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May

30

2016

10 Free Apps Worth Checking Out on the Google App Marketplace

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In today’s world, everything needs to be faster, easier, and free to get our attention. I sometimes wonder how anyone got anything done in the days before the internet.

While on one hand it’s a little scary to realise how much we depend on digital apps to run a business, on the other hand, it also makes our lives a whole lot easier. 

Just take a scroll through Google’s Apps Marketplace. You’ll find everything from reporting tools, to accounting software, to business card creators. And as of this week, you can even find HubSpot CRM there. 

While we were busy admiring our new listing, we decided to round up a few of the most helpful free tools we also came across. Check them out below.

(Note: While some of the apps on this list do offer paid options with more advanced features, each of them has a free option available.)

The Top 10 Free Apps on the Google App Marketplace

1) Kami

  • What is it? A cloud-based all-in-one document viewer and markup tool.
  • What does it do? Kami allows you to view, annotate, share, and collaborate on your files on Chrome.
  • How can you use it? This tool is particularly useful for folks that frequently collaborate with team members or partners on content or the creation of formal documents such as co-marketing agreements, as it makes it easy to communicate edits.

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace] 

2) Mindomo

  • What is it? A mind mapping and concept building tool.
  • What does it do? Mindomo allows you to visually outline complex concepts, tasks, ideas, and other related information in a structured form.
  • How can I use it? When it comes to planning out a marketing campaign, you need to think about content assets, promotional channels, budget allocation, and coordination of a hundred different things to get it to launch. This tool can help to organise your ideas and ensure a smooth transition from concept to campaign.

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace]

3) Weekdone Weekly Reporting

  • What is it? A simple and fast reporting tool for teams.
  • What does it do? It quickly generates team reports for managers to review.
  • How can I use it? Sometimes it can be hard for managers to spend time with every employee to discuss how things are going. With this free tool you simply fill in your progress, plans, and problems in minutes and it will send an automatic email report to your manager.

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace]

4) SurveyLegend

  • What is it? A free survey tool.
  • What does it do? SurveyLegend allows you to create mobile-ready online surveys and forms on your tablet or PC.
  • How can I use it? Whether you want to ask for customer feedback, perform buyer persona research, or collect data for a cool piece of content you’re working on, surveys are a part of a marketer’s life. This app allows you to create engaging surveys without installing software and offers real-time results.

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace]

5) LucidPress

  • What is it? A free design tool.
  • What does it do? The tool allows you to easily create brochures, newsletters, magazines, reports, and more without any design programs or skills.
  • How can I use it? Now you can create stunning visual content for print, mobile, or web without relying on your designer or freelancer. 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

6) Save Emails (Google Sheets Add-on)

  • What is it? A tool that stores email content.
  • What does it do? This free tool downloads email messages and file attachments from Gmail and automatically saves them to Google Drive as searchable pdf files.
  • How can I use it? You can use the add-on to easily backup important emails, video files, large images, Microsoft Office documents, travel receipts, and other emails from Gmail to your Google Drive.

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace] 

7) Zipbooks

  • What is it? A free accounting software.
  • What does it do? It looks after things like time tracking, online invoicing, project management, and auto-billing so you can stay more organised.
  • How can I use it? With this tool, you can become more efficient in your project management with clients, freelancers, or agencies. It should also help you with budget allocation and keeping tabs on important information to send to your finance department. 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

8) HubSpot CRM  

  • What is it? A free customer relationship management system.
  • What does it do? HubSpot CRM keeps track of all of your contacts (prospects, customers, and past customers) and their interactions with your company across the buyer’s journey.
  • How can I use it? This free CRM makes it really easy to add, nurture, and track customers along the buyer’s journey. It provides a deals dashboard, call recording, and email templates. It also integrates with the HubSpot Marketing Platform for valuable sales and marketing alignment.

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

9) GQueues

  • What is it? A task management tool.
  • What does it do? GQueues is a collaborative online task manager for Google and Google Apps users.
  • How can I use it? With just a couple of clicks, your emails, web pages, and anything else of interest are added to your task list. Your tasks then appear in your Google Calendar and in your task list on the right-hand side of your calendar.

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

10) LogoMix

  • What is it? An app to create business cards.
  • What does it do? This app enables you to design and print new business cards quickly and easily.
  • How can I use it? With just a few clicks you can design some slick, on-brand business cards without needing to bother your designer. Although this app is not 100% free, your first batch of business cards is, and they are a very low price after that to get more printed.

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

What app are you most excited to try out? Share your thoughts below.

download your free inbound marketing kit

Feb

24

2016

The Science Behind Successful Facebook Ads [Free Ebook]

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Facebook has been proven time and time again to be an effective channel for driving traffic to your website, converting visitors into leads, increasing app installations, and generating more Likes for your business Page.

But using Facebook advertising to drive results like these only works if you’re smart about it. The challenge for marketers is knowing how to optimise your Facebook ads to get the most bang for your buck.

What exactly does it take to make a Facebook ad successful? To find out, HubSpot teamed up with AdEspresso and analysed 100,000 Facebook ads from businesses. We compiled the data into a free visual guide, The Science of Successful Facebook Ads.

In this brand new ebook, we go through the data we collected and the analyses we drew from it, Facebook advertising best practices to follow, and examples of companies that are doing it well to get your creative juices flowing.

The Facebook advertising data we cover in the ebook includes:

  • The most popular type of Facebook ad
  • The most popular headline length
  • The most popular text & description length
  • The most popular words used
  • The most popular numbers used
  • The most popular links
  • The most popular calls-to-action (CTAs)

Ready to start creating better Facebook ads that drive real business value?

Download your copy of The Science of Successful Facebook Ads here and start creating more effective Facebook ads.

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How to go #beyondmarketing this holiday season

“Data-backed best practices for Facebook Advertising by @HubSpot and @AdEspresso http://hubs.ly/H022wFn0”

  free guide to facebook advertising

Nov

27

2015

How to Generate More Leads With Content Marketing [Free Online Course]

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According to research, 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but only 42% are actually effective at it. 

Why such a big gap? As with most things, it comes down to a lack of education on what actually works and how to plan and execute on your campaign in the most effective way.

HubSpot recently teamed up with online learning platform Dot Native to create a master class in lead generation. This course is designed to cover the techniques required to plan, create, promote, and measure your content marketing campaigns to ensure their success. 

The difference between a good content campaign and a great one can be hundreds of leads. So to make sure yours is the best it can be, this free course will touch on 50 actionable lead generation tips, including:

  • How to ensure your campaign is aligned with your business strategy
  • How to hit all your deadlines
  • How and where to promote your content
  • What free tools to use to amplify your reach
  • How to optimise your email marketing campaigns
  • Advice on measuring success

By signing up for this master class you’ll also receive unlimited access to all Dot Native courses and master classes completely free for seven days. Click here to sign up for the class today.

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How to generate leads with content marketing

“Learn how to generate leads from your content marketing in just 40 minutes with this awesome master class”

free master class: how to generate leads with content marketing  

Nov

18

2015

The 6 Top Marketing Talks From 2015’s Biggest Events [Limited Time Videos]

Every year there are tons of amazing marketing events held around the world. Inspiration is shared, knowledge is dropped, and marketers have a chance to geek out over the lineup of speakers.

Trouble is, time and resources can often hold many marketers back from attending these events. So rather than let you miss out on the value, we’ve secured the recordings of the best keynotes from six of the biggest marketing events from around the globe and we’re making them available for one day only.

Join us today, November 18th, and watch six of the best keynotes of 2015 from marketing events like INBOUNDMoz, SearchLove, BrightonSEO, SydStart, and Learn Inbound.

Click here to gain access to the videos, and check out the impressive lineup of speakers below to learn more about each talk. 

6 Top Marketing Talks From 2015

1) “Marketing Innovations: Creative PR, Content, and SEO Strategies”

Lexi Mills, Head of Digital at Dynamo PR

In this session, Lexi Mills shows you how to apply strategies used in emerging markets to grow the success of your PR, SEO, and content work from bathrooms to rock bands.

2) “Reverse Engineering Successful Content”

Paddy Moogan, Founder of Aira  

In this session, Paddy Moogan will show you a process for reverse engineering successful content in your industry and how to feed what you learn into a content strategy.

3) “The Four Corners of Conversion: Understanding the Intersection of Copy, Design, Interaction, and Psychology”

Oli Gardner, Co-Founder at Unbounce 

In this session, Oli Gardner will show you how to combine the four corners of conversion in a data-driven optimization framework that will change how you use landing pages to deliver delightful and high-converting campaign experiences.

4) “9GAG’s Secret Sauce to 2 Billion Page Views: Being Funny is a Serious Business”

Ray Chan, Founder at 9GAG 

In this session, Ray Chan explains the art of using humor in your marketing. He also brings you through building trust, delivering more than expected, and becoming meaningful to people on an emotional level. 

5) “Enterprise SEO Link Strategies for Busy Marketers”

Wil Reynolds, Director of Strategy at Seer Interactive

In this session, Wil Reynolds provides content ideation strategies for busy marketers, and explores tactics to help you streamline your link building efforts. 

6) “Practical Advice for the Future of Search”

Will Critchlow, Founder at Distilled 

In this session, Will Critchlow focuses on the real-world changes you should be making right now to your web presence and campaigns. From making the most of new ranking factors to creating content for mobile, Critchlow has you covered.

Remember: We’re releasing these videos for 24 hours only today, November 18th, 2015. Don’t miss out. Click here to gain access to this exclusive offer.

exclusive access to marketing talks

Oct

20

2015

8 Dos and Don’ts for Creating Effective Infographics [Free Ebook]

Data is everywhere around us, and yet, it is generally difficult for us to comprehend and remember isolated numbers.

When put into a story, however, data becomes much more relatable. (The human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than words.) For this reason, infographics have become increasingly popular among marketers around the world. But with this surge in usage, it’s important to make sure your infographic does the job it’s supposed to do: drive traffic, build awareness, and generate leads for your business.

HubSpot recently teamed up with infographic creation platform, Infogram, to create the ultimate guide to infographics for marketers: How to Start Generating Leads With Infographics. Below we’ve compiled some of the ebooks best tips for creating effective infographics to help your brand devise a strategy that resonates with your audience.

The Dos and Don’ts of Infographic Creation

1) DO: Keep it simple and to the point.

Try to break down your message into one, strong sentence. From here, you can use data to support what you’re trying to say. But remember: Less is more.

This simple chart tells a big story. Thanks to the contrasting colours, it easy for the reader to immediately understand just how scarce fresh water is. This is an approach you’ll want to make note of if you want your readers to focus on a specific data point. 

2) DON’T: Try to say too much with one chart. 

Poorly formatted, unorganised data won’t get you very far. To create more effective charts, stay focused on categories that help you make your point. Arrange the data from those categories in a way that is easy to grasp to avoid something that looks like this:

3) DO: Surprise the reader with an unexpected twist.

Have some unusual information on your hands? Use surprise as a means of increasing alertness and focus.

If you can make the reader question their previous beliefs, open their minds to new ideas, and then fill the gap with your information, you’ll find that it’s much easier to hold their attention. Check out the chart below for an example of how to present uncommon knowledge that may surprise the reader.

4) DON’T: Use boring titles that tell everything in the first sentence.

In the image below, the headline leaves nothing to the imagination. The main argument of this chart is known to most people. That said, why would they want to read more?

Instead, focus on creating an enticing headline that leads with the promise of new, valuable information.

5) DO: Use concrete visual metaphors. 

Show data to support your point. Detailed, data-driven arguments convince the reader faster and are much more likely to be remembered, recognised, and shared.

The chart below visualises the job hunting process in a very clear way: 200 people apply for a job, seven people advance to the first stage, three get the chance to interview, and one gets hired. Thanks to the use of the human icons and color coding, it’s easy to understand this sequence with just a quick glance. 

6) DON’T: Use weird formatting to visualise data. 

Be careful with funky data visualization formats, as they’re not as easy to read as traditional formats.

While the following chart is certainly creative, we’d argue that a simple bar chart would convey the information in a way that makes more sense to everyone. 

7) DO: Make your message believable.

Make your message believable by using customer quotes, testimonials, expert support, and of course, good data. The following quote from a happy customer serves as a great example of how social proof lends credibility to the infographic. 

8) DON’T: Show dry numbers without context.

As we’ve mentioned before, good stories are emotional. In fact, it almost doesn’t matter what emotion your message arouses, as long as it makes them feel something

Data can be used to start conversations and incite curiosity, when used correctly. However, the data in the following chart lacks both emotion and context. This leaves the reader wondering if the sales figures shown should be perceived in a positive or negative light. 

An effective use of charts and infographics can dramatically improve the performance of your marketing content, as well as the persuasive character of your business presentations.

For more tips on how to leverage the power of infographics for your business, download How to Start Generating Leads With Infographics today.

free guide to generating leads with infographics

Jul

31

2015

6 Simple Ways to Tap Into the Power of Influencer Marketing

Did you know that just 3% of people generate 90% of the impact online

Considering this alarming statistic, it should come as no surprise that leveraging the power of this select group of influencers serves as a highly valuable strategy for businesses looking to expand their reach.

To help you get familiar with the concept of influencer marketing, HubSpot teamed up with with influencer marketing platform, Traackr, to create The Content Marketer’s Guide to Influencer Marketing. This free guide has everything you need to help you identify the right influencers, perform outreach, and leverage these relationships to grow your business.

But why stop there?

Below you’ll find six must-try ways to get influencers to share your content so you can get more impact from each asset you create.

6 Ways to Get Influencers Sharing Your Content

1) @Mention them.

If your content is helpful, inspiring, and relevant to the influencer’s audience, mentioning their Twitter handle in your social post is often enough to grab their attention and potentially earn yourself a retweet. If the content is about them, your chances are even higher. 

In an effort to capture the attention of content marketing guru Ann Handley, Shareaholic simply mentioned her book, Content Rules, in their tweet. In return, she retweeted it to her 221,000+ followers, creating an opportunity for Shareaholic to reach a much larger audience than they would have without her support. 

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Knowing what influential experts in your field are interested in, engage with, and regularly share on their social profiles can help you both curate and produce content that will appeal to them.

To make this process easier, you’ll need to start by doing some research. Working your way through their social profiles will help you gain a better understanding of their interests and sharing habits.

Then simply choose some of the topics they’ve been sharing, create awesome content around them, and drop the expert a quick message to let them know about it. 

2) Include them in a curated list.

A good way to create content that’s likely to get shared by thought leaders is to curate a list and include them in it. There’s no denying that people have egos, and if you play to them, you’re likely to benefit.

A great example of how to approach this comes from Wordsteam founder Larry Kim. Back in March, Kim wrote an article for Inc.com on marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Check it out:

Not only is an article like Kim’s easy to put together, but there’s no denying the value of the potential sharing opportunities it aims to create.

To find out who the top players are in your industry you can look for lists such as the one mentioned above, or use an influencer management tool like Traackr, which provides users with a simplified way to keep tabs on their influencer engagements. 

Once you’ve created your curated list post, be sure to send the mentioned influencer(s) a tweet to let them know. Not only is this is a good way to get their attention initially, but it also opens the door for continued conversation.

3) Ask them to contribute to your blog.

There are many benefits that accompany getting an influencer to contribute a guest post on your blog.

Above all, you’re getting great content for your blog that your audience is sure to love (and you don’t have to write it). Not to mention, this type of contribution helps to build your blog’s credibility —  if you can get a thought leader to post for you, you must be doing something right. But perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of influencer guest blogging is the fact that they are likely to share that post with their networks, which means a chance for you to reach to a whole new audience. 

To increase the likelihood that an influencer will agree to contribute to your blog, it’s a good idea to focus on limiting the amount of work they actually have to do. Interviewing experts is a great way to create great content without the expert having to actually write it.

Zazzle Media, a marketing agency in the UK, publishes a monthly ‘Big Interview’ on their blog where they talk to thought leaders in the digital space. To attract the attention of a wider audience and increase their credibility, they asked Ann Handley for an interview, and she agreed. 

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 4) Include their commentary or quotes.

Adding expert commentary or quotes to your long-form content serves as an effective strategy for adding credibility and inspiration to your content. Doing so allows the reader to feel like they’re benefiting from the opinions and advice of top experts in that field, and as a result, they recognize the content as more valuable. 

A great example of using expert commentary to make a data report more interesting is this content marketing report HubSpot completed with Smart Insights. We included 12 experts’ opinions on what the data meant and in turn, each expert shared the report with their audience.

Below is an example of one of the comments we included from Head of SMB at Twitter, Brian Lavery:

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You should try to weave their comments into the main body to ensure the content and story flows well. However, we recommend that you place them on a contrasting background to help them stand out. 

For a similar effect, but for less commitment from the influencer, you can collect quotes from existing pieces of their content. Anytime you find a great line from an expert in an article or on Twitter, simply add them to a spreadsheet for future use. (Here are 101 awesome marketing quotes we put into a SlideShare to get you started.)

When leveraging this approach, just be sure to link back to the original source and give the influencer a heads-up to let them know you’ve used it. 

Pro tip: If you feature experts in your gated content, e.g. ebooks and reports, make sure to sell the value of their input on your landing page. Ask your influencers for their headshots and call them out under the main copy. They’ll appreciate the additional link back to their site or Twitter profile and it will help to persuade visitors to download the content. 

5) Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything).

By getting an influencer to dedicate 30 minutes of their time to answer questions on Twitter, you can significantly grow your audience and brand awareness. All it takes is a good hashtag, a great influencer, and a solid promotion plan.

Here’s an example of a Twitter chat from Truebridge Capital who partnered up with Forbes to give advice on what it takes to be a venture capitalist — a topic that was relevant and interesting to both of their audiences.

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(Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of the awesome AMAs featured on Inbound.org.)

6. Get a testimonial.

By sharing an early version of your content with influencers before your main promotion, it gives you an opportunity to get a testimonial from them on how great the content is.

This testimonial can then be added to your landing page and promo assets, making your content even more compelling to download. Simply give them the content and ask for their feedback on the content or give them a “lazy tweet” they can share with their network (and you can include on your landing page). 

By monitoring keywords related to your offer on social, you can identify when influencers discover and share your content organically. For HubSpot customers, you can easily keep an eye out for these instances by creating custom streams using the Social Monitoring tool.

I found this Tweet from Jeff Bullas, one of the world’s leading content marketers, which recommended a SlideShare I created. I made sure to capture his tweet so that I could use his testimonial to further promote the content. 

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Getting Started With Influencer Outreach

Just remember, we often trust friends, colleagues and experts more than marketing and advertising.

Marketers who get this, devote time and resources to creating authentic relationships with the people who matter to their business. These people are the ones who influence your customers and shape your industry.

Your job is to find the most important people for your brand, whether they’re among your prospects, current customers, industry experts or passionate individuals.

free guide to influencer marketing

Jul

16

2015

The Content Marketer’s Guide to Influencer Marketing [New Ebook]

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97% of marketers believe in the power of content marketing, according to our recent study of content marketing trends in Europe. With 71% of European marketers creating more content this year than in 2014, it’s clear that content as a strategy to reach audiences remains powerful and continues to grow.

However, with marketers increasing their publishing volume, it’s likely that your target audience is starting to feel bombarded with content. 

And if you’re wondering what you can do to continue to increase the volume of traffic and leads to your website, you’re not alone. 

More than half of the marketers we surveyed told us that their biggest challenge was defining the right content and identifying the right influencers to build and grow their audience. And today, we’re here to tell you about a tactic you may not have heard about yet that can help you do just that.

Enter influencer marketing.

Did you know that just 3% of people generate 90% of the impact online? By leveraging this small pool of influential people to promote your content, you can grow your audience, generate more traffic and leads, and even break into new markets. 

For tips on how to get started, download our new free guide to influencer marketing.

In this brand new ebook from HubSpot and Traackr, we’ve documented how to:

  1. Identify the right influencers
  2. Leverage influencers in your content
  3. Perform effective outreach
  4. Nurture the relationships
  5. And measure success

Download your free copy today … unless you’re happy with stagnant traffic and lead flow.

free guide to influencer marketing

May

26

2015

29 Revealing Statistics About Content Marketing in Europe [SlideShare]

content marketing statistics in Europe

Do you know how your content marketing team stacks up? It’s incredibly useful to have an idea of what other content marketers are up to and how they’re doing. Not only will it give you a feel for the performance level other content teams are achieving, but it’ll also help you find and fix gaps in your own team’s processes and performance.

In the ever-evolving world of content marketing, staying on top of statistics, benchmarks, and trends is especially important. We hear from marketers across the globe who are constantly asking themselves questions like, “Are we doing everything we can to stay on top of the latest trends?”

To help out fellow European marketers, our Dublin team dove into some hard data on the state of content marketing in Europe. Alongside Smart Insights, we surveyed over 700 European marketers to see where they’ve been focusing their efforts most, where they’ve been struggling, and what their plans are for the remainder of 2015.

For a taste of what we found, flip through this SlideShare and check out the tweetable statistics below. These will give you an introduction to the data we uncovered in our survey.

To learn about these findings in more detail, download the full benchmark report here.

29 Revealing Statistics About Content Marketing in Europe

The hype and success stories have caused more organisations to buy into content marketing.

1

    37% of respondents felt that they had good capabilities with support from management. 
twitter-logo_1-1.png Tweet this stat

2

    20% of respondents said they have advanced content marketing adoption. 
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3

    12% of respondents said they have an optimised content strategy. 
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4

    Only 11% of our survey respondents said they make little use of content marketing. 
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Businesses are increasing investment in content marketing.

5

    97% of European marketers believe in the power of content marketing. 
twitter-logo_1-1.png Tweet this stat

6

    71% of businesses are creating more content in 2015 compared to 2014.
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7

    Over 25% of companies are increasing internal headcount for content marketing in 2015.
twitter-logo_1-1.png Tweet this stat

8

    28% of companies are increasing investment in agency resources in 2015.
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The key issues in managing content marketing are the creation of quality content and measuring ROI.

9

    Over 66% of businesses see significant room for improvement, rating their content marketing as basic or inconsistent. 
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10

    55% of respondents found quality to be a challenge with content marketing. 
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11

    58% of respondents cite content frequency as a specific concern. 
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12

    Measurement of ROI and content effectiveness is a challenge for 51% of businesses. 
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European marketers are finding success with blogging and strategic planning.

13

    79% of marketers find that strategy and planning are most effective for distributing content. 
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14

    67% of marketers have success with blog posts and articles. 
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15

    45% of marketers rate e-newsletters or online magazines as effective forms of content marketing. 
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16

    41% of marketers find infographics to be an effective content format. 
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European marketers rate SEO tactics more highly than social media for organic content distribution.

17

    62% of marketers rate Google organic traffic as a successful tactic for content distribution.
twitter-logo_1-1.png Tweet this stat

18

    47% of marketers believe Twitter is the best social network for distributing content successfully.
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19

    46% of marketers rated Facebook as a successful channel for organic content distribution.
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20

    43% of marketers found LinkedIn to be a successful channel for organic content distribution.
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21

    Only 15% of marketers found that Google+ is an effective channel for distributing content.
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Despite the competition within organic content distribution, many European marketers are not taking advantage of the targeting techniques of paid media ads.

22

    50% of marketers are not using using Twitter ads.
twitter-logo_1-1.png Tweet this stat

23

    48% of marketers are not using LinkedIn ads.
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24

    38% of marketers are not using Facebook ads.
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25

    49% of marketers are not using Google Remarketing.
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26

    Out of the people who are using paid content distribution, Google AdWords is used the most, with 53% having paid for their ads to show up in search results.
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European marketers are still struggling to measure ROI from content marketing.

27

    The most commonly used metric to measure content marketing effectiveness was website visits at 74%.
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28

    The second most commonly used metric to measure content marketing effectiveness was social sharing of content at 66%.
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    Only 39% of marketers claimed they were able to measure return on investment from their content marketing.
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Want to see more data on the state of content marketing in Europe?

Check out the full benchmark report, Driving Content Marketing Success 2015, European Edition.

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

free european content marketing benchmarks report

May

14

2015

6 Data-Backed Lessons for Content Marketers in Europe

 competitive-content-marketing.jpeg

Content marketing is nothing new to marketers all over the world. Many of us know it’s the fuel that drives many of the key inbound marketing techniques across web, search, social, and email marketing. But because content has become a well-established part of global companies’ overall marketing strategies, the online content space is becoming more and more competitive.

To get ahead and stand out, the key is knowing where in your content strategy to invest. The question is, how? And how can you tell whether you’re behind the curve or on the cutting edge of the content game? 

To help answer these questions, HubSpot collaborated with Smart Insights to summarise data from over 700 marketers across Europe and set a benchmark on how competitive content marketing has become. This data can help show you where to focus your content marketing activities in order to stay competitive, and it includes key insights on the data from leading industry experts.

Click here to download our free industry benchmark report for driving content marketing success in Europe.

Want a taste of what’s in the report? Here are a few of our key findings.

1) Content marketing is hyper-competitive.

We found that businesses are increasing investment in content marketing. Check out how businesses rated the value of content marketing:

value-blog.png 

Key Stats:

  • 71% of businesses are creating more content in 2015 compared to 2014
  • Only 3% of survey respondents don’t see the opportunity from content marketing. In other words, marketers believe in the power of content marketing.
  • Over a quarter of companies are increasing internal headcount for content marketing, and 28% are increasing investment in agency resources this year.

2) Managing content marketing remains challenging.

We found that the key issues in managing content marketing are the creation of quality content and measuring ROI. Look at to what extent the organisations we surveyed have embraced content marketing:

embraced-blog.png

Key Stats:

  • When rating their content marketing capabilities, the majority of businesses see significant room for improvement with over two-thirds (68%) rating their content marketing as basic or inconsistent.
  • Managing content creation is a headache for many, with 55% citing content quality and 58% citing content frequency as specific concerns.
  • Measurement of ROI and content effectiveness is a challenge for over half (51%) of businesses.

3) Strategy and planning are big parts of companies’ content marketing success.

The following content marketing tactics were the highest rated by marketers for effectiveness:

blog-3-1.png

4) SEO is the most popular technique for organic content distribution.

We found that marketers are using SEO tactics more than social media for organic content distribution. Notice that Google organic traffic (SEO) had much more positive ratings than Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ as an organic content distribution option.

organic_blog.png

5) Paid distribution on social is still not being utilised much.

As you might expect, a lot of marketers aren’t investing in paid content distribution.

paid_blog.png

Key Stats:

  • 50% of respondants don’t use using Twitter ads.
  • 48% of respondants don’t use LinkedIn ads.
  • 46% of respondants don’t use Facebook ads.
  • 49% of respondants don’t use Google Remarketing.
  • Out of the respondants using using paid content distribution, Google Adwords is the most used platform, with 53% having paid for their ads to show up in search results.

6) ROI remains difficult to analyze

Marketers are still struggling to measure ROI from content marketing.

ROI-blog.png

Key Stats:

  • Only 39% claimed they were able to measure return on investment from their content marketing.

Want more insights on current content marketing trends in Europe? How about predictions from industry experts on what the data means? Download our brand new report with Smart Insights, Driving Content Marketing Success in Europe, 2015.

free european content marketing benchmarks report

Feb

18

2015

How to Quickly & Easily Create a Buyer Persona [Free Tool]

question-marks

Whenever people ask for a primer on inbound marketing, I always start by talking about buyer personas. Why? Because without knowing who your ideal customers are — their backgrounds, goals, challenges, and so on — it’s very difficult to create an effective marketing strategy to attract more of those types of people. Without understanding your ideal customers inside and out — and integrating that research across your entire marketing funnel — you risk stifling the growth of your business.

But one of the hardest parts of creating those buyer personas is coming up with all of the questions that will shape your buyer persona research. What are the key things you need to know about your ideal customers in order to really understand who they are and what motivates them? How do you even begin to answer these questions?

Here comes the good news. Over time, as our team has spoken with more and more marketers about the buyer personas research process, we got to thinking: Is there any way we can make the question-and-answer process even easier — and, dare I say, sexier?

That’s when we came up with the MakeMyPersona tool, an interactive web tool that generates buyer personas for you once you answer a series of questions about your ideal customers.

Here’s how it works: First, it’ll ask you all the questions about your ideal customer that’ll help you build out your persona. (And don’t worry, it’ll guide you through the process of how to answer them, too.) Then, it’ll generate a buyer persona for you based on your answers — in the form of an editable Word document that you can edit and expand on later. You can also select an image for your persona to help bring them to life and make them more relatable for everyone in your organisation.

Like the sound of that? Click here to get started.

Want to learn a little more about how to use the MakeMyPersona tool? Here’s how it works.

How to Use the MakeMyPersona Tool

Using the MakeMyPersona tool to create your buyer persona couldn’t be easier. Here’s all you need to do:

1) Go to makemypersona.com and click the button that says, ‘Start Making My Persona!’

Buyer Persona MakeMyPersona

2) Answer the questions in the tool as best you can. 

Developing your buyer persona takes some research, so don’t worry if you can’t complete every question in great detail right now. We’ll send you your persona in an editable Word document so you can expand on it later. 

Give your persona a name and select an image so you can put a face to that name. Remember, buyer personas are fictional representations of our ideal customers. They are not real people, so you can feel free to generalise the behaviours of your top customers when thinking about your answers. 

Buyer Persona Tool Images

Note: Survey tools like SurveyMonkey and QuestionPro are good ways to gain information for persona research if you don’t have a good customer database to tap into.

3) We’ll send you your customised buyer persona within 15 minutes.

Once you’ve completed all of the questions, make sure you give us a valid email address we can send your customised persona to. It can take up to fifteen minutes to generate your persona, so go grab a coffee and high-five some co-workers when you tell them you’re cooking up something really special. By the time you get back, you’ll have something that looks a little like this waiting for you in your inbox:

Buyer Persona Output Example

Once you receive your persona, check over your answers and see which ones require a little more research. (If you’re stuck, check out these great tips for researching buyer personas.)

4) Share your persona(s) with your entire organisation.

Buyer personas help bridge the gap across all the different teams in a single organisation by aligning their idea of who they’re selling to. The trick is getting each team to adopt them and integrate them into the way they think about and speak with customers and prospects.

Once you and your immediate team are happy with the final persona(s), here are some ideas for how to get the message across:

  • Save your persona as a PDF and email it to the entire organisation. In the email, explain what buyer personas are and why they’re important, and then introduce yours to everyone in the company.
  • Present your new persona(s) in your next company meeting and explain why they are important and how they play a part in what everyone does.
  • Think about this persona every time you create a piece of content and ask yourself: Is it helping them achieve their goals or solve their challenges?
  • Print out a few copies and put them on the walls around your office.
  • If you’re a HubSpot customer, use the persona tool within HubSpot to get a holistic view of how each of your personas are performing across the funnel. (And if you’re not a HubSpot customer, feel free to take a demo.)

5) Share the MakeMyPersona tool with your marketer friends.

Share the MakeMyPersona tool with your social networks to pass on the gift of simple and quick buyer persona creation. Trust us, sharing helpful content to your social networks is the best way to grow your following and increase engagement. Simply click the image below to tweet about it:

Quick_and_EasyBuyer_Persona_Creation

Try it out, and then let us know what you think in the comment section below.

free buyer persona generator

Feb

4

2015

5 Little Lead Generation Experiments You Can Run Right Now

generate-leads

“We need more leads.” 

Pretty much every B2B marketer has heard this phrase from their sales team at some point in their career. And after hearing it, most marketers are left in a sticky situation: They suddenly have to do more with the same budget and the same number of hours in a week. 

The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to generate leads without breaking the bank or working every single weekend. In the SlideShare presentation and post below, we’ll go over five quick and easy methods that can boost your lead flow with very little time investment. And if you want even more tried and tested tactics for lead gen, sign up to our free four-week email course Double Your Lead Flow in 30 Days.

1) Use subscribe forms at the end of your blog posts.

Test: To increase conversions, we tried embedding a subscribe form at the end of each blog post rather than a CTA button.

Results: Conversions increased by 20%.

How to do it:

Don’t use a CTA button like this one:

subscribe-cta-1

Instead, try embedding a one-field form like this one:

subscribe-form

2) A/B test your content titles.

Test: We changed the title of an ebook from “The Productivity Handbook for Busy Marketers” to “7 Apps That Will Change the Way You Do Marketing.” 

Result: We increased leads by 776%.

How to do it: 

  • Every time you create a new piece of content, come up with 10 of the best titles you can think of.
  • Once you have your 10 titles, get into a room with several of your peers and whittle them down to the two strongest.
  • A/B test both titles on a smaller sample of people and then go with the winning title for your larger promotion. 

3) Use Facebook dark posts.

Test: Jon Loomer tested Facebook dark posts (News Feed-style ads that don’t actually get published to your Page’s News Feed) with a small budget to calculate potential ROI.

Result: He saw a 35x ROI from investing the better part of his $279.96 Facebook ad investment in dark posts.

How to do it: Facebook Dark Posts are a great way to get really targeted with your Facebook ads. Our partner, Duct Tape Marketing, has a really great blog here to help you get set up with your first one. You can also read Jon Loomer’s success story here. 

4) Use progressive profiling on landing page forms.

Test: ImageScape reduced the number of form fields to see if a client’s conversion rate would increase.

Result: They improved a client’s conversion rate by 120% by reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4.

How to do it: To reduce the number of form fields on landing page while still collecting the information you need to rotate leads to Sales, you can use progressive profiling. Progressive profiling is a feature that detects whether the user has already filled out another form on your site and lets you replace previously captured fields with a new set of fields.

The specific setup process will depend on the marketing software you have in place, but it will typically involve specifying which questions you want to show to your leads and in what order they should be shown. Read more on progressive profiling here.

5) Test the color of your CTA buttons.

Test: We tested a green CTA button against a red one to see what effect it would have on conversions. 

Result: The red button outperformed the green by 21%.

How to do it: Use your marketing software to run the same A/B test. Test a strong, contrasting color against one that fits in the theme of your landing page — usually, the former will perform much better. 

learn how to double your lead flow in 30 days

Nov

28

2014

How to Use SWOT Analyses for Smarter Content Strategies

swot_analysisIt’s the most wonderful time of the year for content marketers. This time of year is when you measure your impact on this year’s company goals and uncover opportunities for moving the needle on next year’s.

But when most people run these analyses and calculate next year’s predictions, they forget about one crucial thing: market conditions. They’re so focused on internal metrics and results that they miss out on some fascinating, high-level insights. 

One way to analyze both internal and market conditions is through a content SWOT analysis. It provides a strategic view of the main opportunities and challenges that exist with content marketing in your market. The outcome of this analysis should be a high-level action plan containing the most important tasks that will impact the success of your content marketing.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the basics of a content SWOT analysis and show you how you can use one in next year’s planning process.

How to Do a Content SWOT Analysis

You can use our SWOT analysis template, or simply draw four boxes on a piece of paper, similar to the illustration below. 

Content-SWOT-Blank

Then, you’ll want to fill in each section accordingly:

Strengths

Here you will list 3-4 major internal strategic strengths of your current content marketing efforts. You need to identify what has been working well for you so far. (Even if you haven’t started with content marketing yet, you can still complete this step.) In that case, for example, one of your strengths could be that you have expertise in a particular topic that your target audience is extremely interested in.

If you have started with content, however, some of your strengths could include a well-defined blogging strategy and established editorial calendar that continues to grow, or you could have really strong relationships with partners through which you can promote your content to generate additional traffic.

Weaknesses

Here you will list 3-4 major internal strategic weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts. Again, if you haven’t started with content, you can still complete this step. For example, your weakness could be a lack of a dedicated resource to creating content.

If you have started with content, some examples of potential weaknesses would be an inability to track the ROI of your current content efforts. Or a weakness could be that your content focuses on one part of the funnel only, like lead generation, and you’re lacking content to help close deals.

Opportunities 

Here you will list 3-4 major external opportunities that exist for anyone working within your market. Some examples of opportunities might include that paid social distribution as it isn’t as competitive as Adwords campaigns or generating leads from long-form ‘how-to’ content.

Threats

Here you will list 3-4 major external threats that exist for anyone working within your market. Some potential threats to your content marketing include creating content that is easily replicated by your competitors, like industry white papers for example, or your competitors might have more resources to develop a better resource centre, increasing their possibility to rank higher than you.

SWOT_Example

Once you have completed your SWOT analysis, you can then use that information to create an actionable plan. The actionable plan should be based upon the strengths and weaknesses you’ve identified from your current efforts, take advantage of opportunities in the market, and also account for potential threats to your strategy. 

Below is an example of an action plan we have created based on the examples we mentioned above.

Action_Plan

This analysis and action plan will give you a good idea of how you should start to analyze your content marketing strategies. If you would like more help with your content analysis and planning, HubSpot and Smart Insights have put together The Content Planning Template, which includes four templates and instructions on how to complete them for planning out a more effective content strategy for next year. As they say, if you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail — so get planning now for a successful new year.

free download: content planning template

Nov

25

2014

How to Be Successful on Twitter: 9 Surprising Stats to Know

twitter-bird-3There are 284 million monthly active users on Twitter and chances are, you’re one of them — we’re certainly are. Unfortunately, just because all of us are active on Twitter doesn’t mean we’re using it the right way. 

And thanks to SocialBro, we have new data from over 200,000 corporate tweets to prove what works on Twitter … and what doesn’t. While some of it confirmed what we suspected, we were also shocked by some of the results. Have a read below and let us know if any of these stats were surprising to you, too.

1) Tweets from businesses that contain images are 34% more likely to get retweeted than tweets from businesses with no image at all. (Click to tweet!)

Are you using images on Twitter yet? If not, keep in mind that photo file sizes can be up to 5MB and animated GIFs can be up to 3MB. You can even tag other users in your photos — just like on Facebook! 

2) Tweets from businesses with a URL placed in the middle of the tweet are 26% more likely to get retweeted than those with a URL placed at the beginning or end of the tweet. (Click to tweet!)

I had no idea that this was the case and upon review, I was most often placing the URL at the end of the tweet — lesson learned!

3) Tweets from businesses that include hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags. (Click to tweet!)

Be clever with your use of hashtags — keep them around 11 characters (more on that later) and even try to incorporate them into actual copy of the tweet. 

4) Tweets from businesses with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweets than those with two hashtags. (Click to tweet!)

When it comes to hashtags, remember that more is less. 

5) Hashtags with 11 or more characters get 117% more retweets than those within 6 and 10 characters. (Click to tweet!)

That gives you just enough space to come up with something catchy and on-brand for your tweets.  

6) Twitter direct message campaigns get on average a 300% higher click rate than one-off email campaigns. (Click to tweet!)

SocialBro actually has a tool that allows you to create really targeted DM campaigns, keeping you from annoying or spamming your audience. 

7) 90% of Twitter users who engage with Twitter-based marketing campaigns will not follow the company on Twitter after the campaign interaction. (Click to tweet!)

90% is a massive number! Have you got a strategy in place to retain the reach from your Twitter marketing campaign after the campaign ends? Check out the best practices listed in The Science of Success on Twitter

8) Businesses will on average lose 15% of new Twitter followers within three weeks unless they make an effort to engage early. (Click to tweet!)

So if you do manage to convince the tweeps from your marketing campaign to follow you, the work doesn’t stop there. You need to retain your followers by being engaged with your community. Speak to them on a one-to-one basis, ask them questions, post funny, honest, and human tweets, and above all, share awesome, valuable content that they will find super valuable. 

9) Over half (57%) of businesses are spending at least 50% more on Twitter marketing compared with two years ago, with 15% of respondents stating that their spending has tripled. (Click to tweet!)

If you’re not experimenting with content amplification on Twitter yet, you’re missing out on a very big opportunity. Twitter’s targeting features could help you better reach your desired audience. 

For all of the best practices associated with these Twitter statistics, download our guide The Science of Success on Twitter.

free guide: science of twitter success

Oct

16

2014

9 Revealing Inbound Marketing Insights From the U.K. [SlideShare]

state-of-inbound-UKWe’re excited about the recent launch of HubSpot’s first ever U.K. edition of the State of Inbound: Inbound Insights U.K. – 2014, and we just can’t wait to share with you some of the data we uncovered.

For our report, we surveyed marketing professionals across the United Kingdom, both leaders and practitioners, to find out the current (more…)

Oct

2

2014

New Data Shows European Marketers Aren’t Lagging Behind North America

three-legged-raceThere’s a misconception floating around the marketing world that European marketers are 12-18 months behind their North American counterparts in adopting new marketing paradigms.

While this may have been true in the past, European marketers have progressed in leaps (more…)

Sep

3

2014

6 Ways Your Coworkers Can Help Make Your Next Event a Success

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

event-crowdEvents are having a moment — especially with our very own INBOUND conference right around the corner! And for those of you who organize and execute on events, you know exactly what planning a successful one entails. Each aspect is an important element in what you hope will turn out to be a well-oiled machine. (more…)

Aug

28

2014

Your Leads Are Annoyed With You: Here’s Why [Data]

Published by in category HubSpot InBound Marketing Blog Feed, Inbound Marketing | Comments are closed

Dont-piss-off-your-leadsWhen your job is to generate and nurture new leads like it is for pretty much every marketer and salesperson, it can be all too easy to think of every new lead as just another number on a waterfall report or just another name on a call list.

But never forget that behind every ebook download form and every demo request, there (more…)


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