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Sep

29

2016

17 Revealing Stats That Uncover Key Marketing Differences Across Regions [New Data]

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Every year, HubSpot launches the State of Inbound report, detailing inbound marketing and sales trends across the globe. This year, we’re so excited to announce that we’ve also launched the State of Inbound EMEA report, focusing exclusively on the region.

With the data from both reports at our fingertips, we couldn’t help but dive in and compare the responses. Were there any key differences between U.K. & Ireland marketers versus U.S. marketers? Similarities? Did things look the same across the pond? View the 2016 EMEA State of Inbound Report here

Check out the revealing statistics below to see how the two regions stack up when it comes to their approach to inbound.

17 Stats That Uncover Key Marketing Differences Across Regions [New Data]

Marketing Strategies

1) 76% of U.K. & Ireland marketers reported that they work in inbound companies vs. 73% in the U.S. [Tweet this]

2) Nearly half of U.K. & Ireland marketers surveyed did not believe their organisation’s marketing strategy was effective, compared to just 29% in the U.S. [Tweet this]

3) U.K. & Ireland marketers at companies that invest in inbound marketing are 2X more likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective. [Tweet this]

Marketing Priorities & Challenges

4) Marketers on both sides of the pond agreed that converting customers and growing web traffic are the top two priorities for 2017. [Tweet this]

5) Webinars are not as popular with U.K. & Ireland marketers, with 22% prioritising this content form, compared to 31% in the U.S. [Tweet this]

6) Top challenges for U.K. & Ireland marketers include: generating more traffic and leads, and proving marketing’s ROI. [Tweet this]

Least Effective Marketing Tactics

7) 28% of U.K. & Ireland marketers said traditional print, outdoor, and broadcast advertising was overrated. [Tweet this]

8) According to U.K. & Ireland and U.S. marketers, the most ineffective marketing tactic is paid advertising. [Tweet this]

9) Organic social media is reported to be less effective in the U.S. — 12% of U.S. respondents indicated it is ineffective, compared to 7% of U.K. & Ireland marketers. [Tweet this]

10) YouTube is planned to be a key element of 36% of U.K. & I marketer’s 2017 content strategy. [Tweet this]

11) 29% of U.K. & Ireland marketers are planning to invest in Facebook video in the next year. [Tweet this]

12) Podcasts are seeing a resurgence in popularity: 18% of U.K. & Ireland marketers plan on adding them to their marketing plans. [Tweet this]

Professional Communication

13) 14% more U.K. & Ireland professionals prefer face-to-face communication compared to U.S. professionals. [Tweet this]

14) 11% more U.K. & Ireland respondents use social media for business purposes compared to U.S. counterparts. [Tweet this]

15) 8% more U.K. & Ireland respondents prefer Twitter compared to U.S. marketers. [Tweet this]

16) 9% more U.S. marketers prefer Facebook compared to U.K. & Ireland marketers. [Tweet this]

“Smarketing

17) One in five U.K. & Ireland companies have reported tight alignment between sales and marketing, compared to one in four in the U.S. [Tweet this]

Want to see the full EMEA report detailing inbound marketing & sales trends and benchmarks? Download it here.

get the free 2016 state of inbound EMEA report

Jun

15

2016

How is Mobile Commerce Growing Around the World? [Infographic]

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In the summer of 2015, we saw two major developments in mobile marketing: First, Google announced a major algorithm update that rewards mobile-friendly websites, and penalizes those that aren’t fully optimized for mobile in mobile search results.

A few weeks later, we saw the number of Google search queries on smartphones surpass the number of queries on desktop computers and tablets.

Since then, the number of consumers researching and buying on their mobile devices has only increased. Global mobile commerce now makes up 34% of all ecommerce transactions around the world, and it’s predicted to grow 31% in 2017.

What are the fastest growing mobile commerce markets? Which countries have the highest number of mobile shoppers? To learn the answers to these questions and more about mobile commerce (sometimes referred to as mCommerce), check out the infographic below from Coupofy.

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free guide: make your site mobile-friendly

Feb

29

2016

How Internet Behavior is Changing Around the World [Infographic]

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Last year, marketers and businesspeople around the world saw a huge change in the way people use the internet. Most notably, in May 2015, we saw that more people were using their mobile devices to search for things online than on their desktop computers.

But these changes aren’t happening at the same rate everywhere in the world. In Iceland, Monaco, and Ukraine, the majority of internet users are using desktop to surf the web. On the other end of the spectrum, most internet users in many Southeast Asian countries are relying on their mobile devices for internet.

Which devices are folks using to search the internet around the world? What do social sharing behaviors look like by device? What are some notable global social media trends?

To help us understand how internet behavior has been shifting on a global scale in the past year, the folks at AddThis looked at more than one trillion global pageviews from more than two billion internet users around the world. They used that data to create the infographic below. Check it out.

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free guide: make your site mobile-friendly

Feb

5

2016

What Does Marketing Look Like Around the World? 36 Stats & Trends From 5 Different Regions

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It’s hard to generalize about “the state of marketing” in the world when marketing looks and feels different depending on where you are.

Just like location, technologies, culture, and politics affects consumer behavior, it also affects how marketers, well … do marketing. Marketers in Asia-Pacific might find themselves with different priorities, challenges, and practices than marketers in Latin America, or in Europe, or in Australia and New Zealand, and so on.

We wanted to help paint a clearer picture of what marketing looks like in every region of the world — which is why we created our 2015 State of Inbound report. For this report, we surveyed 4,000 marketers and salespeople around the globe to learn about their top marketing tactics, what they find most challenging, how — and whether — they track the ROI of their marketing activities, how long it takes them to write blog posts, etc.

Here are some of our key findings from that global survey, divided by region. Whether you’re building out a global marketing strategy or simply want to get to know marketing in your own region better, there are useful statistics in here for you.

The Regions of the World

Click a category title to jump to a specific region:

36 Marketing Stats From Across the Globe

Asia-Pacific (APAC)

1) 72% of marketers in APAC prioritize an inbound approach to marketing. (Click to tweet!)

2) 80% of businesses in APAC with 0–25 employees prioritized inbound marketing over outbound marketing, while 70% of businesses with 26–200 employees and 62% of businesses with 201 or more employees prioritized inbound. (Click to tweet!)

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3) While inbound marketing hasn’t caught on as strongly with enterprise in APAC, SMBs with budgets lower than $500,000 overwhelmingly utilize inbound marketing strategies. (Click to tweet!)

4) Both inbound and outbound marketers in APAC agree overwhelmingly that traditional paid ads are the #1 most overrated marketing tactic. (Click to tweet!)

5) Marketers in APAC who measured marketing analytics 2+ times per week were twice as more likely to achieve greater ROI. (Click to tweet!)

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6) Marketers in APAC whose teams demonstrated positive ROI were more than twice as likely to receive a higher budget. (Click to tweet!)

7) APAC was on par with the global benchmarks for seeing greater ROI with inbound marketing. (Click to tweet!)

