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November 30, 2019

17 call-to-action examples, Videographer soft skills, how to keep your website secure with an agency ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ”₯ Jump right into the good stuff

🎬 Upcoming live webinar (December 6): Video has become an absolute necessity for businesses that want to educate their prospects in the medium that people prefer. Join us for this 45-minute webinar to learn how to leverage the YouTube search engine the RIGHT way with your video content.

Because I hate myself, I went to Target yesterday. On Black Friday. 

"Liz, are you an insane person? Why would you do that to yourself?!"

I can thank this little idiot for that:

IMG-4348

"Je ne regrette rien." β€” Nugget πŸΎ

You see, Nugget has a little "snuggle bunker" of a crate β€” that, FYI, is larger than my first Washington, D.C., apartment. When she tires of chasing the cat around the house, and pulling loaves of bread and the mail off my kitchen counters, she'll go into her little home and take a nap.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I walked out and found that she had massacred her favorite bed. Maybe she's like me that way. There are some days I walk around the house and suddenly hate everything in it, so, I guess I get it.

Anyway, that's how I ended up standing in a line at Target that looped around part of the store, trying to buy a dog bed... along with two cases of seltzer, some candles, and a new hoodie that, quite frankly, I didn't need. But that's how Target works, right?

I mention all of this because I want to ask y'all a question β€” have you noticed how much more complicated it is to check out at a store?

"Hey, I know you really only need to swipe your credit card, so you can be on your way, but can I have your phone number, your date of birth, the name of your best friend in high school, and your pet's name? Oh, and do you have our app? You should get our app, because you'll save exactly three pennies every time you shop with us."

That happened to me at Target, and it's crazy to me how much data companies want from us. In fact, thinking about that specific experience, as well as scores of others like it, it's wild how much personal information we give out just so we can get on with our day.

But should we be giving away so much, so freely?

The same holds true with agency relationships. For example, if you're getting into bed with an agency, how much of your website credentials should you really fork over? Do they really need everything?

As I cast my gaze over the three useless holiday candles I bought yesterday, these are the questions I ponder.

And now, here's THE LATEST... 

πŸ‘‰ 17 call-to-action examples guaranteed to earn clicks and generate leads (6-minute read)

Calls-to-action can be used in many different places β€” on your website, in an email, at the end of a blog article, and so on. Regardless of the location, however, the goal is the same: Get the viewer to click. Not only does they have to be visually appealing and prominent, the content has to be persuasive as well. In this article from IMPACT Head of Editorial Content Ramona Sukhraj, you'll be able to learn from 17 out-of-this-world examples of calls-to-action that are a master class in lead generation.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ If you're hiring a videographer, here are the soft skills you must absolutely look for (6-minute read)

When hiring for a tech-heavy position, it can feel natural to gravitate towards candidates with prodigious technical expertise. According to IMPACT’s video consultant Will Schultz, that’s a mistake. In this exclusive interview, learn why an in-house videographer needs to run all aspects of your video production, and making people feel comfortable on camera is equally important to Final Cut Pro proficiency.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

🚨 Your 2020 business website needs to generate more qualified leads; just being prettier isn't enough (learn more)

Don’t settle for a website redesign that’s simply a β€œprettier” version of your existing site. Instead, invest in a website that will generate leads and drive the sales your business needs with the IMPACT Website Blueprint.

πŸ‘‰ Should you trust a web design agency with all of the passwords for your website? (4-minute read)

Working with an agency generally requires you to share sensitive information like your website login credentials. So, when a web design agency you are working with requests these credentials to your CMS or CRM system, what should you do? The answer is that it depends. In this article from IMPACT front-end developer Alex Serrano, learn exactly how, why, and when you should (and shouldn't) hand over the "digital keys" for your website to an agency.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

πŸ“¬ One last thing

OK, maybe I'm not supposed to say this as a marketer but... 

black-friday-tweet

...this is literally my life right now. Everyone wants my money. Everyone's "totally only on Black Friday" sales are now extended, and everyone wants me to know about it every single hour. 

I want to set my inbox on fire.

I'm aware of the irony of me telling you this in an email that is now also clogging up your inbox, but I'm leaning into it.

Later, squares! 

November 28, 2019

22 seriously bizarre Thanksgiving stock photos, your 2020 sales strategy, and Google ads agency cost ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ¦ƒ Fresh IMPACT reads (Thanksgiving edition)

🎬 Upcoming live webinar (December 6): Video has become an absolute necessity for businesses that want to educate their prospects in the medium that people prefer. Join us for this 45-minute webinar to learn how to leverage the YouTube search engine the RIGHT way with your video content.

To all of my THE LATEST subscribers in the U.S., Happy Turkey Day! πŸ¦ƒ

Not quite, Roscoe. Calm down.

In honor of this day of gratitude and stuffing our faces, I asked fellow IMPACTers to share what they were thankful for this year.

πŸ‘‰ Here is what they had to say

β€œI’m thankful for the opportunity to do what I get to do, every day, with the people I get to do it with.” β€” Bob Ruffolo

(I'm thankful for his willingness to share exactly how and why we created our Digital Marketing Scorecard. Oh, and for founding IMPACT.)

"I'm thankful for a job where I get to build relationships and get to know people. That makes me happy. I'm also thankful for salsa!" β€” Stephanie Baiocchi

(I'm thankful for her online community management guide, although her love of salsa is quite aggressive.)

"I'm thankful for my family and to work for an organization that understands and respects that I have a family." β€” Melanie Moore

(I'm thankful for her must-have e-commerce website features article.)

"I am thankful for my tribe, new beginnings, the acronym GSD, and of course THE LATEST!" β€” Shandia Drummond-Butt

(I'm thankful for her article on creating an amazing client onboarding process.)

"I am thankful for my perfect pup, my amazing career, and my friends & family who never leave my side." β€” Kaitlyn Petro

(I'm thankful for her article on what an SEO audit must include.)

"I'm thankful for my brand new ACL and my awesome family, friends, and colleagues." β€” Eric Choma

(I'm thankful for his article on burn-out being recognized as a medical condition and his awesome hugs.)

"Life itself!" β€” Marc Amigone

(I'm thankful for his roundup on the 21 best sales podcasts for 2020.)

"A happy and healthy family and working with brilliant and talent people every day at a place that challenges me to be my best." β€” Vin Gaeta

(I'm thankful for his news reaction on Adobe's jaw-dropping prediction for revenue this holiday season... and that he's the little brother I never got to beat up as a child.)

"Friends and family, of course, but sunshine, blankets, baked goods are right up there." β€” Ramona Sukhraj

(I'm thankful for her showcase of email subject line examples and her commitment to puns.)

"I'm thankful for Kodi who wakes me up every morning excited for life, and reminds me to feel the same. And also a good cup of coffee." β€” Marcella Jalbert

(I'm thankful for all of her amazing episodes of our Creator's Block podcast.)

"I’m thankful for big my crazy, loyal, loving, at times overwhelming (but often in a good way) family." β€” Jessica Palmeri 

(I'm thankful for her brutally honest tips for surviving a professional networking event article.)

"I’m thankful for the perseverance and support of both IMPACT and friends + family, but also for the chance brighten someone else’s day who needs it more than me. Also thankful for the huge groundhog in my yard who eats the apples off the ground that fall from the trees." β€” Christine Austin

(I'm thankful for her WIX vs. Squarespace for business websites review... and that she happily fixes all of the things on the IMPACT website that I keep breaking. Like, every single day.)

"Maybe not exactly what you were asking, but I have this super short gratitude prayer I try to put out in the universe:

'Thank you for everything I do and do not have.'

Cause whether it’s something I have or don’t have (there’s plenty I’m super glad I DON’T have), I’m just grateful to be able to have those two buckets, regardless of what is or isn’t in them." β€” Jolie Higazi

(I'm thankful for her super in-depth article on why your website and content aren't ranking well and her amazing energy she brings to everything.)

"I'm thankful for those people that never give up on others and challenge you to be better each and every day. I'm grateful for all the family and friends around me that I couldn't live without. Lastly, I'm blessed to have all the dogs in this world and the tubs of ice cream that fill my freezer." β€” Connor Delaney

(I'm thankful for sharing his personal story about how his IMPACT onboarding experience ended up being a 600-person icebreaker.)

"I’m thankful for old friends who laugh with me like we just met and for new friends who feel like we’ve known one another forever. I’m thankful for my family, who actually really likes being around each other. And I’m thankful that my dog is as obsessed with me as I am with him." β€” Jen Barrell

(I'm thankful for her "Come to Jesus" moment of an article about the email marketing mistakes we all need to stop making. And for being a wonderful friend.)

"I am thankful for a husband who is cooking up a big Thanksgiving spread for us, stretchy pants for sure, and family and wine at my house tomorrow. And dogs. Always the dogs." β€” Melissa Prickett

(Melissa is new to our team, so although she hasn't written anything yet, I'm just so stinkin' thankful she's a part of IMPACT. She's a walking ray of sunshine.)

"Besides family and friends, I’ll say the ocean, art, pistachios, and bonfires." β€” John Becker

(I'm thankful that John is my epic cohost of the Content Lab podcast.)

πŸ‘‰ What am I thankful for?

Oh, that's easy:

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

πŸ¦ƒ One last thing

Trust me on this one. You need to take five minutes today and check out Seth Godin's 'A Thanksgiving Reader.' And then consider doing it at your Thanksgiving celebration this y ear.

OK, go stuff your faces, folks! Talk to y'all again on Saturday!

November 26, 2019

Marketing objective examples for 2020, why the 3-click navigation rule is bogus, and marketers are more siloed than ever with their data and systems ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ’― Jump right into the good stuff!

πŸ† You need a beautiful, data-driven website that's fast, responsive, and attracts qualified leads. From concept and strategy, to design and implementation, IMPACT's award-winning team can bring your new HubSpot or WordPress website vision to life.

I had a great chat with my buddy, IMPACT Head of Partnerships Nick Bennett, yesterday:

Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 3.33.46 PM

Ignoring the fact that I look like a vampiric floating head for a moment, note that our resigned faces were the result of a single realization that happened in the middle of our conversation:

Preparing to take time off for the holidays individually and as a collective organization can be so manic that you sometimes question whether or not it's worth the effort. 

Of course, that's not true. Time off is important β€” both personally and during holidays, no matter where you are in the world or what you celebrate. 

But right now, I am up to my neck in last-minute madness. There are well-thought-out plans that now need to be reworked to due last-minute changes, unexpected digital fires that need to be put out, quick pivots that needed to happen "like, yesterday," and so on.

And I know I'm not the only one out there feeling the crunch right now.

That's why I want you to consider this email as your personal invitation to take a beat. I want you to take five minutes right now to breathe. Yes, just breathe. You do have time for that. 

Then, as you're skimming through some of the crazy-good digital sales and marketing goodness below, I want you to remind yourself that yes, you have a lot you need to accomplish between now and tomorrow. And now and the end of the year.

But you also need to make time to slow down. Only when you slow down can you truly evaluate where you are and make the best choices about where you're going.

πŸ‘‰ 11 mission-critical marketing objective examples you need to see as you plan for 2020 (5-minute read)

Working with hundreds of companies over the past 10 years, we’ve found the best marketing objectives examples that align digital strategy with the rest of the organization’s goals β€” and actually make an impact on the business. So, in this article from IMPACT Director of Client Services Katie Pritchard, you'll get the full scoop on the 11 battle-tested marketing objective examples that are proven to better align your strategy and the revenue goals you're trying to accomplish in 2020.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ Say goodbye to the 3-click website navigation rule in 2020, because it's simply not true (4-minute read)

The three-click rule says that a visitor on your website is only willing to click three times before abandoning your website entirely, because they can't find what they're looking for. Many designers and developers have made this the petty hill they will die on, but here's what's crazy β€” there is no data or study out there that supports this rule. There are, however, studies that say the three-click rule is wrong. In this article from IMPACT UX designer (and recent birthday boy πŸŽ‰) Joel Waggener, learn the E! True Hollywood Story behind why three-click rule is untrue and how you should rethink your website's navigation in 2020.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ We've got a problem β€” new research says marketers are struggling with siloed systems and data (2-minute read)

The State of Digital Customer Experience 2020 Report was released by Simpler Media Group and CMSWire just last week, and the results... let's just say, all digital marketers and business leaders need to be taking note. While 79% of respondents said the digital experience is an extremely or very high organizational priority, 87% say they're struggling with customer experience tools. Since your time is valuable, IMPACT Content Marketing Consultant Jen Barrell has distilled the most important and actionable insights from this report, so you can make the right choices, align your teams, and crush your goals in 2020.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

πŸ‘€ What I'm reading

You know the drill, folks. These are the long-reads, news items, and articles that I've got my peepers on this week:

πŸ¦ƒ One last thing

For once, I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year.

All I have to do on Thursday is show up at my friend's house with some good beer and my famous corn pudding for 25+ people. I know, however, that not everyone is in the same "laissez-turkey-day-faire" boat that I am.

So, this gem from McSweeney's is for you:

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 1.57.36 PM

Talk to y'all on Thursday!

November 23, 2019

Why marketers keep quitting, 2020 HubSpot pricing guide, and showing vs. telling in content marketing ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ’― Jump Right into the good stuff!

πŸ”₯ Don’t settle for a website redesign that’s simply a β€œprettier” version of your existing site. Instead, invest in a website that will generate leads and drive the sales your business needs with the IMPACT Website Blueprint.

In October, IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo sent all company leaders and select individual contributors a copy of the book Scaling Up

IMG-4170

As you can see, Pumpkin was also heavily invested in learning how growing leaders grow organizations. She's a very progressive cat. Always hungry to learn... and also just always hungry.🐈

Anyway, having recently finished the book, I can definitively say that it was utterly transformative. At least for me, given that organizational management and leadership is an area I want to grow in personally. 

But there is one quote that has been ringing between my ears ever since I read it:

"People join companies. They leave managers."

There is a lot of talk in the digital marketing industry as to why there is such high turnover. However, that quote resonated so deeply with me because I have done exactly that. Earlier in my career, I joined a company β€” so excited, completely bought in on the mission, ready to do the work β€” only to find myself eventually leaving because of a manager who didn't listen and preferred leading with fear.

Now, as a people manager, I periodically ask myself if there is anything I'm doing that is inadvertently showing them the door. 

Whether you're a leader already or someone who aspires to be a leader one day within their company, you must constantly challenge yourself to be the manager that makes people want to stay. 

As I always tell the folks on my team, "I work for you, not the other way around." 

πŸ‘‰ HubSpot cost and pricing guide for 2020 (12-minute read)

You’re evaluating HubSpot for your marketing, sales, or service team (or some combination of the three!), but there are so many options! Free, Starter, Professional, Enterprise, plus add-ons and contact tiers β€” there’s a lot to navigate and decide on. In this article from IMPACT Director of HubSpot Training Carina Duffy, you'll get the inside scoop on everything you need to know about HubSpot pricing, so you can get the best bang for your buck in 2020.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ Why marketers keep quitting and what companies can do to stop the turnover (3-minute read + video)

You thought your marketing director or associate was happy, things were moving along, and that your marketing efforts were positively impacting your bottom line. But then he or she quit. Now you’re left scratching your head because this is the third or fifth or tenth marketing person who has left your company. In this article and video from IMPACT Director of Inbound and Content Services Justine Timoteo and IMPACT Lead They Ask, You Answer Consultant Chris Marr, you'll learn why there's such high turnover with marketers and what companies can do to reverse that trend and keep their marketers from leaving.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ You need to understand the difference between "showing" and "telling" in your content, if you want to see revenue (27-minute podcast)

The most effective, engaging, and memorable content creators all have one thing in common. They understand that speaking in generalities when telling their stories through content (blogging, videos, podcasts, and so on) is the kiss of death. As a result, they must do more "showing" rather than "telling" to create content that, well, makes money. In this episode of the Content Lab from yours truly and IMPACT Editorial Content Manager John Becker, we walk you through the specific tactics you need to know in order to "show" rather than "tell," so you can create more profitable content.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ Your website won't generate leads if you don't have the right strategy behind it, no matter how pretty it is

An IMPACT Website Blueprint is the strategy behind your website. Our strategic website experts will work closely with your in-house team during hands-on brainstorming sessions to develop your Website Blueprint over the course of three weeks. It’s an intense, data-driven process, but the results are priceless.

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

DECEMBER 10, 2019 (New Haven, CT): Join IMPACT COO Chris Duprey for his Mindful Leadership Meetup:

mindful-leadership-chris-duprey

πŸ‘‰ Register for this event today.

πŸ’¦ Weekend nonsense

Live footage of me at 6 a.m. today:

ice-attack

🍑 One last thing

This is so very petty, but I have to mention it. At a recent conference, I noticed something on the dessert table:

IMG-3195

See that little guy in the lower left? Someone stole his chocolate swirl garnish.

Who does that? This crime of sugar theft has been lodged in my brain ever since I stumbled upon it, and I can't let it go. I just... why? WHY?!

Sigh. OK, have a great weekend! 

November 21, 2019

18 essential SEO analysis elements, 9 best competitor research tools, and 6 essential local business video tips for 2020 ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ’― Jump Right into the good stuff!

πŸ”₯ Don’t settle for a website redesign that’s simply a β€œprettier” version of your existing site. Instead, invest in a website that will generate leads and drive the sales your business needs with the IMPACT Website Blueprint.

Whenever I get an email over the weekend from IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo, my initial reaction is always the same:

scared

"Uh oh. What's on fire?"

(Sorry, Bob! You're the best, but I gotta keep it real.)

Thankfully, when I opened up Bob's email this past Saturday, there was no fire. In fact, he had a great idea.

In the past two months, you may or may not have noticed that we've been producing more content than usual. We did this because we wanted to arm you all with all of the expertise and insight you need to create the best 2020 strategy possible... and our normal publishing cadence wasn't going to cut it. 

So, before I share the three featured articles for today's issue, Bob suggested that I showcase some of the extra digital sales and marketing goodness you may have missed in the past 60 days

Thanks, Bob! πŸ˜˜

Content ✍️

Content calendar template for digital marketers

Blog post template for content marketing

How to write a pillar page (with examples)

How to run a content brainstorm session

23 world-class blog post examples for content marketing

Video 🎬

Vidyard competitors and alternatives

6 top local business video tips for your 2020 marketing strategy

About us videos: Why they could be a waste of your video marketing strategy

Website strategy and design 🌐

6 website trends you need to know in 2020

9 best web design agencies for small and medium business websites

Strategy πŸ—ΊοΈ

How to create a digital marketing strategy that gets results in 2020

Does word-of-mouth marketing still work in the digital age?

Sales vs marketing in 2020: What's the difference?

SEO πŸ…

What does SEO stand for?

Ignoring SEO basics can kill your website traffic by 94%

SEO vs SEM: What's the difference?

SEO analysis: 18 SEO audit elements your analysis must include

Email marketing πŸ“¬

What is the best time to send marketing emails in 2020?

7 best email newsletter examples for digital marketers (B2B and B2C)

Email subject line examples: 16 examples to inspire your next campaign

Paid media and social advertising πŸ‘‹

What are Google display ads and how do they work?

How much do Facebook ads cost?

Facebook ads help: Why do my ads keep getting rejected?

How much do YouTube ads cost?

11 must-see Instagram story ads examples

Sales πŸ’°

89 motivational sales quotes to help you crush your 2020 revenue goals

5 tips for fixing sales motivation problems

21 best sales podcasts you need to listen to in 2020

Tools and technology πŸ–₯️

Top 17 content marketing tools and apps you need for 2020

Why go HubSpot? A candid look at the good, the bad, and the ugly

What is marketing automation?

4 powerful HubSpot case studies of real-world inbound success

Still want more? Check out the IMPACT Learning Center, where you can peruse all of our content by topic.

And now, here's THE LATEST... 

πŸ‘‰ Here are the 18 SEO audit elements your SEO analysis must include (16-minute read)

SEO is a familiar acronym for most in the digital space. We know it’s important to pay attention to SEO in our digital strategy. After all, we all want to show up in the search engine results, right? Therefore, it’s important to know the ins and outs of planning and implementing a successful SEO analysis, starting with a deep-dive SEO audit. In this article, IMPACT Account Director Kaitlyn Petro gives you a super in-depth overview of everything your SEO analysis needs to cover.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ 9 competitive research tools you need to start using in 2020, presented together with SEMrush (8-minute read)

Many marketers undervalue competitive research as just a complicated procedure that requires a lot of time and effort. However, in doing so, they give up on a great deal of useful information that could help them better understand their target niche, estimate the marketing potential of their product or service, and come up with more effective strategies. Well, that ends today with this article from our partners at SEMrush, which reviews the nine best competitive research tools you need to start using today.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ If you want a video marketing strategy that generates beaucoup revenue, follow these 6 local business video tips (3-minute read)

If you had told me two years ago that, one day, I would be gung-ho about being on camera and helming a video marketing strategy, I would have called you a complete lunatic. Yet here I am, screaming from the top of my lungs that video is proven to help companies build trust faster than any other content medium, and helps sales teams close more deals faster. It's with that in mind that I wrote this article, wherein I discuss the six most essential local business video tips to set you up for success in 2020

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ Your website won't generate leads if you don't have the right strategy behind it, no matter how pretty it is

An IMPACT Website Blueprint is the strategy behind your website. Our strategic website experts will work closely with your in-house team during hands-on brainstorming sessions to develop your Website Blueprint over the course of three weeks. It’s an intense, data-driven process, but the results are priceless.

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

That's enough for today, don't you think? Later, gator! πŸŠ

November 19, 2019

Inside scoop on Facebook ads cost, IMPACT turns 10, and what is assignment selling ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ’― Jump Right into the good stuff!

πŸ‘Ž The #1 reason digital marketing strategies fail is a lack of buy-in from sales and leadership. But you can break the cycle with an IMPACT inbound culture workshop.

DRUMROLL, PLEASE! πŸ₯

In last Saturday's issue, I announced that I would be giving away a copy of the second edition of They Ask, You Answer to whomever sent me a joke (about anything!) that made me laugh the hardest.

I'm gonna be honest β€” this was a tough one, because y'all are very funny.

But there was one joke that rose above the rest, ascending to their throne of victory on a campaign of hilarious wordplay...

congrats-david-manney-1

David Manney of Schuette Metals made me snort laugh β€” thank goodness only my cat was here to judge β€” with this gem:

Q: What do you get when you combine a dyslexic, insomniac, and an agnostic?

A: Someone who lays awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.🐢

Ha! 

Thanks again to all of you who entered; I cannot stress enough how much joy all your jokes brought to me over the weekend. And if you didn't win (or didn't enter this time), don't worry β€” there will definitely be more chances to win fantastic prizes through THE LATEST down the line

Also, don't forget to grab your copy of They Ask, You Answer, if you haven't already. Or, if you're not in a book-shopping mood, you can learn more about what They Ask, You Answer is and explore the They Ask, You Answer video library

And now, here's THE LATEST...

πŸ’Έ Our exclusive Facebook ads pricing guide from IMPACT's resident Facebook ads expert

We've all heard stories of impressive returns on ad spend (ROAS) on Facebook, but it can be hard to know how to get started on the platform. How much should you expect to spend? What if your site is not heavily trafficked? Do Facebook ads still make sense for you? In this interview with IMPACT Facebook Ads Specialist Ali Parmelee, you'll learn exactly how much you should plan to spend on Facebook ads, how to build an effective Facebook ads strategy, and more.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸŽ‚ 10 eye-opening questions with IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo, as IMPACT celebrates its 10th birthday

From humble beginnings in CEO Bob Ruffolo’s condo, IMPACT has grown to a nearly 70-person person business known for its innovation, excellence, and company culture. This month, IMPACT turns 10 years old. To mark the occasion, IMPACT Editorial Content Manager John Becker sat down with Bob to answer 10 questions reflecting on the past decade, his experience, and the company as a whole β€” watch (or read) this exclusive interview.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ”₯ If you're not assignment selling in your sales process, you're leaving money on the table

"It takes forever for our content marketing to work." We hear ya, but it doesn't have to be that way. There is a strategy called "assignment selling," wherein your content becomes profitable β€” generating revenue for your company β€” from the very moment it is published on your website. In this article from IMPACT Lead Content Marketing Trainer Kevin Phillips, you'll learn what assignment selling is, where it came from, and how to immediately implement it at your company.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ‘‰ Your website won't generate leads if you don't have the right strategy behind it, no matter how pretty it is

An IMPACT Website Blueprint is the strategy behind your website. Our strategic website experts will work closely with your in-house team during hands-on brainstorming sessions to develop your Website Blueprint over the course of three weeks. It’s an intense, data-driven process, but the results are priceless.

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

  • TOMORROW: Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Chicago HubSpot User Group's most popular event of the year is back! Get ready for eight short, motivational, industry-related talks from fellow HUG members at the HUG chiX event on November 20. Save your seat now now as space is limited and 125 people have already signed up!

  • THIS WEEK: Lookin' at you, Connecticut. Video expert Zachary Basner will be teaching us how to harness the power of video to generate revenue in this one-day workshop at IMPACT HQ in New Haven. Join us on Thursday, November 21 from 9:00 AM to noon (lunch is included!) to learn how to create effective one-to-one and one-to-many video that can be used throughout the sales process. Learn more and get your ticket today.

πŸ—žοΈ What I'm reading

Here are the long reads, news items, and articles that have caught my eye going into this week:

πŸ–ΌοΈ One last thing

I bought a brand new bedding set last night and had my receipt emailed to me... and now this is my life:

true-facts

Fourteen "you've gotta see this!" emails and counting. Sigh.

Have a great week! 

November 16, 2019

The good, bad, and ugly of HubSpot; social video trends for 2020; and how to run a They Ask, You Answer book club ...this is THE LATEST! 

πŸ’― Jump Right into the good stuff!

πŸ‘Ž The #1 reason digital marketing strategies fail is a lack of buy-in from sales and leadership. But you can break the cycle with an IMPACT inbound culture workshop.

OK, here's the deal, folks.

Most of you are about to β€” or smack dab in the middle of β€” building your sales and marketing plans for next year. (I certainly am. Is it possible to drown in spreadsheets? Asking for a friend...)

Before you finalize anything, I have one piece of advice for you. If you haven't done it already, you need to read They Ask, You Answer

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "Liz, I know you worked on the book, so you're biased."

You're not wrong about that. 

Still, I want you to consider two things.

First, I guarantee you that, after reading it, you will fundamentally change how you attack your digital sales and marketing strategies for 2020, for the better. Second, it's a quick read. (I have the attention span of a goldfish and the emotional range of a teaspoon, and even I couldn't put it down.) What do you have to lose?

If you're still not convinced, watch this video from Yale Appliance, a company that went from $30 million to $117 million in sales after reading it and embracing its philosophies. 

THEN BUY THE BOOK. 

I'm sorry for yelling; just know I'm doing so because I care.

Actually... let's make this a little more fun, shall we? 

🚨🚨CONTEST ALERT 🚨🚨

Send me a really funny joke (about anything!) as a reply to this email before 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday, November 18. The one that gets me to laugh the hardest will win a copy of They Ask, You Answer paid for by yours truly.

I will announce the winner in next Tuesday's edition of THE LATEST.

Now, let's get down to business.

πŸ€” Why go HubSpot? (A candid look at the good, the bad, and the ugly)

For businesses that have adopted the inbound methodology or are ready to, HubSpot provides an affordable selection of tools that support your marketing, sales, and service teams as they implement this new strategy. But is it the right fit for you? HubSpot is extremely powerful, but it's not always the right choice. In this candid, thorough article from IMPACT HubSpot Consultant Lexie Ward, you'll get the inside scoop on the good, the bad, and the ugly of one of the most popular digital sales and marketing solutions on the planet.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

🎬 Everything you need to know about social video marketing going into 2020 (a must-read infographic)

It's been another great year for video marketing, which should come as a surprise to no one. But where should you be focusing your video publication efforts in 2020? The best way to get the answer to that question is to take a deep look at where digital marketers saw the best results in 2019 β€” as well as what strategies flopped spectacularly. IMPACT Head of Partnerships Nick Bennett has your back with this fantastic infographic from Animoto, which covers all of the essential social video data and trends you need to know before you next year's strategy.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ“š How to run a They Ask, You Answer book club at your company that ignites lasting change

A few weeks back, IMPACT Content Marketing Consultant Jolie Higazi received an email from one of our clients with the following question β€” they were planning on running a mini book club within their company with They Ask, You Answer, but did we have any recommendations on how to break up the book into "manageable chunks"? So, Jolie decided to take a page out of They Ask, You Answer, by writing this in-depth article that answers the question of how to run a They Ask, You Answer book club, along with suggested discussion questions, book club facilitation tips, and much more

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

✍️ Eliminate the learning curve of creating digital marketing content and start seeing immediate results with IMPACT content consulting

You understand the impact of creating content that answers the most burning questions of your potential buyers to drive real sales results. But you could use some guidance to make sure you’re doing it right and staying on top of best practices. We can help.


🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

  • Do you want to learn how to transform your company website into a lean, mean lead-generating machine?If so, you'll want to sign up for our live webinar on November 19 with IMPACT Director of Website Strategy Stacy Willis, who will teach you how to do just that in 45 minutes. What are you waiting for? Register for this 100% free webinar right now.
  • Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Chicago HubSpot User Group's most popular event of the year is back! Get ready for eight short, motivational, industry-related talks from fellow HUG members at the HUG chiX event on November 20. Save your seat now now as space is limited and 125 people have already signed up!

  • Lookin' at you, Connecticut. Video expert Zachary Basner will be teaching us how to harness the power of video to generate revenue in this one-day workshop at IMPACT HQ in New Haven. Join us on Thursday, November 21 from 9:00 AM to noon (lunch is included!) to learn how to create effective one-to-one and one-to-many video that can be used throughout the sales process. Learn more and get your ticket today.

🚿 Weekend Nonsense

I may or may not have spent 15 extra minutes in the shower this morning wondering if there was a way for me to do my work from there... 

me-this-mroning

πŸ–ΌοΈ One last thing

To this day, this was one of the most surprising A/B tests we ran with THE LATEST. (Never stop testing, folks. You never know what you'll learn.)

Have a great weekend, everybody! 

November 12, 2019

3 keys for leading a tribe, FTC clarifies endorsement guidelines, and the best email newsletters ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ’― Jump Right into the good stuff!

πŸ† Assess the current state of your digital marketing strategy with our free (10-min) Digital Sales and Marketing Scorecard! Get a score of your current strategy and personalized action plan of what you need to do right now to see better results. Get your scorecard now.

I'm a Leaf Raker. 🍁

It's a tad ironic that I'm talking about raking leaves on a cold Chicago morning where at least 4 inches of snow have already blanketed the city. But here we are. 

You're probably thinking to yourself wait, Stephanie, what the heck is a Leaf Raker? Fair question.

If you've never heard of the Leaf Rakers Society, it's a sort-of-secret community created by Starbucks for people who are obsessed with fall (and coffee). 

If your eyes light up at the sight of a Starbucks in the distance or if your heart races when you step on that first crunchy leaf of autumn, you are probably a Leaf Raker.  

What started as a #PSL-lovers group has since transformed into a wonderfully festive online community of people who wanted a safe place to express their scarf-wearing, holiday-loving, coffee-drinking, decoration-hanging thoughts all πŸ‘ year πŸ‘long πŸ‘.

And yes, I am a bonafide Leaf Raker. I've got the pin to prove it: 

leaf raker pin
The highly coveted, Starbucks-official Leaf Raker pin.

Which is why, when I woke up this morning to a fresh dusting of white powder, I couldn't wait to post a pic of my new #redcup in Leaf Rakers where no one would tell me "it's too early to listen to Christmas music!"

red cup post in leaf rakers
What's most amazing to me about Leaf Rakers is that, despite our many differences, we are a positive and supportive group. People come to this group to share updates about their cancer treatments (and what latte got them through their last round of chemo). They share engagements and wedding day updates. It's one of the most heart-warming parts of my Facebook feed.

Starbucks has created something truly unique on the internet - a place of compassion and joy unencumbered by the typical negativity on social media.  They've created a tribe.

πŸ”‘ Seth Godin's 3 keys for leading a tribe [TED Talk]

People don’t want to just buy a product anymore, they want to buy into something they believe in. They want to connect and feel like they’re a part of something greater than just a transaction. Just like Leaf Rakers.

IMPACT Video Editor Megan Lang shared her takeaways from Seth Godin's TED Talk on tribes and the steps your business can take to create a community.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ’ FTC clarifies guidelines for how influencers must disclose endorsements

If you can't tell already, I love talking about the things I love. I'm certainly not an #Influencer, but I do, from time to time, get rewarded for talking about these things. I always make it obvious in my posts when this is the case so I don't deceive anyone. It's not just a best practice, though, it's also legally required. IMPACT Editorial Content Manager John Becker outlined the FTC's endorsement guidelines and how they've recently been clarified.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ“Œ Proving their worth is one of the top 5 fears marketers face

Why? For most marketers, their success depends upon cooperation and collaboration with other key leaders inside the organization. And, for most people, getting that isn’t easy. That's why we created the inbound culture workshop. 

πŸ“© 7 best email newsletter examples for digital marketers (B2B and B2C)

Look at me talking about newsletters right in the middle of a newsletter. How meta. Your usual author of THE LATEST, Liz Murphy, is here with a roundup of the 7 best email newsletter examples for digital marketers

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

  • Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Chicago HubSpot User Group's most popular event of the year is back! Get ready for eight short, motivational, industry-related talks from fellow HUG members at the HUG chiX event on November 20. Save your seat now now as space is limited and 125 people have already signed up!

  • Lookin' at you, Connecticut. Video expert Zachary Basner will be teaching us how to harness the power of video to generate revenue in this one-day workshop at IMPACT HQ in New Haven. Join us on Thursday, November 21 from 9:00 AM to noon (lunch is included!) to learn how to create effective one-to-one and one-to-many video that can be used throughout the sales process. Learn more and get your ticket today.

🌎 IMPACTers on the move

πŸ—žοΈ What I'm reading

Here are the long reads, articles, and news items that have caught my eye:

  • While I usually focus on community and events, I freaking love email. It absolutely fascinates me. This oldie but goodie came up in my "to read later" folder with a nifty little preview text hack. (LOL @ "published in 2018" but I just now read it.) 
  • Have you been to our site lately? This morning I was reading this article from our CEO about why IMPACT's site is always evolving. (Yes, I read stuff on our own site.

πŸ’‘ One last thing

Katie Haller, copywriter at VaynerMedia (and comedian), has tweets worth push notifications. I saw this gem over the weekend and about spit out my coffee. 

katie haller tweet

Stay confident! See ya next month πŸ‘‹ Now back to you, Liz.

November 2, 2019

How to write a pillar page, Google's new BERT update, and everything you need to know about Google display ads ...this is THE LATEST!

πŸ’― Jump Right into the good stuff!

πŸ† Assess the current state of your digital marketing strategy with our free Digital Sales and Marketing Scorecard! In 10 minutes or less, you’ll not only get a score of your current strategy, you'll also receive a personalized action plan of what you need to do right now to see better results. Get your scorecard now.

I'm being stalked.

I'm being stalked by a shirt from Old Navy.

Untitled design (14)

Just look at all that plaid. Swoon. πŸ˜ 

I came across it a few weeks ago, while I was binging the fifth season of Schitt's Creek (a show I have to thank Ann Handley for turning me on to) and doing a little light online window shopping.

I really, really wanted it. But, by some miracle, I was able to tap into an unknown reserve of deep inner strength and left the Old Navy website in possession of all of my money.

But now I see it everywhere.

When I'm reading articles on the Baltimore Sun website, there it is: 

Youre lying to yourself. You know you cant resist.

When I'm scrolling through ideas on what the heck to do with my mountain of leftover Halloween candy on RealSimple.com, it appears:

Youre lying to yourself. You know you cant resist. (1)

Even when I'm trying to find an easy dinner recipe that's delicious and minimizes the risk that I'll burn the kitchen down, I can't escape it:

Youre lying to yourself. You know you cant resist. (2)

As a digital marketer, I love the power of Google display ads β€” I know our paid media team certainly does. 

But as a consumer, I feel hunted.

Every time I see that shirt, my resolve weakens.

I know I'm one step closer to shamefully returning to OldNavy.com under the cover of night and buying it... probably along with some yoga pants, a new sweater, and pajamas covered in snow globes.

It's only a matter of time before I succumb to my baser, plaid-oriented instincts. But please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

✍️ Our pillar pages have generated almost $1 million in revenue; here is the exact process I follow to write and launch a pillar page β€” with loads of examples! (13-minute read)

To date, I have overseen the strategy, production, and publication of close to 20 pillar pages at IMPACT β€” a few of which I've written all by myself β€” so I know first-hand how complex and daunting the process can be. Furthermore, I know how scary it can be to wonder if all of your time and effort will even be worth it. Well, with the right process, it can be. My article will walk you through (in detail) the 11 steps required to write and launch a pillar page, so it will increase your traffic, leads, and sales β€” guaranteed.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

⚠️ Google rolls out BERT update to provide more nuanced search results β€” but what the heck is BERT? (2-minute read)

BERT allows users to use their normal language when searching. As Google points out, searchers often don't know what keywords to use because they're coming to search to find information. With BERT, you can type in your question or query without knowing the exact keywords and still find what you're looking for. And Google is calling this latest update "the biggest leap forward in five years." IMPACT Digital Beat Reporter Kate Williams has the scoop on what the heck BERT is, how it works, and what this massive update means for marketers who are trying to get their content found online.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

πŸ’Έ In paid media, what gets results (and what doesn't) seems to change on a weekly basis (get help)

From Google Ads to Facebook β€” and every platform in between β€” our team of paid media advertising experts can help you achieve the growth you’re looking for with innovative paid media campaigns and strategies. No matter how many times the rules change.

πŸ”₯ Here is everything you need to know about Google display ads to create your strategy for 2020 (10-minute read)

Think about the last time you went online window shopping, where you visited a website, saw something you liked, but controlled yourself and didn't buy it. Then, no matter where you went online, you saw an ad for it. Eventually, you cave to the internet stalker gods and buy it. Those are Google display ads. In this highly entertaining article from IMPACT Paid Media Specialist, you'll learn what Google display ads are, how they work, and everything you need to know to create super profitable Google display ad campaigns in 2020.

πŸ”Ž Related articles and resources

🎧  Latest shows and podcasts

πŸ“† Upcoming events

  • Tickets for Connecticut's Better Business Summit on November 7 are now on sale! You will learn from industry leaders and experts, and take away actionable steps to help your business thrive. Review the agenda, and get your tickets today!

🌎 IMPACTers on the move

🐧 Weekend nonsense

Yesterday, someone sent me this:

image (6)

According to "science," this is a juvenile emperor penguin. But in reality, I think we can all agree that this is some sort of nonsense penguin/bear hybrid.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, so now you must all suffer with me.

🎧 One last thing

A few weeks ago, I quietly relaunched my IMPACT podcast β€” Content Lab β€” with a new co-host, IMPACT Editorial Content Manager John Becker:

Content_Lab_v2-06

I'd love to get your feedback on what you think of the brand new Content Lab! Here are the most recent episodes:

Or you can also access all episodes of Content Lab on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Not familiar with my podcast? Content Lab is for any digital marketer, content manager, or business leader who wants to learn what it really takes to create content that drives traffic, leads, and sales. 

In short, we talk about how the content sausage really gets made.

Have a wonderful weekend!