Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers LATEST STORIES Djokovic said apart from tennis he has always looked at ways to improve himself, which he terms his “philosophy of life”.“It has always been, not just for tennis, but in general there’s always something that you can improve and get better at as a person and as a player,” he said.“That’s probably the most exciting thing about life, is that every day is a new opportunity for you to get better.”Djokovic faces South Korea’s “NextGen” star Chung Hyeon in Monday’s round of 16. MOST READ Djokovic has become involved in meticulous off-the-court preparation in recent years. He has a strict, gluten-free diet and is an advocate for well-being.The new year has given him the opportunity to analyse aspects of his game and preparation.“When it comes to tennis, I obviously was excited to analyze my game,” he said.“First of all, I wanted to get the right team of people around me, experts in their field, so they can contribute to the process and the journey of working on my body and my game.“Improving different aspects that are there to be worked on. Thankfully there is always something to work on.”ADVERTISEMENT The Serb former world No.1 is playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon in July and he has a brand new support team, headed by eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi as coach. Djokovic said after reaching the fourth round of the year’s opening Grand Slam on Saturday that he now meditates on a daily basis.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Yes, I do. I’ll tell you what. I don’t want to tell you what I gain with it, but I’ll tell what I lose with it,” he said.“I lose fear. I lose anxiety. I lose stress. I guess, in the end of the day, that’s what you’re looking for.” Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments 76ers climb to 6th in East, beat Bucks Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:44Djokovic wins Laureus Sportsman of Year Award01:57Taiwan bridge collapses, at least 14 injured; rescuers fear six trapped01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Novak Djokovic. APNovak Djokovic says meditating has helped him overcome fear and stress that comes with playing elite tennis.The 12-time Grand Slam champion, 30, says he often turned to the practice during his long spell out of the game last year with elbow trouble.ADVERTISEMENT 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC
Originally published Oct 15, 2007 10:23:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Topics: I am sitting in the opening session of the marketing Sherpa B2B Demand Generation Summit. I love Marketing Sherpa and think they have some of the best research out there. Sean Donahue, Senior Reporter B-to-B with Marketing Sherpa, kicked off the event with an overview of the top 5 challenges facing marketers today. A lot of the information was based on research I had seen before.In fact, he showed a slide I am very familiar with, showing that the most frequent place B2B purchasers go when they are looking to research a product is Google. If you want more info, here is an article I wrote about how important Google is to B2B marketing. That’s when my ears perked up, and I head Sean say basically that “search engine optimization is so hard that you can’t really count on it” and “most companies are frustrated that they cannot get listed in Google organically” and “PPC rates are increasing so much that getting good ROI is challenging” (this last one about PPC I agree with).I disagree completely. SEO is not rocket science. With a little bit of work, the right Internet marketing tools and some time, you can make SEO a successful strategy as part of your marketing mix. HubSpot is a small business, we have been around only a little over a year. And yet we are doing great with SEO. We are on the first page of search results for terms like “Internet marketing software” and our Website Grader tool is ranked on the first page for terms like “grader” and “SEO score”. Read this article about how HubSpot saved $183 in one week by using SEO.Are people really that frustrated with SEO? Are there really that many bad SEO consultants out there that everyone is shrugging their shoulders and giving up? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. 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
Make Your Audience Feel Cool YouTube Dead Space 2 This is the reasoning behind the latest When you are building a marketing campaign, think about the opportunities presented by multiple online channels. In this case, EA used asks Dead Space 2 to leave moms alone. So why are we writing about this campaign? The marketing concept behind this campaign is smart, simple, and powerful. Topics: Use Controversy to Generate Buzz Clearly, this campaign has caused a big controversy online, with many commentators questioning the ad’s ethics. “A mom’s disapproval has always been an accurate barometer of what is cool,” explains EA’s behind-the-scenes video. “So Dead Space 2 was put to the test.” By introducing a barometer of what is cool and what not — your mom hates cool things — the game creates a space for cool people to gather. The takeaway for marketers is that your company should create similar spaces that invite people and make them feel part of a cool community. Bloggers Video Marketing , you can win a Dead Space 2 skinned Playstation 3. ad campaign called, Your Mom Hates This. The entertainment software company Electronic Arts Inc., has published Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Combine Video with Social Media to spread its videos and used social media to generate a conversation and create a contest. In a world where video viewing and social media usage is rapidly growing, leveraging these two channels in a united marketing effort can very likely lead to campaign success. . Promoted Trends are phrases that you pay to appear at the top of Twitter trending topics. Promoted Trends are part of Twitter’s new advertisng platform that is still in beta and is slowly rolling out to advertisers. #mymomhatesdeadspace2 MSNBC Your mom hates it when you block her from Facebook. She hates it when you ask her for cash. Most of all, your mom hates it when you play the video game Dead Space 2, and that is why you should play it. Originally published Jan 20, 2011 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 a series of videos What are your thoughts about the campaign? Does it inspire you to try something different? showing real moms’ reactions to the violent game. The campaign spilled over onto Twitter with the Promoted Trend hashtag recognize the fact that this campaign is fueling the debate about the harm of mature games. All of these comments, however, spark genuine conversation and increase the visibility of Dead Space 2. As we know very well, a little controversy can generate a great deal of important dialogue and can help your brand enjoy much wider recognition. EA also added a contest to this video and Twitter campaign. If you tweet your mom’s reactions to clips from Dead Space 2 using the hashtag #yourmomhatesthis
Review Analytics From Past Blog Articles: . But what about using analytics strategically to achieve the goals A similar process can be applied to other metrics such as inbound links or page views. Additionally, if your goal is to, say, generate a lot of conversions on a CTA (for example, to promote that ebook you recently published), evaluate past blog articles and hone in on those that generated a high conversion rate. What can you learn? Marketing Analytics Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 2, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 When you sit down to write a blog article, first think about what you’re trying to accomplish with that specific post. Sure, you ultimately want to engage your audience and provide useful information, but try to think more granularly. Is there a new feature in your products or services to which you’d like to draw attention? Did you just publish a new ebook that you want people to download? Before you start writing, think about the results you want to achieve with that article, and focus on those results. If you’re able to pick up on specific patterns, trends, similarities, and lessons you think would help achieve the goal of your blog article, apply them! Use the insight you’ve gleaned when crafting your new blog article, and see if it improves your article’s ability to generate the results you’re going for! Using Blog Analytics to Achieve an Article’s Goals brainstorming new ideas for blog topics How else have you used blog analytics to improve your company’s blog? Apply What You’ve Learned: Tip for HubSpot Customers: Using HubSpot’s 3. This is where the data comes in. Let’s say you want to write about an interesting industry topic, and you want to generate a lot discussion from your article. If your goal is to attract a lot of comments, look through your blog analytics and pinpoint articles that have generated a lot of comments in the past. Now compare them: Can you notice anything about these articles that helped contribute to a spike in comments? Maybe they were written in a certain style or presented the topic in a different way. Try to pick up on similarities or patterns. We already know that blog analytics can be helpful in evaluating the performance of your blog, both overall and in individual blog articles, as well as in 1. 2. of a particular blog article? , filter the data by clicking on a particular column (e.g. Click on the ‘Comments’ column to sort articles by the most — or fewest — comments.). Photo Credit: Kathryn Decker-Krauth Topics: Blog Analytics Define Your Goal: Strategic bloggers know how to effectively use their business blogs to achieve specific goals. Maybe they want to promote a program, get people to click on a call-to-action (CTA) for a particular offer, or perhaps raise awareness about a certain industry topic. Each blog article should be crafted in a way that helps the blogger to achieve a goal, and blog analytics can provide valuable insight to help accomplish that.
@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
Launching a truly successful marketing campaign isn’t easy. And it totally stinks when it goes terribly wrong. Trust me, this is coming from the gal who had to call off one of our biggest marketing campaigns at midnight, just five hours before the first email about it was scheduled to send.To make matters worse, internet service went down in my apartment, so I sat on the phone with one our product managers at midnight as she cancelled every single marketing message about the campaign. I was frantically texting our social media manager, telling her to avoid any mentions of it the next morning. The campaign that half our marketing team was counting on to hit our numbers for the month — and that our sales team was looking forward to in order to close hot deals — kicked the bucket. Needless to say, it sucked. And it was all because of a mistake that could, and should, have been caught weeks in advance.But boy did I learn a big lesson. And whether you’ve been launching campaigns your entire career, or you’re just getting started, there is always room for improvement. In this post, I’m going to share 8 big mistakes you may be making with your marketing campaigns — so you can erase them from your future campaigns. I hope it inspires you to share your own mistakes in the comments. Because let’s face it: We all make mistakes, right?1) Not Setting Timelines/GoalsThe most basic and early stage mistake you can make is failing to set timelines or goals for your campaign. Whenever you plan a campaign, establish set deadlines for when you plan on accomplishing every component of the campaign. I recommend starting with the launch date and working backward from there. Think realistically about how much time is needed for each individual component (e.g. ebook creation, landing page setup, editing/revisions, email creation, social media creative, etc.), and set deadlines for when each task should be completed in order to accommodate your final launch date. Having such time-based goals in place will help ensure your team is on track, and you’re working toward an actual event, not an arbitrary hope for finishing it.In addition, make sure you set goals for your campaign. By setting real, measurable goals, you’ll have the ability to determine if your campaign actually accomplished what it set out to. Think critically about what you want your campaign to achieve: Is it to generate more net new leads? Nurture existing leads by generating more reconversions? Increase your social media reach? You might also think about basing these goals off the results of your past campaign launches (when relevant), and use them to compare how well you did this time. A good way to approach this is to establish SMART marketing goals. SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. You can read about such goals in-depth in this blog post.And if you’re a HubSpot customer, you can also use the HubSpot Goals application to set goals for how many visitors, leads, and customers you hope to attract each month so you can track whether your marketing campaigns are actually helping to move the needle. Topics: Marketing Campaigns Originally published Feb 26, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 2) Not Leveraging All Your Marketing Assets/ToolsA truly effective integrated marketing campaign involves a number of different marketing channels and tactics. As a result, you need to make sure you have all the right tools in place to execute your campaign and make it successful. Whether you’re using all-in-one marketing software like HubSpot or are relying on several independent tools to make your campaigns work, make sure you have the following software capabilities and/or tools to help ensure success:Landing Pages: Your landing page usually serves as the hub of key information pertinent to your campaign. Direct everyone to this customized page to help increase conversions.Calls-to-Action: CTAs on your website enable you to call attention to and drive people to your campaign’s landing page — or wherever you want to drive traffic to.Email: An email tool will allow you to spread awareness about your campaign as well as track performance metrics so you know who is actually engaging with your campaign messages.Blog: A business blog can enable you to increase campaign awareness and offer fodder for social media sharing, which leads us to …Social Media: A social media tool can help you plan and schedule promotional content for your various social networks. Furthermore, it can help you track interaction with your campaign’s social content.Analytics: How will you know which marketing channels contributes most to your campaign’s success? How will you know how this campaign compared to past campaigns? A proper analytics tool can help you glean such insights. If you want to learn more about the proper tools needed for campaign success, download our free offer: The Handy Tool Kit for Launching and Measuring a Remarkable Campaign.3) Not Integrating Your Efforts or Planning a Coordinated LaunchAs you’ve heard time and time again from HubSpot, no one marketing channel should work in a silo. In fact, we just got finished talking about all the various channels and tools needed to make for a truly effective campaign. Making use of a variety of marketing assets is what makes a campaign a campaign, so it’s important that your efforts are integrated and coordinated. Imagine an email recipient learning about your campaign, only to visit your Facebook Page and find it has absolutely no information about the campaign whatsoever. That kind of disconnect doesn’t exactly support the integrated campaign experience you’d want your audience to have, does it? Furthermore, failing to leverage all your marketing assets prevents your campaign from achieving the complete reach it could have otherwise.At HubSpot, when I plan a huge offer launch, I try to coordinate messaging between all of our teams. That could mean involving our design team to create an infographic as part of the launch, the blogging team to write a post to help promote the offer, the social media team to share some interesting content about the offer, and the email managers to notify their contacts about the campaign. Either way, I want the campaign to be executed as a coordinated, timed push, because you end up seeing a much larger return when all hands are on deck than when a single team tries to work on something without involving others.Just take a look at the following screenshots of landing page performance for two offers we launched in November. The first shows how an offer performed without any coordination among various marketing channels. As you can see, while it did have an initial spike, it sort of ebbed and flowed in gaining traffic. However, the second screenshot had a much larger initial spike, and due to that coordinated, timed push, ended up resulting in much more traffic and overall reach than the previous offer.Offer Launched in November Without a Coordinated LaunchOffer Launched in November With a Coordinated Launch4) Not Making Information ClearWhether you’re launching an event, a contest, or an offer, there are always specific details tied to that campaign that people need to know about. Imagine sending everyone to a webinar registration landing page without sharing when the live webinar will take place or who the presenters will be. Or imagine launching a contest and directing users to its landing page without clarifying the terms of the contest, or explaining what the actual prize is for winning. These may seem like “duh” moments, but you’d be surprised at how often they’re overlooked.Just the other day I saw a promotion on Facebook for new courses at a school, and when I looked them up, I noticed that the school had failed to include any course details, which is key information I need in order to evaluate the courses and make a decision. When I commented on the Facebook photo asking for such details, the school replied saying they planned on having it up ASAP (By the way, it’s been four days, and no such details have been added). The lesson is simple: Don’t launch or announce a campaign without hammering out the critical details first.5) Not Understanding the Balance Between Working Independently and as a TeamThis one is a major pain point for me. While it’s a good idea to have one or two centralized campaign managers who are responsible for the success of a given marketing campaign, no matter how skilled you are, you should be involving others in a big campaign. Working completely on your own can prevent you from seeing things holistically, coming up with creative ideas for your campaigns, or getting fresh perspective that can improve your campaign’s success. Other people’s opinion can help develop and improve your own, so keep your ears open to others.And while you shouldn’t act too independently, you also shouldn’t be too dependent on others either. Fresh and diverse ideas can help you take your marketing campaign far beyond your initial vision, but leaning too much on others can prevent you from making actual progress and sticking to your timeline. As the campaign manager who is gathering feedback, ideas, and suggestions, it’s important to recognize when something needs to be discussed, and when something simply needs to be decided.6) Not Solving for Every StakeholderWhile you may understand your marketing campaign’s direct benefit to you or your team (e.g. more leads, greater social reach, more customers!), have you also considered the impact on the entire company? As your planning your campaign, consider also the impact it will have on your business’ various stakeholders. Will your campaign hurt or help sales reps when speaking with prospects? Will it change how your support team prioritizes tech support calls? These, and many others, all need to be taken into consideration.In early January, our marketing team had to decide between generating more leads and maintaining customer happiness. We created an offer that our visitors and leads would’ve definitely loved. But had we launched it, we would’ve rubbed our current customers the wrong way, since it gave leads capabilities that weren’t even available yet to our current customers. While the results the campaign would’ve generated would have helped set us up for a really strong year, we decided to hold off on the campaign until we could ensure it was beneficial to both leads and customers. Remember: Your business needs both to survive. Keep in mind all your stakeholders and how they would be impacted by your campaigns before you put them out there.7) Not Double Checking & Testing Your AssetsThis is a huge problem that is so easily avoidable — yet I come across it time and time again. You work hard on a campaign, it launches, and suddenly, you realize something is broken. For example, maybe you built a beautiful landing page, but nobody attached it to your CRM, so now all the leads flowing into your database aren’t actually being rotated to sales reps. Or your email goes out with a broken link to the campaign’s main landing page. Eek! But the worst part of this scenario is when your CMO asks you how this happened, and you say, “I thought [insert colleague’s name here] was taking care of it.”Never assume. Never blame. Always double check every aspect of your campaign. At the end of the day, if something does go wrong, and you could have easily prevented it, you’re not being careful enough. Remember that cautionary tale I mentioned in my intro? I made a mistake that would have been easily avoided had I double and triple checked my work. Test the entire flow of a campaign and all its components to ensure every asset is functioning as it should — and get others to back you up. If you’re worried about what could possibly go awry, check out this list of “30 Careless Mistakes That Will Totally Muck Up Your Marketing” to help you sanity check your upcoming campaigns.8) Not Effectively Measuring Campaign SuccessIf you’re not tracking your marketing campaign, oh honey are you making a big mistake! Remember how we talked about the importance of goal setting earlier in this post? Every part of your campaign should be measured in order to evaluate whether you’re campaign was successful in achieving those goals. You should also be able to answer these key questions:What parts of the campaign were most successful?While your campaign could prove to be successful or unsuccessful overall depending on what your goals were, do you also know which specific components of your campaign or channels contributed most to that success? This is where channel reporting can be extremely important. For example, HubSpot’s Sources tool breaks down visits, contacts/leads, and customers driven by your individual marketing channels. This can give you a better understanding of which sources were the biggest levers in your campaign’s success, and which were the underperformers. Gaining this granular level of insight about your campaign can help you understand which efforts to double down on for your next campaign, and which channels might need some more attention.As you can see in the screenshot above, there’s also a small “check note” under February 22. That’s because HubSpot announced its 82% growth in 2012 on this day. By marking this event in HubSpot’s analytics using HubSpot’s “Marketing Action” annotation feature, over time our reporting will show if the announcement had any impact on overall traffic, leads, or customers generated that day and will help us remember why there might have been a spike that day.How did this campaign compare to other campaigns?Using the “Marketing Actions” we just talked about, you can see how your campaigns impact your marketing results. But there’s even more you can look at to compare the success of your campaigns to one another. For example, you could use your analytics tool to set up event tracking. This allows you to tag the various marketing assets of your campaign with a specific event (for example, “INBOUND Conference”). This will allow you to more directly compare one campaign to another.While the HubSpot software can automatically add these tags for you, you can also add campaign tracking tokens to the URLs you use in your campaigns to achieve the same end result. Here is what the tracking token might look like for non-HubSpot users:/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=inboundconferenceAs you can see in this code, you have to specify the medium the person came from, the source of that medium, and finally, the campaign it’s associated with. You can then use these tags to compare campaign to campaign more closely.What mistakes have you made with your marketing campaigns? Share them in the comments and help us all become better marketers!Image Credit: pj_vanf Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Use it to highlight interesting Google+ conversations, engage your Google+ audience, and promote your content, offers, or events in an interesting way. To learn more about how to use Google+ for business, grab the free introductory Google+ ebook we highlighted above — recently updated to include information about embedded posts!How else could you use Google+ Embedded Posts on your site? Share your ideas in the comments!Image Credit: Sean MacEntee First, there were embedded tweets. Then we had embeddable Pinterest content. And recently, we caught wind of embedded Facebook posts. Well guess what we have now, folks … Google+ Embedded Posts! That’s right! Yesterday, Google announced the ability to embed posts from Google+ to your website or blog. This means you can now showcase public Google+ posts you find (yours or others’), and visitors can interact with it by +1’ing, commenting, and following you right then and there — no need to navigate to Google+. Embedded Posts support text, photo, and media posts, and you can find out more about Embedded Posts in Google’s documentation here.Excited to start playing around with Google+ Embedded Posts? Let me walk you through it …How to Embed a Google+ Post in 5 Simple Steps1) Locate the Google+ post you want to embed. For our example, I’m going to use one of HubSpot’s posts about our free Introduction to Google+ ebook. 2) Hover over the post for the menu icon to appear (it looks like this: ). Then click the menu icon, and select ‘Embed Post’ from the dropdown that appears.3) Copy the embed code in front of you.4) Paste the code into your website or blog post’s HTML/source code where you want the embedded post to appear.5) To center the embedded post on your page, add
As I hope you saw (and enjoyed), we relaunched the HubSpot blog as a totally reimagined, multi-section destination for inbound marketing, sales, and insider tips. We even added a features-focused section (Up and to the Right) by our very own Dan Lyons. Naturally, since I was excited about this new chapter in HubSpot history, I tweeted. I forgot something, though … @HubSpot’s reimagined blog is live! Check out #InboundHub: http://t.co/xP44vA6vnj— Jay Acunzo (@jay_zo) October 17, 2013Did you spot it? No? I’ll tell you then: I started the tweet by @-mentioning someone without adding in any character to start the tweet. The only people who could see that tweet would be HubSpot, me, and anyone who happens to follow both of us. My followers would never see that appear in their feeds.Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.This is a very subtle nuance to Twitter that plenty of folks miss: If you want all of your followers to see your tweet in their stream, you MUST start a tweet with a character and not an @username. Yup, that’s right — that means all those tweets you sent starting with @ weren’t visible to the audience you thought would see it.Why is this alteration to your tweets so important to get right? Well, think of it this way: Not making this change could be the difference between a tweet that many Twitter users view, share, and react to, and a tweet that essentially no one sees.The Right Way to Tweet for the Right AudienceHere’s a look at exactly who sees what kinds of tweets:Note: This excludes direct messages (DMs), which are the one-to-one private messages on Twitter. The above table references regular tweets only.So, just like my tweet to “announce” HubSpot’s new blog design, starting a message with a profile handle like @Bob doesn’t actually show up to anybody but the person I’ve mentioned and my followers who also follow him. When you add any character at all before the Twitter handle, like a period or statement or quote or anything, the tweet becomes visible to all of your followers, just like any headline you tweet out.One common explanation for why Twitter sets up tweets this way is that it wants to allow two people to interact with each other, have a conversation, and engage freely without spamming their respective followers’ feeds. It adds very little value to me if I can see every single tweet from @HubSpot saying “Thanks!” to others — unless I also follow who @HubSpot is thanking.Makes sense, right? If I volunteered to follow each person or brand individually, I’m telling Twitter I’m interested in what they both have to say. A conversation between the two could then be valuable or interesting to me. If I only followed one, though, that’s far less likely. (After all, I’m not really likely to care what my friend is saying to a complete stranger.) Twitter gets this dynamic and has created this rule accordingly.Are there any other Twitter tips and tricks you think are worthwhile to share? Share your Twitter knowledge in the comments below! Social Media Fails 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: Originally published Oct 18, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017
Topics: Originally published Nov 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 When you think of all the things that make up a good design, what elements come to mind? Color? Layout? Photography?Most people often forget that typography plays a crucial role in the success of a new design. With so many choices, choosing the “right” one can feel overwhelming.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. But the good thing about fonts is that a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.If you’re not familiar with the basics of choosing and tweaking fonts to enhance a design, keep on reading. Below are my 10 favorite font tips. These skills are all actionable — so it’ll be easy to try them in your next social media or marketing campaign.1) Break your text up into separate text boxes.When people are first starting out in design, they often use one text box on their page that has the same font and spacing throughout. However, uniform fonts and spacing certainly doesn’t capture a viewer’s attention.Instead, try splitting your text out into separate text boxes. You’ll be able to have a lot more fun as it’ll be easier to experiment with fonts, sizes, and colors.2) Think about the positioning and alignment of your fonts.When you are placing your text in your designs, ensure all of the text boxes have the same alignment. Generally the choice is between: left alignment, center alignment, and right alignment.Lululemon Athletica has demonstrated two different options on their Facebook page. In the first example above, a cover image for a blog article, the text is left aligned. In the second example it’s center aligned. In both of these examples the text has been positioned to suit the background image spacing — which is an important factor in determining how to place your text.3) Match the font style to your brand’s character.Selecting the right font for your design or brand should be done carefully and thoughtfully. Keep in mind that a font should embody the character and spirit of your brand, as demonstrated in these examples. See how Benefit Cosmetics use a feminine script font on their Facebook graphic, compared to Lynx’s more masculine geometric font?4) Make sure your text is easy to read.It’s important to ensure that your font is readable, especially if you’re using it for longer bodies of text (like in presentations, pitch decks, and infographics). Avoid using elaborate script fonts or uppercase text in large bodies of text as it forces strain on the reader’s eye and makes the overall text much harder to read. See what I mean?5) Play with different font sizes.Using different font sizes in your designs will help create hierarchy — the order in which text is read. The eye is naturally drawn to large or dominant elements, so choose the largest font size for your title, followed by your subtitle, then your body text.6) Experiment with all caps.When starting out in design, most people opt to always use sentence case. However, for small amounts of text — especially your title or subtitle, all caps (capital letters for every letter in the word), can be very effective for a strong, modern look.Nike use this technique effectively on its Facebook page to create emphasis for its banner image and call-to-action style graphics.7) Try playing with letter spacing.Letter spacing, also known as tracking, is just that — the space between letters in words. This can be increased or decreased manually in Canva. Increasing your letter spacing will help your type breathe, while decreasing it will tighten your type.Letter spacing is also a great way to make different lines of text the same width. See how this has applied in the example below — the symmetrical line length creates a more balanced feel to the graphic.8) Experiment with different font pairs.Choosing fonts that complement each other is an essential design skill. When used together, different fonts create different effects. For example, the graphic below combines a decorative script font (‘Sunshine’) with a geometric sans-serif font (‘The bright side’), which balance each other out nicely. This is a jazzier font pair, which is great for social media designs.It’s a good rule of thumb to choose font pairs with high contrast. Take another example — a tall and short font pair. Tall fonts have a strong condensed nature, which creates a great basis for contrast with the shorter, more spacious font.9) Make sure you place your text where it can be easily read.Clear, open areas that are great for placing text are referred to as copy space. If you’re working with images that have a lot of copy space, your text will pop in these empty areas. See here how Havaiana has created eye-catching designs for its Facebook page by placing text in copy space: 10) Reduce the quantity of text.When you are designing, it is just as important to think about what you are saying as how it laid out on the page. Can you reduce the amount of words and say the same thing more succinctly? Could a concept be displayed as an image or diagram instead of a paragraph of text?Design isn’t just about how it looks, but how you communicate. This graphic uses a visual element, the Twitter icon, to replace the need for more text saying “on Twitter.” When you are putting your design together, continuously examine if you could articulate a concept more clearly with icons, images, and photographs instead of text.Putting These Tips Into ActionFonts play a critical part in almost all designs — from Facebook marketing graphics to album covers for artists. Don’t be afraid to give these tips a go yourself. They’ll help you create designs you can proudly share with the world — even if you haven’t had any prior design experience.With some basic design knowledge and a willingness to try, you’ll be amazed at how a clever application of fonts can improve your marketing and branding graphics. Font Selection Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Originally published Mar 17, 2015 4:00:00 PM, updated August 27 2017 Email Lists and Segmentation Topics: Marketers often think of running contests for things like branding, customer delight, and fan engagement — but that’s not all they’re good for. Created a certain way, contests can also help you fill your funnel, making your audience and your boss happy at the same time.Convert more visitors into leads. Try HubSpot’s free email capture software here.We’ve seen this happen first-hand at HubSpot. Last December, my team had the idea to run a contest, but wanted to see if there was a way to tie it more closely to business objectives. Our idea? Run a holiday-themed contest and give away eighteen $100 Visa gift cards, one for each winner and an additional gift card for one of their colleagues.The aim of the contest was to delight customers, increase engagement, and increase brand awareness … while also generating actual email contacts. Would it work? I’ll spoil the ending for you: It sure did. To help give you ideas if you want to run a similar contest, I’ve broken down the approach below that we took to running the contest.How to Run a Contest1) Choose a PlatformWhile you don’t necessarily need a platform to run a contest, I would highly recommend shopping around for a platform built explicitly for such a purpose. Contest platforms provide functionality that you wouldn’t necessarily think you need at the beginning of your contest (but will appreciate later). For example, it was extremely helpful to have certain features built in from the start, such as multiple types of contest entries, quick tallies of the entries, and random selection of the winners.The type of contest you’re running will usually dictate what features you find important and what functionality you’ll need, but there is one key feature all contest platforms should have: social sharing integrations. Getting a contest to go viral is the best way to make it bigger and better than you initially imagined — and having certain social sharing capabilities in the platform will make that much easier. So when you’re considering platforms, think about what kinds of social media activities you’d like entrants to do.In our contest, we primarily wanted people to enter with an email address (it was designed to help us build our database, after all). We also wanted to get a larger reach from our contest, meaning we counted the following actions as extra entries:Following HubSpot on TwitterTweeting a link to the contestSharing via emailSharing via FacebookAfter perusing a few of the major platforms I settled on using Gleam because it allowed me to directly integrate with HubSpot, entering contestants into a list automatically. Most platforms require you to export contacts from the contest platform and into your database (one extra step that I’d rather avoid). Gleam also has functionality to disqualify people if their email address doesn’t exist, and it won’t let them enter the contest if they are outside of the U.S. and you’ve selected U.S. only.2) Set Up Your ContestDeciding how many winners there will be, how long your contest will run, and where to promote it are often the biggest items on your to-do list when you are just getting started — but that’s not actually the best place to start. Instead, think about the ultimate, bottom-line goals you’re hoping to achieve, and backtrack your contest-specific goals from there. So if you’re hoping to generate 100 leads from the contest, and you know that your typical visit-to-lead conversion rate is 10%, you know that you need 1,000 visits (at least) to your contest. And knowing that visit goal can help shape how you promote your contest (and the rest of the other items on your contest to-do list).When we ran the Holiday Hero Contest, our goals were of net new email addresses, number of shares per channel (email, Twitter, Facebook), and number of selected winners. Outlining these goals helped keep our expectations both realistic and achievable, and it also provided a benchmark of what success for this contest (and future contests) would look like.3) Run the Contest (But Make Sure to Check on It)Now’s the part you’ve dreamt about: Actually pushing your contest live, promoting it, and getting entries. How you exactly do that will depend on your contest goals, but if you need some ideas on how to promote your contest, check out this free resource.To generate interest, my team shared the contest across multiple channels: We created a dedicated landing page for our contest, then blogged about it, emailed it to our database, put together specific Pinterest boards, and shared that landing page all over social media. Since the contest was only available in the U.S., we made sure to share it with that audience.Throughout the promotion cycle you’ll also want to “take the temperature” of your contest. Are your promotions successful? How is your contest doing across various platforms? Is your technology working the way you expect? Are contacts being properly fed from the contest app into your database? Are contestants getting a follow-up email about their entries?These are all questions that can only be answered by frequently checking on your contest settings. I would recommend checking these settings every day or every other day just to ensure that if you do run into any hiccups, you can quickly address them.4) Choose Your WinnersSo now that you’ve gotten all of your entries, you’ve got to select your winners and let them know they’ve won. If your platform lets you randomly select a winner, we’d highly recommend using that (unless your contest rules say otherwise). Once they’re selected, it’s up to you to do the reaching out.In our contest, we chose to email the winners to let them know. We also emailed the rest of the entrants to let them know that winners had been chosen, as one big complaints about contests is the mistrust as to whether anyone actually received the prize.The best part of running a contest has to be the delight that people experience when they win. It is incomparable to anything else — and if you are lucky, sometimes winners will share a story with you about them winning. (I was lucky to receive such an email … I’ve still got it tucked away in my inbox!)5) Analyze Your ResultsLike you would with any other marketing campaign, you should always analyze the results of your contest. Which channels drove the best results in terms of traffic, entries, and new contacts? Did certain promotions and/or messaging get better results? What would you try differently next time? Taking the time to look in your marketing analytics and analyze your results will ensure you are setting your next contest up for success.All in all, I’d say our contest went really well — we had hundreds of new participants each day and over 20% of the total entrants were new to our database. While there are definitely things we’d change for next time around, we were proud with how this contest turned out.3 Lessons Learned From Running Our ContestNow that the contest is over, there are some general things I learned that other companies should keep in mind when running a contest:When planning a contest, make sure your prizes are relevant to what your company does and what your audience needs. If you offer promotional items that are vague or random then you are less likely to get qualified leads.Before creating your contest, check in with your company’s legal department to make sure terms and conditions are properly stated. Set big, virality-specific goals to help you achieve your bottom-line goals. Just because you’re ultimately aiming to drive bottom-line growth doesn’t mean you can ignore top-line goals. It’s really good to know how many shares you are hoping for on each social media platform so that you can better analyze your promotional strategy at the end of the contest. Have you run a contest before? What tips would you suggest to marketers who’ve never run one? 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 the early days, Google’s search engine wasn’t nearly as powerful or accurate as it is today. I’m talking back in the late 90s and early 00s, when search engines were little more than keyword-matching and link-counting machines. Ranking highly in search results could be accomplished by essentially using a simple, two-step procedure:Step 1: Stuff your keyword phrase into your website as many times as possible.Step 2: Get as many gosh-darn inbound links as you possibly could.For those early “SEO gurus” who gamed the system — achieving high rankings while adding little value for actual searchers — the fun wouldn’t last. Every time Google found a weakness in its ability to deliver relevant, high-quality search results, they made fixes to address it. One of the more recent Google search algorithm “fixes” was a mobile-friendly update, which put more emphasis on a website’s mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for searches from a mobile device. The aftermath of this update was informally dubbed “Mobilegeddon.”To make sure your site is optimized for Google’s algorithm update, download our free guide, How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website.Curious how the latest change stacks up against previous Google algorithm changes? To give you a snapshot of all of the major changes that Google has implemented over the years, we teamed up with Moz to create the infographic below.A History of Google Algorithm UpdatesShare This Image on Your Site
Topics: While a strong social following on Facebook is already an immense advantage for nonprofits, those fans are about to become even more valuable. Thanks to the introduction of Facebook’s “Donate Now” button, it’s easier than ever for nonprofits to turn online engagement into meaningful monetary contributions. About Facebook’s “Donate Now” ButtonThe titan of social media has always been a logical choice for nonprofits, allowing them to connect with supporters in an environment that feels more personal than a website or print brochure does. Today, Facebook took that relationship to the next level, introduing a “Donate Now” call-to-action button option on both link ads and company Pages. Regarding the update, they said, “Now it’s easier than ever for nonprofits to connect with people who care about their causes and encourage them to contribute through the website of their choice.”When a user clicks on the button, they see a prompt from Facebook disclaiming that the social site isn’t affiliated with the company collecting donations. From there, the user will likely be routed to a brand’s website to complete their transaction. Nonprofits have two options for using the new CTA:Company Page: The “Donate Now” CTA works much like Facebook’s other buttons (“Book Now,” “Shop Now” and “Contact Us”) in that it can be added to a brand’s company page at any time, and with no cost. When included on a company’s Page, the button appears alongside the “Like” button, on the bottom right corner of the cover photo. Link Ads: To scale the visibility of the Donate Now CTA, companies can include the button in link ads, and then promote it as they would any other content. Thinking about including a “Donate Now” button on your page or in your next ad campaign? Here are 3 things to consider. 3 Tips for Using Facebook’s “Donate Now” Button1) Point The WayJust placing a button on your Facebook Page doesn’t mean users will automatically start clicking on it. Encourage donations by referencing the “Donate Now” option in your regular posts, and consider creating new dedicated content that makes users aware of the button (and how their donations will be used). Visual cues can be a big help as well. Consider swapping your cover photo to include new creative that direct the user to the button—arrows, text, or anything else you can dream up. 2) Run Highly Targeted Campaigns Just as your wouldn’t ask eveyrone who lands on your website to become a member of your nonprofit or donate to your cause, put your inbound marketing hat on and segment the audience you reach out to for donations.Avoid wasting ad dollars by targeting your link ads to the users most-likely to donate to your cause. Interest targeting can be a great place to start, as well as behavior, demographics, job title, or connections (friends of people who like your Page already). Need more inspiration? Look at your current database to identify the traits most similar amongst your most generous donors. Kick things up a notch by leveraging Website Custom Audiences to hone in on users that directly mirror exsisting donors in your system. 3) Keep Your Content Balanced Just because asking for donations is easier than ever for companies on Facebook, it doesn’t mean you can neglect the primary reason most users connect with you to begin with. Remember that content comes first, and that creating a personal connection with your fans will pave the road for longer, more valuable long-term relationships. Use your page to showcase how donations are used, and feature stories about the lives that previous donations have changed. Giving is still a two-way street. You have to provide an emotion connection before you can expect your fans to provide their credit card info. As with any campaign, it will be important to track who is clicking on their donation CTAs to measure what type of ROI is coming from their efforts, be they paid or organic. While no one platform can sustain a campaign alone, this update provides a new channel through which companies can drive incrimental donations from social—something I’m sure most nonprofits will really “Like.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Nonprofit Fundraising Originally published Aug 25, 2015 9:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
One of my life missions has been to rescue B2B blogs from their backwater boring status and bring them to the forefront of awesomeness.Thankfully, I’m seeing the trend grow.More B2B blogs are nailing it and putting forth the level and quality of content that B2B readers truly crave … but there is still progress to be made.I’ve assembled this list of tips that can help you bring your B2B content up to the next level.9 Tips for Creating Content that B2B Readers Love1) Use jargon appropriately.Whenever you spend a lot of time in a particular niche, the jargon rubs off on you. If you’re in the military, you’re going to talk about BFO, CFB, BOHICA, BZ, EOD, JO, FTN, and everyone will know what you’re talking about. (I’m honestly not sure. I just pulled those off military.com.)If you’re into SEO, you expect to be able to use that acronym — SEO — and everyone knows what you’re talking about.Every industry has its jargon.Image CreditWhile overuse will muddy up your content, using jargon strategically can make people feel included, welcomed, respected, and appreciated for their knowledge.The first few paragraphs of this Moz article are all that you need to alert you to the fact that this is an insider’s piece. You can expect some jargon, and that’s okay.Keep in mind that jargon can be seen as pretentious, so make sure you’re using the right jargon, in the right way, for the right reason, and with the right readers.2) Go deep.B2B readers are proud of their knowledge, and rightly so. They have invested their lives, their education, their careers, and their time into acquiring professional skills.They love it when people speak to them on their level — a deep level.That’s why the B2B content that you produce should go deep. Take this expert excerpt from the Toptal blog: The final step is to iterate N elements once again replacing the element by its code for each element: element[i] = code[i]. The complexity is O(N). The complexity of FastSMQT is O(N) + O(2^L) + O(L*(2^L)) + O(N) = O(2*N) + O((L + 1)*(2^L)) = O(N + L*(2^L)) .It’s gibberish to the average Joe, but it’s pure read-worthy gold to the software engineer.Bear in mind, you can’t get content this deep from most “freelance writers” you find on Craigslist. Sourcing B2B writers is one of the first and greatest challenges to generating great B2B content.3) Predict the future.B2B blogs will thrive when they are dealing with present hot topics and future predictions. Predictive blogs tend to generate viral sharing and excited feedback.Who wouldn’t want to know the future of their industry or the precursive power of daily trends?A well-researched, thorough, and to-the-point prophetic piece is the kind of content that will give you a strong ROI. The blog, Acxiom, has an example of this kind of post:This kind of content is especially popular around the New Year, when B2B readers are particularly interested in finding out what’s next.4) Get to the bottom line.Nearly every B2B reader shares an interest in the bottom line: revenue. When you can boil down the trade to this fundamental bedrock, then you’ve landed on a popular topic.It is possible to chase everything back to this one point. Whether it’s an abstruse coding trick, a marketing move, or some other niche technique, everything somehow goes back to the bottom line.This blog is a great example of getting down to brass tacks. (Or are those thumbtacks?)The Proppelr blog uses revenue-driven content to advance the following article. And the title tells all: B2B content can and should deal with a wide range of topics. Be sure to trace these topics back to a core concern: revenue.5) Be an expert.There’s an alarming trend in B2B content marketing. It’s becoming challenging to find experts in niche fields, especially experts who have the time and ability to create long-form content for content marketing purposes.According to a report from CMI, more B2B marketers say they are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals this year (32%) than last year (10%).It makes sense. If you have an expert, you’re probably using that expert to do great things, not just to write about them.Toptal has managed to overcome this challenge. Their business model involves attracting and recruiting the finest engineers in the industry. Their marketing strategy includes getting these gurus to create content:Even if you don’t know what optimized successive mean quantization transform is, you at least know that this B2B blog is getting an expert to wax eloquent on the subject.6) Create case studies.Case studies are a linchpin of great content.Case studies aren’t just advertisements. They are revelations of data, information, technique processes, tutorials, and a bunch of goodness rolled up into a single piece of content.Most marketers use case studies for their glaringly obvious benefit — showcasing the skills and expertise of the business.Yet case studies have a broader effect. In addition to acquiring clients, case studies bring value to the industry as a whole. Industry members and participants can learn how things are done, the techniques used, and the processes followed to achieve a certain goal.Think With Google is a collection of case studies, each showcasing what a good case study looks like:Beginning with the title, the case study promises to tell a story and bring value. The bulleted section of the case study makes for easy, digestible reading:Even failure makes for a great case study, as per the following one on JeffBullas.com:Case studies have immense value, and every B2B content marketing effort should contain them.7) Be ruthlessly tactical.The content has to make a difference.The best B2B blogs will always be those that answer the toughest questions, solve the thorniest problems, and show the clearest solutions.This article from Cardinal Path exemplifies the tactical approach: The writer explains exactly why he has written the whitepaper: “‘But which one is best?’ — We get that a lot too….Our newest whitepaper, A Marketer’s Guide to Finding the Right Analytics Solution, provides an overview of the major analytics platforms and offer insights into ways you can optimize your solution.”There’s no need to keep your readers in the dark. A good B2B article should do the following:Address a problem. This should be a commonly-identified issue in your field. It’s something that your audience deals with.Sketch the problem for the reader. They’ve got to be able to relate to it — to say, “Yeah, I have that problem!”Solve the problem. This is the meat of the article.Such articles will be tactical to the bone. They explain clearly how to do, what to do, what it looks like — with data to back it all up. The more specific, detailed, and actionable you can be, the better.8) Bring forth the juicy data.Ah, data, how we love you.When a B2B blog publishes a solid mass of data, the data aficionados, bloggers, ponderers, thinkers, movers, and shakers pounce on it.The Content Marketing Institute is a purveyor of data. Their research-backed approach gives to their B2B audience exactly what they crave — lots and lots of data.The more statistics, pie charts, line graphs, and bar graphs you can pack into your article, the better.9) Just say it, prove it, and be done.Some writers obsess over style.How does it sound? Is my tone correct? What’s the best word in this particular sentence? How should I wrap up this paragraph? Should I use a question here, or is a declarative sentence better?I’m all about stylistic finesse. You don’t want your blog post to fall flat with a can-hardly-read-it style. On the other hand, you don’t want to obsess over it. Great B2B content simply says what it needs to say, proves it, and that’s it.If you have a flair for style, so be it. But don’t make stylistic perfection your goal.I’d argue that Invision has one of the leading design B2B blogs in the industry. Their content is typically packed with data and actionable information, but they don’t pursue a sizzling style.An article that contains the words iterative, prototyping, methodology, articulate, and hypothesis in the first couple of lines?It’s not exactly a man-bites-dog style.Let me make the point clear with an example. ViralNova is B2C:You don’t need this kind of content. You don’t need the “OMG!” approach or the cliff-hanging style for a B2B blog. Your goal isn’t to be Hemingway, let alone ViralNova. Your goal is to be as clear as possible.ConclusionThis article has focused on articles as the primary portal of B2B content. The reason for this focus is because of the lack of quality I’ve noticed in many B2B blogs.Keep in mind that B2B content can take myriad forms. For example, advanced and powerful webinars are an explosive source of producing high-value content with the extra advantage of generating direct leads.Whatever the style, medium, approach, or goal, keep these tips in mind.What trends, tips, or tactics do you have for creating killer B2B content? Let us know in the comments section below. Originally published Nov 2, 2015 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 B2B Content Marketing Topics:
It’s no secret that creative agencies aren’t big fans of the pitch deck.Gene Liebel, the founder of New York-based agency Work & Co, summed up his feelings about pitch decks pretty straightforwardly: “They’re the worst.”Pitch decks have become increasingly reviled in recent years, with many agencies declaring their restrictive and unengaging format as an inherent enemy of creativity. As one anonymous agency millennial told Digiday, pitch decks can cause “you [to] think differently … like if an idea doesn’t fit in a neat little bullet point or a clean slide, it’s not good.”Despite the general animosity towards pitch decks, they aren’t going to go away overnight. Not every pitch your agency makes is going to come in the form of a crazy stunt. Sometimes, a pitch just demands a straightforward, no-frills presentation. And you’ve got to bite the bullet, swallow your creative pride, and open PowerPoint. Designing a solid, persuasive pitch deck that won’t put your audience to sleep is easier said than done. People are notoriously terrible at focusing on slide-by-slide presentations, so your deck needs to cut through the clutter and communicate your points in a way that your audience can understand with minimal effort. To help make your next pitch a tolerable — maybe even enjoyable — experience for everyone, we’ve put together a list of six basic guidelines for designing engaging decks. How to Design a Pitch Deck that Doesn’t Suck1) Make your text extremely legible.That guy who forgot to wear his contacts today and somehow ended up in the back row of the conference room? Yeah, he needs to be able to see your slides just as well as everyone else. The significance of creating extremely legible, easy-to-read slides should not be underestimated. It’s more than a matter of aesthetics: If your slides are at all difficult to read, even people with 20/20 vision are going to quickly lose interest and zone out.They didn’t come here to expend effort — they came here to be spoon-fed. And it’s your job to make your information as digestable as possible. To keep the focus on your content, stick to big, bold fonts on highly-contrasting backgrounds. Don’t do this:This font color doesn’t contrast enough with the background, and the text size isn’t large or clear enough to be read comfortably from a distance. Don’t make your poor audience stare at this for too long. Do this:This font is big and bold enough to be seen from the back of the room, and it contrasts well with the background. When all else fails, a bold sans-serif font is the way to go. 2) Tell a story.When we process information in list format, the basic language-processing areas of our brains get activated. Scientists call these sections Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, and they’re responsible for translating words we see or hear into coherent meanings — but they don’t help us stay interested or retain information. In other words, bullet points don’t usually produce a very exciting reaction in our brains, leaving the rest of our minds to wander.When our brains are given a story instead of a list, things change — big time. Stories engage more parts of our brains, including our sensory cortex, which is responsible for processing visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. If you want to keep people engaged during a presentation, tell them a story.”A story takes all the senseless data that the world provides and turns it into something meaningful,” said Jonah Sachs, the creative director of the communications firm Free Range Studios and author of Winning the Story Wars. Centering you presentation around a story, instead of a list of facts or figures, is essential for keeping people interested and leaving a lasting impression.Don’t do this:This information might be impressive, but it isn’t likely to stick with your audience when presented in list form.Do this:Weaving your impressive case study into a story is much more likely to have an impact on the audience. 3) Break everything down into extremely simple parts.When it comes to pitch decks, it’s time to wean yourself off of bullet points. Although they’re still better than slapping a dense paragraph of text onto a slide and calling it a day, they can be overwhelming, and prevent your audience from really absorbing your main points.You might think you’re already simplifying your content, but take it a step further. Each slide should convey a single, simple idea — not a multiple ideas, not a multi-faceted idea, and not an idea that requires a degree in rhetoric to meticulously decode. If it seems like you’re making things way too simple, then you’re on the right track. Remember: not all your talking points need to occupy real estate on your slide deck. Save the slide space for the big ideas, and talk your way through the rest. Don’t do this:These points might seem simple, but they could be broken down even further and separated onto different slides. Do this:There’s nothing difficult to understand about this simple, straightforward slide. 4) Make the points obvious.The point of each slide should be obvious. Your audience shouldn’t have to work to understand what’s going on, especially when graphs or charts are involved.Any information you include on a slide should be immediately translated for the audience, even if you think it speaks for itself. Ask yourself:What point are you trying to make by including this piece of information?How does this fact or figure connect back to your main premise?What do you want the audience to get out of this slide?Don’t do this:While this graph clearly shows growth, the point doesn’t obviously tie back to your premise. Do this:The title on this slide tells the audience exactly what they should take away from the graph, directing them immediately to the conclusion that benefits your cause. 5) Focus on the prospect’s challenges, not yourself.It’s safe to assume that your prospect has spent some time researching your agency, so there’s no need to waste valuable presentation time talking about your accomplishments or accolades. You aren’t just convincing the audience you’re amazing at your job — you’re convincing them that you understand them, and that you’re the best person to help them overcome their unique challenges. The business pitch consultants at Blue Lobster recommend asking yourself a few questions to focus your presentation around your audience:Who is the audience?What is their problem?How can you help?Don’t do this:While this is all very impressive, it doesn’t express an understanding of your client’s problems or delve into how you can help them. Plus, your prospect probably already found this information from a quick scan of your agency’s website.Do this:This slide shows that you’ve done your research, and expresses a clear value proposition to the prospect. 6) Supplement your deck with additional materials.Even when it makes sense to use a pitch deck, you don’t need to spend the whole presentation talking at your audience. “We expect teams to use presentations as a visual aid to a narrative or conversation between them and their audience, not as prose-focused documents to be read,” said KBS co-president Matt Powell. Powell encourages his agency’s team to supplement classic pitch decks with additional materials, such as “handouts, prototypes or posters to encourage discussion so the presentation and the presentation deck are not seen as one and the same.”To keep your audience receptive and awake, consider adding some of these more engaging elements throughout the presentation. What is your agency’s stance on pitch decks? How do you keep them fresh and interesting? Let us know in the comments. Originally published Feb 16, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated February 16 2017 Business Pitches Topics: Don’t forget to share this post!
Local search is powerful for small businesses: four out of five consumers use search to find local information, which means if your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on 80% of your potential customers. In short, local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay relevant.To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we’ve created a comprehensive guide, which will cover local SEO tools, local search best practices, how to optimize for Google My Business, and more.Access Now: 22 SEO Myths to Leave Behind This YearBy the end of the guide, you’ll have a firm understanding on how to optimize your business to reach potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services they’re going to buy.What is Local SEO?Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local prospects and customers. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.Best Practice Local SEO TacticsTo thrive in local search, you need to do three things: optimize your Google My Business account, improve your on-page SEO by updating your website, and excel on the Wild Wild Web. While it might sound overwhelming, it’s entirely feasible to succeed in all three with some patience and perseverance. Stick with us, and we’ll explore each one in-depth.Optimize for Google My BusinessGoogle My Business has become the creme de la creme of local search — since Google understandably feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. If Google can verify your business as authentic, it will potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to create and verify a Google My Business page, use Google Posts within your account, encourage your customers to share reviews online, and respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”To learn more about using Google My Business, check out our full post here.Website UpdatesNow that we’ve discussed optimizing your business for Google My Business, let’s take a look at five simple website updates to improve your local SEO.1. Improve Internal Linking Structure Although external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I’ll discuss soon), adjusting your internal linking structure will also boost your SEO rankings.Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:Supports website navigationAssists with information architecture and website hierarchyDistributes page authority and ranking power among pagesIf you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, check out Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.2. Optimize URL, Title Tags, Headers, Meta Description, and Content When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Every time you write a piece of content, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.3. Add Location Pages to your WebsiteIf you have more than one brick and mortar location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your NAP, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, testimonials from happy customers, and more. It’s also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. You’ll get big time bonus points if you add a Google Map to your website on your respective location page(s).4. Create Local ContentGoogle continues to get smarter, which means content creators are now able to truly write for users, not search engines. But while writing about general topics will attract a wide crowd, sometimes it’s more important to hone your focus and write about local or industry news to attract a local audience. Be the local authority for your industry by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog. Think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.For example, if you’re a local security company and you’re trying to attract businesses that are new to the area, create a helpful resource to get these businesses well-acquainted with your city. A map of local service providers or a calendar of city-wide events could both provide value for your persona and contain highly relevant on-page local signals.5. Ensure your website is mobile-friendlyLocal search and mobile search go hand in hand (nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices!). Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment is to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.Engage with Directories and the Wild Wild WebYou’ve learned how to optimize your business for Google My Business and how to update your website for an internal SEO boost — now, let’s take a look at how you can use NAP consistency, directories, and inbound links to take your business one step closer to that number one spot on local search.Name, Address, Phone ConsistencyYou’ve got to make it easy for people and search engines to find you. To do this, set up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site. Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image — images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text. The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site.Optimize Online Directories and CitationsFor United States companies, these four map data aggregators provide a large amount of the map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google+ local, Trip Advisor, and more.Express UpdateNeustar LocalezeMy Business Listing ManagerFactualConsistency is key: verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number or wrong phone number can be problematic. If Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results. Additionally, be sure to remove any duplicate listings you find. Bonus points for emphasizing a Chambers of Commerce membership in your community, which will garner you an external inbound link.Get Inbound Links with Relevance and AuthorityInbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. Here are a few ways to get inbound links:Sponsorships or PartnershipsGuest Blog PostingScholarshipsStart with your own personal network, which may include the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, and/or manufacturers and other affiliates. Consider sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with prominent people and influencers. Additionally, learn to feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you on their partner directory.Be a guest blogger, talk to and about (positively, of course!) other people in your industry, and act as a resource provider for the community. If you’re an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.Given that .edu links are the bee’s knees for domain authority, why not earn some links by featuring a scholarship in your geographic region? It should be relevant to your industry, send the right signals to your domain (given the backlinks from schools) … and make you feel good, too! Moz built up a solid guide on the steps to success for effective scholarship outreach.Engage with Social Media and Add Posts to Google My BusinessGoogle considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before. Now that you’ve carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share the page on social media, further aligning social and search.Local SEO ToolsNow that we’ve covered how to optimize your business for local SEO, let’s explore some useful tools you can leverage to improve your ranking in the areas where it matters most.1. Whitespark Local Citation Finder. A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations matter because they help surface local businesses in online search, and when local businesses actively manage their citations to ensure data accuracy, it promotes trust of these online listings. Whitespark knows this realm well — really well. With a free starter version and a popular $24/month option, Whitespark offers local listing management, recommends where to list your business, examines your competition, and robustly builds and monitors your citation growth for better local search rankings.2. Screaming Frog. This desktop program crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. Curious if you have any 404’s? Wondering about missing meta descriptions or H1’s? Screaming Frog will analyze up to 500 URLs for free and offers an unlimited paid version for $200/year.2. Moz Local. Less expensive than most of its counterparts (starting at $99/year with a professional level of the service at $179/year), Moz Local will ensure your business listing has been verified on Google and Facebook, and distribute your listing across the search ecosystem. Additionally, Moz Local will collaborate with data aggregators to help push listings, ensuring your business gains visibility.4. Ahrefs. Ahrefs helps with backlink checking, which is important as these links (which are directed toward your website) serve as an indicator of website authority. Ahrefs also offers competitor analysis, keyword research, and insight into the anchor text other websites use when backlinking to your site. This tool has a starter version at $99/month and a standard option at $179/month for more extensive tracking.5. Buzzstream. Starting at $24/month with professional functionality at $299/month, BuzzStream facilitates earning local backlinks, which helps you identify and build relationships with local influencers by researching influencers, tracking conversations, and providing reporting insights into your outreach campaigns, team performance, and link placements.6. BrightLocal is a comprehensive SEO tool suite specifically built for local business marketing needs. The tool can help you generate and monitor reviews on local sites, understand your local search performance, and analyze nearby competitors. BrightLocal also offers client access and white-labeled reporting — making it a solid fit for agencies and brands alike. What’s Next?This Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO in 2018 is intended to drive your local success. While some of the tips are one-off activities where you can set it and forget it (e.g. making sure your NAP is clearly written on your site), other tasks, such as building reviews and publishing locally relevant content, is an activity your organization needs to do on an ongoing basis for long-term local SEO success. Keep both in mind as you work toward better online visibility and we look forward to seeing you on the first page of Google! Originally published Apr 30, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: SEO