Mastering the Art of the Ecommerce Microconversion by HubSpot

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 Microconversions

Marketing automation is the very core of HubSpot’s abilities. We talk all the time about the buyer’s journey, the marketing funnel, segmenting your contact lists, and automating the whole process. And it works, obviously, or we wouldn’t still be here. You could make that process even more powerful for your ecommerce business, if you’re willing to focus some of your attention on microconversions.

See, segmenting your buyer list is such a huge part of reaching each buyer at the exact point of his or her decision in the buying journey. You want to greet previous buyers like old friends and introduce yourself to the new visitors without pushing too hard. How can you tell which is which without the benefit of meeting in person? Through microconversions. And when you master the art of the microconversion, you’ll be able to meet every buyer exactly where they are.

So, what are these microconversions? How will you recognize the users who are on your page to make a purchase while giving space to those who still need a little more time? Here are some of the most common ecommerce microconversions.

Information Download

If a user downloads a spec sheet, tutorial, comparison document or other information from your website, you can be fairly sure they’re interested in the products you offer. They’re on a fact-finding mission, and it’s up to you to provide those facts. What can you do with this kind of open invitation from potential customers? Send more info, of course.

Join Your Newsletter List

If a website visitor signs up to receive information about special discounts and other news from your ecommerce company, you can relatively sure they’re interested in making a purchase. Maybe they’re waiting for the right moment, the right discount, or the right product, but they like what you’re doing. Check out the products they’re searching, and you’ll get a pretty clear idea of what they want special prices on.

Product Comparisons

If you offer the ability to compare products on your website, then you also give yourself insight into one more microconversion. When a buyer has a serious purchase in mind, they want to know how one product stacks up against another. Not only do you know the buyer is pretty close to making a purchase, but you also know what they want to buy and what might be stopping them. Take the opportunity to give them what they need.

Addition to Wish List

Ecommerce sites with a Wish List function have a built-in superpower. No other function on a website can give you the insight you need into a customer’s wants and needs. Users often don’t hold back when adding to a wish list or clicking a “favorite” button. You, the seller, get a wealth of information from the favorites list, including sizing information, favorite colors, obvious needs, pricing considerations, and more.

Abandoned Cart

We’ve talked at length about how to recover a sale from an abandoned cart. Most see it as a failure that must be rectified, but you can also see it as a victory. Even if the buyer doesn’t complete the purchase this time, they’ve given you something to work with. You know what they’re looking for, and you may even know why they didn’t make the purchase. How can you turn that microconversion into a full conversion?

The more you know about your buyers’ every move on your website, the better you can make their experiences. Track these microconversions and use the information to better segment your buyers. Those who are seeking more information should receive that information. Those who’ve indicated they like red dresses by adding several to their wish lists should receive a notification every time a red dress is added to your inventory. Those who abandoned their shopping cart when they saw how expensive shipping would be should get information about how to make shipping cheaper.

See how these things work? Start paying more attention to those microconversions. And feel free to let us know some of the microconversions you watch on your own ecommerce site. We love sharing information!

 

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In Case of Emergency: How to Create & Launch a Content Marketing Campaign in 5 Hours by HubSpot

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In marketing, as in life, situations will inevitably arise that require a certain amount of scrappiness. And a spur-of-the-moment, quick-turnaround-required content push — while not ideal — is a situation you ultimately might end up facing.

Maybe it’s the end of the month, and your boss is freaking out. “We need more leads!” is the battle cry. ”And we need you, [your name], to create and promote some new content pronto so we can generate those leads!”

Or maybe you’re facing that classic, high school-era, “Oh-crap-I-totally-forgot-my-presentation-was-due-tomorrow” scenario, where, for whatever reason, you completely forgot that you were supposed to be launching a content marketing campaign the next day. And instead of confessing to your boss that you messed up, you decide to dig down deep and get this ish done.

For such situations, when perhaps you’re a bit panicked; a bit all over the place; a bit ready to lose it because there are only so many hours in the day and you need to launch this thing tomorrow and you’re on your fifth espresso and you don’t even know where to begin …

For situations like those, here’s what to do.

Step 1: Assess and Create Your Content (1 Hour)

Ideally, you’ll always have a completed piece of content on standby for emergency situations (like the ones I outlined above).

Assuming you do have a piece of backup content ready to roll, your first step in launching a campaign will be to retrieve and review said backup content.

Maybe you keep it in one of those glass cases labeled “In Case of Emergency ….” Or maybe, like HubSpot, you store your backup content deep under ground in a radiation-resistant inbound marketing bunker, right next to your stockpile of blog posts. And Twinkies.*

*Editor’s note: HubSpot does not actually have a subterranean bunker filled with marketing resources and Twinkies (but please don’t tell Erik, he still thinks it’s real).

Regardless of where you store this “emergency” content, you’ll want to devote some time to reviewing — and, if necessary, updating — that content to ensure it’s still relevant. 

Specifically, you’ll want to be able to answer these questions: 

  • Who is this content for? Which of your buyer personas are you trying to target with this content?
  • What stage of the buyer’s journey is your target audience in? The awareness stage, where people have realized or expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity; the consideration stage, where people have clearly defined that problem or opportunity; or the decision stage, where people have arrived at a strategy or solution for that problem/opportunity? (Not sure? Our Content Mapping Template can help you get that all figured out.)
  • Does the title of your content clearly convey what the content is about? Have you optimized your content’s title for organic search? (Pro tip: Do some keyword research to figure out which phrases get the most search volume. The goal here isn’t to keyword-stuff your title, but to make sure you’re using the precise language that your prospective customers are using. Tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and HubSpot’s Keyword Tool can help.)

Of course, there’s also the chance that when faced with launching a last-minute content marketing campaign, you won’t actually have any content ready for promotion. In which case, you’ll need to create some new content on the fly.

It goes without saying that this is not an ideal scenario. In a perfect world, you should always take as much time as you need during the content creation process to ensure that you’re creating something you’re proud of.

But alas, we don’t live in a perfect world. In some cases, you may not have enough time to create the greatest content, and may instead need to settle for creating content that’s good enough.

With that in mind, here are some quick and dirty ideas for creating a good piece of content in an hour or less.

The Blog Post Compilation Ebook

Let “copy and paste” be your mantra for this super simple piece of content.

Start by thinking of a topic that you’ve already written about on your blog. Then, search through your library of published posts to see if there are a few posts on that topic that you could combine to form a (loose) narrative for an ebook.

I did this exercise just for fun by searching through old HubSpot posts, and within five minutes came up with six posts that I think we could combine to create a decent ebook about QR codes:

Once you have your outline, creating the ebook is as simple as copying and pasting the text from the blog posts you’ve compiled into an ebook template and giving ebook one more round of edits. FYI: My colleagues have created a bunch of free ebook templates you can use for this (and she explains how to use them in this post).

The Audio/Video Compilation Site Page

You can apply the same blog post compilation strategy for creating an ebook to your audio or video content in order to make a site page (i.e. an instructional page on your website).

Run a podcast? Try organizing some of your episodes around a common theme or topic and embed those episodes on your page. You can then write (or record) an introduction and a conclusion for the top and bottom of your page.

