Articles on this Page
- 05/20/19--03:17: _Operational Managem...
- 05/20/19--03:17: _Operations Coach an...
- 05/20/19--03:17: _What Can I Do With ...
- 07/18/19--12:17: _What is ClickUp – A...
- 07/19/19--04:11: _Robotic Process Aut...
- 07/19/19--05:05: _Importance of Proce...
- 07/23/19--14:24: _What are smart cont...
- 08/04/19--00:41: _What Is Inventory M...
- 08/06/19--12:21: _How to Make a Slack...
- 08/10/19--10:55: _The Ultimate Employ...
- 09/12/19--02:50: _What is Lean Manage...
- 09/20/19--10:21: _PaynPark uses Tally...
- 10/10/19--10:17: _A Complete Guide to...
- 10/29/19--02:00: _Swap - Term of the ...
- 10/31/19--02:00: _Prospectus - Term o...
- 11/02/19--02:00: _Capital - Term of t...
- 11/05/19--01:00: _Manufacture - Term ...
- 11/06/19--01:00: _Trust - Term of the...
- 11/06/19--02:52: _Bridging the produc...
- 11/07/19--01:00: _Leverage - Term of ...
- 11/07/19--04:43: _Entrepreneurship Is...
- 11/07/19--04:45: _Meet 5 startup co-f...
- 11/08/19--01:00: _Credit - Term of th...
- 11/08/19--05:14: _Is Your Brand Authe...
- 11/08/19--05:16: _Invention of teeny-...
- 11/09/19--01:00: _Compound Annual Gro...
- 11/09/19--06:10: _7 Reasons Why You S...
- 11/09/19--06:12: _The 5 best countrie...
- 11/11/19--04:33: _Chase your dream - ...
- 11/11/19--04:34: _Entrepreneurship… i...
- 11/12/19--01:00: _Arbitrage - Term of...
- 11/12/19--04:00: _7 Brands That Got I...
- 11/12/19--04:00: _The Human Element o...
- 11/12/19--06:18: _What's a Competitiv...
- 11/12/19--12:10: _The Beginner's Guid...
- 11/12/19--12:43: _The Beginner's Guid...
- 11/12/19--15:53: _The Best Time to Se...
- 11/13/19--01:00: _15 Podcast Tools to...
- 11/13/19--01:00: _How the Fourth Indu...
- 11/13/19--06:11: _Performance improve...
- 11/13/19--10:47: _How to Calculate Ho...
- 11/13/19--14:20: _How to Write a Link...
- 11/14/19--01:00: _Capitalism - Term o...
- 05/20/19--03:17: Operational Management | Department of Energy
- 05/20/19--03:17: Operations Coach and Operations Management
- 07/18/19--12:17: What is ClickUp – And How to Replace All Your Business Apps
- 07/19/19--05:05: Importance of Process Thinking in Business Management
- 07/23/19--14:24: What are smart contracts on the blockchain?
- 08/04/19--00:41: What Is Inventory Management Process? (& How To Implement It)
- 08/06/19--12:21: How to Make a Slack Bot using Slack API (8 Simple Steps)
- 09/12/19--02:50: What is Lean Management & How To Make Processes Leaner
- 09/20/19--10:21: PaynPark uses Tallyfy to optimize their customer experience
- 10/10/19--10:17: A Complete Guide to Calculating MRR/ARR for Your Business
- 10/29/19--02:00: Swap - Term of the Day - Oct 29, 2019
- 10/31/19--02:00: Prospectus - Term of the Day - Oct 31, 2019
- 11/02/19--02:00: Capital - Term of the Day - Nov 02, 2019
- 11/05/19--01:00: Manufacture - Term of the Day - Nov 05, 2019
- 11/06/19--01:00: Trust - Term of the Day - Nov 06, 2019
- 11/06/19--02:52: Bridging the productivity gap
- 11/07/19--01:00: Leverage - Term of the Day - Nov 07, 2019
- 11/08/19--01:00: Credit - Term of the Day - Nov 08, 2019
- 11/08/19--05:16: Invention of teeny-tiny organic films could enable new electronics
- 11/09/19--01:00: Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) - Term of the Day - Nov 09, 2019
- 11/09/19--06:10: 7 Reasons Why You Should Become An Angel Investor In Startups Now!
- 11/11/19--04:33: Chase your dream - your startup fix for the week
- 11/12/19--01:00: Arbitrage - Term of the Day - Nov 12, 2019
- 11/12/19--04:00: 7 Brands That Got Inclusive Marketing Right
- Solving for your customers: Like Microsoft or ThirdLove, learn about the unique audiences in your following or customer base. Then, think of ways that you can solve a problem for them or better represent them in your campaigns.
- Highlight real stories: If your brand has customers or even employees that have unique backstories or are driven by unique motivations, embrace these factors in your marketing campaigns. For example, you could take a note from Bumble and interview a few happy customers about what drives them to your product or service.
- Unite people with things they have in common: In ads for Coca-Cola, the beverage company is notable for connecting multiple different stories together by highlighting the major things people have in common, such as a love of Coke, hopes for world peace, or national pride. If you have a diverse audience that uses your service or product, use marketing to highlight how your brand can help all sorts of people rather than a set of unrealistic models.
- 11/12/19--06:18: What's a Competitive Analysis & How Do You Conduct One?
- Identify gaps in the market
- Develop new products and services
- Uncover market trends
- Market and sell more effectively
- Are they a low-cost or high-cost provider?
- Are they working mainly volume sales or one-o purchases?
- What is their market share?
- What are characteristics and needs of their ideal customers?
- Are they using different pricing strategies for online purchases versus brick and mortar?
- How does the company differentiate itself from its competitors?
- How do they distribute their products/services?
- What does the sales process look like?
- What channels are they selling through?
- Do they have multiple locations and how does this give them an advantage?
- Are they expanding? Scaling down?
- Do they have partner reselling programs?
- What are their customers reasons for not buying? For ending their relationship with the company?
- What are their revenues each year? What about total sales volume?
- Do they regularly discount their products or services?
- How involved is a salesperson in the process?
- Do they have a blog?
- Are they creating whitepapers or ebooks?
- Do they post videos or webinars?
- Do they have a podcast?
- Are they using static visual content such as infographics and cartoons?
- What about slide decks?
- Do they have a FAQs section?
- Are there featured articles?
- Do you see press releases?
- Do they have a media kit?
- What about case studies?
- Do they publish buying guides and data sheets?
- What online and offine advertising campaigns are they running?
- How accurate is their content?
- Are spelling or grammar errors present?
- How in-depth does their content go? (Is it introductory level that just scratches the surface or more advanced topics with high-level ideas?)
- What tone do they use?
- Is the content structured for readability? (Are they using bullet points, bold headings, and numbered lists?)
- Is their content free and available to anyone or do their readers need to opt-in?
- Who is writing their content? (In-house team? One person? Multiple contributors?)
- Is there a visible byline or bio attached to their articles?
- Certain topics resonate better than others
- The comments are negative, positive, or a mix
- People are tweeting about specific topics more than others
- Readers respond better to Facebook updates about certain content
- Don't forget to note if your competitor categorizes their content using tags, and if they have social media follow and share buttons attached to each piece of content. Both of these will a ect engagement activity.
- Keyword density in the copy itself
- Image ALT text tags
- Use of internal linking
- Which keywords are your competitors focusing on that you still haven't tapped into?
- What content of theirs is highly shared and linked to? How does your content compare?
- Which social media platforms is your target audience using and the most active on?
- What other sites are linking back to your competitor's site, but not yours?
- Who else is sharing what your competitors are publishing?
- Who is referring traffic to your competitor's site?
- For the keywords you want to focus on, what is the diffculty level? There are several free (and paid) tools that will give you a comprehensive evaluation of your competitor's search engine optimization.
- Number of fans/followers
- Posting frequency and consistency
- Content engagement (Are users leaving comments or sharing their posts?)
- Content virality (How many shares, repins, and retweets do their posts get?)
- What is your competitor doing really well with? (Products, content marketing, social
- Where does your competitor have the advantage over your brand?
- What is the weakest area for your competitor?
- Where does your brand have the advantage over your competitor?
- What could they do better with?
- In what areas would you consider this competitor as a threat?
- Are there opportunities in the market that your competitor has identified?
- 11/12/19--12:10: The Beginner's Guide to Conversational Marketing
- Answer FAQs or customer-specific questions where data is already available
- Qualify Leads
- Promote events, products, and content
- Schedule meetings
- Get feedback from customers and prospects
- 11/12/19--12:43: The Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn Marketing
- Add, view, and remove connections depending on their level of value to your business.
- Control who can see your connections — maybe you do or don't want your competitors to see that list of people.
- Leverage your second and third-degree connections to grow your network and build new relationships.
- Import and sync your contacts from your email and other sources to stay in touch with colleagues, partners, leads, and customers across the board. These connections will see your content in multiple places so they learn more about who you are as a business, deepening their relationship with your brand.
- 11/12/19--15:53: The Best Time to Send an Email (Research-Backed)
- 11/13/19--01:00: 15 Podcast Tools to Take Your Show from Good to Great in 2019
- 11/13/19--01:00: How the Fourth Industrial Revolution Could Affect Marketers
- 11/13/19--06:11: Performance improvement through self-talk
- 11/13/19--14:20: How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation in 2019 [Quick Tip]
- 11/14/19--01:00: Capitalism - Term of the Day - Nov 14, 2019
Operations Coach and Operations Management
Jump to navigation
The post What is ClickUp – And How to Replace All Your Business Apps appeared first on Tallyfy.
Making Projects Easier Since you’ve found your way to this post, you’re likely someone who deals with projects in one way or another. You may even be thinking about adopting ClickUp yourself. Whether you’re a project manager, part of a project team, or just an average Joe, we all deal with projects. More specifically, we […]
The post What is ClickUp – And How to Replace All Your Business Apps appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post Robotic Process Automation: How to Automate Your Processes in the Digital Age appeared first on Tallyfy.
As citizens in the digital age, we’re all encountering the rapid technological shift and big data implementation. In order for us, however, to work efficiently, we need effective ways to manage workflows and business processes which deplete more time than we can afford. Thus, the need for Business process management (BPM). One way to achieve […]
The post Robotic Process Automation: How to Automate Your Processes in the Digital Age appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post Importance of Process Thinking in Business Management appeared first on Tallyfy.
Process thinking requires us to view businesses as a set of processes rather than a collection of departments that each perform a function. Nowadays, it is widely used by business of any industry to better design, track, and optimize business processes. That doesn’t mean that we have to do away with functional departments altogether. But […]
The post Importance of Process Thinking in Business Management appeared first on Tallyfy.
Nowadays it seems like everyone is throwing around terms such as “blockchain”, “bitcoin”, “ethereum”, “smart contracts”, etc. These have become buzzwords, and oftentimes the people spouting these words do not truly understand what they are. In order to provide an introduction to smart contracts, and give clarity to these other buzzwords, the following timeline was […]
The post What Is Inventory Management Process? (& How To Implement It) appeared first on Tallyfy.
Inventory management is at the core of each business’ trading activity, a key component of supply chain management. It is a vital process of monitoring, managing, and controlling the stock items of your company. It won’t be an exaggeration if we claim that it is the center of all trading activities within a company – […]
The post What Is Inventory Management Process? (& How To Implement It) appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post How to Make a Slack Bot using Slack API (8 Simple Steps) appeared first on Tallyfy.
Over the last few years, Slack has skyrocketed to become one of the most widely-used business platforms around. The company’s commitment to creating minimalist, yet useful software has won over business people worldwide. Slack has offered a number of ways to get more out of their platform beyond just vanilla Slack. Slack allows for endless […]
The post How to Make a Slack Bot using Slack API (8 Simple Steps) appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post The Ultimate Employee Offboarding Guide [w/ Process Flow Chart and Checklists] appeared first on Tallyfy.
You spend many many hours, energy, and money trying to find the right person to hire. And then you also spend a ton of resources on that employee’s onboarding. When it comes employee offboarding however, you don’t really worry as much. The employee offboarding process isn’t just about leaving your outgoing employee feeling good – […]
The post The Ultimate Employee Offboarding Guide [w/ Process Flow Chart and Checklists] appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post What is Lean Management & How To Make Processes Leaner appeared first on Tallyfy.
In the contemporary business world, more and more companies are entering the market and striving for the same target group. As a result, competition grows more vicious with each passing day and businesses ought to find ways to reduce customer churn and to gain a competitive advantage over others. One way to gain such is […]
The post What is Lean Management & How To Make Processes Leaner appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post PaynPark uses Tallyfy to optimize their customer experience appeared first on Tallyfy.
What was happening in your business that caused you to start using Tallyfy? PaynPark is an independent parking system focused on optimizing positive customer experience. In order to make our customers processes as quick and as easy as possible, we must simplify our own first. As a team, PaynPark required a system with steps viewable […]
The post PaynPark uses Tallyfy to optimize their customer experience appeared first on Tallyfy.
The post A Complete Guide to Calculating MRR/ARR for Your Business appeared first on Tallyfy.
Let me guess, you’re either starting a company or you’re looking to scale your SaaS for your already existing business and you’re not really sure where to start. I feel you. It’s a bit scary at first having to deal with finance, but don’t worry, it’s simpler than it looks. In this quite comprehensive guide, […]
The post A Complete Guide to Calculating MRR/ARR for Your Business appeared first on Tallyfy.
Businesses in Albania need to actively nurture a growth mentality in order to access the untapped economic potential of bridging the productivity gap.
Do founders win or lose when much of the pain of starting companies is removed?
Instead of a brand new team to break into, having a family-run support system in a startup can be the clincher in following the same vision and objectives....
To avoid "empathy washing" your brand, here is a cheat sheet to ensure your organization walks its talk.
The first cell phone, released in 1983, was the size of a brick and weighed two-and-a-half pounds. The newest Apple Watch, released this fall, weighs 1.1 ounces.
With easier rules and a liberalising regulatory regime, investing in early-stage startups is a very useful avenue for wealth-generation.
Chief Operating Officer's insight:
If you are thinking about which country in Europe is the best for creating your startup, you are not alone. Internationally minded founders take time searching for the best options they might have in different countries across Europe.
Chief Operating Officer's insight:
Gurugram- and Hong Kong-based InvestoAsia aims to help retail investors to easily invest in international markets, especially in China and South Korea, which Smriti feels is currently a major difficulty in India.
Chief Operating Officer's insight:
When: November 18, 2019 from 12PM- 1PMWhere: STEM 117 This workshop is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. It will present two researchers / entrepreneurs who have successfully translated their research into companies and applications.
Chief Operating Officer's insight:
Have you ever had trouble relating to ads, TV, or other media because it told stories of people with lives that were vastly different from your own? If so, you're not alone.
Growing up in a small town with partial blindness, the only people I could relate to were characters on TV or in ads. These characters, which included Mr. Magoo, often fit into a specific mold that many people would consider offensive today. They were usually elderly, clumsy, and regularly put themselves into danger by walking into certain situations.
It wasn't until recently, when I was watching an NBC show called This Is Us, that I found a character that I could relate to. The current season follows a blind character over the course of his life -- from birth to adulthood. Although he faces challenges as a blind man, he grows up to be an independent musician living in a city.
While I enjoy having a TV character that I can relate to, what I admire most about the show is that it actually cast a blind actor for the role. This has been fairly unseen in the blind community. In fact, This Is Us is one of the first in history to cast a legally blind actor in a leading network series role.
The results? Notable advocates and organizations, such as the Carroll Center for the Blind, began discussing and celebrating the casting on social media channels.
If I wasn't already hooked on This Is Us, I would've probably started watching when the character was introduced.
As a marketing blogger, the reception of this show made me wonder, "if simply identifying with a unique character on a TV show gets people to tune in each week, what could inclusivity could do for a brand?"
Inclusivity can help brands connect on a deeper, more meaningful level with their audiences -- which can be a major asset to marketing campaigns in 2019 and beyond.
Diversity by the Numbers
In the United States alone, racial and ethnic minorities make up nearly 40% of the population. And this number is likely to grow as 51% of children under 15 were considered part of a minority in 2019.
But the country's diverse population doesn't just include people of different races or ethnicities. Roughly 4.5% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ, and more than 40 million Americans have a disability.
Odds are, some or many people within your audience have something unique about them that makes them different, whether it be related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or physical abilities.
In 2019, inclusive marketing is a no brainer because it reflects the actual world we live in, rather than a fictional place filled with unrealistically perfect models.
Research has even backed up the idea that inclusivity is beneficial in the advertising world. Recently, a Kantar study found that ads that are considered progressive are 25% more effective. The study judged effectiveness by how pleased viewers were, the memorability of the advertisement, and actual metrics related to progressive campaigns.
With successful inclusive marketing campaigns, marketers aim to break advertising norms by highlighting people or groups that might be under- or misrepresented, such as people of color, those who identify as LGBTQ+, those who affiliate with various religions, those who are disabled, or even people of certain ages and genders.
But, inclusive marketing isn't always easy to do right. An inclusive or thought-provoking campaign takes time, effort, and careful thought to be successful. And, it's not just about picking the right stock image and giving yourself a gold star. It's about making a solid effort to include or properly represent diverse people in your campaigns.
As Google noted in a recent post, "Diverse marketing isn’t just a box you can tick. There are so many layers to diversity beyond gender or skin color. It’s also about age. Geography. Socio-economic diversity. Relatable jobs. Abilities. Sexuality."
But, what exactly does inclusivity look like in the marketing world? Keep reading to learn about how seven brands, including Google, absolutely nailed inclusive marketing in their campaigns.
Examples of Successful Inclusive Marketing
1. Procter & Gamble
While P&G is known for its ownership of a variety of cleaning and toiletry companies, including Tide, Dove, and Gillette, the major corporation also creates initiatives to ensure inclusivity in its marketing and products.
Not only do some P&G ads include people from diverse backgrounds, but they also use their platform to tell stories that spread powerful messages about equality, tackle controversial issues, and discuss topics related to diversity and identity.
One example of P&G's inclusive commercials is a 2018 Emmy-winning ad called "The Talk."
The hard-hitting commercial -- which corresponded with P&G's "Black is Beautiful" and "Proud Sponsor of Moms" initiatives -- depicts African American mothers in multiple decades as they have difficult conversations with their children about racism.
At the beginning of the ad, a mother brushing her daughter's hair ominously tells says, "It's not a compliment."
As you might wonder what she's referring to, you start to see scenes of other black mothers talking to their children about racism and judgement that they'll face in life. For example, one mother tells her son, "There are some people who think you don't deserve the same privileges just because of what you look like. It's not fair. It's not."
The ad begins to get darker as you see mothers instructing their children of what to do when they are pulled over to avoid police brutality.
At the climax of the ad, it's revealed that the daughter featured at the beginning was called, "Beautiful for a black girl." Her mother tells her not to accept this compliment and concludes, "You are beautiful, period!"
The ad ends with text in all caps stating, "LET'S ALL TALK ABOUT 'THE TALK' -- SO WE CAN END THE NEED TO HAVE IT."
This commercial doesn't beat around the bush. Instead, its goal is to expose the unthinkable closed-door conversations that African American mothers need to have with their children to keep them safe and strong in the face of racism. By informing people of these conversations, P&G aims to create a discussion that might create change or end the need for mothers to feel they have to prepare their children for racism or judgment.
When it came to the commercial's goal of creating a discussion, "The Talk" was a success in that it was chattered about by social media users, advocacy groups, and major news outlets.
During an interview about the ad, P&G's Global Communications Director, Damon Jones told AdAge, "We know that bias is not just an African American issue. It's an issue that takes on many shapes and forms, across gender, race, age, weight, sexual orientation, and more."
"Our goal with 'The Talk' is to help raise awareness about the impact of bias," he added. "We are also hopeful that we can make progress toward a less biased future by recognizing the power of people of all backgrounds and races showing up for one another."
To learn more about "The Talk" and other Emmy-award nominated campaigns, check out this rundown.
In a 2018 ThinkWithGoogle post, Lorraine Twohill revealed that the tech giant did a deep dive to determine the level and quality of diversity in its campaigns. The project, which was done with help from machine learning and experts at the Geena Davis Institute, allowed a task force to analyze diversity related to race, gender, and socioeconomics.
"Our images had lots of racial diversity. But everyone looked like they worked in tech and lived in a hip, urban neighborhoods," Twohill wrote in the post.
Along with socioeconomic disparity, Twohill also revealed that Google needed to up its game when representing gender as well.
"My team brought me a new campaign to review. Dad was cooking in the kitchen. Great! I was proud that they had flipped a stereotype," she explains. "But the next image showed he was there because mom was in the hospital having a baby. Sorry, dad, but we had to reshoot. Mom was away because she was on a business trip."
To address issues related to misrepresenting or under-representing different backgrounds, Google launched a training course to tackle diversity in its campaigns. Twohill notes that 90% of her team and 200 agency partners have taken this course.
As a result, Google began to launch even more thought-provoking campaigns, including a Pixel 2 commercial called "The Picture-Perfect Life," which shows real photos of Google Pixel users from different backgrounds, while also tackling the tough topic of mental illness.
In the commercial, Google aims to show that although someone might seem happy in photos or videos, they might still be struggling with mental distress on the inside:
The ad, narrated by Logic, a Grammy-nominated rapper who spread awareness of a suicide hotline in his thought-provoking song, "1-800-273-8255," opens with images of seemingly happy people shot with the Pixel 2.
All of the photos you see look like the downright pleasant photos you'd see in any smartphone ad focused on highlighting a great camera. For example, you see crisp and clear shots of a man with his daughter, a girl making donuts, a man playing basketball, a mother singing in the car with her family, and a few people at parties with friends. But, as the commercial progresses, you learn that there's a hidden side to each person's story.
As the slideshow shows photos of each person, Logic introduces them and explains what the visuals are showing. For example, when the ad shows photos of a girl in an empty apartment, Logic explains, "This is Lauren, and this is her new place, which will soon be crammed with all of her friends."
But, towards the end of the commercial, you see a girl looking down at a smartphone screen that repeatedly says "1-800-273-8255." Logic says, "And this? This is the lifeline that all these people bravely called to find hope."
"Not every picture tells the whole story," Logic concludes. "Question your lens."
"The Picture-Perfect Life" aims to represent and identify with people dealing with mental illness while informing viewers that friends, family, or loved ones might seem happy or put together on the outside while still struggling behind closed doors. While this content might educate viewers about mental health, it also informs those with these struggles that Google identifies with them and that there are resources that can help.
Overall, the commercial is Google's attempt to present it's real customers while spreading a message that the tech company is trustworthy and supports its followers.
Like P&G's, "The Talk," this campaign and Logic's song, which played in the background of the ad, got heavy discussion and shares online. Since it originally aired during the Grammy Awards in 2018, it's gotten major online discussion and was also covered in publications like AdWeek and The Washington Post.
Recently, it came to Microsoft's attention that children with certain physical disabilities or missing limbs were having difficulty playing video games with traditional controllers. The company began working on an alternative controller which included touchpads instead of buttons and bright colors for the visually impaired. They also opened a channel of communication where disabled people who still couldn't use the controller could write to them requesting customizations.
This product launch culminated in a Super Bowl commercial where Microsoft interviewed the gamers about how the controller helped them and featured quotes from the engineers that led the project. The commercial, titled "We All Win," shows just how far the major tech company will go to help customers and prospects with all different abilities.
In the ad, a handful of children with physical disabilities introduce themselves and begin talking about how much they love video games and how it helps them bond with their friends.
"I love video games, my friends, family, and again video games," says one boy. Meanwhile, a young girl points out that she enjoys "the fun [video games] let you have when you're connecting with your friends."
At one point, a child's father adds, "It's his way of interacting with his friends when he can't physically otherwise do it."
While video games make these children happy, the commercial reveals that there's one underlying issue preventing accessibility: controller designs.
"When I'm playing with a regular controller, there are some things that don't work for me," says a boy with one hand.
Another boy who also has one hand says, "I never thought it was unfair. I just thought, 'Hey. This is the way it is and it's never going to change."
After establishing the issue of accessibility, the commercial shows children excitedly opening new adaptive controllers from Microsoft.
"What I like about the adaptive controller is that now, everyone can play," narrates one child, while another says "I can hit the buttons just as fast as [other gamers] can."
Another boy giggles and says, "I think I can crush my friends."
The commercial ends with inspirational text that says, "When everybody plays, we all win."
While the adaptive controller ad successfully shows off happy customers and Microsoft's newest technology, the overall campaign and product more importantly aim to empower young people with disabilities who might think that getting excluded from day-to-day activities is just going to be part of life.
Even if a viewer with disabilities isn't interested in gaming, they might watch this commercial and trust Microsoft's brand more because the company learned about the unique challenges of its customers and created a product just to solve those problems. Similarly, someone without disabilities might trust Microsoft brand more because they've seen the lengths that the company will go to to help unique groups of customers.
While the adaptive controller and Microsoft's agency, McCann New York, won a Clios for Design, Innovation, and Branded Entertainment, the video advertisement itself received 29.5 million views and 250 thousand likes on YouTube.
Coca-Cola is no stranger to embracing diversity in its ads. If you grew up in the 1970s or 80s, you might remember the company's famous "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" commercial. When filming the ad, Coca-Cola young adults from all around the world to sing the jingle, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke."
The ad was considered groundbreaking as it united people from all different races and ethnicities around the common interests of Coca-Cola and world peace. In short, it aimed to show that even though people can come from different backgrounds, everyone has something in common.
Since then, Coca-Cola has continued to create campaigns that link diverse people together with a simple bottle of Coke.
Since 2013, Coca-Cola has run the "Share a Coke" campaign where labels on plastic bottles of Coke say "Share a Coke with …" and include names from around the world.
This campaign celebrates names around the world and is highly shareable. For example, people regularly post images of bottles on social media when they see their own name or the name of someone they know.
Later in 2014, Coca-Cola launched an ad, titled "Together It's Beautiful," that gives you a small peek into the daily lives of U.S. residents who all share a similar sense of pride for the United States despite their vastly different ethnic or geographical backgrounds.
As the ad begins, you see a man on a horse with a cowboy hat in a rural area as you hear the opening line of, "America, The Beautiful" sung in English. Then, it shows children in a movie theater as the next line of the song is sung in Spanish. From this point, each lyric is sung in a different language as you see different scenes of people around the United States.
As you see each scene and hear the song, which embraces American pride, the commercial reminds you of how diverse the United States truly is.
At the pique of the commercial, you begin to see subtle Coca-Cola branding intertwined within each scene. At one point, children swim down to the bottom of a pool to pick up Coke caps. At another, you see the Coca-Cola logo painted on the wall of a building.
Similarly to the "I'd Like to Buy the World A Coke" ad noted above, Coca-Cola aims to unite people of different cultures around a few common things. While the 1971 ad connected people with a love of Coca-Cola and hopes for world peace, the 2014 commercial shows that even vastly different U.S. residents share the same love of Coke and a sense of American pride.
In 2017, Coca-Cola published a statement explaining the meaning of the ad:
"The premise of ‘It’s Beautiful’ can be simply stated: America is beautiful and Coca-Cola is for everyone. It celebrates Coca-Cola moments among all Americans and features snapshots of American families," Coca-Cola writes. "We believe it’s a powerful ad that promotes optimism, inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to Coca-Cola. 'It’s Beautiful' shows just a few of the ways Americans enjoy our brand and how Coca-Cola brings families and friends together every day."
One of the things that makes Coca-Cola's inclusive campaigns so successful is that they are able to identify and highlight the simple things that all sorts of people have in common. This commercial reminds us that Coke is a beloved and recognized brand, but it most importantly shows us that we all can find common ground regardless of how different we might seem from one another.
ThirdLove is a lingerie company that aims to make items for all different body types. To enforce this brand message, they show real women of all ages, shapes, and races -- rather than touched up, high-fashioned models -- in their marketing assets.
Here's an example where ThirdLove's Facebook cover photo shows an older woman and a younger woman wearing items from its lingerie line.
ThirdLove also shows imagery on its site and social media platforms that show multiple women wearing bras from the company to show off the variations in body types that its clothing can be made for:
In an open letter published in the New York Times, ThirdLove's CEO and Co-Founder Heidi Zak discussed the company's strategy of depicting all women, how brands like Victoria's Secret should be empowered by diversity, and why inclusivity should be seen as a movement rather than a trend.
“We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm," she wrote.
While ThirdLove's ads and visuals might be relatable to many different types of women, its inclusive brand has also seen 347% year-over-year sales growth, according to Shopify.
You don't have to do a campaign just about diversity or equality to nail inclusive marketing. Sometimes, inclusive marketing simply entails showing off your wide range of real-life customers. Bumble's "Find Me On Bumble" campaign is a great example of how a brand can be inclusive just by highlighting its awesome customers.
In a video for the campaign, Bumble explains that the app sees a variety of great users in the New York City area and the company wanted to celebrate them. To do this, the company sought out some of Bumble's most interesting New Yorkers and brought them together to tell their stories.
"Every connection you make on Bumble is an opportunity to meet someone who can impact your life. Inspiring people are everywhere. We wanted to celebrate them," notes text at the beginning of the content.
As the video continues, you get a glimpse of different Bumble users posing for a photoshoot as you see short clips of interviews with them.
A few examples of the people shown in the Bumble video are a political operative, an entrepreneur, an opera singer, and a model and activist.
In each person's interview clip, they note a life lesson they've learned or given details on their backstory. For example, the political operative explains, "Lots of times, I felt like I had to be forced into a box. Now, I'm the type of person where I don't really care what type of box you put on me or what type of label you put on me, but I'm going to still do what I want."
At another point, an author and activist notes that she's gotten far in her political career by working for people she believed in. "Fifteen years ago, no one even knew who Barack Obama was. So think of all the people who we don't even know exist yet who could have such an impact," she explains.
While the video highlights all the people you can find on Bumble Date, Bumble BFF, and Bumble Bizz, it also recognizes the diversity in New York City. At one point, an orthodontist being filmed says, "I love that there's such a variety of different people here. Living in New York, you still get to meet people from all over the world."
The video ends with images of more people posing for photos with overlaid text that says. "Really New Yorkers, Really Inspiring, Really on Bumble." Then the content closes with a call to action of "Find them on Bumble."
The people invited to Bumble's photoshoot are also highlighted on the @FindThemOnBumble Instagram account.
Rather than marketing images of models or unrealistic people that you could match with on Bumble, the video, Instagram account, and overall campaign focus on real people that have made great accomplishments or embrace their inner confidence. Here's one example where a Bumble user says that the most important lesson they've learned is to be themselves:
The "Find Them on Bumble" campaign is a good example of how a brand can market its customer diversity as one of its biggest assets. When you see multiple people with different backgrounds and motivations using the same product, you might feel that the product is of good quality or you might just connect more deeply with the marketing.
If you're marketing any type of business that connects people to other people, highlighting your current customers or users could make prospects even more interested in working with your brand, especially if they're interested in meeting and learning from interesting people.
In 2016, Axe launched a commercial that embraced all men who used its body spray. While many commercials targeted at men in the past presented unrealistic-looking athletes and related masculinity to physical strength, Axe's ad argues that masculinity is about being confident with your own identity rather than being a stereotypical buff athlete.
The short commercial begins with a car pulling up on a street covered with billboards of buff male models. As a car pulls up with a man in it, a narrator exclaims, "Come on. A six-pack? Who needs a six-pack, when you got the nose?" At the end of the phrase, the man looks and smiles at the camera.
Then the commercial continues with, "Or a nose when you've got the suit?" as the man walks into a bar with a nice outfit. Then the narrator continues to state that a man doesn't need one thing, such as a nice suit, if they have another thing, like "great moves." As the narrator makes each statement, videos depict men doing an action, such as dancing, which goes along with what the narrator is saying.
For example, when the narrator says, "Who needs looks when you got the books?" the video shows a man holding a book titled, "The Power of the Banana" while his friend is shopping for records.
The commercial goes on to show images of all sorts of men finding their passions including a dancer wearing high heels and a man dancing with a woman in a wheelchair. The narration expresses that masculinity is about expressing yourself, embracing your passions, and being confident in who you are.
At the climax of the commercial, the narrator simply says, "And who needs all that when you get the door," as he shows a man opening the door for someone. It ends with the narrator saying, "Who needs some other thing, when you've got your thing. Now work on it."
Rather than encouraging men to work out or marketing to manly men, Axe embraces the idea that all men have different passions and encourages them to embrace the unique aspects of themselves. While some people might think another body spray which markets to strong muscular men is just for athletes and not meant for them, those who view this commercial from Axe might think that a number of people from all sorts of backgrounds use the body spray.
Tips for Building an Inclusive Marketing Strategy
As we've seen with some of today's most successful brands, inclusive marketing is about understanding what makes your audience or customers unique and embracing it. By highlighting what's interesting, inspiring, unique, or different about your audience and how your brand supports them, you might find new audiences that see your campaigns, start identifying more with you, and realize that your brand aligns with their lifestyle.
Here are three key strategies that you can take away from these examples when trying to create more inclusivity in your marketing campaigns:
Now that you've read about inclusivity in marketing, you might be wondering how to get started on your own campaigns. If so, check out this post on how to devise a multicultural marketing strategy. Want to embrace diversity in your overall business? Learn about five benefits in this blog post.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for marketing -- in fact, a HubSpot study found LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%
Businesses in industries ranging from higher education to financial services have all seen success advertising on the platform. Even well-established consumer brands like Subway, the U.S. privately-held sub and sandwich franchise, managed to convert new corporate customers with the help of LinkedIn's Website Demographics ad function.
However, advertising on any new tool can feel overwhelming, and if you don't already use LinkedIn to generate leads through advertising, you might be unsure where to start.
Fortunately, we've got you covered. Gaurav Nihalani, a Digital Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, was interviewed as part of HubSpot's new campaign, "Advertising, a Look Behind the Screens".
Take a look at the full interview series here, or keep reading to learn Nihalani's suggestions on how to successfully advertise on LinkedIn.
Gaurav Nihalani's 5 Tips to Successfully Advertise on LinkedIn
1. When creating your ads, tap into the human element.
If you're a marketer without much prior experience in the advertising industry, you might be dealing with a little bit of imposter syndrome, wondering if you have the skills necessary to create high-converting ads.
Fortunately, Nihalani believes you can still create a powerful ad as long as you understand the human element.
As Nihalani says, "I think marketing is more about the human element, right? If you're able to speak to someone as you are speaking to me now, you should be able to market to that same person."
As an example, Nihalani calls out old-school advertising -- "You know, if you look at, historically, ads throughout the generations -- whether it was on print, radio, or television -- you know, the ones that were really successful were the ones that related to people the most … so if you think about brands such as Coca-Cola, you know, there was always a person drinking a Coke."
He goes on to say, "They were talking about things like happiness, family, and gatherings. They weren't really talking about, 'Hey, our product is the best-tasting Cola'. So, I think when it comes to things like that, you can be very successful if you're able to create a connection at a human level."
Of course, you'll want to A/B test to ensure you're creating content that best resonates with your audience, and you can use analytics to refine your strategy.
But ultimately, your advertisement will likely perform best if you understand your persona as a three-dimensional person -- What are his or her interests outside of business? What excites them most? These questions can help you formulate a more powerful, far-reaching ad.
2. If your business is booming, you still need to advertise.
If sales are steadily rising and your business is experiencing the benefits of a well-established brand in the marketplace such as name recognition, you might be thinking -- Do I really need to advertise right now?
Nihalani, however, advises against this way of thinking -- "I think there's a misconception in the world of marketing that if you're a successful business, you don't need to market -- and I think that's a poor decision on the part of a business, because when you are successful, it might be the best time to market."
Nihalani adds, "That's why when you talk about tissues, you say Kleenex, right? When you talk about sports shoes, you talk about Nikes, and it's not that those businesses have stopped advertising when they were successful."
"[Instead] they started advertising even more, because the more you get in front of someone, the more you talk about your values and your brand, the more you establish a human connection with that customer or that buyer."
He has a point. Plenty of well-established successful brands, like Nike, spend billions on advertising each year. Ultimately, long-term success is only guaranteed with long-term marketing efforts -- even if your sales are in a good place, it's still critical you use that success as leverage to reach more audiences and become a more widely recognizable and beloved brand.
3. Tailor content specific to personas in various stages of the buyer's journey.
To explore the importance of customized content that aligns with various stages in your buyer's journey, let's start with Nihalani's example for LinkedIn.
Nihalani points out -- "For LinkedIn, for our marketing business, we want to advertise to marketers, so that's a fairly broad function, but maybe there's some marketers who really value our messaging and are ready to make that purchase right away."
Alternatively, he says, "At the same time, there are other marketers who are maybe just brand-new. They just started their careers. Everything that we're saying may be a little over their head, so we can tailor different messages to them. Now, simultaneously, what we want to do is make sure that they all understand our brand, but we want to make sure we do that without spending too much money."
Nihalani adds, "We can create different personas within the marketing function itself, and tailor content specific to those personas so that we are maximizing our budget."
Of course, this is easier said than done, but Nihalani offers a few tactical steps you can do to begin defining your target persona on the platform.
First, it's critical you determine your goal or objective, as well as how you'll measure your success (is it in leads, click-throughs, or sales?).
Once you've determined your objective, you'll want to develop your target audience by considering a few critical questions, including -- Where does he/she work? In which industry is he/she in? What is his/her job title or job junction? Where did he/she go to school?
As Nihalani points out, all these questions can be answered on LinkedIn. For instance, he says, "If you want to find a decision-maker in a specific industry, you can do that today using LinkedIn advertising. If you want to target an individual who just graduated from school, from an undergraduate program, you can do that today."
Nihalani adds, "As soon as I graduated, I was seeing advertising from Master's programs, highly relevant to me. I was in the process of considering maybe making that decision, and so because of their ability to use LinkedIn targeting, [marketers]were able to get that message to me and not waste that advertising spend on anyone else who may not find that relevant."
Ultimately, LinkedIn is a phenomenal place to advertise because of the in-depth information it can provide on your target persona's personal brand, workplace, and both current and past roles. Use this information wisely to target particular segments within a larger demographic.
For instance, if you're selling email marketing software, rather than targeting all marketers (which is both expensive and time-consuming), you might consider targeting marketers with a current role in email marketing, and/or marketing executives specifically in the tech industry.
4. Brand awareness and thought leadership are just as important as acquisition.
When thinking about the goals of your advertising strategy, I'm willing to bet one thing initially comes to mind -- sales.
Of course, it's critical your ads drive revenue and results for your business.
However, that doesn't mean it should be the only goal you have when creating an ad.
Nihalani suggests, instead, you think of your marketing objectives in a few different boxes -- "One being pure acquisition, right? This is what you would consider direct sale ... they click on your ad, and they're going directly to a page where they're buying a product or they're giving you their personal information to have you contact them directly."
"But you also have things like brand awareness and thought leadership," he adds, "Which I think are [perhaps] more important than acquisition -- because why would someone give you money and buy your product if they don't believe in your brand, [or] they don't align with what you believe in as a business?"
He mentions that a successful marketer knows that selling a business's story is just as important as selling the business's products or services.
Nihalani says, "I think everyone does have a story, you know, and behind every business is a story, how they got started, how they became successful, maybe a failure that they had, what they learned from that and where they're at today."
"Businesses grow and shrink and succeed and fail every single day, and you've seen some major businesses in the past no longer exist today and some new up-and-comer completely take over markets. You know, LinkedIn is a great example of that."
5. Use LinkedIn resources to identify the tools that work best for your business.
When you first start using a new product, it can be intimidating to figure out how the product will fit into your overall strategy.
To help you identify the marketing solutions that are best-aligned with your needs, Nihalani suggests you start with the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Success Hub, which offers case studies, tips and tricks on how to use their products more effectively, and LinkedIn's new product offerings -- including when to use those products, and when not to use them.
There's also a Get Started Guide which helps you create a free LinkedIn Page for your business, learn how to share high-quality content like blog posts and Powerpoints, and monitor your success with LinkedIn analytics.
Ultimately, however, Nihalani points out that you likely already have all the content and marketing information necessary to succeed on LinkedIn -- "You already know how to tell your story. Start there. Start using all of that kind of content and put it out on a platform like LinkedIn and advertise it, and from there, you can learn and develop and refine, just like you do today."
Learn more from Gaurav Nihalani and other advertising leaders by accessing an exclusive interview series with LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook.
When was the last time you ran a competitive analysis for your brand?
And most importantly, do you know how to do one efficiently?
If you're not sure, or if the last "analysis" you ran was a quick perusal of a competitor's website and social media presence, you're likely missing out on important intelligence that could help your brand grow.
A competitive analysis helps you learn the ins and outs of how your competition works. It also helps you identify what they're doing right and opportunities where you can easily one-up them by using a strategy they haven't taken advantage of.
Competitive Analysis in Marketing
Every brand can benefit from regular competitor analysis. By performing a competitor analysis, you'll be able to:
As you can see, learning any of these four components will lead your brand down the path of achievement. But before you get too excited to start, we need to nail down a few important basics.
Once you identify your true competition, you'll need to determine what metrics you'll be comparing across the board. Below, we'll give nine specific factors to compare and tips on how to identify this competition in the first place.
1. Determine who your competitors are.
First, you'll need to figure out who you're really competing with so you can compare the data accurately. What works in a business similar to yours may not work for your brand.
So how can you do this?
Divide your “competitors” into two categories: direct and indirect.
Direct competitors are businesses that offer a product or service that could pass as a similar substitute for yours, and that operate in your same geographic area.
On the flip side, an indirect competitor is one that provides products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem.
It seems simple enough on paper, but these two terms are often misused.
When comparing your brand, you should only focus on your direct competitors. This is something many brands get wrong.
Let's use an example: Stitch Fix and Fabletics are both subscription-based services that sell clothes on a monthly basis and serve a similar target audience.
But as we look deeper, we can see that the actual product (clothes in this case) are not really the same; one brand focuses on stylish everyday outfits while the other is workout-centric attire only.
Yes, these brands satisfy the same need for women (having trendy clothes delivered right to their doorstep each month), but they do so with completely different types of clothing, making them indirect competitors.
This means Kate Hudson's team at Fabletics would not want to spend their time studying Stitch Fix too closely since their audiences probably vary quite a bit. Even if it's only slightly, this tiny variation is enough to make a big difference.
Now, this doesn't mean you should toss your indirect competitors out the window completely.
Keep these brands on your radar since they could shift positions at any time and cross over into the direct competitor zone. Using our example, Stitch Fix could start a workout line, which would certainly change things for Fabletics.
This is also one of the reasons why you'll want to routinely run a competitor analysis. The market can and will shift at anytime, and if you're not constantly scoping it out, you won't be aware of these changes until it's too late.
2. Determine what products your competitors offer.
At the heart of any business is its product or service, which is what makes this a good place to start.
You'll want to analyze your competitor's complete product line and the quality of the products or services they're offering.
You should also take note of their pricing and any discounts they're offering customers.
Some questions to consider include:
3. Research your competitors sales tactics and results.
Running a sales analysis of your competitors can be a bit tricky.
You'll want to track down the answers to questions such as:
These helpful pieces of information will give you an idea of how competitive the sales process is, and what information you need to prepare your sales reps with to compete during the final buy stage.
For publicly held companies, you can find annual reports online, but you'll have to do some sleuthing to find this info from privately owned businesses.
You could find some of this information by searching through your CRM and reaching out to those customers who mentioned they were considering your competitor. Find out what made them choose your product or service over others out there.
To do this, run a report that shows all prospective deals where there was an identified competitor.
If this data is not something you currently record, talk to marketing and sales to implement a system where prospects are questioned about the other companies they are considering.
Essentially, they'll need to ask their leads (either through a form field or during a one- on-one sales conversation) to identify who their current service providers are, who they've used in the past, and who else they are considering during the buying process.
When a competitor is identified, have your sales team dive deeper by asking why they are considering switching to your product. If you've already lost the deal, be sure to follow up the with prospect to determine why you lost to your competitor. What services or features attracted the prospect? Was it about price? What's the prospect's impression of your sales process? If they've already made the switch, find out why they made this decision.
By asking open-ended questions, you'll have honest feedback about what customers find appealing about your brand and what might be turning customers away.
Once you've answered these questions, you can start scoping out your competitor's marketing efforts.
4. Analyze how your competitors market their products.
Analyzing your competitor's website is the fastest way to gauge their marketing efforts. Take note of any of the following items and copy down the specific URL for future reference:
5. Take note of your competition's content strategy.
Then, take a look at the quantity of these items. Do they have several hundred blog posts or a small handful? Are there five white papers and just one ebook?
Next, determine the frequency of these content assets. Are they publishing something new each week or once a month? How often does a new ebook or case study come out?
Chances are, if you come across a robust archive of content, your competitor has been publishing regularly. Depending on the topics they're discussing, this content may help you hone in on their lead generating strategies.
From there, you should move on to evaluating the quality of their content. After all, if the quality is lacking, it won't matter how often they post since their target audience won't find much value there.
Choose a small handful of samples to review instead of tackling every single piece to make the process more manageable.
Your sampler should include content pieces covering a variety of topics so you'll have a fairly complete picture of what your competitor shares with their target audience.
When analyzing your competitor's content, consider the following questions:
As you continue to scan the content, pay attention to the photos and imagery your competitors are using.
Do you quickly scroll past generic stock photos or are you impressed by custom illustrations and images? If they're using stock photos, do they at least have overlays of text quotes or calls-to- action that are specific to their business?
If their photos are custom, are they sourced from outside graphic professionals or do they appear to be done in-house?
When you have a solid understanding of your competitor's content marketing strategy, it's time to find out if it's truly working for them.
6. Analyze the level of engagement on your competitor's content.
To gauge how engaging your competitor's content is to their readers, you'll need to see how their target audience responds to what they're posting.
Check the average number of comments, shares, and likes on your competitor's content and find out if:
7. Observe how they promote their marketing content.
From engagement, you'll move right along to your competitor's content promotion strategy.
The following questions can also help you prioritize and focus on what to pay attention to:
8. Look at their social media presence, strategies, and go-to platforms
The last area you'll want to evaluate when it comes to marketing is your competitor's social media presence and engagement rates.
How does your competition drive engagement with their brand through social media? Do you see social sharing buttons with each article? Does your competitor have links to their social media channels in the header, footer, or somewhere else? Are these clearly visible? Do they use calls-to-action with these buttons?
If your competitors are using a social network that you may not be on, it's worth learning more about how that platform may be able to help your business, too. To determine if a new social media platform is worth your time, check your competitor's engagement rates on those sites. First, visit the following sites to see if your competition has an account on these platforms:
Then, take note of the following quantitative items from each platform:
With the same critical eye you used to gauge your competition's content marketing strategy, take a fine-toothed comb to analyze their social media strategy.
What kind of content are they posting? Are they more focused on driving people to landing pages, resulting in new leads? Or are they posting visual content to promote engagement and brand awareness?
How much of this content is original? Do they share curated content from other sources? Are these sources regular contributors? What is the overall tone of the content?
How does your competition interact with their followers? How frequently do their followers interact with their content?
After you collect this data, generate an overall grade for the quality of your competitor's content. This will help you compare the rest of your competitors using a similar grading scale.
9. Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
As you evaluate each component in your competitor analysis (business, sales, and marketing), get into the habit of performing a simplified SWOT analysis at the same time.
This means you'll take note of your competitor's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats any time you assess an overall grade.
Some questions to get you started include:
You'll be able to compare their weaknesses against your strengths and vice versa. By doing this, you can better position your company, and you'll start to uncover areas for improvement within your own brand.
How Does Your Business Currently Stack Up?
Before you accurately compare your competition, you need to establish a baseline. This also helps when it comes time to perform a SWOT analysis.
Take an objective look at your business, sales, and marketing e orts through the same metrics you use to evaluate your competition.
Record this information just like you would with a competitor and use this as your baseline to compare across the board.
Ready to get started with the full ebook and template? Click here to access the complete Competitive Analysis Kit.
Editor's Note; This post was originally published prior to July 2018 but was updated in November 2019 for comprehensiveness.
How did your grandparents, parents, and younger siblings grow up gossiping about the latest party? I bet they’d all have different answers.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a trip back in time.
First, we sent letters. If you think handwriting a card took a long time, think about the time it took to receive a response by plane, train … or pony.
The 1800s brought many new technologies, including the telegraph. It may sound cool, but think about how long it took to translate details into morse code. I’ll give you a hint: .. - / - --- --- -.- / .- / .-.. --- -. --. / - .. -- ..-.-.
Years later, the fax machine allowed us to send messages and images over telephone lines. Unfortunately, the earliest machines cost tens of thousands of dollars, and you still had to create a hard copy of your message.
Then came “leave a message after the beep” … voicemail. We've all put off listening to that 3-minute long message. It’s easy to ignore or it can be the start of an endless game of phone “tag”.
After voicemail came "you've got mail." While revolutionary, inboxes quickly became overwhelmed. Your thoughtful email lay forgotten under a pile of spam and promotional messages.
Then the people who brought us email rolled out AIM or instant messenger. As the name implies, this was the first instant messaging service. Except your friends weren’t always online. Sometimes their away message was set to Outkast lyrics. Shake it like a Polaroid picture, anyone?
Around the same time, SMS texts hit mobile phones everywhere. You can now text your friend all of the essential party details and 🎉🎉🎉emojis.
Finally, we arrived at live chat. Live chat allows for instantaneous responses. You write a quick message and see those three little dots signaling a reply. The days of waiting for weeks to hear from someone are over – conversations are always happening.
With each new iteration of technology, our accepted response time has changed — friends make plans faster, families stay closer, and businesses provide answers instantly. In the age of live chat, customers expect conversations to happen how, when, and where they want.
Sounds intimidating, right? Don't worry; it's not as complicated as you think. While the technology we use to communicate has changed, the core elements of communication have stayed the same. People always have and always will expect conversations to be helpful, personal, and empathetic. The only difference now is we have the technology to have those conversations at scale. That’s the power of conversational marketing.
Let’s talk about conversational marketing and its benefits, how it will help your business grow, and what you need to build a successful conversational marketing strategy.
For example, many startups have created user groups on Slack. These groups allow customers and prospects to ask questions and get advice on a channel they're already using to communicate throughout the workday … but wait, weren't we talking about conversational marketing? How did we get started talking about customer support?
See, here's the thing with live chat, it's an incredibly powerful communication channel that has a strange way of breaking down the walls between support, sales, and marketing.
Sure, conversational marketing is the topic of the day, but we believe it is just one small piece of the puzzle. Conversations should take place across your entire business. In the future, businesses will need to develop a comprehensive conversational growth strategy to deliver better customer experience throughout the entire customer journey.
Conversational sales will play a huge role in helping reps connect with prospects in a more helpful, organic way. And customer success teams have already seen significant benefits using chat as one of their many support tools. While you’re developing your conversational marketing strategy, consider how it can impact every part of your business.
The Key Elements of Conversational Marketing
OK, you may be thinking, "conversational marketing sounds a lot like my current marketing strategy. I'm on multiple channels. I'm having conversations with my audience."
If you're a customer-focused marketer, chances are you're almost there. Here are the four key components of conversational marketing and how to best refine your strategy.
1. Conversations happen in customer-time.
Conversational marketing is an asynchronous relationship. Meaning conversations should occur whenever the customer prefers — whether that's in real-time, after finishing their meeting, or later that night when they have a spare moment. While it's important for businesses to be able to chat in real-time, it's just as important for them to be able to finish a conversation at whatever pace the customer wants. Sometimes that means starting a conversation at 7 a.m. over their first cup of coffee and finishing at 9 p.m. after they've put their kids to bed.
HubSpot Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah says, "Customers should be able to pick up things right where they left off whenever it is convenient for them to continue. The key is to remember that conversational marketing should be designed around the needs of the customer — not the needs of the business."
2. Conversations are scalable.
Because conversations happen on customer-time, all conversations need to be scalable. A customer doesn’t care if you’re talking with 50, 500, or 5,000 other people — they only care about the issue they need to be solved. Businesses, especially SMBs, shouldn’t get left behind due to a lack of resources or manpower. This is where chatbots come in. Bots make 24/7 support possible by providing answers to common questions based on data that already exists. Businesses shouldn't sacrifice human interaction for scale. Rather, bots offer quick access to information or a human.
3. Conversations have context.
Conversations can’t exist in a vacuum; they need context and should get smarter as you collect more information. This is important for two reasons. First, it’s what customers expect. Think about it: If you called a company yesterday to report a defect in something you ordered, and then you chat them the next day about needing return instructions, you'd expect the person you're talking with to have access to previous interactions and know which product you’re sending back.
Second, context is what makes messaging convenient. Without it, bots or a support rep would need to ask people the same qualifying questions every time they interacted with them — wasting their time and testing their patience. If you’ve ever called customer support, you know how frustrating it is to repeat your account number time after time as you’re passed around to different departments.
People want to get the answer to their question as quickly as possible and with the smallest amount of effort. This is why it’s so important to make a CRM part of your conversational marketing strategy. Context means gathering, storing, and making accessible customer data — from recent orders to visits to pricing pages to their job title. The more you know about the customer and the more you can demonstrate that in the conversation, the more helpful you’ll be.
4. Conversations meet customers where they are.
Inbound Marketing is about providing value to your audience and meeting them where they are. Conversational marketing is just a part of that now — thanks to the mass adoption of messaging and new tools and technology.
And that means conversations should happen on the channel that best suits your customer — that might be over the phone or on Facebook Messenger, with a human or a bot. People don’t want to be forced to call a 1-800 number if they could easily send a quick chat message and grab a link to a knowledge base article. HubSpot’s bot expert Brian Bagdasarian states:
“Businesses should strive to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person, with the right information, on the right channel, every single time.”
Conversational Marketing Is More Than Just Live Chat
Some people equate conversational marketing with live chat — something that’s been around for a while. But it’s much more than that. Conversational marketing isn’t about a single tool. While Facebook Messenger, Slack, SMS, email, and others allow conversations to happen, this is about the changing communication preferences of consumers that in turn, should change how you view one-to-one conversations.
For example, social media giant Facebook is drastically changing the way its users engage with businesses. There are over 65 million business pages on Facebook, and over 2 billion messages are exchanged with these businesses each month on Facebook Messenger. That's a lot of conversations happening. Consumers are using Facebook Messenger and other popular messaging platforms to get content delivered, shop and buy, and access support.
With access to new technology, businesses can use these emerging platforms to easily meet consumers where they are already spending their time. Still not convinced? 85% of consumers spend their time in five popular apps, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. And according to Facebook’s February earnings, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger had 1.5 billion and 1.3 billion monthly active users, respectively.
But remember, businesses should not only be communicating on a variety of channels, but they should also be prepared to continue those conversations across all channels without missing a beat.
The Benefits of Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing isn’t new — we have conversations every day, and as you saw from the timeline above, it’s been that way for a while. So why wouldn’t we use tools that optimize conversations for business? Let’s talk about a few of the key benefits.
1. Conversational marketing is a more delightful way for customers to get answers.
People are increasingly turning to mobile to shop and make purchases. As a result, more people are interacting with content that is more mobile friendly. Consumers that use their phone as their primary internet device have grown to prefer video content, social content, and messaging-based interactions.
Think about how many times you pick up your phone during the day. According to TechCrunch, consumers spend 5 hours per day on their phones. It makes sense. I’m guessing it’s your first line of defense when looking up an answer to a quick question. Conversational marketing channels like messaging apps and email are innately mobile friendly. It’s a lot easier to chat with a rep or even a bot to get an answer than spend time scrolling and clicking through a company’s website. Messaging apps allow customers to provide information specific to their problem so businesses can give quick, personalized support.
HubSpot recently experimented with delivering content offers via Facebook Messenger and saw some incredible results – the test saw a 2.5X increase in open rates and 6X the number of clicks when compared to email. This improved performance is due in part to the channel's push notifications, but it also aligns with how people want to shop, buy, and engage with companies today.
And conversational marketing doesn’t just present an opportunity in the U.S. In fact, in many regions, messaging apps like WeChat and WhatsApp are the primary channel for both personal and professional communication.
2. Conversational marketing is a great way to gain new, valuable insights about your customers.
Think about it, when else do your customers tell you in their own words what they want to do, learn, or change? You don’t get that candor with a website or an advertisement.
HubSpot's Conversational Marketing Manager Connor Cirillo states,
“Your conversational marketing audience is much more insightful than your other channels. They'll tell you in their own words how they want to interact with your business. There's no inferring or guessing, like with web traffic.”
And with conversational marketing, you can gather that data at scale. This especially holds true for messaging channels. Chat interfaces can record data that can then be used to optimize for better customer interactions, product improvements, more helpful content, and more.
For example, CNN uses a bot to provide their audience with tailored content based on keywords. Users simply send the bot a message with a topic they’re interested in, and it will send back related news stories. Not only is it a quick, easy way for readers to get the news they care about most, CNN is collecting valuable consumer data with every chat.
Once businesses collect consumer data, they can use it to define trends and make more informed decisions. For example, imagine that your company redesigned its website or provided a discount on merchandise. If a prospect or customer has a difficult time navigating the new website or applying the coupon, they can live chat with a representative to receive instructions on how to best navigate the issue.
Not only does live chat help solve the immediate customer’s concerns and keep them on the site, the information from that chat can help you determine if you need to fix a part of your website’s UX or send out more detailed instructions on how to apply the discount. Being able to determine common customer pain points as they occur can save a business thousands of dollars.
And not only is conversational marketing data helpful for recognizing tech issues and common customer pain points, it also can identify opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell. If a customer is chatting with a rep about a product they are considering buying, the rep could take that opportunity to point out other items customers frequently bought based on previous interactions.
3. Conversational marketing is a great way to build relationships.
With messaging apps and social media, we’ve found a way to talk with more friends, more frequently. Conversational marketing can drive lead generation by reaching new audiences on different channels or by giving people a more convenient way to get in touch with support.
According to Harvard Business Review, messaging apps “provide a continuous thread between customers and brands”. This thread allows for continuous communication which makes conversations more natural and “opportunities to cross-sell, encourage sharing, solicit input, and flow seamlessly between commerce and support” more frequent.
According to TopBots’ Adelyn Zhou,
“Questions that are awkward or annoying coming from a brand are socially acceptable and even welcome in chatbot interactions."
Bots allow companies to collect a lot of information in a natural way. Instead of coming face-to-face with a long form, customers can share a little information over the course of multiple conversations. HubSpot was able to attract 20% more qualified leads by merely adding live chat as a communication channel. What would a 20% increase in qualified leads look like for your business?
And not only is conversational marketing more convenient for customers, it’s also a great way to show off your brand’s personality. Through copywriting, images, emojis, and videos, you can give your messaging conversations a personality — one that reinforces your brand. Customers and prospects are likely to keep engaging with your brand if you make it enjoyable and easy to do so!
1. Domino's Pizza
Domino's recent Domino's AnyWare initiative allows customers to order pizza from, well, literally anywhere. This includes conversational channels like Slack, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and text message — by simply texting the pizza emoji.
Customers must first enable text ordering and set up an "Easy Order" on their Domino's profile, which is what they'll order when texting 🍕. Beyond that, however, ordering a pizza doesn't get much simpler.
HubSpot allowed people to register for its Four Days of Facebook Campaign through multiple channels, including Facebook Messenger. Users loved the conversational UI and were quick to encourage their friends and coworkers to sign up as well.
And success wasn’t just about getting people to register for the live event. Facebook Messenger was the highest converting source of new product users to HubSpot Marketing Free via the campaign.
3. London & Company
London & Company walks prospective mortgage customers through their Mortgage Finder form. But instead of a lengthy form with multiple fields, London & Company displays a chatbot/ messenger format with one question at a time.
This conversational format is user-friendly and easy to navigate, which likely helps London & Company collect information from and convert potential new leads.
HelloFresh, a subscription meal service, launched their Freddy Freshbot chatbot in 2017. Customers can chat with Freddy through Facebook Messenger.
Freddy provides customer service, recipe ideas, answers to frequently asked questions, and meal reminders. With Freddy Freshbot, HelloFresh does a great job providing support well beyond the order and delivery process, ensuring its customers feel comfortable cooking its meals and eventually renewing their subscriptions.
Sephora used Kik messenger to learn more about their target market by asking them if they wanted to participate in a quick, social-like quiz about their beauty habits. Once users accepted, they answered questions about their age, makeup preferences, and favorite products. From there, the app was able to deliver relevant content such as how-to videos and product reviews based on the individual’s answers.
A chatbot makes it easier for customers to find and purchase products they like and frees up human employees for other tasks.
Conversational Marketing and Inbound Marketing
At this point, you've probably noticed the similarities between the core ideas behind conversational marketing and inbound marketing. That’s because conversational marketing is a piece of inbound marketing, just like email marketing or blogging. Inbound Marketing is all about creating value where your target customer is spending their time — that could mean writing a blog, interacting on social media, or sharing a video on YouTube. Now that technology has made conversational marketing a possibility, it’s a key part of inbound marketing.
HubSpot Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah states,
"Conversation marketing is not new. Not only have we long been having conversations with customers — even the term itself has been around for at least a decade. The reason for the renewed interest in conversational marketing is that because of advances in technology and shifts in consumer behavior, conversational marketing can now happen at scale. We can have direct, one-to-one conversations with individual customers on their timeline — not ours."
Although conversations are nothing new, our ability to have 1:1 conversations at this scale and across multiple channels is. With inbound marketing, you can first attract potential customers to your brand. You can then use conversational marketing to allow people to initiate conversations when they want, where they want, and how they want – giving your audience the control.
How do conversations fit into the inbound methodology? Well, we see conversations taking place throughout the entire customer lifecycle, though there’s not a strong case to be made for it in the attract stage as the discovery of brands on messaging platforms is still immature.
Facebook Messenger’s Discover tab, which launched mid-2017, is one attempt at solving this. But conversations can be used in place of forms to attract and capture leads, by sales teams to convert those leads into customers, and by customer success teams to delight customers with quick and convenient support. For example, using live chat during the sales process could help convert more leads because it allows prospects to interact in a way they already prefer to buy.
How Conversational Marketing Will Grow Your Business
Okay, we know conversational marketing is all about improving 1:1 relationships, but how can businesses actually start to build out a strategy for success? Cirillo recommends starting with one goal and then working backward.
"Know what you want to get out of the conversation and what data you need to make that happen. Every conversation should add value to your business."
Analyze your answers and work to create the best possible experience for your customers. While there are many things you can do to help optimize your conversations, here are a few essentials:
Your CRM and Conversational Marketing
When you have a conversation with a friend, you don't expect to have to remind them of things like your name or where you live — the same holds true when customers have conversations with a business. That's why using a CRM is so important. A CRM is like a digital memory that allows you to have conversations with customers like you know them.
A successful conversational marketing strategy is dependent on fast and reliable access to a shared knowledge base that includes data such as communication history and necessary customer information. Companies who want to do conversational marketing will need a way to store and organize that data in order to have more seamless interactions with customers. With the help of a CRM, you can organically promote events and products, distribute content, and provide support all through chat.
So, what data should marketers collect? You don't need to know everything about them, but you should know the basics and details of past conversations. Cirillo encourages marketers to think first about why they're using chat:
"Success with conversational marketing will look different depending on the use case. There's not an overarching metric for this world. Track the 'time to solution' or conversion rate if you're solving for utility. If your experience is less about a particular action, then retention might make more sense.”
Start with what you want your customers to be able to accomplish via chat and then build out processes for acquiring the necessary information.
In addition, you can’t implement a conversational marketing strategy without a process for tracking performance, moments of confusion or drop-off, and new questions. You should always be gathering data and optimizing the experience.
Adding Automation with Chatbots
Once your CRM is set up, it's time to think to think about how you can scale your conversations. This is where chatbots can help.
Business isn’t just happening in one city, in one state, or in one timezone — it’s happening all around the world, every minute of every day. As I mentioned earlier, adding automation with chatbots is crucial in keeping up with a volume of conversations and to have a fighting chance at 24/7 support. Bots allow SMBs to compete with enterprise-sized businesses.
Customers expect to be able to connect with businesses whenever they need to. According to research from Aspect Software, 65% of consumers feel good about themselves and the company when they can handle an issue without talking to a live person, and 61% think that chatbots allow for faster answers.
Here are few ways chatbots can help:
Keep in mind that while chatbots can do many things, they should never be used as a barrier between customers and a human. 86% of consumers want the option to transfer to a representative if their request is too complicated for a bot to handle. Bots can't replace human talent, but they can help augment teams during off-hours or when conversation volume is too much for a small group to handle.
An Inbound Approach to ConversationsDeveloping a conversational marketing strategy can take time – it's not easy to think about process when you're trying to keep up with the day-to-day demands of running a business. That's why HubSpot's Brian Bagdasarian created some tips for building a conversational marketing strategy. Conversational marketing isn't something you can set and forget, you have to continuously optimize your strategy to see the best results, but there are five things you should keep in mind: Personalize, contextualize, standardize, empathize, and optimize
When speaking with a customer or prospect, conversations should be personalized with relevant shared knowledge. Shared knowledge is the foundation of good conversations. Think about it: If you’ve already given a business you’re phone number, do you really want to waste time reciting it every time you have a simple question? Personalized details make the conversation feel more natural and help you to get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible.
Conversations that have context not only improve the end-user experience, they also help minimize misunderstandings and get straight to the heart of the issue. Because you don’t have to waste time collecting information you already have access to, you’re able to provide immediate value. Context is necessary to help answer the right question, at the right time, in the best way possible.
Conversations that aim to answer the most important question first will provide the best user experience. Even though it's a conversation, this isn't like a conversation with friends. When customers interact with your business, chances are they don't want to spend time talking about cat videos or their weekend plans. They want to solve their most immediate need in the fastest and easiest way possible. Spend time analyzing your interactions to determine what data will help improve your customer relationships.
However, it's important not to get too caught up in personalizing your messages. While personalization and contextualization are important, standardizing elements of conversations helps bring a level of professionalism and consistency to your business. Conversations should be repeatable and predictable.
Figure out your customer's most frequently asked questions and draft approved answers for bots and marketers to use. Repeating conversations will help automate, optimize, and improve future interactions. Predictable conversations help to users have a natural dialog with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Standardization is crucial to delivering clear, consistent answers, across conversations and users.
When involved in a conversation, we often have to deliver the right answer before correcting the problem. For example: Let’s say you receive an email with a coupon code from one of your favorite stores. You spend a half hour scrolling through their products trying to decide what to buy, but when you finally enter the code to make your purchase, it doesn’t work.
You’re understandably annoyed that you wasted all that time when you weren’t even planning on buying something without that code. The business should emphasize with your issue and assure you that they understand the problem before the can move forward with providing a solution. Emphasizing helps customers feel valued and heard.
Finally, it's crucial to optimize. Learn from your past conversations so you can improve them in the future. Optimize for the strengths of the channel and for the answer – aim to provide answers that people would receive in a real, one-to-one conversation.
For example, live chat or phone might be better for providing support, while Facebook Messenger could be a better choice for content delivery. Listen to your customers and observe their behavior as you build out your strategy and make changes where needed. Conversational marketing is an iterative process — what you thought might work may not always provide the best experience. Take time to ask your customers for feedback. Their advice will help you delight your next customer. Remember, every conversation should be impactful and help add value to your business.
Moving Forward: Why Conversations Are the Future
Phew, you made it to the end. Good convo guys.
We've come a long way from letters and telegrams. For the first time, people are having meaningful conversations with businesses on a massive scale thanks to automation with bots, a CRM, and new channels. Conversational marketing is changing the way companies talk with their customers by making interactions seamless and faster than ever before. Your customers are having conversations. Why not join in?
The most important things to focus on are the channel, the conversation, and how the strategy fits in with your overall inbound marketing strategy. Channels should be simple for businesses and consumers to use, conversations should follow a clear process and serve a purpose, and your inbound marketing strategy should inform your conversational marketing strategy.
Remember, humans have been having conversations since the beginning of time. Technology is only making it easier and more productive for businesses and their customers to connect. While the days of communicating by the Pony Express may be over, thoughtful, friendly conversations (and gossip) will continue to stand the test of time and technology.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Did you know LinkedIn has over 660 million users across the globe? Meaning the platform is one of the top social networks today.
Now, an important question: Is your business using LinkedIn to its fullest potential to improve brand awareness, build your network, boost leads and conversions, increase revenue, and more?
With new social networks sprouting up constantly, LinkedIn is a platform that often gets underutilized or put on the back burner. But the truth is, LinkedIn can be extremely powerful — especially when you're aware of all the platform's hidden features that don't get nearly as much attention as they deserve.
This guide is chock full of LinkedIn tips you can begin implementing immediately to help you learn how to use the platform to improve brand awareness, share your marketing content, and grow your business.
What is LinkedIn marketing?
LinkedIn marketing is the process of using LinkedIn to make connections, generate leads, improve brand awareness, foster business relationships and partnerships, share content, and drive traffic to your website. LinkedIn is an integral part of many successful business' marketing strategies today because of how effective it can be in expanding professional networks.
When you use LinkedIn to market your business, you gain access to useful features related to analytics, connections, and brand-building, just to name a few. (Don't worry, we'll review all of these and more in depth momentarily.)
But first, here's a quick primer for those of you who may be new to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn launched in 2003 and is primarily centered around career networking, building, and sharing. The platform enables you to connect and share content with other professionals including colleagues, potential employers, business partners, competitors, new employees, and customers.
This is why having your business on LinkedIn is so powerful — the platform is a fantastic marketing tool.
Now, let's review the various ways to use LinkedIn to market and grow your business.
LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices
LinkedIn allows you to drive traffic to your website, identify quality leads, share your expertise through thought-leadership content, and grow your network. It's also a great way to market job openings and attract new talent to your company. These are just some of the reasons why LinkedIn is an ideal platform for all businesses to market through.
Below, we'll cover LinkedIn marketing best practices and some effective ways to use the platform. These 28 best practices and steps can be tailored to your needs — whether you have a personal LinkedIn page, business page, or both — no matter your industry or size. However, you'll notice some of the points we're going to cover are more suited for businesses looking to boost brand awareness or share content while others are more tailored towards those looking to recruit and hire new talent.
Let's dive in.
1. Customize your public profile URL.
Make your profile look more professional, and easier to share, by customizing your LinkedIn public profile URL. Instead of a URL with confusing numbers at the end, it will look nice and clean like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/amandazantalwiener.
You can do this by clicking View Profile and then clicking Edit Public Profile and URL. Here you can change your URL to anything you'd like — such as your first and last name or business name — assuming it hasn't already been taken by another LinkedIn user. \
2. Add a LinkedIn background photo to your profile.
In 2014, LinkedIn finally jumped on the cover photo bandwagon and starting rolling out the ability for users to add a background photo to their personal profiles. Give your LinkedIn profile a little bit more personality by adding an on-brand background photo of your own. Keep in mind LinkedIn is a professional social network, so choose your photo accordingly.
LinkedIn recommends a background photo size of 1584 x 396 pixels, and that it must be a JPG, PNG, or GIF file under 8MB.
3. Add a ProFinder Badge to your profile.
You might consider adding a ProFinder Badge, which is used to identify freelancers within LinkedIn's ProFinder. This service matches contractors with project managers who are seeking help. Freelancers can display a ProFinder badge on their profiles to show prospective clients their skills, expertise, and recommendations.
LinkedIn offers two badge themes for you to choose from:
4. Take advantage of the blog and website links on your LinkedIn profile.
You can add links to your portfolio and social networks to your LinkedIn page. You can also add links to your content and business information to increase clicks. This feature allows you to draw greater attention to specific areas of your page to drive traffic elsewhere.
For example, if you produced a podcast, you can share links to your episodes on LinkedIn (e.g. SoundCloud tracks) to promote your work.
5. Search engine optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn't limited to blogging — you can also optimize your profile to get discovered by people searching LinkedIn for key terms you want to be found for. You can add these keywords to various sections of your profile, such as your headline, your summary, or your work experience.
6. Add, remove, and rearrange sections of your profile.
You can edit and reorder sections of your LinkedIn profile to highlight specific pieces of information in any way you see fit. When you're in edit mode, simply hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow in each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrow icon, at which point you can click, drag, and drop to another position on your profile.
7. Use Saved Searches and Search Alerts in Recruiter.
With the feature, you can save as many searches as you want and receive alerts when new candidates match your filter refinements and criteria. You can elect to receive daily or weekly search alerts from the system about relevant results via the Recruiter homepage.
8. List job opportunities and recruit new talent with LinkedIn's job postings.
And speaking of your business's open job opportunities, don't forget to add and market your new positions on the LinkedIn Jobs page.
Here, candidates can learn about your business and openings by searching for specific keywords such as job title, industry, location, salary, experience level, and more.
9. Take advantage of LinkedIn Endorsements.
LinkedIn offers a feature called Endorsements — this allows you to recognize the skills people you work with (such as employees, colleagues, freelancers, or partners) have to offer.
You can promote and endorse the skills of the people you work closest with to help refer them for other work, make their profiles more impressive, show your support, and more.
10. Use Open Profile to send messages to people you're not connected to.
To branch out and make new connections with potential partners, customers, and other industry leaders, you might want to send them a personalized message.
With the exception of fellow LinkedIn Group members, the platform only allows you to send messages to people who you share a first-degree connection with. But did you know some people let you send them messages anyway, even if you're not connected?
Here's how that works: The ability to be part of the Open Profile network is only available to Premium account holders, but it allows those users to be available for messaging by any other LinkedIn member regardless of membership type.
Additionally, there are options for sending messages to those with whom you're not yet connected, similar to sending a request to connect with a note (though we don't recommend overusing this technique). Additionally, if you have a premium account, you can use InMail.
11. Check your Network Updates (or share your own).
Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are essentially LinkedIn's version of the Facebook News Feed. Check this feed periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections, customers, competitors, and others are up to and sharing. You can also share updates of your own, such as details about your products or services and noteworthy content your business has created and published.
You may choose to sign up for email notifications or sort by "Top Updates" or "Recent Updates" to filter your feed in any way you choose.
12. Be identifiable.
Your LinkedIn profile visitors should recognize it as yours to the moment they look at it. A great way to make your profile easily identifiable and on-brand with your other marketing content is by ensuring your profile's name, headline, and other simple identifiers are easily viewable to any visitor. Make sure these features on on brand, match your other marketing content, and are uniquely yours.
Note: You should always have your Public Profile setting enabled as well, to be visible and identifiable for your audience.
13. Check out who's viewed your LinkedIn profile.
Learn a little about your audience members, potential leads, and customers who are viewing your profile and marketing content that you're sharing on LinkedIn.
How? With the Who Viewed Your Profile feature.
This tool, which is accessible in the main navigation via the Profile dropdown, enables you to identify the exact people who have visited your page. You can see how you stack up against the profile views for your connections, other businesses like yours, and more.
14. Export connections.
Now, it's no secret that you can use the connections you make on LinkedIn to drive traffic to your site and grow your base of paying customers. Exporting your connections — to a contact management system, for example — is a great place to start.
Under your Advanced Settings, you can start exporting your LinkedIn connections.
15. Customize your Connections to grow your professional network.
LinkedIn offers features to help you grow your professional network and make valuable connections. There are several ways to do this depending on what you're looking to accomplish.
Here are some examples:
16. Join LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to make connections with people who are in, or interested in, your industry. They serve as a hub for you and other members to share content, grow your contact list, establish yourself as an expert in the field, and boost brand awareness.
There are a number of other benefits that come from joining LinkedIn Groups. For example, by joining Groups related to your industry and participating in discussions within those groups, you'll exhibit thought leadership in your industry.
Additionally, by joining Groups, you can view complete profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Also, if you're a member of the same group as another user, LinkedIn allows you to send up to 15 free 1:1 messages to fellow group members per month (typically, you can only do this if you're a first-degree connection).
17. Create your own LinkedIn Group.
Consider creating a LinkedIn Group of your very own, like HubSpot did with the popular Inbound Marketers Group.
You can use your group to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, grow a community of advocates, generate new marketing content ideas, promote brand awareness, and generate new leads.
18. Communicate with your LinkedIn Group.
And on that note, there are more reasons to create your own Group on LinkedIn. In fact, one of the perks of managing a LinkedIn Group is that LinkedIn makes it simple to interact and communicate with the members of the Group you're in charge of.
You can either send messages to group members or create a group post. Sending messages allows you to write a member of your group directly, or share content with them, from your group's page. This is great if you have something to share with a specific person in your group. Creating a group post allows you to share any content you'd like on your group's page which is ideal for initiating a discussion.
19. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter.
Add your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile so you can share status updates across platforms. This is also a great way to boost your Twitter follower and LinkedIn connection counts.
For example, if you're posting an update to LinkedIn that you'd also like your Twitter followers to see, you can easily syndicate that update to Twitter by selecting the Public + Twitter option in the dropdown menu within the LinkedIn update composer.
20. Leverage @mentions in your status updates.
Want another LinkedIn user or company to see your status update? On LinkedIn, you have the ability to tag — or @mention — users and other companies in your status updates much like the way it works on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Include the @ symbol immediately followed by the user's/ company's name in your status update or post. As a result, that user/ company will be alerted that you mentioned them, and their name will also link to their profile/ page in the status update itself. This is a great way to boost engagement and interaction on your content as well as improve brand awareness.
21. Design all aspects of your LinkedIn page.
The design of LinkedIn pages has changed a lot over the years. Make sure yours is set up correctly and optimized for the latest layout, featuring a compelling and high-quality banner image.
Take a look at what HubSpot's Company Page looks like for inspiration:
22. Create LinkedIn Showcase Pages.
LinkedIn Showcase Pages are niche pages that branch off your business's page to highlight specific initiatives and campaigns or feature specific content you're working on.
Think of Showcase Pages as extensions of your main page that allow you to promote specific products or cater to your individual marketing personas — this provides a more personalized and targeted experience for your page visitors. This is great way to expand your network on LinkedIn because other users can choose to follow your Showcase Page(s) even if they haven't followed your main page.
23. Post company status updates and target them.
Publish Status Updates for your business on your LinkedIn page for your followers to see. This keeps your LinkedIn connections engaged and in the loop regarding your business's latest developments, work, content, and updates. In your status updates, you can share written information, images, videos, documents, and more.
You can also post Targeted LinkedIn Status Updates tailored towards specific people and groups within your audience. To do this, use criteria such as company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography, language, or by including/ excluding company employees.
These targeted updates will appear on your page — or Showcase Page — as well as on LinkedIn for the targeted users (specifically, in their Network Updates feed).
24. Check out LinkedIn's Content Marketing Score & Trending Content resources.
You can learn how impactful your organic and paid LinkedIn marketing content is with the platform's Content Marketing Score and Trending Content resources.
Your Content Marketing Score tells you your impact on LinkedIn by measuring overall audience engagement with your content. Trending Content tells you which topics you are posting and sharing content about that are resonating with specific audience groups on the platform, allowing you to optimize your content for greater impact.
25. Experiment with LinkedIn Sponsored Content and Native Ads.
If you're looking to complement your organic LinkedIn marketing efforts with some paid advertising, LinkedIn Ads are a smart choice. One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn advertising: the targeting options.
LinkedIn’s PPC ads let you target specific job titles, job functions, industries, or company size, to name a few — you know, the people who are more likely to want/ need what you sell.
If you want to get started with LinkedIn's advertising platform, check out our free guide to advertising on LinkedIn.
26. Share content through LinkedIn's publishing platform.
Good news! You no longer have to be a LinkedIn Influencer to publish new articles to LinkedIn. Publishing is available to all users on the platform. Experiment with how this feature can support your marketing goals by creating content and promoting it on your your business's LinkedIn page.
For example, you might experiment with syndicating content from your blog to LinkedIn — this way, you can promote subscription to your blog via LinkedIn.
27. Add a Page Follow Button to your website.
You can add the LinkedIn Company Follow button to your website to promote your company's LinkedIn presence and the content you share on the platform. When your website visitors click to "Follow" your LinkedIn page via your site, they'll automatically become connected to you and be able to view your company's latest updates on the platform.
28. Analyze your LinkedIn marketing performance.
So ... how are your LinkedIn marketing efforts faring? Analyzing your efforts and making necessary adjustments is critical to your success on the platform.
LinkedIn has in-depth page analytics as well as reporting tools for businesses to evaluate overall performance. There are specific data about how effective your status updates, content, and reach are as well as details about your page's engagement and followers (like audience member demographics).
Begin Marketing on LinkedIn
Are you ready to get started marketing your business on LinkedIn?
With so many updates and additions to LinkedIn since its launch, we can't wait to see how the network continues to make itself an integral resource and platform for marketers, job seekers, candidate seekers, and other professionals. Get started marketing on LinkedIn by experimenting with the best practices that make the most sense for your business.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Here's a little exercise for you: Check the timestamps on the emails you've gotten in the past day. What have you found? For me, I noticed that most of my emails, especially my subscription emails, were sent between 9-10 AM, or 5-6 PM.
This isn't a coincidence, either.
While the answer to “What’s the perfect time to send an email to my customers?” isn't an exact science, there are some key findings we've discovered through heavy research, and those times listed above are right in line with what we found. Keep reading to find out the best time to send an email, according to our findings.
Why Email Matters For Your Business
Automated email marketing provides a chance for you to improve sales conversions — maybe even by 14%. It’s a way to send customers unique offers — such as product sales or newsletters updates — with information your reader can’t get anywhere else.
Emails should be personalized with what your customers want to see, allowing you an instant way to communicate with them. Your emails should contain information your customers are interested in learning more about, such as discount offers, business updates, or product/service launches.
HubSpot's marketing email tool allows users to create and send automated emails for free. It also gives you the option to schedule your emails according to the preferences you’ve set. Then, your emails will then be sent to the list(s) of contacts you select.
When you reach this option in your automated email tool, you probably spend some time wondering when exactly your audience would like to receive your email, especially if it includes a limited-time offer. You want to make sure the highest number of customers possible are reading your emails. We'll go over what we found next.
When is the Best Time to Send an Email?
When it comes to what time and day you should send an email and days, we found some researched-backed best practices.
These numbers are from GetResponse, an email marketing software that combed its data to compile a report of email marketing benchmarks. They analyzed 4 billion emails from 1,000 active senders.
The highest line of the graph represents the open rate. The purple line (i.e., the one below it) represents the click-to-open rate. Below that, the dark blue line, represents the click-through rate. The almost transparent data counts the number of messages sent in percent value.
Keeping your audience in mind is a good tip for figuring out the time to send your emails. If your buyer persona is a professional with a nine-to-five job, sending emails during their ideal downtimes are the best. For instance, HubSpot sends emails between 8-9:30 AM ET to match our audience's daily routines.
If you're sending emails that include a sale or promotion, try sending them during the times your audience tends to take their lunch breaks.
Just keeping up on daily routines isn't the only metric that factors into marketing emails. Others, such as click-through rate (CTR), click-to-open rate (CTOR), and open rate (OR) are also helpful to look at when creating emails.
Click-through rate refers to the number of people who open a link or image in an email. This number will always be smaller than the open rate of emails opened due to the fact that it's calculated using the total number of emails sent. CTR reflects conversions through email. So if you send 500 emails and 250 are opened, but only 75 links are clicked, your click-through rate is 75.
When comparing the number of people that opened your email and the number that clicked on any links, that data is called click-to-open rate. This metric helps you identify which information in your emails is relevant to consumers. Finding CTOR is done by diving CTR by the open rate and multiplying it by 100%. For example, if your email receives 200 clicks and 120 opens, your click-to-open-rate is 60%.
The open rate, then, is the percentage found from the number of subscribers who opened your email campaign. Emails that have great open rates have short, effective subject lines. Plus, they're optimized for previews and preheader text.
This gets into the best day to send through an email. CampaignMonitor collected data from millions of emails used on their service. They put together the best day as it pertains to data collection.
From this data, it looks like the best days for seeing a good blanket of success fall during the workweek. People are mostly opening and reading through emails in the middle of the week. It's also good to keep in mind the lowest unsubscribe rate: during the beginning of the week.
CampaignMonitor also reported that Marketing and Advertising is one of the top industries that see success with email marketing, so making sure those emails are memorable is key to delighting customers.
Email marketing can be a tricky subject. There are so many industries taking advantage of it in their own way and making an impact. How do you measure up?
Your subscribers are already interested in your content. They appreciate what you are offering as a company, and as long as you're sending them emails that relate to that, you have a good chance of obtaining great metrics.
Just like Sharpay Evans from "High School Musical" says, "It's out with the old, and in with the new."
Although Sharpay is talking about fabulous summer plans, that adage also applies to podcasting.
With 32% of the population listening to podcasts regularly, podcast shows should continue to evolve as the industry does.
Of course, in order to build a successful podcast, you need the right tools and services at your disposal.
Let's review the top podcast tools and services to level up your podcasting game.
These tools can help make your show more efficient and professional. Below, we'll break down the tools and services into four categories: podcast recording equipment, podcast recording software, podcast editing software, and podcast hosting sites.
Podcast Recording Equipment
To take your podcast show from good to great this year, you need to have the right equipment.
1. USB Audio Interface and Recording Bundle
The first thing you need to record your podcast is a microphone, headphones, and a USB audio interface or mixer. In order to bring your podcasting game to the next level, you can consider getting higher-quality equipment.
For instance, on Amazon, you can find bundles that sell all of this equipment at once. However, you can also buy the equipment separately. If you do that, make sure you buy a cable that will connect your microphone and USB audio interface.
2. Adjustable Microphone Arm Stand
Once you have a microphone, headphones, and audio interface, you'll want to consider getting a microphone arm stand. A microphone stand will make it easier for you to record your podcast, so you aren't chained to your desk or have to sit in an awkward position.
Most microphones will come with an adapter that'll connect with any microphone arm stand. Before you buy a new stand, make sure you have that adapter.
Podcast Recording Software
Now that you have all the equipment to make your podcast the best it can be, you'll need to make sure you're using the right recording software.
With Skype, you can record video and audio right in the program. When you're on a call, you can click the three dots on the bottom right and then hit "Start Recording."
Skype is a great option for podcasters because it's free and easy to use. There are also other options, if you want better audio quality. For instance, you can download recording software on your computer or buy an external digital recorder.
Zoom is another excellent free option. You can easily record right in the program, by clicking the "Record" button and choosing where you'd like to save your audio file.
Skype and Zoom are fairly similar options, however, the recording files differ. Skype will give you a mono file, which means both yours and your interviewee's side of the conversation is on one audio track. However, Zoom splits both sides of the call, giving you two separate audio tracks. This is helpful when it comes to cutting and editing in post-production.
Ringr is a long-distance podcasting and broadcast interview recording program. Although this option isn't free, it has excellent sound quality. If you're focused on bringing higher-quality sound to your interviews, Ringr is a good choice.
Additionally, they have three different plans you can choose from. With the basic plan, you'll get a mono audio file, and unlimited calls and storage. If you decide to go with the premium or enterprise plan, you'll get a split-track audio file, plus better sound quality and the option to use conference calling.
Price: $5/hour or $20/month+
Squadcast is an easy-to-use podcast recording software. Once you sign up, all you have to do is set up a meeting, click "Record," and you're set.
One unique element of this software is that you can pay by the hour, if you don't think you need a monthly plan. Even with the hourly plan, you can host up to three guests and will receive a high-quality WAV or MP3 file.
Additionally, Squadcast plans to add video recording and transcription, which will help with your show notes and posting your podcast to YouTube.
One of the top reasons to use a podcast recording software like Squadcast, as opposed to Skype or Zoom, is that you'll have a library of all your recordings in one place, online, where you can access them at any time, any place.
7. Pro Tools
If you're ready to move beyond the beginner recording software above, Pro Tools is an excellent option.
Pro Tools is an advanced recording and editing software. You can record, edit, and mix numerous audio tracks. However, this is for the more advanced audio recorders/editors. The user interface (UI) isn't as intuitive for beginners and may seem overwhelming at first.
Although, because it's advanced, it also offers much more robust features. For example, since Pro Tools is known in the music industry, it has virtual instrumentation available, which can be helpful in creating the music to put in your podcast. Additionally, it offers plugins, collaboration, and hands-on audio mixing.
Price: $60 one time payment+
Reaper is another advanced recording, editing, and mixing software. This type of program provides higher-quality recordings and more capabilities when it comes to editing and mixing.
The UI isn't as intuitive as programs like Zoom or Squadcast, but it offers higher-quality sound. With your audio interface and microphone attached, you can record directly into the program, with as many audio tracks as you'd like.
The recording feature is more robust, offering simultaneous recording inputs, a dozen audio formats, and recording tracks.
Additionally, it also has strong editing capabilities as well.
9. Logic Pro
Price: $200 one time payment+
Logic Pro is the advanced version of Garage Band for Mac users. It's a higher-quality recording program offering an easy-to-use UI.
Recording is as simple as setting up your microphone and USB audio interface and pressing record.
Logic Pro offers up to 1,000 audio tracks, software instrument tracks, and hundreds of plugins to complete any project.
Additionally, it has advanced editing capabilities.
Whereby is another option for recording remote interviews. It's excellent for beginners and is easy to use.
Although there is a free plan, recording is only available in the Pro or Business plan. Recording is as easy as hitting the "Record" button, once you're on a call. This will record both video and audio, so it's easy to post to YouTube if you want.
While this is an easy option, it isn't the highest quality recording.
Podcast Editing Software
Once you record your podcast, it's time to edit it. As you've read above, many software includes both recording and editing capabilities. Below are some software known for its editing, rather than recording.
11. Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition is an excellent mid-level audio editing software. You can create, record, mix, edit, and restore audio content.
It offers high-quality sound, plus comprehensive tools to deliver polished sound. For example, Adobe Audition comes with a podcast template, which helps you set up a multitrack recording so you can mix and edit different audio tracks and voices. Plus, you can work in both waveform and multitrack editors, for more well-rounded editing.
Audacity is an excellent free option for editing your podcast. It's especially easy if you plan to use only one take, with few cuts. The UI is easy to use and beginner friendly. However, if you have to make a lot of cuts or move audio around, it's a little more difficult because of the simplicity of the program.
This option is great for beginners because of the simple cut, copy, and paste functionality. It isn't the highest quality sound, but it gets the job done.
13. Garage Band
Garage Band is a free editing software that is available on and comes with most Mac computers.
It's mostly used as a beginner editing program, but is capable of mixing up to 255 audio tracks. It comes with basic editing features including volume levels, cut, copy, and paste. You can use plugins to finish off your track and use audio effects such as compression.
Additionally, it features a sound library with effects that you can include in your podcast.
Podcast Hosting Sites/Services
Now that you've bought your equipment, recorded, and editing your podcast, you may be wondering what's next? After you've produced your podcast, it's time to find the right hosting site and service to publish it on.
BuzzSprout is an excellent hosting option, because it gets your podcast listed in all the top podcast directories including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
Additionally, it offers advanced metrics, so you can track the progress of your podcast. You can see statistics about your listeners, total plays over time, and where people listen to your podcast. Plus, you can transcribe your podcast in BuzzSprout.
With paid plans, you'll have unlimited storage and episodes hosted indefinitely.
Libsyn is a hosting service that will get your podcast published on your audience's favorite apps and platforms.
A unique feature is its monetization options. For example, it offers premium content subscriptions and opt-in advertising. These options keep you in control and allow you to customize your monetization.
You'll also have access to detailed audience statistics, so you can also see what's working and what isn't.
How to Setup a Podcast Studio
Once you have your equipment, recording and editing software, and hosting services, it's time to figure out where you're going to record your podcast.
You'll want to set up a podcast studio. This can be as basic as having the right equipment in any room or as advanced as creating a dedicated space for recording.
To setup a podcast studio, follow these steps:
Step 1: Buy the equipment -- Before you can get your studio set up, you need the equipment. You'll need a microphone, microphone arm, headphones, audio interface, desks, and chairs. You'll also want to consider buying more than one of these items, in case you decide to bring people in for interviews.
Step 2: Set up room for sound conditioning -- In order to achieve the best sound, consider buying soundproof foam wall panels to attach to the walls. This will stop the sound from bouncing off the walls. Additionally, you can buy pop filters for the microphones to reduce popping sounds.
Step 3: Set up lighting and cameras -- Many podcasters choose to film their podcasts so they can post to YouTube or other social media. If you want to do this, you'll need to set up lighting and cameras.
Anyone can start a podcast. That's why you want your podcast to stand out among the rest. To take your podcast from good to great, make sure you purchase the right equipment, software, and studio setup.
All around us, we're seeing implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on our daily routines. When was the last time you used Google Maps to get someplace? Or asked Siri a simple math question, or picked something to watch from your Netflix recommendations?
While it's easy to think about a distant future where robots take your restaurant order and sell you a house, similar advancements may be closer than we think, and some of that may be due to this new revolution.
This change in technology means a change in how products are marketed to consumers, meaning marketers should take note. So what is the "4IR," as some have abbreviated it?
As Schwab explains, the revolution builds directly upon the Third Industrial Revolution (3IR). The result of the 3IR was digital — it brought the invention of electronic systems, information technology systems, and the birth of the idea of automation. Due to the creation of these systems and technological advances, the 4IR is built upon this.
Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution Matters to Marketers
Some of the key technologies driving this revolution include artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). An example of this revolution at work is AI finding patterns in large amounts of data, quantum computing organizing that data at an incredible speed, and the Internet of Things displaying this data in the form of recommending a Netflix documentary to you.
What does this revolution mean for marketers? How will we be affected?
1. More data means more personalized marketing
The advancements of quantum computing and AI data collecting means there's an influx of data available to marketers about their target audience. To illustrate, because of quantum computing, Facebook can pull your most recent Google searches and then suggest ads based on your search history, thanks to AI.
Information, such as demographic and psychographic data, is collected and used by software such as social media analytics tools.
This data can help marketers create a more personalized strategy –– one that target audiences can identify with. For instance, if your data sets are telling you that your target audience prefers to make purchases via eCommerce options, why not look into including Instagram Shopping into your social media strategy?
In the above dashboard captured from Twitter analytics, you can see examples of the demographics Twitter can track and provide insights on. This data is available thanks to advancements in AI, and has become a critical component of building impactful marketing strategies.
2. More connected devices mean more chances to build your brand
With all of the elements that make up the Internet of Things (like voice assistants, smart appliances, and wearable tech), marketers have the chance to build brands that align with this new internet.
For instance, the IoT makes it possible for you to send personalized discounts to customers signed up to loyalty rewards program while they're browsing in the store, based on their proximity to your products. Further, you can use IoT to track which and how many customers have been looking at products when they browse online and then send that customer a discount based on those numbers.
I for one, wholeheartedly wish my favorite local coffee shop would send me coupons while I am in the supermarket searching for new coffee grounds. Convenience at its finest.
3. Data systems assist with streamlined processing
The rise of AI means that you can make the data collection portion of your job easier. Tools powered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution can keep you from spending a significant portion of your time trying to find ROI in social media strategy.
Social media analytics tools tell you the rate at which your brand is engaging with customers. Digital advertising tools provide real-time data on the impact of the ads you put out. All this can be done by machines in a fraction of the time it would usually take to collect and interpret that data manually -- time you can spend doing other things.
Tools like Buffer Analyze can tell you how your marketing strategy is reaching audiences and what you can do to improve that reach. Buffer is an automated software that lets you schedule social media posts and watch their performance. In this screenshot, Buffer is analyzing the impact of Instagram Stories for a brand.
4. The fusion of technology leads to the need for specialized roles
All this new technology means marketers are defining job requirements differently. Not only does a marketer in the Fourth Industrial Revolution need to learn new skills like interpreting new types (and a much larger volume) of data, the functions of a marketer's core role will need to shift.
Though it's dependent on the industry, roles for marketers are becoming more specialized. For instance, a marketing team in 2020 might consist of a full-time SEO specialist, a blogger, a brand specialist, and a social media coordinator.
Previously, these roles might've been consolidated under one person (and still is one person in many SMBs), but larger companies are finding they need employees who specialize in certain functions. These important skillsets ensure brands are operating at their highest potential as new technology emerges.
We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and we are constantly finding new advancements in something. While much of the shift of process and function is happening online, many of these advancements benefit marketers. This is because marketing can be faster, data-driven, and personalized.
Speaking to others can be scary, but speaking to yourself is normal and can actually improve your speech performance overall...
Let’s say you’re hiring a freelancer or two to help improve the marketing effort of a campaign. You’ve identified the project they’ll be working on, about how many hours it should take, and the context they’ll need to be successful -- but you still haven’t decided on the hourly rate.
Instead of spending hours figuring out how much you should pay your marketing freelancer, take a look at the data we’ll pull for you. We've rounded up the national freelance hourly rates of marketing consultants, PR professionals, and SEO specialists.
But, before getting into the details, here’s a basic formula to calculate the hourly rate of freelancers.
Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator
To calculate an hourly rate, start with an estimate of yearly income and divide that by how many hours you typically work in a year. Though the number of hours worked might change depending on industry and job functions, it's safe to assume that most professionals work 40 hours a week for 50 weeks.
The other two weeks are likely spent on a vacation or sick days. With that in mind, the average full-time professional works about 2,000 hours in any given year.
This makes the basic formula:
Rate = Annual income / Hours worked in the year
This is illustrated in the graphic below:
If your goal is to make $58,000 a year, here is how you'd use the formula to find an hourly rate:
$58,000 / 2,000 = $29/hour
We will continue to use this formula for different industries and professions within the freelance industry.
Hourly Rate for Freelance Marketing Consultant
Marketing consultants are professionals in the marketing industry who act upon strategies built by market research and the professional's experience. Their primary goal is to drive sales by delivering fresh marketing campaigns and expertise.
Businesses hire a marketing consultant if they need a new outlook on a current project or an entirely different project that's being taken in a direction that's usually foreign to the business. Hiring a marketing consultant is a more cost-effective way to bring on more help, since it's freelance consultants aren't full-time staff.
The industry standard for a marketing consultant is $47,682/yr in the US, according to Glassdoor. This is illustrated by the graphic below.
If you were to use the formula above to find an hourly rate for this salary, you would divide $47,682 / 2,000 for an hourly rate of $23.84.
Let's say you're looking for a marketing consultant with years of professional industry experience to work on a project that will take several months. For these levels of experience, you might find hourly rates to range from $125-$150 an hour.
It all depends on your budget, your reasons for hiring, and what's best for your business. All of these factors come into play again when calculating the hourly rate for public relations freelancers.
Freelance Public Relations Hourly Rate
Freelance public relations professionals help coordinate and define the image of a brand. They also have a hand in managing public perception of their clients’ products and can serve as a point of contact for press inquiries about those clients as well.
Businesses might hire a freelance public relations professional if they are looking for an outside perspective to gain insight into brand building or garner press about their company. Freelance public relations professionals also are a cost-effective way of hiring more help, like marketing consultants.
The national average for a freelance PR professional's yearly salary is $54,114/yr, according to ZipRecruiter. This is illustrated by the graph below.
To use the formula from above, taking $54,114 / 2,000 = $27.05/hr.
Next, we're going to look at calculating the hourly rate for an SEO specialist.
Freelance SEO hourly rate
Ahrefs is a marketing tool driven by data and powered by backlinks and keywords. Last year, they surveyed over 300 freelance SEO specialists about their hourly rates.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes sure a business's online content ranks highly on search engines to gain organic engagement. Typically, marketers use websites like Ahrefs to run data reports on where content is being ranked on Google, which words are garnering traction, and where a business falls on search engines.
A business might want to hire a freelance SEO specialist to gain insight into how people are finding their business (or how they aren't). They also might look into hiring a specialist in this field to gain valuable online data that previously hadn't been calculated. Ahrefs found that the most popular hourly rate is $100-$150 for SEO specialists.
It also provided a graph on how much specialists tend to charge based on years of experience. For example, a specialist with less than two years' experience is more likely to charge $75 per hour, while someone with over ten years' experience is more likely to charge $150 per hour.
All it takes is a simple formula to find the hourly rate for freelancers. By using some industry benchmarks, you can easily find a freelancer that fits your budget and goals. And, for freelancers and businesses looking to hire freelancers alike, we have the ultimate guide on that very subject. For more information about the ins and outs of freelancing, check out our post here.
"Lisa has recommended you!"
Awww, she has?!
When I get a LinkedIn recommendation from someone I respect and admire professionally, I feel both honored and encouraged to return the favor. But for some reason, I always get writer's block. I never know how to start or what to say -- only that I like this person's work and I want others to know it.
Unfortunately, simply writing "Lisa is the best!!!!" isn't reflective of Lisa's skills -- plus it makes you look like a total goon.
Luckily, in the past few weeks I've written a couple of LinkedIn recommendations that I think turned out pretty well, and they reflected a pattern that's easy to replicate in subsequent recommendations. I thought I'd share that pattern with others that suffer the same writer's block.
Download our ultimate guide to LinkedIn here for more tips about how to use LinkedIn for professional networking.
Here's a quick little "template" you can use that makes for a LinkedIn recommendation that's specific, honest, succinct, and helpful for the person you're recommending.
1. Explain the nature of your professional relationship.
That sounds really serious, but it's simply a helpful piece of context that acts as an "intro" for your recommendation. Whether it's a coworker you've worked closely with for years, a manager, a direct report, a point of contact at an agency, or something else entirely, it sets the stage for the reader to learn why you're writing this recommendation.
I've worked alongside Lisa for close to two years now.
2. Provide details of the position for which you're recommending the person.
Are you recommending this person for their work in one position? Or are you writing about their work across multiple jobs they've held while you worked with them? Either way, a great next step is to explain some of the notable parts of their job(s). It may feel strange -- kind of like you're listing out their job description. But this is very helpful for anyone reading the recommendation, looking to get a feel for what precisely it is they did in their job.
Resist the urge to create a laundry list of their job duties. If they've really worn that many hats, I recommend contacting them to see if there's a certain part of their role they'd like emphasized over others.
In those two years, I've seen her not only excel at the core elements of her job -- like copywriting and copyediting -- but also learn other tasks that extend well beyond the scope of her role, like email marketing, event planning, and even championing our company's internal communications.
3. Explain how they've grown at the company.
If this person reports (or once reported) to you, this aspect of a LinkedIn recommendation can go a long way. Explaining how the person you're recommending has grown -- either in their role or from one role to another -- can demonstrate an ability to adapt as the organization expands.
Just be careful not to overstate any low points in the person's career that can dilute the value of the growth you're trying to highlight.
Lisa has grown as quickly as our business has, and her willingness to learn and take on these new responsibilities is something to be desired in any professional.
4. Indicate how their contribution helped grow the team or company.
This could be an explanation of how their performance helped hit hard metrics, or it could demonstrate a contribution toward more esoteric things, like leading their teammates or fostering new initiatives.
Lisa's mastery for both her core role, and the projects that extend beyond it, have been critical to the company's growth. In fact, her taking on internal company communication aligned with a sharp increase in employee happiness.
5. Explain what these achievements reveal about that person.
By now, you've included some specifics -- so let's explain what those specifics mean for the larger theme of your recommendation. Do the examples you've detailed reveal that person is hard-working? Ambitious? Great for team morale? Connect their accomplishments with their attributes.
This rare mix of productivity and ambition sets a great example for the rest of the team, and explains why everyone loves working with Lisa -- no matter where they fall on the org chart.
6. End with a note about the personal aspect of working with him/her.
In this section, hit the message home with a mention of how you felt working with the person, your hopes for their career, or simply a prediction about their future.
While Lisa's work has continued to pay dividends long past her tenure here, I certainly miss working with her every day. I have only optimistic predictions for her career trajectory.
LinkedIn Recommendation Examples
Recommendation From an Employee
In the recommendation below, a person discusses how their supervisor progressed at the company and how this person mentored them so they too could grow as an employee.
Recommendation from an Employer
In this recommendation, an employer explains how an employee progressed and executed on projects that made a big impact on their company:
LinkedIn Recommendation Sample (for a Manager)
Now, writing a LinkedIn recommendation can seem easier said than done. What if the employee you're recommending is your superior? This can make it more difficult to recommend the person -- even if you're saying stellar things about them.
To avoid sounding patronizing or tone deaf when addressing a higher-level professional, here's a sample LinkedIn recommendation -- written in full -- that a manager would be proud to receive (notice how it embraces every step outlined above).
I've worked for Lisa for two years, and in those two years, I've seen her quickly take on new responsibilities while having the time to teach this information back into her employees. By inheriting tasks like campaign analytics and email A/B testing -- both of which extend beyond the scope of our team -- she's made our department much more agile, and set me up for a promotion last month. Lisa is as great a person as she was a manager, and her next employer will be lucky to have her.
Now proofread, and hit send. Remember, the recipient has the opportunity to review and request changes to your recommendation, so if you're concerned you haven't written a recommendation in the most helpful way possible, they can still get in touch with edit requests.
Editor's note: This blog post was originally published in July 2018, but was updated in November 2019 for comprehensiveness.