Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Website Grader Originally published May 26, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated October 18 2015 – We’ve said over and over that the value of a blog is incredibly important for generating content. What makes an organization or a company stand out is the value of new content. A blog makes it easy to post pictures, video, testimonials, appeals, stories, content that a search engine might decide has value. Rescue Mission of Roanoke – As Kipp says, “Lots of low-hanging fruit here.”…this site does not have any meta descriptions on its pages. Not its home page, not its interior pages. By highlighting the new stand-alone building with a medical clinic to offer care to the homeless, a drug rehabilitation and recovery program, and a family shelter, this non-profit organization has the ability to create more visibility for itself quickly. for optimization by HubSpot Experts! (3-4 will be selected for each webinar) Kipp This is the world of Monica, IT Manager at the Score of 69, Monica knew that she could improve the site. If she had been able to attend, this is what Join HubSpot Experts for a live session for website review and optimization, providing tips for getting found online. Topics: 1. Start a blog Live Website Optimization: Using Website Grader For Marketing Success but had to deal with a down server for most of the afternoon. With a and I would have told her to work on to improve her site’s SEO visibility: 3. They have 95 inbound links and a MOZ Rank of 5 Can you think of any other ways they could optimize their website to help this organization attract more SEO visibility? – This gives them a decent level of authority on the Internet. They have a conversion form on their site to have people sign up for newsletter. They have a way to donate, and they have a list of things that they could use. website Submit your site now 2. Fix the meta descriptions on all of the pages As of yesterday, 283 men, women, and children found safe shelter and hope at the Rescue Mission. Last year, they served 317,000 meals at their near-Downtown Roanoke site. Every Tuesday at 1:00pm ET + Thursday at 10:00am ET Lead Generation Imagine that you are an IT Manager for a 400-bed rescue mission. Imagine that you are trying desperately to bring in volunteers and donors to help fund this important regional volunteer organization. Imagine that you know the Website Optimization Webinar . She wanted to attend yesterday’s Date & Time: is your main means of communication and you need to improve it dramatically.
Originally published Jan 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019 Social Media Engagement Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Ecommerce companies that invest in inbound marketing will greatly increase their opportunity to grow online sales, lower COCA (cost of customer acquisition), and increase new customer retention. Consumers connect, rate, discuss, and consume product information and reviews like never before, making a strong online presence paramount for all sizes of ecommerce businesses. Ecommerce inbound marketing makes it possible for online stores to take advantage of the emerging social revolution by gravitating consumers to their own brands and products, driving organic and social media traffic and sales, lowering COCA, and increasing the adoption of customer retention along the way. Free Download: 45 Customer Referral TemplatesThe below infographic design from Killer Infographics is a great illustration of the importance of ecommerce inbound marketing. Feel free to use the embed code for this infographic below if you’d like to publish it to your website or blog and share your own analysis or discussion. Enjoy! Save Ecommerce Marketing Software – All-In-One Inbound Marketing SoftwareSaveTo learn more about ecommerce inbound marketing and the success businesses can achieve, be sure to check out the HubSpot case study about CoolProducts.com, which increased its social media traffic by 237% in just 4 months with ecommerce inbound marketing!
LinkedIn Marketing What This Means for MarketersWe already knew LinkedIn was a powerful tool — back in January, we reported that it was 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. But for marketers that are interested in improving their Facebook presence, it just became an even more powerful tool. If you have a strong LinkedIn network, it looks like the opportunities for cross-platform promotion are ripe.But really, it’s not just Facebook you can grow from your LinkedIn presence. The reason that spike in referral traffic occurred isn’t because LinkedIn users are somehow more interested in Facebook updates than those on any other social network — it’s just that the decrease in Twitter content has caused a (wait for it) decrease in Twitter referral traffic. Because it’s just … not as easy to post Twitter content as it used to be. So people stop. No surprise there.That means if you start publishing more content to LinkedIn — regardless of where that content resides — it will get more visibility amid the now far less competitive LinkedIn feed. Want more blog traffic from LinkedIn? Post more blog content on LinkedIn. Want more LinkedIn followers to convert on your landing pages? Post more landing pages on LinkedIn. Want more of your LinkedIn followers to be Twitter followers? Post more Twitter content on LinkedIn. It’s a lot easier to get your content to stand out in the LinkedIn crowd, now that a lot of the riff raff has been cleaned out.Have you seen referral traffic from LinkedIn to Facebook spike in the past two months?Image credit: Grim Santo You may remember that about two months ago, Twitter and LinkedIn announced they were parting ways. What their breakup meant was an end to the ability for marketers to sync updates from the two sites — so no longer do you see tweets from your company’s Twitter stream showing up on LinkedIn. And even if you weren’t syncing every tweet, some marketers were taking advantage of the LinkedIn hashtag function that automatically pulled in tweets with the hashtag #li or #in. That is, until Twitter and LinkedIn called it quits.As a result, you’ve probably since gotten used to logging in to LinkedIn to repost a Twitter update that you want to appear to your professional network on LinkedIn, and/or you’ve started to select the little Twitter icon that you see on LinkedIn that lets you automatically share your LinkedIn updates on Twitter.Or have you?Some new data released by PageLever and reported by Mashable reveals that marketers may not be taking that extra step, as referral traffic to Twitter from LinkedIn has dropped significantly since the June 29th announcement … while referral traffic to Facebook from LinkedIn has skyrocketed. In fact, Facebook received 1000% more page referrals from LinkedIn in July — the month after the syncing ceased. Take a look: Originally published Sep 20, 2012 4:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Wowza. Even more impressive? With that post-breakup burst, LinkedIn is now surpassing Google and Bing combined as a source of referral traffic to Facebook Pages.
