Category Archives: business

How to Create a Professional Promo Video on a Shoestring Budget

There are millions upon millions of blog posts published every single day. That’s been true for a few years now.

And these numbers continue to grow exponentially with the increase in new online sites all competing for the same precious site visits especially when the benefits of organic traffic has become more and more of common knowledge for online marketing.

In turn, content marketing in the form of blogging has become the norm for driving organic, inbound traffic.

Want better search engine optimization? More organic traffic?

Blogging is what most people will recommend. But it’s steadily become one of the most saturated marketing tactics you can use.Download our free guide to learn how to create and utilize video in your  marketing to increase engagement and conversion rates. 

How can you expect to compete with thousands of other sites who have already been blogging for years?

It’s a real challenge. Especially when they’re writing longer, higher-quality posts with more backlinks and higher rankings.

Thankfully, there’s an alternative emerging.

Right now, content creation is moving towards video-based mediums. Even for landing pages, videos have shown to convert better than text. So why isn’t every single business abandoning their blog in favor of a video first strategy?

The biggest barrier? Videos have a reputation as an inaccessible marketing tactic, especially for businesses on the smaller side. And while it is partly true that videos are usually more time-consuming and more expensive to create than text-based content, smaller businesses can still have success investing in the tactic.

You Need Video

Video is dominating online traffic. In fact, it’s predicted to take over the internet in the next few years. Cisco estimates that video traffic will account for 82% of all global internet traffic by 2021.

The majority of internet traffic is already video based. And that number is only going to increase. Why? People haven’t stopped reading text-based content, but it’s getting harder to capture and keep their attention.

55% of all pageviews online get less than 15 seconds of attention. Even in an old 2008 study from Nielsen Norman Group, we were seeing the beginning of this trend. That study found that visitors on average only read 20% of a given page online. Meaning 80% of the text and content on your page isn’t even being seen or read by real people.

In a recent study, CoSchedule analyzed their blog pages with heat and scroll maps to detect how people interacted with their page. They found that most readers only read the top 20-30% of their content.

The scariest finding? Only 10% of users who landed on a given post read to the bottom.

People want information immediately.

They don’t always want to read a 5,000-word blog post to get their information. They don’t want to read a long-form sales page to know how the product will improve their lives.

This trend is becoming more apparent in digital marketing as more and more companies are focused on implementing video-based content distribution:

 

YouTube and Facebook Video are slowly taking over the content scene online.

As blogging becomes more saturated and user behavior shifts towards video-based traffic, it’s no wonder why these platforms are gaining traction.

Currently, Facebook has over two billion monthly active users, and YouTube is just behind it at 1.5 billion monthly users.

 

Currently, YouTube boasts nearly two billion monthly users who watch more than an hour of video content daily, on average. Facebook video posts aren’t far behind, either. The total amount of videos on Facebook has increased by 94% annually from 2014 to 2015. In November of 2015, Facebook hit over 8 billion daily video views, doubling the video traffic in less than a year.

The savvy brands who have jumped on this trend are already seeing the benefits of early adoption.

For example, 3D printer ecommerce brand Robo took advantage of this trend and generated $4.7 million in revenue running video ads on Youtube and Facebook.

Video-based content is the present and the future (as we know it). It’s gaining steam, and it’s only poised to gain even more traction as the years progress.

Video content is going to be necessary when it comes to driving more traffic and sales.

The Key Elements of a High-Converting Video

Not all video content converts. You can’t just throw up a random video on your landing page and expect it to increase conversions.

Here we’re going to look at a few of the most important elements of a converting video and companies have used them to drive more sales.

Keep it short and sweet.

This is perhaps the most important element in driving conversions with video-based content. As we went over earlier, studies are showing that people are growing more impatient when it comes to online content.

Very few people want to read a 20-minute blog post anymore.

We are reading less than ever before because it’s too time-consuming. We all want answers now. ASAP. Yesterday.

And to keep up with that, we can’t simply replace a blog post or a long-form landing page with a 10-minute video. Nobody will stick around to watch the whole thing.

According to a 2016 study by Wistia, as video length increases, you see big drops in engagement levels.

 

One to two minutes is shown to be the golden rule of online video content according to this Wistia study. They analyzed 564,710 videos and more than 1.3 billion video views to compile this data.

When you look closely at the graph, you can see that there is a sharp drop-off after two minutes in length:

 

The longer you take to get to the point, the fewer people will stick around. But, if your video strategy needs to be long-form, don’t sweat it.

The second sweet spot that Wistia identified was 6-12 minutes:

 

According to their research, if someone stays past six minutes, they more than likely will continue that engagement for a few more minutes.

Anything more than that and you aren’t going to see optimal results.

The best bet is to keep your video content within the 1-2 minute mark if you want to maximize your impact. An example of effective short landing page video is BuildFire’s home page explainer video:

 

 

“Our current homepage conversion rate for signups is around 22%. It wouldn’t be that high without the explainer video.” – Ian Blain, Co-founder and CMO of BuildFire

They use a promo-style video explainer that lasts for 1:15 and sums up the business and value proposition. And they get straight to the point. They keep it short and sweet by explaining how users can benefit from their product.

Want to create a video that converts at a high rate? Follow the data. Keep your videos between the 1-2 minute mark for better conversion rates.

Optimize your video size and placement.

Everything makes a difference when it comes to video content. You can’t slap together a video and assume that conversions will roll in.

Even the video size, placement, and dimensions can have a big role in conversion rates.

And when it comes to your landing pages, you need to do anything you can to increase conversions. Your business depends on it.

Wistia conducted a study where they crawled 95,000 different pages to understand how size impacts conversion rates on landing pages. To start, they divided the typical landing page into seven distinct zones:

 

 

As you can expect, video content got more plays when it was higher in zones, or above the fold:

 

 

If you want more conversions, make sure to keep your video content in zones 1-3. That means above the fold or just before your page starts to get too long. For example, check out where BuildFire places their video content, in zone 3:

 

 

This helps to warm up visitors with basic introductory content on your landing page without overwhelming them. If you jump straight into a video without context, you might risk lower conversions.

Warm up your visits with a snappy headline and then get into the video content.

But that’s not all. Video height and width are big factors in play rates and conversions. According to Wistia, videos with a width of 401 to 600 pixels are going to be best for driving more plays:

 

 

 

On top of that, the optimal video height is 301 to 450 pixels:

 

 

These are common dimensions that are great for producing video that doesn’t dominate your screen or appear too small to click.

Optimization is key to getting more plays. If you can get more plays, you have a great shot at getting higher conversion rates. To sum it all up, focus on these elements:

  • Play your video in zones 1-3 on your landing page, ideally above the fold after you’ve provided context
  • Use a video width of 401-600 pixels
  • Use a video height of 301-450 pixels

How to produce a promo video with a limited budget.

Now that you know the key elements in a converting video, it’s time to create one on your own with a limited budget.

Keeping conversions in mind, you’ve got to create a short and sweet video. Here’s how to produce a promo video with a limited budget that is sure to convert.

1) Develop a compelling script.

The first step in producing any great promo video for cheap is coming up with your own script. Most marketers will hire a company right out of the gate to develop a video script, but to save money, you can complete this step within your own team.

You need a video script that resonates with your audience. Thankfully, you can often come up with a script based on your existing landing page.

For example, look at how BuildFire structures their landing page.

 

 

First, they use a compelling headline to generate some initial interest.

Next, they use social proof to back up their claims:

 

Now they show you exactly how any user can use their service for success:

 

 

Then they tease it even further with specific features and benefits:

 

 

 

 

The entire landing page flows like a pre-written script, because it is. The keys to your first video are already hiding within your landing page.

To break it down, here are some of the key factors to include in your script:

  1. Use an intriguing opening line to capture attention.
  2. Use social proof to back up those claims.
  3. Show how easy it is to use your product.
  4. Show what your product does and what benefits it provides.
  5. Explain how the user derives value from it (more conversions, better sales, etc.).

2) Find the right style for your target market.

Next up, you need to figure out what style of video is best for your target market. For example, a video on a landing page for a GoPro is going to be vastly different from a SaaS product, right?

The GoPro video will show the product in use in real time, showing actual footage, rather than animated clips. The SaaS product video will likely show the application in use and animated shorts to add style and appeal to the video.

The key here is to understand your market and what they want to see. To get started, conduct some basic competitor research, or search for the top companies in your niche. For example, if you have a mobile app, you can search for the top applications of 2017:

 

Locate a few of them on the list and head to their site to scout the landing page for video-based content. You should easily be able to locate their product promo videos to see what content they feature:

 

 

You can even copy their script style and video type.

The goal here is to get familiar with the most popular companies in your niche to create video that performs just as good if not better than theirs. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to get the video produced.

3) Produce it for cheap to minimize risk.

Creating compelling video content isn’t cheap. Agencies can cost thousands of dollars to produce a single video for your business. And when it comes to getting conversions, you need specificity.

But not when it comes at the risk of bankrupting your budget on a failing video. Minimizing risk is key when introducing a new medium to your landing pages or content marketing plan.

You can’t afford to invest thousands of dollars in something that doesn’t work. The goal here is to identify ways to produce it for cheap, allowing you to test the waters before diving in head first.

A great place to start is by heading to a freelance service like Fiverr, depending on your needs. If you need an animated-style video short for your landing page, Fiverr is your best bet for getting it done on a budget.

 

You can quickly find great video animators and production specialists for minimal amounts of money. Even five dollars can get you a well-done promo video.

If you can’t find a good production specialist on Fiverr, try locating one on UpWork. You can also post a job listing to have qualified freelancers apply to your job. If you prefer to make your own animated video, you can easily do that using Biteable.

It’s a free software online that allows you to create amazing animated promo videos and product explainers. They have tons of pre-crafted animation slides that you can drag and drop to create a fantastic promo video for your business.

If you have an animation-focused product that is online based, Biteable is a great starting place.

Video content doesn’t have to be expensive.

As blogging becomes more saturated and the market gets crowded, marketers will find new ways to reach customers. It’s not always easy moving your budget into new mediums. Especially costly ones like video marketing.

But in this case, it’s necessary.

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8 Proven Ways to Grow Brand Awareness — Fast

Have you noticed that certain brands seem to have just popped up out of nowhere and become overnight successes?

I always wondered how that was possible.

Is it just a matter of having one genius idea that no one else ever thought about? Or is it that these hugely successful companies are started by billionaires who have the money and contacts to create something that the rest of us could only dream of?

As it turns out, the answer to both of those questions is, “No.” All we really need is a bit of creativity.Click here to download our comprehensive guide to effective and measurable  branding.

The SlideShare below takes a look at some “overnight” success stories, to see what some brands did to scale their growth in such a short amount of time — as well as what we can learn from them.

How to Build Brand Awareness: 8 Examples

1) Uniqlo

Uniqlo is a Japanese company that ensures it provides casual clothes for all kinds of people.

Growth

uniqlo-1

Idea: Partner with Other Brands

Uniqlo sponsors free admission to New York’s Museum of Modern Art every Friday from 4 PM – 8 PM. That gets its name in front of a brand new audience that it may never otherwise have reached before, and generates positive word of mouth from people who get to enjoy the museum compliments of the clothing company.

Lesson

Partnering with another brand will help you inherit its image and reputation, as well as creating brand evangelists outside of your customer base.

2) Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily with others.

Growth

dropbox-4

Idea: Refer a Friend

Dropbox made it really easy for users to refer Dropbox to their friends by having sharing options for email, social, as well as a link to share via any other method the user preferred. Users did this to get more space, which Dropbox offered for every referred sign up. This helped Dropbox increase its signups by 60%

Lesson

Consider how your product can help promote itself. The Dropbox product created a heap of referral signups because people wanted to get more space. What would your users want in return for referrals?

3) Evernote

Evernote is a tool for note-taking and collaboration.

Growth

evernote-3

Idea: Launch as a Closed Beta

Evernote initially launched as a closed beta, which lasted for four months. During this time, people had to sign up and send invitations to their networks in order to actually use the service. This created a lot of buzz around Evernote.

By the end of the four months of the closed beta, Evernote had attracted 125,000 sign-ups.

Lesson

Exclusivity creates buzz. Plus, mandatory sharing to access a really valuable product will spread the word without costing you a penny.

4) Buffer

Buffer is a social media publishing tool.

Growth:

buffer

Idea: Guest Blogging

By writing 150 guest posts, Buffer grew from zero to 100,000+ users in nine months.

It had to start on smaller sites and work its way up to the most popular in its industry — but Buffer got its name everywhere by creating really valuable content, even though it wasn’t on its own site. In the end, content marketing accounted for over 70% of its daily signups.

Lesson

Be everywhere in your niche. Providing valuable content on other sites outside of your own will build an engaged audience. Once they know, like, and trust you, you can then market your product or service to them.

5) KISSMetrics

KISSMetrics is a web analytics solution that helps increase customer acquisition and retention rates.

