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20 Creative Agencies You Should Follow on Instagram

Instagram has evolved into a perfect visual platform for agencies, filled with photos of office parties, company outings, and creatives hard at work behind their Macs. And while there were more than a few pictures of agency pups and craft beers, Instagram has also become a place where agencies can share behind-the-scenes shots of their latest work and highlight their accomplishments.

While there probably aren’t that many CMOs who troll Instagram looking for their next agency partner, there is little competition and even more opportunity to make it your agency’s platform of choice for attracting new talent and clients — a differentiator when it comes to that next visual campaign.Click here to learn about using social media in every stage of the funnel.

If you are looking for some inspiration or just want some “inside” looks at a few agencies, then check out this ultimate — yet not exhaustive — list of ad agencies to follow on Instagram:

20 Creative Agencies To Follow on Instagram

1) Huge: @hugeinc

This meticulously curated Instagram from Huge is chock full of high-quality photography, graphic design inspiration, and quirky snaps of daily office antics. A must-follow if you want a glimpse of what life is like at a top agency.

 

2) Motherlondon: @motherlondon

Mother London, the world’s leading independent creative agency network, has a unique approach to Instagram. Each week, they hand over the reins to a different creative, allowing them to showcase their work and highlight their unique design perspective. The result is a truly inspiring feed that’s sure to inject a little inspiration into your daily life.

 

3) ustwo: @ustwo

Even though ustwo, a digital product studio, has worked with major brands like Google, Adidas, and Ford, their Instagram presence is surprisingly personal. Take a scroll through their gallery and you’ll find colorful photos of office events, team outings, and even birthdays alongside glimpses of their latest work.

 

4) Wolff Olins: @wolffolins

Wolff Olins‘ Instagram gives followers a glimpse at the agency’s work-hard-play-hard approach to creative strategy, including design inspiration and behind-the-scenes snaps.

 

5) Carrot Creative: @carrotcreative

If you subscribe to the notion that you can never see too many pictures of adorable dogs or awesome events, then Carrot Creative’s Instagram is for you. VICE’s full service digital agency serves up plenty of both in their frequent updates, along with photos of their team and their traveling flag.

 

6) Red Antler: @redantler

Brooklyn-based agency Red Antler is the epitome of cool and inventive New York charm, and their Instagram reflects this identity. Follow along for design inspiration, office culture, and photos of their work with startups.

 

7) Skirt PR: @skirtpr

The folks at Skirt PR know their way around a glamorous party. Whether it’s a cool boutique opening, a cozy cafe gathering, or a champagne celebration, you can follow along with the action on their Instagram. Their feed is also a colorful source of design inspiration — perfect for a mid-week pick-me-up.

 

8) Agency V CPH: @agencyvcph

If you ever feel like your life could use more Scandinavian minimalism, then you should add Agency V CPH to your list of accounts to follow. The Copenhagen-based agency shares pictures of sleek interiors, style inspiration from their clients, and city snapshots from the rainy streets of Copenhagen.

 

9) SPARK: @sparkbrand

SPARK‘s creative team takes followers behind the scenes and on location as they shoot and edit ads for brands like Hilton, Visit Florida, and The Dalí Museum. Their account is also worth a follow for the illustrations and other design work they regularly share.

 

10) BBDO San Francisco: @bbdosf

As their Instagram bio proudly declares, BBDO San Francisco is “all about The Work The Work The Work.” Their account showcases their recent campaigns, high-profile events (such as Cannes), and their team’s creative process — which involves bowling nights.

 

11) Anomaly: @anomaly

AdAge named Los Angeles-based shop Anomaly Agency of the Year in 2017, and we think their Instagram account is also a winner. With colorful snaps of daily office life, upcoming campaigns for clients, and scenic shots from their seven global locations, Anomaly is worth a follow. 

 

12) Martin Agency: @martinagency

You’ve seen Martin Agency’s impressive work for Geico, Chevrolet, and Oreos, but you probably didn’t know they have an affinity for flannel shirts and a love of street art. Martin Agency’s Instagram is an intimate look at how employees at one of the world’s most influential agencies work day-to-day.

 

13) Salted Stone: @saltedstone

This agency’s Instagram following may be small in comparison to some of the other accounts features here, but the quality of their content speaks for itself. Salted Stone, a California-based digital agency, uses Instagram to share behind-the-scenes peeks at their latest projects, industry events (like INBOUND), and favorite lunch spots.

 

14) Talk Shop Media: @talkshopmedia

No, your eyes don’t deceive you — that’s really Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge chowing down on some treats from one of Talk Shop Media’s clients. This digital marketing agency specializes in influencer relations, and their Instagram is like having a free pass to all the coolest events.

 

15) Goodby Silverstein & Partners: @goodby_silverstein

Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, was recently honored on Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People in Advertising list. Her agency’s Instagram account gives followers the opportunity to see how Johnson and her team produce major global campaigns.

 

16) RPA Advertising: @rpa_advertising

RPA Advertising’s Instagram account makes the daily office grind look pretty darn fun. The Santa Monica-based agency recently hosted a summer concert series, and — based on their feed — they keep the office kitchen stocked with plenty of healthy snacks.

 

17) Colle + McVoy: @collemcvoy

Dogs and design? Count us in. Colle + McVoy’s Instagram account puts the spotlight on their design work and company culture.

 

18) hzdg: @hzdg

hzdg’s Instagram account is a veritable treasure trove of design inspiration, ranging from their own work to the work of designers and artists their team admires. They even recently took followers on a virtual tour of the world’s most colorful places.

 

19) Social Distillery: @socialdistillery

Social Distillery is an Austin, Texas-based social media agency specializing in digital communications and consumer engagement. They might be a relatively small agency, but their Instagram account makes a big impression with snapshots of their energetic team and latest work.

 

20) st8mnt: @st8mnt

Last but certainly not least is st8mt, a Nashville-based branding agency that boasts powerful design chops and a laid-back company culture. Their Instagram is full of their recent work and company events. You could say it really makes, well, a statement

How does your agency use Instagram? Share your account with us in the comments.

How to Use Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel

 
How to Use Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel

Instagram has evolved into a perfect visual platform for agencies, filled with photos of office parties, company outings, and creatives hard at work behind their Macs. And while there were more than a few pictures of agency pups and craft beers, Instagram has also become a place where agencies can share behind-the-scenes shots of their latest work and highlight their accomplishments.

