Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Getting Started with Behavioral Email Marketing

When sending out automated emails to your list, how personalized are they?

I’m not talking about things like $firstname, or order by $date for free shipping – but actual personalization based on their behavior.

According to MarketingSherpa, 39% of marketers found that sending emails automatically based on user behavior was their most effective email marketing strategy. At the same time, DMA reports that emails triggered by behavior were responsible for 30% of revenues in 2014, up from 17% in 2013, and that 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns.

Let those numbers sink in a minute.

The potential for making the most of behavioral email marketing is wide open, and yet, according to eConsultancy, only 20% of marketers are using behavioral targeting.

email segmentation marketers survey

Only 20% of marketers surveyed use behavioral targeting (Image Source)

Why is that? Let’s take a closer look at the core issues and learn how to get started with behavioral email marketing.

Getting the Big Picture with Behavioral Tracking

Oftentimes, marketers want to start behavioral targeting, but they have no idea how or where to start. The first step, if you haven’t done so already, is to monitor how people are interacting with your brand.

Kissmetrics can deliver this kind of invaluable behavioral analytics data. Like the brain of your behavioral marketing outreach, it seeks out and stores details about your visitors, including:

  • Who they are, and when they converted
  • What they viewed, where they clicked on your website, and when they purchased
  • Group visitors based on shared criteria
  • Identifies where people are dropping off before converting
  • Whether or not they submitted any forms, conducted any live chats, and so on

Because of this powerful people-based analytics platform, you can tailor your behavioral email triggers to suit precisely what your audience is looking for.

Decide Which Customer Actions Warrant an Email

Now, not all of these points will be email “action-worthy”, so it’s up to you to figure out what actions the user takes (or doesn’t take) that are worth sending an email. You may have even seen this kind of behavioral targeting at work when you sign up for a service, but don’t complete your profile or don’t verify your email address. If the company is smart, they’ll send you an automated email reminding you to do so.

But re-targeting the user in this way isn’t the only way to leverage behaviorally targeted emails. You can also send out targeted messages, for example, when a customer:

  • Submits a form to download your white paper, video, case study or other free item
  • Views certain content on your web page. If they spent some time browsing the FAQ, you can set up a behaviorally targeted email to check in and see if they have any specific questions
  • Leaves an item in their cart without checking out. You could send them a reminder email with a small discount, remind them of limited stock (or that their cart will expire) and so on

Remember, with behavioral email marketing, it’s the customer at the wheel — not you. They’re making choices while interacting with your content. Behavioral marketing is designed to act on those choices with the kind of engagement that increases conversion rates, grows profits and vastly improves customer retention.

Unearthing More Behavioral Email Trigger Opportunities

Once you start collecting and analyzing the information that you gather on your customers, new opportunities for behaviorally targeted emails will percolate to the surface. You’ll start getting all kinds of great ideas on how to guide users back into your service. To help get you started, however, here are some of my favorites:

The “Getting Started” Email

Also known as an “onboarding” email, this message is usually sent after you create an account or register for a service. It’s designed to get you clicking and interacting with the service as quickly and fluidly as possible. Here’s an awesome example from Stocksy, a stock photography site:

Image Source

Notice how they’ve carefully curated images on a specific theme – then encourage you to click through and check them out for more design inspiration. Here’s another example from Airbnb:

airbnb sonoma email gift

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If you’ve been browsing trips to wine country, this targeted email can help make your tour much more palatable through the offer if discounts, local guides, special attractions and more.

The Notification Email

The notification email is generally just a canned response from your account or user management software that tells people their username and password, and maybe has a link to some documentation to get started. That’s where most of the getting started process ends — which results in a lot of confused or frustrated users.

Instead, encourage them to take the first step toward trying out your product by offering more of a guided, hands-on tour. If you have a SaaS, walk them through using it by helping them to create their very first _____ — such as a website, playlist or campaign. This sort of guided, pop-up tour will help them feel more at ease, and can also give you even more valuable data for your behavioral targeting goals.

The Icing on the Cake Email

These are the unexpected but highly welcomed emails that encourage better customer retention. Here’s a great example from Shopify that lets users extend their free trial of the service:

shopify free trial extended email

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Another example comes from TurboTax, which is designed to pique the user’s curiosity about how much their tax refund could be, before they ever see a check in the mail:

turbotax sign in email notification

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It also promotes the benefits of using the TurboTax service, but without being overly “sales-y” or pushy. Rather it shifts the focus onto the customer and their end goals – which revolve around getting the biggest refund possible at tax time.

The Reward Email

Everyone loves getting an unexpected reward — even if it’s a digital “good job!” Here’s an example of an email from Withings, which is a Fitbit-style product that helps inspire healthy habits by tracking your activity. Here, you can see a user has won a badge for taking 8,000 steps in a day, and unlocked the Marathon reward. They can also share their progress on Twitter or Facebook.

withings reward email

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The Recommendation Email

Oftentimes, great customer service from a company is enough to get you to recommend them. But what if the brand sweetened the deal? Bombas, which sells socks online, provides free socks, with no limit, to people who tell their friends about them. Those friends get a discount on socks, and the referrer gets more socks. And we all know you can never have enough socks.

bombas refer a friend email

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Transactional Emails

Did you know that transactional emails (receipts, shipping notifications, etc.) are opened up at 8x the rate of regular emails? With this in mind, it’s worth going through the ones your company sends and doing away with those dusty old “order confirmed” messages, to make every note you send one that not only thanks the customer for their order, but does so in a way that’s more akin to having a conversation than making a statement.

So Just How Do I Set All This Up?

Until now, behavioral email targeting was difficult to set up because so many pieces of technology had to communicate with each other. With the new Kissmetrics Campaigns, behavioral targeting via email (and other channels) is built right in, so you can customize precisely when automated emails are sent to your customers, based on their behaviors. It’s better targeting, discovery, engagement and retention all rolled into one.

Be sure to check out the detailed article link above to learn how to use this new feature to the fullest, and be sure to share your behavioral targeting email success stories with us in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Enterprise Ecosystems

Plenty has been written about bringing products or services to market. Practices have been developed to manage both direct and indirect sales channels. Literature has been written about product development models versus customer development models. And, the traditional process of creating demand is now very well known.

However, the exponential growth of products, solutions, and applications in the B2B space have created a new type of a sales channel—one that resembles, something we’re all familiar with, an appstore. In fact, leading platforms, like Marketo, have taken notice and built ecosystems and programs to facilitate the discovery of complementary independent software vendors (ISVs) for their customers.

These ecosystems require a fundamental change in how ISVs think about managing sales opportunities. Specifically, some questions an ISV should be able to answer include: How to quantify the opportunity? Do you need a dedicated person to manage the engagement and who should that person be? And, which ecosystems make sense to participate in? But unfortunately, the reality is that many organizations struggle to successfully evaluate and manage the opportunity. This blog will take a look at how you can successfully navigate the galaxy of enterprise ecosystems and choose a partner and an ecosystem that will work for your business. 

Find The Right Partner

The growing number of opportunities—in the form of an appstore, a program or an ecosystem—means that you’re more likely than ever to find one that offers the right product-market fit and therefore helps you promote your product.

As you look for the right partner, it’s important to consider the benefits a program offers and how the platform’s program drives success for its participants. As you evaluate, you’ll find that some programs are backed by a solid plan to help you drive business, while others merely provide affiliate options. Make sure the program you choose has offerings that make sense for your business in its current phase, and as you look toward the future. For example, an early-stage startup may not need the same acceleration options that a later stage startup needs.

After carefully considering those criteria, you’re likely to end up with only a handful of programs to choose from. Ask yourself how many “merchants” are already promoting their merchandise in that ecosystem and its respective program; will you be able to stand out? Or, is this market saturated? Consider the distribution and the growth of the platform’s customer base. Ask yourself if the ecosystem is a known and established place to promote solutions like yours, or if you will standout—either as a refreshing outlier or an odd one. Then, prioritize your options and register for the program where you’d like to publish your solution/product/app listing. You should be able to quickly identify and validate if the right customers are there and will react positively to your product.

Assess The Opportunity 

Many marketers and business development (BD) folks I have met underestimate the opportunity they have in aligning their go-to-market strategy with a large enterprise ecosystem. Most of them will size the opportunity by multiplying the number of customers the enterprise ecosystem is exposed to, with a wishful penetration rate, and their average sales price (ASP). While this calculation can offer a good estimate, it hides some components of revenue that are directly influenced by the ecosystem. By using Little’s Law, you can demonstrate that the revenue contribution of the business is a factor of four elements:

  1. The number of sales opportunities at any given time
  2. The average contract value
  3. The win rate
  4. The length of the sales cycle

Let’s look at an example using these four elements: If you typically work on 20 opportunities at a time and you think that participating in an enterprise ecosystem’s program can change it to 25, and if you estimate that your close rate will grow from 20% to 30%, and that the tighter alignment with the platform vendor will help you shave 10 days off your 100 day sales cycle, bringing it down to 90 days, you have just forecasted your business to double.

So, when marketing or BD plans their business, it makes sense for them to identify which of these parameters their participation in an ecosystem program is going to impact and evaluate if the platform vendor has a plan to help them achieve those goals.

The highly focused ecosystems also make a great foundation for your ABM strategy. Enrolling in an app/solution ecosystem should dramatically affect your teams’ ability to focus on a segment of accounts.

Manage The Channel Opportunity

Managing the opportunity an ecosystem provides requires commitment on your end as well as from the enterprise. Don’t just sit back and wait for your business to grow.

On your end, hire a person who can be the general manager of your ecosystem business, and who will ensure that the program gets the right marketing and product support from both sides. Hiring someone who can simply manage the relationship won’t suffice.

From the enterprise ecosystem that you choose, you should expect a solid infrastructure of partner folks, not only in the ecosystem business but also under sales and marketing. Without this infrastructure you will mostly likely interact with partner managers who have good intentions but can’t translate that into making a difference in the field.

Navigate The Partner Galaxy Fearlessly

Undoubtedly, it makes sense for ISVs to take advantage of the programmatic opportunities platform vendors offer to connect and promote complementary solutions to their customer base. While these programs vary by structure, distribution, maturity, and saturation of the ecosystem it’s important to choose one that most benefits the type and phase of your business.

At Marketo, we’re always working to make our Launchpoint ecosystem an optimal experience for not only our customers who are coming to look for technology that offers seamless data integration and platform augmentation, but also for our partners who we are now offering the opportunity to grow their business via a combination of new platform technologies and a growth acceleration program.

Lastly, don’t forget, a towel is the most important item a Hitchhiker can carry. 🙂

The post The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Enterprise Ecosystems appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog

YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search


When I was just a wee lass and HubSpot was first starting to make a name for itself, inbound marketing was a brand new idea. Marketers were learning that they couldn't just publish a high volume of content -- it also had to be high-quality and optimized in ways that made it as discoverable as possible through search engines.

And once upon a time, that content was largely limited to the written word. Eleven years later, that's no longer the case -- a comprehensive content strategy includes written work like blogs and ebooks, as well as media like podcasts, visual assets, and videos.

That last part -- video -- continues to be on the rise. According to the 2017 State of Inbound, marketers named video as a huge disruptor. "I mostly write content right now," one respondent said, "but I'm afraid it may begin to diminish more and more with video." New Call-to-action

And with the rise of other content formats comes the need to optimize them for search. One increasingly important place to do that is on YouTube, which is a video distribution website used by the masses (HubSpot included).

But how does that work? What are the steps you need to take to optimize your YouTube channel for search? We've outlined some major tips below. And if you're short on time, no problem -- check out the video summary here.

7 YouTube Search Optimization Tips

1) Title

When we search for videos, one of the first things that our eyes are drawn to is the title. That's often what determines whether or not the viewer will click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also, clear and concise.

It also helps if the title closely matches what the viewer is searching for. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have a slight advantage over those that don’t. Here's a linear representation of those findings:

exact-match-title.png Source: Backlinko

So while "using your target keyword in your title may help you rank for that term," report author Brian Dean explains, "the relationship between keyword-rich video titles and rankings is" weak, at best.

Finally, make sure to keep your title fairly short -- HubSpot Content Strategist Alicia Collins recommends limiting it to 60 characters to help keep it from getting cut off in results pages.

2) Description

First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it's okay to use all of that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read a story.

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text -- that amounts to about 100 characters. After that point, viewers have to click “show more” to see the full description. That's why we suggest front-loading the description with the most important information, like CTAs or crucial links.

As for optimizing the video itself, it doesn't hurt to add a transcript of the video, especially for those who have to watch it without volume. That said, Backlinko's research also found no correlation between descriptions that were optimized for a certain keyword and the rankings for that term.

keyword-in-description.png Source: Backlinko

Dean is careful not to discourage including a transcript. "An optimized description helps you show up in the suggested videos sidebar," he writes, "which is a significant source of views for most channels."

3) Tags

YouTube's official Creator Academy suggests using tags to let viewers know what your video is about. But you're not just informing your viewers -- you're also informing YouTube itself. Dean explains that the platform uses tags "to understand the content and context of your video."

That way, YouTube figures out how to associate your video with similar videos, which can broaden your content's reach. But choose your tags widely. Don't use an irrelevant tag because you think it'll get you more views -- in fact, Google might penalize you for that. And similar to your description, lead with the most important keywords, including a good mix of those that are common and more long-tail (as in, those that answer a question like "how do I?").

4) Category

Once you upload a video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube.

It might not be as simple as it looks. In fact, YouTube's Creator Academy suggests that marketers go through a comprehensive process to determine which category each video belongs in. It's helpful, the guide writes, "to think about what is working well for each category" you're considering by answering questions like:

  • Who are the top creators within the category? What are they known for, and what do they do well?
  • Are there any patterns between the audiences of similar channels within a given category?
  • Do the videos within a similar category have share qualities like production value, length, or format?

5) Thumbnail

Your video thumbnail is the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results. Along with the video's title, that thumbnail sends a signal to the viewer about the video's content, so it can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.

While you can always pick one of the thumbnail options auto-generated by YouTube, we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280x720 pixels -- representing a 16:9 ratio -- that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

It's important to note that your YouTube account has to be verified in order to upload a custom thumbnail image. To do that, visit and follow the instructions listed there.

6) SRT Files (Subtitles & Closed Captions)

Like much of the other text we've discussed here, subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting important keywords.

In order to add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you'll have to upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file. For the former, you can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video.

Adding subtitles follows a similar process, however, you can limit the amount of text you want displayed. For either, head to your video manager then click on “Videos" under “Video Manager.” Find the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning to, and click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button. Then, choose “Subtitles/CC.” You can then select how you’d like to add subtitles or closed captioning.

Google has provided great instructions on how to do that here, as well as in the video below.

7) Cards and End Screens


When you're watching a video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an "i" in the center appear in the corner, or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as "preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel."

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 6.02.40 PM.png Source: Google

You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  1. Channel cards that direct viewers to another channel.
  2. Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  3. Fan funding to ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
  4. Link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
  5. Poll cards, which pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
  6. Video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube content of this kind.

For detailed steps on adding a card to your video, follow these official steps from Google, or check out the video below.

End Screens

End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don't display until a video is over, and are a bit more visually detailed in nature. A good example is the overlay with a book image and a visual link to view more on the video below:

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 6.09.28 PM.png Source: Jamie Oliver on YouTube

There are a number of detailed instructions for adding end screens depending on what kind of platform you want to design them for, as well as different types of content allowed for them by YouTube. Google outlines the details for how to optimize for all of those considerations here.

It's important to note that YouTube is always testing end screens to try to optimize the viewer experience, so there are times when "your end screen, as designated by you, may not appear." Take these factors into account as you decide between using either cards or end screens.

It's Worth It to Optimize

These factors may seem a bit complicated and time-consuming, but remember: The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled year over year. There's an audience to be discovered there, and when you optimize for YouTube, your chances of being discovered increase.

Of course, it all begins with good content, so make sure your viewers have something high-quality and relevant to watch when they find you.

How have you optimized for YouTube search? Let us know in the comments.

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course

from HubSpot Marketing Blog

What Makes Content Go Viral? 3 Experts Weigh In


When was the last time you created something online that went viral?

Whether you're new to content marketing or are a viral content maven, you probably know that it can be nearly impossible to predict which tweet or video or meme might go viral. Often, it feels like virality is just completely random.

We asked three content marketing experts to weigh in on what they think makes some content super-popular while other content goes straight to the internet graveyard.

Drawing from their own knowledge and experience, they share their perspectives below. Learn what they think sets viral content apart.

What Makes Content Go Viral?

We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.

-- Megan Conley, Content Marketing Strategist at HubSpot

When creating new content, seriously ask yourself two questions: "Why would anyone share this?" and "Will this help someone better express themselves?" If you can't answer either of these questions, that content has no chance at going viral. People share content that strikes an emotional chord with them. Your job is to identify and articulate that emotion-driving element.

-- Nadya Khoja, Director of Marketing at Venngage

There are two interdependent sides to the notion of viral content. On the human side, when a piece of content excites its audience, triggering an emotional response, to the point that they can't help but to share it. In other words, it's "remarkable" content. From the engineering side, social technologies measure engagement, map it over time down to the millisecond, and then surface content deemed high quality to get more impressions and even more engagement. The interplay between those two mechanisms is what makes content go viral.

-- Eric Peters, Growth Marketer at HubSpot Academy

Get more expert insights about creating viral content in our upcoming live video master class, 12 Principles of Viral Content. 

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog

May Social Media News: The Fight Over the Disappearing Message Continues


In life, there are a few certainties: death, taxes, and Facebook.

This month, we've seen the competition continue to heat up between Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat over how to create the most engaging and marketable disappearing message.

Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar template.

Instagram and Snapchat continue to innovate -- and copy each other -- to win when it comes to user base and engagement. Instagram Stories have millions more users than Snapchat, but Snapchat has the advantage of entrenchment with millennials. In fact, 35% and 46% of Snapchat users can't be reached on Facebook or Instagram, respectively.

Snapchat versus Instagram isn't all that's new in the social media world this month. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights -- what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.

13 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

Snapchat News

1) Snapchat launched new features.

Snapchat launched a ton of brand-new features this month to innovate in the face of heightened competition from Instagram and Facebook. Here's a rundown of what's new in the app:

Sponsored world lenses: Last month, Snapchat launched World Lenses, which let users add augmented reality (AR) elements to their Snaps. Now, brands can get in on the action by buying AR ads users can get creative with. Adweek notes Warner Brothers, Dunkin' Donuts, and Netflix are the first brands to purchase these elements, so keep an eye out for them in your app.

Magic Eraser: (No, not the cleaning sponge.) Snapchat's new Magic Eraser lets users erase elements from Snaps with the click of a button. Here are before-and-after shots of the same Snap -- one of which I used the Magic Eraser on. It's not perfect, but it does the trick for a quick edit on the go:

snap-eraser-1.png snap-eraser-2.png

Custom Stories: Users can now create Snapchat Stories that are viewable only for a certain group of friends. Custom Stories can also be further customized with Geofences, which limit Story viewing to a specific location. Here's the demo video from Snapchat:

Now that Snapchat is part of a company in fierce competition with much larger social media apps, it's doing all it can to be at the cutting-edge of innovation to keep users engaged on the app. There's no telling when, but we can be almost completely assured a version of these new capabilities will be rolled out on Instagram soon.

2) Snapchat launched Instagram-inspired features.

This isn't to say Snapchat is completely innocent: It's also launched a couple features that might look familiar to fans of Instagram Stories. Here are the features that were "inspired" by Instagram and Instagram Stories:

Looping videos: Inspired by Instagram's Boomerang, Snapchat now lets users create looping videos that play infinitely -- instead of expiring and needing to be replayed after the maximum length of 10 seconds. The sender has to make this option available when editing a Snap, and if it's enabled, the viewer doesn't send a notification they've replayed a Snap.

Self-serve ads manager: This isn't strictly Instagram-inspired, but the rollout of a self-serve Snapchat ads manager is a nod to its desire to maintain and grow its user base among smaller brands, too. This will make it easier for brands without the budget of Coca-Cola or Walmart to advertise on Snapchat -- and without having to go through a sales team to do it.

3) Snap Inc. hosted its first earnings call as a public company.

Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, hosted its first earnings call for investors since its initial public offering (IPO) back in March. Here are a few of the highlights we gleaned with the help of The Motley Fool:

Snap Inc. raised $3.4 billion last quarter. That's the largest social media IPO since Twitter's back in November 2013.

Snap Inc. experienced slowed daily active user (DAU) growth. DAUs are growing 36% year over year, but Snapchat added only 8 million more DAUs in its first quarter as a public company -- missing analysts' target growth of 9-10 million users. User growth is highly concentrated in North America and Europe, which will make it tough to grow at the pace needed to keep up with the competition.

Snap Inc. invested heavily in research and development, and increased its engineer headcount by 260%. This further reinforces our previous notes about the competition heating up -- facing increased pressure from Instagram and Facebook, Snapchat is trying to innovate and create new things as quickly as possible.

Revenue decreased and losses increased -- making its path to profitability even longer. Snap Inc. is spending so much on R&D, and the ads business is in still in such a nascent stage, that analysts don't predict Snap's profitability anytime soon.

TL;DR: Snap Inc. is growing slower than anticipated. It's responding to increased competition by hiring like crazy to innovate and roll out new, differentiating features, but it will need to expand worldwide to keep growing its user base.

Instagram News

4) Instagram launched a new feature.

Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) launched a new feature for Instagram Stories, its own Snapchat-inspired answer to the ephemeral messaging craze. Here's what's brand-new with Instagram this month:

Archive option: Users are starting to archive Instagram posts -- instead of deleting altogether. For whatever reason, if you want to hide a post from view, you can now archive it, where you can view it privately or restore it to your feed if you change your mind. This change hasn't been rolled out to my app yet, so it's safe to say it's still in a testing phase, but stay tuned.

5) Instagram launched Snapchat-inspired features.

Like Snapchat, Instagram lifted a few features from the playbook of its biggest competitor. Here are a few of Snapchat's greatest hits, now living within Instagram Stories:

Face filters: In a move that's possibly the biggest Snapchat ripoff (er, we mean, "inspiration") yet, Instagram unveiled face filters for the front-facing camera. Like Snapchat Lenses, users can add augmented reality filters and masks to their selfies to make them silly and fun. Here's what a few of them look like in action:

instagram-face-filters.pngSource: Instagram

Location and Hashtag Stories: In a nod to Snapchat's Story Search, Location and Hashtag Stories let users search to see what other users are posting about. You can now search content across cities and hashtags used -- the one differentiator between Snapchat's search feature launched earlier this year. Here's what it looks like in action:

instagram-hashtag-stories.pngSource: Instagram

With these two changes in place, there isn't much left that's proprietarily different about Snapchat over Instagram, so it might start coming down to user preference. Instagram has been advertising on the platform longer than Snapchat -- plus, verified brands can add links to posts on Instagram Stories -- which might continue the wave of brands and publishers that are choosing Instagram for their ephemeral messaging needs.

Facebook News

6) Facebook updated the News Feed algorithm.

Facebook has made more adjustment to its News Feed algorithm this month. Here are the biggest changes to how Facebook adjusts what you see when you log in every day:

Facebook will further downgrade publishers that publish clickbait headlines. The algorithm will now start downgrading posts based on individual instances of clickbait and based on a Page's past history of being clickbaity (if that's a word yet). Additionally, posts will be downgraded in the News Feed if the headline overexaggerates the content in the link itself -- a nuance that signals a deepened commitment to its position as a news site.

Facebook will downgrade links to sites that provide a low-quality experience or are inundated with disruptive ads. This means pages that post links to sites that offer "little substantive content" or disruptive, "malicious" ads will be downgraded in the News Feed and may be ineligible to be promoted on Facebook.

TL;DR: Don't publish clickbait and don't link to low-quality sites when you post for your brand on Facebook for maximum reach and exposure in the News Feed.

7) Facebook is testing joint notifications across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.

Facebook wants to make it easier than ever for its users to stay within its apps by launching joint notifications for Messenger and Instagram within Facebook notifications. In a statement to CNET, Facebook said it was running a "very small test" of this feature -- here's what it will look like if it's rolled out everywhere:

facebook-instagram-messenger-notification-integration.pngSource: CNET

8) Facebook Live launches -- now with friends.

Facebook Live launched something new, too. Now, users can go live with another Facebook friend in a shared screen. This could make interviews easier conduct via Facebook Live, a highly engaging content format on the platform, or it could be a fun way to connect with friends. Either way, it looks like Google Hangouts and FaceTime on the News Feed:

9) Facebook inked a deal with Major League Baseball to livestream games.

Facebook made a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) to livestream 20 free games this summer -- roughly one per week. This is a clear nod to Twitter's dominance in livestreaming -- the app broadcasts pro football, hockey, baseball, and basketball games, as well as live news coverage that attracts millions of viewers. You can watch the live stream of the first MLB game on Facebook here.

We'll see if viewers gravitate toward Facebook and away from Twitter to watch baseball for free this summer -- we'll keep you posted. (And I'd be remiss if I didn't encourage you to root for the Boston Red Sox.)

10) Facebook announced it will hire 3,000 Facebook Live monitors.

In response to growing backlash against the lack of oversight over Facebook Live videos depicting violent crimes, Facebook announced it would start the process of hiring 3,000 people specifically to monitor live video content. In a Facebook post, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said monitors will serve to get people help if they need it and remove offensive content from the platform.

It's unclear how effective these monitors will be -- and Facebook certainly can't prevent violence in the first place -- but Zuckerberg cited the fast prevention of a suicide mentioned on a live broadcast, so we're cautiously optimistic this will decrease violent incidents on the platform.

Twitter News

11) #NuggsforCarter set a new record for the most retweets ever.

It started as an innocent question -- Carter Wilkerson wanted to know how many retweets would be a high enough achievement to earn a lifetime supply of free chicken nuggets from Wendy's.

When the Wendy's social media team gave him a number, Wilkerson made it his mission. And although he hasn't hit 18 million retweets yet, he hit another milestone: This month, his tweet dethroned comedian Ellen Degeneres' infamous Oscar selfie to become the most retweeted ever on Twitter.

12) Co-founder Biz Stone returned to Twitter.

After selling visual search engine Jelly to Pinterest earlier this year, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced in a Medium post that he was returning to Twitter to focus on company culture, team morale, and people operations. Twitter has experienced a lot of executive turnover in recent years -- in addition to intense scrutiny over abuse and dissemination of fake news on the platform -- so a morale boost is coming at a good time for Twitter.

13) Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o inked a movie deal -- based on a tweet.

This news might be the best of all, depending on your music and film tastes: Hollywood might see its first film that originated thanks to a simple tweet.

Actress Lupita Nyong'o and musician Rihanna were spotted sitting together at a Paris Fashion Week runway, and someone tweeted a photo of them that spawned into a discussion -- looping in director Ava Duvernay -- of creating a heist movie together.

No word yet on when this inevitable blockbuster is coming out, but Netflix bought the rights to it -- making it what might possibly be the most 2017 movie of all time.

Did we miss any big social media stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

When ‘Fear’ Works & When it Backfires

Fear works.

Except for when it doesn’t.

There’s no better way to force prospects to pay attention than by striking the fear of God into them. It interrupts patterns and interests the unaware.


That doesn’t mean it always works.

In fact, in many cases using fear or negative messaging can actually backfire.

Here’s why, and how to do it correctly.

Why do we do what we do?

We used to be cavemen. Cavewomen too.

At least, that’s what science says.

In these primitive times, there was no cold brew. No netflix. No alco… well, there was probably something fermented of some sort.

But there were harsh conditions. The environment was unstable. And they were constantly surrounded by scary beasts.

So life was probably pretty straight-forward. Here’s the GTD ‘next action’ list of a caveperson millions of years ago:

  1. Don’t get eaten.
  2. Don’t fall off a cliff.
  3. Find food.
  4. Fornicate. (Hey — we all got here somehow. This is science people!)

Today we’re not much different. Except monsters and cliffs have been replaced by bosses and email respectively.

Pain and pleasure are the primary motivators of human behavior. Humans gravitate towards pleasure while avoiding that which causes pain.

Fear is a stressor; a reaction to anything that’s threatening, dangerous, or likely to cause pain. Which explains why fear-based messaging has long been used in marketing and advertising: People don’t want pain. Triggering their fear for pain incites them to action.

A reported 25% of Americans have “high stress levels,” with another 50% reporting “moderate stress.”

Stress signals can chemically alter your brain. Your emotional processor (the amygdala) sends bright, flashing WARNING signs to your critical command center (the hypothalamus), which instantly decides whether you should run like hell or suit up like a gladiator.

hypothalamus cerebral cortex amygdala areas in brain
Image Source

But response to fear is highly personal, the same way not all fear are created equal. What George will run away from John may tackle with gusto. Different people react to the same stressful situation differently (or ‘fight’ vs. ‘flight’).

And here’s the kicker.

The Harvard Health Publications says that “chronic activation of [the ‘fight or flight’] survival mechanism” is bad for the health. You don’t want to be that company people associate with negativity. Therefore, incessant badgering of your target audience with fear-based marketing can be catastrophic for your company’s overall brand health.

Even though it almost always works in the short-term.

Does fear-based marketing work?

Yes. Fear-based marketing works.

(Wow that was easy. On to the next section…)

Just kidding, but seriously. It does.

Turns out Gordon Gekko was onto something: Greed, and its inverse, fear, does matter.

(What — you think the stock market goes up and down based on math alone? Don’t make me laugh.)

Inciting fear has been proven to be the absolute best way to grab attention. And in a world where millions of blog posts go out and trillions of emails are sent daily, grabbing attention is freaking critical!

Exhibit A comes courtesy of ConversionXL which comes courtesy of QuickSprout (there’s a meta joke in here somewhere):

fear vs how to headline

The first subject line resulted in a 65% conversion lift. You see this so often that it’s not even surprising anymore.

Here’s Victoria’s Secret emphasizing how long this deal is going to last — three times on the same page:

  1. “Ends tomorrow!”
  2. “Today only!”
  3. “Last Day!”

victoria's secret 3 deals on one page

(Yes, this is just a bad excuse to conduct “research” on Victoria’s Secret’s website.)

So yes. Fear works.

There’s no going around that. So might as well give credit where credit is due. However, while it does work… you can only push it to a point. Go beyond that point and it’s sure to backfire.

Messaging based on fear isn’t empowering. It’s not always delightful. It’s fo sho clickbait-y. It manufactures urgency to re-create a ‘fight or flight’ response.

And sometimes can be perceived as dishonest.

But can fear backfire?

Fear works… until it doesn’t.

Until it backfires and works against you.

Several experiments from (again, searching for a meta joke) have proven this time and time again.

First up, two tweets.

One with a “positive, empowering message” and another that focused on the pain of potential loss. Turns out, the first fun loving one won. (Say that ten times fast.)

positive vs pain tweet

Image Source

Next up, a CTA. The first was negative and fear based. The second focused on “peace of mind.”

CTA test negative vs peace of mind

Image Source

Once again, the positive message was victorious.

Ok one last example. Norton antivirus compared two campaigns: one that incited fear vs. another that tried to “empower” customers.

fear vs customer empowerment

Image Source

And the winner?

customer empowerment winning message

Image Source

Incredibly, the soft, touchy, feely one won. And check out that difference!

So… WTF. What’s going on? One minute fear works. And the next it doesn’t. What’s going on? posits:

“The most effective marketing campaigns focus on the impact of action, rather than the result of inaction. Our goal is to create positive (non negative) momentum in the psychology of our customer’s mind.”

Turns out that while fear works wonderfully in order to first get attention, it starts to backfire when it comes to a transaction.

When you optimize for sales from customers (and not just emails or blog post headlines) the nuance appears. That context can make all the difference.

Fear can also backfire during certain times of the year. For example, the holidays. During this blissful time, positive emotions tend to fare better.

A Fractl study in the Harvard Business Review, visually illustrates this. The most shared content related most to anticipation, surprise, trust, and joy (so happiness overall). While fear-based ones were a ghost town.

most shared content

Image Source

Focusing on what people are going to get during this time pays off. (As opposed to what they might miss out on or the ‘cost of inaction’).

Why people want (to buy) reassurance

People don’t need your thing.

So there’s only one reason they buy: to solve a pain point. One that kinda bothers them but isn’t life or death.

What they don’t want, is to be disappointed. They don’t want to take a chance on your thing and be sorry they purchased it. They want to know it’s going to work like it should. It (and you) will be there when it (and you) should.

Fear mongering sometimes crosses that line. Exhibit B comes courtesy of a Gallup poll that showed car salesmen are trusted more than your local politicians (and at this rate, the White House most likely, too).

That’s why 81% of people look to peers for decision making (as opposed to branded messages).

So there’s a line. Somewhere. Under all of those fear-based headlines.

Fear works wonderfully at capturing attention. There’s almost nothing better. But… too much, too often can be harmful.

Negative messaging might pique the interest of those ‘cold’ prospects who lack need awareness (for your product or widget). Fear makes them sit up and take notice. It makes them realize — for the very first time — that they might have a problem that needs to be solved.

Outbrain ran a study on 65,000 paid links in order to find out which worked best: positive or negative messages (in syndicated ads).

The results weren’t even close. Negative ones crushed it (by 60%).

positive vs negative superlatives in titles

Sometimes, people need that shot of adrenaline in order to stop and pay attention.

fear based messaging in breast cancer advertisement
Image Source

But ‘warmer’ ones who already ‘get it’ don’t need the same heavy-handed approach.

Another study compared a few different headlines. They were:

  1. Passionate about betting? We are too.
  2. Make More Money on Your Bets — Get Free Betting Tips
  3. Stop Losing Money on Your Bets — Get Free Betting Tips

Unsurprisingly by now, the second and third (positive and negative) ones dominated the first generic one.

But… the positive message outperformed the negative one.

betting expert headline tests

Image Source

The positive one focused on what people were going to get (as opposed to what they were going to lose out on).

That’s where you back off a bit. Switch the value proposition to what your widget will bring them (as opposed to what NOT having it will do to them). Otherwise it becomes overkill. And it backfires.

old sledgehammer resting on table


Fear-based messaging works. In many cases.

It plays upon our evolutionary biology; stimulating our fight or flight response in order to get us to take notice.

However… it also requires the right context. Many studies have shown that negative message works wonders when you’re targeting people who might be unaware of what your widget does. Unaware that they even have a problem or need for what you do in the first place.

But. When it comes to ‘warmer’ traffic who does understand, fear can backfire.

These people see through the fear mongering. They’re looking for reassurances instead. They want the truth. They want to know what they’re going to get out of it. The value or end result.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

3 Steps to Building an Employee Advocacy Strategy

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest marketing conferences of the year—Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit.  A gathering of hundreds of marketing executives, partners, and thought leaders from around the world came together to learn about the latest marketing trends and strategies in the new “Engagement Economy”.

The “Engagement Economy” represents a clear shift in the way marketers communicate with customers. It focuses on delivering a personalized and authentic experience that stems from trust and commitment. To succeed in this new climate, you must adapt your tactics and shift your brand to become more human and digital native-friendly.

But how can you embrace this new concept? How can you bring it into the present? Simple—with employee advocacy. Employee advocacy allows you to fast forward your social media marketing strategy by empowering employees to share organic content across their personal profiles, in turn, driving brand awareness, engagement, and lead generation. To get started, here are three steps to building a successful employee advocacy strategy:

1. Identify Your Goals and KPI’s

Like with any social media strategy, you need to envision what success looks like. What goals are you trying to achieve? Which metrics will you use to measure those goals?

To make things easier, here are two groups of metrics you can focus on:

  • Tactical Metrics: These metrics (also known as early stage metrics) give you a granular insight into the success of individual posts, networks, and employees. It includes impressions, shares, clicks, etc.
  • Revenue Metrics: These metrics (also known as mid- and late-stage metrics) play a larger role in giving you an accurate picture of how advocacy drives opportunities and revenue for the business. For example, tracking leads, cost per lead, and closed deals will help you identify the program’s true ROI. For a more complete picture of how advocacy impacts sales, you can integrate your employee advocacy platform with your engagement platform/marketing automation and CRM to see how leads collected by employees turn into revenue by sales.

2. Understand which Content Types will be Shared

The oft-cited “Content is King” saying applies to employee advocacy too. First, your content must align with your goals, and second, it needs to be relevant to your employees’ role in the company and type of audience.

At the very least, it should include the following:

  • 70% original content: The bulk of your content should be original—articles, white papers, videos, case studies, webinars, etc. that have been created by your marketing team and are lead generating.
  • 20% curated content: Besides promoting our own product or service, employees should receive valuable third-party content to educate their audience in a less self-promotional manner.
  • 10% suggested content: The best way to empower employees to share content is by allowing them to suggest useful topics. This will go a long way to demonstrate your appreciation for their work.

3. Select Employee Advocates & Establish Buy-In

While every employee can benefit from participating in an advocacy program, you must determine which employees most effectively deliver your message. Customer-facing employees, particularly in sales, marketing, and customer success, should be your top priority to engage and retain in your advocacy program. And, that’s not to say that your other employees don’t have value—because they do. It’s your goal to ensure your employees remain invested in the program by reiterating the value to them.

There are two ways to incentivize employees. First, through tangible rewards, which have a monetary value, such as gift cards, restaurant vouchers, and movie tickets. The alternative is through intangible rewards, which have a long-term meaning, including:

  • Social Selling: Your sales reps are going to benefit the most from being advocates. 78% of salespeople who utilize social media as part of their sales techniques outperformed their non-social peers. The result is that they have a much greater impact on revenue and business growth.
  • Thought Leadership: This is an invaluable status to have today. Actively sharing quality content turns employees into a credible and sought-after influencer in the industry. With this trustworthy voice, they have the ability to drive more traffic and leads for you.

Ready, Steady, Go!

The new era of Engagement Economy is here and it’s up to you to make the transition. Today, the smartest B2B marketers are going into the future with a strategy that aligns business goals with a personalized customer experience. A well-planned employee advocacy program can help you make that transformation, from boosting your online brand to driving positive social media ROI.

The post 3 Steps to Building an Employee Advocacy Strategy appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog

How to Communicate Effectively at Work With Your Boss


Do you feel like you and your boss are on the same page most days of the week?

If you nodded "yes" emphatically, that's fantastic. But many readers might have a different opinion. In fact, a recent HubSpot survey revealed that while 70% of executives might reflect positively on their team's marketing strategy, only 50% of individual contributors agree.


As a marketer, it's imperative to communicate effectively with your boss to avoid this executive divide. I wanted to create communication rules that all marketers can follow, so I went straight to the source for some answers and talked to my own boss.

I interviewed Rick Kranz about effective communication with his marketing team. He has more than 30 years of business management experience and was more than willing to share his opinions with us. Read on for his thoughts and key takeaways about communication strategies between managers and employees.

8 Rules for Communicating With Your Boss

1) Start with the bottom line.

I asked Kranz what he thinks is the most effective way for your marketing team to talk to you.

Start with the bottom line. When you speak in hyperbole you end up telling a story that eventually gets to the bottom line. Start with, 'we are getting 50 more leads and here is why...' and avoid, 'So I ran an email campaign and a PPC campaign and had HUGE success. We are now getting 50 more leads.' When you start with the bottom line, I am in a position to then ask appropriate questions like, 'How did that happen?'”

What does this mean?

Don’t beat around the bush. Your boss is a busy person and you need to respect that. Give her the point of your discussion first, then go backward if questions are proposed. This will keep your communication streamlined and focused.

2) Speak in numbers.

I asked Kranz if he prefers the bottom line to be in numerical or qualitative data, and if he prefers to hear about the bottom line or have a document or graph to guide the information.

I prefer numbers over words. A lot of CEOs are numbers-driven. Visual data is much quicker to digest, so if information can be visual, please make it so. If you give us a spreadsheet, we're happy, but if you give us a paragraph to read, it can be left open to interpretation."

What does this mean?

Numbers are powerful because they can communicate success (or problems) at a glance. Use them to your advantage when communicating with your boss -- numerical data speaks for itself.

3) Schedule when you communicate with your boss.

Next, I asked Kranz if he prefers discussions with his marketing team to be scheduled in advance.

It's best to schedule a meeting with me. That way, I can plan for our discussion and focus. You don’t want my mind to be elsewhere, and if our discussion isn't scheduled, then you're most likely going to end up interrupting my workload, which is inefficient for both of us."

What does this mean?

We all can attest to the fact that writing back and forth via email can get messy, so try not to fill your boss’s inbox with email after email from you.

Instead, schedule meetings with your boss to avoid messy lines of email communication and walk-in office interruptions. This will help streamline your communications and save valuable time.

4) Establish the that you have certain "rights" to communication.

I asked Kranz if he limits the number of employees that he communicates with directly.

Right now, I speak directly with everyone at our agency because there is only a handful of us, and that's how our business model works. At companies I have been a part of in the past, with more than 50 employees, I would scale down my communications to about seven people. There isn’t a rule for it, it was just more effective that way."

What does this mean?

Do you have the right to speak with your boss? Of course -- we all have that right. But that doesn’t always make for effective communication.

If you have concerns you want to address with your boss, but you're not the main point of contact with her, you should bring your concerns to your direct supervisor. This person will address your concerns with you, or take it up the food chain to your boss.

5) Communicate the anticipated results and next steps of your plans to your boss.

Next, we chatted about how Kranz wants to discuss future plans and goals with employees.

Always be able to tell me where we are, where we're going, and how we're going to get there. If we're at point B and you want to get us to point A, then tell me how you plan to do that, and what will happen once that step occurs. Communicate the results of your plan and what the next steps are that I can help you with."

What does this mean?

Communicate your plans effectively by addressing what the plan is, what the results will be and what the next steps are. If you bring these talking points to the table, you'll be organized, and your plan will be well spoken for.

6) Bring problems to your boss’s attention right away.

If a problem emerges, Kranz wants his team to bring it to him right away.

Come find me in person, because the problem needs to be addressed right away. Sending an email can delay my response time and doesn’t put us in a good position for a problem-solving discussion. Additionally, it's smart to always bring at least one solution to the table. Never give me a problem without a solution, because then you're just passing the buck."

What does this mean?

Don’t skulk away when a problem pops up or a mistake occurs. Respond to it proactively, and don’t keep your boss in the dark. Communicate your own proposed solutions when you present the problem so you and your boss have a basis to start a problem-solving conversation.

7) There's a right time and place to promote your achievements.

I asked Kranz how he prefers achievements and success be brought to his attention by direct reports.

In a successful business, things are going well on a regular basis. If someone were to tell you every time something good happened, you would have someone running into your office all the time, because good news makes your business run. In my opinion, a monthly review of results would be best. It's easier to digest these results as a report, too. During the review of results, your achievements should be highlighted. Weekly meetings are another good place for everyone to discuss their recent achievements."

What does this mean?

We all love to brag about what we do well, but there's a time and place to do it. Your work will speak for itself if you're bringing in the type of results your boss is looking for. Then, you can get on your podium and share your achievements when you present reports to your boss or allocate time for success stories at the end of a meeting.

8) All business-related topics are noteworthy.

Kranz doesn't believe there are any topics that would hinder effective communication between an employee and his or her boss.

There's nothing my team shouldn't come to me with. We want to hear about how the team is working together and how your work environment is, so anything is open for discussion."

What does this mean:

Speak to your boss about business topics that concern you, or any particular success-related stories. Communicating feedback on what is going on in your business environment is an effective way for your boss to see a full picture of the company from someone else’s perspective, so don't hold back.

Communication Is a Two-Way Street

Effective communication with your boss starts with you. You need to approach it a certain way for the conversation to be as productive as possible, so you can minimize the divide between executive and individual contributor perceptions across companies. To learn more about the global state of marketing and sales industries, download the 2017 State of Inbound report today.

What are your strategies for communication effectively with your boss at work? Share with us in the comments below.

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

To learn more about the transactional email add-on, contact your CSM.

from HubSpot Marketing Blog