How to Create Online Surveys People Will Actually Take [Infographic]


Even a goldfish can pay attention for longer than most people can nowadays. The ever-decreasing human attention span is one of the the biggest challenges marketers are faced with today.

For those looking to conduct market research through surveys, the fight for our audience's attention can seem incredibly discouraging. How can you expect to improve participation rates when people can't sit still long enough to make it through your questions?

If you want to encourage participation and avoid diluting your data, you've got to find a way to make people want to engage with the content. To learn how, take a look at the infographic below from the folks at qSample. It'll walk you through four interesting and helpful things to consider when crafting your next online survey. (For more help, check out this handy guide on how to use online surveys in your marketing.)


using surveys in marketing ebook

Getting Buy-in for Change: What Education Marketers Can Do To Help Their Schools Evolve


As an education marketer, you're well aware of the successes and advantages of inbound marketing. It's easy to spend so much time immersed in the new opportunities inbound is bringing. Which makes it easy to forget that key stakeholders at your school don't always share same perspective. Administrators and staff may never have heard of inbound marketing, or may be afraid of change—making it tough to get their support.

 Yet you do need their support to transition your marketing strategy and budget towards inbound. They'll also be a needed source of your school's best stories and help with content distribution. If they don't get inbound marketing, you'll experience some push back. Or at least skepticism, which can spread seeds of doubt.

People are naturally resistant to change. That's fine. Just make getting buy-in from the administration, development office, faculty, and staff for inbound as part of your new marketing strategy.

To brush up on the basics of inbound marketing for schools before you dive in, check out our guide here

Make Their Goals Your Goals

Your colleagues may not know what personas, SEO, or content offers are. You have to help them understand what inbound marketing is so they have a clear vision of how the marketing strategy is shifting. Make sure you put that vision in context of how it helps them.

Draw a picture, tell the story that shows how your team's inbound marketing activities helps them achieve their goals.

For example, you could explain that your keyword and persona research will be the foundation of an SEO campaign that gets the school's website found by the people they're trying to reach. You can add that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads, their current marketing strategy, have a 1.7% close rate. 

CAUTION: Beware of diving into nitty-gritty of marketing until you're sure your non-marketing savvy stakeholders understand the terms and concepts. Use that language too early, and you risk losing them them.

Instead of talking about keywords and personas, leads, and content offers — take them through a real-life example. For instance, a parent who's looking for a new school because their child needs X. (Make that "X" something for which your school is known and can be found online with that term.) Using a real-life example will bridge the gap between your marketing-speak and their reality.

All the Cool Kids are Doing It 

Many educational institutions are already having great success with inbound. This includes K-12, higher education, and trade schools. Take a look around and share some effective examples from other schools. You can find some case studies of educational institution inbound successes here.

Pay particular attention to the schools getting the type of enrollees that you want at your institution. What kind of campaigns are they running? What does their content priority appear to be?

When people at your school see real-world examples of how other schools are benefiting from inbound, their trust factor in inbound's potential for your own school increases.

Reassure Your Colleagues

Trust is critical to getting your stakeholders' buy-in for a major change. Showing other schools' success with inbound is just one aspect to earning their trust.

The other is to reassure them that while inbound is a shift, it's not a revolution (not yet anyway). You're not throwing out all the marketing work you've already done. The school isn't getting rid of current marketing channels that have been working. A PPC campaign that's been bringing visitors to website and downloads of application materials will continue.

Start with small, tightly focused campaigns for quick wins. Don't make your first proposal a redesign of the school's entire website. Instead, you might start with an SEO optimization plan for a high priority program page.

Be sure to benchmark metrics before the change. Get past performance numbers for metrics such as traffic referral sources, new visitors, repeat visitors, time on page, time on site, and downloads. Then optimize the page for SEO. Use the persona research to craft a powerful CTA to download the program brochure.

How is the new page comparing to the old version? Reporting is crucial to prove the value of your inbound campaigns. Fortunately, data and metrics are two of inbound marketing's virtues. As time passes, show the before-and-after pics. Show you're willing to have your work measured. Because admissions, faculty, and staff are held to very hard, tight numbers such as student enrollments, test scores, student outcomes, etc., they'll welcome news that Marketing will also be publicly held to relevant performance metrics. 

From there, continue with ever-larger campaigns. Optimize more web pages. Revamp the blog. Run a student-generated content social media campaign. Make a premium content offer. 

Consistent implementation of ongoing inbound campaigns will keep your message about the value of inbound in front of key stakeholders. Each subsequent campaign should build off the success of the last and be a bit more ambitious. This stepped approach eases the transition as more resources go to inbound from older, legacy marketing tactics. Watch as their support and enthusiasm grows.

Have an Inbound Strategy

Although you may be starting small, know from the start where you want to go. After the first quick success, don't be at a loss about what to do next. Hesitation on your part will undermine the confidence you've earned from key stakeholders in making the transition. 

Your team should brainstorm and layout your inbound strategy as part of your overall marketing, before you bring it to the rest of the school. You don't need to plan each detail, but do have a strategy and a high-level plan for implementing it.

Your plan should include where/when (as early as makes sense) to involve other key stakeholders in identifying goals and success metrics for future inbound campaigns. Getting them involved in developing your school's inbound strategy ensures it's aligned with the broader goals of the school. The more "thumbprints" on your plan, the better!

Now, your goals are their goals. And it's more likely they'll be allies when it comes time to secure budget and resource support for even more sophisticated inbound marketing campaigns.

The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing for Schools

The Science Behind Successful Facebook Ads [Free Ebook]


Facebook has been proven time and time again to be an effective channel for driving traffic to your website, converting visitors into leads, increasing app installations, and generating more Likes for your business Page.

But using Facebook advertising to drive results like these only works if you're smart about it. The challenge for marketers is knowing how to optimise your Facebook ads to get the most bang for your buck.

What exactly does it take to make a Facebook ad successful? To find out, HubSpot teamed up with AdEspresso and analysed 100,000 Facebook ads from businesses. We compiled the data into a free visual guide, The Science of Successful Facebook Ads.

In this brand new ebook, we go through the data we collected and the analyses we drew from it, Facebook advertising best practices to follow, and examples of companies that are doing it well to get your creative juices flowing.

The Facebook advertising data we cover in the ebook includes:

  • The most popular type of Facebook ad
  • The most popular headline length
  • The most popular text & description length
  • The most popular words used
  • The most popular numbers used
  • The most popular links
  • The most popular calls-to-action (CTAs)

Ready to start creating better Facebook ads that drive real business value?

Download your copy of The Science of Successful Facebook Ads here and start creating more effective Facebook ads.

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How to go #beyondmarketing this holiday season

"Data-backed best practices for Facebook Advertising by @HubSpot and @AdEspresso"

  free guide to facebook advertising

Blogging and Social Media in 2016

blogger behind glassThe digital space has undergone remarkable changes in the last couple of years. Blogging and social media in 2016 is a landscape that is set to go on a revolution, but not so much that it will be entirely different from what we experienced in 2015. Therefore, if you’re a blogger, there are certain things you have to keep in mind this year. You cannot afford to blog without this knowledge because you’ll risk being left behind, and consequently, loosing some of your audience.

1 Consumer search behavior

Even though the use of search engines continue to remain the primary search method for consumers looking for products and services online, a small portion of consumers are now turning to social media platforms like Facebook to conduct their search for products and services.

The reason why this trend is rising is attributed to the fact that most consumers have it in mind that when they search for products or services on social media, they are more likely to be served with image-rich content as opposed to search engine text-heavy content.

Another reason for this is that consumers tend to value real comments or feedback. Social media is the likely place to find these reviews. So if you’re a blogger, this should hint that you still need to preserve Google search results with social media. Your social media campaign should factor the above concerns into the bigger picture.

2 New options are emerging for publishing content on social platforms

The Instant Articles feature by Facebook was initially available to only a few publishers out there. When the social platform first tested it, they invited a few individual publishers like NBC News, BuzzFeed, and New York Times.

Over time, other publishers have joined the bandwagon too through ”invite-only” basis. Today, Facebook is inviting many publishers to contact them on how to have their articles streaming live the moment they are released.

In 2016, this feature is going to be available for everyone, including individual bloggers who are looking to grow their audience.

3 Expectation on quality content will soar

Inbound marketing has become popular, and so is the need for quality content availability. And with this expectation, there should be an increased demand for quality and varied content on the internet.

If you are a smart content creator, you should keep your users in mind in 2016. To keep them in mind means showing preference for video and image over text. Users want useful and informative content as opposed to blatant sales effort. Also, they want custom content as opposed to shared content.

4 Increased interaction between social media and e-commerce platforms

Today, many social channels have incorporated the ”Buy now” button on their interfaces. This feature makes it convenient and possible to purchase products or services directly from social media platforms.

Therefore, if you blog with the intent of selling products or services to an audience, you should address this segment of technology-minded consumers.

5 You cannot afford to kick out the usual SEO

In the face of all these changes, you may think that the place of usual SEO has been rendered obsolete. Don’t be wrong! For one, search engines like Google and giving priority for content and site designs that are user-friendly. Mobile-friendliness is at the top of their priority too. Things like keywords are still very relevant in 2016.

As you’ve read above, a segment of consumers are now searching for products/services on social media. What this means is that your social content must have the right keywords laced into it. All 2016 is asking for is that you should merge search engines with social media in a way that the end user is favored.

This ruthless hairstyle is like three bowl cuts in one


For her sake, we hope this hair model's smile is genuine.

On Saturday the Facebook page for Barbershapp, an app that helps people find and book appointments for barbers nearby, posted a video entitled "Stylish Cut."

The stylist cuts the model's hair at severe angles, almost creating a swirl of choppy, uneven layers. Then she teases the bottom of the model's hair to make it frizzy and poofy. Read more...

More about Lifestyle, Hair, Beauty, Facebook, and Watercooler

Why Your Inbound Marketing Strategy May Not Be Working


Although most companies now recognize that inbound marketing is an effective promotional tactic, it’s been viewed more often as the icing on the cake rather than a must-have. But even in 2013, 92.7 percent of companies using inbound marketing saw a significant increase in leads.

Since then, more and more companies — from big brands to small businesses — have taken on inbound marketing. And in 2016, inbound marketing is being touted as an essential component to your online marketing efforts. As a result, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your inbound marketing tactics and ask yourself, “Are these really working?”

Why Your Inbound Marketing Isn’t Working

At PCR, I’ve noticed that when companies aren’t seeing success with their inbound marketing tactics, it usually boils down to the same core reasons. Here’s why your efforts may not be working for you.

1) You don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish

With inbound marketing, a lot of companies dive right into tactics and say, “We need better search engine optimization” or “We need to blog more.” But these companies have yet to take a look at existing assets and how they can be improved before chasing the next big thing in inbound marketing. Plus, these metrics are too vague — you have to align your lead generation with measurable goals to make an impact and analyze results.

2) You haven’t built the right foundation

Around six to 12 months in, if you don’t have a strong foundation on which to build your strategy, your inbound marketing plan can get really messy. You won’t have the proper attribution or reporting, making it hard to scale and see which efforts are going to produce the best results.

3) You don’t have the right person

You may have dedicated someone to “handle” the inbound marketing internally, but it can easily become overwhelming for that person to get up to speed on the right software. Plus, if he or she doesn’t see buy-in or education from the leadership (or isn’t seeing any results fast enough), that person may put undue pressure on the team — or decide to quit altogether.

4) Your inbound efforts are not aligning with your outbound efforts

In my experience, clients can sometimes run print advertisements or pay-per-click campaigns to get more eyes on a certain service or product without any outbound efforts. Landing pages, form capture, or email follow-ups need to be in place to line up with those ads to get the leads you need.

5) Your efforts are not data-driven

It’s understandable for brands to want to stay true to their traditional communication styles. However, not paying attention to important metrics — like whether your open rates are dropping from email to email — can hurt your inbound initiatives. It’s important to hone in on how your users react to certain messaging efforts to develop the right communication.

These aren't the only obstacles that you may be running into, but if you can figure out which one is keeping you from succeeding and address it head-on, then you'll quickly see an improvement in your marketing.

Strengthen Your Inbound Marketing Campaign

Once you’ve identified which pit (or pits) you’ve fallen into, you need to understand how to adapt these marketing mistakes and ensure that they’ll really work. Here are four things you can do along the way.

1) Reevaluate your goals

Ask yourself, “Is this providing value in accomplishing our business goals?” A lot of companies get in “checklist mode,” doing the same thing repeatedly without taking the time to ask whether it’s really working. Remember, goals and objectives — when contingent upon user data — will change and take turns. Scheduling an audit, with measurable goals, every four to six weeks is a good rule of thumb.

2) Communicate with your team

Set up regular check-ins to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what’s going on. Involve key decision makers in every step of the process. This shouldn’t be done annually or quarterly, but monthly on an ongoing basis. Start with an initial strategic discussion about what really needs to be accomplished to achieve the goals. Perform an existing audit of everything that has been done up to this point, and schedule a time to go through goals of the campaign. Are your expectations realistic?

3) Identify your customer

Build the marketing plan around attracting and engaging these users. You need to know if your inbound marketing strategy will resonate with your ideal customers and help solve one of their problems every step of the way. Make sure your customers are segmented and that you create buyer personas.

4) Measure your data

Data and proper attribution can tell you how effective each campaign is. Measure everything so you’re making educated decisions about its effectiveness. It’s important to at least note a date that you kick off a certain outbound campaign to keep track of internal spikes in website traffic or conversions. Tie all marketing efforts together for tracking, and reporting reasons so you can tell if a campaign is working.

With these four resolutions in mind, you’ll be able to adapt your current inbound marketing strategy to one that works in no time. But as you continue to evolve, you also need to know how to easily find marketing problems before adaptation is no longer an option.

Spotting Those Inbound Marketing Pitfalls

Although we all like to think that we’ll be the first to recognize when we’ve made mistakes, this isn’t always the case. Amid the big rush to “do more” and “do it quickly,” you may neglect the proper steps to build the right type of campaign.

In my experience, companies are having the most trouble identifying their inbound pitfalls because they don’t have the resources to effectively manage them. When brainstorming solutions, I see a lot of companies view a particular type of software or tactic as a cure-all, but that’s rarely the case. It’s often more likely that the marketing team is small and trying to automate their inbound processes from the get-go.

Make no mistake: Automation is great because it leaves the heavy lifting and manual labor to the machines. But over time — if everything is already running on its own — it’s easy to move on to other tasks and neglect actually developing your marketing efforts (especially with one or two people on the marketing team).

Ultimately, identifying these issues involves more than just the marketing team. Teams that are siloed from one another increasingly proves that their differing objectives and lack of communication harm a business across the board. Customer service, sales, and executive leadership all need to be on the same page if the company is going to gain any good leads from inbound marketing efforts.

Often we’re afraid to take a hard look at what we’ve been doing and ask ourselves whether it’s really the best approach to meet our goals. But in 2016, as inbound marketing increasingly becomes a must-have tool in your arsenal, the time is right to collect data, get the right team in place, communicate, and reassess how you reach your leads.


Lead Nurturing Strategy Tips

You can now unlock special Snapchat lenses on your birthday


Snapchat just got a little more like Facebook

The app rolled out a new "Birthday Party" feature on Tuesday, which allows you to unlock special Snapchat lenses on your birthday and on the birthdays of friends. You can enable the feature by entering your birthday in the app's main settings under the new birthday menu.

The update adds two birthday-specific lenses: one that you can only access on your birthday and one you can use to wish a happy birthday to your friends. On a friend's birthday, the birthday cake emoji will appear next to his or her username along with the text "double tap to birthday snap." Double tapping will open the camera, where you can activate a birthday lens (pictured below) to send Read more...

More about Facebook, Tech, Apps Software, Mobile, and Apps And Software

Skillful police dog has incredible work-life balance


As an officer of the law, Maximus the police dog takes his job very seriously. But he leaves a little time for leisure, too.

Maximus' owner, Vermont state trooper Nicholas Arlington, documents his K9 star's incredible work-life balance on Instagram and Facebook. The pup's interests are as varied as they are fascinating: "Maximus likes chuck-it balls and chasing bad guys," Arlington writes.

But that's not all. Whether Maximus is helping Arlington wash his police car ... Read more...

More about Watercooler, Instagram, Animals, Cute Animals, and Dogs

Why students are getting death, rape threats on Facebook and Twitter in India


Madhuri Bhattacharjee, an English literature student in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), removed her earrings. Her friend Vikas Kumar kept some onions in his bag. Another doctoral studies batchmate tied her hair tightly and wore sneakers.

They were all getting ready to be beaten up — by the Delhi Police. The onions were to alleviate the effects of tear gas. Madhuri and her batchmates joined about 15,000 other people, who marched the streets of Delhi last week, to voice their opinion against curbs on freedom of speech imposed by the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Read more...

More about India, Social Media, Journalists, Freedom Of Speech, and Facebook

Fear, Loathing And Opportunity On Display As Ad Industry Eyeballs Spectre Of Mobile Ad Blocking

eyeball A fractious MWC16 panel on mobile ads brought several executives from the ad industry side plus ad behemoth Google face-to-face with what might be their worst nightmare: network-level mobile ad blocking… Read More
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