How to Launch a Successful Online Community: A Step-by-Step Guide

It’s no secret that the way people buy has fundamentally changed over the years.

These days, people are conducting their own research, reading product reviews, and seeking out recommendations before making a decision, and online communities are beginning to play a role in this process.

As of 2018, according to the B2B Buyers Survey Report, 45% of business buyers spent more time and resources researching purchases than they did the previous year. So, the more platforms you can launch your brand on, the more you can strengthen your buyers’ research.

B2B communities like G2Crowd or GetApp can be used to educate prospective customers and help them make better buying decisions, but how do you start?Discover a framework for running more impactful, measurable marketing  campaigns.

These forums provide people with an opportunity to learn from existing customers experiences and offer space for community feedback that can be used to bring trust and authenticity into an otherwise stale procedure.

If you’re launching a new community or refreshing an existing one, taking time to prepare a plan is crucial for ensuring success. The best way to start is to determine why you are building the community to begin with. Reasons may range from you are trying to support your existing business or marketing efforts to wanting to counteract negative reviews and identify passionate fans.

Either way, there are two questions you should consider when creating an online community:

  • Why should I engage with my customers online?
  • What’s the best platform to do it with?

To walk you through the process of setting up an online community in more detail, keep reading.

Free vs. Owned Community Forums: What’s the Right Move?

Although social networks and community platforms seem interchangeable, there actually is a clear distinction.

Social media, in general, is composed of users who have nothing in common (only using the platform because their friends are on it). Communities, however, revolve around a specific issue, and it’s up to you to take the social network and engage certain users on that platform to form a community that’s focused on your industry.

With this in mind, there are two types of communities you can launch: free or owned. Here’s the difference:

Free Community Platforms

There are “free” platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which offer community-like features, but using them has its pros and cons.

One key pro is that it’s free for users and comes with a built-in audience. In other words, you can stand up an account, create content, and publish it to your followers for free, as long as you do the leg work to find out who on this platform you want to reach

The con, on the other hand, is that you don’t truly “own” your community and are therefore beholden to the decisions these companies make for how the platform serves your content to others. Right when you’ve mastered the platform your community lives on, the content algorithm changes, and you’re forced to pivot your content strategy to retain your users’ attention. It’s been known to happen.

Here’s a brief list of free platforms to consider, if you decide to launch a community in this way:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • G2 Crowd
  • GetApp
  • Quora
  • Discourse
  • Glassdoor
  • Slack

Owned Community Platforms

Then there’s the owned platform like a community forum. This is a place that is owned by the brand and offers all the benefits of a social media platform, but with much more control and flexibility on how you communicate with your members. For example, if you launch a blog or website with a forum or comment section for your visitors, this is an owned community that you can manage yourself.

As with free communities, there are pros and cons to an owned community. We’ll start with the con this time: From an audience perspective, you’re starting from scratch. Owned communities give you more freedom over your brand’s messaging, but until your customers find out about your community, you have way more promoting to do to grow that community than you might have on a free platform.

One major pro to owned community platforms is that they give you tighter controls over your branding and messaging — without having to compete with the noise of other communities on the same platform. A toy store on Twitter, for example, might have a built-in audience to engage, but this business has to compete with all the other toy stores on Twitter that are interacting with the same people.

Community platforms also allow you to go beyond the limitations of social networks. Features such as deeper analytics, single sign on (SSO), gamification, more access to your members and custom design allow you to create a better experience for your fans. If you require a secure, private area for your fans to interact with one another, this might be your best option.

1. Choose a platform for your community.

There are two types of forums: one revolving around shared interest and the other that is more informational in nature.

With a shared-interest forum, you’re bringing together people who happen to be interested in a common topic where they can explore and connect with each other on a larger range of topics. Collaboration between members is key here.

Informational forums are largely used when you want to create a space for the community to search for and share content related to your product, service, or designated topic in one location.

Once you’ve identified the use case and the type of engagement you’re after (i.e., customer support operations or brand loyalty), you’ll want to start looking at detailed features that would support your community goals. These can range from:

  • Deeper analytics
  • Ease of use and good user interface
  • Customer support
  • Platform flexibility
  • Integrations
  • Mobile

2. Develop a launch framework.

When determining what business problem you want to resolve with your community, consider the following.

Are you looking to:

  • Increase your customer satisfaction ratings?
  • Decrease costs related to customer support?
  • Increase demand of your product/service?
  • Identify and mobilize influencers and advocates?
  • Increase collaboration?

What is your use case? Will you use the information gained internally, externally, or a combination of both?

Knowing these answers will make it easier for you to identify why you are launching your online community and help you align its purpose to your intended goals.

3. Identify key internal stakeholders for the community.

After determining the need for forming your community, your next step is to identify your company’s stakeholders. You can consider three categories of stakeholders:

  1. Those who will be managing the community. For external facing communities, this group of stakeholders may include the community manager, marketing department, and/or customer support. The stakeholders may vary greatly for internal communities.
  2. Those who will be impacted by the community. If your community is external facing, marketing is generally involved because the answers you are seeking will have the most impact on them. If there is feedback from the community regarding product improvements, product management may also be involved.
  3. Upper management. This stakeholder is the person who is responsible for the community and all that are affected by it. Usually, an executive could be an operations manager or a CMO who oversee all digital experiences.

Another way to go about identifying stakeholders is to lump the role of the community manager along with the social media management role. Your marketing team, operations department, customer service, or perhaps a specially created department may be put in charge of the community launch. In this instance, each department is likely to put focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) that are meaningful to them.

Marketing KPIs

  • Market share
  • Customer sentiment
  • Mobilizing influencers and advocates
  • NPS – Net Promoter Score

Operations

  • Operational efficiency
  • Reducing support costs

Customer Service

  • CSAT – Customer Satisfaction Score
  • NPS

Product Management

  • Product testing
  • Market research
  • Beta testing
  • Customer feedback

Typically, only one person will be tasked with the community launch. However, by leveraging resources and other talent within your company, your launch can be less stressful and more successful.

4. Set up your community.

Making a decision on what platform to use for your community is the first step. If you are launching the community on your own or taking a team approach, you will want to make sure that you or your team are familiar with the software you will be using. This is a good opportunity to play with a demo or go through some hands-on training.

After you and your team have a good understanding of the software you’ll be using, you can move on to making some setup decisions. These include:

  • Keeping your community pre-launch private. You do not want outsiders having access to your community until you are ready, so make sure to enable your privacy settings.
  • Displaying a list of recent discussions for the forum on the “homepage view.” New members or first time visitors may be more apt to join in the discussion if they see what is trending in your community.
  • Creating your initial categories. Remember, your initial category list is not carved in stone and you should avoid creating too many categories at the start. Keep it simple and let your categories evolve. This will help keep a handle on discussion noise.
  • Reviewing the sign-up process for members. The easier the process is, the more likely people will want to sign up for your community. You should consider a setting up a single sign-on (SSO). It is also important to thoroughly test your sign-up process before the pre-launch.
  • Defining the roles your staff and members. Decide what roles will be included within your community, such as moderators or super members. Consider who on your staff will be the community’s admin, moderators, or community manager.
  • Assigning permissions for roles. You will need to assign and test permissions to the roles you create. For example, you may restrict new accounts from posting pictures or links.
  • Deciding which features will be enabled. This includes plug-ins, add-ons, and other features that are integrated into your online forum. Some features may not be needed right away, but others may be crucial to getting your team the data they need.
  • Setting up gamification. Start thinking about the perks you want to reward your members with. This could be badges or other types of recognition for different achievements, such as being a beta-tester.
  • Implementing your theme. You will want to tie your forum into your brand. Do not settle for impersonal default settings. For example, utilize your company’s color scheme and add other personal touches.
  • Configuring spam controls. Take advantage of your software’s spam controls. Test the controls against a baseline of your trusted users. Adjust the settings as needed if you find that valid content is being labeled as spam.
  • Setting up outgoing email. Decide what email address will be used for forum notifications. Review your welcome and registration emails to make sure they say what you want.
  • Testing. You need to test everything before over and over until you are happy with all the parts of your forum. As you get closer to launch-time, your testing should become more stringent. Consider all types of probably scenarios and prepare yourself beforehand that not everything will be perfect. Get ready to decide on a launch date.

5. Begin a soft launch.

Once you are satisfied with the workings on your community, it is time to get ready for a soft launch. The purpose of a soft launch is to get your community ready for your full and public launch.

A great example of a soft launch is from BigFish Games with the introduction of their new game: Dungeon Boss. While preparing for the launch, they placed their app in the Apple Canada store and drove users to their community forum in a closed and private environment. They got a lot of customer feedback, some of which was incorporated into the Dungeon Boss game title. Consequently, when they launched worldwide, it became one of their most downloaded games.

Your soft launch should occur in three stages:

1. Preparing for the Soft-Launch

At this point, your community should be ready to be launched. All test content has been removed and any known issues have been fixed or have been scheduled to be fixed. It is time to pre-populate your community with quality content that will spark discussion and make good use of your existing content. Start off with at least 10 discussions using your existing material. Recruit your colleagues to get the ball rolling with these discussions. Tone is important, so you will want to set the right tone before moving on to the internal soft-launch.

2. Internal Soft-Launch

The purpose of the internal soft-launch is to identify problems using trusted people from your organization, colleagues, and friends before your forum goes public. While they are trying out your community, they can provide you with valuable feedback and report errors they find before moving to the full launch. This phase will allow your moderators an opportunity to learn how to use the tools that will be used in your forum. Any training deficiencies should be addressed and additional training provided if needed. Request feedback from your internal users. Then, set a deadline to move to the next phase: your public soft-launch.

3. Public Soft-Launch

This launch should be limited to a select audience that you will encourage to give you feedback on your new community forum. To form this group, try requesting volunteers from trusted customers, creating a banner on your website, or including a mention of it in your company newsletter. During your public soft-launch, address the following questions:

  • Who should you include in this group?
  • What problems do you want to solve while in this beta stage?
  • What is needed to transition the community to live status
  • What is your hard deadline to take your community to fully live?

Your goals should include:

  • Getting the public involved
  • Refining your community
  • Receiving feedback
  • Ensuring that your moderators and team are comfortable with the platform

6. Promote your community.

Once you have your date set, it’s time to get the word out to your target audience. The best way to do this is to take advantage of your existing presence online. Promote your launch all over your website, through email communications, and by having your sales team and customer service reps tell your existing and potential customers about the launch.

Here are some more tips that will help you drive the first 100 members to your community:

  • Invite your contacts. No, it’s not always fun to bombard your family members, friends, or professional contacts about something you’re working on … but it works.
  • Discuss with everyone and anyone. Get in the habit of talking to people everywhere you go, especially if your community is centered around a broad product or service that has value for many people.
  • Enlist the help of new members through gamification. Ask your growing, early group to help you broaden the network by inviting their friends, colleagues, and digital connections. You can encourage this through contests or reward systems integrated into your platform.
  • Partner with influencers. Collaborating with a related and complementary company can be an effective way to promote your new community and welcome new members who like both products and services.

Make sure you have configured all your Google and Webmaster tools accordingly. Provide a sitemap and make your community visible. If you have completed all these steps, the odds are that your online community launch will be successful.

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6 Fundamental Video Marketing Tips for Every Type of Skill Level

Nowadays, most marketers obsess over how they can amplify their content’s reach as much as possible. More views means more leads and customers, right? While this convention can be true, it’ll only pan out if you optimize your videos for humans before you optimize them for algorithms.

Resonance is the most important determinant of whether your audience will take action, and your video’s creative is the most important determinant of whether your video will resonate with your audience. So even if your video reaches a million people, if it doesn’t resonate with them, it won’t persuade anyone to take your preferred action, let alone remember your brand.

With this insight in mind, let’s go over six fundamental video marketing tips that’ll help you craft videos that resonate with as many people as they reach.

Access 5 Videos + A Free Guide for Using Video in Marketing

1. Hook your audience.

When Facebook analyzed their users’ video consumption data in 2016, they discovered that 45% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will keep watching it for at least 30 seconds.

This data indicates that sparking your audience’s curiosity with an attention-grabbing title isn’t enough to engage them. You also need to instantly hook your viewers within the first three seconds of your video — the human attention span isn’t long enough to be entertained by sluggish content.

But what actually hooks people? What we’ve discovered at HubSpot is that an effective video hook visually engages viewers and previews the video’s core message. Creating these types of hooks can simultaneously grab your viewers’ attention and generate interest in the rest of the video.

2. Tell stories.

In the neuroscience field, researchers have proven that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and resonate emotionally with them. The human brain is programmed to crave, seek out, and respond to well-crafted narrative — that’ll never change.

In fact, when someone tells you a story, they can plant their personal experiences and ideas directly into your mind, so you start to feel what they feel. For instance, if someone describes eating a plate of lobster mac and cheese, your sensory cortex lights up. If someone recounts scoring their first touchdown, your motor cortex enlivens.

In other words, powerful stories evoke empathy because they activate parts of the brain that’d operate if you actually experienced the stories’ events. And by using their own memories to recreate your story’s sensory details, your audience can turn your video’s events into their own ideas and experience.

3. Evoke positive emotions.

Psychology tells us that emotions drive our behavior, while logic justifies our actions after the fact. Marketing confirms this theory — humans associate the same personality traits with brands as they do with people. So choosing between two alternatives is like choosing your best friend or significant other. We go with the option that makes us feel something.

If you want your videos to resonate with your viewers, consider kindling warm feelings rather than fear, anger, or disgust. In fact, happiness, hope, and excitement are some of the most common emotions that drive viral content, so if your video can evoke these emotions, it could rake in a ton of views and generate a lot of engagement.

4. Make your videos “sticky”.

In their book, Made to Stick, brothers Chip and Dan Heath taught readers a model for making ideas “sticky”, or, in other words, making ideas digestible, memorable, and compelling.

By analyzing countless amounts of “sticky” ideas, like JFK’s “Man on the Moon” speech and even some conspiracy theories, the Heath Brothers noticed that a “sticky” idea usually follows six principles:

  1. Simple: its core message must be easy to grasp.
  2. Unexpected: it should break cliche and evoke enough curiosity to grab someone’s attention and hold it.
  3. Concrete: it should be vividly painted in people’s minds.
  4. Credible: it should be supported by evidence.
  5. Emotional: it should have a purpose and relate to people.
  6. Story-driven: it should tell a story that inspires people to act.

The Heath Brothers recommend following as many of their “Made to Stick” principles as possible when devising your idea, so check out this blog post about The Psychology Behind Marketing Viral Videos to learn how five brands followed most of these principles with one of their videos and succeeded in capturing viral attention.

5. Rely on visuals.

When we were babies, we relied on vision to associate objects with behaviors, like a ball meaning play time. Vision was the only way to learn about the world.

That’s why you can understand visual information in 250 milliseconds and why your visual system activates over 50% of your brain. Watching something has always been the best way to learn.

Visual storytelling helps people grasp concepts and data easily, so consider complementing your video’s text and narration with dynamic graphics, popular movie and TV scenes, and footage of real people. If you do this, your viewers can listen to the information and watch a visual representation of it, helping them form a concrete understanding of your video’s core idea.

6. Add appropriate soundtracks to your videos.

Choosing the right soundtrack can be the difference between a video that grips your audience from start to finish and one that they can barely get halfway through.

Play a fitting soundtrack or jingle in your video, and you can grab your audience’s attention and evoke the specific emotions and feelings you want them to associate with your brand. Neglect the musical aspect of your video, and people might actually think less of your brand.

In a 1994 study that tested music’s effect on brand attitudes, half the participants watched an apple juice commercial with music while the other half watched it without music. 23% of participants who saw the apple juice commercial with music reported that one of the beverage’s benefits was “drinking a natural drink”. But out of the participants who watched the commercial without music, only 4% reported the same belief about the apple juice brand.

Music can make your videos much more captivating, impactful, and, in turn, convincing. So whether you’re creating fun social media videos, persuasive product videos, or even serious training videos, you must remember that music can separate your video from the rest of the pack.

Resonance is arguably more important than reach.

For most marketers today, reach is the metric they want to see growing on a consistent basis. But without strong emotional resonance, having a wide reach doesn’t really matter. So before you start optimizing your videos for algorithms, remember to optimize them for humans first and craft the most compelling content you possibly can.

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KOLs: What They Are & Why They’re Key to Your Marketing Strategy

Over the past few years, influencer marketing has become an incredibly successful strategy for brands looking to reach a targeted audience on social media. And, with an average ROI of $6.50 for each dollar spent, it’s undoubtedly powerful.

If you’re a marketer, I’m willing to bet you’ve heard the term ‘influencer’ before. But what about key opinion leaders, or KOLs … have you heard of them?

Despite certain commonalities between KOLs and influencers, the two terms aren’t synonymous. And if your brand is looking to reach a specific, niche demographic, you might want to consider implementing a strategy that incorporates KOLs.

Here, we’re going to explore what KOLs are, and why they’re a critical component of your 2019 marketing strategy.

Click here to learn how to grow your network and become an influencer in your  industry.

What are KOLs?

To consider what a KOL (key opinion leader) is, let’s start with a real-life example.

Jaclyn Hill is a makeup artist and YouTuber whose channel focuses primarily on beauty products. With 5.8 million YouTube subscribers (as well as 6.2 million followers on Instagram), Hill is considered a makeup and beauty expert by her online community.

In 2015, Becca Cosmetics partnered with Hill to create a limited-edition highlighter known as “Champagne Pop”. The product was extremely successful, breaking Sephora’s record for most-purchased product on its first day of release.

Becca Cosmetics could have chosen another influencer to collaborate with, but the brand knew Hill had a specific niche community they wanted to reach.

Hill was ultimately more than just another influencer to Becca Cosmetics — she was a KOL, or key opinion leader.

A KOL is similar to an influencer in regards to follower size, but a KOL has a more targeted audience. For instance, Hill’s YouTube channel is dedicated solely to beauty trends and products. If she were to post a cooking video, it might not be well-received by her community. Her fans rely on her as an authority figure in the beauty space.

Since KOLs are considered experts on certain topics, they’re often regarded as trustworthy and authentic. Their authenticity enables them to have influence on the opinions and preferences of their audiences — which is why partnering with a KOL is a particularly powerful strategy for your brand.

There are three major benefits to using a KOL as part of your marketing strategy. Let’s dive into those, now.

Benefits of KOLs for Your Marketing Strategy

1. A KOL can help you target your ideal audience.

Whether you’re interested in boosting awareness or generating leads, a KOL can help you quickly identify and reach your ideal audience. Essentially, a KOL has done all the hard work for you — she’s taken the time to engage with a specific, niche audience, and she’s grown a community centered around a specific interest.

A KOL is a particularly powerful opportunity to reach your ideal audience. For instance, let’s say your business sells organic smoothie products. Your product is relatively niche, so you don’t necessarily need to cast a wide net when attracting and engaging new leads.

Rather than posting Facebook ads or cultivating a strong presence on Google, you might be better off reaching out to a KOL like Massy Arias, who has 2.5 million followers and posts content exclusively related to health and fitness. Since Arias’ typically posts organic health and fitness content and has proven an expert in this realm, her fans are more likely to trust when she recommends your product.

2. A KOL can help you generate sales.

A KOL can help you attract attention to a new product or raise awareness of your brand, both of which can help you boost sales. With 82% of consumers saying they’d follow the recommendation of an influencer, it stands to reason a KOL could have tremendous impact on your bottom line.

Alternatively, your company might consider collaborating with a KOL to create an exclusive product — like “Champagne Pop” by Becca Cosmetics and Jaclyn Hill. Since your KOL is well-aware of industry trends and uniquely engaged with the consumer market, she’s more likely to help you identify areas for improvement in your current product or overall marketing strategy — so you’ll get the most for your money if you use her as a collaborator, as well.

3. Increase your own reach.

A KOL can help ensure you’re reaching the ideal target market for your brand — and, additionally, she can enable you to reach a much larger percentage of potential consumers than you might’ve otherwise.

Without a hefty marketing budget, it could be difficult for your brand to reach one million people via traditional advertising methods — plus, traditional ads don’t allow you to target a specific group of people.

Alternatively, you could collaborate with a KOL who has one million followers on YouTube, Instagram, or another platform, and reach one million people who are specifically interested in your industry. A KOL partnership is cheaper, quicker, and potentially more effective than most traditional advertising methods — so, if it makes sense for your brand, why not try it out?

How to Find a KOL

Finding a key opinion leader in your industry is relatively easy. On YouTube, you might try searching keywords related to your product or service, and peruse the various accounts that show up as search results. Alternatively, you could search hashtags on Instagram to find influencers who specialize in a specific, targeted field.

You might also check out “The Ultimate List of Instagram Influencers in Every Industry (94 and Counting!)” — since these influencers are separated by niche industries, you’ll likely find a key opinion leader whose audience directly matches your target market.

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23 of the Best Personal Websites to Inspire Your Own

Some refer to it as a full-time job in itself. Others compare it to dating. And several cats over at BuzzFeed think it just plain stinks.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When you’re applying for a job, you’re typically asked to submit a resume and cover letter, or maybe your LinkedIn profile. But there are better ways to stand out from your competition, and building a personal website is one of them.

Why You Need a Personal Website

Here’s the thing about resumes and cover letters: No matter how unique you try to make your own, for the most part, they tend to read dry. And there’s a good reason for it: It’s supposed to be a single, no-frills page that documents your work experience. And while being concise is good, there’s very little opportunity to convey your uniqueness, or for your personality to shine through at all for that matter.

While a resume is a sole, largely unchanging document, a personal website can be customized and updated according to what you’re working on, or what you want to emphasize. It’s both fluid and current.

Did you know 70% of employers say they’ve rejected a job candidate because they learned something undesirable about them online? This doesn’t mean you should scrub the internet of everything about you — in fact, this statistic underscores the importance of polishing your online presence. Recruiters are looking you up online, and a personal website that tells the story you want to tell can make all the difference between you and a competing candidate.

If you’re thinking about creating a personal website of your very own, check out the examples below that hit the nail on the head. Inspired by a particular type of website? Click one of the following links to jump to that section of this article:

Personal Resume Websites

Whether you create a single-page site or a larger portfolio, the web resume serves as a more personalized option for sharing information and demonstrating your technological skills — and it can be used by all types of job seekers.

Even if you have very little work experience, you can leverage a website to build a better picture of your capabilities and yourself as a candidate, while leaning on your traditional resume to provide the basic background information.

1. Gary Sheng

Personal website of Gary Sheng with a picture of him on the homepage followed by details of his resume

Unlike a standard resume document, Sheng’s website makes it easy for him to include logos and clickable links that allow his software engineering and web development skills to shine.

We love that visitors can choose to scroll down his page to view all of the website’s categories (“About Me,” “My Passion,” etc.), or jump to a specific page using the top navigation.

The “My System” section reads like a company mission statement, and this personal touch helps humanize his work and make him more memorable.

2. Raf Derolez

Personal website of Raf Derolez with black background and large white font creatively outlining his resume

Derolez’s web resume is modern, cool, and informative. It shows off his personality, branding, and developing skills in a way that’s still very simple and clear. Not to mention, his use of unique fonts and geometric overlays ascribes personality to his name in an eye-catching way.

Want to get in touch with Derolez? Simply click the CTA located at the bottom of the page to open up an email that’s pre-addressed directly to him. Or select one of the social media links to connect with him on platforms like Twitter — where the look and feel of the visual assets happens to seamlessly align with the branding of his website. Well played, Derolez.

Twitter profile of Raf Derolez

3. Pascal van Gemert

Image from Gyazo

Pascal van Gemert is a web developer from the Netherlands, and his personal resume website proves you can include a lot of information on a single webpage if it’s organized properly.

The more experience you get, the more of it you’ll have to share with employers. Pascal’s resume, shown above, uses an extended scroll bar to keep visitors from having to navigate to a different page when learning about him. He also visualizes his career in different ways between “Profile,” “Experiences,” “Skills,” and “Projects,” while using a consistent teal color to unite all of his resume contents under one brand.

4. Brandon Johnson

Personal website of Brandon Johnson with black and white resume and space theme

Johnson’s incredible resume must be seen to be believed. Beautiful images of planets help to complement his planetary science background, and animations make his resume more of an experience than a document.

In terms of design, the textured, multi-layered background adds greater depth to the two-dimensional page in a way that evokes feelings of space and the planetary systems, which Johnson’s work focuses on.

5. Quinton Harris

Personal website of Quinton Harris with resume details including personal photography and storytelling

Harris’ resume uses photos to tell his personal story — and it reads kind of like a cool, digital scrapbook. It covers all the bases of a resume — and then some — by discussing his educational background, work experience, and skills in a highly visual way.

Not to mention, the copy is fantastic. It’s clear that Harris took the time to carefully choose the right words to describe each step of his personal and professional journey. For example, the section on storytelling reads:

NYC, my new home, is filled with the necessary secrets to not only propel my craft forward, but my identity as an artist. With every lens snapped and every pixel laid, I am becoming me.

Finally, at the final navigational point (note the scrolling circles on the left-hand side of the page), users are redirected to quintonharris.com, where he goes on to tell his story in more detail.

Website homepage of Quinton Harris that says 'Griot in Training' across the front

6. Sean Halpin

Personal resume website of web designer Sean Halpin, using soft green illustrations

Halpin’s resume is short, sweet, and to the point, which is authentic to his voice and personal branding outlined on the site. The white space allows his designs and copy to pop and command the reader’s attention, which helps to improve readability — especially on mobile devices:

Sean_Halpin_Mobile.pngSean_Halpin_Mobile_Site.png

Best Practices for Resume Websites

  1. Code your resume so it can be crawled by search engines.
  2. Offer a button to download your resume in PDF so the hiring manager can add it to your file.
  3. Keep branding consistent between the website and document versions: Use similar fonts, colors, and images so you’re easy to recognize.
  4. Be creative and authentic to yourself. Think about the colors, images, and media you want to be a part of your story that you couldn’t include in a document resume.

Personal Portfolios

Building an online portfolio is a highly useful personal branding and marketing tool if your work experience and skill set call for content creation. In fact, photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, writers, and content marketers can all use web portfolios to show off their skills in a more user-friendly way than a resume or hard copy portfolio.

7. Tony D’Orio

Personal portfolio website of Tony D'Orio showing portraits of people

It’s important to keep the design of your visual portfolio simple to let images capture visitors’ attention, and D’Orio accomplishes this by featuring bold photographs front-and-center on his website. His logo and navigation menu are clear and don’t distract from his work. And he makes it easy for potential customers to download his work free of charge.

Want to give it a try? Click on the hamburger menu in the top left corner, then select + Create a PDF to select as many images as you’d like to download.

Link to create a PDF from Tony D'Orio's personal online portfolio, featuring tiled images of his photography

Once you open the PDF, you’ll notice that it comes fully equipped with D’Orio’s business card as the cover … just in case you need it.

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8. Verena Michelitsch

Image from Gyazo

When you’re a designer, not one pixel on your personal website should go unused. Verena Michelitsch’s portfolio, shown above, is covered end to end in artwork. From her extensive library of work, she chose to exhibit multiple colors, styles, and dimensions so visitors can see just how much range she has as a designer. It’s a perfect example of the classic adage, “show, don’t tell.”

9. Gari Cruze

Personal portfolio of Gari Cruze with tiled images of his photography and links to his work

Cruze is a copywriter. But by turning his website into a portfolio featuring images from different campaigns he’s worked on, he makes visitors want to keep clicking to learn more about him. Also, there’s a great CTA at the top of the page that leads visitors to his latest blog post.

His site’s humorous copy — specifically in the “17 Random Things” and “Oh Yes, They’re Talking” sections — serves to show off his skills, while making himself more memorable as well. These pages also include his contact information on the right-hand side, making it easy to reach out and connect at any point:

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10. Melanie Daveid

Personal website portfolio of Melanie Daveid with script font and simple illustration theme

Daveid’s website is a great example of “less is more.”

This developer’s portfolio features clear, well-branded imagery of campaigns and apps that Daveid worked on, and she shows off her coding skills when you click through to see the specifics of her work.

While it might seem overly minimal to only include three examples of her work, Daveid did her portfolio a service by including her best, most noteworthy campaigns. At the end of the day, it’s better to have fewer examples of excellence in your portfolio than many examples of mediocrity.

11. The Beast Is Back

Personal website portfolio of The Beast Is Back, also known as Christopher Lee, with tiled images of colorful design work

Christopher Lee’s portfolio is busy and colorful in a way that works. When you read more about Lee on his easily navigable site, you realize that such a fun and vibrant homepage is perfect for an illustrator and toy designer.

Known by his brand name, “The Beast Is Back,” Lee’s web portfolio highlights eye-catching designs with recognizable brands, such as Target and Mario, along with links to purchase his work. This is another gallery-style portfolio with pops of color that make it fun and give it personality, thus making it more memorable.

12. Daniel Grindrod

This freelance videographer is another example of a simple but sleek portfolio, organizing the many types of media Daniel’s done into the categories by which his potential clients would likely want to browse. The opening video spot on the homepage — labeled “Daniel Grindrod 2018,” as shown on the still image — also ensures his site visitors that he’s actively creating beautiful work.

daniel-grindrod-portfolio

Best Practices for Portfolio Websites

  1. Use mainly visuals. Even if you’re showcasing your written work, using logos or other branding is more eye-catching for your visitors.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Your personality, style, and sense of humor could be what sets you apart from other sites!
  3. Organization is key. If your portfolio is full of photos, logos, and other images, make sure it’s easy for visitors to navigate to where they can contact you.
  4. Brand yourself. Choose a logo or icon to make your information easily identifiable.

Personal Blogs

Consistently publishing on a blog is a great way to attract attention on social media and search engines — and drive traffic to your site. Blogging is a smart way to give your work a personality, chronicle your experiences, and stretch your writing muscles. You might write a personal blog if you’re a writer by trade, but virtually anyone can benefit from adding a blog to their site and providing useful content for their audience.

13. The Everywhereist

Personal blog of Everywhereist with green and red homepage

This blog looks a bit busier, but its consistent branding helps visitors easily navigate the site. The travel blog uses globe iconography to move visitors around the site, making it easy to explore sections beyond the blog.

Owned by writer Geraldine DeRuiter, this blog also features a “Best Of” section that allows new visitors to learn about what the blog covers to get acclimated. The color scheme is warm, neutral, and free of excess clutter that could distract from the content.

14. Side Hustle Nation

Homepage of Side Hustle Nation, the personal business blog of Nick Loper

Side Hustle Nation is the business blog of Nick Loper, an advisor whose website offers tons of valuable financial advice for individual business owners. His homepage, shown above, sets a lighthearted yet passionate tone for his readers. It suggests you’ll get friendly content all committed to a single goal: financial freedom. The green call to action, “Start Here,” helps first-time visitors know exactly how to navigate his website.

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On Nick’s blog page, shown above, you’ll notice two unique types of content: “My Podcast Production Process,” the top post; and “Quarterly Progress Report,” the third post down. The top post shows readers how Nick, himself, creates content that helps his business grow, while the third post down keeps his readers up to date on his blog’s growth over time. These content types give people a peek behind the curtain of your operation, showing them you practice what you preach and that your insight is tried and true.

15. fifty coffees

Homepage of Fifty Coffees, one of the best personal blogs online

The website fifty coffees chronicles the author’s series of coffee meetings in search of her next job opportunity, and it does a great job of using photography and visuals to assist in the telling of her lengthy stories.

The best part? Each post ends with numbered takeaways from her meetings for ease of reading comprehension. The high-quality photography used to complement the stories is like icing on the cake.

16. Smart Passive Income

smart-passive-income-personal-blog

This is Pat Flynn’s personal blog, a hub for financial advice for people who want to start their own business. His homepage, shown above, lets you know exactly who’s behind the content and what his mission is for the content he’s offering readers.

smart-passive-income-personal-blog-content-types

His blog page also comes with a unique navigational tool, shown above, that isn’t just categorized by subject matter. Rather, it’s organized by what the reader wants to accomplish. From “Let’s Start Something New” to “Let’s Optimize Your Work,” this site structure helps customize the reader’s experience so you’re not forcing them to merely guess at which blog posts are going to solve their problem. This helps to keep people on your website for longer and increase your blog’s traffic in the long term.

17. Minimalist Baker

Personal food blog of Minimalist Baker with yellow and white website theme

I’m not highlighting Dana’s food blog just because the food looks delicious and I’m hungry. Her blog uses a simple white background to let her food photography pop, unique branding to make her memorable, and mini-bio to personalize her website.

18. Kendra Schaefer

Personal blog of Kendra Schaefer

Kendra’s blog is chock-full of information about her life, background, and professional experience, but she avoids overwhelming visitors by using a light background and organizing her blog’s modules to minimize clutter. She also shares links to additional writing samples, which bolsters her writing authority and credibility.

19. Mr. Money Mustache

Personal finance blog of Mr. Money Mustache with wood themed background and illustrated logo

Mr. Money Mustache might take on an old-school, Gangs of New York-style facade, but his blog design — and the advice the blog offers — couldn’t be more fresh (he also doesn’t really look like that).

This financial blog is a funny, browsable website that offers sound insight into money management for the layperson. While his personal stories help support the legitimacy of his advice, the navigation links surrounding his logo make it easy to jump right into his content without any prior context around his brand.

Best Practices for Blogs

  1. Keep your site simple and clutter-free to avoid additional distractions beyond blog posts.
  2. Publish often. Company blogs that publish more than 16 posts per months get nearly 3.5X the web traffic of blogs that published less than four posts per month.
  3. Experiment with different blog styles, such as lists, interviews, graphics, and bullets.
  4. Employ visuals to break up text and add context to your discussion.

Personal Demo Websites

Another cool way to promote yourself and your skills is to create a personal website that doubles as a demonstration of your coding, design, illustration, or developer skills. These sites can be interactive and animated in a way that provides information about you and also shows hiring managers why they should work with you. This is a great website option for technical and artistic content creators such as developers, animators, UX designers, website content managers, and illustrators.

20. Albino Tonnina

Personal demo of web developer Albino Tonnina with animated homepage showing his work

Tonnina is showcasing advanced and complicated web development skills, but the images and icons he uses are still clear and easy to understand. He also offers a simple option to view his resume at the beginning of his site, for those who don’t want to scroll through the animation.

21. Robby Leonardi

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Leonardi’s incredible demo website uses animation and web development skills to turn his portfolio and resume into a video game for site visitors. The whimsical branding and unique way of sharing information ensure that his site is memorable to visitors.

22. Samuel Reed

Personal demo of Samuel Reed with plain code themed homepage

Reed uses his page as a start-to-finish demo of how to code a website. His website starts as a blank white page and ends as a fully interactive site that visitors can watch him code themselves. The cool factor makes this website memorable, and it makes his skills extremely marketable.

23. Devon Stank

Personal demo of Devon Stank with black homepage and 'Let's Build Something Amazing Together' written across the front

Stank’s demo site does a great job of showing that he has the web design chops and it takes it a step further by telling visitors all about him, his agency, and his passions. It’s the perfect balance of a demo and a mini-resume.

Plus, we love the video summary. It’s a consumable summary that at once captures Stank’s personality and credentials.

Best Practices for Demo Websites

  1. Brand yourself and use consistent logos and colors to identify your name and your skills amongst the bevy of visuals.
  2. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many visuals at once — especially if your demo is animated. Be sure to keep imagery easy to understand so visitors aren’t bombarded when they visit your site.

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2019 YouTube Demographics [New Data]

Conventional wisdom tells you that every organization’s target audience gets a consistent dose of video content from YouTube. But, in reality, assuming your exact buyer persona frequents the video platform is a risky move to make.

To truly build a presence on YouTube, you need to know if your target audience actually watches content on the video platform. Otherwise, you could waste a ton of precious time and resources creating content that your buyer persona will never see.

If you want to avoid this mishap and make sure YouTube is a viable marketing channel for your brand, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn about the video platform’s age, geography, gender, education, and household demographics.

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2019 YouTube Demographics

YouTube Age Demographics

YouTube Geography Demographics

YouTube Gender Demographics

YouTube Education Demographics

YouTube Household Demographics

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What Is Buzz Marketing? A 3-Minute Rundown

On Sunday, the first episode of the last season of Game of Thrones not only made its fans the happiest people in the world for an hour, but it also shattered HBO’s record for the most amount of viewers a single episode of a show has ever attracted — 17.4 million.

What’s arguably more impressive than the amount of viewers Game of Thrones’ season eight premiere captivated, though, is how long its fans have been waiting to watch this episode — 20 months.

Game of Thrones is considered one of the best television shows ever made. It boasts a gripping and sophisticated storyline that’s chock full of twists, turns, and your favorite characters’ deaths, so there’s no wonder why the series has created a cult-like following and an irrational fear of admitting you’ve never seen a single episode of the show in your life.

However, Game of Thrones’ masterful storytelling isn’t the only reason why it’s season eight premiere broke HBO’s ratings record. The show’s marketing & advertising team also generated huge amounts of buzz for its final season and successfully sustained it for nearly two years.

Click here to download our comprehensive guide to effective and measurable  branding.

Two months before the final season of Game of Thrones premiered, Bud Light aired one of their Bud Knight advertisements during Super Bowl 53. But half way through the commercial, audiences immediately realized that this wasn’t just another hilariously witty Bud Knight ad. It was actually an intensely dramatic Game of Thrones ad.

Since almost every Game of Thrones fan recommends the show to all their friends, which generates a lot of word-of-mouth marketing, the series doesn’t really need any influencers promoting it.

However, Bud Light’s willingness to share one of their most-watched ads of the year with HBO and kill off the Bud Knight, one of their most popular mascots, to endorse Game of Thrones reveals how much the Beer company truly loves the show. And this amount of support not only skyrocketed the already astronomical level of hype for Game of Thrones’ final season, but it also convinced the airheads like me who hadn’t watched a single episode of the show to start binging its first seven seasons.

Game of Thrones also built hype for its final season by launching a Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, running an influencer marketing campaign with celebrities, like Jimmy Kimmel, T-Pain, and Aaron Rodgers, encouraging fans to rewatch the first seven seasons of the show to fully prepare themselves for season eight, and setting up Game of Thrones-themed blood drives and meet-the-cast events that supported autism research and physical rehabilitation programs.

How Buzz Marketing Can Backfire On Your Brand

Buzz marketing might seem like the most effective way to build as much hype as possible for your new product launch. But, before you start strategizing your next buzz marketing campaign, it’s crucial to remember that the new product or service you’re generating buzz for needs to meet the expectations your campaign sets. Otherwise, you’ll disappoint your customers, make them lose trust in you, and damage your brand equity.

For instance, in 2017, entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule organized a music festival called Fyre Festival in the Bahamas. To generate as much buzz as possible for the event, they paid some of the most notable social media influencers, like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski, to fly down to the Bahamas, act in their promo video, and post the video to their Instagram profiles. With the help of some promotion of the festival’s stellar acts, luxury villas, and gourmet meals, Fyre Festival sold over 4,000 tickets.

Unfortunately for the attendees, Fyre Festival’s marketing materials and the event itself were a complete scam. Instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals their guests paid thousands of dollars for, McFarland and Ja Rule gave them tents and cheese sandwiches. Worst of all, there was no cell phone service, portable toilets, or running water at the festival, so thousands of people were basically left stranded on the island. And once the truth about Fyre Festival started circulating throughout social media, all of the festival’s acts cancelled.

Shortly after Fyre Festival’s epic failure, its parent company, Fyre Media, shut down and Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and forced to repay $26 million to his company’s investors.

Your spectacle needs substance.

Game of Thrones’ and Fyre Festival’s buzz marketing campaign reveals an absolute truth about the viral marketing strategy: you can build all the hype in the world for your new product or service, but if it doesn’t meet the expectations your buzz marketing campaign sets, your customers will feel duped and lose trust in you, wreaking havoc on your brand. Even worse, Netflix could make a documentary about your artful deception

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The 10 Best Free Email Marketing Tools in 2019

In case you didn’t know, email usage is at an all-time high. More than 3.7 billion people use email worldwide.

With email usage so high, it’s no wonder you likely constantly receive marketing emails from businesses. Email marketing works — even in the B2B space.

In fact, 86% of B2B marketers rely on email marketing campaigns to promote new business, which begs the question — are you using email marketing effectively for your business?

More importantly, are you using email marketing consistently at all?

There are a ton of email marketing service tools out there to help you with your email marketing, some of which are completely free. But, it’s important to note, not all free email marketing tools offer the same features.

As a new business, you’re probably most concerned with how many emails you’re able to send, which features you have access to, and whether you can upgrade your account as your business grows.

You’re probably also thinking about deliverability, and whether your emails will be consistently delivered to your contacts’ inboxes. Plus, you likely want a tool that’s both easy-to-use and doesn’t require advanced technical skills.

Fortunately, we have you covered — here, we’ve ranked the best free email marketing tools that you can use for your business in 2019.

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1. HubSpot’s Free Email Marketing Tool

HubSpot offers a reliable and feature-packed email marketing tool that’s suited for growing businesses — for free. You can create professional marketing emails that engage and grow your audience with the easy drag-and-drop email builder. With the drag-and-drop email builder, you don’t need to wait on IT or designers for help. Instead, you can easily create beautiful emails that your audience will love. HubSpot’s tool helps you achieve incredible marketing results with little effort.

On top of the free email tool, you can use the HubSpot CRM for free to create tailored touch-points for your customers. HubSpot email is automatically connected with the HubSpot CRM, so you can tailor relevant emails based on any details you have — such as form submissions and website activity.

Using the CRM, you can include personalized content in your emails, like first name and company name, to ensure your contacts feel like they are being personally addressed, all while tracking email activity in the CRM. This contributes to efficient scaling opportunities should your business outgrow the free tools and require more robust automation features, such as workflows.

Optimizing your emails has never been easier. Using the tool’s email reporting analytics, you’ll learn how to send more relevant and optimized emails to your audience.

The HubSpot email tool is free for up to 2,000 email sends per month, with upgrade solutions starting at $50 with Marketing Hub Starter.

2. Send Pulse

Send Pulse has over 130+ templates to choose from, or you can create your own using drag-and-drop functionality. Under the free plan, you’ll have access to Send Pulse’s highly regarded support team, including support via live chat.

In terms of functionality, Send Pulse has a “Resend” feature that allows you to resend unopened emails with different subject lines, which is valuable for time scrapped marketers. What’s great about Send Pulse is that it has prices for all its services. For example, if you need to send SMS, you can add an SMS package to your email marketing service package.

They also offer web pushes, SMTP, Viber, and more. Since the service started in 2015, there still isn’t a ton of API support, but that’s something Send Pulse is working on improving for marketers who are in need of technical functionality.

SendPulse offers 15,000 emails per month for free for up to 2,500 subscribers. Pricing starts at $9.85 per month for unlimited emails and up to 2,500 subscribers.

Image source: SendPulse

3. MailChimp

MailChimp’s email tool is particularly useful for small and medium-sized businesses, since the free plan offers up to 12,000 email sends per month for up to 2,000 subscribers. Plus, you get access to features such as list segmentation, A/B testing, contact profiles and more. However, it’s important to note you’ll have MailChimp branding in your email footers with the free plan, and won’t have access to premium support.

If you use e-commerce software, you’ll be happy to know that MailChimp integrates with e-commerce providers including WooCommerce and Magento. You’ll also be able to integrate Mailchimp with WordPress if your business uses WordPress as its content management system. MailChimp offers reporting for emails, but the details may not be as robust as you would like for optimal improvements.

The MailChimp Free Forever plan allows up to 12,000 email sends per month to a subscriber limit of 2,000. The next tier upgrade tier costs $10 per month for unlimited email sends to a maximum of 500 subscribers.

4. Zoho Campaigns

Zoho Campaigns is a good option for small to enterprise-sized businesses, depending on how quickly you’re scaling. With the Zoho Campaigns free plan, you get access to features such as A/B testing, reports, and templates. If you’re already using the Zoho CRM, it makes sense to check out Zoho campaigns to see how email and the CRM work together.

It’s important to note — while the free version provides a lot of features, most of these features have limitations. Additionally, it can be difficult to get started using Zoho Campaigns because it requires customization before sending emails.

Zoho offers 12,000 emails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers. Pricing starts at $5 per month for up to 500 subscribers.

Image source: Zoho

5. Moosend

Moosend is ideal for people looking to get their feet wet in email marketing. The free tier comes feature-packed, but you’re maxed at 1,000 subscribers and won’t have a dedicated IP address.

Moosend offers an easy to use drag-and-drop editor, email marketing automation triggers, real-time analytics, and list segmentation features. Moosend doesn’t offer a CRM, but if you’re looking to solely do email marketing, it might be a good start for your business.

The company is ranked as having great support and satisfaction scores. If you’re a growing business, you’ll only need to pay for subscribers. The next upgrade is $10, and you’ll get up to 2,000 subscribers.

Image source: Moosend

6. SendInBlue

If your business relies heavily on transactional emails, such as forgotten password help and invoice receipts, then SendInBlue might be ideal for you. With their extensive developer APIs, you’ll be able to integrate with their email system to achieve custom and required technical processes. Plus, while the service was initially known for having issues with delivery rates, SendInBlue has since improved upon its deliverability.

With SendInBlue’s free plan, you’ll have access to a vast array of templates, personalization, A/B testing, contact management, workflow editor, and real-time reporting. Like the other tools mentioned, the software is easy to use, although the main interface can sometimes offer too many options and feel overwhelming.

SendInBlue offers up to 300 email sends per day (which is roughly 9,000 emails/month) for free with unlimited contacts. Upgrade solutions start at $25/month for 40,000 emails and no daily sending limit.

Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 6.25.43 PM

Image source: SendInBlue

7. Mailjet

With Mailjet’s free plan, you’ll have access to unlimited contacts, APIs and webhooks, an advanced email editor, and advanced statistics. However, you won’t have access to A/B testing or automation features. The Mailjet interface is also simple to use, so you won’t have to spend a ton of time getting familiar with the service. Since you get full API access as part of the free plan, Mailjet is suited for businesses that require technical adjustments.

Mailjet’s free plan offers up to 200 emails per day (that’s roughly 6,000 emails per month). You can upgrade starting at $8.69 per month for 30,000 emails and no daily sending limit.

Image Source: Mailjet

8. Benchmark

If you work for a business that is experiencing incredible growth, yet isn’t already using an email marketing service, you might want to check out Benchmark’s free email tool. The tool is well-equipped with premium features, and designed to cater to the enterprise-level business.

With the free version of Benchmark, you can use the drag-and-drop editor, select from various templates, use sign-up forms, build basic drip campaigns, and use the list hygiene feature. Benchmark is user-friendly and easy to implement.

However, there’s no option for A/B testing or automation features on the free tool. Furthermore, contacts can’t be added via list import in the free plan. You can only email contacts who fill out Benchmark subscriber forms.

Benchmark offers a free Starter Plan with up to 2,000 subscribers and 14,000 emails per month. The next upgrade plan starts at $13.99 for up to 600 subscribers and unlimited email sends per month.

Image source: Benchmark

9. MailerLite

Although it has “lite” in the name, MailerLite is actually a good solution for businesses starting out and looking to grow. The service is ideal for small businesses needing to send bulk marketing emails. It’s also well equipped with preview features so you can preview your email on desktop and mobile before sending it. However, the API and integration capabilities are not as robust as some of the other options in this list.

Mailerlite offers 12,000 emails per month with up to 1,000 subscribers. The next upgrade tier costs $10, and it unlocks all features for up to 1,000 subscribers.

Image source: Mailerlite

10. ExpressPigeon

ExpressPigeon provides a good solution for businesses using small list sizes but sending to very high-priority subscribers. With ExpressPigeon, you can effortlessly build and personalize emails, automate email responses, and send high volume emails.

Best of all, you get access to all of the premium features with the free plan — however, there are low send and subscriber limits. ExpressPigeon is regarded as having some of the best customer satisfaction scores in the industry.

ExpressPigeon offers a free plan that allows 1,000 messages for up to 500 subscribers, and one user only. The price of each additional user is $100 per month. The next upgrade tier is a huge price jump: $1,000 per month for up to 100,000 subscribers and two million emails.

Image source: ExpressPigeon

Now, you have a better sense of the best free email marketing tools at your disposal. Fortunately, you don’t need to commit to any service. You can try these tools out depending on your business’ needs, then select the one most ideal for you.

If you’re looking to get started building incredible email marketing campaigns, we recommend that you try HubSpot Free CRM and Email. You’ll be able to see the power of the CRM behind every email interaction with your customers, so that you deliver remarkable experiences.

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6 Tips to Stop Thinking About Work After Work Hours [Infographic]

We all know the feeling — it’s 11 p.m., your laptop is off, and you’re lying in bed thinking, Shoot … did I remember to send that email?

Or maybe, out to dinner with friends, you get a fantastic idea for your new marketing campaign and can’t wait to tell your boss, so you slack her immediately, even though it’s 6:15.

Work inevitably sneaks into our lives, even after traditional work hours are over. But without good work-life balance, you’ll ultimately burnout.

Plus, not thinking about work for a span of time can actually make you more productive at the office — so it’s critical you learn how to stop thinking about work after hours.

Fortunately, CashNetUSA put together this complete guide to help you properly recharge during your off-hours. Take a look, and use these tips to stop thinking about work when you’re not, well, at work.

Click here to unlock a free guide and template designed to help you create a  company culture code. 

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7 Tips for Running Engaging Instagram Giveaways, Plus Examples and Ideas

With 80% of Instagram users following at least one business, it makes sense you want to increase your own visibility and reach on the platform — but with such immense competition, it can be a difficult task to accomplish.

Fortunately, there are a few specific Instagram marketing strategies you can implement that have proven effective. For instance, you might optimize your posting times to ensure maximum engagement, partner with an influencer to spread awareness, or designate a content creator to craft more compelling content.

Additionally, to delight your current followers and attract new visitors to your page, you might consider hosting an Instagram giveaway.

Simply put, an Instagram giveaway allows you to offer something for free in exchange for an Instagram like, comment, or other pre-determined requirement.

For instance, take a look at this giveaway from Fabletics:

Image courtesy of Fabletics.

There are a few reasons why this giveaway works — first, Fabletics partnered with Blissworld, which enables both businesses to reach the other brand’s audience. Second, Fabletics asked viewers to “tag your bestie” and follow both brands. This doubles the reach they might’ve had if they’d only asked one follower to comment.

When done correctly, giveaways can help you establish your brand on Instagram, cultivate a loyal following, and share your impressive products or services with a larger audience then you could organically.

Here, we’ve created a complete guide on how to run your own giveaway, to ensure you’re able to delight and engage both new and existing followers on Instagram.

New Data: Instagram Engagement in 2019

1. Choose the prize for your giveaway.

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on the product, service, or experience you’ll giveaway as your prize. This will vary depending on your goal — if you want to spread awareness around a product launch, for instance, you’ll likely want to giveaway that specific product as your prize.

Alternatively, perhaps you want to partner with a brand and create a unique prize that will appeal to each of your audiences.

Lastly, you might try offering an experience instead of a specific product or service — like a weekend trip, a spa day, or the chance to meet a leader in your industry.

2. Determine the entry-criteria for your contest.

Your entry-criteria depends, again, on your ultimate goal. For instance, if you simply want to spread brand awareness, you might ask each participant to like your post and comment with the name of a friend — this allows you to increase your reach quickly, and could result in new followers.

Alternatively, maybe you want to draw attention to your blog, or another page on your website. If this is the case, you might ask participants to go to your blog or web page to find entry-criteria there — such as a question you then want them to answer in your Instagram comments section.

Lastly, perhaps you’ve partnered with a brand and, in exchange for one of their products as a prize, they’ve asked you to include a request to follow their brand as part of your entry-criteria.

3. Decide on a goal for your Instagram contest.

By determining a specific goal, you’re able to tailor your strategy more specifically and keep track of whether or not your giveaway was successful.

Your goal might be an increase in website traffic, more followers, an increase in engagement, or a boost in sales — it’s to you to choose what makes the most sense for your brand.

4. Consider a brand partnership.

To explore the benefits of brand partnerships for Instagram giveaways, I spoke with Conor Janda, an Associate Manager of Marketing Partnerships at Chomps. He told me, “A giveaway is a nice way to align with peer brands and partners, and drive traffic to your account.”

Janda also mentioned giveaways are particularly successful when new brands partner together. “For instance, a brand might post a recipe, and then mention specific brands in the ingredients section,” He told me. “A successful giveaway is typically when a brand partners with a content creator or influencer to make something specific, and then they push that prize out through both of their channels.”

Ultimately, a giveaway could allow you to reach a similar brand’s followers, and vice-versa — a win, win.

5. Select a campaign hashtag.

On Instagram, hashtags help your content surface on Explore channels, and oftentimes increase visibility on the platform. Consider creating a compelling and unique campaign hashtag to help spread awareness of your giveaway. For instance, along with #giveaway, you might include #winitwednesday #[yourbrand]giveaway #[yourbrand]contest, or something of similar nature.

6. Put a time-limit on your contest.

Tell your participants how long they have to complete your requirements by putting a time limit in your caption, and then adding “Giveaway Closed” at the end of that time. For instance, you might put, “Giveaway! Over the next 24 hours, please tag a friend in the comments and include your favorite place to travel for a chance to stay overnight at one of our resorts.”

The time-limit will ideally create a sense of urgency, and incentivize followers to engage with your post more quickly — which will also help your giveaway stay at the top of your followers’ Instagram feeds.

7. Launch and promote your Instagram contest.

Once you’ve chosen your prize, entry-criteria, potential partners, hashtag, time-limit, and goal, you’re finally ready to launch and promote your post! Remember, Instagram users favor posts during a certain time in the day, so you’ll want to plan wisely.

Additionally, you’ll likely attract further attention to your giveaway if you also post giveaway details on a blog post, Facebook page, or another social channel. Consider where else you can promote your giveaway for optimal results.

Instagram Giveaway Rules

Instagram’s rules are relatively simple when it comes to giveaways.

First and foremost, it’s critical you include a statement like the following, so viewers know your promotion is not tied to Instagram:

“Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.”

Additionally, you’ll want to ensure you don’t ask participants to tag themselves in your content, or tag something that isn’t in the photo — Instagram will penalize you for this.

Take a look at Instagram’s promotion guidelines for a full list of rules and regulations.

Instagram Giveaway Ideas

Once you’re ready to post your giveaway, there are a few different action items you might ask your participants to accomplish in exchange for the chance to win.

Here’s a list of some of the more common giveaway ideas:

  1. Like to win: Have followers like your post for a chance to win a free product or service. This helps you boost engagement.
  2. Tag a friend to win: Have followers tag one of their friends in the comments section for a chance to win. This allows your brand to reach new potential leads on Instagram and grow your audience.
  3. Like and share to win: You might ask followers to like your giveaway and repost it on their own channels for the chance to greatly expand your brand’s reach — if ten followers with 100 followers each re-post, that’s a chance to reach 1,000 new people.
  4. Follow to win: Ask followers to follow your brand, or a partner (or both) for the chance to win. This is a popular tactic since it’s an easy way to increase your follower count.
  5. Photo contest: Ask participants to upload a photo of themselves using your product or service. This is another easy opportunity to spread brand awareness, since your participants’ posts will be seen by their own network of followers and friends. You should ask participants to include your brand’s hashtag, or tag your brand, for optimal visibility.
  6. Caption this: Some brands post images and leave the caption section blank with a “Caption this for a chance to win” command. Your participants will enjoy the chance to offer creative captions for your image, and you’ll be able to add the caption to your post with credit to the winner once your giveaway ends.

Instagram Giveaway Picker Tools

Once you’ve closed your giveaway contest, it’s time to pick a winner — but how can you do that and ensure fairness?

There are a few tools you can use to truly randomize your winner. Here are a few options:

1. Use a free number generator.

While admittedly tedious, particularly if you have hundreds of entries, you might consider counting the total number of participants who engaged with your giveaway, and then using a number generator to select your winner.

For instance, let’s say you count 500 participants in your comments section. Go to Google and type “random number generator” into the search box, and Google’s number generator will appear as a box in the search results (you can also use another number generator tool, if you want).

Your minimum should stay 1, and your maximum should be the total number of participants. When you click “Generate”, the tool will provide a random number. Now, simply go back to your comments section and count until you land on the username that matches that number.

2. Use Easypromos’ Instagram Sweepstakes App.

You might consider using a tool like Easypromos’ Instagram Sweepstakes App to organize your giveaway, which can help you ensure fairness and efficiency when choosing a winner.

With Easypromos’ app, you can filter finalists based on number of mentioned friends. Once you’ve closed your giveaway, the tool can randomly select between one and 1,000 winners, and alternate winners automatically. The tool provides a test run that you can try before the final draw.

Best of all, Easypromos’ offers a link to a certificate of validity that guarantees the draw has been random, ensuring a level of transparency and honesty between you and your participants. You can customize the certificate for your brand.

3. Use a random name picker.

This last option is likely the most tedious, but if your giveaway participant pool is relatively small, you could consider using a random name picker to choose your winner by username instead of number. Particularly if you’ve already compiled your list of names into a spreadsheet, this could be a good option for you.

To use a random name picker, go to a website like Miniwebtool.com and input all usernames, each on a separate line, into the text box. Then click the “Pick a name” button.

Instagram Giveaway Examples

1. Domino’s

One of the more impressive giveaways in this list, Domino’s offered the chance to win $10,000 for any participant who followed @Dominos, posted a picture to prove they’re a superfan, and used the hashtag #PieceofthePieContest. With simple, clear instructions, I’m willing to bet this was a successful giveaway as followers quickly spread the word about their love for Dominos — and likely incentivized followers to order a pizza from the brand.

2. Ali Fedotowsky

Ali Fedotowsky, a lifestyle and fashion blogger and ex-Bachelorette, partnered with Sole Society to giveaway a pair of loafers and a purse. Since she’s also well-known as an affordable fashion influencer, the partnership makes sense, and likely resulted in new followers for both Ali and Sole Society. Additionally, Ali wisely instructed participants to check out her blog for the final requirement, likely resulting in an up-tick in traffic.

3. Cakesmiths

Cakesmiths does a giveaway every Friday and uses the same hashtag, #FridayFavourite, to evoke loyalty and engagement from their Instagram followers. Cakesmiths is proof you don’t need any outrageous prizes for a giveaway — sometimes, a simple treat will do.

4. Dig Local Asheville

Dig Local Asheville partnered with @findyourspiritfest to inspire people to visit distilleries in the local Asheville, N.C. area. This is a good example of how you might use your giveaway to increase awareness and excitement regarding one of your company’s upcoming events.

5. SojoS Vision

SojoS Vision cleverly asked participants to like six of their photos instead of just one, which likely helped them increase their Instagram engagement rates. Additionally, SojoS included ‘Giveaway’ text at the top of the image — if your followers don’t often stop to read captions, this is a smart way to draw more attention to your giveaway.

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Author: Caroline Forsey

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The 18 Best Advertisements of All Time

I’ve always been a little leery of proclaiming anything “the best.” I never declared anyone my best friend as a kid because I was afraid my other friends might assume I thought less of them.

So it was a little difficult for me to come up with just one “best” advertisement of all time — which is why there are 18 in this post instead.

Why are these campaigns some of the best ads of all time?Click here to take inspiration from the best marketing and ad campaigns we've  ever seen.

Because of the impact they had on the growth of the brand, and because they manage to hit on some universal truth that allows us to remember these campaigns years after they first began. In fact, some of us might not have even been alive when these campaigns first aired.

But to know what makes an advertisement great, you first need to know how an advertisement is defined.

As you can imagine, there are numerous types of advertisements — all of which run in different mediums, on different channels, and have different goals in mind for their business. People can advertise anywhere, and today’s best type of ad might not be the best type tomorrow. Here are four basic examples of advertising from the past few centuries (yikes), from earliest to latest.

Types of Advertisements

1. Print Advertising

The first print ad ran in England in 1472, according to Infolinks. Since then, this type of advertising has become available in newspapers, magazines, brochures, billboards, flyers, and similarly portable methods of carrying a brand’s message to its ideal end user. In this ad method, the advertiser pays the publisher to place their ad in the publication.

2. Radio Advertising

Radio advertising dates back to 1920, when the first commercial radio stations were launched in the United States. Today, radio is still a relevant marketing and advertising platform for expanding the reach of a sponsored event or new product. In this ad method, the advertiser pays the radio station to play their ad during designated breaks between music or a radio show.

3. Television Advertising

Television ads originated in the 1940s with the promotion of practical items and political campaigns. Advertisers can now use television to promote food, toys, stores, business services, and more — both to local TV channels and to national broadcast networks. In this ad method, the advertiser pays the regional or national TV network to show their ad during designated breaks in the network’s regular programming.

4. Internet Advertising

Internet advertising took root in the mid 1990s with the launch of “banner” advertisements for various telecommunications companies. These ads are placed in interstitial spots on a webpage. In this ad method, the advertiser pays the website owner to place their ad in exposed spaces that are peripheral to the website’s own content. Internet advertising has gone on to include video, search engine marketing, sponsored social media posts, and more.

But, as you know, the advertising types above have evolved dramatically since their respective origins. What were once quite one-dimensional messages now carry clever, funny, or profound undertones that make the ads memorable years after they first ran.

This blog post is dedicated to the ones we’ll never forget.

And now, without further do, here they are, in no particular order (but feel free to let us know which one is your favorite in the comments): 18 of the best advertisements of all time, and the lessons we can learn from them.

The Best Advertising Campaigns of All Time (And What Made Them Successful)

1. Nike: Just Do It.

Type of ad: Print, Television, Internet

nike-just-do-it-1.jpgSource: brandchannel

Did you know that, once upon a time, Nike’s product catered almost exclusively to marathon runners? Then, a fitness craze emerged — and the folks in Nike’s marketing department knew they needed to take advantage of it to surpass their main competitor, Reebok. (At the time, Reebok was selling more shoes than Nike). And so, in the late 1980s, Nike created the “Just Do It.” campaign.

It was a hit.

In 1988, Nike sales were at $800 million; by 1998, sales exceeded $9.2 billion. “Just Do It.” was short and sweet, yet encapsulated everything people felt when they were exercising — and people still feel that feeling today. Don’t want to run five miles? Just Do It. Don’t want walk up four flights of stairs? Just Do It. It’s a slogan we can all relate to: the drive to push ourselves beyond our limits.

The Lesson

When you’re trying to decide the best way to present your brand, ask yourself: What problem are you solving for your customers? What solution does your product or service provide? By hitting on that core issue in all of your messaging, you’ll connect with consumers on an emotional level that is hard to ignore.

2. Coke: Share a Coke

Type of ad: Print

share a coke advertisement

Big brands are often hard-pressed to do something ground-breaking when they’re already so big. So, what did Coca-Cola do to appeal to the masses? They appealed to individuals — by putting their names on each bottle.

The Share a Coke campaign began in Australia in 2011, when Coca-Cola personalized each bottle with the 150 most popular names in the country. Since then, the U.S. has followed suit, printing first names across the front of its bottles and cans in Coke’s branded font. You can even order custom bottles on Coke’s website to request things like nicknames and college logos.

It was a breaking story across the marketing and advertising industry. Many consumers were enchanted by it, while others were confused by it — why make a temporary item so personal? Pepsi even released counter-ads shortly after the campaign launched.

Nonetheless, Coke received immediate attention for it.

The Lesson

Coke fans are regular buyers, and the company leaned into that sense of individual ownership with full force. Wondering what name you’ll get out of the vending machine was a fun thrill in and of itself — even if it isn’t yours, it encourages you to “share a Coke” with whomever’s name is on the front.

3. Absolut Vodka: The Absolut Bottle

Type of ad: Print

absolut-paris.jpgabsolut-new-york.jpgSource: Burning Through Journey Blog

Despite having no distinct shape, Absolut made its bottle the most recognizable bottle in the world. Its campaign, which featured print ads showing bottles “in the wild,” was so successful that they didn’t stop running it for 25 years. It’s the longest uninterrupted ad campaign ever and comprises over 1,500 separate ads. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

When the campaign started, Absolut had a measly 2.5% of the vodka market. When it ended in the late 2000s, Absolut was importing 4.5 million cases per year, or half of all imported vodka in the U.S.

The Lesson

No matter how boring your product looks, it doesn’t mean you can’t tell your story in an interesting way. Let me repeat: Absolut created 1500 ads of one bottle. Be determined and differentiate your product in the same way.

4. Anheuser-Busch: Whassup (1999)

Type of ad: Television

When’s the last time an advertisement literally changed the way we talk to one another? Allow me to answer that question with another question: “Whassup?!”

This series of commercials, which first appeared in late 1999, features a group of friends connecting on a group phone call (we don’t do those much anymore, do we?) while drinking beer and “watching the game” on TV.

It starts gently: “What are you doin’?” Someone asks. “Watching the game, havin’ a Bud” (a Budweiser), someone replies. As more friends pick up the phone, the hilarity ensues: “WHASSUP!?” is yelled back and forth, becoming a classic catchphrase and an icon of beer-drinking culture that ran constantly on sports networks over the next few years.

The Lesson

The ad took pop culture by storm during the Super Bowl in 2000, and you can still hear its echoes today. Why? Anheuser-Busch showed us just how silly and informal an ad can be without ruffling feathers or going off-brand. Dare to celebrate your audience’s absurdities. The more genuine your ad is, the more valuable your product is.

5. Miller Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling (1974)

Type of ad: Print, Television

miller-lite-campaign.jpg

Source: BuildingPharmaBrands blog

Think it’s easy to create a whole new market for your product? The Miller Brewing Company (now MillerCoors) did just that with the light beer market — and dominated it. The goal of the “Great Taste, Less Filling” campaign was getting “real men” to drink light beer, but they were battling the common misconception that light beer can never actually taste good.

Taking the debate head-on, Miller featured masculine models drinking their light beer and declaring it great tasting.

The Lesson

For decades after this campaign aired, Miller Lite dominated the light beer market it had essentially created. What’s the lesson marketers can learn? Strive to be different. If people tell you there isn’t room for a product, create your own category so you can quickly become the leader.

6. Always: #LikeaGirl (2015)

Type of ad: Television, Internet

My eyes are still wet while writing this blurb.

The Always brand hit a home run with this advertisement, not because it went viral after the commercial ran in the 2015 Super Bowl, but because it was a groundbreaking message that hundreds of millions of people repeated long after the campaign was over.

The campaign began as a commercial explaining the stigma behind playing sports “like a girl” — implying that the boy’s way is better or correct. By the end of the ad, the message is both clear and inspiring: Girls are just as fit and capable as boys are, particularly during puberty — a stage of life that is extremely important to Always and its women’s products.

The message is now a holistic initiative by Always you can learn about here, and a hashtag that’s still used on social media today.

The Lesson

Acknowledge not just your audience, but the challenges they face — especially the ones that reflect your time or culture. Not every societal issue is off limits to marketers and advertisers. Take a stand on the ones you know your audience supports, and you’ll access a customer base that identifies with your passion.

7. Volkswagen: Think Small (1960)

Type of ad: Print

think-small-volkswagon.jpg

Source: design shack

Many marketing and advertising professionals like to call Volkswagen’s “Think Small” campaign the gold standard. Created in 1960 by a legendary advertising group at Doyle Dane & Bernbach (DDB), the campaign set out to answer one question: How do you change peoples’ perceptions not only about a product, but also about an entire group of people?

See, Americans always had a propensity to buy big American cars — and even 15 years after WWII ended, most Americans were still not buying small German cars. So what did this Volkswagen advertisement do? It played right into the audience’s expectations. You think I’m small? Yeah, I am. They never tried to be something they were not.

The Lesson

That’s the most important takeaway from this campaign: Don’t try to sell your company, product, or service as something it’s not. Consumers recognize and appreciate honesty.

8. Google: Year in Search (2017)

Type of ad: Internet

This isn’t the oldest or most well-known advertisement on our list, but it’s become the most powerful over its nine-year (and still going) existence. So powerful and so true, you forget it’s an advertisement.

Year in Search began in 2009 as “Zeitgeist,” a written report of the public’s most common Google searches over the previous 12 months. The following year, Google adapted it for a three-minute video. Since then, it’s been a bold, yearly reminder of how much we depend on Google for information on the news and events that give the entire world pause. Check out the company’s latest video from 2017 above.

The Lesson

Remind your customers how much you care that they care. These stories elicit a variety of emotions, but ultimately unite everyone — no matter what Google products they might like — through an uplifting message of how our usage of the company reflects the best in all of us.

9. Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World (2006)

Type of ad: Television, Pre-roll

dos equis the most interesting man in the world

Source: The Open Field

You know who he is. He smokes Cuban cigars, is always surrounded by beautiful women, and — most importantly — he drinks Dos Equis beer.

A key component of a strong campaign for an indulgent vice — like beer, desserts, or luxury items — is to make it cool. And when it comes to The Most Interesting Man in the World, he’s one of the coolest commercial guys there is.

And at the end of every commercial, he says: “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friends.”

The Lesson

The hilarious hyperbole employed in this campaign makes it memorable the next time viewers head out to buy some beer. And even though Dos Equis recently replaced The Most Interesting Man with a new actor, he is forever immortalized in meme culture and in liquor stores due to this short, sweet, and memorable tagline — and the cool dude vibe it makes viewers harken back to.

10. California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk? (1993)

Type of ad: Print

got-milk-wolverine.jpg

Source: Broward Palm Beach New Times

Thanks to the California Milk Processor Board’s “Got Milk?” campaign, milk sales in California rose 7% in just one year. But the impact ran across state borders, and to this day, you still can’t escape the millions of “Got [Fill-in-the-Blank]?” parodies.

Note, though, that the ad didn’t target people who weren’t drinking milk; it instead focused on the consumers who already were.

The Lesson

It’s not always about getting a brand new audience to use your products or services — sometimes, it’s about getting your current audience to appreciate and use your product more often. Turn your audience into advocates, and use marketing and ad content to tell them why they should continue to enjoy the product or service you are already providing for them.

11. Metro Trains: Dumb Ways to Die (2012)

Type of ad: Internet

Yes, you read that right: Dumb Ways to Die.

In Melbourne, Australia, Metro Trains wanted to get across a simple message: No horsing around near train tracks. Disorderly conduct could lead to injuries, or even death, but instead of typical warning signs or announcements inside train stations, Metro Trains came up with Dumb Ways to Die, a song that has garnered 157 million YouTube views since it debuted in 2012.

The song is about dumb ways to die — for example, by poking a grizzly bear with a stick, or taking your helmet off in outer space — and it features a catchy little chorus you won’t be able to stop humming to yourself (because singing it is a little morbid): “Dumb ways to die, so many dumb ways to die.”

At the end of the video, after you’ve watched adorable cartoon characters dying in the dumbest of ways, you get to the moral of the story: There are many dumb ways to die, but the dumbest possible way would be if you died while standing on the edge of a train platform, drove through a railroad sign, or tried to cross over a train track.

The Lesson

This beloved, now-famous campaign communicates a simple idea in a creative and memorable way — and you don’t feel like you’re being nagged, the way some public service announcements do. If your subject matter is grim or boring, consider using creativity to get your message across.

12. Apple: Get a Mac (2006)

Type of ad: Television

While there have been many great Apple campaigns, this one takes the cake. The video above is just one of a series of iterations of this campaign, and the Mac vs. PC debate ended up being one of the most successful campaigns ever for Apple. The company experienced 42% market share growth in its first year with its help. These commercials tell Mac’s audience everything they need to know about the product without being overt — and in a clever way.

The Lesson

Just because your product does some pretty amazing things doesn’t mean you need to hit your audience over the head with it. Instead, explain your product’s benefits in a relatable way so consumers are able to see themselves using it.

13. Clairol: Does She or Doesn’t She? (1957)

Type of ad: Print

clairol-does-she-or-doesnt-she.png

Source: Current360

The first time Clairol asked this question in 1957, the answer was 1 to 15 — as in, only 1 in 15 people were using artificial hair color. Just 11 years later, the answer was 1 of 2, according to TIME Magazine. The campaign was apparently so successful that some states stopped requiring women to denote hair color on their driver’s license. When your ad campaign starts changing things at the DMV, you know you’ve hit a nerve.

Clairol did the opposite of what most marketers would do: They didn’t want every woman on the street running around saying they were using their product. They wanted women to understand that their product was so good that people wouldn’t be able to tell if they were using it or not.

The Lesson

Sometimes, simply conveying how and why your product works is enough for consumers. Showing becomes more effective than telling.

14. De Beers: A Diamond is Forever (1999)

Type of ad: Print, Television

de-beers-campaign.jpg

Source: BBC News

In 1999, AdAge declared De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” the most memorable slogan of the twentieth century. But the campaign, which proposed (pun very much intended) the idea that no marriage would be complete without a diamond ring, wasn’t just riding on the coattails of an existing industry. De Beers actually built the industry; it presented the idea that a diamond ring was a necessary luxury.

According to the New York Times, N.W. Ayer’s game plan was to “create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.”

The Lesson

Advertising can make a relatively inexpensive product seem luxurious and essential.

15. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010)

Type of ad: Television

old-spice-smell-like-a-man.jpg

Source: Coloribus

The very first part of Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, created by Wieden + Kennedy and launched in February 2010, was the following commercial. It became a viral success practically overnight:

That video has over 51 million views as of this writing. Several months later, in June 2010, Old Spice followed up with a second commercial featuring the same actor, Isaiah Mustafa. Mustafa quickly became “Old Spice Guy,” a nickname Wieden + Kennedy capitalized on with an interactive video campaign in which Mustafa responded to fans’ comments on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites with short, personalized videos.

In about two days, the company had churned out 186 personalized, scripted, and quite funny video responses featuring Mustafa responding to fans online. According to Inc, these videos saw almost 11 million views, and Old Spice gained about 29,000 Facebook fans and 58,000 new Twitter followers.

“We were creating and sending miniature TV commercials back to individual consumers that were personalized, and we were doing it on a rapid-fire basis,” Jason Bagley, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy and a writer for the campaign, told Inc. “No one expects to ask a question and then be responded to. I think that’s where we broke through.”

The Lesson

If you find your campaign’s gained momentum with your fans and followers, do everything you can to keep them engaged while keeping your messaging true to your brand’s voice and image.

16. Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef? (1984)

Type of ad: Print, Television

wendys-wheres-the-beef.jpg

Source: AdSoft Direct

Is it enough to say this campaign was successful because it featured a giant hamburger bun and a cute set of old ladies? No? I didn’t think so.

Wendy’s took a more gutsy approach in this advertising campaign: It targeted its competitors. The simple phrase “Where’s the beef?” was used to point out the lack of beef in competitors’ burgers — and it quickly became a catchphrase that encapsulated all that was missing in their audience’s lives.

While you can’t predict when a catchphrase will catch on and when it won’t, Wendy’s (wisely) didn’t over-promote their hit phrase. The campaign only ran for a year, and allowed it to gently run its course.

The Lesson

Be careful with your campaigns’ success and failures. Just because you find something that works doesn’t mean you should keep doing it over and over to the point it’s played out. Allow your company to change and grow, and you may find that you can have even greater success in the future by trying something new.

17. Procter & Gamble: Thank You, Mom (2012)

Type of ad: Television

I’ll give you a minute to dry your eyes after that one.

Seriously — you wouldn’t expect a household and cleaning products company commercial to pull at the heartstrings like that, would you? Lately, though, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has launched some of the best ads we’ve ever seen from the consumer goods industry.

That’s because P&G identified the story behind the story of Olympic athletes — the stories of the supportive moms who pushed these world-class athletes throughout their entire lives leading up to that crowning moment. And yes, they probably had to do a lot of laundry and cleanup along the way — presumably using P&G products.

The Lesson

Make your audience cry (just kidding). The season or time period of your ad is important. But even if you run an ad during the Olympic Games, like P&G did, make sure it has longevity, and a message that can influence people no matter when or where they see it.

Emotional and nostalgia marketing are powerful tactics to get people to make buying choices, so if there’s a bigger, more universal story behind your product or story, tap into it — and showcase it front-and-center.

18. KFC: “FCK” (2018)

Type of ad: Print

kfc-fck-ad-2018

The ad above isn’t just an empty bucket of KFC with the company’s letters jumbled around. It’s also not a normal, unprompted promotion of fried chicken.

This ad is an apology, and perhaps the most creative one of all time.

In February 2018, KFC’s business in the U.K. ran out of chicken. You read that right: A poultry company ran out of poultry. It’s not every day that a business stumbles upon the most ironic PR crisis in company history, so when it happens, all eyes are on the business’s response. Well, we’re happy to report that KFC stuck the landing.

With the help of the creative agency Mother London, KFC took out a full-page ad in Metro, the U.K.’s newspaper, rearranging its three famous initials to create a hilarious albeit explicit response to its product shortage. The ad depicts a KFC bucket that reads, “FCK” — as if to say, “FCK, this is embarrassing.” (You can fill in the missing letter …)

Beneath this design, the company goes on to apologize for what it realizes is an inexcusable, if not slightly funny failure.

The Lesson

No business is above a good old-fashioned sorry. And if you can laugh at yourself in the process, you’ll only make it better. KFC’s ad demonstrates how to combine humility, class, humor, and ultimately company pride in a message that can help you bounce back from bad press — and even come out the other side with a net-positive result for your brand.

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