Facebook changes Like buttons to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary


Facebook has a gift for Star Trek fans. 

For the series' 50th anniversary, Facebook users who've liked Star Trek will see reactions themed around the show when they hover over the Like button. 

Facebook's Star Trek-themed reactions.

Facebook's Star Trek-themed reactions.

Image: screenshot/facebook

The Vulcan salute, Kirk, Klingon, Spock and Geordi will all be reaction options in addition to the usual like. The options replace the other emotional reactions — love, sad, etc. — Facebook added to its Like button a while backThe Verge first spotted the special reactions. 

Star Trek fans can also add a custom frame to their profile pictures. They're prompted to do so by a greeting including the USS Enterprise.  Read more...

More about Facebook Reactions, Reactions, Star Trek, Facebook, and Business

Google will acquire Apigee for $625 million

Apigee team at Nasdaq as the company IPOs this morning. Google announced today that it intends to purchase Apigee, an API management platform that went public last year, for $625 million or $17.40 a share. The company, which helps customers build digital products with open APIs, has an impressive customer list including Walgreens, AT&T, Bechtel, Burberry, First Data and Live Nation. In a blog post announcing the deal, Diane Greene,… Read More

Google given until September 20 to respond to EU Android antitrust charges

android-phone-shutterstock Google has been given another extension to respond to European Union charges its Android mobile operating system is in breach of the region’s competition law. Read More

Why Nonprofits Should Start Inbound Now


Internal HubSpot research has found that companies that blog at least 15 times each month see 5 times more traffic than those that don't. Some MIT smarties studied HubSpot's ROI specifically and found that users generated 4.1 times more visitors and 3 times as many leads per month after using HubSpot for a year.

That's real, impactful return on your marketing efforts. The reality of these positive numbers makes sense given the operating premise of inbound marketing. Namely, the old, interruptive "Buy me now!" approaches don't work today.  The number of information channels never stops growing and nobody gets to enjoy a captive audience anymore.

Inbound marketing simply reflects the fact that in today's market place, the consumer (constituent, donor, or member) is in the power position. If an organization, nonprofit, or otherwise, wants people's dollars or loyalty, it first has to earn their attention. That's why inbound marketing is all about building trust and authority with people through content.

Once becoming a trusted authority that holds the right people's attention, an organization can then move those people to respond positively to the larger asks, such as making the commitment to become a member.

For a review of the basics on how inbound marketing works for nonprofits, check out our free crash course here >>

Here's the rub. Becoming a trusted authority doesn't happen with one banner ad or annual report. Succeeding with inbound marketing takes consistent effort over the long haul. 

That's why the answer to the question when should your organization start inbound marketing is "now." Inbound really is the only marketing that's proven to be cost-effective, yet it takes time to see results. 

Forget About Going "Viral"

Even people who aren't familiar with a term like "inbound marketing" know about going viral. If your goal with inbound marketing is "to go viral," you're doing it wrong. Inbound marketing is a long-haul proposition that requires investing time and effort.

Your organization isn't going to get a reputation for being as informative, helpful, and reliable overnight. You have to work at it. 

Consider the first phase in inbound marketing methodology – attracting traffic and prospects. The inbound tactics to attract your ideal prospects include: boosting traffic to your website via SEO-optimized pages and blogs, and earning high quality backlinks. Strong SEO rankings and authoritative backlinks only come with consistently publishing relevant content that's irresistible to your market.

Getting those backlinks that push your content up in the SEO rankings takes time. They each feed off each other. When you regularly publish on-point content, it starts getting shared, which can attract backlinks. Google takes more backlinks to content as an indicator of high authority, so ranks it higher.

Of course, your great content will only get shared by the organic traffic if it gets found in the first place. It takes time to see whether your current SEO strategy is bringing in the traffic you need. Everyone has to tweak their SEO based on actual results to improve traffic flow. That takes time as well.

The good news is that both work in a virtuous cycle of refined SEO strategies bringing in more organic traffic, which gets shared and attracts backlinks, which in turn increases the authority of your website with Google, bringing in more organic traffic. But if you want to get into this cycle, you have to make the first move. 

So if you have a major membership drive or other campaign scheduled for six months from now – get your blog and inbound marketing strategy rolling now. Any delay undermines your potential.

Inbound is an Investment with Long Term Dividends

Now we've been focusing on the long-term investment you need to make with inbound marketing to reap its highest rewards. But understand a major reason why inbound has such great opportunity is because you aren't simply developing marketing collateral – you're developing marketing assets. Assets that can attract eyeballs and hearts towards your organization well after they're originally published. 

HubSpot's research into our own blog performance showed that 76% of our monthly blog views and 92% of our monthly blog leads came from posts at least one month old. That means the more we post, the more lead potential we realize. Blog posts are (a bit) like wine... they age well.

But we also found that with some tweaking, we can get old blog posts working even better. We refreshed some of our highest converting blog posts with updated keywords based on more recent research, and updating the content to be more accurate and comprehensive. Once we did that, the traffic and leads coming off these refreshed posts doubled.

That's right. Older content that already rocked got a refresh and started rocking even harder. Yet for this to work, you need enough content already on your site that gives you the information and insight on how to optimize it effectively, at least a year's worth.

A similar approach can work for all sorts of inbound content. Once you create an in-depth report as gated content, you can regularly update it, run a new angle promotion campaign, refresh its landing page, or add a download call-to-action for it on more blog posts.

After you create a high quality inbound asset, you always have it to be used in all sorts of ways to drive prospects into and through your funnel. But as with all inbound tactics, it takes time. You need a certain library of content assets already created before you can start maximizing the return they provide you.

Start Building Your Organization's Asset Portfolio Today

I always hate those charts that show how much you'd have in savings if only you started saving five years ago or two years ago, and so on. I hate them because I know they're right.

It's the same with inbound marketing. The sooner you start, the sooner your organization will reap the rewards. And the sooner you'll get to that tipping point where your results seem to accelerate even faster now that you've built successful workflows and campaigns, online authority, and a growing library of content assets. 

Getting started is easier than you think. First, take a deep dive to understand the inbound marketing methodology. After you learn the framework and processes that drive inbound marketing success, you can launch your own plans for inbound success. Your timing will never be better.

Nonprofit Persona Templates

13 Examples of Super Skimmable Content


One of the barriers to getting your work read and widely shared in the age of information overload is time. With research revealing that 55% of pageviews are less than 15 seconds in duration, your content needs to provide value and pique interest quickly to align with your readers' behavior.

This doesn't mean that you should stop producing long-form content all together. However, it does task you with the challenge of creating more skimmable content that can be read and understood without a ton of effort. Want more data on existing and emerging marketing trends? Pre-register for the  2016 State of Inbound report here.

What does skimmable content look like? While there are many ways you can format your long-form content to make it more digestible, we've put together a list of sites that are doing a particularly good job of adapting their content for skim-readers.

TL;DR: Your readers don't have enough time to fully read your long-form blog content. Use the strategies below to make your content more skim-friendly.

13 Examples of Super Skimmable Content

1) DigiDay


Last year, DigiDay introduced a TL;DR (“Too Long; Didn’t Read”) button for their articles. When TL;DR mode is turned on, long-form articles transform into shorter paragraphs with the article’s main points for maximum skimmability.

Pro Tip: If you can’t create a TL;DR button on your own site, consider writing an explainer paragraph like DigiDay’s that your readers can check out without having to read or skim your entire article.

2) theSkimm


When it comes to skimmable content, there's nothing better than the aptly named newsletter: theSkimm.

The folks at theSkimm curate a newsletter of top stories Monday through Friday, accompanied by a brief summary of each headline. The newsletter is sent out before 8:00 a.m. EST with the intent of allowing readers to skim the news prior to arriving at work. And their approach is working: theSkimm grew its readership to 3.5 million in under two years.

But email isn't all they offer. In fact, theSkimm's website is also home to a series of boiled down news stories known as Skimm Guides, like this one on the Olympics:

TheSkimm_Guide.pngSliced up into a series of digestible chunks, these guides cover everything you need to know about a specific topic in a way that's easy to consume and understand.

Pro Tip: Roundups rock. They're a great opportunity to beef up your email marketing strategy for subscribers or to publish a highly valuable, skimmable piece to draw more readers to your site.

3) CNN.com


Most of CNN’s online stories are published with a ‘Story Highlights’ section at the top of each article to allow readers to glean the biggest points without having to scroll through the entire piece. Additionally, their articles are shared with a video or photo explainer from CNN News, which is another option for ease of understanding.

