35 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Halloween is a fun holiday, and it doesn't get the attention it deserves. It doesn't have recognizable songs or vacation days associated with it, and it falls on a busy time of year for most people in the workforce.

But that doesn't mean you should skip the festivities at your office Halloween celebration.

How many days of the year are you encouraged to dress up and goof around at work? Probably just one -- Halloween -- and even then, it can be hard to know what's office-appropriate.

We want you to have fun this Halloween, so we're taking the work out if it for you. We've compiled a list of DIY Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together, inexpensive, and perfect for the digital marketer or tech professional.

If your family and friends don't get your costume, your colleagues definitely will.

29 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Computer or App-Related Costumes

1. Alt Text

Alt text isn't just the metadata of an image published on the web -- you could also say it's an "alternative" fashion statement with the text to describe the era. This was HubSpot Director of Content Corey Wainwright's office Halloween costume a few years ago. It's great because you don't even look dressed up if you have a casual office dress code, so you can just blend in.

To dress as alt text this halloween, break out your best 90s alternative garb -- our coworker Corey went with black jeans, combat boots, and a flannel. Then, tape hyphenated text that best describes what you're wearing, much like an image of your outfit would do online to help search engines read the file.

We edited a sash of alt text on to the alternatively dressed girl below, just to help you picture your awesome costume.

Computer costume of girl in 90s alternative outfit with alt text written across her shirtSource: That's Life

2. SEO Ninja

Speaking of dorking out on SEO, you could be everyone's favorite LinkedIn title -- the SEO ninja. Dress in all black, buy a black ski mask, and tape keywords all over yourself. Voila ... you're an actual ninja -- just one much more concerned with search engine optimization than lurking in the darkness.

seo-ninja-costumeSource: Pinterest

3. Mobile App

Wander around holding an appetizer -- candy, cheese and crackers, chips and dip ... whatever you have on hand. Boom. You're a mobile "app."

This costume also doubles as a great way to introduce yourself and make friends at a party.

mobile-app-costume.pngSource: Opportunity Max

4. Instagrammer

Want another way to turn handing out food into a costume? Dress up like a hipster and hand out graham crackers. You're an "instant" "gram" cracker server -- or, for short, an Instagrammer. Pun absolutely intended.

5. Ghostwriter

Have you ever written something for somebody else's byline? Such is the life of a "ghostwriter." Turn your author-less accomplishment into this year's office Halloween costume.

To dress up as a ghostwriter, grab a white sheet and cut a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, get a book and one of those feather quills (or just get a feather, I suppose), and boo -- you're a ghostwriter.

ghostwriter-costume

6. Whitespace

Whitespace on the internet might just denote all the blank space you use to help your design stand out, but on Halloween, "whitespace" isn't just the absence of space.

Dress in all white -- add white face paint and a white wig if you're ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit, like a colored tie or scarf, or even a paint splotch. That color splotch will make the white space more prominent, transforming you into "whitespace."

7. Error 404 Code

You've most likely encountered a funny error 404 page before, and you can make it a funny costume, too. Grab a sheet of paper, write "Error 404: Costume Not Found," and tape it to your outfit.

 

A photo posted by RachAel Klopfenstein (@theklopf) on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

8. (Monty) Python

If you're into programming code, British comedy, and low-effort costumes, being (Monty) Python is perfect. Dress up in anything remotely snakelike in your closet: olive green clothing, snakeskin accessories, and fake vampire teeth that can serve as your fangs.

Then, to amp up the dork factor on this costume, add two coconuts or a gold chalice to embody Monty Python on his quest for the Holy Grail.

9. Facebook

Grab face paint or eyeliner and write "book" across your cheeks. Just like that, you're the world's biggest social network for Halloween.

And for your sake, we hope your colleagues actually get it:

Halloween-Jim_Bookface-Jim.jpgSource: AndPop

10. Unicorn

Here's another tech-friendly, double-entendre costume: Be your own version of a tech unicorn. Here at HubSpot, we love this tech icon, and you can easily make your own version of a unicorn horn with help from this article.

aid2617087-v4-900px-Make-a-Unicorn-Horn-Step-10-Version-3.jpgSource: WikiHow

11. Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are nothing to joke about -- they can seriously threaten your technology and data security. But on Halloween, you can dress up as a play on phishing emails for an easy DIY costume. All you need are a stick, a piece of string, and an envelope. Bonus points if you own a bucket hat and vest to complete the ensemble. Check out an amusing version of this costume below.

Email phishing Halloween costume with fishing rod with Passwords label as baitSource: Car and Driver

12. Copycat

"CNTRL + C" is the popular keyboard macro allowing you to copy items from one place to another on your computer. Well, here's a technology spin on a classic Halloween costume. All you'll need are cat ears, eyeliner-drawn whiskers, and a sheet of paper. Write "CNTRL + C" on the paper, tape it to your outfit, and you're a "copycat."

Girl in copycat Halloween costume with black cat makeup and CNTRL + C labeled necklaceSource: BuzzFeed

13. The Blue Screen of Death

You know the screen, even if you don't know the morbid nickname the tech world has given it. This classic error screen is known for signaling the end of a computer's useful life, and you know it when you see it. It causes so much stress on site, in fact, that the color alone is scary enough for October 31.

Believe it or not, there are official T-shirts you can get with the blue screen of death copy printed on them. Want to make your own? All you need is a royal blue t-shirt and a printed version of this horrifying error message to pin to it.

T-shirt with Blue Screen of Death error message printed on itSource: Spreadshirt

14. GPS Costume

This will work best with two people. You can cut a Point A and Point B pin shape out of cardboard, paint both red, and simply write A and B on it. From there, you can personalize the costume whichever way you'd like. You can even get more intricate by finding a T-Shirt with a map on it. 

GPS office costume

Source: Pinterest

15. Dead Battery and Low Wi-Fi 

Nothing is more terrifying than a dead battery or no Wi-Fi. This costume brings all of techy's fears to life. It's also pretty simple to create. Just tape or glue images of dead Wi-Fi and low battery signals on to a black shirt. To emphasize the low-connectivity fears, put on some zombie or skeleton makeup. 

Although this can work as a couples costume, this could also be a fun option for office colleagues. Since both costumes within the set don't rely on each other to be understandable, an individual could also wear either the Dead Battery outfir or the No-Wi-Fi suit and still be easily recognized.

Dead Battery and Low Wi-Fi Halloween Costume

Source: Pinterest

Emoji Costumes

16. Information Desk Girl

This genius professional found a golden (or, rather, purple) opportunity to be the "information desk emoji, the many gestures of whom we've all come to know, love, and use at some point in a text conversation.

The best part about this awesome tech reference is that you don't need to alter your regular attire to make it work. As Naomi shows us below, it's all in the hand gestures.

17. Dancing Girls Emoji

If you're the owner of one of the nearly more than 1 billion Apple iPhones sold worldwide, you're probably familiar with the dancing girls emoji, shown below.

The easiest version of this costume is to find a buddy and dress all in black together. If you're committed to emoji authenticity, buy black bunny ears to complete the look.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.13.14 PM.pngSource: Brit + Co

18. Heart Eyes

Are you just in love with Halloween? Prove it with this passionate emoji face. You don't have to paint your entire face, chin to hairline, to get the Heart Eyes Emoji just right, but it certainly helps. It'll also disguise your stress when you're at your most focused during the day.

"This employee just seems to love her job, I can't put my finger on why," your manager will think ... See how to paint this emoji onto your face below (you'll need some help for this one).

Topical Office Costumes

19. Fully Vested

At work, "fully vested" usually refers to one's ability to earn all matching funds of a 401(k) retirement plan. But for some, you just can't help but picture someone wearing lots of sleeveless jackets at the same time. Now's the time to personify that image.

If you work in a company where people would get the joke, put on a bunch of vests (at least three, but even more is encouraged), and that's about it. You're fully vested.

20. Nerd

What I love about the nerd costume is that it's effortless and always unique -- there are many ways to be a nerd in this day and age. Are you a tech nerd, a video game nerd, or a book nerd? The sky is the limit with this costume. Show up wearing glasses with your favorite accessories, such as a magic wand, book, or lightsaber, to complete the effect.

Worlds cutest nerd costumes. Erin Harrison and Chandler Abney everyone!! ;) Follow me for my next Halloween costume!

Source: Pinterest

21. A Solar Eclipse

Last year, the solar eclipse took over the internet -- and the country. As millions of people flocked to the path of totality to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of this rare event without burning their corneas, millions more made jokes about it on social media.

To dress up as a solar eclipse for Halloween, you'll need a work pal to dress up as the sun and the moon with you. One of you wears black, the other wears yellow, and you both wear dark sunglasses. Then, at the Halloween party, the one dressed in black spends the whole time standing in front of the one in yellow.

Two girls dressed in solar eclipse costume at an officeSource: Pinterest

22. The 'Evil Kermit' Meme

If you haven't heard of this mega-popular meme this year, you've probably seen it somewhere: It features Kermit the Frog, face-to-face with his evil twin, Evil Kermit. Evil Kermit looks identical, except for the black cloak.

For this costume, you and a coworker can keep it simple: You both wear green shirts, and one of you wears a black hoodie or jacket on top. If you really want to commit to the costume, you'll spring for some green face paint to complete the ensemble. Walk around the party together, facing one another, for maximum effect.

evil kermit halloween.png

23. Fifty Shades of Grey: PG Paint Swatch Costume

Want to do something cheeky, but still office friendly? This is PG pun costume shares the name of a popular romantic novel and film, "50 Shades of Grey."

Go to your local paint or hardware store and buy 50 grey paint swatches. Then, tape them to a black shirt and tell your colleagues you're, "50 Shades of Grey." 

50 Shades of Grey Pun Halloween Costume

Source: Fox 24 of Kansas City

24. The "But That's None of My Business" Meme

If you love Kermit the Frog, but don't have a colleague to team up with for the "Evil Kermit" costume, consider going solo with a costume based off of the "But That's None of My Business" meme, where Kermit is seen judgmentally drinking coffee.

All you have to do is stick a pair of eyes on a green hoodie and start sipping your tea or coffee. For an added effect, you can cut a white photo frame to hold in front of you so you can look like an image posted on social media. 

But That's None of My Business Meme Halloween CostumeSource: Pinterest

25. Eleven from Stranger Things

Eleven from Netflix's hit series Stranger Things is universally beloved, and it's a bonus that her signature look is a comfortable and easy-to-assemble costume. Rock your best Eleven with a dress, a denim jacket, and a box of Eggo Waffles.

the-stranger-things-actress-behind-eleven-doesnt-love-eating-tons-of-eggo-waffles.pngSource: Business Insider

26. Scoops Ahoy Employee from Stranger Things

While Eleven, noted above, is an absolute classic Stranger Things character, 2019's season inspired another great costume opportunity. During the newest installment of episodes, Stave, a main character played by Joe Keery, worked at an icecream shop called Scoops Ahoy. As a server, he had to wear a goofy sailor uniform alongside his coworker Robin

Since the season aired, the uniform has been regularly worn by cosplayers and at Comic Con as people mimic Steve and Robin.

Since it's a pretty generic sailor uniform, you might be able to easily find one that's similar in a variety of Halloween shops. This costume could work for both individuals or two colleagues. 

27. Pokémon GO Trainer

Pokémon GO had roughly 45 million people walking around in cities glued to their phones last summer (I, among them). To pay homage to the explosion of this tech trend, you'll need a t-shirt that's red, yellow, or blue. Using fabric paint or permanent marker, write Valor (for red), Instinct (for yellow), or Mystic (for blue) on your shirt.

Spend Halloween walking around pointing your phone at objects, and you're the spitting image of a Pokémon GO trainer. Gotta catch 'em all, right?

 

A photo posted by Odinia (@marshmallowsie) on Aug 9, 2016 at 4:44pm PDT

 

 

Group Office Costumes

28. The Sales Lifecycle

At HubSpot, we love embracing team costumes. In 2018, a handful of HubSpot employees grabbed some T-Shirts and wrote the stages of the sales lifecycle on them. Then they lined up accordingly and passed a fake prospect listing around to symbolize the process of making a sale. This was such an easy costume to coordinate that the team could even include an out-of-office employee over a video call. 

HubSpot Employee sales cycle halloween costumeSource: Maggie Bomze, Principal Customer Success Manager of Strategic Accounts at HubSpot

29. Social Media Channels

While this Pinterest image shows classmates posting as the major social media networks, this could easily be modified to fit the office setting. 

Simply pick out a solid list of the hottest social networks, then by blank T-Shirts that match the colors of each platform. From there, you can either draw, tape or glue the logos on to each shirt. If you're not interested in the tutus worn below, you could also find matching pants, or just wear jeans and keep things simple.

Social Media Network team costumes

Source: Pinterest

30. Google Algorithm Update

Find a couple of office buddies for this one -- one panda, one penguin, and one pigeon. You might be thinking, "what the heck is the pigeon algorithm update?" 1) It's a thing, and 2) we checked Amazon for hummingbird costumes and there aren't any cheap ones available.

google-algorithm-update-halloween-costumes.jpgSource: Opportunity Max

31. Black Hat and White Hat SEO

This is another SEO-related costume, and I think you can figure this one out on your own. I recommend wearing a black hat for one, and a white hat for the other, and having "SEO" embroidered on each one -- which you can easily custom order.

Black hat with SEO label on topSource: SEO-Hacker

32. Snapchat Filters

Here's another group costume idea that pays tribute to Snapchat's filters feature.

There are numerous options that you and your team can choose from to embody this costume. You could dress up as vomiting rainbows, cat and dog ears, a flower crown, or a face swap, and this could be as DIY or store-bought as you're interested in pursuing. For example, here's some inspiration for a couple of the dog filters:

snapchat filter team costumeSource: PopSugar

33. Snapchat Ghosts

Put a marketing spin on a classic Halloween costume by arriving as a Snapchat ghost. You'll all need a white sheet and to pick which ghost you like the most.

Snapchat Ghost team halloween costumeSource: YouTube

34. PAC-MAN and Company

Here's yet another awesome ghostly costume idea your whole team at work can get in on. Have your team lead wear the yellow pie-shaped garb of PAC-MAN, with each team member dressed as the multi-colored ghosts that roam the screen in this vintage arcade game.

Just make sure the team lead doesn't actually try to eat the ghosts -- you're in an office, and you're all technically on the same team.

Group costume with PAC-MAN, four ghosts and fruit from the vintage arcade gameSource: Meningrey

35. Instagram Filters

For this group costume, you'll need white t-shirts and fabric markers. Draw an Instagram photo frame on the front of your shirts, and each team member can write a different Instagram filter's name inside the photo frame. Or, create frame props with different filters on them like the group did below:

Instagram Filter Halloween costumesSource: Nails Magazine

The clothes don't make the marketer, but the costume can certainly make the culture at your company. Find out what it takes to hire and train the best fits for your open roles in the free ebook, available below.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published October 21, 2018 but was updated in October of 2019 for comprehensiveness.



via Business Feeds

15 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation

Are your contacts going with the flow, or are they just sitting dormant in your marketing database? If you don't have any automated email workflows set up, your answer is probably the latter -- which means you're missing out on some major opportunities to nurture and engage your existing contacts.

Did you know that marketing automation can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity? But wait ... there's more.

Lead nurturing campaigns aren't the only type of email marketing automation you can use to get more out of your contacts database. Think about the contacts who are already your customers. Email automation can not only help you convert leads into customers, but it can also help you delight your existing customers and encourage activity like greater product adoption, upsells, evangelism, and additional purchases. 

Email marketing automation is useful because it eliminates small but time consuming tasks, such as preparing email lists, sending generic messages, or scheduling events manually. This allows marketers and salespeople more time to work on more productive projects or bigger deals.

If you want to get more out of your contacts database, this post will give you some ideas for automated email workflows you can set up to engage and activate all different types of contacts in your database.

Setting Up Email Marketing Automation Workflows

If you hadn't already guessed, email workflows need to be set up using marketing automation software. Different software providers will have different features and functionality, but the concept of marketing automation is pretty universal.

If you're using HubSpot's Workflows App, for example, you can create personalized, automated email workflows that can get triggered in a number of different ways -- when a contact gets added to a list, submits a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your AdWords ads, or becomes a marketing qualified lead. 

You can also set up email workflows based on any information you have about the contacts in your marketing database, such a page views, email or social media clicks, content downloads, contact properties, or any combination of these and more. That's some pretty powerful stuff! 

And that's just the beginning of what you can do with workflows. Workflows can also enable you to automate other actions besides email, such as setting or clearing a contact property value, updating a contact's lifecycle stage, adding/removing a contact from a list, and other administrative tasks that allow for more targeted, effective marketing to your prospects and customers. But we'll save all that for another post. ;-)

Now let's walk through some examples of automated email workflows you can set up to start getting more out of your contacts database and marketing automation tools.

13 Examples of Email Marketing Automation Workflows You Should Try

1. Topic Workflows

Main Triggers: Page Views or Content Offer Downloads

Create a workflow for each of the industry-related topics you create content about. So if, hypothetically, you're a unicorn breeder whose main content topics include unicorn diets, unicorn gear, and unicorn boarding, you could bucket your content marketing offers (e.g. ebooks, webinars, kits, etc.) and blog posts by these topics, create an email workflow for each topic, and trigger the appropriate workflow when one of your contacts views a page or downloads an offer centered around that topic.

You can trigger a content download workflow based on a form submission from a tool like HubSpot’s free conversion tool, HubSpot Marketing Free. (HubSpot customers: You can add Lead Flows, HubSpot's pop-up forms, as an add-on by following the instructions here. To trigger an automated workflow in HubSpot, you can use the “Lead Flow Submission” option as the starting condition.)

So if a contact downloaded your ebook called 10 Tips for a Balanced Unicorn Diet, your "unicorn diet" workflow would be triggered, sending that contact other helpful content, like blog posts about unicorn dietary tips.

2. Blog Subscriber Welcome Workflow 

Main Trigger: Subscription to Your Blog

Give your brand new blog subscribers a nice, warm welcome with a blog welcome email. You can use this email to thank contacts for subscribing, remind them what they'll get out of reading your blog, review their subscription settings (and allow them to make adjustments), and promote your blog's best-performing articles or other offers.

Get tips for creating a successful blog welcome email here, and learn more about optimizing welcome emails here.

3. New Customer Welcome/Training Workflow

Main Trigger: Lifecycle Stage

While we're on the subject of warm welcomes, consider setting up a series of welcome emails when a contact converts into a paying customer, which you can trigger when a contact's lifecycle stage gets updated to "customer."

Not only is this a great way to kick off your new customer relationship on a positive note, but it can also keep your customers engaged after they buy. And if your product or service requires a little training on your customers' part, use this workflow as an opportunity to introduce helpful training materials on an incremental basis.

4. Engaged Contact/Evangelist Workflow

Main Triggers: Visits, Clicks, or Form Submissions

Create a dynamic list (we call these Smart Lists in HubSpot's Marketing Platform) that automatically updates to include contacts who are really engaged with you. To create this list, use trigger criteria such as a high threshold of visits to your website, clicks on your emails or social media posts, or form submissions. Then create an email workflow to leverage this list as a way to encourage evangelism of your top content in social media.

Because these contacts are highly engaged with you already, they're more apt to share your top content. You can also consider adding list criteria to pull in contacts with a certain number of Twitter followers so you can leverage the power of those social media influencers in your database. 

5. Lead Nurturing Workflow

Main Trigger: Multiple Top-of-the-Funnel Conversion Events 

If a contact has downloaded several of your top-of-the-funnel marketing offers like ebooks and webinars, it might be a good sign they're ready for a little bit more. Set up workflows that help to advance these contacts further down the funnel.

If the contact is a lead, try sending them emails containing more middle-of-the-funnel content that might upgrade them to a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or an opportunity in your sales process. This workflow could include content and web pages you've identified from an attribution report analysis as influential in converting leads into customers -- perhaps content like customer success stories/case studies, free trial offers, or product demos. 

(Bonus: If you're using HubSpot's Workflows, you could set up a condition that automatically upgrades these leads to a new lifecycle stage as a result!)

6. Internal Sales Rep Notification Workflow

Main Triggers: Bottom-of-the-Funnel Page Views/Conversion Events

On any given website, there are certain page visits and conversion events that indicate product interest more so than others. First, identify these pages and conversion events using an attribution reporting tool like HubSpot's. You’ll notice that, more often than not, the pages you unearth will be your pricing page, your product pages, etc. -- pages contacts view when they're truly evaluating your products or services.

Use workflows here to trigger an internal email notification to your sales rep informing them of these high-value activities. Using personalization, give the rep all the information they need about the lead in question, including relevant mid- and bottom-of-the-funnel content that they can send to the lead in their outreach email. This allows you to connect sales reps with the best possible leads at the right time.

7. Re-Engagement Workflow

Main Trigger: Inactive Contacts

Reawaken inactive contacts with a re-engagement workflow, enrolling contacts once they've met certain list criteria. For example, you could set conditions such as the length of time since their last form submission, website visit, or email click, triggering the email when it's been a while since a contact last engaged with you.

In your workflow, try sending them an exclusive offer or coupon to get them excited about your company again. For more tips about launching an effective email re-engagement campaign, check out this post.

8. Event Workflow

Main Trigger: Registration or Attendance

Hosting a live, in-person event? Or maybe an online event, like a webinar? Use email workflows to automate your communication to event registrants and attendees before, during, and after the event.

For example, create a workflow that delivers important information registrants should know leading up to the event, such as hotel accommodations and agenda information for live events, or webinar log-in information for online events. When the event ends, set up a workflow that gives attendees online access to session slides and continues to nurture them with additional content or promotion for future events. 

9. Abandoned Shopping Cart Workflow

Main Trigger: Shopping Cart Abandonment

If you're an ecommerce business, you'll likely benefit from an abandoned shopping cart workflow. The concept here is simple: When someone adds an item to their online shopping cart but leaves your site without completing the purchase, you can trigger an email workflow that reminds them of their forgotten purchase and motivates them to complete the transaction by offering a special discount code or some other incentive to buy.

10. Upsell Workflow

Main Trigger: Past Purchases

Communication with your customers shouldn't stop after they make a purchase. This is especially true if you sell a variety of different products and/or services. Use workflows as an opportunity to upgrade or upsell your existing customers, or sell them complementary products and services depending on what they've already purchased.

Create dynamically updating lists of contacts who purchase a certain product -- or combination of products -- and create workflows aimed at recommending other products/services or encouraging upsells or add-ons.

11. Customer Happiness Workflow

Main Trigger: High or Low NPS Scores

If you administer regular Net Promoter surveys of your customer base, you can use customers' Net Promoter Scores as a property to trigger workflows.

Simply determine what your ideal customer happiness score is, and use that as the threshold for your dynamic list of happy customers. Then trigger a workflow for customers with "happy" scores and reward them with exclusive content, offers, or discounts.

Trigger a different workflow for your "unhappy" customers that includes content/offers aimed at helping to improve their happiness. We'll give you a few bonus points if you segment those unhappy customers by the reasons they're unhappy, and send them even more targeted workflows aimed at addressing the issues that are making them so grumpy.

12. Customer Success/Engagement Workflow

Main Triggers: Success Metrics or Product Usage

If you keep track of customer success metrics, you have a prime workflow opportunity on your hands. For example, if you're trying to build up your arsenal of customer case studies, you could automatically trigger an email that asks customers if they'd be interesting in being featured as a success story once certain customer success metrics were met.

Furthermore, if you keep track of customers' product adoption or feature usage, you could trigger a workflow for users who are exhibiting low product engagement, providing resources that educate and train them on how to use the product features they're not taking advantage of.

13. Upcoming Purchase Reminder Workflow

Main Trigger: Purchases Made on a Cycle

Does your contacts database include customers who typically purchase on a cycle? Enter those people into a workflow that gets triggered when they make a purchase.

For instance, let's say you sell eye care products, and a customer purchases a six-month supply of prescription contacts. Enroll that customer into a workflow that sends them an automated email five months later as a reminder that their six-month supply is about to run out, and it might be time to order a new batch of contacts.

14. Customer Service or Ticket Workflow

Main Trigger: A customer or prospect contacts customer service via email or an online form.

Sometimes, your customers or prospects might have trouble using your free or paid software. When this happens, fielding a bunch of customer service emails and messages can take tons of valuable time from your schedule. 

One way to avoid this it to create a workflow that categorizes that makes customer concerns into tickets that can be categorized, labeled and assigned to customer service reps on your team. These tickets can also help you keep tack of ongoing problems as well as when issues with a customer or prospect are resolved. 

15. Deal-Based Workflows

Main Trigger: When someone e-signs a quote or contract.

Sealing the deal is obviously key to successful sales. Automating small aspects of this process, like emails someone might get after signing a contract or quote page with you, can allow you to spend more time nurturing the client over the phone, during demos, or through other messages.

With a deal-based workflow, you can trigger confirmation emails when a prospect becomes a client or qualified lead by signing a quote or contract. With systems like HubSpot, you can also set the workflow to change the contact's status to show where they are in the sales lifecycle.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.



via Business Feeds

The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2019

How many times have you seen a killer marketing campaign and thought to yourself, "Wow, I wish I would've thought of that!"

(Glossier, I'm looking at you.)

We've all been there.

The truth is, when you're just starting out, it can be tough to know whether your strategy is comprehensive and as powerful as it could be.

To help ease some of that uncertainty, we've created this guide that'll show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned.

Let's dive into the five critical components of a complete marketing strategy in 2019, followed by some examples for further inspiration.

1. Create buyer personas.

If you can't define who your audience is in one sentence, now's the chance to do it. A buyer persona is an example of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy's could define a buyer persona as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her 30's living in a suburb, looking to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macys' marketing department can picture Budgeting Belinda and work with a clear definition in-mind.

Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information -- including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of those attributes in her description.

You don't have to create your buyer persona with a pen and paper. In fact, HubSpot offers a free template you can use to make your own (and it's really fun). Buyer personas should be at the core of building your strategy.

2. Identify goals and tools.

Your marketing strategy goals should coincide with your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attend your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting online RSVPs by 10% at the end of the month.

Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals. Online software like social media schedulers gives you the analytics you can refer to in order to keep track of what your audience likes and doesn't. To keep track of blog page performance and page views, Google Analytics is great at it.

Additionally, it will be helpful if you make your goals SMART -- to do so, take a look at How to Write a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template].

3. Account for existing resources.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories -- paid, owned, and earned media.

Recall that paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer paid media options that boost your exposure.

Owned media is any of the media you create -- blog posts, ebooks, images, and infographics that your marketing team has created are examples of owned media.

Earned media is another way to say user-generated content. Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your company are all examples of earned media.

Gather your materials in these areas and consolidate them all in a single vehicle so you'll have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate the three channels together to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that's rolling out weekly content in your niche (owned media), you might consider promoting your blog posts on Twitter (paid media), which customers' might then re-tweet (earned media). Ultimately, that will help you create a better, more well-rounded strategy.

The free option? Tweet it from your company's Twitter or post it on Instagram and use relevant hashtags to spread it.

If you have resources that don't fit into your goals, nix it or don't use it. This is a great time to clean house or identify gaps in your materials.

4. Audit and plan media campaigns.

Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you. Focus on your owned media and marketing goals. For instance, will updating the CTAs at the end of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs to your event?

Next, look at your buyer personas. Let's say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your persona's challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don't have any content that reflects that, make a 15-second demo video for Instagram to show how great your business is at solving that challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include the title, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it's solving for your buyer persona.

For ideas on content creation or a more in-depth look at how to create a content plan, check out our post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

5. Bring it to fruition

Finally, we're at the final step. First, let's go over what you should have by this point:

  1. Buyer persona(s).
  2. Specific marketing goals that coincide with your business goals.
  3. Existing paid, owned, and earned media inventory.
  4. An audit of a media campaign.

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed (and by which teams).

The final step is to bring that all together -- to put actions into your planning. Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.

To paint an example, let's go back to the video software company.

Maybe in January, you will launch a software update that improves the exportation process for users. In April, you want to publish an ebook that explains editing terms to your buyer personas, and in September, you plan to launch an integration with other software.

Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be, as well. As long as the strategy includes all of the necessary information, you'll be all set to take your company's brand from okay to outstanding.

Now that we've explored five critical steps of a complete marketing strategy, let's look at some "Why didn't I think of that?" strategies to inspire your own.

Examples of Successful Digital Marketing Strategies 

1. Regal Movies

Digital strategy: Owned media

Regal Movies took the Halloween spirit to a new level, even re-naming their Twitter to reflect the spirit of the season. This "Monster Madness" poll is a fun, interactive way to get followers invested in Regal's content:

Example of Regal's owned mediaImage Source

Regal's tweet is an example of owned media because the company was in full control of the answers followers gave (and, apparently, American Werewolf didn't stand a chance). Regal effectively kept true to their brand by using only classic movies in their poll, while still putting a modern spin on it.

This is also a good example of how retweets don't necessarily equal success. While four retweets isn't that big of a deal, check out the votes: 461. That means there were over 400 interactions with a single tweet.

2. Taco Bell

Digital strategy: User-generated content, earned media

Real love is taking your engagement photos at your favorite fast food Mexican restaurant -- right?. User-generated content is one of the best ways to gain traction in your strategy, by demonstrating your appreciation for loyal customers who promote your product, while incentivizing other users' to promote your products for the chance at a similar shout-out. Plus, sometimes the content your brand-lovers create is really, really good:

It's not every day someone takes engagement photos at a fast-food restaurant, and Taco Bell jumped at this earned media opportunity. Earned media is at work here because this couple is saying they love baja blasts and crunchwraps as much as they love each other -- so it must be delicious.

3. Small Girls PR

Digital strategy: Event marketing

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?

Small Girls PR is a boutique PR company based in New York, and one of the company's talents is throwing amazing events for their clients, like Olay. This event recap carousel on Instagram is an effective event marketing example.

Event marketing is a fantastic opportunity to boost awareness for your brand. Not every business needs to throw lavish events, either. Event marketing can be as simple as the last company outing you had at your team's favorite brewery.

Posting a quick recap on Instagram gives your brand culture definition, depth, and demonstrates your appreciation for your employees' and work-life balance, ideally incentivizing others to apply.

4. Diesel Cafe

Digital strategy: Word of mouth

Boston-local cafe Diesel Cafe is more than just a great location to get vegan bagels. It also rocks at word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, Diesel even has a website dedicated to it -- a place where fans can submit letters about the fun times they've had at the cafe:

Check your company's Yelp climate. Are people giving you nice reviews? Showcasing some of them on your social channels is an effective opportunity to provide social proof that your products or services are a worthwhile investment, since people typically trust peers more than ads.

5. Target

Digital strategy: Paid media, Twitter cards

If you've got the budget for paid media, take full advantage of it. Paid media is when you pay social channels, like Twitter, to promote your content on their site. By doing this, your content reaches new audiences you might not be able to reach organically.

An inclusive ad from Target about fall shopping uses Twitter cards to promote their brand and offer easier ways to shop -- simply click on the photo, and you're redirected to a purchase page.. More social channels are offering ways for shoppers to purchase in-app or close to it, driving sales and boosting exposure for brands.

Ultimately, creating a complete marketing strategy isn't something that can happen overnight. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to ensure you're reaching your ideal audience, whenever and wherever they want to be reached. Stick with it (and use some of the resources we've included in this post), and over time, research and customer feedback will help you refine your strategy to ensure you're spending optimal time and resources on the marketing channels your audience cares most about.



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10 Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Businesses

10 Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Businesses

The National Retail Federation is predicting a growth year for holiday sales for small businesses. Sales are expected to be somewhere between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. It’s not too early to start getting ready with your holiday hiring.

Holiday Hiring Tips

Here are 10 holiday hiring tips for small businesses so you’ll have the staff you need.

Offer A Training Class

Tara Wolckenhauer, DVP of Human Resources at ADP, offered the first suggestion.

“On the job training led by strong leaders – and if possible, on a team that is already doing the work, helps to quickly get them educated and learn.”

Use Video

She also says that video is a great tool to include in these classes. Mixing up the videos with interactive activities makes the lessons more memorable.

Measure Small Tasks

“Ensuring strong, short-term performance begins with a clear job description that includes “tasks” that can be measured objectively,” Wolckenhauer writes. Use benchmarks like knowledge retention to gauge how well the seasonal help is doing.

Talk Frequently

There’s not a lot of time to train seasonal workers. Having frequent conversations and check ins allows you to find areas that need to get better. This is a great way to boost morale and foster engagement for these short-term helpers.

Make Job Descriptions Clear

Wolckenhauer explains:

“Ensuring strong, short-term performance begins with a clear job description that includes “tasks” that can be measured objectively. Employers need to be upfront with the role so there is a mutual understanding of the job the employee is to fill.”

Make sure you include any educational requirements.

Know Where to Look

There are different places to get holiday staff. Recruiting agencies are great if you’ve got an early start. These are best when you start a few months early.  Posting your job opening is another option that works. Places like Indeed.com get great results.

Staffing agencies are another route.

Leverage Existing Staff

“Leverage existing staff and appoint strong leaders to help cross train hires and drive results,” Wolckenhauer writes.

Building a learning culture all year round helps. Make training sessions part of your small business workflow. That makes it familiar when you ask experienced staff to train seasonal workers.

Look to Retirees

Older people are quite often looking to make a few extra bucks during the holiday season. Post a notice at the local Seniors’ Center. You might even be able to get people who have retired from your industry. That way you’ll get holiday help that has industry knowledge.

Focus on Flexibility

You need to keep in mind that you’re looking for people to fill positions requiring some non regular hours. Retailers might need seasonal help that’s willing to work the overnight shift to stock shelves.

Be upfront about any scheduling changes. Hiring people who can switch a shift on a moments notice will make your holiday sales period easier.

Don’t Put Holiday Hiring Off

Some experts say you should start planning for the holiday season as soon as the previous one ends. Seasonal employees need a great work ethic but don’t forget to look for personality too. Your customers want to have a good experience and that starts with the frontline staff you hire.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "10 Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends



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10 Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Businesses

10 Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Businesses

The National Retail Federation is predicting a growth year for holiday sales for small businesses. Sales are expected to be somewhere between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. It’s not too early to start getting ready with your holiday hiring.

Holiday Hiring Tips

Here are 10 holiday hiring tips for small businesses so you’ll have the staff you need.

Offer A Training Class

Tara Wolckenhauer, DVP of Human Resources at ADP, offered the first suggestion.

“On the job training led by strong leaders – and if possible, on a team that is already doing the work, helps to quickly get them educated and learn.”

Use Video

She also says that video is a great tool to include in these classes. Mixing up the videos with interactive activities makes the lessons more memorable.

Measure Small Tasks

“Ensuring strong, short-term performance begins with a clear job description that includes “tasks” that can be measured objectively,” Wolckenhauer writes. Use benchmarks like knowledge retention to gauge how well the seasonal help is doing.

Talk Frequently

There’s not a lot of time to train seasonal workers. Having frequent conversations and check ins allows you to find areas that need to get better. This is a great way to boost morale and foster engagement for these short-term helpers.

Make Job Descriptions Clear

Wolckenhauer explains:

“Ensuring strong, short-term performance begins with a clear job description that includes “tasks” that can be measured objectively. Employers need to be upfront with the role so there is a mutual understanding of the job the employee is to fill.”

Make sure you include any educational requirements.

Know Where to Look

There are different places to get holiday staff. Recruiting agencies are great if you’ve got an early start. These are best when you start a few months early.  Posting your job opening is another option that works. Places like Indeed.com get great results.

Staffing agencies are another route.

Leverage Existing Staff

“Leverage existing staff and appoint strong leaders to help cross train hires and drive results,” Wolckenhauer writes.

Building a learning culture all year round helps. Make training sessions part of your small business workflow. That makes it familiar when you ask experienced staff to train seasonal workers.

Look to Retirees

Older people are quite often looking to make a few extra bucks during the holiday season. Post a notice at the local Seniors’ Center. You might even be able to get people who have retired from your industry. That way you’ll get holiday help that has industry knowledge.

Focus on Flexibility

You need to keep in mind that you’re looking for people to fill positions requiring some non regular hours. Retailers might need seasonal help that’s willing to work the overnight shift to stock shelves.

Be upfront about any scheduling changes. Hiring people who can switch a shift on a moments notice will make your holiday sales period easier.

Don’t Put Holiday Hiring Off

Some experts say you should start planning for the holiday season as soon as the previous one ends. Seasonal employees need a great work ethic but don’t forget to look for personality too. Your customers want to have a good experience and that starts with the frontline staff you hire.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "10 Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How to Start a Doggy Daycare Business

How to Start a Doggy Daycare

The pet industry is estimated to generate more than $75 billion this year. And that number has risen consistently year after year.

It’s clear — people love their pets. And they’re willing to spend a lot of money on them. This means that there are plenty of business opportunities for animal loving entrepreneurs.

If you think that spending time with people’s dogs all day while they’re at work or traveling sounds like a good time, you might consider starting a doggy daycare business. These companies are popping up all over the countries to offer care to animals and peace of mind to pet owners who can’t be with their dogs 24/7.

Starting a Doggy Daycare Business

If you’re wondering how to start a doggy daycare business, here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

Create a Doggy Daycare Business Plan

Before you take any tangible steps, it’s important to outline exactly what your business is going to provide to people. Your service list might include things like dog walking, bathing and training. Others simply offer set hours where people can drop off and pick up their pets in exchange for an hourly fee. You’ll need to narrow down what you offer, set prices and hours, and determine how many dogs you’ll be able to serve on a given day.

Your business plan should also include considerations like any local competition you might face, marketing, funding, and expenses. If it helps, find a business plan template online that you can use as a starting point to fill in all the relevant details about your doggy daycare business idea.

Find a Suitable Location

Dogs need space to run and play. But you may also need some kennels or facilities so you can separate different types of dogs for playtime. Specifically, many daycares do separate puppies from larger dogs to keep everyone safe. So you will likely need enough space to accommodate a few different groups and give them enough room to exercise.

Some people do run doggy daycare businesses from their homes, provided they have a sizable property to work with. But you may need to find a separate facility that offers enough space both outdoors and indoors. Then you have to factor those costs into your dog daycare business plan.

Invest in Quality Supplies

People want the best for their pets. That means they don’t want to drop them off and have them just sit around a kennel all day. To make them truly happy and comfortable, you’ll need supplies like quality food, treats, toys, beds and grooming products. You may also need to create policies surrounding food and treats, since some dogs may have food sensitivities or owners may want them only consuming certain types of ingredients. In those cases, you might allow people to bring their own food for their dogs or charge an additional fee to stock their specific preference.

Complete the Necessary Paperwork

When starting any business, you need to make sure that you’re fully licensed and compliant with the rules and ordinances of your local community. Every state and city has different rules for setting up businesses. So check with your local government to obtain the necessary forms or applications. It’s also a good idea to set up an official business structure like an LLC.

Business insurance is also incredibly important, especially for a business where you’re dealing with people’s pets. Connect with a local agent who can help you cover any liabilities you might face.

Hire Experienced Team Members

If you’re going to be working with more than a few dogs at a time, then you probably need a team to help you with their care. With a doggy daycare business, it’s essential that the people you hire are good with animals. Look for people who own pets, as well as those with experience in things like pet sitting, dog walking, grooming or training.

Advertise to Local Pet Owners

Once your facilities and services are all set up, it’s time to start bringing in customers. Meet pet owners where they are when it comes to advertising. Set up signs around local dog parks, pet supply stores and veterinary clinics. You might even connect with other local service providers like dog walkers or groomers so you can bring in referrals through them.

It’s also important to set up an online presence including a website and profiles on directories like Google My Business. Include relevant keywords like “doggy daycare” and your location so people who are searching for that specific service near you are able to quickly find you online. Then make it very easy for them to contact you through your website, email or phone number so they can set up an appointment.

Vet New Customers

Unfortunately, many dog daycare business owners face challenges due to some of the dogs they bring in. If a dog is sick or not able to socialize well with other dogs, it could cause problems for your other clients and derail your business. To avoid this, you should have a thorough application and interview process where you actually spend time with the dog. You might even consider a trial run where the dog receives some extra supervision.

It’s also a good idea to have clear contracts in place with clients so they know exactly what you provide and what it expected of them as well. This can help you protect your business and keep all of your human and dog customers happy and healthy long term.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "How to Start a Doggy Daycare Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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