Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology What would you do if you had Glass? Would you be the uber-geek on the New York subway, the way that Google co-founder Sergey Brin was the other month? Would you jump giant buildings in a single bound and rescue kittens from treetops? Let us know what you would do #ifihadglass in the comments. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What would you do with some nerdy-looking glasses that could show you contextual information right in your field of vision? Search the real world in real time, while walking down the street? Maybe something cooler?Google wants to give you the chance to find out. Google is making its Glass project, the much-hyped wearable augmented reality glasses, available to a select few people outside of its Mountain View headquarters. All you need to do is send an application to Google saying why you are worthy – and include a check for $1,500.(See also Geek Chic: Why Google Glass Needs A Style Infusion) On Wednesday, Google announced a Glass campaign, “looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass.” The lucky individuals who are accepted, to be known as Glass Explorers, will be chosen based on applications to Google with the following criteria:Application must be 50 words or lessInclude hashtag #ifihadglass in the applicationInclude up to five photos in the applicationInclude a short video (15 seconds max)Be at least 18 years oldGoogle encourages prospective Glass Explorers to follow the Glass project on Google+ (+ProjectGlass) and/or Twitter (@projectglass). The deadline for applications is Feb. 27. Individuals chosen will be able to pick up their Glasses in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Tags:#Augmented Reality#Google Glass Google is the first to say that Glass is still in its very early stages. The search giant has tried to keep a tight lid on details of the project, from limited developer events to draconian non-disclosure agreements for those who ordered the glasses at the company’s Google I/O developers event in May 2012. dan rowinski
SEO Originally published May 21, 2009 8:26:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 Topics: Earlier this week The Boston Globe released its Globe 100 — its annual list of the top 100 public companies in Massachusetts, “ranked by composite performance score.” We pay close attention to our neighbors (particularly their inbound marketing needs and practices), so we thought we’d offer an alternative ranking: search engine authority. We took the The Globe 100, ran their websites through Website Grader, then sorted them according to grade. The results are below (the links will take you to each company’s Website Grader report).So what’s the big difference between companies at the top of the list, and those at the bottom?In a word: content. Top-ranked Progress Software has almost 8,000 indexed pages. As a result, they have a much better chance of winning the SEO lottery than last-placed MicroFinancial (9 indexed pages). You’ll see a similar gap between most top- and bottom-ranked companies. Progress Software Corp. (www.progress.com) 99.8Staples (www.staples.com) 99.5Raytheon Co. (www.raytheon.com) 99.3EMC Corp. (www.emc.com) 97.6Parametric Technology Corp. (www.ptc.com) 96.8Analog Devices (www.analog.com) 96.4Forrester Research (www.forrester.com) 95.5Iron Mountain (www.ironmountain.com) 95.5BJ’s Wholesale Club (www.bjs.com) 95.1Airvana (www.airvana.com) 95.1Pegasystems (www.pega.com) 94Sapient Corp. (www.sapient.com) 93Akamai Technologies (www.akamai.com) 93Zoll Medical Corp. ( www.zoll.com) 93NetScout Systems (www.netscout.com) 93Monotype Imaging Holdings (www.monotypeimaging.com) 93NStar (www.nstaronline.com) 92American Science and Engineering (www.as-e.com) 92Bitstream (www.bitstream.com) 92VistaPrint Ltd. (www.vistaprint.com) 91UniFirst Corp. (www.unifirst.co) 91PerkinElmer (www.perkinelmer.com) 91Sonesta International Hotels Corp. (www.sonesta.com) 91Hittite Microwave Corp. (www.hittite.com) 91Double-Take Software (www.doubletake.com) 91iRobot Corp. (www.irobot.com) 91Parexel International Corp. (www.parexel.com) 90Waters Corp. (www.waters.com) 90SeaChange International (www.schange.com) 90Independent Bank Corp. (www.rocklandtrust.com) 90 Millipore Corp. (www.millipore.com) 89Genzyme Corp. (www.genzyme.com) 89Aspect Medical Systems (www.aspectmedical.com) 89Eaton Vance Corp. (www.eatonvance.com) 89Aware (www.aware.com) 89Safety Insurance Group (www.safetyinsurance.com) 89CRA International (www.crai.com) 88Clean Harbors (www.cleanharbors.com) 87Thermo Fisher Scientific (www.fishersci.com) 87Varian Semiconductor Equipment (www.vsea.com) 86Berkshire Hills Bancorp (www.berkshirebank.com) 85Boston Beer Co. (www.bostonbeer.com) 85Skyworks Solutions (www.skyworksinc.com) 84Phase Forward (www.phaseforward.com) 84Harvard Bioscience (www.harvardbioscience.com) 84Brookline Bancorp (www.brooklinebank.com) 84Cognex Corp. (www.cognex.com) 83Cubist Pharmaceuticals (www.cubist.com) 82Sepracor (www.sepracor.com) 82Cabot Corp. (www.cabot-corp.com) 82Hanover Insurance Group (www.hanover.com) 82Chicopee Bancorp (www.chicopeesavings.com) 82L.S. Starrett Co. (www.starrett.com) 81Alkermes (www.alkermes.com) 80Five Star Quality Care (www.5sqc.com) 80American Tower Corp. ( www.americantower.com) 79State Street Corp. (www.statestreet.com) 78IPG Photonics Corp. (www.ipgphotonics.com) 78UFP Technologies (www.ufpt.com) 78Repligen Corp. (www.repligen.com) 78Beacon Roofing Supply (www.beaconroofingsupply.com) 77Hingham Institution for Savings (www.hinghamsavings.com) 77Affiliated Managers Group (www.amg.com) 77TJX Cos. (www.tjx.com) 75Interactive Data Corp. (www.interactivedata.com) 75Haemonetics Corp. (www.haemonetics.com) 75Altra Holdings (www.altramotion.com) 74United Financial Bancorp (www.bankatunited.com) 73Wainwright Bank & Trust Co. (www.wainwrightbank.com) 73Valpey Fisher Corp. (www.valpeyfisher.com) 72Starent Networks Corp. (www.starentnetworks.com) 71Biogen IDEC (www.biogenidec.com) 71Cynosure (www.cynosurelaser.com) 71 HRPT Properties Trust (www.hrpreit.com) 70Senior Housing Properties Trust (www.snhreit.com) 69Watts Water Technologies (www.wattswater.com) 69Datawatch Corp. (www.datawatch.com) 69 Mac-Gray Corp. (www.macgray.com) 68Century Bancorp (www.century-bank.com) 67Benjamin Franklin Bancorp (www.benfranklinbank.com) 67Enterprise Bancorp (www.enterprisebankandtrust.com) 67Analogic Corp. (www.analogic.com) 65Acme Packet (www.acmepacket.com) 65Arrhythmia Research Technology (www.arthrt.com) 64Westfield Financial (www.westfieldbank.com) 63Hospitality Properties Trust (www.hptreit.com) 62Legacy Bancorp (www.legacybancorp.com) 60Boston Properties (www.bostonproperties.com) 60Bruker Corp. (www.bruker-biosciences.com) 59Psychemedics Corp. (www.psychemedics.com) 59MKS Instruments (www.mksinstruments.com) 59Steinway Musical Instruments (www.steinwaymusical.com) 58CSP (www.cspi.com) 56Global Partners (www.globalp.com) 51Anika Therapeutics (www.anikatherapeutics.com) 46Tech/Ops Sevcon (www.sevcon.com) 45Chase Corp. (www.chasecorp.com) 43Franklin Street Properties (www.franklinstreetproperties.com) 41Atlantic Tele-Network (www.atni.com) 40MicroFinancial (www.microfinancial.com) 33Globe 100 Rank versus WSG Score Trend ChartSearch Engine Optimization Kit Learn more about how you can optimize your site to rank higher in search engines so you get found by more qualified prospects. Download our search engine optimization kit. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Learn how to use social media for lead generation. Video: How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation webinar will feature a Case Study on HubSpot’s Social Marketing Strategy. register today Originally published Feb 3, 2010 5:15:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Not surprisingly, those who have reached the strategic phase of social marketing maturity are far more likely to be producing or at least seeing signs of a return on their investment on the horizon. for tomorrow’s webinar. Based on the findings from MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report, the Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Which statement best describes how The 17% of organizations who still believe social media marketing is basically free and should stay that way, are destined to get what they pay for. Considering that social media is at a very early stage in its lifecycle, a 7% confidence rating that it is producing measureable ROI and should be funded liberally is outstanding. Conservative budget increases by almost half of all marketers surveyed — based on the promise that social media will eventually produce ROI — is another vote of confidence for this marketing channel in the longer term. For additional research data and insights about social marketing, measurable ROI Download the free video social media marketing to leverage Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to generate leads and customers. is perceived within your organization at budget time? On the other hand, marketers in the trial phase of social marketing maturity are more than four times as likely to not recognize the value this tactic has for organizations willing to invest appropriate time and resources.
