The FINALLY team flew to Boston, MA last week to attend HubSpot's Inbound 2018 event. Here, CEO Steve Howard reveals his favourite take-homes from the week:
1. Don't spray and pray.
From when I started marketing 20 years ago there was little choice but to throw stuff at the wall and hope it sticks. You'd place a full page ad in a journal and have very little idea of whether the ad had an impact and what the ROI is. Now we can create content journeys, target the right people at the right time with the right information and have the analytics to see if it works. Even better, we can see what didn't work and remove investment from that area and move it into the areas that are bringing a return.
2. Test Test Test.
So, I didn't think I was going to get engaged by a talk about digital testing. However, when presented in an entertaining way by Dom Woodman, it made a lot of sense. Dom showed us how most of the things they tried from a digital marketing perspective didn't work or make a positive impact. Rubbish right? Well the point of the talk was actually that what works for one website and audience doesn't necessarily work for another, so it's crucial to try things and test them.
Imagine the harm of making assumptions and changes to adverts or landing pages, that end in a negative impact? The benefit of having a strong testing culture is that you can try something and if it works, great, but if it doesn't you can try something else. Being strong on testing actually helps improve your relationship with your customer even when the test results aren't what you expect. It creates honesty, transparency and demonstrates a willingness to only do things that are proven to work for that specific business and website.
3. Paid pays.
Contrary to the good old days of growing your following, the future for now at least is with paid. Why? Because the data that companies like Facebook have on different audiences is so in-depth you can reach the right people at the right time with the right information. For example through Facebook Pixel you can track your audience type and then use 'Lookalike Audiences' to expand your reach while still maintains the targeting of a specific customer group.
4. Video killed the static image.
A great talk by Travis from Chamber media showed us many specific examples of how video adverts had a significantly better result than a static image. The better the video the better the engagement and also the higher Facebook will prioritise your ad. There are two main audiences for video, one that prefers high quality video and another that engages much better with more genuine and human content. The use of humour on social ads was considered really important as it breaks down barriers and helps the audience get closer to the brand.
5. The devils in the data.
If you need to know an answer then it is in there, somewhere. Now I am from more of a creative background and in the past have demanded beautifully designed websites but I am coming round to the fact that yes, they need to look good, but more importantly, they need to work and be designed for conversion.
We have never before had such an ability to drill down into who your customers are, what they buy, how they use your site, what's working, where your CTA button should go, what colour it should be etc etc... the list goes on. So we need to solve problems through data. The data should impact your digital marketing, your landing page and yes, even your web design.
6. Be here now.
Not everyone's favourite Oasis album but very relevant to today's consumer. Research has shown that 77% of people won't buy from a website that doesn't have live chat! A pretty scary stat which just shows that people want instant answers and are even happy to get this from a Bot if their problem gets solved quickly. So make sure you install live chat on your website. You could even find out the most common chat questions and creating automated answers, so you can save staff time and your customers get the instant answers they demand.
7. Your best mate... automate.
If you want a friend who's going to give you loads of time back and ensure your customers get the right content at the right time then AUTOMATE. By creating Workflows in Hubspot you can create automated user journeys that will guide your customer through your sales funnel (or Flywheel as we have been told this week!) to the point where your company, brand or product is the clear and obvious choice. It's a fair bit of work upfront and of course you need to produce the right content, but once it is done you can sit back, sip on a sangria (for a bit at least) and send your customer on the journey you have created.
8. So much!
There is so much software, so many tools, such deep levels of expertise within every channel, you really have to work out what works for you and simplify it. Unless you have a large team where there are experts for every channel – and every element of that channel – it can almost be a matter of "I don't know where to start!" We have been to many talks this week, each filled with so many great ideas and tools, but the key is this: what and how do we implement it within FINALLY. Watch this space...
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