All of us at StitchDX left HubSpot’s INBOUND 17 conference energized, enlightened, and eager to take our work for SMBs and nonprofits to a higher level.
Here are my top online content marketing takeaways—let’s do this Casey Kasem-style and count ‘em down:
Online Content Takeaway #5. Emotional connections are still essential.
Both Jeff Coon (“How to Close More Leads Using Science-Based Emails and Sales Pages”) and Nancy Harhut (“26 Words and Copy Constructs That Instantly Make You More Persuasive”) cited brain science to tell us that the pain of loss (such as paying for something) is 50% more intense than the pleasure of experiencing gain. Coon cited another study that indicated the necessity of emotion in coming to decisions. Online content creators need to keep this in mind.
Our communications still need to make emotional connections every time. (No surprise to anyone in the nonprofit space, but it also applies to B2B.) Ways to achieve these connections can range from “FOMO” messaging to leads that are cooling down, to “thank you” emails that make customers feel like superstars because they purchased from you.
Online Content Takeaway #4. Want to tame your content creation load? Establish a niche and own it.
This one’s not a change you can make overnight—but it’s a strategic reframing that can yield impressive results. Scott Meyer, in his session “Do Better, Not More,” told us how his agency committed to conducting research on auto dealership marketing, then created and shared an annual report following the model of HubSpot’s “State of Inbound.”
The report was and is the only one of its kind—niche established! Then, through a video course, he and his team demonstrated how dealerships could leverage the research findings through inbound. The payoff? Dealerships already have their hands full—so they engage Meyer’s team.
The research and video course are permanent content assets that carry a huge engagement load for Meyer’s agency. As a result they need to produce less content each year—but they steadily grow revenue by adding clients within their niche.
Online Content Takeaway #3. Don’t be creepy with your customers.
“Don’t turn strangers into detractors.” Emma Knox of HubSpot cited widespread consumer displeasure with marketers’ use of their data. There are boundaries to be respected, and inbound marketers can discern them within customer data.
In her presentation “The Personalization Creepy Scale,” Knox gave examples of retailers who go too far with consumer data and shared insights on how data reveals a consumer’s “digital body language.” If we know how to read data thoughtfully and apply it our communications, we can use it to better drive conversions. But she warned: “If you don’t get it right, you can really get it wrong.”
Online Content Takeaway #2. “Your ideal customer WANTS to hear from you.”
This was Avell Craig’s message in “The Minimum Viable Email Sequence.” Craig reminded us that email has more users than social media (everyone on social has email, but not everyone with email is on social platforms). He believes that “more is better”—he’s a huge fan of daily emails—as long as we allow recipients to control the flow through opt-ins, unsubscribes, etc.
Like Emma Knox did, Craig exhorted us to leverage consumer data so as many people as possible remain engaged. To boost email engagement, he suggested appropriately employing the conventions (brevity, frequency, consistency, sharing, video, storytelling, visual appeal, etc.) that keep us glued to social media.
Online Content Takeaway #1: Video killed the copywriter.
OK, maybe not “killed,” but visual content has roughed up text-based content pretty badly. Video is THE most compelling visual messaging media in this age of vanishing attention spans.
Presenters throughout the conference proclaimed the triumph of video. Content marketers need to seize every opportunity to integrate video into emails, sales pages, landing pages, social—anywhere it’s appropriate. Oren Boiman, in his presentation “The Reel Fate of Inbound,” laid out these four “musts” for an effective video:
- It must be authentic—not an ad.
- It must have real value for the customer.
- It must stream on all platforms, from YouTube to social.
- Its content must be refreshed frequently.
I can’t close without being a clever lad and saying the takeaway food truck lunches each day had me pretty well contented. Hope they’ll be back for INBOUND 18!