The Opportunity Cost Formula That’ll Help You Make Optimal Marketing Decisions

As humans, we hate loss. In fact, losing something emotionally impacts us more than gaining something of the same value. We can get so loss-averse that we’ll take risks just to avoid a loss, like how we sometimes cling onto a stock that continues to plummet in value because we desperately want the price to magically shoot back up.

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Needless to say, loss stings. And this rings especially true if you work in marketing. Allocating precious budget to the wrong campaigns or tools not only loses website visitors and leads, but it also wastes your spend — money that you’ll never get back again.

Fortunately, calculating the opportunity cost of each decision you make can help you separate the campaigns and tools that actually produce results from the ones that only burn cash.

To help you avoid wasting your budget and losing website visitors and leads, read on to learn what exactly an opportunity cost is and a formula for calculating it.

What Is an Opportunity Cost?

An opportunity cost is the benefit you sacrifice by choosing one alternative over another. For example, if you choose to allocate the last portion of your budget to Facebook advertising, and the next-best alternative is LinkedIn advertising, the opportunity cost of allocating budget to Facebook advertising is the loss of benefits you would’ve reaped if you allocated budget to LinkedIn advertising.

Opportunity Cost Formula

For example, if you expect an ROI of 50% from investing in Facebook ads and an ROI of 40% from investing in LinkedIn ads, the opportunity cost of investing in Facebook ads is -10 percentage points (40% – 50%). However, since the opportunity cost of investing in LinkedIn ads is 10 percentage points (50% – 40%), this choice would incur a higher opportunity cost than investing in Facebook ads. We can then conclude that allocating budget to Facebook ads would be the better option.

If you need help calculating return on investment, the formula is ((Gain on investment – cost of investment)/cost of investment)

Return on Investment Formula

There’s an opportunity cost for not calculating your opportunity cost.

No marketer wants to squander their budget and lose business because they made an avoidable decision. But if you really want to bypass this type of loss and make the smart choice, consider getting analytical and calculating every one of your decisions’ opportunity cost. Otherwise, you might actually squander your budget and lose business — and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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What’s Authentic Leadership, & How Do You Practice It

Whether you’ve recently been promoted to a leadership position, or you’ve been leading your team for years, it can often seem tricky to discern what being a “good” leader actually means.

When you’re trying to determine the components of a successful leader, it’s easy to fall-back on certain terms we commonly associate with leadership — words like “assertive”, “inspirational”, and “confident”.

But what about being “authentic”? While the idea of authentic leadership is not a new concept — it has its roots in Ancient Greek philosophy, which posited that authenticity is an important state of being and enables you to control your own destiny — it can certainly feel like a novel component of leadership today. I mean, what does “being true to yourself” have to do with anything?

In fact, research has shown authentic leadership serves as the single strongest predictor of an employee’s job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and workplace happiness.

To ensure long-term happiness and productivity out of your team, then, it’s critical you demonstrate a level of authenticity as a leader.

Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

Here, we’re going to explore how the Authentic Leadership Theory can help you become a better, more inspiring leader, today.

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Authentic Leadership Theory

There are four distinct components to the Authentic Leadership Theory. Let’s dive into those, now.

1. Self-Awareness

As a leader, it’s critical you have a strong sense of self, including your strengths, weaknesses, and values. It’s impossible to demonstrate authenticity as a leader if you’re unsure of who you are or what you stand for in the first place.

Additionally, by displaying both your strengths and weaknesses to your team, you’re able to demonstrate that you have nothing to hide, and don’t play games. In this way, you’re better equipped to build trust among your team, and when your employee makes a mistake, she’ll feel more comfortable admitting her error to you.

Self-awareness is also critical for you to grow as a leader, and strengthen other components of authentic leadership. For instance, perhaps you’ve noticed you don’t do a great job at displaying transparency with your team. By acknowledging this weakness, you can take steps to rectify it.

In Bruce J. Avolio and Tara S. Wernsing’s essay Practicing Authentic Leadership, they outline three ways authentic leaders should practice self-awareness:

  • Seek feedback from the environment
  • Use self-reflection to better understand your behavior
  • Practice regular self-observation to stay aware of your feelings at all times

Self-awareness is vital for acting appropriately as a leader, and feeling empathy for how your employees might perceive your feedback. For instance, perhaps you feel a conversation you had with your team was demoralizing — you’d just received some disappointing news about your team’s performance, and you’d spoken out of frustration. It’s critical you seek feedback from your environment by asking your team what you can do to help them improve moving forward.

Additionally, perhaps you can mitigate these issues in the future by regularly practicing self-observation, so you’re able to notice, in the moment, “I am very frustrated right now, so I will wait until I am calm to have this conversation with my team.”

2. Relational Transparency

Passive aggression, subtle messaging, and convoluted feedback have no place in leadership. To truly foster authenticity, it’s critical you remain genuine, straightforward, and honest with your team. Let them know where they stand — if they mess up, tell them.

While it might seem counterintuitive — “How will I become close to my team if I am often providing constructive rather than positive feedback?” — it works in your favor in the long-run, as your employees trust that you are not “hiding” your true feelings regarding their performance.

Transparency and honesty must be encouraged from the leadership level if you want your business to be successful. For instance, when Former President and CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally, began working at Ford, he implemented a system in which business leaders would produce color-coded charts at each of their meetings — green to signify success, red to signify failure.

At the time, Ford was forecast to lose 17 billion that year. At the meeting, however, Mulally noticed every chart was green. He recognized that Ford’s culture was one in which leaders hid problems, and avoided transparency out of a fear for job safety.

When one leader, Mark Fields, handed over a chart with red on it — due to a production issue — Mulally began clapping. His reaction signified the concept that failure can be seen as an exciting opportunity for growth, and honesty should be always rewarded. The following week, he saw charts varying from green to yellow to red.

The point is, authentic leadership must start with you displaying behavior you hope to see in your employees, as well. If you aren’t transparent and honest, how can you expect your employees to come forward with problems when they arise?

3. Balanced Processing

A leader needs to make decisions and stay true to her decision in the face of opposition — but she must also be capable of receiving and considering alternative viewpoints before choosing a plan of action.

When making major decisions, it’s important you ask for alternative opinions and remain open to discussion. While it’s important you stick to your values, it’s equally critical you seek out opposing viewpoints, which can help you see flaws in your initial course of action, or enable you to strengthen your argument by understanding all points of view.

Additionally, if you want to be an authentic leader, it’s critical you create an environment in which employees feel both safe and encouraged to share their opinions. This ties back to self-awareness — you must be self-aware enough to accept that your opinion, by itself, is likely biased or partial. By collecting outside feedback, you’re able to see more potential weaknesses in your decision.

4. Internalized Moral Perspective (“Do the Right Thing”)

An authentic leader needs to know when to put the needs of the company and its customers ahead of herself and her team. Ultimately, a leader should be focused on doing the right thing for the long-term success of the business — not herself.

Additionally, it’s critical a leader have strong ethical values and integrity, and exercise these traits even in the face of tempting shortcuts.

For instance, let’s say your employee comes to you with a “make money quick” scheme — his idea is to make it difficult for customers to know how to cancel their subscription, so they are forced to keep paying unless they call up customer support.

As a leader, it’s important you recognize the downfall of this type of decision. While it could temporarily help boost your team’s numbers, it’s not a decision made out of integrity or fairness for your customer, and won’t result in lasting loyalty.

Emmy Jonassen, Director of Acquisition at HubSpot, seconds this point, noting the importance of being a leader whose behavior matches up with the values you want to instill in your team:

“Being an authentic leader means leading by example. It’s demonstrating through your actions that you practice the same values and behaviors you expect from your team.”

She goes on to say, “For example, if you ask your team to come to meetings on time and prepared, you should as well. If you impress upon your team that no task is beneath anyone if it works toward team goals, you should help out with team ‘grunt work’ every now and again by being the notetaker, cleaning up after a team birthday celebration, and so forth.”

By being a leader who emphasizes the importance of doing the right thing, you’re better equipped to set up your team for long-term success.

Why Authenticity in Leadership is Difficult to Achieve

Ultimately, the four components of authentic leadership are good jumping-off points, but it’s important you remember the true meaning of authenticity — the ability to express yourself as you truly are.

The meaning of authenticity makes it inherently difficult to prescribe in any one way.

Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, describes it like this — “It’s funny that something so basic as being yourself starts to become harder as you gain responsibility and scope. But the truth is, being authentic as a leader has to be consciously worked at.”

“There are too many examples of how other people lead. There are no examples of what’s authentic to you until you get there. So, you have to search for it.”

She goes on to say, “You have to create touch-points in the course of meetings, presentations, management that remind you of yourself — who you are and where you’re strongest. When I give speeches, I tend to start with a personal story to set the tone for the rest of the talk, because there’s no way to tell a personal story without being myself. When I’m out of my depths on something, or need time to think before a decision, I make sure to say so, so that my team knows I don’t always have the answers. Authenticity requires touchstones to remind yourself and the people around you that you’re human.”

Ultimately, authenticity is a leadership skill like any other — and skills can always be developed (or weakened) over time, depending on your conscious efforts. To ensure you’re able to lead your team as well as they deserve, it’s critical you remain focused on demonstrating authenticity whenever possible.

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The Ultimate List of Instagram Stats [2019]

With more than 500 million daily active users, brands are quickly recognizing the need to have a presence on Instagram.

But, as with any social network, the brands that are getting the most out of Instagram are the ones who are smart about what they post, when they post, how often they post, and whom they’re targeting.

But how do they know what’s a “smart” post for their business?

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That’s where the Instagram data comes in. There’s a whole lot of research out there about Instagram — everything from the demographics of its users and how often brands are posting, to how caption length affects engagement and what the most popular emoji is on Instagram. (See #32.)

Read on to uncover more social media stats that’ll help you get ideas and improve your own Instagram posting strategy.

48 Instagram Stats

Click on a category below to jump to the stats for that category:

  1. Instagram’s Growth
  2. Audience & Demographics
  3. Brand Adoption
  4. Instagram Post Content
  5. Instagram Posting Strategy

Instagram’s Growth

1. The Instagram community has grown from 90 million monthly active users in January 2013 to 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2018. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-monthly-active-users

Image Credit: Statista

2. Instagram’s more than 500 million active users place it well ahead of Twitter (326 million active users) Snapchat (150 million active users), and Pinterest (250 million active users). Tweet this stat! (Source)

3. The proportion of online adults who use Instagram has grown by nearly 400% since Pew Research Center first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012. Tweet this stat! (Source)

adults-using-instagram

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

4. Instagram’s user base is growing far faster than social network usage in general in the U.S. However, Instagram is projected to grow more slowly in the next few years, from 13.1% growth in 2018 to 4% in 2022. Tweet this stat! (Source)

5. Between 2016 and 2020, eMarketer predicts Instagram will add 26.9 million users — almost double the incremental users expected for Twitter, and far more than any other social platform tracked. Tweet this stat! (Source)

social-network-usage-growth.gif

Image Credit: eMarketer

6. In 2019, nearly 25% of Facebook’s total ad revenue is expected to come from Instagram. By 2020, Instagram’s share of that revenue will grow to 30% globally. Tweet this stat! (Source)

7. Instagram and Snapchat are tied for the second-highest used messaging app (behind Facebook Messenger) for millennials at 47%. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-messaging-app.jpg

Image Credit: Refuel Agency

8. Other than Instagram’s own account, the most-followed Instagram account as of January 2019 is run by professional soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, followed by celebrities Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-accounts-most-followers

Image Credit: Statista

Audience & Demographics

9. 72% of teenagers use Instagram and nearly as many (69%) use Snapchat. Both have increased by more than 20% since 2015. Tweet this stat! (Source)

teens-using-social-mediaImage Credit: 

Pew Research Center

10. 35% of adult internet users used Instagram in 2018, up from 26% in September 2014. Tweet this stat! (Source)

11. 71% of young adults (ages 18–24) used Instagram in 2018, compared with 37% who did so in 2013. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-young-adults-usage

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

12. In 2018, 60% of Instagram users used the platform daily, including 55% of young adults who visited several times a day. This 60% figure reflects a 9-point increase from 2016, when 51% of Instagram users reported visiting the site on a daily basis. Tweet this stat! (Source)

13. More than one-third of Instagram users have used their mobile devices to buy something online — 70% more likely than people who are not on Instagram. Tweet this stat! (Source)

14. On average, women make up 56% of Instagram’s user base in Latin America. Tweet this stat! (Source)

15. More than 80% of Instagram’s user base consists of people living outside of the U.S. Tweet this stat! (Source)

16. As of January 2019, the countries with the most Instagram users are the U.S. (121 million), India (71 million), and Brazil (64 million). Tweet this stat! (Source)

countries-instagram-users

Image Credit: Statista

Brand Adoption

17. Businesses that are on Instagram get up to 37% of their total impressions from Instagram Stories, the ethereal content that users can publish separate from their feed and disappears after 24 hours. Tweet this stat! (Source)

18. Eight of the top 15 most followed brands on Instagram are in the business of retail. Tweet this stat! (Source)

19. Approximately 80% of all Instagram users follow a business on Instagram. Tweet this stat! (Source)

20. In a 2018 study, the higher education industry had the highest engagement rate of any other industry per post on Instagram, at 3.39%. Second was sports teams at 2.28%, and third was nonprofits at 2.14%. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-post-engagement-rate-industry

