Marketing is a rapidly evolving industry. And, with a constant stream of new insights, theory models, tools and tactics for organizations to contend with – it can be a confusing landscape.

As a result, it’s vital that you keep your finger on the pulse, staying up-to-date with all of the latest developments so that you can work smarter – not harder – to ensure your marketing efforts remain relevant.

At Major Tom, we’re constantly working to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we headed to Inbound 2018, Hubspot’s annual event which brings together thousands of professionals from across the world to learn from, and be inspired by, some of the most respected experts in the industry.

Read on as we share some of the best practices and common pitfalls that we learned from this year’s event.

Video

Content may be king, but its ruler right now is video.

Chad Rodgers from Lemonlight highlighted that 85% of people wanted more video from brands. Combine this with fact that online videos are expected to make up 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, and you can see why its vital for your organization to have a video strategy in place.

Video best practices

Start creating personal videos: You’ve probably heard of so-called personalized videos, which are massed produced with receivers’ names automatically added in. The problem with this practice is that it is the exact opposite of personalization and consumers have quickly figured that out. Instead one of the insights from Inbound 2018 is that true personalization through the creation of rough form one-to-one video content is the future. Not only do they work – one-to-one videos are 3x more effective than a regular email (Covideo) at building first connections – but they can also be used in a variety of scenarios ranging from lead introduction to personalized “thank yous.”

Track KPIs: Such as length of view and also look for common exit points as this could flag something in the content that needs to change.

Common pitfalls

Don’t create videos without a strategy: Make sure you create videos that satisfy the user’s current needs and helps lead them towards the next stage of the customer journey.

Don’t neglect SEO: Search engines rely on text to tell them what your content contains and how it relates to search inquiries. Therefore it’s important to include keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and metadata to make sure your videos show up where it matters the most. Including close captions provides another way to serve up more information for the search bots and as a result, they rank higher in search results.

Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing was a big focus at this year’s Inbound as chatbots and live chat continue to be adopted by organizations.

One of the key takeaways was that when it comes to online chat, the focus needs to be placed on having a conversation. It should be used for building rapport with users and not be seen as another channel to promote marketing messages.

Conversational marketing best practices

Remember that “bots are for filtering, not for closing” (Ryan Deiss): They’re not a shiny new form format or a way to get more traffic. Instead, their purpose is to help collect enough information to connect the user to the right person or resource.

Think of chatbots and live chat as a way to optimize traffic that is on your site: They provide you with the opportunity to increase conversions and enhance the user’s brand experience. Therefore, you should put them on high intent pages like bottom-of-the-funnel landing pages and pricing pages.

Implement the four core principles of conversational marketing and sales:

  • A conversational strategy: Create 1:1 personal conversations across multiple channels.
  • A personalized experience: Keep refining user personas to create better and more personal experiences.
  • A real-time response: Only provide chat features if responses can be provided promptly.
  • A feedback loop: Feedback and trends should be shared between marketing and sales in order to improve services and aid content creation.

Common pitfalls

Don’t provide live chat if there is no one there who can respond quickly: Research by Oldroyd stated that you are 100x more likely to reach your prospect if you call them back within five minutes of receiving their inquiry rather than after 30 minutes. Remington Begg from Impulse Created emphasised that this also applies to live chat too.

Don’t forget to set KPIs: Track important metrics such as the level of engagement and the exit points. Additionally, remember to record whether they were positive or negative exits to see what time of brand experience this tool is providing.

Don’t forget to set up a feedback loop: Look for popular questions being asked to help you create content user will value. Also, see if there are any recurring issues or problems and inform the relevant departments in order to prevent any future dissatisfaction.

Content creation

Content was a hot topic at Inbound 2018, with its abundance on the internet being both a blessing and a curse. Several speakers discussed ways to improve the quality of the content that is being created as well as tips to help increase its exposure.

Content best practices

Do talk openly about the negatives or hard questions related to your product or services:  Nowadays, if people want the content – they will find it. So if you simply provide them with it, they won’t have to go searching elsewhere. This approach also gives customers the impression that your company is open, honest, and focussed on helping them no matter what their problem may be.

Common pitfalls

Don’t just share a statistic, share a story: This will make it stick with the audience far better than numbers alone thanks to the emotional connection they create. As well as being more memorable, research has also shown that it improves the level of positive action too.

Don’t spend all your time working harder:  You don’t have to constantly create new content to stay ahead of the curve. Sometimes working smarter is just as important as working harder. One speaker noted that when they focused on historical content optimization, they saw a 400% increase in pageviews and tripled organic traffic.

SEO

Along with the volume of new technologies and tactics that were discussed at this year’s event, one thing that came through loud and clear was that SEO is just as important now as it has ever been.

SEO best practices

Remember that technical SEO matters: Factors such as mobile friendliness, page speed, schema markup, meta descriptions, title tags, etc all affect rankings so remain as important as ever.

Make the most of Google’s My Business: It improves organic ranking and provides useful information and features that benefits both you and the user. The booking button allows users to book appointments directly from the Google My Business listing and the Google Posts section highlights news and blogs.

Common pitfall

Don’t think that SEO is dead: Organic search still drives 20x more clicks than paid search, despite rumours that paid and social search is now taking over. Check out these interesting statistics supplied by MOZ:

SEM and SEO click ratio on Google
If you’re interested in finding out more great marketing insights, check out our key takeaways from CTA 2018 which is full of actionable information, hints and tips that you can employ in your organization.