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8) Nearly 70% of marketers in APAC say that growing their SEO/organic presence was the most important marketing tactic last year — which means growing traffic is top-of-mind. (Click to tweet!)

9) The top priorities for marketers in APAC are generating contacts/leads and converting them into customers. (Click to tweet!)

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Image Credit: HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2015 for Asia

10) Marketers in APAC were, on average, 17% more likely to see tailoring their marketing content to an international audience as a challenge than other regions. (Click to tweet!)

11) Over 50% of marketers in APAC said it takes them 1–3 hours to write a 500-word blog post, while 25% reported that it took them more than four hours per blog post. (Click to tweet!)

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North America (NORTHAM)

12) 41% of marketers in North America said the most overrated marketing tactic is traditional outbound marketing (like print ads, outdoor ads, and broadcasts), followed by online paid advertising (16%). (Click to tweet!)

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13) Marketers in North America track ROI most reliably, demonstrate more positive ROI, and check marketing analytics most frequently of any other region. (Click to tweet!)

14) North America was the only region where more than half of marketers indicated they check their marketing metrics 3 or more times per week. (Click to tweet!)

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15) About half (49%) of marketers in North America saw greater ROI on their marketing efforts last year than in the previous year. (Click to tweet!)

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16) In North America, 88% of marketing content is written by staff in-house — which is the most of any region. (Click to tweet!)

Latin America (LATAM)

17) 66% of marketers in Latin America say that growing their SEO/organic presence was the most important marketing tactic last year — which means growing traffic is top-of-mind. (Click to tweet!)

18) More than half of marketers in Latin America don’t track the ROI of their marketing efforts. (Click to tweet!)

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19) Almost half (49%) of marketers in Latin America said proving the ROI of marketing activities was their top marketing challenge. (Click to tweet!)

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20) Latin America was more challenged by identifying the right marketing technologies than any other region. (Click to tweet!)

21) In Latin America, 61% of marketing content is written by staff in-house, and 29% by executives and 26% by agency partners. (Click to tweet!)

22) 32% of marketers in Latin America spend 1–2 hours writing a typical blog post, followed by 21% of marketers spending 2–3 hours per post, 18% spending less than one hour per post, and 12% spending 4+ hours per post. (Click to tweet!)

23) Latin America was the only region where more marketers reported spending under an hour per post (18%) than marketers who spent 4+ hours per post (12%). (Click to tweet!)

Europe, the Middle East & Africa (EMEA)

24) 70% of marketers in EMEA say that growing their SEO/organic presence was the most important marketing tactic last year — which means growing traffic is top-of-mind. (Click to tweet!)

25) The top marketing challenges for marketers in EMEA were proving the ROI of marketing activities (46%) and securing enough budget (33%). (Click to tweet!)

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26) Just over one-third (34%) of marketers in EMEA said traditional outbound marketing (like print ads, outdoor ads, and broadcasts) was the most overrated marketing tactic, followed by online paid advertising (13%) and social media (11%). (Click to tweet!)

27) In EMEA, 32% of marketers measured marketing analytics once per week, with 28% measuring their analytics daily. (Click to tweet!)

28) Just over half (51%) of marketers in EMEA track the ROI of their marketing efforts. (Click to tweet!)

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29) 35% of marketers in EMEA spend 1–2 hours writing a typical blog post, followed by almost a quarter of marketers spending 2–3 hours per post, 17% spending 4+ hours per post, and 10% spending less than one hour per post. (Click to tweet!)

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30) In EMEA, 72% of marketing content is written by staff in-house, followed by 31% written by executives. (Click to tweet!)

Australia & New Zealand (ANZ)

31) 42% of marketers in ANZ said traditional outbound marketing (like print ads, outdoor ads, and broadcasts) was the most overrated marketing tactic. (Click to tweet!)

32) Marketers in ANZ said the second most overrated marketing tactic was social media (14%), followed by online paid advertising (11%). The least overrated marketing tactics were blogging (1%) and collateral development (2%). (Click to tweet!)

33) The top marketing challenges for marketers in ANZ were proving the ROI of marketing activities (59%) and securing enough budget (36%). (Click to tweet!)

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34) 79% of marketers in ANZ said that blog content creation was the most important marketing tactic, followed by growing their SEO/organic presence. (Click to tweet!)

35) In ANZ, 79% of marketing content is written by staff in-house — which is the second most of any region, after North America. (Click to tweet!)

36) 42% of marketers in ANZ spend 1–2 hours writing a typical blog post, followed by 27% of marketers spending 2–3 hours per post, 17% spending 4+ hours per post, and only 5% spending less than one hour per post. (Click to tweet!)

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What do you think of these regional marketing trends? Share with us in the comments.

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Feb

5

2016

8 Pieces of Marketing Wisdom for the Chinese New Year

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It’s that time of the year again: A time when nearly a sixth of the world’s population comes together to celebrate Chinese New Year. And as a global company with employees, customers, agency partners, and subscribers who celebrate this holiday, we decided it was time to get in on the festivities. 

In celebration of the Year of the Monkey, we created the Marketing Fortune Generator. This free tool does what you’d expect: it generates your marketing fortune for the new year.

Cheesy? A little. But our hope is that you find it helpful in a fun way. To give you a preview of what you can expect, check out some of our favorite “marketing fortunes” from the generator below. 

Want to give it a spin? Click here to try your own luck

8 Pieces of Marketing Wisdom for the Chinese New Year

1) “Today is the day to write that blog post.”

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Stop making excuses and start writing, my friend. This is the year of the Monkey, after all, so be clever about your content strategy. To help you, here are some blog post templates that take the guesswork out of how to structure that next piece.

2) “Don’t be afraid to try something different.”

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It’s easy to stick to the same marketing playbook year after year. But this is your year to try something new — whether it fails or succeeds, you’ll learn something from trying. Not sure where to start? Here are some examples of great marketing campaigns sure to get you inspired. 

3) “Fortune favors the bold … headline.”

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The power is in the headline — it’s what gets people interested in your content. For example, would you be more likely to click on a blog post titled “Marketing Headline Tips” or “13 Types of Blog Headlines that Will Get You More Traffic“? 

4) “Smarketing brings success. You will be more aligned with your sales team this year.”

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Have you heard of the term Smarketing? It’s when sales and marketing are so aligned that even their names become one. How do you achieve this amazing connection? It’s all about frequent and direct communication.

Successful sales and marketing teams talk, and talk often — and they set goals together. When both parties agree on what they owe each other to hit these goals, harmony is achieved.

5) “Create useful information specific to the people your business serves.”

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Content is great, but it’s not very effective if it doesn’t relate to the people your business serves. Make sure you create buyer personas modeled after your ideal customers before you jump into content creation this year. You’ll see engagement increase.

6) “A keyword in the title is worth two in the body paragraph.”

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Keywords are the key to your content getting found. Don’t monkey around with SEO this year — make sure you optimize your content titles and keep up to date on best SEO practices for 2016. Your website will thank you.

7) “Experiment fearlessly. Try new A/B tests for your emails, landing pages, and social media.” 

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If you’re anything like us over here at HubSpot, you probably love experiments. It’s what keeps marketing fun and exciting. The Year of the Monkey is all about taking chances, trying clever new ideas, and testing your different channels to achieve brilliant results. Make time to A/B test your emails, landing pages and more — you’re likely to increase engagement and other essential marketing metrics.

8) “Fear of failure does not lead to success. Try an out-of-the-box campaign this year.” 

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Most of all, don’t be afraid of failure. This is the year for bold initiatives and having some fun — so get excited about all the marketing possibilities that are just around the corner this Year of the Monkey, and Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Want to learn what your own marketing fortune holds this year? Try the Marketing Fortune Generator.

download inspirational advice from the experts

Jan

8

2016

Business Etiquette 101: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Your Next Business Dinner

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Think people aren’t watching how you handle yourself at the dinner table?

Think again.

Whether you’re dining with a recruiter, prospective business partner, or your boss of several years, you should always follow the rules of dinner etiquette.

There’s a reason people conduct business over a meal: It’s a strategic way to get to know someone. How you conduct yourself before, during, and after the meal tells your host a lot about your character, your professionalism, and your social awareness.

When it comes to business dining, there are a lot of little tidbits to remember. Which bread plate is yours? What should you order to drink? How do you get rid of that pesky ketchup stain?

Don’t worry. We’re here to help. Follow this guide for 29 business etiquette tips so you can make a great impression at your next business dinner. 

Note: This is a roundup of common business etiquette tips, but be mindful that there are places in the world where some of these tips don’t hold true. If you’re dining in a country that uses etiquette you’re unfamiliar with, take the time to look up the etiquette for that specific country, or ask a friend or colleague ahead of time.

Before the Meal

1) Eat a little something ahead of time.

You may be going to an awesome restaurant with delicious food, but you shouldn’t show up super hungry — otherwise you risk focusing more on your food than on the conversation. Have a little snack before you head to dinner, like a protein bar, a piece of fruit, or some cheese and crackers.

2) Dress appropriately.

I wish there were a simple answer to the question of what to wear, but it really does depend on the context. As with any work event, the culture of the company or industry hosting the dinner should be your first clue. Is your host from a financial firm? Lean towards the more formal side of business casual. Meeting with someone from a tech startup with a casual vibe? Stick to business casual, but relax your look a bit. For specific details, here’s a guide to what business casual entails.

Another clue is the dinner venue. Look up the restaurant’s website ahead of time and see what vibe you get. And when in doubt, overdressing is better than underdressing.

3) Silence your cell phone.

This should be a no-brainer. And keep in mind a vibrating phone is as bad as a ringing one. Turn it on silent, put it away, and don’t take it out while in the presence of your host.

4) Plan to arrive on time.

Plan your travel well in advance so you’re sure to arrive on time, or even a little bit early, just to be safe. If you’re going to be late — hey, it happens! — be sure to call your host and/or the restaurant to let them know. If your host is late, wait at least 15 minutes before checking in on them.

On Arrival

5) Shake hands with everyone.

Greet everyone with a firm handshake accompanied by good eye contact, and introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know. Concentrate on remembering people’s names — especially the host’s, as you’ll need to remember it to thank them later.

6) Store your stuff under your chair.

It’s always awkward trying to figure out where to stuff your bag, sunglasses, cell phone, or briefcase. The number one rule here is to not place anything on the table — no matter how small it is. The proper place for your bags are either under your chair, or wedged between your back and the back of the chair. Place your coat on a nearby coat hook, over the back of your chair, or under your chair with the rest of your belongings. 

7) Wait to sit until your host sits first.

In many countries, it’s polite to remain standing until your host has taken their seat. If there isn’t a host, then wait for the most senior or oldest person at the table to sit first.

Note: In some countries, the host never sits before the guests.

8) Place your napkin in your lap right away.

As soon as you sit down, take your napkin off the table, unfold it, and put it on your lap with the open end of the fold facing away from you. Never, ever, tuck your napkin into the front of your shirt.

Speaking of napkin etiquette, if you have to leave the table at any point during your meal, place your napkin on your empty chair instead of on the table in front of you. This tells the server that you plan to return.

9) Familiarize yourself with the place settings.

For the vast majority of meals, you’ll probably just be dealing with a fork, knife, and a spoon. But for the occasional fancy dinner, there’s a chance you’ll see a few more pieces — and it’s best to be prepared.

The general rule of thumb is that utensils are generally placed in the order of their use. So, when in doubt, start from the outside and work your way in. Another handy trick is to think of solids on your left, and liquids on your right. Wondering which bread plate is yours? It’ll be the one on your left. Your water, wine, and coffee cups will be on your right.

Below is a simple diagram showing the anatomy of a table setting. A few things to note:

  • The salad fork will be on the outside of your place fork (for the main dish), and it’ll be smaller than your place fork.
  • Forks usually go on the left, but if you ever see a small fork on your right, it’s an oyster fork.
  • Your water glass will always be on the left-hand side of your wine glass.

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Image Credit: the kitchn

Ordering Your Food

10) Avoid ordering alcohol.

In general, don’t order alcohol at a business meal. Instead, Ross McCammon suggests ordering a club soda with lemon because it indicates to the other people at the table that you’d likely have an alcoholic drink if they ordered one. Iced tea is another good, non-alcoholic option.

If you do order a drink at dinner — say, if your host encourages it — then limit yourself to one beer or glass of wine. Pay attention to how quickly your host is drinking theirs, too, and drink yours more slowly than they do.

Note: In some countries, like Russia, offering someone a drink is a sign of trust and friendship, so don’t turn it down if it’s offered to you. Again, if you’re unfamiliar with the local etiquette, look it up ahead of time or ask a friend or colleague.

11) Take note of what your host orders.

Pay attention to what your host orders to eat, as it’ll give you an idea of what you should order. If they order an appetizer, you may want to order one, too. If the host isn’t the first person to order, you might ask for his or her recommendation.

12) Be ready to place your order.

Order simply, and don’t make a scene. You can ask your server a question or two, but don’t ask them to explain everything on the menu or substitute ingredients — unless you have a food allergy. Not only is it annoying, but you’ll also appear indecisive.

13) Don’t order the most expensive item.

It’s rude to order the most expensive item on the menu. Save the lobster or the decadent red meat dishes for another time.

14) Don’t order “trouble” foods.

Some foods can be a little difficult to eat. Save yourself the trouble — and the embarrassment — by just not ordering those foods.

Foods that are easy to eat include chicken, fish, or salads. Foods that aren’t easy to eat are spaghetti, burgers, lobster, finger foods, anything with a lot of sauce, or anything that can get stuck in your teeth, like spinach, broccoli, and anything things with seeds.

