16 Video Marketing Statistics to Inform Your Q4 Strategy [Infographic]

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As marketers find more innovative ways to attract audiences, video has become a meaningful part of the strategic conversation.

Video is long past the status of an “up-and-coming” marketing tactic. It’s here, and it’s an increasingly powerful way to communicate your brand story, explain your value proposition, and build relationships with your customers and prospects. 

The most recent statistics show that video content isn’t just effective — the demand for it is growing at an impressively rapid pace. Did you know, for example, that 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers? Or that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI?

To learn more about how video marketing can help convert customers and increase engagement with your brand, check out the infographic below from Vidyard (and for even more information, check out its Video in Business Benchmark Report). It breaks down 16 compelling video marketing statistics in the context of viewing platforms, distribution channels, business video consumption habits, and more.


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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics

The Best New Type of Content to Support a Product Launch: A HubSpot Experiment

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Here at HubSpot, we obsess over our product — how it’s built, where it’s headed, and how we talk about it. Every update, from minor feature tweaks to major product launches, are pored over by a team. Developers and product managers handle the creation and vision of individual products. Product marketers own the story of the product, with the goal of creating the narrative that defines the product.

That story should explain why the product is important, who it was made for, how it can be used, and the value it adds. It’s these stories that bring to life campaigns across marketing and sales, and help us grow. Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30  days.

To execute that well, we’ve had to build a well-established promotion playbook — a guide that outlines what to do, and when, for each type of launch. But a playbook alone doesn’t tell a compelling story: one that not only explains what the product is, but also contains valuable information that can help marketers in the long-term. That content is evergreen, and we thought, “Hey, maybe we should focus on that when we launch something new.”

One of those launches was for our Ads add-on. This is the story of that product — and how we shifted our content strategy playbook for it.

A Test of Evergreen Product Marketing Content and Organic Traffic

The Hypothesis

Content with an evergreen appeal will have more impact on a product launch than our standard, short-term traffic launch posts — even if the evergreen posts take more time and energy to create.”

A piece of content that stays relevant over time is more likely to perform better in organic search and continue to support a product launch for months without decay. In our previous experiments, for example, we’ve found that 92% of our monthly blog leads — not to mention, 76% of monthly blog views — came from posts of this nature.

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That contrasts with our typical product launch playbook, which generally includes a few short-term promotional blog posts and other content, the relevance of which has a briefer shelf life, and tends to receive the highest amount of traffic from email subscribers. For example, when we launched new Sales products at INBOUND 2016, we supported the announcement with this blog post, which receives 59% of its traffic from email — versus only 9.9% from organic searches. This month it’s received a grand total of seven views.

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It was the prospect of longer-term impact — which is often accompanied by a high organic search volume — that informed our objective: to build an amazing piece of evergreen content around a product launch that would continue to be useful to marketers (our target audience) for years, while also conveying the key messages of the product’s story. It would not only introduce readers to the value of the new tools, but might also engage our core audience by providing longer-term actionable insights and takeaways.

What We Did

Key Methods

First, we looked at what some of our favorite content creators were producing. One thing that particularly stood out to us was The New York Times “Rent or Buy” calculator: a half-content, half-web-app property that allowed readers to manipulate different quantitative properties on a sliding scale — like home prices or length of stay — but also contained accompanying copy to add context to the resulting calculations.

We needed something like that: a piece of written content that also served as a free tool, and could help people obtain the data they needed before getting the most out of our product. In this case, that product was our Ads add-on.

We knew from conversations with customers that marketers often longed for a seamless way to figure out how much to spend on ads before actually using a product that would measure and display the ROI of that spend. Sure, a free online ad spend calculator wasn’t exactly a new idea, but we wanted to build something different: a piece of content with sliders that allowed marketers to manipulate different inputs.

The Framework

This wasn’t going to be easy. It would require development work, prototyping, and content composition. It would be a considerable investment of time and effort — we estimated about 5X that of typical launch content. If it worked, the experiment would be valuable. But if it didn’t, there was the possibility that, considering the aforementioned resources, it might be a long time before we had the opportunity to test something like this again. It was a big bet — but it was one we were willing to place.

Ultimately, our plan was to launch a central site page that the ads calculator “lived” on, with other supporting initiatives around it. This included:

  • A small email campaign
  • Social media promotion
  • A blog campaign

Success — or the lack thereof — would be measured by the amount of traffic to the central ads calculator page. It launched in July 2016.

Ad Spend Calculator

The Results

Initially, we saw a big spike in the post’s overall page impressions, as well as requests for product demos that were driven by a call to action (CTA) placed at the bottom of the page: 

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But, there was a catch: It appeared that this spike was largely driven only by the supporting pieces — the email, social media, and accompanying blog promotions.

In the month following the launch, when those pieces were no longer timely, only 673 people visited the page, which was far below our projections and a number that could have been easily achieved from a “normal” blog post. Plus, only 200 of those views came from organic searches, which were generating less traffic than social referrals and direct visits. To say the least, it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for.

But here’s the thing about evergreen content, and the organic search traffic that you hope will come with it: It’s called long-term traffic for a reason.

For that reason, we didn’t draw any conclusions after the post-launch month, and instead, continued to observe its organic traffic performance month over month. We had faith that our experiment would work, and with the tool working as it should, just left it alone. And sure enough — month over month — organic traffic began to grow.

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Each month, the tool continues to see more traffic. Organic search is now our second-highest source of visits, comprising about half of our best-performing month’s traffic — which was May 2017, close to a year after the launch. As of writing this post, we’ve seen 19,851 total views, over 30% of which are driven from organic searches. What’s more, the end-of-page CTA has generated close to 300 requests for demos of the Ads add-on.

