We were really excited to go to Inbound 2017 in Boston last month, and our team came back with lots of inspiration and great ideas to help improve our inbound marketing strategies for ourselves and our clients. There was a lot to take in, with product reveals to keynote speeches and an array of thought-provoking talks, but now that the dust has settled, we can take a step back and look at the big takeaways from the biggest inbound marketing summit in the world.
One of our recent blogs looked at the product updates rolling out from HubSpot in the coming months, but here we look at some of the big insights that are going to shape how inbound agencies and businesses are going to be approaching their marketing strategies.
Up front, the main message we seemed to be hearing from speakers and attendees was the need to focus on personalisation, and this applies to almost all aspects of inbound marketing.
Getting the Message
Our boss came back from Inbound raving about messaging. Why? The current school of thought is that this is where successful inbound agencies are going to really make a difference when it comes to engaging with consumers and potential clients.
While email marketing has been the most lucrative form of communication when it comes to ROI for many years, and is still very effective, the arrival of AI and chatbots has opened up a whole new world for marketers. Still in its infancy, there are numerous ways this could go, but it is definitely worth looking into.
Looking at Facebook Messenger alone, there are 1.3billion people using it, so availing of this enormous market is a no-brainer. As this blog from bufferapp points out, more people are using the top four messaging apps – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viber – than the top four social media apps – Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and Viber – so this is now where your audience is hanging out. It all comes down to personalisation, with modern consumers seeking a one-to-one engagement rather than a generalised, one-to-many approach.
The stats back it up, and according to a study by Facebook IQ, 63% of people surveyed said their messaging with businesses has increased over the past two years, 56% would rather message than call a business for customer service, 61% like personalised messages from businesses, and more than 50% are more likely to shop with a business they can message.
It may sound like a contradiction to go on about personalisation and then suggest using chatbots, but this technology is becoming smarter and once you get into it, you will be amazed at just how natural, and effective, it can be.
The Power of Video
We’ve spoken before about how video is the most popular format for consumer engagement on the internet, and it seems it is only going to get stronger when the message is personalised. As our good friends at BabelQuest noted in a recent webinar, 73% of late-stage prospects who received personalised videos became customers, while the average retention rate is 35% higher when using personalised videos over non-personalised videos.
So, how long should those videos be? Well, those that are two minutes long are getting the best engagement, while those shorter than 30 seconds get the least. Curiously, videos between six and 12 minutes long enjoy the second-best level of engagement, so the idea of short but sweet is one you need to change.
That question of personalisation also flows into the area of content creation, which now needs to be natural and human to appeal not only to consumers, but to search engines. Any inbound marketer worth their salt knows that keyword stuffing simply doesn’t work anymore, and we can be forgiven for struggling to keep up with the algorithm changes Google and its competitors keep bringing in when it comes to SEO, but the main trend emerging looks to be topic clusters based around engaging content that is personalised.
That means cutting out the jargon and speaking to consumers in a way they can relate to, being clear and concise, using visual triggers, and telling a relatable story. Not only will they be more likely to like what they see, but the search engines will reward you for it.
This applies to your lead nurturing strategy too. When engaging with a potential customer and trying to bring them along the conversion path, your content and messaging needs to be personal, timely and human. That means first understanding the intent behind the engagement, then personalising the communication, providing helpful and educational content and being transparent about the value of what you have to offer.
That all needs to come from a human who can be available to answer any questions the lead may have, so it’s not enough to just send on information and sit back and wait for the lead to come to you.
Amongst the many lessons being shared at Inbound, the most important one seemed to be that personalisation is the key to marketing success. Being human is the one thing that comes most easily to all of us, but keeping that human touch in our inbound marketing strategies is not always as easy. It requires focus and intelligently using the many tools available in the HubSpot platform to find the right way to identify and engage with the right consumers at the right time, and with the right content.
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