Why Your Brain Craves Vacation Time [Infographic]

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When’s the last time you took a real vacation? Not just a long weekend, but a real vacation — one with some serious rest and relaxation time?

If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, workers typically fail to take even five vacation days a year.

But you’re not doing yourself any favors by riding out the wave at work. As it turns out, 77% of HR professionals believe that employees who use most or all of their vacation time are actually more productive on average than those who don’t.

When it comes down to it, your brain actually craves — and depends on — that time off to help you reboot your concentration and satisfaction. Check out the infographic from Expedia below to learn more about the importance of vacation time and how it affects your brain. (And read this list of clever out-of-office replies to use when you do finally book that trip.)



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Article first found on cstec@hubspot.com (Carly Stec)

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Why Clients Undervalue Your Agency (And How to Make It Stop)

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In Lady Windermere’s Fan, one of Oscar Wilde’s characters describes the cynic as someone “who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

It’s fair to call CEOs and CFOs cynics when it comes to their marketing budgets. Rarely do client-side decision makers report to their fellow C-suiters the value your agency provides. In the end, that usually means you aren’t communicating your value well, or strongly, enough.

Either way, it’s a problem when clients are more focused on your invoices than your services.

Nothing Is More Valuable Than Perceived Value

If you reduce a client’s cost per lead and neither your client nor her C-suite knows it — has it really happened? (It’s the same old “does a falling tree make a sound in the forest when you’re not there?” conundrum.) Your clients’ perceived value of your services exerts significant influence on their perception of you and their decision about whether to stay with your agency (or not).

In one famous study out of Stanford University, participants were given two glasses of the same exact wine, except they were told that one glass was from a $5 bottle of wine while the other was from a $45 bottle of wine. Guess which wine they thought tasted better?

It works both ways. While price can be used to boost perceived value, increasing perceived value first can be used to validate higher pricing, expand relationships, or move to (higher) retainer agreements.

Perceived value results from clearly understood and relevant quantifiable and qualitative factors. Fortunately, your agency has serious power to shape how your clients perceive your agency’s value.

Start With the Metrics

Perceived value is much broader than quantifiable ROI, but it’s certainly a necessary part. Especially when it comes to helping your client contacts chat up your value to their C-suite colleagues.

Regular reporting and communication of the tangible benefits your work provides should be standard account management practice. Focus on the metrics that provide the greatest value back to the client.

To do this well, your account managers and agency leadership need to understand each client’s vision of success. There’s a lot of good advice out there to hone in on revenue-based metrics, such as lifetime value and cost of acquisition (ignore the vanity metrics of shares and likes). In general, this is good advice for most clients.

But what about the client whose priority is to show traction through a growing user base? This client is seeking a first round of venture capital funding, so showing proof of concept is far more important than showing paying customers.

Prove your value with metrics. But first make sure they’re the right metrics. They must align with that specific client’s goals and priorities. When you show this sort of genuine and individualized attention, it impacts another factor influencing your perceived value — the overall customer experience your agency provides.

Customer Experience Is More Than Customer Service

Being responsive and helpful is great customer service. But you’ve got to go further and create a superlative client experience that demonstrates high value: Value that differentiates your agency from all your competitors. Value that no other agency can even come close to touching.

In the context of perceived value, the more useful questions are: How do your clients experience their relationship with your agency? Where does your agency fall in the “order taker versus strategic partner” dichotomy?

After all, great marketing is all about spot-on positioning, right?

Move away from the order-taker bucket and increase your perceived value by placing your services in context. This could mean providing clients more in-depth insight into:

  • Their own competitive landscape and where your ideas and/or results fall within that context
  • The level of expertise your team uses to design and execute a campaign or strategy
  • How your team’s work frees them to focus on their core functions and operations

If You Don’t Value Your Team, Your Clients Won’t Either 

While you take steps to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your value to clients, make sure you’re not undermining your efforts with other actions that send the opposite message.

For example, don’t discount your rates. You can negotiate, but don’t agree (or offer) price cuts. If a client has a genuine budget issue, then negotiate on issues like scope of services, extended timelines, or accelerated payment milestones. Agreeing to a price cut without getting anything of value in return tells the client they should have been paying the lower rate all along.

Indeed, you should be setting your rates on a value basis, not a cost basis. There are numerous ways to do this, but the general premise of value-based pricing is to set your rates based on the value your work has for the client, not the cost-plus-profit it represents to you.

Bake higher perceived value right into the cake at the start. Set your rates based on your client’s perceived value. If you know that a new customer means $200,000 in the first year of sales to your client, wouldn’t a $120,000 per year retainer be a bargain to him if you can deliver enough quality leads that he can close at least one customer?

Setting value-based pricing forces your agency to get very clear on what kind of value work will deliver for a client, which makes it much easier to communicate that value back to your client.

Then once the client agrees to your value-based pricing and you start delivering the value you promised, they’ll think what a great deal they got. And that’s precisely what you want your clients to think.

Article first found on joetting@hubspot.com (Jami Oetting)

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7 of the Best Facebook Live Videos We’ve Ever Seen

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This week, Facebook announced grand plans to take their already successful live broadcasting platform to great heights. The announcement included product updates like two-person broadcasts, waiting rooms for viewers, and Snapchat-esque filters all in the works.

With these updates in mind, carving out a strategy for Facebook Live seems like a no-brainer.

Oh, and did we mention the potential live video has for Facebook engagement? Initial data from Facebook revealed that people comment 10X more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

Now, we get it. Going live, well, it’s kinda scary. What if you mess up? What if the camera wigs out? There are a number of things that could go wrong. But while you’re contemplating the risk, a ton of brands are out there engaging their audience in some really exciting and personal new ways.

To help you shake the nerves, we put together a list of some of the best Facebook Live broadcasts we’ve ever seen. From live debates to intense trainings, you’ll get a little taste of everything to inspire you to fire up a stream for your own company.

(And read this article for more tips on how to get started with Facebook Live.)

7 of the Best Facebook Live Videos We’ve Ever Seen

1) Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder is an endurance event series known for its military-style obstacles and enormous sense of community. A few weeks ago, they took to Facebook Live to broadcast their Merrell Michigan Training Event with Coach T. Mud, a.k.a. Kyle Railton. Infectious energy aside, this stream made the list for a few reasons.

For one, it serves as a great use case for how to keep your community engaged — even when they can’t make it to your event. By bringing the event right to their audience’s desktop or mobile device, they can choose to follow along with the training, or simply get a sense of what they might be signing up for.

At the beginning of the broadcast, Coach T. Mud gives a shout out to the Tough Mudder Snapchat handle to encourage those at home — and at the event — to follow along with the training there. This is a great way to cross-promote your channels and increase overall engagement.

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Around the six-minute mark, the person filming chimes in to reiterate where they are streaming from. She does the same thing again around the eight-minute mark. This is a great strategy for keeping those who might be joining mid-stream in the loop.

Finally, we really love the way Coach T. Mud gets up close and personal with some of the attendees around the 18-minute mark. While he mainly uses this time to get to know the Tough Mudder community a little better, he also sneaks in some subtle promotions, like this:

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Well played, Coach.

(Want to learn more about Tough Mudder’s growth strategy? Check out this episode of The Growth Show featuring Tough Mudder Founder and CEO Will Dean.) 

2) Benefit

One really interesting route brands have taken with Facebook Live is the series approach. In other words, they broadcast a themed video series on a set date and time, usually weekly.

Why does this work so well? As Author Laura Vanderkam explains: “TV shows come on at certain times so people get in the habit of watching them. You can do the same with Facebook Live.”

One of my favorite examples of this come from the folks at Benefit, who host a series called “Tipsy Tricks” every Thursday at 4:15 P.M. Here’s one of the episodes from a few weeks back:

One of the most interesting things they do throughout this particular video is ask questions of the audience to inform how the video will play out. For example, around four minutes in, the host polls the audience to determine which product they’d like to see them use in the makeup look they’re creating.

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Then, they give a couple of minutes to let the audience weigh in before following through based on the responses — it’s sort of like a beauty-themed, choose-your-ownadventure game.

This strategy aims to keep those watching engaged, while also helping the folks at Benefit learn more about their audience’s product preferences.

Another way they’re keeping the audience involved? Benefit allows their viewers to submit ideas via Facebook Live comments or Snapchat to help the hosts brainstorm future topics to cover. You can see this in action by checking out the comment thread on this video, where they ask viewers to Like the comment if they’d like to see an episode about concealing:

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3) Jason Carr

The next Facebook video on the list comes to us in two parts. In an interesting series of events, Jason Carr, a former news anchor for FOX 2 in Detroit, takes Facebook Live viewers on a ride to his new gig at WDIV-TV, Local 4 News … but he doesn’t tell them that. At least not in the beginning.

The first video begins with Carr explaining that he’s going Live to follow up on a promise he made during his final broadcast for FOX 2 earlier that morning. This was his first right move: Using Facebook Live to extend the conversation following something like a webinar, interview, or panel discussion is a great way to connect with your audience while they’re already engaged.

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Viewers watch as Carr — who is broadcasting live from the back of a Cadillac — takes a trip to what he refers to as “parts unknown.” During the first half of the stream, he provides some context around leaving the station, while engaging with viewers in the comments and continuing to build suspense for where he’s headed.

The whole suspense aspect is key, as it helps Carr spark his audience’s curiosity. After all, a little curiosity can go a long way: Research from the University of California revealed that sparking participant’s curiosity with the right question helped to prepare their brain for learning, while also making learning a more rewarding experience.

Just before the stream wraps up, we see Carr arrive at his secret destination — his new station — where he announces that he’ll pick back up once he has a chance to go in and get settled.

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A little over an hour later, Carr fires up his stream again to give viewers a behind the scenes look at his first appearance on the new job.

Talk about a creative way to announce a new hire.

4) Grazia UK

This Grazia/Facebook collaboration just might be the most interesting use case for Facebook Live on our list. This month, the team at Grazia UK, an Italian women’s magazine with international editions, headed off to Facebook’s London headquarters to piece together their first “community issue.”

They took to Facebook Live to document a week’s worth of behind-the-scenes footage, allowing their audience to participate in things like their editorial meeting, cover shoot, and GraziaxFB Brexit Debate.

While all of the footage really helped to pull back the curtain for Grazia’s audience, the GraziaxFB Brexit Debate was one of the most successful broadcasts of the week — and for good reason.

The debate, chaired by The Guardian’s political editor Anushka Asthana, was centered around the UK’s decision to remain in or exit the European Union. The panelists were each given time to discuss their views, while also leaving time for questions from both the live audience and Facebook audience.

Asthana encouraged Facebook Live viewers to submit their ideas via the hashtag #GraziaxFB at the beginning of the broadcast.

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Note: If you’re hosting a live debate, discussion, or training, coming up with a hashtag in advance is a great way to organize the submission process for questions. (Read this article for tips on how to use hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

Overall, the discussion was timely, well executed, and helped to get the Grazia community talking about not only the Grazia/Facebook collaboration, but also the larger political issue at hand.

In the words of Grazia Editor Natasha Pearlman: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring Grazia to life for our readers, and at the same time launch our real-life community, in partnership with the biggest social media network in the world.”

“The Grazia audience aren’t just readers, they are part of the brand – their views and opinions shape our content and really matter,” she went on to explain. “Now they can participate with us in real time.”

5) Tastemade

When you live in an apartment and Boston (or any city, really), you quickly learn how to make the most of a small kitchen. But this video from Tastemade takes that concept to a whole new level.

According to Tastemade’s Head of Productio Jay Holzer, the tiny cooking concept was inspired by one of Tastemade’s Japanese partners. As it turns out, miniature cooking is quite popular in Japan, as a result of kawaii — the quality of ‘cuteness’ — which is plays a prominent role in Japanese pop culture.

While Tiny Kitchen started as a pre-recorded series, the folks at Tastemade tested their luck with Facebook Live by recording this real-time cooking demonstration:

What’s great about this particular use case is that it can be enjoyed without sound. In other words, viewers can tune in without having to stop and adjust their volume, or put on headphones.

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The strangely fascinating footage is really easy to consume, which likely contributed to the success of the original episodes. By going live, Tastemade simply added a unique interactive element. And 3.7 million views later, they’ve proved it works.

The lesson? Sometimes, less it more. 

6) BuzzFeed

While BuzzFeed recently made headlines for their not-so-perfect Facebook Live attempt with none other than the president of the United States, we can assure you that they know what they’re doing.

On a much less serious note, the folks at BuzzFeed took to Facebook Live this past March to host an epic live dance battle.

But this wasn’t just any old dance battle: “Dance Craze Battle: Live” was an interactive competition that required the audience to vote on performances and submit suggestions for dance moves.

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In between the first two rounds, the host took time to get to know each of the contestants a little better by asking them a few questions. This was really smart for two reasons:

  1. It created an opportunity for BuzzFeed to show off their team and humanize their brand.
  2. It gave time for viewers to submit ideas for the second round of dance battles.

With the help of user submissions in round two, viewers watched as their ideas came to fruition in the form of some pretty interesting dance moves, like “crying college student”:

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After each dance, the person monitoring the comments section prompted viewers to cast their vote:

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And the entire thing came to a close with a spirited dance party … because why not, right?

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Even though this broadcast carried on for half hour, the level of engagement likely helped them keep viewers interested all the way through. When you’re planning a Facebook Live video, keep in mind that length isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it provides you with a chance to reach more people. 

7) Callaway Golf

The folks at Callaway Golf are no strangers to live video. In May 2015, Callaway debuted a live show hosted by their SVP of Marketing and Brand Management Harry Arnett. While this particular live series didn’t unfold via Facebook Live, it’s likely that it made the transition to broadcasting content live on Facebook much easier.

According to Arnett, the experience of live video brings Callaway back to their roots: “We felt like if we could figure out a way to be unique in it, provide utility to it, and be a contributing citizen in the community of golfers, we could become sort of the people’s brand,” he told Golf Digest, “which was very closely connected to the DNA of the company when it got started 20 years ago.”

A great example of their segue into Facebook Live is this exclusive tour of Arnold Palmer’s office, led by Palmer’s assistant and longtime friend Doc.

For golf enthusiasts, this is a dream come true. After all, Palmer is known to be one of the greatest players of all time. But it’s the experience that the video delivers that makes it really interesting for those tuning in.

For one, the person behind the camera makes an effort to keep viewers involved throughout the tour. For example, around five minutes in, he thanks the audience for tuning in and checks in to see if they have any specific questions or things they’d like to see. This is a great way to keep people who might be thinking about dropping off engaged.

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Around the 20-minute mark, the cameraman also takes a minute to reintroduce the tour guide, Doc, to clarify his relationship with Palmer for those just tuning in.

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While there are mentions of Callaway products throughout the video, it’s by no means the main focus. Instead, the cameraman works to surface interesting facts and stories from Palmer’s assistant to keep those geeking out at home both entertained and engaged. For example, around the 23-minute mark, he prompts Doc to tell the story behind Palmer’s infamous umbrella logo:

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Pretty cool, right?

If you’re just getting started with Facebook Live, make note of Callaway’s tactics. And remember: Your broadcast doesn’t have to be all about your product or service for it to be successful. At the end of the day, you want people to remember the experience you provided them, which will ultimately help to keep you top-of-mind. 

Getting Started With Facebook Live

Now that you’re feeling inspired, it’s time to get out there and try it for yourself.

If you’re feeling up to it, but still think you need a little training, check out this post from my colleague Lindsay Kolowich. She’ll walk you through how to broadcast on Facebook Live, how to analyze your live video’s performance, and the top tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform.

Have you experimented with Facebook Live? What is your favorite example? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

free guide: how to use facebook for business

Article first found on cstec@hubspot.com (Carly Stec)

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The Ultimate Guide to Social & PR Branding [Free Toolkit]

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Every brand has a story, but great brands that know how to tell that story well. Whether you’re selling coffee, bookcases, or enterprise software, the reality is that the competition is higher than ever before.

Having a compelling brand story is key, but remember: your story is more complicated than just words. Your brand story is communicated through visual identity, tone of voice, PR, and social media channels. Sure is a lot to keep up with, huh?

While churning out endless content hoping something hits the mark may feel like the solution, it’s definitely not. In order to stand out and rise in rank, you have to really connect with your audience. And as much as we wish there was, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ formula for that. Every business is different.

That’s why HubSpot and MOO teamed up to bring you this Social & PR Branding Kit. From setting goals to vamping up your social media game, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll walk you through the process of communicating your brand story online, offline, in social media, and in the press to help you win new customers, retain existing ones, grow your brand recognition, and gain that competitive edge.

More specifically, this kit includes:

  • How to craft a valuable ‘About Us’ page that people will read and remember.
  • How to identify clear objectives focused on your brand vision and goals.
  • What to post on social media, as well as why, and when to do so.
  • A breakdown of different social networks.
  • How to tell if your social media strategy is working.
  • How to build media relationships and write killer press releases.

free guide to social and PR branding

Article first found on ebartolino@hubspot.com (Ellen Bartolino)

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Why You Should Never Email a Proposal

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Your team has spent hours researching, writing, and refining a proposal your prospect was eager to receive.

Now, you are staring at your email account in frustration as you write your third follow-up email in as many weeks.

What could have caused this disappearing act? Was it the content of the proposal? Did the client get cold feet?

When this happens, some people even begin to imagine outlandish reasons why the prospect has failed to respond, such as a month-long vacation (she forgot to tell you about) to a location with no internet access. Maybe the prospect unexpectedly left the company but forgot to update her LinkedIn account (not that you were checking on a daily basis)? Maybe her email account was hacked, and she’s been forced to revert to paper communication and homing pigeons?

It’s possible … right?

The Real Problem Isn’t About Email

The issues illustrated above don’t occur because of the method of proposal delivery — though email is probably not the best way to communicate something of such importance to your business. Rather, the problem begins during the sales process.

For starters, if you are simply responding to the client’s comment — even if they seemed earnest in their request — that they would love to see a proposal, you’re wasting time. From the beginning, you’re putting your agency in a position of lower authority, which will destroy any negotiating power you initially had. In addition, you most likely have little insight into what the client’s challenges, needs, and goals are — or should be — resulting in a proposal that has little chance at converting the prospect due to its irrelevance to their pain points. 

The rush to write a proposal and the resulting frustration due to a lack of feedback or even a simple “no” is the result of a non-existent sales process or one that is driven by the client’s wants, rather than the agency’s attempt to qualify and drive the right type of new business.

How to Define the Sales Process

You can’t automate the sales process, but you can make sure that you create fewer proposals that are ignored.

1) Understand Your Ideal Client

The first step is determining the attributes of the types of clients you want to work with. By creating an ideal client profile that aligns with your best types of clients, you’ll be able to screen for prospects who are simply shopping, who would be unhappy, or even worse, who would make your team members unhappy.

By focusing on the right type of client, you’ll better understand your target prospects, and you’ll increase sales and retention.

2) Create Qualifying Questions

If you understand your ideal client, you’ll be able to create questions that help you to discover who you should spend time with and who you shouldn’t. These questions can be used in lead generation forms, an intake questionnaire, or during a more formal meeting to discuss a future relationship. (Here’s a list of 26 qualifying questions to get your started, or you can review these sales qualification frameworks prior to building your own.)

These questions should move your conversation to the point where your team feels confident it can help the client overcome her challenges, providing value to the client in ways beyond simply producing work.

In addition, you should see the client’s interest and trust in your abilities increase during the process. Her tone and line of questioning should change from “Can you do this?” or “Do you have experience in this?” to “How would you overcome this challenge?” or “What has successes have you seen with other brands?”.

It’s a simple switch, but it shows that the client has gotten past the mindset of “prove to me that you can do what you say you can do” to wanting — and valuing — your advice and expertise.

3) Create a Proposal Template

Finally, you should create a simple proposal template you can use to reduce the time it takes to create the document.

Many agencies spend countless hours writing up details on the client’s challenges, the prescribed strategy, and why their agency is the right partner. While there are many differing opinions on how long and in-depth a proposal should be, the basis is that the proposal should be a written confirmation of what you have discussed. And that the client should understand this isn’t a document that will outline how exactly you will solve their problem because 1) you don’t know enough about the brand, its competitors, its problems, etc., and 2) you don’t give away your agency’s strategy prior to even winning the account.

The prospect should already know how great your team is, its track record for success from case studies, its processes, etc., so the proposal could be as simple as a one-page document with a contract attached for signing.

You should only send proposals to prospects you are certain will sign a contract. (And you should make sure you are sending it to the people who actually have the authority to sign on the dotted line.) If you’re not confident, then you need to do more work to nurture the prospect to the point where they are actually ready to review and sign a contract.

(Check out these proposal tools to make it easy to customize, track, and manage the process.)

How to Present a Proposal

Finally, when you are ready to hand over your proposal (or even better, a contract), don’t email it — at least not until you’re ready to review it with the client.

Before you even begin writing the proposal, schedule an hour meeting with the prospect to review the proposal in-person or over the phone. Make it clear that the proposal document is not the first step in the sales process, rather the last. The proposal should confirm and clarify the client’s understanding of the relationship, provide timelines and legal terms, and serve to inspire any final questions before beginning the first step in a new partnership.

If the prospect can’t commit to a one-hour meeting, that’s a sign this isn’t the right fit, and you shouldn’t waste time creating a proposal. And if the client only wants a proposal so she can price shop, then you haven’t done your job during the sales process. The price of your services should never be a surprise.

Fewer Proposals, More Contracts

Defining your own sales process, rather than letting prospects control it, is the first step to improving your proposal win rates and the types of clients your agency works with. According to research from Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association, companies with a defined sales process see 18% higher revenue growth than companies without a formal process.  

Bring your team together, and begin to document what your sales process should and could look like. And hopefully, this includes fewer proposals and more (signed) contracts.

Article first found on joetting@hubspot.com (Jami Oetting)

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Reasons Inbound Marketing Campaigns Fail – And What To Do About It! [Infographic]

ThinkstockPhotos-530976247.jpgImplementing an Inbound Marketing campaign is not always an easy process.

Sure, you may be aware of the individual components that Inbound marketing campaigns need. But putting those pieces together can be hard. It’s easy to go wrong, make mistakes, and end up with results that are wildly different from your goals.Campaign mistakes can dramatically hinder lead generation and ROI performance. So to help you avoid error in your strategy planning, here are the most common mistakes that Inbound campaigns encounter – and how to fix them.

Inbound Marketing Mistakes

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Article first found on lucy@strategic-ic.co.uk (Lucy Jones)

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We Just Announced 100+ INBOUND 2016 Sessions: Here Are the Top Picks For Every Kind of Marketer

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Every fall, we gather thousands of marketers and salespeople in Boston for our annual INBOUND event — it’s where the inbound movement gathers to connect, get inspired, and learn.

Today, we added our first 100+ breakout speakers to the lineup, which already includes Alec Baldwin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and the creators of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer.”

One hundred sessions is a lot to wade through (and it’s not even half of the breakouts for INBOUND this year!), so here are some of our picks for marketers of all stripes.

See something that strikes your fancy? Come join us from November 8-11 in Boston. To celebrate all these sessions, we’re giving $200 off All-Access Passes if you registered before the end of this month. Just use the code FIRST100 when you register.

100+ INBOUND 2016 Sessions Just Announced: Picks for Every Kind of Marketer

For the Email Marketer

Nancy Harhut, CCO at Wilde Agency: 10 Human Behavior Hacks That Will Change the Way You Create Email

Nancy_Harhut_INBOUNDYou can follow every best practice for creating email and still not get the response you want. That’s because today there’s more to success than a targeted list, compelling offer, and perfectly executed creative. 

Today, you need to know the decision-making shortcuts people use when they encounter your email — those automatic behaviors that determine whether they open, read and respond to it. Science has proven that people often don’t operate in a rational, considered way. Much of what we do is done on autopilot, with certain prompts sending us in one direction or another.

Discover the 10 hacks that will get your target to open, read, and respond to your email without even thinking about it. See numerous examples from various verticals. And leave armed ready to create emails that get automatic action.

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John Bonini, Growth Director at Litmus: The Evolution of Email Spam: What Your Subscribers Expect and How You Can Deliver It

Having permission only gets you so far with your subscribers nowadays. According to a Litmus survey of over 1K people, 40% said they’re spammed by brands they subscribe to and/or buy from.

Relevance is often talked about in mythical terms. What exactly is it, and how can we, as marketers, ensure it? In an attempt to lift the veil a bit, John Bonini is prepared to share some of Litmus’ secrets that have helped them ensure a more relevant experience for their subscribers.

Along with tips on setting expectations, personalizing the subject matter (not the subject), and writing compelling copy that sells, this presentation will also delve into data of more than 13 billion email opens tracked by Litmus to provide further insights.

For the Content Creator

Carrie_Kerpen-INBOUND.pngCarrie Kerpen, CEO at Likeable Media: The Trick To Improving Content ROI: Make Your Content 3-D

Content marketing success today, seems defined as “you get what you pay for.” Even the best content needs a paid lift to catch readers and increase view frequency to improve engagement and conversion.

The good news: There’s a proven method. A 3-D mix of organic curation, creative production, and promoted connections. Mix all three properly and get the ROI you demand from your content marketing investment.

Salma_Jafri_INBOUNDSalma Jafri, Founder and CEO at Salma Jafri Media: How to Upcycle your Content for Maximum Mileage

It is statistically proven that one of the top challenges content creators face is the constant act of creating new and original content. But what if you could create once, and benefit endlessly? That is the power of upcycled content.

For example, a YouTube video becomes a podcast, becomes a blog post, becomes a graphic, becomes a syndicated post. Releasing new upcycled content saves time for the creator in having to come up with something new, while attracting a new audience native to the medium and format. It’s a win-win — both for the content creator and the audience that craves information in its desired format.

For the Conversion Rate Fiend

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Oli Gardner, Co-Founder at Unbounce: The Conversion Equation

What if a mathematical equation existed — an equation so complex and masterful, that it can calculate whether your marketing will work, or if it will fail? What if that equation could be understood by folks like you and I?

At INBOUND 2016, Oli Gardner will unveil the most ridiculously complicated equation you’ve ever seenHe’ll unpack “The Conversion Equation” into a sequence of tens of smaller formulae you can use to plot your place on “The Master Conversion Map”: a marketing ultrasound that represents your business optimization to-do list for 2016.

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David Darmanin, CEO at Hotjar: 9 Things You Can Do Tomorrow to Make your Website Start Converting

Your website can be the most effective tool in your arsenal when it comes to turning visitors into customers and generating leads. But if you’re not building it for your visitors, it’s useless. You have to give the people what they want, not what you think they want.

In this session, Hotjar CEO and Founder David Darmanin will show you nine ways to use easily obtained data and feedback to turn your website into your agency’s highest performing salesperson.

For the Analytical Mastermind

christopher_penn_INBOUNDChristopher Penn, VP of Marketing at SHIFT Communications: Building the Data-Driven Customer Journey 

Do you understand the path your customers take toward conversion? Would you know if your customer journey were out of sync with your marketing operations?

In this session, you’ll learn what the best practice customer journey is for your industry, how to find your specific customers’ desired path to conversion, and what next steps to take to optimize your marketing for maximum ROI.

Jon_Meck_INBOUNDJon Meck, Technical Marketing Manager at LunaMetrics: Go Beyond Hit Counting – Making Analytics-Informed Marketing Decisions 

This session offers concrete takeaways and goals for your organization to become more “data-driven.” Using the free Google Analytics as a model for other platforms, learn how to best integrate with other services, confirm or challenge your beliefs about Google Analytics, and hyper-customize Google Analytics to your specific organization and its goals (both micro and macro).

For the Platforms Marketer

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Rachel Happe, Principal and Co-Founder at The Community Roundtable: Social Media is Broken. Community is Your Duct Tape 

Social media is no longer a place of deep engagement, it’s optimized to share content — increasingly paid content. No longer can brands, big and small, use their social efforts to meaningfully connect and converse with their audience.

What’s the alternative? Creating communities where your audience can easily interact while you determine the rules of engagement. Communities are the all-mighty duct tape, connecting individuals, building new relationships, and strengthening existing ones.

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Ja-Nae Duane, Managing Partner-Innovation at Revolution Factory: See, Touch & Feel: How to Measure Experiential Marketing

Stunts. Pranks. Practical jokes. All tend to get lumped in with experiential marketing. But done right, experiential marketing can help your company stay fresh and innovative by pulling together different channels into one connected and memorable experience.

Ja-Nae Duane will give actionable advice on developing fully integrated and connected experiences based on a co-creator relationship with engaged consumers. The end results will demonstrate a brand’s ability to innovate while growing the overall company. Marketers can expect to leave this session with a clear understanding of how to make the most of these programs and earn meaningful, measurable results.

Want More?

These are just a fraction of the 100+ sessions and speakers that we’ve already announced. Check out the full list here and share what you’re most excited about with us on Twitter @INBOUND.

Don’t forget to grab your ticket by the end of June so that you can see these amazing sessions and save an additional $200. Just use the code FIRST100 when you register.

Save $200 on INBOUND 2016 Registration

Article first found on eginsberg@hubspot.com (Elijah Clark-Ginsberg)

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How to Write a Great Email Signature: 9 Tips With Real Examples

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The average office worker sends 40 emails per day. That’s 40 opportunities to market yourself and your business in those individual emails you send, every single day.

A lot of people treat their email signatures like an afterthought, which makes for a real missed opportunity. Those signatures are a chance for you to make it clear who you are, make it easy for people to reach you, and give people a place to go to find out more — either about you, about your business, or about something you’re working on.

So if you’re just putting your name and a point or two of contact information in your signature, you’re not taking full advantage of the opportunity to connect and engage with the people you’re emailing. (Although you don’t want to go overboard, either. Jamming your signature full of links and information is just plain spammy and self-promotional.)

So, what does a great email signature look like? Here are some tips for creating ones that are helpful and professional, including a few great examples. You can use HubSpot’s free Email Signature Generator to make your own professional email signature template and easily add it to your email provider.

9 Tips for Writing a Great Email Signature

1) Keep colors simple and consistent.

Branding is most effective when it’s consistent — and that includes your email signature. Adding color to your email signature is a nice touch that’ll help it stand out from the rest of your email. But if you do choose to use color, be sure to stick to one or two in addition to dark text.

Use subtle highlights to match your logo or branding, like Brittany Hodak does in her email signature. Notice how her social media icons are the same blue hue as the ZinePak logo.

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2) Use design hierachy.

Good design is all about presenting your information in an easily digestible manner. Because your email signature is likely more a list of information than it is a compelling story, you’ll want to use hierarchy to direct readers’ eyes to what they should be reading first.

Scale your name up to a larger font so that it attracts the most attention, like you would on a resume. Then, pick and choose information to bold and color based on importance so you can help guide people’s eyes logically through the design, as in the example below.

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Image Credit: Envato

3) Include a call-to-action (and update it regularly).

One of the smartest things you can do in your email signature is include a call-to-action. The best email signature CTAs are simple, up-to-date, non-pushy, and in line with your email style, making them appear more like post-script, and less like a sales pitch. Choose a CTA that aligns with one of your current business goals, and update it when those goals change.

Here’s a great example from our own Social Media Manager Chelsea Hunersen. She changes her text CTA depending on her current social media goals. A few months ago, she used it to drive people to HubSpot’s Twitter account.

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Once she created a unique Slack channel for inbound marketers, she switched up her email signature CTA to point people there, instead.

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Links to videos can be especially noticeable because in some email clients like Gmail, a video’s thumbnail will show up underneath your signature. Here’s an example of what that looks like from our own Emily MacIntyre:

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4) Include social icons linking to your social profiles.

Your social media presence is a major part of your personal brand because it helps you gain a following in your space and shows people what you care about. You can tell a lot about a person by what they post and how they portray themselves.

That’s why it’s a great idea to include links to your social media pages in your email signature. It not only reinforces your personal brand, but it also helps people find new ways to contact and follow you.

Even better? It can help drive traffic to your online content if you’re posting links to that content on social. So if you do include social icons in your signature, make sure you’re keeping your social profiles up-to-date and chock full of interesting, relevant content. (In other words, if you haven’t tweeted in six months, you may want to leave Twitter out.)

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Why use social media icons instead of simply text links? Because icons are more easily recognizable for folks skimming your signature — and they’ll stand out from the rest of the text in there. According to research from Neomam Studios, it only takes the human mind 150 microseconds to process a symbol, and 100 microseconds to attach meaning to it. That’s super fast. Plus, icons are big space-savers in a place where you might be packing a lot of information.

Even if you have a presence on a lot of social media sites, though, try to cap the number of icons to five or six. Focus on the accounts that matter most to growing your business or building your personal brand.

And if you do include a lot of social media icons, at least try to cut back on the other content if possible so your design isn’t too busy. Check out this example from Freelance Graphic Designer Karen Mareš:

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Image Credit: Canva

5) Make links trackable.

So you put a few links in your email signature, including your CTA and your social media icons. But is anyone actually clicking on them?

To figure out whether the links in your signature are actually attracting clicks and making an impact, you’ll want to make those links trackable — just like you would any other link in your emails. Follow these instructions to easily make your links trackable. You might switch up the format of your signature or the wording of your calls-to-action from time to time to see what drives the most clicks.

6) Use space dividers.

Although you never want to jam-pack your email signature for too much information, there are ways to fit a lot of text into a compact area like this one without compromising design.

This is helpful for breaking up different types of information, like your name and contact information, your logo, any calls-to-action you have, or even a disclaimer.

Using space dividers within your design, as in the example below, is one great way to do this. You can also use glyph dividers, which is the vertical bar symbol (i.e., |.)

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Image Credit: Canva

7) Let people book your calendar right from your email.

If you find yourself emailing back and forth with colleagues and clients who want to book meetings with you, make it easy for them by including a link to book your calendar right in your email signature. Here’s an example from our own Bryan Lowry:

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There are many tools out there that’ll help people book appointments. Bryan from the example above uses HubSpot’s shareable personalized booking link. If you’re a HubSpot Sales customer, you can share your personalized meeting link with anyone who you want to book a meeting with and let them choose from your available times. If you want, you can make it so the HubSpot CRM automatically creates a new contact record for anyone who books a meeting if one doesn’t already exist.

If you aren’t a HubSpot customer, one great meeting tool is Calendly, which is free for Basic and lets you integrate your Google or Office 365 calendar. YouCanBook.me is another booking tool that goes for $7 per calendar per month.

8) Include an international prefix in your contact number.

If you work with people around the world, don’t forget the prefix for your country’s code when you list your contact phone number. Many people overlook this if they aren’t used to dialing international prefixes themselves, but it’s really helpful for your international colleagues and clients to have it right on there. Here’s a list of country codes if you don’t know yours.

Here’s an example from Kit Smith of Brandwatch, a company that has offices in both the United States and Europe and works with international clients. Having the U.S.’s country code on their helps make it easier for folks in other countries to reach him by phone.

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9) Make your design mobile-friendly.

In Litmus’ analysis of over a billion email opens, they reported that 56% of opened emails were opened on mobile devices in April 2016. This figure represents an 8% increase in mobile opens in the past year. The more people who read email on mobile devices, the more you’ll want to keep mobile users top-of-mind when you’re writing emails — including your email signature.

One major way to make your email signature mobile-friendly is to make your signature’s design easy to read and clickable for mobile users. This is where scale becomes really important. Make sure your text is large enough to read on small mobile screens, and that your links and buttons are large enough — and spaced out enough — for folks to tap on with their fingers.

Check out the example below, and note how much space there is between different clickable elements like the social media icons. These are great for tapping with your finger on a mobile screen so that users don’t accidentally tap on the Facebook icon when they meant to go to Twitter.

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Image Credit: Canva

Finally, as with any part of an email, make sure your signature looks as good as you think it does by testing it with various email clients. Microsoft Outlook doesn’t recognize background images, for example, so avoid using those. Other email clients don’t load images by default at all. Read this blog post to learn how to optimize emails for different email clients.

(HubSpot customers: You can preview what your emails look like in 30+ email clients right in the HubSpot Email App, as well as preview what your emails will look like on any device, including desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. Click here to learn how.)

What examples of great professional email signatures have you seen? Share with us in the comments.

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Article first found on lkolowich@hubspot.com (Lindsay Kolowich)

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How to Appear Confident, Even When You’re Not [Infographic]

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You know the saying, “Fake it ’til you make it”?

It turns out that doing things that make you appear confident — even if you don’t actually feel confident  — can affect how others see you, and can ultimately have a big impact on your success. It can also affect the chemicals in your brain to make you actually feel more confident when all is said and done.

Think about the last time you felt unsure of yourself. Perhaps you were about to give a presentation in front of a group of people; or maybe you were feeling really awkward at a networking event where you knew no one. (Terrifying, I know.)

In these instances, there are a couple of handy things you can do to make it look like you’re feeling confident. And when you come off as confident, authentic, comfortable, and enthusiastic, you’ll come off as smarter, more passionate, and more likeable.

Check out the infographic below from Vegas Extreme Skydiving for tips on how to appear confident. Use them the next time you’re feeling unsure of yourself, whether you’re trying something new, forging new relationships, or taking new risks.

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Article first found on lkolowich@hubspot.com (Lindsay Kolowich)

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7 AdWords Extensions You Should Utilize to Improve PPC Conversion Rate

Google_AdWords_Guide_PPC-1.jpgEvery AdWords advertiser wants more relevant clicks on their ads. The more relevant the click, the higher the chance that a visitor will convert into a lead and possibly a customer! If you’re looking to improve your PPC conversion rates by increasing your qualified clicks, one way to do this is to attach Ad Extensions on your AdWords campaigns.

What Are AdWords Extensions

When doing a Google search, you might see some ads take up more space than others. This is due to AdWords Extensions that give your ads the ability to display more information, therefore “extending” the length of your ad. When I search for “pizza near me”, two ads come up for Pizza Hut & Domino’s that both include extensions. Here’s what these ads look like with and without extensions:

adextensions.jpgSee how the ads with extensions provide more information and take up more space?

Why Use AdWord Extensions

Whether your ads are dominating paid search or need a little boost, ad extensions help in a variety of ways:

1) Better Click-Through-Rates

AdWords Extensions provide additional ways for searchers to learn more about your business and to interact with your ad. Searchers can make a phone call or go directly to the service page that they’re looking for from your ad/

2) Increased Visibility

Using Ad Extensions lets your ad take up more PPC real estate, making your ads stand out from the others. Just compare the ads with and without extensions above and you’ll see that the ads with extensions look more robust and informative than those without extensions.

3) Give Relevant Information at the Right Time

If a searcher wants to see a more specific page or specific information (such as reviews), AdWords Extensions can provide just that!

4) Gives a Better User Experience

Because you are giving a searcher more information about your business and services, they’ll have a better idea of what to expect when clicking on your ads.

5) No Added Charge, But More Valuable Clicks

If a searcher calls your business from your ad or clicks to a service page, you’re charged the same amount as if they clicked on your headline. Because the searcher is getting to the page / contact method they want, these clicks are often more valuable.

Extensions You Should Be Using

Now that you know what AdWords Extensions are and why you should be using them, let’s review 7 essential extensions you should be using:

1) Sitelink Extensions

Sitelinks allow advertisers to include up to four site links with their ad. Not only does this take up more PPC real estate and stand out from the other ads, but it gives a searcher the opportunity to find the page that is most relevant for them.

Sometimes these sitelink extensions will give a quick summary of the subpage which is particularly valuable for adding more call-to-actions and descriptions of your products / services.

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2) Call Extensions

When a searcher comes across your ad (especially on a mobile device), you want to give them the option to call you. Call extensions incorporate your phone number into your ads so searchers don’t have to go to your website to find your phone number. They just click “call” and you have a conversion!

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3) Structured Snippets

If your business offers different types of products or services, structured snippets are a perfect way to lay these out. You can talk about different styles of products, neighborhoods you serve, types of services, etc. in structured snippets.

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4) Callout Extensions

Can’t find everything you want to say into two lines of Ad Copy? Use callout extensions to incorporate up to four messages in your ads. Callout extensions are great to use campaign wide so the same information appears on each ad, regardless of what your ad copy says.

If you want to let everyone know that your plumbing business has 40 years of experience, use a callout! If you want to announce your 24/7/365 customer service, use a callout! If you want a searcher to know about your speedy delivery, use a callout:

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5) Location Extensions

If you own a business with multiple locations, you want to be able to show the right location to the right searcher. Location extensions add your address, phone number and business hours to your ad.

With 50% of mobile users visiting stores on the same day they do a Google search (Google), having your location in your ad is critical to showing searchers how close your business is to them!

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6) Review Extensions

By using a third party to review your website, you can get feedback on your products & customer service to show up directly in your ad. Because reviews and testimonials are a large part of the decision process, having them on your ad can help a searcher make their decision much more easily.

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7) Offer Extensions

One of Google’s newer extensions lets you add offers onto your ad. Not only can you offer more information about your business, but you’re incentivizing a searcher to do business with you. Instead of searching for offers in addition to searching for the right business, they can find everything in one ad!

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Next Steps

Whether you’re already running an AdWords campaign or looking to improve one, try adding these AdWords Extensions. Be sure to test different wording to see which phrasing gets the most clicks!

If you’re thinking about adopting Google AdWords or would like more information on how AdWords can add value to your overall inbound marketing strategy, download this free eBook “Why Google AdWords Should Be Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy” today!

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Article first found on Amber Callan

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