Friday, October 29, 2021

29 TikTok Stats to Know in 2021

If you feel like the app TikTok came out of nowhere, you're not wrong.

Since launching in early 2018, TikTok's been covered by seemingly every major news publication and racked up millions of downloads globally.

Despite TikTok's major early success, the app still feels like a bit of a mystery, especially to marketers. In fact, until recently, its parent company, ByteDance, hasn't disclosed many metrics at all.

In TikTok's first year, all we really knew was that an odd-ball video app was going viral, topping global app store charts, and gaining a huge fanbase from Gen-Z.

Download Now: Social Media Trends in 2022 [Free Report]


But now, shortly after TikTok's first birthday, we know a lot more about it as sites like Digiday, AdWeek, and our own Marketing Blog regularly cover it.

Even if you still aren't quite sure what TikTok is, you've probably seen a video meme on social media that was created and published in the app first. Here's one for example of a TikTok post which went viral on Twitter:

Now THIS is a tiktok I could watch all day

— 🌸 Alexandra Daniels 🌸 (@alexdanielsxo) July 11, 2019

When making decisions about your social strategy, you're probably more interested in numbers than virality as proof of an app's staying power.

As someone who's gotten sucked into the app, blogged multiple times about it, hearted hundreds of posts, and even made a few embarrassingly mature videos of my own, I'm fairly certain that this platform will stick around for quite some time. But, luckily, with mounting data on TikTok, you don't just have to take my word for it.

To help you make informed decisions about your strategy and whether TikTok is right for your brand, I've compiled a list of 28 interesting stats and facts to know before venturing on to the app.

29 TikTok Stats to Know in 2021

Userbase, Downloads, and Growth

Within TikTok's first year, it reportedly reached 500 million monthly active users. Wondering if this was just a fluke or a viral trend that will simmer down? Think again. According to TikTok and its company heads, the audience might be larger and more promising than we think.

  • In September 2021, TikTok celebrated reaching 1 billion monthly active users. (TikTok)
  •, a lip-syncing app which ByteDance purchased and merged with TikTok, reportedly had 100 million monthly active users when it was purchased by TikTok in 2018. (The Verge)
  • Douyin, TikTok's original standalone app in China, had 300 million users at the time merged with TikTok. (The Verge)
  • In 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app globally (850 million downloads), followed by WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. (Apptopia)
  • TikTok is the Top Free App in the Entertainment section of the Apple App Store. (Apple App Store)


While TikTok's user base is dominated by Gen-Z in the United States, many millennials have adopted it around the world.

And, although it might feel like TikTok is huge in the U.S., the app's biggest audience actually comes from China, where the platform is called Douyin.

Here's a breakdown of TikTok's major demographic stats.

  • 35% of TikTok's global audience is between the ages of 19 and 29, and 28% is under 18. (Business of Apps)
  • As of December 2020, TikTok has 69.5 million monthly active users in the United States. (Statista)
  • As of April 2021, 48% of U.S. adults between 18-29 use TikTok, compared to 20% of adults between 30-49 and 14% among 50-64 year olds. (Pew Research Center)
  • One-quarter of Americans between 12 and 34 have used TikTok compared to 3% of adults aged 35+. (MarketingCharts)
  • 51% of global TikTok users are male and 49% are female. (Hootsuite)
  • TikTok is now available in more than 200 countries. (Oberlo)
  • Over 22.2 million of TikTok's monthly active users are in Indonesia. (Statista)

User Behavior

TikTok is a fast-paced app. The second you log in, you see a video at the top of a feed that's algorithmically curated around your interests. If you enjoy the video you're watching, you can follow, comment, and like the content directly from the video post. If you're not loving what you see, you can keep swiping in an upward motion to immediately see more odd videos.

From my own experience, I've found that TikTok can easily cause you to spend more time than expected watching an endless stream of often comedic videos. Since these videos are usually between 15 seconds and one minute, it makes the app ideal for people who need quick entertainment on their morning commute or when they're bored at home.

Because of TikTok's quick pace and entertainment factor, the stats below aren't that surprising:

  • The average user spends 89 minutes per day on the app, according to a leaked deck from TikTok. (Music Business Worldwide)
  • As of September 2021, there are 14.43 million daily active users using the TikTok Android App and the average user spends 12.3 hours per month using it. (Statista, HootSuite)
  • TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps in the Google Play Store. (Statista)
  • Younger users aged 4-15 spend an average of 80 minutes per day on the app. (Qustodio)
  • According to a leaked TikTok deck, the average user opens the app 19 times per day. (Music Business Worldwide)
  • There are 30.8 million global DAU on the TikTok iOS app as of September 2021. (Statista)
  • TikTok users on Android now spend more time watching content on the app than they do on YouTube. (App Annie)

Viral Trends and Influencers on TikTok

Like YouTube, Vine, Instagram, as well as other past and present video apps, TikTok has opened doors for influencers, comedians, meme creators, and even some brands. While it's still a bit too early to see how successful its influencers and trends will be in the long run, here are a few interesting tidbits:

  • The most followed creator on TikTok is dancer Charli D’amelio with 123.5 million followers. Following close behind is Khabane Lame with 115 million. (Wikipedia)
  • One of the earliest branded hashtag challenges was Guess' #InMyDenim challenge. According to TikTok, videos marked with this hashtag have received a grand total of 38.8 million views. (TikTok)
  • Rapper Lil Nas X credits the success of his song "Old Town Road" to TikTok. The song was propelled to #1 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2019 after the artist uploaded it to TikTok. (BuzzFeed News)

Here's a compilation of TikTok's #CowboyChallenge where people wearing normal clothing cut to themselves in cowboy costumes to the song "Old Town Road."

Business, Revenue, and Competition

The launch of TikTok not only put its parent company, ByteDance, on the map, but it also resulted in competition from apps like Facebook, which launched a very similar app called Lasso shortly after TikTok went viral. While TikTok and ByteDance are less transparent about revenue and other major details, here's what we know:

  • TikTok now offers five advertising tiers aimed at big brands. One of which, a branded hashtag challenge, reportedly costs $150,000 per day. (TikTok Pitch Deck Notes First Reported by Digiday)
  • TikTok generated an estimated 1.9 billion in revenue in 2020. (Business of Apps)
  • In October 2020, TikTok made $115 million on in-app purchases from users. (Sensor Tower)
  • TikTok has a 4.9-star rating in the Apple App Store and 4.4 in the Google Play Store. (Apple App Store, Google Play Store)
  • Bytedance, TikTok's parent company is valued at $75 million, making it the world's most valuable startup. (CBInsights)

The Mysteries of TikTok

Although TikTok is a top social platform and is ramping up its options for advertisers, it's still rather new. When a company or startup is new, it's not uncommon for leadership to hide early numbers, even when a brand is successful. In fact, we've seen this with other major companies like Snapchat and Netflix.

Despite the launch of TikTok For Business in mid 2020, there’s still a lot more to learn as TikTok’s global teams and ByteDance continue to remain hush-hush about major metrics. In the coming years, as TikTok continues to draw in more advertisers, it wouldn’t be surprising if we started to see more transparent information about the app and its user base. 

Where to Find TikTok Stats

In the meantime, If you want to learn more about TikTok, you can read up on its short history and early success in this post, or click here to find a how-to guide for using the app. In addition, you can discover important TikTok facts app on various websites: 

Want to see what other businesses are doing on TikTok? Check out this roundup of brands on TikTok.

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29 TikTok Stats to Know in 2021 was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

What Is a CMS and Why Should You Care?

There are a lot of acronyms in the business world to keep straight. SEO, CRM, SERP, CDN, and CMS are just a few important ones.

CMS is particularly important, considering that more than 68 million websites are built with one. So what is it?

CMS stands for content management system. It also may be the solution you're looking for to quickly make a website with limited technical knowledge and resources.

Learn More About HubSpot's CMS Software

In this post, we'll define what a CMS is and how it works. Then we'll look at how you can use a CMS to handle the infrastructure of your site so you can focus on creating exciting, delightful content that results in more conversions and leads.

We'll wrap up by looking at some of the most popular CMS platforms on the market. Let's get started.

With a CMS, you can create, manage, modify, and publish content in a user-friendly interface. You can customize the design and functionality of your site by downloading or purchasing templates and extensions, rather than coding. You can have multiple users working in the back-end of the same tool — and much more.

You might be wondering how one piece of software does all of this. To answer that question, let's take a closer look at how a CMS works.

How a CMS Works

To understand how a CMS works, you first have to understand what it's like to build a site from scratch.

You'd start with HTML to add text, images, navigation bars, and other building blocks of a site. Then you'd add CSS to style those elements to match the unique look and feel of your brand.

how a CMS works vs coding a website from scratch

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You'd finish up by writing some JavaScript to add more advanced functionality to your site, like slide-in CTAs. Then you'd have to upload this HTML file to your server to be filed away in your database.

Whenever you want to make changes — even simple ones like updating content — you have to download files from the server, open them, and change the HTML code by hand. Then you'll have to make sure you didn't break any links or something else before uploading the files back to the server.

how a CMS works: process of uploading files to server is not visible to users

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Sounds complicated, yes? For developers and other advanced users with experience in website development, building a site from scratch might be ideal. But for those who don't have the coding skills or time and resources to build a site from scratch and maintain it, they can use a CMS. Let's talk about how.

How to Use a CMS

A CMS is made up of two core parts: a content management application (CMA) and content delivery application (CDA). Combined, these applications essentially handle all the code, database queries, and infrastructure in the back end so you can focus on the front end of your site.

Rather than start with a blank HTML page, for example, you'll open up the content editor and be able bold text, add links and CTAs, and insert images and tables by dragging and dropping some modules or clicking a few buttons rather than writing out HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Here's a look at how easy it is to create a blog post using WordPress, for example.

Creating post in WordPress Gutenberg editor

To make other changes on your site, like changing the permalink structure or installing extensions, just navigate to the appropriate section in your admin panel. This is the CMA in action: all these changes are made in an intuitive interface that hides the code from you, the end user.

When you're done making changes, the CDA will take the content you entered into the CMA, assemble the code, display it to your front-end visitors, and store it. That means when you want to publish a new blog post, for example, you just have to hit the Publish button instead of manually uploading a page to your server.

Now that we understand what a CMS is, how it works, and how to use it, let's explore the benefits of using one over building a site from scratch or using another website building tool.

Why Use a CMS?

We've already alluded to some benefits of using a CMS, but let's look at some specific ways it can impact your set-up process, team's productivity, and visibility online.

1. No Coding Knowledge Required

By enabling non-developers and other users to build websites without coding, CMS systems have helped revolutionize web design. Gone are the days of relying on web developers and designers to establish an online presence for your business.

You can create and manage content, customize the design of your site, and install extensions to add functionality to your site — all without coding. (It's important to note that most platforms do allow you to add custom code for more granular control over your site, too.)

As a result, users with limited technical resources and time can still build a powerful website for their business.

2. Easy Collaboration

Multiple users can access and work in the back end of a CMS at the same time. That means on any given day, your marketers can be producing content, your IT professionals implementing security protocols, and your developers adding custom code to your theme. In fact, they could all be working on the same landing page.

In short, a CMS can help improve workflows and productivity across your team.

3. User Roles and Permissions

A CMS allows you to collaborate in the most efficient and safe way possible thanks to built-in (and often customizable) user roles and permissions. That means content writers, for example, can have all the permissions they need to write, publish, and manage content — but won't be able to delete plugins or otherwise significantly alter the site's functionality. 

Here's a look at the User Role Editor in WordPress. 

benefits of a cms: Customizing User Roles and permissions in WordPress

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Without a CMS, you’d have to code some pretty complicated conditions and checks to create user roles and permissions in JavaScript.

4. SEO Features and Extensions

CMS platforms offer built-in features as well as add-ons to help you optimize your site for search engines.

Using built-in or third party tools, you can:

Implementing these best practices will help improve your chances of ranking on Google and other major search engines.

5. Security Features and Extensions

CMS platforms also offer built-in features and add-ons to help you secure your site. Some even offer a dedicated security team. CMS Hub, for example, provides a dedicated 24/7 security team, an enterprise-class web application firewall, SSL, custom CDN, SSO memberships, and and other out-of-the-box features.

6. Predesigned Templates

Most CMS platforms come with a selection of predesigned templates you can use to quickly customize the appearance of your site. They can also affect the behavior of your site.

Choosing a responsive template, for example, will ensure your site looks good on any device, without requiring you to write a bunch of code. Not only do templates save you design time before launching your site, they can also make a website redesign much faster and simpler down the road.

Webflow is just one CMS that offers hundreds of responsive templates. 

Benefits of a cms: Predesigned templates offered by Webflow

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7. Simple Updates

As discussed above, a CMS enables you to make changes on your site faster and easier — from major updates, like a website redesign, to minor updates, like changing the image on your home page. Rather than hiring a freelance developer or trying to edit the code yourself, you can go into the dashboard of your CMS to update and edit the content of your website. This allows you to keep your content dynamic and relevant.

8. Blogging Functionality

Blogging offers a range of benefits, particularly to businesses. It can help drive traffic to your website, convert traffic into leads, establish authority in a particular industry, generate backlinks, and achieve other long-term results. But building a blog from scratch is difficult, even for experienced developers.

A major advantage of using a CMS is that most provide built-in blogging functionality (or extensions) so it's easy to start creating and publishing blog content and reaping the benefits. 

9. Content Scheduling

Scheduling content is essential to any editorial strategy. When building a site from scratch, you can schedule content — but it will require a combination of coding and tools like GitHub.

With a CMS, scheduling content is as easy as clicking a button. Most platforms allow you to schedule more than just blog posts, too. With CMS Hub for example, you can schedule blog posts as well as website pages, landing pages, and emails.

Here's a look at the scheduling tab within HubSpot's blog editor.

benefits of a cms: content scheduling in HubSpots blog editor

10. Easy Access

With a CMS platform, you can access and edit your site on virtually any device with an internet connection. That's much easier than the alternative of building a site from scratch, which requires you to be on a device connected to the server or connect remotely.

Plus, most CMS systems have a single dashboard or control panel where you can access your site's content, theme, plugins, settings, and more — all in one place. 

If your site is growing, you may need to upgrade to a CMS to meet your needs. You can start your search by checking out a few of the best CMS systems below.

Let's unpack eight popular CMS platform examples to discover which might be the best fit for your website needs.

1. CMS Hub

Ideal for: Any-sized businesses

Price: $25 - $1,200 per month

Why Use CMS Hub: With CMS Hub, you can build websites that are secure, powerful, and optimized for search engines.

Using this all-on-one connected platform, you can create personalized content for visitors based on data from your HubSpot CRM, create custom templates and styles, run A/B tests on multi-language content, safely redesign and relaunch web pages, view performance analytics, and much more.

By combining ease of use and flexibility, this proprietary CMS is ideal for businesses with diverse teams of marketers, developers, and IT professionals that are looking to grow over time.

Learn more about CMS Hub’s customization options, multi-lingual support, reporting dashboards, and more.

cms examples:

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2. WordPress

Ideal for: Small businesses and freelancers

Price: Estimated between $30 to $3,000

Why Use WordPress: WordPress is a self-hosted platform that powers millions of sites. You can easily and quickly build a WordPress site using the Gutenberg editor and then customize it with any of the thousands of plugins and themes available in the official WordPress directory or other third-party sites.

Want to add forms and live chat to your site? Want a theme that comes with a built-in visual builder and split testing? Leveraging WordPress plugins and themes like these, you can create a unique experience specific to your brand.

cms examples: WordPress dashboard enables you to add and manage plugins

3. Joomla

Ideal for: Global companies

Price: Estimated between $700 to $6,500

Why Use Joomla: Site owners looking for more functionality built right into the platform may try a WordPress alternative like Joomla.

Like WordPress, Joomla is an open-source CMS. What sets Joomla apart is its built-in multilingual support and advanced user and content management options, which make it ideal for membership, community, and social networking sites. UIDAI, for example, is a multilingual website powered by Joomla. 

cms examples: Joomla CMS Showcase

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4. Drupal

Ideal for: Corporatations and government agencies

Price: Estimated between $5,000 to $20,000

Why Use Drupal: Drupal is a highly flexible CMS favored by large corporations and government agencies like NASA. While you will need web development experience to fully leverage the power of this platform, you won't have to start from scratch.

In addition to its out-of-the-box features, you can choose among 47,000 modules available in its directory and thousands of free themes in its theme repository to build a complex site that handles large volumes of data and heavy traffic, like Rush University Medical Center's website. 

cms examples: Drupal showcase Rush University

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5. Magento

Ideal for: Ecommerce businesses

Price: Estimated at $15,000 and up

Why Use Magento: The self-hosted version of Magento, known as Magento OpenSource, is like the Drupal of the ecommerce world. It's highly flexible and secure, but difficult to learn and take advantage of all its built-in functionality and extensions.

CMS examples: Magento extensions marketplace

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With Magento, you can manage multiple stores, use several worldwide shipping providers, and transact in different countries, languages, and currencies — all within the same dashboard.

So, if you have the time and resources to invest in set-up and maintenance, you'll be able to build an online store with a huge product inventory and global reach.

6. Webflow

Ideal for: Web designers and agencies

Price: $15 - $235 per month

Why Use Webflow: Webflow is a “visual” content management system designed to fill a market gap for web designers who want to focus on creating and customizing sites without worrying about hosting, security, or performance.

With Webflow, you can start with one of the hundreds of pre-built templates or start from scratch using the Webflow Designer shown below.

CMS examples: Webflow user editing site in Webflow designer

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You can also extend the functionality of your site through third-party integrations or embedding HTML code. Since it requires at least some knowledge of HTML, CSS, and web design, Webflow is best suited for freelancer designers or agencies.

7. Ghost

Ideal for: Bloggers

Price: $9 - $2,400 per month

Why Use Ghost: If you're looking for a more simple and lightweight CMS dedicated to blogging, Ghost is a great option. Ghost is a headless CMS, which means that its body (the content repository) is separated from its head (the presentation layer).

Basically, this allows you to create and manage content and then deliver that content via their Node.js APIs (or another front-end tool you prefer) to any platform and channel, from smartwatches to virtuality reality headsets.

With an intuitive editor and built-in SEO tools, Ghost appeals to bloggers and beginners who want a basic site that’s simple to create and manage.

cms examples: ghost cms platform with desktop and mobile demos

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8. Sitecore

Ideal for: Enterprise companies

Price: Must contact company for pricing info

Why Use Sitecore: Sitecore is an enterprise-level headless CMS that enables you to create and deliver personalized websites, emails, social media posts, and mobile experiences.

You can use its WYSIWYG editor with drag-and-drop functionality, session- and device-based personalization rules, and multilingual tools to scale your content creation and deliver content that’s optimized to your users’ interests, language, and device. And thanks to Sitecore’s headless architecture, you can provide these relevant customer experiences across multiple channels, including web, social, voice, point of sale, and more.

cms examples: SiteCore Experience Manager illustration depicts the architecture of this headless CMS

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This CMS powers more than 120,000 websites in industries ranging from sports to banking to travel and more. Some of its biggest brands are American Express, ASOS, L’Oréal, and Volvo Cars.

Use a CMS to Build Your Site 

Using a content management system to build and manage your site can help you grow over time. Not only will a CMS store all of your web content in one place, it will also support collaboration across teams, allow for quick and easy updates, and offer templates and extensions to customize your site.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Discover videos, templates, tips, and other resources dedicated to helping you launch an effective video marketing strategy. 

What Is a CMS and Why Should You Care? was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

16 Top Website Mistakes to Avoid in 2021 [+ 16 Easy Fixes]

Since 86% of consumers rely on the internet to find local businesses, having a website is a no-brainer regardless of your business type.

Although building a website is great for business, you'll want to avoid making common mistakes that will stop you from getting the most out of your investment. All of these mistakes are easy to identify for free using a handy tool called Website Grader.

In this post, I'll show you the most common website mistakes we've seen here at HubSpot and exactly how to fix them if they apply to you.

Free Resource: Website Optimization Checklist [Download Now]

1. Lengthy Page Title

A page title, like the one in the Google search result below, tells visitors what a page is about.

Website Page Title that is the correct length

Search engines and browsers may cut off your page title if it's too long. From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, a concise page title yields the best reader experience. If your page title is too long, it will dilute the importance of each term in the title. This might even prevent you from ranking well on the search engine results page (SERP).

It's best practice to keep your page title under 70 characters so that the reader can see the entire title and make a decision to click through to the post.

Website Fix #1: Use a Headline Analyzer Tool to Write Concise Headlines

Use a tool like Coschedule's Headline Analyzer to draft a concise and keyword-rich description of your page. It's a great idea to test several variations of a headline before choosing the best one. Amanda Sellers, manager of the historical optimization team at HubSpot, recommends a score of 70 or above from the Headline Analyzer tool for most headlines.

coschedules headline analyzer tools

2. Long Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are essential for drawing in visitors from search. The meta description is the text under a page title in search results. Like page titles, meta descriptions will get cut off and replaced by "..." if they are too long.

website mistake to avoid in 2021: long meta description

Website Fix #2: Use a Word Counter to Check Your Characters

You can use tools like WordCounter and SERPsimulator to count the number of characters in our meta description so you don’t go over the limit.

SERPsimulation, for example, shows you what your title tag and meta description would look like on the search engine result page.

wordcounter being used to check the length of a meta description

3. Keyword Stuffing

We've seen many people make the mistake of stuffing their page title with keywords or targeting unrealistic keywords. For example, it’s often a futile effort if a new website in the online marketing space is trying to rank for a keyword like “inbound marketing.”

Sometimes websites target keywords that would attract a ton of traffic but fail to convert.

From a user's standpoint, using too many keywords in your content creates a bad user experience and makes it hard to read your website. As for search engines, Google Search Central mentions that keyword stuffing can harm your site’s rankings.

Website Fix #3: Conduct Proper Keyword Research

Start by creating a list of all the relevant terms used to describe your business. Then, you can break these terms up into content or topic buckets. For example, here at HubSpot, we have topic buckets like “inbound marketing,” “blogging,” and “social media marketing.”

The next step would be to fill these broad topic buckets with keyword phrases your potential customers might use when searching for that type of content.

If you already get a bit of traffic from Google, you can dig into your Google Analytics instance to find the keywords people use to get to your website.

Aside from Google Analytics, you can also use SEO and keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush for more keyword ideas.

4. Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization is when two or more pages on your website are targeting the same keyword.

The problem with keyword cannibalization is that your web pages targeting the same keyword would be competing against each other on the search engine results page. This could result in a low click-through rate and cause a decrease in the value of each page.

Each page on your website is a new opportunity to get found online. You don't want to waste all these opportunities by reusing the keywords.

Website Fix #4: Try the Pillar Cluster Model

With tools like Moz Keyword Explorer and SEOScout Cannibalization Checker, you can easily identify pages competing for the same keywords on your website.

Once you’ve identified these pages, you can try the pillar cluster model to reorganize your website. The pillar cluster model involves grouping related blog posts into specific topic areas instead of long-tail keywords.

With this model, the individual blog posts link back to the pillar page and share hyperlinks.

5. No Image Alt Text

Search engines do not "read" images. Instead, they scan primarily for text. Fortunately, with the alt tag, you can associate text with an image.

Considering that around 33% of Google’s search results now show an image pack — a snippet display of horizontal rows of image links appearing in any organic position — you’d be losing out on a ton of traffic if you don’t add alt text to your website images.

Alt text also helps you make your content accessible to users and improves the user experience in addition to helping you gain more traffic.

Website Fix #5: Add Alt Texts to All Your Images

Assign ALT text to pictures whenever possible by adding something like this to your HTML:

alt="David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox batting from home plate at Fenway Park"

website mistake to avoid in 2021: no image alt text for an image at a baseball game

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When writing alt text, use proper sentence structure and be as specific as possible when describing the image.

6. Too little (or Too Much) Text

Search engines read text better than anything else. So, it's important to have text on your web page. Knowing this, some people cram as much text as possible into a page. As a result, search engines then struggle to extract the relevant text.

Website Fix #6: Focus the Page on One Topic

Make sure your page is readable and contains the keywords you are targeting. However, don't add unimportant text just to hit a specific word count.

7. Not Using Analytics

Even after you've created engaging content on your website, optimized, and converted traffic into leads, your work is not done! You still need to track your website’s analytics.

Web analytics are essential because they help you better understand your visitors and how they interact with your site. Without proper tracking, you won’t be able to tell what pages on your website get the most/least traffic, which devices visitors are using to access your site, and so on.

Without access to these vital metrics, you’d be left in the dark when making decisions that affect your website.

Website Fix #7: Track Metrics That Matter

It’s going to be a waste of time to track all the analytics on your website. Instead, focus on the metrics that align with your business objectives. For starters, you should track and analyze website metrics like unique page views, bounce rates, number of returning visitors, and traffic sources.

You can then analyze the data you collect to make informed business decisions that’d drive your business’ growth.

Web analytics tools like HubSpot's Marketing & Analytics Dashboard and Google Analytics can help you track all the metrics you need.

8. Slow Load Times

Nobody enjoys waiting in a queue, especially not when they have other options to choose from. You can say the same of your website visitors. They’re not going to wait around if your website takes forever to load when they could hop on the next website that loads almost instantly.

If your website loads slowly, it could be because your hosting is insufficient, you have large images across your site, you have too many redirects, or you've installed too many unnecessary plugins.

Website Fix #8: Increase Your Website Loading Speed

You can use simple tools like Pingdom Website Speed Test, GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights to check your website’s speed.

To improve your website’s speed, follow these best practices:

  • Choose a web hosting platform that’s designed for speed
  • Compress your images
  • Embed videos instead of uploading them directly to the site
  • Reduce redirects
  • Enable cache browsing
  • Leverage a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Uninstall any unnecessary plugins

9. Unresponsive Website

Mobile devices account for over 54.8% of global website traffic. Since most people use their handheld devices to access the internet, it’s in your best interest to make your website responsive on mobile screens.

Unfortunately, many website owners make the mistake of only optimizing their websites for desktop devices, thereby leaving out the larger chunk of their audience and traffic.

Website Fix #9: Optimize Your Website For Mobile

You should avoid including content that is only accessible on desktop. Avoid large header sections so that mobile users get to the content quickly. You should also ensure the font size is not too small to read.

Google Search Console has a neat feature that lets you test how mobile-friendly your website is. Here’s the test result for HubSpot’s website.

website mistake to avoid in 2021: website not optimized for mobile

10. Poor Internal Linking

Links are essential for improving website authority on search engines. However, many website owners make the mistake of either using too many or too few links.

If there are too many links on a page, it can become distracting. And too few links could make the article or web page look less authoritative.

Another poor linking mistake is when you don’t use anchor text for internal links. You've likely come across websites with a “Click here” or some other generic text. Did you click it? Likely not.

Website Fix #10: Create an Internal Link Structure

With a tool like SEMrush, you can run a site audit to identify internal linking opportunities across your website.

how to create an internal link structure using SEMrush

You could also create a link structure that helps you naturally include internal links to existing content whenever you’re creating new blog posts or web pages.

However, as much as you want to build internal links between your web pages, don't go around linking to everything just for the sake of it. Instead, emphasize link quality over quantity. Finally, use relevant keywords in the anchor text for your internal links to help the search engine infer a relationship between the posts.

11. Poor Website Security

You probably wouldn't sleep well at night knowing your home is vulnerable to a break-in. Like you, online shoppers (or website visitors in general) also feel edgy whenever they try to navigate or shop on an insecure website.

The recent rise in personal data breaches and website hacks also makes it necessary for your website to be secure.

Now, web browsers like Chrome and Firefox show a warning, as seen in the photo below, to alert users whenever they visit an insecure website.

website mistake to avoid in 2021: poor website security

Website Fix #11: Enable an SSL Certificate

You can protect your customers and gain their trust by installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate on your website. SSL is a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between your web server and your visitor’s browser.

To know if your site is protected, check its URL to see if it starts with “HTTP” or “HTTPS.” If it’s “HTTPS,” your site is secure. If not, you need to purchase an SSL certificate from your domain provider or a site like Let’s Encrypt.

12. Lengthy Website Forms

Website forms are crucial for converting traffic into leads, but the leads will only convert if your form is done right.

Most website forms today require a lot of work from visitors to fill out. These forms might ask for unnecessary information and have several “required” fields that look pushy, leaving visitors confused or frustrated.

Website Fix #12: Ask For Only the Essential Details

Limit the content of your forms to only the information you need. For example, use only 3-5 fields in each form. Also, reduce the number of required fields, and add help text in the field's default.

This form from Hubspot's Marketing Grader shows how simple a form can be to optimize conversions.

HubSpot form fill to capture leads

13. No Calls To Action

Another common website mistake people make is not including a CTA on their website. You've probably spent lots of time and effort directing people to your website. But what happens once they arrive on your website? Do you want them to buy a product? Sign up for a newsletter? Share what they've read?

Whatever you want them to do, you have to ask them for it.

Website Fix #13: Add Specific Calls to Action

If you are selling a product, make purchase buttons stand out and guide visitors on the next step to take. If you want them to sign up for a newsletter or something similar, create a sign-up form available as soon as possible before they leave your website.

It's also good practice to place your calls to action above the fold.

Example of a great CTA on the evernote website

14. No Search Box

A search box is a simple feature many websites lack today. Without a search box, it’s more difficult for visitors to find the specific web pages they’re looking for on your website.

The absence of a search box causes a poor user experience and reduces users’ time on your website.

Website Fix #14: Create a Search Box

If your website has multiple pages, you should include a search box. Then, as your website gets larger, visitors can use the search box to find what they’re looking for within seconds.

To add a search box on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, simply place the widget where you'd like your users to see it. The home page is a great place for a search box.

15. Contact Info is Hard to Find

This is a mistake that's especially costly for ecommerce websites. If potential customers find it difficult to get in touch with you, they might lose trust in your product or service.

Website Fix #15: Make it Easy to Find Your Contact Information

Make it easy for visitors to reach out to you by including your contact information like email and phone number on different pages on your website.

You can also link to social media accounts to give visitors a way to engage with your business. If you’re stuck, you can find helpful templates, information, and inspiration from HubSpot's guide to contact forms.

16. Using Stock Images Throughout Your Website

Stock photos make it hard to differentiate your website from many other sites that use the same free images. These stock photos also don’t feel original and may create a poor experience for your visitors.

Website Fix #16: Use Original Images or Graphics

Whenever possible, take and use original photos that showcase your products or your work culture. If it’s too expensive to take new images consistently, you can use a design solution like Canva to create engaging graphics that leave a more lasting impression.

Fix Your Website the Right Way

Despite your best intentions, you could be making some mistakes on your website that cause you to lose leads, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Now that you know these common website mistakes, test out these simple solutions to optimize your site for traffic and conversions. Examine this list of mistakes against your website and see what changes you can make to improve how well your website works for your business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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16 Top Website Mistakes to Avoid in 2021 [+ 16 Easy Fixes] was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

You Don't Have to Be a Great Writer to Write a Great Blog

When I started HubSpot, I was a trained engineer with little writing experience. In the early days of the company, I could not create software. Instead, I spent a lot of time writing articles for our Marketing Blog. As an inexperienced writer, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it performed. Today, the blog has over 500,000 subscribers and over 10M new visitors each month.

The success of the blog convinced me that I suppressed brilliant writing skills for the last 20 years! My excitement led me to send a Thank You note to my eighth-grade teacher, Tom Brown, who helped me learn to write.→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

Emboldened with my newfound writing confidence, I wrote the Inbound Marketing Book with my co-founder Dharmesh Shah. When we submitted the final draft to a professional editor, I was confident she would send it back with minimal edits and high praise. Wrong. The document she returned had more red lines than anything I had ever seen in my life.

After many weeks of language crafting, we got it close to perfect. Upon its release in 2014, it was ranked #200 out of the 8 million books currently available on Amazon — a list led by notable writers such as Dan Brown and Stephen King.

I learned that you do not have to be a great writer to have a great book. The same goes for blogs. Non-writers can develop new skills and practices that turn your words and message from mediocre to excellent, and in this post, I’ll tell you how.

Blogging Tips for Non-Writers

Non-writers and great blogs are not mutually exclusive. If you have no formal writing education or experience, join the club. English is not the most popular Bachelor’s degree. There has been a 26% decrease in English degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions since 2011 while blogging has seen a 12% growth since 2015.

With the number of professional writers decreasing and the number of blogs increasing, we can deduce that the number of non-writers who blog is likely increasing.

Formal education, or the lack thereof, won’t stop you from running a successful blog. You’ll just need a few skills in your toolbelt.

When writing your blog, you need to:

  • Select your audience and topics.
  • Have a conversation.
  • Include links to reputable websites (including your own).
  • Make your content easy to digest.
  • Use online writing assistants.

Let’s cover each of these in-depth.

1. Select your audience and topics.

Who is your audience? It is significantly easier to speak to someone when you know who they are, but it's impossible to know every person who reads your blog posts. This is where your buyer persona comes in. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. Once you establish your audience and their needs, you can figure out your topics of conversation.

Keyword research should determine the content you share with your readers. Keywords are words and phrases people type or speak into search engines. There are multiple ways to conduct keyword research, but a typical place to start is by evaluating monthly search volume (MSV) for industry-related terms.

Monthly search volume is the total number of searches performed for a particular keyword in a month. An easy example could be the keyword research of a greeting card store. November searches would unsurprisingly tell you that the search volume for the keyword “Thanksgiving cards” is higher than the keyword “Easter cards.” These results, combined with research on keyword difficulty, will lead you to your target keywords for the month.

Once you establish your buyer persona and keywords, you can begin a conversation with our audience.

2. Have a conversation.

Your blog is not an opportunity to bring your high school English term paper to life. Trust me, you do not need to reference a thesaurus and pull out the longest words in the dictionary to get your point across. Been there, done that. Instead, imagine you are talking to a friend when you write a post. Be knowledgeable yet personable. Be authoritative yet relatable. Your readers don’t want to be talked down to. They want quality information they can understand from a credible source, and it is you've been granted the responsibility to provide it.

3. Include links to reputable websites (including your own).

As you can tell, there's no one rule for writing a great blog. Most of the rules about blogging aren’t even associated with writing. One example of this is link building.

Link building can boost the quality of your content and the credibility of your blog. Focus on interlinks and backlinks.


Interlinks are links that guide readers back to the content on your website. This gives your other content more exposure in a relevant way, plus it helps search engine site crawlers index more pages on your site. That's great news for your SEO efforts! Another rewarding benefit is extending the time readers spend on your website. When you use interlinks, you provide your readers with relevant resources to increase their knowledge on the subject. It boosts your credibility as a source, and the more credible your visitors find your blog, the more successful it will be.


There are endless amounts of information on the internet, but not all of it is credible and accurate. You can help readers find other great content by giving backlinks to reputable sites.

A backlink is a link from one website to another. If your blog links to another website, they have a backlink from you. If a website links to your content, you have one from them. But you might be wondering, why would you want to take traffic away from your blog?

In short, search engines like to see websites giving credit where it's due. Backlinks are a great way to substantiate your blog article so that the reader can learn more about your point of view.

The key to a strong backlink strategy is to prioritize quality over quantity. Build your content around information from reliable sources. Getting backlinks from other websites is not guaranteed, but you can increase your chances by creating quality content with the tips on this page.

4. Make your content easy to digest.

What you write is valuable — we know that. You also need to pay attention to how you write and present your information. No one wants to open a webpage to a sea of never-ending words trickling down the page. The important information will easily get lost. So will your reader. The amount of time spent on your blog is limited. Your goal is to keep their attention while giving them the information they want as easily as possible. To accomplish this, use:

Headings and Subheadings

Many readers do a visual scan of a webpage before they decide to dive deeper into the content. Here is where you will see the importance of headings and subheadings. Treat them as an outline or summary of your blog post. Use them to make your most significant points so readers can quickly determine the value of your information.


When presenting information to your readers, use lists wherever possible. Elaborate on your main points, and break up your text to make your content easier to comprehend and retain. Vary between using numbered lists and bullet points. Use numbered lists to prioritize the order and bullet points when there is no order of importance.


If your content allows it, use tables and charts. There are reasons for commonly adding these visuals to presentations. One, you can present the same information in a different, more exciting way. Two, you’re able to accommodate visual learners. Hundreds of words could be necessary to build your point, but a table will either supplement or summarize your information and break up the monotony of your text.

5. Use online writing assistants.

Fifteen years ago, the most writing assistance we received was from the red and green lines appearing in a Microsoft Word document. Now, there are plenty of tools to help improve your writing. Available options for free writing assistant software include Writefull, 1Checker, and Grammarly.

Grammarly, a popular spelling and grammar check tool, offers suggestions based on correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery. The platform breaks your writing down into overall performance, readability, and vocabulary. Are you constantly confusing ‘than’ with ‘then?’ Do you need to double-check your use of ‘affect’ and ‘effect?’ Tools like Grammarly easily catch these minor mistakes to elevate your content.

The content written on your blog is not the only help you might need. Your blog content is strategic but so is optimizing your blog for SEO. While SEO is a long conversation that needs to take place for all content you put on the internet, another aspect where you can get help with your writing is your SEO title tag. The title tag appears as the name of your webpage on a search engine results page (SERPs) and is clickable to the link destination. CoSchedule, a marketing resource, offers its Headline Analyzer as a tool for creating better headlines that can result in increased SEO value, traffic, and social shares.

Great blogs don’t need great writers.

You don’t need a degree in English or creative writing to have a successful blog. You need identity and value. Establish who you’re writing to and what you have to say. Identify yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable source who brings value with your content and relevant content on the internet. Boost your blogs with visuals when necessary, and if you can’t proofread your content, have someone (or something) else do it for you.

Blogs need to be written with strategy. Use these tips to create yours.

You Don't Have to Be a Great Writer to Write a Great Blog was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Landing Page

First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to web design. A landing page is a great way to get visitors to interact with your site by engaging with your calls-to-action, making a purchase, contacting you, or sharing your content.

A landing page should be informative and direct, but also attention-grabbing and welcoming. It may seem like the content of your landing page is the focus, but the design is equally as important.

Learn More About HubSpot's Free Landing Page Builder

Landing pages are critical to converting your visitors into customers. They broker the exchange of information between you and your audience. Combining an eye-catching offer button with an effective landing page design can turn what was once just web traffic into a steady stream of leads for your sales team.

What makes a good landing page?

A strong website is essential for reaching your business goals. And the landing page provides important information for your audience along with a clear call to action. These seven elements will help your landing page be as effective as possible.

1. Structure & Design

Unfortunately, not every visitor will make it to the bottom of every page. So, keep the important features, such as lead intake forms and calls-to-action, above the fold to ensure that they’ll be seen. Additionally, remove the navigation from the page to avoid distractions in the form of other links.

2. Compelling Headline

The largest text on your landing page should be something that makes your visitor want to learn more. Saying “We are Georgia’s largest marketing agency” isn’t as captivating as “We helped businesses earn $10 million in profit this year.” Any additional copy on your landing page should maintain the momentum of interest initiated by the headline.

3. Call-to-Action (CTA)

What do you want visitors to do when they come to your site? Your design and copy should inspire them to take action. You have their attention, so strike while the iron is hot and put a Contact Us Now or Join the Family button right on the landing page.

4. Testimonials and Case Studies

A first-time visitor to your site may not have done any business with you before. They will be more encouraged to take action by seeing what you’ve been able to accomplish for a similar client and not just a general description of what you do.

5. Trust Symbols

A well-designed website isn’t enough to prove to visitors that you’re a credible organization, especially in today’s world. Social proof builds credibility, while elements like trust seals and a privacy policy create trust with your visitors.

6. Media

A headline can be a powerful motivator, but a photo or video can also communicate your desired message. Choose a media that promotes either what you do or what you want your audience to feel when they land on your page.

7. Quick Loading Pages

Be sure to optimize any images or videos on your landing page to avoid slowing down your page speed. If your page takes too long to load, visitors may abandon ship before even seeing the whole page.

7 Landing Page Best Practices

Follow these landing page best practices to ensure a high-converting, easy-to-navigate webpage.

1. Pass the blink test.

Visitors to your site will often make the decision of whether or not they’re going to fill out your form before the page even finishes loading. Make sure where you’re sending folks appears immediately professional and easy to fill out. In other words, make sure they can understand the offer and what you’re asking for in the time it takes them to blink.

2. Keep it simple. 

Every visitor to your landing page clicked on something to get there, like a CTA button for a free trial, webinar, or other offer. So, theoretically, you already know something key about these folks. If they clicked to download a whitepaper on blue widgets, for instance, then you will know they are interested in blue widgets. Armed with that information, you should be able to plan your page layout accordingly. Use that knowledge to your advantage and keep everything about this page simple.

3. Keep it concise. 

Pinpoint the most important things you want to communicate with your landing page. Avoid including a long company history or elaborate explanations that can go on a different page. A visitor should be able to take a quick look at your landing page and receive your desired message.

4. Graphics and endorsements matter. 

Remember, you’ll be asking people to submit information they may consider sensitive. Before doing so, building credibility will be key. Make sure you have all of your trust-building material — like testimonials, social proof, and privacy promises — placed prominently on the page.

5. Go naked. 

Your landing page visitors are a few keystrokes and a click away from becoming a bonafide lead. In other words, you’ve got them right where you want them! The last thing you would want to happen is for them to get distracted. “Going naked” refers to the practice of making your landing page deliberately sparse. Customize the page so that it has zero navigation, that is, no menu, no link back to the homepage, and no other places to click. This page needs to be devoid of any and all hyperlinked distractions. Let the form and “submit” button be their singular point of focus, and usher them through to completion.

6. Restate value. 

The landing page will be hyperlinked to the CTA button on your website, but make sure the two are also logically linked. Use a simple, bulleted list near the top of the page to restate what you’re offering and why it’s valuable. Doing so will ensure your prospect knows exactly what they’re getting and will ensure a qualified lead for your sales team.

7. Eat your own dog food. 

Before publishing the page, ask yourself a few questions, like: Would I fill out this form? Would I find this page confusing? Would I feel comfortable sharing my information with this site? Use these questions to ultimately perfect the look and feel of your landing page before going live. And of course, test, test, test!

The Landing Page is the Takeoff Point

The warm welcome that your landing page provides is the jumpstart to your visitor’s interactions with the rest of your site and your organization. Establish a few precise goals for your landing page, and then take action to publish the elements necessary to accomplish them. Ask yourself, what do you want a visitor to understand and feel in the first few seconds of landing on your page? The answer will lead you in the right direction for personalizing your page for the optimal user experience.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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7 Habits of a Highly Effective Landing Page was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

What Is a Direct Response Ad?

What led you to make your most recent purchase? Were you wishing for something for a while and decided to just go for it? Were you casually browsing a store and saw something you liked? Or were you browsing and an advertisement from a business convinced you that you need to buy it right then and there?

If it was the latter, the business used a form of outbound marketing to convince you to take an immediate action after seeing one of their marketing materials. It can be a very effective strategy, especially if done correctly.  

In this post, learn how businesses can use direct response marketing to drive conversions, best practices for creating these types of campaigns, and examples from real companies to use as inspiration.

→ Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

What is direct response marketing?

Direct response marketing, sometimes called push marketing, is when you present your target audience with an offer in an attempt to persuade them to take immediate action, like completing a lead gen form, downloading an ebook, or making a purchase.

This strategy is popular with marketers because it can drive quick results for time-sensitive campaigns.

What distinguishes direct response marketing from traditional marketing is that it desires an immediate response for immediate ROI rather than traditional brand awareness. Below we’ll discuss more elements of these ad campaigns.

Direct Response Marketing Strategies

Direct response marketing strategies are customer-centric, targeted, offer-centric, and urgent. Here’s what that means for your campaigns:


To elicit a response, your direct response ads must be customer-centric and directly related to the value you can provide them if they follow through with your desired action. If your audiences can’t tell why your offer matters to them, they won’t take action.


Not all of your customers have the same needs, so your ads must be hyper-targeted to specific audiences with personalized messages that speak to their pain points. Statistics show that this practice is worth it, as Epsilon found that 80% of consumers were more likely to purchase a brand that offers personalized experiences.


Direct response ads prompt users to do something, so they usually feature an offer or CTA that tells the user what your desired action is, whether it’s signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase. When creating these offers, mind copywriting best practices to ensure they’re clear and concise, focused on one specific outcome, and personalized.


These ads all present a sense of urgency in addition to a CTA to entice quick action, so leveraging language like “As supplies last” or “Buy one get one free” is common. For example, maybe you’ll send a direct response ad to remind consumers about an event before it happens, so they quickly decide to sign up for it instead of missing it.

Active voice and power words are well suited to direct response ads.

Direct Response Campaigns

Below we’ll go over some common direct response campaigns businesses use.

  • Social Media Ads: Social media is a powerful tool for running direct response campaigns due to the sheer number of users and the targeting options that many platforms offer marketers. On this platform, ads need to use short and to-the-point copy that displays urgency and a CTA that directs the action you want your audience to take.
  • Referral Programs: Referral programs are an excellent tool for direct marketing, especially since you can easily track their effectiveness. Consider giving your current users a promo code or URL and ask them to share it with a friend or family member in exchange for something, like a 10% discount. If they successfully refer someone, you'll be able to track it through the unique code.
  • Email: Direct response campaigns run over email typically make users aware of flash sales, upcoming events filling up, or things like abandoned cart reminders. We’ll cover an example of a direct response email below.
  • Display Ads: Display ads, like banners, are in an area on a website or channel dedicated to paid ads. They usually contain short copy that shows a sense of urgency and a CTA to inspire action.
  • Direct Mail: While it may seem outdated, direct mail is a popular channel for direct advertisements. Things like brochures, coupons, digests, or newsletters are used for direct marketing, but be mindful of not having your assets seem like junk mail.  

Direct Response Marketing Examples

Let’s go over some high-quality examples of direct response marketing that you can use to guide your own strategy.

New York Times

The New York Times, a newspaper, used Instagram to run a direct ad campaign to promote a limited discount for unlimited access to the newspaper.

direct response marketing example: new york times instagram ad


Grailed is an online marketplace where individual users can resell different products, from clothing to collectible items. Their form of direct response marketing is via email, where they notify users when an item they have favorited has dropped in price.

direct response marketing example: grailed price drop email notification


Scribd is an online ebook and audiobook subscription platform. Like The New York Times, it uses social media, Facebook specifically, to run direct marketing campaigns to notify audiences about a limited-time discount offer.

direct response marketing example: scribd facebook ad


UberEats is an online food delivery service that uses email for direct marketing campaigns to prompt users to follow through with a purchase after they have abandoned their cart.

direct response marketing example: ubereats abandoned cart email

Direct Response Marketing Metrics and Tools

Below we’ll discuss critical metrics that will help you understand your direct response marketing success and the tools that help you collect this data.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is an essential marketing metric for direct response ads as it tracks the number of users that have taken the action you want them to take, a.k.a converted.

You’ll get a sense of how successful you were, helping you learn about the effectiveness of your copy and the content you offer when it comes to providing value and prompting action. Let’s go over some specific tools that will help you track these conversions.

1. Promotional Codes

Promo codes can be unique per user or unique per campaign, so you can see how specific ads successfully prompt action. Make sure that you track the number of codes you give out so you can get an exact sense of how many people converted based on how many you gave out.

2. QR Codes

QR codes are similar to promotional codes as they’re unique to the specific campaign you use them on, helping you see how many users actually converted from that specific ad. QR codes also typically lead to landing pages, so you can further track if customers took action on your landing pages or simply landed on them and bounced.

3. UTM Codes

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are snippets of text placed at the end of a URL that helps you track where website traffic comes from. For direct response marketing, you can attribute your specific site traffic to your direct ads, like those who visited your site and made a purchase after receiving a promo code.

Here’s what a sample UTM code could look like for this use case: utm_campaign=20percentpromocode.

All-in-all, direct response ads have similar outcomes as regular marketing ads, but they want a user to take action right now. Be mindful of being customer-centric and use concise, urgent, and compelling copy, and you'll find ads driving conversions.

Marketing Plan Template

What Is a Direct Response Ad? was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Why Marketers Should Leverage Subject Matter Experts for Audience Growth

No matter the format, message, or style of online content, everyone's striving to reach the largest possible audience with the best possible content.

Making that a reality requires companies to create something that answers an audience's most pertinent questions, is presented in an engaging way, and maybe even offers some new ideas no one's hit on before.

As content marketers aim for these goals, one ingredient can distinguish popular content from something that barely gets noticed: the input of a subject matter expert (SME). Partnering with an SME can strengthen content's credibility and value, in turn helping audience growth.

In this post, we'll review what a subject matter expert is, how to become one, and why your company should leverage SMEs in your content marketing strategy.

→ Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah [Free Guide].

Businesses might leverage an SME to integrate new software, fix technical issues, design their website, extract and format data, and provide insight. Additionally, a company may hire a subject matter expert to have on retainer as an ongoing consultant. When that's the case, you might be wondering what that job looks like. Let's dive in below.

Subject Matter Expert Job Description

While people can become SMEs no matter what their official job title and description are if you're a subject matter expert looking for a job, you might find a job that reads something like this:

At ‘Company X', we are looking for a subject matter expert in social media to help us develop an end-to-end social media strategy. This person will be responsible for creating our social media strategy and managing it on a daily basis.

As the social media subject matter expert, your duties will include evaluating our current social media content and recommending new strategies and trends to lean into. To ensure success, our social media subject matter expert should possess an exceptional track record of increasing engagement and pioneering multiple successful social media campaigns.

Job requirements:

  • Master in Social Media Management
  • Demonstrable credentials as a leading social media Subject Matter Expert.
  • 10-15 years of experience working in a relevant area of expertise.
  • Advanced knowledge of project management and social media management.
  • Advanced ability to recommend and implement social media campaigns.
  • Exceptional leadership and mentorship abilities to introduce and implement new strategies.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Now that we've looked at an example of a subject matter expert job description, let's review what the roles and responsibilities of this individual might be.

Subject Matter Expert Roles and Responsibilities

The typical roles and responsibilities of a subject matter expert will vary greatly depending on the type of position you're applying for. You could be an in-house manager or a hired consultant to specialize in helping a company grow in a certain area.

Going along with our social media subject matter expert example above, typical roles and responsibilities might look something like this:

Roles and responsibilities for a social media subject matter expert:

  • Analyzing the company's current social media content and activities to identify areas where new solutions would improve performance
  • Providing a new strategy for each platform that you find is most important and appropriate for our audience
  • Creating a process for content creation and scheduling content
  • Making recommendations for social media platforms, content, and hashtag ideas
  • Validate requirements and deliverables required for our social media team
  • Consulting and collaborating across teams to create useful content

At this point, you might be thinking, "This is great. How can I become a subject matter expert in my field?" To become a subject matter expert, you'll need to develop your expertise in your discipline over a long period of time. Below we've outlined some good steps to take.

1. Obtain advanced degrees in the area of specialization.

The first step to becoming a subject matter expert is studying the area that you want to specialize in. You can obtain advanced degrees and spend time writing dissertations in your field. This will require years to obtain degrees, certifications, and study your industry.

2. Maintain current knowledge in your area of expertise by continuing education.

Once you've obtained your degrees and been studying in your field, it's important to continue your education. As the world continues, your industry will evolve and you should be consistently maintaining your current knowledge by reading current news and trends.

3. Consistently consume and create content and remain up-to-date on current industry trends.

Another great way to become a subject matter expert is to consume and create your own content in your field. Write about what's going on with current industry trends and be an active part of the conversation.

4. Experiment with your own ideas.

Besides participating in the conversation, you should be working on projects and experiments in your field as well. This will continue your education and develop your skills even further. Plus, you might find new learnings and be able to write and discuss what you've found.

5. Participate in social media community forums.

To participate in your community, you should be active on social media and community forums where your industry discusses industry news. Interact and engage with other subject matter experts and don't be afraid to share your opinion -- bringing me to my next point.

6. Share your expertise.

When you've experimented and been studying, it's important to come to your own conclusions and test your hypothesis. Then, share that news and your findings with others in your community by participating in speaking engagements, participating in social media, etc.

7. Remain credible and value your reputation.

To truly be considered a subject matter expert, your reputation and credibility are of the utmost importance. To hold on to this, try to remain neutral and seriously consider other people's thoughts and opinions.

8. Become a person of authority in your space.

The last step of being a subject matter expert is becoming a person of authority. Whether that means working your way up at a company and holding a position of leadership, or running a freelance consulting business.

Now that we've learned how to become a subject matter expert, let's look at some examples of what this looks like in action.

Examples of Brands That Use Subject Matter Experts

1. HubSpot

A great example of a brand that uses subject matter experts is HubSpot itself. On our blog, we work with thought leaders and subject matter experts to grow our audience and provide as much value as we can in our content.

For example, review some of our thought leadership blog posts below:

2. Backlinko

Backlinko is the brand from subject matter expert, Brian Dean. As Brian Dean has become an SEO expert, he decided to share his thoughts and research experiences on a blog called Backlinko.

A few great examples of thought leadership posts that are written from the SME perspective include:

1. More attention will lead to better results.

It's not a stretch to say an SME will offer immense benefits to a content project. When a well-known name is attached to a project, whether it's a downloadable ebook, video, or series of articles, attention will inevitably result. Just as a popular novelist can earn pre-sales purchases months before a book is even published, name recognition can lead to an automatic buy-in from a community of enthusiasts.

2. Know and understand current industry trends and challenges.

An expert can also serve as a source for up-to-date knowledge and news on an industry. He or she will be able to convey the biggest challenges, the latest breakthroughs, and future concerns around a particular subject. This kind of information will allow you to shape the direction, message, and format of your project.

3. Spread the news and reach more people.

Then once you've completed a project, an SME can also play an important role in helping spread the news about it with his or her social media followers. With a well-known expert, your content promotion efforts have the potential to reach a huge community of enthusiasts, fellow experts, and industry leaders. Awareness of your content, and your brand, can reach an unprecedented level of exposure when you take advantage of the social channels an SME can bring to the table.

Leveraging a Subject Matter Expert in Your Content

A subject matter expert's insights and perspective can take a piece of content from being one-dimensional to a complete and nuanced portrait of a topic or event. Taking on some of the fundamental tactics of a journalist entails researching who would be the best choice of experts, reaching out to them, scheduling a time to speak, devising some effective questions, and then conducting the interview itself.

As any journalist could tell you, conducting an interview is much more than just asking questions. The best interviews require thorough planning and shouldn't be done in a lockstep Q&A fashion. Being able to ask spontaneous questions or ask an interviewee to elaborate on a statement can help ensure the discussion is a meaningful one.

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Why Marketers Should Leverage Subject Matter Experts for Audience Growth was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.