If you do get something on your clothing, here are some tips for removing the stain on the spot:

  • Sauce stains: Pour some club soda directly onto the stain and rub into it with a damp, clean cloth or napkin.
  • Red wine stains: Wet the stained area with water, sprinkle it with table salt, and rub one half of the stain against the other to work in the salt and loosen the stain. Then, wash the stain quickly with soap and water — and throw it in the laundry as soon as you get home.
  • Lipstick stains on dark fabrics: Remove the crust from a piece of white bread. Wad up the soft center with water, and rub it gently on the stain until it picks up all of the lipstick. Sweep away any leftover crumbs, and voilà. 

How to Eat

15) Pour others’ water before your own.

Is the table sharing a communal pitcher of water? Before adding more to your glass, check and fill others’ glasses first. It’s a polite gesture that others will take notice of.

16) Eat and butter your bread properly.

If bread’s going to be served at your meal, you’ll typically find a small side plate on the left side of your place setting. If the bread comes in a loaf, tear off a piece with your fingers — never cut a piece off with a knife. When you want to eat your piece of bread, tear off a bite-sized piece with your fingers.

What about the butter? Since it’s polite to only get butter from the butter dish once, use your butter knife to slice off a large amount of butter, and place it on the side of your bread plate. Tear a piece of bread and butter each one as you eat it, as opposed to of butter it all up front and then tearing off pieces.

If you’re the first person to eat bread from the basket, the etiquette is to offer the bread basket to the person on your left and then begin passing the bowl around the table to the right.

Note: In France, bread is commonly used as a utensil instead of as a straight appetizer. When you’re not using your bread, it’s acceptable — even preferred — to place it on the table or tablecloth instead of the plate.

17) Wait for your host to begin eating before you start.

Don’t pick up your fork and start eating until the host does so first. Don’t start eating until everyone at the table has been served their food unless the host indicates that you can.

18) Hold your utensils correctly.

There is a “right” and a “wrong” way to hold your utensils, but it depends on the culture of the people you’re eating with. (Of course, holding your utensils in a fist is always wrong, no matter where you are.)

Beyond that, there are two main styles for holding a fork and knife: continental style (i.e. European style) and American style. In both styles, you hold your fork in your left hand and your knife if your right, and you use the fork to hold the food while you cut it with the knife in your right hand. Once you cut a bite, the main difference comes in.

Continental Style (i.e. European Style)

Use the fork in your left hand to hold the food down while you cut it with the knife in your right hand. Once you cut a bite-sized piece off, keep the fork in your left hand (even if you’re right-handed), and bring the piece of food to your mouth with the fork with the tines curving downward. In other words, the back of the fork will be facing upward as you bring it to your mouth.

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Image Credit: WikiHow

American Style

Use the fork in your left hand to hold the food down while you cut it with the knife in your right hand. Once you cut a bite-sized piece off, place your knife down on the edge of your plate — blade at the twelve o’clock and handle at three o’clock — and transfer your fork from your left hand to your right. Then, turn your fork so the tines are taking upward, and take a bite.

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Image Credit: WikiHow

Speaking of utensil placement … once you start eating, your utensils — including the handles — should never touch the table again. In other words, anytime you need to put your fork or knife down, be sure it’s resting completely on your plate instead of propped up on the table against your plate.

Using Chopsticks?

Check out the diagram below for illustrated instructions on how to pick up and use chopsticks:

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Image Credit: The Royal Garden

Keep in mind that it’s impolite to use your chopsticks to point, spear your food, or dig through your food to find something in particular. 

19) Rest your utensils correctly.

If you want to put your utensils down but you’re not done eating, indicate so to your server either in continental style or American style, depending whom you’re dining with.

Continental Style (i.e. European Style)

Place your knife (turned inward) and fork (tines down) together in an “X” position, anywhere between the clock positions of four and six. 

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Image Credit: Image Resource Group

American Style

Place your knife on the edge of your plate at the one o’clock position (blade turned inward), and your fork (tines up) at the four o’clock position tilted slightly to the left.

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Image Credit: Image Resource Group

Note: In Thailand, don’t eat using your fork. Instead, use your fork only to push food onto your spoon. 

Using Chopsticks?

When you’re not using your chopsticks, place them in a chopstick holder if you’ve been given one, or side-by-side across the top of your bowl.

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Image Credit: Exploration Online

Never rest your chopsticks by sticking them into your food.

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Image Credit: Exploration Online

20) Cut your food one piece at a time.

No matter where in the world you’re located, be sure to cut your meat or meal one piece at a time instead of cutting it into many bite-sized pieces all at once. Likewise, cut your salad into bite-sized pieces so you aren’t stuffing giant lettuce leaves into your mouth and splashing your face with dressing. (It’s happened to the best of us.)

21) Spoon shared sauces onto your plate.

When you share a sauce with the table, don’t dip your food into it. Instead, spoon some of it onto your plate, and dip from there.

22) Don’t blow on hot food to cool it down.

Turns out, it’s rude to blow on food to cool it down. Patience, my friend: Just let it cool down by itself.

23) Drink soup from the edge of the spoon.

Not slurping isn’t the only rule surrounding soup at the dinner table. In many countries, the proper etiquette is to dip the spoon sideways into the soup at the edge of the bowl closest to you, then skim from the front of the bowl to the back. Then, bring the spoon to your mouth and drink the soup from the edge of the spoon, instead of putting the whole spoon into your mouth.

To eat the last bit of soup from the bottom of the bowl, tilt the bowl away from you slightly to scoop it up with your spoon.

Note: In some countries, like Japan, slurping actually signifies your appreciation of your noodles and soups to the chef. You can also drink directly from the soup bowl, as spoons are uncommon.

24) Don’t salt your food before tasting it.

It’s considered an insult to the chef to salt your meal without tasting it first, because it’s assumed you shouldn’t know ahead of time which foods need salting and which don’t.

25) Eat at a medium pace.

In other words, keep the ratio of food eaten equal to the others at the table. If there’s a lot more food on your plate than the other person’s plate, you might be talking too much. If there’s less food on your plate than the other person’s, you’re not talking enough.

26) Don’t overeat or undereat.

Don’t overindulge, or you’ll garner attention in a bad way. And never ask to finish anyone else’s food. At the same time, don’t forego your meal — that doesn’t send a great message, either.

27) When you’re done, place your utensils in the “I’m finished” position.

Finished eating? Indicate so to your server either in continental style or American style, depending whom you’re dining with.

Continental Style (i.e. European style)

Place your fork (tines down) and knife side-by-side on your plate with the handles at four o’clock.

finished-position-continental.gif

Image Credit: Image Resource Group

American Style

Place your fork (tines up) and knife side-by-side on your plate with the handles at four o’clock.

finished-position-american.gif

Image Credit: Image Resource Group

28) Make the “move” to pay, even if you don’t expect to.

Although the host who invited you to dinner is obligated to take care of the check, it’s still polite to make the “move” to pay. You know, the move where you tentatively reach for your wallet. At this point, the host should intervene and say they’ve got it covered — at which point you should not argue, nor should you offer to pay the tip.

29) Don’t forget to thank your host.

At the end of the meal, be sure to thank the host by name. Shake their hand and maintain good eye contact. Later, you might consider thanking them again by way of an email or a handwritten note.

There you have it. We hope these tips were helpful — happy dining!

What are your tips for business dinners? Share with us in the comments.

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Dec

22

2015

12 Handy Tips for Running Better Remote Meetings

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Whether you’re meeting with colleagues who are working from home that day, or with clients located half a world away, running a productive and effective remote meeting can be a challenge.

When you’re face-to-face with people, it can feel much easier to communicate efficiently and gauge how they’re feeling and reacting to different ideas.

But when you’re meeting virtually, it can seem like some attendees sort of … disappear into the abyss.

Here’s a pretty hilarious video poking fun at some of the challenges people face when conducting a remote meeting:

Hits a little close to home, doesn’t it?

While remote meetings will likely never achieve the same level of intimacy as face-to-face meetings, there are ways to make them more effective and productive. To help you get more value out or your remote meetings, we’ve come up with 12 top tips for running better ones. Check ’em out.

12 Tips for Better Remote Meetings

1) Choose the right remote meetings tool for your needs.

Perhaps the most important thing about running a remote meeting is the tool you use to run it. Different team and meeting arrangements may call for different types of tools. If you’re meeting with someone for the first time, or you’re meeting with people in a country whose meeting tools you aren’t familiar with, consider asking them ahead of time which tools they’d prefer. Not everyone is familiar with the ones you use on a day-to-day basis, and you don’t want to add any stress to the meeting around logistics.

Here’s a list of some of the best ones out there. If you’re looking for even more tools, here’s our full list.

  • GoToMeeting: A robust and reliable online meetings program that boasts screen sharing and great call quality.
  • Google Hangouts: Often the most convenient options, thanks to the ubiquity of Google — especially if you’re using Google Calendar to manage your schedule.
  • Join.meGreat for fast and easy screenshare meetings.
  • Kato: Lets you use chat, video, audio, or screen sharing to collaborate with your coworkers — for free. Bonus: All of your conversations are searchable.
  • Uber Conference: No meeting PIN numbers, among other features, means a much less painful conference call experience. It also allows screen sharing and has a mobile app.
  • Skype: A decent option for chatting with folks all over the world — even though it can be a little finicky sometimes.

2) Include a dial-in option.

This deserves its own tip. Many remote meeting tools are designed to work primarily over internet connections. But what happens if someone’s internet goes down or slows down? It’s important to give the option for folks to listen to the meeting and talk over the phone.

3) Be mindful of time zones.

If you’re the one setting up the meeting, be sure to set it for a time that works for everyone on the attendee list. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve been scheduled for a meeting that at 6:00 a.m. your time — or in the evening when you’d normally have other plans.

There are a lot of great time zone apps out there, but we recommend World Time Buddy:

world-time-buddy-app.png

4) Avoid rescheduling or canceling last-minute.

Hey, having to reschedule or cancel a meeting last-minute happens. What’s important is how you go about doing it. Before you simply change the time on the calendar invitation and call it a day, put yourself in your meeting attendees’ shoes. What inconveniences might you be causing? What special plans and arrangements might they have made around your meeting?

A meeting is a commitment, and rescheduling or canceling last-minute is (under most circumstances) a bit rude. If you really have to do it, send a personal note apologizing and explaining the situation.

5) Be crystal clear about how people will be connecting.

This is where the description in the calendar invitation comes in. Don’t assume people will see the meeting link you might have attached to the calendar invitation. Instead, be very clear with your instructions on how everyone will be connecting in the calendar invitation description so everyone has it in one place.

Here are some details to include:

  • Repeat the name of the meeting, the date, the time + time zone, and the duration.
  • “HOW TO JOIN:” followed by the meeting information like the meeting PIN number, dial-in number, and any access codes or websites.
  • Contact information for those who have trouble connection.

Also, specify whether video is required beforehand. Ever joined a call with video on when everyone else had it switched off? Awkward.

Pro tip: If you’re only meeting with a handful of people who are remote, you may want to require video. It helps people stay focused when they know everyone can see them. Plus, it helps people identify more personally with remote colleagues.

6) Choose your location wisely.

A colleague of mine once had a call with a client whose neighbor was mowing the lawn right outside his home office window. Sounds super distracting, doesn’t it?

Moral of the story: Be mindful of where you are and what’s going on in the background. Certain rooms are noisier than others, even if you’re at home. And while it’s probably adorable when your dog jumps on your lap and peers into the camera, you’re typically better off letting pets go outside to play before the meeting starts.

7) Have a mobile hotspot ready.

There’s always, always a chance that the WiFi where you’re located for the meeting will fail right before your meeting starts. That feeling of panic is never a good one. Thankfully, most smartphones have the ability to turn into mobile hotspots — which has saved me on multiple occasions. Keep in mind that it may add to your data usage and cost you extra. If you have iOS 7, you’ll be able to monitor how much data you’ve used. If you’re desperate, though, it could be worth it.

How to Make Your iPhone a Mobile Hotspot

Go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot, and then tap to turn on the hotspot. Then, follow the instructions on that screen. (Click here for more detailed instructions.)

How to Make Your Android Phone a Mobile Hotspot

The exact menu names can vary slightly, but for most Android phones, go to Settings > More > Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot. Here, you can choose from a few different tethering options, along with the option to give your hotspot a strong encryption if you’re in a public location. (Click here for more detailed instructions.)

8) Join the meeting five minutes early.

Whether you’re running the meeting or just attending it, don’t waste valuable meeting time setting up the meeting on your end, or troubleshooting if something goes wrong. Instead, plan for at least five minutes of set-up time ahead of schedule whenever possible.

9) Introduce everyone at the very beginning.

It’s a personable way to get the meeting started, and it lets everyone know who’s actually in attendance — both in the main office room and on the phone.

10) Mute and silence any distracting sounds.

Mute your microphone while others are presenting to silence any overwhelming background noise (like that darn lawn mower).

In the same vein, turn off your computer sounds and notifications, especially if you’re sharing your screen with the group. It’s super distracting for everyone else in the meeting to see pop-ups on your screen while trying to take in the information you’re presenting.

11) Don’t be too apologetic or deferential when people start speaking over each other.

My colleague Corey Wainwright describes it like driving up to a four-way stop with other cars who get there at the same time. Everyone’s gesturing and mouthing to one another, “You go,” “No, you go,” “No, it’s fine, you go!” Then, everyone goes at the same time. And then everyone stops again. 

That’s what happens when people try to talk in remote meetings. It’s inevitable that two or three people chime in at the same time. At that point, one person should just take the lead instead of being overly apologetic and just talk. 

12) Ask for feedback on how people are feeling or what they’re thinking throughout the meeting.

When people meet remotely, especially if there’s no video involved, you’re missing out on the ability to read facial expressions and body language. That’s why it can be useful to solicit feedback on how people are feeling throughout the call. Every five or ten minutes, ask the remote attendees how they’re feeling and whether they have any concerns. This’ll help the folks who are remote feel involved and like their thoughts are heard and cared for. It also helps you keep track of the emotional pulse of the “room.”

What tips do you have for making remote meetings better? Share with us in the comments.

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Nov

6

2015

Job Expectations Around the World: What Do People Care About Most? [New Data]

Companies are always looking for ways to hire exceptional employees. In fact, finding and hiring top talent was one of the top challenges marketers reported in 2015.

But what do job seekers actually look for in a new company? How concerned are they about the culture at your company, or how much they’re paid, or whether they’re working in a particular industry? And how do these priorities differ depending on where you are in the world?

To help answer these questions, we pulled some data from our 2015 State of Inbound report, which comprises research we collected from 4,000 marketers and salespeople around the globe.

Specifically, we asked these folks to rate the following priorities, in order of importance: culture, compensation, work-life balance, quality of sales leadership team, company performance, industry, perks (like tuition, child care, and so on), colleagues/team, and opportunities for growth.

Turns out, it isn’t all about the ping pong tables. Here’s what we found.

What Do People Around the World Consider When Looking For a New Job?

According to our research, in every region of the world, people are primarily looking for opportunities for growth when they look for new jobs.

We also found that, in every region of the world, employee perks like tuition, childcare, and so on were at the bottom of the priority list.

Image Credit: The 2015 State of Inbound Report

Here are our results broken down into more detail, by region:

In Australia and New Zealand (ANZ): Most people (27%) prioritize opportunities for growth, followed by company culture and work-life balance, which tied for second place (21% each). There’s a significant drop-off after that, with compensation in third place (9%), then industry (8%), and company performance (7%). Folks in Australia and New Zealand are least focused on employee perks (1%). 

In Asia-Pacific (APAC): Most people (29%) prioritize opportunities for growth. Their next priorities are culture and compensation (both 15%), followed closely by work-life balance (14%) and then company performance and industry (10% each). People in Asia-Pacific are least focused on employee perks (1%) and the quality of the sales leadership team (2%).

In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA): Most people (29%) prioritize opportunities for growth, followed by work-life balance (20%), culture (15%), and then compensation (13%). Respondents in this region are least focused on employee perks (1%) and the quality of the sales leadership team (3%).

In Latin America (LATAM): More people in Latin America prioritize opportunities for growth (31%) than anywhere else in the world. Work-life balance takes second place in this region (21%). After that, there’s a significant drop-off to compensation (11%), and then culture and company performance (10% each). Folks in this region are least focused on employee perks (3%) and their colleagues and teammates (3%).

In North America (NORTHAM): People in North America prioritize opportunities for growth less than in other regions of the world, and these growth opportunities are tied for first place with company culture (20% each). Not far behind is compensation (18%), followed closely by work-life balance (16%). Marketers and salespeople in this region are least focused on employee perks (1%).

Key Takeaways

1) Prioritize employee growth.

A huge takeaway here is that no matter where you are in the world, if you want to hire top talent, you must invest in opportunities for your employees to grow.

In fact, according to a LinkedIn survey of 7,350 members across five countries, the #1 reason workers quit their job was because they sought greater opportunities for advancement. The best job candidates are attracted to companies that give them room to grow, develop their skills, and move up in the organization — and if your company doesn’t offer opportunities for them to do that internally, then they’re going to look elsewhere.

But we know that many employers find it challenging to balance employee development and growth with more immediate concerns, like making deadlines and focusing on direct revenue producers. Luckily, Harvard Business Review found that the vast majority (as much as 90%) of learning and development takes place on the job, rather than in formal training programs. This means continuously giving employees new challenges, developmental feedback, and mentoring. It also might mean investing in management training, as “employees’ direct managers are often their most important developers,” according to HBR.

2) Build a thriving culture.

Another takeaway? It’s important to build a thriving culture and allow your employees a reasonable work-life balance. Both priorities took one of the top three spots for most regions of the world, especially Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Why is there such an emphasis on culture nowadays? As HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO Dharhmesh Shah explained in a LinkedIn article, product is to marketing as culture is to recruiting. “Just like attracting customers is much easier with a great product, attracting amazing people is much easier with a great culture,” he wrote.

Additionally, a well-defined culture helps you avoid hiring people that end up being bad fits — which can have a corrosive impact on your organization, even long after they’re gone.

3) Allow flexibility in the workplace.

As for work-life balance? Well, it tends to mean different things in different areas of the world. For some, great work-life balance is France’s labor law that requires folks to disconnect from work emails and calls after-hours. For others, it’s Denmark’s notable initiatives for paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. And, of course, there’s always the argument over who has the most vacation days. (Turns out the winners include Austria, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and New Zealand.)  

At the end of the day, though, it’s all about offering flexibility in the workplace. “Flexibility . . . and being able to balance work activities with non-work activities can end up making employees more productive,” wrote HubSpot’s Erik Devaney in his blog post on work-life balance. “And that’s good for business.”

4) Focus less on perks.

Finally, while tuition money, gym memberships, and catered lunches are all fun benefits to offer employees, they aren’t the reasons candidates choose to work where they work. In fact, it’s the least of their concerns when looking for a new job, regardless of where they live. While perks tend to get hyped up in the media, it’s more important to focus on the specific things folks in your region of the world are looking for when they seek out new job opportunities.

What do you think about these findings? How do they reflect or differ from your own experiences? Share with us in the comments.

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Sep

2

2015

Going Global: 22 Growth Hacks & Resources for International Expansion

For a marketer, it’s exciting to see your company grow and transcend the borders of your home country. On the flip side, international expansion can make your job significantly more complex.

Should your international goals vary from your regular goals? How will you handle international communication? What about prioritizing markets? Who comes first? 

If you haven’t heard, we’ve just announced that the HubSpot Marketing Platform is now available in six different languages. Our community of customers now extends into 90 countries. As you would imagine, we’ve learned a thing or two about global expansion in the process. 

So to provide you with some direction and help you give your global marketing a boost, check out these 22 pro tips for international success. And for even more expert advice on gearing up for global expansion, download The Global Marketing Playbook. 

22 Global Marketing Growth Hacks and Resources 

1) Identify your top three growth markets.

Look at your funnel data and map it against the top countries from which you’re already seeing positive indicators — such as traffic, MQLs, higher win rates, and shorter sales cycles. If you don’t have much global data yet, check out GDP and factors specific to your market. Statista offers many resources ranked by country to help you with market selection.

2) Focus on a small number of countries at a time.

Setting country-minded goals makes it easier to go global, and forces you to target more effectively than if you target by language or regional grouping.

3) Determine your “anchor” markets.

If fast, near-term growth is the goal, think about markets that might be smaller and easier to penetrate, so that they can carry you into some of the bigger markets within the same region later.

4) Rally your extended global team.

Tap into partners and contractors in other countries for help with global marketing. If you don’t have any, start developing relationships with freelance content creators, designers, and others.

5) Explore local trends.

Doing some simple research in Google Trends will help you discover the top issues that people are talking about in your target countries. Simply select the country you want to explore in the top right corner to get started.

6) Do your keyword research.

Use Keyword Planner to figure out which keywords offer opportunities in your top markets. If you’re a HubSpot user, you can also conduct keyword research using the Keywords App. Make a note of topics for which you already have content that you could repurpose or adapt.

7) Create country-focused content.

Even if you’re only writing in English, you can attract incredible traffic from a given country by covering country-relevant trends within a blog post. See an example of how Matthew Capala did this for China using a guest writer.

8) Localize top-performing content.

Look at your traffic data to see which blog posts are already performing well for a given country, and localize them into your top languages. Make sure to link to the translations from the English versions and vice versa.

9) Take advantage of customized content.

Improve conversion rates by creating different content, CTAs, and forms depending on the user’s language or country. (If you’re a HubSpot user, learn how to do it here.)

10) Display the right currency for each contact.

Encourage a faster purchase by customizing the currency you wish to display, depending on the country listed in their contact record.

11) Mind your on-page optimization.

Ensure that your focus keyword appears in the title, meta description, alt image tags, header, content body, and the URL itself. Make sure to create localized URLs too.

12) Clone campaigns instead of reinventing the wheel.

Segment your database by country and language. Then, clone top campaigns for each segment instead of creating new ones from scratch. Adapt them and localize them as needed.

13) Choose time zones that make sense for each market.

Once you’ve cloned campaigns, set up emails to auto-send at the appropriate time for each market. Make sure you consider the typical work schedule and local lunch hours, which vary from place to place.

14) Display the right date and time formats for each market.

Take advantage of the feature within your marketing automation software that allows you to easily set up the right date and time formats for each country.

15) Watch out for local holidays.

Make sure you avoid launching campaigns on local holidays in the markets you’re targeting. Bookmark this global holiday calendar to consult when planning your campaigns.

16) Offer local phone numbers.

Thanks to international call forwarding and routing services, such as this one, you can easily get country-specific phone numbers to make it easier for customers to call you. Then, set your re-route rules accordingly.

17) Have an interpreting service on stand-by.

If you can’t handle incoming calls in other languages, you can access a phone-based interpreting service that will connect an interpreter to the line within seconds.

18) Activate chat features in other languages.

Many companies use a live chat feature on their website. If you have multilingual staff available, make sure your chat widget supports multiple languages, like this one.

19) Consider co-marketing campaigns.

Which companies already have a strong presence in the countries you are targeting? Consider joining forces and sharing resources to deliver co-marketing campaigns. Here are some great tips to get you started.

20) Choose localization providers with care.

Avoid using automatic translation tools like Google Translate, as they signal to search engines that your content is low quality. If you need a translation agency, get referrals from colleagues in other companies. If your needs are limited to just one language and your translation needs are less than 2,500 words per day, you can find a professional freelance translator here.

21) Translate commonly used templates.

If you have email templates and automatic messages that go out from your websites or business development reps, have them ready in the primary languages of the countries you are targeting.

22) Think about the global customer experience.

You’ll want to partner with your colleagues in support and services to think through the entire customer experience. See this helpful webinar from ZenDesk on how one company did this in French.

Ready to expand?

Taking on global marketing can seem like a daunting undertaking, but it’s manageable if you set clear goals and think about one country at a time. Start taking advantage of some of the tips and resources above, and share them with your team members to begin weaving them into your current activities.

How does your company approach global expansion? Let us know in the comments section below.

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May

14

2015

6 Data-Backed Lessons for Content Marketers in Europe

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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May

9

2015

A Visual Guide to International Business Etiquette [Infographic]

international_flags.jpg

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

When in Rome, do as the Romans do … especially if you want the Romans to buy what you’re selling.

Almost three-quarters of the world’s spending power is outside the U.S., and exports total 13.8% of the U.S.’s national GDP. The year 2014 was resurgent for internatoinal business travel, with a 6% increase in number of trips taken and 8.9% increase in amount of money spent — a whopping $35.6 billion gain.

If it turns out these trends are here to stay and your company decides to open an office beyond U.S. borders or liaise with international partners, you might just find yourself in an overseas business meeting.

Every country’s unique culture translates into different conventions for how business should be conducted. If you should find yourself across the pond (or in any other country), understanding different customs is essential to getting your relationship started off on the right foot. If you’re in Italy, for example, you should only give flowers in even numbers — and never give any gift in a quantity of 17. And in Argentina, don’t be surprised if business meetings run late into the night.

This infographic from WD Storage outlines dos and don’ts of business conduct in seven countries. Make sure to bookmark this page if you’re traveling internationally on business any time in the near future. (And check out this blog post for a more in-depth guide to international business etiquette.)

international-business-etiquette

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Apr

14

2015

11 Ways to Make Your Content Appealing to International Audiences

international-content

For most of you, customers can come to you from any country in the world. That means all of your potential customers — the people visiting your website, reading your blog posts, and clicking on your calls-to-action — might speak a myriad of different languages or live in totally different time zones. Once they reach your content, how well will it resonate with them?

As your international traffic grows, you’ll want to be sure that you can convert that traffic into leads — and that means keeping your international visitors in mind every time you write about a holiday or publish data with certain units of measurement.

In this post, I’ll share some tips to help you create content that appeals to your entire audience, no matter where in the world they come from.

11 Tips for Making Your Content International

1) Identify culturally rooted content.

When writing for a global audience, we should all be more aware of how our own cultural norms creep into our content. Each time you write a blog post or some other piece of content, imagine you’re reading it out loud to someone who is visiting your country for the very first time. Did you include any terms or concepts that would require additional context or explanation? Look for culturally rooted items in your content, and be sure to add a quick note or explanation for your international viewers.

For example, let’s take a look at this blog post about Thanksgiving Break:

culturally-rooted-content

The content of this post isn’t just helpful to the Americans and Canadians who celebrate Thanksgiving. The advice could just as easily help marketers who are getting ready to take a day or two off to celebrate many holidays around the world. And yet, many of the references — to turkey, pie, and so on — require North American cultural knowledge. In fact, the featured image itself might not be attractive for people who have never seen, let alone eaten, pumpkin pie.

Here are some examples of culturally relevant items and explanatory notes you could add to the post:

  • Thanksgiving = a national holiday celebrated by families in the USA and Canada
  • Cranberry sauce = 
a typical food served on this holiday
  • Warm fireside chats =  a typical family activity associated positively with this holiday
  • Pumpkin pie = a 
traditional holiday dessert

Depending on your goals, you might decide to translate your post into other languages. In translated versions, you could swap out any country-specific holiday references for ones that are relevant for each target group. Or, you might simply decide to offer readers a different version of the post that is relevant to more people than a single holiday in just one region.

2) Be aware of seasonal references.

A blog post published in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere might talk about ice cream and vacations from school — but during that time, the poor folks the Southern Hemisphere might be battling snowstorms and bitter cold.

I’m not saying you should never write about the seasons — but you will want to be aware of your seasonal references and how they might be interpreted by folks on the other side of the globe. If someone on your team is in charge of localizing all your content, you could flag the seasonality of a given blog post, for example, so that “localizer” can update the content. Or, publish and promote it at a more appropriate time of year for the target markets.

Here’s an example of a blog post that references a “summer sales slump”:

seasonal-blog-posts

If you were to translate the content in the blog post above into other languages, you might decide to swap out the references and images so it references the correct time of year for your target audience. Or, you might just adjust the content to reflect the warmer season in their country, and then select a date for publication that coincides with that time of year.

3) Watch for units of measure.

Do you go the extra mile for your customers? Maybe you shouldn’t if they prefer kilometers. Rather than introduce units of measure that might be specific to just one set of countries, you might consider simply tweaking the content slightly to make it more global-friendly.

Here are two easy ways to improve written content for international readers:

  1. Use a unit of measure that’s is relevant to more people: “… within a five-block radius of your restaurant …”
  2. Show alternate units of measure: “… within a one-mile (1.6 km) radius of your restaurant …”
  3. For a more advanced solution, use a custom field to automatically display the appropriate unit of measure appropriate for the visitor’s country (as stored in a database) or using geo detection based on the user’s browser with a smart default if no browser-based language or geo data is available.

4) Mind monetary references.

A “millionaire” in some countries might be anyone with a few thousand dollars, depending on currency conversion. Likewise, someone who earns “six figures” might actually not be doing so well. Americans know implicitly that this is an annual income amount, but many countries think in terms of monthly salaries instead.

Consider this example, in which we’ve used the phrase “six-figure income”:

six-figure-incomes

If it won’t dilute the power of the text, consider using a synonym or a replacement in the source text to make it universally understood. For example: “… who earn in the highest income brackets …” or “… who have high levels of discretionary spending …”

Or, annotate the text to make it clear that by “six-figure income,” you’re actually referencing a high-wage earner in the United States.

5) Create CTAs with translation in mind.

You want your international visitors to convert just as much as your national ones — so it’s especially important to double-check that your CTAs will be effective for other languages and countries.

If you’re planning to translate content at some point, you can “pseudo-localize” by adding 40% more characters to the text to make sure it will fit when translated into most languages. Also, you’ll want to reduce surrounding graphics, and leave more space on buttons, to ensure text will fit when localized.

Ideally, every CTA should separate the text layer from the image layer to enable quick translation. This is also a best practice for SEO in general, as text embedded in images isn’t usually picked up by search engines. If you can’t separate the text layer from the image layer, any images that contain text will need to be created for each language separately, which is time-consuming and expensive.

When designing a CTA that will later be localized, leave 40% more space than you would normally leave to allow for text expansion in other languages. Here’s one example:

twitter-tips-cta

Would “Download Guide” look nice on this image if it were nearly double the number of characters? Probably not. In fact, it might not fit at all. Resizing the screenshots slightly will free up a bit more space for the text. The font size might also need to be adjusted, or the surrounding box might need to be enlarged.

Another option? When translating, tell the translators to feel free to substitute “Download Guide” with something that might be shorter in another language, like “download” or “access” or “show me.” Otherwise, most translators will be faithful to the source language instead of using a term that might actually look and fit better.

6) Observe date differences.

Not every country has a weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Also, some countries use a lunar-based calendar. If you can swing it in a way that sounds natural, try to avoid references like this in your writing.

For example, the first line of the blog post below reads, “It’s already Sunday?! Man, the weekends fly by so quickly in the summer.”

date-differences

Again, “Sunday” doesn’t mean the end of the weekend for everybody. In this case, a simple text swap is all that’s needed. You could replace that line with something like, “The weekend’s nearly gone?! Man, it always flies by…”

7) Avoid images with text.

If you’ve gone through the trouble of translating a blog post into another language, you’d never want to accompany that translated post with an image in the original language. Either your readers will get confused, or they’ll feel like the content wasn’t designed for them.

When possible, choose a source image that will resonate universally. If you really need one with words in it, alert the translator of what other types of images might work instead, so they can select another.

For example, the featured image in the blog post below shows a hand with the word “STOP” written on it:

avoid-images-with-text

Remember, although the hand sign might look familiar, the word “STOP” isn’t the same in every language. Instead, opt for a more universal symbol that accomplishes the same thing, like a stoplight.

stop-light

8) Give translators the tools and permissions to adapt liberally when needed.

Sometimes, there might be elements within a piece of content that might not make perfect sense for the target audience. In these cases, it’ll be important to let the translator know what to do and how far they can go to customize it for a specific audience.

For example, if you have a diagram within a post, can the translator delete the diagram and simply describe it instead with words? Or do they need to adopt the diagram with a localized version? Give them clear instructions.

Take a look at this screenshot from a blog post we wrote optimizing AdWords campaigns for desktop and mobile:

localized-versions

Someone translating this post might be able to swap these diagrams out with a description. Or, if given instructions and the original image files, they could adapt these images to a new language. Finally, remember that something like “pizza” may not be relatable to, say, a Japanese audience — it might be more appropriate to use an example like “sushi” instead.

In this example, a translator would also note that the time format used in the image will vary depending on location.

9) Translate keywords properly.

Keywords that rank well in your country may not rank well in other countries — and their direct translations might not, either. But finding the right keywords and optimizing the blog post for these keywords will be worth the SEO boost.

When you’re negotiating translation costs as part of localizing content, you may want to discuss the selection of a relevant keyword for the source country. They can usually do this by using web-based tools to research keywords

10) Create a feedback loop.

Creating global content is a team effort. Any way that the authors of content in its original language can make the translation process easier for the translators –and vice versa — will only speed up the localization process in the future.

Share any comments translators make with the source content team to help them stay aware of anything inhibiting the translation process, or that might help them select better terms in the future. They don’t need to be hypersensitive to localization, but it’s good for them to keep some examples top-of-mind. Over time, this will make everyone’s jobs easier.

Here’s an example of a piece of content flagged by a Japanese translator:

hubspot-partner-example

japanese-translator-comment

The word “exposure” might carry multiple meanings and possible translations in Japanese — some of them negative. “Visibility” might be a better alternative that lends itself to less confusion.

Here’s another example, this time from Brazil:

portuguese-translator-comment

The term “marketing agency” isn’t common in some languages and countries. The translator wants to ensure it’s OK to use a local equivalent instead.

11) Consider crediting your translators.

Translators can be great advocates for their own work, especially if they have a bio or online resume that points others to examples of their work. Consider crediting them by including something like “translated by [name]” or “adapted by [name]” at the bottom of the post. Doing this will make it clear to readers that the content was adapted, therefore setting the right expectations for your international visitors. It’ll also help you develop good relationships with your translators.

These tidbits are just the tip of the international iceberg, but following them will help you begin creating content that resonates beyond just your own local borders. After all, your next customer could be anywhere.

What tips do you have for creating content that appeals to an international audience? Share with us in the comments below.

Writing Good CTA


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