I took my annual pilgrimage to the Inbound Conference during the week of September 4th. The week began with the Hubspot Partner Day event on Tuesday. This day provided me with the opportunity to meet with other partners and gain a preview of the new Hubspot’s marketing plans and their newly released products and new features.
The Inbound Marketing Conference ran from Wednesday through Friday. My typical approach to the conference is to sign up for sessions in advance that follow a set of themed topics. The themes I selected this year are Facebook (ads and video), video marketing, sales enablement, and Hubspot product features. I also attend the keynote presentations with particular interest in the presentations by Hubspot leadership.
It is my goal in this article to share what I have learned, which is only a small subset of what was available at Inbound18, for your educational pleasure. Since this is a significantly longer article than I usually publish, I have added a clickable index below so you can zero in on the topics of your choice. Enjoy!
Hubspot has partnered with VidYard to provide features for their hosting implementation. That is the technical bit. The exciting bit for marketers and salespeople is what you can now do with video and the simplicity of doing it.
Anyone who has implemented Inbound Marketing knows how vital analytics are to success. This integrated video solution brings all of the video analytics into the platform. You can now see how much of each video any individual visitor viewed. Businesses can also trigger workflows based on video behavior which opens up many exciting nurturing options.
The use of explainer videos is on the rise. Understanding how much your audience views the video can help businesses update videos for better engagement. And lastly, marketer’s can embed CTAs and forms within the videos.
The use of video in sales
Sales teams have discovered that using a brief person to person video really helps the engagement with prospects. When doing a cold outreach email, most prospects will most likely delete your email. If you create a custom video – it does not have to be polished or well produced – they most likely will be curious about the video and watch it. If your elevator pitch addresses a problem they have – see the problem based selling section above – then your engagement rate for your emails should skyrocket. If you would like to learn more about the launch of the Hubspot video capability, check out this link.
What They Don’t Teach You About Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Ayat Shukairy (@ayat) “The Queen of CRO” gave a great talk about Conversion Rate Optimization to an eager group at Inbound18. For those who may not know what CRO is, it is a process and methodology to increase the conversion rate of an offer in any digital platform. It could be on a website or phone browser, in mobile apps, through email marketing or any application where you are trying to get a casual user to convert on an offer. The better job you do with the click-through rate and conversion to a sale, the better the ROI on your marketing program.
Ayat shared her methodology for CRO using the acronym S-H-I-P as shown in the image below. S-H-I-P stands for Scrutinize – Hypothesize – Implement – Propagate. The nice aspect of her methodology is she describes clear steps behind the science behind doing CRO correctly.
The funny thing is that many websites don’t have conversion paths at all! Many just have a contact us form on their website as the primary method for visitors to convert into a lead. For those of you that are CRO beginners, here are a few CRO articles we have published recently:
How to Drive Lead Generation with Facebook Ads
This breakout session was lead by Doug Weiss, the lead of product partnerships at Facebook. This is the first time I saw a presentation by a Facebook employee about the platform. His insight provided a fresh perspective, but my antenna was up for any company bias in his presentation.
Doug shared statistics about user behavior. According to Facebook, users spend 5 hours per day on mobile devices, up from three hours just two years ago. That is a lot of time. Facebook has five products with a billion people on their mobile apps every month. We are most familiar with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Groups.
Although we think that the world has already shifted to mobile for commerce, Doug also mentioned in the US, 90% of business is done offline but influenced by digital and mobile device use. The influence in purchase decisions, especially from organic search is well known for B2C and B2B businesses.
Doug’s mission was to promote the value of Facebook Lead Ads. These types of ads are the kind where the user can fill out a form on Facebook, not your website. You may think; “I have all of my digital funnels on my website, why would I want to break it by moving the form to mobile?”
The Answer to Why you Should Adopt Facebook Lead Ads is Twofold:
1) Facebook completes the fields automatically because they know about the user thus eliminating the need to complete most or all of the form.
2) Businesses can automatically integrate the data from Facebook lead ads into their marketing database.
Hubspot provides this capability out of the box. Doug shared the statistic that standard forms filled out on a mobile device take 40% longer to fill out than on a desktop. If users are moving online behavior to mobile, then it makes sense that businesses should make it easier for companies to engage.
We’ve been supporting clients with Facebook ads because the targeting is very precise, so businesses do not pay for advertisement placements to people who are not their target prospects. We have also found these advertisements to be cost effective and produce a positive ROI. When running ads, don’t just look at how users interact with your ads, also measure the downstream conversion metrics and ROI.
Testing and analytics are essential for every online advertisement program. Plan a testing phase before committing to a substantial investment to be sure the investment will produce the best results. This image shows the behavior of beginners versus experts and the relative results of each.
SEO in 2018, Strategies and Tactics
A perennial favorite of mine is the presentation by Matthew Howells-Barby (@matthewbarby) & Lars Osterberg (@larsosterberg) of Hubspot. Matthew is their top SEO expert at the company and has driven many changes that have increased organic results at Hubspot.
Matthew offered these high-level points:
You don’t need to obsess over keywords in SEO
Shift your thinking to topics you want to own, not just keywords or phrases
Google Search Console (GSC) gives queries someone typed into search where your content appeared and also tells you the number of clicks each link received – the crux of the point is to think beyond the individual keywords
Create topically related content – think topic clusters
He further added for SEO to be done right, increase topical relevance, reduce content bloat, and improve technical SEO.
For topical relevance, be sure to create topic clusters with the core pillar content and related content around it with links to the pillar content.
To reduce content bloat, review your website pages which are receiving little or no traffic and either delete them or merge or refactor multiple articles into one and publish as new.
For technical SEO, you need a tool to analyze your website and provide lists of items to fix. We like and use SemRush and create SemRush projects for each client to monitor site SEO even after we have addressed all of the open issues.
Is the Keyword Dead – the Role of Intent in SEO
Closing out this article about Inbound18 is a summary of a presentation by Everett Ackerman (@everettackerman), SEO/SEM expert at NewBreed. He did a great job of describing the changes in the Google search engine algorithms but emphasized the August 2014 launch of Hummingbird.
His advice is to focus on the goal of the searcher, make sure the content can build trust and help them solve their issues and problems, and then think about keywords in three areas
Navigational – make sure what you say in title and meta description aligns with the topic
Transactional – be sure to include middle and bottom of funnel offers
Informational – make sure your content helps them solve their problem and is educational
Like others in the conference, Everett also emphasized creating content in clusters as we have written about in the past and as Hubspot now enables in their platform to quickly develop clusters and track each content cluster’s performance and contribution to sales.
Summary of Inbound 2018
I hope you find this article, although very long, as a great resource about the few sessions that I was able to attend the Inbound18 conference in Boston. I will freely admit that I have already purchased my ticket to Inbound19 marketing event next year. For me, life is a constant journey for learning and improving. Inbound for me is a tremendous resource for education and engaging with like-minded business owners.
During the breaks between sessions, I had the opportunity to speak with people from several companies and industries who are implementing Inbound for their business with the goal of growing. I love that these people are so passionate about how it can help them grow and engaged in the community.
If you are in need of advice regarding how to improve your inbound results, please request a free inbound Marketing assessment. We love helping businesses grow.
Read more: feedproxy.google.com