GMT NewYork London Moscow Tokyo Sydney

May

5

2016

12 Different Types of Marketing Email You Could Be Sending

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The internet is swarming with tips, tricks, and suggestions about how to design beautiful emails. And while a lot of marketers seem to understand the basics — personalize the copy, make the call-to-action pop, segment your list, etc. — many still overlook an important component of effective email marketing: emails also need to have visual appeal.

Oftentimes, marketers do give a lot of thought to email design when it comes time to launch a campaign. It makes perfect sense: You have an awesome new announcement or event, and you want to kick off the campaign right with a darn good looking email. Download our free guide here for more tips on creating emails people actually click. 

But what about the follow-up email? Or any email that may be included in an automated email workflow? It’s time to stop focusing on the design of just your biggest sends, and spend some time spiffing up all those other emails you’re sending. 

Need some inspiration? Check out the email examples below.

12 Types of Email That Marketers Can Send

Informational Emails

Informational emails are one-to-many emails you can send to folks to bring them up to speed in regards to your latest content, product announcements, and more. Note: You should only send them to people who have opted in to receive emails from you.

1) New Content Announcement Email

This is one you probably already know and love. You know, the one where you announce your next sale, ebook, webinar, coupon, free trial … and the list goes on. This email is used to describe and promote a particular marketing offer — one single offer — with a call-to-action that links to a targeted landing page made for that specific offer.

When it comes to designing an email for a specific offer, the main component to keep in mind is the offer itself. You want the copy to be brief but descriptive enough to convey the offer’s value. In addition, make sure your email’s call-to-action (CTA) link is large, clear, and uses actionable language. You can also include a large CTA image/button underneath to make the action you want email readers to take crystal clear.

nextview-new-offer-email.png

(Example: NextView Ventures )

2) Product Update Email

Product emails are tricky. People generally don’t want to receive these often, and they’re typically not as interesting or engaging as something like an offer email. That said, it’s important to keep these emails simple and straightforward.

Many companies choose to send weekly or monthly product digests to keep their customers or fan base up-to-date with the latest features and functionalities. And no matter how much a customer loves your business, it’s still work for them to learn how to use new features or learn why a new product is worth their investment.

Rather than inundating your contacts with a slew of emails about each individual product update, consider sending a sort of roundup of new updates or products periodically. For each update you list, include a large, clear headline, a brief description, and an image that showcases the product or feature. It’s also worth linking to a custom page for each feature to make it easy for recipients to learn more about it.

adobe-product-email.png(Example: Adobe)

3) Digital Magazine or Newsletter

Do you maintain a business blog for your company? Are you a magazine or media outlet? No matter which of these categories you fall into, many companies choose to send a roundup of stories or articles published weekly or monthly. And if you truly want people to read these email roundups, it’s critical that you share them in a visually appealing way.

Within these roundup emails, it’s a good idea to use an image paired with a headline, a brief summary or introduction, and a CTA for recipients to read more. This simple format will allow you to use visuals to attract the reader to each article while still giving you the ability to feature multiple articles — without sending a super lengthy email.

skillshare-weekly-digest.png

(Example: Skillshare)

4) Event Invitation

Email can be a great vehicle for promoting an upcoming event you’re hosting. But if you want to invite your contacts to an event and motivate them to register, it’s extremely important to clearly showcase why that event is worth their attendance.

A great way to do so is through visuals. A lot of events cost money to attend, and most cost a pretty penny. So if you want to attract registrants, cut down on the copy and show potential registrants why the event will be awesome.

futureM-event-invitation.png

(Example: FutureM)

5) Dedicated Send

Every now and then, you may want to send a dedicated email to a certain group of people. For example, if you’re hosting a conference or event, you might want to send a dedicated email just to event registrants to alert them of any new event updates they should be aware of (like in the screenshot above). Or if your business is community based, it might be a good idea to send a monthly email to welcome all your new members. 

inbound-dedicated-send.png

(Example: INBOUND)

6) Co-marketing Email

Co-marketing is when two or more complementary companies partner together for some mutually beneficial task, event, or other promotion. The main draw of co-marketing is to leverage the audience of another company to increase your reach.

Sometimes the relationship results in a strategic announcement; other times it’s as simple as a joint webinar. Let’s use the latter for an example of how co-marketing emails work, and why they’re so beneficial: Let’s say you and another company decide to do a webinar together on a particular subject. As a result, that webinar will likely (pending your arrangements) be promoted to the email lists of both of your companies. This exposure to a list that is not your own is one of the key benefits of co-marketing partnerships.

When it comes to the email your business sends, make it clear that this offer or event is the result of a partnership with company X — especially if your co-marketing partner is particularly popular or impressive. To do this, you can adjust the company logo in your email to also include the other business’ logo. Furthermore, make sure your copy mentions both businesses, and create a custom graphic or image to visualize the offer or event. 

hubspot-unbounce-co-marketing-email.png

(Example: HubSpot + Unbounce)

7) Social Media Send

Wait … what does social media have to do with email? Well, if you’re making good use of LinkedIn Groups or Google+ Events, email has everything to do with social media.

As the administrator of LinkedIn Group, when you send a LinkedIn Announcement, you’re directly reaching a LinkedIn user’s inbox. And when you create a Google+ event, sending the invite directly sends you into users’ email boxes as well. Without having to create lists or collect email addresses, you automatically have access to users’ email, but be sure to tap into these resources with care.

When it comes to these social media emails, you don’t have the option of using email software that allows you to customize the layout or add images. You’re at the mercy of copy alone. This is where leveraging white space is very important. Keep your paragraphs short, your sentences brief, and your thoughts clear. Optimize these emails for the scanning reader, and use bullets or numbers to deliver your main points. 

LinkedIn-group-announcements

(Example: CMI)

8) Internal Updates

Don’t neglect a very important audience for your company: your employees. Many companies, especially if they’re on the larger side, choose to send internal updates or newsletters to their employees to keep them in the know about the latest company information — whether it be new product updates, marketing offers, or events.

With these emails, it’s less about the beauty, and more about the clarity. The most important formatting tip for these types of emails is to arrange the information in a simple and helpful way. Once you’ve nailed your formatting, it’s simply a matter of highlighting the most critical information associated with each offer or update so its messaging is crystal clear to everyone.

internal-email-1.png

(Example: HubSpot Academy)

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are one-to-one emails that are triggered by specific actions, such as completing a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Note: You’ll need specialized software in order to set up transactional emails.

9) Confirmation Email

How frustrating is it to book a flight or register for an event and not receive an automatic confirmation email? I know that personally, every time I make an online transaction, I wait impatiently to see that my transaction was complete. After all, nobody wants to worry that they’re first payment wasn’t processed, only to click the payment button again and get charged twice.

What bothers me most about so many businesses’ confirmation emails are two things: when the subject lines are vague, and when the information I actually want to confirm isn’t immediately evident when I open the email. Confirmation emails should be just that — confirmation emails.

To avoid any confusion, keep these emails simple, with just a brief summary of the information your recipients would want you to confirm. Try not to fuss with the design, as they simply want to know that the action they took was completed so they can save the information, have peace of mind, and move on. 

grubhub-confirmation-email.png

(Example: GrubHub)

10) Form Submission Kickback (Thank-You) Email

Whenever a prospect, lead, or customer fills out a form on one of your landing pages, a kickback email should automatically get triggered after their submission. Depending on the form, these kickback emails are often referred to as thank-you emails. These emails are mainly for the sake of fulfilling your promise to the user, and storing the information you promised them safely in their inbox.

How frustrating would it be if you downloaded an ebook, and then forgot where you stored the link to the PDF? Kickback emails solve that problem.

These automatic emails should make the CTA big and clear. Keep in mind that the CTA should link to the direct offer — NOT to the form. In these emails, simply thank the reader for their form submission, and give them what you promised, whether it be a link to the PDF of an ebook, instructions on how to activate their free trial, or the coupon they requested. Furthermore, don’t overcomplicate the appearance of these emails. The reader isn’t looking for additional information, but rather the offer or content they already know they redeemed.

impact-kickback-email.png

 (Example: IMPACT Branding & Design)

11) Welcome Email

Another type of transactional email, the welcome email is the perfect option for thanking and providing more information to people who have signed up for your newsletter, product trial, or other offer.

The elements you include in a welcome email will depend on the specifics of what you’re offering. But in general, you can use the email to showcase your brand’s personality and to highlight the value that recipients can expect to receive. If you’re welcoming new users to a product or service, the welcome email is a great place to explain how everything works and what users need to do in order to get started.

Remember: First impressions are important, even when they happen via email. For more inspiration, check out this list of stellar welcome email examples.

food-52-welcome-email.png

(Example: Food52)

12) Lead Nurturing Email

Depending on the specific action a persona takes, you may want to enroll them in a lead nurturing campaign. Lead nurturing emails consist of a tightly connected series of emails containing useful, targeted content.

As their name suggests, these emails are used to nurture leads through the marketing funnel into a position of sales readiness. For example, let’s say you sent your list a marketing offer email. You might then set up a lead nurturing workflow that triggers another email about a complementary offer or piece of content to everyone who converted on that initial offer. The logic is simple: By identifying a particular group of contacts that you already know are interested in a specific topic, you and can follow up with more relevant and targeted content that makes them more likely to continue their relationship with you.

In your lead nurturing emails, it’s important to call out why recipients are receiving the email. For example, you could say something like, “We noticed you’re into [topic x] since you downloaded our [Topic X] ebook, and we thought you might want to learn more about [topic x] …” Once you’ve addressed why recipients are getting email from you, you can format your lead nurturing emails similar to the way you’d set up your general marketing offer emails.

Other very important considerations to make when crafting your lead nurturing campaigns are the planning, setup, segmentation, and timing of your nurturing emails. 

lead-nurturing-email-hubspot.png

(Example: HubSpot)

At the end of the day, your emails should not only be visually appealing, but they should also be valuable. Focus on sharing the key information in the most appropriate format depending on the type of email you’re sending — and the audience you’re sending it to.

After all, what’s the use of a crazy-beautiful email if it doesn’t provide any true value to the reader? 

Know of any other types of email that should be on this list? Share them in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

optimizing email marketing ebook

 
free email optimization ebook


Mar

22

2016

50 Free Call-to-Action Templates to Design Clickable CTAs in PowerPoint [Free Download]

Call-to-action-templates

Want to earn money for your business? Want to generate leads for your sales team? Want to accelerate sales for your online store? Want to do anything for your business that actually matters?

Well then you need calls-to-action. Without them, we wouldn’t be converting our website visitors or social media fans into actual leads for our sales team. Without them, we wouldn’t be calling on our audience to take any action in their lifecycle that actually benefits them or the growth of your business.

Download your 50 free call-to-action templates in PowerPoint here.

But just because they’re important doesn’t mean we all have a professional designer at our disposal — whether due to budget limitations, resource restrictions, or just lack of design skills. That’s why we created 50 free call-to-action (CTA) templates in PowerPoint for you to customize and use. The template will teach you how to customize your new CTAs effectively, so don’t let fear of DIY design stop you. 

This post will give you a sneak peek into a large set of designs available in the template. Download it now and follow along.

1) Basic Calls-to-Action

Sometimes you just need a quick and clean button that helps drive conversions. Building a landing page that needs a customized submit button? Working on a website page that needs to drive visitors to a coupon? Drafting a blog post that needs a “read more” button after the summary? We’ve got you covered. The first set of 22 CTA designs in our set of templates are basic buttons. Here’s a sampling of six:

basic-CTA-templates.png

2) Social Media Share and Sentiment Calls-to-Action

Data from Dan Zarrella shows that specific diction in your social calls-to-action help drive engagement, but another great way to drive social engagement is through social CTAs on other assets of your website, landing pages, blog posts, and so on. This set of ten templates provides you with two types of designs: social share buttons and social sentiment buttons. Let’s take a look at a sample of both.

Social Share CTAs

As you can see in the sample of share buttons below, these buttons are helping drive social actions from your content. Making these buttons clickable is as simple as generating the right code to hyperlink it to. This blog post walks you through how to do so step-by-step.

social-CTA-templates.png

Social Sentiment CTAs

Social sentiment CTAs are those that include public testimonials — often from social media users. As you can see in the example below, we built a CTA in PowerPoint and attached a screenshot of a publicly posted Facebook comment. Be sure to test the use of such social sentiment on your content and explore how their inclusion benefits your conversion rates.

social-sentiment-cta-template.png

3) Contextualized Calls-to-Actions

You’ve seen some basic CTA options thus far. The next set of nine options call on you to include more context. These designs are created with the intention of further explaining the value of taking action. Just be sure to keep the overall layout of the button simple so that users can easily see the action you’re calling on them to take. Here are two sample designs available in the template:

contextualized-CTA-template-568830-edited.png

4) Photo and Mobile Device Calls-to-Action

Photos can serve as a great asset when creating your calls-to-action. Not to mention it’s super easy because all you have to do is overlay some text! Photos make it easy to humanize and customize your messages for your brand and audience. Similarly, mobile and desktop devices can help make your action “pop.” Rather than including a screenshot of your product, try putting that screenshot on a kindle to show it in action! If you have trouble locating copyright-free photos to use, you can download our set of 160 free photos. No attribution required, just download and use! Here are three sample CTA designs from the bunch.

photo-device-cta-templates.png

5) Qualifying Calls-to-Actions

When you’re trying to nurture a lead further down the funnel, you want to ensure you’re presenting CTAs to qualify them for your sales team. For these CTAs, it’s important that they are welcoming and not pushy. Having a great design can help can help you naturally move your leads further down your marketing funnel. Here are two examples from the templates you could customize to help convert a lead to marketing qualified lead:

qualifying-cta-template.png

Not sure how to exactly save and use these templates? Don’t worry, your download of these 50 templates will include step-by-step instructions on how to save and use these templates on your website. 

What templates are you most excited to try? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.

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

download free CTA templates in PPT

 
download 50 free CTA templates

Mar

21

2016

The Ultimate Collection of Free Content Marketing Templates

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Does any aspect of your job intimidate you?

For content creators, sometimes the most stressful part of the role can be opening a completely blank document to start a new project.

Whether it’s writing a blog post, designing an infographic, or creating an ebook, it’s challenging to start creating a new piece of content from scratch, especially if you’ve never done it before. Download the full collection of free content marketing templates here. 

Here in the HubSpot content shop, we want to take the work out of it for you. Instead of trying to master how to create every type of content in existence, cut down on the stress and inefficiency and read about our collection of nearly 400 free, customizable content creation templates

We’ve broken this list down into types of content marketing, so jump ahead if you specifically want: Content Planning Templates, Written Content Templates, Visual Content Templates, or Email Templates.

Content Planning Templates

A Content Planning/Goal-Setting Template

(Download the content planning template here.)

HubSpot teamed up with Smart Insights to create a content planning template that will help you put together an effective content marketing plan for either your business or those of your clients. These templates will help you complete a SWOT analysis on your content marketing efforts (and develop a plan to improve them), define the right objectives and KPIs for that plan, brainstorm content ideas and map these across your funnel, and create a timeline for your content plans.

download free content planning template

A Content Mapping Template

(Download the content mapping template here)

You know you need a content marketing strategy in place to support the success of your inbound marketing and sales organizations. But how do you get started? We’ve created a content mapping template so you can walk through your target audience’s buyer’s journey. The template helps you identify buyer personas, their challenges and needs, and to brainstorm content that provides solutions. You’ll come away from the template with tons of targeted blog post ideas to attract your audience to your site and convert them into leads.

download content mapping templates

A Buyer Persona Template

(Download the buyer persona template here.)

Marketing with buyer personas means marketing smarter. This buyer persona template will help you easily organize your research to create your very own buyer personas. Use it to create beautiful, well-formatted buyer personas that you can share with your entire company, while learning best practices for persona research along the way.

get the free buyer persona template

3 Blog Editorial Calendar Templates

(Download the blog editorial calendar templates here.)

Having an editorial calendar for your marketing content will save you a whole lot of time — not to mention sanity — as you plan your content release timeline. We realize there isn’t a one-size-fits all solution, so we’ve created three editorial calendar templates to use at your leisure: one for Google Calendar, one for Excel, and one for Google Sheets. (Read this blog post for a step-by-step guide for using the Google Calendar template.)

download the free blog editorial calendar template

2 Social Media Content Calendar Templates (for 6 Social Networks)

(Download the social media content calendar templates here.)

With so many different social networks to manage, a social media manager’s life becomes a lot easier when they can plan which content to share on each account — and when. This easy-to-use social media content calendar for Microsoft Excel lets you organize your social media activities far in advance. Use it to plan your updates and learn how to properly format your content for the six most popular social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.

get the free social media contet calendar template

Written Content Templates 

5 Blog Post Templates

(Download the blog post templates here.)

Here’s the thing with blogging: There isn’t one, easy template you can fill in to produce a quality content offering. You need to spend some time brainstorming a title, outlining core content, and so on. While our templates are by no means a fill-in-the-blank type of deal, they’ll walk you through the critical steps for creating the following five blog post types:

  • How-To Post
  • List-Based Post
  • Curated Collection Post
  • SlideShare Presentation Post
  • Newsjacking Post

We’ve seen these formats crush it on our blogs, and we would love for you to use them to hit your own goals.

get free blog post templates

5 Ebook Templates

(Download the ebook templates here.)

Year after year, marketers cite lead generation as one of their top content marketing goals for the year. If you want to succeed at lead gen, then you need content offers — like ebooks — to help you get there. Our internal creative design team went to work building five, beautiful ebook templates — in both PowerPoint and InDesign — for you to download, customize, and use. 

get free ebook templates

A Press Release Template

(Download the press release template here.)

While public relations has adapted to be more lovable and less spammy, press releases can be effective when used correctly. Our press release template takes this into consideration and provides an inbound-optimized version. This means the template can help you script press releases and do so in a format optimized for sharing on your company blog. It’s built in Microsoft Word, so you can easily adapt and customize as needed for your PR needs.

download free press release template

50 Call-to-Action Templates

(Download the call-to-action templates here.)

Redesigning your call-to-action buttons can improve clickthrough rates by 1,300% or more. That means visitors will spend more time on your website, and it’ll encourage them to become leads. To help you design clickable calls-to-action, we’ve built 50 pre-designed CTAs for you. These CTAs are super easy to customize, so you don’t need to know any fancy design programs — just PowerPoint.

Bonus: There’s also a handy free tool in there that lets you track your CTA clicks in real time so you can see the exact number of clicks that your designs are reeling in.

download free call-to-action templates

Visual Content Templates 

195+ Visual Marketing Templates

(Download the visual marketing templates here.)

Not a designer? Not a problem. We partnered with graphic design software company Canva to create over 195 visual marketing templates that are easy-to-use, work for any industry (finance, dentistry, agriculture, law — we’ve got ’em all), and are completely free. Best of all, they’re ready to edit in Canva’s online design tool, which is included for free with this set of templates. The templates include…

  • Infographics templates
  • Facebook ad templates
  • Facebook post templates
  • Twitter post templates
  • Email header templates
  • Blog title templates
  • Facebook cover photo templates
  • Twitter header templates
  • LinkedIn cover photos templates

download free Canva design templates

15 Infographic Templates

(Download the infographic templates here.)

We’ve created fifteen, pre-designed infographic templates right in PowerPoint (+ five bonus illustrator templates). That way, marketers can skip the frustrations and start creating the graphics right away. Within each template, we even provide guides to teach you how to use the templates effectively. 

download free infographic templates

100 Social Media Graphics Templates

(Download the social media graphics templates here.)

Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content. But we know well that creating visual content takes more time and resources — which why we’ve created these 100 customizable templates for you. These templates are in PowerPoint, so they’re very easy to edit — no Photoshop skills required. Simply customize the text on an image, save it, and post it to social media.

download free social media graphics templates

5 Social Media Cover Photo Templates

(Download the social media cover photo templates here.)

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have trouble keeping straight the different size dimension requirements on different social media networks. To take the guesswork out of it and to avoid frustrating re-designs, we’ve created five templates in PowerPoint that are pre-sized for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. You can customize them for your social networks without researching design specifications — don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.

download social media cover photo templates

3 PowerPoint Templates

(Download the PowerPoint templates here.)

PowerPoint can be a powerful tool for lead generation, brand building, and thought leadership. Don’t let boring slides stand in the way. You don’t have to be a designer to create beautiful slides. To help you get started, we’ve created three, eye-catching PowerPoint templates so you don’t have to start from scratch or rely on standard, old-school styles.

Bonus: We’ve also included four video tutorials on PowerPoint tricks in there so you can learn how to enhance images, clean up your text, install premium fonts, and so on — right in PowerPoint.

download free powerpoint templates

5 SlideShare Templates

(Download the SlideShare templates here.)

Creating a SlideShare presentation in PowerPoint doesn’t have to be daunting. With the right and tools at your disposal, you can easily create an engaging, visual presentation — all without fancy design programs, huge budgets, or hiring contractors.

To help you make a SlideShare of your own, we’ve created some free PowerPoint presentation templates for making awesome SlideShares — so your presentations will look great and be a breeze to put together. (Read this blog post for tip on how you can update and edit the templates to suit your specific needs.)

download free slideshare templates

Email Templates

15 Email Templates for Marketing and Sales

(Download the email templates for marketing and sales here.)

Did you know that workers spend almost one third of their time at work reading and replying to emails? There are many ways you can streamline your inbox to save time, but you ultimately will still have to create and send emails. That’s where these templates come in. We’ve written the copy for 15 emails marketers and sales reps are likely to send over and over again to save you time and get you results.

download email templates

There you have it, content marketers: over 386 templates to help you start creating content easily and quickly and further your inbound success.

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

free content creation templates

 
                                   
 
free content creation templates

Feb

11

2016

Lead Generation: A Beginner’s Guide to Generating Business Leads the Inbound Way

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We’ve all been through it. You know, the moment you’re about to dig into the best darn pile of spaghetti and meatballs you’ve ever seen.

Just as you twist your fork in the pasta, spear a mouth-watering meatball, and go in for the first savory bite … the phone rings. “May I speak to Aaahnooom Hahsahn?” says the telemarketer on the other end. “This is an important message regarding your oven preferences.”

This frustrating interruption is exactly why we’re here to discuss inbound lead generation. What is inbound lead generation? It’s a solution that can save your business or organization from being that annoying, disruptive cold caller who is ruining spaghetti nights for pasta lovers all over the world.

Download our complete guide to lead generation here for even more lead gen tips. 

Let’s start with defining a lead, and then we’ll get into what lead generation is, why you need lead generation, how you qualify someone as a lead, how you generate leads, and why inbound lead generation is much more effective than simply buying leads.

What is a Lead?

Let’s start with the basics. A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.

In other words, instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased your contact information, you’d hear from a business or organization you’ve already opened communication with.

For example, maybe you took an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. If you got an email from the auto company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you take care of your car, it’d be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance … right?

And from a business perspective, the information the auto company collected about you from your survey responses would help them personalize that opening communication to meet the existing needs of the potential client.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into those leads we just talked about.

Whenever someone outside the marketing world asks me what I do, I can’t simply say, “I create content for lead generation.” It’d be totally lost on them, and I’d get some really confused looks.

So instead, I say, “I work on finding unique ways to attract people to my business. I want to provide them with enough goodies to get them naturally interested in my company so they eventually warm up to the brand enough to want to hear from us!”

That usually resonates better, and that’s exactly what lead generation is: It’s a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually buying.

Why Do You Need Lead Generation?

By showing an organic interest in your business, it’s those strangers and prospects that are initiating the relationship with you — versus you, the business, initiating the relationship with them. This makes it easier and more natural for them to want to buy from you somewhere down the line.

Within the larger inbound marketing methodology, lead generation falls in the second stage. It occurs after you’ve attracted an audience and are ready to actually convert those visitors into leads for your sales team. As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual’s journey to becoming a delighted customer of your business.

convert-leads-methodology

How Do You Qualify Someone as a Lead?

As you now know, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Now, let’s talk about the ways in which someone can actually show that interest.

Essentially, a lead is generated through information collection. That information collection could come as the result of a job seeker showing interest in a position by completing an application for the job, a shopper sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon, or a person filling out a form to download an educational piece of content, like an ebook, kit, podcast, tool, trial, or something else. (Here are 23 types of lead generation content to inspire you.)

Below are just a few of the many ways in which you could qualify someone as a lead. Each of these examples also highlights the fact that the amount of information you can collect to qualify someone as a lead, as well as the that person’s level of interest in your company, can vary. Let’s assess each scenario:

  • Job Application: Any individual filling out an application form is willing to share a lot of personal information because he/she wants to be considered for the position. Filling out that application shows their true interest in the job, therefore qualifying the person as a lead for the company’s recruiting team.
  • Coupon: Unlike the job application, you probably know very little about someone who has stumbled upon one of your online coupons. But if they find the coupon valuable enough, they may be willing to provide their name and email address in exchange for it. Although it’s not a lot of information, it’s enough for a business to know that someone has interest in their company.
  • Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, in order to truly understand the nature of the person’s interest in your business, you’ll probably need to collect more information — you’ll need enough information for a sales rep to actually understand whether the person is interested in your product or service, and whether they’re a good fit.

These three general examples highlight how lead generation differs from company to company, and from person to person. You’ll need to collect enough information in order to gauge whether someone has a true, valid interest in your product or service, but knowing how much information is enough information will vary depending on your business.

Let’s look at Episerver, for example. They use web content reports for lead generation, collecting six pieces of information from prospective leads:

episerver-landing-page.png

As you can see, Episerver asks for:

  • Full Name: Basic information needed for communication with the to-be lead.
  • Email: The email address will allow your business to communicate with the to-be
      lead through your email marketing campaigns.
  • Company: This will give you the ability to research what the business does and how the lead might benefit from your product or service. (Mainly for B2B)
  • Role: Understanding an individual’s role in the business will help you understand how to communicate with them. Every brand stakeholder will have a different take and perspective on your offering. (Mainly for B2B)
  • Country: Location information needed for qualifying the to-be lead and sending it to the correct sales team, if applicable.
  • State: Location information needed for qualifying the to-be lead and sending it to the correct sales team, if applicable.

If you’d like to learn more intermediate-level tips on information collection and what you should ask for on your lead-capture forms, read our post about it here. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Now back to the basics …

How Do You Generate Leads? The Mechanics of Lead Generation

Now that we understand how lead generation fits into the whole inbound marketing methodology, let’s review the actual components of the lead generation process.

  • Landing Page: A landing page is a web page a visitor lands on for a distinct purpose. While a landing page can be used for various reasons, one of its most frequent uses is to capture leads through …
  • Forms: Forms are hosted on landing pages. They consist of a series of fields (like in our example above) that collect information in exchange for an …
  • Offer: An offer is the content or something of value that’s being “offered” on the landing page. The offer must have enough value to a visitor to merit providing their personal information in exchange for access to it.
  • Call-to-Action: A call-to-action (CTA) is an image, button, or message that calls website visitors to take some sort of action. When it comes to lead generation, this action is (you guessed it!) to fill out the form on the landing page and redeem the offer.

See how everything fits together?

Once you put all these elements together, you can use your various promotional channels to link and drive traffic to the landing page so you can start generating leads. Here are some example pathways for lead generation:

lead-generation-flow

Why Not Just Buy Leads?

Marketers and salespeople alike want to fill their sales funnel — and they want to fill it quickly. That’s where the temptation to buy leads comes in. Buying leads, as opposed to generating them organically, is much easier and takes far less time and effort — despite being more expensive. So why shouldn’t you just buy leads?

First and foremost, leads you’ve purchased don’t actually know you. Typically, they’ve “opted in” at some other site when signing up for something — and didn’t actually opt in to receiving anything from your company. The messages you send them are therefore unwanted messages, and sending unwanted messages is intrusive, not inviting. If the prospect has never been to your website, indicated an interest in your resources, products, services, or even industry, then you’re interrupting them … plain and simple.

If they never opted in to receive messages from you specifically, then there’s a high likelihood they could flag your messages as spam. This is quite dangerous for you. Not only does this train their inbox to show only emails they want to see, but it indicates to their email provider which emails to filter out. Once enough people click flag your messages as spam, you go on a “blacklist,” which is then shared with other email providers. Once you get on the blacklist, it’s really, really hard to get back off of it. In addition, your email deliverability and IP reputation will likely be harmed.

It’s always, always, always better to generate leads organically rather than buy them. Read this blog post to learn how to grow an opt-in email list instead of buying one.

Want more lead generation insight? Download our complete guide to lead generation for even more lead gen tips.

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

free guide to lead generation

 
download free guide to lead generation

Jul

2

2015

22 Companies With Really Catchy Slogans & Brand Taglines

price-tags

You know what’s really difficult?

Being succinct. Seriously … it’s ridiculously hard. If you don’t believe me, just grab your favorite copywriter and ask them.

It’s especially difficult to express a complex emotional concept in just a couple of words — which is exactly what a slogan does.

That’s why we have a lot of respect for the brands that have done it right. The ones that have figured out how to convey their value proposition to their buyer persona in just one, short sentence — and a quippy one, at that. Download our essential guide to branding here for even more tips on branding  your company. 

So if you’re looking to get a little slogan inspiration of your own, take a look at some of our favorite company slogans from both past and present. (Note: We’ve updated this post to include some suggestions from the comment section.)

Before we get into specific examples, let’s quickly go over what a slogan is and what makes one stand out.

What is a Slogan?

In business, a slogan or tagline is “a catchphrase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company,” according to Entrepreneur.com’s small business encyclopedia.

In many ways, they’re like mini mission statements.

Companies have slogans for the same reason they have logos: advertising. While logos are visual representations of a brand, slogans are audible representations of a brand. Both formats grab consumers’ attention more readily than the name a company or product might. Plus, they’re simpler to understand and remember.

The goal? To leave a key brand message in consumers’ minds so that, if they remember nothing else from an advertisement, they’ll remember the slogan.

What Makes a Great Slogan?

According to HowStuffWorks, a great slogan has most or all of the following characteristics:

It’s memorable.

Is the slogan quickly recognizable? Will people only have to spend a second or two thinking about it? A brief, catchy few words can go a long way in advertisements, videos, posters, business cards, swag, and other places. (Take this quiz to see if you can guess the brands behind 16 memorable slogans.)

It includes a key benefit.

Ever heard the marketing advice, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak”? It means sell the benefits, not the features — which applies perfectly to slogans. A great slogan makes a company or product’s benefits clear to the audience.

It differentiates the brand.

Does your light beer have the fullest flavor? Or maybe the fewest calories? What is it about your product or brand that sets it apart from competitors?

It imparts positive feelings about the brand.

The best taglines use words that are positive and upbeat. For example, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’ slogan, “Two great tastes that taste great together,” gives the audience good feelings about Reese’s, whereas a slogan like Lea & Perrins’, “Steak sauce only a cow could hate,” uses negative words. The former leaves a better impression on the audience.

Now that we’ve covered what a slogan is and what makes one great, here are examples of the best brand slogans of all time. If we missed any of your favorites, share them with us in the comment section. (Note: We’ve updated this post with several ideas folks have shared with us in the comments.)

22 Companies With Really Catchy Taglines & Slogans

1) Nike: “Just Do It”

It didn’t take long for Nike’s message to resonate. The brand became more than just athletic apparel — it began to embody a state of mind. It encourages you to think that you don’t have to be an athlete to be in shape or tackle an obstacle. If you want to do it, just do it. That’s all it takes.

But it’s unlikely Kennedy + Weiden, the agency behind this tagline, knew from the start that Nike would brand itself in this way. In fact, Nike’s product used to cater almost exclusively to marathon runners, which are among the most hardcore athletes out there. The “Just Do It” campaign widened the funnel, and it’s proof positive that some brands need to take their time coming up with a slogan that reflects their message and resonates with their target audience.

 nike-just-do-it-2.jpg

Source: brandchannel

2) Apple: “Think Different”

This slogan was first released in the Apple commercial called “Here’s to the Crazy Ones, Think Different” — a tribute to all the time-honored visionaries who challenged the status quo and changed the world. The phrase itself is a bold nod to IBM’s campaign “Think IBM,” which was used at the time to advertise its ThinkPad. 

Soon after, the slogan “Think Different” accompanied Apple advertisements all over the place, even though Apple hadn’t released any significant new products at the time. All of a sudden, people began to realize that Apple wasn’t just any old computer; it was so powerful and so simple to use that it made the average computer user feel innovative and tech-savvy.

According to ForbesApple’s stock price tripled within a year of the commercial’s release. Although the slogan has been since retired, many Apple users still feel a sense of entitlement for being among those who “think different.”

apple-slogan.jpg

Source: Blue Fin Group

3) Dollar Shave Club: “Shave Time. Shave Money.”

The folks at Dollar Shave Club have made their way onto quite a few of our lists here on the blog — like this one on promotional product videos and this one on holiday marketing campaigns. In other words, it’s safe to say that when it comes to marketing and advertising, they know what they are doing. And their slogan — “Shave Time. Shave Money.” — is an excellent reflection of their expertise. 

This little quip cleverly incorporates two of the service’s benefits: cost and convenience. It’s punny, to the point, and it perfectly represents the overall tone of the brand. 

Dollar-Shave-Club-Slogan.jpg

Source: TheStephenHarvey.com

4) L’Oréal: “Because You’re Worth It”

Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re worth it? The folks at L’Oréal know that women wear makeup in order to make themselves appear “beautiful” so they feel desirable, wanted, and worth it. The tagline isn’t about the product — it’s about the image the product can get you. This message allowed L’Oréal to push its brand further than just utility so as to give the entire concept of makeup a much more powerful message.

loreal-slogan.jpg

Source: Farah Khan

5) California Milk Processor Board: “Got Milk?”

While most people are familiar with the “Got Milk?” campaign, not everyone remembers that it was launched by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). What’s interesting about this campaign is that it was initially launched to combat the rapid increase in fast food and soft beverages: The CMPB wanted people to revert to milk as their drink of choice in order to sustain a healthier life. The campaign was meant to bring some life to a “boring” product, ad executives told TIME Magazine

The simple words “Got Milk?” scribbled above celebrities, animals, and children with milk mustaches, which ran from 2003 until 2014, became one of the longest-lasting campaigns ever. The CMPB wasn’t determined to make its brand known with this one — they were determined to infiltrate the idea of drinking milk across the nation. And these two simple words sure as heck did.

got-milk-slogan.jpg

Source: Broward Palm Beach News Times

6) MasterCard: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”

MasterCard’s two-sentence slogan was created in 1997 as a part of an award-winning advertising campaign that ran in 98 countries and in 46 languages. The very first iteration of the campaign was a TV commercial that aired in 1997: “A dad takes his son to a baseball game and pays for a hot dog and a drink, but the conversation between the two is priceless,” writes Avi Dan for Forbes. “In a sense, ‘Priceless’ became a viral, social campaign years before there was a social media.”

One key to this campaign’s success? Each commercial elicits an emotional response from the audience. That first TV commercial might remind you of sports games you went to with your dad, for example. Each advertisement attempted to trigger a different memory or feeling. “You have to create a cultural phenomenon and then constantly nurture it to keep it fresh,” MasterCard CMO Raja Rajamannar told Dan. And nostalgia marketing like that can be a powerful tool.

7) BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine”

BMW sells cars all over the world, but in North America, it’s known by its slogan: “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” This slogan was created in the 1970s by a relatively unknown ad agency named Ammirati & Puris and was, according to BMW’s blog, directed at Baby Boomers who were “out of college, making money and ready to spend their hard earned dollars. What better way to reflect your success than on a premium automobile?”

The goal? To reinforce the message that its cars’ biggest selling point is that they are performance vehicles that are thrilling to drive. That message is an emotional one, and one that consumers can buy into to pay the high price point.

bmw-slogan.jpg

Source: BMW

8) Tesco: “Every Little Helps”

“Every little helps” is the kind of catchy tagline that can make sense in many different contexts — and it’s flexible enough to fit in with any one of Tesco’s messages. It can refer to value, quality, service, and even environmental responsibility — which the company practices by addressing the impacts in their operations and supply chain.

It’s also, as Naresh Ramchandani wrote for The Guardian“perhaps the most ingeniously modest slogan ever written.” Tesco markets themselves as a brand for the people, and a flexible, modest far-reaching slogan like this one reflects that beautifully.

tesco-slogan.jpg

Source: The Drum 

9) M&M: “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”

Here’s one brand that didn’t need much time before realizing its core value proposition. At the end of the day, chocolate is chocolate. How can one piece of chocolate truly stand out from another? By bringing in the convenience factor, of course. This particular example highlights the importance of finding something that makes your brand different from the others — in this case, the hard shell that keeps chocolate from melting all over you.

 m-m-slogan.jpg

Source: Platform Magazine

10) Bounty: “The Quicker Picker Upper”

Bounty paper towels, made by Procter & Gamble, has used its catchy slogan “The Quicker Picker Upper” for almost 50 years now. If it sounds like one of those sing-songy word plays you learned as a kid, that’s because it is one: The slogan uses what’s called consonance — a poetic device characterized by the repetition of the same consonant two or more times in short succession (think: “pitter patter”).

Over the years, Bounty has moved away from this slogan in full, replacing “Quicker” with other adjectives, depending on the brand’s current marketing campaign — like “The Quilted Picker Upper” and “The Clean Picker Upper.” At the same time, the brand’s main web address went from quickerpickerupper.com to bountytowels.com. But although the brand is branching out into other campaigns, they’ve kept the theme of their original, catchy slogan.

Bounty_Paper_Towels_Slogan.png

Source: Bounty

11) De Beers: “A Diamond is Forever”

Diamonds aren’t worth much inherently. In fact, a diamond is worth at least 50% less than you paid for it the moment you left the jewelry store. So how did they become the symbol of wealth, power, and romance they are in America today? It was all because of a brilliant, multifaceted marketing strategy designed and executed by ad agency N.W. Ayer in the early 1900s for their client, De Beers.

You can read all about the strategy here. The four, iconic words “A Diamond is Forever” have appeared in every single De Beers advertisement since 1948, and AdAge named it the #1 slogan of the century in 1999. It perfectly captures the sentiment De Beers was going for: that a diamond, like your relationship, is eternal. It also helped discourage people from ever reselling their diamonds. (Mass re-selling would disrupt the market and reveal the alarmingly low intrinsic value of the stones themselves.) Brilliant. 

de-beers-slogan.jpg de-beers-slogan-old.jpg

Source: Sydney Merritt

12) Lay’s: “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”

Seriously, who here has ever had just one chip? While this tagline might stand true for other snack companies, Lay’s was clever to pick up on it straight away. The company tapped into our truly human incapability to ignore crispy, salty goodness when it’s staring us in the face. Carbs, what a tangled web you weave.

But seriously, notice how the emphasis isn’t on the taste of the product. There are plenty of other delicious chips out there. But what Lay’s was able to bring forth with its tagline is that totally human, uncontrollable nature of snacking until the cows come home.

lays-slogan.jpg

Source: Amazon

13) Audi: “Vorsprung durch technik” (“Advancement Through Technology”)

“Vorsprung durch technik” has been Audi’s main slogan everywhere in the world since 1971 (except for the United States, where the slogan is “Truth in Engineering”). While the phrase has been translated in several ways, the online dictionary LEO translates “Vorsprung” as “advance” or “lead” as in “distance, amount by which someone is ahead in a competition.” Audi roughly translates it as: “Advancement through technology.”

The first-generation Audio 80 (B1 series) was launched a year after the slogan in 1972, and the new car was a brilliant reflection of that slogan with many impressive new technical features. It was throughout the 1970s that the Audi brand established itself as an innovative car manufacturer, such as with the five-cylinder engine (1976), turbocharging (1979), and the quattro four-wheel drive (1980). This is still reflective of the Audi brand today.

audi-slogan.jpg

Source: Cars and Coffee Chat

14) Dunkin’ Donuts: “America Runs on Dunkin”

In April 2006, Dunkin’ Donuts launched the most significant repositioning effort in the company’s history by unveiling a brand new, multi-million dollar advertising campaign under the slogan “America Runs on Dunkin.” The campaign revolves around Dunkin’ Donuts coffee keeping busy Americans fueled while they are on the go.

“The new campaign is a fun and often quirky celebration of life, showing Americans embracing their work, their play and everything in between — accompanied every step of the way by Dunkin’ Donuts,” read the official press release from the campaign’s official launch.

Ten years later, what the folks at Dunkin Donuts’ realized they were missing was their celebration of and honoring their actual customers. That’s why, in 2016, they launched the “Keep On” campaign, which they call their modern interpretation of the ten-year slogan.

“It’s the idea that we’re your partner in crime, or we’re like your wingman, your buddy in your daily struggle and we give you the positive energy through both food and beverage but also emotionally, we believe in you and we believe in the consumer,” said Chris D’Amico, SVP and Group Creative Director at Hill Holiday.

dunkin-donuts-slogan.gif

Source: Lane Printing & Advertising

15) Meow Mix: “Tastes So Good, Cats Ask for It by Name”

Meow meow meow meow … who remembers this catchy tune sung by cats, for cats, in Meow Mix’s television commercials? The brand released a simple but telling tagline: “Tastes So Good, Cats Ask For It By Name.”

This slogan plays off the fact that every time a cat meows, s/he is actually asking for Meow Mix. It was not only clever, but it also successfully planted Meow Mix as a standout brand in a cluttered market.

meow-mix-slogan.jpg

Source: Walgreens

16) McDonald’s: “I’m Lovin’ It”

The “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign was launched way back in 2003 and still stands strong today. This is a great example of a slogan that resonates with the brand’s target audience. McDonald’s food might not be your healthiest choice, but being healthy isn’t the benefit McDonald’s is promising — it’s that you’ll love the taste and the convenience. 

(Fun fact: The jingle’s infamous hook — “ba da ba ba ba” — was originally sung by Justin Timberlake.)

mcdonalds-slogan.gif

Source: McDonald’s

17) The New York Times: “All the News That’s Fit to Print”

This one is my personal favorite. The tagline was created in the late 1890s as a movement of opposition against other news publications printing lurid journalism. The New York Times didn’t stand for sensationalism. Instead, it focused on important facts and stories that would educate its audience. It literally deemed its content all the real “news fit to print.”

This helped the paper become more than just a news outlet, but a company that paved the way for creditable news. The company didn’t force a tagline upon people when it first was founded, but rather, it created one in a time where it was needed most.

new-york-times-slogan.jpg

Source: 4th St8 Blog

18) General Electric: “Imagination at Work”

You may remember General Electric’s former slogan, “We Bring Good Things to Life,” which they initiated in 1979. Although this tagline was well-known and well-received, the new slogan — “Imagination at Work” — shows how a company’s internal culture can revolutionize how they see their own brand.

“‘Imagination at Work’ began as an internal theme at GE,” recalled Tim McCleary, GE’s manager of corporate identity. When Jeff Immelt became CEO of GE in 2001, he announced that his goal was to reconnect with GE’s roots as a company defined by innovation. 

This culture and theme resulted in a rebranding with the new tagline “Imagination at Work,” which embodies the idea that imagination inspires the human initiative to thrive at what we do.

19) Verizon: “Can You Hear Me Now? Good.”

Here’s another brand that took its time coming up with something that truly resonated with its audience. This tagline was created in 2002 under the umbrella of “We never stop working for you.”

While Verizon was founded in 1983, they continued to battle against various phone companies like AT&T and T-Mobile, still two of its strongest competitors. But what makes Verizon stand out? No matter where you are, you have service. You may not have the greatest texting options, or the best cellphone options, but you will always have service.

(Fun fact: The actor behind this campaign — Paul Marcarelli — recently began appearing in new advertisements for Sprint.)

verizon-slogan.jpg

Source: MS Lumia Blog

20) State Farm: “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There

The insurance company State Farm has a number of slogans, including “Get to a better State” and “No one serves you better than State Farm.” But its most famous one is the jingle “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” which you’re likely familiar with if you live in the United States and watch television.

These words emphasize State Farm’s “community-first” value proposition — which sets them apart from the huge, bureaucratic feel of most insurance companies. And it quickly establishes a close relationship with the consumer.

Often, customers need insurance when they least expect it — and in those situations, State Farm is responding in friendly, neighborly language. 

StateFarm_Logo.png

Source: StateFarm

21) Maybelline: “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.”

Can you sing this jingle in your head? Maybelline’s former slogan, created in the 1990s, is one of the most famous in the world. It makes you think of glossy magazine pages featuring strong, beautiful women with long lashes staring straight down the lens. It’s that confidence that Maybelline’s makeup brand is all about — specifically, the transformation into a confident woman through makeup.

Maybelline changed their slogan to “Make IT Happen” in February 2016, inspiring women to “express their beauty in their own way.” Despite this change, their former slogan remains powerful and ubiquitous, especially among the many generations that grew up with it.

maybelline-slogan.jpg

Source: FunnyJunk

22) The U.S. Marine Corps: “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

The U.S. Marine Corps has had a handful of top-notch recruiting slogans over the decades, from “First to fight” starting in World War I to “We’re looking for a few good men” from the 1980s. However, we’d argue that “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” is among the best organization slogans out there.

This slogan “underscores the high caliber of those who join and serve their country as Marines,” said Maj. Gen. Richard T. Tryon, former commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command. In 2007, it even earned a spot in Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame.

US_Marine_Corps_Slogan.png

Source: Marines.com

Do you have your own tagline? What other brands’ taglines do you love?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Jun

5

2015

Going on Vacation? 7 Clever & Effective Out-of-Office Replies to Try

out-of-office-vacation-message.png

When I go on vacation, I completely turn off work … but I don’t stop marketing.

Of course I don’t actually work while I’m on vacation. It wouldn’t truly be a vacation if I did. I use my out-of-office reply to continue marketing while I’m gone. Below is my most recent one.

Warning: It’s a bit of a shocker to the eye.

sidekick-email-etiquette-anum-out-of-office-message.png

Surprisingly, I got a fair amount of traffic and plenty of happy responses to the unique approach when all I was really trying to do was get our latest piece of content on email etiquette tips some lovin’.

Using my out-of-office as a mini marketing campaign helps me justify completely peacing out while vacationing. Since then, a few people have asked for creative inspiration, so I decided to put together some general templates that could come in handy for your next vacation. If you’re looking for a completely comedic approach, I recommend checking out this post on hilarious out-of-office replies instead

1) The Content Marketing Template

[Greeting of Choice],

Words words words. That’s my job as a content marketer — knowing words, sharing words, converting with words. But I’m currently out-of-office and saving all my words for when I return on [Date]. Before I left, I published some great words here: [Insert Link]

Until then, I apologize for any delay in responding to your message. 

[Signature of Choice],
[Your Name]

2) The Email Marketing Template

[Greeting of Choice],

There’s nothing more ironic than an inbound marketer sending an impersonalized, automated, and annoying message back to every single person who tries to email them. But hey, INSERT.FIRST.NAME, at least I didn’t buy this list. Ha ha ha.

Okay but really, I’m out-of-office and will get back to your email at some point after [Date]. Apologies for any delays until then!

[Signature of Choice],
[Your Name]

3) The Social Media Marketing Template

Sooooooooooo this OOO response is essentially as irking as an automated Twitter DM. Both are unwanted, unnecessary, and not actually effective.

Fortunately this automation will end when I return to the office on [Date]. Until then, let this email serve as a reminder: Auto-DMs are never a good idea.

[Signature of Choice],
[Your Name]

4) The Sales Enablement Template

[Greeting of Choice],  

As if the auto-reply didn’t make it obvious, I’m currently out-of-the office until [Date].  

Let’s not waste either of our time though — we both want to set you up for success. So let me give you a handful of people that can help you in my absence.  

Just click here to contact sales. They’ll take care of you. No B.S. — just straight talk.

[Signature of Choice],
[Your Name]

5) The Public Relations Template 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

On [Date], [Your Name] announced a temporary leave of absence from their inbox. [Your Name] is traveling with limited access to internet through [Date]. According to me, the founder and CEO of this very email address, “When life hands you lemons, go on vacation and turn off all email until you return.”

All inquiries on this matter will be responded to after [Date]. No media placements on this matter will be accepted at this time. 

###

6) The Website Manager’s Template

<div class=”OOO” style=”width: auto; height: auto;”>

<p> Hi there. I’m currently out-of-office with limited access to the internet through [Date]. </p>

<p> Upon return, I’ll do my best to respond to your messages in a timely manner. </p>

<p style=”font-style: italic;”> All the best, </p>

<p> [Your Name] </p>

</div> 

7) The Outbound Marketing Template

Dear NAME.NOT.IMPORTANT,

This out-of-office reply serves as confirmation that you will be enrolled in every marketing email, nurturing campaign, and list at COMPANY.NOT.CLEAR. 

To opt-out from one of the 100 lists you will now added to, please click here for a series of survey questions and links that don’t really work. 

Thank you for your time. I will continue to ignore you until [Date].

All the best,
AMBIGIOUS.NAME

Hopefully you chuckled along with me on some of these. For more pointers on out-of-office replies — and email etiquette in general — check out Sidekick’s full guide of 30 tips here.

how to write better email subject lines

Dec

19

2014

550+ Royalty-Free Stock Photos You Can Download Now

stock photos collection

Let me tell you a quick, cautionary tale about copyright law and using photos and images online. A couple years ago, a popular stock photography vendor claimed copyright infringement on an image we used in one of our ebooks.

Embarrassed, I quickly investigated.

As it turned out, another internet user had purchased the offending image from that same stock photography service and uploaded it to a photo-sharing website under a Creative Commons license. So while on the surface it looked safe for the taking, it was in fact falsely promoted as a royalty-free image … and we were in the wrong. Scary story, right? We wrote about it in detail here.

That’s when it hit me: What if marketers didn’t have to shell out more money for images, obsess over copyright laws, and fret about permissions? What if we could help solve this issue for them by offering a repository of stock photos that anyone could use completely for free? So that’s exactly what we did. We hired a photographer and took a ton of photos to give away for free — no royalties, fees, or attribution required. Although we’d never say no to an inbound link or two. 😉 

Download 80 new stock photos to use however you want, royalty-free. 

But don’t stop there …

565 Royalty-Free Pictures to Download and Use

We have four collections of stock photos you can download here:

You can preview these collections below. And if you’re stuck thinking of ways you can use these images in your marketing campaigns, scroll down for seven ways you can use stock photos to give your content some pizazz.

80 Assorted Stock Photos

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160 Business-Themed Stock Photos

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250 Holiday-Themed Stock Photos

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8 Ways to Use Stock Photos in Your Marketing

Whether you’re prepping a social media post, designing a landing page, or drafting an email, visuals are an effective way to enhance the performance of your marketing initiatives. Here are some great ways to use stock photos in your marketing content. 

1) On Your Homepage

Including visuals on your website’s homepage can help tell a much stronger story than text alone. Check out the homepage of Grokky, which is currently using one of our free business-themed stock photos:

grokky-homepage

Integrating images into your homepage shouldn’t just be a simple copy-paste endeavor — it should be strategic and deliberate. Consider the goals for your homepage when choosing photos, then conduct user testing to determine which image resonates best with your target audience. And if you need some inspiration to help effectively incorporate images into your homepage design, check out our free flipbook of 50 Examples of Brilliant Homepage Design.

2) On Your Landing Pages 

Everyone knows that “a picture is worth a thousand words” — and this particularly rings true for landing pages. Instead of featuring paragraph after paragraph of explanatory copy, try conveying some of that information with an image. With a little bit of customization help, you can use stock photos to kick your landing page conversion rate up a notch. The example below uses a photo from our business-themed stock photo collection to add a human touch to our free software trial landing page.

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3) In Your Facebook Posts

On Facebook, visual content equals more engagement. In fact, HubSpot testing shows that photo posts on Facebook generate 55% more Likes than the average post. At HubSpot, we constantly try to accompany any links we share on Facebook with visuals, but as our social media manager can attest, it’s not easy. She spends hours creating visual content, so stock photos are a must-have for increasing her productivity. 

holiday-stock-photo-facebook-post

In the example above, we used PowerPoint to spruce up one of the images from our collection of holiday-themed stock photos by overlaying text on the image. For more stock photo customization tips, check out this blog post.

4) On Your Pinterest Boards

Given that visuals are pretty, umm, essential on Pinterest, it should be pretty simple to understand how stock photos can fit into your Pinterest marketing strategy. The photo shown as the featured image on the pinboard below is from our business-themed stock photo collection.

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5) In Your Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Calls-to-action are the pathways to conversion, so it’s important to design them in a way that attracts visitors’ eyes and compels them to click through. Make your CTA pop by overlaying a brightly colored button on top of a full-bleed image background — like the image below from our 80 assorted stock photos collection.

free microsoft excel guide

Check out these call-to-action examples for more examples of CTA buttons overlaying full-bleed images. 

6) In Your Emails

According to HubSpot’s Science of Email Marketing report, two-thirds of survey respondents prefer emails that contain mostly images. While we don’t recommend cluttering your email campaigns with photos, images can certainly help entice readers to click, improving email clickthrough rates. Here’s an example of how one of our free stock photos (from our 75 assorted photos collection) can be used to enhance an email:

email_image

Just be sure you’re optimizing your emails for recipients who may have images disabled in their email clients. Add descriptive alt text for each image so people with images disabled will still get the gist of your image and click through on your email.

7) In Your Blog Posts

For the same reasons images in emails and social media posts increase engagement, so do images in blog posts. In fact, I’m willing to bet email and social media are two of the primary promotional channels for your blog, so choosing and incorporating high-quality visuals into your blog content is critically important. Here’s an example of a post in which we used one of the free stock photos from our holiday collection:

halloween-post

For more help choosing h blog post images, read this post about how to select the perfect image for every blog post.

8) In Your SlideShare/PowerPoint Presentations 

According to its ‘About Us’ page, SlideShare receives 60 million monthly visitors and 215 million pageviews — and its popularity (and thus marketing potential) is only increasing. But if you want to stand out from all the competition on SlideShare, the SlideShare presentations you create should be more image-heavy than text-based. Sounds like a job for stock photos, don’t you think? 😉

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These are just eight of the many use cases for stock photos in your marketing. We hope the 564 photos we took will help you ramp up your visual marketing tactics!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for accuracy, comprehensiveness … and even more free stock photos!

80 royalty-free stock photos

 
80 royalty-free stock photos

Nov

22

2014

Why People Are Ignoring Your Emails [New Ebook]

ignore-emails-sidekick-by-hubspotThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Google “business email mistakes” and you’ll find endless articles and resources. But they all say the same thing:

  • Include a first name in the email.
  • Avoid using business jargon.
  • Don’t forget to include a greeting.
  • Don’t say “to whom it may concern.”
  • Make sure you change the subject line.
  • Spellcheck your work.
  • Avoid emoticons.  

And the list goes on. But all of these suggestions are common sense. If you’re a business professional today, what are the not-so-obvious mistakes that are preventing your emails from generating a response?

That’s what our latest guide is all about: uncovering nine real reasons why people ignore your emails. Let’s dive in.

Why People Are Ignoring Your Emails

1) Your subject line focuses on the wrong goal.

It’s no secret that an effective subject line is needed to ultimately get an email opened. But when writing these subject lines, think about your true end goal.  

The goal of any email you send should simply be about getting a response. It shouldn’t be about closing a deal, finalizing a partnership, or hiring a candidate. Until you can get a response on your email — until you can truly connect with your recipient — you’re nowhere closer to your goal. 

Here are some sample subject lines we’ve seen work well:

  • [First Name], quick question for you.  
  • [Mutual connection] recommended I get in touch.
  • Ideas for [thing that’s important to them].  
  • Question about [recent trigger event].  
  • Question about [a goal they have].  
  • Thoughts about [title of their blog post].  
  • Have you considered [thought / recommendation]?

2) You’re sending your emails at the wrong time.

Most business emails are sent during business hours. But recent data from the 2014 Email Open Rates Report shows something slightly surprising.    

email-open-times

The gray line in the above chart shows the number of emails sent each day of the week. This line illustrates that most emails were sent on Monday, with over 1,000,000 sent that day. The least amount of emails were sent on Saturday and Sunday, of course, with under 200,000 sent on each of those days. But the worst days for open rates are Monday and Tuesday. However, the open rate gradually increases over the course of the week and then spikes on Saturday and Sunday.  

Now, we’re not saying that you should send all your emails on the weekend. But there should be some balance. If you’re looking to really capture the attention of someone important that isn’t getting back to you, try a Sunday night email. 

3) You’re using a generic sender address.

While many one-to-one emails come from an individual account, you may be using an email service provider to send emails to a larger database. For example, you may be contacting many individuals about a new offer, or perhaps you need to send a new feature update. Whatever the case, the name you include in the “From” field of your email can have a huge impact on your overall open rates. There’s been a number of studies that show sending emails from an actual person increases both the open and clickthrough rates. 

maggie-hubspot-sender-address-test

As you can see in the graph above, the control generated a 0.73% clickthrough rate (CTR), and the treatment generated a 0.96% CTR. With a confidence of 99.9%, there was a clear winner. And it makes sense — recipients feel a more personal connection to your email when they receive it from you than they do from Company X — or worse, some version of “donotreply.com.”

Want to uncover the remaining 6 tips? Click here for the full ebook.

9-reasons-people-ignoreing-your-email-sidekick-rackspace

Enjoy this post? To read more content like it, subscribe to Sales.

 

Nov

18

2014

How to Craft Perfect Posts for Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter [SlideShare]

craft-perfect-posts-facebook-linkedin-twitter-anum-hussainHere’s how many marketers handle their social media strategy:

  1. Craft update.
  2. Select Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  3. Auto-publish update to all three networks.

But there’s a huge flaw with this strategy. Users interact and consume content on each of these social media channels differently. So to make the most of these platforms, you need to optimize your posts for each social network.

To walk you through the mechanics of a successful status update on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I developed the following presentation. Over 100K viewers have found it beneficial thus far — and hopefully you will too.

But I’ve got to warn you: Social media is constantly changing, and while the data and best practices unveiled here are a strong start to success, nothing beats testing each strategy for your own audience. 

That said, click through the following SlideShare to view the entire presentation or scroll below to read the 30 tips in non-visual form. 

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 Facebook Best Practices

According to Facebook, on average, 1,500 possible stories are filtered through per day on an average Facebook user’s News Feed — but only 300 of them actually make it into a user’s News Feed. So how do you ensure your content is included in that 300? Let’s explore Facebook-specific best practices for posting.

1) Engage fans with photos.

Although Facebook has made moves to crack down on photo posts with links, so far it seems that images on Facebook remain among the most engaging posts. While I’m in no way suggesting you should post photos just for the sake of clicks, it seems that photos are a key play for garnering engagement on your Facebook Business Page. 

2) Upload quality visuals.

While optimizing image upload size isn’t a make-it-or-break-it recommendation, it’s best to have the visuals you upload fit in the specific dimensions Facebook allows for posts. Here are three key image dimensions to know:

  • News Feed Image: 1200 x 1200 px (actually uploads to 504 px, but this maintains a quality display)
  • Shared Link Preview: 1200 x 628 px (actually uploads as 484 x 252 px, but same quality concept)
  • Shared Video Preview: 504 x 283 px

3) Remove links from copy.

Keep your copy succinct by removing the horrendously long URL you’re sharing from the text in your post. Your update real estate is precious, and you want to ensure any characters employed are purely for the sake of sparking a reader’s attention. Any user can click on the generated thumbnail or title for that URL to navigate to the blog post, web page, or any URL you’re linking to — so no need to include it in the copy of your post as well.

4) Increase post word count.

According to a study from TrackMaven, posts with 80+ words garner 2X as much engagement. While this by no means implies every post published should be a novel, it does make it clear that updates that require certain context should employ such — Facebook users are willing to read!

5) Try different punctuation.

According to the same TrackMaven study, various punctuation uses on Facebook garner different results. Each is worth testing for which works best with your audience. Here are the specific ones mentioned:

  • Posts with hashtags (#) see 60% more interactions on average. (Click to tweet!)
  • Posts with exclamation points (!) see 2.7% more interactions on average. (Click to tweet!)
  • Posts that ask questions (?) garner 23% more engagement on average. (Click to tweet!)

6) Post to the News Feed before an album.

While albums on Facebook are great for organization, including photos within an album limits the engagement per photo uploaded. We’ve seen zero engagement on photos added directly to an album. However, if we upload that same image directly onto our News Feed as a one-time update, it suddenly receives much more traction. I recommend first uploading onto your News Feed, and after the initial engagement wears off (about five hours), you can go back and organize that photo update into one of your albums if you really want to.

facebook-news-feed-versus-album

7) Keep link titles under 100 characters.

When you’re uploading a link directly to your News Feed, if the original post has a lengthy title, be sure to click into the title to edit it. Any title above 100 characters gets cut off when posted on your Facebook Business Page, and you don’t want the core message to disappear as a result!

8) Publish after work hours.

According to the aforementioned TrackMaven study, posts published after hours (5 p.m. – 1 a.m. EST), see 11% more interactions than those published during the day (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.). They also see 29% more interactions than those published before work (1 a.m. – 8 a.m.). This calls on a need to publish our weekly posts at varying times, including after folks have clocked out of work for the day.

9) Publish on weekends.

In a similar vein, TrackMaven found that posts published on Sundays get 25% more Likes, shares, and comments than Wednesday posts — even though fewer than 18% of posts are published on weekends. A similar pattern emerges with email open rates, highly suggesting the need to experiment with week social media and email promotion.

10) Experiment with emoticons.

According to an AMEX Open Forum study, emoticons can result in a few different results on Facebook:

  • Posts with emoticons receive a 33% higher share rate. 
  • Posts with emoticons receive a 33% higher comment rate.
  • Posts with emoticons receive a 57% higher like rate. 
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 LinkedIn Best Practices

According to LinkedIn, more than four million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. Furthermore, 87% of users trust LinkedIn as a source of info that affects decision-making. How do you ensure your content is among the trusted sources? Let’s look at the LinkedIn-specific best practices.

11) Keep link titles under 70 characters.

When you’re uploading a link directly to your LinkedIn Company Page, if the original post has a lengthy title, be sure to click into the title to edit it. Any title above 70 characters gets cut off when posted on your Page.

linkedin-link-title-character-limit-linkedin-company-page

12) Keep link descriptions under 250 characters.

Similar to the link title limitations, the description associated with your status update is given 250 characters before it’s cut off with an ellipsis. So shorten your meta description to properly display on LinkedIn. 

13) Share links for engagement.

According to QuickSprout, including a link in your LinkedIn posts drives 200% more engagement. (Click to tweet!)

Just be sure to follow the tips 11-12 to optimize those link updates!

14) Share images for comments.

According to QuickSprout, posting images results in a 98% higher comment rate. (Click to tweet!)

15) Share videos for shares.

According to QuickSprout, linking to YouTube videos results in a 75% higher share rate. (Click to tweet!)

16) Publish a new status update roughly once a day.

According to LinkedIn, publishing 20 posts per month allows you to reach 60% of your audience. (Click to tweet!)

17) Convert page fans with offers.

While you have to strike a nice balance between gated and ungated content on all social networks, LinkedIn is a little different. Our data shows that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn users are more welcoming to lead gen content — so long as the content truly is valuable to their success.

18) Send LinkedIn Announcements.

LinkedIn announcements can serve as a powerful tool in increasing your LinkedIn lead generation. On the days we send an announcement from a LinkedIn Group, we see a spike in leads for the day. We also see the impact of that send trickle over the next day or two. Now, while you can create your own group, you’ll need to nurture a strong following to start generating leads from the announcements. Another option is to engage in a set number of groups and then find a way to use one of the group’s announcements for your own (relevant) marketing.

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 Twitter Best Practices

According to Twitter, it took three years, two months, and one day from the first tweet sent to get to the billionth tweet sent. It now only takes one week to send a billion tweets. So how do you ensure your content is seen among all that noise? Our final best practices are all about Twitter.

19) Keep tweets short.

There are two reasons behind why we should keep our tweets short:

  1. Data from Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella shows that the tweet sweet spot is between 120 and 130 characters. (Click to tweet!)
  2. Providing extra character space allows users to easily retweet you without eliminating any of your copy. If someone reshares your tweet that is exactly 140 characters, in order to add “RT @username:” at the beginning of the tweet, the user has to shorten or delete an optimized word from the original tweet.

20) Include Twitter handles for RTs.

If you’re sharing a quote, stat, or article from a brand or user, be sure to include that brand or user’s handle in the tweet. This will increase the likelihood of them seeing your tweet and retweeting it to their own audience. The more your content is shared, the more following you’ll gain, and the more your message will be spread.

21) Understand replies versus mentions.

This rule is always confusing. In order to understand how your content is being shared, you need to understand how your content is being seen. When you place a Twitter handle directly at the beginning of a tweet, you’re directly sending a message to a user, but it is not a private direct message. That tweet can also be seen by anyone who follows both your account and the account you’re tweeting to. If you want everyone to see your tweet, regardless of whether they are following both you and the person you’re mentioning, a common tactic is to add a period as a character at the start of the tweet.

22) Use hashtags judiciously.

As if seeing #every #other #word in a #tweet as a #hashtag isn’t irking enough, a report from Salesforce even revealed that tweets with one or two hashtags receive 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags. 

23) Don’t force trending hashtags.

At the time of this post being drafted, the top trending hashtag was #ReplaceASongNameWithTwerk. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how to include that trend into my business tweets … yet the recommendation to incorporate trending hashtags still exists! Unless it’s a relevant industry hashtag like #INBOUND14, just stay away. In fact, Twitter reveals that 17% of the top 1,000 search terms on Twitter “churn over” on an hourly basis. So if popular search terms are churning at rapid rates, what’s the use of forcing your content into those queries?

24) Incorporate visual content.

While visuals are important for multiple marketing channels, they are often forgotten on Twitter. An analysis from Simply Measured shows that while photos are not shared as frequently as normal tweets (tweets that are solely text-based), tweets with photos receive the highest engagement. While this could be related to the fact that less photos are shared than text-based tweets, it’s important to test out using visuals.

In fact, our own analysis has shown that tweets with images see a 55% increase in leads! (Click to tweet!)

25) Don’t auto-post Instagram media.

This is the mistake I see most often on Twitter — stop sharing your Instagram photos directly to your Twitter profile! When an Instagram photo is shared, a user must click on the link and be directed away from Twitter just to view the image (it doesn’t appear automatically in the feed). Instagram photos are also not indexed in your collection of Twitter photos that are featured prominently on your profile. Data from the aforementioned Simply Measured analysis also mentions that photos directly uploaded on Twitter receive about five times the engagement per tweet as photos with Instagram photos. So please, just stop it.

instagram-media-on-twitter

26) Upload photos in the proper size.

When uploading an image in your tweets, be sure to optimize them for the actual Twitter Activity Stream. For the perfect image appearance in a user’s activity stream, upload photos 440 pixels by 220 pixels.

27) Tag users in your photos.

Twitter allows you to tag users in your photos — you know, so you don’t have to use up your precious 140 character count with user handles. Tagging a user will notify them of your photo upload, increasing their likelihood of retweeting or favoriting the content. 

28) Place links in the middle of your tweet.

I know this is tedious, but when possible, place links about 25% of the way through a tweet. Data from Dan Zarrella shows that links placed earlier in a tweet receive much higher clickthrough rates than links placed at the end of a tweet. Presenting the link earlier catches a reader’s attention faster, and is different from the majority of tweets placing the link at the end.

29) Shorten links for cleaner tweets.

When sharing links, another best practice is to shorten those links. Not only will shortened links host tracking information for you to assess the effectiveness of your tweets, but they also appear much cleaner in a tweet. A link can be around 20 characters before Twitter crops the tweet with an ellipsis.

30) Optimize your publishing calendar.

As important as how you tweet is when you tweet. More data from Dan Zarrella highlights two key tweeting times. His data shows that the highest number of clicks appear between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday. The data also shows that the best time to get retweet is from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

With these 30 best practices under your battle belt, you’ll be prepared to completely dominate on social media. 

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect the latest social media features and updates as of November 2014.

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Nov

2

2014

More Content, More Problems: An Inside Look at the Struggles of a Sales Rep [Infographic]

tug-of-warThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Sales reps have a lot of responsibilities. Along with selling — which is, of course, what they were hired to do — they’re also expected to spend time researching accounts, generating (more…)

Oct

21

2014

43 Tweetable Answers to Top Questions About Twitter

answers-to-your-top-questions-on-how-to-tweet-smarter-from-twitter-and-hubspotA few months ago, the  (more…)

Oct

6

2014

How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps [Tutorial]

Facebook_for_business_how_to_create_business_pagesIt’s no longer a “good idea” for most businesses to be on Facebook. With 829 million people actively using Facebook every day, it’s become a go-to component of almost any inbound marketing strategy.

Thing is, as more and more Facebook features change, so does the process of setting up a Page. (more…)

Sep

17

2014

How to Launch and Grow a Business Blog From Scratch [SlideShare]

INBOUND-2014-stop-marketing-start-hacking-other-1Roughly six months ago, I was tasked with launching a new business blog for Sidekick, an email productivity tool built in HubSpot’s startup labs.

I thought sure, I’ve been blogging for HubSpot for over two years. Taking full ownership of a new content entity should be easy, right? (more…)

Sep

7

2014

How to Send Follow-Up Emails [Free Templates]

Published by in category email marketing, HubSpot InBound Marketing Blog Feed, lead nurturing | Comments are closed

BTE-Signals-Webinar-SlideshareThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been at a loss on how to follow up when …

(more…)

Aug

28

2014

15 Stats That Prove You Need Mobile Email Optimization

Published by in category email marketing, HubSpot InBound Marketing Blog Feed, mobile marketing | Comments are closed

stats-that-make-the-case-for-mobile-optimized-emailsI don’t know about you, but when I get an email on my phone and have to squint my eyes to try and make out the words, I hit delete. The emails I’m deleting aren’t spammy, unpersonalized messages — they’re just poorly optimized for mobile. And I’m not the only person who does this.

(more…)

Aug

20

2014

7 Easy Fixes for Common Sales Follow Up Problems [Infographic]

Published by in category inbound sales | Leave a Comment

sales_follow_upThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Think about your significant other for a moment. Think about the strong relationship you’ve established built on trust, patience, and understanding.  (more…)


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