The form I fill out to receive this advice asks for different, more detailed, information about my business needs, allowing HubSpot to better craft the next offer they send my way.

thank-you-landing-page-exampleImage source: HubSpot

How to Choose the Right Landing Page for Your Campaign

Now that you understand the most common types of landing pages, the question remains: How do you pick the right one for your next campaign?

Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What are the business goals I’m trying to achieve with this landing page?
  2. How are my competitors achieving these goals?
  3. What are my audience’s goals when they land on this page?”
  4. How did my audience get to this page (i.e., what action or motivation brought them here)?
  5. What do I want my audience to do when they leave this page?

Once you understand the page’s goals, consider whether it should be a short- or long-form landing page.

Short-form landing pages lend themselves well to squeeze landing pages, “Thank You” landing pages, and “Unsubscribe” landing pages. These pages require a small ask or provide a small service to the customer.

Long-form landing pages are best reserved for sales landing pages, click-through landing pages, and pricing pages. If you have a big ask of your customer, you should probably design a long-form landing page.

So, what does this look like in practice? Let’s say I’m creating a brand-awareness campaign for my new startup that facilitates puppy snuggles for tired office workers (a girl can dream, right?). The business goals I have for this campaign are to capture new leads (email addresses) and drive impressions.

My competitors are running social media campaigns driving customers back to a sales landing page. But since impressions and leads are my goal (not purchases), I might choose to run social media ads featuring big images of snuggling puppies.

When customers click my ads, they’re wondering what these cute puppies are about, so I’ll take them to my “About Us” page to tell them more about SnugglePups Inc.. Because I’m also hoping to drive email signups, I’ll include a link to our weekly newsletter, which promises a roundup of the best puppy pics available.

Ready to put all of this knowledge to use? Check out this list of best landing page builders. And if it’s inspiration you’re looking for, look no further than this roundup of landing page examples you need to see. New Call-to-action

The Best Forum Software for Creating an Online Community in 2019

In the Internet’s 40-year history, forums haven’t lost their importance. Today, forums are still significant opportunities to build an online community, and allows your audience to connect in a place where they know their interests are shared.

The importance of creating and growing an online community is becoming more and more apparent for businesses — in fact, increasing engagement through communities can result in up to a 25% increase in revenue.

This is where forum software comes into play. Forum software can be particularly useful because it allows your customers to interact with each other in a smaller circle than they could via social media.

For instance, let’s say one of your customers has a very unique problem with your product or service, and posts about it on your forum. That post is much easier to find on your business’ forum than in the Twittersphere, where millions of users are talking about a million different things.

Even better, maybe another forum user has faced that same problem and can answer their question before your service reps even see it.

There is an incredible amount of value in reaching and building your community using a forum. Here, we’re going to explore the best forum software to get you started.

1. HubSpot

Price: Free to start

HubSpot is a CRM platform that offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer service to help you grow your business. Along with hosting your website on HubSpot’s platform, you can also install forums to cultivate a stronger online community.

You can easily install a forum on your HubSpot-hosted website or blog. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply one of the third-party forum applications, Tal.ki.

Additionally, to see the power behind forums, take a look at HubSpot’s Marketing Hub forum, which displays topic boards full of useful tips and tricks from some of HubSpot’s 60,000+ customers.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.15.07 PM

2. WordPress

Price: Free to start, or $25/month for businesses

Using a multi-purpose platform like a CMS to power your online community allows you access to many different software options in the form of plugins and applications. For instance, you might use the bbPress plugin to create multisite forums, and maintain them from one dashboard within your WordPress site. This is a great option if you want to set up a regular website and forum together.

There are many options to choose from using WordPress, all of which will provide you with the basic forum features you need, plus plenty of useful extras.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.47.09 PMImage courtesy of WordPress.org

3. phpBB

Price: Free

PhpBB is a forum platform that has a typical and intuitive board set-up where users can post public or private messages. With phpBB, you can create as many internal messaging boards as you want without any additional costs.

Additionally, you can use extensions to add new options to your forum community. This makes the software very customizable, and allows you to adapt the software to the growing needs of your audience.

Among other things, phpBB lets you create password-protected forums for added security, sub-forums, the option to display active topics at the top of your forum, and the ability to add forum rules at the top of a forum to ensure your community abides by set guidelines.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.48.56 PMImage courtesy of phpBB

4. Joomla!

Price: Ranges from $700-$6,500

Joomla! Is a CMS software like WordPress, but requires more attention to detail and management. This is a robust CMS that will power your forum plugins like Kunena or EasyDiscuss, which are specifically created for Joomla!’s system. The price point comes from the open-source content management system, which will allow you to build powerful online applications alongside your forum software.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.51.47 PMImage courtesy of Joomla!

5. Vanilla Forums

Price: $689 – $10,000+/month for enterprise

Vanilla has an abundance of features — one of the most notable being the intuitive dashboard that lets you manage every aspect of your community forum. You can view stats, manage users, and use an advanced editor that recognizes HTML, BBCode, and Markdown using this software.

Additionally, Vanilla gives you the ability to adjust permissions of forums or members if you’re looking to control access. The software enables customers to submit, view and vote on ideas to drive innovation for your business, or use the Q&A option to connect with and help each other get more out of your products or services. Best of all, Vanilla offers an on-boarding process with useful checklists, training materials, and help from one of their support reps.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.52.39 PMImage courtesy of Vanilla Forums

6. Codoforum

Price: Free

Codoforum is new software that has a fresh UI with modern design. It’s simple, clean, and easy to use. Codoforum is built with PHP using the latest coding patterns and is fully compliant with new PSR standards. This software provides a responsive layout structure for mobile and desktop, SSO and integration, as well as mention notifications for users.

Since it’s free to use, Codoforum is a good option if you’re still testing out forums or aren’t sure whether they’ll be useful for your own website and community.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.54.10 PMImage courtesy of Codoforum

7. VBulletin

Price: vBulletin 5 Connect $249, $15/month

Over 100,000 websites are built on vBulletin — including NASA, EA, and Sony Pictures — so it’s a popular option for hosting your forum. The software includes tons of great features, including built-in SEO, security, and responsive web design. With VBulletin you can have an unlimited hierarchy of forums as well as private forums.

Best of all, VBulletin provides fun and unique features for your community members, including private messaging, a friends list, members birthdays (shown on the Forum homepage), and the ability to see who’s online.

VBulletin is not known for being the fastest forum, but its design is clean and it offers quality support for its users.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.57.35 PM

Image courtesy of VBulletin

8. Invision Community

Price: Varies for forum size/data needs, but starts at $45/month for 65 online visitors

IP Board was a very popular forum software that has since expanded to Invision Community, which includes a forum application in addition to its other offerings. According to the Invision Community website, the forums module powers hundreds of millions of discussions around the web, and Invision Community has many other community management apps to help you interact with your audience.

Best of all, the software allows your users to take control over their own online communities, which you can monitor at your discretion. For instance, Invision Community lets users create and manage their own communities, called “Clubs”, which are fully integrated with your website — these clubs get designated Club Leaders, who can add new forums, calendars, or galleries to the community.

It’s important to note, Invision Community is best-suited for small businesses.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.58.58 PM

Image courtesy of Invision Community

9. Flarum

Price: Free

Flaurm is currently in Beta and has a streamlined design that is extremely easy to navigate. Flarum is fully responsive, and offers smooth animations and available swipe features for mobile optimization. The software was built by the developers of esoTalk and FluxBB, two of the fastest forum platforms, and has great performance reviews.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 2.01.21 PMImage courtesy of Flarum 

10. MyBB

Price: Free

MyBB is a free and open-source forum software that powers thousands of communities. It features hundreds of plugins and themes for you to customize, and the users that exist on the forum will help you establish your own community. Users have also contributed to the translations available for the content on the software. Now, forums are available in over 30 languages to help you grow a more global community.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 2.05.41 PM-1Image courtesy of MyBB

Ways to build your community using a forum software

People notice when brands listen to and converse with their customers, and they especially notice when brands foster their own communities. How? Through the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Customers who view themselves as valued members of your community are much more likely to talk about your brand to their friends.

Here’s how you can build a strong community using your forum software.

1. Spread the word.

Nobody will join your online community if they don’t know it exists. Spread the word about your new forum by including CTAs to join your forum in email newsletters or social posts. Ask your brand ambassadors or loyal fans to start posting about the forum, and post content on the forum so when other users join, you already have an established presence on the channel.

2. Listen to and check on your community regularly.

Reviewing your forum and responding to what your audience has to say is a crucial part of community building. Your customers are far less likely to continue to interact and engage on your forum if they feel as though they are being ignored. Responding to their feedback shows your users that you value their opinions and care about their experiences with your product.

Additionally, it’s your job to make sure everything is running smoothly on your forum. Checking on your community regularly will help you dissolve any service escalations, and give people the support they are seeking.

3. Foster a helpful discourse.

A forum should be a safe place for your customers, prospects, employees, fans, and audience to interact, ask, and answer questions. By establishing a helpful ethos early on, or creating community guidelines that prioritize patience and kindness within responses, your community will grow without the need to constantly monitor it 24/7.

How to Analyze Your YouTube Channel Performance in Google Analytics

Want to learn more about how people on YouTube engage with your channel? Wondering which YouTube video links drive the most website traffic? In this article, you’ll learn how to set up Google Analytics to analyze and assess the effectiveness of your YouTube marketing. Why Use Google Analytics to Track YouTube Channel and Link Traffic […]

The post How to Analyze Your YouTube Channel Performance in Google Analytics appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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19 of the Best Email Marketing Campaign Examples We’ve Ever Seen [Template]

On any given day, most of our email inboxes are flooded with a barrage of automated email newsletters that do little else besides giving us another task to do on our commutes to work — namely, marking them all as unread without reading, or unsubscribing altogether.

But every now and then, we get a newsletter that’s so good, not only do we read it, but we click it, share it, and recommend it to our friends.

Click here to download our free template for planning and tracking your email  marketing efforts.

What Makes an Effective Email Marketing Campaign?

Effective email marketing campaigns need to be cleverly written to attract attention in busy inboxes. Here are three things your next email campaign should have.

Personalization and Imagery

Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed “Dear Sir/Madam” — as opposed to their first or last name — and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.

Responsive Design

Effective email marketing campaigns are designed for all devices on which users can read their emails — desktop, tablet, and smartphone. Email campaigns that are designed for mobile devices are especially important — a quality known as “responsive design.” In fact, 73% of companies today prioritize mobile device optimization when creating email marketing campaigns.

An Appropriate Call-to-Action

Above all, exceptional marketing emails must contain a meaningful call-to-action (CTA). After all, if brands are taking up subscribers’ time — and inbox space — with another email, every message must have a point to it. Internet users get multiple emails per day — why should they care about yours?

You probably receive enough emails as it is, and it’s tough to know which newsletters are worth subscribing to, so we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite examples. Read on to discover some great email campaign examples and what makes them great — or just skip ahead to the brands you already know and love.

But first, download the planning template you’ll need to craft your own lovable email marketing campaign, and check out our new Out-of-Office Email Generator to make your email address even more delightful to your contacts.

1. charity: water

Marketing Campaign: Donation Progress Update

When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.

Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water project, her money takes a long journey. Most charities don’t tell you about that journey at all — charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don’t even really need to read the email — you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move onto other things in your inbox.

Email marketing campaign example by charity: water, showing a donation progress update

2. Brooks Sports

Marketing Campaign: Desiree Linden’s Boston Marathon Victory

When Desiree Linden won the 2018 Boston Marathon, she became the first American woman to win the race in more than 30 years. To her shoe and apparel sponsor, Brooks Sports, it was an opportunity to celebrate their long partnership together. The resulting email campaign focuses almost entirely on the Olympic marathoner’s amazing accomplishment.

Email campaigns like this one allow companies to demonstrate their loyalties and add value to the products their best users have chosen. The blue CTA button at the bottom of the email reads, “See Desiree’s go-to gear.” What better products to call attention to than the stuff worn by America’s latest legend?

After Desiree’s victory, everyone knew her name. Brooks Sports struck while the iron was hot with a proud email that was sure to be opened and forwarded.

Email marketing campaign example by Brooks Sports featuring Desiree Linden's 2018 Boston Marathon victory

3. BuzzFeed

Marketing Campaign: ‘BuzzFeed Today’ Newsletter

I already have a soft spot for BuzzFeed content (“21 Puppies so Cute You Will Literally Gasp and Then Probably Cry,” anyone?), but that isn’t the only reason I fell in love with its emails.

First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy — which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed’s content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:

buzzfeed_inbox

Once you open up an email from BuzzFeed, the copy is equally awesome. Just take a look at that glorious alt text action happening where the images should be. The email still conveys what it is supposed to convey — and looks great — whether you use an image or not. That’s definitely something to admire.

Without images:

buzzfeed-email-example-1.png?noresize

With images:

Email marketing campaign example by BuzzFeed Today

4. Uber

Marketing Campaign: Calendar Integration

The beauty of Uber‘s emails is in their simplicity. Email subscribers are alerted to deals and promotions with emails like the one you see below. We love how brief the initial description is, paired with a very clear CTA — perfect for subscribers who are quickly skimming the email.

For the people who want to learn more, these are followed by a more detailed (but still pleasingly simple), step-by-step explanation of how the deal works.

We also love how consistent the design of Uber’s emails is with its brand. Like its app, website, social media photos, and other parts of the visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of its communications and marketing assets tell the brand’s story — and brand consistency is one tactic Uber’s nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.

Check out the clever copywriting and email design at work in this example:

Email marketing campaign example by Uber promoting a calendar integration

5. TheSkimm

Marketing Campaign: Subscription Anniversary

We love TheSkimm’s daily newsletter — especially its clean design and its short, punchy paragraphs. But newsletters aren’t TheSkimm’s only strength when it comes to email. Check out its subscriber engagement email below, which rewarded fellow marketer Ginny Mineo for being subscribed for two years.

Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get — who doesn’t like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don’t require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.

Here, the folks at TheSkimm took it a step further by asking Mineo if she’d like to earn the title of brand ambassador as a loyal subscriber — which would require her to share the link with ten friends, of course.

Email marketing campaign example by theSkimm celebrating a user's subscriber anniversary

6. Mom and Dad Money

Marketing Campaign: Get to Know Your Subscribers

Think you know all about the people who are reading your marketing emails? How much of what you “know” about them is based on assumptions? The strongest buyer personas are based on insights you gather from your actual readership, through surveys, interviews, and so on — in addition to the market research.

That’s exactly what Matt Becker of Mom and Dad Money does — and he does it very, very well.

Here’s an example of an email I once received from this brand. Design-wise, it’s nothing special — but that’s the point. It reads just like an email from a friend or colleague asking for a quick favor.

Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.

Email marketing campaign example by Matt Becker on getting to know his subscribers

7. Poncho

Marketing Campaign: Custom Weather Forecast

Some of the best emails out there pair super simple design with brief, clever copy. When it comes down to it, daily emails I get from Poncho — which sends me customizable weather forecasts each morning — takes the cake.

Poncho’s emails are colorful, use delightful images and GIFs, and are very easy to scan. The copy is brief but clever with some great puns, and it aligns perfectly with the brand. Check out the copy near the bottom asking to “hang out outside of email.” Hats off to Poncho for using design to better communicate its message.

Email marketing campaign example by Poncho showing a custom weather forecast

8. Birchbox

Marketing Campaign: Co-marketing Promotion

The subject line of this email from beauty product subscription service Birchbox got my colleague Pam Vaughan clicking. It read: “We Forgot Something in Your February Box!” Of course, if you read the email copy below, Birchbox didn’t actually forget to put that discount code in her box — but it was certainly a clever way to get her attention.

As it turned out, the discount code was actually a bonus promo for Rent the Runway, a dress rental company that likely fits the interest profile of most Birchbox customers — which certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s a great co-marketing partnership right there.

Email marketing campaign example by Birchbox featuring a comarketing promotion

9. Postmates

Marketing Campaign: New Product

I have to say, I’m a sucker for GIFs. They’re easy to consume, they catch your eye, and they have an emotional impact — like the fun GIF in one of Postmates‘ emails that’s not only delightful to watch, but also makes you crave some delicious Chipotle.

You, too, can use animated GIFs in your marketing to show a fun header, draw people’s eyes to a certain part of the email, or display your products and services in action.

chipotle-gif.gif

Email marketing campaign example by Postmates on a new burrito menu

10. Dropbox

Marketing Campaign: User Reengagement

You might think it’d be hard to love an email from a company whose product you haven’t been using. But Dropbox found a way to make its “come back to us!” email cute and funny, thanks to a pair of whimsical cartoons and an emoticon.

Plus, the email was kept short and sweet, to emphasize the message that Dropox didn’t want to intrude — it just wants to remind the recipient that the brand exists, and why it could be helpful. When sending these types of email, you might include an incentive for recipients to come back to using your service, like a limited-time coupon.

Email marketing campaign example by Dropbox attempting to reengage an inactive user

11. InVision App

Marketing Campaign: Weekly Blog Newsletter

Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week’s, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn’t exist.

Not only is InVision’s newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly — which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.

Email marketing campaign example by InVision for its weekly blog newsletter

12. Warby Parker

Marketing Campaign: Product Renewal

What goes better with a new prescription than a new pair of glasses? The folks at Warby Parker made that connection very clear in their email to a friend of mine back in 2014. It’s an older email, but it’s such a good example of personalized email marketing that I had to include it in here.

The subject line was: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.” What a clever email trigger. And you’ve gotta love the reminder that your prescription needs updating.

Speaking of which, check out the clever co-marketing at the bottom of the email: If you don’t know where to go to renew your subscription, the information for an optometrist is right in the email. Now there’s no excuse not to shop for new glasses!

Email marketing campaign example by Warby Parker notifying user of product renewal

13. Cook Smarts

Marketing Campaign: Weekly Product Newsletter

I’ve been a huge fan of Cook Smarts‘ “Weekly Eats” newsletter for a while. The company sends yummy recipes in the form of a meal plan to my inbox every week. But I didn’t just include it because of its delicious recipes — I’m truly a fan of its emails.

I especially love the layout of Cook Smarts’ emails: Each message features three distinct sections: one for the menu, one for kitchen how-to’s, and one for the tips. That means you don’t have to go hunting to find the most interesting part of its blog posts — you know exactly where to look after an email or two.

I also love Cook Smarts’ “Forward to a Friend” CTA in the top-right of the email. Emails are super shareable over — you guessed it — email, so you should also think about reminding your subscribers to forward your emails to friends, family, or coworkers.

Email marketing campaign example by Cook Smarts on Weekly Eats

14. HireVue

Marketing Campaign: Customer Retention

“Saying goodbye is never easy to do… So, we thought we’d give you a chance to rethink things.” That was the subject of this automated unsubscribe email from HireVue. We love the simple, guilt-free messaging here, from the funny header images to the great CTA button copy.

Not only are the design and copy here top-notch, but we applaud the folks at HireVue for sending automated unsubscribe emails in the first place. It’s smart to purge your subscriber lists of folks who aren’t opening your email lists, because low open rates can seriously hurt email deliverability.

Email marketing campaign example by HireVue focused on customer retention

15. Paperless Post

Marketing Campaign: Mother’s Day Promotion

When you think of “holiday email marketing,” your mind might jump straight to Christmas, but there are other holidays sprinkled throughout the rest of the year that you can create campaigns around. (Download these email marketing planning templates to keep yourself organized throughout the year.)

Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, “Wait, when is Mother’s Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?” Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself — click on any one of them, and you’ll be taken to a purchase page.

Email marketing campaign example by Paperless Post on Mother's Day

16. Stitcher

Marketing Campaign: Recommended for You

As humans, we tend to crave personalized experiences. So when emails appear to be created especially for you, you feel special — you’re not just getting what everyone else is getting. You might even feel like the company sending you the email knows you in some way, and that it cares about your preferences and making you happy.

That’s why I love on-demand podcast/radio show app Stitcher‘s “Recommended For You” emails. I tend to listen to episodes from the same podcast instead of branching out to new ones. But Stitcher wants me to discover (and subscribe to) all the other awesome content it has — and I probably wouldn’t without this encouragement.

I think this email also makes quite a brilliant use of responsive design. The colors are bright, and it’s not too hard to scroll and click — notice the CTAs are large enough for me to hit with my thumbs. Also, the mobile email actually has features that make sense for recipients who are on their mobile device. Check out the CTA at the bottom of the email, for example: The “Open Stitcher Radio” button prompts the app to open on your phone.

Email marketing campaign example by Stitcher showing 'Recommended for You' content

17. RCN

Marketing Campaign: Storm Update

Internet providers and bad weather are natural enemies. You’d think telecommunications companies wouldn’t want to call attention to storm-induced power outages — the one thing that sets off customers’ impatience. Then, there’s RCN.

RCN, a cable and wireless internet service, turned this email marketing campaign into a weather forecast just for its customers. This “storm update” got the company out ahead of an event that threatened its service, while allowing its users to get the weather updates they need right from the company they count on for Wi-Fi.

As you can see below, the email even advises personal safety — a nice touch of care to go with the promise of responsive service. At the bottom of the email, RCN also took the opportunity to highlight its social media channels, which the company appropriately uses to keep users informed of network outages.

Email marketing campaign example by RCN alerting user of winter storm updates

18. Trulia

Marketing Campaign: Moving Trends

I’m a huge advocate of thought leadership. To me, some of the best companies gain customer loyalty by becoming the go-to source for expertise on a given topic. Trulia — a property search engine for buyers, sellers, and renters — is that expert in the real estate biz. How do I know? Just read their emails, much like the one below.

“Why aren’t millennials moving?” The subject line of this email campaign reads before citing interesting data about relocation trends in the U.S. Trulia doesn’t benefit from people who choose not to move, but the company does benefit from having its fingers on the pulse of the industry — and showing it cares which way the real estate winds are blowing.

Email marketing campaign example by Trulia reporting on moving trends

19. RedBubble

Marketing Campaign: Featured Artist

This email marketing campaign crushes it, and for so many reasons.

Not only is the design below super eye-catching — without looking cluttered — but the artwork is user-made. RedBubble sells merchandise featuring designs from artists all over the world. This presents a golden opportunity to feature popular submissions across the RedBubble community.

The example below showcases artwork from “Letter Shoppe,” and when that artist sees RedBubble featuring her content, she’s more likely to forward it to friends and colleagues.

In addition to linking to Letter Shoppe’s designs (available on merchandise that is ultimately sold by RedBubble), the email campaign includes an endearing quote by the Featured Artist: “Never compromise on your values, and only do work you want to get more of.” RedBubble’s customers are likely to agree — and open other emails in this campaign for more inspiring quotes.

Email marketing campaign example by RedBubble promoting a Featured Artist

These are just some of our favorite emails. Don’t just follow best practice when it comes to your marketing emails. Every email you send from your work email address also can be optimized to convert. Try out our free email signature generator now, and check out some more of our favorite HubSpot marketing email examples.

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How Benefit Segmentation Will Take Your Marketing Campaigns to the Next Level

If you’re a fan of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Methodology, you probably understand the importance of customer success. If you don’t, just know that 70% of businesses with growing revenue prioritize customer success as “very important.” We can compare that to companies with decreasing revenue where only 49% believe it’s important. So, if you want your business to succeed you must make sure your customers do, too.

But, how can you stack the odds in your favor? How can you ensure the leads that your passing to your sales team are a good fit for your business?

With benefit segmentation, you can organize your customers and leads based on the value you provide them. That way, you can make sure you’re attracting customers who will develop a strong relationship with your business over time.

In this post, we’ll go over what benefit segmentation is, why you should use it, and where it can be seen in the real world.

Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.

 

Why should you do benefit segmentation?

Benefit segmentation makes it easier for sales reps to convert leads into customers. That’s because your marketing campaigns will attract customers who are better suited for your product or service. Since these people need your business the most, your sales team should have an easier time closing deals.

Marketers and salespeople can use benefit segmentation to engage customers as well. By identifying the key value that your business provides, your team will create more compelling marketing campaigns and sales pitches. They’ll know exactly how to differentiate your product or service to make it attractive to your target audience.

Benefit segmentation also improves customer retention. Converting leads that are a good fit for your organization will decrease your churn rate over time. Customers will be happy your product or service is fulfilling their needs and will be less likely to shop with your competitors.

Now that we understand what benefit segmentation is and why you should use it, let’s take a look at some real examples where this marketing technique helped businesses attract and close leads.

Benefit Segmentation Examples

1. Samsung

The cell phone has become one of the most fundamental products of modern technology. Almost everyone has a cell phone to get them through their day-to-day tasks. But, depending on who you are, how old you are, and where you’re from, your cell phone needs may differ dramatically from the next customer. Most of us need a cell phone, but often for a different reason. So, how do phone companies manage to fulfill these customer needs?

Samsung uses benefit segmentation to personalize ads for different target audiences. In the cell phone industry, age is a major determining factor of customer needs. As customers get older, what they need from their cell phone changes. It goes from fun features like cameras and apps to more practical benefits like battery life and security.

We can see this play out in the two advertisements below. The first one is aimed at a youthful audience and inspires them to “Do bigger things.” The phone comes with two cameras and lets the user draw on images using the included stylist.

Samsung-ad

Source: Tv Advert Songs

Compare this to the next ad where Samsung focuses on the practicality of the phone. Its tagline, “Designed for humans,” lets the reader know the phone is user-friendly and easy to set up. The phone is designed for optimal performance so that it never slows down no matter how many apps are running at once. This is particularly useful for an audience that may have a busy professional schedule and is working on multiple tasks at once.

Samsung-ad-2

Source: Android Guys

2. Ford

Car companies often use benefit segmentation to position different types of vehicles. For example, we can look at Ford to see the difference in advertisement between its Ford Fusion and F-150 models.

The Ford Fusion is a practical, four-door sedan that’s described as “sophisticated” and “cool.” Ford recognizes that people who are interested in this car will value its style in addition to its performance and price. The company highlights this by using vibrant colors in its advertisement to compliment the car’s eye-popping design.

Ford-ad

Source: Retail News

Now, compare that image to the image of the Ford F-150 below. The F-150 is a work truck designed for people who need a powerful, durable vehicle. Customers who are interested in the F-150 would value the truck’s impressive towing capacity and ability to navigate difficult terrain. That’s why the image below shows the truck towing a large piece of equipment with a tagline of “Built Ford Tough.”

Ford-ad-2

Source: YouTube

3. Airbnb

Airbnb’s market segmentation is interesting because it has to account for two main target audiences: hosts and guests. Not only does the company have to find customers to book the rooms, but they must also attract welcoming hosts with desirable living spaces. This forces Airbnb to perform benefit segmentation to create ads that appeal to both guests and hosts.

In the example below, we can see how Airbnb uses benefit segmentation to attract hosts in New York City. New Yorkers have a lot of pride for their city and value companies sharing that passion. So, Airbnb created these subway ads to educate New Yorkers on why Airbnb is good for local business owners as well as community development.

Airbnb-NYC

Source: The New York Times

We can compare that educational message to the inspirational one below. This ad is aimed at potential guests who are planning a future trip but haven’t made concrete travel plans. Airbnb capitalizes on this opportunity by creating a message that embraces uncertainty. Rather than pointing to a specific location, Airbnb makes the destination irrelevant and instead focuses on how the company will help, no matter where you go. This makes Airbnb look more trustworthy to customers who may be nervous about making a major financial decision.

Airbnb-ad

Source: Pinterest

4. Nike

Nike offers a wide range of products to a variety of target audiences. It needs to use benefit segmentation to develop different marketing campaigns that appeal to each group of customers. The most notable example we can pull from Nike is its ads featuring tennis superstar, Serena Williams.

These ads are aimed at Nike’s female target audience, particularly at its youthful demographic. Nike understands that these customers value the athletic confidence they experience when wearing Nike products. That’s because Nike’s apparel is not only stylish but designed for elite performance. The company uses the tennis phenom, Serena Williams, as an icon to demonstrate how this added confidence can improve your athletic ability.

Nike-ad

Source: Etsy

5. Hulu

Amidst the “cord-cutting” phenomenon, Hulu has been able to position itself as a viable alternative to cable TV. Hulu’s users value convenience and efficiency and don’t want to spend money paying for television channels they never watch. So, the company has created an ad campaign that explains how Hulu users can save money while maintaining access to their favorite content.

In the ad below, we see how benefit segmentation influenced Hulu’s marketing campaign. For example, the copy highlights how users can view “current episodes” and “hit movies.” Since many cord-cutters worry about losing access to new content, this lets users know that Hulu’s content is updated so they’ll never miss a recent episode. That’s incredibly important for people who follow series like Game of Thrones, where it’s vital to watch the episode as soon as it airs.

Hulu-ad

Source: Hulu

For tips on marketing your products and services, read our simple explanation to product marketing.

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8 Tips to Avoid Decision Fatigue (Infographic)

Even with a good night’s sleep and a big cup of coffee, many of us begin to lose steam only halfway through our morning. Running from meeting to meeting or pouring over tedious documents can take a lot out of you.

If you struggle to stay focused or even awake throughout the day, you may be combatting decision fatigue.

Simply put, decision fatigue is a loss of energy and focus after making too many decisions.

It may not seem all that serious, but we make anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 decisions each day. From deciding which shoes to wear to planning our grocery list, we are constantly making choices.

The decision-making process requires us to evaluate new information, compare it to our past experiences, and weigh the pros and cons of multiple outcomes. This can cause a mental drain, impacting both our willpower and self-control.

Decision fatigue can cause you to make careless mistakes or even poor decisions at work, as well as in your personal life. But, while it isn’t possible to avoid making decisions completely, there are ways to avoid letting decision fatigue bring you down.

Mint created this guide with tips on how to take some of the work out of making decisions. Simplify your day-to-day life and take on big decisions with ease.

avoid decision fatigue

Image courtesy of Mint

How to Increase Your Facebook Ad Exposure Without Causing Ad Fatigue

Wondering how to appear consistently in your audience’s Facebook news feed while limiting the impact of ad fatigue? Looking for a Facebook ad campaign you can model? In this article, you’ll discover how to run a Facebook advertising campaign that consistently puts your business in front of your target audience with unique messaging at every […]

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