25 Stats That Prove Why Workplaces Need to Embrace Diversity

As a legally blind person who’s held roles that involve editing, design, and highly visual tasks, I thought I had it easier than a lot of other visually impaired people in my field.

I’d never been blatantly discriminated against or felt like I didn’t receive an offer due to my vision. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to work on teams run by women or diverse leaders.

However, as I got older, I realized that I hadn’t completely evaded misjudgments related to my eyesight. While I’ve had a handful of great experiences, I’ve run into a few subtle job interview scenarios that seem more and more unacceptable each time I reflect on them.

In my first job search after college, I realized that disclosing my blindness would always result in a look of concern or an incredibly awkward series of questions from a hiring manager. Many of these questions didn’t even have to do with the job role I was interviewing for.

Sometimes, an interviewer would try to hide a look of concern. Then, they’d make things even more awkward by trying to relate to me with statements like, “My second cousin is blind too! I should ask her what she has.”

Ultimately, I followed my instincts and didn’t work for any of these people. However, even after I built a list of glowing recommendations from past employers, those uncomfortable interview memories stuck with me.

Because of how these experiences, I felt like I had to give certain prospective companies a “fluffier” description of my sight to protect myself against any possibility of job discrimination.

For example, if a hiring manager noticed my low vision, I’d say, “I’m just visually impaired” or “I’m super nearsighted.” If I didn’t think they could tell, I’d say nothing about it until I was handed an offer. Even when filling out anonymous self-identification forms on job applications, I’d always decline to check the “disabled” box.

It wasn’t until I learned more about self-advocacy and workplace inclusion that I realized that some of the interview experiences I had weren’t okay. And, by following my gut instinct of not working for employers that made me feel uncomfortable during the interview process, I ended up working for employers that accepted and empowered me.

Today, I work at HubSpot, a company that heavily invests heavily in diversity and inclusion. Because my organization is always taking steps to make everyone feel a sense of belonging, I find it much easier to open up about my own differences.

But, as I’ve learned, most companies aren’t as forward-thinking as HubSpot. And the sad reality is, people like me still do feel that they need to protect themselves from job discrimination.

Although my negative workplace experiences have been light, I personally know plenty of people who’ve dealt with something worse due to a disability, cultural background, or gender identity.

In fact, three in five people have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination.

Scary right?

This is why businesses need to invest in diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion isn’t just a strategy that helps managers keep employees feeling psychologically safe. Embracing diverse backgrounds also opens the door to better problem solving and innovative ideas.

In fact, diversity is so important to innovation that HubSpot’s CTO Dharmesh Shah took the main stage at INBOUND 2019 to make the case for it.

In his speech, Shah told the story of YouTube’s early days. When the platform first launched its app, they realized that 10% of users were uploading horizontal videos upside-down.

Upon further research, YouTube’s team realized that 10% of the population was left-handed. When these left-handed users filmed videos from their own perspective, they held the phone in the opposite way that the average right-handed users would. As it turns out, there were no left-handed people on the app’s early team to point out this UX issue before the launch.

When the app feature was fixed to include left-handed tilts, the user experience was better for all possible users.

The moral of the story?

“Magic happens when different but complementary people intersect,” says Shah.

When you have diverse people and perspectives on your team, your product will benefit. This is because there’s a greater likelihood that someone with different experiences will pitch a great idea that you haven’t even thought of yet.

But achieving success with diversity and inclusion isn’t just about hiring someone who identifies as different and speaking to them in a politically correct way. It’s about looking at talent for their accomplishments, recognizing how their differences can help you, and creating a culture that encourages your employees to similarly embrace diversity.

If you’re aiming to truly embrace your team’s unique qualities in 2020, here are 25 stats to know about the state of workplace diversity, how it benefits companies, and where companies are still falling behind.

25 Stats About Diversity in the Workplace

General Stats

  • Diversity in the U.S. is growing. Roughly 51% of children under 15 identify with a social or ethnic minority — more than any percentage in past generations. (Brookings)
  • In 2019, 29% of Baby Boomers were working or looking for work, outpacing generations before them at their age. (Pew Research Center)
  • The workforce is aging. In 2018, employees over 55 made up 23% of the labor force. This number is expected to rise to over 25% by 2028. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • More than 40 million Americans have a disability. (Pew Research Center)
  • More than 4.5% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ+. (Gallup)
  • The workforce will grow more diverse as Gen Z enters it. More than 48% of the age group, which outnumbers millennials, identifies as racially or ethnically diverse. (Pew Research Center)

How Diversity Improves the Workplace

  • In a 2018 study of over 1,700 companies, organizations with a diverse leadership team had 19% higher revenue on average than companies with less diverse leaders. (Boston Consulting Group)
  • By 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams that have diverse members and embrace inclusive strategies will exceed financial targets. (Gartner)
  • More than 77% of job candidates consider a company’s culture at some point when determining if they’ll accept an offer. (Glassdoor)
  • 65% of people say they stay at their jobs primarily because of the company culture. (Glassdoor)
  • Most leading companies site diversity as one of the most valuable aspects of company culture. (Glassdoor)
  • Average employee performance in diverse organizations is 12% higher than performance at non-diverse organizations. (Gartner)
  • In 2019, more than half of employees globally prioritized solid work culture over salary when deciding on a job position. (Glassdoor)
employees prioritize culture over other benefits

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  • In 2017, gender diverse executive teams deliver 21% more profitability than teams with no gender diversity. This number rose from 15% in 2014. (McKinsey & Company)

Improvements in Workplace Diversity

  • From 2018 to 2019, the number of U.S. job listings related to diversity and inclusion rose by 30% while the U.K. saw a 106% boost. (Glassdoor)

job listings for diversity and inclusion

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  • In a 2018 global study, 75% of companies said their workplaces were aiming to improve diversity at their companies. (Boston Consulting Group)
  • In 2018, the unemployment rate of male and female U.S. veterans dropped to 3.5% and 3% respectively. This decreased from an average of 5.1% for all veterans in 2016. (BLS)
  • In 2019, the unemployment rate of foreign-born workers (3.1%) was less than U.S.-born workers (3.8%). (BLS)

Where Workplaces are Lacking

  • In 2019, a survey found that three in five U.S. employees have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination related to age, race, gender or LGBTQ+ identity. This is higher than the global average of 49%. (Glassdoor)
  • In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities rose to 8% while the unemployment rate of those without disabilities is only 3.7% (BLS)
  • The most commonly witnessed form of discrimination is ageism, which 45% of people say they’ve witnessed or experienced. (Glassdoor)
  • The second and third most common forms of workplace discrimination are racism and gender discrimination. Roughly 42% of employees say they’ve witnessed or experienced each. (Glassdoor)
  • When it comes to ageism, 52% of employees between 18 to 34 have seen or experienced it while only 39% of employees aged 55 or older have reported it. (Glassdoor)
  • More men (38%) have experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination than women (28%). (Glassdoor)
  • Between 2008 and 2018, the number of job reviews that spoke negatively about a company’s diversity rose from 25% to 32%. (Glassdoor)
Employees are increasingly pessimistic about workplace diversity

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Embracing Diversity in the Workplace and Beyond

As you can see, embracing diversity can provide numerous benefits to your company. And while diversity and inclusion still have a long way to go in the workplace, your company shouldn’t stop there. Inclusion should span every aspect of your company, from your people operations to your marketing campaigns.

To learn more about how to cultivate an inclusive work environment, check out this helpful blog post. If you want to take things further by embracing diversity in your marketing, here’s a rundown of seven brands that nailed inclusive marketing.

Want to learn more about the benefits of diversity? Click here.

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4 Predictions Marketing Experts Got Wrong About Social Media in 2020

As a marketer, reading trending predictions or industry forecasts is the norm.

But sometimes you just want to pull a Regina George and say, “Stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen.”

We’ve all been there, especially with social media predictions.

Although we’re always trying to forecast what the future holds so we can run successful campaigns and strategize for the future, things don’t always go as planned.

Sometimes we even get it wrong.

In this post, we’re going to look at the top social media predictions that marketing experts got wrong.

Bad Social Media Predictions

1. Google would have a successful social media platform.

Google has been trying to get into the social media game for years. In fact, the company started Google Wave in 2009, Google Buzz in 2010, and Google+ in 2011.

But one after the other, the projects were discontinued or defunct.

However, not everyone saw the writing on the wall. In fact, industry experts were optimistic about Google+.

Although I was never convinced as a user (call me a late adopter), when new social media platforms come around, especially by industry giants like Google, marketers pay attention.

Even when the Google+ founding father left Google, marketers at Marketing Land thought the social network still had a chance.

MarketingLand article on Google+.

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In 2014, Mark Traphagen predicted that “Google+ the social network and user data infrastructure of Google is not going away” and “the Google+ project has been an incredible success because it drove the unification of Google products.”

As it turns out, Google+ happened to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps and is officially defunct.

2. Facebook use will decline after continued drama.

Is it me or is there always Facebook drama nowadays?

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the trending hashtag #DeleteFacebook, and the election scandal, Facebook’s reputation has continued to decline.

In fact, some marketers thought the social network would see a decline in users due to the drama.

Medium article on why Facebook is dying.

Image Source

But, if you were one of the people that thought Facebook would see its end, it turns out you were wrong … so far.

According to HubSpot research, 60% of survey respondents said they haven’t left Facebook despite the drama and don’t plan to leave.

Even after the Analytica scandal, Facebook still saw a 1.6% increase in active users.

It appears that Facebook users are too invested to cut the chord completely. Facebook has stored memories and connects people to old friends and family.

Additionally, many other accounts of yours might be linked to your Facebook account. Deleting this social network might just be an unnecessary pain.

3. Virtual reality will grow like crazy.

Virtual and augmented reality have been the buzz topic on social media for years now. It seems like I’m always reading about how it’s going to grow like crazy.

In 2015, Business Insider said virtual reality would grow like crazy in the next five years. They predicted that “26.5 million units would be sold in 2020.”

Business Insider predicts virtual reality will grow like crazy.

Image Source

Additionally, in 2016, Fortune predicted that VR would sell 200 million headsets worldwide by 2020.

Spoiler alert: it hasn’t happened.

According to the latest estimated figures, only 7 million VR headsets were sold in 2019 and 14 million are expected to sell for 2020.

With VR, it appears that slow and steady wins the race. Maybe the industry will get there one day.

4. Anonymous social media will get bigger.

Do you remember the social media platforms Secret, YikYak, and Whisper?

Truthfully, me neither. They’re all anonymous social media sites, two of which are now defunct. Back in my day, the anonymous social media site du jour was Formspring.

But in 2015 Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite, predicted that “demand for anonymous social media will only get bigger.”

As it turns out, the struggles seemed to continue. There were constant issues of cyberbullying and harassment.

The apps closed down one after another. Secret dissolved in 2015 and YikYak shut down in 2017.

And it looks like Whisper is on the same trajectory. In 2017 the app had to lay off 20% of its employees to save the company. Now, they’re having privacy issues. According to “The Washington Post”, private data was publicly available.

Plus, the app continues to fall in popularity, landing at 122nd in social networking in the iPhone app store.

Although it can be hard to admit, marketers don’t always get it right. And that’s okay. All we can do is use the data available to forecast industry trends so we can plan for the future.

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Author: Rebecca White

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How to Run a Social Media Contest That Gets Tons of Engagement (11 Contest Ideas)

There are so many rules and guidelines and so much planning and preparation involved. A contest could be the best tactic you’ve ever introduced to grow your reach, drive site traffic, and generate leads, but you want to ensure you’re doing it right. 

Here’s how you can set yourself up for success with contests on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

How to Run a Contest on Facebook

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform, so running a contest on Facebook makes sense. After all, your prospects most likely hang out here. Here are some best practices:

Follow the Rules

Before you start your Facebook contest, make sure you can actually run it legally. Facebook has cracked down on contests due to liability issues, so read through their strict rules ahead of time. Some of those rules include: 

  • The onus is on you to communicate the terms of the contest. 
  • You must acknowledge that Facebook has not sponsored the contest and is not liable in its administration. 
  • You cannot use personal timelines as an entry mechanism for the contest (e.g. sharing, tagging, etc.).

In general, you can assume you’re responsible for the legal and logistical portions of your contest; Facebook just provides the people.

To learn more about Facebook’s contest rules, visit their Page Guidelines.

Include a Form on a Landing Page to Generate Leads

If your goal is to generate leads from your contest, you might want to include a form directly on your landing page. This will make the process much easier for people trying to register for the contest. Avoid making your entrants dig through mountains of rules or a maze of links to get to where they want to go.

Create Your Own Terms & Conditions / Official Rules Page

Facebook makes it very clear that you must provide the official terms, rules, and eligibility requirements for your contest. You need to “include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant and include acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.” In addition, it is important to provide disclosure information — that if the participant is filling out a form and giving you personal information, that information is going to you and not to Facebook.

Make Use of Third Party Apps

The most common and effective way of managing Facebook contests is by using third party apps — some good ones are ShortStack, Woobox, and Offerpop. All of these make it easier to track participation and measure engagement.

Give Away Something Awesome

If you’re asking people to fill out a form, tell a story about their first experience with your brand, or explain why they love your product, a lousy keychain will not incentivize many entrants. If you have an amazing prize, people are more likely to put some serious effort into your contest.

Remember Your Goals and Measure Your Results

You can create the most impressive contest in the world, but if it doesn’t align with your goals or if you didn’t measure it correctly, who really cares? If you want to generate leads from your contest, for example, you know you need to collect entrants’ information via a form. If you’re looking to build reach and brand awareness, have entrants engage with the contest in some way. Whatever the objective is, Facebook Insights can let you know how much your reach has grown, or you can invest in closed-loop marketing software to track the number of leads generated and the growth of your reach.

How to Run a Contest on Twitter

Nearly 330 million people are active on Twitter, and 40% of Twitter users purchased something after seeing it on the platform. This makes it a great platform to spread brand awareness through a contest.

Follow the Rules

When you’re running a contest, just like any day on Twitter, make sure you’re following Twitter’s rules. Discourage dishonest behavior such as the creation of multiple accounts or posting the same tweet repeatedly. However, do encourage good behavior such as topic relevance and creativity. Your entrants must also comply with applicable laws and regulations — Twitter makes it clear that this portion is your responsibility. In other words, you write the official rules, and any legal backlash will be your problem, not Twitter’s.

Set Your Goals

If you don’t know what you’re looking to achieve with the contest, how will you know if you’ve achieved it? Plus, your goals will help you figure out how to run the contest. If you’re looking to promote a specific event or offer, for example, have your entrants tweet a link to it; just make sure you’re using tracking tokens to measure your leads and clicks to see exactly how successful the contest was. If you are trying to improve reach, on the other hand, have entrants retweet the original tweet you sent out about the contest. And if you’re looking to build awareness of your brand, require your entrants to follow you in order to be eligible.


Iron Out the Details, Including Contest Type and Timing

There are several types of contests you could choose from, so make sure you pick one that aligns with your goals. Popular types of contests on Twitter include: 

  • Sweepstakes-style contests – Great for generating leads if you have them sign up on your site or reach if you require a follow and retweet for entry.
  • Caption or creative answer contests – Great for improving engagement. 
  • Photo contests – Great for spreading awareness for your contest if you require them to post the photo to their own Twitter feed.

You also need to figure out when the contest will take place, how long it will run, and when the announcement of the contest will take place — will it be days before via your blog and other social media networks, or just minutes before the contest? Once you have your goals set, details like these are the easy part.

Direct Users to Mention You or Create a Specific Hashtag for the Contest

It’s impossible to honestly select a winner for a contest if you can’t find and weed through all the submissions. Make sure you set yourself up for success by creating streams specifically dedicated to the contest.

When tweeting the announcement that you’re having a contest, ask users to include either an @mention to you in their tweet or a specific hashtag dedicated to the contest or campaign you’re running at the time. This way you can clearly see all the entrants, making your life much easier when the time comes to select a winner.

Measure Your Results

Track your contest hashtag over time using a third-party app, use a contest-specific bit.ly link, or view any contest-generated traffic using an analytics platform or your marketing software.

How to Run a Contest on Pinterest

Pinterest has more than 322 million monthly active users, and about 70% of them are female. If your target audience is women, and you’re in a creative or visual industry, Pinterest is a great choice for your contest. Here are some tips to knock it out of the park:

Follow Proper Pin Etiquette

Pinterest has relaxed guidelines for running contests

  • Don’t suggest that your contest is endorsed by Pinterest.
  • Don’t require users to save a specific image. 
  • Don’t allow more than one entry per person. 
  • Follow the Pinterest brand guidelines and terms of service. 

 In a nutshell, Pinterest encourages users to be respectful and authentic. For a more in-depth understanding of their rules, access their Community Guidelines. 

This contest from Garnet Hill falls right in line with what pinners love to do.

Pinterest Contest Example Country Living

Make an Announcement

Leverage your social networks. Don’t just announce that you’re having a contest on Pinterest; tell your followers on Twitter, your fans on Facebook, and your following on Instagram, too. Depending on the length of the contest, you should make social promotion a regular part of your social media schedule to encourage participation.

Clearly Articulate the Rules of the Contest

Whether you’re asking entrants to create a whole new board for your contest, like Garnet Hill, or you want them to simply repin one image, let participants know so they can follow your rules properly. Include a bullet point list of the rules right on a repinnable image. Behind the image, include a link to more details about your contest using a landing page on your website.

Remember Your Goals and Measure Your Results

Tailor your contest to suit your goals and measure your results accordingly. For example, if you are looking to generate leads and you could care less about engagement, you wouldn’t measure reach. If you align your goals and metrics with your contest, you’ll be much more successful in the long-run.

Use a Pre-Defined Hashtag to Find Submissions

Use a hashtag so people can follow the contest entries on Pinterest. This will help spread the word about your contest, and it can also help you find participants. If you’re requiring entrants to create a board for your contest, have them use a pre-defined hashtag on their images so it’s easy to find. Or are they simply repinning the original contest image? That’s easy — just click on the pin to see who repinned it!

Have a Prize Your Audience Will Love

If participants are creating an entire board on their Pinterest account dedicated to your company, you’ll need to give away something really awesome. The more effort your participants need to put in, the better the prize should be. You will get fewer participants with a contest giving away a koozie than a contest giving away an entire bedroom set. Plus, a prize like a beautiful new bedroom set plays right into the interests of Pinterest users — beautiful, visual items.

How to Run a Contest on Instagram

Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual social media platform. If you have aesthetic products or are creating a striking campaign, it will do well on this platform. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Instagram contest:

Follow Best Practices

Instagram, now owned by Facebook but independently managed, has similar rules for running contests. The big one being that Instagram does not want any language that implies endorsement, and they do not want to be involved in the administration of the contest. You can read more about Instagram’s contest rules here.

Set Your Goals and Clearly Articulate the Rules

Your goals should be directly correlated with how you run your contest. If you want to drive traffic to your website, make participants go there to enter. If you’re more interested in boosting engagement, have them leave a comment. You are the owner of your contest, so only you get to decide what is required for entry.

Instagram Nail Contest

Make an Announcement

Photos on Instagram fly through the feed so quickly, you might have trouble being successful with only one contest announcement. Promote the contest on your website and other social networks to get as many participants as possible. You can certainly post about the contest multiple times if you keep it creative and always craft unique updates.

Follow a Theme to Inspire Excitement in Your Followers

Are you currently running a campaign that you want your contest to run alongside of? Follow the same theme. Your Instagram followers are certainly a creative bunch, so even if you’re a B2B company, they will find a way to add excitement to your brand. For example, GE ran a contest on Instagram using the hashtag #geinspiredme. After the contest, they featured the top photos as a board on their Pinterest account.

GE Inspired Instagram Contest

Consider a Hashtag or RSS Feed to Filter Submissions

Using a hashtag, like GE did, is a great way to filter your contest. However, if you get thousands of submissions, it might be tough to weed through them all. So in addition to the hashtag, try filtering with an RSS feed. Webstagram allows you to search a hashtag, and you can view every Instagram photo using this tag with the original caption and comments. 

Measure Your Results

Statigram is a great site for management, measurement, and promotion on Instagram. And lucky for you, it even has a “Contest” section with a toolkit for running photo contests. Now that you have all the tools working for you, match your measurement tactics with your goals and rules, and your contest should be a breeze.

Social Media Contest Ideas (With Examples)

Once you have determined what channel(s) to run your contest on, the fun part begins: outlining the details and rules for entry. Below are some contest ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing:

1. Ask them to tag a friend or share to win.

209magazine's tag contest on Instagram

This is one of the most common types of social media contest because it necessitates entrants to spread the word, which in turn attracts other entrants. 

209 Magazine used Instagram to promote their contest so they could take advantage of hashtags. Notice that they used local hashtags, which means that they’ll likely get participants in their local area, making for a more targeted approach to the contest. The end result being new local followers who may be interested in additional content from the magazine.

2. Ask them to showcase their creativity.

Tony Hawk's creativity contest on Twitter

Many people are inherently creative, but unless they work in a creative field, they may not have the opportunity to indulge in artistic endeavors as often as they’d like. This is why coloring, poetry, and art contests are a great choice for social media — participants are incentivized by both the prize and the means to get it. 

This Twitter contest by Tony Hawk, SkateJam, and Adobe is an excellent example for a few reasons: 

  • It’s a partnership between multiple brands who can cross-promote. 
  • The rules of the contest require using one of the brand’s products to enter. 
  • Not only are entrants eligible for a cool prize, but they also could see their art featured in the game! How cool is that?

3. Ask them to get on camera. 

Torrid photo contest on Facebook

Photo contests are a great option because many people access social media platforms on mobile devices. That means the camera is likely built into the device they’re using when they first see the contest announcement, making for a frictionless entry. Plus, it can be fun to be a model for a day. 

Torrid, a plus-size clothing brand, is on a mission to make their customers feel confident and beautiful when wearing their products. With this in mind, photo contests like this one they held on Facebook are greatly aligned with their overall brand.

4. Ask them to share their opinion. 

nanu's opinion contest on Twitter

If you’ve ever read the comments section of a trending social media post, you know that people are social and love to share their opinions. Consider prompting participants with a question they must answer in order to enter the contest. By asking them to share their opinion, you’re getting them to think about a topic related to your brand, and you benefit from the engagement and interaction that happens as a result. 

Nanu, a company that offers personalized pillows, decided to ask Twitter users about their napping habits for the chance to win free product. This spreads awareness about their product while staying on topic, bringing their offerings top of mind.

5. Ask them to contribute and be featured.

NASA contribute contest on Pinterest

Recognition is a common motivator, so contests where being featured is the prize can have pretty decent success. These types of contests are a great idea because: 

  • You get free content in the form of contributions. 
  • The prize is promoting the best contribution. 
  • You get amazing brand awareness as entrants must think about how they want to contribute. 

In some cases, just being featured might be a good enough accolade to motivate people to enter. In others, you may want to consider an additional prize similar to the way the Tony Hawk example does. 

This NASA example on Pinterest is particularly neat because it targets K-12 students as entrants, spreading interest for the STEM field. The prize is pretty cool, too: The winner gets to brag that they contributed to a space project.

6. Ask them for laughs. 

BYU's caption contest on Twitter

They say that laughing takes years off our lives, and incorporating it into social media can bring some of that energy into your marketing. One of the best ways to incorporate humor into a social media contest is with caption contests. Post a photo with no context, ask participants to caption the photo to enter the contest, and then crown the funniest submission as the winner. 

The BYU Alumni department held one of these contests on Twitter. It works particularly well not only for the humor factor but also in that it serves to remind alumni of crazy college antics. The more that BYU is able to tap into this nostalgia factor, the better their relationships with the alumni get.

7. Ask them to vote. 

Inked Magazine voting contest

Contests that have a voting element are great for engagement because it prompts users to interact in order to win, and it’s in the contestants’ best interests to spread the word. 

This Facebook contest by Inked Magazine is a great example of this. The winner gets featured on the cover of this prominent publication in addition to some pretty serious monetary winnings. Inked Magazine asks for followers to participate by voting, and the final contestants will also likely be asking their circle of influence to participate. This drives awareness of Inked Magazine’s brand. 

8. Ask them what they know. 

asymptote essay contest on pinterest

One of the coolest things about social media is how quickly information can be shared. One contest idea is to tap into this by prompting people to demonstrate their knowledge. This can be done by asking them to answer a trivia question, solve a puzzle, or pen an article.

Asymptote Journal taps into this category by promoting their essay contest on Pinterest. Entrants get the chance to win prizes by spreading awareness about an author they want others to know about. 

9. Ask them to share a part of their lives with you.

PetSmart's sharing contest on Instagram

Brands that have the most success on social media are the ones that build a community. That begins with humanizing the brand and also demonstrating compassion for its followers. What better way to do that than not making your social posts about you? Instead, fashion a contest that makes it about the individuals in your community. Ask them questions. Prompt them to talk about things that matter to them. Create discussions.

If there’s something that people love to talk about, it’s their furbabies. For many of us, pets are a big part of our life, and PetSmart taps into this by asking Instagram followers to share that passion. In addition, this type of contest is on topic for their brand, which keeps people aware of PetSmart and what they offer.

10. Ask them to demonstrate your product.

Converse's product demonstration contest on Facebook

One of the best ways to engage people with your products is by incentivizing them to do it with a contest. By requesting customer product photos, you benefit from free product placement and social proof, demonstrating that real people use and benefit from them.

Converse is a brand that runs a lot of contests, and they do it magnificently. This example is one they ran on Facebook, and there are a few reasons why it works: 

  • They’ve partnered with another brand to benefit from cross-promotion. 
  • They are targeting existing customers (those who already have Converse shoes) in an effort to engage and delight them. 
  • Converses have always been an extremely photogenic shoe with mass appeal, and they are emphasizing this appeal to spread brand awareness.

11. Ask them to participate in a challenge. 

Central Lacrosse challenge contest on Instagram

Have you ever been determined to do something because you were dared to? Maybe you became even more adamant about doing it because someone told you that you couldn’t. This sentiment is one reason why challenge contests are so popular. Entrants are motivated both by the dare and the vision of victory.

This Instagram contest by Central Lacrosse is interesting because they run the contest over 14 days. That gets people engaged with the challenge over a longer period of time, which extends the effectiveness of the contest’s goals. The longer it sticks around, the more people are likely to participate.

Now that you’ve been inspired by all of these ideas, here’s our challenge to you: come up with a great contest that reflects your brand, choose a social channel, come up with an amazing prize, and start earning those sweet, sweet engagement numbers.

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The Plain-English Guide to Local PPC

For the last few weeks, my husband and I have been ordering more takeout than ever.

As we were trying to find a restaurant to order from, we came across an online ad for one of our favorite local restaurants that just started offering delivery.

We were so excited and immediately placed an order.

That’s why local pay-per-click (PPC) can be a great option for local businesses.

Even when budgets are tight, a local PPC campaign can improve the efficiency of your local marketing as it allows you to get in front of the right audience.

Below, let’s review the benefits and top strategies for implementing a successful PPC campaign.

Benefits of Local PPC

When you own or run a local business, you know it can be hard to get in front of the right audience. When the budget is tight, it can be even harder.

However, with local PPC campaigns, you can run effective online advertising without breaking the bank.

Below, let’s discuss the top benefits of local PPC.

1. Running relevant ads.

With local PPC, your ads will only show up in front of the right audiences because you’re in control of who you’re targeting. Ideally, you’re only targeting people who can benefit from your business.

Additionally, you won’t be competing with national big names, so your budget will go a lot further. With more local campaigns, you’ll see less competition and more clicks and conversions.

2. Increasing brand awareness.

As a local business, it’s always important to get your name out there so your local community knows you exist.

With a local PPC campaign, you’ll increase brand awareness just by getting your name out there and in front of your audience. Even if those people don’t convert, brand awareness is very important in the success of a local business.

3. Improving conversions.

With people shifting to online shopping, it’s more important than ever to run a local PPC campaign.

When local audiences see your ad during their online shopping search, they’re more likely to convert because they’re actively searching for a solution to their problem.

4. Easily trackable.

Local PPC ads are easier to track than other local marketing tactics like banners or flyers. With these ads, you can see impressions, clicks, and conversions.

5. Low barrier to entry.

If you’re new to online advertising, local PPC is a great place to start. You don’t need to have a ton of SEO knowledge to run a local PPC campaign.

With local PPC, you can easily target people outside of your existing followers and cast a wide net to find new customers. Plus, most of the steps are intuitive when you’re in a PPC platform.

6. Flexible options.

With local PPC, there’s a lot of flexibility. For instance, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to see success. You can choose your budget and set a limit on what you’re willing to spend.

Then, if things go well, you can immediately scale up. On the other hand, you can also pause campaigns whenever you need to.

Additionally, local PPC ads give you flexibility with your targeting options. You can run ads based on geographic location or specific behaviors.

Local PPC Strategy

Now that we know what local PPC is and the benefits of running a local PPC campaign, let’s review the top strategies to get started.

1. Be specific with location.

When you’re deciding what locations to target, be specific. For instance, you can use zipcodes or city names to describe your service area.

However, keep in mind that it’s just as important to exclude areas where potential customers aren’t.

When you’re more specific with location, you’ll use your budget wisely so your ad never shows up to someone who can’t use your service.

2. Use the local language in your keywords.

The language in your PPC ads should be specific to your location. For instance, you can use Google Trends to see if people in your area are more likely to search “tennis shoes” than “sneakers.”

Additionally, you should include the location in your ad. For example, including the city name in your title can remove unqualified traffic from clicking on your ad. This will also save you money, so you don’t have to pay for a click that’ll never convert.

Using hyper-local language will help you succeed in local PPC.

3. Quickly test and optimize.

With local PPC campaigns, you can quickly test and optimize your ads based on immediate results.

A part of your local PPC strategy should be to make changes quickly when you see an ad performing well or underperforming.

Additionally, you can implement A/B testing to help you decide what ad will be more successful in your area.

4. Analyze the results of your current SEO.

If you track the health of your SEO, you should take note of your best-performing keywords and target those in your local PPC campaign.

For instance, if you see that a keyword performs well in organic rankings, you should use that keyword in your paid campaigns as well.

Typically, you can find these keywords in tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush or Ahrefs.

5. Enable ad extensions.

With ad extensions, you can include more details in your local PPC campaign. The more details you add, the better your ads will perform and the more you’ll get out of your budget.

You can add extensions such as location or call extensions. With these extensions, you can add more business information including your address and phone number. Additionally, call extensions can add a clickable button so customers can call you directly.

Before you enable ad extensions, make sure your Google My Business account information is up to date. Local PPC platforms pull data from GMB.

6. Use multiple PPC platforms.

You can run a local PPC ad on social media platforms or search engines. To reach more people with your online advertising, try using several platforms.