Image Credit: RivalHQ

Instagram Post Content

21. More than 100 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram each day. Tweet this stat! (Source)

22. On Instagram, photos showing faces get 38% more Likes than photos not showing faces. Tweet this stat! (Source)

23. In a study of 8 million Instagram images, images with a single dominant color generate 17% more Likes than images with multiple dominant colors. Tweet this stat! (Source)

dominant-color-instagram-engagement.png

Image Credit: Curalate

24. On Instagram, images with a high amount of negative space generate 29% more Likes than those with minimal negative space. Tweet this stat! (Source)

25. On Instagram, images featuring blue as the dominant color generate 24% more Likes than images that are predominantly red. Tweet this stat! (Source)

26. There’s little correlation between caption text length and engagement rate on Instagram. Tweet this stat! (Source)

caption-length-engagement-instagram.png

Image Credit: Simply Measured

27. When Instagram first introduced video in June 2013, more than 5 million were shared in the first 24 hours. Tweet this stat! (Source)

28. One in four ads on Instagram is a video. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-ads

Image Credit: SensorTower

29. In a study of 100 top brands, the brands’ Instagram captions averaged 2.5 hashtags per post. Tweet this stat! (Source)

30. In one study, posts with nine to 12 hashtags received more engagement than posts with any other number of hashtags. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-ideal-number-of-hashtags

Image Credit: Track Maven

31. Instagram posts that include hashtags between 21 and 24 characters in length perform better than average. Tweet this stat! (Source)instagram-hashtag-length

Image Credit: Track Maven

32. Posts tagged with a location see 79% higher engagement than posts not tagged with a location. Tweet this stat! (Source)

33. The red heart is the most frequently shared emoji on Instagram, which is shared 79% more than the next most popular symbol, a smiling face with heart eyes. Tweet this stat! (Source)

most-popular-emojis-instagram.png

Image Credit: Curalate

34. Four of the top five most popular emojis are positive smiley faces (including the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying icon). If you look at the top 20 emojis, smileys comprise half. Tweet this stat! (Source)

35. The American flag is the only flag emoji to break the top 100, ranking #59. The next most popular flag comes from Italy, ranked #125, followed by the French flag at #160 and the Japanese flag at #166. Tweet this stat! (Source)

36. Pizza is the most popular Instagrammed food, behind sushi and steak. Tweet this stat! (Source)

Instagram Posting Strategy

37. In a study of 55 brands, all brands posted an average of 1.5 times per day. Tweet this stat! (Source)

38. The best time to post on Instagram is Thursday between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. in your respective time zone.  Tweet this stat! (Source)

39. The most common posting frequency for brands on Instagram is 11–20 times per month, with almost one-third of companies measured falling into that bucket. Tweet this stat! (Source)

40. 90% of the Interbrand 100 companies now have Instagram accounts. Of all 100 companies, 80% post at least one Instagram photo or video per week. Tweet this stat! (Source)

41. Many posts by top brands take more than 19 hours to hit 50% of their total comments, and another 10% of comments coming after 19 days. Tweet this stat! (Source)

42. Many posts continue to receive low-level engagement for days and weeks after posting. Most brand posts continue to receive Likes and comments 18–24 hours after posting, just at a slower clip than the initial fast pace. Tweet this stat! (Source)

43. While Instagram is still by far the best social network for organic engagement, its per-follower interaction rate of 2.2% is barely half what it was in 2014. Tweet this stat! (Source)

instagram-organic-engagement-1

Image Credit: Forrester Research

44. In a study of 100 top brands, engagement per post has grown at a rate of 53% year-over-year. Tweet this stat! (Source

45. In a study of several thousand brand posts, the average engagement rate is 4.3% and the median is 3.5%. That means that the average post in this sample saw 4.3 activities (a Like or a comment) per 100 followers. Phrased another way, to get 100 Likes and comments on a post, a brand would need approximately 2,325 followers. Tweet this stat! (Source)

46. One brand added 36X its typical number of new followers each day during the 4 days it ran a set of sponsored posts on Instagram, increasing its follower count by 18.15%. Tweet this stat! (Source

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51 YouTube Stats Every Video Marketer Should Know in 2019

In 2005, when I was 10 years old, a kid from my neighborhood was bear hugging a fallen tree trunk that bridged across our creek and yelled, “I better not see this on YouTube!”

That was the first time I’d ever heard of YouTube. And it definitely wasn’t the last time I’d hear about it. YouTube has experienced explosive growth since it was founded in an office garage in 2005. Just one year after its inception, it was attracting more than 65,000 new video uploads and 100 million video views per day. A couple of months later, the high-growth startup was acquired for over $1 billion by a titan in the tech industry — Google.

Since then, YouTube has opened up avenues for brands to advertise on their videos and, in turn, let content creators earn a living just by making videos. This potential for monetization has incentivized content creators to craft the most engaging videos possible and host them on the platform, which has enabled YouTube to become the second most trafficked website and the second largest search engine in the world.

As a video marketer, you already know how crucial building a YouTube presence is for boosting your videos’ and brand’s visibility. But if you just started your brand’s YouTube channel or need some help convincing your boss to double down on your YouTube efforts, we’ve got you covered.

Check out these 51 stats about the platform’s mobile usage, its demographics, subscriber growth, general usage, and history that can help you build your YouTube following or persuade your boss to focus more of your efforts on the video platform.

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51 YouTube Stats Every Video Marketer Should Know in 2019

YouTube Mobile Stats

4. On mobile devices alone, YouTube reaches more adults aged 18-49 during prime time than any cable network does in an average week.

5. 75% of adults report watching YouTube on their mobile devices.

6. More than 70% of YouTube watch time is generated from mobile devices.

7. YouTube mobile ads are 84% more likely to hold attention than TV ads.

8. Over 50,000 years of product review videos have been watched on mobile devices over the past two years.

9. In 2018, YouTube was the most popular IOS app.

YouTube Demographics Stats

10. Over 90% of 18-44 year old American internet users watch videos on YouTube.

11. Over half of American internet users who are aged 75 and over watch videos on YouTube.

12. Over 50% of YouTube’s audience is female.

13. 59% of Generation Z (16-24-year-olds) have increased their YouTube usage since last year.

14. 46% of millennials (25-34-year-olds) have increased their YouTube usage since last year.

15. 70% of millennial YouTube users watched a YouTube video to learn how to do something new or learn about something they’re interested in.

16. 15.8% of YouTube users are from the United States.

17. YouTube attracts the most visitors from the United States, India, Japan, Russia, and China.

18. YouTube is available in more than 91 countries.

19. YouTube is available in 80 different languages.

YouTube Subscriber Growth Stats

20. The number of channels with more than 1 million subscribers increased by more than 75% since 2017.

21. The number of YouTubers who earn six figures per year has increased by more than 40% since 2017.

22. The number of YouTubers who earn five figures per year has increased by more than 50% since 2017.

23. The top ten YouTubers earned 42% more revenue in 2018 compared to 2017.

24. PewDiePie is the most popular YouTube channel, with 85 million subscribers.

25. The most popular branded YouTube channel is LEGO, which has over 7.1 million subscribers and has received over 8.7 billion views.

YouTube Usage Stats

26. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine.

27. YouTube is the second most trafficked website behind Google.

28. YouTube users collectively watch over 46,000 years of content each year.

29. 68% of YouTube users watched a video to help them make a purchase decision.

30. 80% of YouTube users who watched a video to help them make a purchase decision said they watched the video at the beginning of the shopping process.

31. 95% of the most popular YouTube videos are music videos.

32. 47% of on-demand music streaming was listened to on YouTube.

33. There are twice as many small- and medium-sized businesses advertising on YouTube since 2016.

34. Four times as many people prefer watching video on YouTube rather than on social media platforms.

35. YouTube users watch more than 180 million hours of content on TV screens every day.

36. YouTube users are three times more likely to prefer watching a YouTube tutorial video compared to reading the product’s instructions.

37. “Relaxing” and “feeling entertained” are the top two reasons viewers watch YouTube.

38. Relaxation videos like soap cutting and slime playing experienced a 70% increase in watch time in 2018.

39. Comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and “how to” are the four most popular content categories on YouTube.

YouTube History Stats

40. “YouTube.com” was activated on February 14, 2005.

41. “Me at the zoo” was the first video uploaded to YouTube on April 25, 2005.

42. Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion on October 9, 2006.

43. YouTube launched InVideo ads in December 2007.

44. YouTube streamed the United States presidential debates for the first time in 2012.

45. The youngest YouTuber is Ryan ToysReview, who is a 7-year old boy who makes $11 million a year and has 18.2 million subscribers.

46. “Gangnam Style”’s surge in popularity broke the video’s view counter.

47. YouTube provides a free space in Los Angeles where YouTubers with over 10,000 subscribers can learn, connect, and create videos with each other.

48. The first YouTube video that reached one million views was a 2005 Nike ad that featured football star, Ronaldinho.

49. The YouTube video that received the most views in 24 hours is Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video, which attracted 55.4 million views in a single day.

50. The most liked video on YouTube is the music video for the song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee. It has received over 31.96 million likes and boasts an 89.25% like percentage.

51. YouTube’s own YouTube Rewind 2018 video is the most disliked video on the platform. It has received over 16 million dislikes and owns an 86.53% dislike percentage.

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How to Run a Structured Interview (Questions Included)

Imagine this — a hiring manager is choosing between two candidates of similar expertise, so she invites them both into the office for an in-person interview. However, she’s given power to choose which questions she asks each one.

She notices the first candidate went to school at her alma mater, so she decides to gear her initial questions towards that commonality to build rapport. On the other hand, she will begin the other interview with a basic, “Tell me about yourself” question.

Seem fair? Probably not.

If an interview is unstructured, it doesn’t mean the hiring manager didn’t prepare questions ahead of time. However, an unstructured interview allows employees to ask different questions to each candidate — which could become an opportunity for employees to judge candidates based on who they get along well with, as opposed to whether the candidate is qualified for the role.

Structured interviews help you minimize biases or personality preferences that could otherwise affect a hiring manager’s decision to move forward with a candidate.

A structured interview is a process established by HR in which all candidates are asked the same predetermined questions in the same order. Your team will then rate each candidate using a standardized scoring system.

Structured interviews have demonstrated a high degree of reliability, validity, and legal defensibility compared to unstructured interviews. Additionally, a structured interview makes it easier to provide interview feedback to a candidate.

To implement a structured or semi-structured interview at your company, keep reading.

Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of  all-stars.

Structured Interview Questions

To create structured interview questions, you must first craft a detailed job description with all the necessary components of the role, as well as any “nice-to-haves”. Once you have a job description, use it as a guide to write a list of hard and soft skills you’re looking for in a candidate.

Next, you’ll want to create a list of role-specific questions. For instance, you might consider asking:

  1. Give me an example of a time you had to [important job skill].
  2. What do you think will be your biggest challenge with this role?
  3. What most excites you about this role?
  4. Tell me how you would handle [specific job challenge].

These questions will vary depending upon the role. You’ll also want to gauge the candidate’s interest in your company in general, as well as her work ethic.

Here are a few general structured interview questions:

  1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  2. What do you know about the company?
  3. What are your greatest professional strengths? Alternatively, what are your weaknesses?
  4. What is your greatest professional achievement?
  5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Lastly, there are structured interview questions you might want to ask to get a better sense for someone’s leadership skills, willingness to learn, or ability to handle herself under pressure.

Take a look at the following structured interview questions, divided by category, for further inspiration.

To rate leadership ability

    1. You indicated on your resume that leadership is one of your strengths. Describe an experience in which you used your leadership abilities.
    2. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project to others effectively.
    3. 3. Tell me about a time you took the lead in a team project. What was the project outcome?
    4. 4. Can you recall a time where you had to give negative feedback to a colleague. How did you express this feedback?

To rate dependability

      1. If your manager asked you to complete a task you thought impossible at first, what would you do?
      2. Tell me about a time when you had multiple important projects to finish and how you prioritize them.

To rate willingness to learn

      1. Tell me about a time you failed at a project. How did you try to avoid failure? What did that experience teach you?
      2. Tell me about a time you had to learn something you weren’t familiar with very quickly.
      3. Which other companies in [your industry] do you admire? Why?

Semi-structured Interview

A structured interview has plenty of benefits — but, of course, it also has its drawbacks.

A structured interview leaves little room for building rapport. When a candidate answers a question, you’re simply instructed to move to the next question, even if the following question has little relevance to the candidate’s unique response.

If you feel a structured interview is too rigid for your workplace, but still want to use general guidelines to ensure fairness in your recruitment process, you might consider a semi-structured interview as an alternative.

A semi-structured interview still requires your HR team to create a list of open-ended questions, and subsequently train interviewers to ensure they ask role-specific questions and use a standardized rating system to determine a candidate’s fit.

However, a semi-structured interview also provides more opportunity for the interviewer to tailor the conversation naturally, either by excluding questions they feel are redundant, or asking follow-up questions when they feel it’s necessary.

Ultimately, a semi-structured interview requires your team to follow a predetermined set of questions, but allows the interview itself to feel more conversational by nature. The interviewer has the power to change the wording of the question, or the order of the questions, which could enable the interviewer to dive deeper or ask follow-up questions depending on the candidate’s responses.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Principles and Types of Design

 Furniture. Clothing. Software. Posters. Maps. Experience. Buildings. Websites.

These are all things that can be designed. Heck, design has so many different meanings and application you wonder if the term can be defined at all.

Answer: It can. Design has a variety of definitions, but in its simplest form, it can be defined as both a verb and a noun: It can refer to the act of creating a composition or or to the composition itself.