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Website Redesign Topics: 6 Examples of Beautiful Website Redesigns from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software6 Incredible Website Redesigns From HubSpot Customers1) CheckPoint ConsultingChallenge: Unify the theme of your website.Michigan-based firm CheckPoint Consulting started out with a not-so-savvy, run-of-the-mill website. Sure, it had all the information there, but the outdated design, lack of available information, and disjointed color scheme made it impossible for someone to move through the funnel.Your website is the first impression a new potential customer has with your business. They’re deciding whether or not you’re worthy of buying from. CheckPoint Consulting realized it needed a more modern, professional look to give its visitors a clearer route to conversion.Solution: Use consistent colors and themes to entice visitors to convert.My, they grow up so fast. With the help of HubSpot Certified Partner media junction, Checkpoint Consulting was able to pull together a brand new look and feel for its website. The new website established company credibility and engaged visitors with an image slider and carefully crafted color scheme.Take a page from Checkpoint’s playbook and ensure your visitors stay on your page by having a consistent look and feel throughout your website.2) CloudMGRChallenge: Stand out from the competition.CloudMGR, previously known as CloudSafe365, is a technology service provider that allows you to manage all of your cloud-based solutions. The background on its original website was a cloud to illustrate its services — not the most original idea.While the homepage served its purpose, showcasing the company as a reputable service provider, it still looked like one of many in an overpopulated industry. Thus, the company needed to add some “pop” and leave a lasting impression on its visitors.Solution: Use a clean, minimalist design approach with bold colors.Talk about pop. CloudMGR went through a full rebranding to completely change the look and feel of its website from crowded and common to minimalist and different. The business turned to media junction as well to rebrand the company’s name, logo, and website. (Sometimes, if you’re going to change your website, it may be time to revisit everything and make sure all of your branding ducks are in a row.)CloudMGR’s new site uses strategic design elements and a lot of calls-to-action (CTAs) to pull leads down the marketing funnel. Now, when customers visit this site, they’ll view CloudMGR as a serious candidate to consider in their purchasing decision.Who said technology services aren’t sexy?3) Surge AcceleratorChallenge: Refocus and clarify your messaging and content.Surge Accelerator is a startup accelerator in the Houston area. Before switching over to HubSpot, the company relied on old-school design tactics for its website. Its previous homepage had a lot of content on it. Surge wanted you to click on its primary CTA, clearly indicated by the arrows point at “Apply Now,” but there was just too much going on design- and messaging-wise.Along with the content overload, this site wasn’t optimized for mobile use. Given that more and more consumers are making purchasing decisions via their mobile devices, not having a responsive site can impact businesses’ bottom lines.Solution: Add high-quality images and clearly understandable content.Surge created a brand new website that completely blew the old one out of the water. The new website has all of the design goodies you could ever imagine, like parallax scrolling throughout the site, image slideshows, and customized menus. Now the site has a much more modern look and a better UX to help catch visitors’ attention.4) Orbital AllianceChallenge: Practice what you preach.We all know the saying “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” — and how true it can be in real life. Orbital Alliance was like a cobbler. It is a web strategy and inbound marketing agency that has designed countless gorgeous sites for other HubSpot customers … but, its initial website, before migrating over to HubSpot’s new COS, looked busy and chock-full of information.Solution: Go bold or go home.Orbital Alliance did a full 180 with its branding when it migrated over to the COS. The company used HubSpot’s easy-to-use design tools to add in custom animation, among other features. It also chose a stimulating and captivating image for the homepage background that was also way simpler than the previous background. The site is tied together nicely through parallax scrolling, and the minimalist look that Orbital Alliance provides its customers is now one it can proudly have on its own site.5) iOfficeChallenge: Reduce the abundance of text and add more appealing CTAs.iOffice is a facility management software company, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that based on its original website. The abundance of copy mixed with the lack of a clear call-to-action on its homepage makes for an overwhelming and confusing site.Before the redesign, the business ask itself, “How long does it take a prospective customer to figure out what we’re selling them?” The answer was “too long” — so iOffice adjusted its webpage accordingly.Solution: Add a clearly understood slogan, CTAs, and animation.This is more like it. iOffice’s redesigned site has more white space and images, less text, orderly navigation, and a clear call-to-action.iOffice also recognized it needed a responsive design to run a successful business, resulting in the following functional, yet beautiful design.6) bluleadz Inbound MarketingChallenge: Eliminate the “busyness” and offer a clearer next step.bluleadz, a HubSpot certified partner that sells inbound marketing services, needed to pull out the key points of its homepage. What was the company trying to tell visitors with the site above?Fortunately, bluleadz also recognized this and realized it had to tighten up the content on its site, use its color scheme more effectively, and reorganize its homepage to tell a more cohesive story.Solution: Implement bold imagery and colors to grab visitors’ attention.The method is a tried-and-true for a reason. Bold animation, clear calls-to-action, and relevant offers all add up to a successful marketing website. Now, with a single glance on the page, people know what they’re looking at and what products and services are offered.Believe me: Your site can look just as incredible as these ones … especially when you’ve got a redesign kit like this one to help you out. So what are you waiting for?Can’t get enough of these amazing website redesign examples? Go ahead and get inspired at inspire.hubspot.com. It’s already the end of January. I know — I can’t believe it either. Though you may’ve decided to give up on a New Year’s resolution or two, there’s one I think you oughta have your list: redesigning your website.With other projects in the pipeline in 2014, I can understand if a redesign wasn’t your top priority entering the year. But, when you take a look at these redesigned beauties below, you’ll want to find the time to give your site a revamp, too.Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignWe’ve compiled some of the best website transformations we’ve witnessed from HubSpot customers and detailed exactly why they’re so awesome. Who knows? Maybe one or more of these sites will inspire you to get a redesign project underway. (And if you do decide to go that route, this planning kit can help you get going.)Flip through the SlideShare below first to get a quick overview of the newly redesigned sites, and then be sure to head on down to read more about these companies’ website makeovers. Originally published Jan 29, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social Media Strategy Originally published Apr 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 This post is an excerpt from our latest ebook, How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels. If you’re looking for help taking your blog, landing pages, SEO, email, and social to the next level, download the full guide here.For some, the word “optimization” conjures up thoughts of complicated mathematics and data analysis. It can seem like one of those things that only a true “data geek” could ever hope to understand.At its core, however, the science of optimization is really quite simple: It’s all about making improvements. It’s about taking what you already have and then — through experimenting and measuring — figuring out ways to make it even better.One of the major marketing channels we focus on in our new guide, How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels, is social: your company’s collective use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social networks for driving traffic, generating leads, and — more generally — for engaging with your subscribers and followers.Below are some best practices you can implement and experiments you can run for optimizing your social channels.Use the Proper Image Dimensions for Social Profiles and PostsIf you don’t pay attention to the dimensions of the images you’re uploading and sharing, you could end up with unpleasant cropping or distorting. This is especially true when it comes to social media cover photos.To ensure your social profiles showcase your brand and business in the best possible light, stick to the recommended image dimensions (in pixels) that the social networks provide. Here’s a list of dimensions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. All dimensions are given as width x height. Facebook Cover photo: 851 x 315Profile picture: 160 x 160 (upload as 180 x 180)App icons: 111 x 74Timeline: 504 x height is up to you (shared image), 484 x 252 (shared link)News feed: 470 x 394 (shared image), 470 x 246 (shared link)TwitterHeader image: 1252 x 626, 1500 x 500 (redesign)Profile picture: 250 x 250Image in feed: 1024 x 512LinkedInBanner image: 624 x 220Logo: 100 x 60Link Thumbnail: 100 x 100Google+Cover photo: 1010 x 608 (recommended), 480 x 270 (minimum), 2120 x 1192 (maximum)Profile picture: 250 x 250Image post: 4:3 aspect ratio (800 x 600 minimum)PinterestBoard cover: 217 x 147Preview image: 51 x 51YouTubeBanner image: 2560 x 1440 (TV), 2560 x 423 (desktop), 1546 x 423 (mobile)Need some help formatting all of the banner and cover images for your social media profiles? Download these free PowerPoint templates.Test Post Frequency to Find Your Sweet Spot for Each NetworkFellow HubSpotter Dan Zarrella used 2 years-worth of data to figure out the optimal post frequencies for Facebook and Twitter. The data showed that for Facebook, posting once every two days was the optimal frequency for generating Likes. For Twitter, tweeting between 1 and 4 times per hour proved to be the most effective frequency (as determined by the average clickthrough rates of tweeted links). While these numbers can serve as great reference points, it’s important to remember that your ideal posting frequency will depend on how many overall posts are filling the feeds of your social followers and subscribers. For example, if the majority of your Twitter followers only see around 20 total new tweets in their feeds every hour, and you tweet at a rate of four times an hour, that amounts to 1 in every 5 of the tweets they see coming from you. Seems a little spammy, right? By learning about your follower and subscriber base — and testing different post frequencies — you can mitigate social “spamminess” and optimize for engagement and lead generation. Here’s a simple strategy for determining your optimal post frequencies. First, for each network you’re testing, schedule your posts apart by two hours, and stick to that posting frequency for a week. During that time, make sure to keep an eye on your key social metrics (Likes, shares, clickthrough rates, leads generated, etc.).The following week, reduce the buffer time between your posts to an hour and a half, and see if (and how) that reduction in post frequency affects your metrics. Continue to reduce the buffer time between your scheduled posts week over week, and through some simple analysis, you can hone in on the post frequencies that maximize the metrics you want to optimize for. Figure Out the Best Times to PostIn addition to having calculated ideal post frequencies, Zarrella looked into the best days and times to post to various social media channels. For example, his data showed that when it comes to expanding your reach on Twitter, 5 p.m. is the best time to tweet. (That’s when the highest percentage of retweets occur.) For Facebook, noon and a little after 7 p.m. are the two top times for maximizing your reach, as those are the two times of day when Facebook shares spike. Ultimately, however, there are many different studies that all point to different ideal days and times for posting. So, as was the case with post frequency, you’ll need to do some testing to figure out your ideal post times. To start, open up your social media publishing tool and sort your past posts by the number of clicks they’ve received. By scrolling through this list, you should be able to identify any prominent trends related to post timing. For example, if you see that seven of your top ten most-clicked LinkedIn posts were shared between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., that’s a good indication that 1-2 is your LinkedIn posting “sweet spot.” However, keep in mind that clicks don’t equal customers. To truly understand the impact of your post timing, you’ll need a social media publishing tool that can talk directly to your database of contacts (if you’re a HubSpot customer, that technology is already in place). This connection between your publishing tool and your database will allow you to focus your efforts and figure out ideal post times for engaging existing leads and customers, and not just your audience at large. Integrate Social With Your Other Marketing ChannelsFor the sake of organization, the How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels guide is divvied up so that each channel has its own dedicated section. But in reality, your marketing channels don’t live in silos: They’re all interconnected. When it comes to social media, this interconnectedness is especially apparent (and important). Here are a couple of tips to help you integrate social with your other marketing channels.Add Google Authorship to your blog.If you haven’t done this already, stop what you’re doing and get on it! Google Authorship ties your Google+ profile to your blog posts, which allows Google to display information (e.g. your name, profile image, and the number of circles you’re in) next to your posts when they appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).While marketers continue to quantify the benefits of setting up Google Authorship, many have found it has a positive effect on clickthrough rates and page views.Incorporate social sharing and follow buttons into your emails and thank you pages.Your blog isn’t the only channel that can benefit from having social buttons. By incorporating these buttons into your emails, you can help drive more opens, clickthroughs, and conversions, and — more generally — you can make it clear to your contacts that there are other places where they can engage with you on the web (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). Thank you pages are another easy-to-overlook location where adding social buttons can make a difference. These are the pages where people actually download or access your content after filling out one of your landing pages.While we recommend removing all navigation links (including social buttons) from landing pages to make sure people focus on filling out the forms, with thank you pages it’s a different story: Visitors have already submitted their contact info, so if you can convince them to share your content, awesome! Just make sure that when you set up your social sharing buttons, they point to a landing page (and not the thank you page itself). Do you have any tips or tricks for optimizing your social channels that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below! Topics:
Landing Page Design When it comes to marketing, there’s no end in sight. You can optimize, A/B test, and optimize some more, and there will still be something else you can improve.The key is knowing what’s worth improving first, and which improvements will garner more ROI. So if your landing pages are performing well, it might be better to focus your efforts elsewhere.But how can you know for sure if your landing page are in good shape? Here are six signs that your landing page needs to be redesigned or optimized to get you as many high-quality leads as possible.1) Your landing page conversion rate is lowYour first indication that your landing page needs work is that it’s not converting leads! If your conversion rate (CVR) is low, it’s time to look at the design and content of your landing page.Landing page CVR = # form completions / # landing page viewsBut how can you know if your conversion rate is low? Conversion rates depend on many different elements outside the content of the landing page:Your industryWhether your company is B2B vs. B2CThe page’s position in your buyers’ journey (for example, a top-of-the-funnel ebook landing page will have a higher CVR than a bottom-of-the-funnel demo landing page)What kind of traffic you’re driving to your landing page (paid vs. organic)SeasonalityThe age of the landing pageFor this reason, it’s hard to find benchmark data specifically for landing pages. Your own benchmark conversion rate will be a judgment call as you compare the CVRs of the various landing pages you’ve created.For example, let’s say you measure the CVR of your landing pages created each month, and they usually average between 50% – 55%. Ebooks yield 65% CVR, and webinars are a bit lower, around 40%. If you create a landing page for an ebook and it only has a 35% CVR, you’d know something’s wrong with that page, even if 35% would be a high CVR at another company.2) Your website conversion rate is lowAnother data point to look at is your website conversion rate. Website CVR = # of total conversions / # of website visitorsWhile your landing page conversion rate is more specific, your website conversion rate will indicate whether or not your entire conversion path needs a revamp. According to MarketingSherpa, benchmark website conversion rates are anywhere from 2% to 10%, depending on industry.This should give you a good idea of what your website conversion rate should be at a minimum — your goal