HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Certification – My Experience and What I Learned!

Written by Hannah Smith – Marketing Student at Oregon State University

Which certification did you complete, and how long did it take to complete?

This term, I decided to complete HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Certification. It took about 5 hours to complete, with another hour to take the final exam. It was a simple course, with informational videos and quiz questions to keep me engaged as a student in the certification course.

What did you like best and least?

In this course, I liked that the concepts were well explained by the HubSpot professors, who are also real marketing experts. The professors in the videos provided many examples through the lecture videos, which gave me a really great understanding of the concepts. One thing I liked learning throughout the course was how many free resources there are the create social media content, from graphics, to videos, to live streams. It was really interesting to see how businesses conduct their social media behind the scenes with all the content creation tools on the internet. As someone who is soon starting an internship where I will be managing social media accounts, I am looking forward to utilizing some of these tools.

One thing I did not enjoy as much throughout the course was the legal side of the information. While this is a very important concept in the course and understanding how to correctly utilize social media, it was hard for me to comprehend when it comes to legal logistics. If I spent more time re-watching the videos, I believe that I would have a better understanding of how it works.

Were there any disappointments or frustrations?

Luckily, I did not have any disappointments or frustrations because HubSpot’s academy lecture videos made it extremely easy to understand the concepts. The lectures also spent a good amount of time on each concept, so that you can understand it in many different ways with examples.

What did you learn?

In this course, I learned a lot about different social media platforms. I learned how they can utilize, what type of ads to produce for each platform, how long content lasts on each platform, and so much more. I also learned about social listening, and the types of services that are offered online for free, or services that you can hire to do the work for you. Another interesting thing I learned is how to deal with a social media crisis. I found this really important because it’s very easy to make a mistake on social media that may upset or offend somebody, causing a domino effect. This information can be extremely helpful, because I feel like a lot of brands have had to learn how to deal with social media crisis through their own experiences, unfortunately.

Do you believe this certification program is useful for other marketers?

I believe this certification program can be extremely useful for other marketers! This course can help experienced marketers gain a new perspective on the constant changes that are happening within social media platforms. The course also goes into depth about understanding your target audience, and how to perform best on each social media platform.

On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to recommend this certification program to a friend? Why?

On a scale of 1-5, I would give HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Certification Course a 5! It provides a lot of informational, useful content, and the course doesn’t take long to complete, so it’s not a huge commitment if you live a busy lifestyle! As I said before, social media platforms are a constantly changing market for advertising and engaging with your consumers, so this certification is a great way to stay up to date with your social media skills, as well as having successful social media pages for your business!

Below is a link to the free course by HubSpot, so you can try it out on your own!

What Digital Marketers Should Do To Better Manage Their Online Brand

Written by Hannah Smith – Marketing Student at Oregon State University

As an online brand, there are a lot of components you have to manage to make sure your consumers are happy. Online, consumers are way more likely to speak their mind about your brand, good or bad. So, feedback online from your consumers tends to be the most honest feedback you’ll ever receive. In this blog, you’ll learn of a few ways you can better manage your online brand and improve your consumer’s online experience.

Social Media

The first thing you’ll want to do is create social media pages that best fit your brand. You may already have social media pages created for your online brand, but are you utilizing these tools effectively? Social media is a great way for your consumers to feel as if they have a one-on-one connection with your brand. For example, a lot of brands will utilize Twitter to reply to their consumers about concerns or even compliments. It shows the consumer with a complaint how your brand is going to fix the issue or resolve the consumer’s concern. What is important with this though, is replying in a timely manner. If you don’t respond quickly or don’t respond at all, consumers may think you don’t care what consumers have to say about your products or services.

Social Listening

Social Listening is an amazing tool that brands should always be utilizing. Social Listening is when brands monitor their own name on the internet and social media sites to better understand what consumers are saying about them. There are many social listening tools that are free to use, where you can monitor hashtags, emoji uses surrounding your brand name, and so much more. Companies that provide social listening services such as Falcon or HubSpot Social Media Management Software can be great tools to use for social listening.

Address Concerns, and Don’t Ignore or Hide Negative Content

Lastly, as an online brand, you don’t want to hide negative information surrounding your brand from the internet. Social media users are quick to find negative information, sometimes before you even know it’s out there (This is where social listening services will come in handy). Like I mentioned above in the Social Media paragraph, it’s important to reply to complaints about your brand, products or services so that consumers can see how you deal with this type of negative content. If you ignore the negative content, or simply remove it from the internet, potential consumers won’t be able to see how you’ve improved as a brand, and why you stand out among the competition. If you don’t respond to negative content, it also gives potential consumers a reason to go to your competition instead. So, I highly recommend that you manage your negative content from users by responding in a timely matter in order to uphold your brand’s online reputation.

To conclude, I believe that these three tips described in this blog post should help you, as a digital marketer, to better manage your online brand. Social media and the online market have grown fast through technological advances, and you’ve got to keep up as a brand. Your consumers want to see honest, trustworthy brands on the internet, and following these tips will help you reach your full online potential.


15 Best Social Listening Tools:

HubSpot Social Media Marketing Certification Course:

Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 9: Social Media 1

Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 11 – Online Reputation Management (ORM)

How to Use A Persona within Your Email Marketing Strategy

Written by Hannah Smith – Marketing Student at Oregon State University

Emails can easily become lost within consumers’ inboxes. How will you make your emails stand out to your consumer? A good email marketing strategy involves targeting a specific target market in order to catch their attention within their email inbox. The best way to do this is to create a persona for your brand! In this blog, we will show you how you can incorporate a persona into your email marketing strategy to ensure that your emails never get lost!

Creating Your Brand’s Persona

The first step would be to create your brand’s persona. In marketing, A persona is a made up person who represents your brand’s ideal consumer. When you think of your target market, this person represents the entire group. So, the first thing you’ll want to determine is the demographics of your persona. Is your ideal customer male or female? How old are they? How much of an education do they have, and what is their ideal income? These are the most important demographic factors when determining your persona, because gender, age, education and income really determine what type of things the target marketing is interested in generally, helping you pinpoint exactly what they want and need. Another question to ask yourself include location of the customer, whether it be a specific location, or type of area such as urban, suburban or rural. 

Now that you know the demographics of your ideal customer, you need to figure out what that person is like. You’ll want to determine things such as their personality, values, needs and wants, likes and dislikes, hobbies and who their influence might be. These traits will help you determine what your brand’s persona values in their daily life. Determining these traits will allow you to understand the customer on a personal level and target your messages toward someone who is receptive to the same values and traits. You’ll also want to know what types of things concern or worry your ideal consumer. Knowing this will allow your brand to reassure your consumers and know how to resolve their problems and concerns with your products or services.

Creating your persona will take a lot of time and research to create an effective persona that can be utilized to grow your brand. With a quick google search, there are many great templates available to create a document with a blueprint of your brand’s persona. To get started, I highly recommend you use an online persona template!

Using Your Brand’s Persona

Now that you have defined your persona, it’s time to apply it to your marketing strategy. There are many ways that you can incorporate your brand’s persona into email marketing. How will you utilize your brand’s persona to create an email campaign? How will you incorporate your ideal consumer’s personality and values into an email campaign?

The first thing to notice is your email list. Do the consumers in your email list align with the brand persona that you have developed? Your email won’t gain any attention if you don’t send the email to the right crowd. You may even want to try segmentation. This is when you send your email to a select group of people within your email list. For example, you may have primary and secondary target markets, but you could segment your email list and only send your email campaign to one of the groups if it better fits their lifestyle. This can help you target certain groups of customers, especially if their better fit your new persona.

The next thing you want to consider is the subject line of the email. The subject line is the first thing the consumer sees when looking through their email. The subject line is also the first thing that encourages them to open and read the email. It’s important to come up with a short phrase that catches the eye of your ideal consumer and encourages them to keep reading and continue to your website.

Finally, to complete an effective email campaign, you’ll need to finalize your email content to correlate with the message you are trying to send to your target market. Here, you can utilize your brand’s persona to draw your consumer’s personality and interests into the content of the email. You want your email content to feel personalized to your target market, based on the persona you developed to represent that group of consumers. 

Using these steps to create a persona for your brand and marketing campaigns will help you create an effective email campaign and make sure that your emails helping you grow your business and create more conversions. Getting more conversions is always the goal! You just need to develop the right tools to help you get there.


Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 8: Email Marketing

What are marketing personas and how will they help you?

5 Ways to Create Super-Effective Emails with Buyer Personas

Potential Hazards of Our Current Model of Online Advertising

By going online, websites collect a lot of data as you’re browsing through the internet. Websites can collect data such as the type of device you’re accessing the internet with, the location you’re accessing the website from, how often you visit the site, every button you click on a site and searches you make. Websites can even collect personal information such as your age, gender, and much more information just based on what you do on the internet. How far is too far? As professional marketers, we already know this information. But some internet users are blind to the fact that all of their data is being collected on the internet. So, how safe is the internet?

How dangerous is online advertising for society?

To answer that question, I would rate the level of danger on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being highly dangerous, and 1 being not dangerous at all), a 4. I believe online advertising is currently moderately dangerous for society but has the potential to become more dangerous in the future with new technology. As professional marketers, you have the ability to use a large amount of data to create a specific ad, tailored to a specific group of people. But getting too specific may scare people. 

Going Too Far…

I once read an article about Target’s advertising. Target is able to keep track of people’s purchases and anticipate what they will buy next. Then, they would send the customers a coupon they could use at Target, for the items that they anticipated they would need. Eventually, Target’s big idea was to anticipate when expecting mothers needed certain products. Eventually, a concerned father of a teenage girl was outraged that Target had been sending expecting mother-related coupons to his daughter, only to later find out that his teenage daughter was pregnant. This is just one example of how advertising, in general, has the potential to become way too personal and can start to have people concerned about their own privacy. If Target can determine a teenage girl was pregnant before the girl even knew she was pregnant…How far is too far?

In terms of online advertising, things get a little more personal. In an article by The Verge, the writer discusses how Facebook has been allowing third-party apps to collect data on Facebook users and their friends through what seemed like innocent personality quizzes that are intended to be “for fun”. This data was collected to better promote ads that are better tailored to you and your Facebook friends. Without knowing about how these innocent quizzes are collecting data, users might find this invasive. For a marketer, this might not seem like a big deal to collect data from social media users. For people finding out about it for the first time, it can be a bit scary to think that the internet is collecting a large amount of data about you. 

Another example, in an article from Philosophy Talk, they discuss how Amazon’s Alexa has plans to collect audio data through smart home devices and use the data to present better-tailored ads for individuals. I personally believe this is quite intrusive, and I would prefer not to have my personal family conversations to be recorded and turned into analytical audio data. I would assume that most people would agree with this, but professional marketers might see this as an amazing advance in technology, which is true. Just because there is a great advantage with technology, doesn’t always mean it’s ethical to use it in everyone’s private homes. 

So, to ensure that digital marketing doesn’t go too far in collecting data about users, I have put together a code of ethics. This code of ethics will act as a set of rules to follow so that digital markers can have fair use of data gathering, without creeping their potential consumers.

Code of Ethics

  1. Get the user’s consent
  2. Take time to analyze the effects on users
  3. Research before implementing new methods of data collection
  4. Set a limit for specific personal information collected
  5. Keep data private, don’t share with third parties without initial consent of the user
  6. Don’t misinterpret data to someone’s advantage
  7. Be transparent
  8. Don’t break any state or federal laws

This code of ethics is the start of basic rules to follow when collecting data through digital marketing platforms. An article published by SheerID offers guidance on how to provide personalized ads without interrupting someone’s privacy. I believe the most important tip provided by SheerID was Privacy Regulation. Privacy Regulation is required by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means that websites much communicate with users that data may be collected from them while using the site. This is a form of consent, which allows users to understand that data about them will be collected and used by the site. 

To Conclude

As professional marketers, we should begin to realize that technology has been allowing websites to collect an absurd amount of information from users, sometimes in ways that seem a little too intrusive. It’s time to take a step back and understand what kind of data we truly need to pull from a user when browsing through a site. The current model of online advertising is becoming more dangerous with increases in technology, and it’s time to slow down.


What To Do When Your Webpage Doesn’t Rank

Written by Hannah Smith – Marketing Student at Oregon State University

You’ve been working at building a website for your company, but you still aren’t getting as much interaction from consumers as you were hoping. By having a website, Google takes into account many factors that affect your website’s search engine rankings when consumers are using Google. Here are a few things you can do, to improve your website’s rankings.

Choose Relevant Keywords and Phrases

The first way to have your website show up in more search results is to have relevant keywords and phrases. Keywords are words that people use when they use Google’s search box. The words that companies associate with their businesses or products will show up in a consumer’s search results, if the keywords are relevant to the search made by the consumer. Phrases are longer versions of keywords, that may also be typed into a Google search box.

If you have a small business, or if you’re just getting started, it may be more beneficial to use long tail keywords that are more relevant to your page, instead of short keywords. For example, if you have a bakery and you’re selling pastries, instead of using the word “pastry” as a keyword, you could say “vegan pastries” or “gluten-free donuts”. These are phrases that are more specific to the actual products that you are trying to sell.

It is also important where your keywords are used. You don’t want your keywords and phrases all over the website, taking over the content that you are trying to show your customer. The overall percentage that your key words should take up on your webpages is only about 3%-5% of the page. The best page locations to place your keywords so that they are relevant include:

  • The URL
  • The title of your webpage
  • Headers throughout your webpage
  • The main content of your webpage
  • Within image alt text or file names
  • Within your hyperlinks, or anchor text

Choosing relevant and competitive keywords and placing them in the correct locations will help you improve the overall ranking of your website, along with my next few tips.

Provide Quality Content

Another large factor within Google’s search algorithm ranks the quality of your webpage. Google looks at how original and fresh your webpage content is, how much content is provided, and how reliable the information is. All of these things affect how a consumer uses the information within your webpage, and whether Google thinks your webpage matches the consumer’s original search or not.

Not only does Google pay attention to your webpage’s content, but it also looks at how often your webpage is linked to other webpages. If someone else has provided links to your products and shown that your products are popular, Google’s algorithm will notice that. This could include links within social media sites, blogs, local business profiles or directories.

Depending on how good your content is, Google also tracks the bounce rates of your webpage, and how effective your landing pages are. So, if you have good quality content, and your users don’t immediately leave the page, you’ll have better rankings.

Make your Webpage Compatible for Mobile Devices

Have you ever visited a website on your phone, and not been able to navigate the webpage very well? Maybe links and buttons were too small, and your big fingers kept clicking on the wrong thing? This type of experience frustrates users and will cause them to click off of your website. You may have a really strong webpage that has been designed for a desktop, but you are losing attention that you could have from mobile users.

Another way to improve your webpage’s rankings is to make your site fully compatible for mobile users. This might involve creating a whole new webpage, specifically designed for mobile devices. This will help create ease of use for your customers and keep them on your webpage longer.

Google’s algorithm has been updated to remove sites from a consumer’s mobile search, if a webpage is not fully compatible for a mobile user. This means your webpage wouldn’t show up in the search results at all. So, making a mobile version of your webpage could definitely improve your search rankings.

This image shows the difference between a standard desktop webpage, and a webpage optimized for a mobile device


Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 4: SEO (On-Site)

Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 5: SEO (Off-Site)

The Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Google Rankings Without Getting Penalized:

10 Ways to Improve Search Engine Ranking (SEO):

5 Ways To Increase Landing Page Conversions

Written by Hannah Smith – Marketing Student at Oregon State University

You’ve started a website for your company, but you’re not seeing the results you hoped for by creating the website. How can you get your website visitors to stay engaged and make the conversion that you’re looking for?

The first thing you need to know about different types of landing pages. There are five different types of landing pages, each with a different purpose in mind. The five types of landing pages are; Single-Product landing pages, Multi-product landing pages, Lead Generation Landing Pages, Subscription Landing Pages, and Single-purpose landing pages, 

Each type of landing page will serve a different purpose for what type of conversion that you are looking for. So how do you use a landing page to generate the most conversions on your website? Here are five ways that you can increase your landing page conversions.

Have a Unique Value Proposition

When potential customers are visiting your website, what are you wanting them to get out of it? How do you want them to remember your company? A Unique Value Proposition is the values that your company holds over other companies, and what you’re offering. Why should consumers pick your company over another? Your landing page should include a statement that shows that your company is unique and the best option for what they are looking for. This step will help you develop a landing page that keeps your potential customers engaged in looking at your website, and potentially making that conversion to a regular customer. 

Have a Simplified Design and Layout of Your Website

An important part of having a good landing page is a simplified design. You want what’s called “Conversion-Centered Design” where the design of the website is completely centered around getting the customer to make the conversion that your company is looking for. The key is to create a design that provides ease of use and is a familiar layout. Look at successful retail websites such as Amazon or your favorite well-known brands. They will most likely have a very similar layout to each other that provides familiarity to the consumer when navigating through the website. The last thing you want to do is to create a new, crazy and complicated design that the customer will have no idea how to navigate. 

Create Your “Call to Action”

A “Call to Action” is the point on your landing page where you want your potential customers to gravitate towards. On online retail sites, a call to action may be the “Add to Cart” button on a single-product landing page. In this example, the “Add to Cart” buttons are usually the boldest button on the screen, attempting to convince the viewer to purchase the item. You want your call to action to be clear and to the point. You wouldn’t want your potential customers confused about where to proceed with a purchase or action. If you want a successful conversion, you need a call to action on every webpage throughout your website to help navigate your customer.

An example of a good landing page with a clear “Call to Action” button.

Provide Trust Symbols

If you have a small business, potential customers probably don’t know much about your company and may be skeptical of your website, and whether it’s safe to make a purchase or not. One way you can gain the trust of your customers is to add trust symbols to your website. Trust Symbols are images or symbols that provide legitimacy to your site. This can be as simple as including linked icons to your company’s social media pages, adding photos of customers with your products, positive reviews from customers, positive publicity from local businesses or newspapers, or brand recognition awards. Adding elements such as these throughout your website and specifically, your landing page will help gain the trust of the potential customer, and help them make the conversion to a regular customer of your company.

An example of a good landing page with trust symbols.

Test Your Website and Landing Page

If you feel like you’ve been making changes to your website and you’re not sure what is truly increasing your landing page conversions, consider doing an A/B test. An A/B test is when you make a change on your website, and call that the “B” version of your landing page and your original version is the “A” landing page. Then you perform a randomized experiment where some consumers visit the “A” page, and others visit the “B” page. From there, you can see which modifications to your website perform the best based on conversions after visiting your website.


Unique Value Propositions –

A/B Testing –

Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 1: Digital Marketing Foundations

Digital Marketing Essentials, Larson and Draper, Chapter 2: Web Design (Desktop and Mobile),