In other words, people are finding the tool useful, coming back, and spending a significant amount of time with it. Each month, organic and referral traffic is growing, signaling that the tool — and the overarching content that accompanies it — can continue to serve a purpose to marketers in the long-term.

What We Learned

This approach to content can absolutely be followed. It is worth mentioning that we have access to front-end developers who were able to build this free tool — if you have those kinds of resources, we encourage you to consider which similar tools you can build that are relevant to your products and services.

But if you’re short on that kind of staffing, we also encourage you to take inventory of your current content, blog posts included, and determine if any of them can be repurposed to serve these same long-term goals. It’s an important question to ask as you create new content, as well as, “Will this still be relevant in a year?”

Often, taking this approach to what you create can extend its shelf life. Can your blog post about a current trend, for example, be broadened or repurposed to cover a larger, more macro trend that will maintain relevance beyond the immediate timeframe?

And while we don’t take this approach for all content, after the success of the Ads Calculator, we do actively seek more opportunities to build something evergreen. We feel strongly that our hypothesis was proven true: that sometimes, producing less, higher-impact, evergreen content works better than one-off posts. We also believe that could indicate a larger trend around different types of media consolidating, like embedded audio within blog posts, or more posts that combine applications with written copy. It’s interactive — and, it provides engaging value for the reader.

Have you used evergreen content in a similar way? Let us know about your best experiments in the comments –and hey, we might even feature it on our blog.

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-content-product-launch

The 7 Best Office Music Playlists for Productivity

office-music-compressor.jpgNot long after I first started at HubSpot, I was welcomed with a fresh pair of orange, noise-canceling headphones. At the time, I had no clue that these headphones would carry me through many long work days and some of the deepest, darkest levels of writer’s block.

Over two years later, they are truly the gift that keeps on giving.

You see, for me, listening to music while working is the secret to my productivity. All it takes is the right Beyoncé track, and I go from idle to uber productive. (Seriously, it works like a charm.)

The trouble is, finding the perfect playlist isn’t always easy. With endless streaming music possibilities at my fingertips, it can be hard to nail down just the right tunes to get the wheels turning. So, I did what we do best around here — a little research. New Call-to-action

As it turns out, there are a ton of studies that explore the influence of specific types of music as they relate to your productivity levels. To help you find just the right mix, we’ve sourced and curated seven Spotify playlists designed with specific studies in mind. Whether you’re into Mozart or Chance The Rapper, we’re confident that there’s something on this list that will do the trick.

Note: Some of the playlists contain tracks with explicit language that might not be suitable for the office.

7 Science-Backed Office Music Playlists for Productivity

1) Classical Music

One of the most frequently cited studies related to music and productivity is the “Mozart Effect,” which concluded that listening to Mozart for even a brief period each day can boost “abstract reasoning ability.” The study — led by researchers Gordon Shaw, Frances Rauscher, and Katherine Ky — employed 36 Cal-Irvine students who were divided into three groups. Group one listen to a Mozart selection, while group two listened to a relaxation tape, and group three endured 10 minutes of silence. After the listening activity, all 36 students were issued the same test, in which the Mozart group averaged an eight-to-nine point increase in their IQs, compared to the remaining groups.

Since then, the “Mozart Effect” has been hotly contested, but many researchers have gone on to explore the mental benefits of learning and listening to classical music. One recent study, for example, found that elementary-school-aged children who participated in music composition education outperformed students in a control group on reading comprehension.

Think classical music might work for you? Check out this classical-influenced playlist to find out for yourself:

2) Video Game Soundtracks

“Choosing the right video game soundtrack to work to is all about understanding what type of music motivates vs. distracts you when you need to concentrate,” says HubSpot’s Director of Marketing Acquisition (and former video game marketing consultant) Emmy Jonassen.

“For example, if you’re the type who gets amped and focused listening to high-energy music, rhythm game soundtracks, like those from Thumper or Klang, could work well. Conversely, if you need calm to concentrate, the serene soundtracks from exploration games, like ABZÛ and Journey, may do the trick. With thousands of games releasing every year, including many independent titles, there is a soundtrack to suit everyone’s ear,” she went on to explain.

Think about it: Playing a video game requires a lot of focus. To make it to the next level, players commonly have to avoid traps, dodge obstacles, and discover secret tools that will help them progress to the next level. As a result, the music selection for video games is often very strategic, in that modern soundtracks tend to reflect epic, inspiring cinematic scores rather than just basic sound effects.

And while studies have revealed mixed results, there is evidence to support that gamers can experience improved performance by playing a game with the volume on. For example, when psychology professor Siu-Lan Tan and her colleagues John Baxa and Matt Spackman specifically honed in on the game “Twilight Princess (Legend of Zelda),” they found that participants who played with both music and sound effects off performed worse than those who played with it on.

Want to try it on for size? Check out the playlist below:

3) Nature Sounds

According to psychophysical data and sound-field analysis published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, listening to “natural” sounds could enhance cognitive functioning, optimize your ability to concentrate, and increase your level of satisfaction.

Think: Waves crashing, birds chirping, streams trickling, and the like.

That could explain why more consumer-facing brands — from Google Home to the newer Noisli — are introducing such ambient sound features to help listeners relax or focus. It might also be behind Spotify’s multiple nature-themed playlists, like this soothing one:

4) Pump Up Songs

After observing that many athletes arrive at the stadium wearing headphones, Kellogg School of Management professor Derek Rucker and three of his colleagues — Loran Nordgren, Li Huang, and Adam Galinsky — set out to answer the question: Does listening to the right kind of music make us feel more powerful or in control?

So, back in 2014, the group of researchers set up a study to gauge how music might influence motivation and subsequent behavior. First, they played several songs for participants in a lab, and asked them — on a scale of one to seven — how powerful, dominant, and determined they felt after listening to each song. There were three “high power” winners: Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This,” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”

Then, to gauge how the music would influence their behavior, they asked participants to listen to the music and then determine whether or not they’d like to go first or second in a debate. As it turned out, those who listened to the high-power playlist volunteered to go first almost twice as often as those who listened to a less powerful playlist.

The lesson? “Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind,” Rucker explained, “you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered.”

Next time you’re looking to feel empowered before a big presentation, interview, or salary review, check out this roundup:

Want more? Check out my colleague Amanda Zantal-Wiener’s picks here.

5) Instrumental Songs

In 2015, Middle Tennessee State University researchers Carol A. Smith and Larry W. Morris discovered that students who listened to “sedative” music during a test scored higher than those who listened to lyrical music. (That somewhat contrasts their initial findings 39 years earlier, which showed that while music didn’t reveal an impact on test scores, those who listened to “stimulative music” showed a significant increase in worry and highly emotional reactions.)

That isn’t to say that it’s entirely impossible to cross things off your list while listening to songs with words — I actually prefer lyrical music, but my colleague, Amanda Zantal-Wiener, has joked about hip hop verses accidentally slipping into her first drafts when she listens to songs with words. If you’re like she is and find that lyrics are too distracting, you may want to experiment with some instrumental options.

For those times, check out these lyric-less tunes — we promise they won’t put you to sleep:

6) “Feel Good” Songs

Buried in deadlines? Trying to unearth yourself from an email mountain after some time out of the office? Regretting that you came back? Whatever’s bugging you, sometimes, the best remedy for productivity loss is a solid dose of “feel good” tunes — you know, the kind that make you spontaneously use a pen as a pantomimed microphone.

But scientifically speaking, music can stimulate the same part of the brain as delicious food and other physical pleasures. Researchers at McGill University, for example, discovered that when participants received the opiod-production-blocking drug naltrexone, they didn’t respond as positively to their favorite tunes as they might normally. The verdict? Our brains are trained to naturally produce these chemicals when we hear our preferred playlist.

And while “feel good” songs vary from person to person, a search for Spotify playlists with those very keywords yields dozens of results. That said, here’s one of our favorites:

Can’t get enough? Here are a few more suggestions from my colleague Amanda.

7) White Noise

According to the BBC, about 70% of us work in open-concept work spaces — myself included. And while it’s great to be able to turn our colleagues next door and ask, “Hey, what’s another word for … ?”, many find background chatter distracting.

If that’s the case, you’re certainly not alone — according to a study led by Yamaguchi University, “When carrying out intellectual activities involving memory or arithmetic tasks, it is a common experience for noise to cause an increased psychological impression of ‘annoyance,’ leading to a decline in performance.”

But without an office to call your own, what’s a writer or number-cruncher to do? Neutral, non-verbal background sounds like white noise, which is not the same as nature sounds, can help to block out these distractions — things like the din of a restaurant or shopping mall, an electric fan, or even laundry machines.

And in case you’re wondering — yes. Like all of the above, there is a playlist for that:

So go forth — focus, get pumped, feel good, and rock out.

What are your favorite songs for getting work done? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/productivity-playlists

6 Digital Storytelling Lessons from Pottermore

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As technology continues to lower the cost of content production, today’s end user is asked to digest more stories than ever before — in conversation, in written text, at the movies, in advertisements, and even through web design. With so much to absorb, it’s essential for digital marketers to differentiate their content and deliver an incredible experience.

To better understand recent advancements and best practices in digital storytelling, look no further than the creative writing greats. J.K. Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter book series, has sold 450 million Harry Potter books in print, worldwide. Though the first book in the series was published nearly 20 years ago, the content continues to take new shapes through her site, Pottermore.

Launched in 2012, Pottermore is the global digital publisher of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, “dedicated to unlocking the power of imagination.”

In this post, I’ll discuss six ways Pottermore pushes the digital storytelling envelope. Apply them to your own strategy to deliver content that strengthens relationships with your community.

6 Lessons in Digital Storytelling from J.K. Rowling

1) Offer Unique, Exclusive Content

Pottermore is the host and primary retailer of the enhanced editions of the Harry Potter books, but its unique content doesn’t stop there. Visitors also gain access to new writing released by J.K. Rowling, free of charge. Her pieces flesh out existing plot points and provide further context to the original stories. To the delight of many fans, the site additionally posts sanctioned articles on all things Harry Potter that dive into niche topics and plot points.

In short, Pottermore is the destination for Harry Potter content.

This is a primary goal for digital storytellers: to develop a lauded reputation for a certain content type. This is achieved through time, consistency, and promotion. To build hype for the first release of Pottermore in 2012, a restricted number of early birds were granted access to help put the finishing touches on the site. This layer of exclusivity drove press coverage, ensuring the larger release gained significant attention.

Takeaway for Marketers: As you build your own digital storytelling world, commit to a specific angle and consider how you can present it in a way that showcases what makes it valuable and original. Perhaps it’s a noteworthy writer, the fact you stay up to date on a specific trend, or that you leverage someone’s distinct professional experience.

On Pottermore, it’s J.K. Rowling’s words that draw fans in, but the most popular features of the site aren’t about the author — they’re about the user.

2) Develop a Custom Experience

As J.K. Rowling describes in this original introductory trailer, “It’s the same story, with a few crucial editions. The most important one is you.”

In keeping with this vision, Pottermore asks visitors to create an account in order to access certain information. This allows Pottermore to learn and save information about each individual, and create a personalized experience.

To drive signups, Pottermore gates one of their most popular features — quizzes. In order for visitors to assess their Hogwarts house, Patronus, or wand type, they must create a login.

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After creating an account, quiz results are saved, and users can return to read more about their results and view any purchases made to their personal account. With the information gained through the quizzes, Pottermore creates a user profile that reflects each unique individual and allows them to learn more about themselves in the context of this world.

Takeaway for Marketers: Information-gathering is the key to creating a custom experience. When you learn more about each individual user, you’re able to deliver digital stories in a way that resonates.

Pottermore uses quizzes, but you can also use less direct means to learn more about your readers, such as through Google Analytics’ suite of tools. You can always, however, ask for information directly. Users are often happy to submit information when they know the output will be an experience suited entirely to their tastes.

3) Create a Sense of Belonging

After completing Pottermore’s sorting quizzes, users are assigned to respective “houses.” This house, similar to the membership signup, creates a sense of belonging within the larger Pottermore community.

Ironically, this might be the single thing Harry Potter fans crave most from the original content: to finally join the book’s secret wizarding society that allegedly lives right under the reader’s nose.

To further foster this sense of community, Pottermore is also launching a new book club that will encourage discussion among users through a Twitter chat.

Takeaway for Marketers: To create a sense of belonging among your own community, you need to give your audience a way to identify as a part of the larger whole and participate. It helps to pay special attention to the language you use in your marketing efforts. J.K. Rowling placed heavy emphasis on the reader in her introductory trailer, referring to her fans as a “wonderful, diverse, and loyal.” Digital storytellers, too, must invite their audiences to enjoy content in a way that lets them know their perspectives and experiences are understood and appreciated.

Pay careful attention to the language you use in your invitation to resonate with your target audience. Use identifying phrases that help your readers understand that your content is especially for them.

4) Build a World

Your visitors will more likely feel a sense of belonging if you go so far as to create a digital “world.”

Luckily, you don’t need to be a fantasy author to create a content universe — but it can be helpful to take a few cues from them. Part of what turns a fiction fan into a fanatic is that they’re invited into a unique world that is so fleshed out, it seems real. This augmented sense of reality makes it easier to forge a connection with the content, and imagine yourself inside of the story.

How, then, can you make your story, brand, or idea so well-fleshed out, that a user feels connected and a part of your universe?

Takeaway for Marketers: Like Pottermore, your “world” should be branded to have its own identity that attracts people to become a part of it. Another brand that pulls this off is REI. Its award-winning marketing campaign #OptOutside is an example of how consumers can attach themselves to the qualities associated with a company. By making it extremely clear what their brand represents, REI grew their community by throngs not for their products — but for their ideals.

5) Provide Regular Updates and News

Another way you can continue to build the world of your story or brand is to regularly provide new content.

On Pottermore, in honor of the fact that the first book in the Harry Potter series was published nearly 20 years ago, posts that explore and celebrate the first book’s themes, moments, and characters are released every Friday.

The site also includes an entire page dedicated to official information and news around latest happenings related to the content. Several newsworthy pieces are released each month. This content keeps visitors informed, and also protects the brand from speculation, rumors, and incorrect reporting on other sites.

Takeaway for Marketers: When you take control of the news that’s shared about your organization, you develop a reputation as a trusted and transparent resource. You also appear more active and responsive to relevant current events. Establish a cadence for content creation, and stick to it to build an expectation and trust with your community members.

6) Reimagine Existing Content

Perhaps most trendsetting of all, Pottermore sells enhanced editions of the original books that reimagine the stories. In the spirit of magic, the new editions are complete with animations and interactive artwork. Their goal is to engage your imagination and create a new reading experience that brings you closer to the content than ever before.

The enhanced editions, and the site in general, are shining examples of how storytellers are taking it to the next level to create incredible experiences for their readers.

Takeaway for Marketers: When you work hard to publish valuable content regularly, it can feel disheartening to consider its digital shelf life. To make the most of your evergreen content, and avoid reinventing the wheel, think through what improvements you might make to the experience to wow and delight your readers. Whether you update key facts and statistics, add a video message, or reimagine the page’s design, you can add components that elevate existing pieces of information in new and exciting ways.

At its heart, Pottermore exists to create a phenomenal storytelling experience. You, too, can send a message to your community and the industry at-large when you focus on the end user.

The Magic of Digital Storytelling

When you create a unique experience for your community that centers around delight, you invite your readers to feel as if they are a part of something. This, in turn, increases their loyalty, and makes them more likely to consume your content again and again, and refer your brand to others. Case in point: the brilliance of even the name of J.K. Rowling’s site, Pottermore.

What marketing lessons have your favorite books taught you? Let us know in the comments.

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/digital-storytelling-pottermore

5 Key Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a simple “hot-or-not” site to get back at classmates. Nike founder Phil Knight called the now ubiquitious shoe company his “crazy idea.” Instagram began with a single photo filter to make turn its users into less-crappy photographers.

You probably couldn’t have predicted their success at the time, but today, all of these ideas have turned into global titans worth billions of dollars.

 

Since it all starts so simply, I’ll pose this question: Do you have a “crazy idea” of your own, and have you ever considered turning it into a full-fledged business?

While I can’t answer that question for you, I can tell you what makes Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk such effective and successful founders and entrepreneurs. And who knows — if you see some of these traits in yourself, it might be time to dust off that “crazy idea” and get to work building a business of your own!

(Side note: If you want some help getting started, HubSpot’s giving away $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 facetime with industry experts to help one lucky winner found the business of their dreams. Check out our #SummerStartup competition before it’s too late!)

5 Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

1) Entrepreneurs are resilient.

At LinkedIn (and HubSpot, too), there’s a saying that CEO Jeff Weiner throws around frequently, borrowed from the legendary “Coach K” at Duke University: “Next Play”. 

The thought is, if you miss a wide-open shot, don’t stop to wallow or whine — you haven’t got the time. Instead, pick yourself up, get on the defense, and move on to the next play. 

In the startup world, if you want to keep the lights on, you need to be able to hustle under pressure. Whether a big deal has just fallen through, or you’re staring down a massive and unforeseen cost, you have to be able to hit the reset button and attack the next play at 100%. 

2) Entrepreneurs are ready to take risks.

Elon Musk is one of my personal heroes. Whether it’s SpaceX, Tesla, or SolarCity, his goal is the same: to save the human race. He’s completely mission-driven, and he’s willing to take crazy risks to make it happen. 

For instance, in order to get SpaceX and Tesla off the ground, Musk took nearly his entire fortune from the sale of PayPal ($165M) and invested it into these two businesses — even though it was entirely possible both would fail. He went from millionaire to penniless (and ultimately back again) because he was willing to take a calculated risk to see his dream come to fruition. 

While I’m not advising you to take out another mortgage on the house to support your business, very few entrepreneurs make it to the top without facing a few “make-or-break” moments — and you should be ready to do the same.

3) Entrepreneurs volunteer for the hard jobs.

If you want to be successful in a startup, you should be ready to raise your hand, roll up your sleeves, and tackle the work that no one else is willing to do. A perfect example of this comes from HubSpot’s history, not from a founder but from an integral member of the leadership team. 

In 2014, HubSpot was a pre-IPO company in serious need of an overhaul of much of its sales operations plan. It was clear that tons of hard work and analysis would need to go into the process, and there were numerous stakeholders with varying opinions on how to proceed. 

Nevertheless, Alison Elworthy, VP of Operations at HubSpot, raised her hand to do the messy work. The resulting plan was a massive success upon rollout — and it’s still called “The Elworthy Plan” to this day. 

Here’s the lesson: whether you want to start your own company, you want a better title, or you’re just interested in a bigger paycheck, the best way to raise some eyebrows and boost your career is to volunteer for the hard stuff. 

They’re definitely not afraid of failure. In fact, many successful and innovative companies (like Google) encourage people to fail, the mindset being that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying. They embrace the mantra of “failing fast”, because the faster you fail, the more things you’re able to try and the more proof you have that you’re pushing your limits. This reliance on failure has kept companies like Google on the forefront of innovation for years.

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx (and the youngest self-made female billionaire in America) is the perfect manifestation of this mantra. Working as a door-to-door fax salesperson at the time, Sara (unsuccessfully) sought pantyhose that would work with the modern woman’s lifestyle. At 27, Sara invested her life savings, $5,000, into a hosiery concept of her own designs.

The rest is history. Sara founded Spanx, and in the process earned a fortune worth more than $1 billion.

On the subject of failure, Sara has one piece of advice: “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.”

4) Most importantly, they never lose passion, and they never stop dreaming.

Passion is everything when it comes to planning for success. The Zuckerbergs of the world didn’t get to the top by chasing a paycheck – they got there by feeding their passion and hustling to make it happen. 

Passion shouldn’t be limited to the product, though — it should tie into the mission. Steve Jobs wasn’t passionate about computers, he was passionate about how Apple could disrupt the stodgy and established industry of computers and empower everyone to be their most creative selves

As Zuckerberg himself puts it, “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” 

There’s no way to know for sure whether your “crazy idea” will be a success. That said, the only surefire way to know it won’t be a success is to let it gather dust in the back of your mind.

Interested in $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 mentoring to start the business of your dreams? Check out our #SummerStartup competition today.

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/5-key-traits-of-highly-successful-entrepreneurs

10 of the Best Ads from June: Boomerang, Bugs, and a Perfectly Useless Chatbot

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It’s finally, finally summer.

To celebrate the sun emerging (and the temperature in our offices dropping to subarctic extremes), I attempted to find some summery ads to feature in this month’s roundup. Instead, I ended up with a weird chatbot, a novelty phone, and several ways to kill bugs. 

Regardless of seasonal appropriateness, this month’s ad roundup showcases some inventive ad formats and new concepts from agencies around the world. Check them all out below. 

10 of the Best Ads from June

1) Bufdir (The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs)

This heartwarming ad from Oslo-based agency Kitchen (Leo Burnett/Publicis) racked up 120 million views in just one week — and the hype is completely deserved.

To emphasize the importance of community in raising a child, “The Lunchbox” tells the story of a young boy who finds himself without a lunch at school. After wandering the halls of his school to kill time, he returns to his desk to discover each of his classmates have pitched in an item for a complete meal. 

 

2) Arby’s

Chatbots are shaping up to be an inescapable trend in 2017, and it seems like every brand is jumping on the wagon — regardless of industry. 

With the ad world fawning over Domino’s pizza tracking tool, Arby’s teamed up with Minneapolis-based agency Fallon to create a high-tech chatbot of their own: The Arby’s Pizza Slider Chatbot. Despite the name, this little Facebook Messenger bot will not actually help you order a pizza slider (or anything) from Arby’s. In fact, it’s designed to do absolutely nothing helpful. 

Check out my conversation with the bot below. (Unsurprisingly, the Arby’s Pizza Slider bot has no time for vegetarians.)

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3) Howler Magazine

Back in the late 80’s, Sports Illustrated released an exciting new offer: Buy a subscription to the magazine, and you got a free football shaped phone. If this ad was any indication, people were psyched. The kitschy little device convinced literally millions of people to shell out $55 for an SI subscription.

Fast forward to 2017, and the folks at Howler, an American soccer magazine, teamed up with Kovert Creative to produce a delightful, celebrity-studded spoof on the classic campaign. Their version features — what else? — a soccer ball phone, and includes appearances from comedians Sarah Silverman, Will Arnett, and Jack Black, among others.

Unfortunately for novelty phone aficionados, Howler only made one soccer phone. And according to their website, it’s already taken.

 

4) Showtime – Ray Donovan

The copywriting shines in this ingenious promo spot for Showtime’s crime drama, Ray Donovan, now entering its fifth season. The first half of the ad features an ominous, threatening voice over from series star Liev Schreiber. In the second half, Schreiber’s phrases are repeated in reverse order, taking on a completely different tone: reassuring and protective. The ad — created in-house at Showtime — perfectly captures the title character’s duality.

 

5) Nutella

Using a special randomizing algorithm, Ogilvy & Mather Italy developed seven million unique jar designs for Nutella. Each colorful package is 100% one-of-a-kind, but if you’re looking to pick one up, you’re late to the game: According to the agency, all seven million of the limited-edition jars sold out in one month at Italian supermarkets. 

 

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6) SM Supermalls

This Father’s Day ad from the Phillipines went viral for its heartwarming (and hilarious) twist ending.

Created by Tribal Worldwide Philippines for SM Supermalls, the ad follows a family as they prepare for the daughter’s extravagant birthday bash. Throughout preparations leading up to the event, the father looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. We soon find out he’s not quite as unemotional as he seems. 

 

7) Delta

According to research from Wieden + Kennedy New York, singles who feature travel pictures on their Tinder profiles are more likely to be swiped right. But if you can’t afford to travel to an exotic locale for the selfie opportunities, Delta has you covered. 

The airline worked with W+K to create the #DeltaDatingWall, a mural in Brooklyn that features perfectly Instagram-sized selfie backgrounds of cities around the world. So if you want to trick your future husband into thinking you visited Honolulu and Zurich in the same day, this is the ideal place to do it. 

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8) Nature Conservancy Brazil

To bring attention to the not-so-distant consequences of climate change and inspire some environmental urgency, the Nature Conservancy Brazil launched a line of apocalypse supplies called The Products of Tomorrow.

Presented in slick, futuristic packaging, the products seem innocuous at first: an apple wrapped in a silver bag, a canister of sunscreen, a bottle of water. But on closer inspection, the details paint a scary vision of our future: the apple is only 3% fruit, the sunscreen is SPF 350+, and the bottled water is “low-acidic rain water.”

 

9) Bacardi

In this colorful, BBDO New York-produced ad for Bacardi, the residents of a idyllic Caribbean town are quite literally caught in a repetitive loop. Inspired by Instagram’s Boomerang effect, the summery spot features a catchy beat from Major Lazer. 

 

10) Flora

Who says print ads can’t break some new ground? This Brazilian magazine ad for Mat Inset insecticide from WMcCann invites consumers to “Discover two ways to kill insects.” One is the product, and the other is this delightfully low-tech innovation:

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-ads-from-june

Onboarding Checklist: A 90-Day Framework for Content Teams

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Houston, we have a turnover problem.

As the years pass, there seem to be a growing number of studies on employers struggling to retain their people — and the high costs associated with the resulting turnover. What’s at the bottom of it? Is it workplace culture? Is it missed salary expectations? Or can it all be lumped under the crucial umbrella of communication?

It’s that last point that’s often at the root of employee dissatisfaction — and good communication starts before new hires even begin work. Many times, the key is providing the foundation of a formal onboarding program. It’s something that 98% of executives say is crucial to employee retention, as it can help bring new hires up to speed quickly and accurately, as well as establish mutually realistic expectations between employees and managers. Boost your resume and join 30,000 marketers by getting inbound  marketing-certified for free from HubSpot. Get started here. 

But onboarding new content team members — both full-time and freelance — can be challenging. Sure, it’s an important part of talent retention, but how can it be efficiently and effectively carried out, especially with limited time and resources? Below, we’ve outlined a process you can put into practice for a new content team member’s first 90 days on the job — a period of time when 20% of turnover can occur — as well as listing specific considerations for onboarding freelance content team members.

90-Day Content Team Onboarding Checklist

Before Day 1

You don’t need to wait for your new hire to arrive for her first day at work before you start integrating her into the company. In fact, you can start the onboarding process as soon as she accepts your job offer — and here are a few of the ways how.

Prepare Essential Documents

First, ensure that you have all the relevant administrative forms ready for when your new hire arrives. In the U.S., these include forms like a W-4 and an I-9, depending on the employee’s work authorization. A checklist can be especially helpful here, as there are a number of registrations and laws that might apply to any hiring you do, depending on the size and type of your company. Details are available through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Also keep in mind any internal documents you need your employees to sign or complete, like non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

It might also be helpful to prepare something that employees can read to get a sense of your company’s history, values, objectives, environment, and culture. Many employers create a handbook for this purpose, but feel free to look outside the box here — HubSpot, for example, uses a Culture Code.

Some of this material should include information about buyer personas, especially for new content team members — it’s essential that they know exactly who your organization’s ideal customer is. That can be part of a style guide that specifies the tone of voice for all official content — with specifics like that in mind, it’ll help your new hire ramp up on writing content that resonates effectively.

Once your new hires start to include designers, add things like iconography, fonts, color scheme, and ideal logo specifications within your style guide. That can help to ensure your brand is reflected with integrity, regardless of who is producing your content.

Assign Mentors

No matter how thorough your handbook or culture code might be, new hires will most likely have more questions that they only think to ask once they’re in their new work environments. That’s one reason why mentors can be so helpful — so that new employees have someone, or a group of people, to show them the ropes and help them assimilate.

Assign each new hire a mentor — this should be someone different from the employee’s manager and can be either higher or lower-ranking — and schedule bi-weekly meetings for the next 90 days. Group mentoring and peer mentoring are both viable options.

Days 1-30

The first 30 days of a new employee’s tenure are all about learning. Avoid rushing her to start contributing to high-level business objectives within this period — remember, these initial days of exposure can make or break your new hire’s retention, so allow for a learning curve.

Arrange the first meeting between your new hire and her mentor within the first week of starting — that serves as a great opportunity for the new hire to ask any questions about the company, products and services, culture, customer base, and facilities. During this meeting, it’s a good idea to collaboratively develop a 90-day plan for the new hire, with key milestones that she should aim to reach by certain intervals during this time period. That way, your new hire can keep pace with what’s expected of her, which allows her to seek out specific advice and ask the right questions about targets.

Add Context to Introductory Materials

As the new hire progresses through her first month of work, new opportunities will arise that will provide context to some of the introductory materials she received, like a culture code or handbook. It’s around this time when the new hire should observe things like client presentations, brainstorming sessions, and other team meetings to help bring her up to speed about the specific projects to which the organization’s products and services are applied.

Even more important, however, is the new hire learning not only about the company’s objectives — but also, the content team’s specific role in achieving these goals. Discussing the parameters around these objectives can clarify her responsibilities and show how her work has an impact on the company’s enterprise value. Documentation can help, as well as a visual that illustrates these workflows. Here’s one that shows, for example, the steps involved in creating an infographic, clearly depicting which content team member is responsible for each stage of the process:

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Visual aids that clarify roles — like workflow diagrams — can be especially helpful when you’re working with freelancers who might “come and go” on the team for short-term projects. Plus, visuals can help with memory — people remember 55% more information when a relevant image is paired with it — which is important for new hires who are absorbing a lot of material in a short period of time.

Learning Core Tools

Finally, if there are any core tools or new software that the new hire needs to use for her job, this is the time for her to develop those competencies. Schedule any necessary trainings on how to use internal databases, content management systems, or other resources that have a learning curve.

Days 31-60

In days 1-30, your new hire was focused on learning, and on gleaning the context of how her work fit into the company’s goals, products, and services. Now, it’s time to begin acting on that context and becoming well-versed in those tasks that make a contribution to the organization.

Adding Collaboration and Context to Processes

During this period, new hires should become accustomed to routine processes and can start contributing to the content team’s projects. And while it might be too soon to have them play a major role in mission critical projects, they can still observe the tasks carried out around it, while contributing to it on a smaller scale.

Let’s say your new hire is a copywriter. One effective way to have him scale up his workflow — so he can get to the point of writing copy for high-stakes properties like product pages or downloadable content — is to assign one or two in-depth blog posts that require similar research and cross-team collaboration as higher-level initiatives, but on a smaller scale. Be sure to offer constructive feedback on all tasks in this phase, celebrating small wins while also identifying areas of improvement, so that the employee can continue to grow and improve.

Given this introduction to cross-team collaboration, this stage is a good time for new hires to have conversations with the folks from other teams that they might be working with in the future, like sales and PR. Set up a plan for your new hire to schedule informal lunches or coffee meetings with these other employees, to help facilitate an understanding of how each department works together to fulfill the company’s objectives.

Continue the Feedback Loop

Keep in mind that as new hires progress through their first several weeks, milestones and benchmarks may shift or need to be tweaked. Continue regular employee-manager meetings during this period to modify and finalize the 90-day plan as necessary with concrete performance goals. That type of thing can help to boost motivation — 38% of workers whose managers set clear priorities and goals are engaged in their work, compared to 4% of those whose managers don’t.

By Day 90

Independence and More Collaboration

In the final 30 days of this onboarding framework, the focus should be on fostering independence and autonomy for your new hire. With a thorough understanding of the company, its offerings, interdepartmental relations, and processes, new hires should be ready to start holding themselves accountable and playing a bigger role on significant projects.

For writers, tasks within this period that involve required assets from other teams — like design — are ideal, as they serve as a test of collaboration skills.

Assess and Move Forward

At the end of 90 days, assess the success of this framework, identifying areas of success and improvement for the future. It’s important to note that the employee-manager relationship doesn’t end here, so continue to meet on a regular basis — perhaps weekly — to continue to assess skills and interest as the new hire progresses in her career.

Wherever possible, use data to verify success. If your employee has written copy for new product pages, for example, examine its impact on factors like conversion rates. Blog posts can be assessed based on traffic.

Onboarding Freelancers

Scaling a content team often requires the addition of freelance professionals, like writers and designers. Because freelancers often work remotely, documenting work duties and maintaining frequent communication is crucial.

If you anticipate taking on a large number of freelancers, it might be helpful to create introductory assets — like videos — that cover policies, guidelines, and processes that freelancers will need to follow. This way, you only have to explain the process once and you can share the same video with every new freelancer that joins your team.

Remember when we covered the introductory materials that are helpful to full-time new hires? Keep your freelancers in mind as you create those, as even though they might only join your team on a project-by-project basis, understanding the style and culture of your organization can help them to add a more authentic voice to the work they do for you.

If you want to onboard your freelancers successfully, remember that they’re real team members — not just replaceable labor. Include them in relevant strategic discussions, just as you would regular employees and communicate frequently. We recommend platforms like Slack for staying in touch, as it allows you to communicate using direct messages, audio calls and video calls.

Communication is Vital

Even when the first 90 days concludes, maintain communication that emphasizes how invested you are in your new hire’s future. Listen to concerns, identifying gaps whenever possible, and when new interests are expressed, formulate a plan for how those things can be incorporated into the employee’s main responsibilities in a way that has a positive impact on the company.

How do you ensure a smooth onboarding process for content team members? Let us know in the comments.

download free guide to company culture

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/onboarding-checklist

Left-Handed Brush Lettering: How To Get Started




 


 

Lettering and calligraphy are quickly becoming desired skills in a designer’s toolbox. Designers such as Marian Bantjes, Jessica Hische, Sean Wes and Martina Flor, just to name a few, have become not only an inspiration to the rest of us, but also a standard.

Left-Handed Brush Lettering: How To Get Started

Their work is not only client-based; they have become their own brand by providing products to their followers as well. Other designers have followed suit, and now it would seem that lettering and calligraphy are everywhere.

The post Left-Handed Brush Lettering: How To Get Started appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/06/left-handed-brush-lettering/

We Asked Our Audience What They Really Think of PDF Ebooks: A HubSpot Experiment

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I don’t know about you, but I barely print anything anymore.

Seriously, think about it — when’s the last time you had to type Command + P and print out a document? Between e-tickets, virtual payment options, and online signature tools, I think the last thing I printed out was the lease for my apartment.

So you can imagine my surprise when HubSpot’s audience started telling us they still like to print out our ebooks — which are often 20 or 30 pages in length — instead of viewing them on a web page.

In 2017 — during the era of self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence — our team here at HubSpot is constantly striving to test and implement the most modern techniques for content creation to provide cool, useful resources for our audience. But as it turns out, our perceptions of what our audience actually values when they download out content were a little … off.

In this post, I’ll dive into our hypothesis, how we tested it, and what we’re learning about our audience — and how they actually like to consume our content.

What We Do

I work on HubSpot’s Marketing Acquisition team creating content offers — such as our downloadable ebooks, guides, and templates — that our audience exchanges their contact information for in order to download them.

If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing methodology we’ve been teaching here at HubSpot for more than 10 years, I operate in the “Convert” stage of the process of helping new people discover and learn about HubSpot:

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When a person happens upon HubSpot for the first time online — via a blog post like this one, through social media, or by conducting a Google search — they might see a bold, brightly-colored call-to-action (CTA) encouraging them to learn more about a particular topic or product.

And in order to get that information — from an ebook, a guide, a template, a webinar, or an event — the person has to hand over their contact information. This ensures they can receive an emailed version of the content offer or event registration, and it also converts them from a visitor into a lead.

My job is to create content that visitors are so interested in learning more about that they exchange their phone number, email address, and professional background information. And to make sure we keep converting visitors into leads for the health of HubSpot’s business, I make sure that ebooks, guides, and events are helpful, fascinating, and ultimately educate our audience on how to do inbound marketing.

What We Wondered

For the most part, my team’s job has entailed creating PDFs that visitors can download once they submit a form with their contact information.

More specifically, this has meant creating a lot of PDFs.

And although people were filling out forms and downloading our content offers, we started wondering if we should offer them something different — something more cutting-edge — than a file format created back in 1993. And we wondered if changing the format of our content offers would change conversion rates, too.

We decided to run a survey — and a little test.

We wanted to know if our core persona who we marketed these content offers to still liked PDFs and found them useful. So, how else would we find out than by creating an offer?

I created two different version of the same content offer — one in PDF format, and one in web page format. Then, once someone downloaded the offer, we sent them a thank-you email, and we asked them which format they preferred, and why.

What We Learned

More than 3,000 individuals submitted their information to access the offer, and roughly 9% responded to our question, which gave us more than 300 responses to learn from.

And much to our surprise, 90% of the respondents preferred downloading a PDF to reading our content on a web page.

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We gleaned a ton of valuable information about our core audience from this survey, and the qualitative feedback was incredibly helpful, too. Our key takeaways about format preferences were:

  1. Our core persona likes to print offers.

  2. People viewing our content want to be able to download it and come back to it later.

  3. People don’t think our web page offers look as good as PDFs.

  4. Some people are potentially defaulting to the format they know best.

  5. People liked having both print and online versions.

It’s incredibly helpful to learn what’s going on behind the decisions and choices our audience makes to inform future strategy when it comes to content creation. But this information leaves us with a challenge, too: How do we get our audience excited about content living on interactive web pages, too?

Content living on web pages can be crawled by Google to improve websites’ domain authority (and SEO superpowers) — and PDFs can’t be. So we’re making it our mission to keep offering our audience different options for consuming content the way they want to — while innovating and testing new ways to offer content our core persona is just as excited about in a web-based format.

I’ll be back with more details about that next experiment, but in the meantime, download one of our latest content offers, and let us know if you like the format in the comments.

What’s your opinion? PDF or web page? Share with us what you learned in the comments below.

hubspot blogging trial

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/pdf-preferences-experiment

Which Fictional Boss Are You? [Flowchart]

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I know I’m literally ten years late to this, but I just started watching Mad Men on Netflix. And guys — newsflash — it’s a really good show

The old school ad strategies, the fun outfits, the drama — I love it all. Except Don Draper’s management style. That, in my humble opinion, could use a little work.

I know my stance might be colored by several generation gaps. I’m a millennial, and according to some reports, we need to be told we’re smart and wonderful every two seconds or we turn to avocado toast dust — but it seems to me that Draper could afford to encourage his team a little bit more. Or at the very least, not rely so heavily on cryptic one-liners and mysterious stares to drive the direction of major projects. 

I probably won’t ever relate to Don Draper’s unconventional leadership style on Mad Men, but there are plenty of other fictional bosses from TV and film to aspire to — or avoid becoming. 

To help you discover your fictional boss alter ego, the folks at GetVoIP spun up this clever flowchart. So go ahead: Take a break from your morning grind, and answer the questions below to figure out which beloved (or notorious) fictional boss your leadership style most aligns with. It’s still kind of work related, right?

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Which fictional boss did you get? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: AMC 

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/which-fictional-boss-are-you-flowchart