The Small Business Summary from INBOUND 2018
Wow, what a whirlwind start to this month! Our social media expert, Christina, and I just got back from HubSpot’s INBOUND 2018 and our brains are packed with incredible info that we can’t wait to share with you. There are a whole slew of new marketing tools, effective strategies and exciting new trends that are reshaping the marketing landscape for small businesses. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this change by helping to educate entrepreneurs about what’s available and implementing new initiatives based on these best practices for our clients.
Lifelong learning is one of our core values, and part of our mission to best serve our audience and clients is to share those ‘learnings’ with you! Not only do we LOVE this stuff, it frees you up from having to spend your time, dollars and resources to stay on top of the trillions of shifting elements that make up digital marketing today.
So let’s get down to it!
Key Takeaways from INBOUND for Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses
We’ve highlighted our key takeaways below from INBOUND for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and broken them into actionable, bitesize pieces. We’ve focused each section on your marketing goals – so jump to your top priority and skip the rest if you prefer!
Our goal is for you to read this article and identify at least ONE simple step you could take this week to make significant shifts in your business!
On to the takeaways…
If you’re looking to dominate search…
SEM Rush delivered a great presentation on how to dominate search. In order for you to improve your search rankings for targeted terms, you must ensure two things –
- Your site is optimized from the backend
- The experience is optimized from the front end
For the backend optimization, ask yourself:
- Is all of your content being indexed by Google? If not, dig into why. Use a tool like Google’s Search Console to uncover this information.
- Is your entire website or specific pages loading really slowly? Every extra second it takes to load your content could be detrimental to your business. Run a speed test for your website here to identify any issues.
- Are there errors or warnings on your website that could be lowering the quality and authority of your site? Sign up for a free trial of Moz to crawl your site for errors and receive actionable tips to correct them.
- Are you using schema to create structured markup on your pages for search? If not, work with a developer to implement this.
>> To put load time into perspective – every 0.1 seconds increased load time on Amazon decreased sales by 1% – resulting in $1.3 BILLION in lost revenue. <<
Pro Tip: Consider using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to speed things up by 85% on average. There’s even a free WordPress plugin you can use to make it simple! AMP pages have a little lightning rod next to the result like the image below.
For the front-end visitor experience, ask yourself:
- Are there any broken paths on your site? Can visitors actually get to where they want to go – or where you want them to go? Don’t overcomplicate it!
- Are your popups obnoxious or distracting from your end goal for the user?
- Is your site content optimized for natural language?
If you want to avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes…
Rand Fishkin created Moz in 2007 and recently went on to found SparkToro. Here is a snapshot view of four of the key lessons he’s learned that I felt could help you in your entrepreneurial journey.
Lesson One: When it comes to selling a product, service or idea…emotion is greater than benefits is greater than features. In every area possible, try to lead with emotion to engage your audience and drive them to take action – starting with the most emotionally resonant problem that you solve.
Content evaluation question: Is the story you’re creating/telling triggering your own emotions? If not, fix it.
Lesson Two: Focus on ONE thing that you do incredibly well. A simpler product is easier to bring to market, and drives a deeper engagement with a more loyal segment of your audience.
Lesson Three: A smaller, more engaged audience that truly cares about your mission, vision and solution is MUCH better than a large, disconnected audience.
Lesson Four: Long hours are NOT better than fewer, high quality hours. Establish your focus and limit your time in order to get more done. You become less productive the more hours you work (after 35 hours) – yikes! Lots of research is available to back this up. So take a break – or a nap – now!
If you’re ready to actually optimize your website for conversions…
- Use visitor recordings of your website to better understand your visitor’s journey. Once you’ve started recording, begin to segment your insights by types: traffic source, browsers, device, etc to identify trends and make updates to improve performance.
- Slim down the website…don’t overcomplicate things. Make it clear and easy for people to take the next step.
- Connect with customers in their moment of need. Make yourself available by showing your contact information or offering live chat with tools. Ensure your team is trained, and never forget to be human, empathetic, positive, quick, and to the point in your responses. Studies have shown that websites offering live chat interactions can see 4.5x more conversions than those who do not.
- Remove the bumps in your forms. Run a form report to see if there are certain fields holding people up.
- It used to be that you should focus on ‘above the fold’. Now you should focus on the ‘effective fold’. Identify where you’re getting the most conversions not just clicks. Hint: it could be slightly below the fold, as they learn more about what you do. Optimize these areas accordingly.
- Encourage cheerleaders. Make it easy for happy customers to refer other customers by sharing content on your website or the opportunity to sign up for your product. 92% of individuals trust WOM marketing so make sure you’re leveraging this!
If you’re on a mission to build more links for more pages on your site (hello, improved keyword rankings!)…
Whether it’s your product pages or blog content, in order for your content to rank in this day and age, you need high quality inbound links. HubSpot Senior Content Strategist, Irina Nica, shared these four techniques (among others) to help you do this.
- Claim unlinked mentions. If people are talking about you, encourage them to link! Use BuzzSumo or Google Alerts to find these mentions.
- FITD technique. If people are already linking to you, encourage them to link to MORE of your content. Find these links by going to Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals or using a tool like Moz or ahrefs.
- Update old content. Find the sites that are linking to you and see if you have fresh, new content they could link to instead.
- Update anchor text for links. Sites may be linking to you now with anchor text like ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’. Ask the site admins to update that to a target keyword or your brand name to drive more SEO impact.
Or if you’re focused on generating more qualified inbound leads…
Ryan Deiss with DigitalMarketer.com flipped one of our common beliefs as entrepreneurs on it’s head: not everything has to be about scalability. What if instead we focused on making human face-to-face sales more efficient?
The best way to do this? Through chat. People want help when they want it. Which means, you need to have that option available, via:
- Page to Chat
- Email to Chat
- Ad to Chat
You get the idea. Use Facebook chat as a powerful option for engaging with prospects. Use m.me/yourcompanyusername (i.e. m.me/radiantmarketing) to take someone directly to a conversation with you.
The sessions focused on content were some of my favorites. Here is a recap on those!
Ready to engage those readers with ‘brain science’ you can’t argue with…
Carmen Simon successfully implemented her recommended strategies for engagement by making this one of the most interesting and engaging presentations of the week.
As Carmen discussed in her presentation, our brains haven’t changed in thousands of years – so when people say our ‘attention span’ has decreased that’s actually not accurate. Rather, our ‘threshold for stimulation’ has changed. What does this mean for marketers? It means your readers want variety! While short shots are typically increasing viewer engagement and response, it’s not always the case.
A few things to keep in mind as you dive into creating your next blog post, social gif or video –
- Peak curiosity by surprising your reader or viewer. Create content that makes it hard for them to predict what will happen next.
- Ask questions. Any time you ask a question, your brain is required to answer.
- Avoid TOO much stimulation. You need to vary content often, but you still need to create a pattern or a ‘story’ that ties it all together.
- Challenge the reader’s mind by accelerating pacing, requiring them to do deeper thinking or stretch their intellectual capacity.
Interested in building buzz at record speed…
This was such a great presentation, packed with valuable insights (and case studies to back the tactics) from Ben Kaplan with PR Hacker. First, here are the three principles to apply to your content ideation to build the possibility of your content going viral:
- Simple – your audience must understand it quickly, ideally under 7 seconds
- Surprising – you have to break expectations
- Significant – it needs to have a deeper meaning, be relevant and potentially call out a deeper truth about the individual readers
And, five strategies to build the online conversation fast –
- Leverage conversations around big brands that are relevant to your business
- Make a bold ask – for example “can we reverse diabetes in 100 million people in 8 years?”
- Leverage national awareness days to drive the message to a broader audience, connecting with a moment in time
- Repurpose a recent story in a high-profile media source that’s relevant to your brand with other media sources
Take your contact list to 100k subscribers…
Gail Axelrod, Director of Marketing for OpenView, confirms the same strategy still holds true:
You must understand your audience in order to create powerful, engaging content that drives people to take action.
And of course, this update wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share the keynote presentation from Scott Harrison, Founder charity:water, my all-time favorite charity because of how transparent, communicative and impactful they are.
We’d love to hear from you! Share what your ONE step will be after reading this article! Email the RAD team at firstname.lastname@example.org.