What We Learned at Inbound 2016

Danielle Esposito

Danielle Esposito
Published December 22, 2016


By Danielle Esposito & Ali Magno

When I say that Inbound 2016 was like our Disneyland… I really mean it.

For content and inbound digital marketing nerds like us, being amongst some of the best and brightest in the business made our heads spin in the best possible way.

As fellow nerds can attest, there’s truly nothing better than learning – whether that means brushing up on what you already know or gaining newfound knowledge and tactics from industry professionals. At Morey Publishing, we firmly believe that in order to succeed, we have to be innately curious. Working in an industry that molds and evolves and twists and turns seemingly every day, the only way to flourish is to be an adaptable, eternal student. And a student who keeps up with industry news.

Thankful would be an understatement for what we felt experiencing Inbound 2016. Thankful for getting the opportunity to go, thankful for the gallons of coffee provided, thankful for the intense amount of beautiful minds we heard speak, and thankful, above all, for food trucks.

It was hard to pull off, but we scrubbed through our notes and pulled out 10 key things that we learned:

  1. Don’t email on Tuesdays or Thursdays

Just like there are best times to post on social media, there are best times to send an email. According to Tom Monaghan those best times are Monday, Friday, and drumroll please… Saturday. Yes, Saturday – according to the statistics, people read emails for longer on Saturday and are more likely to click on your CTA. (P.S. The worst days for emails are Tuesday & Thursday - just don’t do it!!)

  1. It’s not about extracting value, it’s about adding value

Whereas back in the day customers only had to choose from a few feet of products on a store shelf, the internet has given customers thousands of products on an infinite shelf. The supply is increasing, but the demanding is remaining the same. The only way to grab a customer isn’t by selling your product in the traditional way, but by offering your customers a deeper story and more value.

Remember, there’s likely another company out there just like you – so what can you do for your potential customers that will differentiate you? It’s not about what you can get. It’s about what you can give.

  1. Master the Sphere of Influence

Focusing on keywords is important yes, but ranking first for a single keyword isn’t enough anymore. With the amount of supply constantly increasing but demand remaining the same, we need to do more. Marketers need to create a “sphere of influence” around different topics. Treat each keyword as a campaign and dig deeper into it to help you hold a sphere of influence and rank highly for entire topics.

  1. Where 2006 was all about Google and blogging, 2016 is all about video and social

In fact, Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, told us a very funny story about his mother and her coffee order.  Apparently, one time she was going through the drive thru, placed her coffee order, and when she got to the window the workers had no idea what she was referring to. Fast forward and you find out that sweet Mama Halligan had actually placed her order with a trash receptacle. The point? “If you’re not marketing on social media, you might as well be marketing to a trash can.”

Another fun fact? Halligan predicts that 50% of content in 2017 will be (and should be) video. So don’t look for a blogger… look for a videographer.

  1. Chat bots are the future!

Picture this, you’re on Facebook and want to find the cheapest flight to Miami next week. You open up an Expedia messenger and type: “Find me the cheapest flight to Miami next week.” Thanks to messenger bots, within a split second you will have the answer right before your eyes. Chat bots can be useful for any type of company. From asking Urban Outfitters to find a woman's small black shirt to asking CNN to send you a summary of the top news stories, this is the future.

  1. You can’t just use AdWords (or really, any one keyword research tool)

In fact, according to Rand Fishkin, you have to evolve keyword targeting to match not only Google’s sophistication, but the fact that AdWords seems to hide non-commercial terms. Recommended tools? SEMRush, MOZ’s Keyword Explorer and Ahrefs (but feel free to let us know your favorite as well!).

Another factor to consider? You have to think about relative click-through rates when doing your keyword research in order to find the click-through opportunities. This will help you to focus your efforts in the right areas. #KOBscores

  1. Upcycle, upcycle, upcycle

You should be upcycling your content for maximum mileage. Upcycling is converting your content into multiple formats for the purpose of making it more valuable. Turn a successful blog post into an infographic or a series of blog posts with a common theme into an e-book.  So as marketers, why should we do this? It is amazing for SEO, extended visibility (without being annoying) and it respects the various learning styles of your audience. Plus, it will save you time and money… and who doesn’t want that?

  1. Stop with Swiss Army knife emails!

Pick a goal (a goal… as in one). Define success. Build the email for that specific success. Rinse, lather, repeat. Oh… and be smart about who you’re sending your emails to. Affiliate lists? Bad. Bought lists? Bad. Suppress lists that aren’t engaging. Don’t send graymail, and really, don’t be rude – just send to those who have given you expressed permission. Getting marked as spam by contacts who have never heard of you before really just. isn’t. worth. it.

Little fun fact: Did you know that if your emails get blacklisted it doesn’t just affect the one senderwho broke the email rules, but all emails coming from the same IP address? Bad news bears.

  1. HubSpot employees work hard - and play harder.

While we were struggling to keep up with our rock star HubSpot Agent, the rest of the HubSpot employees had no problem. From Inbound cocktail hour to seaport parties after, they definitely know how to have fun. We even heard someone describe Inbound as their “spring break.” We still don’t know how they made it through days of meetings, giving speeches, and talking to Inbound attendees (we were in bed by 9:30).

  1. Coffee is my soulmate

I think we kind of already had this suspicion going in, but it was fully cemented with every new trip we took to make another cup of joe. And it seems like fellow HubSpotters and inbound marketers feel the same way. Tons of bonding happened out and around the coffee stations. We held each other’s spots in line so someone could run and grab a cup – we talked about the sweet aroma, the various kinds of sweeteners avail, and we openly talked about our favorite speakers and pain points. No judgment here – coffee brings everybody together.

Morey Publishing at Inbound 2016

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