13 Things to Start, Stop & Keep Doing With Your Email Marketing in 2018

If you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance you arrived here by clicking on a link in an email we sent to you.

Email marketing is a powerful tool to encourage your audience to engage with content and to nurture leads in your database along the buyer’s journey.

And despite what you may think, email marketing is still growing: Gmail alone has 1 billion users worldwide, and The Radicati Group predicts that there will be 3 billion email users worldwide by 2020 (that’s almost half of the world’s population).

Certainly, email is not dead, but it is getting harder to do well. To that end, HubSpot Postmaster and Email Engineering Director Tom Monaghan has distilled his wisdom into a set of guidelines for email marketing for sustainable growth. Read on to learn what strategies you should start implementing, absolutely avoid, and keep up in 2018 and in years ahead.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing in 2018

1) Send emails to lists that want to hear from you.

If you have email lists with low rates of engagement activity, stop sending to them. Every time you send to a list with low open and engagement rates, it hurts your domain reputation and your chances of connecting with other potential customers.

Monaghan said it best in his talk: “You are what you eat, and so is your marketing.” When you receive tons of emails from brands you don’t engage with, constantly deleting them or marking them as “read” is most likely tiresome. Empathize with your subscribers and treat their inbox the way you would want your inbox treated.

2) Have a goal for each email before you press “send.”

If you don’t have a goal in mind for the emails you’re sending, the recipients won’t know what the goal is, either. Once you define a goal for your email sends, you can define success and build a list to make that happen.

Goals for your emails could include a contact filling out a longer form for a gated content offer to provide your team with more information about their organization, or redeeming a promo code for a purchase on your website.

Give recipients options in your messages, such as calls-to-action and links in-text, so they have multiple avenues to achieve your goal. Everyone’s behavior is different, so make your emails flexible.

3) Personalize and test your emails.

Email personalization really works. For example, back in 2014, we found that emails with the recipients’ first names in the subject lines had higher clickthrough rates than emails that didn’t.

When it comes to personalizing your emails, stick with the basics. Personalize according to recipient names and company names, but to avoid being creepy, leave it at that, urges Monaghan.

Nothing is less personal than receiving a “Dear Customer” or “Dear First Name” email, so test every email to make sure you’re sending to recipient names.

4) Send emails from a personalized account.

Don’t send emails from a “noreply” email account. Personalization works on your end, too. Boost your engagement by personalizing the “from” email address to drive replies from subscribers to a real person instead of “noreply@company.com.”

5) Experiment with sending emails on different days of the week.

Stop sending emails on Tuesdays. Seriously, stop.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the most popular days to send email, but they’re oversaturated with messages that might be overwhelming your subscribers. If you want your emails to be opened, try sending them on Mondays and Fridays. Emails with calls-to-action perform well on Saturdays, so don’t be afraid to send emails on the weekend, either.

In any case, try experimenting with your approach to lessen your subscribers’ email load Tuesday through Thursday, when most business emails are sent.

6) Engage with contacts who’ve submitted forms, not contacts whose information you’ve imported.

When someone fills out a form and provides his or her email address, that person’s engagement rate is typically higher than cold contacts you’ve imported from a list. That’s because these recipients want to hear from you and chose to engage with your content — they’ve told you this by filling out a form. This is evidence that the inbound marketing methodology is working for email marketers.

And by the way, don’t buy email lists — you’re only hurting your credibility and annoying people who haven’t asked to hear from you.

7) Suppress your unengaged subscribers to avoid sending graymail.

You may be sending spam without knowing it, and that’s because the definition of spam has changed. Graymail refers to bulk email messages that aren’t technically spam because the recipients gave you their information, but the fact of the matter is, they get your emails and don’t touch them. Engagement rates plummet if recipients don’t open your first email, so if they continue ignoring you, the probability of them ever opening your messages is going way, way down.

Stop sending graymail, and listen to what people are telling you by not opening your emails. Start suppressing your unengaged subscribers. That way, your open rates will increase, and inbox providers will see that you’re responding to subscriber behavior.

8) If people are unsubscribing, don’t worry too much (yet).

You can’t please everyone, and unsubscribes will happen. Luckily, your subscribers didn’t mark you as spam — they simply told you, in the nicest way possible, that they’re not interested in hearing from you anymore.

Don’t be too worried yet, but if more people keep unsubscribing, try to identify the potential cause. Consider suppressing or sending fewer emails to subscribers who aren’t engaging as much.

9) If people stop opening your emails, figure out what’s going wrong fast.

If your email open rate is falling, it means you’re missing the expectations of your recipients and that you should prepare for worse outcomes. It’s a leading indicator that spam complaints and unsubscribes are coming, and you should immediately suppress your unengaged subscribers to show email providers that you’re responding to feedback. Test different emails to see if you can improve your open rates.

10) If people mark you as spam, immediately stop sending email and identify the source of the complaints.

If you’re being marked as spam, your domain reputation is at risk, and you could become blacklisted by email providers. Whether the spam complaints are caused by a new source, bad forms, or you missing expectations of your list, slow or completely stop sending emails until you figure it out.

If you aren’t getting unsubscribe or spam complaints, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear — the messages could be going straight to recipients’ junk folders.

11) If you want to learn more about email marketing, take the free email marketing certification course.

Learn more about email marketing with Monaghan right now by taking HubSpot Academy’s Email Marketing Certification course. In only 3.5 hours, you’ll learn about lifecycle marketing, email list segmentation, design, deliverability, and more skills to help you cultivate a strong strategy for 2018 and beyond.

12) Be thoughtful about your subject line.

Don’t write clickbait email subject lines. When people click on your email and then immediately bounce away when they realize your subject line wasn’t genuine, your clickthrough rates will suffer.

For best results, customize and personalize email subject lines and experiment with emojis. Pro tip: Read subject lines out loud before sending. Would you open that email if you received it?

13) Remember: Email is getting harder, but it’s still working.

Every year, engagement rates start to slip, and it gets harder to reach people’s inboxes. This doesn’t mean that email marketing is losing its efficacy, it’s just getting more competitive. The divide is growing between email marketers who know what they’re doing and those who don’t, so make sure to put in the effort to test different strategies and keep your subscribers engaged.

The theme of all of these email marketing guidelines? Testing. Every audience and contacts database is different, so make sure you’re testing the implementation of new strategies and tailoring them according to how your subscribers engage. (And when you’re ready to hit “send,” here are some lead nurturing email examples to inspire your creativity.)

Before you go, you can view slides from Monaghan’s INBOUND talk on this subject below:

write the perfect email

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-2017


Don’t Let Your Brain Deceive You: Avoiding Bias In Your UX Feedback



You know that user feedback is crucial — after all, your users will decide whether your app succeeds or not — but how do you know whether users are being fair and objective in their feedback?

Don’t Let Your Brain Deceive You: Avoiding Bias In Your UX Feedback

We can tell you: They won’t be. All of your users will be giving you biased feedback. They can’t help it.

The post Don’t Let Your Brain Deceive You: Avoiding Bias In Your UX Feedback appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/10/avoid-bias-ux-feedback/

How to Start a Competitive Analysis: 57 Questions You Need to Ask [Free Kit]

When was the last time you ran a competitive analysis for your brand?

If you’re not sure, or if the last “analysis” you ran was a quick perusal of a competitor’s website and social media presence, you’re likely missing out on important intelligence that could help your brand grow.

To help you get started with competitive analysis the right way, we’re breaking down everything you’ll want to look for below.

Download the full competitive analysis kit from HubSpot and Amazon Alexa Web here.

Every brand can benefit from regular competitor analysis. By performing a competitor analysis, you’ll be able to: 

  • Identify gaps in the market
  • Develop new products and services
  • Uncover market trends
  • Market and sell more effectively

As you can see, learning any of these four components will lead your brand down the path of achievement. But before you get too excited to start, we need to nail down a few important basics.

How to Identify Your True Competition

First, you’ll need to figure out who you’re really competing with so you can compare the data accurately. What works in a business similar to yours may not work for your brand.

So how can you do this?

Divide your “competitors” into two categories: direct and indirect.

Direct competitors are businesses that offer a product or service that could pass as a similar substitute for yours, and that operate in your same geographic area.

On the flip side, an indirect competitor is one that provides products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem.

It seems simple enough on paper, but these two terms are often misused.

When comparing your brand, you should only focus on your direct competitors. This is something many brands get wrong.

Let’s use an example: Stitch Fix and Fabletics are both subscription-based services that sell clothes on a monthly basis and serve a similar target audience.

But as we look deeper, we can see that the actual product (clothes in this case) are not really the same; one brand focuses on stylish everyday outfits while the other is workout-centric attire only.

Yes, these brands satisfy the same need for women (having trendy clothes delivered right to their doorstep each month), but they do so with completely different types of clothing, making them indirect competitors.

This means Kate Hudson’s team at Fabletics would not want to spend their time studying Stitch Fix too closely since their audiences probably vary quite a bit. Even if it’s only slightly, this tiny variation is enough to make a big difference.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should toss your indirect competitors out the window completely.

Keep these brands on your radar since they could shift positions at any time and cross over into the direct competitor zone. Using our example, Stitch Fix could start a workout line, which would certainly change things for Fabletics.

This is also one of the reasons why you’ll want to routinely run a competitor analysis. The market can and will shift at anytime, and if you’re not constantly scoping it out, you won’t be aware of these changes until it’s too late.

What Exactly Are We Comparing?

Once you identify your true competition, you’ll need to determine what metrics you’ll be comparing across the board.

There are three specific categories to focus on: business (the products), sales, and marketing.

Business (Products)

At the heart of any business is its product or service, which is what makes this a good place to start.

You’ll want to analyze your competitor’s complete product line and the quality of the products or services they’re offering.

You should also take note of their pricing and any discounts they’re offering customers.

Some questions to consider include:

  • Are they a low-cost or high-cost provider?
  • Are they working mainly volume sales or one-o purchases?
  • What is their market share?
  • What are characteristics and needs of their ideal customers?
  • Are they using different pricing strategies for online purchases versus brick and mortar?
  • How does the company di erentiate itself from its competitors?
  • How do they distribute their products/services?


Running a sales analysis of your competitors can be a bit tricky.

You’ll want to track down the answers to questions such as:

  • What does the sales process look like?
  • What channels are they selling through?
  • Do they have multiple locations and how does this give them an advantage?
  • Are they expanding? Scaling down?
  • Do they have partner reselling programs?
  • What are their customers reasons for not buying? For ending their relationship with the company?
  • What are their revenues each year? What about total sales volume?
  • Do they regularly discount their products or services?
  • How involved is a salesperson in the process?

These helpful pieces of information will give you an idea of how competitive the sales process is, and what information you need to prepare your sales reps with to compete during the final buy stage.

For publicly held companies, you can find annual reports online, but you’ll have to do some sleuthing to find this info from privately owned businesses.

You could find some of this information by searching through your CRM and reaching out to those customers who mentioned they were considering your competitor. Find out what made them choose your product or service over others out there.

To do this, run a report that shows all prospective deals where there was an identified competitor.

If this data is not something you currently record, talk to marketing and sales to implement a system where prospects are questioned about the other companies they are considering.

Essentially, they’ll need to ask their leads (either through a form field or during a one- on-one sales conversation) to identify who their current service providers are, who they’ve used in the past, and who else they are considering during the buying process.

When a competitor is identified, have your sales team dive deeper by asking why they are considering switching to your product. If you’ve already lost the deal, be sure to follow up the with prospect to determine why you lost to your competitor. What services or features attracted the prospect? Was it about price? What’s the prospect’s impression of your sales process? If they’ve already made the switch, find out why they made this decision.

By asking open-ended questions, you’ll have honest feedback about what customers find appealing about your brand and what might be turning customers away.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start scoping out your competitor’s marketing efforts.


Analyzing your competitor’s website is the fastest way to gauge their marketing efforts. Take note of any of the following items and copy down the specific URL for future reference:

  • Do they have a blog?
  • Are they creating whitepapers or ebooks?
  • Do they post videos or webinars?
  • Do they have a podcast?
  • Are they using static visual content such as infographics and cartoons?
  • What about slide decks?
  • Do they have a FAQs section?
  • Are there featured articles?
  • Do you see press releases?
  • Do they have a media kit?
  • What about case studies?
  • Do they publish buying guides and data sheets?
  • What online and offine advertising campaigns are they running?

Then, take a look at the quantity of these items. Do they have several hundred blog posts or a small handful? Are there five white papers and just one ebook?

Next, determine the frequency of these content assets. Are they publishing something new each week or once a month? How often does a new ebook or case study come out?

Chances are, if you come across a robust archive of content, your competitor has been publishing regularly. Depending on the topics they’re discussing, this content may help you hone in on their lead generating strategies.

From there, you should move on to evaluating the quality of their content. After all, if the quality is lacking, it won’t matter how often they post since their target audience won’t find much value there.

Choose a small handful of samples to review instead of tackling every single piece to make the process more manageable.

Your sampler should include content pieces covering a variety of topics so you’ll have a fairly complete picture of what your competitor shares with their target audience.

When analyzing your competitor’s content, consider the following questions:

  • How accurate is their content?
  • Are spelling or grammar errors present?
  • How in-depth does their content go? (Is it introductory level that just scratches the surface or more advanced topics with high-level ideas?)
  • What tone do they use?
  • Is the content structured for readability? (Are they using bullet points, bold headings, and numbered lists?)
  • Is their content free and available to anyone or do their readers need to opt-in?
  • Who is writing their content? (In-house team? One person? Multiple contributors?)
  • Is there a visible byline or bio attached to their articles?

As you continue to scan the content, pay attention to the photos and imagery your competitors are using.

Do you quickly scroll past generic stock photos or are you impressed by custom illustrations and images? If theyre using stock photos, do they at least have overlays of text quotes or calls-to- action that are specific to their business?

If their photos are custom, are they sourced from outside graphic professionals or do they appear to be done in-house?

When you have a solid understanding of your competitor’s content marketing strategy, it’s time to find out if it’s truly working for them.

Content Engagement

To gauge how engaging your competitor’s content is to their readers, you’ll need to see how their target audience responds to what they’re posting.

Check the average number of comments, shares, and likes on your competitor’s content and find out if:

  • Certain topics resonate better than others
  • The comments are negative, positive, or a mix
  • People are tweeting about specific topics more than others
  • Readers respond better to Facebook updates about certain content
  • Don’t forget to note if your competitor categorizes their content using tags, and if they have social media follow and share buttons attached to each piece of content. Both of these will a ect engagement activity.

Content Promotion

From engagement, you’ll move right along to your competitor’s content promotion strategy.

  • Keyword density in the copy itself
  • Image ALT text tags
  • Use of internal linking

The following questions can also help you prioritize and focus on what to pay attention to:

  • Which keywords are your competitors focusing on that you still haven’t tapped into?
  • What content of theirs is highly shared and linked to? How does your content compare?
  • Which social media platforms is your target audience using and the most active on?
  • What other sites are linking back to your competitor’s site, but not yours?
  • Who else is sharing what your competitors are publishing?
  • Who is referring traffic to your competitor’s site?
  • For the keywords you want to focus on, what is the diffculty level? There are several free (and paid) tools that will give you a comprehensive evaluation of your competitor’s search engine optimization.

Social Media Presence

The last area you’ll want to evaluate when it comes to marketing is your competitor’s social media presence and engagement rates.

How does your competition drive engagement with their brand through social media? Do you see social sharing buttons with each article? Does your competitor have links to their social media channels in the header, footer, or somewhere else? Are these clearly visible? Do they use calls-to-action with these buttons?

If your competitors are using a social network that you may not be on, it’s worth learning more about how that platform may be able to help your business, too. To determine if a new social media platform is worth your time, check your competitor’s engagement rates on those sites. First, visit the following sites to see if your competition has an account on these platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

Then, take note of the following quantitative items from each platform:

  • Number of fans/followers
  • Posting frequency and consistency
  • Content engagement (Are users leaving comments or sharing their posts?)
  • Content virality (How many shares, repins, and retweets do their posts get?)

With the same critical eye you used to gauge your competition’s content marketing strategy, take a fine-toothed comb to analyze their social media strategy.

What kind of content are they posting? Are they more focused on driving people to landing pages, resulting in new leads? Or are they posting visual content to promote engagement and brand awareness?

How much of this content is original? Do they share curated content from other sources? Are these sources regular contributors? What is the overall tone of the content?

How does your competition interact with their followers? How frequently do their followers interact with their content?

After you collect this data, generate an overall grade for the quality of your competitor’s content. This will help you compare the rest of your competitors using a similar grading scale.

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats)

As you evaluate each component in your competitor analysis (business, sales, and marketing), get into the habit of performing a simplified SWOT analysis at the same time.
This means you’ll take note of your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats any time you assess an overall grade.

Some questions to get you started include:

  • What is your competitor doing really well with? (Products, content marketing, social
    media, etc.)
  • Where does your competitor have the advantage over your brand?
  • What is the weakest area for your competitor?
  • Where does your brand have the advantage over your competitor?
  • What could they do better with?
  • In what areas would you consider this competitor as a threat?
  • Are there opportunities in the market that your competitor has identified?

You’ll be able to compare their weaknesses against your strengths and vice versa. By doing this, you can better position your company, and you’ll start to uncover areas for improvement within your own brand.

How Does Your Business Currently Stack Up?

Before you accurately compare your competition, you need to establish a baseline. This also helps when it comes time to perform a SWOT analysis.

Take an objective look at your business, sales, and marketing e orts through the same metrics you use to evaluate your competition.

Record this information just like you would with a competitor and use this as your baseline to compare across the board.

Ready to get started with the full ebook and template? Click here to access the complete Competitive Analysis Kit. 

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/competitive-analysis-kit

Brand Strategy 101: 7 Essentials for Strong Company Branding

Let’s say you’ve come to the difficult realization that quite frankly your brand — if you can even call it that — is all over the place. Or perhaps worse, you have a defined brand, but you’re noticing that it just doesn’t seem to mesh with who you really are and what you really do.

Don’t panic.

Before you get all hung up on what shade of green to use for your logo or what tone you’re going to use when engaging with people on Twitter, you need to step back and take a look at the big picture.

What is Brand Strategy?

Brand strategy is a plan that encompasses specific, long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand — the combined components of your company’s character that make it identifiable.

(We’ll get into that more in a bit.)

A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.

First, let’s clear up the biggest misconception about brand strategy: Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name.

In fact, your brand is much more than that — it’s the stuff that feels intangible. But it’s that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse and mediocre brands from each other.

So to help you rein in what many marketers consider more of an art and less of a science, we’ve broken down seven essential components of a comprehensive brand strategy that will help keep your company around for ages.

7 Components for a Comprehensive Branding Strategy

1) Purpose

“Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose,” explains Allen Adamson, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates.

While understanding what your business promises is necessary when defining your brand positioning, knowing why you wake up every day and go to work carries more weight. In other words, your purpose is more specific, in that it serves as a differentiator between you and your competitors.

How can you define your business’ purpose? According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed in two ways:

  • Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business is to make money.
  • Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.

While making money is important to almost every business, we admire brands that emphasize their willingness to achieve more than just profitability, like IKEA:

Source: IKEA

IKEA’s vision isn’t just to sell furniture, but rather, to “create a better everyday life.” This approach is appealing to potential customers, as it demonstrates their commitment to providing value beyond the point of sale.

When defining your business’ purpose, keep this example in mind. While making money is a priority, operating under that notion alone does little to set your brand apart from others in your industry.

Our advice? Dig a little deeper. If you need inspiration, check out the brands you admire, and see how they frame their mission and vision statements.

2) Consistency

The key to consistency is to avoid talking about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Added a new photo to your business’ Facebook Page? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your message, or was it just something funny that would, quite frankly, confuse your audience?

In an effort to give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all of your messaging is cohesive. Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty. (No pressure, right?)

To see a great example of consistency, let’s look at Coca-Cola. As a result of its commitment to consistency, every element of the brand’s marketing works harmoniously together. This has helped it become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

Even on the surface of its social media accounts, for example, the seamlessness of its brand is very apparent:

To avoid leaving potential customers struggling to put the disconnected pieces of your business together, consider the benefits of creating a style guide. A style guide can encompass everything from the tone of voice you’ll use to the color scheme you’ll employ to the way you’ll position certain products or services.

By taking the time to define and agree upon these considerations, your brand will benefit as a whole.

3) Emotion

Customers aren’t always rational.

How else do you explain the person who paid thousands of dollars more for a Harley rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made bike? There was an emotional voice in there somewhere, whispering: “Buy a Harley.”

But why?

Harley Davidson uses emotional branding by creating a community around its brand. It began HOG — Harley Owners Group — to connect their customers with their brand (and each other).

Source: HOG

By providing customers with an opportunity to feel like they’re part of a larger group that’s more tight-knit than just a bunch of motorcycle riders, Harley Davidson is able to position themselves as an obvious choice for someone looking to purchase a bike.

Why? People have an innate desire to build relationships. Research from psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary best describes this need in their “belongingness hypothesis,” which states: “People have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior.”

Not to mention, belongingness — the need for love, affection, and being part of groups — falls directly in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which aims to categorize different human needs.

The lesson to be learned? Find a way to connect with your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family? Do you make life easier? Use emotional triggers like these to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty.

4) Flexibility

In this fast-changing world, marketers must remain flexible to stay relevant. On the plus side, this frees you to be creative with your campaigns.

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, how am I supposed to remain consistent while also being flexible?”

Good question. While consistency aims to set the standard for your brand, flexibility enables you to make adjustments that build interest and distinguish your approach from that of your competition.

In other words, “effective identity programs require enough consistency to be identifiable, but enough variation to keep things fresh and human,” explains president of Peopledesign, Kevin Budelmann.

A great example of this type of strategic balance comes from Old Spice. These days, Old Spice is one of the best examples of successful marketing across the board. However, up until recently, wearing Old Spice was pretty much an unspoken requirement for dads everywhere. Today, it’s one of the most popular brands for men of all ages.

The secret? Flexibility.

Aware that it needed to do something to secure its place in the market, Old Spice teamed up with Wieden+Kennedy to position their brand for a new customer base.

Source: Works Design Group

Between new commercials, a new website, new packaging, and new product names, Old Spice managed to attract the attention of a new, younger generation by making strategic enhancements to its already strong brand.

So if your old tactics aren’t working anymore, don’t be afraid to change. Just because it worked in the past doesn’t mean it’s working now.

Take the opportunity to engage your followers in fresh, new ways. Are there some out-of-the-box partnerships your brand can make? Are there attributes about your product you never highlighted? Use those to connect with new customers and remind your old ones why they love you.

5) Employee Involvement

As we mentioned before, achieving a sense of consistency is important if you wish to build brand recognition. And while a style guide can help you achieve a cohesive digital experience, it’s equally important for your employees to be well versed in the how they should be communicating with customers and representing the brand.

If your brand is playful and bubbly through Twitter engagements, then it wouldn’t make sense if a customer called in and was connected with a grumpy, monotone representative, right?

To avoid this type of mismatched experience, take note of Zappos’ approach.

If you’ve ever been on the line with a customer service representative from Zappos, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, check out this SlideShare which details some of its most inspiring customer support stories.

Zappos is so committed to ensuring that not only its brand, but all brands, remain consistent across digital and human interactions that they’ve dedicated an entire department to the cause called Zappos Insights.

Come join us and learn the Zappos WOW approach to customer service! Learn more about the Zappos School of WOW: https://t.co/g3tU4179q9 pic.twitter.com/eRkpcfYAKD

— Zappos Insights (@ZapposInsights)
August 21, 2017

By holding all Zappos employees to its core values
and helping other companies implement the same approach, Zappos has built a strong reputation for solid, helpful, and human customer service.

6) Loyalty

If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there. Reward them for that love.

These customers have gone out their way to write about you, to tell their friends about you, and to act as your brand ambassadors. Cultivating loyalty from these people early on will yield more returning customers — and more profit for your business.

Sometimes, just a thank you is all that’s needed. Other times, it’s better to go above and beyond. Write them a personalized letter. Sent them some special swag. Ask them to write a review, and feature them prominently on your website. (Or all of the above!)

When we reached 15,000 customers here at HubSpot, we wanted to say thank you in a big way, while remaining true to our brand … so we dropped 15,000 orange ping pong balls from our fourth-floor balcony and spelled out thank you in big metallic balloons:

And while it may have seemed a little out of the ordinary to some folks, for those who know our brand, the gesture made perfect sense.

Loyalty is a critical part of every brand strategy, especially if you’re looking to support your sales organization. At the end of the day, highlighting a positive relationship between you and your existing customers sets the tone for what potential customers can expect if they choose to do business with you.

7) Competitive Awareness

Take the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand. You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do.

Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail? Tailor your brand positioning based on their experience to better your company.

A great example of how to improve your brand by learning from your competitors comes from Pizza Hut:

@TheRealElysium You know our vote. ^AB

— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut)
March 20, 2016

When a pizza lover posed this question to his Twitter following, Pizza Hut didn’t miss a beat, and playfully responded in minutes, before Domino’s had a chance to speak up.

If Domino’s is keeping an eye on the competitors, they’ll know to act fast the next time a situation like this arises.

For HubSpot customers, keeping tabs on your competitor’s social mentions is easy using the Social Monitoring App. Check out this article to learn more about how to set up custom social streams.

And while staying in tune with your competitor’s strategies is important if you want to enhance your brand, don’t let them dictate each and every move you make.

Sure, you probably sell a similar product or service as many other companies, but you’re in business because your brand is unique. By harping on every move your competitor makes, you lose that differentiation.

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31739/7-components-that-comprise-a-comprehensive-brand-strategy.aspx

Live From Mark Zuckerberg’s #OculusConnect Keynote

Here it is: the fourth installment of one of Facebook’s biggest VR events, Oculus Connect. Today, things kick off with an opening keynote from Mark Zuckerberg himself, and we’ll be there to bring you the highlights of his thoughts and insights in realtime.

The event comes at an interesting time for Facebook. The company has been under a growing amount of pressure to answer questions about its possible involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with particularly high scrutiny for how it will prevent such action from being taken again, and how it plans to curb the abuse of its targeted ad and promoted content technology.

It also comes on the heels of Zuckerberg’s recent live demo of Facebook Spaces, a new feature that allows Oculus Rift users to experience virtual reality environments with friends, no matter where you’re using it. 

On Monday, Zuckerberg demonstrated the technology by “placing” himself and a colleague in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, doubling the live content as an announcement about Facebook’s partnership with the Red Cross for relief efforts — which was met with mixed results.

The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Pacific Time. And in addition to this liveblog, there will be a live stream. Tune in ASAP, because we’ll be getting started as soon as the lights dim and the dramatic music is cued.

12:10 PM PST: And that’s a wrap! We’ll be here for the full Oculus Connect experience this week and plan to bring you the greatest insights and takeaways.

11:57 AM PST: One of my favorite intersections: AI and VR. According to the conversation taking place, machine learning is going to be crucial for continuing to create truly immersive VR experiences, which creates a cool overlap of two “buzzy” topics that aren’t often discussed together.

11:44 AM PST: For context, Michael Abrash is a Chief Scientist at Oculus and Steven Levy is a long-time tech journalist. It could be argued that both have been present for the evolution of VR from day one, so it makes for an interesting conversation.

But wait — there’s more! We get to hear a chat between Michael Abrash and Steven Levy. pic.twitter.com/ILh1xrL7qT

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017

11:30 AM PST: Many of the items being covered now serve as a reminder that this is, first and foremost, an event for VR developers and designers. The people taking the stage are expressing gratitude for them — after all, they’re chiefly the ones creating the content experienced with Oculus technology.

Jason Rubin, VP of content, takes the stage. These goals listed here were unimaginable, and yet, they were all achieved #oculusconnect pic.twitter.com/WO9uT6WeWF

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017

11:22 AM PST: Part of what this will do is allow users to move on and off of VR spaces more seamlessly. Also, you’ll be able to create a 3D object using a Facebook camera, then share it. These objects will “pop” off the screen, too.

The Facebook 3D post: Starting today, objects created in VR can be shared in newsfeeds. #oculusconnect

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017


11:17 AM PST: What does this mean? Basically, it sounds like a VR experience can be created based on the environment where you are at any given moment. So today, for example, we’ll have the option of using 360 video to broadcast and create a Spaces experience from the Oculus Connect showroom floor.

Live 360 video is coming to Facebook Spaces #oculusconnect

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017

11:08 AM PST: So, here’s that accessibility item again. Because a lot of people still don’t have a headset, Product Manager Christina Womack says, marketing VR experiences to those who are less entrenched in technology presents a challenge. That’s where initiatives around mixed reality come in.

“Marketing VR experiences outside of the headset is really hard.” That’s where Mixed Reality Capture comes in. pic.twitter.com/d1dcnf3Pq6

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017

10:59 AM PST: The new Oculus avatars are coming:


10:53 AM PST: Rift Core 2.0 will be available in beta this December for all Rift users. And, it’ll come with Home: an immersive experience that lets users tinker with, well, a home-like setting. It appears to borrow from some AR features that let users tinker with furniture placement — but in fully immersive VR.

10:42 AM PST: More talk of accessibility, though some of these features — like Dash, for example — are less about pricing and geography, and more about a more streamlined Rift experience, like being able to access and use your desktop from within VR.

Nate Mitchell, head of Rift, takes the stage, kicking things off with the Core 2.0 update. #OculusConnect pic.twitter.com/nONFCCgpCr

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017

10:41 AM PST: It sounds like Project Santa Cruz controllers are going to play a part in what will ultimately create an untethered Rift experience: one that doesn’t require a PC. Here’s a look at them, still in prototype mode.

Untitled 3.png

10:36 AM PST: More pricing news:

A new permanent price for Rift and Touch: $399, starting today. “The best VR system, now at the best price.” #oculusconnect

— Amanda Z-W @ OC4 (@Amanda_ZW)
October 11, 2017

10:34 AM PST: There’s been a demand, apparently, for professional versions of Rift technology. The response is Oculus for business, which comes with a business-specific bundle of products and services.

10:32 AM PST: So, that’s the Go. Its biggest selling points: “The most accessible VR experience,” Barra says, it’s lightweight and comfortable, and has enhanced lenses for a better viewing experience. Now, we’re moving onto the Oculus pride and joy: the Rift.

10:26 AM PST: There is a lot of talk of the accessibility of VR so far. That’s paired with efforts, Barra says, to “push the envelope” of the types of experiences that will become available with some of the stand-alone headsets. The Go, for example, is designed to work toward that.

10:23 AM PST: Part of the reasoning behind the expanding portfolio of products, Barra explains, is to create a global reach and get VR experiences into the hands of people everywhere. 

10:22 AM PST: “What a fantastic thing.” That was Barra’s Dad’s first reaction to his Rift experience. “That is the magic of presence in VR,” says Barra.

10:20 AM PST: OC4 is the biggest Oculus Connect event yet, says VP of VR, Hugo Barra. It’s also the first one available, he says, to be experienced via VR in 4K.

10:15 AM PST: And that sweet spot between the two, he says, is something that won’t tether people to their PCs. The answer: Oculus Go, priced at $199, available “early next year.”

10:14 AM PST: Mark Zuckerberg’s goal: to have 1 billion people in virtual reality. That requires both affordability and quality.

10:13 AM PST: A new experience called Oculus Venues is coming. It’s part of the effort to allow people who can’t be physically present at events like concert to still “attend” them.

10:11 AM PST: There’s also the argument that VR will play a major role in the evolving workplace. As more teams become remote/widespread, VR can save money on commutes, but also create a more immersive, collaborative setup.  

10:08 AM PST: A case is being made for the inclusive nature of virtual reality, rather than the impression that it’s isolating. He uses the example of a woman named Dorothy who is “no longer fit to go on holidays” and uses a Rift to experience new places.

10:04 AM PST: Zuckerberg says, “”We’re all here because we are all legitimately excited about the future, and we all want to make it a reality,” but warns not to “start with the mainstream.”

10:00 AM PST: Here we go. Opening video is playing in full force.

9:44 AM PST: Folks are starting to file in. Quick look at the stage:


Featured image credit: Oculus Connect

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/mark-zuckerberg-oculus-connect

Implementing A Service Worker For Single-Page App WordPress Sites



With so many JavaScript frameworks around, single-page application (SPA) websites seem to be all the rage nowadays. However, an SPA architecture has the drawback of having a slower first-page load than a server-based application, because all of the JavaScript templates used to render the HTML view must be downloaded before the required view can be generated.

Implementing A Service Worker For Single-Page App WordPress Sites

Enter service workers. Through service workers, all framework and application code to output the HTML view can be precached in the browser, thus speeding up both the first meaningful paint and the time to interact. In this article, I will share my experience with implementing service workers for PoP, an SPA website that runs on WordPress, with the goal of speeding up the loading time and providing offline-first capabilities.

The post Implementing A Service Worker For Single-Page App WordPress Sites appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

from Marketing https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/10/service-worker-single-page-application-wordpress-sites/

How to Organize Your Email: 12 Management Tools

Most people have a love-hate relationship with their email inbox. On the one hand, email can be exciting — whether you’re making progress with a client, replacing a meeting with a (much more efficient) email thread, or receiving an invitation to a fun social gathering.

On the other hand, though, email can be overwhelming — especially if you lose control.

And boy is it easy to lose control. After all, email is one of the top ways we communicate with a lot of the people in our lives, from our best friends to people we’ve never spoken with before. Many of us get bombarded by new emails on a regular basis, and it’s stressful to know that we might be missing out on the truly important stuff amid the flood of less pertinent stuff.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools out there that can help us get more organized. In this post, we’ll go through 12 of our favorite tools for organizing your inbox. Try ’em out, and help pave your own way to a more productive and less stressful email experience.

How to Organize Your Email

Before we dive into the tools that can help you take control of your inbox, let’s go over some of the basic best practices that can help you maintain email organization as much as possible. Here are our three golden rules:

  • Get rid of the old email you don’t need. I still have email invitations to events from 2006, most of which I never even attended. Do I need them? No. Should I delete them? Yes. Clear your inbox of anything but new emails and previous ones that you’ll absolutely need to refer to later.
  • Unsubscribe. Seriously. We all have those I-swear-you’re-going-to-read-this-newsletter-really-just-as-soon-as-I-have-a-minute emails. You’re not going to read them — get rid of them. Some of the tools below will help you do this in bulk.
  • Combine multiple email accounts. I’m a big believer in keeping work and personal email separate — but sometimes, having to toggle between the two isn’t conducive to staying organized. Some of the tools below can help you consolidate different email addresses — Mail and iCal on Mac devices, for example, allow you to streamline multiple accounts in one place.

12 Tools for Organizing Your Email

1) Unroll.me

Price: Free

The first step to relieving your inbox from all that email is to unsubscribe from all the newsletters you’ve subscribed to over the years. But unsubscribing manually from tens, maybe hundreds of newsletters would take forever.

Enter Unroll.me, a free tool that lets you mass unsubscribe from all the newsletters you don’t read. You can either wipe the slate clean and unsubscribe from everything at once, or you can pick and choose.


Source: PC

2) FollowUpThen

Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

Here’s another simple but useful tool, this time for reminding you — and even your clients, if you want — to follow up on specific emails.

Here’s how it works: Compose an email, and then include [any time]@followupthen.com in the “Bcc,” “Cc,” or “To” fields of your email. The “any time” wording here is pretty flexible: It can be “tomorrow@followupthen.com,” “nextwednesday@followupthen.com,” “3hours@followupthen.com,” “everyday@followupthen.com,” “every3rdwednesday@followupthen.com,” and so on.

What happens to that email when you click “send” depends on where you put that @followupthen.com email address:

  • Bcc: You’ll get a follow-up regarding the email (without bothering the original recipient).
  • Cc: The tool will schedule a reminder for you and the recipient.
  • To: The tool will send an email to your future self.

Here’s a video that explains the tool in more detail:

It works for every email client, and it’s free for up to 50 follow-ups per month. You can increase the number of follow-ups and add features like calendar integration for between $2–$9 per month.

3) HubSpot Sales 

Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

Ever wanted to know who opens your emails and when, how many times, and from where? When you download the HubSpot Sales Chrome extension, you can opt-in to get live notifications whenever someone opens or clicks on the links in your email. It integrates with both Gmail and Outlook.

Another cool feature is the contact information sidebar that pops up when you open an email thread. It includes all the relevant information about the person you’re emailing, including past contact history (kind of like LinkedIn’s “relationship tab” function), social media content, mutual connections, and so on. Soon, the extension will let you schedule emails to send later.


The free version gets email open notifications — as well as the ability to schedule emails to be sent later, and a few other functionalities. For unlimited open and click notifications (and a slew of other upgraded functions), you can upgrade to Pro for $50 per month.


Price: Free

IFTTT, short for “If This Then That,” is an amazing productivity tool that helps you connect the apps and devices you use every day with “if this, then that” statements — which they call “recipes.” (Seriously, you can do anything. Including using Liam Neeson’s badass quote from Taken to scare someone into returning your phone. You’re welcome.)

When it comes to inbox productivity, IFTTT can do wonders for automating some of the more tedious, manual tasks. Here are a few of my favorites:

5) Google Inbox

Price: Free

Google learned a lot about how people use email from Gmail. Instead of revamping Gmail with these new learnings, they decided to start fresh and create an entirely new inbox system: Inbox.

To understand how Inbox works, it’s best to think of it less as a classic email tool that simply pools all your new messages into one place, and more as a task-focused message management tool. Every time an email comes in, you can process each one as a task. If you’re not ready to respond to an email, you can select “snooze” and tell the app when to display the email again. Or, if the email is something you need to do at a specific location, you can ask Inbox to remind you about that message when you’re at a specific location.

Source: iTunes

Another thing that makes it different from other email apps? It’s mobile-friendly. To use it, you’ll have to first install the mobile app on iOS or Android. Only then can you access Inbox from your desktop browser at http://inbox.google.com.

6) Gmail “Special Stars”

Price: Free

I couldn’t write a blog post about inbox organization without including my go-to strategy for getting to — and maintaining — inbox zero. This tool isn’t an add-on; it’s a methodology developed by Andreas Klinger. It uses two, built-in features in Gmail: “special stars” (a slightly fancier labeling system than Gmail labels) and multiple inboxes. Since writing that post last year, many people have told me it’s changed the way they use email and has made their lives a lot easier. I highly recommend it.


There’s just one, notable caveat: No special stars other than the yellow star are supported by Gmail’s mobile app, so you won’t be able to see your lists on mobile. If you frequently use mobile devices to sort your emails, try Sortd, which is next on the list.

7) Sortd

Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

Sortd is basically a cleaner version of the Gmail Special Stars methodology I described above, in that you don’t need to star, label, or mark your emails in any way. But it does work right in Gmail: It’s what their team calls a “Smart Skin for Gmail,” meaning that it lives right inside your Gmail inbox so you don’t have to leave the app at all.

What it does do is fix the problem of important emails getting lost below the fold — most importantly, by expanding your inbox into a flexible set of lists, organized cleanly into columns. This allows your emails, to-do lists, and priorities to live together in one place, and lets you easily drag-and-drop emails from column to column.

HubSpot’s VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson is a big fan of Sortd. “I think of my inbox as a conveyer belt of sorts — bringing me a rapid succession of requests, resources, and to-dos,” she told me. “Email triage means keeping up with that influx without letting anything slip through the cracks. Before I found Sortd, I was marking any email that needed further action as ‘unread’ in the hopes of returning back to it to complete the review or follow-up. It worked about as poorly as you’d expect.”

This is what Anderson’s inbox looks like now that she uses Sortd:


“Sortd merges your inbox with a drag-and-drop to do list, so I can quickly evaluate the urgency of an email and then decide what to do with it,” says Anderson. “I drag it to the appropriate category of response and rename it to a quick summary of the action needed. Then, I can get a birds-eye view of my work for the week.”


“What’s especially nice is Sortd allows me to add tasks that haven’t come in through email, for example, a request someone asked of me over chat or in person,” she adds. “So my inbox really becomes my central command. I have a column for immediate action items, tasks for the week, a backlog for next week, and resources that I want to have at my fingertips quickly.”

Another advantage to Sortd over special stars? You can use it on mobile if you download the Sortd Mobile Companion App on iOS or Android. (Remember, all special stars but one aren’t supported by the Gmail mobile app — so this is your best option if you like to sort your email on mobile.)

8) SaneBox

Price: Begins at $7/month — premium options available

If you’re looking to automate prioritizing each email as it comes in, you may want to give SaneBox a try. There’s nothing to install here: Basically, it works with any email client to create new folders like SaneLater and SaneNews. When a new email comes into your inbox, SaneBox quickly analyzes it to determine how important it is. This analysis is based on your past interaction with your inbox. If SaneBox finds the new email important, it’ll keep it in your inbox. If not, it’ll send it to one of those folders.

Later, you’ll get a digest of the emails that were sent to those three folders so you can decide whether any of them need your attention when you have the time. Over time, you “train” SaneBox to filter certain types of emails into each of these folders.

SaneBlackHole is a fourth folder that’ll help you delete emails and unsubscribe from them in one fell swoop. When you manually drag an email into your SaneBlackHole folder, it’ll delete the email and unsubscribe from the source automatically.

There are other cool features in here too, like the “attachments” feature that automatically sends all email attachments into a Dropbox folder.

9) The Email Game

Price: Free

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of email in your inbox but dread the thought of clearing it out, and you’re a competitive person, The Email Game might be right up your alley. This free tool for Gmail and Google apps gamifies the act of clearing out your inbox.

All you have to do is enter your email address, and the game will begin. It gives you five seconds per email to decide what to do with it: reply, “boomerang” (i.e., archive now and resurface in your inbox at a later, specified time), archive, delete, or skip. You get a certain number of points for each action and you’re penalized if you go over time. If you click “reply,” then you’re given three minutes by default to respond. You can always add time if you really need to, but speed is in your best interest here.

10) Checker Plus

Price: Free

Checker Plus is a Chrome extension for Gmail that helps you manage multiple Gmail accounts at once so you don’t have to flip through multiple inboxes. One of the main features is instant email notifications even when Gmail isn’t open. So if you’re a fan of notifications, then you’ll like this one.

Without opening Gmail in your browser, Checker Plus will give you desktop notifications when you get a new email, along with the option to read, listen to, or delete emails.

I’m a big fan of the extension’s voice notification feature. If I get an email while I’m busy cooking dinner or something, I can choose to have the extension read the email out loud to me, even if Gmail isn’t open. (Just remember to shut this off when you head into the office.)


11) Mailbird

Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

There are other email clients out there, like Mailbox, Boxer, and CloudMagic, but Mailbird manages to stand out.

While it only works for Windows users, this email client unifies your inbox with your apps by rolling your email and all your calendar, task, and messaging apps into an all-in-one interface. And it’s a simple user interface, which you can customize in different colors and layouts.

Here’s an example of what one layout looks like with email and WhatsApp integration:

Mailbird-2.0-Screenshot-with-whatsapp-1024x486 (1)

Source: Mailbird

Other popular choices for app integration include Google Calendar and a video conferencing app called Veeting rooms.

Mailbird works for Windows users on desktop and mobile. The Lite version is free, but if you want other, more advanced functionalities — like the ability to “snooze” your email — then you’ll have to get the paid version for $1/month or $45 for a lifetime subscription.

12) SimplyFile

Price: Starts at $49.95

While Outlook doesn’t have nearly as many organization tools as other email clients, here’s one for Outlook users only that’ll help you spend less time filing your email. SimplyFile adds a toolbar (or “ribbon tab”) to your inbox, with different, customizable files, which is easily accessible so you can file new emails quickly.

When an email comes in, simply drag it into the appropriate folder. You can organize both messages you’re receiving in your inbox, as well as messages you’re sending — which you can file as you send them.


Source: SimplyFile

Ready to get started? Great. Start exploring these tools, and get that inbox organized — once and for all.

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/inbox-organization-tools

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference?

We all have different reasons for getting up every morning and doing what we do every day.

So why is it that, on some days, it can feel harder than others to get up when your alarm goes off, do your workout, crush a work or school assignment, or make dinner for your family?

Motivation (or a lack thereof) is usually behind why we do the things that we do.

There are different types of motivation, and as it turns out, understanding why you are motivated to do the things that you do can help you keep yourself motivated — and can help you motivate others.Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

In this post, we’ll dive into the two types of motivation — intrinsic and extrinsic — to learn the differences between the types, the benefits of each, and how to use both types to inspire productivity.

Definitions of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation involves doing something because it’s personally rewarding to you.

When you’re intrinsically motivated, your behavior is motivated by your internal desire to do something for its own sake — for example, your personal enjoyment of an activity, or your desire to learn a skill because you’re eager to learn.

Examples of intrinsic motivation could include:

  • Reading a book because you enjoy the storytelling
  • Exercising because you want to relieve stress
  • Cleaning your home because it helps you feel organized

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation involves doing something because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment.

When you’re extrinsically motivated, your behavior is motivated by an external factor pushing you to do something in hopes of earning a reward — or avoiding a less-than-positive outcome.

Examples of extrinsic motivation could include:

  • Reading a book to prepare for a test
  • Exercising to lose weight
  • Cleaning your home to prepare for visitors coming over

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, it might seem like it’s better to be intrinsically motivated than extrinsically motivated. After all, doesn’t it sound like it would be ideal if you didn’t need anyone — or anything — motivating you to accomplish tasks?

But, alas, we don’t live in such a motivation-Utopia, and being extrinsically motivated doesn’t mean anything bad — extrinsic motivation is just the nature of being a human being sometimes.

If you have a job, and you have to complete a project, you’re probably extrinsically motivated — by your manager’s praise or a potential raise or commission — even if you enjoy the project while you’re doing it. If you’re in school, you’re extrinsically motivated to learn a foreign language because you’re being graded on it — even if you enjoy practicing and studying it.

So, intrinsic motivation is good, and extrinsic motivation is good. The key is to figure out why you — and your team — are motivated to do things, and encouraging both types of motivation.

When Intrinsic Motivation Is Best

Research has shown that praise can help increase intrinsic motivation. Positive feedback that is “sincere,” “promotes autonomy,” and “conveys attainable standards” was found to promote intrinsic motivation in children.

But on the other side of that coin, external rewards can decrease intrinsic motivation if they’re given too willy-nilly. When children received too much praise for completing minimal work or single tasks, their intrinsic motivation decreased.

The odds are, if you’re reading this blog post, you’re not a child — although children are welcome subscribers here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog. But the principles of this study are still sound for adults.

If you’re a people manager, be intentional with your praise and positive feedback. Make sure that it’s specific, empowering, and helps your direct reports understand your expectations and standards. But make sure you aren’t giving too much praise for work that’s less meaningful for your team, or they might lose intrinsic motivation.

If you’re an individual contributor, tell your manager when their feedback is motivating — give them positive feedback, too. By providing positive feedback to your manager when they give you praise that keeps you motivated, you, in turn, will extrinsically motivate them to keep managing you successfully. (Meta, huh?)

When Extrinsic Motivation Is Best

Extrinsic rewards don’t just involve bribery (although bribery can work). In some cases, people may never be internally motivated to complete a task, and extrinsic motivation can be used to get the job done.

In fact, extrinsic rewards can promote interest in a task or skill a person didn’t previously have any interest in. Rewards like praise, commissions, bonuses, or prizes and awards can also motivate people to learn new skills or provide tangible feedback beyond just verbal praise or admonishment.

But tread carefully with extrinsic rewards: Studies have shown that offering too many rewards for behaviors and activities that people are already intrinsically motivated to do can actually decrease that person’s intrinsic motivation — by way of the overjustification effect.

In these cases, offering rewards for activities the person already finds rewarding can make a personally enjoyable activity seem like work — which could kill their motivation to keep doing it.

If you’re a people manager, use extrinsic rewards sparingly to motivate your team to take on new responsibilities or achieve lofty goals. Bonuses, commissions, recognition prizes, and promotions can be an effective way to motivate or reward your team for learning new skills, taking on new challenges, or hitting a quarterly goal. But make sure you’re giving your team members the time and resources to explore skills and projects they’re already excited about independently — without making them a part of their regular responsibilities, which could demotivate them.

If you’re an individual contributor, work for the rewards you want, but don’t over-exhaust yourself in the pursuit of extrinsic prizes. Make sure you’re taking time, in your job or in your personal life, to explore activities that you enjoy just for the sake of doing them, to keep yourself balanced.

Productivity Guide

Free Content Marketing Workbook

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/intrinsic-and-extrinsic-motivation

8 Genius Examples of Empathetic Content Marketing in Action

Successful content marketing is about creating a connection between your audience and your brand.

This doesn’t mean just throwing content at your audience. It means truly valued creating content — content that serves needs and addresses the biggest pain points. And this type of content is much easier to create when it’s informed and driven by empathy.

As Dr. Brené Brown notes, “Empathy is feeling with people.”

When you put yourself in your audience’s shoes, it becomes easier to acknowledge struggles and think critically about the best solutions. That’s why empathetic content marketing is such a powerful strategy for businesses — both B2B and B2C.

Not sure what that looks like? Let’s walk through nine brands that nail empathetic content marketing across various media.

8 Clever Examples of Empathetic Content Marketing in Action


Content Type: Video

With the tagline, “Fresh, handmade cosmetics,” LUSH is a beauty brand that is all about natural products. As such, we see its radical transparency showcased in the “How It’s Made video series, where LUSH goes behind-the-scenes of some of their most popular products.

Each episode features actual LUSH employees in the “kitchen,” narrating the step-by-step process of how the products are made. Lush visuals (pun intended) showcase just how natural the ingredients are. You see mounds of fresh lemons, tea infusions, and salt swirled together to become the product you know and love. It’s equal parts interesting and educational.

How it shows empathy:

LUSH customers want to buy beauty products that are truly natural. They care about using fresh, organic, and ethically sourced ingredients — hence why the videos feature colorful, close-up shots of those organic lemons and sea salt to drive that point home. Taking customers inside the factory and showing them every part of the process — with a human face — assures them that they can consume these products with peace of mind.

2) LinkedIn

Content Type: Ebook

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is all about mobilizing marketers to grow their audience, create more effective content, and, ultimately, achieve their goals. Naturally, LinkedIn wants its audience to leverage this service to achieve those goals. While it produces plenty of content related to the benefits of LinkedIn, the team has made a significant push into content that educates all levels of marketer on a variety of topics (as you can see on its blog).

This ebook, The Secret Sauce: Learn how LinkedIn uses LinkedIn for marketing, provides a ton of insider information about how LinkedIn itself uses the platform to achieve its marketing goals.

linkedin secret sauce.png

How it shows empathy:

One immensely effective empathy marketing tactic is education. LinkedIn wants to empower its audience to do work better (and use its product to do so), and this ebook is the single tool they need to understand and confidently use LinkedIn like the pros — even the pros at LinkedIn headquarters.

Through offerings like this, customers learn that they can rely on LinkedIn as a trusted source to guide them in the right direction, and LinkedIn can continue to provide solutions through its product offerings. It’s a win-win all around.

3) The Home Depot

Content Type: Infographic

The Home Depot is a home and garden supply store that caters to all types of builders and DIY-ers — whether you’re a construction worker building a gazebo or a homemaker experimenting with gardening. In other words, their content must cater to various demographics.

As Home Depot is all about the DIY, its marketing focuses on what its supplies can help you do — not just what the supplies are. This “Grow a Living Salad Bowl” infographic teaches consumers to grow their own salads, offering information on how to do it, which vegetables grow best, and what supplies they need — all with minimal branding.

Home_Depot_Salad_Bowl.pngSource: The Home Depot

How it shows empathy:

The Home Depot’s customers dream of being skilled DIY-ers, but need a bit of help working through the unknown, as well as some encouragement. This infographic delivers on these, and inspires customers to take action. 

4) Extra

Content Type: Interactive Site

We’ve seen just about every twist on gum marketing possible: sexy encounters, romantic trysts, and more. Extra is pushing past that narrative. The brand realizes that gum is an everyday part of life, a seemingly mundane product, but its omnipresence means it’s there for many of life’s little moments. Hence, the #givextragetextra campaign is all about celebrating those moments — the awesome fishing trip, the road trip with friends, the engagement — by turning them into art.


The interactive site and social campaign encourage you to submit photos of those everyday moments to be turned into sketches, some of which appear on the inside flap of Extra packaging. At the site, you can see the images, watch a video of the artist’s sketches, peruse the gallery, and search to see if your submission has been turned into art.

How it shows empathy:

In many ways, gum is a product meant to enhance intimacy, making your breath fresh for more closeness. In our techno-connected world, those everyday moments of intimacy are often overlooked. This campaign helps customers become more aware and celebratory of those moments. By encouraging them to capture and share those memories — and honoring them through the gum-wrapper art — Extra is helping customers live a more full and present life.

5) Microsoft

Content Type: Interactive Infographic

Microsoft’s security solutions are all about keeping consumers’ data safe. The brand’s goal, then, is to educate and explain why its products are important. That said, data security is not the sexiest topic — not to mention plenty has been said about it.

To give it a new twist, Microsoft created the Anatomy of a Data Breach interactive site, which explains the issue of data security through a relevant lens: the data heist.


The site puts consumers in a hacker’s shoes, guiding them through the stages of a data breach and showing, in detail, exactly how the data is stolen. Coupled with statistics about data security, the messaging is clear.

How it shows empathy:

Consumers know data breaches are a problem, but they don’t know exactly how they happen (seriously, how do these keep on happening? Asking for a friend.) By making an engaging story and using real consumer survey data, Microsoft brings the problem to life in a genuine and accessible way. Through the interactive, customers truly see their vulnerabilities and better understand how to protect themselves.

6) Michael’s

Content Type: Blog

In a world where Pinterest dominates, Michael’s chain of craft stores is making a play to capture its own audience on its own properties. The brand has long provided the standard craft tutorials and product features on its site, but with The Glue String blog, Michael’s is inserting itself into its readers’ lifestyles with a variety of content.

Posts like “Marker 101: How to Choose a Tip” may sound a little silly, but for avid crafters, these are the exact types of posts that are relevant to their lives. The beautiful layout and high-impact visuals only help to bring these stories to life.

marker 101.png

How it shows empathy:

Crafting is an exciting hobby, but not without its own frustrations. Providing useful tips and hacks on how to do things better via a free publication helps readers do more of what they love with fewer headaches. Additionally, fans get to share their enthusiasm through social, helping Michael’s extend its reach while helping their audience show their interests off.

7) JetBlue

Content Type: Video

JetBlue is a brand known for superb customer service and humor. At this point, we know where it flies and we know its hook, so its marketing needs to extend beyond the services provided. As such, JetBlue’s content is focusing more on the world of flying and the experiences we all have.

The Flight Etiquette videos are funny PSAs that spotlight some of the most pervasive problems we encounter while traveling: overzealous flight boarding, chatty seatmates, etc. By giving it the sarcastic “How NOT to” twist, JetBlue showcases its humor and brand voice.


How it shows empathy:

There are specific instances that make the flying experience suck for all of us. These videos attempt to remedy these troubles by commiserating with and educating the public.

8) J.Crew

Content Type: Visual How-Tos

J.Crew is a sophisticated clothing brand that has always marketed toward lifestyle, framing its clothes within that context. While it has a devoted following, it’s always searching for ways to more deeply connect with its audience.

The company’s blog is a fantastic outlet for that. Naturally, as design is a core part of its business, it is a major component of publishing. Its clean design superbly showcases J.Crew products, tips, and tricks. And, it consistently uses on-brand visuals to enhance the content. For example, “How to Get (and Dress For) the Job You Want” includes interviews, expert advice, and vibrant visuals to tie together the discussion with some ideas of exact outfits to buy.

jcrew blog example.png

How it shows empathy:

Many J.Crew customers go shopping to find a great interview outfit to make the perfect first impression. Giving customers more options to express themselves — and be successful — through clothing helps them achieve that.

Ready to Try It?

Approaching the content that you seek to create as a brand from a perspective that puts others and their wants, needs, and dreams before your own is the smartest way to grow an audience. That’s because, in doing so, you’re showing people that you care about them as humans, first and foremost. And people want to work with (B2B) or support (B2C) people that they like, and companies that they believe “get” them.

You can always talk about your brand and what you’re peddling once there’s a connection and a relationship established. But if you doing things right, people will be drawn to you and you won’t ever have to toot your own horn.

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from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/empathetic-content-marketing-examples