Wednesday, 31 August 2016

5 Strategies to Entice Consumers to Binge-Watch Your Product Videos

Continue watching.

These two words are infamous in the world of video streaming. When consumers are hooked, they want more to watch.

“Content marketers should consider the binging trend a sort of case study. All of the elements that make us binge are lessons,” says Kari Matthews, a content writer for technology companies.

“We can do what these [television] shows do, in our own way, in our own industries, to make the most of our content and build our brands.”

Work with your team to engage customers with binge-worthy product videos. Get them excited about your brand and ecommerce services.

Try these five strategies below to entice your consumers.

1. Cater to Diverse Audiences

Normally, experts suggest creating content to serve a select group of people. But when it comes to product videos, you may want to take a different approach.

You want your content to be shareable. So, it must serve several different audiences. And that includes people who will never purchase your product.

“Remember that not everybody who buys, buys today, not everybody who consumes content shares it, and not everybody who shares content buys,” states Scott Allan, chief marketing officer at AddThis.

“Instead of focusing on capturing leads, create memorable content that customers will draw on when they or their friends are ready to make a purchase.”

So, produce content that people can share with their family and friends. Focus on moments that everyone can relate to, like laughing with friends, hosting a summer barbeque, or attending a college football game.

Below is the noteworthy Dollar Shave Club product video. Not everyone who shared this content bought the shavers, but it did go viral and reached their target audience.

If your company wants avoid vulgar language, think of your product video like a PG-rated film. For instance, most Disney movies are meant for kids to enjoy, but they have enough common themes to engage the parent.

Don’t be afraid to serve more people with your videos. The goal is to spread the word.

2. Develop A Backstory

For product videos to gain your audience’s attention, the content must discuss more than the product. Yes, content must go beyond talking about your company.

In other words: Tell a story that emotionally attaches people. It’s all about showing your audience a new perspective. And giving them a different insight that humanizes your brand.

Studies show that “Americans alone consume over 100,000 digital words every single day, but 92% say they want brands to tell stories amongst all those words.”

The same holds true in the world of video. A written product description isn’t good enough. And a video regurgitating similar information is just awful.

According to For Dummies, a “backstory refers to everything that occurred in your story’s past. A character’s backstory may include family background, job history, psychological condition, and any memories you create for that person from childhood on.”

Instead, bring your videos to life with characters and a plot. Give the actors names and set up an environment where the product is being used, not displayed.

That’s what Amazon did when they introduced its Echo. Rather than giving consumers a run down of the product features, the eCommerce giant showcased the product’s value in a simulated setting.

Get creative. Show, don’t just tell consumers about your products.

3. Create Episodic Content

According to Netflix, the network’s 83 million members watch more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies every day. That’s a lot of time in front of a screen.

But what keeps viewers coming back for more?

One reason is access to uninterrupted content. Consumers don’t need to worry about commercials. Advertisement don’t get in the way of their favorite shows. Therefore, they can focus on viewing what they love the most.

Another reason is the addicting show plots. A great television show contains episodes that leave the audience wanting more. People are constantly wanting to know what’s going to happen next.

Will the main character finally locate the killer? Or will the antagonist prevail and destroy his enemies?

Image Source

Episodic content has people on the edge of their seats. And that’s how your team should set up product videos.

Shoot multiple videos with cliffhangers. Get consumers intrigued about your brand culture and latest product benefits.

“Episodic content enhances the credibility of your brand as people become more and more familiar with you and what you are about. This builds trust and value with your target audience,” says Kerri Ponder, a writer at Crowd Content.

One product video is fine. But a bunch can get customers hooked on your ecommerce brand.

4. Notify Customers of Updates

Your customers are busy. They have to manage both their work and home schedules.

So, sometimes certain things get forgotten. And that’s perfectly fine.

That’s where are your team steps in. Remind your customers of your new product videos.

There’s an old marketing adage: The Rule of Seven. It says that a “prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you.”

Create a special website pop-up telling them about new videos. Keep customers informed by sending notification emails leading up to the launch.

Your business already sends updates about new terms and conditions. Mimic the technique for product videos.


“Getting people excited about content that is perhaps not yet fully done whets their appetite and keeps them talking about you and your brand, days ahead of when your campaign or content actually is released,” writes Shanna Cook, senior social media manager at Nokia.

Like any marketing tactic, don’t over do it. Reminders can become nuisances if they are sent every single day. Take a look at your internal data and set times best suited for your target audience.

Ask customers to sign up for your email list for product video announcements. There’s power in notifications.

5. Offer an Instant Reward

Everyone enjoys special gifts for their efforts. Reward customers for taking the time to watch or share your video.

Customers want to be delighted. They desire instant rewards that help them today, not tomorrow. So, stay away from mail-in rebates or points that can’t be redeemed today.

For example, at the end of a product video, offer a 10% promo code. And think beyond discounts. Giveaway exclusive access to a webinar or a free ebook.

Christian Karasiewicz, a social media marketing professional, suggests the following:

“Develop a video to showcase your expertise or further educate your viewers, then include a YouTube card that leads your audience to related material. This can be a transcription, checklist, infographic, SlideShare or downloadable PDF…”

YouTube cards are notifications that appear in your video. It’s a small rectangular box at the top right corner. It give your viewers a preview of the message. Check out the video below on how to add cards to YouTube videos.

Analyze which rewards consumers like the most. Then, start offering instant rewards for watching your product videos.

Binge-Worthy Content

On-demand video is attracting consumers to brands. The best ones hold the audience’s attention and keep them engaged.

Aim to create product videos for a diverse audience. Give your videos a backstory. And notify customers of new releases.

Produce captivating product videos. Let consumers continue watching.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

3 Ways to Gauge Your Team’s Marketing Maturity

3 Ways to Gauge Your Team's Marketing Maturity

Author: Jessica Minasian

Are you on top of your marketing game?

Knowing what a seasoned marketing professional looks like helps you analyze you and your team’s expertise and, for managers, hire the right individuals. By understanding your team’s marketing maturity, you can assess where you are now and where you want to go.

As an Enterprise Business Consultant, I work directly with many of our customers—some who are just getting the ball rolling and others who are marketing veterans. By understanding their techniques and practices, I’m able to get a good feel for their level of expertise and where there may be room for improvement.

In this blog, I’ll share three signs I’ve seen that indicate whether marketers are on the path to success or may need to take a detour:

1. The Blacklist Whiteboard is Front and Center

If you find yourself in an office that has a “blacklist whiteboard,” listing the number of the days you’ve stayed off a blacklist, then you most likely have a battle-tested marketing team. Some teams might not have a physical whiteboard, but are nonetheless tracking this data in some way or form. At Marketo, we use a partner solution to check the health of IP addresses and blacklist status. If your team would rather do this in-house, you can consider sending weekly internal marketing emails that highlights the specific strategies you’ve used to stay off of a blacklist with the total number of days your team has been successful to keep the momentum going.

Marketers who keep track of this data are fluent in email deliverability, which is key to your email marketing success, especially when you consider that one in every five emails is blocked from ever reaching your subscribers’ inboxes, according to Return Path. The two leading spam houses are SpamHaus and SpamCop, and if either of these flags you, it could put your sender reputation in jeopardy. Inherent features of most marketing automation platforms block communications from going to invalid emails, although sometimes massive email blasts can skirt the edges of built-in logic to stop a send, causing the ‘spam police’ to raise a red flag: a blacklist.

Now, if you’ve ever been blacklisted, you know the heart-pounding sensation it can cause. Too many blacklist warnings and your email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation platform may be restricted or even terminated. Accordingly, email marketers who are using an ESP or marketing automation platform should devise a plan to keep everyone in the team up-to-date on best practices to stay off a blacklist.

A targeted marketing strategy not only keeps you off the dread blacklist, but also helps create lasting relationships with your buyers. By taking steps towards keeping your database clean and email sends targeted, you can ensure that every send is something that your subscribers want to hear about and not just waiting to hit the unsubscribe or spam button for. Placing higher importance on a targeted audience changes the way marketers can look at marketable verse unmarketable records in their database. Suddenly, verifying a prospect’s email and other qualifying criteria becomes more important than blasting to an enormous, unidentified audience.

2. Have a Handle on the Right Metrics

As a marketer, you have to know how to wear an analyst hat to review and analyze data that will help you enrich the buyer’s journey. At first, tracking the right data might be difficult because not everyone defines key metrics in the same way. B2B marketers might focus more on moving leads through the funnel, while consumer marketers might be more concerned with increasing customer lifetime value. Or an email marketer might be tracking click-to-open rates and bounce rates, while a digital marketer might care more about cost-per-click, and both might be interested in click-through rates.

The key is to understand your team’s business objectives and what results will drive those outcomes. Then, pinpoint the right set of metrics to track and agree on the definitions of them. Seasoned marketing teams set definitions early and review them often to ensure consistency across teams, both within marketing and with other key stakeholders. Marketers should speak the same language, per say, and understand what is being asked of them through shared definitions.

These kinds of conversations around the right metrics might not happen overnight, but you should keep adding to the overall business discussion by communicating beyond soft metrics and digging deeper to prove how you’re bringing money to the tables. It’s up to you and your team to lead the pack towards real and influential discussions within marketing, and you can start by getting a handle on the right metrics.

3. Data Never Looked So Good

Often, reports on key performance indicators (KPIs) are the driving force behind many seasoned marketing teams. It’s how they can share measurable results from all of their hard work. By tracking and sharing metrics with the right stakeholders, marketing teams and executives can get a visual pulse check of how each campaign is doing and stay aligned with other cross-functional teams (e.g. customer support, sales, service).

At Marketo, we have a dedicated monitor in the middle of the marketing floor that shows a dashboard of our marketing campaign performance. But even if you don’t have access to television monitors, you can still share reports in effective ways. For example, you can email reports to key stakeholders on a consistent cadence (though if you do this, we recommend that you’re able to answer questions and verify numbers). Whether you send reports, create metric summaries, or display them for all to see, all options keep everyone on task, and that’s a good thing.

We encourage marketers to understand which reports matter the most to specific teams. Each team will want to see different reports so they can make decisions that are unique to their needs, so it comes down to asking “What are the most important metrics you base your decisions on?” Then, you can build a ‘menu’ of reports that teams can choose from and review.

Knowing the telltale signs of an experienced marketing team is more than a way to impress your colleagues, it can be used as a benchmarking tool to measure how far you’ve come as a marketing team and how far you want to go. It can help you understand the steps you should take, or have taken, to run your marketing initiatives successfully and hire stellar marketing professionals that understand these signs of excellence.

What other factors indicate a successful marketing team? Share your thoughts below!

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3 Ways to Gauge Your Team’s Marketing Maturity was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership. |

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from Marketo Marketing Blog

Data Visualization 101: How to Choose the Right Chart or Graph for Your Data

stock_photo.jpgYou and I sift through a lot of data for our jobs. Data about website performance, sales performance, product adoption, customer service, marketing campaign results ... the list goes on. 

When you manage multiple content assets, such as social media or a blog, with multiple sources of data, it can get overwhelming. What should you be tracking? What actually matters? How do you visualize and analyze the data so you can extract insights and actionable information? 

More importantly, how can you make reporting more efficient when you're busy working on multiple projects at once? Download our free guide here for complete data visualization guidelines and tips.

One of the struggles that slows down my own reporting and analysis is understanding what type of chart to use -- and why. That's because choosing the wrong type of chart or simply defaulting to the most common type of visualization could cause confusion with the viewer or lead to mistaken data interpretation. 

Consider this chart from The New York Times' project on where people born in a state move to. It visualizes a large amount of data accumulated during more than 100 years. Yet, it is easy to understand, and it clearly highlights interesting trends.


To create charts that clarify and provide the right canvas for analysis, you should first understand the reasons why you might need a chart. In this post, I'll cover five questions to ask yourself when choosing a chart for your data. Then, I'll give an overview of 13 different types of charts you have at your disposal.

5 Questions to Ask When Deciding Which Chart to Use

1) Do you want to compare values?

Charts are perfect for comparing one or many value sets, and they can easily show the low and high values in the data sets. To create a comparison chart, use these types of graphs:

  • Column
  • Bar
  • Circular Area 
  • Line 
  • Scatter Plot
  • Bullet

2) Do you want to show the composition of something?

Use this type of chart to show how individual parts make up the whole of something, such as the device type used for mobile visitors to your website or total sales broken down by sales rep. 

To show composition, use these charts:

  • Pie
  • Stacked Bar
  • Stacked Column
  • Area
  • Waterfall

3) Do you want to understand the distribution of your data?

Distribution charts help you to understand outliers, the normal tendency, and the range of information in your values.

Use these charts to show distribution:

  • Scatter Plot
  • Line
  • Column
  • Bar

4) Are you interested in analyzing trends in your data set?

If you want to know more information about how a data set performed during a specific time period, there are specific chart types that do extremely well.

You should choose a:

  • Line
  • Dual-Axis Line
  • Column

5) Do you want to better understand the relationship between value sets?

Relationship charts are suited to showing how one variable relates to one or numerous different variables. You could use this to show how something positively effects, has no effect, or negatively effects another variable.

When trying to establish the relationship between things, use these charts:

  • Scatter Plot
  • Bubble
  • Line

13 Different Types of Charts for Analyzing & Presenting Data

To better understand each chart and how they can be used, here's an overview of each type of chart.

1) Column

A column chart is used to show a comparison among different items, or it can show a comparison of items over time. You could use this format to see the revenue per landing page or customers by close date. 

column chart customers by close date

Design Best Practices for Column Charts:

  • Use consistent colors throughout the chart, selecting accent colors to highlight meaningful data points or changes over time.
  • Use horizontal labels to improve readability.
  • Start the y-axis at 0 to appropriately reflect the values in your graph.

2) Bar

A bar chart, basically a horizontal column chart, should be used to avoid clutter when one data label is long or if you have more than 10 items to compare. This type of visualization can also be used to display negative numbers.

bar chart - customers by role

Design Best Practices for Bar Charts:

  • Use consistent colors throughout the chart, selecting accent colors to highlight meaningful data points or changes over time.
  • Use horizontal labels to improve readability.
  • Start the y-axis at 0 to appropriately reflect the values in your graph.

3) Line

A line chart reveals trends or progress over time and can be used to show many different categories of data. You should use it when you chart a continuous data set.

line chart - avg days to close

Design Best Practices for Line Charts:

  • Use solid lines only.
  • Don't plot more than four lines to avoid visual distractions.
  • Use the right height so the lines take up roughly 2/3 of the y-axis' height.

4) Dual Axis 

A dual axis chart allows you to plot data using two y-axes and a shared x-axis. It's used with three data sets, one of which is based on a continuous set of data and another which is better suited to being grouped by category. This should be used to visualize a correlation or the lack thereof between these three data sets. 

dual axis chart - revenue by new customers

Design Best Practices for Dual Axis Charts:

  • Use the y-axis on the left side for the primary variable because brains are naturally inclined to look left first.
  • Use different graphing styles to illustrate the two data sets, as illustrated above.
  • Choose contrasting colors for the two data sets.

5) Area

An area chart is basically a line chart, but the space between the x-axis and the line is filled with a color or pattern. It is useful for showing part-to-whole relations, such as showing individual sales reps' contribution to total sales for a year. It helps you analyze both overall and individual trend information. 

area chart - users by lifecycle stage

Design Best Practices for Area Charts:

  • Use transparent colors so information isn't obscured in the background.
  • Don't display more than four categories to avoid clutter.
  • Organize highly variable data at the top of the chart to make it easy to read.

6) Stacked Bar

This should be used to compare many different items and show the composition of each item being compared. 

stacked bar -mqls to sqls

Design Best Practices for Stacked Bar Charts:

  • Best used to illustrate part-to-whole relationships.
  • Use contrasting colors for greater clarity.
  • Make chart scale large enough to view group sizes in relation to one another.

7) Pie

A pie chart shows a static number and how categories represent part of a whole -- the composition of something. A pie chart represents numbers in percentages, and the total sum of all segments needs to equal 100%. 

pie chart - customers by role

Design Best Practices for Pie Charts:

  • Don't illustrate too many categories to ensure differentiation between slices.
  • Ensure that the slice values add up to 100%.
  • Order slices according to their size.

8) Scatter Plot

A scatter chart will show the relationship between two different variables or it can reveal the distribution trends. It should be used when there are many different data points, and you want to highlight similarities in the data set. This is useful when looking for outliers or for understanding the distribution of your data. 


Design Best Practices for Scatter Plots:

  • Include more variables, such as different sizes, to incorporate more data.
  • Start y-axis at 0 to represent data accurately.
  • If you use trend lines, only use a maximum of two to make your plot easy to understand.

9) Bubble

A bubble chart is similar to a scatter plot in that it can show distribution or relationship. There is a third data set, which is indicated by the size of the bubble or circle. 

bubble chart

Design Best Practices for Bubble Charts:

  • Scale bubbles according to area, not diameter.
  • Make sure labels are clear and visible.
  • Use circular shapes only.

10) Waterfall

A waterfall chart should be used to show how an initial value is affected by intermediate values -- either positive or negative -- and resulted in a final value. This should be used to reveal the composition of a number. An example of this would be to showcase how overall company revenue is influenced by different departments and leads to a specific profit number. 


Chart via Baans Consulting

Design Best Practices for Waterfall Charts:

  • Use contrasting colors to highlight differences in data sets.
  • Choose warm colors to indicate increases and cool colors to indicate decreases.

11) Funnel

A funnel chart shows a series of steps and the completion rate for each step. This can be used to track the sales process or the conversion rate across a series of pages or steps.

funnel chart - marketing

Design Best Practices for Funnel Charts:

  • Scale the size of each section to accurately reflect the size of the data set.
  • Use contrasting colors or one color in gradating hues, from darkest to lightest as the size of the funnel decreases.

12) Bullet

A bullet graph reveals progress toward a goal, compares this to another measure, and provides context in the form of a rating or performance.


Design Best Practices for Bullet Graphs:

  • Use contrasting colors to highlight how the data is progressing.
  • Use one color in different shades to gauge progress.

13) Heat Map

A heat map shows the relationship between two items and provides rating information, such as high to low or poor to excellent. The rating information is displayed using varying colors or saturation.  


Design Best Practices for Heat Map:

  • Use a basic and clear map outline to avoid distracting from the data.
  • Use a single color in varying shades to show changes in data.
  • Avoid using multiple patterns.

What tips do you have for visualizing data? Check out our ebook on how to use data to win over your audience, and share your tips in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free guide to data visualization

  free guide to data visualization E

from HubSpot Marketing Blog

8 Time Management Tips to Help You Hit Your Long-Term Deadlines


While intended to make life easier, sometimes putting together a to-do list can feel like a bigger undertaking than accomplishing the actual tasks at hand. This concept is referred to as the procrastination "doom loop" -- a cycle of putting off tasks, feeling anxiety and guilt, and consequently working with lower productivity and efficiency due to these negative feelings.

This is especially true when it comes to long-term projects, as it can be easy to lose focus and diligence when working toward monthly or quarterly deadlines. But when you're forced to work as your own project manager, organization is the name of the game. 

To help you stay on track and make consistent progress towards your goals, we've put together a list of tools that'll help you complete long-term projects on time without losing motivation or entering the "doom loop." Check them out below.

8 Time Management Tips to Help You Hit Your Long-Term Deadlines

1) Set short-term SMART goals to benchmark your success, and don’t be afraid to adjust them.

If your long-term goal is months away, and the final product is the completion of a large project, such as an ebook publication or new product launch, short-term benchmarks for success will keep you on track and help you stay motivated and productive throughout the process.

We recommend setting SMART goals, which stands for:


Ensure that your short-term goals are as specific as your final goal. For example, instead of “work on ebook every day for three months,” set a specific goal to complete a certain amount of pages each week. Specific goals are easier to track and report on and more difficult to de-prioritize.


Trackable goals allow you to measure your progress toward your final goal and report on your successes and challenges. If your long-term goal is to launch a social media campaign, a measurable short-term goal would be “secure one press mention per week” in lieu of “spread campaign awareness.”


According to Harvard Business Review, being challenged is motivating, but working towards goals that you can’t reach is not. Establish goals that you can work to achieve and not be discouraged by. For example, it may not be attainable for your branded hashtag to start #trending on Twitter. Instead, you could aim to get a thought leader in your space to tweet using your hashtag to generate awareness on social media.


When you’re strategizing for a big project, plan for the unexpected in the same way that you plan for success. Don’t be dishonest with yourself or your team about your daily productivity potential or how long different processes could take working toward the final goal. With eight hours in a typical workday, make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew.


Set mini-deadlines for yourself throughout the project timeline to give you a rough outline of what metrics you should be hitting each week. This approach helps break up your larger project into more achievable sections to prioritize. Balance your deadlines to provide you with motivation and some urgency, but if the deadline is too high-pressure and unrealistic, your creativity and productivity could actually diminish, based on results from a Harvard Business School study.

The key to setting these shorter-term benchmarks is flexibility, according to psychologist Tamar Chansky. Throughout your process, ensure that you are checking to ensure that these smaller goals are staying SMART -- with emphasis on “realistic.”

If you’re falling behind on a deadline or a process is proving more challenging than anticipated, adjust your measures of success to stay on-track.

2) Create a reverse to-do list for your projects.

When working on a deadline that is a month or more away, my favorite strategy for project management is a reverse to-do list, which I create by starting with my final, long-term deadline, then working backwards by building in milestones to complete during the process. 

Here's an example of how I might use this approach when planning for an ebook launch:


It’s important to keep updating the deadlines and timeframes as your project evolves to account for any delays or unanticipated challenges to keep yourself on track.

Another key for making this a successful tool is building buffer time into your mini-deadlines to account for those delays. Even if it doesn’t normally take you a full week to incorporate edits, building extra days into each mini-deadline will ensure that your final deadline isn’t delayed by obstacles earlier in the process.

These mini-deadlines help promote prioritization of important tasks and prevent burnout, according to Harvard Business Review.

3) Create accountability for yourself.

You may be responsible for keeping track of your progress toward achieving your goal, and holding yourself accountable to the timelines and benchmarks you've established will help you stay motivated and positive at work.

Personal accountability leads to increased feelings of workplace satisfaction, creativity, and innovation, and there are a few ways to promote that while working on your long-term project, including:

  • Sharing progress toward goals with others. For some people, being vocal about your goals and progress can make a huge difference. For example, one study found that participants in weight-loss programs are more motivated and likely to succeed if they share progress photos on social media. 
  • Setting up a personal reward system for each benchmark you achieve on the path to project completion. Our brains are wired to be more productive the more we achieve goals and reward ourselves, so be sure to keep progress benchmarks short-term and realistic.
  • Tracking your progress so you can visualize what portion of your project you've successfully completed. Measuring progress helps you to evaluate your weaknesses, celebrate your strengths, and see the bigger picture of how your project is unfolding.
  • Being honest with yourself and your colleagues about your achievements. If you're transparent about what you are (or aren't) able to achieve in a given timeframe, your experience will inform future strategy for long-term projects. This may take the shape of an informal conversation or an official performance review; in any case, be positive, focus on your achievements, and maintaining a growth mindset about your weaknesses to continually identify ways to improve and continue to excel.

4) Use a responsive to-do list.

If you’re working on a deadline that’s months away, flexibility is a must. You’ll need to be able to multitask, re-prioritize, and press pause on one piece of your project to focus on another depending on your organization’s needs. Responsive to-do lists and organizational tools are helpful ways to keep track of the various elements of a long-term project and to track daily, weekly, and monthly priorities all in one place. Check out tools that allow you to customize different types of lists, such as:

  • Asana allows teams to create collaborative to-do lists and project management lists (Free for up to 15 users; Premium available for $8.33/member/month)
  • Trello allows users to customize the names of their to-do lists, share them among their team members, and assign them to different people using due dates (Free for Basic; $9.99/user/month for Business Class; $20.83/user/year for Enterprise)
  • todoist allows users to share unlimited tasks with colleagues and edit to-do lists offline (Free for Basic; $29/year for Premium)
  • Google Keep is a digital sticky-note system that syncs to Google Drive (Free)

5) Create a schedule where you can be most productive.

Adam Rogers suggests finding your “biological prime time,” as coined by Sam Carpenter, author of Work the System, as key to becoming a more productive writer. This time can vary from person to person, but according to the Harvard Business Review, many traditional work schedules go against our natural circadian sleep rhythms that determine our peak and low energy levels.

Researcher Christopher Barnes learned that workers typically approach peak productivity around 12 p.m. and experience a sharp decline at roughly 3 p.m.. Towards the end of the afternoon, energy starts to return again, with another peak around 6 p.m..

The lesson here? Plan your most important tasks around these energy peaks, and your least important tasks around these lows. Barnes notes that this is not typical of many workers, who spend their mornings responding to emails and completing other administrative tasks, but who don’t start tackling bigger challenges requiring high levels of productivity until they have already missed their 12 p.m. peak and begun approaching the 3 p.m. slump.

Try to create a daily schedule that allows you to get the most out of your high-energy times, and if it operates contrary to the rest of your organization, communicate that with your supervisor.

In the example calendar below, events requiring higher levels of productivity and cognitive thought, such as meetings, presentations, and writing, are scheduled around peak productivity times. In contrast, answering emails and eating lunch are scheduled near productivity dips because, unless the emails are time-sensitive, these to-dos aren't typically top-priority and can be scheduled around bigger tasks. 


This isn't an exact science, so finding your ideal schedule may require some testing to determine when you're most efficient and when you hit that afternoon slump.

6) Ask for help when you need it.

This is necessary advice for anyone working on a team, as using resources around you is integral to most workplace success, according to Fortune. If you’re being tripped up by an obstacle, are experiencing a production delay, or simply have writer’s block that could throw a wrench in your timeline, and you should use resources around you for guidance and assistance.

This is particularly essential if your deadlines are for finished products months in advance. Missing one internal mini-deadline probably won’t be an insurmountable issue, but if you’re consistently falling behind on benchmarks towards the final goal, staying silent and trying to fix the problem yourself could result in a missed deadline.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to peers or managers for help with brainstorming, editing, or any other roadblock you might be encountering. They would rather you reached out for help before missing a deadline than after missing a deadline, and remember: the most successful people ask for help.

Lean on resources around you to make your life easier and your project better, but remember to be a good coworker, too. When you're asking for help:

  • Outline your SMART goals so your colleagues understand your project.
  • Provide them with resources, such as project specs or prior drafts, to make it easier to help you. 
  • Be specific about what you're asking for and when your deadlines are.
  • Say thank you! Acknowledge their above-and-beyond efforts by letting their supervisor know how they collaborated with you and offering to return the favor with one of their projects.
  • Offer help to colleagues on a regular basis, not just when you need help, to cultivate good faith in your workplace so you're a person people want to help again in the future.

7) Commit to work-life balance.

When your project requires months of hard work, it might feel difficult to step away from your desk or computer at the end of each day with so much left to complete. However, you shouldn’t give in to the temptation of workaholism.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, working long (more than 50) hours can negatively impact your levels of productivity, innovation, and efficiency.

Even if you can’t turn in your final product right away, you shouldn’t stay at work burning the midnight oil trying to get it done early. You’ll work more efficiently by setting daily priorities that allow you to step away from work and recharge once you’ve completed them.

8) Analyze and report on successes and challenges of projects for future goal-setting.

Once you’ve successfully completed a long-term project, don’t move on to the next one without first reflecting on your strategies for project management. What went well, and perhaps more importantly, what didn’t?

If your work is primarily comprised of long-term projects, you will need to continually refine and improve your approach to be as efficient as possible. Document your processes and share them with your team so they can learn from your triumphs and struggles for their projects as well.

Just because your deadline is months away doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start planning and strategizing for it today. Once you’re ready to dive into a project, learn more about strategies for successful, and not overwhelming, priority-setting and project management.

What are your tips and tricks for project management strategies? Share with us in the comments below!

free productivity tips

from HubSpot Marketing Blog

What Do Agency Employees Really Want? [Survey]

Employees are the lifeblood of the agency business, and maintaining a productive and engaged workforce is one of the most challenging aspects of running an agency. But it can be hard for owners to understand the attitudes and goals of an increasingly diverse workforce, and employees may find it difficult to give honest feedback anonymously.

To find out how the attitudes of agency employees shape their goals and opinions about agency work, HubSpot is partnering in a new Agency Employee Attitudes Survey.

The survey is anonymous, and should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Respondents who participate by September 15th can enter to win a $250 gift card.


The results of this study will be presented at INBOUND 2016 in November.

The Agency Employee Attitudes Survey explores topics such as:

  • How do agency employees view the importance of work, play, and balancing the two?
  • What expectations do they have from their agency employers, and how do they view their own responsibilities?
  • How do they compare the pros and cons of working in an agency versus in a client-side organization?
  • How did they first choose to work in an agency, and how likely would they be to recommend an agency career to others?
  • Which features and benefits of an agency career are most important to them?
  • Do millennial employees actually feel differently about work than other age groups?
  • How can agency owners better understand their employees and offer them features and benefits they will value?

All participants can get free access to the results, which will be shared for the first time at HubSpot’s INBOUND Conference in November 2016.


from HubSpot Marketing Blog

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

7 Reasons Your Site Isn’t Ready for A/B Testing

You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into perfecting your website and you want to get the maximum return from that investment. To achieve that goal, you’ve studied dozens of blogs on conversion optimization techniques. You’ve poured over countless CRO case studies, and you have a few tools to help you run A/B tests.

Before you start split testing to get those conversion gains, pause for a second. I don’t think you’re quite ready yet.

There are plenty of free tools to help you test your optimization – not to mention paid options from Optimizely to OptinMonster that’ll help you explore different facets of your site’s performance – so just about anyone can run A/B tests. But it’s not a matter of simply understanding how to do it.

The problem is that your site just isn’t there yet. A/B testing isn’t for everyone, and if it’s not done at the right time with the right conditions, you might end up accumulating a lot of false data that does more harm than good. Before you invest anything in testing and extensive optimization, consider these seven points:

1. The Traffic Volume Isn’t There

If this is what your traffic numbers look like, don’t bother A/B testing

There’s no doubt that A/B testing can be highly useful for businesses that want to improve their conversion rates. Having said that however, a lot of businesses shouldn’t bother with A/B testing.

Small businesses that are trying to grow, startups, e-commerce businesses in their early years and other micro businesses simply don’t have the traffic and transactions to accurately perform A/B tests. It takes a significant amount of traffic to provide accurate, measurable results.

In a post from Peep Laja of ConversionXL, he provided an example using a sample size calculator from Evan Miller, where the baseline conversion rate is entered. He then entered the desired lift.

Image Source

You can see from this image that in order to detect a 10% lift, the tool recommends at least 51,486 visitors per variation.

If the traffic isn’t there yet, you can still optimize your site based on audience data you’ve gathered, but A/B tests won’t be helpful for a while and they might produce false information.

2. You Don’t Have Anything to Test

A lot of websites function as a general brochure for a company with minimal conversion points. If you run a B2B site or you have a freshly-created site with little more than a contact form and an opt-in, then it’s too early in the game to start running concurrent A/B tests.

If your site is content-lite then it’s probably too soon to start running tests.

Even if the volume of traffic is adequate to run accurate tests, you may not see a significant lift from a general opt-in or estimate request form. For most businesses, the amount of effort and cost that would go into designing variations for the tests just to get a small lift around micro conversions isn’t worth it.

The same applies to newer e-commerce stores.

Your time would be better spent with your analytics, where you can set up goal tracking, creating marketing campaigns, and developing your content offers and resources. The A/B testing can come later once you have more to offer and traffic has grown substantially.

3. You’re Not Sure What Matters

Do you know what the choke points, leaks, and sticking points are in your funnel? I’m referring to the places where you’re losing prospective customers, as well as where you’re gaining the most.

Before you can run any kind of tests, you have to understand what matters, because some elements are more important than others.

For example: a marketing agency is driving visitors to their estimate request page. They spend a significant amount of time optimizing that page with A/B testing variations and micro changes. After extensive testing, they find that their efforts made very little difference with virtually no impact on their conversions.

Instead, they should have looked for mistakes in their funnel leading up to that page. Maybe the content that led the visitor to that point was where the changes needed to be made. Maybe the search intent of the customer didn’t match the content they found.

Another example: a brand selling shoes online puts a great deal of effort into optimizing and testing product pages, only to realize that the lift in conversion was insignificant. Instead, they could find ways to improve the average order value or review their funnel in Kissmetrics to find the biggest leaks where customers are dropping off and fix those problems instead.

Don’t know where to test? Find where you’re losing customers (and money) with the Kissmetrics Funnel Report.

If you randomly try to test what you think matters, then you’ll only be wasting time.

One study from Forrester showed that 60% of firms surveyed saw improvements in their website when they used a data-driven approach to design. It’s important to take the time to research what really matters to your business so you know what to optimize and where to make changes.

4. You’re Copying Content

While a competitor site (or any site for that matter) might look like an attractive design that your customers will probably engage with, you can’t waste time testing if you’ve played copycat.

Any tests you run after replicating their design and content will only be wasted. If the solution was as simple as copying what we thought worked well for our competitors (or even conversion case studies) then every e-commerce website would function exactly like Amazon.

The fact is, websites are highly contextual and they should relate to both the audience and what you’re promoting. Wal-Mart and Whole Foods are in the same business of selling food products, but they cater to completely different audiences and sell vastly different products.

If I stacked up my own services against another marketing agency offering identical services, there would still be contextual differences in how we market, how we service customers, the channels we use to engage them, and how we direct traffic to our sites.

You need to make sure your website is designed specifically for you, your channels, your audience, etc. before investing in testing.

5. The Data Isn’t There

The more capable you are with analytics tools like Kissmetrics or Google Analytics, the better off you’ll be. But, if the extent of your knowledge consists of checking traffic quantities, referral sources, time on page and bounce rates, then you’re only scraping the surface.

If you don’t know what data you need to monitor while A/B testing, then testing is a waste of time.

You have to approach your testing and analytics with a problem so you can find an answer in the data. That way, you can identify issues and confirm what aspects you need to change.

Learning a bit more about your analytics can tune you into:

  • How site elements or offers are performing
  • How your content is performing and whether it is keeping people engaged
  • What people are doing on your site and the routes they typically take
  • Where people are landing, as well as where they’re leaving
  • Where your funnel is losing money

The data won’t specifically tell you how to fix problems; it’s just a starting point where you can discover actionable insights. Without that data, and without the ability to interpret it, A/B testing is pointless.

6. Your Site Has Usability Issues

When was the last time you tested your website in a browser other than the one you typically use? Have you tried going through your entire site on a mobile device?

Have you ever performed a full usability test with a variety of browsers and devices?

This is something a lot of marketers don’t consider when they start A/B tests. Ignoring usability issues, tech problems, and bugs is a huge mistake, though. Even minor bugs and slow load times can dramatically impact your conversion rates.

Just a one second delay in load time can drop conversion rates by as much as 7%.

You won’t get accurate results from A/B testing if segments of your audience are bailing due to usability issues. Some of your audience may never make it to your conversion point, and even if they do, their progress could be hindered by bugs or load times that will ultimately skew your results.

This misinterpretation could lead to changes and further variations of elements that are actually part of your winning, optimized design.

7. You Don’t Know Your Audience

Audience research should be one of the first steps of any marketing strategy. If your goal is to drive lots of traffic to your site with content marketing and paid advertising, I would hope you’ve done some measure of audience research.

Without it, you’re shooting blindly into the darkness and hoping to score a bullseye.

Researching and defining your target audience gives you in-depth information about who you’re targeting, such as their pain points, interests, behaviors, demographics info, and more. That information helps you craft compelling copy, winning headlines, and attention-grabbing offers.

How well do you know your target market?

Without it, you’ll resort to guessing what to change about your copy, headlines, offers, and calls-to-action. Every variation you test will be just as random as the one before it, and you likely won’t see any significant change in performance.

Know who you’re marketing to before you make a large investment in A/B testing.

Testing isn’t for Everyone

While there’s a wealth of articles and advice online telling you test everything you do and to A/B test every variation, you don’t have to. For many statups and growing online businesses there just isn’t enough traffic early on to create an accurate sampling with measurable results.

Focus on growing your business for now. As you grow traffic levels, learn more about your customers, and targeted traffic increases you can start testing variations to go after those micro wins.

Do you use A/B testing on your site or landing pages right now? Have you found issues with the quality of your results? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

4 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Marketing Nation Online

4 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Marketing Nation Online

Author: Rick Siegfried

Aren’t trade shows so much fun? All of the thought-provoking sessions, tips and tricks to bring back to the office, friends and colleagues in your industry, and, of course, a bunch of sweet prizes to win. Unfortunately, this all comes at cost–both in time and money. Sure, you might be able to expense the ticket, travel, hotel, and meals, but then there’s the epic backup in email and work that piles up while you’re off gallivanting around whatever summit, conference, or expo you happen to be at. The point is, live, in-person trade shows have their pros and cons.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to get all of the perks of a live event, without all of the investment?

Well, there is! There truly is! I’m obviously referring to Marketo’s annual virtual event, Marketing Nation Online. This year’s affair falls on Wednesday, September 14, and is themed around tomorrow’s marketer. To be tomorrow’s marketer is to be innovative–both with the marketing strategies you incorporate to meet your goals and the tools you use to implement those strategies. That’s exactly the type of experience you’ll have at Marketing Nation Online.

Are you still on the fence about joining this free event that you can experience from the comfort of your own worn-in La-Z-Boy recliner, lovingly pretentious coffee shop, or even at your perfectly cluttered desk? Take a gander at some of the best reasons to attend:

1. Thought Leader Conference Sessions

There’s more than something for everyone at Marketing Nation Online. Whether you’re interested in hearing about the future of content or about the three T’s for success in the digital age, the thought leadership shall be strong in this one.

Here are just a few of the questions that will be answered along the way:

  • How can more experienced generations, Gen X and above, best groom an emerging team for a high degree of success, rather than get in the way? Find out with Anantha Narasimhan and Jennifer Clegg from CA Technologies.
  • How can digital marketers capture buying signals at events to increase attendance, accelerate the buyer’s journey, and generate revenue? Kristen Alexander and Beki Scarbrough from Certain have the answers.
  • How do healthcare marketers keep pace with the speed of digital innovation while also meeting the consumer’s growing expectation for personalized and relevant engagement? Discover how with Jeremy Duncan from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.
  • How can marketers deliver content that audiences actually crave? Tom Davis from Forbes Media has got you covered.

And the coup de gras: keynotes from Visa and Facebook. Check ‘em out!

A Women-Targeted Strategy: Lara Balazs, SVP North America Marketing at Visa, will discuss her passion and commitment to female leadership in business and how it helps ensure that, as marketers, you’re keeping one of the most powerful audiences top-of-mind in your marketing strategies.

Building Your People-Based Marketing Strategy: Martin Gilliard, Global Head of MarTech and Data Partnerships at Facebook, will share his vision of omni-channel marketing and how brands can provide seamless experiences, regardless of channel or device.

2. Exclusive Marketing Insights

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The other 10+ sessions include a multitude of marketing mastery for those of you who are already living in ‘the tomorrow’ (for me personally, I’m not sure if I’m in “the tomorrow”, but it certainly sounds like we should all be onboard).

Are you a B2B marketer looking to generate some demand? We’ve got a track dedicated to helping you learn how to attract buyers, nurture them, and deliver win-ready leads to sales. Maybe you’re trying to stay on top of the latest digital trends? We’ve got sessions about how to grow lifetime value by engaging buyers seamlessly across digital channels. Or maybe you’re just interested in the best tips and tricks on how we do Marketo at Marketo. Well, we’ve got some treats for you too.

And those are just the sessions! Don’t forget about all of our sponsors’ virtual booths that are packed with great content on topics ranging from video marketing and account-based marketing to event marketing and beyond!

3. Networking Lounge

Sure, face-to-face interactions at in-person events are key, but imagine the speed at which you can network at Marketing Nation Online, with the ability to hop in and out of sponsor booths and networking lounges in seconds. This all can be done without leaving the conversation because of each area’s chat box. You barely even have to pay attention (but I would definitely recommend it).

And who is on the other end of those chat messages? More than 15,000 like-minded marketers ready to engage with the same content and topics that you’re interested in. It’s a match made in heaven! You can even stay in touch post-event by exchanging your virtual business cards that you 1) won’t forget and 2) will never run out of.

4. Free Stuff

Did I just catch your attention with the word ‘free’? If you’ve ever been to a tradeshow, you already know that one of the best parts is the free swag and chance to win a bunch of sweet prizes from whatever games or contests you participate in. Fear not, Marketo has over 100 giveaways for our  Marketing Nation Online attendees! You could be the lucky new owner of an iRobot Roomba (not the DJ Roomba edition), an Oculus Rift, an iPhone 7 (be the coolest kid on the block), a ticket to the Marketing Nation Summit 2017 (back to the Bay!), and other great giveaways.

Did I mention that EVERYTHING I’ve talked about above is free? Probably, but it’s worth saying again anyway. That’s right, all of this amazingness is free of charge. While I might sound like an informercial at this point, the truth is you have no reason not to register right now and join us for an awesome, interactive and educational event all from the comfort of wherever you want! DO IT!

Marketo Virtual Event

4 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Marketing Nation Online was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership. |

The post 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Marketing Nation Online appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers


Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a video to learn something new than read about it.

Go ahead -- you’re not alone. 59% of executives say they’d rather watch a video than read text, too. And really, that number makes sense -- we are a society of video streamers. (I mean, hello, Netflix.)

That’s great for entertainment value, but what about business? Well, it turns out that video -- especially the live streaming kind -- has a serious positive impact on the brands that use it. According to Tubular Insights, 73% of B2B marketing professionals say that using video has shown a positive ROI. Download our free email tracking template here to easily track your email campaign metrics.  Download our free guide to learn how to use Facebook Live for your business.

But if you’re not sure where to begin, fear not -- we’re here to make sure you don’t just hit the “Live” button on Facebook and stare at the camera like a deer in headlights. Instead, we’ve come up with a comprehensive checklist to help you plan your first -- or next -- live stream. 

How Live Streaming Works

Live streaming is a way to broadcast your events to an online audience. It’s a digital alternative to something like selling tickets to an in-person event, and allows you to reach people near and far with live video.

Brands use live streaming for a few different reasons, but according to a Brandlive survey, 71% of businesses use it to more authentically interact with an audience. So instead of being the proverbial “man behind the curtain,” you’re allowing viewers to put a face (or faces) to your organization's name, all in real time.

Live streaming can be used for a number of different event types, as well. Everyone from the White House, to fashion houses, to chefs have live streamed videos of economy briefings, runway shows, and cooking demos, respectively. Here at HubSpot, we’ve used it for things like interviews with thought leaders. So feel free to be creative -- just make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

1) Plan your live stream like you would any other event.

Think about some of the most popular talk shows. Can you imagine if the guests, sets, lighting and schedules for something like “The Tonight Show” weren’t planned in advance? To say the least, it might be chaotic.

You’ll want to put the same thought and due diligence into your live stream that you’d put into an in-person event of its kind. And you’ll want to have your goals in mind as you begin to make those plans; those will dictate a lot of the logistics.


Knowing your target audience will determine a few pieces of the planning process. If it includes an international population, that should factor into the date and time of your stream -- be sure to think about time zones or holidays that might not be top-of-mind in your home country.


Then, think of what category your live stream falls into, and create a title for your event. In case you don’t find any of the above examples fitting to your business, we’ve got some ideas for ways businesses can use live videos.

HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager, Chelsea Hunersen, stresses the importance of thoroughly researching the topic of your live stream in advance.

“Decide important points or stats to hit,” she says. And if you’re going to feature guests, “designate a moderator/host who can make sure these points are hit and can wrap up the conversation if necessary.”


The platform you use -- which we’ll get to in a bit -- can also be dependent on who you want to view the stream. Different audiences use different channels, so you’ll want to pick the one that’s most likely to draw the crowd you want.

Finally, pick an optimal location from which you’ll broadcast your stream. A poor quality video can make someone 62% more likely to have a negative perception of the brand that produced it -- so make sure your setting is conducive to a positive viewing experience. Does it have good lighting? Is it prone to a lot of noise? Is there a chance that your dog walker will barge in yelling, “Who’s a good boy?” loud enough for the entire audience to hear? (Not that that’s happened to me.)

Think of these contingencies, then pick a streaming venue that insulates you from them.

2) Choose your platform.

Here’s where you’ll really need to have your goals in mind, since different platforms can achieve different things.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live Events tend to have “two goals,” says Megan Conley, HubSpot’s Content Marketing Strategist. “Registrants and attendees.”

So, if you’re looking to generate leads -- which 57% of marketing professionals are using video to do -- YouTube Live is one of the best platforms to use.

Here’s how that works. First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create an account on Google, which you’ll then use to create one on YouTube.

YouTube Live Events

Once that’s done, you can use YouTube’s Live Streaming Events dashboard to schedule a future stream -- just click on “Enable live streaming,” if you haven’t already set it up.

Schedule New Event

Then, click “schedule a new event.”

Select Audience

You’ll need to indicate if you want your event to be public or private -- here’s where you’ll decide how you want to use your live stream to generate leads.

In the image above, I’ve selected “unlisted.” That option accomplishes two things:

  1. I’ll be able to generate a link that attendees will get only after they fill out a registration form.
  2. It won’t stream directly onto my YouTube page.

You also have the option of choosing which type of live stream you want to use:

  1. Quick
  2. Custom

Custom is a better option if you want to get more advanced and have more control over the technology. It lets you use more than one camera, choose your own ingestion bitrate and resolution, and use your own preferred encoding equipment (there’s a pretty good breakdown of your options here).

We’ll talk more about encoding later, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be working with the quick option. Quick uses the Google Hangouts On Air technology, which is probably better if you don’t want to get too technically advanced. It lets you use your computer’s camera and microphone, though you do have the option of using an external camera, if you want.

Once you’ve added some tags that describe what your event is about, click “Create Event.”

Events Page

You’ll be taken to your events page -- any live streams that you’ve scheduled will be listed here. It’s also where you’ll get that link to keep behind the form on your landing page. First, click on the title of the stream.

Watch Page

The image above shows your Watch Page, which is the place where your stream will broadcast. Click “share,” and that will generate your event’s URL -- as I mentioned above, you can keep that behind a landing page where attendees fill out a form to register.

Conley says that, generally, this type of live stream is embedded on a thank-you page behind a landing page form. But with this platform, that’s a little trickier -- YouTube doesn’t generate embed codes for live streams unless you have an approved AdSense account linked to your YouTube account.

But fear not -- if you use the HubSpot COS, all you’ll need is the link, and the system will generate the embed code for you.

Insert Media

Create Embed Code

Just click “insert media,” paste the link you copied from the Watch Page, and you’re done.

Thank You Page

If embedding isn’t an option, you can still just put a link there -- the embed code just creates a seamless design that you can place right on your thank-you page. Either way, be sure to use the thank-you page as a place to remind your attendees of the date and time of the event.

Make Event Public

There’s also the option to make your YouTube Live Event completely open to the public. That’s a good option, Conley says, for a major event that you “want anyone and everyone to be able to find.” But if you make your stream public, she points out, make sure you use the event to promote gated content you want your audience to download.

“An image CTA would do,” she notes, as would holding up clearly-printed short links throughout the stream. (Make sure you have those printed out in advance!) In the image above, you’ll also see that you can add a message to your video -- you can mention your gated content there, too. 


Facebook Live has been making quite a few headlines lately, and businesses stand to benefit from it -- the average time spent watching Facebook Live video is three times more than the pre-recorded kind.

This platform is a good choice if you want to use your live stream to generate buzz. In fact, because these videos have been so popular, Facebook is making them appear higher up in people’s News Feeds while streaming live.

Even without pre-registration, you can definitely promote streams on this platform in advance, which we’ll touch on later. In the meantime, if you haven’t used it before, check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s overview of Facebook Live.

The live streaming options certainly don’t end there -- major brands have also used platforms like Periscope, Livestream, and Ustream. They all have their own sets of features and advantages, so definitely take the time to look into which one best suits your needs.

3) Choose your equipment.

When it comes to the actual hardware required for your live stream, some of it is fairly intuitive: A camera is pretty standard, for example, or a device with one installed (like a laptop or phone).

But if you do use your phone, Conley says, be sure to use a tripod. “There’s nothing worse than recording a Facebook Live and having your arm start to fall asleep five minutes into the recording,” she advises. “Use a phone tripod to give your live streaming a professional look.”

Consider how professional you want your sound quality to be, too. Your camera might have its own microphone, but if your setting is more prone to noise, body mics might not be a bad idea, either.

And when you’re using an external camera, says Hunersen, you’ll also need some sort of encoding software (Facebook has a great step-by-step guide to that). That’s what converts the camera footage into a format that your streaming platform understands and can broadcast to viewers. The software you use might depend on your budget, but to get started, check out this one from Adobe.

Also, think about setting up a professional backdrop, like one with your logo. That can help to brand your videos and give them some visual consistency, which is a particularly good practice if you plan to do a lot of live streaming in the future.

Want to take that a step further? “Set up a makeshift studio in your office to speed up the prep time for all of your future recordings,” Conley says. “A beautiful, branded backdrop could be just what your Facebook Live needs to help grab the attention of someone quickly scrolling through their News Feed.”

4) Promote your live stream.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a lot of the major planning and setup for your live stream. Now, how do you get people to watch it?

As we’ve covered, using a landing page is a good way to get enrollment on a platform like Hangouts On Air (or, as of September 12th, YouTube Live). Here’s an example of how we recently used one at HubSpot:


There’s a clear CTA here -- “View The Video” -- which, when clicked, takes the visitor to a registration form. (And check out this rundown of which channels drive the best conversion rates -- it’s got some tips on getting people to your landing page in the first place.)


Once someone fills out the form on your landing page, it should lead them to a thank-you page, where you can share some promotional information about the live stream.

HubSpot’s Co-Marketing Demand Generation Manager, Christine White, suggests creating a “Next Steps” section here with actionable items like "add this event to your calendar” and "check back here on [the date of your event],” to remind viewers that’s where they’ll go to view the live stream.

And once you have contact information for your registrants, Conley reminds us, “you can email the people on that list on the day of, and remind them when it’s going to go live.”


But to promote your Facebook Live stream, says Conley, “It’s really about doing a social image and spreading the word that you are going live at a specific time.”

Don’t rule out using social media to promote live streams on other platforms, too. Some of them, like YouTube, allow you to link your social accounts and push content in multiple places. And if your guests are active on social media, leverage that -- include links to their handles in any related content, and ask them to promote the event with their own networks.

5) Do a dry run.

There’s a reason why we do dress rehearsals. When I was in a high school show choir -- a humiliating but factual piece of history -- it was to make sure I didn’t trip over my dance partner in high-heeled tap shoes.

In the world of live streaming, though, we do dry runs to avoid more technical, but equally embarrassing missteps. Improv can be hilarious, but not when it means you’re verbally unprepared, or your equipment stops working and you don’t have a backup plan.

6) Prep any guest speakers.

Is there anything worse than a moment of awkward, dumbfounded silence?

As part of your dry run, make sure your guests are prepared for any questions they might be asked. Don’t over-rehearse, but do what you can to prevent catching them off-guard.

“It may help to give some questions in advance to a potential guest,” says Hunersen, “but save some follow-up or in depth questions for on-air, so that you're able to let them be both prepared and react in the moment.”

7) Test your audio and internet connection.

You might want people to talk about your live stream, but not if all they’re going to say is, “We can’t hear you.” Make sure all of your audio equipment is working -- both during your dry run and on the day of the stream. Having an extra microphone and batteries on hand probably won’t hurt, either.

Make sure your network can handle a live stream, too. If you’re streaming high quality video, for example, you’ll need both a wire connection and a 3G/4G wireless connection, according to Cleeng.

In other words, make sure your WiFi is working, but also, “grab an ethernet cord,” says Conley. “One thing you can’t help is if your internet connection unexpectedly goes out.”

We know -- even the sound of “ethernet” seems terribly old school. But if your WiFi suddenly drops, you’ll be glad you busted that cord out of storage.

8) Set up social media monitoring.

One great thing about live streaming is your audience’s ability to join the conversation and comment in real time. But try watching any Facebook Live feed, and you’ll see that the comments roll in fast. So while it’s awesome to invite and answer viewer questions  -- especially if you personalize your responses -- it can be overwhelming.

That’s why it’s a great idea to dedicate someone to monitoring social media, comments, and questions during the live feed.

That task can made a bit easier with something like a branded hashtag created specifically for this live stream. For platforms with built-in comment feeds, for example, you can ask your viewers to preface any questions with it -- that can help qualify what needs to be answered.

You could even take that a step further and use the hashtag throughout the planning process, making sure to include it on your landing page, thank-you page, and promotional messages leading up to the event. That helps to create buzz around the live stream. And if you use HubSpot's Social Inbox, here’s a great place to take advantage of its monitoring feature, which lets you prioritize and reply to social messages based on things like keywords or hashtags. 

After Your Live Stream

It’s always nice to follow up with your attendees after your live stream has ended. Thank them for their time, give them a head’s up about your next event, and invite them to download a piece of relevant content. If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve probably done a great job of using your live stream to generate leads -- so keep up the momentum and nurture them

Have you experimented with live streaming? What have you learned? Share your tips in the comments below.

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog