A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… I first learned of the quake via Twitter, including tweets from people I follow who live in Christchurch. Most of the initial tweets and re-tweets were of coverage by local media: the TV, newspaper and radio networks. Soon after, a People Finder service was published by Google and social media sites like Reddit created special web pages to track the latest news. I’ve also been tracking my own family’s updates via Facebook. richard macmanus The hashtag #eqnz has been the mobilizing factor on Twitter, including prominent placement to important local Twitter accounts like @nz_quake (an unofficial account that tracks data from GeoNet) and @NZcivildefence (an official account run by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management). There’s also a more specific hashtag, #eqnzcontact, to collate information about people affected by the quake.The website EQNZ.co.nz has a running feed from Twitter and Geonet, as well as photos and a blog. This site has graphs of earthquake data from Geonet.Google rushed out a Person Finder application, to help people locate relatives. Update: Google Australia advises that Google.org’s crisis response team now has a landing page which will be constantly updated.Related is this wiki, for people to share information about missing people. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market CrisisCommons is a non-profit website doing a wonderful job rallying resources. It points to, among other things, a crowdsourced map. Update: Chad Catacchio noted in the comments that this is not an official CrisisCommons initiative, rather it is from CrisisCamp NZ with support from CrisisCamp Santa Barbara and CrisisCamp Toronto.You can make donations to the Red Cross.The primary news websites in New Zealand are all frantically updating as we speak. Here are the main ones: NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz (which is the mothership for the Christchurch and Wellington dailies), TVNZ, 3 News. The latter two are the main television networks and their websites include live streaming coverage (3 News, TVNZ). Radio NZ, the national radio service, has ongoing news and a live audio stream. An alternative is Radio Live’s audio stream.If you want to track the news and reactions outside of Twitter and the mainstream news websites, Reddit has a special aggregation page up. This information page is particularly good (hat-tip @JaredNeilsen)Images from Twitter are being aggregated on Hashalbum.Please add more resources that you know of to the comments. At time of publishing, 5.45pm NZ, a state of emergency has just been declared in Christchurch. Our thoughts are with the people of Christchurch.Updates:Ed Borasky comments: “Kate Starbird at University of Colorado Boulder has activated the Tweak-the-Tweet system as well. Follow @kate30_dev and @katestarbird.” As Ed explained in a post, Tweak-the-Tweet aims to provide a “standardized syntax for Twitter communications.” Here is the Volunteer spreadsheet & map (thanks @Org9). A Facebook page has been created to support the people of Christchurch (thanks Rachel Cunliffe for that tip). Further update:This Facebook Page has gathered more momentum.Telecommunications updates can be found at this Telecom NZ web page and on Twitter. Also, Vodafone NZ advised via its Twitter account: “Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls, stick to TXT and short calls if you can.”Julie Starr has a comprehensive list of news and sources on The Evolving Newsroom. She also recommends the All Hazards site.quakebeds.co.nz has information on places to find and offer accomodation for Christchurch people.If you are a blogger, you may want to add this fund-raising widget fromGivealittle to your site. 100% of all funds donated will be contributed to the official mayoral fund. I’ve added one near the top of this post.Tweet stream via EQNZ.co.nz Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#news#web Related Posts Today the New Zealand city of Christchurch was rocked by another large earthquake, a magnitude 6.3 that was shallow and hit close to the city center. It follows months of aftershocks from the first big earthquake to strike Christchurch, a magnitude 7.1 on 4 September last year. A personal note: I live in Wellington, New Zealand, which is about 200 miles from Christchurch. However, I have a number of relatives who live in Christchurch and I’m concerned about their safety.
I hope that you found these tips useful. If you did, would you please retweet or “Like” this post 😉 Thanks! Topics: recent overtaking of the Guinness World Record content creation in 24 hours certainly did the job. Only hours after Figure out what distinguishes you from the competition, and make sure you share this with your audience. This will not only help you to attract a loyal following, but it will also help you because he wanted his fans to know he loved them. As a result of his continued effort to share remarkable content with the world, not only was Weezy able to maintain his fan base, but he actually increased it! that your competitors may not be focused on. 2. Never Stop Creating Content 3 Social Media Marketing Tips From Rapper Lil’ Wayne Don’t make your visitors’ experience more difficult by throwing a barrage of links and choices in front of them. Provide them with and then offer them one simple next step. WeezyThanxYou Although there are thousands of rappers in the world, Lil’ Wayne uses his uniqueness to help him stand out in the overpopulated sea of lyricists. His love of rock music, the Green Bay Packers, and his brief stint in jail are just a few of the things that Wayne uses to distinguish himself from others. Originally published Feb 17, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 Social Media start ranking for long tail keywords is the key to any inbound marketing strategy. Oreo claimed the record 1. Be Unique As an internet marketer having a social media presence isn’t enough. The social media landscape is always changing, and because of this it’s important to understand the most effective ways to utilize the tools available for your marketing efforts. Here are a couple things all internet marketers can learn from Lil’ Waynes success. valuable content Lil’ Wayne shares a lot of exclusive content with his fans on Facebook. He also makes it extremely clear to them how they can show their appreciation by including a simple “Like this post” call to action in many of his posts. By telling his fans what to do next Lil’ Wayne is making his fan’s lives simpler and helping them with the decision-making process. This works incredibly well on his Facebook Page as we can see with all of his posts including the most recent Guinness World Record post. Facebook Growing a following and attracting inbound links is a long gradual process. Don’t lose hope if you don’t see immediate results. Quality and consistency of If Lil’ Wayne hadn’t already established himself as one of social media’s elite, his most for themselves with 114,619 “Likes,” Lil’ Wayne and his fans obliterated it with a whopping 588,243. Now I know some of you are probably thinking, “well he probably just has a lot more fans than Oreo,” but that isn’t the whole story. Oreo has 16,711,040 fans on Facebook to Lil’ Waynes 20,112,726, and although this is a significant advantage, it does not completely explain why he got more than five times as many “Likes” on his post. for most “Likes” to a post on You would think that being locked up might put someone’s rap career on hold. But instead of slowing down, Lil Wayne seemed to work even harder while he was in prison. As well as continuing to write songs, he also launched a blog called Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 3. Tell Your Fans What to Do!
As with the headline, it’s important not to be too pushy. Avoid statements that command visitors to “download now”. Instead, focus on the value to the visitor, such as “gain immediate access” or a “free download”. 2. Clearly & Honestly State the Value Proposition Topics: 1. Headlines are Like Pickup Lines. Don’t be arrogant! The idea here is to start a conversation with your website visitors without sounding pretentious or arrogant. You don’t want to be “that guy”. You know the one – the guy who loves to tell girls the joke about the gun show. When a visitor arrives on your page, you have only a short period of time to convince them not to press the “Back” button on their browser. If your headlines have too much hype (e.g. “An Event You Can’t Afford To Miss!!”), it will turn people off. Headlines play a critical role in convincing a visitor that it is worthwhile for them to stick around and get to know you better. A good headline clearly and honestly states the value of your offer. cacophonyx download a free chapter I recently attended MECLAB’s Landing Page Optimization Summit where Dr. Flint McGlaughlin presented his research to a sold-out audience. Through colorful analogies and real-world examples, McGlaughlin explained a series of lessons around Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 7, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 of your offer will not only guide the reader’s eyes, it will also demonstrate the tangible value of your offer. This is even more effective if you can state them with numbers. Quantified proof gives you credibility. Many of your visitors are probably already jaded from seeing too many false promises and exaggerated claims online. If you can provide them with concrete numbers supporting your value proposition, it will be easier for them to trust you. features you’re offering, they won’t care enough to continue reading, much less convert on your landing page. Landing Page Copy and The more specific you can be about why your offer is valuable, the better. Bulleted lists of the 3. Be Specific what landing page optimization If the visitor doesn’t know For more advice on optimizating your landing pages, Photo Credit: from MarketingSherpa’s latest report on the key components to a successful landing page optimization strategy. and writing highly effective copy. Among the laundry list of insights I recorded in my notes, here are the most memorable: benefits Your web page should clearly state 1) where they are on your site so they know they are in the right place, 2) what they can do on that page, and 3) why should they should care about what is on that page. It sounds simple, but it’s surprising how many landing pages do not clearly communicate these points.
. efforts. More educational and instructional forms of content, like case studies (55%), white papers (43%) and webinars (42%), were also used. These types of educational and instructional content were rated the most valuable for directly supporting B2B marketers’ objectives, according to with the brand during the sales cycle through the use of multiple touchpoints, like The complexity of the B2B buying process, compared to that for B2C, often demands more of marketers. Because of the longer B2B sales cycle, marketers must diligently fill the sales pipeline and continuously support sales by . email or campaign nurturing programs MarketingProfs Marketers have an endless array of digital channels and choices for uncovering prospects, and and Content Marketing found 63% of B2B marketers in North America turn to content marketing as a key content marketing lead generation Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack More specifically, North American B2B marketers used articles (78%) and e-newsletters (61%) for their Junta42 keeping prospects engaged source. Topics: Focus Research What types of content do you find to be effective in attracting prospects in the more research-oriented beginning stages of the buying process? Originally published Jul 15, 2011 2:44:00 PM, updated July 03 2013
Topics: Originally published Jul 5, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 We all love watching videos online. From an animal doing something adorable to a how-to segment on cooking a meal, people are constantly watching and sharing them with friends. In fact, over 4 billion videos are viewed daily on YouTube, and over 60 hours of video are watched per minute. Chances are, your potential customers are among those 4 billion watching videos today.Which is why your boss asks you to make a video. Oh, and can you make it go viral, too? First of all, what a frustrating question; virality can never, ever be guaranteed. But there are some common qualities to many of the viral videos out there that we’ve started to notice. And those qualities can be replicated to increase the chance that your video might join the ranks of the other viral successes out there. Read through the tips in this blog post to learn how to create a high quality video, as told through the stories of other online video successes out there — and who knows, it may just result in your own viral video!Keep it ShortAccording to the New York Times, 44% of people lost interest in a video after 60 seconds. So it looks like shorter videos are more likely to keep people’s attention, which means increased social sharing for your video. For an example of a short but effective video, take a look at this video of an owner teasing a dog about food, which received 25 million views in the first five days, and currently has over 110 million views to date.The video is under 90 seconds long, and has the entertainment factor of a talking dog. Come on, who doesn’t love dogs? It’s also perfect to share with friends, because the point of the video is obvious in the first few seconds, so it doesn’t require explanation or context. Keep your videos similarly short and to-the-point, and you’ll see those video views creep up.Demonstrate a Strong, Consistent Brand PersonaYour goal is to get people to immediately think of you when they see the person or object portrayed in the video, so your video needs to clearly demonstrate your brand to viewers. To do this, first create a clear picture of what you people think about your brand — and what you want them to think. If you sell men’s clothing, but people are actually buying your apparel because of the lifestyle it promotes, creating a video about high quality clothing will not do as well as a video about the awesome lifestyle that men who wear your brand have.Take a look at the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, for example. With Isaiah Mustafa, it made a very strong connection between Old Spice products and the manly persona men want to be like, and that women want in a man. And they did it in all of their videos. He always remained in character, and was such a strong parallel to the brand that it actually become humorous — never a bad thing for video virality! It resulted in over 290 million channel views to date, and over 35 million views within the first 7 days of launch.The Old Spice campaign was entertaining, but still portrayed the characteristics men want to be, and women want in men — what Old Spice wanted to be associated with. Create a persona that can be easily identified with your brand, then find a way to embody like Old Spice did — through mascots, tag lines, copy, everything!Is That Real?Creating a video that makes people ask, “Is that real?” is a great way to increase a video’s social shares — if people see something unbelievable, you can be they’ll be sharing it to get others’ two cents. The eHarmony “cat lady” is a perfect example of this, plus it brought brand awareness to eHarmony in a humorous way. This video, created by a comedian, was so outrageous and unbelievable that people wanted to show it to their friends; it received over 2 million views the first day, and now has more than 22 million views.Why did this gem go viral? The video was so crazy people had to share it with their friends and debate the validity behind it. The lesson here is that crazy content — that can still relate to your brand, of course — is a one way ticket to online video success. So think to yourself: Is there anything in my industry I could parody that millions can relate to?Hilarious ContentWe’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but if you make people laugh with your video, it’s far more likely it will get shared socially. Just remember to create content that’s not only funny to you, but entertaining for your customers as well. The talking babies video, for example, went viral in 2011 with 20 million views in the first ten days, and over 70 million views to date. The video depicts two babies talking in a language of their own, quite the unusual sight, indeed! This video was appealing to an extremely wide audience, thus making it easy to share with friends and rack up those high view counts.Another thing to keep in mind when creating funny videos is that you don’t actually have to directly promote anything — though you could if you’re able to make people laugh despite the blatant promotion, like Old Spice did. This video could have been used for a variety of baby products to increase brand awareness; just focus on finding material that’s universally entertaining and unique.Newsjack With ParodyMaking a parody of a popular event, person, or song to reflect your company or product will create an interesting video people may be more likely to share with friends — because it’s based off of something millions already recognize and love. The video “Barack Obama Singing Call Me Maybe” parody, for instance, has over 17 million views in under four weeks, making it one of the most viral videos in 2012.Not only does this video play on the nation’s president — bold move — but it also uses the most viral song to date, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call me Maybe” which is #1 on YouTube with over 100 million views. Hey, sometimes using pop-culture can help your video go viral, and there’s no shame in utilizing it!Leverage User-Generated ContentLetting your customers or fans get in on the content creation is a great way to generate a successful video. Not only will you save time, but you’ll engage customers and encourage sharing — a great boost for your reach and reputation. Content contests are an easy way to get the content you need, and allow users to engage with the brand while using word-of-mouth to spread the message to others within their social networks. If it’s feasible for your product or service, a contest can increase your reach to people you originally would not have been able to reach with your own marketing. If you can, have other fans vote on the winning video, further increasing the reach of your campaign!Aflac did this in 2012, when they created the “10 Second Challenge” in which users were asked to create a short video explaining what Aflac meant to them. The prize was internet fame and $25,000. Over 180 video submissions were entered, which resulted in 250,000 video views on Facebook and thousands more to date on YouTube. Letting your users create content for you can save you time, and because of their pride in their work, the result may be more creative than you could have ever imagined!What other qualities of viral videos did we miss here? Have you ever created an extremely successful online video?Image credit: googlisti Don’t forget to share this post! 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Originally published Oct 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Marketing Trends This is an excerpt from our new ebook, 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing. Download your free copy if you want to see the other 90 ideas that have changed our industry forever!At the beginning of this year, we set out to create an infographic that gave a rundown of the history of marketing. And as we looked back, we found that one idea from all the way back in the 1400s — the invention of the printing press that made mass media possible — totally and completely changed the entire trajectory of our industry. Heck, you could argue it made our industry possible!That made us think of all of the other advancements that have rocked the marketing world. Because we kind of have a thing for shaking things up 🙂 So, we compiled this ebook, 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing, and we wanted to share 10 of the highlights from it right here. Take a look, get inspired, and let us know if we should add a one-hundred and one’th (one’th? That’s not right, right?) idea!10 of the 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing Forever1) AgileIf you’re agile, you can easily and gracefully move at a rapid pace. In 2001, through the Agile Manifesto, the idea of agile was introduced to software development, and it defines aniterative approach that promotes flexibility and customer collaboration. “In many ways, marketing used to be a lot like software development,” wrote marketing technologist Scott Brinker. “Yearly plans of a few major initiatives would lumber forward with rigid hand-offs between the different stakeholders — researchers, strategists, creatives, media buyers, etc. The end-to-end process was time consuming and difficult to alter midstream.”By implementing an agile approach, marketers should be able to make iterations faster and respond to change rather than simply follow established processes. Today, with the proliferation of new technologies, the ability to adapt to the rapidly changing marketing landscape is becoming increasingly important and necessary for business success. As Michelle Accardi-Petersen wrote in her 2011 book Agile Marketing, “the old integrated marketing methods don’t work … that is, unless you have an agile process that allows you to move much faster and to adapt to these marketing pressures on the fly where necessary.”2) BloggingAs inbound marketers, I think we’re all familiar with this … but when’s the last time you took a step back and realized, “Wow, blogging is one of the strongest marketing tools in my kit.” The times they are a-changin’ eh?Short for web log, a blog is a term used to describe a series of online articles displayed in chronological order that generally encourage comments from digital readers. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or group of people and will traditionally include regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material, such as photos and videos. A blog is a long-term marketing asset that brings traffic and leads to your business. It introduces you as a thought leader in your space and allows you to earn people’s trust.Nearly 40% of U.S. companies use blogs for marketing purposes. “This platform, if done properly, can generate tremendous traffic, leads and sales for your business that youotherwise would not have had,” wrote Marcus Sheridan, Partner at River Pools and Spas and Founder of The Sales Lion. First, business blogging helps you in respect to search engine optimization (SEO). The more blog posts you publish, the more indexed pages you create for search engines to display in their results. Second, your blog is an asset that introduces you as a thought leader — it will help you earn people’s trust and stay top of mind for many in yourcommunity. Finally, a blog gives you real estate to place calls-to-action in order to generate leads.The thing about blogging is that anybody can do it, but remarkably, not everybody does. This gap represents a huge opportunity for serious marketers to differentiate themselves — with their bosses, and their leads and customers.3) Citizen JournalismThe new media landscape has reshaped the ways in which audiences access information. A Pew Research Center report showed that some 46% of Americans visit from four to six media platforms on a typical day, and only 7% have a single favorite one. For their daily information, online readers consult various sources, including newspaper sites, email, and social media. Additionally, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have fostered recommendation systems that increasingly shift the power of information distribution in the hands of non-journalists. In these environments, one’s community can make editorial decisions by endorsing stories.Marketers need to recognize the participation of citizens in the process of newsgathering and always provide credible sources and references when sharing public information. Don’t underestimate the investigative spirit of today’s consumers and people’s ability to get to the truth through in-depth online research. Businesses need to be more alert than ever to theway they present information and facts because inaccuracies can easily be exposed.4) CopyrightCopyright is a legal concept that protects the work of an individual from being used withouttheir consent. It gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights, including the right to receive credit for their work and the right to choose who can use and remix their work.With the rapid development of technological advances, it has become easier for people to create digital mashups of existing works, which has led to copywright wars and lawsuits.American academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig argues that we now live in a Remix Culture which encourages people to engage in collaborative creation and stimulate their creativity in new ways. “It is time we stop wasting the resources of our federal courts, our police, and our universities to punish behavior that we need not punish,” he wrote in Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.Now that the role of a marketer is so intertwined with the role of a publisher, it’s not difficult to imagine the different ways in which copyright affects the marketing professional. Not only is pirating content just poor internet etiquette, but it also results in duplicate content that hurts both websites on which the content is featured in the search engine results pages. In fact, one of Google’s 2012 algorithm updates will be using the number of valid copyright removal notices as a signal for which websites should be displayed in the SERPs. To stay away from such punishments as a marketer, you need to ensure you are not stealing people’s content. Make sure you aregiving your sources credit in all of your content, including blog posts, webinars, ebooks, and even social media.5) GamificationGamification describes the adoption of game design elements and game thinking by nongamecontexts. It’s applied to make less interactive situations more engaging to users. Some forms of gamification in marketing include awarding badges or providing incentives for participation in specific activities.For instance, at HubSpot we often give away prizes to random attendees of our marketing webinars or people who share our content with their networks. “Games and research into human psychology have taught us that people are happier when they earn something, rather than when it is given to them,” wrote Darren Steele, the strategic director of Mindspace, and co-author of the gamification book, I’ll Eat this Cricket for a Cricket Badge.6) Inbound MarketingInbound marketing is marketing that’s useful. It means acquiring customers by attracting and nurturing prospects with exceptional content, data and customer service — not interrupting them with annoying, useless messages. It means pulling prospects in with a magnet, not beating them over the head with a sledgehammer.“Consumers have learned how to ignore TV commercials with Tivo, radio commercials with Satellite radio, email marketing with filters, etc.” wrote in our LinkedIn discussion web presence strategist Linda Lovero-Waterhouse. “Now our goal is to give consumers the information they want *when* they want it. What a concept!”Inbound marketing tactics tend to be cheaper than traditional marketing tactics, too. Companies that focus on inbound tactics have a 62% lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on outbound tactics.There are three key stages to inbound marketing: get found, convert, and analyze. Eventually, inbound marketing boils down to, as web marketing professional Jonathan Mallia noted, “knowing your customers’ needs and feeding them with the right content that ultimately links to the product you wish to market and finally sell. If this is cleverly executed in a strategic manner, you will realize that you have only spent a small fraction of your advertising budget to convert a good number of good quality, sales-ready leads. Why? Because Marketing = Educating.”7) Social NetworksWith the invention of the World Wide Web in 1990, the internet opened up multi-directional communication channels and embraced collaboration. Its digital format removed the physical limitations and expensive cost of producing and distributing information. Forums and chat rooms started to populate the digital landscape, often used to share news. Internet Relay Chat (IRC), for instance, was introduced to the general public in 1991, when the platform offered real-time coverage of the First Gulf War.In the early 2000s, people joined the new participatory media culture by creating and disseminating content through their personal computers, smart phones and digital cameras. Online users started blogging, video broadcasting, and using social media. Social networking site Facebook, which was founded in 2002, now has more than 900 million active users. Then of course there are the other popular social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.“Social marketing changed marketing forever,” wrote Jose Antonio Sanchez, Communications Specialist at Uberflip, in our LinkedIn discussion. “Marketers have realized that they need to have valuable two-way conversations with their audience before getting it to ‘buy’ their product. Consumers can be convinced but not persuaded anymore.”8) Social ProofSocial proof, also referred to as “informational social influence,” is the concept that people willconform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of thecorrect behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trustthose people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be avery powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions.One traditional example of social proof is when TV shows play canned laughter or recorded applause to elevate the perception of funny or applaudable situations. So while the concept of social proof may be nothing new, the rise of the internet and social media adoption have certainly made social proof a lot easier to leverage and exploit, especially in a marketing context. Building and providing better visibility for your business’ social proof can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy.The forms of social proof in marketing can vary from social media praises and social advertising to case studies, testimonials and user reviews.9) ViralityViral marketing is word-of-mouth marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company’s advocates. “Viral marketing,” wrote Seth Godin in 2008, “is an idea that spreads — and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.”Godin goes on to describe two types of viral marketing: one in which the message that spreads is the product itself, and another in which the message isn’t related to the product. YouTube as a platform would be an example of the first one, and a video on YouTube would be an example of the second.Email has facilitated the spread of the second type of viral marketing. Tools such as “send this page, article or website to a friend” encourage people to refer or recommend your newsletter, company, product, service or specific offers to other people. In order to leverage viral marketing, you need to have a strong community that will start the process of spreading your message. You can build your community even before you have a product. Letting users into the process early helps provide a sense of ownership while it gives a company valuable feedback needed to make the product better.“Being viral isn’t the hard part,” observes Godin. “The hard part is making that viral elementactually produce something of value, not just entertainment for the client or your boss.”10) Web 2.0When the Web first became available to users, it was primarily about retrieving information. As it evolved in the 2000s, it became known as Web 2.0 — a platform associated not only with consumption of information, but also with collaboration and participation. It is characterized by applications like blogging, search engine optimization, and social media. The term is associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.O’Reilly explained that Web 2.0 is based on the principle that online databases improve as people use them. “It’s about how businesses work differently in the age of the network,” he said. Businesses have to figure out how to create more value for their customers than for themselves. Ultimately, customers and businesses are capable of building value together. Think about how you can build a platform online that enables the community to bring value to your business for you.What other brilliant ideas do you think changed the marketing landscape forever?Image credit: d4u.hu Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
PPC Originally published Aug 19, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: In PPC, there are lots of metrics to track, so it can quickly get confusing and then overwhelming. Marketers often ask me, “What’s the one metric I should optimize for? I just want to know the top one or two levers I can pull to make a difference!”In my experience, looking at thousands of Google AdWords accounts and billions in combined spend, there are two metrics that correlate most strongly with success:Account Activity: You get out what you put in. This isn’t too shocking; advertisers who do more work on their accounts get better results.Quality Score: Higher Quality Scores generally lead to lower costs, so optimizing for Quality Score is essentially the same as optimizing for ROI.Why You Should Spend Time Optimizing for Quality Score Since Quality Score is really a measure of relevance, it’s a powerful predictor of your success. And it makes total sense — Google’s main goal is to keep users happy so they keep using Google, and keep clicking results. More relevant ads, campaigns, and landing pages get more clicks; that raises your Quality Scores and — since Quality Score determines both your ad ranking and what you pay per click — everybody wins.So once you’ve committed to spending more time in your account, what should you spend your time on? I recommend that you focus on optimizing your Quality Scores, which is the metric most likely to lead to higher rankings, more clicks and leads, and lower costs for those actions.How much lower? Let’s take a look.New Data Shows AdWords Quality Score Can Save You Up to 50% on PPCIn 2009, Craig Danuloff crunched some numbers to show that a Quality Score of 10 could save you 30% on cost per click, or CPC. (Sadly, I can’t link to the post because the Click Equations blog now redirects to Acquisio.) But that was over four years ago, and I was curious to see if the data had changed.To investigate, I did a manual analysis of several hundred new clients that WordStream signed up in the first two months of 2013. What I found is that average impression-weighted Quality Scores have fallen in the past four years. In 2009, a Quality Score of 7 (out of 10) was average. But today’s impression-weighted average Quality Score is just slightly over 5. The distribution looks like this: Therefore, accounts (or campaigns or ad groups) with average volume-weighted keyword Quality Scores better than 5 can be considered better than average, and are thereby benefiting relative to most advertisers. Accounts with average Quality Scores lower than 5 are below average, and those scores are detrimental to your account. I used this data to re-run the calculations and see how much a Quality Score higher than 5 saves you on CPC compared to the average advertiser. Here’s what I found: As you can see from the chart, the savings have increased. Some highlights: A Quality Score of 6 is 200% more valuable than it was four years ago! A Quality Score of 6 was previously below average, and increased your CPC by 16.7%. Now, a Quality Score of 6 decreases your CPC by 16.7%. A Quality Score of 9 is twice as valuable as it was in 2009, saving you 44.4% compared to 22.2%. A Quality Score of 10 now saves you a full 50% on CPC. That means if all your keywords had Quality Scores of 10, you’d only be paying half as much as the average advertiser. Pretty crazy, right? And if you’re thinking, “So what? I don’t care about cost per click, all I really care about is cost per acquisition” — fear not. Quality Score lowers your CPA, too. I did a similar analysis based on CPA and found that high Quality Scores also correlate with lower CPAs:With a Quality Score of 10, you’ll pay 80% less per conversion than an advertiser with an average Quality Score of 5. These savings are mostly driven by lower costs per click. This is why optimizing for Quality Score is such a good use of your time.Benchmarking AdWords Quality Score: What Should You Shoot For? As I mentioned above, average Quality Scores these days hover around a 5. So anything higher than 5 is going to benefit you, relative to the average AdWords advertiser. That means you should shoot for a bare minimum impression-weighted average Quality Score of 6. However, it’s important to note that higher scores save you more. If you want the full 50% savings, you need the gold standard Quality Score of 10.The fastest way to find out your impression-weighted average Quality Score in AdWords is to grade your account using the free AdWords Performance Grader. This tool will do an instant audit of your PPC account across 8 different key performance metrics, including impression-weighted Quality Score. Your report will calculate and display your average Quality Score and plot a distribution of the number of impressions happening at each visible Quality Score for the last 90 days, and compare that to a “Recommended Curve” for your business. Here’s an example of what the Quality Score section of the report looks like:If you don’t like what you see (the example account above is well below average), it’s time to start working on improving your scores. Here are three tactics to try: Use ad extensions. AdWords ad extensions, such as sitelinks, make your ads bigger with more places to click, so they increase CTR at no extra cost.Write better ad text. Test different messaging to find the ad text that speaks to your audience. And use your one allotted exclamation point! Bid on brand terms. Branded keywords tend to have really high clickthrough and conversion rates, so they bring up the average for your whole account. This is a guest post written by Larry Kim. Larry is the founder and CTO of WordStream, provider of the 20 Minute PPC Work Week and the AdWords Grader. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.Image credit: Philip Taylor PT
Topics: Marketing Reporting Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Now what do I do?Pulling this report on a monthly basis can give you insight into how your campaigns affected new contacts by persona — and might even shed light into an imbalance in resources dedicated to certain personas.Did you run a marketing campaign around a particular topic? Or did you focus on promoting your content through specific channels? What did you do that led to an increase or decrease in persona acquisition? Digging into this report can help you allocate resources more wisely to grow different segments of your business.Contacts by Lifecycle StageWhat is it?Another way to segment your database is to look at how they appear by lifecycle stage. This will give you a sense of how many leads, subscribers, customers, opportunities, etc. you have in your database in a certain time period. This data will help you understand if you need to generate more leads or if you should be more focused on closing your current leads. It will also give you a general understanding of the quality of your database.Simply choose if you want daily, weekly, or monthly data, plot your contacts by their “Create Date,” and break the report down by their lifecycle stage so you can see a report like the one below.Now what do I do?This report will give you an overview of how many leads you’re generating by each lifecycle stage. It will also give you a visual overview so you can see how these leads are moving through your funnel.Use this report to see what areas of your funnel you need to address for greater funnel efficiency — no one likes a clogged funnel, least of all Sales. If you see there are not a lot of marketing qualified leads in your system, for instance, you may want to create a report that digs into the reasons why. Pulling reports of the first conversion date, days to close, and content offers can help you uncover why the contacts in different lifecycle stages may be high or low.Leads Broken Down by OfferWhat is it?If your company does inbound marketing, chances are you’re going to have a lot of content on your website. Figuring out what content performs the best is important as you plan out your content strategy. Maybe certain types of offers like whitepapers are more popular than webinars, for instance. Or certain topics could resonate better with your audience than others. Understanding your audience’s content preferences is very valuable information to have so you cater to their interests.Using HubSpot, you can pull data to show which offers generate the most leads. Let’s take ebooks as an example. Create a custom property for ebook source. Then go to your ebook landing page forms, and put a hidden field with the customer property you created for ebook source. Under default value, write the name of your ebook so your contact’s record indicates that they downloaded that particular offer.Now what do I do?After your ebook has been live for a couple of weeks, take a look at its performance in comparison to some of your other ebooks. See if you can see trends between the different ebooks. Does a certain topic consistently perform well? Did an ebook perform better on social media than via email marketing? Try to find those trends based on the data to figure out which ones you can promote more and which ones should take the back burner.Alright marketers, what other reports do you think are important to run? Share with us in the comments. Now what do I do?Take a look to see how people are finding your blog content. Did you run an email campaign that put the content in their hands? Are you doing a lot of promotion on social media? Or are people organically finding your content?Based on what you uncover from this initial assessment, you can figure out your best channels for promoting your content. In the example above, it’s clear that my strongest channel is organic search while email marketing is one of my weaker channels. That tells a resource-strapped marketer to invest more in optimizing my content for search than spending time creating emails.Take it a step further and look at how many leads you’re generating from your blog over a set period of time. If you see spikes in leads generated, you know to dig into your content to see if you’re more successful generating leads with certain topics over others. The more you can dig into these reports to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, the better off your marketing will be.This type of data should be pulled on a weekly basis to help you adjust your content strategy for the coming weeks.All New Contacts by PersonaWhat is it?Every marketer needs a good hang of their buyer personas — but you need to do more than just understand them. It’s important to track how many new contacts you’re actually adding to your database based on that persona.To report on this in HubSpot, plot your contacts by create date, which will show the date on which you added a new contact to your database. Then break down your report by persona. Originally published Apr 24, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 There are hundreds of reports that you can run to dig into your marketing. But the question is often where to start — what are those basic reports you can run to help get you comfortable digging into the copious amounts of data at your fingertips?Some important metrics that you should track are traffic, leads, and customers — all of these are important to get the full picture of your marketing funnel. But you probably already look at that stuff. Having the ability to dig in even further to see where your traffic and leads are coming from, what content they interacted with, when they converted, and how long it took to close are important to really uncover meaningful, actionable data. This post will help you get at that — it compiles some of the reports that can get you started on some of the basics in marketing reporting. Note that you will need some type of marketing software to do this. You should also be able to export the data from your software and manipulate it in Excel using pivot tables and other functions. (If you need help using Excel, download this offer to teach you some of the basics.)Since we use HubSpot for our reporting needs, I’ll show you how to compile these reports using HubSpot. (Bear in mind that the data below is sample data only, and does not represent actual HubSpot marketing data).Revenue ReportingWhat is it?It may be helpful for marketers to be able to tie their marketing efforts back to the amount of revenue their marketing generates from that particular channel. That way marketers can look at the success of certain channels over others and make smarter investments based on what channels generated the most revenue. Note that if you’re a B2B business, it may be more important for you to create your reports based on company data instead of individual contact data., so you may use a companies report instead of a contacts report.HubSpot customers can pull revenue data based on any contact properties they have in HubSpot using the new Companies Report. So if you wanted to pull it based on source, you’d simply select the date range that you want to analyze, choose “Original Source Type” to make up your bar graph, and select “Salesforce Total Revenue” as the last field.Note: Enterprise HubSpot customers can do this in their software if they have their Salesforce integration set up with Account Sync turned on. Now what do I do?Look at the revenue results of different channels, and see where you had the most success. You can use this information to decide what marketing efforts to invest in going forward. For instance, in the example above, offline sources are clearly generating a lot more revenue than direct traffic — we can make actionable marketing and budget decisions with that knowledge going forward. If you’re looking at revenue by source, it’s also important to keep in mind other factors that may have contributed to the success or failure of a channel. The source is a person’s first conversion on your site. But if someone converted on offline sources, and then eventually buys your product as a result of direct traffic or other channels, those other channels or the combination of channels may be the reason for your customer acquisition. This is all to say that revenue reporting is important, but you should dig into some of your other metrics, as well, for a more complete picture.Channel-Specific TrafficWhat is it?Understanding where your traffic is coming from will help you make strategic decisions as you choose to invest in different channels. In some cases, if you see strong performance from one particular source, you may want to invest more resources in it. On the other hand, you may actually want to invest in some of the weaker channels to get them on pace with some of your other channels. Whatever you decide, the sources data will help you figure that out.HubSpot customers are probably familiar with the Sources graph to get at this information, but you can actually customize it more. For instance, you could pull a report based on the number of visits coming to the site, you could pull number of visits from a particular list instead of your entire database with the Contacts or Companies Report, and you can (of course) customize those views by date ranges that matter for your reporting.Now what do I do?After you pull the data, take a look at what channels are performing well. Based on your goals, that could mean looking at the visitor data, or focusing on the visit-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates. Here are a couple different ways to think about your data:If you get a lot of traffic to your site from a certain channel, but the channel is not necessarily helping your visitors move down the funnel, it may mean that you should invest more in other channels or dig into ways to improve your conversion rates.Think about ways you can invest resources in your strongest channels. Did you run a campaign that helped the channel perform well? Was there a piece of content you created that set it off? Consider how you can replicate your past success.If you haven’t worked on a particular channel, this could be a good time to test it out. Think about how you can incorporate multiple channels into the same campaign.Pulling this data weekly will allow you to stay up-to-date on how the channels are performing. If a channel took a turn for the worse, you’ll have enough time to remedy the situation before it gets out of control. Pulling the report daily may be a bit overboard since some channels take multiple days to be effective, but pulling it monthly will not help you respond with agility.Blog Leads ReportWhat is it?Blogs have become a marketer’s best friend. There is a direct correlation between the number of times a company blogs and not just the amount of traffic they drive, but the number of leads they generate. So it’s critical you keep an eye on how well your blog is helping you grow that critical metric.A blog leads report is a quick way to see how many leads you’re generating on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis — and by what channel. This report is a great way to dig into what channels are strongest for your blog, where you should spend more promotion time, and how well your content is performing over time.If you’re using HubSpot, create a list to gather all of the leads for your blog. The list should have the “Contact Property of First Referring Site,” “First Page Seen,” and “Original Source” equal to your blog URL, and then use the list to create your contact report. Break down your report by the “Became a Lead Date,” and break down the contact properties by “Original Source” if you would like to see the channel they’re coming from, not just the leads number.
Over the past few years, mobile email opens have seen explosive growth. While they are now holding steady around 45% of all email opens, three years ago, they accounted for only 11% of opens — which is a 309% increase since April 2011. Not only are mobile opens growing, but they’re also cannibalizing desktop and webmail opens. Desktop opens have decreased 53% in the past three years and now represent 28% of opens. During the same period webmail opens decreased 10% and now account for 27% of opens. This rise in mobile has left many brands and businesses wondering if they need to hop on the mobile train — and if they decide to do it, what they actually need to do to be “mobile optimized.” Keep on reading to figure out how to tailor your email marketing strategy for mobile audiences. What Does Mobile Mean for Me?When it comes to creating successful email marketing in general, it’s all about your audience. What type of content are they interested in? How often do they want your emails? Which email programs and devices do they use to read your emails? When it comes to reacting to the increase in mobile email opens, the answer to this last question is key. However, MarketingSherpa found that only 31% of marketers know their mobile email open rate.Since every audience is different, look into your analytics to see on which devices people are opening your emails. While some companies may see mobile open rates as high as 70%, others may see just as high Outlook opens. You should focus your testing and optimization efforts on the devices the majority of your subscribers are using to read your emails — and if that happens to be on mobile, so be it. For example, Auto Trader discovered that an increasingly large percentage of their audience was opening on mobile. With that information in hand, they knew it was essential to make their emails mobile friendly. With the help of Chalk and Pixel, they completely revamped their emails to be responsive and have noticed a 391% increase in clickthrough rates since the redesign! By providing their subscribers with a better experience, Auto Trader has seen great results.Designing for Your Subscribers’ NeedsDiscovering where your audience is opening your emails enables you to design for your subscribers’ needs — it’s all about making their email experience as smooth as possible. Once you’ve determined which email clients are most popular with your subscribers, the next step is uncovering the quirks of those clients and what techniques they support. Then, it’s decision time. Which design approaches will resonate best with your audience and their devices?For example, at Litmus, we have a high percentage of Apple Mail opens so using techniques like HTML5 video background is an option — Apple Mail supports video. Of course, we use fallback techniques so that subscribers reading our email in programs that don’t support video still have a great experience.If you’re seeing a high percentage of Outlook opens, it’s best not to use background images or text shadows since these elements will not be supported. Are the majority of your subscribers opening on the iPhone? If so, perhaps you should think about using responsive design. Mobile Email Best PracticesWith over 80% of subscribers reporting that they will delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their mobile device, it’s essential to optimize your emails for mobile subscribers if they’re a big chunk of your audience. Using mobile email design best practices ensure that designs are legible and easy to interact with not only on mobile devices, but also on tablets and desktop environments. Here are some tips for making your emails look great on mobile:1) Enlarged FontsTiny text is hard to read on a desktop computer, never mind on the small mobile screen. To avoid illegible fonts, we recommend 14 px as a minimum size for body copy and 22 px for headlines. Also, note that iOS will automatically resize fonts under 13 px, making them larger on your behalf.You can see how much enlarging fonts can help in the two emails below. Due to Company A’s tiny font (image on left), the text is difficult to read on the small screen of a mobile device. However, Company B (image on right) uses much larger fonts, allowing subscribers to easily read the email without having to zoom in.2) Streamlined ContentEvaluate the content in your email and get rid of the less useful or relevant links, copy, and images. Also be concise, but still approachable. The shorter the copy, the easier it is for people to scroll on mobile.3) Single Column LayoutWhile many newsletters are multi-column, mobile-friendly emails should consider switching to a single-column layout. This approach accommodates smaller screens and can help increase legibility. In addition, ditch detailed navigation bars. When viewed on a mobile device, navigation bars can break, are too small to tap, or simply aren’t relevant to the content of the email.Take a look at the emails below to see what I mean. Company A’s newsletter (image on the left) is four columns wide — on the small screen of a mobile device it appears busy, and images and fonts are extremely small. However, Company B’s one-column design (image on right) allows for imagery to stand out, and accommodates for larger text size and tappable buttons.4) Touch-Friendly ButtonsWhen it comes to reading emails on mobile, your call-to-action (CTA) must be touch-friendly. We recommend putting the CTA front-and-center and, if you’re using a button, make it a minimum size of 44 px x 44 px.In the example below, Company A’s social sharing icons (image on left) are extremely close together (and small), which could cause subscribers to click on the wrong link. Conversely, Company B’s CTAs (image on right) are large and have appropriate space between them, allowing subscribers to easily “touch” the CTA that they are most interested in.5) Image-Blocking TechniquesLike webmail and desktop clients, there are numerous mobile email apps that block images by default. As a result, it’s important to optimize your emails to be viewed without images. Luckily, there are a number of strategies to help combat image blocking.ALT text, which is short for alternative text, is one of the best ways to get around clients that block images by default. When images are turned off, ALT text often renders in place of the images. It’s a fantastic way to provide some context for subscribers when images are disabled. As an added benefit, ALT text makes your emails more accessible to visually impaired subscribers that use screen readers! Luckily, adding ALT attributes is extremely easy — all it takes is adding an attribute to the image tag.You can take your ALT text to the next level by adding a bit of inline CSS to change the font, color, size, style, and weight. This technique, known as styled ALT text, is a great option for maintaining branding and adding some fun to your images-off view.In addition, your touch-friendly buttons should be visible even when images are disabled. While text links are an option, bulletproof buttons allow you to have a bit more fun. Bulletproof buttons consist of live text combined with a background color, styled to look like an image-based button. While there are numerous options for creating this type of button, we prefer to use simple HTML and inline styles, which holds up well across most email clients.We also recommend using a proper balance of live text and imagery. It ensures that your emails are accessible, eliminates the HTML-to-text ratio spam issue, and allows for the email to be legible and easy to interact with regardless of whether images are present or not.6) Optimized Content in the Upper-Left CornerMany mobile email apps, including some Android and BlackBerry apps, will only display the upper left-hand corner of your email. Lack of autoscaling cuts off the right side of emails and forces users to scroll left-and-right in addition to up-and-down to view your entire message. As a result, it’s important to place important information and CTAs in the upper-left corner of your email. What other best practices do you follow to optimize your emails for mobile? Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Mobile Optimization Originally published Jun 23, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Job Search Originally published May 11, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: College graduation is just around the corner, which means it’s almost speech season. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good graduation speech and all the platitudes that come along with it, but very few of them help you transition from full-time student to full-fledged adult in the working world. In fact, it’s hard to find good, actionable advice in general on how to get a job after you graduate. Download our complete guide to getting a job after graduation here and get 10 free resume templates here.The opportunities ahead seem both endless and elusive, making it incredibly challenging to identify and build a career path you love. You just want someone to give it to you straight: How can you actually find a job? We want to help. At HubSpot, we’re lucky enough to interview and hire a lot of recent graduates, so I’ve rounded up some advice below based on interviews, applications, and feedback we hear from hiring managers, recruiters, and job candidates alike.So whether you’re putting your cap and gown on in a few weeks, graduated last year and are in a job you don’t love, or frankly are just sick of your parents asking what’s new on the career front, below are actionable tips to help you create, refine, or revitalize your job hunt — sans any platitudes or cheesy quotes.In fact, HubSpot’s Melissa Obleada has designed some free templates and tools you can use to put the advice below into practice. Download this post’s complementary guide here.Don’t try to boil the ocean.I asked a recent college graduate how many applications he submitted to companies each week as part of his job search. His response (perfect in its honesty) was, “As many as I need to get my parents off my back.”In spite of its hilarity, this type of approach isn’t strategic (and is typically unsuccessful). I refer to this strategy as trying to boil the ocean — it’s virtually impossible and incredibly frustrating. It’s hard to stick out from the pack of other applicants when you’re trying to be all things to all people. Plus, you can’t properly research and follow up with hundreds of job applications. Instead, I recommend doing enough homework to reasonably target 10-12 companies.There is definitely a balance between quantity and quality in the job search, but you get diminishing returns when you’re applying daily to hundreds of positions. You’re much more likely to make spelling mistakes, misstate goals or interests, or miss a scheduled phone screen if you’re trying to juggle too many balls. Instead of boiling the ocean, invest the time to target a few key opportunities and roles — your calendar and your future employer will thank you for it.Talk to 10 people about their jobs.So how do you actually narrow your job search down from “I’ll do anything” to “Here’s why I would be a great sales rep at X specific company?”I recommend starting with the “phone a friend” option. Most recent graduates think of a job in terms of its job description, but the reality of work can differ significantly from the rhetoric. Regardless of the field you choose, you are going to spend a lot of time at work, so it’s worth investing the time beforehand to understand what roles will actually be like after you secure the job. A 30-minute well-organized and orchestrated phone interview can help you achieve this goal.Not sure where to start? Ask a friend who graduated recently, a neighbor from your hometown, or check in with your career services office to ask for some input. If your immediate network isn’t a great resource, get to work on LinkedIn — identify individuals with job titles that interest you and ask if they would be open to a quick conversation (more on that below).For this step in the process, resist the urge to pick senior people — selecting people at or close to entry level jobs gives you a much more realistic sense of what your day would be like and what skills you would need to succeed. Moreover, this step can help you significantly refine your search and align your applications accordingly, so save your targeted emails to senior leaders until after you have clear context on the types of roles you’re most interested in pursuing.Don’t waste their time (or yours) by asking silly questions. Instead, focus on asking questions about what their average day looks like:What do they work on?Are they mostly working alone at a computer or in meetings with other people?How (if at all) do they interact with their boss?What’s the culture at their organization like?What do they like about it and what do they wish they could change?What’s the most important skill to succeed in the job they have, and why?These types of questions are specific and give you a real sense for what it’s like to actually do a given job.Listen.This sounds incredibly obvious, but the reality is that most job seekers spend more time talking than they do listening. Active listening can be the single most effective tool in identifying the right company and role for your skill set.Have you asked your professors and advisors if they know alumni working at companies where you could be a good fit? Have you asked your previous employers (even for your summer lifeguarding job) for feedback on what you’re best at and what you can do better? The answers to these questions should help inform your job search, but you need to actively listen to make their advice actionable.Moreover, when you’re talking to potential employers or alumni in careers you’re interested in pursuing, take good notes. I’d recommend creating a Google doc with the name of the person you’re talking with, the company he or she works for, key takeaways from the call, and next steps. It’s easy to think you’ll remember the titles of jobs she recommends or the person in his office you should reach out to follow up, but life often gets in the way. So take good notes, have clear follow-ups, and carve out time after every informational conversation to thank the person who gave you his or her time.Identify three job tracks and create a playbook for each one.Hopefully your phone calls and interviews help you identify a few roles that really interest you while eliminating a few potential career paths that aren’t a fit for your skills or background.Armed with this knowledge, visit the career site for a few of the companies in your designed geography that offer the roles you’re seeking, and take note of the specific skills the position demands. Many applicants skip this step entirely, but it’s imperative to understand what the hiring managers are seeking and what experience is most relevant to the career paths you’re targeting.My colleague, Mike Redbord, VP of Support at HubSpot and a gentleman who interviews more HubSpotters annually than anyone else I know, says it best: “Understand what potential + skill look like, together, and seek hiring managers who get it.”Recognizing that the best hiring managers can screen for potential and skill, you need to craft a compelling narrative for why you are positioned to succeed in a role. Does that mean you need to check every single box? Absolutely not, but you do need a compelling story for why you are uniquely suited to the position.Far too many people send the same resume for multiple positions that require very different skills and experiences, so my recommendation is to fill in the blanks of this sentence before you start on a resume or cover letter: “I would be a great (_______________) because I have _________, ________, and _______ skills as evidenced by my work with ___________ and _____________.” This may seem elementary, but when you’re in the thick of a job search it’s easy to get lazy and ship the same materials to everyone. Creating a clear, concise summary of why you are positioned to succeed in a given role is a great foundation for the materials you’ll create next before applying.Craft your story.Don’t think about editing and shipping a boring, stale resume — think of your application materials as chapters of the story you’re telling to a potential employer. Far too many people think of their cover letter as re-stating everything on their resume. In reality, the cover letter should draw a direct and obvious line between the job description you’re applying for and the experience illustrated on your resume. And every piece of material you submit should be consistent with the narrative you created above, demonstrating how your experience and potential will make you thrive in the demands of the job.I use the word story here intentionally — far too many people treat creating their resume, cover letter, and any other necessarily application materials as a chore to be completed or a checklist to be generated. In reality, recruiters and hiring managers scan through hundreds if not thousands of resumes on a weekly basis: Make their lives easier (and more interesting) by creating a truly compelling narrative on your interest in the role. Telling a great story doesn’t mean filling every square inch of space on a page. In fact, the best resumes and cover letters use spacing, italics, and bold text to make the materials more readily digestible and enjoyable to read for the hiring manager.When it comes to crafting your narrative for applications, don’t underestimate the role of activities outside of work: You don’t need a formal internship or summer job to show that you’re interested in and capable of blogging, or a seasoned job in sales to show that you’re passionate about engaging people.Did you blog for your college admissions office to help recruit incoming students? You should include that experience if you’re applying for a marketing, recruiting, or human resources position.Did you use iMovie to create videos for your university’s theater program? Learn enough code to launch a website for your parents’ restaurant? If you’re applying for any role in technical support, design, or engineering, incorporate it.Far too many people underestimate the role activities outside the classroom can play in demonstrating your potential and drive, so don’t overlook these experiences when you’re crafting your story.Google yourself.Most hiring managers will run a quick Google search before reaching out to you for a phone screen. So instead of wishing and hoping they miss that photo of you from a recent party on Facebook, Google yourself before you start applying for jobs and ask yourself what story your online presence tells. If it doesn’t align with the narrative you’re using in your job applications, invest the time and energy to change it. Your online presence should reflect your personal and professional interests, and with the proliferation of free publishing forums (from LinkedIn to Medium to About.me), you have no excuse not to put them to work on your behalf in the job search process.For example, let’s say you are interested in applying to Wistia, an online video hosting platform and one of our neighbor companies here in Boston. How could you convey a passion for video if you’re not an editor, producer, or director? You could share remarkable videos you see online as a consumer, blog about how video marketing can influence the sales process, incorporate your previous experience with video on your LinkedIn profile, or tweet articles covering recent brand video launches, among other things.There are countless articles about how to avoid major social media missteps (like your college frat party photos or misspellings on your LinkedIn profile), but too few focus on what you can proactively do to ensure a quick Google search and your official application tell the same story about your talents and goals. Be honest about what your current digital footprint says about your candidacy, and then invest some time and energy to change it from a liability to an asset before you start sending your resume out.Apply thoughtfully.Before you hit submit, triple-check everything for spelling, syntax, and grammar. I’m terrible at editing myself, so I often ask my sister for help given her super powers in editing. Everyone knows someone with a particularly good eye for catching mistakes — pay them in lunch or coffee to help you do a final check of your materials before you ship them. We’re all human, and everyone is juggling a lot of priorities day to day, so don’t let a spelling or grammatical mistake be the reason you don’t land a job. Also, be sure that you have the right details in the right applications. Create separate folders on your computer for each company so that you don’t proudly state how excited you are to work at Company X when your application is for Company Y.Once you hit submit, you’re not done yet. I recommend creating a Google spreadsheet with tabs for each of the job types you’re applying for, along with the name of the company you applied to, the date you applied, a link to the job on the careers site (so you can reference it easily if asked down the line), as well as the name of the hiring manager or recruiter if available.This quick exercise makes follow-up a breeze. If you haven’t heard back within a week, sending an email to your contact to politely check in and ask if there is anything you can do to support your candidacy is a great way to show interest without being overbearing. Logging everything (including return phone calls, informational screens, and rejection emails alike) in one document will also minimize embarrassing gaffes such as applying for multiple positions at the same company or missing a scheduled informational interview. Plus, having a centralized location means it’ll be much easier for you to react if something unexpected comes up, such as if a hiring manager calls you to discuss the role in depth.Respect the process.Far too many candidates underestimate the importance of the entire recruiting process in landing an interview or job. A recruiter calling you to role-play what it’s like to work on our services team? That’s part of the job audition. The emails the hiring manager sends you with details on what to expect in the interview? Your response and timeliness are part of the interview process as well. Treat every element of the entire candidate experience like a formal interview. If you’re taking a phone call from the company, find a quiet place to talk, answer the phone appropriately, and thank the hiring manager or recruiting coordinator for making the time to connect with you.Part of respecting the process is really doing your homework. I mentioned the pre-research phase of homework already, but once you’ve received an indication of interest from the company (whether in the form of an email or phone call asking for more information or a phone interview), the real hard work begins. Here’s a checklist to consider when you’re doing your research:Can you describe, clearly and concisely, what the company does to make money and the problem they are solving in the market?Have you visited their leadership page to understand the backgrounds of people running the company and how the organization is organized?Did you check out interview questions along with recent candidate experience reviews on Glassdoor to check out what people are saying about the company so you can ask better questions when you meet with current employees?Can you reference any recent news the company announced on its company news page, investor relations site, or blog?Have you followed the company on one or more social media channels so you can see how the organization positions itself in the market?If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, have you checked out the LinkedIn profiles of everyone you’re meeting with so you know their role and tenure at the company?It’s important to treat every interaction with the company and its hiring team with the highest degree of professionalism and consideration. Visiting a company’s website on the train en route to the interview does not constitute research. If you expect an organization to invest in you, invest two hours to properly understand its products, people, and value proposition so you can tailor your approach and responses accordingly.Pass the receptionist test with flying colors.Everyone is capable of kissing up to C-level executives for 20 minutes, but the people we actually want working for our team show considerate behavior to all of their teammates. No one wants to work with a jerk, and if you’re rude or dismissive of the person who greets you upon arrival for an interview, chances are you’re not the type of person I want to be in the trenches with on a daily basis. Plus, receptionists usually have the ear of top executives, so if you underestimate them, it could cost you.Treat everyone you interact with at the company as though they are your interviewer. People don’t want to work with anyone who can’t make time for general pleasantries. Pro tip: Keep up that behavior long after the interview is over — it’s good for your career, your life, and of course, your karma.This isn’t a one-off trend: Companies like Zappos rely on the employee driving the company bus or the security guard greeting people for regular input on candidates. In fact, when the co-founder of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, appeared on The Growth Show, he said their entire organization took a page from Zappos in screening heavily for empathy and humility in the hiring process. As Blumenthal correctly pointed out, you spend most of your waking life with coworkers, so hiring people who are jerks just creates “culture debt” — a huge price that your organization has to repay for years to come.Best in class companies want best in class employees, and people often think that’s a reflection of your GPA, your title as your past employer, or your ability to complete a skills assessment for the role in question. While all of those criteria are important factors, you also have to demonstrate that you’d actually be someone that team members would enjoy working with during your tenure with the organization. So be nice and gracious to everyone you meet: It will pay off for many years to come.Know how to accept and negotiate an offer.If you make it through the interview experience and are lucky enough to be offered a job, don’t botch your hard work at the one-yard line.Instead, start off by thanking the company for the offer and asking clarifying questions to better understand the role you’re being offered, the team you’ll be joining, and the salary and benefits associated with the job. Typically, you’ll receive a call from a hiring manager or recruiter with this information, and then ask for the offer to be sent in writing. I generally recommend that people profusely thank their interviewer, then ask for a day to review the offer in detail and return with any questions you may have. Doing so ensures they know you are interested and gives you time to pour over the materials in depth to formulate good questions to ask of your potential employer.For an entry-level position, you have to strike a balance between negotiating a fair deal and being a high-maintenance hire. I recommend formulating a list of your questions then reviewing the materials a second time to ensure that the answers aren’t contained in the information they sent for you. You want to ask questions that are thoughtful, insightful, and reflect what matters most to you. In other words, if your base salary is the most important factor in your job decision, invest most of your time on the phone asking clarifying questions — not on how much vacation time you will have.Bonus tip: Once you have a job, check your entitlement at the door.Your first few jobs out of college should provide you with ample opportunities to grow personally and professionally — but part of that growth process involves paying your dues. At HubSpot, our CMO cleans up the kitchen if people leave a mess. On a business trip together, our CEO waited in line for coffee so I could finish up a conference call. Our CTO does his own presentations, schedule, and travel. There is no room at our company or on our teams for people who aren’t willing to be shockingly helpful (our CTO and co-founder’s term) with even the most menial tasks.Companies need incredible, brilliant, insightful people who will be future leaders in the organization, but they also need people willing to do hard work, especially when it’s inconvenient, unglamorous, or tedious. So if you’re asked to help out with a challenging task, take notes at a meeting with a leading exec, or help an intern with a project, don’t ask why or who will get the credit — your reaction speaks volumes about your willingness to be a team player, and sends a strong message to people about what it’s like to be in the trenches with you.Herb Brooks, a legendary hockey coach, said something I remind myself of often: “Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.” When you’re just starting out in your career, it’s easy to get frustrated and be complacent in your job search. The hard truth is that no matter where you went to school, no one is going to hand you your dream job with a bow on it at your desired salary in your desired location working for the perfect manager with the perfect team. Landing a job in any profession requires patience, competency, commitment, flexibility, and follow-up — and these skills aren’t always required to graduate with your degree.My pitch to you is that there is no better time than the present to pursue the job and career track you love, but it’s not going to fall in your lap. Follow the guide above to narrow your search, target your prospects, and prepare yourself for the application and interview process. It’s an investment of time and energy well worth making — one that will pay dividends for your entire career.