should always be above average!3) The quality of your leads isn’t that greatYour landing page might be generating leads. But are they good leads? Are your sales reps working those leads and turning them into customers? If not, you may want to:Rewrite the copy to be more clear about what the visitor will be receiving by signing up.Increase your form length to better qualify your leads. This is a good option for when you’re getting too many leads for your sales team to sift through.Chat with your sales team to learn what obstacles high-quality leads face. It might be an issue with the offer you’re giving away, not just the design of the landing page. The offer itself might not be helping your audience solve any of their problems.4) Your landing page doesn’t pass the blink test”The blink test” is the commonly accepted 3-5 seconds during which a visitor lands on your website, judges it, and decides if they want to stay there and do something, or jump ship.Make sure that your landing page passes the blink test. Within 3-5 seconds, a visitor should know exactly what they’ll get by filling out a form on your landing page.You can use services like UsabilityHub and their five second test to determine if anonymous, random users understand what they’d be getting on your landing pages. Or you can print out your landing page, put it under your colleague/boss/spouse/parent/child’s nose for five seconds, pull it away, and ask what the page is offering. If most of your test subjects get the answer right, your landing page passed the blink test.5) You’re using a lot of textA dead giveaway that your landing page needs work is if it includes dense paragraphs of text. Text is overwhelming. Images and white space make website visitors happy. Take a look at variations A and B here. Which version is more enticing?Hint: Variation A, which is live here, is what we’re going for.6) You’re missing an essential landing page elementHere are all the elements any landing page should include. If you’re missing one, it’s a sign that you should take a look at your landing pages and make sure they’re following the best practices.A headline – says exactly what the offer is.An image – shows the offer (if necessary, it’s an abstract representation of the offer).Text conveying benefit of the offer – concise, ideally in the form of bullet points.A form – should be above the fold.A submit button – shouldn’t say “submit”, but instead say “download” or “save your seat,” etc.Want to share this post? Here are some ready-made tweets:Click to tweet: 6 Signs Your Landing Page Needs to Be Redesigned – http://hub.am/1ip3CCf by @DianaUrban at @HubSpot #webdesignClick to tweet: Does your landing page need a redesign? Find out here – http://hub.am/1ip3CCf #webdesign #leadgenerationClick to tweet: Great info here – 6 Signs Your Landing Page Needs to Be Redesigned – http://hub.am/1ip3CCf #webdesign Topics: Originally published May 29, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Content Creation Resources Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content creation is one of the key pillars of inbound marketing — but that doesn’t always mean it’s the easiest pillar to master. As with any new project, you’re bound to run into an obstacle or two. To help you overcome those obstacles, here’s a quick round-up of recent blog posts by HubSpot Partners about solving the most common content creation challenges that inbound marketers face. Each post features killer tips and tricks you can start implementing today.1) Running out of ideas? Learn how to brainstorm 100 ideas in under an hour.Sometimes, the hardest part of any project is getting started. How many times have you stared at a blank white screen, just hoping your next brilliant idea would appear? This blog post walks you through five tactical steps for brainstorming content ideas. It explains everything from the best way to collect content ideas from sales teams and customer service associates to prioritizing content topics to drafting enticing titles.2) Want to create more engaging content? Get to know your audience.We can’t say enough about how critical it is to know your audience. The trouble is, sometimes actually doing that isn’t so clear. Creating buyer personas can solve for this. Fictional representations of your ideal customers can help you nail down key details about your company’s perfect customer. When you know your audience, content creation becomes that much easier. This quick read explains the essential questions to ask yourself about your audience so you can create content tailored specifically for their wants and needs.3) Don’t miss that deadline! Here’s how to avoid common content planning mistakes.As an inbound marketer, you know that content is king. It’s essential for attracting strangers to your website, converting those visitors into leads, closing customers, and continuing to delight these people to make them promoters of your brand. It’s oh-so-easy to get swept up in a hyper-creative idea and forget about the practical side of creating content that’s inherently helpful. You’ll learn how to avoid a few pesky pitfalls to make your content creation process as smooth as possible.4) Content isn’t converting? Try this.For many marketers, the ultimate goal of content creation is lead generation. This post explains four small tweaks you can make to your content to inspire potential customers visiting your website to take action, such as providing their email address for a download or chatting with your seals team.5) Congrats on the sale! Your content’s job isn’t over yet.Content creation shouldn’t stop once you’ve sealed the deal. After your company has closes a new customer, the next step is delighting them so they become promoters of your brand. It’s a fine line of providing helpful content but also pushing your customer to act as a cheerleader for your company. In this blog post, you’ll learn five quick tips for charming your customers so they tell everyone they know how awesome your really are.6) If all else fails, learn a thing or two from these pups.The writer of this blog post works from home and spends a lot of time with her five (count ‘em, five) dogs. This post tackles everything from goal setting, user experience, brainstorming ideas, and delighting customers with content. She explains how crushing the fundamentals of content marketing can lead to big results. And, to be honest, this one’s worth reading because the analogies are clutch. Topics: Originally published Sep 12, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017
Topics: Instagram Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Are you new to Instagram and perhaps a little intimidated by where and how to start sharing your photos? You probably started on Instagram by looking around at some of the big brands that are really active (Nike, GoPro, Starbucks), and developed a little case of “social media analysis paralysis”. “SMAP” is what happens when you want to post something that is noteworthy, sharable and will possibly “go viral”. You spend so much time analyzing and trying to get “just the right shot”, that you end up doing nothing at all. It’s not rocket science. Besides, Instagram makes it even easier by giving you some great tools right at your fingertips to make you look like a pro. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when you’re framing your shot for sharing on Instagram.For demonstration purposes, I’m using a photo of Helo, who happens to be one of my favorite subjects. The example below is the unedited photo directly from my photo library uploaded into Instagram. Though it’s centered within the grid, it’s pretty uninteresting.Basic CompositionRemember the “rule of thirds”. Think of your photo as a grid with nine squares (See photo below). If you’re shooting your photo directly in Instagram, it takes care of this for you so you don’t have to imagine it. Position your subject matter along these lines and you’ll get a much more dramatic shot. If you’re loading a photo into Instagram (as I did) that wasn’t taken within the app itself, never fear. When you select the photo you want to use, the grid is overlaid automatically.Use the grid to position, scale and crop your subject along the lines and create the drama that way. For example, when I enlarged and repositioned Helo’s face I used the upper, right two thirds of the grid.LightingPay attention to where the light source is in your image. If you’re shooting outdoors, having the sun behind you is great unless your subjects are people. They may be squinting to keep the sun out of their eyes if they are facing you directly.By the same token, you don’t want the sun behind them either. Shooting directly into the sun makes it difficult to properly light the faces of your subjects. Early morning and late afternoon sun can create interesting impact with a lot of contrast.If you’re shooting indoors, you may or may not want to use your flash. You have the option to play around with it if you’re using the camera app on your phone instead of using Instagram. In other words, to select and post only your best photos on your IG profile, try taking the same shot with and without a flash with just your phone’s camera. Using the same example, the lighting was good and I loved the angle. It just needed a little tweaking.Fun with FiltersPossibly the coolest thing about Instagram is the filter feature. Here is where you will want to experiment and find your favorites – there are over 20 to choose from.When you’re using this feature, once you have selected the filter you want to apply, tap it twice and you can change the degree to which the filter is applied if you want something a little more subtle. This is also the area to select a frame for your image by clicking on the box.Here are a few of my personal favorites that you may want to try (left to right):Lo-Fi – Creates a really dramatic image without any other adjustments.Earlybird – Great for a TBT (Throw Back Thursday) image; looks like an old Polaroid.Inkwell – Nothing quite like a classic black and white image. You may want to play with the contrast a bit to get just the right look.Nashville – If you use this one, definitely apply the frame. It will give your image the look of an old piece of film. Originally published Feb 6, 2015 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Try the ToolsIf you prefer to “do it yourself” when creating images for your followers, then skip the filters and try out the tools. IG has quite an array of editing tools. For example, if you have items in the background that you can’t remove by cropping, use the “tilt shift” tool to blur everything except what you want to be in focus. For this tool, choose either “radial” or “linear” and use your fingers to change the area that you want in focus. You can also use “vignette” in the same manner; to direct focus to the part of the image that you want to be noticed.Mind your SettingsOne rather important thing to remember about Instagram: if you are taking photos within the app itself (not just uploading them there), filtered photos are only saved to your camera roll or gallery AFTER you have shared them. To make certain that the original photo is saved, go to Options under your Instagram profile and turn on “Save Original Photos”. Leverage your ContentWhen you’re ready to post your posts, you have the option to cross post in other social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. If you have a larger audience on any of these, it’s a great way to let them know to find you on Instagram.Important note: In order to post Instagram photos to Twitter and have them show up in your feed, you’ll need to use a tool called “If This Then That” (IFTTT.com). This handy little tool will bypass Instagram turning off Twitter cards when you post a photo. (Without this tool, your Instagram photos will simply show up in your tweet as a link to the Instagram site.)Scheduling your PostsIf you’re using Instagram to build engagement as you are with other social media channels, there may be times when you need to schedule a few posts ahead of time. Here are a few schedulers out there specifically for Instagram that you may want to check out:ScheduGramLatergrammeInstapultTakeOffNow you have all the basics. Grab your phone and get started. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you want to see more pictures of my crew, you can follow me on Instagram.
Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Instagram Marketing The brand/influencer partnership is an age-old concept, but forming partnerships with popular Instagrammers is still in its early stages. Perhaps soon, we’ll see brands experimenting with similar approaches on SnapChat, Meerkat, and other emerging platforms. After all, the best marketers go where their audience is — and maybe, the best way to reach them is by teaming up with a social media celebrity.Featured Image Credit: Patrick Janelle He styled that image carefully to give context to Bloomingdale’s products, which would otherwise be viewed by themselves in a store or on a web browser.Why was a partnership with an Instagram influencer like Patrick a great move for Bloomingdale’s here? Because Patrick’s Instagram photos showcase a lifestyle shared by Bloomingdale’s target audience — and Instagram is a perfect stage to showcase that lifestyle. In addition to reach, the Instagram platform allows for creative storytelling through photos.Influencers like Patrick can position different products and places inside their own worlds. Their audiences see value in these products and places because they’re seeing them in the context of a lifestyle they’re familiar with. They relate to it.In other cases, brands solicit Patrick to take pictures that he sends to the brand’s social media team, who then posts that picture to their Instagram account. For example, last summer, Capital One teamed up with Travel & Leisure Magazine to launch an Instagram campaign called #BucketList, where they encouraged their followers to make travel bucket lists, make them a reality, and document their travels on Instagram using the #BucketList hashtag.To jumpstart the campaign, they hired three Instagrammers in three U.S. cities — New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco — to take beautiful photos of their cities for Capital One’s Instagram account. Patrick represented New York City, and his job was to document some of his favorite places and use the caption to connect the bank’s brand to the idea of exploring a city and breaking new ground.Here’s an example of a picture Patrick took for Capital One’s Instagram account: Originally published Mar 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Patrick Janelle has a dream job.That’s the first thing I thought to myself when I heard him tell the audience at Social Media Week NYC that he is a full-time Instagrammer.Yup, that’s right: Thanks to an extensive background in graphic design and a very high follower count, Patrick’s full-time job is to do cool things and go to cool places, take beautiful pictures of his experiences, and post them to his personal Instagram account, @aguynamedpatrick.Download our essential guide to Instagram for business for more helpful tips and tricks. The pictures he posts are a mix of the unbranded content that led to his Instagram popularity, and pictures he now posts to promote brands he’s partnered with, like Hyatt, Equinox, and Thom Browne.Patrick, who currently goes by the moniker “Man About Town,” is what’s called an “Instagram influencer.” Since joining Instagram in April 2012, he’s accumulated over 361,000 followers (and counting) and built a strong personal brand around showcasing a New York City lifestyle filled with food, fashion, and travel.His posts are editorialized, of course. “I’m not showing the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink,” he told us in New York. “But it’s authentic. I like to post in real time, in a chronological manner, to document what I’m doing at the moment.” To Patrick, Instagram is a kind of chronological journal of his activities and lifestyle — a lifestyle he calls “aspirational, but accessible.”Most importantly, though, he exerts influence over his hundreds of thousands of followers, making him an attractive partner for brands looking to experiment with paid sponsored campaigns on Instagram. For example, he started the hashtag #dailycortado (referring to a type of espresso drink cut with warm milk, often drizzled on top in an artistic design) that now has over 26,000 mentions on Instagram from people all over the world.Harnessing Influence on InstagramThe powerful voice Patrick has among his niche audience is exactly why brands seek him out to create content for them. You see, in marketing terms, companies want to partner with Patrick because his followers align with the businesses’ key buyer personas — they have similar demographics, habits, and interests.Patrick told us, for example, about the Instagram-only campaign called #Zoomingdales that he did with Bloomingdale’s, a store that sells designer brand name clothes, accessories, and gifts. It featured a series of “gift guide collages” meant to “show the breadth of the Bloomingdale’s assortment,” Bloomingdale’s VP of Social Jonathan Paul told WWD.The company solicited Patrick to create, capture, and post his own gift guide collages, where he would arrange Bloomingdale’s items with his own, personal items to tell a story. In the post below, Patrick’s picture tells the story of cozying up and watching a holiday movie at home. “It wasn’t just a one-off thing,” said Patrick. “I posted somewhere between five and seven photos over the course of a few months. It was powerful for Capital One and Travel & Leisure to be seen over and over on my feed. I had an ongoing, long-term relationship with the brands.”What Makes a Campaign Successful?After hearing about a few of the campaigns Patrick worked on — including those for Bloomingdale’s, Capital One, Boathouse Farms, Orbitz, PayPal, and most recently, Equinox — I wondered how these brands were measuring the success of Patrick’s campaigns. After all, a barrier of entry to working with him is that he must be able to do all his own creative direction. With that much autonomy, is Patrick responsible for any metrics or results from the campaigns?”No,” he said, frankly. “I often don’t hear back from the brands about the outcome other than they were happy with the posts.”Of course, every brand has different goals for each campaign, whether it’s building a following on their own brand’s Instagram account, driving traffic to a particular product, or promoting brand awareness in general. Patrick believes it’s brand awareness that motivates most of the brands he works with — which is where the caption becomes particularly important, he says.”[By writing captions,] I put context on everything I’m doing. It’s about creating more than just a beautiful image; it’s about creating a world that all these images are living in.”And he never hides when his posts are the result of a partnership; in fact, he’s quite candid about it. For example, one of his more recent partnerships is with Equinox for their “Truth or EMMDI” campaign. EMMDI stands for “Equinox Made Me Do It,” and the campaign plays off the popular game of “Truth or Dare” by encouraging people to push themselves outside their comfort zones and document it. In a recent Instagram post, Patrick’s caption reads: “This week, my @Equinox partnership challenged me to make a dramatic change. Here it is: Not usually one for diets, I’m going full-on paleo for a week to see just how much it rocks my world. #TruthOrEMMDI.”Pretty straightforward. Patrick admits he’s “kind of a purest.” He takes photos only on his iPhone, uses hashtags for categorization reasons only, and always geotags his location. “I use the tools the way they were meant to be used.”He’s Not AlonePatrick certainly isn’t the only Instagram influencer posting on behalf of brands. Nowadays, it’s fairly common practice for brands and publishers to work with Instagram users who’ve accumulated large followings.A Brooklyn-based man named Ike Edeani quit his graphic design job to pursue photography full-time, which includes the photos he takes and posts on Instagram for his 538,000 followers. According to the VentureBeat, Edeani is “regularly approached by ad agencies and brands willing to pay him hundreds of dollars to photograph their products on Instagram.”San Francisco-based Darren Lachtman runs accounts on behalf of his dog, a Brussels Griffon known to his 52,000 Instagram followers as Biggie Smalls the Notorious D.O.G. According to the New York Times, he’s famous for posting “punny posts with rap lyrics” and is paid by brands like BarkBox, a subscription service for dog owners, to post pictures promoting their brand.
Topics: E-Commerce Websites The holidays are coming quickly. Are you ready? Maybe you’ve already started your prep work so you won’t struggle when the orders start rolling in. If not, now’s the time to start decking the halls. Sometimes you need more than a brief overview to get everything organized. That’s why this checklist is everything you need. Ready to get started?1) Mobile ResponsivenessNot set up for mobile shopping? Your customers will go elsewhere. Projections say 30-35% of shoppers will complete their purchases on mobile devices.2) Site TrafficNot used to an influx of visitors to your site? You don’t want to lose valuable sales while your site is down. Be ready for anything. 3) Site SpeedIf your site takes more than three seconds to load, you could lose up to 40% of your buyers. Check your site speed and streamline whatever you can.4) Content CalendarIf you haven’t already started planning your blogs, videos, tweets, and Facebook posts, get on that pronto. Some are already advertising for the holidays, which puts you behind the times.5) Social InboxKnow what your buyers are saying about you on social media? Now’s the time to start listening. Be ready to meet their needs when they mention your company in social channels.6) Sales PlanningNothing is more embarrassing than launching a sale with the wrong prices and products. Even more embarrassing is losing so much money with your accidental sales that you have to recant. Plan early and pay attention to every single detail. Keep a spreadsheet with all information so you can come back to double-check.7) Sales EmailsYou need time to plan the right copy for your sales emails. If you wait too late, you’ll miss your chance to really move buyers with your words.8) Graphic DesignDon’t leave all the design work until the last minute, or you might not have a graphic designer on staff for much longer. Get all your graphics ready to go—and there will be a lot—well before you’re ready to use them. Emails, website banners, CTAs, gift guides, blog headers, PPC ads… The list goes on.9) Ad KeywordsDo you know which keywords you’ll use for your pay-per-click ads? If not, start planning now. You’ll be in competition with many companies for top search spots, so using the most popular choices isn’t an option. You need a strategy, and strategy takes time.10) Ad CopyWith your keywords chosen, it’s time to consider your ad copy. You need to make sure those terms fit naturally in your copy. If they don’t, you won’t get anywhere with potential buyers.11) Abandoned Cart EmailsStart planning early for those who’ll inevitably leave your site without making a purchase. Keep in mind that 75% of those deserters do plan to buy; they may just need a little nudge.12) Social Media AdsWith paid options extending to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Instagram, you need to determine the best outlet for your paid ads. Then make sure your message fits your outlet and audience.13) Plan ShippingIf you want to offer some shipping deals this season, start planning now. You’ll need to adjust your checkout page so that everyone gets the shipping plan they need. Remember that shipping prices are the number one reason for cart abandonment.14) Plan StaffingWill you need extra hands on deck during the holidays? Now’s the time to plan for it rather than the day of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.15) Plan ReturnsWith a higher purchase rate during the holidays, you also have to be prepared for a higher rate of returns. Sometimes people will make gift purchases that just don’t work out. Are you ready to accept those products back and process refunds or exchanges?16) Track TrafficTo plan for future holiday seasons, you’ll need to know your traffic for this year. Keep an eye on what drives people to your site so you can tweak the results and get even more buyers in the future.17) Customer ServiceAre you ready to field all questions and complaints? Someone should be alert at all hours to keep an eye on social channels, answer the phone, or respond to emails. Keeping buyers satisfied is one of the most important tasks you’ll tackle.And now you’re ready… theoretically. If you’ve never experienced a holiday sales season, nothing can prepare you for what’s about to come. At least you’ll have all your ducks in a row! Originally published Nov 3, 2015 10:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack