Wednesday, May 13, 2020

How to (Easily) Make Perfect Content Calendars in Google Sheets

漂漂美术What do you use spreadsheets for?

If you're anything like me, you likely use them for data collection, to track campaign or blog post analytics, or to keep track of weekly assignments.

But have you ever thought about using spreadsheets to make a calendar?

And, more specifically, have you ever thought about using Google Sheets to make a functional calendar?

If you often work on campaigns for a few different clients, creating individual calendars in Google Sheets to share with clients and track progress could be uniquely useful for ensuring the client understands when certain content will go live. Alternatively, perhaps you need to create an internal Google Sheet calendar for your team to keep track of upcoming projects.

Making a calendar in a tool that's commonly used for spreadsheets sounds a little intimidating, but don't worry, the process is actually pretty intuitive. And with the help of some formulas and tips, you can easily make a functional calendar that you can sync your schedule with.

Below, we'll go over how to make a calendar in Google Sheets and include some tips that'll help you elevate the design. At the end, your calendar will look something like this:

Example of a Calendar in Google Sheets

So start a new spreadsheet and get ready to create your very own calendar. ?

1. Open a new spreadsheet and choose your month.

First, open a new spreadsheet. Then, delete columns H — Z. They won't be needed and make grouped functions easier.

Then, choose your month. For this example, I decided to do January 2020, so I filled that into the first cell. What's great about Google Sheets is that it automatically recognizes dates, so typing in a month, followed by the year in YYYY format will tell Google that you're going to be working with dates.

2. Begin to format your calendar.

I took this step to format my calendar slightly. I selected the text, January 2020, in Column A, Row 1. I highlighted seven columns (A-G), and clicked Merge to make that cell span across the entire column. You can find this button to the right of the Fill tool.

How to horizontally align a calendar in Google Sheets.

Here, I also center-aligned my text using the tool next to Merge. Then, I increased the font size and bolded the month.

3. Use a formula to fill in the days of the week.

Moving on, I began to fill in the days of the week in each column (A-G). You can do this manually but I decided to use a formula. Sheets has a function that lets you type in formulas to complete certain actions at once.

To fill in days of the week, in the cell where you want your first weekday to be, type: =TEXT(1, DDDD"). What this tells Google is that your number will be replaced by a date or time and the format you're using is weekdays.

Filling in the days of the week in Google Sheets

Highlight the number 1 in the formula and replace it with: (COLUMN(), DDDD"). Then, press enter and select your first day. You're going to copy the formula in Sunday's cell, drag the selector to the end of your row, (A-G), and press enter.

Automatically filling in the Days of the week in Google Sheets

Pressing enter should automatically fill in the rest of the week. Remember, if this doesn't work for you, you can always fill in the days manually.

4. Use a formula to fill in the numbers.

So at this point, you have your days of the week. Now we're going to fill in the numerical values. Before this step, I took the time to section off my top column with color.

For the numerical values, write an "if/then" statement in your first column to determine the day of the week. Jan 2020 started on the 4th day in my column, or Wednesday.

You're going to type: =IF WEEKDAY($A1)=COLUMN(),1, ""

What you're telling Google with this formula is, "If the weekday for the first day of the month starts on a (WEEKDAY), and is also equal to (=) the column (COLUMN) that we're in, then display a number one (1). "

The formula for weekday numbers in Google Sheets.

Next, you're going to copy that blank Sunday spot, select the entire row, and paste. You should see a "1" in the correct column.

Because January 2020 doesn't start on a Thursday, the statement is incorrect, so we'll have to change it for the next day. I did this manually for Thurs-Sat.

5. Copy and paste to fill the spaces.

This step will fill in the rest of the numbers for your calendar using the formula. Remember, you can always format this by hand.

Note: In this step, I filled in the calendar numbers every other row to help with my formatting later.

The day, (=DAY), is your first column (A1), plus the value in your current column. For me, that's (A5), so the formula looks like this: =DAY(A1=A5)

Then copy that value, drag the selector to the rest of the row, and paste. The rest of your rows should read consecutively. For example, Tuesday, January 7th's value is =Day($A1+B5).

The numbers of days in Google Sheets Calendars

For the next row, the process repeats. But for the 12th, I had to change my values because the row and column changed.

So instead of =DAY($A1+B5), I changed the "B" to "G" to make it true that I'm adding one to the previous value, or going from the 11th to the 12th. Then, like washing your hair, you rinse and repeat. So for example, Wednesday, January 15th reads as =DAY($A1+C6).

To fill in the rest of the calendar, the process repeats itself. Make sure your values add to the last day. To fill them in all at once, copy the formula, drag to select the row, and press enter.

6. Reformat your calendar if necessary.

Everything is starting to look like a calendar, right? At this stage, I reformatted things to clean up the look of my calendar a little. For instance, I selected the row for the days of the week and highlighted them to make it stand out.

I also added a border, just to spruce up the functionality of my calendar.

Because I left space in between my numbered days, I could easily add tiny boxes, or spaces, into my calendar. To do this, I simply dragged the number of my row down an extra space to expand that cell.

I also positioned all my number values to the top right using the vertical alignment tool. This is the same tool that centered our month.

7. Add design elements to professionalize the look.

Finally, you can add in some fun design elements to personalize the look and feel of your calendar. If it's for a client or upcoming project, you'll want to incorporate necessary launch days here.

Designing a calendar in Google Sheets

For this step, I added in a few fun images, hypothetical calendar events, and played with font sizes.

And then, you're done!

It's handy to use Sheets because you can open your calendar to the right of your sheet. You can also keep track of your schedule in a place that's separate from your phone. If you're handy with Sheets and want to give it a shot, try it — it can be a fun exercise to get more comfortable with using formulas in the tool, and is a good option if you need to create a clean calendar for an internal marketing campaign, or to organize a client's upcoming projects and send along to key stakeholders.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

How to Write an Effective Communications Plan [+ Template]

Remember the "Tide Pod Challenge?" That horrendous time at the beginning of 2018 when adolescents filmed themselves ingesting laundry detergent?

While it was a funny (albeit dangerous) start to the new year, this small boost of infamy was a PR mess for the detergent brand in question, Tide, whose crisis communication team had to figure out how to respond to America's teens swallowing their toxic product. Tide's parent company, Procter & Gamble, was swift in their response, thanks in large part to their communication plan.

Communication plans can help you clarify the purpose of a product launch or new initiative and officially determine the messages you want to deliver to your intended audience(s).

Additionally, a communication plan can help your business during a time of crises if a previous marketing message or business decision damaged your reputation with internal stakeholders or customers.

If companies don't have a communication plan, they'll be unprepared when disaster strikes. It may be unlikely that your company will find teenagers eating your product for internet fame, but not so unlikely that you'll never find yourself needing a procedure to effectively handle difficult situations.

Now that we've gone over how a communication plan can be helpful, let's learn how to write one that will be effective.

Featured Resource: Communication Plan Template [Download Now]

Need a free, easy-to-use communication plan template? HubSpot has 12. Check out this toolkit for everything you need to build your own.

This is part of a template offered in the toolkit. For this particular template, the organization is separated into phases, a description of that phase, and who needs to complete that action.

Communication plans can get tricky, but writing an effective one will prove itself with its longevity.

crisis-communication-plan-templateDownload this Template for Free

This communication checklist below, by Prezly, gives a great overview of the details of a crisis plan from beginning to end. It can be used as an effective guide when drafting a crisis management strategy.

漂漂美术 Prezly

1. Conduct an audit of your current communications materials.

Before sitting down to get rollin' on your plan, you need to first decide where it'll fit into your business. So it's important you complete a "state of the union", or an audit of the current climate of communications within your company. This can help you identify any problem areas.

For instance, let's say you need to create a communications plan for a new product launch. To create your plan, you'll first need to perform an audit to identify gaps in your current marketing approach.

After performing the audit, you might find there is a major gap in your marketing materials in which you rarely discuss a topic that aligns well with your new product. You'll want to ensure this topic makes it into your communications plan.

To conduct an audit, you'll need to carefully gather and interpret data on your current marketing plan performance and build a path forward based on those results. Additionally, you might consider hosting focus groups or sending surveys to your audience to find gaps in your current communications materials.

Of course, you'll want to have the goal of your communications plan in-mind when conducting an audit. In the example above, noticing you're lacking material on a certain subject only matters if your goal is to drive leads and conversions to a product that aligns with that subject.

For instance, if you're launching a new email marketing tool and you notice you're lacking content on Google Ads, this might not be relevant information for your communications plan. However, if you're missing content on email marketing best practices, that's important information you can use to tailor your communications plan appropriately.

2. Set SMART goals for your communications plan based on the results from your audit.

After your audit, you'll want to lay out a few goals based on the data from the results. What do you want to achieve with this plan?

When in doubt, remember that your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

For instance, if a small agency is writing a communications plan for its client, they might write a goal along these lines: "We plan to increase employment applications for our client by 25% over the course of one quarter."

Alternatively, perhaps your HR team needs to write a communications plan to pitch designing a new growth matrix for individual contributors who don't want to become managers.

If that's the case, your HR team will need to identify specific goals they hope to achieve as a result of their plan, even if the results are less quantifiable — for instance, their goal might be to "increase employee retention rates by 10% over the next year" or even "increase employee satisfaction, as indicated by their next NPS scores." They'll need to pitch these goals to stakeholders to get leadership on-board.

3. Identify the audience to whom you plan to deliver your communications plan.

Good communication starts with knowing and understanding your listener. In this case, if a crisis communication plan is for stakeholders, which one(s) are you writing for? Stakeholder examples include employees, investors, customers, local government officials, or media outlets.

If you're writing for media outlets, a press release detailing your goals is a good idea for that audience. There should be a process for who will speak to the media outlets, an outline of what they will say, and an action plan put in place moving forward.

Alternatively, if your audience is your employees, you might want to create an up-to-date internal document for employees to refer to, as well as the contact information for the internal DRI if they have follow-up questions.

4. Outline and write your plan, keeping your audiences in-mind.

When you're ready to outline and write your plan, it's likely easiest if you start with a table or chart to identify the messages you need to promote, to whom you're targeting those messages, and on which channel(s).

Once you've created a general outline, here's how you'll want to structure your communications plan (feel free to copy these sections into a Table of Contents for your own plan):

  • Purpose (what is this communications plan for)
  • Escalation Framework (including 'first line of defense' and 'greater response team')
  • Roles and responsibilities of each employee
  • Do's and Don'ts
  • How to maintain an effective response plan

(If you need help writing a communications plan, download our free, ready-to-use communications plan templates.)

When writing your communication plan, work with groups or representatives from your stakeholders to improve accuracy. Strategies should solve for goals or potential risks.

For instance, if you work for an agency aiming to promote a client's product, a risk might be spending money on paid ads without a guaranteed ROI. To solve for that risk, the agency should detail different steps to ensure the ads are effective before going public.

5. Determine the channel(s) on which you need to deliver your messages.

The channels you choose to communicate with your audience depends on your message, and to whom you want to deliver that message. For instance, if you're creating a communications plan for internal employees, you might send out your communications plan in a company-wide email, or use in-person team meetings to deliver your message.

Alternatively, if you're communicating with customers, you might determine it's best to communicate via an email newsletter, or via a press release.

Of course, the channel(s) you choose will depend on your goals, but it's important as you're writing your communication plan that you keep your distribution methods in-mind.

6. Decide which team members are responsible for delivering the message.

Once you determine your audience and channel(s) on which you'll deliver your communications plan, figure out the DRI for delivering the message.

For instance, if your HR team is pitching a new growth matrix to leadership, you might ask your Director of HR to deliver the initial pitch in the first meeting. Once leadership is on-board, you might ask each HR representative to deliver one training session for each internal team to ensure every employee understands what's changing internally, and why.

7. Estimate a timeline for how long each step should take.

You should have a ballpark estimate of how much time each step in executing your strategy will take. For instance, if your plan needs to go from the higher-ups down to the employees, it's good to take into account how long going through the chain of command will take. It's also smart to infer how long a media cycle will last.

For instance, for a minor slip-up on an ad campaign, the advertising agency might estimate the cycle for controlling the issue will take a month — including meeting with the client, stakeholders, and employees to discuss steps moving forward.

8. Measure the results of your plan after presenting to stakeholders, and determine successes and areas for improvement.

There's always room for improvement. Measure the results of the plan after presenting it to stakeholders, and determine aspects that went well, and areas for improvement next time.

For instance, the ad agency might not have met its goal of increasing prospective applications by 25% within a quarter. They might rework their goals to give themselves more time or pivot their quarterly focus to fit those goals.

Alternatively, if you notice certain language in your communications plan evoked a level of stress or fear with internal stakeholders, consider how you can re-word next time to ensure your communications plan feels helpful, beneficial, and positive.

Some aspects of building a communication plan can be a "choose your own adventure" journey. The key is choosing aspects that best reflect what your business needs in times when effective communication is key. What do your stakeholders need to know, and how are you going to best communicate that?

Communication Plan Examples

A basic communication plan should include an analysis for the stakeholders you'd respond to and the procedures for what to include in those conversations. You might also include an overview of your business, potential communication challenges, and risk management strategy.

Bright Hub Project management has an example that includes how to put this information — and more — into your communication plan as a project manager.

This example is great because it details how communication managers write crisis plans and acknowledges that sometimes the busy marketer or project manager does as well.

Communications Plan

Source: Bright Hub

The National School Public Relations Association has a free version of a sample communication plan in PDF format. It’s a great example of how to format a crisis strategy and how to fit your budget into the plan:


Finally, here's an example of a Billing Upgrade Project from Simplicable. As you can see, the communications plan includes necessary sections including audience, goals, format, and DRI:

example of crisis communication planSource: Simplicable

Finally, here are some extra tips to keep in mind to help your plan shine: when describing procedures for handling crises, include who the situation involves. This lets stakeholders envision decision-making processes.

Additionally, if you're part of a larger company with a broad stakeholder list, it's okay to split up target audiences for your plan.

For instance, maybe your audience is more than just "consumers." Split stakeholder groups for easier comprehension and more distinct solutions.

Ultimately, your communications plan needs to clearly and succinctly provide necessary information to everyone involved in the business decision, product launch, or PR crises. Use the strategy mentioned above, as well as our communication plan templates, to ensure yours is as effective as possible.


A Comprehensive Guide to Marketing on Quora, According to Quora's Head of Product Marketing

B2B marketing has hit a wall. Audiences are getting harder to reach, campaigns are fractured across channels and, for many brands, performance is flatlining. Whatever audiences want, they want it now.

As marketers, we have an obligation to earn our audience's attention. We already know that the B2B journey is powered by content. Channels never mattered to the consumer. Prospects want to self-educate, and content is how they choose to do it.

Increasingly, B2B companies are turning to thought leadership content to enhance brand reputation, build decision-makers' trust, open the conversation, and help close business, according to research by Edelman and LinkedIn.

In fact, 56% of B2B marketing executives stated "positioning our company as a thought leader" as their top objective in a recent Economics Intelligence Unit study.

What exactly is thought leadership marketing? Simply put, it's the art of using content to position your company as a leader in its field. The goal is to demonstrate domain expertise and offer a unique point of view.

If you want your brand to earn respect from your audience, you need to provide value. But what's valuable? The short answer is offering your audience the content they want and need – when and where they're looking for it.

Depending on your industry, demonstrating thought leadership can take different forms. However, if you're looking to increase brand authority in 2020, Quora is a great place to start.

Here, let's explore why Quora makes sense for thought leadership content, how to build brand awareness on the platform, and best practices for advertising on Quora.

Why Quora Makes Sense for Content Distribution

What makes Quora unique is why people come to the platform. It's not search, and it's not social media. It's somewhere in-between, with over 300 million people coming every month to conduct research, evaluate products, ask for tips, and learn more about the world around them.

This knowledge exchange is conducive to people who are receptive to new ideas and looking to discover new products. This includes people looking for reliable information about your company, products, competitors, or industry as a whole.

Aside from a growing high-intent audience, Quora works to build a platform and ecosystem that is optimal for readers, writers, askers, and seekers of information. Unlike other platforms where content gets buried or disappears, the knowledge shared on Quora is evergreen. This means your answers aren't just relevant for a day — they're still easy to find months and years later.

Additionally, people aren't one dimensional. We have multiple interests. Quora personalizes the content based on what people want to learn more about so it's always relevant.

For instance, I'm learning how to surf, so I follow Surfing to understand the terminology and etiquette. I also have one-year-old at home, so Parenting helps me be a better father. Digital Marketing keeps me updated on the latest trends in our industry. And Personal Finance provides expert advice on how I can prepare for retirement and practical ways to start investing.

Plus, it's a lot of fun reading analysis and opinions of the latest Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker movie, so I can keep up with what my nerd of a wife is waxing eloquent about.

Now that we've explored why Quora is a powerful channel for brand awareness and distributing content, let's explore who you'll find on Quora and how to know which audience(s) to target.

How to Find Your Audience on Quora

Quora has a greater concentration of P18+ users with a HHI > $100K than other publishers such as WSJ, LinkedIn, HuffPost, and Reddit.

Additionally, Quora users are highly educated, with 65% having a college degree and 28% having a graduate college degree. In addition, 54% report having a HHI > $100K annually.

Here are a few ways to find your audience on Quora:

  1. Start searching on Quora. Leverage existing high-performing keywords and topics, and look for question opportunities that offer a solid follower count on topics. This will give you a good idea of potential audience size for a given topic.
  2. Search your competitors. Are people talking about them? Are they active on the platform writing answers or running ads? If not, then take advantage of this by adopting the platform first. If they are utilizing Quora, you might be missing out on engaging conversions with potential customers.
  3. Create an ad account. https://www.quora.com/business
  4. Install the Quora Pixel. Add the pixel on your website and then create a website audience to understand how many of your website visitors are on Quora.
  5. Create a List Match Audience. Upload your email list in Quora Ads Manager to understand the match rate and overlap. Most Quora users use their personal email address when signing up so business email won't work as well here.

Now that you've identified and targeted your ideal Quora audience, let's dive into how you can create a robust marketing flywheel on the platform.

The Quora Flywheel Effect

The flywheel effect, described by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, describes a massive, 5,000-pound metal disc mounted horizontally on an axle. He asks the reader to imagine pushing it, so that it turns around that axle. At first, getting it to move at all is extremely difficult. But with each push, it gets fractionally easier and the flywheel begins to pick up speed.

It's a great metaphor for marketing, and Quora is one of the only platforms where marketers can create a robust marketing flywheel.

Here are three best-practices you can employ to create your own momentum on Quora:

  • Share: contribute to the conversation by adding and answering questions. This is how you will demonstrate your expertise.
  • Engage: interact with high-intent audiences and potential prospects by being an active participant on Quora. Upvoting, commenting, and resharing answers shows that you're interested in being a part of the community.
  • Thought leadership: gain authority and establish trust on topics by consistently providing valuable answers and a unique point of view. This leads to more followers and people asking you to answer their questions.

How to Get Started on Quora in 4 Easy Steps

The truth is, thought leadership doesn't have to be costly or difficult. Remember 300+ million people come to Quora every month to learn more about the world around them, which includes your products or services.

According to the 2019 study of B2B content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 9 in 10 of the "most successful" B2B content marketers prioritize their audience's informational needs over their own sales/promotional messages.

Since the questions on Quora are demand-driven, it's an excellent platform for marketers looking to address the informational needs of their audience.

Step 1: Contribute to the Conversation

To turn the flywheel, you must contribute to the conversation. On Quora, that means answering questions. Your answers demonstrate your expertise, give you credibility as a thought leader, and position your voice in conversations about your industry or products.

They are seen by people actively looking for an answer and who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Plus, your answers can lead to further exposure, since many Quora answers show up in Google searches, or sometimes get picked up by the media, like how Justin Kan's answer got featured in Apple News:

As a writer, your answers are algorithmically matched to people who are interested in the topic. This helps ensure that the right people see what you write — people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

These can range between a few thousand to hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers per topic. Because of the way Quora sends out your answer, you have the ability to reach these topic followers right away, before they're even following you as an individual.

How to Map Question Intent to the Buyer's Journey

According to CMI, 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put audience's informational needs first. This means producing content that directly addresses customer issues and intent.

On Quora it's important to understand the intent of demand-driven questions as it relates to the buyer's journey. Many marketers split the journey into three distinct sections.

  1. Top of the funnel (TOFO) focuses on brand awareness and site traffic. ToFu content grabs attention. "What is . . ." questions.
  2. Middle of the funnel (MOFU) focuses on lead generation and nurture. MOFU content educates and informs. "How to . . ." questions.
  3. Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) focuses on conversion to paid service or product. BOFU content is personalized and product focused. Product review and comparison questions.

Generally, the broader the question, the more views it will receive as it appeals to a larger audience. For example, "What does CRM stand for?" is a general question that has over 100 answers and 40k views.

In contrast, the more specific the question, the lower in the funnel it is thus receiving less views since it appeals to a smaller audience. For example, "What is a good CRM tool for a small e-commerce business, or alternatively, marketing software which includes a CRM function is a very specific question with 20 answers and over 4,600 views.

The middle stage of the funnel is the best place to influence and shape the buyer's journey.

Which is why Quora is such an attractive platform for marketers. Since people come to Quora looking for answers and solutions, it only makes sense to have your brand present in order to capture this high-intent audience.

Winning on Quora with High-Quality Answers

Now that you have identified topics and questions related to your business, it's time to answer them. Ask yourself, what makes you an expert or thought leader and why should others care?

To get started, simply answer questions relevant to your industry and expertise. Look for missing information in available answers and provide additional informational value. Authentic and credible answers will grow your following faster which, in turn, will increase answer views.

Jason Lemkin, SaaStr founder and former ceo/co-founder of EchoSign, is a great example of someone who has really invested in the Quora flywheel. He's been a writer on Quora since 2010, and has written over three thousand answers on Quora, gaining 46k followers and over 54M answer views. Jason realizes the value of thought leadership on Quora, which has fueled the growth of his annual SaaS specific conference, SaaStr.

Content marketing on Quora looks a little different compared to a company blog or a social media post. Content on Quora is usually in the form of high-quality answers related to your industry and/or business. But what does high-quality mean?

On Quora, it means answering the question that is asked (don't try to fit your answer into an existing question, if it's not a good fit), being thoughtful and unique, using good formating, and providing your rational and experiences to back up points.

Providing the best answer is key for driving success on Quora. Remember, the primary goal isn't the amount of views, it's providing the best answer to your audience's question.

Here are a few guidelines for what makes good content on Quora:

  1. Demonstrate credibility, and make sure you're factually correct.
  2. Structure your answers clearly and ensure they're easy to read (formatting, actionable items, images, etc … ).
  3. Include unique or interesting facts, personal stories of failures, mishaps, or successes.
  4. Bonus tip: Answer a question as quickly as possible after it's posted. The question will be fresh in the mind of the person who posted it, and they'll be more likely to upvote your answer or engage you further.

Plus, answers continue to be useful on Quora, even years after they are written. If you write answers that don't "expire," they will continue to be read and useful for future audiences.

Convey Expertise with Your Quora Profile

When you start writing answers, it's important to convey your expertise and build trust by filling out your Quora credentials and bio. Unlike other user-generated Q&A sites, users on Quora create profiles based on their real identities.

Quora has active moderation policies in place to ensure that discourse is civil, content quality is high, and people feel safe sharing their knowledge.

By adding your title, company, bio, interests, and website links, you signal who you are and why readers should trust your answers. It also helps people find you when searching for experts and/or the best people to answer their questions.

Step 2: Engage with Your Audience on Quora

There's a natural exchange of information that happens on Quora. People answer questions by sharing their knowledge and experiences and users upvote, comment, and share answers they find useful and helpful. Community engagement helps ensure the best answers surface to the top of questions and get more visibility in your home feed.

However, there are some marketers who only use Quora to write self-promotional answers and don't engage with the community. Be better than that.

Engage with the Quora community and your target audience to establish yourself as a trusted member. For example, if someone comments on your answer, give a response rather than letting it go unnoticed. That's what Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and Founder of DuckDuckGo, does in his answers, and the community rewards him for it.

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

A great way to start engaging on Quora is to follow influencers for topic areas of interests. Our influencers are the 10 writers with the most answer views in the last 30 days called "Most Viewed Writers." For example, if you're interested in Lead Generation then start following the Most Viewed Writers of this topic to get an idea of the types of questions they're answering, how often they write answers, and their writing style.

Then, take note of how the community responds by reviewing their engagement, which questions are getting the most views, and where information gaps exist to determine how your answer could provide unique value to a reader. And don't forget to interact with them by upvoting and commenting on their answers.

Another way to engage with the Quora community is by asking questions. By asking questions, you can solicit ideas and experiences from an audience you've selected and quickly gain visibility.

Plus, you can perform market research to gauge audience interest about potential products or services by adding specific questions. If the question isn't on Quora, add it and provide the answer. This is great for questions commonly asked about your company like FAQs.

Be an active participant on Quora, engage with the community, follow other thought leaders and top writers to grow your influence as a trusted member.

Step 3: Gain Authority and Establish Trust with Your Followers

You're doing it. Your flywheel is picking up speed as you consistently answer questions and actively engage with the community.

If you're an expert in productivity tools, don't just write about how much you know. Write answers and provide a point of view tackling specific challenges in the world of team productivity tools. Not only will your audience be more interested in reading an answer that could help them, but you'll earn their trust and gain credibility.

Let's take a look at Asana, a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. They built a presence on Quora through the voice of their co-founder and head of product, Justin Rosenstein. His answer to a 2015 question on top productivity tips has been viewed more than 456,000 times and was featured in Forbes, Inc., Time, and Quartz.

Content Distribution and Amplification

Distribution is often a neglected area of content marketing, but it's crucial to success. Even if you write the greatest piece ever, it doesn't mean much if no one sees it. If you have content you've already written on your blog or website, repurpose it into a helpful answer on Quora.

Get more mileage out of previously written content by sharing it to grow your audience and influence on Quora. Sharing your blog post as a Quora answer rather than a Quora blog post is preferable in most cases, since questions already have a following and are more easily discoverable by search engines.

Consider making Quora your one source of truth for FAQs related to your organization. Ask and answer your list of FAQs on Quora, and link to them from the FAQ page on your website. Or link to Quora answers that serve as testimonials for your business. If there's content on Quora that helps people understand what you do and promotes your business, make sure they find it by linking to it.

If you're looking to increase awareness of your Quora content consider these two ideas:

  • Amplify distribution with other social media networks: Share your Quora answers with your existing social media audience. You can do this easily by clicking the Facebook or Twitter icons below the answer.
  • Direct your customers to your answers: Share links to your Quora answers with visitors to your website, or email subscribers. It's a great way to help them learn more about a question or topic without having to fit all of the information in a small text field.

Another key factor for consideration when you're evaluating the ROI of writing on Quora is this: Your answers aren't just available through our site. Quora pages consistently rank highly in Google searches, generally on the first page of results, and oftentimes, as the number one result. Quora's strong SEO directs people from Google to your answers so more than just the established Quora community can read it.

Measuring Performance

How do you figure out where to spend your time on Quora? Quora offers a free analytics tool that allows you to track your questions, answers and blog posts by clicks, views, shares, and upvotes. Use this information to determine what works best on the platform so you can focus on sharing content that engages the community.

Step 4: Accelerate Growth with Promoted Answers

The research also revealed that 84% of respondents have used paid distribution channels in the last 12 months (91% among the top performers).

Businesses and individuals often want to reach a larger audience on the platform for their answers. With Promoted Answers, anyone with a Quora Ads account can extend the reach of their answers on Quora.

Promoted Answers have the same targeting capabilities that are available for all other ad formats on Quora, allowing both businesses and individuals to build a following that will be ready to engage with future answers they write.

How Promoted Answers Work

Promoted Answers allow you to share detailed information about your product or service that goes beyond the characters allowed in normal ad copy. They also facilitate engagement through upvotes, comments, and follows.

Promoted Answers are a great way for businesses to join and steer the conversation surrounding your brand.

When it comes to the types of answers that one could promote, businesses can use Promoted Answers to share detailed information about their product or service. Thought leaders can boost their existing content on Quora to bolster their presence and build a following.

Here are some best practices on using Promoted Answers to boost your content:

  1. Establish thought leadership. Answers a business might promote are positive employee experiences or thought leadership answers by a company founder.
  2. Write answers that are useful. Provide knowledge that is reusable by anyone who is interested in the question.
  3. Choose high-quality answers. A good answer is credible, factually correct, and helpful to anyone who wants to know the answer to the question.
  4. Ensure that the answer isn't too short. Clicks are measured when someone clicks on the preview of the Promoted Answer to read it in full.

Quora Ads enable your organization to:

  • Reach a coveted audience. Quora has a worldwide audience of more than 300 million unique visitors. They give advertisers the opportunity to connect during the consideration phase of the buyer's journey, making their ad platform ideally suited to influence future decisions.
  • Target for greater efficiency. Reach and influence your target audience through contextual and behavioral targeting options. You can choose to target certain content on Quora or reach people signaling an interest in your product or service.
  • Deliver your message in a premium environment. On Quora, your message will only appear alongside content that's on par with your brand. Quora values content quality above all else. Users trust the platform to provide expert answers and surface topics relevant to their interests.
  • Measurable results. Quora's ads platform makes it easy to measure the ROI of your campaigns. View standard metrics in ads manager and track conversions using Quora Pixel or integrate with our third party measurement partners.

Lily Rouff, Social Media Strategist at DuckDuckGo, recognized early there were already several conversations happening about their service and competitors on Quora.

As a result, they decided to accelerate the flywheel by promoting answers written by their CEO and founder, Gabriel Weinberg, to augment their presence on the platform in an authentic way.

Rouff told me, "We've been really excited about the [Promoted Answers] CTR. I think it just goes to show how engaged the Quora community is."

"When users are looking for answers already, they're obviously going to be a bit more engaged. We're investing in Quora because our Promoted Answers really seem to resonate with Quora's audience."

By leveraging both community content marketing and paid advertising, DuckDuckGo takes full advantage of Quora's flywheel generating over 1.8 billion views on their answers.

Quora is a unique marketing platform where businesses can share knowledge to build their brand and engage their target audience with industry thought leadership and content marketing. Businesses can also influence high-intent buyers with relevant, highly targeted ads on the platform.

To review, here are three ways to get started on Quora:

1. Build Your Brand

  • Get exposure to the more than 300 million monthly visitors to Quora, reaching a large audience from day one, without having to build up a large following.
  • Leverage personalized content distribution to millions of users via the Quora Feed and the Quora Digest.
  • Content written on Quora is evergreen, delivering leads and driving influence even years after being written.

2. Engage Your Audience

  • Personal and Business Profiles can be used to answer questions about your product or service.
  • Establish your brand and leaders within your organization as experts by answering questions about your industry or vertical.

3. Influence with Quora Ads

  • Use Quora Ads to influence high-intent prospects during the research and consideration phase.
  • People come to Quora to research important decisions. Questions on Quora are organized into topics and there is a wide diversity of topics on the platform today.

Ultimately, thought leadership on Quora can be a fun, interesting hobby or personally rewarding, but also is something that every business and leader should be investing time in.

Marketers focused on delivering high-quality, engaging, and inspiring content can positively influence the buyer's journey to purchase.


17 Ways to Get Free Advertising for Your Business

When you work at a small business with a limited budget, it’s not really possible to shell out $340,000 for a 30-second TV commercial or $10,000 for an email marketing campaign.

It can be frustrating when your budget dictates how many people your business can reach.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of free ways to supplement your paid advertising efforts. By incorporating free advertising tactics into your strategy, you can remove some nonessential costs and dedicate your budget to deeper, more long-term plays.

In fact, we suggest some of these methods regardless of your budget.

To help you spread the word about your business without breaking the bank, we’ve compiled these 14 ways to get advertising for free.

1. Use Google My Business to optimize for local search.

One of the most powerful free ways to advertise your business is through Google My Business, which enables companies to manage their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. The tool can bolster your rankings in local search results.

Ranking high in local search shows you’re a legitimate and relevant company: you wouldn’t rank #1 in Google for “pizza places near me” if you’d closed down six months ago. Plus, if you rank high in local search, more consumers will choose your business over a competitor’s. In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key.

Click here or scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to advertise on Google for free.

2. Check out Yext.

The more places your business is listed online, the better your chances of showing up in search results, and the easier it is for potential customers to find you. To ensure great local SEO, the details of your listings on every website and online directory need to match up.

For instance, if your website lists your company’s new phone number, but Yelp lists your old one, this inconsistency could hurt your SEO.

Yext scans the web to find every place your business is listed, so you can tweak your listings to guarantee accuracy.

3. Write guest posts for other blogs.

There are a few major advantages to guest posting for a well-established blog. You can benefit from connecting to that blog’s audience, and you can also start establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Since guest posting on a popular blog allows you access to an established audience and high domain authority, this practice can sometimes be more beneficial than posting to your own blog. Plus, you can link back to your own website from your article, giving you an inbound link that boosts your domain authority and can increase your own website's ranking in search engines.

4. Answer Quora questions.

Writing content for Quora can expose your business to a large audience: in 2018, Quora reported a worldwide audience of 300 million monthly visitors.

Besides the large built-in audience, your business can answer direct questions from prospective customers. This lets you interact with high-quality potential leads and establish yourself as an expert in the subjects that matter most in your industry.

5. Publish content on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a platform to connect with professionals, which is why it’s also a great place to share business-related content. LinkedIn’s blogging platform lets you demonstrate your expertise within your industry.

Your connections and other LinkedIn members will engage with your posts and share them, doing the free promotion for you. With almost half of all social media traffic coming to B2B company sites from LinkedIn, it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t publish and promote content on LinkedIn.

6. Offer to do interviews on other business’ podcasts.

To figure out which platforms your team should prioritize, it’s important to diversify your promotion platforms to discover where your audience is already consuming content. Some of your audience might prefer listening to podcasts over reading articles. To reach those people, contact a few businesses with podcasts and pitch interview ideas.

7. Promote your website on your email signature.

With all the emails you send every day, it’s a shame if you aren't taking advantage of the promotional potential of your email signature. Your email signature can also be unexpected property to promote a sale, contest, event, or even a new blog post.

Add a link to your business' website on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles, as well.

8. Send email newsletters.

An email newsletter can be a useful vehicle to promote content, share business-related news, and build deeper relationships with both potential and existing customers. There are plenty of free tools out there that assist you in designing, sending, and optimizing your newsletter.

With the right time investment, an email newsletter can be the perfect place to share quality content with leads and potential consumers, establishing your brand as helpful and informative.

9. Network at in-person events when possible.

Connecting with fellow professionals at industry networking events is a great opportunity to meet potential consumers in a place where they are eager to discuss your business. The niche topics of networking events ensure you’re meeting high-qualified leads. For example, a “Best Technology Startups of 2020” event will primarily be filled with participants who are interested in technology and startups.

Particularly for small businesses looking to make their first connections, networking is a chance to get your name out there, meet potential partners, and find opportunities for growth. Plus, it’ll keep you up-to-date on trends in your industry.

10. Speak at an event when possible.

Similar to networking, speaking at an event about a topic related to your industry is another way to exhibit your expertise. Giving a thought-provoking and powerful speech will draw attention to you and, by association, your business, which can increase brand awareness and prove your business is qualified to tackle consumer’s challenges.

To start, brainstorm different topics and volunteer at various upcoming networking events and trade association conventions. If you’re afraid of public speaking (don’t worry, a lot of us are), you could enroll in a local Toastmasters chapter to improve your game.

11. Do a free product giveaway or contest

A product giveaway or contest is an easy way to incentivize new viewers to check out and subscribe to your social media channels or website. Plus, handing out inexpensive branded products like t-shirts or mugs is a good way to spread your brand name.

Word-of-mouth is alive and well — and a little swag can go a long way.

12. Put up brochures or flyers.

Putting up brochures or flyers in local libraries, coffee shops, and businesses is a unique way to market to offline locations where people spend a good deal of their time.

You can create free brochures and flyers on PowerPoint or Canva. Depending on your industry, it might even help you reach an ideal clientele: if you’re a physical therapist, for example, perhaps you could hand out brochures to local gyms or nearby hospitals.

13. Create YouTube videos.

YouTube has more than two billion active users, which accounts for almost half of everyone on the internet. 

Moreover, in a recent study, 84% of people said they’ve been convinced to buy something after watching a brand’s video, and people reported being twice as likely to share videos with their friends than any other type of content.

Creating engaging, informative, and share-able YouTube videos is one of the most efficient ways to sell your brand. If done right, your YouTube videos will entertain viewers enough to share your content and seek out your website.

14. Take advantage of your partnerships.

Partnerships are an opportunity to offer supplementary services that you don't provide. For example, a web design company and a copywriting agency might choose to partner together, so when a client requires written content for her web pages, the web design company can offer copywriting services from their partner.

This increases consumer satisfaction, and it also provides exceptional advertising opportunities. When your partner’s consumers need your services, your partner will point them in your direction.

15. Post on social media.

Nowadays, social media is crucial to most marketing strategies. Luckily, most types of social media platforms and posts are free — even to businesses. While many platforms will let you advertise, you can still post or tweet for no cost if you're on a budget.

Pick the platforms that best suit your audience. Then, post links, photos, videos, or text posts about your company, product launches, or any other occurrence that you'd like to promote.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a suitable place to start for most businesses. They all offer a way to share video, text, photo, and link-based posts and have large user bases. To learn more about other forms of social media, check out this post.

16. Experiment with photo and video platforms.

While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn could be great platforms to start on, expanding to platforms like Instagram or Pinterest will give you more opportunities to show product shots or embrace the heavily-visual strategy of influencer marketing.

Aside from spreading awareness with free images of your product or service, most social platforms, including Facebook, offer live video and story features which can allow you to create video promotion related to your products. For example, you might use Instagram Stories or Facebook Live as an outlet to publish tutorials of how to use your products.

Because these videos and photos are on social, you can also boost their shareability by hashtagging them, creating interesting captions, and encouraging fans to react with actions like "likes" or comments.

17. Encourage happy customers to give online reviews.

Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to market your product. Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, especially when there are many great testimonies.

If you have happy customers, encourage them to write a review about their experience on popular review platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. If you want great reviews on Facebook, be sure to create a Facebook Business page if you don't have one already.


As mentioned above, you can create a free page on Google My Business which can help you rank higher or first in search results. Here's how it works.

Create your Google My Business account.

First, you'll want to create a Gmail account for your business. Then you'll want to register for Google My Business with that account.

Google will first ask you to enter the name of your business. Then, you'll be asked to select a "Delivery Area." In this form, note the mileage and area where your target audience lives.

Google My Business Delivery Area Form

Optimize your business page.

After your setup process is complete, you'll be able to fill out your profile. As you do this, you ideally want to fill out all the information Google requests for the best search optimization.

A few key things you'll want to include will be:

  • Your address
  • A phone number, email address, and other contact information.
  • Your website
  • Hours of operation
  • Photos of your business and products
  • A detailed description on what your business offers
  • Pricing or menu information
  • The year your company opened
  • Other business attributes such as "free Wi-Fi."

The above items are things locals might search specifically for. For example, if someone searches for a "cheap Mexican restaurant open after 8pm", Google will examine the details in business profile and prioritize your restaurant if it seems like a great match.

Here's an example of what it looks like when a Google business fills out all their information:

cambridgeside galleria google business listing

Verify and monitor your business page.

Once you've created your Google My Business profile, be sure to verify your listing so Google knows it's a real, legitimate business. There are a few ways to do this including email, postcard, and phone verification.

You can also download the GMB app to monitor how your business is doing on a smartphone. This post walks you through the different verification processes.

Don't forget about SEO.

Along with Google My Business, taking advantage of free SEO strategies can also help your website rise higher in search results. These tactics can be simple and easy to work into blogging, web design, or other processes. Download this template to help you plan your SEO strategy this year.

Don't let your advertising budget dictate how many people your business can reach. Try these 17 free advertising tactic to promote your products and services and bring in new revenue.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


How to Prepare an Advertising Plan [Free Template]

Oftentimes, turning an idea for an advertising campaign into reality isn't exactly simple.

Among other things, you must get buy-in from other teams, earn approval from leadership, negotiate your budget, and present a clear path for return on investment (ROI).

The best way to clearly share your proposal (and its costs, stakeholders, the amount you expect to earn, etc.) is with a concrete and detailed advertising plan.

Follow Along With HubSpot's Free Ad Plan Template

An advertising plan will help you formulate and organize your thoughts and ideas so you can ensure your campaign is an effective one, too. 

In this post, we'll highlight the major sections you should include in your advertising plan so you can guarantee your next campaign is a success.

Pro Tip: HubSpot created the following advertising plan template for you to download so you can organize your advertising campaign — it's broken down into relevant sections and can be shared with your stakeholders when it’s completed.

advertising planning kitDownload this Advertising Planning Kit

Now let's dive into how you can prep your ad plan. 


Before you jump into your tactical advertising ideas, the first step in the process is to provide those reading your ad plan with a high-level overview of your initiative.

1. Provide an overview of your advertising plan.

Specify the following elements so anyone reading your plan will have a basic understanding of what your campaign is and what you're trying to accomplish:

  • Campaign Name: Make the campaign name catchy, unique, and easily identifiable so your team can get behind it.
  • Campaign Description: What is the purpose of your campaign? Explain in 2-3 paragraphs what the inspiration behind your campaign is, how it aligns with your company initiatives, what customer problems you're solving, and what the final deliverables of the campaign will be.
  • Target Audience: Ideally, who's on the receiving end of these ads? You can be specific to age, sex, region, or any number of demographics, or name which of your buyer personas you're targeting.
  • Advertising Platforms: How will you be getting your message across? Here, identify the platform you'll be using, since you'll get more into the details of what the actual ads will look like in a later section.
  • Goals and ROI: Explain what the end goal of your campaign is. Most ad campaigns are intended to produce a direct profit or return on investment, so if that's your goal, identify that number. If your campaign goal is something else — event sign-ups, product awareness, etc. — be sure to identify and quantify it.

2. Choose your platforms.

Here's where you'll provide more detail on the advertisements themselves and on which platform they will be promoted. For each ad you intend to run in this campaign, you should provide the following:

  • Platform name
  • Ad type
  • Description of the ad
  • Timeline
  • Budget

For example, your content in this section might look like this:

Platform #1: YouTube

  • Advertisement Type: Video
  • Description of Ad: A 15-second pre-video ad. The video will be an animated look at our new app with a link to the app store at when someone clicks.
  • Timeline: July 1 – July 31
  • Budget: $10,000

3. Develop your timeline.

Working on an ad campaign takes a ton of time and resources, so everyone involved will want to know what tasks they're responsible for, when they're due, and how long they have to do them. In this part of your advertising plan, list the tasks that are due, when they are due, and who's responsible for accomplishing them.

4. Outline your budget.

Because ROI isn't guaranteed, the budget can be the toughest part of your advertising project to get approved — which is why it's important to break up your requests by line item and present them in your plan.

Rather than simply stating, "We need $65,000 for this project", organize your budget into a detailed visual, like the example below.

outline your advertising plan

Download this Template for Free

Naturally, you can (and should) expect questions and pushback on certain line items.

For example, you may be asked to find another designer or video freelancing team who can complete the job for less money. So, arrive at meetings prepared to defend which costs are necessary for the campaign's success and which expenses can be reconsidered.

5. Explain your DACI framework.

The DACI framework outlines who the key contributors in the project are and what each of their responsibilities entail.

Here's how a DACI framework is broken down:

  • (D)river: As you might have guessed, this person is the project's main driver or directly responsible individual. (Chances are, this will be either you or your direct manager.) The driver will coordinate all of the moving pieces of the project, seeing it through from inception to wrap-up.
  • (A)pprover: This will be the person who must approve a project and is typically a director, VP, or manager. They'll give feedback, recommendations, or approval on the overall project and have a final say in all project deliverables.
  • (C)ontributors: Contributors will be the individuals who are responsible for creating one or more deliverables for the project. In an advertising campaign, this can include copywriters, video producers, animators, designers, and digital advertising specialists.
  • (I)nformed: These are employees who are kept in the loop as the project goes on. Examples include the department heads and the managers of project contributors. These people have no direct responsibilities but benefit from knowing about the project and its status.

Your DACI framework should include the name of each stakeholder, his or her contact information (email, phone, and/or Slack handle), and that person's responsibility or deliverable.

This framework makes project delegation crystal clear for everyone involved.

6. Provide additional resources.

This will act as the appendix of your advertising plan. Share the ad campaign that inspired this one with your readers, link to the product page you'll be promoting with this initiative, or link to your company's brand style guide — this way, designers and writers get a refresh on how to create externally-facing content.

7. Host a campaign kickoff meeting.

After you complete the outline, hop on a call with your team to explain the campaign concept, timeline, and deliverables. Compile all of them in HubSpot's advertising project pitch deck and present your advertising plan. Then, open up the floor for any questions and suggestions with project contributors.

Over to You

Now that you know how to write your advertising plan, it's time to lay your ideas, budget, and timeline out in HubSpot's Advertising Plan Template. Download it for free to get your advertising campaign project plan off the ground.

(For further inspiration, take a look at The 18 Best Advertisements of All Time.)

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


6 Advertising Tips to Draw Customers In

Today, I was scrolling through the Bon Appetit website, and by the end of my visit, I'd signed up for their newsletter.

When I saw their newsletter advertisement, it was so effective that I just couldn't help myself.

Good ads get consumers to stop and stare. Effective ads inspire engagement. And when I saw this, I stopped scrolling, laughed, and typed in my email:

Bon Appetit ad


This ad successfully combines humor and relatable language to compel me to subscribe — additionally, it solved a "problem" (learning how to cook pasta) I didn't know I had. Those are three elements that can make an amazing ad.

Oftentimes, marketers assume a good ad can only be made with a big budget. They also believe ads are most effective if they're busy or loud.

While these factors do contribute to an enjoyable ad experience, ads certainly aren't limited without them. In fact, some of the most effective ads I've come across have none of them.

The ad above, for example, isn't busy or flashy at all, yet it's still an example of a good ad. In this post, let's explore six components for creating a good, engaging ad.

These methods can include customer testimonials, a sense of urgency, data points, or a compelling, moving story.

Ads don't need to employ every method to be successful. In fact, picking one to three of these components can still make a dazzling, engaging ad experience for consumers.

The basics every ad should have — like engaging graphics — are covered in this excellent post about ad creation.

The tips we've outlined below can help you elevate and refine your ads to ensure they delight your viewers and draw them in.

Use these tips as a reference when creating an ad or refining for finishing touches. They can be that last step before an A/B test, or a starting step when brainstorming content ideas.

1. Use keywords to rank on search.

Remember, keywords help rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). If a marketer wants to place an ad using Google, but doesn't use any keywords in their ad, it can be ineffective.

For instance, let's say I was Googling a laptop for professional use. I type "business laptop" into Google. This is the first ad that comes up:

Dell ad on Google

From this ad, I can tell that business laptops are being sold at Dell, which is what I want. Using ambiguous language in an ad doesn't bring much traffic. It also doesn't help consumers know what's being sold.

A small business would benefit using their industry or their product when advertising, especially if the product is in a niche market.

2. Solve a problem for your audience.

Your product or service solves a problem, and you probably know that advertising should tell the audience about how your product or service is a solution. If you're thinking this method is outdated, it doesn't have to be.

For instance, rather than taking out an ad in a newspaper or spending huge money on a billboard, you can use Twitter for Advertisers — a tool that lets users shop from the app by clicking on a link.

Take a look at Kohl's ad, which was created on Twitter's platform:

Copy such as "For the whole family" solves the problem of a busy parent needed to go to different stores for clothes shopping. This ad is effective, showing siblings of different ages modeling clothing in a comfortable home setting.

By clicking on the ad, consumers will be able to see every piece the models are wearing, the price, and even purchase items without leaving the app.

3. Ask your audience important questions.

Asking questions engages idle consumers. A question gets browsers thinking, much like the copy from this ad from BuzzFeed on Facebook:

BuzzFeed ad on Facebook


The language in this ad is fresh, young, and personable. If I were idly scrolling Facebook, I'd pause on this ad because I'm always looking for an easier way to shop. Here, BuzzFeed recognizes a pain point of its readers and pulls readers into the article by identifying it with a question.

The way the relatable question is posed would make me look at the ad, while the no-frills design of the ad (a simple photo), coupled with the call-to-action, ("Get This Amazing Deal Today") would make me open the ad.

That initial pull to the ad is possible due to the question. Ultimately, by beginning your ad by posing a question that piques interest, you're inviting viewers to click.

4. Include a customer or user testimonial.

The reason consumers love websites like Yelp so much is that it's an entire platform of customer reviews about a product or service that help consumers make more informed decisions.

For instance, check out this ad for TriNet:

Example of TriNet ad


"Learn how one CEO imagines passion in the people who work there." — this copy effectively notates a powerful key player of business and caters to thought leadership.

The headline, "These Employees Know Their Work in Making a Real Difference in the World," is a powerful sentence that plays to emotions — it makes readers think, "Am I making a difference in the world? How are they? I should click on the ad and find out."

By letting satisfied customers speak for you, you can deliver an ad message that's personalized and relatable. Additionally, having that boost of a real-world interpretation of your product or service makes you more reputable.

5. Evoke a sense of urgency in your copy.

Using a tone that's urgent makes consumers feel like they need a product in their life. Take this ad, for example:

MasterControl ad example on LinkedInSource

This copy carries a sense of urgency to download the whitepaper. The caption introduces the ad and says what the ad doesn't, saving space for more copy, and making sure all the important things are included.

Notice how the ad copy mirrors a CTA. To create urgency in your advertisement, you might consider using call-to-action language, such as "Learn," or "Discover," which engages browsers in a way that's professional and knowledgeable.

6. Use data points.

Numbers are informative. Statistics and data visualizations get the mind moving and bring numbers to life. And the best part is, numbers aren't just for ads about sales or data points.

For instance, this promoted tweet has nothing to do with statistics or data collection. It's a blog post for an Amazon round-up of bags, plants, and more knick-knacks.

As a consumer trying to waste time on social media, a blog post about 30 A-plus purchases from Amazon sounds like music to my ears. The relatable language of "100x Again" is a clever way of including numbers that are convincing without confusing or boring the audience.

Ultimately, numbers make an ad seem impressive, show research, and also connect with a younger crowd, making an ad more clickable.

When planning out your ads, consider whether or not you would be engaged if you saw it, and use tools that help achieve that vision.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


36 Account-Based Marketing Stats to Know in 2020

As marketers, we've become experts in our target audiences. We know their typical demographic, what they like, the platforms they spend time on, and what they value in a product.

But unlike sales reps -- who talk to and learn from our biggest prospects each day -- we don't always know tiny, but crucial, details about the brands or people we most want to sell too. This might be why only 28% of salespeople say marketing is their best source of leads.

So, how do we bridge the gap to better help our sales teams sell to high-priority clients? The answer to this question could be account-based marketing (or ABM).

Rather than just marketing to a broad target audience and hoping someone calls your sales reps, ABM is a strategy where sales and marketing teams align from the start to create campaigns that cater to their most qualified leads and current customers.

For example, as part of an ABM strategy, sales reps might offer marketing teams data from customers, prospects, and those that didn't buy a product so that the marketers can create a targeted campaign that amplifies why their product is valuable and how it can help targets navigate daily pain points.

While inbound marketing is vital for pulling general audiences and demographics to your site, service, or store, account-based marketing can help you to reel in prospects or qualified leads that are most likely to buy your product.

To show you just how beneficial account-based marketing can be, while also informing you of the challenges it comes with, here are 36 stats you should know in 2020.

36 Account-Based Marketing Stats to Know in 2020

General ABM Stats

  • 67% of brands leverage account-based marketing. (HubSpot)
  • “Researching Accounts” and “Identifying Target Contacts” are the top two tactics used by marketers within an ABM model. (HubSpot)
  • Just one year ago, the top five account-based tactics were sales development rep outreach, digital advertising, direct mail, marketing email, and events. (TOPO)
  • Additionally, marketers strongly agree that personalized content (56%) and advanced data management (43%) are keys to ABM's success. (Forrester)
  • Most organizations intentionally only pursue 38% of their target accounts at one time. (TOPO)
  • By 2019, 55% of marketers rated their ABM strategy as “established” compared to just 43% in 2018. (Forrester)
  • Companies dedicated 29% of their marketing budgets to ABM in 2019. (Engagio)
  • It's estimated that ABM budgets saw an average increase of 41% in 2019. (TOPO)
  • 57% of professionals say their companies target 1,000 accounts or under with ABM. (TOPO)
target account list size average


  • At the beginning of 2018, only 18% of adopters had two years of experience in account-based marketing. (TOPO)
  • In 2018, 18% of account-based programs were run against current customers (larger organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue ran about 50% of these programs. (TOPO)
  • The most common metric marketers use to track ABM is revenue won. (HubSpot)
  • Two other metrics marketers most commonly track to measure ABM efforts are the number of pipelines created and account engagement. (Engagio)
  • In 2019, 7% of marketers reported a decrease in dedicated headcount for ABM teams, showing that this strategy is going mainstream and being implemented within regular processes. (Forrester)
  • In 2019, 40% of the average marketing team was dedicated to ABM. (Engagio)
  • 57% of marketers say their organizations have implemented ABM for more than one year. (TOPO)
average maturity of account based marketing tactics


Benefits and Challenges of ABM

  • Marketing and sales teams that take an ABM approach together can be up to six percent more likely to exceed their revenue goals than teams less ABM-advanced. (Forrester)
  • 62% of marketers say they can measure a positive impact since adopting ABM. (Forrester)
  • 80% of marketers say ABM improves customer lifetime values, while 86% say it improves win rates. (TOPO)
  • 87% of account-based marketers say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments. (ITSMA)
  • One in five accounts targeted through ABM becomes considered a qualified sales opportunity. (TOPO)
  • Organizations with a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) -- which is similar to a buyer persona -- achieve 68% higher account win rates. (TOPO)
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of top-performing account-based organizations now have a dedicated account based leader. (TOPO)
  • 70% of companies that started account-based initiatives in the first six months of 2019 have dedicated ABM leaders. (TOPO)
  • 42% of companies that missed their account-based objectives don't have dedicated leadership. (TOPO)
  • The most common challenge with ABM is delivering a personalized experience. (HubSpot)
  • The top three challenges of implementing ABM are creating a scalable strategy for multiple accounts, producing customized content, and coordinating programs across marketing, sales development, and sales teams. (TOPO)
biggest account based marketing tactics


ABM Technology

  • By 2021, over half of all sales phone calls will be analyzed by software. (TOPO)
  • The conversational intelligence market was estimated to grow by 3x in 2019. (TOPO)
  • Voice assistants will account for at least half of automated data entry by mid-2020. (TOPO)
  • An estimated 55% of sales data entry was eliminated by automation by 2020. (TOPO)

Smarketing Benefits and Challenges

  • Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates. (MarketingProfs)
  • The most common measurement of success for content marketing programs is Total Sales. (HubSpot)
  • 85% of marketers with an SLA think their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot)
  • Only 7% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were very high quality. (HubSpot)
  • Only 28% of salespeople said marketing was their best source of leads (HubSpot)

Creating an Effective ABM Strategy

As a marketer, it's important to know what makes ABM techniques successful and how they differ from other target audience marketing tactics.

Additionally, you'll want to learn about the companies you're interested in marketing to, similar to how you learn about a target audience. For example, before creating an ABM campaign, you'll want to learn about the pain points of companies in your industry, company missions, and what their top decision-makers value in a product or service.

Once you discover valuable data about the accounts you'd like to market to and feel ready to create a campaign, check out our Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing.