It’s hard to argue with the statement that the ” ? Or cutting back? .) Can you afford not to be where your competitors are? networking their way into sales opportunities publishing their way inbound marketing strategies into At the top, the economy is certainly showing signs of struggling – with bank failures, proportionally higher job losses, state budget shortfalls, etc. And this could certainly trickle down. Coincidence or not, we all are certainly paying more for food, gas and oil. So, this post is not meant to belittle hardships others are facing. Almost all internet marketing strategies require more of your time and less of your money compared to traditional marketing and advertising solutions. thought leadership positions . They are Constant Improvement . They are . ( and can deliver sales ready leads Inbound vs. Outbound. The internet is primarily an “inbound” marketing channel where you “pull” prospects to you, by being where they are looking for your solution. The internet What are you doing differently in your sales and marketing processes in order to grow your business – despite this mess? to grow their business quicker and more profitably. But, I do believe that we can get ourselves out of this mess by basically stepping on the gas pedal of innovation and doubling down on our respective career and businesses’ growth strategies. And not doing anything or retreating from our strategies because we “fear” it could get worse, would be disastrous for each of us individually, the businesses we manage and the economy collectively. sales and marketing can work together how to handle the “R Word” objection in the sales process You can test everything. Some people get a little carried away with measuring every move. Not every connection on a social network, every email blast you send or every blog post you write, etc is going to turn into business. But, when your online marketing activities turn into leads, opportunities and sales, you will know exactly what activity to do again. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack IAB too Here’s why the “R Word” shouldn’t stop you from making decisions about your internet marketing strategy: Like Warren Buffet . They are Given that I’m in sales, and I haven’t had anyone tell me that “I’m not buying because I can’t get a bank to give me a new credit card.” Or “I’m not buying because I don’t think anyone will buy my services in this economy – no matter how many leads I generate,” I think it’s probably safe to say that the economy is not affecting many of us. Of course, this is easy to say, but harder to do. The Pavlovian reaction is to cut, but the media industry can learn from someone like Rupert Murdoch, who historically has never done that. You’ll see him investing in editorial and products at a time when other people are throwing the baby out with the bath water. The talk to do ratio is high, the doing is low. When times are tough it is time to invest, not cut. This comes from years of research dating back to Ogilvy’s Alex Biel and Millward Brown interaction surveys. All show that, if we cut marketing during such times, the impact is damaging and it can take you longer to get back to where you were. “. Ok, it isn’t hard to argue with that. But, much more experienced marketers than I have proven that Your Competitors are Shifting Their Spending : Putting aside whether we’re actually in a recession, or not, I think it’s safe to say that the “R” word is on everyone’s mind. Originally published Oct 7, 2008 11:34:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: One of the areas where many companies are innovating is their internet marketing strategy. “R” word or not, many companies are investing significantly in fundamentals of our economy are strong leveraging analytics technologies to improve sales efficiencies investing in down times is the surest way to capitalize on good times . According to eMarketer, Spend Time. Not Money. . If you’re doing the same thing you did to advertise and market your business as you did 25 years ago, you have a problem. Your problem is not that you’re still wearing bell-bottomed nylon suits. It’s that you probably don’t know what’s working and what’s not working. (See #3 above.) Measurability has a really interesting side effect. Since you can now measure things, you can now improve. I’m not talking about tweaking colors and copy. I’m talking about walking into the CFOs office and showing how you delivered more opportunities to the sales team on a smaller budget. Everything is Measurable. redesigning their websites as lead capture machines . These companies are innovating their sales and marketing processes and most importantly, finding ways that more will be spent on online marketing and shifted from traditional marketing approaches as a result of the “R” word . If they are looking for your solution, your sales cycle will naturally be shorter. PS. As a bonus, here’s some great discussion on Are you investing like Murdoch historically does? Prepare for the future. . Be Where People are Looking. Marketing Advice If anything, when inbound marketing is done right, the web turns your marketing department into a publishing group, not that much different than Murdoch’s empire.
More than 1/3 of Google Queries (Duplicates Excluded) Have Never Been Seen Before manfrys really dive in is of the utmost importance to any business. Here are a – Average Time it Takes Google to Answer a Query is Less than ¼ Second That translates to about 1.5 changes per day! Are you staying on top of these changes? Are you studying and understanding the space in a way to best use it for business success? Originally published Jan 11, 2010 3:15:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Download our This proportion includes all searches. What do you suppose happens to this proportion when the searcher uses a local qualifier like including a town or region name in the search? Of note, one of the changes from last year that is becoming more pervasive in the results set is seeing a Google map in a search without even using the local qualifier. photo by So why is this important? It’s because it never ends. The reason that the online space continues to improve in its delivery of results to the SMB is that it is evolving and morphing to the needs of today’s business and consumer alike. It’s not going to end. to creating a robust search presense or are you just going to wait for the “right moment”? The right answer should be obvious. Search Engine Optimization Kit As we have seen from an earlier HubSpot post, Do you think they are all wondering about celebrities and nonsense? No. They are looking for products and services like yours. few more points search engine optimization kit organic search Is there any wonder why Google is so dominant in this “I need it now!” world? 7 out of 10 US Google users make more than one search query per day. Will 2010 be the year that you Learn moreabout how you can optimize your site to rank higher in search enginesso you get found by more qualified prospects. 1 in 13 Google Result Pages Show a Map in Search Results that come directly from the Official Google blog describing things of interest to those using the searchengine to fuel their own revenue engine. Did you know…. . Normally the year in review “stuff” from search engines has little to do with business. While these lists may seem interesting for about half a second it really doesn’t do much for the SMB who is looking to get more business from their web presence. Google likes to play the game of telling us in early December what the most searched terms were and more but they wait until the start of January to tell the business users some important stats that could influence how they look at the engine. There were 540 Search Quality Improvements Made by Google Last Year SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
It’s evident that the evolution of social media has a clear impact on marketing. However, a major issue is that too much misinformation and propaganda exists about social media adoption, usage and its business applications. While we have written at length about social media and inbound marketing on this blog for the past several years, we are also huge fans of data here at HubSpot. This post is a homage to all of the awesome data that exists on the web about social media, though is by no means even close to all of it.Recently, Social Media Examiner released a really interesting research report packed full of social media related data and statistics. That report was the inspiration for this post, so we’ll start off with a video from Social Media Examiner that summarizes its newly released research.VideosIndustry Report Overview from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo. JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.2. Social Media Revolution 3. Social Media Revolutions 2Infographics1. Visualizing 6 Years of Facebook from Mashable:2. The Boom of Social Sites from Focus.com3. Facebook vs Twitter4. Social Sharing Statistics From Silicon Alley Insider5. Twitter Territory6. Who Participates Online7. Breakdown Of Who Blogs8. Age Distribution For Social Sites9. Social Networks Around The World10. Social Mediain China11. A Day On The Internet12. Social Media DemographicsPresentations1. Universal Mccann International Social Media Research Wave 3Universal Mccann International Social Media Research Wave 3View more presentations from mickstravellin.2. What the F**K is Social Media: One Year LaterWhat the F**K is Social Media: One Year LaterView more presentations from Espresso’s Infiltrators.3. Social Media For Business: 31 Stats and AnecdotesSocial Media For Business: 31 Stats and AnecdotesView more presentations from Adam Schoenfeld.4. Global Social Media Trends – Asia ImpactGlobal Social Media Trends – Asia ImpactView more presentations from Tom Smith.5. Social Media Marketing FactsSocial Media Marketing FactsView more presentations from Sorav Jain. Topics: Social Media Analytics Originally published May 13, 2010 9:00:00 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
In an inbound marketing world, the careful alignment of sales and marketing Marketing Takeaway: Social media guru Chris Brogan explains how to demonstrate the value of social media marketing. on Social Media B2B Marketing Takeaway: 1. link building Marketing and Sales Alignment Adam Holden-Bache Author: Use similes and analogies. to learn how to get your company started with social media. Author: conversion. Keeping in line with his belief that reading a blog post should provide a similar experience to the indulgence of an ice cream cone on a hot day or the thrill of a roller coaster ride, Bamboo Forest reveals five search engine optimization 2. Should Your Content Aim for Traffic or Conversion? Marketing Takeaway: Sean D’Souza Create the unexpected. can be tremendously beneficial to business success. But are enough companies taking steps in the right direction to facilitate the collaboration between these two departments? Topics: 4. : content that attracts and content that converts. Julie Joyce’s article suggests several ways to think outside the box and shake up your different types of blog content Author: While both offer different advantages for your blog and its readers, Sean emphasizes the fact that each style can (and should) live on your blog. There’s no need to choose just one strategy, and a mixture of both types of articles will not only attract a larger number of prospects but will also afford you better Author: The New Yorker Marketing Takeaway: 5. techniques 3. Feed your blog promotion in social media There are risks associated with incorporating social sharing elements in B2B email marketing? You betcha, says Social Media B2B, whose article discusses the fact that certain content included in email marketing campaigns may not be suitable for social sharing (e.g. proprietary information). Using magazines with a balance of different types of articles to attract new readers and convert more customers. Social Media and the Sales Team Cosmopolitan sales and marketing alignment bloggers can use to create a truly unforgettable, great experience for their readers: While Todd’s article focuses on the disconnect between sales and marketing for companies mainly in the retail industry, the overall theme of Before you jump on the social sharing bandwagon, review and evaluate content in individual emails prior to delivery. Use humor. on Search Engine Journal Download the free webinar Risk and Reward of Social Sharing in B2B Email Marketing Most internet marketers are aware that generating inbound links is invaluable to Todd Defren Originally published Oct 25, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 on Copyblogger efforts by searching differently, reaching out in a new way, realizing that less is sometimes more, brainstorming, thinking in a different place, getting a second opinion, and persisting in your efforts. Webinar: How to Sell Social Media to Your Boss Julie Joyce If your tried and true link building efforts start to fail, try something new! . But what do you do when your go-to link building efforts are no longer returning the results you used to rely on? Search Engine Journal suggests you try something totally different. Photo Credit: Keep your blog’s readers coming back for more by creating for them an unforgettable experience at every blog visit. Bamboo Forest In this week’s top inbound marketing article, Todd Defren discusses the problematic disconnect between many businesses’ sales and marketing teams in terms of social media engagement. Marketing Takeaway: on Problogger Author: Be a contrarian. as analogies, Sean stresses the importance of and describes two very is one that can be applied to businesses in any industry. and social sharing of email content Todd specifically focuses on how the disconnect applies to social media engagement, highlighting a great point about how marketing and customer service teams seem to be experiencing congruency, yet marketing and sales teams are still struggling to find the proper balance when it comes to Use quotes. Shake Up Your Link Building Efforts on PR-Squared What other great inbound marketing blog articles have you come across in the past week? Align your sales and marketing teams and determine a mutually beneficial approach to social media involvement. Holden-Bache highlights a short list of email content safe for sharing and reinforces the rewards that can come from enabling the . Tim Parkinson 5 Techniques to Make Your Next Post Unforgettable . However, he raises an important point that email marketers should proceed with caution and evaluate emails on a content-by-content basis to determine if social sharing links are appropriate. business blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
We know that Google’s marketing power stretches far beyond the search engine land. The 3. About Google’s Keyword Tool Grab your Google Places listing as soon as possible. It’s a free way for you to get listed on the first page of Google and level the playing field. When creating the listing, optimize for the right keywords and feature images and videos relevant to your business. 7. About Google Places beyond search engine optimization with . This is called contextual targeting. , you’ll see that after we cover each tool in greater detail and offer next steps to make the knowledge you gain really actionable. . From Google Places to Google Reader, our free ebook walks you through 7 tools that will help you become a better marketer. As part of the Google Display Network, Google partners with hundreds of websites, news pages, and blogs that can feature your ads. “And similar to how it works with Google Search, your keywords determine where your ads are shown on the Display Network,” Topics: . When you create a specific ad, Google can match it to a website it relates to. For example, if you’re a bakery and your ad is about a cake, it will fit in well with the Dining and Wine section of 2. About Google Docs 4. About Google Alerts Google News provides you with a great platform to find news relevant to your industry and generate content ideas from the results you see. Take advantage of a story’s timeliness and piggyback on its newsworthiness. new ebook HubSpot’s newest ebook Google Docs helps with brainstorming new content ideas and collaborating within the actual creation process. Maintaining these docs, you can eliminate unnecessary meeting time and be much more efficient. . In both formats, we saw that the demand to learn more about Google’s marketing assets was strong. Here are some highlights from the ebook: Ready to take advantage of these tools in your day-to-day marketing activities? In our You can learn Originally published Jul 7, 2011 1:45:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 how to unlock the power of Google tools 1. About Google AdWords The inspiration for this ebook came from a more Google Alerts enable you to easily monitor the web for desired keywords, sending you email messages when these terms are being used. For example, we use Google Alerts to monitor the word “HubSpot” along with “inbound marketing” and “internet marketing.” It’s one way to stay on top of news related to our industry and brand. 5. About Google News as well as a recent release of Google+ In today’s attention economy, time is our scarcest resource. That’s why we value most the tools that save us time. Google Reader does exactly that—saves you time by allowing you to quickly filter through news stories, blog posts, videos, and other content relevant to your industry. Subscribe to websites, blogs, industry leaders, and get notifications on their updates. In addition to suggesting keyword ideas, Google’s Keyword Tool will also tell you how competitive these phrases are. Generally, you don’t want to choose highly competitive keywords, but you want to focus on the ones you can realistically start ranking for. The New York Times SEO 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 6. About Google Reader Hope you enjoy the read and become a better marketer by using these helpful tools! webinar on the same topic extensive blog post about Google’s tools Google’s Step-by-Step guide reads makes us even more acutely aware of this reality. But let’s take a step back and look at some of Google’s other assets that have, over time, become marketers’ best friends.
Originally published Oct 7, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Topics: We talk a lot about how marketing analytics is key to inbound marketing success. Another concept that goes hand-in-hand with analytics is testing. Contrary to popular practice, testing in marketing expands beyond email marketing and can be applied to practically every other inbound marketing tactic — social media, business blogging, landing pages, lead generation, and lead nurturing — there’s virtually nothing you can’t test in your marketing.Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.While we believe marketers should constantly be testing their marketing, the first step is identifying the different marketing variables you can test. And because so many of these variables are applicable across channels, you’ll likely never run out of tests to run or experiments to try. The following 20 testing variables can lead you to discover valuable opportunities to optimize and improve the performance of your marketing initiatives.20 Variables to Test in Inbound Marketing 1. Layout: Test the layout within individual content items like blog posts, email marketing messages, lead nurturing emails as well as website pages like landing pages, your main website homepage, your blog homepage, etc. Move elements of your pages around, and test the performance of one layout vs. another.2. Calls-to-Action (CTAs): CTAs offer a number of testing opportunities. Test the performance of different calls-to-action based on their placement on various pages of your website and within certain pieces of content like blog posts, ebooks, and webinars. 3. Content Offers: Calls-to-action are made up of different offers, such as an ebook, a webinar, a free trial, etc. Test calls-to-action in terms of different offer topics in your industry and various formats (video vs. webinar vs. ebook vs. free trial, etc.). Do certain offers focused on a particular topic or in a specific format tend to resonate better with your audience? These types of tests can help you indentify the wants and needs of your prospects and customers and help you create content your audience cares about.4. Color: Test the color of your call-to-action buttons. You can even just test the overall color scheme of your website or blog. Do certain colors elicit a better response than others?5. Size: Sometimes, just making a CTA button, an image, or a headline a few hairs bigger can make a huge difference. Maybe your headline isn’t prominent enough to catch the site visitor’s attention. Or maybe your call-to-action is too small to stand out. Test the sizing of different website and content elements.6. Email Subject Line: In your email marketing and lead nurturing emails, test different versions of subject lines to determine which results in the best click-through rate. Do you find that a more actionable or sensational subject line performs better than others?7. Blog Titles: Similarly, do some testing and analysis of blog titles. Do numbers in your titles produce better results? Over time, can you notice a pattern of specific words that have consistently attracted lots of views?8. Email Sender: Test various versions of how you present your email sender. Does a stand-alone name of one of your employees work better than your company name? What about a combination of the two?9. Email Templates: Create a few different email templates, and test their effectiveness over each other in your email marketing and lead nurturing messages.10. Length: Test the length of your landing page copy and forms (shorter forms may be better for your business than longer forms, or vice versa), your content (do your readers prefer shorter or longer blog posts with more copy?), your email messages, and social media updates like tweets, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates.11. Messaging: Have you varied the way you position your message? Try a different angle, and see what effect it has.12. Tone: Test different tones in your writing and positioning. Does a more serious approach work better than an edgier one? Be careful with this one though — once you’ve done some testing and defined your most effective tone, stick with it. Your company should have a recognizable, consistent voice across all your messages and content.13. Images: Test how people respond to different types of images — in your blog posts, your email messages, your landing pages, your CTAs, etc.14. Timing: Do your tweets get retweeted more in the morning or the afternoon? Do certain days of the week make for better Facebook engagement? Perhaps your email marketing is more effective on Saturdays and your blog posts generate more views during the middle of the week.15. Frequency: Is your particular audience receptive to more or fewer updates from you, whether it be via email, tweets, blog articles, Facebook posts, etc.? Test the frequency of your updates in various channels and take notice of what works best.16. Keywords: Test the performance of your keywords. Can you generate more traffic from a long tail keyword than you’re generating from a more general keyword?17. Paid Search: While not a variable in itself, there are a number of variables and combinations of variables you can test in your paid search efforts, too — keywords, messaging, imagery, offers, etc.18. Targeting and Personalization: Another variable you can test in paid search is targeting! Furthermore, you can test different targeting methods on your homepage, on your landing pages, in your email marketing and lead nurturing, etc.19. Privacy: Does adding a note about protecting visitors’ privacy to certain pages of your website impact your results? Test adding some language that indicates protection of privacy to your landing pages, and see if it results in higher conversion rates.20. Data Visualization: What’s the best way for you to present data? In a pie chart? A graph? An infographic? Try different ways to visualize your data, and see what works best!Regularly testing elements of your marketing can be a great way to identify ways to improve your existing marketing efforts. What other variables can you test in your inbound marketing?Image Credit: [F]oxymoron A/B Testing Don’t forget to share this post! 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Topics: Originally published Mar 19, 2013 12:35:00 PM, 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 Calls-to-action (CTAs) are one of the most critical inbound marketing tools. Whether they take the form of anchor text links, images, or buttons, CTAs are what motivate and direct your visitors to take a desired action, usually on a landing page. This could mean anything from registering for an event, downloading content and converting into leads, or encouraging prospects to move further down your marketing funnel toward sales-readiness.But not all calls-to-action are effective at converting your visitors. And because we’ve worked with so many marketers over the years, we’ve seen our fair share of lackluster and underperforming CTAs in our day. So to help you get a handle on some of the most critical CTA best practices, this post — and the accompanying SlideShare — will uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly of calls-to-action, so you can learn what works (and what doesn’t) with CTAs. 20 Do’s & Don’ts for Clickable Calls-to-Action from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software 20 Critical Do’s and Don’ts for Compelling Calls-to-Action1) DON’T use “submit” on your form buttons.DO use valuable and actionable copy, such as “Download Now,” “Get Your Free Trial,” “Speak to an Expert,” or “Buy Now.”Why? Think about it: No one likes to “submit” to anything. By stating the value of what the visitors will receive by clicking the button, you will reduce anxiety and friction and, thus increase clickthroughs.2) DON’T hide your CTAs where no one can see them.DO place your CTAs above and below the fold and within the visitor’s “eye path.”Why? Calls-to-action are worthless if no one can see them! Don’t make the mistake of neglecting to position important calls-to-action front and center so visitors miss them altogether.3) DON’T use the same