Pro Tip: Create a callout box at the beginning of your article with its main points. Try linking them to the different sections of your article to encourage reading the entire piece.

4) Inc.


When Inc. publishes articles about companies that are taking part in technology innovation, the article leads off with a ‘Company Profile’ section so readers can understand the need-to-know information about the company and skip to the bottom to learn the big takeaways.

Inc. also uses slideshows in articles, which use engaging visuals and short explainers to help readers skim and distill the most important points:


Pro Tip: Make a section at the beginning of the article with bulleted who, what, when, where, and why details about your story’s subject to provide readers context before they dive into the rest of your piece.

5) The Week


Every day of the week, The Week (get it?) publishes "5 Things You Need to Know," a roundup of political news stories with explainer paragraphs in addition to long-form news content. Readers can check it out on their site, or subscribe to receive it via email.

They also feature a "Speed Reads" section for readers who are on the go:


Pro Tip: Send a regular roundup of your strongest articles with a short explainer for readers who might have missed them when they were first published.

6) Bustle


Bustle writes lifestyle articles in formats that allow for skimmability. By using headers and numbered lists in their content, they break up long-form content in a way that allows readers to quickly scan its main points.

Pro Tip: Large pieces of text can benefit from headers, numbers, and bulleting. Formatting will allow you to draw greater attention to your main points and will allow your reader to skim more easily.

7) Newser


Newser’s slogan is “Read Less, Know More,” and their content’s skimmability achieves that mission. Their articles consist of short explainer paragraphs with links to longer original sources. Newser also uses subheadlines very strategically to drive home the main takeaways from their content.


Pro Tip: Try linking out to your sources and condensing information you’re citing from them in your actual article. You’ll shorten your article while still providing additional information and value to your readers.

8) The Daily Beast


The Daily Beast has a feature that allows readers to visualize the progress they’ve made while reading an article. It doesn’t necessarily make the articles faster reads, but it allows the reader to see how they’ve progressed if they’re considering navigating away from the page before reaching the conclusion.

Pro Tip: Add language throughout your post that helps to set the reader's expectations -- whether that be a helpful nudge like, "Keep reading to learn more about XYZ," or something simple like, "We'll cover XYZ in more detail in the final section." Additionally, if your publication can implement a progress bar, be sure to analyze that information to determine where readers are dropping off to inform your future strategy.

9) Circa News


Circa is a news aggregator devoted to speed reading. Their articles take shape with the help of curated paragraph explainers, tweets, and poll results to create a stream of content on a specific topic or story that can be easily skimmed or clicked on for more information.

Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to pull in curated visuals -- charts, tweets, videos, and so on -- to help say more with less.

10) The Verge


The Verge has an entire TL;DR section of its website for readers who already know that they want to get the information quickly and easily. They position it as its own section on their homepage, like a column, with bright colors to attract more readers.


The articles feature big, bold quotes and lots of visuals to make it easy to work through, without sacrificing value.


Pro Tip: If you organize your blog by categories, create one category for quick reads so your visitors can easily identify pieces to skim and pieces to close read.

11) Medium


Medium has a highlighting feature that allows readers to highlight key phrases in the articles they read, and see which phrases have been highlighted by other readers. This feature allows for skim-reading in a unique and crowdsourced way, and makes it easy for visitors to see what other readers have found interesting.

Pro Tip: Highlight or type in bold key sentences in your article to signal to skim-readers where they should be close reading.

12) The Los Angeles Times


The Los Angeles Times publishes an Essential California roundup of local news each week featuring short blurbs about news stories in the area and links to the full articles already written about them.

Pro Tip: Do an article roundup featuring your top articles or based on another theme to encourage skimming.

13) The Great Discontent


The Great Discontent publishes highly skimmable interviews by incorporating introductory sections, images and illustrations, and blocked quotes to break up large chunks of text in visually interesting and reader-friendly ways.


Pro Tip: Images and coded blockquotes or callout boxes can break up your text to highlight must-read sections for your skim-readers.

Now that you’ve learned how to make your long-form content format more skim-friendly, learn some specific strategies for writing more concisely in your next blog post.

What strategies do you use to make your content more readable? Share with us in the comments below!

State of Inbound 2016

9 Must-Ask Interview Questions When Hiring a Project Manager

Imagine you've been tasked with spinning plates on sticks while also hula-hooping on a balance beam.

That's kind of what being a project manager is like.

With so many varied responsibilities, demands, and expectations, not everyone is cut out for the job. Finding a project manager who fits your unique needs can be a real challenge, and it's difficult to nail down exactly what qualities you should be keeping an eye out for -- or how to test for these.

We've compiled a list of interview questions that can help you identify the right leader for your next project, and we've given you some insight into what to look for in a good response. Whether you're hiring internally or recruiting outside of your company, these questions can help you identify a good hire

9 Interview Questions for Project Managers

1) How do you build consensus on a conflicted team?

One of a project manager's core responsibilities is managing groups of people. And where there are people, there are conflicts.

A good project manager knows that some conflict is inevitable -- and even healthy -- on a project team. Avoiding or glossing over conflicts that arise can be detrimental to the project's objectives and can actually exacerbate underlying issues, causing them to bubble up and wreak havoc later down the line.

The ideal candidate will understand that each conflict is nuanced and unique, and she won't try to approach each one with a cookie-cutter solution. Having some knowledge of conflict resolution techniques is great, but project managers need to be able to adapt to the needs of their individual team members and the greater company culture, particularly in high-stress situations. Look for a candidate who doesn't fall back on textbook frameworks or inflexible methods.

2) What was the outcome of your last project?

This question is less about whether or not her last project was a success, and more about what she took away from the experience. She should be able to evaluate the success or failure of a project, determine what precise steps led to that conclusion, and take steps in the future to improve.

If the project ended well, what exactly contributed to that success? Look for a candidate who is able to find learning experiences even when a project's end result is successful. Just because the project went well, doesn't mean there isn't anything that could have gone better.

If the project didn't go as planned, where does she think it went wrong? What changes does she wish she could make in hindsight? You want to see candidates who have the ability to identify issues post-mortem so that they can recognize them if they arise on a future project.

3) When every task is urgent, how do you determine what to prioritize?

With all the intricate details and moving parts that go into a project, it's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed. But a strong project manager possesses discerning sifting abilities, enabling her to identify the most important components of a project and filter out the static noise.

Deciding which areas of a project require the most resources is a tough call, especially when every single component seems like it should be the #1 priority. Your candidate should be able to comfortably convert a tangled web of responsibilities into an organized hierarchy of action items, and follow through on all the tasks.

4) How will you gain and keep the support of your project sponsors?

Building and maintaining support for your project is absolutely imperative, and losing that support is essentially a kiss of death. If your sponsors aren't able to see the definitive purpose of your work, their support will rapidly dry up -- along with any hope of completing the project.

Project managers are responsible for managing these upwards relationships, ensuring that sponsors understand the value of the project as it progresses. Seek out a project manager who exhibits strong negotiation skills and has a history of building strong relationships with her colleagues.

5) How do you turn around a project that isn't going as planned?

Anyone who has ever worked on a project knows this to be true: Things don't always work out as you originally intended. From the kindergarten classroom to the corporate boardroom, all projects are vulnerable to the unexpected.

What really matters is how a project manager deals with whatever gets thrown at her. The ability to re-evaluate and re-prioritize as a project progresses is a crucial skill, but it's also important to keep up the team's overall morale. Find a project manager who isn't afraid to change course when the waters get rough and who can keep the team energized even when things aren't looking so great.

6) How do you handle an under-performing team member?

One of the many hats a project manager wears is the one of head coach. She's responsible for the training, ongoing development, and motivation of all her team members. If someone on the team is under-performing, it's her job to figure out the best method to help them get back on track.

Working around a team member's slack or even replacing that team member shouldn't be the first answer, and acting rashly can deal an unrecoverable blow to team morale. Look for a candidate who understands the importance of having the entire team working at maximum capacity and who is committed to helping her team members mature and thrive.

7) How would you characterize your communication style with your team?

Being a strong communicator means being self-aware about your own communication style. There isn't a single ideal style that all project managers should have, but they should be hyper-aware of how their communication methods affect those around them.

If a candidate is unable to clearly characterize her own communication style, it indicates that she may not have an adequate grasp on how she's perceived by others. Possessing an awareness of how you communicate enables you to navigate difficult conversations as they emerge, and project managers need to be able to know where they stand.

8) How do you evaluate whether or not the team is on track?

Being a project manager requires a lot of balance. The person needs to be hands-on enough to check in with team members at regular intervals and hands-off enough to avoid over-scheduling extraneous meetings that can eat into the team's precious time. She can't let any small detail slip under the radar, but she also has to remain completely focused on the end result. And most importantly, she needs to monitor the progress of delegated responsibilities without micro-managing.

Find a project manager who can keep the team focused on a task-by-task basis and continually re-affirm the project's main objectives. If a project manager thinks that the only way to keep the team on track is to constantly hover over everyone's shoulders, she probably isn't a good fit for the job.

9) Have you worked on a project in our field before?

In addition to the extensive list of organization, communication, and leadership skills a good candidate must posses, a project manager also needs to have some solid expertise in your field. This is more relevant for external hires, but it's important to ensure that internal hires have sufficient knowledge of the project's needs as well.

Generic skills and experience may seem adequate at first, but down the line they could lead to problematic gaps in understanding and contribute to major missteps. Make sure that your candidate has more than a basic understanding of your company and field. Otherwise, they could fall behind and steer the project in the wrong direction.


‘Eat Pray Love’ author comes out on Facebook after partner’s cancer diagnosis


In an incredibly moving Facebook post, Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert has described being in a relationship with a woman — her best friend, Rayya Elias.

Tragically, the bestselling writer also told readers about Elias's cancer diagnosis, making the status, written Tuesday, heartbreaking as well as uplifting. 

Gilbert admitted that Elias was the reason she broke up with her husband José Nunes (Felipe in Eat, Pray Love) and detailed that the realisation of her love for Elias only dawned on her once Elias's diagnosis of pancreatic and liver cancer was revealed. Read more...

More about Rayya Ellias, Author, Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Entertainment

Box teams up with Google for Docs and Springboard integration

aaron-levie6 Sure there’s some kind of fruit-related event going on right now, but this week is also BoxWorks, the annual conference for the enterprise content cloud platform provider. At that event, Box CEO Aaron Levie and Google’s SVP of Google’s cloud offerings Diane Greene are announcing a partnership that turns Box into a third-party storage option for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides,… Read More

Discover Where Your Competitors Are Beating You Online


Every company has competitors. In fact, a competitive marketplace is a critical component of our free enterprise system, driving our economy, innovation and the continuous cycle of ever improving quality of products and services. 

But do you really know how your company compares to your competitors?

Traditional competitive analyses are applied from either a business plan standpoint or as a component of the annual marketing plan, and they tend to focus primarily on areas such as; Researching your competitors’ corporation, determining your competitors’ goals and objectives, identifying your competitors’ strategies (product, pricing, positioning and place), and conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).

While there are countless variations of the traditional competitive analysis, it typically lacks a clear assessment from a digital inbound marketing perspective. Companies tend to know their competitors based upon who they compete with on the street, in their local marketplace, or based upon the sales opportunities of what they have won or lost.

Little awareness or recognition is given to their online competitors.

Why is this so important? Consider this:

  • 97% of consumers now use online media when researching products and services in their local market1
  • 84% of buyers engage in online information consumption and education2
  • By a factor of 3 to 1, B2B buyers say that gathering information online on their own is superior to interacting with a sales representative.3
  • 70% - 90% of the buyers journey is complete before they contact a sales representative 4

So let’s review the stages of a person’s buyer’s journey to fully understand where we can affect their buying decision.

Awareness: Your potential client becomes aware that they have a challenge that needs to be solved. This is where you want to attract them with relevant content for their challenge through blog articles, web pages, and social media.

Consideration: At this stage your potential client is comparing different companies and their ability to solve his or her challenge. You need to have valuable content offers with premium content that proves your expertise in solving their problems.

Decision: At this point you need to close them by convincing them that you are exactly what they need. You can help do this through trial offers, consultations, first-time discounts, etc.

It’s important to understand that you have to compete for the mindshare of your ideal buyer while they are in their awareness and consideration stages of their evaluation journey.

But, companies no longer control the selling process. Buyers now control the selling process.

So, the most successful competitors you will face are online providing your ideal buyer with the information they seek and consume throughout their decision-making process. Therefore, your company website must become the hub of your marketing efforts and the key to creating more opportunities for your sales team.

That means that you need to understand how well your competitors are doing with their online efforts to attract and convert your ideal buyer. It also means you need to know how you compare against them.

With that in mind, here are 4 important steps you need to take to conduct an inbound marketing competitive analysis on your top online competitors:

1) Identify Your Top Online Competitors

You need to expand your view of your competitors to include those who are ranking on page 1 in the search engine results pages (SERP) for the most relevant keywords to your business. Search engines, and increasingly social media, are where your buyers go to learn and educate themselves on how to solve their challenges, learn about their options, and determine which company or companies they are going to engage with when making a final decision.

Since Google controls about 85% of all search traffic, we recommend using Google to evaluate your competitors’ websites, blog articles, social media articles, press releases, etc. that rank on page 1 of the search results for your top keywords. The companies that you see ranked on page 1 are your primary competitors. They are competing for the mindshare of your ideal buyer who is seeking and consuming information as part of the awareness and consideration stage of their buyer’s journey.

So, your competitive analysis needs to include a sample of companies that consistently rank in the top search results for the most relevant keywords your ideal buyer uses to research information related to:

  • Products and services that you provide
  • Problems and challenges that your ideal buyer typically experiences
  • Goals, objectives and opportunities that your ideal buyer seeks to achieve or accomplish

Identify your top 4 – 10 competitors and their website addresses. If your company has different lines of business you may want to identify the top 4 competitors for each line of business as well.

2) Assess Your Ability to Attract Your Ideal Buyers

Your ideal buyer typically has a trigger event that drives them to clearly identify a challenge to overcome or a goal to achieve. This trigger happens in your buyer’s awareness stage of their buyer’s journey.

Consider this: 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them...5

It is in this initial awareness stage that your buyer will typically do a search to identify sources that will help them better solve their challenges and related issues. And it is during this awareness stage that you are competing to make sure your buyer is aware of your company. You are competing to position yourself through your custom content as a relevant source that can help them overcome their challenge.

The two essential factors to evaluate in your competitors’ websites during this stage include:

Website Strength Evaluation

That includes a website link analysis, mobile optimization, page loading speed test, and social media reach. The results of this analysis allows you to quantify where you stand against your competition in factors that significantly influence your website’s ability to attract visitors while they are in their Awareness Stage of their evaluation journey.

Answer questions such as how many backlinks do my competitors have, from how many different domains, and are any of them government or education websites? Inbound links are a key component of Google’s assessment of your website’s authority and popularity.

Content Evaluation 

That identifies the quantity and quality of the content assets your competitors have that are influential in attracting your ideal buyers to their website through search engines and social media. These content types include website pages, blog articles, social media posts, and online press releases. You need to have an understanding of both the quantity and quality of these content types. 

It’s important to know if your 30-page website is trying to compete against competitors who have websites with 75, 100, or 125 website pages. You need to know how many pages, blog articles, and social media posts your competitors are publishing and how often are they publishing. These content types are key drivers in generating inbound traffic from your buyers.

3) Assess Your Ability to Convert Website Visitors to Leads

Approximately 96% of your website visitors are not ready to buy.6 Instead, they are actively looking for high value content that will give them the information they need to help solve their problem. At this point they are still in their consideration Stage.

You need to evaluate how well your competitors are positioned to covert website visitors to leads or customers, and how that compares to how well you are positioned on your website. If all you have is a Contact Us page and a telephone number, then you are missing critical content assets that can convert more of your website visitors to leads.  

Missing critical content results in missed opportunities. Missed opportunities leads to your competitors winning over your potential customers.

Michael McMillan said, “For every problem, there exists a solution…and at the very least…an opportunity.” Don’t miss that opportunity. Provide a solution.

The key elements needed on your website to convert website visitors to leads are:

A Strong and Clear Value Proposition 

That is concise, compelling, noticeably positioned, communicates your unique selling proposition and quickly answers the question of “why should I choose you.”

Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTAs) 

That are noticeable and prompts your visitors to take an action. Your CTAs will normally be linked to a specific page (such as a landing page) that provides more detailed information about an offer. CTAs should be evident on your website pages, in your content offers, emails and blog posts.

Persuasive Landing Pages 

That communicate the value of an offer to your ideal buyer. Landing pages typically have a form to collect some information from the visitor in order to receive the offer. This is where most of the magic happens when converting website visitors into leads.


That are used to acquire information from your visitor in return for providing high-value content offers, assessments, trial offers, consulting, etc. Typically, at a minimum the forms include acquiring the first name, last name and email address of the person requesting the offer. This information is then stored in a contact database and used for email follow-ups.

High-Value Content Offers

Such as whitepapers, case studies, eBooks, buyer guides, videos, webinars, podcasts, infographics, use cases, kits, presentation decks, etc. should be made available to your visitors to help position you as the best company and resource to solve their challenge.

Content offers are a very important component of your lead generation efforts. Assessing your competitors’ content offers is extremely important to better understand their lead generation capabilities that lead to more sales opportunities. The more content they are providing compared to you, the more problems they are solving for your potential customers.

Email signups

Such as subscribing to eNewsletters, alerts, notices and promotional offers should also be evaluated, as they can be an easy way to stay connected to your target buyers. This is one of the easiest ways to nurture your leads into customers and to keep a connection with your current and returning customers.

Analyzing what your competitors are doing across all of these elements will give you a current assessment on how you compare with them in lead generation capabilities. It will identify key strengths and weaknesses of how you compare against your competition. You will also find new opportunities on how to improve your lead generation efforts.

Other items to analyze include:

A Content Audit

Where you evaluate the content on your competitors’ websites. Identify the different content types, the frequency of their publishing and the quality of the content being provided. It can also be useful in learning more about the topics and subject matter in which they are positioning themselves as an industry thought leader.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

An assessment where you can assess the effectiveness of their SEO efforts. Areas of assessment include page title, URL architecture, header tags, image alt text, internal linking and content length. These are often overlooked details that effect your ranking in search engines.

4) Identify Areas for Improvement

The primary objective of this inbound marketing competitive analysis is to determine how you compare against your competition and identify the key areas where you need to improve your ability to attract more of your ideal buyers and convert them into leads for your sales team. Properly executed Inbound Marketing tactics are 10 times more effective for lead conversion compared to outbound methods.7

You may find that you need to create and publish more blog articles and social media posts to drive more of your target audience to your website. Companies that blog 15+ times per month generate 5x more website traffic than companies that don’t blog.8

Don’t think you have the time or resources to blog 15 times per month? No problem. Check this out. B2B Companies that blog only 1-2 times per month generate up to 70% more leads than those that don’t.9

You may find that you need to create more CTAs and Landing Pages tailored to your different buyer personas to help generate more leads, as companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10.10

We recommend that you perform an inbound marketing competitive analysis on at least an annual basis and ideally on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.

A Few Eye-Opening Stats From Real Competitive Analyses

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the statistics various companies found out when we conducted a competitive analysis for them.

  • 83% of the companies who requested a competitive analysis ranked last overall compared to their competitors. Don’t leave your company’s performance in question. In this case ignorance is not bliss.
  • 0% of the Construction companies we have analyzed had a blog. Blogging is one of the best ways to increase your website traffic.
  • 80% of the Engineering companies we have analyzed did not provide content offers. Content offers can be the highest-valued content on a website for your potential customers.
  • 80% of the Solar companies we have compared did not have email signups, which is one of the key drivers for lead nurturing.
  • Only 25% of the Telecommunications companies we have compared engaged in some form of marketing automation. Marketing automation helps qualify leads faster and more efficiently and provides an all-in-one platform to market your company in the digital world.

Want to know how you stack up against your competition? Don’t do your digital marketing in the dark any longer.

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 [1] BIA/Kelsey

[2] Google ZMOT

[3] Forrester


[5] McMurry/TMG

[6] Kissmetrics

[7] Gartner


[9] Business2Community



This may be the most brutally effective Facebook prank of all time


If ever there was a good reason not to leave your Facebook unguarded around pesky friends and family members, it's this.

On Monday, Kevin Keenan of Castlewellan, Northern Ireland, shared a cheerful message on Facebook. Basically, Keenan said that he had two tickets to give away to the All Ireland Football Final (a very popular annual Gaelic football tournament), and anyone who tagged a friend in the comments could be in with a chance of winning:

Image: facebook/kevin keenan/mashable composite

The giveaway worked like a charm. People quickly began tagging their friends and sharing the post, and at the time of writing it's received well over 1,000 shares and 1,300 comments in two days. Read more...

More about Gaelic Football, All Ireland Football, Northern Ireland, Prank, and Facebook
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