Yet again, HubSpot’s INBOUND 2015 Marketing and Sales Conference was inspiring and informative, not to mention a really great time! We had a blast catching up with old friends, meeting with clients and colleagues at our PMG cocktail hour, and busting a gut at Amy Schumer’s stand-up performance. And of course, if you’re in search of insights from the event, look no further! After the conference, we put our heads together and compiled our top 10 favorite takeaways that will benefit B2B marketers most. Here's the scoop...
1. Mix up your email marketing strategy.
Got a case of the Mondays? Cheer yourself up by sending out a company email – recent research shows that Mondays yield the highest open rates. The second best day? Saturday! Just goes to show you shouldn’t be afraid to mix it up. What’s more, you can forget about being the first email in your prospect’s inbox. Frankly, there’s no such thing, given that emails are rolling in during all hours of the day. Try late afternoon. Try 5:00 PM. Interestingly, the only day you should avoid sending emails is Tuesday… Sorry, Tuesday… you are the weakest link.
Perhaps most importantly… stop sending email to people who don’t open them. You are essentially being judged by email service providers – and you don’t want to be penalized for sending what is perceived to be spammy marketing emails. Set those contacts aside, and then try again later with your best content and an awesome subject line. It’s best to focus on contacts that are derived from your landing page forms, as they are three times more likely to engage than contacts from imported lists.
2. Get started with SlideShare for business.
If you’ve yet to jump on the SlideShare bandwagon, it’s time you did. SlideShare just so happens to have an audience of 70 million visitors – not to mention, 80% of this traffic comes in the form of people who have proactively searched for long tail keyword content (so optimize this content!). With over 18 million uploads across 40 content categories, business owners are five times more likely to access SlideShare for information than any other social media tool. Simply start engaging with this terrific platform by recycling old content into slide decks (white papers, eBooks, blog posts, infographics, etc.). You certainly won’t regret posting on one of the top 100 most visited websites in the world.
3. Heed these LP conversion Do’s and Don’ts…
When it comes to your lead gen landing pages, it’s just as important as ever to run the 5-second test. Can your visitors understand what your page is about in a matter of five seconds? Clutter in general has always been a no-no, but avoid placing anything near your CTAs, and keep the number of links on a page to a minimum – as too many choices overwhelms a visitor and, as a result, conversion rates typically start sinking. Similarly, don’t crowd your forms with too many form fields. Stick with one to three (or go all the way to ten fields for more valuable content!), and you’ll see your landing page conversion rates improve.
Recent copy tests conducted by Unbounce’s Co-Founder Oli Gardner also reveal some interesting insights. Using “our” tends to be more effective than using “your”, for instance. And the most powerful word in the English language? Because.
4. Leverage existing LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups can be a great way to generate discussions around a topic that’s important to your business strategy. Yet creating a group and building an engaged audience isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it makes the most sense to adopt an existing group. If you adopt a group whose moderator hasn’t been very active, you have a potentially large audience already in place – and all you have to do is contact the moderator and offer your assistance.
Remember, you also have to be careful about what content you share in groups. If you are tagged by a member as “SWAM” (Site Wide Auto Moderation, aka LinkedIn spam) because you share too many self-promotional posts, it will affect ALL the groups you are in, and there is strangely very little you can do to undo it – not even LinkedIn can help you in this case. *shudder*
5. New changes in the world of SEO.
You’ve probably heard it before: search engines are becoming “smarter” all the time. These days, they’re using both explicit data (structured markup) and implicit data (natural language processing algorithms) to deliver more personalized results. Thus, searchers can be somewhat lazier with their search queries and still get the top results they’re seeking. While the presence of keywords “prove” these results to be accurate (and yes, they’re still important), a newer way of thinking is to optimize for making people happy when they arrive on your page. Therefore, optimize for what would happen if you already were ranking for your desired keyword. Will the users click? Will they like what they see? Will they get what they want? A string of yes’s to these questions will help you rank higher in the SERPs.
6. When it comes to content, less is more.
Best practices in content creation have always been about writing for the audience, being helpful, not merely keyword stuffing, etc. But with search engines becoming more sophisticated every day, Google et al. are getting better at objectively identifying the very best resources on a given topic. Going forward, quarterly content strategy should focus on creating one or two of these best-in-class resources, versus trying to tackle dozens of similar keyword variations via resources of middling quality. Ahrefs Content Explorer is a super cool tool to see which content is working well in your niche. Not only does it show you the kinds of sites that are best known for explaining XYZ (which is valuable in planning link-building efforts), it also shows which topic angles got the most shares.
7. Pitch guest blog posts to editors with purpose.
In the words of HubSpot Agency Editor and fantastic INBOUND ‘15 speaker Jami Oetting, don’t make them want to die. First of all, before pitching content to a third-party publication, check out the editor’s guidelines for guest contributions. Don’t waste their time by asking questions with answers already spelled out for you. As for subject lines, keep them simple, clear and compelling – and include the format of the contribution in a set of brackets… for example, [guest post], [expert interview], or [new research].
Your spin on a topic also needs to be very unique. Why does what you have to say matter? And more importantly, why does it matter NOW? What is your company’s point of view – and how is it relevant to the editor’s audience? And, of course, keep the pitch as concise as you can, use bullets, bolded phrases, and short paragraphs, and include proof of credibility or recent accolades if possible and relevant to your ideas.
8. Video marketing helps you sell.
YouTube is the second largest search engine out there; this statistic alone is enough reason for your business to get involved in video marketing. But consider this… Your content accompanied by video is 53 times more likely to appear in search, your videos keep visitors on your site at five times the average rate, and 52% of customers feel more confident in your business if they can watch videos about your company, products or services. Just be sure to caption your visuals, keep your video at 540 x 400 pixels, and place your Call-to-Action approximately 14% of the way through your video to maximize conversion opportunities. More on this topic coming soon!
9. Create a Social Media Advertising pyramid.
With billions of people roaming the social media landscape every day, these channels provide the perfect opportunity to attract and convert qualified leads. With that said, paid advertising can be expensive, and the ROI will be low if you don’t plan accordingly. Build the foundation of your pyramid with Twitter. Similar to Google’s ad management algorithms, Twitter displays ads based on a Quality Adjusted Bid. The more users that engage with the ad, the more the ad is shown (In fact, a 1% increase in engagement is equivalent to a 5% decrease in cost per engagement!).
Start by tweeting often, posting strictly organically. Find out what your best posts are and promote them via paid advertising on Twitter, in addition to promoting them organically on Facebook and LinkedIn. Once again, narrow down which posts are the top performers, and then promote those SUPER posts on Facebook, casting a narrow net for your target audience to maximize engagement. Try segmenting on FB by “purchase behavior” and “life events” – for example, has the prospect recently purchased any complimentary products? Many people are not aware of these selective audience criteria, and they can be really useful!
10. Check out the new HubSpot product line launches!
Have you heard the big news yet? We recently partnered with HubSpot to publicize the release of one of their new product developments – the Reporting Add-on – directly after the announcement was made at INBOUND 2015. But in addition to this awesome analytics tool, HubSpot has launched numerous other changes that make the software even more effective, user-friendly, and speedy! You can learn all about them here. Feel free to contact us with questions!
To end this post, we leave you with a quote from conference keynote speaker Dr. Brené Brown. “If you are brave enough, often enough, you will fail.” This certainly rings true in marketing. Not every tactic or strategic element you deploy is going to work. Be vulnerable and take chances. And be human. At the end of the day, B2B buyers still want to connect with a company that is made up of real human beings.
Have a question or comment about INBOUND 2015? Please reach out! We’d love to hear from you. Thank you for your continued readership!