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Want to try LinkedIn advertising but don’t know how to get started? Wondering which ad type you should try first? In this article, you’ll learn why LinkedIn sponsored content ads are perfect for your first campaign. You’ll also find a walkthrough for setting up and launching your own ad campaign for website visits. You’ll discover […]
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Your organization spends time and money researching, developing, and implementing a great product. The next (ongoing) step is to bring awareness to that product and its changes. That’s where you come in. In the product marketing space, you have three main goals: increase the number of users, improve adoption and loyalty of those users, and reduce churn. As the development team continues to reduce friction by adding or improving features, users must be made aware of these changes so you can fuel your flywheel.
The effort that will have the most impact in this endeavor is investing in your product announcement strategy.
A product announcement is the initial set of marketing activities aimed at promoting a new or updated product. Done well, product announcements bring awareness to the efforts your brand is making to improve or uplevel user/customer experience.
You can likely envision the palpable excitement your prospects will have for your new product or feature, but at the same time, it may seem daunting to get the word out. We have some tips, best practices, and templates to help you out.
New Product Announcement Example
New product announcements will be different for every brand, depending on who the audience is and how big of an update or announcement is required. The one thing all product announcements have in common is that they engage existing customers. Initially, this is done with a product announcement email that outlines:
- Who the new product or update benefits
- The reason for the change or addition
- The problems and pains that it solves
- How best to take advantage of it
To set the product announcement up for success, you may also choose to strategize a supporting launch campaign. In addition to the initial announcement email, this may include:
- A reminder email sequence to keep the product top of mind
- In-app or in-product tutorials or notifications
- Social posts and ads to reach users and fans outside of email
- Product or feature demos for high-profile users and all new customers
- Demos or promotional materials for tradeshows or other events
- Blog posts and promotion for large releases and announcements
All of the above are examples of how to get the word out about your new product or feature set.
Tips for Truly Memorable Product Announcements
Here are a few ideas for planning out your next product launch or other company announcements.
1. Know Your Audience
As you strategize your product announcement, you’ll need to identify your target audience, especially if the product or feature will only be available to a segment of your existing and potential users. Focusing on a single buyer persona at a time will help you craft your strategy, write laser-focused messaging, and help you identify your promotion channels. The key thing to remember is that they are experiencing pains and problems that your new product or feature is likely to solve.
2. Know Your Competition
In order to craft great messaging for your product announcement, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- How does your product compare to your competition?
- How does your new product or feature factor into this equation?
- What are the differentiating and positioning factors you can leverage?
3. Demonstrate the Value in Your Messaging
When setting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), keep your buyer persona and competition in mind. Across each channel, your messaging should be targeting the pains and problems your customers are experiencing and leveraging your solution in a way that your competition doesn’t. Take a stance and add some creativity along with your brand’s voice to create your core messaging.
4. Pick the Right Channel for the Initial Announcement
Meeting your prospects and customers where they hang out is a critical strategy for a successful product announcement. Many brands have the advantage of a large customer database that they use as a marketing asset, making email an ideal announcement choice for the initial announcement. If this is not the case for you, think about other channels and strategies you can lean into.
5. Strategize the Additional Promotions and Announcements
If there is a visual element to your announcement, consider holding an in-person event, scheduling a webinar, or creating an online video. If the speed at which the news spreads is the most important factor, leverage your social media channels. Twitter is an especially great choice for this. If you care most about media exposure, reach out to a journalist you respect and offer them an exclusive.
6. Create Amazing Promotional Materials for Each Channel
Email, blogs, and social media all need visual collateral to drive the point home. Think of your promotional materials as the vehicle for your message. Shareable graphics and videos that are aesthetically pleasing will go a long way during your launch. To get the most mileage out of each asset, tailor what you create to each asset, taking care to consider repurposing across channels.
7. Set Goals
Unless you have a clear plan for how your efforts impact the bottom line, none of the above tips matter. Set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals to measure the success and ROI of your campaign:
- Specific – “Creating awareness about the product” is a broad goal that lacks context. Expand on it. Why are you doing all you’re doing?
- Measurable – Identify what metrics you’ll measure and what will signify success.
- Attainable – Be realistic about those metrics and reverse engineer a clear path to achieve them.
- Relevant – Focus and ensure that the goal and the actions you’re taking support the bigger picture.
- Time-Bound – Choose when the campaign ends and when you will evaluate its success.
8. Determine the Right Amount of Hype
There’s nothing more deflating than a big build-up for a little announcement. Use suspense tactics to lead into a major product announcement, new partnerships, or big events.
9. Get the Timing Right
Don’t give too much lead time to your announcement, or your supporters will lose interest. Increase the frequency of hints and sneak peeks as you draw closer to the announcement.
10. Leverage Social Media
One of the best ways to drop hints is through your social media channels. There’s nothing more intriguing than a tweet like, “Something big is in the works… can’t wait for the world to see!”
11. Tell Your Most Loyal Supporters First
For announcements that aren’t top-secret, seek out a small group of your best customers and brand advocates and provide them with advanced notice. If you’re launching a product or service, let them be the first to try it out and provide feedback. If you are throwing an event, host them for an exclusive dinner or give them a space to interact with each other. Fans are your best assets and should be empowered to help shape your product and speak on your behalf.
12. Be Agile
You never know how announcements are going to go until you are smack in the middle of them. Be prepared to handle any surprises that could come your way, and react to them. A few plan Bs to have:
- If the Story Leaks: Try as you might to prevent leaks, sometimes news gets out ahead of time. When this happens, move quickly beyond the surprise and make the most of the occasion. Correct any inaccuracies and prioritize a communications plan to notify your customers as soon as possible. Then, run with the story. Make yourself available to answer any questions and invite bloggers or journalists to spread the story. If you had a launch event planned, turn that event into a celebration.
- If the Announcement Doesn’t Go Over Well: Particularly if you are dealing with a new product or service, there’s always a small risk that the public won’t like what you’ve released. If this happens, try not to have a knee jerk reaction. Listen to the concerns you’re hearing, and open up more channels for feedback. Communicate any changes you are making in response.
- If Your Site Goes Down: If you run into technical problems on the day you’ve released your news, don’t panic. Designate a core team to be ready and responsive if there is any trouble with your website. Use every other channel possible to communicate the announcement and the work being done to fix the technical problem. Don’t forget to breathe!
The most important part is to let your genuine enthusiasm shine through your announcement. Make sure your audience is able to feed off that excitement.
Product Announcement Template
If you still need inspiration for the initial product announcement, you can use the templates and guides below and add your own flair.
Product Announcement Email
Consumers don’t sit and read novel-length content while checking their email, so focus on the core message you want to convey and stick with it. Here is a template you can follow:
In the subject line, your goal is to get the email recipient to open the email. For this reason, you’ll want to use suspense while setting expectations for what they’re about to read.
e.g. You asked, and we answered…
Write a concise and snappy sentence to draw the reader in.
e.g. [Feature Benefit] That Saves 20% More Time
Briefly paint a picture of how your prospect will benefit from your new product. What do they stand to gain? How will their life (or business) change?
Expand on the new product (or a key feature) and the main benefit.
Call to Action
If your prospect takes one action from this email, what would you want it to be? Use a brief imperative statement that tells your reader what to do next and make sure it’s aligned with the rest of the copy.
Announce any supporting details or information. Feel free to use bullets or icons to present the information in a visual and easy-to-digest way.
If you have been frustrated by [Insert Pains], you’re not alone. Based on the feedback of our customers, we have been working on [Insert Product Name] to [Insert Benefit]. In addition to our other exciting [features/products], this addition will [Paint a picture of how their life or business will change]. You’ll enjoy:
- [Insert Feature] for [Insert Benefit]
- [Insert Feature] for [Insert Benefit]
- [Insert Feature] for [Insert Benefit]
Product Announcement Blog Post
Blog posts are a bit different in that you can go far more in-depth about your product announcement than in your email. Just be sure to use heading tags, images, bulleted lists, and other visual elements to break up the text for readability.
The blog title is similar to an email in that it is instrumental for getting individuals to open or click into the blog post. However, there’s an added element of strategy to making your blog post as discoverable as possible. For this reason, it’s best to include keywords in your blog post title that properly describe your product announcement while still maintaining an air of creativity. Keep in mind that a headline should also be under 60 characters.
e.g. [Company Name]’s [Product Feature] Has Landed.
Your first paragraph should hook the reader by empathizing with the problems and pains they’ve been experiencing. Use this space to connect with your reader and prove that you care about their situation.
Make your product announcement. Explain what has changed, the benefits they can expect, and how it’s an ideal solution to the pains and problems you mentioned in the first paragraph.
Call to Action
Similar to the email, if they take one action from this post, what would you want it to be? Use a brief imperative statement as the anchor text to a link where they can complete that action.
Announce any further details or supporting information. Feel free to use bullets, icons, images, and videos to present the information in a visual and easy-to-digest way.
Don’t be afraid to include a human element to your blog post. Below are some questions to prompt you.
- What was the journey to this development?
- How did your team arrive at the conclusion that this product/feature needed to be added or improved upon?
- What issues did you encounter along the way?
- Were there any customer use cases you can draw from to provide additional context?
People love stories, and stories make ideas resonate.
Provide a brief summary here and then guide the reader on what next steps to take. Will they need to update their app, upgrade their package, or download anything to get the new features? This is where you can provide those details.
Call to Action
Most likely, the call to action will have the same goal as the earlier one in the post. For this iteration, though, you’ll want to present it in a banner image that draws the eye’s attention. When they click the image, they will be directed to the page where they can complete the action.
However you decide to make your product launch, always put your customers and prospects first. Understand what it is they want and how you are solving for it. Before making your announcement, make sure you understand the market and have a plan in place to support your launch.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for investors for your small business, or the CEO of a large corporation, a business plan can help you succeed and is a critical component for long-term growth.
In fact, one study found companies that use business plans grow 30% faster than those that don’t.
A business plan includes a company overview, your company’s short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and a list including each member of your management team.
While a thorough business plan is necessary, it’s equally critical you provide readers with a short, attention-grabbing executive summary, as well. A CEO or investor might not have the interest or time to read your full business plan without first getting the general gist of your company or goals through a brief synopsis.
Essentially, an executive summary is the back cover of your book, convincing readers that it’s worth their time to read the whole thing.
To write an impressive executive summary that effectively embodies all the important elements of your business plan, we’ve cultivated a list of necessary components for an executive summary, as well as an example to get you started.
1. Tell your story.
When investors or CEO’s read your executive summary, they should understand what your business is about. This is one of the first elements of your business plan, so it should set the tone.
In your executive summary, be sure to tell your story. What does your company do and why do you do it? Who’s involved in your company? Answering these questions will help readers be excited about your company and reading the rest of the business plan.
2. Do your research.
An executive summary, while short, should include plenty of research. For example, your summary will include financial considerations and a competitor analysis.
While your business plan will flesh out the details, it’s important to include your key findings in your executive summary. Think of this like an elevator pitch. If someone stopped reading and you only had the executive summary to explain your company, what information would you include?
3. Pay attention to your tone.
The tone of your writing tells a story itself. When you’re writing anything, but especially a business document, make sure that the tone tells the story of who you are. Are you formal or more informal?
Ultimately, your tone should not only represent who you are as a company, but your target audience as well. What style of writing will represent your audience?
As you write an executive summary, don’t forget to consider what your tone and writing says about you and your audience.
4. Avoid cliche language.
With any style of writing, it’s best to avoid cliches. Cliches can rub people the wrong way, which is something you want to avoid when someone reads your executive summary.
Additionally, cliches tend to overpromise and underdeliver. For example, including something like “The Best Restaurant in Town” isn’t true because you’re untested as a business. Your executive summary should reflect the truth and who you are as a company.
5. Write it last.
An executive summary is a summary of your business plan. However, it’s hard to write a summary when you haven’t written your business plan yet.
That’s why you should write your executive summary last, so you know what you want to include.
Now that you know how to write an executive summary, let’s dive into the details of what to include.
What to Include in Your Executive Summary
Your business plan should convey your company’s mission, your product, a plan for how you’ll stand out from competitors, your financial projections, your company’s short and long-term goals, your buyer persona, and your market fit.
To create a business plan, take a look at our business template.
An executive summary, then, should be a short, maximum two-page synopsis of the information provided in your business template.
Ultimately, an executive summary should provide a preview for investors or CEO’s, so they know what to expect from the rest of your report. Your executive summary should include:
- The name, location, and mission of your company
- A description of your company, including management, advisors, and brief history
- Your product or service, where your product fits in the market, and how your product differs from competitors in the industry
- Financial considerations, start-up funding requirements, or the purpose behind your business plan — mention what you hope the reader will help your company accomplish
To understand more tactically how an executive summary should look, take a look at the following example:
Executive Summary Example
An executive summary should be short and concise, but it should still convey who you are as a company. If you’re starting a company, remember to tell your story, while also including important background and financial information.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Are you unsure how to approach your marketing during a crisis? Looking for wisdom from well-known marketers? To help you make wise decisions during trying times, we tapped the minds of top marketers to answer these questions: #1: Your Business Must Sell to Survive: Daniel Harmon The Question: Should I continue to promote my business […]
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Al contrario de lo que suele pensar mucha gente, nosotros siempre hemos sido de la opinión de que el teletrabajo es muchísimo más eficiente y rentable, tanto para el trabajador como para la empresa.
Evidentemente estamos hablando de trabajos que se pueden hacer desde un ordenador (que son muchísimos…).
En Socialancer todo el equipo trabajamos en remoto (principalmente desde casa, pero también desde cafeterías, bibliotecas, aeropuertos, hoteles, espacios de coworking y un largo etcétera). Y lo llevamos haciendo desde 2009.
En este post te voy a explicar 2 cosas:
- Cómo trabajar desde casa de una forma eficiente, sin distracciones ni paseos a la nevera o al sofá (y compartiré contigo las herramientas que utilizamos en Socialancer y que sin duda te van a servir).
- Por qué esta situación del coronavirus es una OPORTUNIDAD para muchas empresas y empleados; mucho más grande de lo que puede parecer (esto te lo cuento al final).
Bueno, y si tienes niños también te explicaré un método para poder beneficiaros todos del trabajo desde casa sin molestaros unos a otros.
Este es un post largo, pero te aseguro que le vas a poder sacar mucho rendimiento si no sabes cómo organizarte ni cómo conseguir mejores resultados en la situación en la que estamos ahora.
Y te lo explico como responsable de que se ejecuten todas las tareas necesarias en Socialancer para que la empresa siga creciendo.
#1. Cómo gestionar a un equipo (y motivarlo)
Si nunca has hecho teletrabajo con tu equipo te vendrá muy bien marcar unas pautas al principio, crear un proceso de trabajo.
Esta podría ser una manera:
#1. Objetivos semanales
Haz una primera reunión en la que plantees los objetivos de la semana para toda la empresa.
#2. Reúnete con tu equipo
Reúnete después con cada miembro de tu equipo (o con cada responsable de departamento) y establece esos objetivos de forma particular.
Nosotros toda la parte de project management (o gestión de proyectos) la hacemos con (4) Trello. Cada departamento tiene asignado un tablero y la persona responsable del departamento es la encargada de mantenerlo al día y reportar a los demás miembros o a los supervisores.
A su vez los responsables de departamento se reúnen con el resto del equipo y transmiten los objetivos de la semana siguiendo el mismo procedimiento.
#3. Mantén una comunicación constante con el equipo
De nuevo, para mantener una comunicación constante con el equipo y con los responsables de departamento, en Socialancer trabajamos con (5) Slack. Tenemos distintos canales según las áreas y departamentos de trabajo interno. En cada canal están únicamente las personas encargadas de esa sección.
Ahí creamos documentos de trabajo, y toda la documentación la ubicamos en carpetas bien clasificadas -también por departamento y responsable- en (6) Google Drive. De esta forma cada disponemos de toda la información adecuada.
#4. Crea comunidad (interna)
Este aspecto es súper importante, sobre todo cuando cada uno trabaja desde su casa -y, como es nuestro caso, en distintos husos horarios.
Lo hacemos de dos maneras:
- Mediante un grupo en Slack que llamamos #equiposocialancer y que nos permite, si nos apetece y con total libertad, compartir cuestiones más personales. Eso crea mucha cercanía entre unos y otros, y es como “la cafetería” a la que acudes con los compañeros cuando trabajas en la oficina.
- Manteniendo videoconferencias periódicas en las que no solo hablamos sobre la visión común que tenemos (recuerda, es el equipo el que crea la empresa, no al revés) sino sobre ideas que tengamos, algo que nos permite conocernos mejor en el aspecto personal. De nuevo, otra forma de visitar la cafetería desde casa.
Una cosa es muy importante: si alguien no quiere participar en el grupo o en las videoconferencias, no lo fuerces. Cada uno tiene su carácter y su situación personal. Nadie debe sentirse forzado por participar en algo que a lo mejor no quiere, y eso debe ser un principio en este tipo de comunicación. Todo el mundo debe sentirse cómodo.
Es importante liderar a los equipos online a partir de una visión común y hacer que todo el mundo se sienta a gusto con el trabajo que hace y el lugar que ocupa en la empresa.
Créeme, aunque trabajes desde casa, al mantener la comunicación de forma constante entre todos da la sensación de que estés en una oficina, con la ventaja de que no tienes que perder tiempo en desplazamientos ni en reuniones innecesarias que te cortan el ritmo de trabajo.
#5. Envía instrucciones (en vídeo) más deprisa
A veces un vídeo es mejor que mil palabras. Nosotros utilizamos (7) Loom, una aplicación que te permite grabar vídeos desde Chrome y organizarlos por carpetas:
Al tenerlo todo bien clasificado, cada departamento sabe lo que tiene que hacer y cuáles son los protocolos que hay que seguir. De esta forma, a medida que crece el equipo, tienes toda la información en un mismo lugar y puede pasar de unos a otros.
O incluso si debes explicar algo mostrando pantalla en un momento, con Loom es rápido y fácil. Te descargas la extensión de Chrome y empiezas a grabar.
Appsumo ahora mismo está promocionando una aplicación, (8) Clapboard, que, por un único pago, te ofrece lo mismo que Loom pero con límites más amplios que la versión gratuita de Loom.
#6. Controlad el tiempo para que seáis todos más productivos
En Socialancer utilizamos una aplicación muy útil que se llama (9) Screenshotmonitor para todo el equipo.
Si te fijas, es la primera aplicación de pago que te he mencionado hasta ahora (en las otras con la versión gratuita puede llegar a ser suficiente para muchas empresas).
Screenshotmonitor es una aplicación que cada miembro de tu equipo se instala en su ordenador y que os permite controlar el tiempo de trabajo a la vez que podéis ver hasta 30 pantallazos por hora (según la versión) de lo que hace cada uno.
No es una medida de “control” tipo “jefe carca que no te deja levantar de la silla”, sino una herramienta de productividad para todos:
- Si un miembro de tu equipo trabaja 8 horas se centrará exclusivamente en esas 8 horas y no perderá tiempo en tonterías (además de que puede hacer el trabajo en el tiempo que acordéis). Y si trabaja más o menos tiempo, también se contabilizará. Es la forma de trabajo más justa, eficiente y equitativa que hemos encontrado para este tipo de situaciones.
- Como administrador podrás ver en lo que está trabajando y corregir cualquier aspecto necesario. La idea no es estar mirando todo el rato lo que hace cada miembro del equipo (eso sería una pérdida de tiempo), sino hacer seguimiento de la misma manera que lo harías con alguien que trabajase a tu lado, pues te permite orientar el trabajo que se está haciendo.
Cada usuario tiene control sobre su privacidad, por lo que si no quiere que veas algo que está consultando, sencillamente pausará la aplicación o borrará el pantallazo.
#7. En remoto se reorganiza la jerarquía
Aunque parece obvio, en la oficina muchas veces las relaciones jerárquicas son demasiado evidentes (el despacho del jefe es más grande, las reuniones que se hacen ahí parecen más “importantes”, los empleados están en cubículos, etc.), y sin querer se crea una sensación de dependencia por proximidad, como solemos llamarlo nosotros.
Es decir, al “vivir” constantemente en un entorno de este tipo, mucha gente percibe que no se da el mismo trato a unos y a otros, y se crean ambientes enrarecidos que perjudican enormemente la productividad y la motivación.
Al trabajar cada uno desde casa, si bien hay un responsable principal y responsables de cada departamento, esa sensación se diluye y cada uno se centra más en lo que sabe y puede hacer.
Lo que vine muy bien en este caso es trabajar por objetivos. ¿Qué objetivo tiene mi departamento en este momento?
En mi caso, parte de mi papel en la organización consiste en delegar, transmitir y ejecutar la visión de Socialancer entre todos aquellos con los que trabajamos. Es muy importante que vayamos todos a una.
Tú tienes que encontrar eso mismo en tu área de actividad. Debes buscar la proactividad. A mí no me importa que la gente se equivoque siempre y cuando proponga.
Prueba esta forma de estructurar a las personas y te darás cuenta de que la motivación en tu equipo aumenta y el rendimiento también.
#2. Establece una rutina por la mañana (es LO MÁS IMPORTANTE)
Puesto que estás en casa -y con el Coronavirus no vas a poder salir…-, es importante que cumplas una rutina física y de trabajo. Y es preferible que lo hagas por la mañana.
Hace bastantes años me llegó este vídeo de Robin Sharma, que me descubrió algo que me ha ayudado a ser mucho más productivo y consciente de lo que hago.
Se trata de la Regla 20/20/20 dentro del Club de las 5:00 h de la mañana.
Cada mañana, cuando te levantes (a las 5.00 h), dedica 20 minutos a hacer ejercicio, 20 minutos a revisar tu plan y tu agenda diaria, y 20 minutos a aprender (leer, escuchar podcast o cursos).
Con el tiempo es posible que ajustes esa rutina, pero te aseguro que son 3 puntos esenciales si quieres empezar el día con mucha más energía.
Y, lo que es mejor, te dan un motivo para levantarte por la mañana con ganas (te aseguro que hace tiempo que los lunes me gustan más que los viernes. Y no, no es un farol…).
Por ejemplo, esta es mi rutina:
- Me levanto a las 5.00 h de la mañana (es lo mejor: no hay nadie despierto y tengo la sensación de que el día se ha creado solo para mí, lo que me da, como dice Robin Sharma, una ventaja psicológica frente a los demás).
- Hago meditación, leo libros o veo vídeos que me ayuden a meditar y ganar conciencia en lo que soy y en lo que hago.
- Leo algún libro que me inspire (generalmente biografías de autores o cuestiones relacionadas con cómo hacer crecer los negocios, pero también relacionadas con filosofía).
- Hago Karate (empecé karate a los 40 años y ahora tengo 43. Es una de las mejores decisiones que he tomado en muchos años, pues las artes marciales te ayudan a crecer física y espiritualmente, además de que lo puedes hacer desde casa sin necesidad de mucho espacio físico).
- Cuando ya he hecho lo más importante del día, se levanta la familia y empezamos la rutina conjunta.
A veces no puedo levantarme a las 5.00 h porque no he podido acostarme pronto; en esas ocasiones cambio los horarios, y a lo mejor leo más tarde o entreno a media mañana -lo que me sirve de pausa del trabajo que estoy haciendo.
Recuerda esto -y más estando en casa todo el día:
- Mens sana in corpore sano.
- La meditación te ayuda a crecer, a aclarar tus propias ideas y dejar de lado tonterías mentales (que todos las padecemos).
- La lectura te ayuda a enriquecerte y entender mejor tu entorno
#3. Organiza tu tiempo de forma eficiente
Una de las técnicas que mejor funcionan es la de crearte una (10) Agenda de Bloques Temáticos Flexibles.
Básicamente lo que haces es que:
- Te organizas en base a prioridades
- Trabajas por áreas temáticas
- Organizas los imprevistos
Y no necesitas herramientas complicadas. Puedes hacerlo fácilmente con el (11) Calendario de Google.
Léete el post de nuestro amigo Jonathan Secanella para organizar tu agenda porque te vendrá muy bien.
#4. Cómo gestionar y comunicarte con clientes
Hay muchas formas de gestionar a los clientes con eficiencia sin verse cara a cara (y no solo porque todo el mundo esté en casa y temeroso del coronavirus…).
#1. Atención al cliente
Para la atención al cliente hay una herramienta que justamente incluye, en su versión gratuita, un CRM muy potente: (12) Hubspot.
Lo bueno de Hubspot es que no solo integra la gestión por email, sino también la gestión por Messenger de Facebook (que a su vez es otra herramienta de comunicación interesante).
Para la gestión del chat en directo (que integramos con Hubspot a través de Gmail), nosotros utilizamos (13) Oct8ne, una herramienta de chat española especialmente útil para eCommerce por su covisor para compartir productos.
#2. Reuniones con clientes
Puedes emplear las mismas herramientas que te comentaba anteriormente para realizar videoconferencias con clientes.
#5. Recomendaciones para trabajar con tus hijos en casa
Evidentemente dependerá de la edad de tus hijos. Si son muy pequeños es posible que reclamen en exceso tu atención, por lo que lo más recomendable -si puedes- es compaginar horas de trabajo con tu pareja o alguien que pueda ayudarte en casa.
Pero cuando van al colegio y ya tienen una cierta edad, de la misma forma que es importante que tú establezcas una rutina para ti, deberías establecer otra rutina para tus hijos. No deberían estar todo el día viendo Netflix o YouTube porque a ti te resulte más cómodo…
Debes tener en cuenta que a lo mejor no pueden seguir el mismo ritmo de trabajo que tú tienes, pero sí les puedes enseñar a crear Bloques Temáticos Flexibles.
Y, puesto que es posible que su capacidad de concentración sea menor que la tuya, una técnica que les puede venir muy bien es la Técnica del Pomodoro.
A mí personalmente no me gusta porque me corta el ritmo de trabajo y prefiero trabajar en bloques de dos o tres horas sin levantarme de la silla (a veces más), pero nuestra Responsable de Redacción, Laura Santos (a quien agradezco algunas de las ideas de este artículo), la utiliza a diario.
Fragmentas tu tiempo de trabajo en 25 minutos con pausas breves después de ese tiempo y es posible que aumente tu productividad.
Puesto que ahora con el Coronavirus vais a tener que estar todos encerrados en casa todo el tiempo, te recomiendo que empecéis pronto por la mañana (tú probablemente antes) y dediquéis un rato por la tarde a juegos de mesa en familia o incluso a ver una película.
No por estar en casa y que parezca que siempre es sábado debéis dejar de mantener un horario.
Conclusión. Aprovecha la OPORTUNIDAD de Trabajar desde Casa
En la vida nunca sabes dónde están las oportunidades. Y si el Coronavirus aparece como algo malo por su índice de letalidad tan elevado, también puede tener un impacto positivo en la forma como trabajamos y nos relacionamos con los demás.
De hecho, cuando mucha gente se dé cuenta de que trabajar desde casa es mucho más productivo, estoy convencido de que va a haber muchos cambios en el entorno laboral.
Si tienes un plan de trabajo organizado y utilizas las herramientas adecuadas, te aseguro que notarás un cambio impresionante en la eficiencia de tu empresa.
Y desde casa, con estos métodos que te he descrito aquí, es mucho más sencillo, pues la gente no se siente presionada, no se percibe la competitividad entre compañeros y por tanto cada uno se centra en lo suyo al mismo tiempo que comparte lo necesario (e incluso lo personal).
Para complementar lo que aquí te cuento, léete también este artículo de nuestra querida Vilma Núñez, con otras recomendaciones y herramientas para trabajar en remoto.
Y si el Coronavirus, este nuevo panorama y el confinamiento que supone para la mayoría de nosotros produce en ti algún tipo de incertidumbre o incluso miedo (fundado o infundado), te recomiendo que leas este post de nuestro estimado Emilio Calvo: No se trata de ser positivo, sino de ser INTELIGENTE. Es una muy buena lectura para relativizar la situación en la que vivimos y, de paso, entender que tenemos una OPORTUNIDAD para cambiar nuestros hábitos, nuestra forma de hacer las cosas y salir muy reforzados de esta situación.
Espero sinceramente que te ayude toda esta información.
¿En qué situación estás ahora? Cuéntame en los comentarios cuál es tu experiencia y, sobre todo, con qué problemas te encuentras, y te intentaremos echar una mano en todo lo que podamos.
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Before you break any email marketing habits or best practices, it’s important to first understand why they work.
Once you’ve mastered basic email content creation, you’ll be in a better position to experiment and test certain components of your strategy. In today’s ultra-competitive email landscape, you need to perform tests in order to find out what drives your specific recipients to open, read, and click.
While the right content and design are necessary components for email success, running tests will help you understand how to stand out in your readers’ inboxes. And to understand what to test, it’s helpful to revisit your current strategies and consider which email habits might be appropriate to mix up, or break altogether.
In this post, we’ll explore a number of commonly overlooked email habits you should start breaking and experimenting with to find the best strategy for your company.
11 Email Marketing Habits It Pays to Break
1. You always use the same sender name.
How to Break It: Get friendly with your “from” name.
While it’s helpful to set certain expectations with your email recipients, don’t limit yourself to only sending messages from your company name, or from one team member. Experimenting with “friendly froms” can increase open rates. For example, instead of simply sending an email from the name of your company, you might provide an employee’s name, such as “Tim at Awesome.com”
But before you go crazy, always ensure your email activities do not violate the CAN-SPAM act. Your froms should not be false or misleading. However, there are ways your organization can make adjustments that delight your recipients.
Chubbies, a men’s fashion company with over 1.5 million Facebook followers, is well-known for getting creative with their from names. While their approach is very specific to their organization’s tone, style, and audience, you can look to them for inspiration.
One study found that while Chubbies’ messages had slightly lower inbox placement rates, their “fun and unusual friendly forms” saw higher read rates and lower “delete without reading” rates.
Here’s an example of how Chubbies gets creative with the friendly from:
Chubbies also makes sure their fun “friendly” from names go with their subject lines and preview text.
This synchronization allows them to use every space available to them in your inbox to grab your attention and make a lasting impression. Again, before testing strategies like this yourself, consult with a law professional about the CAN-SPAM act to ensure you’re not in violation.
2. You treat your subject line too literally.
How to Break It: Write copy that visually stands out.
Consumers are inundated with emails all day long, which means your subject line is the one factor that will get someone to open your message.
Consider the following example:
What stands out? Caps lock text? Numbers? The use of an emoji? Personalization? Humor? White space?
To catch someone’s attention as they scroll through their unread messages, it’s important to consider how your subject line appears next to others visually.
While your subject line text should reflect the contents of your message and match your organization’s tone and style, it’s important to use this space as creatively as possible. Test small tweaks with your audience to see if anything helps grab their attention.
3. Your preview text is auto-populated.
How to Break It: Use that hot preview text real estate.
If your email client supports preview text, also known as pre-header text, you can optimize it for every email you send. Allowing this text to auto-populate is a lost opportunity to grab attention or delight your recipients.
Though it takes some code, the use of this space will help you stand out from others who do not go to the same lengths to make theirs unique.
Experiment with clever, related text, like how Chubbies does in the example above, or try using just a few words to create more white space.
In the example below, Crate and Barrel writes preview text that is an extension of their subject line and creates eye-catching white space.
And in the following example, the Skimm uses their preview text to address a previous technical error in a light-hearted manner.
4. Your copy is so professional it’s boring.
How to Break It: Develop a distinct tone of voice.
Your organization’s tone of voice can be one of your biggest differentiators. Whether you use a certain style of humor or strive to sound as academic as possible, a well-crafted voice allows readers to connect with your organization on a human-to-human level.
In a time when technological advancement has us fondly looking to the past and remembering more intimate times, businesses can struggle to both scale and maintain the “humanness” of a mom-and pop-shop.
Your tone can help you combat that struggle. The answer is having a personality.
According to one of Chubbies’ four founders, Tom, they thought, “Everything’s a little too serious in men’s fashion.” To stand out and attract people to their brand, he says, “We wrote our emails like we were writing to our friends.”
In a podcast interview by Smart Passive Income, he advised organizations to think about their own brand as a unique person.
“Think about it like a person with a personality. More often than not, that personality is going to be yours—as the business owner, as the person who’s going to be writing or creating this content. Write about the things you care about, write about the things that have an emotional connection with you, and that’s where you’ll start to find kernels. We were not knocking it out of the park every time we wrote but because we were passionate about it, it enabled us to keep testing and keep driving.”
When you approach your communication under this lens, you’re bound to create content that doesn’t just deliver a message, but also forms a connection.
5. Your CTA is literal.
How to Break It: Get creative with button copy.
Every inch of your email is an opportunity and each word should be intentional, especially the areas that ask your readers to take an action.
Here a few favorite examples of ways to get clever and entice your reader to click. Today’s consumer is well aware of the fact that you’re trying to lead them to a desired action. With that in mind, you might experiment with your call to action copy and use each “click here” spot as a chance to delight.
InVision uses witty copy and bright colors to catch the eye and entice its readers to click.
Classy, an online fundraising platform for nonprofits, similarly uses the CTA as an opportunity to be more playful with its copy and create a memorable experience for its blog subscribers.
6. You keep it short and sweet.
How to Break It: Experiment with length.
The Skimm’s 6 million email subscribers prove that emails don’t always have to be short and sweet, or highly visual to be successful. While some data points to ideally having relatively short email copy, the Skimm’s emails can get quite long (though they are broken into sections for digestibility). And while they don’t typically include very many visual components, they focus on making one thing very easy for the reader. Sharing.
In this example alone, there are nine opportunities to share the email with a friend or colleague. Which leads us to our next habit:
7. You’re focused on content.
How to Break It: Consider how design feeds growth.
If content is King, design is Queen.
Your content could be strong and interesting, but if your design doesn’t include the ability to easily share your message, you’re holding your content back. According to Bernadette Jiwa, author of Marketing: A Love Story, “Growth hacking is really the practice of creating and leveraging word-of-mouth with intention.”
She continues, “Growth hackers optimize their business to acquire new customers by first delighting one customer and then making it easy for that customer to share the store with friends.”
You work hard to ensure your content delights—don’t send it off to die in the bowels of your clientele’ inboxes. Incorporate tools that give your email the legs it needs to grow.
8. You use personas to make assumptions.
How to Break It: Demonstrate intimacy.
As marketers, we have to make assumptions. We can’t possibly know each of our audience members intimately. While segmentation and building personas is important to delivering relevant content, today’s consumers are expecting you to know more about them than ever.
If you can’t demonstrate intimacy, you’re going to fall short. If marketers aren’t using segmentation by now, they’re at least aware of the tactic and how other organizations benefit from it. While developing personas and lists to send more personalized messages is a step in the right direction, we can take action to further personalize our content and show readers we’re paying attention—and that we’re listening.
Consider what data you might share with your readers to develop a sense of intimacy or help them learn about their own behaviors.
For example, Spotify uses data to demonstrate how well they know their users. These unique messages feel “one-of-a-kind” because they are. Each user receives a message with personalized data and insights around their own actions.
9. You talk too much about yourself.
How to Break It: Send an email, just because.
It can be easy for messaging to get a little out of balance. After all, your marketing efforts are intended to make your audience aware of the value of your products and/or services. But to become a brand that people identify with in a meaningful way, you need to do more than just keep them updated on your latest deals and features.
You need to add value to each person’s life. Develop a cadence for connecting over something unrelated to your sales efforts, but very related to your organization’s core values and culture.
This will help you to grow a following of like-minded individuals passionate about who you are and how you make them feel, not just what you’re selling.
For example, Spotify sends messages to let their users know about upcoming concerts in their area:
Additionally, Chubbies sends a “Weekender” email every Friday that doesn’t include links to products. Instead, they round up fun and entertaining bits of information purely aimed at providing a laugh. This fits right into their culture and core values, as indicated by the statement on their website, “We believe in the weekend.”
According to Kyle, one of their founders, “It’s all about all the wild stuff in the world and what you should be doing this coming weekend. And the purpose of it is to send you into the weekend. It doesn’t drive sales. It’s for nothing but creating a valuable experience with our customers. And we’ve done that every Friday for six years. That’s part of how we build a real relationship with our customers.”
10. You don’t use double opt-in.
How to Break It: Send double opt-in confirmation emails.
When a user subscribes to your email list, you might think assume they want to read your content every week (or day depending on the type of email they signed up to receive).
However, that’s not always the case. Using a double opt-in approach can ensure you have an engaged email list.
To do this, after someone subscribes, send them a follow-up email with a confirmation link ensuring they want to receive emails from you.
For example, HubSpot uses a double opt-in approach to ensure email deliverability rates and engagement is high.
11. You don’t optimize for the mobile experience.
How to Break It: Send test emails and check on your mobile phone.
It’s no secret that most people who read your email will be doing so on their mobile phones.
That’s why it’s important to optimize for the mobile experience.
Be sure to send test emails and see how your email comes across on mobile. Is the text big enough? Are the pictures the right size?
These are important elements that impact engagement rates on your emails.
For example, below is an email on a mobile phone from YouTubeTV about the 2018 Olympics.
As you can see, the text is large enough that you can read it, and the images are displaying correctly.
While best practices emerge for a reason, if you’re not regularly experimenting in this competitive communications landscape, your efforts will soon appear stale and your growth, stagnant. Build time into your team’s workflows to reassess your current best practices regularly to allow for ample creativity.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
When you hear the word “blog”, what do you think of?
Maybe your mind goes to stories about travel, yoga, and exciting new restaurants to try.
What if I told you that, although these thoughts may be valid, other terms and phrases should be coming to mind? These include conversions, a boost in revenue, calls to action, inbound marketing, and improving customer relationships.
Blogs are powerful business tools. They improve conversion rate, foster relationships between your business and audience members and customers, boost revenue, promote brand awareness, increase your ranking on search engines, and positively impact your bottom line.
In this guide, we’ll review the different types of blogs there are and examples of each. We’ve also added a “Niche Industries” section, because there’s a blog for everything out there, including your industry. These will give you a better understanding of the various ways your business can write and publish content to help you achieve the benefits we listed above … and more.
Before we dive in, what is a blog?
Any type of business — whether it’s focused on ecommerce, retail, technology, or services — can benefit from publishing and maintaining a blog. By writing about topics that resonate with your audience and incorporating optimization tactics your business can experience a variety of benefits that result from having a blog.
Speaking of the benefits of a blog, we mentioned some of them above. Let’s dive into them in more detail. This section will help you answer a commonly asked question around the topic: why blog?
Benefits of Blogging
There are a variety of reasons why your business should blog. These all explain why it’s a beneficial time investment and addition to your business’s branding, marketing, and sales efforts.
- Rank on search engines and build authority online so your content and website appear first on the search engine results page, or SERP, when people look up specific terms and keywords. Human Marketing does this well with their mix of blogs and pillar pages (or topic clusters).
- Drive organic traffic to your website, social media profiles, and other forms of content in a way that feels natural and doesn’t interrupt your audience. Cloud Elements is an example of a company that has seen an increase in organic traffic due to their blog.
- Educate your leads and customers by helping them stay informed on industry trends and development, and educated about your products, services, and how you can solve their challenges.
- Contribute to your inbound marketing tactics so you can avoid having your content feel pushy and “salesy”. Grand Rapids Chair is an example of a company that uses their blog to improve their inbound growth.
- Convert leads and prospects into customers by including helpful and educational information in your blogs so they can understand why your product or service is right for them.
- Become known as an expert in the industry and stand out against your competition by writing about the various topics your business and product line is known for or relates to. These may include content marketing, public relations, or software for small businesses. 3PL Central is an example of a company who has become known as an industry expert and separates themselves from the competition thanks to their blog.
- Foster a sense of community so your audience members know there are hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size of your blog) of other people equally as interested in your information and content.
- Engage audience members and customers so they keep coming back to read your content every day (or as often as you publish your blog) and potentially check out your products or services.
- Promote your business and products or services by writing about their benefits and linking to information where your readers can learn more … and convert into customers.
- Boost revenue with calls-to-action (CTAs) and links to your website pages where your audience can learn about and purchase your products or sign up for your services.
- Support all of your marketing and greater business initiatives by staying consistent with your branding and tone throughout all of your blogs.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what blogging is and how it can benefit your business, let’s dive into some examples. You can these examples for inspiration and as a point of reference as you start your business’s blog.
The following blog types are targeted at various industries and audiences, and I include real examples of each below. You’ll notice each blog description includes main takeaways to help you apply these examples to your own business’s blog.
Before we start, you might be wondering: Is there anything all successful blogs have in common that I should be keeping an eye out for?
Fair question — and in terms of the examples we’re about to review, the answer is yes.
What do successful blogs have in common?
Successful blogs have a specific purpose that’s clear to readers. Whether or not a blog relates directly to the product or service the company sells, each blog has a defined purpose readily apparent to readers. You’ll notice this is often the main takeaway for the examples we’re about to review.
Now, let’s dive in.
Marketing blogs cover a wide array of topics related to inbound marketing, social media, content creation, and organic growth. They may focus on one specific field within marketing or cover broad, industry-related trends to help you develop a marketing strategy specific to your business.
1. DWDigitaWeb Blog
DWDigitaWeb is an inbound marketing agency. Their blog educates marketers on useful inbound tactics to help them grow their business and drive organic traffic. They write about lead generation, SEO, and how to use your blog to convert readers into customers.
- The blog educates readers on the importance and impact of inbound marketing on any business.
- Relevant subtopics, such as social media, inbound recruiting, website strategy, and sales enablement, educate readers on all aspects of the marketing trend.
Blog Post Spotlight: The 3 Essential Elements to Create Your Buyer’s Journey
2. HubSpot Marketing Blog
The HubSpot Marketing Blog is also focused on inbound marketing. It teaches readers about the level of organic growth and traffic inbound marketing promotes. The blog attracts a large audience due to the wide variety of inbound marketing topics that are written about, which apply to virtually every type of company.
Note: HubSpot also has a Sales Blog, Service Blog, and Agency Blog.
- It includes several resources (such as closely related CTAs and articles) to support the topics being discussed throughout the blogs.
- The blog’s tone remains the same across all pieces of content which creates a sense of consistency for readers.
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3. Scholes Marketing Blog
Scholes Marketing publishes a blog for anyone looking to optimize their website and improve their organic traffic with inbound marketing. Their content educates readers on related subtopics including how to build a great, searchable website and how to generate leads and revenue through content.
- The main function of the blog, which is to teach and educate readers about how to enhance their business and broaden their reach through inbound marketing, is clear to readers through the content they provide.
- The blog gives readers a number of applicable ways to grow and expand reach through inbound marketing.
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Manufacturing blogs are used to inform those in manufacturing and closely-related field (such as supply chain, distribution, and logistics) about best practices, news, and trends in the industry. These blogs keep you up-to-date and well-versed in this ever-changing business sector.
1. Dustless Blasting Blog
Dustless Blasting uses their blog to promote their product, the Dustless Blasting machine. They share real stories and write about common situations in which their target audience may find themselves in need of the product. They create guides and instructional pieces (as well as instructional videos) to teach customers how to use the machine.
- By describing real scenarios in which their target audience may find themselves needing the machine, they’re able to determine whether or not the product is right for them.
- The blog includes applicable information about how to use the Dustless Blasting machine so readers can better understand how the product fits their needs (and potentially convert into customers).
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2. Epec Engineered Technologies Blog
The Epec Engineering Technologies blog covers a wide variety of topics about electronics manufacturing. There are Q&As, interviews with industry experts, directions on how to assemble specific electronics, cables, and more, and even information on technical writing for similar businesses looking to begin their blogs.
- The blog is a one-stop-shop for all types of electronic manufacturing solution knowledge and queries.
- The blog posts are written in a variety of formats to engage readers and provide unique content for everyone.
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3. Marlin Steel Blog
Marlin Steel’s blog covers all things related to steel production, use, and technology. Blog posts and listicles cover everything from how to use specific steel tools and products as well as how to use steel in various situations. There are also several posts about developments and changes within the steel industry over the years.
- The blog has an array of content about steel products and use to educate readers on their options and keep them up-to-date on industry trends and advancements.
- Even though steel may be a niche topic, there are blogs written in a number of engaging formats including interviews, how-to’s, and listicles.
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Whether it’s policy, law, treatment, technology, or research, healthcare blogs exist to help businesses and individuals stay informed of the newest and highest impact innovations made in the field.
1. Six Month Smiles Blog
The Six Month Smiles blog is a place where individuals can participate in clinical conversations and learn more about short-term orthodontics. Blog posts are written by industry experts, including people who work for companies that create and design dental tools. Writers also include hygienists and doctors who perform dental cleanings, surgeries, and more. The blog has a variety of interviews, Q&As, and informational pieces for readers.
- Industry experts, doctors, and dental hygienists can collaborate and talk about their work and developments in the field through this blog.
- The blog provides a way for potential customers to learn about the services they may be interested in paying for.
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2. Algamus Gambling Recovery Blog
The Algamus Gambling Recovery Blog is for anyone who is (or knows someone who is) going through gambling addiction recovery. The blog covers all topics related to gambling addiction and gambling addiction recovery including treatment, ways to get support, and how to support a loved one going through treatment. The posts are formatted in a variety of ways such as guides to self-help, guides to support, and scientific studies.
- The blog has content for everyone including gambling addicts and the people supporting them through their recovery.
- By including scientific studies, their blog content feels trustworthy and legitimate which is important since they’re covering a real medical issue.
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3. StayWell Insights Blog
StayWell helps businesses, healthcare providers, and others discover and create health empowerment solutions. Their blog, called StayWell Insights, does this, too — their pieces provide readers with a wide range of information about health habits, insights, studies, and trends. All of their content is supported by scientific studies and news.
- Blogs are written about a variety of topics within healthcare such as information about providers, trends, and industry events so all readers can find what they’re looking for.
- By backing their content with official studies and news, they feel trustworthy to readers — this is important considering they’re writing about healthcare and healthcare providers.
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Ecommerce blogs help online businesses and retailers of all kinds learn about the best technology, trends, and tools in the industry to help them grow and reach their short and long-term goals. These blogs cover ecommerce marketing and strategy, online shop development, and more.
1. M.M. LaFleur Blog
Women who work in virtually any industry can read the blog to feel inspired by other businesswomen as well as learn about different aspects of being a woman in the workplace (gender equality, stereotypes, etc.). Lastly, there are blog posts related to attire including topics about what to wear on your first day, casual Fridays, and to job interviews.
- The blog promotes education and discussion around the topic of women in the workplace, all while relating this content back to their clothing line.
- They discuss these societal issues in a way that makes readers feel good which leads them to feel good about the brand as a whole.
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2. JustBats Blog
From baseball and softball bat reviews to bat gift ideas, the JustBats blog covers all topics related to finding the right bat for every individual. JustBats sells hundreds of baseball and softball bats, so their blog does a great job of explaining to customers which options are best for them.
There are blogs about bat brands and specific models, as well as posts about technique and how to improve your baseball or softball skills and knowledge.
- The blog’s purpose is to educate readers on the business’s product line so they can make the right purchase.
- JustBats’ product line is so vast that their blogs help simplify the purchase process for customers.
Blog Post Spotlight: 2020 Easton Maxum 360 Baseball Bat
3. G FUEL
G FUEL is an energy drink, and the company has a blog they use to promote their product line. The blog content G FUEL shares includes news about their business as well as their products. Rather than trying to discreetly talk about their drinks, it’s very obvious to readers that G FUEL is trying to provide education around the benefits of their product and what makes them stand out against their competition.
- The blog teaches readers about the benefits of G FUEL and why it’s a better drink than those of their competitors.
- The blog provides customers and fans with a unique inside look at their business they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. This promotes relationship building between customers and the company.
Blog Post Spotlight: Women Of G FUEL: FooYa
It’s no secret that the tech world is always evolving. With so many advancements being made every day, it’s critical that businesses do what they can to keep up with the cutting-edge developments that impact their ability to grow and reach their target audience.
1. Dotloop Blog
Dotloop is a real estate transaction management solution used by professionals and clients to conduct and close deals. Dotloop’s blog covers all topics related to real estate automation, what it’s like to work in the field, industry trends, and product offerings. They also write about the ways their product can help simplify all aspects of the real estate process.
- The blog distills the broad topic of real estate down and organizes it by role (for example, agent vs. broker) to simplify the reading experience.
- The real estate education the blog provides readers with is expert-level. This allows visitors to leave the site feeling confident in their new or improved knowledge.
Blog Post Spotlight: What Every Real Estate Broker and Agent Should Know
2. Adaptive Insights Blog
Adaptive Insights is a business and financial planning software company. Their blog provides insight into how active financial planning processes drive success. Their blogs include tips, latest news, and best practices related to active financial planning. Adaptive Insights even writes about specific causes and events that matter to them as a company (such as social causes, employee and customer success, etc.) so readers get to know them on a deeper level.
- It educates readers and visitors on the various ways active financial planning is beneficial to their business which helps the company promote their software.
- Adaptive Insights also gives visitors an inside look at their company and what matters to them (and their employees) through their blog — this helps them build relationships with readers.
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3. Inside Design by InVision Blog
Inside Design by InVision — a digital product design platform — has a blog for technology, UX, UI, and product designers. Designers can turn to the blog for inspiration or to learn about industry trends, resources, and best practices. There’s also a section of the blog that covers design news and information about design workshops.
- The blog’s content covers all aspects of digital design — no matter what type of digital designer visits the site, there’s blog content for them.
- The way the blog is organized makes it easy for these different types of designers to quickly find the type of information they’re looking for.
Blog Post Spotlight: The Designer’s Guide to Netflix: 12 Must-Watch Shows and Movies
Education and Nonprofit Blogs
Education and nonprofit blogs provide teachers, administrators, volunteers, and leaders with a way to learn about each other’s findings and strategies. Most importantly, they give these people the opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to help each other grow.
1. Teach Away Blog
Teach Away is an education-focused company that recruits individuals in North America to teach abroad. Their blog provides interested teachers and site visitors with a look at everything they need to make an informed decision about whether or not Teach Away is right for them. Blog topics include teaching abroad vs. teaching online, teacher training, teacher success stories, teaching destinations, and more.
- Since the teachers who participate in Teach Away experience a large lifestyle change, the blog is a place they learn about all parts of the program and decide if it’s right for them.
- All aspects of the program are separated into different sections of the blog so teachers and prospective teachers can easily locate the information they’re looking for.
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2. Trinity College London Blog
Trinity College London is one of the leading exam boards for the performing arts and English language. They also offer the Arts Award qualification, which encourages young people to participate in and engage with all art forms.
They have several blogs including the Trinity College London UK blog and the Arts Award blog. The way the blogs are separated allows visitors to easily log on to read, or subscribe to, the content that matters most to them.
- Trinity College is an exam board with blog content organized by audience need for easy navigation.
- No matter which topics students are studying or educators are teaching, they can review dozens of articles in their central blog locations.
Blog Post Spotlight: How to meet the individual needs of each player when teaching an ensemble piece.
3. GuideStar by Candid Nonprofit Blog
GuideStar by Candid is a well-known clearinghouse of nonprofit financial and leadership information. No matter the type of foundation you work for, this blog is a place where you can learn about all sides of running or volunteering for a nonprofit. Their blog posts provide a summary of nonprofit news, best practices, and information about leaders.
- The blog covers all aspects of non-profit work including latest trends, tips, and news so there’s information for volunteers and leaders of all kinds.
- Blog posts educate readers on what successful organization are doing and which strategies they’re implementing so they too can give them a try.
Digital Agency Blogs
Digital agency blogs allow your business to get help and advice from certified agencies and consultants. The following blogs belong to service providers from across the globe that help businesses implement successful digital and inbound strategies.
1. Synx Blog
Synx is a digital agency, marketing, and technology company based out of Australia. The Synx blog covers all things related to digital marketing including tips and tricks about content, inbound tactics, mobile marketing, and more. They share their blogs in an array of formats including listicles, interviews, success stories, and thought leadership pieces to cater to all types of readers.
- The blogs are written in a variety of formats and styles to suit every visitor’s business needs and preferences.
- The blog content promotes Synx’s services by explaining why businesses need it and how it differs from the competition.
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2. Dotdynamic Blog
Dotdynamic is a digital marketing agency based out of Ireland that provides businesses with the techniques and strategies they need to generate qualified leads and convert more people into customers, both on and offline.
Their blog provides businesses with key insights and tips on how to achieve an impactful and effective digital marketing strategy. They also educate readers on the latest industry trends and tactics to attract, engage, and convert more audience members.
- All blog content relates in some way to the business’s mission of empowering and educating other companies on digital marketing.
- The blogs are organized by specific topic within digital marketing for easy access — examples include SEO, PPC ads, digital marketing strategies.
Blog Post Spotlight: Advantages to Working With a Digital Marketing Agency
3. HAL Company Blog
HAL Company is a digital agency and consulting company based out of Argentina. Their blog shares applicable advice and information about the latest trends in marketing, sales, and automation platforms throughout their variety of posts and listicles.
- Blog topics support the overall mission of the business: help companies grow while boosting conversions and brand awareness through specific marketing, sales, and automation tactics.
- The blog posts recommend specific automation tools, software, and technology to help businesses grow better using digital marketing tactics.
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Whew, that was a lot of info … but, hopefully you’re feeling inspired and ready to begin (or improve) your business’s blog. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the type of blog content you produce and share — after all, blogging is an iterative process. And remember to remain open to new ways to engage your target audience with your blog down the road.
Niche Industry Blogs
These blogs are business blogs that exist in niche industries. For example, the blog of a local hardware store, or the blog of an independent jeweler. Niche blogs tend to be about a specific industry or topic and support the business’s brand — here, let’s explore a few of them, as well as takeaways you can provide to your own marketing strategy.
1. A Concord Carpenter Blog
This blog is from an independent contractor based in Concord, Massachusetts. Rob Robillard started the blog to share his knowledge in home improvement. The blog covers a variety of subjects, from tool reviews to DIY projects.
- The blog covers specific, intricate subjects, such as building deck showers or painting basement floors. The structure of posts often begins with a short introduction, shows a picture of the completed project, then goes into a step-by-step tutorial, with photos after each step.
- The specificity of the blog posts, paired with the expert advice and visuals, make this blog welcoming for every type of reader. As someone who is not handy at carpentry, I found myself feeling empowered to do a project of my own.
Blog Post Spotlight: 7 DIY Home Repairs
2. Nazmiyal Antique Rugs Blog
Nazmiyal Collection is located in New York, NY, and houses one of the world’s largest collections of antique rugs, offering many of them for sale. Their website details the types of rugs they have available, as well as purchase information, and gives a deep dive about antique rug origins.
- The company’s blog offers posts about multiple different rug types, including geometric, intricate, mid-century, modern, vintage, boho, and expressionist. It provides details about each kind of rug and how to style a room with them.
- The blog also offers many types of posts about how to style rooms with the company’s rugs. The common structure seems to explain the purpose of the room — including many pictures — and offer rug options depending on the style for which you’re aiming.
Blog Post Spotlight: Romantic Interior Design
3. Teleflora Blog
Teleflora is based in Los Angeles, California, and connects customers with the best florists across the United States. On the website, you can order bouquets from florists in your area and receive same-day delivery, so as not to damage the flowers. The company’s blog is all about flower arrangements.
- Blog topics range from flower tips and ideas, flower trends news, and the meaning of flowers. A lot of the content centers around holidays, such as International Women’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day.
- The blog post structure seems to vary by post type. For example, a post can either be an explanation post, offer advice, or present news. Depending on the type, the post will either be long or short form, include vibrant photos, and offer a deep description of the flower arrangement presented.
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4. McKissock Learning Blog
This blog is a part of McKissock Learning, a company that provides learning experiences to those looking to advance in their real estate career. Their services cover appraisal, real estate, home inspection, land surveying, engineering, and banking.
- Though the company is centered around offering learning services in various areas of a real estate career, the blog covers three categories: Real Estate, Appraisal, and News. It’s a good idea — if your company is small but offers a variety of services — to pick a few large ones to focus on in the blog.
- The blog offers tips and insights within the real estate industry and does a lot of roundups with trends and news.
Blog Post Spotlight: Why Real Estate Agents Love Real Estate
5. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group Blog
Jewelers Mutual has been providing insurance for jewelry for over 100 years and is partnered with several organizations in the industry. The company’s blog provides information about keeping jewelers knowledgeable about safety and success as it pertains to their possessions.
- Blog posts are usually roundups, sharing tips about how to prevent theft or shipping options for jewelry. There are a few contributors, and they post at least once a week. Categories include coverage, customer service, marketing, and webinars, among many more.
- The structure of blog posts usually starts with a compelling, informative intro, then dives into the body of the post, providing the takeaways of each point of advice near the end of the post.
Blog Post Spotlight: 5 Jewelry Store Promotion Ideas That Don’t Cost a Dime
Blogging Helps You Grow Better
Blogging can be an effective way to positively impact your business’s bottom line. No matter your industry or business size, you can start and manage a blog that brings in leads, converts them into customers, and boosts revenue.
You’ll also likely see an improvement of your brand awareness once your blog begins ranking and growing. Remember — building a blog takes time and patience, but the results are worth the wait. So, determine what type of blog is right for you, use the examples we’ve reviewed above for inspiration and guidance, and start writing.
Nowadays, plenty of business is done virtually.
For instance, you might begin your morning by answering emails and editing a colleague’s blog post via Google Doc. Your colleague is working from home today, so you Slack him to let him know when the piece is ready.
In the afternoon, you have a 1:1 via Zoom with your remote manager.
Then, around 4 PM, you log into a company’s webinar to learn more about Social Media Marketing in 2020. The webinar has a panel of experts, and you’re able to download the recorded webinar later for future reference.
Undoubtedly, online tools and experiences are an integral part of a modern marketer’s role.
However, there is one aspect of business that seems, until recently, almost entirely untouched by virtual experience: conferences.
Our historic mindset around conferences is that we board a plane to a conference, bring our business cards, and prepare ourselves for a week of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking events that enable us to spread the word about our own products and services, while collaborating with other marketers who might have useful tools or suggestions of their own.
In 2020, there will likely be a rise of virtual conferences. Here, let’s explore the benefits of virtual conferences, take a look at some examples of successful virtual conferences to inspire you, and check out a few tools that can help you plan your own.
But first — let’s talk about why virtual conferences can benefit your business in the future.
Virtual Conference Benefits
There are plenty of major benefits to hosting a virtual conference.
For one, it can lower the price of admission, enabling smaller businesses with limited budgets to purchase tickets to your conference and offer their own unique insights.
It also lowers the cost your business would have to pay for conference space, on-hand staff, catering, security, and much more.
Additionally, it allows people from across the globe to interact with each other without needing to spend exorbitant amounts on flights and hotels. Imagine how much easier it is for marketers from India, Ireland, Australia, and the U.S. to collaborate virtually, rather than trying to gather in-person.
It also may help you attract high-demand speakers who don’t have the time to commit to an in-person conference, but are happy to share industry takeaways via a quick video call or pre-recorded presentation.
Additionally, a virtual conference enables you to create a product — recordings from your conference — that you can continue to share and use as a lead generation tool for months and years after the initial live launch.
And, finally, there’s the obvious: sometimes unforeseen circumstances can make in-person conferences in certain locations simply impossible.
Now that we’ve explored a few benefits, let’s dive into tools that can help you create your own virtual conference.
Virtual Conferencing Tools
Hopin is an all-in-one platform for planning virtual conferences, offering everything from a virtual reception to breakout sessions, a mainstage, and networking events.
The networking tool is particularly helpful, with a timer you can set for each attendee to mingle with another for just a couple minutes before moving onto the next conversation (and, if the conversation goes exceptionally well, they can click “Connect” to receive contact information of the other attendee to follow-up later).
Your event can include both webinars and live-streams, and a Live Chat function enables attendees to ask questions in real-time. Additionally, attendees can use virtual booths to promote their products or services, and offer discounts as well.
The Whova Event App has been a leader in attendee engagement and networking since 2014. For four years in a row, Whova has received both the Best Event App award and the People’s Choice Award from the Event Technology Awards.
Event organizers can use Whova to help make virtual events highly interactive, fun, and productive before, during, and after the event. The tool directly integrates with live streaming and video hosting tools such as Zoom, Google Hangout, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. It also provides live Q&A, attendee networking, a discussion board, meeting-matches, a virtual exhibitor hall, and even virtual meet-ups.
Many organizers provide access to the Whova app prior to their events to let attendees virtually socialize and discuss various topics, one-on-one or in virtual groups, making everyone feel more connected by the time the event comes around. Every attendee has a professional profile, allowing them to find others with whom they have common interests. The ice breaker and in-app chat, in particular, make it fun for strangers to get to know one another on a personal level and communicate with both new and old friends.
Run The World is an all-in-one virtual conference platform with tools for livestream talks, discussions, and panels — additionally, Run The World ensures the social aspect of your virtual event is not lost, with a virtual “cocktail party” option, and an algorithm that matches attendees with other like-minded individuals based on questionnaires they fill out prior to the event.
Run The World is accessible to a variety of small and large organizations, including non-profits, startup and enterprise businesses, and individual experts who’d like to host online workshops or bootcamps.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the budget for a virtual conferencing tool or simply don’t need much more than a simple video and mic, you might consider video call tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or ezTalks.
Examples of Virtual Conferences
1. Game Developers Conference
The 2020 Game Developers Conference (GDC) switched its in-person conferences to streaming recorded versions on the GDC Twitch channel. The conference will still have ceremonies for The Independent Games Festival (IGF) and Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), and will stream session content starting 9 AM PT daily, March 16-20.
The GDC has a well-organized itinerary posted on their website, with breakout sessions led by influencers and experts in the Gaming industry.
Additionally, you’re able to pause Live sessions if you’re interested in watching at a later time, and the GDC has included “Recommended Channels” with headcounts on the left side of the screen. With some sessions evoking over 30,000 viewers, it’s safe to say the GDC has successfully launched a virtual version of their initially in-person event.
2. HubSpot’s Partner Day
On April 7-8, HubSpot will launch its own virtual Partner Day. The Partner team will use Zoom, a popular video conferencing tool, and will send each presenter a “video kit” with a mic, camera, lighting, and backdrop, so that participants can experience an optimal viewing experience from each of the day’s virtual speakers. Additionally, attendees can use Zoom to network with other partners.
I spoke with Arden Brust, a Manager on HubSpot’s Partner Marketing team, to learn about some challenges you might experience when planning a virtual experience of your own.
Brust told me: “When planning a virtual event, it’s critical you remain flexible and open-minded. With a virtual event, you run the risk of technology issues, as well as scheduling issues you might not have considered if you had everyone in-person (including timezone issues). To combat this, continue to iterate with your team and plan on pivoting — don’t get too attached to plan A that you don’t consider how plan B might work out better.”
3. How I Built This, by Women In Product
With the help of the Run The World virtual conferencing tool, the non-profit organization Women In Product launched an entirely virtual event March 7-8, 2020. The Women In Product conference included participants from China, India, Canada, and Silicon Valley.
The conference featured 10 speakers who’ve built successful products — including the Director of Product at GoDaddy, a PayPal Product Lead, and a Senior Product Manager at Ebay. The virtual event included fireside chats, keynote speakers, and networking events that enabled women to hear about the challenges and successes of product launches in different markets.
4. Webinar Mastery Summit
Jon Schumacher had hosted webinars online for a while with minimal results when he launched the Webinar Mastery Summit, a virtual conference for people who wanted to advance their webinar skills.
His first virtual summit featured 25 experts, and generated 7,000 new email subscribers and over $55,000 in revenue with his All-Access Pass sales. With All-Access, his participants receive lifetime access to 17 expert video sessions, full MP3 recordings of all sessions, three months of course creation software, and access to a private community for additional networking.
Ultimately, with virtual conferences, you’re able to create recorded packaged content for future lead generation and sales even after the initial live launch — something in-person conferences, for all its networking benefits, is unable to do.
5. HubSpot User Groups (HUGs)
Meghann Keogh, a HubSpot Marketing Manager in charge of HubSpot User Groups and Events, has experienced circumstances in which she found it necessary to cancel in-person events and create virtual ones, instead. Keogh told me she’s hosted virtual HUGs events for San Fransisco, NYC, Berlin, London, Helsinki, Paris, Bogota & Mexico City.
Additionally, she’s created virtual fireside chats, including an upcoming one with CEO & Co-Founder Brian Halligan & Christian Kinnear, VP of Sales & Managing Director EMEA.
When asked how to run a successful virtual event, Keogh told me — “Whether in-person or virtually, people are hungry to connect. The feedback we have received so far has been extremely positive. It’s not just cities that are connecting, it’s countries.”
“What’s made our virtual events a success so far? Our amazing speakers who inspire, educate, and innovate our HUG communities.”
Keogh adds, “We’re committed to bringing relevant content to our HUGs, whether that’s in-person or virtually. We want to make sure our communities still have that chance to engage with one another, and we’re devoted to making that happen.”
According to our 2020 State of Marketing report, blogging is the third most utilized form of content marketing, just behind video and infographics.
Like any successful strategy, many brands, publishers, and individuals have jumped on the blogging bandwagon. Currently, there are 600 million active blogs globally. Meanwhile, the number of active U.S. bloggers rose from 22 million to 32 million between 2014 and 2020.
“Despite the numbers that show the enduring impact blogs can have on business, the perception of blogging as a valuable content marketing channel is continually called into question: the phrase ‘is blogging dead?’ has 26.8 million results on Google.
To determine where blog readership might stand today, I surveyed 400 people about how often they read blogs.
As a blogger who constantly writes, discovers and reads blogs online regularly, I was expecting that a large number of people would say that they read blogs at least daily.
However, after I performed the Lucid survey, I found the end results surprising — and a little unnerving.
When I asked participants, “How often do you read blogs?”, a whopping 40% of them said, “Never.”
Before you go deleting your blog just because of one survey — remain calm. While 40% of people in this survey say they never read blogs, other research suggests that nearly 80% of internet users interact with them regularly.
It’s also important to note that some people might not even be realizing how often they’re actually reading a blog. For example, people might not seek out a blog to answer their questions, but a page they discover with helpful information on it after a search query might be a blog. Additionally, people that follow a blog or company might read blog posts on their corporate site, but could still just think of them as “articles” or “company announcements.”
Not to mention, blogging is still incredibly valuable for search engine optimization. In fact, having a blog on your website can result in a 434% increase in indexed pages and a 97% increase in indexed links.
Although I was a bit concerned by the number of people that claim they “never” read blogs, this content strategy still seems to be effective. While 40% of the group claims they don’t read blogs, 60% say they read them more than once weekly. One-third of this group even reads blogs four to six times a week or more.
In short, you should definitely still be blogging.
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that this survey was a random sampling of consumers from all industries and age groups. While people in some demographics might have less need for reading blogs, people in industries like marketing or B2B might rely on them to stay up to date in their industry.
While you should take the results above with a grain of salt, the percentage of people who never read blogs is still worth noting. This large percentage shows how blog-based marketing might still run into barriers. This could also be part of the reason why it’s fallen from the top to third-most-common content marketing tactic in past years.
Yes. Less innovative blog content won’t cut it anymore. But, when you think strategically about your blog, the overall tactic is still highly effective. The HubSpot Blog that you’re on right now is living proof.
If you’re a small to medium business marketer, these results shouldn’t deter you from starting a blog. Instead, they should make you realize that you’ll need to get creative to build a competitive blog that generates traffic and leads.
To help you grab attention from large audiences — even if they less frequently read blogs — here are six ways to innovate on your blog strategy.
Six Ways to Combat Low Blog Readership
1. Experiment with video and text in your posts.
One of blogging’s biggest competitors is video content marketing — a.k.a. the top content marketing strategy according to …. But, if you don’t have time to test a full video strategy, you can consider posting a few blog posts with videos on your blog instead.
On the HubSpot Blog, we regularly add videos to our own blog posts in order to give more in-depth detail or expert tips on the topic we’ve written about. This way, readers who find the blog post can either read or watch the content.
Here’s one example of a blog post where we included a video related to its topic:
On top of improving the user’s experience, placing videos on your blog can also make web content rank in video-based search results. Additionally, video content can also be incredibly engaging when you share them on your social media channels.
If you’re thinking that creating videos will be too expensive or technical for your business, there are strategies you can use to produce videos on a budget. This step-by-step guide walks you through how to brainstorm, script, and affordably shoot videos for your blog or other platforms even when you aren’t working with a big budget.
2. Add infographics or other original images to your content.
In the first few years of my career, when I worked as an editor in newsrooms and small startups, I designed a number of page layouts and basic web graphics. Now, I often create charts and graphs for my blog posts — including the one you see in the intro above. But, interestingly enough, I’ve only ever taken one formal course in graphic design.
The truth is, with all the technology and design-related apps we have today, creating basic graphics isn’t impossible, hard, or time-consuming. In fact, while working on a tight deadline, I used Canva to create the chart seen in the introduction in under five minutes.
If you hire a graphic designer or get the hang of creating graphics quickly, you can also test out posting infographics as the centerpoint of your blog posts. Here’s a post where the HubSpot Blog did just that:
While it might take a little bit longer to create branded designs and templates for your blog at first, these visuals will be incredibly helpful for gaining image search traffic. Like video content, original images can also be highly shareable and engaging on social media.
3. Publish original data, quotes, and expert insights.
Some bloggers think that they can get away with writing short. Light-lift blog posts between 200 to 300 words. While tiny, low-effort posts might get some search traffic, they’re not going to make your content feel original or interesting to the reader.
To compete with more experienced blog sites, write in-depth posts that include data and facts to back up each point that you discuss. If you can, leverage data collection platforms like online survey platforms to collect original data that you can then post on your blog. This will make your content look more credible and trustworthy, but it also can boost search traffic. Here’s how:
When you include your own data in blog posts, other bloggers or journalists looking for data to back up their points might link to your blog posts as evidence. These links are often called “backlinks.” While getting mentioned on other websites certainly boosts brand awareness, backlinks also improve your authority in search engines.
Like data, original quotes also encourage backlinking. Aside from this benefit, blog posts with quotes or expert insights from industry thought leaders might be shareable or engaging on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
5. Use SEO strategies to build traffic and rank on search pages.
While many of the tips above will help you boost your non-organic traffic as well as the reader’s experience, you should also pay attention to organic traffic — which will likely account for most of your views. Aside from videos, visuals, and encouraging backlinks with original information, you can also improve organic traffic by leveraging keyword research and other SEO strategies.
If you’re new to SEO, or search engine optimization, it’s actually not that hard to get up to speed on these strategies. While some tactics are as simple as adding alternative text to your images, others include internal linking related blog posts to a new piece you’re publishing. To get up to speed on a few easy and effective SEO tactics, check out this blog post.
6. Promote your content on the right platforms.
Although SEO will likely be a primary source of traffic for you, you’ll still want to make sure you promote blog posts on social media channels.
Why? While it will take time for blog posts to rank in search result pages, you can share your content on social media, email, or other channels to gain non-organic traffic immediately after you publish a post.
Lastly, promoting any content from your website effectively boosts brand awareness. By posting valuable blogs on your channels, you could gain more followers, post shares, and engagements from audiences that you didn’t have before building a social media strategy.
Building a Better Blog
As 2020 continues, we’re going to see even more bloggers take on competitive strategies that embrace new content formats in order to gain audiences and prevent low readership. Regardless of which tactics you decide to test out, keep these things in mind:
- Add videos and visuals: Video and graphic marketing are getting more abundant and effective when it comes to generating traffic and leads. Additionally, younger generations are engaging with this content more than others before them. If you have the bandwidth, be sure to experiment with visual content.
- Offer original insights and tips: As mentioned above, original quotes and data will boost your search and non-organic traffic while making your blog look more credible.
- Leverage search and social opportunities: Most internet users are still finding blog posts primarily through search and social media platforms. So, even when you’re experimenting with new content types, be sure to leverage keywords, alt-text, and other SEO tactics to make sure you’re not ignoring search opportunities. You should also give them additional promotion on your social media channels.
To get more insider tips on how to be an effective blogger, check out this post with insights directly from the HubSpot Blog team.
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I love to travel. My husband and I try to spend our vacations becoming immersed in a culture. It’s one of our favorite things to do together.
As a content creator, I’m predictably an avid content consumer as well.
With my love of content and travel, I often find myself pouring through travel blogs looking for the best way to plan a trip and the best activities to do in a country.
One thing that makes that easy is content aggregation. For me, I use a specific content aggregation site dedicated to travel blogs to find the best information.
For marketers, content aggregator sites can be a useful strategy to reach new audiences. That’s why it’s important to consider using them in your marketing strategy to promote your brand.
Below, let’s review content aggregation in detail, from what it is to the different kinds of content aggregators.
Essentially, content aggregator sites repost and collect content so viewers can see articles from various media on a given topic such as marketing, business, or design. Usually these sites are set up to automatically aggregate content through RSS feeds.
For example, on Rotten Tomatoes, you can read reviews on movies from different blogs and sites, all in one place.
As a note, content aggregators shouldn’t post content without using proper credit and linking to the original source. If they do, that’s considered copyright theft.
Additionally, content aggregation is different from content curation in that it’s automatic. With content curation, the content is actually selected by a person or team instead of gathered through automation. Usually with content curation, there’s also commentary or context. On the other hand, with content aggregation, there’s no original content at all.
So, now that we know more about content aggregation, you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with me?”
Well, to start, content aggregation can help marketers distribute your content on multiple platforms, making it easier for people to find you. The more platforms you’re on, the more exposure you have.
Content aggregation is a tactic you could implement in a brand awareness strategy.
Additionally, becoming involved with content aggregators can help you become involved in your community. With many content aggregation sites, you can comment, vote, and participate in community forums.
Before you get started, it’s important to understand the different kinds of content aggregator sites. The two most valuable to marketers are blog and news aggregators. Below, let’s review more about those types of aggregators.
A blog aggregator is a type of content aggregator. On a blog aggregator site, the focus would be on different blogs, such as WordPress sites for example. Additionally, there could be even more niche focused blog aggregators, such as a travel blog aggregator that’s focused on aggregating content from travel blogs, like I mentioned above.
On the other hand, some aggregator sites aren’t as focused on one topic. Some aggregator sites span a variety of topics such as pop culture, business, travel, and news.
Below, we’ve gathered a list of some example blog aggregators you could consider using for a content aggregator strategy.
Popurls is a popular content aggregator. On this site, users can choose which platforms they want information from.
For example, Popurls pulls content from sites like Reddit, Huffington Post, The Verge, Google, Wired, and YouTube.
While you can’t submit your site to be included in this aggregator, it’s still a powerful content aggregator to be aware of if you’re going to start using content aggregation.
Alltop aggregates content on a variety of topics. Users can search for topics they’re interested in and view aggregated content from some of the most popular blogs on that topic.
As a marketer, Alltop is a great site because you can submit your site to be listed on it. Just go to the contact page to submit an inquiry.
Travel Blogger Community is the content aggregator site that I use when I’m searching for travel blogs. This site aggregates content from travel blogs to maximize exposure for that content.
With this site, you can request to have your content featured. This is a great example of a niche content aggregator. Your industry might have a content aggregator like this, so be sure to do some research if you’re going to implement a content aggregation strategy.
Flipboard is a popular blog aggregator that allows users to create their own feed based on their interests. It can also be used for news aggregation, depending on your interests. On Flipboard, users can read a snippet of the content before being redirected to the main site.
Just like with blog aggregators, news aggregator sites are focused on aggregating content from various news sources. The news can be location based or industry based. For example, if you write about SEO news and updates, there could be a content aggregation site for that.
Below we’ve listed some example news aggregator sites:
1. Google News
With Google News, users can see the top news stories for the day instead of having to use the search engine.
Google News aggregates content for users based on search history, geographic location, and other factors.
Users can also customize their feed by “following” certain topics, sources, or searches.
Pocket is an interesting content aggregator site because you can bookmark and save content to read later.
Users can also customize their feed, choosing a variety of topics to follow.
3. WP News Desk
WP News Desk is a news aggregator site that aggregates content discussing news in the WordPress community. The content it shares is pulled from WordPress blogs specifically.
Feedly is a content aggregation site that’s focused on helping users create their own feed so they aren’t overwhelmed with information overload.
This site has both free and paid plans, so users can aggregate content from as many sources as they want, and any niche they want.
Perhaps one of the most popular content aggregator sites, Reddit is mainly used for social news. It’s also used as a discussion forum, so users can comment and discuss the latest news. Members of the site can submit content such as text posts, images, and links.
With content aggregator sites, marketers can get exposure to their content, while becoming more involved in their community. While it might not be the main part of your marketing plan, it’s a unique and interesting tactic to create brand exposure.
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When starting an email newsletter, you’re juggling a lot of balls in the air at once.
You have to worry about proofreading the copy, creating compelling calls-to-action, designing the email to work for multiple inboxes and devices, avoiding any spam triggers, and brainstorming clickable subject lines — all while staying within the confines of email law (yes, there is such a thing).
Oh, and if you mess any of your email up, there’s no undoing it once you send it to your subscribers.
If you want to make sure you won’t miss any steps when making a newsletter, keep reading. Inspired by a blog post from former leader of HubSpot Academy, Mark Kilens, we pulled together a completely updated and comprehensive checklist for anyone looking to send an email newsletter.
If you’re sending newsletters, bookmark the following steps in your browser, or print it out and hang it up next to you. You don’t want to miss out on these crucial steps.
How to Create an Email Newsletter
Here are 12 steps to create the best email newsletter for your business or personal goals.
Step 1: Figure out your newsletter’s goal.
Before you start drafting a single word, make sure you’re fully aware of the newsletter’s goal and how it fits into your larger content strategy. (Have one in place? Go ahead, skip to the next section.)
Is your newsletter supposed to help you generate leads? Get more email contacts? Send traffic to your website? Figure out your goal and let the rest of your decisions flow from it.
Keep in mind your goal should be something beyond “how many people opened it.” Instead, it should be more closely tied to your overall business goals. Your email’s open rate can give you an indication of the newsletter’s performance, but it shouldn’t be the only number you care about each month. Here are some email marketing metrics to consider.
Step 2: Gather your content.
Once you have a goal for your newsletter, you’ll find content for it. Depending on how early you set your newsletter’s goal and how often you plan on sending this newsletter, you could be able to actively or passively find content in the time between two email sends. Active means you’re going on the hunt for content that’ll solve a specific goal. Passive means that you’ll randomly stumble on it when browsing for other content, but realize it could fit in nicely.
When I put together newsletters, I tended to do a lot of active searching … but I could’ve saved myself a lot of time if I were passive. Since I knew a newsletter needed to be sent each month, bookmarking links throughout the month would’ve been a great timesaver. Instead, I usually spent several hours clicking the “Back” button on my blog, hunting for content.
However you like to gather content is up to you, but great places to look for content are your company’s blog, social media accounts, lead-generation content, internal newsletters, and training documents.
Step 3: Design your template.
Make sure you’ve got an idea of how your newsletter will look before writing copy. That way, you’ll know exactly how much space you have to promote a piece of content — there’s few things more frustrating than trying to squeeze copy into too tight a space.
Your template doesn’t have to be flashy or anything — even newsletters with minimal text and color formatting will look great. The design just needs to make it easy for your recipients to read, scan, and click elements of the email. This means it should be mobile-friendly, too. According to data from Litmus, most people (46%) opened their email on a mobile device in 2018 — nearly 30% higher than email opens on desktop.
If you want to get some inspiration for great email newsletter design, check out this post. I’d also recommend looking into pre-made templates if you’re not familiar with designing emails — it can save you a lot of heartache down the road. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you’ll have a bunch of pre-made templates in the email tool.
Step 4: Set your email newsletter size.
Unfortunately, email newsletters don’t size themselves when you send them to subscribers. But because everyone opens their email on their device and email service of choice, how are you supposed to know what size or resolution they should be?
Most providers will default your email newsletter size to 600px wide, with email body padding another 30px wide on all sides. And when this happens, the content inside your newsletter might not survive the adjustment. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your newsletter design fits inside that universal 600px width.
What about height? Ultimately, your email can be as high (or, rather, as long) as you want it to be without the email client distorting its design. However, people are much less likely to click through to your website if the email goes on forever — and email clients with sensitive spam filters might take notice as well. As a general rule, try not to make your email recipients scroll for more than a second before reaching the end of it.
Step 5: Add in your body content.
Next up: filling in the template with words and pictures. This will be the meat of your email newsletter, so spend time perfecting it. Most people keep the copy short and sweet to encourage clickthroughs, though some notable newsletter take the opposite approach. This post can help you with email newsletter copy if you need it. Be sure to add in some images if they can help support your copy.
Don’t forget to edit your email thoroughly — maybe even send it on to one of your teammates for a once-over. Remember, once you send the thing, you can’t fix those embarrassing typos like you can with web content.
Step 6: Add in personalization tokens and smart content.
The best email newsletters I get feel like they’ve been written personally for me — like a friend actually took the time to put together a newsletter with things only I would like. I open them, I click on them, I share them … pretty much every time.
If you want your newsletters to feel that personal, you should do three things:
- Segment your emails and choose content that group of people will love.
- Add in personalization tokens. If your marketing software supports personalization, this is a really easy thing to implement that could have big results for your conversion rates. That being said, only add in a few personalization tokens — you don’t want to creep out your email recipients. 😉
- Also add in smart content. This is content that shows one thing to one part of your audience and one thing to another. An example would be a Smart CTA — your leads would see a CTA for talking to your sales reps and your customers would see one about getting tickets to a customer-only event. Neither audience would want to see the other audience’s CTA, so smart content will show only the right CTA to the right person.
Step 7: Choose your subject line and sender name.
Your audience may like different things, but we’ve found that having a sender name from a real person increased opens and clickthroughs. Try running an A/B test to see if it works for you, too. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something recognizable so recipients aren’t confused as to why they’re receiving your email.
Subject lines are a little trickier. Lots of things can help you put together a click-worthy subject line, including brevity and an immediately actionable value proposition. That being said, some really great marketing emails have been sent with the subject “Hey.” Use the subject line best practices as a jumping-off point, then run your own A/B tests to see what your audience loves.
Step 8: Support your newsletter content with alt text and plain text.
At this point, you’ll have the email pretty much ready to go. While going through the steps above, I’m guessing you forgot two absolutely crucial things (I know I forget them almost every time I make an email): the alt text and plain text.
Alt text is the text that appears when a picture isn’t loaded. Since not all email providers load images properly, you have to make sure the alt text is there so your recipients know what they’re looking at. If you’re including a CTA that’s an image, your conversion rates will definitely suffer without alt text.
Some email clients also won’t display HTML properly, which is why you need to make sure your emails look great in plain text. Make sure the links are easy to click and that it’s clear what the email is about without the photos.
Step 9: Make sure you’re legally compliant.
Before you hit “Send,” be sure that your emails are all good from a legal perspective. The two biggest laws you need to worry about? CAN-SPAM and GDPR.
- CAN-SPAM requires that you have a footer in your email with your address and an easy way to unsubscribe from your emails if they don’t want to receive them anymore.
- GDPR is a similar but more comprehensive privacy law that passed in Europe in 2018, requiring (among other things) that email marketers only send newsletters to those people who have manually opted in to receive them. In other words, wherever on your website you collect email subscribers, you cannot automatically check the “opt-in” box for them if these recipients live in Europe. They must deliberately check this box themselves.
Step 10: Test different browsers and email providers.
Email providers don’t all read email code the same way — what looks fine on Gmail in Chrome will look terrible in Outlook, for example. So you need to test out emails in the most popular browsers and email providers.
Step 11: Send your email.
The moment of truth! Having made sure all your email recipients have subscribed to receive this email, and your email has all the branding and legal compliance it’s worthy of, it’s time to click send. Then, wait for the data to roll in.
Step 12: Analyze and iterate.
Fast-forward a few days: The data’s in. How did your newsletter do? What do you do next?
Check to see how your email newsletter performed on the goals you set back in step one. See which parts of your email got the most clicks, and which parts of the newsletter contributed most to your goal. If you have closed-loop analytics, measuring this all will be pretty easy.
Once you have that data, you have a direction to go in for your next email newsletter send. Whether your next send is in a day, a week, a month, or a quarter, you’ll have insights to make the next newsletter even better.
What other tips do you have for creating successful email newsletters? For more inspiration, check out these awesome newsletter examples.
A crucial aspect of being a great marketer is being able to measure your success. No matter which metrics you use, you want to prove to your boss (and the company) that you’re worth your salt.
You deserve your budget — and maybe need more of it — and you deserve to dedicate time to the marketing activities that work. Building UTM codes that track your campaigns’ success is the best way to prove it.
Measuring the impact of your work can be tricky without the right tools. Sure, you know Twitter drives a certain percentage of traffic to your website … but do you know if your company’s tweets were the ones driving those visits? Or that your specific guest post drove actual leads and customers to your website?
Luckily, you can prove all of that with a few special codes added to the end of your URLs: They are called UTM codes. In this blog post, you’ll learn what UTM codes are, how to use them, and how to build them in both HubSpot and Google Analytics.
Download our free marketing reporting template here to help you keep track of all your marketing metrics.
What are UTM codes?
UTM codes are snippets of text added to the end of a URL to help you track where website traffic comes from if users click a link to this URL. Marketers can customize this text to match the webpage this URL is linked on, allowing them to attribute the success of that campaign to specific pieces of content.
UTM codes are also known as UTM parameters, or tracking tags, because they help you “track” website traffic from its origin.
Now, you might be thinking, “Ginny, I have HubSpot, so I already know if my website traffic is coming from Google, email, social media, and similar marketing channels. What does a UTM code tell me that I don’t already know?”
HubSpot Marketing Hub provides you with these high-level sources of traffic, but this tool also helps you drill down into specific pages and posts within these traffic sources.
UTM Code Example
If you’re promoting a campaign on social media, for example, you’ll know how much traffic came from social media. Building a UTM code, however, can tell you how much of that traffic came from Facebook, or even a particular post on Facebook.
Here’s an example of a URL with its own UTM code highlighted in orange at the end of the URL below:
In the example above, you’re saying that once traffic comes in from people who click this link, the traffic should be attributed to Facebook. The “medium” is social media, while the “source” is Facebook.
Adding these snippets of code after the question mark above doesn’t affect anything on the page — it just lets your analytics program know that someone arrived through a certain source inside an overall marketing channel, as part of a specific campaign.
What can UTM codes track?
UTM codes can track a medium and a source within that medium. Where it gets more flexible is in the language you use to describe that source. Maybe you want to attribute website traffic to a social network, a type of content, or even the exact name of an advertisement on the web.
Here are the five things you can track with UTM codes and why you might track them:
1. A Campaign
Campaign-based tracking tags group all of the content from one campaign in your analytics. The example UTM code below would help you attribute website traffic to links that were placed as a part of a 20% discount promotion you’re hosting.
2. A Source
A source-based URL parameter can tell you which website is sending you traffic. You could add the example code below to every link you post to your Facebook page, helping you to track all traffic that comes from Facebook.
3. A Medium
This type of tracking tag informs you of the medium that your tracked link is featured in. You can use the example UTM code below to track all traffic that comes from social media (as opposed to other mediums, like email).
4. A Piece of Content
This type of UTM code is used to track the specific types of content that point to the same destination from a common source and medium. It’s often used in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or with two identical links on the same page, as shown in the sample UTM code below.
Example: utm_content=sidebarlink or utm_content=headerlink
5. A Term
A term- or keyword-based tracking code identifies the keywords you’ve paid for in a PPC ad. If you pay for a Google Ads campaign to rank under the keyword, “marketing software,” you might add the following UTM code to the end of the link you submit to Google to run this ad.
The best part about UTM parameters is that you can make any combination you like of these code — use the bare minimum (campaign, source, and medium) to track all of your links, or use all of them to get super specific about your tracking. Clearly, you can use a combination of UTM parameters in lots of ways:
- Track the success of certain marketing initiatives.
- See how well your social channels promote your content versus when your followers promote your content.
- Measure the effectiveness of guest posting referral traffic.
- Track the same piece of content across multiple marketing channels.
- See where most people click on your internal links in a blog post.
Okay, so you’re on board with UTM codes … but how the heck do you set them up? It’s easy. Below are instructions for setting up and measuring UTM parameters in HubSpot and Google Analytics.
How to Build UTM Codes in HubSpot
1. Navigate to your Analytics Tools.
In your Marketing Hub dashboard, select “Reports” on the top navigation bar. Then select “Analytics Tools” in the dropdown, as shown below.
2. Open the Tracking URL Builder.
In the menu of analytics tools that appears, look to the very bottom-righthand corner. You’ll see the option, “Tracking URL Builder.” Click this option at the bottom of the page, as shown in the red box below.
3. Open the Tracking URL form to create a new UTM code.
Whenever you create a web campaign that includes at least one UTM code, you’ll see this campaign listed on the page shown below. This page outlines a tracking tag’s source, medium, term, content, and creation date, which you can see along the bottom of the screenshot below. Click “Create Tracking URL” in the top-righthand corner.
4. Fill in each attribute of your UTM code and click “Create.”
In the form that appears, fill in the URL, Campaign, Source, and Medium fields. If you’d like to add Content and Term, you can do so in the bottom two fields of this form. When you’re done, you’ll see an orange “Create” button become available at the bottom. Click it, and HubSpot will log your UTM code as a new campaign, and this link will ready to include on any webpage from which you want to track the traffic.
5. Use the shortened link in your marketing campaign.
6. Measure your success.
You can track your UTM parameters in your Traffic Analytics dashboard under “Other Campaigns,” as shown below. Click on the individual campaign to break down the source and medium.
As you can see in the second image, below, the name of the campaign appears to the left — based on the text in the UTM code you created — with the traffic from people who used each URL to arrive at your campaign’s main webpage.
How to Build UTM Codes in Google Analytics
1. Open Google’s Campaign URL Builder.
There are three different types of tracking tags you can create in Google, two of which help you track traffic to new apps on app marketplaces. You’ll be using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder — the third option on this list.
2. Fill in each link attribute in the following form.
Visit the page linked above and click the the link to see to this URL builder. Then, you’ll see the UTM builder shown below. Add the URL, Campaign, Source, and Medium information into their respective boxes.
3. Use the link in your marketing campaign.
If you’d like to shorten it, you’ll need a tool like bit.ly … or just use HubSpot’s URL Builder if you’re a HubSpot customer.
4. Measure your success.
If you already have Google Analytics set up for your site, Google will automatically track incoming campaigns. Like in HubSpot, you can access them under “Audience,” then “Sources,” then “Campaigns.” Click on each campaign to view the source and medium.
And that’s it — you’ll have custom tracking codes set up and running in no time! In a few weeks, you’ll be able to make a case for what you need because you’ll have the right metrics available.
We’ve all been through it. You know: the moment you’re about to dig into the best darn pile of spaghetti and meatballs you’ve ever seen.
Just as you twist your fork in the pasta, spear a mouth-watering meatball, and go in for the first savory bite … the phone rings. “May I speak to Lindsay Kow-low-witch?” asks the telemarketer on the other end. “This is an important message regarding your oven preferences.”
This frustrating interruption is exactly why we’re here to discuss inbound lead generation. What is inbound lead generation? It’s a solution that can save your business or organization from being that annoying, disruptive cold caller who is ruining spaghetti nights for pasta lovers all over the world.
Let’s start with defining a lead, and then we’ll cover what online lead generation is, why you need lead generation, how you qualify someone as a lead, how to label lead types — such as sales qualified leads, how you generate leads, and why inbound lead generation is much more effective than simply buying leads.
What is a lead?
A lead is any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.
Leads typically hear from a business or organization after opening communication (by submitting personal information for an offer, trial, or subscription) … instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased their contact information.
Let’s say you take an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. A day or so later, you receive an email from the auto company that created the survey about how they could help you take care of your car. This process would be far less intrusive than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance, right? This is what it’s like to be a lead.
And from a business perspective, the information the auto company collects about you from your survey responses helps them personalize that opening communication to address your existing problems — and not waste time calling leads who aren’t at all interested in auto services.
Leads are part of the broader lifecycle that consumers follow when they transition from visitor to customer. Not all leads are created equal (nor are they qualified the same). There are different types of leads based on how they are qualified and what lifecycle stage they’re in.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Marketing qualified leads are contacts who’ve engaged with your marketing team’s efforts but aren’t ready to receive a sales call. An example of an MQL is a contact who fills out a landing page form for an offer (like in our lead generation process scenario below).
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Sales qualified leads are contacts who’ve taken actions that expressly indicate their interest in becoming a paying customer. An example of an SQL is a contact who fills out a form to ask a question about your product or service.
Product Qualified Lead (PQL)
Product qualified leads are contacts who’ve used your product and taken actions that indicate interest in becoming a paying customer. PQLs typically exist for companies who offer a product trial or a free or limited version of their product (like HubSpot!) with options to upgrade, which is where your sales team comes in. An example of a PQL is a customer who uses your free version but engages or asks about features that are only available upon payment.
Service Qualified Lead
Service qualified leads are contacts or customers who’ve indicated to your service team that they’re interested in becoming a paying customer. An example of an service qualified lead is a customer who tells their customer service representative that they’d like to upgrade their product subscription; at this time, the customer service representative would up-level this customer to the appropriate sales team or representative.
These lead generators are just a few examples of lead generation strategies you can use to attract potential customers and guide them towards your offers. (We talk about more strategies later.)
Whenever someone outside the marketing world asks me what I do, I can’t simply say, “I create content for lead generation.” It’d be totally lost on them, and I’d get some really confused looks.
So instead, I say, “I work on finding unique ways to attract people to my business. I want to provide them with enough goodies to get them naturally interested in my company so they eventually warm up to the brand enough to want to hear from us!”
That usually resonates better, and that’s exactly what lead generation is: It’s a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually making a purchase.
Why do you need lead generation?
When a stranger initiates a relationship with you by showing an organic interest in your business, the transition from stranger to customer is much more natural.
Lead generation falls within the second stage of the inbound marketing methodology. It occurs after you’ve attracted an audience and are ready to convert those visitors into leads for your sales team (namely sales-qualified leads).
As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual’s journey to becoming a delighted customer.
Lead Generation Process
Now that we understand how lead generation fits into the inbound marketing methodology, let’s walk through the steps of the lead generation process.
- First, a visitor discovers your business through one of your marketing channels, such as your website, blog, or social media page.
- That visitor then clicks on your call-to-action (CTA) — an image, button, or message that encourages website visitors to take some sort of action.
- That CTA takes your visitor to a landing page, which is a web page that is designed to capture lead information in exchange for an offer.
Note: An offer is the content or something of value that’s being “offered” on the landing page, like an ebook, a course, or a template. The offer must have enough perceived value to a visitor for them to provide their personal information in exchange for access to it.)
- Once on the landing page, your visitor fills out a form in exchange for the offer. (Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site.) Voila! You have a new lead. That is, as long as you’re following lead-capture form best practices.
See how everything fits together?
To sum it up: Visitor clicks a CTA that takes them to a landing page where they fill out a form to get an offer, at which point they become a lead.
By the way, you should check out our free lead generation tool. It helps you create lead capture forms directly on your website. Plus, it’s really easy to set up.
Lead Generation Marketing
Once you put all of these elements together, you can use your various promotional channels to drive traffic to your landing page to start generating leads.
But what channels should you use to promote your landing page? Let’s talk about the front-end of lead generation — lead gen marketing.
If you’re a visual learner, this chart shows the flow from promotional marketing channels to a generated lead.
There are even more channels you can use to get visitors to become leads. Let’s go into depth on these and talk about a few others.
Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.
Email is a great place to reach the people who already know your brand and product or service. It’s much easier to ask them to take an action since they’ve previously subscribed to your list. Emails tend to be a bit cluttered, so use CTAs that have compelling copy and an eye-catching design to grab your subscriber’s attention.
Ads and Retargeting
The sole purpose of an ad is to get people to take an action. Otherwise, why spend the money? If you want people to convert, be sure that your landing page and offer match exactly what is promised in the ad, and that the action you want users to take is crystal clear.
The great thing about using your blog posts to promote an offer is that you can tailor the entire piece to the end goal. So, if your offer is an instructional video on setting up Google Search Console, then you can write a blog post about how to select your marketing metrics … which would make your CTA highly relevant and easy to click.
Social media platforms make it easy to guide your followers to take action, from the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook bio links to bitly URLs on Twitter. You can also promote your offerings on your social posts and include a call-to-action in your caption. Learn more about social media campaigns in this post.
You can break down a lot of barriers to a sale by offering trials of your product or service. Once a prospect is using your product, you can entice them with additional offers or resources to encourage them to buy. Another good practice is to include your branding in your free versions so you can capture other potential customers, too.
Referral, or word-of-mouth, marketing is useful for lead generation in a different way. That is, it gets your brand in front of more people, which, in turn, increases your chances of generating more leads.
Whatever channel you use to generate leads, you’ll want to guide users to your landing page. As long as you’ve built a landing page that converts, the rest will handle itself.
Why not just buy leads?
Marketers and salespeople alike want to fill their sales funnel — and they want to fill it quickly. Enter: The temptation to buy leads.
Buying leads, as opposed to organically generating them, is much easier and takes far less time and effort, despite being more expensive. But, you might be paying for advertising anyway … so, why not just buy leads?
First and foremost, any leads you’ve purchased don’t actually know you. Typically, they’ve “opted in” at some other site when signing up for something, and didn’t actually opt into receiving anything from your company.
The messages you send them are therefore unwanted messages, and sending unwanted messages is intrusive. (Remember that disruptive call I got when I was trying to eat my spaghetti? That’s how people feel when they receive emails and other messages from people they didn’t ask to hear from.)
If the prospect has never been to your website and indicated an interest in your, products or services, then you’re interrupting them … plain and simple.
If they never opted in to receive messages specifically from you, then there’s a high chance they could flag your messages as spam, which is quite dangerous for you. Not only does this train to filter out emails from you, but it also indicates to their email provider which emails to filter out.
Once enough people flag your messages as spam, you go on a “blacklist,” which is then shared with other email providers. Once you get on the blacklist, it’s really, really hard to get back off of it. In addition, your email deliverability and IP reputation will likely be harmed.
It’s always, always, always better to generate leads organically rather than buy them. Read this blog post to learn how to grow an opt-in email list instead of buying one.
How to Qualify a Lead
As we covered in the first section, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Now, let’s talk about the ways in which someone can actually show that interest.
Essentially, a sales lead is generated through information collection. That information collection could come as the result of a job seeker showing interest in a position by completing an application, a shopper sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon, or a person filling out a form to download an educational piece of content.
Gauging a Lead’s Level of Interest
Below are just a few of the many ways in which you could qualify someone as a lead. Each of these examples shows that the amount of collected information used to qualify a lead, as well as their level of interest, can vary.
Let’s assess each scenario:
- Job Application: An individual that fills out an application form is willing to share a lot of personal information because he/she wants to be considered for a position. Filling out that application shows their true interest in the job, therefore qualifying the person as a lead for the company’s recruiting team — not marketing or sales teams.
- Coupon: Unlike the job application, you probably know very little about someone who has stumbled upon one of your online coupons. But if they find the coupon valuable enough, they may be willing to provide their name and email address in exchange for it. Although it’s not a lot of information, it’s enough for a business to know that someone has interest in their company.
- Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, to truly understand the nature of the person’s interest in your business, you’ll probably need to collect more information to determine whether the person is interested in your product or service and whether they’re a good fit.
These three general examples highlight how lead generation differs from company to company, and from person to person. You’ll need to collect enough information to gauge whether someone has a true, valid interest in your product or service — how much information is enough information will vary depending on your business.
Let’s look at Episerver, for example. They use web content reports for lead generation, collecting six pieces of information from prospective leads.
Episerver provides a great example for what to ask for in a lead gen form:
- Full Name: The most fundamental information needed to personalize your communication with each lead.
- Email: This serves as a unique identifier and is how you will contact your lead.
- Company: This will give you the ability to research your lead’s industry and company and how the lead might benefit from your product or service (mainly for B2B).
- Role: Understanding an individual’s role will help you understand how to communicate with them. Every brand stakeholder will have a different take and perspective on your offering (mainly for B2B).
- Country: Location information can help you segment your contact by region and time zone, and help you qualify the lead depending on your service.
- State: The more detailed information you can obtain without sacrificing conversions, the better. Knowing your leads state can help you further qualify them.
If you’d like to learn more intermediate-level tips on information collection and what you should ask for on your lead gen forms, read our post about it here.
Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale.
A lead’s score can be based on actions they’ve taken, information they’ve provided, their level of engagement with your brand, or other criteria that your sales team determines. For instance, you may score someone higher if they regularly engage with you on social media or if their demographic information matches your target audience.
Borrowing from the examples above, you might give a lead a higher score if they used one of your coupons — an action that would signify this person is interested in your product.
The higher a lead’s score, the closer they are to becoming a sales-qualified lead (SQL), which is only a step away from becoming a customer. The score and criteria is something you may need to tweak along the way until you find the formula that works, but once you do, you’ll transform your lead generation into customer generation.
Lead Generation Strategies
Online lead generation encompasses a wide range of tactics, campaigns, and strategies depending on the platform on which you wish to capture leads. We talked about lead capture best practices once you have a visitor on your site … but how can you get them there in the first place?
Let’s dive into lead generation strategies for a few popular platforms.
Facebook Lead Generation
Facebook has been a method for lead generation since its inception. Originally, companies could use outbound links in their posts and information in their bios to attract strangers to their websites. However, when Facebook Ads was launched in 2007, and its algorithm began to favor accounts that used paid advertising, there was a major shift in how businesses used the platform to capture leads. Facebook created Lead Ads for this purpose. Facebook also has a feature that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website.
Twitter Lead Generation
Twitter has Twitter Lead Gen Cards, which let you generate leads directly within a tweet without having to leave the site. A user’s name, email address, and Twitter username are automatically pulled into the card, and all they have to do is click “Submit” to become a lead. (Hint for HubSpot users: You can connect Twitter Lead Gen Cards to your HubSpot Forms. Learn how to do that here).
LinkedIn Lead Generation
LinkedIn has been increasing its stake in the advertising space since its early days. When it comes to lead generation, LinkedIn created Lead Gen Forms, which auto-populate with a users profile data when they click a CTA, making it easy to capture information.
PPC Lead Generation
When we say pay-per-click (PPC), we’re referring to ads on search engine result pages (SERPs). Google gets 3.5 billion searches a day, making it prime real estate for any ad campaign, especially lead gen. The effectiveness of your PPC campaign relies heavily on a seamless user flow, as well as your budget, target keywords, and a few other factors.
B2B Lead Generation
B2B is a particular business model that requires a particular approach to lead generation. HubSpot found that SEO is the top resource for capturing business leads, followed closely by email marketing and social media. Not to mention, effectiveness varies by channel.
Tips for Lead Generation Campaigns
In any given lead generation campaign, there can be a lot of moving parts. It can be difficult to tell which parts of your campaign are working and which need some fine-tuning. What exactly goes into a best-in-class lead generation engine? Here are a few tips when building lead gen campaigns.
Use the right lead generation tools.
As you saw in our data, the most successful marketing teams use a formal system to organize and store their leads. That’s where lead generation tools and lead generation software come into play.
How much do you know about the people visiting your website? Do you know their names or their email addresses? How about which pages they visited, how they’re navigating around, and what they do before and after filling out a lead conversion form?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, chances are you’re having a hard time connecting with the people who are visiting your site. These are questions you should be able to answer — and you can with the right lead generation tools.
There are a few different tools and templates out there that’ll help you create different lead gen assets to use on your site:
- CTA Templates: 50+ free, customizable call-to-action (CTA) templates in PowerPoint that you can use to create clickable CTA buttons to use on your blog, landing pages, and elsewhere on your site.
- Lead Generation Software Tools: This free tool from HubSpot includes lead capture and contact insights features, which will scrape any pre-existing forms you have on your website and add those contacts to your existing contact database. It also lets you create pop-ups, hello bars, or slide-ins — called “lead flows” — that’ll help you turn website visitors into leads immediately.
Example of a slide-in lead flow.
- Visitor Tracking: Hotjar has a heatmap tool — a virtual tool which creates a color-coded representation of how a user navigates your site — that helps you understand what users want, care about, and do on your site. It records visitors and tells you where they spend the most time on your site. You can use it to gather information on your lead generation forms, feedback forms and surveys, and more.
- Form-Scraping Tool: A form scraping tool that collects submissions on your website’s existing forms helps you automatically consolidate all your leads into your contact database, regardless of which form visitors submitted on your website. HubSpot customers can create and embed forms using HubSpot, which automatically populate into your CMS. Non-HubSpot customers can use a form creation tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use HubSpot’s free collected forms feature to automatically capture form submissions and input them to a contact database.
Create amazing offers for all different stages of the buying cycle.
Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer’s journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who’s more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
Make sure you’re creating offers for each phase and offering CTAs for these offers throughout your site.
Yes, it takes time to create valuable content that teaches and nurtures your leads down the funnel, but if you don’t offer anything for visitors who aren’t ready to buy, then they may never come back to your website. From checklists to templates to free tools, here are 23 ideas for lead generation content to get you started.
If you want to take personalization a step further — which will help boost your conversion rate — try using smart CTAs. Smart CTAs detect where a person is in the buyer’s journey, whether they’re a new visitor, a lead, or a customer, and display CTAs accordingly. Personalized CTAs convert a whopping 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action.
Keep your messaging consistent and deliver on your promise.
The highest-converting lead gen campaigns are the ones that deliver on what they promise and create a seamless transition from ad copy and design to the deliverable itself. Make sure that you’re presenting a consistent message throughout the process and providing value to everyone that engages with your lead capture.
The aspects of your lead gen campaign should mirror everything else on your website, on your blog, and within the product that you will eventually try to sell. If not, you’ll have a difficult time getting your lead to the next lifecycle stage. Your campaign should be about more than just obtaining an email address — it should be about developing a new customer.
Link your CTA to a dedicated landing page.
This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how many marketers don’t create dedicated landing pages for their offers. CTAs are meant to send visitors to a landing page where they can receive a specific offer.
Don’t use CTAs to drive people to your homepage, for instance. Even if your CTA is about your brand or product (and perhaps not an offer like a download), you should still be sending them to a targeted landing page that’s relevant to what they are looking for and includes an opt-in form. If you have the opportunity to use a CTA, send them to a page that will convert them into a lead.
If you want to learn more about how to build and promote high-converting landing pages, then download our ebook on optimizing landing pages for conversions.
Get your sales team involved.
Remember when we talked about lead scoring? Well, it isn’t exactly doable without your sales team’s input. How will you know what qualifies a lead for sales without knowing if your defined SQLs are successfully sold? Your marketing and sales teams need to be aligned on the definitions and the process of moving a lead from MQL to SQL to opportunity before you even begin to capture leads.
Also, be open to evolving your relationship with sales and how you guide leads along your funnel. Your definitions will likely need to be refined over time; just make sure to keep everyone involved up-to-date.
Use social media strategically.
While marketers typically think of social media as best for top-of-the-funnel marketing, it can still be a helpful and low-cost source for lead generation as shared in the lead gen strategies above. The key is using social media strategically for lead generation.
Start by adding links directly to the landing pages of high-performing offers within your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media posts. Tell visitors that you’re sending them to a landing page. That way, you’re setting expectations. Here’s an example from one of our Facebook posts:
You can also do a lead generation analysis of your blog to figure out which posts generate the most leads, and then make a point of regularly linking social media posts to them.
Another way to generate leads from social media is to run a contest. Contests are fun and engaging for your followers, and they can also teach you a ton about your audience. It’s a win-win. Read our step-by-step guide for growing your email list using social media contests, which covers everything from choosing a platform, to picking a winner, all the way to analyzing your results.
Remain flexible and constantly iterate.
Your lead generation strategy needs to be as dynamic as the people you’re targeting. Trends change, behaviors shift, opinions morph … so should your lead gen marketing. Use A/B split testing to see what CTAs perform best, which landing pages convert better, and which copy captures your target audience. Experiment with layout changes, design, UX, content, and advertising channels until you find what works.
Lead Generation Trends & Benchmarks
So … you’re getting web traffic and generating leads. But how are you doing compared to other companies in your industry? How many leads should you really be generating?
It’s tough to figure out if your lead generation strategy is working if you aren’t looking at industry data. That’s why we partnered with Qualtrics to survey more than 900 marketers from all different industries in North America and Europe to create a demand generation report with data on website visitors, leads, opportunities, customers, and revenue.
Did you know that 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals didn’t know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities numbers? How about that over 70% of companies not achieving their revenue goals generate fewer than 100 leads per month, and only 5% generate more than 2,500 leads per month? These are just a few examples of what you’ll find in the report.
For in-depth reports, download our Demand Generation Benchmarks Report. Below are some useful highlights.
Cost per Lead, by Industry
The media and publishing industries report the lowest cost per lead at $11 to $25. Software, information technology and services, marketing agencies, and financial services companies all report the highest average cost per lead at $51 to $100.
Leads Generated per Month, by Annual Revenue
Unsurprisingly, the more revenue a company has, the more leads they generate. The differences are most drastic at the highest and lowest end of the spectrum: 82% of companies with $250,000 or less in annual revenue report generating less than 100 leads per month, whereas only 8% of companies generating $1 billion in annual revenue report less than 100 leads per month.
Leads per Month
We found that 58% of companies generated 500 leads per month or fewer, and 71% generated 1,000 or fewer. However, as we saw previously, the companies having the most success are also the ones generating the most leads.
Here’s how the data broke down by company size:
Lead Generation Software
We found that the most successful teams use a formal system to organize and store leads: 46% use Google Docs, 41% use marketing automation software, and 37% use CRM software. (Hint for HubSpot customers: Google Drive integrates with both HubSpot Marketing Hub and HubSpot CRM.)
Grow Better with Lead Generation
There you have it, folks. Now that you know more about how to generate leads for your business, we recommend you try HubSpot’s free lead generation tool. Use it to add simple conversion assets to your site (or scrape your existing forms) to help you learn more about your site visitors and what content prompts them to convert.
The basics we’ve gone over in this blog post are just the beginning. Keep creating great offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms — and promote them in multi-channel environments. Be in close touch with your sales team to make sure you’re handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis. Last but not least, never stop testing. The more you tweak and test every step of your inbound lead generation process, the more you’ll improve lead quality and increase revenue.
You might know your Instagram content is good, but imagine how much better it will seem if it looks like 10,000 people agree.
Whether you’re trying to become a social media celebrity or simply looking to spread brand awareness on Instagram, it can seem tempting to pay for your first couple thousand followers.
There are plenty of services available that allow you to buy 1,000 followers for the price of a small Starbucks latte. But of course, if it really was that cheap and easy, everyone would be doing it. So what’s the catch? Is buying Instagram followers legal and safe for your business? Is it a worthwhile investment?
Here, we’ve gone ahead and covered all the questions you might have about buying Instagram followers to give you a better idea of how it actually works. We’ve also explored the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself if it’s a good move for your brand.
Can you buy Instagram followers?
Yes, you can buy Instagram followers. There are plenty of cheap services available that allow you to buy 1,000 followers for as little as $10 USD. But you’re only paying for a number. Many of those followers are either bots or inactive accounts, which means they’ll never engage with your posts.
As a quick Google search will reveal, there are many cheap services you can use to buy Instagram followers. For about $6 USD, you can get 500 followers, and for about $10 USD, you can get 1,000 followers.
The vast majority of these purchasable followers, however, are either bots or inactive accounts.
When you buy Instagram followers, you’re paying for a number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.
In addition to buying followers directly, you can also pay services to strategically follow other accounts on your behalf based on your preferences (location, hashtag usage, account type, and gender). Ideally, those followed accounts will then follow you back.
With this option, your followers are more likely to be real people, but engagement is still unlikely. Since you can’t even guarantee these accounts will follow you back, it’s a risky investment. Most accounts won’t follow you back, and even if they do, they probably aren’t going to be long-term, loyal, or active followers.
If your priority is simply to have a big follower count, these services can definitely help you. When your number of organic followers dips, these services even replenish your pool with other followers.
But remember the risks: these followers will probably never like or comment on a post, and if you’re caught with a ton of fake followers, you could ruin your credibility with your real audience.
Think of it this way: would you keep following an account if you saw that most of their “loyal audience” were inactive accounts or bots? I’m guessing not. It could seem deceitful, and lead you to believe the brand couldn’t get authentic followers through good content alone.
Should you buy Instagram followers?
It’s not a good idea to buy Instagram followers. The purchased followers are likely bots or inactive accounts, so they won’t engage with your posts. This means your posts won’t show up on Explore Pages, or on your real audience’s newsfeeds. It will also make it hard to measure metrics.
You’re buying fake Instagram followers.
The main reason buying Instagram followers can prove to be a wasted investment is because the accounts you follow often aren’t real.
Fake followers are created either because they’re managed by users whose only goal is to get followed in return, or because these accounts are sponsored by services that sell followers — as we discussed in the section above. And while these accounts might offer early engagement, they’ll ultimately become a drain on your Instagram account’s performance metrics (we’ll get to that in just a minute).
You’ll get early engagement that tapers off.
Purchased Instagram followers also provide no long-term value to your profile’s content. The followers you buy might give you views, likes, and comments early into acquiring them as a follower, but the attention they throw you now won’t be there later — when you start reporting on how your Instagram account is performing.
And how helpful, really, are 10,000 followers that don’t engage with you? Engagement is key to how Instagram’s algorithm displays posts to users. Without likes or comments, your post probably won’t show up on your audience’s newsfeeds, and it also won’t show up on any Explore Pages.
Having a lot of followers could convince users to follow you organically, but it’s not a guarantee.
Users might notice you don’t have a ton of engagement on your posts, which could deter them from following you. If you have 10,000 followers but only four likes per post, it won’t take people long to realize something is up.
Without real followers to engage with your content, your posts are essentially hidden from everyone except your inauthentic audience. Plus, your fake followers won’t share your post on any of their channels. And they won’t discuss your brand in real life with friends or family, because, well … they don’t exist in real life (no offense, bots).
Bought Instagram followers can distort your performance metrics.
It’s practically impossible to measure how well your target audience is connecting with your brand if a high percentage of that audience isn’t real. How will you measure posts that do well with your real audience if those bots and inactive accounts skew the ratio?
If you don’t know how well your posts are doing or what your real audience thinks, you’ll never convert your Instagram followers into real customers. And isn’t that the point?
Ultimately, if you pay for Instagram followers, you aren’t paying for quality, real-life followers. You’re paying for a blank number. And since Instagram’s algorithm is largely tied to engagement, not followers, buying followers isn’t a long-term solution. In fact, it isn’t really a solution at all.
Take the time, energy, and money that you would’ve dedicated to buying followers, and focus instead on building genuine relationships with a real audience. If your content is engaging and authentic, your loyal followers will spread the word and engage with your brand without needing any bribes.
Instagram Identifies and Purges Fake Followers
Instagram is looking to maintain genuine interactions on its site, protecting real accounts and experiences. Fake or bought activity infringes upon this mission and might result in consequences, so it’s better to grow your audience organically.
Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers
Instagram’s new algorithm rewards engagement more than follower count, displaying content similar to posts users engaged with in the past. In order to drive engagement, there are many different actions one can try on the platform to get in front of your ideal audience.
By using good Instagram marketing practices — whether you are building your personal brand or a company account — you can better reach the nearly 800 million monthly Instagram users and build an authentic audience.
First, make your account public so that users can see your profile and content. This way, you can grow your audience organically when your content pops up on users’ explore pages, attracting and delighting your target viewership.
Next, publish a variety of posts to your feed: you can post images, GIFs, videos, Boomerangs, quizzes on your story, how-tos, user-generated content, and so much more. Build trust and excitement among your followers by using high-quality photos, writing catchy captions, posting consistently, and keeping up a unique style overall to differentiate yourself from other accounts. Do your research on which hashtags generate a lot of buzz and which are aligned with your brand — hashtags can be a great way to reach new audiences if done correctly.
Depending on your brand personality, it can help to be funny or witty in your content. Having an acute awareness of how your brand is perceived and the trends going around Instagram will serve you when choosing content to post and how to interact with your Instagram community.
Lastly, utilize the many different channels on the platform, like Instagram Live, IGTV, Instagram Stories, or Shopping on Instagram. There are so many different ways to connect with users, and by driving engagement through these features, you can drive engagement and traffic organically and authentically.