, “The key is to find social media and tech-savvy PR pros, who use content and social strategies to drive success. Your firm should be creating remarkable content, building relationships with journalists and bloggers, offering training and education to strengthen your internal team, and generating coverage that produces inbound links, traffic and leads.” Do you have any good experiences on how to focus PR campaigns to help marketing as opposed to sales efforts? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section. Bad habits are hard to break, but the first step is admitting that PR and sales are not directly related. Instead PR is one of many top of the funnel tactics to bring in new marketing efforts Typical PR campaigns are measured by the number of media coverage / placements per month. Sure, a PR retainer includes content creation, strategy, etc., but success is typically measured by the number of hits and more recently, the number of shared media hits on Twitter and Facebook. These numbers can fluctuate month-to-month depending on seasonality of your content and news cycles. How many times do you hear a caveat with a particularly low number one month vs. another month? In reality, sales success and public relations campaigns do not have a direct correlation. The key factor in bridging the gap that most people miss is Integrating Public Relations With Marketing 2. Sales reps don’t care about Public Relations 2. Think Strategy Why PR Doesn’t Drive 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 TheTruthAbout So if you’ve invested a lot of money in a PR agency retainer, how do you get the top of the funnel activities to actually get the most qualified leads to turn into customers? You’ve heard it from us before, but you’ll hear it again. Create remarkable content. It’s the only way to differentiate yourself in the noisy media landscape. Use your PR agency as an extension of your marketing team and rely on them for new, out-of-the-box ideas on the type of offers you can build to get more lead conversions. Originally published Dec 10, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 PR 20/20 Luckily, some agencies are getting smarter and hiring digital natives to execute on modern PR campaigns with social media strategies to connect and build relationships with influencers, generate media coverage, and communicate relevant messages to customers and prospects. The best PR campaigns should bring you the most qualified leads. Wouldn’t it be great to report to your CEO or CMO that a campaign brought in 500 leads in the past six months? The best way to do that is to drive traffic to a landing page and get a lead to convert. Instead of having your PR agency focus on getting media coverage around new functionality in a product, why not promote an ebook or webinar to get new leads? – marketing Sure, the glitzy ink you’re getting in high-profile publications with your agency’s contacts is exciting, but let’s not forget that the real value an agency should provide is strategic counsel. Periodically check in with yourself and ask, is my agency thinking tactically (short-term) or strategically (long-term) on the campaigns we’re executing? 1. Focus on Content . concern. 1. There’s No Science Behind PR Success Data According to HubSpot partner Paul Roetzer, President at 3. Leads, Not Impressions Topics: They care about the number of good leads, not the original source of the lead that introduced them to the company. The source of the lead is a Photo Credit: Inbound Sales (Marketing)
Lead Generation Originally published Jan 5, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated October 07 2019 How to Improve Lead GenerationImprove your landing page CTA’s through design, copy, and targeting best practices.Improve your landing pages by keeping things clear, simple, and compelling with your headlines, forms, and imagery.Improve your offers by making sure there is one for each phase of the buying cycle.Improve your entire campaign by testing against best practices. Look for statistically significant conversion rate changes. Topics: Want to increase your company’s profitability from your website? Generating traffic is only half the battle. You can spend months focusing on doubling traffic to your website, but if you don’t have compelling offers, effective calls-to-action , and convincing lead nurturing campaigns, you won’t have a way to turn that traffic into leads and ultimately profits. Here are 25 ways you can increase website conversions, not only to the point of becoming a lead, but to the point of becoming a qualified lead.Download Now: 28 Free CTA TemplatesHow to Improve your Calls-to-Action1. Improve Positioning of Your Calls-to-Action (CTA) Calls-to-action do best “above the fold” – the space of your webpage viewable to the user without having to scroll down. According to heat map analysis , anything “below the fold” will only be viewed by 50% of people who view your page. Doubling impressions on your CTAs can significantly increase your website leads. 2. Be More Clear About What You’re OfferingBe crystal clear about what the offer is in your CTA. And be specific. If you’re giving away a free guide, say “ Download our FREE guide to X ”. If you’re hosting a free webinar, say “Register for our FREE webinar on X.” X should clearly convey a compelling benefit of receiving the offer. This is much more effective than “Download Now” or “Get a Free Article.” These simply aren’t specific enough.3. Use Images Rather Than Only Text so it Stands OutImages stand out on a webpage more than text does, and get a lot more attention, as proven by the heat map study . Additionally, using an image will allow you to show off the offer in a way you can’t necessarily convey using text alone.4. Use Colors that Contrast with Your Site Color SchemeYour web designer might kick and scream about this, but if your call-to-action blends in too much with your site design, it won’t stand out as much. You want as many eyeballs to land on that call-to-action as possible, so use contrasting colors to make the CTA stand out.5. Make your CTA a Hyperlink to the Corresponding Landing PageYou’d be surprised by how many times I’ve seen calls-to-action that aren’t links. Whether intentional or a matter of forgetfulness, the lack of a link will make it much harder for visitors to find out how to get the offer, and they’ll likely give up. So double, triple, and quadruple check to make sure all of your CTAs link to their corresponding landing pages.6. Place CTAs on the Most Relevant PagesCTAs shouldn’t be one size fits all. If your company offers various products or services, you may want to consider creating a different offer for each. Then you can place CTAs linking to each offer on the website pages that are most relevant to that offer.7. Add CTAs to Each Blog PostWhenever you create a new blog content, choose an offer that’s the most relevant to that blog post. Then add a call-to-action to the bottom of that blog post linking to the landing page for that offer. Informational offers such as ebooks, guides, and webinars do very well in this space, because people reading your blog would likely be eager to get more free information from you.How to Improve Landing Pages8. Match the Headline of the Landing Page to the Corresponding CTAKeep your messaging consistent on both your CTA and the headline of the landing page. If people click a link for a free offer and then find out there’s a catch on the landing page, you’ll instantly lose their trust. Similarly, if the headline reads differently than the CTA, it might lead to confusion, and the user might wonder if the CTA is linked to the wrong page.9. Be More Clear About What You’re OfferingThis is the biggest mistake I see in landing pages. People often try to be too clever or witty in the headline, and it’s not clear what the offer actually is. Again, if you’re giving away a free guide, say “Download our FREE Guide to Improving X”. Plain and simple.10. Improve the Positioning of the FormJust like you want to have your call-to-action above the fold, it’s ideal for the form to be above the fold as well. This way, there can’t be any confusion as to what’s expected from the viewer on this page: they need to fill out the form to get what you’re offering. 11. Keep the Form as Simple as Possible“Simple” does not always mean “short.” What you ask for on a form should match the information your sales team needs from your leads to make the sale. For top of the buying cycle folks at the beginning of their research process, name and email address might suffice. For more committed prospects at the bottom of the buying cycle, you might want to ask for some qualifiers like job title or city/state, and perhaps ask for a phone number. Just try not to ask for more than what’s necessary.12. Use Images to Show Off What You’re OfferingYour landing page doesn’t have a visual masterpiece, but it should show what your offer is all about. If your business is something a bit more abstract, just take a screenshot of your guide/whitepaper/eBook/etc. and add the image to your landing page. You can use freeware like Jing to easily capture and save screenshots.13. Keep the Text Concise and Easy to ScanBe brief and to the point; it’s the offer where you give the prospect more information. In addition to your headline, have a brief paragraph explaining what the offer is, followed by a few bullet points outlining what the offer consists of and what the benefits are.14. Emphasize the Benefits of the OfferMake it clear in your brief paragraph and/or bullet points what the benefits of the offer are. It’s more than just listing what the offer is comprised of; it takes a bit of spin. Instead of “Includes specifications of product XYZ,” say something like “Find out how XYZ can increase productivity 50%.” 15. Remove Links and Navigation to Maintain FocusWhen a prospect reaches your landing page, you’re just a few keystrokes away from getting their contact information. So don’t distract them with links that will take them further away from your goal of getting a lead. The thank you page, shown after a prospect fills out a form and becomes a lead, will give you the opportunity to return the navigation and links. 16. Create a Thank You Page that Keeps New Leads on the SiteWhen creating a thank you page, not only can you give back the navigation, but you can provide other links to keep the lead engaged. You can provide call to actions to the next step in the buying cycle, link them to your blog, encourage them to follow you on Twitter , ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, and more. You can do more with your thank you pages than just adding tracking code!How to Improve Offers17. Make Sure Your Offers are CompellingYour offer should answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” Things like pricing brochures, specs, and self-promotional videos are not compelling offers, because they do not answer that question. Informational items like whitepapers, guides, and webinars are compelling offers because they do. See the difference?18. Link Back to Your Site in Your OfferAlthough lead nurturing is a very powerful tool, provide a way for your leads to find you again besides through email; especially if they are more inclined to ignore email from people they don’t know. If they enjoyed your whitepaper (which is remarkable, so of course they did!), make it easy for them to remember where they got the whitepaper from by linking to your site on your cover page.19. Create Offers for Each Phase of the Buying CycleJust like your forms might vary for each phase of the buying cycle, your offers should as well. Someone at the top of the buying cycle may be more interested in an informational piece like a guide or ebook, whereas someone more committed at the bottom of the cycle might be more interested in a free trial or demo . You don’t need to pick and choose; create offers for each phase, and include a primary and secondary CTA to these offers on various pages throughout your site.How to Improve Lead Nurturing Campaigns20. Be More Clear About What You’re OfferingI’m being repetitive about this for a reason: I’ve seen this mistake made too many times, and it’s such an easy fix. Always be crystal clear about what you are offering. Keep your email short and sweet. Instead of prefacing your offer with two paragraphs about your company’s background, get to the point. What are the tips you want to share with your prospects? How can they benefit from subscribing to your blog? Why should they care what new offer you have on your site? 21. Include Links Back to Your SiteIt’s awfully hard to measure the success of your lead nurturing emails by the unsubscribe rate alone. Include links back to your site so that you can test variations, and measure what works and what doesn’t. These links don’t have to be CTAs leading to landing pages. You can link to more free information on your blog, encourage people to follow you on Twitter, etc.22. Keep the Text Concise and Easy to ScanPeople don’t want to read dense paragraphs of text in their email. Just like your landing pages, have a brief paragraph with a free bit of information, a few bullet points of tips or guide steps, and a link back to your site to find out more information. Save the actual bottom-of-the-cycle-offer CTA for one of your later lead nurturing emails, so it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to sell sell sell right out of the gate.23. Create an Attention-Grabbing Subject LineThe subject line is arguably the most important part of a lead nurturing campaign. Without an attention-grabbing title, people won’t open your email to read everything else you have to say. Clearly state how the recipient will benefit from reading your email. 24. Limit the Amount of Images in Your EmailsText-only lead nurturing emails are successful for a number of reasons. Not only do they reduce the risk of your email being sent directly to the SPAM folder, but emails seem more personal if they are written as though they could have been written for the individual reader, rather than a newsletter template that’s been sent to thousands of people. How to Improve Your Entire Campaign25. Measure, and TEST TEST TEST!Everything on your site can be tweaked and tested in order to improve conversion rates. After a CTA has been on your homepage for a month, vary the messaging or swap out an entirely new CTA and after another month, and measure which has performed best. If your offer CTA is in your 2nd lead nurturing email, move it to the 3rd and see if click-through rates increase. If landing page conversions are low, move the form above the fold and measure the results. Don’t be afraid to test different variations; you can always switch back if the old version worked better. It will be worth it when you’ve found a combination that increases your site conversions. What are some of the tweaks you’ve made to your website to increase conversions and sales ? Share your tips in the comments below! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
@RachelGettingIt The Twittersphere was pretty active in participating in the week’s events (thanks, guys!), and many of the most valuable insights were shared by 1. Print ads and brochures are beautiful pieces of garbage. Spend less on inbound marketing and capture lead on how businesses are abandoning costly, outdated traditional marketing tactics in favor of higher-yield, easier-to-track inbound marketing tactics like blogging and search engine optimization. Got an insight of your own to share? Post it below or tweet it to helpful how-to’s We wanted to acknowledge and share some of the very best transformation-themed tweets with you here. May they inspire you to start transforming your own low-yield marketing programs into finely-tuned lead-generation machines! #transform (via Originally published Apr 12, 2011 12:30:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 #transform (via @The3Motionz ) @lightbodymedia valuable insights Inbound Marketing , hundreds of @JimEJr s. #transform (via 9. You can’t BUY credibility. You have to EARN it. ) #transform (via 2. Being in the Yellow Book is like advertising in a book… that is closed most of the time. (don’t forget to use the #transform hashtag!). ) 8. It’s easier to work with clients running toward you rather than away from you! #transform (via @Eric_Baum @seibways Marketing Transformation Week ) @BSitko ) #transform (via @himanshuchanda @stacieverbic 10. No time to create content = no time to make money. program generated dozens of [By the way, we’ve archived all of the content shared during Marketing Transformation Week Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 5. Good marketers have a social media presence, not a resume. A sweet blog is more telling than a degree. 7. Engage and activate your fans/followers. Don’t collect them like cards. #transform (via , and thousands of #transform (via Topics: #transform (via 3. Inbound marketing is an investment in your business (one that keeps on giving), not a one time expense. #transform (via ) , using the #transform hashtag. @trustemedia ) eye-opening stats HubSpot’s Twitter followers 4. Don’t just say your company is the ‘leading’…prove it with info online that helps beyond just selling. @elumic 11. Keywords are the currency of the Internet. , for those of you who missed any of it.] ) ) 12. If Google can’t find you, neither can prospective customers. #transform (via here @SeattleREGuy ) @HubSpot ) 6. Don’t be pushy. “Buy, buy, buy” will result in “bye, bye, bye.” #transform (via ) Last week’s
Ladies and gentlemen: It’s time to get inspired. It’s time to push the boundaries, to flex your creative muscle, and — to quote a (slightly crazy) friend — to become a content creation “monster beast.” (Don’t worry, that’s a good thing.)Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. Attaining monster beast status isn’t easy. First off, you need to be prolific. Think Mozart: the dude composed more than 600 works in his 35-year lifespan! But quantity is by no means the most important factor here. While Mozart’s fame is derived in part from his prolific nature, he’s more famous for the quality of his symphonies, sonatas, operas, and concertos.To help you become said monster beast, we’ve highlighted some Inbound Hub blog articles from the past week that can help. So, throw on Serenade No. 13 (my favorite), read through the posts below, and soak up some content creation inspiration.35 Free Templates to Make Content Creation Faster & EasierThis just in! “Writing” and “creating content” are NOT synonyms. Ebooks, infographics, press releases, SlideShare presentations, and other popular content formats require more than just typing some text. To help you out with the design- and layout-side of things, we’ve put together these 35 free content creation templates.10 of the Most Stylish Facebook Cover Photos You’ve Ever SeenIf one of these beautiful Facebook cover photos passed you on the street, you’d probably stop in your tracks, turn your head, and deliver a Looney Tunes-esque whistle of approval. Alright, that reaction might be a bit over the top (not to mention inappropriate). But by reviewing these stellar cover photo examples, you can see how businesses are using beautiful design to attract and engage social media users.Marketing Heroes of the Week: British Airways, Coca-ColaOver on our new Up and to the Right section, Dan Lyons has rounded up some of the biggest marketing wins (and trainwrecks) from the past week. A perfect post for getting caught up on the latest marketing news items, this week’s edition includes a “magical” British Airways billboard as well as an ad-suspending act of charity from Coca-Cola. Learn more in the insightful post.9 Reasons No One Is Reading Your BlogCan you think of anything worse than spending a ton of time and energy writing post after post, only to discover that no one is reading your blog? Just as I suspected: You can’t think of a single thing that’s worse (because not being able to engage people with your content is the WORST). Don’t worry. Read this recent post and you’ll be able to diagnose the cause of your no-blog-reader-itis in no time.Top Five Insights Shaping the Future of Sales From Dreamforce 2013Dreamforce 2013 has officially come to a close. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has relinquished his microphone, some 135,000 attendees have all returned home, and Alec Baldwin has gone back to his day job: yelling obscenities at the paparazzi. Didn’t make it to the event? We’ve summarized the most important takeaways from Dreamforce 2013 in this post.What was the most interesting thing you learned this week on Inbound Hub? What do you want to see more of? Leave your feedback in the comments! Topics: Originally published Dec 1, 2013 8:00:00 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 Images
Topics: On-page SEO Originally published Apr 23, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 One of the last things I do before publishing a blog post is a little URL check — I make sure it’s well-optimized for both readers and search engines. It’s one of those SEO best practices that’s actually stood the test of time, left relatively unscathed by violent little penguins and fuzzy-yet-aggressive pandas.In the spirit of sharing knowledge, I thought I’d share the process I use to optimize those URLs every time. Keep this checklist in your back pocket to optimize your own URLs for SEO, or share it with a colleague or new hire that’s responsible for content creation and publishing.How to Search Engine Optimize Your URLs1) Take out the extra words in the page part of the URL slug.Words that add little or no meaning to the URL — like “and” or “that” — can be removed for the sake of brevity and/or readability. Here’s a before & after of this post’s URL, for instance:I removed “your” for brevity and the fact that it didn’t add any value for readers or search engines. I removed “quick tip” for the same reasons, though I suppose one could make an argument that it’s nice for readers who stumble on the URL to know that it’s a quick tip. It’s not the end of the world if it stays in, but in my opinion, it doesn’t add enough value to warrant its inclusion since it could mean so many different things. If this was an [Infographic] or a [SlideShare], however, I’d keep it in.I could go either way in keeping “for” in, but I decided to keep it in because it helps make the URL more readable for humans. If anyone stumbles on this URL elsewhere, I’d like it to be readable so they understand the contents of the page and feel they can trust the site.2) Include relevant keywords.One way search engines and humans learn about your page contents is through the keywords in the URL. Include keywords in your URL slug, but be sure they align with the actual page contents. Luckily, this URL is already pretty well-optimized as it is, because it’s a long-tail search term on its own.3) Make it reader-friendly.We talked about this a little already, but it’s worth reiterating. Both search engines and readers should be able to look at your URL and understand what they might find should they click to the other side. That means when you add a bunch of keywords and delete those little extraneous words, you should end up with a URL that still makes sense.Let’s take our URL for this post:http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-optimize-urls-for-searchIt’s really clear from the subdomain and subdirectory where you are — you’re on HubSpot’s blog, in the Marketing section. From there, you can tell what you’re going to read about on the Marketing section of HubSpot’s blog — how to optimize URLs for search. Search engines get it. Readers get it. It doesn’t look like spam. All good.4) Separate words with hyphens.Don’t use underscores to separate words or try to squish a bunch of words together. The hyphens are meant to help with readability. Use them.If you want to geek out a bit more on URL optimization, I recommend checking out Moz’s guide to URL best practices. Like with most of the SEO best practices, keep user-friendliness top of mind, and you’ll likely be making good decisions. 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 Recently, two different social websites admitted they ran experiments on users who had no idea they were being experimented on. Facebook ran tests to see if they could affect users’ emotions, and OkCupid ran tests mismatching users to see if they would interact with each other differently.The impact of these social experiments was pretty small, but they raise important questions about the ethics of social experimentation. Why were people so angered by these tests, but most people don’t raise an eyebrow when it comes to A/B testing website design or calls-to-action?We’re All Part of These ExperimentsFacebook’s experiment was to figure out whether human emotion was contagious in online social networks. To do this, they chose almost 700,000 Facebook users at random, combed their friends’ posts for positive and negative words, and showed their chosen users either fewer positive or negative posts from friends in their News Feeds. Then, they measured whether it affected the positivity or negativity of those people’s own posts.In response to the subsequent media outcry about Facebook’s test, OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder came out with a viral post on their company blog, saying not only does OkCupid conduct online experiments, but so does everyone — and it’s completely normal. “Guess what, everybody,” wrote Rudder. “If you use the internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.”Here, Rudder is referring to the small social experiments and A/B tests people run on their websites all the time, whether they’re testing ads, page layout, colors of buttons, and so on. “[None of us] use the ‘real’ Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Google, Yahoo, or LinkedIn,” wrote Josh Costine for TechCrunch. “We are almost all part of experiments they quietly run to see if different versions with little changes make us use more, visit more, click more, or buy more. By signing up for these services, we technically give consent to be treated like guinea pigs.”Facebook may have crossed the line, according to James Grimmelmann, Professor of Technology and the Law at the University of Maryland. “If you are exposing people to something that causes changes in psychological status, that’s experimentation,” Grimmelmann told Slate. “This is the kind of thing that would require informed consent.”What’s more, in Facebook’s case, we actually checked a box to give consent when we agreed to the site’s data use policy. But we didn’t know the parameters of any studies Facebook’s done to us. And, more importantly, we were never given the opportunity to opt out.”My objection is the lack of awareness or permission,” says Terry Manspeaker, D.C.-area business owner. “That’s probably what creates the discomfort. I think people like to feel they’ve been given the option to participate in a particular study.” But, Manspeaker admits, there is a risk of bias when participants are aware of the study — and doing a blind study reduces that bias. One could argue that online social networking research simply can’t be conducted reasonably if consent is needed from every potential participant.”Of course we all read the use policy, or said we did by checking that box,” says high school English teacher Ayres Stiles-Hall. “So we really only have ourselves to blame. It doesn’t really sound ethical, but on the other hand, we’re all spending hours and hours using a free product — except that nothing is free. If we’re really offended, it means we ought to be paying closer attention.”But anyone posting to Facebook or logging onto a website should be aware that their online behavior is traceable. “Whether it ought to be is both a moral question we as a society will have to answer through the legislative process, and a legal one based on our system of laws and liberties,” says Dr. Adam Irish, Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Political Science and International Relations at Wheaton College. “Lawyers on both sides of the internet privacy issue have primarily focused on our rights — many of which are, primarily, protections from government snooping.””But we are still determining what is reasonable, and in the meantime, if people use a company’s free services online, they should be aware that their data is likely being gathered, used, and possibly distributed.”Why Are Some Experiments on Users Okay While Others Aren’t?It might be easy to point fingers at Facebook because their experiment explicitly experimented with human emotions — as in, the word “emotion” was in the name of the resulting academic research paper: “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks.” But what about all the other social and A/B tests Rudder and Costine were talking about? Don’t they alter our emotions in one way or another?”We tend not to think about how much influence a website can have on our feelings,” says Dan Ritzenthaler, HubSpot Product Designer and UX expert. And something as simple as your website copy or design can influence visitors’ behavior. “Changing a ‘Buy’ button to a ‘Buy Now’ button will influence how people interact with your shopping website,” says Ritzenthaler. “It might make some people more likely to buy since it’s more direct and demanding. It might also come off as bossy and rude to other people. Saying ‘Buy Now, Or Else’ might make too many people uncomfortable and reduce the amount of purchases.”But if certain words on buttons can change buying behavior, then why isn’t everyone up in arms about the ethics of A/B testing?Rebecca Corliss, Head of Customer Marketing at HubSpot, says it’s because people perceive social networks like Facebook and OkCupid differently than they do most websites and products. “Facebook is technically the same as any other product, but people perceive it as a social space that’s just for them and forget that a corporation is behind it. So the question is: Is that Facebook’s fault or is it the user’s oversight?”And while most A/B tests are pushing for business-oriented results like increasing usage or clicks or purposes, social experiments like Facebook’s and OkCupid’s weren’t conducted to make user experiences better. Instead, they were psychological experiments.The part of the Facebook study people were most upset about was that they affected users’ moods in a negative way: “When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts,” the study reads. But if Facebook had conducted a study to see if only positive posts lead to positive moods, and took out the negative part of the equation, people may have reacted more positively to it.All of this brings up a slew of ethical questions that anyone testing anything online needs to be aware of. Could the test you’re about to run possibly damage the people you’re testing, whether emotionally, financially, or in another way?”Ideally, Internal Review Board (IRB) review of any research is a good safeguard for individuals taking part in studies and our broader society,” says Dr. Irish. “I do think companies engaged in this type of research should play by IRB rules because operating outside those safeguards creates a risk of allowing harmful research to go forward.””That said, not every aspect of either study would have been rejected by an IRB review. It would have pressed the investigators to explain how their research would minimize any harm to participants and it probably would have required participants to signal their consent. Practically, Facebook and OkCupid are primarily constrained by their profit margins, so as long as people continue to opt in to using their services, we can expect future studies like the ones we’ve already seen.”While we wait for clearer legal guidelines for businesses, marketers should extend our personalization strategies to our A/B testing efforts. It’s up to us to treat people who visit our website as individuals, even when it comes to social experiments. Originally published Aug 1, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019
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: Design Trends Truthfully, not all of us have the best design chops — but that doesn’t mean we should be in the dark about the latest design trends. While it may not be part of your day-to-day activities, one day, you’ll find yourself dragged into a project like a website redesign. Suddenly, it’ll feel like you’re in a foreign country and you can’t understand or speak the language, but you somehow have to navigate it all. Luckily, it’s easy to save yourself from feeling lost in the next design project you’re collaborating on — you’ve just got to do your homework.This article is a great place to start your research. Compiled just for marketers, here are the top current graphic design trends you should know about. 1) Flat Design Flat design eliminates shadows and other design features that make graphics look three-dimensional. Skeuomorphic design is outdated — the digital world no longer pines after a midway design featuring “real-world” details such as stiff computer folders or copied lines on a calendar app. Flat design requires less complex coding and images, instead including more white space, larger buttons, and clearer font.Gadget Flow is an example of a website that has flat design. Notice the consistently flat lines — especially on the calls-to-action (CTAs) and image corners. Originally published Oct 30, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 What are the benefits? Because of its reliance on white space and large, digital-based images, flat design makes websites faster to load and renders properly across all devices. This clean, modern, and organized design is also appealing to businesses looking to make their designs more “modern.” 2) Infinite Looping Videos These videos are seamlessly weaved into the header of a webpage — no play button or flash needed. These videos display various moving scenes, yet remain static on the page. Karma Wifi’s website has an awesome looping video as the homepage header. Seen below, Karma’s video creates a striking introduction to the brand and blends into the design of the entire website. What are the benefits? Web graphics are now about creating emotional connections and telling a story through content — this feature spearheads the beginning of a company’s “story.” And because it’s moving on the page, people will be more likely to notice it, and maybe even click on it to watch a longer video or visit a landing page.Interested in creating this infinite looping videos on HubSpot’s COS? Learn how on the Design Hub Blog. 3) Detailed Cut-Out Images With Solid Light BackgroundThis web graphic is made up of a detailed cutout image laid on top of a nearly or completely solid color background. This style of graphic is continuously being featured on top rated design websites’ product pages. Hint: You can find this trend on Apple’s product pages. BeoPlay’s A9 product page is another great example of this style of graphic. What are the benefits? Playing into the popular minimalistic design trend, this style of graphic calls attention to the product. Customers can really focus on a product’s features. This style of graphic is especially great for parallax scrolling and one-page websites; with a light background, the image can easily transition into a different section of the page. 4) Custom Illustrations and Icons Say goodbye to awkward stock photos and hello to custom animations as one of the latest design trends. Whether they are educational, product-orientated, or culture-based, custom illustrations are can be a central design tactic for some companies.Some custom illustrations tell an interactive story such as Coke’s building of memories asset, which allows visitors to use their mouse to climb up a urban skyscraper. Other websites such as Spokes website use these illustrations and parallax scrolling to explain the purpose behind the company’s products. What are the benefits?Illustrations are created to match the company’s mission statement and overall values. They allow the visitor to interact with the company in a fun, playful, yet informative way. It also helps users identify what content “belongs” to a company. In the words of HubSpot web designer, Anna Faber-Hammond, “An customized icon set that is consistent across a site helps create visual recognition for a company website and explains key messages to users beyond the typical type and copy.” 5) Grid Design Whether it comes across as clean, sharp, stately, or quirky, grid design can be used for a variety of purposes. Giving visitors a glimpse into different facets of a website’s content, grid design is kind of like a collage, emphasizing visuals and bold text. This design can be used for solely organizational purposes, like Curioo’s elegant grid-style blocks, or for emphasizing the company’s uniqueness, like Joost Huver’s website does. The New Design Project does both. On their homepage, this interior design company uses large blocks to quickly show visitors samples of their work and have a link attached to lead visitors to more information about that specific project. What are the benefits? Grid design can turn cluttered content and an assortment of company case studies into an organized and sleek gallery that links to important parts of your website. It highlights a website’s key assets and navigates visitors to the next steps on the website that are most important to the company’s overall goals, such as finding out more about a product or filling out a landing page form. 6) Fixed Header Bar A fixed header bar lives on the top of a website — and remains at the top of a page no matter how far down a visitor scrolls down on a page. Although this is a feature a developer will have to code, it also is a graphic design element because it ties together the entire look of a website. For example, LevelFoods has a fixed header bar with colors and typography that match the rest of the website’s design patterns.What are the benefits?Fixed headers make it easy for visitors to navigate the website from any page they’re on. Most visitors are not willing to spend time searching for a page on your website — they want to find it the second they land on page. The fixed header helps guide visitors wherever they are on the site. The fixed header also allows marketers to highlight important pages, build branding across the website, and show vital CTAs in a prominent position across the website. 7) Unique Geometric Shapes Web design is also moving toward incorporating unique geometric shapes — not just typical squares and rectangle.Lacca’s website has created an origami triangle shape for it’s navigational bar on its homepage to illustrate different paths throughout the website in a standout way. The two overlapping large background images also vary from the typical rectangular content containers.What are the benefits?This web graphic design trend is typically bright and original, creating an opportunity for symbolic branding. Similar to block design’s purpose, varying geometric shapes is a more standout design element. This graphic design also allows room to incorporate various other previous trends without overpowering the visitor. A pro tip from Faber-Hammond on using geometric shapes in your design: “Designing with unique shapes can be great. But it’s important that if you get creative, you also make the web design clear. Use user testing to ensure that your visitors are interacting with it and can still find the correct information.”What other current graphic design trends do you think will improve a website’s overall look and functionality?