Free Ebook: How to Master Personalized Marketing

personalized-marketing-blogBefore the rise of inbound marketing, traditional marketers often focused on broadcasting their messages to as wide of an audience as possible. Their tactics were expensive, interruptive, and, perhaps most egregiously, untargeted. 

This antiquated, one-size-fits-all approach to marketing didn't take into account who the target audience actually was. People weren't seen as individuals -- individuals with varying backgrounds, interests, and concerns. Instead, they were seen (and marketed to) as a single, homogeneous mass of potential customers.

Personalization to the Rescue

Personalization technology allows us to treat the people we're marketing to more like individuals. The goal of personalization isn't to engage with one audience of many, but to engage with infinite audiences of one.

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Whether they're visiting your website or receiving one of your emails, people want to see information that is relevant to them. According to a study from Janrain, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when the content has nothing to do with their interests.

With personalization, marketers can provide relevant, highly targeted content based on a variety of criteria, including a person's location and the device a person is using, whether a person is an anonymous visitor, a lead who is already in your contacts database, or an existing customer.

In our new guide, How to Master Personalized Marketing: A Guide to Engaging Audiences of One, we'll show you how you can leverage personalization technology at every stage of the inbound methodology, from attracting visitors, to converting visitors into leads, to closing leads into customers, to delighting your customers so they become promoters of your business.

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Have any marketing personalization tips or tricks you'd like to share? Leave a comment below.

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9 Examples of Extraordinary Infographics From 2014

450795029This post originally appeared on the Insiders section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Insiders.

Done right, infographics are powerful tools that marry intuitive design with compelling data. They’re intended to present information quickly and clearly -- but often, they fall flat

How do you make sure yours doesn't? While there's no specific formula for creating a viral infographic, you can pick up some tips by looking at successful infographics.

To help show you what makes a great infographic, here are a few delightful examples from 2014. Some are funny, some more serious, but one thing is for sure: Each of these examples is equally inspiring. From static to animated, interactive to responsive, let’s take a look into some fascinating infographics from this past year.

Static Infographics

A common form of infographics today is static infographics. While these pieces aren’t clickable and moveable, they still present a set of data in an easy-to-digest format. Here are a couple of great examples:

1) Creative Routines

Using data gathered by Mason Currey that compares routines and daily rituals of hundreds of creatives, Info We Trust designed a selection of the creative routines. The differences in routines from creative greats like Beethoven and Dickens are both amazing to know and see visualized.

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2) 2014 Green Bay Packers Football Schedule

It’s not a secret that sports and data go hand-in-hand, which is why many sports teams are starting to visualize their data with infographics. Here was a fun infographic take on the Green Bay Packers’ 2014 schedule by Statographics.

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Animated Infographics

From adding subtle animation to an otherwise static piece to creating videos with moving parts, using animation can be a key part in helping illustrate different ideas and data sets.

3) 42 Butterflies of North America

Sometimes simplicity can be key when dealing with visualizing data, as we can see here in this animated chart of butterfly species of North America created by Eleanor Lutz. The moving butterfly animations help add the perfect amount of “life” into this simple and beautiful piece.

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Interactive Infographics

To quote our latest ebook, Why Interactive Infographics?, “concise text, precise design and logical graphics assemble to make better sense of raw data. Simple as that. With the internet, we can add now add interactivity to what once were unchanging representations of information.” Here are a few exciting and enticing examples of interactive infographics.

4) How Data Travels Around the Globe

This interactive infographic by Akita explains how data travels around the globe between more than 3 billion internet users. With fun scrolling features and clickable subpoints, it helps make the complicated routes more digestible to grasp for readers.

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5) From Plaza to Bedrock

In 2013, this interactive piece by The National September 11 Memorial & Museum was made to show the backstory behind the construction of the memorial and museum. A new 2014 update to the piece added both audio and video pieces for viewers to interact with as they learn all about the build and design of the memorial.

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6) Selfiexploratory

This interesting data project dives deep into the selfie phenomenon and analyzes them by “theoretic, artistic, and quantitative methods.” Viewers can also play with the dataset in the dashboard and see how results change.

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Responsive Infographics

Responsive infographics both have interactive components as well as the ability to look great on all devices, from a large desktop computer to a phone. Marrying functionality for all with interactive elements? Yes, please!

7) How Far is it to Mars?

Showing the distance between Earth and Mars as a long, scrolling webpage, this responsive and interactive infographic by David Paliwoda and Jesse Williams examines the huge numbers involved in traveling to our nearest planet.

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8) World Cup Match Balls

World Cup fans, this one is for you! This bright and responsive infographic by 150UP showcases illustrations of the official World Cup footballs used every four years since 1930 as well as bonus facts about each year.

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9) The World of SWISS

Rather than having a standard FAQ section or press kit for customers wanting more information on the background of SWISS airlines, they created an interactive brand experience featuring a 3D scrolling experience, films, the SWISS fleet and much more.

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As you can see, 2014 has been a stellar year in infographic content. While this is a sample of the extraordinary pieces of work created this year, it’s a robust look into the forms of showing content in a beautiful and visual way.

Want to learn more about interactive infographics? View or download the free ebook, Why Interactive Infographics?

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Facebook Makes It Easier to Share Photos ‘In the Moment’

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Facebook rolled out an update to its app on Monday that adds a new way to quickly organize and post small batches of photos from your smartphone.

Now, when users upload multiple photos from its iPhone or Android app, the app generates a quick preview of how the photos will be displayed. Users can then rearrange the order in which the images appear by holding down on a photo and dragging it to a new position.

You can select up to 30 photos at once; tags, locations, captions and descriptions can also be added to individual images within this view. Once uploaded, the photos appear in the app's new collage layout that emphasizes the order of the photos. Read more...

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Amy Poehler answers #AskAmy questions

Amy Poehler fans had a wonderful time today connecting directly to the comedian and writer via a Q+A tagged #AskAmy, and they could hear her answers during a livestream chat.

Fans on Twitter – ranging from devoted followers of @ParksandRecNBC to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) – learned more about Amy’s new book “Yes Please” and her organization @SmrtGrls without having to leaving Twitter, since the entire chat was streamed directly within a Tweet.

We put together this custom timeline of clips, where she answered several questions, such as who makes her laugh, and which part of “Yes, Please” was the most fun to write.

How to Give Negative Feedback Without Sounding Like a Jerk

giving_feedbackWhether you just took on your first managerial role or are a long-time exec, dishing out criticism to a colleague is never easy. It’s a lot like going to the dentist -- painful and you can’t wait until it’s over.

The funny thing is, as much as we all dread giving or getting negative feedback, it actually can have a positive effect. Employees that receive negative feedback from their managers are 20X more likely to be engaged at work than their co-workers who aren’t getting any flak. Looks like tough love works after all.

Jeanne Hopkins, SVP and CMO of Continuum, has seen this firsthand: “Most team members want to learn and grow, and the only way that can happen is with slight course corrections every now and again. Always providing rainbows and unicorns with your team is not an effective strategy over the long term.”

At the end of the day, if we can’t figure out how to give constructive feedback, our companies will never grow. Instead of hiding from awkward feedback conversations, turn them into productive dialogues with the following tips.

Skip the Sh*t Sandwich

In his post on becoming a CEO, Ben Horowitz discusses the old feedback trick that is the shit sandwich. “The basic idea is that people open up to feedback far more if you start by complimenting them (slice of bread #1), then you give them the difficult message (the shit), then wrap up by reminding them how much you value their strengths (slice of bread #2).”

While some employees think this approach can be effective and help soften the blow, I agree with Horowitz that most of the time, people see right through it. "Early in my career," Horowitz says, "I attempted to deliver a carefully crafted shit sandwich to a senior employee and she looked at me like I was a little kid and said: 'Spare me the compliment, Ben, and just tell me what I did wrong.'" Avoid curbing your feedback with fluff; sugarcoating might make you feel better about being the ‘bad guy,’ but it isn’t doing your colleagues any favors.

Seize the Moment

Because lots of people feel uncomfortable giving negative feedback to their colleagues, they put it off until it absolutely has to happen -- like during a quarterly review. But when it comes to giving your colleagues feedback, don’t wait for the perfect moment. Instead, live in the moment.

Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, says, “The best feedback is in the moment (or close to it) rather than waiting months for a formal meeting to tell a colleague you didn’t like the way X, Y, or Z went. At that point, you can barely remember what it was that happened to have a productive conversation about it.” Try to address feedback head-on by keeping it timely and relevant. If that means touching base right after a meeting or syncing up two days later, so be it -- just make sure your feedback isn’t dictated by your company’s review cycle.

Make It About the ‘What,’ Not the ‘Who’

When I asked my colleagues at HubSpot about their favorite tip on feedback, a lot of them echoed the same tip: When giving negative feedback, don’t make it personal. Ellie Mirman, Manager of our Funnel Marketing team, says, “Make sure the feedback is about the behavior and the consequences -- not about the person.” 

Say you told a colleague that their humor is inappropriate and people around the office don’t like it. They would probably feel pretty self-conscious, embarrassed, and distracted at work. Instead, you could reference that risqué joke they made at lunch yesterday and how it made some of your more conservative colleagues uncomfortable. To make feedback productive, don’t point fingers; focus on the outcome.

Take the Negative Out of Negative Feedback

Just because you’re giving negative feedback doesn’t mean it has to be a doomed conversation from the start. Instead, go into these conversations with an optimistic but honest frame of mind. “There’s a difference between giving negative feedback and criticizing. It’s a lot easier to manage these types of conversations if you look at them as coaching moments. Unfortunately, once you have a mindset of negativism, it puts the person delivering the message into an offensive position, and the recipient into a defensive posture -- not exactly a win/win,” says Hopkins.

You might not realize it, but there could be small aspects to your approach that could make the conversation feel more negative. Hopkins says, "For example, don’t use the word 'But.' You did a great job but ... it automatically sets up the feedback's recipient on the defensive. Remember that the end goal of negative feedback should be positive future results."

Tailor Your Feedback Approach

“It's important to mold the conversation to the other person's style when giving negative feedback. For example, if you're someone who takes criticism really well and you prefer when people just tell you outright, then you might tend to give others constructive criticism bluntly when they might be much more sensitive than you are,” says Lindsay Kolowich, a staff writer at HubSpot. “You're much better off gauging their work/feedback style and then figuring out how you're going to deliver it.”

The bottom line is: Feedback isn’t one-size-fits-all. Working closely with your colleagues day-in and day-out should give you some insight into how they handle certain situations. Some companies take the guesswork out of it by having employees take a personality assessment and share their results with teammates. 

Make Feedback a Two-Way Street

Good managers give employees honest and constructive feedback. Great managers ask for it in return. A study conducted by Forbes found that employees are significantly more engaged (74% vs. 34%) when their managers ask for feedback on their performance. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. No matter how you slice it, telling an employee how they can improve automatically puts a wall up between the two of you, but when you ask for feedback in return, you level the playing field.

Maybe your team uses an anonymous feedback tool, or you have weekly one-on-ones with your reports, or maybe you just let them know that they can grab you at any time they want to talk. Whatever you choose, be sure create opportunities to make feedback an exchange, not a lecture.

Sharing positive feedback with coworkers will always be easier than telling them what they can do better. But as long as we want to grow and ultimately improve our team’s performance, we have to rip off the band-aid and provide negative feedback from time to time.

So now it’s your turn to tell us: How do you go about giving employees feedback?

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20 Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Tech Geeks & Digital Marketers

last-minute-halloween-costume-ideasKnow what's scary? Figuring out Halloween costumes for work. You've gotta strike the right mix of work appropriate and creative -- nothing that would freak out HR (or your coworkers with more delicate sensibilities).

While the stress of coming up with a costume is enough to make you just show up in your regular attire, you don't want to be the office party-pooper. So I came up with some clever, cheap, pretty-easy-to-implement-and-HR-friendly Halloween costumes that are playfully tech- and marketing-related. Scroll for the section that applies to you: individual costume or group costume.

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Individuals

1) The Scarf Guy From the Apple Announcement

Wear a purple scarf, short blonde wig, light lavender button-up shirt, and of course, bring out your iPhone. Or, you could just be the scarf -- it did take on a life of its own -- and wrap yourself in purple fabric.

2) Bono Forcibly Giving Away a Free U2 Album

Dress up like Bono -- tinted sunglasses, black tshirt, slicked back hair -- and hand out CDs with "Songs of Innocence" written in permanent marker on them.

3) Mobile App

Wander around holding a plate of chips and dip (or whatever your favorite app happens to be). Boom. You're a mobile "app." You're also probably the most popular person at the party.

4) Ello

Don a black bodysuit. If you're not into wearing skintight onesies, an all black outfit would do, too.

Now, get ready for some light crafting: Acquire a round black paper plate, some white paint, and some string. Poke two holes on either side of the place to tie the string through -- this is how you'll affix the plate to your face as a mask. Paint a white semicircle on the bottom of the plate to mimic the Ello smile, don that face mask, and voila! You're the hottest new social network to totally maybe make Facebook irrelevant.

5) Flappy Bird

Warning: This last-minute costume requires some more intensive crafting. You'll need a duck bill, a cardboard box that fits around your body and some spare cardboard cut into squares, hot glue or another strong glue, and paint/brushes: yellow, light orange, white, and black.

If you look at the bird, he's mostly comprised of large color blocks. Paint those color blocks on your cardboard box -- light orange on the bottom, yellow on top, and white on the sides. Then, paint a black border around your cardboard box.

Now, it's time to create that pixelated look on your flappy bird body -- the cardboard squares will be used to achieve that look. Paint your cardboard squares in various colors, and affix them to the borders of the cardboard box to create a look of a pixelated border.

Now pop that cardboard box around your body (cut yourself arm holes or fashion some suspenders if you like) and put on your duck bill!

6) Instagram

Dress up like a hipster, and hand out graham crackers really, really, fast. Boom. Insta-graham.

7) iPad

This is work appropriate for some offices -- use good judgment to determine if your office is one of those. Grab a sanitary napkin and string it over your eye like an eye patch. Eye Pad. Get it? You can also sport something smaller and make yourself an iPad mini.

8) SEO Ninja

Dress in all black with a mask over your face, and tape keywords all over your body. It'll be great for your next Halloween Party Halloween Gathering Halloween Festivities Halloween Bash Halloween Celebration.

9) Sharknado 2

Wrap yourself in a dark tulle to mimic a tornado, and staple little stuffed sharks all over yourself. Tuck your hand inside your shirt sleeve, and carry around that severed hand to mimic [SPOILER ALERT] Tara Reid's hand being bitten off by the shark.

10) Google Maps

This one was sent to me by a TechnoBuffalo reader, who found the idea on their site. Find white masking tape and tape it over your clothes in long strips to look like roads. Write the road names there in permanent marker. Cut out a big red pin to hold up to or wear around your face.

11) Ghostwriter

Grab a white sheet and cut out a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, grab a feather quill, and you got yourself a ghostwriter.

12) White Space

Dress in all white. Add white face paint and a white wig if you're ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit -- like a colored belt or tie, or just a paint splotch -- to make the white space more prominent.

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Groups

13) Series A Round of Funding

Great for the startup tech geeks -- get a bunch of people together, write the letter "A" on a piece of paper, and staple it to your shirt. (You could do subsequent funding rounds using the same principle, too.) 

14) Beats Commercial

Got a pair of Beats headphones? Dress in athletic gear, sport the headphones, and walk around like a boss.

15) BuzzFeed Reactions

Everyone dresses in yellow and writes one of the following in big black letters on their shirt. Be sure to put the numbers above each sentiment, too. Sign up fast, lest you end up with "trashy" or "ew."

16) Link Farm

Get a group of people to dress up like different farm animals, and link arms. If you're really committed, buy one of those creepy chains you find in the decor section at Halloween stores, and link up that way. You can be the farmer since the costume was your idea.

17) Black and White Hat SEO

I think you can figure this one out. I recommend an all black outfit for one, and all white for the other -- but the hat's the most important part!

18) Google Algorithm Update

You'll need three people for this one. One penguin, one panda, one hummingbird.

19) Emojis

Get a group together to rock some popular emojis. Here's a sampling I recommend due to their unique blend of easy-to-recognize and easy-to-execute.

For the purple devil ("Smiling Face With Horns") and the blue face ("Face Screaming in Fear"), most of your costume hinges on face paint. Paint your face accordingly, and for the purple emoji, put on a pair of purple devil horns.

For the heart-eyed emoji ("Smiling Face With Heart-Shaped Eyes") and tear drop emoji ("Face With Tears of Joy"), paint your face yellow, and cut out hearts or tear drops to affix to your face. If you're the heart-eyed emoji, be sure to cut out some small eye holes for yourself.

20) Buzzwords

Web 2.0. Ping. Cross-pollinate. You know the buzzwords. (If you don't, here's a big list you can pull from.) Cut out some conversation bubbles, write in the common buzzy words and phrases, and tape to your outfits. Each person should carry a buzzer and, when the buzzword is uttered, buzz at the offender. (Reserved for coworkers with a sense of humor.)

If you end up making any of these costumes -- send pictures to @HubSpot!

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2013, and it's since been completely updated to be more comprehensive and current. Happy Halloween!

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12 Data-Backed Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate on Twitter [Infographic]

12-twitter-stats-titleBy now, most marketers know that Twitter isn't just a great medium for creating and reinforcing your brand image -- it's also a tool for reaching fans of your business who can become leads (and, ultimately, sales).

But simply knowing that Twitter can make you money isn't enough: Marketers need to be armed with the best way to execute on this knowledge. Right now, only 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads. The problem isn't understanding how to use Twitter -- it's understanding how to use Twitter to build a business.

So, to help you optimize your Twitter presence to generate leads and sales, HubSpot teamed up with Market Domination Media to create the infographic below. While every business should test what works best for them, you can use these statistics and tips to get started using Twitter for lead generation.

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<p><strong>Please include attribution to HubSpot with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href='http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-stats-for-more-conversions'><img src='http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/53/file-1928684494-jpg/12_Twitter_Stats_to_Help_Get_You_More_Conversions_(1).jpg?t=1414059681887' alt='Twitter Conversion Data HubSpot' 540px border='0' /></a></p>

What other tips do you have for increasing conversions on Twitter? Share with us in the comments below!

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7 Ways to Improve Your Relationships With Tough Clients

tough-clients-1This post originally appeared on The Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to The Agency Post.

I recently wrote a piece on bad clients and the bad attitudes of agencies. In writing it, I was reminding myself as much as anyone else that clients who are willing to pay for expertise to solve important business challenges are often [Read more...]

7 Ways to Improve Your Relationships With Tough Clients

tough-clients-1This post originally appeared on The Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to The Agency Post.

I recently wrote a piece on bad clients and the bad attitudes of agencies. In writing it, I was reminding myself as much as anyone else that clients who are willing to pay for expertise to solve important business challenges are often [Read more...]

5 Can’t-Miss Apps: Rooms, Inbox, TinType and More

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Between the first games of the World Series and the rollout of iOS 8.1, which finally makes Apple Pay available, you may have missed some of this week's best new apps.

Luckily, each weekend, Mashable rounds up our favorite new and updated apps so you won't miss out.

This week's list includes Hipstamatic's newest app for (really) retro-looking photos, Google's new email app and an app for collaborative six-second looping videos.

Check out the gallery, above, to see all the apps that made our list. If you're looking for more, check out last week's roundup of can't-miss apps. Read more...

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