SPROUT Content co-founder Dechay Watts and I recently came back from HubSpot’s annual Partner Day, which is a 2-day event at HubSpot’s Cambridge, MA headquarters for Gold and higher tiered agency partners. The annual event left us energized by the amazing community of like-minded HubSpot partners, as well as the always-impressive HubSpot staff. Our time spent there inspired us about new ways we can deliver even stronger results for our clients, and excited about the new announcements coming this year.
Here is a recap of some of our favorite ideas that we wanted to share, with the hopes of sparking a little inbound marketing inspiration for you too:
Video content does not have to be hard.
Kristen Craft From Wistia and Michael Reynolds from SpinWeb gave an interesting presentation on how simple yet effective video content can be. The main thing I took away from that is – video does not have to be a complicated, Lucas style production in order to be effective. Video is a necessary and engaging type of content that can be used for a variety of strategic objectives and should be tied to a goal such as:
- Traffic boosting
- Lead generating
- Lead nurturing
- Brand building
- Client supporting
- Sales Conversion
I was particularly intrigued by Reynolds’ example of some pretty down-and-dirty videos that one of his B2B clients is doing, right in their office, and experiencing great results from. Their client has experienced such positive results from video, that their internal staff are now doing quick, in-office explainer videos, on the fly, with an inexpensive digital recorder on a tripod. Of course SpinWeb polishes, optimizes and sets up the videos on their site, but the simple recoding work is done right in the client’s office.
Video comes in so many forms, from live action, testimonial, animated, explainer, whiteboard, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. It was great just to be reminded that it doesn’t have to be so hard, and that even a brief fifteen second video as an intro to a blog post or lead nurturing email can dramatically increase engagement.
Distinguish yourself from the Inside Out.
This is a lesson that can be applied to everyone, whether you’re an agency, B2B company, tech startup or consumer brand. Marketing from the “inside out” is not a new idea, but one that many companies tend not to focus on. Developing a company mantra and using that as the foundation for all as you do as an organization, not just a saying on a wall, is a key to differentiating yourself. It’s also not something that, if done authentically, competitors can ever truly copy.
For example, our company mantra is “Build valuable relationships.” What does that mean? First, internally, our team happiness, comaraderie and quality of work is number one. If your internal team isn’t happy, and operating as a unified group, everything else will suffer. Next, we focus on building valuable relationships with our clients. We like to truly integrate ourselves as an indispensable part of our clients’ marketing teams. Building strong client relationships is essential to us, which includes getting to know their business and industry inside out as well. After all, the stronger the relationship we have with our clients, and the better we know their business and audience, the stronger the relationship we can help build for them with their customers. We understand what their customers and prospects want and need, and can develop the content and information that will help them succeed. It all comes full circle.
Another aspect of differentiating from the inside out, especially for agencies, is to market yourself by the way you do business. For example, we are now an agile inbound marketing agency, and have put a lot of time and resources into learning, developing and continually improving our agile processes. The ultimate goal of this, which ties back to our mantra of building valuable relationships, is to deliver stronger, faster and more effective results for our clients. It also helps contribute to the overall efficiency and productivity of our team, and ongoing feeling of accomplishment.
Anonymity and Intimacy are the future trends in communication.
At the end of the first full day of partner day, we were all treated to what HubSpot billed as its own “Science Fair.” At this interactive event, we were given a sneak peek and hands-on demonstration of some of HubSpot and their integration partner’s latest tools, future developments and even a super top-secret innovation that HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah is developing. While we can’t quite reveal what that is yet, we can advise all marketers to pay attention to the increasing development of Bots and how they impact communication in the realms of intimacy and anonymity.
What is a bot? A bot is software designed to automate certain actions. The types of bots gaining the most traction are those that interface with an existing messaging application like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, Slack or Twitter. Bots help app users find information accomplish a goal through text-based commands within the app or platform’s ecosystem.
For example, imagine if Domino’s had a bot integrated into Facebook Messenger and you could simply type into it: “Domino’s Bot send me a Medium hand tossed pizza with pepperoni.” Then the pizza arrived at your door in 30 minutes.
As app downloads and usage is significantly down, these type of contained searches, actions and conversations are happening now, and will certainly be developed in increasing numbers in the very near future. What will this mean to the future of content marketing, SEO, customer service, ecommerce, content distribution, and many other facets of digital marketing, and our everyday lives, remains to be determined, but we certainly can see where it’s headed.
If you want more examples, check out this interesting article from HubSpot on the future of bots and conversational UI.
We left Cambridge very inspired to put these and many other great ideas into action, and felt reenergized to focus even more of on some of the things we’ve already been doing. We look forward to continuing to be a part of the amazing HubSpot Agency Partner community and sharing more great insights and updates about inbound marketing as the year progresses.
If you want to know more about HubSpot, and how to get the most out of it for inbound marketing, find out: