10 Logo Design Trends to Watch for in 2018 [Infographic]

We demand a lot from logos.

They have to be simple, yet still convey the ethos of the brand in a way that resonates with consumers. They have to be timeless and distinct, but still modern and consistent with contemporary graphic design trends.

It’s a lot to ask of a single symbol. As any designer will surely tell you, designing a logo that meets these varied expectations is no easy task.New Call-to-action

To help you prepare for the new year, Logaster created the infographic below detailing their predictions for the most influential logo design trends of 2018. Keep an eye out for these design approaches in the coming year:

logo-trends-2018-UPDATED.png

download 195+ free design templates

 
195 free visual design templates

We demand a lot from logos.

They have to be simple, yet still convey the ethos of the brand in a way that resonates with consumers. They have to be timeless and distinct, but still modern and consistent with contemporary graphic design trends.

It’s a lot to ask of a single symbol. As any designer will surely tell you, designing a logo that meets these varied expectations is no easy task.New Call-to-action

To help you prepare for the new year, Logaster created the infographic below detailing their predictions for the most influential logo design trends of 2018. Keep an eye out for these design approaches in the coming year:

logo-trends-2018-UPDATED.png

download 195+ free design templates

 
195 free visual design templates

How to Scale Your Lead Generation Through Blogging

I’m a big proponent of blogging.

It doesn’t matter what business you have or what industry you’re in, blogging can be used as a lead generation tool.

How many times do the same people visit your website?

Unless you have an ecommerce store, there’s no reason for a prospective customer to visit your website more than once or twice.

There are only so many times someone needs to read your “About Us” page or look up your contact information.

But if your website has a blog, it gives people a reason to keep coming back.

Even if these visitors aren’t necessarily buying anything yet, there are certain ways you can turn a blog reader into a customer.

First of all, if you’re not blogging, you need to start ASAP.

Next, you can focus on driving traffic to your new blog.

I consulted some businesses that didn’t have a blog because they say it takes too much time.

Depending on the length, the average blog post should take you only a few hours to write.

image1 8

Trust me, I know from experience, this time adds up based on the number of posts you’re writing per week.

But it needs to be part of your marketing strategy.

And it’s not expensive. The only cost is your time.

You can even ask your staff members with excellent writing skills to write a few posts per week.

If you want to start pumping out lots of content, you may want to consider adding an in-house writer to your payroll.

Regardless of how you plan to delegate these tasks, blogging needs to be a top priority if you want to generate new leads without spending much money.

Here’s what you need to do to write blog posts that convert.

Offer exclusive content

Why should someone read your blogs and not your competitors’ blogs?

There are so many blogs out there in every industry.

In an oversaturated blogger market, your posts need to differ from those of your competition.

Studies tell us 55% of readers spend only 15 seconds reading an article.

But if you offer exclusive content, it will give them a reason to spend more time reading, which increases your chances of getting them to convert.

Here’s a great example from the Conversion XL blog:

image7 8

This post stands out because of the exclusive feel of the headline.

Where else can you find 11 experts voicing their opinions and reviewing software tools in one place?

When people search for this subject on Google, they will be more likely to click on this post instead of other results.

But what if you don’t have access to a dozen experts in a particular industry?

No problem.

You’re the expert.

Use your own expertise to offer exclusive advice to your readers.

Master the art of storytelling, and tell a personal anecdote that generated results for your company, for example.

The more often you can do this, the more it will add credibility to your brand.

Once you’re known as an expert in a particular field from your blogs, it will be much easier for you to get leads.

Add more subscribers to your email list

Are you looking for new ways to get more email subscribers?

Well, your blog is a great way to accomplish this.

Here’s how you can turn a reader into a customer.

Let’s say someone stumbles on one of your blog posts.

They skim through it and like the content, but now what?

That won’t necessarily make them buy something, sign up for a subscription, or pay for some other service you’re offering.

However, they may be interested in reading more of your posts in the future.

Rather than hoping they come back on their own, you can encourage them to join your email list to get content delivered straight to their inbox.

Jeff Bullas does this on his blog:

image9 7

Jeff promotes his mailing list on the sidebar of his blog homepage and each individual blog post as well.

You can do this too.

Once you have the visitor’s email address, you can do much more than just send them new blog posts.

If you have an ecommerce store, send some coupons to get a sale.

Once you have the leads, proceed with all your winning email marketing campaigns.

But first, you have to get these people hooked with your initial blog post.

Promote your blog on other marketing channels

I consult with companies that struggle to manage their social media accounts all the time.

They recognize the importance of posting on a regular basis, but they’re not quite sure what to write.

Well, your blog gives you a great excuse to stay active on social media every day.

When your fans and followers see your brand on their timeline, it helps create awareness.

Even if they aren’t customers yet, the constant awareness can eventually help drive a sale.

For example, let’s say your company sells niche products such as camping equipment.

The consumer may not need what you’re selling the first time they see your business online.

But maybe six months down the line, they decide to plan a camping trip.

If you’ve been flooding their social media timeline over the last several months, your company will be fresh in their mind when it’s time for them to buy a tent or sleeping bag.

I use this strategy as well. Take a look at my Twitter account:

image2 8

I’m constantly promoting blog posts there.

This is also a great way to get new readers interested in your blog.

After they see a catchy headline on your Facebook or Twitter page, they will be more likely to join your email list.

Use the comments section to facilitate a discussion

You’re making a big mistake if you don’t allow comments on your blog posts.

After someone reads your content, give them the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

They may have some further insight to share, a personal story to tell, or a question to ask you.

It’s possible they’ll disagree with some of your viewpoints and opinions on a topic as well. That’s okay.

One of the best ways to encourage comments is by ending your blog posts with a question.

Make sure the question is related to the topic.

This will help reassure the reader you actually want to hear from them.

Respond to all comments.

Here are some of the comments from a recent blog post I wrote about creating an actionable drip campaign:

image5 7

A couple of readers had questions related to their own websites.

It’s a great way for you to keep the reader engaged.

You can offer a solution to these questions by suggesting certain products or services your company offers.

Readers may have a discussion among themselves in the comments section.

I see that happen on my posts all the time.

It’s encouraging, and it shows people are genuinely interested in the topics you’re writing about.

Be consistent

How often do you publish a new blog post on your website?

When you first started off, you may have been trying to put out articles every day.

But as the weeks passed and you haven’t seen immediate results, you may have gotten discouraged and slowed down your pubishing. I’ve seen that happen.

Generating leads through blogs takes time.

You won’t see a drastic increase in your traffic or bottom line overnight.

Slowly but surely, you’ll notice a difference—as long as you stay consistent.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you post a new article every day for a month.

You start to get some faithful readers.

But all of a sudden, you change your pattern and only post once a week.

Well, your regular audience will be disappointed if they don’t see any fresh content.

When it comes to blogging, more is always better.

A recent study suggests that the more frequently bloggers posted, the “stronger results” they observed:

image4 8

Just make sure your quality doesn’t suffer.

You still need to write good content, or nobody will read it.

Publishing 20 articles per day doesn’t mean anything if all the posts are garbage.

Do what you can, but don’t overextend yourself.

If you’re just starting off, I think it’s reasonable to aim for one blog post per day.

See how that works for you and then go from there.

Write guest posts

You’re making a mistake if you’re turning down guest posting opportunities.

Look, I realize on the surface it may not sound very appealing.

I was skeptical about this too before I started guest posting.

It’s hard enough to put out content on your own website, why should you write for someone else for free?

Guest posting gives your brand great exposure.

Your content will be exposed to a new audience that may have never heard of you or your company otherwise.

You’ll also have plenty of chances to pitch your content and services throughout your post.

Websites will typically let you include information about you and your brand either before or after the article.

Take a look at this guest posting example from Crazy Egg:

image6 8

Daniel Threlfall is one of the co-founders of Launch Your Copy.

Contributing to Crazy Egg gave his company exposure and drove more traffic to his website.

Hyperlinks can drive traffic to your highest converting pages

I’ll continue with my last point.

Throughout the content of your blog, you have the chance to add hyperlinks.

If you’re writing a guest post, you can have several links to your website in each article.

You can apply this same strategy to the posts on your site as well.

As you can see from reading my posts, including this one, I do this all the time.

I use hyperlinks to cite all my sources, but I also use internal hyperlinks to drive traffic to other blog posts and landing pages on my website.

Internal linking is great for your Google search ranking.

Getting ranked higher on Google can help you generate more leads.

Let other bloggers contribute to your website

In addition to writing guest posts for other websites, you can also let other writers contribute to your blog.

Having guest posts on your own site can give you a bit of a break.

You can still publish an article a day without having to write.

When someone else writes a guest post for your blog, they may promote it to their own readers and share the post on their platforms.

This will give a wider audience a reason to check out your blog.

They may initially come just to read their favorite writer’s post, but there’s a good possibility they will read your content as well.

Look at how HubSpot encourages people to contribute to its website:

image3 8

You can employ a similar strategy on your blog.

Plus, this could help you develop a relationship with other writers.

Maybe they will return the favor and let you write guest posts on their websites.

Just make sure their posts get approved before publishing.

You don’t want a guest writer to say anything that’s not aligned with your brand.

Even if you don’t write it, you are still associated with all the content on your website.

Encourage readers to share your content

If you’re a good writer, people will want to share your posts with their friends.

You want to make this as easy as possible for them.

All your posts should include social sharing icons.

Here’s what it looks like on my blog:

image8 7

Again, this exposes your brand to a new audience.

Getting your readers to promote your content for free is a huge win for your company.

People are much more likely to share a recent, relevant, and informative blog post than just a random link to your website.

It’s a great way to get new leads.

Conclusion

Every website needs a blog.

It’s one of my favorite ways to generate leads.

Offer exclusive content in your posts to get readers hooked and keep them engaged.

Try to use your blog as a platform to get more subscribers to your email list.

New blog posts give you a great excuse to post on your social media accounts and other marketing channels.

Stay engaged with your readers by continuing the discussion in the comments section.

Write guest posts for other websites, and allow other writers to contribute to your site as well.

Just make sure you’re consistent with the frequency of your posts.

Use hyperlinks to drive traffic to your highest converting landing pages and improve your Google search ranking.

Provide social sharing options on your blog to encourage readers to share your content with their friends.

These tips will help you write better posts, generating more leads for your website.

How many blog posts does your website publish per week?

I’m a big proponent of blogging.

It doesn’t matter what business you have or what industry you’re in, blogging can be used as a lead generation tool.

How many times do the same people visit your website?

Unless you have an ecommerce store, there’s no reason for a prospective customer to visit your website more than once or twice.

There are only so many times someone needs to read your “About Us” page or look up your contact information.

But if your website has a blog, it gives people a reason to keep coming back.

Even if these visitors aren’t necessarily buying anything yet, there are certain ways you can turn a blog reader into a customer.

First of all, if you’re not blogging, you need to start ASAP.

Next, you can focus on driving traffic to your new blog.

I consulted some businesses that didn’t have a blog because they say it takes too much time.

Depending on the length, the average blog post should take you only a few hours to write.

image1 8

Trust me, I know from experience, this time adds up based on the number of posts you’re writing per week.

But it needs to be part of your marketing strategy.

And it’s not expensive. The only cost is your time.

You can even ask your staff members with excellent writing skills to write a few posts per week.

If you want to start pumping out lots of content, you may want to consider adding an in-house writer to your payroll.

Regardless of how you plan to delegate these tasks, blogging needs to be a top priority if you want to generate new leads without spending much money.

Here’s what you need to do to write blog posts that convert.

Offer exclusive content

Why should someone read your blogs and not your competitors’ blogs?

There are so many blogs out there in every industry.

In an oversaturated blogger market, your posts need to differ from those of your competition.

Studies tell us 55% of readers spend only 15 seconds reading an article.

But if you offer exclusive content, it will give them a reason to spend more time reading, which increases your chances of getting them to convert.

Here’s a great example from the Conversion XL blog:

image7 8

This post stands out because of the exclusive feel of the headline.

Where else can you find 11 experts voicing their opinions and reviewing software tools in one place?

When people search for this subject on Google, they will be more likely to click on this post instead of other results.

But what if you don’t have access to a dozen experts in a particular industry?

No problem.

You’re the expert.

Use your own expertise to offer exclusive advice to your readers.

Master the art of storytelling, and tell a personal anecdote that generated results for your company, for example.

The more often you can do this, the more it will add credibility to your brand.

Once you’re known as an expert in a particular field from your blogs, it will be much easier for you to get leads.

Add more subscribers to your email list

Are you looking for new ways to get more email subscribers?

Well, your blog is a great way to accomplish this.

Here’s how you can turn a reader into a customer.

Let’s say someone stumbles on one of your blog posts.

They skim through it and like the content, but now what?

That won’t necessarily make them buy something, sign up for a subscription, or pay for some other service you’re offering.

However, they may be interested in reading more of your posts in the future.

Rather than hoping they come back on their own, you can encourage them to join your email list to get content delivered straight to their inbox.

Jeff Bullas does this on his blog:

image9 7

Jeff promotes his mailing list on the sidebar of his blog homepage and each individual blog post as well.

You can do this too.

Once you have the visitor’s email address, you can do much more than just send them new blog posts.

If you have an ecommerce store, send some coupons to get a sale.

Once you have the leads, proceed with all your winning email marketing campaigns.

But first, you have to get these people hooked with your initial blog post.

Promote your blog on other marketing channels

I consult with companies that struggle to manage their social media accounts all the time.

They recognize the importance of posting on a regular basis, but they’re not quite sure what to write.

Well, your blog gives you a great excuse to stay active on social media every day.

When your fans and followers see your brand on their timeline, it helps create awareness.

Even if they aren’t customers yet, the constant awareness can eventually help drive a sale.

For example, let’s say your company sells niche products such as camping equipment.

The consumer may not need what you’re selling the first time they see your business online.

But maybe six months down the line, they decide to plan a camping trip.

If you’ve been flooding their social media timeline over the last several months, your company will be fresh in their mind when it’s time for them to buy a tent or sleeping bag.

I use this strategy as well. Take a look at my Twitter account:

image2 8

I’m constantly promoting blog posts there.

This is also a great way to get new readers interested in your blog.

After they see a catchy headline on your Facebook or Twitter page, they will be more likely to join your email list.

Use the comments section to facilitate a discussion

You’re making a big mistake if you don’t allow comments on your blog posts.

After someone reads your content, give them the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

They may have some further insight to share, a personal story to tell, or a question to ask you.

It’s possible they’ll disagree with some of your viewpoints and opinions on a topic as well. That’s okay.

One of the best ways to encourage comments is by ending your blog posts with a question.

Make sure the question is related to the topic.

This will help reassure the reader you actually want to hear from them.

Respond to all comments.

Here are some of the comments from a recent blog post I wrote about creating an actionable drip campaign:

image5 7

A couple of readers had questions related to their own websites.

It’s a great way for you to keep the reader engaged.

You can offer a solution to these questions by suggesting certain products or services your company offers.

Readers may have a discussion among themselves in the comments section.

I see that happen on my posts all the time.

It’s encouraging, and it shows people are genuinely interested in the topics you’re writing about.

Be consistent

How often do you publish a new blog post on your website?

When you first started off, you may have been trying to put out articles every day.

But as the weeks passed and you haven’t seen immediate results, you may have gotten discouraged and slowed down your pubishing. I’ve seen that happen.

Generating leads through blogs takes time.

You won’t see a drastic increase in your traffic or bottom line overnight.

Slowly but surely, you’ll notice a difference—as long as you stay consistent.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you post a new article every day for a month.

You start to get some faithful readers.

But all of a sudden, you change your pattern and only post once a week.

Well, your regular audience will be disappointed if they don’t see any fresh content.

When it comes to blogging, more is always better.

A recent study suggests that the more frequently bloggers posted, the “stronger results” they observed:

image4 8

Just make sure your quality doesn’t suffer.

You still need to write good content, or nobody will read it.

Publishing 20 articles per day doesn’t mean anything if all the posts are garbage.

Do what you can, but don’t overextend yourself.

If you’re just starting off, I think it’s reasonable to aim for one blog post per day.

See how that works for you and then go from there.

Write guest posts

You’re making a mistake if you’re turning down guest posting opportunities.

Look, I realize on the surface it may not sound very appealing.

I was skeptical about this too before I started guest posting.

It’s hard enough to put out content on your own website, why should you write for someone else for free?

Guest posting gives your brand great exposure.

Your content will be exposed to a new audience that may have never heard of you or your company otherwise.

You’ll also have plenty of chances to pitch your content and services throughout your post.

Websites will typically let you include information about you and your brand either before or after the article.

Take a look at this guest posting example from Crazy Egg:

image6 8

Daniel Threlfall is one of the co-founders of Launch Your Copy.

Contributing to Crazy Egg gave his company exposure and drove more traffic to his website.

Hyperlinks can drive traffic to your highest converting pages

I’ll continue with my last point.

Throughout the content of your blog, you have the chance to add hyperlinks.

If you’re writing a guest post, you can have several links to your website in each article.

You can apply this same strategy to the posts on your site as well.

As you can see from reading my posts, including this one, I do this all the time.

I use hyperlinks to cite all my sources, but I also use internal hyperlinks to drive traffic to other blog posts and landing pages on my website.

Internal linking is great for your Google search ranking.

Getting ranked higher on Google can help you generate more leads.

Let other bloggers contribute to your website

In addition to writing guest posts for other websites, you can also let other writers contribute to your blog.

Having guest posts on your own site can give you a bit of a break.

You can still publish an article a day without having to write.

When someone else writes a guest post for your blog, they may promote it to their own readers and share the post on their platforms.

This will give a wider audience a reason to check out your blog.

They may initially come just to read their favorite writer’s post, but there’s a good possibility they will read your content as well.

Look at how HubSpot encourages people to contribute to its website:

image3 8

You can employ a similar strategy on your blog.

Plus, this could help you develop a relationship with other writers.

Maybe they will return the favor and let you write guest posts on their websites.

Just make sure their posts get approved before publishing.

You don’t want a guest writer to say anything that’s not aligned with your brand.

Even if you don’t write it, you are still associated with all the content on your website.

Encourage readers to share your content

If you’re a good writer, people will want to share your posts with their friends.

You want to make this as easy as possible for them.

All your posts should include social sharing icons.

Here’s what it looks like on my blog:

image8 7

Again, this exposes your brand to a new audience.

Getting your readers to promote your content for free is a huge win for your company.

People are much more likely to share a recent, relevant, and informative blog post than just a random link to your website.

It’s a great way to get new leads.

Conclusion

Every website needs a blog.

It’s one of my favorite ways to generate leads.

Offer exclusive content in your posts to get readers hooked and keep them engaged.

Try to use your blog as a platform to get more subscribers to your email list.

New blog posts give you a great excuse to post on your social media accounts and other marketing channels.

Stay engaged with your readers by continuing the discussion in the comments section.

Write guest posts for other websites, and allow other writers to contribute to your site as well.

Just make sure you’re consistent with the frequency of your posts.

Use hyperlinks to drive traffic to your highest converting landing pages and improve your Google search ranking.

Provide social sharing options on your blog to encourage readers to share your content with their friends.

These tips will help you write better posts, generating more leads for your website.

How many blog posts does your website publish per week?

How to Handle Negative Emotions at Work [Infographic]

There’s a popular phrase that I’ve heard quite a bit throughout life: “Don’t get mad. Get even.”

Sure, that makes sense — if you’re a character on a major soap opera or teen drama. But at the workplace, this kind of sentiment can be harmful.

Anger, however — now that, surprisingly, can actually benefit you and your colleagues in the workplace. But only when it’s handled correctly.

No matter how much you love your job, chances are, you experience some semblance of negative thoughts and emotions. That’s part of the challenge, right? And without a challenge, well, what a bore that would be.Download our leadership guide for actionable advice & guidelines from  HubSpot's Dharmesh Shah. 

But what’s the right way to handle these less-than-positive sentiments?

QuickQuid put together the helpful infographic below to answer just that question. Have a look, and bookmark this post for the next time you find yourself experiencing these thoughts and emotions at work.


Design_How-to-Handle-Negative-Thoughts-and-Emotions-at-Work

New Call-to-action

 
New Call-to-action


There’s a popular phrase that I’ve heard quite a bit throughout life: “Don’t get mad. Get even.”

Sure, that makes sense — if you’re a character on a major soap opera or teen drama. But at the workplace, this kind of sentiment can be harmful.

Anger, however — now that, surprisingly, can actually benefit you and your colleagues in the workplace. But only when it’s handled correctly.

No matter how much you love your job, chances are, you experience some semblance of negative thoughts and emotions. That’s part of the challenge, right? And without a challenge, well, what a bore that would be.Download our leadership guide for actionable advice & guidelines from  HubSpot's Dharmesh Shah. 

But what’s the right way to handle these less-than-positive sentiments?

QuickQuid put together the helpful infographic below to answer just that question. Have a look, and bookmark this post for the next time you find yourself experiencing these thoughts and emotions at work.


Design_How-to-Handle-Negative-Thoughts-and-Emotions-at-Work

New Call-to-action

 
New Call-to-action


Use Design Thinking to Solve Your Toughest Marketing Challenges

Modern day marketing is a realm overflowing with data and tests aimed at shedding light on your customers’ true desires. Yet marketing teams still tend to prioritize gut instincts over insights. When faced with a big challenge or new initiative, we often rely on past experiences and existing knowledge to determine future actions.

In other words, we do what we think we should do.

I’ve seen groups of intelligent people play a guessing game, shooting from the hip while trying to figure out what will move the dial. They devote their department’s time and resources to a hunch, following it through for months on end — only to realize they were spinning their wheels the whole time.New Call-to-action

While some marketing best practices prove to work time and again, we must also meet the unique needs of specific customers in order to drive significant business value. Professing to intuitively know those specifics is shortsighted; only once we go out and try to understand the challenges of our target audience can we truly accommodate their needs. This is what the designers at your company do every day.

They’re in the business of designing relevant experiences for consumers, and they don’t just use their gut to achieve this goal. Instead, they understand the challenge from all angles. They gather a breadth of insights from customers and stakeholders across the company, test their ideas on a small scale, and make sure they’re heading down the right path before making a full investment. The design team lives by a philosophy that can help any marketing or product team achieve desired outcomes: design thinking.

Use Design Thinking to Solve Marketing Problems

Design thinking is a methodology to drive innovation. It brings together what’s alluring to future customers with what’s technically feasible and economically viable for a business. This method inspires new thinking and develops breakthrough ideas, all while remaining realistic.

My background is in user experience design and marketing. For most of my career, I’ve led teams in design thinking to drive business results. Along the way, I’ve seen some incredible outcomes.

Recently, I noticed that the SEO division of a company was struggling to hit its numbers for two quarters in a row. To improve this, the team needed viewers to engage with the content, find value from pages, and ultimately enter the sales funnel.

The team relied on gut instincts from years of past experience and deployed every SEO best practice in its arsenal. Still, nothing stuck. So I suggested that our design team partner closely with the SEO division to lead a concentrated session to solve the problem.

During our focused five-day session, we collaborated with our SEO cohorts to make several strategic adjustments based on design thinking exercises. Ultimately, this resulted in double-digit growth exceeding our quarterly goal.

Here’s how we did it:

Day 1: Rally the Troops

First, we assembled the ideal cross-functional team for the project, which included a UX designer, a UX writer, a product manager, a marketing manager, and an engineer.

With this assorted collection of minds, the team spent the first day focusing on the alignment of ideas and the direction of the project. The team members reviewed the business opportunity, vision, relevant user research, and technical capacities with the executive team. The group then expressed any questions, risks, assumptions, and barriers to the long-term goals. We made a map of how everything fit together and kept all of this information up on the walls of our dedicated space for easy reference over the next four days.

Once all team players were briefed, we began brainstorming solutions. To avoid groupthink and to ensure no voice was left unheard, we distributed pads of sticky notes and asked everyone in the room to write down their initial thoughts on how we might solve our SEO problem. We then put the sticky notes up on the wall and grouped similar ideas into themes.

The two most important themes focused on the concepts of relevance and trust. We agreed that we needed to figure out how to make the site appear immediately credible and relevant to visitors’ interests.

This was a quick, collaborative way to align a diverse set of minds on a common goal and set our strategic direction for the project.

Day 2: Sketch It Out

The next morning, we asked everyone to come armed with examples of relevant, trustworthy sites. Some members offered up competitors’ sites, while others brought examples that had no similarities to our initiative yet offered innovative solutions. The goal was to evaluate how brands across all industries build trust with and offer relevance to consumers.

While keeping the company’s goals and technology constraints in mind, we asked every member of the group to draw a potential experience with all of the key elements. These sketches represented the core functionality and offered innovative approaches toward our goals of building trust and relevance.

By the end of the day, we identified a variety of key elements to integrate into our site. Among other insights, we knew we must spotlight the author’s credentials and ratings, include an introductory top-line summary, show high-quality imagery to increase the speed of comprehension, and employ an effortless user experience across devices.

Day 3: Make a Decision

From there, we posted the sketches on the wall and invited the executives back into the room before voting on what sketch had the potential to drive the biggest success. We also crafted a final storyboard of the user journey.

Afterward, we knew exactly what we needed to explore — and we had a strategic backlog of ideas for our future road map.

Day 4: Prototype and Review

After we agreed on the ideal strategy, our lead designer rapidly created a prototype of the experience. We shared feedback and revised areas to prepare for the next day’s testing. Knowing that our self-validated strategies were in a vacuum for the past three days, it was critical to get insight from real users.

Day 5: Test With Users

As soon as the prototype was ready, we posted it on UserTesting. This allowed us to reach our target audience within a few hours and identify whether we solved the core needs of trust and relevance with users. We gained hard data on what people loved about our solution and the remaining barriers in their experiences.

After addressing the issues found in user testing, it was time to launch our solution on a larger scale. The engineering team incorporated these new elements into the page template, and after the data matured, we saw a motivating lift in engagement.

There was double-digit growth in the number of users who clicked into the conversion path thanks to our new strategy — a result the team was extremely proud to present at the next company-wide meeting. In just five days, design thinking helped a division pull itself out of the red, which I found extremely exciting and rewarding.

Looking back, the key to this success was everyone’s part in our strategic journey. Our team certainly led the effort, yet the implemented ideas originated from our distinct disciplines, so each party played an important role.

When will you use design thinking to drive your next innovation?

I strongly encourage you to try this at your company. If you approach a problem backed with broad perspectives and a deep understanding of what your unique audience needs in specific situations, then you will delight customers and achieve the greatest possible results. 

Try the HubSpot Website Add-on

 
195 free visual design templates

Modern day marketing is a realm overflowing with data and tests aimed at shedding light on your customers’ true desires. Yet marketing teams still tend to prioritize gut instincts over insights. When faced with a big challenge or new initiative, we often rely on past experiences and existing knowledge to determine future actions.

In other words, we do what we think we should do.

I’ve seen groups of intelligent people play a guessing game, shooting from the hip while trying to figure out what will move the dial. They devote their department’s time and resources to a hunch, following it through for months on end — only to realize they were spinning their wheels the whole time.New Call-to-action

While some marketing best practices prove to work time and again, we must also meet the unique needs of specific customers in order to drive significant business value. Professing to intuitively know those specifics is shortsighted; only once we go out and try to understand the challenges of our target audience can we truly accommodate their needs. This is what the designers at your company do every day.

They’re in the business of designing relevant experiences for consumers, and they don’t just use their gut to achieve this goal. Instead, they understand the challenge from all angles. They gather a breadth of insights from customers and stakeholders across the company, test their ideas on a small scale, and make sure they’re heading down the right path before making a full investment. The design team lives by a philosophy that can help any marketing or product team achieve desired outcomes: design thinking.

Use Design Thinking to Solve Marketing Problems

Design thinking is a methodology to drive innovation. It brings together what’s alluring to future customers with what’s technically feasible and economically viable for a business. This method inspires new thinking and develops breakthrough ideas, all while remaining realistic.

My background is in user experience design and marketing. For most of my career, I’ve led teams in design thinking to drive business results. Along the way, I’ve seen some incredible outcomes.

Recently, I noticed that the SEO division of a company was struggling to hit its numbers for two quarters in a row. To improve this, the team needed viewers to engage with the content, find value from pages, and ultimately enter the sales funnel.

The team relied on gut instincts from years of past experience and deployed every SEO best practice in its arsenal. Still, nothing stuck. So I suggested that our design team partner closely with the SEO division to lead a concentrated session to solve the problem.

During our focused five-day session, we collaborated with our SEO cohorts to make several strategic adjustments based on design thinking exercises. Ultimately, this resulted in double-digit growth exceeding our quarterly goal.

Here’s how we did it:

Day 1: Rally the Troops

First, we assembled the ideal cross-functional team for the project, which included a UX designer, a UX writer, a product manager, a marketing manager, and an engineer.

With this assorted collection of minds, the team spent the first day focusing on the alignment of ideas and the direction of the project. The team members reviewed the business opportunity, vision, relevant user research, and technical capacities with the executive team. The group then expressed any questions, risks, assumptions, and barriers to the long-term goals. We made a map of how everything fit together and kept all of this information up on the walls of our dedicated space for easy reference over the next four days.

Once all team players were briefed, we began brainstorming solutions. To avoid groupthink and to ensure no voice was left unheard, we distributed pads of sticky notes and asked everyone in the room to write down their initial thoughts on how we might solve our SEO problem. We then put the sticky notes up on the wall and grouped similar ideas into themes.

The two most important themes focused on the concepts of relevance and trust. We agreed that we needed to figure out how to make the site appear immediately credible and relevant to visitors’ interests.

This was a quick, collaborative way to align a diverse set of minds on a common goal and set our strategic direction for the project.

Day 2: Sketch It Out

The next morning, we asked everyone to come armed with examples of relevant, trustworthy sites. Some members offered up competitors’ sites, while others brought examples that had no similarities to our initiative yet offered innovative solutions. The goal was to evaluate how brands across all industries build trust with and offer relevance to consumers.

While keeping the company’s goals and technology constraints in mind, we asked every member of the group to draw a potential experience with all of the key elements. These sketches represented the core functionality and offered innovative approaches toward our goals of building trust and relevance.

By the end of the day, we identified a variety of key elements to integrate into our site. Among other insights, we knew we must spotlight the author’s credentials and ratings, include an introductory top-line summary, show high-quality imagery to increase the speed of comprehension, and employ an effortless user experience across devices.

Day 3: Make a Decision

From there, we posted the sketches on the wall and invited the executives back into the room before voting on what sketch had the potential to drive the biggest success. We also crafted a final storyboard of the user journey.

Afterward, we knew exactly what we needed to explore — and we had a strategic backlog of ideas for our future road map.

Day 4: Prototype and Review

After we agreed on the ideal strategy, our lead designer rapidly created a prototype of the experience. We shared feedback and revised areas to prepare for the next day’s testing. Knowing that our self-validated strategies were in a vacuum for the past three days, it was critical to get insight from real users.

Day 5: Test With Users

As soon as the prototype was ready, we posted it on UserTesting. This allowed us to reach our target audience within a few hours and identify whether we solved the core needs of trust and relevance with users. We gained hard data on what people loved about our solution and the remaining barriers in their experiences.

After addressing the issues found in user testing, it was time to launch our solution on a larger scale. The engineering team incorporated these new elements into the page template, and after the data matured, we saw a motivating lift in engagement.

There was double-digit growth in the number of users who clicked into the conversion path thanks to our new strategy — a result the team was extremely proud to present at the next company-wide meeting. In just five days, design thinking helped a division pull itself out of the red, which I found extremely exciting and rewarding.

Looking back, the key to this success was everyone’s part in our strategic journey. Our team certainly led the effort, yet the implemented ideas originated from our distinct disciplines, so each party played an important role.

When will you use design thinking to drive your next innovation?

I strongly encourage you to try this at your company. If you approach a problem backed with broad perspectives and a deep understanding of what your unique audience needs in specific situations, then you will delight customers and achieve the greatest possible results. 

Try the HubSpot Website Add-on

 
195 free visual design templates

How to Write an Actionable Email Newsletter

Every business needs an email marketing strategy.

You constantly need to try to grow your subscriber list so you can engage more and more customers.

But what kind of content should you be sending to the people on your email list?

Currently, you may be focusing on coupons and other promotions.

That’s great.

But you can take your email marketing strategy one step further by adding newsletters to your arsenal.

Some of you may already be emailing newsletters to your subscribers.

However, if you’re not writing actionable newsletters, these messages could be doing more harm than good.

Subscribers want to hear from you. That’s why they joined your list.

But they don’t want spam, nonsense, or anything else that wastes their time.

If you’re sending newsletters just because you haven’t contacted your subscribers in a while, it’s not an effective strategy.

Fortunately for you, I’m an expert in this space.

Whether you’ve never sent a newsletter or need help improving your current approach, I can show you how to write newsletters that convert.

It’s all about eliciting specific actions from the recipient.

Here’s what you need to know.

Make sure you’re emailing subscribers who actually want to hear from you

People won’t open your messages if they didn’t sign up for your emails.

That’s why I recommend creating a double opt-in process for new subscribers.

Take a look at how this affects your open rates:

image1 6

You might have a huge list of subscribers.

But that doesn’t mean anything if they’re not reading your content.

Getting your subscribers to open your message is the first step.

That’s why you need to seed your lists with people genuinely interested in your brand.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend buying subscribers.

Only contact those people who signed up for your newsletter.

How often have you received an unwanted email from a company?

For argument’s sake, let’s pretend this message doesn’t go to your spam folder and you actually open it.

Maybe you’ll even skim through some of the content, which is even more of a stretch if you’re not a subscriber.

Are you going to follow through with whatever action they’re asking you to complete?

I doubt it.

Well, then you can’t expect recipients of your newsletter to follow your instructions if they never opted in to receive it in the first place.

Give your subscribers options when they are signing up.

Here’s a great example from HubSpot:

image8 4

HubSpot lets their subscribers decide whether they want to receive messages on a daily or weekly basis.

If customers want to hear from you every day, give them what they want.

These people are more engaged with your brand and will be more likely to act in response to your newsletter.

Start with a clear goal in mind

Why are you sending a newsletter?

You should be able to answer this question for each message you send.

With coupons or promotional campaigns, this question is a little bit easier to answer.

But newsletters usually have an underlying message within the content.

Stick to one goal per newsletter.

Including too much information in your message will confuse the reader.

Here are some popular examples of actionable goals:

  • getting downloads
  • selling something
  • driving traffic to a landing page
  • promoting an event
  • subscribers sharing content with friends or family

Here’s a great newsletter from General Assembly:

image6 5

Right off the bat, it’s clear what the goal of this message is.

They are trying to promote an event in Boston, MA.

The newsletter shows the date of the event and has an option for the recipient to RSVP.

This goal is consistent throughout the entire newsletter.

General Assembly doesn’t try to promote products, get downloads, or drive traffic to their website.

Instead, they continue providing more information about the event.

image3 5

It’s an effective newsletter.

The message won’t confuse the reader, and the goal is apparent throughout the entire message.

In this case, the action is clear.

They want subscribers to come to their event.

It was successful because they started with a goal.

Don’t overlook the subject line

I see people make this mistake all the time.

They take their time to write awesome content for their newsletter, but then come up with a subject line in 2 seconds.

It ends up being something boring like:

  • June Newsletter
  • Weekly Update
  • A Message From Company XYZ

Boring.

Nobody is going to open that.

As I said before when I talked about only emailing subscribers who want to hear from you, the newsletter is useless if the message doesn’t get opened.

A strong and actionable subject line is arguably more important than the content within your message.

This data shows just how important email subject lines really are:

image9 4

Based on this information, your newsletter might even get marked as spam before the recipient has a chance to read it.

Come up with a subject line that generates curiosity.

Hint at a topic or question that may get answered if the message gets opened.

Including information about news or recent topics in the subject line is another great way to generate opens for your newsletter.

Make sure your timing is spot on.

Nobody wants to hear about news that broke last week.

About 40% of Americans get their news from online platforms.

If your subject line is highly relevant to something current, your subscribers will want to open it.

Be personal

Approach your newsletters the same way you approach promotional messages in terms of personalization.

Continuing with my last point, you can even use this tactic in the subject line.

In fact, personalized subject lines increase open rates by 50%.

Clearly, it’s an effective approach.

image2 6

But don’t stop at the subject line.

You can personalize your newsletter by addressing the recipient by their first name.

Use the first person perspective when writing so your subscribers know exactly from whom the message is.

Your personal email address should be displayed in the sender’s field.

Always sign newsletters with your name.

It will give the message a personalized touch.

But remember, you’re trying to get the recipient to act, e.g., to click.

Recent data shows that personalized newsletters improve both click-through and conversion rates.

image4 5

Another way to get more engagement through personalized content is by segmenting your email lists.

Not every recipient should get the same newsletter.

As you saw with the HubSpot example earlier, you can segment lists based on delivery frequency.

But you can take this idea one step further and segment the content as well.

For example, let’s say you have a website that sells sporting goods.

Your newsletter could cover various topics based on different sports.

When a subscriber opts in to receive your newsletter, you can have them select which sports they want to hear about.

That way, your newsletters that cover golf or swimming topics won’t get sent to someone who would rather read about snowboarding and mountain biking.

Your subscribers are much more likely to act if they’re interested in the content.

Have a clear call to action (CTA)

Your CTA should align with the goal you set for your newsletter.

If you want subscribers to download something, make sure the CTA directs them accordingly.

Refer back to the example I used earlier with the General Assembly newsletter.

They were promoting an event. Their CTA was a link through which subscribers could RSVP to that event.

Here’s another great example from Litmus:

image5 6

This newsletter is promoting an email checklist guide.

Rather than including the checklist within the content, they embedded a downloadable link as the CTA.

Be professional

Just like everything else associated with your name and brand, your newsletters need to be professional.

It’s OK to write in a conversational tone, but I recommend staying away from slang and profanity.

In some circumstances, it could be acceptable, depending on the image of your company. But it’s definitely safer to avoid this approach.

You also need to check your newsletter for spelling and grammar mistakes and typos.

If your newsletter has lots of errors, your subscribers won’t think you care about your company.

Don’t rush through this procedure.

Have an editing process.

You can even run newsletters through an editing software like Grammarly to assist you with this.

Here’s another editing tip.

After I’m done writing something, I read it out loud.

I find it’s easier to catch mistakes or poorly written sentences when I’m speaking as opposed to reading.

Depending on who writes your newsletter, you could even have the content checked by another set of eyes before it gets sent out to your subscribers.

Tell a story

I’ve said before you can increase sales by mastering the art of storytelling.

Apply those storytelling skills to your newsletter.

Stories are a great marketing tactic because they are a source of entertainment.

Nobody wants to read a boring newsletter, so talk about something exciting.

Look at the positive impact storytelling has on conversion rates for B2B and B2C companies:

image7 5

What kind of story should you tell?

Get creative.

You can tell your own or someone else’s story.

It all depends on your goal and the tone of your newsletter.

As I said earlier, you want your content to be relevant to your subscribers’ needs or current times.

If you have some sort of breaking news to discuss, write an engaging story instead of just stating facts.

This will captivate your audience and increase the chances of eliciting the desired response from them.

Conclusion

Newsletters are a great way for any company to engage and connect with their customers.

For starters, make sure you’re only contacting people who want to hear from you.

But if your message doesn’t have a purpose, your recipients won’t respond in a way you would like them to.

That’s why for every newsletter, set a clear goal before you start writing.

This will keep you on track so the rest of your content, including the CTA, focuses on this goal.

Nobody will read your message if they don’t open it.

Your subject line is just as important as the rest of your newsletter.

Your newsletter should be personalized based on the topic and delivery frequency.

Make sure your newsletter doesn’t have any spelling or grammar issues. It’s OK if you want to be conversational, but keep it professional.

Stories are one of my favorite ways to capture the attention of an audience.

Follow these tips, and you will increase the rate of desired responses from your newsletter subscribers.

How often do you send newsletters to the people on your email lists?

Every business needs an email marketing strategy.

You constantly need to try to grow your subscriber list so you can engage more and more customers.

But what kind of content should you be sending to the people on your email list?

Currently, you may be focusing on coupons and other promotions.

That’s great.

But you can take your email marketing strategy one step further by adding newsletters to your arsenal.

Some of you may already be emailing newsletters to your subscribers.

However, if you’re not writing actionable newsletters, these messages could be doing more harm than good.

Subscribers want to hear from you. That’s why they joined your list.

But they don’t want spam, nonsense, or anything else that wastes their time.

If you’re sending newsletters just because you haven’t contacted your subscribers in a while, it’s not an effective strategy.

Fortunately for you, I’m an expert in this space.

Whether you’ve never sent a newsletter or need help improving your current approach, I can show you how to write newsletters that convert.

It’s all about eliciting specific actions from the recipient.

Here’s what you need to know.

Make sure you’re emailing subscribers who actually want to hear from you

People won’t open your messages if they didn’t sign up for your emails.

That’s why I recommend creating a double opt-in process for new subscribers.

Take a look at how this affects your open rates:

image1 6

You might have a huge list of subscribers.

But that doesn’t mean anything if they’re not reading your content.

Getting your subscribers to open your message is the first step.

That’s why you need to seed your lists with people genuinely interested in your brand.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend buying subscribers.

Only contact those people who signed up for your newsletter.

How often have you received an unwanted email from a company?

For argument’s sake, let’s pretend this message doesn’t go to your spam folder and you actually open it.

Maybe you’ll even skim through some of the content, which is even more of a stretch if you’re not a subscriber.

Are you going to follow through with whatever action they’re asking you to complete?

I doubt it.

Well, then you can’t expect recipients of your newsletter to follow your instructions if they never opted in to receive it in the first place.

Give your subscribers options when they are signing up.

Here’s a great example from HubSpot:

image8 4

HubSpot lets their subscribers decide whether they want to receive messages on a daily or weekly basis.

If customers want to hear from you every day, give them what they want.

These people are more engaged with your brand and will be more likely to act in response to your newsletter.

Start with a clear goal in mind

Why are you sending a newsletter?

You should be able to answer this question for each message you send.

With coupons or promotional campaigns, this question is a little bit easier to answer.

But newsletters usually have an underlying message within the content.

Stick to one goal per newsletter.

Including too much information in your message will confuse the reader.

Here are some popular examples of actionable goals:

  • getting downloads
  • selling something
  • driving traffic to a landing page
  • promoting an event
  • subscribers sharing content with friends or family

Here’s a great newsletter from General Assembly:

image6 5

Right off the bat, it’s clear what the goal of this message is.

They are trying to promote an event in Boston, MA.

The newsletter shows the date of the event and has an option for the recipient to RSVP.

This goal is consistent throughout the entire newsletter.

General Assembly doesn’t try to promote products, get downloads, or drive traffic to their website.

Instead, they continue providing more information about the event.

image3 5

It’s an effective newsletter.

The message won’t confuse the reader, and the goal is apparent throughout the entire message.

In this case, the action is clear.

They want subscribers to come to their event.

It was successful because they started with a goal.

Don’t overlook the subject line

I see people make this mistake all the time.

They take their time to write awesome content for their newsletter, but then come up with a subject line in 2 seconds.

It ends up being something boring like:

  • June Newsletter
  • Weekly Update
  • A Message From Company XYZ

Boring.

Nobody is going to open that.

As I said before when I talked about only emailing subscribers who want to hear from you, the newsletter is useless if the message doesn’t get opened.

A strong and actionable subject line is arguably more important than the content within your message.

This data shows just how important email subject lines really are:

image9 4

Based on this information, your newsletter might even get marked as spam before the recipient has a chance to read it.

Come up with a subject line that generates curiosity.

Hint at a topic or question that may get answered if the message gets opened.

Including information about news or recent topics in the subject line is another great way to generate opens for your newsletter.

Make sure your timing is spot on.

Nobody wants to hear about news that broke last week.

About 40% of Americans get their news from online platforms.

If your subject line is highly relevant to something current, your subscribers will want to open it.

Be personal

Approach your newsletters the same way you approach promotional messages in terms of personalization.

Continuing with my last point, you can even use this tactic in the subject line.

In fact, personalized subject lines increase open rates by 50%.

Clearly, it’s an effective approach.

image2 6

But don’t stop at the subject line.

You can personalize your newsletter by addressing the recipient by their first name.

Use the first person perspective when writing so your subscribers know exactly from whom the message is.

Your personal email address should be displayed in the sender’s field.

Always sign newsletters with your name.

It will give the message a personalized touch.

But remember, you’re trying to get the recipient to act, e.g., to click.

Recent data shows that personalized newsletters improve both click-through and conversion rates.

image4 5

Another way to get more engagement through personalized content is by segmenting your email lists.

Not every recipient should get the same newsletter.

As you saw with the HubSpot example earlier, you can segment lists based on delivery frequency.

But you can take this idea one step further and segment the content as well.

For example, let’s say you have a website that sells sporting goods.

Your newsletter could cover various topics based on different sports.

When a subscriber opts in to receive your newsletter, you can have them select which sports they want to hear about.

That way, your newsletters that cover golf or swimming topics won’t get sent to someone who would rather read about snowboarding and mountain biking.

Your subscribers are much more likely to act if they’re interested in the content.

Have a clear call to action (CTA)

Your CTA should align with the goal you set for your newsletter.

If you want subscribers to download something, make sure the CTA directs them accordingly.

Refer back to the example I used earlier with the General Assembly newsletter.

They were promoting an event. Their CTA was a link through which subscribers could RSVP to that event.

Here’s another great example from Litmus:

image5 6

This newsletter is promoting an email checklist guide.

Rather than including the checklist within the content, they embedded a downloadable link as the CTA.

Be professional

Just like everything else associated with your name and brand, your newsletters need to be professional.

It’s OK to write in a conversational tone, but I recommend staying away from slang and profanity.

In some circumstances, it could be acceptable, depending on the image of your company. But it’s definitely safer to avoid this approach.

You also need to check your newsletter for spelling and grammar mistakes and typos.

If your newsletter has lots of errors, your subscribers won’t think you care about your company.

Don’t rush through this procedure.

Have an editing process.

You can even run newsletters through an editing software like Grammarly to assist you with this.

Here’s another editing tip.

After I’m done writing something, I read it out loud.

I find it’s easier to catch mistakes or poorly written sentences when I’m speaking as opposed to reading.

Depending on who writes your newsletter, you could even have the content checked by another set of eyes before it gets sent out to your subscribers.

Tell a story

I’ve said before you can increase sales by mastering the art of storytelling.

Apply those storytelling skills to your newsletter.

Stories are a great marketing tactic because they are a source of entertainment.

Nobody wants to read a boring newsletter, so talk about something exciting.

Look at the positive impact storytelling has on conversion rates for B2B and B2C companies:

image7 5

What kind of story should you tell?

Get creative.

You can tell your own or someone else’s story.

It all depends on your goal and the tone of your newsletter.

As I said earlier, you want your content to be relevant to your subscribers’ needs or current times.

If you have some sort of breaking news to discuss, write an engaging story instead of just stating facts.

This will captivate your audience and increase the chances of eliciting the desired response from them.

Conclusion

Newsletters are a great way for any company to engage and connect with their customers.

For starters, make sure you’re only contacting people who want to hear from you.

But if your message doesn’t have a purpose, your recipients won’t respond in a way you would like them to.

That’s why for every newsletter, set a clear goal before you start writing.

This will keep you on track so the rest of your content, including the CTA, focuses on this goal.

Nobody will read your message if they don’t open it.

Your subject line is just as important as the rest of your newsletter.

Your newsletter should be personalized based on the topic and delivery frequency.

Make sure your newsletter doesn’t have any spelling or grammar issues. It’s OK if you want to be conversational, but keep it professional.

Stories are one of my favorite ways to capture the attention of an audience.

Follow these tips, and you will increase the rate of desired responses from your newsletter subscribers.

How often do you send newsletters to the people on your email lists?