16 Digital Marketing Ebooks You Can Download Today

About 60% of marketers believe that content marketing is important to their overall marketing strategies.

When you think about your marketing strategies, what are the tools you’re using to deepen your understanding of the current landscape of digital marketing?

As an ever-changing industry, it’s important for marketers to commit to learning as much as possible about digital marketing. But … who has the time?

Enter: the ebook.

If you want to expand your knowledge of digital marketing from reputable thought leaders, but have limited resources, or don’t even know where to start, this post is for you.

Below, I’ll list some awesome ebooks on the ins and outs of digital marketing, from SEO, to content building, to beginner’s guides.

Let’s jump in!

1. Digital Marketing for Small Business by HubSpot

For this ebook, HubSpot teamed up with the experts at MOO to build a guide aimed at small businesses. It provides everything startups need to know about inbound marketing and gives a great scope of how to test, learn, and grow in an online marketing landscape.

This ebook takes readers through accessible ways to maximize resources and get the greatest benefit from marketing. Need help with channels like Facebook, Google, and Twitter? “Digital Marketing for Small Businesses” has you covered.

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for how to start a functional digital marketing strategy from the ground up, this ebook is for you. It even provides templates and concrete examples that will help you organize your strategy.

2. Paid and Earned: The Two Sides of Influencer Marketing by Jay Baer

Do you want to have a robust understanding of how influencer marketing can boost your ROI? This ebook shows you how influencer marketing is a great method for building brand awareness and boosting conversion, while offering a guide on how to choose between paid influencers or earned influencers.

Author Jay Baer explores how influencer marketing can be a necessity for brands as well as the inverse relationship between the two. Baer discusses how different kinds of influencers have their own impacts on the industry and how to navigate working with influencers to maximize ROI.

3. The $10 Digital Media Startup Ebook by My Frugal Business

If you’re building your business from the ground up and need a little help, this guide is aimed at guiding you through how to begin that process. This ebook is for those starting at level zero with building an online digital media strategy.

It’ll walk you through fleshing out a social media strategy, SEO, influencer marketing, and how to become a successful digital entrepreneur. If you’re in the space where you have to multitask in order to get your business up and running, consider giving this ebook a look.

4. 25 Actionable Social Media Strategies You Can Implement Today by Buffer and Kevan Lee

For this ebook, the team at Buffer collaborated with marketer Kevan Lee on social media strategies that are easy to implement. If you think a social media strategy is just about posting consistently, think again. This guide debunks that theory and explains how strategies also need to be delightful, effective, and targeted.

You’ll receive advice that’s actionable and useful as you plan out or re-work your current strategy. For instance, you’ll learn how to leave a lasting impression on followers through content and when to post to leave the most impact.

5. Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to What Works by Search Engine Journal

The team at Search Engine Journal put together a comprehensive ebook that focuses on how to build a content marketing strategy for those just getting started. Content marketing encompasses lead acquisition and the growth of your business — but only if it’s done effectively.

This ebook is for anyone who wants a content marketing strategy that’s successful. It provides readers with an understanding of the value of content marketing and how to maximize your resources so you get the most bang for your buck.

6. How to Build a World-Class Internet Lead Generation Program by Peter Geisheker

If you want to know how to attract more target customers to your online business this ebook should be useful. Author Peter Geisheker gives a crash course in improving lead generation, correctly.

You’ll receive actionable tips about attracting customers, social media marketing, and how to retarget content to generate leads. Additionally, this ebook talks about how sales funnels work online and how having an online advertising plan in place helps you drive website traffic.

7. Data-Driven Content Marketing by Uberflip

Content marketing works when it’s built from helpful, actionable data. With this ebook, you’ll become an expert at understanding the power of data analytics in building a content marketing strategy.

Of course, data isn’t the only necessity when planning out content marketing. This ebook also dives into the creation process, distribution, and strategizing of a content plan that works for your company.

This ebook will help you determine if your current content strategy is the best that it can be and provides valuable tips for marketers about how to improve what’s not working.

8. How to Run a Marketing Campaign with G Suite by HubSpot

In this ebook, you’ll learn the best practices for digital marketing using Google’s tools.

With so much to manage in the marketing landscape, you’ll learn quick, easy ways to become a rockstar at managing Google Suite, which streamlines marketing activities on a digital landscape. You’ll become comfortable with Google’s offerings of productivity and collaboration software to help your marketing efforts.

This guide presents concrete examples of how HubSpot’s marketing team uses Google Suite to create, manage, and analyze campaigns giving you actionable takeaways as you become familiar with the platform.

9. Complete Guide to Crushing Your Influencer Marketing: Influencer Marketing Blueprint by Shane Barker

Unsure about the true benefits of leveraging influencer marketing? Let this guide by Shane Barker lessen your uncertainty. It puts a digital marketing lens on the ins and outs of using influencer marketing to your advantage.

This ebook gives you a full understanding of how to effectively use influencer marketing to boost the ROI of your digital campaigns, from picking the right influencers to crafting compelling pitches.

10. The Marketer’s Guide to Facebook by Contently

Contently, a content planning platform, offers a guide about executing a fully-fledged Facebook marketing campaign using the platform’s suite of tools. Facebook has a pretty intuitive marketing toolkit, but using it effectively can be an uphill battle — this ebook helps.

It’ll give you a deep dive into how Facebook works when aligned with marketing strategies and puts a content marketing lens on how to engage new and current customers. If you want to learn how Facebook’s tools can be useful to you from top to bottom, then this ebook is for you.

11. The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing by Wrike

This guide walks you through how online marketing has changed over the years, and it brings you up to speed about how to be a master online marketer in today’s ever-changing landscape. You’ll learn how to leverage email, Twitter, and YouTube to create an effective marketing strategy.

You’ll also learn how to develop new approaches to digital marketing, roles, and tools that are a necessity, and how to keep track of what’ll help your company the most.

12. Successfully Generate Leads To Grow Your Business With Facebook Ads by AdEspresso

AdEspresso’s ebook focuses on lead generation targeting only one channel: Facebook Ads. This book will guide you through the process of expanding your reach and finding new audiences using Facebook Ads. It also provides strategic insight into how to use the tool in a way that maximizes ROI.

You’ll also learn how to leverage Ad tools to engage your audience, and dive into lead nurturing, building landing pages, and how to manage your campaigns. If you want to learn more about how to perfect your Facebook Ads strategy, this ebook will help tremendously.

13. Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz

This series of articles put together by the team at Moz is formatted like an ebook. It provides readers with a detailed introductory lesson on how to use SEO to grow your business.

It gives an in-depth tutorial about how search engines work. Additionally, this ebook provides the fundamentals of how to make your website compatible with search engine results.

You’ll also find strategies for making the content you provide to audiences more search-engine friendly, and you’ll develop an understanding about how your target audience interacts with search engines. Plus, you’ll become familiar with keyword research and how your content affects search engine rank.

14. Killer Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute

If you’re comfortable with content marketing, but want an intermediate-level guide to maximize your strategy, this is a great ebook. Going beyond the basics of content marketing, you’ll learn how social data can be used to construct new, innovative strategies.

This book is easily comprehensible, and you’ll find out how to organize your content planning and up your brand presence online.

15. Introductory Digital Marketing Guide by Simplilearn

This ebook gives you an expansive history of digital marketing and why the landscape has morphed into what it has today. After you gain this understanding, the guide will take you through the different channels you can use for digital marketing, such as blog, social media, and your own website.

You’ll learn the importance of understanding your target audience and how your strategies must place the customer at the center.

16. Why Digital Marketing? by HubSpot

Without having a presence online, it’ll be pretty difficult to grow your business. And that’s how digital marketing can step in and help. To aid in that process, this ebook by HubSpot teaches you the ins and outs of marketing a brand online.

You’ll learn how to construct a functional digital marketing strategy in seven easy steps that provide robust techniques for managing that strategy. Additionally, you’ll learn the importance of SEO, social media, lead nurturing, and reporting as well as how to accurately perform these methods to help grow your business.

This ebook also provides you detailed advice about how to leverage your digital marketing campaigns to their highest performance, earning you the most ROI possible.

Whether you choose a few of these ebooks or many, they all dive into the importance of digital marketing. Because we are in a landscape that is continually changing, keeping up-to-date on those industry changes and trends is a necessity to properly execute your job and provide value to customers.

Which ebook are you most excited to download?

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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Your Blueprint to Create the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Creating content can feel discouraging.

For instance, you might spend hours producing something that’s amazing, only to get little engagement, traffic, or leads. What’s more, later, you’ll have to explain that ROI to your boss — talk about a dreadful workday.

If you’re feeling frustrated or burnt out with your content creation process, you’re in luck. Here, we’ve created a complete blueprint to a successful content marketing strategy.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the different aspects of the content blueprint and why each facet is so important for marketers to include in an overall strategy. For more information on content marketing strategies, we’ve created a content marketing workbook that’s free to download.

Otherwise, let’s dive into creating a content marketing strategy that will bring you that ROI you’re looking to earn.

How to Develop and Implement a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

We’re going to look at three different stages that make up the blueprint. These stages will outline the main steps you can take to create your strategy. Then, we’ll go into depth with details about making that happen.

Let’s start with step one — getting decision-makers on-board with your strategy.

Stage 1: Getting buy-in from your stakeholders in order to green light your strategy.

All great content marketing plans start with getting people within the company to buy into your vision — basically, the people who can give you the resources, budget, or information that’s required to make your plans a successful reality.

For example, internal customer-facing teams, such as customer support, can share their expertise and help fuel your content creation efforts. Because they have regular contact with customers, they’ll know some of your audience’s biggest challenges or what they care most about — which comes in handy when you need to create content those customers care about.

Additionally, your marketing team likely has a limited budget. To implement certain strategies and forgo others, it’s vital you’re able to get leadership on board with your vision.

To make this happen, you’ll need a pretty awesome pitch. Generally, this pitch should do three things:

1. Talk about key challenges you will solve with your strategy.

You’ll want to give an overview of the key challenges your content marketing plan will solve. Instead of complicating this step with an overload of data points, keep it simple and concise. Summarize your key challenges in just a couple of charts so it’s more comprehensive.

For example, in this chart below, the marketer’s key challenge is that their overall CPL (cost per lead) is being inflated by the amount of money they are spending to acquire leads through paid programs.

example of CPLBy implementing a solid content strategy, CPL can be reduced. Notice how this chart states the need for a strategy, presents key supporting data, and makes that information easy to comprehend.

2. Talk about how your strategy will relate to business metrics.

Try to always keep your audience in mind. Senior management will be focused on cost and revenue. How can your marketing strategy help with those metrics?

In the example above, the answer is clear: Reducing the CPL reduces the cost it takes to acquire a customer, which can increase profit down the road.

When you present your pitch to decision makers, make sure to outline how reaching your goal will also help reach the greater goals of your business.

3. Give high-level details on your strategy to achieve these goals.

Finally, you might consider talking through how your content strategy is going to help solve these key challenges and influence those business metrics. You can use this template generator to help you organize your ideas. The goal of this step is to prove to senior-level management that you’ve thought through your plan and what resources you need to make it a reality.

Now, you’ve created your pitch and you’re ready to present to upper-level management. Remember, this pitch will help you convince the right people that your content marketing strategy will be successful.

You should have a pitch before you begin planning your content strategy because you’ll stakeholders will be aware of what campaign you plan to run to achieve your business goals. However, while you don’t need to fully develop your strategy until you get support from leadership, it’s still critical you spend time reviewing metrics and making a tentative game-plan for when you do develop the strategy.

Next, we’re going to talk about how to develop that aforementioned winning strategy.

Stage 2: Develop your content strategy.

In a HubSpot report, it was found that 56% of survey respondents said they were doing content marketing without a plan. Content creation can definitely be difficult, but having a content plan helps. It takes into account key challenges, business goals, and metrics, which will make you more successful in the long term.

Let’s talk about what a winning content strategy should include.

1. Include the buyer personas you are targeting.

At HubSpot, we align content around different buyer personas. This allows us to stay really focused on for whom we’re creating content. We keep our buyer personas’ goals and challenges in mind so we can address these at each stage of the buying process.

As an example, here is a persona I’ve built for a company software company that provides tools that streamline day-to-day business processes, offers inbound marketing courses, and makes reporting easier.

Meet “Marketing Macy”:

Marketing Macy persona

To make this persona, I used a free persona builder that made the process incredibly fun. In addition, I was able to point out exactly how to connect with a target audience by identifying why they would love a company and what challenges they were looking to solve.

To create content that’s going to be relevant to Macy at each stage of the buying cycle, we’ve included key information about her goals, challenges, and why she would love a company that offers CRM and CMS software. Knowing an ideal target customer like Macy makes it easier to connect with them.

2. Understand where the content gaps are in your buying cycle.

Make sure you understand where the content gaps are in the buying cycle for your buyer personas. To achieve this, you should conduct a content audit. Additionally, ask yourself if your buyer persona has the information they need at each point of the buying cycle.

For example, at HubSpot, content is created that attracts Mary to our site and helps her evaluate our software based upon what we know about her goals and challenges. We then ask ourselves if she has everything necessary to feel confident in purchasing our product based on those goals and challenges.

If you identify those gaps, you can focus on making sure that content is in your strategy. For instance, let’s say that you have a gap in content for the evaluation stage. Identifying that is the first step in creating helpful content for that stage.

Next, we’ll talk about how to create and push the content that will bridge those gaps.

3. Create relevant content ideas and stick to an editorial calendar.

Once you have identified your personas and understand what content you need to move them through the buyer process, it’s time to brainstorm content ideas to fill in those holes.

When you understand to whom you’re marketing, it can be easier to come up with relevant content. To ease the process further, check out our post about how to map out content. Ultimately, though, make sure every piece of content you create is engaging, delightful, and created with intent.

Ask yourself during the creation process if your content achieves those three things. Let’s look at this social media post as an example:

This post is engaging because it includes a graphic that attracts the attention of audiences. It’s delightful, because the graphic and supporting copy are easy to comprehend and uses emojis to illustrate a point. Additionally, it’s created with the intent to provide value to customers who may be looking for remote working tips.

Creating content is half the battle, though. Another thing to figure out is when to schedule the publishing of that content so it gets seen by the right people and is delivered consistently.

That is why all great content plans have an editorial calendar so that people within the company can see what content is being published and what dates that content is going live. Editorial calendars keep teams in sync and organized — as far as visual workflows go, it’s a necessity.

When you’ve identified your persona, created content for them, and have finalized a calendar-based schedule, this stage is complete. The next stage is to figure out the publishing details.

Stage 3: Determine a publishing plan for your content strategy.

One of the biggest shifts in marketing today is transforming our mindset from that of a traditional marketer to that of a publisher. Sometimes, as marketers, we think in terms of immediate wins, which is why we tend to prioritize our ad budget for paid media. We invest a certain amount of spend in return for an approximate number of leads and customers.

Moving to a publisher model means investing more upfront to start creating content assets that will have a far greater impact over a longer period of time. For example, the HubSpot blog generates most of its traffic from blog posts not published in that month. This is because the content we’ve created in the past has long-term value for the company in both the leads and customers they generate each month.

A lot of companies talk themselves out of publishing before they even get started due to a lack of immediate resources. However, a content team of one can be successful if they know how to source content effectively.

Here are two tips to keep in mind to become a publishing rockstar:

1. Think about scaling your content by repackaging in several formats.

Consumers today connect with brands across different channels, whether that be on social media, through email marketing, or on your website. When developing a new piece of content, think about how you can repurpose that content into various formats.

For example, if you’ve developed a series of blog posts, such as a series about customer retention, you could turn them into a comprehensive customer service ebook.

2. Make sure the quality of your content always remains high.

Whether you’re creating a single piece of content a week or several pieces a day, the quality of your content should always remain extremely high if you want it to pay off in the long run.

Creating an editorial checklist will help you manage this process. With a checklist, you can quickly check each piece of content for quality issues and educate your team on what it takes to publish content for your company.

In HubSpot’s content blueprint, you’ll find a range of templates that make scaling content really easy and provides an intuitive, ready-made editorial checklist.

Stage 4: Promote your content early and regularly.

So, you know about your target audience and you’ve created content specifically tailored to them. The task now is how to distribute that content to your audience effectively.

The key to effective distribution is to increase the number of distribution channels, such as blogs, email, and social properties. Additionally, you have to expand the reach of that content to a broader audience.

Promotion is a critical part of a content blueprint and something marketers should think about at great length during their planning phase.

To become an expert at promotion, you should:

1. Make promotion an essential part of the planning process.

When my team is planning out a content campaign, we put as much thought into the distribution of that content as we do into the campaign development. We want to know who that content is for and how can we make sure they get it.

For instance, if you are distributing content on social media platforms, discuss in great length how to prioritize budget, posting schedule, and using the tools offered by social channels to expand the reach of your content.

2. Make sure your team is equipped with promotional skills.

Being able to promote content to the right audience isn’t an easy job. Over time, the skills to distribute content effectively will be critical to long-term success.

If you want to learn more about how you can be effective at promoting your content, we have lots of information on outreach, seeding your content, and even the best way to repackage it for different networks to increase its exposure right inside — you’ve guessed it —our content blueprint.

Sometimes, learning the proper promotional skills comes with trial and error. You have to figure out what your audience responds to the most. For instance, you can create an A/B test with the content you want to push on social channels to see what types of messaging your audience prefers.

Additionally, you can experiment with multiple content types to get a gauge of what targeted content really resonates with your audience. To get an idea, check out what your competition is doing, and what works for them. You can also do some social listening to observe the patterns in web behavior of your target customers.

How are you doing with your content strategy so far in 2020? Where do you hope to improve your content marketing the most this year? With this guide, you’ll be fully prepared to take on the world of content marketing, and do it successfully.

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24 Data-Backed Reasons to Personalize Your Marketing

When Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain, set out to study online consumer experiences earlier this summer, he knew that relevant content would be at the forefront of consumer minds. We’ve seen for years that emails which are personalized to the recipient do better than their generic counterparts.

But perhaps what he could not have anticipated was just how much consumers have come to expect personalization at every stage in their buying process. In truth, nearly three-fourths of respondents in the national poll expressed frustration at content that does not recognize them and adapt to their interests.

“These results [indicate] that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” Drebes explained. “Consumers have been pretty consistent and clear in their feedback, the way to avoid alienating them is to give them what they want — personalized, relevant content using their data in a responsible and transparent way.”

To put it plainly, consumers don’t just like personalized marketing experiences. They expect them. Here are 24 stats to prove why you need to embrace personalized marketing in 2020. 

Benefits and Challenges of Personalized Marketing

  • Message Personalization is the #1 tactic used by email marketers to increase engagement rates. (HubSpot)
  • More than 20% of marketers say personalization can improve email engagement. (HubSpot)

HubSpot State of Marketing 2020 data on personalized email

  • 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a“strong” or “extremely strong” impact. (Evergage)
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. (Epsilon)
  • 90% of U.S. consumers find personalized marketing content somewhat to very appealing. (Statista)
  • 78% of marketers say email is the most personalized channel, followed by websites, which 56% of marketers noted. (Evergage)
  • The biggest challenge that ABM teams face is personalizing their strategy. (HubSpot)
  • 40% of marketers say their biggest challenge with personalization is linking to data-related technologies, while 34% struggle with poor data quality. (Experian)
  • 78% of brands say they struggle with “data debt” or not having enough quick data about their customers to not launch relevant personalization tactics. (Experian)

Consumer Preferences of Personalized Marketing

  • 92% of marketers say customers and prospects expect a personalized experience — up from 85% in 2019. (Evergage)
  • 45% of consumers say the “coolest” personalized tactic they’ve seen is when a brand apologizes for poor shopping experiences. (Accenture)
  • 74% of consumers would find “living profiles” valuable if they could be used to curate the experiences, offers, and products they receive. (Accenture)
  • 67% of consumers think it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on current context. When brands don’t adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will “get annoyed” that content isn’t personalized. (Adobe)
  • 82% of consumers primarily engage with marketing content on smartphones, while 63% engage with content primarily on computers. (Adobe)

which platforms do people use to consume personalized marketing content on most?

Source

Data Privacy Preferences

  • 83% of shoppers would exchange data for a more personalized experience. (Accenture)
  • In a 2019 study, 79% of consumers surveyed believed companies knew too much about them, but 90% were still willing to share behavioral data for a cheaper and easier brand experience. (SmarterHQ)
  • Three out of four consumers say a business has never communicated with them online in a way that felt too personalized or invasive. (Accenture)
  • Of the one quarter of consumers who’ve received a personal or invasive brand experience, 64 percent) say it was because the brand had information about them that they didn’t share knowingly or directly. (Accenture)
  • In an Accenture survey, consumers said the “creepiest” personalized marketing tactics involved texting or sending a notification when someone walked past a brand’s store and launching social media ads for items consumers browsed on a brand website. (Accenture)

Anonymous vs. Permission-Based Personalization

There are varying opinions in marketing about the appropriate time in the customer lifecycle to use personalization.

While some argue that personalization should only take place after the end-viewer has consciously provided information to the company, other companies use anonymous data, like the location attached to a viewer’s IP address, in order to target viewers by location. In developing your personalization strategy, you’ll need to decide what the right approach is for your company and customers.

  • Regardless of what technology enables, it’s essential that your strategy start and end with the needs and preferences of the customer. For many, that will mean waiting until the customer has engaged with you before personalizing content.
  • 42% of surveyed marketers claim they personalize using anonymous data. (eConsultancy/Adobe
  • 57% are okay with providing personal information on a website as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways. (Janrain)
  • 77% would trust businesses more if they explained how they’re using personal information to improve their online experience. (Janrain
  • 62% of adults under 34 are willing to share their location for more relevant content. (Jiwire

Navigating Marketing Personalization

We have entered into an exciting time for marketers and buyers alike. The ability to create unique experiences for each prospective customer will undoubtedly lead to buying experiences that are more relevant, useful, and enjoyable. As we navigate this new space and develop strategies, it will be important to keep an open discussion going about what’s working and what’s not in the world of personalization.  

This data is helping to frame the early stages of that conversation. Hopefully the coming year will result in more results and good case studies of companies using personalization to create a more “human” marketing experience.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September of 2013, but was updated in May 11 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

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Deal Pipelines Gain Positive Momentum in Mid-May [COVID-19 Benchmark Data]

For the last few months, businesses around the world have had to rapidly adapt to the impact of COVID-19.

In a time where it seems like things change every day, it can be difficult to gauge whether the challenges your business is facing are widespread.

That’s why we’re publishing week-over-week benchmark data for core business metrics like website traffic, email send and open rates, sales engagements, close rates, and more. These core metrics are split by region, company size, and industry cuts, so you can explore data for companies most similar to yours. You can find the data, and more context on the dataset and sources, here.

Because the data is aggregated from our customer base, please keep in mind that individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors.

These insights are refreshed every Thursday morning ET, and will be accompanied by this short writeup. You can find past writeups using this timeline.

Adapt 2020 HubSpot

We hope to establish useful benchmarks to measure your business against, and serve as an early indicator of when short- or long-term adjustments may be needed in your strategy.

What We’re Seeing

Here are the three key takeaways from the most recent week’s data:

1. Deals created and closed gain positive momentum as some industries and countries show encouraging performance towards mid-May.

After a 6% increase during the week of May 4, global deals created rose another 6% last week. Deal creation is still 7% below pre-COVID levels, but this metric has been trending in a positive direction over the past few weeks. The number of deals closed also increased by 8%, which is a promising sign after seeing the recent rise in deals created earlier this month. The combined growth of deals created and deals closed should provide optimism for sales teams, especially those working in industries that haven’t been as structurally impacted by COVID-19.

total-deals-created-closed

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Almost all industries experienced an increase in deal creation during the week of May 11, except for consumer goods which dropped 11% from the previous week. There are now four industries that are trending close to or above pre-COVID levels as construction is 17% above, computer software is 4% above, and manufacturing is 2% above the benchmark. Consumer goods is trending 4% below pre-COVID levels, and although it experienced a drop in deals created last week, that dip was accompanied by a 17% increase in deals closed-won, which is a hopeful sign for sales teams as we move towards the end of May.

Deals-Created-Industry

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For the last several weeks, we’ve been paying attention to countries that have been in the news for reopening their economies. Italy, Spain, and Germany, all saw increases in deals created during the week of May 11. Italy experienced the largest bump with a 12% increase in deal creation and a 14% increase in deals closed. Germany had a 5% increase in deals created and stayed on par with global averages for deals closed. Germany’s performance is similar to Australia’s as deals created there were 6% higher during the week of May 11 and are now trending just above pre-COVID levels.

The United States is another country that’s near the top of our watchlist. You can explore its macro-regional data here, but we’ll provide a more detailed breakdown later in this post.

2. Sales teams return to calling, marketing metrics show strong engagement, and the demand on inbound channels remains high.

After weeks of remaining flat, sales email response rates saw a slight increase during the week of May 11. While response rates are still below pre-COVID levels, this recent rise in engagement has given way for more sales activity.

Previously, email response rates reached their lowest average this year, but as they show signs of recovery in May, sales teams are able to resume higher levels of other, more direct prospecting activities, like phone calls. Call volume has increased 16% since the week of April 27 and contact growth has remained consistent with pre-COVID averages during the week of May 11. Now that more countries and states are starting to open back up, we’re seeing businesses returning to traditional outreach channels like calling clients and booking meetings.

total-sales-calls

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Marketing metrics, on the hand, remain strong. Marketers sent fewer emails this week, but send and open rates continue to trend well above pre-COVID levels. Email engagement was particularly high during the week of May 11 as open rates are currently trending 29% above the benchmark. That’s roughly a 10% boost from the previous week.

Engagement for other marketing channels remains strong as well. Customer-initiated conversations increased 4% during the week of May 11 and are 33% above pre-COVID levels. Web traffic was up last week, too, sitting at 23% above the benchmark. This indicates that there’s still a great demand for inbound strategies as people start to gravitate towards different marketing channels.

3. The United States remains on par with global sales activity as the country begins to reopen its economy.

As states across the U.S. continue to reopen businesses and lighten COVID-19 restrictions, sales activity has begun to rebound. Deal creation has remained steadily improved over the past five weeks and currently the U.S. is only trending 5% below pre-COVID levels. Deals closed-won increased by 2% as well, resulting in the most closed-won deals for the country since the week of April 6, when nearly all of the countries we’re tracking experienced a significant dip. Although the U.S. is still 10% below the pre-COVID benchmark for deals closed, we hope this will improve as we near toward the end of May.

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The volume of sales emails for the U.S. continues to trend above pre-COVID levels landing at 70% for the week of May 11. Response rates remain below pre-COVID averages and, like sales volume, remained flat compared to the previous week. Additionally, after trending downward in mid-March, call volume in the U.S. is now up 4%, but still sits 10% below pre-COVID levels. As more states start to relax their COVID-19 legislation, we expect sales activity to yield a positive trend over the next few weeks.

Marketing metrics for the U.S. have remained on par with global averages. Email send and open rates have been trending well-above the benchmark since mid-March and last week open rates hit a year-best, reaching 31% above pre-COVID levels. Web traffic has been really strong in the U.S., too, as last week marked the 15th week in a row where web traffic has been recorded above the benchmark. It’s now sitting at 28% above pre-COVID levels.

What This Means for Businesses

Sales teams need to reinvent how they prospect.

While sales results are incrementally improving week-over-week, salespeople are still spending a great deal of time reaching out to poor-fit prospects. The deal pipeline metrics are an encouraging sign that more businesses are reentering buying processes, but it’s still too early to tell how much of this growth will be sustained. For now, it’s a safe bet that your sales team should continue prioritizing high-interest, good-fit buyers rather than indiscriminately prospecting.

Resources to Help

Consider whether online advertising is a fit for your business.

The significant dip in advertising spend tells us that many businesses have paused their ad campaigns either temporarily or indefinitely. There’s an opportunity for companies to enter a more affordable market. Whether or not this approach is right for your company entirely depends on your audience and offering, but if online ads work for your business, now may be a good time to un-pause campaigns.

Resources to Help

Free Software to Get Started

Adapt 2020 HubSpot

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21 Interactive Content Stats That Marketers Need to Know in 2020

In December 2018, Netflix viewers were introduced to the platform’s first interactive film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Bandersnatch followed a character named Stefan, a tormented game developer who was forced to make a number of simple and tough decisions to release a video game.

Each time Stefan had to make a decision — such as eating Sugar Puffs or Frosties for breakfast — two options would appear on the screen. Stefan’s fate was then in the Netflix viewers’ hands as they could choose what happened next.

The choose-your-own-adventure film — which allowed viewers to go down one of nearly one trillion paths based on their choices — was a viral hit.

Bandersnatch generated a ton of buzz on social media for Netflix, and the streaming giant was also able to use data from the decisions viewers selected. At one point, the streaming site released data to show which choices users commonly made.

Since Bandersnatch’s success, the entertainment industry and brands have continued to jump on the interactive content bandwagon with high-priced AR/VR and even video-game based campaigns.

But, as a small or medium-sized business marketer who isn’t ready to dabble in AR/VR just yet, you might be wondering, “Is interactive content really worth its price?”

Yes, interactive content is highly engaging, attracts customers, and provides value. But, you don’t necessarily need expertise in emerging technology to leverage it.

Below are 21 stats that highlight how interactive content is growing, the benefits it provides for brands, emerging interactive marketing technology, and a few of the most effective content types that marketers are using today.

21 Interactive Content Stats to Know

General Interactive Content Stats

  • 45% of B2B buyers say interactive content is one of their top three preferred content types. (SnapApp)
  • 51% of B2B buyers say interactive content is helpful when tackling business challenges. (SnapApp)
  • 62% of B2B marketers are already using interactive content. (DemandGen)
  • Interactive content gains two times more engagement than static content. (DemandGen)
  • 34% of marketers say at least 10% of their content is interactive. (DemandGen)
  • Meanwhile, 88% of marketers say at least 10% of their static content will be made interactive in the next two years. (DemandGen)
88% of marketers say at least 10% of their static content will be made interactive in the next two years.

Source

  • 77% of marketers agree that interactive content has “reusable” value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 73% agree that combining traditional content marketing tactics with interactive content enhances the retention of their organization’s message. (Content Marketing Institute)

Interactive Content Types

Quizzes, Polls, and Interactive Infographics

  • 85% of B2B marketers are already using or plan to use interactive infographics as part of their strategy. (DemandGen)
  • Women.com owns well over half the engagement for online quizzes, dominating even Buzzfeed, which is better known for this kind of interactive content. (Buzzsumo)
  • 75% agree that non-gated interactive content can provide a “sample” of the brand, resulting in a higher degree of lead nurturing. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • In a HubSpot poll, 15% of consumers preferred to tap through Instagram Stories with quiz or poll features. This interactive content type was the third most popular Story format. (HubSpot)

Interactive Videos, AR, and VR

  • 62% of B2B marketers plan to use or are already using interactive videos in their tactics. (DemandGen)
  • 43% of consumers prefer interactive video content over other types of video content because it gives them the ability to decide what information they want to view and when they want to view it. (MarketingCharts)
top online video qualities for consumer decision making

Source

  • 38% of agency experts say they help produce webinars for clients. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 45% of agency employees help brands create live experiences, such as virtual events or Q&As. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • In 2019, 42.9 million people in the US used a VR product, and 68.7 million people used an AR once monthly. (eMarketer)
  • In 2018, 88% of companies with budgets between $100 million and $1 billion were already experimenting with different forms of AR. (Deloitte)
  • A quarter of VR users believe it has a strong potential for brands and marketers. (GlobalWebIndex)
  • 71% of consumers would prefer to shop at stores with an AR experience (Lumus Vision)
  • 64% of consumers say VR has the most potential in gaming, while 52% recognize its potential in Film and TV. (GlobalWebIndex)

Testing the Waters With Interactive Content

If you’re primarily used to creating static content, wrapping your mind around how to make your branding more interactive can feel overwhelming.

Luckily, in 2020, you don’t need to be an AR expert or a coder to test the waters with low-cost interactive content. For example, you could leverage Instagram or Facebook Stories to poll or quiz your audiences, use an online quiz creator to generate an assessment for your website, or plan a live stream on a social platform that allows you to ask an expert questions from those who are commenting on it.

For a few great examples of how brands are getting interactive, check out this blog post. Ready to get started with your own content? Here are a few easy-to-use tools that can help you.

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I Failed at Podcasting, and So Can You

In 2016, I thought I had the perfect plan.

My Georgetown graduate students desperately needed to get away from books and learn about start-ups through real world experience. And Washington, D.C. was booming with startups.

So I figured — why not launch a podcast called “Students vs. Startups … Showdown on the Potomac?”

In hindsight, “Students vs. Startups” encountered a perfect storm, and I steered right into it. Ultimately, the podcast’s failure boiled down to five major factors.

Here, let’s dive into the five factors that led to the failure of my first podcast, and what you can learn from them.

1. Have multiple sponsors who are eager to support your podcast.

In my case, my sponsor was a hot startup seeking great resumes to grow their company — and grow, it did.

Eventually, the startup caught the attention of a larger company that bought it out. Marketing decisions were taken out of the hands of my success-at-any-cost champion.

While it’s easy to blame the sponsor, I realized I failed on several levels:

  • By assuming the new organization would have the same hunger as the aggressive startup. From the new corporate perspective, sponsorship for the podcast was delegated to the marketing department, and funding eventually dried up when the marketing teams prioritized other avenues.
  • By not seeking other sponsors during the podcast. I should’ve had a backup sponsor in case my first sponsor backed out.
  • By not devoting 100% effort to the success of the podcast. I treated it as a line item in a month of activities. In addition to teaching, I was conducting corporate workshops, doing video interviews, speaking onstage, and consulting. I put the difficult work of finding a backup sponsor on hold for the relatively mechanical activities of the podcast: getting guests, students, and managing the freelance audio engineers.

Lesson: Launching a successful podcast means all hands-on deck. It shouldn’t be an isolated activity. To ensure long-term success, you’ll want multiple sponsors who are eager to financially support your podcast endeavors.

2. Ensure your host is engaging and can connect with the audience.

In my long broadcast career, I realized I’m able to control the energy of the show.

This is a subtle but powerful characteristic of the audio format — there are no visual clues to allow the audience to understand what is going on, so the speaker must give plenty of verbal clues to make the exchange appealing.

If the focal point was the students interacting with startups, the premise of my show was flawed. By letting the conversation flow organically, I missed out on opportunities to make the dialogue more engaging for the audience.

Listening to “Students vs. Startups” after a couple of years gave me a new perspective: Many times, the excitement dissolved after my opening. A mitigating issue must be the fact that the podcast was recorded at 6:30 PM, after everyone had worked a long day.

Lesson: If you are staking your reputation on the success of a podcast, take it upon your shoulders to handle the magic of the microphone, and ensure you have engaging talking points ready for your subjects.

3. Ensure your podcast can show up in search.

We know that humans search. A lot. A recent article indicates that Google receives 63,000 searches per second, on any given day — so it makes sense that you’d need a strong digital presence to enable searchers to find your podcast in the first place.

Search engines seek text, so you can more easily attract search bots by including text with your Show Notes page. This page should be the target of your inbound and outbound marketing efforts.

In your Show Notes page, make sure you have keywords placed appropriately, include images, the full transcript of the podcast, and a summary. These “Blog Basics” can help your podcast get discovered through search.

One essential in digital marketing is the art of the launch. Unfortunately, it was an afterthought for “Students vs. Startups”. If you have an established email list with thousands of followers, the launch of a podcast can be much smoother. When email recipients click on the Show Notes page, Google will get signals of popularity and can improve the domain authority of that page, making it easier to find.

“Students vs. Startups” began from scratch. It had no email list or promotion budget. It was remarkable the podcast got any listeners at all. An email list allows you to question, survey, and learn about the needs and desires of your intended audience.

Lesson: Hire a professional to take care of the audio and scheduling. Bring in someone to structure a Show Notes page that is fast, mobile-friendly, and can be found easily through search.

4. Listen to your audience.

Ultimately, the most important part of my podcast show was missing: the audience. I failed to connect to the audience and gain a better understanding of what questions they had for entrepreneurs.

And, of all the people in the world, I should’ve known this. For ten years I wrote a weekly technology column for The Washington Post called, “Ask the Computer Guy.” The idea of the column was to listen to the audience and help with their problems. This simple formula worked well — the column lasted a decade and had national syndication. Perhaps my hubris didn’t allow me to reach out to the startup audience to see what they wanted.

You may want to go face-to-face at trade shows and ask what topics people would like to hear. Beyond that, read forums, participate in LinkedIn groups, absorb Reddit responses, and see what questions come up on Quora.

Lesson: Get off your high horse and ask what the audience wants.

5. Your success ratio should be one hour recording, and 10 hours promoting.

For a successful podcast, you’ll want to budget one hour for studio time, and at least 10 hours for promotion efforts.

If you aren’t an audio engineer, you should outsource the audio editing to a professional. This will give you more time to promote your podcast.

For promotion, a great use of your time is to become a guest on other podcasts, which almost guarantees more downloads for you.

Lesson: 10X your promotion efforts. If you’ve done your homework and listened to the audience, when you promote it, people will say, “Wow, I was just wondering about that topic. I’m going to give it a listen.”

If you want to launch a corporate podcast, it’s critical you have a detailed plan for success. If you have a sponsor, deepen that relationship in case there are mitigating circumstances that can impact your financial situation. Always develop new business contacts in case things change.

The moderator can make-or-break the podcast. Lead with enthusiasm, stick with a theme, and control the interview.

Now, a little over four years later, I now have two successful podcasts: Federal TechTalk and Constellations. I’ve learned something from my past mistakes — I hope you can, too.

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Author: John Gilroy

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Why HubSpot’s Director of Analytics Wants You to Make Data More Human

Reporting and attribution have revolutionized marketing in every industry. Marketing data allows businesses to make more informed decisions about their audiences’ needs, challenges, and interests.

For years, demographic reporting has done wonders for marketers. Data points such as age, ethnicity, gender, location, education, and employment have informed marketing teams and heightened the impact of campaigns across the board.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much that demographic data can tell us about the people searching for and purchasing our products and services.

2020 is the time to make data more human.

Key Takeaways & Expert Insights

Humanizing a historically inhuman component of marketing (such as reporting and attribution) can be tough. Let’s talk about a few ways to do this.

Firstly, start to switch your reporting focus from demographic data to psychographic and behavioral data. This should be a major change your organization makes in how and why you collect data. We’ll talk more about how to do this later in this article.

Secondly, expect democratization of data. Today, data is difficult to gather and is typically controlled by a dedicated marketing analytics team. While this may be a good way to collect and manage your company’s data, it can create a silo that alienates your data from the people at your company who can actually apply and learn from it.

In 2020, expect analytics teams to start making data more accessible for all employees. To jump start this process within your organization, invest in systems that automate your marketing reporting and make it easier for your employees to access that information. Teach employees how to properly apply this data, too.

Strive for efficiency and alignment across your organization. Here are a few ways to do this:

1. Align all departments within the organization around being a data-driven company and agreed-upon goals.

2. Choose and define a home for your marketing data. Where does your data live? Is it currently available? How can employees access it?

3. Avoid common marketing reporting mistakes, including one-off reports and random data pulls. These waste time and produce inconsistent data that doesn’t speak to your audience or contribute to real results.

4. Document your marketing reporting process — this might look something like: gather data, define important patterns, automate, and repeat. Instead of assigning different roles or teams to each part of the process, consider dividing up your marketing reporting workload by data source. This will allow the same people to see your data through from collection to application.

Keep Investing in Attribution to Identify Bottom-Line Impact

In 2020, continue focusing on marketing attribution reporting. When did customers first touch your brand? When did they last touch it? Where are your visitors and customers coming from?

According to our 2020 State of Marketing report, only 50% of companies are currently using attribution reporting — and almost 30% answered “No.”

A pie chart titled "does your company currently use attribution reporting"

Attribution tools such as Databox, Looker, and HubSpot’s Marketing Hub are getting better and better at producing more accurate and timely marketing data.

Start Using Behavioral Data as Your Guiding Light

Consider behavioral data king in 2020. If you aren’t already, start tracking behavioral data and define relevant marketing key performance indicators (KPIs).

For example, instead of tracking demographic data like age or location, start paying attention to behaviors like click-through activity, online purchases, search query information, and on-site engagement.

Behavioral data is more impactful data than demographic data, and it helps ensure compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and future data regulations (which we’ll touch on below). It also helps you identify and understand (and then effectively target) people based on their actions.

Behavioral and psychographic data points represent people showing up and taking action. They are a better indication of interest and intention. Demographic data doesn’t adapt to users and behaviors in the same way.

According to our 2020 State of Marketing report, almost 25% of companies reported their top marketing priority for this year was closing more deals. If your priorities are the same, behavioral data-based reporting can help meet those goals.

At HubSpot, we focus on the data from a few tools (our own instance of HubSpot, for example) and on-page site data. We review each order of event sequences (i.e. how visitors came to land on and interact with our website) and take a look at where people landed, how they got there, and if they were satisfied with the results — if they converted, shared, and/or made a purchase.

For example, let’s say someone lands on the HubSpot homepage through a LinkedIn post. They explore the website by clicking on a few pages and finally, on the fourth click, land on a product page. There, they click to request a call with our sales team.

This approach to collecting data better informs our business strategy. It provides a deeper understanding of what content and which site placements help users find the information they need to perform the actions they want … like submitting a demo request.

“2020 is when we’ll get automated insights at scale. Between the continued development of natural language processing and AI-engines trained to understand which metrics are important to different industries, we anticipate being able to get relevant insights sent directly to you so you know where you need to focus.” — Jocelyn Chen, Analytics Lead at Seer Interactive

For those seeking buy-in for behavioral data, I recommend running an initial analysis of your site and reviewing the results. Establishing on-site patterns can actually provide more data to be shared with your team and business leaders.

These patterns can then integrate your business teams across marketing, sales, service, and more.

The top-line argument here is that demographics and segments have never been about the people — your audience and customers. When you understand how people are using your site, you can improve it immensely.

Stop Ignoring Important Data Regulations

Regardless of what types of data you introduce in 2020, you must stop ignoring data regulations. It’s time to get proactive with data regulations, rather than reactive. This is especially true for GDPR and CCPA. Even if you’re not operating in the European Union or California, these regulations will control your access to data — especially demographic data.

This is yet another reason to lessen your focus on demographic data. Not only will it become less available through more regulations, but it also poorly represents your audience. Demographic data is essentially bucketing people into segments that they didn’t choose and don’t make sense for them.

When you stop defining people by their demographic data, you gain a better understanding of their actions and intentions — and you work in tandem with data regulations, not against them.

My Recommended Reporting and Attribution Tool

Marketing reporting and attribution is not a manual process — an intelligent, robust tool is almost always required. But there isn’t one perfect tool — what works best for you is dependent on where your data lives and what platforms you’re already using. This will determine what you need going forward.

If you are dealing with a lot of disparate data sources, I’d recommend Looker. Looker is a very powerful query tool with a lot of flexibility. If you are more streamlined and have a lot of your data on one platform, there’s a ton of solutions — for example, if your data is in HubSpot, we offer many powerful reporting and attribution features.

Take a Deep-Dive Into the State of Reporting and Attribution

Dive deeper into HubSpot’s survey data by clicking the download button on the image below.

Editor’s note: This article was researched in December 2019 and January 2020, and was originally published in early February 2020 in our State of Marketing Report. A lot has changed in the world since then, so keep that in mind as your process these trends and data.

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Author: Bridget Zingale

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Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Operations in One Place

One of my favorite movies is “School of Rock,” which also happens to be one of 2003’s best films.

In the movie, Jack Black poses as a substitute teacher at a private school, and, after noticing the students are musically talented, he turns the 10-year-olds into a fully-fledged rock band.

When assigning roles to the students, such as “lead singer,” “lead guitarist,” and “keyboardist,” he approaches the class president and deems her band manager because she had the organization skills needed to help the band run smoothly.

“Summer,” he says, “You’re in charge of the whole thing.”

I think of this quote when I think about marketing operations. Without a marketing operations team, businesses that depend on technology would have a less-than-seamless experience carrying out their duties.

Known affectionately as “MOps” at HubSpot, the marketing operations team is responsible for making sure the highly complex technology used at HubSpot is always top-notch, which helps the greater marketing team (and business as a whole).

Let’s learn more about marketing operations and why these teams are essential to a business.

What is marketing operations?

Marketing ops enables the greater marketing team to run at an efficient level. They also have the ability to scale their operations as the company grows larger.

At HubSpot, the marketing ops team is responsible for supporting the systems and processes that enable the marketing team to perform optimally in their roles. This includes everything from permissions, conversational marketing, user data, forms, and email operations.

Without marketing operations, it would be tough for marketing teams to effectively complete essential marketing activities. Because technology is necessary to carry out most marketing tasks, a team to manage the complexity of that technology is also necessary.

That’s where marketing ops comes in. This team is responsible for being the powerhouse of the company — they align the processes, historical data, goals, and people of a business.

Marketing ops teams have a hand in multiple stages of marketing duties, including the creation and management of important projects. For example, a marketing ops professional might oversee the budgeting and planning for an automated email marketing campaign so they can document the ROMI.

A marketing ops department tracks the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). This is because the team’s core function is to keep track of how the efficiency of their strategies is contributing to initial investments.

A key function of how well a marketing ops team works is proper management. So, in the next section, we’re going to talk about marketing ops management and what it entails.

Marketing Operations Management

Before we get into the details of marketing ops management, let’s put a definition behind the term.

Marketing operations management is the framework for how a marketing operations team runs. It describes the optimization of a marketing strategy from beginning to end.

The goal of marketing ops management is to make marketing activities efficient. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for a marketing operations team to have a hand in content planning and campaign analysis. It’s also likely to find the tools needed to achieve this to-do list in software that handles marketing and business, like HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM.

Marketing operations defines the process of strategizing and optimizing, while marketing ops management defines how that happens.

Now that we have an understanding of what marketing ops is and what they do, let’s talk about the details of a marketing ops strategy.

Marketing Operations Strategy

Marketing operations team members need to have an expansive skillset. Some of the common roles within this department or team are email operations, systems analysis, customer data and marketing, user operations, and lead rotation.

All of these roles come together to align the process and platforms needed to carry out marketing tasks for the greater marketing team.

When thinking about a marketing ops strategy, think about the problems the marketing ops team needs to solve. For instance, it’s common for marketing operations strategies to solve the needs of customers, stakeholders, and the employees of your company.

To understand what a marketing operations strategy is, we’ll start with an example: Let’s say a marketing ops team wanted to make email marketing a more valuable process for both parties involved (customers and marketers).

1. Identify what you want your operations strategy to accomplish for stakeholders.

The first step in defining a marketing ops strategy is outlining major goals. For instance, your marketing ops team might decide sending email marketing messages, enabling sales to source quality leads, and identifying key marketers to execute that process are three goals they have for quarter one.

When you identify those major goals, make sure you also determine which stakeholders you are targeting. You might be targeting one group or many, but being positive about who you’re planning for will make sure your plan is actionable and valuable.

2. Determine actionable steps in your plan that will help you reach your goals.

Then, the team would look at how these tasks would help them complete their goals. For instance, the team would ask themselves, “How will enabling teams to effectively send email marketing help us reach our goals?” and estimate with an answer such as, “We should see a decrease in email churn rate.”

Determining these steps will help your marketing ops team stay organized as they work through their tasks. Additionally, by outlining these steps, your team can figure out what needs to be done and the resources needed to see success.

3. Figure out a measurable metric to determine the success of your strategy.

After identifying the tasks and the benefits for their challenge, the next step in strategizing would be to identify how the team would measure the success of the project. In this example, the team might conclude, “We will calculate churn by dividing the number of contacts who unsubscribed from emails in a month by the number of unique email recipients in a month.”

When you figure out a measurable metric, you’ll be able to keep track of the strategy’s success as your team works through the plan. The metric will remind your team of the goal you want to accomplish, and what stakeholders want to see as a result of your plan.

4. If needed, communicate how colleagues can take part in refining your strategy.

With the goal and measuring method identified, next, the team would outline what this change would mean for affected colleagues, for instance, the team members who create and distribute email marketing messages.

The team might conclude that, “Marketers can expect an easier email guideline process, a more effective format and to receive a form to offer input about how to make that happen.”

When you include relevant colleagues in the creation of your plan, you can have reassurance that your strategy will end up providing the most effective solution.

5. Assign team members to specific tasks that will contribute to the completion of your goals.

Having that set in place, what’s next for the marketing ops team is to assign team members certain tasks to help them achieve their goal. For instance, one team member might be in charge of redefining email marketing contact lists. Another might be in charge of auditing the current workflows in place for email marketing.

As team members complete these tasks, they would check them off in a centralized space so the entire team can stay updated on the status of the project.

This is how a marketing operations strategy would lead to solving for one of the most important parts of a business: the customer.

How will your marketing ops strategy empower the most important parts of your company?

Marketing operations teams are equally as effective with their strategies and management capabilities as Summer’s character in “School of Rock.” With her system of processes, the group was able to obtain their own rehearsal space and offer music classes.

They are able to come up with ways to increase customer satisfaction and ease the job of marketers. Their strategies make marketing activities and duties accessible to all, and because of that, are an essential part of a business.

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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How to Craft the Perfect Email for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Collectively, 103 trillion emails are sent worldwide every year … that’s not a typo.

And 58% of people check their email before doing anything else online. It’s no secret that email isn’t dead despite the abundance of messaging apps and social media platforms sprouting up everywhere you look.

There’s a reason 81% of businesses rely on email marketing for customer acquisition — the impressive return on investment (ROI).

Email delivers strong ROI stats.

Image Source

We all know it’s important. Yet many marketers get lost in the trillions of emails floating through cyberspace.

While there’s no such thing as a perfect email strategy, it’s important to consider the thought process of users at each stage of the buyer’s journey along the way. What kind of information are they looking for? Why should they trust you?

What’s going to help them the most, right this second?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry. You’re in the right place.

Keep reading to learn how to answer these questions and start delivering the right emails at the right time for your audience. By the end, you’ll know what to offer, when to send your emails, and how to stand out in an endless sea of email oblivion.

What is an email funnel?

An email funnel is an automated campaign or series of emails that guides your audience from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next. Each email’s job is to nudge your readers one step closer to the final action you want them to take.

There are four stages (or five depending on who you ask) in this funnel.

The email funnel and buyer's journey.

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The types of content you create and send should differ from one stage to the next. This is because readers at different stages are interested in different types of information. In other words, not all stages are created equal.

So, let’s start at the beginning.

Stage 1: Awareness

New subscribers enter the buyer’s journey at the top. It’s the largest portion of the journey because it includes a wide net of readers interested in what you have to say. As we move through the stages, the net becomes smaller and smaller.

For most, joining your list is the first time they’re interacting with your brand.

So, they enter at the awareness stage. At this point, they’re not ready to buy anything from you. New subscribers aren’t interested in an inbox full of annoying and repetitive product promotion emails (you know the ones).

They want to know:

  • What’s in it for them
  • Why they should stay on your list
  • How you’re going to help them

The average open rate in North America is 19.49%. But, welcome emails have an open rate closer to 50%. New subscribers expect to get a warm welcome, so this is your chance to show them why they made a smart decision in joining your list.

Welcome email stats.

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The goal of introductory emails is to turn new subscribers into potential customers without asking them to spend money. They’re not ready for that. They want to get to know you and develop trust in your brand.

To nurture that relationship, give them something valuable they can use right away. Help them get one step closer to their goals by offering:

  • Educational content including ebooks, email courses, and white papers that offer exclusive insight into your brand or how to accomplish something new. For instance, Upwork offers their The Fast Lane to Great Design ebook which is targeted to marketers looking for smart tips on how they can leverage freelancers for better design. Then, Upwork can convert their list into customers by promoting available contract designers, helping subscribers to not only learn ways to good designers but also helping to match them with the right resource.
  • Actionable content like templates and workbooks that allow your subscribers to work through complex problems they’re facing. At HubSpot, we’ve created an editorial calendar and template that content managers can download and customize for their own purposes. Beyond that, we also email them with additional content they might be interested in based on their company size and industry.
  • Impactful newsletters that give subscribers a chance to learn new things on a regular basis. To capture recurring readers, the sleep blog eachnight uses a handy Sleep Calculator which reminds readers what their ideal bedtime is based on their required wake up time. If users opt in to having eachnight email them personalized results, they’ll also get newsletter emails each time new sleep articles get published so you can learn more about how to achieve a restful night’s sleep.

Stage 1 Email Example

Everyone loves examples, right? This one comes from Brendan Hufford at SEO For the Rest of Us. His welcome email is a real-world example of an impactful newsletter. Give it a read.

Welcome email example by SEO For the Rest of Us.

This email oozes with empathy, personality, humor, informative content, and promise of gifs. No product mentions or sales tactics for you to roll your eyes at.

This example works SO well because he outlines what you’re going to get by joining his list. If you want to learn more about SEO, you know you’re in the right place. Right away, you can tell if this is the newsletter for you.

Pro tip: Use customer personas with your emails to craft emails that are uber relevant to your target audience.

Stage 2: Consideration

Audience segmentation and email automation flow can help identify new potential customers who’ve made their way to the consideration stage. They’re interested in your offer.

But they’re not ready to click “buy now”.

Nudging new subscribers towards your offer helps create buzz for your brand while delivering valuable content without shoving your product in their face. Which is exactly what should happen at this stage of the buyer’s journey.

According to Jeremy Noronha, “The middle of the funnel also gives you an opportunity to understand your customers goals and interests. You can then leverage this to recommend suitable solutions for them to solve their problems.”

After you identify potential customers and match them to one of your offers, you can start generating excitement around your product. These emails should introduce your offering and explain why they should care about it.

Valuable, educational content will help turn potential customers into qualified leads who are ready to buy something. You can do this using:

At the end of each email, don’t forget to include a clear call-to-action.

Stage 2 Email Example

Visme is a visual content tool for individuals, businesses, and enterprises. Their tools allow you to create presentations, infographics, social media graphics, and more.

Consideration stage email example by Visme.

This email is great because it offers a high-level resource, a prerecorded tutorial, and a case study. Each one introduces the product and explains why you should care about creating visual content.

It works because you’re not slapped in the face with another promotional email deserving of the delete button. It’s short and punchy with a call-to-action to download the goods.

Stage 3: Decision

Qualified leads are ready to make a decision. They’re weighing the pros and cons of buying your product (and other products, too). Since 59% of consumers say that marketing emails influence their buying decisions, these emails should be top-notch.

This is your chance to prove you have the solution to their problems. They should walk away wondering how they ever lived without you.

Your approach depends on your offer and the lead. But, all successful decision stage emails display an offer in a way that’s relevant to the person receiving it.

When someone reaches this stage, you’ve already built a strong foundation for a long-term, beneficial relationship. They know who you are and they know what you have to offer.

These emails act as the last push someone needs to pull out their wallet. Get them excited, show them what they’re missing, and always fall back on giving away valuable information for free.

Consider offering:

  • Free trials, time-based offers, and discount codes
  • Live Demos or Q&A Sessions: The GetVOIP’s web-conferencing library is full of detailed reviews for different live conferencing tools. Use these to make an educated decision on which is right for your business.
  • Proposals, estimates, or a free consultation

Stage 3 Email Example

Grammarly is a freemium online writing assistant. Everyone using the tool gets weekly usage statistics in their inbox.

Decision stage email example by Grammarly.

They use this as an opportunity to highlight their time-based premium offer. This email works because they present the offer surrounded by interesting stats about how you use their tool and the opportunities you’re missing out on.

Many people enjoy seeing this information. Grammarly takes advantage of this by offering you a discount without coming across as scammy.

Stage 4: Advocacy

Customers are the life-blood of your business. When someone buys something, it’s important to take a moment and celebrate the win. When you’re done, think about how you’re going to keep them around.

It costs 6-7 times more to gain new customers than it does to retain existing ones. So, turning previous customers into repeat customers and brand ambassadors should be at the top of your to-do list.

On average, 65% of business comes from existing customers. And 80% of businesses rely on email marketing to increase their retention rate. Giving away valuable and nurturing email content doesn’t stop once a consumer becomes a customer. It actually becomes more important than ever.

Customer retention rate formula.

Image Source

To help increase your customer retention rate, consider offering:

  • Educational content, tutorials, and exclusive webinars that teach customers how to use your product to solve their biggest problems.
  • Discount codes and offers that encourage customers to buy from you again.
  • Personalized product recommendations and relevant cross/up-sell opportunities.
  • Referral/loyalty programs that reward existing customers for spreading your message and attracting new customers.
  • Consider integrating your emails with copywriting practices for better conversions.
  • Create user personas to tailor emails to personal preferences of the target.

Additionally, customers are the only people who can give accurate and honest information on the flow of your business, your products, and your customer service efforts.

Because 88% of consumers trust testimonials as much as they trust their friends and family, displaying positive testimonials on your website can help you build trust with your audience.

So, use this opportunity to:

  • Ask for an online review: 92% of consumers trust non-paid reviews over any other form of advertising. A few days after their purchase, ask for an honest review and make sure to reply to each one.
  • Send out periodic product surveys: Use surveys to ask the right questions and gain valuable insight into your business and product offerings. Existing customers are the best source for this kind of information.

Stage 4 Email Example

Allbirds is a shoe manufacturer dedicated to carbon neutrality and environmentally friendly fashion. From responsibly sourced materials to mindful manufacturing, they hold themselves responsible for helping reduce environmental impact.

Cross-sell email example by Allbirds.

This email works because they showcase their fun and quirky message while suggesting the perfect pair of socks to go with your new pair of kicks. No gross sales tactics involved.

Writing the perfect email isn’t easy. Especially when you consider the different stages of the buyer’s journey. But, putting in the effort to do it right will work wonders for your business.

At HubSpot, our email marketing tool can help with this process. The tool gives you the power to brainstorm, write, automate, and send the perfect emails at the right time. You’ll have automated and data-driven email campaigns running before you know it.

Take the time to test different campaigns and types of content with each segment of your audience. What works for one may not work for others. You can use the ideas listed here to create multiple campaigns to see what works for you.

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How to Launch a Successful Multichannel Marketing Strategy

If you’re even a casual reader of the business blogosphere, you’ve probably heard more than once about this great big shift in how consumers buy. And although we have plenty of jargon in the marketing world, another term is rising in popularity in response to that shift: multi-channel marketing.

What Is Multi-Channel Marketing?

Multi-channel marketing is defined by many organizations, unsurprisingly, as communicating with and marketing to prospects and customers across many channels, online and offline.

That means instead of running a single start-and-stop campaign or using one marketing tactic, like TV or email, marketers today are pacing with how consumers operate: in lots of places all at once.

Think about your own habits: We have enormous choices facing us every day, between thousands of TV channels, numerous screens and devices, and millions of websites and individual pieces of content.

That means you might want to perform research and execute a purchase in a lot of different places by reading a blog post on your tablet,by checking for deals in your inbox,or by visiting a store so you can speak to someone in-person.

Multi-channel marketers,then,are ones who identify the channels their target customers are usingand understand how their target customers move from one channel to another to create a congruous experience.

What Are the Hallmarks of Great Multi-Channel Marketing Strategies?

Multi-channel marketing seeks to establish a marketer’s presence across these many places. Online, that includes search engines, blogs, social networks, email, and more. Offline, that means print, TV, and radio among others.

Success, however, doesn’t come by just being present on these channels. Nope just like the inbound methodology describes, marketers need to address their multi-channel marketing in several areas to be successful:

  • Brand Reach – The advantage (and thus the goal of) multi-channel marketing is to increase brand awareness by expanding reach. You’ll want to choose the channels that will accomplish this goal.
  • Message – The effectiveness of multi-channel marketing will be predicated on how well your message resonates with your target buyer.
  • Consistency – One key to multi-channel marketing is not just choosing the right message but also staying consistent in that message across channels.
  • Engagement – Not all channels are solely for content distribution. Social media, in particular, requires a level of engagement — prospects with your contentandyou with your prospects — in order to sustain long-term success.
  • Experience – If prospects will be interacting across multiple channels, their experience must be exceptional across those channels. That means channel integration and unified communication.

How to Launch a Successful Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Once you know that multi-channel is the right thing for you, here’s how you get started:

1. Identify your buyer persona.

Having a clearly definedbuyer persona(or multiple ones) that entails specifics about their ideal buyer is a necessity. This information helps marketers decide on which channels they should focus their efforts and what kind of tone and messaging to have.

2. Choose the channels you want to target.

If youcouldshow up everywhere, no doubt you would, but the fact of the matter is that effective multi-channel marketing can be costly. With each channel comes a larger time and monetary investment as you craft strategy, produce content, and pay for ads or sponsored placement.

That’s why you need to decide which channels to target. Depending on your buyer persona and your unique goals, there may be some channels that make more sense than others. Start with those and expand to other channels as you see increased success.

That said, don’t be afraid to experiment when resources permit. You might be surprised at the channels that end up performing.

3. Create singular messaging for that persona.

You likely have team members who specialize in different channels, so it’s easy to end up with a siloed approach where each team or department operates independently. However, with multi-channel marketing, it’s important to have a cohesive experience across channels. Otherwise, your audience will be jarred or confused when switching from one platform to another.

Ensure that each member of your team understands your persona and the messaging that you’re using to target that persona.

Marketers also need to be useful and helpful, sharing relevant, consumer-first content instead of pushing me-first marketing messages. This useful philosophy in other words, the inbound approach must be apparent in every tactic deployed.

4. Play by the rules of each channel.

Even though the messaging must be consistent, you’ll also have to be strategic with regard to what works on each channel. For example, extremely visual channels such as Instagram may see more success with images while articles may perform better on more editorial platforms like LinkedIn.

For that reason, despite having similar messaging, you’ll likely need to create individual strategies for each channel and create varying types of content.

5. Figure out how you’ll integrate the experience across channels.

All channels marketers decide to use must also work together. It’s not enough to just set up and use Twitter, Facebook, email, a website, a blog, et al, if they don’t work in harmony to attract and convert business. The same consumer moves across all of these places quickly, so your strategy and your analytics need to adapt similarly.

An integration strategy may include using a unified inbox to track customer communication across channels, an all-in-one marketing management platform to help you manage your publishing and analytics efforts, and a CRM to track interactions and engagement.

6. Implement marketing automation.

Speaking of tracking interactions and engagement, marketing automation for your multi-channel marketing efforts is a must. Paired with a CRM that stores information such as pages visited, CTA clicks, and email opens, your marketing automation can help you make make decisions and take action personalized to your leads’ unique paths.

7. Keep in mind that your website is a channel.

Given consumers use multiple platforms (from social, to email, to blogs) and devices (from desktops, to tablets, to smartphones) to get their content, marketers implementing multi-channel efforts will need a responsive website which can be created inHubSpot’s COS so that their audience will have easy, uniform access to all marketers have to offer them.

8. Plan how you’ll measure attribution.

With multiple channels in play, marketers will need to carefully measure the results of their multi-channel approach. Closed-loop analytics (through HubSpot or other analytics software) will inform them as to which channels were effective, which channels influenced other channels, and which channels they can eliminate from their efforts.

As you’re evaluating performance, you may want to consider attribution models, such as:

  • Linear Attribution Model – Providing attribution to all touch points equally per sale, not taking into account influence.
  • Time Decay Model – Providing more attribution to the most recent touch points.
  • Position-Based Model – Providing more attribution to touch points along certain stages of the lifecycle of the lead.

9. Invest in retargeting.

Retargeting — a form of advertising that targets your website’s bounced traffic on other platforms — is powerful when used in conjunction with multi-channel marketing. By having multiple platforms from which your audience can find your website, you’ll end up increasing website traffic. Anyone who bounces away will see retargeting ads on other platforms, ones that you may have a presence on.

In the end, your goal in this consumer-first world is to step beyond just being present on multiple channels and start connecting them all together into one, thriving, multi-channel approach to inbound marketing.

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