Create a lot of videos? It’s the same process as above, just embed your videos instead of podcast episodes. (Note: We’ve tried this “video site page” idea before with our Essential Crash Course on Modern Email Marketing.)

To retain the lead generation value of the campaign, just make sure to put your site page behind a landing page form (like we did with the example above).

Externalizing Your Internal Content

Chances are you use internal content on a weekly (if not daily) basis. Whether it’s an excel spreadsheet that you update, a style guide that you refer to, or a checklist that you use to track your work, that content has the potential to be valuable not just for you, but for your audience as well.

Search through your internal content and see if there’s a piece that’d be a good fit for a content marketing campaign. If you find something suitable, just be sure to A) remove any sensitive data or company information that you don’t want external people to see, and B) add in some instructional copy (or a separate instructional PDF) so people know how to use the content.

Regardless of the format you end up using for your content marketing campaign — be it an ebook, a site page, or an internal template — the earlier bullet points still apply: Your content needs to align with your target audience and your content’s title needs to be optimized.

You could spend 60 days making your content as pretty and as buttoned-up as possible. But if you skip the essentials, your campaign could suffer.

On the other hand, if you spend 60 minutes nailing down those essentials, you can still run a successful campaign — even if your finished piece isn’t as completely polished as you would’ve liked.

Step 2: Create Promotional Images (1 Hour)

If your content already has a well-designed cover image or title page, use that as the basis or thematic center for your promotional images (i.e. the images that you’ll use to promote your content on your blog, via email, via social, etc.).

Don’t have a solid cover image or title page to start with? No problem. You can design your promo images from scratch.

To begin, I recommend coming up with some type of visual metaphor or icon that represents your content’s topic.

inbound-strategy-coverflat.pngFor example, a few weeks ago I had to design a cover image and promo images for The CMO Guide to Resourcing Your Inbound Strategy. Since the content focused on the resources and tools a CMO needs for inbound marketing, the visual metaphor I decided on was a toolbox.

After about 5 minutes of playing around with a toolbox icon in Adobe Illustrator, I decided it’d look cool to have a bunch of other icons (representing tools and resources) sort of flowing out of the main toolbox icon.

And about 15 minutes after that, I was finished with the flat cover image you see to the right.

Once you’ve created an initial, flat image for your content, you can use that image — and the elements that comprise it — to make all of your other promotional images.

For example, I took that flat image I designed (above), brought it into Photoshop, and used the “Transform” > “Distort” function to stretch it over a 3D image of a book. The end result — a 3D book with a transparent background — is now the landing page image for this particular piece of content.

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(Note: for a more in-depth look at creating 3D promo images, check out this great post from BetterBlogImages.)

I also took some of the elements from my original flat images and rearranged them to create other promo images, like the Twitter image below:

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Wish there were a checklist of all of the different promo images you might need for your campaign, along with the corresponding pixel dimensions? You’ve come to the right place.

Here’s the checklist that the HubSpot content team uses internally to make sure we have all of our promotional bases covered.

  • Twitter post image: 1024 x 512 pixels*
  • Twitter cover image: 1500 x 500 pixels
  • Facebook link sharing image: 1200 x 637 pixels
  • Facebook cover image: 851 x 315 pixels
  • Pinterest image: 735 x 1102 pixels

*Given our higher posting frequency on Twitter, we typically create (at least) two different versions of Twitter post images.

Not included on the list: You’ll also want to create images for your landing page, emails, and blog posts. The specific dimensions of these images will vary depending on the dimensions of your landing page, email, and blog post layouts.

One final (but by no means less important) image you’ll need to create: a call-to-action (CTA) image that you can embed in your blog posts and other web pages. Your CTA should clearly but concisely explain what your content is about and/or what people who download your content can expect to learn. 

If you need a little help putting this together, we have 50 pre-designed CTA templates you can download for free. (Note for HubSpot customers: you can use our CTA tool to create CTAs for your content. This Academy post will guide you through the process.)

landing-page-twitter-facebook-images.pngNow, as you’re counting up all of these promo images I’ve listed out, you might be thinking to yourself: “There’s no way in hell I can create all of these in an hour.” 

But just remember: You don’t have to start from scratch with each image. Instead, you can copy, paste, and resize different elements to match the different dimensions you’re working with.

For example, once I had my landing page image created, it only took about two minutes to incorporate that landing page image into a Twitter image. And then it only took about 30 seconds to resize that Twitter image into a (nearly identical) Facebook image. 

If design isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. We have some tools and resources that can help:

Step 3: Create a Landing Page, Thank-You Page & Kickback Email (1 Hour)

Once you have the creative pieces of the campaign completed (i.e. the content and the promo images), you’ll want to move on to the core infrastructure of your campaign: the landing page. And, by extension, the thank-you page and a “kickback” email.

In case you’re a bit rusty on how all of those pieces work together, here’s a quick breakdown:

The Landing Page

Anyone interested in downloading your content must first go through this page: your landing page.

The typical landing page consists of a headline, some explanatory copy, an image (which we covered in the previous step), and most importantly of all, a lead capture form.

For a more detailed look at the elements that comprise the ideal landing page, check out this “Anatomy of a Landing Page” graphic from our illustrated guide, The Anatomy of Inbound Marketing.

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The form on your landing page is the gatekeeper of your content. But unlike Cerebus, the mythical three-headed monster guarding the entrance to the underworld, you don’t want to scare people away; you want them to get through. More specifically, you want the right people to get through.

As a general rule, the more fields you include in your landing page form, the fewer leads you can expect get. However, the leads you do get will be of a higher quality overall.

Oppositely, the fewer fields you include in your landing page form, the more leads you’ll get. However, those leads will be of a lower quality overall.

So, when setting up your form, think about what the goal of your campaign is: to generate a decent amount of good leads, or to generate a large amount of so-so leads. (HubSpot customers: You also have the option of making your forms more intelligent and personalized by using smart fields and progressive profiling. This Academy post walks you through it.)

When crafting the explanatory copy for your landing page, think about the main takeaways people can expect to get from your content and list those takeaways in a bulleted list. This makes it easy for people to quickly grasp the value of what you’re offering.

Also, make sure to remove any and all clickable elements that could distract people from filling out your landing page form. This means no top (or bottom) navigation and no social sharing buttons (you can save those for the thank-you page).

As a final rule, give some thought to optimizing your landing page URL for search. You’ll typically want to use the same keyword phrase in the URL as you do in the title of the content. For more information on optimizing URLs for search, check out this blog post.

The Thank-You Page

After someone fills out your landing page form, they should be automatically redirected to a separate thank-you page where they can:

  • Download the content you’ve promised them
  • Share that content via email and social
  • Navigate to other pages on your site (via the top and/or bottom navigation, which can be included here)
  • Move further along the buyer’s journey by opting into a demo, assessment, or sales call

Here’s a screenshot of a typical HubSpot thank-you page so you can see what incorporating all of those actions/elements looks like:

hubspot-thank-you-page.png

Notice that the bottom-half of the page essentially mimics the look of a landing page. That’s intentional: We’re using that valuable real estate at the bottom of the thank-you page to help guide people further down our funnel.