While there probably aren’t that many CMOs who troll Instagram looking for their next agency partner, there is little competition and even more opportunity to make it your agency’s platform of choice for attracting new talent and clients — a differentiator when it comes to that next visual campaign.Click here to learn about using social media in every stage of the funnel.

If you are looking for some inspiration or just want some “inside” looks at a few agencies, then check out this ultimate — yet not exhaustive — list of ad agencies to follow on Instagram:

20 Creative Agencies To Follow on Instagram

1) Huge: @hugeinc

This meticulously curated Instagram from Huge is chock full of high-quality photography, graphic design inspiration, and quirky snaps of daily office antics. A must-follow if you want a glimpse of what life is like at a top agency.

 

2) Motherlondon: @motherlondon

Mother London, the world’s leading independent creative agency network, has a unique approach to Instagram. Each week, they hand over the reins to a different creative, allowing them to showcase their work and highlight their unique design perspective. The result is a truly inspiring feed that’s sure to inject a little inspiration into your daily life.

 

3) ustwo: @ustwo

Even though ustwo, a digital product studio, has worked with major brands like Google, Adidas, and Ford, their Instagram presence is surprisingly personal. Take a scroll through their gallery and you’ll find colorful photos of office events, team outings, and even birthdays alongside glimpses of their latest work.

 

4) Wolff Olins: @wolffolins

Wolff Olins‘ Instagram gives followers a glimpse at the agency’s work-hard-play-hard approach to creative strategy, including design inspiration and behind-the-scenes snaps.

 

5) Carrot Creative: @carrotcreative

If you subscribe to the notion that you can never see too many pictures of adorable dogs or awesome events, then Carrot Creative’s Instagram is for you. VICE’s full service digital agency serves up plenty of both in their frequent updates, along with photos of their team and their traveling flag.

 

6) Red Antler: @redantler

Brooklyn-based agency Red Antler is the epitome of cool and inventive New York charm, and their Instagram reflects this identity. Follow along for design inspiration, office culture, and photos of their work with startups.

 

7) Skirt PR: @skirtpr

The folks at Skirt PR know their way around a glamorous party. Whether it’s a cool boutique opening, a cozy cafe gathering, or a champagne celebration, you can follow along with the action on their Instagram. Their feed is also a colorful source of design inspiration — perfect for a mid-week pick-me-up.

 

8) Agency V CPH: @agencyvcph

If you ever feel like your life could use more Scandinavian minimalism, then you should add Agency V CPH to your list of accounts to follow. The Copenhagen-based agency shares pictures of sleek interiors, style inspiration from their clients, and city snapshots from the rainy streets of Copenhagen.

 

9) SPARK: @sparkbrand

SPARK‘s creative team takes followers behind the scenes and on location as they shoot and edit ads for brands like Hilton, Visit Florida, and The Dalí Museum. Their account is also worth a follow for the illustrations and other design work they regularly share.

 

10) BBDO San Francisco: @bbdosf

As their Instagram bio proudly declares, BBDO San Francisco is “all about The Work The Work The Work.” Their account showcases their recent campaigns, high-profile events (such as Cannes), and their team’s creative process — which involves bowling nights.

 

11) Anomaly: @anomaly

AdAge named Los Angeles-based shop Anomaly Agency of the Year in 2017, and we think their Instagram account is also a winner. With colorful snaps of daily office life, upcoming campaigns for clients, and scenic shots from their seven global locations, Anomaly is worth a follow. 

 

12) Martin Agency: @martinagency

You’ve seen Martin Agency’s impressive work for Geico, Chevrolet, and Oreos, but you probably didn’t know they have an affinity for flannel shirts and a love of street art. Martin Agency’s Instagram is an intimate look at how employees at one of the world’s most influential agencies work day-to-day.

 

13) Salted Stone: @saltedstone

This agency’s Instagram following may be small in comparison to some of the other accounts features here, but the quality of their content speaks for itself. Salted Stone, a California-based digital agency, uses Instagram to share behind-the-scenes peeks at their latest projects, industry events (like INBOUND), and favorite lunch spots.

 

14) Talk Shop Media: @talkshopmedia

No, your eyes don’t deceive you — that’s really Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge chowing down on some treats from one of Talk Shop Media’s clients. This digital marketing agency specializes in influencer relations, and their Instagram is like having a free pass to all the coolest events.

 

15) Goodby Silverstein & Partners: @goodby_silverstein

Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, was recently honored on Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People in Advertising list. Her agency’s Instagram account gives followers the opportunity to see how Johnson and her team produce major global campaigns.

 

16) RPA Advertising: @rpa_advertising

RPA Advertising’s Instagram account makes the daily office grind look pretty darn fun. The Santa Monica-based agency recently hosted a summer concert series, and — based on their feed — they keep the office kitchen stocked with plenty of healthy snacks.

 

17) Colle + McVoy: @collemcvoy

Dogs and design? Count us in. Colle + McVoy’s Instagram account puts the spotlight on their design work and company culture.

 

18) hzdg: @hzdg

hzdg’s Instagram account is a veritable treasure trove of design inspiration, ranging from their own work to the work of designers and artists their team admires. They even recently took followers on a virtual tour of the world’s most colorful places.

 

19) Social Distillery: @socialdistillery

Social Distillery is an Austin, Texas-based social media agency specializing in digital communications and consumer engagement. They might be a relatively small agency, but their Instagram account makes a big impression with snapshots of their energetic team and latest work.

 

20) st8mnt: @st8mnt

Last but certainly not least is st8mt, a Nashville-based branding agency that boasts powerful design chops and a laid-back company culture. Their Instagram is full of their recent work and company events. You could say it really makes, well, a statement

How does your agency use Instagram? Share your account with us in the comments.

How to Use Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel

 
How to Use Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel

20 Uncommon Marketing Strategies That’ll Kickstart Your Startup


startup marketing strategies

Are you looking to build a huge audience for your startup?

Of course you are.

Everyone wants more signups, users, and subscribers. But the problem lies in how to get them quickly and without paying too much.

Thankfully, the secret to getting a huge launch for your new company isn’t to outspend everyone else.

Instead, you need to get creative with your marketing and make a big splash with out-of-the-box thinking.

This will provide you with bigger results than huge spending will ever be able to do.

This kind of creative, unexpected growth is often termed growth hacking. It’s a way to promote your business not just through marketing, but through all channels of your business.

It’s a guaranteed way to build massive success for your startup. Here are 20 ways to start growing your new business like never before.

1. Launch a referral program

If you want to develop a huge following very quickly, you need to look into referral marketing.

This is a basic strategy where you allow customers to help promote your product for you. It’s a simple concept, but it isn’t used nearly enough by most of the startups I’ve seen.

It’s especially critical to use since 92% of people trust personal recommendations more than all other forms of marketing.

trust personal recommendations

You want to get your customers excited to share the news of your startup with their friends and promote it heavily.

To do this effectively, don’t build a referral program from scratch. After all, other companies have done the hard work for you.

I recommend using a tool like Ambassador. It will handle all the difficult details of the referral program, allowing you to focus on the product creation and promotion.

1 Referral Software by Ambassador World Class Referral Programs

This is a great way to build a viral interest in what you have to offer.

2. Turn your product into a challenge

One of the biggest problems with viral marketing is that it’s often difficult to tell exactly what the company has to offer.

If you create a video that everyone loves, you might suffer a lack of recognition. A clever video might not necessarily explain your product or even direct viewers to buy.

So, what’s the solution? Make your product the focal point of the viral marketing campaign you decide to run.

Codecademy challenged people to learn to code as their 2012 New Year’s resolution. Since learning to code was easiest to do on their platform, it became a viral success.

Codecademy’s New Year’s campaign led to the site growing to its massive current user base.

Learn to code Codecademy

To make this work, try to find the exact need your product solves, and turn it into a challenge for others to solve that need. They’ll think of your startup when they do.

3. Start with an exclusive beta

It’s a part of human nature: We want what we can’t have.

By using a beta when you open your startup to new users, you can create a sense of exclusivity about your product, and get raving fans to sign up first.

This has been used by a huge number of startups to get their first users. Back in 2013, the Slack homepage indicated that you had to get an invitation to use their product.

Slack Circa 2013

This is a strategy that’s also been used with other startups like PayPal and Pinterest, and it’s one you can start using easily to promote your product.

4. Attend trade shows

If you’re not afraid to go offline, you can build a huge following by connecting with influencers at conferences and trade shows.

In the Ruby community, there are a handful of live events where developers meet to discuss what’s new in programming, like RubyConf and RailsConf.

By leveraging the relationships he had already built with developers, Mike Perham was able to promote his new program, Sidekiq, at these conferences.

This put Sidekiq swag into the hands of ideal customers and helped them grow into a huge company.

Sidekiq

This kind of offline promotion can be a massive way to grow your new business.

5. Give away stickers

While it might seem ridiculously simple, you can actually create a giant user base by giving away free stickers and placing them where people can see them publicly.

When he launched the community site Reddit, Alexis Ohanian spent $500 on stickers. This was the only investment the company made in marketing.

He traveled around the country, putting them in visible places and even giving them away to strangers. This unique marketing tactic was how Reddit grew into the site it is today.

reddit the front page of the internet

If you’re going to create multiple stickers to give away, I’d recommend using a company dedicated to printing custom stickers in bulk.

A site like StickerMule offers big discounts if you’re going to print hundreds of stickers, just as the founders of Reddit did to promote their startup.

Custom Stickers Free Shipping Sticker Mule

This can be a cost-effective way to stand out and create a massive movement of people interested in your startup.

6. Reach out to forum posters

If you want to target people who are likely to share the product or service your startup has to offer, look no further than users who post on related forums.

This was how Zapier helped build up their brand when they just started.

The Zapier team emailed influencers like Andrew Warner, who had posted feature requests on forums like StackExchange.

These kinds of requests usually went unanswered, and Zapier knew forum posters were desperate for answers.

crm How can I auto import contacts from PayPal into Highrise Web Applications Stack Exchange

They emailed the posters, letting them know that Zapier had created the feature they requested. This resulted in major influencers promoting them heavily.

Warner Tweet About Zapier

If you’re looking to create a huge audience of raving fans, you can help by alleviating the public pains people have expressed online.

To do this right, you’ll need to look at forums related to your product, create a solid solution, and promote it to the people most interested in the solution you’ve created.

It’s a great way to provide value and get promotion from that value.

7. Get featured in a major publication

If you want a massive spike in traffic, get featured in a major publication. Project management software I Done This grew into a large brand using this very strategy.

Team Progress Tracking Software I Done This

When they were featured in Lifehacker, their traffic spiked. Along with the increase in visitors came plenty of new users that helped the company grow even larger.

lifehacker traffic for idonethis

Start building relationships with large publications now. Share their content, engage with the editors, and don’t be overly promotional.

As you build a relationship, you may be able to announce features that help you land a surge in traffic from being spotlighted.

8. Reach out to a specific community

If you want to build a user base fast, you need to have a clear understanding of what your ideal customer looks like.

You can then create a piece of content specifically targeted to this community. The more specifically you can target this group, the more effective your campaign will be.

This is the strategy Dropbox used to go from 5,000 to 75,000 people on its waiting list overnight.

The founder created an explanation video of Dropbox’s key features, replete with references to memes and inside jokes that only the Digg community would understand.

When he posted this to Digg, the Dropbox explainer video went viral, launching the software into the stratosphere of success.

DropBox Demo YouTube

If you’re in tune with a large online community, this can be a great way to promote your startup in a viral way.

9. Become your product’s biggest user

If you’ve just started a company that involves user input, you’ll probably notice the site struggles to gain traction with few users.

This “chicken-and-egg” problem is difficult to escape. A small user base means little content, which discourages more users from joining.

To break out of this cycle with his startup Quora, founder Adam D’Angelo became one of the biggest users of the platform.

He answered a ton of questions in the early days, leading to more in-depth responses and setting the stage and expectation of quality content for the new site.

1 Adam D Angelo s Answers Quora

If you’re struggling with the same problem, the answer is the same. You should become the biggest user of your startup’s product.

10. Host a contest

If you want explosive growth with your startup, consider running a contest.

While we often consider contests to be an artificial way to get new users, it’s the exact strategy used by some of the most successful new ventures in the last decade.

YouTube grew to the biggest video-sharing website in the world by offering a free iPod Nano each day to users who uploaded videos and invited friends.

main qimg 20be2460b34a05e598121890949155fb

If you’re looking to grow your startup fast, this is a great way to begin.

The difference is that contests are much easier to run with the tools available now that didn’t exist when YouTube was starting up.

In today’s social media environment, Facebook is one of the best places to host a contest that will skyrocket your growth.

11. Convert users of a competing product

How can you identify users you know will love your product?

The answer might be as simple as targeting individuals who are currently using a similar product, but not getting very good results.

When Airbnb launched, they had a number of competitors in the same space.

To ensure they got a hefty number of new customers, they chose to reach out to people they knew who would benefit from the service.

Vacation Rentals Homes Experiences Places Airbnb

To acquire new users, they ran an email campaign targeting people who posted their places to stay on Craigslist.

These emails appeared to be from a friendly Craigslist user interested in letting them know about the site.

This type of email campaign is how Airbnb grew and received the acclaim it has today.

AirBnB20091118 0918

Sometimes, a stealth email campaign is the best way to acquire new customers.

12. Bribe new customers with cash

Chances are, you’re already spending money to acquire each new user. But instead of that money going directly to the users, you’re spending it on ads or marketing costs.

What if you gave that money directly to each new customer?

That’s what PayPal did to grow its user base. When it was just a startup, PayPal offered new customers $10 and existing customers $10 for referrals.

The total cost was $20 in cash for each new customer.

Send Money Pay Online or Set Up a Merchant Account PayPal

While it was certainly an expensive way to attract new customers, it was highly effective.

If you’re hoping to boost the userbase at your startup, consider spending your marketing budget directly on user acquisition in this way.

13. Connect with another brand

If your startup is too small to draw a large audience by itself, the answer to building a huge group of loyal fans might just be to partner with another company larger than you.

With the release of Android 4.4, the Android developers created a partnership with the candy company KitKat.

Android’s promotion with KitKat helped it reach new customers through the collaboration. In turn, KitKat customers learned about the phones and tablets.

06Gjrj ih8pI0ZMqP

Even if you can’t partner with a company as large as KitKat, look to find a strategic partnership that can help your brand gain visibility in the marketplace.

14. Give out free tee shirts

It might sound too simple to be true, but giving away free tee shirts is a great way to increase your brand awareness.

Similar to the stickers that helped build Reddit into a huge website, tee shirts create an identification with your brand that others will begin recognizing.

Use a company like Startup Threads to get a set of tees in bulk. You can then use these shirts as gifts to customers and users, or even as marketing materials.

STARTUP Threads

If you like, you can even give away the shirts for free so the wearers will provide free marketing for your startup.

15. Use your product for a social cause

If you’re looking for something highly creative that will skyrocket your brand to success, consider using the product itself for a social cause.

What does this look like? It means that customers are able to interact with your physical product in a way that helps a greater purpose.

Beer company Ambev used this strategy in Brazil, allowing drinkers to scan the cans for a free train ride.

beer turnstile

This had the dual purpose of reducing litter, while also encouraging people to use public transportation more often.

Not to mention it caused a big splash in the news and brought the company plenty of name recognition.

16. Make national headlines

I’ll be honest.

If you’re willing to do something so crazy it makes the news, you’re going to gain more free publicity than any marketing campaign you could buy.

A great example of a unique promotional campaign was when Halfway, Oregon, agreed to rename its town Half.com in exchange for some of the company’s stock.

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This campaign made national headlines because of its creativity and originality. Even better, the vast majority of this publicity was completely free.

You can learn a lot with a highly creative marketing strategy.

Look for inspiring examples of companies that launched uncommon marketing tactics, and see what you can learn from them.

17. Offer a free gift with every product

We all know that offering a free gift encourages people to buy your product.

But why limit it just to the occasional offer?

Instead, you can provide a free gift with every single product you sell. This may sound like a surefire way to bankruptcy, but it’s an effective method for a number of companies.

One such model is how Diamond Candles offers a ring in every candle. This is a promotional method that’s promoted heavily on their website, and it’s featured in their name, too.

Diamond Candles A Ring in Every Candle

While it sounds like Diamond Candles is losing money on the deal, the answer is quite the opposite.

Every candle has a $10 ring, every 100 candles has a $100 ring, every 1,000 candles has a $1,000 ring, and every 5,000 candles has a $5,000 ring.

How it works panel mobile 640x435

This means the rings cost the company, at most, $13 per candle, but the prices of the candles are almost twice that.

Fall Candles Diamond Candles

Considering they almost certainly pay a discounted price for each ring, it works out to be a highly profitable campaign to sell more products.

If you’re struggling to find a unique selling proposition for the product you have to sell, consider offering something “free” with every purchase.

18. Create a viral explainer video

Looking to generate massive traffic while encouraging people to buy more of your product?

Look no further than a hilarious explainer video that paints your product in a humorous light. This has worked for dozens of brand-new startups in the past, and it can work for you, too.

Poo-Pourri created a cringe-worthy promotional video that went viral, resulting in the product developing significant name recognition and market share.

Poo Pourri Poo Pourri

To date, their primary explainer video has gotten almost 40-million views.

Girls Don t Poop PooPourri com YouTube

But this isn’t because they paid for massive advertising. The video is so unusual and clever, people recommend it to their friends by word of mouth.

Another great example is Squatty Potty. They are able to leverage viral videos to generate seven million in revenue.

Have you seen the unicorn rainbow ice cream poop video?

Yup, that’s them.

To make this work for you, create a unique angle through which you can promote your startup, and film a short video promoting it.

19. Distribute bumper stickers

If you don’t think offline advertising works for an online business, think again.

To promote the site offline, The Penny Hoarder created bumper stickers promoting its most popular article.

The article was on how to get paid to buy beer. Rather than link to The Penny Hoarder, they bought the domain iGetFreeBeer.com and made a bumper sticker with it.

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As people were intrigued by the bumper sticker, they visited the site, which redirected to the original article.

Since all the visitors were tracked, The Penny Hoarder could easily monitor the success of their offline campaign using traffic stats.

If you’re going to try this out, be sure to create a perfect call to action on each sticker to drive conversions.

20. Book a flash mob

If you’re looking to do something crazy to promote your startup, you should look no further than using a flash mob.

If you’re not familiar with a flash mob, it’s when a group of people in a crowd suddenly start doing a choreographed song and dance.

While they appear to happen spontaneously, these kinds of performances require extensive preparation and planning.

But all that planning makes for a fascinating spectacle that’s sure to go big.

In addition to creating an exciting offline event, they can also be used in a viral video. This is what happened when Sears used a flash mob to promote their jeans giveaway.

Flashmob at Sears Shop Your Way with Derek Hough jeanscene derekhough searsStyle YouTube

If you’re not sure where to get started creating this kind of promotional event, you can hire a flash mob to do all the work for you.

A site like BookAFlashMob.com is a great way to get started if you’re unsure of where to begin.

Book A Flash Mob For Hire Worldwide BookAFlashMob com

This is a unique and unexpected way to draw interest for your startup, and the traffic it generates with a viral video can serve your company for years to come.

For best results, look to have the flash mob center around your product, service, or branding in some way.

Conclusion

If you’re going to grow your startup, you need to start using creative marketing.

Instead of just spending more money on traditional advertising and digital media, look to think outside the box for huge results.

If you have a startup you’re bootstrapping from nothing, you’ll need to become the most active user and create content that engages others to learn about your product.

For companies that are struggling to get more visitors and users on a regular basis, look to offer an incentive. This could be through contests, bonuses, or even cash.

To get an even bigger boost, look to create a piece of content that becomes wildly popular. The most common idea for this is a video, but it could be something else as well.

A proven method to grow your business, even if it’s based online, is through offline marketing.

Simple promotional items like tee shirts and bumper stickers can help propel you to fame.

Making valuable connections with other brands and publications can provide a huge boost as well, giving you tremendous reach at a low cost.

Finally, reach out to cold prospects. These can be possible users, influencers, and others who would love your product.

What uncommon marketing strategies have you used to promote your startup?

The post 20 Uncommon Marketing Strategies That’ll Kickstart Your Startup appeared first on Neil Patel.



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How to Reclaim an Unproductive Day in 6 Steps

Click. Click. Click.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

That’s the sound of an unproductive day passing by. It’s the sound of any day, Monday through Friday, going to waste — where despite your best intentions, you just can’t seem to get moving, or get stuff done.

It happens to all of us. Seriously.Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

But what’s an otherwise industrious person to do when these days unexpectedly fall upon us? We’ve got some ideas — six of ’em, in fact.

1) Remember what’s in store when you’re done with your tasks.

Truth time: Sometimes, I bribe myself.

I know how silly it sounds, but it’s true. If there’s a task that I’ve been putting off, but there’s also something else I’ve been looking forward to doing, I’ll bribe myself with the latter to get the former done.

Case in point: I had a rather big piece of writing to complete over the summer, and as the clock was running out on my deadline, I was having trouble getting started. At the same time, my best friend and I were heading to Las Vegas in a few weeks, and I was really looking forward to planning the trip.

“Okay, self,” I thought. “You get a draft done today, and tonight, you can start planning your Vegas trip.”

It doesn’t even have to be something that’s a big deal, like planning a vacation. My colleague, HubSpot Senior Growth Marketing Manager Niti Shah, once told me that she pays herself in cookies and mozzarella sticks for completed tasks.

The point is, it’s okay to reward yourself for progress. Just make sure the reward matches the work completed, and that you’re not treating yourself to a week in Hawaii for sending an email.

2) Take a break.

This one is an oldy-but-goody. According to data collected by DeskTime, the top 10% most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. And during those periods, they use hyperfocus: No work during breaks (that includes email), and no distractions during the work time.

I often liken this tip to boxing training. When I used to box, I had a trainer who would have me throw non-stop punches for three-minute intervals, with one-minute breaks in between. If you haven’t tried it, three minutes is a long time for that kind of exercise, which makes the one-minute rest period especially important for your heart rate and muscle recovery.

In my experience, the mind works in a similar way. An hour spent on a task or a project that requires deep thinking, creativity, or number-crunching is, to me, the equivalent of a three-minute, high-intensity boxing interval. You need the recovery period. So next time you feel like your brain just can’t quite throw that left hook, take a minute, and let your “intellectual heart rate” return to normal.

3) Work on something completely unrelated to your to-do list.

When I was visiting my parents for Thanksgiving — which happened to overlap with the writing of this blog post — my mom asked me if I could help her troubleshoot an issue on her laptop.

It was the last thing I wanted, or thought I had time to do. It was a short week. I was taking a day off. I had a long list of things to do, and I was already taking longer to get through it than I had hoped. But it was my mom, after all, so of course, I helped.

By the time we were done figuring out the problem, for some reason, I felt reinvigorated. I had a new motivation to finish my tasks, and finish them quickly. Sure, I had taken a “break,” in some sense — but I had also redirected my brain to another task. My mind was still being put to use, but for something completely unrelated to my to-do list.

If you’re feeling stuck, use your brain for something else. Maybe there’s a colleague who you’ve been meaning to get back to on an unrelated project, or maybe you just need to do a quick online puzzle. Keeping your mind active while giving it a break from the dredge of your to-do list might leave you feeling re-energized and ready to hit the ground running, wherever you left off.

4) Deny the “delete” key.

Writer’s block, amirite?

If you work in marketing, there’s a chance that, at some point, your job requires you to write something. And we know — that’s not easy, even when you do it every day. And much of the time, it’s getting the words down that’s the hardest part, whether it’s getting a composition started, or getting the sentences to sound right.

STOP. That second part, about getting it to sound right? Forget it.

For way too many of us, our perfectionism is a pitfall to productivity. We write, stop, delete, re-write, and repeat the process until 45 minutes have gone by and we’ve written one sentence.

“I’d even say to ignore the ‘delete’ key on your first draft,” HubSpot Sales Blog Editor Aja Frost once advised

You heard it here: Deleting is not your friend. Just form a sentence — any sentence relevant to your topic — and keep going.

5) Make plans.

Remember what I said about bribing yourself? Well, sometimes, you might have to invent said bribe to get yourself motivated.

Here’s another tale of writing something that I had been putting off. (I’m not a slacker — I swear.) At about 4:00 PM one afternoon, I thought to myself, “I really, really need to get this done before I leave.” So, I texted a friend and asked if she wanted to meet for happy hour at 6:00.

Boom. Instant deadline.

The thing is, it was a self-imposed deadline — one that was established by plans to do something fun. If I had just set a timer for two hours, for example, it may not have been as effective. But because cutoff time was motivated by something recreational, I really wanted to get my task done.

A word of caution, however: Do not — I repeat, do not rush through your work and turn in something with poor quality just for the sake of getting it done. Once your task is complete, let it marinate overnight, then come back to it with a new perspective the next day.

6) Do the thing you dread the most — even if it’s the only thing you accomplish today.

We’ve all had that long list of tasks that contains one, glaring item that seems like moving a boulder up a hill. Except, you dread facing that boulder so much that it causes a bit of “productivity paralysis,” and in the process of putting off that one item, you end up putting off everything else on the list, too.

What? Am I the only one who’s wasted an entire morning looking at real estate listings instead of addressing what I needed to get done?

That’s when you need to face the boulder, because it’s still going to be there, no matter how many homes you fantasize about buying. And once that one, dreaded task is complete, the rest of the items on your list probably pale in comparison — and you might be so energized by getting the biggest one done, that since you’re already on a roll, you feel newly motivated to get everything else done.

Productivity Guide

 
free productivity tips

Click. Click. Click.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

That’s the sound of an unproductive day passing by. It’s the sound of any day, Monday through Friday, going to waste — where despite your best intentions, you just can’t seem to get moving, or get stuff done.

It happens to all of us. Seriously.Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

But what’s an otherwise industrious person to do when these days unexpectedly fall upon us? We’ve got some ideas — six of ’em, in fact.

1) Remember what’s in store when you’re done with your tasks.

Truth time: Sometimes, I bribe myself.

I know how silly it sounds, but it’s true. If there’s a task that I’ve been putting off, but there’s also something else I’ve been looking forward to doing, I’ll bribe myself with the latter to get the former done.

Case in point: I had a rather big piece of writing to complete over the summer, and as the clock was running out on my deadline, I was having trouble getting started. At the same time, my best friend and I were heading to Las Vegas in a few weeks, and I was really looking forward to planning the trip.

“Okay, self,” I thought. “You get a draft done today, and tonight, you can start planning your Vegas trip.”

It doesn’t even have to be something that’s a big deal, like planning a vacation. My colleague, HubSpot Senior Growth Marketing Manager Niti Shah, once told me that she pays herself in cookies and mozzarella sticks for completed tasks.

The point is, it’s okay to reward yourself for progress. Just make sure the reward matches the work completed, and that you’re not treating yourself to a week in Hawaii for sending an email.

2) Take a break.

This one is an oldy-but-goody. According to data collected by DeskTime, the top 10% most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. And during those periods, they use hyperfocus: No work during breaks (that includes email), and no distractions during the work time.

I often liken this tip to boxing training. When I used to box, I had a trainer who would have me throw non-stop punches for three-minute intervals, with one-minute breaks in between. If you haven’t tried it, three minutes is a long time for that kind of exercise, which makes the one-minute rest period especially important for your heart rate and muscle recovery.

In my experience, the mind works in a similar way. An hour spent on a task or a project that requires deep thinking, creativity, or number-crunching is, to me, the equivalent of a three-minute, high-intensity boxing interval. You need the recovery period. So next time you feel like your brain just can’t quite throw that left hook, take a minute, and let your “intellectual heart rate” return to normal.

3) Work on something completely unrelated to your to-do list.

When I was visiting my parents for Thanksgiving — which happened to overlap with the writing of this blog post — my mom asked me if I could help her troubleshoot an issue on her laptop.

It was the last thing I wanted, or thought I had time to do. It was a short week. I was taking a day off. I had a long list of things to do, and I was already taking longer to get through it than I had hoped. But it was my mom, after all, so of course, I helped.

By the time we were done figuring out the problem, for some reason, I felt reinvigorated. I had a new motivation to finish my tasks, and finish them quickly. Sure, I had taken a “break,” in some sense — but I had also redirected my brain to another task. My mind was still being put to use, but for something completely unrelated to my to-do list.

If you’re feeling stuck, use your brain for something else. Maybe there’s a colleague who you’ve been meaning to get back to on an unrelated project, or maybe you just need to do a quick online puzzle. Keeping your mind active while giving it a break from the dredge of your to-do list might leave you feeling re-energized and ready to hit the ground running, wherever you left off.

4) Deny the “delete” key.

Writer’s block, amirite?

If you work in marketing, there’s a chance that, at some point, your job requires you to write something. And we know — that’s not easy, even when you do it every day. And much of the time, it’s getting the words down that’s the hardest part, whether it’s getting a composition started, or getting the sentences to sound right.

STOP. That second part, about getting it to sound right? Forget it.

For way too many of us, our perfectionism is a pitfall to productivity. We write, stop, delete, re-write, and repeat the process until 45 minutes have gone by and we’ve written one sentence.

“I’d even say to ignore the ‘delete’ key on your first draft,” HubSpot Sales Blog Editor Aja Frost once advised

You heard it here: Deleting is not your friend. Just form a sentence — any sentence relevant to your topic — and keep going.

5) Make plans.

Remember what I said about bribing yourself? Well, sometimes, you might have to invent said bribe to get yourself motivated.

Here’s another tale of writing something that I had been putting off. (I’m not a slacker — I swear.) At about 4:00 PM one afternoon, I thought to myself, “I really, really need to get this done before I leave.” So, I texted a friend and asked if she wanted to meet for happy hour at 6:00.

Boom. Instant deadline.

The thing is, it was a self-imposed deadline — one that was established by plans to do something fun. If I had just set a timer for two hours, for example, it may not have been as effective. But because cutoff time was motivated by something recreational, I really wanted to get my task done.

A word of caution, however: Do not — I repeat, do not rush through your work and turn in something with poor quality just for the sake of getting it done. Once your task is complete, let it marinate overnight, then come back to it with a new perspective the next day.

6) Do the thing you dread the most — even if it’s the only thing you accomplish today.

We’ve all had that long list of tasks that contains one, glaring item that seems like moving a boulder up a hill. Except, you dread facing that boulder so much that it causes a bit of “productivity paralysis,” and in the process of putting off that one item, you end up putting off everything else on the list, too.

What? Am I the only one who’s wasted an entire morning looking at real estate listings instead of addressing what I needed to get done?

That’s when you need to face the boulder, because it’s still going to be there, no matter how many homes you fantasize about buying. And once that one, dreaded task is complete, the rest of the items on your list probably pale in comparison — and you might be so energized by getting the biggest one done, that since you’re already on a roll, you feel newly motivated to get everything else done.

Productivity Guide

 
free productivity tips

7 Phrases That Indicate You Might Be in a Toxic Work Environment

It’s a situation familiar to many of us: That moment when something just feels off.

You have a less-than-great feeling about your work environment, and then, someone utters a phrase that gives you a sinking feeling.

It’s a feeling that makes that “off” sensation feel even worse — a feeling that makes you think, “Hmm. Maybe it’s not me.”

That’s the feeling that indicates you might be in a toxic work environment.

But how can you be sure, exactly? What do these signaling phrases sound like?Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

We collected the seven that we’ve heard the most — outside of HubSpot, of course — and compiled this list to help you figure out if your instincts are correct.

1. “You won’t believe how late it was when I left the office last night.”

When you work hard, it’s no surprise that you might occasionally have to stay at the office past your typical “quitting time” — like when you’re on the verge of launching a new product, campaign, or event. 

But when you hear about colleagues doing this regularly — especially when they speak boastfully about it — that’s a sign that there might be something not-quite-right with the workplace culture, and its approach to work-life balance.

Take a survey conducted by Staples, for example. It showed that 55% of employees feel like they can’t leave their desks for a break. Sure, 86% also said that these breaks would actually help their productivity — and yet, more than half are hesitant to take them.

So what’s stopping us?

When we hear our peers, colleagues, and managers habitually speaking of late nights at work and industrious weekends — the opposite of taking time to breathe and recharge — it sends the message that it’s expected of everyone, perhaps even implying that breaks and time offline are discouraged. And that, in a word, is unhealthy.

In situations like these, it helps to ask for clarifying information. If there’s a colleague you trust, or if you have a good relationship with your manager, try asking if these hours are expected, or if it might be possible to disconnect on a given evening and weekend for a special event. It might turn out that this lack of work-life balance is not encouraged, and that what you’ve been hearing is the exception — not the rule.

2. “I would love to help you, but … “

I’ll never forget something my boss told me on my first day at HubSpot. “To help you be more successful, I’ll help you with whatever you ask me for help with. The most successful people ask for help when they need it!”

I wish everyone’s managers and teams led with that sentiment. After all, as human beings, we’re already disinclined to ask for help — so when we do and that request is met with a “but,” it’s not exactly going to encourage us to ask for support in the future.

In these instances, I’ve found that it helps to lead by doing — even if this vocabulary or behavior is coming from someone who works above you. Many times, these phrases reflect someone feeling overwhelmed, in which case, it can be beneficial for you to proactively offer help. By actively displaying behavior that discourages a mentality of, “That’s not my job,” you may inspire others to take a similar approach.

3. “Thanks, that was my idea.”

This one, for me, might be the worst phrase on the list. Is there anything worse than someone else being given credit for something you did — and then, that person accepting it without mentioning your role in the accomplishment?

That’s one of the top signaling behaviors of a toxic work environment. It somewhat aligns with the tendency to have the negative parts of your performance pointed out, with little-to-no mention of the positives. When someone — whether it’s a colleague or a manager — takes credit for things that he didn’t accomplish alone (or at all), it can further reinforce a detraction from the things you’re doing well at work.

While it may not result in a sustainable resolution — and can be very difficult to do — it can help to be honest about the situation with the person from whom this behavior is coming. Try saying something like, “I was surprised by your response to the praise received for Project X. While I felt that I contributed a lot to that work, it sounds like your perception may have been different. Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve my contributions?”

That way, you’re not pointing it out in a way that comes from a defensive or finger-pointing manner. Plus, the response you receive to this conversation may indicate just how toxic the situation is. If, for example, the person didn’t even realize his error but retroactively recognizes it, you can work together to change that behavior.

4. “Oh, I can’t even remember the last time I took a real vacation.”

Have you ever heard the term “vacation shaming”?

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

According to research from Alamo Rent A Car, 47% of workers feel shame or guilt at work for taking time off — and 28% are reluctant to do it at all, fearing that they’ll appear less dedicated to their work.

This phrase is similar to the first one we listed about working late, or not taking breaks. When the people around us at work brag about burning the candle at both ends, it reinforces the idea that that behavior is rewarded and that, therefore, we should be doing the same.

But ultimately, that approach is detrimental. In fact, the top 10% most productive employees using business time-tracking software DeskTime have been found to take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in.

In other words — time off improves the quality of our work. A work environment that dictates otherwise gives us pause.

5. “That’s not my fault.”

Okay, so maybe it’s not phrased exactly this way, but here’s the point: the blame game is never a good sign.

When someone appears to be unable to admit his or her role in things going wrong, it can instill fear in those around them — fear that they might be expected to accept blame in a situation for which they didn’t actually do anything wrong. 

And while studies show that many employers believe up to 50% of their respective workforces are comprised of unaccountable individuals, we’ve got news: Managers are responsible for being accountable, too, and for leading by example with it.

In order to create a culture of accountability and eradicate the blame game, it’s important to begin by exhibiting that behavior yourself. You could write an entire book on accountability at work, for example, and if you don’t practice it yourself, no one will take that directive seriously.

If this is new territory for you, start by asking what role you may have had in a less-than-desirable situation — and if the answer if something other than what you want to hear, take a moment to consider the feedback you’ve received, before reacting defensively.

6. “I’m sick (again).”

If all of the above phrases pointed to a single underlying result it would be: stress.

When you’re facing a wave of discouragement to take time off, work reasonable hours, or have confidence in your performance, your lifestyle can start to suffer. You might not allow sufficient time to eat healthy foods, work out, or sleep. And when you combine those factors, the typical result is getting sick.

Before my life at HubSpot, I once worked for a very small company where, every week, at least one employee was sick. And while I didn’t recognize it at the time, I know now that it was a sign of a toxic work environment. It might be normal for there to be an outbreak of a cold during a seasonal change or, say, flu season. But if people in your work environment are regularly and frequently falling ill, it’s a sign that their immunity has suffered — that can stem from an unhealthy lifestyle, which is easy to fall into when the aforementioned items abound.

7. “Where are you going?”

I’ll cut right to the chase. According to a study performed by researchers at Indiana University‘s Kelley School of Business, employees working under a micromanaging boss have a higher mortality rate.

I wish I were making that up. But, seeing as we’ve already discussed the impact of stress and a lack of workplace flexibility on the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle — it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, then, that those working in these conditions die younger than their peers who are allowed more independence and balance in their jobs

Micromanaging is typically a sign of distrust. Constantly tracking your team’s behavior and disallowing autonomy communicates that you have little faith in its ability to succeed, which can result in a lack of confidence and motivation brought to tasks and responsibilities.

If you find yourself in this type of situation — on either side of it — look to the results for next steps. Is your team’s performance lacking? If so, and your manager exhibits this type of behavior, it could be helpful to have a conversation about how this approach is negatively impacting your performance.

For the other way around, look inward. Ask your team how you can help, and if stepping away might boost productivity.

Productivity Guide

 
free productivity tips

It’s a situation familiar to many of us: That moment when something just feels off.

You have a less-than-great feeling about your work environment, and then, someone utters a phrase that gives you a sinking feeling.

It’s a feeling that makes that “off” sensation feel even worse — a feeling that makes you think, “Hmm. Maybe it’s not me.”

That’s the feeling that indicates you might be in a toxic work environment.

But how can you be sure, exactly? What do these signaling phrases sound like?Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

We collected the seven that we’ve heard the most — outside of HubSpot, of course — and compiled this list to help you figure out if your instincts are correct.

1. “You won’t believe how late it was when I left the office last night.”

When you work hard, it’s no surprise that you might occasionally have to stay at the office past your typical “quitting time” — like when you’re on the verge of launching a new product, campaign, or event. 

But when you hear about colleagues doing this regularly — especially when they speak boastfully about it — that’s a sign that there might be something not-quite-right with the workplace culture, and its approach to work-life balance.

Take a survey conducted by Staples, for example. It showed that 55% of employees feel like they can’t leave their desks for a break. Sure, 86% also said that these breaks would actually help their productivity — and yet, more than half are hesitant to take them.

So what’s stopping us?

When we hear our peers, colleagues, and managers habitually speaking of late nights at work and industrious weekends — the opposite of taking time to breathe and recharge — it sends the message that it’s expected of everyone, perhaps even implying that breaks and time offline are discouraged. And that, in a word, is unhealthy.

In situations like these, it helps to ask for clarifying information. If there’s a colleague you trust, or if you have a good relationship with your manager, try asking if these hours are expected, or if it might be possible to disconnect on a given evening and weekend for a special event. It might turn out that this lack of work-life balance is not encouraged, and that what you’ve been hearing is the exception — not the rule.

2. “I would love to help you, but … “

I’ll never forget something my boss told me on my first day at HubSpot. “To help you be more successful, I’ll help you with whatever you ask me for help with. The most successful people ask for help when they need it!”

I wish everyone’s managers and teams led with that sentiment. After all, as human beings, we’re already disinclined to ask for help — so when we do and that request is met with a “but,” it’s not exactly going to encourage us to ask for support in the future.

In these instances, I’ve found that it helps to lead by doing — even if this vocabulary or behavior is coming from someone who works above you. Many times, these phrases reflect someone feeling overwhelmed, in which case, it can be beneficial for you to proactively offer help. By actively displaying behavior that discourages a mentality of, “That’s not my job,” you may inspire others to take a similar approach.

3. “Thanks, that was my idea.”

This one, for me, might be the worst phrase on the list. Is there anything worse than someone else being given credit for something you did — and then, that person accepting it without mentioning your role in the accomplishment?

That’s one of the top signaling behaviors of a toxic work environment. It somewhat aligns with the tendency to have the negative parts of your performance pointed out, with little-to-no mention of the positives. When someone — whether it’s a colleague or a manager — takes credit for things that he didn’t accomplish alone (or at all), it can further reinforce a detraction from the things you’re doing well at work.

While it may not result in a sustainable resolution — and can be very difficult to do — it can help to be honest about the situation with the person from whom this behavior is coming. Try saying something like, “I was surprised by your response to the praise received for Project X. While I felt that I contributed a lot to that work, it sounds like your perception may have been different. Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve my contributions?”

That way, you’re not pointing it out in a way that comes from a defensive or finger-pointing manner. Plus, the response you receive to this conversation may indicate just how toxic the situation is. If, for example, the person didn’t even realize his error but retroactively recognizes it, you can work together to change that behavior.

4. “Oh, I can’t even remember the last time I took a real vacation.”

Have you ever heard the term “vacation shaming”?

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

According to research from Alamo Rent A Car, 47% of workers feel shame or guilt at work for taking time off — and 28% are reluctant to do it at all, fearing that they’ll appear less dedicated to their work.

This phrase is similar to the first one we listed about working late, or not taking breaks. When the people around us at work brag about burning the candle at both ends, it reinforces the idea that that behavior is rewarded and that, therefore, we should be doing the same.

But ultimately, that approach is detrimental. In fact, the top 10% most productive employees using business time-tracking software DeskTime have been found to take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in.

In other words — time off improves the quality of our work. A work environment that dictates otherwise gives us pause.

5. “That’s not my fault.”

Okay, so maybe it’s not phrased exactly this way, but here’s the point: the blame game is never a good sign.

When someone appears to be unable to admit his or her role in things going wrong, it can instill fear in those around them — fear that they might be expected to accept blame in a situation for which they didn’t actually do anything wrong. 

And while studies show that many employers believe up to 50% of their respective workforces are comprised of unaccountable individuals, we’ve got news: Managers are responsible for being accountable, too, and for leading by example with it.

In order to create a culture of accountability and eradicate the blame game, it’s important to begin by exhibiting that behavior yourself. You could write an entire book on accountability at work, for example, and if you don’t practice it yourself, no one will take that directive seriously.

If this is new territory for you, start by asking what role you may have had in a less-than-desirable situation — and if the answer if something other than what you want to hear, take a moment to consider the feedback you’ve received, before reacting defensively.

6. “I’m sick (again).”

If all of the above phrases pointed to a single underlying result it would be: stress.

When you’re facing a wave of discouragement to take time off, work reasonable hours, or have confidence in your performance, your lifestyle can start to suffer. You might not allow sufficient time to eat healthy foods, work out, or sleep. And when you combine those factors, the typical result is getting sick.

Before my life at HubSpot, I once worked for a very small company where, every week, at least one employee was sick. And while I didn’t recognize it at the time, I know now that it was a sign of a toxic work environment. It might be normal for there to be an outbreak of a cold during a seasonal change or, say, flu season. But if people in your work environment are regularly and frequently falling ill, it’s a sign that their immunity has suffered — that can stem from an unhealthy lifestyle, which is easy to fall into when the aforementioned items abound.

7. “Where are you going?”

I’ll cut right to the chase. According to a study performed by researchers at Indiana University‘s Kelley School of Business, employees working under a micromanaging boss have a higher mortality rate.

I wish I were making that up. But, seeing as we’ve already discussed the impact of stress and a lack of workplace flexibility on the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle — it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, then, that those working in these conditions die younger than their peers who are allowed more independence and balance in their jobs

Micromanaging is typically a sign of distrust. Constantly tracking your team’s behavior and disallowing autonomy communicates that you have little faith in its ability to succeed, which can result in a lack of confidence and motivation brought to tasks and responsibilities.

If you find yourself in this type of situation — on either side of it — look to the results for next steps. Is your team’s performance lacking? If so, and your manager exhibits this type of behavior, it could be helpful to have a conversation about how this approach is negatively impacting your performance.

For the other way around, look inward. Ask your team how you can help, and if stepping away might boost productivity.

Productivity Guide

 
free productivity tips