Additionally, you might be able to use your marketing automation software to facilitate the process. For example, with HubSpot Marketing Hub, you can use the Ads Management tool to track and manage your PPC ads.

7. Don’t neglect your landing page.

The website or landing page your PPC ad directs visitors to is very important. For instance, your site should include contact information that is easy to find so there’s no friction in the conversion process.

Additionally, your copy and images should highlight community love, either with local awards, local images, or local keywords.

Implementing a local PPC strategy doesn’t have to break the bank. Even more, it can be a cost-effective way to reach local audiences and increase brand awareness.

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Author: Rebecca White

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Does Your Blog Need Its Own Social Media Channels?

If you were to take a quick scroll down my Instagram feed, you’d see the three types of accounts I follow: reality TV stars, musicians, and food bloggers.

Yes, you read that right: food bloggers. And, while it might sound a little out of the ordinary that blogs are popping up on social media channels, like Instagram, it’s not an out of the ordinary practice.

Blog owners can see great success on social media. They can engage with followers, use hashtags to find new ones and expand reach, and promote their posts. For instance, one of the bloggers I follow, Sweet Simple Vegan, has over 200,000 followers and posts new content daily.

Sweet Simple Vegan Instagam page.

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But, how do blog owners, like Sweet Simple Vegan’s Jasmine Briones, know whether social media is the right choice for their blogs? And … does every blog need social media?

Every business is unique, and so are each business’ goals. If you’re trying to make that decision, read on to figure out whether or not your blog really needs social media.

How to Know if Your Company Blog Needs Social Media

You may be on the fence about whether or not your blog needs social media channels.

According to one of HubSpot’s social media marketing managers, Kelly Hendrickson, “If you’re asking yourself if your business’ blog should have its own social channels, the first question you should ask is, ‘What is the goal of having a social account for your blog’?”

When you identify your goal, you can begin inferring whether or not a social media account will be useful towards the success of your blog. For instance, if your goal is increasing awareness, Hendrickson says, “A social account could be a possible solution. Helpful content in people’s feeds, that they don’t need to click out to see, can bring awareness to your blog and let the blog be seen as a valuable resource.”

Next, let’s go over some more signs that might signify that your blog needs a social media channel.

If your blog is your brand.

If your blog is company-specific, you may not need a heavy social media focus for it to be successful. On the other hand, if your blog is your business or your brand, then you most likely need social media channels.

For instance, Who What Wear is a fashion blog that started in 2006. The corresponding social media channels, like the Twitter account, highlight new content from the site. 

Who What Wear uses social media to update fans on new content, share fashion-related posts, and engage with their audience. 

Social media helps you connect with a large audience, so bringing your blog to socials is a great way to find new audiences. You don’t need to sign up for every social media channel under the sun, but having an account or two builds your online presence.

If your traffic is low

Low traffic can be due to many different factors, like poor optimization. However, other than brushing up on SEO, another way to boost traffic is by having social media channels. When you post and use popular hashtags, you are exposing your content to an audience who might find it valuable.

“Clicks are getting harder and harder for marketers, so delighting an audience member in their feed builds real affinity for your business or blog,” Hendrickson says.

When audiences don’t have to click away from their favorite social media channel to engage with your content, they’ll feel more inclined to read in your post. For example, if you were to boost your latest post on Facebook, it’s likely that your followers will engage with the post because it’s already a part of their news feed.

To raise the credibility of your business

If you are providing valuable content to potential customers to increase your credibility by blogging, you can also bring that strategy to a social media account.

For instance, if you have a statistics-based post, a study, or an interview, you can use standout facts or statements from those blogs for content ideas on your social channel. That way, you are giving readers the same valuable information, just on a different platform.

Raising credibility can also serve as the goal for your content marketing strategy. You can plan posts for your blog’s social media account with the intent of giving your audience a sneak peek into the types of posts you have on your website.

In a nutshell, if your blog is your business, or if you want to build awareness and validity to audience members who might have never engaged with your brand before, having a blog-specific social channel is a great idea.

Reasons Why Your Blog Doesn’t Need Social Media

You might want to focus your marketing efforts on other areas of the business, which could make it superfluous to create a social media account specifically for your blog. Company size, timing, marketing team goals, and audiences are all factors that might impact your decision on whether or not to start a blog social channel.

Let’s go over some reasons your blog doesn’t need social media in order to be successful.

If it’s company-specific

Having a social media account for your blog means you will likely have multiple social media accounts, for one company, competing for visibility.

“The trouble with a business’ blog having its own social channels is that it can fracture a business’s social audience. It’s two accounts for an audience member to follow, not one. It’s also two accounts for the business to manage,” notes Hendrickson.

If your blog is a big part of your brand, you can still promote it on social media to raise awareness. Instead of having an entire account dedicated to your blog content, you can make blog posts a part of your content strategy and scale it to fit the needs of your business. Take this post, for example:

This post on HubSpot’s Facebook account highlights a blog post, but it fits in as part of the business’s page. This diversifies the content of the account, and gives the blog its own time in the spotlight.

It might take up too much time

You might work for a small company where it’s all hands on deck. If that’s the case, you’re probably used to structuring your marketing strategy around the essentials. Running multiple accounts, plus an extra social media account for your blog, means you have to plan for an expansive content strategy.

Think about all that goes into managing an account: from visuals, content, to audience engagement. Then, ask yourself if you have the extra time to maintain and keep an active social media account for your blog. If that doesn’t sound like it can fit into your schedule, maybe a social channel can wait for now.

Also, if you are already engaging with audiences regarding blog content in other ways, such as in email newsletters, you can think about how you can make your existing strategy more blog-specific, instead.

Your audience isn’t interested

How does your blog content perform on social media? If you’ve never posted a blog on your social media accounts, test a couple posts and see how they perform before you create an entire account.

Perhaps you find that your audience on social media is more interested in other types of content and don’t engage with blog posts. If that’s the case, you might want to re-think making a social media account that is dedicated to delighting that audience with blog content.

Alternatively, if you want to build upon the audience you have while promoting blog content, think about how you can make blog posts your audience connects with. Remember, some parts of content marketing involve experimentation, and that’s okay.

So, there are some downsides to having a social account just for your blog. Remember, your blog doesn’t need a social media account to be successful.

You might still be on the fence about whether or not your blog could potentially benefit from having a social media account. If that’s accurate, let’s get into the good and bad of having a blog-specific social strategy.

Pros and Cons of a Blog Specific Strategy

If you’ve been a social media manager for a company before, you know that having a content plan is essential to the success of your accounts. When you’re thinking about creating a social media account for your blog, you also must think about how to plan for it.

First, let’s go over some positives of having a social strategy that’s blog-specific.

For starters, you can focus on content that delights your blog readers. Your company’s social media account is most likely centered around catering to your entire target audience. A blog-specific social strategy, on the other hand, can target your readers directly.

You can also save time with a strategy focused on blog content. You won’t have to think about where your content is coming from, because you’ve created it before. This makes it easier for you to take those posts and turn them into dazzling, engaging posts that excite your audience.

A blog-specific strategy will also give you insight into how your audience responds to blog content on social media. If you use analytics software to track your data, you can begin to infer how your blog fits into the web behavior of your audience, and use that to improve your content.

So, a blog-specific strategy refines future content and optimizes existing content, which will excite your readers on social. But — what about the downsides?

“The challenge in creating a social strategy specific to just a business blog is that your content is largely limited to the confines of the blogs you create or your blog content strategy,” Hendrickson says. “When you have a business social account, you are able to address the many needs of a customer to provide them value from your social content. This can have a wider range potentially than your blog.”

While you can create content that will delight a specific section of your audience, you are also limiting the chance for your content to be diverse with a blog-specific strategy. You can make other content that supports your company’s social media account, but if the main purpose of the account is to support your blog, that has to be the majority of the content.

“This can trickle into how you target and promote social content to certain sections of your audience as well,” Hendrickson adds.

“Are you in fact limiting the audience that your business could speak to limiting your channel to the blog?”

When your content source is reduced, your strategies for showcasing and promoting that content are also diminished. Some of the methods you’re using to bring your social media content to audiences might not be as successful.

You also might be restricting the audience that will find your brand if you limit the type of content you produce on social media. If your company is young, closing the potential reach of readers could hurt your overall website traffic.

While some blogs on social media show massive follower counts, others have probably not seen the same success. Remember to think about why you want to start a social media channel. If you can accomplish those goals with the pages you already have, you might save time.

Alternatively, you may have found that the only way to make your blog shine is by starting a social media channel. If that’s true, great! I can’t wait to follow your business’s blog’s social media account next.

 

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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How 5 Brands Use WhatsApp For Marketing

In 2019, WhatsApp reached 2 billion global users and solidified itself as the most popular mobile messaging app worldwide.

When the app launched in 2009, it was just a basic SMS platform that allowed you to log on, text message friends, send photos or videos, and make voice calls globally using Wi-Fi. The app became popular as an alternative to paying costly phone bills to communicate with loved ones around the world.

As one of WhatsApp’s earlier adopters, I discovered the app when studying abroad in Ireland.

After blowing up my U.S. cell phone bill with roaming fees and spending countless euros just to text my roommate on pay-as-you-go Irish phone, my classmates told me to download WhatsApp. Almost instantly, I was able to call my parents and connect with friends in the U.S. and Ireland. I never needed to use my junky temporary phone again.

After using WhatsApp for a few months, it was pretty apparent that this simple Wi-Fi fueled tool was going to be a big innovation in the telecommunication industry.

A few years after my trip abroad, WhatsApp became even more well known when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014. Since then, WhatsApp’s evolved from an SMS tool to a full platform of features. It’s also gained major attention from brands.

Most recently, in 2018, the app innovated even further by adding a group chat option and group video calls. With these features, companies like British Vogue could build group chats filled with prospects and send content or offers to them. Meanwhile, other brands have leveraged WhatsAp as a channel where customers or prospects can contact them with questions about a product.

Aside from WhatsApp’s large user base and brand-friendly features, the app’s also become intriguing to companies because of how it’s pulled in users from all around the world. While the app was created in the United States and is popular throughout North America, the two countries with the most users are actually India and Brazil.

Because of its global audience, brands that are looking to market internationally are able to leverage WhatsApp, as well as global social networks, and paid advertising campaigns.

But, despite WhatsApp’s global opportunities, the platform still presents a few challenges for brands.Early Challenges of WhatsApp

Prior to 2019, WhatsApp’s format was designed to keep people’s contact information private so that random accounts can’t easily find and message them. It was not initially designed for business usage. Because of this, neither you or your brand could create public accounts that users can easily search for.

Because WhatsApp required you to know someone’s contact information, brands similarly couldn’t use the network to find, add, and contact prospects that might have been interested in their product. Alternatively, the companies would need to get WhatsApp information directly from the prospect or a contact list they already had or add them.

Another issue with WhatsApp was that you couldn’t publish content publically. While Facebook or other platforms allowed you to post content to audiences on feeds or a profile, you had to create a group of WhatsApp contacts and post links there.

But, things are changing for brands on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp’s Growing Business Opportunities

Recently, WhatsApp and Facebook announced the launch of WhatsApp for Business, an app that allows companies to create an account with company information, allow contacts to text or call them, and monitor app-related insights.

WhatsApp for Business profile

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WhatsApp for Business, which has gained over 5 million users since its 2019 launch, also enables companies to build and share product catalogs, which highlight current offerings and can link to ecommerce sites. Once a business creates a catalog, its marketing team can share its link on the brand’s profile or in chats with prospects. Here’s a quick demo of how the catalog tool works:

 

 

Additionally, even though connecting with broad international targets was challenging at first on WhatsApp, some companies say the smaller groups they’ve interacted with on were more engaged than larger social audiences. This could be because a person who gives a company their contact information or is willing to add a company’s contact to might be incredibly interested in learning about that brand from the start.

Aside from WhatsApp’s engagement and branding opportunities, Facebook’s ownership of the platform also benefits advertisers. Recent findings reveal that branded ad targeting has resulted in more ROI due to data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook.

Although Facebook plans to integrate WhatsApp and Instagram into its own flagship platform, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp will remain a standalone app that benefits from Facebook’s app ecosystem.

Because WhatsApp is a growing app that probably won’t get discontinued any time soon, businesses of all sizes are continuing to experiment with it. Top Industries on WhatsApp

Most recently, two specific industries that are flocking to WhatsApp are publishing and fashion. Meanwhile, food and beverage companies like Absolut Vodka also leverage the platform for marketing.

If you’re similarly aiming to target global audiences, a WhatsApp strategy could be worth considering now or in the future. But, if you’re new to the platform, you might need some inspiration to learn more about what makes a mobile messaging app’s strategy successful.

To help you plan your first experiment, here are a few of the best WhatsApp tactics that marketers can learn from.

How 5 Brands Are Using WhatsApp

Adidas: “100% Unfair Pred”

Adidas has been using WhatsApp since 2015 to answer questions about their products and promote new items to prospects. But recently, they launched a campaign that combined live chats and influencer marketing.

In 2019, after realizing that athletic teams used WhatsApp to send team-wide communications or announcements, Adidas offered to help recreational sports players “rent” a professional athlete — or “predator” — for one of their upcoming games.

In a WhatsApp Group temporarily opened by Adidas, the company shared that they wanted to help one uncoordinated recreational sports team win a single game by “renting” them a professional athlete. From there, recreational athletes and coaches were asked to send WhatsApp messages noting the sport they play, when their next game was, and why they needed to borrow a professional athlete to win.

Days later, Adidas sent a direct message to the winning recreational athlete. The “pred” then showed up to the recreational game dressed in Adidas sportswear.

“We know our audience use it to share fixture info, team selection — and team-mates messaging to find last-minute replacements,” Adidas’ Managing Editor Laura Coveney told Digiday.

“WhatsApp was perfect for the more functional elements of the ‘Rent-a-Pred’ hotline as it allowed consumers to share private information one-to-one with us for review, before being allocated a Predator player near them,” Coveney explained.

The Financial Times Shares Free Content

Think an age-old publication known for long-form content can’t succeed on an instant-messaging app? Think again.

In late 2019, the Financial Times, a subscriber-only publication, posted two free daily articles in its WhatsApp Group. According to Digiday, the tactic of sharing content has given them more conversions than other social platforms, more brand awareness, and insight into what topics are important to their potential subscribers.

Interestingly, the publication discovered that although its audience was much smaller, it was more engaged with the content and more likely to subscribe than audiences on other online platforms.

For example, people who clicked a Financial Times link on WhatsApp were 40% more likely to return to the site within three days than those who clicked their links on other channels. The publication also found that traffic gained from WhatsApp was similar to what it received from its average Twitter post.

“People liked the convenience of having [news] come through to their phone, pushed to them where they are, without having to go to our site, on a service they are already signed up to,” said the Times’ Audience Engagement Editor, Alana Coates, in an interview.

Absolut Vodka Launch Party Campaign

One of WhatsApp’s earliest success stories came from the Swedish liquor company Absolut Vodka. When marketing the launch of its Absolut Unique vodka product in 2013, Absolut struggled with driving global audiences and was tightly competing with other liquor companies that had many more years of history supporting them.

Unlike many other alcoholic beverage companies, Absolut didn’t have a story of long-running success behind its brand just yet. While some liquor companies could easily market how they’d been using the same recipes for hundreds of years, Absolut was only established in 1979.

Nostalgic content, such as this ad from Jim Beam, allows older brands to tell a story about their successful history, while emotionally connecting with their audiences. This was something that a young company, like Absolut, couldn’t play up as a marketing tactic.

Instead of inventing a story that spoke to audiences of all ages, Absolut decided to leverage WhatsApp’s messaging system to earn credibility and awareness from younger audiences globally.

To mark the Argentinian launch of Absolut Unique, the beverage company promoted a contest where you could win two tickets to a celebration of the new product in Argentina. To enter the tickets, you had to go on WhatsApp and message the account of a doorman named Sven to convince him why you deserved to attend the party.

According to a case study, 600 Argentinian users contacted Sven over the course of three days. The campaign was also widely discussed locally which helped Absolut gain brand awareness even from people who didn’t contact the account.

Although Absolut is now a giant, well-known company, this is a great example of how the brand recognized and leveraged WhatsApp as a platform that could be used to boost local brand awareness and sales in another part of the world.

Hellmann’s: “WhatsCook”

Back in 2014, Hellmann’s, a U.S.-based Mayonnaise company, wanted to reach audiences in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay. To do this, they hired a team of professional chefs to help them with a WhatsApp campaign.

WhatsCook camapgin on whatsapp

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WhatsCook camapgin on whatsapp

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According to Cubo, an agency that assisted with this campaign, 13,000 people signed up for the service and the average participant interacted with a chef for 65 minutes.

With the “WhatsCook” campaign, Hellmann’s leveraged industry experts as a way to get in contact with fans. The company already knew that people who bought its mayo wanted to use it. But, they also knew that people might not know many mayonnaise-friendly recipes. With this strategy, the brand engaged with people who love to cook and solved for the customer by showing them how to use Hellmann’s main product in different ways.

Yoox Personal Shoppers

Yoox whatsapp campaign

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Yoox whatsapp campaign

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During Yoox’s WhatsApp experiment, they made $80,000 off of sales through the app.

This is a great example of how a company leveraged WhatsApp to reach interested prospects, ease them through the buyer’s journey with a highly interactive messaging experience, and successfully make sales without having customers enter a store.

Navigating Mobile Messaging

As seen above, WhatsApp can help brands to nurture interesting prospects into leads. At the moment, you can’t send a message to the entire social platform, but you can send links and engage with contacts that have already shown interest in your brand.

While all of the examples are fairly different, they all emphasize how interactive and highly personalized mobile messaging techniques can be beneficial to marketing.

If you’re planning to test out a WhatsApp experience, keep these tactics in mind:

Interested in learning more about messaging app strategies? Check out this blog post that compares WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Kik.

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What Is Twitch? How Do Brands Use It?

I am an avid player of The Sims video games.

For over a decade, I’ve been a dedicated fan, buying each new release and playing them over and over again. Eventually, my interest in the simulation game led me to find a community of others who feel the same way.

So, I started watching YouTube videos of people playing the Sims. Most of the YouTubers promoted their Twitch accounts, where they would broadcast live play-throughs. I didn’t pay attention to Twitch at first, but eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to check it out one day.

Warning: Twitch can get highly addicting.

The first time I tried Twitch, I was on the platform for three hours, exploring the content of my favorite YouTubers and chatting with others, like in the screenshot below:

Plumbella (Jesse McNamara) streaming on Twitch

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The streaming platform gave me a larger community to connect with because of the chat section in each broadcast, where users can comment on the content they’re seeing. The streamer can also interact with them, making the experience feel more natural.

But, other than a streaming platform, what exactly is Twitch? In this post, we’ll explore what twitch is, and how you might use it to engage with prospects and increase brand awareness.

Let’s begin by defining Twitch. Then, we’ll talk about how Twitch is used and what it’s used for. 

When you visit Twitch, you’ll see a screen very similar to this:

Example of a Twitch homepage.

The homepage is curated based on previous activity, so though this screen is covered with gaming content, streamers don’t have a limit on what they produce. While Twitch is largely a platform for live gameplay and commentary, talk shows, cooking shows, sporting events, and gaming conventions also pop up on the site.

Twitch enables fans to connect with streamers. It allows users to watch content they’re interested in on a platform that supports long-form, live broadcasts. For instance, you might find that it’s not abnormal for streams to be over an hour, or sometimes even two hours.

It’s not all streaming, though. In fact, the platform has its own convention, TwitchCon. This bi-annual event celebrates the streaming industry and is a chance for the platform’s broadcasters to connect with their fans and peers in person.

Fans can attend sessions led by their favorite streamers and buy branded merchandise from a slew of vendors and event sponsors (For example, Doritos is a proud sponsor of TwitchCon).

Though the streamers produce the content, Twitch has a dedicated fanbase that expands across the globe. To get an idea of Twitch’s users, next, we’ll go more into depth about Twitch’s primary audience.

Who uses Twitch?

Twitch’s audience is mainly comprised of teen gamers. Let’s look at that a little further.

When SimilarWeb studied the web behavior of Twitch users, they found primary keywords this audience searched for were “games,” “computers,” and “technology”. From that information, we can infer that the majority of Twitch users are interested in games and the technology needed to play them.

In the same report, it was also noted that 22% of traffic comes from the U.S., making it the country with the most representation on the platform, with Germany, Korea, and France not too far behind.

It’s also important to note — according to Twitch, the platform has over 28 million unique users per month in the U.S., who watch, on average, 95 minutes per day. And, of those users, 80% are teen males.

Though the audience has a large teen male presence, know that this isn’t the entire platform’s user base. In fact, my favorite Twitch streamers are adult women of color. So, if you’re thinking your audience isn’t on Twitch, they actually might be, just in a smaller number.

Still, as marketers know, those numbers could be an essential part of your target audience.

If, by now, you are mulling over a few ideas about how you can fit in Twitch into your marketing efforts, let’s talk about how brands are using Twitch, next.

6 Ways Brands Use Twitch

Brands use Twitch to increase brand awareness, target specific audiences, produce branded streams, and leverage influencer marketing. Twitch reports that the platform is great for scaled engagement and reaching specific campaign goals. Because the site is powered by visual content, let’s explore some examples to back up these goals.

1. 1,000 Dreams Fund

Tactic: Brand Awareness

1,000 Dreams Fund is a non-profit devoted to providing 1,000 university women with grants to help them achieve their dreams and provides new grants every academic semester. The people behind 1DF partnered with Twitch to bring the program to streamers.

The Twitch spin on the fund gives financial assistance to streamers who are female and currently attending university, to help with school expenses. For example, Twitch might provide financial aid for conventions like TwitchCon, conferences, new hardware, or educational programs that are devoted to creative pursuits.

For Women’s History Month, Twitch’s Facebook account ran an ad that supported the fund, bringing awareness to 1DF and what it does for women streamers.

This gave an entirely new audience an introduction to the non-profit. It also showed Twitch’s diverse user base, and highlighted a cause the company supports.

2. WildEarth

Tactic: Target Specific Audiences

WildEarth (WE) is a broadcaster that shows the day-to-day lives of animals, led by expert zoologists in Johannesburg, Australia. Recently, the site’s leaders decided to expand their broadcast onto Twitch in order to broaden their audience.

The streams are short, which is unusual for Twitch, but makes sense for WildEarth. Content includes a sunrise safari led by expert Lauren, in which she focuses on animals she sees on her drive and provides information about them.

Wild Earth's Lauren streaming a safari ride on Twitch.

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In the clip above, Lauren talked about how elephants are shy but friendly. Most clips on the channel are similar in that they show close-ups of animals making their homes or other animals roaming about.

WE is aimed towards younger viewers, so it’s no surprise that broadcasts have expanded to Twitch and YouTube. Some clips even have kid-friendly titles with emojis and current slang to attract these younger viewers.

3. Nissin Noodles

Tactic: Lead Generation

Streamer Pokimane boasts over four million followers on her channel and plays mostly role-playing, fantasy games. Recently, she partnered with Nissin Foods to produce a branded League of Legends broadcast.

The broadcast featured her making the instant noodles during a stream. To keep the content fun and engaging, Pokimane added a ‘Slurp Meter’ graphic on-screen that measures the volume of her eating her meal.

Pokimane promoting Nissin Noodles on Twitch.

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If I were a younger viewer watching this stream, I would think about how it would be easy to prepare and eat Nissin Noodles while using Twitch, as Pokimane did. I would want to use the ‘Slurp Meter’ to measure the noise-level of myself eating and report back to the community in the comments.

Nissin’s branded stream has been seen by over 11,000 of Pokimane’s fans. This marketing technique cemented Nissin as a brand associated with her community, showing how their product fits into the gaming lifestyle.

4. PSD Underwear

Tactic: Influencer Marketing

Ninja is one of Twitch’s most-followed streamers. For perspective, 14.7 million is half of the platform’s U.S. user base. It’s also the number of followers Ninja has. To get those followers interested in their brand, and celebrate TwitchCon 2018, athletic underwear brand PSD gave the streamer a bus.

No, really. A bus: 

PSD’s marketing campaign used TwitchCon to build brand awareness with its ‘Ninja Bus’ and corresponding Twitter post.

This partnership is a change for PSD, which usually partners with basketball, football, or wrestling athletes. A video game athlete partnership could be part of a strategy to attract audiences on a different platform. It also shows the flexibility of the product.

If I were a Ninja follower attending TwitchCon and saw the bus, plastered with Ninja’s branding, my very first instinct would be to Google PSD and browse the products. This advertisement speaks for itself, and no doubt earned some looks at TwitchCon.

5. Indeed

Tactic: Paid Advertising

In a similar practice to Facebook and YouTube, Twitch plays video ads before their streams, also known as pre-roll ads.

This Indeed ad shows a case study about how a Twitch streamer and digital artist used Indeed to connect. The streamer was looking for a designer to make her streams more engaging and found her talent on Indeed, a career search engine.

Indeed commercial on Twitch.

Source

The ad paints a picture of how gamers, streamers, developers, and creatives can use Indeed to find support for their work on Twitch. It shows how a streamer can leverage Twitch to find talent — and how talent can find work.

6. Wendy’s

Tactic: Lead Generation

Popular gaming series Animal Crossing has a new addition, New Horizons, that came out in March 2020. Marketers at Wendy’s knew Twitch would be flooded with Animal Crossing streams upon the release, so they decided to capitalize on that.

The campaign is simple: a gameplay broadcast, following the Animal Crossing adventures of the store’s mascot Wendy. There are several clips and streams on the account, and most of the titles include “Free Delivery” to remind Twitch users that they don’t have to leave the site to eat Wendy’s.

Wendy's branded stream on Twitch.

Source

Notice the extra steps the campaign takes for the branded stream. In the bottom left, there’s an advertisement for free delivery from Postmates and GrubHub. At the top is the title of the campaign, “Choppin’ Trees & Free Deliveries,” as well as the logos of participating brands.

Should your brand leverage Twitch?

You might be unsure about using Twitch in your next campaign, and trust me, you’re not the only one. However, as we’ve seen, multiple brands use Twitch to promote their brand by catering to a young audience. If your company has a similar goal, then Twitch might be a great asset to you.

If you’re interested in influencer marketing, you might think about using Twitch, as well. Influencers expand your audience by endorsing your brand, as we saw with Pokimane’s noodle stream.

Another benefit of leveraging Twitch is boosting leads with ads. Take haircare brand Head & Shoulders, for example. To market their new men’s styling creams, the creative team partnered with the platform to run a contest, in which Twitch users could win 100,000 Bits, which is the site’s virtual currency.

Head & Shoulders Ad on Twitch's homepage.

Source

The target audience for this campaign is men, so the team behind the campaign knew they would have an audience on Twitch. This is also another great reason to use the platform: if your audience is mostly male. Recall that 80% of Twitch’s users are teen males, so if your product needs that kind of audience, look to Twitch.

Alternatively, if your audience is using Twitch as part of their web behavior, you might look into investing in Twitch content. While you don’t have to create a Twitch account and start uploading numerous streams, you can go the Indeed route and use an ad that relates to Twitch’s users.

For instance, maybe the company you work for sells computers. A great way to leverage Twitch in a product marketing campaign is by making an ad that shows a popular PC game on the platform right now, like League of Legends, and how it works with the computer you’re aiming to sell.

Twitch is an expansive platform where creatives can engage with subjects that interest them. Remember, Twitch isn’t all about games — there are other categories on the platform too, like cooking and live event broadcasting.

You can leverage Twitch in multiple ways and reach an expansive audience by doing so. As a casual Twitch user, I look forward to seeing what you come up with for your Twitch campaign.

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Email Analytics: The 8 Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs You Should Be Tracking

There’s a lot to say when it comes to how to do email marketing well. We could talk for days about the most critical components of an optimized email, common email marketing mistakes you might be making, and examples of brilliant email marketing that will inspire you. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how optimized your emails are if you can’t see the results of your efforts — not to mention measure whether email is helping you hit your goals.

So before sending your next email, pause for a few minutes and ask yourself: What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

Whatever you decide your goal is (and you can have more than one), the next thing you need to do is figure out which metrics you’ll need to track in order to determine how you’re progressing toward that goal.

Let’s take a look at the metrics you should be paying attention to in your email marketing efforts. We’ll start with the metrics every email marketer should be tracking, and then we’ll take a look at how to tie certain metrics to your specific goals.

1. Clickthrough Rate

  • What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in a given email.
  • How to Calculate It: (Total clicks OR unique clicks ÷ Number of delivered emails) * 100
  • Example: 500 total clicks ÷ 10,000 delivered emails * 100 = 5% clickthrough rate

(Using either total clicks or unique clicks in the calculation above works, as long as you use the same approach consistently.)

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is likely the first answer you’ll get when you ask an email marketer what metrics they track. It’s what I like to call the “day-to-day” email marketing metric, because it lets you easily calculate performance for every individual email you send. From there, you can track how your CTR changes over time.

CTR is also frequently used for determining the results of A/B tests, as these tests are often designed with the intention of finding new ways to get more clicks in your emails. Clickthrough rate is a very important metric for all email marketers to be tracking, as it gives you direct insight into how many people on your list are engaging with your content and interested in learning more about your brand or your offer. Read this blog post to learn what a “good” clickthrough rate is, according to industry benchmarks.

(HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to easily set up click tracking in your emails using HubSpot.)

2. Conversion Rate

  • What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action, such as filling out a lead generation form or purchasing a product.
  • How to Calculate It: (Number of people who completed the desired action ÷ Number of total emails delivered) * 100
  • Example: 400 people who completed the desired action ÷ 10,000 total email delivered * 100 = 4% conversion rate

After an email recipient has clicked through on your email, the next goal is typically to get them to convert on your offer — in other words, to take the action that your email has asked them to take. So if you’re sending an email to offer your audience the chance to download, say, a free ebook, you’d consider anyone who actually downloads that ebook to be a conversion.

Because your definition of a conversion is directly tied to the call-to-action in your email, and your call-to-action should be directly tied to the overall goal of your email marketing, conversion rate is one of the most important metrics for determining the extent to which you’re achieving your goals. (We’ll discuss more specific goal-related metrics later.)

In order to measure conversion rate on your emails, you’ll need to integrate your email platform and your web analytics. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs for your email links that identify the source of the click as coming from a specific email campaign.

3. Bounce Rate

  • What It Is: The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox.
  • How to Calculate It: (Total number of bounced emails ÷ Number of emails sent) * 100
  • Example: 75 bounced emails ÷ 10,000 total emails sent * 100 = 0.75% bounce rate

There are two kinds of bounces to track: “hard” bounces and “soft” bounces.

Soft bounces are the result of a temporary problem with a valid email address, such as a full inbox or a problem with the recipient’s server. The recipient’s server may hold these emails for delivery once the problem clears up, or you may try re-sending your email message to soft bounces.

Hard bounces are the result of an invalid, closed, or non-existent email address, and these emails will never be successfully delivered. You should immediately remove hard bounce addresses from your email list, because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Having too many hard bounces can make your company look like a spammer in the eyes of an ISP. (Read this blog post to learn more about the difference between hard and soft bounces.)

sent-vs-delivered-email.png

4. List Growth Rate

  • What It Is: The rate at which your email list is growing.
  • How to Calculate It: ([(Number of new subscribers) minus (Number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100
  • Example: (500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 4% list growth rate

Aside from the call-to-action metrics (CTR, conversion rates), you’ll also want to be keeping tabs on your list growth and loss. Of course, you should be aiming to grow your list in order to extend your reach, expand your audience, and position yourself as an industry thought leader. But believe it or not, there’s a natural decay of your email marketing list, and it expires by about 22.5% every year — which means that it’s more important than ever to pay attention to growing your subscriber list and keeping it at a healthy size.

5. Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate

  • What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a “share this” button to post email content to a social network, and/or who clicked on a “forward to a friend” button.
  • How to Calculate It: (Number of clicks on a share and/or forward button ÷ Number of total delivered emails) * 100
  • Example: 100 clicks on a share/forward button ÷ 10,000 total delivered emails * 100 = 1% email sharing/forwarding rate

The rate at which your email recipients forward or share your email with others may not seem all that significant, but it’s arguably one of the most important metrics you should be tracking.

Why? Because this is how you generate new contacts. The folks on your email list are already in your database. So while conversion is still a primary focus, this doesn’t help you attract new leads. Encourage your readers to pass along your email to a friend or colleague if they found the content useful, and start tracking how many new people you can add to your database this way. (Read this blog post for tips on getting people to forward your emails.)

Keep a careful eye on your sharing rates to discover which types of articles and offers tend to get shared the most, and use that insight when you plan email campaigns in the future.

6. Overall ROI

  • What It Is: The overall return on investment for your email campaigns. In other words, total revenue divided by total spend.
  • How to Calculate It: [($ in additional sales made minus $ invested in the campaign) ÷ $ invested in the campaign] * 100
  • Example: ($1,000 in additional sales – $100 invested in the campaign / $100 invested in the campaign) * 100 = a 900% return on investment for the campaign

This is the most basic formula to calculate ROI — but there are several ways to approach calculating the ROI of your email campaigns. Depending on your type of business, you might prefer a different one.)

As with every marketing channel, you should be able to determine the overall ROI of your email marketing. If you haven’t yet, set up an SLA system whereby you assign different values to various types of leads based on their likelihood to generate revenue for your company.

How many of each of these types of leads did you generate via email marketing? How does this translate to potential revenue? Actual revenue? These are the types of metrics that will help you show your boss and your sales team how valuable email marketing is as a channel that drives real, tangible results.

7. Open Rate

What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who open a given email.

Most email marketers are still bent over backwards trying to optimize their subject lines for higher open rates. While this can have a positive impact — and more opens are a great thing — they really should be focused on optimizing their clickthrough rates, instead.

The fact of the matter is that open rate is actually a very misleading metric for a few reasons. Most importantly, an email is only counted as “opened” if the recipient also receives the images embedded in that message. And a large percentage of your email users likely have image-blocking enabled on their email client. This means that even if they open the email, they won’t be included in your open rate, making it an inaccurate and unreliable metric for marketers, as it underreports on your true numbers.

You can get some value out of open rate as a metric if you use it as a comparative metric. For instance, if you compare the open rates of this week’s email send to last week’s email send (both to the same lists) it might give you some insight since the variables are somewhat controlled.

8. Unsubscribe Rate

What It Is: The percentage of email recipients unsubscribe from your send list after opening a given email.

As with open rate, the unsubscribe rate isn’t a reliable picture of the health of your email list. Many subscribers who are tired of receiving email messages from your brand won’t bother to go through the formal unsubscribe process. They’ll just stop opening, reading, and clicking on your email messages.

That’s why it’s much more effective to measure subscriber engagement by clickthrough rates and conversion rates. From there, you can keep an eye out on unengaged subscribers so you can consider removing them at some point, like we went over earlier. Checking your monthly unsubscribe rate is helpful for calculating your overall list growth rate, though, so do keep an eye on it every once in a while.

How to Know Which Email Metrics to Track, Based on Your Goals

The goal of your email marketing may be very different from the goals of another company like yours, and may even vary within your own company over time. But again, it’s crucial that you determine exactly what it is you’re looking to achieve with your email marketing before you begin (or continue) to send and measure your emails.

Here’s how you can align your specific goal with key metrics.

Subscriber List Growth Rate

If your focus is on growing the top of your funnel — attracting more visitors to your site, signing up more blog subscribers, getting more people to use your free tools, that kind of thing — your goal will probably be growing your subscriber list. Your emails will likely contain calls-to-action such as “Subscribe to Our Blog” or “Join Our Weekly Email List.” So of course, the most important metric you should be tracking for this goal is the growth rate of your subscriber list. (Read this blog post for more detailed tips on how to grow your subscriber list.)

subscriber-growth-hubspot-blog-1.png

Unengaged Subscribers

Just as you want to track and grow your subscribers, it’s also important to keep an eye on your unengaged subscribers — and consider removing them from your list altogether. Why? Because sending emails to people who aren’t engaged with your emails (called “graymail”) can hurt the deliverability of your email overall. Email clients might get tipped off by low engagement rates and deliver email from known-graymail senders straight to recipients’ “junk” folders, meaning your emails will technically get sent and delivered, but won’t necessarily be seen.

Here at HubSpot, we deliberately unsubscribed 250,000 people from HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, which included people who had opted in to receive emails about new content we published on the blog. This subscriber purge brought our total subscriber count from 550,000 down to 300,000. Read this blog post to learn more about why and how we purged our subscriber list, and why you might consider doing the same.

Number of New (or Total) Leads Generated

Maybe instead of focusing on subscribers, you’d like to work on growing lead generation. If this is the case, you should be sending emails that offer lead generation content — in other words, content that requires the viewer to fill out a lead capture form in order to access it.

If the goal of your email marketing is lead gen, you should be tracking how many leads you’re capturing every day, and every month. You can decide to focus on all leads generated, or only new ones added to your database, depending on your priorities. 

Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate

Finally, let’s say you want to focus more toward the middle/bottom of your marketing funnel, and convert more of your existing leads into customers. If this is your goal, the emails you’re sending will likely provide content more closely related to your business and your product or service. Your calls-to-action may include “Get a demo,” “Watch a Video of Our Product in Action,” or “Start a Free Trial.” If this is your goal, you should be tracking changes in your lead-to-customer conversion rate.

As obvious as this all seems, you’d be surprised how many email marketers determine their goals and then don’t bother to track their progress against them. Make sure that you’re able to track how closely you’re trending toward your goal at any point during the month, and that you’re looking carefully at any changes in these metrics month over month.

Navigating Email Marketing Metrics

The bottom line? Be smart about which metrics you’re tracking, and make sure you’re able to effectively measure your individual email performance, the health of your email list, and your progress toward your overarching goals. As long as you’re able to determine each of those, you’re on the right track for more effective email marketing.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics

As companies adopt inbound marketing as a way to generate more leads, the importance of having an effective lead nurturing strategy becomes very clear. In most cases only a relatively small percentage of your inbound leads will be ready to make an immediate purchase, leaving upwards of 90% of your inbound leads on the table.

Implementing an effective lead nurturing strategy can have a huge impact on the results of your inbound marketing strategy.

In 2018, lead generation, sales, and lead nurturing were the top three organizational objectives for content marketers. 

You want to actively move the prospects you’ve created through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become paying customers. Some tactics on how to nurture leads are through targeted content, multi-channel nurturing, multiple touches, timely follow-ups, and personalization.

Despite the clear benefits of lead nurturing, marketers can struggle to build the right strategy around it. According to the 2019 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Survey, 60% of respondents gave their nurture programs a failing grade.

There’s a huge opportunity for savvy marketers like you to implement effective lead nurturing strategies and gain an advantage over your competition.

So you are probably wondering…

  • Which lead nurturing tactics work best?
  • What do super successful marketers do differently?
  • Or how do I get started with lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is of course just one component that goes into executing an inbound marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn what super successful inbound marketers are doing differently to attract traffic, convert leads and close customers you can check out this comprehensive resource – An Epic Guide to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy.

Now let’s get down to it – we’ve read through dozens of reports, dug into the most recent data about lead nurturing and compiled this list of the seven amazingly effective lead nurturing tactics.

7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics

1. Leverage targeted content.

When it comes to lead nurturing, one size certainly does not fit all. As the research proves, strategically nurturing your leads using targeted content can significantly improve the results of your inbound marketing strategy.

Using targeted content for lead nurturing may seem obvious, but it’s something that marketers are struggling with. Last year Forrester Research reported that 33% of B2B marketers cite “targeted delivery of content” (i.e., delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time) as their biggest lead nurturing challenge.

There are a few prerequisites for using targeted content for lead nurturing. First of all, you need to understand each of your unique buyer personas. Of course, you then need to create an assortment of targeted content designed to nurture each of your personas based on their interests, goals, objectives, and marketing triggers.

Lastly, you need to have a marketing automation platform in place to help you identify, segment and target your unique buyer personas as you scale your inbound marketing strategy.

2. Use multi-channel lead nurturing techniques.

In the past, most lead nurturing strategies involved setting up a simple email drip campaign that would send out generic emails to a list of prospects.

Today, marketers like you are looking for new lead nurturing tactics and technologies that go beyond the limits of email. With the help of powerful marketing automation platforms, savvy marketers are now executing multi-channel lead nurturing strategies.

Effective multi-channel lead nurturing most commonly involve a combination of marketing automation, email marketing, social media, paid retargeting, dynamic website content and direct sales outreach. Because there are so many tactics involved, to execute this properly, you really need to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are well aligned and working cohesively.

3. Focus on multiple touches.

While the buyers journey for every product and service can be quite different, research from the Marketing Lead Management Report indicates that on average, prospects receive ten marketing touches from the time they enter the top of funnel until they’re a closed won customers.

Interestingly, another research study from Demand Gen suggests that 49% of marketers include less than five touches in their lead nurturing programs. If you’re in this category, it might be time to revamp your lead nurturing efforts a bit.

As you can imagine, the most successful lead nurturing strategies deliver content that helps prospects progress through the buyer’s journey by addressing common questions and concerns. In addition to email tactics, consider how you can use a mix of content types like social media, blog posts, whitepapers, interactive calculators, or even direct mail, to nurture your prospects into customers.

4. Follow up with leads in a timely manner. 

The benefits of immediate follow up calls seem quite evident, but most organizations still aren’t acting very quickly. A recent article in Harvard Business Review highlighted the surprisingly slow response times of most US based companies. Here are a few benchmarks from the study which included feedback from more than 2,240 US companies:

  • The average first response time of B2B companies to their leads was 42 hours
  • Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour
  • 24% of companies took more than 24 hours
  • 23% of the companies never responded at all

Automated lead nurturing can help you reach large groups of prospects, but a timely followup email or a phone call is still quite often the best way to convert inbound leads into qualified sales opportunities. As several research studies have shown, the odds of converting a lead into a sales opportunity are exponentially higher when the lead is contacted immediately following a website conversion.

When you make a timely, well researched call to an inbound lead it’s far more effective than any volume of cold calling. You know exactly what the prospects is researching based their recent browsing behaviour and you also have enough information about the prospect to do some initial research about the organization they work for and their specific role within the company.

5. Send personalized emails.

Several research studies indicate that email marketing continues to be the most effective tactic for lead nurturing.

The research also consistently shows that personalization tends to produce significantly better results than generic marketing. A study by Accenture found that 41% of consumers switched businesses due to a lack of personalization.

As highlighted in this helpful blog post, there are all kinds of ways you can personalize your emails to improve your lead nurturing strategy. You can send triggered emails when someone downloads your gated content, clicks on links in your emails, visits certain pages on your website, or when they demonstrate a high level of engagement.

When you combine the power of marketing personalization with behavioral triggered emails you can deliver the right marketing messages to the right people, at exactly the right times.

6. Use lead-scoring tactics.

For those who are new to the concept of lead scoring, it is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization.

Lead scoring can be implemented in most marketing automation platforms by assigning numeric values to certain website browsing behaviors, conversion events, or even social media interactions.

The resulting score is used to determine which leads should be followed up with directly by a sales rep or which leads need to be nurtured further down the funnel.

Based on this research, it seems as though lead scoring is an effective lead nurturing tactic that most marketers simply aren’t taking advantage of yet.

7. Be sure your sales and marketing strategies are aligned.

According to a study by market research firm CSO Insights, when both sales and marketing share responsibility for lead nurturing, companies experience a significant financial boosts. In fact, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates.

In order for both sales and marketing to contribute to lead nurturing you’ll need to identity when prospects should be transitioned between teams as they progress through the funnel. In creating your lead nurturing strategy, think about how you can use triggers like lead scoring, page views, workflow enrollment, conversion events or sales contact to transition leads from automation to direct one-on-one outreach.

The shared expectations, responsibilities and goals for this collaboration between sales and marketing should be outlined in a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA). Creating a formal sales and marketing SLA will help the two teams hold each other accountable for converting leads and effectively nurturing them into paying customers.

Leveraging Lead Nurturing Tactics

In review, let’s quickly recap the seven most effective lead nurturing tactics:

1. Targeted content: Content intrigues, entertains, and delights audiences that could become qualified leads.

2. Multi-channel lead nurturing: Try to reach your audiences on multiple online channels, rather than just relying on email.

3. Multiple Touches – Prospects receive an average of 10 touches from the time they enter the top of the funnel until they’re a closed-won customer.

4. Timely Follow Ups: The odds of a lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are much greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after an inbound lead converts on your website.

5. Personalized Emails: Personalization benefits both your marketing and your customer retention.

6. Lead Scoring: This strategy helps you determine which leads you should really take time to follow up with.

7. Sales and Marketing Alignment: Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in March 2016, but was updated for comprehensiveness in March 2020. 

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Local Lead Generation: The Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Do It Right

Let’s imagine you manage a balloon animal artist collective in Omaha, Nebraska. You notice your company’s growth is plateauing. You mostly serve a strange crop of repeat customers who throw a lot of parties and really like balloon animals, but they can only do so much for you.

You realize you need new business and decide a base of interested contacts would be a great place to start. In other words, you need to generate new leads, but you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do.

Your company isn’t some multinational balloon animal conglomerate — it’s just a collective that features three of the top ten most celebrated balloon animal artists in the greater Omaha area. And you only book customers in Douglas County (that’s where Omaha is — I just looked it up.)

If you’re trying to generate leads for your business, it doesn’t make sense to employ the same lead generation strategies as companies that operate on a global scale. Instead, you would do something called local lead generation.

Let’s get a picture of what that concept is and how to do it right.

Local Lead Generation Tips

Local Lead Generation Software

What is Lead Generation?

Before understanding what local lead generation is, it might help to know what lead generation itself is. As per HubSpot’s own definition, “Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting a strangers and prospects into people who have indicated an interest in your company’s product or service. Some examples of lead generators are job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content.”

There’s a wide variety of lead generation strategies available, including tactics specific to social media platforms and lead generation through paid-per-click (PPC) ads.

A solid lead generation strategy is an invaluable asset for a business of any shape or size. So that brings us to the point of this article — how can doctors, dentists, smaller law firms, contractors, construction companies, and any other business that operates regionally turn prospects into leads?

More bluntly, how can a local business construct and leverage an effective lead generation infrastructure?

Local Lead Generation

On a fundamental level, local lead generation is just another category of lead generation. That might sound obvious, but it’s still helpful to keep in mind. You’ll be using the concept’s same core principles, but you’ll apply them within specific parameters. Here are some important factors and tactics to consider, and what they mean in the context of local lead generation.

Local SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the process of expanding a company’s visibility in the organic search results on engines like Google. Its endgame is to drive more visitors to a company’s site, increasing chances for more conversions.

Ranking well on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is one of the most important factors for local lead generation, but ranking locally is a different process than ranking nationally.

To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.

There are several strides you can take to ensure that your local SEO strategy is optimal and effective. These steps include improving your website’s internal linking structure, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, engaging with customers on social media, and ensuring your contact information is consistent online.

This is obviously a very high-level overview of local SEO. For a more thorough, technical explanation of the optimization process, check out this article.

Local SEM

HubsSpot defines SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, as “using paid advertising to ensure that your business’s products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result for that search query.” In a nutshell, it’s the process of placing targeted advertisements on search engine pages.

The practice can be leveraged by businesses of any size and provides another excellent avenue for local companies to generate leads. Like SEO, targeted search engine ads are rooted in search interest — meaning high ranking SEM ads generally bring in already engaged prospects.

If your ad placements can rank well for regional search inquiries and keywords, you should be in a good position to generate local, interested leads. To learn more about SEM, check out this article.

Landing Pages, Forms, and Offers

Landing pages — website pages specifically dedicated to turning visitors into leads — are central to almost any virtual lead generation effort. A landing page contains lead forms that ask visitors for their contact information, but they won’t give that information up for nothing.

The process is transactional. Prospects can’t be expected to dole out their phone numbers or email addresses without receiving something in return. That “something” is known as an offer. It’s some sort of incentive that is designed to drive interest in a company while establishing its credibility.

Offers are often content-based. Whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars are all examples of potentially compelling offers. But offers don’t always have to be content-specific — particularly when it comes to local businesses.

Local companies might get more out of offering a discount or a free consultation in exchange for a prospect’s email. No matter how your business operates, well-constructed landing pages and compelling offers are crucial when it comes to converting an interested website visitor into a legitimate lead.

There are also various kinds of software available to aid your local lead generation efforts.

1.HubSpot Marketing Hub

The HubSpot Marketing Hub’s suite of features can assist with your audience targeting efforts. It contains resources that provide real-time SEO suggestions to help you tailor a content strategy to your local audience.

It also enables more sophisticated and effective promotion over social media and other online marketing avenues. Businesses can also leverage the platform to design compelling calls to action and personalize messaging based on location, traffic source, buyer persona, and more.

Ultimately, The HubSpot Marketing Hub is an affordable option for local businesses looking to attract and garner interest from prospects. It provides the necessary resources for any local business to get a picture of who its customers are, how they’re interacting with its marketing efforts, and what it can do to translate prospects’ interest into legitimate leads.

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console can be an invaluable asset to any local SEO strategy. The software brings data about where your content appears in Google’s search results to light and shows how often search visitors are interacting with your site when it appears on search result pages.

The console’s reports provide legitimate, quantifiable visibility into the impact of your content marketing, considering factors like clicks, impressions, and page rank. It also offers insight into keywords or phrases people are searching for when your site appears on the results page — a powerful resource for coming up with new content ideas based on the keywords your prospects are actually searching.

3. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a conversion optimization toolkit that features resources to generate leads, gain subscribers, and ultimately provide sales opportunities from your site’s traffic.

It contains templates to create offers and a powerful targeting and segmentation engine — taken together, these tools can identify when to show the right visitors offers relevant to their interests. It also has analytics resources to measure the efficacy of your campaigns. 

Source: OptinMonster

4. Google Ads

Google Ads can be one of the most mission-critical components of a local business’s SEM efforts. And the software’s HubSpot integration allows companies to identify and reach highly-targeted local audiences.

It can use any CRM data point to serve as a reference for targeted messages — an asset to local businesses looking to pinpoint who and where their potential customers’ interest is coming from.

It also lets small businesses set their own advertising budgets by offering insight into which ads are most effective — allowing local companies to keep careful tabs on the ROI of their paid ads.

5. Typeform

Typeform allows you to capture more leads with engaging interactive forms. The software features mobile-ready contact forms, surveys, quizzes, and more — all from premade or custom templates.

Its automatic tracking tools allow you to pinpoint where your most engaged audience is coming from — whether it be specific social media channels, your website’s home or contact page, or any other source that feeds leads to your business.

No matter the shape, size, or nature of your company, gaining exposure to interested prospects will always be in your best interest. Local businesses still need to grow, and new customers are central to that process. Companies with any sort of online presence should always be looking to generate new leads — no matter how far or wide their geographical reach extends.

So when you’re ready to take your balloon animal collective to the upper echelon of the Omaha, Nebraska novelty party entertainment scene, be sure to look into the different local lead generation strategies explored in this article.

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