HubSpot’s annual INBOUND marketing conference is one of the most important events for marketers, salespeople, developers, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking for new and exciting ways to make their business the best it can be. And this year’s event was no exception. Here are just a few of the best marketing ideas to come out of INBOUND 2019.
Over September 3rd-6th, over 24,000 people gathered at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference. With almost 400 sessions covering just about every topic you can imagine, everyone in attendance walked away with a wealth of ideas to help take their businesses to the next level.
However, experiencing that many sessions in just a couple of days can be overwhelming for even the fiercest marketers out there. Whether it was the pages (and pages) of notes taken, the long hours of networking with other brilliant marketers, or the excitement of being immersed in an environment made by and for marketers, some ideas were bound to slip through the cracks.
To help you review the highlights of INBOUND 2019, and maybe expose you to some of the best marketing ideas you missed, we’ve compiled three of our favorite insights below.
These aren’t the end-all-be-all of INBOUND 2019; this blog would have to rival the 587,287 words of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel War and Peace to come close to encapsulating all of the event’s insights. However, we’d like to think this offers a conveniently bite-sized glimpse into the many ideas this year’s marketing conference provided.
1) Ask (and Answer) the Hard Questions
If you’ve spent any time working with customers (and we’re sure you have), then you know how crucial it is to have answers to the questions they ask. If a guest at a hotel asks the concierge where the best restaurant in town is, for example, and the concierge responds with “Good question!” then something’s gone wrong.
Not only do we want to have answers to the questions our prospective (and current) customers have, we also want to predict what those questions will be. This shouldn’t be new information, but it’s something that INBOUND 2019 reiterated more than once, going to show how necessary it is!
To properly address your audience’s pain points, you need to put yourself into their shoes. What sorts of questions do they have? Where would they look for answers to those questions? Are these questions your company is capable of answering at all (if the answer is “no,” you might need to reassess your buyer personas)?
In many cases, the most critical questions your audience has are the questions most companies probably don’t want to answer. Tricky questions about pricing, results, or the existence of the Loch Ness Monster may not lead to the types of answers your audience is hoping for. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t answer them anyway.
If you want to be a trustworthy voice in your industry (and we know you do), then you have to be honest and forward about the hard stuff as well as the easy stuff. The more transparent you are, the easier it is for prospective customers to invest in what you have to offer.
2) Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Brand Guidelines
In the wise words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Success isn’t always about ‘greatness’. It’s about consistency.”
This is true in just about every facet of life, and it’s especially true in the world of marketing. If you want to make progress toward your marketing goals and objectives, then you have to be consistent. And for better or for worse, being consistent means acknowledging and embracing the importance of brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines are the veins that run through every department in your company. Sales, marketing, management, and everyone in between should have a common understanding of what makes your company unique.
According to a report done by Content Marketing Institute, brand awareness is the most important goal for 89% of surveyed companies. That’s a considerable percentage, and it goes to show just how foundational a strong and consistent brand is.
For example, you’ve probably seen a quiz online asking you if you can identify a brand based on their logo and nothing else—no name or wording at all; just the shapes and colors of a logo. Business Insider phrases the question this game proposes like this: “Is your brand identity so strong that people can identify it merely from the trade dress, without seeing the name?”
Your company may not be a cultural landmark like Starbucks (yet), but that doesn’t mean you can’t design consistent brand guidelines. One of the best marketing ideas is to keep your brand consistent. If your brand can remain consistent across every facet of its identity—from ebook designs to social media posts to email newsletters and beyond—then your ability to create a lasting impression in the minds of your audience will skyrocket.
3) Perform an SEO Site Audit
SEO is one of the most crucial pillars in your marketing strategy. Without it, you can have the best blog posts in the world about “how to prove the existence of unicorns,” but they’ll get lost in a sea made up of the other 9,350,000 Google search results for that question.
Marketers worldwide are very familiar with the importance of SEO. HubSpot even says that “61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.” Optimizing your website and blog posts for SEO is essential if you want to reach the right people at the right time.
But SEO strategies are never static for long, and the monthly search volume (MSV) for the keywords you base your content around will almost always be in flux. Just because a strategy worked in 2016 doesn’t mean it will still work just as well in 2019, for example.
The solution is an SEO site audit. It’s not always an easy undertaking, but it can be the difference between keeping a steady stream of highly qualified leads coming to your site or watching them slip through your fingertips.
If possible, you should try and perform an SEO audit at least once a year. Since content can quickly become outdated, and negative SEO or website errors will lead to drops in traffic, audits can help you identify and resolve problems and prevent them from happening again.
Here are just a few of the tools you can use to get your SEO site audit started on the right track:
- Collect the content analytics (organic traffic, keyword performance, referral traffic for each landing page, etc.) from your website.
- Analyze the performance of your targeted keywords with tools like Keywords Everywhere or Google Keyword Planner.
- Use Google PageSpeed Insights to note how fast your pages load (or don’t).
- Look into SEO tools like Moz that can crawl your sites, pinpoint technical errors, track performance, and help you find out which keywords you should be targeting.
- Keep track of everything you do. If you find an outdated focus keyword, make a note of it and document what you did to change it. This will make your next audit even easier because you can track what worked (and didn’t work) in the past.
How to Embrace the Best Marketing Ideas
INBOUND 2019 was a juggernaut of an event, and trying to condense all of its many ideas and insights is an objectively insurmountable task. However, if you need a place to start, then you could do worse than the three ideas above.
Look at it this way:
- Asking and answering the hard questions will show your audience that you’re a trustworthy ally with the expertise they need.
- Having consistent, ironclad brand guidelines will reaffirm your trustworthiness and demonstrate that your company is a well-oiled, success-driven machine.
- Performing regular (or semi-regular) SEO site audits will make sure your content is consistently targeting the right people with the right tools.
One of the best things about INBOUND is that everyone who attended probably has a different opinion on what its “best marketing ideas” were. And nobody would be wrong either! There are countless concepts and tools you can make use of in your marketing, so what are you waiting for? Start embracing these ideas, try out some of your own, and do whatever it takes to speak to your buyers in a way that is meaningful to them.