Two Rallies

microsoft-earnings Today Apple topped the $700 billion value market cap threshold during regular trading, a remarkable achievement. The company’s shares have since slipped some, but it’s impossible to deny the technology giant’s massive rally. Apple, a company that was once small enough to be dismissed whole-cloth is now not only the world’s most valuable technology company, it’s… Read More

The Evolution of SEO [Infographic]

then-and-now-scrapbook-old-photosGreat marketers are always on their toes, keeping up with the news, anticipating and adapting changes as they happen. 

SEO is no exception: According to Moz, Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times per year. With so many updates happening so often, even the most diligent marketers can miss an important release or two.

To make sure you're all caught up with the latest and greatest in SEO, check out the infographic below created by Neil Patel of Quick Sprout. It'll walk you through the major changes SEO has undergone in the context of mindset, keywords, content, and link building.

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  free guide: seo myths

There is not actually a shortage of tech workers

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Along with temporary deportation relief for millions, President Obama's executive action will increase the number of United States college graduates from abroad who can temporarily be hired by U.S. corporations. That hasn't satisfied tech companies and trade groups, who contend more green cards or guest worker visas are needed to keep tech industries growing because of a shortage of qualified American workers. But scholars say there's a problem with that argument: The tech worker shortage doesn't actually exist.

"There's no evidence of any way, shape or form that there's a shortage in the conventional sense," says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University. "They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I'm not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV." Read more...

More about Facebook, Tech, Tech Jobs, Employees, and Business

Chromecast Adds Comedy Central, Sesame Street Go, Nickelodeon, TuneIn And More

Chromecast_dongle Google continues to build out its lineup of content partners for the Chromecast streaming media device. This time, partners include Comedy Central, Sesame Street Go, Nickelodeon, and TuneIn, providing a good mix of comedy, kids and radio/podcast content for direct broadcast to your TV or display. Other new channels include EPIX, YuppTV and Encore, which add additional TV and movie content… Read More

An Illustrated Guide to Organizational Structures [Free Ebook]

org-structure-offer-blogI remember my very first day of work at my very first startup. I was employee number 22, and my manager was eagerly showing me the org chart he had recently put together.

There I was, at the bottom of the chart: Content Associate. Above me was my manager, above my manager was a VP, and above the VP was our CEO & COO.

As my manager was going over the different job functions at the company and explaining who reported to whom, our COO casually strode in to say hello.

“What the hell is this?” he asked, eyeing the diagram on the conference table curiously.

“That’s our organizational structure,” my manager replied.

“Wow! That’s awesome ... " our COO said, "I didn’t know we had one of those!"

Now, to be clear, my COO was joking: The company certainly had an organizational structure in place prior to that meeting. It's just that it had never been codified before. And it had never been visualized in a way that made it easy for employees to understand what they were responsible for and where they fit in within the organization.

While on the surface "organizational structure" might sound like a concept that only business school alums could ever hope to comprehend, it's really much simpler than you think. An organizational structure describes how a company, division, team, or other organization is built; how all of its various components fit together.

Or, to get more precise, an organizational structure is a framework that organizes all of the formal relationships within an organization, establishing lines of accountability and authority, and illuminating how all of the jobs or tasks within an organization are grouped together and arranged.

In our new resource, An Illustrated Guide to Organizational Structures, we explore the world of organizational structures by taking a visual approach. The guide includes a variety of different org charts, which highlight the building blocks of organizational structures and give you some archetypal (and real-world) examples to follow.

Here's a taste of what you'll find inside ...

1) Building Blocks: Organizational Structure Basics

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(Example: Span of Control)

2) Types of Organizational Structures

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(Example: Matrix Org Structure)

3) Marketing Team Org Structures: Real-World Examples

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(Example: Rue La La, "The Creative Org Structure." Adapted from "The CMO's Guide to Marketing Org Structures [SlideShare].")

4) How to Structure a Modern Marketing Team

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(Example: How to structure a marketing team with a headcount of nine. Adapted from HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe's INBOUND presentation / blog post, "How to Structure a Marketing Team of Any Size.")

If you want to dive deeper into organizational structures, download our free guide here. Plus, if you want to share it with your Twitter followers, use the click-to-tweet link and formatted image below.

Click to Tweet:

Learn the ins & outs of org structures with this new visual guide from @HubSpot!  twitter-logo

Click to Tweet - org structures

Have any organizational structure wisdom you'd like to share? Leave a comment below!

download: free guide to org structures

How to Be Successful on Twitter: 9 Surprising Stats to Know

twitter-bird-3There are 284 million monthly active users on Twitter and chances are, you're one of them -- we're certainly are. Unfortunately, just because all of us are active on Twitter doesn't mean we're using it the right way. 

And thanks to SocialBro, we have new data from over 200,000 corporate tweets to prove what works on Twitter ... and what doesn't. While some of it confirmed what we suspected, we were also shocked by some of the results. Have a read below and let us know if any of these stats were surprising to you, too.

1) Tweets from businesses that contain images are 34% more likely to get retweeted than tweets from businesses with no image at all. (Click to tweet!)

Are you using images on Twitter yet? If not, keep in mind that photo file sizes can be up to 5MB and animated GIFs can be up to 3MB. You can even tag other users in your photos -- just like on Facebook! 

2) Tweets from businesses with a URL placed in the middle of the tweet are 26% more likely to get retweeted than those with a URL placed at the beginning or end of the tweet. (Click to tweet!)

I had no idea that this was the case and upon review, I was most often placing the URL at the end of the tweet -- lesson learned!

3) Tweets from businesses that include hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags. (Click to tweet!)

Be clever with your use of hashtags -- keep them around 11 characters (more on that later) and even try to incorporate them into actual copy of the tweet. 

4) Tweets from businesses with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweets than those with two hashtags. (Click to tweet!)

When it comes to hashtags, remember that more is less. 

5) Hashtags with 11 or more characters get 117% more retweets than those within 6 and 10 characters. (Click to tweet!)

That gives you just enough space to come up with something catchy and on-brand for your tweets.  

6) Twitter direct message campaigns get on average a 300% higher click rate than one-off email campaigns. (Click to tweet!)

SocialBro actually has a tool that allows you to create really targeted DM campaigns, keeping you from annoying or spamming your audience. 

7) 90% of Twitter users who engage with Twitter-based marketing campaigns will not follow the company on Twitter after the campaign interaction. (Click to tweet!)

90% is a massive number! Have you got a strategy in place to retain the reach from your Twitter marketing campaign after the campaign ends? Check out the best practices listed in The Science of Success on Twitter

8) Businesses will on average lose 15% of new Twitter followers within three weeks unless they make an effort to engage early. (Click to tweet!)

So if you do manage to convince the tweeps from your marketing campaign to follow you, the work doesn't stop there. You need to retain your followers by being engaged with your community. Speak to them on a one-to-one basis, ask them questions, post funny, honest, and human tweets, and above all, share awesome, valuable content that they will find super valuable. 

9) Over half (57%) of businesses are spending at least 50% more on Twitter marketing compared with two years ago, with 15% of respondents stating that their spending has tripled. (Click to tweet!)

If you're not experimenting with content amplification on Twitter yet, you're missing out on a very big opportunity. Twitter's targeting features could help you better reach your desired audience. 

For all of the best practices associated with these Twitter statistics, download our guide The Science of Success on Twitter.

free guide: science of twitter success

Let’s Get Personal: 12 Ways to Tailor Your Marketing to Individuals

personalizationPersonalized marketing is more than just a buzzword you should use when trying to fit in at networking events. Gone are the days of the generic blast email and one-size-fits-all website. Today, three out of four companies personalize their marketing efforts, most commonly across websites and emails.

And it’s what consumers want. Overwhelmingly, customer engagement is cited as the top reason for prioritizing personalization in marketing. It makes sense, really -- why wouldn’t I prefer content that speaks directly to me and my interests? Maybe I’m skewed as a marketer, but if you’ve taken the time and energy to learn a bit more about me, I’m more likely to take the time to listen to your pitch and probably more likely to make a purchase.

When you know more about your audience, you can present them with customized marketing, all targeted through the channels they engage in most. What could you do with more, enriched information about your prospects and customers? Here are some ideas for different types of information you can gather about your audience, and how you can use them to personalize your marketing efforts. While not all of these may be applicable to your business and your audience, they can give you a jumping-off point for new personalization ideas.

Demographics and Interests

1) The Basics

Job title, age, gender, marital status, education level … these are some of the very basic pieces information you may already be collecting that can easily be used to offer targeted content to your audience. For example, someone who is married may be interested in a two-for-one vacation offer via email.

2) Life Events

These refer to major life changes, like purchasing a first home, moving to a new area, becoming a parent for the first time, etc. Be thoughtful about what might be on someone’s mind as they experience these events and provide them with related content and offers. Someone who just purchased a new house, for example, may be very interested in a blog post on the top three things to know about homeowner’s insurance.

3) Life Stage

These attributes indicate things like presence of children in the home, whether someone owns or rents, if an individual is a business owner and more. Life stage is another attribute where you can assess what could be on someone’s mind and provide them with the right content at the right time. A great example is offering a discount on dorm room essentials to the parents of students about to go off to college.

4) Channel Receptivity

This attribute answers the question “How receptive is someone to marketing programs in different channels?” For example, if you know certain people have engaged with you in the past via email, email campaigns could be a more appropriate channel to reach those individuals rather than through Facebook.

Website Activities

5) Recent Purchases

Understanding someone’s shopping habits and particularly what someone most recently purchased from you can be especially powerful for retailers looking to cross-sell their customers. For example, if someone recently purchased one type of cosmetic, you could surface a related product that other similar customers have purchased in the past.

6) Site Arrival

How did your site visitors arrive? Was it a referral through social media? A Google search? A click in an email campaign? Knowing this can help you target visitors with content most relevant to what they are seeking, such as creating a custom call-to-action to share a piece of content based on the social network someone's coming from. 

7) Abandoned Carts

If you're an ecommerce business, you can find out a lot about someone based on what they considered purchasing from your online store. Use abandoned shopping cart information to remarket those forgotten items to them via display ads or email campaigns, perhaps even offering a discount they can’t refuse.

8) Types of Content Being Viewed

Keeping tabs on the types of pages your website visitors are engaging in can tell you more about what stage in the buying cycle they are in. This helps you target them with more relevant target to push them further through the funnel. For example, someone looking at your pricing pages is more likely closer to a purchase than someone who only downloaded a whitepaper.

9) Topics of Content Being Viewed

Are your visitors seeking out specific content or topics within your site? This information can be a great way to personalize with relevant content. For example, if someone just downloaded an ebook on Facebook marketing, they probably would love more information about Facebook.

10) Blog or Newsletter Subscriptions

If someone signs up to receive your blog’s updates or your email newsletter, you can take advantage of preference centers to find out what topics your subscribers might want to learn more about. Additionally, if someone subscribes for your content, that means they are likely very engaged with your brand, and may be open to learning about the products and services you offer.

11) Device and Location Access

Knowing whether someone accesses your website on their mobile phone or their desktop computer can help you deliver the right form of content for the size of the screen. Additionally, knowing where location-wise your visitors are when looking at your site can be an opportunity to regionalize content you display.

12) Guest vs. Logged In

If you have a member or customer portal that visitors can log in to, you can present content and offers that are targeted to that status. Another way to use this information is through frequency of log in -- someone who logs in to your site regularly may want to see different content each time.

What other attributes are you personalizing offer based on? How are you gathering this information? Tell us in the comments!

download your free marketing personalization ebook

The Science of Productivity: How to Get More Done in a Day

waste-timeTime is our scarcest resource, yet we spend so much of it doing things that are unproductive -- usually without meaning to.

The average person wastes 31 hours in unproductive meetings according to Atlassian. And a McKinsey study shows we spend an average of 13 hours per week reading, writing, or responding to email. That's leaves roughly half of your time at work actually spent doing work.

While it's true we're being pulled into more directions than ever before these days, it's not just the internet and our bosses and our coworkers holding us back from making the most of our time. In many cases, we are the ones responsible for our own lack of productivity.

Part of this stems from our addiction to information. Scientists have discovered that the dopamine neurons in our brains treat information as a reward. While this makes sense evolutionarily -- having access to relevant information like the location of food sources means we make better decisions and are more likely to survive -- it also means we're naturally attracted to distractions outside our primary objectives.

Since most of us more successful and happy when we're productive, we've all become a little obsessed with hacks and shortcuts. How can we produce more by doing less? We look over at the person who seems to get it all done while still managing to have a life, and we ask ourselves: What does she know that I don't? Is there a secret to high productivity?

Well, there's no secret, per se. But with some work, many of the barriers to productivity are solvable. In this post, you'll find four of the best scientific productivity "hacks" out there. (And if you have others to add, we'd love to hear them in the comment section.)

Just get started.

There's something to be said about Nike's "Just Do It." It turns out the biggest hurtle to being productive is simply getting started.

According to a study by Award-Winning Psychology Researcher Dr. John Bargh, before we embark on big projects, our brains attempt to simulate real, productive work by focusing on small, mindless tasks to pass the time -- and, consequently, prevent us from getting anything done. Now it makes sense why my college dorm room was never neater than during exam week.

Once you get over that hump of just starting already, there's good news: We feel naturally compelled to finish a task once we've already started, thanks to the Zeigarnik Effect. According to Social Psychology and Human Nature, the Zeignarnik effect is "the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete."

So the next time you're faced with a daunting task, the key is to start. For some, this might mean diving right in even if you're not sure where to begin. HubSpot UX Editor Beth Dunn told me that when she gets writer's block, she just opens up a blank document and starts typing away, even if the words don't mean anything. For others, it might mean splitting big projects into smaller ones. HubSpot Co-Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah said he likes to "'deconstruct' the large problem at hand into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Each of the individual, smaller things seem surmountable on their own, and it calms [him] to know that if [he] conquered all of those small things, [he's] essentially conquered the big thing." Whatever your style, to get stuff done, you've got to get over the hump of getting started.

Work in sprints.

Have you ever heard of the "basic rest-activity cycle" humans experience when we sleep? Physiologist Nathaniel Kleitman, the pioneering sleep researcher who co-discovered REM sleep, is also well known for observing that humans alternate progressively between light and deep sleep in 90-minute periods. According to a Harvard Business Review article by Tony Schwartz, Kleitman found that we operate by that same 90-minute rhythm during the day by moving progressively through periods of higher and lower alertness.

After working at high intensity for more than 90 minutes, writes Schwartz, we begin relying on stress hormones for energy. The result: Our prefrontal cortex starts to shut down and we start losing our ability to think clearly and reflectively. "We move from parasympathetic to a sympathetic arousal -- a physiological state more commonly known as 'fight or flight.'" 

So instead of artificially overriding periods of low alertness with caffeine, sugary foods, and stress hormones, you can better manage your time at work by respecting the human need for rhythmic pulses of rest and renewal.

Just look at the world's top musicians. A man named Anders Ericsson conducted a study of elite musicians and found they don't necessarily practice more -- they just practice more deliberately. "They focus their energy in packets," says Gregory Ciotti in an explanation of Ericsson's study. This means "periods of intense work followed by breaks, instead of diluting work time over the whole day. They don't rely on willpower -- they rely on habit and disciplined scheduling." Ericsson's study of elite violinists found they tend to follow 90-minute periods of hard work with 15-20 minute breaks.

Rest periods get a bad rap in today's working world, but it turns out they are integral to high productivity over long periods.

Don't eliminate old habits; change them.

For some of us, it's bad habits like checking email every few minutes or forgetting to set agendas for our meetings that cost us (and others) precious productivity time. Sometimes these habits become so automatic, we don't even realize we're doing them.

It's not so much that it's difficult for us to change; it's that we've developed habits and patterns that make it easier for us to do things the same way we always do. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charles Duhigg spent a number of years researching the power habits have over us. He found that rather than trying to eliminate an old habit, people find more success in changing that habit by replacing it with a new, less destructive one.

Why? Because every time you have an urge and you do something about it, the reward you get from it (whether it's a tobacco high from smoking or the satisfaction of knowing you're at inbox zero) creates a neurological pathway in your brain. When you repeat that action and experience the same reward again, that neurological pathway gets a little bit thicker; and the next time, even thicker. The thicker that pathway gets, the easier it is for impulses to travel down it. So when you try to extinguish a habit completely, you're actually trying to use willpower to destroy a neural pathway. It's possible, but it's pretty darn difficult for most people.

So if you're having trouble eliminating a habit that's keeping you from being productive, here's what Duhigg suggests you do: 1) Diagnose the "cue" or the urge that sets off the habit; 2) diagnose the reward you get from doing that habit; 3) replace your habit with an activity that's both triggered by the old cue and delivers the old reward, or a version of it. (See the full flow chart here.)

For example, let's say you have a bad habit of checking your Twitter feed at least once every hour and it's cutting into your productivity time. You're having trouble simply stopping checking your Twitter feed -- it's something you barely notice yourself doing until fifteen minutes have ticked by. First, diagnose the cue. Ask yourself questions like: What time is it when you feel the urge to check Twitter? Where are you? Who else is around? What were you doing right before? Ah, that's it! You realize it's become a habit for you to check Twitter right after you check your email because they're next to each other in your bookmark bar.

Now, it's time to diagnose the reward. What craving does reading your Twitter satisfy? Maybe it's the satisfaction of knowing you've taken care of all your notifications once you've taken care of all your emails -- the Twitter equivalent of "inbox zero." Perhaps it's the urge to always know what's going on: in the news, with your friends, and so on. Figure out what satisfies you about that habit, and then replace it with something that will make you more productive. In this case, I might replace Twitter in my bookmark bar with an RSS feed listing articles relevant to your industry. While quitting cold turkey would seem best, the RSS replacement is a more realistic step closer to higher productivity, as it'll satisfy my urge for information.

Develop productivity rituals.

Speaking of building good habits, Schwartz says the best way to get things done "is to make them more automatic so they require less energy." As President and CEO of The Energy Project, he advises his clients to develop rituals; highly specific behaviors done at precise times that, over time, become so automatic that they require no conscious will or discipline.

For example, Schwartz makes a habit of immediately writing down new tasks he needs to accomplish and new ideas that occur to him, whether it's on Evernote or on a scrap of paper nearby. That way, he never has to walk around preoccupied by the burden of remembering something.

Another version of Schwartz's philosophy is what Harvard Business Review's Gretchen Gavett calls OHIO: Only Handle It Once. When you go through your email, decide immediately what to do with each one -- immediately respond to the ones that ever need answering, and delete the unimportant ones on the spot. Don't put them into a storage system.

David Allen, productivity consultant and author of the best-selling book Getting Things Done, would agree: "People don't capture stuff that has their attention. And it keeps rolling around in the organizational psyche as well as the personal psyche, draining energy and creating incredible psychic residue. People say, 'I’ll do that,' but they don’t write it down, and it goes into a black hole. That would be fine if it were just one thing, but it’s hundreds of things ... Your head is for having ideas, not holding them. Just dumping everything out of your head and externalizing it is a huge step, and it can have a significant effect."

Studies have concluded time and time again that willpower is a finite resource. Acts of self-control, like trying to remember to respond to Bill's email or ignoring distractions, leave us with decreasing willpower throughout the day. But when we develop productivity rituals that eventually become automatic, we're able to expend less energy on them and more energy on the things that really matter. According to Lia Steakley of Stanford Medicine's Scopeblog, "As with physical exercise, using your self-control muscle may be tiring, but over time the workout increases your strength and stamina. So what starts out difficult becomes easier over time. New behaviors become habits, temptations become less overwhelming, and willpower challenges can even become fun."

As Schwartz says, it's not that you're lacking discipline -- it's that you don't have a ritual. If you make habits like responding to emails right away and writing things down as soon as you can after they happen, you'll eliminate the fear of forgetting, and therefore, the burden of remembering. The result: more energy, more willpower, and better productivity.

What other productivity hacks do you have? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!

free marketing goal setting template

How to Get the Best Deals During the 2014 Holiday Shopping Season [Infographic]

shopping-cart-giftsHoliday shopping season is here -- and this year, retailers predict Americans will spend almost $617 billion in November and December.

It's no surprise that a lot of the big spending happens in the days following Thanksgiving. Every year, it seems Americans are adding yet another big sales day. On this year's menu: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, "Black" Sunday, and #GivingTuesday.

The key question is: Which days are the best for which kinds of sales? To help shoppers find the best deals, Merchant Warehouse created the holiday shopping guide below. Check it out to make sure you make the most of this week! 

2014-holiday-shopping-guide

free holiday stock photos

From Vikings to Billboards Made of Cake: 5 New Ads You’ve Gotta See

watching-tv-adThis post originally appeared on The Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to The Agency Post.

Been too busy to watch TV or flip through a magazine this week? Not to worry: We've got you covered with the five best new advertisements of the week from Sainsbury's, Dollar Shave Club, Airbnb, Mr. Kipling, and FCB Chicago.

If you like vikings, breaking down walls, or edible billboards (hint: there's cake), then you'll be sure to like these ads. Check 'em out -- and be sure to share with us the exciting new advertisements you discovered this week in the comments below.

5 New Ads You've Gotta See

1) "Christmas is for Sharing" from Sainsbury’s

In this TV ad for Sainsbury's, agency AMV BBDO worked with historians and recreated the famous story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 between British and German soldiers.

2) "Security" from Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club makes its first leap into TV advertising with a series of four ads. The dry humor is a staple for the company that has been gaining notoriety through Facebook ads and word-of-mouth.

3) "Wall and Chain" from Airbnb

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Airbnb released an animated short about two guards who stood on either side of the wall.

4) "Life is Better With Cake" from Mr. Kipling

Heavenly is not a word typically used to describe a billboard, but this OOH campaign is an exception. Made of 13,360 cakes and 2,000 candied cherries, the campaign is a great example of how to attract consumers with a sprinkle of sugar.

kipling-cake-ad

5) "Viking" from FCB Chicago

FCB illustrates why versatility in a marker matters.

viking-ad

Which new advertisements did you discover this week?

Want more content like this? Subscribe to The Agency Post.

 

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