How to Work Faster in Excel: 6 Helpful Tips & Features

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If you’re a frequent user of Excel, there are probably a few features you’ve found yourself using over and over again in your work.

VLOOKUPs, autofilters, and conditional formatting are critical pieces of any veteran’s arsenal — and they’ve been making appearances in spreadsheets for years.

But what most Excel users don’t know is that these features only represent a fraction of the program’s capabilities. Beyond the basics, Excel has a variety of tools that can make your spreadsheets more beautiful — and your life a lot easier.

Today, in the spirit of exploration, we’ll dive into six of these little-known Excel features to explore some of the most helpful — but least-used capabilities — of our favorite spreadsheet program. These tips and features are designed to help you work faster and smarter … and who doesn’t need more hours back in their day?

(Note: If you aren’t familiar with these features above, don’t panic. Excel can be really tricky to master, so you may want to start here or here … or here.)

How to Work Faster in Excel: 6 Helpful Tips

1) Leverage the Tables Tools to organize data and conduct quick analyses.

Although much of the data we enter into Excel is technically in table format — meaning that it’s organized into rows and columns — Excel has a separate Tables feature that allows you to analyze a group of related data more easily.

To get started with Tables, we’ve got to begin with a set of data. In this case, we’re working with some fake data from one of our favorite television series: Game of Thrones.

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To create a table, select your data. Once your data is selected, follow the instructions below.

  • On Windows:
  • Navigate to the “Insert” tab on the ribbon, then click “Table.”
  • If your data has headers already, be sure to check the “My Data Contains Headers” box so that Excel knows to create a separate header row for your column titles.
  • Press “OK.”
  • On a Mac:
  • Navigate to the “Tables” tab on the ribbon.
  • If your data already has headers, click “New” > “Insert Table With Headers.”
  • If it does not have headers, click “New” > “Insert Table Without Headers.”

Our data immediately becomes much more beautiful, with tastefully-striped rows and a nice blue color theme. Notice that Excel has also automatically added sorting and filtering dropdowns at the top of each column, so we don’t need to insert those ourselves.

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But pretty formatting isn’t the only advantage of using a data table. There are a couple other key features that will make analyzing this data set supremely easy.

First of all, we can reference columns of our table by name within functions. Let’s try summing up the number of castles owned for everyone in our data set. Normally, we’d have to use cell references to obscure cell letters and numbers to perform this calculation. But with Tables, we can reference an entire column at once by name. In this case, we’ll take the SUM of the “Castles owned” column like so:

=SUM(Table2[Castles owned])

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It’s that easy! No confusing numbers or letters to memorize — just the name of a column.

Second, we can easily add data rows to our table without worrying about breaking formulas. Let’s add a row for our dear friend Tyrion, who we’d be remiss to leave off of this spreadsheet.

When we start typing at the bottom of the table, Excel automatically adds a row and autoformats it per the table’s specifications. Best of all, the SUM() function we created automatically updates — no need to change the cell references once we’ve added a table row.

Finally, we can easily add formulas to every row of the table itself without copying and pasting. Let’s create a new column that calculates each character’s total number of properties by adding together their “Castles owned” and “Houses owned.”

In the first row of this column, take the SUM of the “Castled owned” and “Houses owned” columns. Notice that rather than using the standard cell reference nomenclature, Excel has used a new format: =SUM([@[Houses owned]],[@[Castles owned]]). And the formula automatically applies itself to every cell on the table.

2) Use the CONVERT formula to make speedy calculations.

We often find ourselves needing to perform unit conversions in Excel — like degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius or kilograms to pounds — particularly when we’re collaborating internationally.

It’s typically an onerous process involving some online research and manual copy-and-pasting. But there’s an easier way: Excel includes a generic conversion function called CONVERT() that helps us convert weight, distance, time, and temperature to and from various units.

The CONVERT formula looks like this: =CONVERT(number, from_unit, to_unit)

The from_unit and to_unit arguments are strings pulled from a pre-defined set of units built into Excel. Here are some of the most useful:

Distance

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Temperature

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Time

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(Click here for a complete list of text values)

Let’s try it out by converting each character’s preferred temperature from degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius. Rather than looking online for conversion formulas, we can simply use the following formula in a row column of our Table:

=convert([@[Preferred temp (F)]], “F”, “C”)

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3) Use the DATEDIF function to calculate the difference between dates.

We often need to calculate the differences between dates in our spreadsheets — particularly when formatting tables to be used to generate charts and graphs. Many Excel users resort to using numerous columns full of complicated YEAR(), MONTH(), and DAY() columns to extract and compare date information from various cells.

But there’s an easier way: The seldom-used DATEDIF() function. DATEDIF() allows us to take the difference between two dates using a number of predetermined Excel settings. For example, we can find the total difference between two dates, in days. Or we can find the difference between two dates ignoring their years and months, so that only the numerical days are considered.

The DATEDIF() function looks like this: =DATEDIF(start_date, end_date, unit)

That ‘unit’ argument tells Excel what to take the difference between, based on the following table:

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(Click here for more on the DATEDIF function and units.)

Let’s say, for example, that we wanted to find the difference, in days, between the birth dates of Cersei and Tyrion. We could do it like so:

=DATEDIF(D5,D18,”D”)

If we wanted to look up the same value in years, we could use a very similar formula, with the ‘unit’ argument slightly modified:

=DATEDIF(D5,D18,”Y”)

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4) Analyze numerical comparisons using Data Bars.

Setting up a chart in Excel takes time. You’ve got to select your data set, generate the chart, and ensure that the data is being displayed correctly. Then, you have to format the chart, adding axis labels, titles, gridlines, and more. Charts are a great tool for making beautiful data visualizations in Excel, but what if you just want to get a quick look at how a set of data compares internally?

Enter data bars. These are a handy way to visualize numerical comparisons using Conditional Formatting — without going through all the complexity of chart creation and development.

To get started, simply select a row or column of numbers to compare, then — on either Windows or Mac — hit “Home” > “Conditional Formatting” > “Data Bars” and pick the bar color of your choice.

Cells in our selected row or column will automatically fill with in-cell data bars. The length of these bars will be proportional to that of the other bars in our data series, with the largest numbers almost filling the cells in question.

Let’s try it out on our “Houses owned” column. With a couple of keystrokes, it’s easy to get a visual sense for who owns the most houses — no charts required.

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5) Identify trends over time using Sparklines.

Data bars, described above, are an easy way to get an at-a-glance visual comparison of different static numerical quantities. Trouble is, they don’t help us much if we want to quickly look at trends over time.

Of course, we can always use charts and graphs to visualize data, but they become cumbersome and cluttered if we’re trying to look at multiple data sets at once.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to visualize this data: Sparklines.

Sparklines are in-cell graphics (just like data bars), but they don’t show just static quantities. Instead, they show multiple pieces of data at once — like a mini-chart within a cell. Here’s an example of Sparklines in action, used to show trends in houses owned over time for a number of different people:

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Follow the instructions below to try out Sparklines on your own.

  • On Windows:
  • First, select a column or partial column; this is where our completed Sparklines will be inserted. (Note: Sparklines can only be inserted into adjacent cells within a single column — they don’t work as well when used within adjacent cells in a row.)
  • Click “Insert” then select the type of Sparklines you’d like to insert under the “Sparklines” section. There are several options here: line charts, column charts, or win/loss charts. Choose the one that will best assist in visualizing your data.
  • Enter the data range from which you’d like to generate your Sparklines in the “Data Range” box. The data range you select should be a two-dimensional matrix, and its number of rows should always be equal to the number of cells you selected before creating your Sparklines.
  • Press “OK.”
  • On a Mac:
  • First, select a column or partial column; this is where our completed Sparklines will be inserted. (Note: Sparklines can only be inserted into adjacent cells within a single column — they don’t work as well when used within adjacent cells in a row.)
  • Click “Charts” then select the type of Sparklines you’d like to insert under the “Insert Sparklines” section. There are several options here: line charts, column charts, or win/loss charts. Choose the one that will best assist in visualizing your data.
  • Enter the data range from which you’d like to generate your Sparklines in the “Select a data range for the Sparklines:” box. The data range you select should be a two-dimensional matrix, and its number of rows should always be equal to the number of cells you selected before creating your Sparklines.
  • Press “OK.”

Sparklines provide a quick and easy way to interpret trends in our data without having to invest time and effort in formatting multiple charts.

6) Arrange data using multiple Custom Sort levels.

If you’re a veteran Excel user, you’ve probably used Quick Sort quite a bit to arrange your data in a logical and coherent fashion. (If not, read up on how to alphabetize in Excel here.)

But many spreadsheet users don’t know that it’s possible to sort on multiple levels. For example, we can sort a sheet by last name, and, if two people on the sheet share the same last name, sort by first name next. Each level of our sort can be totally customized — with contents sorted from A to Z, or largest to smallest.

To Custom Sort on both Windows and Mac, select your data and head to “Data” > “Sort” > “Custom Sort.” A window will appear asking which column you’d like to sort by first, and how. Press the small “+” icon at the bottom of the screen to add an additional level of sorting. Using the dropdowns provided, you can choose to sort based on cell values (either numerical or alphabetical), or based on more advanced features such as cell color, font color, or icons.

In the following example, we’ll use an advanced Custom Sort to rearrange our list of people, ordering first by last name, then by gender, and finally by houses owned.

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We now have an easy-to-read list of people ordered by family and properties.

There you have it: six of the most helpful Excel functions to make you faster and more productive. If you enjoyed this article, put it in your bookmarks bar to keep these Excel tips on hand at work.

What do you want to learn how to do in Excel? Share your thoughts below.

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Article first found on Sam McIntire

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How to Know If Your Business is Ready For an Open Source Platform

ThinkstockPhotos-475698084-054565-edited.jpgIn order to have a successful ecommerce site, online retailers have to choose the right platform. For many retailers, open source platforms are the way to go, offering undeniable freedom, flexibility and scalability. However, they’re not the best choice for everyone, as they can be very technical, expensive and difficult to manage independently.Here, we break down the main factors that retailers should consider when determining whether or not their site requires the support of an open source platform.

Budget

Open source platforms are usually much more expensive than alternative options like template-based platforms.

Why?

On open source, retailers essentially start from scratch, which means that they need to invest more time, money and resources into the development of their site and pay for things like developers, updates, extensions, maintenance fees, etc. On top of that, this cost is largely unpredictable, with unexpected expenses like security patches, software updates and redesigns popping up all the time.

Overall, open source platforms typically cost an average of 4 times more than template-based platforms over time. The key, then, is for retailers to be aware of this difference and consider factors like the nature of their company, its potential for growth and the overall goal of their site to determine whether or not open source is worth the investment for them.

The Open Source User

The ideal open source user is a highly architectured, product-heavy site with an experienced development team and a fully developed business plan. This kind of ecommerce company has both the internal bandwidth and the need for open source, as they have a specific site vision and will likely require a level of customization and buildability that other platforms simply cannot provide.

Conversely, a small-scale retailer with a straight-forward product catalog and a team with little technical experience may be overwhelmed by the commitment and technicality that open source requires.

The main point, then, is that retailers have to consider all relevant factors when allocating their budget and determining if an open-source platform is a business-smart investment for them.

Technology

Ecommerce retailers must have access to expert, certified developers if they want to properly develop and maintain a website on an open source platform like Magento. The very nature of open source requires working in the source code of a site, meaning that retailers essentially have a clean slate when it comes to the back-end of their site. In other words, it’s like drawing on a blank sheet of paper – versus a coloring book – there are no guidelines or pre-set parameters.

On one hand, this kind of freedom allows for an unparalleled amount of customization and scalability. For a development team with the resources and a clear vision, the sky’s the limit. It also leaves a lot of room for error, though, if for example, multiple developers are used and those developers are not Magento certified, they can create conflicting codes, leading to incompatible connectors, unsupported extensions, and, in the big picture, a back-end that simply does not function seamlessly. If this happens, the website will be unresponsive and it will likely need to be redeveloped or redesigned, which means lost revenue, lost time and unnecessary expenses.

Retailers must consider the technological scope of their team before they go to open source. If they do not have the resources or technological ability to create an effective design and proper integrations, they may need the guidance of template-based platforms.

Business Strategy

Companies with a defined, developed business strategy should use an open source platform. Once again, this has to do with flexibility and freedom. With template-based platforms like BigCommerce, retailers oftentimes have to alter their business practices to fit the template-based model.

If a company’s business model requires air shipping (say they ship perishable products) they would have to restructure this aspect of their business on a template-based platform. In such cases, the flexibility of open source is a huge plus.

That said, this restrictive business model is not always a negative. Many companies don’t have a firm structure or defined practices in place, and they can benefit from the guidance that these template-based platforms provide.

In general, then, it is important that retailers consider the restrictions and requirements of their business, choosing the solution that will best support them.

ERP and CRM Integrations

If ecommerce retailers have either of these integrations, they should go with an open source platform.

Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP)

An ERP is a business process management software that is often used by ecommerce retailers to keep track of important business metrics and capture funds.

The first function that many of the newer ERPs have is to capture funds for ecommerce retailers. Legally, customers cannot be charged for a product that they have ordered online until the shipping process has begun and a tracking label has been created. New ERPs create these tracking labels, thereby allowing for the funds to be captured and for revenue to be recognized and accrued.

Secondly, ERPs integrate the back-end accounting functions of ecommerce sites, helping retailers keep track of things like inventory, sales and product costs across multiple channels. This function is particularly necessary for ecommerce companies that operate online and in one or more brick-and-mortar locations.

Why?

It is exactly these kinds of multi-faceted operations that will need help keeping track of all of their important figures and accounting information.

That said, any company that requires an ERP or already has a structured ERP in place will likely need an open source platform. ERPs simply don’t integrate well with the template-based software, and trying to force an integration will likely lead to poor site performance overall.

Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)

A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, allows retailers to manage the different facets of their business, including marketing, automations, business information, and customer data, by centralizing all of this information in one portal.

By putting all integral functions and data in one place, CRMs can help ecommerce retailers organize their businesses and keep every member of their team on the same page.

Once again, companies that already have a CRM in place will likely benfit from an open source platform. Template-based systems usually have their own CRMs and do not integrate well with existing or external CRM software.

Product and Catalog Type

When considering an open source platform, ecommerce retailers must consider both the number of products that their website has and the number of variations on those products. A general rule of thumb is the more complex and numerous the catalog types, the more likely it is that a retailer will require an open source platform.

Why is this?

Template-based platforms tend to work best with simple, defined product types or products that don’t have options like bundles and attributes. Once things begin to get more complex, the performance of the product pages begins to suffer on template-based. This can turn into a big problem for site owners since it’ll cause issues, like slow page load speed, unresponsive product page design or low-quality product images, that will negatively impact traffic and conversion rates over time. Complex, product-focused retailers, then will require an open source site to support their needs and allow them to scale. 

Open source requires that retailers build and scale their ecommerce site on their own. While this option can seem daunting, it can provide unmatched freedom, technicality and scalability when done correctly.

In the big picture, it is essential that site owners recognize that the platform is the foundation of their online presence and choose the system that will best support their company’s needs, allowing their site to run smoothly and efficiently over time.

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Article first found on Caroline Ruhland

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A Loyalty Program Becomes a Retention Hub

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It is seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, and it is only getting more expensive. As more and more ecommerce stores enter the market, the demand for PPC goes up. Simple economics tell us that these prices are on an upward trend.

Today’s top ecommerce sites are using retention to battle increasing digital marketing costs and stagnating growth. There are a number of retention tools at your disposal, but it can become tough to manage those tools. The solution is to use a loyalty program as a hub for your retention marketing tactics. 

Loyalty as a Retention Hub 

Here are a few examples of how a loyalty program can make your retention marketing efforts much easier by centralizing everything in one place. 

Incentivize Other Efforts with Points

Shoppers often take a “what’s in it for me?” approach when deciding whether they will complete an action on your site. It is incredibly valuable to get a customer to share your store over social media, but very few ever do. You can reward this behavior by providing points for the completion of marketing activities that are both retention and acquisition focused, whether that’s sharing your store on social media or referring a friend directly. 

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As soon as a customer realizes that your points have real monetary value, they’re motivated to earn them for easy requests like sharing on social media or referring their friends, or sharing user-generated content. A loyalty program ties all of your marketing efforts back into your retention marketing strategy. More retention gets you more repeat customers, and repeat customers are valuable online!

Avoid Discounting 

One of the pitfalls of ecommerce is discounting your store to death, and reducing your average order value, customer lifetime value, and bottom line. Many online retailers will try to get more referrals, sales, or shares by offering a straight discount. These discounts set an expectation that a customer will never have to actually pay full price.

“If you are always offering discounts, your shoppers will never consider paying full price.”

You might see discounts as a necessary evil to get the ball rolling, but it can actually do some serious damage to your brand image and sales. This is especially true if you consider yourself a luxury retailer. 

Using a loyalty program allows you to reward points to incent action rather than offering straight discounts. Points do not have the same associations as $15 off or 20% off. And, they encourage users to continue to purchase full-price items from you. This allows you to kick start marketing effortsand avoid the negative effects of discounting.

Consistent Communication

The more tools you’re using, the higher likelihood that your communications have a fragmented look and feel. A tool for retention emails might send emails that look one way, and a referral program sends emails that look totally different. Using a loyalty program as a hub can help solve this fragmentation issue. After all, your customers only think they’re working with you — a single store. 

When all your retention efforts are being conducted with the same tool, you get a customer experience that is on brand, engaging, and effective at driving repeat purchases.

Centralized Data

There are not enough hours in the day for an online store owner or ecommerce manager. The last thing you want to be doing is checking multiple retention tools to see how effective your efforts have been.

A loyalty program can bring all these tools into one convenient location. Instead of looking at revenue from loyalty members, number of purchases from referrals, and repeat customer rate in three separate places, you can look in one spot.

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And, using a central hub for retention marketing efforts makes it easier to see if your retention efforts are making you some serious money, or if they need to be tweaked.

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Centralize Retention with a Loyalty Program

Retention marketing is a long term strategy, so to truly invest you need to set yourself up for success. Invest in the right tools, treat the strategy with the respect it deserves, and start things off right.

If you are planning to take your retention marketing efforts seriously, you should consider adding in a loyalty program. They lead to some amazing results, and create a central hub for your retention efforts. 

Amplify your retention and acquisition strategies with the power of user-generated content.

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Article first found on Alex McEachern

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Facebook Bots 101: What They Are, Who’s Using Them & What You Should Do About It

Facebook_Messenger_Bots.jpgBack in April, Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of Facebook’s Messenger Platform — a new service that enables businesses of all sizes to build custom bots in Messenger.

In the days following the announcement, the tech and marketing space lost its mind. Thousands of articles were penned about the news, each one speculating on what an open Messenger platform could mean for businesses.

Why all the ardor? For starters, Facebook Messenger already has about 900 million monthly active users worldwide. Not registrants. Not people who got forced to download it when Facebook spun it out of the standard Facebook app. We’re talking about active users who have adopted Messenger as a primary communication channel.

Anytime a company as forward-looking as Facebook opens up a platform as heavily adopted as Messenger it should raise eyebrows. So the early excitement, well, it’s justified. But what comes next is entirely undefined. And as marketers, we have an exciting opportunity to help shape it.

As Zuckerberg put it in his keynote, “No one wants to have to install a new app for every business or service they want to interact with.” And bots are much different than disjointed apps. In other words, building into the already popular Facebook Messenger app could enable businesses to get in front of customers without that added friction.

At least, that’s the potential …

What Is a Bot?

“Bot” is a generalized term used to describe any software that automates a task. Chatbots, which anyone can now build into Facebook Messenger, automate conversation — at least the beginning stages of it.

What’s special about the bots you can build on Facebook Messenger is that they’re created using Facebook’s Wit.ai Bot Engine, which can turn natural language into structured data. You can read more on this here, but in short, this means that not only can bots parse and understand conversational language, but they can also learn from it. In other words, your bot could get “smarter” with each interaction.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of artificial intelligence (AI). And this is a type of AI. Natural language interface is common in most chatbots, but by opening up the Messenger Platform and providing developer tools like the bot engine, Facebook has made building an intelligent bot easier.

How People Find Bots in Facebook Messenger

So, now comes the classic marketer question: If you build it, will they come?

The answer? Maybe.

Users are able to search for companies and bots inside Facebook Messenger by name, so you’ll probably get some users that way. But, as with any new pathway into your company, you’re likely to find that adoption of this communication channel within your customer base won’t happen without some promotion. Facebook is trying to make that easier for businesses and organizations as well.

Here are a few tools and updates they’ve released to help simplify that connection:

Messenger Links

If you’ve created a Page for your business on Facebook, Messenger Links will use your Page’s username to create a short link (m.me/username). When someone clicks that link — regardless of where they are — it will open a conversation with your business in Messenger.

Customer Matching

If you have phone numbers for customers and pre-existing permission to reach out to them, you can find them on Facebook Messenger via customer matching. Conversations initiated through customer matching will include a final opt-in upon the first Facebook Messenger communication.

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Image Credit: Facebook

Messenger Codes

Messenger codes are unique images that serve as a visual thumbprint for your business and bot on Messenger. If you are familiar with Snapchat codes, these visual cues act in the same way, redirecting anyone who scans them using Messenger to the corresponding company page or bot.

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Image Credit: Facebook

Messenger Buttons

You can embed these buttons, provided by Facebook, into your website to enable anyone who clicks them to start a Messenger conversation with your company.

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Image Credit: Facebook

For all of the above, if you haven’t developed a bot, the result will be a standard Messenger-based conversation. So you’ll want to be sure you’re monitoring that channel.

5 Examples of Branded Facebook Messenger Bots

Written definitions of bots are one thing, but sometimes it helps to understand how a bot works in action. Let’s take a look at a few early examples …

1) 1-800-Flowers

The example Mark Zuckerberg lauded in his keynote was the ability to send flowers from 1-800-Flowers without actually having to call the 1-800 number. A user, Danny Sullivan, subsequently tried it by sending flowers to Zuckerberg himself and documented the five-minute process here.

The bot took Sullivan through a few floral options and then confirmed shipping details.

Source: Danny Sullivan

Image Credit: Marketing Land  

2) Wall Street Journal

With the Wall Street Journal bot, users can get live stock quotes by typing “$” followed by the ticker symbol. They can also get the top headlines delivered to them inside of Messenger.

3) HP

HP created a bot for Messenger that enables users to print photos, documents, and files from Facebook or Messenger to any connected HP printer.

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Image Credit: HP  

4) Facebook M

Facebook is releasing its own bot for Messenger, a personal assistant bot named “M”. M can answer a wide range of requests — from restaurant recommendations, to complex trivia, to last-minute hotel rates in the city.

Its flexibility is due to the fact that M is actually a bot-human hybrid. As Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer told Recode: “It’s primarily powered by people, but those people are effectively backed up by AIs.” While the bots act as a first line of defense in fielding questions, the difficult questions are quickly routed to human assistants.

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Image Credit: The Next Web

5) Healthtap

Healthtap is an interactive healthcare provider that connects users to advice from medical professionals. On the heels of the platform announcement, Healthtap created a bot that enables users to type a medical question into Facebook Messenger and receive a free response from a doctor or browse articles of similar questions.

You can see here how the conversational interface works. The user in this example is inquiring in natural language about a specific health concern. From the user’s standpoint, this is similar to texting a friend.

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Image Credit: mobihealthnews

This set up also helps the company filter inbound requests by solving some patient questions with existing responses first and then surfacing unique queries for live response.

(Intrigued by these examples? Engadget has a longer list of bots that are either released or under development for Facebook Messenger.)

Should You Build a Bot?

Ah, see that’s not the sort of question I can answer for you. Building a bot for Facebook Messenger, like any marketing or product endeavor, is going to take resources — mainly staff time and expertise — and may not result in the outcomes you’d like to see.

That said, here’s my best guidance for how you can answer the question for yourself:

Do you have a clear use case?

One of the biggest reasons so many companies went astray in building apps for their businesses is that they saw it as just another version of their website. They didn’t take the time to study how being on a mobile device would change the types of interactions their customers would want to have with their company.

Some tasks are just not well-suited for mobile. As a result, many apps sat unused. When you’re thinking about a use case for Facebook Messenger, make sure you’re thinking about it from the standpoint of the customer or user, not from the company’s standpoint. That’s the real driver of use.

Is your audience on Facebook?

This question is often too quickly dismissed by companies that see Facebook as a purely social platform, rather than one for businesses. Even if your audience doesn’t currently use Facebook for business needs, you need to start by determining whether or not the potential is there.

If you have an audience who uses Facebook heavily in their personal lives, they’re likely to adopt Messenger as a communications tool. And how they use Messenger may expand beyond how they use Facebook. Today, usage of messaging apps has actually outpaced that of social networks. And as new use cases arise, behavior evolves with them.

Can you support inbound inquiries from Messenger?

Don’t open a communication channel with your prospective and existing customers if you can’t support it. Even with the automation of a bot, you’ll still need to carve out time to 1) promote it 2) monitor any questions your bot can’t answer and 3) keep tabs on the overall customer experience you’re creating with it.

If you’ve thought through the above three questions and think you’ve got a good foundation for a Facebook Messenger bot then dive in. There’s a benefit to being an early adopter in this space. And as a newly open platform, Facebook Messenger needs thoughtful and strategic companies to shape it.

Have you used any branded bots on Facebook Messenger? What’s your favorite use case? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Article first found on manderson@hubspot.com (Meghan Keaney Anderson)

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10 Ways to Create Great Inbound Content for Your Association

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Content can be a great way for your association to engage with constituents. But where to begin? What’s the best approach to creating nonprofit content?

By setting goals, getting your team involved, and grounding your writing in a pre-established strategy, you can turn your blog, website and other content channels into a place you get engage with and inform potential customers. Whether you’re about to launch a brand new content strategy or want to tweak current efforts to increase member engagement, these 10 tips can help your organization succeed with content.

And to learn even more, check out our latest ebook, Sign Up! A Guide to Growing and Engaging Your Membership Base >>

Content Creation Tips for Associations 

1) Know Your Goal

The goal of inbound marketing is to get more people to join or engage with your organization. Your content is an extension of your organization’s overall growth and engagement strategy. Set milestones for your content that ladder up to this growth – number of views, clicks, downloads, new contacts, and members that originated from any given piece of content.   

2) Find Engaging Topics

Your organization has a wealth of experience and value. Use that knowledge to proactively answer questions that people have about organizations and members. This tactic is called “you ask, we answer.” There are so many questions folks have about who you are and what you do that people are search for answers on the web. Think about questions your members might type into goo

3) Care About Keywords

A keyword is simply a word or phrase that people search for online. With over two trillion searches being done this year, ignoring the phrases people search for around your issue can be a huge missed opportunity. You need to do basic research on the keywords people are looking for and the language your ideal constituent uses. Working those words into your content will help your inbound marketing efforts.

4) Get Everyone to Create Content 

Most organizations have a lot of people creating a lot of different content across many different departments. There are likely people in membership, policy, communications and beyond who are writing about your organization in compelling ways. You should have one person in charge of overall content, so all of the great work that your team is doing isn’t lost or duplicated. That way, everyone else can focus on planning, curating and editing content. Check out our post on why everyone should create content here.

5) Social Is Not Enough

We love social media. It’s an easy way to share content and it can increase traffic. But it’s important to think beyond a single tweet. You need good content to get customers to click, and more content on your site to keep them there. 

6) Conversions Matter More Than Traffic

You can have an impressive amount of people visiting your site, but if those browsers are not taking any action to indicate they’re interested or signing up to join your association, it is a waste of a lot of effort. Your goal as an organization is for people to take action. So, your content and website needs to be focused around that. One way to encourage conversions is to think about calls-to-action that matter to you—Donate, get involved, sign upand then work backward to create content and workflows that drive users toward those actions.

7) Think Quantity and Quality

“How often should we post?” This is a harder question to answer than you might think. There is an ongoing argument around content marketing about quantity vs. quality. Should I have one great 2,000-word post or four 500-word posts? 

Our short answer is you need both quantity and quality. Consistency matters a ton. If you can consistently publish once or twice a week and do a big content offering once a quarter, do that. If you can do more than that great, but don’t start a blog and then stop six months later. Check out HubSpot’s experiment on blog post frequency here.

8) Consider Both Reactive and Evergreen Content

Sometimes, it makes sense for you to create a piece of content that is timely, or reacts to a specific current events. Other times, you should focus on writing something that is just as relevant today as it will be six months from now. A mix of both is important, because it drives different types of people. Some people are looking to solve problems, while others are looking to be entertained or informed on a current issue. Your content should answer all of these questions.

9) Have A Content Mix

Think beyond writing. Video, audio and infographics all have their place mix up the type of content. The goal of trying different approaches (like quizzes, games and paywalls) is to reach and engage folks.

10) Plan Out Your Content 

It’s important to have a calendar. Since inbound marketing is a cross-department effort, you need to have the content be coordinated across departments. Use a content program like Teamup or the HubSpot content calendar to keep track of posts.

Bonus Tips:

Hold A Blog-A-Thon

Wouldn’t it be great to create three times as many blog posts in a single sitting? Get your team around a white board and write 100 questions people would ask about your association. Then write out the answers, and you just created great content, fast.

Create A Video Booth at Events

Have trouble getting video content?  A quiet room and a green screen are a way to capture good member video easily and quickly.

Use A Whiteboard Program  

Whiteboard videos are easy to make and don’t take much time to create. Using a program like VideoScribe, you can take your best written content and turn it into video.

Want more? We delved deep into how inbound marketing can help nonprofits grow membership bases in our new ebook with HubSpot, Sign Me Up! A Guide to Growing and Engaging Your Membership Base.

A Guide to Growing and Engaging Your Member Base

Article first found on Joe Fuld

If this article was helpful, share it and visit this page with even more digital marketing tips to grow your business.

12 Marketing Job Descriptions to Recruit and Hire an All-Star Team [Free Templates]

marketing-job-hiring
Are you ready to build your dream team of inbound marketers? Do you know what roles to fill and how to find the best people for the job?

Hiring inbound marketers is fairly new and uncharted territory for many businesses straying from traditional marketing tactics.

Step one is recognizing the need to invest in inbound marketing. The next step? Assembling an all-star cast of marketers — a team of lean, mean, digitally fluent, content-creating machines to take your marketing to the next level.

So how do you acquire this killer marketing lineup? How do you spot the Jordans in a sea of Bulls? These 12 core marketing job descriptions are a great start to finding your key players. Download our full collection of 37 marketing job descriptions here to build an all-star team of your own. 

Feel free to adapt, modify, and use them in your own search for your next all-star marketing team members. 

12 Core Job Descriptions to Build an All-Star Marketing Team

1) Inbound Marketing Manager Job Description 

If your marketing department is just starting to make the shift to an inbound approach, it’s possible you’ll still need to prove the success of your inbound marketing program.

If this is the case, you’ll likely be looking to hire an all-in-one inbound marketer — someone who can build and grow your inbound marketing strategy from the ground up. Look for someone who is very self-motivated and versatile … and gets stuff done. (And if you’re still trying to convince your boss to to make the shift to inbound in the first place, download these 100 stats, charts, and graphs to help you get inbound marketing buy-in.)

Job Description:

We are looking for an amazing, data-driven inbound marketer to own the majority of the marketing funnel for our company. You will be in charge of attracting site traffic, converting that traffic into new leads for the business, and nurturing those leads to close into customers, the latter of which sales leadership will help you accomplish.

Responsibilities:

  • Build and manage a rich content/editorial calendar that attracts a qualified audience to our owned properties (including blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, reports, webinars, infographics, etc.).
  • Grow new leads, including marketing-qualified leads, by converting site traffic through calls-to-action, landing pages, and lead generation content (including offers).
  • Optimize our marketing automation and lead nurturing processes through email, content, and social channels.
  • Establish closed-loop analytics with sales to understand how our inbound marketing activity turns into customers, and continually refine our process to convert customers.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree or equivalent work experience.
  • Some past experience in marketing preferred.
  • Excellent communicator and creative thinker, with an ability to use data to inform all decisions.
  • Proficiency in marketing automation and blogging software in order to generate traffic, convert visitors into leads, and then nurture them (using dynamic workflows) into converted customers.
  • Bonus skills: HTML/CSS, Adobe Creative Suite.

2) Social Media/Community Manager Job Description 

Have you heard? According to Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their business.

So if you aren’t yet using social media marketing to your advantage, it’s time to start. And to do so, you need a social media manager who not only knows social media platforms like they know the alphabet, but who also knows how to develop strategies specific to various social networks, track the right metrics, and integrate the best tools and practices on those platforms. 

Job Description: 

Do you tweet, share, and post to social media in your sleep? Do you know what it takes to grow an online community? We’re looking for a social media manager to manage our social media accounts by implementing strategies and tactics that grow our followers, engage and retain them, and help convert them into leads, customers, and active fans and promoters of our company. You should have command of best practices and trends in social media marketing, enjoy being creative, and understand how to both build and convert a digital audience.

Responsibilities:

  • Build and manage the company’s social media profiles and presence, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and additional channels that may be deemed relevant.
  • Create shareable content appropriate for specific networks to spread both our brand and our content.
  • Monitor and engage in relevant social discussions about our company, competitors, and/or industry, both from existing leads and customers as well as from brand new audiences.
  • Run regular social promotions and campaigns and track their success (e.g., Twitter chats, LinkedIn discussions, etc.).
  • Work alongside other marketers and content marketers to help distribute content that educates and entertains our audience and supports marketing goals.
  • Drive consistent, relevant traffic and leads from our social network presence.
  • Explore new ways to engage and identify new social networks to reach our target buyers.
  • Track, measure, and analyze all initiatives to report on social media ROI.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree or equivalent work experience.
  • Active and well-rounded personal presence in social media, with a command of each network and their best practices.
  • Excellent communicator and creative thinker, with an ability to use both data and intuition to inform decisions.
  • Proficiency in using social media software (e.g. HubSpot’s Social Inbox) to monitor social media conversations. You will be our ear to the ground to route the appropriate marketer, sales rep, and/or support rep to social conversations.
  • Bonus experience and skills include Adobe Creative Suite, demand generation, inbound marketing, and blogging.       

3) Blog Manager Job Description 

Did you know that, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Reportmarketers who have prioritized blogging are 13X more likely to enjoy positive ROI? If you aren’t taking business blogging seriously enough, now would be the time. And hiring a dedicated blogger or blog manager is crucial in creating remarkable content.

You need someone who is not only a great writer and editor, but who can also keep your brand’s voice consistent across daily published content and understand how to use your blog to generate qualified traffic and leads for your business. An ideal blog manager will understand your buyer personas so well that published content addresses their needs, wants, and problems.

Job Description: 

We are seeking a savvy wordsmith to join our blogging team. Candidates must have a knack and love for writing, a comprehensive understanding of the industry, and experience in blogging to achieve business goals. The blogger will be expected to sustain and develop the company’s voice across all blog content. 

Responsibilities:

  • Writing various types of articles on a wide range of topics for our blog.
  • Providing feedback to other contributors, and editing other writers’ content.
  • Optimizing content for search engines and lead generation.
  • Contributing to long-form content projects such as ebooks.
  • Conducting analytical projects to improve blog strategies/tactics.
  • Growing blog subscribers, converting visitors into leads, and expanding our blog’s overall reach.

Requirements:

  • A passion and strong understanding of the industry and our business’ mission.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills, as well as the ability to adopt the style, tone, and voice of our business’ various types of content.
  • An analytical mind and interest in using data to optimize/scale blog marketing strategies and tactics.
  • Excellent organizational skills to work independently and manage projects with many moving parts.
  • 2-3 years of marketing and content creation experience.

4) Content Marketing Manager Job Description

Marketing offers and downloadable content are the backbone of inbound marketing, serving as the fuel for all your inbound marketing strategies, including email, social media, search, lead generation, etc. Without marketing offers, your website visitors would have no reason to convert on your website and provide you with the contact information you need to segment, nurture, and close them into customers.

Marketing offers can include everything from educational ebooks, to webinars, to free trials … the list goes on. Designing and creating this type of content is time-consuming and specialized. Time to call in a new member of your dream team.

Job Description:

We are looking for a prolific and talented content creator to write and produce various types of downloadable content and blog regularly, to expand our company’s digital footprint, awareness, subscribers, and leads. This role requires a high level of creativity, attention to detail, and project management skills.

Responsibilities:

  • Create 12 free resources each month to drive leads, subscribers, awareness, and/or other important metrics (examples include ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, guides, templates, etc.).
  • Blog on an ongoing basis to support and promote your offers and to attract site visitors through search, social media, and email subscribers.
  • Grow our subscriber base by providing them with regular, helpful content that’s aligned with their needs and interests.
  • Collaborate with designers, product marketers, sales professionals, and external influencers and industry experts to produce relevant content that meets the needs of both key stakeholders and our audience.
  • Convince others that your creative ideas are worth investing time and effort in. This role is at the core of the marketing team, and others will rely on your work every single day.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree or equivalent working experience.
  • Past experience producing content for the web specifically, as well as channel-specific knowledge (blog, SlideShare, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
  • Past experience building audiences either online or offline.
  • A dual-minded approach: You’re highly creative and an excellent writer but can also be process-driven, think scale, and rely on data to make decisions.
  • Proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite (particularly Photoshop and InDesign). 

5) SEO Manager Job Description

Today, there are more than 2.3 million Google searches per minute. That means keywords are your new best friend … or the right search engine optimization manager’s at least.

Your future SEO manager should be obsessed with checking and tweaking your keyword strategy. Moreover, they should be able to develop a solid on-page SEO strategy from scratch if need be. They should also be able to execute strategies and tactics to improve your off-page SEO, such as building inbound links. A valuable SEO pro will keep up-to-date with SEO blogs and best practices, through resources like Moz and Google Webmaster Tools.

Job Description: 

We are hiring a talented SEO manager to join the marketing team. You will be responsible for identifying and executing opportunities to improve our company’s and our content’s search rank for key terms at the top, middle, and bottom (branded) of our marketing funnel.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage both on-page SEO and off-page SEO for the company.
  • Collaborate with content marketing and blog contributors to create high-quality content around important, relevant terms.
  • Manage and improve organic search engine performance and goal-setting based on clickthrough rates, traffic, and conversions.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and changes with SEO and major search engines.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS or equivalent working experience.
  • Thorough knowledge of search ranking and optimization factors and key algorithm updates.
  • Proficiency in web analytics software and keyword tools.
  • Experience with data-driven SEO analysis and optimization.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

6) Email Marketing Manager Job Description 

When it comes to email marketing, there are a lot of moving parts. On top of making sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant, you also have to optimize for mobile devices, nail timing and frequency, organize your segmentation and personalization strategy, and craft great email copy (just to name a few).

With so many email obstacles, you really need a professional on the job to make sure your emails are being delivered, opened, and clicked on. Or you need someone to figure out why they aren’t being delivered, opened, and clicked on. An all-star email marketer will get jazzed up about optimizing and building a top-notch email marketing program.

Job Description: 

Do you have a knack for getting the right emails into the right inboxes at the right times? Do you live to see those open and clickthrough rates climb higher and higher? We’re seeking an expert email marketer to join our team. You’ll be expected to develop and track email campaigns to ultimately increase our business’ email marketing success. 

Responsibilities:

  • Grow our email list organically, not through bought or rented lists.
  • Manage various email campaigns, including the template designs, calls-to-action, and content used in our email sends.
  • Segment lists based on behaviors like past email engagement and website interactions (content downloads, site page visits, etc.).
  • Measure results and optimize the lead nurturing workflows for these segments to convert leads into customers.
  • Work to minimize list decay and unsubscribes while increasing the productivity of our email sends.
  • Develop documentation and road maps for processes, A/B tests, and promotions that succeed through email.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS or equivalent working experience.
  • Past experience with email marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation, and web analytics.
  • Excellent understanding of email marketing concepts and metrics such as Sender Score, deliverability, and sender reputation.
  • Proficiency in email marketing and marketing automation technology.
  • Highly analytical and able to derive meaning from data through A/B testing and email optimization.
  • Excellent writer and communicator (in both the written and verbal form).

7) Product Marketing Manager Job Description

Whether you manufacture lawn mowers, sell software, or offer bowling lessons, your customers are customers because your product or service makes a difference in their lives. That’s pretty special. Product marketers play a crucial role in positioning products/services the right way to the right people because they have a deep understanding of your target customers and how your products and services fulfill their needs. 

Job Description:

As a product marketing manager, you will be a leader on the team responsible for telling the world (and company) the story of our product. You will be expected to be our chief advocate for a specific feature set and its benefits. Additionally, you will be charged with crafting the strategy around the messaging and marketing for new launches.

Responsibilities:

  • Together with the product team, educate both internal and external stakeholders about our product features and their benefits.
  • Create product content (e.g. sales enablement documentation, case studies, product videos, website copy, blog posts, Quora/forum responses) to articulate the benefits of our products to the world.
  • Assist members of our sales team on calls with prospects when appropriate to provide deeper dives into the product.
  • Speak and present both internally and externally to promote the story of our product.
  • Measure and optimize the buyer journey as it relates to product feature adoption and usage.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree or equivalent working experience.
  • Past experience in digital marketing, product marketing, and/or product management.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills — there is a heavy amount of writing and presenting/selling ideas in this role.
  • Proficiency in content management systems. You will be expected to build product pages, optimize the conversion paths on those pages, and use dynamic calls-to-action to create and test buyer stage-specific calls-to-action.
  • Prefer working in a collaborative, cross-team capacity. This role requires you to work across functions and departments to bring the product to life. You are at the center of our entire organization, constantly interacting with teammates and prospects.

8) Paid Marketing Manager Job Description

While you may be building up your inbound marketing team, paid marketing strategies, in moderation, can help you grow and scale your organic inbound marketing efforts. And a paid marketing professional is exactly what you need to cover all your bases, since paid marketing tactics like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and retargeting can involve a lot of day-to-day maintenance.

Job Description:

We are seeking a paid marketing manager to help acquire new leads and customers through online pay-per-click and cost-per-acquisition campaigns. You will be in charge of all external, online acquisition marketing, managing the strategy, execution, and optimization across channels.  

Responsibilities:

  • Manage the strategy and setup of all paid campaigns.
  • Measure and optimize our paid marketing using vendor-specific dashboards, Google Analytics, and marketing analytics reports.
  • Research and test partnerships with new vendors to expand our reach and/or lower our cost-per-acquisition.
  • Collaborate with marketing teammates to maintain a consistent brand voice and message across all paid programs.
  • Craft landing pages and lead generation forms for our content to distribute through relevant paid programs.
  • Stay up-to-date with digital marketing trends and potential new channels and strategies to keep us ahead, including updates to social media marketing, attribution, and programmatic media buying.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS or equivalent working experience.
  • In-depth knowledge of the various paid marketing channels and technologies, including paid search (Google AdWords), retargeting, social network advertising (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more), and content distribution and placement networks like Outbrain and Taboola.
  • Excellent communicator with the ability to sell and convince. You will manage all relationships with vendors and ensure we get the most efficient cost possible.
  • Experience handling marketing budgets and forecasting/reporting results.

9) Public Relations/Media Relations Manager Job Description

That’s right: One of the oldest marketing tactics, public relations is still alive and kicking — even within inbound marketing. But to make sure you’re executing a modern public relations strategy that’s not stuck in the dark ages, you need a modern-day public relations manager.

Job Description:

We are seeking a media relations manager to play an integral role in public/media relations, corporate communications, and content creation for our company. 

Responsibilities:

  • Connect with influential media outlets and journalists to place stories about company news and other initiatives.
  • Assist with event planning, including working with vendors, event coordinators, and design teams for on-site collateral.
  • Create content regularly to grow the company’s footprint (press releases, corporate announcements, and creative content).
  • Collaborate with prominent members of the company, including executives, to craft and pitch press releases and thought leadership columns.
  • Establish a sustainable, strategic approach to PR based on adding value to media outlets and event managers, not just asking for it.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree or equivalent working experience.
  • Past experience in public relations, corporate communications, content marketing, or relationship management.
  • Skilled in creating, editing, and promoting written and visual content.
  • The ability to work and thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment.
  • Ideal candidate will have experience pitching, crafting, and placing content externally through guest blogging or op-ed development and experience with event management and sponsorships.

10) Marketing Operations Manager Job Description

You know how every group of friends has that one person who serves as the glue that holds everyone together? Every marketing team needs glue, too. Reflective, analytical, strong, strategic Gorilla Glue.

Marketing operations professionals are charged with monitoring, measuring, and analyzing the effectiveness of marketing initiatives as they relate to the overall company’s goals. Marketing operations staff work closely with sales teams, and sometimes also have a sales operations counterpart. Together, they manage the relationship between marketing and sales to ensure that both sides are optimized to deliver (marketing’s role) and work (sales’ role) the highest quality leads, something we at HubSpot have grown fond of calling “smarketing.” Marketing operations staff make projections about the quality of the sales and marketing pipeline and spot efficiencies that will make the company work better as a whole.  

Job Description:

As a marketing operations manager, you will work to create scalable processes that ensure best practices in lead generation and database management. You will also conduct complex data analyses that will be used to inform strategic decisions by stakeholders from across the company. You will be working in a fast-paced environment managing multiple projects at once.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage technical aspects of key marketing systems (marketing automation, CRM) used to generate, distribute, and report on leads.
  • Establish and maintain scalable processes that ensure best practices in campaign and lead management.
  • Create and maintain metrics reports on marketing and sales activities, effectiveness, and business impact.
  • Analyze marketing and sales data to develop insights and make recommendations on areas for optimization.
  • Monitor and maintain data quality within the marketing database.
  • Evaluate new technologies and add-on applications to improve and optimize marketing team performance.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS or equivalent working experience.
  • Strong analytical skills (including mastery of Microsoft Excel) and experience with reporting and data analysis.
  • Proficiency in marketing automation systems (like HubSpot) and integrating those systems with other technologies.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects at the same time in a fast-paced environment.
  • Technically capable, excellent communicator, and a desire to improve processes.

11) Graphic Designer Job Description

If your content isn’t designed well, you risk detracting people from reading and enjoying it — even if it’s beautifully written. Someone on your team may have a natural eye for design, but hacking designs together in PowerPoint isn’t scalable. Professional graphic design is an investment that goes a long way. 

Plus, there’s a lot more to great design then making things look good. A great graphic designer is also really good at solving problems. They use their creativity and skills not just to make marketing materials more attractive, but to improve user experience, create brand consistency, and get specific results.

Job Description:

We are seeking an experienced graphic designer to own the creation and maintenance of both our marketing assets and content created to support the product and other marketing goals. From concept through execution, this candidate will improve our user experience by bringing our brand to life and keeping it consistent across all our various touchpoints: 

Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with marketing and product marketing teammates to support our website design and content marketing (blog, social media assets, and more).
  • Help bring new ideas for design and content creation to the team using your expertise and eye for great design.
  • Scope and create templates for our marketing team to be more efficient in their posting on social media, the blog, email, and other channels.
  • Manage other design needs such as presentations, signage, and trade show collateral as needed.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS or equivalent working experience.
  • Past experience as either an in-house designer or at a marketing agency. (We require work samples to apply for this position.)
  • Experience designing for a content optimization system (like the HubSpot COS). This person must create assets for our web team that are mobile-, tablet-, and desktop-friendly and provide a user experience that fits on all three screens.
  • Expert in Adobe Creative Suite or similar technologies.
  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript a major plus.

12) Web Developer Job Description

Maintaining and innovating on an effective, lead-generating website requires a dedicated developer.

Look for someone who has expertise in building sites on the platform or CMS you use, maintains an attractive portfolio, is deadline- and detail-oriented, and can work well with your graphic designers and product marketers.

Job Description:

We are seeking a web developer to work on our company website and other projects as needed. This role is expected to bring an eye for design, along with practical web development abilities. You will work closely with our graphic designers, product marketers, and other internal stakeholders to bring to life our brand, product information and collateral, and other website content, via the code you write.

Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement front-end web code and design standards for writing clean, semantic code.
  • Wireframe and mockup revamped or brand new site pages and present to senior management.
  • Collaborate with marketing teammates, senior management, designers, and other project stakeholders.
  • Create and optimize our web project management, hitting all deadlines and improving efficiency while maintaining the highest standards of quality web development.
  • Proactively scope and present new ideas to improve our website experience for prospects, leads, and customers.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree or equivalent working experience.
  • Strong background with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and jQuery. 
  • Domain expertise in UI/UX best practices. You are a problem solver with everything you develop to improve our site’s experience and drive action.
  • Certified on our Content Optimization System, used to create automatically responsive webpages for mobile, tablet, and desktop. Your work must appeal to all three.
  • Personal interest in staying up-to-date on the latest trends, including agile methodology and emerging best practices in the UI community.

Ready to assemble your dream team?

To fill out your team even more, download our full collection of 37 marketing job descriptions here

Keep these roles and skills on your radar as you take your marketing to the next level. Then check out these interview question from HubSpot’s CMO himself to help weed out the best of the best.

Lastly, while everyone wants to hire top marketing talent, not everyone thinks about how to ensure these rockstars keep their skillset strong. Hiring the right people is critical to your company’s growth, but remember to encourage them to continue their education through the various types of marketing training that are available. If they’re really an all-star marketer, they’ll probably want to always be learning anyway.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

  free marketing job description templates

 
free marketing job description templates

Article first found on hfleishman@hubspot.com (Hannah Fleishman)

If this article was helpful, share it and visit this page with even more digital marketing tips to grow your business.

17 Data Visualization Tools & Resources You Should Bookmark

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Whether you’re writing a blog post, putting together a presentation, or working on a full-length report, using data in your content marketing strategy is a must.

Using data helps enhance your arguments by make your writing more compelling. It gives your readers context. And it helps provide support for your claims. Download this free guide and learn to design enticing charts and graphs that are easy to understand.

That being said, if you’re not a data scientist yourself, it can be difficult to know where to look for data and how to best present that data once you’ve got it.

To help, we put together the following list of resources. Below you’ll find the tools you need to source credible data and create some stunning visualizations. Check ’em out.

17 Data Visualization Resources You Should Bookmark

Resources for Uncovering Credible Data

When looking for data, it’s important to find numbers that not only look good, but are also credible and reliable.

The following resources will point you in the direction of some credible sources to get you started, but don’t forget to fact-check everything you come across. Always ask yourself: Is this data original, reliable, current, and comprehensive? (To brush up on what makes data compelling and accurate check out this post.)

1) Statista

Price: Free version available. A Premium version is available for $49/month.

Statista is a portal of statistics, studies, and forecasts focused on market research and opinion polling. Meant for businesses and academics, Statista makes it easy to find reliable market data based on industry, topic, or country.

One of the best features of Statista is its easy to navigate interface and its automatic visualization features. You can easily download statistics and charts you find to PDF, .PNG, or Office files to customize and use them accordingly.

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2) Google Trends

Price: Free.

Ever find yourself looking for data about popular topics, online trends, and current events? If you haven’t already discovered it, Google Trends will be your new favorite resource.

Google Trends gives you data on what people are searching for, how trends change over time, and how search interest differs by area, region, country, and so on. It’s easy to search for specific trends or simply browse current trending topics.

The best part about Google Trends? It’s completely free — and super easy to navigate.

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3) Zanran

Price: Free.

Google is great when you’re looking for lots of broad information, but when you’re trying to find specific charts or data points, you might try using Zanran.

Zanran is a search engine designed specifically for finding tables, charts, and graphs online. Keep in mind that Zanran works by first examining images found online, not text. In other words, it’ll only pull up information found on actual tables, graphs, and charts. This gets you to raw, original data fast — but you might find it lacking if you’re looking for short and sweet interpreted facts and figures.

 

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4) Pew Research Center

Price: Free.

The Pew Research Center, one of the leading think tanks in the U.S., publishes tons of information and data on public opinion, social issues, and demographics in the U.S. and worldwide.

It’s an amazing resource for finding credible data on topics like politics, the media, internet and tech, social trends, and so on. Bookmark this page when you want to search for specific data, but don’t forget to follow them on social media. This is a great way to stay up to date on current trends and continually generate content ideas.

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5) SocialMention

Price: Free.

Similar in function to Google Trends, SocialMention is a search and analysis tool that allows you to monitor user-generated content trends online. If you’ve ever wanted to monitor what people are saying about your brand, SocialMention is a great tool. (HubSpot customers: You can also do this in Social Inbox. Check out this resource for more information.)

The real strength of SocialMention lies in its analysis feature. Simply type in any keyword (like your brand name), and SocialMention tells you the strength (likelihood of being discussed), sentiment (ratio of positive to negative mentions), passion (likelihood of repeat mentions), and reach (measure of influence of unique authors) of that keyword.

Gathering this kind of data about your brand can be useful internally, or you can use it to find data for social-related content.

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6) Think with Google

Price: Free.

It’s not secret that Google has a lot of insights and information to share. Luckily, Google put together a free tool for marketers to find the latest data surrounding current trends.

This is a great tool for browsing, and I highly recommend subscribing to it. Since it’s made specifically with marketers in mind, it does a great job of keeping you up-to-date on the latest information you need to know. 

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7) HubSpot Research

Price: Free.

Another great resource for free marketing, sales, and business data is our very own HubSpot Research. HubSpot Research is the place where we publish new and original reports, statistics, charts, and thought leadership ideas.

If you’re looking for specific stats or charts, it’s super easy to browse by category or use search terms to find the data you’re looking for. And if there are certain topics you want to hear more about, we’ll send you an email when we publish a new report or new data piece about it.

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Tools for Creating Data Visualizations

Now that you know where to find credible data, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to display that data in a way that works for your audience.

At its core, data visualization is the process of turning basic facts and figures into a digestible image —  whether it’s a chart, graph, timeline, map, infographic, or other type of visual. 

While understanding the theory behind data visualization is one thing, you also need the tools and resources to make digital data visualization possible. Below we’ve collected 10 powerful tools for you to browse, bookmark, or download to make designing data visuals even easier for your business.

8) Excel

Price: Packages start at $8.25/month per user (as a part of Office Suite Package).

Chances are, you might already have access to Excel at home or work through the Microsoft Office suite. Microsoft Excel is a classic tool used to both analyze and visualize data. Whether you’re doing the analyzing yourself, or just trying to repurpose data into a visual, Excel is an insanely powerful tool that you can use to create all kinds of graphs, charts, and tables.

Excel can seem like a bit of a beast to figure out at first, so if you’re interested in learning to use Excel, check out these resources here and here.

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9) Infogr.am

Price: Free for Basic. Paid packages fall into three categories: Pro $19/month, Business $67/month, and Enterprise $350/month.

Infographics are a great way to interpret your data by turning it into something that tells a visual, memorable story.

If you have little to no design experience, Infogr.am is a great tool for you. It offers different infographic templates and tools for customizing your infographic. You can use charts, graphs, maps, images, and icons to really spice up your data and make it visually appealing.

(For more infographic help, check out our free infographic templates.)

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10 & 11) Photoshop & Illustrator

Price: Pricing models start at $19.99/month for a single app.

If you’re more experienced with data visualization or design, using Adobe products can be a great way to create more elaborate, creative data visualizations. Both Photoshop and Illustrator allow you to create charts and graphs, and they’re both great tools if you want to create longer form infographics.

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12) Tableau

Price: Perpetual licenses are offered at two price points: $999 (Personal) & $1,999 (Professional).

If you’re looking for some really sophisticated data visualization capabilities, Tableau is the king of data visualization software. By connecting with other data tools like Excel, Tableau makes transforming your raw data into stunning visuals really easy. 

Note: Tableau is not the kind of software you would use for designing visuals every now and then. It’s a powerful, expensive tool meant for organizations that are working with lots of raw, big data all the time. Still, if you’re looking for a step up from Excel’s visualization capabilities, Tableau is definitely a tool you should check out.

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13) ZingChart

Price: One-time fees range from $199 (Website) to $9,999 (Enterprise).

Ever wanted to create animated graphics and charts, but weren’t really sure where to start? ZingChart might be the tool for you.

Using JavaScript, ZingChart gives you a full library of different types of charts, graphs, and maps that you can animate and use to create awesome visuals for your website and blog posts.

The best part about ZingChart is its flexible and adaptable capabilities. All of their charts have responsive design, ensuring that your charts will look great on any screen.

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14) Timeline JS

Price: Free.

One type of data visual that often gets overlooked are timelines. Timelines are a great way to display your data by looking at changes or events over time.

While you could design a timeline on various graphic design platforms such as Illustrator, this free tool makes it easy to create slideshow-based timelines to embed on your website or blog.

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15 & 16) Google Charts or Google Sheets

Price: Free.

If you’re looking for a tool like ZingChart that lets you embed graphs and charts onto a web page, check out Google Charts.

Google Charts is an API tool that lets you create custom charts for embedding. These charts can be animated, but they have a similar look and feel to the .png charts you can create on Google Sheets (Google Drive’s version of Excel).

If you like the look and feel of Google’s charts, but you really just need to create graphics for a .jpeg or .png file (to upload or embed in a document) you can also use Google Sheets to create graphs and charts much like you would use Excel.

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17) Piktochart

Price: Free lifetime account. Paid options are offered at two levels: Lite $15/month & Pro $29/month.

A similar tool to Infogr.am, Piktochart makes it easy for you to create and customize infographics within its templates. This tool is meant for users with little design experience who want to create awesome infographics.

Note: If you’re going to be using one of these two tools often, try using them in combination with one another. This gives you access to more templates that you can use to vary your content.

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What are your favorite data visualization resources? Share them with us in the comments. 

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Article first found on bcartwright@hubspot.com (Bethany Cartwright)

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How to Find Great Writers: 6 Places to Start Your Search

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Most content managers are always on the lookout for new guest bloggers — especially those struggling internal bandwidth. 

Oppositely, those dealing with a packed editorial calendar can still benefit from making room for a fresh perspective every now and then. 

In short: Working with guest contributors can deliver a ton of benefits. It serves as a great way to start a new relationship or further an existing one. It frees up your time to create other content. And if you’re working together to create a piece of co-marketing content, you can count on some added attention once it goes live. 

Here’s the thing, though: All of that is only possible when you’re working with the right contributor.

Where do you find writers that can bring new value to your audience? I’ll walk through a handful of options below.

How to Find Great Guest Bloggers

1) Check out forums and communities.

Participating in online communities, industry forums, and social bookmarking sites will introduce you to different people creating content in your niche.

When it comes to finding suitable guest contributors, you’ll want to look for two types of community members:

  • Content creators: These are people — typically other content marketers — already writing blog posts on other sites. Those posts are then shared and discussed in the communities.
  • Discussion starters: These are the people that create engaging, long-form posts on forums and discussion sites themselves. They know how to write something that prompts a reaction, and can convey their ideas clearly and intelligently — even if they’re not a professional writer.

These people can pop up anywhere on those sites, and regularly participating will make it easier for you to build relationships with them.

For Mention’s blog, I regularly browse Inbound.org for possible contributors. I like to look at popular shared posts, popular comments on “Ask Inbound” posts, and trending discussions.

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2) Sift through your blog comments. 

Another way to identify people with both smart ideas and great writing skills is to look at blog comments — both on your own blog and others in your industry.

Few marketers still take the time to write thoughtful comments. These days, most of us take the conversation to social media with short commentary. So you can bet that someone who puts work into making a blog comment impressive will add the same effort to a blog post.

If a commenter shares an idea that sounds like it could translate into a valuable post, invite them to write it with you. 

This is actually how I ended up writing a post for HubSpot a few years ago:

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As a blogger, it’s pretty flattering when someone brings up something small you randomly shared months ago, so this guest blogging invitation tends to stand out in a writer’s memory.

And as the blog’s manager, this strategy works great for creating related or interconnected content. The guest blogger’s post will relate (and link) back to the one they originally commented on, and you can develop it further into a guest series.

3) Keep in touch with HARO connections.

Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, is a PR service dedicated to making connections. Journalists, bloggers, marketers, and PR pros can sign up for free.

Through a few daily emails, HARO helps writers find sources or quotes for upcoming content. It’s a great resource for getting press coverage, but that’s just the direct and immediate benefit. There are other ways it can help you out, too.

When you connect with people — either as a source or as a content creator — keep track of everyone you’ve successfully interacted with. 

Then, instead of letting your relationship end with that “Hey, I used your quote!” email, keep things going. Bring up further collaboration or guest posting, or suggest they write about a related topic to promote the work they used HARO for.

4) Keep tabs on PR coverage.

You also want to keep in mind anyone who has mentioned your company in a great piece of content before. The fact that they’ve mentioned you before gives you an advantage.

One caveat here: Remember that this isn’t about your product. When you’re browsing through old coverage, you should be looking for great writing and insights, not just how good they made your brand sound. 

Once you’ve found a few pieces, reach out to the authors. They’re already writing in your niche, so they know the ropes. And if they’ve mentioned you specifically, they might also be familiar with your product and audience … meaning they’re equipped to write a post that your readers will love.

This is probably the #1 way we find writers for the Mention blog. I’m always on the lookout for blog posts talking about our platform. And any time I come across one that really impresses me, I’ll try to get in contact with the writer to let them know they have a standing invitation.

5) Follow Quora questions.

Great content is supposed to answer questions, right?

Well, that’s literally what Quora power users spend all their time doing. And the Quora users that are really devoted to the platform toil over answers the way content marketers obsess over headlines. 

Take a look at this answer from Chandan Trehan, one of the most viewed writers of answers about digital marketing:

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[Read the full thread here]  

It’s over 1,000 words, is divided up into different sections, and includes in-depth explanations, as well examples.

Sounds a lot like a blog post, doesn’t it?

6) Follow your favorites closely.

It’s likely that you already have a handful of blogs that you read on a regular basis. Start there.  

Do they accept guest posts? Which contributors do you enjoy reading the most? Do they guest post for other blogs?

Start paying attention and monitoring the guest authors on popular sites, as well as your niche favorites. That way, when you write your email pitch, you’ll be able to better talk about their business and recent content. 

Building Your Contributor List

It’s always great to have a bunch of close relationships with writers in your niche. Guest blogging can be convenient and beneficial, and can often lead to more collaboration opportunities. Who doesn’t want more ways to build their network? 

How do you find guest bloggers for your company? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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Article first found on bberg1010@gmail.com (Brittany Berger)

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7 Tech Predictions That Totally Missed the Mark

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How far will technology advance in the next 20 years? That’s kind of a difficult question to wrap your head around, isn’t it?

Of course, that hasn’t prevented people from offering up their own (sometimes bombastic) claims for what the future will hold.

From forecasting the demise of certain companies and technologies, to predicting the mass adoption of particular products, tech fortune-tellers have long been waxing philosophical about what’s to come. 

But in many cases, these predictions have proven to be categorically, unequivocally, wrong.

Here are some of our favorite examples of tech predictions that completely missed the mark.

7 Tech Predictions That Totally Missed the Mark

1) “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” – Robert Metcalfe (1995)

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Image Credit: Ohio University

This is one of the most well-known failed tech predictions. And the person who made the prediction, Robert Metcalfe (who co-invented Ethernet, FYI), even acknowledged how off the mark he was a few years after making the prediction. During a keynote speech at the International World Wide Web Conference, Metcalfe put a print version of his InfoWorld column that featured the infamous prediction in a food processor and — quite literally — ate his words.

2) “Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet — which there isn’t — the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.” – Clifford Stoll (1995)

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Image Credit: Newsweek

It turns out that Metcalfe wasn’t the only seemingly intelligent person to predict the demise of the internet back in 1995. In an article for Newsweek, astronomer Clifford Stoll explained why the internet wouldn’t be as transformative as many had been claiming. Specifically, Stoll called out the idea of “cyberbusiness” (read: ecommerce) as being totally impractical. As Stoll wrote:

We’re promised instant catalog shopping — just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations, and negotiate sales contracts.

Flash forward to today and … yep, we can do all that. What’s more, in Q1 of 2016 alone, total ecommerce sales in the U.S. were around $92.8 billion. Needless to say, we’ve solved the whole “sending money over the internet” thing.

3) “I’d shut [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders.” – Michael Dell (1997)

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Image Credit: Inc.

This one isn’t really phrased like a prediction, but it definitely hints at Dell CEO Michael Dell’s vision of the future. The quote above was given in response to a question about what Dell would do with Apple if he were in Steve Jobs’ shoes. (Jobs had just rejoined Apple at the time.)

Of course, when we look back now — knowing that Apple is currently the most valuable brand on the planet — Dell’s plan for Apple’s future seems incredibly foolish. But to be fair, lots of folks were discounting Apple at the time. Case in point, this quote from a 1996 Fortune article: “Apple’s erratic performance has given it the reputation on Wall Street of a stock a long-term investor would probably avoid.”

4) “Two years from now, spam will be solved.” – Bill Gates (2004)

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Image Credit: Tech Insider

I mean, come on. This one was just wishful thinking. At the 2004 World Economic Forum, Bill Gates made the bold claim that spam email would be gone in two years.

Bad news, Bill. It didn’t happen. A report published in 2014 — 10 years after Gates’ prediction — showed that, on average, 54 billion spam emails are sent everyday.

5) “Everyone’s always asking me when Apple will come out with a cell phone. My answer is, ‘Probably never.'” – David Pogue (2006)

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Image Credit: The New York Times

In 2006, the above quote from tech journalist David Pogue appeared in The New York Times. In 2007, Apple released the first generation of its iPhone. Sooo yeah, a definite swing and a miss.

But even after the iPhone was released, tech soothsayers still weren’t sure it’d be a success …

6) “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” – Steve Ballmer (2007)

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Image Credit: The Telegraph

Back in 2007, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thought the iPhone would be too expensive to earn widespread adoption. In an interview with USA Today, Ballmer even put a number on it. He argued the iPhone might end up with “2% or 3%” of the market share, but no more.

Ballmer was wrong. Apple ended 2015 claiming around 16% of the global smartphone market. And when we look at just the U.S., that market share figure jumps to 40%.

7) “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olsen (1977)

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Image Credit: Boston.com

From the 1960s through their acquisition by Compaq in the 1990s, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was a major player in the American computer industry. But for founder and former president and chairman of DEC, Ken Olsen, the computer didn’t seem like it would ever become a household consumer good (at least not in 1977, when Olsen made the comment above).

Today, more than 84% of U.S. households have computers.

Know of any other famously inaccurate tech predictions? Share them in the comments section below.

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Article first found on edevaney@hubspot.com (Erik Devaney)

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How to Build Trust Online: 7 Little Ways to Create a Trustworthy Website

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When it comes to establishing trust, it doesn’t matter how compelling your calls-to-action are, how engaging your content is, or how quickly your pages load on mobile screens. If visitors to your site have any doubts about how trustworthy you are, they’ll bounce right out and never come back.

Especially in the B2B sector, where the customer journey is increasingly self-service and often involves several months of careful deliberation, trust is a deal-breaking prerequisite for any sort of relationship building process. For B2B buyers to be open to engaging with you, they need to feel confident that you’ve got their best interests in mind for the long haul. Download our free introductory guide to A/B testing here. 

People’s guards go up when it comes to marketing and sales, simply because there have been too many cases of high-pressure, exploitative tactics over the generations.

In fact, while nearly half of us trust doctors and firefighters, only 3% trust salespeople and marketers, according to a new HubSpot Research study.

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What’s more, our profession barely outranks stockbrokers, car salespeople, and politicians when it comes to trust. Even lawyers and baristas command more trust than we do.

Understanding NPS and the Trust Index

“How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend or colleague, on a scale of 0 to 10?”

If you asked your customers — both existing and potential — to answer this questions, what would their responses look like?

This question serves as the basis for a metric known as net promotor score, or NPS. And it’s incredibly important for marketers to keep a pulse on.

But before we dive into how it can be used to measure the trustworthiness of your brand or website, let’s explore how it works. Essentially, the responses to this question get sorted into the following buckets:

  • Those who respond with a score of 9 or 10 are considered loyal enthusiasts, or promoters, who are likely to fuel your growth through continued purchases and referrals.
  • Those who respond with a score of 7 or 8 are considered passives. They are satisfied, but they’re also going to be open to offers from your competitors.
  • Those with a score falling anywhere from 0 to 6 are considered detractors. They are relatively unhappy customers who risk damaging your brand and harm your growth through negative word-of-mouth.

You can now arrive at your NPS by simply subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. So if your entire roster of clients consists of detractors, your NPS is -100, and if they’re all promoters, your NPS is 100.

Your NPS is, of course, strongly linked to your perceived trustworthiness. Customers who trust your business are more likely to be promoters, and those who don’t trust you are much more likely to be detractors. If you have a higher NPS than your competitors, then your marketing is more likely to yield results, too.

What kinds of brands do your customers trust most? A quick perusal of Alignable’s SMB Trust Index — a report based on 7,500 ratings across 45 different SMB brands according to local business owners — reveals some interesting patterns. For example, apparently small business owners deem Facebook (NPS 25) to be more trustworthy than LinkedIn (NPS 0). Verizon (NPS -12) over Comcast (NPS -59). QuickBooks (NPS 31) over FreshBooks (NPS 14).

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What is it about these brands that makes one competitor more trustworthy than another? The data doesn’t offer any definitive answers, but there are plenty of measures you can take right now to maximize the impression of trustworthiness that your website exudes.

Here are seven tactics to try.

How to Build Trust Online: 7 Little Ways to Create a Trustworthy Website

1) Use authentic images.

Horribly generic and formulaic stock photos are everywhere. While there’s nothing wrong with using carefully curated stock imagery in the right places, it’s much better to favor website visuals that look like they were actually taken of you and your team in real situations.

Stock photos can get expensive, too. To truly maximize your site’s visual authenticity, you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your staff, products, and office. This way, you still get quality that will display well on your website and work well for other content assets, but authenticity will shine through to your audience.

There are also some great free online libraries of stock photos out there. The images on offer here are generally not going to be as specific to your content concept as something original or purchased, but they’re certainly visually compelling and have plenty of distinctive flavor. Three especially useful sites in this regard:

  • Igor Ovsyannykov’s Fancy Crave. This resource boasts seven categorized archive sections and two new photo posts per day
  • Death to Stock. Check out this resources for themed monthly downloadable photo packs and “maker” movement ethos.
  • Unsplash. Look here for highly curated images that favor elegant still lives and serenely stark landscapes.

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2) Provide social proof via testimonials.

Social proof plays a big role in creating trust. Reach out to your clients every time you complete a project and ask them to provide feedback for display on your website.

Whenever possible, include a photo of the person, which helps to drive home the authenticity to the testimonial. Here’s an example of a visually compelling testimonial from the homepage of Sisense, a leading business intelligence software provider.

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3) Create helpful content resources.

No one likes a constant sales pitch, and most visitors won’t be anywhere near ready to buy the first time they visit your website, anyway.

Instead of content that screams, Buy these products now, because they’re the most awesome things ever!, aim to publish resources that show the benefit of your product or service, without overtly selling. Creating helpful content, designed to help solve audience problems and address their pain points, is critical when building trust.

Many of your prospects will be looking for the same information, so use your website to provide it to them. Use your blog to explore the issues that matter most to your buyer personas and to showcase interesting ways to use your solutions. Share case studies to demonstrate how your other clients and customers have benefited from your offering to solve their issues.

A particularly excellent example is BuzzSumo’s Knowledge Base, which features a “Use Cases” section, allowing the social media analysis platform’s audience to learn more about the app in the context of how they’re likely to actually benefit from it:

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4) Provide social proof via media logos.

Earned media commands more trust than messages on paid or owned properties. Sure, we all know that in the age of “native advertising,” the lines between journalism and sponsored promotions have blurred, but there’s still a certain mystique in being able to say that The Washington Post, for example, has found your company noteworthy enough to mention it in an article.

Those “as seen on” montages of publisher logos that you see on many B2B websites are great for boosting confidence at a glance. Are you getting any decent press? Make sure your website visitors know about it.

Below we can see the power of media logos in a screenshot from entrepreneur John Rampton’s website.

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5) Provide social proof via client and partner logos.

We’ve already touched on how important social proof is, but the opportunities here extend well beyond testimonials and media logos. You can also use client and partner logos to show who your allies are. People will recognize larger brands, but even unknowns can make an impression.

Knowing you’re good enough to work with those partners goes a long way in convincing someone you’re good enough to work with them, too. Check out how renowned growth consultant Sujan Patel uses all three types of trust-building social proof at the top of his homepage:

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6) Include microcopy that sets expectations intuitively.

Behind all mistrust is fear of the unknown. Make it abundantly clear to your site visitors what’s going to happen when they click on your site’s various tabs, CTA buttons, and links. And make sure your navigation labels are extremely intuitive.

Quick disclaimers and labels below buttons are useful, too. If a prospect chooses to opt in to your email list, how often should they expect to hear from you? Will you sell them out to a telemarketing agency, or will you keep their contact information under wraps?

When the experience of interfacing with your business matches what you say it’ll be — a button takes people where you said it would and you email them only as often as you pledged to, for example — people will allow themselves to trust what you have to say.

Below is a prime example of trust-amplifying, expectation-managing microcopy from the newsletter signup page of inbound marketing agency IMPACT Branding & Design.

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7) Put the audience in the center of stories you tell.

When you write content, or have someone write your content for you, make sure to use the word “you.” It works as a placeholder for the reader’s name, which helps to disarm people and help them be more receptive to your message.

Research suggests that some people were more likely to marry someone with the same initials as them — that’s how powerful your name is. On the other hand, using a person’s name too much comes off as creepy, so you have to be careful with it. “You” places the reader in your content as if you are speaking directly to them and involving them, without the risks of using their name too much.

This principle extends well beyond word choice. Instead of turning people off by making your content all about your company and its solutions, publish stories of empowerment where the audience is the hero.

Business management platform WorkflowMax does this extremely well with their website messaging, which emphases the product’s benefits to the audience:

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Avoid Tripping Those Trust Alarms

Build your website and other brand presences with these tips in mind, and you’ll have a leg up on building customer trust. By amping up on your company’s credibility, your visitors will feel safe engaging with you.

How do you inspire trust on your website? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

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Article first found on ben@inboundjunction.com (Ben Jacobson)

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