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Alright y’all 2019 is more than half over...

By now we are all well aware that basically every organization should have a website. No surprise there.

What I find people most struggle with is what should be on their website and how to actually execute it in a way that is most valuable to your users.

Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to those questions.

To truly optimize your website, you’ll want to adhere with basic guidelines like proper on page SEO, load times, and general principles of user experience, but also research and test the behaviors and interactions of your specific users and the sites of your competitors.
The experience of your website and how it performs is honestly more important than how it looks. (Shocking, I know.) A good looking website that doesn’t serve its purpose or turns users off is a worthless website.

Lucky for you, you’re not in this alone. The internet is a treasure trove of research that is constantly being done on these topics

This infographic from DesignAdvisor (based on real data from case studies!) is a great place to get started.

“94% of visitors bounce from a website and stop trusting it because of a degraded web design.”

You may be thinking, “but that BOMB pizza place I always order from hasn’t updated their website in 15 years, but I still trust them.”

Yes, that is the case with many restaurants, which seem to be one of the rare breeds to escape needing an updated web presence, but let me ask you this: would an outdated website affect your impression of a dealership you were debating buying a car from? How about the business you were hiring to design a logo for you?… Of course!

In many cases, a visitor’s trust in a brand can be hurt by dated design or usability of their website.

This is especially true with big decision items. Presenting your users with an ill-thought out website leaves them wondering if that same lack of attention is present in your offerings as well.

“50% of potential sales are lost because users can't find information”

Now, this has a lot to do with site structure and navigation.

Burying important decision-making information from your users is one of the most damning mistakes you can make on your website.

When arranging your site content, think about what questions your users have in the sales process. Make sure most of those answers are easily accessible on your site; a FAQ page works great!


Trendy or Timeless?

The state of web design is constantly evolving and there really is no such thing as a timeless web design. It is crucial for your website to be constantly evolving.

Think about the websites you visit regularly. What do they look like compared to one month ago? What do they look like compared to six months ago? What do they look like compared to one year ago?

Chances are they look much different, but many of these changes may have happened gradually.

Adapting this approach allows you the opportunity to implement, observe, and reiterate. Cause what good is making updates if you don’t know if it’s actually working.

This infographic from DesignAdvisor is loaded with current trends in web design as well as some startling statistics (backed by case studies) that are enough to light a fire under anyone’s seat.

 

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Working from home definitely has its perks, but it also has it downside.

I will admit it is great to be able to wake up and not have to worry about traffic, packing my lunch, and eliminating the risk of not having coffee in the morning.

However, the hardest thing about working from home is preventing myself from becoming a workaholic.

This is not only true for those who work from home but for anyone that has a job that they love and get a lot of joy out of.

Although we may really like our jobs, we all need time where we do not think, talk, or even dream about work —but how? Sometimes it just creeps in even when we’re trying to make sure it doesn’t.

The infographic below created by Cashnet, gives us helpful tips and tricks to leave work behind and enjoy time to the fullest when we are not at work.

If you are thinking about work when you really don’t want to considering doing one of these things:

Write down what is bothering you.

This is a great way to get on paper what you are thinking about, maybe it is that great idea you thought of for your meeting tomorrow or the memory of a rough conversation you had that day.

Get it on paper and put it away. This will give your brain room to start thinking about other things.

Use progressive muscle relaxation.

It may be hard to sit down and try to relax after work — after all you did just accomplish a lot! — but by closing your eyes, taking in a few deep breaths, and shrugging your shoulders, you will feel ready to conquer the rest of the day.

Try saying “STOP!” out loud.

Now this one may seem pretty amusing, but by voicing the word stop, you are focusing on something that is not work.

You could even have fun with this in a train station or on your commute home of how loud you can say stop before some asks you “are you okay?”

Just tell them you are trying to forget about work. They will understand.

Write a daily exit list

If I did not have a list of tasks for every day, I would be lost and probably would not have a job to even think about, but if you're not the person to do that, it’s a good place to start.

At 3 P.M. every day, make a list of items you have to get done before you can leave work. Once that list is done, you have made the most out of your day and let tomorrow be tomorrow.

Close all your open browser tabs.

This one can be hard.

I know it is nice to come back into the office the next day and pick up right where you left off, but by doing closing all your tabs, you are officially bringing today's work to an end.

Tomorrow will be a new day with new tabs.

If you are still not a fan of that, Google has a great tool to close all of your tabs and you can restart tomorrow.

Design your commute.

Make your commute something that you look forward, not something where you’re purely thinking about the day ahead or the day that just happened.

Listen to a great podcast, your favorite music, read a book, or play a game.

After all, you just worked a full day or are about to; this is a great time to decompress and get ready to spend time with yourself.

For those that do not have a daily commute, like myself, I like to take the dogs for a walk.

This provides such a great way to literally walk away from work and “move on” with my day.

Why does this all matter?

Some jobs provide a lot of self-gratification and some, unfortunately, are a miserable places that you cannot wait to escape, but at the end of every day, you have a choice to continue to think about it or to live your life and surround yourself with people and things that make you happy.

Work is not always going to be there, but your friends, family and your hobbies will be.

If you are looking for a career change, we are hiring!

 

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The 48-hour shopping extravaganza has come to an end, and Amazon reported record-breaking numbers. Prime Day 2019 surpassed the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue combined!

Prime members purchased more than 175 million items throughout the extended two-day event. Prime Day was also the biggest event ever for Amazon devices, when compared to other two-day periods.

via GIPHY

The top-selling deals worldwide were Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

Global highlights from Prime Day 2019

‘Twas a BIG day for Prime Member subscriptions. Amazon said it saw more new Prime Member subscriptions on July 15 than any other day in its history, and “almost as many” on the second day of the shopping event, “making these the two biggest days ever for member signups.”

via GIPHY

Prime Day started as a way to encourage and reward membership, and Amazon Prime members are reaping the benefits:

  • Prime members worldwide saved more than one billion dollars throughout Prime Day.
  • Millions of items shipped in one day or faster using Prime Free One-Day, Prime Free Same-Day, or Prime Now worldwide, making this the fastest Prime Day ever.
  • Members in 18 countries shopped – double the number since the first Prime Day five years ago.

The smart home market padded its double-digit growth during Prime Day:

via GIPHY

  • Customers made their homes smarter by purchasing millions of smart home devices. Top-selling deals included iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum, MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener Chamberlain MYQ-G0301, and Amazon Smart Plug.
  • Customers purchased twice as many Ring and Blink devices this Prime Day as last year, when comparing two-day periods. Ring and Blink are the leaders in wireless smart home security cameras.
  • Prime Day was the biggest event ever on Amazon for Alexa devices with screens, such as Echo Show and Echo Show 5.
  • This was the best Prime Day ever for Fire tablets, with the Fire 7 tablet as the top-seller. This was also the best Prime Day ever for Kindle devices.
  • Customers purchased two times as many Fire TV Edition Smart TVs as last year’s Prime Day, when comparing two-day periods. Since launch, customers have purchased millions of Fire TV Edition Smart TVs.
  • This Prime Day was the biggest sales event ever for eero on Amazon. Customers purchased six times as many devices as any previous sales event for eero.
SMB FTW

Small and mid-sized businesses accounted for more than $2 billion in sales over the 48-hour span, doubling the mark set last year.

“Prime Day 2019 was another record-breaking success for independent third-party sellers — mostly small and medium-sized businesses,” said Amazon, “Globally, these businesses far exceeded $2 billion in sales this Prime Day, making it the biggest Amazon shopping event ever for third-party sellers when comparing two-day periods.”

Amazon’s influence on the online retail market is undeniable and can’t be overlooked in your retail strategy.

No matter how solid your online presence or how loyal your online brand, it’s clear that SMBs would be wise to supplement revenue by posting their items on Amazon in addition to creating a solid e-commerce store.

Amazon looks to boost ad biz

In another unprecedented move by Amazon as part of Prime Day 2019, Prime members were offered a $10 coupon in exchange for tracking them all over the web through Amazon Assistant

This promotion offers the online retail giant an unprecedented view into individual web browsing habits.

The deal required Prime members to install Amazon Assistant, a browser extension that allows users to comparison shop. The company says it collects and processes information that includes the URL, page metadata, and portions of content on whatever site you visit when using Assistant, which it can use for marketing purposes.

What can digital marketers learn from Prime Day 2019?

While there were some hiccups for Amazon during Prime Day 2019, it was clearly a big win for the company, its members, and retailers that have leveraged the retail giant. 

It also teaches us some valuable lessons as marketers and business owners.

The fact that people are willing to let Amazon Assistant track their complete shopping experience demonstrates the trust Amazon has gained by being totally transparent about pricing and obsessed with user experience and customer reviews. 

Customers will sacrifice privacy to easily be able to compare prices and reviews with Amazon while shopping on the web.

The lesson here is that it’s important to be transparent about pricing on your website so that your customers are able to make an informed buying decision. 

Further, consumers have proven that they are willing to do the research to find not only the best price, but also the best delivery options and shipping costs (think “instant and free”), and the most enjoyable user experience. 

With little control over the price of retail goods, marketers and business owners need to put their energy into adding value through content creation, as well as creating the best possible shopping experience. 

The more you can guide your customer’s journey through engaging and informative content, the more likely you are to gain their trust and earn their business.

via GIPHY

If Prime Day 2019 has taught you nothing else, it seems pretty obvious that if you’re in the retail industry and you aren’t also making your product available on Amazon (despite slimmer margins), you’re probably missing out on a bunch of sales.

What did Prime Day teach you? Shoot me an email and let me know!

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Look, we've grown quite close over the past couple of years. At this point, I feel as if I can tell you anything. So, it is with that in mind that I feel I need to come clean about something:

I am a petty person. 

In fact, when Reese Witherspoon's character on Big Little Lies uttered this line during the show's spectacular first season...

(HBO)

...I felt seen and understood on an almost spiritual level.

Yes, for the most part I'm a mature and easy-going woman in her mid-30s. But just below the surface of my carefree attitude are numerous grievances and grudges of which I will never let go.

For example, I simply will not accept that pineapples grow like squat little bushes:

(Image source unknown)

I learned about this logic-defying crime against nature two years ago, and I will never, ever be OK with it as long as I live. And I will continue to wait for the apology I believe I am owed from the pineapple... or its designated representative.

But that's nothing compared to the angst I feel about a single word that, I believe, has become a plague in the content marketing world:

Every time I catch myself typing "ensure" in a draft, I cringe. And every time I see it used in a blog article, I want to go out of my way to ensure the author knows how much they have wounded me. 

Why do I feel so strongly about it? I'm glad you asked.

Here's my problem with the word "ensure"

"Ensure" is a wimpy word.

For example, instead of being direct and saying:

"Your sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page and bought into the 'why' behind your new digital sales and marketing strategy. Otherwise, you'll undermine your new strategy before it even gets off the ground."

Some of you might say:

"Ensure your sales and marketing teams both are bought into the 'why' behind what you're doing, so your new digital sales and marketing strategy will have a higher probability of being successful."

See the difference?

The first version is action-oriented, communicates urgency, and is clear and direct. The second version is polite, passive, and sounds like more of a suggestion.

Part of me wants to be completely irrational and banish "ensure" to some sort of content marketing word graveyard, never to be seen or heard from again. But another more logical part of me understands that there are a (very limited) number of circumstances when it's perfectly fine to use the word.

Moreover, I know deep down that the real problem isn't the word "ensure" itself. But rather, its overuse speaks to a larger issue I've seen time and again when coaching others on their content.

We're deathly afraid of turning off our audience by sounding like bossy know-it-alls

We all know someone like that, and they're terrible.

You ask them a question, and before you've even gotten to the end of it, they've already got a patronizing hand on your shoulder, and they're rattling off a list of solutions with a caring but condescending tone of, "You poor, simple-minded seahorse; don't worry, I'm here to save you."

Yes, they probably helped you. However, that doesn't change the fact that they are (and always will be) completely insufferable.

"Ensure" is a crutch we all lean on — both consciously and subconsciously — to avoid sounding too pushy or bossy when giving advice. 

But it's not the only one.

"Consider" is another that comes to mind.

Instead of telling someone to do something with any degree of conviction or authority, you ask them politely to "consider" a course of action.

For instance:

"If you don't like paying thousands of dollars in fines or going to prison, consider filing your taxes on time and reporting your income honestly."

(Although, for some reason, "consider" doesn't bother me as much.)

As digital marketers and businesses, we know we need to honestly and transparently answer the most pressing questions of our buyers, no matter how uncomfortable a particular topic may be. 

But, somewhere along the line, we got scared. 

In an effort to avoid being perceived as arrogant blowhards who only speak in absolutes — I don't want to sound that way either, trust me — many of us have retreated into the content marketing version of every bumbling and befuddled Hugh Grant character in a 1990s romantic comedy. 

This is a safe strategy that will ensure (ha!) that you come across as polite and inoffensive.

Unfortunately, that's not what your audience wants from you.

If they're looking for you to help them solve a problem, they're going to want you to sound confident in your answers. Otherwise, they won't be confident that what you're suggesting or sharing will actually help them get the results they're looking for.

Furthermore, if you're trying to get an important point across or express a strong opinion (and be memorable in the process), words like "ensure" and "consider" are the kiss of death.

So, what should we do instead?

A few tips on how to assertively convey opinions and ideas (without turning people off)

First, I want you to relax. Articulating thoughts with authority — without falling into the trap of sounding overbearing — is not as hard as you think.

Use action-oriented, direct language when expressing ideas:

"Here's the bottom line, everybody. You need to exercise and maintain an active lifestyle if you want to lose weight."

Then, depending on the context of what you're talking about, you can empathize with other points of view: 

"Of course, that's a lot easier than it sounds. Especially if you don't consider yourself an active person or you're currently recovering from an injury. So, I want to start by talking about how we can address some of those common barriers to an active lifestyle, and how you can overcome them."

Another one of my favorite tricks — again, very much dependent on context — is something I refer to as the "learn from my mistakes" strategy:

"If you're a content manager, you need to invest in a content collaboration platform like GatherContent. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough.

Even though it may feel like you're saying money, the endless hours you'll experience of feeling frustrated, chasing down deadlines, digging through emails, and fielding countless questions about the status of content — instead of doing your real job — will never be worth it.

However, I say this not as someone who is incentivized in any way to promote the platform. Instead, I'm a seasoned content management professional who spent many years pulling my own hair out, as I tried to create order out of a chaos of emails, competing document versions, and zero oversight of deadlines."

I came out guns blazing with a very clear directive — get thee a content collaboration platform, unless you want to go crazy and waste your time as a content manager. 

But then I owned up to the fact that I only am able to speak with such authority because I made the mistake of trying to make my content management processes work without a tool like GatherContent.

Could I have said:

"If you want to ensure visibility into your content production pipeline and an orderly approach to your content management processes, you may want to consider a collaboration platform such as GatherContent."

Sure. I guess.

But that's confusing, impersonal, and doesn't convey the true urgency of the problem I'm trying to help people solve. And that's the last thing you want.

Additionally, avoid presumptuous, absolutist phrases like, "As we all know."

Because if we did "all know," no one would be asking you questions about whatever subject it is that you're discussing. On top of that, if someone reads a statement that says "we all know" something — but they didn't consider whatever you posited as a "universal truth" prior to that moment — you'll make them feel like an outsider who doesn't "get it."

You don't want that either.

Of course, these are only a few examples of how you can adopt a more direct and candid approach in your writing. There are also thousands of ways you can speak your mind without scaring your audience away.

However, if you only remember one thing, let it be this:

If you want to be a memorable thought leader and have your ideas stand out (for the right reasons), you have to stop writing from a fear-based posture. 

Be yourself. If you believe in something strongly, articulate it with conviction, explain exactly why, and then address (with empathy) how your audience is likely feeling in response to your statement. 

That can be a big mental switch to flip, I know, and it may feel uncomfortable at first.

But here's an easy baby step to help you get started — the next time you catch yourself using the word "ensure," ask yourself, "Can I do better?"

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World Emoji Day took place on July 17th, which was heavily celebrated on social media by many major brands. 

So: We’re looking into our 🔮 for #WorldEmojiDay and will be reading your emoji fortunes for the next 2 hours! Tell us your 3 most recent emojis if you want to know your future ✨ pic.twitter.com/nLa85fU4S3

— T-Mobile (@TMobile) July 17, 2019

Celebrating #WorldEmojiDay with the entire 🦁👑 pride:#Mufasa#Simba#Nala#Scar#Timon#Pumbaa#Zazu#Rafiki#HakunaMatata #TheLionKing

— The Lion King (@disneylionking) July 17, 2019

when words fail...

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
🏆🏆🏆🏆
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
👸👸👸👸#WorldEmojiDay pic.twitter.com/pENPmzGqaq

— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 17, 2019

Some brands even took their celebratory actions further than social media. 

For example, food delivery service Postmates announced that in honor of the holiday, users can now search for food using over 1500+ emojis. Its system will now recognize the type of cuisine users are searching for based on the emoji entered in the search bar. 

Additionally, Ford took an original approach to the holiday by debuting its own custom pickup truck emoji

The Pickup Truck Emoji | Built Ford Proud | Ford - YouTube

While these activities may seem minor, they truly speak volumes for how much emojis have become intertwined with our everyday communication habits. 

Moreover, this demonstrates how much more brands utilize emojis as a marketing tool both to catch user’s attention and appear more relatable and animated to their audience. 

The role of emojis in modern-day marketing 

In the past few years, we’ve seen emojis pop up more and more in marketing campaigns.

Just looking at my promotions tab in my email inbox. I could easily pick out twelve emails using an emoji somewhere in the subject line or preview text. Here are just a few: 

In addition to email, brands are using emojis in other marketing assets like social media posts, live chatbots, and even on website pages — and research suggests it’s helping more than you may think.

A 2018 study found that brands' use of emojis had positive impacts on engagement, improved brand recall, and a friendlier and more competent tone compared to the same assets that did not include emojis. 

Research from HubSpot also showed that different emojis can help boost certain actions. For example, the 🙆 emoji was found to increase engagement, while the 🐙 emoji helped boost click-throughs. 

Of course, to be successful these factors need to be coupled with captivating content that compels the user to take action. 

Are emojis relevant for SEO? 

Beyond social media and email, there is evidence that using emojis can actually have SEO benefits as well — in certain scenarios. 

Google and Bing have both supported emojis in search results since 2016, but they can be filtered out of results (meaning Google will not show the emoji in your SERP listing) if they're not considered relevant to the searcher's query. 

According to Google’s John Mueller, emojis can be omitted in search if they’re considered spammy, misleading, or feel out of place. 

However, before you start adding emojis to your page titles and meta descriptions, it’s important to understand how Google interprets emojis in search — because it may not be what you think. 

When you perform an emoji-based search on Google or use one on your website, Google does not translate the emoji into its text-equivalent meaning. In other words, searching “🍕” wouldn’t return the same results as “Pizza.” Instead, it will only return results using that specific emoji, as if it's a different word entirely. 

So, you wouldn’t be able to gain any additional SEO authority by simply adding emojis into your content. However, when coupled with relevant keywords, emojis can help your listing stand out in search results, as seen in the image below. 

While Google has not released any data on emoji-based searches, it’s a safe assumption that the eye-catching nature emojis have in your email inbox can also apply to search results. 

By having something that differentiates you from the other search listings, you have a better chance at increasing click-throughs. 

Because click-throughs and time on page is a ranking factor, emojis can indirectly have positive effects for SEO if utilized correctly.  

Still, this is heavily dependent on how frequently your audience is performing emoji searches. 

So, should you be using emojis for SEO? Well, it won’t hurt you! If your industry closely aligns with an existing widely used emoji, brands can definitely experiment with adding it into page titles and monitor results accordingly. (note: Google will remove emojis it doesn’t deem relevant to your listing)

Final Thoughts 

The effectiveness of emojis in marketing has been clearly demonstrated for driving better engagement in both email and social media — but data isn’t yet strong enough for SEO to draw a clear conclusion.  

With more brands like Yelp and Postmates offering emoji-based searches, it’s possible that users will become more comfortable with this style and carry it over to Google searches. 

Still, with more and more people using emojis in their everyday communication, it’s undeniable that they have a certain power to communicate in ways that words can’t.

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HubSpot has announced a major upgrade to its free marketing tools. 

The marketing automation platform has added its Email Marketing and Ads tools to its free CRM product. Now all users, regardless of subscription tier, will be able to send targeted emails and manage ad campaigns, all within HubSpot. 

This significantly elevates the value users get with from HubSpot’s free product. 

The changes enable marketers of any business size to execute focused campaigns without cumbersome manual tasks like signing into multiple accounts or importing/exporting datasheets between networks. 

Along with adding these new tools into the free product, HubSpot has also introduced changes to make it more clear what exactly users get as they move up in subscription tiers. 

If you’re a HubSpot user of any level, it’s worth checking out the new changes to see if you’re taking advantage of the tools avaliable to your account. 

Free email marketing tools 

HubSpot’s free product has always offered a lot for small to medium businesses — access to core features like contact management and tracking, form creation, live chat features, and reporting tools, all for $0/month. 

However, a main reason why free users switched to the next tier up (Marketing Hub Starter for $50/month), came down to the unlocked access to its email feature.  

Now, HubSpot’s free users can send up to 2,000 emails per month. The free feature also includes access to HubSpot’s email templates and post-send analytics. 

Email marketing is a core component in effectively moving leads down the funnel and re-engaging them in your business’ content or service offerings. 

While there are other options to execute email marketing campaigns, there are considerable benefits to having all data flow through one centralized location. 

Connecting email marketing tools with your CRM adds significantly more context into how emails are being received by key contacts. This provides much clearer insights for marketers to understand how successful these touchpoints are at moving leads to the next stage in the buyer's journey. On the same note, it can show what types of emails are causing friction in the buying cycle and need adjusting. 

Overall, this added feature allows HubSpot’s free customers to run better, more cohesive campaigns, and gain instant performance insights all in one place. 

HubSpot’s free users can get started with email marketing using the steps below.

1. Choose from HubSpot's robust library of preloaded email templates 

These templates cover a wide variety of marketing needs, from very basic body templates to more specific needs like newsletters or holiday email sends. 

Once you pick which one is right for you, go ahead and name your email and continue.

2. Customize your email 

HubSpot’s email editor is designed so anyone can create great marketing emails without advanced technical expertise. 

The tool utilizes a simple drag and drop editor to allow you to style the email to match your branding. You can also pull in text boxes, image sections, and CTA buttons as needed to create a compelling message that converts. 

3. Access post-send analytics 

Of course, the most valuable aspect of connecting email marketing data into your CRM is the ability to have all metrics in one place. 

After sending a marketing email, you can navigate to the performance tab view analytics on how many opens and clicks your email received. 

This data provides valuable insights into future strategies. For example, if your email has a low open rate, it’s possible you may need to adjust your email subject line or preview text to be more captivating. Likewise, high opens but low clicks can indicate that the email content did not match users’ expectations when they clicked on it — which could suggest a misleading subject line, or that the email content was not strong enough to motivate users to take the next step. 

Additionally, if you’re keeping a closer eye on a few select contacts, you can navigate to a specific contact’s profile and see if that person opened or clicked the email. 

This is beneficial because you can connect actions taken after seeing that email directly back to your campaign. For example, if your contact clicks a CTA in an email, browses a few additional pages, and then fills out a request a quote form, your team can definitively evaluate how that email contributed to that action. 

What if I already pay for email marketing features?

So, if the most compelling reason to switch to a paid HubSpot subscription was the email marketing feature, Marketing Hub Starter users may be questioning if they should downgrade to the free feature. 

To clarify, there are still differences in the email marketing capabilities each tier will receive. Here’s a breakdown: 

  • Marketing Hub Starter: Instead of a flat email send limit of 2,000 a month, Starter customers limit is determined by the number of contacts stored in the CRM. So, the number of sends will scale as you add more contacts — which is ideal for growing businesses. Additionally, this tier can also connect an email sending domain to HubSpot.
  • Marketing Hub Professional/Enterprise: This tier unlocks premium email marketing features for more advanced email marketing campaigns. These include access to A/B testing features, smart content, and the ability to send an email at the same time across multiple time zones. 
Free Ads tools 

In addition to email marketing tools, HubSpot has extended its Ads tools into the free product. 

Now, users of both HubSpot’s free CRM and Marketing Hub Starter can create, manage, and track ads directly within their CRM at no added cost. 

The free tool allows campaign management up to $1,000 in ad spend per month across a maximum of two connected ad accounts. 

So, users can connect two Facebook campaigns to compare results, or sync two different platforms (like one LinkedIn and one Google campaign), to see how performance varies from one platform to another. 

Just like email marketing, connecting your ad campaigns to your CRM enables marketers to pull more meaningful insights from each ad campaign, and save time syncing data between platforms. 

HubSpot’s ads tool auto-syncs leads from a campaign into HubSpot and shows you exactly which contacts are interacting with your ads. These insights can allow marketing teams to see which platform best suits a specific audience, and provide a better view on how a campaign affects the overall experience you’re creating for a prospect.  

Moreover, having ad data filter through one central system allows you to track long-term performance of ad campaigns on a contact-by-contact basis. So, you can see which contacts that saw or clicked on an ad campaign eventually became customers — showing a more concrete ROAS right from your CRM. 

What if I already pay for Ads Tools? 

Just like the email marketing feature, HubSpot was sure to differentiate how the tiers now vary given the expansion of the Ads feature to all users. 

HubSpot Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise customers who already pay for the ads tools can access exclusive ad features for more in-depth campaign creation and reporting, including: 

  • Access to the full library of ad types
  • $10k ad spend limit (Professional), $30k ad spend limit (Enterprise) 
  • Audience syncing 
  • Attribution reports 
  • ROI reporting that shows exactly how your ads are impacting your business’ bottom line 
Final Thoughts 

Extending these valuable features to HubSpot’s free products is great for both HubSpot’s business and its customers. 

Now, regardless of subscription tier, HubSpot users will be able to get more value out of each marketing campaign. 

This helps users of all sizes to access better features and analytics without needing to switch between several apps, or manage complex integrations.

Because HubSpot is made to scale with your business, more small businesses can see the value in HubSpot’s tools earlier on. If they decide they need more features as they grow, less data will be lost to other networks in the process. 

To learn more about HubSpot’s free marketing tools, you can visit their website here

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Let’s face it, you know that it’s time for a change in the way that your organization approaches content marketing.

You also have felt enough pain to know that it’s time to get your leadership, marketing, and sales teams aligned about why being the best educator in your space will help you build trust with prospects and close business faster.

The first step in ensuring this happens is to conduct an inbound culture workshop to help all company leaders catch the vision. 

Now, some companies might have insiders who will want to develop and facilitate this workshop, however, we don’t recommend this approach for a couple of reasons that we’ll explain in the video. 

Whether or not your organization decides to go-it-alone or you opt for a third party to facilitate the workshop for you, you need to know what should be covered in an inbound workshop and why.  

Meet Zach Basner - Director of Inbound Training and Video Strategy. In the 21-minute video below, Zach and I discuss the eight principles that need to be covered in an inbound culture workshop and how to know if your company is in need of one.

Don’t have 21 minutes to listen but really want the Cliff’s Notes version? Scroll below for the abridged version of the interview and key takeaways to help you understand what should be covered in an inbound culture workshop.

 

Why do we recommend companies participate in an inbound culture workshop? (00:39)

If you want long term success with anything, you've got to start it off with the right momentum and really get all the buy-in you need. What you don't want is to get started on this journey and realize there’s a lot of things you should have done to get started and you didn't. It’s [the workshop] going to cut down on the time to seeing results if you are all starting on the same page.

What problems does it solve? (1:31)

It’s buy-in. When we say buy-in what we mean by that is, everybody understands the importance of this and sees how it directly impacts their job and the way that they're interacting with customers because this [content marketing] isn't just a marketing play. This is really an organizational play; how are we going to get better at earning the trust of our customers, and how are we going to become great educators in our space. And that doesn't just apply to marketing, it applies to sales, customer service and leadership and everyone's got to see exactly where they fit into that.

Regardless of whether someone goes it alone or hires a third party, let’s talk about the key items that must be covered in an inbound culture workshop. 

Principle 1: Consumer Expectations have Changed (3:19)

 At the end of the day, the way we [as consumers] buy things has changed.

And really understanding what that means and what the changes have been over the past five to ten years is going to create a really good foundation to continue to build your content marketing strategy.

Principle 2: The way Google and Other Search Engines Work (4:30)

Yeah, we're all familiar with Google, or at least most of the population is familiar with Google, but many don’t know how it works. There's actually a very simple way of understanding the way the Google works. There's a lot of changes that Google makes on a regular basis, many of them that some don't hear about. But the underlying thing that we've got to wrap our heads around is that search engines help people make decisions. And so understanding how [people are] using it to make decisions and how to leverage that is really, really important.

Principle 3: The way Consumers Search and the Big 5 (5:26)

The Big 5 is based on the teachings of They Ask, You Answer. There are the five [topics] that consumers really want to know about and what they are looking for. Yet those are the things that businesses, most often, are not willing to address on their website. This dives into why the Big 5 makes such a difference to the buyer and why most companies aren't willing to address those things, and if you do, what will be the outcome. [The Big 5] is literally the type of content that will drive more traffic leads and sales. 

Principle 4: Group Brainstorm of Content Ideas (6:59)

Having a group brainstorm for content ideas is going to give you over 100 ideas during the course of the day. And that's going to give a great place to start with this whole education and content marketing journey.

Facilitating it during the workshop takes advantage of the momentum and ideas that are going on in people's heads.

With the proper brainstorm exercises you really do uncover the things that you should have been talking [and writing] about a long time ago.

Principle 5: The Impact Content Can Have on the Sales Process and Closing Rates (9:44)

This is so important because most companies really do underestimate the amount of time a prospect is willing to spend to become educated. What we've learned time and time again here at IMPACT in working with our clients is that great content, assuming that it's honest and transparent, is the greatest and most underutilized sales tool in the world.

It has a tremendous impact on sales and becoming a more trusted contender. If you're going head to head with competitors, it's going to help you earn trust.

So, learning how to use content directly in the sales process to increase closing rates to shorten the sales cycle is as a massive part of this workshop and is a great result of doing great content marketing.

Principle 6: The reason why everyone’s voice, talents, and knowledge are critical for success (11:04)

The best way to fail with content marketing is to make it a marketing thing. If a person doesn't really see where they can contribute, that's going to be a problem.

When you get sales, marketing, services, and leadership into a room, each group has their own expertise. They have a perspective on how to help the customer or what the customer is going through. Each has ideas on how to present that knowledge.

And although it's a collective effort of everyone's unique voice, skills, and perspectives each group will have a different way of viewing things. Sales will see things differently than customer service does, than leadership does, than the subject matter experts — and that’s critical [for great educational content.]

Principle 7: The editorial guidelines moving forward (13:19)

Having guidelines for anything that you do is important, especially if you're creating a lot of content and you have a lot of people contributing to it. It is important that there's some consistency.

The guidelines will also help people learn how to contribute as well because, oftentimes, we get paralyzed by not knowing what to do next. To keep [up team] momentum, make sure nothing’s going to slow them down in review of content or the editing of content. You want that to be quick and streamlined, so guidelines are imperative.

Principle 8: A look into the future (14:47)

After you've had a day like this where you're going over all these principles and getting excited about it, and are ready to get started, it's really important to know what's going to happen if you're really [going to be] successful. But it's also important to know what could cause this to fail. 

You want all these things to happen. You want to make this work. This is an organizational priority. But, what would stand on your way of actually doing it? 

By looking at the future and being able to vision-cast, it's going to ensure that everyone is aware of what could happen if you do it well and what can make it go off the rails if it doesn't go well.

As an organization, we tend to tell people it’s not a good idea to facilitate your own workshop. Tell us why. (16:03)

[Doing it internally] doesn't seem to have same effects. There is a famous quote, “a prophet is never accepted in his own hometown.” Really what that is saying is that it's very hard for somebody who is not a fresh face [in your company] to be a catalyst for massive change. 

Think about your own organization, what was the last big cultural shift that happened or big strategy that changed? [Change] typically comes from outside the four walls [of your organization.] Someone goes to a conference or a speaker comes in really inspires people. Everyone gets behind it and [your company] starts moving forward very quickly.

That doesn't seem to be the case when [try and inspire change] internally. It's not to say that it can't be done.

Have you ever worked with someone that's tried to do it themselves? (17:47) 

Yeah, I would like to say that it went well. But I've yet to hear a story of this working really well.

We've all been parts of companies that have programs meant to [inspire] change and six months down the road, everyone's going, “Whatever happened to that one thing that we were talking about?”

That's not a cultural shift, that's just a program. A cultural shift is where everybody looks back and says, well, can you believe we ever did that any differently?

How would a company know if it would be a good fit for this type of workshop? (19:04)

The major symptoms that you'd be experiencing are you're not generating enough leads right now or you're losing a lot of deals, or your sales cycle is very long.

You may know content to be the fix, but when you go to your sales team, leadership team or subject matter experts and ask them for help, a very small percentage of them are willing to help or know-how.

It could be that a leader shows resistance. It could be a marketer who is resistant, or sales. 

But as long as that resistance is occurring, it's going to slow down sales progress and organizational change.

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Experts usually agree that public speaking is among the most widely-held fears. However, speaking and presenting at conferences is also an important professional experience — a chance to grow your personal brand, represent your company, and share your hard-won insights and expertise.

In addition to being the author of THE LATEST, our thrice-weekly newsletter, IMPACT Director of Web and Interactive Content Liz Murphy has spoken at INBOUND and at many other conferences and events.

She’s also set to speak again this year at IMPACT Live:

So, I invited her to sit down with me to discuss how she prepares for being a speaker at a conference, why you shouldn't gesture from your stomach, and why feeling nervous before giving a talk is a good thing.

John Becker: It's safe to say that many people would rather jump out of an airplane or share a bed with snakes than speak in front of a large audience. Most people are terrified of public speaking. Are you?

Liz Murphy: Here's the funny thing. I love getting on stage and being up in front of an audience. I always joke that I'm an only child, so my love language is: “Tell me I'm pretty and give me attention.” But the real reason is that I love teaching and speaking with the purpose to educate — to break down big, scary concepts and ideas into accessible lessons and actions. It's just something I've always naturally loved doing.

That said, before I get on stage, I am always nervous to some degree. Every single time. 

People will come up to me and say, "You're going to do a great job." And I’ll say, "Oh yeah, I know, it's going to be wonderful. It's going to be great." But, on the inside, I’m seizing with panic.

It's interesting that people think a metric of success, whether you're talking about public speaking or anything else, is not to be nervous going into it. Like, you’ll just have this unerring confidence in what you're about to do. 

But think about all of the big things we do in life — whether that's getting married or taking a big test. Even if we know we've prepared and we've done all the right things, you're always going to feel nervous. 

So, I think feeling nervous before you go on stage is totally normal. It's just adrenaline, it's you getting pumped up. 

If you have the space to do so, pop in your earphones and find your big pump-up song and listen to it right before you go onstage. I know Tony Robbins does that, and he jumps on a mini-trampoline and then literally runs out on onstage.

I think everybody needs to find that thing that helps them get in the headspace. But, be nervous. It's fine. The key is to recognize it, accept it, and don't let it consume you. Don't let it stop you. 

JB: When you know that you're going to speak when do you begin preparing? What does that process look like?

LM: For me, there's active preparation and there's passive preparation. Passive preparation is what happens immediately after I've either volunteered myself to speak, or when I've been told, "Hey, you're going to be in this lineup." That's really for me when preparation begins.

I would say the exception to that is in the case of speaking pitches. If I'm pitching a talk, then I'll probably do a little more work beforehand. 

Because, as soon as the thought of speaking enters my mind, my brain immediately launches into processing ideas — both consciously and unconsciously — as I go about my day-to-day. So, I’ll be eating dinner, while my brain works like a little computer to passively think about what openings might work best, examples of whatever I’m talking about I may want to include, and so on.

But in terms of when that talk actually comes together, it starts the moment I've made the decision, or I've been told that I will do a talk.

I always start by asking myself, “Through this talk, what problem am I trying to solve?” 

I think sometimes we get focused on ideas that make us say, “Oh, this topic has the right buzzwords and sounds like it would be a great talk." But, what I really try to focus on is the underlying problem that topic is designed to solve. 

Then I really try to dive deeply into the “who” — meaning, who is the person or audience I am trying to help solve this problem? Why do they, specifically, care about this problem, and what are they looking for from me to help them solve it?

That's actually something I've gotten from Marcus Sheridan, who says, "Before you create a talk, or really even think about your script or your slide deck, you need to decide what one thing you want them to say when they walk out of that room." I really try to focus in on that.

Once I feel like I've landed on the problem I'm solving, who I'm solving it for, and my “one thing,” then the talk kind of builds itself from there.

JB: Do you ever bring other people into that process?

LM: Yes and no. There have definitely been times where a talk has only been as good as it was because I worked with people to rip it apart and put it back together again. But I do like to do some of it in private, on my own. 

I don't usually rehearse in front of people. The final form — when I'm throwing it all out there, when I'm doing the storytelling, when I'm putting in the funny stuff, when I'm really going all in on the performative piece of it — that's something I usually just let happen on the stage.

I think there always has to be a moment where you say, “These are the times where I allow for collaboration, and this is the line I draw where I bring it back to me and make it my own.”

It's like that old joke, "What's a camel? It's a horse designed by a committee." 

Ultimately, the most effective talks are going to be the ones that are uniquely your own. You definitely want to bring people into the process, so you can make sure you’re covering what you need to cover — the substance is really important

But at some point you need to make sure that you are the owner of your talk.

JB: What to you is an ideal length of a presentation if you're speaking at a conference or something like that?

LM: That's a tricky question. I've given very, very short talks, in the 10- to 15-minute range. I've given talks in the 45-minutes to an hour range. I’ve always given talks somewhere in between those ranges. I think there are ones that, selfishly, I enjoy the most. I enjoy a little bit of a longer block, where I don’t feel too rushed and allow the energy of a room to dictate some of the pacing. 

But, it's always a fun challenge to have the shorter blocks, when you have to tell an amazing story in nine to 12 minutes. I had to do that last year at IMPACT Live. I definitely went over time by a couple of minutes, but it was one of the biggest challenges I've ever had, and it was really fun.

JB: How do you plan to pace your talk — to know it’s not going to be too long or too short?

LM: There are two ways that you really attack that. First, you scope out your talk based on the time that you've been given. Then there is the actual pacing of how long it takes you to get through what you're doing.

Going back to year at IMPACT Live, I had a 10-minute spot to talk about "Why pillar content is the future of content strategy and how it's working for IMPACT." 

In my head, I'm saying, "I'm so excited to talk about this topic, but I've given this talk a thousand times and it is 35 to 40 minutes," because many people don't understand what pillar content is or why it exists. The foundation of the topic deals with very technical stuff like search engine optimization, as well as how search trends and tech has evolved over time. 

So, being a professional, I started to panic. I had no idea how I was going to give an effective, action-oriented talk on such a dense topic… in 10 minutes. 

Then, once the dry-heaving subsided, I asked myself, “What's the most important thing I could tell them in this short amount of time that will make the most difference?”

That's what you really need to do. When you have these big meaty topics you need to decide, what is the thing that the audience really needs from you the most? 

In my case, it was explaining why we even have pillar content to begin with, and then here are a few do's and don'ts for beginners. (I also included a few results as examples of those do's and don’ts.)

By asking myself, “OK, this is that big broad topic but what are the problems that I'm actually going to solve? What's the most valuable thing that I could be talking about?” That really helped me narrow down the scope.

You have to be ruthless about what you put in your talk, especially when it comes to time constraints. You have to stop thinking about what you want to talk about and think about what the audience needs to hear. 

Then it's just about getting really good with yourself about knowing how much time a talk will take. It's going to take some trial and error, I promise you, but you'll get more confident as you go on. 

One of the things I have learned over and over again is that when you practice a script it's always going to be longer when you actually do it. When I was practicing that pillar content talk I was clocking in at about seven minutes. Then, when I actually performed it — when the stories were all in there — it was more like 12 minutes.

JB: I like hearing that, because I think so often we hear, "Oh you're going to be nervous and you're going to speak much more quickly when you are onstage." I think that it can actually go the other way, too. So, your advice is really practical.

LM: Oh yeah. I remember the moment I realized onstage that I had gone over at IMPACT Live. I was mortified, but I pushed through to the end of my talk. And then, when I got off-stage, I realized something. Nobody noticed. They're like, "Oh, you ran over? OK." 

That’s not always going to be the case, and I’m not suggesting anyone flouts time restrictions they’ve been given as a speaker. But stuff like that will happen, and you’ll get better and avoiding those moments or managing them when they do occasionally occur, as you continue to practice.

JB: Can you talk to me about your suggestions for producing a slide deck? Are there best practices you want to share?

LM: Yes. The first thing I am going to say is, again, another piece of advice that I got from Marcus [Sheridan]. In addition to having a “one thing” for your entire presentation, he recommends that every slide has a “one thing.” This is the one thing you're going to talk about on each slide. 

I really love that idea, because it means every slide is a single idea. It's singularly focused. Too often, I go to talks, and slides are crammed with multiple ideas, lists, and massive swaths of data. It’s confusing and distracting, and I hate it.

I don't know whether I learned from college or terrible company presentations, but your slide deck isn't a script. It shouldn't be so busy and filled with words that the people are looking at that instead of listening to you. It should always be complementary to your talk.

I saw Tamsen Webster, who calls herself the "Idea Whisperer," at INBOUND a few years ago. She said one of her favorite things to do is, whenever she has a moment in her talk where she wants all eyes on her, she'll actually insert a black blank slide. So all attention goes to her.

For my talks, specifically, I would say you can usually get 50% to 60% of what I'm teaching you from the slides alone. Because, I’m of the belief that no one should be able to look at your slide deck and get your entire talk out of it.

JB: Can you talk to me about stage familiarity? I imagine in many cases you don't have the opportunity to do a real dress rehearsal. But are there any tips that you could give about feeling comfortable regarding the clicker, the stage, the lighting, etc.?

LM: Again, be okay with being nervous. It's a little bit of “faking it until to you make it.” 

I hate to say this, but audiences can smell fear. Your audience wants to like you, but when you walk out on stage and communicate through your posture, your eyes, and your expression, “Hey, I don’t belong here,” you completely undermine that. If that's the message you're sending with your body language (even if you don't intend to), you're immediately going to put off your audience.

But if you go out there and make eye contact — which is actually one of the hardest things to do, because depending on where you are you may not be able to see your audience, but just look like you're making eye contact — then you look like you belong there.

Last year at IMPACT Live, we were at Infinity Hall in Hartford, and I could see maybe the first two rows, but nothing beyond that. But still, subtly and quickly, I skimmed the room as I walked out (with a smile), as if I could see every single face in the audience. Like I belonged up there. Like it was my home. 

Was I scared on the inside? Sure. A little bit. But I was more excited than anything else, and so I focused on that feeling, instead of any lingering fear.

One thing that has helped me is this quote I heard from somewhere that I can’t remember. But it's always stuck with me. Instead of focusing on having stage presence, instead “own the energy of an entire room.”

That mindset really helps me, because I am able to mentally say, “This is my house, and I live here!” like I’m Diana Ross, and it carries through in the energy I project to the audience.

The other thing I would say is that you have to avoid being too much of a wanderer and a fidgeter. Don't plant yourself on one awkward corner of the stage and never move. Move around. Talk to people. If you're telling a story just move your body and be part of it. 

This is a lot easier, however, if you're really solid on the script or outline you have made, so you need to start there, before you think about movement.

One of the tricks I use to get comfortable with the substance of a talk is I will actually record myself doing it and then I'll just listen to myself. It's kind of like learning a song. I'm not trying to learn the notes, or the melody, or the pacing, I'm just focusing on learning the lyrics, so to speak. 

Then, by the time I’m up on stage, I’m having fun with what I’m doing. I’m riffing. I’m taking my talk that extra mile. But there’s always a line between natural, engaging movement and looking like a cartoon on stage.

JB: You're right that there is a balance between natural movement that feels animated and expressive and the back and forth pacing that some people do, which is just as bad as sitting stiffly.

LM: The way I always describe it is, move around but make sure whenever you're moving to a different spot on the stage you are purposefully moving and walking somewhere.

Otherwise, plant your feet. You'll get more comfortable with it. The funny thing is that people tend to feel more stiff when they're trying to be a certain way. It's kind of like with writing. The tip I usually give people is please try to sound like yourself. Just be yourself onstage. 

Not everybody's a perfect performer onstage or has perfect body movement. You’ll learn your quirks over time, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others. 

One of the things I used to do is something called "talking from your belly,” where I just kept my upper arms glued to the side of my body, while making gestures with my forearms around the middle of my body, when I was making a point. Finally, my dear friend Melanie Spring, who is a speaker trainer, said, "Liz, can you please stop talking from your stomach?" 

I had no idea I was doing it until she mentioned it. And, as I’ve continued to speak, I’ve developed a much better awareness of my body and become more purposeful in my movements.

You'll pick up on little things like that. It's not anything that anybody in your audience is really going to care about. It's something you just get better at with time. You just start becoming more aware.

JB: Can you tell us anything about what you're going to talk about IMPACT Live 2019?

LM: I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. What I will say about my talk is that it's related to something I really have been focusing on this year. And that’s answering the question of, “What is it that separates mediocre content from great content?” 

What are the universal things that we can be doing in the digital sales and marketing content that we create every single day that will, not only make us completely and utterly unforgettable to our audience, but also make money? 

Just imagine if we could reverse engineer the process of creating content that not only brings home the bacon but also makes it so whenever somebody has a problem about something specific they think, "I've got to go talk to that person."

That's really where my head's been at the past year, and really what I'm thinking about as I prepare my talk. I think my talk is about 25 minutes. So, a little more of me onstage this year, which is kind of exciting.

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Experts usually agree that public speaking is among the most widely-held fears. However, speaking and presenting at conferences is also an important professional experience — a chance to grow your personal brand, represent your company, and share your hard-won insights and expertise.

Liz Murphy, IMPACT’s director of web and interactive content, has spoken at INBOUND and at many other conferences and events. She’s also set to speak again this year at IMPACT Live. So, I invited her to sit down with me to discuss how she prepares, why you should not gesture from your stomach, and why feeling nervous is a good thing.

John Becker: It's safe to say that many people would rather jump out of an airplane or share a bed with snakes than speak in front of a large audience. Most people are terrified of public speaking. Are you?

Liz Murphy: Here's the funny thing. I love getting on stage and being up in front of an audience. I always joke that I'm an only child, so my love language is “tell me I'm pretty and give me attention.” But the real reason is that I have always loved teaching and speaking. It's just something I've always naturally loved doing.

That said, before I get on stage, I am always nervous to some degree. Every single time. 

People will come up to me and say, "You're going to do a great job." And I’ll say, "Oh yeah, I know, it's going to be wonderful. It's going to be great." But, on the inside, I’m seizing with panic.

It's interesting that people think a metric of success, whether you're talking about public speaking or anything else, is not to be nervous going into it. Like, you’ll just have this unerring confidence in what you're about to do. 

But think about all of the big things we do in life — whether that's getting married or taking a big test. Even if we know we've prepared and we've done all the right things, you're always going to feel nervous. 

So, I think feeling nervous before you go on stage is totally normal. It's just adrenaline, it's you getting pumped up. 

If you have the space to do so, pop in your earphones and find your big pump-up song and listen to it right before you go onstage. I know Tony Robbins does that, and he jumps on a mini-trampoline and then literally runs out on onstage.

I think everybody needs to find that thing that helps them get in the headspace. But, be nervous. It's fine. 

The key is to recognize it, accept it, and don't let it consume you. Don't let it stop you. 

JB: When you know that you're going to speak when do you begin preparing? What does that process look like?

LM: For me, there's active preparation and there's passive preparation. Passive preparation is what happens immediately after I've either volunteered myself to speak, or when I've been told, "Hey, you're going to be in this lineup." That's really for me when preparation begins.

I would say the exception to that is in the case of speaking pitches. If I'm pitching a talk, then I'll probably do a little more work beforehand. 

Because, as soon as the thought of speaking enters my mind, my brain immediately launches into processing ideas — both consciously and unconsciously — as I go about my day-to-day. So, I’ll be eating dinner, while my brain works like a little computer to passively think about what openings might work best, examples of whatever I’m talking about I may want to include, and so on.

But in terms of when that talk actually comes together, it starts the moment I've made the decision, or I've been told that I will do a talk.

I always start by asking myself, “Through this talk, what problem am I trying to solve?” 

I think sometimes we get focused on ideas that make us say, “Oh, this sounds like it would be a great talk." But, what I really try to focus on is the underlying problem that topic is designed to solve. 

Then I really try to dive deeply into the “who” — meaning, who is the person or audience I am trying to help solve this problem? Why do they, specifically, care about this problem, and what are they looking for from me to help them solve it?

That's actually something I've gotten from Marcus Sheridan, who says, "Before you create a talk, or really even think about your script or your slide deck, you need to decide what one thing you want them to say when they walk out of that room." I really try to focus in on that.

Once I feel like I've landed on the problem I'm solving, who I'm solving it for, and my “one thing,” then the talk kind of builds itself from there.

JB: Do you ever bring other people into that process?

LM: Yes and no. There have definitely been times where a talk has only been as good as it was because I worked with people to rip it apart and put it back together again. But I do like to do some of it in private, on my own. 

I don't usually rehearse in front of people. The final form — when I'm throwing it all out there, when I'm doing the storytelling, when I'm putting in the funny stuff, when I'm really going all in on the performative piece of it — that's something I usually just let happen on the stage.

I think there always has to be a moment where you say, “These are the times where I allow for collaboration, and this is the line I draw where I bring it back to me and make it my own.”

It's like that old joke, "What's a camel? It's a horse designed by a committee." 

Ultimately, the most effective talks are going to be the ones that are uniquely your own. You definitely want to bring people into the process, so you can make sure you’re covering what you need to cover — the substance is really important

But at some point you need to make sure that you are the owner of your talk.

JB: What to you is an ideal length of a presentation if you're speaking at a conference or something like that?

LM: That's a tricky question. I've given very, very short talks, in the 10- to 15-minute range. I've given talks in the 45-minutes to an hour range. I’ve always given talks somewhere in between those ranges. I think there are ones that, selfishly, I enjoy the most. I enjoy a little bit of a longer block, where I don’t feel too rushed and allow the energy of a room to dictate some of the pacing. 

But, it's always a fun challenge to have the shorter blocks, when you have to tell an amazing story in nine to 12 minutes. I had to do that last year at IMPACT Live. I definitely went over time by a couple of minutes, but it was one of the biggest challenges I've ever had, and it was really fun.

JB: How do you plan to pace your talk — to know it’s not going to be too long or too short?

LM: There are two ways that you really attack that. First, you scope out your talk based on the time that you've been given. Then there is the actual pacing of how long it takes you to get through what you're doing.

Going back to year at IMPACT Live, I had a 10-minute spot to talk about "Why pillar content is the future of content strategy and how it's working for IMPACT." 

In my head, I'm saying, "I'm so excited to talk about this topic, but I've given this talk a thousand times and it is 35 to 40 minutes," because many people don't understand what pillar content is or why it exists. The foundation of the topic deals with very technical stuff like search engine optimization, as well as how search trends and tech has evolved over time. 

So, being a professional, I started to panic. I had no idea how I was going to give an effective, action-oriented talk on such a dense topic… in 10 minutes. 

Then, once the dry heaving subsided, I asked myself, “What's the most important thing I could tell them in this short amount of time that will make the most difference?”

That's what you really need to do. When you have these big meaty topics you need to decide, what is the thing that the audience really needs from you the most? 

In my case, it was explaining why we even have pillar content to begin with, and then here are a few do's and don'ts for beginners. (I also included a few results as examples of those dos and don’ts.)

By asking myself, “OK, this is that big broad topic but what are the problems that I'm actually going to solve? What's the most valuable thing that I could be talking about?” That really helped me narrow down the scope.

You have to be ruthless about what you put in your talk, especially when it comes to time constraints. You have to stop thinking about what you want to talk about and think about what the audience needs to hear. 

Then it's just about getting really good with yourself about knowing how much time a talk will take. It's going to take some trial and error, I promise you, but you'll get more confident as you go on. 

One of the things I have learned over and over again is that when you practice a script it's always going to be longer when you actually do it. When I was practicing that pillar content talk I was clocking in at about seven minutes. Then, when I actually performed it — when the stories were all in there — it was more like 12 minutes.

JB: I like hearing that, because I think so often we hear, "Oh you're going to be nervous and you're going to speak much more quickly when you are onstage." I think that it can actually go the other way, too. So, your advice is really practical.

LM: Oh yeah. I remember the moment I realized onstage that I had gone over at IMPACT Live. I was mortified, but I pushed through to the end of my talk. And then, when I got off-stage, I realized something. Nobody noticed. They're like, "Oh you ran over. Oh, OK." 

That’s not always going to be the case, and I’m not suggesting anyone flouts time restrictions they’ve been given as a speaker. But stuff like that will happen, and you’ll get better and avoiding those moments or managing them when they do occasionally occur, as you continue to practice.

JB: Can you talk to me about your suggestions for producing a slide deck? Are there best practices you want to share?

LM: Yes. The first thing I am going to say is, again, another piece of advice that I got from Marcus [Sheridan]. In addition to having a “one thing” for your entire presentation, he recommends that every slide has a “one thing.” This is the one thing you're going to talk about on each slide. 

I really love that idea, because it means every slide is a single idea. It's singularly focused. Too often, I go to talks, and slides are crammed with multiple ideas, lists, and massive swaths of data. It’s confusing and distracting, and I hate it.

I don't know whether I learned from college or terrible company presentations, but your slide deck isn't a script. It shouldn't be so busy and filled with words that the people are looking at that instead of listening to you. It should always be complementary to your talk.

I saw Tamsen Webster, who calls herself the "Idea Whisperer," at INBOUND a few years ago. She said one of her favorite things to do is, whenever she has a moment in her talk where she wants all eyes on her, she'll actually insert a black blank slide. So all attention goes to her.

For my talks, specifically, I would say you can usually get 50% to 60% of what I'm teaching you from the slides alone. Because, I’m of the belief that no one should be able to look at your slide deck and get your entire talk out of it.

JB: Can you talk to me about stage familiarity? I imagine in many cases you don't have the opportunity to do a real dress rehearsal. But are there any tips that you could give about feeling comfortable regarding the clicker, the stage, the lighting, etc.?

LM: Again, be okay with being nervous. It's a little bit of “faking it until to you make it.” 

I hate to say this, but audiences can smell fear. Your audience wants to like you, but when you walk out on stage and communicate through your posture, your eyes, and your age, “Hey, I don’t belong here,” you completely undermine that. If that's what you're sending with your body language, you're immediately going to put off your audience.

But if you go out there and make eye contact, which is actually one of the hardest things to do, because depending on where you are you may not be able to see your audience, but just look like you're making eye contact — then you look like you belong there.

Last year at IMPACT Live, we were at Infinity Hall in Hartford, and I could see maybe the first two rows, but nothing beyond that. But still, subtly and quickly, I skimmed the room as I walked out (with a smile), as if I could see every single face in the audience. Like I belonged up there. Like it was my home. 

Was I scared on the inside? Sure. A little bit. But I was more excited than anything else, and I try to focus on that more than anything else.

But there was this quote I heard from somewhere that I can’t remember that has always stuck with me. Instead of focusing on having stage presence, “own the energy of an entire room.” That mindset really helps me, because I am able to mentally say, “This is my house, and I live here,” like I’m Diana Ross. 

The other thing I would say is that you have to avoid being too much of a wanderer and a fidgeter. Don't plant yourself on one awkward corner of the stage and never move. Move around. Talk to people. If you're telling a story just move your body and be part of it. 

One of the tricks I use to get comfortable with the substance of a talk is I will actually record myself doing it and then I'll just listen to myself. It's kind of like learning a song. I'm not trying to learn the notes, or the melody, or the pacing, I'm just focusing on learning the lyrics, so to speak. 

Then, by the time I’m up on stage, I’m having fun with what I’m doing. I’m riffing. I’m taking my talk that extra mile. But there’s always a line between natural, engaging movement and looking like a cartoon on stage.

JB: You're right that there is a balance between natural movement that feels animated and expressive and the back and forth pacing that some people do, which is just as bad as sitting stiffly.

LM: The way I always describe it is, move around but make sure whenever you're moving to a different spot on the stage you are purposefully moving and walking somewhere.

Otherwise, plant your feet. You'll get more comfortable with it. The funny thing is that people tend to feel more stiff when they're trying to be a certain way. It's kind of like with writing. The tip I usually give people is please try to sound like yourself. Just be yourself onstage. 

Not everybody's a perfect performer onstage or has perfect body movement. You’ll learn your quirks over time, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others. 

One of the things I used to do is something called "talking from your belly,” where I just kept my upper arms glued to the side of my body, while making gestures with my forearms around the middle of my body, when I was making a point. Finally, my dear friend Melanie Spring, who is a speaker trainer, said, "Liz, can you please stop talking from your stomach?" 

I had no idea I was doing it until she mentioned it. And, as I’ve continued to speak, I’ve developed a much better awareness of my body and become more purposeful in my movements.

You'll pick up on little things like that. It's not anything that anybody in your audience is really going to care about. It's something you just get better at with time. You just start becoming more aware.

JB: Can you tell us anything about what you're going to talk about IMPACT Live 2019?

LM: I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. What I will say about my talk is that it seems out of something I really have been focusing on this year. And that’s answering the question of, “What is it that separates mediocre content from great content?” 

What are the universal things that we can be doing in the digital sales and marketing content that we create every single day that will, not only make us completely and utterly unforgettable to our audience, but also make money? 

Just imagine if we could reverse engineer the process of creating content that not only brings home the bacon but also makes it so whenever somebody has a problem about something specific they think, "I've got to go talk to that person."

That's really where my head's been at the past year, and really what I'm thinking about as I prepare my talk. I think my talk is about 25 minutes. So, a little more of me onstage this year, which is kind of exciting.

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This episode of the Hubcast is brought to you by Dedupely. Find your duplicates. Fix your duplicates. Learn more at dedupely.com/hubcast, and stick around to hear from Clinton, Dedupely’s founder.

Nick Bennett in the house today!

INBOUND Breakout Highlights:

Okay, we're just going to highlight one breakout today, and here’s why: I went to this person’s website, and was engrossed for the next hour in her content.

How to Write Newsletters People Actually Want to Read - Margo Aaron, Founder of That Seems Important

  • Audience: in-house marketers who send newsletters, biz owners with fewer than 10k recipients, agencies who use newsletters to communicate with clients and prospects
  • Why we’re excited: if it’s not already obvious, Margo has an incredible knack for cutting through the BS of marketing and getting down to the real stuff that will really help you execute great marketing.
ThatSeemsImportant.com 

 

Report on This Funnel Reports

This report type seems to be the most confusing and difficult to understand, so let’s take a second to break it down.

The main two funnel reports you’ll be creating are either based on deals or contacts.

  • Contacts: shows your lifecycle stage funnel (Lead > MQL > SQL > etc)
  • Deals: shows your deal stage funnel (Explore Call > Scoping > Closed Won > etc)

Where things get confusing is when you select your funnel type (contacts or deals), you’re going to see a list of all of the stages listed out, and how many contacts or deals have moved through ALL of those stages.

The only problem with this is, what if your team doesn’t use all of your deals or lifecycle stages all the time? Or maybe you just want to see how many contacts or deals went through ANY of the stages?

Well there’s good news - you can do that by manipulating the initial report.

Here's a video walk-through of what we talked about:

What’s on Our Minds

Why people pay agencies to do HubSpot implementation for them — and why they shouldn’t.

  • Lack of technical knowledge / confidence
  • Lack of fundamental knowledge of the platform / CRM
This Episode’s Sponsor: Dedupely (Interview)

Dedupely finds your duplicate HubSpot contacts and companies and lets you merge them in bulk. Learn more at dedupely.com/hubcast. 

I recently sat down with Clinton, the founder of Dedupely, to pick his brain on why he created the platform and what a day in the life of a Dedupely user looks like.

Watch the full interview here:

Hubcast Inbound Interview: Clinton Skakun from Dedupely - YouTube

 

Thanks Clinton and the Dedupely team for your sponsorship of the show!

 

HubSpot Wishlist: Marketing Email Reply Logging

“Please allow automatic logging of replies to marketing emails. 

I am sending an auto-responder (from my personal email address which is connected with HubSpot) when someone fills in our form. I would like their replies to show up in HubSpot as normal email activity.

This feature is important for business/market development work. 

The goal is to make the workflow more efficient - I now have to manually search in my email inbox if that person has replied.”

Vote it Up!

HubSpot Updates New in Design Manager: HubL Transpiler and Javascript Linting

“Now when working inside the Design Manager, developers have access to a HubL Transpiler which gives them a real-time look at how the code they have written will appear on live pages.

Plus, we’ve added JavaScript linting suggestions while editing JavaScript files which provides suggestions for keeping the code clean – making it easy to maintain and scale.”

Learn More


If you’re a HubSpot developer, you care a lot about this, if you’re not, you don’t care at all.

TL;DR: HubSpot’s making the CMS back-end easier to use.

 

Bring Team Collaboration to the Next Level with Internal Comments In Conversations

“As a business, responding to customers is often a team sport. Customers can ask difficult questions that require a support agent to recruit others to help answer. Front-line agents sometimes need help from a manager navigating a tricky situation, or approving a response. There’s even times where you just want to share how awesomely you communicated with a customer to help your team take the same approach in the future. 

The common need in all of these situations is the ability to easily make your team aware of a conversation with a customer, and have an internal communication stream within the context of and at the same time as the customer-facing conversation is taking place.

Prior to today’s update, you may have tried to accomplish this in ways that made your team’s work harder to be less responsive. If you use Gmail for work, you’ve probably experienced this pain regularly. Ever take a customer off an email thread, CC some coworkers to ask a question, wait for a response, then reply to the original email, and after replying, that internal thread started getting more responses, and you lose all concept of who was in the thread and what was communicated to the customer without spending 10 minutes rereading things?  

Internal comments makes that a thing of the past for team email and live chat in the HubSpot Conversations inbox.

To leave an internal comment, go to any conversation within the conversations inbox and switch into “Comment” mode when replying. In comment mode, any message will show up as an internal comment in-line within the public conversation stream and can only be seen by other team members.”

Learn More

 

Until Next Time

Interested in sponsoring the Hubcast? Head on over to the Advertise with IMPACT page to learn more!

If you’re listening on iTunes - head on over and leave us a review! We love hearing your feedback, so feel free to leave some in the comments, or shoot me an email at cduffy@impactbnd.com!

Until next time. This is Carina Duffy & Nick Bennett saying to you, get out there and get after it!

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