At this time last week we were wrapping up 4 days of inbound marketing training, networking, and fun in the great city of Boston. We had a blast meeting other agency owners and their teams. We saw great keynote speakers and stuffed our brains with knowledge.
5 Key Take Aways From #Inbound16
1. Facebook Advertising
The time is now to get in on Facebook advertising. Prices are low and you can expand your reach greatly with a small marketing budget. If you are taking the time to post on Facebook then make it worth the time investment and turn some of your best performing posts into advertisements.You can learn how to best tackle Facebook advertising in two of our latest posts:
Instagram and Snapchat are two other platforms gaining momentum quickly in the B2B world. Check out Instagram Stories or run a contest to increase your following. Learn more here, "Complete Guides for an Instagram Photo Contest"
2. Stop Allowing Different Departments to Operate in a Silo
Here's a great prediction made for 2016 from our friend Brie Rangel at Impact, “In 2016, I believe Marketers will have even more of a responsibility to impact and improve the entire customer experience. From initial interest (lead generation) and the sales process (sales enablement) to delighting customers (aka retaining and upselling), smart Marketers will see the value in closing the loop and learning from meaningful prospect and customer feedback.”
Smart companies are aligning their sales and marketing departments, increasing communication between the two, and closing more sales. This alignment allows for a smooth full-funnel customer experience and thus improves customer satisfaction.
3. Niche, Niche, Niche
There were over 18,000 attendees at #INBOUND16 it may have been a big wake-up call for agency owners who are trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. "Guess what guys, you're not special," said one presenter and he was correct. As the marketing expands in all service industries the best way to set yourself apart from the practice, retail shop, agency down the street is to specialize.
Pick a few areas of your industry and become a master. Read, study, ask questions, and explore your decided path to own the market. Being a master allows you to charge 1.4 x the market price for your services because you're the best and your know more than "Mr. Do It All".
Do you have someone on your staff that is great in front of the camera? It's time to make them the face of the company and add video to your website, blog, and use Facebook Live. Video will be dominating SEO in 2017 but just like any content ensure it is high quality and providing value to your followers and fans.
Visual storytelling has been holding strong and is expected to take a prime seat at the table in 2017. Your videos don’t have to be a major production either. A maximum length of 2 minutes is all you need. Look at Snapchat and Instagram videos and how micro-content is emerging. Also, consider how social networks don’t play audio until someone clicks the video and how that initial audio-less motion graphic/video could work for your brand.
Now is the time to experiment with what works best for your audience.
5. SEO for the Future
Remember when Google results displayed 10 simple blue links? Now we have answer boxes, carousels, local map results and more to contend with. Optimizing for keywords is not enough anymore.
In addition to Google, we have more search engines, with Amazon, DuckDuckGo, and YouTube being prime opportunities. Rand Fishkin provided Moz research that showed if 80% of your traffic comes from Google, you could be penalized (what the heck Google?!) .
You read that correctly - for doing a good job in SEO, you could suffer.
In addition to creating content for multiple engines, creating content for searcher intent is another huge opportunity for SEO in 2017.
Figure out what phrases you think your buyers are using, review the other content that comes up in search, and create something 5x better really takes into consideration the intent of the search and what the user is hoping to learn.
I get a lot of questions from clients if there is “too much copy” on their pages, and my answer is usually no. If you’re taking the time to make your pages as helpful as possible, you will be recognized in increased conversions, and now in higher search results.
SEO, content, UX, E-commerce, social media, video and other expertise segments within the marketing department are not rowing their own boats. SEO is a total team effort.
On-page SEO will increase your click-through-rate (CTR), empathetic and on-point content will reduce bounce rates and increase time on site, & an optimized page design will increase conversions. Having your team work together in putting these pieces together is key in optimizing your pages SEO.
All-in-all we have a lot to consider in 2017 for marketing and sales. Our buyers are smarter and they expect a better experience. Ensure that your business is utilizing the proper marketing channels and putting valuable content forward.