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What's the one thing more overwhelming than the volume of your analytics data?

I'm willing to be its the volume of analytics plugin options on WordPress.

Installing an analytics plugin for your WordPress site allows you to get all your site's data, metrics, and insights without leaving your WordPress dashboard. The majority of users choose Google Analytics, although I've chosen some non-GA plugins, too.

While Google Analytics is a powerful option, many find the sheer amount of data available on GA daunting, and the interface clunky. WordPress plugins aim to simplify the interface so that users get to the data they need without feeling overwhelmed.

If you do use Google Analytics, we have a comprehensive guide on How to Set Up Google Analytics for WordPress.

With new plugins hitting the market monthly, and specialist plugins offering specific insights, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you.

To help you sort through, we've compiled a list of the best analytics for WordPress plugins in 2019. We'll explore basic differences, as well as features and benefits of each option, to help you choose the best plugin for your needs.

1. MonsterInsights

Price: Free | Premium: from $99

WordPress.org rating: 3.9 out of 5 from 637 reviews

Generally considered the king of analytics plugins, MonsterInsights is a good all-rounder. It's also the most popular Google Analytics plugin on WordPress, with over two million active installations.

Like most of the plugins in this list, MonsterInsights adds your Google Analytics tracking code to your site with no coding required on your part. It pulls your data into a user-friendly interface that runs inside your WordPress dashboard and offers flexibility for growing sites with free and premium versions.

It offers all the Google Analytics data you would expect, broken down into audience and behavior metrics. Additionally, you get more advanced features like ecommerce reports with the premium version.

One limitation of this goliath is you can't get statistics on individual pieces of content like you can with Analytify.

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2. Analytify

Price: Free | Premium: $39 per year

WordPress.org rating: 4.9 out of 5 from 220 reviews

Analytify is a big hitter in the world of WordPress analytics and will install your Google Analytics tracking code for you. The interface allows you to access your data right from your WordPress dashboard.

Analytify is especially good for ecommerce businesses, since it offers enhanced ecommerce tracking features. The free version is fairly limited but the premium version is substantially cheaper than MonsterInsights, while offering similar functionality plus the benefit of being able to dig into individual posts and pages.

With the free version, you can monitor your site stats and you gain limited access to general reporting features. This includes tracking features like page views, top countries, social media statistics and top referrers.

With the premium version, you gain additional features like real-time statistics, campaign statistics, and email notifications.

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3. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.3 out of 5 from 389 reviews

It may not have the catchiest of names, but this plugin is all about functionality.

It does what it says on the tin. The interface isn't as pretty as some of the more polished plugins, but you get all the features you would expect -- insertion of tracking code, Google Analytics data, real-time tracking -- right in your WordPress dashboard for free.

A solid option for those who know they don't want to upgrade and pay for a premium plugin.

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4. Clicky Analytics

Price: Free | Paid: from $9.99 per month

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 17 reviews

Aside from having an excellent name, Clicky offers a plain and simple view of your analytics, which is ideal for people who feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of options available within Google Analytics. Additionally, it installs its own Clicky tracking code into your site so you don't have to mess around with code.

Clicky provides detailed insights that are still simple enough for the average blogger to understand. Most of the functionality is available for free, but some features like video analytics and custom data tracking is only available with the paid version. It also has some quirky features like a live map so you can track your visitors in real-time.

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5. Crazy Egg

Price: Premium: $9 per month

WordPress.org rating: 3.8 out of 5 from 5 reviews

Crazy Egg is an open source plugin offering a totally different perspective than most of the others, since it adds Crazy Egg's tracking code to your site. This allows you to watch via heat maps -- in real-time -- what visitors are hovering over and clicking on.

The plugin also offers comprehensive A/B testing based on various content variables like color, copy and content placement, to improve the user experience and increase conversions. This is a good alternative to Google Analytics for users more interested in conversion optimization.

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6. Analytics Cat

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 3.8 out of 5 from 5 reviews

Analytics Cat is a super simple, lightweight plugin. If you're looking to add a Google Analytics tracking code but don't want to weigh down your WordPress site with the dashboard integration, it can do it in minutes.

Analytics Cat offers a simple way to stop your data from becoming corrupted by your obsessive self-navigation, since it provides the ability to exclude logged-in users from your Google Analytics tracking. You can also exclude as many other user roles as you'd like.

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7. GA Google Analytics

Price: Free | Premium: from $15 one-off

WordPress.org rating: 4.9 out of 5 from 71 reviews

This is a simple tool that does one job -- it adds a Google Analytics code to every page on your site. It doesn't pull in or display any stats for you, but it does its job well. This is ideal for complex sites with hundreds of pages. If you're happy with keeping your Google Analytics off your WordPress dashboard but want to ensure the tracking code is on every page, this is the plugin for you.

Additionally, the premium version enables a host of advanced features like an opt-out for visitors. It also supports custom code and lets you disable tracking on logged-in users.

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8. HubSpot

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 stars from 104 ratings

HubSpot's WordPress plugin isn't just an analytics plugin -- it also allows you to implement HubSpot's forms, pop-ups, and live chat.

HubSpot's plugin offers incredibly detailed data on the leads you collect. Additionally, you can get an in-depth understanding of which CTAs drive the highest number of sign-ups, enabling you to convert visitors more effectively. This user information is synced with your HubSpot CRM.

9. Google Analytics WD

Price: Free | Premium: $30 per year

WordPress.org rating: 4.5 out of 5 from 93 reviews

This plugin is a solid option and has both a free and reasonably priced premium version. With a low barrier to entry, it's a user-friendly, simple way to view your stats within WordPress.

The free version includes page views, top performing pages, a centralized dashboard, comprehensive reports, and bounce rates. However, if you want Google Analytics coverage, ecommerce reports, AdSense and AdWords reports, you'll need the premium version.

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10. WP Google Analytics Events

Price: Free | Premium: from $79 per year.

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 28 reviews

Designed to offer detailed behavioral analytics, WP Google Analytics Events digs deeper into your Google Analytics data. For instance, just because a visitor navigated to a blog post, doesn't mean they scrolled down and read all the way through. WP Google Analytics Events can help you see what's really going on at the level of individual events.

The downside of this plugin is it's difficult to set up, so this is ideal for more advanced users.

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11. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Price: Free | Premium: from $5 per month

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 28 reviews

Jetpack is a multi-functioning tool for design, marketing and security -- analytics is just one of its many features. It displays your stats via a simple interface offering a handy overview of how your site is doing. However, don't expect to be able to drill down into the data on individual pages and posts.

As you would expect from a WordPress.com product, the plugin offers good support and detailed troubleshooting guides. Best of all, Jetpack offers a smiley face at the bottom of your page to show whether the JetPack analytics tools are working.

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12. WP Statistics

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.3 out of 5 from 396 reviews

A powerful yet simple plugin focused on stats, WP Statistic's interface is intuitive and displays graphs and charts beautifully. This plugin puts an emphasis on privacy. You can be sure that the data is not being shared with the big boys -- additionally, you don't need to deal with any third parties to use this plugin.

This plugin is particularly good when it comes to geographical data and content reports, and supports real-time stats on your site as well as the standard features you would expect. The best part? It's totally free.

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13. Matomo

Price: from $9 per month

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 84 reviews

Formerly Piwik, Matomo is an open-source analytics alternative which gives you detailed reports on your visitors, traffic sources, keywords, and many other common metrics. This plugin installs the Matomo tracking code and allows you to view the data within your WordPress dashboard.

Advanced features lets you follow visitors in real-time or in the visitors' log and manage multiple sites among many other features. Matomo also offers a mobile app to access reports on the go. You will need an existing Matomo account to access the data.

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14. Slimstat Analytics

Price: Free | Add-ons from $12 one-off

WordPress.org rating: 4.8 out of 5 from 755 reviews

Slimstat is an alternative analytics solution sitting between WordPress and Google Analytics in terms of complexity. An open-source platform that stores all your data in your WordPress database, it allows you to track returning customers and registered users, and monitor Javascript events, detect intrusions and analyze email campaigns -- all within your Wordpress dashboard.

The basic version is free but there is a range of add-ons allowing you to use as much or as little as you need.

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15. Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce

Price: Free | Premium: $135 one-off

WordPress.org rating: 4.4 out of 5 from 95 reviews

The clue is in the title with this one. Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce focuses on the new Google Analytics' feature for advanced ecommerce statistics.

Because it's so specialized, this plugin offers the most detailed insights into customer behavior as well as comprehensive product and sales statistics. All of it is accessible from the interface within your WordPress dashboard. However, you'll need the paid version to get any serious benefit from this plugin.

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16. WP Power Stats

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.1 out of 5 from 53 reviews

WP Power Stat offers a wide-screen interface, which is good for getting an overview of your site's data. This plugin is billed as lightweight, fast, reliable and secure. As all the stats are stored on your own WordPress site, there is no meddling with your data by third parties. This plugin is a powerful free option.

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Which Analytics Plugin Should You Choose?

You may want to choose more than one analytics plugin, since many of them are specialized for certain tasks.

If you're looking to bring the power of Google Analytics into your WordPress dashboard, go for a plugin like MonsterInsights or Analytify, which both have excellent free versions as well as comprehensive premium versions.

Alternatively, there are some plugins specialized in privacy, speed and reliability. There are also some simple tools to quickly set you up with a Google Analytics code.

The great thing about WordPress plugins is you can install them and play around with the free versions to see if they work for you without committing to anything. So give a few of these options a try and see what's the best fit for you and your analytics needs.

In the meantime, find out how to save time and maximize ROI by hooking up your HubSpot data with your WordPress site.

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You can’t talk about the future of marketing without chatbots. People are increasingly interested in communicating with brands in a more personal, conversational way — and chatbots can help.

Including chatbots on your website helps visitors find what they are looking for and connect them with your team in an immediate, frictionless way. Chatbots also follow the Inbound Messaging Framework.

So, what are the secrets to building a chatbot strategy?

On HubSpot’s marketing team, we seek to deliver a world-class customer experience. We consistently ask: How can chatbots better serve our various audiences (visitors, leads, and customers) to help direct them to the right resources for their needs? Also, how can we use chatbots to support our sales team and reach our goals?

Use HubSpot's free Chatbot Builder Software to easily build and launch chatbots on your website — no coding required.

A Customer-Focused Bot Experience

Chatbots work when they're contextual and relevant to specific problems folks are having. Through conversations with our sales team, we learned that 15% of chat questions on the website were about getting technical support. We were creating friction for our customers because our sales team (who answers chat questions onsite) is not as well equipped to answer these questions as our support team is.

So, we created a bot to direct our customers to the right resources for technical support (our support team, knowledgebase, and community). If they were not looking for technical support, we passed their questions about HubSpot features and pricing to our sales team.

We rolled out these bots across the primary site pages and saw an 80% increase in our sales team efficiency: a measure of success based on the number of meetings we booked divided by the total number of chats handled. And, it was a far better customer experience, as our customers could access technical support more easily.

It was a big win, but our work was hardly done. As we took a step back, we realized that this “support bot” experience was not serving all of our users. About 70% of our audience is visitors and leads, compared with 30% who are users and customers. This first bot experience was designed with only 30% of our audience in mind. Ignoring 70% of our audience meant we were leaving money on the table.

A Personalized Experience for All Visitors

We needed to create a personalized experience for the visitor and lead audiences, too.

With the “support bot” experience, it was odd to ask visitors and leads if they needed support when we knew they weren’t using our tools yet. Rather than directing visitors and leads to chat or support, we wanted to give these visitors their own “self-help” option. Why not give them the option to get started for free with the HubSpot CRM? That way they could start using our free tools or chat with our sales team about features and pricing for advanced tools.

Now we had designed two personalized experiences: one for those already using our software (customers) and those who had yet to experience it (visitors).

We believed this to be a better experience for each audience, because it offered contextual options based on their relationship with HubSpot. However, we wanted to test it first with an experiment.

Setting Up the Experiment

In order to test our hypothesis that this would be a better experience for both of these users, we set up an A/B test on one of our product pages so we could see exactly how the bot for visitors performed against the current bot experience (designed for customers).

First, we defined our metrics for success. We looked at:

  • Sales team efficiency: # of meetings booked by our sales team ÷ the number of chats they handled
  • # of signups for the CRM

We also compared these for each bot (control vs. variant), and by each audience (visitors vs. customer).

We chose one of our product pages and directed 50% of its site traffic to a cloned page with the new bot experience. The test was live and ready to run for one month while we waited (somewhat) patiently for the results.

Me, waiting at my desk

Experiment Results

We isolated our results for the audience the test was focused on: visitors. We looked at how the control (support bot) performed against the variant (lead bot).

  • Sales team efficiency: increased by almost 70% in the variant
  • # of CRM signups: increased by 7%

The increase in CRM signups indicated that visitors were finding the right option for them (starting for free) and diving in to try out our software for free.

As a result, fewer chats reached our sales team, but we saw a similar number of meetings booked to continue the sales conversation after a chat. This meant a couple of things:

  1. The sales team was able to spend more time and focus on higher quality chats that were more likely to turn into sales
  2. We weren’t losing demand, because we still saw a similar number of meetings booked. We were still capturing those interested in having a sales conversation, just in a more efficient way.

Better segmentation makes life better for everyone. Making a bot personalized for visitors helped the customers’ bot perform better as well. We learned the customer bot works very well for the audience it was designed for — performing 52% better when shown only to customers than when it was shown to all visitors.

Takeaways for Your Business

It’s important to recognize that different segments of your audience have different problems and what works for one audience isn't the best for another. By understanding the problems that our visitors are facing, and personalizing their chatbot experience onsite, you can create a better prospect and customer experience. When you anticipate the help that people need better, your metrics will improve as well.

And you may be thinking, “OK, that sounds pretty good for HubSpot, but what about my business? How can I create a more contextual bot experience for my business?” Here’s how:

  1. Create a list of the various audiences you are serving on your website.
  2. For each audience, describe the types of questions they might have.
  3. Determine the resources or people who can best answer those questions so you can help them find what they are looking for faster and with less friction.

Then implement it! The HubSpot Conversations tool gives you the ability to target your chatflows with segmented lists based on data in your CRM so you can create a personalized experience as well.

Chatbots work shoulder-to-shoulder alongside with our sales team to provide an excellent, personalized purchase experience that also helps us identify visitors who are possible good fit customers.

Chatbots can do the same for your business and audience.

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Back in the days of Mad Men-esque advertising agencies, tracking how many people engaged with a particular ad campaign was nearly impossible to do well. Advertisers would sink money into mediums like radio and print, and hope sales of the advertised product went up. There was no dependably accurate way to determine how many people engaged with an ad or purchased a product because of it. In fact, the term ROI (return on investment) wasn't even widely used until the mid-1960s

A lot has changed since then. Advertisers now have access to a wealth of granular ad tracking data for every single campaign they run -- so much data, in fact, that most marketers need to spend significant time sifting through dashboards to determine which points actually matter to their bottom line. Ad tracking has made it possible for marketers to more accurately measure, test, and revise ads based on how users interact with their online campaigns. 

If you're new to running online ads, it's important to spend some time thinking about the specific metrics that will determine the success of your campaign. Ad tracking today exists across a number of different tools and platforms, and advertisers have the ability to collect data on everything from views and clicks, to impressions and behavior across multiple sessions and websites.

The sheer amount of data available can be overwhelming (not to mention distracting from your goals), so deciding on one or two key performance indicators (KPIs) will help focus your efforts and make reporting more straightforward and effective. 

As William Stentz, Director of Marketing Analytics at Carmichael Lynch, reminds us, "Good key performance indicators are simple, timely, critical to the success of a project, and not financial in nature. But you also need to add in one thing if you want it to be a successful marketing metric -- it must represent a key behavior you wanted to see. Look at your campaign and ask yourself: What’s the behavior I want to influence, not just something I can measure?"

We wrote an article here that can help you determine the right metrics to track based on the goals of your ad campaign. 

Once you've determined the metrics you want to track for your ad, it's time to find the best ad tracking method for your purposes. The exact ad tracking methods available to you will vary based on where you run your ads and which tools you're using, but here are a few basic types to keep in mind. It's important to note that the following ad tracking methods aren't mutually exclusive -- in fact, when used together they can provide even more powerful insights. 

Tracking URLs

A tracking URL is a normal page URL from your website with a tracking token added to the end of it. Here's an example landing page URL by itself, and with a tracking token (in bold).  

Regular old landing page URL: 

http://www.yourwebsite.com/your-landing-page/

Landing page URL with a tracking token: 

http://www.yourwebsite.com/your-landing-page/?utm_campaign=test-campaign&utm_source=email

As you can see, the page URL is the same in both cases, but in the second case, there's some extra stuff added to the end. This extra stuff is your tracking token, also called a UTM parameter. 

So how does this "extra stuff" help you track things, exactly?

When a user clicks on a URL with a UTM parameter added to the end, it essentially sends a signal back to your ad tracking tool that the URL was clicked. The "source=_____" bit of the tracking token can provide information about where the user clicked the link. Similarly, the "campaign=_____" bit can be used to signal to your tracking tool that the link should be bucketed as part of a campaign.

For example, if you were to run the same ad on multiple websites and wanted to know which one generated the most clicks, you could define the two different websites as sources in the UTM parameters of your links. 

You can learn more about tracking parameters and how they work in this article

Best for: If you're running a PPC campaign, sending an email, or putting an advertisement on another website, tracking URLs are ideal for calculating the number of visits, leads, and conversions you've generated from your hard work. 

Tracking Pixels

A tracking pixel is a tiny, often transparent, 1px by 1px image that can be placed in an email, display ad, or simply on a webpage. When it loads, it sends a signal back to your tracking tool that a user has viewed the page.

Tracking pixels are also capable of collecting pretty comprehensive data about a user's activity and browser configuration -- but you should only ever track information that is directly useful to your buyer's journey and will provide a better, more personalized experience for your target users. 

When used correctly, tracking pixels can help optimize your ads and get them in front of a receptive audience. For example, if you run a banner ad with a tracking pixel, you'll be able to gather information about how many people just view versus actually click on your ad, which will help you determine whether or not an ad was actually successful (and worth running again).

For context, here's how big a tracking pixel appears (no, that's not just a speck of dust on your screen):

Best for: Tracking pixels are incredibly useful for tracking the success of your online campaigns through every step of your conversion path. They can give you insight into how users are interacting with your ads, and help you optimize each stage of your user journey from initial touch through final purchase. 

Cookies

Cookies can help you gain insight into user behavior on your website across multiple sessions of activity. Marketers need to gain explicit consent from users before using cookies to track their activity. When explicit consent is given, cookies can be used to customize a user's experience. Here's a deeper dive on cookies if you want to learn more about the technical aspects of how they function. 

From an ad tracking perspective, cookies are the driving force behind most ad retargeting campaigns. Cookies can be used to essentially build a user profile based on someone's web activity and habits, and advertisers can leverage this profile to serve ads that align with a user's observed interests. They can also capture information about a user's browser configuration, location, and preferred language.

Best for: Cookies are ideal when you want to serve a user ads aligned with their web browsing activity, or retarget them with ads for products they've demonstrated an interest in. Cookies can also be used to create a personalized experience for users on your website based on their previous interactions with you -- for example, you could create an abandoned cart email when users put items in their cart and then leave your website.

Now that we've gone over a few core terms related to ad targeting, let's take a deeper look at how ad targeting functions on a few of the biggest ad tracking platforms, and how you can use it to make your own ad campaigns stronger and more effective. 

DoubleClick Ad Tracking

If you've ever noticed an ad for a product you viewed weeks ago following you around on the internet, it's likely the result of DoubleClick ad tracking. DoubleClick, which was acquired by Google in 2008, is an ad management and ad serving platform that enables marketers to run ad campaigns across multiple channels.

Online publishers use DoubleClick to essentially rent out ad space on their websites, and agencies and advertisers use the product to place ads on websites where their target audiences are spending time. 

In 2012, Google rebranded their DoubleClick products as Google Marketing Platform (formerly DoubleClick), Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), and Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange). 

Google offers advertisers a number of different ad tracking options when they create campaigns on the platform -- most of which rely on the use of cookies.

According to Google, "Cookies themselves contain no personally identifiable information. Depending on the publisher’s and user’s settings, information associated with cookies used in advertising may be added to the user’s Google Account."

These generic cookies can collect information on the time and date you viewed particular ads, the specific web pages you were on when you viewed an ad, and your IP address -- which can help the cookie infer where you're located. 

Although the cookies contain no personally identifiable information, Google can combine the information it obtains via cookies with the personally identifiable information associated with your Google Account (which includes your browsing and search activity when you're logged into Google -- which, for most of us, is pretty much always). 

Google leverages two main types of cookies: first-party and third-party.

First-party cookies are dropped (i.e., assigned to a specific user) by the owner of the website you're visiting. Information collected via first-party cookies can help publishers better understand your activity on their site and how ads are performing.

Third-party cookies are dropped by an advertiser on a website where their ads are being displayed. These cookies send information back to advertisers about how their ad campaigns are performing across all the websites where their DoubleClick ads are being displayed. 

Over 11.1 million websites currently run ads as part of Google's AdSense network. If you visit a website within the network, the information collected via a DoubleClick ad tracking cookie will be pooled and leveraged by other websites and advertisers using AdSense.

This consolidation of cookie information results in an extremely rich pool of data for Google advertisers, as they can keep track of what ads you're served across millions of different websites. 

To get started tracking ads with Google, you'll need to get a Google Marketing Platform account. Depending on the size of your business and your particular needs, you'll choose either an enterprise account -- which can accommodate large ad campaigns across multiple websites and mediums -- or a small business account -- with ad tracking tools more focused and specialized for early company growth. 

Facebook Ad Tracking

Advertisers on Facebook can leverage a number of different ad tracking strategies to optimize ads for their audience. Facebook's ad tracking pixel is one of the more common methods. It functions similarly to the basic tracking pixel we outlined above, and can be used to track the path someone takes from viewing an ad, to visiting your website, to purchasing a product. 

When an action takes place on a page where a tracking pixel has been set up, the pixel will "fire" and send that information back to your Facebook Events Manager account. Information collected via the tracking pixel can also be used in the creation of custom audiences for future ad campaigns.

For example, you could use data collected via a tracking pixel to create a custom ad audience targeting users who viewed a particular page on your website that implies purchase intent -- like a pricing page. We wrote an article that goes deeper into how the tracking pixel functions if you want to learn more about different uses and how to set it up. 

While the Facebook pixel can offer advertisers valuable insights into how ads are influencing specific actions on their websites, it's not the only way to track ads on the social network.

Another ad tracking option available to you is adding UTM parameters to links that appear on your ads. As we discussed above, tracking parameters use extra code on a URL to "fire" when a user loads the link. On Facebook, they can be used in Ads Manager to better understand which ads you're running are driving which types of traffic. 

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Marketers spend a lot of time drafting poignant email copy, designing wonderfully branded , and crafting succinct and enticing email subject lines that get open and click-through rates skyrocketing.

But before hitting send, have you considered whether your subscribers will even get the opportunity to read your email?

No matter how legitimate of an email marketer you are, there are a host of things you may not even know about that can prevent your email from ever reaching someone's inbox. With more stringent laws and increasingly sophisticated spam filters, it's to your benefit to know everything that can affect your email's deliverability.

If steering clear of legal trouble isn't enough to convince you, squeezing more ROI out of your efforts certainly should. Take a look at the things you should absolutely never do in your email marketing if you want your messages to be successfully delivered, and the things you can proactively do to increase your rate of email deliverability.

The first step in improving email deliverability will be to run a test to see if you are encountering any issues. To learn more about email deliverability test tools, click here

29 Ways to Avoid Sending Spam Email & Improve Your Email Deliverability What You Should Never Do 1. Don't buy or rent email lists.

Yes, you can legally rent and purchase lists of people who have agreed to email communications -- but it's never a good idea. Not only is it a dirty email marketing tactic that goes against the Terms of Service for your email service provider, but these people don't actually know you -- and it's likely they won't even want your emails. In other words, there's a good change they'll mark you as spam. Plus, let's be honest ... high quality email addresses are never for sale.

2. Don't scrape sites for email addresses.

Scraping websites for email addresses may seem like a fast way to build a contact list, but it's bad for your business -- not to mention illegal in many countries, including the United States, thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act.

3. Don't email people who have bounced repeatedly.

Hard bounces are the result of an invalid, closed, or non-existent email address, and these emails will never be successfully delivered. Bounce rates are one of the key factors internet service providers (ISPs) use to determine an email sender's reputation, so having too many hard bounces can cause them to stop allowing your emails in folks' inboxes.

(Email deliverability is covered extensively in HubSpot's free email marketing certification course, so check that out to learn more.)

4. Don't use all caps anywhere in your email or its subject line.

Don't yell at people. It's not nice. Using all caps in your subject line might get the recipients' attention, but probably not in a good way. Using all caps can really rub people the wrong way. It's annoying and can seem spammy.

In fact, according to a study by the Radicati Group, more than 85% of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps.

Instead of using disruptive tactics like all caps to get people's attention, try personalizing your emails, establishing relevancy, and using catchy and delightful language. (Read this blog post on how to write compelling emails for more tips.)

5. Don't use exclamation points!!!!!

Another thing that can make your subject line and/or email look unprofessional and spammy? Exclamation points -- especially a whole bunch of them in a row. And when 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line, you'll want to stay away from triggers like this as much as you can.

Plus, when you ask punctuation to do a word's job, it can really dilute your message. The next time you're tempted to use an exclamation point in an email (or anywhere, really), use this flowchart, "Should I Use an Exclamation Point?", as a gut check.

6. Don't use video, Flash, or JavaScript within your email.

By default, most email clients don't allow the ability to view rich media like Flash or video embeds. Instead, use an image of your video player (with a play button) that links to the rich media on a website page.

As for JavaScript and other dynamic scripts, even if a spam filter allows your email through, most email clients won't allow these scripts to function -- so avoid using them altogether.

7. Don't embed forms in your emails.

Forms aren't supported in email across common email clients due to security risks. Instead, place a call-to-action button or a link to a landing page with a form in the body of your email.

(HubSpot customers: Learn how to add a call-to-action button to your emails in HubSpot here, and how to create a form for your landing pages in HubSpot here.)

8. Don't include attachments to your emails.

If you want to send your recipients something like a PDF or a Word document, don't attach the file to the email -- otherwise your email could get blocked by spam filters. Instead, upload the attachment to your website and link to the file location in your email using an effective call-to-action button. This'll minimize the chance of being blocked by spam filters and decrease the load time of your email.

(HubSpot users: HubSpot's attachment tool in the email editor automatically does this for you. Simply highlight a bit of text or an image and click the attachment icon, and HubSpot will turn that text or image into a link leading to that attachment.)

9. Don't use spam trigger words.

One of easiest ways to avoid spam filters is by carefully choosing the words you use in your email's subject line. A good rule of thumb is this: If it sounds like something a used car salesman would say, it's probably a spam trigger word. Think "free," "guarantee," no obligation," and so on. (For more, look at this list of common spam trigger words.)

Instead of using these trigger words, be creative, interesting, and informative -- without giving too much away. Some better ideas for subject lines include:

  • "Hi [name], [question]?"
  • "Did you get what you were looking for?"
  • "You are not alone."
  • "Feeling blue? Like puppies?"
10. Don't use a red font when drafting your emails.

Same goes for using invisible text, i.e. a white font on top of a white background. These are common tricks that spammers use, so it's an instant red flag for spam filters.

In fact, people don't like when marketers use irregular fonts, font sizes, and font colors at all in emails. In that same study by the Radicati Group, out of the top 10 objectionable email trends, four revolve around fonts. Over 60% of respondents considered it unacceptable for email marketers to use different font sizes, irregular fonts, and different font colors. Nearly 70% of respondents prefer fonts to be one size.

11. Don't forget to use spell check.

According to that Radicati Group study, 80% of all respondents find spelling and grammatical errors the most unacceptable email offense. But spelling mistakes aren't just unprofessional -- they're actually a spam trigger, too.

It's easy for little spelling mistakes to slip by -- especially when you're self-editing. Read this post to learn the most common spelling and grammar mistakes so you never make them again.

12. Don't jam pack your email copy with keywords.

Keyword-stuffing your emails means shoving as many keywords into your emails as you can. There's a reason Google give a lower rank to webpages that are stuffed with keywords -- and that's because it's harmful to user experience. No one wants to read content that's optimized for a robot.

To make it more likely folks will open your emails and not mark them as spam, write your emails for humans, not robots. Copywriting that makes people want to take action is both simple and compelling. To make your writing sound more personable and relatable, use casual language, colloquial expressions, and even personal anecdotes.

I love the example below from Turnstyle Cycle (from our roundup of 12 great email marketing examples). The copy is beautiful in its simplicity. It's friendly, yet sincere -- especially with the following lines:

  • "We know you are busy and would hate to see you miss out"
  • "Please let us know if we can help accommodate in any way possible"
  • "Feel free to give us a call - we want to help :)"

Plus, they provided me with the exact details I needed to know -- a reminder of what I'd signed up for and when, the expiration date, and a phone number to reach them. Check it out:

13. Don't use an overwhelming number of images, or huge images.

Using one large image as your entire email, or too many images in general, tends to end up in recipients' spam folders.

You'll also want to make your image file sizes as small as possible without losing their visual integrity to prevent long email load times. (If you're a HubSpot user, the email tool automatically compresses images in emails so they load faster. For non-HubSpot users, some good image compression tools include Compressor.io, Compressjpeg.com, and Jpegmini.com.)

Not to mention, Microsoft Outlook doesn't recognize background images, so you may want to avoid those and use a background color instead.

What You Should Do 14. Keep your email lists current and clean.

Even if your list is entirely built on valid opt-ins, you are at risk of being branded a "spammer" if you don’t practice proper email hygiene. Why? Because internet service providers (ISPs) base complaint rates on active subscribers, not total subscribers.

Also, expired email addresses can turn into SPAM traps, meaning that even if you acquired emails in a legitimate manner, the abandoned addresses that haven't engaged in years may have morphed into spam traps. Hitting even just one spam trap can cause deliverability problems.

Expired email addresses can also turn into unknown users (bounces). If you hit unknown accounts at a rate higher that 5%, then ISPs are going to see you as someone who has really bad email hygiene. The result? They'll make it harder for your emails to reach people's inboxes, and your overall sender reputation will definitely drop -- leading to even more trouble reaching people's inboxes.

By keeping your email lists current and clean, you'll decrease the likelihood people will flag your emails as spam. You can identify inactive subscribers and expired email addresses with metrics such as opens, clicks, or website activity.

15. See if you can reengage inactive or infrequently active subscribers.

"Graymail" refers to email people technically opted in to receive, but don't really want, leading them to become less active or inactive altogether. Although it's not considered spam, sending graymail is problematic because it can hurt the deliverability of your email overall. Tipped off by low engagement rates, ISPs and inbox providers may deliver email from known-graymail senders straight to recipients' "junk" folders -- so the email technically gets sent (and can even appear to have been delivered), but it's not necessarily seen.

Keep track of your inactive and infrequently active subscribers, and develop re-engagement campaigns for contacts who have stopped engaging with your messages. For example, you could set conditions such as the length of time since their last form submission, website visit, or email click, triggering the email when it's been a while since a contact last engaged with you.

In your workflow, you might try sending them an exclusive offer or coupon to get them excited about your company again. Or, you might ask them for feedback by sending out a quick survey to see what they would like to see in your emails. (Read this blog post for more ideas for launching an effective email re-engagement campaign.)

16. Do use double opt-in.

Double opt-in means that after someone subscribes to your email list, you send them a follow-up email with a confirmation link ensuring they actually want to receive email communications from you.

Users that have to confirm that they want email communications from your company are the ones that will fully read and engage with the emails they receive from your business. When you use double opt-in, your email lists will be much more qualified and your subscribers much more engaged. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to set up double opt-in in HubSpot here.)

17. Ask your subscribers to add you to their address book.

Spam filters are more aggressive than ever -- so much so that sometimes, the emails people value and want to read still end up in their spam boxes.

But most spam filters allow you to whitelist a sender by adding their email address to their email's address book. When subscribers add you to their address book, spam filters will back off.

18. You must include a clear unsubscribe link and a physical mailing address in your email footer.

Allowing people to unsubscribe is important for list hygiene because anyone receiving your emails should actually want to receive them -- otherwise, you're just spamming them. But did you know that it's illegal to not have a way for your recipients to easily unsubscribe in many countries, including the United States?

In your marketing emails, you must include a way for folks to unsubscribe from your email list, either by simply sending a reply email or by clicking no more than one level deep to reach a page from which they can unsubscribe. Which method you choose is entirely up to you, as long as the information is clear and easy to locate.

The most common place for these unsubscribe CTAs is in the footer of your email, so users tend to know to look for it there -- which makes for a better user experience. Here's an example from one of HubSpot's emails:

In addition to the unsubscribe link, include a link to update subscriber preferences, which you can also see in the example above. That way, recipients can unsubscribe from just one type of email instead of all of them.

19. Honor your unsubscribes and remove them from your mailing list.

If someone unsubscribes, they must come off your email list. It's the law. This should go without saying. Check out this list of effective unsubscribe pages to make the unsubscribe process a little more delightful for recipients.

This is where that integrates seamlessly with your CRM comes in handy -- because any unsubscribes are immediately processed and recorded in both the contact record and within the email software. (But if you're removing unsubscribed addresses from your list manually, make it a top priority to process that request.)

20. Use a familiar sender name.

Because people are so inundated with SPAM, they hesitate to open email from unfamiliar senders. Make sure recipients can recognize you in your sender by using your brand name.

Better yet, send the email from a real person. Recipients are typically more likely to trust a personalized sender name and email address than a generic one. At HubSpot we found that that emails sent from "Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot" perform better in terms of open and clickthrough rate than emails sent from just "HubSpot." (HubSpot customers: Learn how to personalize the "From" name and email address here.)

21. Include your recipient’s name in the "To:" field.

This way, spam filters know that you do, indeed, know your recipient. Plus, personalizing your emails around your contacts can also be vital to their engagement with your content.

22. Offer recipients both an HTML and a plain text version of your emails.

Plain text emails are simply emails void of any formatting, while HTML (HyperText Markup Language) emails use formatting that let you design more beautiful emails with attractive visual components. By offering both a plain text and HTML version of a single email, you're not only indicating your legitimacy to ISPs, but you're also making your emails more reader-friendly.

Most email marketing tools will let you easily create plain-text versions within their email editor, so take those five extra minutes to create and optimize the plain-text version of your email. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to create a plain-text email in HubSpot here.)

Also, make sure the HTML version is properly coded: If there are broken tags in your HTML, the email provider and users might mark it as spam.

23. Allow people to view your email in a web browser.

Even after every step is taken to assure proper email design, an email client can still display an email poorly. Include a link in every email to view the email as a web page. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to do this easily in HubSpot here.)

24. Include alt text in your email images.

Many email clients block images by default. This means that when someone opens your email, the images won't load unless they click a button to show them or change their default settings. Adding alt text to your images helps recipients understand your message even if they can't see the images.

This is especially bad if you use an image as a call-to-action. Without alt text, a "turned off" image will look like this:

When you add alt text to the image, recipients will still know where to click to complete the action:

You can either edit the alt text in your email tool's rich text editor (just right-click the image and edit away), or you can manually enter it in the HTML editor of your email tool like this:

<a href="HTTP://YOURLINKHERE.COM"><img src="YOUR CTA BUTTON IMAGE SOURCE HERE.JPG" alt-text="YOUR ALT-TEXT GOES HERE"/></a>

25. Keep your emails short and sweet.

Too much copy is another red flag for spam filters. Not only that, but people generally like concise emails better. Everyone's busy and their inbox is already full, so why make things worse?

One of the best ways to keep things short and sweet is to write like a human. Writing your email like you were talking to someone in real life makes it feel much more approachable and relevant. (Read this blog post on how to write compelling emails for more tips.)

If you do have to write a lengthier email, then break it up into multiple paragraphs. Giving visual breaks and composing the email with a clear introduction, middle, and conclusion will make it much easier on your reader.

26. Test your emails before sending them.

There are a lot of email clients out there these days that email..

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Effective marketing is difficult to get right. Between creative demands, budget limits, and channel decisions, marketers have a lot to juggle when developing their marketing strategy.

The biggest determinant of effective marketing, however, is your audience.

If you’re not properly targeting your buyer persona, your promotions and advertisements will likely fall on deaf ears. You might as well not be marketing at all.

Where target audiences vary the most, though, is between individual consumers and businesses. Some companies serve individual shoppers, while others cater to companies and organizations.

Marketing to businesses is very different than marketing to individual consumers. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists, and that’s why we built this guide. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of B2B marketing, the most effective B2B marketing strategies, and how you can tap into and convert your business audience.

HubSpot is an example of a company that engages in B2B marketing. HubSpot’s customers are other businesses, not individual consumers. Therefore, all of our marketing efforts can be classified as B2B.

B2B vs B2C Marketing

B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing are very different. B2B and B2C marketing differ in their respective strategies and applications, as well as in their audiences and how they communicate to them.

B2B marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organization (rather than for themselves), thus making the organization the customer. Here are a few examples of B2B companies:

  • A coworking space that leases office spaces to remote teams and freelancers (like WeWork)
  • An on-demand order fulfillment, warehousing, and screen printing service (like Printful)
  • A marketing software company that sells social media management tools, lead generation software, and other marketing tools to businesses and organizations (like HubSpot!)

B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, themselves, thus making the individual the customer. Here are a few examples of B2C companies:

  • An e-commerce company that sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals (like Poppin)
  • A store that sells t-shirts and other clothing and accessories (like Target)
  • A music platform that sells streaming subscriptions (like Spotify)

Take a look at this chart comparing B2B and B2C customers.

  for b2b marketing for b2c marketing
Goal Customers are focused on ROI, efficiency, and expertise. Customers are seeking deals and entertainment (which means marketing needs to be more fun).
Purchase Motivation Customers are driven by logic and financial incentive. Customers are driven by emotion.
Drivers Customers want to be educated (which is where B2B content marketing comes in). Customers appreciate education but don’t always need it to make a purchase decision.
Purchase Process Customers like (if not prefer) to work with account managers and salespeople. Customers like to make purchases directly.
People Involved in Purchase Customers often have to confer with decision makers and other members of their chain of command before making a purchase decision. Customers rarely need to confer with others before making a purchase decision.
Purchase Purpose Customers make purchases for long-term solutions, resulting in a longer sales cycle, longer contracts, and longer relationships with companies. Customers aren’t necessarily looking for long-term solutions or long-term relationships.

As much as they differ, though, B2B and B2C also intersect in many ways. While Poppin sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals, they also design corporate office spaces and branded supplies. On the flip side, Printful not only offers order fulfillment and warehousing to businesses; they also fill e-commerce printing orders for individuals.

As distinct as the B2B and B2C marketing audiences can be, B2B marketers can always learn from B2C campaigns, too.

B2B Marketing Strategies

As I said above, marketing depends on its audience. While B2B and B2C marketing vary, not every piece of B2B marketing material is alike, either.

In this section, we’ll talk about various B2B marketing strategies you can implement to reach your specific business audience. Before we dive in, though, make sure you understand the B2B buyer’s journey. Take note of how each of these stages may affect your marketing strategies and how you implement them.

B2B Email Marketing

Email marketing is a tried and true method of reaching both individual consumers and business customers. Did you know that 93% of B2B marketers use email? Are you one of them? You should be. Emails lead to engagement which turns subscribers into leads … and then customers.

Download our guide to optimizing email marketing for conversions and learn how to grow your email list, ensure deliverability, and increase engagement.

Unlike B2C customers who respond best to emotions and entertainment, B2B customers look for logic and positive ROI. Essentially, they’re asking themselves, How can your business help my business grow? Because of this, your email marketing must consistently resonate with your business customers and focus on things that matter to them — like time, money, and resources.

Email marketing is also a powerful vehicle for sharing your brand’s content. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their content marketing program, and 40% of B2B marketers say these newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success.

With the constant barrage of emails flooding our inboxes today, it’s more important than ever to create and send out effective marketing emails.

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices
  • Write enticing subject lines. Think about your email subject lines as a Netflix trailer — if you can’t hook your audience with a two-minute clip (or, in this case, a few dozen characters), don’t expect them to open and watch (or read) the whole thing. We recommend spending almost as much time on your email subject lines as you do on the emails themselves.
  • Stick to one call-to-action (CTA) per email. If you think the number of emails you receive is a lot, take a look at the CTAs in those emails … some are packed with two, three, and sometimes up to 10 different CTAs. Don’t make this mistake, which can leave your recipients’ heads spinning, asking “What should I click on first?” and ultimately clicking on nothing. With one CTA per email, you allow your audience to focus on your email content and ultimately one action … a welcome reprieve from today’s frequent decision-making and analysis paralysis.
  • Segment your email to reach the most relevant audience. Not every email you send will be appropriate for everyone on your list. Your subscribers may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey or be seeking different solutions. That’s where comes into play. Not only does this help you relate to your audience better, but it gives your emails that personal feel that says “Hey, I’m listening and I know what you’d like to see.” Consumers prefer email quality over quantity anytime.
  • Make sure your email designs are responsive. Over 80% of email users access their inbox on their phones, and emails that don’t show up correctly on mobile devices are often deleted in three seconds. Ouch. Don’t let your email be one of those.
  • Don’t be afraid of the cold email. As uncomfortable as it is, the right email can convert new customers — like this cold sales email that won 16 new B2B customers.

👉🏼HubSpot Tip: You can’t send marketing emails without any recipients — these people make up your lists. There are plenty of easy ways to grow your email list. Begin with opt-in forms on your website homepage, About page, and blog. Check out HubSpot’s Free Form Builder tool to get started.

B2B Digital Marketing

Every business, whether B2B or B2C should have a digital presence — which is comprised of paid ads, search engine optimization, a website, and any other place your B2B company is active online. Let’s walk through a handful of tactics that can strengthen your B2B digital marketing strategy.

Define your target audience

A strong B2B digital marketing strategy starts with defining your target audience, or buyer persona. This demographic and psychographic information will inform almost every other marketing activity thereafter, ensuring your content and digital material is absorbed by the right eyes and ears (and that no resources go to waste on your end).

Create your website

Secondly, digital marketing can’t quite function without an informative, engaging website. Over 80% of buyers visit a website before making a purchase. Moreover, since the typical B2B sales cycle often involves many key players (such as gatekeepers, decision makers, and other folks who have to buy into a purchase), websites are easy, straightforward ways for influencers to share information about your product or service.

Optimize your digital presence

Your website needs to be more than informative and engaging, though … it needs to be discoverable. You can do this with on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics. These include everything from image alt-text and meta descriptions (what your visitors can see) to structured data and site speed (what your visitors can’t see). Off-page SEO is also at play here, which refers to external linking strategies and social sharing — SEO tactics that take place off your website.

Run PPC campaigns

Finally, round out your digital presence with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows you to get your content and brand in front of new audiences via search engines and other advertising platforms. I recommend maximizing your PPC investment by advertising more than your specific products or services — such as your brand personality, blog or social media content, or company tagline.

The best way to see an ROI from your paid ads is by 1) incorporating your buyer persona data and 2) boosting content that they can relate to. For example, it’s highly unlikely a brand new consumer who’s never heard of you is searching for your exact product. They may be searching for a location-based solution or product feature. To reach the greatest number of potential customers, pay to target relevant categories within your brand vs. promoting your product or services.

B2B Content Marketing

We’ve talked about how B2B customers are focused on expertise, driven by logic, and desire to be educated. What better marketing tool to satisfy these priorities than B2B content marketing?

Whereas a traditional PR marketing strategy interrupts a consumer’s day-to-day with promotional material, a content marketing strategy adds valuable information and informs the consumer — which is precisely what B2B customers are looking for. Not to mention that content marketing supports SEO efforts, which involves anticipating what your audience is searching for, helping them discover your website and content … and potentially converting them to customers.

Download our free guide and learn what topics convert at the highest rate with insight from 175,000 B2B & B2C blog posts.

In fact, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article than an ad. Knowing this, I’d say you should be putting the same (if not more) resources into your content marketing than your traditional advertising strategy.

Because the B2B buyer’s journey is slightly different than the B2C buyer’s journey (which has shorter sales cycles and fewer decision makers involved), the content you create for your B2B content marketing strategy may vary more than the content you’ve seen as a consumer yourself, as illustrated in the below graphic.

Before you start creating content, though, I recommend creating a business blog. (Don’t worry, growing your blog readership is easier than you think.) Your blog will house all the content you create and serve as a home-base for readers to visit and subscribe to.

B2B Social Media Marketing

Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase? That’s right — social media marketing isn’t just for brands targeting individual consumers.

Many B2B companies struggle with social media marketing, though. It can be harder to use social media to connect with business customers, especially because (as we mentioned above) there’s typically a lengthier sales cycle and longer chain of command.

Honestly, B2B social media marketing might not be where you convert the greatest number of leads, and that’s OK. It likely comes into play near the beginning of your customers’ buyer’s journeys.

Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, giving your company an online personality, and humanizing your business — all very powerful factors when it comes to marketing and connecting with potential customers. Like email marketing, social media is also a highly effective channel for sharing your content and enhancing your brand expertise, the latter of which we know B2B customers appreciate.

Overwhelmed by social media? Spend more time connecting with your followers with our time-saving suite of social tools.

While your social media accounts might not convert as frequently as your content or email marketing, they’re just as important. In this case, followers are just as valuable — you never know when they might convert to leads or customers.

👉🏼 HubSpot Tip: Why? Content shared by employee advocates receives over eight times more engagement than content shared by brands. So, involve your employees in your B2B social media marketing strategy. Encourage them to create their own social media channels and share about life at your company. Create a culture account (like our @HubSpotLife Instagram) to show what’s going on at work, not just what you’re selling. You never know — this might attract strong talent, too.

B2B Marketing Examples

A B2B marketing approach that works for one business may not work for another, but that’s not to say we can’t learn something from the pros. Here are four B2B marketing examples of businesses who did it right.

Email Marketing: Mattermark, Raise the Bar Newsletter

Raise the Bar is a daily digest newsletter from Mattermark that features insights from leaders in sales, marketing, and growth engineering. It’s hand-picked by Mattermark executives and easy to scan, which is valuable in a world of elaborate, complicated newsletters and daily digests.

This is a good example of B2B email marketing because Mattermark takes the time to educate their subscribers without blatantly selling to them. This action builds trust with their audience while also equipping them with everything they need to know to make a purchase and become a paying customer.

Digital Marketing: Maersk, Website Homepage

It’s nearly impossible to know the intent of everyone who lands on your website, but Maersk’s homepage design makes it easy for visitors to find their way around.

Source

By offering three main options (“Become a Customer,” “Access Your Account,” and “Start a Career”), Maersk clearly segments their audience and allows visitors to easily navigate to the site content that corresponds with their intent.

This small design tweak also helps Maersk build trust and authority within each of these niche audiences — potential customers, current customers, and even employees.

Content Marketing: LeadPages, Blog + Resources

LeadPages has been bootstrapped since its inception in 2012 … yet it hit over $16 million in revenue just three years later. Its owner attributes its rapid success to its content strategy, which makes it a great example of B2B content marketing.

Source

LeadPages produces many different types of content resources, such as a blog, customer stories, a podcast, and a webinar. The variety in these resources allows the company to reach customers where they are using the method that best resonates with them.

LeadPages offers a blog that covers themes such as A/B testing, lead generation, and other topics that relate to the product and brand, a weekly podcast that chats with everyday entrepreneurs, and even a definitive guide to landing pages, which equips its customers to properly use and optimize the LeadPages product — all for free.

Social Media Marketing: MailChimp, Instagram

Social media is an effective channel on which to engage with your audience. It’s also a fun place to post gorgeous graphics and show off your brand personality. On Instagram, MailChimp has excelled at both.

Source

Fewer than half of its Instagram posts have to do with email marketing or the MailChimp product, but the MailChimp team always finds a way to make the posts relevant to its audience and followers — all while featuring fun, engaging, on-brand graphics and videos.

MailChimp also uses its Instagram to feature real customer stories and testimonials, which can have a big impact on potential consumers in the Consideration and Decision stages. Finally, MailChimp makes use of a took called LinkinBio, which allows Instagram users to click-through to its homepage or other digital content (since Instagram doesn’t offer live links on its platform). This creates a clear conversion path for consumers who discover or research MailChimp on Instagram and want to learn more on its website.

Invest in B2B Marketing and Reach Your Business Customers

Marketing isn’t effective unless you keep your audience in mind, and no other audience is as fickle and critical as business customers. Your marketing should..

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While many landing pages look different and use a variety of interesting strategies to pull in audiences, they all serve one major purpose. These pages get website visitors to convert to the next stage in the buyer's journey.

Rather than serving as a basic advertisement that shows a customer a product, a landing page aims to engage and delight a customer by offering them something that relates to the product or the company's industry. When they fill out the form and receive a reward of interesting content, they might be even more likely to trust your brand and become a customer.

Here's a quick example. If a business wants to sell an AI product that helps salespeople, they might create a landing page that offers audiences a free video on how to use AI in the sales industry. Interested audiences might offer their contact information in exchange for the valuable information. If they enjoy the video they've received, they might be more likely to respond to or purchase a product from a company rep who calls them.

In another scenario, a publishing company that targets an audience of chief executives might create a landing page that invites audiences to sign up for a webinar hosted by an executive at a major company.

After giving their email address on the signup form presented on the landing page, the leads get an email with the webinar dates and log in information, as well as instructions on how to sign up for the publication's newsletter or subscription. If the user is pleased by the webinar, they might sign up for the newsletter or a subscription to keep up with similar publication content.

Although their purpose is simple enough in theory, actually designing a successful landing page requires some detailed planning and creative testing.

Even after launching your landing page, you'll want to pay attention to conversion rates to see how well it's doing.

To determine your conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions a webpage generates by the number of people who visited that page.

If your conversion rate isn't close to the average just yet, don't worry. Nailing those percentages can be a bit challenging at first, especially is you have a lot of regular page visitors. Luckily, there are a number of simple conversion rate optimization strategies that can help you boost your current rate quickly.

Regardless of what your business is selling or the conversion action you hope to instigate, it's helpful to get inspired by seeing what other great landing pages look like. And because there's no one "right" way of designing a landing page, you'll want to check out examples from lots of different industries for different stages of the buying process.

Want to get inspired? Check out the great landing page examples below.

We don't have access to the analytics for each of these landing pages, so I can't tell you specifically how well they convert visitors, contacts, leads, and customers. But many of them do follow best practices while also implementing a few new experiments that could give you ideas for your own landing pages.

13 Great Examples of Landing Page Design 1. Lyft

We love that on Lyft's landing page, they zero in on their drivers' main motivation: earning money easily.

We also love that, in addition to the "Apply Now" form, drivers can type their city and the number of hours they might drive for Lyft in a week to calculate how much they'd make. When visitors fill out that information and press "Calculate," they aren't taken to a new page. Instead, they see a dollar amount followed by a new call-to-action button to "Apply Now" (which, once clicked, takes drivers up to the form).

By offering these two conversion paths, they're able to address two different types of people in the conversion path: those who are ready to make the decision now and those who need a little more information before they convert.

2. The Professional Wingman

Okay, so the whole idea of having a professional wingman to help you find dates and a meaningful relationship is already pretty cool. But when you're faced with the prospect of hiring one, it also raises questions. How does it work? How much does it cost? Is this really going to help me?

That's why we love this landing page for Thomas Edwards, the original Professional Wingman himself, which outlines exactly what a complimentary coaching session is going to achieve. Plus, it's clear that it's complimentary, thanks to the boldly-colored call-to-action button above the fold.

Once you click that button, you aren't taken to a new page. Instead, an interstitial form appears right there. And while it does request a lot of information -- some of it a bit personal -- it also sends the message that The Professional Wingman is going to take this seriously, but only if you do, too.

3. Muck Rack

This landing page design has it all. It's visually appealing and interactive, offers scannable yet descriptive headers about Muck Rack's services, and uses quotes from industry professionals as social proof. Plus, the page is intuitive and easy to navigate.

The cool part about this landing page is that it can appeal to both of Muck Rack's audiences. The top of the page is split into two, featuring their two different services side by side. Once a visitor moves his or her mouse over either of the "find journalists" or the "build free portfolio" CTAs, a very simple form appears -- and that's important, so as not to distract the user from the task at hand.

4. Cigital

There are a few things that make this Cigital landing page work. It has simple and relevant imagery. The headline is straightforward and the description of the ebook informs viewers of the specific value they will get by downloading it. There is only one call-to-action -- "READ THE EBOOK" -- that stands out on the page thanks to a bright yellow CTA button.

The only thing we'd change about this landing page is that we'd remove the navigation bar at the top. They tend to distract visitors and lead them away from the intended action. Not only is this a landing page design best practice, but we've also conducted A/B tests that've shown removing navigation links from landing pages increases conversion rates.

5. Khan Academy

The hard part about using your homepage as a landing page is that you have to cater to several different types of audiences. But Khan Academy's homepage does that very well. This page is clearly designed for three different types of visitors: those who want to learn something, those who want to teach, and parents who are interested in using Khan Academy for their kids. Plus, how motivational is the emblazoned "You can learn anything" text at the top?

The remainder of the page is designed for viewers who are not completely familiar with Khan Academy. It colorfully and largely spells out the key benefits of using the learning platform -- all of which are easy to scan and understand. There's also a recurring CTA: "Start learning now." As soon as viewers feel they have enough information, they can click the CTA to get taken back up to the form at the top of the page without having to scroll.

6. Club W

A little bit of delightful copy can go a long way on your landing page. We love the playful little aside -- "(Hint: It's Wine)" -- that Club W included below the header of their corporate gifting landing page. It humanizes the brand and makes them likable, which could have a positive impact on their conversion rate.

The images below that header make a nice use of negative space, showing the user exactly what his or her gift recipient might actually receive, should they choose to gift with Club W. And, of course, there's that bold call to action -- "Email Us".

The one thing we'd change? The CTA prompts the users email software to open, which drives traffic away from the site and the browser entirely. A form might be more effective here -- not only would Club W be able to dictate what information it wants to capture, but also, it would keep the user on-site.

7. Codecademy

I like this page because it's simple in both copy and design. The image above the fold is a computer screen displaying an HTML bracket with a blinking cursor -- a whimsical, clear visual to accompany the form on the right.

The form itself is simple and only requires an email address, username, password, and a validation that you're not a robot to create an account. Or, you can just use your Facebook or Google Plus login, shortening the conversion path even further.

For visitors who need more information before creating an account, the landing page also offers a video below the fold that explains their concept and value by way of a real-life success story. Again, this helps make the potentially intimidating world of coding more approachable for beginners.

Those who need even more convincing can continue scrolling for additional testimonials and other forms of social proof.

8. Poached

I don't think we've ever lived in a time when, culturally, we've been so food-obsessed. Poached has turned that into a B2B model with a platform to connect proprietors and culinary talent.

When you visit the homepage, there's no mystery about what you're there to do -- the giant "Post a job" and "Choose a city" calls to action help with that. And once you click on one of them, you're taken to a no-frills form to become a member or log in, or a list of jobs in each city. It's colorful and comprehensive -- and, it makes us hungry.

9. Breather

Here's another example of clever, delightful design on a landing page. As soon as you visit Breather.com, there's an instant call to action: indicate where you want to find a space. Plus, it uses location services to figure out where you are, providing instant options nearby.

We love how Breather used simple, to-the-point copy to let the visitor know what the company does, followed immediately by the CTA to select a city. And if you need to scroll down for more information, you can see that Breather played with the microcopy with personality ("no commitment, ever"), reminding us there are real humans behind the design. That brings us a little closer to the brand. The negative space and soothing color scheme are also aligned with the product -- essentially, room to breathe.

10. Startup Institute

Visitors to your website won't hand over their personal information without knowing what they're going to get in return. On its landing page, Startup Institute makes abundantly clear what will happen after you apply by listing a Q&A right beside the form. It might prompt some people to say, "They read my mind!"

To avoid hesitancy to fill out a form, use your landing page to set expectations upfront. That clears the air, and can also weed out the people who don't take your content, product or service seriously.

11. Edupath

Who is your landing page's target audience? While most of Edupath's website content is directed toward students, there are sections dedicated to advising parents on helping their teenagers through college applications and SAT preparation. The landing page below is in one of these sections.

When parents fill out their teenager's name, email address, and mobile number, a link to download the Edupath app is sent directly to them. The folks at Edupath know students are likely to do something if their parents ask them to -- especially if it means they don't have to surrender their phones.

Plus, it's an easy, one-click process. This whole conversion path is a clever and helpful way to get the apps on more students' phones by way of their parents.

12. Taster's Club

If there's anything we enjoy more than a fine whiskey, it's a whiskey club homepage that makes it easy to either join or learn more about membership. Case in point: Taster's Club, which immediately serves up those very two CTAs on its landing page -- which also happens to be its homepage.

For those to wish to learn more, clicking that CTA will immediately scroll the user down to colorful, image-rich details on what a Taster's Club membership includes. Keep scrolling, and you get user testimonials.

But clicking the "Join Now" button is where the real fun begins. After doing that, you get to pick your poison -- that is, the type of whiskey you like the most -- and view the membership or gifting options available for it. Once you make your selections, you're taken to an easy-to-navigate checkout page to enter your payment information. Good design and ease of use? We'll drink to that.

13. Microsoft IT Showcase

The landing page below has been used to market and generate leads for one episode of Microsoft's IT Showcase webinar series.

This simple and straightforward design does a great job of presenting why the webinar being offered is important to IT professionals. Along with a quick blurb describing what the webinar will discuss, the page also includes links to similar webinars, details on the speakers, and links to Microsoft resources that touch on the topics that will be discussed.

An IT company which has access to thought leaders or experts in their industry could similarly use this webinar landing page strategy to generate both leads and prospective customer trust. Audiences who feel informed after reading the landing page might sign up expecting the webinar to be insightful.

If the webinar seems informative and credible, these audiences will think that the IT company has an expertise in the product and might have quality product offerings. This will make them more willing to talk to a representative to learn more or purchase a product.

Ready to build your landing page?

If these examples have inspired you, but you're not a design expert, we've also created a great list of free, professionally designed landing page templates.

If you're looking for more landing page design examples, check out some of our favorite HubSpot landing page examples. You can also check out this quick guide to landing page design.

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The last time I went on vacation, Facebook and Instagram announced two big product changes that I was left scrambling to catch up on when I returned.

Know the feeling? If you work in social media marketing, my guess is you know it all too well.

Social media is constantly evolving, making today an exciting time to work in marketing. This can also mean that you sometimes feel as if you're falling behind on your general social media knowledge and education.

The solution? Podcasts.

In this blog post, we put together a list of 10 podcast episodes that deliver helpful and actionable guidance for social media marketers looking to brush up on their skills in a quick and entertaining way.

1. Marketing Smarts with Kerry O'Shea How ‘Dolphin Tale’ Brought 800,000 Visitors a Year to Clearwater Marine Aquarium Click here to listen to this podcast episode

In this episode, Kerry O'Shea Gorgone speaks with Chief Marketing Officer of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Bill Potts. They discuss Winter the dolphin, whose story of recovery from losing her tail was chronicled in the movie Dolphin Tale. Thanks to their social media and public relations teams' relentless work to get Winter's story shared with local media outlets, she eventually became the star of a hit film (seriously, rent this movie).

In light of the Aquarium's newfound fame, Potts talks about their strategies for maintaining the momentum of the Dolphin Tale films by investing in social media more than ever. In particular, they've experienced a lot of engagement by live streaming video of their animals on Facebook Live, Periscope, and Snapchat. (You can learn how to master Facebook Live with the help of this free guide.)

"[Live-streams are] not super-rehearsed. They really are authentic. We focus on the animal, we focus on the story, and we don't script it. We have an outline of what we want to be reviewed during the live webcast, but we make sure they're naturally delivered. They're really not rehearsed. They just happen. We do schedule and plan them, and we do know what's going to be discussed, but we make it really authentic. It's a one-take deal."

Key Takeaways:
  • All organizations have a story to tell, whether it's about their mission, an individual, or a certain achievement. Give it the direction it needs to garner attention from media.
  • Don't just talk about yourself: Get others to talk about you on social media and in the press to earn more attention. (Here's a handy PR guide to help with that.)
  • Live streams should be raw, unscripted, and authentic: You can practice using the technology, but ultimately, remain flexible to allow room for more genuine content. (Check out this live streaming checklist before you get started.)
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with how and where you're sharing video content. For example, the aquarium turns over their Snapchat to trainers working with animals 1:1 so followers can see how the aquarium helps marine life up close.
  • Learn about your audience and where to reach them: For the aquarium, it's mothers on Facebook.

Duration: 25:20

2. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield How to Get Started with Facebook Live Click here to listen to this podcast episode

This episode of Amy Porterfield's marketing podcast features Kim Garst of Boom Social, where they discuss best practices and strategies for using Facebook Live. Main themes of this episode included determining how often to broadcast, apprehension about broadcasting live and making mistakes, and uncertainty about measuring success.

"I think the reason live video is so impactful (again, this is my opinion and what I’ve seen through my personal experiences and watching other people) is that people are so attracted to people who are not just real, but people that are relatable. In other words, they can see themselves having that issue."

Key Takeaways:
  • Consistency is a contributor to successful live streams: Create a regular schedule on Facbeook Live or Periscope to expand your reach after you stop broadcasting live.
  • Carefully choose your broadcast's headline: Remember, this is an opportunity to grab more attention from followers.
  • Incorporate an offer into pre-outreach for your Facebook Live event. For example, tell followers that you'll be giving away promo codes, ebooks, or checklists that they can only download if they tune in.
  • Have a strategy to achieve a specific goal for every single broadcast, and don't just talk for the sake of sharing.
  • Find a way to capture people's attention while they scroll: Facebook only counts "Views" as users who watched for 10 seconds or more.

Duration: 55:31

3. Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner Content Creation Hacks Click here to listen to this podcast episode

This episode, hosted by Social Media Examiner Founder and CEO Michael Stelzner, focuses on social media content creation with the help of special guest and social media pro, Nick Westergaard.

In the interview, Westergaard discusses the fact that everyone knows they need to create content, but not everyone knows how to do it most effectively. Many content creators don't operate with a comprehensive strategy, which can make people object putting in the work to make content pay off. Westergaard mentions the term "checklist marketing," which he says refers to marketers tackling every new marketing strategy like an item on a to-do list without objectives or strategy in mind.

"You have to gamify it a little bit and think about, if you're creating one thing, how many more things can I create out of this? ... By planning one piece of content, I create many."

Key Takeaways:
  • Try a team approach to social media content creation to both share the workload and curate a diverse array of content -- even from colleagues who aren't marketers.
  • Experiment with user-generated content: Develop a campaign around an event or hashtag so your followers are sharing photos and messages that you can share with your networks.
  • Repurpose content: If you're writing a blog post or designing an infographic (here are some helpful templates for that), find a way to create smaller pieces of it that can be used as social media posts. Additionally, you can string smaller pieces of content together to create an ebook or guide.
  • Take part in #TBT: Align your older content with current events and re-share it on social media. This takes advantage of nostalgia marketing and re-promotes content you've already created.

Duration: 41:08

4. Savvy Social Podcast with Andréa Jones How to Network with People on Social Media (Without Feeling Weird About It) Click here to listen to this podcast episode

Andréa Jones looks into one of the ways that brands could grow their social audiences without buying ads: networking. It can sometimes feel strange meeting others on social media just to prospect for potential customers, but Jones covers a range of methods to make it easier.

The podcast had a Q&A style structure, where Jones' LinkedIn followers asked questions about creating a brand presence on social media.

"The premise is simple: meet people on social media who would potentially give you money for your 'thing.' Simple yet incredibly challenging to execute because as soon as we start talking about what we do, it can feel… icky."

Key Takeaways:
  • Have a people-first perspective. Don't get spammy -- be confident in the value of your offering and trust that organic social media marketing will be more effective than getting in your customer's faces.
  • Understand the needs, wants, desires of your customers. Emphasize the ways your products or services will impact your network more than emphasizing yourself.
  • List what you do on your personal profile. You can share your work updates, anniversaries, and announcements on your profile to build your personal brand. This could make consumers curious about your company and want to learn more. 
  • A company's social presence should reflect the brand's personality. Keeping a consistent and reliable brand presence will help engage your target audience and lead them to connecting on social media.

Duration: 29:52

5. TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz Why Do We Like What We Like? Click here to listen to this podcast episode

In this episode of the TED Talks podcast, host Guy Raz interviews several TED speakers who've talked about branding:

  • Filmmaker and Producer of Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock discusses how brands impact our purchasing decisions.
  • Management Advisor and Author Joseph Pine touches on the power of authenticity.
  • Ogilvy & Mather Group's Vice Chairman Rory Sutherland explores the real versus perceived value of different products.

Their discussions are varied and well worth the full listen, but the overarching theme was how brands' perception impacts their success (or lack thereof). Pine mentions that customers make choices because they're bought into the dreams and imagery surrounding big brands, and that once they start using the product, they start to believe the message.

"Ubiquity is the death of authenticity."

Key Takeaways:
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to cultivate and promote what makes your brand unique. There's always room for bragging on social media -- just do it in moderation.
  • Be authentic and real, but don't say that's what you're doing. Consumers want authenticity, not disingenuity.
  • Tell stories with a sense of place to drive greater authenticity: Set the stage when sharing blog posts, updates, and videos on social media so followers can see the kind of activities your organization is up to.
  • A/B test different types of post on social platforms to see how they perform comparatively: Consumers don't objectively think a product or service is good or bad -- branding and marketing messages impact their perception, and that's in your hands.

Duration: 49:13

6. The Growth Show with Meghan Keaney Anderson Episode 100: Guy Kawasaki's Unconventional Advice on Growth Click here to listen to this podcast episode

In this episode of The Growth Show, HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar sat down with Canva Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki to discuss Instagram Stories versus Snapchat Stories, Facebook Live video, and organizational growth challenges.

During the discussion, Kawasaki admits that he prefers Instagram to Snapchat due to its superior content discoverability features and analytics options. And when it comes to Facebook Live, he is bought in.

In fact, he mentions that while taking a break from streaming on vacation, his Facebook reach was only 400,000 users, versus the 1 million users he sees when he's streaming regularly. (Spoiler alert: He also lets listeners in on his secrets to greater engagement during live streams -- but you'll have to listen to find out what they are.)

"I don't want positive, supportive, wonderful, reinforcing engagement on social media. I want any kind of engagement."

Key Takeaways:
  • Facebook Live drives greater engagement and reach than publishing recorded video or sharing a YouTube link.
  • When you're streaming live on Facebook, have a second screen (and ideally a teammate) available to see what comments or questions are rolling in from your audience so you can answer them live.
  • Ask your audience questions while you're streaming live to increase comments, Likes, and followers.
  • Publish regularly and frequently to increase engagement on social media platforms.

Duration: 35:01

7. Maximize Your Social with Neal Schaffer The Influencer Marketing ROI of Creating and Publishing a Roundup Post Click here to listen to this podcast episode

Influencer marketing can be a great way of reaching new audiences, so Neal Schaffer and Codrut Turcanu look into the value of using influencer marketing to promote roundup posts. When blogs post lists of offerings, they are making what's known as a roundup post or crowdsourced article. An example of this might be "The 7 Best Ecommerce Software in 2019" or the blog post you're reading right now!

Influencers can be excellent marketers as they have engaged audiences and can share content directly to them, leading to a lot of traffic. Schaffer and Turcanu discuss what the ROI of influencers sharing roundup articles to their networks.

"You want to ensure you’re engaging with the right people with the biggest impact." 

Key Takeaways:
  • Think of the end result. It can be time consuming to find bloggers or influencers to promote your product or service, but if you know what your goal is, then you can start compiling the right lists of leads and partners to get going.
  • Identifying the right influencers is crucial. It's important to find and engage the right people that have the greatest impact on your target network.
  • Roundup blog posts are beneficial for connecting with wider audiences. These kinds of posts pick up traffic from the organizations, services, and thought leaders featured in the article.
  • Roundups put you on the radar of influencers. Publishing a crowdsourced article helps build relationships and build your social community.

Duration: 23:47

8. Hashtagged with Jordan Powers Focusing on Creating Content and Community Versus Being an Influencer with Dan Joyce Click here to listen to this podcast episode

In this episode of Hashtagged, host Jordan Powers interviews Dan Joyce, a content creator on Instagram, about the cultivation of vibrant and engaged social media communities. Joyce was one of Instagram's very first users.

They swap stories about how they started using Instagram first as a creative outlet, and then eventually as a tool for content creation and personal networking. As a professional content creator, Joyce initially began experimenting with Instagram, but it's since evolved into a powerful network that photographers and other content creators can harness:

"[The] platform has provided a breadth of knowledge about photography and content creation in a way that makes big social network a lot smaller ... There are so many types of content being shared on Instagram, it's created its own ecosystem."

Key Takeaways:

  • You can't force becoming an influencer or thought leader, even on social media. Share lots of unique and creative content to grow your social network, and followers will come after.
  • Individuals and brands can use Instagram as a more professional portfolio of photographs and Snapchat as a more lighthearted photo log of their day-to-day.
  • Experiment with the types of posts you share on Instagram: Powers found that when his posts are more about content creation than networking, they end up performing better. (Here are 18 photo and video ideas for Instagram to try.)

Duration: 40:18

9. Inbound Marketing Today with Neil Brown 7 Social Media Mistakes Companies Make & How You Can Avoid Them Click here to listen to this podcast episode

Inbound Marketing Today is hosted by Neil Brown, founder of the Brown Creative Group, and in this episode, he discusses common mistakes businesses are making on social media:

  1. Treating all social media sites as if they're the same and not changing up how you share content.
  2. Too much automation.
  3. Not posting on social media frequently enough.
  4. Not responding to questions or comments.
  5. Deleting negative posts, comments, and reviews.
  6. Trying to be active on every social media channel.
  7. Not having a lead generation strategy.

"You want to use automation to make marketing more efficient, not to appear as a bot. Social media should be social."

Key Takeaways:
  • Social media is an arm of your customer service team: Aim to be helpful, positive, and delightful to your customers.
  • It's better for engagement to have a comprehensive strategy for only two social media platforms than to post at random on all platforms.
  • Maintain your voice's authenticity. You're a human speaking for an organization, so don't forget to be real, and connect with people when they seek assistance or give feedback.

Duration: 12:14

10. Social Pros with Jay Baer and Adam Brown Why Most Social Media Writing Sucks & How to Fix It Click here to listen to this podcast episode

In this episode of Convince and Convert's Social Pros, hosts Jay Baer and Adam Brown interview Josh Bernoff -- chief troublemaker at Without Bullsh*t -- about writing quality content for social media.

Bernoff's mission is to eliminate convoluted writing from marketing, and he thinks it's a challenge because we were rewarded for writing long papers when we first learned to write in school. Now, that experience is impacting social media posts, press releases, and blog posts in a detrimental way.

"You're not creating art. You're creating effective communication, and there's nothing wrong with doing that simply and directly."

Key Takeaways:
  • Get to the point. You should aim to say what you mean in the first 2-3 sentences of whatever you're writing.
  • Adopt Baer's ROAM content marketing checklist: Who are the readers? What are your objectives? What follow-up action do you want to inspire from the reader? What impression will people have of your organization when they read your content?
  • Always have another set of eyes look over your content, even Facebook captions. Never publish a first draft.

Duration: 53:40

11. #AskGaryVee with Gary Vaynerchuk YouTube Growth Strategies, Business Risks & VanyerMedia's New Office Click here to listen to this podcast episode

In his podcast #AskGaryVee, Digital Marketing Expert Gary Vanyerchuk answers questions from his followers (delightfully coined "VanyerPeeps"), and his entertaining responses make it worth the listen. At the beginning of this episode, Vanyerchuk answers questions from a VaynerPeep about strategies for hacking YouTube growth.

Vanyerchuk believes that for all content creation -- be it blog, video, or social media -- the distribution is more important than the creation, and that those priorities are often the opposite to modern marketers. It's not enough to write a great blog post, or produce a great YouTube video: it has to be seen and picked up by the right people, and that won't happen unless you hustle for it.

"You have to continue to bring value and produce good content, but you also need people to know about it."

Key Takeaways:
  • Try collaborating with other YouTubers or influencers in your space on social media. If you can't offer them exposure, what can you offer them in exchange for their partnership? Always offer value.
  • Use targeted hashtags on Instagram to grow your audience there. Do some research to determine which tags are generating the highest levels of engagement.
  • Join forums within your industry communities to develop a network of support that you can reach out to for social sharing, promotion, and participation in your social media campaigns.

Duration: 17:55 (YouTube answer ends at 8:00)

12. Manly Pinterest Tips with Jeff Sieh and Erik Fisher Pinterest Growth And Instagram Shoppable Posts Click here to listen..
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A few years ago, the HubSpot team made the switch to Slack (one of the hottest real-time messaging apps on the market).

Initially, it was hard to get used to uttering phrases like "Just Slack me" or "We were Slacking" in passing. But once we got more comfortable with the platform, we started to realize just how powerful it really is.

The more we used Slack, the better our discoveries got -- GIFs, reminders, files ... they were all just a click or two away.But that's just the thing: Slack is capable of so much that it's hard to uncover what features you really should be using. To help, we put together some of the best Slack hacks below. From creating to-do lists to customizing your theme, these pro tips are worth showing off to your team.

25 Handy Tips for Using Slack 1. Conduct advanced searches.

One of the great things about Slack is that messages and files are easily searchable. Because channels move so fast, you can use these advanced search commands to pull up exactly what you're looking for without wasting any time.

Channels and direct messages
  • in:channelname - Searches only the messages and/or files in a specific channel.
  • in:name - Searches your direct messages with a specific user.
Messages or files from a specific person
  • from:username - Limits your search to messages from a specific person in any channel or direct message.
  • from:me - Searches only messages you've sent, anywhere in Slack.
Links, starred items, and emoji reactions
  • has:link - Narrows your search to messages that contain a specific URL.
  • has:star - Pulls messages you've starred.
  • has::emojiname: - Searches messages that contain a specific emoji.
Dates and times
  • before: Use words like "yesterday" or "today."
  • after: Use words like "week," "month," or "year."
  • on: or during: Use specific dates and range keywords, such as "Monday," "February," or "2016."

(Pro tip: To use very specific dates, use the MM/DD/YYYY (United States) or YYYY/MM/DD (International) format.)

For more on searching in Slack, check out this resource.

2. Use the /remind commands to create a to-do list.

Set a Slackbot reminder to help you keep track of what you need to get done. To get started, simply enter /remind into the text box, followed by your task. (Note: Only you will be able to see the command and the reminder.) You can schedule a reminder for a specific time or set a date using the MM/DD/YYYY format.

If you want to review your list of reminders, simply use the command /remind list. From there, you can mark certain tasks as complete or delete the ones you no longer need.

3. React with a GIF.

Let's face it: We all love GIFs. And thanks to the Giphy integration, you can share hilarious GIFs with your coworkers using the /Giphy [emotion, word, or phrase] command.

To set up the Giphy app, visit this page. From here, all you'll have to do is click "Install" next to your team name, then click "Add Giphy Integration."

Note: Giphy can be a hit or miss ... sometimes the GIFs are NSFW or not quite right for the situation. But, if you don't mind gambling with the results, this hack is very easy to set up.

4. Use the /collapse & /expand commands to open and close files.

Weeding your way through a sea of GIFs to get to the comment you're looking for? You can collapse all inline images and video by using the /collapse command. When you need to reference the visuals again, simply enter /expand to make them reappear.

5. Add text and link formatting to your Slack messages..

Want to call out text, make edits, display a link, or share code? Reference the following syntax:

  • Slack link formatting: To share a link with a preview image, just send a URL in a message. Slack will automatically create a preview unless a user has their preview settings turned off. Note: It is not yet possible to hyperlink specific words in a Slack message.
  • Emphasis: To create bold text, surround your word or phrase with *asterisks.* To italicize text, place _underscores_ around a section.
  • Strikethrough: To strike out certain words, use ~tilde~ to surround the text.
  • Lists: To create lists, select "Shift" + "Enter" to add a new line. To add bullet points, select Opt+8 (Mac) or Alt+0149 (PC).
  • Insert a paragraph break: If you want to break up words without using a list, use a soft return. Instead of hitting enter at the end of a sentence, which will send the message, hold shift and tap the enter key to start a new line.

  • Blockquotes: To add angle brackets at the start of your message for indents and quotes, type ">" to indent a single lines or ">>>" to indent multiple paragraphs.
  • Code blocks: To display a section as inline fixed-width text, use single `backticks` around the selected area. To create a block of pre-formatted, fixed-width text, use triple ```backticks.```

6. Toggle between statuses using the /away command.

Don't leave your coworkers hanging. If you have to step away from your computer or head to a meeting, make it clear by adjusting your status. To quickly toggle between "away" and "active," use the /away command.

7. Add notifications for keywords and phrases.

Whether you're managing a specific project or trying to keep tabs on a certain department or activity, adjusting your settings to enable custom notifications can be a huge time saver.

To get notified when a specific word or phrase is mentioned, start by selecting your name from the top left corner, then clicking "Preferences" from the drop-down menu. From there, select "Notification Settings" and scroll down to "Highlight Words." In the text box, add words or phrases that you'd like to be notified about (making sure to separate them by commas).

8. Quickly send a private message using the /msg command.

Sometimes we find ourselves with questions that warrant the attention of everyone in a specific channel. You know, important things such as, "Does anyone have a stapler?" or "Who is free for lunch?"

After you ask a question, avoid any further disruption by following up with people via a private message. For example, once you know Steve is free to grab a bite to eat, use the following command to quickly open up a private message to hash out the details: /msg @user [your message].

9. Edit messages you've already sent.

We've all said things we wish we could take back. And with Slack, you can ... kinda. To quickly edit a message you've sent in a conversation, press the ↑ arrow key, edit your message, then press "Enter."

This feature is especially useful when you do something terribly embarrassing, like use the wrong form of "their":

10. Connect your Google Drive to Slack.

A lot of teams are already using Google Drive to create and store files online, so why not get the best of both worlds? When you connect your Google Drive with Slack, you have the ability to read and index imported files, and quickly search for them whenever you need them.

There are two ways to connect your Google Drive to Slack:

If you have a Google Drive link you want to share, simply paste it into a message box. This will prompt Slackbot to deliver the following message:

Click "Yes" to grant Google Drive permission to read the file.

If you don't have a file you're ready to share, but want to connect Google Drive for future use, visit the Google Drive app page. From here, click "Configure" next to your team name, then click "Authenticate your Google Drive Account" > "Allow."

11. Customize your Slack theme.

Whether you use Slack for different groups and want to stay organized, or you just want to personalize the look and feel of your account, you can adjust your theme by selecting your name in the top left corner.

From the drop-down menu next to your name, select "Preferences" > "Sidebar Theme." From here, you can explore and select themes or scroll down to "Custom Theme" to put in your own HTML color values.

12. Connect IFTTT to Slack to automate tasks.

Serving like a universal adaptor, IFTTT is a handy tool that allows you to automate tasks between two services. And when you connect IFTTT with Slack, the possibilities are seemingly endless. To do so, start by signing up for IFTTT or signing into your existing account. Then, activate the connection here.

Once the two are hooked, you can browse "recipes" or create your own to begin automating tasks. To get you started, check out a few of our favorites:

(Or get notifications about assigned Trello cards.)

13. Create your very own emoji.

To get started, click on your name in the top left corner and select "Customize Slack" from the dropdown menu.

Fill out the form to create your custom emoji. First, you'll need to provide a name for the icon -- this is what you will enter to display the emoji. Next, upload an emoji image.

Slack asks that you use a square image no larger than 128px in width or height, with a file size smaller than 64K. To remove the background from the image (as seen in the Ryan Gosling example below), check out this tutorial.

14. Create custom triggers for Slackbot responses.

Make Slack your own by customizing Slackbot's automated responses to certain words or phrases. To do so, click on your name in the top left corner and select "Customize Slack" from the dropdown menu.

Select the second tab from the left labeled "Slackbot" to access the message customization field. Insert one or multiple input phrases with commas, and then add a Slackbot response or responses by adding each one to its own line ("Shift" + "Enter"). If you insert multiple responses, Slack will call up one at random when it's triggered.

For example, this automated Britney Spears response for the word "Oops!" turns mistakes into smiles.

15. Add custom loading messages.

Ever notice the witty messages and tips displayed when Slack is loading? Well, you can add your very own loading messages for a fun, personalized experience.

To start adding new messages, click on your name in the top left corner and select "Customize Slack" from the dropdown menu. Click on the third tab from the left labeled "Loading Messages," add a message in the text box, and hit "Add Message."

Pro tip: There's never been a better opportunity to Rick Roll your coworkers than this.

16. Jump to any conversation in seconds using Slack's Quick Switcher.

If you've got a really big team, it's likely that you're involved with quite a few Slack channels. To quickly and easily switch from a channel to a private message back to a different channel, simply hit ⌘ + K (Mac) or Ctrl + K (Windows and Linux). A popup will appear where you can begin typing a person or channel's and select the correct option to open the conversation.

17. Pose as a celebrity to fool your team.

Troll your coworkers using Slacker -- a handy tool that allows you to post funny replies as your favorite character. Slacker comes with a ton of built in characters, from Kanye West to Marge Simpson.

You can even add your own character by selecting the green "+" icon. Simply add a name, image URL, and default message to add them to your collection.

18. Use emoji reactions to take a quick poll.

Words are hard. Sometimes it's a lot easier to let our coworkers know how we feel by reacting with an emoji. And on Slack, it's easy. Simply hover over a message and select the smiley face icon with the plus sign to select an emoji.

Want to take things a step further? Reaction emojis make it really easy to quickly poll your team. Here's a great example from the folks at BetterCloud:

Our office uses the reaction emojis in Slack for easy voting. What is your #SlackHack?@SlackHQ pic.twitter.com/RlXveBjgYY

— BetterCloud (@bettercloud) February 8, 2016
19) Pull swatches using HTML color codes.

Collaborating with another team member on a design project? Make quick color suggestions using HTML color codes. When you type out a code -- #F7761F, for example -- you'll see a tiny swatch appear, like this:

20. Created a to-do list using stars.

Starring an item on Slack is a way to mark a task as important. To star an item, simply move your mouse of a message or file and select the grey star to make it turn yellow. To view your starred items, click the star icon in the top right corner.

Starring requests and files that you need to work on makes it easy for you to create a to-do list on the fly.

21. Shake it off with a shruggie.

Don't know the answer? Made a little mistake? Need to signal to your coworker that you actually have no idea what's going on this meeting? Send 'em a shruggie.

Serving as the "default Internet feeling," a shruggie will say everything you need to say ... without saying anything at all. To pull it up, enter the /shrug command.

22. Edit your name in your profile to show when you're OOO.

Whether you're OOO on vacation or out on maternity or paternity leave, you can signal this to your coworkers by adjusting your last name on Slack. For example, I'd change my first name to "Carly Stec," and add "OOO" in the last name field -- as seen in the example below.

To edit your name, click your team name in the top left corner to open up the Team Menu. Then, select "View Profile & Account" to open the team directory and click "Edit" to open the profile editor.

23. Host a video call.

Want to have a video chat with one of your Slack groups or a thread of multiple people? You actually don't need to use an outside video service to do it.

To start a video call, go to a thread that you'd like to chat with and click on the phone near the Slack search bar.

A call will start immediately, like it would on Skype or Zoom. From there, you can similarly turn audio and video on and off, or share your screen with your team.

24. Make a note for your thread.

If you don't feel like sharing a separate Google doc with your whole thread, you can make a note right on Slack. To do this, simply click the plus sign next to the message area in your thread. Then click "Create New" and then "Post."

Once you click "Post," a writing box will pop up where you can create a document for your team. When you're done writing it, you can share it with a caption and title that describes what the it is.

25. React to someone's message.

Sometimes a message warrants a thumbs up, a laughing face, or a more traditional smiley. Next time your boss Slack's the team about a great thing you or your co-worker team, react to the message with an appropriate emoji to make the conversation more fun. Here's how to do it.

When you want to react to a message, hover over it with your mouse. Message options, including one that looks like a smiley face will show up.

When you click on the smiley face, you'll be able to see and search all the possible emoji options.

Once you click on one, you will react to the message. The emoji will appear directly under it. From there, other users can click it to react with the same emoji, or find their own emoji.

Want to learn more about Slack?

We hope the 25 handy Slack tips above help you make your conversations more efficient and fun. But, if you want to integrate Slack even deeper into your office processes, check out this piece on HubSpot's integration with the platform. You can also read a little bit about Slack's successful history here.

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When I scrolled through Instagram this morning on my commute, I commented on a friend's post about her vacation, scrolled right past an advertisement for a comforter, and double-tapped an influencer's post about a skincare brand.

That's the thing about influencers -- you follow them for a reason, so you don't mind interacting with their sponsored content.

I don't follow this exact influencer because I'm interested in her skincare routine. Instead, I follow her because she's an editor of a major magazine that I enjoy reading, and her content interests me. Since I trust her opinion, I'd definitely check out any skincare brands she endorses.

Even though influencer marketing is a well-known marketing channel by now, it's always important to reiterate that your customers trust the opinions of others -- and that majorly impacts buying decisions.

In fact, nearly 90% of all marketers find ROI from influencer marketing comparable to, or better than, other marketing channels.

So how can you identify the right brand influencers to work for your business? First, it's important to know what a brand influencer is, and determine the best way to connect with them -- on, or offline.

If you work for a SaaS platform company, odds are you won't be reaching out to Beyonce to promote your product. Even if she did want to work with you, her audience likely doesn't fit your target audience or buyer personas.

Reaching out to random people with thousands or even millions of followers is a very transactional way to go about an influencer marketing strategy. The strategy becomes transactional because your business is completely focused on the influencer's follower count, and the influencer takes on a product endorsement role, rather than being a brand ambassador.

A better way to do it is by putting your relationship with the influencer first. The number of followers they have shouldn't be nearly as important as their fit with your brand and how their content resonates with both your audiences. Often, these influencers will be involved with your business long-term if you customize your content to their brand as well, and prove that you value their partnership.

Now that we've defined an influencer, let's explore how to find the best ones for your industry.

How to Find Brand Influencers for Your Industry

How can you determine the right "fit" with a brand influencer? Business/influencer fit will become extremely important for your future collaborations, so be sure to nail down the following criteria:

1. Figure out your target audience.

A target audience can be split by many factors -- including demographic, geographic, and behavioral, to name a few. Common ways to segment an audience is by age, gender, location, behavior, lifestyle, values, and interests. As you begin to narrow your audience, you'll dive into the types of marketing strategies and content that will resonate most with them.

Determining your target audience will ensure that your audience is similar to that of your influencer's. Otherwise, your content will fall flat and won't inspire users to take action.

A great example of business/influencer fit is how many sportswear brands, like Nike and Puma, partner with popular athletes to create both products and content. If you're a fan of Lebron James, you probably already know he's sponsored by Nike -- and that partnership goes a long way for Nike's business.

2. Research Influencers.

Obviously, the best place to research your influencers is on social media -- but let's break it down into more concrete steps.

The easiest way to find the right brand influencers is to see if any are already talking about your business. Social monitoring or searching for your brand on social media sites are great ways to get started, and listening tools can help you find influencers who are already interested in your industry.

Another tip for researching influencers is to search for relevant hashtags. If you're a health and wellness brand looking for an influencer, searching for "#health, #wellness, #sponsored, #ad" on Instagram will bring you to influencers who have already posted industry-relevant content. If you see a post that catches your eye, check out the rest of the influencer's engagement on other posts.

Keep in mind that influencers can have smaller, devoted followings -- so don't turn away from someone just because they have fewer followers than what you initially had in mind. Additionally, look out for influencers who are already posting your competitor's brands, as well.

If you see an influencer's post on Instagram that may resonate with your brand, try looking for similar profiles. Next to the "Follow" button on Instagram, there's a down arrow. By clicking the down arrow, you'll see a list of suggested users. Scroll through those and see if any might be willing to take you on.

3. Determine relevance.

Take a look at your own content. What is your brand's aesthetic, and what tone do you use in your copy? What are the underlying messages you're trying to communicate?

It's important to see how aligned your influencer's content is with your own. Obviously, their social presence shouldn't be filled with posts exactly like yours, but their messaging should be similar since you are targeting a specific audience.

Engagement is also an indicator of relevance for your brand. If the influencer's audience isn't engaged with their content, partnering with your brand won't make a difference. It's important to figure out whether the influencer's followers are commenting and sharing their content, or just liking it.

Additionally, do similar users return to comment and like content, time and time again? This implies the influencer's audience enjoys engaging with the influencer and likes the content she promotes.

Now that you've done your initial research, and hopefully conducted a list of possible influencers for your brand to work with, it's time to connect.

You want to reach out to influencers without seeming spammy or too transactional. Relationships are key, after all. And if you have a bad relationship with your brand influencer, odds are they won't continue to post on your behalf.

Connecting with Influencers 1. Reach out...strategically.

Cold emailing or direct messaging an influencer isn't a great strategy for relationship building. If you have an interest in working with an influencer, try courting them first.

What I mean by this is, you should subscribe to their blog, follow all their social channels, and comment on their posts. Influencers work hard on their content, just like your business does. If you want an influencer to take notice of your business, you have to be interested in what they're doing, as well. Beginning a partnership by interacting on the channels you hope to work together on will demonstrate your interest.

Some influencers have a presence on multiple social media platforms. It's your job to know how they want to be contacted for business partnerships. If they have a business email in their Instagram bio, that's likely the best choice. Alternatively, maybe they have an inquiries section on their blog. Whatever the case is, make sure to send a personal message that doesn't feel like it's been generated by a template.

2. Make a human connection.

Sending messages into the digital universe is a scary feeling because you don't know when or if you'll ever hear back. Making a connection in the real world is much more actionable, and puts a face to your business.

This doesn't mean you should go out and stalk your list of influencers until you meet in person.

If you're serious about making a connection, try attending or hosting an influencer event.

Bringing influencers to you will make connecting with them much easier, and give them an opportunity to interact with your brand before agreeing to work with you.

Many marketers are learning to market themselves as well as their business. Hopefully, you've been growing your network, as well -- so you may already have connections to your influencers.

If you have someone who is at the very top of your list, see if they're following someone you know. Maybe they've worked with a similar brand in the past, and you know someone on that team. The world is smaller than we think, and you might just be sitting on a goldmine of potential relationships.

3. Manage your outreach efforts.

Like any other marketing strategy, influencer outreach should be organized and well-documented. The last thing you want is to accidentally reach out to the same influencer on four different platforms with the same message. Yikes.

After reaching out, be sure to give an influencer some time before a follow-up. Just like in a sales pitch, you don't want to be overbearing or clingy. Be respectful of the influencer's time -- if they want to work with you, they'll respond to your outreach.

You should also be documenting what outreach strategies work for you. Maybe after a first email, you've found success in hopping on a call with potential influencers. Knowing what works for you will help you further develop your outreach strategy, and enable you to be more creative in the future.

To recap, brand influencers can help you:

  • Build and expand a devoted following
  • Increase your word-of-mouth marketing efforts
  • Bring in more sales, leads, and conversions
  • Create more human relationships with your potential customers

The right influencers are inherently interested in your brand, believe in your mission, and are capable of communicating about your business eloquently.

Focusing on long-term relationships with your influencers will continue to build their knowledge of your company, and will bring the best results.

Next, take a look at The Ultimate List of Instagram Influencers in Every Industry (94 and Counting!) to begin researching the ideal influencers for your brand.

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Research shows that people remember branded content twice as long as they remember a traditional advertisement. But creating your own branded videos, blogs, or podcasts can require a lot of bandwidth. 

If you’ve always wanted to experiment with this strategy, but haven’t had the time or resources to produce your own campaigns, sponsoring content from other companies or influencers might be the right strategy for you.

Sponsored content has been around for decades and got its start in print publications. But as online marketing has taken over the way we consume content, we’ve seen sponsorships move from print to web. Now, sponsored content is even thriving on social platforms like Instagram

But, you might ask, "What makes sponsored content more appealing than traditional online ads?"

To answer that question, this post will explain what sponsored content is. We’ll also offer you a few best practices and solid examples of sponsored videos, podcasts, social media, and blog format. At the end, we’ll also give you a few tips on how to sponsor great content while still following federal advertising guidelines.

This type of content is most engaging when you sponsor a company or influencer who targets your core audience and already discusses topics that align with your brand. When this is done right, any mention of your brand feels like a natural fit rather than an invasive advertisement.

Instead of thinking they just saw an advertisement, audiences should come away from sponsored content feeling like they’ve learned something interesting. This makes your brand look more credible, memorable, and -- most importantly -- trustworthy. 

When it comes to branded or sponsored content, trust is a major factor that engages potential customers. In fact, when marketers sponsor content from a trusted publisher, they see a 50% higher brand lift than marketers who make their own content

As branded and sponsored content gains steam, research continues to show that marketing your product with quality content can be incredibly effective. In fact, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising.

How to Distinguish Sponsored Content

Although sponsored content is engaging and effective, it still occasionally gets confused with more-traditional native ads.

Native advertising is when a brand creates editorial content that centers around their product. Then, they might pay a website or publisher to share it in a way that naturally flows within a list of content on their homepage. 

Here’s an example of a native ad that appeared on Huffington Post’s homepage. Aside from the advertisement attribution under the headline, the post about senior entitlements is designed to show up on the page just like a regular news story. 

When you click it expecting a regular post, you’re sent to a branded article that purely highlights services and discounts from Money Nation.

While you might want to consider a native ad that goes directly to a product page for immediate sales or traffic purposes, leading readers down a conversion path too soon could turn off audiences.

Since people may scroll past or tune out when they see content that’s obviously created by an advertiser, a piece of sponsored content created by a trusted source might be a stronger alternative.

Once you’re ready to start sponsoring content, it can still be difficult to come up with a list of content ideas or identify brands that you could sponsor. To help inspire you, here are a few great examples.

Sponsored Content Examples Sponsored Photo or Video Content

Most consumers want to see videos from brands, so it’s no surprise that video and photo content are gaining attention from sponsors. Here are three great examples of video and photo posts: 

Michelob Ultra

Michelob recently sponsored a Tastemade recipe video which used the beer as an ingredient in a shrimp ceviche tostada dish. The video shows how the beer is used as a flavoring ingredient and lists its name in the video caption. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Break out the grill for this exotic twist on a shrimp ceviche tostada, which isn't complete without a refreshing Michelob ULTRA Infusions Lime and Prickly Pear Cactus. #Sponsored by @MichelobULTRA #InfuseYourSummer⁠ ⁠ INGREDIENTS:⁠ 1/2 cup olive oil⁠ 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro⁠ Zest and juice of 2 limes⁠ 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce⁠ 2 cloves garlic, grated⁠ 1 tablespoon tomato paste⁠ 1 teaspoon kosher salt⁠ 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper⁠ 1 pound medium (21 to 26) shrimp, deveined and tails removed⁠ ⁠ CEVICHE:⁠ 1 cup Roma tomatoes, small dice⁠ 1/2 cup dragonfruit, small dice⁠ 1/2 cup fresh mango, small diced⁠ 1/2 cup red onion, small diced⁠ 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped⁠ 1 small Serrano, finely chopped⁠ 1/4 cup fresh lime juice⁠ 1/4 cup mango juice⁠ 2 tablespoons olive oil⁠ 1 teaspoon tomato paste⁠ 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce⁠ 1 teaspoon kosher salt⁠ ⁠ GUACAMOLE:⁠ 2 large, ripe avocados, cut in half and pitted⁠ 1 lime, sliced in half⁠ 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch rings⁠ 4 cloves garlic, peeled⁠ 1 small jalapeño, sliced in half and seeded⁠ 3 tablespoons olive oil⁠ 2 teaspoons sea salt⁠ 1 teaspoon ground black pepper⁠ 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped⁠ Tostadas⁠ Lime wedges⁠ ⁠ Steps continued in the comments below.⁠ ⁠

A post shared by Tastemade (@tastemade) on Jul 2, 2019 at 12:06pm PDT

In this example, Michelob was able to sponsor relevant content and get a natural product plug without altering Tastemade’s video recipe style. 

Another great thing about this content is that it doesn’t just cater to beer drinkers or Michelob-specific fans. Someone who doesn’t drink beer regularly, but wants to cook this recipe as shown, might still have a reason to purchase Michelob Ultra. 

In the small-business world, a local restaurant might sponsor a recipe video like this created by a food blogger to show off a meal they cook at their restaurant. You might also see a food or ingredient vendor similar sponsor a recipe video where there ingredients are listed. 

Nude by Nature

In this Youtube video, a Global Ambassador from Nude by Nature gives a tutorial to a beauty reporter from the Evening Standard, a London newspaper. 

Natural makeup tutorial: How to do the no makeup look - YouTube

This type of sponsorship works well because it aligns with the editorial style of the Evening Standard’s beauty section. 

This type of sponsored tutorial could be helpful to companies that offer beauty supplies. An expert demonstration on how to use a certain brand of products may be valuable to readers who enjoy wearing makeup and learning about new brands.

Some viewers might even want to buy the exact same products that they saw in a tutorial so they can follow along and recreate the model’s look on themselves.

Seedip

This Instagram post from Imbibe, a blog that informs users of interesting alcoholic beverages, shows off photos of Seedip, a non-alcoholic spirit.

The caption directs audiences to the account’s bio where they can find the link to a recipe that includes Seedip as an ingredient. It also describes the drink and uses hashtags like #sponsored to signal that the content was paid for.

This is another example of how sponsoring content from a brand that aligns well with yours can create a more natural feeling campaign. 

This type of sponsored style might be helpful to other companies in the food and beverage industry. For example, if a local wine brewery sponsored a restaurant’s social post which highlighted a new line of wines, this could help the wine brand gain awareness and potential purchases from the restaurant’s followers.

Sponsored Podcasts

Podcasting is growing. In fact, in 2018, we discovered that 17% of marketers planned to add podcasting to their strategy. 

While big brands like GE and Microsoft have already created their own shows, other marketers have focused on sponsoring podcasts that relate to their field or have a similar target audience. Sponsoring a podcast allows marketers to gain awareness from listeners without having to put time and effort into creating their own content from scratch.

Here are two examples:

Rise and Grind

This 10-episode podcast series was sponsored by ZipRecruiter and hosted by Shark Tank’s Daymon John. The series ran in correlation with the launch of John’s book, also titled Rise and Grind.

The content aligned well with both John and ZipRecruiter as it included interviews from entrepreneurs and business leaders, career and interview tips, and motivational advice. ZipRecruiter is occasionally mentioned, but the content is mainly editorial in nature.

Here’s one of the podcast’s mini-episodes, titled “Motivational Minute: Take the Shot.”

For companies in B2B or highly-professional fields, sponsoring a podcast that features executive-level tips and advice allows your audience to see how in touch your brand is with its industry.

A sponsored podcast might also inform new audiences with similar interests about your brand when they tune in to hear an interview. 

My Brother, My Brother and Me

The My Brother, My Brother and Me podcast, also known as MBMBaM, is a comedic show that touches on news and pop culture. When they have a sponsor, they come up with a topic that relates to the advertiser or use product placement strategies. 

One of the most notable and extreme examples was in 2016 when they hosted a “Family Fun Hour” sponsored by Totinos. During the episode, they gave a brief history of Totino’s, discussed their favorite snacks from the company, and played games that included Totino’s foods. This was considered as a brand new strategy at the time and was noted on sites like Vulture.

MBMBaM Bonus: The McElroy Family Fun Hour Brought to You by Totino's - YouTube

While this is an unusual example where product placement takes up most of the show, it demonstrates how content creators can develop something unique and still centered around a product.

Sponsored Influencer Content

Currently, 80% of marketers report that influencer marketing is an effective strategy.  While many marketers have taken part in co-marketing with influencers, some have also sponsored their content.

One of the platforms where influencer marketing thrives most is Instagram. Here are a few examples of how brands are sponsoring influencer content on the platform:

CR7 Footwear Sponsors Cristiano Rinaldo

In this post, Cristiano Rinaldo, a soccer star and the most-followed person on Instagram, shares a picture of himself relaxing in CR7 Footwear. 

Cristiano is no stranger to sponsored posts and he has mastered the art of natural product plugs. Because the photo shows him lounging and reading a book, rather than just his shoes, fans might feel like they're seeing a behind-the-scenes photo of him, rather than a promotion.

Since Cristiano is a major athlete and influencer who's recommended apparel in the past, viewers of this post might trust and follow his shoe endorsements, even if the footwear isn't athletic. 

While the sponsorship of an athlete seems ideal for companies that sell sporting goods or clothing, this placement shows how a major influencer can successfully promote a number of products that aren't just limited to their industry.

Coach Sponsors Selena Gomez

Here’s an example where Coach sponsored an Instagram post from Selena Gomez, the former most-followed person on Instagram. In the post’s caption, she shares details about a Coach outfit she’s wearing.

This is a good example of sponsor and promoter alignment. Coach is a high-fashion company and Selena Gomez regularly shares her outfits and thoughts about fashion on her social platforms. To viewers, this might feel like her usual posts where she casually shares what she’s wearing. 

On a smaller scale, this sponsored content strategy could be helpful for ecommerce stores or boutiques who want to promote their products by paying someone with a large following to take photos with them.

Lulus Sponsors Lexi Mars

Influencer Lexi Mars has published a few sponsored Instagram posts for Lulus. In these posts, she puts on a few of their outfits and shows off other accessories from the brand. 

Like other influencers on this list, she tags Lulus in her posts. This enables her fans to visit their account, learn more about their brand, and potentially follow them. 

In the video post below, she tries on dresses from Lulus and captions the video as "outfit ideas for graduation."

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

L

A post shared by LEXI MARS (@leximars) on May 10, 2019 at 1:07pm PDT

Like the Selena Gomez example, this sponsorship aligns well with both the clothing company and the influencer's brands.

Lexi regularly posts pictures of her outfits and videos with fashion tips, so this video will not seem unusual or forced to her fans. The style of clothing is also similar to the outfits she wears in other pictures, so fans who remember her usual fashion choices might not be disrupted by the ad. 

Because Lexi also highlights that these are graduation outfits, she might engage members of her following who are graduating, as people searching Instagram for graduation dress inspiration.

This type of influencer strategy might be helpful to boutiques, physical stores, or ecommerce shops that want to promote their seasonal or event-related clothing.

Tractor Supply Sponsors A Dog Named Stella

In this sponsored post from @ADogNamedStella, Stella’s owner films her exploring s Tractor Supply store with her family. In the video, the dog and children play with toys and items on the shelves and there are ample shots taken around the store. The video also shows friendly staff playing with the dog.

Although there are some detailed shots of the store, this video is still focused on telling the dog’s story, which makes the content a bit more interesting than a generic marketing video.

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