One important point to consider before we move on: Your thank-you page should be as undiscoverable as possible, since the primary goal is to get people to fill out the form on the landing page that precedes it. There are two major steps you can take to keep your thank-you page hidden:

  1. Instruct Google and the other search engines not to crawl and index your thank-you page (this blog posts explains how to do it)
  2. Have the sharing buttons on your thank-you page link to the landing page URL, not your thank-you page URL

Once you’ve created the landing page and thank-you page, the final piece of the puzzle is the kickback email.

The Kickback Email

Also known as a thank-you email, a kickback email should be sent automatically to anyone who fills out your landing page form.

In addition to using the email to thank folks for downloading your content, you should use the email to provide a direct link to your content — not to the landing page URL, but to the actual file URL. That way, if someone forgets where they saved your PDF, PowerPoint file, or other resource, they can simply search through their inbox to access it again (without having to re-fill a form).

The goal here isn’t to provide any additional information, but to simply provide people with the content they’ve already filled out a form to redeem.

Here’s a screenshot of a typical HubSpot kickback email so you can see what I mean:

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When time is of the essence, the best way to create a new landing page, thank-you page, and kickback email is to clone an old landing page, thank-you page, and kickback email. If you know a particular layout has performed well historically, stick with it! Just be sure to update all of the copy, images, links, and meta data (like your landing page’s title and meta description).

Note for HubSpot customers: Now would be a good time to jump into the Campaigns tool so you can tie all of these elements together and monitor your campaign’s performance in one place.

Step 4: Write a “Launch Post” for Your Blog (30 Minutes)

A “launch post” is simply a blog post that introduces your content. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it lets your blog readers/subscribers know that a new resource has become available.

At HubSpot, we typically use the title of our content as the title of our launch posts, but we also write out the format of the content in brackets at the end so people know what to expect. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

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Also shown in the screenshot above: the promo image I designed specifically for the blog (which we talked about in Step 2).

Your launch post should reiterate the main points outlined in your landing page, but the copy can be a bit more fun/informal. Try to think of an example of how someone could use your content — or think of a problem that your content could help solve — and tell that story as part of your post. 

Make sure you link to your landing page somewhere near the top of your post, and then embed that CTA you created (which should also link to the landing page) at the bottom of you post. 

Sticking with the same example as above, here’s what a blog CTA might look like:

For some more general blogging best practices, check out these resources:

Step 5: Craft a Launch Email (30 Minutes)

Just like your launch post introduces your new content to your blog subscribers, your launch email should introduce your new content to your email subscribers.

Not sure that everyone in your email database would be interested in the content you’ve created? Not to worry: You can create a list segment that consists of just the people who you think would benefit from it. (Note for HubSpot customers: This Academy post will walk you through the process of segmenting your contacts.)

Your launch email’s copy should be brief but descriptive. As was the case with your landing page, you may want to use bulleted lists to highlight the main takeaways of your content.

Of course, the whole point of the email is to drive people to your landing page, so make sure you link to it (ideally more than once). You can also use a CTA image/button to help encourage people to get there.

Here’s an example of a typical HubSpot launch email:

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Looking for more information on email marketing? These posts from the HubSpot blog can help:

Step 6: Create Social Media Posts (30 Minutes)

Remember all of those promo images you created back in Step 2? It’s time to attach those to some social media posts so you can introduce your new content to your social followers.

Of course, you could send out simple, text-only social media updates, but considering that social posts that include visuals get 94% more views than posts without visuals, this one’s a no-brainer: When promoting new content, you should always attach visuals to your social posts.

Wondering which social platforms you should post to? That really depends on where your audience is / where you’ve been able to build up an audience.

For example, if you work in the trucking industry, and you know that hardly anybody from that industry is on Pinterest … don’t even bother posting there. Alternatively, you might discover that Instagram happens to be super popular among the trucking crowd. In that case, you should definitely be posting there.

As a general rule (but again, this will vary depending on your particular circumstances), you should always announce your new content on the “big three” social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Check out this SlideShare presentation for some best practices on posting to each of those networks:

Regardless of the networks you decide to post to, be sure to use a shortened URL when linking to your landing page (since the full URL could use up characters unnecessarily).

However, depending on what kind of social publishing software you’re using, you may want to set up some tracking links before you shorten your landing page URL. Each link should correspond to a different social network so you can more easily monitor how much traffic each network is sending you. For example, you could make one tracking link to use on Facebook, another tracking link to use on Twitter, and so on.

Note for HubSpot customers: our social media tools shorten links — and track clicks — automatically. You can read more about that here.

Step 7: Prepare for Launch (30 Minutes, 29 Minutes, 28 Minutes …)

Congratulations! Your content is prepped. You’ve designed some beautiful promotional images. You’ve spun up a landing page, thank-you page, and kickback email. You’ve written a glorious launch post for your blog as well as a launch email, and you’ve crafted a bunch of social media posts so you can share your new content with your followers … all with 30 minutes to spare!

So, now it’s time to push that big, red button labeled “LAUNCH” so you can sit back and watch the leads start rolling in. Right?

Not quite.

Now that all of the pieces of the campaign are laid out in front of you, it’s time to make sure that A) all of the pieces are working correctly, and B) all of the pieces are scheduled to launch at the appropriate times.

First things first: If you haven’t already, publish your landing page, thank-you page, and kickback email. Then, test, test, test. Fill out the form on your landing page and make sure it redirects you to the thank-you page. Then, check your inbox to ensure you’ve received the kickback email. 

Next, you’ll want to schedule your blog post and email to go out. At HubSpot, we typically have these go out on the same day, and we tend to schedule them in the morning (around 7 a.m. EST). We’ve found that launching earlier in the day nets us more new leads.

You can schedule your first batch of social posts to go out at the same time as your blog post and email, or you can optimize the launch timing for each network you’re posting to (if you’re so inclined). This post/infographic walks you through the best times to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

Of course, you should continue to promote your content across your social channels (and on your blog) well after the initial launch date. Spend some time brainstorming relevant discussion questions that you can ask on LinkedIn. Pull out some interesting stats, quotes, and/or excerpts that you can turn into shareable images for Twitter and Facebook. Think about potential co-marketing partners who could help expose your content to a new audience. 

Ideally, you would’ve planned all of those things out before you launched. But remember: We were operating under the assumption that this was an unplanned, last-minute operation — there was some sort of content or lead generation emergency, and your deadline was ridiculously short.

With more time, you could’ve done things much differently. In addition to putting more hours into the production/refinement of your content as well as into the design of your promotional images, you could’ve …

  • Used marketing automation to add people who downloaded your content into a workflow/email series.
  • Planned out (or even written) a series of blog posts related to your content. 
  • Scheduled social media posts for days/weeks/months into the future.

The good news is there’s nothing stopping you from doing most of those things after your launch. (Better late than never, right?)

You should also dedicate time to regularly monitoring and reporting on your content’s performance, and — if performance stagnates — you’ll need to implement a strategy for historically optimizing that content.

But that’s a topic for an entirely different blog post. And actually, that post is right here (my coworker Pamela Vaughan wrote it). FYI: The post deals primarily with optimizing blog posts, but you can apply many of the insights to landing pages as well.

One final disclaimer: In this post, I explored the bare essentials of what you’d need to launch a content marketing campaign if you had absolutely had to. For the record, I do not recommend spending a measly five hours on all of your campaigns; you should spend considerably more time to ensure everything measures up to your individual (and team’s and/or company’s) standards.

So if your boss comes up to you later and says, “Hey I read this post on this marketing blog and based on my calculations you should be creating and launching 10 content marketing campaigns per week!” — please point your boss to the paragraph above.

Thanks for reading! Have any last-minute or “emergency” content marketing tips you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments section below.

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Beyond the Basics: How to Increase Conversions on Twitter [Free Webinar] by HubSpot

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When you first get started with Twitter, there are plenty of resources to help. Lots of guides on setting up your profile, tips on responding to your followers, and tutorials on picking your very first cover photo. 

But what happens after you’ve mastered the basics? Where do you turn for helpful, actionable advice to help you optimize your Twitter strategy?

One of the best places to start would be the social network itself. This Thursday, we’ll be hosting a webinar with Twitter to talk about the best ways to drive website visits and app installs, tried-and-true tests we’ve run, and more on how to use Twitter for your business. 

Want to tune in? Here are the details you need to know. 

Webinar Details

Date: June 24th, 1 p.m. EDT / 10 a.m. PDT

Hashtag: #TweetSmarter

Click Here to Register

twitter-logo Click to Tweet

“Countdown begins! Live webinar w/ @TwitterSmallBiz & @HubSpot – How to increase conversions on Twitter #TweetSmarter http://hubs.ly/y0RgHS0

TweetSmarterWebinarHubSpot

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Want to Be More Creative? Try These 8 Tools by HubSpot

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This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly creative person. According to my mom, I practically burned through coloring books when I was little, which is why it made sense that I majored in art, then media, and wound up in marketing. 

And while I consider myself lucky to be inherently creative, there are certainly some days where the ideas seem to flow much easier than others.

From a marketing standpoint, this often results in frustration. We need to be creative on a daily basis. 

To avoid getting stuck in a creative rut, I’ve collected a series of apps and tools I call upon whenever I need a little help getting the wheels turning. Whether you’re into doodling or inspiring quotes, this roundup is designed to provide you with the resources you need to get unstuck and start creating. 

8 Tools to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

1) Doodle

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Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution, wrote about benefits of doodling:

I use doodling for a variety of reasons: I use it to get clarity around a concept, I use it to relax, I use it to communicate ideas with others and get their refinement of them, I use it to map complex systems for companies, I use it to run innovation games for business, and I use it to get insight on something puzzling me.

When it comes to the versatile power of doodling, we couldn’t agree with Brown more. 

To help unlock your creative spirit, check out Doodle.ly — a social drawing tool available for desktop, iPhone, and iPad. 

It provides users with a space to scribble down their thoughts and ideas and easily publish them to share them with their network. Plus, it’s free. 

2) Prompts

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Looking to strengthen you writing skills?

Prompts is an iPhone app that provides users with creative suggestions for what to write about. 

Here are a few examples:

  • A glass bottle set next to …
  • The thief was stopped by a …
  • I’m not afraid to admit that …

Prompts makes it easy to write from anywhere by automatically backing up your writing to Dropbox, and you can export your work to Evernote, Day One, Facebook, Twitter, or your email. 

3) Coffitivity 

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It’s not uncommon to walk into a Starbucks and see a dozen people tapping away at their laptops. The hum of the coffee machines and the murmur of conversation creates a work environment favored by creatives of all kinds. 

While it’s nice to escape to a coffee shop and pump out some work every now and then, some days getting out of the office just isn’t a possibility.

For those days, there is Coffitivity

Coffitivity is a unique app designed to simulate the ambient sounds of a coffee shop to help boost concentration and creativity. 

Available for desktop, iPhone, and Android, this tool creates just enough buzz to help enhance your creative thinking while remaining subtle enough not to distract you. 

4) Quotey

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Quotes from wise and revered artists and creatives can spark our next big idea or work through a challenging creative roadblock. 

With that said, if you’re ever feeling stuck in a creative rut, simply pull up the Quotey app to be inspired. 

Quotey is an iPhone app that can best be described as “Tinder for quotes.” Users are prompted to swipe right or left to add quotes to their collection or populate a new one. 

There is also an handy little share button that makes it easy for you to share a quote with your friends and followers on social. 

5) Ad Filter

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Unimaginative ads cramping your creativity? 

The advertising organization, D&AD, recently released a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome designed to replace regular preroll ads with D&AD award winners, both past and present. 

While it seems a bit hypocritical for an advertising organization to release an ad blocker, the organization insists that Ad Filter is meant to “celebrate creativity by inspiring and stimulating people in the industry and beyond.”

6) Evernote 

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Inspiration strikes at the most unlikely times. 

With Evernote, you always have a place to record your bright ideas — no matter where you are or what you’re doing. 

Evernote is a modern workspace that is designed to sync across any computer or phone. This enables users to jot down their idea on one device and pick up where they left off on another. 

7) Photocopa

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Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just getting your feet wet, Photocopa is an awesome tool to inspire your efforts. 

With Photocopa, users can upload a photo from anywhere on the web, and the tool will generate a color palette inspired by the colors in the image. To retrieve the hex code for each color in your custom palette, simply hover over the square. 

This makes it easy for you to put together high-quality visuals for your blog articles, social media posts, or website. 

8) Lucidchart

From brainstorming to project management, Lucidchart provides users with the tools they need to create professional-looking charts and diagrams to illustrate their ideas. 

The platform is built for collaboration and employs a drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy for non-designers to produce high-quality content without the hassle. 

It’s also compatible with many other programs, including Google Apps, which makes exporting and sharing different file formats a breeze.

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What tool are you looking forward to trying most? What other creativity tools do you use to get unstuck? Let us know in the comment section below.

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10 Famous Logo Redesigns of 2015 [Infographic] by HubSpot

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This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

A logo redesign can be a risky undertaking. 

When The New York Times removed the period from its logo in 1967, many were outraged at the change, which was supposed to save the paper on ink costs. The deletion was so surprising to readers that it may have even resulted in The Gray Lady losing 1,000 subscribers

Yet each year, brands make the decision to refresh or go through a complete overhaul of their most visible asset. 

We’re more than six months into 2015, and already, we’ve seen quite a few companies launch their new logos. Most changes have been simple tweaks: a new font, a change in hue, or lettering adjustments. On the other hand, NPR’s Morning Edition left behind the ’90s-style clip art theme for a completely new look. 

Logo Design Services created the below infographic to track the logo changes and trends we’ve seen so far. 

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New Data: Should You Include Social Media Icons on Your Homepage? by HubSpot

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This post originally appeared on inbound.org and is reprinted here with permission.

The purpose of any homepage is to act as a launching pad for users to find relevant information that’s specific to their needs. Deciding what to include on your homepage, however, is an endless conversation amongst marketers.

If you’ve ever been a part of designing (or re-designing) a homepage, you know that every detail — from content and aesthetics to links and CTAs — matters. And with all the potential design features to include on a homepage, the relevancy of social media presents an interesting discussion for many marketers.

On average, people spend one hour and forty minutes per day on social media. But does the fact that people are highly engaged on social media platforms mean that it should be included on a homepage? (And if so, to what extent?)

We analyzed 65,000+ homepages across 35 industries from domains in the Alexa top million to see how brands are including (or not including) social media on their homepages.

To Include or Not to Include Links

On average, 75% of marketers choose to provide at least one social media link on their homepage while 25% opt not to include any.

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Across the 75% of marketers that agree on including links on their homepage, however, the data is widely split regarding how many links to include:

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High

At 20%, the largest group of homepages include three social media links, followed closely by 18% including four links. 

Mid

The middle of the pack accounts for nearly one-third of homepages and is separated into three groups differentiated by providing one, two, or five links.

Low

There is agreement about how many links is too many, with just 5% of marketers including six links or more.

Percent Share by Platform

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High 

  • The most popular platforms are Twitter and Facebook, representing 54% of homepage social media links.
  • Twitter, at 27.1% is the most popular social media platform for homepage linking, which is interesting to note since Facebook has over one billion users compared to Twitter’s 300 million.
  • While the Facebook platform is second to Twitter, the company owns Instagram, representing a 31.7% share of overall homepage links.

Mid 

The middle of the pack represents 35% of homepages and includes three social media platforms each with their own limits currently.  

  • At 14%, YouTube will grow as video marketing continues to emerge as the future of content, but currently suffers from a slower adoption rate compared to written content. 
  • Google+, at 11% has always had a branding problem as a social platform and while the future is questionable, it’s currently linked to more than LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. 
  • LinkedIn, at 10% is primarily used within B2B industries, hence not as applicable to the B2C industries within the Alexa top million. 

Low 

Understandably, Pinterest and Instagram are linked to the least out of social media platforms, representing 11% collectively. 

  • Pinterest, at 6% is a niche social media platform and while exceedingly popular in industries like fashion and retail, does not currently have the widespread usage appeal of Facebook or Twitter. 
  • Instagram, at 5% is a mobile only platform. Even with its 300 million users, Instagram currently suffers from companies not adopting mobile as fast as they’re adopting social media overall.

Percent Share by Industry

Nearly every marketing conference over the past few years has focused on the importance of social media. The general recommendation is to continue to make social a part of everyday operations, and to always think social first whether on mobile or desktop. 

While 75% of homepages are linking to social media, it’s interesting to note the industries both above and below the average. To help you visualize this, take a look at this chart:

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High

At 86%, Non-profits link to social media on their homepage more than any other industry. This is understandable considering low marketing budgets, people’s propensity to share about causes, and the potential benefit to any story going viral. It’s for these same reasons that religious sites aren’t far behind, with 83% of homepages including social media links. 

The following 17 industries (above the 75% overall average yellow line) are primarily B2C focused, with sports, fashion, high-end retail, travel, restaurants, media, and consumer services leading the way. These industries sync well with social media as people are often more likely to share about attending a sports game, going out to eat, traveling to an island, or reading a compelling article comparatively to other verticals. 

Mid

What’s most interesting about this section is the clear adoption rate of “legacy” industries. Five years ago, 7 out of 10 legal, hardware, construction, or real estate homepages would not have featured social media links. The question moving forward is whether or not social links on homepages have a meaningful impact for these industries or not (or if including social media links is just part of going through the motions). 

Low 

The industries at the bottom of any social media list are often the ones plagued by legal stipulations, small audience sizes or a minimal focus on social media marketing. While biotech, manufacturing, energy and B2B goods are understandably low due to these varying reasons, ecommerce and finance stand out.

Within ecommerce, keeping users on site to purchase is essential as even a .1% increase in conversions can mean millions in sales. As for finance, expect to see this industry move up in the coming years. Not only have financial companies improved at working with their legal teams, but startups like Wealthfront and Robinhood are redefining the meaning of “finance culture.” 

Preferred Social Platforms by Industry

Now that we’ve reviewed:

  • The percent of homepages linking to social media
  • The average number of social media links featured on homepages
  • The most popular social platforms links on homepages
  • The most active industries featuring social media links on their homepages

The next step is to highlight the percent share of each social media platform by industry:

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The Highest Percentage of Homepages by Industry Linking to Each Social Media Platform

Twitter

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Facebook

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YouTube

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Google+

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LinkedIn

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Pinterest

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Instagram

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The Lowest Percentage of Homepages by Industry Linking to Each Social Media Platform

Twitter

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Facebook

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YouTube

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Google+

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LinkedIn

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Pinterest

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Instagram

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Food for Thought

Considering the hype around social, it’s notable that one out of four marketers don’t include any social media links on their homepage. For some companies, keeping users on-site and focused down a specific conversion funnel works best.

Conversely, even though marketers are working tirelessly to drive traffic, many companies are providing social media links leading users outside of their website.

Why?

The data suggest that including social media links has a positive impact on your brand, as 75% of homepages feature social links. However, when it comes time to decide how many platforms to include, it’s ultimately your call.

Although we do recommend that you keep the data we’ve detailed in mind: Twitter and Facebook are the leading platforms by a significant percentage, followed by YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn, with Pinterest and Instagram at the back of the line.

How do you incorporate social media into your homepage design? What do you think the role of social media should be on homepages and how do you think things will change over the next few years? Let us know in the comment section below.

Want to learn from the experts how to drive more conversions on Twitter? Join us on June 24th at 1pm EDT/10am PDT for our live #TweetSmarter webinar featuring HubSpot’s own VP of Marketing, Kipp Bodnar, and Twitter’s Head of SMB Marketing, Anne Mercogliano. Sign up to watch this must-see webinar here.

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11 Tips to Help Improve Your Brand’s Communication Strategy by HubSpot

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As marketers, we strive to communicate with consumers in the ways that they prefer. In fact, marketing is becoming increasingly consumer-driven. For example, with the rise of social media marketing, brands can communicate directly with their customers to develop products that sell, and consumers essentially become product “co-creators.” Today, 80% of online content is user-generated, and content will increasingly come from a customer’s peers. Marketers need advocates buzzing about their products as people increasingly receive information about brands from their social connections.

The big question is: How does a company acquire brand evangelists? Here, we’ll discuss how much an authentic, humanized brand voice matters in your quest to get people raving about you to all of their friends – not to mention form long-lasting brand-customer relationships built on a solid foundation of trust. Here are 11 key tips to help improve the way your brand communicates with consumers.

1) Be Authentic

People don’t want brands talking at them as if they’re dollar signs – they want authentic communication. Maintain an authentic tone when posting and interacting with consumers – one that doesn’t seem forced. Always speak like a human being. Communicate directly with fans and followers and be flexible and spontaneous. Instead of solely tracking and analyzing, you can spend time planning and perfecting your brand voice.

Patagonia is a brand that does a fantastic job at remaining authentic. For starters, they don’t traditionally advertise. The company works to provide meaning rather than superficial promises. They “advertise” by building human bonds, providing reliability and utility, and behaving like trustworthy people would – and that’s a big deal to customers. Their focus is truly on people, emphasizing that the best brands are people that just happen to be associated with the product.

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2) Have a Conversation

Remember that voice and tone matter; they humanize your brand and let you take part in conversations naturally. Take the time to have genuine, real-time dialogue with customers and prospects to better position your brand in a world of evolving and increasingly niche markets. Define and uphold a strong social media marketing voice and others will start doing your marketing for you.

This is a great example of how Oreo engages its customers in playful conversation on Twitter that syncs with the rest of the brand’s strategy. Consumers are delighted when a company takes the time to speak with them one-on-one – not to mention in a fun way. Three words: expanding brand loyalty.

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3) Create Buyer Personas

Creating buyer personas, or fictional, generalized characters that build a picture of your ideal and largest markets, helps you better understand your core customer groups. In order to organize your research, you can start by conducting interviews and surveys, then organize and format your persona research, finalize specific buyer personas, and lastly, use your buyer personas for segmentation, content mapping, and lead nurturing. When you truly know your ideal customer, you will create more compelling content that they’ll respond positively to.

Walt Disney World knows exactly whom they’re speaking to, when and where. This is a good example of attracting your ideal customers where they typically hang out. The highest percent of Facebook users is between ages 34-54, and the majority of those users are women. Who is more likely to book and plan the family vacation? Mothers! Walt Disney World knows this, and that’s why they focus their efforts on Facebook.

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4) Show Your Personality

Cultivate a voice that delights your customers. Delighted customers talk positively about your brand, essentially driving new content creation. This content then reaches other customers and prospects, delivering your message naturally. Put a face on your brand and let a real personality shine through. Cater to your buyer personas and post the kind of content they enjoy. Let readers know that your brand is professional, of course, but also fun and relatable. People often prefer a connection over information.

Old Spice is known for their funny ads and brand personality. Especially in recent years, the company has taken many creative risks and, in turn, made a lasting impression. Here’s an example of an unmistakeably Old Spice ad.

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5) Provide Relevant Content

Great content is only great as long as it resonates with your target audience. Take the time to really understand your readers. Research their challenges and publish content that speaks directly to them, where and when they prefer. In doing this, you’ll enhance your reach.

Lowe’s on Pinterest makes perfect sense. The products should be shared on Pinterest because that’s where Lowes’ ideal customers want to browse for ideas of what to buy. This shows that the company really understands its audience and wants to cater to their interests.

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6) Be Helpful

Create a presence in social communities by helping people. Spend time crafting genuinely helpful replies rather than just dropping links all over the place. Building those relationships will carry your business forward at a rapid pace. It is critical that you are helping people rather than focusing only on driving traffic and metrics.

JetBlue responds quickly to customer service questions on Twitter. They don’t take any days off (just like their airlines) and are there to help at any time. If your brand is going to go on Twitter for customer service, it’s important to be committed. They are going where their customers are and being there to help them, not to help themselves by constantly pushing press releases. JetBlue is promoting their brand by having great customer service. It’s a win-win: customers get service on Twitter, while JetBlue publicly displays their quick and responsive service.

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7) Focus on Quality Engagement Over Quantity

Quality of the engagement with a message must be factored in – more so than the quantity of engagements. Thoughtful comments and replies or posts that answer your audience’s common questions give your brand an edge while building trust. And, speaking directly to your customers gives you a much better idea of how to market to them than merely analyzing data. Traffic is nice, but truly engaging with the reader means more. A glorified RSS feed is actually a waste of time.

Here, Southwest Airlines took advantage of an opportunity to engage with a customer directly on Twitter and, in turn, really made a positive impact on his view of the company. Little yet meaningful interactions have the power to create loyal customers and even brand evangelists. 

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8) Be Open

Transparency and openness can be a huge asset as you are generating your social media marketing voice. This type of marketing is unique. Few companies share the intimate details of their journey, and doing so can help you stand out from your competition. Writing with openness and transparency also helps you communicate with confidence; nothing is off the table to discuss.

With the “Our Food. Your Questions.” digital platform, consumers were encouraged to ask their toughest questions. In exchange, McDonald’s Canada promised to step up and provide clear and concise answers. It was the open, honest kind of approach that can silence the harshest of critics, turn a fence-sitter into a fan or, if it backfires, risk alienating consumers unsatisfied with the answers.

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9) Post About Things Other Than Your Own Brand

Make sure your posts aren’t all just about your company or industry – although those are important, too. When you venture outside of your usual topics once in a while, it makes people feel comfortable being themselves because you’re being yourself, too. Share great posts by other industry leaders and touch upon relevant news. It’s always beneficial to keep content interesting so as not to lose people’s interest. Keep your audience coming back for more.

Here’s an example of how Whole Foods touches upon topics on Twitter that aren’t directly tied to their offerings but correlate with their audience’s interests and concerns. This shows that you care about more than just touting your products and services, and it helps keep your content interesting and relevant.

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10) Throw in Content for Pure Consumer Enjoyment

Post things that you think your audience would just plain enjoy sometimes, with no link to your blog, lead-capture form, or transaction attached. This will make people more than like your posts – they’ll look forward to them. This also enhances trust because readers will see that you aren’t just on a mission to promote; you’re there to delight and serve your audience. If you come across a funny YouTube video that would speak to your buyer personas, share it! Don’t be afraid to try new things.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese does a good job at keeping their followers entertained. Here’s a great example of just plain fun – no link, no promotion, just great branding. Keeping customers delighted is key, especially when it’s delivered genuinely.  

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11) Leverage Consumer-Generated Content

IBM’s Global CEO Study found that 88% of CEOs said “getting closer to customers” was the top priority for their business over the next five years. This can be done, largely, by leveraging user-generated content. Brands should work to improve their products and messaging as consumers continue to influence and take co-ownership of their favorite brands. Share consumers’ content and tweak your offerings in order to give your audience exactly what they like to see and experience.

Starbucks engaged fans and created some beautiful content when they launched a stunning White Cup Contest where fans were proposed to paint Starbucks’ white cups and submit their photos to social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. As a result, the brand received wonderful visual content for its Facebook and Pinterest pages, and increased their social media reach. 

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With the rise of collaborative marketing, marketers must shift from marketing “at” consumers to marketing “with” consumers. We have reached a point where companies that simply view social as a mass communication channel for blasting out messages to a mass audience are penalized. Barriers between companies and their consumers will continue to fall in this collaborative age. These 11 important tactics will help your brand face its consumers genuinely and effectively.

Want to learn more about how to attract and, ultimately, delight your ideal customers? Check out this comprehensive free guide!

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The Free Templates You Need for Visual Content Design by HubSpot

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Visual content is in high demand. Just about every piece of content you create can be enhanced by some kind of visual element.

And in social media, visuals pretty much make or break your presence. In fact, according to Buffer, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets. And if you need any more evidence to convince you visuals are essential to your content marketing, just consider all these stats.

But honestly … who’s got time for all that? And I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly have a degree in graphic design, or the budget to hire someone who does. So, what’s a design-impaired marketer to do?

Luckily, over the past couple years, we’ve been on a mission at HubSpot to make visual content creation much less of an obstacle for the average marketer. How, you ask? Templates, my friends … templates. And what’s great about these templates is they’re all built for software you probably already have on your computer: PowerPoint.

Click here to download our full collection of free content creation templates all at once.

I’m going to walk you through all the visual content marketing templates we have available for free to download, and show you how we’ve used them ourselves to create awesome visuals right in PowerPoint.

All the Templates You Need for Visual Content Design 

5 Pre-Sized Social Media Cover Photo Templates (Download Here)

As you now know, social media is where visual content thrives. So to get started, you’ll want to make sure your business’ social media accounts are optimized with attractive cover photos. This first download includes five pre-sized PowerPoint templates to help you create customized social media cover photos for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube using the right cover photo dimensions.

In fact, we frequently use PowerPoint to create HubSpot’s own Facebook cover photos. Here’s an example of one of our former cover photos that was used to promote our free stock photos, which coincidentally, we’ll cover later in this post.

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Download your 5 social media cover photo templates here.

10 Infographic Templates (Download Here)

When you think about visual content and marketing, what’s the first thing you think of? I bet many of you think of infographics. The infographic is a great choice for visual content — particularly for your blog — since it can generate a lot of traffic, inbound links, and social shares. But man can it take a lot of time and skill to pull off!

Enter our 10 customizable infographic templates, which can help you cut back on the time, effort (and yes, skill) required for infographic creation.

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There are 10 infographic styles to choose from, and each is completely customizable. And because all you need is a little PowerPoint know-how (don’t worry — the download also offers some basic PowerPoint tips) and the content to plug into them, these templates will severely cut back on the time, effort, and design-savvy necessary for infographic creation. In fact, I used one of these templates to create a brand new infographic in under an hour. Check out the before/after, and what I did to create it, in this blog post.

Download your 10 free, customizable infographic templates.

5 SlideShare Presentation Templates (Download Here)

Another great option for creating visual blog content is SlideShare. SlideShare is a site that allows you to upload files that people can view, share, and embed. It’s most typical use is for sharing slideshows. In fact, we’ve found that posts with embedded SlideShare presentations generate an average of 34% more views and 29% more inbound links than the average non-SlideShare post on this very blog.

SlideShare presentations are great for content that is best presented in a visual way — like quick tips or best practices, data, visual examples, or content that tells a story. But like so many other forms of visual content, SlideShare creation does take time and skill. That’s why if you grab one of our five SlideShare designs and plug in some content (like a blog post) you’ve already created, you’ll make things much easier on yourself — and shave off valuable content creation time, too! 

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Here is an example of a SlideShare presentation we created from scratch using PowerPoint, whose contents also provide some helpful tips for using stock photos in your visual content. Lucky for you, we’re about to throw some free stock photos your way, too 😉

Download your 5 free SlideShare templates(Then check out this post, which provides you with some SlideShare creation tips and best practices along the way.)

3 PowerPoint Presentation Templates (Download Here)

What about if you’re creating a slide deck that’s not necessarily meant for SlideShare? Maybe it’s for an internal presentation you’re giving to share the results of a project you did, a deck to report on your monthly marketing metrics, or some slides for an upcoming speaking gig you have.

We have a few general PowerPoint templates available for download as well — which also comes with a series of three videos to teach you some basic PowerPoint creation tips, including how to install new fonts, how to add an image as a background, and how to remove the background of an image.

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Download your 3 PowerPoint templates here.

550+ Royalty-Free Stock Photos (Download Below)

Okay, so this is the one resource on our list that isn’t exactly a template. However, you can (and should) absolutely remix and customize these free stock photos in PowerPoint. These are completely free images you can use in your marketing campaigns — no royalties or fees whatsoever. Use them on your website, on your blog, in your emails, in social media, or anywhere else without any worries about attribution or copyright infringement.

We have four collections of stock photos available to download:

Here’s a preview of some of the photos from our most recently released collection of assorted stock photos

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To customize these images, simply plop them into PowerPoint and work your magic: write captions, crop them, add thought bubbles, remove backgrounds, etc. Check out the following example of how we took one of our stock photos and made it our own by adding a screenshot to the laptop screen:

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Download your free stock photos: 80 Assorted Photos | 75 More Assorted Photos | 160 Business-Themed Photos | 250 Holiday-Themed Photos

(Then read this post for more ideas about how to use them in your visual marketing collateral).

50 Customizable Calls-to-Action (Download Here)

Of all the templates on this list, this one is probably the most utilitarian. After all, CTAs are pretty darn essential for lead generation, and lead generation is one of the most important goals for many marketers. But there’s also no denying that CTAs still require some design skill. Luckily, this template download offers 50 customizable CTAs in — you guessed it — PowerPoint! Here’s one I created from scratch in PowerPoint to promote a demo of our Social Inbox app:

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And if you want more inspiration (and proof) about just how professional-looking you can make CTAs in PowerPoint, check out this blog post featuring seven big-brand CTAs recreated in PowerPoint. It’s life changing. 

Download your 50 customizable calls-to-action.

18 Ebook Templates (Download Here and Here)

… because your ebooks deserve to look better than a 10-page chunk of text in Microsoft Word. We started out by building 5 free ebook templates, and then recently added 13 more, so you’ll have plenty of professional-looking, attractive design options to choose from when you’re creating your next ebook. 

And if you need help with ebook creation in general, this post walks you through it step by step — using one of our very own ebook templates.

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Download your ebook templates: 5 here | 13 here

60 Templates for Visual Social Media Content (Download Now)

Remember earlier in this post when we mentioned the fact that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets? That’s right — visual content rules the roost in social networks. It makes perfect sense why: Just consider how much more prominently visual content gets displayed in social media feeds compared to text-based content. Here’s an example on Twitter …

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Which tweet draws your eye? The one from Business Insider, right? Case in point.

But Twitter isn’t the only social network where visual content will garner you more engagement. Socialbakers.com looked at the top 10% of posts made by more than 30,000 Facebook brand pages and found that Facebook posts with photos saw the most engagement — accounting for a whopping 87% of total interactions.

So what can you do to make the content you post on Facebook, Twitter, and all other social networks more visual? Lots of things, it turns out! Here’s just a smattering of options you’ll get when you download the visual social media content templates — much more visually stimulating than just a description and a link, right?

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And here are a couple examples of visual social media content we’ve created for HubSpot’s own Facebook Page — right in PowerPoint!

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Download your 60 free social media graphic templates(Then check out this blog post to see how quick and easy it is to customize them).

While not a template, if you’re just getting started with visual content marketing, you might also want to check out The Marketer’s Crash Course in Visual Content CreationConsider this the do-it-yourself (DIY) designer’s handbook. This ebook not only explains why visual content marketing is important; it also runs through the types of visual content you can create, 10 best practices for DIY design, 23 free tools to help you with visual content creation, and a design evaluation checklist so you can ensure you’re following all the DIY design best practices.

Ready to start creating awesome visual content quickly and on a budget? Get downloading — then start creating!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free content creation templates

 
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5 Ecommerce Companies Who Do Social Proof Right by HubSpot

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Social proof is sometimes misunderstood. Not in the fact that people aren’t sure what it is—most know that reviews count as social proof—but in the fact that many don’t realize just how extensive the possibilities for presenting social proof are. That’s why we gathered together some of our favorites, so we can show you the many different ways you can convince buyers that the whole world loves your products. 

ModCloth

We can’t have a best-of list without ModCloth, can we? Yes, ModCloth provides social proof in several different ways, including reviews and a heart button. It’s easy for buyers to see which products are universally loved, which in turn helps them make up their minds.

ModCloth example one

Lots of companies do this now, though. Getting reviews and likes definitely helps, but ModCloth takes it a step further by requesting user-generated content. These images of real customers wearing the clothes and accessories sold on the site have more sway over buyers than picture-perfect models. As an added bonus, ModCloth also presents several different styles for each piece they sell. It’s a win-win.

modcloth example two

Puma

As a global brand with consumers on most continents, opening up social proof to the masses would quickly clog the website. Fortunately, social proof doesn’t just come from the everyday consumer, and Puma knows this. With endorsements from celebrities, brands get a boost in the eyes of buyers. 

puma social proof example one

Puma knows this, and that’s why they feature hero images with their top endorsers. They don’t stop there, though. Rihanna and Usain Bolt feature prominently, but buyers can also find a list of other celebrities that trust Puma to be their shoe of choice. If Rihanna likes them, why shouldn’t we?

puma social proof example two

Amazon

Accepting and even embracing bad reviews isn’t easy. Amazon manages to not only do both but to also make those bad reviews work in their favor. They understand that consumers want to know the bad and the good. We’re smart enough to take everything in context before making decisions.

amazon social proof example

Look how they place the negative and positive reviews together so buyers can see everything at once. They can determine if the good outweighs the bad or if the bad review was from a buyer who just didn’t get what was expected. This is a great way to use even negative social proof to get a positive response.

Betabrand

Crowdfunding is a special kind of social proof that’s still gaining in popularity. Betabrand has taken the crowdfunding phenomenon and taken it to a whole new level. In addition to the serious social proof that comes with funding a project for production, Betabrand also includes a few other cues.

betabrand social proof example

Take a look at these sunglasses, which have raised almost four times the original goal. There’s a big sign that people love the glasses. If that’s not enough to convince you, there are 48 comments from prospective buyers that might just convince someone who’s sitting on the fence. 

betabrand social proof example two

Booking.com

Speaking of multiple social proof options, Booking.com takes the whole social proof thing to the extreme. In the examples below, you’ll probably pick out a few of the things we’ve already discussed here, but they didn’t stop at “good enough.” They went right over the line into “whoa!”

First, there’s the search result page. See the star rating, followed by the thumbs-up symbol, and then finished with the 398 favorites heart. On the right side, there’s a pretty high rating that’s taken from 394 reviews. That’s all exciting, right? What about the notification that one person is looking at the hotel besides you? That adds a bit of urgency. Add to that the fact that the hotel was booked by someone else less than an hour ago, and that there are only two rooms left, and Booking.com has created a situation where you’d be silly NOT to buy.

booking.com social proof example

Once you click into this particular hotel to learn more, you can see a breakdown of the scores and the actual reviews. Booking.com makes it clear that only verified guests can leave a review, so you know you’re getting accurate information from real customers. That’s social proof you can’t buy.

booking.com social proof example

Are you using every form of social proof available to you? We’d love to know how your efforts have helped your ecommerce sales, so leave us a comment!

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The Top Business Podcasts You Need to Be Listening To by HubSpot

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Love learning about business and how some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs and companies are operating?

Business podcasts serve as a great way to stay informed (and inspired).

All you need is your smartphone and a pair of headphones to tune in to everything from one-on-one interviews with today’s top leaders to recaps of the day’s most pressing business news.

So whether you’re a seasoned executive looking for something to listen to during your commute or just someone who’s always itching to learn something new, this list of the best business podcasts is for you. From Kai Ryssdals’ Marketplace to Tim Ferriss’ self-titled collection of wisdom, the following seven business podcasts will teach how to strategize, lead, and grow your business. 

(If you’re new to podcasts, here’s a quick primer on how to subscribe to a podcast on your phone so you can listen on the go.)

7 Business Podcasts Every Marketer Should Tune In To

1) HBR Ideacast

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HBR’s Ideacast is consistently one of the top business podcasts on iTunes (for good reason). From an interview with Evernote CEO Phil Libin on the new ways we work to a discussion about how CEOs are succeeding in Africa, the HBR team covers a range of executive-level topics on a weekly basis.

The best part? It’s snackable.

Each episode is usually under 20 minutes and accompanied by a longer piece of content on the HBR website. 

2) APM: Marketplace

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You may have heard Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal on the radio over the years, but now you can get American Public Media’s Marketplace — one of the most popular business programs in America — on-demand right on your phone.

Marketplace has always been a must-listen to get caught up on all of the important businesss news from the day, only now you don’t have to worry about being in your car at just the right time to tune in.

3) EntreLeadership 

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EntreLeadership is a concept created by Dave Ramsey that explores how businesses can use effective management to create ventures that grow and prosper.

An author, speaker and radio host, Ramsey wrote a book all about the concept of EntreLeadership back in 2011. Today, there’s a podcast with the same name focused on sharing lessons, tips, and tricks from some of today’s top entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, and Simon Sinek.

4) How to Start a Startup

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This might be the closest thing to getting an actual MBA.

In the fall of 2014, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman started a new class at Stanford all about starting a business. But instead of only making it available to students enrolled at Stanford, Altman decided to share every lecture with the world. His lectures have since been transformed into podcast episodes for your listening pleasure. 

Tune in to this educational postcast to learn lessons like how to manage, how to build products users love, and how to raise money from some leaders such as author Ben Horowitz, Facebook’s VP of Growth Alex Schultz, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

5) The Tim Ferriss Show

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Tim Ferriss is what you call a tinkerer. He’s always trying to find new ways to optimize his work, life and health, and lucky for all of us, much of it gets documented on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.  

If you’re interested in business, the real value comes when Ferriss interviews his friends — people like investor Chris Sacca, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ferriss has a unique ability to go in-depth and uncover nuggets about what makes these successful people so successful, including how they work, how they build their teams, and even things like what the eat.

6) TEDTalks Business

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This great example of the power of podcasts needs the shortest explanation. 

Why?

It’s just that good. 

Instead of having to sit in front of your computer to watch a TEDTalk, you can take it with you and listen on the go. Just make sure you have your notepad ready because the insights you’ll uncover are brilliant. 

7) The Growth Show

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Each week, HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe sits down with one of today’s top executives to unpack how they’ve been able to grow and build a world-class business. The Growth Show guests have included Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal, Slack CMO Bill Macaitis, Tough Mudder CEO Will Dean, and theSkimm Founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin.

Ready to Listen?

Check out this list of all of the business podcasts from this post on iTunes:

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