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15 of the Best Email Marketing Campaign Examples You've Ever Seen

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On any given day, most of our email inboxes are flooded with a barrage of automated email newsletters that do little else besides giving us another task to do on our commutes to work — namely, marking them all as unread without reading, or unsubscribing altogether.

But every now and then, we get a newsletter that’s so good, not only do we read it, but we click it, share it, and recommend it to our friends.

Exceptional email marketing campaigns need to be cleverly written to attract attention in busy inboxes. Marketing emails also need to be personalized, filled with interesting graphics, and designed for desktop and mobile devices. And above all, emails must contain a meaningful call-to-action. After all, if brands are taking up subscribers’ time — and inbox space — with another email, every message must have a point to it.

Schedule time with a specialist to learn how to drive high-value leads through email.

You probably receive enough emails as it is, and it’s tough to know which newsletters are worth subscribing to, so we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite examples. Read on to discover some great email campaign examples and what makes them great — or just skip ahead to the brands you already know and love.

1) charity: water

2) BuzzFeed

3) Uber

4) TheSkimm

5) Mom and Dad Money

6) Poncho

7) Birchbox

8) Postmates

9) Dropbox

10) InVision App

11) Warby Parker

12) Cook Smarts

13) HireVue

14) Paperless Post

15) Stitcher

15 Examples of Effective Email Marketing

1) charity: water

When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.

Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water project, her money takes a long journey. Most charities don’t tell you about that journey at all — charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don’t even really need to read the email — you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move onto other things in your inbox.

charity-water-email-example

2) BuzzFeed

I already have a soft spot for BuzzFeed content (“21 Puppies so Cute You Will Literally Gasp and Then Probably Cry,” anyone?), but that isn’t the only reason I fell in love with its emails.

First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy — which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed’s content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:

buzzfeed_inbox

Once you open up an email from BuzzFeed, the copy is equally awesome. Just take a look at that glorious alt text action happening where the images should be. The email still conveys what it is supposed to convey — and looks great — whether you use an image or not. That’s definitely something to admire.

Without images:

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With images:

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3) Uber

The beauty of Uber‘s emails is in their simplicity. Email subscribers are alerted to deals and promotions with emails like the one you see below. We love how brief the initial description is, paired with a very clear call-to-action — which is perfect for subscribers who are quickly skimming the email. For the people who want to learn more, these are followed by a more detailed (but still pleasingly simple), step-by-step explanation of how the deal works.

We also love how consistent the design of Uber’s emails is with its brand. Like its app, website, social media photos, and other parts of the visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of its communications and marketing assets tell the brand’s story — and brand consistency is one tactic Uber’s nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.

Check out the clever copywriting and email design at work in this example:

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4) TheSkimm

We love TheSkimm’s daily newsletter — especially its clean design and its short, punchy paragraphs. But newsletters aren’t TheSkimm’s only strength when it comes to email. Check out its subscriber engagement email below, which rewarded fellow marketer Ginny Mineo for being subscribed for two years.

Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get — who doesn’t like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don’t require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.

Here, the folks at TheSkimm took it a step further by asking Mineo if she’d like to earn the title of brand ambassador as a loyal subscriber — which would require her to share the link with ten friends, of course.

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5) Mom and Dad Money

Think you know all about the people who are reading your marketing emails? How much of what you “know” about them is based on assumptions? The strongest buyer personas are based on insights you gather from your actual readership, through surveys, interviews, and so on, in addition to the market research. That’s exactly what Matt Becker of Mom and Dad Money does — and he does it very, very well.

Here’s an example of an email I once received from this brand. Design-wise, it’s nothing special — but that’s the point. It reads just like an email from a friend or colleague asking for a quick favor.

Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.

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6) Poncho

Some of the best emails out there pair super simple design with brief, clever copy. When it comes down to it, my daily emails from Poncho — which sends me customizable weather forecasts each morning — takes the cake. They’re colorful, use delightful images and GIFs, and are very easy to scan. The copy is brief but clever with some great puns, and it aligns perfectly with the brand. Check out the copy near the bottom asking to “hang out outside of email.” Hats off to Poncho for using design to better communicate its message.

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7) Birchbox

The subject line of this email from beauty product subscription service Birchbox got my colleague Pam Vaughan clicking. It read: “We Forgot Something in Your February Box!” Of course, if you read the email copy below, Birchbox didn’t actually forget to put that discount code in her box — but it was certainly a clever way to get her attention.

As it turned out, the discount code was actually a bonus promo for Rent the Runway, a dress rental company that likely fits the interest profile of most Birchbox customers — which certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s a great co-marketing partnership right there.

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8) Postmates

I’ve gotta say, I’m a sucker for GIFs. They’re easy to consume, they catch your eye, and they have an emotional impact — like the fun GIF in one of Postmates‘ emails that’s not only delightful to watch, but also makes you crave some delicious Chipotle.

You too can use animated GIFs in your marketing to show a fun header, to draw people’s eyes to a certain part of the email, or to display your products and services in action. 

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9) Dropbox

You might think it’d be hard to love an email from a company whose product you haven’t been using. But Dropbox found a way to make its “come back to us!” email cute and funny, thanks to a pair of whimsical cartoons and an emoticon.

Plus, the email was kept short and sweet, to emphasize the message that Dropox didn’t want to intrude — it just wants to remind the recipient that the brand exists, and why it could be helpful. When sending these types of email, you might include an incentive for recipients to come back to using your service, like a limited-time coupon.

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10) InVision App

Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week’s, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn’t exist.

Not only is InVision’s newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly — which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action buttons, too.

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11) Warby Parker

What goes better with a new prescription than a new pair of glasses? The folks at Warby Parker made that connection very clear in their email to a friend of mine back in 2014. It’s an older email, but it’s such a good example of personalized email marketing that I had to include it in here.

The subject line was: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.” What a clever email trigger. And you’ve gotta love the reminder that your prescription needs updating.

Speaking of which, check out the clever co-marketing at the bottom of the email: If you don’t know where to go to renew your subscription, the information for an optometrist is right in the email. Now there’s no excuse not to shop for new glasses!

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12) Cook Smarts

I’ve been a huge fan of Cook Smarts‘ “Weekly Eats” newsletter for a while. The company sends yummy recipes in the form of a meal plan to my inbox every week. But I didn’t just include it because of its delicious recipes — I’m truly a fan of its emails. I especially love the layout: Each email features three distinct sections (one for the menu, one for kitchen how-to’s, and one for the tips). That means you don’t have to go hunting to find the most interesting part of its blog posts — you know exactly where to look after an email or two.

I also love Cook Smarts’ “Forward to a Friend” call-to-action in the top-right of the email. Emails are super shareable over — you guessed it — email, so you should also think about reminding your subscribers to forward your emails to friends, family, or coworkers.

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13) HireVue

“Saying goodbye is never easy to do… So, we thought we’d give you a chance to rethink things”. That was the subject of this automated unsubscribe email from HireVue. We love the simple, guilt-free messaging here, from the funny header images to the great call-to-action button copy.

Not only are the design and copy here top-notch, but we applaud the folks at HireVue for sending automated unsubscribe emails in the first place. It’s smart to purge your subscriber lists of folks who aren’t opening your email lists, because low open rates can seriously hurt email deliverability. 

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14) Paperless Post

When you think of “holiday email marketing,” your mind might jump straight to Christmas, but there are other holidays sprinkled throughout the rest of the year that you can create campaigns around. (Download these email marketing planning templates to keep yourself organized throughout the year.)

Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear call-to-action that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, “Wait, when is Mother’s Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?” Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself — click on any one of them, and you’ll be taken to a purchase page.

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15) Stitcher

As humans, we tend to crave personalized experiences. So when emails appear to be created especially for you, you feel special — you’re not just getting what everyone else is getting. You might even feel like the company sending you the email knows you in some way, and that it cares about your preferences and making you happy.

That’s why I love on-demand podcast/radio show app Stitcher‘s “Recommended For You” emails. I tend to listen to episodes from the same podcast instead of branching out to new ones. But Stitcher wants me to discover (and subscribe to) all the other awesome content it has — and I probably wouldn’t without this encouragement.

I think this email also makes quite a brilliant use of responsive design. The colors are bright, and it’s not too hard to scroll and click — notice the CTAs are large enough for me to hit with my thumbs. Also, the mobile email actually has features that make sense for recipients who are on their mobile device. Check out the CTA at the bottom of the email, for example: The “Open Stitcher Radio” button prompts the app to open on your phone.

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These are just some of our favorite emails. Don’t just follow best practice when it comes to your marketing emails. Every email you send from your work email address also can be optimized to convert. Try out our free email signature generator now, and check out some more of our favorite HubSpot marketing email examples.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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14 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Building More Creative Slideshows [+Templates]

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I like to think of Microsoft PowerPoint as a test of basic marketing skills. To create a passing presentation, I need to demonstrate design skills, technical literacy, and a sense of personal style.

If the presentation has a problem (like an unintended font, a broken link, or unreadable text), then I’ve probably failed the test. Even if my spoken presentation is well rehearsed, a bad visual experience can ruin it for the audience. Expertise means nothing without a good presentation to back it up.

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No matter your topic, successful PowerPoints depend on three main factors: your command of PowerPoint’s design tools, your attention to presentation processes, and your devotion to consistent style. Here are some simple tips to help you start mastering each of those factors, and don’t forget to check out the additional resources at the bottom of this post.

PowerPoint Tips: Style

Step 1: Don’t let PowerPoint decide how you use PowerPoint.

Microsoft wanted to provide PowerPoint users with a lot of tools. But this does not mean you should use them all. Here are some key things to look out for:

  • Make sure that preset PPT themes complement your needs before you adopt them.
  • Try to get away from using Microsoft Office’s default fonts, Calibri and Cambria. Using these two typefaces can make the presentation seem underwhelming.
  • Professionals should never use PPT’s action sounds. (Please consider your audience above personal preference).
  • PowerPoint makes bulleting automatic, but ask yourself: Are bullets actually appropriate for what you need to do? Sometimes they are, but not always.
  • Recent PPT defaults include a small shadow on all shapes. Remove this shadow if it’s not actually needed. Also, don’t leave shapes in their default blue.

Step 2: Create custom slide sizes.

While you usually can get away with the default slide size for most presentations, you may need to adjust it for larger presentations on weirdly sized displays. If you need to do that, here’s how.

  1. In the top-left corner, choose “File.”
  2. Select “Page Setup.”
  3. Type the height and width of the background you’d like, and click “OK.”
  4. A dialogue box will appear. Click “OK” again.
  5. Your background is resized!

Tip: Resize your slides before you add any objects to them or the dimensions of your objects will become skewed.

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Step 3: Edit your slide template design.

Often, it’s much easier to edit your PowerPoint template before you start — this way, you don’t have design each slide by hand. Here’s how you do that.

  1. Select “Themes” in the top navigation.
  2. In the far right, click “Edit Master,” then “Slide Master.”
  3. Make any changes you like, then click “Close Master.” All current and future slides in that presentation will use that template.

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Step 4: Make sure all of your objects are properly aligned.

Having properly aligned objects on your slide is the key to making it look polished and professional. You can manually try to line up your images … but we all know how that typically works out. You’re trying to make sure all of your objects hang out in the middle of your slide, but when you drag them there, it still doesn’t look quite right. Get rid of your guessing game and let PowerPoint work its magic with this trick.

How to align multiple objects:

  1. Select all objects by holding down “Shift” and clicking on all of them.
  2. Select “Arrange” in the top options bar, then choose “Align or Distribute.”
  3. Choose the type of alignment you’d like.

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How to align objects to the slide:

  1. Select all objects by holding down “Shift” and clicking on all of them.
  2. Select “Arrange” in the top options bar, then choose “Align or Distribute.”
  3. Select “Align to Slide.”
  4. Select “Arrange” in the top options bar again, then choose “Align or Distribute.”
  5. Choose the type of alignment you’d like.

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PowerPoint Tips: Design

Step 5: Get more control over your objects’ designs using “Format” menus.

Format menus allow you to do fine adjustments that otherwise seem impossible. To do this, right click on an object and select the “Format” option. Here, you can fine-tune shadows, adjust shape measurements, create reflections, and much more. The menu that will pop up looks like this:

powerpoint_format_menus

Although the main options can be found on PowerPoint’s format toolbars, look for complete control in the format window menu. Other examples of options available include:

  • Adjusting text inside a shape.
  • Creating a natural perspective shadow behind an object.
  • Recoloring photos manually and with automatic options.

Step 6: Take advantage of PowerPoint’s shapes.

Many users don’t realize how flexible PowerPoint’s shape tools have become. In combination with the expanded format options released by Microsoft in 2010, the potential for good design with shapes is readily available. PowerPoint provides the user with a bunch of great shape options beyond the traditional rectangle, oval, and rounded rectangle patterns, unlike even professional design programs like Adobe Creative Suite or Quark.

Today’s shapes include a highly functional Smart Shapes function, which enables you to create diagrams and flow charts in no time. These tools are especially valuable when you consider that PowerPoint is a visual medium. Paragraphing and bullet lists are boring — you can use shapes to help express your message more clearly.

Step 7: Create custom shapes.

When you create a shape, right click and press “Edit Points.” By editing points, you can create custom shapes that fit your specific need. For instance, you can reshape arrows to fit the dimensions you like.

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Another option is to combine two shapes together. When selecting two shapes, right-click and go to the “Grouping” sub-menu to see a variety of options.

  • Combine creates a custom shape that has overlapping portions of the two previous shapes cut out.
  • Union makes one completely merged shape.
  • Intersect builds a shape of only the overlapping sections of the two previous shapes.
  • Subtract cuts out the overlapping portion of one shape from the other.

By using these tools rather than trying to edit points precisely, you can create accurately measured custom shapes.

Step 8: Crop images into custom shapes.

Besides creating custom shapes in your presentation, you can also use PowerPoint to crop existing images into new shapes. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Click on the image and select “Format” in the options bar.
  2. Choose “Crop,” then “Mask to Shape,” and then choose your desired shape. Ta-da! Custom-shaped photos.

Crop-to-Shape

Step 9: Present websites within PowerPoint.

Tradition says that if you want to show a website in a PowerPoint, you should just create link to the page and prompt a browser to open. For PC users, there’s a better option.

Third party software that integrates fully into PowerPoint’s developer tab can be used to embed a website directly into your PowerPoint using a normal HTML iframe. One of the best tools is LiveWeb, a third-party software developed independently.

By using LiveWeb, you don’t have to interrupt your PowerPoint, and your presentation will remain fluid and natural. Whether you embed a whole webpage or just a YouTube video, this can be a high-quality third party improvement.

Unfortunately, Mac users don’t have a similar option. Agood second choice is to take screen shots of the website, link in through a browser, or embed media (such as a YouTube video) by downloading it directly to your computer.

PowerPoint Tips: Process

Step 10: Embed your font files.

One constant problem presenters have with PowerPoint is that fonts seem to change when presenters move from one computer to another. In reality, the fonts are not changing — the presentation computer just doesn’t have the same font files installed. If you’re using a PC and presenting on a PC, then there is a smooth work around for this issue. (When you involve Mac systems, the solution is a bit rougher. See Tip #11.)

Here’s the trick: When you save your PowerPoint file (only on a PC), you should click Save Options in the “Save As …” dialog window. Then, select the “Embed TrueType fonts” check box and press “OK.” Now, your presentation will keep the font file and your fonts will not change when you move computers (unless you give your presentation on a Mac).

Step 11: Save your slides as JPEGs.

In PowerPoint for Mac 2011, there is no option to embed fonts within the presentation. So unless you use ubiquitous typefaces like Arial or Tahoma, your PPT is likely going to encounter font changeson different computers.

The most certain way of avoiding this is by saving your final presentation as JPEGs, and then inserting these JPEGs onto your slides. On a Mac, users can easily drag and drop the JPEGs into PPT with fast load time. If you do not use actions in your presentation, then this option works especially well.

If you want your presentation to appear “animated,” you’ll need to do a little tinkering. All you need to do is save JPEGs of each “frame” of the animation. Then, in your final presentation, you’ll just display those JPEGs in the order you’d like the animation to appear. While you’ll technically have several new slides in place of one original one, your audience won’t know the difference.

An important consideration: If your PPT includes a lot of JPEGs, then the file size will increase.

Step 12: Embed multimedia.

PowerPoint allows you to either link to video/audio files externally or to embed the media directly in your presentation. You should embed these files if you can, but if you use a Mac, you cannot actually embed the video (see note below). For PCs, two great reasons for embedding are:

  1. Embedding allows you to play media directly in your presentation. It will look much more professional than switching between windows.
  2. Embedding also means that the file stays within the PowerPoint presentation, so it should play normally without extra work (except on a Mac).

Note: Mac OS users of PowerPoint should be extra careful about using multimedia files.

If you use PowerPoint for Mac, then you will always need to bring the video and/or audio file with you in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation. It’s best to only insert video or audio files once the presentation and the containing folder have been saved on a portable drive in their permanent folder. Also, if the presentation will be played on a Windows computer, then Mac users need to make sure their multimedia files are in WMV format. This tip gets a bit complicated, so if you want to use PowerPoint effectively, consider using the same operating system for designing andpresenting, no matter what.

Step 13: Bring your own hardware.

Between operating systems, PowerPoint is still a bit jumpy. Even between differing PPT versions, things can change. One way to fix these problems is to make sure that you have the right hardware — so just bring along your own laptop when you’re presenting.

Step 14: Use “Presenter View.”

In most presentation situations, there will be both a presenter’s screen and the main projected display for your presentation. PowerPoint has a great tool called Presenter View, which can be found in the “Slide Show” tab of PowerPoint 2010 (or 2011 for Mac). Included in the Presenter View is an area for notes, a timer/clock, and a presentation display.

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For many presenters, this tool can help unify their spoken presentation and their visual aid. You never want to make the PowerPoint seem like a stack of notes that you use a crutch. Use the Presenter View option to help create a more natural presentation.

Pro Tip: At the start of the presentation, you should also hit CTRL + H to make the cursor disappear. Hitting the “A” key will bring it back if you need it!

Conclusion

With style, design, and presentation processes under your belt, you can do a lot more with PowerPoint than just presentations for your clients. PowerPoint and similar slide applications are flexible tools that should not be forgotten.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Marketers: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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The next evolution of marketing is upon us.

The sharp uptake in consumer use of messaging apps, the shift in content consumption from text to video and audio, and the finally consumer-ready advancements in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and voice recognition all signal that marketers and consumers alike are in radically new times. Everytime consumer behavior evolves, marketers have new opportunities that were never before available.

I was talking to a colleague the other day about these changes, and she noted how endlessly marketing channels shift. “There aren’t many other fields where the game reinvents itself so often,” she said.

“That’s because we fuck everything up,” I told her.

Let me explain.

Scorched Earth Marketing AKA “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

There is a desperation at play in most marketing organizations. A low grade panic to solve for short-term needs  —  the lead goal that month, for example, or a choice media placement. Attention is as fleeting as Snapchat videos, and for many companies, grabbing a moment of it can feel like gasping for oxygen. I get it. I have been there myself, so I’m not passing judgement.

The enemy of remarkable marketing is impatience.

There is so much competition for attention these days that the moment a blue ocean channel or new marketing strategy opens up, marketers flock to make the most of it. At the root of the problem is the channel-based mentality that causes us to obsess over hacks and mechanics more than a great message and engaging experience.

Early adoption is a good thing. It can be the breath of fresh air marketers and consumers alike are looking for. And typically the early days leveraging a new channel or format in your marketing strategy are as pure and innovative as they should be.

But then something happens. We cross the line into a sort of scorched earth marketing mentality where we forget the reason consumers were drawn to that channel to begin with — and we beat the living daylights out of it.  We start to solve for our own goals, instead of our customers’.

New channels emerge in part because we marketers ruin old ones.

Our earnest exploration of emerging channels all too often turns into rabid gaming of the system if we aren’t careful. And consumers, exhausted by our antics, are forced to move on to find new communication and content channels free of spam and brands. It happened with email. It’s happening with content. And if we think messaging and video are any different, we’re kidding ourselves.

How We’re Messing Up Content

Remember when content first emerged as the antidote to disruptive advertising and direct marketing? It was eye-opening.

Before content, if you were a marketer you were primarily using email and advertising to gain prospective customers. Those were the channels and, oh, did marketers use them. They so overplayed them that consumers began to adopt technology to filter them out. They blocked ads. They set up inbox filters. They reduced the noise and took control of their own purchase process. Much of that process began not with the company but on Google, where a buyer would do all the independent research they needed before making a decision.

So instead of pummeling buyers with ads or email, smart marketers started to create useful content designed help the consumer rather than sell them. If good and relevant, this content would find its way to the top of the search results page and, without costing the company anything in ad spend, deliver a compounding stream of incoming traffic.

The world of ebooks and webinars took shape in earnest. Let’s offer something of true value that consumers would otherwise pay for in exchange for nothing but their contact details and permission to reach out.

It sounds silly today because of how commonplace ebooks and lead forms have become, but it was genuine and mutually beneficial at the start. It was a new way of interacting with online consumers when quality, trustworthy information was scarce.

But then we (marketers) scorched the earth.

The volume of content went up, the quality often went down. Content farms popped up. And brands started to fund the spread of bad content through paid channels. As content offers increased, they became less valuable, and then they crossed the line into utter noise.

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Good content still exists, but you have to sift through an awful lot of cheap content to get to it. So where did we go wrong?

We over-solved for the long tail.

The long-tail of search was what initially made content so exciting. You may not have had enough authority to win a top spot in the search results for highly competitive keywords, but there were any number of keyword variations you could shoot for.

It was field-leveling. I get it. I pitched it. But the problem with solving for keyword variations is there are thousands of them out there, which means you have to make thousands of attempts to capture that traffic. All of that has lead to high volumes of mediocre content.

We’re guilty of this too. In the past, we created hundreds of individual blog posts mapped to long-tail keyword variations that got repetitive. We didn’t realize how much it would all add up and clutter the internet.  Since then, we’ve implemented a strategy to update old posts with higher quality and updated information instead of launching into a new post and to redirect repetitive or irrelevant content.

On our Sales Blog, we’re focusing on topics over keywords, mapping each new post to a larger topic or pillar page. This creates a more organized site architecture that’s easier for Google to crawl and index and signals our authority on a subject, rather than a bunch of long-tail keyword variations.

While marketers were busy filling the web with content, Google also got smarter about how it handled search queries. Updates to the algorithm enabled Google to start serving up content that better matched searchers’ intent — not just their keywords. With this in mind, exact keyword optimized content only addresses a sliver of the question and isn’t going to help you get found in the same way it once would have back in 2012.

SEO has changed. It doesn’t reward content for the sake of keywords anymore. SEO in today’s world comes down to architecture and quality content more than it does keywords. And this is a very good thing for readers. It means that instead of writing mountains of content, our new goals should be about creating more value out of less content.

How We Risk Messing Up Messaging

Facebook Messenger will be the next great marketing channel, and it is arguably the best way to engage with the Facebook community as a marketer. My first reaction when I started to see messaging rise as a communication channel was, “Thank god you can’t buy Messenger accounts like you can buy email lists.”

This is an important point: You can’t buy and sell lists of Messenger addresses. You can’t be spammy or impatient in the same way that is possible via email.

That said, marketers are inventive. We can still mess up messaging.

We have to resist the urge to treat messaging like email. This is not a mass communication channel. It’s not a high-volume communication channel. Messaging should be reserved for short, on-demand, personalized exchanges. They should be triggered, whenever possible by the customer, not the company.

Email is company driven. Messaging is customer driven.

Even with behavior-triggered marketing automation, email is still pretty much a guessing game of what the recipient will find interesting. Messaging apps and the bots that live within them allow the recipient to pull the content they want from your repository. It can be completely custom. You can and should have endlessly differing content subscriptions with endlessly differing cadences based uniquely on the person at the other end. That is the promise of messaging: A frictionless exchange that gives the user exactly what they’re seeking and nothing more.

As marketers we need to respect Facebook’s ecosystem and the experience of the conversational UI that is a messaging interface. Let’s have bots help us deliver rich, personal, and helpful experiences. Let’s use Facebook Instant Articles to load web experiences within Facebook instantly. Let’s give our prospects and customer exactly what they need and nothing more.

Ok, so lets say we all agree with that in concept, here’s where our resolve will be tested. Messaging conversion rates are incredibly high right now. Like … gold rush high. In early experiments we’ve run at HubSpot, we’ve seen 4X the conversion rate on Facebook messenger versus email.

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HubSpot’s Messenger bot allows prospects to book a meeting with a sales rep.

There’s a reason those conversions are so high right now. It’s because marketers haven’t yet eroded the trust of consumers on messaging. For the sake of everyone, let’s keep it that way.

If appeals for a better customer experience aren’t enough, consider this. At this time there is one company that largely controls messaging. Facebook has the keys to the castle on more than 1.2 billion users. Its primary incentive is aligned with the happiness of those users. So if Messenger gets abused, Facebook could turn around and remove this option for marketers. And they’d be right to do so.

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Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report outlines the potential of messaging for businesses.

How We Risk Messing Up Video

Remember when infographics first became popular? There were infographics on everything.  Infographics on account based marketing. Infographics on geo-political conflicts. Infographics on world octopus day and shades of poop. Some were interactive and meticulously researched. Others were little more than powerpoint slides and poorly sourced. The internet was absolutely littered with them.

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Source: Google Image Search

Infographics became so prevalent over the past 10 years it prompted Megan McCardle, former senior editor of The Atlantic, to call the whole practice a plague, writing:

The reservoir of this disease of erroneous infographics is internet marketers who don’t care whether the information in their graphics is right … just so long as you link it.

We can be better than this. And we have a chance to be. Today, we are on the verge of the same reckless abandon happening with video.

Video, once a resource-intensive format has become vastly simpler to create. Marketers can stream video at the touch of a button, and pre-produced videos can now benefit from everything from free b-roll sources to voice over marketplaces. This democratization of video production has come just in time for a mobile- and social-led surge in video consumption. The combination of the two creates the perfect conditions for marketers to run amok.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but, let’s make video responsibly.

A responsible video strategy starts with being specific about why you’re making a video in the first place.  How does this video fit into your marketing strategy?

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Is it designed for top-of-the-funnel awareness? Build it to be native to Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram (Pick one — don’t one-size-fits-all it). Solve for time spent watching. Don’t try to drive conversions — drive interactions.

Is it designed to inform buyers on their way to a decision? Incorporate it into your sales process. Wistia, Viewedit, and Loom all offer quick video recording solutions to create custom explainer videos for your buyers. Use it as a way to save your prospects time with the basics before hopping on a call. Record a recap video after a demo. Solve for personalization over anything else. These videos should feel like a direct portal into the customer’s sales rep or account manager.

Don’t know? Don’t make a video.

Want it to solve for all of the above? Really don’t make a video.

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HubSpot’s Marlon De Assis-Fernandez puts his cartoonist skills to work in a prospect video.

Just because a format has gotten easier doesn’t mean we should run it into the ground. Videos should be an integral part of our strategy rather than an add-on or afterthought.

In the past, we’ve made videos just because someone said, “We need a video!” It felt flashy and impressive to have a video for a campaign launch. But because we didn’t consider if video was really the right format for a particular story or how someone would actually discover the video, we saw disappointing results and ultimately, decided it was a waste of time.

The problem isn’t that video isn’t effective or valuable. We just didn’t ask the right questions before pressing the record button.

Let’s Save Ourselves From Ourselves

Every time people flee from overcrowded channels into new untouched ones, companies crop up to build on them. But evolving with customers is less about predicting the next big marketing channel and more about seeing through it to the customers on the other side.

It’s time we stop obsessing over channels, and start focusing on the people within them. Because if history has demonstrated anything, it’s that what’s new now may be scorched earth tomorrow. So yes, dive in. Explore every new channel that comes our way. But more importantly, look at the bigger picture of what the adoption of a channel says about how people want to interact with each other and brands.

Let’s make our mark on marketing by doing it the right way.

 

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12 Truly Inspiring Company Vision and Mission Statement Examples

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Where does customer loyalty come from?

Think about those brands that you purchase from over and over, even when there are cheaper options out there. Do you usually fly on a particular airline? Do you buy your coffee from the same place every morning? Do you recommend a specific restaurant whenever out-of-towners ask for suggestions?

Often, the reason we stay loyal to brands is because of their values. The best brands strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional customer — and employee — experience.

When you successfully create a connection with your customers and employees, many of them might stay loyal for life — and you’ll have the chance to increase your overall profitability while building a solid foundation of brand promoters. But achieving that connection is no easy task. The companies that succeed are ones that stay true to their core values over the years and create a company that employees and customers are proud to associate with.Click here to download our ultimate toolkit for social and PR branding.

That’s where company vision and mission statements come in. A mission statement is intended to clarify the ‘what’ and ‘who’ of a company, while a vision statement adds the ‘why’ and ‘how’ as well. As a company grows, its objectives and goals may change. Therefore, vision statements should be revised as needed to reflect the changing business culture as goals are met.

Check out some of the following company vision and mission statements for yourself — and get inspired to write one for your brand.

The Difference Between Mission and Vision

Let’s start with a bit of a vocabulary lesson. A mission statement declares an organization’s purpose, or why it exists. That often includes a general description of the organization, its function, and its objectives.

A mission statement often informs the vision statement, which describes where the company aspires to be in the future. These two statements are often combined to clearly define the organization’s reason for existing and outlook for internal and external audiences like employees, partners, board members, consumers, and shareholders.

So, what does a good mission and vision statement look like? Have a look at the examples below.

12 of the Best Vision & Mission Statement Examples From Real Companies

1) Life is Good: “To spread the power of optimism.”

life is good mission

The Life is Good brand is about more than spreading optimism — although, with uplifting T-shirt slogans like “Seas The Day” and “Forecast: Mostly Sunny,” it’s hard not to crack a smile.

There are a ton of T-shirt companies in the world, but Life is Good’s mission sets itself apart with a mission statement goes beyond fun clothing: to spread the power of optimism. This mission is perhaps a little unexpected if you’re not familiar with the company’s public charity: How will a T-shirt company help spread optimism? Life is Good answers that question below the fold, where what the mission means is explained in more detail, with links to programs implemented to support it: its #GrowTheGood initiative and the Life is Good Kids Foundation page. We really like how lofty yet specific this mission statement is — it’s a hard-to-balance combination.

2) sweetgreen: “To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.”

Notice that sweetgreen’s mission is positioned to align with your values — not just written as something the brand believes. We love the inclusive language used in its statement, letting us know that the company is all about connecting its growing network of farmers growing healthy, local ingredients with us — the customer — because we’re the ones who want more locally grown, healthy food options.

The mission to connect people is what makes this statement so strong. And that promise has gone beyond sweetgreen’s website and walls of its food shops: The team has made strides in the communities where it’s opened stores as well. Primarily, it provides education to young kids on healthy eating, fitness, sustainability, and where food comes from. The sweetlife music festival attracts 20,000 like-minded people every year who come together to listen to music, eat healthy food, and give back to a cause — the sweetgreen in schools charity partner, FoodCorps.

3) Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Patagonia mission

Patagonia’s mission statement combines both the values that bring them market success (building safe, high-quality products) and the values that contribute to a better world (philanthropic efforts to help the environment). For the people behind the brand, “a love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them.” In the name of this cause, the company donates time, services, and at least 1% of its sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups around the world.

If your company has a similar focus on growing your business and giving back, think about talking about both the benefit you bring to customers and the value you want to bring to a greater cause in your mission statement.

4) American Express: “We work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected service brand.”

The tweet above is from Simon Sinek, and it’s one that we repeat here at HubSpot all the time. American Express sets itself apart from other credit card companies in its list of values, with an ode to great customer service, which is something it’s famous for.

American Express Values

We especially love the emphasis on teamwork and supporting employees, so that the people inside of the organization can be in the best position to support their customers.

5) Warby Parker: “To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.”

Warby Parker objective

Speaking of quirky, this “objective” statement from Warby Parker uses words that reflect a young and daring personality: “rebellious,” “revolutionary,” “socially-conscious.” In one sentence, the brand takes us back to the root of why it was founded while also revealing its vision for a better future.

The longer-form version of the mission reads: “We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket,” which further shows how Warby Parker doesn’t hold back on letting its unique personality shine through. Here, the missions statement’s success all comes down to spot-on word choice.

6) InvisionApp: “Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.”

InVision Values

These days, it can seem like every B2B company page looks the same — but InvisionApp has one of the cooler company pages I’ve seen. Scroll down to “Our Core Values,” and hover your mouse over any of the icons, and you’ll find a short-but-sweet piece of the overall company mission under each icon. We love the way the statements are laid out under each icon. Each description is brief, authentic, and business babble-free — which makes the folks at InvisionApp seem like trustworthy, B.S.-free types.

7) Honest Tea: ” … to create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.”

honest tea mission

Honest Tea’s mission statement begins with a simple punch line connoting its tea is real, pure, and therefore not full of artificial chemicals. The brand is speaking to an audience that’s tired of finding ingredients in its tea that can’t be pronounced, and have been searching for a tea that’s exactly what it says it is.

Not only does Honest Tea have a punny name, but it also centers its mission around the clever company name. For some time, the company even published a Mission Report each year in an effort to be “transparent about our business practices and live up to our mission to seek to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic beverages.”

8) IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

IKEA vision

The folks at IKEA dream big. The vision could have been one of beautiful, affordable furniture, but instead, it’s to make everyday life better for its customers. It’s a partnership: IKEA finds deals all over the world and buys in bulk, then we choose the furniture and pick it up at a self-service warehouse.

“Our business idea supports this vision … so [that] as many people as possible will be able to afford them,” the brand states.

Using words like “as many people as possible” makes a huge company like IKEA much more accessible and appealing to customers.

9) Nordstrom: ” … to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.”

Nordstrom history

When it comes to customer commitment, not many companies are as hyper-focused as Nordstrom is. Although clothing selection, quality, and value all have a place in the company’s mission statement, it’s crystal clear that it’s all about the customer: “Nordstrom works relentlessly to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.” If you’ve ever shopped at a Nordstrom, you’ll know the brand will uphold the high standard for customer service mentioned in its mission statement, as associates are always roaming the sales floors, asking customers whether they’ve been helped, and doing everything they can to make the shopping experience a memorable one.

10) Cradles to Crayons: ” … provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.”

cradles to crayons mission

Cradles to Crayons divided its mission and model into three sections that read like a game plan: The Need, The Mission, and The Model. The “rule of three” is a powerful rhetorical device called a tricolon that’s usually used in speechwriting to help make an idea more memorable. A tricolon is a series of three parallel elements of roughly the same length — think “I came; I saw; I conquered.”

11) Universal Health Services, Inc.: “To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.”

A company thrives when it pleases its customers, its employees, its partners, and its investors — and Universal Health Services endeavors to do just that, according to its mission statement. As a health care service, it specifically strives to please its patients, physicians, purchasers, employees, and investors. We love the emphasis on each facet of the organization, by capitalizing the font and making it red for easy skimming.

12) JetBlue: ” … to inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.”

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JetBlue’s committed to its founding mission through lovable marketing, charitable partnerships, and influential programs — and we love the approachable language used to describe these endeavors. For example, the brand writes how it “set out in 2000 to bring humanity back to the skies.”

For those of us who want to learn more about any of its specific efforts, JetBlue’s provided details on the Soar With Reading program, its partnership with KaBOOM!, the JetBlue Foundation, environmental and social reporting, and so on. It breaks down all these initiatives really well with big headers, bullet points, pictures, and links to other webpages visitors can click to learn more. Finally, it ends with a call-to-action encouraging website visitors volunteer or donate their TrueBlue points.

Which company mission statements have inspired you the most? Share with us in the comments below!

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

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22 of the Best Motivational Speeches of All Time

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It was halftime during one of my 7th grade football games. And we were losing 14 – 0. With our knees planted in the grass, my team was quietly huddled, drenched in sweat and defeat. We all knew the game was over.

That’s when our assistant coach bursted through our circle and shattered our pity party, delivering one of the best motivational speeches I’ve heard to this day.

I can’t directly quote him because he said some things that are inappropriate for a blog post (and, in hindsight, probably for a bunch of 13-year-olds too). But the point is, he harnessed the power of words to rejuvenate a physically and emotionally drained team. And we came back clawing to win the game.

Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

Just like in sports, being motivated at work is crucial for your performance. This rings especially true when you have a looming deadline, an important presentation to give, or colleagues or customers depending on your performance.

To help you stay motivated, no matter what your job throws at you, we decided to compile 22 of the best motivational speeches from business, sports, entertainment, and more. If you want to get fired up for a project, watch these videos. Trust me, I was ready to write a 5,000 word blog post after I saw them. And while the messages vary from speech to speech, they will put you in the optimal frame of mind for tackling and crushing your next big challenge.

(Disclaimer: Some speeches — *cough* Al Pacino *cough* — may contain NSFW language.)

22 of the Best Motivational Speeches

1) J.K. Rowling: “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” (2008)

In J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech, the Harry Potter author explored how two phenomena — failure and imagination — can be crucial to success. While failure can help you understand where your true passion lies, and where you should focus your energy moving forward, imagination is what will allow you to empathize with other people so you can use your influence to do good.

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

2) David Foster Wallace: “This Is Water” (2005)

From the opening minutes of David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech, in which he questions commencement speech conventions, it’s clear that Wallace has some serious wisdom to share. The crux of his speech: Many of us are oblivious to our own close-mindedness. We picture ourselves as the centers of our own, individual universes, instead of seeing the bigger, more interconnected picture.

If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important, if you want to operate on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you’ll know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer hell-type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred — on fire with the same force that lit the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.”

3) Brené Brown: “The Power of Vulnerability” (2013)

The video above is an animated excerpt from researcher Brené Brown’s speech, “The Power of Vulnerability.” In the speech, Brown explores how our fear of not being good enough (among other fears) drives us to shield ourselves from our own vulnerabilities. The alternative to wearing this emotional suit of armor: Embrace vulnerability through empathizing with others.

Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable choice. Because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. “

4) Al Pacino: “Inch by Inch” (1999)

Yes, this speech is from a football movie (Any Given Sunday), but trust me: This isn’t your stereotypical rah-rah-go-get-’em sports speech. It’s deeper than that. It’s about life, and loss, and … gosh darn it just listen to Al Pacino, he’s pouring his soul out!

Either we heal as a team or we’re gonna crumble, inch by inch, play by play, till we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And we can stay here and get the $&#@ kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell, one inch at a time.”

5) Steve Jobs: “How to Live Before You Die” (2005)

Considering the YouTube video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech has 24 million views (not counting the 10 million+ additional views from duplicate uploads), it’s likely that you’ve seen this one already. In the speech, Jobs plays on two themes: connecting the dots (anecdote: how taking a calligraphy class helped inspire the design of the Mac) and love & loss (anecdote: how getting fired from Apple helped inspire his greatest innovations). Perhaps the most memorable part his speech comes at the end, when he quotes the (now-famous) lines from the final issue of his favorite publication, The Whole Earth Catalog:

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

6) Ellen DeGeneres: Tulane University Commencement Speech (2009)

Ellen’s speech, as you might expect, has its humorous moments. But it also explores some of the very personal and tragic episodes in her life that helped push her into comedy in the first place. Two key themes of DeGeneres’speech: overcoming adversity and being true to yourself. ForDeGeneres, that meant pushing onward with her career after her sitcom was canceled in response to her publicly coming out as gay.

Really, when I look back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, it was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is … to be true to yourself. Ultimately, that’s what’s gotten me to this place. I don’t live in fear. I’m free. I have no secrets and I know I’ll always be OK, because no matter what, I know who I am.”

7) Will Smith: Speech from The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Here’s another speech from the big screen, this time from the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness. In the scene above, Will Smith’s character explains to his son why he shouldn’t pursue basketball (because he’ll end up being “below average”) before having a major change of heart.

Don’t ever let somebody tell you … you can’t do something. Not even me. All right? You got a dream. You gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”

8) Sheryl Sandberg: Harvard Business School Class Day Speech (2012)

In her speech to the HBS class of 2012, Lean In author and tech executive Sheryl Sandberg deconstructed the idea of the “career as a ladder.” For Sandberg, a career is about finding opportunities where you can make an impact, not about chasing titles and planning out a meticulous path. “If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career,” she commented. What’s more, Sandberg eschews the traditional wisdom of keeping emotions out of the workplace. For Sandberg, you need to care not only about what you’re working on, but also who you’re working with.


“If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time … It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”

9) Dan Pink: “The Puzzle of Motivation” (2009)

Commissions, bonuses, other incentives … in the business world, these are the things that motivate people, right? According to Dan Pink in his 2009 TED Talk, such extrinsic motivators (a.k.a. “carrots and sticks”) could actually be doing more harm than good. The most recent sociological research suggests that the real key to producing better work is to find intrinsic motivation inside of yourself.

There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And what worries me, as we stand here in the rubble of the economic collapse, is that too many organizations are making their decisions, their policies about talent and people, based on assumptions that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science.”

10) Denzel Washington: “Fall Forward” (2011)

In his 2011 UPenn commencement speech, Denzel Washington highlighted three reasons why we need to embrace failure in order to be successful. First, everybody will fail at something at some point, so you better get used to it. Second, if you never fail, take that as a sign that you’re not really trying. And third, at the end of the day, failure will help you figure out what path you want to be on.

Fall forward. Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out twenty-six-hundred times in his career — the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1,000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t know that—because #1,001 was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”

11) Sylvester Stallone: Speech from Rocky Balboa (2006)

I had to put this one next since it plays along the same themes as Denzel Washington’s UPenn speech. In the scene above, from the 2006 film Rocky Balboa, the title character (played by Sylvester Stallone) is having a heart-to-heart with his son. The advice he gives him: Don’t let your failures or the adversity you face slow you down. Keep. Moving. Forward.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

12) Elizabeth Gilbert: “Your Elusive Creative Genius” (2009)

Following the extraordinary success of her book, Eat, Pray, Love, people began asking author Elizabeth Gilbert the same question over and over and over: How are you going to top that? In her 2009 TED Talk, Gilbert explores that question while also examining how our ideas of genius and creativity have shifted over the generations. While once seen as separate entities or states of being that anyone could tap into, genius and creativity have increasingly become associated with individuals. And according to Gilbert, that shift has been putting more and more pressure on artists, writers, and other creatives to produce great work.

I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel, you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun. It just completely warps and distorts egos, and it creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance. And I think the pressure of that has been killing off our artists for the last 500 years.”

13) Charlie Day: Merrimack College Commencement Speech (2014)

Best known for his role in the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, actor Charlie Day had lots of wisdom to share during the 2014 commencement speech at his alma mater, Merrimack College. Day explained to the audience how college degrees are inherently valueless, since you can’t trade them in for cash. Instead, it’s you, your hard work, and the risks you take that provide real value in life.

You cannot let a fear of failure or a fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing the things that will make you great. You cannot succeed without the risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism. You cannot love without the risk of loss. You must take these risks.”

14) Frank Oz/Yoda: Speech from The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

This speech fromThe Empire Strikes Back felt like a natural follow-up to Charlie Day’s speech. In the scene above, Yoda — voiced by Frank Oz — is teaching Luke the ways of the force. One of his key teachings: Whether or not something can or can’t be done (e.g., lifting an X-Wing out of a swamp) is all in your head. So instead of doubting yourself, believe in yourself.

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”

15) William Wallace: Speech From the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297)

OK, I’ll admit it: I couldn’t find a recording of the actual speech Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace gave at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 (the historian I spoke with said something about “nonexistent technology” and me “being an idiot,” but I digress). Historical accuracy aside, there’s no denying that Mel Gibson’s version of the speech from the 1995 film Braveheart can help get you pumped up.

“Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!!!”

16) Orlando Scampington: “The Pillars of C.L.A.M.” (2015)

Sometimes humor is the best motivator. So here’s an INBOUND Bold Talk from self-proclaimed author, thought leader, dreamer, cat owner, visionary, and “believer in unlimited human potential,” Orlando Scampington. As you’ll soon realize upon reading the quote below, it’s hard to explain what his speech is actually about — so I think it’s better that you just dive in and enjoy.

“Culture is the bitter drunken coachmen lashing motivation into the ungrateful workhorses, so they drag the wagon of growth down the road of success. I think that’s a very accurate analogy.”

17) Kurt Russell: “This is Your Time” (2004)

The Miracle on Ice is still considered the biggest upset in Olympic hockey history. And for good reason. The Soviet Union won six of the last seven Olympic gold medals, and the U.S. team consisted only of amateur players. It was obvious the Soviets were better. But, in the movie Miracle, which told the incredible story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, Kurt Russell’s character — Coach Herb Brooks — knew that this game was different. The U.S. was better than the Soviets that day. And his speech conveyed such a strong belief in his team that they pulled off one of the greatest sports moments of the 20th century.

“If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game… Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players, every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time.”

18) Jim Valvano: ESPY Speech (1993)

Less than two months before he lost his battle to cancer, Jim Valvano delivered one of the most impactful and timeless speeches about living life to the fullest. My words can’t do it justice, so be prepared for some laughter, tears, and thought.

“I just got one last thing; I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day, and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.”

19) Mel Gibson: “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” (2002)

The movie We Were Soldiers takes place in one of the most racially charged decades in American history, but Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore — played by Mel Gibson — delivered such a rousing speech that it brought an incredibly diverse group of soldiers together as one unit. He knew if his troops could set their differences aside, then they would form a true brotherhood, increasing their chances of survival as a whole. That way, the memories of their lost brothers could live on forever when they returned home.

“I can’t promise that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear before you and before Almighty God: that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So help me God.”

20) Kal Penn: DePauw University Commencement Speech (2014)

In 2014, Kal Penn delivered an uplifting speech that DePauw University will never forget. He advised graduates to strive for success but to not let it loosen their grip on the things that actually matter, like staying connected with loved ones, being adventurous, and acting selflessly. He also comforted millennials everywhere, convincing them that their futures are full of potential and promise because their generation’s identity is rooted in innovation.

“Opportunity is all around us. You’re graduating at a time where youth unemployment is high. And yet your peers are refusing to sit idly by. You’re the most active, service-driven generation, the most imaginative, the most tech-savvy. You’re creating opportunities, inventing gadgets, placing an emphasis on social responsibility over greed. So stop worrying so much. Why are you worried?”

21) Charles Dutton: Speech from Rudy (1993)

In the film Rudy, Sean Astin’s character, Rudy Ruettiger, quits the Notre Dame football team because he has to watch one of his last games from the stands. After two years of grueling practices and never once being apart of the team on the sidelines, he’s done dealing with the humiliation. But his friend Fortune — played by Charles Dutton — flips the script on him. He shows Rudy that he shouldn’t be humiliated. He should be proud because he’s proven to everyone that his perseverance and heart can carry him through any challenge. He just needs to realize that himself. And the only way he can do that is if he stays on the team for the rest of the season.

“You’re 5 feet nothin’, a 100 and nothin’, and you got hardly a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years. And you’re also gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody – except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.”

22) Vera Jones: “But the Blind Can Lead the Blind…” (2016)

Last year at INBOUND, Vera Jones told a moving story about the life lessons she’s learned from raising her blind son. She explains how having faith in your future and letting it lead you toward your true purpose will help you overcome blinding obstacles. She also discusses how following your passion and trusting your vision develops empathy, which is a critical leadership skill.

“Passionately play your position no matter how bad things get. You are significant. Why we are here is not for our own glory. Ultimately, we’re here to lead and serve everybody else. By doing that, we encourage others to do the same.”

Seen any other motivational speeches that should be on this list? Share them in the comments section below!

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How to Write a Video Script [Template + Video]

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Movie producers and inbound marketers aren’t that different when it comes to creating and editing video content.

We’re both telling a story, and whether that story is about a protagonist or a product, we’re both trying to captive our audiences and make them believe in the story we tell.

What happens at the end of the story is a little different, though.

Download our free guide here to learn how to create high-quality videos for social media.

While movie directors might want viewers to come away from their work feeling or thinking something, inbound marketers want viewers to come away from it planning to do something — whether that’s subscribing to a blog, filling out a lead form, or signing up for a product trial.

Most marketers wear a lot of hats and let’s just say, out of all the hats worn, the videographer one isn’t always their favorite. That’s because creating videos can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to it. 

And if you’re more of a copywriter than a videographer, as I am, you might overlook how important the planning stage of video production is — the part where you really solidify your video concept, goals, and script. Contrary to what I previously thought, you can’t just rewrite a blog post and call it a day — there’s a specific way to write a script so that it shapes an effective video.

So that’s what we’re going to tackle in this blog post: how to write an effective video script to ensure the best possible product emerges from your editing software, and lives wherever you’re publishing.

How To Write a Video Script

1) Start with a brief.

Although it might seem like this is an easy step to skip, it’s not worth it.

Starting with a brief allows you and your team to document the answers to the most important project questions so everyone involved in creating the video can get on the same page. When you’re three-quarters of the way through the editing process, and your boss or colleague wants to completely redo that whole shot where you demonstrate how your product solves a problem, that’s a huge problem — for you.

When pesky predicaments like this one stand in the way of progress, you can just refer back to the brief that documents the goals and project plan your team mapped out together, and say, “Actually, that’s not what we agreed to.” 

Then, you can move forward.

Focus on your goals, topic, and takeaways when developing your brief.

A brief doesn’t have to be fancy, nor does it have to follow a specific formula, but there are several key questions it should include to craft an effective video script. 

  • What’s the goal of this video? Why are we making the video in the first place?

  • Who is the audience of this video?

  • What’s our video topic? (The more specific, the better. For example, if you’re in the house painting business, you might choose a topic like, “buying the right paint brush”).

  • What are the key takeaways of the video? What should viewers learn from watching it?

  • What’s our call-to-action? What do we want viewers to do after they’ve finished watching the video?

You can easily create a brief in Google Docs to serve as a living, breathing template that you revise over time — and that your team can collaborate on.

2) Write your script.

Once you’ve picked a topic, it’s time to write the script.

Just like the brief, the video script doesn’t have to be fancy. You’re not trying to submit this script for any awards — its purpose is strictly functional. A good script makes it easy for the people on camera to get their messages across while sounding and acting naturally.

Write conversationally.

Writing a script is not the same as writing a college paper or marketing research report. You want to write the script how you want the video subject to speak. Saying, “I’m gonna create a video after reading this blog post” on camera will read much better than, “I am going to create a video after reading this blog post.” Keep sentences short and crisp — I recommend avoiding compound sentences, if possible.

Make it thorough.

A script doesn’t just include dialogue. If your video will require multiple shots, characters, or scenes, include these details. Be sure to include any necessary information about the set or stage actions, such as a wardrobe change.

Basically, you want the script to be thorough enough that you could hand it off to someone else to shoot, and they’d understand it.

Write for the audience and the platform.

Is your audience made up of young teens, middle-aged professionals, or older retirees? Will your video live on Instagram, YouTube, or your website? Make sure you’re keeping it conversational for the people you’re trying to connect with — and infuse humor, tone, and inflection accordingly. Furthermore, if you’re writing a short-form video for Facebook, you might want to consider keeping your script choppier with sentence fragments — but if you’re producing a long-form explainer video for your website, make sure you’re as thorough as possible.

Differentiate the main narrative from B-Roll, text overlays, and voiceovers by using different formatting or callouts.

If your video will transition from the subject speaking the primary narrative to a close-up shot of your product with a text overlay, you’ll want to call these things out in your script so anyone who reads it knows what’s supposed to be read on-screen — versus incorporated into the editing process.

Take a look at how the folks over at Wistia did that in the video script for Wistia’s scripting tips below. Text overlay is called out with a big, bold “TEXT,” audio is called out in all caps (REWIND SOUND), and B-roll or additional details are called out in italics (with glasses on). (Note: It might help to watch the video first for the excerpt of this script to make sense).

how_to_write_a_video_script_example_keep_conversational

Source: Wistia

Script every single word.

It’s understandable to think you can just jot down the main bullet points for a script, and then just wing it on camera, especially if you know your subject matter. This approach makes it tough to communicate a message as clearly and concisely as possible (which you should aim to do in every video you create), and it usually results in a lot of re-dos.

So, we suggest scripting every last word. Trust me — doing this will keep you organized during filming and save you loads of time later.

Make it brief.

When it comes to marketing, shorter videos are more compelling than longer videos, and to make short videos, you need a short script. Don’t write a script any longer than two pages. If you can keep it to one page, even better. It’s also worth doing two to three rounds of edits solely focused on cutting all unnecessary fat in your writing. Reading it out loud to listen for opportunities to make the language more conversational, or sentences shorter, can also help.

The result is a video that’s succinct, engaging, and allows for a simple editing process.

Use this script template.

Writing a script from scratch is way harder than starting with an example. To give you a head start, download this Word Doc video script template we used to create this video with Wistia:

Have your script ready? Neat. Now it’s time to …

3) Do a run-through.

Now that you know how to write a script, it’s time for a table read — the part where you practice bringing that script to life on camera.

Why practice? Because some words look great on paper, but once you read them aloud, they just don’t sound right. The table read is where you really get to fine-tune the tone and nix anything that sounds too proper, improper, robotic, or otherwise inappropriate for the message you aim to convey.

Check out the video below on how to do a table read:

Oh, and one last tip …

When it’s time to shoot, use a laptop and a chair as a teleprompter.

Since you don’t need a fancy script, you don’t need a fancy teleprompter to remember your lines. But you do need help remembering your lines. You can actually just use two things you already have — a chair and a laptop — to keep your lines handy as you’re shooting.

For more tips for using the tools at your disposal to make a killer marketing video, check out our video guide to shooting videos with an iPhone.

Are there other tips you have for video marketers when it comes to putting together a great script? Share your advice with us below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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29 of the Best Office Pranks & Practical Jokes to Use at Work

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For anyone who’s watched the TV show “The Office” as religiously as I have, the classic “stapler in Jell-O” trick surely sounds familiar. It’s pretty much what the name describes: Simply make a batch of Jell-O, but make sure your colleague’s stapler is hidden inside the mold. As I said — classic. But what other, less conventional pranks are out there to add some kicks to an otherwise average day at the office?

We asked our friends and combed the internet for more examples of some of the funniest office pranks, and pulled together this list to serve as inspiration for your own work pranks. Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.Every company has a story or two about that funny office prank of yore. Whether you’re doing some early April Fool’s Day research, or just feeling a little tricksy, it’s time to get a prank of your own in the books. Here are some ideas.

Funny Pranks to Pull on Your Coworkers

1) When Halloween is around the corner, these caramel onions are no match for other tricks (or treats).

caramel-onions
Source: Rant Lifestyle

2) And speaking of Halloween, here’s what nightmares are truly made of.

toilet-terror
Source: Rant Lifestyle

3) Fish food (hopefully) included.

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Source: Reddit user jihadaze

4) We hope nobody called the paramedics.

toilet-prank
Source: BuzzFeed

5) Tighten the zip-tie, throw it … and run for your life.

febreeze-prank
Source: Emlii

6) The perfect use for those sticky notes that keep piling up.

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Source: Reddit, Bzbzbzbz

7) Never ask your work buddy to unlock your phone for you.

keyboard-shortcut-prank
Source: Gottabemobile

8) That’s one way to make sure everyone’s alert before a meeting.

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Source: Reddit user JJ0EE

9) At least it’s not glitter?

balloon-prank
Source: Reddit, williebeth

10) For trolls, by trolls.

trolled-prank
Source: Dose

11) Oh look, a budget trip to the beach.

vacation-prank.jpg
Source: Imgur user Sanjeev

12) That’s it. You’re suspended.

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Source: WorldWideInterweb

13) Hey everyone, there’s cake up for grabs in the kitchen.

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Source: Reddit user blinhorst

14) “I don’t know, I feel like my boss is always watching me.”

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Source: Imgur user DecentLeaf

15) Simple, yet brilliant.

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Source: Tumblr

16) I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed.

cubicle-home
Source: Reddit user BOOMTimebomb

17) This could actually make your cat-loving co-worker’s day.

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Source: Reddit user cstyves

18) “You said you wanted to spend more time with nature.”

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weeds-in-keyboard-prank
Source: BoredPanda

19) For the prankster with NO SOUL.

 

This is just cruel 😂 #officeprank #aprilfools #krispykreme #mean #notcool

A post shared by Free Humor (@scotchandsarcasm) on May 12, 2017 at 12:02pm PDT

20) Just the adrenaline rush you needed.

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Source: Tumblr

21) Warning: It could scare the bejeezus out of you, too.

chair-foghorn-prank
Source: Reddit user 12q9et

Funny Pranks to Pull on Your Boss

22) “For the man who never has enough time.”

23) … Or anyone, really, who never has enough time — regardless of decor preferences.

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Source: 22words

24) About that whole, “At least it’s not glitter” thing …

25) Sometimes, you’re not sure how to ask for another day off.

26) Congratulations, you finally learned about your manager’s celebrity anti-crush.

 

#officeprank

A post shared by Alice Lei (@alicerabbit1) on Aug 1, 2015 at 4:04pm PDT

27) When words just aren’t enough to express your sentiment.

28) “Hey chief, I found a spider on your desk, but don’t worry — it’s been handled.”

29) And finally, for the boss who has everything, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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Source: Giphy

What’s the best office prank you’ve ever pulled off? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Speakers | Grow with HubSpot Sydney 2017

Here’s where you can meet all our speakers at today’s event and find details on each of their sessions.  

With speakers from HubSpot, Canva, LinkedIn and more, we’re covering everything from how marketing and sales has changed, to in-depth workshops on improving your SEO strategy, and talks on how to turn your web traffic into leads and customers. 

 

Enjoy!

 

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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

 

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JAMES GILBERT, HUBSPOT

Head of APAC Marketing

James Gilbert is HubSpot’s Head of Marketing for the APAC region. He leads HubSpot’s team of regional marketers to bring inbound marketing and sales to ANZ and Asia.

Session: 8:45am – 9:15am – Keynote: Marketing and Sales Has Changed 

11:05am – 11:35am – Breakout: How to Turn Your Web Traffic Into Leads and Customers  

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MATTHEW BARBY, HUBSPOT

Global Head of Growth & SEO 

Matt is an industry speaker, lecturer and expert in all things SEO and growth marketing. Since joining, he’s been responsible for some of HubSpot’s best growth strategies.

Session:  9:15am – 9:45am – Keynote: A Look to the Future – Speed, Convenience and the Rise of AI 

BREAKOUT SPEAKERS

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ELISSA HUDSON, HUBSPOT

Content & Campaigns Manager

Elissa has a background in SEO, PR, influencer marketing and content creation to drive traffic, and now runs demand generation for HubSpot in Australia and New Zealand.

Session:  10:25am – 10:55am – Breakout: How to Create, Optimise and Measure Content to Drive More Traffic 

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JEFF BULLAS, JEFFBULLAS.COM

CEO, #1 Global Digital Marketing Influencer 2016 – Onalytica

Jeff is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, marketer and keynote speaker. He also travels the world speaking at conferences sharing his ongoing experiment. 

Session:  10:25am – 10:55am – Breakout: The 3 Essential Pillars for Digital Marketing Success 

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KAITLIN STODDARD, HUBSPOT

Customer Success Manager 

Kaitlin leads the ANZ HubSpot Services team, building strong relationships with HubSpot’s customers and ensuring the team are, first and foremost, solving for the customer, #SFTC.

Session:  10:25am – 10:55am – Breakout: Choosing Topics Over Keywords and Launching a New Content Strategy  

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MARILIA SALVIA-TEIXEIRA, HUBSPOT

Customer Success Manager 

Marilia is one of the most senior Customer Success Managers at HubSpot in APAC. Prior to HubSpot, Marilia worked with industry leading organisations including Apple and LinkedIn.

Session:  10:25am – 10:55am – Breakout: Choosing Topics Over Keywords and Launching a New Content Strategy  

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ANDRE PINANTOAN, CANVA

Head of Growth

Andre heads up growth in Canva. He joined in 2014 and since then, Canva has grown from 500,000 users, to more than 10 million in 179 countries.

  Session:  11:05am – 11:35am – Breakout: “How Canva Grew by 25x in the Last 2 Years”

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VARUN BHANDARKAR, HUBSPOT

Senior Channel Consultant

Varun is a Channel Consultant at HubSpot, helping marketing agencies to implement strategic frameworks to drive profitable results for themselves and their customers.

Session:  11:05am – 11:35am – Breakout: Pairing Content with Context to Drive Conversions  

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BRENT CLAREMONT, HUBSPOT

Senior Channel Consultant

Brent Claremont is the first HubSpot Senior Channel Consultant based in Sydney. He specialises in advising agency marketing and sales strategy that leads to business growth. 

      Session:  11:05am – 11:35am – Breakout: Pairing Content with Context to Drive Conversions 

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KAT WARBOYS, HUBSPOT

Senior Marketing Manager, Field & Sales Enablement

Kat Warboys runs the APAC Field Marketing team at HubSpot. She bridges the gap between marketing and sales through rep enablement with content, tools and processes. 

Session:  11:45am – 12:15pm – Breakout: How to Build an Effective Sales Funnel 

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BEN EATWELL, LINKEDIN

Head of ANZ Marketing, Marketing & Sales Solutions

 Ben works as the Head of Marketing at LinkedIn ANZ where he educates sales and marketing leaders on how sales teams can better engage buyers.

Session:  11:45am – 12:15pm – Breakout: Empowerment, Not alignment – Why marketing should focus on empowering sales teams rather than aligning 

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GAYLE BRIMBLE, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF FITNESS

Head of Operations

As Head of Operations at the Institute, Gayle provides oversight across multiple areas of the business including sales, marketing, partnerships, training and compliance.

 Session: 11:45am – 12:15pm – Breakout:  Customer Spotlight 

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KIM HORNER, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF FITNESS

National Sales Manager 

 With over a decade in sales leadership, Kim Horner is widely considered a thought leader in the space of creating a winning sales culture.

Session:  11:45am – 12:15pm – Breakout:  Customer Spotlight

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How to Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop [Tutorial]

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If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, you’ve probably come in contact with an animated GIF. It’s an image file that allows you to feature animated images, which makes it seem like the image is moving. Think of them as a hybrid between a still image and a video.

Why are GIFs great additions to your marketing? They’re easy to consume, provide a new way to capture your viewers’ attention, and can have a serious emotional impact. And since content that makes us feel something encourages us to share, these tiny animations are worth experimenting with.

The best part about GIFs is that they aren’t too hard to make. If you have access to Photoshop and a few minutes to spare, you can create an animated GIF in no time.

Click here to download our full collection of free templates for designing  stunning visual content including infographics and more.

In the following tutorial on making animated GIFs, I’m using the Creative Cloud 2015 version of Photoshop, but the steps should be similar in other versions. 

P.S. – Download these free visual content templates to help you create more engaging social media images.

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop

Here’s an example of an animated GIF you might make using this tutorial:

marketing-trivia-GIF-example-1.gif

Alright, let’s get started.

Step 1: Upload your images to Photoshop.

If you already have images created …

Gather the images you want in a separate folder. To upload them into Photoshop, click File > Scripts > Load Files Into Stack.

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Then, select Browse, and choose which files you’d like to use in your GIF. Then, click OK.

load-multiple-images.png

Photoshop will then create a separate layer for each image you’ve selected. Once you’ve done that, skip to step two.

If you don’t already have the series of images created …

Create each frame of the animated GIF as a different Photoshop layer. To add a new layer, chose Layer New Layer.

add-new-layer.png

Be sure to name your layers so you can keep track of them easily when you make your GIF. To name a layer, go to the Layer panel on the bottom right of your screen, double-click on the default layer name, and type in the name you want to change it to. Press Enter when you’re finished.

name-layers.png

Once you have your layers in there and you’ve named them all, you’re ready for step two.

Pro Tip: If you want to combine layers so they appear in a single frame in your GIF, turn visibility on for the layers you want to merge (by clicking on the “eye” to the left of each layer name so only the eyes for the layers you want to merge are open). Next, press Shift + Command + Option + E (Mac) or Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E (Windows). Photoshop will create a new layer containing the merged content, which you should also rename.

Step 2: Open up the Timeline window.

To open Timeline, go to the top navigation, choose Window > Timeline. The Timeline will let you turn different layers on and off for different periods of time, thereby turning your static image into a GIF.

open-timeline.png

The Timeline window will appear at the bottom of your screen. Here’s what it looks like:

timeline-in-photoshop.png

Step 3: In the Timeline window, click “Create Frame Animation.”

If it’s not automatically selected, choose it from the dropdown menu — but then be sure to actually click it, otherwise the frame animation options won’t show up.

create-frame-animation.png

Now, your Timeline should look something like this:

timeline-with-frame-animation.png

Step 4: Create a new layer for each new frame.

To do this, first select all your layers by going to the top navigation menu and choosing Select > All Layers.

Then, click the menu icon on the right of the Timeline screen.

timeline-icon.png

From the dropdown menu that appears, choose Create new layer for each new frame.

new-layer-for-new-frame.png

Step 5: Open the same menu icon on the right, and choose “Make Frames From Layers.”

This will make each layer a frame of your GIF.

make-frames-from-layers.png

Step 6: Under each frame, select how long it should appear for before switching to the next frame.

To do this, click the time below each frame and choose how long you’d like it to appear. In our case, we chose 0.5 seconds per frame.

choose-frame-time.png

Step 7: At the bottom of the toolbar, select how many times you’d like it to loop.

The default will say Once, but you can loop it as many times as you want, including Forever. Click Other if you’d like to specify a custom number of repetitions. 

choose-loop-number.png 

Step 8: Preview your GIF by pressing the play icon.

play-icon.png

Step 9: Save and Export Your GIF

Satisfied with your GIF? Save it to use online by going to the top navigation bar and clicking File > ExportSave for Web (Legacy)…

save-for-web.png

Next, choose the type of GIF file you’d like to save it as under the Preset dropdown. If you have a GIF with gradients, choose Dithered GIFs to prevent color banding. If your image employs a lot of solid colors, you may opt for no dither. 

The number next to the GIF file determines how large (and how precise) the GIF colors will be compared to the original JPEGs or PNGs. According to Adobea higher dithering percentage translates to the appearance of more colors and detail — but it increases the file size. 

save-for-web-preset-dropdown.png

Click Save at the bottom to save the file to your computer. Now you’re ready to upload this GIF to use in your marketing! 

Upload the GIF file into any place online that you’d put an image, and it should play seamlessly. Here’s what the final product might look like:

marketing-trivia-GIF-example.gif

How to Use GIFs in Your Marketing

1) On social media.

Pinterest was the first to enable animated GIFs, followed by Twitter. And by the summer of 2015, Facebook had also jumped on the GIF bandwagon. Then, Instagram changed the game with Boomerang, which lets users film and share their own GIFs. On any of these social feeds, animated GIFs can be a great way to stand out in a crowded feed.

For example, check out how Product Hunt used a GIF to promote a forum on its website:

2) In your emails.

Animated GIFs display in email the same way a regular image does. So why not spruce up your emails by replacing still images with animated ones?

Not only could this help capture recipients’ attention with novelty alone, but it could also have a direct impact on your bottom line. For some brands, including an animated GIF in emails correlated with as much as a 109% increase in revenue.

Make use of GIFs by showcasing products, making event announcements, or otherwise enticing readers. Check out the GIF below from women’s clothing shop Ann Taylor LOFT: They made a present look like it’s shaking to create intrigue and get recipients to click through to “unwrap” their gift.

loft-unwrap-animation-repeat.gif

Source: Litmus

3) In blog posts.

Your blog post doesn’t have to be about animated GIFs or structured like a BuzzFeed-style listicle to include GIFs — although, we do love a good dose of silly listicle GIFs every once in a while.

For example, here’s a simple, animated GIF created by fellow marketer Ginny Mineo to explain the definition of a call-to-action for a blog post:

Definition-of-CTA-1.gif

And finally, one of our oldie-but-goodie favorites: an animated GIF from a post on office kitchen recipes.

School-Lunch-1.gif

How will you use GIFs in your marketing? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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How to Focus: 5 Ways to Overcome Distractions at Work

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When I was a sophomore in college, I developed a terrible addiction to Facebook. By the time finals week arrived, I couldn’t go 30 minutes without a dose of dog videos.

I was officially distracted. And after a week of all-nighters, I realized my attention span was inferior to a squirrel’s.

Checking my RescueTime dashboard confirmed that I could only concentrate on distracting videos … and not my books. I had spent 50% of the week on Facebook, which means I could’ve actually slept before each exam. Why couldn’t I focus on my studies during the most critical time of the school year?

Distractions can infest any place of work. They might seem tiny in the grand scheme of things, but when compounded together, they can ravage your productivity. In fact, entire companies lose 31 hours per week to attention-sucking activities. That’s like losing the contributions of a whole employee.

Fortunately, I’ve researched some science-backed tips for maintaining focus, interviewed HubSpot employees about their concentration habits, and fleshed out the deepest insights in this blog post. So take a look at these five productivity hacks to effectively overcome distractions and stay laser-focused at work.

How to Focus at Work: 5 Productivity Hacks

1) Plan the work day around one main project.

Do you “eat the frog” first thing in the morning? Or do you just plop it on your desk and let it fester, reminding you that the worst part of the day is still yet to come?

Prioritizing your main project ahead of lesser tasks on your to-do list is crucial for productivity. Humans possess a cognitive bias towards completing as many tasks as possible — because regardless of magnitude, finishing something always feels amazing.

This is why we tend to work on a lot of easy, short tasks first, while putting our main project on the back burner.

Crossing things off your list is addicting. But don’t give into the temptation of completing the simple tasks first. Since they’re short and quick, you can easily finish them at the end of the day. Your major tasks have much more pressing deadlines and require a lot of time and effort. So do the big tasks first to avoid scrambling through them last minute.

Jami Oetting, who manages HubSpot’s content strategy team, plans her week out so she can eat the frog every morning.

“I start the week listing off all my priorities prior to my team’s weekly stand-up meeting on Monday. This is my time to consider all the projects the team is working on, what needs to get done by the end of the week, and how I could be most effective,” she says. “Then, I map out the tasks that need more focus or larger chunks of time to accomplish. After prioritizing this list, I’ll block off time on my calendar to accomplish one ‘big’ project each morning.”

Your brain’s peak performance period starts two hours after you wake up, and lasts until lunch time. So why waste these optimal morning hours on things you could do in your sleep?

The end of the day is also the worst time for doing meaningful work. You’ve already exhausted your daily energy on an assortment of trivial tasks. So when it’s time to chip away at your main project, you’ll either drown in complacency completing it or put if off until the next day, repeating a vicious cycle of procrastination.

2) Block the obvious distractions for greater focus.

Your phone buzzes. A new like on Instagram! Did the picture get as many likes on Facebook? You click to open a new tab. The funniest Chevy ad spoof is the first post on your newsfeed. This is must-see content.

20 minutes later, you’re reading an article about Mark Zuckerberg running for president when your manager walks by your desk. Which reminds you … your blog post is due tomorrow. And all you’ve written is the meta description.

Does this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone because it happens to everyone. It’s also the reason why it takes 23 minutes for people to refocus on their original task after an interruption. Distractions breed more distractions.

So right when you walk into the office, throw your phone in your desk drawer and keep it there all day. Lock it up if you can. And download a site blocker like Block Site or StayFocusd to restrict access from all the websites that veer you off the path of productivity.

Even email, which is supposed to streamline the day, sidetracks you. In fact, we spend 20.5 hours of our work week reading and answering emails. That’s half of our work week! So if an uptick in unread emails always seems to lure you away from your current task, don’t open your Gmail tab in the morning.

Remember, unless it’s an absolute emergency, you can respond to anyone’s email within a few hours. So designate time blocks for internal communication. This way, you can channel your undivided attention on a major project and slash the time wasted switching from one task to another.

Sophia Bernazzani, a staff writer for HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, blocks off time for both email and Slack to maintain her concentration throughout the day.

“It’s impossible to focus if I have too many incoming notifications. So I commit to only answering emails at the beginning and end of my day,” she says. “I also set myself as offline on Slack and snooze my notifications to minimize distractions when I’m working and save them for when I’m taking a break between tasks.”

3) Take short breaks.

Do you pride yourself on lunch being your only break? Do you believe allocating the rest of your attention on work is the only way to achieve optimal productivity?

Well, according to researchers at the University of Illinois, constantly working without a break actually hampers concentration over time. Taking short breaks throughout the day is what sustains your focus.

“Constant stimulation is registered by our brains as unimportant, to the point that the brain erases it from our awareness,” says Alejandro Lieras, the experiment’s leader. “And if sustained attention to a sensation makes that sensation vanish from our awareness, sustained attention to a thought should also lead to that thought’s disappearance from our mind!”

Lieras describes a psychological tendency called habituation. An example of this is putting your shirt on in the morning and noticing the feeling of smooth cloth touching your skin. But after some time, your brain acclimates to the shirt and you won’t sense its softness anymore.

The same thing happens with work. Applying nonstop tunnel vision to a project actually withers your attention to it over time.

The brain is wired to recognize and react to change. So take mental breaks to let your brain distance itself from your work. When you return, you’ll perceive your current task with a fresher lens and engage more deeply with it.

Alicia Collins, a multimedia content strategist at HubSpot, considers mental rest a pivotal part of the creative process.

“Taking short breaks throughout the day is a great way to sort out your priorities and boost your focus. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a particular issue, I take some time to eat lunch away from my desk or go for a walk around the block,” she says. “These simple activities help clear my head and enable me to tackle problems from a new, creative angle.”

There are several productivity techniques that leverage short mental breaks, like the pomodoro technique, where you work for 25 minutes and then rest for 5 minutes. A study by the Draugiem Group also discovered that the employees with the highest productivity spent 52 minutes working, followed by 17 minutes of rest.

You can test each method and stick to the one that enhances your focus and productivity the most.

4) Don’t stuff yourself at lunch.

I have a love-hate relationship with the food coma. By noon everyday, I’m so starved that I gobble up the most filling meal I can find. It tastes incredible. And after devouring my plate, I love placing my hands on my bloated belly, admiring the fact that I’m full and satisfied.

When it’s time to get back to work, though, you’ll find me slumped in my chair. My brain feels like it’s in a fog. So I just sit there and barely even attempt the easy tasks on my to-do list.

Eating rich meals fulfills your hunger, but it also dulls your mental acuity. Your digestive system expends so much energy digesting all the fat and carbs that it chokes the circulation of oxygen to your brain. This devastates your ability to focus.

One way to resist a daily indulgence is to snack on light, healthy foods throughout the morning. This stabilizes your blood sugar and combats growling-stomach hunger. You’ll notice you’ll eat less and select healthier options for lunch, allowing you to stay sharp for the rest of the day.

Karla Cook, a HubSpot Marketing Blog editor, usually eats a salad with whole grains and vegan protein for lunch, and avoids anything processed. Her motivation? To be productive in the afternoon, she needs to feel good.

“When you eat bad things, you feel bad. It’s pretty much instant retribution,” she says. “Eating a solid, healthy lunch is a super simple way to set the course of your afternoon.”

5) Limit Auditory Distractions.

Background noise in the office — like colleague chatter or the clacking of a keyboard — can shatter concentration. According to several studies, ambient noise causes stress, which triggers a release of cortisol into your body.

Cortisol is designed to ease that initial stress, so your body can return to homeostasis. But too much cortisol disrupts your prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that regulates your ability to plan, reason, and remember things.

These subtle, but potent noises will fracture your focus, so invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or find a quiet space to work.

Aja Frost, a staff writer for HubSpot’s Sales Blog, likes to explore every nook and crannie of HubSpot’s Cambridge office to find her own quiet spaces.

“I look for places that are slightly tucked away, like a booth or a small table. These places are always really quiet — and free from distraction,” she says. “When I’m ready for a more social atmosphere, I’ll go back to my desk or an area of the office that gets more people randomly walking by.”

How do you maintain your focus? Teach us your productivity hacks in the comments below!

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