Design is about creating feasible, functional solutions to a variety of problems, and always happens with a particular goal in mind. — Amanda Chong, HubSpot designer

As ambiguous as it seems, design can be defined … particularly when it comes to how it applies to marketing. That’s why we compiled this guide — to help you better understand design and it’s principles and types. Bookmark this guide for future reference, and use the chapter links to jump ahead to any section that interests you.

Design has many different connotations depending on its application. It’s is an incredibly fluid industry. In short, design can be whatever you want it to be — as long as you don’t forget some of its predefined tenets. These are known as the principles of design.

There are many additional terms related to these principles: movement rhythm, symmetry, and white space. These design concepts fall under and/or are based on the above tenets and therefore aren’t considered standalone principles.

Let’s break down each principle of design and their associated design concepts.

Balance

Balance is how objects in a composition are arranged and what visual weight they carry. Balance can be achieved using the following methods.

  • Symmetry (Formal balance): When objects are arranged evenly around a vertical or horizontal axis. Objects are arranged around a central point (or a radius) is known as radial symmetry.
  • Asymmetry (Informal balance): When objects are arranged unevenly around a vertical or horizontal axis. Typically, there’s one dominant side or element in an asymmetrical composition.

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Contrast

Contrast refers to how elements in a composition differ. This principle is often paired with the principle of similarity, which is how composition elements resemble each other. Contrast can be established using design elements like space, form, size, color, and texture.

White space is also an important element of contrast. Often called negative space, which space refers to the empty parts of a composition. White space can help organize the elements in a composition and emphasize the most important ones. It also creates an aura of luxury and minimalism.

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Dominance

Dominance refers to the varying degrees of emphasis within a composition. Emphasis is typically achieved using elements like size, font choice, and certain color combinations (that may create contrast). There are three main stages of dominance in design.

  • Dominant — The object of primary emphasis. It’s given the most visual weight and is typically found in the foreground of a composition.
  • Sub-dominant — The object(s) of secondary emphasis typically found in the middle ground.
  • Subordinate — The object(s) of tertiary emphasis typically found in the background.

Fun fact: The visual center is where we naturally focus on a piece of visual design. It’s slightly above and to the right of the actual center of a composition and is often referred to as “museum height”.

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Movement

Movement is the visual path a viewer follows when viewing a composition. With proper movement, a composition can create a narrative and provide a high-quality user experience (UX). Movement can be established using design elements like lines, shapes, and colors.

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Proportion or Scale

Proportion refers to the visual weight and size of a composition’s elements and how they relate to each other. This principle is also known as scale.

The relative size of one object to another can help create a focal point or movement along the composition. Also, varying sizes of objects can help communicate the importance and dominance of one element over another.

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Unity

Visual unity has been said to be the main goal of design, although that opinion differs among designers and certain design communities. Unity, or harmony, refers to the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. When a composition’s elements are in agreement, there exists unity; when the elements aren’t in agreement, a composition is said to have variety.

The following design principles are associated with unity.

  • Alignment — When objects are lined up on a certain axis or cadence
  • Continuation — When a line or pattern extends
  • Perspective — When there’s a distance between elements
  • Proximity — When objects are placed close together
  • Repetition — When objects are copied multiple times
  • Rhythm — When objects recur with a slight change or interruption 

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While the principles of design are considered universal, they look a little different as applied to different design communities and practices. Below, we’ve reviewed the top seven types of design in marketing.

Let’s break down each type of design and how they apply to the marketing industry.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is probably what you picture when you think of design in the marketing field: social media images, email marketing headers, infographics, postcards, and much more.

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Since visual content is a highly valuable and engaging marketing medium, companies rely on graphic designers to create assets that represent their brand and communicate with their audience.

Need templates to help you create content for any online channel? Download our free library of over 195 visual marketing design templates.

Branding and Logo Design

Branding and logo design is a subset of graphic design. It includes the visual elements of a brand and brand identity, such as logos, typography, color palettes, style guides, and more.

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Branding and logo designers create assets that represent a brand, illustrate the brand’s mission, vision, and values, and promote brand awareness for the company.

Learn the fundamental concepts of graphic design and how to use them to create high-quality graphics by taking the HubSpot Academy Graphic Design Essentials course.

UI and UX Design

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design focus on improving how website, app, and software users interact with and experience a product.

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While some roles combine UI and UX design, the two practices are quite different. UI designers are responsible for creating a visually-pleasing, on-brand experience for users through web page design, app design, and theme design on sites like WordPress and Shopify.

UX designers, on the other hand, are responsible for making sure a product actually solves a problem through usability testing, user flows, and digital prototypes.

Web (Front-End) Design

Web design applies to the front-end (public-facing) side of a website. Front-end designers are like UI designers equipped with coding knowledge — they design static UI mockups for a website and then translate them into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. (But don’t confuse this practice with front-end web development.)

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Web designers create assets that produce an attractive and fully-functional website, such as splash pages, navigational elements, sitemaps and pages, scrolling and clicking features, and content management systems.

Multimedia Design

Multimedia (or motion graphic) design is designing graphics for a variety of media, particularly video and animation. Because of its time and cost requirements, this type of design has historically been reserved for those in TV and film. But with advancements in technology and a recent rise in video content marketing, motion graphic design has become more accessible than ever.

 

 

Multimedia designers are responsible for creating moveable assets that communicate and delight with an audience, like moveable logos, GIFs, animated videos, tutorial videos, and animated websites.

Environmental Design

Environmental design, also known as environmental graphic design, is intended to improve a person’s experience by furthering the purpose of an environment, whether that’s to be memorable, exciting, informative, motivational, or easily navigable. The practice merges interior design, architecture, graphic design, landscape design, and industrial design.

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Environmental designers create assets that connect people to their environment, such as, murals, office design and branding, store interiors, event space design, and signage and interactive advertising.

Marketing Design Tips

We’ve covered the basics of the most common types of design in marketing: graphic, branding, UI and UX, and web, multimedia, and environmental. Now, we’re going to dive into some tips for the top four.

Note: Keep an eye out for the principles of design we discussed above … they’ll make an appearance in this section, too.

Graphic Design Tips

1. Start with the purpose

What type of content are you designing … a social media ad, email template header, or ebook? These are three different pieces of content with three wildly different purposes and goals. Before you create your piece of graphic design, jot down the purpose of the content. This can help keep your design goals aligned with your content goals as you create your piece of art.

2. Apply your style guide

When deciding on what design elements to include, consider your company’s branding style guide. (We’ll get into how and why to create a style guide next.) This guide will immediately show you what colors, fonts, and other design elements to use when designing your content. From there, you can make small tweaks depending on what type of content you’re creating.

3. Create order with lines and alignment

Lines and alignment in your graphic design can create movement and order. Align the text in your graphic to guide your viewer as they read, or incorporate horizontal lines to section off your text and imagery. Similar to how you format long blog posts in small paragraphs, lines and alignment make pieces of graphic design easier to digest.

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4. Pepper in some icons and illustrations

Colors, text, and images make for gorgeous graphics, but don’t limit your elements to those three. Icons and illustrations can also spice up an otherwise text or image-heavy piece of content. Icons might also be able to illustrate concepts that photos can’t, and they serve as creative bullet points for long lists.

Spruce up your graphic design today with our 135 free icons to use in your marketing graphics.

Branding and Logo Design Tips

1. Design the aesthetic of your personality

How do you visually present the personality of your brand and company? If your brand was a person, what would he or she be like? Your branding design should reflect the answers to these questions.

Before starting your design, make a list of adjectives that describe your brand, company, and culture. This will help you choose color combinations, images, fonts, and other design elements and bring out the key points of your personality. Also, using your brand adjectives as guidance, build a collection of images, graphics, color samples, and similar logos that represent the “mood” of your brand — a.k.a. a mood board.

2. Get a little funky

Your logo and brand assets don’t have to be a straightforward representation of what your company does. Heck, HubSpot’s logo has really nothing to do with marketing, sales, or service software. Yet, it represents our company perfectly while being memorable and distinctive.

sprocket-web-color-5-1As you design your brand’s visual identity, don’t be afraid to get a little funky and incorporate some unique design aspects. Doing so may help your brand stand out from the rest.

3. Keep it simple

Your branding should communicate your aesthetic in a less than a second. Impressions are made in the blink of an eye, and your logo and brand identity is no exception. Consumers will decide if they like, dislike, are impressed by, or want nothing to do with your brand in a split second, so keep your design simple and to the point.

4. Prioritize consistency

This is perhaps the most important tip when it comes to branding and logo design: Be consistent. You can spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars developing a gorgeous visual identity for your brand — but if it’s not reflected on every piece of print and digital content, all your resources have gone to waste.

Consistency applies on a couple different axes — horizontally along your content elements, i.e. in your fonts, spacing, and color combinations, and vertically across your content outlets, i.e. between your social media, email, website, and print materials. Create a style guide to encourage everyone to adhere to your new branding. Here’s HubSpot’s Style Guide as an example.

Learn the key elements you need to create a strong brand by downloading The Essential Guide to Branding Your Company here.

UI and UX Design Tips

Note: UI and UX design are considered two different types of design, but because they’re so similar, we’ve collected a few tips that can apply to both practices.

1. Adapt a user’s perspective

Whether you’re designing the interface or the experience of an app, website, or online tool, always adapt the perspective of a user. Why would someone use your site? What would they hope to achieve? What might their challenges be? It’s important to research your user base and better understand how they’d approach or your site or application. Consider doing first-hand user research through a focus group or by talking to current customers.

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2. Anticipate mistakes

Regardless of much you talk to users, there will always be a handful (or more) of people who’ll stumble through your website or application. Anticipate these mistakes by incorporating fool-proof mechanisms, such as not letting someone submit a web form if they’ve skipped a box or having a user confirm they’d like to exit in case they accidentally clicked off the screen. These mechanisms can help prevent mistakes before they happen and let your users know you’ve got their backs.

3. Don’t neglect standards and trends

Designers love paving a new path and “reinventing the wheel” with their designs. While this can create something unique and memorable for the user, it may also confuse them if you’ve gone too far. Consider sticking with known design patterns, standards, and trends, such as a navigation bar the top right corner or contact information along the bottom of the page. This can help your users already subconsciously know how to navigate your site without explanation.

4. Be mobile-friendly friendly

Responsive design is a non-negotiable for websites and applications, but is your design mobile-friendly friendly? Consider the spacing of your buttons, the size of the text, and any other navigational or organizational elements that might be inconvenient in a responsive design. Also, look at how your site may change when viewed on a desktop, tablet, and various types of smartphones.

Web (Front-End) Design Tips

1. Consider the fold

On a website, the fold is considered the bottom of the screen — where your page would “fold” if it were a physical item, like a newspaper. The most important information on a websites should always be placed “above the fold” (like in newspapers) so a visitor doesn’t have to scroll down to see it.

2. Leverage white space to draw focus

In the case of web design, less is often more. With lots of information to share with visitors, it can be tempting to clutter it all above the fold so folks see it right away. But less cluttered websites are easier to read, navigate, and digest. Keep your visitors on your website by putting plenty of white space around your content; it’ll be easier for them to focus on reading and understanding your content.

3. Use color to guide action

Color psychology plays a big role in marketing. Without us even knowing it, certain colors can encourage us to do certain things, such as click a button or continue on to the next page of a web form. Use colors to guide the same types of action on your website. Make all of your CTAs a bold color to help them stand out.

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4. Avoid generic stock images

There are lots of ways to use images in your marketing, but the one method to avoid is using generic stock images. Generic, cheesy stock images make a brand seem lazy and disengaged with their buyer persona. The images on your website should be a representation of your audience, and if you can’t capture your actual audience, you should work hard to find stock images that do. Tip: One great way to collect audience images is by running a user-generated content (UGC) campaign.

Download our free guide to growth-driven web design for even more web design tips.

Time to Design

Design comes in all shapes and sizes … literally. From websites to print graphics to office space design, it plays a major role in marketing our businesses and brands. Even if you don’t consider yourself a designer, we encourage you to become more familiar with the elements and types of design. You never know when you may have to consult on a project or whip up a design of your own.

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The Ultimate Guide to Crowdsourcing

When Charlie Jabaley, co-founder of the artist management and marketing firm Street Execs, released one of his first client t-shirt designs, the euphoric high he felt in the morning plummeted to a heartbreaking low by night.

He had only sold a total of eight t-shirts.

With famous clients like 2 Chains and Travis Porter, Jabaley’s pressure to succeed was already stifling. But this failed merchandising campaign had just jacked it up to suffocating. Instead of freaking out and sulking about his woes, though, Jabaley took a step back and breathed in some well-needed fresh air.

He decided to frame this embarrassing flop as an opportunity to learn. And after some deep reflection and analysis, he dug up a silver lining that would eventually lead to a multi-million dollar model for merchandise design.

The silver lining Jabaley plucked from the shambles of his failed campaign was realizing he needed to focus on his customers more. More specifically, he needed to understand their’ true preferences. So rather than following the standard formula of merchandising — which was designing products based off a whim, buying hoards of inventory, and then marketing them — he broke conventional thinking by reverse-engineering the process.

Before he bought inventory, Jabaley would post merchandise designs on Instagram and use follower behavior and feedback to help him scrap unpopular designs and turn popular designs into merchandise.

By following his new method, Jabaley knew exactly what his customers wanted and what they were willing to buy, allowing him to solely focus on creating products that had proven demand, avoid wasting precious cash on unwanted inventory, and unload a huge amount of risk off the merchandising process.

Eventually, Jabaley’s method for determining which merchandise designs would sell, and which would not, helped him produce his first merchandising hit — a Dabbing Santa sweater that generated $2.1 million in only 30 days.

Image Credit: Shopify Plus

Charlie Jabaley isn’t the first person to inform his product design using the public’s opinion, though. It’s actually a method that iconic brands like Budweiser, Pepsi, and Oreo have leveraged for years — a method called crowdsourcing.

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What is crowdsourcing?

When businesses crowdsource, they ask the public for ideas, information, and opinions to help them craft better products and services. By crowdsourcing, companies can tap into a huge group of people’s expertise and skill sets, ensuring diversity of thought, expedited production, and cost-cutting, since they don’t need to hire new, in-house employees.

Companies who crowdsource usually break massive projects into individual tasks, which allows them to assign hundreds or thousands of people small jobs that they can work on by themselves.

Companies can also crowdsource on social media to gauge people’s opinion on their new product releases or updates. Additionally, companies can run contests to see who can create the best marketing material for them — like a logo, jingle, or commercial.

To help you fully grasp the concept of crowdsourcing, here are some concrete examples of the practice in action.

Crowdsourcing Examples

1. Waze

 Image Credit: Mashable

Waze is a community-based GPS traffic and navigation app. Their users, which has grown to over 90 million around the globe, report real-time traffic and road information, like police traps, accidents, road hazards, traffic jams, and the cheapest gas stations near your route. All of this crowdsourced information allows users to help each other reach their destinations promptly and safely.

2. Unsplash

What started out as Mikael Cho’s fun side project on Tumblr, taking half a day and $19 to create, eventually turned into his flailing startup’s top referral source and became its own standalone company — Unsplash.

Unsplash experienced hockey-stick growth because their service offered the ultimate remedy for a huge pain point in the content marketing space — free, unlicensed stock photos. And by using their initial boom in buzz and traffic to convince photographers to contribute free photos to their library as a way to market their art, Unsplash has successfully fostered a community of over 110,000 photographers, built a library of over 850,000 photos, and generates more than nine billion photo impressions per month.

3. Contently’s Freelance Rates Calculator

 Contently, a content creation platform that also connects brands with freelance talent, built a freelance rates calculator to provide more transparency across the industry and help freelancers better negotiate their rates.

By combining their public freelance rates database, where freelancers anonymously submit the rate they received from various companies, with their platform’s own internal data, Contently has crowdsourced precious information from freelancers in order to help the entire freelance community earn a fair rate in the future.

4. Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl

 “Time Machine” is arguably one of Doritos most memorable commercials, but you might be surprised that it had a budget of $300 and only took six hours to make. Well, that’s because it was created by an aspiring filmmaker who entered the spot into Doritos’ annual Crash the Super Bowl contest in 2014, and won the whole thing.

Frito-Lay, Dorito’s conglomerate, ran Crash the Super Bowl every year from 2007 through 2016, awarding the winner with a huge cash prize and an airing of their commercial during the Super Bowl. And by offering such a can’t-miss opportunity, which allowed them to tap into tens of thousands of people’s creativity, Doritos could associate some of the most unforgettable Super Bowl ads with their brand.

If you’re a freelancer looking for work or a brand looking for talent, check out the following crowdsourcing sites.

1. Fiverr

Fiverr is a freelance service marketplace that empowers freelancers. Instead of being a platform where freelancers search for jobs posted by brands, Fiverr is a place where brands search for freelancers with the expertise and skills for which they’re looking. Most freelancers on Fiverr offer skills and expertise in graphic design, digital marketing, writing & translation, video & animation, music & audio, programming & tech, business, and lifestyle.

2. Upwork

Similar to Fiverr, Upwork is a freelance service marketplace where freelancers create profiles, and then brands can hire them for short-term tasks, recurring projects, or full-time contract work. Most freelancers have skills and expertise in web development, mobile development, design, writing, administrative work, customer service, sales, marketing, accounting, and consulting.

3. CrowdSource

Trusted by brands like Target, Coca-Cola, and Major League Baseball, CrowdSource has trained, tested, and qualified a community of over 200,000 freelancers who can provide copywriting, content moderation, data entry, and transcription expertise and skills. Brands can also search for freelancers by the agency, marketing, publishing, retail, and service provider industries.

4. Contently

Contently is a content creation software that connects enterprise brands with freelance talent, so they’re constantly on the lookout for freelancers who can fulfill their clients’ needs, as well as their own.

If you’re a freelance creative looking for gigs with some big brands, you can register as a freelancer on Contently’s platform and create a free portfolio. You’ll need to get approved and complete their training before you can work with any of their clients, but once you do that, you’ll be apart of their freelance network.

If you’re a brand looking for freelancers to help you craft original stories, check out Contently’s platform here.

5. Skyword

Similar to Contently, Skyword is a content creation software that also connects enterprise brands with freelance talent. If you’re a videographer, writer, photographer, or designer, you can create a portfolio that Skyword’s clients will have direct access to.

If you’re a brand looking for freelance talent, check out Skyword’s platform here.

Crowdsourcing Jobs

If you’re interested in working a crowdsourced job, check out the following gigs you could find in each of the job categories below.

Marketing

Writing

Videography

Design

Photography

Animation

Web development

Mobile development

Editing Jobs

Copy editing

Content evaluation

Content moderation

Proofreading

Administrative

Virtual assitant

Customer service

Usability testing

Audio transcription

Social media post categorization

Image and video processing

Image categorization

Data Jobs

Data entry

Data research

Data categorization

Data processing

Data verification and clean up

Research Jobs

Information gathering

Price checking

Product display checking

Business location verification

Web research

Google searching

Odd Jobs

Making deliveries

Cleaning

Dog walking

Survey taking

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The 4-Minute Guide to How Biweekly Pay Works

One of the first concerns your new business is likely to face is pay period — should you pay your employees weekly? Biweekly? Monthly?

Of course, you’ll want to take into consideration both the needs of your employees, and your HR payroll administrators. In other words, what is the easiest system for your HR team to process, and what will make most of your employees happiest?

Biweekly is a good option to consider, and it’s also the most popular option in the U.S. — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 36.5% of private businesses have decided to use biweekly pay as their pay system of choice.

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

If you’re wondering which pay period option is best to implement at your company — or if you’re just curious what biweekly pay entails — keep reading.

What Is Biweekly Pay?

Biweekly pay means you pay your employees once every two weeks, on a set day you choose.

For instance, let’s say you choose to pay your employees once every two weeks, on Friday.

Take a look at the following calendar for the months of January and February, 2019:

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feb-biweekly-payCalendar courtesy of Towncalendars.com

As you can see, it doesn’t matter which day of the month you pay your employees — you can pay them on the 4th one month, and then the 1st another. It’s only important you pay once every two weeks. 

Once you start the year, you’ll pay your employees once every two weeks. This might sound simple, but that means for two months out of the year, you’ll have three pay periods instead of two.

Pros of Biweekly Pay:

  • Your HR team needs to process payroll once every two weeks, which can reduce the likelihood of payroll errors and time spent on payroll processing, in comparison to weekly pay periods.
  • Employees receive more pay checks during the year than semimonthly, even if those paychecks are slightly lower than they would be on a semimonthly schedule.
  • A biweekly system is more consistent for employees — for instance, an employee can expect to receive a paycheck on every other Friday. With a semimonthly pay period, the days of the week will vary, with an employee potentially receiving a paycheck on a Monday, and then a Wednesday.
  • It likely makes your employees happier than operating on a monthly schedule, which requires employees to budget for a longer period of time.

Cons of Biweekly Pay:

  • If you use biweekly pay, your business must be prepared for the months with three paychecks, and budget accordingly to ensure the payroll account has enough money for those extra expenses.
  • Your payroll provider might charge your business for each payroll run, which results in higher annual fees than if you opt for semimonthly.
  • Your employees might want to get paid every week, so they have more consistent money coming into their accounts.
  • If your industry operates on contract work, where projects can stall for periods of time, employees might appreciate weekly pay for a sense of security.

Ultimately, it’s critical you consider what your competitors are doing, and what makes the most sense for your employees, when choosing a pay period. Your decision might vary depending on the size of your HR team, whether you can find a payroll provider with fair payroll fees, and whether your employees are salaried or hourly workers.

The Difference Between Semimonthly and Biweekly

At first glance, these two terms sound awfully similar — once every two weeks or twice a month are the same thing, aren’t they?

Actually, they’re not. Semimonthly means your employees get paid on two specific days of the month, regardless of when they fall. For instance, you might choose to pay your employees on the 15th and 30th of every month. Biweekly, on the other hand, promises employees a paycheck once every two weeks regardless of what day of the month it is — hence, in the calendars above, employees receive paychecks on the 4th, 18th, 1st, and 15th of the month.

Semimonthly means employees receive 24 paychecks per year, instead of 26. Additionally, the 15th and 30th of each month could fall on a holiday or weekend depending on the month, so your HR team needs to ensure they’re on-top of processing deadlines and pay dates to ensure your employees still receive a paycheck.

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Do the Right Thing, Even When It’s Hard [The Customer Code Series]

Editor’s note: This is the final post in a series on the HubSpot Customer Code.

I haven’t decided yet if this is the final tenet in The Customer Code or the “platform” that supports the entire Code. But I think it’s the most important of all — do the right thing, even when it’s hard … especially when it’s hard.

It’s hard to admit you made a mistake, and hold the midnight meeting to fix it.

It’s hard to look at your business critically and put in the time, money, and thought to fix pain points in your customer experience.

It’s hard to solve for the success of customers over the success of systems when we know that systems are how a business scales. Making those tradeoffs is hard!

Start solving for the customer today with the these 17 templates. 

But it’s the difficulty and the rarity that makes this work valuable.

Doing the hard things is an opportunity to differentiate ourselves and stand out.

At HubSpot, we talk about wanting to build a business that we’re proud of and that has long-lasting positive impact. We won’t achieve that by just doing the easy things.

At the start of the series I wrote about how growth alone doesn’t interest me anymore. I want HubSpot to grow, but more importantly, I want us to grow better. I want us to grow in a way that is good for our customers, partners, and employees.

That’s what The Customer Code is all about. It’s an attempt to create a sort of “code of conduct” that defines how we run our business, and early indicators are that it is working. In our annual planning and in our investments and product decisions, one question keeps coming up: “Does this approach support the tenets of the Customer Code?”

For years we’ve talked about “Solving for the customer.” It’s been a pillar of our philosophy, but it always felt a bit nebulous. The Customer Code is how we now turn that philosophy into practice. It’s how we hold ourselves accountable to do the right thing, even when it’s hard, complicated, expensive, or time-consuming.

In the same way that The Culture Code gave us common language to describe how we as individuals work with each other, the Customer Code is giving us a common language to describe how we as teams and leaders solve for our customers.

So I hope you’ll join us. Either in adopting the Customer Code or creating a code that makes sense for your customers and business.

Every business seeks to grow, but doing the right thing for customers, even when it’s hard (especially when it’s hard) is how we grow better. The Customer Code makes sure we here at HubSpot keep on doing the hard things.

This post is the final installment in a series on HubSpot’s Customer Code. You can find more info on The Customer Code and how we score ourselves here, and watch my INBOUND talk on this topic here.

 

Customer First Templates

 

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The Plain-English Guide to Domains & Domain Names

In 2009, the domain Fly.com was sold for $1.76 million. Even though this domain seems like it would be highly sought after, the asking price still seems a little steep. But Fly.com attracts over a million unique visits per month, justifying its million dollar cost and illustrating just how important it is to have a domain that reflects your business’ name and what you actually do.

If you’re in the process of setting up a website for your business, you might’ve come across two terms: domain and domain name. On the surface, domain and a domain name might seem like the same exact thing. And if you dig a little deeper, that’s exactly the case — a domain and domain name are often used interchangeably.

Improve your content's ROI with the help of this step-by-step guide to ranking  higher in search.

What is a domain?

A domain is the part of a URL that’s after “https://”. In simple terms, it’s the address people type in to visit your website. For example, “hubspot.com” is HubSpot’s domain.

Image Credit: Computer Hope

Every website has an IP address, which is a unique string of numbers that connect computers to web servers, but people don’t want to memorize an IP address just to visit a website. Fortunately, domains fill in for a website’s IP address, allowing people to easily remember and identify websites.

Essentially, domains are like your house’s address. Instead of your friends using your house’s GSP coordinate every time they want to visit you, they can just plug in your street address, which is much easier to remember.

Not including its extension, like “.com”, the maximum length a domain can be is 63 characters. The minimum length can be one character.

If you want to acquire a domain, you must buy one and register it. To do this, visit a domain name registrar, like GoDaddy or Google Domains, plug your desired domain name in, check its availability and price, and then buy it, if it’s in your price range.

Domains also let you create a custom email address for your business. To do this, you just need to register your domain and then sign up for an email hosting service, like Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials or Zoho.

The Parts of a Domain

There are two parts of a domain: the second-level domain and the top-level domain. The second-level domain is the part of your domain that comes before “.com”.

If you’re building a website for your business, consider buying a domain that reflects your business’s name. This will make it easier for people to find your website without needing to spend a lot of time scouring Google for it. For instance, hubspot.com’s top-level domain is “hubspot”.

The top-level domain is the part of your domain that comes after your second-level domain.

It specifies what type of entity your organization registers as on the internet. For example, HubSpot’s top-level domain is “.com” since we’re a commercial entity in the United States. Most American businesses also register their website with “.com”. Similarly, a lot of academic institutions in the United States register with a top-level domain of “.edu”. There are over 1,500 top-level domains available worldwide, but other common ones are “.org” and “.net”.

What is a domain name?

The term “domain name” is often used interchangeably with the term “domain”. That’s because they refer to the same thing — the specific text that people can reference to identify your website.

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