Growth:

kissmetrics

Idea: Create Infographics

Creating 47 infographics earned KISSmetrics 2,512,596 visitors, 41,142 backlinks, and 3,741 unique referring domains. The brand credits infographics as one of the main reasons it grew its blog from zero to 350,000 readers a month, in 24 months.

“If you can make complex data easy to understand in a visual format, you can get millions of visitors to your website.” – Neil Patel, KISSmetrics

Lesson

Experiment with the right formats for your audience. Infographics worked well for KISSmetrics, but something else may work for your brand.

6) Qualaroo

Qualaroo is a pop-up survey service used by websites to help improve user experience.

Growth

qualaroo

Idea: Conversion Optimization

In its earlier days, unless a customer upgraded to a paid account, every website built on the Qualaroo platform contained featured text reading, “Powered by Qualaroo [?]”. The question mark was clickable, and lead to a signup page for a free trial of the product.

Lesson

Use your freemium product in clever ways to get your brand name in front of people, and leverage it for marketing real estate.

7) Yelp

Yelp is a user review and recommendations site for restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, and more.

Growth:

yelp

Idea: Make it Social

Yelp added a human element to the reviewer experience by building a profile behind each one — which made reviews more trustworthy, and reviewers feel like they were becoming part of a community. Plus, it was an opportunity for them to use Yelp as a reputation-building site. Members could interact with each other by becoming friends, chatting online, or meeting at offline events. Yelp has since accumulated over 142 million reviews.

Lesson

Make your user experience human and personal. Build communities that enable your customers to communicate with each other, allowing them to learn from their experiences and interact over a shared interest.

8) Upworthy

Upworthy is a website with curated, viral content.

Growth:

upworthy

Idea: Test Headlines

At Upworthy, the curators need to come up with 25 headlines for every piece of content. They then select their favorite four, and the managing editor selects two, which are rigorously tested. Upworthy saw nine million monthly unique visitors in just nine months.

Lesson:

Coming up with an attention-grabbing headline for your content can help maximize the reach of your content and your brand.

As you can see, there are various ways to grow brand awareness in a timely way. Remember that new trends are always emerging, which is why continuing education for you and your team is critical to success. There are various ways to train your team, including our free Inbound Course and Certification program.

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What Really Captures People's Attention is THE Billion Dollar Question in Marketing [Video]

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14 of the Stupidest Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

Most job seekers’ cover letters are merely an introduction. An accurate overview of experience highlights and a way to request to be moved forward based on your qualifications.

And then there are the other kinds of cover letters. The ones chock full of TMI, or that generally just miss the mark.

I got to thinking about this while shuffling through cover letters (I’ve read through a lot of cover letters in my various HR jobs over the years), and decided to compile a list of the most bizarre blunders I’ve come across. I hope you find them helpful — or at the very least, entertaining.Use these marketing resume templates to create a killer resume. 

 

14 Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

1) “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Not a great way to start a cover letter. Although I appreciate a story with added suspense, it’s best to be straightforward when describing your experience.

2) Don’t profess the love you still have for your ex-wife.

Aside from being overly personal, it has no connection to the role for which you’re applying. Keep cover letters professional and on-point.

3) “Proficient in Instagram.”

I’ve seen this listed under Skills more than once. Being able to navigate a mobile photo app isn’t a professional skill. The right filter is a matter of opinion and you can let those skills shine on the weekends.

4) “OMG!” “LOL!”

Cover letters are not text messages. Also, try to avoid emoticons if possible 😉

5) Cover Letter and Resume. Page 1 of 6.

The dreaded length disclosure. Anything longer than two pages is too long. One page should suffice for entry level and a few years of experience. If you have 5+ years of experience, two pages can be appropriate. The less verbose, the better. You’ll have the chance to elaborate during your interview.

6) “I know how to penetrate an organization. Have me in. You will not be disappointed.”

The ability to reach decision makers is appealing, but choose your wording wisely. You don’t want to make your recruiter uncomfortable with such aggressive language.

7) “I know the name of that thing you’re too lazy to Google.”

Try not to insult your future coworkers. (For the record, I’m pretty savvy on Bing, too.)

It’s also dangerous to lean on business babble to make yourself sound smart. It can come across as talking down, not to mention it makes a cover letter painful to get through.

8) “This job is beneath me, but I’ll give it a whirl.”

A somewhat unconventional approach. This tactic misses the mark on humility, and also implies you will get bored rather quickly in the job for which you’re applying. Employers are looking for people who will do more than attempt to contribute.

9) “I’ll spare you the gruesome face-crying details in my cover letter.”

Please do. Cover letters are not a forum for heart-wrenching stories. This is a bit too emotional for most recruiters’ taste.

10) “I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.”

Don’t confess your shortcomings and weaknesses. Emphasize your strengths instead of trying to prematurely ward off objections.

11) “I want free beer and books.”

This is one of HubSpot’s perks — free beer and books. I recommend not to make office perks the focal point for your interest in a company or role. We all love free stuff, but that’s not the only reason you should want a job.

It’s the same case for something like, “I am fluent in remote working.” Don’t emphasize how good you are at not coming to work. To us, it translates to, “Would rather not come in.” And while you don’t have to be in the office to get work done, but it shouldn’t be used as a selling point.

12) “I am a phenomenal office party dancer.”

I’m also a phenomenal dancer, but we don’t know each other yet. Try to hold back until you’ve determined what interviewer/interviewee demeanor is appropriate.

13) “I am the Chief Rainmaking Officer of my own organization.”

While it’s always great to be creative and set yourself apart from the competition, inflated job titles are a turn-off. This was also from an entry level candidate, which raises even more red flags for recruiters.

14) Don’t use “Ahoy, there” as your introduction.

You have my attention, but unless you’re applying for a role as a sailor or a pirate, this isn’t the way to go.

And lastly, a bonus tip: If you manage to avoid these cover letter blunders and have a scheduled phone interview, don’t answer the phone with: “Sorry, it’s so early.” Especially if it’s 10 AM.

Whether you’re a recruiter or a hiring manager, you’ve probably come across some bizarre cover letter blunders in your time. Share the weirdest with us on Twitter, won’t you?

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75 Creative Facebook and Instagram Video Tips

It’s no surprise to any marketer that video is critical to growing a business. But how many times have you sat at your desk with a free hour and said to yourself, “let me just create this quick video to use in our next event registration email.” 

If you answer “yes” to this question, you’re on the right track: video doesn’t have to be time consuming, hard, or take any certain production expertise. 

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But if you often answer “no” – we’re here to help. Know that getting over the initial hump of realizing video doesn’t have to be hard will be game changing to the next time you have a free hour at your desk. It CAN be fun – and we’ll show you how with this guide on 75 Facebook and Instagram Video Tips in partnership with Wistia and Venngage. 

Why Facebook and Instagram? At this point, social media is basically synonymous with video. Facebook alone boasts 8 billion daily video views.

And – nearly every mainstream social media channel has started to optimize for video content—whether it’s the ability to upload natively or include video-specific features that are unique to each platform.

Regardless of your business size or industry, you’re likely already using at least a few social media platforms, which means you know that no site is exactly the same: there’s no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to using video with social media.

We break down the elements of coming up with a successful social video strategy as we dig into two of the biggest, most far-reaching platforms out there: Facebook and Instagram.

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Personal Branding: The Ultimate A to Z Guide

When you’re looking for a job, you should expect to be Googled.

When you’re trying to land a speaking engagement for a big industry event, you should expect to be Googled.

When you send a guest contributor pitch to a blog you admire, you should expect to be Googled.

The truth is, anyone that may end up working with you in some capacity wants to get a good idea of your work and your personality before responding to your email or getting you to schlep all the way into the office.Click here for free professional bio tips & templates that will get you  noticed.

That’s where you personal brand comes in. Your personal brand refers to the way you present or market yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a personal brand that accurately reflects what you’re capable of.

That’s why we put together the A to Z guide below. From consistency to networking, we’ll walk you through all of the elements that go into defining an impressive personal brand so you can feel good about those Google search results.

The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding

1) A: Authenticity

Building a brand around you requires quite a bit of soul searching. In the process, you’ll likely learn a lot about who you are, what you value, what your strengths (and weaknesses) are, and so on. These are all elements of your authentic self.

When working on your personal brand, be sure to tap in to those layers — those things that make you, you.

2) B: Bio

Your professional bio provides a clear and concise summary of your professional background that can be used to represent you across a ton of different mediums — blog posts, social media, a speaker profile, etc. In many cases, it serves as a first impression — which is why it plays such an important part in defining your personal brand.

Trouble is, most people fail to keep it updated.

“A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don’t think about until, all of a sudden, we’ve been asked to ‘shoot one over via email’ and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it,” explains HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich.

Don’t fall into this trap. If you need help ensuring your bio reflects your best professional self, check out our free professional bio guide, complete with plug-and-play templates to help you get started.

bio-example.png

3) C: Consistency

Thanks to the internet, discoverability

One example of how to exercise consistency in your personal branding would be to align your username across all of your social channels. This approach is more memorable and it makes it easy for folks searching for you across platforms to surface the right account quickly. Just be sure the username you choose reads professional.

Think: RoseJMills across everything instead of MissRose8794, RosiexMills87, and RJM8794.

In addition to username, employing a consistent headshot across your online accounts is also a personal branding best practice. Take a look at how HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah sticks with the same headshot across his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Inbound.org profile:

Dharmesh-Twitter-Headshot.png

Dharmesh-LinkedIn-Headshot.png Dharmesh-Inboundorg.png

4) D: Direction

When it comes to determining the success of your personal branding efforts, how will you know when you’re making progress?

This is where the importance of direction comes in.

Some of the most accomplished professionals have a clear sense of direction. This includes well-defined goals, a long-term vision, and a handful of vehicles to drive that vision forward.

Before you make any major personal brand plays, stop to think about the professional direction you want to go in and then plan your next steps accordingly.

5) E: Evolutionary

Old Spice. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Instagram.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 3.59.20 PM.png

Source: Logo Inspirations

These are all hugely successful names that have undergone dramatic rebrands over the years. And there’s something to be said about their willingness to change and evolve.

Much like these brands, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the success and relevance of your personal branding strategy and pivot accordingly.

As you develop new skills, consider how you might evolve your brand to reflect that. Similarly, as certain mediums for promoting your brand fizzle, invest in new ones. Your personal brand should be consistent, yet constantly evolving to reflect the most current, accurate representation of you.

6) F: Focus

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and you shouldn’t expect your personal brand to be either. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry or a noteworthy resource for any given subject requires a focused approach to delivering value to your audience while upholding your unique values.

In other words, don’t expect overnight results. Instead, focus on what you can do today to strengthen your personal brand tomorrow.

7) G: Growth

Consider the skills you already posses and the skills you want to build to advance your brand. If you have a fairly large skill gap to fill in order to achieve your desired outcome, it’s important to have a plan for prioritization.

As you move towards mastering the skills on your “to-do” list, start by ranking each one by highest growth potential. In other words, which skills do you need to tackle first to make the biggest impact on your overall brand? Which skills are going to help you grow the most?

Start there.

8) H: Human

Think about the last time you scrolled through Twitter. We’re willing to bet that for every profound, original post from one of the folks you are following, there were about 20-30 automated tweets with a blog post title and a link.

While there’s nothing wrong with automating aspects of your online presence — social, email outreach, etc. — it’s important that you’re strategic about how you go about it.

Here are a few rules of thumb to help you strike the right balance:

  • Don’t: Share just a link to an article. Instead, add color commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it.
  • Do: Ask questions of your audience. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better position yourself as a trusted authority.
  • Don’t: Send the same pitch to everyone. Take the time to do some research. The more personalized your outreach is, the more willing folks will be to give you a shot — whether it be a guest post, a consultation, etc.

Looking for an example of someone with a human social media presence? Give Ann Handley a follow:

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9) I: Interviews

Here’s a piece of sage advice: Say ‘yes’ to every single interview you’re offered — whether it be for a potential job, a podcast, an article, etc.

Depending on the nature of the interview, there are a few potential personal branding wins to gain by simply saying yes.

For job interviews …

Even if you’re not interested in the position on the table, going through the interview process can serve as a great exercise for refining and practicing your professional pitch, as it provides you with an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.

What’s more, the feedback you receive from the interviewer can be extremely helpful in improving your personal brand. For example, if the interviewer questions a particularly weak part of your resume, you may identify an opportunity for improvement or clarity.

For podcast or written interviews …

If you’re comfortable talking about your industry or area of expertise, landing an interview — whether it is audio or written — is a really smart way to gain exposure for your personal brand.

Depending on the spot you land, an interview can help you get your name in front of a large audience — one you may have not had access to otherwise. And in many cases, one interview can open the door for another. Momentum for the win.

10) J: Join

Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no shortage of professional groups to get involved with. And aside from the obvious networking aspect, joining these groups can be extremely beneficial when it comes to growing your personal brand.

How so?

Joining a community or group centered around something you’re passionate about and want to be known for can help you:

  • Develop new skills
  • Improve ideas
  • Establish yourself as a resource
  • Gain inspiration

Don’t know where to start? Here’s an overview of how to find and join a group on LinkedIn.

11) K: Knowledge

In many cases, your personal brand is rooted in your knowledge in any given area. And knowledge can go a long way in helping you establish credibility with an audience.

If you have a personal website, which we recommend for anyone looking to advance their personal brand, use that as a platform to highlight your expertise and share information with others. By volunteering your insight through blog posts, ebooks, or case studies, you are demonstrating your willingness to help.

Marketer and entrepreneur Sujan Patel runs an inspiring blog where he gives away a ton of professional advice for companies focused on scaling growth. As a result, he’s become known as a trusted resource with a “mind for marketing.

Sujan-Patel-Blog.png

12) L: Leadership

Anyone in a leadership position will tell you that personal branding comes with the territory.

Think about it: It’s important that you are committed to developing yourself before you can prove that you can help others develop in their careers, right?

This means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, honing your emotional intelligence, understanding how you like to receive feedback, and so on. All of these aspects contribute to your leadership style, which ultimately plays a role in defining your personal brand.

13) M: Mission

It’s a best practice for companies to define a mission statement that sets the stage for what they do and, perhaps or importantly, why they do it. This statement serves as a guiding light, pushing those in the organization to uphold the company’s values and purpose.

When it comes to personal branding, defining a statement that is specific to your professional development can be equally as effective.

Before you sit down to write yours, take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What are your personal career goals?
  2. What core values do you hold?
  3. What does success look like to you?
  4. What are you most passionate about? Why?

14) N: Network

Want to earn guest posting slots? Speaking gigs? Awards and recognition? All of these personal branding milestones require you to start by doing one thing: meeting people.

By networking and building relationships on a regular basis, you’re constantly inviting new people in that have the potential to shape your brand by offering new opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Need help kickstarting your networking schedule? HubSpot’s Chief People Officer Katie Burke suggests playing “Evenbrite Roulette.”

“Search for events happening in your area in the upcoming week and attend the third event that shows up on the page,” she advises.

15) O: Opinion

A lot of people shy away from infusing their opinion into their personal brand, as they worry they might alienate part of their audience or say something offensive. While this is a valid concern, sticking to sweeping generalizations and careful word choice can actually hold your brand back.

After all, part of establishing an influential personal brand means that you owe it to yourself to take a stance on the issues that matter most to you. And depending on your line of work, there is most certainly room for your opinion as a defining aspect of your personal brand.

The key to success here? Share your opinion — but share it alongside your experience. This communication technique will help others understand where you’re coming from and opens the door for conversation around the subject.

16) P: Public Speaking

Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, public speaking is a tried-and-true way to extend your personal brand. Speaking engagements help to position you as an authority, grow your network, and earn the trust of a new audience.

Feeling a little shaky? Here are a few tips to ensure that your next speaking gig serves as a positive reflection of your personal brand:

  1. Speak about something you know inside and out. The more comfortable you are with the subject matter, the more conversational things will feel. Speaking about something familiar lends itself well to personal stories and experiences, which helps to humanize you.
  2. Know your audience. While you should always focus on being your authentic self, recognizing who your audience is will help you better direct your content. For example, your humor might land with one group, but not another. Know when to pull back.
  3. Get feedback. Practice your talk in front of a group of coworkers you trust before taking the stage. Running through your talk in advance will help you feel more confident in your delivery and also bring to light any areas you need to work on.

17) Q: Quirkiness

One way to infuse your personal brand with a little individuality is to lean in to your quirks — the little things that set you apart from others. For example, maybe you’re known for calculating complicated math in your head, or doodling your notes, or being particularly clumsy.

Whatever your quirks may be, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your personal brand. While they may seem senseless, they make it easier for people to relate to you, as they provide a level of interest and intrigue.

Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of Man Repeller, provides a great example of how to play up your quirks as part of your personal brand: Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.15.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.15.43 AM.png Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.26.57 AM.png

18) R: Reputation

When it comes to reputation as part of your personal branding efforts, there are two key areas you want to focus on:

1) Your online reputation

The process for making most major decisions starts with a Google search. And when it comes to your personal brand, your online presence can and will reveal a lot about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you.

To keep tabs on your online reputation, set up a Google Alert for your name so you receive a notification every time you appear in a piece of content. This is a great way to track positive mentions of your name and your brand, while keeping a close eye on fires you may need to resolve.

2) Your offline reputation

Your offline reputation is determined by several factors including, the quality of your work, the way you treat other people, the way you respond to feedback, and the impact you’ve made on others.

To achieve positive outcomes in all of these areas, you need to be committed to constant improvement by tapping into your self-awareness and self-regulation to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

19) S: Social Media

For many people, personal brand and social media go hand in hand. In other words, if you want to establish a personal brand, you need to establish a social media presence to support it.

That being said, simply having social profiles that you post to regularly isn’t enough. You have to be strategic about your social output — what you post, when you post, and why you post — to ensure that it reflects the behaviors and values that anchor your personal brand.

Here are a few of our favorite tips for using social media to advance your brand:

  • Follow people you admire. What types of content are they posting? How frequently? How do they engage with their followers? Make note of their strategy and look for nuggets that you can incorporate into your own.
  • Align your title, username, and headshot across platforms. We mentioned this up in the consistency section, but it bears repeating. Make it easy for folks to identify you and what you do by maintaining consistent identifiers across accounts.
  • Post often. Part of building a memorable brand boils down to properly setting expectations. Commit to posting at least once a day on particular channels so people can rely on your for consistent, fresh updates.

20) T: Trust

A great way to build trust and advance your personal brand is to ask those you have a strong professional relationship with to write a recommendation or testimonial that you can then use across your website or social accounts.

Here’s a great example from experience marketing professional John Bonini’s personal website:

John-Bonini-Website-Trust.png

Stumped on whom to ask for a testimonial? Try to capture a variety of people — managers, folks you manage, contacts at other companies you’ve worked closely with, etc.

21) U: Unique Value Proposition

As a professional, what problem do you solve? What value do you add? How do you make a difference?

Asking yourself questions like the ones above will help you determine your unique value proposition — a pivotal piece of your personal branding strategy.

Think of your unique value proposition as the key differentiator that people will use to evaluate your personal brand and determine what makes you the most qualified person to do XYZ. You can use this on your resume, in a LinkedIn summary, or on your professional website.

22) V: Visibility

Once you have a foundation for your personal brand, it’s time to spread the word.

One of the best ways to increase your visibility is through a strategic content strategy, where you’re focused on delivering your unique value through the mediums that matter to your audience. This could be blog posts, courses, email campaigns, video content, webinars, etc.

Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, has done an impressive job increasing his visibility on LinkedIn through his #AllenAsks video series that has helped him grow his followership from a few thousand to over 35,000.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.55.40 PM.png

… plus it certainly doesn’t hurt your credibility when you’re creating content with Mark Cuban. Nicely done, Allen.

23) W: Well-rounded

This one may seem a little confusing at first. After all, your personal brand is typically centered around the one thing you do better than everyone else, right?

In most cases, yes. You want to become known for one thing — like being an expert in classical music or a seasoned pastry chef. However, there are advantages to knowing and owning your niche, while also maintaining a basic understanding of a variety of unrelated topics.

Why waste brainpower on broadening your knowledge? It’s simple: Knowing a little bit about everything makes you more relatable. It makes it easy for you to talk to people, which in turn, makes it easier for you to build connections that can advance your person brand.

24) X: X Factor

Similar to your unique value prop, your “x factor” is the thing you bring to the table that your competitors or other folks in your industry do not.

Think of it as your very own disruptor.

Maybe you have access to an extensive network of influencers that are willing to work with you on projects, or you’ve been recognized as the top content marketer of the year for three years running. Whatever your “x factor” may be, it’s your job to bake it in to your personal brand.

25) Y: Year

We’ll admit it, coming up with a term for ‘Y’ was a little challenging, but this one is actually important.

Make a conscious effort to update all of your personal branding assets — resume, professional bio, LinkedIn summary, author bio, personal website, etc. — on a yearly basis as a best practice for maintaining an up-to-date professional narrative.

If nothing else, this will help you avoid all of those “Oh sorry, I don’t work there anymore” emails.

26) Z: Zealous

If you’ve made it this far, well, we’re impressed. Thanks for sticking with us.

You must really be really zealous in the pursuit of personal branding knowledge. And that’s an admirable trait. Why don’t you try working it into your professional bio?

What are your best personal branding tips? Share them with us on Twitter @HubSpot.

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What is the Internet of Things? (And Why You Should Care — A Lot)

I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again: I’m endlessly fascinated by how much we, as humans, have adapted to emerging technologies.

A few weeks ago, when I covered the Samsung Developer Conference, I had the following thought:

“Think about some of the pieces of technology or up-and-coming topics that, maybe five years ago, we thought had nothing to do with us. Those of us who ignored them quickly fell behind the curve.”

The internet of things is one such topic. It’s still emerging. Some consumers are still learning how to adapt to it. But it won’t stay that way for long.

If I’m being completely honest, the only reason why I give so much thought to the internet of things is that I write about tech. I don’t have a smart home, and I don’t develop technology or applications that pertain to connected devices.Click here to download our free guide to digital marketing fundamentals.

Now, as a marketer — I care.

But why do I care? And why should you? And what, once and for all, is the internet of things?

Relax. Today, I’m going to answer all of that.

What Is the Internet of Things?

The internet of things (IoT) is the technology that allows objects — like home appliances and fixtures, cars, or devices — to send and receive data via the internet.

For me, it helps to visualize it. When I think of the word “internet,” for example, I think of a giant center of content, resources, and cute dog photos — and the people who can share and obtain this information, all while communicating with each other, via a massive network that keeps us connected.

When it comes to the IoT, then, imagine adding inanimate objects to the situation, exchanging information and communicating with each other (and their end users) via the internet. It allows these objects to execute different commands and actions, making them “smart” or “connected.”

For that reason, IoT typically has to be comprised of devices with power — things that can be turned on or off, like lights or a refrigerator. But that’s not always the case, which we’ll get into later.

And that’s just on the household level. On a much larger scale, IoT is used to connect and power entire transportation or manufacturing systems. It’s referred to many as an “ecosystem,” in that it’s essentially an interconnected community of interacting people and objects, and the environments in which they operate.

This diagram represents it in a pretty simple, comprehensive way:

Source: i-SCOOP

Note the cloud in the center of the diagram. It’s easy to confuse the cloud — a system of digital data storage that runs on the internet, versus a hard drive — with IoT. And while they work well together, they’re not the same thing. As Business Insider puts it, “The IoT generates massive amounts of data, and cloud computing provides a pathway for that data to travel to its destination.”

Which is really cool, and all — but how does it apply to your day-to-day work?

As it turns out, IoT might have more to do with you than you think, beyond the ability to control your coffee maker remotely. 

So, Why Should You Care?

Consumers everywhere — many of whom could very well be your customers or within your target audience — are becoming more and more connected. As of January, about 4.917 billion of us are connected via mobile alone (up 5% from the previous year).

And as we, as humans, become more connected — so do our surrounding lives and routines. How easy would it be for you to get through an average workday without your mobile device, for example? Personally, it almost seems impossible. It’s all I use to make calls, get directions, and hail a car through a ride-sharing app when I need to get somewhere quickly. Plus, it’s how I keep an eye on my pet, by way of a handy dog cam app. 

Chances are, I’m not alone in my dependence on connectivity. Many of your customers probably are, too. So, where does your brand fit in?

You might not think you have a product or service that, say, can be connected to the internet or to users via a digital network in the ways we described above. But when you consider that 30.7 billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020 (there were 15.4 billion in 2015), you may not be thinking ambitiously enough.

Statistic: Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices installed base worldwide from 2015 to 2025 (in billions) | Statista
Source: Statista

Case in point: When beverage distribution company Diageo wanted to find a unique (and digital way) to connect sons and daughters to connect with their dads on Father’s Day, the company connected 100,000 bottles of whiskey — real, drink-filled, glass bottles — to the internet. The reason? So that these 100,000 dads could connect to receive a personalized video message from their sons or daughters.

You have to wonder, if Diageo can turn a bottle of booze into a connected device, what can your brand do? (That campaign, by the way, resulted in a 72% increase in sales in the two weeks prior to Father’s Day.)

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are three steps to get started.

1) Pay attention to the technology available to you.

Recently, at its annual Developer Conference, Samsung introduced Project Ambience: a small dongle that can be plugged into home objects and devices — like an everyday speaker, for example — and turn them into “smart,” connected devices.

Now, bear in mind that this technology is equipped only to work with Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant. But it’s a start. In my humble opinion, Project Ambiance is one small step at the start of a long, productive road toward smart technology’s full capabilities. Other manufacturers are working on similar initiatives (such as Baidu DuerOS and Amazon Alexa, which have created tools for developers to build these AI assistants into applications and products) — eventually, and hopefully, we’ll reach a point where technology is developed that can work with any number of voice assistants. 

For that reason, it’s a good idea for marketers to keep their fingers on the pulse of resources like these and how they’re evolving, so that when they become available for use within your field, you can be one of the first to utilize them.

2) Anticipate the problems you’ll run into.

When you kick off any new campaign or initiative, there’s always chance that you’ll run into a challenge. Sometimes, they’re unanticipated — but whenever you can plan for contingencies, do it.

That’s one reason why I love the data in the image below. Although it’s from 2015, because IoT is still an evolving piece of technology for many marketers and brands, it’s good to keep in mind as you embark on incorporating it into your own strategies. Have a look, and think about the ways you can preemptively solve these challenges.

Source: Business Insider

3) Start brainstorming, and look for inspiration in history.

One of the most important elements of staying ahead of the curve in marketing is — if you’ll excuse the cliche — maintaining an open mind. Let’s revisit the words I opened with: “Those of us who ignored [new technology] quickly fell behind the curve.”

So, don’t ignore it. Embrace it. Start thinking about the ways it can apply to what your business offers.

And if you’re seeking inspiration, the Diageo example I used above is just one instance of how marketers have successfully used IoT. There’s the ceiling fan company that use IoT to help customize its users’ experiences with products. Or, have a look at the manufacturing automation company that uses connected, smart devices to reduce inventory cycles in plants.

In other words: There’s still time to figure out where your brand fits in. But don’t let it go to waste.

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10 Little Ways to Sneak in Exercise at Work (Without Looking Silly)

Hectic schedules can make it seem impossible to fit workouts into our busy week. The prospect of packing a gym bag, trudging to your local gym, working out, showering, changing, and trudging back to where you came from takes an awful lot of time.

But you aren’t doing yourself any favors by disregarding your health — no matter how packed your workday is.When you neglect exercise, you’re putting both your physical and your mental health at risk, which can negatively impact your productivity and effectiveness at work.

One great solution? Work physical activity into your everyday routine. In fact, researchers found that people who exercise during the workday are actually more productive at work, even though they technically logged fewer hours.Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

An office workout can vary widely in type and intensity — from swapping your desk chair out for a stability ball, to going for a run during your lunch break. Here are a few ideas to get you started — illustrated with help from our friends at Venngage, the poster maker.

10 Ways to Sneak in Exercise at Work

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1) Turn your commute into a workout.

The time you spend commuting is already time you’re logging each and every day. So why not turn that time into a workout?

There are ways to incorporate exercise into every type and length of commute. If you live fairly close by, try speed walking, jogging, or cycling to work instead of driving or taking public transportation. Be sure to check for the best and safest routes in your location.

If that distance is too daunting, try parking some distance away from work or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlier than normal to walk or jog the rest of the way.

Doing exercise during your commute instead of just sitting there will make you feel good while helping you keep fit, even in winter. You just have to dress properly for it.

2) Work out during lunch.

In a recent post on how effective managers organize their time, HubSpot Senior Marketing Director Ryan Bonnici let me in on his daily lunchtime routine: Every day, he blocks off 12:00–1:00 P.M. for a run, a swim, or catching up with a friend. Not only does this benefit him physically, but he says it’s also necessary for productivity and happiness.

If you can’t work out before or after work, lunchtime is your next best bet for fitting in a real workout into your busy schedule. If your office has a gym, you have a lot of workout options. If not, you might opt to go for a half-hour run or a speed walk around your neighborhood or in a nearby mall. It’ll take a little planning ahead — like packing a gym bag — but it can easily be done. Just don’t skip lunch altogether, as your body does need to be refueled.

3) Replace your desk chair with a stability ball.

Ever seen someone in an office environment sitting on what looks like an exercise ball in lieu of a chair? It’s not for comfort or looking cool — there are actually a lot of health benefits that come with sitting on stability balls at work.

For one, it helps you practice better posture by forcing proper spine alignment. Why? Because your body is constantly trying to balance itself on the ball, and a seated position with proper spine alignment is the easiest to balance with.

Sitting on a stability ball also strengthens your abdominal muscles because those are the muscles your body uses to compensate for changes in balance. Basically, you’re getting a low-intensity abdominal workout every time you sit down — and those hours add up.

Finally, one study found that children’s attention increases when they sit on stability balls. While no studies have been done on how stability balls affect adults’ attention, it’s possible we’d feel the same effects.

4) Take short “active breaks” during the workday.

On really busy days, you can still work out in short breaks by getting up, stretching your legs, and walking around. It’s all about making movement a natural part of your day.

Taking short breaks to be active, even if you’re just walking, will help you shed extra calories and help you concentrate during the time when you are working. Mental concentration is like a muscle, according to John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management. After sustained use, it needs a rest — just like someone lifting weights at the gym needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions.

When you reach a breaking point, make a point of moving around — like a 10-minute walk around your building, or up and down the stairs — instead of sitting at your desk checking email. This can have both long- and short-term positive effects on your mood: One study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that people who take walking breaks during work feel more enthusiastic, less tense, and generally more relaxed and able to cope than when they don’t take walk breaks.

5) Pace while you’re on the phone.

Chances are, you spend most of your day sitting down. Unless you need to be on your computer at the same time, you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to stand up and move around while you’re on a call. Every extra step counts, and it’ll be a welcome break for your back and your muscles.

Remember: Physical activity doesn’t have to be formal exercise to have its benefits: Even simple, unconscious fidgeting is good for your muscles and can burn some calories. Plus, you may find that the movement helps keep you focused and alert.

6) Speed walk your errands.

In the spirit of turning activities you’re going to do anyway into little exercise routines, try speed walking your errands. This is an easy way to make movement a natural part of your day, and it means having a lot of errands to run won’t cause you to miss a workout.

And, while you’re at it, don’t use a shopping cart. Human beings are designed to lift and carry things. Remember: Beneficial exercise happens in more places than the gym.

7) Go the long way.

Here’s another way to add movement to your day: Take the long way when you have a few moments to spare. This might mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your office, or going to the bathroom that’s across the building instead of right by your desk. After all, studies show that regular, low-intensity exercise such as walking can help boost energy levels — especially in people who suffer from fatigue, as counterintuitive as that sounds. Plus, think about how all of those extra steps add up after months and even years.

8) Start or join a sports or fitness club at work.

When it comes to workouts, sometimes one really is the loneliest number. But chances are you aren’t the only one at your office trying to fit exercise into a busy workday. Why not seek out others who want to work out with you and start some sort of sports or fitness club?

It could be as simple as a push-up club that meets before lunch three days a week, or a running club that does an after-work run. Or, you could take it a step further and rally your co-workers to join a local intramural league. For adult amateur leagues, try typing something like “adult basketball leagues [your city here]” into Google. 

If you’re not sure what your coworkers are into, try creating a survey using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms and emailing it to them to gauge interest. Ask them whether they’d join some sort of fitness club, what sports or fitness activities they’re interested in, and when they’re most likely to be available.

9) Stretch at regular intervals.

The prospect of stretching at your work desk might seem really awkward, but we’re not suggesting you do squats at your desk, here. There are plenty of stretches you can do either sitting down or standing up that can help ward off pain and stiffness while boosting your energy and alertness.

Work some stretches in at regular intervals throughout the day — even if they’re just for a minute. The folks at WebMD suggest torso twists, leg extensions, standing up and sitting down several times without using your hands, shrugging your shoulders to release tension in your neck and shoulders, and circling your wrists and hands in air circles.

10) Do (subtle) workouts at your desk.

I know, I know. If you thought stretching at your desk was awkward, what do desk workouts look like? But researchers have found that even one-minute spurts of activity throughout the day can be beneficial. Here are some ideas for subtle workouts at your desk from Fitness Magazine:

  • Flex or tighten your abs and hold for 30 seconds. Release, and repeat 10 times.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hold for 30 seconds. Release, and repeat 10 times.
  • Buy a hand gripper and use it at your desk to work out your forearms and hands. (Here are some exercises you can do with a hand gripper.)
  • If you’re at a standing desk, do calf raises for one full minute.

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Just 12 Funny Tweets About Millennials Killing Things

You might not know it by looking at me, but I am a bloodthirsty and ruthless killer.

That’s right, dear reader. That grinning exterior belies the horror of a murderer, born between the years of 1980 and 2000 and hell-bent on destruction.

That’s right: I’m a millennial.

Millennials — the enigmatic demographic marketers are desperately trying to decode and squeeze more money out of — are wreaking havoc on the industry ecosystem. With our smartphones, our laziness, and our avocado toast, we cruelly dash the hopes of anything surviving our wrath.

Bar soap, beer, and the movies — all dead at the hands of entitled recent college grads.Click here to learn about using social media in every stage of the funnel.

Have you ever enjoyed a glass of sparkling rosé on a rooftop patio, then saved the rest of the bottle for later by closing it with a wine cork? Tough cookies — we’re coming for wine corks faster than you can say, “Snapchat.”

Nobody should really be surprised at the wrath of millennials. We’re staring down the barrel of skyrocketing costs of living, crippling student loan debt, and the rising probability the world will go up in flames during our tenure as “grown-ups.” All that stress has bubbled over and made us vengeful, killing machines — and we’re unstoppable.

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In light of these dark and difficult conditions, I want to personally apologize for my generation — and lighten the collective internet’s mood with these 12 hilarious tweets about the various industries, foods, activities, and ideas my people have killed over the last couple of years.

12 Things Millennials Have Killed

1) Marriage

Millennials are waiting longer to get married than their parents, and they’ve been accused of killing the sacred act. But some of us argue that we’re not anti-marriage — we’re just waiting until we have our lives a little more together before settling down.

2) Napkins

We’re not gross — millennials just aren’t buying as many napkins because we’re buying paper towels instead. Another one bites the dust.

3) Golf

Millennials aren’t hitting the links as often as other demographic groups. Maybe they just don’t like the great outdoors — or maybe the cost to play is too high for our tight budgets. Nobody tell Tiger Woods.

4) Applebee’s

I haven’t sampled the menu at Applebee’s enough to say what it’s most famous for. But evidently, it’s not enough to impress the most discerning of millennials — because they’re steering clear of Applebee’s and other fast-casual dining spots. 

5) Homeownership

When an Australian real estate tycoon suggested millennials could invest in real estate if they were stricter with their discretionary spending — citing avocado toast as the main culprit — we revolted on Twitter.

While it is true that fewer millennials are buying homes compared to renting them, avocado toast probably isn’t the only reason why …

6) Diamonds

“A diamond is forever” — unless you’re a millennial.

Maybe it’s because we’re waiting to get married, maybe it’s because we’re still scarred from seeing the movie Blood Diamond, or maybe it’s the diamond’s traditionally high price.

Any way you slice it, we’re not buying, and people are confused as to why …

7) Department Stores

Millennials aren’t shopping at department stores like Macy’s and Sears as much as their forebearers — instead electing to shop online or not shop at all.

8) Cable

Everyone’s cutting the cable cord these days — led by millennials, who are opting to subscribe to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu in lieu of paying for traditional cable packages.

It comes as a surprise to some of us who remember being lectured about watching too much TV when we were younger … 

9) Yogurt

Yogurt — specifically light yogurt — is next on the millennial chopping block. Instead, we’re opting for Greek yogurt.

10) Fabric Softener

Millennials aren’t buying fabric softener — and as it turns out, it’s partly because we don’t know exactly what it does

11) Banks

Millennials are choosing other banking and lending solutions other than the traditional brick-and-mortar institutions — and some people aren’t at all surprised.

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12) Grocery Stores

Last on the list: grocery stores.

That’s right — millennials aren’t cooking at home as much, so they’re bypassing the grocery store in favor of meal kit delivery services and dining out. 

Why, you might ask?

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Color Psychology in Marketing [Infographic]

Humans are visual creatures — so visual, in fact, that color plays a much bigger role in influencing what we purchase than we might think.

There’s a reason companies test the colors of things like advertisements, banner ads, and call-to-action (CTA) buttons. When we did a button color test here at HubSpot, for example, we found that a red CTA button outperformed a green CTA button by 21%.

In other words, we increased conversion rate without changing anything about the page except for the color of the CTA. That’s the power of color psychology in marketing.

Let’s explore the ways color psychology plays a role in marketing, with a quick vocabulary lesson and a visual guide.

What is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is an area of research that looks at how color influences our behavior and decision-making. When used in marketing, for example, different colors can impact the way buyers perceive a brand in ways that aren’t always apparent, such as how certain hues can increase appetite.

As you explore the below infographic from Iconic Fox, you’ll see why certain brands have chosen specific colors for their logos. Have a look, and learn more about how each color influences consumer emotions and purchasing decisions.





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