or similar colors in your CTAs as the page’s background color.DO use bold, contrasting colors in your CTAs so they don’t blend in with the page.Why? If your CTA uses colors similar to those of the background — whether on a page, in an email, or within any other channel, it will blend into the page, making it difficult for visitors to notice. Simple as that!4) DON’T use teeny, tiny CTAs that no one will notice.DO make them big and bold.Why? So they stand out! It’s important to make CTAs one of the bigger, more prominent objects on a page to increase the likelihood of clickthroughs.5) DON’T make the design of your CTAs look flat.DO make them look “clickable” and button-like by adding bevels, shadows, and hover effects.Why? Online visitors are conditioned to recognize clickable elements like buttons and links. Use copy or design to indicate that visitors should “click here.”6) DON’T use CTAs in the wrong place at the wrong time.DO use CTAs that relate to the content on the existing page, or align with the buyer’s interests and needs.Why? Many marketers make the mistake of pushing a CTA too soon or with the wrong audience. Matching the CTA with the lifecycle stage or interests of the visitor will make for a more effective call-to-action and increase clickthroughs. 7) DON’T be too wordy.DO make sure CTAs are clear, simple, and uncluttered.Why? Attention spans are short. Get to the point quickly.8) DON’T use vague, cliché, or passive language.DO use compelling and actionable copy that conveys the value being offered.Why? The most effective calls-to-action tell visitors what to do (e.g. click here, download now, get your XYZ). Use words that convey action so there’s no question about it.9) DON’T oversell and under-deliver.DO set the right expectations about what visitors will receive.Why? Many calls-to-action make fake promises. Just think of decades’ worth of Mad Men type advertising. Visitors have high expectations that your CTA will deliver what’s promised.10) DON’T link your CTAs to your homepage.DO direct each CTA to its own dedicated landing page that restates the offer and copy from the CTA.Why? A homepage is a dumping ground for all miscellaneous traffic. CTAs give you the opportunity to increase conversions by driving visitors from a particular channel or source to a specific landing page that is closely tied to the CTA. This reduces friction because visitors will know they landed in the right place. Bringing them directly to the homepage will make them feel lost and reduce the likelihood they’ll convert.11) DON’T use too many CTAs on one page.DO use only one primary and one secondary CTA only.Why? Calls-to-action are meant to stand out and direct visitors to one desired course of action. If there are too many messages shouting out them, then suddenly nothing stands out.12) DON’T forget to build trust through design and copy.DO use data or testimonials to validate your proposition.Why? Visitors have little trust in everything the internet tells them. The best ways to build trust are through professional design, social proof, or customer case studies and testimonials.13) DON’T miss opportunities to promote your CTAs.DO place a CTA in everything you do.Why? Every channel or platform you use in your marketing is an outlet to promote a call-to-action, whether in email, a blog post, social media, or on thank-you pages.14) DON’T use the same CTAs for too long.DO experiment with and A/B test your CTAs to know what design, copy, and placement works best.Why? A call-to-action can get stale very fast in the fast-changing web, and you can’t guarantee the same CTA will work forever. Testing is a critical part of creating effective CTAs.15) DON’T forgot to search engine optimize your CTAs.DO add keyword-rich ALT tags so your CTA adds search value to the page.Why? A CTA, when taking the form of an image, is a great opportunity to add more relevant keywords to your site so your website gets found in search engines.16) DON’T use Flash or complicated animations.DO use CTAs that are mobile-optimized so any device can see them.Why? More and more people around the world are surfing the internet on mobile devices — not just PCs. If your CTA can’t been seen on phones or tablets, you’re missing a huge chunk of potential conversions.17) DON’T use branding as the only objective of your CTA.DO use CTAs to offer something of value.Why? Branding in CTAs are a waste of time and money. No one cares about your logo or fancy tagline. Give them something they — not you — want.18) DON’T use the same CTA for everyone.DO use personalization and dynamic content.Why? Because everyone is different! Create different CTAs for different personas and audiences. Personalization is one of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of your CTAs. (Hint: Smart CTAs can help with this.)19) DON’T cram your CTAs into little spaces.DO give them room to breathe by utilizing white space.Why? Making sure there is plenty of white space around a CTA is another great way to make sure it stands out and doesn’t get lost in the clutter.20) DON’T obsess over a pixel-perfect design.DO master the copy of CTAs, because that’s what really gets visitors to take action.Why? While it’s important for CTAs to have a professional design, even the best-looking designs fail. The most effective CTAs get content right first and foremost, by using compelling copy that creates trust, urgency, and value.What other CTA do’s and don’ts would you add to this list? Calls to Action
Sales Demo Originally published Jun 20, 2019 11:45:00 AM, updated June 20 2019 Topics: Sales Demo Steps A sales demonstration, or a sales demo, is when a sales rep delivers a presentation to a prospective customer to show them the features, capabilities, and value of the product or service. The purpose of a sales demo is to close a deal. Sales Demo Steps What is a sales demo? Sales Demo Best Practices Research your prospectConfirm the sales demoPlan your sales demo before the meetingHumanize the sales demoSet an agenda for the demoSummarize past conversationsProvide backgroundExplain the product or serviceAddress any questions the prospect hasSet expectations for next steps Sales Demo Basics Before we dive into the sales demonstration process, let’s look at the difference between a sales demo and a product demo, as they’re often confused terms.Sales Demo vs. Product DemoTo reiterate, a sales demo is the process of providing a prospect with a demonstration of your product or service. A product demo is the same process but it involves a current customer.The point of a sales demo is to create a sale whereas the point of a product demo is to show an existing client how to use the product or service they already invested their time and money in.Sales Demo BasicsNow, let’s answer a few more questions that may come up as you begin thinking about your business’s process and as you prepare to start delivering demos to prospective customers.Use HubSpot’s Sales Hub to organize and manage all aspects of your sales processes including your demos. Who delivers a sales demo?At virtually every company, a sales rep will deliver a demo to the prospective customer.Why deliver a sales demo?You deliver a sales demo to close a deal. With a sales demo, you’re showing a prospect exactly how your product or service meets their specific needs and can mitigate any pain points and issues they’re experiencing. This makes your prospect want to buy your product or service (or at least want to learn more about it so they can convert later on).When do you deliver a sales demo?Sales demos typically occur after a visitor becomes a lead. Depending on where a prospect is in the buyer’s journey, there are a few specific points in time when you might deliver a sales demo (or ask if your prospect is interested in a demo).When a visitor completes a micro conversion (signs up for your newsletter or requests more information)When a lead contacts a member of your sales team to learn more about your product or serviceWhen a lead requests a consultationHow do you deliver a sales demo?There are a number of channels through which you can deliver your sales demos. You might offer your prospects different options to be flexible and meet their needs.Ensure you have all of the tools needed to offer these sales demo delivery methods. For example, if you decide to deliver a sales demo via video chat, make sure you have access to software like GoToMeeting or Zoom, which allow easy screen share, face-to-face video chat, messaging, call features, and more.Here are some more examples of common sales demo delivery channels:Phone callEmailIn-personAutomated/ pre-recorded videoLive video chatSince you now have a better understanding of the basics behind the sales demo process, let’s take a look at how to actually deliver a sales demo. 1. Research Your ProspectThe first step in the sales demo process is to research your prospect. As the rep who’s delivering the demo, you should have a deep understanding of the prospect’s needs and pain points as well as what it is the company they work for does.This will allow you to tailor and customize the demo to the prospect’s specific needs and situation, which is a critical component of a successful sales demo.2. Confirm the Sales DemoA sales demo is something that’s almost always planned in advance — so it’s important to remember to confirm the demo prior to it happening. Make sure the planned time of the demo still works for the prospect and give them a window to postpone if they’ve accidentally double-booked or if something else came up.Send a calendar invite as soon as you’ve confirmed the date and time of the demo (don’t forget to include any dial-in information if needed). Ask if anyone other than the person (or people) you listed on the invite will be attending so you can add them. Then, follow up with a confirmation email the day before, or a few hours prior to, the demo.Use free scheduling software to efficiently plan, organize, and manage all of your meetings.3. Plan Your Sales Demo Before the MeetingThere are many ways to plan your sales demo in a way that will enhance it and make it more engaging depending on the channel you choose to present through.For example, share your screen during the call with tools like the ones we mentioned above, create a personalized slide deck (with a tool like Canva), and have any relevant links loaded and ready to go in tabs on your browser to reference so you can easily incorporate them throughout the presentation. Examples of these resources include a customer case study, an informative infographic, and any other web pages, like your testimonial web page, you think may come in handy during the demo.You should also prepare statements around each tool or service you plan to show your prospects as well as any tie down questions — which spark agreement and invite the prospect to better define the value of a given tool or solution for their business — to ensure your prospect is following along and understanding the given information.Plan tie down questions for each tool or section in your demo to ensure your prospect is following along, understanding your descriptions, and grasping how these tools can help them solve their problems. You want to lay out a clear path from A to B so they can envision the way your product or service can resolve their challenge.4. Humanize the Sales DemoIf you start the demo with, “Hi. I’m Kristen … Let’s start the sales demo now!” you officially sound like a sales zombie.To avoid coming off as a pushy, untrustworthy, and possibly unpleasant, ensure you’re personable and show your caring, human side at the beginning of the call. After all, at this stage in the sales cycle, you and the prospect probably don’t know each other that well. You might ask the prospect how they’ve been, how their latest project went, if their dog is finally potty trained, whatever. Time is precious, but so is rapport.And rapport does not stop here. Build it at the beginning of the call and ensure it’s continually injected throughout all other parts of the sales demo as well to establish a human and trusting relationship.5. Set an Agenda for the DemoYour sales demos should always follow an agenda. Prospects should be informed of this agenda prior to the demo beginning and can also be reminded of which stage of the agenda they’re actually in throughout the demo. This sets expectations and keeps everyone organized and on task. Knowing what will happen during the demo will put the prospect at ease.Emphasize there will be time at the end of the demo for the prospect to ask detailed questions (but you can also stress questions are welcome at any time).6. Summarize Past ConversationsAs you begin presenting the demo, mention any past conversations you’ve had with this specific prospect. This will remind them why they needed your assistance to begin with, why they considered doing business with you in the past, and how you determined you can help them during any previous conversations.One way to neatly do this is by outlining the prospect’s goals, plans, challenges, and timeline (GPCT). Once they confirm this information is right, you can use this presentation slide (or brief discussion) as a springboard to jump into the meat of the demo.7. Provide BackgroundAs a rep, gaining the trust of the prospect is a critical component of closing any deal. To do this, provide some background information about your company. This will establish your company as a reputable and innovative potential partner for the prospect.The ticket here is avoiding generic babble and incorporating specific facts about your company and it’s products/ services that align with the needs of the prospect and their company.7. Explain the Product or ServiceNow, it’s time to explain your product or service. When doing this, you’ll want to ensure the explanation is both specific and tactful.Start with an overview or the product and it’s basic features. Explain why this product exists, and link it to the prospect’s needs (which you already confirmed with the GPCT). Each feature being presented in the demo should tie back to why the product is the best solution for the prospect’s challenge.Next, bring in the “wow” factors. This should answer the question, “What unique value does the product offer?”This is where personalization is key. For example, if a HubSpot prospect mentions they want to improve their blog’s SEO, you could feature the SEO, Content Strategy, and Keywords tool. You can also always refer back to any previous conversations and plans you worked on with the prospect during earlier conversations and ask a tie-down question to ensure you’re all on the same page at this time as well.Furthermore, if your company provides excellent customer service to help with the onboarding process and beyond, include that information in this part of the demo. Knowing help will be available when needed does wonders to reassure a doubtful prospect.9. Address Any Questions the Prospect HasAs mentioned, you’ll want to ensure every demo has time for Q&A at the end of the demo. Throughout the demo, try to anticipate possible objections the prospect might have by listening to their tone and even watching their facial expressions (if they’re on a video call or meeting in person).By picking up on these emotions and concerns, you can frame your responses and answers in a more personalized way. You can also determine whether or not you should pull out that extra infographic or show an example of a customer successfully solving the same problem using the tools being referenced. This builds social proof, credibility, and shows the prospect that others have succeeded by partnering with you.10. Set Expectations For Next StepsWhew! You’ve officially completed the delivery of the sales process. Now, the big question: Is the prospect interested in moving this conversation forward to possibly make a deal?Let the prospect know upfront what’s required on their end for the solution to be successful. For example, show a final slide to summarize the discussion in terms of the prospect’s necessary commitment, skills, time, willingness to learn, and budget for the solution to be a worthwhile investment for them.If they’re interested in learning more or keeping the conversation going, you can set up a follow-up conversation. Or — even better — if the demo was highly effective in convincing the prospect, it might be time to begin a closing sequence to complete the deal (yay!).Sales Demo Best PracticesThere are some best practices you’ll want to make sure you follow and consider while working on your sales demos to meet the needs of your clients and develop a consistent, effective, and repeatable process for you and your fellow reps.Personalize the Sales DemoPersonalize the sales demo to fit the needs of the specific prospect you’re speaking with. You always want to distill your demo down and customize it to your audience’s situation with only the essential information they need.To do this, make sure your demo demonstrates the ways your product is suited to address their pain points and meet their needs. Prospects and customers only care about the features that impact them in a positive way, so you’ll want your demo to highlight those.Always Explain “Why”With everything you present and share throughout the demo, you must explain the “why” behind it. Why is your product better than your competitor’s products? Why is your product or service ideal for managing the prospect’s issue? Why should your prospect want to do business with you? Why do your current customers love your product?These are the types of points and comments that may just move your prospect from an interested lead to a new and loyal customer — they differentiate you from other companies and make your demo significantly more convincing.Remember To Be AdaptableThe sales demo steps are a bit like an adaptable script you can refer to and pull from to ensure you’re providing all prospects with an on-brand, consistent, and professional experience.You can also make sure you run through various situations regarding the reasons why prospects might need your product or service and how it can help them with your sales manager so you’re ready for all scenarios. Additionally, you might choose to review some possible questions the majority of prospects currently ask the rest of your team so you’re ready to provide quick, helpful, and impactful responses on the fly.And remember, every interaction, prospect, company, and situation is unique, so prepared to adapt the demo as needed. Your job is to meet your prospect where they are to show your support, flexibility, and commitment to their success.ListenPrior to, during, and after the delivery of any sales demo, it’s critical you listen to both the prospect and your fellow reps.You need to listen to your prospect’s needs, pain points, concerns, questions, hesitations, and positive or negative feedback. This will allow you to customize the demo and all future conversations to fit their needs and tailor the points you make during the demo to highlight the ways your product can resolve their challenges.Additionally, you need to listen to your fellow reps. Your demo process is ever-changing and you’re the group people who are actually working with prospects, conversing with them about their issues and needs, and delivering the demos every day.So, who better to ask for feedback on the current demo process (what should stay the same and what could be improved) than the other members of your team? Because, maybe they’ve uncovered something you’ve never thought about or encountered (and vice versa).Include Real DataData speaks volumes about your products, services, and ability to positively impact your customers. As we mentioned earlier, in your demos, don’t be afraid to include real data about your company’s success, the percentage of current customers who have solved problems similar to those of your prospects with your product or service, and more.If a prospect asks for specific information about one of your product’s capabilities, you can also pull in real data about the ways in which your solution works and functions.Begin Creating Your Sales Demo ProcessThe demo is to sales what the climax is to a movie — this is the part where all the action has built up and resulted in one big moment where everything comes together.That’s why it’s so important to get the demo right. Take the time to prep, understand your prospects, and determine how to tie your product back to the prospect’s needs and challenges. This way, it’ll be smooth sailing and improve the likelihood of closing a deal. What Is a Sales Demo? That’s where a sales demonstration comes in handy. Have you ever considered buying a product or signing up for a service but felt you needed to see that product or service in action prior to making your decision? Maybe because you were unsure of how it actually worked or you didn’t know whether or not if would solve a challenge you were facing.Free Download: The Do’s and Don’ts Of Using Video For Sales Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Personality Types Topics: Originally published Oct 8, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 For most of my life, I’ve pictured myself as an extrovert. When I was very young, I frequently got in trouble for talking very very very loudly to my peers. I played lots of team sports, and relished in the social interactions they brought me. My idea of a relaxing night was to invite a bunch of friends over to hang out.At the same time, I was an avid reader — and cherished the times I could curl up in my room alone to devour the latest trashy thriller I picked up at the library. When I trained for a marathon, my solo long runs rejuvenated me. And some of my other favorite nights included curling up on my couch watching the latest episode of The Bachelor.Free Resource: Convince Your Boss It’s Time to Transform Your MarketingIt turns out that like most people, I’m somewhere in the middle of introversion and extraversion — and it’s had a pretty big impact on my career. One of the times I feel most introverted is when I’m negotiating. Usually, my go-to tactic is to clam up, nod my head vigorously, and just go with whatever offer has been given to me. I know I’m not alone here — negotiation is terrifying for lots of introverts. But if you want to grow your career (and possibly your paycheck), it’s one of those things to buck up and learn. So how should introverts handle something that’s so unnatural to them? It turns out that negotiations don’t have to be dominated by our extroverted friends. Introverts have some key strengths in the whole process, too. Introverts: Play to Your Strengths in NegotiationsWhile introverts are typically thought to be super shy, that’s not always the case. Researchers are still trying to pin-point what exactly makes someone an introvert or an extrovert, but according to Susan Cain in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well.” Extroverts need lots of outside stimulation — meeting lots of people in a loud social situation, for example — while introverts prefer a low-stimulation night at home, maybe watching a favorite movie with a close friend. When negotiating, this need for lower external stimulation can work to your advantage. Research from Harvard suggests that solitude can actually make a person more capable of empathy towards others. They’re also usually quieter and skilled listeners — all skills that make it easier to better understand the motivations of the person they’re negotiating with. In a blog post, Cain also points out that introverts tend to be accommodators. While being overly accommodating can make someone a doormat in negotiations, the right dose of it can be an incredible strength. How? “Accommodators tend not to sweat the small stuff,” says Cain. “They don’t get distracted by haggling over unimportant issues. They are natural harmony-seekers.” And in a scenario all about finding a common solution between two parties, being naturally harmony-seeking is a gift. So, how can you use these skills when negotiating? Since you’re probably methodical (another introvert trait), here’s a process you can follow.How Introverts Can Negotiate More Successfully Truthfully, the steps below work for both introverts and extroverts. In fact, some of these recommendations are based on advice from my colleague Rob Masabny, just tailored for our introverted friends. With that in mind, here’s how introverts could approach their next negotiation in a way that plays to their natural strengths: PreparationThis is where introverts will spend the bulk of their time in the negotiation process. To avoid being flustered during the negotiation, you need to double down on preparation. Here’s what you need to do to prepare:1) Define the relationship.Is this a one-time negotiation, or will you have to spend the next few months working with this person? If it’s the former, you could be more aggressive in your negotiations. If it’s the latter, you should be more accommodating, yet firm about what you want.Decide which route you should take before you do anything else — it will shape your entire negotiation process. 2) Figure out the best-case scenario.Put on your rose-colored glasses for a second. If everything goes perfectly in the negotiation, what do you hope to get out of it? What do you hope the other person gets out of it? Can this be a win-win scenario? 3) Determine the worst-case scenario.Take off your glasses again. Think about the worst thing that could happen that you would be still be happy with — this gives you a “bottom” (so to speak), so you know when to walk away from the negotiation. If the negotiation gets to (or beyond) that point, you now know you need to walk away.Setting that bottom limit is incredibly important to avoid being a pushover — plus it helps you set the rest of your negotiation strategy.4) Establish a strategy to achieve or avoid those scenarios.Now that you’ve determined what the ideal situation is, establish a plan to get there. Obviously, conversations don’t go according to scripts, but you can put those methodical muscles to work by mapping out how several scenarios could go.Use your natural empathy skills to put yourself in the shoes of the other person in the negotiation. What will they feel when you say X? How might they react? Then, how will you react to get the closest to your desired goal? At the end of this process, you’ll probably have several scenarios sketched out. Next, you need to arm yourself with the tools to realize those scenarios. 5) Practice tactics to help you accomplish those strategies. Now, you need to figure out which tactics to use — and put them to practice in mock-negotiations. Grab one close friend or coworker, and have them act out the negotiation with you.Here a few things you can do to have a better negotiation:Ask open-ended questions.Instead of arguing a point head-on, you can ask lots of questions to figure out the other person’s motivations and priorities. For example, if you’re trying to negotiate a later start date for a new job, and the recruiter says, “I need you to start on August 10th,” you should ask “Is that date firm? Why does this position need to start on that day?” By keeping the follow-up question open (instead of a yes-no question), you can better figure out what the other person’s motivations are and decide how to steer the conversation going forward.This tactic helped Cain when she was a lawyer. According to an interview she did with Maclean’s, this is how she won a certain negotiation:”When the negotiating began, Cain started to ask questions, ‘lots of them,’ she recalls. And she listened to the answers, ‘which, no matter what your personality, is crucial to strong negotiation.’ Eventually, her simple questions shifted the mood in the room. ‘The bankers stopped speechifying and dominance-posing’ and the two sides started to have a real conversation. Finally a deal was struck, and the next morning, the lead lawyer for the bankers called Cain and offered her a job. He had never seen anyone so nice and so tough at the same time.”Paraphrase.To make sure that you and the other negotiator are on the same page during the chat, take time to recap what they’ve said, too. Because you’re a good listener, this will come very naturally to you.Know how to use (or avoid) anchors.Anchors are basically parameters you set on the conversation. In a salary negotiation, for example, this is the first number you throw out — the rest of the negotiations are based on this frame of reference. If you threw out $60K as the anchor, you’d be trying to have a conversation around that number — not $45K.If you’re trying to set an anchor yourself, Cain has some great tips:”You need to do your homework. Pick a number that’s favorable to you, but not so crazy that you alienate the other side. If you overshoot, you come across as naïve (you don’t understand the market) or obnoxious (who wants to deal with an over-reaching person?). Be especially careful in salary negotiations or other situations where preserving the relationship is paramount. Anchoring is often better suited to one-off negotiations, like buying a car.)”If you want to avoid being anchored, invoke “the flinch.” Cain says that you want to use your body language to show how outrageous the anchor is. Actually flinch, or raise an eyebrow, or say, “Really? That’s way off base. Let’s start this again, but with a more reasonable ballpark.”Pause.It sounds counterintuitive, but silence can be your secret weapon — especially when the other person puts an outlandish anchor on the table. Also, it can come in handy when you’re putting an out-there offer on the table too — by staying quiet, instead of over-explaining why you want something, you appear much more confident. Avoid a few key words.Masabny suggests avoiding the following words, too:”Just”: Saying things like “I’m just doing my job” diminishes what you’re doing. “Probably”: Be definitive in your negotiations. Don’t use “probably” when you could use “definitely” (or nothing at all).”Should”: Saying the other person “should” do something makes it seem like you’re trying to manipulate someone. “Kinda”: Again, this makes you seem less definitive, so avoid it at all costs.”Unfortunately”: People know that nothing good comes after this word, so they tune you out.Filler words like “um,” “eh,” or “aah.” Start the negotiation by opening up a discussion.Now comes the time to actually go through with the negotiation. You’ve done a ton of prep (congrats!), so this should be a breeze, right? There is no one-size-fits-all checklist for this section since it’s a conversation (not a recipe), but here’s roughly what to expect in this stage:1) Let them talk to figure out what they actually want.Let them take the floor to begin with. Ask them those open-ended questions and use your listening strengths to figure out what they actually want. You’ve done lots of work to anticipate their wants and needs, but you need to figure out if those assumptions were right so you can start to have a discussion. Viewing this part as a collaboration rather than a negotiation might make it easier to navigate, too.2) Steer the conversation as much as you can in the direction of your planned scenarios.You don’t want to be too bullish and determined to achieve the outcome you planned on, but you should keep those outcomes in mind when chatting with the other person. By staying focused on the goal of the conversation, you can be more nimble with the tactics you use to get there. Come to a conclusion.Congrats! You’ve reached a conclusion — hopefully it’s one everyone’s happy with. Before you end the conversation, you should do the two things below. Yes, they’re fairly common-sense, but they could be easily forgotten in the haze of negotiating.1) Restate what you’ve agreed upon.This is one of those active listening things you’re really good at doing. End the meeting on a strong note by restating exactly what everyone’s finally agreed upon. It’s possible that the other person wants to continue to negotiate based on that summary, but hopefully, you both with agree with the terms so you can move on to the next step.2) State the next steps.You need to figure out who is doing what to achieve the outcome you talked about. Setting this process at the end of the negotiation will make you feel more relaxed about the next steps.And that’s about it, folks. By outlining a very detailed plan ahead of time and practicing that plan, you should be well-equipped to get exactly what you want in your next negotiation — introvert, or not.What other negotiation tips do you have for introverts?
The new world of marketing is increasingly visual. It’s no coincidence that the newest and fastest-growing social networks on the web — like Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat — are focused primarily on visual content.So, how can marketers adapt to and leverage an increasingly visual social atmosphere? By implementing a strong visual branding strategy on social media.Visual social branding refers to what your social media content looks like — your profile picture, your cover photo, and especially your social posts. Great visuals on social media are important because the human brain is wired to read and understand images better and faster than words. Plus, visual content increases social engagement: Did you know that, according to a study by Socialbakers, images on Facebook constitute 93% of the most engaging posts compared with status updates, links, and even video?The good news is that the four key ingredients of social media success — consistent colors, fonts, imagery, and layouts — are within your reach. In this article, I’ll talk about all four of these ingredients and how both new and established brands to implement them into their social media strategy.The 4 Ingredients of Social Media Success1) A consistent color palette.If you look at the colors of any well known brand, you’ll see that they use the same colors over and over again. In their logo, in their text, even their images. Take a page from their book: Choose two to four colors to use consistently throughout all of your social media posts and marketing. Using the same colors over and over again will help consumers become familiar with your brand.For example, notice how all of Cadbury’s social posts use its iconic purple color and white across its imagery, text, and logo.Understanding color psychology can also help you reflect the feelings you want to evoke from your customers. For example, many tech companies — like Facebook, Twitter, Dell, IBM, and HP — use blue to symbolize trust, intelligence and progress. Virgin’s vibrant red color scheme gives off bold and confident vibes, mirroring Richard Branson’s own, distinct business methods.The colors you choose should reflect your brand’s. If you have a youthful brand, you might like to use bright colors, like the ones located on the outside of the color wheel. On the other hand, pastel colors work great for brands who want to be seen as welcoming and gentle.Those of you who are designers mightbe familiar with the concept of color codes, or “hex codes.” Design newbies: It’s an important concept to learn. A hex code is a six-digit code that represents an exact color recognized universally by HTML and CSS. For example, Canva’s primary color is turquoise #00c4cc, shown on the color wheel below.By knowing and using the same hex codes on your marketing, you’ll be using the same colors over and over again.2) Font pairings that match your brand’s personality.Like your color palette, your font choices should reflect your brand’s personality. Do you want to choose a strong font or a simple one? Cute or elegant?You should consider choosing three fonts for your brand and using them consistently throughout all of your materials: a font for your title/heading, a font for your subtitles, and a font for your body text. Your title/heading font should be the largest font in your design and is where you can display the most personality. If you want to use a script font or a handwritten font, your heading is the place to do it. In contrast, your Subtitle font and your Body Font should be easy to read.Notice how the Nike advertisement above pairs a bold sans serif font with a more playful script font for the “Just do it” tagline. Compare this to Zara’s thinner sans serif fonts and subtle letter spacing, which add to the feminine feel of the advertisement. (If you’re confused about which is which, check out Typography 101.)(For ideas on which fonts to pair with which, here’s a handy infographic with a guide to pairing fonts.)3) Appropriate imagery and filters.Pick imagery that has a consistent theme. Canva’s free design platform caters for brands looking for great stock photography with a library of over a million images — a great option if you’re on a budget. If you’re taking your own photos, make sure you keep your theme consistent, too.Another important aspect of imagery is your brand filters. They add consistency to your graphics — a big plus on social media. Take Corona for example, which uses a sun-drenched filter to give a “summery’ feel to its marketing graphics. Like your other visual aspects, consistency is key. Iff you’re applying your filters in Canva, copy the unique filter code of your favorite option and add it to your style guide.(Looking for more tips for better visual marketing with Canva? Check out this blog post.)4) Social media templates to speed up the design process.Do you have a template for your social media posts? Is your logo positioned the same way each time it’s used? Coming up with a style guide will help make sure all the elements of your brand work in harmony.An efficient way to create easy social media layouts is to create templates. For example, you might want to add a weekly tip, like we do at Canva, that you can share with your community. Notice how each tip has the same basic format. Keep in mind that each social media platform has different ideal image dimensions, so make sure you cater your graphics to these dimensions. But keep your branding – the placement of your logo, colors and fonts – consistent across your designs.Notice how the branding of the album cover design on the left has been adapted for the Facebook post on the right. The same background image has been used and stretched out, along with complementary fonts and filter.Ready to put your skills to action?Images, colors, fonts and layouts are all elements of graphic design that will play a huge role in making your brand image stand out. Considering up to 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, it’s no surprise that people respond well to great design.In the time it took you to read this article, approximately 500,000 new posts would have appeared on Twitter, 3 million on Facebook, 15,000 on Instagram and many, many more.The social media advertising race is on, and your brand’s visual voice is what will get you ahead. So jump in and get started. Branding Originally published Nov 5, 2014 12:00:00 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 Topics: