Well, Inbound 2018 has come to a close, and I am left with pages and pages of notes and photos taken of the screens to make some sense of.  It was once again an amazing event. I want to give a lot of kudos to Hubspot as I was particularly struck by the diversity of the speakers and presenters.  Perhaps it has always been there, but I found this year to be a wonderful mixture of races, cultures, and gender represented. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to clone myself and be in more than one place at a time.  A police box or a time-turner would both be valuable tools to have at my disposal next year.

This year, myself and my colleague Jacqueline Horton attended.  Below are some of the takeaways that we wanted to share with you.  There are so many takeaways that we want to implement that we decided to break things out into what can be implemented quickly, which are more involved, and what ideas should be observed before investing resources to implement.

Digital Marketing Quick Wins

Hit the Jackpot with a Chatbot

There were several sessions relating to the use of chatbots.  It is definitely not a one size fits all solution and can alienate clients and prospects if implemented improperly.  The key to implementing chatbots correctly is to know who you are talking to (which persona) and anticipate where they are in the buying journey.  It is important to get specific with the questions you are asking vs. asking a generic “can I help you with anything today?”  You don’t want to ask a yes or no question as that may stop the conversation early.

For anyone with a teen at home – it is the difference between “How was school today?” and “What did you learn about today?”  The first one will result in “good…” and the last one will hopefully be answered more fully after an eyeroll.

In summary:

  1. Know who your personas are
  2. Anticipate the questions they would ask in their buyer journey
  3. Ask relevant probing questions like:
    1. Tell me more about your business
    2. What are you trying to accomplish?  What are your goals?
    3. What is your biggest challenge today?

Medium Effort Digital Marketing Improvements

Transitioning SEO from Key “Word” to Key “Topic”

From the dawn of SEO, the “keyword” has reigned supreme in every SEO specialists’ toolkit.  While the keyword is still important and relevant, I would claim it is now more of a guiding principal.  The idea here is that keyword strategies of the past are very linear – pick a couple of keywords, “optimize” them on the page, and you are done.  Today, SEO is much more of an iterative process that looks at user intent. This means that you aren’t really optimizing for key terms, but instead are optimizing for key topics.  This means that your content needs to be robust and deep within each content topic area.

To implement, use the following as a guide:

  1. Know your personas
  2. Understand their buyer journey and the questions they are asking during their decision making process
  3. Create pages dedicated to a topic that they are interested in.  Optimize for both the main concept (Head Term), but also for the supporting terms (Latent/Semantic Terms).
  4. Create supporting pages that dive deeper into the latent/semantic terms and make sure they link back to the main content page

**Note:  Make sure you are making content in the appropriate format for all of the areas that your users live in digitally.  It isn’t just about your website. Create both long form and short form content for a variety of platforms.

Digital Marketing Initiatives to Watch

From Funnels to Flywheels

Metrics were definitely a theme of the day.  What metrics to measure? How to impact metrics?  How to report metrics? As a lover of numbers, I was thrilled with this.  However, one interesting idea was elevated. This is the idea that marketing funnels should be replaced with marketing flywheels.  The funnel was described as a one-directional, static way of thinking. It is positioned to allow only one point in and one point out.  However, we all know that sales and marketing is a continual process that is in constant motion – that includes multiple on and off points.  Hence – the creation of the flywheel.

You can see Hubspot’s Flywheel below.

Hubspot flywheel

As you can see, everything is interrelated.  This makes sense to a degree. You still need to engage customers, even after they have purchased.  You should try to delight prospects so that even if they don’t choose you, they are still references.  The success of each area propels the other areas forward as well. So, theoretically, this makes a lot of sense.

However, how do you measure success?  How do you figure out where your process is leaky or showing great success?  I just don’t know if marketers or sales people are going to be able to easily change their habits and change measurements that the C-Suite is so used to seeing.  So before we start recommending this to clients, Jackie and I are definitely going to take a watch and wait approach.